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Friday, December 19th, 2014 15:00

Posted by Nicole Wakelin


Les Baugh lost both of his arms 40 years ago in an electrical accident, but now he’s on his way to becoming a badass cyborg. Thanks to the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory he got two robotic arms that are attached directly to his nerves, so he can move them naturally with his mind.

The system requires periodic breaks between moves, but it’s an incredible start for this type of technology and holds such promise for those who are currently using less responsive prosthetics.

See the video after the break.

(Deus Ex Facebook via Kotaku)

Friday, December 19th, 2014 15:50

Posted by Jason Kottke

Piketty Bw Cover

The picks for the finest magazine covers of the year are starting to trickle out. Coverjunkie is running a reader poll to pick the most creative cover of 2014. Folio didn't pick individual covers but honored publications that consistently delivered memorable covers throughout the year; no surprise that The New York Times Magazine and Bloomberg Businessweek were at the top of the heap.

See also the best book covers of 2014.

Tags: best of   best of 2014   design   lists   magazines
Friday, December 19th, 2014 09:34
All right...TODAY. Did Toby get something exciting, wonderful, and awesome TODAY?

The suspense is killing me! )
Friday, December 19th, 2014 09:32
What did Toby get? Did he get more candy? Or did he get something wonderful?

cut for answer... )
Friday, December 19th, 2014 08:08

Or as much of the inside as we're likely to have. Thanks to @AndyBiotech on Twitter, here's an SEC document detailing the negotiations between Merck and Cubist. It makes for interesting reading in general - you can see how a deal like this comes together, and all the places where it might have fallen apart - and you can also see that the Hospira patent fight was, in fact, very much on the minds of Merck's management. Emphasis added in the extracts below:

On October 16, 2014, Mr. Bonney called Mr. Frazier to discuss the Company Board’s feedback in response to Parent’s stated interest in a potential strategic transaction. . .Mr. Bonney informed Mr. Frazier that the Company would continue discussions with Parent only if Parent was prepared to move quickly, to propose consideration payable to stockholders of the Company in excess of $100.00 per Share, and to provide assurance that any definitive transaction document would not be conditioned on the outcome of, or include closing conditions based on the Company’s litigation with Hospira or regulatory decisions about ceftolozane/tazobactam. Mr. Frazier responded that he needed to discuss these terms with Parent’s senior management and consult Parent’s Board of Directors (the “Parent Board”).

. . .On October 23, 2014, Mr. Bonney and Mr. Frazier had two telephone conversations to discuss the potential business combination. . .Mr. Frazier described for Mr. Bonney certain of Parent’s assumptions for the combined businesses and identified certain key areas for further due diligence that Parent would require before signing a definitive agreement, including long-term tax planning, the Company’s pending litigation with Hospira, and the regulatory dialogue regarding ceftolozane/tazobactam. Mr. Frazier also indicated that Parent was prepared to offer between $95.00 and $100.00 per Share, with a portion of that price contingent on the outcome of the Hospira litigation. Mr. Frazier indicated that Parent was willing to accept certain regulatory risk in connection with the potential transaction, but was unwilling to assume all of the risk related to the outcome of the Hospira litigation. Mr. Bonney responded that the deal parameters laid out by Mr. Frazier did not meet each of the conditions set forth by the Company Board, but that he would review Parent’s proposal with the Company Board.

On October 25, 2014, Mr. Bonney informed Mr. Frazier that the Special Committee had discussed Parent’s most recent proposal and considered it inadequate with respect to both price and the proposed contingency associated with the outcome of the Hospira litigation. Mr. Bonney offered to facilitate a discussion between Parent and the Company’s outside patent litigation counsel regarding the status of the Hospira litigation, subject to Parent first entering into an appropriate confidentiality agreement with the Company.

. . .On November 6, 2014, representatives of the Company, external patent litigation counsel to the Company, and representatives of Parent held a telephonic diligence meeting about the Hospira litigation, including the potential outcome and timing of a district court decision. The Company also presented to Parent language for a definitive agreement between the parties excluding conditionality regarding the outcome of the Hospira litigation or regulatory action related to ceftolozane/tazobactam.

The strong impression one gets is that Merck really wanted to do this deal, and was initially trying to avoid exposure to Cubist's patent issues. But in the end, the only way to do the acquisition was to put in language that excluded this as a deal-breaker. We don't know what that November 6th meeting concluded about the timing of the District Court's action, or the likelihood that Cubist would lose - maybe the coefficients in front of those two terms were wrongly estimated? Merck certainly knew that this was an issue, but it was, in the end, not enough to make Cubist undesirable. We'll see how that works out for them.

Friday, December 19th, 2014 15:00

Posted by Racialicious Team

Following in the footsteps of trailblazer Melissa Harris Perry, two more braincrushes just launched shows on MSNBC’s Shift streaming media brand.

Maria Teresa Kumar, co-founder of Voto Latino with Rosario Dawson, is now anchoring “Changing America.

And Janet Mock, the queen of Redefining Realness, is set to launch her progressive pop culture show this week. We will update here when the clip is available.


The post Janet Mock and Maria Teresa Kumar Launch MSNBC Shows appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

Friday, December 19th, 2014 09:03
Attempting a sport you've never tried before.
Friday, December 19th, 2014 16:50
* Plan was to wake up the same hour I do on Sundays, and that my dad would drive me over to KS on his way to Herzliya.

* Plan got botched 1: period morning, I was slow and miserable and not handling food well.

* Plan got botched 2: my grandmother fell and cut her head open, and my dad had to leave the track earlier than planned and go straight there. (She's home and fine.)

* My mom looked at her pile of work, at her state of physical exhaustion, and called me a taxi, which I was on ~2hr after scheudle.

* Arrived home in the sort of an hour that's "noon" in Israel and "afternoon" in English. Checked in with [profile] atongarou to see what did we forget and who we're roping into fixing it. (I forgot the pesto at my parents'. That's easily replaceable, at least I didn't forget the cheeses.) Joked about Israeli communitarian partying, where the "organizers" are mostly in charge of the kibbutznik-style logistics, and there's second- and third-tier lists of who gets roped into what if the previous person fails to do something or, in Israeli-typical fashion, just forgets. (Note that the best organizers among us don't so much remember everything, as have three failsafes and a bunch of contingencies on top.)

* Grocery round was unavoidable.

* I remembered to turn the boiler on on time, but I'm now late to the shower. I'm not particularly worried about that, as I'm planning on minimal makeup and I know exactly what I'm wearing (<-only happens about half the times). I'll be arriving at [personal profile] antongarou and [personal profile] ernads's straight into the kitchen, so I'm considering arriving not in the nice sweater, but we'll see. (We're not planning on anything particularly messy. This is a party menu for people with no spare room in their brains.)

* Their building presently has no water - burst pipe or something, plumber already on his way if not there by now. I was dead calm about it when [personal profile] ernads showed up on IM and basically did the Israeli-classic "Nothing happened." (Hardcore-Israeli definitions of what counts as a "problem" occasionally make other people freak out worse. I consider no water a couple hours before a party, when cooking and showers are yet to happen, Not A Problem provided there's where to get bottled water from within an appropriate time frame. It's a uncomfortable, but not even particularly costly.)

* And now I finished my coffee and can go to the shower.
Friday, December 19th, 2014 14:00

Posted by Gwen Sharp, PhD

Flashback Friday.

In her now-classic books The Sexual Politics of Meat and The Pornography of Meat, Carol Adams analyzes similarities in the presentation of meat products (or the animals they come from) and women’s bodies.

She particularly draws attention to sexualized fragmentation — the presentation of body parts of animals in ways similar to sexualized poses of women — and what she terms “anthropornography,” or connecting the eating of animals to the sex industry. For an example of anthropornography, Adams presents this “turkey hooker” cooking utensil:

Adams also discusses the conflation of meat/animals and women–while women are often treated as “pieces of meat,” meat products are often posed in sexualized ways or in clothing associated with women. The next eleven images come from Adams’s website:

For a more in-depth, theoretical discussion of the connections between patriarchy, gender inequality, and literal consumption of meat and symbolic consumption of women, we highly encourage you to check out Adams’s website.

This type of imagery has by no means disappeared, so we’ve amassed quite a collection of our own here at Sociological Images.

IndianFeminist sent in this example from India for a Mango flavored drink called Slice. “The brand ambassador,” our reader writes, “is Katrina Kaif, undoubtedly India’s most popular actress.” The ad puts her inside the bottle and merges her with the liquid, then offers her as a date.

3 17_27 Banner

An ad I found for I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter turns Spraychel into a female politician:

Blanca pointed us to Skinny Cow ice cream, which uses this sexualized image of a cow (who also has a measuring tape around her waist to emphasize that she’s skinny):

For reasons I cannot comprehend, there are Skinny Cow scrapbooking events.

Mustard and ketchup make up a “sexy” woman (from Las Vegas Living):

Are you hungry for some lovin’, er, lunchin’? Do you have an all-American appetite for chick(en)s? Or are you secretly ravenous for pig? We think we might have just the thing to satisfy your lust for breast, thigh, and rump:

(These ads were designed by a marketing firm in Thailand. Found via copyranter.)

Denia sent in this image of “Frankfurters” with sexy ladies on them. The text says “Undress me!” in Czech.

Finally, Teresa C. of Moment of Choice brought our attention to Lavazza coffee company’s 2009 calendar, shot by Annie Liebowitz (originally found in the Telegraph):

And this, of course:

Spanish-language ads for Doritos (here, via Copyranter):



Amanda C. sent in this sign seen at Taste of Chicago:


Dmitiriy T.M. sent us this perplexing Hardee’s French Dip “commercial.”  It’s basically three minutes of models pretending like dressing up as French maids for Hardees and pouting at the camera while holding a sandwich is a good gig:

Dmitriy also sent us this photo of Sweet Taters in New Orleans:


Jacqueline R. sent in this commercial for Birds Eye salmon fish sticks:

Crystal J. pointed out that a Vegas restaurant is using these images from the 1968 No More Miss America protest in advertisements currently running in the UNLV campus newspaper, the Rebel Yell. Here’s a photo from the protest:


And here’s the ad:

RY grind burger

Edward S. drew our attention to this doozy:

Dmitriy T.M. sent us this example from Louisiana:

Haven’t had enough?  See this post, this post, and this post, too.

Originally posted in 2008.

Gwen Sharp is an associate professor of sociology at Nevada State College. You can follow her on Twitter at @gwensharpnv.

(View original at

Friday, December 19th, 2014 08:20





Safety Shower Demonstration

PLEASE tell me this is from a real work informational video.

always reblog!

This is magnificent

Friday, December 19th, 2014 14:00

Posted by Kory Stamper

[Ed. note: one in a series.  Emails are only lightly edited for–if you can believe it–clarity.]

Your online dictionary defines “peak” as “a pointed or projecting part of a garment; especially :  the visor of a cap or hat”; and tentatively derives the word from “pike”. This is false. “Peak” derives from “beak” (which is why “bill” is a synonym). If I am correct, your definition should be modified.

Your logic is unassailable: “peak” looks like the word “beak,” and both hats and birds have a bill. Or rather, only the hats that truly matter–good American hats–have a bill. I don’t know why we didn’t see this before.

Oh, wait–we didn’t see it before because that’s not how etymology works. Imagine being tasked with creating ancestral photo albums for everyone in your family. You start with your second-cousin; you have, as your guide and starting point, a photo of that cousin that was taken yesterday. You are led to a large, dusty room that is overflowing, Hoarders-style, with pictures. The pictures go back hundreds of years, and several are stained or torn so badly that you can only guess at who the person in frame is. Some of those pictures will be of this cousin; many of these pictures will be of people who look vaguely like your cousin; many will be of other people you don’t know; there are several of Stinky, the neighbor’s dog. The door behind you creaks shut and locks. There are closed doors to your EAST and SOUTH; to your NORTH is a dimly lit brass lantern.

This is etymology. You are likely to be eaten by a grue.

The reason that there are so few etymologists in the world is not for lack of education or desire; it’s because etymology is really frickin’ hard sometimes. Lines of derivation aren’t always clear, and you don’t just need a pretty good hint that one word derives from another, but a whole corpus full of literature that supports that. So if we give an etymology for something–even if we qualify it with “probably”–then you can expect that there’s some actual evidence for that.

 In the case of “peak,” it looks likely that it is an alteration of the earlier word “pike.” Did you know that both “peak” and “pike” were spelled “pyke” at one point? Granted, it was a point about 600 years ago now, so unless you read Middle English for fun and profit, you probably don’t know that. Etymologists do, though, because it is their job to read Middle English for “fun” and (snort) “profit.”  Not all hope for your theory is lost, however: most scholars qualify the “pike” etymology with a “probably” or “possibly.”  If we discover that “peak” and “beak” both came from some crazy Proto-Indo-European root that means “to be conspicuous to idiots,” then we will gladly update our entry.

 Question: I looked up the word “mien” and noticed the following etymology:

Origin of MIEN

by shortening & alteration from “demean”

First Known Use: 1522

However, in French, they have the same word which can mean (1) mine (mining) or even (2) someone’s expression or outward appearance.

The world is abundant, mon ami. There are many orthographic combos that appear in languages around the globe, as pervasive as late-fall ennui. That doesn’t necessarily mean that all those words are related.

Think of it: a whole life’s experience–love, death, the rains in Provence, her kiss in Milan, the flowers Mémère used to set out at dinner–to be summed up using a handful of symbols. Though we live life together, we experience it alone. The form sin shows up in English and Spanish and Norwegian and Irish and Vietnamese–it even shows up in the language of man’s dreams (Esperanto). Yet none of these sins are related. So many worlds, so few characters to share an experience. It is inevitable that we should trod on each other’s words and give them our own meanings.

In short: the English “mien” really is a shortening of “demean,” and even if it was influenced by the French mien, that is not its origin. Everything dies.

I recently read, in, I believe, the Webster’s Unabridged version, that the origin of the term “Nosy Parker” was unknown~~I believe that this term originated from a series of movies, in which the lead actor was Lionel Barrymore,known as Dr. Gillespie~~these movies, each with a different title, featured Dr. Gillespie in the lead role as not only a doctor, but a solver of mysteries~~he is wheelchair bound in each of the series, and is looked after, fretted over, and followed around by his nurse, Miss (or Mrs.) Parker~~she is constantly trying to find out what he is up to, and listens through the door, reads his messages, whatnot~~hence~~she was nosy Parker, the nurse who could not let anything alone~~~This,I feel, is where the term “Nosy Parker” comes from~~~

Please excuse my tardy reply; I was hypnotized by your tildes. They have a very William Carlos Williams feel to them:

reads his messages, whatnot



~~she was nosy Parker

the nurse who could not

let anything



In any event, that would be a wonderful etymology for “Nosy Parker,” but alas, time is not on your side. “Nosy Parker” first showed up in print in the late 1800s; Lionel Barrymore’s movies date to the 1940s. Generally speaking, the word shows up in print after it is coined, not before, though we cannot discount the existence of a band of time-traveling linguistic trolls who have an inexplicable love of Lionel Barrymore.

Sadly, this state of affairs is fairly common in etymology: there is a perfect, spot-on story about how a word came to be, and then the horrible linear nature of time (as we experience it) screws it all up. “Doozy,” for instance, is supposedly a shortened form of “Duesenberg,” a make of tres classy cars. But “doozy” shows up before any Duesenbergs do. Is that disappointing–or, dare I say, a waste of a good car? Yes. Yes it is. But no amount of wishing, willing, secret incantations, or flux capacitors will change the facts.

I’d just like to say, though your app states that the origin of the word “gorp” is “unknown,” most everybody knows that it is an acronym for “Good Old Raisins and Peanuts.”

Well, you know scholars: dumber than most.

Here is a truth universally acknowledged: we like language to make some goddamned sense. Most of the complaints we hear about how horrible English is are because it (or one of its constituents) “doesn’t make logical sense.” And if something’s origin is shrouded in mystery, it is, in a way, nonsensical–there’s no reason, event, or word combo we can blame for that word. Calling trail mix “gorp” for no discernible reason goes against our instinct for causality and our desire for tidiness. So we invent reason: “Good Old Raisins and Peanuts.” After all, trail mix has raisins in it (sometimes) and peanuts in it (sometimes), and raisins and peanuts are both good (debatable) and old (sure, why not). There it is! There’s our reason! Why can’t you just see it?

Acronymic etymologies are, by and large, total horseshit. Acronyms weren’t really popular until the late 19th century, and very, very few of them have entered English as words. So, no, it’s not “Port Out Starboard Home” or “Constable On Patrol” or “Ship High In Transit,” even though these are all logical within a flawed and totally imaginary system. No, it’s not “Fornication Under Consent of King” or “Found Under Carnal Knowledge” or “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” or “Fornication Unallowed in the Commonwealth of the King.” (I mean, ponder for a moment: if sexytimes were actually outlawed in the Commonwealth, don’t you think that there’d be ample record of it?)

The origins of the word “jut.”  It seems obvious the word originates with the name of the Danish peninsula Jutland described in Wikipedia as a peninsula that “juts out” in Northern Europe.  Although there may not be a documented relationship, are you able to include the obvious in the possible origins words?

Yes, we are absolutely able to do that. It’s obvious: Jutland JUTS OUT, so clearly we got the word “jut” from Jutland. While we’re at it, we are also going to change the word “boot” to “bitaly,” and I have to revise the etymology of “ballsack” to note that we probably got it from the name of that famous ribald, Honoré de Balzac.

Etymologies in dictionaries are pretty much about documented linguistic relationships. As fitting as it is that Jutland happens to jut out into the Baltic like it does, it is merely a happy coincidence. Sometimes these happy coincidences also lead to documented linguistic relationships, but we always make a note of it. “Redingote,” for instance, is a funny little word that refers to a style of coat worn by men in the 18th century. It looks sort of like “riding coat,” doesn’t it? And hey, look at that: we have documented evidence that “redingote” is actually the French adaptation (borrowed back into English) of the English “riding coat”!

But it must all come back to the documentation. Etymologists are just crackpots with evidence behind them. We don’t truck much in variable origin stories–that’s really more DC’s and Marvel’s purview.

Question: I regard Webster’s very highly, and use it very much. But I am quite shocked about the lack of knowledge about so many Words’ origin, when the answer is just across the North sea. In Norwegian, Icelandic, Danish or Swedish. The Word QUALM is a very good example.

What about Finnish, huh? Or Faeroese? NOT “ACROSS THE NORTH SEA” ENOUGH FOR YOU?

It’s a common misconception among people who really, really love their native language a lot that their native language is the Ur-language, the language from which all other language sprang. This misconception is hard to counter: I mean, if you are positive that there is a family resemblance between Norwegian and, say, Amharic, then you are damned well going to see a family resemblance. “The word for ‘water’ in Amharic is /whah/ and in Norwegian it’s ‘vann’. SO OBVIOUS.”

Except, well, no. One of the things that etymologists must consider when weighing whether X word in Y language came from B word in C language is whether or not speakers of C language ever had contact Y language during the time that the word first showed up in Y language. If Norway gave English speakers the word “qualm,” then you’d think we’d have some clear evidence of that from the 1500s, when “qualm” showed up in English. But we don’t. We know–because, again, etymologists read all sorts of weird stuff–that there were similar words in a bunch of Germanic languages for the 200 or so years around when “qualm” showed up in English. But not in Norwegian. Not only that, but English speakers didn’t have a ton of exposure to Norwegians in the 1500s. We were more into the Dutch at that point, sorry.  So the likelihood that the English “qualm” came from Norwegian is <hearty laughter>.

To sum up: if there is an Ur-language from which all languages today descended, it is lost to time and it’s deffers not Norwegian. We are sorry to disappoint; thanks for writing.

Friday, December 19th, 2014 14:30

Posted by Nicole Wakelin


This beautiful Sailor Moon-themed wedding will likely give you plenty of inspiration for your coming nuptials, or even just a Sailor Moon party. Michelle and Will had everything themed from the bride’s gorgeous dress and incredible shoes to the attire of every bridesmaid. The cake, placecards, and napkins also got a dose of Sailor Moon, and there were even props for her guests to pose with to create some very memorable shots of the event.

See more pictures after the break.

















You can see even more photos on the couple’s Flickr page.

Thanks to Michelle N. for the tip! Send yours to

Friday, December 19th, 2014 14:00

Posted by Amy Ratcliffe


Batman mixes well with lace – who knew?! These Batman panties come in a three pack and are all black and yellow (of course) and feature neat graffiti-style designs. One pair has the Bat symbol, another has Batman’s cowl, and the final pair has the symbol and the word “Batman.” They’re hipster style with high cut legs, and the lace gives them a nice racy touch.

Product Page ($24.99)

Friday, December 19th, 2014 07:50





so I’ve got this headcanon that Guardians of the Galaxy is really the Avengers playing a table top roleplaying game, where Bucky’s the DM who suffers through heaps and loads of trolling 

Mostly from Steve

Especially from Steve

Which means Natasha was the one who sat down and wrote out the long, comprehensive backstory for her kickass space assassin Gamora, that Bucky keeps trying to work into the campaign but they keep getting sidetracked by –

Tony who just created what he sees himself as – the suave, wise-cracking space vagabond.

Thor who needed a lot of help building his character and decided on a couple easy to remember traits (Strong, honor, doesn’t get metaphors)

and Bruce who’s actually too busy to pay full attention so any time Bucky asks what he wants to do he just says “I am Groot” and lets Steve decide

Oh my god.

Headcanon accepted so hard

Friday, December 19th, 2014 09:14
Some more things went wrong in life, and I had to finish up bandom_hols and Yuletide and get them posted, and I am very tired, but I'm alive and I will catch up on the meme this weekend, hopefully, unless something else goes wrong?


Friday, December 19th, 2014 13:30

Posted by Nicole Wakelin


It looks like Arya Stark is getting a makeover for the next season of Game of Thrones. Actress Maisie Williams is happy with the change telling EW:

“I love Arya’s new look. It’s very neutral, very plain, but clean! I have clean hair that actually moves.”

The change in costume is one that’s designed to help her character remain anonymous on the streets of Braavos. It’s the brainchild of costume designer Michele Clapton. She said her goal was to reflect both the change in location as well as the fact that Arya is not a boy and can dress like a young woman.

For comparison, see the costume she’s been wearing after the break.


(via Entertainment Weekly)

Friday, December 19th, 2014 08:59
This is the season for a lot of sales, and some of those sales hit "free" levels.

1. Every Halfbrick Game is on sale (iOS and Android, actually). That includes Fruit Ninja, Colossatron, and Fish Out of Water, all of which remain staples on my iPad. I assume everyone knows the first. Colossatron is a weird action game which combines a Death-Worm mechanic (for anyone's who's played that) with mechanics from both Snake and match-3 games. And FooW is a ridiculously fun time-killer in which you skip assorted fish across water, and get scored, Olympics-style.

2. For board gamers, Reiner Knizia's Razzia is free. It's basically a reskin of Ra, but that's not a bad thing. It's also not small -- about 300MB. But I grabbed it, because, well, free. And yes, Knizia has become that John Carpenter of board game designers (or the Sid Meier, I suppose) getting his name in titles.

3. Tower of Fortune's a minor classic, a goofy game mixing slot machine mechanics, RPGs, and old-school Gameboy-esque graphics.

4. I mentioned Flick Golf Extreme last time it went free; it's still a blast, a mix of a basic mechanic with insane ideas (golfing from a helicopter or over a canyon).

In terms of games that aren't free, but are on sale, all of Playdek's games are on sale, with Lords of Waterdeep and Agricola at $5.99 (down a buck), and others down to $.99. Small World 2 is on sale for $2.99, and remains one of the best board games on the system. The LEGO Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Marvel games are $.99, as is Bastion, and all of Disney's "Where's My" games (other than the FTP Where's My Water 2). There are a ton of other ones, but those are some good highlights.
Friday, December 19th, 2014 13:00

Posted by Amy Ratcliffe

spider-woman costume 1

Batgirl isn’t the only superhero to get a stylish modern costume upgrade; Spider-Woman is following in her footsteps. Jessica Drew has been wearing the same costume for almost 40 years, but that’s about to change. It’s about time! Artist Kris Anka came up with the look that debuted yesterday in the Spider-Man Unlimited mobile game and will premiere on comic book pages in March.

The old outfit was all about the spandex, but now? Drew gets black pants, gloves, leather, and a versatile jacket that works as street wear and a superhero costume. It looks edgier, more practical, and I give it a month before cosplayers are wearing it.

See a couple more pics of the new threads after the break.

spider-woman costume 2

spider-woman costume 3

(via USA Today)

Friday, December 19th, 2014 12:21

Posted by Sally

<input ... >

Weekly Kitty:


Sunbeams are always better shared.

Reader Ellie asked me if I knew of any centralized resources that list American-made brands. As a matter of fact, fellow Minneapolitan Rita Mehta’s blog, The American Edit, does just that! She includes home and decor resources, too, but plenty of fashion brands are highlighted.

An interesting take on both subtle and overt gender bias in the workplace. The intro reminds me of a Talking Heads lyric that I love to pieces: “Here come the doctor in charge, oh uh oh, she’s got some wild, wild life.” See that? SHE. Doctor in charge = she.

Joi expertly mixes buffalo plaid, polka dots, and animal print into one fun outfit.

“In this framework, gold’s beauty is evidence of its goodness. Its face evinces and is identical to its monetary value; its worth is incontrovertible and fixed. This is the same fantasy we have about the conventional American beauty standard, which shares many qualities with the gold bar: an ‘all-American beauty’ is sleek, blonde, expensive-looking, devoid of complicating layers. We have a fantasy of literal face value, which is why pageants keep trying to force an organic connection between beauty and goodness, why you can pick up a magazine in a checkout line and immediately find before-and-after noses, accusatory arrows, the falseness in every beauty ferreted out.” (Via Rookie)

A snippet of truth from Amy Poehler’s lovely new memoir.

This post articulates the dangerous link between pursuing a minimalist wardrobe and getting caught in the cycle of chasing perfection. (Via YLF)

My NYDJ cargo pants are incredibly comfy, but man do they ever stretch out after a couple of hours of wear. I ordered these Loft moleskin cargo “leggings,” and they’re a great alternative. Nice and high-waisted, comfy, true to size, and don’t grow several inches over the course of the day. And they’re much thicker than actual leggings, in my opinion. Available in 4 – 18, and petite sizes!

You adventurous makers might want to take a peek at this DIY for a simple tulle skirt. Or tackle this version for a circle skirt with tulle overlay.

My own cystic acne has been in check for quite a while (and I am unspeakably grateful), but I still get the occasional deep pimple. Belle recommends this old home remedy for deep acne. I’m intrigued. Anyone else tried it?

On I rounded up eight gorgeous, gift-able scarves for $50 or less.

Lisa pairs a lovely lace dress and warm opaque tights for a holiday party outfit that’s both stylish and practical.

A great reminder that “flattering” doesn’t have to be the only goal. If something makes you dance with joy in the dressing room, that is reason enough to buy, wear, and love it.

Gendered clothing teaches boys that they’re supposed to be tough, strong and smart like their dads, while girls are reduced to glitter-loving princesses who are pretty like their moms. Compare those two sets of traits, and you can see why boys might conclude that girls are lesser, Orenstein said. That’s why doing something ‘like a girl’ is the classic insult that little boys hurl at each other.”

I have steered myself in a decidedly flat-centric direction, but holy moly these d’Orsay-esque heels are equal parts cool and sexy.

Unexpected jewelry trend: Lockets.

Not terribly surprising, but disappointing nonetheless: Out of 611 total fashion magazine covers printed in 2014, only 119 featured women of color.

In my Star Tribune column, I talked about tucking shirts, matching hem lengths, and signatures vs. ruts.

I always love reading semester-end thoughts from Rosie’s body image students. Putting “I celebrate the vessel that I have been given” in my back pocket.

20+ places to shop for plus-size hosiery and tights. Lots of great resources in there.

“I was filled with shame—but this time it wasn’t because of my body’s mere existence. It was because I wasn’t feeling great about myself every second of every day. Now that I knew what it meant to not hate my body, did it mean I was being a phony, or betraying my fat sisters, when I had negative feelings about it or wished I could look like someone other than me?”

Psyche’s two-tone midi skirt is so fun and unusual.

Reader Theresa wrote to ask me a great question: What is “resort,” and should she care about this made-up, mini season? Along the same lines is pre-fall, which is happening now. (Via The Fashion Law) You can also read some top designers’ thoughts on pre-fall.

On the Fox 9 Buzz, I shared ideas for holiday party outfits using items you might already have in your closet.

Producer Soojin Chung pitched her film idea – a story about two people who meet in New York and fall in love over food – and got some appalling pushback because she wanted to cast full-figured actors as the leads.

40+ Style pointed me to Accidental Icon this week. Blogger Lyn has impeccable minimalist style and is a fantastic writer.

I got in touch with CureDiva this week, and am so impressed. It’s a resource and community for women living with breast cancer that provides style solutions including wigs, breast forms and bras, non-toxic makeup and more.

Love the mix of neutrals and shades of burgundy in this outfit. Or is it “marsala” now?

And from the Department of Random: Neil Gaiman reads “Jabberwocky.” In a tulgey wood.

Also: A linguist explains the syntax of f*ck. Obviously, not safe for work reading. Also not recommended for those who blush at curse words. But FASCINATING. And Lyndon Johnson is involved!


**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

The post Lovely Links: 12/19/14 appeared first on Already Pretty | Where style meets body image.

Friday, December 19th, 2014 06:51




I’m impressed by Penny’s argument

can the show just be the three of them

I know I’ve reblogged this before but it’s just so great.

Friday, December 19th, 2014 12:30

Posted by Amy Ratcliffe

predator son of a bitch patch

Remember that scene in Predator when Dutch and Dillon first see each other? Dutch says, “You son of a bitch!” as a friendly greeting, and Arnold Schwarzenegger and Carl Weathers clasp their muscled arms together in a gratuitous way. This silly but great patch from Future Zine captures that moment. It might be the greatest patch ever made. It should be a merit badge or something.

Check out the scene from the movie after the break…

Product Page ($5 via Reddit)

Friday, December 19th, 2014 07:28

The clinical failure rate for disease-modifying Alzheimer's therapies remains perfect, unfortunately: a flat 100%. The latest news is from Roche. Their in-licensed amyloid-targeting antibody (gantenerumab, from MorphoSys) came up empty on an interim trial analysis. Other trials are apparently continuing, but with what hopes?

Roche's rationale seems to be that these other trials are targeting milder and/or earlier forms of Alzheimer's. And it's true that if an antibody approach is going to show something, those are probably the patients where it will. (There are a number of such trials going on now). But the odds are very long. And the situation is complicated by companies wanting to get something, anything, out of these extremely expensive drug development efforts - and by many scientists who have committed their research careers to the amyloid hypothesis. Add in the terribly slow clinical readouts in any Alzheimer's trial and the large and desperate market for anything that works, and you have a tough landscape indeed.

Friday, December 19th, 2014 07:54
(Yesterday's post has toys, cookware, and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Wednesday's post has deals on Pacific Rim, Gravity, and a few video games and other items. Tuesday's post still has active deals on Fire TV, Avatar, Leapfrog stuff, and more; Monday's post has deals on Chromecast, Roku, PSTV, Kindle, and games and movies, while Sunday's short post has awesome deals on Arrow, the Mel Brooks Collection, Warehouse 13, British Mysteries, and classic shows including Mary Tyler Moore, Dick Van Dyke, and Naked City.)

We're getting near the "too late to ship by Christmas" point, so the deals are starting to dry up.

But alongside a bunch of solid if unspectactular daily deals (Samsonite luggage, Sony headphones, Rockabye Rocker Toys), there's The Complete Gilmore Girls on DVD for $52.99 (80% off)! That's less than fifty cents an episode, although you are forced to buy the ones Daniel Palladino wrote. Still, it's one of the best-written series when it's good, and it's often very, very good.

In books, I'd somehow missed the fact that Jason Segal -- the actor and screenwriter -- launched a YA series. Co-written with Kirsten Miller, who is seventeen kinds of awesome (and is also someone I interviewed for PW a few years ago). Their book, Nightmares!, is $8.49 (50% off).

In video games, the Xbox One Assassin's Creed Unity Bundle is not only down to $349 (13% off), but includes a bonus $50 Amazon Credit.

The PS4 deal isn't quite as nice ($399, with two games including The Last of Us and a choice of a few more good ones), but it does include free one-day shipping, in case you're getting it as a gift for someone. I'm happy to be "someone," by the way.

On the PC, the appallingly-named Metal Gear Rising: Reveangeance is $5.99 (80% off).

In bath toys for kids, the How To Train Your Dragon 2 - Berk Island Bathset is $6.46 (68% off, and about $10 off other deals), while the Matchbox Mission: Undersea Squid Sub Playset is $7.45 (63% off, about $12 off other deals).

Also cheap in toys: The My Little Pony Chutes and Ladders set for $8.05 (53% off, about $6 off other deals) and the 4M Potato Clock for $5.45 (55% off, about $4.50 off other deals). Potato not included for that last one.

Oh, and the Easy-Bake Ultimate Oven is $29.96 (50% off). Note that it's backordered, so even paying for a rush might not get it in time for Christmas or Hanukkah, but if you're planning ahead for a birthday, it's a solid deal.

In games for adults (and ones on my wishlist), Star Trek Fleet Captains is $57.87 (28% off, a good $10 off any other deal after shipping).

In kitchen goods, the 12-piece T-fal C111SC Signature Nonstick Expert Thermo-Spot Heat Indicator Cookware Set is back on sale, going for $64.99 (50% off, about $40 off other deals).

In Blu-Ray deals, the Steelbook Blu-Ray Editions of The Blues Brothers and Scott Pilgrim vs The World are both $9.99 (50% off) each.

And finally, Prancer is going for $3.99 (73% off).
Friday, December 19th, 2014 12:25

Posted by Fred Clark

According to Left Behind, the clothes of true believers will, like heathens and liberals, be left behind. This means both a sudden influx of nudity in Heaven and the sudden appearance, here on Earth, of billions of piles of unoccupied clothes.

If you saw a dozen people instantaneously vanish, leaving only a pile of clothing where they formerly stood, you would probably take a look at those piles of clothing to try to figure out what just happened. But then you’re not a character in Left Behind.


Left Behind, pp. 21-25

Here we read with greater detail — although less detail than we might like — of how LaHaye and Jenkins envision the bodily rapture of believers, but not of their clothes. Thus:

Harold’s clothes were in a neat pile on his seat, his glasses and hearing aid on top. The pant legs still hung over the edge and led to his shoes and socks.

L&J seem to envision a great gathering in the clouds of all the believers in their born-again birthday suits. At the very least, this invites a rewording of some of the old gospel hymns about heaven: “When the roll is called up yonder, I’ll be bare.”

There’s a logic to this idea, I suppose. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve are described as going about naked and unashamed. So if the shame of nudity is a temporal, this-worldly consequence of fallenness and sin, then one could argue there’s no need for clothing in heaven. (Admittedly, it’s difficult for me to imagine this without also imagining the redeemed frolicking about, playing volleyball.)

This heavenly disrobing also seems a bit suspect coming from the writers who created Rayford Steele — poster-boy for raging lust and repression. There’s a whiff, perhaps, of something lascivious in this unexpected promise of heavenly nudity.

L&J may also be missing a cross-promotional marketing opportunity. Back in the 1840s, William Miller made a nice profit selling his followers white “ascension robes.”

The news that Harold’s eyeglasses and hearing aid are left behind along with his clothes follows the same logic about the restoration in heaven of all that is fallen, broken and less than whole. The heavenly Harold angel will hark without need of a hearing aid.

But reading this about the hearing aid and eyeglasses makes one want to know more. You want Rayford or Buck to examine these piles of abandoned clothes more carefully. Isn’t that what you would do? If someone vanishes leaving only their clothes, wouldn’t you want a closer look at those clothes?

And if the hearing aid is left behind, what about fillings, pacemakers, prosthetic limbs, toupees and silicon implants? In heaven, one imagines, teeth and hearts are healthy, missing limbs are restored, bald head’s bloom like Rosenzweig’s desert, and breasts are, well, everything that breasts are meant to be.

Yet it doesn’t occur to any of the characters on the plane to take a closer look at the rumpled piles in any of the empty seats. Even Buck, the GIRAT, remains steadfastly incurious in the face of this sudden mystery.

Consider again the description of Harold’s clothes and see if it doesn’t remind you of something:

Harold’s clothes were in a neat pile on his seat, his glasses and hearing aid on top. The pant legs still hung over the edge and led to his shoes and socks.

Somehow, no one on the plane is reminded of having seen this exact scene in dozens of “shrinking man” movies. My favorite such example is in the Beatles’ Help, the scene titled “The Exciting Adventure of Paul on the Floor.”

Paul accidentally gets injected with the shrinking serum that was supposed to shrink Ringo’s finger so that he could remove the ring of Kaili. The others look away, then look back, and Paul’s clothes are in a neat pile on his seat. The pant legs still hung over the edge and led to his shoes.

Paul meanwhile, has been miniaturized, slipping down his pantleg and onto the floor where he dons George’s discarded gum wrapper, and bathes in orange soda in an ashtray.


We readers know, of course, that Irene had been right, and Left Behind is a rapture story — not the story of the fantastic voyage by an adventuresome band of microscopic airline passengers. But it seems strange that the characters should know this as well.

Confronted with the bewildering sight of all these Pauline piles of clothes, you’d think it might have occurred to the folks on that plane to tread carefully. If I were on that plane, I’d be checking my shoes on the off-chance that Harold and the others missing were now on safari among the harsh, tree-like strands of the plane’s carpeting, fashioning its microfibers into crude weapons with which to battle gargantuan, monstrous dust mites.

I’m not saying that the shrinking scenario (whether via the filthy eastern ways of Kaili, or via a shrinking ray from some trite hackneyed mad scientist) is the most plausible explanation for the passengers’ disappearance. But it’s no less fanciful than any of the other suggestions that might quickly spring to mind.

These would include, among others: mass hallucination/insanity, alien abduction, rapture/Enochian assumption, spontaneous human combustion, rapid-acting flesh-eating bacteria, wormhole in the space/time continuum, the return of D.B. Cooper and his extended family, and/or an evil sorceror from an alternate dimension plucking away slaves to work in his sulfurous mines. You can probably think of others.

Sherlock Holmes famously said, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” Confronted with the apparent impossibility of the mass disappearance, it ought to occur to the people on that plane to begin speculating on the possible, if improbable, explanations.

What’s bewildering is the characters’ lack of bewilderment, their lack of curiosity. No one inspects the piles of clothes. No one seriously attempts to consider who disappeared and what else they might all have in common.

If you were on a plane, and 50 or so passengers suddenly disappeared shortly after dinner, wouldn’t it be good to find out whether or not they all had the salmon?

Friday, December 19th, 2014 23:37
Things I did today: • went to work
• broke not one but TWO important tech things
• (they will be fixed and neither is actually my fault, but still)
• (KA was all 'STOP TOUCHING THINGS' when I broke the big printer/photocopier thing, hahaha.)
• Learned that the two inseparable older ladies at work are, in fact, a lesbian couple. :3 So nice to see! (They're both pretty awesome, in that cheerful working class since-we're-here-we-might-as-well-have-fun, urgh-management-you-tools kind of way. If that makes sense to anyone but me.)
• Went shopping after work
• Came home and flopped

I am feeling pretty accomplished! Also tired. Very tired. Needa go do that sleep thing, yes.
Friday, December 19th, 2014 04:00

Posted by (Velveteen Rabbi)


We are all of us afraid of the dark. At night, anxieties suppressed or repressed come swimming to the surface of consciousness: am I safe? Am I loved? Am I needed? Is there meaning in the world, or is it all, ultimately, just a swirl of chaos?...

Judaism does not ask us to ignore this darkness and the sense of doom it might educe in us. On the contrary, it asks us to face them squarely, and then, ultimately, to defy them. But how?...

"The soul of man is the lamp of God," the Book of Proverbs tell us (20:27). What this means is that ultimately, our task is not to light candles, but to be candles. We have the potential to be the bits of light that help bring God back into a world gone dark. As the Sefas Emes puts it in discussing Hanukkah, "A human being is created to light up this world" (Hanukkah, 1874).

All of these brief quotes are from Lighting Up the Darkness by Rabbi Shai Held. His whole essay is beautiful and I commend it to you.

Tonight we'll enter into the fourth night of Chanukah. Chag urim sameach -- wishing you a joyful continuation of the festival of lights! And Shabbat shalom, too.


Photo: fourth night of Chanukah. From my flickr stream, taken a few years ago.

Friday, December 19th, 2014 11:51

Posted by Ed Yong

When you’re the size of a human, you worry about lions and tigers and bears. But if you’re a bacterium, a tiny nematode worm, just a millimetre long, can be a vicious predator. Nematodes are among the most common animals on the planet, and many of them hunt bacteria in soil and water. The microbes, in turn, have evolved many defences. Some secrete toxins. Others gather in large, invulnerable swarms*.

Now, a team of Chinese scientists have discovered the most outlandish strategy yet: some bacteria transform fungi into worm-killers.

Fungi aren’t known for their speed or mobility, but around 200 species have evolved ways of killing nematodes nonetheless. They use traps, including sticky nets and microscopic lassos made of single coiled cells. Once they ensnare a worm, they grow into it and digest it from the inside out.

These fungi aren’t always killers. One of the most common and best-studied species—Arthrobotrys oligospora—usually feeds on decaying vegetation. It only produces its deadly traps when nematodes are around. Two years ago, one team of scientists showed that it knows when to do this because it can smell its prey, detecting chemicals that the worms can’t help but produce.

But these chemicals aren’t always necessary. Earlier studies have shown that the fungi can also change from death-eaters to death-bringers when they’re exposed to fresh cow dung. Xin Wang, Guo-Hong Li, and Cheng-Gang Zou from Yunnan University reasoned that bacteria in the dung were responsible.

The team isolated a few species of bacteria that could transform the fungi on their own, and identified the chemical that they use—urea. The bacteria mass-produce an enzyme that churns out urea, which then diffuses through the soil. The fungi absorb it and convert it into ammonia, and the ammonia triggers their lifestyle switch. If the team disrupted any part of this pathway, by blocking the various enzymes that make, absorb, or process urea, the fungi no longer set their traps.

The team confirmed the importance of urea by setting up deathmatches in plates of sterilised soil. They seeded the plates with different microbes, unleashed waves of nematodes upon them, and then added the spores of the killer fungi.

Sure enough, the nematodes gorged themselves on the bacteria and their populations bloomed—that is, until the fungi started culling them. If the bacteria couldn’t make urea, the fungi built their traps in a leisurely way and killed the nematodes slowly. But if the team used urea-making microbes, or deliberately added urea to those that couldn’t produce it, the fungi mobilised more quickly and almost completely wiped out the nematodes. By making urea, the bacteria can rally the nematodes’ nemeses to their aid.

These kinds of interaction are common in the natural world. Many plants, for example, defend themselves against very hungry caterpillars by releasing chemicals that summon parasitic wasps, which kill the pests by implanting them with eggs.

We’ve only started to appreciate the scope of these chemical alarms because they are invisible to us, and are often produced by creatures beneath our notice. But they are certainly there. Go for a walk, look at a field, and picture millions upon millions of calls for help, drifting in the wind and cascading through the soil.

Reference: Wang, Li, Zou, Ji, Liu, Zhao, Liang, Xu, An, Zheng, Qin, Tian, Xu, Ma, Yu, Huang, Liu, Niu, Yang, Yuang & Zhang. 2014. Bacteria can mobilize nematode-trapping fungi to kill nematodes. Nature Communications


* PS Both of these traits can coincidentally make bacteria better at infiltrating our bodies and causing disease. Every year, people die because of microbes that were just trying to escape from worms.

More on killer fungi

Friday, December 19th, 2014 12:30

Posted by thebrightspark

Cover of the Illustrated Stardust, by Neil Gaiman and Charles VessStardust, Neil Gaiman, Charles Vess
Review from April 17th, 2009

I just finished rereading Stardust, this time in the illustrated edition. The art is all by Charles Vess, and it’s gorgeous. He has his own style, but the art is all accessible and pretty. I particularly liked the illustration of Tristan and Yvaine kissing, on page 202, and the design of Lady Una. I like the way he’s portrayed all of the characters, really. It brings them to life in a lovely way, and the art is arranged nicely — not distracting from the story, but adding to it.

I’ve always loved the book, and the movie is the movie I watch when I need comfort, so rereading was a happy occasion. I forgot how different the book and the movie are — the movie is definitely an adaptation. Not that it’s a bad thing: the way things happen in the book simply wouldn’t translate to the screen.

The best things about Stardust, the book, are the tone in general and Yvaine’s voice. The tone is kind of dryly humorous, gently mocking the fairytales it comes from and improves on, with fun conversations and great lines. Yvaine herself is awesome, with her grumpy sharpness and her angry obligation and her not-at-all-saccharine love. Compared to the movie, the realisation scenes are maybe a bit dry, and I wish there had been more with the boat in the sky, as in the movie, but all in all, I do love the book so much, and I think it’s one of my comfort-books the same as the movie is my comfort-movie.

Perhaps my favourite part of all is the note Tristan and Yvaine leave, though: “Unexpectedly detained by the world.”

Rating: 5/5

Friday, December 19th, 2014 05:53





This song will improve your current emotional status by 200% I promise

I think we could all use a little hobbit party music to cheer us up

The gif kills me.

I used be able to play the tin whistle like this.

Friday, December 19th, 2014 11:09

Posted by elodieunderglass

Season’s felicitations, Awkward Army! Elodie Under Glass here with two letters about accommodating your loved ones during stressful celebrations. Goodness, could this be a TIMELY POST? Here’s Letter #1.



Dear Captain,


I have a weird situation going with my dad. There’s a lot of history here so I’ll try to be brief.


When I left for university, mom took that as her chance to quit the soul sucking job she hated and move her and dad to the other side of the country for a job she loved. Five years later, a couple months after I graduated,  she went to sleep and never woke up. It’s been three years since then.


I’ve spent every holiday and Christmas with my dad since, including one where he joined us at my in-laws place, because I don’t want him to be alone. But he’s got it in his head that I should be adjusting my life to accommodate for him more. The first time he bitched the entire time about our apartment not having a guest room or an elevator to the top floor where we lived. He’s got MS and walking is hard, stairs are worse, and a lumpy couch is a crappy bed even if you’re healthy, so I sympathized. But he complained every other time too even though I warned him that nothing changed.


We recently bought our first house, and he came to see it. Because we’re kind of poor, it’s a real fixer – upper with three floors and no railings. I warned him and he said it was fine… but then complained constantly about how we keep getting these places with all these stairs. I spent the whole visit basically carrying him up and down between floors.


I work in construction so I’m not allowed to take time off. The two weeks I get over Christmas are the only rest I get for the year. This year, I really want to spend it just me, husband and cat. But when I suggested I wanted a quiet Christmas he just assumed he was part of that. How do I tell him I don’t want him here all the time, that it’s not quiet and restful for me when he’s here, without hurting him? I already feel super guilty for thinking of him as a burden.


A Terrible Daughter


Dear Terrible Daughter,
I want to say that I know how hard it is to open your home and your heart to parents who seem to take pleasure in criticizing your adulthood.
I know what it’s like when you clean up to the best of your energy, groom yourself to the point of snapping a proud selfie, and cook with the finest things you can afford… and instead of appreciating these gestures of love and respect, your parents comment that you’ve ruined your hair, that they don’t like your weight, and they don’t see why you live in this dump. I know that this stings like a slapped face, and that for days afterward you’ll be probing this hurt, feeling around its edges like a bruise, unable to let it go. “This little world you’ve built for yourself is total crap!” is never going to be something you’re grateful to hear.


So I know that when you strive and struggle and spend energy to be with your father at Christmas, when you’re at the end of your money and energy and your ability to take blows, and he shows up like “Your house. I don’t like it” …


[Image: an animated gif of David Tennant as the Doctor, making an unappreciative face at some interior decor]

“Only the most terrible of daughters would do THAT with a throw pillow.”


… Well, it’s not exactly easy to go “Wow, thanks for that totally constructive criticism, Daddy, gosh, I will absolutely take all of YOUR feelings on board when I just casually BUY MY NEXT HOUSE.”


I know. I get it.


I get how hard it is to move past “being fucking pissed off” into the sphere of “calm, generous and forgiving daughter.” And I know, that with our societal narratives of daughters being pressured to be all-forgiving and all-loving and never-outraged, that this anger is something that insulates and protects your boundaries. I am not angry with your anger.
So we need to talk about how you are being kind of a jerk about your father’s disability. He isn’t being disabled at you. When he complains about your house having stairs, he isn’t complaining because you’re The Worst Daughter Who Bought A Bad House and Should Feel Bad, he’s complaining because your stairs hurt him and cause him pain.
There’s a thread of ableist thinking in your letter that will improve your life to examine. There’s this idea that disability is a burden, that accommodating disabilities is “extra work,” and that disabled people are being deliberately annoying by existing in the same spaces as you. It’s a very common form of ableism in our society, and it’s insidious. When you read LW #2’s letter, I hope that it’ll be a kind of lightbulb moment for you, but for now, addressing your ableist thinking is something I’d like you to take on as homework.
If this is a completely new set of thought for you, please start with a nice 101-level thought exercise about how our concept of “disability” is societally defined. A “disabled” person isn’t an inherent scientific definition; they’re someone who isn’t “able” to conveniently use the world we’ve constructed. But we, people, have deliberately constructed a world that excludes people. And we’ve done it rather thoughtlessly.


Think about how nice accessibility ramps are for anything with wheels – whether you’re trying to move wheelchairs or walkers, or baby strollers, or mop buckets, wheeled luggage, bicycles, paramedics with stretchers, hand trucks, wheely shopping baskets, heavy pieces of equipment or whatever. Nice rampy slopes are a preferable alternative to stairs for huge swathes of society doing diverse amounts of things – and we’re not even talking people with canes, injured people, toddlers, even Elodies who are afraid of heights…!


Yet society acts like accessibility ramps are this massive obstruction to the “normal” flow of life, granted to those ungrateful disabled people by the Politically Correct Police, at the expense of the happiness of Normal People. So that’s something we need to learn here, Terrible Daughter. Ableist culture can take something as universally pleasant and useful as an accessibility ramp, and get angry about it because it reminds us that some people don’t use stairs. Meanwhile we’re apparently forgetting that we invented both ramps and stairs for our own convenience, and there is no natural evolutionary reason why we should be so obsessed with the Righteous and Proper Use of Stairs. See also: disabled parking spaces. See also: most forms of accessibility and accommodation that remind able-bodied people not to make assumptions.


Basically, I want you to realign whatever justifications you’re using for giving a lumpy sofa bed to an older person with chronic pain, and understand that accommodating disabled people is not a cause for glorious martyrdom, but a simple part of living in this world.


[image: a comparison photograph showing a Mayan stepped pyramid next to an Egyptian sloped pyramid.]


If you want your dad to visit you, LW, you have to accommodate him, and you have to let go of this idea that accommodating him is an inconvenience. Just like you ought to feed your guests and let them use your toilet, you ought to make sure that your dad can move around your home. If you want your dad to sleep in your house, you will have to provide him with a comfortable bed on the ground floor, even if that means moving your furniture around and sleeping on the couch yourself. If you see “Dad visits” as an important part of your future life, you will have to make sure that he can access the bathroom. If you want your father in your life, you will have to help him up the stairs.


Otherwise: go visit your dad instead. Otherwise: put your dad in a bed and breakfast. Otherwise: build a comfortable yurt in the backyard. Otherwise: sell the house. Otherwise: don’t see your dad.


The problem here is not your father’s pain. Carrying your father up stairs is not a burden. It is the job of one who has both stairs, and a loved one who cannot use stairs.


When Dr Glass and I were buying the narrowboat that we now live on, we went into every potential boat with our hands held high over our heads, fingers brushing the ceilings. Many narrowboats have low ceilings, and as a charmingly travel-sized couple, we were aware that all boat ceilings would work for us – but that we would also like to have our awkwardly tall friends and family be able to visit our future home. We bought an expensive futon that would sleep a six-foot-plus person, because the other bunks are for Glass-sized folks, and some of the people we love are over six feet tall. We measured the narrow and awkward corners to see if our wider-hipped friends – and possibly future pregnant people – would be able to walk around our boat. We wondered, “what if a baby happened? How could we accommodate a baby on this boat?” and “If one of us broke a leg, could we still get through the engine room?” and “if one of us died, could the other single-hand it?”


This is what you ask yourself, when you’re making big decisions like marrying, purchasing homes, planning degrees, making babies, moving to different places, getting pets. “Will this choice be good for me now – and will it be able to accommodate the ways in which my life will change?” And your life will change, Daughter. Your dad will certainly die, just as it is certain that your job will end, that your cat will get sick, and your husband will age and one day become infirm. You bought your house, knowing all of these things, because you believed it was the best choice for your life.


Your dad is right: knowing that he has chronic pain and limited mobility, you consistently offer him really bad houseroom.


And LW … you really don’t seem happy about doing it. You’re making pro and con lists of having him in your house. You complain about helping him up the stairs. I kind of wonder how much of a loved one the man really is – and that’s okay.


So I want you to take apart your ableist thinking, sit with your pain, feel your feelings, run around the block with your Rageasaurus, admit to yourself that you really did choose a home that hurts your father and admit that you don’t seem to like his company very much.


[image: a lovely little rageasaurus holding its leash in its mouth and begging for a walk.]

“I’m here to protect you, but let’s be honest, I also think Beggin’ Strips are real bacon. Maybe I’m not the best one to steer our household decision-making?”

I want you to sift through those feelings and whatever they bring up – even if they make you feel terrible – and see what you come up with.


It’s very possible that you will come up with the option where your dad just doesn’t visit you any more.


See, I’m approaching this letter with good faith, and I’m not seeing a lot of warmth and affection for your dad here – just your weariness. It could be that you wrote this on a really down day, but it sounds like you feel like your dad isn’t worth the effort of accommodating him. And you know what? He could be a massive jerk. His critical comments could come from him being a tired man in pain who gets things wrong when he’s hurting, or they could come from a nasty man with a long history of emotionally abusing you. I genuinely do not know. That’s your “lot of history,” that’s something that only you know.


Disabled people are allowed to be jerks too, because disabled people are complete people, not a monolith. And you’re allowed to draw boundaries about jerkish behavior. It’s very possible that your dad is a difficult person to be around – someone you genuinely don’t like, someone whom you find draining and upsetting, someone who disrespects you and exhausts you.


After you sit with your feelings, you might go “Actually, looking at everything – yeah, I do sound exhausted. Maybe my job is terrible for me, and it’s drained me to the point where I can’t even love my loved ones. Maybe it’s time to make changes.”


Or maybe you’ll say: “Actually, I just don’t want Dad in my home. I’d rather do a flying visit at his place in January.”


And you know what? That will be fine.


You don’t have to love everybody.
But you do have to make room for the ones you love.

Dear Captain Awkward

I feel like my partners family is choosing to exclude us from family events because we are disabled. Unfortunately, I very much doubt they see it that way, believing that my partner and I are ‘choosing’ not to attend family funerals that are five mile ‘memorial walks’ with no wake, Christmases that require us to drive for twenty hours within three successive days and holidays centred around long beach walks.

Due to careful management of our health and what often feels like a constant juggling act not to ‘overdo it’ and make ourselves (more) ill, my partner and I have a relatively good quality of life, and to casual acquaintances probably don’t appear disabled. Nonetheless, we are both disabled and often housebound, and have to spend days or even weeks resting ahead of something we want to do, like having friends over or going away for the weekend.

My partner deals with my in-laws on my behalf most of the time, but he is exhausted by them and increasingly alienated by the way they so rarely consider his health needs before making plans. This has lead to his parents accusing him of being kept from his loving family by me, and when he stands up for himself, he is told that it is my words coming from his mouth.

Now, my brother-in-law is getting married, and every idea I have heard related to the wedding sounds like something my partner physically can’t do – from the paintballing bachelor party to a full two-hour long Catholic mass to a destination wedding in a castle. Weddings are a lot of effort at the best of times, and high-energy event with a family with such a long history of minimising or ignoring both of our disabilities, I just know it will negatively effect my health for weeks or even months. My husband feels the same, but feels like the inevitable Drama and Friction of our not attending will be unbearable.

Have you any scripts for letting the family know in advance that if they book something we can’t do, we won’t do it? It feels like such a pathetic thing to ask, but they have well-and truly steam-rollered all my attempts to set boundaries.


Excluded by necessity, avoiding you by choice

(See, society? This is what excluding your disabled loved ones looks like. It looks like people deciding to give up on you FOR THEIR OWN HEALTH. Is it so fucking hard to think about other people? Is it so hard to believe them about their lives? Because your choices are fucking deliberate, and you seem to think you shouldn’t suffer any consequences for them, and I am calling bullshit on that. ANYWAY.)

Dear Excluded,

I’m sure I’m not the first person to tell you this, and I regret that it has to be said, but you have literally married into a family of aliens. I’m really sorry, because this must be very difficult for you. BECAUSE LITERALLY NOTHING ABOUT THEIR ALIEN ACTIVITIES SOUNDS FUN.

And I can’t believe that you are the only person your in-laws are totally failing to accommodate, because the mental image I’ve received from their idea of Fun Family Celebrations is like that strange British tradition where people throw themselves down a cliffside in pursuit of a rolling cheese?


“And this Christmas got off to a great start when the cheese immediately brained a babe-in-arms – welcome to the family, kid! Aaaand we’re off! First to fall out is our weak-ass niece Pleura, who seems to be complaining about having just had a C-section. If you weren’t prepared to go hard on Christmas, then you shouldn’t have had major abdominal surgery, PLEURA. And there goes Aunty Moanie, who has stage three colon cancer but isn’t letting that stop her from enjoying healthy outdoor pursuits! Also doing well is Cousin Dave, whose prosthetic leg has flown off into the distance after the cheese, but good ol’ Dave is rolling down the hill anyway.

[image: an animated gif of cheese-rolling activities.  People are throwing themselves down a cliff.]

“Everything about this seems like a great ideeeeeea!”

“Eighty-three-year-old Grandma Camela has always known how to participate in family adventures – look at her just fall down that hill in a tangle of brittle limbs! Oh, she says she’s fallen and she can’t get up. Well, that makes our inheritance problems a lot easier! Props to my brother Sarge, who is just straight-up punting toddlers down the hill – oh, shut up, Excluded, toddlers BOUNCE, they’ll be fine. What do you mean, it’s inappropriate? FAMILY EVENTS ARE ALL ABOUT INAPPROPRIATE AMOUNTS OF DANGER AND PERSONAL INJURY. God, Excluded, you’re such a negative person. It’s like you hate Christmas.”
[Image: an animated gif of grown adults flinging themselves down a hill in pursuit of a cheese, with predictable injury."

“If you weren’t prepared for this, then why did you marry our sooooooooon!”


SERIOUSLY, WHAT MAGAZINES ARE THESE PEOPLE READING? If you were seeking validation that these events sound AWFUL, then you have come to the right place. Alienating? I don’t even know these people and I’m uncomfortable sharing a planet with them.


Here’s some things that you already know, Excluded, because you seem to have a good read on these people:


    • A lot of this mess is your husband’s job to clean up, and when you say that he handles this “on your behalf,” it sounds like he’s generally trying to do it.
    • He seems to be the one concerned about the consequences of stepping back from the family –  possibly because he’s more informed than you about what the fallout will be? Because the catching point here seems to be his anxiety about the possibility of “DRAMA” and “FRICTION,” which seems to override his apprehension about the pain/exhaustion that will definitely happen. (I’m a pretty conflict-avoidant person myself, but I’d have to be VERY anxious about people’s feelings before I drove for twenty hours for them, and I am able-bodied. I am feeling like there is some stuff happening in your husband’s head, there.)
      • It is slightly possible – I don’t know your exact situation so I’m just spitballing here – that setting boundaries with your family makes your husband feel terrible. It takes at least two surfaces to make Friction.
    • I think you know all of this, and I bet you’re being a really supportive spouse.
    • His family may never GET IT.  And your husband probably knows this on multiple levels.
    • The thing that you have to do, Excluded, is figure out exactly how much of the Household Energy Budget is going to be spent on this, and how much of your portion of the Energy Budget you can commit.
    • Because all members of the household contribute to the Budget and draw upon it, you have some say in how your husband spends/uses his portion of it. But if he’s genuinely saying to you that “I have to spend a lot of our Budget this week on my family, because the alternative is spending all of the Budget to cope with my resulting anxieties” then that could actually be something that is Best For Your Husband … even if you hate every second of Catering To His Alien Family.
    • If he decides to spend his Budget on his family, it is totally okay for you to say “hahaha have fun with that (you won’t), but I have to sit this round out.”


Right. Scripts.

The only script I’ve found that work for willfully obtuse aliens are the ones where you drill down, robotically and clearly, until you have all of the information. Then ask them how they’re going to accommodate you. Ask how they’re going to make their weird-ass plans work. Ask how they’re going to have you there. Ask “What will you be doing to fix this?” and “How will you make this work?” and “Where will the rest area be?” Like:


Alien: So for the wedding we’ll all be throwing ourselves off a cliff in the pursuit of a cheese! Isn’t that great?
You: Oh. Please describe exactly what this entails.
Alien: It will be literally flinging ourselves off a cliff.
You: Please describe exactly how tall the cliff is and how long we will be expected to do this.
Alien: … It’s a cliff? We’ll do it until we drop?
You: Please explain your plan for transporting the party to this cliff.
Alien: … walking?
You: Please explain how long the walk is.
Alien: … I don’t know, far?
You: Describe what hard standing there is, what seating arrangements there are, and what the people who are not jumping off the cliff will be doing. Will we be having a knitting bee?
Alien: Uh? This is an outdoor activity?
You: So you haven’t planned any other activities. Thanks for this information. Unfortunately, as you know, I am not able to walk “far” or jump from cliffs, and as you know, Husband needs to be able to sit down or use a wheelchair after long periods. What will you be doing about that?
Alien: Oh, come on, it’s not that bad, you guys can WALK.
You: Information received is: walk for unspecified distance, run down cliff. We can offer: walks for short distances. How will you make this work?


This might force the issue where the Aliens go “Oh, fine then, DON’T COME if you hate your family.” But then you (and your husband) will have had the benefit of knowing that all you did was ask where the bathroom would be.


If they have a family culture of being conflict-avoidant, this might make them so frazzled that they pick simpler activities to make you stop asking questions.


It could be that your husband goes “God, it just feels like they don’t care about us at all, doesn’t it? It’s just not worth it.”


Drill-down scripts might wake them up to the fact that they’re being extremely obtuse about activity-planning. It’s vaguely possible that they’re actually that useless and unreliable. After all, we all have That Friend. The one who says “come over, I’ll cook dinner” and you say “Ok, but remember that X has a nut allergy” and they’re like “yeah, yeah” and then when they serve the dinner they go “Oh, wait… are almonds nuts?”


And you’re like:
[image: a Tibetan fox slinking away, looking really suspicious]


Hey, maybe that’s a happy ending for your household, Excluded. I’d like you to have a happy ending at Winterval.


I’m truly sorry about these aliens. I hope that as your household develops, you’ll be able to rely on other sources of Family Togetherness.


Awkwardeers, any suggestions for more scripts for Excluded?


Happy Holidays, Awkward Army. I wish you every flavor of joyful houseroom.

Friday, December 19th, 2014 05:23



So you know what I don’t get? Why people repeat words. (x)

Grammar time: it’s called “contrastive reduplication,” and it’s a form of intensification that is relatively common. Finnish does a very similar thing, and others use near-reduplication (rhyme-based) to intensify, like Hungarian (pici ‘tiny’, ici-pici ‘very tiny’).

Even the typologically-distant group of Bantu languages utilize reduplication in a strikingly similar fashion with nouns: Kinande oku-gulu ‘leg’, oku-gulu-gulu ‘a REAL leg’ (Downing 2001, includes more with verbal reduplication as well).

I suppose the difficult aspect of English reduplication is not through this particular type, but the fact that it utilizes many other types of reduplication: baby talk (choo-choo, no-no), rhyming (teeny-weeny, super-duper), and the ever-famous “shm” reduplication: fancy-schmancy (a way of denying the claim that something is fancy).

screams my professor was trying to find an example of reduplication so the next class he came back and said “I FOUND REDUPLICATION IN ENGLISH” and then he said “Milk milk” and everyone was just “what?” and he said “you know when you go to a coffee shop and they ask if you want soy milk and you say ‘no i want milk milk’” and everyone just had this collective sigh of understanding.

Another name for this particular construction is contrastive focus reduplication, and there’s a famous linguistics paper about it which is commonly known as the Salad Salad Paper. You know, because if you want to make it clear that you’re not talking about pasta salad or potato salad, you might call it “salad salad”. The repetition indicates that you’re intending the most prototypical meaning of the word, like green salad or cow’s milk, even though other things can be considered types of salad or milk. 

Friday, December 19th, 2014 02:27
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Friday, December 19th, 2014 12:19
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Friday, December 19th, 2014 04:54



Alpine Ibexes climb nearly 90 degree angles to lick salt deposits of of mountainsides. They crave that mineral. (Source)

Friday, December 19th, 2014 11:00

Posted by Linda Vergon

This article is by editor Linda Vergon.

There’s a tab up at the far right of the Get Rich Slowly website called “Forums.” I wonder if you’ve had a chance to visit. It’s where you (and a lot of other people) can join in with a crowd of like-minded and dedicated individuals to ask a question about your own personal financial situation and get an actual answer back.

Who moderates the Forum?

JerichoHill, kombat, and bpgui have been involved in the day-to-day business of the forum for many years, and they respond to many of the entries personally. They are each very knowledgeable about personal finance – but, interestingly, they come to the subject of personal finance from three different disciplines: JerichoHill is an economist, kombat is a computer programmer, and bpgui is an attorney.

What’s happening at the Forum?

Landing at the home page of the forum, you’ll see the three main sections (Personal Finance, General, and Fiscal Fitness) and be able to tell what their sub-topics are about. For example, the Personal Finance section has a sub-topic also called “Personal Finance” and it’s about “Saving & investing, frugality & simple living. They’re all part of the wealth equation. Here’s the place to discuss getting (and keeping!) your money.” You can tell how many discussions have been started and get a feel for how active each area is by looking at the number of topics, posts, and time of the last post.

JerichoHill started a post in January 2008 that is quite popular: “Ready to be inspired? Read the success stories at GRS forums.” Follow the link, and you are taken to a page with 267 discussions, things like:

  • Financial freedom here we come (10,177 views)
  • It started off with just $1 a day… (3,955 views)
  • Net worth at graduation (4,201 views)

Fiddlefaddle joined the forum in July of 2011 and had this to say in their first entry in the Fiscal Fitness Journals:

Hi! I’ve been reading this forum for a while and thought that starting a journal might help hold me accountable to my financial goals. Plus, my friends and family have no interest in talking about personal finance, so here I am. Any suggestions or advice is always appreciated!

We moved across town last fall and I feel like we’ve been playing catch-up with our finances ever since the move. After several unexpected expenses nearly wiped out our emergency fund this summer, I’m ready to take a step back and really focus on getting us back on firmer footing.

Here are my goals for the rest of 2011:
–Pay off my credit card ~1300 – This is tuition for grad school that I just put on my card last week. Will pay it all when the bill is due in early September and my company will reimburse me at the end of the semester.
–Rebuild the emergency fund to $5000.
–Pay off DH’s credit card ~$4000 (we’ve never carried balances before and he informed me earlier this week that he has been adding to this card all year…yikes!)
–Save up $1300 for spring tuition.

The good news is that we both have well-paying (for our area), stable jobs and our only other debt is our mortgage. Plus, today is DD’s last day of preschool, so I’ll have at least an extra $400 per month to help me meet my goals.

August is going to be tight since I wiped out most of our cash for this summer’s emergencies. Stay tuned…

Maybe you can relate. Maybe you will find something to inspire you. Maybe you have a question you need answered. Or maybe you would like to help others with your own helpful advice and encouraging words. There’s a lot of great stuff happening over there. Maybe you should check it out!

Have you visited the forum? If you participate in the discussions there, what has interested you or helped you the most?