Modern Mix

Nam Dang Mitchell

Yesterday, I waxed poetic about my love of neutral, high-contrast color palettes in my latest “In the Mood” post, so the timing for happening upon a new project by ICalgary-based interior designer, Nam Dang Mitchell could not have been more perfect. I have been a big fan of Nam’s chic style for several years now. Her aesthetic is polished, glamorous, and is all about a modern mix. She uses mostly neutral, subtle color palettes and layers furnishings, accessories, and fabrics from various aesthetics and eras beautifully. It isn’t unusual for a space by Nam to be dressed in black, white, camel, and gray and include a very interesting mix of finishes, textures, and pieces from various periods and provenance. This newest project, a custom-designed house for a young, hip family,  is featured in the current issue of Canadian House & Home. Drawing inspiration from London townhouses and Parisian flats, Nam and her clients paired beautiful herringbone floors in pale oak, elaborate millwork, and loads of sumptuous marble with modern furniture and light fixtures for a look that mixes modern and traditional with style in spades. Interesting details abound and while there are many show-stopping pieces in the house including the fabulous refrigerator and range hood in the kitchen, the house maintains an effortless, inviting vibe which is no small feat. Nam Dang Mitchell 2

{The dining room features Lous XVI-style dining chairs in a Pierre Frey fabric along with a chandelier by Apparatus Studio.}

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{How stunning is this kitchen? From the marble-clad waterfall island and range hood ensconced in marble subway tile with polished nickel trim to the custom Sub-Zero refrigerator paneled in Walnut with polished nickel trim.}

Nam Dang Mitchell 4

{The airy breakfast room features a marble-topped tulip table and casual Bertoia-style chairs.}

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{The marble fireplace and herringbone floors in the master bedroom definitely give off a Parisian vibe, mais oui? Of course, I love the Serge Mouille wall light over the bed.}

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{Have you ever seen a more luxurious slab of marble? The thickness of the laminated edge definitely makes a bold statement.}

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{I used this same hexagonal tile in my client’s bathroom which was just featured in Luxe. I love seeing it in this space– beautiful!}

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{Nam and I may have been cut from the same cloth! It’s so nice to connect with people with similar tastes over social media. In the daughter’s room, Nam features a few more of my favorite things– a Serge Mouille ceiling light, Fornasetti’s Nuvole wallpaper, and a hint of feminine glamour.}

Paloma Signature

{Photography by Colin Way for Canadian House & Home}


When Edgar Allan Poe Published a “CliffsNotes” Version of a Science Textbook & It Became His Only Bestseller (1839)

A fascinating 20th century literary strain, “documentary poetics,” melds journalistic accounts, photography, official texts and memos, politics, and scientific and technical writing with lyrical and literary language. Perhaps best exemplified by Muriel Rukeyser, the category also includes, at certain times, James Agee, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, and—currently—Claudia Rankine and “powerhouse” new poet Solmaz Sharif. It does not include Edgar Allan Poe, famously alcoholic 19th century master of the macabre and “father of the detective story.”

But you’ll forgive me for thinking, excitedly, that it just might, when I learned Poe had published a text called The Conchologist’s First Book (1839), a condensation, rearrangement, and “remixing,” as Rebecca Onion writes at Slate, of “an existing… beautiful and expensive” science textbook, Thomas Wyatt’s Manual of Conchology, including the original plates and a “new preface and introduction.” My mind reeled: what wondrous horrors might the morose, romantic Poe have contributed to such an enterprise, his best-selling work, it turns out, in his lifetime. (For which Poe was paid $50 and, typically, received no royalties). What kind of experimental madness might these covers contain?

As I might have assumed from the book’s total obscurity, Poe’s writerly contributions to the project were meager. For all his genius as a storyteller, he could be a long-winded bore as an essayist. It seems he thought this aspect of his voice was best suited to the original writing he did for Conchologist’s First. His biographers, notes University of Houston professor emeritus John H. Lienhard, all “mutter an embarrassed apology for Poe’s shady side-track—then hurry back to talk about The Raven.” Onion quotes one biographer Jeffrey Meyers, who writes, “Poe’s boring pedantic and hair-splitting Preface was absolutely guaranteed to torment and discourage even the most passionately interested schoolboy.”

As for its “shadiness,” the book also elicits embarrassment from Poe devotees because, as esteemed biologist and historian of science Stephen J. Gould wrote in his exculpatory essay “Poe’s Greatest Hit,” it was “basically a scam,” though “not so badly done” as most allege. The naturalist Wyatt, a friend of Poe’s, had begged his publisher to release an abridged student edition of his original lavish and pricey $8 textbook, which had not sold well. When the publisher balked, Wyatt contracted Poe to lend his name and considerable editorial skill to a more-or-less bootleg “CliffsNotes” version to be sold for $1.50. To make matters worse, Poe and Wyatt were both accused of plagiarism, having “lifted chunks of their book from an English naturalist, Thomas Brown,” Lienhard points out.

Gould defended Poe as a rewriter of others’ work. “Yes, Poe plagiarized,” as Lienhard summarizes the argument. He presented Brown’s, and Wyatt’s, work as his own, but, “fluent in French, [he] went back to read Georges Cuvier, the great French naturalist” and made his own translations. He wrote his own introductory material, and he reorganized Wyatt’s book in such a way as to provide “genuinely useful insight into biological taxonomy.” Poe’s edition—with its “formidable subtitle,” A System of Testaceous Malacology, arranged Expressly for the Use of Schools—actually proved a hit with students, and likely not only because it sold cheap. It was the only publication in Poe’s lifetime to make it to a second edition.

Maybe humanist readers approach the work with biases firmly in place, expecting a genre that’s dry by its very nature to contain all the literary brilliance and entertaining intrigue of “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Lienhard suggests as much, describing irritation at how his “literary friends” ignore the scientific work of writers like Thoreau, Thomas Paine, Goethe, and poet Oliver Goldsmith. “Poe’s excursion into natural philosophy,” he writes, “was an embarrassment to people who are embarrassed by science in the first place.” Maybe.

Both Gould and Lienhard shrug off the less-than-scrupulous circumstances of the book’s creation, the latter citing a “cynical remark” by playwright Wilson Mizner: “If you steal from one author, it’s plagiarism. If you steal from many, it’s research.” At least he doesn’t go as far as Mark Twain, who once wrote in defense of Helen Keller, after she was charged with literary borrowing, “the kernel, the soul—let us go further and say the substance, the bulk, the actual and valuable material of all human utterance—is plagiarism.”

Read the first, 1839 edition of The Conchologist’s First Book, published under Edgar A. Poe, at the Internet Archive, and the revised second, 1840 edition at Google Books.

via Slate

Related Content:

Download The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe: Macabre Stories as Free eBooks & Audio Books

Mark Twain’s Patented Inventions for Bra Straps and Other Everyday Items

Walt Whitman’s Unearthed Health Manual, “Manly Health & Training,” Urges Readers to Stand (Don’t Sit!) and Eat Plenty of Meat (1858)

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

When Edgar Allan Poe Published a “CliffsNotes” Version of a Science Textbook & It Became His Only Bestseller (1839) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don’t miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.


43 Facts You Didn’t Know About Richard Simmons

Richard Simmons, circa 1980. Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

1. Richard was born (and subsequently baptized as) Milton Teagle Simmons.

2. He lived with that name for about 11 years, when he sat his parents down to tell them that he couldn’t live with the name. He thought the name was “too serious.”

3. When he started to go by Richard, his parents would call him “Dicky,” which he didn’t like, either.

Simmons as his “Weight Saint” character.

4. He was raised in the French Quarter of New Orleans by his mother, a fan dancer, and father, a singer and dancer. Richard described it as “a loving, musical place” that “wasn’t perfect.”

5. He was raised Catholic and didn’t find out didn’t find out his parents were Jewish until he was 19 years old.

6. He was in seminary school for a year and nine months but left because he felt his “pulpit could be bigger.”

7. Richard studied in Florence, Italy and spent time in Palermo, Sicily, as a fashion illustrator.

8. He stopped working that job because he felt “there was something missing,” saying, “I was alone in the room with a dress, and it wasn’t for me — I needed to be around people!”

9. While in Italy, Richard wound up with small parts in Fellini’s Satyricon and The Clowns.

Simmons while filming General Hospital in August 1980. Michael Ochs Archives / Getty Images

10. At his heaviest, Richard Simmons weighed 268 pounds. While in Italy, an anonymous person left a note on Richard’s car that read, “Fat people die. Please don’t die, Richard.”

11. This prompted Richard to move to California, where he became anorexic, losing 137 pounds far too quickly and landing in the hospital. Said Richard of this time in his life: “My hair fell out and I almost died.”

12. Richard has been dealing with eating disorders since he was a child. He told Wendy Williams in 2011, “I have eating disorders, I can’t lie about that. I’ve always talked about that. I took diet pills, I threw up, I starved, I thought that people would like me better if I were thin — since I was a kid.”

13. Richard spoke about his childhood obesity with Katie Couric in 2013. He said, “There was five stores from my house to the Catholic school and I stopped in all five of them. And I ate, and I didn’t want anyone to know that I ate, so I would take the wrappers and hide them in Kotex boxes. You think it’s funny, but you don’t want your parents to know.”

14. Richard told Regis and Kathie Lee in 1995 that he visited Rome every 10 years.

15. Simmons’ first job in Los Angeles was that of a maître d’ at a restaurant called Derrick’s, where he said he made fettuccine Alfredo and Caesar salads.

16. He also made a lot of celebrity friends working there, like Phyllis Diller, of whom he said “She and I hit it off instantly. I guess she could tell that I was just as silly and laughed just as hard as she did.”

17. LA is also where he found the gym for the first time. His first workout was with an ex-policeman who promised him a “new body.” It didn’t work out that way: “I was in bed for four days, because I overdid it. So I decided then, I need to open a gym for people like me. A place for the overweight and out of shape. And I’m just going to act silly and dance and get them sweating. I saved my tip money from waiting tables, and it took me a year and two months to save $25,000.”

18. He then opened his iconic workout studio Slimmons — which was named the Anatomy Asylum to start.

Alan Levenson / Getty Images

19. It was open for 42 years before closing in late 2016.

20. In the ’90s Richard claimed to receive “25,000 to 30,000 letters a day.”

21. Richard responded to many of these letters, even traveling across the country to meet the writers and help start their weight loss journey. Of this, Richard said, “The reason I travel a lot is to meet these people, who are part of my family. I don’t think of myself as a celebrity. I basically relate to people like myself, who don’t use more than three syllables.”

22. Richard Simmons said in a 1998 interview that he called up to “40 or 50” people per day, and that he kissed and hugged “more people than the pope.”

23. Richard once owned a salad bar in Beverly Hills called Ruffage that sold “400 to 500 salads a day.”

24. Simmons said his nonjudgmental approach to weight loss appeals to fans: that he’d “They know I’m a compulsive eater and I would arm-wrestle Mother Teresa for an ice cream bar. “

25. Richard is said to have sold over 20 million dollars of his extremely popular Sweatin’ To the Oldies workout tapes in the ’80s.

Simmons during his Cruise to Lose. Evan Hurd Photography / Getty Images

26. Richard owns over 400 pairs of his trademark Dolfin shorts — which are no longer being made, but people know to send them to him when they find them: “People write to me all the time and say, “Dear Richard, I was cleaning out my garage and you’re just never going to guess what I found. I’ve got two pair[s] of Dolfin shorts!” And they send them to me.”

27. Back in the 80s, Simmons rounded up the parents of famous people — Al Pacino’s father, Farrah Fawcett’s mother, Sylvester Stallone’s mother, Dustin Hoffman’s father, and his own mother — and recorded the first-ever exercise program for people aged 55 and older called Richard and the Silver Foxes.

28. Richard used to tour through as many as 100 malls per year.

Simmons with Dalmatian puppies in 1985. Donaldson Collection / Getty Images

29. Richard has played himself on TV many times, including stints on Arrested Development, The Larry Sanders Show, Johnny Bravo, All My Children, Saturday Night Live, Dinosaurs, and CHiPs.

30. He voiced an “aerobics instructor” on Rocko’s Modern Life.

31. He was always fairly private and reserved about his social life. In 1981 he said, “I don’t go to discos, bars or parties. What’s more important, a one-to-one kid-and-family situation or helping 60 million people get their act together?”

32. Richard was a lover of Dalmatians and had many of them over the years. He named all of his Dalmatians after characters from Gone With the Wind.

33. Before his last dalmatian Hattie died in 2013, he would call home to sing a song to his dogs each night when he was traveling.

34. Many of Richard’s many best-selling books are ghost-written because — as he says — “mine is not always the best English.”

35. At one point, Richard sold a line of dolls on HSN with names like “Lillian, Belle of the Ball” and “Smooch the Elf.”

36. And they’re not just for sale — Richard is a collector and says he has over 400 dolls in his house.

37. Richard once stopped at Tiffany’s and bought a diamond ring for Barbara Streisand, despite having never met her. He told David Letterman it was because “she’s inspired me for 30 years.” Barbara returned the ring.

38. In 2008, Richard testified before the Committee on Education and Labor at a hearing concerning childhood obesity and physical health and education.

Simmons on the Late Show With David Letterman in 2000. CBS Photo Archive / Getty Images

39. Richard was known for being an entertaining and over-the-top talk show guest, but in November 2000 it went too far when David Letterman hosed him down with a fire extinguisher and gave Simmons an asthma attack. He described the incident in 2002 like so: “Last time I was on and [Letterman] sprayed me with that stuff out of the fire extinguisher, I had an asthma attack, and they had to call the paramedic. I have severe asthma, and I panicked.”

Simmons posing in his dalmatian room. Alan Levenson / Getty Images

40. He didn’t go back on The Late Show for a full six years.

41. Richard even had his own talk show in the ’80s — The Richard Simmons show aired from 1980 to 1984.

42. In 2012, he opened up in Men’s Health about the emotional toll working with so many people can take: “After I talk to so many people who are so unhappy about their weight and so depressed that they don’t see any rainbows in their life, after I talk to about 30 of those, then I try to walk away and pet my dog, just do something that makes me happy. But I’ll tell you, it’s hard. I take it all very personally. I’m just that kind of guy.”

43. While there are many theories (and a podcast) about why Richard has removed himself from the public eye for the past three years, there’s a quote Richard gave to People in 1981 that may shed light on the emotional toll Richard’s work has taken on him: “I work real hard to make people laugh and to make them think. The day I don’t love any of this, I’ll walk away.”


PODCAST: Discussing Abandonment Issues & Attachment Disorder

In this episode of the Psych Central Show, hosts Gabe and Vincent discuss abandonment issues and attachment disorder. In addition to explaining what those psychological disorders are, they share their own personal experiences with abandonment and how it has affected them.

Listen as Our Hosts Discuss Abandonment Issues

“(My biological father) just left me. I still want to know what was wrong with me that he would just abandon me. . . And I’m now 40 years old.” ~ Gabe Howard


About The Psych Central Show Podcast

The Psych Central Show is an interesting, in-depth weekly podcast that looks into all things mental health and psychology. Hosted by Gabe Howard and featuring Vincent M. Wales.

The Psych Central Show Podcast iTunes
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Gabe Howard is a professional speaker, award-winning writer, and mental health advocate who lives with bipolar 1 and anxiety disorders. Diagnosed in 2003, he has made it his mission to put a human face on what it means to live with mental illness.

Gabe writes the Don’t Call Me Crazy Blog for as well as is an associate editor. He also writes and Video Blogs for Bipolar Magazine Online. He’s been a keynote speaker for NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), MHA (Mental Health America), OSU (Ohio State University), along with many other venues. To work with Gabe please contact him via his website at or e-mail



Vincent M. Wales is the author of several award-winning speculative fiction novels and the creator of costumed hero Dynamistress. He lives with persistent depressive disorder and is a trained suicide prevention crisis counselor with additional counseling background. A Pennsylvania native, he obtained his BA in English writing from Penn State. While a resident of Utah, he founded the Freethought Society of Northern Utah. He now lives in Sacramento, California. Visit his websites at and


Previous Episodes can also be found at

Subscribe to The Psych Central Show on iTunes and Google Play.


What’s Happening In The News Today?


The next two days could change the US Senate, the Supreme Court, and America.

The Senate is controlled, barely, by Republicans, 52–48, but it ordinarily takes 60 votes to get things done. Because they can’t agree, the leader of the Senate will try to change the rules so the Republicans can get one Very Big Thing done: confirming Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court.

The rule change, often called the “nuclear option,” will — if successful — seriously shift how the US picks judges to sit on the highest court in the land. It will resolve some hotly contested national legal issues and it could change the Supreme Court as an institution. BuzzFeed News’ Chris Geidner explains what it all means.


Trump’s America

President Trump removed his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, from the National Security Council. Administration officials tried to spin Bannon’s dismissal, saying it was only a temporary posting to begin with and that he was there in part to keep tabs on the now-ousted national security adviser Ret. Gen. Michael Flynn. Several news outlets reported that Bannon never went to a council meeting.

Trump is meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping for the first time in Florida Thursday. Given the differing styles between the US and Chinese presidents — and lack of coherence so far on China policy — it’s unclear whether the Florida summit will come to anything.

During Sexual Assault Awareness Month, President Trump defended alleged sexual harasser Bill O’Reilly. On Wednesday he called the Fox News star a “good person,” even though O’Reilly’s own network is reported to have paid out millions of dollars to multiple women who claim he sexually harassed them.

Almost 50 advertisers have pulled commercials from O’Reilly’s show, after it was revealed that Fox News made payments totalling about $13 million to five women who accused the television star of acting inappropriately or sexually harassing them. It’s possible that, despite the allegations, O’Reilly will be too valuable for Fox to dismiss.

One of O’Reilly’s accusers, Rebecca Gomez Diamond, who was a host on Fox Business Network, criticized the president for his defense of the Fox News host. Via Twitter


Nivea says it’s sorry for an ad tagline boasting “white is purity.”

The German skin care brand pulled the ad for its Invisible deodorant after an internet outcry.

A representative for Nivea’s parent company Beiersdorf told the New York Times it was meant to speak to the idea that the color black was “strength” and white was “purity.” “We never intended to hurt anybody or to raise any wrong interpretation,” the representative told the Times.

And about that other advertising backlash: Pepsi pulled its widely ridiculed ad in which Kendall Jenner joins a street protest, saying the company “missed the mark.” Here are the best tweets about it.

For the latest news and updates, download the BuzzFeed News app for iOS and Android (available in Canadian, UK, Australian, and US app stores).

This letter was edited and brought to you by BuzzFeed News. You can always reach us here.

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