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Breaking New

An ‘Old Men’s Club’ Dominates Japan. The Young Just Put Them on Notice.


Other efforts to harness online platforms to force social change have not yielded widespread results in Japan. Yumi Ishikawa, a Japanese model, actress and temp worker, led a viral social media campaign two years ago calling for an end to requirements by employers that female workers wear high heels. The Labor Ministry acknowledged that it needed to “raise awareness” of the issue, and a few employers relaxed some dress codes, but many women still feel compelled to wear heels — and skirts — to the office.

To a certain extent, demography dictates the hegemony of the old in Japan. More than a quarter of the population is 65 or older, the highest proportion in the world. Japanese tend to live longer and in better health than many people elsewhere, and the media is filled with examples of vibrant craftspeople who remain active well into their seventh and eighth decades. But at times, outdated values of the older generation prevail.

And while age in many cases brings with it valuable experience, in Japan it’s often the credential that outweighs all others.

“Seniority and age is still more important than ability,” said Jesper Koll, a senior adviser to the investment firm WisdomTree who has lived in Japan for more than three decades. “Japan is the world champion of pulling rank on you, and rank is not ability, but predominantly just age.”

The seniority system endures in part because it provides a sense of security. Workers know the path forward, and the values are inculcated well before they enter the work force, with hierarchies enforced even among children.

“When I was in school, I heard that if you listen to your older sempai now, then when you become a sempai, people will have to listen to you,” said Ryutaro Yoshioka, 27, using the word for older mentors. Similarly, in the workplace, Mr. Yoshioka said, employees who “stay in the company will eventually rise up.”



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Dining News

Join Eater Wine Club: A Monthly Wine Subscription Selected by Restaurant Industry Pros


One of the things we love most about food is wine. Specifically, the wine you get to drink while dining out at your favorite restaurant, be it your go-to local joint or the fanciest place in town. This is wine selected by someone who knows what they’re doing — a professional who understands how to decode a label and what kind of grapes will make your food taste that much better. So what if, we wondered, we made it possible to experience that kind of hospitality right at home?

Get to know Eater Wine Club, a monthly wine subscription box. Our extensive network of local editors have teamed up with sommeliers and beverage directors from some of our favorite restaurants, bars, and shops across the country to curate a new experience each month, with ever-changing themes and bottles (two or four per box, your choice!) and plenty of perks. Sign up and you’ll get a box full of surprising and highly drinkable wines on your doorstep every month, plus an exclusive newsletter and an invite to our monthly wine party.

For March 2021, our wine curator is Rania Zayyat, the Texas-based wine director behind East Austin’s Bufalina. Rania’s theme is inspired by the wanderlust we all may be feeling these days, especially with winter still upon us: island wines from the Mediterranean and Aegean seas.

So join the club and invite your friends — from the one who geeks out over cool labels and funky tastes to the one who just wants you to hand them a glass of something delicious that’ll make their food pop. Sign up for Eater Wine Club here — we’ll see you at the party.



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Dining News

American Airlines Launches Airplane Wine Club


Of all the things we miss about travel, the act of flying might be low on the list. After all, most of us have been channeling that whole “long haul flight vibe” just fine over the last 10 months: Stuck in one place with no sense of time, wearing comfortable pants, working your way through the robust Katherine Heigl film catalog before passing out in the same crumb-covered spot you ate dinner in an hour before. Some days I swear I’ll wake up in Paris.

But there’s one element of air travel that you probably haven’t been able to get during the pandemic, one that you might — well, somebody might — be missing: Airplane wine.

OK, let’s just pretend for a minute that this is true, that the only good thing about airplane wine isn’t that it’s sometimes free and does the trick of dulling your senses to the steel tube of chaos in which you sit. Even then, we’ve had no trouble finding our way to mediocre mass-market wine all on our own, without the added pleasure of a heavy bar cart slamming into our elbow.

But no matter! American Airlines has announced the launch of its first-ever at-home wine club anyway, which they’re somehow NOT calling American AirWines. The newly launched Flagship® Cellars wine experience, produced in partnership with Vinesse Wines, allows those nostalgic for the joys of warm cabernet to select from a “curated assortment of ultra-premium wines” from around the world, picked by an unnamed “Master Sommelier.” Anyone lucky enough to have traveled in American’s First Class cabin — and bored enough to look closely at a label of airplane wine — might already be familiar with some of the bottles on offer through Flagship, which are pulled from the stuff the airline usually pours in its upper classes.

The new at-home experience includes a flexible monthly subscription — three bottles for $99 — as well as a build-your-own-case option, both of which claim to offer high-quality wines at a savings. Current selections include a grand cuvee brut (NV Moutard Champagne, France ‘Grand Cuvee’ Brut) for $27, usually $40-ish; a sauvignon blanc from New Zealand (2019 Pounamu Marlborough, New Zealand ‘Special Selection’ Sauvignon Blanc) for $15.99, usually $24-ish; and an Oregon pinot (2015 Roserock Eola-Amity Hills ‘Drouhin’ Pinot Noir) for $27.99, usually $30-ish. There are mileage benefits, too, as customers earn two AAdvantage® mileage points for every dollar purchased — points that, these days, can be used on a whole lot more than air travel.

As others have pointed out, the move is likely less about sating the the unquenchable thirst of the #basic homebound traveler, and more about offloading unsold wine from the company cellars that are currently bursting — not to mention making a dent in the airline’s $3.2 billion dollars of lost revenue during the third quarter of 2020.

Listen, wine clubs are great. (Really, though.) They allow you to try wines you maybe wouldn’t select yourself, without having to make any decisions, go anywhere, or even remember that you need wine. It just ARRIVES. And truly, surprise booze is among life’s great pleasures. And while we may not have the best memories of in-flight quaffing, it might not be the wine’s fault. Altitude, air pressure, and lack of humidity are all known to drastically affect your sense of taste. That, and the fact that American Airlines has won kind of a lot of awards for its premium cabin wine program, means it might actually be worth a shot. Or, to quote the confident, hard sell language used in the airline’s own official press release, “Why not?” Now that’s the spirit.



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Entertaiment

Bow Wow Faces Coronavirus Backlash For Club Gig


“Y’all risking y’all lives for…BOW WOW?”

Bow Wow is facing a ton of backlash after videos of him performing at a packed nightclub were posted to social media.


Bryan Steffy / Getty Images

Bow Wow even shared footage of the packed club to his own Instagram story:

It wasn’t too long before Bow Wow himself got tweeting — once he’d woken up. In a series of now-deleted tweets, he wrote:


Go Nakamura / Getty Images

Welp, he certainly should have Bow-ed out of this one.

BuzzFeed Daily

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Health

MorseLife in West Palm Beach provided coronavirus vaccine to donors and country club members



MorseLife has made scarce coronavirus vaccines — provided through a federal program intended for residents and staff of long-term-care facilities — available not just to its residents but to board members and those who made generous donations to the facility, including members of the Palm Beach Country Club, according to multiple people who were offered access, some of whom accepted it. The precise number of invitations, and how many may have also gone to non-donors, could not be learned.

But the arrangement, in appearing to rely on a program run by chain pharmacies for nursing home residents and staff, may have violated national immunization guidelines, as well as state protocols, even though state officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity to address sensitive matters, acknowledged that the rules have not been spelled out clearly enough by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R). Vaccine doses are allocated to the state by the Trump administration but reserved for people living in long-term care facilities, who are at the highest risk of dying from covid-19.

The MorseLife episode highlights how the country’s patchwork approach to immunization against the coronavirus — leaving decisions about eligibility to state and local authorities as well as to individual providers — is creating opportunities for facilities to provide access to well-connected people while thousands of others wait in line. In Florida, some elderly residents have camped out overnight in hopes of receiving a shot.

Top health personnel in Palm Beach County did not authorize the vaccinations of nonresidents at MorseLife, according to a health official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not cleared to discuss the issue. The official was shocked to learn that members of the public, even those of advanced age, were given priority access to immunization at the facility, while others wait in line for appointments at sites set up by the county.

Myers did not respond to multiple requests for comment. An assistant who answered the phone at MorseLife on Tuesday afternoon said, “He has your message.”

UC Davis Health received its first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on December 15, with emergency department employees receiving the first doses. (The Washington Post)

The recipients of his largesse appear to include long-standing donors to the facility, a top-line senior center offering everything from independent-living arrangements to hospice care and promising “luxury, comfort and outstanding personal service.”

The foundation associated with the Palm Beach Country Club, some of whose members were immunized at MorseLife, has contributed $75,000 to MorseLife affiliates since 2016, tax filings show. And foundation chairman David S. Mack, a New Jersey-based real estate developer, is also a board member at multiple MorseLife affiliates. MorseLife Health System’s street address is named after him. Another street address on the campus is named for Greenbaum, who is also a board member of multiple affiliates, according to tax filings.

In a statement, a spokesman for Mack and his brother Bill, also a real estate mogul, said they had “assisted” MorseLife with its vaccination campaign. The spokesman, George Shea, said vaccinations were “conducted in full accordance” with an executive order issued by DeSantis, which says that shots may be given at this stage only to medical workers, residents and staff of long-term-care facilities, and adults 65 and older.

Shea did not respond to follow-up questions about how the Macks assisted the effort, or whether they had received shots there.

State Rep. Omari Hardy (D), who represents the section of West Palm Beach that includes MorseLife, said the facility appeared to be “selling access to this vaccine.” He said it was unimportant that recipients may have fallen within the age group eligible to be immunized because they were taking advantage of a process “unavailable to the rest of us,” including one of his elderly constituents “who doesn’t know many powerful people, who doesn’t have a lot of money, and she’s asking me how she can get access.”

“And I don’t know what to tell her,” Hardy said. “So if MorseLife is giving this vaccine away to the well-connected, they need to be held accountable for that.”

Florida’s Agency For Health Care Administration, which licenses nursing homes and other health-care facilities in the state, directed questions from The Washington Post to the state health department and the division of emergency management. The state health department directed questions to the county, where officials did not immediately respond.

David Grabowski, a Harvard Medical School professor and nursing home researcher, called the vaccination of donors and facility board members “irregular.”

“That certainly sounds inconsistent with what CDC and other administration officials had in mind for prioritizing residents and caregivers of nursing homes,” he said. “There’s a reason nursing home residents were prioritized” over the general population of seniors, “based on their physical and cognitive impairments,” he said.

Robert Fromer, the former managing partner of a New York City law firm whose family foundation has donated $45,000 to MorseLife since 2015, said he and his wife received shots at MorseLife last week.

He estimated that about 12 vaccinators from Walgreens were on site, and he praised the event as well-run. “All I heard from the people who were there was that it was remarkably appreciated,” he said in a brief phone interview on Monday.

Fromer is a member of the Palm Beach Country Club, as well as a director of its philanthropic arm that donates to various causes. He said only a small number of the country club’s approximately 300 members were among those receiving vaccinations. When asked if members of the country club, which used to include disgraced financier Bernie Madoff, were given preference over others, he said: “Nothing could be farther from the truth.”

He said he and his wife, both in their 80s, “applied” to get immunized and were accepted, but he declined to elaborate on the process. He insisted the shots administered by MorseLife were not strictly for the long-term-care facility’s residents, but for any older residents of West Palm Beach. The health official in Palm Beach County, however, said members of the general public were not able to sign up at MorseLife.

Suzanne Levine, 80, a board member of three MorseLife-affiliated entities, said her invitation had come in writing — also from Myers. She had heard complaints from donors that powerful people unaffiliated with MorseLife had received vaccines, she said.

“I heard some people say, ‘My goodness, people who never gave a dime to MorseLife got invited,’” she said. When asked how those people got invited, Levine said: “Friends.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in outlining the program for long-term care facilities, was explicit that chain pharmacies would be responsible only for “residents and staff” at these centers. The initiative was not set up for the chain pharmacies to carry out additional immunization at the sites, according to a federal health official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to address sensitive matters.

Physicians and health officials said the arrangement at MorseLife appeared to be at odds with those protocols.

“The allocation comes with the caveat of following the guidelines,” said Larry Bush, an infectious-disease doctor and president of the Palm Beach County Medical Society.

In Florida, as in most places, a portion of the state’s weekly allocation is set aside for CVS and Walgreens to carry out vaccinations at long-term-care facilities. The state sends the remainder of its allotment to hospitals and county health departments, with additional vaccination sites soon to be identified.

Hospitals have primarily been inoculating their own staff, under the governor’s phased guidelines that provided first for medical workers and residents of nursing homes. When the state moved at the end of December into the second phase, which includes adults 65 and older, county health departments began administering the vaccine to the general public.

In Palm Beach County and elsewhere, that process has been highly chaotic. The county’s phone-based request system was so overwhelmed that it “absolutely died on us,” Alina Alonso, the health director in Palm Beach County, said at a news conference on New Year’s Eve, causing officials to move to an email system.

Anyone aged 65 or older is now asked to send in a name, phone number and date of birth — with no guarantee that an appointment will be forthcoming, but rather dependent on the county’s supply.

“We were told to tell our constituents that the process is in place, and that they need to be patient,” said state Sen. Bobby Powell (D), who represents the area.

Representatives of the chain pharmacies, meanwhile, said enrolling people to receive vaccines is the responsibility of individual facilities.

“We request that all long-term-care facilities register all residents and staff through our registration portal before clinics,” said Rebekah Pajak, a Walgreens spokeswoman.

She declined to confirm that Walgreens had performed vaccinations at MorseLife, citing “security and privacy reasons,” though two people who received shots there said Walgreens had been on site.

Michael DeAngelis, a spokesman for CVS, said the pharmacy receives a list of names from each facility, at which point it begins scheduling the first of three visits — the first for the initial shot of the two-dose regimens, the second for the booster shot and the third to complete immunization for anyone who received an initial shot during the second visit.

“We get a count of how many people are signed up to be vaccinated so we can bring enough vaccine,” he said. “We don’t capture the personal information of patients beforehand.”



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Entertaiment

Infamous “Club Kids” Killer Michael Alig Dead at 54: Report


Convicted killer Michael Alig has died at the age of 54, E! News can confirm.

According to the New York Police Department, law enforcement responded to a 9-1-1 call on West 159th on Dec. 25, where they found Alig unconscious and unresponsive. EMS arrived shortly after, and pronounced Alig dead, per the police report. Although it’s unclear what caused his death, NBC New York states he passed away due to a suspected overdose. Per authorities, a cause of death has yet to be determined and the investigation is still ongoing.

In the ’90s, Alig, a promoter, co-founded the “Club Kids,” a group of partygoers who became notorious in the New York City nightclub scene. He became a tabloid fixture for throwing parties as well as for his theatrical costumes and drug use. However, in 1997, things took a dark turn when he and friend Robert “Freeze” Riggs pleaded guilty to killing their drug dealer and friend Andre “Angel” Melendez. Riggs and Alig, who claimed they were high on drugs at the time of the murder, reportedly kept Melendez’s body in their apartment for a week—and even had gatherings at their home with his body in the tub—before dismembering his body and disposing it in the Hudson River.



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Dining News

How the Club Sandwich Became an Icon of Hotel Room Service


It’s a familiar scene: Exhausted by a long flight and frazzled by jet lag, a traveler checks in, takes a long shower, dons a hotel robe, reclines on the ginormous crisp-sheeted bed, and picks up the phone to order a club sandwich.

The trope is so common among actual travelers that the double-decker creation accounts for a significant proportion of hotels’ room service sales. In recent years, that meant up to 25 percent across Dorchester Collection hotels, for example. Its allure is time-tested, its components comfortingly benign: three slices of toast, chicken or turkey, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, and bacon, which achieve sandwich greatness when spiked with a cellophane-wrapped toothpick.

Even before COVID-19 made for anxious travel, “the disruption to your food habits caused by travel, time changes, and dining out makes eating something familiar much easier,” says Jay Coldren, managing director of Eat+Drink for hospitality consulting firm Streetsense. “So [the club] seems like a safe choice for many travelers.”

Frequent traveler and food blogger Evan Saunders agrees. “I’m constantly in a new environment thriving off its surroundings,” he says, “but sometimes I just need something that allows comfort to wash over me in an awesome wave. For me, that has always been the club sandwich.” Saunders founded the blog Club Sandwich Reviews in 2010, and has since reviewed more than 200 club sandwiches in more than 150 cities from Bogotá to Istanbul. No, he’s not sick of them.

Since COVID-19 hit the hotel industry, the comfort and privacy of room service are even more attractive to anyone still traveling, and the club remains a constant you can depend on in most corners of the globe, no matter how battered by the pandemic. But for those who can’t travel now, the sandwich also represents a carefree, pre-pandemic way of life. The coronavirus has put the no-nonsense meal out of reach, and the inaccessibility of something previously so, well, accessible is yet another stark contrast in the pantheon of weird. Today, the image of a hotel guest diving into a club sandwich isn’t just cliche; it’s nostalgia for a time that is now gone.

The century-old club sandwich had a pretty good run, and it was a favorite snack of voyagers and vagabonds since its beginning. One of the dish’s several origin stories claims the name derives from the double-decker club cars that began running on U.S. rail lines in 1895, and then, the sandwich gained popularity in the white American high-society clubhouses of the early 1900s. The Saratoga Clubhouse in Saratoga Springs claims it invented the sandwich in 1894, though at least five years earlier, the Union Club, then located on Fifth Avenue in New York City, prepared something similar consisting of “two toasted slices of Graham bread, with a layer of turkey or chicken and ham between them, served warm.” In either case, the sandwich grew in the realm of aristocracy, giving it a whiff of old-timey luxury (and little in the way of inclusion) that, apparently, matches well with the smells of bacon and mayo. In 2010, the French newspaper Le Figaro dubbed it the Rolls-Royce of the sandwich genre (though, given its American origin, a Cadillac might’ve been a better metaphor).

Americans traveling abroad then spread the sandwich to the rest of the world in the early 1920s, along with other trends like cocktails and jazz. It was popular in places like Harry’s Bar in Venice, which has served a version since 1948 that’s domed like an erupting volcano. But it was in fancy hotels across the U.S. that the club sandwich found its ultimate home.

In 1931, when New York’s Waldorf Astoria moved into its ostentatious Art Deco digs, the club sandwich appeared on the opening menu at the hotel restaurant Oscar’s, where it was even served with a knife and fork. “The typical business traveler has always been short on time and has needed a portable lunch option,” says chef Marc Ehrler, vice president of culinary Americas for Hilton, which owns the Waldorf Astoria. The club was also a natural fit for the Waldorf Astoria’s fanciest new perk, room service, which the hotel is widely credited with introducing to America. “Room service was a luxury for travelers,” says Ehrler. “Eating in your room was something unique and really special.” As the room service trend spread to other hotels, the club sandwich went with it. It was an easy win: quick to assemble, remained fresh, transportable up an elevator to hotel rooms — basically, it’s hard to screw up.

The sandwich eventually found its way to more egalitarian eateries too — neighborhood diners, airport restaurants — making it popular among a broader swath of sandwich lovers. Yet, even as the club became more accessible, it retained its aura of indulgence. A club is not the kind of thing you make yourself, despite the fact you likely have all the necessary ingredients on hand. It’s just not as magical if you stick in the little toothpick just to take it out again. Rather, a club is something that’s best served to you by someone else, at a country club, a hotel restaurant — or, better yet, in bed (that ultimate luxury). “It’s that special treat one can offer himself,” says Adam Smith, executive chef at the Coworth Park hotel in Ascot, England. “That has become symbolic of staying in a hotel.”

But why is what’s essentially a pile of everyday cold cuts considered so opulent? “For me, the third slice of bread gives the club the height it needs to impress as it hits the table,” says chef Michael Santoro of the iconic Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel. The simple format of a club sandwich also leaves room for chefs to get creative (within reason), adapting the sandwich based on guest preferences, local food traditions, and seasonality. Santoro, for example, serves four different club sandwiches to diners on the Polo Lounge patio: classic turkey, salmon with sauce gribiche, lobster and coral mayonnaise in brioche, and an obligatory California version with avocado, of course.

Despite chef attempts to zhuzh it up, the sandwich’s staid formula is ultimately the secret to its success. Ehrler says, “We’ve seen chefs switch up the ingredients but still maintain the integrity of the original creation, the one we can recognize at any hotel.” The club is a chance to engage in a century-long tradition, a relatively affordable, three-decker luxury (notwithstanding the $130 “platinum” club with Iberico ham and white truffles once served at Cliveden House hotel in Taplow, England).

For more than 100 years, the club sandwich has been a sturdy, protein-packed beacon of dependability. No matter how unpredictable the world got, eating the sandwich felt like everything was going to be okay. These days, there are no such guarantees, and most of us aren’t traveling at all, let alone ordering one from room service. All we can do is hope its steadfastness will preserve the sandwich through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. When it is eventually time again to check in, throw on a robe and call down for a club sandwich. Just don’t forget the tiny jar of mayo.

Rafael Tonon is a journalist and food writer living between Brazil and Portugal.



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Lifestyle

Luster: A Sneak Peek at Our August Book Club Pick


Artwork by Raven Leilani

Raven
Leilani
’s debut novel is about a twentysomething Black woman named Edie who is working in publishing (until
she’s fired for being “sexually inappropriate”—read an excerpt below) and not succeeding in pursuing her art (the protagonist is a talented painter, as is Leilani herself—some of her portraits are pictured above). When we meet Edie, she’s just begun dating Eric, who is
twenty-three years her senior, in an open marriage, and White. But perhaps the most interesting relationship in
the book is between Edie and Eric’s wife, Rebecca, who is a medical examiner.

It’s a story of sex and art and the luster of memory. It’s dark and funny and hypnotic. And it has
such an energy to it. Edie is the most alive character—in her desires, in her anger, in her discomfort, in her
grief, in her joy.

Luster is poised to be one of the greats of 2020, and Edie, to be a character who’s
remembered forever. Join goop Book Club to discuss and mark your calendar for a conversation with Leilani and our
chief content officer, Elise Loehnen, on August 31 at 4 p.m. PT.


  1. Raven Leilani Luster

    Raven Leilani
    Luster
    Bookshop, $24

    SHOP NOW


From Chapter 4 of Luster

Then I start work. I look through the Tuesday publications, confirm jacket copy, triage my inbox for panicked
emails from production assistants and editors trying to soothe anxious authors with quick TOC and index corrections.
Details so minute as to be absurd, an em dash, the romanization of a quotation mark, a last-minute change in the
acknowledgments from I would like to thank my wife to I would like to thank my dog, but, and maybe
this is surprising, I am good at all of this. Arguably it would be hard to be bad at it, but if a person comes to
rote work with the expectation that she will be demeaned, she can bypass the pitfalls of hope and redirect all that
energy into being a merciless drone. She can be the ear for the author who calls frequently to chat about the
fineries of ichthyology depicted in his series about a bullied flounder, and she can wage war with large corporate
vendors whose algorithms sweep book files for errors but have huge blind spots for the speculative lexicon of
science fiction, and she can say to them: This is not an error; this is human; this is style.

Today at the office, the air is still. At my desk, something is different. My manager’s eyes, which, because of the
open office arrangement, I can never seem to avoid, move quickly away from me. The editorial assistants are too
alert, engaged in the performance of work. Then Aria comes in with a box of doughnuts. This would be cause to
celebrate, except the person who helps her through the door is Mark. I see his hand, his desecrated fingernails and
large knuckles, and I turn away and look into the dark face of my phone, which reflects a bruised iteration of my
face. It occurs to me that I should’ve covered it up, but more pressing is the reality in which Aria and Mark just
happen to be having the sort of conversations that spill into other rooms, because I’m certain they have nothing in
common and no overlapping professional tasks.

“Early August is generally when employee evaluations start, and I have prepared a diplomatic way to say
that I loathe everyone here, but the message does not seem to be about this.”

I eavesdrop on them, which in an open plan is not eavesdropping so much as accepting your silent role in everyone’s
conversation, and they are talking about a comic book I can’t place, Mark doing this thing where he prefaces every
one of his observations with what you need to understand is, Aria’s breathless reception of these
condescensions so pure and sweet. When he is gone, I try to make meaningful eye contact with Aria, but she will not
indulge. I try to find Rebecca on the internet, but there is a new message from HR. Early August is generally when
employee evaluations start, and I have prepared a diplomatic way to say that I loathe everyone here, but the message
does not seem to be about this. It is a vaguely worded invitation for a meeting at 4:00 p.m.

I step outside and smoke a joint, and there are interns everywhere, beaming and overdressed and happy to be paid in
experience. I wonder if I have looked too miserable at my desk, if I forgot to use a private browser when I was
active on SugarBabees.com. Anyone could do my job with the proper training, and if I fell down the escalator of the
Times Square Forever 21 and severed my spine it would not make office news.

“I lean forward to show my engagement and try to summon the spirit of the Grateful Diversity Hire.”

I grab a doughnut and arrive at the meeting with two minutes to spare. The HR rep smiles at me and asks me to close
the door. My boss, a squirrelly little editor who came up in sales and frequently lurks behind me after her bathroom
breaks in an attempt to peer at my screen, is seated next to him. I smile at her and try to pretend that she is not
pro-life. I lean forward to show my engagement and try to summon the spirit of the Grateful Diversity Hire. They
start out with a few compliments, which I receive readily. Yes, I’ve whipped the digital archive into shape. Yes, I
delivered on the K–5 Maya Angelou and Frida Kahlo biographies, wherein the sexual assault and bus accident were
omitted per a Provo parents group who weren’t ready for their kids to see the blood women wade through to create
art.

“Still, you have been on probation twice,” the HR rep says, trying not to look at the bruise on my face.

“I fell off my bike in Central Park,” I say, which only seems to make the bruise into a bigger deal. My boss and
the HR rep glance at each other. “And yes, I completed two probationary periods, but the second time there was sort
of a misunderstanding. HorseGirls.com was a link featured in one of our middle-grade ebooks, but domains tend to
change over time. A parent called about the adult content, and I just wanted to do my due diligence,” I say, and my
boss coughs, though it is one of those snide, performative coughs that most people stop doing after the age of
twelve. I can’t think of a single moment she has ever been straightforward with me, and, even now, she redirects the
conversation with words like tolerance and inclusivity before the HR rep cuts to the chase and
says that some men and women in the company feel I’ve been sexually inappropriate. They are both being very
sensitive about it, clearly upset by the optics of the whole thing, bracketing what is happening in such carefully
neutral language that in a way, I feel sorry for them. And what is happening is that I’m getting fired. There are
emails. Pictures sent over company servers. Complaints about which they are not permitted to offer any details.

There are a few encounters that come to mind, ingenious anatomical feats that, sure, happened on company time.
Coworkers with elaborate, transgressive fantasies that I was dead enough inside to fulfill. And, of course, there is
Mark. When I try to explain, there is a tremor in my voice. I try to regain my composure, but I am sensitive to the
power even of authority figures I despise. I close my eyes and will myself not to cry, but I was so close to being
able to spend eleven dollars on lunch. All I can do is take the doughnut out of my purse and press it all into my
mouth at once. I stand up, knowing I only have so much time before the tears, and I go to the bathroom, lock myself
in a stall, and puke.

“There are a few encounters that come to mind, ingenious anatomical feats that, sure, happened on company time.”

But the impulse to cry has vanished. I imagine the high traffic I will meet on my way back and try to get the tears
out while I have the privacy, but nothing happens. When I go to my desk, a conversation in full swing dies abruptly
as I gather my pens, unscrew the lightbulb from my desk lamp and toss it in my purse. I take some pink Post-its, my
work slippers, and a legal pad where I have the beginning of a story about a wolf who can’t find the right pair of
glasses. Someone has left a plastic bag for me, which is such a nice gesture that for a moment, I am out of breath.
But as I put my thermos of Tanqueray into the bag, I think of when I first arrived, Tom showing me how to clock in
and declare PTO, and how at the end of the day I took the scenic route home, the sun in one borough, the moon in
another, this desire in me to clap my hand over the lens of a tourist’s camera and say, Stop, there isn’t enough
time
.


Copyright (c) 2020 by Raven Leilani. Excerpted by permission of FSG.


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Entertaiment

Bad Girls Club Star Demitra “Mimi” Roche Dead at 34


Bad Girls Club star Demitra “Mimi” Roche has passed away at the age of 34. 

Music executive Vince Valholla confirmed news of her death on social media on Wednesday, July 22, writing, “I’m at a loss for words. Don’t know what to say. Mimi was kind to everyone she came across. She was [a] big dreamer & was a part of our Valholla family. I’m heartbroken by the news of her passing. I’m thankful I got to know & work w/ her. My thoughts are with her family & loved ones. There’s probably not one person who would have something negative to say about her. We lost a beautiful soul.”

Roche joined Valholla’s eponymous Miami-based company Valholla Entertainment in 2011, where she served as the vice president of A&R. 

Fans of the Oxygen reality TV series will remember Roche from season 8 of Bad Girls Club, which aired in 2012. She was nicknamed “The Miami Maverick.” 





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Politics

“I Am the Ultimate Member of The Book of the Month Club”


President Donald Trump referred to himself as the “ultimate member of The Book of the Month Club” in his first official response to Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, a book by his niece, Mary Trump, that is already topping the bestseller lists.

“First I have lowlife dummy John Bolton, a war mongering fool, violating the law (he released massive amounts of Classified Information) and an NDA in order to build badly needed credibility and make a few dollars, which will all end up going to the government anyway,” he wrote, referencing his former national security adviser whose own book about his time in the White House has garnered plenty of headlines.

He then went after his niece, writing, “Next up is Mary Trump, a seldom seen niece who knows little about me, says untruthful things about my wonderful parents (who couldn’t stand her!) and me, and violated her NDA. She also broke the Law by givng [sic] out my Tax Returns.”

He added: “She’s a mess! Many books have been written about me, some good, some bad. Both happily and sadly, there will be more to come!”

Mary Trump has not yet commented on her uncle’s reaction. The president’s comments come a day after a widely-seen interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow in which Mary Trump criticized his job performance.

“I want people to understand what a failure of leadership this is, and the reason he’s failing at it is because he’s incapable of succeeding at it,” she said.





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