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The $10,000 date, circumcision at 25 and a taste of weed gelato

Having cocktails with Ava Hudson costs $600 (cocktails not included). A weekend tryst? A cool $10,000. Hudson is one of the Bay Area’s highest-paid escorts, so selective about new clients that she won’t even talk on the phone with one until after an assistant has conducted a thorough background check. One of those assistants, MEL contributor Andre Shakti, talked to Hudson about how she she worked her way up in her career, from an illegal “rub ’n’ tug” parlor in Toronto to excursions in client’s private planes.

Read the full interview here.


What’s it like getting circumcised as an adult? MEL staffer John McDermott got the lowdown from a guy who went under the knife at age 25. Read the full interview here.


Would you rather be a commercial and critical success in your lifetime, only to be forgotten by subsequent generations? Or would you rather receive no recognition during your life, but be immortalized after death? MEL posed this question to Chuck Klosterman, whose ninth and latest book, But What If We’re Wrong?, is a series of thought experiments about how future generations will come to regard the present.

In But What if We’re Wrong?, you say one of the few things you’ve ever been totally right about is that you married the right woman. In 2003’s Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, you wrote about how no woman will ever satisfy you… Tell me about that evolution.

When you write a book, you have to be as honest as you can at the time you’re writing it. That’s all you can do. The thing is, I felt that way [about marriage] in 2002, so I wrote it. And I felt something differently in 2012, and I wrote that. You say, “How does that evolution work?” but that actually is what evolution is. It wouldn’t be evolution if I was always the same. If everything I wrote completely mirrored how I felt in the past, that’s what I would almost consider a schtick.

Do you think about your own legacy?

The honest answer is that most people who going into writing kind of do. That’s part of the reason you’re writing, in a strange way. If somebody said you had to choose: You could be a commercially successful, respected writer in your lifetime; or you’ll be unknown in your lifetime, but famous many years after you’re dead. When you’re young — say, 23, or whatever — you always think the second version is better. But as you get older, you realize the first version is much better.

Why do you think that change takes place?

When you’re young, you think to yourself, My life hasn’t really started yet. So everything you think that’s going to happen seems like a life that you’re going to be entering. It’s like the preface of your own history. But then, now, this is my life. I’m in the middle of my life. I’m married, I have kids. The relationships I have, the success I have or haven’t had, the way I’m perceived — these things are happening now, and I guess I don’t see the value anymore in having people I’ll never know think I’m interesting.

Listen to the full podcast here.


On our way to film a story in Croatia, we heard of a 3,000-year-old coastal town named Zadar that made an instrument for the tides of the Adriatic Sea to play. They had us at the name “Zadar,” which sounds like a bar in the Star Wars universe. And so, we went to hear what kind of music these sea pipes had in store for us. It ended up being a dark, discordant piece played by 35 differently tuned organ pipes that made it sound like the Adriatic was in a mood that day.

Watch the full movie here.


Today, the average American spends 4.7 hours on their phone each day, meaning we spend nearly a third of our waking life staring into the glowing abyss. It was only a matter of time before we began developing technology to save us from our addiction to technology, and specifically our smartphones. A few of our favorites?

  1. Lighting to save us from our phones: The city of Ausburg, Germany, installed traffic lights in the pavement so that people who are looking down at their phones won’t miss the fact that they are about to walk in front of oncoming traffic.
  2. Spyware to save us from texters: The so-called Textalyzer would let officers arriving at the scene of an accident tap into a driver’s operating system to check for recent phone activity — and assign liability accordingly.
  3. Smart glasses to save us from screens: Screeners is an art experiment and headset that uses a head-mounted webcam to detect screens, pinging the smart film coating on the wearer’s glasses to turn opaque when it finds one.

Take a look at the full list here.


“A high that lasts longer than even a mushroom trip.” Read our full review of salted caramel weed gelato here.


Into the Black: I Paid Off Nearly $16,000 in Student Loan Debt, But It Cost Me My Friends

Kyle Pendergrass worked hard to land a better job, but it was cutting needless spending that really made a dent in his debt

Mister Rogers Picked Me Up Hitchhiking

Life in Mister Rogers’ IRL neighborhood was a bit more beautiful

There’s No Shame in Sharing With a Friend

Why the stigma of “sloppy seconds” is over


We went behind the scenes with David Laid, one of countless teens who document their transitions from scrawny to swole on YouTube.

Read his full story here.


Your quiet neighborhood isn’t so quiet anymore. Thanks, Waze.