Trump to Guggenheim: lend me your Van Gogh? Guggenheim: Nah, howbout a gold toilet instead?

Donald Trump wrote to the Guggenheim Museum asking if he could borrow a Van Gogh to hang in his living quarters in the White House; curator Nancy Spector wrote back and demurred, offering instead to lend him "America," Maurizio Cattelan's "18-karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet" made as a "pointed satire aimed at the excess of wealth in this country." Read the rest

The once-dreamed wonders of trailer life

Trailers have a mostly negative reputation, these days, drawing working-class resentment and middle-class contempt. But they once embodied a compact, affordable rendition of the American Dream. So let's talk about "Tiny Houses" and how it navigates a stigma that must end...

The trailer-trash myth took off after World War II, when soldiers coming back from the war were faced with a housing shortage. Much of the travel-trailer and mobile-home industry got its jumpstart at that time. Confronting the housing situation, a lot of returning servicemen chose to move into RVs and mobile homes, at least for the short-term. It’s unfortunate that our veterans were also then associated with this notion of being “trailer trash.” In the ’40s, people living in “regular” homes also looked upon those in RVs and mobile homes as “trailer trash” because they had to go to the outhouse or the campground wash facilities just to use the toilet. We have hundreds of postcards in our trailer-themed collection just about outhouses.

Trailers are stigmatized because the poor can afford them, and when the first generation of Tiny House dwellers start selling up in earnest, Tiny Houses will be stigmatized too. Read the rest

William S. Burroughs: "A Thanksgiving Prayer" (1986)

Uncle Bill, in keeping with tradition, please lead us in A Thanksgiving Prayer.

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Smalltown America finds ecstasy at Dollar General

I love dollar stores, and so does rural America.

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Computer-generated maps imagine America redivided into equal-population areas

America votes Democrat but elects Republicans, and it's all thanks to how the country is divided up.

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Shopper brandishes gun in Walmart fight

Shopping tip of the day!1 If you need to end an argument over who gets to buy the last item on the shelf, try whipping out your concealed-carry firearm and threatening other shoppers with it. According to reports, it worked a treat in this example from Walmart, where a gun-toting woman won her prize and was free to check it out after the confrontation.

1. Tip recommended only for white shoppers.

Here's video from another shopper, apparently showing the aftermath: Read the rest

Reader reviews for animal medication tell a grim story about human healthcare in America

If you want an idea how desperately bad the U.S. healthcare system is for those unable to afford it, the reader reviews on Moxifish—aquarium antibiotics—make for grim reading.

Worked in two days! My fish no longer has a tooth infection:) lol
My fish started work at a new job and his insurance hadn't kicked in yet. Well, of course, my fish got a bad case of bronchitis or something like that. Nevertheless, we decided to get him some meds and boom! Within 2 days he was all new again and just kept swimming!
My fish got bronchitis the first week of a new job and didn't have the time or money to go see a doctor. I received these quickly after ordering them and now my fishy's nasty cough is gone!
My fish have been sick for two weeks straight and having trouble sleeping at night. I finally figured out that the fish have a bad sinus infection and swollen glands. After just a few hours the swelling is gone and my fish can breath again. They were even outside all day building a shed and didn't feel sick at all. :).

$40 for thirty 500mg amoxycillin capsules isn't a good deal, and it seems likely the reader reviews have become more about the joke than the broke. But doctor visits can cost hundreds of dollars without insurance (and $50 or more with it), alternatives are not easily accessible, so here we are.

P.S. survivalists have long suggested stocking up on pet antibiotics for the comic-book apocalypse. Read the rest

The richest person in every state, by industry

You might think every American state is overrun with tech billionaires, given the amount of press they get, but Forbes shows that the richest person in each state is more likely to have made their fortune in fashion, retail, finance, or investing: Read the rest

American-born Muslim harassed in line at supermarket: "I wish they didn't let you in the country"

Jeremy McLellan posted a video to twitter that he reports was taken by a Muslim friend of his being "harassed at a Trader Joe's in Reston, VA."

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What do South Koreans really think of America?

From the Statue of Liberty and Chipotle to big boobs, Trump and racism, South Koreans tell us what they think of America – and Americans – in this episode of "What Asians Think of America" series by Asian Boss. Read the rest

Boy Scouts of America to allow transgender boys to enroll

The Associated Press reports that Boy Scouts of America will allow transgender children who identify as boys to enroll in scouting programs.

Rebecca Rausch, a spokeswoman for the organization, emailed a statement Monday. She said the organization's leadership had considered a recent case in Secaucus, New Jersey, where an 8-year-old transgender child had been asked to leave his Scout troop after parents and leaders found out he is transgender, but the change was made because of the larger conversation about gender identity going on around the country.

"For more than 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America, along with schools, youth sports and other youth organizations, have ultimately deferred to the information on an individual's birth certificate to determine eligibility for our single-gender programs," the statement said. "However, that approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary widely from state to state."

In Britain, the home of scouting, it's just "The Scouts."

In fact, here's the list of countries with more than a handful of scout troops, where girls can't join:

Nigeria Pakistan Saudi Arabia Sudan United States Read the rest

What Target's graphic designers know about America that you don't

I was in Target yesterday and spotted this remarkable work of art disguised as a marketing hoarding (it is in fact a tryptich with Darth Vader off to the left.) I'm hoping someone well-educated might explain to me what it means. Read the rest

"I Have A Dream" - Martin Luther King Jr.

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The Problem We Still Live With

A few things have changed since the 1960s. Read the rest

Go and vote

I recently became an American citizen. I just voted for the first time in my life. Ballot selfies are legal in PA, but it's all on computer and all you get printed for you is this wee receipt! I'm a sexy anarchist, but I voted for Hillary Clinton and recommend that you do too, because she's the second-best choice this system has ever given us and the best one's already got the job. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is a racist cheapjack, a gallon baggie of apricot pruno left to go rancid in the sun until it bursts like a beached whale.

Go and vote. Read the rest

Beautifully color-coded watershed maps of America

You can buy high-res versions on Etsy, with Europe and other countries also on offer.

High resolution map of all the permanent and temporary streams and rivers of the contiguous 48 states in beautiful rainbow colours, divided into catchment areas. It shows Strahler Stream Order Classification. The higher the stream order, the thicker the line. Map made mostly with the open-source QGIS software.

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Muslim-American woman kicked out of Family Dollar store for wearing hijab and niqab

Sarah Safi of Gary, Indiana was kicked out of a Family Dollar store by an assistant store manager who cited the woman's traditional Muslim dress, a niqab and hijab, as being threatening. Ms. Safi, 32, recorded part of the manager's tirade on video.

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