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Iraq’s WMD and the Test of Reasonableness

Cross-post by Mugwump. This 9,000-word article looks at why intelligence services around the world w...

Those incredible spending cuts continued…

The collective day-to-day spending of all those other departments - Business, Home Office, Justice, ...

The Rentoul Media Empire

Further to my post yesterday about more of my stuff appearing on Independent Voices, The Independent...

Sloane Crosley: When creating meals I ask: 'Is there a way we can make this more difficult?'

The reason that war is such a fascinating subject for writers is because it's a revealer. Put a bunch of people in an adrenaline-fuelled, life-or-death situation and their fundamental behaviours are exposed, the scrim is taken away and the motivations behind each personality come out to play. But sometimes you don't need a foxhole to expose one's true nature. Sometimes all it takes is a reclaimed barn-wood kitchen.

Sloane Crosley: 'I'd rather have a root canal than have my photo taken'

There are certain tricks all adult women are supposed to have mastered by my age. Most of them revolve around the delicate matters of maintenance and hygiene. Some revolve around the opposite – you should know how to use a power drill, how to negotiate, how rent a car, how to boil water.

Sloane Crosley: 'Going to a museum is one of the more tiring things one can do'

It is one of the more perplexing things, living in a city and never going to that city. I, for instance, live in New York. But I rarely "go there". Not to the street corners with the pretzel stands and the overpriced water, or the tiled Imagine Circle to memorialise John Lennon (who was actually shot outside the Dakota building across the street), nor down 5th Avenue to go window shopping.

Sloane Crosley: 'I’m not leaving the house with bare skin'

I had an idea for a bad performance art project. I could get a bunch of women together, and instead of wearing any clothing on our top halves, we'd buy some double-sided tape and stick all the products we use before we leave the house each morning, to our breasts. We could have shaving cream caps in lieu of pasties, bottles of toner and creams running down our spines, shoulder pads of eye gel, teeth whitening strips along the collarbone. Who's with me? Ladies?

Sloane Crosley: 'We wait too long to mention a significant other because we enjoy the attention'

Last week one of my very dear and very married friends went on a date by accident. She had been working on a project with another company and one of the staff members suggested they all get dinner one evening. When the guest list dwindled down to just the two of them, she remained unalarmed. This might have been either tantalising or terrifying for a single girl, but for my married friend? She wore a wedding ring.

Sloane Crosley: 'It’s difficult to escape insomnia'

There are so many good ways to avoid insomnia. As I've grown older and my serotonin levels have dropped and my to-do lists have increased, I have learnt not to take long naps on Sunday if I want to be asleep before midnight. I have learnt not to drink three cups of espresso over the course of a day, only to find myself staring at the ceiling that night, punching my fist into the air, wondering why my brain is terrorising me with consciousness. I have learnt that, when it comes to sleep, the heavy consumption of alcohol is the equivalent of impulse-buying a puppy. At first there's nothing more joyous, but then your body wakes at dawn, whimpering.

Sloane Crosley: 'This is the season for weddings and I love attending them'

They say weddings are a pressure-cooker experience for single women. Though I'm not exactly sure what a pressure cooker looks like, I feel certain I've had the opportunity to purchase one from friends' bridal registries over the past 10 years. But this is the season for weddings and I love attending them.

Sloane Crosley: 'Get your contact sport fix by walking in the most crowded and intolerable part of town at rush hour'

The one sport I ever played with any consistency is tennis, and the term "tennis team" is a ridiculous misnomer, surpassed only by "equestrian team". (Though, at least, the horse pitches in there.) I cannot name you one instance in which my fellow teammates reached their rackets across the doubles line to rescue a missed return, popping back into their own game with a wink and a nod as if to say "You'll get me next time". Nor have I seen swimmers do the 100m relay version of "get out and push". You can root for those on your team, but their fates do not rest on how enthusiastically you clap.

Sloane Crosley: 'If you should see a thin rivulet of liquid trickling down concrete in Central Park, stay away. That’s not water'

Last week I was in a taxicab in Seattle, headed into town from the airport. Suddenly the car in front of mine came to a stop. My driver cursed. He explained to me that the drawbridge was going up and it almost never goes up at "this hour". I do not hail from a land of drawbridges – despite living on an island in New York, there's a real dearth of water that's not hanging around in concave pavement or springing forth from a fire hydrant. (If you should see a thin rivulet of liquid trickling down concrete in Central Park, stay away. That's not water.) Thus, a drawbridge is a novelty for me. Not only did I not mind waiting – an unusual mental state for me in the back seat of a taxi – but I craned my neck to look at the boat in question.

Sloane Crosley: 'A juice cleanse? I don't think so'

Juice cleansing has been all the rage for some time. And I used the word 'rage' advisedly; one must push a violent flood of liquidised vegetables and fruit through one's system for at least three days in order to perform a 'cleanse'.

Sloane Crosley: 'Whether you say ‘queue’ or ‘line’, cutting one is both universal and instantly understood'

Brits and Americans have hundreds of different phrases for the same thing. Luckily, it's usually a source of amusement rather than frustration. A flashlight by any other name is still a torch. My personal favourite is "fairy lights", which we boringly refer to as "Christmas lights".

Sloane Crosley: 'As we grow up, there should be fewer instances of friends you can only take in small doses'

There are certain people I just won't eat in public with anymore. It seems strange to compartmentalise one's friendships like this, especially as an adult. As we grow up, it feels like you should either invite people into your life or not. There should be fewer and fewer instances of friends you "can only take in small doses".

Sloane Crosley: ‘I can think of three male friends who fell in love the way one might fall into an open manhole’

Hello, my name is Sloane and I am a social back-up girl. Am I a priority for my closest friends? Of course, and they are a priority for me. But a disturbing trend has come to my notice. Not physically, but emotionally, I seem to be the default option for male friends when it comes to attending stuffy dinners with mum, or a co-worker's housewarmer.

Sloane Crosley: 'I smile at people I don't know and ignore those I do'

When I was little I had perfect vision. Until I went off to university, I was consulted on all things near (the ingredients in a can of soup) and far (street signs). "Yours will go too," my mother would say when I tried on her glasses and quickly flung them from my head before they made me dizzy.

Sloane Crosley: ‘I do say sorry when I slam into strangers in the street, but I don’t mean it'

I body-checked two people this week. This isn't a new habit either. It's something I like to do when I want to elevate my feelings about other people's poor street etiquette from "passive" to "straight-up aggressive".

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