Weekend Reading

50 years in a cab: A long, winding trip for one driver, and his city | New York Times

“Despite not using a GPS device, he said he could find any address in the city, from the historic center — a warren of one-way streets one must navigate to get near the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain or the Spanish Steps — to the outlying areas.

“I can bet you a coffee I’ll know where any street is,” he said.

He also said he thought traffic in Rome had actually improved. Years ago, he said, there were fewer roads, so drivers stuck to known routes, clogging main arteries. For example, there was no highway linking the city to Fiumicino Airport, which is on the coast between Fregene and Ostia, two popular beach spots.

“If you can get through the first 15 years without getting really angry, you can do it forever,” Mr. Tomassi said. “I just take things as they come.””

This feature of a Roman cabdriver made me long for the Eternal City. Lighthearted, quick read for any Italophile.

4 men with 4 very different incomes open up about the lives they can afford | Esquire

I’m not going to share a snippet from this because it’s just a Q&A with four men. One is a millionaire, another in the upper class making $250,000, a third who makes around $50,000 and the last guy who sits at the poverty line. It’s a fascinating read about saving, spending and the relativeness of happiness.

Netflix and Ch-Ch-Chilly | Backchannel

“I love meeting people in New York who say they grew up in a small town. “Oh yeah?” I always ask. “Where?”

Inevitably, their answer is someplace like Syracuse or Fresno or a suburb of Miami. When I tell them that I grew up in rural North Dakota, their eyes light up. With uncanny precision, their next words are one of these three statements:

A) “I have never met anyone from North Dakota.”
B) “North Dakota is the only state I have never visited.”
C) “My parents dragged me to North Dakota to see Mount Rushmore.”

When they answer C, which is not uncommon, I have to correct them. “Actually, that’s South Dakota.” Sometimes they contest my geographic knowledge, which is fun.

“I’m preeeety sure,” I say.

I tell them that North Dakota has the lowest tourism rate in the country. There aren’t many reasons to visit.

Usually the conversation wraps up quickly. “Well, now I know someone from North Dakota.”

Yep, now you do.”

The description for this long read is: How have decades of mass media and technology changed us? A writer returns to his remote hometown – once isolated, now connected – and finds unexpected answers.

Journalist, 9, responds to critics and becomes a media star | New York Times

Mr. Lysiak, a former crime reporter for The Daily News, said that his daughter was exposed to journalism through his work and that she was “obsessed” with reporting on vandalism in her neighborhood. In turn, she developed grass-roots sources in the area and gained people’s trust — which is how she got the scoop about the death on Ninth Street.

A delightful story of a 9-year-old girl who runs her own monthly newspaper, The Orange Street News. After covering a homicide and, like any good reporter does, sharing the story via social media, comments and criticism poured in. Many asked if a girl her age should be covering something this severe. Others went so far as to suggest she play with dolls. She posted a video reaction — can you guess how it went? — and then was off, in pursuit of her next big story.

I enjoyed a lovely weekend at home. The sun was shining, the magnolia trees blooming and town already packed with tourists. Ordinary activities — grocery shopping at Woodman’s, cooking breakfast, watching television and sample-hopping at Costco — are so much more enjoyable with family at your side. My dad and I popped in a few model homes as part of the free spring-version of Parade of Homes (no photos this time around, though). And it wouldn’t be a great weekend without a stop at Kopp’s for custard.

Only two weeks of college classes left. HOW did that happen? Off to work on my last two 10-page papers…

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