This is a real thing. I've almost posted about it before, but I didn't know how to convey it exactly. You sometimes see them being sold locally as fundraisers, outside the dry-cleaner or some other business. (The ones I've seen haven't had so many streamers, but the flower part has been bigger.)
My friend explained them all to me, because her six year old was accompanying a high school age cousin to a homecoming football game and got to wear one. It's not a new thing - people's grandmothers apparently talk about the mum they wore to such-and-such an event.
So I Admit Party Discipline Is More Important Than Protest Voting (Although The Two Aren't Incompatible)
New York State politics continues to be maddening: the Democrats finally took the State Senate back by winning a number of close races, but lost control when five senators elected as Democrats formed a coalition with the Republicans. Given that these senators were elected by people who had the option of voting for an actual Republican if they wanted to, it's hard to argue that it reflects voter preferences. (Oh, it's not impossible to make that argument: four of them had telegraphed the move in their last term by disassociating themselves from the Democratic leadership in the Senate and forming what they called the Independent Democratic Conference. But given the typical level of voter awareness, it seems implausible that a majority of their constituents realized that voting for the Democrat on the ballot meant handing the State Senate to the Republicans.)
The main purpose of this post is to remind me next year to start giving money to primary challengers for: Sens.Jeff Klein (D-Bronx), David Valesky (D-Oneida), Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), David Carlucci (D-Clarkstown), and Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Queens). For Klein, I'm close enough to go knock on doors for a challenger. If I don't make a note of it now, I'll be sitting around in '14 bitching about politics and wondering how I can possibly do anything with any impact.
Have we discussed here yet what a murderous fruitcake he is?
Shut up about kids and parenting, Heebie
And for balance, how's your dating life going? Any interesting first dates or hilariously bad ones? Let's collectively analyze and enjoy your foibles here.
Tis the Season for Porcelain Narcs
What the fuck is up with this Elf on a Shelf business? Last year I knew some parents that were doing it, and this year it seems ubiquitous, and I dearly hope most of you have no fucking clue what I'm talking about.
It's an elf that you buy, and you're supposed to move it to a new spot every night after your kid goes to sleep to provide evidence that the elf is alive and watching you and reporting to Santa whether or not you're good or bad. People get really into it.
Part of what's annoying is inventing a fake traditional story wholesale and launching a giant marketing campaign dedicated to embedding the myth in our consciousness. You need to have an elf for each child, because they will each desire this fond keepsake when they grow up!
The other part is just the elaborate lying that will one day be revealed. I clash with my RL friends over this quite a lot. I'm fine not questioning whatever Santa story Hawaiian Punch comes home with, but I'm not going to perpetuate it, either. I disagree with my otherwise sane friends on this strategy when it comes to promoting Santa as heavily as possible, explaining where babies come from, and I forget what else. But I think they're nuts.
My mom says, from time to time, when marriage and choice of spouse comes up in conversation, "I knew I didn't want to be with someone where I had to play dumb around them." And she's not. While I would assert that she is fully as smart as my dad (and smarter in certain ways), my dad definitely has more quick facts on hand (or he makes them up) and the dynamic in their marriage is that he's smarter (although not always). Anyway.
I think there's two things interesting about her statement, as a reflection on the early 1960s:
1. Good for you, Mom! It's fully laudable that she recognized her own intelligence and was not willing to hide her light under a bush.
2. The possibility that she be the smart one in the relationship was absolutely not on the table. I've asked her "Why was that the only option? If you're smarter and interested in someone, why not not play dumb?" I think there are two reasons - it wouldn't have appealed to many young men, then, first, and second, it wouldn't have appealed to my mom. She simultaneously believes she's smart and prefers to be considered less smart than those around her.
(Just because it's interesting: she says her other criteria for a spouse is that he not smoke and that he was a safe driver. She says this as if to rue her youthful silliness - she was 20 when they got married - and be amazed at how lucky she got, but I think those criteria actually probably tapped some more sensible personality traits than she grants them. Obviously there was still plenty of luck involved.)
On black dandyism. Mostly a photo essay of exceedingly well-dressed black academics.
In high school, I held the opinion that people look most stylish when they dress against stereotype. Since black people were subject to negative stereotypes of crime and poverty, then they look extra-fantastic in country club garb. That small Asian girls ought to dress like thugs. That I ought to dress like...and here it fell apart, because what's the opposite of co-opting other cultures? Nothing very fun.
(I can't remember who linked this but it was one of you, over there.)
Welcome to being pregnant. Begin self-abnegation*.
Sifu writes On the one hand, tons of research shows that moderate drinking is basically certainly not a big deal. On the other hand, maybe you don't want to drink but are just a narcissist who misses the time where you had your own personality instead of sacrificing everything to be a good mother!
Eliana Stern, a mother of two who lives in Exeter, New Hampshire, believes that "part of being a good mother is loving your child more than you love yourself, and that means not drinking while you're pregnant. Drinking can cause irreparable damage to the baby. Mothers who cause fetal alcohol syndrome in their babies have to live with that fact their entire lives. By not drinking during pregnancy, I gave my children the best chance to reach their full potential in life."
Upon returning home from Lucky's after the O'Doul's incident a few years ago, Kara Baskin started to wonder if the women at the other table had actually been right. "I realized that sitting there with my bottle of O'Doul's, I had felt like a badass, like I was being rebellious," she says. "Did I really want to be a badass? I ended up going home and berating myself." Because it wasn't just the taste of the beer that appealed to Baskin. At that point in her pregnancy, with only a few weeks to go, she'd found the freedom of that sip intoxicating. "It tasted like a memory, like a different part of my life that I might not ever get back to," she says. She hadn't missed alcohol. She had missed being Kara. Because, of course, she wasn't anymore, and as far as she knew, might never be again.
Heebie's take: OH FUCK EVERYONE. Did you know that in every single women's bathroom of any restaurant in Texas there's a big sign on the wall admonishing you not to drink? And I have been accosted by servers who are not comfortable with me having a beer.
Years ago, Oudemia emailed me this article, which talks about how there is a 0% incidence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in countries where people drink much, much more than the US. And that FAS is diagnosed at birth, when symptoms are not actually readily apparent for a few years, and that relying on physical features at birth is inaccurate.
The most damning passage:
Incidence estimates for FAS may also be influenced by the patient populations being examined. Although the diagnosis of FAS is based on a pattern of anomalies, it is unduly weighted by a reliance on facial anomalies such as a depressed nasal bridge and epicanthic folds (Abel, 1998). While all of the facial features associated with FAS can be considered a normal variant within a particular ethnic group, reliance on these characteristics could result in a higher rate of occurrence than warranted. Epicanthic folds and a spoon-shaped depression of the nasal bridge, for instance, are common among aboriginal North Americans. Low birth weight is also much more common among African-Americans than Caucasian-Americans. Since Native American and African-American populations are overly represented in epidemiological studies of FAS in the USA, their presence contributes strongly to the incidence of FAS in the USA (Abel, 1998).
*How did I never before see the word 'negation' in abnegation? Up til now I've read it as abneg - ation. Whatever that means.
Hi, I'm a jerk.
Today was unseasonably warm here in Virginia, so I was excited to go for a run. It's been in the forties lately, and that colder weather plus the earlier darkness has made running less exhilarating and more chore-like.
As usually happens, the nicer weather brought out all sorts of other runners, and I did the customary nod/smile thing when other runners did it to me. Because on the outside, I'm just a cheery, pleasant fellow, out for jog.
On the inside, however, part of me imagines giving a little self-righteous speech, heaping disdain on all the fair-weather runners: "Who the fuck are all you people? Where were you, last week, when the going got fucking tough, and we—some of us, anyway—were out here nonetheless, forty fucking degrees and all. And in the dark. Where were you then? Probably not out running, is what I'm guessing. Yeah! Take that!"
Of course, I could never be so immature and petty and nasty in person. But I figured I could tell the internet about it.
To what degree should Lit teachers be required to teach nonfiction under the common core state standards??
1. Reading nonfiction probably does need to receive more classroom time than it currently does.
2. If you add something to the curriculum, something else will be displaced.
3. This shouldn't strictly be the domain of English teachers - you can real nonfiction in all classes and take time to focus on reading the text, rather than just telling the students what they should have gotten out of the text. (I do this. I'm terrible about making students read anything and holding them accountable.)
4. No one ever, ever, ever takes any topic out of Official Curriculums. They just get longer and longer and longer.
Being able to read nonfiction is more important than the content in most courses, I'd say. And it just takes lots and lots of practice to get proficient.
My Plan Is Always Better Than Your Plan
Is it fun when I re-post terrible Christian things from my facebook feed? I never post the large number of perfectly nice, decent Christian-associated things that pop up, and there are plenty of liberal Christians posting nice, decent things in my feed.
This one is just so aggravating. Also the person is young and conservative and wants to go into the world of business.
(The charitable spin is that he's chastising himself for behaving this way. The uncharitable spin is that he believes this is the seriousness of most people's complaints about the world. Given that I'm an asshole, I'm going with the latter. ALSO WHY DIDN'T HE JUST PREVENT THE ILLNESS AND ACCIDENTS?)
Me: God, can I ask You a question?
Me: Promise You won't get mad
... ... ... ...
God: I promise
Me: Why did You let so much stuff happen to me today?
God: What do u mean?
Me: Well, I woke up late
Me: My car took forever to start
Me: at lunch they made my sandwich wrong & I had to wait
Me: On the way home, my phone went DEAD, just as I picked up a call
God: All right
Me: And on top of it all off, when I got home ~I just want to soak my feet in my new foot massager & relax. BUT it wouldn't work!!! Nothing went right today! Why did You do that?
God: Let me see, the death angel was at your bed this morning & I had to send one
of My Angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that
Me (humbled): OH
GOD: I didn't let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that would have hit you if you were on the road.
God: The first person who made your sandwich today was sick & I didn't want you to catch what they have, I knew you couldn't afford to miss work.
God: Your phone went dead bcuz the person that was calling was going to give false witness about what you said on that call, I didn't even let you talk to them so you would be covered.
Me (softly): I see God
God: Oh and that foot massager, it had a shortage that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn't think you wanted to be in the dark.
Me: I'm Sorry God
God: Don't be sorry, just learn to Trust Me.... in All things , the Good & the bad.
Me: I will trust You.
God: And don't doubt that My plan for your day is Always Better than your plan.
Me: I won't God. And let me just tell you God, Thank You for Everything today.
God: You're welcome child. It was just another day being your God and I Love looking after My Children...
REPOST if you Believe in HIM ♥
I Sort Of Like The Idea Of Full Employment
Ross Douthat had an editorial in the Times today whining about low birth rates, and how we were all going to be sorry when our failure to breed leaves us with too few productive workers to keep the wheels of commerce turning -- I'm not going to link because it wasn't interesting and I wasn't paying much attention to it, but you all know the drill. The ratio of workers to retirees will get too low, and there won't be enough food to go around or something.
This is the sort of thing that invites mockery for my naïveté, but isn't underemployment a more characteristic economic problem lately than the reverse? We don't have any trouble producing enough stuff for our current population, but we do have trouble employing everyone. If the demographic structure of the US, or even the world, population shifts so that there are fewer productive workers supporting more retirees, I realize that there's a point at which that becomes a problem, but isn't somewhat of a shift in that direction actually likely to be an improvement for everyone?
Borrowing money to hire people to do completely useless work is, as I understand it, useful economic stimulus when people are unemployed. Taking care of retirees, and producing the goods and services they need, is more genuinely productive than digging holes in the ground and filling them in again, but seems to have all the same economic virtues. What, in short, is the problem here?
They re-did our grocery store over the last five months, adding on a huge produce section and generally rearranging things. The juice is now with the junk food and sodas, near the non-food items, separated from the interior shelves. So it took me forever to find that they'd hidden the lemon juice in with the kids juice. Why would they do that to me.