Here’s the bad news about all that good news.

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Even if anti-aging research could give us radically longer lives someday, though, should we even be seeking them?

via On Dying After Your Time – NYTimes.com.

 

There’s something wrong with the turkeys!

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“We experienced a decline in weight gains on some of our farms causing a limited availability of large, fresh turkeys,”

via There’s a shortage of large, fresh Butterball turkeys – Quartz.

 

Big boobs!

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So he went back to his workshop and created the kind of woman he thought the public wanted — one with a bulging bosom and cantilevered buttocks, a wasp waist and long legs, a fiberglass fantasy…

via Mannequins Give Shape to a Venezuelan Fantasy – NYTimes.com.

 

The oldest bummer ever discovered.

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Only 33 examples of copulating insects are known to exist in the entire fossil record, most of them caught in amber.

via Case of Insect Interruptus Yields a Rare Fossil Find – NYTimes.com.

 

‘The Road to Oxiana’

The Road to OxianaThe Road to Oxiana by Robert Byron

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Recommended, if you are 1) an anglophobe and 2) keen on descriptions of architecture.

View all my reviews

Which is to say, this book is not for everyone. His intended audience, I am sure, was more erudite than me. I needed a dictionary to understand much of how he described the lonely ruins he visited — in part because he employs more than a few archaic spellings. And there were plenty of British 1930s-isms that were over my head. Still, I am a sucker for these sorts of things. I sometimes entertain the desire to have lived in that time, knowing some of those people. These thoughts, warmly persistent like nostalgia, quickly dissipate when I reflect on the relatively dismal state of medical science and public hygiene in the 1930s. And the probable fact that this literate generation of snaggle-toothed Brits, Robert Byron, Patrick Fermor, Cyril Connolly, Norman Douglas and so on, were lecherous fiends.

At least there is no shortage of such books. In the introduction, the writer Paul Fussell writes that it sometimes seemed “that in the twenties and thirties virtually no one stayed home.” My favorite remains Mr. Fermor, whose “A Time for Gifts” is perhaps the best of the lot.

Toward the end of “Road,” Mr. Byron makes a comment that allows me to flatter myself that he and I would have got along, as we picked nits out of our flea bags and cracked jokes about Horace’s dirtier poems under the Central Asian night sky. In a paragraph where he mocks any advice for travelers that doesn’t allow for what books to take on a trip, he imagines endowing a prize for the “sensible traveler.”

£10,000 for the first man to cover Marco Polo’s outward route reading three fresh books a week, and another £10,000 if he drinks a bottle of wine a day as well.

Present circumstances perhaps make that particular route untenable. But the idea is one worth exploring. May I recommend a tiny plaza off the Carrer de l’Argenteria in Barcelona?

Ask for a bottle of the house red, a cutting board of cheeses and a plate of pimientos de padron.

Ask for a bottle of the house red, a cutting board of cheeses and a plate of pimientos de padron.

Publishing has a problem.

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…nearly 1.8m new titles were published in 2012, an increase of half a million in just three years. …A recent survey revealed that one in four Americans had read not a book in over a year.

via Writers should take a year off, and give us all a break | Books | The Guardian.

C.O.D. (Crap on delivery)

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Instead, this town engaged a small army of volunteers to bag it, box it and send it back to its owners. “It’s your dog, it’s your dog poop,” Mr. Gutiérrez said. “We are just returning it to you.”

via A Special Delivery, of Sorts, to Warn Pet Owners – NYTimes.com.

 

The boundaries of bad coffee.

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…most of the coffee here is labeled Jimma 5, because it has all five major defects that come from poor farming.

via How An Ethiopian Bean Became The Cinderella Of Coffee : The Salt : NPR.

 

A boy and his piano.

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…I performed the first movement as a musical interlude during a school function. Despite some tangled passagework, my playing, if I remember, was full of tragic intensity.

via A Critic’s Ode to a Childhood Joy in Classical Music – NYTimes.com.