What I'm Reading - Vol. Three

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

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History Aside, Jockey Is Just Out to Win
The only thing Krigger ever wanted to be was a jockey. He watched every Triple Crown race; he set up a saddle on the arm of his couch. His height at the time, 4 feet and 8 inches -- short, even for a jockey -- was the only thing standing in his way. "I used to do the weirdest things to get taller and to get stronger: I used to hang upside down," said Krigger, who is now among the tallest jockeys in the United States. 

In Praise of Very Large Staircases: A Brief History of the Social Function of Stoops
As wealth flowed into New York in the nineteenth century, houses grew grander and taller. Stoops grew bigger, too, in part to accommodate moving in larger furniture, particularly grand pianos. In an era before radio, television, and phonographs, making music at home was the primary form of entertainment. Just by walking by someone's house and seeing their large stoop, you could tell whether or not their piano was bigger than yours. It was the three-car garage of Gilded Age New York.

American Girls Aren't Radical Anymore
In 2008, historical dolls that were previously considered core to the brand were "archived", the doll term for "going to a nice farm." Samantha, Kirsten, and the headstrong colonial character, Felicity, are no longer sold by American Girl. These characters represent more than just the original characters of an iconic brand -- their archiving represents a lost sensibility about teaching girls to understand thorny historical controversies and build political consciousness.

Hitler Food Taster: One Bite Away From Death
It might have been something as simple as a portion of white asparagus. Peeled, steamed and served with a delicious sauce, as Germans traditionally eat it. And with real butter, a scarcity in wartime. While the rest of the country struggled to get even coffee, or had to spread margarine diluted with flour on their bread, Margot Wolk could have savored the expensive vegetable dish -- if not for the fear of dying, that is.

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