Of course one of my favorite scenes in "This Is 40" was Paul Rudd car scream-singing "Debaser" with his kids in tow. Dads who rock out to Pixies = win. It's just good parenting.
The image to the left is a special one to me - it's a photo of my father and I when we overlapped briefly in France in 2003. I had the painting done this Christmas as a gift for my pops, by a lovely artist I happened to find online (I think through a variety of comics blogs that linked to hers, maybe?) In addition to this piece, I also had four other paintings done as gifts. They were affordable, so fun, and the artist was a joy to work with. And now that everyone's gotten their present, I can sing her praises publicly! A number of people from my office liked them so much that they ordered their own for friends and family. They make unique, great gifts (if I do say so myself), so keep it in mind if you have any special events coming up.

Beautiful, frustrating, honest essay about aging, love, and the health care industry: What Broke My Father's Heart

Listening to: The Lumineers on World Cafe

Sure, why not: parodies/mashups of the classic cover art of Sonic Youth's 1990 album, Goo.

Saw "This Is 40" last night and laughed a lot more than I thought I would. Unfortunately, the movie goes on way too long and there are a solid 20+ minutes of the couple publicly fighting which is just....exhausting. Bonus points for all the 90's music, and the sheer attractiveness of the Mann/Rudd combo. Serious eye rolling at the improbably wealthy lifestyle of the couple, and the pat resolution of some emotional and financial issues, but, whatever, it's hardly a documentary.

Currently reading: 1222 (picked it up based on the recommendations of Murder By The Book, and also since it was an Edgar finalist).

I'm excited for our NYE menu tonight, which includes lemon garlic brussels sprouts (who knew? Turns out I like brussels sprouts), kale salad with blood orange and meyer lemon, and stuffed delicata squash with quinoa.


Dorothy Day is an inspiring figure, but her autobiography is wearing me down. The woman never met a disagreeable task she didn't love; from staying up all night to care for her baby brother to shivering in the cold over books during college without a bite to eat - it's all greeted with a "philosophy of work" that, while admirable, isn't particularly interesting (or maybe simply not relatable to the less-saintly.) She admits she's not the best writer ever, which is certainly true. It's made me reflect on the art of the autobiography - it's probably rare that someone is both interesting enough to warrant a book and also somehow skilled enough to tell their own tale. I'm hoping the book picks up a bit once she reaches adulthood.

Image: source.

I went to the Somerville UCC for the first time yesterday. Those of you who have been Y&Y readers for the last 3+ years may remember that when I moved home to Ashland a couple of years ago, I began looking for a church community for the first time. I ended up joining the Ashland UCC, which became my faith community, my home, my family. It has been incredibly hard to leave them, and I've been hesitant about going to any new churches. Mainly, I think, because I knew they could never live up to my "real church home," and because it felt like such a fluke that I found the Ashland UCC. Anyways, I broke the seal and went to a new church. It wasn't earth shattering and, yes, it only made me miss the Ashland UCC more, but it also gave me something that I was missing. I'll be back.

We did some grocery shopping for the Christmas menu this weekend. We're going to be trying a bunch of new recipes including Winter Greens Gratin and Stuffed Delicata Squash. ps: In case anyone was wondering, Ben & Jerry's S'mores ice cream is as amazing as it sounds.

Currently reading Reborn: Journals and Notebooks, 1947-1963 by Susan Sontag (the first in the three volume series). NYMag review here.

"I caution you as I was never cautioned: / you will never let go, you will never be satiated. / You will be damaged and scarred, you will continue to hunger. / Your body will age, you will continue to need. / You will want the earth, then more of the earth – / Sublime, indifferent, it is present, it will not respond. / It is encompassing, it will not minister. / Meaning, it will feed you, it will ravish you, / it will not keep you alive." from "The Sensual World" by Louise Glück


Just finished Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems by David Rakoff. Wry, smart, but not taking himself too seriously, Rakoff (who I'll always think of as "Our Friend David" bc of the TAL episode, which is absolutely incredible) contemplates everything from Log Cabin Republicans to high fashion to Playboy photo shoots. For someone so cranky and wary, he's also incredibly game to toss himself into new situations and experiences. He's just. so. lovely. It's hard to know how much of my affection was developed over years of hearing his voice on the radio, and whether I would enjoy the book otherwise, but, as it is, hearing his beautiful voice as I read each essay was a real treat. R.I.P. David.

Image: source.

Excellent mix of love songs (including this gem I had never heard). What can I say, I'm a sucker for a mix laden with blatant meaning, and hearing people talk about why the love the tunes they love. Is anything better?

Despite knowing next to nothing about art, I somehow ended up on this excerpt of Simon Schama on Rothko, and though it was amazing. "A space that might be where we came from or where we will end up. They're not meant to keep us out, but to embrace us; from an artist whose highest compliment was to call you a human being." Poetry.

"You have got to sometimes become the medicine you want to take. You have got to, absolutely got to put your face into the gash and sniff, and lick. You have got to learn to get sick. You have got to reestablish the integrity of your emotions so that their violence can become a health and so that you can keep on becoming. There is no sacrifice. You have got to want to live. You have got to force yourself to want to." - Ariana Reines, “Advertisemet”


I'm not sure that I liked Sally Field's performance in Lincoln, but it definitely made me more curious about Mary Todd. This article was interesting.

As the new year approaches, it's time for a new planner. A lovely blank slate on which to write all my aspirational appointments (yoga 3x a week??) This time it's back to the Moleskin.

Image: source.

From WNYC: Housing Generations | Life in the Projects: Meet the Alston Family: "WNYC is telling the story of public housing in New York City through the lens of one family that has lived there for four decades. The Alstons arrived in the Queensbridge Houses in 1954, and many members continue to live there. This is part one of a four-part series."

Just started reading two books: The Long Loneliness, the autobiography of Dorothy Day, and Don't Get Too Comfortable by David Rakoff. More on Day by the New Yorker here: Day by Day: A Saint for the Occupy Era?  Also, recently added to my "to read" list: The Transmigration of Timothy Archer by Philip K. Dick and Subversives: The FBI's War on Student Radicals, and Reagan's Rise to Power by Seth Rosenfeld.

Such a good reminder . . . “People get into a heavy-duty sin and guilt trip, feeling that if things are going wrong, that means that they did something bad and they are being punished. That's not the idea at all. The idea of karma is that you continually get the teachings that you need to open your heart. To the degree that you didn't understand in the past how to stop protecting your soft spot, how to stop armoring your heart, you're given this gift of teachings in the form of your life, to give you everything you need to open further.” - Pema Chödrön


Stop the torture, stop the criminalization of mental illness: The Cost of Solitary Confinement: "Leroy Peoples, is a 30-year-old with a history of mental illness who was twice sentenced to solitary confinement. In 2005, he was sentenced to six months for “unauthorized possession of nutritional supplements” that were available for sale in the prison commissary. In 2009, he was sentenced to three years in isolation for having unauthorized legal materials. According to court documents, between 2007 and 2011, the state imposed 70,000 isolation sentences for offenses like having an “untidy cell or person,” or for “littering,” “unfastened long hair” or an “unreported illness.” On any given day, about 4,300 of the system’s inmates are locked down for 23 hours a day in tiny concrete cells, many of them destined to remain there for years. As additional punishment, prison officials can deny food, exercise, bedding or showers."

Image: source.

Like seemingly everyone else, I'm loving the Zadie Smith essay on Joy (damn it, I want my NYRB subscription back.) She starts off with a bang of a paragraph, and it only gets better from there: "It might be useful to distinguish between pleasure and joy. But maybe everybody does this very easily, all the time, and only I am confused. A lot of people seem to feel that joy is only the most intense version of pleasure, arrived at by the same road—you simply have to go a little further down the track. That has not been my experience. And if you asked me if I wanted more joyful experiences in my life, I wouldn’t be at all sure I did, exactly because it proves such a difficult emotion to manage. It’s not at all obvious to me how we should make an accommodation between joy and the rest of our everyday lives."

This article on Congo basically single-handedly destroyed me on Sunday. I don't know what else to say about it: The World’s Worst War.

During this Advent season: “For outlandish creatures like us, on our way to a heart, a brain, and courage, Bethlehem is not the end of our journey but only the beginning - not home but the place through which we must pass if ever we are to reach home at last.” - Frederick Buechner, The Magnificent Defeat

And another from Buechner: “Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”


Just finished Mindy Kaling's "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?" and was less than impressed. I liked the stories about her childhood and it was sort of interesting to hear the inside details of how she "made it" as writer in Hollywood, but she throws in too many random lists (about...fashion tips for guys?) just to round out the book, and her "I'm so wacky traditional" lust for "men should be men / marriage and monogamy are great" etc felt more boring and retro than adorable. Some funny bits, but I could've done with about half as much book.

Listening to: Jeff Buckley, "Mama, You've Been On My Mind" and "Last Goodbye (Live)." Good god, he was beautiful.

Image: source.

"The tongue says loneliness, anger, grief, / but does not feel them. / As Monday cannot feel Tuesday, / nor Thursday / reach back to Wednesday / as a mother reaches out for her found child. / As this life is not a gate, but the horse plunging through it. / Not a bell, / but the sound of the bell in the bell-shape, / lashing full strength with the first blow from inside the iron." ~ Jane Hirshfield from Come, Thief

“When we lose certain people, or when we are dispossessed from a place, or a community, we may simply feel that we are undergoing something temporary, that mourning will be over and some restoration of prior order will be achieved. But maybe when we undergo what we do, something about who we are is revealed, something that delineates the ties we have to others, that shows us that these ties constitute what we are, ties or bonds that compose us. It is not as if an ‘I’ exists independently over here and then simply loses a ‘you’ over there, especially if the attachment to ‘you’ is what composes who ‘I’ am. If I lose you, under these conditions, then I not only mourn the loss, but I become something inscrutable to myself. Who ‘am’ I, without you? When we lose some of these ties by which we are constituted, we do not know who we are or what to do. On one level, I think I have lost ‘you’ only to discover that ‘I’ have gone missing as well. At another level, perhaps what I have lost ‘in’ you, that for which I have no ready vocabulary, is a relationality that is composed neither exclusively of myself nor you, but is to be conceived as the tie by which those terms are differentiated and related.” - Judith Butler
Just another Saturday at work prepping for deportation hearings, just another chance to blast Public Enemy...


Amazing letter from Amelia Earhart on the eve of her marriage.

One of my favorite bookstores, Portland's all-mystery Murder By The Book, has come out with their selections for best paperbacks of 2012.

From n+1, Threat Level: Against Homeland (spoilers if you're not current with the first few episodes of season 2).

Still slays me: Ben Howard covers Call Me Maybe.

Image: source.

Yes yes yes: Policing Female Masculinity: Much Ado About Rachel Maddow’s Yearbook Photo.

Important: Learning how to care for LGBT seniors: growing numbers face challenges different from their straight peers

From the ACLU: What the Supreme Court’s Decision to Hear a Challenge to DOMA Should Mean for Same-Sex Bi-National Couples

Looks like a great upcoming event at my beloved NUSL: Northeastern University School of Law’s Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project presents NO WELCOME HOME: Remembering Harms and Restoring Justice, featuring Toni Morrison: "Join us for an historical and literary exploration with Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winner Toni Morrison. Professor Morrison and representatives of the Civil Rights and Restorative Justice Project will discuss the harms suffered by so many during the civil rights era and highlight the current work to restore justice." (January 18, 2013)

“Whether or not we continue to enforce a universal conception of human rights at moments of outrage and incomprehension, precisely when we think that others have taken themselves out of the human community as we know it, is a test of our very humanity.” ― Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence

“Hope has a cost. Hope is not comfortable or easy. Hope requires personal risk. It is not about the right attitude. Hope is not about peace of mind. Hope is action. Hope is doing something. The more futile, the more useless, the more irrelevant and incomprehensible an act of rebellion is, the vaster and more potent hope becomes. Hope never makes sense. Hope is weak, unorganized and absurd. Hope, which is always nonviolent, exposes in its powerlessness, the lies, fraud and coercion employed by the state. Hope knows that an injustice visited on our neighbor is an injustice visited on all of us. Hope posits that people are drawn to the good by the good. This is the secret of hope's power. Hope demands for others what we demand for ourselves. Hope does not separate us from them. Hope sees in our enemy our own face.” - Chris Hedges


18 Joyful Declarations Of Love From Newlyweds In Seattle

In my other, non-blogger life, I'm an immigration attorney, representing people who are facing deportation. This article does a pretty good job of introducing some of the challenges faced by immigrants caught up in proceedings, and the inconsistencies of the courts. Courts inside prisons, far from public view: "Frightened, confused, and often held far from home, thousands of immigrants find themselves at the mercy of a legal system that, for many, amounts to an assembly line toward deportation"

I watched a few episodes of this show recently: The Mind Of A Chef. It wasn't amazing, but it's a fast moving and interesting 20+ minutes, if you like food (or, at least for the first few episodes, have an interest in Japan and Japanese culture).

Image: source.

I just finished "The Sense Of An Ending" and I really don't know what to make of it. As all the reviews say, it's about memory, recollection, how we each choose to build a past (or pasts) for ourselves throughout life. The narrator definitely becomes less likable throughout the book, but likeability of the protagonist isn't a must....I'm not sure if it was my discomfort with him, my discomfort with the ending, or what it was that unsettled me - or if that is even a bad thing. I'm definitely curious to read more reviews and talk to people who have also recently finished the book.

“If you look at history, even recent history, you see that there is indeed progress...Over time, the cycle is clearly, generally upwards. And it doesn't happen by laws of nature. And it doesn't happen by social laws . . . t happens as a result of hard work by dedicated people who are willing to look at problems honestly, to look at them without illusions, and to go to work chipping away at them, with no guarantee of success - in fact, with a need for a rather high tolerance for failure along the way, and plenty of disappointments.” - Noam Chomsky

“Sadness gives depth. Happiness gives height. Sadness gives roots. Happiness gives branches. Happiness is like a tree going into the sky, and sadness is like the roots going down into the womb of the earth. Both are needed, and the higher a tree goes, the deeper it goes, simultaneously. The bigger the tree, the bigger will be the roots. In fact, it is always in proportion. That’s its balance.” - Osho


I Stand with Father Roy: "Father Roy Bourgeois, the founder of SOA Watch, received notice that the Vatican has dismissed him from the priesthood and from his order, the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, because of his stands for gender equality in the Catholic Church."

Definitely on the "to read" list: The Insubordinate Historian: The Life and Legacy of Howard Zinn. Also: I just started reading Julian Barnes' "The Sense of an Ending" - I'm a sucker for the Booker winners. This week I've been reading on the T instead of listening to podcasts - it definitely takes a little more focus than podcasts, but it also felt more like a 10 minute visit to another world, instead of just a distracted commute. Think I'll keep it up. I've also been reading Mindy Kaling's "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)" at night, and snickering with recognition and glee.

Image: source.

Always love The Million's Year in Reading.

Love these Freaks and Geeks reunion pics! Everyone should watch the (sob) one season available, but especially if you have a kid in (or nearing) middle or high school.

One person's love for the poem Wild Geese, a poem that means so much to so many (including me) - in this case, an undocumented woman and writer.

Excellence by fellow NUSL alum Chase Strangio, Debating 'Gender Identity Disorder' and Justice for Trans People.

It was pretty interesting to watch Where I'm From: JAY Z Barclays Center Documentary after seeing Battle for Brooklyn at this years aiff.

“There is nothing that can replace the absence of someone dear to us, and one should not even attempt to do so. One must simply hold out and endure it. At first that sounds very hard, but at the same time it is also a great comfort. For to the extent the emptiness truly remains unfilled one remains connected to the other person through it. It is wrong to say that God fills the emptiness. God in no way fills it but much more leaves it precisely unfilled and thus helps us preserve -- even in pain -- the authentic relationship. Further more, the more beautiful and full the remembrances, the more difficult the separation. But gratitude transforms the torment of memory into silent joy. One bears what was lovely in the past not as a thorn but as a precious gift deep within, a hidden treasure of which one can always be certain.” - Dietrich Bonhoeffer


I'll probably never fully recover from seeing the Avett Bros at Britt this summer.


What a life: Lawrence Guyot, Civil Rights Activist Who Bore the Fight’s Scars, Dies at 73

Dorothy Day Takes Another Step Toward Sainthood. One of my favorite prayers is the one Dorothy Day used to say every day before heading to distribute food to those in need, something along the lines of (I can't seem to find the actual prayer): "God, I know you will be in that line today, please don't let me miss you." (Said more eloquently, I'm sure).

Image: truth.

So much good stuff to read in the Believer online archives, check it out.

From ZenHabits: Untrack: Letting Go of the Stress of Measuring.

Oh boy am I a measurer... Susan Sontag’s List of Beliefs at Age 14 vs. Age 24

Listening to: the Singles soundtrack. So f-ing solid! Westerberg, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam ("State of Love and Trust," one of my all time favs) , Chris Cornell....90's forever.

Sounds like a great new program in NY: Plan Would Provide Help to Contest Deportation Cases: "60 percent of detained immigrants in the New York region did not have counsel at the time their cases were completed. In addition, 18 percent of detained immigrants with representation had successful outcomes in their cases, compared with 3 percent of detained immigrants without counsel. Unlike in criminal proceedings, defendants in immigration court have no constitutional right to a court-appointed lawyer. Ignorance, fear, language barriers and poverty also can keep legal counsel out of the reach of immigrants."

"What we would like to do is change the world--make it a little simpler for people to feed, clothe, and shelter themselves as God intended them to do. And, by fighting for better conditions, by crying out unceasingly for the rights of the workers, the poor, of the destitute--the rights of the worthy and the unworthy poor, in other words--we can, to a certain extent, change the world; we can work for the oasis, the little cell of joy and peace in a harried world. We can throw our pebble in the pond and be confident that its ever widening circle will reach around the world. We repeat, there is nothing we can do but love, and, dear God, please enlarge our hearts to love each other, to love our neighbor, to love our enemy as our friend." - Dorothy Day


Check out, and support if possible, a friend of a friend's new project: Life, Told, an oral history and interview start-up helping people record and preserve life stories, memories and important messages.

Random gift recommendation: I got my bff an Oregon cutting board (with a heart located over our hometown) as a gift a few years ago, and it remains one of my favorite things I've given. In fact, I'd love to buy one for myself some day! Check them out here if you're still searching for holiday presents.

Luther is coming back for Season 3! (Really hope that Idris Elba is the next Bond, love that idea...)

Image: Still full from yesterday's bounty? Help someone else feed their family and generate income - be a veggie garden! Love Oxfam's Unwrapped program: "You are what you give, so be all-natural, be food, and be income. Be a vegetable garden! $30 at OxfamGifts.com."

If you're in the Boston area, you should come check out Angela Y. Davis and Noam Chomsky in dialogue for the first time! I'm looking forward to it, I've never seen either of them speak.

From WNYC: "Rebeca Solnit, historian, activist, and author of several books including A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster, discusses the history of how disasters create communities in the context of our post-Sandy reality-and what climate change activists should do now."


Loved this: "I've Started Telling My Daughters I'm Beautiful"

I've seen variations on the "run every day" project, but particularly liked this one committing to running every day between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It can be a stressful time of the year, and a chilly one, so it seems like a good time to push yourself to get moving. Maybe I'll give it a try, as long as I keep it reasonable and only commit to a minimum of a mile every day - doable, right? (Famous last words...)

More from Anne Lamott, I'm looking forward to reading her new book (although I just saw it in the bookstore and it's so short!)

Image: source.

Media intake update: just saw Argo and was really impressed! It didn't look particularly interesting to me beforehand but I heard so many rave reviews that I finally went (with my dad when he was in town this weekend - hi Dad!) and I'm glad I did. It was excellently cast, acted, and paced - and very suspenseful. On the podcast front, I've started listening to Slate's Culture Gabfest (thanks to the insistence of my media-saavy girlfriend), which has quickly joined the ranks of Pop Culture Happy Hour in my "listening to nerds talk about pop culture" line up. Books wise, I'm currently reading The Hollow Man by Oliver Harris, a mystery that was on the "staff recommendations" shelf at my local bookstore. It reminds me of some other first novels by young male mystery writers like Josh Bazell's Beat The Reaper (although The Hollow Man is less gory, so far). It's been pretty immediately engrossing, which is the main thing I ask of a book these days. On tv, we are fully engrossed in Season 2 of Homeland. The SNL spoof wasn't amazing, but if you're even a casual Homeland watcher (is there such a thing??) you'll get a few laughs.

I made (and proceeded to chow down on) this sweet potato and spinach mac and cheese recently, and loved it - recommended if you need an addition to your Thanksgiving line up (or general autumnal comfort food). Also, these double chocolate peppermint cookies that Amy made look amazing....

“Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you're going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.” - Anne Lamott

"We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind's door at 4am of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget." Joan Didion


REM "You Are The Everything" (skip to 0:55)


A friend introduced me to Jane Hirschfield a few weeks ago and it was just what I needed. I was feeling somewhat unmoored - new job, new city, new routine - and then I read these poems and was immediately and powerful thrown back into myself (for better or worse). Some new favorites by Hirshfield: A Hand, This Was Once A Love Poem.

Wevther: Weather forecast with relevant sartorial suggestions, I like it.

Image: source.

Exactly what it sounds like: The Scribble Project.

Listening to: The Lumineers "Stubborn Love" (a live recording from Oregon...sigh).

And speaking of the best state in the U.S.... Portland Street Food: 10 Carts We Really Love

The always awesome Stephen Thompson (of the vital-to-me Pop Culture Happy Hour) gives advice on mixtapes.

From the New Yorker: Love On The March: Reflections on the gay community’s political progress—and its future. Hardly a comprehensive history, but a moving and powerful personal remembrance.

"This could be our revolution: / to love what is plentiful / as much as / what’s scarce." - Alice Walker, "We Alone"


Umberto Eco on Lists and Making Infinity Comprehensible

Just finished reading the highly-recommended "Gone Girl." It pulled me in quickly and was definitely a compelling read, but I can't say it was entirely enjoyable...I look forward to discussing it with other friends who've read it.

Would love to see this: beautiful 100-foot long blue whale kite.

Heartbreaking. I don't know how anyone could consider his execution as an act of justice. Executing a victim of abuse: "Nation journalist Liliana Segura reports on Pennsylvania's drive to execute Terrance Williams, who was convicted as a juvenile for killing men who abused him."

Image: source.

"Kaiim Viera was born 18 years ago today. He grew into a six-foot-two teen who had a knack for getting folks to laugh even when they didn’t want to. A week and a half ago, he was shot 10 times and killed. WNYC is profiling the life of every child in the city killed by gunfire. This is Kaiim’s story."

“If you asked me to draw a picture of myself I’d draw two. One would be a portrait of a happy, self-confident, regular-looking woman and the other would be a close-up of a giant gaping mouth that’s ravenous for love. Many days I have to silently say to myself: It’s okay. You are loved. You are loved even if some people don’t love you.” - Dear Sugar

“Your beliefs will be the light by which you see, but they will not be what you see and they will not be a substitute for seeing.” - Flannery O’Connor


"A Colorlines.com investigation that found there is an estimated 5,100 children in foster care who face barriers to family reunification because their mother or father is in detention or has been deported."

From Bard professor Daniel Mendelson, Gay TV and Me: "How my life would be different if boys were kissing boys onscreen 40 years ago -- like they are today."

Image: source.

Elton John on the price paid by HIV-positive prisoners

NPR: In Calif., Some Ex-Inmates Get Help In New Ways: "Under California's criminal justice realignment program, counties are taking over responsibility from the state for low-level felons. And that has affected how inmates with histories of mental illness move through the system even after they're released."

Boing Boing: Hand lettering the lyrics to Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" 

Interesting: "The biggest public mistake I ever made was that I chose to do Criminal Minds in the first place. I thought it was something very different. I never thought they were going to kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year. It was very destructive to my soul and my personality. After that, I didn't think I would get to work in television again."- Actor Mandy Patinkin, on why he "abruptly left" the CBS procedural after only two seasons. I've definitly been a long time fan of shows like Criminal Minds, Law & Order: SVU, etc, and have really conflicted feelings about their focus on crimes against women. Great to hear his impressions, via Shakesville.

“My deepest impulses are optimistic, an attitude that seems to me as spiritually necessary and proper as it is intellectually suspect.” - Ellen Willis


Detropia is getting tons of great press, and all of it deserved. One interview: Talking to Detropia Director Heidi Ewing

"For The Children" by Gary Snyder (thanks to my PIP for the recommendation!)

For my fellow mystery lovers: Agatha Christie essay published for the first time: "Long-lost piece, commissioned by the Ministry of Information to promote British crime fiction, finally available to UK readers"

Charles Bukowski, Arthur C. Clarke, Annie Dillard, John Cage, and Others on the Meaning of Life. From Annie Dillard: “We are here to witness the creation and abet it. We are here to notice each thing so each thing gets noticed. Together we notice not only each mountain shadow and each stone on the beach but, especially, we notice the beautiful faces and complex natures of each other. We are here to bring to consciousness the beauty and power that are around us and to praise the people who are here with us. We witness our generation and our times. We watch the weather. Otherwise, creation would be playing to an empty house. According to the second law of thermodynamics, things fall apart. Structures disintegrate. Buckminster Fuller hinted at a reason we are here: By creating things, by thinking up new combinations, we counteract this flow of entropy. We make new structures, new wholeness, so the universe comes out even. A shepherd on a hilltop who looks at a mess of stars and thinks, ‘There’s a hunter, a plow, a fish,’ is making mental connections that have as much real force in the universe as the very fires in those stars themselves.”

From n+1, It Was Written: Books by Rappers

Image: source.

Yum! Fall comfort food (which I'm, truthfully, in the mood for every season): Baked Sweet Potato Fries with Parmesan & Cilantro, Stuffed Shells With Butternut Squash, Spinach & Ricotta, Baked Kale Mac-and-Cheese.

From Mental Floss, the history behind a song I love: Music History #7: “Hurricane”

“The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day.” ― David Foster Wallace, This is Water


Food, faith, pain, and communion. From the Paris Review Small, Good Things: Poetry and still life as one.

From the Hon. Nancy Gertner, The Media's Reporting On Justice Is Criminal

Image: from Tugboat Press.

From Guernica: Hipstamatic Revolution: "Avoiding the simplistic narratives of Afro-pessimism and Afro-optimism, photographers use photo-apps to represent everyday Africa."

“War/Photography”: A New Look at the World in Conflict Looking forward to reading Junot Diaz's new book.

Grantland is killing it with their (mostly snarky, sometimes earnest) monthly recaps of the NYTimes Vows (including the most Vows-y Vows ever)

From the AV Club: TV Roundtable: Law & Order: Slave to formula, or crackling entertainment?

“Faith is not for overcoming obstacles; it is for experiencing them — all the way through.” - Richard Rohr


SFGate: The crime of punishment at Pelican Bay State Prison: "Three strikes law sent man who robbed an empty house to prison for 25 yrs. He's spent 16 years in solitary confinement."

Ha: Anthropology is the worst college major for being a corporate tool, best major to change your life

The AV Club's year by year history of hip hop continues: Hip-Hop And You Do Stop. This week, 1992 and Arrested Development.

Image: source.

If you're even a casual enjoyer of poetry, I'd encourage you to subscribe to Poetry 180, a "poem a day" project aimed at high schoolers. I love getting a new poem in my inbox every morning (they are on Day 6 today).

From Jacobin: Designing Culture: Design plays a central role in cultural reproduction. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, for anyone.: "This is a big deal because one of the main ways that people are socialized is through using, observing and contemplating material objects. The idea that people learn their places in society by engaging with the physical stuff around them has a long history in anthropology..."

From Nat Geo: Criminal Defense: And Justice For All.

"To live in this world / you must be able / to do three things: / to love what is mortal; / to hold it / against your bones knowing / your own life depends on it; / and, when the time comes to let it go, / to let it go." - Mary Oliver


WaPo: Communal gardening helps refugees sink roots in a new land

Listening to: The Milk Carton Kids On Mountain Stage. Prepare to get your heart broken by "Michigan" and "New York."

Image: source.

The Path of Freedom is a short film (available online) that “enters the harsh environment of a Rhode Island men’s prison where a group of fifty inmates are transforming their lives through the practice of meditation."

Reporting Poverty: Emily Brennan interviews Katherine Boo: "Following three years of research in an Indian slum, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist discusses what language can’t express, her view that nobody is representative, and the ethical dilemmas of writing about the poor."

Locked Up Without a Key in New Orleans: the first of a three article series on the public defender shortage, and the failed promise of Gideon v. Wainwright.

We Shall Overcome: The Problem With the Body-Love Therapeutic Narrative: "Problematizing something essentially human—cognizance of our own bodies—and framing it as something that we must overcome leaves little room for a woman’s relationship with her body or appearance that doesn’t fit into this construct. That is, at the same time that the therapeutic narrative of the body gives us language we can use to relate to others, it also defines the language we’re expected to use."

“It ought to make us feel ashamed when we talk like we know what we're talking about when we talk about love.” - Raymond Carver


Love letters by Iris Murdoch

Listening to: Avett Bros' new album The Carpenter, streaming on NPR. (Review by the always awesome Stephen Thompson of PCHH - "The Avetts' music aims for something bigger than itself, and damned if it doesn't find it.")

Also listening to: The Head and The Heart "Rivers & Roads" (The Doe Bay Sessions), and "Down in the Valley" (Live on KEXP)

Image: source.

Apparently this is the year that my favorite novels get made into movies; first, Cloud Atlas, now, Midnights Children. Not sure that I'll see either.

From Human Rights Watch, the effects of a failed drug policy, here and abroad. "Blacks, whites commit drug offenses at similar rates, but black men 10 times as likely to be jailed"

Finally got around to reading this, glad I did: Queer, Interrupted by Tegan Eanelli "Redemption is not to be found in the unfolding of capitalist time, but instead in its forceful interruption. Against the dogma that it gets better, we have to understand that queerness was not built on a linear progression through adversity, but was fought for against a progression which would have eliminated it."

“There are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talked about in the great outside world of winning and achieving and displaying. The really important kind of freedom involves attention, and awareness, and discipline, and effort, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them, over and over, in myriad petty little unsexy ways, every day. That is real freedom.” ― David Foster Wallace


I really appreciated this article, and it's got some good links: Going Public With Depression.

As I Lay Frying: donuts & literary quotes, so, sure.

Like these: NY in 50 Objects, and BBC's The History of the World in 100 Objects.

Sort of a silly title, but a good article about our consumption of cheap clothing and cotton: Are Your Skinny Jeans Starving the World? "The cotton that feeds our appetite for fast fashion is taking up room that could be used for food crops."

On Friday, I went  to see the Barr Bros and Brandi Carlisle at Britt. I didn't know much about Brandi Carlisle when I saw her last year at Britt as an opener for Ray LaMontagne, but she blew me away (and blew Ray out of the water as a performer). Both acts were incredible this time. I'm sorry to say that the Barr Bros album does not do them justice - I'll have to look for some live recordings. Random assortment: Brandi covering "Creep," playing "That Wasn't Me" (one of the most amazing songs about addiction I've ever heard), and "Keep Your Heart Young." For some reason, none of the videos I found showed what an awesome, rock n roll performer she is, but she was non stop energy, and did a cover of "Bohemian Rhapsody" that had even my mom pumping her fist.

Check out Immigrant Nation, the new project from filmmaker Theo Rigby: "An interactive project where you can watch powerful short documentaries, then create and share your own immigration story." I had the luck to see him screen his film Sin Pais (Without Country) at the ashland independent film fest in 2011, and have used it ever since for outreach & educational purposes. It's a great short film, and I'm always interested to see what he will do next.

“I can, with one eye squinted, take it all as a blessing.” ― Flannery O'Connor


Book covers that appear in The Royal Tennenbaums.

From The Awl: The Rise And Fall Of Grunge Typography

Love it - what could be more American? Dream Act Activists Push Into Mainstream With American Protest Movement Tactics 

Image: source.

Video: The Invisible Bike Helmet

Soup recipes make me excited for fall. And that's good, because in less than a month, I'm moving back to Boston; few places do fall better than New England. Yep, after 2+ years back in my small-town, rural Oregonian home, east coast city life is calling. I'll be arriving out there Sept 18th and starting my new gig on Oct 1st. Thanks for all the encouragement and support, friends and fam - you all are the best.

“I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling.” - Jack Kerouac


Image: source.

The Believer interview with Richard Rorty (old, but new to me)

Photos of San Francisco's independent bookstores, new and used. Mmmm.

He Hit Send: On the Awkward but Necessary Role of Technology in Fiction

RIP David Rakoff: On Already Missing The Angry, Passionate Writing Of David Rakoff (by the wonderful Linda Holmes), and excerpts from his Fresh Air interviews.

This week is the week, y'all: Young Immigrants, in America Illegally, Line Up for Reprieve 

“The stars we are given. The constellations we make. That is to say, stars exist in the cosmos, but constellations are the imaginary lines we draw between them, the readings we give the sky, the stories we tell.” ― Rebecca Solnit


TruthOut: Michelle Alexander on the Irrational Race Bias of the Criminal Justice and Prison Systems

Gut-wrenching, heartbreaking.... From WBEZ: The weight of the city's violence, on one school principal, A principal reflects on the last 13 months: 27 current or former students shot, 8 dead.

Image: source.

"Reporter Julia Scott spent time with three people who ended up living on the streets of San Francisco after losing their homes. Scott brings their stories to this episode of American Public Media’s Marketplace, exploring the correlation between losing a job and the “downward spiral” into homelessness."

“Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.” - James Baldwin

Worth a repeat appearance: “If you are a woman. If you are a Person of Colour. If you are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, if you’re a person of size, if you’re a person of intelligence, if you’re a person of integrity, then you are considered a minority in this world. And it’s gonna be really hard to find messages of self-love, and support anywhere, especially women’s and gay men’s culture. It’s all about how you have to look a certain way or else you’re worthless. You know when you look in the mirror, and you think, ‘Ugh, I’m so fat, I’m so old, I’m so ugly,’ don’t you know that’s not your authentic self, but that is billions upon billions of dollars of advertising, magazines, movies, billboards, all geared to make you feel shitty about yourself so that you will take your hard-earned money and spend it on some turnaround cream that doesn’t turnaround shit. When you don’t have self-esteem, you will hesitate before you do anything in your life. You will hesitate to go for the job you really wanna go for. You will hesitate to ask for a raise. You will hesitate to report a rape. You will hesitate to defend yourself when you are discriminated against because of your race, your sexuality, your size, your gender. You will hesitate to vote. You will hesitate to dream. For us to have self-esteem is truly an act of revolution. And our revolution is long-overdue.” - Margaret Cho
Get it, girl. "Last week, after the BCC aired a documentary about British Olympic weightlifter Zoe Smith and her teammates, dudes on Twitter responded with some highly original quips about the athletes not being feminine enough. (Yep, people actually still say things like, “Now piss off back to the kitchen and make your boyfriend a sandwich he’s hungry.”) The 18-year-old Smith gave them the “verbal kicking they deserved” on her blog:

As Hannah pointed out earlier, we don’t lift weights in order to look hot, especially for the likes of men like that. What makes them think that we even WANT them to find us attractive? If you do, thanks very much, we’re flattered. But if you don’t, why do you really need to voice this opinion in the first place, and what makes you think we actually give a toss that you, personally, do not find us attractive? What do you want us to do? Shall we stop weightlifting, amend our diet in order to completely get rid of our ‘manly’ muscles, and become housewives in the sheer hope that one day you will look more favourably upon us and we might actually have a shot with you?! Cause you are clearly the kindest, most attractive type of man to grace the earth with your presence. 

Oh but wait, you aren’t. This may be shocking to you, but we actually would rather be attractive to people who aren’t closed-minded and ignorant. Crazy, eh?! We, as any women with an ounce of self-confidence would, prefer our men to be confident enough in themselves to not feel emasculated by the fact that we aren’t weak and feeble."

source: Olympic weightlifter Zoe Smith speaks for us all when she tells sexist trolls we don’t care if you don’t find us attractive


From Mother Jones: Plant Tomatoes. Harvest Lower Crime Rates. "Looking at Schiffer's photos and talking with people involved in urban farming, I've come to realize that their efforts have less to do with providing healthy food than they do with a reclamation of sorts, taking ownership of their community and their daily lives...  There's been a growing body of research that suggests that urban farming and greening not only strengthen community bonds but also reduce violence." [photos & text]

Image: source.

Dying of laughter. Also, maybe in love with this man: Dramatic Readings of Yelp Reviews: 1-Star Review of Stratford Diner by Dan B

From The Atlantic: What My Son's Disabilities Taught Me About 'Having It All': "Because of her child's problems, the author will never have a tidy, peaceful life. But none of this keeps her from being happy -- as long as she asks herself the right questions." (I feel like the title and summary aren't perfect fit for the article but...it's not super long, and it's definitely worth the read.)

From Salon: Not Here: ‎"Were we serious—truly serious—about making the civil massacre disappear, having it become, like the amok, nothing more than an antiquated curiosity, the history of the amok tells us precisely what to do: divest evil of its grandiosity or mythic resonance by completely banalizing it." (The article also includes some interesting notes on superheroes and their role in American culture.)

Oakland Leads Way as Restorative Justice Techniques Enter Education Mainstream: "Restorative justice attempts to break the cycle of violence by addressing the underlying cause — often, a traumatic experience, such as physical or verbal abuse or witnessing a violent crime — and acknowledging the emotional impact of such trauma on young people. Through active communication, young people in restorative justice programs have been able to overcome their violent impulses." (I'm going to a restorative justice training later this month, really excited about it!)


How has the 1976 New York of Annie Hall changed in 36 years?

Image: source.

Rilke’s Love Letters: “Now I come to you full of future. And from habit we begin to live our past.”

From Newport Folk 2012: Dawes, and City And Colour (but really just listening to The Barr Brothers' "Beggar In The Morning" on repeat)

From I Don’t Care If You’re Offended by Scott Madin, “The problem with sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic, classist, ableist, etc., remarks and 'jokes' is not that they’re offensive, but that by relying for their meaning on harmful cultural narratives about privileged and marginalized groups they reinforce those narratives, and the stronger those narratives are, the stronger the implicit biases with which people are indoctrinated are. That’s real harm, not just 'offense.'”

Yes yes, a thousand times yes! Tales From Columbia House - Reality Bites Soundtrack (bonus points if you know which song off this soundtrack I played on the guitar and sang at my 8th grade graduation...both "played" and "sang" being very loose terms.)

“The only dream worth having is to dream that you will live while you are alive, and die only when you are dead. To love, to be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of the life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.” ― Arundhati Roy


Cloud Atlas is one of my all-time favorite books, and when I heard they were making a movie out of it, I was baffled. For me, it was such a slow-moving reading experience, the plot almost less important that the simple but eventually sneakily overwhelming emotion that all things are inextricably linked. I wasn't sure how that would work in a movie, and I can't say this trailer makes me any more excited about the prospect.

Listening to: "Beggar in the Morning" The Barr Brothers (Live on Soundcheck)

Image: source.

Wes Anderson film palette. In case you were wondering.

NYTimes: Pinterest, Tumblr and the Trouble With ‘Curation.' I have no earth shattering thoughts on this. Yes, I willingly acknowledge all the capitalist and aspirational traps of things like Pinterest, and I also like pretty things and the illusion of "curating." Dunno.

Interesting article on the Mike Daisey debacle, the ethics of journalism, narration, and the powerhouse that is This American Life: Oh, the Pathos! "That’s why Glass had to send Daisey to the gallows for minor falsehoods that in no way obscured the greater truth about Apple Inc. Daisey exposed the fact that the aesthetics and conventions of the kind of narrative journey Glass has patented—one born of nineties boom-time decadence—were never designed to accommodate harsh economic truths, much less to promote any kind of critical art or intelligence. Glass’s reaction to Daisey’s lies, more than the lies themselves, exposed the limitations of This American Life’s twee, transporting narratives, the show’s habit of massaging painful realities into puddles of personal experience, its preference for pathos over tragedy. From the beginning, This American Life has carefully blunted the class implications of its stories. Daisey’s story was one it couldn’t contain. The lesson couldn’t be clearer: it’s time for This American Life to grow up."

“I’m not telling you to make the world better, because I don’t think that progress is necessarily part of the package. I’m just telling you to live in it. Not just to endure it, not just to suffer it, not just to pass through it, but to live in it. To look at it. To try to get the picture. To live recklessly. To take chances. To make your own work and take pride in it. To seize the moment.” - Joan Didion


If you're not already reading Fit & Feminist, get over there, ASAP. They say all those things I think and feel about being a feminist who is also trying to be healthy, and they say them wisely, hilariously, and compassionately. I want to shout this whole article from the freakin' rooftops. From Stop using fitness as a weapon of hate and shame!:

     The arguers seem to believe that it’s possible to shame people into adopting healthy habits, like if you just make people feel awful enough about themselves, they’ll suddenly start doing CrossFit six times a week and banishing fast food from their lives. As if! If that were actually an effective way to do things, we’d have a nation of endurance athletes instead of a nation of couch potatoes. 

    I hate this line of thinking for so many reasons. I hate it because it doesn’t work. I hate it because it erases the existence of fat athletes, as if it is not possible to be fit without being thin. I hate it because it is so, so cruel, and treating people with cruelty pretty much runs counter to everything I think about what it means to be a good person in this world. And maybe I hate it most because it makes fitness and athletics seem like the sole provenance of arrogant jerks who think having visible abs makes them morally superior to everyone else in the world. It takes one of my greatest passions in life and turns it into a weapon of hate and shame.


This article really shook me when I read it this morning. I guess just the horror of a woman trying to do something meaningful and brave, and being targeted as a victim of assault. The fact that a man would see a young woman striving for something, and see that as an opportunity to attack her . . . Her response is incredible, but absolutely no one should have to go through this: Rower Jenn Gibbons doesn’t let attack deter her from her mission: "Jenn Gibbons was on her way to becoming the first person to row the entire 1,500-mile perimeter of Lake Michigan, a feat she was undertaking with the goal of helping raise awareness of the role exercise plays in the fight against breast cancer. She was more than halfway through the two-month journey when a man boarded her boat on Sunday and sexually assaulted her. Gibbons had been attempting to raise money for the nonprofit she founded, Recovery on Water (Row4ROW), but her focus has since changed. She is determined to finish her journey [on foot], this time as an advocate for sexual assault victims." 

Image: source.

Lucero on World Cafe.

Well said: from Ebony, What Does It Mean To Be An Ally?

Wow. A moving video of how one man's family helped him come out of the closet.

The 2012 Booker Longlist is released, further increasing my "too many books, not enough time!" anxiety. (Please, someone, buy me that tote bag, so I can become That Woman.) Also on the book front, I've found myself newly interested in finding and reading great biographies on authors I love. I've never really had this interest before - is this part of growing older, an increased interest in the lives behind the art I love? The trick is that the biographies aren't likely to be as well written as the art they are describing....Anyway, this is all to say that if any one out there has good biography suggestions (particularly on Evelyn Waugh, Henry James, or John Irving), I welcome them.


Book update? Book update: I recently finished The Burning by Jane Casey. After starting and stopping a few other mysteries, I was pleased that this book captured my attention, and read the whole thing happily. It was easy to get into, had a few different and distinct characters, an underlying sense of unease with more than one of the potential suspects, and even an obvious but still satisfying light romance. Nothing earth-shattering but an enjoyable and well paced mystery.

I'm currently reading my usual odd assortment: Swimming in a Sea of Death: A Son's Memoir by David Rieff (I love both Rieff and his mother, Susan Sontag, so it seemed worth checking out - although clearly not the lightest of reading); re-reading High Fidelity by Nick Hornby (literary comfort food for me); and slogging through The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell.

Image: source.

NYTimes: Greg Ousley Is Sorry for Killing His Parents. Is That Enough? Good article on some hard issues, including juvenile sentencing and rehabilitation.

Listening to: The Mountain Goats feat. Craig Finn "This Year"

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it.” - Anne Lamott


On serious repeat. (The Morning Benders cover Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams")


NYTimes: Friends of a Certain Age: Why Is It Hard To Make Friends Over 30? I have so much to say about this I don't even know where to start... (Also: the NYTimes continues to baffle with it's classification of things in the "Style" section)

Image: good ol' Love & Rockets.

From the always awesome Rebecca Solnit: The Drug Wars: Apologies to Mexico

From The Atlantic: Transgender Rights in the Workplace Are Still Unclear 

In case my fervor hadn't already convinced you that CrossFit is a cult, watch this video (I know I have...6 times...)

Pretty good advice: Unf**k Your Habitat: The Depression/Messy House Cycle

On my "to read" list: Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution by David Harvey

“Let’s face it. We’re undone by each other. And if we’re not, we’re missing something. If this seems so clearly the case with grief, it is only because it was already the case with desire. One does not always stay intact. It may be that one wants to, or does, but it may also be that despite one’s best efforts, one is undone, in the face of the other, by the touch, by the scent, by the feel, by the prospect of the touch, by the memory of the feel. And so when we speak of my sexuality or my gender, as we do (and as we must) we mean something complicated by it. Neither of these is precisely a possession, but both are to be understood as modes of being dispossessed, ways of being for another, or indeed, by virtue of another.” - Judith Butler, Undoing Gender
Tiny Desk Concert: The Milk Carton Kids: Frankly, I'd recommend not watching the video, because it's sort of embarrassing/ distracting (maybe I'm just weird about performance) ((in fact, I know I am)), but take a listen to the first song ("Michigan") - be warned, it's a HEARTBREAKER....

Image: source.

The Wedding: "Will and Erwynn met at church and fell in love. But they had a big problem—“don’t ask, don’t tell.” The unlikely story of the first gay military union."

Until I started CrossFit about 6 months ago, I didn't get weight lifting. At all. So, what I'm saying is, I'll understand if you don't get choked up watching this video of the Clean Ladder from this past weekends CrossFit Games. It was a pretty incredible event to watch, though. (Akinwale foreverrrr!)

SO proud of my amazing friend and her part in fighting unjust barriers to voting: Texas' voter ID law goes before federal court today: "Said Natasha Korgaonkar, LDF assistant counsel, 'Our clients expose the discriminatory nature of Texas' photo ID measure, and the true costs and burdens of obtaining the underlying documents necessary to secure Texas' so-called 'free' photo id. Our experience teaches us that a student's ability to pay a fee should not determine whether they can vote.'"

“I stood willingly and gladly in the characters of everything - other people, trees, clouds. And this is what I learned, that the world's otherness is antidote to confusion - that standing within this otherness - the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books - can re-dignify the worst-stung heart.” - Mary Oliver


Heard someone cover this last night, what a great song! Oh, Dolly: Dolly Parton, "Touch Your Woman."

From WNYC and PRX [audio] Go For It: Life Lessons From Girl Boxers: "This year women will enter the Olympic boxing ring for the first time. Hosted by actor Rosie Perez and producer Marianne McCune, "Go for It" explores why women fight and why we expect them not to." 

(Man, I'm getting so sporty.) StoryCorps 275: They Got Game: "This episode of the podcast features two stories. First, José Rodriguez tells his former coach Charles Zelinsky how he got involved in the Special Olympics. Next, Leon Kogut talks with his son, Marat Kogut, an NBA referee." Image: source.

Hilarious: A Conversation With My 12 Year Old Self: 20th Anniversary Edition

Well said: “Poverty is not simply having no money — it is isolation, vulnerability, humiliation and mistrust. It is not being able to differentiate between employers and exploiters and abusers. It is contempt for the simplistic illusion of meritocracy — the idea that what we get is what we work for. It is knowing that your mother, with her arthritic joints and her maddening insomnia and her post-traumatic stress disordered heart, goes to work until two in the morning waiting tables for less than minimum wage, or pushes a janitor’s cart and cleans the shit-filled toilets of polished professionals. It is entering a room full of people and seeing not only individual people, but violent systems and stark divisions. It is the violence of untreated mental illness exacerbated by the fact that reality, from some vantage points, really does resemble a psychotic nightmare. It is the violence of abuse and assault which is ignored or minimized by police officers, social services, and courts of law. Poverty is conflict. And for poor kids lucky enough to have the chance to “move up,” it is the conflict between remaining oppressed or collaborating with the oppressor.” - Megan Lee (source)

"Our culture teaches us about shame—it dictates what is acceptable and what is not. We weren’t born craving perfect bodies. We weren’t born afraid to tell our stories. We weren’t born with a fear of getting too old to feel valuable. We weren’t born with a Pottery Barn catalog in one hand and heartbreaking debt in the other. Shame comes from outside of us—from the messages and expectations of our culture. What comes from the inside of us is a very human need to belong, to relate." - "I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame" by Brene Brown

Sometimes when I'm feeling less than 100% kick ass, I realize that it's because I haven't watched any Beth Ditto recently. Hell yeah.