Month: November 2018

What’s Hot (and What’s Not) This Black Friday

By now, you have probably realized that the vast majority of Black Friday deals are duds. Many so-called bargains are undesirable products that have been marked down to help stores clear out inventory, or have discounts that aren’t any better than sales that happened earlier in the year.

It’s that time of the year again when retailers bombard you with ads promoting Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Yet there is a silver lining: This is the best time to buy a few items, like video game consoles, televisions and smart home accessories, which plummet to their lowest prices. If you know ahead of time what to focus on, you might score a few good deals.

[Read more about the best ways to spend your money (or keep it) on Black Friday.]

“Come into Black Friday with a list,” said Alex Roth, a commerce editor for Wirecutter, a New York Times product review site that tracks deals year round. “Don’t just buy things and figure you can return them later, because the holiday return lines are horrible.”

to help narrow your search for good buys on Black Friday, I teamed up with Wirecutter to round up the products that are worth following — and the ones you can skip.

If you’ve been planning to treat yourself or a loved one to a new video game console, this may be the best time of year to grab one. Some Black Friday ads for Best Buy and Walmart show that prices for some consoles will drop to their lowest all year, said Adam Burakowski, the deals editor for Wirecutter.

“This year in particular, the consoles are pretty much the best prices we’ve seen,” he said.

For example, both Walmart and Best Buy plan to sell Sony’s PlayStation 4 bundled with the new Spider-Man game for $200, down from the retail price of $300 for the console alone. In addition, Nintendo’s Switch console will cost about $300 together with a Super Mario Kart game — normally, the system costs that much without a game included.

For one, don’t be fooled by ads for so-called doorbusters — like jaw-droppingly cheap TVs — at retailers like Best Buy, Mr. Burakowski said. Those tend to be mediocre TV sets, or they sell out extremely quickly. For another, during Black Friday, manufacturers sometimes sell subpar televisions with model numbers that are nearly identical to popular, high-quality sets, he added.

The smartest way to buy a TV is to do research ahead of time and pick out a great set you want, then jot down the model number and periodically check retailers’ websites throughout the week to see if the price has dropped. (Price-tracking web tools like Camel Camel Camel can help automate this process.)

READ MORE: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/14/technology/personaltech/black-friday-deals.html

To help shoppers get started, here’s a cheat sheet of the products to track,
and the ones to ignore.

Favorites About Food, Family and Thanksgiving

There is a story passed along in my family that makes me smile. It centers on a nephew of mine. When he was 7 years old, his grandfather and another relative died in the same week, and he grew curious about death in the months that followed. At one point, a teacher tried to explain the concept of heaven to him. “When you go there, you’ll see everyone you love all in the same place,” she said.

Thanksgiving is upon us, and for me that means lots and lots of family. I have a gracious aunt who hosts 30 to 40 family members every year at her home in Pennsylvania, and I will be heading there again. When we are not eating, we’ll be cherishing the new babies, cracking jokes until they go too far and catching up on one anothers joys and struggles.

He thought about it, and then replied: “Oh, so it’s like Thanksgiving?”

Whatever form your holiday takes, don’t forget to thank all the people who create a little scrap of heaven here on earth, on this day and every day. Here’s some of our favorite articles about the holiday, both serious and fun, that you can dig into when you aren’t tucking into turkey or pie.

How to Be Mindful in an Argument

Just because we disagree with someone, it doesn’t have to become a heated exchange. Staying mindful during an argument allows us to choose conversation, discourse and debate in ways that do not escalate the situation.” — Holly Duckworth, a speaker and executive coach who focuses on mindfulness.

First, begin with yourself. Ask yourself how you relate to the person or topic at hand. Check in with your body. Ask yourself what you’re feeling — unease, frustration, fear, pain and anger? Whatever it is, just note it, allowing yourself to be in it. Pause, breathe and return to your center to become clear about your intentions. What it is you are arguing for or against? What outcome are you hoping for? Can you release the attachment to that?

If you are upset, try to calm down and cultivate a kind and accepting attitude. Your disposition can change the tenor of a conversation in an instant.

As a first step toward defusing the argument, try to agree on what it is you are trying to resolve. Many arguments can be avoided altogether when we realize we were never talking about the same issue to begin with, or it’s simply not something worth arguing about.

When you exchange or express diverging or opposite views, try to do so without coming across as angry.

If the disagreement persists, speak your truth even when it’s hard. Speak your truth without fear of judgment or retribution. Respond from the heart first and the head second. Remain calm and try to be respectful of the other person, even if you deeply disagree with his or her position. Keeping an open mind may help you to find a peaceful resolution.

Lastly, be thankful for the experience. Even when an argument is uncomfortable, it can help us grow and learn about ourselves.

Meditation for Real Life

Amazon tells some customers their emails have been exposed, but provides few details

Amazon Customers Email Breached in October

Amazon.com informed some customers Wednesday that their names and email addresses had been “inadvertently disclosed” as a result of a “technical error” but declined to provide further details about the security incident.

The e-commerce giant confirmed it sent the messages, adding in a subsequent statement it had “fixed the issue.” It did not say how many of its users had been affected or where and how emails had been exposed. Amazon said only that its website and other systems had not been breached.

Amazon’s limited disclosure, days before the Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping frenzies, drew sharp criticism on social media. Among its own sellers, some took to the company’s forums to complain about Amazon’s tight-lipped handling of the matter. “Who knows what they’re not disclosing about this,” one user wrote. “Hopefully nothing …”

Others questioned Amazon after it told users there’s “no need for you to change your password or take any other action,” fearing the potential that hackers still might try to use their names and email addresses for nefarious purposes, including phishing scams.

In October, Amazon said it reportedly fired an employee who inappropriately shared customers’ emails with a third-party seller. The incident, which Amazon said it was working with law enforcement to investigate, similarly resulted in messages to customers indicating their email addresses had been exposed.

How to Take Charge of Your Medical Care

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 4.34.13 AMWalking into a doctor’s office or hospital can be intimidating. But when you go armed with the right tools and frame of mind, you can walk out of that appointment or hospital stay feeling more confident and satisfied. Learn how to ask your questions, either for yourself or a loved one, figure out your various medical options and determine the best course of action. Just having that knowledge in your pocket can help you feel better.

When You’re Healthy

It can be hard to think about dealing with a medical emergency when you are well, but the things you do now can really pay off later.

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Get Your Paperwork in Order

As much as we don’t want to think about the end of our own lives, it’s a good idea to get a head start while you’re still relatively young and in good health. Don’t just assume your partner or family can read your mind about whether or not you’d want to be put on a feeding tube or be resuscitated if something went wrong. Yes, that means having an advance care directive on hand. This also means appointing a proxy granting him or her power-of-attorney to make your medical decisions if you’re not able to do so.

If you are fortunate enough to have some form of health insurance, always have your current policy information handy and organized in case you need it. In fact, keep it in an easily accessible folder, along with an updated list of all the medications you’re taking — prescribed, over-the-counter and supplements — and a record of your personal and family medical history. Regardless of whether you’re going to see your general practitioner about a viral infection or end up in the E.R. with a broken foot, you’re going to be asked about your medical history, so it’s best to come with as much detail as possible.

Know Your Rights

In the United States, we have various sources setting forth our rights as patients. HIPAA, for example, guarantees on a federal level a patient’s right to get a copy of his medical records, as well as the right to keep them private. There is also the Patient’s Bill of Rights that is part of the Affordable Care Act, though it primarily deals with insurance-specific rights, rather than general health care. Some states, like New York, do have a Patients’ Bill of Rights which grants additional protections, like receiving an itemized bill and explanation of all charges, as well as a right to get emergency care if you need it, meaning that hospitals are not permitted  to turn away a patient requiring emergency care, regardless of where they live and regardless of whether they can pay the bill. In addition, some organizations, like the American Hospital Association, have their own guidelines outlining the rights of patients.

All patients also have the right of informed consent, meaning that if you require any sort of treatment or procedure, your physician should explain what will happen to you in a way you understand, which allows you to make an educated decision. Being familiar with informed consent before needing medical treatment can help you achieve the best outcome possible.

Schedule Regular Appointments

It’s important to stay on top of your health, so schedule regular check-ups to ensure everything is in working order. If you live somewhere with numerous options for medical care, you’ll have the task of finding and then selecting a doctor who best serves your needs. This is true when dealing with your physical as well as a mental health. Once you’re at the appointment, make the most of your time with your doctor, by asking any questions you may have about your body and health, and requesting a full blood test workup.

WeWork’s Rise: How a Sublet Start-Up Is Taking Over

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 4.30.28 AMCritics have derided WeWork as overvalued and vulnerable to the next downturn. But the company holds so many leases in so many cities, it might hold more power than its landlords.

Real estate titans have long scoffed at WeWork, which in eight short years has managed to attain a $20 billion valuation by selling short-term leases for shared office space with a mixture of stylish design and free-flowing alcohol.

Derided by some as a real estate company masquerading as a technology company, it has been called everything from a “$20 billion house of cards” to a “Ponzi scheme.”

The naysayers argue that WeWork’s business model looks brilliant only in a rising economy that has allowed it to lock in long-term leases and then re-rent that space to other businesses at a premium. The enormous valuation it has obtained is higher than that of Boston Properties and Vornado, two of the country’s biggest office-space landlords — companies that actually own the kind of space that WeWork usually rents.

Now, with interest rates creeping higher, residential real estate prices flattening and fears of an economic slowdown coming, real estate insiders are gleeful at the notion that a downturn could be an existential threat for the company.

But a funny thing happened as WeWork has scaled up all over the globe: It may have become too big to fail.

WeWork has gobbled up leases for so much space in so many cities, there’s a compelling case to be made that its landlords wouldn’t be able to afford for it to go under.

Because of WeWork’s size, “they have more power in a down market,” said Thomas J. Barrack Jr., the longtime real estate investor and founder of Colony Capital.

The company is scheduled to release third-quarter financial results on Tuesday. A WeWork spokesman, citing the coming report, declined to comment.

The conventional wisdom is that when the economy turns south, WeWork’s customers — many of which are start-ups and may be the most vulnerable — will simply walk away. The flexibility of WeWork’s short-term leases is part of its appeal, after all.

READ MORE: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/13/business/dealbook/wework-office-space-real-estate.html?action=click&module=Editors%20Picks&pgtype=Homepage

Solange, the Polymathic Cultural Force

Screen Shot 2018-11-13 at 4.23.38 AMA MONONYM IS possessed of a certain celebrity: Prince, Madonna, Iman. No surname needed, thank you very much. Just a couple of syllables and the whole of the mononym’s grandeur flashes across our consciousness.

Solange. Two mellifluous syllables and her face springs to mind: the fierce, open gaze, those striking full eyebrows. Solange the singer, songwriter, choreographer, visual and performing artist, with four, soon to be five, albums to her name. Solange the 2017 Grammy winner: Best R&B Performance, “Cranes in the Sky.” Solange, who earlier that year performed for President Obama and the first lady at their final White House party. Solange, whose acclaimed 2016 album, “A Seat at the Table” yoked artistry to activism with its piercing inquiry into race and identity in America, with lyrics such as, “You got the right to be mad / But when you carry it alone, you find it only getting in the way.” Solange the culture maker, whose performance art, digital work and sculpture have been exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, the Menil Collection in Houston, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the Tate Modern in London. Solange, named the Harvard Foundation Artist of the Year in 2018.