Sunday, May 22, 2016

Follow-up ramble

I'd wanted to see Machu Picchu since I first learned about it decades ago. It was twenty some years ago, according to our guide, that the tourism really picked up. I asked the guide whether the uptick had been, on balance, good or bad for the local community. He said it was, emphatically, good. That said, people in Cusco--including those that benefitted from the influx in tourism--said that the rising prices were hard to keep up with for the locals.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

I'm back (a ramble), or Peru

"We don't have to go to Machu Picchu now," Camille said at Ollantaytambo, on our first full day in Peru.


At the Ollantaytambo ruins
Ollanta--as the locals call it--was stunningly beautiful, as was the rest of the Sacred Valley, which we'd visit over the next few days as we acclimated to the altitude and awaited our lost luggage before starting the Inca Trail. There was beauty everywhere we looked. Just when I thought I was ruined out, the next set of ruins (and the surrounding countryside) blew my mind.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sunday ramble with photos

I got a new camera soon after returning from Southeast Asia nearly a year and a half ago. My then-camera had had it--I'm lucky it lasted the trip--and I emerged from Koh Rong Samloem disappointed that I couldn't take pictures of the amazing sea-life that we saw when we snorked there. So I got a waterproof camera and it sat until a few weeks ago, when I realized I should test it out before I take it on my upcoming vacation. And so, here are some photos from the garden.

Japanese honeysuckle from hell--sawed the big root

Spent multiple days pulling at the small roots...

I am determined to reclaim my raised bed and plant things in it


hostas along the side

exactly one rose has bloomed

the azalea is still looking good

Quick Sunday roundup

Aleppo is burning, and Congo is still burning.

When I'm at my parents' house, I have to contend with Fox News, including Hannity, who, the last time I had to listen to him, was still bitter about former Attorney General Holder's 'cowards about race' comment. Well, Mr. Holder was spot-on. Case in point: why are people upset about Larry Wilmore's WHCD speech?

On a related note: have you been wondering about Becky?

RIP Prince. I loved this story and the video.

Most of this was lost on me, but I echo my earlier comments about how selling women the need to wear make-up isn't feminist.

Scientists, like everyone else, ought to stay in their lane. See also.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Sunday roundup

Could Christians please quit trying to coopt Judaism? And no, don't ask me why I, Pastafarian Jew, get to pick and choose my rituals. Fine, do: it's because as a former Soviet Jew, my traditions were taken from my family through a policy of deliberate cultural dilution. Yes, that means we get to cling to rituals even if we don't believe in the theology behind them.

Oh, here's another artifact of being Soviet: you don't believe in socialism.

Don't be shitty. Do make art when people send you pictures of their junk.

Empowerment isn't about buying things; it's about not giving a fuck and being yourself:
“When you look at me on the telly, and say she should be on ‘The Undateables,’” she explained, in retelling, to the crowd, “you are looking at a 59-year-old woman. That is what 59-year-old women who have not had work done look like. Get it?” (In fact, Ms. Beard was 57 at the time, but the point stands.)

This, said Tina Brown, the founder of the Women in the World conference (in which The New York Times is an investor), amounted to a “battle cry,” a vindication of one of the rights of woman: to look, even in her 50s, like her unvarnished self.

These Audobon photography winners!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Saturday roundup and ramble

Georgetown sold slaves.

Alzheimer's is awful.

I don't agree with everything in either of these but I appreciate the nuance and appreciation for complexity in policy.

Russian immigrants understandably want nothing to do with socialism, but I have more trouble understanding how Trump could appeal to them.

People are still in denial about meat and climate change.

On fracking.

Introverts aren't less social; we just can't handle small talk and other bullshit.

The office isn't the only place where women are expected to supply free labor.

I sort of agree with this:
Because men too lazy to make the first move don’t buy flowers. They don’t plan picnics. They don’t remember anniversaries.
Then again, I'm single (and then again again, I'm not stuck with a lazy dude).

Friday, April 8, 2016

Friday evening roundup (brought to you by food poisoning and spring cleanup)

Don't let the meat industry convince you that you need meat.

Good for the U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic for being out and proud and inspirational.

God forbid women have ambition, exist, or act on what's attractive to them:
Making abortion inaccessible only tortures women.

An excellent explanation of why veganism is consistent with choice:
That organic compound within the womb takes a long time to develop consciousness – and thus to hold sentience. But the woman, whose womb it is, is conscious the whole time. If she is suffering, or being tortured by carrying a baby she doesn’t want – or worse still, doesn’t want the pain or suffering of child birth – then that is something we should take seriously. And given that we have the medical knowledge to help get those cells out of her, we err greatly by denying her the right to do so. There’s no difference between a foetus in the earlier stages and semen, in rational terms. Cells are cells. So we should be pro-choice in abortion for the same reasons we are pro-choice about whether men want to carry ejaculated semen around in their pocket all day.

Dr. Nerdlove on boundaries and how toxic people abuse the social contract to erode them. So much RM in there.

Bilingual toddlers are smarter.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Saturday ramble Part II

Twitter and the internets as a whole have been abuzz about women and makeup. Grace Spelman had a thing about men who profess their preference for women without makeup but don't understand makeup. I have long been amused by dudes who think that anything women do is about them, so I absolutely believe that women who do make up do it for themselves, but it's just not my drug. I prefer not dealing with makeup, and especially not paying/splurging for it. But to each her own.

Every aesthetic decision I make is driven primarily by convenience and efficiency, but some may be mistaken for a fashion statement. I really, truly prefer dresses because they're quick, comfortable, and easy, but I've had to answer questions (like "why are you wearing pants?").

Laurie Penny had a whole thing (you can find it linked on these pages) about how she wears her hair short for convenience and not giving a fuck, but I wear my hear long for the same reasons. In fact, I went to get a haircut yesterday and told the stylist that I liked the cut I'd been sporting for the last few years but I was sick of it, and what if we cut it short. He talked me out of it--warned me that with the texture and quantity of hair that I have, anything above shoulder-length would be a hassle (or a disaster). I need the weight of long hair to make it manageable. I'm not making this up--the stylist said it.

I think this brings us back to this: dudes, nobody cares what you think.

Saturday ramble Part I

I rambled last week about trying to talk to one of my friends about the amicable, appropriate demise of a short relationship. That ramble was about Not Listening, but I have a related ramble about indicator issues--which is what sparked the conversation that I came to regret.

Specifically, what sparked the conversation was coffee grinds--even more specifically, the coffee grinds the dude I was then-dating had splattered all over the counter. The splattering in and of itself did not faze or annoy me, but it made me wonder at the time whether in the long run, this kind of thing would make me crazy. This was not the first splattering-like incident with that dude, and I was starting to wonder--among the other things that were not working--whether his level of practical unhelpfulness, which I could overlook on an incidental basis, would be corrosive in the long run. As I tried to explain to my friend who kept interrupting, I would have been more likely to overlook it entirely had everything else been going right. In fact, I only brought it up because we were talking about how couples manage tension--whether by bickering, avoiding, etc.

You can (and should, under the right circumstances) overlook those things, but you have to admit that they won't go away and they'll only get more frustrating with time. What's a non-incident when you're enjoying a leisurely morning becomes a major headache when you're trying, for example, to get kids out the door.

In the dude's case, the coffee grinds were just coffee grinds, but sometimes that kind of thing is an indicator of a deeper issue. I thought about how I was rarely annoyed with RM on a practical level; I was infuriated by his inability to listen. I mean, I didn't love taking his food-mess trash out of the uncovered bin in the kitchen and moving it to the covered one in the utility room, but what I really fucking resented was that I'd asked him to throw anything with traces of food out into that other bin many times and he never listened. Similarly, I didn't resent him for not taking out the trash the one time I asked him to; I resented his posturing--his "just let me what I can do to help" followed by radio silence and a stare when I said, "I'm running late, could you take out the trash."

But back to not listening, because if there is one thing IRFR (I really fucking resent) it's not listening. As Marshall Goldstein puts it--I'm paraphrasing, since I can't find my copy of his book--it's a form of disrespect. In addition to any practical consequences, it makes the other person feel disrespected, if not gaslit. I still remember this guy who tried to date me in grad school--and I have no other reason to remember this guy. He pursued me intensively and simultaneously alienated me by demonstrating a persistent unwillingness to listen. At one point during finals, he'd asked me if I was interested in going with him to a book fair somewhere in Rockville. I said I needed to get out, but I also needed to do something outdoorsy--a short hike--to clear my head. So we'd agreed, or so I thought, to a quick trip to a book fair, followed by a hike. Except the book fair took forever to get to and then he wouldn't leave--and he knew this was not part of the deal because he kept apologizing profusely. We stayed until I threatened to leave him there and make him bus or cab home with all the books he'd bought. At that point, it was too late for a walk and my afternoon was shot. And I was bitter. Even more so when he tried to make up for it by offering me favors I didn't need ("let me help me carry your groceries"/"fuck you"). It was such a blatant display of disrespect and selfishness.

Shortly after that--i.e., after finals, when I went up to Boston for the holidays--my mother accused me of unbridled selfishness. As you may know, mom absolutely loves to delegate (not so much ask for) favors, and they have to be done her way, in her time frame, etc. This one favor was doable--she wanted me to take back with me a pair of boots to give to a friend of hers in the DC area who was making a trip to Russia. Except I forgot to put the boots in my luggage. There was just so much crap in the guestroom even then that they blended in. I felt mildly bad, but this was not the end of the world. Mom could mail them. But she had a meltdown, complained about how now she'd have to go to the post office (which was not far, and she was not working), and how this wasn't about the boots; it was about how I was self-absorbed and never thought of anyone but myself. I tell you this to say, sometimes the thing really is just about the thing.

Saturday roundup

The trade deficit is not really the issue and demand for quinoa is helping, not impoverishing, the areas where it's grown. Stephen Walt is naturally taking issue with the idea of Trump as a realist.

Tribalism in science is not helpful (shorter: being a physicist doesn't make you an expert in everything. Yes, that means you, Neil DeGrasse Tyson).

The Big Bang happened everywhere.

Dammit no plant-based foods won't give you cancer but they will save the planet.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Saturday roundup and ramble

So many reasons to eat less meat. And yes, veganism is perfectly healthy.

I'd linked to each of the articles summarized individually, but it bears repeating: single women are whole (which does not mean that we, like anyone else, are above loneliness). Everyone--specifically, in this case, everyone writing books and columns about single women--most recently, Rebecca Traister, Laurie Penny, Maris Kreizman, and Phoebe Maltz Bovy--acknowledges that there's happiness to be had in the right relationship, and so go forth and be happy, but go ahead and be happy anyway because there's happiness to be had outside a relationship as well. 

I was thinking, and maybe I mentioned to you--during the months I was dating someone--how not-different it was. I was me, except I was seeing someone. And then, when it ended, I was still me. In fact, I was more me. This was not the dude's fault (or mine); it was a matter of timing. We met when I was in the midst of a crazy-bananas work deadline and on the verge of serious burnout. I was not Looking to Get Out More, and dating someone (together with my relatively social workplace) made it easy to wallow in my lack of initiative without feeling withdrawal from human interaction. It is also not a result of the end of things that I've been getting out even more since.

Just before things ended two weeks ago, the dude and I went to see a play on Friday night and went to a museum on Saturday morning--both activities suggested by me. I was thinking about how this guy wasn't adding anything to my life: I was including him in activities I would have done anyway, possibly with friends; he wasn't including me in anything of his own. This wasn't the only issue, but it was an issue. Things ended on Saturday afternoon, and like magic, my social calendar was abuzz again.

I got dinner with a friend on Monday; flew to Boston for my dad's surgery on Wednesday; met up with a friend there on Saturday; and had tea with a friend upon returning on Sunday. That friend had brought me flowers; the guy I'd been dating wasn't the flowers-bringing type. Anyway, on Wednesday, I went to dinner and to the ballet with another friend; met different friends for coffee each morning on Thursday and Friday; went out for drinks and Star Trek last night; and went for a short hike with friends this morning. I'm having brunch with a friend tomorrow, and dinner with another friend some time next week. I'm planning two different, awesome vacations with different friends.

I'd not talked to most of these people for a while--not only since I'd met the guy, but since I got bogged down by work--and naturally, there was catching up to be had on all sides. In only one case--probably because it was a guy friend--did I get away with "dated a dude for a bit, no longer dating that dude, which is fine." Most others insisted on more information, and were good listeners and supporters; one or two thought maybe there were things to be salvaged, which I found mildly annoying because they wouldn't have thought so had they been listening. I was pretty clear that I was in a good place. Everytime I've ended a relationship (or a relationship of mine has ended), I've felt pain to a greater or lesser extent, but also a sense of relief that I no longer had to try to fix this thing that was beyond repair. This last relationship was a short one, in which I'd invested little emotionally, and the end was mature and amicable. There was much more relief than pain. So I was surprised when a few friends seemed more bummed than I was, or in some cases incredulous that I didn't fight for it. These friends were on my side--they so badly wanted this spark to succeed--and it would have been nice, but it wasn't to be.

But only one friend really annoyed me (another--my 'well-meaning friend'--would have, had she known something was up, but I didn't give her the opportunity). Both of these friends are terrible listeners in their own way. I'd forgotten--and it's been in part the stark contrast with most of my other friends, whose response has pretty much been, "sounds like you're in a good place and you know what you want and don't want; you both showed signs of maturity and integrity; yes, that [behavior/quirk/trait] of his sounds like a very reasonable deal-breaker;" etc. So I was particularly annoyed when one of this morning's friend doubted me: was I really okay with the relationship ending, or was I just telling myself that as a defense mechanism? After I'd been emphatically stating since the matter came up that I was really more than okay with the relationship ending.

But what really bothered me was this friend's brand of Not Listening, which I'd entirely forgotten about (I've not seen much of her over the last couple of years). I'm all too aware of well-meaning friend's brand of Not Listening, which mostly manifests itself in rocking it back to her. Something we're all prone to, and something I try not to do. There's a fine line between sharing an anecdote of your own to show that you identify with the other person, and making everything about you. Well-meaning friend so adeptly makes everything about her that you wonder why you've bothered to say anything at all about your situation. This friend is not that, but she is a serial interruptor. I had to say (probably) 5-6 times in the course of ten minutes, "this will make sense if you let me finish." And this has always been the case with her. Both brands of interrupting are exhausting; adherents to those brands make the effort of trying to share information with them not worth it. And they make me grateful for my great-listener friends--more importantly, they make me aspire to be like them--who know when to just listen.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

We should have literally knocked on wood

Mom is having a massive meltdown.

Mom, screaming and shaking her finger: I've always done everything myself and brought everything myself! Everything beautiful in this house is mine! I bought this house. I've done everything and I will continue to do everything! That is the way it's going to be!

At least I see the forest now!

A.: What forest?

Mom: Don't you know there's a forest there? With a bear cub?

Mom broke the blinds, not for the first time. Tore them right out of their holder. There wasn't enough light for her, and now it's blinding. She was in the process of breaking the second set, against my entreaties ("I'll do whatever I want!"), when dad got back.

Dad: What have you done? I already had to replace them once. You know I'm not supposed to be exposed to bright light.

A.: Do you want me to try to fix it?

Dad: No, I already know what to do.

Mom: Now I have light!

Dad: You had light before. Now it's too bright.

Mom: I had to see what was going on over there!

Dad: You're not the only one in this house.

Mom: I'm the only one who's ever brought anything good into this house.

Rinse, repeat.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday roundup and ramble

Divorce can happen to anyone and it's especially financially devastating to women.

Other people who have considered divorcing a parent or went through with it--including someone else whose mother suggested she would have aborted her.


My mother has been going on about her bear cub. The one who lives in the tree behind the backyard. There was construction (or something) and it got left behind. One day, there it was, singing and dancing with a group of kids walking home from school. It's been hanging out in the tree ever since, and when it gets warmer it will come down to find a mate. She doesn't know if it's a boy or a girl.

Mom's been keeping an eye on this bear cub for months now, and telling us about its every move. Earlier on, dad--who himself can't help but laugh occasionally--said that I should engage her on the cub. So I've tried a few times, and last night I found a way that works for me.

Mom: Poor thing. I don't envy it. It's a tough life for a little bear living in the tree.
A.: What is it about the bear cub, and not any other animal, that brings out feelings in you? Why feel for some animals, and eat others?
Mom: What? That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard.
A.: Seriously: why do you feel for the cub and not, say, a cow or a pig?
Mom: Because they're bred for food.
A.: So? I'd hate it if somebody bred me for food.
Mom: I've met this cub. I've seen it frolic.
A.: Look at this pig frolic. Are you going to think twice about eating its family?
Mom: This conversation is ridiculous.
A.: I don't understand the double standard. Why eat some animals and take care of others?
Mom: Because you can't care about every living thing.
A.: [Shrug.]

I pointed out out to dad, all while figuratively knocking on wood, that mom's been on her better behavior. There were a few moments yesterday when she started ranting about things being out of place, but she mostly chilled out when dad reminded her a few times that he was supposed to be recovering from surgery and wouldn't benefit from drama. Mom usually responds to any such plea for civility with some variation on "so?" And always has. "You're tired? Big deal." She likes to have the last word, and she doesn't really care about anyone else not being in a position to deal with her.

And it's this kind of thing in the face of which I have trouble summoning my patience. I can do it when she talks about the bear cub. I can do it when she forgets what she's supposed to be eating. But, as I have in the past, I have trouble forgiving her her nastiness, inconsiderateness, and demands for attention.

Sometimes it's not fair (on my part). It wasn't fair of me to get annoyed when she tried to talk to me when I was trying to work just for a few minutes this morning. When I get annoyed at something like that, it's not for the one situation; it's for a lifetime of her demanding attention. When I got annoyed at her yesterday for dilly-dallying at this store, I was carrying the annoyance of a lifetime of her having no respect for anyone else's time. When I got annoyed at her just an hour ago for talking during a movie on TV, it was because it's out of principle and habit. "I've been watching this movie for as long as you have" and "maybe if you'll be quiet and watch, you'll find out" are things I've been saying to her my whole life. And "I don't know [who that is]. I don't know who every last person who shows up on the television is, so please stop asking me." These last TV-related things especially are things that I should and could just get over. If there are boundary issues here, they're very minor ones. There's every reason to let it go.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Lessons learned or reinforced from the amicable end of a relationship

Had I had time to blog earlier this week, this post would have been about how I inadvertently broke up with someone on the platform at L'Enfant Plaza. I wasn't exactly sure what had happened--we parted awkwardly, but there were awkward circumstances: his running late, my being mindful of his running late, and our holding our respective pizza boxes. It was early days--a few months in--and I was enjoying seeing him but had various doubts about our long-term compatibility. I liked this guy--we had an intellectual and an emotional connection--and enjoyed spending time with him, but there were a few too many 'buts' that I couldn't shake. I was willing to keep going out while things were fun, healthy, and respectful. Which meant, in part, that he was taking initiative, being communicative, and treating me well. I'd started to notice slippage in the first two--one thing I really appreciated about him was that, unlike almost everyone else I'd ever dated, he never tried to fuck with my head. There was no passive-aggressiveness, emotional manipulation, blame, or other horseshit. But maturity, communication skills, and respect are prerequisites for a healthy relationship, not the only things you need for one. But I digress.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Wednesday roundup

Ta-Nehisi Coates on the erasure of "Nina."

Liberalism doesn't preclude sexism.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson stepped in it, but he demonstrated an important lesson about staying in one's lane. Michael Pollan would do well to learn it.

I was bummed to learn that Virginia Johnson feared the designation of 'feminist,' but that's because I first met her as a fictional character. I did think, even before I knew it was a true story, that the show evoked Mad Men in many ways--one being, how far women have come.

Women need better emojis.

There's no need to slut-shame KK, but let's be real: the only thing she's empowering is the ass-implant industry.

The universe is okay.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Wednesday roundup

Nicaragua is reliving the 80s, albeit less violently.

Signs of heroin addiction, coming to a public place near you.

I'm late to post this, but the Times has some words for Chris Christie.
I really feel for this obese person and her anxiety about flying, and wish it on no one and blame it on no one, but would hate to be in the next seat over.

The less we know, the more confident we are.

Two great takes on aggressive atheism run amok.

Listen to this man who learned the hard way: don't kill your relationship by being a child.

"Mad Max" and toxic masculinity.

We women of a certain age see condescension for what it is, and when you're trying to put us in what you think is our place.

Nancy Reagan refused to be invisible.

Women can now afford to be after more than a warm body.

I know I once rolled my eyes at RM for having a picture of his smug self rather than his family on his computer desktop, but that was his desktop, not social media. These parents are judging you for not Facebooking about your kids like they're the only thing going on in your life.

I support the bird-bath movement.

This is what my emails really mean.

This story about a penguin who visits his rescuer warmed even my iced-over heart.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday roundup

In Latin America, voters appreciate the gains against inequality but are moving on from leftist governments.

Abortion restrictions in Texas are making desparate girls and women even more so.

Frank Bruni thought-experiments how we would react to Trump's antics were he a woman. A couple of commenters have thoughts about his popularity, among other things. The best comment on other things:
I see a lot of (unsurprising) comments here placing the responsibility on women to be more vigilant about possible assailants. Believe me when I tell you that we are already vigilant, we are already exhausted from being vigilant, and we are tired of telling you about how vigilant we are.
My heart goes out to this woman who wants to change herself, and although I can't fully appreciate her experience, I want to urge her to eschew the knife.

My heart goes out to Jennifer Garner--this poignant interview really gives you a sense of what she's going through.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Saturday roundup

Egypt's judiciary is a joke.

Have you been wondering whether and how IAEA can verify the nuclear provisions of the Iran agreement? Read this.

There's a way to help Flint without creating new problems from plastic bottles.

There's a way to support sustainable palm oil.

Dudes: you don't need to eat meat.

Placebos are nothing to sneeze at.

This article on the normalization of violence against women and entitlement to women's bodies is excellent overall but also reminded me of RM. Particularly how he cried when I balked at the foot massage he tried to give me, as if I was the one who was supposed to feel bad.

Oh, shirtless shamers.

It's Single Ladies' week in honor of Rebecca Traister's new book on single women. Here are some excerpts from the first column.
Today’s women are, for the most part, not abstaining from or delaying marriage to prove a point about equality. They are doing it because they have internalized assumptions that just a half-century ago would have seemed radical: that it’s okay for them not to be married; that they are whole people able to live full professional, economic, social, sexual, and parental lives on their own if they don’t happen to meet a person to whom they want to legally bind themselves. The most radical of feminist ideas—the disestablishment of marriage — has been so widely embraced as to have become habit, drained of its political intent but ever-more potent insofar as it has refashioned the course of average female life...
Remaining unmarried through some portion of early adulthood, especially for college-educated women, is intimately linked with making money. The “Knot Yet Report,” published in 2013, revealed that a college-educated woman who delays marriage until her 30s will earn $18,000 more per year than an equivalently educated woman who marries in her 20s...
The notion that what the powerful, growing population of unmarried American women needs from the government is a husband (or a gynecologist, as was the case with one horrifying 2013 Koch-funded anti-Obamacare ad that featured a grotesque Uncle Sam popping up leeringly from a pelvic exam) is of course problematic. It reduces all relationships women have to marital, sexual, hetero ones and suggests that they are, by nature, dependent beings, in search of someone—if not a ­husband then an elected official or a set of public policies — to support or care for them.
Whether or not single women are looking for government to create a “hubby state” for them, what is certainly true is that their (white) male counterparts have long enjoyed the fruits of a related “wifey state,” in which the government has supported (white) male independence in a variety of ways. It’s hard for us to recognize this, since it has been the norm for so long — and here, it’s useful to recall Elizabeth Warren’s stirring “You didn’t build that” speech, in which she pointed out that “there is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody.”
Men, especially married wealthy white men, have for generations relied on government assistance. It’s the government that has historically supported white men’s home and business ownership through grants, loans, incentives, and tax breaks. It has allowed them to accrue wealth and offered them shortcuts and bonuses for passing it down to their children. Government established white men’s right to vote, and thus exert control over the government, at the nation’s founding and has protected their enfranchisement since. It has also bolstered the economic and professional prospects of men by depressing the economic prospects of women. In other words, by failing to offer women equivalent economic and civic protections, thus helping to create conditions whereby they were forced to be dependent on those men, the government established a gendered class of laborers who took low-paying or unpaid jobs doing the domestic and child-care work that further enabled men to dominate public spheres.
 and the second:
For whatever reason, the most productive, passionate, and self-actualized people I knew (or admired from afar) had spent large portions of their lives alone. Women, in particular, seemed to blossom personally and professionally when their attentions were directed not toward their spouses or offspring, but themselves. For a certain type of creative, highly sensitive soul, I believed, singledom was a feature, not a bug.

What mustache? I don't even see a mustache, although I agree with the overall premise that women can be expected to look plastic rather than human, so much so that flickers of humanness can come through as flaws.

Humanities matter. I'm not just saying that because I took a lot of French literature and turned out okay.
Although it's hard to imagine not offering housing to a relative, Carolyn is spot on: the first rule of asking favors is being willing to take no for an answer

Friday, February 19, 2016


I made the mistake of checking Evan Marc Katz's blog and stumbled upon his post on MRAs, in which he pretty much punts to an even more offensive post on MRAs on another blog. Neither post whole-heartedly endorses MRAs, but both fail to condemn them for the dens of misogyny and entitlement that they are. I've seen men--in GQ, for example, and Dr. Nerdlove himself on his blog--condemn MRAs in no uncertain terms, while acknowledging that things can be tough for a guy but (emphasis on this part) there's no excuse to hate women, objectify them, and feel entitled to their attention or bodies. EMK and his offensive buddy--I will link to neither--reverse the emphasis and take the position that, MRAs are coming from a reasonable place but just take it too far. The buddy goes as far as to praise specific, infamous MRAs--including a proud rapist who has been banned from certain countries. He also notes--and EMK not only fails to critique this point but merely softens it--that feminists are fat and ugly. This observation wasn't just dropped in gratuitously; it was part of his analogy (i.e., MRAs are angry and misguided because they're unwilling to face certain truths--particularly about the traits that make them unattractive to women--just like feminists are angry because they're ugly and unwilling to accept the fact that it matters).
There are many potential places to take this nonsense, but most of them are not worth my time. What I'm going to do is throw his own argument back at him--in response to a different argument of his. Specifically, in several instances on his blog, this guy (and EMK on his) goes on about how men are just not interested in a woman's mind. Men do not care how smart women are; men are not the least bit interested in women's brains, at all. They. just. couldn't. care. less.

But who are these men who are so uninterested in our minds? Could it be men who are, themselves, intellectually lacking? By which I don't necessarily mean that they're unintelligent, per se; just that they're not particularly interested in intellectual things?

Because every man that I've ever dated has been super-interested in my mind. He's been more than happy to talk about ideas and discuss intellectual issues. The man I'm dating now, especially, is very interested in ideas and very much attracted to me for my intellectualism. It means a lot to both of us that we're interested in the same things and able to discuss them on a meaningful level. I don't think I could ever date someone who wasn't interested in my mind, even if that means not dating anyone at all. I fully realize how lucky I am in this respect.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Quick Wednesday roundup

Even when animal research is 'justifiable' as necessary, it doesn't make it 'ethical.'

Livestock is an environmental disaster.

Vegan food has come a long way, but in any case, if you want to reduce your participation in a cruel, unsustainable food system but you're eschewing vegan food because it's not perfect, you're just making excuses.

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