Radio, Radio

Erika facing left of frame as she takes a shot almost kneeling on the ice in a black and pink uniform

Curling: Like Chess on Ice, Only Cooler

Curling is a top contender for the most accessible sport in the Winter Olympics, full of people you could easily picture having beers with or teaching you how to play their sport. Plenty of Americans can envision themselves curling and have taken up the sport, fueled by plentiful broadcasts on NBC’s networks with every Olympics. There are currently 165 clubs in 42 states and next year, NBC will once again spread many hours of curling coverage across CNBC, MSNBC and USA.

Glow-in-the-Dark Tattoos

Glow-in-the-dark ink or ultraviolet (UV) ink is a twist in the approximately $1.65 billion spent annually in the U.S. on tattoos. 23 percent of Americans now sport some body ink. While there’s a certain ubiquity to tattooed arms, legs and torsos, there’s still a professional resistance to them in the workplace. Sixty-one percent of (we’d guess non-tattooed) HR managers said in a survey that a tattoo would hurt a job applicant’s chances. And this is up from 57 percent in 2011.

The very human desire to memorialize certain life milestones by getting a tattoo endures, but so does the desire to pay your rent. Which makes the glow-in-the-dark tattoo make all kinds of Tom Edison sense.

The Battle of the Begums

For more than 20 years, and largely for the worse, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition leader Khaleda Zia have alternated in power. They’re archrivals, lifelong nemeses, mean girls par excellence. And make no mistake: Their war is not ideological. Though Hasina has a reputation as a secular stalwart, while Zia is known for her flirtations with Islamists, they’re quite similar, in all the wrong ways — winners in a dynastic political culture that is heavy on family-style corruption.

In October, Bangladesh’s two most powerful leaders set aside their differences for a phone date, and citizens allowed themselves some hope. But nooo… Instead, the two argued over everything from the legitimacy of upcoming elections and whose party is to blame for protest violence to when Zia should cut her birthday cake. 

OZY’s Movie Sampler

Popcorn box with popcorn shot from slightly above on yellow background

We love Katniss and The Hunger Games as much as anyone, but here at OZY, we also get hungry for something more than just superhero flicks and Oscar fast-tracks. Here’s some of the best from one of OZY’s finest, Eugene Robinson, our resident cinematic soothsayer.

Machete

Dirk Bogarde in The Servant, 1963.

Double-edged Blessing 

Actor Danny Trejo, at 69, has been reincarnated in multiple forms, but all were along the same lines. Drugs took him into prison, but the great irony of his life story is that somewhere in between steps 12 and 13, he landed in the entertainment world. It turns out we’re lucky to have him. Since his first role in 1985 as a boxing coach in Runaway Train, he’s climbed the silver (or tinsel) ladder to the top of Hollywood. Or perhaps to the underworld, where he reigns as king among villainous character actors.

His latest Troublemaker Studios is Machete Kills, a roguishly good ride with some surprising passengers, from Lady Gaga to Jessica Alba to Robert DeNiro. Trejo says he’s blessed; we are, too, especially by the murderous padre who makes an appearance in Machete. Pray for more.

A Few Steps Forward  

Here’s something new to keep us lazy and comfortable on our couches: Drop your laptops, iPads, and please stop trying to watch Netflix on your phone. We gadget geeks are agog over the Aiptek Mobile Cinema i55, a plug-in that lets you snap a tiny projector onto an iPhone and turn your bedroom wall into a silver screen. 

 

More on the goodie you’re probably hoping for in your stocking: it charges your phone for 2 hours while plugged in; projects a 5-foot image; and, while it’s not cheap, you can crunch the numbers yourself on your $12 ticket and $7 popcorn. 

A Gentleman’s Gentleman 

We love to talk about star-studded directors and producers, but for once, here’s a chilling look at the man who is the spiritual center of a film unafraid to take on big topics: sex, class and race among them. Sir Dirk Bogarde, a World War II intelligence officer, novelist and actor himself, was instrumental to The Servant (1963), a dramatic thriller just re-released for its 50th birthday.

In the “coldest film ever made,” Bogarde is Iago-esque in his cool cruelty, his luscious laziness and most of all, his ability to “eat revenge cold.” Enough with the overheating, panting over the same old stuff: Here’s an icy drama to cool us back down.

A Different Kind of Blood and Guts 

Here’s a dose of nonfiction to temper your wild fantasies. Meet the Menstrual Man, Arunachalam Muruganantham, an illiterate Indian who found a way to experience menstruation himself for five “lousy days” and ultimately built a device allowing anyone to make their own sanitary pads. Muruganantham is the subject of Singaporean filmmaker  Amit Virmani’s latest documentary. 

 

It’s a classic underdog story. Once called a pervert for obsessing over the dirty rags he saw women in his village using to clean themselves during their periods, Murunganantham has sold 1,000 machines in India and reached what might be the pinnacle of modern global fame as a TED speaker. A feel good flick in the end, despite some blood spilled along the way.

Family Talkers

Group of friends and family talking around a table smiling and laughing

Breast-Feeding Sucks

I’m just going to say it, because — well, apart from Tina Fey and the French feminist Elisabeth Badinter and a few outcast commenters on Babycenter.com — no one else in the real world will: Breast-feeding sucks.

I don’t mean this in some politically charged, rah-rah feminist, F-U Bloomberg and your formula prohibition kind of way. I don’t care if moms post breast-feeding photos on FacebookBeyoncé whips ‘em out in public or 5-year-olds still suckle. (Although, really, what’s that all about?) 

I just mean that having a newborn glued to your boob is not my idea of a good time…

Stay-at-Home-Dads Have More Fun

Before dads started ditching their day jobs to change diapers, they were the special guest stars. You know, the Joe Namath to Bobby Brady, the parent who buys the Fruit Loops when Mom’s mandate is puffed rice, the hero who takes his kids to Despicable Me when the haggard mom drags ’em to the dentist and then to the dry cleaners. Everyone knows: Dad is the fun one.

But do dads have more fun? With more fathers these days choosing, or being forced, to stay home with their kids — washing peed-on sheets, picking Cheerios up off the floor, wrestling wailing toddlers into car seats and watching them go down the slide again and again and again and again — I wonder. Are dads seriously able to hold on to their title? Are they really enjoying parenting day in, day out as much as they did during their traditional two-hour window? Are they able to sustain it? The fun?…

A Plea for Separate Beds

My husband, Josh, and I shared a bathroom before we ever shared a bed. Our individual bedrooms were separated by a full bath with a door on either side. I always made sure to lock his side or risk his busting in on me. Which, when it did occasionally happen, was always super embarrassing — especially because we weren’t a couple; we were roommates. Those were the good ole days…

The Complete Tony Blair

Color headshot of Tony Blair.

That was quite an interview former British Prime Minister Tony Blair gave to OZY recently. “Off-the-hook awesome,” tweeted one reader. Declared another: ”TAKE NOTES.”

Blair’s wide-ranging conversation with OZY founder and CEO Carlos Watson ranged from lessons in leadership to tips for the GOP. 

Here’s the complete interview and downloadable audio from that fascinating talk. And if you’re in a hurry, highlights are below.

 

Part 1 – Leading from the Center

Tony Blair took a losing party and turned it into a political powerhouse. In this clip, he talks about how to pull off radical change while also pulling a country together. It turns out Blair is very up-to-speed on American politics and has some surprising advice for the GOP.

Part 2 – The Nuts and Bolts of Leadership

From personal experience to advising dozens of developing nations, the U.K.’s former prime minister shares his keys to executing on real change. Blair knows a lot about how to get things done – and when the stakes are the success or failure of an entire nation, you need to know your priorities.

Part 3 – Middle Eastern Message

Does democracy stand a chance in the Middle East? Blair believes it does, but only if the U.S. and Europe take a more active role there. Hear him make the case for ongoing involvement.

President Clinton on OZY

Color photo of President Clinton with blue background looking upwards in a conversation

When former President Bill Clinton sat down to talk to OZY CEO Carlos Watson, he covered a range of topics and even made some news. Here’s the complete interview, including downloadable audio. In a hurry? Check out the highlights below.

 

His greatest influences

Who inspires a world leader? Clinton opens up about whom he turned to during his presidency, as well as learning to let go of hatred, looking beyond yourself to future generations, and thinking in world-historical terms.

Advice to President Obama on health care

Few people have spent more time thinking about how to make national health care a reality than former President Clinton. Watch as he sums up some of the thorniest aspects of Obamacare, and hear the comments that kicked off a national debate over whether President Obama should modify the Affordable Care Act to allow people to keep their current health insurance plan.

 

Solution for ending Washington gridlock

How do we move beyond political gridlock? Maybe the answer is to expect more from our politicians and to do more ourselves, starting with voting in off-year elections.

A personal and political health choice

The former president explains how he “cleaned up his act” to reduce his own stress on the health system and to get the chance to meet his future grandchildren.

 

Fixing the economy

Clinton presided over a booming U.S. economy and now leads business-oriented development efforts around the world. Here are his insights on recovering from the Great Recession. What’s the fastest way for the country to do that? “Bring in more immigrants,” he says.

OZY on Fitness

African american woman running on path towards right of frame in park with sun shining through.

Feeling — for lack of a better word — fat? Totally normal feeling following an all-day feast. Need a bit of inspiration to get off your couch and kick it into gear? (We do.) Here are three of OZY’s favorite stories on running, adventure racing and something even crazier called parkour.

Running & Roulette?!

Next time you find yourself in Sin City and want to offset an otherwise hedonistic weekend: Call Jimmy. He’s one of those nutty ultra-runner types who decided to try to make a living out of his love. He launched Las Vegas Running Tours last spring. Is waking up at 6 a.m. for a 7-mile sunrise run along the Strip fun or a form of self-inflicted torture? You decide. 

Marathon Marathons

For some athletes, a run-of-the-mill 26.2 miles doesn’t quite cut it. Tough Mudder, which was started back in 2010 by two Brits, Guy Livingstone and Will Dean, has grown into a movable feast of endurance events that hosts crazy-ass races across the U.K., U.S., Canada, Australia and Germany for some 4,500 competitors per event. The brand differentiator with Tough Mudder is not the distance — it is a relatively meager 10- to 12-mile race — but that it is equal parts muddy obstacle course and basic training. Minus the live ammo. Moreover, each race comes complete with scramble courses of electrical wires and flaming fields of burning tar. Yes: Burning. Tar.

Sort of Like Skateboarding — Without the Board

Parkour (par-KOOR): the art of moving through a natural or urban environment as swiftly and effectively as possible using only the human body. Also known as freerunning.

“I’ve tried it, and it can’t really be compared to skateboarding,” says San Francisco photojournalist Mark Madeo, who will publish a book of parkour photos in 2014. ”Every step of parkour is thought of as a physical and mental challenge and requires physical and mental introspection. People who do it more readily compare it to a martial art or gymnastics.” So say the photos, with depictions of well-muscled 20-somethings leaping and flying through the air, hanging for the briefest of moments before they land their jumps — or don’t. 

Literary Loving On OZY

Asian woman reading with books in the near foreground

The Diaries of Anne Lister

Born in England in 1791, Lister eventually inherited and managed her family’s estate, developed coal mines and traveled around the world, becoming one of the first women to climb the Pyrenees. Oh, and she was wildly promiscuous — courting ladies left and right — and kept detailed diary entries about her sexual exploits, which she wrote in a code she made up herself. An extremely fascinating and inspiring aspect of Lister is how comfortable she was about being a lesbian, in a time when the word itself wasn’t even commonly used. “I love and only love the fairer sex and thus, beloved by them in turn, my heart revolts from any other love than theirs,” she wrote on Oct. 29, 1820.

Victoria Ocampo’s Salons

Victoria Ocampo could have gone the way of many aristocratic Argentine women in the early 1900s, playing housewife, producing heirs and spending her inheritance on gowns, jewelry and real estate. Instead, she smoked cigarettes, drove a car, wore pants and used her fortune to foster a literary culture in South America. Just as Gertrude Stein was hosting the Lost Generation at her salon, Victoria invited writers and artists over to her homes in San Isidro and Mar de Plata to listen to music and discuss current events. She founded Sur magazine and publishing house, and many famous South American writers credit her for their education.

Mary Tyler Moore’s Gift to Raymond Chandler

The Mary Tyler Moore Show may have revived the career of quintessential L.A. noir writer Raymond Chandler. A few of Chandler’s most famous lines from short story “Red Wind” owe most of their immortality to the Oct. 2, 1976 installment of The Mary Tyler Moore Show entitled “Mary the Writer.” A few minutes into the episode, Mary walks into her boss’s office, anxious for his opinion on an excruciatingly saccharine writing exercise that she’s drafted for a night class. Ed Asner, indelible as Mr. Grant, harrumphs, “Do you know what really good writing is?” He takes a beat-up paperback out of his desk drawer and begins to read: ““There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas…” And the rest, as they say, is history.

OZY Zooms Ahead

Color photo, open road seen from center of road with yellow divider line going to horizon on a clear day

We’ve heard it a million times: The journey is the destination. But what happens when you really incorporate that into your daily life – including getting to work, or your work, or just getting across town? Turns out, getting from A to B can be a lot more fun than we imagine. 

Bogotá and Bikes

Color photo of 2 men looking at a plethora of bicycles.

Bicycle parking area in Bogotá

When Enrique Peñalosa was elected Mayor of Bogotá in 1997, he set out to reduce the dominance of automobiles in his city. And it worked! Today, thanks largely to the prioritization of people over automobiles, Bogotános are healthier, safer and more integrated. The city’s extensive cycle network stretches from the poorest areas to its affluent suburbs to the bustling city center. Parks, which had largely been privatized by the end of the 20th century, have been re-opened, creating shared spaces for the entire community. On Sundays, large swathes of the city are closed to motorists. Car usage has been reduced by 40 percent during the week by the ”peak and plate” system, which bans certain license plates from the roads on certain days. Since 1998, the number of cyclists in Bogotá has quintupled, and only a fifth of journeys are now made by car. 

What with urbanization and a growing population, it is estimated that by 2050, 75 percent of the global population will live in cities — a frightening thought given the current state of many of the world’s cities. But every Sunday hundreds of thousands of Bogotános — young and old, rich and poor — flock to the streets, modeling a world in which humans, not engines, are the dominant life form. 

 

Racing to Save the Environment: Leilani Munter

Leilani in a stock car facing towards right of frame wearing driving helmet.

ASA Racing circuit stock car driver Leilani Munter.

Can racecar driving be good for the environment? Leilani Munter’s on a mission to make it so. Munter, 37, is a race car driver who has professionally raced both open wheel and stock cars. She’s also a self-proclaimed “vegetarian hippie chick” and an environmental activist. She travels around the world speaking about carbon footprints, dolphin slaughter, biofuels, global warming and more. To offset her carbon footprint, Munter donates to both rainforest and coral reef protection for every race she enters. She signs all of her emails: ”For the earth… Leilani.” While it may seem like her two worlds are mutually exclusive, Munter says racing is actually an unconventional, yet effective platform.

“My race car can be a 200 miles per hour power billboard for the environment,” she says in a phone interview from her home in North Carolina. She points out that there are 75 million NASCAR fans in the United States, and if she can get five percent of them to be environmentally conscious, even with small daily changes like bringing reusable bags to the grocery store, it would have a huge impact.

Sounds great. Except for one thing: Munter refuses to accept sponsors who aren’t green. She won’t work with fossil fuel companies or businesses that sell meat, leather, or engage in animal testing. It’s made a big dent in her income – but her inner tree-hugger has stayed in tact. Oh what we do for love (of the earth)!

Super (Hero) Commutes

By the time most folks fight the slog to work, they feel run over by it. We’ve all heard about studies showing that extreme commuters are some of The Most Unhappy People in the world. (And according to the U.S. Census, there are about 10.8 million of ‘em with an hour commute or longer.) No wonder. Spending five mornings and evenings a week staring blankly at clogged lanes of traffic, scheming of ways to move to New Zealand — and getting fatter, lonelier and more depressed by the mile — is no way to live.

But feeling the wind, sun and water on your face as you paddle — or pedal — downriver or across the glistening ocean bay? A better start to the workday, wouldn’t you say? And so OZY took a look at extreme commutes – which actual people actually employ to get from home to work. There’s a “water bike,” a.k.a., a mountain bike perched over a pontoon, which one Bay Area resident uses. (He wears a personal flotation device around his waist.) There are canoes, and kayaks, and unicycles. Commuters paraglide in China, cross-country ski and ice skate in Canada and stand-up-paddle-board in Portland. Two British guys just took off in the Paravelo, the world’s first flying bike — which is not quite ready to tackle the daily commute, but we can dream. 

Crafters Do It at Home

Group of young woman at a table doing arts and craft projects

You’ve been meaning to sign up for that knitting class for, oh, about a decade now. Crocheting sounds fun, but you just can’t find the time. Between kids and crazy corporate schedules, neither could Jeanne Lewis and Julie Roehm. So the San Francisco friends quit their day jobs to launch their dream: Creativebug, an inspiring, one-stop-create, online-instruction site for both never-sewn-a-button-beginners (that’d be me) and serious arts-and-crafters (that’d be your talented friend you’ve always kind of envied). The site features 250, and counting, easy-to-follow video workshops on everything from upcycling and felting to stamping and entertaining, taught by both big-deal and up-and-coming crafters from around the globe. Each instructor has a cute, occasionally tear-jerking trailer (watch them below), so you can get to know the person behind the project. “I’d see some artist on YouTube who’d been whittling wood for 60 years, and I’d think ‘Who is this guy?’” says Lewis. “On Creativebug, I wanted to tell the artist’s story. Everyone has one.”

Bead a necklace out of found baubles. Turn old books into stylish home decor. Even mold your own lip balm. It’s all you can make (at your own pace! in your pj’s!) for only $25 a month (or $17/month for six months), a portion of which goes back to small nonprofit arts organizations. Cheaper than that class you’ll, uh, never get to, as well. 

Especially if you sign up on CyberMonday! $30 for three months; $60 for six months; $99 for a year. A selection of free classes will be offered throughout December, too: On the 2nd, learn how to make your own wrapping paper

A few of our favorite classes:

Luminaria Candle Shades

Turn something as simple as wax paper from the pantry into something pretty: decorative lanterns that emit a soothing glow. Creativebug editorial director Kelly Wilkinson shows you how to cut and iron paper panels — with flowers, leaves and pine needles that you’ve gathered and pressed between the pages of a heavy book. Materials? A ruler, craft knife, and decorative washi tape for seaming the paper edges. For each luminaria, cut four rectangles (9 inches across by 4.5 inches high is a good size), using a wooden cutting board as your surface. Fold in half, put the pressed flowers between, and then lighlty iron. Seam with the washi tape, place around a votive, and voila: tabletop decor that barely cost a dime. (And mark your calendars, deal-seekers: On December 17, you can learn to make luminarias, free of charge.)

Found Necklace

Rummage around your junk drawer, poke around the flea market, repurpose an old belt — and Lisa Coris will teach you how to make beautiful, whimsical baubles out of nearly anything. Gather your found objects, disassemble them, and then string ‘em together into something totally new — using nothing more than scissors, crazy glue, fishing line and a clasp which you’ll link to part of an old necklace chain. Lisa’s pieces, made with beads she forages from travels around the globe, are always asymmetrical. Why? “We’re not symmetrical,” says the talented single mom to an adopted Ethiopian boy. “Life isn’t symmetrical.”

Homemade Apothecary

Who doesn’t need a new lip balm this winter? Angry Chicken blogger Amy Karol has been molding her own since her student-poor college days. In her Creative Bug class, you can learn how to make everything in your medicine cabinet: facial lotion, body butter, even deodorant. But the lip balm is especially easy: a teaspoon each of cocoa butter, shea butter, and almond or olive oil. Melt the butters in a double broiler, add six drops of, say, peppermint essential oil and one vitamin E oil gel cap and pour into a 1 oz. tin or an empty lipstick tube. Let sit in the fridge overnight, and then stick on a cute handmade label and hand out to friends or leave on your co-workers’ desks. 

All, so much more fun than the mall. creativebug.com

Performers Who Shake + Stir

Microphone on stage with red background

There’s a certain poised perfection to doing the same thing again and again. Oh, and again.

And then sometimes it’s the road to madness.

So let’s strike a blow against the bad kind of madness and do the thing that most marks our species’ greatest successes (and sometimes failures): switch it all up.

Sit back and relax in your post-holiday torpor with some of the grandest non-traditional performances to be found. 

Melt Banana

If it’s past Thanksgiving, and it is, you can’t have helped to notice the rapid and rabid influx of holiday music. While some of us enjoy holiday music all year round, for others of us it is a blight, a pox, an affliction. And now there’s a solution, and that solution is Tokyo’s Melt Banana. They’re not so much about holiday noise as they are just about noise. Unholy and sometimes wonderful, it’s music distilled to the most effective rudiments: voice, guitar and effects. Not on Kris Kringle’s playlist but they should be. Oh yes, they should be.

Simply: Dino

“How lucky can one guy be?” Dean Martin asked in one of his less seasonal tunes and we wonder the same as we meditate on the man and his genius. While Martin was responsible for a sizable share of the aformentioned holiday music, his songbook and his life was so huge and at the same time so inaccessible that we wondered about this man who was super-private despite his much-and-many-vaunted private acts done publicly (drinking, skirt chasing, smoking and more drinking). And through all of the puzzling? Performances that kill.

 

 

 

 

 

In Praise of Black Badassery

Only in America. 

Globally, Black men make their way hither and yon without much extraordinary notice, but in the U.S. Black machismo inspires a certain amount of sublime discomfort in those who are prone to it. Which is why it’s so great to see it addressed head on in the Black Badass movie trope. Not really present in film until the 1960s (and we’re not counting Birth of a Nation), and widely held to be kicked off by Melvin Van Peebles, Black Badassery flowered in the 1970s. I saw it all, every single weekend up on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. So we recreate here for you, with a few of the best, minus the stale popcorn and a theater full of kids like me losing our minds.

A Gentleman’s Gentleman

Dirk Bogarde was the shit. From The Night Porter to my all-time favorite The Servant (yes, service seems to be a theme). Bogarde’s louche, slightly decadent take on… well, everything, made him an absolute joy to watch. In fact, friendships have actually been ended with people who did not find The Servant to be as significant as it clearly is. With his reptilian cool, like John Malkovich before John Malkovich was John Malkovich, Bogarde is a cinematic delight. And a perfect way to round off your holiday rebellion.