Here are a few of the most interesting things I came across in articles, books, podcasts and conversations (among other places) this week:
- Laziness is good for you! Or more accurately, idleness, as Chris Bailey calls it in a recent article for Time. It is usually when we allow our minds to truly take some time out from any distractions, that we come up with our best ideas. For instance, while showering or taking a long walk or even lying on the beach staring at the clouds. “When our attention is at rest — like during bouts of idleness or laziness — our mind wanders to fascinating places,” he explains. Read more.
- In Nepal, menstruation is seen as a state of uncleanness rather than a mere part of any woman’s natural cycle. As if seeing blood in your panties for the first time isn’t terrifying enough, girls are also cruelly introduced to the cultural practice of “chhaupadi” as soon as they start their periods. During this time, many get banished from their homes and are forced to sleep in a shed outside. They are also forbidden to look at the faces of their male family members. “Nepal’s Supreme Court outlawed chhaupadi in 2005, and in 2017 a law was enacted that made it a crime to force girls and women out of their homes during menstruation. But the practice persists,” writes Cheryl Strayed in an article for the New York Times. She and her husband, Brian Lindstrom also made a short documentary film about the topic.
- If you’re a Leonard Cohen fan, you should listen to this wonderful interview with him on the New Yorker Radio Hour podcast. It was conducted by David Remnick a few short months before his death and is filled with wry wit, wisdom and self-deprecating humour. Absolutely beautiful!
- Another excellent episode of the New Yorker Radio Hour: Love, War, and the Magical Lamb-Brain Sandwiches of Aleppo, Syria. It tells the story of reporter power couple, Adam Davidson and Jen Banbury’s holiday in Aleppo, Syria a good number of years ago when it was still a beautiful, bustling city and how, during this time, they stumbled upon the best (“shockingly good”) sandwiches they’d ever tasted. The sandwiches were so good, in fact, that the two never quite registered what was in them or where they came from.Over the years, Adam and Jen have told this story to many friends, but none was more interested than Dan Pashman, the host of the food podcast “The Sporkful.” Fascinated by the mystery, Pashman set out on a quest to find and recreate the sandwiches – which proves to be quite a mission indeed, as the Aleppo of Adam and Jen’s delicious sandwich memory no longer exists. I really love this quote from the episode: “The sandwich didn’t die when Aleppo died. Aleppo dies when the sandwich dies.” Deep!
- The other day, friends who live in London mentioned that they enjoyed driving out of the city over weekends and visiting areas of outstanding natural beauty. I thought it was a really quaint way of describing the countryside, but it turns out this is actually an official designation: Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs). How funny is that?! Read all about them.
- While doing renovations for a new Oscar de la Renta boutique in Paris, architects made an unlikely discovery: a 17th-century oil painting hidden behind a wall! Naturally, the masterpiece became a serendipitous centrepiece for the store.