(NB for internet medical advice: Obviously, if I think there is a greater problem than bruising, I will visit a doctor. Otherwise I think I've got it covered.)
(NB for internet medical advice: Obviously, if I think there is a greater problem than bruising, I will visit a doctor. Otherwise I think I've got it covered.)
I know I’ve been mostly absent, and will continue to be so. (At least until this makes it through copy editing.)*
I know as well that there’s too much to be talked about to waste much time on the utterly predictable.
And I also know that what I’m about to point out is far less an indictment than, say, today’s column should earn. I do plan to take a whack at that one sometime soon, unless, as I hope, Charles Pierce eviscerates, and I can just crib.
So this is just a bit of nastiness on my part, some pissed-off snark, on confronting the “look inside” excerpt now available for the divine’ BoBo’s new hacktacular, The Road to Character. As a matter of substance, I’ll just say that I agree with Driftglass, (via the above-referenced Mr. Pierce), that for David Brooks, such an avenue remains the road not taken.
But as a matter of pure spite, let me just say that nothing I’ve read of Mr. Brooks’ new minimum opus changes my core opinion. He’s got a gift for glib writing, the prose analogue to your easy-listening adult classics. But in any attempt to sustain prose over the long haul…the cracks show.
Exhibit A. The first two sentences of work:
“Recently I’ve been thinking about the difference between the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the ones you list on your résumé, the skills you bring to the job market and that contribute to external success.”
I’m sorry, but what tin ear, what grudge against English prosody, allowed these clunkers to pass? That’s the barker at the door, the first words one encounters while deciding whether to commit precious hours of one’s life into David Brooks’ care! Such blunt repetition, the rhythmic fail of the second sentence, the parody of explanation — “résumé virtues are the ones you list on your résumé” — forsooth! I never would have guessed! Even if Brooks didn’t mind such clumsiness, where in the name of all that’s pasta was his editor?
Trivial, I know, and I’m hardly a without prose sins of my own to regret. But as I read reviews that praise Brooks depth or countercultural mastery, it’s worth remembering passages like this one. Brooks is not a great writer, and the reason isn’t that he can’t manipulate words well when he pays attention. He clearly can. Rather, it’s that such hack writing hints at the hack thinker putting cursor to phosphor. Expressing bad thoughts clearly exposes their flaws…which can and hence must be elided in a fog of mediocre prose. As here you see.
Bonus reading, which has the added benefit of showing what happens when villagers (even genuinely capable ones) review fellow villagers. See, for example, Pico Iyer in last Sunday’s New York Times book review:
For every blurred piety here (“We are all ultimately saved by grace”), there’s a sentence that shames everything around it (“Philosophy is likely to be a tension between competing half-truths”).
Umm. Iyer sees in that “Philosophy is likely to be…” a stunning epiphany, a sentence that puts mere piety to shame. I see a nearly content-free assertion that undercuts itself by word three. Seasoned Brooks’ readers will recognize the gambit: in order to justify one of his famous and very often risible claimed dichotomies (resume virtues vs. eulogy virtues) he must impose his judgment on possible contradicting authorities. Here, philosphy is drained of potency as it fights on the dubious ground of half-truths. And just in case anyone calls him on it — this magisteral dictum is only “likely” — thus granting Brooks his ex cathdra authority while insulating him, just a bit, from any instance of reality failing to acknowledge his infallibility.
In other words: this is pure Brooks, a seemingly epigrammatic heap of nonsense, structured to give him both the appearance of gnomic wisdom and plausible deniability. And this his exceptionally friendly critic sees as masterful.
We need a new culture.
*I can make one prediction with a fair degree of confidence. Shameless self-promotion to come much closer to the day.
Image: John Constable, The Hay Wain, 1820-1821.
(I work in a shop that sells budget clothing. Since we don’t have a changing room, many customers buy things and return them a few days later when they’ve had a chance to try them on. Since I am usually the only person on the till and my new manager goes berserk if I leave the till unattended, I usually leave it until the end of the day to put the returned items back out, when we’re tidying the shop up to look presentable for the next day. I have just put a dress back on its rail.)
Manager: “[My Name], did you just tidy that rail?”
Me: “No, I was doing menswear and kids. I just wanted to put these returns back so I could get the till point tidy too.”
Manager: “Well, it’ll save time if you tidy this as you go. Otherwise there’s just more work for me and [Coworker] to do!”
(The very next day I have more returns to put back in womenswear. I put my first item back and begin tidying the stand it’s on.)
Manager: “[My Name], what are you doing? Are menswear and kids tidy yet?”
Me: “No, I was just putting this back…”
Manager: “Well, that’s not acceptable! If I see you tidying all the way over there, I’m going to assume that menswear is already done, and that area needs to be perfectly tidy as it’s right at the front of the store! Go back and check that it’s all tidy!”
Me: *sighs* “Okay…”
(The day after that there are lots of returns to put back out. I leave them until the very end of the tidying, knowing that anything else is going to get me into trouble, but by this point it’s getting late, and my manager sees me carrying a huge pile of dresses across the shop.)
Manager: “You know, maybe we should start putting returns back out as we go!”
From the keyboard of notsteve:
Reproductively gazebos are similar to deep-sea anglerfish, where a much smaller male attaches permanently to the female in order to be perpetually available for breeding. Gazebos come in both domesticated and wild variants. The domesticated versions are relatively tame, with the sessile male recognizable as a common gazebo or other pavilion. The female takes the form of a park or other large landscaped area. Domesticated versions have been cultivated all over the world since antiquity, with selective breeding leading to the wide variety of landscapes and architectures seen today.
Careful breeding has also made the job of landscaper significantly less hazardous than it was in ages past. A properly fed female will have no need to go seeking its own food from the visitors that walk its paths and a domesticated male shows little of the territoriality of its wild kin. Such males are only a danger when directly attacked or otherwise subject to extreme provocation.
The wild form of the gazebo is significantly more dangerous. Females can take the form of a wide variety of landscapes, characterized by near-universal hostility to human presence. Worse, they often have a symbiotic relationship with other dangerous predators, allowing them to live within the landscape. In return the remains of the predators' meals nourish the female gazebo. The wild male gazebo often takes the form of rundown haunted houses, dangerous caves, or other foreboding structures. Especially old gazebos have been known to grow into full dungeons or abandoned wizards' towers.
The motile form of the domesticated male is also used for temporary shelter for traveling shows. Care must be taken not to allow the show to linger too long in one place or else the male can become rooted and sessile. The motile form of the wild male is still unclear, but rumors abound of mysterious buildings that claim a few lives then vanish. The rundown hut on the edge of the forest or the spooky neighborhood house that no one ever seems to leave may be wild males hunting for food.
The gazebo story, for those new to this implacable danger.
This week, Sean and Michelle look at recent releases from Kodansha Comics, Viz Media, and Yen Press.
Genshiken: Second Season, Vol. 6 | By Shimoku Kio | Kodansha Comics – I’m still not quite sure which direction Kio is taking this manga – something that I’m sure is quite deliberate on his part. After resolving the long-running Saki plot last time, she hints that Madarame is gathering a harem of his own, and this volume is happily content to riff on that for all it’s worth (as well as fracturing his wrist, possibly for daring to be a harem protagonist). But it doesn’t shy away from Hato’s gender identity issues either, with him trying to distance himself from both Madarame and BL while feeling completely miserable about everything. There’s plenty of humor here as well, as you’d expect given it takes place mostly during Comiket. Solid, but a bit too diffuse – impossible as that is. - Sean Gaffney
Magi, Vol. 11 | By Shinobu Ohtaka | Viz Media – It can be very difficult to deal with the fact that the world can sometimes be a cruel, unjust place – we see this every day of our lives. And in this volume of Magi, we see how it can turn an adorable young princess into a power-crazed villain. And just because you’ve been getting more powerful every day does not mean you’re going to waltz in and save the day – after winning the dungeon, our heroes get the crap kicked out of them by some powerful villains, and require a rescue by the cavalry from Sinbad’s country. In fact, this may be the most graphic, violent volume of Magi that we’ve seen to date. It’s a harsh but powerful read, and reminds you why we want people like our heroes to triumph over injustice. - Sean Gaffney
Skip Beat!, Vol. 34 | By Yoshiki Nakamura | Viz Media - A lot of this volume focuses on Kyoko’s view of how love makes her a terrible person, for not only does she become an idiot, but she also hates herself for taking comfort in the fact that Ren’s belief that he doesn’t deserve love means that she won’t have to worry about someone else snagging him. The President tries to help adjust her thinking on this, and gives her a break from her role as Setsu, but soon enough she and Ren are back on location in Guam for a shoot, only Kyoko has arrived early and encountered Ren looking like Kuon. And then there’s a super-cruel cliffhanger that we have to wait until September to see resolved. Argh! As much as I look forward to these rare treats of Skip Beat!, they really do keep the agony of waiting for the next dollop of story fresh. - Michelle Smith
Sword Art Online: Progressive, Vol. 2 | By Reki Kawahara and Kiseki Himura | Yen Press – I usually don’t pick up the manga adaptation after I start reading the light novel, but this was a very good example of how adaptations change the source to fit better within the manga genre. There’s more goofy humor here, Asuna’s POV is given a lot more workout than Kirito’s, and the plot is streamlined. That can also work against it, as we miss Kirito and Argo’s side story, and the loss of seeing the blacksmith working on a sword before Asuna’s makes the cliffhanger ending more of a surprise than it was in the book. Also, Kirito is a lot more into Asuna here than he is in the novel. Still, if folks want to pass up the novel for the manga, this is still very good, with likeable art. - Sean Gaffney
Voice Over: Seiyu Academy, Vol. 10 | By Maki Minami | Viz Media – I was sure that this would be the volume where Shiro’s secret finally came out, along with the inevitable fallout. But no, we’re keeping things going right until the end, even as Senri is getting more and more suspicious that SOMETHING is going on, and Hime is finding it harder and harder to keep the two sides separate. On the acting front, there’s some great discussion of how an actor should try their best not to listen to what the fans want or recommend when performing – in particular, don’t go to forums! The rest of the cast take a back seat to Senri and Hime here, but that’s what you’d expect – next volume is the last, and they’re the main couple, so let’s keep them hanging for one last cliffhanger. - Sean Gaffney
Voice Over!: Seiyu Academy, Vol. 10 | By Maki Minami | Viz Media - Hime, in her guise of Shiro, has a role in a new anime but fans of the character are so far displeased by her performance. While she works hard to figure out what she’s doing wrong, Mizuki—coming off as creepily controlling—suggests Shiro’s friendship with Senri will jeopardize Hime’s dream of becoming a top voice actor, so she abruptly pulls away from Senri. Lots of great moments of professional and personal growth ensue, with one particular scene making me go all sniffly. True, Hime does continue to be awfully careless at protecting her secret when Senri is around, but the scene in which he appears to maybe figure it out is done about as well as it could be. With only two volumes left, I find myself hoping for a romance-free ending. None of these characters is ready for that, anyhow! - Michelle Smith
ANNA: Kodansha! So many things coming out from Kodansha this week! What Kodansha or non-Kodansha title do you have your eye on? Personally, I am going to go for the latest volume of Gundam: the Origin from Vertical.
MICHELLE: I really need to get caught up again on Say I Love You., so that is definitely my pick of the week!
ASH: I’m actually really curious to see how Maria the Virgin Witch continues to develop. There were a few things about the first volume that bothered me, but overall it was a very intriguing, and occasionally endearing, start to the series.
SEAN: I’ll go with the new Attack on Titan Junior High, because it will be hilarious.
MELINDA: I suspect my pick is a little bit obvious. You all should know by now that I can’t get enough of xxxHolic, and that includes the recent sequel/reboot/whatever-the-hell-it-is xxxHOLIC Rei. The truth is, CLAMP could continue to put stories about Watanuki in front of me for the rest of my life and I’d probably never get tired of him. That’s just the way things are. So, yeah. xxxHOLIC Rei. Bring it on.
What looks good to you this week?
I've been a babysitter for more than half my life. I grew up in Hartland, Michigan—a town of about 15,000 people between Detroit and Lansing—and my babysitting career began pretty typically for a suburban kid: I went from watching my younger brothers and cousins on occasion, to babysitting children in my subdivision, to babysitting all around my hometown after I got my driver’s license. I continued babysitting on and off for the next few years, but had stopped almost entirely by the time I graduated college.
I began babysitting again six months ago. In September, I moved from my first post-college apartment in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn to a nicer, newer, and more expensive apartment a few blocks away. My day job paid me enough to cover rent, utilities, student loan payments and groceries, but with the spike in rent, I found that I didn’t have as much spending money left over as I wanted. These are First World Problems for a 24-year-old, I know (no brunch! Only one drink at happy hour!), but I wanted to increase my discretionary income. I got on Care.com and Sittercity, two sites where caregivers can find work, and plunged back in.
It didn’t take long for me to find occasional weekend and evening work with several different families in Brooklyn. I have to acknowledge that I fit a certain image of a babysitter, which might explain why it was so easy for me to get hired: I’m American, English-speaking, white, straight, female, middle class, and college educated. I basically look like the Adventures In Babysitting babysitter (short, blonde, round-faced), only 10 years older and without the shoulder pads or feathered hair.
Plus, I genuinely like children. I make faces at babies on the subway, "like" those Facebook baby pictures that everyone complains about, and follow Kim Kardashian on Instagram so I don’t miss a single North West photo. Childcare isn’t my dream career, but as far as side jobs go, I’d much rather babysit than bartend, wait tables, or work retail.
In some ways, babysitting as an adult is pretty similar to babysitting as a teenager. To five-year-olds, 24, 12 and 17 all seem impossibly, ambiguously old. They still see me the same way, as somewhere between a friend and a teacher, someone who will spend hours playing with them but who also enforces bedtime and makes them brush their teeth.
What’s surprised me is how different the parents see me. In this new world of Brooklyn parents, many of them far wealthier than anyone in my hometown, I was prepared for something out of The Nanny Diaries. But although some of the interviews and background checks seemed a little intense, I actually find that I’m treated much, much better now than I was as a teenage babysitter—and not just because I’m occasionally offered a beer.
I’m not doing any more work than I did when I was 17. Actually, I’m doing less. In high school and college I worked for a few families with three kids, and now I have no more than two kids per family. And I’m being paid much more—usually $15 an hour compared to $5 an hour in high school, and $8 if I was lucky.
I graduated high school in 2008, in a small town less than an hour from Detroit. In the midst of the recession, I was a minor with no work history competing against laid-off adult autoworkers for minimum wage jobs at stores like Target and McDonald’s. I applied everywhere I could find but didn’t get a single interview.
Instead, I babysat. And I took however much families wanted to pay me. My one attempt at negotiation went badly: interviewing for a summer job watching three children while their parents were at work, I asked for $10 an hour and was told I’d be paid $5. I attempted to argue my way up to minimum wage, $7.40.
"I’d make more working at McDonald’s," I pointed out.
"But you don’t have a job at McDonald’s," my employer said. "Besides, you’d never get as many hours. $5 an hour, take it or leave it."
I took the job—and didn’t get paid for gas either.
Money is the main difference, but it’s not the only one. In general, I feel like I’m treated with more respect. The parents will text me to let me know when they’re on their way home, and get me a cab if it’s late. They usually give me plenty of notice with babysitting and are understanding that I’m juggling multiple jobs. I'm six months in, and I have no horror stories yet.
There are a lot of reasons why I might be treated differently as a 24-year-old babysitter in Brooklyn than as a 17-year-old babysitter in Michigan, but I think the main one comes down to choice. I could babysit for another family, or work a different side job, or move to another apartment, or just cut down on expenses. When I was 17 in Michigan in 2008, I didn’t have those kind of choices, and the parents knew it: it was babysitting or nothing.
My hometown is better off now than it was in 2008, but according to Care.com, the cheapest place to hire a babysitter is still in my home state. Some of the kids I babysat when I was 17 are in high school or college now. I wonder if any of them are babysitters.
Erika W. Smith is a writer and editor living in Brooklyn. You can follow her on Twitter at @erikawynn.0 Comments
I left my mom alone in my apartment for five minutes during a visit so I could carry some heavy stuff for her and she managed to find both my vibrator and my copy of Our Bodies, Ourselves while “testing the smoothness of the drawers” of my new nightstand. While I am willing to accept she might not have initially meant to snoop, as a rule of thumb opening the drawers of another adult’s furniture without permission is icky and the outcome is the same.
What do I do? I feel so violated and angry and she just laughed it off and thinks if I I don’t want her to know I have something, I shouldn’t own it. I’m not ashamed to own those things, I’m 21 for pity’s sake, but I also never want her to come to my home again.
Masturbation Helps Menstrual Cramps
Dear Masturbation Helps,
“I was testing the smoothness of drawers” = “I was totally snooping in your stuff.” Your mom is full of shit and she knows it.
One option you have here is to give it some time where you give yourself permission to not invite her into your space for a while but you don’t otherwise comment on or escalate the situation. This is the path of least resistance, where your mom might realize she overstepped and that her baby is all grown up (or whatever), and you might decide to let her save face by not bringing it up, and over time things will normalize. To this end, don’t use the silent treatment, but do use quiet. Don’t initiate contact for a few days. Next time you see her, don’t invite her up, maybe.”No, don’t come up, I’ll come down!” It’s not even about her, what she realizes, what she learns, how she feels, whether she agrees, whether she changes her mind or apologizes, it’s about giving yourself permission to protect your private space and to flex your “Nope” muscle.
If further discussion is needed to clear the air, with a parent who is normally not an asshole, a heartfelt appeal can work: “I realize that you think this is funny and not a big deal, but I am actually really angry at you. It’s incredibly weird to go snooping through my things. Not everything is your business, and I’d like you to apologize and agree not to do that anymore.” Even if your mom basically disagrees with you about her ‘right’ to know private things, or thinks you’re making too big a big deal about it, she should relent if she sees that it genuinely upsets you, right? Use the tactic of agreeing with her if she tries to deflect by characterizing you as “touchy” or “too sensitive.” “Yes, I am very sensitive, also, it’s gross to go through my private things and then comment on what you find there.”
If she’s routinely a boundary-pushing asshole, or if she won’t relent and seems to take pleasure in your discomfort, then you need an asshole-parent kryptonite script. One that I’ve seen work is, “You and I aren’t that close.”
- “I’m not embarrassed by having sex toys, just, you and I aren’t that close. I don’t want to see your sex toys, either.”
- “It’s weird that you think that my private stuff should be available to you; you and I aren’t that close.”
- Mom: “You never let me come over anymore.” You: “After last time I know you’re dying to try out my new dildo collection, Mom, but we’re not that close.“
To a reasonable, not-asshole parent this would be a really mean, horrible thing to say and you would never say it. With an asshole parent who is trying to manufacture the illusion of closeness by hugely violating your boundaries, think of it more as an attention-getter/boundary-defender. If you threaten the narcissistic illusion that you are a close, fun-loving mother and daughter who tell each other everything, she may just behave herself to get the illusion back.
Carey Price, you’ve just shutout the Ottawa Senators. You’re awesome, wonderful, you’ve sent your Montreal Canadiens into the second round of the playoffs. And … nobody on your team cares.
It’s because you just got punk'd! Great move by the one and only Brandon Prust who told everyone to not talk to Price upon entering the locker room – presumably after some sort of postgame interview. Behold the glorious shot of this video:
Love it when he locks eyes with Dale Weise, realizes what’s going on then raises his arms like a Johnny Drama “Victory!!!” situation. Price seems like a fun dude. I remember when he wore a suit to All-Star media availability. That was cool. And of course there was that selfie thing with the little kid.
This is the year of Price, who is also the likely Hart Trophy winner, clearly. Unless the Canadiens get eliminated from the playoffs, which officially end it overall.
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MORE FROM YAHOO HOCKEY
Netflix performance on FiOS Internet service has been solid ever since Netflix paid Verizon for a direct connection to its network.
Even Verizon's basic 25Mbps fiber service should be plenty for Netflix, which streams in standard quality at 3Mbps and HD at 5Mbps. But Verizon sales reps told one customer that his 50Mbps service won't provide the smoothest Netflix experience available. For that, he needs to upgrade to 75Mbps.
In a blog post titled "Verizon Falsely Promising Better Quality Netflix Streaming With Faster, More Expensive Internet Tier," streaming video industry analyst Day Rayburn wrote yesterday that multiple Verizon sales reps gave him this pitch.
Bryan Pierce is an internationally famous artist whose paintings have dazzled the world. But there's a secret to his success: Every canvas is inspired by an unusually vivid dream. When Bryan awakes, he possesses extraordinary new skills...like the ability to speak obscure languages and an inexplicable genius for chess. All his life, he has wondered if his dreams are recollections, if he is re-experiencing other people's lives. When he meets Linz Jacobs, a brilliant neurogeneticist, the mystery deepens as they begin to discern the pattern linking his deeply detailed (and sometimes disturbing) visions.
Comment in the post to enter!
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After skulking through several Jurassic World trailers, the big bad of the new movie finally bares its face. Meet the Indominus Rex. While this genetically-engineered dino resembles the T-Rex, its scaly head and, you know, unquenchable thirst for blood sets it apart. (Hat-tip to Blastr and Empire for this first photo.) Here’s more info on the I-Rex!
Afternoon Roundup misquotes Disney, pulls out the leg warmers, and practices Shakespeare with Brian Cox.
BBC One’s adaptation of Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is getting closer to an actual premiere date! BBC One has released the first full-length trailer for the miniseries, and according to The A.V. Club, it will begin airing next month.
The trailer sees Mr. Norrell summoning the man with the thistle-down hair, setting into motion the faeries’ havoc-wreaking plan; and Jonathan Strange pledging himself as Norrell’s friend and assistant, only for something to come between the two magicians.
[“You’ve opened the door to hell and invited the devil into England!”]
THE WHEEL OF TIME REREAD REDUX IS NOT HERE. EVEN THOUGH IT IS. I WILL TAKE NO PART. EVEN THOUGH I OBVIOUSLY AM.
All original posts are listed in The Wheel of Time Reread Index here, and all Redux posts will also be archived there as well. The Wheel of Time Master Index, as always, is here, which has links to news, reviews, interviews, and all manner of information about the Wheel of Time in general on Tor.com. The Wheel of Time Reread is also available as an e-book series! Yay!
All Reread Redux posts will contain spoilers for the entire Wheel of Time series, so if you haven’t read, read at your own risk. And now, the post!
[“If in the present work I have dwelt at some length on the worship of trees, it is not, I trust, because I exaggerate its importance in the history of religion, still less because I would deduce from it a whole system of mythology; it is simply because I could not ignore the subject” –James Frazer, The Golden Bough]
What up, party people? Have you come to see Part 2 of my stupendous and no-doubt-soon-to-be-award-winning-cough report on JordanCon 2015? If so, then, look no further, for you have found it!
And if not, click here to read Part 1 first, and then come back, because by then you will be looking for it, I confidently predict!
Once again, many pictures lurk below. Like, no, really. Sacrifice incense and/or vintage Beanie Babies to your modem as necessary to weather the onslaught.
And then, click!
[Make a dragon wanna retire, man]
Dara had to perform some maintenance on our web server last night, and it turned out to be an unexpectedly bumpy ride–thanks to unexpected changes in the process of updating to Apache 2.4. All this work kept her up until 4:30. AUGH.
Likewise, I have also updated all blogs we host to WordPress 4.2.1.
We THINK we’ve gotten everything working, but just in case, if anyone reading this has resources we host, doublecheck your stuff and let us know if anything looks screwy. And if anybody sees anything screwy with angelahighland.com in particular, let me know and I’ll check it out.
Mirrored from angelahighland.com.
Supreme Court heard oral arguments on same-sex marriage today, and Justice Kennedy is gonna be Justice Kennedy.
Audio of the session is here.
Best evid Kennedy will strike down SSM bans is disinterest in “recognition” case. If bans survived, he would be interested in recognition.
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) April 28, 2015