New links

I recently realized that I haven't done anything with my sidebar in a while.  Some of the links aren't active anymore, some need rearranging, and I've been wanting to add new ones for a while:

New links:

  • Phoenix Berries:  Episcopalian Faith, motherhood, and an adorable toddler.
  • That's Why:  I can tell I haven't updated my blog list in a very long time.  I've been reading Lisa's blog for years - Life, politics, feminism, and great photos.
  • Popdose:  Music, movies, TV, books, etc.

More to come (hopefully, if I get back to this).

Rearranging:  I've put links to dear husband's blog, Color Sweet Tooth, and older son's blog, Hamjamser, at the top with the links to my/our other blogs.

Video Link-fest

Lately, by the time I get to the computer, I don't have much energy left.  Here are some interesting videos that I've run across - from more innocuous to... less:

  • Being a Pixar fan, I enjoyed the Toy Story 3 trailer.
Never take the mickey out of a male voice choir. Jay Leno thought it would be fun to lampoon the high-voiced acrobatics of Chanticleer on the Tonight Show last week, lip-synching his way through one of their numbers of perfectly polished 27-part harmonisation. But the boys of Chanticleer have made Jay suffer their wrath: here's their To Leno, filmed on their Christmas tour, merrily sending up Leno's "gigantic chin" and gigantic collection of cars...

Click here to listen to their Leno Carol of the Bells, and also to the King's Singers (another male, a cappella choir) sing the 12 Days of Christmas with a familiar face.   [Hat tip to WCPE]
  • At Carol of the Chins, you can type in many carols and they'll sing it.  I recommend the 12 Days of Christmas.  It won't take long.  We tried lots of carols, and we were amazed at how many the creators did [Hat tip to a friend]. 
  • Every Sunday, Feministe has a self-promotion Sunday post.  In the comments, readers can post links to their own posts.  I always look through it.  Last Sunday, I enjoyed this post at Evil Slutopia, If You Love Blogging, or Glee, or Both...  with a video about what happens when an insomniac blogger watches Glee (or "How to channel your inner Barbra Streisand").
  • The video is on Evil Slutopia, but it was made by The Bloggess so, of course, I had to check out her blog.  Eventually, after reading, enjoying, and wandering, I ended up at a post she wrote for the website, Sexis:  What you want it to be (which I have not wandered around on so don't blame me if you do wander and find something you don't want to read)(remember, I don't get analytical about sex so I'm not really interested in wandering on a site that will make me look at sex from the third person)(of course, if you wander and find something you want to read, I suppose you can't really thank me either)(btw, if you haven't guessed it already, this is the not innocuous part of the post).  The post, Inappropriate thoughts about Twilight, describes problems with the... shall we say, physics and chemistry, of the intimate situations in Twilight. At the end, there's a comic commercial for an anti-vampire product - not something I'd ever thought about before, though it makes sense.
[Why am I back at vampires again?  I don't even really like vampires, and I'm getting to the point where I could add a category for them.]

Link Snack: August 22, 2009

P8160032 Items of interest this summer:

  • If you look at nothing else in this post, you should look at My Milk Toof.  It's an adorable, creative, photo story blog about two teeth - who have personalities and adventures. I've added it to my sidebar under "Fanciful."
  • From Planet Green75 Things You Can Compost, But Thought You Couldn't.  However, your neighbors might not be too thrilled with the creatures your stale bread, moldy cheese, pizza crusts, hamster droppings, and latex condoms might attract.  Don't worry, neighbors. This list is here just for interest; I'm not actually using it.
In 1973, Roger Jones convinced his landlord to sell him the guest house he lived in and the accompanying beachfront home for $420,000—a hefty sum for a 33-year-old electronic-parts salesman making $35,000 a year. “I was as scared as hell,” says Mr. Jones. The gamble paid off. Added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1984, the 5,000-square-foot house named Villa Rockledge, perched on the edge of a rock hillside, appears to float above the private beach 50 feet below and offers ocean views from every room—even some bathrooms and closets.  The main room of the house is vast, with 22-foot-tall cathedral ceilings supported by logs as big as telephone poles that have been treated with an unusual mixture of cement and buttermilk to create a grey sheen. Many of the details have been restored: Solid redwood doors are dotted with brass extrusions cast in rough star-shapes that look like barnacles. The kitchen walls are covered with original canary-yellow tiling, while modern appliances are discreetly hidden behind wood panels. A 5-foot-wide ship’s wheel hangs from one of the beams like a chandelier.

In May, Mr. Jones, now 69, decided to sell this home, which he’s painstakingly researched and slowly renovated over the past three decades, for $34.5 million. He says the upkeep and maintenance are too costly for his kids and adds that he and his wife are getting too old to live in a large home...

Make sure you look at the slideshow.  It's lovely. revolution starts with not being held responsible for anyone else’s behavior simply because we both happen to be female.

My revolution starts with the idea that what another woman does, does not reflect well or badly on me simply because we are both women...

[Photo from our garden:  Soldier beetle on a cosmos]

Link Snack: March 23, 2009

P3030142 Today may be the only sunny day this week so I spent my free time outside.  I'll get back to my series tomorrow.  For today, here are some interesting links.

Meredith Wilson, The Music Man (1957). The 1961 movie version of this irresistibly corny show is the most representative and effective film of a Broadway musical ever made, give or take Show Boat and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. It has a few flaws--I could do without Buddy Hackett--but you can easily see why Robert Preston's magnetic stage performance made him a star overnight.

Continue reading "Link Snack: March 23, 2009" »

Link Snack: February 23, 2009

Strangely, I haven't been in a blogging mood for a few days.  I've gotten lots of other things done, though (grin).  Here are some recent finds.

  • KrakdesChevaliers Younger son and I have been studying the Middle Ages.  He's particularly interested in castles and their defenses so we spent some time today looking up information on the Krak des Chevaliers, a fortress dating from 1031 which was expanded by the Crusaders from 1150 to 1250.  It's built in a concentric form, and the outer wall on the most vulnerable side is 80 feet thick.  More on it from How Stuff Works and a YouTube video.
[Drawing from the Wikimedia Commons]

Continue reading "Link Snack: February 23, 2009" »

Linkfeast - February 10, 2009

A very long linkfeast for gloomy winter days (which is when I put it together, though this week is nice).  I've been gathering links of varying sorts - serious, musical, filmish, snarky, bawdy... Read at your own risk.

I wish I could write like that:  

Did anyone else take one look at all those people freezing their butts off out there on the mall and think of March of the Penguins?...
6. What is your favorite ring tone on your phone? The Menahmehna song(from the Muppets or Sesame Street, I can't remember which one it's from) second favorite is the vibrate mode...need I explain that?

If I had answered that meme, I would just boringly answer that I don't have a cell phone.  And, in The Alphabet Game, she mentions ten things she loves that begin with N (Not safe for work or around small children): 

3. Nudity..DUH! Do I really need to explain WHY I love to be naked? Or why I love for other people to be naked? I can't speak for others but I like letting it all hang out although sometimes it's hanging in places I'm not impressed with, but what can you do? (Remember the depressed boobies?)

The depressed boobies post is very funny too.

Continue reading "Linkfeast - February 10, 2009" »

Sexist, Rude or Dullard?

For those of a feminist persuasion, though, really, anyone could perceive this. 

How do you separate sexism from just plain rudeness or stupidity?  I'm not talking about harassment, or times when it's obvious that you're being treated differently than a group of guys, or when someone tells you that they're treating you differently because you're a woman. 

I mean the more subtle, sometimes everyday, things. 

For instance, when we bought our first new van, the salesman spent the first part of our time focusing only on dear husband.  Dear husband drove the van first, and the salesman talked to him the entire time.  I was sitting in the back with 6 yo son and 2 yo daughter.  As we got back to the car lot, the salesman turned to dear husband and asked how he liked it.  Dear husband replied that it was nice, but that his opinion didn't matter.  He then turned to me, said it was my turn to drive, and asked how I liked it so far.

The look on the salesman's face was priceless!  Dear husband said that it was amazing how fast he turned his head to look at me in the back seat. 

Not only had he pitched his sale to the wrong person, he had totally ignored the person making the sales decision!

Fortunately, he recovered quickly, and was pretty decent to deal with for the rest of the time.  Informative, but not too pushy.  We bought the van.  It still sits in the garage, happily bright red, and older son drives it now. 

I always wondered what the salesman was thinking.  Here's a family with two small kids - who's going to be driving the van?!  Obviously the mother will, but the father got the sales pitch.  Sexism, stupidity, take your pick.

A few years ago, our 16 year old washer died.  I researched the one I wanted, went to Lowe's, got a credit card, and got very little attention from the salesman.  He was more interested in talking to the guys in the washer department, and perfunctorily took my order.  Even more than vans (where the father might drive it on weekends), washers tend to be the woman's domain.  Why ignore a woman shopping for one?

Unfortunately, we ended up with the same salesman when we went to Lowe's last weekend to replace the dishwasher.  As we they discussed it, I got a good view of the side of the salesman's head.  We had more questions so we went home to do more research.  Fortunately, when we returned that evening, there was a different salesman who was quite polite and attentive as I ordered the dishwasher and paid for it with my Lowe's card.  I have a Lowe's card; dear husband doesn't, because I end up buying the big ticket items.  I'm the one at home using them!

There are some people I see on an ongoing, but not terribly frequent, basis.  Conversations with them were similar.  What I remember of a conversation with one guy is his ear.  Except for a sentence or two at the beginning, he spent the entire conversation talking to dear husband.  I later observed this guy in social settings and he didn't seem to be overly sexist so I ended up attributing that to rudeness instead. 

I refer to them as guys not gentlemen because "gentlemen" implies a certain level of manners.  "Gentlemen" doesn't mean that they're not sexist, but "gentlemanly" manners should tide them over in everyday conversation enough so they pay attention to all the people participating in the conversation, regardless of gender. 

So, ladies, would you attribute things more to sexism, rudeness, or just plain stupidity?  Although, I suppose it doesn't make that much of a difference since I try to remain polite, regardless.

Liza Minnelli, Muppets and a Link Post

Busy week, tension headache, insomnia, and major, younger-son room cleaning (we're taking a break).  Here are some recent interesting finds:

  • It's difficult to go wrong with a Liza Minnelli performance.  Or a Muppet performance:

[Hat tip to Adventures in the Endless pursuit of Entertainment]

Short sentences.

Lots of space.

I find this annoying.

But, it's an interesting article.  I liked the part best near the end:

Pleasure reading is also known as "ludic reading." Victor Nell has studied pleasure reading (PDF). Two fascinating notions:

  • When we like a text, we read more slowly.
  • When we're really engaged in a text, it's like being in an effortless trance.

Ludic reading can be achieved on the Web, but the environment works against you. Read a nice sentence, get dinged by IM, never return to the story again.

I suppose ludic readers would be the little sloths hiding in the jungle while everyone else is out rampaging around for fresh meat.

So, I'm a little sloth, enjoying my online ludic reading.  My favorite things to read are thoughtful posts that present ideas in a new way (serious, dreamy, spicy, whatever) - the opposite of what they recommend. 

  • Speaking of thoughtful posts, I don't know if I've mentioned from these hills:  Beauty & Wisdom from Appalachia before.  It's one of my daily reads, and younger son and I spent a while yesterday evening looking through the current month's posts.  She has beautiful photos, and she includes poetry, quotes, and sometimes her own reflections.  I was going to add links to some of my favorites, but I don't really have any - I enjoy them all.  I've added it to my list of links (to the right).

Now, this may seem strange from someone who writes about pretty dresses (mostly) every day, but: You Don't Have to Be Pretty. You don't owe prettiness to anyone. Not to your boyfriend/spouse/partner, not to your co-workers, especially not to random men on the street. You don't owe it to your mother, you don't owe it to your children, you don't owe it to civilization in general. Prettiness is not a rent you pay for occupying a space marked "female".

I'm not saying that you SHOULDN'T be pretty if you want to. (You don't owe UN-prettiness to feminism, in other words.) Pretty is pleasant, and fun, and satisfying, and makes people smile, often even at you. But in the hierarchy of importance, pretty stands several rungs down from happy, is way below health, and if done as a penance, or an obligation, can be so far away from independent that you may have to squint really hard to see it in the haze.

But what does you-don't-have-to-be-pretty mean in practical, everyday terms? It means that you don't have to apologize for wearing things that are held to be "unflattering" or "unfashionable" -- especially if, in fact, they make you happy on some level deeper than just being pretty does. So what if your favorite color isn't a "good" color on you? So what if you are "too fat" (by some arbitrary measure) for a sleeveless top? If you are clean, are covered enough to avoid a citation for public indecency, and have bandaged any open wounds, you can wear any color or style you please, if it makes you happy...

Back to cleaning...

Linkfest: July 14, 2008

P7100094 Last week was one of the most hectic weeks this year.  This week will be close, and we're all starting out tired from last week.  Other people have more energy to blog, however.  Here are some interesting and/or fun things I've found recently [and a totally irrelevant photo of a bee]:

...Iceland has become a top tourist destination for whale watching! The irony is quite strong because in Reykjavik harbor, the whale watching boats use the same dock as the whaling boats. On the right side of the dock were the whale watching boats with big signs. On the left were four rather sinister-looking black boats. If Kjartan had not pointed them out, I wouldn’t have known — that was the (entire!) Icelandic whaling fleet...

"Five Irrefutable Reasons Jude Should Listen to Me" ("Hey, Jude")
"Give Me Three Minutes and I'll Give You Indisputable Proof that I was Happier 24 Hours Ago" ("Yesterday")
"The Most Shocking Place to Discover the Solutions to All Your Problems!" ("Blowin' in the Wind")
or "41 Can't-Miss Ways to Improve Your Stalking Skills" ("Every Breath You Take")

(she also links to the Rolling Stone 500 greatest songs of all time (if you've got the free time!))

[Totally irrelevant photo of bluets at the Pigeon River (from our May mountain trip)]

Should we all be exposed to her daily output of breast milk every time we venture to the fridge?

The Globe columnist agreed with the office worker.  I agreed with Hoyden, who said:

You know, if the worst thing that’s happening in your life is that you caught a glimpse of someone else’s breastmilk in the work fridge last week, maybe you should thank your lucky stars and go do something useful in the world with all that spare energy.

I'll admit, when I was working part-time after older son was born, I would never have kept expressed milk in the fridge.  The condition in which some people left the coffee area?!  There was no way I'd let them get their grubby paws anywhere near my baby's meal!

  • Billy Joel is doing two concerts at the soon-to-be-demolished Shea Stadium.  The New York Times has an interesting article, Just the Way He Is:

...If you’re tired of hearing “Just the Way You Are,” well, he’s tired of playing it. (“It’s a wedding song,” he says. “I also feel hypocritical. I divorced the woman I wrote it for.”) If you wince when you hear “Honesty,” well, so does he, on the inside. (“You hypocrite,” he says he thinks to himself. “Since when are you Mr. Sincerity?”)

And if he doesn’t sing “Uptown Girl,” he mimics what you’re thinking with a slight rise in his voice: “He’s probably mad at Christie.” In fact it has nothing to do with Christie Brinkley, his second ex-wife, but with the lost ability to hit the very high notes with consistency.

He may be one of the most successful performers in the world, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, an extraordinarily gifted musiciaStreetlifeserenaden who can move from rock to ballad to soulful doo-wop, who can capture with a few spare words the dreams and disappointments of clerks and secretaries rocking their lives away on the Long Island Rail Road...

[Hat tip to Popdose]

 Here's Billy Joel's "Root Beer Rag" from his album Streetlife Serenade (right).