Almost everyone (including hipsters) derides Thought Catalog for being a den of hipster iniquity, but they do some really great stuff over there. So I don't care, I'll like it all the same. Check out this piece by Stephanie Georgopulos called "Who You Used To Be." And in lighter fare (maybe), Brad Pike's "Dumb Day." I think every day for the past month has been one for me.
In much more serious news, a crowd of prospective students trying to get into University of Johannesburg in South Africa trampled a student's mother to death and injured others. There were several thousand students and parents waiting outside the school to register for a few hundred final spots, and the crush at the gates had tragic results. The NYT coverage is here. This story just broke my heart and is so indicative of the difficult place in which South Africa is currently situated--politically, socially, and economically.
California is set to close seventy state parks in July of this year. What a huge shame. As always, environmental issues get short shrift in budget negotiations: environmentalists' hands are tied and must vote Democrat, and Republicans, generally, just don't give a shit. Furthermore, 20% of state rangers and all seasonal lifeguards will be laid off. It's clear that the California governmental system is broken. Outside Magazine has more information, including the video below. It's a trailer/short film for The First 70 by Heath Hen Films, which recently reached surpassed its goal on Kickstarter (awesome idea, BTW) of raising $35K to complete a film about the seventy parks and the effect of the closures on communities. The three-minute version below is awesome.
In breaking and important news, Beyoncé and Jay-Z's new baby, Blue Ivy Carter has, among other things, a $600,000 gold rocking horse. I know that gossip blogs are not bastions of journalistic integrity (though who is, anymore?) but D-Listed has the story (warning: D-Listed is not 100% safe for work or sensitive eyes. Never stopped me though). I am disgusted with everyone. Additionally, you can kill me with fire for (1) knowing the name of Jay-Z and Beyoncé's baby, (2) caring about any of this, and (3) forcing you, dear reader, to look at it.
Finally, via Belle, Japan-born and SF-based Toshio Hirano, who has a serious jones for some old-school folk-country-bluegrass Americana. I feel you, sir. And I'll look out for you next time at HSB. Below, he sings Hank Williams' "Hey Good Lookin'." Want more? Check out his incredible version of Jimmie Rodgers' "Peach-Pickin' Time in Georgia."