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News 25.07.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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News 25.07.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@jasperconran
News 25.07.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@modedamour
News 25.07.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
@zoelaz

A fair-haired girl in a pink sundress asks seven-year-old Jack, “Where do you go to school?” Jack and I are waiting in the checkout line at a Safeway in central Edmonton; the girl, accompanied by a woman about my age—in her sixties I’d say—is behind us. Jack blushes through his olive-brown cheeks and turns toward the display of candy bars and magazines. He’s naturally shy—even more so around girls his age.

I turn to the woman, who’s leaning on the handle of a grocery cart full of produce and pasta. “Do you live around here?” I ask. She glances at my bald crown, the curly grey hair jutting out around the temples of my wire-framed glasses, a faded purple Edmonton Folk Fest T-shirt from five years ago on my chest. She gives me a blank look. Maybe she wonders how to demonstrate to the girl that she should not talk to strange men. And I admit that I do look a little strange to some people, and sometimes, when I look in the bathroom mirror in the morning, even to myself.

“I’m Gary,” I say. “This is my grandson Jack. He’s going into grade two at Grandin school in August.” I nod toward the girl. “What school does she go to?”

When I say grandson, the woman’s eyes glisten. Maybe she thinks I’m not so strange after all. Or perhaps she realizes we’re both the same kind of strange. She tells me that they’re not from the neighbourhood, but they live not far away. She says she and her eight-year-old granddaughter live together. She tells me the name of her child’s school. As the checkout clerk takes my twenty-dollar bill, I say goodbye to the woman and the girl. They smile.

It’s been thirty years since my own kids were cute enough to break the ice with strangers at grocery stores, parks, or shopping centres. But now that I’m grandfathering two small children, this happens every day, everywhere I go. I’ve met grandparents with grandchildren in restaurants and on sidewalks. Reading my poems about grandparenting in public, I’ve had grandparents come up to me afterwards and say, “Me too!” Friends have told me about grandparents they know in situations like mine and offer to introduce me to them.

Read the rest of this article at: The Atlantic

News 25.07.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

News 25.07.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

ooking back on it now, I have to be careful about reconstructing or selecting memories in the light of all that transpired. In 1970, as part of my work for a research group within the Canadian Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, I moved to the Arctic and began learning the Inuit language, Inuktitut. My girlfriend, Christine, and I ended up living in a settlement named Sanikiluaq, located on the Belcher Islands, some 90 miles from the Hudson Bay coast of Arctic Quebec.

The Canadian government had established this settlement in the 1960s, the result of a postwar policy to incorporate all of the country, even its remotest edges, into the Canadian nation. Such policies came with a new conviction that the far north had vast economic potential. Although life in Sanikiluaq was now based on the new government settlement, this was an Inuit world, where language, culture and links to the land continued to be very strong.

During my career as an anthropologist, I have written much about my work with and for Inuit, but I have written very little about Sanikiluaq. The beauty of those islands and of the people for whom this was their home were clear to me then, and are so now as I bring them to mind. But there is a thread of darkness running through these memories, intimations embedded in the stories that the people of Sanikiluaq shared with me. There was also a shocking reality that I failed to see. These stories raise questions of life and death that have been central to Inuit experience, and are turning out to be of urgent importance for us all.

At the time I arrived, white people from the south, who the Inuit called the Qallunaat, had overwhelming influence and authority. Most were there either to transform the Inuit – and supposedly help them through the confusions of that transformation – or to take over possession and management of the land on behalf of the Canadian government in the south. The Inuit were expected to adopt a new religion, learn about the world of the south in schools run by southerners, and live more like other Canadians. When describing to me their feelings about these white people, lnuit in Sanikiluaq often also used the Inuktitut word ilira, to express awe (as in relation to ghosts) and intimidation (as in relation to powerful elders or shamans).

Read the rest of this article at:The Guardian

For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamed of being able to do the splits. Maybe it started with my brief sojourn as a gymnastics student when I was 10, or my seventh-grade dream of becoming a popular cheerleader (I still cringe whenever I remember my deeply embarrassing tryout). I’ve long since moved on from those childhood aspirations, and yet my longing to be one of those people who can do the splits has never waned. It’s been my New Year’s resolution more than once, and to this day I’ve never checked it off. To my dismay, my crotch has never made contact with the floor.

To me, doing the splits is a superhuman ability, something that seems unimaginable until you see someone do it. Annoyingly, there’s also the fact that most human bodies technically have the ability to do the splits; anyone who has working legs and does the proper stretches for long enough will eventually get there. Of course, the most frustrating of all is that my younger sister Stella can do the splits. She was a dancer for much of our childhoods and was, as a result, constantly doing them. I’m older and therefore should have all the skills, interests, and abilities she has, plus an additional four years’ worth. That’s how that works, right?

Finally, I decided to Actually Do Something About It. About three years ago, I picked up a book called Even the Stiffest People Can Do the Splits: A 4-Week Stretching Plan to Achieve Amazing Health, which I found in a free book pile in the Cut office. I brought it home and proceeded to never open it … until, yes, about three weeks ago. Throughout that 21-day period, I’ve taken ten minutes to practice the stretches recommended by Eiko, a “world-renowned” Japanese yoga teacher who goes by only one name and is the author of this book. I will admit, there were some gaps in my practice, mostly induced by, you know, the loss of my reproductive rights and the general turmoil that comes with such an event. So I might as well tell you now: I still can’t do the splits. There’s more though.

We can’t expect our bodies to always be “better” than yesterday, but we can always expect them to be different.

Read the rest of this article at: The Cut

News 25.07.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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Looking back on it now, I have to be careful about reconstructing or selecting memories in the light of all that transpired. In 1970, as part of my work for a research group within the Canadian Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, I moved to the Arctic and began learning the Inuit language, Inuktitut. My girlfriend, Christine, and I ended up living in a settlement named Sanikiluaq, located on the Belcher Islands, some 90 miles from the Hudson Bay coast of Arctic Quebec.

The Canadian government had established this settlement in the 1960s, the result of a postwar policy to incorporate all of the country, even its remotest edges, into the Canadian nation. Such policies came with a new conviction that the far north had vast economic potential. Although life in Sanikiluaq was now based on the new government settlement, this was an Inuit world, where language, culture and links to the land continued to be very strong.

During my career as an anthropologist, I have written much about my work with and for Inuit, but I have written very little about Sanikiluaq. The beauty of those islands and of the people for whom this was their home were clear to me then, and are so now as I bring them to mind. But there is a thread of darkness running through these memories, intimations embedded in the stories that the people of Sanikiluaq shared with me. There was also a shocking reality that I failed to see. These stories raise questions of life and death that have been central to Inuit experience, and are turning out to be of urgent importance for us all.

At the time I arrived, white people from the south, who the Inuit called the Qallunaat, had overwhelming influence and authority. Most were there either to transform the Inuit – and supposedly help them through the confusions of that transformation – or to take over possession and management of the land on behalf of the Canadian government in the south. The Inuit were expected to adopt a new religion, learn about the world of the south in schools run by southerners, and live more like other Canadians. When describing to me their feelings about these white people, lnuit in Sanikiluaq often also used the Inuktitut word ilira, to express awe (as in relation to ghosts) and intimidation (as in relation to powerful elders or shamans).

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

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News 25.07.22 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

Last fall, the Aspen Skiing Company had a problem. The operator of the famed Colorado slopes had a record number of job applications—but knew from experience that most workers would turn down offers or quit when they tried to find a place to live in the mountain towns that dot the valley of the Roaring Fork River. What would unfold as a worker shortage was really a housing shortage.

Ski Co didn’t even need more housing than usual. Its headcount hadn’t grown. The problem was a new type of seasonal employee populating the area: remote workers.

“The beds have been evaporating very quickly from the valley,” company HR chief Jim Laing told the local city council, according to the Aspen Times. Rentals were “not going away, they’re just going to different people,” he said. “A lot of people came and they never left.”

So with visitors filling up local houses (and paying top dollar for the privilege), Ski Co had resorted to putting employees in a last-ditch option: a hotel an hour’s drive away.

Ski Co’s predicament joined a host of related—and growing—housing conundrums. With schools out and summer vacation underway, the country’s warm-weather destinations are finding out just how much housing long-stay vacationers will eat up. Month-plus Airbnb rentals now make up the company’s fastest-growing sector. Housing conflict is also in the air in cities, where bidding wars for rental apartments have become commonplace and historic rent surges are driving inflation, displacement, and homelessness. Record numbers of people are living on the streets of cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

They should. Hotels—grand ones, modest ones, inns, motels, and single-room occupancies—once filled a crucial niche in the American housing ecosystem. And now they should again.

It’s already happening, quietly. Urban homelessness advocates have embraced single-room-occupancy hotels, or SROs, as a first response to get people off the streets. Investors are pouring money into extended-stay hotels, recognizing that they offer a vital option for traveling workers like nurses, new arrivals, and families struggling to find permanent housing. Airbnb stays of more than a month now make up one quarter of the company’s bookings. Urban co-living projects—with their short-term leases, furnished rooms, and shared amenities—re-create many of the perks residential hotels once offered (and attract much of the same scorn as well). So do college dormitories and retirement homes, for their respective residents.

But we are far from the golden age when Henry James, marveling at the architectural magnificence and social vigor of America’s great hotels, could ask “if the hotel-spirit may not just be the American spirit most seeking and most finding itself.” We need to conjure the hotel-spirit once again and revive a bygone view of the hotel itself—not simply as a commercial enterprise, but as an indispensable source of homes. It’s time America checked back in.

Read the rest of this article at: Slate

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