At this point the thing I’m most thankful for is probably having a child who is so much healthier than I was at his age.
The only word to describe myself as a child is “sickly”. I have allergy-induced asthma that went undiagnosed until I was 11, and my fiercest allergy is dust mites. Until I was 12, we lived in a converted 19th century barn; coincidentally, every time (and this is not an exaggeration, I actually mean every time) that I got a cold, I would develop either bronchitis or pneumonia. I was kept alive by a combination of antibiotics and a bronchodilator called Slo-Bid, along with a fair amount of Benadryl on the off days.
My son is now two and a half, and for the most part his resemblance to a childhood me is eerie. He’s shy, extremely physically cautious, rule-focused, and fond of memorizing the books we read to him. But one crucial difference so far has been health. He’s big and tall — 35 pounds already, compared to the 45 I weighed in first grade — and though he gets sick like all the other kids, there is nothing like the pattern I displayed.
I’m not sure the sort of pride that this instills will translate to anyone else, but there you go. Happy Thanksgiving.
Interesting Guardian piece about Mario Balotelli in the context of Italian society’s problems with race and immigration — which are, to put them in the most generous terms possible, a work in progress.
“It’s the beginning of the beginning.” I loved that one. So frequently, things happen in the world that make it feel like we’re at the beginning of the end. But—”the beginning of the beginning,” what a radically optimistic statement that is.
The scale of the environmental and economic crisis we are facing, it’s extraordinary. This movement is a response to that crisis. Our leaders aren’t responding to any of that in a way that is commensurate to the crises we face. And that one sign has always spoken to me. We have to throw off our despair about the future world we might be facing, because if we come together as people and humanity, we can change it. And what Occupy Wall Street makes me feel is that for the first time in a long time that might be possible.
That means a lot to me. This is choosing hope over despair. This is actively and resolutely making that choice. It’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be over in two months. It’s not going to be just the result of conversation.
“Mr. Bloomberg met daily with several deputies and commissioners, and as more business owners complained and editorials lampooned him as gutless, his patience wore thin.”—
This meme, of journalists describing elected officials (or, nonsensically, municipalities) as moving to dismantle these protests because their “patience wore thin” is particularly irksome. Because, and any competent editor/reporter should know this, the right to peaceably assemble isn’t subject to the “patience” of an elected official. To describe it this way is to accept that citizens are allowed in any public space only at the sufferance of their government, and at least for now in the U.S., that simply isn’t true.
“[The Occupy movement’s] main complaints seem to be that politics is influenced by people with political influence, and that powerful people have all the power. In other words, they’re protesting the futility of their own protest.
If the vaguely defined “1 percent” have all the power, then no amount of sign-waving, slogan-chanting or locale-occupation will have any influence. […] So if the protests end in any status other than quo, then the 1 percent is a myth, normal people have plenty of influence, and the protestors were just wasting everyone’s time. However, if the Occupy movement dies without inspiring any substantial changes in the U.S. political scene, then it will prove that they were right all along.
In other words, the Occupy movement can only succeed by failing completely.”—Lore Sjöberg
“Q: Since time slows relative to the speed of light, does this mean that photons are essentially not moving through time at all?
A: yes. Precisely. Which means ——- are you seated?
Photons have no ticking time at all, which means, as far as they are concerned, they are absorbed the instant they are emitted, even if the distance traveled is across the universe itself.”—I am Neil deGrasse Tyson — AMA (reddit)
“Are you a dynamic, multigenerational family of LARPers? Always thought your family should have its own reality show? A well known film and television company is now casting EXTRAORDINARY families to star in an exciting, LARP-based, reality series!”—Actual email forward to a mailing list I’m on. You can’t see it, but blood is pouring out of my eyes right now.
“I keep meaning to write a novel about how an innocent young Austrian artist becomes increasingly paranoid and anti-Semitic because all these time-travelling Jews keep trying to murder him.”—Probably the best Awl comment ever.