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Guest post: The miracle of life

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 12.02.16

Witt writes: What, you've never dropped a 200-pound baby out of your body as casually as lifting a leg? This elephant mom has. (The birth happens about 13 seconds in; keep watching to get a better view of the baby).

And this guy is clearly in the exact right career for him. Never seen anyone so excited to talk about two orphaned manatees. (I have to admit it was pretty cool to see how they get transported.)

For the next four years (or longer), you can get your baby animal fix here: Zooborns.com.

Heebie's take: Awwwwwwwww.

I have a Soothing Things to Look At board on pinterest which I've found myself visiting a lot lately. It's mostly art and nature, but not shlocky, and I find it meditative to scroll through it.


 

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All Lives Matter

Posted by Ogged
on 12.01.16

One of the interesting things about my commute--train, walk--is the thought of all these other people's secret lives, particularly when some surprise or incongruity presents itself. I was walking about twenty feet behind one of my co-workers a few weeks ago (he works in another city, but is often here) and he's a tall, skinny twenty-five year old, and his pants were too short, and he was barefoot in pointy dress shoes, carrying a big backpack, and if anyone had cared to look, he was looking a little comical. But I know that he's a whiz kid, a "software architect" who has basically the entire site that we dozens of developers are working on, in his head.

Today I was walking alongside a slightly frumpy middle-aged woman who I hadn't really noticed, and an enormous guy who was walking by said to her, "Hi, judge" and proceeded to be deferentially schmoozy.

What else are these anonymous faces up to!


 

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Everything

Posted by Ogged
on 11.30.16

We're not done rehashing, right? I'm not regularly a Vox reader, but this piece was highly recommended on the twitter, and it sure seems like a definitive take on what happened.


 

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Too Perfect

Posted by Ogged
on 11.30.16

Laugh where we can, I guess. If it's going to be let the Republicans run wild with the government, while successfully trolling liberals and the press, while racking up PR victories like the Carrier plant, it's going to be a very long four years.

Also, bets on whether Ivanka runs in place of her dad in 2020?


 

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Aggravation Du Jour

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.30.16

An email went out from the Heebie U financial director to all employees that said, basically, "You were all scheduled to get raises on December 1st when the new Labor Department rules went into effect, but now there's a court injunction against it, so we're holding off on the raises. Don't hold your breath."

Since faculty weren't part of this, anyway, the vast majority of people affected most likely voted for Trump. And yet they will doggedly not connect the dots. YOUR GUY JUST COST YOU YOUR RAISE (modulo details) AND YOU DON'T EVEN GET IT.


 

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ATM: Kiss Dating Goodbye?

Posted by Ben
on 11.29.16

Yeah, that's right (NB this is not yet the ATM, this is me), you don't have to send your "ATM"s or "Guest Post"s to heebie, you can also send them to me, or indeed to any of the other people who can make “‘front’ ‘page’ ‘posts’”—and they might even appreciate it, you swine, but who am I to say? Anyway, someone whose identity you will likely be able to discern writes the below:

You guys, I cannot handle another politics thread. Help! I also can't handle much else. I have a new house but haven't really unpacked because I've had a badly sprained ankle for three months and can't do anything worthwhile. So I figured I'd ask the Mineshaft whether I should be dating and if so how and to what end, because letting people argue bossily about my personal life should be diverting at least. I'm putting in as much detail for you to mix and match as I can manage.

Background: Lee and I met a decade ago now and I broke up with her 18 months ago. I have one of the girls in my custody 100% of the time. The other two go to Lee every other weekend and spend two hours one evening a week with her. It's unlikely that their time with her will increase, and they may and sometimes do move to having more time than that with me. One of the girls is struggling in ways that take a significant amount of time and attention from me, plus there's regular parenting to do. All tend to push limits as far as they possibly can with babysitters, which I realize is normal but is driving me up the wall. They're 10, 9, and 4 now and I'm 36. I'm in therapy to learn to have more self-esteem and see myself and my body (if they even differ, which blah) more accurately and all that stupid stuff. The children also have therapy and extracurriculars and homework and require regular feeding and bathing and all that stuff that eats all the hours it touches.

I've gone out with four women from online dating sites in the past year, two of them only once and the third not much more than that. There aren't many other options, though I've gotten I think six (some overlap with the four dates) informed about what the right fostering agency would be for them at this point in their lives, helped a Russian immigrant find the most welcoming gay bar for her first time out, reconnected with a middle-school friend, and set up a playdate with the woman whose son used to be in my four-year-old's daycare class and who I knew was on her way to coming out when she got that haircut. After several months, I have 10 Tinder matches and two of them were definite swiping mistakes on my part (or the app's?) and two are the ones I went out with once each and, well, that's it. The woman I dated last year is much better for me as a friend and ex than she was a girlfriend. I do have some casual sex options of varying degrees of bad-ideaness, so I'm less likely to face the same prospects of years of celibacy than, say, in a hypothetical long-term relationship I was in before.

So there's the question of what the future looks like. I like my little house and having my own room and my books in the living room. I'll like it more once we're finally fully unpacked and settled, but I can wait. Eventually the children will grow up and leave and it will be quiet and I can putter around more than I do now. I'm not sure I'm someone who's set on pair-bonding, definitely not someone who ever imagined being married and settled down as part of what I expected my life to be, but it's something I've done. I have no interest in settling for someone who's not kind and interesting to me and preferably well beyond that, whether for casual or serious relationships. I am extremely self-critical but I do think I'm pretty great and I'm sure spending time with another great person could be fun. I already know spending time with awful people is awful. The middle ground is a little murkier, which is my excuse not to go there. It's also my goal to only date people I'm attracted to this time, which is more difficult than it seems it ought to be. I enjoy flirting and talking to new people and the physical and emotional stuff that goes along with all of this.

But I'm also desperately lonely at times. I work from home now. There are days when the only adult I talk to is the woman at the desk for daycare dropoff. My only intellectual outlets are online, though I could probably get a babysitter to go out for a trivia night occasionally if I tried, which is something I used to do. My mom is retired and can watch the girls sometimes, maybe twice a month. The children all have a tendency to sabotage my attempts to go out and do things on my own, but they can handle babysitters now and the more often we do that, the easier it will get for them. (They would like me to be in a relationship with someone who will take a parental role, preferably so they can have a dad but gay if I won't make their dreams come true. They also want me to reopen as a foster home so they can have more siblings. This is why they don't get a vote.)

I've talked myself out of saying that I'll just arbitrarily put off dating until I'm 40, when in theory the older girls can watch the youngest and I won't have to be as present in their lives all day every day as I am now, but I still find the idea tempting. I'm grateful I've had the dates I did because it's given me the experience of talking to people, learning the norms. But I just have so little to offer right now that it doesn't seem worth it at all to even bother, to do more than passively have a profile available just in case someone who's super into Iranian movies or Greek lyric poetry notices me [editor's note, how can this not be a guaranteed method for getting dates?] and sends an excited note and then is disappointed in me and runs away forever and then we have a lovely conversation and whatever happens next does. In the meantime, I don't really want to take on more volunteering roles, since I already run an adoption support group once a month and I'm mentoring new foster parents. I don't know if I can manage a regular class and if so in what, but something like that might be fun. Once I graduate from PT someday I'd like to actually get in shape just to see what that's like and what it could do for my self-image. I have a lot of options, just a lot of constraints too.

So you people always have theories. What do you suggest that isn't paying more attention to every piece of election news that flashes in front of my face?


 

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ATM: Acupuncture

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.29.16

Do any of you guys have good things to say about acupuncture? Nebulous travelling neck and shoulder pain seems like exactly what people go to acupuncture for.

About fifteen years ago, I got some acupuncture for these bizarre uterine cramps I used to get from sprinting. (My mother is afflicted with the same thing.) They were cripplingly intense - as in, I'd have to leave the indoor soccer game and go writhe on the floor of the bathroom for ten minutes. (Outdoor soccer didn't have quite enough nonstop sprinting to trigger them.) Isn't this story FASCINATING?

After I got fully punctured, they told me that the acupuncture wouldn't work unless I agreed to be upsold with a huge number of supplements. I was furious but still wanted to be able to say that I gave it a fair shot, so I agreed to the most crucial of all the supplements: a tea and some pills.

The tea tasted like ass, which wasn't pleasing and I didn't drink it. The instructions for the pills were to take them EIGHT TIMES A DAY. That seemed extra ludicrous. This supplement was so finely tuned that the maintenance dose required re-boosting every three fucking hours?

I took it for a few days. One day my friend took a look at the ingredients. "Hey," she said, "Did you know you're eating feces of trogopterus xanthipes?" Sure enough: it turns out that Shit of Flying Squirrel is a kind of Chinese ancient medicine.

At my next (and last) appointment, I tried to march in and be indignant about the flying squirrel shit. I didn't really care about the flying squirrel shit, I cared about the expense of the stupid pills, but this was my only angle to leverage. The guy behind the counter was amused that I could be so decadent and Western as to be indignant over flying squirrel shit.

I gave up on everything. I eventually cured the cramps many years later, because after I had a baby I never got skinny and fast enough again to run that hard ever again. Then I lost five uteruses. The end.

Anyway: I really am sick of this one-sided neck and shoulder pain. It gets aggravated while I sleep, somehow.


 

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Guest post - Let us Continue to Gnaw upon our Limbs

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.29.16

Mossy Character writes: If only you snooty coastal elitists allowed higher-density housing, millions more Trump-voting assholes would've migrated out of their overflown rustbuckets to thriving blue states, where their votes could be safely gerrymandered into oblivion!

Heebie's take
: I'm always interested in that topic, so chat away.

But. I've never been to that blog before, but this entry is clearly tailor-made for you to argue about. He goes every four years and concludes that 1968 and 2016 were the most critical elections. (Barry Yeoman goes into more depth comparing 1968 and 2016 here.)


 

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Truth In Advertisting

Posted by Ogged
on 11.28.16

You know, this is a very good explanation of gerrymandering.


 

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Guest Post - "The Call To Whiteness"

Posted by Heebie-Geebie
on 11.28.16

Nick S. writes: Interesting, troubling, complicated thoughts about the role of white nationalism in the 2016 campaign:

I will mount an argument below that this election represents a call-to-whiteness to activate white nationalist sentiment; plus a suppression of the importance of this call in discussing our current politics, and a troubling inability to disaggregate the call-to-whiteness from other motivations for voting for Donald Trump. I do not believe all Trump voters are racially motivated or primarily racially motivated, but white Americans, regardless of who they voted for, are now being asked to make an implicit choice in endorsing or rejecting white nationalist agendas and their integration into the body politic. There's a good argument using a "Cinemax"/cable analogy for the "bundling" of racial animus into every Trump vote, whether or not individual voters explicitly endorsed that.
As a reporter with 25 years of field experience in covering both politics and white nationalist movements, I see the two converging in ways we are woefully unprepared to cover or respond to because we as Americans have avoided the topic out of a mix of ignorance, fear, and aversion. I would argue we can avoid it no longer.


What I find most interesting, is how different it is from other articles that I've read. Because the author has covered white nationalist movements before she isn't starting from the election results and then working backwards to read the tea leaves for white nationalist sentiments. Instead it starts with recognizing white nationalism as a force, and then trying to discuss the ways in which that was manifest in the 2016 campaign. It isn't about the white working class and it isn't even about racism broadly speaking, it is very specifically about whiteness. For example, it takes this example:

The dialogues in our civic space should let us know how far the debate has gone. Senator Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican who drives an Uber in his spare time, has been engaging online with journalists and also challenging people who apparently hold white nationalist views. He responded on Twitter to one person who apparently argued that the 13th-15th amendments granting full citizenship and the franchise to black men was because "limited government failed." (And here I was thinking it was because slavery failed -- failed to live up to the unrealized promise in the first version of the U.S. Constitution.)

And rather than seeing it as "nut-picking", finding crazy things that people say online, it takes it as representative of a certain political force.

Interesting reading.

Heebie's take: This is good:

There has been a concerted effort -- covert, overt, or both -- to keep the narrative of white nationalism, including its violence and extralegal workings -- out of the American eye. Much of it, I believe, comes from the inability of media and of many individuals to ascribe racial/group characteristics to whiteness in the way blackness is grouped and tracked, or, in the context of terrorism, Muslim beliefs. If blacks are a group and Muslims are a group judged on the violent behavior of some, then white nationalist violence and terrorism is much more organized and overt but gets less mainstream coverage.

At other times, it gets confusing to keep track of exactly where she's going with her point, or who she's ascribing it to.


 

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