1. The racism against Asian-Americans is horrifying, and I'm so sorry that this mass-shooting occurred.
2. This is a thing I've talked about before, but I don't have anything else on my plate: Kahneman's Thinking Fast & Slow is great for explaining the brain to kids. Not literally, as in I'm not reading it to them, but there are so many moments about human behavior where it's a satisfying model to explain why people do or need something. (I call them the "smart brain" and the "dumb brain" to the kids, since "system 1" and "system 2" isn't so descriptive.)
The crux of the explanation is basically that your smart brain learns very quickly but thinks slowly, and your dumb brain learns slowly but thinks quickly. It's incredibly useful for short-circuiting those arguments that go "Why do we have to do X? I'm smart. I get it," where X is some safety thing, or some musical or kinesthetic skill, or some habit that you want to entrench. Your smart brain gets X, but your dumb brain doesn't yet get X. Your smart brain has to teach your dumb brain in the language that your dumb brain learns in. It's also useful for explaining certain kinds of human inconsistencies - "Their smart brain knows Y, but they haven't trained their dumb brain to know Y, and their dumb brain is sabotaging things."
Anyway: the latest incarnation is that it's been useful for talking about ADHD. We are trying out a new medication with Pokey, and for a few days, he was on a half-dose while we looked for side effects. Half-medicated Pokey is a lot. A useful thing, however, was to say, "Your dumb brain is where the ADHD symptoms live. Your smart brain is capable of overriding it, but it takes conscious effort. You, me, and Jammies are going to share the responsibility of monitoring your dumb brain over the next few days, until we can adjust your dose back up."
Did it work? As a framework for understanding his brain, it worked great. For controlling his symptoms, who can say? It was a hard few days and we're still tinkering with meds.
Lurid Keyaki writes: I liked this article about influencers as televangelists, although I'm not sure I would admit to liking it in public since it's rather lazy.
Heebie's take: I know a lot of women who take Glennon Doyle very seriously.
Many millennials who have turned their backs on religious tradition because it isn't sufficiently diverse or inclusive have found alternative scripture online. Our new belief system is a blend of left-wing political orthodoxy, intersectional feminism, self-optimization, therapy, wellness, astrology and Dolly Parton.
And we've found a different kind of clergy: personal growth influencers. Women like Ms. Doyle, who offer nones like us permission, validation and community on demand at a time when it's nearly impossible to share communion in person. We don't even have to put down our phones.
In February Ms. Doyle posted a virtual sermon to her followers on Instagram, encouraging them to "embrace quitting as a spiritual practice." More than 100,000 members of her congregation liked it. Followers responded with prayer hands emojis, God bless yous and one "Hallelujah, sister."
(I also am now realizing that she and Cheryl Strayed are different people. I think both Wild and Love Warrior showed up in my book club, although I think I really loathed Love Warrior but tolerated Wild.) Glennon Doyle is the one married to Abby Wambach.
The other name that comes up a lot in similar ways is Brené Brown. I once watched some clip of Brown, and found her charming and sensible, but her message seems to be this one about breaking free of the cage you've put yourself in and living courageously, and that's not a message that particularly resonates with me. Doyle also probably has sensible messages, but I find her too insufferable to stick around and find out.
I think these sorts have the same audience as the relentless nags of self-improvement in the magazines, but have a much healthier message? Mostly the messages seem to be "you are so tired, you poor dear, you do so much. Which of those things are contributing to your one great life, you soaring butterfly, and which of those things are you doing because you internalized a bunch of shit and you're scared of everything, you jumpy little highstrung mouse?" The audience seems to be very high strung, type A women who would make great leaders if they can remember how lazy the rest of us are.
This is intended to be our system for checking in on imaginary friends, so that we know whether or not to be concerned if you go offline for a while. There is no way it could function as that sentence implies, but it's still nice to have a thread.
LW writes: I recently watched the 1963 Nutty Professor film with Jerry Lewis. Many shots are so full of color it's hard to put into words-- the period stills don't do it justice. Lewis' costumes help, but it's not just that-- the classroom scenes have the middle-aged actors playing kids in colors that are now reserved for safety-allusive athleisure clothes. And there's this, which begins with an abrupt scene cut whose motivation is a little oblique, we suddenly meet the older Kelps with the only explanation for who they are being, well, you'll see. Check out the vintage washer in the background. The whole movie seemed formally theatrical the way improv skits are, for similar reasons, which combined with the super-bright colors really worked for me. I would love to know about other US movies that are as effective with their use of intense color-- I guess I could visit live action Disney stuff, but thought I'd ask here first, since the color in concert with the anarchic characters is what I liked about this one. Surrealist Umbrellas of Cherbourg level of visual realization.
Heebie's take: Are the colors intensified post-production, by any chance? Like somewhat colorized? I also like how designers (influencers!) in the '60s and '70s generally felt that the visual world should be garish and bright.
(I also realize that I've blurred The Nutty Professor and Dr. Do-Little in my mind, probably because Eddie Murphy remade both of them.)
(This was going to be Tuesday's post! Oh well.)
Mossy writes: She savors our ecotourism.
The remains of five great white sharks killed by orcas were discovered in the Gansbaai area in 2017.
Another shark killed in a similar fashion was found on a beach this year, and there could be many more, a marine biologist and one of the researchers, Alison Kock, said during the report presentation.
Maybe people could be lowered into cages to swim with the orcas, instead?
(Also I'm camping and these entries are pre-loaded.)
Natilo writes: Howdy cats,
As you may remember, one of the many bummers about the events of last spring here in Mpls was Uncle Hugo's/Uncle Edgar's bookstore burning down. It's just awful to think about a place I had loved for 30 years and more being snuffed out like that. There were so many books! And it was a significant hub for the community. However, it seems like there's some momentum building now for Don to reopen in the not too distant future. You can read about that here.
And if you've got a couple bucks, the crowdfunding campaign is here.
Heebie's take: Done!