Friday, November 15, 2013

Best of the Week #114

This week flew by, thanks to the fact that I had Monday off and didn’t actually return to Boston until Tuesday afternoon. Despite my mini-vacation, oh man I am ready for the weekend!

To kick things off, I believe I am long overdue to post a Best of the Week. Seriously guys, I just don’t read the internet like I used to. I do, however, have a Google Doc to which I randomly add links I’ve come across, in anticipation of the day I finally take the time to compile one of these posts of hilarity and awesomeness and interest. Chris has offered to return to occasional Best of the Week-ing to supplement my sporadic posting...great idea, right?

A couple more pictures from my weekend in Shenandoah.
Ok here we go! I will warn you in advance that this post is heavy on puppies and silliness, and light on serious substance. Enjoy it!

The author of an awesome comic/blog, Hyperbole and a Half did an interview with NPR. Her posts are mostly hilarious, and the ones about her depression, which I feel is a difficult think to understand, are actually really great and worth reading.

  • Most of the stories are funny, whether they're about her dog's behavior problems or her favorite grammatical pet peeve — "a lot" written as "alot." But her most popular posts have also been the most upsetting, about her crippling depression. In fact, when Brosh stopped blogging for about a year and a half, her readers were worried about her. Now, not only is she blogging again, she has a new book, also called Hyperbole and a Half, that collects her blog posts as well as new illustrated stories.
How to tell if your dog has been involved in a sex scandal.

This is fun, and I want Sister1 and Geoff to do it for Liam: “Welcome to Dinovember.”

  • Every year, my wife and I devote the month of November to convincing our children their plastic dinosaur figures come to life while they sleep.
  • Why do we do this? Because in the age of iPads and Netflix, we don’t want our kids to lose their sense of wonder and imagination. In a time when the answers to all the world’s questions are a web-search away, we want our kids to experience a little mystery. All it takes is some time and energy, creativity, and a few plastic dinosaurs.
"71 Reasons We Need To SAVE CORGIS FROM EXTINCTION" #1 is wonderful.
  • "Corgis are in 62% of all photos of real-life animals posing with stuffed animal versions of themselves."

Too funny: "Convos With My 2-Year-Old - EPISODE 6 'The Pants'." I'm pretty sure Mini-Mollie had veerrrryyy similar conversations with the Mama related to ballet tights and ski overalls. The tag HURTS ME.

You've probably already seen this, it's been all over Facebook: "In Moscow, Squat and Ride for Free."
  • Moscow city officials are now offering free rides on the subway to any passenger who does 30 squats before crossing the ticket barrier to enter the metro in an effort to promote physical fitness and sports.
  • But my most important takeaway from this article: "three months to go before the Winter Games begin"!!!!!
Ugh infographics. I hates them. This is kinda why.

Ok a little bit of seriousness: "What It Feels Like to Be on Welfare."
  • I am writing this because I want to say that I am one of those "welfare" people so many people callously group into the "lazy" section of the room. While I am often told by these same people that I am one of the hardest working people they know, the reality is that there is no way I would be where I am today without the help I received in my past. Some of my friends say, "Yeah, but you are an exception."
  • No, I am not.
  • I am just one of many who were born under difficult circumstances who wanted to do better and needed a little help getting onto my feet. Now that I am on them, I do my best not to forget what it felt like when I was not. If anything, my past has benefited me in that it has served as a strong warning not to play the "we" VS "them" game as one day you might be the "them".
Having a sad week? Just look at this puppy gif for a while. I promise it will make things better.

Cambodia things: "Strikes, violence and modernity." It's a bit long and wonky for most of you maybe, but definitely worth the read if you're interested in rule of law, labor rights, police/military/civil relations, and/or Cambodia!

  • Of course this is not the first violent protest to arise in Phnom Penh  - Stung Meanchey, the site of this recent protest was also the site of rioting during the recent elections.  From January to July of this year there has been an average of 2-3 strikes per week and the Garment Manufacturers Association predicts that 2013 will have the highest number of strikes since it started taking records in 2003. The number of land related protests (both urban and rural) have also sky rocketed in Phnom Penh over the last two years – as have violent crackdowns and retributions by police and government hired thugs.
  • My argument is rather that what is happening in Phnom Penh is a modernisation of the police force rather than merely a manifestation of authoritarian despotism.  The police force in Cambodia has always been ‘modern’ in the sense that since its inception during the French colonial period it has been tasked with the dual mandate of regulating the good and bad flows of the population (liberalism) and cracking down on any challenges to the states monopoly on violence (sovereignty). 
Oh McSweeney’s, you get me every time. “JAMIE AND JEFF’S BIRTH PLAN.”
  • We are opposed to torture/gluten. In the event you are ever unsure how to proceed today, please ask yourself, “What Would Gwyneth Do?”
  • In lieu of a traditional hospital gown, Jamie would prefer to be dressed like Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer.
Mary (the author) and I went to summer camp together! And now she has a cookbook all about nut butters! So exciting!

For my running nerds: "The First 100 Shoes to Cross the NYC Marathon Finish Line."
  • No zigs, blades or springs could get you across the finish line faster yesterday, as the most popular running shoes among elite and semi-elite athletes were your typical racing shoe with a neutral ride, moderate to minimal cushioning and a fast look. The only atypical brands spotted were Italy’s hometown favorite Diadora (not surprisingly sported by Italian runners) along with a solo pair of Sketchers sported by none other than Meb Keflezighi along with the occasional pair of Newtons.
Not sure I entirely agree with all of this, but it definitely is worth thinking about: "The Trouble with Bright Girls."
  • Chances are good that if you are a successful professional today, you were a pretty bright fifth grade girl. My graduate advisor, psychologist Carol Dweck (author of Mindset) conducted a series of studies in the 1980s, looking at how bright girls and boys in the fifth grade handled new, difficult and confusing material.
  • She found that bright girls, when given something to learn that was particularly foreign or complex, were quick to give up--and the higher the girls' IQ, the more likely they were to throw in the towel.
  • Researchers have uncovered the reason for this difference in how difficulty is interpreted, and it is simply this: more often than not, bright girls believe that their abilities are innate and unchangeable, while bright boys believe that they can develop ability through effort and practice
  • When learning something new is truly difficult, girls take it as sign that they aren't "good" and "smart", and boys take it as a sign to pay attention and try harder.
Speaking of girls, go Sweden! "Swedish cinemas take aim at gender bias with Bechdel test rating.
Movies need to pass test that gauges the active presence of women on screen in bid to promote gender equality"
  • To get an A rating, a movie must pass the so-called Bechdel test, which means it must have at least two named female characters who talk to each other about something other than a man.
  • "The entire Lord of the Rings trilogy, all Star Wars movies, The Social Network, Pulp Fiction and all but one of the Harry Potter movies fail this test," said Ellen Tejle, the director of Bio Rio, an art-house cinema in Stockholm's trendy Södermalm district.
Awwww. This guy.


This is a bit long, but well worth it for the laughs! "The Hater's Guide To The Williams-Sonoma Catalog."

  • How good could these biscuits possibly be? There's a threshold past which biscuits cannot improve. Even the best goddamn biscuit in the world isn't $72 better than a Popeye's biscuit. Unless that biscuit can make you teleport.
  • Wait, the croissant itself is made of chocolate? I've wasted my entire croissant-eating career not knowing this. By the way, any chocolate croissant that doesn't have enough chocolate filling is grounds for suicide bombing.
  • “Pretzel topped with peanut nougat and salted caramel, wrapped in milk chocola—" (rips out own tongue). I want that in my body. This catalog does nothing but give me pantry envy. All I have in my pantry is flour and gum.
Speaking of potatoes, and previously speaking of puppies, combine the two? "11 Pugtatoes." The world (and my brain) is a strange place friends...I am ok with it. 

And finally, just look at what RoommateRachel made for dinner last night! Balsamic glazed chicken, mushroom and asparagus risotto, salad, and bruschetta. I'll tell you all about the dessert next week. Life is pretty good here at The Purple House!

Have a good weekend!