with eyes open wide
How have ya’ll been doing? Everything here is peachy. Just a typical breakdown after spending $4 in a Dairy Queen on Wednesday ($1.50 for a bottle of water? $2.50 for a tiny Blizzard?!), followed by a 4 hour nap in the rental car (my typical response in stressful situations). But everything is back to normal now. 🙂
In other news, I’ve been spending some time on some redecorations in my rental house. I’ve almost finished the pillows for the bed in the guest room (6!). Yeah, my husband rolls his eyes just as you did right there. But I’m saving some money, god dammit!
Here are some interesting articles which I recommend to all of you, my special readers. Sorry, it’s a bit heavy on the New York Times.
Obama Counts on Power of Convening People for Change (NY Times) – THIS is totally what I’m talking about, people! The government has it’s purposes, but sometimes we’ve got to take things into our own hands as citizens and get the job done ourselves! Or sometimes work together to promote action in our local/state/federal government. I think it’s great that Obama is leading the effort to form impactful groups and I hope many people step up to do the same in their communities. And I’m not talking about cults or religious groups or close-minded groups, I mean community-led discussions inviting everyone to participate to make the needed change. Everyone’s voice counts!
The Happy Secret to Better Work by Shawn Achor (Ted Talk) – Mr. Achor gives such an entertaining talk. I was really laughing out loud; he has a great stage presence. Of course what is most important is the topic – that we need to focus more on being happy first (positive) and then everything else will follow. This is definitely a worthwhile 12 minutes!
After Crisis, Iceland Holds a Tight Grip on Its Banks (NY Times) – I was totally living in la-la land during the global economic crisis and didn’t even realize what what happening in Iceland. Were you aware? Or were we so focused on ourselves (the U S of A) that they rest of the world could have been engulfed in flames and it wouldn’t have made the headlines? Ok, that was harsh (sorry). Anyway, this article gives a great recap of the past and the future. So if you need to get caught up, give it a read. To give you a little hint, Iceland didn’t bail out its banks. It let all of them fail and they became MUCH tinier banks who are now the polar opposite of what they were back in 2006 and 2007. Interesting little experiment, Iceland…
How To Make Work-Life Balance Work by Nigel Marsh (Ted Talk) – So much attention has been given to the dreaded “work-life balance”, especially in terms for women. I see interview after interview with famous successful women and they are all asked how they deal with this. Pretty much all of them say it’s as good as it’s going to get, but it’s no where near “perfect” (whatever perfect is, I guess). That’s why I loved this Ted Talk by Nigel Marsh. He doesn’t shoot the shit, he downright says it’s impossible and will forever be impossible if we continue living the way we do and thinking about “work-life balance” the way we currently do. If this is something you are currently struggling with or a topic that interests you, Mr. Marsh’s talk is a must see.
Banished for Questioning the Gospel of Guns (NY Times) – Oh ya’ll know this one got me going… This is everything that is wrong with America. Advertisers and large producers of typically harmful products run the god damned show and no one can bat an eye at them for fear of being demolished! I don’t care what “side” of the gun debate you are on, what was done to Dick Metcalf is an atrocity. Read this article for the latest gossip in the gun debate (and if you are a strong supporter of Guns & Ammo magazine, shame on you! I would advise you to get your head out of your ass so that you can see that no one is trying to take your stupid guns away!!!).
You Just Don’t Know (Mama Congo) – Ohhh this article is real, friends. The author, Jill, lives in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with her husband and two young children. As an ex-pat living in a developing (and war-torn) country, she sometimes shares funny stories of her very different life, touching stories of how her children are getting along and once in awhile she shares a REAL story laced with the heaviness of the problems of the country she is living in. This particular article is about real life in the Congo and how culture and tradition (and corruption) holds so many developing countries back.
Moves to Curb Spying Help Drive the Clemency Argument for Snowden (NY Times) – This Snowden debacle is another one that gets my blood boiling. Simply put, our government is way out of control and needs to calm the fuck down. Guess what? The world is coming to an end whether you like it or not. How about instead of trying to spy on everyone from kingdom come, you get your smartest people together to have some REAL peace talks with the extremist groups? Some nice sessions with some imams of what the Quran says (talk it out, brother), live and let live (each person has the God-given freedom to think for themselves and live their life as they please), sanctity of life (what good is it if a 16-year old blows himself up and you discover that you were totally wrong about religion and there is no Allah?), it’s totally cool if they want to live like Buddhists holed up in caves far as fuck from regular society (just stop ruining other people’s lives, yo). Honestly, are our societies really so far gone that this is completely an impossibility? Unfortunately, I think so.
Photo Archive Is Said to Show Widespread Torture in Syria (NY Times) – Have ya’ll been following this? Things are really f*ing back in Syria! Of course we’ve been following the civil war and the nuclear weapons, but accusing the government of torturing it’s own citizens, in the thousands? That’s bringing back memories of the Holocaust… Let’s just hope some sort of settlement is reached soon.
How The “Tiny WPA” Is Transforming Neighborhoods, With Help From Teenage Girls (Fast CoExist) – For a more positive article (:)), I loved reading about what this organization is doing in South Chicago. Again, I am all about COMMUNITY because I truly believe it’s what has a fighting chance to change the world. One person by themselves can’t do it. On the other spectrum, governments and big businesses can’t do it (pulled in too many different directions politically and profit-wise). It takes local communities working together to achieve what THEY need, which is different in each region, state, country, and continent. SO – onto forming groups of young girls to build things! (read the article and you’ll get it)
Improving School Lunch By Design (NY Times) – This article is an oldie but goodie. It amazes me how dumb/blind/ignorant the generations were before us (and don’t say it’s easy to say that looking back on the situation!). Honestly, who designed the lunchroom and lunchtime in elementary, middle and high schools? It had to be some lazy politician or old Education Board crony who didn’t ask for the advice of anyone else. Who didn’t give one single thought to what is best for the children/adolescents and instead focused just on what is the absolute cheapest and simplest design. THANK YOU VERY MUCH ASSHOLES. Now, finally, educators are getting smart and realising that all these seemingly meaningless things actually are pretty important and maybe we should put someone on the job who understands a thing or two about design and how to most successfully please your audience (in this case, kids).