Kenya Moore Still Wants To Fight For Her Marriage, But Husband Marc Daly? Not So Much.


 

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By: Victoria Uwumarogle/ Madamenoir.com

Back in September, Kenya Moore and restaurateur husband Marc Daly announced that they were splitting up after two years of marriage. It was a shock to some, not a huge surprise to others, but a major disappointment to Moore.

“I didn’t get married to quit,” she told PEOPLE in a new story to promote Season 12 of Real Housewives of Atlantapremiering on Sunday. “I love my husband. I don’t doubt that he loves me. Let me be clear, I took my vows seriously. I believe in for better and for worse and I believe in trying it all before you walk away, especially when we do have a child and we are a family.”

The only problem is, she doesn’t “get the sense that [Daly] feels the same way.”

“I am hopeful, and have always wanted to work on our relationship. But I just don’t know if that’s even a possibility at this point, honestly,” she said. “Marc doesn’t seem to be there. I’d feel more comfortable calling it quits if I knew I’d tried everything and it still didn’t work. And we definitely didn’t do everything we could have done to save our relationship.”

That’s what makes the separation all the more discouraging for Moore, and is bound to discourage fans of the star as well.

“I think a lot of people were rooting for me, rooting for us, and rooting for our beautiful family,” she said. “So for something to come out of the blue, I know it really hurt and confused a lot of people who were on our side.”

It definitely didn’t help that in addition, there were rumors floating around that Daly had a secret family he kept from Moore.

“I can tell you I’ve heard a lot of rumors about secret families. I can tell you that’s completely made up; there’s zero truth to that,” she said. “In terms of infidelity, I’ve had no proof of that. That’s not our issue.”

Instead, the 48-year-old said their problem is the fact that they’re still trying to make a long-distance relationship work and that Marc continues to open businesses in New York when she and baby Brooklyn are in Atlanta. When they are finally in the same place, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily together.

“The distance had really been taking a toll on us,” she said. “Initially when we had the baby, it was great.

. He was there for every single doctor’s appointment, every ultrasound, every scare, we were 90 percent together. He was a very supportive husband during that time.”

“Marc opened up two new businesses and is opening up another,” she added. “It was frustrating for me that he kept opening businesses in New York, but listen — I want him to be successful and that’s how he feeds his family. So I couldn’t be selfish. But if you’re living in two different places, you have to be together during the times you are in the same place; either you’re both in NY and you’re both in Atlanta. And when we’d be in the same place, we weren’t always in the same place. So with the businesses, the distance, and the baby, it just became hard for us to figure it all out.”

She told the magazine that neither party wanted to move because they “each liked where we lived and wanted to split our time.”

“A lot of couples do and they do it successfully,” she said. “New York and Atlanta, it gave us a full life. There’s no other city like New York in the world; I loved our life there. And Marc, he loves Atlanta. He has his own friends here, and it’s a family environment where there’s a home and a yard for kids to play, without the daily anxiety of living in a big city. It was the best of both worlds.”

But that, along with their communication issues, made for more issues than she could handle on her own.

“We communicate in very different ways,” she said. “I’m seen as tough on the show because I take up for myself … [but] in my relationships at home, I am the opposite. I’m not a fighter. I don’t want to fight at home. I want to be able to talk; I want to be able to rationally discuss things. And I get to the point where, I’ll withdraw if it seems too combative or not healthy.”

“If the communication were better and more open and honest, I think we could solve our problems,” she added.

Still, Moore would like for the couple to do everything they can to work things out, if possible. They haven’t technically filed for divorce. Daly isn’t interested in couple’s therapy at the moment, though.

“Counseling could be a big proponent in flushing out issues a couple may have. Then after a considerable amount of time and effort, you can make the decision whether you can come to a common ground and you can still work on the relationship or not. And I never got that opportunity,” she said. “I’m not saying that opportunity may not exist in the future. But I just don’t have a complete sense of if that’s something that he’s still willing to do.”

Daly and Moore haven’t seen each other since before they made their split public last month, but the estranged couple are still “pretty civil” and Brooklyn has seen her father.

“He had a great time with her,” she said. “And he FaceTimes her every day. He’s a great dad to her.”

“I’ll always want Marc to be in Brooklyn’s life,” she added. “Brooklyn is a special girl. She’s vibrant and just makes people happy. Having her is a blessing.”

Moore is staying positive throughout the changes she’s been going through, but admits the whole situation still…well…sucks.

“Look, all this, it’s definitely tough because when I’m with her, I think about what I thought was my fairytale happy ending,” Moore said. “I thought Marc was my forever love — that I had met this handsome, smart, funny, successful man who was single and who fell for me as fast as I fell for him and who would be there by my side forever. I thought this was the one and that with Brooklyn, I finally got the family that I wanted. I just don’t know what to say about all that now.”

 

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Your Move Mitch


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 Yesterday the House  voting along party lines ,passed a resolution that formalizes the current impeachment inquiry, setting out its scope and terms.

For weeks, Republican lawmakers had accused Democrats of mishandling the inquiry by not putting it to a vote.  When Nancy Pelosi announced that there would be a vote, House Republican leaders said their members will vote against it because they maintain the measure should have been passed before the inquiry began.

For weeks the Trump Administration has prevented members from testifying to the House Intelligence Committee.

Recent testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, which is operating under the umbrella of the impeachment inquiry, appears to corroborate the allegation of a quid pro quo offered by Trump to Zelenskiy for the investigations.

Bill Taylor, the most senior U.S. diplomat in the Ukrain and Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman the National Security Council’s Ukraine expert ,have testified to that effect in the past week.

Vindman testified that there were specific details left out of the White House’s rough transcript of the July phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s President Zelensky .  Missing in the transcript is  Trump telling  President Zelensky that there were tapes of former Vice President Joe Biden.

The House Intelligence Committee summoned former National Security Adviser John Bolton.  Bolton’s attorney said he “Bolton” was  not willing to appear voluntarily.  However he  appear after the committee subpoena’d him.  .

On Wednesday, Tim Morrison, a senior member of the White House Nationals Security Council resigned.  The resignation came less than 24 hours before he was due to testify in the impeachment inquiry.

Former Republican and now an Independent  Justin Amash representing Michigan ,sent a tweet to Republicans before the vote.

The Hearings 

The Top Ranking Republicans and Democrats of the Intelligence committee are allowed the question witnesses for up to 90 minutes 45 minutes between each party.

Staff counsels s staff counsels to follow their lines of inquiry to their ends,” rather than the back-and-forth five-minute rounds that lawmakers typically have in hearings.
The decision to hold public hearings in the Intelligence Committee means that the Oversight and Foreign Affairs panels, which have been taking part in closed-door depositions, appear to be excluded from the public proceedings. That would mean that some of the Republicans’ most vocal participants in the impeachment inquiry thus far — House Oversight ranking member Jim Jordan of Ohio and Reps. Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Lee Zeldin of New York — would not participate.
The resolution also states that the minority may request witnesses to be called and issue subpoenas — but those subpoenas can only be issued “with the concurrence of the chair,” meaning that Democrats would have to sign off on any Republican-led subpoenas.
The resolution says that the House Intelligence Committee will write a report “setting forth its findings and any recommendations” and that the report will be transmitted to the Judiciary Committee and be made public.
The President’s counsel will have an  opportunity to participate in the proceedings in the Judiciary Committee. The summary says the President’s lawyers will have an opportunity to present their case, attend hearings and respond to evidence and raise an objection to testimony given.
But the committee says that “if the President unlawfully refuses to cooperate with congressional requests,” then the chairman has discretion to deny requests from the President’s lawyers.

 

President Trump

“The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History”

The President’s tweet after the vote.   Unlike the Democrats, every Republican voted along party lines.  The true test for the President is restraint.  Last week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told the President to stop attacking Senate Republicans . The President has a propensity to attack those who disagrees with him, including other Republicans .

A new Washington Post/ABC that shows that the Presidents  approval rating among Republicans sliding to a record low of 74 percent — down eight points from September and 13 points from July. Overall, the poll pegs Trump’s approval rating at 38 percent, with nearly half of Americans (48 percent) strongly disapproving of his job performance (Trump’s overall disapproval rate is 58 percent).

2020

New York Times/Siena College polling released last week indicates that a majority of voters in Arizona, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin support an impeachment inquiry, with a plurality of Florida voters supporting it as well. Trump won all six of those states in 2016

While the majority of Americans are in favor of Impeachment, many are not in favor of Removing the President from office.   Overzealous Democrats could face a blow back in next years election.

Republicans initially questioned the validity of  comments from the Whisleblower demanding that the President should be given the opportunity to face his accuser.  Taking a page from the Trump playbook, some members of the GOP attacked the witnesses most were members of the President’s administration questioning their patriotism.  The attacks has backfired, with the President of the Senate Mitch McConnell, quieting the Republicans

23

Barring any surprise witnesses, the Impeachment of Donald Trump  by the House seems like a forgone conclusion.

Next year, 23 Republican Senate seats are up.  Including Mitch McConnells seat in Kentucky.   Arizona, Florida, and Possibly Texas are in play. The Democrats needs four seats to take control of the Senate

Mitch McConnell has a delicate  balance.  He has to weigh public opinion during and after the hearings.  He has to enlist people in the administration to monitor the President.  If he fails, some of the Senators up for election may ultimate have to choose whats in the best interest of his constituents.
While many believe the Republican lead Senate will not remove the President.  It all comes down to public opinion.  23 Senate seats are up in 2020. If 20, or more go rouge and join the democrats, the President will be the first President to be removed from office in more the 100 years.
CityFella

Shake it on… Did Taylor Swift rip off the chorus of Shake it off? Lawsuit back on


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By Gene Maddaus / Variety

A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit claiming that Taylor Swift ripped off the chorus of her hit song, “Shake It Off.”

The district judge dismissed the suit in February 2018, finding insufficient similarity between the song and the 2001 composition, “Playas Gon’ Play.” Judge Michael Fitzgerald held that the songwriters of the earlier work, Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, did not display sufficient creativity in combining the phrases “playas gonna play” and “haters gonna hate.”

“By 2001, American popular culture was heavily steeped in the concepts of players, haters, and player haters,” Fitzgerald wrote at the time. “The concept of actors acting in accordance with their essential nature is not at all creative; it is banal.”

Superstar songwriters have found themselves on the losing end of a series of such lawsuits, including the “Blurred Lines” and “Dark Horse” cases, so Swift’s victory in this case was notable.

However, a federal appeals court reversed the ruling on Monday, finding that the claim should be left for a jury to decide.

“Originality, as we have long recognized, is normally a question of fact,” held the three-judge panel of John Owens, Andrew Hurwitz and Kenneth Lee. But substituting his own judgment on the originality of the work at issue, the district court “constituted itself as the final judge of the worth of an expressive work,” the appellate panel held.

The case was remanded for further proceedings at the district court. Swift’s attorneys are expected to seek dismissal on alternate grounds.

Nancy Pelosi: “She doesn’t have to roar”


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Last year, The Speaker of the house quietly said the Democrats will take over the house.  While many of the freshmen/women of the House were calling for the Presidents Impeachment, madam speaker quietly disagreed.   Not only could she read, she seems to understand the pulse of America.

The Mueller report clearly pointed out the abuses of the President, clearly demonstrated collusion and obstruction for those who had the time to read 448 pages.

Once again, she quietly, quieted most members of her party who were now screaming for the Presidents head.

Whitsleblowers concern about the Presidents action was simple.   Congress allocated $400 million dollars to  the Ukrainian Government an ally of the United States.  On July 18th the Trump Administration blocked the allocation.  Someone from the Office of Management and Budget reportedly said  her boss had instructed her not to approve any additional spending of security assistance for Ukraine until further notice.  The unusual hold up,without a real explanation troubled Republicans and Democrats, some moving to  rebuke the administration.

On July 25th, the world heard the conversation between newly elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the President of the United States, Donald Trump.  After President Zelenskiy mentions wanting to purchase anti-tank missiles from the U.S., according to a rough transcript of the call released by the White House. Trump responds, “I would like you to do us a favor though.” Trump brings up investigating both the CrowdStrike conspiracy theory and the Bidens. He repeatedly tells Zelenskiy he should talk to Giuliani and Attorney General Barr.

IMPEACHABLE?

Once again, the Speaker read this one correctly.  Unlike the Muller Report , this one didn’t require reading.  She understand, she needs support of the public to impeach Donald Trump. Moving too quickly would feed into the Republican narrative that Democrats only agenda is to Impeach Trump that could hurt the party in the 2020 elections.

The only wrinkle is, the President has asked a foreign government for help in the last election without penalty.  However, when it comes to Quip Pro quo, the world heard our President ask for a favor, we also heard he say, his country (the  was going to do very well.   The question is will the majorities in the House and Senate, view these acts as Impeachable offences?

Can A President or Candidate ask a foreign national or country for help in a campaign? The Federal Election Commission say’s no.

Quid pro quo (“something for something” in Latin) is a Latin phrase used in English to mean an exchange of goods or services, in which one transfer is contingent upon the other; “a favor for a favor”.

 

A Gift from Donald

When the President unilaterally decided to withdraw from Syria, he was condemned by Republicans and Democrats alike.  Veterans groups as well many active members of the Military has openly criticised the President

Two weeks ago ,dea Fox News poll found 51%  of voters want Trump to be impeached and removed from office.

Watergate  Comparisons

While more than 50 percent of Americans support removing Trump less than one month since the House’s inquiry began, it took much longer for the public to approve of impeaching Nixon even as the Watergate scandal slowly unfolded. Nixon eventually resigned rather than face impeachment.

According to the Pew Research Center, public opinion on removing Nixon from office only shifted after the House Judiciary Committee recommended that he be impeached in July 1974. Before that, support for impeachment never creeped above 50 percent. Even as the Senate held damning televised Watergate hearings in the spring of 1973, less than 20 percent of Americans adults thought he should be impeached.

The Nancy Surprise

After weeks of attempting to debunk the Whistleblower. Demanding open hearings, demanding an open vote.  Storming into the hearings.    Yesterday, the speaker of the House announced the House will vote Thursday week on a resolution to formalize and establish the parameters  of the Trump impeachment inquiry.

This has surprised some members of the Republican Party.  Many are angry, calling it a stunt!

Nancy can count. This week Fox News polling data indicates 55% of Americans support impeachment of the President.  The hearings would be Televised.

In an attempt destroy the credibility and patriotism of some of the witnesses the Republicans risk a blowback by the public. A public who is angry with the administration over Syria.

Does Nancy has have another surprise?  If she does, it will direct, measured and respectful. Nancy, doesn’t roar, she doesn’t have to.

CityFella

 

 

 

Janice stole my look


There is something about a bright shiny look.  Sequins, silk, lame. Worn properly its fantastic, improperly in tube top or casually applied to clothing is often beyond scary.

I was always a big boi.  I was big baby, I came into the world weighing 137 pounds 4 ounces with size 10 feet.  My mother  screamed so loud that all over Northern California people thought we were under attack by the Japanese*     (*A slight exaggeration)

By the end of Kindergarten, I was over five feet tall and six feet tall at the end of six grade. Fashionable clothes in the “husky” department was available as long you liked the color blue.  Blue Jeans, blue shirts, for years I looked like an inmate.   My shoes were black with blue undertones.

One day, someone took me to Roger’s men store in Downtown Richmond, and a fashionista born.  I went from husky to the men’s department.  For my six grade picture, I wore a yellowish pinstripe double breasted  sports jacket with tan pants and a powder  blue turtleneck shirt.  (Back then I was too cool for Black and White TV)

 We discovered larger clothes in the catalogs Sears, Montgomery Wards and J.C Penney’s

I found a gold silk shirt at Montgomery Wards that went well with my tan pants and my shiny copper shoes from Flag Brothers and my nylon pimp socks.  While I didn’t personally know any pimps, I was told they wore nylon socks. Hey!

Problem with silk shirts is they wrinkle, after a few hours the shirt looked like an accordian.   You can’t starch silk, its an upright kinda shirt, as long as you don’t sit down. One morning, the shirt melted (attacked by an hot iron) I was devastated.  It was the coolest shirt I ever owned.  I found a silker shirt in the catalog , but my mom wasn’t going to spend $19.00 on a shirt. ( If only if I had four other brothers-one named Tito)

On one visit at JC. Penneys I found the shirt.  It was a shirt slash Nehru Jacket, the style in the late sixties early seventies.   It was purple, the national color of Richmond and woven in was bright silver stands. on sale for eight bucks.

The shirt and I was a hit.  I didn’t wear it everyday, I didn’t want people to get used to it. Once a month unless there was a talent show at school.

Then one day, my female counterpart at school Janet, wore the same shirt.    Like me.Janice  was a freak of nature.  We were much bigger and taller than our classmates.  We were like Godzilla and Mothra, if we suddenly turned (without signaling) eight or nine of our classmates would hit the floor. ( Her tail was longer than mine)

Why would she wear a nehru jacket .    Diana Ross didn’t wear a Nehru Jacket!   Ella Fitzgearald, Aretha, Dionne Warwick none of these ladies wore Nehru Jackets.    To make matters worse. She wore it wrong and she wore it constantly!  On top of dresses, and sweaters.  One, two days in row she it didn’t wear it. After a week, I assumed someone got tired of her or it.    I altered mine, I made two side vents.

Weeks went by.  It was time for the Mack Daddy!  I needed to show it how is was worn. It as a Friday, I bought a white dickie.  It was show time in the Cafeteria of Downer Jr High.  I was too cool. I even wore my shiny church shoes.   One of my fans came over and screamed my name.

You know the rest……   I don’t have to spell it out for you!  The day was too fucking perfect!

There she was, walking with her tray of food, like Frankenstein’s first born.  Wearing the same purple and silver Nehru Jacket/Shirt.     I don’t know what she was wearing underneath it.  I was in shock.!

One moment your friend is in your corner, screaming your name and the next moment he and a few others are screaming in laughter at you!

I wanted her dead, and perhaps one or more of my laughing friends, who were laughing just a little too hard, for my likings.

They were delivering milk that Friday.  I pictured her stepping in back of the milk truck and the driver running her over again and again and again until she and that jacket was unrecognizable.

I stopped wearing the jacket to school.  I would wear it to certain family events outside of Northern California

She stole my look.

That was the last year I saw Janice.  I had nothing to do with her disappearance. The word was ,her family moved to Pittsburg.

 

 

50 years later, she is probably still wearing THAT jacket.

 

CityFella

(I’m not bitter!)

 

The Secret Life of Gay Farmers


 
Video by Matt Houghton

 

From: The Atlantic

In the United Kingdom, there is only one hotline for gay farmers. It’s run by Keith Ineson, a retired chaplain who was himself raised in a rural farming community. Growing up gay in a community that prized traditional masculinity, Ineson felt isolated. But he knew that other people bound by the same circumstances must be out there.

Landline, a short documentary from Matt Houghton, features the voices of gay farmers who have called into Ineson’s hotline. In the film’s recorded telephone conversations, gay British farmers share their candid and often shocking experiences. Houghton reconstructs haunting imagery to depict the emotional essence of their stories—half-obscured faces, a foggy landscape, a dark road at night. Many of the farmers describe a life plagued by isolation, secrecy, and shame.

“You want to scream out what the problem is, but you can’t,” one farmer says in the film. “I’ve got all these feelings of guilt from what I was doing, and feared that I would lose friends, family, my home—everything.”

“I grew up in a small rural village of West Wales,” a different farmer says. “There were rules about behavior that was tolerated. There was no such thing as a gay farmer.”
Despite having conducted thorough research on the topic, Houghton told me that he was surprised by what the farmers told him. “The film hangs totally on the honesty and openness of our contributors,” he said. “Without their generosity, it wouldn’t have been possible.”

“I’ve done a lot of interviewing in my career,” he continued, “but I was often very surprised at how quickly the people I spoke to were willing to talk about some of their most intimate experiences. That was definitely not what I expected. I think a big part of it is that, in some cases, they’d very rarely had the chance to speak freely.”

This Is What It’s Like To Not Own A Smartphone


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Photo:Google
BY:Kathleen Davis/Fast Company

I’ve never owned a smartphone.

 

In 2014, I wrote about having no regrets for being a “dumb phone” user. At the time I was an anomaly: 58 percent of Americans, according to Pew researchers, owned a smartphone; that figure was around 80 percent for people in my age demographic. Now, I’m a clear oddity: As of January, 2018, 77 percent of U.S. adults are smartphone users, as are around 90 percent of my peers.

But, oh well. I don’t plan on changing tack anytime soon. Here’s why.

Why I Still Don’t Have Smartphone FOMO

All the reasons why I was happy to live without a computer in my pocket four years ago still hold true today: Certain choices are easier to make without digital temptation, like reading physical books on my commute and being fully present with my friends at meals. But there are new reasons, too.

Like many Americans, I’ve found the news cycle pretty draining since the 2016 presidential election. Being cut off from push notifications when I’m not at my desk hasn’t made me feel uninformed, but it’s probably helped me keep a shred more of my sanity (and has made “unplugging” on vacations a lot easier).

Something else has changed in my life that’s further solidified my low-tech commitment: I’ve become a parent. Many parents are becoming more deliberate about choosing how and when to introduce tech into their children’s lives. For what it’s worth, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limited or no screen time at all before age 2.

But aside from which gadgets we expose our son to, I’m also conscious of how my own tech usage impacts his view of the world (my husband, it should be noted, doesn’t own a smartphone, either). There are countless articles about how being raised on smartphones and social media has led a generation of kids to be depressed and lack empathy. And the number of tech executives from Bill Gates to former Facebook exec Chamath Palihapitiya who limit or ban tech for their own children is starting to give some parents pause.

What’s less discussed is the impact of parents who themselves can’t help compulsively checking their phones–by some estimates, as often as 46 to 85 times a day. I certainly don’t plan to shield my son from technology. Once he starts school it would be impossible anyway, and to do so would be a huge disservice. But just as I’ve found in my own life, there’s a way to stay informed about and proficient in technology while setting boundaries around how much it infiltrates my life. For him, that will start with seeing that his parents don’t prioritize a little glowing rectangle over looking each other’s faces.

Bringing A “Dumb Phone” Into Our Screenless Future

When I wrote about not owning a smartphone in 2014, the idea of a “digital detox” was still novel. In 2013, the New Yorker, NPR, the Atlantic, and the New York Times all ran stories about “Camp Grounded,” a place were affluent people give up using tech for a week. At Fast Company we even devoted our July/August cover that year to writer Baratunde Thurston’s month-long digital detox.

Cold-turkey trials like these now feel more like gimmicks, and less likely to have any kind of lasting impact on how we view or interact with the technology in our daily lives. For all the think pieces (like this one) about how smartphones, social media, and tech in general are ruining our lives, the pace of progress and the often unquestioning eagerness to adopt new tech shows no real sign of slowing. A few years from now, questions about how staring at a screen impacts human empathy and mental health might be moot. By many accounts, the future is in fact a screenless virtual reality powered by artificial intelligence.

Still, in the last few years the drumbeat against addictive UX and social media is getting louder. The idea that many of us have formed unhealthy dependencies on our devices may have been novel a few years ago; now, it’s basically a given.

But it’s more than just addiction and information overload. In the rush to adopt and upgrade devices, we’ve collectively given up a lot–our privacy and data chief among them. Consider this video highlighting an average smartphone user whose GPS coordinates were shared with third parties 3,545 times over the course of a single week, based on permissions she gave in those user agreements no one reads.

The last time I wrote about not having a smartphone, I advocated for injecting a little more boredom into your life by doing something as simple as not reaching for your phone while waiting in line. That idea is still valuable, but as we hurtle towards a screenless world, the borders separating technology from the rest of our lives are blurring even further–to a point where it’s worth asking in what sense they even exist. I’m not wishing for some analog resurgence (okay, sometimes a little), but it does seem reasonable to keep questioning–and occasionally pushing back against–what we may be giving up along the way.

While I remain in an ever-shrinking minority, there are are a few people (besides Warren Buffett) who are also committing to dumb phones. The Light Phone, which came out last year, is marketed as an “anti-smartphone.” It only sends and receives calls, can store just 10 phone numbers, and is designed to be used “as little as possible.” It’s so popular that there’s currently a waiting list to buy one.

As for me, if nothing has convinced me to switch yet, I doubt anything will soon. For now, I’m digging my heels in on my slightly disconnected life. But ask me again in another four years–when everyone is getting microchips embedded in their hands.

Kathleen Davis is Deputy Editor at FastCompany.com. Previously, she has worked as an editor at Entrepreneur.com, WomansDay.com and Popular Photography magazine.

 

The Worlds Tallest Unoccupied Building


In 1987, ground was broken on a grand new hotel in North Korea’s capital, Pyongyang. The pyramid-shaped, supertall skyscraper was to exceed 1,000 feet in height, and was designed to house at least 3,000 rooms, as well as five revolving restaurants with panoramic views.
The Ryugyong Hotel — named after a historical moniker for Pyongyang meaning “capital of willows” — was supposed to open just two years later. But it never did.
While the structure reached its planned height in 1992, it stood windowless and hollow for another 16 years, its naked concrete exposed, like a menacing monster overlooking the city. During that time the building, which dwarfs everything around it, earned itself the nickname “Hotel of Doom.”
The hotel has since been clad in metal and glass, and was later fitted with LED lights to turn it into a colorful nighttime spectacle. Construction work has started and stopped many times, fueling constant speculation over whether it will ever open to guests.
Still closed to this day, the Ryugyong Hotel is the world’s tallest unoccupied building.
The Ryugyong Hotel in 2018.

The Ryugyong Hotel in 2018. Credit: ED JONES/AFP/AFP/Getty Images

A Cold War pawn

The Ryugyong Hotel was a product of the Cold War rivalry between US-supported South Korea and the Soviet-backed North. The year before construction commenced, a South Korean firm had built what was then the world’s tallest hotel, the Westin Stamford in Singapore. The South’s capital Seoul was meanwhile getting ready to host the 1988 Summer Olympics, with the country transitioning to a capitalist democracy.
As part of North Korea’s political response to the South’s achievements, Pyongyang organized the 1989 World Festival of Youth and Students, a sort of socialist version of the Olympics. The country planned to build the massive hotel just in time for the event, stealing the world record away from the South.
But due to engineering problems it wasn’t finished in time for the festival. The government had already poured billions into the event, building a new stadium, expanding Pyongyang’s airport and paving new roads. That put a strain on the hermit state’s frail economy, while the Soviet Union’s collapse left it deprived of vital aid and investment.
North Korea was bound for an economic crisis. Although the external structure had been completed, construction was halted in 1992 and a crane was abandoned on top of the building.
The Ryugyong Hotel in 2008.

The Ryugyong Hotel in 2008. Credit: Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Corbis/Getty Images

A concrete structure

The building consists of three wings, each sloped at a 75-degree angle, converging into a cone encasing the top 15 floors, which are intended for restaurants and observation decks.
The pyramidal shape is about more than aesthetics — it’s because the Ryugyong, unusually for a skyscraper, is made of reinforced concrete rather than steel.
“It was built like this because the upper levels needed to be lighter,” said Calvin Chua, a Singapore-based architect who has extensively researched Pyongyang’s urbanism, in a phone interview. “They didn’t have advanced construction materials, so it was built entirely in concrete. You can’t achieve a slender tower that way, you need to have a massive base with a tapered top.
“If you look at the history of construction in North Korea since the end of the Korean War, most of the buildings are made of concrete: That’s the material that they are familiar with, and the technology transfer between Soviet or communist states is purely based around concrete.”
Members of a Socialist Women's Union propaganda troupe perform a dance in front of the Ryugyong hotel in 2019.

Members of a Socialist Women’s Union propaganda troupe perform a dance in front of the Ryugyong hotel in 2019. Credit: ED JONES/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
According to Chua, who has worked in North Korea with local architects, the Ryugyong may have been designed to look like a mountain, not a pyramid, because mountains play an important role in the country’s symbolism. The official biography of Kim Jong Il, the deceased father of current ruler Kim Jong Un, states that he was born in a secret military camp on Mount Paektu, the tallest mountain in the Korean peninsula that is depicted in the national emblem of North Korea. (Many historians believe Kim Jong Il was actually born in Russia.)
“It’s a very iconic building, but I think it’s important to consider where it sits in relation to the entire city fabric of Pyongyang,” said Chua. “It’s like a sort of obelisk. If you think of the obelisk in Rome’s St. Peter’s Square, it provides a [beacon] for the city apart from its symbolism. The Ryugyong is similar, but it’s also more symbolically defined.”

A second start

In 2008, after a 16-year pause, construction unexpectedly resumed, as part of a deal with Orascom, an Egyptian conglomerate that was contracted to build North Korea’s 3G network.
The rusty old crane that had stood atop the building for two decades was finally removed. Workers aided by Egyptian engineers installed glass and metal panels to the concrete structure at the cost of $180 million, glazing it completely and giving the building a polished, sleek appearance. The project, completed in 2011, fueled speculation about the hotel’s opening. In late 2012, German luxury hotel group
Kempinski announced that the Ryugyong would partially open under its management in mid-2013, but then pulled out a few months later, stating that entering the market was “not currently possible.”
The cladding of the concrete shell.

The cladding of the concrete shell. Credit: Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Corbis/Getty Images
Long-standing rumors that the building was structurally unsound due to poor construction techniques and materials gained strength once again. In 2014, a 23-story apartment building collapsed in Pyongyang because construction was “not done properly,” according to North Korean state media reports.
“Judging from the exterior, the building looks structurally sound, although the interior may be a different story,” said Chua. “I think the real problem might be the ease of fitting it out, because it was built with concrete and it would take a lot of time to rewire the necessary services and ventilation systems that were originally created to 1980s specifications. That would be much easier with a steel structure.”
Photographs of the hotel’s interior from 2012 revealed that, inside, very little work had been done. The images were taken by Simon Cockerell, general manager at Koryo Group, a Beijing-based company specializing in North Korea tours, and one of the very few foreigners to have been inside the Ryugyong Hotel.
Koryo Tours IMG_0429

The lobby of the Ryugyong Hotel in 2012. Credit: Simon Cockerell / Koryo Group
“It was arranged through a Korean connection as a birthday gift for me,” he said in a phone interview. “First of all, we had a presentation from the director of the site, with videos made quite a long time ago. Then they took us into the lobby area, where there was a lot of exposed cement. Then we went (on) the one working elevator to the top, which was the 99th floor, I believe.
“It took a long time to get there, because it was a service elevator, not a modern lift with a string of buttons. There was a lift operator who determined where to stop. At the top we had a look around, took some pictures and went back down to the lobby again.”
Although its external appearance had been transformed, the Ryugyong still wasn’t open.

A brighter future?

The Ryugyong came back to life in 2018, when LEDs were installed on its facade, turning the building into Pyonyang’s biggest light show — as well as a propaganda machine. A four-minute program shows North Korea’s history and a variety of political slogans, while the cone at the top projects a huge North Korean flag.
“It’s really striking the first time you see it, especially after so many years of the building sitting there in darkness,” said Will Ripley, a CNN correspondent who has taken multiple trips to Pyongyang, in an email. “I know they turn it on whenever there are major events in the city, but it’s not on all the time — I would assume to save scarce electricity.”
The light show in 2018.

The light show in 2018. Credit: ED JONES/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
In recent years, extensive work has been carried out on the site surrounding the hotel, which was recently opened up, making it possible for anyone to walk right up to the front entrance (but not get in). In June 2018, a sign was added to the building, reading simply “The Ryugyong Hotel” in Korean and English.

Alek Sigley@AlekSigley

New signage above the main entrance to the Ryugyong Hotel bearing its name and logo. A sign that it will soon be open for business?

류경호텔 정문에 걸려있는 새 간판. 간판은 류경호텔의 이름과 상표를 표시하고 있다. 개업날이 다가오고 있는가?

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The question remains: Will it ever open? “It’s very hard to say, because since the building was clad in glass, you can’t see inside,” said Cockerell. “No doubt something’s going on. It’s a very large building. It’s not inconceivable that some part of it may open before the whole of it could open. If it was my building, I’d focus on the top and the bottom.”
The Ryugyong Hotel is no longer the tallest building in the Korean peninsula: The Lotte World Tower in Seoul, completed in 2017, surpassed it by nearly 800 feet (240 meters). It is still the tallest in North Korea, although Pyongyang has seen a growth spurt of high-rise residential towers recently, with the tallest being just 197 feet (60 meters) shorter than the Ryugyong.
Related video on North Korea: Creating the fantasy of prosperity through design
For years, to avoid embarrassment, the North Korean government has airbrushed the building from official pictures of Pyongyang. But the installation of the LED lighting may signal that there’s a plan for its future.
“I think the North Korean government would definitely like to do something with it,” said Ripley. “For years, it was an embarrassing eyesore — especially before the glass exterior was installed. I imagine if they do finish it, and Kim Jong Un makes an inspection and it’s all over the state media, it will be more widely acknowledged as a proud centerpiece of the city.
“Personally, I think it would be fascinating to see what they do with the inside and go all the way to the top. I’m sure the views are extraordinary.”
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