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Home: The Toast

Maria Bello has a new memoir out discussing love and labels. This piece over at Brain Pickings compelled me to buy the book though I have not yet read it.

Plastic surgery and the drug trade?

In the late 2000s, right about when the economic bubble burst in the United States, Colombia’s government finally began making headway against the narco-crime that had plagued it for decades. Homicide rates dropped, drug production moved to Venezuela, and negotiations with the left-wing guerrilla movement gained traction. Before long, American and European newspapers were reporting that wanton violence and Escobar-era wealth in the former cocaine capital were giving way to a gallery scene in Cartagena, to eco-lodges near Barranquilla, and to Brooklyn-inspired restaurants in Bogotá.


Do you get your nails done? Do you pay a really low price for that service? The New York Times did a major investigation into the world of nail salons and the women who are paid criminally low wages. If something seems too good to be true, it is too good to be true.

The women begin to arrive just before 8 a.m., every day and without fail, until there are thickets of young Asian and Hispanic women on nearly every street corner along the main roads of Flushing, Queens.

As if on cue, cavalcades of battered Ford Econoline vans grumble to the curbs, and the women jump in. It is the start of another workday for legions of New York City’s manicurists, who are hurtled to nail salons across three states. They will not return until late at night, after working 10- to 12-hour shifts, hunched over fingers and toes.

And here is an interview with Sarah Maslin Nir on how she reported this story.

Because it is still nice to get your nails done, here are three ways to do so in a socially conscious manner, all common sense.

Kickstart McSweeneys?

Black social media activists are leading a revolution.

In the evening of April 25 at the corner of Pratt and Light Streets, in Baltimore’s revitalized downtown district, more than 100 police officers in riot gear stood shoulder to shoulder, shields up. Six officers on horseback fidgeted behind them, staring down at a crowd of about 40, an odd mixture of protesters, journalists and protester-journalists. Earlier in the afternoon, well over a thousand people marched from the Western District police station to City Hall to protest the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man whose spinal cord was severely injured while he was in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department. Only a handful of live-streamers, an older man in a kente-cloth kufi, five or six teenagers with bandannas drawn across their faces and two young women in cocktail attire who had just been kicked out of a wedding were left. Each person was filming the police.

Portraits of lesbian families in the Deep South.

Buzzfeed has a great list of Asian American writers to read.

Air ambulances are well and good until the bill comes.


Drone vandalism.

An oral history of Redman’s iconic episode of MTV Cribs.

On the black upper class.

Are We Rich?

Mother raises those plucked, deep-toned eyebrows that did such excellent expressive work for women in the 1950s. Lift the penciled arch by three to four millimeters for bemused doubt, blatant disdain, or disapproval just playful enough to lure the speaker into more error. Mother’s lips form a small, cool smile that mirrors her eyebrow arch. She places a small, emphatic space between each word:Are. We. Rich? Then she adds, with a hint of weariness: Why do you ask?

I ask because I had been told that day. Your family must be rich. A schoolmate had told me and I’d faltered, with no answer, flattered and ashamed to be. We were supposed to eschew petty snobberies at the University of Chicago Laboratory School: intellectual superiority was our task. Other fathers were doctors. Other mothers dressed well and drove stylish cars. Wondering what had stirred that question left me anxious and a little queasy.

Here is a review of Shanna Mahin’s Oh! You Pretty Things. Can’t wait to read this one.

Lauryn Hill, slaying acoustically.

A selection of stories from writers of color.

Poet Jericho Brown has words for Wolf Blitzer on how not to interview black people about police brutality.

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