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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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 Previously, she has worked as an editor at, 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.”


Lila MacLellen/Quartz

Productivity science is generally unkind to standard to-do lists. We’re told that they feed the impulses of our faulty brains in all the wrong ways.

They call our attention to tasks that are easy to quantify and thus easy to “complete.” They can allow small chores to feel more pressing and important than they are, making us prioritize those tasks that seem urgent (responding to email), when other, non-urgent projects would offer greater payoff (organizing your thoughts before a strategy meeting).

But we can’t get enough of the little brain-chemical kick that follows every checkmark.

Aytekin Tank is the founder of JotForm, which makes software for creating online forms. Writing on his company’s blog, he describes multi-item to-do lists as “a race to the bottom, except there is no bottom.”

He suggests an alternative system for getting things done.

The Hunter Method

If you can see past the bro-ish title, the Hunter Method, as Tank calls it, actually sounds promising, and it’s dead simple. All you do is choose one task that is going to be the focus of your day, even if it doesn’t take you the whole day to complete. You write that item down on a Post-it note, stick it to your laptop (or a wall, we presume) and use it as your lodestar. Look to the note when your mind begins to wander to your waiting text messages, to your dry-cleaning, or to any of the ridiculous things people do when they should be working.

Tank instructs high-achievers to seriously consider that must-do which would have the most impact. “If you’re having trouble thinking of something I’ll give you a hint — it’s usually the thing you least want to do,” he writes. In this way, the Hunter Method is a lot like the popular Mark Twain-inspired hack called ”Eating the frog,” which suggests tackling that thing you’d rather do at the end of the day, at the beginning, instead. With the Hunter Method, however, the frog is never a meaningless errand or tedious office task. It’s a significant, high-impact item, and by getting it done, Tank says, you will feel more fulfilled.

Tank’s method draws from The One Thing: The Surprising Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results (Bard Press, 2003), a best-selling book that likewise advocated for establishing one priority per day, to avoid getting stuck on the to-do list hamster wheel. And like the Kanban method, which limits the number of items you’re actively working on to three at any one time, the Hunter Method puts the lie to the myth of multitasking. As a bonus, it skirts our inability to properly estimate how much time a given task will take.

Early human survival tactics inspired the title of Tank’s method. “If the hunter made a successful hunt for that day, his family would eat. If not, they wouldn’t. It was that simple,” he writes. “He didn’t have time to check email, attend time-sucking meetings or send follow-up emails. And, he certainly didn’t have time to make to-do lists.”

I’m Bisexual how do I come out to my Boyfriend?

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Photo: Randomly Chosen from Google


I’ve always known I was into both men and women, but while I’ve dated girls in the past, lately, it’s been mostly guys. As a result, hardly any of my post-grad friends know this fact about me, including my current boyfriend. I really want to tell him about my sexuality, but I’m nervous he won’t react well. What’s the best way to come out to him?

By: Jenna Birch


Someone close to me came out as bisexual a couple years ago, and ever since I’ve felt like I’ve had a crash course in how folks with this orientation can feel marginalized, misunderstood and brushed off. People might say insensitive, uninformed things (“Oh, so you’re experimenting!”) or feel embarrassed and not know how to respond.

But perhaps the toughest thing about bisexuality is that if you’re in a “straight relationship,” it’s easy to feel like you’re hiding in plain sight. (I see you.) And when dating, it is tricky to know when revealing this information is relevant; it’s just a part of who you are, but a part worth sharing nonetheless.

For some partnerships, it won’t change a thing. For others, it will. First things first: here’s how to bring it up.

If you want to get it out there ASAP, you can set time aside.

The next time you see your boyfriend, tell him you have something to share and ask if you can reserve half an hour to have a conversation with him. (Assure him you’re not breaking up with him!) I’d probably do it while you’re at home, and while I’d tell him that you’ve been nervous to bring this up (it’s OK to act vulnerable!), I’d also do it quickly, directly and without apology. As soon as it’s out there, and you’ve answered any of his questions, move on to other things: Make dinner, Netflix ’n chill, keep it light. Since it’s probably a surprise conversation, he may not have much of an initial reaction. That’s not bad. Try not to overthink neutral vibes.

If you want it to be more organic, you can look for the right opening. 

Maybe it’s a casual date-night conversation about sexuality in general, or there’s a bisexual character in a TV show you’re both bingeing, which brings about discussion. It’s hard to know exactly what the situation will be, but you’ll know when it arrives. There will be a tiny tug in your stomach saying: This is a great moment to say what I need to say. 

By riffing off natural discussion, this gives you some immediate points of reference, or gives you an opportunity to correct a misunderstanding he may have. (“Actually, not all bisexual men are gay, David…)

This said, if you try to find a natural and organic moment and it just doesn’t present itself, it’s also fine to change course and ask for a talk.

Now, here’s what do next.

On reading the reaction…

Of course, his reaction will be telling, whether in the moment or later on. But the most important thing is to give him the benefit of the doubt, since it’s very possible he’s never been in this position before. Remind him that this doesn’t change your relationship with him at all. You’re not looking for new partners and you don’t wish he was something he’s not. As long as he asks any questions he may have and listens to you thoughtfully, it counts as a good response. On the other hand, if he rejects the conversation, lashes out at you, or gets defensive and demands to know why he wasn’t told sooner…well, that’s essential data.

You’re telling me that it’s important to you that your partner understands and accepts your bisexuality. I agree. It’s part of who you are, even if your relationship with him (or any person you date in the future) is monogamous and “straight.” Tell him the truth and do it before it eats you alive.

As I’ve mulled over your question, I’ve been reminded of the words of poet Nayyirah Waheed: “Some people upon hearing your story contract; others upon hearing your story expand. And this is how you know.”

With your boyfriend, once you say it, you’ll know.

Jenna Birch is a journalist, speaker and author of The Love Gap: A Radical Plan to Win in Life and Love, a relationship-building guide for modern women. To ask her a question, which she may answer in a forthcoming PureWow column, email her at RELATED: The Most Common Open Relationship Rules and How to Set Yours

The College-Admissions Scandal was Better Than A Movie

The Lifetime film adaptation barely had to make anything up.

Bethany Slade is one scheming character among many in Lifetime’s recent movie The College Admissions Scandal.SERGEI BACHLAKOV / AE NETWORKS
By Adam Harris/The Atlantic

When the Varsity Blues college-admissions scandal came to light earlier this year, its dramatic details captured the nation’s attention. In March, dozens of wealthy parents, including bankers, CEOs, and movie stars, were charged by federal prosecutors for taking part in a fraudulent scheme to effectively buy their children a place at some of the nation’s top colleges. There was money, fame, deception—it only made sense that, eventually, the seemingly made-for-television drama of it all would actually be made for television.

Getting into Stanford won’t be easy, though, and Danny’s parents know it; they fret over his GPA and SAT score even more than Danny himself does. Stanford is one of those  highly selective institutions that seems to get more selective each year.

(The annual release of its admit numbers became such a spectacle that the university, in 2018 , announced that it would no longer issue news releases about the data.)

But then something comes along that might save Danny from those daunting admissions numbers. When a group of parents is gathered over coffee, engaged in an anxious conversation about their children and college, one mom mentions the name Rick Singer.

Singer is one of the figures Lifetime dragged and dropped—name and all—into the movie from the actual Varsity Blues scandal. In real life, Singer orchestrated schemes to fabricate test scores and exaggerate students’ athletic abilities to get them admitted to selective colleges through “side doors”—such at those reserved for athletes for a hefty price. The fictional Singer is not much different. He’s a master salesman in the film, convincing parents that he can discreetly provide them with a crucial admissions nudge.

Other children in the movie are unaware of their parents’ machinations. In this regard, the film also hews closely to reality. In the transcript of one conversation released from the Varsity Blues investigation, one parent, who’s worried that her daughter will get suspicious, asks Singer, “How do you do this without telling the kids what you’re doing?” “Oh, in most cases,” Singer  assures the parent  “none of the kids know.”

In telling this tale, The College Admissions Scandal frequently leaps ahead in time, fast-forwarding to the most dramatic points of what was otherwise a more drawn-out disaster for the families involved. One jump takes viewers to the testing rooms for students granted extra time on the SAT—securing additional time for students, even if they didn’t really need it, was a central part of Singer’s real-life cheating operation. There are jumps to the moments of bliss: One student gets into Yale, and another gets into Stanford. And of course there is a jump to the point in time when all the wrongdoing comes to light, with scenes of flashing police sirens and children fuming at parents.

But through this predictable narrative arc, there is an omission—one that, admittedly, would bother a film critic less than it does an education reporter. Just like most media coverage of the Varsity Blues scandal, The College Admissions Scandal dwells almost entirely on the misfortunes of a small group of affluent families. This focus obscures the fact that college admissions have substantive, systemic problems that will not end with a little jail time and fines for those trying to cheat their way in; there remain big, unanswered questions about why colleges don’t enroll more low-income and minority students, whether they could put the billions they have in endowment funds to better use, and whether the most selective schools should just  let more people in.

But the film, perhaps predictably, leaves the system itself unexamined. Occasionally, the unfairnesses of it are addressed in a surface-level way: There are numerous references to the edge that students get if they are athletes, legacies, or the offspring of someone who can sponsor the construction of a building on campus. But The College Admissions Scandal never goes deeper than that. In life and in art, people eagerly watch as some are caught cheating in a broken system, but take less of an interest in how that system might be fixed.

10 insulting ways to describe someone in Italian

Ten insulting ways to describe someone in Italian

Photo: Deposit Photos

Here’s what to say when people get on the wrong side of you in Italy.

By:Clare Speak/The Local

When living in Italy, you’ll no doubt come across a dodgy character or two before long. And you’ll want to use a few colorful words when later describing such encounters to your Italian friends.

The Italian language offers us endless vulgar anatomical expressions, and countless ways to call someone a moron. But if you want to get a bit more specific about exactly what is wrong with the person who just crossed you, we’re here to help

These aren’t the rudest words in the Italian language. My family uses them at the dinner table (although that might just be my family). But as you’d expect of a good Italian insult, they’re all extremely descriptive, very satisfying to say, and always good to know.

Furbacchione – sly or cunning person

In Italy, the concept of la furbizia (cunning or slyness) or the need to be furbo – the overwhelming desire to get one over on other people – is very well known. It sounds a bit like “furtive”, because it has the same root. A particuarly sly and slippery character could be described as un furbacchione. Stress it like this: fur-bak-YOH-neh. Now, doesn’t that feel good?

Imbroglione – trickster, cheat, con artist, fraud

This is one I hear a lot in southern Italy, where being furbo (see above) is an elevated art form. If you’re involved in any sort of financial transaction or business deal, you may soon start feeling like everyone’s out to screw you over. That’s a sure sign the person you’re dealing with is an imbroglione. Depending on context, this word can mean anything from “cheat” to “bullshitter”, but it’s definitely never a compliment.

Bugiardo – liar

Are you noticing a theme here? If someone has gone beyond being a bit slippery and is just telling you outright porkies, here’s the word to use. Una bugia (pronounced boo-jia) is a lie, and the person telling them is a bugiardo/a.

Bonus weird language fact: bugiardino is not a “little liar”, as you might imagine, but in many regions of Italy the word has come to mean a “leaflet” or “instruction booklet” which is jokingly acknowledged to be unhelpful, either because it contains lies or omits important information. It’s most commonly used by Italians to describe the instruction leaflets found inside packs of medication (make of that what you will).

Fannullone – layabout

Literally “a big do-nothing”, the fannullone (from fa nulla, or “do nothing”) probably can’t even be bothered to indulge in a spot of furbizia. You could also use the word ozioso, meaning “idler”

Perditempo – timewaster

A difficult concept in Italy, as wasting time is often seen as so completely normal that there’s no need to comment on it. But many foreigners in Italy will quickly find use for this word (particularly those of us of from countries where being “hard working” is seen as a positive trait, rather than a ridiculous shortcoming). Perdere tempo means “to waste (literally “lose”) time” and un perditempo is a person who does just that.

Malalingua – gossip-monger

If you live in a small (or not so small) town in Italy, you’ll have noticed that everyone knows everyone else, and that few people mind their own business. While un pettegolo is the word for a garden-variety gossip, someone particularly fond of spreading malicious or scandalous tales could be called una malalingua (literally “bad tongue”).

Chiacchierone – blabbermouth

Someone who can’t keep secrets, or just simply can’t stop talking, is a chiacchierone. From chiacchierare (to chatter), this person tells long rambling stories and just loves the sound of his or her own voice

Scroccone – freeloader

That person who stayed at your house gratis for several weeks, ate all your food, and didn’t even say grazie? Feel free to describe them as a scroccone.

Approfittatore – exploiter, opportunist

From the word approffitare, which roughly means “to take advantage” or “to benefit from”, an approfittatore is a person who takes advantage of others at every possible opportunity.

Menefreghista – someone who couldn’t care less

This one doesn’t translate easily into English. It’s connected to menefreghismo, the word used in Italian to describe a culture of people just not caring. This in turn derives from the Italian phrase me ne frego, which roughly means ‘I don’t give a shit’ – a phrase no doubt used often by the menefreghista.

Looking for something a bit stronger? We’ve also got a guide to the gestures and insults you’ll need when arguing like an Italian, as well as a list of the most creative insults the language has to offer


Difficult Choices: Possible Homicide or Kettle Corn? Spoiler Alert: it was delicious

It early Wednesday morning at Cesar Chavez Park Downtown.  People are settling up for the Wednesday’s Farmers Market in the Park.   A few booths are set up.  Near the 9th and J Street Entrance, is a booth of fresh fruits , on the other side people are arranging fresh flowers .  Big Dogs is setting up their Barbecue Pit .  The Red Kettle Corn Vendor near the 10 and I street Entrance seems to be the first vendor to set up. Tempting unsuspecting office workers to its lair. The scent is intoxicating.

Every Wednesday, I’m tempted.   Its not a cheap snack.  $8.00 or $10.00 and they take every form of payment known to Jimboy’s Tacos.    I sat down on bench  on the tenth street side or the park  contemplating a bag.

There is always  entertainment in the park in the mornings.  Usually on near J or I street.    On this day, there is a man wrapped in a blue blanket with a box cutter in his hand.   He is chasing another man, calling him names that held my attention.    As the two circled the park, he said he was just released from the hospital earlier that morning and he has no problem cutting a bitch (I’m assuming the man without the blanket and box cutter is the bitch in question!)

Few people were interested in the drama  as the two circled  the park, occasionally going into the street.   I really don’t need kettle corn., its not in the weight watchers guide. I have fruit at home. But it would be nice to have the Kettle Corn while watching Perry Mason on Me tv.

Meanwhile with all the traffic entering the park.  The potential victim had many option  to escape but he chose  to run clockwise in the park. I grew tired of the endless chase.

 I bought some fresh ginger from one of the vendors and a large bag of Caramel kettle corn which went well will Perry . (I see you Della Street)

Image result for cesar chavez park farmers market

Picture: Google


Britain: Mom pulls son out of school over Tuna Sandwich

Stacy Jarvis and son Jayden Hunter 

By: Joanna Lovell/UK Mirror

A mother who pulled son out of school over tuna sandwich ‘now faces playground ban’

Thanet Primary School in Hull, has warned Stacy Jarvis she could be banned from the grounds for “rude and aggressive behavior.

A mum at the centre of a break-time controversy involving a tuna dinner and long bathroom break claims she faces being banned from the school playground altogether.

Last week Stacy Jarvis publicly claimed that her son Jayden Hunter had been refused a hot school dinner because the dining room had run out by the time he got off the toilet.

The nine-year-old was allegedly told by staff at Thanet Primary School in Hull that he had to make do with a tuna sandwich, Hull Live reported.

His 31-year-old mum decided she wasn’t going to take the lunch issue lying down, instead refusing to send her son into school until she received an apology.

Now the school has come out swinging, sending a letter to Miss Jarvis explaining that the hot food had not actually run out.

Stacy is mum to three kids (Image: Hull Daily Mail / MEN Media)

Jayden had in fact tried some shepherd’s pie before being offered the tuna sandwich, the school claims.

After she was threatened with a fine for unauthorised absence, the mother-of-three sent Jayden back to school with a packed lunch.

He only missed a day in class.

The school also countered Miss Jarvis’s claims that they had backed down, warning her she faces a ban from the school grounds if she is “rude and aggressive” again.

“Thanet school promotes five key values of respect, responsibility, kindness, honesty and friendship,” the school’s headteacher said.

“I have written to Miss Jarvis to request she adheres to these values.”

The school suggested Jayden had been offered shepherd pie (Image: Hull Daily Mail / MEN Media)
Stacy was furious about the perceived tuna sandwich slight (Image: Hull Daily Mail / MEN Media)

The letter also addressed a conversation that unfolded between the headteacher and Miss Jarvis at the school gates on Wednesday.

“I will not tolerate a repeat of this type of behavior  towards either the school or the staff,” it continues.

“If this happens again I will have to take further advice which could result in you being banned from the school site.”

The mum was taken aback by the warning.

She said: “I have no reason to be banned from the playground as I was only doing my best interest of my child not being fed, I’m sure if he went to school and said I wasn’t feeding him that would be a different story.

The 31-year-old forbade Jayden from going to school (Image: Hull Daily Mail / MEN Media)
Thanet Primary School threatened the ban the mom from the grounds (Image: Hull Daily Mail / MEN Media) 

“I don’t get why she doesn’t see my point as a mother, a parent, that my child was hungry at school because they didn’t feed him.

“I don’t get what’s going on now with the headteacher, why she hasn’t asked for a meeting to talk to me properly about this whole situation.

“Also, not once has she said to me about children and parents complaining about me, only until she sent the email, so as in her profession shouldn’t she of banned me then?

“I think she needs to make her mind up, I think she is saying all this now to have her own back. It’s a joke. I don’t know why she hasn’t said anything to me in person.”

Stacy described the situation as a “joke” (Image: Hull Daily Mail / MEN Media)

The shepherd’s pie issue also garnered a reaction fro Miss Jarvis, who is expecting her fourth child.

“She failed to tell me any of this last week,” the mum said of the hot dinner claims.

“Apparently he was [offered Shepherd’s Pie] and didn’t like it, but why didn’t she say that?

Never hit a New Yorker, even in Sacramento

Image result for jump scooters in sacramento

Nari was in town to attend her sisters wedding.  Shortly after she checked in to the hotel, she realized she’d left the dress she planned to wear to the wedding on her bedroom door in her apartment in New York

She was told there was a Macy’s less than two blocks away from the hotel.

She was walking up a slight slope as two young men riding down on a scooter crashed into her and three other women, knocking them all to the ground.  She didn’t know the other women  One woman started to cry, holding her leg, her friend was comforting her demanding an apology.

One of the men on the scooter said, they (the women) should have moved out of the way!    Nari ,who is five foot two Bronx Queen, punched him in the face.  She said she wished he would have tried to hit me back  I’d a dragged his bitch little ass all over  Sacramento” 

He did apologize…..a painful sorry!

Four women? This wouldn’t have happened in New York!  Those two little bitches crashing into us and blaming us? Oh hell…..   And those girls doing standing there doing nothing  after what those two did?  They didn’t even try to help us off the ground.    Is this how people are in California?

My mother used to work in Manhattan and one of those crazy bicycle messengers crashed into a old man at a bus stop and didn’t apologize , my mother! who is smaller than me and the other people at that corner beat the living shit out of that messenger. When she got home, we were shocked, we thought ,somebody had attacked her. Her clothes were torn and her hair was messed up.  But she said, she got him!

We look out for each other in New York.   I got to get out of California before I get put in jail! she laughs.

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