Thursday, May 30, 2019

Three Interesting Things

1. The entirety of #RomBkLove fills me with joy, but Corey's lists in particular are always filled with great books I have and hove not yet read.  
2. Judith Viorst is 90 and has some thoughts on liking where you are
3. Jackie Lau talks about what she looks for and also strives for in representation of biracial characters in romance

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Remembrances and Long Weekends

I don't know that any of my relative fought in the Civil War.  The Hawaiian side of the family was clearly in place, but not yet USian.  I have some other European descended relations who I know did some missionary type things in the New England area, and some relatives who ended up in Oregon in the early 1900's. Their location and activities in the 1800's are not currently known to me.  
I do know that my great grandfather wrote editorials in opposition to the Ku Klux Klan in the 1920's, and I know I have had relatives involved in World War II, the Vietnam War, and some of the more recent non-war war stuff we do these days.  As far as I am aware, none of them died directly in the war, although certainly one died much younger than we would have hoped.  
Memorial Day has expanded it's reach and purpose these days, but started as a decoration day of sorts, after the Civil War created a lot of dead soldiers who needed proper burial.  
And growing up, Memorial Day became a weekend we often went to visit friends and family in Connecticut.  A day associated with long car rides, to arrive to weather that always felt a little cooler than I expected in Connecticut, and involved things like tennis (usually watching on my part) and the sounds and smells of salt water and trains.  
This year I stayed in DC, celebrated a birthday with a friend, and cuddled cats at the cat cafe with other friends.  So there was food, several kinds of ice cream, cats, yarn, and various iced drinks.  It was good. 

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Three Interesting Things

1. This article pointed out an important thing, that many kids are un or under vaccinated because health care is costly, especially if you might have moved and had to re-set up all the visits and everything and not thought to grab all the medical records to bring with you.  (I think these days we tend to assume everything is either online or faxable, but different health care systems are not designed to talk to each other well.) 
2. Doug Glanville's piece on the was it/wasn't it/isn't the result the same of being racially taunted with intentionally ambiguous gestures is thoughtful. 
3. If you needed a piece about Broadway's use of animatronic dicks, well, here you are

Monday, May 20, 2019

Abortion is Heath Care

CW: topics include rape and incest
I think my stance that safe and legal abortion should be available to the folks that need it is clear. (If not, hi!)
One of the things that concerns me about recent discussions around the excessive abortion laws recently passed in several states have focused a lot on the timing of when they allow abortion, and the lack of exceptions for rape and incest. I agree that victims of rape and incest deserve utmost sympathy, and we should always look to those who have experienced the most harm when trying to craft good laws. But the choice to terminate a pregnancy isn't just about pregnancies that cannot survive, pregnancies that risk the parent's life, or pregnancies that might risk continuing a previous harm. 
Abortion is a medical procedure, and that choice should be made by the patient with any appropriate advice from various medical and health professionals. 
The sex ed class I teach operates under rules of secrecy. So I can't tell you things students have said. I can tell you one of the exercises on parenthood asks the students to make the choice from six sets of parents to place a hypothetical baby. The idea behind the exercise is to look at lots of different configurations of parents - couples and singles, rich and working class, gay and straight, differing education levels, and differing ages. And then rank them and discuss and defend (politely) their choices. None of the answers are wrong answers. But the idea is to think about what might make the best scenario for parenthood and to imagine alternatives. 
Because the overall idea, as with so much of sex ed, is that there are lots of choices you can make. Figuring out what you want helps you better express it to others. But also things change. And the critical thinking you do about issues now will also prepare you any time you need to reassess. 
We also cover contraceptives in our class. But the other reality is this. Sex is fun. People engage in sex for lots of reasons and pregnancy is only one of the reasons. So the idea that people who are pregnant and don't want to be have - unless assaulted - earned this is based on a misunderstanding of sex. Humans, unlike many other animals, can and do engage in sex when pregnancy is not possible. Because sex is not just about pregnancy. 
Parenthood is a big huge thing that not everyone is ready or even able to undertake. Sure, some will rise to the challenge. And some won't. And the pregnant person is in the best situation to assess their options. 
And if their option is, oh no, I couldn't possibly, then I want them to have the care they need for that. Just as if they say, well, okay new (or continuing) adventure, I want them to have the care and support they need for that too. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

"Let's Go Steal a Podcast" - The Scheherazade Job

I was back on Let's Go Steal a Podcast talking about "The Scheherazade Job" - aka violins and violence.  
And because I forgot to send this link to Christina, for those who want to dive deeper on people faking their death on the internet

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Three Interesting Things

1. This post about reproductive choice in YA is two years old but has some great recommendations.  I have heard Brandy Colbert's Finding Yvonne and Elizabeth Acevedo's Fire on High (which I have sitting next to me) are both excellent.  I also have read Rachel Cohn's Gingerbread Girl.  
2. NPR's White Lies podcast is diving into the James Reeb case, and UUWorld has some supplemental documentation for those new to the case. 
3. Malindo Lo published some reflections and some charts and statistics as Ash reaches the ten year mark.  

Monday, May 13, 2019

What's in a Plan

My high school required us freshman year to map out what classes we were planning to take for all four years and review it with a faculty member. The plan was not set in stone, in fact mine changed all four years that I was there, but the idea was to have us look at the big picture so we didn't dig ourselves into a requirements hole we couldn't get out of. My senior year I ended up adding an independent study that I can no longer recall when I decided on, I took a physics class that I'm guessing had not been my original pick for my last science credit, and I took pre-calculus, which had originally been on the plan for junior year, even though I had already satisfied my math requirement. 
The excercise was worthwhile. And it reminded me that plans are, as they say, dreams written down, but the guide posts are still useful even if they change or get left behind when you move to a new path. 

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Three Interesting Things

1. This piece on looking ethnically ambiguous and having the presence of your less ambiguous looking parent act as a credential of sorts spoke to me. 
2. This conversation between Celeste Ng and Amy Tan about Asian American literature being American literature, and why sometimes bad husbands make for the best stories is great.  
3. This Reductress piece (and for those unaware, Reductress is a humor site) on how to get ignored as a woman by running for president was thought provoking. 

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

"Jubilee" at Arena Stage

Content warnings: recountings of slavery, onstage racial microagressions, and a racist mob attack. 
While the program says nineteenth century and the present, the show focuses primarily on the original members of the Fisk Jubilee singers. In an attempt to raise money for the aging building they had been given to form Fisk, and possibly some ego in the part of their choir master, they ended up travelling the country and parts of Europe as well, performing. 
Technically, "Jubilee" is a jukebox musical, the over 35 (per the program insert) songs performed are all songs that anyone familiar with hymns and spirituals has heard before and possibly even sung in church or school. The glimpses intro the lives of the singers are small. The singers are all fabulous. Most of the songs are performed a cappella with simple choreography that allows you to revel in the harmonies being created. A few of the cast members listed operatic training, which becomes clear when they reach a song where they are featured, yet when necessary, they blended their voices into the whole. 
It was a delight that left me humming. 
It was wonderful to see two cast members from DC, as well as Greg Watkins (who was in "Aida") and Jaysen Wright (who was in "Smart People").

Monday, May 06, 2019

Rain and Sheep and Wool

It rained on Sunday. It rained so much that the front half of the top of my pants was soaked before we even left DC. Boots and raincoat did their jobs, but walking requires moving. 
It did mean there were less people there. It did mean, that, plus the retirement of of of my favorite dyers meant I had less booths on my must visit list. It did mean the main barn was popping, since covers plus more vendors. 
But we came, we ran into most of the people I knew were there. Some I didn't. And then came back home and got dry clothes and snacks. It's interesting how the combination of social media, the DC area now having more yarn stores owned by a wider range of people, and the Internet has made such festivals both fun but also less necessary. Can you touch more yarn in one place there still? Oh of course. Can you eat fair food and see actual sheep and other animals? Yep. Will you normally see more people in their hand knits than other places? Yep. (Rain gear often covers hand knits. So some impact there.)
So it may have been a speedier trip, but still fun. 

Friday, May 03, 2019

7 Things About "Longshot"

My book club got invited to see "Longshot" back in  March. I have enjoyed some Seth Rogan things, and was willing to try. Because Charlize Theron's character is Secretary of State for much of it, parts of it take place in DC. Before I get to my seven things, I will say overall I enjoyed it. The trailer makes it of course look both more actiony and more haha funny than I found it in execution. 
1. Rogan's character is a New Yorker for reasons that are not explained. He works for what looks like a small alt-weekly and has a friend who appears to be in finance (this is a half hearted guess. Friend could be in widgets for all the movie cares.) He grew up next door to Theron's character one assumes in New York but none of them have any other connections to anyone that isn't a co-worker.
2. Who cares where he lives? Well, because he lives in New York he keeps getting in cars that end up in DC. I know you can do this. I have done this. I know movies skip over travel time. It still just seemed like he hopped in a car and it was still like fifteen minutes later he was at this building or in her apartment or whatever. 
3. At one point there is a joke made while Theron's character is on a date in DC about going to Minibar, that took an extra line for some of us from DC to catch on to since there is a fancy place here actually called Minibar. (Dude in question meant let's go to my hotel which has a minibar, which is a pretty dated joke TBH.)
4. Because she is Secretary of State they go many places. I felt those other scene changes were better marked. YMMV. They avoid any haha's at the expense of locals, there is one time where Rogan's character is dressed in local historical stuff, but it is a joke on him and not the culture, I felt. 
5. If your primary concern is this is schlubby dude bags extra hot lady because he's funny, I think the movie uses their pre-existing relationship (even if they haven't talked since they were kids) to explain why she would select him for this job and then of course running for President is clearly a situation where there isn't a lot of dating. But yes, that is the arc they are going for here. I find Rogan's interview chit chat about realizing that he will be standing next to wonderfully styled Theron at these opening events and not to show up in sweats funny, because that "growth" is a character note in the movie. 
6. And now I will try to be vague, but am going to get at two plot points for these last two points. At one point Theron's characters' Chief of Staff shows poll results from secret polls about theoretical relationships. Every example they used was odd. If Kate Middleton or Princess Diana dated so-and-so it would not be the same because Kate Middleton is married and Princess Diana is dead. Yes, I got the point they were making. It would not have been that hard to come up with single alive people. And if they were trying to keep it time non-specific, Diana has been dead for years, this is already super outdated. 
7. I will try to be vague again. But well, there is a point where Theron's character is threatened and Rogan's character is like, it's fine, let them say it. And it takes a beat, but he does eventually understand that things aren't going to only be about him. They will fall harder on her, because she's female, and the risk to her is so much greater. 

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Three Interesting Things

1. It turns out allergies are due in part to botanical sexism.  And climate change. Dislike.  And achoo. 
2. There is a ton of news about Caster Semenya and others affected by the recent and in case my thoughts aren't clear wrong decision.  It is not lost on me that gender testing appears to be performed only on athletes of color.  And while I agree that being an Olympic level athlete does mean consenting to an incredible loss of medical privacy, the decision to regulate the amount of testosterone that females are allowed to have, is based on crap science.  It just is.  This piece from one of her competitors is thoughtful and looks at how she has come to adjust her thinking as she learned more about intersex (sometimes called DSD for disorders of sex development, a term I personally am not a fan of.) 
3. And I finally caught up to this interview with Blair Braverman about her Iditarod experience