In the News 11.09.17 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


Fiction: The Drone King

A newly discovered short story by Kurt Vonnegut

One thing about the investment-counseling business: The surroundings are almost always nice. Wherever my work takes me, prosperity has beat me there.

Prosperity beat me to the Millennium Club by about 100 years. As I walked through the door for the first time, my cares dropped away. I felt as though I’d just finished two brandies and a good cigar. Here was peace.

It was a club downtown—six stories of snug hideaways and playthings and apartments for rich gentlemen. It overlooked a park.

The foyer was guarded by an elegant old man behind a rosewood desk.

I gave him my card. “Mr. Quick? Mr. Sheldon Quick?,” I said. “He asked me to come over.”

He examined the card for a long time. “Yes,” he said at last. “Mr. Quick is expecting you. You’ll find him in the small library—second door on the left, by the grandfather clock.”

“Thank you,” I said, and I started past him.

He caught my sleeve. “Sir—”

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic


How to Get Rich inTrump’s Washington


As for so many other people, election night did not pan out quite the way Robert Stryk expected. Stryk began the night slumped in a Morton’s steakhouse in downtown Washington, tuning out the guests at his watch party to type out the campaign announcement of a buddy who — in the wake of Donald J. Trump’s all-but-certain defeat and the Republican Party implosion that was sure to follow — planned to make a long-shot bid for chairman of the Republican National Committee. He ended it by closing down the bar at the Mayflower Hotel, and after the race was called, giddily marching down Connecticut Avenue with his friends as they chanted, ‘‘Make America Great Again!’’

Stryk, who owned a lobbying firm so small it didn’t actually have an office, spent most of his time in California and owned a small vineyard in Oregon, and he had helped out the Trump campaign as a sort of informal West Coast hand. He was still reveling in Trump’s upset win two nights later, over a bottle of wine on the patio of the Four Seasons in Georgetown, when a chocolate Lab padded over to his table to sniff his crotch. Stryk and the dog’s owner got to talking about wine and cigars and finally, like most of the country, about Trump. It turned out that she worked for New Zealand’s Embassy in Washington. New Zealand’s prime minister still hadn’t connected with the new president-elect, she told Stryk — a diplomatic and political embarrassment. Stryk cocked an eye across the table. ‘‘What if I said I could get you the number of someone to call the president?’’ he asked her.

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

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
at Belgrave Crescent &

Graydon Rides the Wave

Thirty years ago, long before he’d hatched the idea for Spy, reinvented the New York Observer, or emerged at the sunny peak of Vanity Fair, Edward Graydon Carter worked on the western railways of Canada as a lineman, stringing wire between telegraph poles in rural Saskatchewan. He stuck out like a tiger lily. Most of his co-workers were convicts, railroad lifers, or both; Carter was middle-class and already a bit of a dandy. When he arrived at the Winnipeg depot in the spring of 1970, he was wearing a pair of brand-new Adidas and carrying a big knapsack full of books — Kerouac, Brautigan, tattered copies of the National Lampoon. His foreman took one look and ordered him to get a haircut, which he did, at some whistle-stop town outside of Saskatoon.

Carter befriended a fellow named Craig Walls, the only other curious, underachieving 21-year-old in the bunch. “I was a high-school dropout,” explains Walls, who now works for the Ministry of Culture in Manitoba, “so Graydon really stands out in my mind. Imagine a guy with hair down to his shoulders and the whitest teeth you’ve ever seen, a guy who came from the East” — Ottawa, the Canadian capital — “and had all these books. It was quite exciting. He was an alien.”

Read the rest of this article at: New York Magazine


Who Will Save These
Dying Italian Towns?

THE FIRST THING that must be said about the ancient town of Civita di Bagnoregio, just two hours away from Rome and Florence, is that it is beautiful. From a distance, it looks literally otherworldly: The town sits so high atop a perilously steep pinnacle of eroding volcanic rock that it seems as if it’s perched upon clouds rather than tethered to the earth. Its very sediment is strafed with 2,500 years of architectural history: Etruscan caves, ancient remains, medieval dwellings and Renaissance villas.

Originally a center along ancient trade routes, Civita di Bagnoregio was prosperous from Roman times through the late Middle Ages. But after a devastating earthquake in 1695, most residents fled for lower ground, and so began the city’s long decline. By the end of World War II, nearly all of its inhabitants had left in search of work in cities or abroad. For the last half century, its population has hovered around 10 or so full-time residents.

Because the erosion of the hill is so severe (houses have been tumbling off its sides since the 1700s), Civita di Bagnoregio will eventually be reclaimed by the landscape. Residents and visitors alike must park at the base and ascend a steep footbridge to enter through a huge Gothic archway. Past the backless facade of a Renaissance house, with several of its windows open to the sky like a stage set, lies a small, dusty piazza with a church, a fine seventh-century medieval tower, a small bar and not much else. There is no pharmacy or school, no hospital, none of the necessities that somehow serve to make a place a place. There are only a couple of inns, and a few restaurants. Civita is real without being actual, if that makes any sense.

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

The Premium Mediocre Life of Maya Millennial


A few months ago, while dining at Veggie Grill (one of the new breed of Chipotle-class fast-casual restaurants), a phrase popped unbidden into my head: premium mediocre. The food, I opined to my wife, was premium mediocre. She instantly got what I meant, though she didn’t quite agree that Veggie Grill qualified. In the weeks that followed, premium mediocre turned into a term of art for us, and we gleefully went around labeling various things with the term, sometimes disagreeing, but mostly agreeing. And it wasn’t just us. When I tried the term on my Facebook wall, and on Twitter, again everybody instantly got the idea, and into the spirit of the labeling game.

As a connoisseur and occasional purveyor of fine premium-mediocre memes, I was intrigued. It’s rare for an ambiguous neologism like this to generate such strong consensus about what it denotes without careful priming and curation by a skilled shitlord. Sure, there were arguments at the margins, and sophisticated (well, premium mediocre) discussions about distinctions between premium mediocrity and related concepts such as middle-class fancy, aristocratic shabby, and that old classic, petit bourgeois, but overall, people got it. Without elaborate explanations.

But since the sine qua non of premium mediocrity is superfluous premium features (like unnecessary over-intellectualized blog posts that use phrases like sine qua non), let me offer an elaborate explanation anyway. It’s a good way to celebrate August, which I officially declare the premium mediocre month, when all the premium mediocre people go on premium mediocre vacations featuring premium mediocre mai tais at premium mediocre resorts paid for in part by various premium-mediocre reward programs.

Read the rest of this article at: Ribbonfarm

P.S. previous articles & more by P.F.M. // Top images: @vogue_wedding; @merveillesdeloi; @roselladegori