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FEATURED COLUMNS

it's the most horrible time of the year
how to beat post holiday stress disorder
by joe procopio (@jproco)
topic: general
1.2.12 • CLASSIC

I don't know about you, but when I woke up on 1/1/12, I felt awful. My head was splitting, my kids were missing, and my body was screaming with pain that, on a lesser man, probably would have meant a series of bruises.

I don't bruise. I internalize.

Oh, and I found the kids. They were at Grandma's for the night. Just forgot. Man, that was a relief. The cops had a good laugh too.

But as I rolled out of bed at the crack of noon, I felt pretty good about the 2012. See, long ago, I discovered that life has a way of presenting you with patterns, and the worst and most frustrating times in your life can usually be boiled down to either dismissing or denying those patterns.

I knew that the morning of 1/1/12 was going to be a septic tank. It's always a septic tank. And strolling down that same path, the entire month of January usually sucks. Bad.

Once you understand this and accept it, you have a much better chance of not only surviving it, but actually thriving in it.


read on



eleven ways to make 2011 pop
making more, and less, of the coming year
by jael mchenry (@JaelMcHenry)
topic: pop culture
1.5.11 • CLASSIC

On one hand, there's nothing we can do about the pop culture we've got coming up. The year will be what the year will be. Movie trailers will give too much of the plot away, the Oscar nominations will be somehow both rote and infuriating, TV will have too many shows we don't like and not enough shows we do, music will be a whole lot like TV, and heaven only knows what's going to happen in publishing. But still. We can dream. So here's what I'd like to see more of -- and less of -

read on



clear and presents danger
musings on holiday gifting
by adam kraemer (@DryWryBred)
topic: humor
12.8.10 • CLASSIC

“What do you want for Chanukah next week?” my mom asked me. “Peace on Earth; good will towards men,” I answered. “Please pass the turkey and cranberry sauce.” For those of you who don’t know, The Jewish Festival of Gifts Lights came strikingly early this year. Usually, it’s somewhere around Christmas, largely because they both started as Pagan holidays for the Winter Solstice. Semantically speaking. Except that for one of the holidays we symbolically light up a multi-branched ornamental symbo

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william wants a doll
how does a feminist mom raise her son to be the same?
by michelle von euw
topic: general
12.10.10 • CLASSIC

As I turned the corner in the upscale independent toy store full of handcrafted puzzles and games well beyond my price range, an item caught my attention. It was an adorable baby doll sitting high up on the shelf, nestled in a box that touted lifelike toes and a removable diaper. The doll, dressed in a blue striped onesie with only a patch of light brown hair on a pale pink head, reminded me immediately of my son. Certainly, the pacifier attached to the baby doll’s mouth by a magnet mirrored

read on



oh, great. expectations.
take it down a notch
by mike julianelle
topic: humor
9.6.10 • CLASSIC

[Preemptive disclaimer: Calm down, everyone. This column isn't about babies.] Expectations are a bitch. About two weeks ago, my wife and I went to the doctor to check on the progress of our fetus. He’s not due to be born for another week or so, but on this day – still three weeks before the scheduled due date – our doctor decided to whip my wife into a frenzy by announcing that labor might very well happen that coming weekend. Here we are, two weeks later, and nothing; Not a Cabbage Patch D

read on



carrot or stick
examining human desires and response
by tracey l. kelley (@TraceyLKelley)
topic: general
5.28.12 • CLASSIC

In a 2011 episode of the TV show "Curiosity", actor/producer/director Eli Roth hosted a reenactment of Stanley Milgram's obedience experiment from 1961. The goal: to determine if society has changed much in 50 years.

In the experiment, volunteers take on roles of a learner and a teacher to test the effects of negative reinforcement on learning. A test administrator in a white coat straps the learner to a machine designed to dispense electric shocks between five and 450 volts. The teacher is seated in another room, away from the learner, in front of a panel. This panel is the shock machine. The teacher asks the learner a series of word association questions, and for every incorrect answer, the teacher announces it is wrong, tells the learner the amount of shock to be delivered, then flips a switch to shock the learner. The learner does not receive the correct answer: the teacher simply moves on to the next question.

The learner is not really being shocked. He is an actor posing under random selection by the administrator.

read on



my lunch with tommy
race, cinema and economics, live from beverly hills
by jason gilmore (@JasonGilmore77)
topic: film
5.16.11 • CLASSIC

Every so often, when I need to remind myself how close I am (physically, at least) to the A-list crowd in Los Angeles, I treat myself to lunch at an expensive restaurant often frequented by celebrities. It was a breezy Wednesday, in the low 70s, and the Beverly Hills hotspot was buzzing. As I was being led to my seat, I passed a table with an Academy-Award winning actor, and another with a blond, bubbly reality TV star. Still, I was there with them, in the middle of a weekday, so my presence was

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we got five years, what a surprise
rocko dorsey ends; or, why parting is such sweet sorrow
by jeffrey d. walker
topic: music
11.15.10 • CLASSIC

When Rocko and Dave told me they were moving to Nashville, I knew it would be hard. I wished them the best of luck, of course; but knowing I was not going to follow meant that my stint as the bass player for Rocko Dorsey was over. Since their announcement, through our last show in September, and up to their departure last week, I've crossed a wave of emotions. In Shakespeare's, "Romeo and Juliet", Juliet describes parting from Romeo as "such sweet sorrow." This phrase succinctly captures the

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you and your heart
lessons to learn in love
by maigen thomas (@Maigen)
topic: pop culture
10.22.10 • CLASSIC

“This is how it works. You’re young until you’re not. You love until you don’t. You try until you can’t. You laugh until you cry. You cry until you laugh. And everyone must breathe until their dying breath.” --Regina Spektor “Women love Jack Johnson’s music.” I didn’t say it, but a guy I know did, and when I took a moment to reflect that it shouldn’t hurt my feelings to be lumped in with other women (there are SOME cool women out there I don’t mind being lumped in with, but we all k

read on



the extra notch on the cheating curve
factoring weiner's impact on fidelity
by alex b (@Lexistential)
topic: news
6.20.11 • CLASSIC

These days, everyone knows Anthony Weiner's name. Thanks to Twitter, Andrew Breitbart, and Opie & Anthony, any news-savvy person has their very own two-cent penile crack to make about the newly resigned Congressman. Is he hard-pressed for answers? Maybe he's not meant to last more than his near-twenty years in political life, and can try again in half an hour. Everyone's had a laugh at Weiner's expense, even as the jokes are wearing thinner than luxury brand lambskin condoms. Everyone except

read on



the power to decide
why it’s necessary for women to control their birth control
by sarah ficke (@DameMystery)
topic: news
3.7.12 • CLASSIC

When Sandra Fluke stood up to testify in front of Congress on February 23rd about the importance of accessible birth control for all women, she probably didn’t expect to be called a prostitute. Women probably didn’t think that, in March of 2012, we’d be defending our right to use a medicine that was approved for sale 52 years ago. And yet, here we are again having to convince people – primarily men – that women do have the right to have sex without pregnancy.

We live in a time when men are lowering or erasing the barriers that allow them to get women pregnant (see: insurance-subsidized Viagra), while making it harder and harder for women to prevent conception. While the issue is birth control, no-one is really talking about condoms in this case. Condoms are available on supermarket shelves, they cost less to buy, and they are known to prevent STIs – a definite medical benefit. They also require the consent of a man. The real subject of the conversation is the pill: the birth control method that women control and that women can practice with or without a man’s knowledge or consent.* The question then becomes not just should women use contraception, but should women be allowed to choose contraception on their own? There are many excellent reasons why the answer is – and should always be – yes.

read on



a guide to guide books
on writing episodical non-fiction
by erik lars myers (@TopFermented)
topic: writing
9.21.11 • CLASSIC

Funny story. When I got this contract to write a book about North Carolina Beer and Breweries I foolishly thought that it would be a relatively easy assignment. I mean, you're talking a couple of 6x9 pages per brewery, including photos and a profile. What's that, like... 1,000 words per brewery? 1,500? How hard could that be? I can probably bang through that in a weekend.

I mean, how hard can it be to gather a little bit of fact about each place and summarize it?

It turns out this is hard work.

read on



the elevator superhero
captain america goes to portland
by jeff miller (@jmillerboston)
topic: pop culture
4.20.12 • CLASSIC

The morning we're leaving for our family trip to Portland, Maine, my son discovers one of the hiding places where I've (obviously) failed to conceal an open Amazon box containing two kick ass 10" Marvel action figures. Through the open cardboard flap, he spies a Captain America shield, barely visible through the packaging - but it's enough to send him flying down the stairs yelling "DADDY DADDY I SEE CAPTUM ANMERICA CAN I HAVE HIM!?

He's three this month, and there's just no postponing gratification - birthday or not - when a toy of this caliber is unearthed. If he'd dug a little deeper, he would've seen the brain-melting awesomeness of the accompanying Iron Man figure. Luckily, I get to save that one for his big day.

read on




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RECENT COMMENTS

re: irrussistible
I am not going to read it this time. I do and I just cannot pull myself together to comment. It is a beautiful tribute. I am very glad that you wro...

re: guns don't kill people....
Can we please find a way to heal and protect? I NEWTOWN, Conn. (AP) — A man opened fire Friday inside two classrooms at the Connecticut elementary sc...

re: a year without netflix
I would expect that and especially Netflix. Marketing, baby. They're spending zillions to get new subscribers....

re: everybody poops
What a bunch of crap! :-D Sorry. I tried to let it pass. Butt I'm weak. [edited]...

re: you are on your own heroes journey
Too short. Sigh. Thanks Maigen. I just miss him. I am glad that I can find people who cared deeply for him here. He had such good friends here!...





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