Sunday 06.14.2015 New York Times Digest

L.A. Homeless
1. Los Angeles Confronts a Spike in Homelessness Amid Prosperity

“The homeless census … put the official homeless population for Los Angeles County, which includes the city of Los Angeles, at 44,359.”

2. Cap and Gown

“You will always regret taking a half swing, I promise. You will never regret taking a full swing. If you’re going to strike out, you go down swinging — not by watching the pitch go by.”

3. Gawker’s Moment of Truth

“Before you can think about it too much, just put it out there, just share it out there. I think that’s the essence of who we are.”

4. Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement Harnesses the Power of Shame

“Divestment in itself is neither here nor there. On its own, it’s not going to generate any real impact.”

5. It’s Not Just About Bad Choices

“This is a really difficult conversation because you very quickly can end up in the corner of blaming the poor for poverty, and that’s not the message I’ve been telling. Rather, it’s circumstances that can land you in a situation where it’s really hard to make a good decision because you’re so stressed out. And the ones you get wrong matter much more, because there’s less slack to play with.”

6. How to Make Online Dating Work

“If you are a woman, take a high-angle selfie, with cleavage, while you’re underwater near some buried treasure. If you are a guy, take a shot of yourself spelunking in a dark cave while holding your puppy and looking away from the camera, without smiling.”

7. Mow the Lawn

“I’ve grown suspicious of the inspirational. It’s overrated. I suspect duty — that half-forgotten word — may be more related to happiness than we think. Want to be happy? Mow the lawn. Collect the dead leaves. Paint the room. Do the dishes. Get a job. Labor until fatigue is in your very bones. Persist day after day. Be stoical. Never whine. Think less about the why of what you do than getting it done. Get the column written. Start pondering the next.”

8. Brothers of The Wolfpack Step Out of Their World

“It wasn’t until half a year later that Ms. Moselle learned why the brothers were such avid film fans: They had spent most of their lives indoors, cloistered in a four-bedroom, 16th-floor apartment in a public housing complex on the Lower East Side. Since moving into the apartment with his wife, Susanne, and their growing brood in the mid-90s, their father, Oscar, fearful of drugs and crime in the city, had forbidden his family from freely venturing out.”

9. Dope Revisits the ‘Hood, With Joy and Wit

Dope, opening on June 19, is a sort of photonegative of those films, keeping their structure while upending their conventions — almost a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead approach to that era. Winks to those films are sprinkled throughout Dope, but the harshness of that era, and its reliance on gangster narratives, is largely replaced with joy and wit.”

10. Goodfellas, 25 Years On: Cast Members Reminisce

“After production, I felt guilty about it for about six months. My image of myself is artist, painter, poet, sculptor, thinker, author. What am I really? Am I a killer? It bothered me. It unsettled me. Then I came to the conclusion, I rationalized, if this isn’t in all of us, how does the military of any country inculcate a killing drive into soldiers, to go confront people [toward] which they have no natural animus and kill them? I was in the Army, I know it’s possible. They dig that out of you. That’s how I got out of it.”

11. Nintendo 64s and Vintage PlayStations as Home Décor

“The tech detritus of the 1980s and ’90s is finding a second life as a new generation of artists, designers and geek-nostalgists is repurposing the early-digital-era flotsam of its youth as art, home décor and jewelry, along with plenty of irony-laced kitsch.”

12. The Aspirational R.S.V.P.: Saying Yes When You Mean No

“Reservations-making without commitment is the apotheosis of digital glibness.”

13. The Dorito Effect, by Mark Schatzker

“Over the last 70 years, American animal and plant breeding has focused on yield, pest resistance and appearance — not flavor.”

14. See and Be Seen

“Acting as a mask that fuses with the features, glasses serve as a spotlight or a proscenium arch or a stage for the soul in the theater of everyday life. The bespectacled face asks the world to see it a certain way by telling the world something about how it is seen.”

15. Scott Walker and the Fate of the Union

“After contract negotiations with the Federal Aviation Administration failed, the members of the union voted to strike, violating an oath signed by federal employees. Reagan was unsympathetic. After 48 hours, he invoked a provision of Taft-­Hartley and not only fired more than 11,000 air traffic controllers, but also had them permanently replaced. The union’s strike fund was frozen, many of its local leaders were imprisoned and, until 1993, the former strikers were banned from the Civil Service. Since Reagan broke that union, the number of large-scale strikes begun in a given year in the United States has fallen to 11 (last year) from 145 (in 1981). In 2014, only 11 percent of all American workers and 7 percent of private-­sector workers belonged to a union.”

16. Michael Wolff Thinks We Could All Learn From Fox News

“Everybody in print media says that digital is the future. I think that if those mooks are saying, ‘Digital is the future,’ that would be a fairly strong indication that digital is probably not the future.”

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