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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: ‘I've tried everything to quit biting my nails'

How do you bite your nails? Personally, I like to go in from the side. In cartoons, when characters bite their nails, they move from left to right as if nervously eating corn. I guess they have differently structured teeth to the rest of us because, as anyone who has experienced a molar issue knows, eating with one's incisors has little impact on the mastication of food and great impact on one's respect for rabbits.

Sloane Crosley: 'My suede sandals make a mockery of practicality'

There are two periods of time during the year – the first weeks of spring being one, early autumn being the other – when all of one's limited-edition clothing can come out of the closet and play.

Sloane Crosley: 'I want to know what brand of shampoo Charlie Sheen uses'

There are always a handful of news stories that one sees out of the corner of one's eye. Of the major ones – say, Mubarak being overthrown in Egypt – one knows every detail. As one should. But it's the pure entertainment stories I find I'm happy to let sit on the periphery of my brain, until and unless it becomes absolutely necessary to bring them to the forefront.

Sloane Crosley: 'Perhaps my neighbours are trapped under some very weighty pieces of furniture – a girl can dream'

They say it's not the snoring itself but those anxiety-packed moments in between snorts. It's the waiting for the nasal passages of the person lying beside you to strike again. And strike it always does. In the dark, almost against your will, you produce that special glare reserved for people who cannot control their own behaviour. Though I am not currently living with a snorer, I long for the days when I was... because anything would be better than the wait for the neighbours to have their next party.

Sloane Crosley: I will obsess over a paper cut. It’s not hypochondria. The diagnosis is 'being a big baby'

For the average person, taken to their sick bed, it takes a serious bout of pneumonia or a full body cast to completely forget the life they had prior to falling off the rollercoaster. I, however, will do this over a paper cut on my thumb, obsessing of said cut and being generally consumed by it. It's not hypochondria. The medical diagnosis of my condition is something like "being a big baby."

Sloane Crosley: I sent a text to my friend: ‘Airline lost luggage. Expect uni-brow and vague musk of airplane loo’

I used to think that nails-down-a-chalkboard was the worst sound in the world. Then I moved on to people-eating-cereal-on-the-phone. But only this week did I stumble across the rightful winner: it's the sound of a baggage carousel coming to a grinding halt, having reunited every passenger on your flight with their luggage, except for you.

Sloane Crosley: 'Suddenly it’s become socially acceptable to talk, at length, about the weather. Enough, I say'

Chivalry isn't dead here in New York – it's just very cold. Yesterday I tried to hail a taxi, slipped on the ice, and scraped my hands on the pavement. A man nearby took one glance at me, opened the door of the cab and got in. I can't say I blame him – it was the first available taxi I had seen in 15 minutes.

Sloane Crosley: 'I bought my just-engaged friend maternity underwear'

Nothing says love like a pair of discount knickers. For a friend's upcoming bachelorette party, we – her friends (which, by the end of this, may or may not include me) – decided to each send the bride a pair of racy underwear. Given the price limit, I decided it would be better to procure a discounted version of something pricy, rather than a full-priced version of something paltry.

Sloane Crosley: 'We’ve come to expect so little from online privacy measures'

The real world is in revolt. Sick of the lack of boundaries online, real-life privacy is now all the rage. When Facebook changed its privacy model last year, the world staged a minor hissy-fit for about a week before it got over it.

Sloane Crosley: 'New Jersey is not hard to navigate, especially when one lives in neighbouring New York'

Here are the three circumstances under which elderly ladies in insane-looking pointy hats will ask you to come inside their house:

Sloane Crosley: 'I took one look at this person I hadn't spoken to in 12 years and meandered down the platform. Why?'

I was visiting my parents' house in suburban New York, and in true parental fashion my mother dropped me off at the local train station about 15 minutes early. One would think that after performing the same drive every day for years when my father was commuting to Manhattan, they'd have a sense of timing about this trip. One would be wrong.

Sloane Crosley: 'I might say I had a girl crush on Tina Fey, but not on AS Byatt'

Unless we're talking about old-school, witchcraft-trial violence, can we please phase out the phrase "girl crush"? While we're at it, if we can axe "like, total girl crush" unless Total Girl Crush is the name of a fizzy soft drink, in which case I'll take two, thank you. A Twitter and Facebook favourite, "girl crush" has been the primary means of lady-on-lady compliment over the past few years. Now that 2011 has begun, I say this is the year women take a non-heeled stand against this oddly undercutting and twee acclamation.

Sloane Crosley: 'We spend our childhoods trying to grow up and our adulthoods nostalgic for our youth'

Today at breakfast I sat next to two of the most put-upon people in the world. They complained about people they knew (their friends, their family), then they moved on to people they didn't (the waitress, the hostess, the homeless in general). The proximity of our tables made it bizarrely difficult to sneak a glance at them without arousing a reaction. And judging by the casual vitriol slung at subway employees, I had a "Do you mind?" coming my way if caught.

Sloane Crosley: 'I’m afraid of speed. To see me vibrate with petrification, put me in a queue for a rollercoaster'

When I was a teenager, I flew to London with a cold. Which was OK. Until I quickly boarded a second plane to Edinburgh and the swift changes in pressure caused my eardrums to swell to the point of deafness. Quoth the emergency room doctor hours after landing: "You'd probably be in less pain if your eardrum popped a little". Wonderful.

Sloane Crosley: 'I’ve had internet access at home for one month. No need to check your watches. This is 2010'

Referring to myself as "a bit of a Luddite", I realise, is like calling myself a bit of a drug addict. Or a bit of a warmonger. Or a bit of a Cher fan. You're either in or you're out. But it's hard to reconcile my newfound access to the internet. No need to check your watches. This is 2010. Yet, so long as I had a day job, I had no discernible need to access the internet from my home.

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