In DC visiting family. The "nwa" logos all over the airport make me think not of Northwest Airlines, but of Niggaz with Attitude. The metro card day passes have Obama on them. We saw a bathroom sign: "NO TAMPOONS IN TOILET. PLEASE CLEAN UP BEHIND YOURSELF."


Found The McSweeney's Joke Book of Book Jokes in the stacks today and took it to lunch. The below made me laugh out loud in the break room, which I (naturally) never do:

*From Following My Creative Writing Teacher's Advice to Write "Like My Parents Are Dead", by Ellie Kemper:

Autumn Days Are Fleeting

There was a slight nip in the air, and I pulled my anorak closer. The leaves were beginning to turn. Orange, brown, bright yellow. Autumn, I thought. I inhaled deeply, imagining the crisp air filling my lungs. Oh, God. I miss Mom. Why did you take her from me, God? Why did she have to die? She is gone.

Seven Days, Five of Them Working

I agreed with Cynthia. I did. Four hours would never be enough time to prepare the presentation. There was too much data. There were too many bar graphs. It wasn't our fault. We were told the meeting would be on Thursday; it got bumped back to Wednesday. Oh, God. Wednesday. My dad's favorite day. What was it that he used to call it again? Oh, yeah: Hump Day. I miss Dad so much.

[read whole piece]

*From Social Security Denies Gregor Samsa's Disability Claim by Alex St. Andrews:

Important Notice
GREGOR SAMSA Is Not Eligible for SSI

We are writing about GREGOR SAMSA's claim for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. Based on a review of his/her medical condition, he/she does not qualify for SSI payments on this claim. This is because he/she is not disabled or blind under our rules.

The Decision on GREGOR SAMSA's Case

You listed the following impairment(s) on your SSI application:




You said the above impairment(s) affected you in the following way(s):





[read whole piece]


Tom Giesler's "my anatomy"

Very fond of Tom Giesler's "my anatomy"--click to view more, larger.

an extra set of memories

From Why Time Seems to Slow Down in Emergencies, a 2007 article by Charles Q. Choi:

When a person is scared, a brain area called the amygdala becomes more active, laying down an extra set of memories that go along with those normally taken care of by other parts of the brain.

"In this way, frightening events are associated with richer and denser memories," [researcher and neuroscientist David] Eagleman explained. "And the more memory you have of an event, the longer you believe it took."

Eagleman added this illusion "is related to the phenomenon that time seems to speed up as you grow older. When you're a child, you lay down rich memories for all your experiences; when you're older, you've seen it all before and lay down fewer memories. Therefore, when a child looks back at the end of a summer, it seems to have lasted forever; adults think it zoomed by...


You can get yourself dirty...

Robert Archambeau does a great job of articulating the significance of Adam Lambert's "Ring of Fire" performance on last week's American Idol. I know I jumped around when I saw it, hardly believing I was seeing it. Here was this large, fairly mainstream American Idol audience, expecting an evening like a Hilary Duff film, and getting Velvet Goldmine, or a Gregg Araki film, or Robert Mapplethorpe's Self Portrait with Whip.

Archambeau writes, "[Lambert] wasn't (like Aiken) a singer who happened to be gay. He was a gay man singing as a gay man." He was a gay man singing as a gay man, and NOT singing a show tune or an Erasure song, I'd add. Thanks to years of swishy comic relief characters and Oh SNAP! and "gay attitude," America was equipped to fairly comfortably accept last year's Danny "Ish" Noriega. America's Next Top Model's Miss J made us slightly less comfortable (he's so committed), but we're used to her by now.

Adam Lambert is "a gay man performing as a gay man"--and performing the sort of performance often reserved for a gay audience. He's not Nathan Lane, and he's not Rupert Everett, "a straight woman's gay best friend." He took the audience into (what I'm slightly embarrassed to call, but want to call) the catacombs of gay experience. I'm sure he made at least one spectator think "I want my mommy!" (or "I want 'YMCA'!")

Here's the performance (or click to view). I've always liked the Cash original, and how the trumpets and clippity-clop pace sort of wink at the heavy lyrics. Lambert's version emphasizes the heavy lyrics--making it a different song entirely.



I loved re-encountering this image at Vintage Kids' Books My Kid Loves. It's from The Golden Book of 365 Stories, and for a long time represented my ideal home or social life: everything feels intimate, "social," and cozy, but (chicken pals excepted) everyone's reading alone in her own little space.

Aimee Mullins & Her 12 Pairs of Legs

This blog still gets a lot of hits from searches on fibular hemimelia, mainly from parents with young kids who have been diagnosed with fh seeking answers about whether to amputate. This recent 10-minute talk by athlete/model/activist Aimee Mullins--diagnosed with fibular hemimelia in both legs as a child--should add some perspective. It's a spectacular piece about, among other things, seeing prostheses not as replacements and imitations but as mindblowing design opportunities. I'm not sure anyone could watch it without coveting at least one pair of Aimee's legs. I've never been excited about shoe shopping, but I could get really excited about leg shopping.

Aimee Mullins:


"With the old economics destroyed, organizational forms perfected for industrial production have to be replaced with structures optimized for digital data. It makes increasingly less sense even to talk about a publishing industry, because the core problem publishing solves--the incredible difficulty, complexity, and expense of making something available to the public--has stopped being a problem."

--Clay Shirky, Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable


" a sort of woolly rice..."

One more tenth for the 10 Lines Meme, a line that came into my head today and does sometimes when I consider the usefulness of what I make and do: "a sort of woolly rice..."

It's from

Counting Sheep
by Russell Edson:

A scientist has a test tube full of sheep. He wonders if he should try to shrink a pasture for them.

They are like grains of rice.

He wonders if it is possible to shrink something out of existence.

He wonders if the sheep are aware of their tininess, if they have any sense of scale. Perhaps they think the test tube is a glass barn...

He wonders what he should do with them; they certainly have less meat and wool than ordinary sheep. Has he reduced their commercial value?

He wonders if they could be used as a substitute for rice, a sort of woolly rice...

He wonders if he shouldn't rub them into a red paste between his fingers.

He wonders if they are breeding, or if any of them have died.

He puts them under a microscope, and falls asleep counting them...


One Sentence

One Sentence describes itself as featuring "True stories, told in one sentence." At its base, it's like PostSecret without all that distracting imagery; at its best, it's a place to find well-crafted sentences, sentences that suggest more sentences, "the truest sentence you know." Here are some posts (all are anonymous) I liked enough to save in my Bloglines account:

I was copy editor of my yearbook and purposely spelled our class president's name wrong, just to make my depressed friend smile.

When I opened the door I noticed 2 things: one, someone had made cookies, and two, all the furniture was missing, in that order.

Every time I think of September 11th, I remember how he tried to convince me to lose my virginity "on a day I would never forget."

I met an anaesthesiologist last year who confessed after several drinks that she sometimes pops the pimples of her patients while they are asleep so that they will look better when they wake up.

I told my eight-year-old daughter she could choose lemonade, lemonade or lemonade and she asked "What was the second one again?"

When I finally downloaded the contents of my 3-year-old's birthday digital camera, I found pictures of another woman kissing my husband.

When they left me alone with your body, my fist came down so hard I heard your ribs crack.

If my writing career doesn't work out, I'll invent a cereal which is composed of only marshmallows.

On Wednesday I'm driving my husband to the airport to be deported.

As a child, I used to eat all my cereal in case I hurt the feelings of any pieces of left-behind cereal.

I still wish I had taken the F instead of the A on the online test I hurried to finish while I could hear my dog dying on the kitchen floor.


60 seconds on Twitter

elloyd74: New immigrant requesting *Atlas Shrugged* bcuz her boss said she needed 2 assimilate & the book was a "great representation of USA culture."

esseffen: @elloyd74 save her! go library go!

madsimian: @elloyd74 I assume you actually gave the immigrant Gravity's Rainbow, right?

eeyorelibrarian: @elloyd74 Shrug it off and hand her an atlas. You can't know where you're going until you know where you are.

heathra: @elloyd74 Oh dear god.

gatewaygroupie: @elloyd74 _Atlas Shrugged_ was so 6 months ago. Give her _Grapes of Wrath_.


7/10 of the 10 Lines Meme

I like this one, spotted on Facebook: (originated by Michael Dumanis and Gary McDowell? Eduardo Corral? Not sure)

"What are ten lines from poems that stick in your head when you are walking around your day? Or, if you stop a minute and think of some lines of poetry, what comes up? It’s fine if you distort the line as you remember it, if you misremember it..."

I've linked to the poems the lines come from, where possible.

1. Generations have trod, have trod, have trod. (G.M. Hopkins)

2. Morale is down in the boneless, lactic fist of my genitals. (Jeffrey McDaniel)
[I've blogged about this one before; it's a frequent repeater. Someday someone will ask me "How are you?" and I'll slip and answer with this.]

3. Catbird, catbird./ O lady hear me. I have no// other/ voice left. (Robert Creeley)

4. Jason--sham--too. (Emily Dickinson)
[I like this one so much, I've thought of naming a son "Jason Sham Too"]

5. Sometimes the last line, sometimes the whole stanza (I love lips/depths):

Is it because he’s angry at me
for my face with its moping lips?
It was so often ready to be
light and clear in its depths;
but nothing came so close to it
as big dogs did.
And dogs don’t have what I need.

(Rainer Maria Rilke)

6. And say why it never worked for me. (Philip Larkin. And almost any line from this poem)

7. "Look!"//Look. This is the morning. (WS Merwin)

There are seven. When I "stop a minute and think of some lines," I could choose many more, but the above are lines that come to me frequently--honestly, probably all of them hit me at some point every week, and many daily.

I'd like to read anyone's responses to this, but I'll tag Teresa, Anne, Amanda, Laurel, and Peter. And, if you're reading and care to comment here, non-bloggers MAC and Polly.


Austrian artist Erwin Wurm's "Fat Cars"

"Fat Cars" by Erwin Wurm

I'm not sure how to describe my response to these. Something between wanting to cry, wanting to never eat anything creamy again...smart work.