News 09.11.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


News 09.11.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 09.11.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
News 09.11.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

“There is infinite hope,” Kafka tells us, “only not for us.” This is a fittingly mystical epigram from a writer whose characters strive for ostensibly reachable goals and, tragically or amusingly, never manage to get any closer to them. But it seems to me, in our rapidly darkening world, that the converse of Kafka’s quip is equally true: There is no hope, except for us.

I’m talking, of course, about climate change. The struggle to rein in global carbon emissions and keep the planet from melting down has the feel of Kafka’s fiction. The goal has been clear for thirty years, and despite earnest efforts we’ve made essentially no progress toward reaching it. Today, the scientific evidence verges on irrefutable. If you’re younger than sixty, you have a good chance of witnessing the radical destabilization of life on earth—massive crop failures, apocalyptic fires, imploding economies, epic flooding, hundreds of millions of refugees fleeing regions made uninhabitable by extreme heat or permanent drought. If you’re under thirty, you’re all but guaranteed to witness it.

Read the rest of this article at: The New Yorker

News 09.11.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 09.11.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Hortly before 5pm on 22 February, a suited man with a lapel pin bearing the dimpled face of Kim Jong-un rang the doorbell of the North Korean embassy in Madrid. The man had visited the embassy before. Fifteen days earlier, he had been turned away by an official who was suspicious of his claims that he was a businessman hoping to invest in North Korea. Before he left, the visitor gave the official his card, which said he ran a Dubai-based investment fund named Baron Stone Capital.

Now the visitor had returned, claiming he had a gift for the embassy’s senior official, So Yun-sok. This time, he was ushered inside and asked to wait in the courtyard between the compound’s main two-storey building and its solid metal outer gate. While the official went to look for Mr So, the visitor walked to the perimeter of the compound and surreptitiously released the lock on the outside gate.

A few moments later, a group of men carrying combat knives, iron bars, handcuffs and fake pistols burst through the embassy door. According to a 14-page summary of the incident by the Spanish high court judge José de la Mata, within minutes all four male employees at the embassy had been tied up and bundled into a first-floor meeting room. The assailants, some wearing black balaclavas and others with their faces uncovered, spoke in American English and the distinctive Korean of Seoul and the South.

Mr So’s wife, named in Spanish court documents as Jang Ok Gyong, was watching television with their eight-year-old son when she heard what sounded like a struggle in the hallway. She locked the room, but soon the assailants forced their way in, though they insisted they would do her no harm. For the next four hours, she and her son were held captive, watched by a man with a black scarf over his face, a body camera and what seemed like a real gun in a holster. She claims she was so terrified that she secretly grabbed a razor to slit her wrists, but was unable to follow through. Instead, she and her son huddled together under a blanket.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

Tuscany Tote in Midnight

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The empire begins with a brothel. It stands, sturdy and square, at the heart of a gold-rush boomtown in northwest British Columbia, a monument to careful branding. The windows of the Arctic Restaurant have no signs offering access to prostitutes—even in a lawless Yukon outpost in 1899, decorum rules out such truth in advertising—but Friedrich Trump knows his clientele.

Curtained-off “private boxes” line the wall opposite the bar, inside of which are beds, and women, and scales to weigh gold powder, the preferred method of payment for services rendered. Word of the restaurant’s off-menu accommodations spreads fast. “Respectable women” are advised by The Yukon Sun to avoid the place, as they are “liable to hear that which would be repugnant to their feelings.” But among lonely prospectors, the Arctic is a hit. Before long, Friedrich is boasting, with a hereditary penchant for hyperbole, that his establishment serves more than 3,000 meals a day.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 09.11.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 09.11.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

KÜSNACHT, Switzerland — There is a metal plaque on the gate to Tina Turner’s estate that says “Vor 12.00 Uhr nicht läuten, keine Lieferungen,” which I believe is German for “Do not even think about bothering Tina Turner before noon.”

She was the symbol of rock ’n’ roll stamina for 50 years. Her “Proud Mary” was 175 percent longer than the original, and John Fogerty didn’t even dance. She became a star with Ike Turner in her 20s, escaped his abuse in her 30s, fought her way up the pop charts in her 40s, toured the world through her 60s, and now she would like to sleep in.

So I arrived at 2. Erwin Bach, Turner’s lovely German husband, fetched me in his SUV and delivered me to the house, which is named — did you think Tina Turner’s house would not have a name? — the Chateau Algonquin. It has cartoon palace energy: ivy snaking up the walls, gardeners manicuring the shrubs, a life-size two-legged horse sculpture suspended from a domed ceiling, a framed rendering of Turner as an Egyptian queen, a room stuffed with gilded Louis XIV style sofas and, sprawled on one of them, Tina Turner herself.

Turner is 79 years old. She has been retired for 10 years, and she is still basking in all of the nothing she has to do. “I don’t sing. I don’t dance. I don’t dress up,” she told me. Even her wig — “a critical part of the Tina Turner look,” as she wrote in her recent memoir — has relaxed from its formerly perpendicular posture into a saucy shag. Her voice is as beguiling as ever, though it is now employed for different means. She slips into a rich continental accent when she calls for her husband, and she dives into her low, trembling rasp — “not the voice of a woman,” as she has put it — when she teases him.

She does not miss performing. Oh, no. Even in 2009, as she romped around the world on the final dates of the “Tina! 50th Anniversary” tour, she was fantasizing, to be honest, about redecorating her house. She lived that life with Ike, and then she conquered that life with a life of her own, and now it was time to take in her unobstructed view of Lake Zurich. “I was just tired of singing and making everybody happy,” she said. “That’s all I’d ever done in my life.”

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

News 09.11.19 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Robert Frank, one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, whose visually raw and personally expressive style was pivotal in changing the course of documentary photography, died on Monday in Inverness, Nova Scotia. He was 94.

His death, at Inverness Consolidated Memorial Hospital on Cape Breton Island, was confirmed by Peter MacGill, whose Pace-MacGill Gallery in Manhattan has represented Mr. Frank’s work since 1983. Mr. Frank, a Manhattan resident, had long had a summer home in Mabou, on Cape Breton Island.

Born in Switzerland, Mr. Frank emigrated to New York at the age of 23 as an artistic refugee from what he considered to be the small-minded values of his native country. He was best known for his groundbreaking book, “The Americans,” a masterwork of black and white photographs drawn from his cross-country road trips in the mid-1950s and published in 1959.

“The Americans” challenged the presiding midcentury formula for photojournalism, defined by sharp, well-lighted, classically composed pictures, whether of the battlefront, the homespun American heartland or movie stars at leisure. Mr. Frank’s photographs — of lone individuals, teenage couples, groups at funerals and odd spoors of cultural life — were cinematic, immediate, off-kilter and grainy, like early television transmissions of the period. They would secure his place in photography’s pantheon. The cultural critic Janet Malcolm called him the “Manet of the new photography.”

But recognition was by no means immediate. The pictures were initially considered warped, smudgy, bitter. Popular Photography magazine complained about their “meaningless blur, grain, muddy exposures, drunken horizons, and general sloppiness.” Mr. Frank, the magazine said, was “a joyless man who hates the country of his adoption.”Mr. Frank had come to detest the American drive for conformity, and the book was thought to be an indictment of American society, stripping away the picture-perfect vision of the country and its veneer of breezy optimism put forward in magazines and movies and on television. Yet at the core of his social criticism was a romantic idea about finding and honoring what was true and good about the United States.“Patriotism, optimism, and scrubbed suburban living were the rule of the day,” Charlie LeDuff wrote about Mr. Frank in Vanity Fair magazine in 2008. “Myth was important then. And along comes Robert Frank, the hairy homunculus, the European Jew with his 35-mm. Leica, taking snaps of old angry white men, young angry black men, severe disapproving southern ladies, Indians in saloons, he/shes in New York alleyways, alienation on the assembly line, segregation south of the Mason-Dixon line, bitterness, dissipation, discontent.”

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

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