The New York Times recently saw fit to inform its readers of the following news:

For a brief moment on Tuesday, Cal Marshall was the most famous teenager in politics.

Cal, 17, is the son of Roger Marshall, who that day had been sworn into Congress as the Republican representative from the First District of Kansas. Their family was standing for a photo with House Speaker Paul D. Ryan — the sort of photo that hangs on the halls of Congress and is sent out for Christmas cards come fund-raising time — when Cal, being a teenager, sensed an opportunity. ...

Rest your head in the crook of your arm. Put the other arm out to your side. Pause. Ok, you’ve dabbed. Fun, right?

(“Dabbing” is not to be confused with, uh, “dabbing,” the practice of consuming marijuana extract in search of a stronger high. The two are not related.)

“Are you all right?” Mr. Ryan asked Cal, who was technically doing a half-dab, while one of his arms was occupied holding the Bible. He nodded to the speaker of the House, and said yes. Mr. Marshall, oblivious, continued to pose for the photographer.

- ERIN McCANN, Yes, a Teenager Dabbed in Front of Paul Ryan, NYT, JAN. 4, 2017 (on p. A13 of the Jan. 5 printed National Edition)

Starbucks began selling “unicorn Frappuccinos” on Wednesday, a colorful kaleidoscope of a drink, breathing new life into a food trend that had been willed into existence by a torrent of carefully composed pictures shared on Instagram and other social media sites.
For the unaware: “Unicorn food” is any food item jazzed up with dye or cute accessories like fruit cut into little shapes or mountains of pastel marshmallows. The highly committed may add a horn, ears and a mane made of sculpted sugar.
This might happen to a cupcake, a piece of toast or a cup of coffee. It has been going on for roughly a year on both social media and in a handful of hip cafes.
- LIAM STACK, ‘Unicorn Food’ Is Colorful, Sparkly and Everywhere, NYT, APRIL 19, 2017

“Pick a good stem,” says Al Gliniecki, who currently holds three Guinness World Records for most cherry stems knotted using the tongue: 14 in one minute, 39 in three minutes and 911 in one hour. ...
Take the stem and lay it lengthwise down the center of your tongue. Close your lips. Bend your tongue upward, pinning it against the roof of your mouth. This movement will fold the stem in half and leave the two ends crossed and facing forward. Choose stalks with bulbous tips, so your tongue can more easily locate an end and push it through the loop.
- MALIA WOLLAN, How to Knot a Cherry Stem With Your Tongue, NYT, JUNE 23, 2017

Growing up in Europe and the Middle East, my introduction to American food culture was through the Oreo, and I loved the cookie instantly and fiercely — from the crinkling sound of the plastic packaging; to the frosting, sweeter than anything I’d ever tasted; to the impossibly dark, intricately embossed biscuits, which tasted only vaguely of chocolate.
I still consider the classic Oreo to be a sandwich cookie of perfect proportion and sweetness....
- TEJAL RAO, Fireworks Oreos? A Reporter Digests, NYT, JULY 3, 2017

The diner-style burger is a traditional, griddled patty smashed thin and cooked crisp on its edges. It can be cooked only on a flat surface, like a cast-iron pan. ...
The diner hamburger weighs around 3 to 4 ounces before cooking, or roughly an ice-cream-scoop's worth of meat. Two pounds of beef will yield eight patties, enough for four to eight servings, depending on whether you choose to serve two patties on a single bun. (That's not an outrageous option.)
Don't form the patties before cooking. Instead, leave the ground beef in a pile in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook. Then, gently divide it into eight small piles of weighing [sic] about 4 ounces each, and, with even more care, shape the piles into roughly 2-inch-tall orbs. Add oil or butter to a large cast-iron or stainless-steel skillet and place over medium heat.
- Sam Sifton, How to Make a Diner-Style Hamburger, NYT, National Edition, July 4, 2017 (print version, p. 3, under the heading "Here to Help") - a slightly different version is available online: How to Make Burgers (as of Dec. 20, 2017)
This Times item appears to be plagiarized from the following 2016 blog posting:

Diner Style
This is the traditional, griddled hamburger of diners and takeaway spots, smashed thin and cooked crisp on its edges. This style of burger can only be cooked on a flat surface, like a cast-iron pan; do not attempt it on the grill.
The diner hamburger weighs around 3 to 4 ounces precooked, roughly an ice-cream-scoop’s worth of meat. Two pounds of beef will yield eight patties, enough for four to eight servings, depending on whether you choose to serve two patties on a single bun (not an outrageous option).
Do not form the patties before cooking. Instead, leave the ground meat in a pile in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook. Then gently divide the ground beef into 8 small piles of around 4 ounces each, and even more gently gather them together into orbs that are about 2 inches in height. Add oil or butter to a large cast-iron or stainless-steel skillet and place over medium heat.
When you’re ready to transfer the meat to the pan, turn the heat to high. Put half the orbs into the skillet with plenty of distance between them. Quickly, using a stiff metal spatula, press down on each burger, smashing it to form a thin patty that is around 4 inches in diameter and about 1/2 inch thick. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook without moving until patties have achieved a deep, burnished crust, roughly 90 seconds later. Slide your spatula under the patty, flip it over, add cheese if you’re using it, and cook the hamburger through, approximately a minute or so longer. Remove them to buns, and repeat with remaining burgers.
- Syarinda Putri Rizqita, It's your last meal on earth what do you choose?, Saturday, December 17, 2016

However, it is likely Rizqita took the ice-cream-scoop comparison (and more) from Sam Sifton's June 23, 2014 article Deconstructing the Perfect Burger, which included the statement:
The diner hamburger has a precooked weight of 3 to 4 ounces, roughly an ice-cream-scoop’s worth of meat.

Or it may have been obtained from Sifton indirectly, copied from a March 14, 2016 Facebook posting by "Ballistic BBQ":
The diner hamburger weighs around 3 to 4 ounces precooked, roughly an ice-cream-scoop’s worth of meat.

When the remains of the Surrealist painter Salvador Dalí were exhumed in Spain on Thursday night, forensics experts made a startling discovery: The artist’s trademark mustache was still intact.

“The mustache kept its classic 10-past-10 position,” Lluís Peñuelas, the secretary general of the foundation that oversees Dalí’s estate, told reporters on Friday, referring to the artist’s waxed and gravity-defying bristles, which Dalí kept pointed upward, like the hands of a clock. “Finding this out was a very emotional moment.”

Narcís Bardalet, who had embalmed Dalí’s body in 1989, told the Catalan radio station RAC1 that finding the mustache intact was “a miracle.”
- RAPHAEL MINDER, Mustache Intact, Salvador Dalí’s Remains Are Exhumed in Paternity Suit, NYT, JULY 21, 2017

To pose alongside the almost 200 Japanese sweets we photographed for T’s Fall Women’s Issue, our photo director, Nadia Vellam, cast five fabulous … felines. ...
Her full name is Ma Cherie Laureen Cherie (her mother is Daenerys Laureen Cherie) and she is engaged to Grand Champion Paddington, who is also a blue British shorthair. One day, they will have beautiful little blue babies together. Cherie is very affectionate and loves ice cream. ...
Named after the song “Crystal Blue Persuasion” by Tommy James and the Shondells, Crystal has appeared in commercials and music videos. She once was on the Katie Couric show....
- ALAINNA LEXIE BEDDIE, Meet the Cats: The sweet story of Cherie, Crystal, Sabrina, Tyrone and one foster kitten — who modeled Japanese sweets for T, NYT, AUG. 14, 2017

From the front page of the New York Times:

Let’s just get this out of the way: There are other matters of consequence going on in the world.

But in these fractious times, a series of puppy photos sent by none other than the fun-loving scamps at the Central Intelligence Agency qualifies as a feel-good, stick-it-to-the-man moment, shared by thousands of people who are marooned in office jobs. Meet Lulu, the black Labrador retriever and free spirit who bucked expectations and flunked out of the C.I.A.’s explosive detection “puppy class.”
- KATIE ROGERS, Bomb School Wasn’t for Lulu, but the C.I.A. Wishes Her the Best, OCT. 19, 2017

The friends from Quebec went to London’s Brick Lane food market, searching for a taste of home. But as they devoured their poutine — that gloppy, trouser-bursting dish of French fries, cheddar cheese curds and gravy — something felt horribly wrong.

The dish tasted just right — so authentic that the cheese curds emitted a faint “squeak, squeak” when bitten into — the telltale sign of a proper poutine.

But the jovial chef serving them had an Ontario accent. Even more disconcerting: He was wearing the hat of the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey team, the archrivals of the Montreal Canadiens.
“Poutine is Quebecois; it is not Canadian,” said Zak Rosentzveig, 25, a poutine-obsessed economist from Montreal, recently describing his visit to the food stall and adding his voice to a simmering debate over poutine’s true identity.
“Calling poutine ‘Canadian’ makes me feel very uncomfortable...." ...
Leading the movement to rebrand the beloved and starchy snack is Nicolas Fabien-Ouellet, 28, a self-described “poutinologist” from Montreal who rocked the Canadian culinary world this summer after presenting an academic paper arguing that Canada had culturally appropriated a dish so quintessentially Quebecois that it amounted to a theft. ...
Still, the nagging question remains: Is poutine Quebecois or Canadian?
- DAN BILEFSKY, Calling Poutine ‘Canadian’ Gives Some in Quebec Indigestion, NYT, DEC. 19, 2017

The red leather-bound book had long gone unnoticed.... ...
The librarian, John Myers, carefully flipped through its fraying brown pages. He found the title: “Gaines Universal Register,” or “Columbian Kalendar for the year of Our Lord 1793.” ...
Then, Mr. Myers found an envelope slipped into the almanac, its paper as brittle as the rest of the book’s pages. It was inscribed in cursive with initials that he did not recognize and at the top, “Washington’s Hair.” Inside, he found a lock of grayish-colored hair tied together with thread. ...
Now that it has become clearer what has been found, the hair is being handled as the valuable piece of history it may very well be — with tweezers and wrapped in acid-free paper. India Spartz, the head of special collections and archives at Union College, said she plans to reach out to conservators about how to protect this unusual piece of history. “This is of such national significance,” she said.
- RICK ROJAS, Finding a Lock of George Washington’s Hair, and a Link to American History, NYT, FEB. 18, 2018

Q: I’m confounded by the tags on silk scarves. I am rarely without one, and I wear mine knotted and tied to chase chills with a collarless T-shirt/sweater combo. Many brands sew a name tag and content label into the rolled edge, which I find annoying and scratchy and too visible, but removal would cause the scarf to fray. As a lover of vintage, I’m also aware that ‘with tag’ often adds to the value of a garment. Advice? — Joni, Fredericksburg, VA

A: This seems like such a simple question, but turns out to be 1) a problem literally everyone has, including Parisian friends who are dedicated to wearing a silk scarf knotted at their throat or around their handbag, and 2) extremely hard to solve. Because you are exactly right: Those tags are a big pain in the neck, plus they often stick out in unsightly ways. And you are also right: They increase the resale value of any scarf when intact.

So what’s a frustrated person to do?
- VANESSA FRIEDMAN, Open Thread: This Week in Style News, NYT, APRIL 6, 2018

Q: It's summer and, once again, I have to devise ways of camouflaging my arm fat. ... I can't go sleeveless, and even short sleeves look terrible.
A: This problem may be genetic for you, but droopy underarms are one of those things, along with thinning eyebrow and back fat, that comes to us all. ... They are a fact of life. We all have to learn to deal, and dress, for them.
- Vanessa Friedman, Here to Help, NYT, June 11, 2018, National Edition, p. A3 (not in the online paper as of June 11, 2018)

I used to read during my free time, but it’s been all Candy Crush for the past year.
- Joseph Opper, ‘It Wasn’t Until I Changed Trains That I Noticed My Bag Felt a Little Light’, Metropolitan Diary, NYT, 12/24/2018

Jason Statham, the action-movie star known for his martial arts prowess, posted a video this week of himself kicking a bottle. Filmed in slow motion, it shows him spinning 360 degrees before his foot connects with the bottle cap just enough to send it flying off the bottle, but not enough to tip the bottle over. By Wednesday morning, this 23-second Instagram post had more than 14.5 million views.

Mr. Statham’s post on Monday was just one entry in a viral trend known as the Bottle Cap Challenge. More than 26,000 Instagram posts had the hashtag #bottlecapchallenge as of Wednesday morning. ...
The challenge is how to unscrew the cap with a roundhouse kick without knocking the bottle over. The trick, as you might have guessed, is to loosen the cap beforehand and have someone off-camera hold the bottle steady. ...
Errolson Hugh, a fashion designer, posted his own video with the hashtag #bottlecapchallenge. Within a week, more than a million people had watched it. Mr. Hugh then challenged Max Holloway, an Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight champion.

Mr. Holloway soon shared his own video, which racked up more than two million views in four days. He also challenged his friend John Mayer, the famous musician.
- Mariel Padilla, The Bottle Cap Challenge Spins Across the Internet, NYT, July 3, 2019

We know them when we see them: The TV shows and movies we love, even though we just know they’re bad. The trashy books we simply can’t put down. The awful earworms we hate to love.

Yes, these are our guilty pleasures — what some people consider the junk food in our media diets. But if we enjoy them, why should we feel guilty? We should be free to enjoy whatever we like! ...
“When we rest, we think we’re supposed to use that time productively with problem solving,” said Dr. Kristin Neff, an associate professor in the department of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. While “that may be good for survival,” Dr. Neff said, constantly running through hypothetical problems “is not very good for happiness.”
“When we rest, we think we’re supposed to use that time productively with problem solving,” said Dr. Kristin Neff, an associate professor in the department of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin. While “that may be good for survival,” Dr. Neff said, constantly running through hypothetical problems “is not very good for happiness.” ...
“A guilty pleasure is something that we enjoy, but we know we’re either not supposed to like, or that liking it says something negative about us,” said Sami Schalk, an assistant professor of gender and women’s studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“That negative thing often ends up being an association with categories of identity we disparage and marginalize in society,” according to Dr. Schalk. Consider what separates sports and reality TV. The idea of someone apologizing for watching the N.B.A. finals sounds silly, but the implied apology when someone says, “Ugh, I know ‘The Bachelor is awful but I can’t stop watching it” is normalized. ...
''Guilt can be a healthy motivator to push us to change behaviors we don’t like, while shame — the painful feeling that our behavior makes us horrible people — is never productive. But when we disparage our reality TV viewing habits, for example, we typically aren’t describing a behavior we hope to change, nor are we saying we’re terrible people.

“When you feel guilty, but haven’t harmed anyone, then you’re just in the realm of perfectionism or criticism,” said Dr. Neff, the associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

Beyond the fear about how others will perceive us, Dr. Schalk said this perfectionism stems from the “deeply puritanical roots” of our culture, one in which pleasure is seen “as sinful and bad and self-indulgent.” ...
Is binge-watching seven episodes of “Real Housewives” melting our brains? Of course not.... ...
“We have this cultural value of media consumption being edifying, and that what we do should be about growing and achieving,” Dr. Nabi said. “We don’t focus as much on relaxation and playing and enjoyment and fun, and these are such important aspects of being a human being.” ...
Perhaps the most important value of a guilty pleasure is the bond it can create between people.

“These shows are out there for a reason — they’re resonating,” Dr. Nabi said. Dr. Neff added that the connections we make with others who share our interests in such things “is not to be underestimated.”

Besides helping us connect with others, talking about what we enjoy can alleviate any residual guilt and make it easier to discover more things that bring us pleasure.
- ''Micaela Marini Higgs, ‘Guilty’ Pleasures? No Such Thing, NYT, July 1, 2019

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