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Free New Yorker!

Posted by Ogged
on 07.22.14

For a while.



 

horizontal rule

 

Road trip

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.22.14

Tomorrow night I'm setting off on a four day, 1800 mile drive to Montana with Hokey Pokey and Hawaiian Punch. (Jammies and Ace will join us halfway there.) We've done a two day drive before.

I've been reading up on all internet tips for how to make the drive bearable, and they amount to common sense, snacks, activities, and treats. The "treats" is the one that I'm confounded on - they recommend wrapping up little presents to open along the way, having fun snacks (like marshmallows and pretzel sticks - kids build little creatures and then eat them. Which does sound like fun.) The thing about "treats" is that the existence of them always seems to turn our kids into monsters who are preoccupied with the next treat, and if they are off the table, then the kids aren't obsessed and are just regular people.

I won't be wrapping any presents, because come on, but activities and snacks seem reasonable. The thing is that it's hard to dole something out slowly without it being a treat, and it's unrealistic to give a three year old four days worth of activities at the beginning, and expect it to last. I'm torn on the schedule for administering activities and snacks. (Like, do I establish a schedule? Or do I hoard activities and marshmallows in secret, until the prisoners become restless, and then dole them out as though each one were the last?)

Also the minivan has a TV and that basically makes all other planning moot. Mostly I'm just overpreparing out of anxiety, I suppose. Also I barely ever wrote parenting posts before Ogged returned.



 

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Life In Hell

Posted by Ogged
on 07.21.14

I have known some realtors who were not slithering reptiles. They are not the norm. My wife and I are haphazardly looking at houses that strike our fancy, in case we see a deal on something we love. Something apparently nice and relatively cheap just a few blocks away came on the market yesterday. Let's relive my brief, glorious interaction with the seller's agent, shall we?


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Mycoplasma

Posted by Alameida
on 07.21.14

Confidential to chronically ill reader Mr. Sm------e: it sounds as if you might have mycoplasma, or what is sometimes creepily referred to as "walking pneumonia." It's called this not because you become a zombie roaming the earth filled with vile hunger for the lungs of other humans, but rather because you are up and about, still walking around, on the go, etc., despite the fact that you have fucking pneumonia. I have had it, and both my girls. Like everyone at least twice or something. It's really common in Narnia on account of it being always Christmas and never winter (as ajay has observed).

Mycoplasma flourishes in warmer weather; the decorations go up on Orchard Rd in late October and stay till end January, much to my profound irritation. I LOVE. Christmas. I yield to no man or woman or trans Martha Stewart in my efforts to have themed trees (all cookies [N.B. valid within U.S. only as tree would be carried off entire by inch-long soldier ants]! All hand-sewn ornaments! Only gold and vintage glass bird ornaments from Germany!) and go each year to the cold rooms of Far East Flora to spend hundreds of dollars on a tree flown in from Oregon, pine rope of same provenance, holly, peonies, and every damn other thing. I got one so tall one year in my black-and-white house I just moved out of in October, that had 14-ft ceilings on the upper floor, that when the men came to dispose of it they just threw it out the second-story window rather than bother trying to get it down the turn of the stairs again without scraping every single framed picture off the walls. NONETHELESS to every thing there is a season, and one wishes to hear "O Come O Come Emanuel" only during Advent as it is in part by being rarely heard that the hymn stabs your heart with terrible, mysterious grief.


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Cheering up.

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.21.14

Christ Y sends along this enjoyable ditty:

which is apparently entertaining those in China and pissing off those in North Korea.

One thing that always cheers me up is complaining, and most of my complaints du jour are medical, so let's make this thread about that. Complain away! (Mine are embarrassing, so I'm not sure whether or not I'll go into detail.) Medical complaint thread: go.



 

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Blood

Posted by Ogged
on 07.21.14

Powerful piece by a Palestinian writer with an interesting life story.

Twenty-five years that I am writing and knowing bitter criticism from both sides, but last week I gave up. Last week something inside of me broke. When Jewish youth parade through the city shouting "Death to the Arabs," and attack Arabs only because they are Arabs, I understood that I had lost my little war.

I listened to the politicians and the media and I know that they are differentiating between blood and blood, between peoples. Those who have become the powers that be say expressly what most Israelis think, "We are a better people than the Arabs." On panels that I participated in, it was said that Jews are a superior people, more entitled to life. I despair to know that an absolute majority in the country does not recognise the rights of an Arab to live.

Short enough that you can, in fact, read the whole thing.



 

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Piketty Reading Group: Chapter 10

Posted by LizardBreath
on 07.21.14

Chris Y is scheduled for Chapter 12, and we've got an issue with Chapter 11 as fake accent is no longer available. Volunteers for 11, and 13 and later are solicited, but I'll cover 11 if no one else pops up.

Rob Helpy-Chalk slanders Eva Gabor under the fold.

Prior reading group posts:

Piketty Reading Group Setup
Initial Scheduling Post
Introduction and Chapter One -- Robert Halford
Chapter Two -- Minivet
Chapter Three -- Essear
Chapter Four -- Unimaginative
Chapter Five -- X. Trapnel
Chapter Six -- Conflated
Chapter Seven -- LizardBreath
Chapter Eight -- Lw
Chapter Nine -- Bave D


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Guest Post - Towards gender parity: blind auditions for tech?

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.20.14

DQ writes in: This proposal may strike tech workers as ludicrous.

But the (so very fresh!) history of achieving something closer to gender parity in "major" symphony orchestras through blind auditions provides a thought provoking comparison. Highly competitive, pressured work conditions, the requirement when performing at the highest levels to harness personal creativity to a collective enterprise, the demands of intense collaboration - all were vigorously put forward to preclude the integration of women musicians. Also some other, ahem, views:

In a cross-national study, the gender researchers Allmendinger and Hackman have established percentages for the representation of women in orchestras in four countries: 36% for the USA; 30% for the United Kingdom, and 16% for both East and West Germany.[ii] They also found that women were concentrated in lower paid orchestras, and that they are notably less present in major orchestras. Far from leading the way, gender integration in orchestras is lagging behind the progress being made in the rest of society.
These social forces allow some of Europe´s most preeminent musical institutions to categorically forbid membership to women. One is the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, which openly states that ethnic and gender uniformity gives them aesthetic superiority. They are an excellent case study, because the prevailing gender culture of Austria registers little protest to their views, and they can discuss their sexist ideology with staggering candor.
This is illustrated in a West German State Radio interview, which was broadcast on February 13, 1996.[iii] Among the participants were Roland Goettler, a Viennese sociologist specializing in the study of isocratic social groups, and three members of the Vienna Philharmonic: Helmut Zaertner, a 2nd violinist ; Wolfgang Schuster, a percussionist; and Dieter Flurie, a principal flutist.

(thence follows a series of staggeringly mystico-rubbish quotes re: the soul of the orchestra, etc., including some jaw droppingly racist muck, culminating in this gem)
....

They view the male "soul" of the orchestra as a fragile organism, subject to infection or defilement, and even possible death by the inclusion of women. And yet the regenerative ideas of maternity, sexual attraction, and female creativity would disturb uniformity:
Goettler: "Pregnancy brings problems. It brings disorder. Another important argument against women is that they can bring the solidarity of the men in question. You find that in all men´s groups."
"And the women can also contribute to creating competition among the men. They distract men. Not the older women. No one gives a damn about the older ones. It is the younger ones. The older women are already clever, they run to you! But the 20 or 25 year olds... They would be the problem. These are the considerations. In a monastery it is the same. The alter is a holy area, and the other gender may not enter it, because it would cause disorder. Such are the opinions." "

Top this dreck, techies!



 

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"I feel sweaty and gross, I need a shower" (didn't shower until next morning)

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.18.14

Pouty Husband Sends Wife Spreadsheet Detailing Sex-Life Dissatisfaction. Granted, their marriage is probably faltering and unhappy, but existence of the Excuse column and the many gems contained within more than make up for that.



 

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Guest Post - Genre Fiction and Gender

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 07.18.14

Nick S writes:Nicola Griffith's first guest post at Charlie Stross' blog is quite fun.

She touches on a number of different subjects and the links to "The Forgotten Heroines of Pre-Code Comics" and "Cover Posing" are worth the price of admission by themselves. But it's notable that, after giving various examples of sexism within both genre fiction and the critical community, she ends on an optimistic note:

Given my brief Hard Takes Soft was a necessarily simplistic argument -- in the real world nothing is uniform. But what's interesting to me, five years later, is that it already feels a little out of date. For starters, I'd change "is privileged critically" to "was privileged critically." Now I'd say, on balance, that the automatic privileging of hard sf over soft is no longer something to bet on unthinkingly. The world is changing. Again. A look at history shows many pendulum swings -- each accompanied by much agitation from the peanut gallery ranging from complaints of the established citizenry to the destruction of civilization, never mind all-white, for-boys comics -- and I think this is one such. Notions of gender are undergoing a seismic shift -- see, for example, my recent post about the word Wife -- and the genre is moving with it. The great boulder is rocking in its cradle.

Heebie's take: Context, Nick, context. Tell the readers we're talking about how Thor is now She-Thor.



 

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