Tag Archives: new york times

Monday’s Watch, Listen, Read

An ongoing series where I share what I’m watching, listening to, and reading. Here are this Monday’s picks:

Watch

I’ve wanted to see this movie since the trailer came out, but I just got around to it now. Yes, it’s a teen comedy. However, it’s smart, funny and even appealing to adults. I don’t think I’ve seen anything this good in the teen comedy genre since Ten Things I Hate About You or Clueless. It’s neck-in-neck with Mean Girls, though the main character in “Easy A” (Olive) is way more appeal because she’s not as apologetic for who she is — a testament to both the writing and the actress who portrays Olive, Emma Stone. This movie is also filled with fun cameo performances from Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci, Fred Armisen, Lisa Kudrow, and Thomas Haden Church,   The writing is so smart and so, so tight, which is probably why it’s such a diamond among all the cubic zirconia out there. We have writer Bert Royal to thank for that. He also has the best imdb page trivia ever:

Won the Clay County Spelling Bee in 6th Grade only to lose a shot at Nationals by misspelling a ridiculously easy word that he will never misspell again as long as he lives – ‘Buccaneer.’

Listen

I’m slowly weaning myself off of the Christmas music, so until that process is complete, I’m giving you an old favorite. I’ve been obsessed with this song since Girl’s Gone Child posted it on her blog. I listen to it while walking in the rain, the snow, during the fall … pretty much anytime and at least once a week. It reminds me of a lullaby. Love.

Read

Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubb’s Food52 is the most interactive food website on the internet. I’ve followed Food52 since their site launch and it has overtaken Epicurious as my go-to food site on the web. The site is a font of culinary information. The website’s focal point is to cultivate an “online community cookbook,”  where home cooks submit their best recipe, depending on the theme for the week. The recipes are edited down to a few main contenders and then the site’s audience vote on their favorite. After 52 weeks, Amanda and Merrill had enough recipes for their first cookbook (which will be published, in hard copy form, by HarperCollins). Food52 also became a place for lively, culinary-related conversation and source to get all of your food-related questions answered in real-time (via their Food Pickle section). If you’re a home cook or just love reading about food and finding new recipes, the Food52 website is definitely a must-read.

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Monday’s Watch, Listen, Read

Watch/Listen

Let’s talk for a moment about Seth Rudetsky. Seth is like that musical theater guy you knew in high school. and college. and post-college. But there’s more to Seth than just his (INSANE amount of) musical theater knowledge. There’s his (INSANE amount of) music knowledge, too. If there’s one thing I miss about all the vocal coaching and music classes I was entrenched in growing up, it’s the people like Seth who made me excited to understand technique and sing correctly. Because, when you get it for the first time — when your mind and body finally connects and creates that beautiful sound the way it was meant to be heard — it’s an exciting moment. Seth’s fancy deconstruction videos allow me to relive everything I learned and look at it from a fresh (and pressure-free) perspective. Even though I don’t sing apart from Karaoke nights anymore, watching his videos remind me of those connections. The elation, the enthusiasm, and the sheer joy. Simply A-MAH-zing.

I chose this particular video for Monday’s Watch/Listen pick because it features one of my favorite performers/people, Christine Ebersole, and it’s a deconstruction of one of my favorite musicals (and documentary!), Grey Gardens.

P.S. Christine has a new CD out, Christine Ebersole sings Noel Coward. It’s a gorgeous pairing of two extraordinarily talented human beings.

 

Read

Maira Kalman’s work is my hot cocoa. It’s sweet, strong, rich, reminds me of childhood, warms my body & soul, and keeps my imagination stimulated, like the perfect combination of caffeine and sugar.

Maira’s latest work, And the Pursuit of Happiness, is based on her blog for the New York Times, where she spent a year traveling the United States chronicling (through paintings, sketches, photography, writing, and some embroidery) what democracy means to people in government, in history, and with ordinary citizens, in their in daily lives. It’s a beautiful and inspiring look  at humanity and how we individuals choose to pursue our own happiness in the land of liberty.

20-Nothings

According to the recent article in the NY Time (What Is It About 20-Somethings?), which will appear in the print edition of the Sunday Magazine, I’m an “Emerging Adult.” This piece seems to define an actual adult as someone who is able to support themselves financially, lives with their spouse and has children. Assets which, the author claims, many 20-somethings today have yet to acquire. That might be true, but I also know several 30, 40, and even 50-somethings who don’t hit all of those definitions of adulthood — either by choice, a side effect of the recession, or because the government won’t recognize their spouse, legally.

In a recession, everyone is in a state of flux, but it’s recognized as a case of arrested development in 20-somethings because we have the least to lose and won’t be able to gain much until the recession is over. When you’re close to the bottom rung to begin with, your only choice is most people’s last resort … moving back in with your parents or receiving some financial assistance from them. I do agree with the author’s findings when it comes to life partners and having kids, people are waiting longer. Half of all 20-somethings come from single parent or second marriage homes, thus, waiting a little longer to be certain you’ve right partner is worth it. Having kids later also allows both relationship and career to have a solid foundation.

The issue I took with the article was the word, “emerging.” Anyone who can vote, is old enough to buy a weapon, operate a car, pay taxes or serve in the military is an adult. We’re contributing to society, to the government, to the protection of this country and now we’re being belittled with this new adjective.

To add further insult, many of the over 600 comments on the piece say it’s the fault of our parents and their “helicopter” parenting — over-parenting their off-spring. Some of the comments also mentioned the state of the economy, but there’s another factor no one’s really commenting on, it’s the state of the salary and job positions of 20-somethings. Even before the economy took a downturn, I didn’t know too many 20-somethings who were paid a salary commensurate with their experience. Similarly, I didn’t know that many people who had receive a promotion in their position, despite having worked at it for at least 2-4 years. Some of them even spent a year or two after college working for free, as interns.

I ran some numbers of my own and discovered the following, which I posted in the comments of the NY Times article:

My mother made $55,000 (plus a good health insurance policy) in 1981, when she was 28 years old. This was after graduating from a 2-year Associate’s degree program at an upstate New York community college. She also paid around $500/month for her apartment in the Bronx.

In 2009, At age 28, I was making $2k less than her 1981 salary, plus I had to pay for my own health insurance policy, as my job didn’t have any sort of coverage or group plan. I graduated with a B.S. degree from a 4-year, private liberal arts college in upstate New York. I pay over 2k for my apartment in Manhattan.

What’s wrong with this picture (besides my being crazy for paying that rent)? The only thing that inflated in 28 years was the housing cost, not the salary. Why is that? Are 20-somethings not considered good workers? Are we not taken seriously in the workplace? Is it because we’re seen as emerging? I think the answer to all of these questions is, YES. Because our parents (and grandparents) are still running the companies and corporations we’re employed by; because people are living longer and not retiring; because they need the money, too. Perhaps we all want too much in/out of our lives.

The questions and example laid out above are what we really should be talkingabout in this country. Forget about CT scans of the 20-year-old brain. I know what makes us tick: money, passion, love, and the ability to provide for ourselves. What we’re really lacking is the opportunity to go from a so-called state of emerging to full-out adults. For the government to allow us to marry whomever we love, for us to pursue our passions, to not jump into relationships too quickly, to not be badgered for choosing not to have children right away, especially if we can’t afford it; and to be taken seriously. Our idea of work is different from the traditional jobs our parents are used to because of the economy and emerging technologies. These innovations and set backs have forces us to make a career out of anything and everything we can — it’s just a matter of choosing what works best for the individual. The other factor we have to keep in mind is, work and life are one and the same in today’s world, so we have to love what we do because we’re always doing it.

What is it about 20-somethings? A lot, really. The world is changing and our lives are unfolding in a different order, perhaps a little slower than our predecessors, but we are no less important and no less adult because of it.