• Image for Why I’m Grateful for the NYPD this Thanksgiving

    Thu. November 26

    Why I’m Grateful for the NYPD this Thanksgiving

    Jessica Jacobs

    At 10:35 a.m. I made the switch from the 1 train to the B at Columbus Circle. At 10:38 a.m. a pickpocket stuck their hand into my handbag and nicked my wallet. By 10:50, I despaired at the key card entrance to my office and cursed Mayor de Blasio’s New York while the thief had already charged a $117 monthly Metrocard to my debit account and passed the remaining $150 cash on to an accomplice. Thirty minutes later, an officer from the New York Police Department sent me a message on Facebook that the NYPD had my wallet and would I kindly report to Columbus Circle to collect it.

    How did they manage to find it so quickly?

    A detective had watched a woman fiddle with a wallet at a Metrocard vending machine, observed her swipe multiple cards and take out a driver’s license to use the zip code. He apprehended the thief,…

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  • Man using a key card to enter a hotel room.

    Wed. November 25

    The Life-Changing Magic of a Holiday Hotel Room

    Mark Judge

    If things get too intense, depressing, or crazy while you’re visiting family this holiday season, should you consider staying in a hotel?

    No. You should decide to stay in a hotel before you pack your bags and get on the plane. Booking a hotel room before walking into the emotional haymaker of the holidays is like bringing a warm winter coat. It should just be part of your routine. Having an escape hatch during the most wonderful time of the year can save your mind and soul.

    Traditionally hotels have been a last resort for the holiday season. They are a decompression chamber for use only in an extreme emergency—a judgmental relative brings up your painful past, Uncle Bob is so hammered he’s crashed in your old bedroom, there’s a political fight that goes to DEFCON 1. The announcement that “We’re going to a hotel!” is usually a signal…

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    Wed. November 25

    Can My Boyfriend Share My Room at My Parents’ House?

    Chelsea Samelson

    This week for Thanksgiving and again next month for Christmas and Hanukkah, millions of Millennials will take to trains, planes, and automobiles to travel home for the holidays. Some of them will be bringing their boyfriend or girlfriend with them. But for some of these lovebirds, this will cause problems—bedroom problems.

    To share a room or not to share a room? That is the question, one generally reserved for the parents to answer at their own discretion. For the most part, the “my house, my rules” saying still stands. Across the country, rules regarding sleeping arrangements for unmarried couples vary widely and for many reasons.

    Some parents have no qualms about showing their college-or-older-aged children and their lover to the same bedroom. Maybe these folks just don’t want to tell their kids what to do anymore, maybe they just assume the couple is sleeping together anyway, and maybe they…

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  • Beasts-of-No-Nation

    Wed. November 25

    War, Forgiveness, and Hope in ‘Beasts of No Nation’

    Mark Tapson

    Despite all the recent talk in the news of the refugees from civil war-torn Syria, it’s easy to lose sight of the reality of war for those squeezed most helplessly in the vice of its implacable brutality: children. It sometimes takes art, not news reports, to convey the havoc that war can wreak on the stability of family, community, and faith, not to mention the innocence of childhood.

    Last month Netflix premiered an extraordinary original film, Beasts of No Nation, from filmmaker Cary Joji Fukunaga. Based on a book by young Nigerian novelist Uzodinma Iweala, it features stunning, Oscar-worthy performances by Abraham Attah as the preadolescent protagonist Agu, and by Idris Elba as a rebel warlord and the father figure to the boy soldiers in his charge. It also captures for an American audience a real-life tragedy that none of us can imagine: the horrific experiences of African child soldiers.

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  • bedford-stop

    Tue. November 24

    Are These Women the Most Loathsome Reality TV Stars on Earth?

    Suzanna Heldring

    The Bedford Stop is a new low-budget reality YouTube series documenting the lives of a group friends in their twenties living in the trendy neighborhood of North Williamsburg, Brooklyn, right off the much sought after Bedford L subway stop. It’s tagline is “a reality show about Brooklyn girls avoiding reality” and the show encompasses everything that’s wrong with Millennials and their infiltration of Williamsburg and social media. Upon its release, it quickly went viral and was torn apart by pretty much everyone.

    So naturally, I had to watch it.

    Before even starting the first webisode, I was turned off by the title: “Tinder Me Softly.” Is that meant to be a play on words? It comes across as a weak attempt at a pop culture pun and frankly just makes me uncomfortable. After watching the first webisode (which I only barely made it through without pulling my hair…

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    Culture, Television

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    Tue. November 24

    An Interview with Novelist Thomas Mallon

    Abby W. Schachter

    “I’m willing to stand in line for my freedom,” declares Anders Little in Finale, the newest novel by Thomas Mallon. Little is a mid-level bureaucrat at the National Security Council in this fictionalized account of the second year of President Reagan’s second term. As a believer in both President Reagan’s and former UN Ambassador Jeanne Kirkpatrick’s anti-Communism, Little serves as the gay author’s spokesman by expressing Mallon’s own values—in this case, an understanding that people suffering under the totalitarian boot of the Soviet State deserved their freedom and civil liberties long before homosexuals in the United States. This is one reason reading Mallon’s political novels is so compelling and entertaining. He’s a great storyteller who isn’t a predictably knee-jerk liberal and he’s more interested in exploring complex human relations than he is about politics.

    When I interviewed Mallon by…

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    Books, Culture

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    Mon. November 23

    Does ‘Downton Abbey’ Have a Problem with Christians?

    Julia Dent

    As a history nerd, I find joy in pointing out historical inaccuracies in TV shows and movies (Vikings did NOT burn their dead in boats on the water). So I was impressed when the last few seasons of PBS’ Downton Abbey offered a reasonably accurate representation of the 1910s and 1920s, with its major events and newfangled inventions. But there is one major aspect of life the show left out: Christianity.

    As a recent article in the Telegraph noted, the exclusion was not accidental; the show’s producers purposely left Christianity out “for fear of alienating an increasingly atheistic public.” Alastair Bruce, the historical advisor to the show, said executives were ordered to omit religious themes. “We never see the beginning of a luncheon or a dinner, because no one was ever allowed to see a grace being said, and I would never allow them to sit down without having said…

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  • Working Mother Dropping Child Off At Nursery

    Mon. November 23

    How Soon is Too Soon for a Mother to go Back to Work?

    Carrie Lukas

    A heart-broken mother whose infant son died on his first day at daycare is asking a poignant question: Why did she have to leave him so soon?

    Amber Scorah’s moving New York’s Times essay details the circumstances that led her to drop off her son Karl at a New York City daycare center when he was three months old. Her son’s health insurance was tied to her employer, which offered a relatively generous three-month paid leave benefit but had no provision for extending her absence further. Amber worried she wouldn’t be able to find another job if she quit her current, hard-won position, and the couple couldn’t make ends meet without her partner’s salary.

    The anguished mother explains that, of course, none of these sober financial considerations would have mattered if she had any inkling that her son’s life could be at stake. She…

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  • NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 17:  Gwen Stefani debuts her newest single "Used To Love You" during her performance presented by MasterCard exclusively for its cardholders at Hammerstein Ballroom at the Manhattan Center on October 17, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for MasterCard)

    Mon. November 23

    Gwen Stefani: Another “Wronged” Celebrity Getting Her Revenge?

    Ashley E. McGuire

    Upon first hearing about pop music uber-couple Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale’s split (and despite the curse of celebrity marriage that insists that even the healthy ones eventually fail), I felt sad. Upon hearing rumors that Gavin Rossdale pulled another seemingly inevitable move in Celebrityland, namely, sleeping with the nanny, I felt even worse.

    But after being force-fed Gwen Stefani’s girl-power divorce anthem, which radio stations have been playing on an endless loop for weeks, I’ve had it.

    Is it now considered totally passé to show any sense of sobriety about a divorce? “I Used to Love You,” Stefani’s new song—was released with record speed. En route to do errands, I heard Ryan Seacrest interview a tearful Stefani on the radio. Before I even had a chance to find a space in the Target parking lot, I hear her crooning, “I don’t know why I used to love you,” about her…

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    Celebrities, Music

  • Image for Will Sex Strikes Solve Anything?

    Fri. November 20

    Will Sex Strikes Solve Anything?

    Chelsea Samelson


    “Make love, not war.” We’ve heard this phrase for decades now from peace-loving hippies who see sex, love, and hugs as the answer to humanity’s never-ending problem of bloodshed and violence.

    One Chicago woman is putting a slight spin on the saying and promoting a message of her own: “Don’t make love in order to stop the war.” Meet April Lawson, the woman organizing a sex strike to stem Chicago’s shooting violence.

    Fed up with the increasing gang violence in her city that recently claimed the life of an innocent 9-year-old boy, Lawson hopes to organize and enlist thousands of Windy City wives and girlfriends to boycott the bedroom until their men put down their weapons. As she says, “You have to hit people where it hurts.” No peace? No pleasure.

    Her idea has made national news, but it’s not exactly new. She may have…

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