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Cecily Cecily

Writing Worth Reading

Freezing My Eggs Would Solve Everything

Memoir. “I told my therapist that I was considering freezing my eggs, and she said she thought it was a good idea if it would alleviate some of the anxiety I felt about dating. I said it would cause me a different kind of anxiety because it was so expensive in New York City. I would be looking at close to $15,000 to buy myself a few years of reduced anxiety, plus $2,000 or so each year to keep them frozen” (2,620 words)

Angelina Jolie’s Perfect Game

Jolie “plays the celebrity game better than anyone else in the business”. Her image is “built on the infrastructure of the status quo — a straight, white, doting mother engaged in a long-term monogamous relationship”. Life with Brad Pitt is “just extraordinary enough to truly entice but never offend”. “Lots of celebrities had kids; others had adopted kids; some even had twins. But none had all of the above” (6,530 words)

The Internet Is Protected By Two Guys Named Steve

The upside of Heartbleed: It shone a spotlight on the OpenSSL team, which consisted of one developer in England, a business manager in America, and occasional contributors who were, in effect, maintaining a key piece of internet infrastructure in their spare time. Now their importance has been recognised, and they are getting some help — not a lot, but enough to hire a second full-time developer (4,480 words)

Looking For Tom Lehrer

He was a maths prodigy; entered Harvard at 15 in 1943; “stood out for his wit and brilliance”; kept a stand-up piano in his room; joined the National Security Agency; invented vodka Jell-O shots; and sold 370,000 LPs of his privately-recorded songs by mail-order in the 1950s. But stardom bored him. In the 1960s he stopped performing. Went to teach at UC Santa Cruz. “His entire body of work topped out at 37 songs” (5,500 words)

The Most Dangerous Sentence In US History

A not-so-short history of the Authorization For The Use of Military Force (“AUMF”), which provides the legal foundation for America’s “war on terror”. Drafted and passed by Congress in the aftermath of 9/11, it authorises Presidents to use “all necessary and appropriate force” to hunt down the 9/11 terrorists and to “prevent any future acts of international terrorism”. In effect: Anything, anywhere (10,800 words)

The Notorious MSG’s Unlikely Formula For Success

In praise of monosodium glutamate. It makes food taste great. So why is it demonised? Partly because of the “Chinese restaurant syndrome” scare 40 years ago; partly because MSG is heavily used in cheap industrial foods. But the “syndrome” is probably bogus; and the umami taste of MSG is the height of food fashion. Top chefs are using it again — even if “Everyone’s so afraid of being outed that nobody wants to talk about it.” (5,800 words)

Wildcatting: A Stripper’s Guide To The American Boomtown

On the culture and economics of striptease clubs, in particular a club called “Whispers” in the oil-boom-town of Williston, North Dakota. “I knew I’d found the right place, even if the stage was just a corner of linoleum-tiled floor. You could tell that this was the kind of club where dancers might occasionally wear flip-flops or cowboy boots on stage and where an ankle monitor or extra pounds wouldn’t keep a friendly dancer off the schedule” (7,600 words)

Your Free Trial Of The Internet Has Expired

Useful wrap. Nothing new, but everything brought into focus. The era of free online content and services is coming to an end. The turning point was the successful launch of iTunes in 2003, which showed how many people were willing to pay for digital content if the price was right, the payment system was secure, and the transaction was low in friction. Now paywalls are rising everywhere: one-third of US newspapers are using or building them (1,500 words)

David Lee Roth Will Not Go Quietly

Long and loving profile. If you are of a certain age and disposition, prepare for a treat. “Roth is the ur-rock star, the embodiment of everything splendorous and stupid about that term, as responsible as anyone for establishing, defining, and cementing the debauched libertine, hotel room-trashing, groupie-defiling caricature.” He is also an emergency medical technician and a student of Japanese. “I’m the drunk who won the lottery” (6,400 words)

Growing Up In The World’s Deadliest City

“Her second day wasn’t an improvement: Elsa got a call at home telling her the state police were there to arrest a student named Daniel, who had allegedly participated in the murder of a boy—they had cut off his ear and burned him alive”. The life of a schoolteacher in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where “every kid knows another kid who’s killed someone”

Sin City Savior’s Quest To Cure The Common Hangover

On the front line with America’s pre-eminent — perhaps its only — hangover doctor, Dr Jason Burke. In Las Vegas, on New Year’s Day. He has a surgery, he does house calls, but most of the time he operates from a 45-foot bus. His $199 Rapture package includes Zofran, Toradol, hydration fluids, vitamins, antioxidents—and it works

A Mormon Reporter On The Romney Bus

Has Mitt Romney “normalised” Mormonism, made it possible for there to be a future Mormon president? Who better to ask than Coppins, a Mormon himself, who observed the Romney campaign at close quarters and saw how the issue played

The NFL Is About To Destroy Your Life

Ex-Denver Broncos star warns this year’s top NLF draft picks that their lives are about to change. Nothing to do with football. It’s money and fame that complicate things. “If you give your ear to fools, they’ll chew it off”

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