Saturday Morning Paper: Toy Travel Tours

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Sweetest Kulu, by Celina Kalluk and Alexandria Neonakis. (via BookRiot’sOne More Look: Favorite Picture Book Art of 2014)

Travel tours for stuffed toys a hit with the elderly, disabled

Elderly and disabled people, as well as those too busy to travel, haven taken to booking holiday tours for their stuffed toys.

Ecocoro Tokushima, a supplier of nursing care products based in the town of Itano, Tokushima Prefecture, organizes these tour packages, which come complete with photographs of the toys posing at popular tourist hots pots.

Tours offered by the company’s Sudachi Travel division include a visit to three of the 88 temples associated with the Buddhist monk Kukai on the Shikoku pilgrimage trail, which costs ¥2,160, and a trip to the Naruto whirlpools by high-speed boat, priced at ¥3,980.

Life in North Korea

In the most recent chapter of her ongoing project, titled “Paradise Lost,” Grant photographed daily life in Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, and in the remote region of North Hamgyong Province, in the northeast of the country. “In exploring my roots in South Korea, I couldn’t really ignore the North,” she told me. “Most Koreans have lost family as a result of the separation of the two. Mine is no exception.” Despite the difficulties of photographing under strict government control, her images portray a markedly upbeat place. Grant said that she is not naïve to the realities of life in North Korea but hoped to avoid making oblique political statements.

This Law Made it a Lot More Dangerous to Take Ecstasy  

The goal of the legislation—initially known as the Reducing Americans’ Vulnerability to Ecstasy (RAVE) Act, but later renamed the Illicit Drugs Anti-Proliferation Act—was to give law enforcement the tools to crack down on venues that actively promote drug use. At first, it did help drive some shady operators out of business. But critics say it also made club owners and concert promoters wary of providing free water, cool-down rooms, dance floor patrols, and other services or goods that could help keep partygoers safe. Why? Because doing so might signal to law enforcement that the proprietors were aware that drugs were being used in these establishments, thereby putting them at the mercy of the RAVE Act.

Readability is A Myth

In the first case, I know, the fault is supposed to be in me, that I have failed to look deeply enough into the work of a master. In the second case, most people would say the fault is in John Grisham’s shockingly vapid prose and brain-dead plots. But in both cases, the experience is one of repulsion, boredom, alienation. Melville and Grisham: They’re both difficult for me to read.

So why should readers be open to labeling Fifty Shades as difficult (at least for some), rather than as just bad? There are a couple of reasons. First, I think it’s more true to the experience of reading to see “difficult” as wrapped up in evaluation of “bad,” rather than as separate. Most people are willing to admit, even if grudgingly, that aesthetic quality is to some degree subjective. …  But “difficulty” seems to hold out the possibility of more objective standards—to assure us that these books, over here, by Joyce and Faulkner, are 1000 pounds of pure prose, while these books over there, by Stephenie Meyer or Tom Clancy, are sniveling 90-pound weaklings of meretriciousness. It’s as though “good” may be relative, but “tough” is always and everywhere the same.

Mickey Mouse Exposed to Measles, Thanks to Anti-Vaxxers

The highly infectious disease, which is transmitted through the air, can lead to pneumonia, encephalitis, and sometimes death in children. In 2000, the US Centers for Disease Control declared [measles] eliminated in the United States, thanks in large part to an effective vaccine. But because of anti-vaccination hysteria, fueled by discredited claims about links between vaccines and autism, many parents have opted out of vaccinating their kids, leaving them—and others, including children too young to be vaccinated—vulnerable. And while some children do react badly to vaccines, it’s important to remember that the diseases we vaccinate against are killers; the shots save countless lives.

Why The Eyewear Industry is an Incredible Rip-off

Perhaps because prescription glasses are where medicine meets fashion, they’re among the world’s most overpriced merchandise. Imperfect eyesight isn’t your fault: You can’t make yourself nearsighted by eating too much fudge. Yet if your health plan excludes vision care, you’ve spent years at the mercy of a $64 billion industry characterized by 500-percent markups.

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