OMG (1917): The first recorded appearance of this breathless acronym for “Oh, my God!” comes, surprisingly, in a letter to Winston Churchill “I hear that a new order of Knighthood is on the tapis — O.M.G. (Oh! My God!) — Shower it on the Admiralty!!”
LIKE (1778): Plopped into sentences, “like” is a rest stop for the hesitant, and not just tweens. Burney Evelina II: “Father grew quite uneasy, like, for fear of his Lordship’s taking offence.”
UNFRIEND (1659): Unfriending began a tad earlier. T. Fuller: “I Hope, Sir, that we are not mutually Un-friended by this Difference which hath happened betwixt us.”
TRUST: Can you really trust yourself more than others? No. Trusting yourself actually does involve two people — it’s just that they’re both you: the present you and the future you. And while present-you may think that you can stick to this new diet, future-you may not feel the same way when the time comes. Future-you, like anyone else, cannot always be trusted.
Holding Hands in Wadi Rum, Jordan (Credits: Christine Lai)
MARRIAGE: “He pervades my life, so now it’s hard to see him. Married couples are so intertwined, so interdependent that it’s hard to maintain a sense of wonder and excitement.” – Gretchen Rubin (Happiness at Home)
RUSSIANS v. AMERICANS: “How are you?” Americans say “Fine,” but Russians think: (1) you’ve been granted a heavenly reprieve from the wearisome grind that all but defines the human condition and as a result are experiencing a rare and sublime moment of fineness or (2) you are lying.
Ask a Russian, you will hear the truth: A blunt pronouncement of dissatisfaction punctuated by, say, the details of any recent digestive troubles.
Gail Anderson and Joe Newton; Image by A. Sverdlova/Sovfoto–UIG, via Getty Images
EMAIL ADDICTION: No, I didn’t spend two weeks replying to all those messages. I deleted them — without reading a single one — and declared what is known as email bankruptcy.
MONEY ADDICTION: In my last year on Wall Street my bonus was $3.6 million — and I was angry because it wasn’t big enough. I was 30 years old, had no children to raise, no debts to pay, no philanthropic goal in mind. I wanted more money for exactly the same reason an alcoholic needs another drink: I was addicted. The satisfaction wasn’t just about the money. It was about the power. Because of how smart and successful I was, it was someone else’s job to make me happy.
Happy Snow Day on the East Coast and happy reading!
TECHNOLOGY v. ISOLATION: Rather than isolating people, technology made us more connected. It turns out the wired folk recognized 3x as many of their neighbors when asked. They spoke with neighbors on the phone five times as often and attended more community events. People on the phone were not ignoring lunch partners or interrupting strolls with their lovers; rather, phone use seemed to be a way to pass the time while waiting to meet up with someone, or unwinding during a solo lunch break.
The story of public spaces in the last 30 years has not been aloneness, or digital distraction, but gender equity. Today there are a lot more women in public, proportional to men.
Cellphone Use at the MET (NYTIMES)
SUBWAY MOBILE CALLS: New York City subway hope to expand cellphone reception to all underground trains to help riders during emergencies. But cellphones have been used for years on the city’s elevated lines, where a given car might include a dozen travelers talking by phone in nearly as many languages, unashamed to expose the train to daily tales of professional woe, family squabbling or questionable relationship behavior.
FINDING A JOB v. FINDING THE ONE: Finding The One (or at least The One That’s Good Enough) in both jobs and love is difficult under the best of circumstances, and it’s even harder if you don’t know where or how to start your search. Collegefeed is geared towards college students and graduates looking for internships or their first or second job and to companies, especially smaller ones, that are having trouble finding the right candidates for their entry-level positions.
SHERLOCKis a huge hit in Britain — Season 3 drew more viewers there than “Downton Abbey”. Holmes represents logic and the unapologetic triumph of reason over emotion. And especially in this age of ambivalence and subjectivity, a purely cerebral hero is particularly welcome.
Sherlock has such a lasting hold on the public imagination; possibly only Dracula has had as many incarnations. It’s almost impossible to find another interesting crime solver who isn’t driven by childhood wounds or crippling psychological flaws or fixations. People are always trying to humanize Dracula; they too often try to do the same to Sherlock Holmes. (NYTIMES)
FIRST LADY: Michelle Obama is in many ways the embodiment of the contemporary, urban, well-heeled middle-aged American woman. She likes to take “me time,” as she did during an extra vacation week this month without family in Hawaii. She gardens, although unlike the rest of us, she has significant weeding help. (NYTIMES)
Fancy Suit: High tech ski suit for the Olympics by Lockheed Martin + Underarmour (NPR)
FOOD WRITER WHO CAN’T TASTE: To not smell the world around me, to not discern tastes, was horrifying. I’d lost all memories of tastes. My first mouthful of bacon was “So tasty!” But each encounter with bacon was like eating it for the first time. It might have been wonderful to be thrilled over and over again except that I felt incredibly stupid. (NYTIMES)
Baklava in Istanbul, Turkey (Credits: Christine Lai)
LOVE PROPOSAL: Don’t count on anyone else to bring beauty and adventure into my life. The kids are grown; my time and money are my own. Do what I want to do. Go where I want to go. Buy what I want to buy. Be engaged by myself. (NYTIMES)
SLEEPseems like a perfectly fine waste of time. Why would our bodies evolve to spend close to one-third of our lives completely out of it, when we could instead be doing something useful or exciting? As your body sleeps, your brain is quite actively playing the part of mental janitor: It’s clearing out all of the junk that has accumulated as a result of your daily thinking. (NYTIMES)
GOOD BYE JIM BEAM: Iconic American bourbon Jim Bean and Maker’s Mark to be sold to Suntory of Japan for $13.6 Billion. Few spirits are as American as bourbon: Jim Beam harkens back to 1795 in Kentucky. Suntory was founded 115 years ago. (NYTIMES)