Analysis & Comment

Summer’s Unofficial Start

When I picture time passing, I think of a calendar — specifically, a full-year calendar printed on one page, the sort that a bank or a restaurant might hand out as a freebie, emblazoned with its logo.

The year is laid out as a grid: three rows, four months to a row. I picture each row as seasons elapsing: The top row starts mostly cold and dreary with January, but by the end of the row, in April, it’s milder and brighter and there’s this feeling of almost arriving into the second row, where things open up. May through August is the marrow of the year, when daylight is at its maximum, when things feel a little looser and more possible. The middle row is, for summer partisans, really the only row worth languishing in.

However you picture time, you probably have a distinct feeling about this weekend, Memorial Day, summer’s unofficial start. Disbelief seems to be the prevailing response this year: How can it be summer again, where has the time gone? “Time’s a flat circle, a record spinning, always and forever returning to its start,” my colleague Sam Sifton wrote in the Cooking newsletter yesterday, and he’s right. We’re still figuring out the tricks time pulled over the past few years, how it stretched and contracted, sped up and slowed and there was, for a while there, time to contemplate it.

Ready or not, it’s summer again. The calendar has decreed it — even if the weather or your wardrobe or your kids or your garden aren’t ready. Memorial Day weekend forces a mind-set shift. Beaches open up, mattresses are on sale, you can smell someone grilling. (Maybe it’s you.) The middle row is in full swing.

If it all feels too abrupt and you’re struggling to catch up, might I suggest planning your summer movie schedule? I’ve been patiently awaiting Nicole Holofcener’s latest, “You Hurt My Feelings,” starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Tobias Menzies, which opens this weekend. Other highlights: John Slattery directs Jon Hamm and Tina Fey in “Maggie Moore(s),” opening on June 16. There’s a Wham! documentary coming to Netflix on July 5. “Indiana Jones” arrives on June 30, “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer” on July 21.

We’ve also got a bunch of selections for your beach- or park- or couch-reading pleasure: Try a thriller, a romance, perhaps an audiobook? The two audiobooks on our list that are about birds sound enchanting and seasonally appropriate.

And of course, there’s always summer’s unofficial (or perhaps it’s official?) fruit, the strawberry, which stars in three Melissa Clark recipes, each of which seems poised to join Jerrelle Guy’s strawberry spoon cake in my personal pantheon of the world’s best desserts.

For more

From 2019, 100 years of Memorial Day coverage in The Times.

If you find yourself in traffic this weekend, here’s a game to calm your nerves. (Back-seat drivers only.)

Or, listen to my story of the poem that brings me comfort when times are tough. It’s on New York Times Audio, a new iOS app that Times news subscribers can download here.


Tina Turner, who died at 83, was a tornado and a treasure. She lived “so galactically, so contagiously,” that Wesley Morris, a Times critic, hardly believed she could die.

In the Swiss town where she lived, Turner was a neighbor, not a star. No one bothered her when she went shopping or stood in line at the post office.

Bob Mackie, a designer, reflected on dressing Turner for years. See the looks.

A live action adaptation of “The Little Mermaid” was released in the U.S. Halle Bailey, who plays Ariel, discussed the film’s racist backlash.

Despite the uproar, “The Little Mermaid” stays dutiful to the original. That’s to its detriment, Wesley Morris writes. See one of the scenes.

Gustavo Dudamel, the star maestro set to take over the New York Philharmonic, is leaving the Paris Opera four years ahead of schedule.

A new trailer for “Barbie” was quickly converted to memes, The Cut reports.

The social highlight of the Cannes Film Festival was a 100th anniversary party for Warner Bros., attended by Hollywood’s biggest stars and media executives.

University of Alabama sorority sisters assessed the accuracy of a documentary about their rush process.

A documentary about the actress Mary Tyler Moore examines her life personifying a kind of hopeful, second-wave feminism.

Padma Lakshmi, the longtime host of “Top Chef,” visits immigrant communities throughout the United States in the second season of “Taste the Nation.”


The U.S. will run out of money to pay its bills on time by June 5, the Treasury Department said, a slightly delayed forecast for political leaders trying to reach a debt limit deal.

A judge temporarily blocked a new law in South Carolina restricting abortion access after six weeks of pregnancy.

Colleges will be able to hide a student’s race on applications submitted through the widely used Common App.

Russians appear to be souring on the casualty numbers from the war in Ukraine.

The Republican-dominated Texas House will vote today on the impeachment of the state’s Republican attorney general, Ken Paxton.

An obscure Covid-era tax credit has become a magnet for fraud.


📚 “Genealogy of a Murder: Four Generations, Three Families, One Fateful Night” (Tuesday): I can’t wait to dive into Lisa Belkin’s true crime tale that charts the histories of three men involved in a 1960 murder. In his review in The Times, Robert Kolker called it “a somewhat knotty yet exhilarating, intimate study of fate, chance and the wildly meaningful intersections of disparate lives.” Doesn’t that sound enticing?

🎶 Cowboy Junkies, “Such Ferocious Beauty” (Friday): The Canadian alt-country band Cowboy Junkies has a new album coming out. If you, like me, can still sing every word to every song on the group’s 1988 album “The Trinity Session,” you’ll be happy to know that Margo Timmins’s voice is as melancholy and enchanting as ever.


By Melissa Clark

Classic Deviled Eggs

It’s Memorial Day Weekend, the official start to cookout and picnic season. That means there’s a good chance you’re contemplating deviling some eggs for nibbling while the grill heats up. You can’t go wrong with this classic recipe, filled with egg yolks, mayonnaise and mustard spiked with hot sauce. You can boil and peel the eggs the day before, and even mix together the filling. But don’t spoon it into the whites until as close to serving time as possible. And be sure to make extra: You never know how long it might take for those coals to catch.


What you get for $2.7 million: A Carpenter Gothic showplace in Shelter Island Heights, N.Y.; an 1890 home in Key West, Fla.; or a midcentury-modern house in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

The hunt: She wanted a home in the Hamptons for $4 million. Which one did she choose? Play our game.

Lighting for summer nights: Outdoor lighting makes everything more magical.

Montauk trailer park: A different kind of second home.

A garden as art: The designer of the High Line shares his secrets.


Solo bachelorette: Some brides are ditching the parties in favor of a trip alone.

Digital spring cleaning: Try these tips for healthier engagement on social media.

Hold it together: Make comfort food and ditch the to-do list.

Joy around the world: What are the happiest countries doing right?


Make your vacuum last

If your long-weekend plans include tidying your home for summer guests, give your vacuum some T.L.C. to make it more effective — even the best model won’t clean well if you don’t occasionally tend to it. Glutted dustbins, stinky filters, and hair tangles reduce suction and can lead to the premature death of battery and motor. Simple, routine maintenance, like cleaning the filter and untangling the brush roll, will keep your vacuum running for years and save money over time. — Sabine Heinlein

Wirecutter is giving away a Miele Complete C3 Calima vacuum. Enter for a chance to win.


Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Tampa Bay Rays, M.L.B.: Enjoy some baseball with your Sunday morning coffee. The Rays have the best record in the majors this season, and it’s not a fluke — by some measures, they have the top offense and the best starting pitching, Eno Sarris notes in The Athletic. The Dodgers, who lead their division, are thriving thanks to Mookie Betts, an All-Star outfielder who was asked to play shortstop because of injuries on the team and turned out to be great at it. 11:30 a.m. Eastern tomorrow, streaming on Peacock.

For more

Baseball’s new rules are working: “A whole lot of dead time is gone, and nobody wants it back,” The Times’s Tyler Kepner writes.

Games are almost half an hour shorter on average, and base stealing is way up, as these charts from The Upshot show.


The pangram from yesterday’s Spelling Bee was blocked. Here are today’s puzzle and the Bee Buddy, which helps you find remaining words.

See the hardest Spelling Bee words from this week.

Take the news quiz to see how well you followed this week’s headlines.

And here are today’s Mini Crossword, Wordle and Sudoku.

Thanks for spending part of your weekend with The Times. — Melissa

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Melissa Kirsch is the deputy editor of Culture and Lifestyle at TheTimes and writes The Morning newsletter on Saturdays. @melissakirsch

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