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Home: The Toast

Negotiating skills are so important, particularly for women, and Latoya Peterson offers some advice on salary negotiation and also gives us some insight into her work life.

There is going to be a new Ghostbusters movie. All the leads are going to be women. That cast has been announced.

Japan has a hikkimori (shut in) population of young people and the country is struggling to find ways to help them.

When the Kimura family moved here from Tokyo, their middle school-aged daughter missed her old friends. Midway into her first year in high school, she stopped going. Between 14 and 19, she barely left the house, and for one year hardly left her room, interacting only with her parents.

Now 33 and recovered, Ms. Kimura says she was “hikikomori.” That’s the name of a type of social withdrawal that can be so severe, people with it don’t leave their houses for years. It’s also what those who suffer from the condition are called.

Nerds can be a nuisance.

World records are a big deal in India. I would like to win a world record for most days getting absolutely nothing accomplished. I feel I am close.

The first time Nikhil Shukla adjudicated a Guinness world record, two million people turned up. Standing on a makeshift dais just before dawn in January 2012, Shukla gazed with bleary, incredulous eyes; he was 28, and he had never seen such a mammoth crowd in his life. Tolls on the national highway from the nearest city, Rajkot, had been suspended to accommodate the traffic, and Shukla had to trudge 20 minutes from his V.I.P. parking spot, squeezing through dense thickets of bodies, to approach the stage. The throng that gathered in this patch of dusty farmland in western India to watch the event came from villages and towns across the district. They had responded to a call from a Gujarati community organization that, with a vague aim of promoting public harmony, wanted people to pair off and shake hands with one another, setting a world record for the most simultaneous handshakes.

This guy is 100 years old and is still writing class notes. That is dedication.

Edward Gerson, a retired button manufacturer and plastics innovator, started his writing career late. He was 87 years old, to be precise, when he took on the role of chronicling the goings-on of Dartmouth College’s class of 1935.

When he started writing the alumni updates in 2001, there were more than 150 classmates and lots of material. As he noted in his inaugural column, “the Lord will provide the obits, but the news of your lives has to come from you.”

Also, button manufacturer seems like a cool job.

I wish I had the energy to really respond intelligently and reasonably to THIS. I don’t. I appreciate what Alex Pareene had to say on the matter, though.


If you enjoy tiny spaces, here is an essay about a capsule hotel. Personally, that is the stuff of nightmares.

What sounded like a scream jolted me awake at 5:54 a.m. Less than two feet away, the man in the neighboring capsule had awakened from a nightmare, but the way he followed it with three quick sneezes made me wonder if his cry was actually the first in a series of predawn sneezes. There in my narrow capsule, at the top of two stacked rows of sleepers in a warren of hallways, I rolled on my side, my knees pressed against the tan plastic wall, and squeezed my eyes shut. I couldn’t fall back asleep.

A profile of sorts in which the word cantankerous is lovingly used to describe David Simon.

The famously malcontent Simon is harrumphing as usual. His new HBO miniseries, Show Me a Hero — about the fierce and unbelievable public-housing desegregation battle in 1980s Yonkers — is shooting down the hall. It will wrap at the end of the month and won’t air until later this year. And here he is in this uninhabited part of the set, patiently, convincingly, and dramatically explaining why it also will fail to find an audience.

I am feeling cantankerous, myself.



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