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Every Wednesday we’re giving you a deeper look into what makes the minds behind Kempt tick. We call it: The Kempt Five.

Michigan v KansasBill James’s Safe Lead Calculation. “It’s March. Which means it’s time for everyone to become a college basketball fan for at least a month. It also means it’s time to break out Bill James’s ingenious math equation for knowing exactly when—or if at all—a team’s lead is large enough to absolutely guarantee victory, regardless of how much time is left on the clock. James devised the MLB’s revolutionary sabermetrics rating system, but he’s also a huge NCAA basketball nut. And he’s a serial number cruncher. So, over decades of watching his beloved Jayhawks, he perfected an equation to predict whether a team is far enough ahead in a game to definitively know they’ll end up winning. And it actually works. I’ll let him explain—the half points and squared numbers might sound overly complicated on first read, but really it isn’t. Just have a calculator handy (pro tip: there’s one on your phone). Then, go forth a newly minted March Madness Nostradamus…” —N.B.

031214_FIVE_2The North Face Lightweight Fleece. At the risk of sounding extremely #normcore, let me preface with this: I’m from California. So is the North Face. So is Patagonia. These are labels we’ve always worn, so don’t come at me like a fashion bro. Anyway, I picked up this lightweight fleece—cut a bit trimmer than the chunkier ones you’ll remember from high school—and it’s been great on weekends. I wore it as a middle layer while skiing in Tahoe. I can throw it over a short-sleeved button-down for a light layer of extra warmth (did I mention it’s already spring in California?). And I don’t feel an ounce of irony while wearing it. Sometimes a fleece is just a fleece, man.” —N.B.

031214_FIVE_3The Returned on Netflix. “If you’re looking for some occult weirdness to fill the gaping hole-in-the-universe True Detective left, this French import (recently made available on Netflix) is a safe bet. Here’s the premise: a select group of dead people return to their small town (think Twin Peaks’ eponymous municipality, minus the irony/profligate donut consumption), ostensibly unchanged. It’s technically a zombie show except, in a delightfully French twist, the zombies are all quietly beautiful, and instead of eating humans and wreaking havoc will apparently settle for turkey sandwiches and weighty interpersonal drama. Because feasting on flesh is just, like, so passé anyway…” —S.E.

031214_FIVE_4The Gin Joint and the Bar at HUSK (pictured), Charleston, SC. “Sure, the Holy City is a great place to eat biscuits and grits until you’ve grown a coupla waist sizes. But it’s also a great place to drink. These are the best places to do it. At the Gin Joint, you tell them two vibes you’re feeling (like ‘spicy’ and ‘refreshing’), and they’ll whip you up, say, a subtly peppery tequila-mezcal number that will have you regretting not asking for the proper name. But the Bar at HUSK—adjacent to the fine, if a tad overrated, HUSK—is like the Library of Congress for American whiskey. Grab a seat at the bar, ask a lot of questions and prepare for study. For delicious, delicious study.” —P.L.U.

031214_FIVE_5Emperor Maximilian of Mexico. “I love weird history. So I was excited to pick up a secondhand copy of Fernando Del Paso’s News from the Empire last week, a historical novel covering the delightfully bizarre reign of Maximilian I, Emperor of Mexico. He was an Austrian archduke and second in line to the Hapsburg throne who ended up becoming Mexico’s monarch for three years following a French invasion (and it only gets weirder). I found this early photograph of the emperor himself, just oozing Hapsburg swagger and natty modernity.” —E.T.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Najib Benouar
    Sam Eichner
    Eric Twardzik
    Paul L. Underwood