Thursday, October 19, 2017

Thursday roundup

The genocide against the Rohingya is horrible and has to end.

This woman is right not to blame foreigners for the outsourcing of her job, and to keep adapting; I hope someone worthy hires her.

Amnesty--selective enforcement--can be a useful policy tool.

When you're building relationships with customers, your pricing strategy can't be all about maximizing short-term profit.

Many are asking what it'll take for people to believe women, and not make them question themselves. These stories are so awful. Can we be dragons together or is the waterfall too formidable

Samantha Bee has the best advice for men who are trying to stay on the right side of things.

Fallout shelters won't save you.

Here's a fairly understandable explanation of gravitational waves.










Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sunday roundup

Watch this Holocaust survivor tell her story.

We can negotiate with North Korea.

We've been collectively deceived about the safety of glyphosate. You can worry less about radiation, but here's how to get any residual cesium out of your food.

Good for this kid for sticking to his values and god help his mother for her lack of boundaries.

I'll spare you all the awful takes on Weinstein, though you should definitely read Wonkette's take-down of them. Always read Jessica Valenti, Alyssa Rosenberg, and Laura Bates. Rosenberg here:
More women, and men like Terry Crews, are going to have to speak out about their experiences. Men are going to have to join them in speaking up about behavior they’ve witnessed and reckon honestly with the times they failed to intervene in bad situations. More companies are going to have to suffer escalating and maybe even fatal costs to their bottom lines and reputations before they have the incentives that will make it essential that they take every allegation of wrongdoing seriously every single time. And law enforcement officials like Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who declined to prosecute Weinstein, will have to learn that it is fatal to their careers not to aggressively pursue sexual harassment and sexual assault cases. We actually have to vote against candidates who are on the record bragging about how they grab and assault women, rather than excusing their behavior as inevitable or their talk as hyperbolic.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Quick Tuesday ramble

"What's your secret?" asked the woman who carded me at the checkout at Trader Joe's the other day. "I was way off." I thanked her and passed up the opportunity to say, "I eat plants."

I saw a bunch of old friends over the weekend (at and around a mutual friend's wedding), one of whom had been vegan but was no longer because "it wasn't working for her." She was, apparently, making poor food choices. This is a friend who has struggled with her weight and watched me lose twenty pounds without trying upon eschewing animal products, but I was already eating healthily when I made the change. There's nothing magic about vegan; if you eat vegan crap, you won't lose weight.

***
I was going to ramble to you about a bunch of other things--being sick of project management in my personal life (related to the wedding on Saturday and a friend who came into town for it) but I'm sick of being annoyed at people and things. I come by easy annoyance honestly; my mother was annoyed by everything, and I don't want to be like that. In the past 24 hours I've told off two customer-service people who didn't read my message and copied-and-pasted a canned response that was not helpful to me. I am legitimately annoyed at people who do that kind of thing. I've also been annoyed at a friend or two for essentially being more lazy and less logistically inclined than I, and for making it my problem, which is also possibly fair. But god knows I've also made my shit other people's problem, and either way, I'm sick of being annoyed. I'm ready to let things go.

Tuesday roundup, brought to you by...

...American Airlines, which made it impossible for me to buy a ticket via tablet, so I had to rev up the laptop.

On male allies and double standards for feminism.
 
I don't think either of my parents ever got quite this crazy, but Fox News definitely poisoned them both, especially my mother.

I've always preferred the direct route to delivering disappointing news. Recall how my ex tried to make a production out of breaking up, which would have really upset me more if I hadn't also been trying to break up with him.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Monday roundup


The village where Che was executed still remembers that day. The photo at the end is amazing.

How would our press cover the Las Vegas massacre if it had occurred abroad?

The Justice system can be Kafkaesquely unjust.

The Times is not fucking around.

New York DAs have a corruption problem.

There are some good cartoons here.

If you've followed NYT's mindfulness series, this is an amazing parody.

Have some tweets:

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Tuesday roundup

Don't test a thermonuclear weapon in the ocean.

If you've been following the Times' somewhat absurd mindfulness series, this will amuse you.

Look for the helpers and these days, the late-night comedians.

Hotels are nickel-and-diming.

This is satire but this is the sexting that would work on me.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

So many *ings

Everyone knows about ghosting, and I've previously posted about breadcrumbing, and now apparently, submarining is a thing. And everything in between: ghostinghaunting, and benching

Dating is hard without any of that, and I've had my share of relationships (serious and lesser) that in retrospect I could've done without, but I'm ever so grateful for every clean break, and every instance of closure

I was just light-ghosted last week--ghosting after one date isn't technically ghosting, but it was still inconsiderate. I'd just a month or so ago acted differently (i.e., more honorably) in a similar situation: I went out with someone once (and didn't want to see him again), but we'd corresponded enough in frequency and substance that I thought it was right to actually turn him down rather than disappear. I've certainly not responded to men's asking me out on a second date, but that was when there was really nothing to say. So I'd gone out with a dude a week and a half ago, and we'd had plans to go out again and had been actively chatting by email, when he abruptly disappeared. I had my reservations about this guy (but I thought he was worth a second date--that's all), so it wasn't a huge disappointment practically. But it was just annoying.

And I have a serial breadcrumber who roared full force into my life this past week. I have no feelings for this man, but I just wish he f* off forever because I don't want to be reminded that he's there. That is evidently not going to happen; we are apparently destined to troll each other indefinitely. But there's a silver lining, as we have to actually communicate: The next best thing to zero contact, is closure.

***
On Monday I posted a column from Carolyn in which she talks about being happy for people who have what you don't. This isn't generally a problem for me--I have an easy time being happy for my friends--but I do sometimes fall into spells of 'why (not) me?' I talk myself through that and try to get to gratitude for what I do have, which is nothing to sneeze at. But what pushes me into the questioning is seeing people for whom it looks so easy. Which is when it helps to remind myself (not out of schadenfreude, but out of perspective, that dating sucks for most people. That's why the internet is riddled with articles about ghosting and submarining. I guess we'll get through this together. 

Saturday roundup

Dennis Ross reflects on what was an overtly anti-semitic State Department.

Bruce Blair reflects on (and appreciates) Stanislav Petrov.

On Kaepernick and his detractors. And supporters.

Scarborough wonders what happened to people.

Are charity balls worth it?

We should let heterosexuals have kids, even though statistically they're not the best at it.

I've not experienced a miscarriage, but I've experienced lesser $hit in shitty ways, so I appreciate this perspective and my heart goes out to the people going through it.

On emotional labor (though some of this stuff is actual labor, i.e., project management). It's like a written out, more personal version of You Should Have Asked. I still get hives when I think about the ex who couldn't/wouldn't do anything, not even the things that were for his benefit.

And now, this:






Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday roundup

Hello, friends. Let's start by wishing for the man who averted nuclear war that he rest in peace. And let's talk about averting nuclear war now [wonkiness warning].

On small nuclear weapons. And the zen of nuclear.
In a much longer paper, Ford's 90-page, footnote-heavy 2010 dissertation for the chaplaincy program, he examines "undertaking public policy choice through the prism of Buddhist engagement." In the paper, Ford argues in part that despite its reputation, "engaged Buddhism" is not strictly pacifist and, in some contexts, the use of force is appropriate."Sometimes 'not taking sides' is to take a side: the side of the status quo. Engaged Buddhists clearly understand this point in the context of other social justice issues, but many of them remain curiously resistant to admitting it in the arena of organized violence," he writes. "Nor is it the case that we always have an entirely nonviolent option when confronted even by the difficult choices presented by everyday life."
Refugees are good for the economy. The travel ban is not. Denying entry into the country to reasonable people is anti-life.

Aung San Suu Kyi is hardly the first opposition leader to struggle with transitioning a country to democracy, and she's not in full control of her government.

We hear a lot about how nuclear power plants may fare in a natural disaster, but not about coal ash.

Competing with coal ash for environmental menace is, the hog industry. Also, read about how the dairy industry kills its own.

Men who think that diversity has gone too far

This is a good thread on safety and free speech.

We would do well to listen to women.

Eastern Europeans don't f* around with meaning. That's one area where I certainly mirror my mother. I've written on these pages about askers and guessers, which Deborah Tannen describes in different words here:
The very first paper I published was about the confusion caused when one speaker means words literally and the other thinks they are hinting at something else. And indirectness is a key example I use in cautioning that what is sometimes attributed to psychological, even pathological, motives may simply be differing linguistic styles. Those who expect requests to be expressed directly, for example, may perceive someone being vague as being manipulative, or even passive-aggressive.
What Carolyn says here applies to so many things.


It’s natural to turn your sadness and anger onto a nearby target, but it’s not the way you’re going to feel better. On the contrary, it’s a way of rewarding those feelings with a sense of superiority, which of course will ultimately feel false to you because you’re just tearing somebody down.

Though this sounds contradictory, also look your inner finger-pointer in the eye and say, “No. I won’t do that. I’m better than that.” Love is  your most profound ally — against injustice, anger, illness, unfairness or just giving in to the feelings of envy and resentment we’re all susceptible to.

I use Russian characters because I speak Russian; don't try it at home.

I'm not married but this so, so resonates:
Like the women I knew who cheated, many of the interviewees said they liked their husbands well enough. They had property together. They had friendships together. They had children that they were working together to raise. But at the same time, they found married life incredibly dull and constraining and resented the fact that as women, they felt they consistently did a disproportionate amount of the invisible labor that went into maintaining their lifestyle. One woman in Walker’s book told her, “The inequality of it all is such an annoying factor that I am usually in a bad mood when my spouse is in my presence,” and another said that while her husband was a competent adult in the world, at home he felt like “another child to clean up after.”
These gas station signs; this text book illustration; these kittens and otter; and these tweets:

Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday roundup

Sorry for the silence. I've been having intermittent internet issues again. Here's your roundup.

George Bernard Shaw, intellectual giant and quasi-reluctant Stalin fanboy.

I wish Russia would come to terms with its history.

There's no need to remember Robert E. Lee as anything but a monster.
A reasoned perspective on the free speech/hate speech issue.

Chelsea Manning is not a hero.

Rest in peace, Edie Windsor.

Do NOT ever give to the Red Cross, which did not *show up* in Miami.

Don't proverbially bludgeon our daughters into niceness.

There's no need to give people obvious advice, eg., to tell aspiring parents they should adopt or vegetarians that they could always get a salad. This is a great way to deal with nosy people:
"I have one friend who would look the other person right in the eye and say, in an extremely kind tone of voice, “You never know when you’re going to cause someone tremendous pain by asking that.”"

Yes, most zoos are bad, but these tiger cubs are f*ing adorable.

This video from former Mexican president Vicente Fox.

Twitter meta-joke:

Saturday, September 9, 2017

August photo essay







































Big Saturday roundup

Sorry guys, I've been traveling.

Heart-wrenching photos from Yemen.

One of many memorable sentiments from Coates' Trump Is the First White President:
And so the most powerful country in the world has handed over all its affairs—the prosperity of its entire economy; the security of its 300  million citizens; the purity of its water, the viability of its air, the safety of its food; the future of its vast system of education; the soundness of its national highways, airways, and railways; the apocalyptic potential of its nuclear arsenal—to a carnival barker who introduced the phrase grab ’em by the pussy into the national lexicon.
This is a really good thread about protest and violence.
And here's another.

I wonder if Houston has taught us anything about the merits of regulation and the dangers of under-regulation.
 “There could have been ways to have more green space and more green infrastructure over the years, and it just didn’t work that way, because it was fast and furious,” said Phil Bedient, a civil and environmental engineering professor at Rice University. Many developments were not built with enough open land or enough detention areas to take in floodwaters, Dr. Bedient said. “It’s been known for years how to do it,” he said, “it just costs the developers more money to do it that way.”
As Mr. Rogers would say, look for the helpers.

And FFS, do NOT give to the Red Cross. I gave to Interfaith Ministries of Greater Houston, Baker Ripley, and Houston PetSet. If none of those appeal to you, here's a longer list.

Ag-gag is rampant and egregious.

Why I'm not here for Chelsea Manning, whose commitment to human rights is limited to her own.
According to The New Yorker, when the United States tried to locate “hundreds” of Afghans named in the documents and move them to safety, “many could not be found, or were in environments too dangerous to reach.” When pressed by a journalist about the possibility of redacting the names of Afghans who cooperated with the United States military, Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, reportedly replied: “Well, they’re informants. So, if they get killed, they’ve got it coming to them. They deserve it.” 
Meantime, Mr. Assange gave a Russian Holocaust denier 90,000 of the cables. That man, who goes by the pen name Israel Shamir, delivered a trove to the Belarussian dictatorship, which then utilized the material to detain opposition activists. In Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe used a leaked cable detailing a United States Embassy meeting with opposition figures as pretext for an investigation into “treasonous collusion.”
and
Celebrating Chelsea Manning just a few years after gay and transgender people were permitted to serve openly in the military discredits the L.G.B.T. cause. Throughout most of the 20th century, homosexuality was associated with treason and used as a basis for purging gay people from government jobs, denying them security clearances and restricting their service in the armed forces. The decision by Ms. Manning’s defense team to argue that untreated gender dysphoria was a factor in her decision to leak classified information unwittingly aids those who say that L.G.B.T. people cannot be trusted in sensitive government jobs. And it dishonors the L.G.B.T. people who have served in the military throughout history without betraying their country.
I hope I could be as forgiving as the people of this mosque.


Who knew that movies could jump-start arms control?
After signing a 1987 nuclear treaty with the Soviet Union’s Mikhael Gorbachev, Reagan sent a telegram to Meyer, saying, “Don’t think your movie didn’t have any part of this, because it did.”
It's not easy to negotiate with North Koreans.

Words matter; don't be carried away by mistranslations.

What China's bike-share crisis reveals about people:
Some say abuse of the bicycles reflects an every-man-for-himself mentality in China that has its roots in the extreme poverty of the last century. Others are bothered by what they see as a lack of concern for strangers and public resources. The transgressions have been chronicled in the local news media with a tone of disbelief, in part because Chinese generally see themselves as a law-abiding society and crime rates are relatively low.
The immigration debate has shifted.

Do your best not to torture your fellow passengers by way of your imp-children.

Read every line of Lindy West's take-down of the Princess Royal's non-feminism


Are you facing professional disrespect as a woman? Invent a male coworker.

Awww, someone didn't make it onto a best-dressed list.
Yep, the "liberals are snowflakes and crybabies" crowd spent the better part of today whining about how the first lady was omitted from a fashion list in a magazine. Weird.
Conspicuous consumption has been out of favor for a while (just no one told Louise Linton, who, to be fair, did apologize well).

Women are getting mixed messages about whether breasts are in.
This couple of the poop-in-window are my heroes; I hope they stay together.


These mock Prince-op-ed headlines are priceless. As are these Tumblr comments. Together, they are almost as good as Megan Amram's take on Jared Kushner's Harvard admissions essay.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday roundup

Words matter; translation matters.

On slave-owning Founding Fathers.

Women needn't apologize for taking up space.
At its root, the very notion of politeness is so gendered in our unequal society that it can simply translate into an overwhelming pressure for women to self-censor or self-flagellate. Often what we euphemistically describe as “politeness” ends up sounding like an apology for taking up space, for asking anything of others, for even existing at all.
I complain about Metro (and rightly so), but it's not the only system that sucks (in photos).

I know the aging-parents'-stuff issue well. And the Soviet-parents'-relationship-with-stuff issue.




Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Quick Wednesday Roundup

Good for the New York Times for this headline, this lede. See also The Cipher Brief.

There is such a thing as the extreme left, but it's tiny and there's no moral equivalency with the far-right.

Not every woman is in a position to do what Taylor Swift did, but people are paying attention.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Saturday roundup

Here are some good reads on North Korea, or rather, strategic stabilitymissile defense, and what they actually haveThere's a lot of disagreement about this one (about the missiles themselves), but you might want to give it a skim to get a sense of the parameters in question.

This thread on what's happening in Charlottesville.

Regardless of what we think of Taylor Swift, she's spot-on in refusing to let her assailant change the subject.

I've critiqued Gopnik's language in the past but I appreciate his turn-of-phrase here:

We may or may not be able to Americanize our Buddhism, but we can certainly ecumenicize our analgesics.
Another excellent response to the infamous Google-bro memo.

A beautiful story about Barbara Cook's passing.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Wednesday roundup

Read this interview with a journalist who just returned from assignment in Venezuela, and who said the experience taught her that things can just keep on getting worse.

In all the hysteria around North Korea, listen to Sig Hecker.

Dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico because people eat meat.

Brittney Cooper takes the Sanders left to task. On a related note: don't fall for policy ideas that end up hurting the people they purport to help. See also this thread:


The extreme right and new-age left have moved away from the idea of an objective reality.

Each of us is on a spectrum somewhere between the poles of rational and irrational. We all have hunches we can’t prove and superstitions that make no sense. Some of my best friends are very religious, and others believe in dubious conspiracy theories. What’s problematic is going overboard—letting the subjective entirely override the objective; thinking and acting as if opinions and feelings are just as true as facts.
I'm not a defender of the wedding industrial complex, but I see the point that the bridezilla smear only perpetuates it.
Just as a competent, civil presidential candidate was called a “nasty woman” and little girls who show leadership skills are scolded for being “bossy,” “bridezilla” is specifically designed to condemn a woman who puts any energy and authority toward trying to achieve entirely reasonable goals. It’s efficient shorthand to remind her, “Hey, the world actually likes you a lot better without opinions.” You might ask: But how is she supposed to communicate, let alone meet ever-loftier wedding day expectations, without expressing those opinions? It’s impossible.
I've not planned a wedding but I've planned trips, and I've managed projects. And as I've told you before, bitches do get stuff done.

Pregnant women are not entitled to other people's dinner reservations.

This piece on roommate relationships applies to all relationships: communication is key, feedback is essential (and all parties need to make it safe), and it's good to be open about how you respond to stress so (among other things) people don't take your response personally.


I used to say--in response to getting hit on by myriad men who'd never exercised in their lives--that I wished straight men would take up a smidge of the body conscientiousness that preoccupies many gay men. I wasn't baselessly stereotyping. 
Going to a gay beach is crazy intimidating,” he continued. “It’s always in my face. One of the best things in the world for a gay man is to go to a straight beach. I would much rather stay at a gay beach, because I like what I am looking at, but to be at a nongay beach, I feel like the hottest dude on the planet.”



Friday, August 4, 2017

Friday ramble with pictures

Last night I saw a show, and tonight a movie, about Berlin. In between, I saw a piece the Berlin wall.

"Cabaret" was interesting, because it was good in spite of being technically mediocre--maybe even good, but not that good. By which I mean, the music was pretty good but nothing special; same with the dialogue and the dancing. The structure was imperfect; you wouldn't have seen the tight plotting and symmetry of Stephen Sondheim, nor the twists. The plot was somewhat predictable. But it was a powerful, enjoyable show (the music, choreography, and dancing were good enough; the mediocre dialogue nonetheless got the predictable plot across). The power of the story carried the show. The symbolism amplified the story.

That was Berlin in 1929. Earlier tonight I saw 1989 Berlin in "Atomic Blonde," which I very much enjoyed. It was perfectly choreographed (I do love my 80s music, but still) and beautifully staged. It is not profound or symbolic (it may pretend to be, but its nod to history and substance is thin, transparent), but it's fun to watch. As fun as any James Bond movie, but don't dismiss it as a 'female' Bond flick.

***
In between shows, I went on a tour of the Capitol, which was awesome. And evidently by my own example, something very easy to not do even as you've been in DC for 15 years. And as you traverse the main hall just above the crypt, you'll pass a bust of Ronald Reagan, and between the bust and the pedestal it's on, there's a layer of concrete from the Berlin Wall.

Here are some pictures from the tour.



Bullet hole on the statue of Calhoun
There's meaning in the pattern
There are only six or so statues of foreigners in the Capitol; Havel is one.




The lid of the box with the Magna Carts




Anyone remember the name of these doors?




Justice has no blindfold here; she has to be able to read the Constitution




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