Spared From the Shredder (for Now): ‘Priceless’ Bank Records of Old New York

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A roaring omnivore of a shredding truck was parked Monday morning on Fulton Street in Brooklyn, chewing through centuries’ worth of paper.

It was poised to make a meal of a rare, powerful trove of the history of working-class New York: the archives of the Bowery Savings Bank, which was founded in 1834 for the benefit of its depositors.

The papers were among the materials being cleaned out of the basement of a Capital One branch in Brooklyn that is closing next month.

At what seemed to have been the last minute, the records were given a stay of destruction, apparently when archivists and others began appealing to Capital One.

“We are going through a normal review process and will make appropriate decisions,” Sie Soheili, a spokesman for Capital One, said.

Disputing that archival bank material had been lost, he characterized the papers disposed of so far as “old newspapers and trash.”

But workers handling them said that, to their amazement, they saw documents dated from 1904 and into the 1940s — long before Capital One existed — headed into the shredder. By midmorning, workers said, they were told to divert pre-1930 records from the stream bound for the truck.

The fate of the historical materials is “to be determined,” Mr. Soheili said.

An organization of archivists in New York City is keen to make sure that the trove is not destroyed. “It would be priceless,” said Marion Casey, an associate professor at New York University’s Glucksman Ireland House.

The records of 19th-century savings banks have hardly ever been preserved, but those that survive — including a cache from the Emigrant Savings Bank, held at the New York Public Library — have opened new windows onto the long-vanished lives of ordinary people, Professor Casey said.

The library’s curator of manuscripts and archives, Thomas Lannon, sent word to Capital One on Tuesday that he would like to inspect the Bowery materials.

Their pages show what kind of work men and women did, where they lived, how much money they saved or borrowed, the names of their parents, spouses and places of birth. Such archives make social archaeology possible.

The Bowery bank, which did not pay its officers or trustees for decades and grew to be among the largest savings banks in the United States, no longer exists. Since the mid-1980s, it has been bought, sold, merged and acquired in a dizzying line of transactions.

The historical records moved from the Bowery’s landmark headquarters at 130 Bowery — now the home of Capitale, an event space — to an office park in Lake Success on Long Island. Around 2004, when that space was being emptied out and the archive was at risk of abandonment, it was moved to the basement on Fulton Street at the urging of the branch manager at the time, Joseph Kopitz. “I had so much space there,” Mr. Kopitz said.

Mr. Kopitz, who lives in the neighborhood, said he recently became concerned about the archive again when he saw a notice that the Capital One branch was closing.

Few people know the heft of history in those boxes better than Barbara Haws, who served as the bank’s first archivist ahead of its 150th anniversary in 1984.

“It was amazingly continuous — every single depositor from the time when it opened its doors,” Ms. Haws said. “Big ledgers. It appealed to immigrants and people without a lot of money.”

The ledgers were the hard drives of the 19th century — terabyte-sized. “At this stage, I couldn’t be their archivist because I couldn’t lift them,” Ms. Haws said. “They’re about three to four feet tall, two feet wide. The bindings were about four inches thick and covered in a canvas material.”

Inside them, she said, is a roll call of Bowery depositors who arrived on the Lower East Side of Manhattan throughout the 19th century: Irish, Italians, Chinese, Eastern Europeans, among others. “Every single immigrant group was represented in that bank,” Ms. Haws said. She did not recall if the records included the race of the depositors.

Professor Casey said archivists in the city were willing to help the bank in its initial rough-sorting of the boxes in its basement.

After that, a number of the city’s major research institutions have agreed to move and temporarily store the material until a repository is found.

“A bunch of us will cobble the costs together of moving it to an interim place, and then we will triage it — ‘yes to this, no to that,’” Professor Casey said.

Ms. Haws said the records would be a robust resource for people doing genealogical research. Perhaps, she said, a commercial ancestry company would pay for them to be digitized.

“Everyone is strapped for space,” she said. “They would dovetail with the census and any city records. It would build out another layer of information about New Yorkers.”

Professor Casey said her students studying the archives of the Emigrant bank, for example, have found a group of farmers who held accounts there. “Of course, people in cities have to eat,” she said.

Mr. Kopitz said the bank could perform a profound public service by allowing others to keep them safe. “They could be heroes,” he said.

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Trump Retreats on Health Care, Saying Republican Plan Will Appear Only After the 2020 Election

Some of the president’s senior advisers pushed him to join the lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the entire current health care law, a more expansive position than the administration had taken previously, when it argued that protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be struck down.

But others raised concerns, including the White House counsel, Pat Cipollone. Mr. Cipollone said that Attorney General William P. Barr had issues with joining the suit, too. But once the president made clear his mind was made up, the Justice Department went along without complaint, people familiar with the events said.

Among those objecting was Senator Susan Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine who sent a letter to Mr. Barr expressing her “profound disagreement” with the move.

“Rather than seeking to have the courts invalidate the A.C.A.,” she wrote, referring to the Affordable Care Act, “the proper route for the administration to pursue would be to propose changes to the A.C.A. or to once again seek its repeal. The administration should not attempt to use the courts to bypass Congress.”

Mr. McConnell sought to calm Republican nerves, saying “there’s no point in pushing the panic button” because the court system would take a long time to resolve the dispute.

“I don’t think any of these policies are in any immediate danger,” he said.

Mr. Trump has basically commissioned four Republican senators to devise a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. The group consists of two doctors, John Barrasso of Wyoming and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, as well as Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a close ally of the president, and Senator Rick Scott of Florida, who was the chief executive of a large for-profit hospital firm before he entered politics.

Mr. Scott said on Tuesday that he was focused on bringing down health costs, especially prescription drug prices. “Obamacare has made health care way more expensive,” he said. “Co-payments are up. Deductibles are up. Premiums have skyrocketed.”

When asked about developing a wholesale replacement for the Affordable Care Act, Mr. Scott responded, “I’m a business guy,” adding, “I didn’t try to do grand bargains.”

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Already a Pro Talent, Clemson Superstar Justyn Ross Willing to Wait for Payday

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07:  Justyn Ross #8 of the Clemson Tigers reacts to his teams 44-16 win over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

B/R

He’s the perfect candidate. The player who could make the move and take the money and begin a paradigm shift that would change the way college football does business.

“That’s crazy to even think about,” says Clemson receiver Justyn Ross.

But for this star freshman—a player too young for the NFL, too good for college football and too aware of what can happen in this world to rely on opportunity—this couldn’t be more real.

The XFL will begin its reincarnation next spring with more integrity and less theatrics—and $500 million in the bank. The league says it will draw its talent pool from college football and even sign players straight out of high school.

That’s where Ross and other NCAA underclassmen, who aren’t available to the NFL because of its longstanding draft rule, come into the picture.

To be eligible for the NFL draft, a player must be three years removed from his graduating high school class, and currently most of those who can’t apply for early entry are trudging through wasted earning years. But for how long? Those players can now sign with the XFL and make more money in one spring than the value of a five-year college scholarship—and still eventually get drafted by the NFL.

XFL Commissioner Oliver Luck sent a letter last year to agents informing them the XFL could pay as much as $200,000 a year for elite players.

“The XFL isn’t paying that premium salary for NFL castoffs or guys that have been cut,” one agent tells Bleacher Report. “They’re aiming directly at college football players.”

Players like Ross.

Ross arrived at Clemson as the nation’s hottest wide receiver recruit. His speed and his 6’4″, 205-pound frame made him a critical recruit for both Alabama and Auburn, but neither could keep him at home. And then after a slow start at Clemson, his impact was staggering. 

It was more than just being a deep threat for star quarterback Trevor Lawrence. His big-play skill after the catch and ability to high-point 50-50 balls already have him among the elite at the position. At 19 years old.

“He can be as good as he wants to be,” says Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott. “As good as anyone we’ve had.”

Think about that: Sammy Watkins, Mike Williams, DeAndre Hopkins. All first-round NFL picks. And no one from that group was close to Ross’ bloated 21.7 yards per catch last season—a number that was nine yards per catch better than Hopkins’ freshman season, seven better than Watkins’ and six better than Williams’.

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07:  Justyn Ross #8 and Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers react against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo

Harry How/Getty Images

One NFL scout told Bleacher Report that Ross was “one of the two best players on the field” in January’s College Football Playoff National Championship Game, in which he had six catches for 153 yards and a touchdown (after having six catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns in the semifinal). As a freshman. Lawrence, a future first overall pick, was the only better pro prospect.

So what’s left to accomplish?

Thus the XFL question.


The question is posed, and Ross reveals what many in college and pro football already believe. “There are guys right now in college football that would take that money and run,” he says.

Asked if he’d be tempted, Ross says: “Yes and no. Because if you automatically go to a league out of high school, eventually you can get your college education. But at least being on that scholarship for one year, it will give you the idea of how important it is and why you should come back and get your education.

“I’d probably…”

He stops here because, well, the money is tempting, and the idea of playing and not getting paid isn’t too appealing. And because…

“Wait,” he says. “My mom wouldn’t let me do that, anyway. … She’d kill me!”

“He’s right about that,” Charay Franklin says with a laugh.

Franklin didn’t go through all she did for her son to be tempted by short-term gain and ignore long-term value. Pregnant at 15, she had Justyn at 16 and two years later—after graduating high school in Phenix City, Alabama—joined the Navy to give him a better life.

Weeks after completing basic training, 9/11 happened, and the world changed for everyone—including a two-and-a-half-year-old toddler whose mother began the first of four 18-month deployments over the next 15 years that would shape who and what he is and has become.

Franklin didn’t go through all of that, didn’t miss years of her son’s life and birthdays and football and basketball games and his recruitment, to do anything other than stick to the plan: graduate in three years from Clemson and then go to the NFL.

If the XFL plan were in place a year ago, though, the decision might have been a lot tougher. Two games into his freshman year, Ross was ready for a change of scenery.

He wasn’t playing, he didn’t feel wanted, and he wanted out. Then again, other players in similar situations won’t have Charay Franklin on the other end of a 2 a.m. come-to-Jesus phone call.

“He wanted to come home. He told me, ‘Mom, I can go to Chattahoochee Valley Community College and they’ll give me a basketball scholarship,’” Franklin says. “I told him you’re not going anywhere. You’re going to stick it out and work hard and when your time comes, you’re going to show everyone what you’re all about.”


At that point, it wasn’t up for debate. Franklin said stay, and her son did.

“He has a strong mom, a great mom,” says Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, who lived much of his childhood and young adult life with a strong single mother who shaped his life.

When you’re a single mother and your life is consumed by making your son’s life better, you’re not taking no for an answer. And this wasn’t the first time for Franklin.

When she was in Kuwait for her last deployment during Ross’ junior year, she figured out a way to watch his high school football games. Her deployments when Ross was two and six were harder because it was the early age of internet communications, and if communications were down, she’d go weeks without emails to and from her son and her mother Annette, who was with him.

But this was different. There was a time change, and she’d have to forgo sleep for football. So she stood outside the barracks at 3 a.m. and had her friends show his games on Facebook Live.

She eventually missed much of her son’s hotly contested recruitment between Alabama, Auburn and Clemson, but her parameters for his decision were simple: The school has to be within a six-hour-drive radius of Phenix City. And the three-year college plan.

The terms were non-negotiable.

So when his career at Clemson started out slowly and he wanted to leave, it’s not really surprising that coming home to Phenix City wasn’t an option. Why in the world would the idea of cashing in on his athletic ability with a new football league before graduating from Clemson be any different?

But understand this: These scenarios of diminished playing time and leaving school unfold all over the country at every FBS school. Elite recruits don’t play early, and then they transfer.

And without his mother’s guidance, Ross might have bolted—like so many do.

Listen to Ross talk about his first two weeks during the 2018 season, and insert any elite recruit at any major college football program—and understand the idea of the XFL poaching those players from the college talent pool isn’t as far-fetched as it seems.

“I was losing confidence at first. I wasn’t playing as much as I wanted to,” Ross says. “I asked my mom, ‘Did they really want me like they said they wanted me? Or were they selling me a dream?’ I wasn’t trusting the process. I was ready to play, but I realized I had a lot more learning to do before they could put me out there to play on this type of stage.”

He’s asked, “So can you see how other players, who may not have the support system you do, could be tempted by the XFL?”

“If [the XFL] is offering that kind of money, that’s hard for an 18- or 19-year-old to turn down,” Ross says. “If you really need that money, oh yeah, go do that. Something could happen. You can get hurt. Anything can happen. You have to take care of yourself because it can be over just like that.”

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 07:  Justyn Ross #8 of the Clemson Tigers makes a catch against Josh Jobe #28 of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the third quarter in the CFP National Championship presented by AT&T at Levi's Stadium on January 7, 2019 in Santa C

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

That, more than anything, is the elephant in the room for college football. The sport gives athletes an average of $5,000 per year in full cost-of-attendance stipends, a pittance in comparison to the billions in combined annual revenue of the Power Five conferences.

The NCAA, too, is holding out on allowing student-athletes to market their name, image and likeness (the case is working its way through courts).

“It all depends on the viability of the XFL,” one Power Five coach tells Bleacher Report. “All it takes is a couple of big-name guys to take that money, and others will follow. Once that happens, how does the NCAA respond? Do we continue to allow talented young players to leave, or do we up the ante with stipends or allow them to market themselves or both?”


There is no one and nothing more important in Ross’ life than his mother. Not football, not some plan that prioritizes earning money over earning a degree.

“She is my inspiration,” he says. “What she went through for me, what she has done for me in my life, I just can’t even explain how important she is.”

He’s asked, “Do you remember when you were 15 and 16 and what you were doing?”

“Yeah, I was playing basketball and football and doing kid things. Didn’t have to care about anything,” he responds.

He’s told, “Now imagine her being that age and being pregnant.”

“I’ve never really thought about it like that,” he says. “She changed her life for me. If she decides to do something different…man, I’m not here.”

If she didn’t step in last fall, Ross wouldn’t be where he is now, either. Those 1,000 yards receiving and nine touchdowns and an unthinkable 21.7 yards per catch wouldn’t have been part of Clemson’s run to its second national title in three seasons.

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 07: Justyn Ross #8 of the Clemson Tigers catches a pass against Josh Jobe #28 of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the third quarter in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Levi's Stadium on January 07, 201

Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

In fact, Clemson’s national title likely wouldn’t have even happened, and Lawrence’s rapid development might have taken another season. Ross would have been more concerned with mid-range jump shots at Chattahoochee Junior College.

“He has just begun reaching his potential,” Lawrence says of Ross. “A guy his size and his speed. Some of the things he does on the field athletically just make you shake your head.”

Ross arrived at Clemson last summer and went through his first fall camp while trying to break into a deep wide receiver corps. In the first week of practice, former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant threw a fade to Ross, who leaped over two defenders, twisted his body and made a highlight catch.

“We knew what we had,” Elliott says. “But when you see that stuff from a freshman in the first couple of practices, yeah, that gets you excited.”

Four months later, Ross had his best game of the season in the biggest game of the season.

And by the end of the 2019 season, he’ll be at the top of the list for the XFL.

Not that it matters.

“I think you just have to be patient,” Ross says. “Just have more sense of your life after football. You can go to [the XFL] and do the numbers. You can get your endorsements and your money that you can fall back on after your career, but that’s not happening for everyone. You’re going to need something else to fall back on.

“Besides, my mom isn’t going to let me leave college without my degree.”

There’s no debate about that.

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What to Watch on Wednesday: Good Trouble‘s season finale, and turn it up to 11 for The Goldbergs

We know TV has a lot to offer, be it network, cable, premium channels, or streaming platforms including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Apple, Facebook Watch, and elsewhere. So EW is here to help, guiding you every single day to the things that should be on your radar. Check out our recommendations below, and click here to learn how you can stream our picks via your own voice-controlled smart-speaker (Alexa, Google Home) or podcast app (Spotify, iTunes, Google Play).

The Goldbergs

HOW/WHEN & WHERE TO WATCH: 8 p.m. on ABC

This ABC comedy is turning it up to 11, saluting Rob Reiner’s 1984 cult classic mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap. Ever the filmmaker, Adam shoots his first rockumentary when sister Erica’s band books a gig at a charity event. And they get a new member in the form of brother Barry, who wants in on the fun!

Related content: 

Good Trouble

HOW/WHEN & WHERE TO WATCH: 8 p.m. on Freeform

Need something to binge? This Fosters spin-off has lived up to its title in its first season, following sisters Callie (Maia Mitchell) and Mariana (Cierra Ramirez) as they deal with all things “adulting.” In the season 1 finale, Ramirez teases “breakthroughs, heartbreaks, and a lot of moments you didn’t see coming,” while Mitchell says Callie will be grappling “with a certain two gentlemen” and some major work drama. To catch up (episodes are available on freeform.go.com), the premiere is “a must,” they say, and episode 5 is “definitely one to watch,” thanks to a visit from “the mamas whom we love.” (We’ll throw in episode 8 for a certain shirtless Noah Centineo.) —Gerrad Hall

Related content:

What ELSE to Watch

10 p.m.
Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party (3rd season premiere) — VH1
You’re the Worst (series finale) — FXX

*times are ET and subject to change

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Real Housewives of Beverly Hills recap: Kyle and Lisa say goodbye to their friendship

If Lisa Vanderpump is a liar, she’s a good one. Because the thing this climactic episode makes clear about the Lucy Feud is that where Lisa’s story has been wholly consistent — “I did nothing wrong!” — the story against her has been sliding around more than Erika in 6-inch heels on the lubed up floor of a club basement.

First, Teddi pulled a patented Taylor-Swift-surprise face at the reveal that LVP might have been trying to play her by feeding negative stories to her about Dorit, and subsequently confronted Lisa about trying to set her up, telling Dorit that she never had intentions of gossiping about her. Then once she was exposed, Teddi admitted that she did have intentions of gossiping about Dorit, but she changed her mind when she realized in the middle of the set up that LVP was going to try to keep her hands clean. Teddi later insisted that she was involved, but it was Lisa who plotted with her employees to tell the story about Dorit on camera…then Lisa’s employees handed over text messages where Teddi explicitly plots to get the story about Dorit on camera.

Now, Dorit sobs that perception is reality in regards to a (true) story about her adopted dog ending up in a kill shelter getting published, she thinks, via Lisa Vanderpump. But when Lisa Vanderpump openly puts her name on a press story defending Dorit, that is not a “perception is reality” situation; that is Lisa trying to look like the hero. And finally, Kyle needs to tell her BFF Lisa that she just wants her to understand that it looks like she planted the story about Dorit. But when Lisa—a woman who has recently lost a family member—swears on her child’s life that she didn’t plant the story, Kyle is like…okay but it still really seems like you did! Don’t be mad that I’m calling you a remorseless liar! I’m just being HONEST! (Honest that I think you’re a liar.)

The worst part of all this though is not the broken friendship, nor the hundreds of charity bike rides lost; it’s not even Ken’s heaving exposed cleavage—it is, of course, that the further this narrative goes, the more it victimizes Dorit for…almost getting a dog killed.

Never forget that this all started with Dorit treating adopted dogs like grabbing a shirt on the way to the TJ Maxx check out line and being like, I can always take it back if it doesn’t fit (but then, like, putting the shirt in a dumpster and still expecting TJ Maxx to give you your money back). But after the knock-out, drag-down fight that went round-and-round Lisa’s (not renovated) kitchen, surely we’re all thinking: how could it possibly end?

Kyle seems to be under the impression that she and Lisa could still salvage their friendship after she accused her of lying about basically everything she’s said and done for the last two months. Whether Kyle is right or wrong about that, they couldn’t—and shouldn’t­—possibly be friends anymore now that it’s been said. What in the world is Kyle Richards thinking…

And yes, that is a play on “where in the world is Carmen Sandiego” because of Kyle’s dumb red hat. Ever since that thing showed up in the premiere, I knew it was a harbinger of death. Indeed, I am at my wit’s end with figuring out how a story about Dorit almost getting a puppy killed turned into Kyle’s quest to stand up for what is RIGHT and JUST.

But I do know that I am about to have to talk very seriously about SoulCycle which will take a year off of my life, so let’s get to dying, folks:

This is one of those episodes where we’re just waiting around for the end, which includes watching Harry Hamlin pick out freeze-dried meals for a camping trip, but mostly it’s talking about dogs and lies until it’s time to scream about dogs and lies. Months ago, Teddi and Vanderpump Dogs planned a charity SoulCycle ride, and even though they hate each other’s guts now, they’re still going to do it…for the dogs. I assumed this meant Teddi would teach the class, but I guess it just means that her company plans it, and she stands there ticking down the minutes to see if Lisa Vanderpump is going to show…

Spoiler alert: she is not. Lisa is busy preparing one of Vanderpump Dogs puppies for the Puppy Bowl (a thing we do not spend enough time on at all), and on the day of the charity ride, she is throwing a party in celebration of Congressman Alcee Hastings bringing the resolution to ban the trade of dog meat all over the world to Congress. Resolution 401 does indeed pass, and it is a truly joyous moment….

But we’re not here to tell happy stories about dogs. We’re here to watch Dorit cry about people finding out that she named a dog Lucy Lucy Apple Juice and then sent her down the Jordan River in a wicker basket. As we know from the end of last week’s one-act-play of a final scene (what’s that I hear—a text message from my good friend, Radar Online?!), a story that Dorit claims is highly exaggerated appeared in Radar Online about her adopted dog ending up in a kill shelter. From the language used in the article, and the way it speaks so highly of Vanderpump Dogs, Dorit is sure that the story came directly from Lisa.

And it seems that the other women are too (except Denise Richards who seems to be perpetually waiting for a bread basket to come and save her). They all do a truly impressive quick change after the charity ride and head out to lunch where they demand that Kyle admit Lisa has sold stories to the press in the past. Erika calls it “indefensible behavior” to which I imagine the RHONY women would say: Watch me. Denise tries to assure Dorit that there have been awful headlines about her for years, but the truth will always reveal itself. See, Dorit? All you have to do to refute untrue rumors is go on a reality show and reveal that you are actually an incredibly charming and genuine person. Oh. Wait…

Dorit begins sobbing that she lies awake thinking that someone is going to hurt her children, which listen, I would never hold worrying about your children against anyone, but the level of worry in comparison to what’s been said about her seems…like a lot, no? When Dorit says that the threatening comments from animal lovers have already been rolling in, the editors flash up a sample which includes things like, “Would you get rid of your kids if they misbehaved?”

These editors are monsters. I love them.

Finally, we see Kyle in The Hat. She’s on her way to a friend’s house, and when Teddi arrives to pick up a dress from her because she lives nearby, they talk about the Lisa drama in front of the friend’s young daughter, which always makes me nervous. No child should believe that this is how most adult women live their lives. For us normals, it’s mostly just the occasional passive-aggressive text and returning shirts to TJ Maxx (okay, Marshalls if you just know).

Anyway, they say that moments after they left that lunch where the Radar Online article was the main topic of conversation, Lisa went on TMZ defending Dorit.

And they…don’t…like this? Apparently, it makes no sense because Lisa hasn’t even called Dorit since the Radar Online story came out, so her speaking positively about Dorit in the press is just more proof that she spoke negatively about Dorit in the press.

And that’s the thing that makes it hard to get behind this narrative that the majority of the Beverly Hills women are weaving about LVP being a master manipulator and liar. Even if it’s true, they seem so desperate to make it be true, that it makes it seem…less true than it probably is in reality (my guess is somewhere between 50 and 65 percent true, but my perception from their argument is like…10 percent true, and 100 percent Dorit took an acting class last fall). And then there’s the fact that Lisa has never once budged in saying that she’s telling the truth. If she’s lying, she’s lying boldly and I can almost…respect that?

I can’t respect, however, coming into another woman’s pink home wearing a clashing red hat and telling that woman that you’re her friend, and you love her, but no matter what she says, you also think she is a liar.

I just…cannot figure out how Kyle thought this conversation was going to go? And it’s so much worse because LVP is sunshine incarnate when Kyle arrives, still riding high from the success of her resolution. But Kyle has come there with a mission — she’s decided she must “defend what’s right.” But to do that, she’s not going to tell Lisa that she’s worried she may be subconsciously trying to hurt others because she’s also in pain right now, or anything constructive like that. No, she tells Lisa that everyone thinks she planted the story at Radar Online, and as her friend, she wants to say that’s not true, but she can’t.

Ken must’ve pulled himself into the kitchen in a dummy waiter or something because suddenly he’s there saying, “You should’ve done!” Kyle fusses back, “But I don’t feel like that, Ken!” Lisa asks for some clarity: “You think I’m going to give a story to Radar Online, and then I’m going to go to TMZ and refute a story I’ve given to radar online?” Correct! You know that saying, “You have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyoncé?” Well, the other Housewives think the same about Lisa Vanderpump.

Kyle confirms that yes, that is what everybody thinks, and then everyone is just yelling over each other. That’s pretty typical. What’s atypical for a Beverly Hills fight, is how physical they’re being. No, there are no left hooks thrown (though Ken’s fingers are flying around like little sausages), but Lisa and Kyle are throwing their bodies toward and away from each other, darting around the kitchen like they can’t figure out if they want to get away or hunker down.

Kyle tries to reiterate that she’s there telling Lisa that everyone thinks she’s a liar as her friend, and Ken screams, “YOU’RE NOT HER FRIEND!” Lisa asks Kyle if she thinks she would really give a story to Radar Online about Dorit and Kyle response, “It’s so blatant.” At least Kyle has finally said what she really thinks…

And Lisa has heard it loud and clear: “Wow, okay, this is a big shock to me. This changes everything.” Kyle tries to say that if she did something wrong, Lisa would still love her and Lisa yells back, “I am not going to say yes I did something if I didn’t do it!” She swears to Kyle on Pandora’s life, on Giggy’s life that she, nor anyone she knows, gave the story to Radar. And Kyle’s response to that declaration? “Maybe you care more about your image than your friendships.”

With that, Lisa’s done — “Okay, bye Kyle, show yourself out, darling” — but Ken, who has disappeared into one of his hidey holes, is subbing in, and now he’s got PROPS. He shoves a laptop in Kyle’s face and demand to know if she’s watched the TMZ video of Lisa defending Dorit. She has. “You’re not her friend, you cannot be her friend when you say something like that! She would never say that about you,” he yells, and things have just gotten totally out of hand. Lisa comes back in to remove Ken and ends up circling with Kyle once more.

“I didn’t come here to fight,” Kyle says. “I came here to tell you this is the overall consensus, to tell you I’m having a hard time defending you.” The music drops out: “You came here to tell me I’m a liar,” Lisa spits back. Finally, Ken grabs Lisa and they head upstairs and we hear the now infamous, “GOODBYE KYLE.” I don’t know what it all means, and I’m very tired, but I do know this: there’s no way everyone makes it out of this alive. Who do you think we’ll really be saying goodbye to in the end?

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NCIS recap: Torres tangles with a Mona Lisa

Wow, did those diamond smugglers pick the wrong NCIS agent to drug and kidnap.

At first, everybody’s surprised that Torres is standing them up that morning, but as McGee says, “It’s Torres. I’m sure he’s got a story.”

Still, it’s odd that he wouldn’t pick up the phone for Gibbs, or for any of Bishop’s thirteen calls. (She claims it’s because she wanted his help with paperwork. Sure, girl. “Paperwork.”) When they ping his phone, it shows him at a Virginia Beach marina, three hours away.

Cut to the marina in question, where Torres wakes up on a boat, shirtless, disoriented, and nursing a pounding headache. And who’s the first person he bumps into?

Yep. Gibbs is there to get to the bottom of things. Torres remembers going to his gym and then…nothing. He swears he didn’t have any alcohol, and his wallet’s intact, his motorcycle isn’t at the marina, and his discarded shirt’s spattered with blood. Gibbs suggests that he was drugged and orders him to hydrate because Gibbs is the best.

In-house doctor Palmer looks Torres over, diagnoses him as having “striking eyes,” and orders him not to leave the building. Torres ignores him and shrugs on a plaid button-up shirt from McGee’s go-bag. That’s how off his game he is, friends.

Torres’ trainer didn’t show up for his session the night before, so Gibbs and Bishop head to the gym to talk to him. He knows all about them both and says Bishop’s “been coming along lately,” according to Torres. He said it was weird that Torres didn’t wait for him when he got there an hour late because “it’s not like him to skip bis and tris day.” Oh, we saw.

When Gibbs and Bishop head to the parking garage, they find Torres, who seems…lost. He’s looking for Betty, his motorcycle, and is horrified to find her on her side behind a dumpster. That’s actually not the worst news, though: Underneath that, covered in cardboard, is the body of a young woman.

Her name is Jessica Ho, who was at the gym on a day pass and was killed with a gunshot wound to the neck. Torres offers to take the bullet to Kasie, prompting my lawyer husband to shout, “NO!” Thankfully, everybody else in the room was also thinking about chain of custody, and it’s handed to Bishop instead.

In the lab, Kasie reports that somebody slipped a roofie into Torres’s protein shake, and here’s where I start to see red: Torres calls himself stupid for getting roofied, and Bishop agrees that he’s not an easy target.

HEY THERE, GATHER ‘ROUND, BOYS AND GIRLS: Do you know who’s to blame when a person gets roofied? The person who did the roofie-ing. That’s it. Full stop. Sure, be aware of your drink and choose a closed container and all of that. But you. Are not. To blame. If somebody. Drugs you. Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

Speaking of the drug cocktail, Palmer notices something strange and heads to Ducky’s new office to discuss it. And wow, did Ducky do some excellent work in kitting up his new space! He’s got big, interesting art and a treadmill desk and a VR set up. Also, he agrees with Palmer that it’s odd that Torres’ pupils were constricted when the drugs in his system should’ve led to dilation. Remember this. It’s important later.

Another piece of the puzzle is the boat that Torres woke up on. It’s been abandoned at the marina for months and is registered to three different owners. Sam Hendrix, commander of the Coast Guard and owner of an actual pet shark in a huge tank, video-calls in to explain that it’s a ghost ship, one of the workaday vessels that meet speedboats a few miles offshore and carry smuggled goods to land in plain sight.

Unfortunately for Torres, the team’s recovered parking garage security footage showing him walking out of the gym with Jessica, and forensics matches her blood to his shirt. Bishop immediately asks if there’s any chance he could’ve, you know, murdered her while he was drugged. NO, BISHOP. BAD, BISHOP. HOW DARE YOU, BISHOP. (Don’t worry. I’ll circle back to this, too.)

They get some movement on the case when Gibbs holds open Jessica’s eye (hork!) for Kasie to unlock her phone, and in it, they discover the only calls are to Torres’s trainer, Jordan. In interrogation, Torres shows Jordan a photo of Jessica’s body, and Jordan yells, “You know my whole thing with night terrors!” Ha!

Jordan explains that Jessica cold-called him with an offer of $10,000 to be late to his training session with Torres, and he took it. Yeah, uh, time for a new trainer, Nick. As the pieces start to come together, Torres refers to Jessica as a Mona Lisa—not the painting, but the woman in the Lil Wayne/Kendrick Lamar song who lures men into dangerous situations. Of course, that Mona Lisa didn’t end up dead.

The case finally comes together when they trace Jordan’s payment to Brueger Marine Lines out of Belgium, and Kasie announces that a broken blade on the abandoned ship is the kind used to cut diamonds.

Torres recalls that when he was undercover, he worked with the Coast Guard to recover $12 million of smuggled diamonds on container ships leased by Brueger. This means it’s time to visit Hendrix and his shark in person! He warns Torres not to knock on the shark tank glass, and as an aside mentions that she recently ate the male shark in the tank with her. “Beware the female shark” is advice everybody should’ve heeded this week, tbh.

Hendrix lets them review the evidence on the Brueger case, which is kept in a room secured with an iris scanner. When Hendrix’s assistant Nena Easterling opens the box containing the diamonds, she’s shocked to find it empty. And when they look at which of the four people with access to the room had been inside since the diamonds were last inventoried, the answer is one person: Torres.

Once he’s back at NCIS, Torres rips apart his desk drawers in case the diamonds are there. But Gibbs tells him flatly that he’s not a thief or a killer. And Palmer and Ducky come through with the final answer: Torres was given a drug that optometrists use to constrict pupils. This allowed the kidnappers to take a high-res photo of his iris to make a contact lens that would let them access the evidence room.

And who would give them directions once they were inside the Coast Guard facility? That would be civilian employee Easterling, who smugly suggests they search for the diamonds in her apartment and her car and everything she owns.

But Gibbs knows exactly where she stashed the goods: in her boss’s shark tank, where they just looked like clear little rocks.

Didn’t I see that in a movie once?” Bishop asks once they’re back at HQ, but Torres is in no mood to joke. She invites him to grab dinner, and he asks, “You sure you want to break bread with a killer?”

And then GET THIS: Bishop tries to joke her way out of it: “You accuse your buddy of being a killer one time…” She offers to apologize, but all Torres wanted from her was faith. She argues that he looked guilty as hell, and he would’ve asked the same questions of her.

“No. I wouldn’t,” he tells her. When she asks one more time if he’s okay, he says, “I guess I’ll find out,” and walks away with Sloane, hopefully to sort through all the troubling things that happened to him this week.

I would now like to speak directly to Eleanor Bishop: You, madam, did a terrible thing tonight. While the rest of your team offered Nick Torres their unwavering trust and support during one of the worst, most confusing days of his life, you straight-up asked him to his face if he was a murderer, and then you acted all surprised that your words wounded him.

It would’ve been bad enough coming from any of his fellow agents, but they came from you, who are either blindingly unaware or purposely ignoring the fact that he seems to have strong feelings for you.

This can and should throw the brakes on every facet of their relationship until (or if?) they can work through this. For now, consider the Ellick ship grounded—and just when she was “coming along,” whatever that means.

Now, to this week’s other storyline. Remember CIA agent Westley Clark and his fellow spy Mallory, who were running surveillance on Vance after his captivity at the hands of terrorist Hakim? They’re back. Mallory’s been getting verrrrry cozy with Vance, enough that she’s staying the night with him and swapping out his laptop.

Vance, meanwhile, has bought her a impressive ruby necklace. But before you go feeling bad for Vance, remember who we’re dealing with. He and Gibbs burst in on the Clark/Mallory meeting with the news that the necklace was a listening device. “Never spy on a spy,” Vance says.

Mallory excuses herself from the room (and her sham relationship with Vance), and Clark explains that it’s SOP for the CIA to monitor assets who’ve been held hostage to make sure they haven’t been turned into double agents.

He learned that this wasn’t the case with Vance in the first two months. Then he spent the next four months verifying that Vance and his team are the most trustworthy people in D.C. because Clark needs their help.

You see, U.S. Secretary of Defense Wynn Crawford is sitting on a secret off-shore slush fund with a quarter of a billion dollars in it, and no federal agencies want to get involved, given the political climate these days. “I think it’s time to run into that burning building,” Clark says. “Want to come with?

Stray shots

  • It looks like we have new slush-fund intrigue to take us to the end of the season. Gibbs is coming for you, Mitch Pileggi!
  • Speaking of season-long intrigue, Gibbs gives Bishop the go-ahead to clean out Ziva’s belongings from her private office. I HOPE SHE THINKS ABOUT BEING A BETTER FRIEND TO TORRES THE WHOLE TIME SHE’S WORKING.
  • So, uh, does the CIA employ honeypots? Because that was quite a thorough con Mallory ran on Vance.
  • A quick note about a simple line of dialogue that spoke volumes: “I’ve been doing much better with that,” Torres says when Gibbs questions his claim that he wasn’t drinking. That exchange holds a world of unspoken backstory about Torres’s alcohol habits and Gibbs’s concern for him, and it’s all conveyed in one quick, quiet moment. Well played, NCIS.
  • In conclusion, could somebody please give Torres a hug? And a cuter shirt?

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It’s Possible Leggings Are the Future. Deal With It.

When did leggings make the leap from garment to cultural lightning rod? For what are essentially stretchy footless tights in a seemingly endless array of patterns and colors, they have been an unexpected source of controversy.

The latest uproar came last week, when Maryann White, the mother of four sons, wrote a letter to the The Observer, the school newspaper for both the University of Notre Dame and the nearby women’s college St. Mary’s, asking female students to ignore fashion and stop wearing leggings. It was for their own as well as the greater good, she suggested, in part because leggings made it hard for men to control themselves.

The you-wear-it/you’re-asking-for-it implication of the letter, not to mention the sheer idea of censoring clothing, set off the predictable firestorm of protest, both on campus and off. For two days students wore leggings in a show of group defiance, there was a #leggingsdayND hashtag on Twitter, and assorted men and women posted pictures of themselves in solidarity with leggings wearers.

By Friday The Observer had another piece, this one from the editors in response to the furor, saying: “Having received over 35 letters to The Observer, in addition to the countless verbal comments, tweets, memes and class discussions about Monday’s letter, we have been astonished by the conversations the leggings piece has sparked.” Meanwhile, those wider conversation continued over the weekend.

This follows a 2017 United Airlines incident when two teenagers who were “pass travelers” (a category that includes relatives of airline employees) were prevented from flying because they were wearing leggings. Observers complained, social media got up in arms, and the makers of leggings had a field day; Puma, for example, jumped into the fray and burnished its image by offering a 20 percent discount on leggings to anyone presenting a United ticket.

And that in turn punctuated the endless debate among parents and schools and students that can be summed up as “leggings-are-not-pants/yes-they-are.”

In general this existential interrogation of the soul of a garment (because, really, that’s what it is) centers on women, women’s bodies and the general discomfort with seeing too much of them, or believing you are.

That’s certainly where Ms. White was going with her letter, and it’s generally the political offense used by those who are on the pro-leggings side: How dare you accuse me of dressing to seduce (an argument that has particular resonance in the era after #MeToo).

But leggings began their rise to wardrobe domination with the advent of comfort culture: the post-casual Friday turn-of-the-millennium move away from formality that picked up steam with the rise of fleece-wearing hedge funders, the fall of Old Wall Street and the fetishization of Silicon Valley’s hoodies- and Teva-clad geniuses, and became even more pronounced under the influence of the Wellness movement.

Leggings also function differently for different age groups: for Gen Y, they tend to be lifestyle signifiers that have more to do with health and activity than, say, everyday workwear; for Gen Z-ers, who largely reject uniformity and traditional labels, they are simply a basic, the equivalent of jeans. They are something you put on without thought.

Which is to say, leggings are about a lot of things, and sex may be the least of them — if sex plays any role at all.

One thing that was striking about the Notre Dame protest was the rejection of what they saw as the traditional gender assumptions involved. Leggings are not the sole province of the siren female was the idea.

In their editorial, The Observer’s writers asked, “Why has the legging controversy generated a larger impact than other controversial topics? Students and community members have spent hours debating the merits and faults of a popular clothing choice. But where is the willingness to speak up about other issues with substantial policy implications, legally and on campus?”

The truth is, it’s possible leggings may be simply standing in for those other issues. One of the great gotchas of fashion is that what may appear superficial or unimportant (leggings!) is, in fact, representative of a more complicated, harder to express reality (identity). This is what gives clothes their power.

As a result, what the leggings uproar may have exposed is not so much anyone’s physique per se, but rather a cultural fault line that runs through generations. This historical pattern includes miniskirts and jeans, Mary Quant and James Dean, and garments that seemed egregious and inexplicable to what is generally referred to as the establishment but play a key and highly visual role in upending norms to make way for the next.

Sure, it’s possible that is overstating the matter. It’s possible they are just stretchy footless tights that are easy to wear.

But judging by Lululemon’s recent results, which saw net revenue rise 21 percent in the third quarter of 2018, and the fact that part of Levi’s much-heralded IPO was attributed to the “stretch” now included in jeans to cater to the leggings market, this “popular clothing choice” (as The Observer labeled them) is not going away any time soon. All this suggests that the Notre Dame uproar may not be a fluke, but a harbinger.

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