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.”
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.