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Nathan Allebach doesn’t consult a formula, research keywords or track online trends before he hits “send” on one of his tweets. That would, in a lot of ways, defeat the point of his abstract craft. Sometimes, he bolts awake in the middle of the night with a genius idea for a truly dumb shitpost. Other times, he lets loose his views on the world while stuck in a mid-day doldrum.

On September 26th, the 27-year-old published a tweet thread underlining his reflections on why young people feel so alone online and in their physical lives — only he did so…


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Manny Balestrero should have never walked into that life insurance office. But on January 14, 1953, he did, looking to borrow $325 from his wife’s policy in order to pay for some critical dental work she needed. The next night, as he unlocked the door of his modest stucco home in Queens, he heard a voice from behind him. “Hey, Chris!” a man called out, referring to him by his formal first name.

Balestrero turned and spotted three police officers. They were detectives, and they were adamant that Balestrero needed to come with them, as he was suspected to be…


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While educational achievement has improved over the last 30 years, there hasn’t been much change in the number of American adults who are functionally illiterate

For more than 40 years of his life, James Hall couldn’t decipher a restaurant menu by himself unless it had photos. He couldn’t navigate a bus schedule, choosing either to memorize the rhythms of its arrivals, or if he was somewhere unfamiliar, asking another person at the stop. He couldn’t read the details of a bank statement, use a computer to research a recipe or comprehend the front page of the newspaper in Cleveland, where he grew up.

This had been the case since he first started elementary school. Putting letters into words and words into sentences felt like trying…


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The village of Min Gyi erupted with the staccato blast of rifle fire early on the morning of August 30, 2017, startling everyone awake. The gloom of the pre-dawn light hid hundreds of soldiers from the Myanmar army, dubbed the “Tatmadaw.” They’d planned all night for a morning of mayhem. And so, when the villagers emerged from their homes amid the commotion, the soldiers were waiting.

Men and boys were ripped from their front yards and forced into a march toward the forest on the hillside, promised that their peaceful surrender would grant them their lives. Many of the remaining…


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King James’ educational advisor on making his I Believe School in Akron a reality

An eight-year-old LeBron James sometimes didn’t attend school because there was no one who could give him a ride. He sometimes skipped class outright, instead playing video games by himself at the ramshackle one-bedroom home in Akron, Ohio, owned by a friend of his mom, who would disappear during the day. Other times, Gloria James and her son were simply too entangled in the task of securing a place to sleep and food to eat that night. “We’ll just skip today,” they’d tell each other. Then another day would rise and fall, and another, with no attendance in class.

Ultimately…


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Women in the military are 250 percent more likely to commit suicide than civilian women

Stephanie Shannon was just 20 years old when she landed in Saudi Arabia in a tan camouflage uniform still crisp around the edges. She’d enlisted in the Army in November 1989, motivated by the opportunity for a career and seduced by the promise of learning disciplined bravery. Just nine months after she entered basic training, Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein mobilized his forces in an attempt to invade and annex Kuwait, a tiny oil-rich nation southeast of Iraq. Shannon, the latest soldier in a family of military men, was ready.

She took a 33-hour flight to the eastern edge of Saudi…


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By several accounts, 2018 was the Summer of Sleaze, headlined by Justin Bieber and his arsenal of garish aloha shirts (or, as mainlanders know it, the “Hawaiian” shirt) that made him look like your best friend’s semi-flaky South Beach cocaine dealer, circa 1982. …


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Linda Conley encountered her first sexual harassment training assignment in 1997, as lead script writer and researcher for Kantola Training Services. The company had acquired a smaller firm that had its own video series on harassment in the workplace, and it was Conley’s task to review it for redistribution by Kantola. The company’s legal expert, however, had revealed a major problem in a subtle moment of a video on “quid-pro-quo” harassment, in which a superior pressures an employee about sexual favors in return for professional advancement: The conclusion showed the superior being reprimanded and receiving a suspension for his abuse…


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They’re not a single bloc. Nor the staunch conservatives they’ve been made out to be

When Matt began working for a major U.S. bank in his mid-20s, he never expected he’d have a front-row seat to the implosion of the financial industry in 2008, the result of corrosion from toxic investments backed by the credit of vulnerable Americans. Every day, though, he woke up to take phone calls and emails from people who were most devastated by the economic crash — “working-class folks” who demanded to know where their savings had gone.

“One day, I decided to quit, and in a fit of self-righteousness, decided to do the most selfless job I could be proud…


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The Supreme Court says sports gambling is now legal. As such, legit sportsbooks are starting to dominate as a new season of football kicks off. Where, though, does that leave the black-market bookmaker?

John was a fresh-faced twentysomething bookie, not long out of college, when the cops kicked in the door of his uncle’s gambling den, located deep within the seventh floor of a Manhattan walk-up. The officers rushed in with their guns drawn, and John stiffened into a panicked rigor mortis. He watched blankly as one pressed his uncle face-first against the wall, cuffing his wrists before turning to John. Shit, he thought. This is it. There goes my career.

Then he noticed his uncle’s face, grinning. The cop who had cuffed his uncle was now making small talk with him, while…

Eddie Kim

LA-based reporter penning features for Mel Magazine.

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