vonnegut gave good advice but as always I believe it is worth noting that (there is at least some evidence that) he was cruel to the people who loved him. he had a great talent for reducing very difficult things into very simple sentences, but in the end they remain very difficult things.
i think it’s a universal truth that everyone in our generation takes pluto’s losing its planetary status as a personal offense
pluto is smaller than russia. why did we ever even consider it a planet?
BECAUSE IT’S A PART OF OUR SOLAR SYSTEM
OHANA MEANS FAMILY
FAMILY MEANS NO ONE IS LEFT BEHIND
We didn’t banish Pluto from the solar system; we acknowledged that Pluto didn’t fit the identity we forced upon it. Now that we’re not insisting Pluto be a planet, we can see it for what it is - a small body, with a history more like the other small kuiper bodies. Instead of saying “oh its got such an unusual orbit for a planet, it’s so different and weird” we go “Hey it’s got a lot in common with Makemake and Haumea and Eris,” who are also totally part of the solar family! Look em up!
Just like people, labels and classifications say something about where we come from — not our worth.
here, have some quality “pluto isn’t a planet and that is good” stuff ^^^
“My list of names is banal but astounding, and it’s barely a fraction, the ones that slip into view in the first minute or two. Anyone over sixty knows this; my list is only longer. I don’t go there often, but, once I start, the battalion of the dead is on duty, alertly waiting. Why do they sustain me so, cheer me up, remind me of life? I don’t understand this. Why am I not endlessly grieving?”—I missed this Roger Angell piece on being 94 the first time it came around, if you did too it would be a good use of your time to read it.
theres a giant burning orb in the sky and it can burn your flesh, it can give you diseases, it can kill you, looking directly at it causes physical pain, and we all think this is okay. we like this orb. we like to go outside and lie around on our backs when this orb is in the sky. children draw cute pictures of this levitating death orb with a smiley face on it. what is wrong with us
everything i have ever known and everything i have ever loved is only possible because 1,989,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 kg ball of hydrogen refuses to stop exploding, i think about this a lot and it never gets any less amazing
What would you consider the best intellectual training for the would-be writer?
Let’s say that he should go out and hang himself because he finds that writing well is impossibly difficult. Then he should be cut down without mercy and forced by his own self to write as well as he can for the rest of his life. At least he will have the story of the hanging to commence with.
The NCAA basketball finals, held last night, were watched by over 18 million people at their peak. That’s 6% of the U.S. population. In contrast, Pharrell’s “Happy,” currently the #1 single in the country, has sold about 3 million copies, or 1% of the U.S. population. (If single sales seem like a poor metric of listenership, the official video has 168 million views.) That’s months after its release, and a clear outlier. The #10 song on the chart this week, “Turn Down for What” by DJ Snake and Lil Jon (which has been on the chart longer than “Happy”) has sold a million copies (0.33% of the U.S. population), while the #10 movie at the box office, Liam Neeson’s “Non-Stop,” has been seen by 10 and a half million people, or 3.5% of the population.
More broadly, two-thirds of the adults in the U.S. and Canada go to the movies at least once per year. Only half buy music in any form. When people do buy music, one-half to two-thirds of their purchases are catalog (old) music. Taken together, it seems fair to say that the audience for new music in America is somewhere between 16 and 25 percent of the population, versus 67% for new movies and around 95% for TV.
sometimes I think about how I & most of the people I know are outliers, if not in the technical sense than at least in the spiritual one, and how that can be as unsettling as it can be comforting, but some days it is neither, it just is.
“The notion that black America’s long bloody journey was accomplished through frequent alliance with the United States is an assailant’s-eye view of history. It takes no note of the fact that in 1860, most of this country’s exports were derived from the forced labor of the people it was “allied” with. It takes no note of this country electing senators who, on the Senate floor, openly advocated domestic terrorism. It takes no note of what it means for a country to tolerate the majority of the people living in a state like Mississippi being denied the right to vote. It takes no note of what it means to exclude black people from the housing programs, from the GI Bills, that built the American middle class. Effectively it takes no serious note of African-American history, and thus no serious note of American history.”—
i would say this takes a while to get going but it’s moving pretty fast at the beginning and by the time it gets to the end it’s moving so fast you might have trouble seeing it but man alive, will you feel it
The worst of all possible things that could happen would be to lose that language [that black people love so much]. There are certain things I cannot say without recourse to my language. It’s terrible to think that a child with five different present tenses comes to school to be faced with those books that are less than his own language. And then to be told things about his language, which is him, that are sometimes permanently damaging… This is a really cruel fallout of racism. I know the Standard English. I want to use it to help restore the other language, the lingua franca.
1. He ø runnin. Standard American English (SAE )= He is running.
2. He be runnin. SAE = He is usually running or He will/would be running.
3. He be steady runnin. SAE = He is usually running in an intensive, sustained manner, or He will/would be running in an intensive, sustained manner.
4. He(’s) been/bin runnin. SAE He has been running–at some earlier point, but probably not now.
Other examples: I been knowing her. SAE = I have known her.
About eleven o’clock he been eating. SAE = … he was eating.
5. He BEEN/BIN runnin’. SAE = He has been running for a long time, and still is.
-This is a use of the African American English (AAE) stressed been/remote BIN.
texting someone “marco” should be understood as “I know you’re in a rough spot and I want to check in without asking how you are, which I know can be a stupid or painful question.” responding “polo” should be understood to be “I am not well, but I am getting by and expect to make it at least another little while.”
an addendum: currently under development is a system based on the old “holding up fingers while you’re drowning,” which I see as an excellent fit for use at a party.
“Peter [Lanza, father of Newtown shooter Adam Lanza,] told me, “I get very defensive with my name. I do not like to even say it. I thought about changing it, but I feel like that would be distancing myself and I cannot distance myself. I don’t let it define me, but I felt like changing the name is sort of pretending it didn’t happen and that’s not right.” But Peter has found the visibility hard. Old friends have been unflagging in their support, but Peter said he thought that he might never make new friends again. “This defines who I am and I can’t stand that, but you have to accept it.””—This jumped out at me from a New Yorker profile. “I can’t stand that” and “you have to accept that” are contradictory notions, because to accept something is to stand it, and now I am wondering how often we say “I can’t do this” when we mean “I don’t feel like I can do this” and how important that shift in language might be, and what it might get us if we said “I don’t feel like I can” more often than “I can’t.”
Ms. Heyse, on the other hand, said the legal bar for defending the state’s marriage law and upholding the people’s will was low: She simply had to show “any conceivable basis” for a reasonable person to support it.
“Isn’t it rational to believe it’s a good thing for a child to have a mom and a dad?” she added.
At times, the eight days of testimony resembled a droning college seminar in statistical methodology.
“Koko was much bigger than Mister Rogers. She weighed 280 pounds, and Mister Rogers weighed 143. Koko weighed 280 pounds because she is a gorilla, and Mister Rogers weighed 143 pounds because he has weighed 143 pounds as long as he has been Mister Rogers, because once upon a time, around thirty-one years ago, Mister Rogers stepped on a scale, and the scale told him that Mister Rogers weighs 143 pounds. No, not that he weighed 143 pounds, but that he weighs 143 pounds…. And so, every day, Mister Rogers refuses to do anything that would make his weight change—he neither drinks, nor smokes, nor eats flesh of any kind, nor goes to bed late at night, nor sleeps late in the morning, nor even watches television—and every morning, when he swims, he steps on a scale in his bathing suit and his bathing cap and his goggles, and the scale tells him that he weighs 143 pounds. This has happened so many times that Mister Rogers has come to see that number as a gift, as a destiny fulfilled, because, as he says, “the number 143 means ‘I love you.’ It takes one letter to say ‘I’ and four letters to say ‘love’ and three letters to say ‘you.’ One hundred and forty-three. ‘I love you.’ Isn’t that wonderful?””—
1) It has to be in everything you do. You have to think about who you are, and who you want to be, and what you want to be about, and you have to put that into practice and you have to sew it through each and every thing you do, you have to find the cracks in your life and fill them with this thing that you want to be.
2) You have to look at what you do. You have to look at the cracks in your life and see how you have filled them, you have to look at each and every thing that you do. This, I submit, this is who you are.
Currently enjoying a Rusty Nail. Any suggestions for Drambuie beyond that?
Mmmm… that terrific Scotch based liqueur.
Try it with equal parts of Bailey’s Irish Cream either shaken over ice or added to your coffee for a delicious creamy treat. Or whip up what we used to call the “Lover’s Cocktail”… Vodka (3 parts), Drambuie (2 parts), Triple Sec (1 part), with a dash of bitters.
“One activist disdained the practice of charging extra for chips and salsa, for instance, as an anti-Mexican symptom of gentrification. Some taquerias also offer additional types of flour tortillas (for instance, whole wheat or spinach), but this same activist declared, “I will shoot my son and daughter if they ever order a green burrito.””—
Friends! I am running an experiment as part of some course work, and is with nearly all experiments the more participants I get the better. It’s online, it takes less than 5 minutes. Help a fellow out?
Alternately, if you reblogged this (or spread the link however you like, really) you would both be extra helpful *and* lend me a talking point in arguing for the superiority of tumblr, and if you did that well I would just be grateful as h*ck.
She continued, “In my mind I keep saying, ‘Had he not spoke back, spoke up, would he still be here?’ I don’t know. But I do know that Jordan was Jordan to the end. I think Jordan was defending his friends. ‘We’re not bothering you. We don’t know you. You don’t know us. Why can’t we play our music as loud as we want?’”
I told her that I was stunned by her grace after the verdict. I told her the verdict greatly angered me. I told her that the idea that someone on that jury thought it plausible there was a gun in the car baffled me. I told her it was appalling to consider the upshot of the verdict—had Michael Dunn simply stopped shooting and only fired the shots that killed Jordan Davis, he might be free today.
She said, “It baffles our mind too. Don’t think that we aren’t angry. Don’t think that I am not angry. Forgiving Michael Dunn doesn’t negate what I’m feeling and my anger. And I am allowed to feel that way. But more than that I have a responsibility to God to walk the path He’s laid. In spite of my anger, and my fear that we won’t get the verdict that we want, I am still called by the God I serve to walk this out.”
“The number of lawsuits that involve paddling gone wrong, or branding that necessitated skin grafts, or a particular variety of sexual torture reserved for hazing and best not described in the gentle pages of this magazine, is astounding.”—more “the likes of which cannot be printed here” goodness, this time from a long Atlantic piece by Caitlin Flanagan on how awful fraternities are. (spoiler alert: very).
I rarely note “this is the life you chose” except when I am angry and frustrated so I would like to note I am playing Magic: The Gathering on a 70 degree Friday afternoon, and this remains the life that I chose.
You are sitting in a leather club chair in the middle of an otherwise spare room. You are home early from the office, having feigned a headache worse than the one you really do have. You are drinking a beer, watching the local news anchor read. Her name is Wendy Something, and you have a crush on her. You moved here only months ago - from Cedar Falls, from Monroe or Meridian, from Canton, from Grand Forks, Eau Claire - and you have yet to make friends. The weekly drink with co-workers has drifted into a less occasional gathering, then none at all, as you’ve gradually discovered you have little in common, and you get along well at work anyway, so why even bother? People are hard to get to know out here, inside their bubbles, with their benign, almost tender indifference to you and their studious gestures of intimacy - the banter that is devoid of subtext and the How-are-you! that is never a question and the See-you-later! that simply signals the end of conversation. It has been lonely. You come home in the evenings and eat a take-out burrito over the kitchen sink and stroll through your half-furnished rooms, with books in alphabetized stacks on the floor and unpacked boxes as end tables and nothing on the walls. You have pondered this metaphor for an unfinished life - or better, the beginning of a new one - and you remind yourself why you moved here, why everyone moves here. And you may be lonely like this forever, but out here it at least feels transitory - a step on a journey, a blip on a timeline, and all that.
That is from Daniel Orozco’s “Shakers" and it has not been my experience in California but it is not hard to see how it could have been, and I am grateful for that and believe it is good to keep these things in mind sometimes.
“if in that moment / it is clear that in our entire, graceless rage / it is what we have, and all along, / most yearned for, / then let us be spared by that which has the power to spare us / the knowledge that it is too late / to disclaim anger, find the will / for love and tenderness, beg / for pardon”—
again and again and again
John Engels, “For the lately dead” The Kenyon Review, Autumn 1984. (via sorryeveryone)
A Rusty Nail is made by mixing Drambuie and Scotch. Many prefer less Drambuie to decrease the sweetness of the drink. Scotch has a fairly biting and hot taste that is counterbalanced by the honeyed, herbal overtones of the Drambuie. A Rusty Nail can be served in an old-fashioned glass on the rocks, neat, or “up” in a stemmed glass. It is most commonly served over ice. A Rusty Nail served without ice is sometimes called a Straight Up Nail. The Canadian version of this drink is called a “Donald Sutherland” and substitutes rye whiskey for Scotch.
so I don’t think wikipedia says this anymore but in any event it is happening and friends it is tasty as h*ck
“People are understandably very fixated on New York’s arrogance and myopia. And these things are true. But also, growing up inside that world, I know how vulnerable and naïve and fearful of “elsewhere” you can be as a New Yorker. That it is a self-reinforcing sub-cultural identity of a certain sense. You know, that famous New Yorker cover image of Manhattan, where you see Tenth Avenue and Eleventh Avenue and Twelfth Avenue, and then the Hudson River, and then the vast plain with a few specks of light on it. One very familiar interpretation of that, and the dominant one, is that this shows the solipsism and narcissism of New York. But it also describes a helplessness and naïvete: “what IS out there?” It’s terror. New Yorkers can’t drive and they have to be proud of that, because there’s no other option but to act as though it’s a wonderful thing. But that’s helplessness and dysfunction.”—A little more Lethem because it’s his birthday. This is from an interview, and near as I can tell this is the New Yorker cover he’s talking about, though his “specks of light” comment means either he’s thinking of something else or he misremembered the image.
"You’re leaving me," I said.
“I have to be where this takes me.”
“It takes you away. You’re gone, and I’m alone.”
“You’re not alone.”
“Worse than alone, actually. I’m partial. I’m part of something that isn’t there anymore. I’m a broken-off chunk.”
Alice looked down. “What I’m doing is very important.”
“When will you come back?”
“Say something encouraging,” I said. “Tell me it’s good for us. Tell me you think I’m overreacting. Use the word us.”
She met my eyes with a look of terror.
Happy Birthday to Jonathan Lethem, who has always made me feel inadequate as a writer and often as a person
It occurs to me that it might be easy to take It’s Not About The Whale in a way that I don’t mean it* so a small explanation:
INATW doesn’t mean that event outcomes don’t matter. They do - your life will play out differently if you get tenure, or get married, or buy the house in this neighborhood or that one, etc etc. Things will be different. What INATW means is that regardless of which of those things happen, you will be ok. It is not so much an argument for not caring about what happens so much as an argument for not being scared. Keep doing all of the things you know you should be doing: take care of yourself, pursue rewarding hobbies, maintain constructive relationships with friends and family**. Do that, and tenure can’t hurt you.
* You should take it how you want i.e., in whatever way has value for you. I just want to be clear on how I mean it. ** I am aware that these are not easy things. Please do not think I am implying these are not difficult, complex things.
A question: When assistant professors are denied tenure, what happens to their happiness?…Assistant professors predict that their happiness would be greatly reduced by a negative tenure decision, but they’re wrong. After a few years have passed, there is no discernible difference between the happiness of those who get tenure and the happiness of those who do not….Before an election, voters think they will be miserable if their preferred candidate loses, but after just a month, political outcomes don’t have much of an effect….Contemplating a divorce is horrible, but after a period of adjustment, divorced people tend to end up about as happy as they were before. After a while, young people who have lost a limb as a result of cancer show no less happiness than young people who haven’t had cancer….Kidney dialysis patients don’t show significantly reduced levels of happiness.
The full article contains some notable counter-examples that are well worth considering, but overall the point remains: our emotional relationship to the outcome of events is more important than what those outcomes are. Crucially, that relationship is not necessarily dependent on what that outcome is. It’s Not About The Whale.