Friday, May 10, 2013

Best of the Week #103

I seriously thought this day would never come, but it came all the same!!! Today is my second to last Friday at work. Please, everyone, take a moment and join me in a happy dance.

For those of you confused/not caught up on my news, read this: “Big News: Grad School and Travel!

So I’ve been living it up in DC quite a bit recently, since there are so many fun things to do before I leave!
Last night I went to bluegrass at The Argonaut. The band was called Only Lonesome and they were so good – aka a lot of banjo and mandolin (Excuse me sir, what is that tiny guitar you’re playing?) and fiddle! The room is super-small, which is cool but also reeeeaaaaly loud.

And on Wednesday night I tried a new ramen place, Daikaya, by Chinatown. It’s not quite as good as Toki (it’s a different kind of ramen, and has a shorter wait which is nice), but I recommend the Mugi-Miso Ramen (add an egg). Also, the bar/restaurant next door, Izakaya Seki, is really cool!

Mmmmk now let’s celebrate this most glorious of mornings with some Best of the Week links.

Best read of the week: "Out in the Great Alone." Seriously, sit down and read the whole thing it is SO well-written and you will love it. Random things I learned from this excellent piece: Denali and Mt McKinley are the same thing! Also, the novelist Gary Paulsen, ran the Iditarod twice. My favorite sentences:
  • I don’t know how you roll, emotionally, with respect to population-density tables. Personally I find this haunting."
  • If you stood Mount McKinley, which Alaskans call “Denali,” next to Mount Everest on level ground, McKinley would tower over it, thousands of feet higher; Everest is taller only because it rests on an elevated plateau.
  • They’d grown up together in the Lower 48, then lost touch before reconnecting as adults in Alaska, having in the meantime become a bush aviator and a professional dog musher, respectively, because obviously that is life.
  • Jay was a Vermont kid, raised in a small town, and there was a mordant New England pluck in the way he gazed into the abyss and said: “I see what you’re trying to do there, abyss.”
  • “gracious, I’m about to fireball.”
  • Also rural Alaska accommodations, Arctic-survival knowhow, and (speaking only about the rear cabin of Nugget, here, but) trail mix. Good stuff, possibly homemade. It had the little M&Ms in it.
  • He’d come to Alaska 40-plus years ago to work oil but gave it up because it meant spending months away from “her,” not specifying who that was. My heart felt like a helium balloon when he said that. Just reporting.
  • I’d take my glove off to adjust a zipper and lose feeling in my hand almost immediately and instead of thinking Holy no I need to get my glove back on right this second I’d sort of pause and go My, how interesting that my hand feels as though it’s visibly translucent. Then my brain’s inbox would gently ding. PLEASE DON’T DIE.
The Coolest Earth Houses around the World

A quote for my runners:
  • "There's no secret to it. It's just a lot of years and a lot of getting up, putting on the shoes and getting out the door on those days when it doesn't feel good and when it's not all that fun and still putting in the work." - Jenny Simpson, 1500m gold medalist at the 2011 World Championships
A whole new perspective on Babar, from “Book Reviews II” by The Honest Toddler.
  • Check out that lean. That suit. That bling. Babar don’t care. Before today I didn’t know animals could have swagger. This book was basically an episode of Cribs for Babar and his rich elephant family. I didn’t pay attention to the moral of the story but I think it was “too much rim make the ride too hard.”
For tech/web people: how to create a good user interface, called “The User is Drunk

These all amuse me far more than they should. It's almost time for me to "Alpacas Pack Your Bag For Vacation!"

SpeedyKate send me this list of "34 Ways To Eat Carrot Cake For Every Meal," suggesting, your last week in DC...we eat all of these? OMG YES PLEASE.

Philosoraptor, on it as always:
  • If guns don't kill people, people kill people. Does that mean that toasters don't toast toast, toast toast toast?
"Real Life Mowgli: Girl Who Grew Up in the African Wildlife."

  • Riding a five-ton elephant, whom she called ‘my brother’, chilling with a cheetah or hugging a giant bullfrog as if it were a Teddy bear. The childhood of a French girl Tippi Degre sounds more like a newer version of Mowgli, rather than something real. A white child, she was born in Namibia to French wildlife photographer parents, and grew up in Africa. Tippi spent her whole childhood playing with wild animals including lion cubs, a mongoose, a snake, a cheetah, baby zebra, giraffes and crocodiles.
  • “It was magical to be able to be free in this nature with this child. She was a very lucky little girl – she was born and raised until the age of 10 totally in the wild.” said Sylvie.
We’re coming up on summertime, i.e. tank tops and shorts! So in light of that:  “The History of Shaving.”
  • As far as armpits are concerned, we can pinpoint it almost to the day. In May of 1915, the upscale magazine Harper’s Bazaar ran an ad featuring a young model in a sleeveless, slip-like dress posing with both arms over her head.
  • Then World War II erupted, and that iconic pin-up picture of Betty Grable became part of popular culture almost overnight. It’s only a slight exaggeration to say that the women of America have been shaving their legs ever since. Why, you ask? Because Betty’s legs looked amazing, and to emulate that look, you had to wear a short skirt and sheer stockings. You also had to shave your legs, as nothing killed the effect you were trying to create more than leg hair poking through your silky stockings.

Ender’s Game!!! Note to self: must re-read soon.

The Only Major League Baseball Player to Openly Admit He was Gay During His Career Also May Have 'Invented' the High-Five
  • Besides being the first MLB player to come out during his playing career, at least with teammates and management, Glenn Burke is also often credited with being the guy who invented the high-five. To be clear, “low-fives” had been around for several decades at this point, particularly within the African American community, and there are a few people who claim to have “invented” the high-five.  Perhaps they really did perform a high-five first at some point- it being not exactly a complicated extension of the already popular low-five.  The reason Burke is so often given credit is there is substantial documented evidence of his first high-five, unlike so many other claimants. Further, after he started doing this, it caught on with the Dodgers and later throughout baseball and the world.  So even if he was not really the first person to have the bright idea to convert the low-five to a high-five (which seems likely), he at least was integral in popularizing the switch.
Random world fact:

I have somehow never read The Great Gatsby, so I don’t know if I agree with this, "Schulz: Why I Despise The Great Gatsby," but who knows I might...
  • I know how I’m supposed to feel about Gatsby: In the words of the critic Jonathan Yardley, “that it is the American masterwork.” Malcolm Cowley admired its “moral permanence.” T. S. Eliot called it “the first step that American fiction has taken since Henry James.” Lionel Trilling thought Fitzgerald had achieved in it “the ideal voice of the novelist.” That’s the received Gatsby: a linguistically elegant, intellectually bold, morally acute parable of our nation.
  • I am in thoroughgoing disagreement with all of this. I find Gatsby aesthetically overrated, psychologically vacant, and morally complacent; I think we kid ourselves about the lessons it contains. None of this would matter much to me if Gatsby were not also sacrosanct. Books being borderline irrelevant in America, one is generally free to dislike them—but not this book. So since we find ourselves, as we cyclically do here, in the middle of another massive Gatsby-recrudescence, allow me to file a minority report.
A beautifully done and definitely worth exploring website: “Too Young to Wed.”

  • “Child marriage is an appalling violation of human rights and robs girls of education, health and long-term prospects. A girl who is married as a child is one whose potential will not be fulfilled. Since many parents and communities also want the best for their daughters, we must work together to end child marriage.” – Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, UNFPA
Read this story (about soccer), for this line: "That was one weird burrito bowl."

This is literally an animated short about a joke about chips.

"Two Chips" / An Animated Short from Adam Patch on Vimeo.

Who’s about to go to Nepal? This girl!!! So my friends now send me articles like this: "'ONE MISTAKE, GAME OVER’  - DRIVING NEPAL'S HIGHWAY TO HELL.”

  • “One mistake, game over” reads a bumper sticker on an old, worn truck. You couldn’t put it better. Here, to make it alive, you have to use your horn – as you would a foghorn – to forewarn cars, motorcyclists, chickens, goatherds, or suicidal pedestrians – like these two men who are rolling oil drums in the middle of the road, or these three men who are pushing a tree trunk to the other side of the highway. It’s one of those roads that you find in every poor country, a heroic feat that covers your face in dust, sweat and diesel oil.
And finally (since it's kinda long), Jimmy Fallon's "Lip Sync-Off with John Krasinski."

Have a great weekend and HAPPY FRIDAY!!!