1. The Low-Budget, High-Pressure Life Of An MLS Rookie — BuzzReads
Major League Soccer is the only pro sports league in America where superstars can earn 140 times more than their teammates. Eighteen years into its existence, can it continue to survive without paying talented rookies like the Los Angeles Galaxy’s Kofi Opare to stay and play in the U.S.? Read it at BuzzFeed.
2. The Importance of Being Not Ernest — New York Times Magazine
A fun profile of Mariel Hemingway — the once 17-year-old co-star of Woody Allen’s Manhattan and legacy to a family famed for its suicide and depression. Amanda Fortini spends time with the 51-year-old health obsessive and her partner at their paradisiacal California ranch. Read it at the New York Times Magazine.
Brian Castner describes the squad’s reaction in the minutes and hours following the attack: “I deployed twice to Iraq, where I dismantled car bombs and investigated suicide attacks. I’ve witnessed the worst that humans can do to each other. But I have never experienced anything like what the Boston bomb squad went through in April.” Read it at Wired.
4. The Church of Jedi — Details
Benjamin Svetkey takes a look at an unlikely new religion: “Yes, they’re followers of the faith from Star Wars that helped Luke Skywalker pilot X-wing fighters with his eyes closed and Anakin Skywalker, a.k.a. Darth Vader, choke people from across a room. The Force. The Dark Side. The divine wisdom of a 900-year-old backward-speaking puppet.” Read it at Details.
5. Fire-Eaters — The New Yorker
Lauren Collins discusses those who’ve devoted themselves to finding the world’s hottest chilis in this entertaining read. “Chilis are the male equivalent of cupcakes, tempting entrepreneurial amateurs with dreams of a more flavorful life.” Read it at The New Yorker.
Even as public perception shifts and marriage equality gains headway, LGBT parents, who are raising an estimated 6 million children in the U.S., face discriminatory parental and adoption rights. Many trans parents especially have to choose between retaining custody of their children and coming out. Read it at BuzzFeed.
7. The Old Man Next Door — Los Angeles Magazine
One of the nation’s most wanted men, notorious former mobster James “Whitey” Bulger, wasn’t hiding overseas or in a hole — he lived a comfortable life in Santa Monica for 16 years. This is the story of his final days before his 2011 capture. Read it at Los Angeles Magazine.
Adam L. Penenberg hires a hacker to hack him in this story on the state of cyber security. “What I learned is that virtually all of us are vulnerable to electronic eavesdropping and are easy hack targets.” Read it at Pando Daily.
Louis Peitzman explores the relationship between homosexuality and horror in this essay, a subject that’s intrigued him since watching Nightmare on Elm Street as a kid. “It would be silly to say Freddy frightened me because I saw myself in him: As a teenager, I was nowhere near that snarky. But I felt a connection, however subtle, and it’s something that took me years to articulate.” Read it at BuzzFeed.