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Home: The Toast

“The child said I could eat the bear.”


I am going to your nation’s capital tomorrow for 24 hours! I am having dinner with my best friend in the whole world, who is visiting DC for a week from Australia, so obviously I, too, had to go to DC, that’s just common sense. I am seeing Nikki (the first time in person!!!) the next day and basically cannot handle my excitement.


You have probably already read the beautiful piece about the creator of Frog and Toad, but if you haven’t, buckle in:

When reading children’s books as children, we get to experience an author’s fictional world removed from the very real one he or she inhabits. But knowing the strains of sadness in Lobel’s life story gives his simple and elegant stories new poignancies. On the final page of “Alone,” Frog and Toad, having cleared up their misunderstanding, sit contently on the island looking into the distance, each with his arm around the other. Beneath the drawing, Lobel writes, “They were two close friends, sitting alone together.”


TAP DANCING


Friend of The Toast Tasbeeh Herwees on the teen shoplifters of Tumblr:

In the summer of 2015, Barbie and her longtime friend, who goes by the handle Unicorn-Lift, had just discovered Liftblr. Liftblr, Tumblr’s notorious shoplifting community, is an ever-changing group of mostly young female bloggers who trade tips, write about criminal exploits, and post images of stolen merchandise known as “hauls.” Unicorn-Lift actually discovered the community through an anti-lifting post, written by someone enraged by the existence of the “shoplifting fandom.” She showed Barbie, and the pair found themselves drawn into the Liftblr world. They wanted to be part of it and earn a “lift” title. The only way to do that was to steal something. Unicorn-Lift, also 15 years old, hit the local Wal-Mart. Barbie found herself at the Dollar Tree.


Mallory is the best:

Q. Bad-at-math friend: My friend “Nikki” has been a stay-at-home parent for years, though her one kid is in grade school. She gripes often about how they’re just scraping by (despite eating out a few times a week, the kid being in private, pricey lessons, and that kind of thing). I don’t care what folks do with their time or money—truly!—but she seems genuinely befuddled as to why they are struggling. And if our friends are discussing something like summer plans and someone says she’s going to Disney World (or the local theme park or almost anything), Nikki will say something biting and bitter, like, “Well, my kid’s going to have to enjoy vacationing in our backyard. Not everyone can afford air travel.” Is there a gentle way, when she says something like this, to point out that she’s being a jerk, or that we all make certain trade-offs and financial choices and hers are keeping her cash-strapped and angry?

A: “What a remarkably ungenerous thing to say,” followed by a willingness to endure strained silence.


I am known (mainly in my own mind) for my obsession with tornadoes, so this thing on how Twister ALMOST DIDN’T HAPPEN is very important:

During filming, director Jan de Bont used a special type of electrical lighting to make the sky look stormy behind the actors. When the crew turned on the lights for the first time, Hunt and Paxton began to complain and when they returned to their trailers, they couldn’t see. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Paxton said, “Those lights, they were like sun balls … These things literally sunburned our eyeballs”.

After flying in an ophthalmologist from UCLA, the diagnosis was that Hunt and Paxton had been temporarily blinded and it would only get worse if they were exposed to the lighting again. While the actors recovered with the help of eye-drops, special sunglasses and a few rounds of Marco Polo, a filter was placed in front of all the lighting rigs while de Bont had to deal with another big problem: a crew ready to strike.


face twitch:

“And Brexit? Your position?” I ask.

“Huh?”

“Brexit.”

“Hmm.”

“The Brits leaving the EU,” I prompt, realizing that his lack of familiarity with one of the most pressing issues in Europe is for him no concern nor liability at all.

“Oh yeah, I think they should leave.”


healthcare is a nightmare and you do the work yourself, always:

Patients have lives outside of their doctors’ offices. They have jobs to do and children to take care of. I’m lucky that my job comes with flexible hours. I can shoot off emails to my doctor’s office and wait on hold, at my desk, without fear of getting fired. Last Thursday I spent 90 minutes waiting to see my doctor, right in the middle of a workday, and my boss didn’t bat an eye.

Not everyone has this luxury. Some have to make a choice between doing their actual work (which pays the bills) and their patient work (which doesn’t). In those cases, prescribing health care with a high patient work burden can be equivalent to denying health care. Medication won’t do much to help a condition when you don’t have the time to make the phones calls necessary to track it down.

There is a risk associated with not measuring patient work: namely, that patients will give up when life gets in the way. This is an especially acute worry for lower-income patients, who often work for hourly wages and have little space to change their schedules.


yes (this is all very fascinating, also no one is making money in media, did I mention that, I probably mentioned that):

The Times, of course, does not have a storied history of making big, successful bets. Its billion-dollar purchase of The Boston Globe in the 90s backfired; it sold the paper for $70 million in 2013. It sold About.com for $300 million in 2012 after buying it for $410 million in 2005. More recently, it created a series of beautiful apps—including Opinion and NYT Now—that were all deemed commercial failures. And unlike a V.C. model, none of its current portfolio of investments seem like unicorns with the potential to underwrite everything else. Their greatest potential would be to bolster the foundering economics of the place. Either way, it appears to those at 620 Eighth Avenue that all paths to growth must begin with severe cutting.


Here is a good round-up of criticisms of Me Before You.


THE STORY OF THE TOASTER PASTRY:

The story of the toaster pastry begins with dog food. In the early 1960s, General Foods was hard at work trying to make a moist dog-food patty that wouldn’t spoil on the shelf. They found success in Gaines Burgers, but realized the technology could be used for more, and shifted their focus to the Post cereal division. In February 1964, Post debuted “Country Squares.”

If you’re wondering why you’ve never heard of “Country Squares,” it’s because they weren’t around for very long. It’s not that people weren’t into the concept, but in 1964, a name like that implied the product was for uncool country bumpkins. While that may not have bothered the parents, who were the ones doing the buying, it certainly bothered the kids, who were increasingly the ones being advertised to. The 1960s were prime time for cereal brands’ cartoon mascots to grace TV screens, hawking sugar-coated flakes and oat bits that were part of anyone’s healthy breakfast. When you have Tony the Tiger, “Country Squares” just aren’t that appealing.


Not rich, not white, seeking therapy:

Last year, Decker Ngongang realized he needed to find a good therapist to help him with a lot of little stresses that were piling up.

“I grew up in a single-parent household,” he said. “A lot of the things I wanted to talk about were just childhood-related, but also the stress of being a black man in America.”

He figured it would be similar to getting someone to take a look at a knee injury. Ngongang has good insurance through his work as a consultant for NGOs in Washington. So he opened up his insurance company’s website, typed in “psychologists,” and started calling.

And calling. And calling.


CURSED CHILD:

A very big day indeed, and a very big job for Cherrelle Skeete, shown here in Rose’s brand new Hogwarts uniform. Cherrelle has previously appeared in productions ofThe Lion King and Wind in the Willows, as well as television series Call the Midwife andDanny and the Human Zoo – which coincidentally, starred Harry Potter actors Evanna Lynch, and James and Oliver Phelps.

‘I can’t think about how big it is or I’ll just faint,’ Cherrelle said. ‘Putting on my uniform, ready to go to Hogwarts, and seeing everyone else in their uniform was exciting. I’ve been looking at it every day in the wardrobe department, waiting for the day I can get on the Hogwarts Express.’


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