Posts Tagged ‘longevity’
August 9, 2016 | by Dan Piepenbring
- Premise one: all your free time can be monetized. Premise two: in the future or maybe even tomorrow, really ordinary sounds from our day-to-day lives will be interesting to someone. Conclusion: you should buy yourself a microphone rig and become a “sound hunter,” one of those “who roam city streets and remote countrysides to capture the dramatic and unusual as well as the plain but underappreciated noises that surround us. Some of them release albums and even play concerts.” The most prominent of these is Chris Watson, whose latest field recording included “the noise of the insect known as the water boatman in the moor’s pond, said to be the loudest animal relative to its body size. ‘It’s the sound of them rubbing their penises beneath their abdomens to sing to attract females,’ Mr. Watson said with a boyish smile.”
- I’ve always dismissed all this “read to live” talk as sentimental indie-bookseller hyperbole. I stand corrected. It turns out reading actually does help you live longer. (By two whole years! Think of all the TV you could watch with that time.) A new study “looked at the reading patterns of 3,635 people who were fifty or older. On average, book readers were found to live for almost two years longer than non-readers … Up to 12 years on, those who read for more than 3.5 hours a week were 23 percent less likely to die, while those who read for up to 3.5 hours a week were 17 percent less likely to die.”
- Today in haircuts: academic research has at last confirmed what many have suspected for years—rich white dudes have no truck with the barbershop. Instead they favor upmarket salons, where someone is around to file your nails and there’s none of that pesky male companionship. As Kristen (ahem) Barber writes, “The young licensed barbers working in these salons also seemed disenchanted with the old school barbershop. They saw these newer men’s salons as a ‘resurgence’ of ‘a men-only place’ that provides more ‘care’ to clients than the ‘dirty little barbershop.’ And those barbershops that are sticking around, one barber told me, are ‘trying to be a little more upscale’ by repainting and adding flat screen TVs … Barbershops, they said, are for old men with little hair to worry about or young boys who don’t have anyone to impress.”
- Frederick Olmsted literally changed the landscape of American parks—but he did so, as Nathaniel Rich notices, with a strange sleight of hand. “An unmistakable irony creeps vinelike through Olmsted’s landscape theory: It takes a lot of artifice to create convincing ‘natural’ scenery. Everything in Central Park is man-made; the same is true of most of Olmsted’s designs. They are not imitations of nature so much as idealizations, like the landscape paintings of the Hudson River School. Each Olmsted creation was the product of painstaking sleight of hand, requiring enormous amounts of labor and expense. In his notes on Central Park, Olmsted called for thinning forests, creating artificially winding and uneven paths, and clearing away ‘indifferent plants,’ ugly rocks, and inconvenient hillocks and depressions—all in order to ‘induce the formation … of natural landscape scenery.’ He complained to his superintendents when his parks appeared ‘too gardenlike’ and constantly demanded that they ‘be made more natural.’ ”
- Almost fifty years ago, William Styron published The Confessions of Nat Turner—a Southern white man fictionalizing the nation’s bloodiest slave revolt. His novel was well-received … at first. Sam Tanenhaus writes, “In August 1967, the Times would describe Styron, without irony, as an ‘expert in the Negro condition.’ Six months later many were regarding him as a frothing racist, accused—as Styron bitterly recalled—of having written ‘a malicious work, deliberately falsifying history.’ He had, as he later put it, ‘unwittingly created one of the first politically incorrect texts of our time.’ Today the furor over The Confessions of Nat Turner is more relevant than ever. The questions Styron struggled with continue to provoke us. Who ‘owns’ American history? Who gets to tell which stories—and why? Is artistic license a hallowed precept or a stale presumption? Bill Styron learned the answers in the most direct and painful way.”
September 25, 2015 | by Sadie Stein
Dorothy Parker is said to have been the author of one of the best quotes in history: “Eternity is a ham and two people.” Like many such quips, it’s hard to find the original source—although in this case, we can safely assume that life was certainly the direct inspiration.
It’s not just that hams are big—they were even more massive in Parker’s day than they are now—or that a little of the salty meat goes a long way. It’s also the fact that a ham goes immediately from a thing of festive beauty (cue pineapple rings, scored surfaces studded with cloves, glistening patina) to a professional leftover. It goes very gentle into that good night. And, because it is cured, and because it can be used in so many ways, and because you can always, always scrape more meat off that bone—well, you’re really never justified in throwing it away. It’s with you for eternity. Read More »
March 18, 2014 | by Dan Piepenbring
- The eccentric poet Bill Knott once faked his own death, but last week he really died. (Unless this is one hell of an elaborate ruse.) He wrote of himself: “my poetic career is nugatory … no editor will countenance my work; i’ve been forced to self-publish my poetry in vanity volumes; i am persona non grata and universally despised or ridiculed by everyone in the poetry world.”
- The truculent, condescending subtext of the word actually.
- Checking in with Alejandro Jodorowsky, everyone’s favorite cult filmmaker: “‘Maybe I am a prophet,’ he said in 1973. ‘I really hope one day there will come Confucius, Muhammad, Buddha and Christ to see me. And we will sit at a table, taking tea and eating some brownies.’”
- One way to get a glimpse at the inside of your body: swallow a frame of 35 millimeter film, “folding each piece in a brightly colored capsule that allow[s] for the acids and bodily fluids to process the film with minimal risk of colon damage.”
- Punishments of the future: “What happens to life sentences if the human lifespan is radically expanded?”