What I’ll Be Doing While My Roommate Runs a Marathon

What I’ll Be Doing While My Roommate Runs a Marathon


Olivia de Recat humorously illustrates her imagined itinerary for the day while her roommate runs the Los Angeles Marathon.


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March 18, 2018 at 11:11AM

The Future Did Not Have to Be Luxury Condos: Revisiting Gordon Matta-Clark

The Future Did Not Have to Be Luxury Condos: Revisiting Gordon Matta-Clark


In the film “Day’s End,” the artist Gordon Matta-Clark rides a
whale-size piece of corrugated metal as it is hoisted away from the
wall from which he just cut it. He’s a young man, age thirty-two. The
feat was filmed in the summer of 1975, in Chelsea’s abandoned Pier 52
building, where Matta-Clark attempted to make an “indoor park.” His
silhouette, against the sunlight streaming in from his new view of the
Hudson River, is heroic.

The exodus of middle-class whites and the manufacturing industry had
left New York City sliding toward bankruptcy, and it was at this crucial
point of economic transition that Matta-Clark turned his training in
architecture toward art. He used the tools of construction, demolition,
and scale to grip the edges of the city’s rupture and pull it into
refined shapes, making urban decay (and possibility) more conspicuous.
Of his choice of locations, he said, “The determining factor is the
degree to which my intervention can transform the structure into an act
of communication.”

Move ahead forty years and the city’s debris is from new development,
which has seized vacant space throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. But the
underlying inequalities that Matta-Clark addressed in his work remain.
It’s fitting that “Day’s End” is currently screening in “Gordon
Matta-Clark: Anarchitect,” an exhibition at the Bronx Museum of the
Arts. The Bronx has become the contemporary battleground where the ideas
that motivated Matta-Clark—gentrification, displacement, who decides a
city’s future—are being disputed.

Matta-Clark was the son of two artists and grew up in downtown
Manhattan, in the fifties and sixties. The activist Jane Jacobs was
defending the neighborhood against Robert Moses’s vision of urban
renewal, which had already cleaved the Bronx in two in order to build
the Cross Bronx Expressway, devastating and displacing communities. Just
before Matta-Clark left for college, the nineteenth-century cast-iron
loft buildings of SoHo were slated for demolition for Moses’s next
project, the Lower Manhattan Expressway. But the urban planner Chester
Rapkin’s study of the area revealed that the lofts were not obsolete but
filled with factories that employed the city’s low-income minorities,
and he, along with Jacobs and other activists, convinced the city that
moral imperative and economic interest should leave the lofts intact.

In the years between Moses’s retreat and Matta-Clark’s return, in 1969,
SoHo’s buildings were increasingly vacated, and unexpected tenants moved
in: artists. The historian Aaron Shkuda, in his book, “The Lofts of
Soho: Gentrification, Art and Industry in New York, 1950-1980
,” writes,
“SoHo artist groups posited a new postindustrial future for New York
City that did not rely on slum clearance or urban renewal,” and, in the
process, “established a new role for artists in the contemporary
metropolis: as property developers, urban ‘pioneers,’ and small business

Matta-Clark embodied all three personae. In 1970, he helped open 112
Greene Street, a collaborative gallery and performance space, in a
former rag-picking factory. A year later, he, Caroline Goodden, and Tina
Girouard founded FOOD, often referred to as SoHo’s first restaurant, to
provide jobs, healthy meals, and a community space for the artists
living downtown. In the Bronx Museum show, a 1972 film charts a day at
the restaurant. A long-haired man brews coffee, Goodden haggles at the
Fulton Fish Market, gumbo bubbles on the stove, and, after closing,
another man bakes the next day’s bread.

Beyond the physical innovation of the restaurant’s open kitchen, in
which about three hundred artists worked over the years, Matta-Clark
made space at FOOD for artistic experimentation and performance. On
Sundays, meals were hosted by individual artists, including Yvonne
Rainer, Donald Judd, and Keith Sonnier. Matta-Clark himself devised the
“Matta Bones” dinner, in which necklaces made from the remains of
animals were given out as souvenirs to those who had eat­en them. His
widow, Jane Crawford, once said that Matta-Clark “had cooking all
through his mind as a way of assembling people, like choreography.”

“One of the earliest times I can remember using cutting as a way of
redefining a space was at FOOD Restaurant,” Matta-Clark said. The
renovations of that space and 112 Greene Street gave him the idea for
what would become known as his “building cuts,” and he soon made his
first foray, with trips to abandoned buildings in Brooklyn and the
Bronx. He photographed from disorienting angles the odd windows that he
opened, and even took cross-sections of the buildings to exhibit at 112
Greene Street, under the title “Bronx Floors.” The remains of wallpaper
and molding around his dissections emphasized what the artist said of a
later work: “The shadows of the persons who had lived there were still
pretty warm.”

Gordon Matta-Clark’s “Bronx Floors,” 1973.

Photograph Courtesy the Estate of Gordon Matta-Clark / The Bronx Museum of the Arts

Matta Clark’s earliest art had dealt more directly with those people who
were forced out. “Garbage Wall,” made of trash, chicken wire, and
plaster, and “Glass Bricks,” made of melted beer bottles, proposed more
durable alternatives to the cardboard architecture that he saw the
homeless constructing. By 1976, he stated that he hoped his art “would
no longer be concerned with just personal or metaphoric treatment of the
site,” but would finally be “responsive to the express will of its
occupants.” In 1977, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, to set up a
resource center that Lower East Side youth would design and build,
becoming empowered to alter their own environment. But just a year later
Matta-Clark died, at age thirty-five, a victim of pancreatic cancer, and
the center was never built.

Matta-Clark didn’t witness the massive crises that the city would soon
endure in the AIDS and crack epidemics, nor the money about to pour into
the art and real-estate markets. Not long after his death, the rents
rose in SoHo and artists decamped to nearby neighborhoods. In 1984, the
arts magazine October published Rosalyn Deutsche and Cara Gendel
Ryan’s “The Fine Art of Gentrification,” which ridiculed artists, and
the parade of gallerists trailing them, for their role in the influx of
wealth and the cycle of displacement. “The art world functions
ideologically to exploit the neighborhood for its bohemian or
sensationalist connotations while deflecting attention away from
underlying social, economic, and political processes,” the authors
wrote. “They approach the neighborhood with dominating and possessive
attitudes that transform it into an imaginary site.”

Matta-Clark’s reputation remains well preserved for his good will, but
the art historian Douglas Crimp, in his recent memoir, points out that
the artist’s own “imaginary sites” weren’t always abandoned. Matta-Clark
got away with “Day’s End” because police and dockworkers tended to avoid
the gay men known to go cruising at the piers, the same men whom Matta-Clark locked out when he took possession of the building. A closer
look at a photograph of the FOOD storefront reveals the sign above,
painted with the words “Comidas Criollas,” a testament that
Matta-Clark’s business was not, in fact, the first restaurant in SoHo.

In today’s New York, the “urban pioneers”—those who are most
transforming the cityscape—are not artists but real-estate developers
and land speculators. The city has come to rely heavily on the private
sector to build affordable housing, incentivizing developers to reserve
a percentage of affordable units in market-rate buildings through
promises of rezoning and tax breaks. The Bronx has come under pressure
as speculators turn their attention to its neighborhoods. But in a
reversal of the sixties, when urban renewal in the Bronx served as a
warning to downtown Manhattan, today’s Bronx residents have been
cautioned by the rapid development of other boroughs.

“The Bronx that exists now is because of that community that maintained
it by becoming entrepreneurs and doing what we needed to do to survive,”
the Bronx resident Carmen Vega-Rivera told me. In 1981, she moved to the
borough from the Lower East Side, where she was born and raised. Over
eight years, she served as a curator and associate director at the Bronx
Museum of the Arts, helping to secure its current location, in a former
synagogue on the Grand Concourse. When she moved, she had faith that the
neighborhood would improve, “but the change that I’m seeing right now,”
she said, is “not for me, nor is it for my children.”

In 2005, Mayor Bloomberg began rezoning portions of the Bronx and its
waterfront; the City Planning Commission has recently approved Mayor de
Blasio’s rezoning plan for an industrial stretch of Jerome Avenue. The
plan claims to answer the community’s need for affordable housing, but
it downplays the destructive economic impact of luxury apartment
buildings on auto shops and local businesses, the same omission that
Rapkin identified in Moses’s SoHo plan. What the city is promising won’t
address the dire local need for housing: only twenty per cent of units are
reserved for households making a third of the area’s median income,
which for a family of four is $28,600 or less. Half the community
occupies that income bracket. The area is already among the most
severely rent-burdened in the city; the risk of displacement and
homelessness is catastrophic.

Vega-Rivera is clinging to her apartment in the building that she has
lived in for thirty-seven years. She organized her neighbors against
their landlord’s flagrant negligence, and, even though the building went
into foreclosure, the imminent rezoning coaxed an investor to buy it for
twenty-eight million dollars. The fear now is that the investor will
force out the tenants who endured terrible conditions. “I’m on a fixed
income. My husband’s going to retire,” Vega-Rivera said. “Where am I
going to go when I feel the pressure?” “Poor people and people of color
tend to be invisible when the discussions are entirely about economic
development,” Tom Angotti, a professor emeritus of urban policy and
planning at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY, told me over
the phone. “Now people are saying, ‘We struggled through the years of
abandonment, we stuck with the city, we put roots down here. We don’t
want to be pushed out.’ ”

Just as Jane Jacobs’s philosophy of the “urban village” has often been
reduced by urban designers to a recommendation for building height and
sidewalk width, the work of Matta-Clark should not be aestheticized in
hindsight, nor should it be lamented as possible only in the context of
a burnt, abandoned city. The films Matta-Clark made of his works’
progress show that his interest was not in the mystery of the feat but
in undoing perceptions of fixity. He wanted to create a narrative for
change, to alert fellow-citizens to the ways that urban space is
imagined and discarded, imposed, and taken.

Matta-Clark seemed aware that he was a seed of development; he made a
nod to the complicated nature of ownership in his work when he said that
“Day’s End” was cut into the shape of a “pie-slice.” When someone
criticized his work as complicit in urban renewal, he defended it by
saying, “I don’t try to make destruction into a beautiful experience.”
He argued that what he was doing was “taking a situation at the last
minute and trying to put it back into an alternative sort of
expression.” But he could not predict that his short lifetime lay on the
brink of the city’s accelerated growth, a concept that has come to be
equated not with the commitment of residents but with the
destructiveness of wealth. The “last minute” to which he referred has in
the intervening years gathered a new meaning. SoHo’s came and went
decades ago, but the Bronx’s is now.


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March 18, 2018 at 09:17AM

What Went Wrong in the Stormy Daniels Case 

What Went Wrong in the Stormy Daniels Case 


When all is said, done, and litigated in the case of Stephanie Clifford, who is known professionally as Stormy Daniels, the biggest question might be why the President of the United States didn’t just let her talk. Clifford, who stars in and directs pornographic films, is suing Donald Trump to nullify what her complaint calls a “hush agreement,” which she signed on October 28, 2016, regarding an affair that she said she’d had with him a decade earlier. She was paid a hundred and thirty thousand dollars, and she kept quiet through the campaign. But her suit contends that she isn’t bound by the agreement, because Trump never signed it and because his lawyer Michael Cohen had spoken—and lied—about it publicly.

The suit also says that the Trump camp used “coercive tactics” to pressure her to stay silent; on Friday, Clifford’s lawyer, Michael Avenatti, said in multiple interviews that there had been intimations of violence, though he declined to give details. He told The New Yorker, “When my client is able to speak openly, we are confident that the American people will believe her when she says she was physically threatened.”

As wild as the story is, it could have amounted to little more than a few tabloid flashes amid the mayhem in the White House last week. On Tuesday, Trump fired Rex Tillerson, the Secretary of State, on Twitter, and by Thursday H. R. McMaster, the national-security adviser, was said to be next, along with a raft of variously bungling Cabinet secretaries. And yet the Clifford case is not only singularly revealing of the President’s character and his operations but also a likely harbinger of major troubles ahead.

This Trump crisis, as is the case with so many others, is largely self-inflicted, and involves the usual heedless scramble of denials. When the Wall Street Journal first reported the payment to Clifford, in January, Cohen said that it was his own “private transaction,” using his money, and that the Trump Organization and the Trump campaign had nothing to do with it. This never made much sense, since the Trump Organization employed him. But, even if Cohen’s story were true, it raised questions, more broadly, about where the money comes from and where it goes in Trump’s dealings.

There wouldn’t even be a lawsuit were it not for the fact that, last month, a company that Cohen set up to make the payment to Clifford obtained from an arbitrator a temporary restraining order directing Clifford to remain silent, or risk a million-dollar penalty. This effort was futile: weeks earlier, InTouch had pulled from its archives an unpublished 2011 interview in which Clifford had described her encounter with Trump, in terms that leave little to the imagination. (“He was like, ‘Come here.’ And I was like, ‘Ugh, here we go.’ ”) More than that, the President’s lawyers seem not to have considered what Clifford’s next move would be: challenging the arbitration. They had, in effect, engineered something of a win-win situation for her. Practically speaking, in order for Trump to hold Clifford to the agreement, he has to fight her in court—a process he began Friday—and come out and admit to the deal publicly.

CNN and the Journal reported that one of the lawyers who obtained the order was Jill Martin, another Trump Organization employee. (She was the point person in the Trump University fraud case.) A statement from the company said that, like Cohen, Martin had handled the matter only “in her individual capacity.” This paints a picture of the Trump Organization as a place where anything that the company isn’t quite supposed to do might be done as a personal favor, perhaps dressed up as an act of friendship or loyalty. It is a further sign that the special counsel Robert Mueller’s subpoena of Trump Organization business records, reported last week, might turn up a true morass.

The Trump White House appears to function much like the Trump Organization, in terms of the blurring of lines. Recent weeks have brought a compendium of stories about Cabinet members treating public money as a personal privilege—thirty thousand dollars for Ben Carson’s office dining set, forty thousand for Scott Pruitt’s soundproof phone booth, a million for Steven Mnuchin’s military flights. With the President’s sons meeting with foreign political figures while travelling the world on business trips, with his daughter playing a diplomatic role with leaders of countries where she has commercial interests, and with his son-in-law seemingly marked as a potential recipient of foreign bribes by all and sundry, it’s important to know who pays whom, and for what.

The Trump team’s response to the Clifford debacle seems to have been driven by the President’s vanity, temper, and resentment. All of those have also been on display in his larger response to Mueller’s investigation, from his firing of James Comey, the F.B.I. director—an action that exposed him to possible obstruction-of-justice charges—to his apparent desire, last week, to fire Andrew McCabe, Comey’s former deputy, just days before McCabe’s retirement, in a petty attempt to deny him his full benefits. For a man who has built a career on bluffing and intimidation, Trump is surprisingly clumsy when it comes to those tactics, and oblivious of their costs.

After all, why didn’t the President sign the agreement? Did he never intend to, or could he just not be bothered? With Trump, it can be hard to tell bad will from bad lawyering. He regularly demands that his subordinates operate in accordance with what he thinks the law ought to be, rather than what it is. This has been the case in his berating of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, for failing to make problems go away, and, last week, in reports that Trump’s lawyers were considering trying to block the broadcast, now scheduled for March 25th, of an interview that Anderson Cooper conducted with Clifford for “60 Minutes.” There is no legal rationale for such prior restraint. But it wouldn’t be the first time that the President has indicated that he believes he has, or should have, the power to silence the press.

Then again, Trump’s circle might be trying to enforce Clifford’s confidentiality agreement not for its own sake but in order to send a message to other people, who may have signed similar agreements, about the cost of breaking them. (“In my experience, bullies have one speed and one speed only,” Avenatti told The New Yorker. “They don’t just bully one person. They bully many people.”) A hearing in the case is set for July 12th, in Los Angeles; Clifford has set up an online crowdfunding page to defray her legal costs, which may be considerable. She won’t be the only one with bills like that. In Washington these days, many people find themselves in sudden need of a good lawyer—above all, the President. ♦


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March 18, 2018 at 09:17AM

Sunday Reading: Manhattan Portraits

Sunday Reading: Manhattan Portraits


What’s the best part of living in New York? Visitors may think of Broadway shows, restaurants, or museums, but New Yorkers know that the answer is other New Yorkers. It’s exciting to live among so many strangers—to speculate about their stories and hidden talents. New Yorkers love wondering about the fascinating lives unfolding next to their own.

This week, we’ve dipped into the archive to bring you historical portraits of ten unique New Yorkers. Susan Orlean introduces us to Fab Five Freddy, the charismatic host of MTV’s first hip-hop show, “Yo! MTV Raps”; Hilton Als takes us on a tour of the nineteen-eighties dance-music scene (and recalls his own life as a Manhattan d.j.); and Hendrik Hertzberg visits with John Lennon and Yoko Ono in their West Village apartment. Whitney Balliett gets to know the jazz legend Charles Mingus, and George W. S. Trow watches the former Vogue editor Diana Vreeland as she helps coördinate an exhibit at the Met. Dawn Powell chronicles literary New York in her diaries, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., tells the story of Anatole Broyard, the author who, to avoid being labelled a “black” writer, spent his adulthood “passing” as white. Maeve Brennan shares a surprising story from her life in the city. Finally, Joseph Mitchell profiles Mazie P. Gordon, the “queen of the Bowery,” following her as she befriends New Yorkers who are down on their luck. These pieces go some distance toward confirming a widespread suspicion: the other people in your neighborhood really may be as interesting as they seem.

“Living Large,” by Susan Orlean

“The coolest person in New York at the moment is a man named Fred Brathwaite, who is known most of the time to most of his friends as Fab Five Freddy, Fab, Five, or just Freddy. Freddy has a lot of jobs.” Read more.

“Mazie,” by Joseph Mitchell

“A bossy, yellow-haired blonde named Mazie P. Gordon is a celebrity on the Bowery. In the nickel-a-drink saloons and in the all-night restaurants which specialize in pig snouts and cabbage at a dime a platter, she is known by her first name.” Read more.

“Spinning Tales,” by Hilton Als

“We wanted to be known in New York, which was the only part of America we were interested in then. Our parents were cut off from America because it was not their home; Miss V. and I cut ourselves off from our parents by making New York our home.” Read more.

“The Long-Winded Lady Returns,” by Maeve Brennan

“When I looked out the bathroom window, which does not face the Square but stares straight across at the flat side of an apartment building, I saw with satisfaction that the tenants there still leave their shades up at night so that it is easy to see into all the rooms.” Read more.

“Mingus at Peace,” by Whitney Balliett

“Charles Mingus has spent much of his life attempting to rearrange the world according to an almost Johnsonian set of principles that abhor, among other things, cant, racism, inhibition, managerial greed, sloppy music, Uncle Tomism, and conformity.” Read more.

“Haute, Haute Couture,” by George W. S. Trow

“Diana Vreeland is a master of the art of mock dismissal and other aspects of boss-lady psychodrama. She has authority: not the simple authority of genius but a more eclectic sort.” Read more.

“White Like Me,” by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

“Anatole Broyard was born black and became white, and his story is compounded of equal parts pragmatism and principle. He knew that the world was filled with such snippets and scraps of paper, all conspiring to reduce him to an identity that other people had invented and he had no say in.” Read more.

“Everywhere’s Somewhere,” by Hendrik Hertzberg

“So far, John Lennon and Yoko Ono have not been heard to complain that the city is unlivable. When that happens, we’ll know that they’re here to stay.” Read more.

“A Diamond to Cut New York,” by Dawn Powell

“I believe firmly that I have the perfect New York story, one woman’s tragedy viewed through the chinks of a writer’s book about her, newspaper clippings, café conversations, restaurant brawls, New York night life, so that the story is tangled in the fritter of New York—it could not happen anyplace else.” Read more.


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March 18, 2018 at 09:17AM

Waiting in Shibuya for the Lights to Change

Waiting in Shibuya for the Lights to Change


New Preset Pack for Movie Presets

We recently added some new presets for Lightroom to our store. Get them right here. They are very fun presets that are quite cinematic. There are a ton of examples in there and more in the video below.

Daily Photo – Waiting in Shibuya for the Lights to Change

I hung out in Shibuya crossing for about 2 hours in the rain. It was great! There were so many cool outfits and interesting umbrellas to see. It was almost information overload and I could not figure out where to look next. The pauses were when people would stop at the intersection while waiting on the crosswalk. It was a lot less chaotic and it gave me a chance to find interesting subjects like this gal. I have since sent her the photo and she loves it!

Waiting in Shibuya for the Lights to Change

Photo Information

  • Date Taken2018-02-01 19:14:53
  • CameraILCE-7RM3
  • Camera MakeSony
  • Exposure Time1/125
  • Aperture4.5
  • ISO500
  • Focal Length105.0 mm
  • FlashOff, Did not fire
  • Exposure ProgramManual
  • Exposure Bias


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March 18, 2018 at 08:12AM

Aeroflot Is Right: When Elite Passengers Misbehave Inflight

Aeroflot Is Right: When Elite Passengers Misbehave Inflight


Earlier this week, TPG reported on Aeroflot’s newest policy, which calls for the removal of status and barring from the frequent flyer program for members who misbehave inflight. Bravo, Aeroflot! Frankly, I am stunned it took a carrier this long to make the move. In my nearly 20 years of flying, I have seen quite a few instances of passengers misbehaving in the air (and on the ground), and all too often, they are our most frequent flyers.

Often, the misbehavior of a status-holding frequent flyer is not so awful as to warrant being removed from the program all together. What we most often see is mildly obnoxious, entitled behavior — a coat shoved in my face at the door along with “I’m in Economy but I’m a Gold / SuperStar / Diamond / Glitterbomb, so you can hang it for me.” Or “I’m a Supercalifragilistic frequent flyer, and I don’t like the wine here in Economy. Can you go get me some from First Class?” It’s them wanting us to bend the rules, which they know all too well because they fly so often. There are a select few who simply feel that one of the perks of status is that the rules no longer apply.

As I’ve said previously, most of our frequent flyers with SuperStatus are our favorite passengers. They know the rules, they know the service, sometimes they even know the crew, and they are often the easiest passengers onboard. But a select few among them do act up and make life difficult for everyone around them.

Example A: A SuperStatus passenger boarded the plane and demanded that his bag be placed in the overhead bin by the crew. A tricky question in the United States, where none of the three major carriers have weight restrictions for carry-on luggage. When asked if the bag was heavy, he replied “well of course it is, otherwise I’d do it myself.” It took two crew members to get the bag into the bin. Of course, on arrival, he again wanted help but couldn’t be bothered waiting for a crew member to get to him. He pulled the bag out of the bin and let it fall to the ground, except that it fell partially on the leg of the woman standing in front of him. “You should have moved!” he yelled at her, and he stormed off. We then spent 30 minutes filling out an injury report for the woman, as well as additional crew incident reports. Our ground staff colleagues told us that his records showed that this was far from the first time he has caused a scene. Injuring other passengers is definitely grounds for dismissal from a frequent-flyer program in my book.

(Photo by Shutterstock.com)

Example B: People like to drink on planes. That’s fine. When I travel as a passenger, I love to have a few gin tonics, and a glass or two of champagne. But another symptom of SuperStatus that we see all too often is overindulging. Overindulging, that is, to the point of being abusive to crew and or other passengers. That, to me, is another removable offense. Maybe not the first time around, but second strike and you’re out! Perhaps the most famous case of this was when investment banking executive Gerard Finneran was refused more drinks on a United flight from Buenos Aires to New York in 1995. He proceeded to help himself to more, push a flight attendant when they attempted to stop him, and then defecated on a cart in First Class in front of the then-president of Portugal. Well done, Gerry. He was fined, sentenced to community service, and made to refund the other First Class passengers tickets.

Aeroflot’s statement specifically details that this new policy applies to passengers who abuse staff members. While I have been very lucky never to have been physically abused myself by a passenger, I have certainly witnessed my share of verbal assaults on crew members by passengers, elite and otherwise — and they have been vicious. Sometimes it’s a venting of anger and the crew member in question was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, sometimes they have had a genuine disagreement. But whatever the case, resorting to verbal, let alone physical, abuse is never acceptable.

Personally, I’d say that 70% of the cases I’ve seen that involved a major confrontation between a passenger and a crew member occurred in a premium cabin. And of those, I’d guess that over half were SuperStatus flyers. I’ve been told to go f— myself because I had run out of a meal choice, heard a colleague called a horrendous homophobic slur for asking a passenger to get off her phone while we taxied to the runway, and had another colleague spit at for tripping over a passenger’s leg (that was dangling out in the aisle) and waking him up. I’ve even seen a mother throw a dirty diaper at a crew member because the crew member wouldn’t collect it from her without gloves. This behavior is simply not acceptable.

All in all, hats off to Aeroflot. I can only hope that other major carriers will follow suit soon. It will send an important message that bad behavior on an airplane simply will not be tolerated. It puts a tangible price on misbehaving that will hopefully encourage those few who don’t feel the need to be civil to others to think twice.

Featured photo by Shutterstock.com


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March 17, 2018 at 10:15PM

Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir

Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir


From the World Heritage inscription: Battir is a major Palestinian cultural landscape, the adaptation of a deep valley system for agricultural purposes as a result of a good supply of water. The complex irrigation system of this water supply has led to the creation of dry walls terraces which may have been exploited since antiquity. …

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March 17, 2018 at 08:43PM

Marriott Board Member Mitt Romney Is Running for Reelection

Marriott Board Member Mitt Romney Is Running for Reelection


Mitt Romney is running for two jobs, and he can’t hold both at once.

Last month, Romney announced he was campaigning for the U.S. Senate in Utah. He’s also running for re-election to Marriott International Inc.’s board of directors, according to a filing Friday. The catch is that Senate ethics rules bar members from serving as an officer or board member of any publicly held company.

M.J. Henshaw, a representative for the Romney campaign, declined to comment. A spokeswoman for Marriott declined to comment.

Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and a former Massachusetts governor, probably doesn’t plan on losing either election — he’s been juggling public service and corporate directorship for 15 years. He first served as a Marriott director from 1993 to 2002, leaving after being elected governor. He served again from 2009 to 2011, ran for president, then rejoined the hotel company’s board in 2012.

Marriott shareholders vote for directors ahead of the company’s annual meeting in May, for one-year terms. If Romney wins both elections, Senate rules would allow him to hold his board seat until he takes office in January.

Romney’s connection to Marriott predates his service on the board: His given name, Willard, was in honor of J. Willard Marriott, a friend of Romney’s father and founder of the hotel company. In 2017, Romney earned $247,299 for serving as a Marriott director and head of the board’s finance committee.

–With assistance from Laura Litvan and Erik Wasson

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Patrick Clark from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Photo Credit: Mitt Romney is running for reelection for a one-year term to the Marriott board of directors. Bloomberg


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March 17, 2018 at 08:35PM

9 Unexpected Places to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day Around the World

9 Unexpected Places to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day Around the World


Saint Patrick’s Day feels more like a season than a day in some parts, and many destinations around the world celebrate with cheer and beer. While the biggest St. Patrick’s Day festivities are associated with cities like Dublin, Boston and New York, there are many other global cities getting in the Irish spirit. From South America to the Caribbean, here are nine unexpected places to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day around the world. 

1. Montserrat, Caribbean

Situated about 4,000 miles from Dublin, you’ll find a small Caribbean island with a surprisingly large St. Patrick Day celebration. Deemed the “Emerald Isle of the Caribbean,” Montserrat is the only country outside of Ireland that acknowledges St. Patrick’s Day as a public holiday. Given the African and Irish roots, St. Patrick’s Day festivities in Montserrat have a distinct and unique Caribbean blend. Expect a weeklong celebration which includes costume parades, a kite festival, calypso music concerts and of course, thousands of people flooding the streets with their green shamrocks. 

Photo by Montserrat Tourism Division

2. London, England

If you’re in the mood for an eventful St. Patrick’s Day, look no further than London’s celebration.  Beginning March 16, more than 100,000 people will partake in events across London. In fact, every single one of London’s 33 boroughs partake in the St Patrick’s Day celebration. Want a taste of Northern Ireland while in London? Browse the craft stalls or stop by one of the many Irish pubs and bars decorated in green for the occasion. Want to enjoy live performances by Irish acts and musicians? Head to the festival in Trafalgar Square. Regardless of what you choose to do, London is a popular destination for getting the best of Irish culture and arts.  

3Brussels, Belgium

With a local Irish community between 10,000 to 15,000 people, Belgium is one of the major European cities that celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.The Embassy of Ireland in Belgium leads St. Patrick Day celebrations throughout city. The festivities features grand celebrations: with dancing, colorful green and feasting and drinking. Even Manneken-Pis, the symbol of Brussels folklore even gets a costume to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day holiday.

4. Chicago, Illinois

If you’re looking for a celebration stateside, venture to the city of Chicago for an all-out St. Patrick’s Day celebration. On Saturday, March 17, head to the Irish American Heritage Center for one of Chicago’s biggest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Look out for colorful floats, marching bands and Irish dancers throughout the streets. Rain or shine, the parade will happen and lasts about three hours. Thousands of people gather for the festivities, which also include the 50-year tradition of dyeing the river emerald green. Take your place along the banks of the Chicago Riverwalk between Michigan and Columbus early because it’s only green for about five hours. 

A tradition in Chicago every St. Patrick’s Day. Photo courtesy of Ken Ilio/ Getty Images

5. Sydney, Australia

After a two-year break, Sydney’s “Green Gathering” St. Patrick’s Day celebration is returning with family-fun events, including live entertainment, marching bands, Irish dancers and plenty of Irish food and beverages. Whether you’re a local or tourist, you’ll surely enjoy St. Patrick’s Day Down Under. This year the “Green Gathering” St. Patrick’s Day parade is back and returning to Prince Alfred Park in Sydney.

6. Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo kicks off St. Patrick’s Day with the the biggest Irish event in Japan. Every year since 1992, the Irish Network of Japan, with the Embassy of Ireland, works to introduce Irish culture to the people of Japan. Growing in popularity ever since, the event now brings over 300,000 spectators together for a day-long parade, which will take place on March 18. There’s also an “I Love Ireland Festival,” which coupled with the parade, is known as Japan’s largest Irish event. 

7. Savannah, Georgia

While Savannah is known as a romantic destination, it is also a great St. Patrick’s Day destination.  Every year, more than 300,000 people flood the cobblestone streets of Savannah, from River Street, to City Market, to watch one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the US. Revelers are in for a weekend of eating delicious food and drink, and tons of festivities. Plus, travelers can stop by Forsyth Park’s fountain to see the water dyed emerald green.  

8. Montreal, Canada

The St. Patrick’s Festival of Montreal is one of the longest running St Patrick’s celebrations in North America. Since 1824, this Canadian city has been channeling Ireland on St. Patrick’s day with marching bands, bagpipes, floats and even a massive Saint Patrick. Organized by the United Irish Societies of Montreal, this year the parade will be moved from Sainte-Catherine Street to De Maisonneuve Blvd because of construction. Nonetheless, on March 18, patrons are expected to wear their shamrocks with pride, and turn the city green for a day.

9. Buenos Aires, Argentina

Many think of Argentina as a place for carnivals, but it’s also a place known for its St. Patrick’s Day fun as well. St. Patrick’s Day is actually a week-long celebration in Buenos Aires, which boasts plenty of music, food and dancers. The celebration is one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in South America. At the heart of the celebration is a festival known as Fiesta de San Patricio. Patrons fill the streets  with vibrant music and dancing. Like so many other places across the world, expect lots of live Irish music and traditional feasts to ring in the Irish spirit.

Featured photo By Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images


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March 17, 2018 at 08:01PM

What School Shooting Drills Look Like Through Students’ Eyes

What School Shooting Drills Look Like Through Students’ Eyes


According to the most recent federal data, during the 2013-14 school
year, more than two-thirds of public-school students participated in
drills for “procedures to be performed in selected crises.” The
procedures include passive “lockdown drills,” in which students are
locked inside their classrooms and told to hide from unnamed threats;
“active shooter drills,” which name the threat; and ALICE (Alert,
Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate), a training procedure developed by
a Texas law-enforcement officer in 2001 that
offers “option-based,
proactive, survival strategies.” These strategies often include asking
students to throw school
at a shooter as they try to flee.

In December, 2012, twenty six- and seven-year-olds, and six adults, were
killed in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Some of those
children would be teen-agers now, probably drilling along with their
classmates. What do those drills looks like from a child’s perspective,
or from a teen-ager’s? During the same week that thousands of students
walked out of
across the country to observe seventeen minutes of silent protest in
honor of the students and educators killed in the February 14th mass
shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida,
I spoke with eight kids, ranging in age from six to seventeen, who
attend public and private schools from California to Connecticut, about
their school’s drills.

Felix McGinley, who is six, attends P.S. 163Q, in Flushing Heights,
Queens. “There was an announcement telling us that there was going to be
a hard lockdown drill,” he told me. “So we went in the closet for five
minutes. One of my friends was a little loud, and after that the teacher
got mad at him.” The first time he did a drill, McGinley said, “we were
hiding under where the water fountain was. But this time, we were hiding
in the closet where our backpacks are.” I asked McGinley if the teachers
told him why they were doing this. “I already know why,” he said. “It’s
because in case a bad guy comes in, you have to hide.”

George Groves, who is ten, is a fifth grader at Henry Barnard School, in
Providence, Rhode Island. He said that he has been doing drills since he
was in kindergarten, around once every three months. “In the classrooms,
there’s usually cubbies with coat hooks, and we know to go over there
and sit down when the teacher says,” he said. “We have little slides on
our door windows. One’s green and one’s red. If it’s red, it means we
are missing a kid or a few kids.” The teachers, he explained, “pull down
the shades and lock the doors, and we wait.”

Groves said that it’s difficult for his class to stay quiet for the
entirety of a lockdown drill, which he says lasts seven to ten minutes.
“It’s not very comfortable sitting on the tile floor. If it’s a Friday
at the end of the day, I mean, we will all be talking. I never really
feel like someone’s here . . . mostly I feel squished.” But he said that he
thinks the drills are helpful. “Some of my friends will get scared if we
wait longer than usual. I wish they would tell us if it’s a drill. But
it makes us really prepared.”

George Grove’s sister Ruby, who is thirteen, attends the all-girls
Lincoln School nearby. “There are probably three or four a year,” she
said, of her school’s drills. “We line up against the wall or anywhere
you can’t see from the door. Eventually, after we’ve been there for five
minutes, someone will get paranoid and say, ‘Oh my gosh, guys, what if
it’s real? . . . ’ For the most part, kids don’t not take it seriously. They
just get worked up a little bit. They get antsy. It’s hard to put ten or
fifteen girls in a cramped space for fifteen minutes.” And, she noted,
the school has “never really talked to us about what if someone came in.

Max Berry is in eighth grade at Apex Middle School, near Raleigh, North
Carolina. “If someone has a gun nearby,” he said, “we go in code yellow
and don’t go outside. But if they are inside, we go into code red.”
This means, he said, “We lock the door and put black paper over the
window in the door and pull down the blinds. We turn the light off and
sit in a corner and be as quiet as possible. I personally think it’s
unreasonable. Because they announce on the intercom that we are locking
down,” he explained, a shooter would “know people would be there, and if
they have a gun, they could easily get into a classroom, regardless of
the door being locked. If they have the intent of killing, it would be
easy if we are crowded in a corner.”

Elena Velez, who is fourteen, attends Central York Middle School, in
York, Pennsylvania. “Someone made a threat on iMessage,” she said, “and
someone took a screenshot of it and posted it on Snapchat. I guess the
school did a good job keeping us out of school until they figured out
who did it. We had an intruder drill the day we came back.” She said
that the drill consisted of sitting against a wall and keeping quiet.
“If there were an active shooter, we would just be sitting there waiting
for them to find us in the classroom. It’s crazy to think I could come
to school one day and be attacked, and someone could die.” Her teachers
have begun “making little curtains” for the doors.

“We shouldn’t be backed into a corner,” Emily Brown, a
seventeen-year-old junior at Granger High School, in West Valley City,
Utah, said. Her school offers the same protocol as others: lock the door,
close the blinds. “It feels suffocating,” she said. “We should be taught
ways to get out. I’m fine with drills, but not just the drills. I was
thinking of some kind of defense mechanism, but it’s hard to stand up to
a guy with a gun.”

Saul Morales is also seventeen and a junior at Granger. He agreed that
the architecture of his school is unsafe. “There are so many windows,”
he said. “There’s no place to hide.” Instead, he said that he believes
the best course of action is to fight back. In Utah, teachers with
concealed-weapons permits can carry
in elementary and high schools, even in kindergarten classes. “Most
teachers are armed in our school, and that does protect me somehow,
because the teachers I know that are armed are responsible,” he said. (A school official said some teachers were likely armed, but added that schools in Utah are not allowed to ask whether teachers are carrying concealed weapons, and teachers are under no obligation to disclose.) “Those are the kind of teachers I love. They secure themselves because
they know something could happen, and are willing to put their students

Arming teachers, of course, doesn’t always keep students safe. On
Tuesday, the day before National Walkout Day, a teacher accidentally
fired a gun in a classroom at Seaside High School, in Seaside,
California, injuring three students. “I personally don’t think teachers
should be armed at all,” Molly Brayton, a fifteen-year-old freshman
at Marina High School, in Huntington Beach, California, said. “Students could
get ahold of the gun, or something bad could happen if they’re not
properly trained. It would take a lot of training, and it would be
very expensive.”

Brayton’s school does not permit guns, and the school district says they regularly hold lockdown drills. “Some teachers, some adults can do their job,” she said. But she isn’t comforted. “I can’t really imagine myself in that situation,” she says.


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March 17, 2018 at 07:43PM