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A conversation with the world's leading authority on the English language about big data, Google ngrams, and language change


Bryan Garner portrait

Is the internet ruining the English language? Has the original meaning of "beg the question" been forever lost? Who of all the presidential candidates are closest to being standard speakers of English?

Perhaps the most qualified person to answer these and other questions about English usage is Bryan A. Garner. The 57-year-old Texan has written 25 books, many of them award-winning, and he's the editor-in-chief of "Black's Law Dictionary," said to be the most widely cited law book on the planet.

In his new book, "Garner's Modern English Usage" (Oxford), Garner has made extensive use of big data to write more precisely than anyone ever before about English usage. Google gave him license to delve into its Google Books Ngram Viewer, which displays graphs showing how words have occurred in books over centuries.

In many ways, usage books have always been based on a good deal of guesswork. That's why Garner calls the use of ngrams "absolutely revolutionary" in the field of usage lexicography.

Here's a sample graph showing three terms, or ngrams, used in written English around the world in the past hundred years or so:

ngram child care kindergarten nursery school

Recently, I spoke with Garner about his new book, whether language is really changing much in the age of the internet and social media, his late friend and coauthor Antonin Scalia, and other subjects.

Daniel McMahon: This new fourth edition of your main usage book, "Garner's Modern English Usage," replaces the third-edition "Garner's Modern American Usage." Besides the title, which we'll get to, what's different in the new book?

Bryan A. Garner: The biggest change is the level of empiricism underlying all the judgments. I made extensive use of corpus linguistics, and especially of Google Books and the ngrams, to assess the judgments that I've made in previous editions, and it was a most enlightening process. I've added almost 2,500 ratios of the most current available information about how many times one form — the standard form, let's say — would appear in relation to a variant form. That's enormously useful information for the connoisseur. But even for a less serious aficionado, those ratios can be extremely interesting.

If you want to know how often, for example, "between you and I" occurs in comparison with "between you and me" in print sources or current books, that information is now available to us, whereas previous lexicographers and usage writers simply had to guess. There's a lot of that empirical evidence spread throughout the book, and in some cases my judgments about terms changed. I've added about a thousand new entries, a lot of them for connoisseurs — plural forms, some arcane plurals that weren't in the book before. I've tried to make the book the most comprehensive treatment of English usage ever published. That was the goal anyway.

flak flack spelling difference meaning Garner Google ngrams

McMahon: What led you to add so much more empirical evidence? Did you feel challenged on some of your usage preferences?

Garner: Not really. Once the ngrams became available, it took me a little time to start playing with ngrams and realize this is absolutely revolutionary in the field of lexicography. The moment I played with a couple of ngrams, I realized this fundamentally changes the nature of usage lexicography. For a long time, some descriptive linguists have complained that usage books with a prescriptive bent are written by people who just sit back and say, "I like this better than I like that," and I don't think that's ever been so, because the best usage books, even prescriptive ones, have been based on lifetimes of study — when you consider people like H.W. Fowler and Wilson Follet and Theodore Bernstein and others.

But still, they were having to guess. Even the editors of the "Oxford English Dictionary" were having to guess based on the few citation slips in front of them. But now we can apply big data to English usage and find out what was predominant until what year. This is a typical entry — and there are thousands of examples in the book:

merchandise; *merchandize. The first is standard. The second is a misbegotten verb and noun. *Merchandize emerged as a variant of merchandise in both the noun and verb senses during the 17th century and flourished until the mid-19th century. Today, it's an anomaly of either part of speech. … Current ratio: 41:1

Now that is an extraordinary thing to be able to say with confidence that they emerged in the middle of 17th century and flourished until the mid-19th century. But we can now do that because of big data. Let's see if I can give you another example — I'm just flipping through the book. Look at an old entry from "Modern American Usage" and see which words I added and how it changed in the new book. Look at "candidacy":

[before ngrams]

candidacy; candidature. The first is the standard term in AmE, the second in BrE.

[with ngrams]

candidacy; candidature. The first is the standard term in AmE, the second traditionally in BrE. But since the late 1970s, candidacy has become the predominant form in British print sources. Current ratio: 5:1

candidacy candidature English usage Garner ngrams

McMahon: Do you think that's because of the effects of American usage?

Garner: Yes. Let me read to you a little bit from one of the last paragraphs of the new preface. It deals with this very point, and I thought it was kind of interesting:

One recurrent finding bears note. All varieties of English are powerfully influenced by American English. When my late friend Robert W. Burchfield was editor in chief of the Oxford English Dictionary Supplement in the 1970s, he noted that the center of gravity for the English language had shifted to North America. He was right. Again and again, one sees British English and World English following the lead of American usage, often with a lag time of 10 to 50 years. You’ll see this trend noted in many entries throughout the book — but of course it’s hardly a universal rule.

So often there will be entries that say, "This became standard in American English in 1880 and in British English in the early 1920s," or something like that. Again, the editors of the "OED" and the editors of Merriam-Webster— or any lexicographer using traditional forms — would have slips of paper, and let's say you wanted to look up the term "retributive," the adjective for "retribution." You might have seven slips of paper in front of you. One of them has "retributional," but all the others are "retributive," so you guess that "retributive" is the standard term. Now you can find the precise ratio. Some British commentators said this is a horrible Americanism. You can now prove it originated in British English. That's kind of fun. And in a sense, every page of the book got rewritten in that way.

Sometimes it won't even be close. Like “thalamus”:

thalamus (=[1] a part of the brain that relays sensory impulses; or [2] the receptacle of a flower) forms the plural thalami. Though not unknown in AmE, thalamuses is rare. … Current ratio: 431:1

So the ratio of “thalami” to “thalamuses” to is 431-to-1. Sometimes the ratio will be 17,000-to-1. Now you might say, why should I even include something that is 17,000-to-1? The answer is, when you're in a debate with somebody — let's say you're a copy editor— and somebody has used a form that you're quite certain is not the standard form, it's pleasing to be able to say, "Look, that form occurs only once compared to 17,000 times for the other form." It's all for settling debates. I suppose some would say, well, why have a usage book if you can just Google everything? But it does matter. There are a lot of judgment calls involved and some expertise.

Another example — "stated otherwise":

stated otherwise, when used at the beginning of a sentence, is a pompous version of in other words. The phrase emerged in the late 19th century and became widespread during the 20th. It shows no signs of waning.

That would be a very difficult thing to say with any confidence if you couldn't rely on big data, and that's why no other usage book has ever had statements like that — because you would have had to guess.

Here's "movable" without an E in the middle:

movable has been predominantly so spelled in AmE since about 1840 and in BrE since about 1870. Moveable is a variant spelling. Current ratio: 3:1

Google ngram movable moveable

So it became standard without the middle E in 1840 in AmE and in BrE from 1870. That's amazing — it's new information. Every entry has essentially been rewritten using the information to be gleaned from ngrams.

And I tested. I was a little bit doubtful about how much I could rely on the ngrams. How reliable were they really? I had a couple of interviews with the inventor of ngrams at Google. Google gave me a written license to use the ngrams in my work fully, to the extent that I wanted to, and I cross-checked as much as possible. Everything I did confirmed the reliability of this big-data tool after, let's say, 1750. Before 1750, it's a little bit shaky because there are some anomalous things, and the optical character-recognition program, OCR, is a little bit tricky with a lot of the older text, so I don't trust the stuff from 1500 to 1750 all that much. But from 1750 on — really, from 1700 on — it's very reliable.

Language Change Index Bryan Garner key explained

McMahon: How has the use of ratios transformed your Language-Change Index?

Garner: The index now has less guesswork in it. There was some guesswork involved in deciding whether something was Stage 4, Stage 3, Stage 2, but by doing the ratios I was able to tell that if something were 2-to-1 or 3-to-1, it might be Stage 4.

If it’s 4-to-10, it might be Stage 3. If it's 10-to-20, it might be Stage 2, and if it's 20 or above, it might be Stage 1. I came up with a whole series of gradations that I was able to verify, based on print sources, what stages we had reached on the Language-Change Index. The index has now become much more scientifically based.

McMahon: Are there words that you once shunned that have now been accepted or are on their way to being accepted?

Garner: "Nauseous" — though I'd call that a skunked term [a word likely to distract some readers]. I call it Stage 4. But interestingly, in 1940, the phrase "felt nauseated" versus "felt nauseous" was 9-to-1 in favor of "felt nauseated." The current ratio is 1, "felt nauseated," to 1.5, "felt nauseous," so usage has flipped in about 75 years. I just don’t use the term — I say "nauseated" or "nauseating." But you’re going to be able to find all kinds of interesting ratios.

There are some words like "nauseous" where the bad form is now in the majority of instances, but it still says Stage 4 — it's not Stage 5 yet. If you take "has drunk" versus "has drank," I call that Stage 2 — "has drank" is Stage 2 — and the ratio of "has drunk" to "has drank" is 12-to-1.

I tried to contextualize all my searches, so if you want to do "home in on" versus "hone in on," you can't do "home in" versus "hone in" because you end up with a lot usages such as "She has a home in Malibu." So you have to use "homed in on" versus "honed in on" and then you get a good read on it. I showed exactly what my searches were so that anybody else can verify the results.

McMahon: Are there any words you’d like to see disappear?

Garner: "Irregardless." All the words I have under "nonwords." I have a list in the book.








Stuff like that. All the nonwords.

McMahon: The title of the third edition reads "American Usage," but the new fourth edition reads "English Usage." Why the change?

Garner: Well, in a way the title "Modern American Usage" was always slightly misleading because the book dealt heavily with British English as well as American English. The reason for it, originally, was some sensitivity about not competing with Burchfield's third edition of Fowler ["Dictionary of Modern English Usage"]. And Burchfield's third edition was really not a third edition of Fowler but his own usage book — but that was "Modern English Usage." Then Oxford added "Garner" to the title, I guess in the second edition, and it became “Garner’s Modern American Usage.” But in the second and third editions I even deepened the treatment of British English, so the name “American” was less and less apt.

With what I was able to do with ngrams and searching World English, British English, and American English, the word "American" was even more misleading to speakers of English around the world. And because "Garner" had already been added to the title — what, 12 years ago — Oxford felt comfortable with making it "English Usage" as opposed to "American."

Bryan Garner usage books modern english

The other thing is that, because of the dual meaning of "English," when you see "American Usage," people don't know what "usage" is, people don't know what usage books are. But if you see the phrase "English Usage" you know it's about the language. I think there were problems in bricks-and-mortar bookstores, even figuring out where to put the book. And what is a book on "American usage" anyway? Only true connoisseurs know what a usage book is, so the new title is more descriptive as well, to the everyday book person.

And the book now makes all sorts of pronouncements, not only about British English but also about World English, because it's now possible to search that corpus. So it's true; it has its origins in North America, and it has North American sensibilities, but it is very inclusive in terms of treating varieties of English throughout the world.

McMahon: There's going to be an app as well. I'm very happy to know that.

Garner: I think you’re really going to like it. The Kindle format for “Modern American Usage” was not good, and there were complaints about it. I had nothing to do with it. But I’ve had a lot to do with this app, and we’re very excited about it.

McMahon: I have to say this is the most readable and intriguing usage book I’ve ever read.

Garner: It’s the kind of thing that any writer of reference books would like, I think — to create a reference book that is compulsively readable so that you want to look up more things. That’s the idea. And that’s the way the best reference books for a very long time have been. I think the ratios make it even more that way — you want to find out what’s the ratio on this, what’s the ratio on that.

nimrod meaning Bugs Bunny hunter idiot Google ngrams Garner

McMahon: How much has the internet changed English?

Garner: The facile answer is that language is changing more rapidly because of the internet and because usage spreads more quickly, people are exposed to new terms, new usages. I think that’s actually overstated. The language — the literary language, anyway — remains very stable. And apart from technological innovations that need new terminology, for the most part, literary English is exceedingly stable and very slow to change. So apart from technological innovations and new media, such as Twitter and Instagram and things of that kind that come into the popular vocabulary, I don’t think the internet is speeding up change all that much.

Now, one thing it’s doing is confirming that a lot of people — maybe a majority of Americans — don’t seem to know the difference between the possessive your and the contraction you’re, and that’s very surprising to many of us. And more and more people are communicating with comma splices— perhaps in text messages and in email messages — and it could be that comma splices will soon be somehow considered standard. I don’t think so — I would say over my dead body. One is seeing more and more of these all the time. I’m sure there are lots of other examples that we could point to. But, on the whole, I think the fundamentals of language remain very much the way they’ve always been.

Donald Trump.

McMahon: What observations have you made about the presidential candidates?

Garner: [Laughs] There are so many fascinating things. One is, when you listen to Donald Trump, he has this very thumping style in which he repeats sentences almost verbatim the second time. Whenever he wants to underscore something, he repeats the sentence. And of course he has a series of about eight favorite adjectives that he uses again and again.

The more you listen to Donald Trump — even if you kind of like the message the first couple of times — if you're listening critically and you hear the same airy characterizations and adjectives over and over again, and the same speech patterns, it becomes very trying. I think even people who might be drawn to it will end up being repelled by it if they are thinking critically.

Bernie Sanders

I find Bernie Sanders's dialect to be very unpleasant to listen to. I could also understand why so many people in New England considered George W. Bush to be unlistenable, because he overdid the Texas twang. And in fact even to a Texan — it made this Texan cringe. But Bernie Sanders is very difficult to listen to because one doesn't expect an educated American to have that kind of accent.

Hillary Clinton.

From the viewpoint of public speaking, Hillary Clinton is interesting to listen to — how often she just sounds cross, as if she’s shouting. But then again, Donald Trump does that, and Bernie Sanders does that as well.

This is a very strange political season, and in terms of presidential contests, a very strange linguistic season as well.

Ted Cruz

If you were judging based on standard English among the frontrunners, Ted Cruz and Clinton are the closest to being standard speakers of English. With Cruz, the difficult thing about listening to him is the nasality of his delivery, how nasal his voice is. I'm speaking about much more than just grammar and usage now in terms of speaking styles, but the nasality of Cruz makes it difficult for listeners.

john kasich

Kasich is quite listenable.

McMahon: You were very close to Justice Scalia, and your bond was through language. What was your relationship like?

Garner: I think that had it not been for David Foster Wallace’s review of "Modern American Usage," my collaboration with Justice Scalia would have never come about. He was a fan of that essay in Harper's. Actually he had forgotten by the time we were having breakfast for the first time that Wallace’s essay was about my book. He brought up the essay, and when I told him it was about "Modern American Usage," he said, "Well, your stock has just gone way up in my estimation." And we just hit it off over language.

David Foster Wallace Bryan Garner Scalia

He was a snoot, and I’m a snoot, according to Wallace’s definition— that was the bond between us. And I think his having a professional snoot to bounce ideas off was very appealing to him. Our ideas about language were very similar. He spent 48 hours here at my house on the way to a trip to Asia, and I showed him the page proofs — we spent about 30 minutes going through the page proofs of "GMEU" together — and he loved the ratios. He was very excited about them. I showed him his name in the front matter, and he was very appreciative of that. It occurred to me last night that I might have to have to add the phrase “the late” before “Antonin Scalia” in the front matter, in the acknowledgments, which was very sad to me. But he cared a great deal about language, and we would frequently look things up, both in my usage books and in Fowler when we were working together in his chambers.

Justice Antonin Scalia Bryan Garner interview

McMahon: Did Justice Scalia have any big pet peeves?

Garner: He thought I was a little too soft on “begging the question.” He was insisting that “begging the question” must always be about circular reasoning, but of course the empirical evidence is that very few people use it that way today. He could not stand it when somebody would say “cite to” — “you cite to a source” — as opposed to “citing a source.” That was a red flag for him. There were quite a few of them.

When we did the audiobook of “Making Your Case” together, we read sections in the book, our first book together. We were at the Supreme Court, in the conference room of the justices, and we were reading into this professional recording equipment, and there was a staff there monitoring the recording. We would frequently stop each other and correct each other’s pronunciation. We'd call for "Webster's Second International Dictionary," or "Webster's Third," and the "Shorter Oxford English Dictionary," and we would have these debates about how do you say this, how do you say that.

Bryan Garner interview Modern English Usage book

And he was surprised a great deal about standard pronunciations, so a word like “gravamen” — I think he said “grah-və-mən” and I persuaded him to say “grə-vay-mən,” only by showing him "Webster's Second." But we loved having these little debates.

He was very competitive — we were both competitive — so we liked trying to prove each other wrong on various things. And that’s a great game for snoots to play, to try to prove each other wrong.

McMahon: Have you been happy with the sales of your books?

Garner: Oh yeah — and thank goodness for online booksellers because it used to be that a book author was dependent on a few book buyers' decisions, the bricks-and-mortar stores. If they didn't carry your book, then it simply had no opportunity to sell.

Now the internet has opened up the marketplace and leveled the playing field so that anyone who writes a good, solid, useful book has a shot at selling it.

There was a time when the first edition of "Modern American Usage" came out, some of the bricks-and-mortar stores were declaring usage books to be a dead category, and they refused to buy any at all. That was very frustrating. But the internet has proved that judgment to be wrong.

McMahon: The internet has been pretty good to you — Google ngrams, online booksellers.

Garner: I can't complain. I'm a big fan.

McMahon: It's cool that you're pretty active on Twitter too.

Garner: It's a fascinating new genre of writing. But it can be very addicting, and you have to try to keep some balance and not just look at it all the time.

McMahon: I like it when you poke fun at news anchors' pronunciations.

Garner: I enjoy tweaking Bill O’Reilly from time to time on his mispronunciations, especially when he mispronounces his "Word of the Day." That is fascinating.

SEE ALSO: 'Garner's Modern English Usage' on Amazon

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Here's even more of a reason to eat like you live on the Mediterranean


Mediterranean food

An eating regimen that incorporates foods that are part of the Mediterranean diet just got even more confirmation that it may be good for your health.

In a study published Sunday in the European Heart Journal, researchers found that people with heart disease who ate more food associated with the Mediterranean diet — things like olive oil, fish, whole grains, and nuts — had fewer major heart problems than those who ate fewer of those foods.

To reach that conclusion, the researchers asked 15,000 people what they ate every day, and based on their responses ranked them as either more in line with a Mediterranean diet or a western one. The Mediterranean diet is modeled off of foods commonly eaten in countries on the Mediterranean Sea. It's typically high in fruits and vegetables, fish, and whole grains like whole wheat and brown rice. In contrast, a western diet is characterized as higher in refined grains, sugar, and deep fried foods.

Statistically speaking, people in the study who ate the most Mediterranean-style foods were also the least likely to experience severe heart problems like heart attacks, while people who ate the least of these foods were more likely to experience severe heart problems. However, the opposite conclusion could not be drawn for people with more western diets: People who ate the most western-style foods didn't necessarily have the most severe heart problems. 

The researchers' findings suggest that if you want the most heart health benefits, it's best to try increasing your intake of Mediterranean-style foods rather than trying to avoid western ones.

Previous studies have also linked the Mediterranean diet with a reduced risk of heart disease and breast cancer and still others have suggested the diet could have some potential memory-related benefits.

The researchers who worked on the latest study pulled their data from a survey that was part of a drug trial investigating a compound called Darapladib. As part of the study, 15,000 people with coronary heart diseasea narrowing of the small blood vessels that supply blood and oxygen to the heart, responded to a survey about what they ate every day. (Of those participating, about 97% were on a special type of medication called a statin that aims to lower cholesterol.) Their responses were ranked based on how well they aligned with a Mediterranean diet.

Almost four years later, the same participants took a follow-up survey. Based on their responses, they found that those that most closely followed a Mediterranean diet had fewer "major adverse cardiovascular events," such as a stroke or a heart attack, than those who followed it less closely or had more of a western diet.

There are a few caveats to the study: Because it was self-reported, it's difficult to know if the people ate exactly what they said they did (portion sizes could vary, etc.). Plus, because it was recorded in a survey and not a daily food diary, the responses weren't as comprehensive as they could have been. 

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The best places to eat, drink, and hang in Red Hook, Brooklyn


Best places in Red Hook Brooklyn NYC

Tired of Manhattan? Head to Red Hook, a laid-back neighborhood in western Brooklyn that's just far enough from the madding crowds.

Here, a cool vibe seeps into some fun restaurants and bars and a handful of charming shops.

No trains go to Red Hook, so it can be a hassle to get there, which is how many locals like it. But take the trip by cab, water taxi, bike, or the B61 bus, and you won't be disappointed.

We've rounded up our favorite spots to eat and drink and take in the views in the waterfront neighborhood.

The Brooklyn Icehouse

318 Van Brunt St., Brooklyn, NY 11231 (map)

A perfect dive and entry point to Red Hook, the Icehouse has a fun staff, a variety of beers, and good grub, including delicious pulled-pork sliders and just about perfect onion rings (the sweet-potato fries with chipotle mayo are good too).

While the bartenders play good tunes, you can play board games and watch pretty much any sporting event that's on TV. This place ain't fancy, which is how the locals like it. Bring cash, and try to snag a table in the beer garden out back.

Red Hook Lobster Pound

284 Van Brunt St., Brooklyn, NY 11231 (map)

This place recently reopened after a major renovation, and it's better than ever. The live lobsters come straight from Maine, and they're delicious whole or in a roll.

There's a lot of good stuff on the menu, such as the Berkshire pork-and-bacon hot dog, hearty New England clam chowder, and lobster cheese fries. Definitely order the potato salad. Good beer selection, fun atmosphere. Come very hungry.

Red Hook Food Vendors' Marketplace

Red Hook Recreation Fields (map)
160 Bay St., Brooklyn, NY 11231

The Red Hook food trucks have been a delicious destination for New Yorkers looking for authentic, traditional foods from Latin America since the '70s, according to the RHFV.

Pupusas, tamales, tacos, and much more are made fresh on-site every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Bring cash, come hungry, and try something from a few different trucks. Watch a soccer game while you eat.

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The 9 biggest misconceptions everyone has about cologne and perfume


bi_graphics_fragrance misconceptions_lead image

Fragrance is incredibly misunderstood.

Even the name confuses people. Many think cologne is for men and perfume is for women, but those terms merely refer to the concentration of scent oils in the fragrance — which is the basic, gender-neutral term.

There are many other misconceptions, so we decided, with the help of fragrance expert Marlen Harrison, Art of Manliness, and Fragrance.net, to bust as many as we could with helpful graphics.

Go forth and smell better.

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bathroom fragrance

While fragrance never "goes bad," it will start to smell differently than the perfumer intended.

smelling fragrance

It's actually impossible to tell how a fragrance will smell when mixed on your skin by sniffing a piece of a paper. Additionally, a fragrance can and will smell slightly different on different people's skin.

fragrance cloud

Apply to naturally warmer bodily areas like your neck and chest, as this will allow the scent to dissipate evenly throughout the day. Cardinal rule: Don't overdo it.

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15 of the healthiest fast-food menu items


Fast Food Sugar 11

Heading to McDonald's for a healthy lunch might not sound like an easy task.

But it can be.

We checked out the lunch and breakfast fare at dozens of on-the-go restaurants — from Chik-Fil-A to Wendy's to Starbucks— to give you a simple guide to some of the healthiest items they offer.

All of the choices we picked pack less than 500 calories, are fairly low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and include 15 or more grams of protein to keep you feeling full.

Check out these sandwiches, salads, bowls and burgers for a lighter on-the-go option:

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Chipotle — Chicken Burrito Bowl with brown rice & pinto beans, no cheese or sour cream — 500 calories

Chipotle has lots of fresh, healthier options. In general, nix the cheese and sour cream (an occasional dollop of guac is fine, since it's packed with healthy fats), and go for deconstructed alternatives to their burritos, like this one, which has:

500 calories— not too low, not too high 

42 g of protein— a hefty amount to strengthen muscles and fill you up

13.5 g of fat— a little on the high side

57 g of carbs— roughly one-third of your recommended daily allowance

805 mg of sodium — a little less than half your recommended daily allowance

Starbucks — Spinach and Feta Wrap — 290 calories

While the yummy pastries at Starbucks are sure to catch your eye mid-afternoon, sugary muffins and scones can leave you hangry. Their hot breakfast items, like this wrap, are likely a healthier, more filling anytime meal, with:

290 calories— pretty low as far as lunch goes; pair with a high-protein side like plain Greek yogurt

19 g of protein— a pretty good amount to strengthen muscles and fill you up

10 g of fat— not too low, not too high

33 g of carbs— pretty high; replace sugary or carb-heavy snacks with protein-rich ones

830 mg of sodium — just under half your daily allowance

In-N-Out — Cheeseburger with onion, ketchup, and mustard, no spread — 480 calories

You don't have to turn to the secret menu (we're lookin' at you, Protein-Style fans) to get a lighter option at In-N-Out. Swap the special sauce for some ketchup and mustard to slash some fat and calories, and opt for a regular burger instead of a Double-Double.

480 calories— not too high, not too low

22 g of protein— a good amount to strengthen muscles and fill you up

27 g of fat— on the high side (a little less than half your daily allowance)

41 g of carbs— roughly 14% of your recommended daily allowance

1080 mg of sodium — close to half your recommended daily allowance

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22 Mother's Day gifts under $50


2x1_mother's day gift guide 4

Moms truly are the best.

You can always splurge a little bit on Mother's Day— but you also don't have to break the bank to show her how much you care. You can rarely go wrong with a heartfelt card or homemade meal.

But just in case you want something to wrap, we found 22 gifts under $50 that will make her smile. 

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Give her the gift of a green thumb

No window box? No problem. Mom can grow her own herbs with this indoor garden planting kit.

Price: $5.80 per pot

Keep bits and bobs safe with a tiny ring dish

It might be made for rings, but there's no rule that it can't hold earrings, necklaces, or keys.

Price: $10

Help her unwind after a long day with floral bath tea

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Anthony Bourdain discusses the new season of 'Parts Unknown,' his favorite restaurants, and how he went from outsider chef to the top of the food world


Anthony Bourdain BI Interview

Anthony Bourdain is a master storyteller.

In 2000, at 44, he was propelled into stardom by his best-selling memoir, "Kitchen Confidential." It's the tell-all of a Manhattan chef unafraid to talk about the grittier side of the restaurant industry, as well as his own past struggles with drug addiction.

Its success led to another book deal, with an accompanying Food Network show, both called "A Cook's Tour." He left his role as executive chef of the Manhattan French restaurant Les Halles and became a television personality who traveled the world, next with the Travel Channel shows "No Reservations" and "The Layover," and then the CNN series "Parts Unknown."

Over the past 16 years, Bourdain, now 59, has explored the cultures and cuisines in locales across 80 countries, and he's won three Emmys and a Peabody award.

Bourdain has intentionally avoided leading any food projects since leaving the restaurant industry, but next year his name will be attached to a 155,000-square-foot (think three football fields), $60 million international market in New York City's Pier 57.

We recently spoke with Bourdain about the seventh season of "Parts Unknown," premiering on April 24, Bourdain Market, his favorite place in the world to eat, and his extraordinary career. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Richard Feloni: What about your experiences from your travels in this upcoming season surprised you?

Anthony Bourdain: I knew a little of the Philippines already, but this was a chance to learn about the Filipino character, and why so many of them end up as caregivers, essentially, looking after kids, looking after sick people — that instinct to give. There's also a musical aspect that seems ubiquitous. We're trying to tell a very personal Philippines story, and that was a highlight.

Senegal was a surprise. It's unlike any country I've been before. It's a slice of Islam that I think most people haven't seen, with a very different colonial history than a lot of people have seen. I think that's going to be a real eye-opener.

The situation in the Greek isles, where we shot, is very different from the mainland. They're doing fairly well in Naxos, mostly off predatory tourism, people looking for cheap prices in a buyer's market. They're doing pretty well compared to the mainland. So it's sort of an off-center perspective. And there is a shadow looming, however paradoxical it might seem, from the refugee crisis that has become an increasingly big factor in the country.

anthony bourdain bi interview bio

Feloni: You're now shooting an episode in Rome based on its dark fascist past.

Bourdain: It's not so much that it's a historical show. I think primarily I'm always looking to look at a place from a different perspective, and everybody's seen classic Rome and the Colosseum and the buildings of antiquity.

So I said, let's look at a completely different side of Rome, the EUR [Esposizione universale Roma, the district Mussolini intended to be Rome's new center], fascist-era architecture, early [film director] Pier Paolo Pasolini, Brutalist architecture— I deliberately tried to stay away from antiquity and monuments. Once I made that stylistic decision, I started to read a lot of history of when these structures were built and why.

I've been boning up on Mussolini-era Italy and there are a shocking number of similarities to current-day America, unfortunately.

I think it's worth remembering that Mussolini was elected. He was very, very popular, and basically could say anything he wanted on any given day of the week, completely reverse himself from his opinion yesterday and yet no one minded. I think that apparent need for a man on a horse, we might be in a similar time. I mean, I hope not.

Feloni: Are you getting at Trump specifically?

Bourdain: It won't appear in the show at all, but I hope it hangs in the air.

I mean, Mussolini served his country in combat and did a credible job, and I don't think you could say that about, you know, this guy.

Feloni: Moving to some brighter news. When did the idea for this Pier 57 market first start? When did it move forward in a real way?

Bourdain: We've been working on it for about four, five years. I've always loved those Southeast Asian hawker centers and the big wet market of Hong Kong and São Paulo and Barcelona, and I was sort of bitterly resentful as a New Yorker that we didn't have that. We should. We're a big international city, our diversity is our strength. We have millions of people from all over the world. Why don't we have a big market with democratically available, diversely priced food?

It's something we're missing, and I was given the opportunity to be part of a project that brings that to New York. I led that, and I don't know when it started to become something serious that looked like it was going to happen.

This was an opportunity that arose in New York, and I'm a New Yorker. If I was thinking if this is an extension of me, I would have had little eateries in airports years ago.

This is not a supermarket or a food center, a food hall, or any of that. This is a market that will sell produce and fish, and there will be butchers and bakers. But it will also have one-chef, one-dish specialized, independently owned and operated stalls.

And we're doing absolutely zero Italian, no Italian anything. I mean, Mario Batali does that very well with Eataly, and I don't see any need to duplicate efforts. So we'll assiduously stay away from that. It's not of any interest or expertise in any case.

Feloni: How much time will you spend working on it once it's launched?

Bourdain: There will certainly be no business within the market that I didn't say yes or no to. Will I be driving a forklift? Probably not.

Feloni: What does it mean to you to have this giant project with your name attached to it?

Bourdain: I wish my name wasn't on it! [Laughs] I think this is a great idea whether my name's on it or not. Personally, I would have been happy to live without my name on it. But wiser minds than me apparently thought it was a really important thing. I could live without that. I don't know. I've never done anything like this.

artist rendering of a portion of #bourdainmarket, art by @romanandwilliams #aleschart

A photo posted by Bourdain Market (@bourdainmarket) on Feb 3, 2016 at 4:38pm PST on

An artist's rendering of a portion of Bourdain Market, from Roman and Williams.

Feloni: Speaking of New York, I saw that you shared your favorite restaurants with The Daily Beast ...

Bourdain: Well, somehow it morphed from "What New York restaurants do you eat at when you come home from a long trip abroad" to "What are your favorite New York restaurants of all time"?

In any case, look, it's a respectable list and it accurately represents some aspects of my favorite places.

Anyways, date night is Korean barbecue. Also I love Tori Shin. I love to go for yakitori. That's sort of a go-to for me.

Feloni: What do you think of the New York restaurant scene right now?

Bourdain: I think it's good. It's come so, so, so, so far in just my lifetime. So much of what we have now would have been unthinkable 20 years ago, 25 years ago when I was still in the business.

You've got tattooed young people all over the city and all over the country making their own sausages, curing their own meat, and rotting things in their cellars, and they're acutely aware of the seasons and are aping obscure subgenres of like Basque-specific restaurants. It is a wonderful thing. And chefs are themselves empowered by this admittedly bizarre and frequently hilarious celebrity-chef phenomenon.

But what it's done is it's allowed them to cook as well as they know how, because people are interested in their best game now, and they're not showing up at their restaurant saying, "I'd like the chicken." They come in wanting to try Eric Ripert's food or Daniel Boulud's food and they don't go in there with a specific menu item in mind. I think that's a really important change in the landscape over the last 20 years.

anthony bourdain BI Interview top countries

Feloni: Why do you think that's happened?

Bourdain: I think the celebrity-chef thing. People started to put a face to the person in the kitchen, and they started to care about their opinion. And there are a lot of other factors as well, but I think that's an important one.

Feloni: How do you consider your influence? Xi'an Famous Foods, for example, blew up after you featured it on your show.

Bourdain: Look, I try not to f--- places up. You know what I mean? I'm aware of the fact that sometimes if we put this wonderful little neighborhood bar that's beloved by locals and no one else knows about it, if we put that on TV, that we could change its character forever, or that the owner might be happy for the additional money, but the other customers will be miserable and angry and I've basically ruined an important part of their lives.

I think about that a lot, and there have been occasions where we won't even give the name of the establishment that we put on camera. And there have been times where we deliberately shoot in such a way that you'll never find it.

I don't want to hurt people. I don't want to change the world in a bad way, if I can avoid it.

Feloni: In your book "Medium Raw," you start off by saying how your perspective has changed since writing "Kitchen Confidential." That was six years ago. When you look back at each of those versions of yourself, what do you see?

Bourdain: I know the guy who wrote "Kitchen Confidential" very well. He's not me anymore. I'm not boiling with rage. I don't live in this tiny, tunnel-vision world. I had such a limited view of what reality was like outside of the kitchen doors — I had no clue! I never lived with normal people. I lived in the restaurant universe for my entire adult life.

I'm no longer the star of the movie. At all. That's it!

It's a huge relief in a lot of ways. And it's such an understatement to say that having a kid changes your life. You're just no longer the first person you think about or care about. You're not the most important person in the room. It's not your film. The music doesn't play for you — it's all about the girl. And that changes everything.

Feloni: And in those past six years, do you see a change in your relationship to celebrity food culture, or cooking competitions, or branding?

Bourdain: I work really hard to not ever think about my place in the world.

I'm aware of my good fortune. I'm very aware of it, and I'm very aware that, because of it, people offer me things. Opportunities to do extraordinary things. The ones that are interesting to me are collaborations. I get to work with people who 10 years ago I wouldn't have dreamed to have been able to work with. And that's a big change professionally, and it's something that I think about a lot. How can I creatively have fun, do some interesting stuff, not repeat myself? Have fun. Play in a creative way. I like making things.

Feloni: Are there any aspects of food culture, on the Food Network or elsewhere, that still bother you? Everyone likes to talk about the tension between you and Guy Fieri, for example.

Bourdain: No. I keep saying it's fodder for comedy, but I basically do a stand-up act in 10 or 12 cities a year. I stand up in front of an audience at a theater and I'm expected to talk for an hour. If you're sitting there in front of a couple thousand people who paid a lot of money to see you, they don't really want to talk about sustainable agriculture for an hour and a half. They would like the occasional dick joke. And the dick jokes better be funny!

So if you're a middle-aged dude walking around in a flame jacket, there will be the occasional joke about you.

Feloni: Was it about the personality or the level of food as well? In your own show, you visited Waffle House with chef Sean Brock.

anthony bourdain

Bourdain: I think Waffle House is such an important part of Sean Brock's career and life. And he just was so overwhelmingly enthusiastic about it in an earnest way. And I appreciate the mechanics of what they do.

By the way, the way Waffle House works, the whole system is really interesting, and the fact that they're so completely forgiving of outrageously disgusting drunken behavior. Which is, of course, the only way to really appreciate the Waffle House. [Laughs] I gather the food tastes really good because you're drunk. But if you're drunk and at the Waffle House, it's pretty awesome.

I could think of a couple of times I ended up in the Fieri Zone. Sean Brock took me to a place that he loved and that was important in his life. And David Choe took me to Sizzler, which was genuinely important to his life.

Ordinarily, these are not establishments I would have thought of going to. I'd never been to a Waffle House — I felt kind of stupid. I wish I had known more.

Feloni: What do you think the worst thing in food culture right now is?

Bourdain: I mean, there's always snobbery of course.

A couple years ago, I'm holding my daughter's hand and I walk into the supermarket in my neighborhood — I live in the Upper East Side. We're there to buy oranges and lemons, right? And there's the organic produce and the nonorganic sections. And I automatically head over to the nonorganic and I look around and there are all these Upper East Side housewives looking at me like I'm a f---ing war criminal and they're about to call child-protective services. It was so bad that I slump over to the organic section just so these ladies wouldn't hate me.

Feloni: So it's just snobbery over nonsense?

Bourdain: I don't need a 10-minute description of my food. Look, it's annoying but not the worst thing in the world. At least people are interested enough to want to know the details. You'll hear the name of the farm, the name of the farmer, what my cattle was fed. I don't need to know all of that.

But I'm glad that people are aware and think about these things, and I'm glad when waiters and servers know. And I'm glad that chefs are making the real effort to get the best quality ingredients and that the public is more and more likely to appreciate it and even understand it. So I mean, it's good.

I just think that the great food writers, the great enthusiasts — like A.J. Liebling— is that they're not snobs. You can't be a great food writer and a snob about food and just want fancy, expensive ingredients. You have to appreciate the qualities of a properly greasy fast-food burger. Or a short-order burger, at least.

anthony bourdain world tour bi interview

Feloni: How do you determine how your trips will unfold? Are there ever times on a shoot when you just get vicious food poisoning? Do you still abide by that early philosophy that if you eat something and get sick, it might be worth it just for the experience?

Bourdain: I've found that you're not going to have the really great travel experiences if you're not willing to experience the bad ones. If you don't leave yourself open for things to happen to you, nothing really is going to happen to you, good or bad.

The great travel epiphanies seem to sneak up on you because you kind of f---ed up, you took a wrong turn, and you ended up in a place where you permitted events to unfold. That means you're going to eat some bad meals in your life.

Because I'm with a camera crew, people are being nice to us, they're giving us their hospitality, and often a lot of their self-image or their image in the neighborhood counts on that. I try very hard to be polite. I may end up at grandma's house and I may not like grandma's turkey, but I'm sure as hell going to clean my plate and compliment her on it because it's her house. And that's a really important part of being a guest. You eat what's offered wherever you are. That's why the show works the way it does, because not just me but my whole crew take that attitude, that we're happy and grateful to be there and we're willing to try anything that's offered in good faith.

I get ill very infrequently.

anthony bourdain

Feloni: So you just have to be up for things you normally wouldn't be?

Bourdain: It depends what you're looking for. I had a very good idea when I went to Libya and eastern Congo, I had a pretty good idea what the risks were, and what it was going to be like, and I made a calculated decision. In some cases, it was worse than we anticipated, or more difficult. In others, it ended up working out pretty well.

I try not to travel stupidly. I'm not looking to go full Geraldo [Rivera] out there in my flak jacket and sticking my head out of the foxhole just for a good shot. I have the responsibility to try to stay alive for my daughter, and to not get my camera people killed on some narcissistic television show.

Feloni: And when you are back home in New York and aren't going out, do you still cook?

Bourdain: Yes. Oh, I cook a lot. I cook for my daughter every day. I prepare my daughter's school lunch every day and I'll cook dinner every night I'm home.

I have some go-to dishes. But if my daughter doesn't like the idea of something, we're sure as hell not having it. I do Christmas and Thanksgiving and often New Year's at home and invite friends and family. Then all summer long I take an inordinate amount of pleasure in being a super-normal dad, like standing in the backyard with an apron and grilling cheeseburgers and hot dogs. Though I'm a little more organized than the average dad!

I do clambakes, steamer clams, and lobster — basically the greatest hits from my summer vacations as a kid. I try to inflict them on my family. Pasta, spaghetti and meatballs — I make a decent meatball. I love making meatloaf. I cook home food. I'm not doing anything too fancy. Even when I have friends over it's pretty straight-ahead. My daughter's birthday's coming up, I'm doing roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, gravy, succotash — and, oh yeah, my daughter asked for foie gras! This is a bad sign!

Feloni: Having traveled the world several times over, is there a cuisine or part of the world that always draws you in and surprises you?

Bourdain: Japan is endlessly, endlessly interesting to me. I just returned from shooting yet another episode there with Masa Takayama and oh it was just amazing. I've made more shows there than any other country and I don't think I've even scratched the surface and I don't think I ever will.

Feloni: Do you have a favorite Japanese dish?

Bourdain: Oh, god, it's hard to pick. Give me some good uni, a really good soba with duck dipping sauce — duck dipping dressing is really amazing — and I adore good yakitori.

SEE ALSO: Ray Dalio, head of the world's largest hedge fund, explains his succession plan for Bridgewater and how its 'radically transparent' culture is misunderstood

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NOW WATCH: This 27-year-old quit her corporate finance job to travel the world

How to make a mint julep


The Kentucky Derby is coming up, and there's no better way to celebrate than with a refreshing mint julep. This is an easy-to-make classic drink that looks all the more tempting when served in a frosty julep cup (though a regular glass will do just fine though). Our secret? Instead of simply muddling mint in the bottom of each glass, make mint simple syrup for a punch of flavor.

Mint Juleps

Makes: 2 drinks

2 bunches mint, divided

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

6 ounces bourbon

2 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters (optional, but delicious)

plenty of crushed ice

powdered sugar, for dusting

1. First, make your mint simple syrup. In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 cup of water. Add 1 bunch of mint leaves (about 1/2 cup), place over medium heat, and stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes. Set the syrup aside to cool slightly (you can speed this up by placing it in the refrigerator). Once the syrup has cooled, strain the mint leaves from the syrup and discard. You will have leftover syrup, but that just means that you get to drink more juleps.

2. In a mixing glass, add a few cubes of ice and add in 6 ounces of bourbon, 2 dashes of bitters, and 2 ounces of mint simple syrup. Stir and pour into two frosty glasses, then top with lots of crushed ice. Divide your other bunch of mint leaves into two bouquets and garnish your drinks, then add straws and dust with powdered sugar. Drink and repeat.

Story and editing by Sydney Kramer and Kristen Griffin

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What cocaine does to your body and brain


Whether it's snorted, smoked, or injected, cocaine enters the bloodstream and starts affecting the brain in a matter of seconds. Once there, it interferes with the brain's normal process of absorbing and recycling certain hormones, including those that play key roles in pleasure, desire, and drive.

Users feel this excess as intense euphoria.

But the high is short-lived, and in most cases lasts anywhere from five to 30 minutes. Regular, heavy use can have negative consequences, from nose bleeds to permanent lung damage and even death. 

One part of the brain that appears to be most acutely affected by cocaine includes key memory centers. Scientists are studying the role this might play in addiction, since it could help explain why for some people, seeing certain places, people, or things that were linked with the experience of using can trigger a desire to return to the drug despite negative consequences of using.

bi_graphics_what cocaine does to your body and mind

SEE ALSO: What marijuana does to your body and brain

READ NEXT: The answer to treating drug and alcohol addiction may be far simpler than you think

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NOW WATCH: 7 surprising medical benefits of marijuana

An Australian politician set a river on fire to show the effects of fracking on the environment

This photographer’s shots of Chicago's entrepreneurs are a magical twist on 'Humans of New York'


lucila blades

When Kentaro Yamada lost his full-time job in 2012, he felt pretty defeated.

"[I felt] that society didn't need me, and it would move along just fine without me," he told Business Insider.

However, Yamada is an eternal optimist, and he decided to turn the downtime into something productive. 

"I decided to make sure one positive thing happened in the midst of that uncertainty, and that was to learn photography seriously," he said.

Greatly inspired by Brandon Stanton, the photographer behind Humans of New York, Yamada knew that he wanted to document people. He decided to add his own magical take: including levitating objects in the shot. 

Photographing both his subjects and their prized posessions, Yamada has now documented a handful of Chicago's own successful entrepreneurs for a project he calls "The Uplifted".

As for his process creating a final, finished image, he said, "I usually capture a subject and objects separately and combine the two later in Photoshop."

Ahead, 13 Chicagoans and their stories, as told by Yamada. 

SEE ALSO: A photographer leans out of a flying helicopter to capture these gorgeous aerial shots of New York City

April Carlisle oversees shopper and customer marking initiatives as a senior vice president at Leo Burnett. This mother of two once competed in the National Jigsaw Puzzle Championships years ago. Yamada had her pose with her prized jigsaw puzzle globe.

Bluford Putnam is the chief economist of the CME Group, browsing through weather reports, unemployment numbers, and currency trends around the world to formulate economic outlooks. Here, he proudly levitates his first published book, "The Monetary Approach to International Adjustment", which he wrote in 1982.

Bruce Daugherty is a senior vice president at one of Chicago's most successful pizzerias, Connie's Pizza. This busy grandfather of four multitasks daily, looking after the supplies at storefronts nationwide.

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A restaurant in Barcelona makes dishes that look like other foods

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