new york times

Insights into life in solitary and one man’s first taste of freedom

Insights into life in solitary and one man’s first taste of freedom

“I feel like I am developing some kind of skitsophrinia behaviors,” reads one letter. “I hear voices echoing as I try to fall asleep.” That’s how one New York prisoner describes his lengthy experience directly from solitary confinement. The New York Times took a look at some of the letters to the New York Civil Liberties Union from more than 100 prisoners who spend 23 hours a day in elevator-sized cells. The correspondance is part of the NYCLU’s efforts to change the laws around solitary confinement. New York is one of the few states that has not wavered from extensive use of solitary in its prisons.

Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline: the facts deserve repeating

Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline: the facts deserve repeating

Joe Nocera’s

Secrets buried within "A Christmas Carol"

Secrets buried within "A Christmas Carol"

A few years ago, the Morgan Museum and Library, which owns the 68-page manuscript of Charles Dickens’ classic tale “A Christmas Carol,” let the New York Times scan all the hand-scribbled, 168-year-old pages and post them online. The Times then challenged its readers to scour through the digital pages of this manuscript for which Dickens apparently “made no working notes, outline, plans, or preliminary drafts” (brave man!), and unlock mysteries buried within his edits.

What if your sex ed teacher actually wanted you to enjoy sex?

What if your sex ed teacher actually wanted you to enjoy sex?

We were big fans of Laurie Abraham even before she stopped by our book club and drank red wine with us while we interrogated her about her book, The Husbands and Wives Club: A Year in the Life of a Couples’ Therapy Group. She’s a smart and thoughtful (and funny) writer about some of our favorite topics: sex, relationships, therapy, communication between the sexes, monogamy and its discontents. So we were thrilled to see her cover story in last week’s New York Times Magazine, on another of our favorite topics: sex ed (and not the abstinence-only kind, thank you very much)…

How Will Shortz edits a "New York Times" crossword

How Will Shortz edits a "New York Times" crossword

Will Shortz, the editor of The New York Times crosswords since 1993, explains his thought process behind editing a crossword, using a submission by crossword veteran Elizabeth Gorski as an example. Aside from holding one of the most interesting jobs in the world, his background is unsurprisingly also super fascinating: he’s believed to be the world’s only known person to hold a degree in enigmatology, which he received from Indiana University. This piece is a real treat for all you fans of crosswords, especially of The New York Times editions.

That Weiner-Spitzer-Clinton Look

That Weiner-Spitzer-Clinton Look

On Thursday June 16, Representative Anthony D. Weiner resigned following “revelations of his lewd online exchanges with women.” In the firestorm leading up to this decision, the NY Times analyzed the now-familiar above pictured emotion expressed by politicians at their mea culpa.

PHOTOGRAPHY – looking at Libya and why combat photographers risk it all

PHOTOGRAPHY – looking at Libya and why combat photographers risk it all

Joao Silva is recuperating at Walter Reed hospital after a land mine exploded under him in Afghanistan while he was taking photographs for The Times.
In light of the recent tragedies in Libya involving combat photographers Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington, New York Times executive editor Bill Keller met with Times photojournalists Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva about their motivation for working under extremely dangerous conditions. Marinovich and Silva are co-authors of The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War, a book documenting their experiences of apartheid in South Africa. Keller and Marinovich met Silva in the hospital where he’s recovering from extensive bodily damage sustained during his most recent trip to Libya. He’s undergoing rehab after a series of invasive surgeries as well as physical therapy for prosthetic limbs. Still, after all the trauma he has suffered, including the loss of friends and fellow photographers, Silva insists he’d rather be back in Libya. “I wish I was in Libya right now,” he told Keller. “Yeah, without a doubt.”

When the taxman meets the Easter bunny

When the taxman meets the Easter bunny

The latest topical gem from Christoph Niemann’s “Abstract Sunday” comments on that time of the year that kids really enjoy (chocolates! candy! painting eggs!) and some adults dread (taxman cometh!).

Putting Emphas.is on documentary photography

Putting Emphas.is on documentary photography

Photograph by Karim Ben Khelifa, taken in Rafah
(Click to the end for more of his work)
Documentary photography has, in recent years, found an uncomfortable home amongst the ‘noble arts’ – noble because photojournalists, like artists, musicians and writers, are finding contract (aka paid) assignments few and far between. Karim Ben Khelifa is one such photojournalist. For the last twelve years he’s traveled the world, mainly the Middle East, documenting the war in Kosovo and Iraq as well as struggles in Yemen, Egypt and Palestine, to name just a few. But even with a portfolio that would easily impress any news outlet, Ben Khelifa was still having a difficult time securing backing for his work. As he watched one project after the next remain unfinished due to a lack of funding, he grew frustrated and decided to take matters into his own hands.

Pick Your Cupid

Pick Your Cupid

“Pick Your Cupid” is a Valentine’s Day appropriate witty graphic piece in the New York Times from a SUNfiltered favorite Ji Lee (previously). Click on the image above to enlarge.

From science fiction to New York Times limericist

From science fiction to New York Times limericist

One of my favorite small little surprises in life (yes, it doesn’t take much…) is when I’m reading the New York Times online and I come across one of Larry Eisenberg’s limericks left in the comments box of an article. Today 91 years old, Mr. Eisenberg is a published science fiction writer who gained some fame in the 1970s for his stories. A few years ago readers of the Times started noticing humorous and witty limericks left by a “Larry Eisenberg” that started gaining a cult following from people like myself. It turns out this Larry and the science fiction writer are the same. Today I was reading this Times piece on dogs in schools and enjoyed a little spark of joy at seeing a new limerick from Mr. Eisenberg:
As a long time Dog lover, I say,
Dogs better us, ev’ry which way,
In love, loyalty,
Between you and me,
On Campus Dogs should win the day!
The SF Signal interviewed him a couple years ago:

Getting laid, 19th-century style

Getting laid, 19th-century style

An ad from “The Gentleman’s Directory” for French Imported Male Safes, aka condoms.
Measuring under 5″ tall – small enough for a man to slip discreetly into his breast pocket – “The Gentleman’s Directory” was an invaluable resource for a man looking for a certain kind of evening entertainment in 1870. The 55-page guide book reviewed 150 New York City brothels and was sold at newsstands amongst the newspapers and magazines of the day. How did the authors get away with this, especially since prostitution was just as illegal then as it is now? This side note on page three may have been what relinquished the book’s publisher from any wrongdoing:

“But we point out the location of these places in order that the reader may know how to avoid them, and that he may not select one of them for his boarding house when he comes to the city. Our book will, therefore, be like a warning voice to the unwary – like a buoy attached to a sunken rock, which warns the inexperienced mariner to sheer off, lest he should be wrested on a dangerous and unknown coast.”

"Let it Dough!"

"Let it Dough!"

Christoph Niemann, a SUNfiltered favorite around these parts, is back with “Let It Dough,” a new amusing tale for the holidays in this Abstract City blog in the New York Times.

Interactive: Gloves of the World Series

Interactive: Gloves of the World Series

The New York Times has an interesting interactive photo website of various fielders gloves from past World Series. Hover over any portion of a mitt to see a close up of that section. Above is Babe Ruth’s mitt from 1926. [ Editorializing alert] Go Giants!

Casa Susanna

Casa Susanna

As I wrote in my previous post today, it is Pride ladies and gentlemen! Gay Pride in NYC means, if you’re lucky enough, getting invited to the Mayor’s house, Gracie Mansion, for a big gay BBQ. Now mind you, Bloomberg does NOT live there. Why would he? He’s so rich he can live somewhere nicer…

More White Noise from the Narcissist Generation

More White Noise from the Narcissist Generation

Lady Bunny — Photo by Charles Eshelman/Getty Images I spent much of last week in three inches of make-up doing my best Lady Bunny impersonation. No, really. I ended up doing LXTV, Joy Behar, Fox Business, etc. and it’s amazing how much make-up they put on a person just so they are “TV ready.” It’s…

Mini modern dollhouses

Mini modern dollhouses

We gays love modern furniture. Pop into any Design Within Reach and you’ll see. Take a trip to Palm Springs. Trust me. And, no big surprise here, we love a dollhouse too. So you know I was freaking out last week when I read this New York Times article on modern dollhouses. The replicas are…

2009: The Year in Pictures

2009: The Year in Pictures

Two were killed from the explosion of a homemade bomb in Helman Province, Afghanistan.

These last few days of 2009 seem jam packed with “Top Ten” lists. The Top Ten best movies and the Top Ten worst. The Top Ten breakout designs and their designers. The Top Ten most shocking celebrity moments. The Top Ten best commercials, best albums, best nose jobs – the lists only gets more inane. Who decided on ten anyway? When we’re talking about the year in general, ten just doesn’t cut it. To spare you yet another numbered list, the New York Times recently published “2009: The Year in Pictures,” because sometimes words just aren’t enough. Take a minute to scroll through the significant moments from this past year.

21 years later: Erasure's The Innocents

21 years later: Erasure's The Innocents

The duo of Andy Bell and Vince Clarke have been making techno-pop for decades now. Formed in the mid-80s after Clarke’s successful turns in both Depeche Mode and Yaz, Erasure never quite got the respect they deserved. Which is odd for a band that has scored multi-platinum albums on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Hetero-normalizing of art giants

The Hetero-normalizing of art giants

Modern Art Notes, Tyler Green’s modern & contemporary art blog, has an interesting post about some seemingly glaring omissions in the mainstream press regarding the sexuality of some of the world’s most famous artists. First noting that most obituaries of Robert Rauschenberg omitted the fact that he was gay when the artist died last May, Green goes…

NY Post: Today more phony than normal

NY Post: Today more phony than normal

As I walked south on Sixth Avenue this morning, like any thinking person, I declined two different people’s attempts to give me a free copy of the New York Post. Not really my kind of paper. It wasn’t until I got comfortable at my desk and read the day’s news, online natch, that I realized…

Mexico: A nation of world records

Mexico: A nation of world records

Our neighbor to the south, Mexico, has an unquenchable thirst for world records. The New York Times recently composed this slide show documenting some of their ridiculous feats. 13,000 people dancing in the streets recreating a Michael Jackson video? In Mexico. The world’s largest meatballs and cheesecakes? Baked in Mexico. And the biggest pair of…

Design in the way

Design in the way

Michael Bierut over at Design Observer has written a great essay about NYC’s Times Square and the recent purchase by the city of 376 lawn chairs. The chairs were a hit with tourists, but not with design snobs and were quickly replaced to more tasteful chairs. But are the people sitting on these new chairs…

Doctored images in the age before Photoshop

Doctored images in the age before Photoshop

The New York Times ran a slide show the other day featuring famous doctored photos from the past.  In the age of image manipulation and Photoshop it is interesting to see that images have been manipulated since day one.  Said Hany Farid, a professor of computer science at Dartmouth University and a detective of photographic fakery: “The…

Beef on the internet

Beef on the internet

The New York Times today ran an interesting story on an old topic: beef between rappers in the hip-hop community. The article focuses on Joe Budden, a new school rapper, and Raekwon, a 90s rap relic, famous for being a member of Wu-Tang Clan. Budden has built a following, and a means of attack, via the…