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New York City, May 24, 2017

★★★ Mellow gray light and cool air attended on the long and unsteady rise from the sickbed. The west through the blinds became brighter and bluer, and the outdoors sounded inviting.

Prepared For The Worst

The comforts of dark matter Photo: Paul Sableman So: Modern society, as a whole, tends toward a sort of institutional optimism, espousing Hegelian notions of history as progress and encouraging us to believe happiness is at least potentially available for all, if only we would pull together in a reasonable manner.

Barack in the Biergarten of Good and Evil

Deutschland über us. Barack Obama, our ex-stepdad who we thought was going to adopt us and save us from our abusive mom (THE AMERICAN VOTER), has instead moved on with his life and is currently chilling in Berlin with longtime “companion” and apparent new girlfriend Angela Merkel, and boy are HER kids thrilled.

Grading (A)lternatives

For when a regular A just won’t do. Amy Kurzweil’s cartoons appear in The New Yorker and elsewhere. She is the author of Flying Couch: A Graphic Memoir.

The Way We Cover Bad Tweets Now

In the New York Times Styles section, obviously. Image: Paul Bailey Amid the criticism, Mr. Leavitt has continued to tweet.

A Poem by Tracy K. Smith

The Angels Two slung themselves across chairs Once in a motel room. Grizzled, In leather biker gear. Emissaries For something I needed to see.

Penguin Cafe & Cornelius, “Solaris” (Cornelius Mix)

What’s it like to still have hope? Photo: lgh75 If you woke up this morning thinking things would be better I want you to find someone close, someone you trust, who will sit you down and explain to you that things are only going to stay bad or get worse from now on.

Courtney Barnett, “How to Boil an Egg”

“Every morning I feel more useless than before” Is anyone better at songs with food titles than the witty, rambly Auswtroaeleeiyan Courtney Barnett?

Who Goes Nazi: Bachelorette Edition

“His body is vigorous. His mind is childish. His soul has been almost completely neglected.” Have you ever watched “The Bachelorette?

Dear Highly Successful People: Stop Talking About Your Failures

Failure is a luxury. Image: yevkusa I was warned to beware my thirties. I was told that this is when everything I took for granted as functioning well would begin to stop.

The Men of Hammacher Schlemmer

Are they really happy? From its founding as a hardware store on the Bowery in 1848, through its underground days as a minter of “copperhead” tokens during the Civil War coin shortage, through its twentieth-century expansion into gadgets and novelties, Hammacher Schlemmer has never stood still.

[“Anyway, Here’s Wonderwall” Voice] Anyway, Here’s Beethoven’s 9th

Classical Music Hour with Fran Image: Andrew Gustar I took a Classical and Romantic Music History class when I was in college.

A Dog’s Perspective

Notes on life by Liana Finck A Dog’s Perspective was originally published in The Awl on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Superpitcher, “Burkina”

Confused? You’re not the only one. Photo: Billie Grace Ward What are the questions you ask yourself these days when you’re so stunned that all you can do is wonder about why we are where we are and how we got here?

New York City, May 22, 2017

★★ The rain had paused for the walk to school. The cool air was agreeable; the sidewalks were drying out but the trees still held in the dampness on the schoolyard.

Why You Should Watch “Bite of China” Instead of “Chef’s Table”

Because it’s a better show about food. While all of humanity and Hollywood are busy mining British television for the next obscure detective series hit starring a skinny white guy with a sharp nose, China’s CCTV has made the best show on the small screen.

Guess The Expletive

Jared Kushner in the ‘Times’ edition Image: Jonathan Rolande The best game to play in the New York Times is not, as many people might think, the daily crossword puzzle.

Never Write a Novel With an En-dash in the Title

Lessons from a literary debut. Never write a novel with an en-dash in the title. You’ll finally learn the alt code, after months of searching “en-dash” in another tab and copying the result every time you type your own novel’s name, but the real issue is that you’re going to be filling out a lot of forms, on Kirkus and Indiebound and Amazon, and half the forms will automatically convert your en-dash into a hyphen, and you’ll wonder if everyone who reads your title on one of those websites with one of those forms will assume you don’t know how to appropriately punctuate a date range.

Speech Good

New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu’s address on the now-removed Confederate monuments Image: Infrogmation of New Orleans To literally put the confederacy on a pedestal in our most prominent places of honor is an inaccurate recitation of our full past, it is an affront to our present, and it is a bad prescription for our future.

Chromatics, “Shadow”

How long will you wait? Photo: Ralph Hockens This Chromatics video is a “Tribute To David Lynch’s ‘Blue Velvet’ & The Legendary Julee Cruise,” which are for sure two things that deserve tribute.