I find it hard to work on Friday nights. So I’ve been reading through magazines that I either subscribe to or bought in the book store (Also spotted at the book store: What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast! See picture). A few bits of information, and thoughts to contemplate, that I’ve picked up:
*I have no desire to run a Beer Mile. Runner’s World documented this strange competition, which involves chugging a beer, then running 400 yards, then repeating this three times, so you’ve chugged 4 beers and run a mile. A gentleman managed to pull off this feat in less than 5 minutes recently, which is certainly remarkable, but I just can’t shake the question of…why? Beer is pleasant. Running is pleasant. A beer after a run is pleasant. A beer before and in the middle of a run…not so much.
*While driving in rural Pennsylvania last weekend, we passed a venue with a sign out front saying that Bill Cosby was doing a show that night. Bill Cosby?? So I was intrigued to learn in a New Yorker story that Cosby has been touring what are called “tertiary markets,” like in this small town in Pennsylvania where you would not expect to see him. Again, why? It’s an intriguing question, and the article probed various aspects of the personality of a man who can be the lovable Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable on one hand, and accused of sexual assault, on the other (not to mention the pound cake speech).
*The New Yorker also covered efforts to unionize fast food workers and raise wages. In a story called “Dignity,” the lead character, Arisleyda Tapia, works at an uptown McDonald’s for a little north of $8/hour. But what’s most interesting to me is that there is a subplot of her trying to get admission for her daughter to the Washington Heights Success Academy, a charter school that is, as writer William Finnegan said, “a high-powered bête noire of New York’s teachers’ union.” Like many charters, it isn’t unionized, and advocates believe the ability to freely hire and dismiss teachers may be part of why schools like the various Success Academies produce great results (the whole charter picture is mixed, but the Success Academies are part of a high-performing school network). Obviously, in both situations, our heroine wants what will improve her life: better pay and working conditions for her, and also an excellent school for her daughter. But it is interesting to think about the role unionization plays in both these situations. It was too much of a discussion to go into in the story itself, I suppose, but I keep thinking about the juxtaposition.
*Martha Stewart is totally into Halloween. The October issue of Martha Stewart Living has a whole special section devoted to the holiday, with an incredibly creepy photo of Martha on the cover. More curiously, though, there’s another section in which Stewart talks about the care of her clothes. She stresses that she does not have a full-time wardrobe person, and that it is very important to her that her clothes be on the exact right hangers. I sometimes wonder how Stewart goes through life, trying to control so much herself and yet be as busy as she is. I guess this is why she claims to sleep 4-5 hours/night.