It was late afternoon on a glorious day in October. My friend Natasha and I were picking our way down a country lane, toward the train station in a village about an hour from Moscow’s Kievsky train station. Our close friends, a lesbian couple, owned a dacha in the village, a cozy cottage where a group of us gathered often to escape the city.
From the start, the whole trip seemed haphazard and conceptually incoherent. What was the rationale, our friends asked, for spending a week in the Czech Republic followed by 10 days in Greece and four in Paris?
The simple, reasonable answer: Horse-trading. It was our 20th anniversary and my husband, Dan, and I had learned that collaborative skill of long-term couples through trial and therapy. Dan would pick a place and I would pick a place, and we would start and end in Paris, the home of close friends and a hub for cheap non-stop flights.
It may be time to change our minds about the impossibility of changing people’s minds. Again.
Posted on June 20, 2016 - 7:29am
The weather has typically been the go-to form of small talk—what you bring up when you want to avoid the weighty subject of say, politics. But no more!
Politicos have long known that the weather, and rain in particular, affects voter turnout. But a new study takes it even further, suggesting that the weather on election day actually influences what the winners do after they take office.
It may sound bizarre, but here’s the logic:
Posted on June 9, 2016 - 1:19pm
So a lawyer with a disability and a Catholic monk walk into a bar…
What would be considered a bar joke for some is actually a description of a night with a friend for me.
In an era where the only difference between American politics and a WWE match is the amount of spandex involved, the time is right for me to tell the story of why I have regular phone conversations with a Catholic deacon.
Posted on May 31, 2016 - 10:32pm
People aren’t products. Or are they? We’re in the age of the “personal brand,” after all—where your online persona effects your reputation, the bonds you form with others, your career. And now, your dating life.
Posted on May 31, 2016 - 10:18pm
Thirty years ago, the most-prized wines in California—including Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet, Duckhorn Three Palms Merlot, Heitz Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet—sold for under $30. Opus One got attention with its shocking price of $50. Inflation since then has roughly doubled the value of money. But the cheapest of those famous wines now costs about four times as much. Heitz Martha’s Vineyard is now $200; Opus One is $225.
Posted on May 27, 2016 - 12:38pm
Much ado has been made of the Latino demographic in this election year. Democrats see reports of rising voter registration and immigrant naturalization rates among Latinos in Texas, California and elsewhere as good news, given that Latino voters tend to skew Democratic.
Posted on May 13, 2016 - 3:50pm
When he embarked on his freshman year at UC Berkeley in 2014, Esteban Vasquez was set to become the first in his family to graduate from college. A couple of months in, he was ready to drop out.
Posted on May 11, 2016 - 1:52pm
UC Berkeley sophomore Anthony Carrasco loves his Monday afternoon class lecture on the History of Punishment, but sometimes the torture feels a little too literal.
“Instead of thinking about the Panopticon, I start thinking about heating up the stove and frying eggs. I start to imagine all the things I could put on the eggs: cheese, hot sauce, salt, pepper,” he says. “It’s very difficult to process everything that’s going on and deal with just being really hungry.”
Posted on May 10, 2016 - 12:02pm
Bernie Peyton is profoundly dyslexic, and that made his early years growing up in New York City difficult. School was hellish: He struggled to read, he was bullied, and it was hard to make friends. Then when he was 9, his stepfather gave him a book that changed his life.
Peyton still has the book—a beautifully illustrated instruction manual on origami by Isao Honda that contains examples of various works pasted to the pages. He recently opened the volume in his Berkeley home, and thumbed through it reverently.
Posted on May 3, 2016 - 12:35pm
Tales of internship compensation are typically depressing, in that there is, all too often, no compensation. But in the spirit of misery loving herself some company, recent findings by a UC Berkeley student revealed how much students are being offered for summer internships at top U.S. tech companies—finally giving people with “real jobs” a turn to feel sad and underappreciated.
Posted on April 28, 2016 - 5:07pm
It is April 12, one day before the Golden State Warriors will barge into NBA history with their 73rd victory of the season, and practice is winding down at the team’s downtown Oakland headquarters.
Stephen Curry lofts majestic three-point shots at one basket, as usual. Klay Thompson sharpens his silky-smooth release nearby. And on an adjacent court, backup point guard Shaun Livingston unleashes a stream of friendly trash talk in a spirited one-on-one game against…who, exactly?
Posted on April 27, 2016 - 1:11pm