Tag Archives: freakonomics blog

Friday Pix: Recommended Reading For The Weekend

Every Friday I point you towards some recommended reading around the blogosphere:

1. We’ve got lots of fun and lovely fare this week on Friday Pix and what better way to kick it off than with a video from paris (im)perfect on How to fake French? Love it.

2. Oh, McSweeney’s! You really are too clever by half. Here’s the extremely witty, extremely meta personal essay by personal essay (by Christy Vannoy). Wish I’d thunk a that mee-self. (Hat tip: Lisa Romeo Writes)

3. The classiest “I just got sacked” letter ever written goes to J.Hoberman, former film critic for The Village Voice, who was shown his way out of the building after 34 years. (Hat tip: Freakonomics)

4. Because I linked last week to Shit White Girls Say…To Black Girls, I just had to follow it up with Shit Christians Say To Jews. I’m not even Jewish and I’ve heard half of these.

5. Finally, I absolutely adore the Doodling in Math Class videos on The Boston Globe’s Brainiac blog. Fab!


Have a great weekend!

Friday Pix: Recommended Reading For The Weekend

Every Friday I point you towards some recommended reading around the blogosphere:


1. The Freakonomics blog has a Q and A with political economist Tim Groseclose about his new book on media bias, Left Turn. Fascinating.

2. Love this post by Erin McKean in The Boston Globe Ideas section on collecting new words.

3. Writers will also enjoy Becky Tuch’s list of 200 questions writers ask themselves before lunch at Beyond The Margins. Sounds about right to me.

4. As she pursues her goal of raising $50,000 in fifty days to help support the Los Angeles non-profit WriteGirl, Communicatrix serenades us with a (dirty) song. Warning: Not Suitable For Work.

5. Scary Mommy tells us what search terms people have been using to find her blog. Hilarious. (Hat tip: @clevertitleTK)

6. Finally, after the week we’ve just had in London, I think we all need to hit this magic button.


Have a great weekend!

Friday Pix: Recommended Reading For The Weekend

Every Friday I point you towards some recommended reading around the blogosphere:

1. Over on The Browser, NYU Journalism Prof Jay Rosen talks about how the internet has changed journalism. A terrific and informative read.

2. Fans of The Office (British version) will want to read Ricky Gervais’ account on the Huffington Post of why his character David Brent really is a good guy.

3. And speaking of Britain, the BBC News Magazine published a (user-generated) list of 50 Americanisms seeping into English English.

4. Meanwhile, back in America, Inhale to Prepare talks about how her summer vacation in the U.S. made her think (again) about the pros and cons of living in the U.S. vs. the U.K. (A subject near and dear to my own heart.)

5. Love Sarah Hall’s list of questions we wish were appropriate to ask on a first date over on Jezebel.

6. You may never eat salad again after reading this post on Freakonomics. (Note: it is imperative that you both look at  the photos of said incident *and* read the comments.)

7. Out of Christmas present ideas for your kids? Try a Baby Voldemort doll.


Have a great weekend!


Tips For Adulthood: Five Signs You're Working Too Hard

Every Wednesday I offer tips for adulthood.

Sometimes it’s the off-hand comment that really gets you thinking.

So there I was in the playground yesterday, about to pick my daughter up from school, when I started talking to a friend who was also waiting for her son. We were midway into a vague, “How’s it goin’?” sort of chat, when she suddenly commented, seemingly out of nowhere: “You seem so busy. Do you ever eat lunch?”

I laughed, reassuring her that I did, even while suppressing the memory of stuffing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich into my mouth but two hours earlier as I galloped up a hill towards a bi-monthly appointment with my life coach (whom I see to help me…relax.)

But it gets better. As we talked some more about my work schedule, my double-school-run-afternoons and my husband’s recent business travel, she asked – in all seriousness – “Do you ever watch TV?”

She meant it in the nicest way, of course. She’s a really nice person. But, still, it cut me like a knife.

I mean: Do I ever watch TV? Am I so busy that the image I now project is that of a pop-culture-bereft, ready-meal-popping freak show who zips around North London on her collapsible bicycle desperately trying to keep up with her life? (Don’t answer that question. And by the way, does falling asleep to the Director’s Cut of Pride and Prejudice count as “watching TV”?)

So I gave it some thought. And I realized that I have been working too hard lately and trying to do too much. And I really need to relax. Here are five other tell-tale signs that you need to take a break:

1. Strangers tell you that you look rushed. It’s one thing when a friend tells you that you seem over-worked. But when even a stranger expresses concern that you’re too busy, it’s really time to take note. I was in the pharmacy the other day – where, because of the multitude of medical problems afflicting my family – the pharmacists are basically my extended family. Again, seemingly out of nowhere, the owner of the shop stepped forward and observed: “You always seem to be in a rush.” (“Why do you say that?” I wanted to reply. “Because I just knocked 42 of your contact lens solutions on the floor when I whooshed in here to grab my prescription while – literally – jogging?”) Once again, she meant it in the nicest way. This lady brings the descriptor “kindly” to a whole new level. And that made her remark all the more telling.

2. Muscle pain migrates to new corners of your body. Remember my piriformis syndrome? Thought I had that licked, didn’t you? Nope. It’s back. Only it has inexplicably migrated to the left side of my body. As soon as the pain started about six weeks ago, I recognized the symptoms instantly. And for a while, I ignored it. (Even though you should never ignore pain. You heard it here first.) But you know it’s time to cut back on what you’re doing when your body is basically screaming: “Hey! Pay Attention to Me!”

3. You feel relieved when you *have* to read your favorite magazine. I love The New Yorker. But despite my Sabbath Saturday resolve to devote more time to reading this magazine, I’ve fallen off the wagon. There are three – quite possibly, four – issues sitting in my magazine rack as we speak. One day last week, I found myself waiting for one of my kids for an hour with nothing to do but read my New Yorker. And I felt…relieved. As in: “Thank goodness this hour presented itself miraculously in my life!” Not as in: “Gee, I love the New Yorker and I think I’ll spend an hour reading it this afternoon because I want to.” What’s wrong with this picture?

4. You mistake tragedy for comedy. I love Indie films. The bleaker, the better. So when I recommended Winter’s Bone to some friends recently, I was puzzled when one of them, while passing me on the school run, shouted out: “Hey, thanks for the movie recommendation. We had a lovely evening. But it was a bit…grim, no?” To which I responded: “Grim? Really? I found it kind of uplifting.” When I recounted this exchange to my husband later that evening, he looked at me as if I were smoking crack. Like me, he also loved the movie. But “uplifting”? To paraphrase his reaction, when you mix poverty, drugs, murder and rural American sub-cultures, that’s not generally characterized as “uplifting.” Just sayin’.

5. You read Nora Ephron. I like my books much like I prefer my movies: heavy and (often) dark. (For me, the Dragon Tattoo series constitutes “light.”) So when my book club chose Nora Ephron’s Heartburn as its selection this month, I was initially disappointed. Not my cuppa, as they say. Boy, was I wrong. It’s not a great novel by any stretch. In fact, it’s not so much a novel as an extended rant by Ephron against her ex-husband for cheating on her when she was seven months pregnant. (And who can blame her?) But, man is Ephron funny. She has a terrific voice. And sometimes, we all just need to laugh.

Fortunately, I will have a chance to take a break later this month when I travel with my family – and my mother – to Berlin, one of those European cities I’ve always wanted to visit. Let’s just hope that whole terrorist threat thing has lifted by then. Speaking of grim…


I was very grateful for this shout-out on the New York Times Freakonomics blog for my recent piece on health care reform in the U.K.

Image: Eat On The Run by Brave Heart via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

Add to FacebookAdd to NewsvineAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Furl