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On this day in 2007, Barry Neild wrote about his fear of a real-life Planet of the Apes. Two years later, Andrea Calabretta told the story of how her love for cute primates led to an unfortunate encounter with and subsequent wariness of the furry creatures. It seems as though we have a history of stories about close encounters of the simian kind posted on October 5th — read them both and keep it going.

More… “Primate Instincts”

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Today, the damp wind outside the Smart Set office has a not-so-summery edge. It’s got us all talking about fall food and fashions (soups and sweaters, respectively) and looking forward to October days with a little less rain and a little more sunshine. To best take advantage of those days, let Jesse Smith be your guide to a little-known branch of the autumn tourist industry.

Not everyone sees fall as so gloomy, or fall foliage viewing as so formless an activity — state tourism and environmental agencies, for instance. Where you see red and orange and yellow, they see green, and they’re all scrambling to grab as much as they can from what are affectionately known in New England as leaf peepers. It sounds like a pretty dog-eat-dog industry. •

Read It: Peepin’ Ain’t Easy by Jesse Smith

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If you’ve lately been thinking about becoming a vegetarian, today might be just the day to make the switch. It’s World Vegetarian Day! In case you need just a bit more reason to give up bacon and steak, we brought back Stefany Anne Golberg’s piece on brutal vegetarianism.

I offer an outline for an Eating Animals sequel entitled A 21st Century, Balls-out Decadent Explosion of Naughty Vegetarian Food Exploration Appealing to Degenerates, or for short VEGETABALLS. It will be written by an intrepid vegetable adventurer who wears a cabbage hat and lamé hotpants, a postmodern-molecular-gastronomist-Shackleton of beans who couldn’t care less about tradition and “the earth.” VEGETABALLS  is for a vegetarianism of chocolate, vodka, fries, and habanero sauce that shows how you can be a selfish drunk fat slob and still do your part to limit the unnecessary suffering of animals. •

Read It: A Modest Proposal by Stefany Anne Golberg

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Ralph Lauren is dismounting the Polo Pony and handing over the reigns to new CEO Stefan Larsson. One of the United States’ largest fashion empires has grown over the past half century from a few ties being sold out of a drawer in the Empire State Building to a brand with a logo that can be recognized across the world. Take a look back at Paula Marantz Cohen’s piece on the meaning and breeding of iconic fashion logos like Lauren’s Polo Pony.

Ralph Lauren, the seeming epitome of the English country gentleman, was originally Ralph Lifshitz from the Bronx, who started his empire with a necktie store in 1970. Lauren went on to devise the Polo Pony logo (more to the point than the Izod crocodile) and to exploit the idea of graded merchandise more brazenly than anyone had before. He separated his goods into strata: purple at the top (appointment only), with black and blue labels, then Polo and Rugby, and finally, Ralph Lauren Sport bringing up the rear. •

Read It: Lo’ and Behold by Paula Marantz Cohen

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Happy National Coffee Day! If you haven’t had your coffee yet, it’s time to grab some (check out these places for a free cup) and sit down to read the Smart Set. To pair with your espresso: An article about the Italian origins of Starbucks and why there are none in Italy.

The invention of Mr. Coffee in the 1970s was an enormous leap for American coffee drinkers: Before then, most coffee was boiled in percolators at home or prepared inexpensively in industrial-scale drips to be consumed at diners. The result was mostly terrible — there’s a reason that coffee ruined by wives and secretaries was a running gag in midcentury sitcoms. •

Read It: Counter Culture by Sara Davis

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The Pope is in the house. As the Smart Set closes its doors for his visit to our fair city, we leave you with beers, dogs, and traffic schedules all influenced by the Holy Father’s visit, along with a history of the less pope-ular Vicars of Jesus Christ.

Fellow priests put one of the first popes, Sixtus III (432-40), on trial for seducing a nun. He was acquitted after quoting from Christ in his defense: “Let you who are without sin cast the first stone.” In the centuries to follow, political skullduggery and a corrupt election process thrust one improbable candidate after another into the position as god-fearing believers looked on in impotent horror. In fact, so many Vicars of Christ have been denounced as the “Worst Pope Ever” that we have to settle for a Top Ten list. •

Read It: Vatican Hall of Shame by Tony Perrottet

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A former hedge fund manager’s recent decision to increase the price of a pill from $18 to $750 has sparked interest in prescription drug pricing and sales. This drug isn’t optional: It’s the standard treatment for taxoplasmosis, an illness that mainly affects those with compromised immune systems due to HIV or cancer. But when it comes to non-lifesaving pharmaceuticals, companies rely on advertising to get the word out. In article from our archives, Greg Beato discusses how the restrictions on drug advertising may be helping out the advertisers in the long run.

Critics of prescription drug ads contend that one reason they’re so effective is because they’re so misleading. But while it’s true that few prescription drug ads, if any, go out of their way to call attention to the shortcomings of their products, there’s an alternate explanation for their success: Prescription drug ads are amongst the most honest content that appears on TV. •

Read It: Drug Deals by Greg Beato

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In the midst of Volkswagen’s latest scandal, we take a look back on the love bug’s long drive from a Nazi creation to a children’s television character, and how Hitler’s dream of “The People’s Car” was realized in an unexpected way over 70 years later — in India.

It was Hitler who said “the people” must have a car they can buy for next to nothing. Ideology created the demand and then gathered the forces necessary to fulfill it. The outcome was so damn good and clever and lovable that it outlived the crazy and terrible ideology that had created it. It was Hitler who said “the people” must have a car they can buy for next to nothing. Ideology created the demand and then gathered the forces necessary to fulfill it. The outcome was so damn good and clever and lovable that it outlived the crazy and terrible ideology that had created it.•

Read it: VW Recall by Morgan Meis »

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