Showing posts with label New Yorker magazine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Yorker magazine. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Gino Macropodio & the Dead Lagoon

That Italian-Greek name is the needle that sews together a great read in this week's New Yorker.
While not stellar writing, there are some hysterical anecdotes that only an American son of privilege could acquire in the ratty waters of Venice.

Highlights:
• "Inmates were dangerously crazy women, not just moody ones."
• Rats, gun-runners ..."fighting certain taxi drivers for the city's cocaine trade .. "
• "Baby Fragola came in fast, blasting techno, holding the collar ..."
• "From the stomach, not the balls!"
• Macropodio "once rowed three miles across the lagoon with six friends to drink 40 bottles of wine. And then rowed back." (Fact checkers missed the math on this!)

Read "Open Water," the tale of "Kekquakea," by Sean Wilsey. Page 40 of the April 22 New Yorker.
More on the Venice pollution and water problems in this BBC article on a temporary Grand Canal boat ban.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

NYer: Chicago=Beige

This week’s New Yorker magazine delivers reasons to love the Windy City based on high-end shopping, while delivering snotty slams about Chicago.
Here's a Praise Chicago short list from the New Yorker article:
1. Garbage is confined in rear alleys. So civilized.
2. The Marshall Field’s legacy.
3. “We’re not into names like Prada.” (Just “O”, Ultimo and Ikram Goldman -Michelle Obama's fashion guru.)
4. “It’s easier to be on top of the pile here.”
5. Chicago corruption is more democratic.
6. The Chicago Architecture Foundation divides the city into 237 neighborhoods, many described by hopefuls as “the next Meatpacking District.”
7. From designer Cynthia Rowley, a native: “The community supports you. That’s what gave me the courage and confidence to go to New York.”
And here's a handy list of Chicago's boutiques by neighborhood.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Holy Sex?

Read the New Yorker's recent, gripping tale about sex workers in the state of Karnataka, India. It's fascinating, though it lacks a greater economic and social context backed with well-placed statistics. The story does underscore the unrelenting belief that sex work, in some quarters, is the inheritance of the Goddess Yellama. Money is the end game, benefiting extended families, but it's never enough and the 21st Century price is death. Microloans charging 30% rates still can't compete with holy work. Says one woman, Rani Bai, AIDS "is not the goddess’s doing. ... If you come to her with a pure heart, she will take away your sadness and your sorrows."

Thursday, March 13, 2008

NYer Slams MicroFin

This week's New Yorker magazine Financial Page says "the cult of the entrepreneur" has yielded a flawed microfinance boom -- a doubling from 2004-2006 to $4.4 billion loaned globally -- that merely helps the poor muddle from crisis to crisis, but does not foster small and mid-sized businesses that would create jobs and really lift people out of poverty. It's valid. The $25 loan for a goat or hundreds for a beauty parlor - those pale compared to the so-called "missing middle" in commercial lending in poor countries, which means investments between $500,000 and $3.5 million that could help build factories. But the article seems carelessly dismissive; consider Muhammad Unis, microcredit pioneer and founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. He got the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for fighting poverty with microloans. The article does praise Google.org, the Soros Economic Development Fund and the Omidyar Network for recently setting up a fund to invest in small- to mid-sized businesses in India (press release here). What prompted the article? Maybe PR behind a George Mason University economics professor quoted. Prof. Tyler Cowen, who just published a paper in the Woodrow Wilson Center Quarterly, writes, "Yes, microcredit is mostly a good thing. Very often it helps keep borrowers from even greater catastrophes, but only rarely does it enable them to climb out of ­poverty." My issue: from living on $4 per day, what constitutes a "climb?!" Essentially, Cowen says microcredit is a good thing. Maybe the article buzz is just capitalism at its finest. Cowen just published a book, "Discover Your Inner Economist: Use Incentives to Fall in Love, Survive Your Next Meeting, and Motivate Your Dentist." It would be valuable in rural Africa and India if people there would just get rich already.