Personal and Otherwise

Personal and Otherwise — October 13, 2014, 12:00 pm

On Getting Wasted

Among the hoarders and junk haulers of Charleston

Personal and Otherwise — July 10, 2014, 12:15 pm

God Lives on Lemon Street

An ex–Jehovah’s Witness visits Watchtower headquarters

Jehovah’s Witnesses Watchtower building, Brooklyn. ©© Clemens v. Vogelsang (Flickr)

Personal and Otherwise — March 27, 2014, 12:08 pm

Death at the Serena

Remembering Ahmad Sardar and his family

Vigil for Ahmad Sardar and his family © AP Photo/Massoud Hossaini

Personal and Otherwise — December 20, 2013, 8:00 am

Recollections of My Christmas Tree

“One thing is for certain — I wouldn’t want to be a Christmas tree”

Harper's Magazine (February 1901)

Personal and Otherwise — November 21, 2013, 8:00 am

How Maradona Explains the Word

Interpreting my South American interpreter

Diego Maradona, 1986 World Cup

Personal and Otherwise — August 22, 2013, 12:56 pm

Occupied by The Newsroom

On inspiring (probably, maybe) a Newsroom plot arc

Still from The Newsroom. © HBO

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"The past is complicated, and explaining it is not just a trick, but a gamble."
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"Perfectly sane people lose access to housing every day, though the resultant ordeal may undermine some of that sanity, as it might yours and mine."
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Flor Arely Sánchez had been in bed with a fever and pains throughout her body for three days when a July thunderstorm broke over the mountainside. She got nervous when bolts of light flashed in the sky. Lightning strikes the San Julián region of western El Salvador several times a year, and her neighbors fear storms more than they fear the march of diseases — first dengue, then chikungunya, now Zika. Flor worried about a lot of things, since she was pregnant.

Late in the afternoon, when the pains had somewhat eased, Flor thought she might go to a dammed-up bit of the river near her house to bathe. She is thirty-five and has lived in the same place all her life, where wrinkled hills are planted with corn, beans, and fruit trees. She took a towel and soap and walked out into the rain. Halfway to the river, the pains returned and overcame her. The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion.

Photograph by Joshua Lutz
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"The next thing Flor remembers, she was in a room she didn’t recognize, unable to move. As she soon discovered, she was in a hospital, her ankle cuffed to the bed, and she was being investigated for abortion."
Photograph © Nadia Shira Cohen

Average amount the company paid each of its 140 top executives last year:

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Between one fifth and one half of England’s leisure horses are obese.

Scientists in the Galápagos Islands credited an endangered giant tortoise named Diego with saving his species by fathering more than 800 offspring.

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Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'

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