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.


A good post about what can go wrong with "fitspiration" (other than it's already obnoxious name). I do have a "fitspo"-ish board on Pinterest but it's important to me to only pin images of women actually using their bodies (instead of just standing in front of a mirror), and I try to provide some diversity of images. That said, I still fall prey to what the blog's author warns of, namely, beginning to think that "healthy" looks a certain way. 

Awesome interview, amazing person: Holley Mangold - Weightlifting's Rock Star

Image: source.

A young woman I consider a friend and hero, profiled in the local news: A sense of place: Ashland woman, herself 'illegal,' works for rights of immigrants

What's Wrong With Fat Shaming? Word: "It doesn’t work, though -- shame is not a catalyst for change; it is a paralytic. Anyone who has ever carried extreme personal shame knows this. Shame doesn’t make you stronger, nor does it help you to grow, or to be healthy, or to be sane. It keeps you in one place, very, very still."

“We’re all going to die, all of us, what a circus! That alone should make us love each other but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities, we are eaten up by nothing.” - Charles Bukowski