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FEATURED COLUMNS

girls rock
an open letter to my daughters as they approach their tweens
by joe procopio (@jproco)
topic: music
4.2.12 • CLASSIC

Mighty Mites,

I know you're only seven and I know you've got plenty going on what with the first grade and the Jonas Brothers and the constant barrage of Barbies and unicorns trying to pry away your hard earned lemonade profits. I get that.

Not that I relate perfectly. When I was seven it was all Star Wars. It was easy. I had Han Solo as my guide. But it isn't just the nostalgia for the olden days that makes my upbringing seem so radically different from yours. Let's face it. I'm a boy. And that in and of itself lowered the expectation bar.

You've got a different path to walk.

So as you start to put away the baby dolls and the pocket pets and start wondering why my mobile phone gets Angry Birds and yours only lets you talk to an obviously over-medicated Cinderella, I'm going to give you your first primer on becoming a tween.

read on



publishing and the princess bride
what aspiring authors can learn from florin
by jael mchenry (@JaelMcHenry)
topic: writing
12.6.10 • CLASSIC

William Goldman famously said "Nobody knows anything." He was talking about Hollywood, but it applies to book publishing nearly as well -- no one knows which books are going to be a hit, no one knows what type of marketing dollars pay off, and no one knows exactly where the industry is headed in a rapidly changing landscape. That's not comforting, of course. Flinging yourself willy-nilly into the process of getting published, throwing up your hands and crying "William Goldman said nob

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

read on



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



how did i get here?
it has stopped making sense
by mike julianelle
topic: humor
10.6.10 • CLASSIC

A friend of mine recently remarked that a picture of me striking the Heisman pose – with my baby standing in for the football – is strikingly similar to something one of the characters does in the soon-to-be released piece of garbage Life As You Know It. My immediate reaction was to scold my friend for seeing a movie co-starring Josh Duhamel ("Vegas"; on the arm of a frying pan) and Katherine Heigl ("Roswell"; the DVD bargain bin at Wal-Mart). Then I considered the ramifications of his comment,

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



ryan gosling in the driver's seat
iconoclastic star shines in two different hollywood dramas
by jason gilmore (@JasonGilmore77)
topic: film
10.13.11 • CLASSIC

I love L.A. movies. Not movies shot in L.A. or abstractly set there, but films that live and breathe their L.A.-ness, because it’s a difficult thing to do. In a city so often associated with illusion – a city that can give you everything from snow-capped mountains to deserts, where sunshine and rain can be blocks apart – capturing its true essence can be, at times, like capturing water in your hands.

Drive, the first Hollywood film made by the Denmark-born, New York-raised Nicholas Winding Refn (you need to see his film Bronson TODAY) is so Los Angeles. Not the plot, necessarily, but its essence, its feel, its heart. The film stars Ryan Gosling, a gifted actor whom I have been a big fan of since his breakthrough, Oscar-nominated work in Half Nelson (2006). His unnamed character, a stunt car driver of mysterious origins, hardly speaks for the first twenty minutes of the film and it is a testament that we know so much about his character by then, even though we haven’t been told much. Gosling does more with his eyes or a smirk than just about any actor of his generation.

read on



finding the line between young and old
read at your own risk, because once you get it, you might know you're old, too
by jeffrey d. walker
topic: humor
9.14.12 • CLASSIC

It is an undeniable truth harbored by the young: getting old is not cool! “I don’t want to grow up” is more than just a slogan for “Toys ‘R’ Us”; young people tend to believe that old people are generally boring, and do boring things, and talk about boring stuff. And most any kid, even if they love their parents and grandparents, both fear and loathe the idea of becoming old themselves.

Of course, kids desire all of the stuff that comes with being grown up, like having their own place, the ability to drive, income, and beer. That stuff is pretty cool, but actually becoming older is not. Because being old is. not. cool.

At least, that's what young people would say. It's nice to know now what idiots kids are.

read on



sir, you have entirely too much baggage
either pack your therapist or learn to pack light.
by maigen thomas (@Maigen)
topic: pop culture
9.26.11 • CLASSIC

On a recent transcontinental flight, in between offering First Class a pre-departure beverage and greeting the shuffling masses, I had to keep one eye open for people and their drama. I mean baggage.

I shouldn't have to be the Bag Nazi. I'd much rather be nice to you, I truly would. It gives me wrinkles when I have to frown at you, admonish you, tell you to turn your phone off for the seventh time, ask you to please bring your seat up, request that you please hurry up and step out of the aisle, etc. I'd like to avoid that additional early aging if I could.

But the bag situation, well, it's getting out of hand.

read on



excuse me, can you please stop surfing for porn?
what's the appropriate measure for xxx?
by alex b (@Lexistential)
topic: general
11.14.11 • CLASSIC

A memory haunts me, one from eight years back. I'm 27, and sitting in the dark with a 45-year-old guy. Much as I'd like to recall it as a lovely instance, it's the last civil date we have with one another. Knowing our end is imminent, we behave pretty well.

We're at the movies, watching Auto Focus with Greg Kinnear. I had chosen it on the basis of looking seemingly light-hearted; as Bob Crane's sordid life is revealed onscreen, I figure out otherwise.

And, so does my date. The deeper the film delves into Crane's sex secrets, he sits ramrod straight, staring at the screen without noticing that I saw him do so. His evident "a-ha" moment led to my first grasp of the eventual truth: like Crane, my date was a porn addict.

read on



loving
a part of our speech
by sarah ficke (@DameMystery)
topic: news
4.16.12 • CLASSIC

Loving: Noun
Loving begins as a noun, but not just any noun. Loving is a personal noun; it is something we experience only through the prism of ourselves. We can’t point to the source of love, diagram its location, or dissect it from our body, and yet it is there. Loving is also a noun in the stricter sense: Richard Loving, a white man born in Caroline County, Virginia, in 1933.

Loving: Verb
Loving may begin as a noun, but we know it best as a verb. We recognize love only because we see it in action: caring, sharing, laughing, kissing, touching, soothing, healing, helping, grieving. These actions can shape our lives, yet we can’t trace them to a source. Love – of nature, of creatures, of music – is a mystery in the abstract, but vibrant in reality. Something happens in your spirit, your physical heart might thump, your nerves might jitter, and suddenly that potential for love comes out into the open. That kind of spark caught Richard Loving (noun: white) and Mildred Jeter (noun: black) and whirled them into action. They were loving each other, and – as it always does – that love was shaping their lives.

read on



why i blog
an instrospective about why i write on the online
by erik lars myers (@TopFermented)
topic: writing
10.17.11 • CLASSIC

This past week I published a piece on my blog Top Fermented that garnered a fair amount of attention, both positive and negative. I expected a backlash. I knew that many would disagree with me, but I was happy to see that many people also agreed, and equally as happy to see that some who disagreed took the time to reasonably state their cases against mine.

It's honestly made me wonder - why the hell do I bother?

read on



the cult of eff
bearing facebook's existential weight
by jeff miller (@jmillerboston)
topic: pop culture
11.7.11 • CLASSIC

Sleepless.

It's two in the morning. My 5-year-old daughter has been in school exactly one week, and she's already brought home a lovely collection of drawings, handwriting worksheets, and the requisite headcold, which is now keeping me awake, along with the surprisingly annoying pitterpat of rain on asphalt and a Sudafed-induced psychedelia of voices and images swirling 'round my poor, stuffy skull.

I'm a bit of a worrier, and at my age and life stage (the two aren't exactly in sync thanks to my spending all of my twenties and, yes, even some of my thirties trying to be a professional musician) there's plenty of nourishment for the big green monster loving in Binkley's Anxiety Closet.

Still, I was somewhat shocked - enough so to prop myself up and subject my watery eyes to the microwave blaze of the iPad - to discover I was not only lying awake, suffering the indignities of late-night snot and Psuedoephedrine night terrors, I was also sweating the increasing burden and exponential, existential complexity of Facebook.

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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