Friday, March 8, 2013

Best of the Week #96

Woohoo Friday!!! I went on a nice windy tempo run this morning (marathon countdown: 8 days) and am currently enjoying a happy-Friday-to-me carrot muffin for breakfast.

You may have noticed that I didn’t blog on Wednesday, because it was a SNOW DAY! A snow day during which it mostly rained and none of the snow stuck to the ground.  I do love snow, and wish it had actually snowed a bit more, but I’ll never complain about a mid-week day off work! Go DC!

In other notable events of my week, I ate octopus and it was delish (“Pulpo A La Gallega Maestro Alfonso” - boiled octopus with pee wee potatoes, pimentón and olive oil - at Jaleo).

And I went to a Caps v. Bruins game! Wooohooooo! As a former Bostonian, I had a split-second of loyalty indecision, but CLEARLY I’m a Caps fan. Hockey is definitely my favorite sport to watch.

Alrighty, here we go with Best of the Week! My most popular post this week was my Weekend Report: Purely Random Thoughts. Also, fun-fact: 10 people searched “pink spandex running race” or “spandex race women” and ended up on my blog. AWESOME. I probably won’t wear the family spandex for my marathon because it would clash pretty hard with my CAR singlet…but maybe in my next race I will…

Let's get this Friday party started with this AMAZING little kid. “B-girl Terra 6, Amazing Breakdance breakdancing at the Chelles Battle Pro in Paris, France.”

Happy International Women’s Day! Believe it or not, this day has been around since 1908, when 15,000 women marched through New York City demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights. Now it’s a much bigger deal internationally than in the US:
  • IWD is now an official holiday in Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother's Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers. 

This week in Beautiful Things I Will Probably Never Have (but maybe someday): “10 Breakfast Nooks Worth Second Looks.”

I was a bit late to the Harlem Shake party…but here now this is interesting: “The Harlem Shake Tunisia-Style: Rocking the Body Politic.”
  • It all started on 23 February in a secondary school in Menzah, a wealthy suburb of Tunis. A group of students, including the son of a prominent politician from the ruling al-Nahda party, set up and filmed a ‘Harlem Shake’dance in which some students dressed up as and parodied Salafis and Gulf emirs.
  • The video went viral on social networks, even attracting the interest of the traditional media, and was thought, initially at least, to have brought some lightness to Tunisia after weeks of gloom in the aftermath of the assassination of opposition leader Chokri Belaid.
  • The Ministry of Education responded, however, by suspending the school director. Students fought back in turn by hacking the ministry’s website and putting out a fake call for a mega Harlem Shake in front of the ministry’s offices on Friday, 1 March.
I’m sorry but this is hilarious to me.

And while we're at it, so is this:

Tweet of the week:
  • @Flotrack "I'm a guy that runs once a day, if I run in the morning, what am I going to do all day? Golf!" Bernard Lagat, Driven 
I mentioned the sequester to a nameless someone this week, and their response was, “What is that?” And honestly, I had a hard time answering. So here’s this for us all: “The Sequester: Absolutely everything you could possibly need to know, in one FAQ.”
  • What is the sequester? The sequester is a group of cuts to federal spending set to take effect March 1, barring further congressional action.
  • Where did it come from? The sequester was originally passed as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), better known as the debt ceiling compromise. It was intended to serve as incentive for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (aka the “Supercommittee”) to come to a deal to cut $1.5 trillion over 10 years. If the committee had done so, and Congress had passed it by Dec. 23, 2011, then the sequester would have been averted.
And "Infographic: Social Programs Cut by the Sequester."

See the whole thing full-size. 
This is crazy and I’m glad people are working to change it. It’s crazy to me because I just don’t get how something as universal and natural as menstruation becomes “unclean,” right??? “Out of the sheds: Women fight segregation in rural Nepal: For generations, the custom of chaupadi forced menstruating women to sleep outside of their homes in small sheds or in the family stable.”

  • For generations here, menstruating women have slept outside of their homes, in small sheds or in the family stable. They are considered impure and treated as untouchable, so they cannot enter the house or touch communal water or food. The activist, Dhurbar Sunar, is not having it: “I think this is a social crime in terms of women’s rights,” he says.
  • So Samabikas staff climbs the mountains jutting up in all directions from their riverside office to talk to communities about the practice. They produce radio spots, warning villagers about the dangers of sleeping outside, where women are vulnerable to snake bites, animal attacks, and rapists.
"Bureaucratics" -- 50 fascinating photos.

  • Bureaucratics is a comparative photographic study of the culture, rituals and symbols of state civil administrations and its servants in eight countries on five continents, selected on the basis of polical, historical and cultural considerations: Bolivia, China, France, India, Liberia, Russia, the United States, and Yemen. In each country, I visited up to hundreds of offices of members of the executive in different services and at different levels. The visits were unannounced and the accompanying writer, Will Tinnemans, by interviewing kept the employees from tidying up or clearing the office. That way, the photos show what a local citizen would be confronted with when entering.
A pretty negative but interesting analysis of The Hunger Games:Jennifer Lawrence Of Arabia: A (Satirical) Orientalist Perspective On The Hunger Games.”

  • Liberalism as an ideology has also been used to justify violence and subjugation of non-liberal societies, often under the pretense of “humanitarian intervention” (Duffield, 2001). Katniss Everdeen is an empowered girl, but invokes the ways the Capital limited citizens’ rights in Panem as the pretense for violence against the State and its citizens. Her nickname is “Mockingjay,” a reference to genetically altered birds in Panem which can remember and mimic complex sound patterns. However, the nickname refers to Everdeen’s role as one who travels throughout Panem, diffusing her ideology and “enlightening” the citizenry. At the same time District 2’s citizens are supposedly being liberated, Everdeen is complicit in an attack in which citizens are killed – a paternalistic exercise of her own empowerment. Additionally, when the revolution’s leaders take a vote on whether the children of the Capital should be forced to participate in a Hunger Games of their own, Everdeen votes yes. The democratic nature of this proceeding should not distract from its decidedly illiberal leanings.
  • In a sense, Katniss Everdeen is an post-apocalyptic Lawrence of Arabia. Critical scholars understand the political role played by Lawrence of Arabia and other Westerners who visited the region as part of the ideology of Orientalism (Said, 1979). Orientalism is the idea that Western beliefs and attitudes of superiority towards the Middle East legitimized its domination of that region. Katniss Everdeen is an orientalist for a time after Orientalism – a Post-Orientalist. Her travels are not “liberating” for Panem’s citizens but rather preserve her own superiority over them. As one who created Liberal cooperation in the state of nature which is the Hunger Games, Everdeen flaunts her credentials for personal gain. Her aim is not to liberate the citizens of Panem but to use Liberalism as a cynical cover for her aims of national domination.
And if you liked that, from the same author: “Call Me, Maybe: Cooperation and Coercion in the Music of Carly Rae Jepsen.” Wonderful if for this sentence alone: “Existing literature understands the basic scenario presented in “Call Me, Maybe” as a prisoner’s dilemma.” I wonder what the extent of "existing literature" we're talking about here...

"21 Words You Probably Forgot Are Short For Something."
  • 9. Movie = Moving Picture
  • 11. Taser = Thomas A Swift Electric Rifle
  • 16. Snark = Snide + Remark
This is an article about writing, but could be about almost anything: "Write Like A M***********."
  • “You’re up too high and down too low. Neither is the place where we get any work done.”
  • And I love this: "How many of them didn’t collapse in a heap of “I could have been better than this” and instead went right ahead and became better than anyone would have predicted or allowed them to be. The unifying theme is resilience and faith. The unifying theme is being a warrior and a motherfucker. It is not fragility. It’s strength. It’s nerve. And “if your Nerve, deny you –,” as Emily Dickinson wrote, “go above your Nerve.” Writing is hard for every last one of us—straight white men included. Coal mining is harder. Do you think miners stand around all day talking about how hard it is to mine for coal? They do not. They simply dig."

I know this photographer from summer camp! And the Iditarod is always awesome. "The Iditarod dog sled race in Alaska - in pictures."

Aww this is nice. I have had my doubts about sisterhood, but overall I think I’m old enough not to conclude that it’s a good thing: “How To Be A Sister.”

  • We can say whatever we want to each other, but everyone else better step off.
  • To be a sister is to be part of a pie graph, to a be cog in the Trivial Pursuit wheel, to be unfinished.
  • We exist in comparison to each other. Isn’t it strange to have someone else out in the world who for 18 years mostly lived a similar life to you? All your relatives are the same relations to them. All your parents have ever done to you, was probably done to them as well. Or at least, they know about it. They were made with the same ingredients and they can turn out so, so differently.
  • It means defending someone, even as you slap them upside the head for being an idiot.
From Shalane Flanagan: "13 Things I Hate About Running.”
  • 2. When I try to snot rocket and it goes down my face or on my shoe.
  • 4. When I pass a man and he tries to race me.
  • 5. Running in really windy conditions so it feels like you're standing still.
YES. Enjoy! "Macklemore & Ryan Lewis: Tiny Desk Concert."

And have a great weekend!