News 11.30.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 11.30.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 11.30.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 11.30.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

This February, I began obsessively making lists. Songs with cellos. Every book I read or every documentary I watched this year. Different things that you can eat with ginger-scallion sauce. Stories involving balloons. I don’t usually make lists, although I will generally risk malware or worse to read other people’s rankings. (Top ten N.F.L. draft busts. Worst movies set in Boston. Fifty songs from the sixties that anticipated eighties techno.) Right now, many critics are compiling their lists of the best movies or songs or books of 2020. Most years, I tend to retain only a hazy grasp of my cultural diet, and it’s been possibly a decade since I contributed in any meaningful way to a ranked best-of poll. Instead, I have an unaddressed e-mail draft where, every few months, I type things that I recently heard and liked, should anyone ask.

Years seem to be an increasingly random measure of time, especially when it comes to culture, where albums drop randomly, movies get pushed back according to studio whims or awards-season brinkmanship, and our sense of pleasure rarely aligns with the calendar. A song becomes a favorite when I can imagine enjoying it in the future, not just because I listened to it during a twelve-month stretch. My list-making this year initially grew out of restlessness. Maybe it would someday be useful to have a spreadsheet detailing how I spent my pandemic—every nineties movie I rewatched, everything I bought online. I began organizing my listening habits into private playlists—more exhaustive than the ones I usually make—according to mood and memory. I was working on a memoir about the nineties and ended up studying charts of the popular songs of 1998 to come up with a playlist for that year. Was this playlist actually what listening to the radio in 1998 felt like? Not really, because nobody limits their listening habits to music that came out during an arbitrarily demarcated time span. A more accurate reflection of the time were the lists I made that were loosely associated with my old addresses from back then: “Ida Sproul,” “Dwight Way.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 11.30.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 11.30.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Jake Haendel was a hard-partying chef from a sleepy region of Massachusetts. When he was 28, his heroin addiction resulted in catastrophic brain damage and very nearly killed him. In a matter of months, Jake’s existence became reduced to a voice in his head.

Jake’s parents had divorced when he was young. He grew up between their two homes in a couple of small towns just beyond reach of Boston, little more than strip malls, ailing churches and half-empty sports bars. His mother died of breast cancer when he was 19. By then, he had already been selling marijuana and abusing OxyContin, an opioid, for years. “Like a lot of kids at my school, I fell in love with oxy. If I was out to dinner with my family at a restaurant, I would go to the bathroom just to get a fix,” he said. He started culinary school, where he continued to experiment with opioids and cocaine. He hid his drug use from family and friends behind a sociable, fun-loving front. Inside, he felt anxious and empty. “I numbed myself with partying,” he said.

After culinary school, he took a job as a chef at a local country club. At 25, Jake tried heroin for the first time, with a co-worker (narcotics are notoriously prevalent in American kitchens). By the summer of 2013, Jake was struggling to find prescription opioids. For months, he had been fending off the symptoms of opioid withdrawal, which he likened to “a severe case of the flu with an added feeling of impending doom”. Heroin offered a euphoric high, staving off the intense nausea and shaking chills of withdrawal.

Despite his worsening addiction, Jake married his girlfriend, Ellen, in late 2016. Early in their relationship, Ellen had asked him if he was using heroin. He had lied without hesitation, but she soon found out the truth, and within months, the marriage was falling apart. “I was out of control, selling lots of heroin, using even more, spending a ridiculous amount of money on drugs and alcohol,” he said. In May 2017, Ellen noticed that he was talking funnily, his words slurred and off-pitch. “What’s up with your voice?” she asked him repeatedly.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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“Ed-die! Ed-die! Ed-die!” Standing before a bank of potted poinsettias in Studio 8H of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, Eddie Murphy, the returning comedy hero, smiled serenely and took a few seconds to bask in the chant that had broken out. Then he spoke. “It’s great to be back here finally, hosting Saturday Night Live for Christmas,” he said. “This is the last episode of 2019. But if you’re Black, this is the first episode since I left back in 1984.” Cue applause and knowing laughter.

Ah, the warm wave of renewed appreciation. We’ve witnessed this phenomenon a fair amount in recent times. Keanu Reeves, how cruel we were to mock you back when you toured with your band, Dogstar; you are an honorable and decorous man. Winona Ryder, forgive us for forever pinning the transgressions of your 20s and 30s upon you—after all, you long ago moved on to better things and Stranger Things. Now it’s Eddie Murphy’s turn.

Murphy, who will turn 60 next year, was more than a star in the 1980s, the decade in which he emerged. He was a force, incandescent with live-wire energy from the moment he was given his first speaking part on SNL. Over the course of mere months in 1981, the year he turned 20, Murphy debuted soon-to-be-iconic recurring characters: BuckwheatMister RobinsonVelvet Jones, and the prison poet Tyrone Green (“Dark and lonely on a summer night / Kill my landlord, kill my landlord / Watchdog barkin’—do he bite? / Kill my landlord, kill my landlord …”).

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 11.30.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 11.30.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The last stranger Adriene Mishler hugged before the pandemic was a woman who may or may not have sideswiped her car. It was Friday, the 13th of March, and Mishler, a YouTube yoga celebrity with more than eight million subscribers, was driving back to her house in Austin, Texas. It was exactly a week after the city canceled the annual South by Southwest festival. A female driver in a tan or gold sedan scraped the side of Mishler’s vehicle and, instead of pulling over like a decent person, raced off. The yoga guru gave chase.

“I was not going to chew them out,” Mishler said a few weeks later, reflecting on the incident. “I didn’t give a [expletive] about exchanging insurance or anything — well, obviously I did.” But that wasn’t the point of catching the driver. The point was to have a conversation with that person about the importance of goodness and accountability at a time of global and local turbulence, and as Mishler pursued the driver, she plotted out the interaction in her head. She lost the car, then found it again as it turned into a parking lot outside a thrift store. Mishler parked and got out to examine the other car, which had damage in a location that aligned with where the accident occurred. She followed the woman inside.

“Hi, I’m so sorry to bother you, and this is going to sound really weird, but did you just hit a car 15 or 20 minutes ago?”

The woman’s eyes grew big, which Mishler initially took for a sign of guilt. But the woman denied it. And as soon as she spoke, Mishler could tell this person wasn’t the perp; she had accidentally followed someone else driving a similar car into the parking lot. Mishler was mortified and apologized. As they parted, the woman stopped her and said that she loved doing Mishler’s yoga videos. This is something that has happened with increasing regularity as the videos have exploded in popularity. The two women embraced. “Damn,” Mishler said in late April, reliving the hug. “Outside of my boyfriend, that’s probably the last person I was less than six feet away from.”

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

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News 11.30.20 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Paul McCartney, like the rest of us, this year found himself with an unexpected amount of time stuck indoors. Unlike the rest of us — or most of us, anyway — he used that time to record a new album. The pandemic-induced circumstances of its creation may mark “McCartney III” as an outlier in the former Beatle’s catalog, but as its title suggests, it does have precedents: Like “McCartney” (1970) and “McCartney II” (1980), the album, out Dec. 18, was primarily recorded by McCartney alone, with him playing nearly all the instruments and handling all the production. “At no point,” McCartney said, “did I think: I’m making an album. I’d better be serious. This was more like: You’re locked down. You can do whatever the hell you want.” Which was a gas, as always. “What I’m amazed with,” McCartney explained, “is that I’m not fed up with music. Because, strictly speaking, I should have gotten bored years ago.”

It seems to me that working on music by yourself, as you did on the new album, might allow for some insights about what you do and how you do it. So are there aspects of “McCartney III” that represent creative growth to you? The idea of growing and adding more arrows to your bow is nice, but I’m not sure if I’m interested in it. The thing is, when I look back to “Yesterday,” which was written when I was 21 or something, there’s me talking like a 90-year-old: “Suddenly I’m not half the man I used to be.” Things like that and “Eleanor Rigby” have a kind of wisdom. You would naturally think, OK, as I get older I’m going to get deeper, but I’m not sure that’s true. I think it’s a fact of life that personalities don’t change much. Throughout your life, there you are.

Is there anything different about the nature of your musical gift today at 78 than in 1980 or 1970 or when you first started writing songs? It’s the story that you’re telling. That changes. When I first said to

“I’ve written a few songs,” they were simple. My first song was called “I Lost My Little Girl” — four chords. Then went into the next phase of songwriting, which was talking to our fans. Those were songs like “Thank You Girl,” “Love Me Do,” “Please Please Me.” Then came a rich vein as we got more mature, with things like “Let It Be,” “The Long and Winding Road.” But basically I think it’s all the same, and you get lucky sometimes. Like, “Let It Be” came from a dream where my mother had said that phrase. “Yesterday” came from a dream of a melody. I’m a great believer in dreams. I’m a great rememberer of dreams.

What’s the last interesting dream you had? Last night’s was pretty good.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M.