O-Bits: Living Dead Edition

“Listen carefully to what I am about to tell you, and please don’t scream,” is almost never the start of a happy phone call. It’s the kind of conversational gambit that is usually followed  delivery instructions for a gym bag filled with  ” small, unmarked bills.” In Afghanistan, things apparently work differently. Mohammed Qaseem started that call to one of his aunts to let them know their brother, Ahmad Tameem, had survived a Taliban attack, and was recovering in a Kabul hospital. For those of you into irony, this discovery was made the day of his funeral. The New York Times has the whole story.

Bloomberg News starts the week off in a spurt of what we can only describe as naked emotion, baldly declaring the “Death of Clothing.” Thankfully, this isn’t a story about the hipster nudists (although that naked restaurant in Paris had us worried), but about how Americans are spending less for clothes (an average of $1,803 each, less than we spend on transportation, food, and entertainment, but more—sadly, nearly ten time more—than the $118 dollars a year we spend on reading). Among the reasons: “fast fashion” chains such as H&M and Uniqlo, “off-price” stores such as Ross and T.J. Maxx, the continuing appeal of skinny jeans (!), and offices where “business casual” or just plain “casual” is accepted. On the other hand, a Prada t-shirt will set you back $224, almost 20 times what you’ll pay at the Gap…

Given that virtually every “In memoriam” feature ends up offending someone, you’d think that would keep organizations from including one in their signature program. The NFL did not the the memo, and produced a roll call of the dead as part of the Super Bowl LII pre-game (and while yesterday’s game is still fresh in our minds, allow us—on behalf of all that is good and right in the world—to thank the Philadelphia Eagles for beating Belichick, Brady, and the New England Patriots). Only problem: they included convicted murdered (and former Patriot) Aaron Hernandez. 

Steven Mirkin

Steven Mirkin’s diverse career has taken him from politics to pop culture to high art, offering him a front row seat to some of the most fascinating events and personalities of our time: writing speeches, fundraising appeals and campaign materials for Ed Koch, John Heinz and independent presidential candidate John B. Anderson; chronicling the punk/new wave scenes in New York and London; interviewing musicians such as Elton John, John Lydon and Buck Owens; profiling modern masters Julian Schnabel, Paul Schrader and Jonathan Safran Foer; and writing for TV shows including 21, The Chamber, Let's Make A Deal, and Rock Star: INXS.

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