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Max Weber Haus in Heidelberg, Germany

Where it all went down.

Once upon a time, I made the mistake of putting myself on a mailing list.

Not the kind where you type your email address into the computer at the register at DSW and the girl assures you, “ALL we send are coupons, I promise,” or the kind where you get a Hulu Plus account (finally, after “thinking about it” for like a year) and then you get emails that say unnecessary things like “John, Catch the Latest Fall TV This Week.” Not that kind.

I mean the kind where you write your email next to your name on a piece of paper on a clipboard, or taped to a table, or getting passed around the room. Kids, never do this. Ever.
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"It's aliiiiiiive!"

At first mention of the “Frankenstorm”—or “Frankenstorm’s Monster,” as countless nerds have gleefully interjected—I scoffed, and remembered drunkenly snoring through Hurricane Irene last year after a bottle of wine and half a day spent scouring Midtown Manhattan for a flashlight.

Hangover Irene notwithstanding, with Hurricane Sandy on the way—loudly proclaimed to be even worse than Irene—I headed home to Connecticut to wait it out, whatever it might prove to be. How many times a year do these weather guys say anything relevant? I demanded cynically. Pshhh.

Now, in the wake of Frankenstorm’s Monster, I can’t get back. Eating my words and every h of my Pshhh, it seems I’m trapped outside the city.
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As of today, I am out of clean underwear. Two jobs and a partially-unpacked suitcase have left me with only questions, and no time to straighten them out—questions like, Did I wear these already?

If I’m being truly honest, my second question is typically, Did I wear these…twice? I know, I know, yuck. Cut me a little slack. (Incidentally slack is typically the two-wear giveaway.) Let him who is without laundry laziness cast the first stone. I’m out, plain and simple.

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It was one of those instances in which someone says, “I told you so,” and you aren’t even mad. They did tell you so. It was one of those sudden, disastrous events, after which someone huffily snaps their arms akimbo and goes, “See??” and you do see. This one’s on you.

Last weekend, my boyfriend Ashton and I drove up to visit my grandparents in southern New Hampshire. We spent a few days working through a few To Do lists, helping out able-bodiedly with the house- and yard-work that come with the changing of seasons—in this case a shift from breezy early summer to face-melting mid-July.

I was shuffling around the front yard in flip-flops, watering plants and weeding.

“Take off your chanclas and put some shoes on,” Ashton tsked, climbing off the riding mower while I knelt in the wild strawberry pulling crabgrass.

“Oh, I’m fine,” I answered, insouciant.

A few minutes later, crabgrass pulled and my flip-flops already far from my mind, I took up the task of moving six forty-pound bags of potting soil into a small metal trailer. I’m fine, I’d said. keep reading >>>

On the occasion of summer’s early weeks, my suburban hometown has hung an enormous banner above Main Street, touting itself as, quote, “A Bicycle Friendly Community.” Each time I drive by one of these, my editor-homunculus fights an urge to park, shimmy up the pole, and deface the sign with a hyphen—that is, in order to better facilitate “A Bicycle-Friendly Community.”

“A Bicycle Friendly Community” [sic]

Without a hyphen to unify “bicycle-friendly,” the word “bicycle” seems strangely without purpose. To proclaim this “A Friendly Community,” however banal, has perfect grammatical logic. Likewise, “A Bicycle Community” is straightforward, if awkward, but suggests some sort of bicycle commune.
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Every time I walk through Central Park I find something I had no idea was there. Two days ago it was Cleopatra’s Needle.

Rounding a corner just past Turtle Pond on the tail end of my jog, I noticed to my right an enormous stone obelisk. Hm, I thought. Obelisks have always seemed to me an odd sort of monument—more or less a tall, pointy rock—and I find them especially odd, if prevalent, in the West. Obelisks were initially monuments to the Egyptian sun god Ra. If art history taught me anything, it taught me that obelisks are Egyptian, until they’re something else.

Take, for example, the obelisk in Piazza San Pietro in the Vatican—moved out of Egypt to various cities by various Romans, the last of whom was Pope Sixtus V, in 1586. Nearly a century later, Gian Lorenzo Bernini designed the Piazza in front of St. Peter’s Basilica with the obelisk as its centerpiece. Four bronze lions were added to the base, as well as a few requisite festoons, and a cross was placed on top, containing a fragment of the True Cross. Top to bottom, what began as a wholly pagan monument has been cloaked in Christianity. Voilà! Instant Relic.

Just add Jesus.


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