Street Fight

Helicone Kinetic Sculpture

Come to think of it, there hasn’t been much recent innovation in the realm of executive’s desk toys, at least not since the 1980s. There’s the stress ball, Newton’s cradle, the Magic 8 Ball, the desk zen garden. Now, Stanford design professor John Edmark has created a hypnotic sculpture that owners will find impossible to stop fussing. Employing 38 pieces of laser-cut wood, the Helicone Kinetic Sculpture transforms from a pinecone to a helix—in the most mesmerizing way possible—with a twist of the wrist. Really, it’s best articulated visually. [Kevin Pang]

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Street Fight

Given the current state of affairs, it seems downright sadistic to recommend a documentary about a reprehensible political campaign driven by lies, accusations of immorality, and racial dog whistles. But Marshall Curry’s 2005 documentary Street Fight (newly available on Netflix) is still fascinating And it’s far less demoralizing since it’s about a New Jersey mayoral race that’s now more than a decade old. Actually, “far less” might be an overstatement. Street Fight, which chronicles the bare-knuckled, sprint-to-the-bottom race between Newark mayoral incumbent Sharpe James and a fresh-faced hopeful named Cory Booker, serves as a sobering reminder of how fiercely people will attack each other when split into arbitrary factions. It’s also a chilling portrait of political chicanery at its most craven. In one scene, Booker and his team celebrate a robust fundraising month, only for James to turn Booker’s good fortune against him. James follows up with a radio interview, but instead of trying to downplay Booker’s haul, he significantly overstates it and argues that Booker thinks he can “buy Newark” with all of his outsider money. It would be genius if it wasn’t so terrifying, which, come to think of it, also applies to Street Fight. [Joshua Alston]

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Stabilo point 88 Fineliner marker pen

All writers are self-appointed experts on the subject of pens and stationery. I know because I grew up as the son of one; my poet dad felt that children, even at an early age, needed to know everything there was to know about fountain pens (still his go-to) and fancy watermarked paper. Of course, I rebelled, preferring the practical: pocket notebooks, scrap paper, and inexpensive drawing pens. Earlier this year, I finally started using a Stabilo point 88 Fineliner marker pen, which really became indispensable while I was covering this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The rapid turnaround and heavy viewing load at festivals means I have to take a lot of notes. The point 88 dries to fainter-than-black, but doesn’t smear (which makes is great for jotting in the dark) and still precise; I use a tiny cursive for most purposes but take notes in block capitals, and it’s good for both. Also, I just like the way it feels in my hand; it’s narrow with a hexagonal body. [Ignatiy Vishnevetsky]

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