Thursday, January 18, 2018

Afternoon Tea (1/18/18)

This is WILD: From Nazi Germany to Australia: The Incredible True Story of History’s Longest Kayak Journey

Maureen Johnson talks ‘Truly Devious,’ Agatha Christie, and more

On Riverdale: "The characters aren’t mourning the loss of a place; they’re mourning the loss of placelessness, because with placelessness comes unaccountability. When a town can be anything the characters want, they are free to engage in corruption, classism, or any number of moral evils without fear of retribution."

The New York Times food section has a whole issue about Canada and it's very interesting, and now I need to make some butter tarts IMMEDIATELY.

I've always rolled my eyes at this whole episode, but the story IS interesting: Rebuilding on the Beatles, an Ashram in India Hopes for Revival

Morning Coffee (1/18/18)

Life After ISIS: One Sister Wants To Rebuild. The Other Can't Wait To Leave

Just evil: US border patrol routinely sabotages water left for migrants, report says

Donald Trump’s alleged porn star affair and hush money scandal, explained

Citing ‘Inexcusable’ Treatment, Advisers Quit National Parks Panel

I don't know how I'd be handling this presidency without Masha Gessen: How Donald Trump Degrades Us All

"The notion of affirmative consent did not fall from space in October 2017 to confound well-meaning but bumbling men; it was built, loudly and painstakingly and in public, at great personal cost to its proponents, over decades."

In case you, too, vaguely heard something about "California splitting" and didn't realize it was an actual news story, here you go. (I mean, they talk about this all the time and it's not going to happen, but for a day I thought it was just a random Twitter joke and not people Declaring Things this week.)

Shocker: Percentage of Women Working Behind the Scenes in Film Hasn't Increased in 2 Decades

Whoa! After 950 Years, the Bayeux Tapestry Is Set to Be Displayed in Britain

Water Might Be Easier to Find on Mars Than We Thought

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Afternoon Tea (1/17/18)

When Barbie Went to War with Bratz

Jasmine Guillory's piece about becoming online friends with Amy Spalding is a DELIGHT: Words With Friends

Wow: How I Learned to Look Believable

How Do We Bury the Writing of the Dead?

A New Clue to the Mystery Disease That Once Killed Most of Mexico

Weekly Rec: Truly Devious

Okay, I'm not going to pretend I'm neutral and objective about Maureen Johnson or her work; I've worked for and with her for several years now and we've become friends. However! As I always say, I would never tell you I liked something if I didn't. And I certainly wouldn't be as enthusiastic as I'm about to be here . . .

Because Maureen's new book Truly Devious is SO GOOD. I've liked all of her books but this is my favorite, by far. And that's not that surprising, because this is a mystery novel and those are my favorites. But! This one has two different mysteries! Both among my favorite kinds! There's a 1920s rich people country house murder, AND a contemporary boarding school murder. I am approximately 77% sure that Maureen wrote this book JUST FOR ME.

I sometimes have trouble with YA mysteries because it's not always plausible for a teen to be investigating something - I'm always yelling "Call the police! Call your mom! Call someone!" - but Maureen gets around that issue nicely here, and her main character Stevie is a skilled detective and also a completely believable teen girl. I loved her. As an alumna of a Weird School In New England, I also loved the portrayal of Ellingham Academy, both in its original 1920s incarnation and its current form.

In addition to all the lovely murder, Truly Devious does great things with themes of figuring out your identity and how to present yourself, with learning who to trust and how to navigate the world when you leave home, with questions of politics and celebrity and friendship and identity. And it tackles a few delightful Northern New England topics, like the truly baffling quantity of maple products and whether moose are real. (They're not.)

Truly Devious just came out this week and it's the PERFECT twisty engrossing mystery for a winter day when you want to stay inside with blankets and a variety of hot beverages. Enjoy!

Morning Coffee (1/17/18)

Whoa: Koreas to carry single Olympic flag

Bannon Is Subpoenaed in Mueller’s Russia Investigation

Ex-C.I.A. Officer Suspected of Compromising Chinese Informants Is Arrested

140 Women Have Accused Larry Nassar Of Abuse. His Victims Think We Don’t Care.

How horrifying: The Emoji Movie is the first film publicly screened by Saudi Arabia in 35 years

Nicole Cliffe and Carvell Wallace have a new parenting advice column at Slate!

I still need to read that book about the Lucan case: Lady Lucan leaves fortune to housing charity Shelter

Brontë Society Roiled Again, This Time By Controversy Over Supermodel Lily Cole

Dippin' Dots launches cryogenics company, and we know where your mind is going, the answer is no

Interesting: ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Spinoff Brings Gender Equality To Firefighting

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Afternoon Tea (1/16/18)

Tonya Harding Would Like Her Apology Now

I want to read this: Balzac’s Novel of Female Friendship

A fun piece about working at American Girl Place: Not Safe for Work

Across Indonesia’s Capital, a Legacy of Soviet-Inspired Design

A Search for a Lost Hammer Led to the Largest Cache of Roman Treasure Ever Found in Britain

Morning Coffee (1/16/18)

This is a wonderful step: 'A great milestone': Somaliland adopts legislation outlawing rape

Jamelle Bouie, great as always: Donald Trump Is a Racist

Fighting Fake News Is Not the Solution

This is horrifying: 13 Siblings, Some Shackled to Beds, Were Held Captive by Parents, Police Say

WHAT A SHOCK: Nearly three out of four women in computer-related jobs report discrimination in the workplace

Yoga, basketball and a test kitchen: Obama’s presidential library plans

WILL SHORTZ IS MAKING A HALLMARK CROSSWORD MYSTERY MOVIE

Hilarious: Russian Embassy Criticizes BBC Drama 'McMafia'

This saga is wild: Vegas Golden Knights, Named to Avoid Trademark Dispute, Face Trademark Dispute

16th-Century Child Mummy Had Oldest Known Case of Hepatitis B

Monday, January 15, 2018

Afternoon Tea (1/15/18)

A year after ISIS left, a battered Libyan city struggles to resurrect itself

Fascinating: Scanning an Ancient Biblical Text That Humans Fear to Open

How Latin Became The Romance Languages

Why Target Is Gambling on the Tricky Task of Making Jeans for Women

The Mystery of Italy's Saltless Bread

Morning Coffee (1/15/18)

Me elsewhere: TV news for the week.

Greece Scraps Compulsory Shariah for Muslim Minority (I hadn't realized they had that - and had for almost a century! - and I'm so glad it will now be optional.)

Donald Trump and the Rule of Law

What to say instead of “Bernie’s not a Democrat”

Google's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day doodle is so pretty!

Wow: New York City police solve 1994 rape case that newspaper called a hoax

It Is Silly Season in the Land of Cryptocurrency

Quite a story: Anna Mae Hays, 97, U.S. Military’s First Female General, Dies

A Woman Now Leads the Vatican Museums. And She’s Shaking Things Up.

DRAMA: Queen's bra fitter Rigby & Peller loses royal warrant (But seriously, OF COURSE, what did they expect?)

Whoa: HBO Hosts "Hogwarts House Challenges" in Atlanta, Boston, and Denver!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Afternoon Tea (1/12/18)

This profile is good but a. lol the title and b. of COURSE the man with the famous name is getting more attention than the women who broke the story (though I don't blame Farrow himself that, obviously): Ronan Farrow, the Hollywood Prince Who Torched the Castle

The Adults Who Love Disney

How Ancient Roman Ruins Ended Up 2,000 Miles Away in a British Garden

Coming of age ceremony in Yokohama – in pictures

A Brief History of Airport Chapels

Morning Coffee (1/12/18)

Time for some happy Friday links! Don't worry, I have plenty of alarming stuff bookmarked for tomorrow already.

Oooh: This Picturesque Japanese Village Is One of the Snowiest Places on the Planet

Princess Charlotte started nursery school and it was EXTREMELY ADORABLE.

I will admit that I am excited to try the new Diet Coke flavors.

The Fug Girls have a fun write-up of the figure skating national championships, which were FULL of drama.

Good news: The Shirtless Tongan Olympic Flag-Bearer Is Now A Cross-Country Skier

Live Out Your Game of Thrones Dreams in This Game of Thrones Ice Hotel

I need to try this: Lemon Spaghetti: Bright, Fresh, Fast, and Perfect for a Winter Night

Also this: Why spaetzle is the winter noodle to rule them all

These Cake Purses Are the Cutest Thing You'll See Today

'Haunted' castle put up for sale by administrators LET'S GO.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Afternoon Tea (1/11/18)

This is an important read: How First Nations are fighting back against the foster care system

Fascinating: Greece’s old gods are ready for your sacrifice

Han Kang and the Complexity of Translation

Dorie Greenspan is always a delight: How Rice Pudding Gave Me Courage

These Letters Tell the Inside Story of Mary, Queen of Scots’ Imprisonment

Weekly Rec: Met Opera Radio

Okay, so this is sort of a niche recommendation this week. I suppose many of you aren't interested in opera. (Though maybe try it? You might like it! I don't know!) If you ARE at all interested in trying opera AND have SiriusXM radio, I highly recommend Met Opera Radio, which I'd sort of forgotten about for a while until I recently started listening a lot. They broadcast live performances from the Metropolitan Opera in New York, as well as a ton of archival performances, all the way back into the 1940s at least. This comes out to six or seven full operas a day, played from beginning to end, and in between they run an interesting assortment of shorter vocal pieces - arias, art songs, and the like. And their hosts are quite good at providing enough information at the beginning and at breaks so you have some idea what's going on in the story, without it being so much that it gets annoying or takes away from the music.

Plus, turning it on in the car in the morning makes me feel like I'm in Morse's Oxford, and I arrive at work very ready to solve some murders. (Which is, ah, not my job. Alas.)

Morning Coffee (1/11/18)

In a first, Burmese military admits that soldiers killed Rohingya found in mass grave

Awful: Measure to Ban Discredited ‘Conversion Therapy’ Fails in New Hampshire

Tuesday’s DACA negotiation stunt showed how dangerously we’ve lowered the bar for Trump

A bit of good news: Partisan gerrymandering: Republican map of North Carolina ruled illegal

Moira Donegan is very brave: I Started the Media Men List

Women Say a Rigged System Allows Wall Street to Hide Its Sexual-Harassment Problem

I mean... Remember Dogecoin? The joke currency soared to $2 billion this weekend

Whoa: Indian Jewels Swiped From Venice Museum in “Movie-Worthy” Heist

Quite a life: Horace Ashenfelter, Olympic Victor of a Cold War Showdown, Dies at 94

Huh: A French startup made a wine gadget that’s supposed to decant for hours in an instant

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Afternoon Tea (1/10/18)

Retired From the Brutal Streets of Mexico, Sex Workers Find a Haven

This cultural history of the color was FASCINATING: All the Whites You Cannot Name

What's an Ancient Roman Temple Doing in Armenia?

Betty Crocker and the Joy of Children's Cookbooks

The First Scientist to Study Dinosaur Footprints Thought Giant Birds Made Them

Stop the Oprah madness!

Oprah's Golden Globes speech was GREAT. I 100% agree with that. It was timely and timeless and inspirational and well-delivered. I hope many children and young people - especially young black girls but everyone else too - saw it and saw themselves in it and were inspired to go after their dreams and to do good in the world. I hope she continues to speak out and inspire people for a long time. She's very good at it.

But I absolutely do not think we should support her theoretical bid for the presidency, and I've been horrified this week to see so many people I thought generally reasonable and rational get swept up in this nonsense.

For one thing, I agree with everything the always-great Dahlia Lithwick says here about how people calling for Oprah's candidacy are missing Oprah's own point, her call to action for everyone. She, like Obama always did and obviously unlike the current president, is talking about the need for citizen action and the limits of top-down power.
"It is one of the great sins of this celebrity age that we continue to misread this message as a call to turn anyone who tries to deliver it into our savior. When someone tells you 'I alone can fix it,' you should run screaming for the emergency exits. When someone tells you to get off your ass and fix it yourself, you should think first about running for office yourself."
(Or take other concrete action! Obviously running for office isn't for everyone. But I digress.)

But even more important, to me, is the fact that WE HAVE ZERO EVIDENCE THAT OPRAH WOULD BE A GOOD PRESIDENT. Making inspiration speeches is - or SHOULD be - a very small part of the job. She hasn't articulated any policy positions, but even if she came up with some great ones, she doesn't have the experience to enact them or to effectively run an administration. Would she be better at it than Trump? Sure! Most people would be! That CANNOT be our standard, that lowest of bars. Even aside from the evil Trump is deliberately doing, we're seeing the damage an unqualified president does as far as positions left open and things going undone, and especially after this presidency, we will need someone very efficient and experienced to clean things up and right the ship as much as possible. Another political neophyte, however well-intentioned, would likely only compound the problem.

I refuse to accept that one year into Trump's presidency, we have decided to just ping-pong between unqualified celebrity cult figures and hope for one who will magically save us or at least do the least amount of damage. We deserve better than that. The country deserves better than that. We deserve serious politicians of deep policy and procedure knowledge and experience to get in there and do the work. And so that means that WE need to get in there and do the work of getting them elected, rather than putting our faith in a fairy godmother.

Morning Coffee (1/10/18)

Oh good: Trump Must Keep DACA Protections for Now, Judge Says

We got a glimpse of Trump negotiating today. It … didn’t go well.

The Increasing Unfitness of Donald Trump

Gross: Wahlberg got $1.5M for 'All the Money' reshoot, Williams paid less than $1,000

Nicole Cliffe is doing a great thing here: Harper’s Magazine May Try To Dox A Whistleblower–And Media Twitter Is Pissed

This is VERY EXCITING NEWS: John Dickerson Replacing Charlie Rose on 'CBS This Morning'

My gosh, look at the cast for the new Les Mis miniseries.

Ooh: Looted Antiques Seized From Billionaire’s Home, Prosecutors Say

Obviously my first thought was "What will Poirot do?!?!" Belgium Ends Telegram Service After 171 Years

Stone age hunter-gatherers' 'paradise' discovered next to major Israeli road

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Afternoon Tea (1/9/18)

Are Gummy Bear Flavors Just Fooling Our Brains?

Le gold rush: why a tiny French village is a magnet for treasure hunters

Walter Minton on the House “Lolita” Built

The Forgotten Origins of Politics in Sports

The Fight Over Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment Was a Fight for the Future of the United States

Morning Coffee (1/9/18)

This is awful: U.S. Ends El Salvador's Protected Status, Affecting 200,000 Residents

AS IS THIS: It’s been 100 days since CHIP funding expired

Belgian government at risk of collapse over Sudan migrants scandal

British cabinet shake-up notable for who stays, not who goes

A man scooped something from the ground in Stockholm. It exploded in his hand.

Can these two North Korean ice skaters help bring about a diplomatic thaw?

The Neo-Nazis of the Daily Stormer Wander the Digital Wilderness

!!! Man Booker prize to accept books published in Ireland for the first time

Whoa: A Tenn. Man Recently Discovered The Largest Prime Number Known To Humankind

I... what. Puppy Bowl Canines Get Tinder Profiles

Monday, January 8, 2018

Afternoon Tea (1/8/18)

The Redemption Of Figure Skater Mirai Nagasu (I am SO THRILLED for her.)

This is insane: How Fans Invented #Hannie, the Ultimate Social Media Supercouple

Wow, I'd never heard of this book: How a Fictional Racist Plot Made the Headlines and Revealed an American Truth

The people of the whale

A Field Guide to the Musical Leitmotifs of “Star Wars”

Morning Coffee (1/8/18)

Me elsewhere: TV news for the week.

Hmmm: Initial talks underway about Trump interview in Mueller Russia probe

How U.S. Intelligence Agencies Underestimated North Korea

Masha Gessen on the Michael Wolff book is of course VERY good: “Fire and Fury” Is a Book All Too Worthy of the President

China's Ban On Its Domestic Ivory Trade Takes Effect

Oprah's speech at the Golden Globes last night is worth a watch.

As I said yesterday, I don't like the selection system they use for figure skating, but this is still worth celebrating: Adam Rippon becomes first openly gay U.S. athlete to qualify for Winter Olympics

The U.S. Hockey Team’s Mystery Men

BBC's China editor resigns in protest over gender pay gap

Ooh: Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibit sets U.S. dates

This show is NUTTY and of course Todd writes about it well: 9-1-1 takes the case-of-the-week show and cranks it up to 500

Friday, January 5, 2018

Afternoon Tea (1/5/18)

Vanity Fair's profile of Emily Blunt is a delight.

Going to the Source for a Sacred Italian Cheese

Why Do We Need to Sleep?

The 1908 Murder That Brought Sexual Assault, Work, and Power to the Headlines

Thomas Edison's Forgotten Sci-Fi Novel

Weekly Rec: The Assassination

The BBC generally makes most of my favorite podcasts (I guess because what I actually like is radio documentaries), and they've just started a new one that's really great - The Assassination, about the assassination of Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto, which took place ten years ago. It borrows a bit from the format popularized by Serial, with a whole series devoted to an in-depth look at a single crime, except in this case the murder in question is a world-shaking political assassination. It's hosted by Owen Bennett Jones, who knew and covered Bhutto for years and has clearly put a lot of time and effort into investigating her death, and he uses clips from archival recordings of his own BBC news reports as well as interviews that took place over decades as well as those done just for this project. There's a ton of useful background and context about Pakistani politics and history in general as well as this fascinating figure and her death. I followed the story of the assassination at the time and yet even in the first few episodes of this podcast I've learned a ton. If you're interested in recent history and how it intersects with current world affairs, give it a try!

Morning Coffee (1/5/18)

Time for some happy Friday links before I have to go dig my car out from mountains of snow!

I MISS HIM: Barack Obama names his favorite books and music of 2017

These are gorgeous: Royal Mail releases Game of Thrones stamp set

It is VERY COLD HERE and so I want to buy all of these immediately: Cozy Up In Winter's Warmest Puffers

This documentary should be interesting: Queen Elizabeth II Gives Rare Insight Into Her 1953 Coronation

Heh: Dunkirk and Darkest Hour get intense WWII movie mashup

Whoa: Stop Everything, Because Taco Bell Is Launching $1 Nacho Fries

Let’s Play Fantasy Stylist For Meghan Markle’s Wedding Dress

33 Books to Get Excited About in 2018

Cosmo has fun pieces on the three top U.S. ice dancing teams, and reading these makes me YET AGAIN want a series of figure skating YA and/or romance novels about all these combinations of dynamics:

15 Things to Know About #ShibSibs Maia and Alex Shibutani, Team USA's Skater Sibling Superstars

12 Things to Know About Zach Donohue and Madison Hubbell, Team USA's Ice Dancing Exes

11 Things to Know About Madison Chock and Evan Bates, Team USA's Ice Dancing (and IRL Dating) Duo

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Afternoon Tea (1/4/18)

Nicole Chung interviewed Kristi Yamaguchi and it's amazing: Kristi Yamaguchi, Unlaced

11,000-year-old child’s skeleton tells tale of Native American origins

Sue Grafton Was a Master at Subverting the Detective Novel

Japan's Endless Search for Modernity

Those ‘Alien Megastructures’ Are Probably Just Dust

Morning Coffee (1/4/18)

This is starting here RIGHT NOW: The bomb cyclone isn't a winter hurricane — just a bad storm with good branding

SIGH: New Hampshire Republicans Are Close to Passing Their Trump-Inspired Poll Tax

Paul Manafort Sues Mueller and Asks a Judge to Narrow the Russia Investigation

Iran in Turmoil - To Trump's Delight

Take the Latest Explosive Trump/Bannon Stories in the Context of Their Source, a Notoriously Unreliable Narrator

The scary reality behind Trump’s long Tuesday of weird tweets

A good op-ed from the firm behind the Steele dossier: The Republicans’ Fake Investigations

This is SO STUPID: Unfiltered Fervor: The Rush to Get Off the Water Grid

Nathan Chen Has Taken the Quad to a New Level. Is It Good for Figure Skating?

Well then: Margaret Thatcher Once Refused to Fly on a Plane With a Panda

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Afternoon Tea (1/3/18)

What All the Money in the World Gets Right (and Wrong) About the Getty Kidnapping

This is PERFECT, on today's Lawrence Seldens: Men Like Him

A very interesting read: My husband’s Orthodox Jewish family pressured us to call off our wedding

Searching for the (Star) Light at the Vatican Observatory

26 stunning churches, mosques, and temples around the world

Movie-Watching Goals for 2018!

As I wrote in December, I tend to make New Year's goals, not resolutions. Yesterday I wrote about my book goals right here in my tinyletter, so I figured I'd write a quick post about my movie-watching goals to go along with it!

1. Finally start keeping a list of what I see. I've been meaning to do this for years, and I have no problem keeping a list of books, so I don't know what my problem is.

2. See at least 25 movies with MoviePass. I only need about 12 to make it worth the money, so at 25 it will be DEFINITELY worth the money.

3. See at least 25 older movies via streaming/rental/whatever. I always mean to catch up on more old movies and THIS YEAR I SHALL.

4. Finally watch the Godfather movies because, again, I don't know what my problem is.

Do you have any movie goals for the year?

Morning Coffee (1/3/18)

North Korea Reopens Border Hotline With South

Orrin Hatch, Utah Senator, to Retire, Opening Path for Mitt Romney

What “chain migration” really means — and why Donald Trump hates it so much

It’s Illegal for Hospitals to Not Provide Translation Services. So Why Is Proper Translation Still Scarce?

UN Begins Negotiating First Conservation Treaty for the High Seas

She Broke Japan’s Silence on Rape

Logan Paul controversy highlights the carelessness of online celebrity in the YouTube era

I'm so happy it's back tonight: Somewhat unexpectedly, The X-Files is deeply relevant again in 2018

Ooh: FCC approves first wireless 'power-at-a-distance' charging system

I don't really follow the NFL except for THIS kind of drama: Tom Brady’s Wellness Guru Is Causing NFL Drama

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Afternoon Tea (1/2/18)

In an Era of ‘Forever Wars,’ the Middle East Bureau Manager Who Made Our Coverage Possible

How ISIS Changed the Yezidi Religion

This sounds fascinating: The Killer-Nanny Novel That Conquered France

The Amazing Earth Science Behind The Last Jedi's New Mineral World

How 21st-Century Technology Is Shedding Light on a 2nd-Century Egyptian Painting

Morning Coffee (1/2/18)

A good way to start the year: Powerful Hollywood Women Unveil Anti-Harassment Action Plan

Democrats in High-Tax States Plot to Blunt Impact of New Tax Law

Why the 2018 Midterms Are So Vulnerable to Hackers

How Catalan Nationalists Lost Their Way

“ISIS 3.0”: How Silicon Valley Gave Rise to the Next Generation of Terror

Oops: Russia lost a $45m satellite because of a launchpad mix-up

'Steve Jobs' is an Italian company — and Apple can't do anything about it

Old master paintings given to National Gallery by Dutch aristocrat

Oh gosh, I remember this ad: Nancy Kerrigan’s 1993 Campbell’s Soup Commercial By ‘I, Tonya’ Director Craig Gillespie

Archaeologists Discover 500 Artifacts from 18th-Century British Coffeehouse