Tag: Humor

Weekend Links

“At midnight, in the month of June, I stand beneath the mystic moon.” 
― Edgar Allan Poe

Happy weekend, kittens! Jeff is at a friend’s birthday abroad this weekend, and I’m cheerfully scheming of what I can get away with in his absence. In the midst of all that, I’m also getting a lot of adult tasks done like the usual household maintenance and laundry because adulthood is a never ending list of monotonous chores. Weekend Links

Procrastinate with me by enjoying this nice batch of weekend reading I’ve put together for you. I’m obviously biased, but I think this is a rather nice assemblage of pop culture, feminism, PRIDE celebration, fashion, politics, and archaeology. Why else do you people come to this dinky little site?

The uncomfortable State Visit is over, and here in the UK we’re using some pageantry in the form of Trooping the Colour as a palate cleanser, whilst my president is awkwardly stepping on his own NASA message and conflating the Moon and Mars on Twitter. Totally on par examples of the symbolic role of the state.

I never get over these stories. How do people just misplace this stuff!?

Kimberly Clark–drag queen and YouTube legend of anti-beauty-consumerism–is back!

There is a great interview with Stephen Colbert in the New York Times this week, and it will not surprise you at all to hear that I loved his thoughtful answer to why he loves Tolkien so much. He is a noted fan and, as all the best fans are (regardless of what their fandom is centered on), his reasons for his love are deep and personal. Speaking of, he also gives an excellent answer to what he sees the differences are between good and bad for you faith, interverweaving his own religious faith and life history.

I need this tattooed somewhere.

My interest in J. Crew think pieces is inexhaustible but this Vanity Fair article is pretty darn good despite the plethora of options from which to choose. “The narrowness of the world the company first opened a window to is now, thankfully, a thing of the past. There is no one way to look or dress “American.” So how do you resuscitate a brand built on this definition? And is there still room for it?”

Ooh, our next bonnet and corset drama is coming!

I agree.

Anne Helen Petersen drops her latest deep dive.

Some commentator made the point that at most other points in human history, the inability to plant or harvest an estimated 70% of ones crop might be considered something of a setback…

Step aside, Florida Man!

An excellent piece from Tom and Lorenzo about some of the history and mythology around the Stonewall Riots. Fascinating, PRIDE Month appropriate, and important.

Of wifehood and wifery.

While I’m not at all a fan of those who try to claim Shakespeare was not Shakespeare…I have to admit I liked this article at The Atlantic!

There is an unsubtle connection between misogyny and terrorism. “In 2018, a few months before Beierle stood in that studio, the Southern Poverty Law Center added a new category to its tracking list of hate movements around the country: male supremacy….While old-guard white supremacists revered women as the mothers of the race, younger bigots despise them as just one more group responsible for eroding their status.”

It’s summer. Wear sunscreen.

Rhianna is getting her money, in the literal definition of goals.

There was a fun experience going around social media and specifically Instagram this week, where some simple instructions showed users how to access the information that is used to control the ads that they see on the platform. The joke was, that almost everyone was baffled by what their data showed as their interests…it was almost always weird or wrong (if you believe people on the internet talking about themselves…but mine certainly made little sense!). The consensus opinion being that people are liars or the algorithms are not as strong or correct as we are often led to believe. I lean towards the latter. Algorithms, for all they control our world, are man-made things. Popular science YouTuber Veritasium happened to make a video about this from the YouTube perspective this week, which is worth a view if you want to understand the fraught relationship between platforms, creators, and views–as well as how sensationalism has overtaken…everything. This is true of our politics, media, and publishing worlds as well.

INDEED.

Babies and young children are dying in facilities in which they should not be being held in the first godamn place. If you have extra cash to spare this week, throw it at RAICES who is doing important work on the border. Our president may not be able to make up his mind whether he’s pro or against tariffs (and trying to avoid a fight with his own senate) but children are still dying.

Like everyone else in the world, I am debating whether or not I could pull off THAT Fleabag jumpsuit. I suspect not. I suspect I may buy it anyway….

Straight Pride…I can’t even. What a basket of WTFery.

Exhibit 1,403,582 why PRIDE matters (read the story):

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Weekend Links: How the Hell is it Already June, Edition

“Spring being a tough act to follow, God created June.”
– Al Bernstein

This was a short work week, and so I’ve mostly been head down and nose firmly to grindstone, ducklings. What did I miss?

[Scans news headlines. Screams into cushion for full five minutes. Rises and shakes self off in a supremely British manner.]

Okay. I’m caught up. Woof. Let’s just get to the weekend reading and sharing of good things, shall we? This weekend we’re brunching with friends, celebrating my birthday, soaking up the sun and yes…unfortunately doing a bit of work. C’est la vie. Share your favorite links and stories with me in the comments and tell me what nice things you are doing with friends, family, or your glorious self. Points for bragging!

First and foremost, happy Pride Month! I hope all in the community and allies are doing something absolutely joyous and fun to celebrate.

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The BBC is about to do it again!

The long term effects of male-preference is going to last for a least a couple of generations, and some sociologists have shown rises in crime or military activity alongside gender ratio imbalances this great. The cost for women is inevitably huge, with rises in trafficking and worse. But the honest question I have in reading so many of these stories is one of foundational math: if you and everyone else you know are having sons, where exactly do you think your grandchildren are coming from?

What a ride this tale was!

A delightful Instagram account for your delectation.

The absolutely galling shenanigans having to do with the USS John McCain this week are embarrassing. Not least of all because the administration tried to put the genie back in the bottle and declare the whole news piece “fake,” after administration official already confirmed it. And frankly, the most generous interpretation of the situation is still pretty bad.

Congress is the only check on the executive that we have in the US system. I feel that Mr. Mueller has made it clear that this is his formal position. His actions have been as per existing law. The trouble…is Congress. And the fact that rules don’t seem to apply anymore.

The systematic changes to how the US government is tracking and publicly reporting on climate change is bad. There is a great The Daily podcast episode on this as well that’s worth a listen.

I delight that someone has studied this.

The kids are alright.

You’re either on the side of women having autonomy over their own bodies or you’re not. It’s that simple.

It’s the end of an era! Sidenote, I definitely have an old iPod with a bunch of unsynced songs somewhere. I should dig that sucker out.

The census isn’t sexy but it’s important and there is a reason that conservatives are targeting it. And they ARE targeting it. Our saving grace may yet be that a lot of bad faith actors reveal themselves to be piss poor at covering their tracks in the end.

So clearly the other side thinks that event went really well.

What is it going to take?!

My people are a proud people, our culture a vibrant culture.

Our president is an idiot or a troll, and either option is Very Bad.

And finally, you cannot convince me that this wasn’t some kind of lifetime high for several people involved:

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Weekend Links

“Man is defined as a human being and a woman as a female — whenever she behaves as a human being she is said to imitate the male.”
― Simone de Beauvoir

Darlings, I type this to you after a week spent preparing for and running a large work event. It went well, I’m delighted to say (notwithstanding a couple of technical snaffus that required MacGyvering mechanical fixes at 6:30 in the morning), but I am wiped after it.

Nonetheless, I have still whipped together a nice bunch of weekend links–because I love you, kittens!

I’ve spared you most American and British political news this week because it honestly makes me to angry. Instead I’ve bundled you up some reading that is a mix of tribute, lifestyle, weirdness that that jolly and uplifting standby: female rage in the face of attempts to control our bodies. All with a few chasers of wholesome loveliness to keep your spirits buoyed before we take to the streets.

She was a warrior in a cardigan.” I failed to include this farewell missive last week, which is criminal. She will be missed.

Patriarchy hurts everyone.

I’m hopeless, I guess, because I hate getting up in the morning.

…this is a thing?

HBO has chosen it’s attempt to keep the serial fantasy genre going once Game of Thrones ends this weekend. They’ve clearly spent the money on a good cast, but I wonder how this is going to work out. It’s an interesting move since I think the film adaptation of this didn’t do so well and the viewing public, being the fickle thing that it is, may be in the mood for something different than high fantasy.

Twitter is garbage but I’m never going to quit a site that gives me this:

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Bill Nye has snapped.

The food revolutions have not reached everyone equally. Well, except maybe the bad ones.

This is fucking scary. (It’s also not fucking surprising. Every single person who told us to “calm down” about Justice Kavanaugh or any of it can take a flying leap.

Because they are our bodies, it must be our choice. [uncensored images of postpartum women’s bodies in all shapes and sizes ahead]

Educate yourself.

…And then put your money where your mouth is.

Rebecca Traister, noted chronicler of women’s rage, its use in public life, and the many ways people try to use it to discredit the women feeling it, has some thoughts on this law as well as well as some solid advice. She does not disappoint. “…never again let anyone tell you that the fury or determination to fight on this account is invalid, inappropriate, or inconvenient to a broader message. Consider that this is also what women and marginalized people are told all the time about their anger in general: that they should not express it, not let it out, because to give voice to their rage will distract from their aims, undermine them; that it will ultimately be bad for them. This messaging is strategic. It is designed to get angry people to keep their mouths shut.”

An honest to goodness charmer of a story!

Style matters, and style guides matter.

Gen Xers, you have been profiled.

Oof, just read me, why don’t you….

I can’t believe we have to say this in the year of our Lady Beyonce 2019, but vaccinate, people. We’ve been doing it for a while!

RIP.

And in related news, a lovely take on THAT Keanu pop culture moment.

Weekend Links

“You may have the universe if I may have Italy” 
― Giuseppe Verdi

Well hi there, kittens! I took a break last week to run off to Italy with X in honor of our 20 year Friendiversary–a totally new holiday that I made up to commemorate two decades of pretty amazing friendship. We planned it a month ago and did it on the cheap, with budget flights and Airbnb, subsisting on pizza and cocktails. It was glorious.

I’m now back in the Big Smoke after a Neapolitan sojourn, riddled with anxiety about a big work meeting this week. All is back to normal. It’s also been another pair of jam packed weeks of news and as I type this I’m still catching up on it all. We had the Met Gala and a new squishy Royal Baby but on the other hand, the Trade War with China is back on, North Korea is firing missiles, there have been multiple mass shootings, Brexit is stalled with Prime Minister May being pressured to resign…

Doesn’t it feel like we’re just doomed to live 2017 over and over again at this point? What sick time warp are we stuck in?

This weekend we are getting our house back to rights, doing immigration paperwork some more, and trying to plan out our summer which now includes a family wedding! Nothing so constant as change, I tell ya. Let me know what you’re up to in the comments.

Six months to the day after the largest antisemitic shooting in American history, another synagogue was targeted. I’m no longer surprised, just permanently heartsick… Antisemitism and Islamophobia are twin children of the same ugly, hate-filled rhetoric and fearmongering, and both are on the rise.

Interesting royal news this week, this time from Japan.

While I think it’s ridiculous that the Trump administration bowed out of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner again, but the speech by historian Ron Chenrow is worth a watch which reminds us that we have always been fighting for the soul of America and the fight is renewed every generation.

What a headline! I couldn’t not read it with a teaser trailer like that, but luckily the payoff was well worth it.

This is both ugly and horrible, and so woefully executed as to be ridiculous. How is this incompetent troll not in jail? This is hardly his first rodeo.

Oh I just bet they did

Huh what now?

This was expected but still feels strange. I wonder what his long term legacy is going to be when we are a few administrations away from this present circus. What will his impact be then?

I am deeply and unrepentantly pro-romance novel. Therefore, how was so much of this interview a revelation: nine children, 179 novels, low caffeine!

Given how tight lipped the whole operation has been up until this point, it’s interesting to ponder on how this suddenly got out. “The summary letter the Department sent to Congress and released to the public late in the afternoon of March 24 did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance of this office’s work and conclusions,” Mueller wrote. “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.” (Read the text of the letter here.)

Another horrific school shooting, mitigated by one young person’s extraordinary self-sacrifice. May his memory be a blessing.

Mere days later, another shooting with another young person’s act of self-sacrifice saving lives. Such actions are both

“She says she knows she was a racist. She says that she has changed. And she’s ready to tell everything she knows.” This profile of a member of the alt-right media during its height, her personal ascendancy and subsequent reversal of fortunes is a fascinating read. Not least of all because many of the platforms it discusses have not disbanded so much as moved location in recent years. Radicalization is still happening.

People are trying to sell water. Again. And we’re trying to sell make up to men, but MANLY MEN. GRRR! Late stage capitalism is wild.

For the last time, TRUMP IS NOT A BILLIONAIRE OR SUCCESSFUL BUSINESSMAN, HE ONLY PLAYED ONE ON TV.

What a ride this piece was

And in the world of Good News: adorable babies!

Powerful op-ed. “I don’t blame Mark [Zuckerberg] for his quest for domination. He has demonstrated nothing more nefarious than the virtuous hustle of a talented entrepreneur. Yet he has created a leviathan that crowds out entrepreneurship and restricts consumer choice…There is no precedent for his ability to monitor, organize and even censor the conversations of two billion people.”

Goodness, this is bleak. My one consolation is that I’ve never used airpods once.

Speaking of tech…maybe we should listen to this woman. She’s gotten an awful lot right.

Congrats on doing the bare minimum

We have a new poet laureate!

Society is a-changing, and that’s impacting our living space.

There are only two episodes left in Game of Thrones, which has been a really important series in pop culture history. Unfortunately I, and a bunch of other people, think that the showrunners seem to be stepping all over the theses they’ve been serving us for the last several years. A big element of that is the (very sudden and not really internally consistent) pivots in the female characters. Tom and Lorenzo put this best in their last episode critique. Here’s hoping a show premised on subverting expectations pulls out a couple of whoppers this weekend.

Weekend Links

“The April winds are magical,
And thrill our tuneful frames;
The garden-walks are passional
To bachelors and dames.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson    

Happy weekend, my poppets. After two shortened weeks at work, it’s been a bit difficult to get into the groove and the weather has turned cool again, but we are soldiering through. Aided by a heaping dose of nerdery with the first “summer” blockbuster film and awaiting the next Game of Thrones episode with equal parts longing and dread! Other than that we are just catching up on lost sleep this weekend and cleaning our apartment like staid and steady grown ups. Laundry will no doubt feature heavily.

The news is once again a pile of angst-inducing horror, but I’ve tried to pull out some of the better reads on the internet for you this week to help make sense of it all. We have royal gossip, internet culture, linguistics, and comedy to get you through the weekend. Share your favorite finds from the online world and tell me what you’re up to in the comments.

Horrible…Holy Week this year has been filled with heartache…

It’s not cool anymore to be manufactured.” Uh oh, has the latest backlash begun?

Incels genuinely terrify me, but this story of the evolution of this radical online community is gripping and informative. At the root of a lot of male radicalization (a growing global problem) is isolation, pain, and emotional mis-education. Couple that with human tribalism, the unique self-sorting mechanisms of online culture and good ol’ reliable misogyny and you get a toxic stew of resentment and rage. Marinate in that for long enough the oft blurred lines between “irony” or “trolling” and real life simply fade. It doesn’t matter if you really are a violent misogynist or just pretending to be one online…the acts of extremism are on the rise regardless.

Related to the above, as with so many things, women of color saw the dangers coming and tried to warn us. We need to shut up, listen, and learn as a society, we might yet save ourselves some future heartache.

Seems obstruction-y?

At some point I just need to accept that this blog will turn into a fan site for the Museum of English Rural Life. I love them.

I am both sicked and not surprised by this story

We are reaching an interesting point in society. Long able to avoid actual principled stands by being able to hide behind pseudo philosophy and jargon (radical transparency! Free speech! No political correctness!), we now have too many instances of bad faith from too many people and platforms which thrived by making those claims. We seem to be losing patience for it. Either you believe all violent extremism is bad, or you accept that some is more allowable (white supremacists) than others (jihadists). Either you believe you have the right to make judgements about what spaces you offer people, or insist that everyone participates and has the ability to do horrible things on your platform. Both options have positives and negatives. Both options have consequences. Both options will make you unpopular with some powerful people. Pick one anyway. That’s principle.

And to flip this on to consumers, we need to be thinking ever more critically about the platforms we are choosing. No one is forcing us onto Twitter or Instagram, but our voluntary participation is changing us anyway.

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT.

I want to befriend this absolute badass.

Fashion as a legal tool.

Yes, I have seen Avengers: Endgame and found it deeply satisfying. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is such an interesting narrative vehicle and with both it and Game of Thrones drawing down this season, I’m curious to see if pop culture will continue to live in this current space where worldbuilding and intersecting arcs last for years, or if we’re going to return to more standalone pieces of entertainment. Or indeed if something wholly new pops up!

Didn’t do the homework for Avengers? You’re covered:

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Fascination with the royal family being what it is, I think this take on the powers of optics to a group of people (particularly the women who marry in!) when you are often denied a voice is pretty spot on. And I for one think that at the moment those women are doing most of the heavily lifting for the brand of the monarchy while those to the manor born are making the job harder! (The latest tea, if you care about such things. I’ve said it before but it still stands, you could not have paid me to marry into this family!)

The medievalist/Game of Thrones crossover content I crave.

Weekend Links

“A good newspaper, I suppose, is a nation talking to itself.” 
― Arthur Miller

What. A. Week. I feel like I’ve been saying this every week for nearly three years, but so much is happening all the time that it’s head-spinning to try and keep up with it all. Between Beyoncé, cultural heritage disasters, the shenanigans of Trumpworld, and the long awaited release of the (albeit redacted) Mueller report.

It’s a long weekend with unusually good weather. I’m kicking up my heels in the sunshine and doing a bunch of reading (yes, including the report in full), and planning some quality time with friends and family. Share your plans, reading and otherwise, in the comments.

Notre Dame cathedral caught fire this week (Holy Week…). All credit to a human chain of people who worked together to save the artwork and relics of the cathedral’s treasury, and the fire brigade who helped to fight the blaze. At time of writing, while the damage is severe, there are reasons to be joyful about what has survived as well as mourn what’s been lost. An iconic and sacred place, holy to faith and beauty and transcendental light; there aren’t really words, but a few Parisians managed anyway:

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While we’re discussing places of worship…donations to three smaller churches deliberately burned by a racist arsonist welcome here. Notre Dame already has the support of the world, to the tunes of millions of Euros, but kindness is needed most on smaller scales.

Conspiracy theorists are trash.

It is christened!

Seems like a, pardon me, huge fucking deal.

Women across the country say: duh.

I recognize the challenges, but I think that a society-wide commitment to literacy and building it into the infrastructure of neighborhoods is a great idea.

This interview piece made the rounds last week, I think because as a self-own, it feels well-deserved.

If there is one thing we can’t stop following at Small Dog Headquarters, it’s the Saga of J. Crew. I’ve been personally invested for over a decade.

A deep dive into the mysterious case of Fan Bing Bing.

Now that Game of Thrones is back and singing its swansong, Vulture ask, “Have we reached the end of communal TV watching?” I wonder if this is more of an American problem than anything else? Britain, for example, has a core set of national channels that pretty reliably turns out shows that it feels like the whole country gathers to watch. Great British Bake Off, Broadchurch, Love Island…you can bet on at least one of these a year.

Speaking of, Game of Thrones being back means Gay of Thrones is back!

I have never once regretted my humanities degree. Not once. I will champion humanities and related education until the day I die.

This guy just barely got confirmed.

GOOD. I’m genuinely glad to see a Republican stepping in to compete with President Trump and wish him luck in promoting a more coherent set of priorities than sound bites, grievance, racism and isolationism. Someone needs to make this case.

I’m really pleased to see positive results so far from this experiment in a school serving parents as well as children. We need programmes like this explicitly designed to lift whole communities.

That…that is a big question….

More woes for Facebook (and this report not only that personal data was being made available not just for sale but as per the personal direction of the CEO based on his friendships is…oligarchy at work?).

There are a million hot takes on the Mueller report, but for my money, the only good initial takes are from legal professionals and not talking heads. The Lawfare one is long, but well worth the read. I for one am still working my way through the document and, surprise, my mind has not been changed: what is already in the public domain about this man and his entourage should have disqualified him from office long ago and the “best” defenses of his various malicious actions have been ignorance, incompetence, and that we shouldn’t worry because people didn’t end up following his crazy orders anyway. This has always been a matter for Congress–NOT the Attorney General. I fear Congress will do nothing.

On the other side of the spectrum, this is the kind of quality content I come to the internet for.

The world is not 100% trash this week, kittens! Beyonce dropped a concert album and a concert film/documentary, and though we are undeserving, we are grateful! It’s on Netflix, go partake of the Queen’s greatness.

Lizzo’s album also dropped. We are not worthy.

Weekend Links

“In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you.” 
― Leo Tolstoy

Happy Friday, ducklings! The clocks moved forward this morning so I’m putting the last minute touches on this post sitting in the cool spring sun. It’s been another hectic and bonkers week in the world, and I’ve been travelling for work a lot. This post is therefore not as long as it usually is, but there are some excellent reads in it, though I say so myself! Tell me what you’ve been up to lately in the comments.

I have my definite favorites amongst the Democratic candidates, but I’m nowhere near ready to go all in on a single preferred candidate (though the girls and I are already spooling up our 2020 discussions on our marathon phone calls). However I can confirm that Chasten Buttegieg is absolutely leading my picks for First Spouse. Super cute, cheerful, good at Twitter. Please more of this before the inevitable hellscape of the election takes us all over.

Queens of Infamy returns with an OG!

My voting state covers itself with glory again… For those interested, as with so many things in Utah/mormon history, there’s a bit of a polygamy angle here, but I direct you to the intense and intensely valuable public history project Year of Polygamy to educate yourself on this. It’s a complicated, 200 year history.

This is a good clarification…but I’m baffled as to why this information couldn’t have been provided in the first instance. It gives credence to accusations of bad faith, whether warranted or not.

I agree with Congressman Schiff: what we already know in the public domain is not okay!

Meanwhile, in Britain… What a shit show this is… While cartoons might seem like a glib way to explain the mess, these two videos from CGP Grey do a pretty good job of boiling down the Brexit problem, the impasse, and the political double (triple?) bind everyone is in because the government asked a yes/no question over what is not a simple yes/no issue. (Something something, definition of insanity, something…)

The Alphachat podcast episode on Brexit is really, really informative and looks at the subject from an economic perspective.

Also a relevant long read.

Let’s pivot shall we? THIS is a scandal worth talking about!

Yeah. Fangirls could have told you that.

Enjoy the headline image as immensely as I did, but then also enjoy the full piece on why Rick Steves says travel, to paraphrase Mark Twain, is fatal to prejudice.

There is a possible royal scandal brewing over here in the UK. Have an intensely salacious, gossip Twitter thread to explain more, and then decide how much you want to speculate on the veracity thereof.

The scientific descriptions in this piece are downright poetic and the inner six year old in me ate it up. It’s incredibly humbling to be reminded, in our swirling talks of scientific catastrophes and the age of man that the world has “ended” several times before us. She’s a resilient planet, we’re the fragile creatures.