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January 4 2020
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Write

Sepia Ink


While electronic communications have nearly doomed the handwritten letter, Cornellissen’s very dark sepia-toned throwback to the era of quills highlights the beauty of pen and paper, conjuring romantic fantasies of scribbling by candlelight with a Jo March–ian fervor, and adds a winkingly anachronistic touch to thank-you notes. A traditional shellac-based ink with a translucent satin finish, it’s water-resistant and can be used with both brushes and dip pens, for illustrations and billets-doux alike. ($10, cornellissen.com)

Watch

Official Secrets and The Report


The smartest double feature you can program for yourself right now? Official Secrets and The Report. Both are based on true events surrounding the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, and both are masterpieces of suspense, showing that, sometimes, there is nothing as dangerous as being a reporter or researcher upholding an oath to defend the truth. In The Report, Adam Driver plays Daniel Jones, an investigator in the office of Senator Dianne Feinstein (played by Annette Bening, who has been nominated for a Golden Globe). Jones spent seven years writing the report that showed how the C.I.A. was allowed to create its torture program. In Official Secrets, Keira Knightley plays Katharine Gun, a member of British intelligence, who leaked a memo showing the U.S. was trying to blackmail diplomats in the U.N. to force them to vote for the war. Both films depict true events, as we said, but they also vibrate with that paranoid Alan J. Pakula feeling—can anyone be trusted? (Stream The Report, amazon.com; rent or buy Official Secrets, amazon.com)

Listen

Cocaine & Rhinestones


You don’t have to love country music to enjoy the podcast Cocaine & Rhinestones, but it helps. Tyler Mahan Coe’s obsessively researched and highly idiosyncratic podcast about the lives of artists, producers, and impresarios is generously threaded with songs by the likes of Ernest Tubb, Bobbie Gentry, Buck Owens, and just about everyone else who matters. Coe, the son of a well-known country singer-songwriter, David Allan Coe (“Take This Job and Shove It”), is intent on busting myths, looking behind legends, and giving credit where it is long overdue. And Coe brings loving scrutiny and custodial care to a genre too many people take for granted. (cocaineandrhinestones.com)

Ride

Luxury E-Scooter


British company D-Fly has engineered an e-scooter slick enough for the Hong Kong stuntmen of Red Trousers. Weighing less than 32 pounds, it can go up to 38 m.p.h., a speed that, unless you’re a secret agent making a getaway, we won’t recommend—it’s illegal to scoot that speedily on most U.S. streets. (Do, however, try out the top speed on a quiet country road.) Its batteries last for 28 miles, and the e-scooter comes with a 4.5-inch flat-screen to route you through your journey. Off-road wheels and color combinations such as “stealthy black” and “oxide lime” are among the Dragonfly’s customizable options. Pre-order now to receive a matching helmet—you’ll need it for this zippy, futuristic three- or four-wheeler. (Starting at $5,000; d-fly.com)

Eat

Madrid


When Colu Henry—regular New York Times Cooking contributor and the author of one of our go-to cookbooks, Back Pocket Pasta (as well as the forthcoming Please Bring Dessert)—visits Madrid, she is sure to make a stop at El Cisne Azul, a “truly charming hole-in-the-wall that is known for its incredible variety of seasonal mushrooms, prepared à la plancha.” Henry’s favorite: “Well-browned mushrooms that have been topped with a fried egg and drizzled with oil and flaky salt. So simple, but incredibly good.” (Calle de Gravina 19; +34-915-213-799; elcisneazul.com)

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