April 23, 2014


While this map of the most famous book in every state put together by Business Insider is from a few months back, we just spotted it posted on Mental Floss today, and it’s new to us, so let’s take a look anyway, shall we? As is this case with any sort of map that purports to be the Most Whatever In Every State, it’s obviously subjective, and merely a fun exercise in jogging our memories about books we’ve read and engendering debate. While some seem like slam dunks, To Kill A Mockingbird for Alabama, for example, and The Great Gatsby for New York, there is plenty of room for arguing here. Walden for my home state of Massachusetts is a fine enough choice, but I sort of expected Infinite Jest was going to make the cut. What do you think? Any glaring omissions here?

most famous books in each state

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The Bullet Holiday Gift Guide
April 23, 2014

Bless Kate Middleton’s heart for giving shithead bloggers like me something to shithead blog about. The Duchess of Cambridge and her husband, who goes simply by The Duke, were in Australia recently as part of a tour of the Pacific. There, for some reason unbeknownst to the rest of the planet, she was given the chance to maneuver a vinyl record back and forth so that it causes friction against the needle, thus producing a wheezy screeching sound. In certain circles, this is known as “scratching,” and it was once considered cool. Breaking News Update: Scratching is no longer considered cool.

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The Bullet Shop
April 18, 2014

Lab experiment RiFF RaFF is one crazy cat. We know this because one time we emailed him out of nowhere asking him to be our advice columnist. He replied within minutes with: “Ok can i be on the Cover?” We said no, but he agreed to do it anyway. His answers only served to reinforce the fact that the man also known as Jody Highroller is all about having fun and being himself, no matter what. Today he uploaded a photo on Instagram of his husky, also named Jody. The before shot is above. The after shot is below. Enjoy your weekend!

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The Bullet Holiday Gift Guide
April 17, 2014

The Colombian Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez, who was not only one of the greatest authors in the Spanish language, but throughout the world, has died at the age of 87. Márquez was the author of such beloved and critically-adored novels as One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera, one of my favorite lines from which seems appropriate:

“He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”

Image via

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April 17, 2014

Everyone knows all jokes about beards are hilarious and that talking about hipsters will never go out of style, but what about the beards themselves? Will we, someday soon perchance, collectively turn our backs on this brand new fashion trend wherein male humans allow the natural growth of hair on their faces as opposed to scraping it off every day with a meat hook like some sort of perverted butcher? Probably! At least according to a study done by a team of Australian researchers from the University of New South Wales.

As the study suggests, when there is a scarcity of beards among the population in general, men with beards tend to stand out, and their grooming choices make them seem more attractive to potential mates. When things start to shift and everyone has a beard, the abundance reduces our attraction. It’s an idea called negative frequency-dependent preferences.

The study explains:

We first showed participants a suite of faces, within which we manipulated the frequency of beard thicknesses and then measured preferences for four standard levels of beardedness. Women and men judged heavy stubble and full beards more attractive when presented in treatments where beards were rare than when they were common, with intermediate preferences when intermediate frequencies of beardedness were presented. Likewise, clean-shaven faces were least attractive when clean-shaven faces were most common and more attractive when rare. This pattern in preferences is consistent with negative frequency-dependent selection.

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Do you want to suck on my face fur or not?

Either way, Brooks admits, no one really knows what the point of beards are in the first place.

“We still don’t really know the primary function of the beard,” Brooks said. “Some women are attracted to it, some are repelled. It is clear it is a sign of manliness, it makes men look older and also more aggressive. How much women like that depends, in a way, on how overtly masculine they like their men.”

At the very least we can all soon look forward to a new set of guidelines for our awesome hipster jokes. smh at these fricking hipsters with their smooth jowls. Only in Brooklyn am I right?

Photo via 

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The Bullet Shop
April 15, 2014

In his 1995 book, The Romantic Movement: Sex, Shopping and the Novel, Alain de Botton suggested a connection between Madame Bovary’s libido and excessive shopping and consumption habits: The backlash against Flaubert at the time, he suggested, was not just against Emma’s extramarital affair, but also against a world where women would consume “without need”. Incidentally, it would take the same Emma to eat some pineapple at an upper-class gathering to truly realize how unsatisfied she is with her husband.

Literature, particularly novel, is marked by those moments of precise summary, or the perfect foreshadower in the form of a meal. In Nabokov’s Lolita, it becomes the gin and pineapple juice that Humbert drinks, which “doubles” his energy and “dances” in him — the intoxication of a middle-aged man in the face of the tween energy of Dolores. Ulysses‘ Leopold Bloom happens to have a thing for giblets, especially kidneys which “gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented urine”. Combined with his point of view on voyeurism and  knack for lingerie, would he be into BDSM urophagia had he lived in the 21st century , you wonder (He probably would.)

Inspired by the idea of capturing the essence of each novel through the dishes, designer Dinah Fried set out to recreate notable meals from literature just as she imagined them to be, complete with the perfect tableware and setting. First started as a master’s project (series of five photos) at RISD, Fictitious Dishes immediately resonated among food enthusiasts, photographers, and Fried’s fellow designers alike — and turned into a book project of fifty Fictitious Dishes.

With the help of quotation and trivia next to each dish that would assist the reader in putting the meal into context, Fried hits the nail on the head. Alongside familiar meals from On the Road (apple pie and ice cream), The Catcher in the Rye (cheese sandwich), Middlesex (Greek salad and spanakopita), The Metamorphosis (scrapes of rotten food) — the book also features some unorthodox meals such as a handful of soil in One Hundred Years of Solitude (the character has a habit of eating dirt and limestone), and dolophine in Valley of the Dolls.

As Fictitious Dishes comes out via HarperCollins today, we talked to Dinah about the creation process, sharing your food on Instagram and whether anyone will still be reading novels in a hundred years. 

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On the Road, Jack Kerouac (1957)

How did you go about finding the books when you were first starting out with this project?
Initially it was based on ones that I remembered. Sometimes I remembered them because they were actually iconic, like Gulliver and Oliver Twist. Some I just remembered from reading them, and they just stayed with me. After I started the project, I just developed a fixation on the meals in the novels, and somewhere, I started adding more books. Other people who knew about the photos also started giving them to me. I wanted it to be a mix of older books and new books – so if I wanted something of a specific genre I’d have to think about it more, but otherwise it was based on memory.

Did you eat any of the dishes that you were photographing?
I did not eat any of the ones that were actually in the photos. The food turns into something very different in the process – you use glue for milk and all those tricks,it becomes something else that is pretty unappetizing after you’ve spent four hours photographing it. For some of them I needed extras – like for the Middlesex photo, I needed a whole pan of spanakopita so we definitely had that for dinner.

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The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath (1963)

The books you covered in Fictitious Dishes span a time of 200 years – did you notice anything different about the meals as the times changed? Any particular trends per era?
To me it was more about how I envisioned the props and how the dishes were looking and less about the actual food. There are things that come up consistently; there is the tea or coffee that is there throughout the ages, from the old to coming out right now. The bread and cheese – certain foods spanned a time period in a really nice way. Things like that which are reassuring about comfort food, that it existed throughout time.

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Within the past 10 years, food got really big and created its own space within the pop culture. What do you think we should be crediting that to?
I think all of these fronts in social media give everyone a moment to speak from their own point of view, which was impossible to do before. Instagram allows non-professionals to adhere to photographing food as an art form – there is place in the media for it that there probably wasn’t before. It’s not traditional food photography, and it’s not food styling that would be in a cookbook, it’s homegrown. There is the literal point of the view, the bird’s-eye view – “this is my meal, and I’m looking down on it”, I think it speaks to that as well.

With the increased need to be plugged in all the time, it feels like it’s getting harder to read novels – because we no longer have that uninterrupted time. Do you think, say a hundred years from now, people will still be reading novels?
A good novel is my favorite thing to read, really. I’m not a media expert but I do think there is going to be some sort of backlash against dependency on our devices. And my hope is, once we reach our full saturation point, which I think is nearing, we’ll start to carve out time away from our devices, which will allow us to read without interruption.

Fictitious Dishes is out by HarperCollins on April 15. Available for preorder via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Indiebound.

Follow Busra on Twitter: @busra_erkara

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The Bullet Shop
April 14, 2014

Yesterday Twitter was delighting in the plight of a Dutch 14 year old girl who made the boneheaded move of threatening American Airlines in a joke.


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The airline promptly responded, letting her know that this is not the sort of thing that they overlook.

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Unsurprisingly, the teen, who ran a Demi Lovato fan account, was not prepared for the attention she got, with thousands of people tweeting at her and laughing at her predicament. This is what you get, the collective wisdom seemed to suggest. Her account has since been deleted.

It was mildly entertaining to watch her bounce back and forth between bravado and fear, but there was still something unsettling about the whole thing. Do we need to all gang up on idiot teens who act out on Twitter? I’m not convinced we do, but it’s too late now in this case. Today police in Rotterdam announced that they had in fact arrested the girl.

The lesson here, as always, is don’t be stupid. We’ve been trying to tell kids that same thing throughout the history of the universe. It doesn’t seem to be working.

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The Bullet Shop
April 14, 2014

There aren’t many things left that can bring us all together as a country, stories that inspire us to reach across the aisle and take the hand of our fellow man, no matter what their political outlook, and collectively SMH together in solidarity. Occasionally something comes along, like this New York Times piece about the apartment hunting NYU student, or one of their predictably horrible wedding announcements, or a real estate covet-porn story like this one from Vogue. As I highlighted in the Vogue post, Ad Age pointed out that the Times must have an Editor-in-Trolling.  ”How else to explain all these 1,000-word pieces featuring New York Times bubble dwellers that so outrage those who can’t stand The New York Times‘ bubble dwellers?”

The trolling editor certainly must have been having a good laugh this weekend with this piece about  Nicole Hanley and Matthew Mellon, a couple who are starting a fashion line. So far so normal, right?

Nope. Let’s all hate read a few select passages.

Mr. Mellon, who comes from the Mellon and Drexel families of Bank of New York Mellon and Drexel Burnham Lambert, grew up in New York City, Palm Beach and Northeast Harbor, Me., and went to the University of Pennsylvania. The walls of the pad he and Ms. Hanley Mellon share at the Pierre are lined with paintings by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Damien Hirst, Peter Beard and, Mr. Mellon said, “Taylor Swift.”

“You mean Sam Taylor-Wood,” Ms. Hanley Mellon said.

Does he?

Matthew started Harry’s of London after meeting his first wife Tamara Mellon, co-founded of Jimmy Choo.

Their new line will be inspired by various locations around the world, like, say, Africa.

“I’ve never been to Africa, but I feel like I have this deep affinity for it,” Ms. Hanley Mellon said. “I’ve read every Hemingway, we collect Peter Beard, I’ve watched ‘Out of Africa.’ It touches your soul to visit and smell the smells, and you can’t recreate the experience without immersing yourself.”

Or, if an actual visit isn’t convenient, maybe something a little more digital to get the juices flowing?

“In the old days you’d have to travel to India or China for inspiration, and these days you’ve just got Pinterest boards and you can create looks from home,” he said. He does have an Instagram account, asliceofmellon, despite believing that “technology has made us lazy.”


Same.

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The Bullet Shop
April 11, 2014

No doubt that it’s the year of the selfie, with selfies being taken after knife rampages, at funerals and suicides,  hanging out with the president, at the Oscarsat gatherings of world leaders, and on and on. But just how many selfies are people posting at any given moment? A new site called Selfeed posts all of them, constantly, in real time, pulling from the #selfie hashstag on Instagram.

Check it out here. Hope you enjoyed your brief sojourn in the land of the sane, because this is going to put an end to that real quick.

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The Bullet Shop
April 9, 2014

The first time Emma Watson played with her giant breasts, then peeled her face off to reveal that she was Sofia Vergara all along, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was playing and I was coming apart on angel dust. The second time it happened, I was surfing the internet in my underwear and realizing that I would never amount to anything.

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