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January 11 2020
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Occupied


This Norwegian what-if political thriller posits that, after a Green government in Oslo decides to stop producing and selling oil, Russia invades Norway. That nightmare scenario has a special resonance for Norwegians, who were occupied by the Nazis in World War II under the collaborating Quisling regime. But Occupied also hits a nerve for any viewer alarmed by the looming showdown between energy needs and climate change. In Season Three—the final one—Russia has pulled back, but only because Norway has committed to re-starting its oil exports, even as radical environmentalists vow to stop it. It’s possible to begin with the third season, but why stint on the pleasure—albeit grim—of the entire series? (netflix.com)

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Unprecedented


As the cultural debate surrounding freedom of speech clatters on, this refreshing podcast cuts through the din by turning to the Supreme Court. The hosts of UnprecedentedMichael Vuolo, Matthew Schwartz, and NPR legend Nina Totenberg—focus on a single case in each episode and interview the free-speech devotees whose arguments set legal precedent, from a teenage boy who sued for the right to carry a BONG HITS 4 JESUS banner at school to a New Hampshirite seeking the right to keep quiet by taping over his state’s motto, “Live Free or Die,” on his license plate. (npr.org)

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Archival Folders


Mark Twain, who refused to clean up his office for photographs, said that a “clean desk is a sign of a cluttered desk drawer.” But Twain might have been tempted into tidying (and extolling the virtues of organization) had he seen these folders from Choosing Keeping. Made of heavy card stock and tied together with a cotton ribbon, these elegant filers are aesthetically suited for the home and the office—at the latter, they’ll show personality and professionalism—and, thanks to their flexible spine, are functionally suited for any number of projects. ($14, choosingkeeping.com)

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Bathhouse


Bathhouse, located a stone’s throw from Williamsburg’s Bedford Avenue, is a newly opened sauna, bath, and restaurant that, while the latest entry in the neighborhood’s canon of exposed-beam spots, is unusually excellent for both unwinding and dining. Housed in a former soda factory that once bottled Dr. Brown’s, the spa features vaulted ceilings, original brickwork, and a 100-foot-tall smokestack that serves as a private treatment room, while hot pools and saunas fill the subterranean spaces. Bathers venture upstairs in complimentary linen robes to reinvigorate mid-shvitz at the restaurant from Akiva Elstein—proprietor of downtown hot spots like Yves and Macao Trading Co.—which offers seasonal European cuisine, cocktails, and a sensational wine list for a spa or anywhere, for that matter. The confit duck leg, raw-bar platter, and chanterelle hunter’s stew are standout dishes, and are even better with a refreshing Austrian Pinot Gris. (abathhouse.com)

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Luxury Houseboat


The cinematic houseboat is typically a leaky vessel for la vie bohème—see 1958’s Houseboat, in which Cary Grant shares one with Sophia Loren, or Carlos Marques-Marcet’s Anchor and Hope for a contemporary and very British mobile abode. But outside of the movies, a life lived on the water may be a luxurious one. The Matrix Island—a converted French coal barge that is now docked at St. Katharine’s on the Thames—offers its residents 5,000 square feet of space, a Jet Ski platform, sauna, a “winter garden” that seats up to 20 guests, and a staircase from a Renault factory. This renovated, 130-foot-long steel barge lacks the river’s grit but maintains the cool factor that comes with living on the water’s edge. ($4,589,456; riverhomes.co.uk)

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