News 09.06.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 09.06.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 09.06.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 09.06.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

In the film The Big Sleep (1946), the private eye Philip Marlowe (played by Humphrey Bogart) calls at the house of General Sternwood to discuss his two daughters. They sit in the greenhouse as the wealthy widower recounts an episode of blackmail involving his younger daughter. At one point, Marlowe interjects with an interested and knowing ‘hmm’.

‘What does that mean?’ Sternwood asks suspiciously.

Marlowe lets out a clipped chuckle and says: ‘It means, “Hmm”.’

Marlowe’s reply is impertinent and evasive, but it’s also accurate. ‘Hmm’ does mean ‘hmm’. Our language is full of interjections and verbal gestures that don’t necessarily mean anything beyond themselves. Most of our words – ‘baseball’, ‘thunder’, ‘ideology’ – seem to have a meaning outside themselves – to designate or stand for some concept. The way the word looks and sounds is only arbitrarily connected to the concept that it represents.

But the meanings of other expressions – including our hmms, hars and huhs – seem much more closely tied to the individual utterance. The meaning is inseparable from or immanent in the expression. These kinds of expressions seem to have meaning more how a particular action might have meaning.

Read the rest of this article at: aeon

News 09.06.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 09.06.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Glass shattered high above Seventh Avenue in Manhattan before dawn on a cold November morning in 1953. Seconds later, a body hit the sidewalk. Jimmy, the doorman at the Statler hotel, was momentarily stunned. Then he turned and ran into the hotel lobby. “We got a jumper!” he shouted. “We got a jumper!”

The night manager peered up through the darkness at his hulking hotel. After a few moments, he picked out a curtain flapping through an open window. It turned out to be room 1018A. Two names were on the registration card: Frank Olson and Robert Lashbrook.

Police officers entered room 1018A with guns drawn. They saw no one. The window was open. They pushed open the door to the bathroom and found Lashbrook sitting on the toilet, head in hands. He had been sleeping, he said, and “I heard a noise and then I woke up.”

“The man that went out the window, what is his name?” one officer asked.

“Olson,” came the reply. “Frank Olson.”

“In all my years in the hotel business,” the night manager later reflected, “I never encountered a case where someone got up in the middle of the night, ran across a dark room in his underwear, avoiding two beds, and dove through a closed window with the shade and curtains drawn.”

Leaving the police officers, the night manager returned to the lobby and, on a hunch, asked the telephone operator if any calls had recently been made from room 1018A. “Yes,” she replied – and she had eavesdropped, not an uncommon practice in an era when hotel phone calls were routed through a switchboard. Someone in the room had called a number on Long Island, which was listed as belonging to Dr Harold Abramson, a distinguished physician, less well known as an LSD expert and one of the CIA’s medical collaborators.

“Well, he’s gone,” the caller had said. Abramson replied: “Well, that’s too bad.”

To the first police officers on the scene, this seemed like another of the human tragedies they saw too often: a distressed or distraught man had taken his own life. They could not have known that the dead man and the survivor were scientists who helped direct one of the US government’s most highly classified intelligence programmes.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

Shop the Tuscany Tote in Midnight
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THE UNION FOR THE MUSICIANS of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, late this June, refused to sign a contract that would cut its unionized musicians’ income by some 20 percent. The musicians were, in turn, locked out by management, which meant facing months without pay or health care. In a Baltimore Sun article, orchestra members told of their fears about losing homes and caring for sick loved ones. Perhaps the most striking interview in the report comes from a twenty-seven-year-old violinist who had done everything right: she was talented and worked intensively; after college she rose through the ranks from the second to the first violin section, finally landing her dream job with a union symphony. But before that, she went to the right schools, Oberlin Conservatory and the Manhattan School of Music, at a cost of over $100,000 in student loan debt. This was debt she was determined to pay off by the time she was forty, if she continued her frugal lifestyle, living with a roommate near the concert hall. And now, here she was walking the picket line with her railroaded colleagues, who had also done everything right.

Read the rest of this article at: The Baffler

News 09.06.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 09.06.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

One of Tyshawn Jones’s favorite places to skate is the William F. Passannante Ballfield in Greenwich Village. Even by skateboarding’s flexible standards, this park is barren: a flat expanse of asphalt with paint denoting a baseball diamond. There are no ledges sweaty with wax, no stairs to jump down, not even a measly curb; once you leave the painted infield, the ground becomes too chunky to really skate on. And yet it’s still a destination in New York, known to locals as ‘‘T.F. West’’ — short for ‘‘training facility,’’ a convoluted inside joke about the fact that there’s nothing to skate there.

Except for the trash cans. You’ve probably used trash cans like these: green, metal, the ideal height for dropping garbage into (about midthigh). And provided they don’t have too much in them, they make for handy ad hoc obstacles. Most skaters turn them on their sides, so they come up to just below the knee. Tyshawn Jones generally leaves them upright. Last year,
he filmed a short clip at T.F. West, doing nothing but tricks over cans. He tends to clear them so effortlessly that you get the sense they’re less an obstacle than a visual reference point, like the little man included for scale in a drawing of a skyscraper or a whale: Look at how high I can do this. The green colorway of Jones’s Adidas pro-model shoe comes with a miniature plastic replica of a New York City garbage can; the company made some full-size ones for skate shops too, with “TYSHAWN” in bold letters across the top.

It has been a long time since skateboarding has seen a figure like Jones, someone who rapidly and almost out of nowhere redefines what’s physically possible on a board. His skateboarding is, as one of his sponsors, Jason Dill, put it to me, the type that anyone in the general public can appreciate: ‘‘It’s easily translatable. The physics of what he’s doing is apparent.’’ Jones possesses an unholy combination of vertical leap, flexibility, strength, finesse and timing — which skaters call, somewhat reductively, ‘‘pop’’ — that allows him to launch himself and his board over or onto seemingly whatever he wants, sometimes appearing to float for just a beat too long at the apex, as if briefly entering low orbit. Jones first learned about skating from video games, and it sometimes appears his sense of what can be done on a board is influenced by the unnatural laws of those pretend worlds.

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

News 09.06.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

IT STARTS the way a dream might start: I’m in a boat riding down a canal inside a shopping mall that is also somehow Venice, and Céline Dion is my gondolier. Her voice is right there, singing just for me. “Take me back into the arms I love,” she begins, so close it’s more like temperature than sound.

This gondola is made for love. It carries passengers in units of two, or two and two plus the gondolier makes five, which happens to be Céline Dion’s lucky number. I’m riding alone, balanced in what isn’t so much a seat as a place to cuddle up, press knees, hold hands. “Just believe in me, I will make you see all the things that your heart needs to know,” Céline reminds me, romantic as hell.

We pass under a bridge and the key changes, the song gliding up to meet its own bridge. The word for what’s happening is coincidence. Céline lets her voice open all the way up, reaching out to caress every stone: “Whatever it takes, we’ll find a waaaaaaaay—”

We emerge into the light, and the singing is cut short. Dream over: I’m in Las Vegas, being ferried on a twelve-minute journey up and down the Grand Canal Shoppes of the Venetian, which is an almost-pretty thing to call a mall. For the remainder of the ride, my gondolier, who moonlights as a Céline Dion impersonator, slips back into character, and we pretend to pretend that we’re in the real Venice. It’s only kind of a stretch—the boat is real, and the canal is really man made, like all canals are. My gondolier, clad in a navy-striped T-shirt, straw hat, and red satin neckerchief and sash, serenades me with an old Italian folk song as we glide past an Auntie Anne’s pretzel shop and a store called Socks & Bottoms.

The mall’s ceiling is a trompe l’oeil mural of the sky, and I find myself checking to be sure it isn’t a screen projecting a moving image. It’s only paint, but the light is warm, and without thinking, I close my eyes and dial my face upward like a starved Canadian heliotrope searching for vitamin D and happiness. For a moment, I give myself to the illusion and tell myself it’s just like the real thing.

Céline Dion has been in residence at Caesars Palace Las Vegas more often than not since 2003. They built the Colosseum just for her, plugging 95 million American dollars into a 4,000-plus-seat concert hall modelled after the ancient Roman original, though this one has the largest LED screen in North America and a stage that’s more motorized lifts than stable ground.

The gamble has paid off. Céline Dion’s first occupation of Caesars, A New Day…, is the highest grossing concert residency anywhere, ever, with Billboard reporting that it earned the equivalent of $610 million Canadian during its run, from 2003 to 2007. Queen Céline returned to her palace in 2011 for Céline, which is the second-most successful residency in history, having taken in $320 million by the time it ended in June of this year.

Céline’s time in the desert has been epic. I mean that in the classical sense: lengthy, episodic, featuring the triumphs of a heroine. Over the past sixteen years, she has performed in Vegas 1,141 times. That’s around 1,141 days of total vocal rest to save herself for the show, 1,141 times yelling, “Shall we go for it?” at the audience, 1,141 E-flat-fives belted at full volume while doing the kind of Gumby-like back bend a yoga teacher would call a heart opener. Céline—is it okay if I call her Céline?—has opened her whole bleeding heart to 4.5 million people in Vegas alone.

Read the rest of this article at: The Walrus

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