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Nothing about me was ever gross, come to think of it
also, do women think that being involved in saintly humanitarian endeavors make you more attractive to potential partners? that's not something i've ever thought about before.

Saintly humanitarian endeavors - certain kinds of saintly humanitarian endeavors, not being part of ISM, for instance, or getting arrested while distributing food with Food Not Bombs, or protesting as part of ACT-UP - are a way of performing an idealized [white] femininity. The… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 1:54 PM on February 11, 2015

Do they...squeeze ducks to get it?
I never had Beijing duck (I just can't call it Peking duck) in Shanghai - I'm sure you can get it and at pretty good quality too, but there's so much delicious Shanghai food to eat that...I mean...why not just eat All The Shanghai Food? You can get good pressed duck in the US, but good Shanghai food is really hard to find. (There was a good Shanghai restaurant in Chicago, but it closed years ago; if I ever win the lottery, I am going to offer big bucks to some Shanghai… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:19 AM on February 11, 2015
Frowner, there are some Shanghai-style restaurants in NYC that seem great to me, as a person who has admittedly never been to Shanghai. Mostly in Chinatown and Flushing.

But in New York! That might as well be on the moon. When I win the lottery, I will build a Shanghai-style restaurant next to my house*.

*And create jobs in my neighborhood and pay generous wages to both the locals and the Chinese talent. And eat at the restaurant every day.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:22 AM on February 11, 2015

My Gay Uncles
Something I happened across from what I did not know existed, David Wojnarowicz's autobiographical comic:

Words can strip the power from a memory or an event. Words can cut the ropes of an experience. Breaking silence about an experience can break the chains of the code of silence. Describing the once indescribable can dismantle the power of taboo. To speak about the once unspeakable can make the INVISIBLE familiar if repeated often enough in clear and loud… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:36 PM on February 10, 2015

"more paperwork, phone-trees and red-tape than ever"
but in my experience "performance reviews, brainstorming sessions, training meetings, and post-mortems" have made many of my workplaces happier and more productive places.

It would probably be worth investigating what makes these things work in some places while they operate primarily as instruments of covert social violence in others. I surmise that this is what Graeber is - sort of - doing, since he seems to be interested in the unspoken… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:13 AM on February 10, 2015

Brutalism isn't ugly, it's utopian. It's beautiful. (There are certainly individual ugly brutalist buildings, and I am a bit skeptical of all buildings shaped like tall tin cans.)

I used to hate it and make fun of it, but I pass by a number of brutalist buildings on my way to work - and indeed, work in one - and seeing them in different light over time really changed my perspective. I love how they look like… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 3:11 PM on February 4, 2015

How to Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps
The funny thing is that I started going to the gym and stopped caring about dating - not friendships or doing stuff, just about dating. I mean, really stopped caring. It makes me question what I was doing dating people in the first place, since there doesn't seem to have been anything involved except insecurity and the need for something to think about, now all replaced by wondering what the hell kind of exercises that one guy was doing last night and where can I learn to do… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:06 AM on February 3, 2015
The anti-humanist mix tape (or really, playlist; I'm old, it's always a mix tape to me even though I haven't had a cassette player since 2007) in its present iteration is basically a lot of acid house and the very coldest-sounding untz-untz dance music I could possibly find. Plus lots of Gang of Four, Meat Beat Manifesto's "I Got The Fear" and "Asbestos Lead Asbestos", a particularly depressing song called "Coup" and Afrika Bambaataa's "Planet… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:47 AM on February 3, 2015
The horrible ex-girlfriend "fucking around with gross and terrible people"

Yeah, I did not care for that. I am willing to write a certain amount of it off as "at the time I felt like my "horrible" ex-girlfriend was fucking around with gross and terrible people, which is part of my whole description of feeling angry and miserable and like eating only skinless chicken breast".

I… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:12 AM on February 3, 2015
They're very difficult.

Oh my god yes, of course they are. They're like if you took a split squat and made it even harder. And it's not like I'm some kind of split-squat-doing champion; I still wobble a lot.

What's amazing about going to the gym - you realize that many ways that you assumed that you could bend or stretch, you actually cannot.

The saddest moment… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:00 PM on February 3, 2015
I do admit that I envy people who just basically step up their exercise and knock off the potato chips and lose weight. I have a friend, for example, who started going to the gym and biking everywhere and changed nothing about her diet at all (she eats a bunch of meals out every week, including an extra post-going-out diner meal full of fried carbs at about 4am in the small hours of Saturday morning) and has lost about 100 pounds over the past year.

Meanwhile, I -… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:16 AM on February 4, 2015

Animals getting high, drunk and tripping
I read this as "animals getting high, getting drunk and tipping", and started wondering what gratuity-like process existed in nature. "Animals are amazing!" I thought. "First with the tool-using, now it turns out that they...tip each other?" But they don't. I suppose no one likes to work Sunday brunch down at the bird feeder.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:57 PM on February 3, 2015

"I know because I vaccinated both of them"
That Roald Dahl piece linked by Artw is just unbearably sad. I never thought that I would feel particular pity for Roald Dahl, but now I do.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:17 AM on February 2, 2015
Okay, but if we didn't vaccinate most people for tetanus in advance, could we give them a rabies-like post-exposure vaccine? (That would have its own drawbacks, right, since probably a lot more people get unexpected punctures than get bat exposure.)

I would rather have the vaccine, just so I don't have the surprise-stray-nail-in-the-backyard and have to sit there wondering if I'm going to get lockjaw.

And how does this all play out with… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:27 AM on February 3, 2015
(I take remote risks very seriously, for the record. My doctor knows this only too well.

But on the other hand, I was the one who said "hm, I bet that faint thumping noise means something really bad about the engine" and everyone else said nonsense and we just barely made it home and the engine was basically a brick. And it wasn't even my car.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:28 AM on February 3, 2015

It disturbs me that this person appears to be doing some of the same obscure-yet-snob reading that I am doing (Sebald and Wojnarowicz in particular - I mean, there are lots of difficult names in the world). I wonder if we've read the same book reviews, or if they're the one who wrote the reviews. Is it the zeitgeist driving us both, or am I alone the dedicated follower of intellectual fashion?

Also, if you grow up around Chicago,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:20 AM on February 2, 2015
Goethe on the other hand...

Amusingly, my father made much of the correct pronunciation of "Goethe", "Maugham" and "Evelyn Waugh" and as a result no one in my English classes ever knew who I was talking about.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:46 AM on February 2, 2015
A friend did know a guy who had read quite a lot of continental theory as basically a lonely little nerd in the provinces and for whom Michel Foucault was "Michael Fuckallt". Which seems appropriate in a number of ways.

Also, seriously, this kid had read all this Foucault totally off his own bat just because he wanted to and with no peers around to talk about it or to be motivating. Which impressed me even when I was young and snobbish.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:49 AM on February 2, 2015
My ex and I also liked to pronounce Leicester in an "American" accent - "Say, can you tell me the way to Lie-Chester Square? Is it near Edin-boro?" (We were easily amused.)

In America, we feel that you people are just too lazy to pronounce all the syllables. Marylebone, Cholmondeley, Worcestershire...anyone else would be embarrassed.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:13 AM on February 2, 2015
Also, I grew up near Des Moines, which is pronounced Dez Moynes. And Joliet, pronounced Joelee-ette.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:14 AM on February 2, 2015
I think I am thinking of Dez Playnes. It's been a while, and around here everything is named all kinds of rural-utopian names - Eden Prairie and so on - which are unevocative but easy to pronounce.

Dez Playnes!!! I never actually went to Dez Playnes, though, or even Joelee-ette. They remained far, exotic destinations for my entire childhood. Gosh, I kind of miss Chicagoland.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:22 AM on February 2, 2015

How To Tell If You Are In A Soft Science Fiction Novel

Today I woke up, blearily picked up my cell phone, and read this: Racism no longer exists now that all of humanity has banded together to speak English, vote democratically, adhere to 20th-century American social standards... and wanted to roll out of bed just so I could go bang my head into my desk.

I wonder if a clearer way to write Ortberg's comment would be "Race no longer exists now that everyone speaks English and votes… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:31 AM on January 30, 2015
I mean as a history/politics/culture dork I'd love to read science fiction where everything is mostly hunky dory but we have some obscure political scheme that is not commonly understood by early 21st century Americans, but I also understand that the market for this is probably not large.

Perhaps you would like Samuel Delany's novel Triton? They certainly have a novel political system. Or John Varley's short stories published in the horribly-named… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:35 AM on January 30, 2015
As for race, gender, etc...all I can say is that it gets very, very tricky to actually write that well when you are both trying to show the future as being better on that score, while still respecting those differences and showing empathy for your readers who live in the really real world where it isn't all that great--especially when societies have launched into outer space and morphed into their own things. I don't think that taking on an attitude of "we don't see color (in the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:56 AM on January 30, 2015

Buy high, sell low
The issue isn't, I think, that it might cost rich people a little bit of money; it's that letting climate change play out is actively beneficial. Look at the interview with the developer - climate change brings investment opportunities!

Think about all the things that people are going to have to buy as climate change gets worse - all the air conditioners and heaters and building repair materials and hot weather stuff and cold weather stuff - and all… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:59 PM on January 29, 2015

A Bike Lock You'll Never Forget to Bring
Actually, this looks pretty good to me! I have an old and battered bike, so no one is likely to break out any plasma cutters (seriously? is that a thing now?) and I would love not to have to dink around with a U-lock.

Basically, I need to lock my bike to keep joy riders and random spiteful people from grabbing it, not because it is so beautiful and valuable that it could be resold.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:55 AM on January 28, 2015
So here is the question - does bike theft vary city by city? I've had a bunch of cheap bikes stolen in the past, but that was because I either left them for all eternity like a terrible person or had only a cable lock because I was stupid. I've had an unlocked junk bike stolen off my porch, but really I'd left it unlocked because I was going to get rid of it and it was very cheap and terrible and not even really good for parts. But the whole "I locked my ordinary bike-year-round bike… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:58 AM on January 28, 2015

The youth of Greece are revolting
I have limitless confidence that the oligarchs will once again manipulate the economy in order to bring down the new government, and their bought-and-paid media will scream "See? I told you so!"

But they are truculent in Greece. They will absolutely burn shit down. To the Greek activists I have met, Syriza is moderate. And there's still a lot of memories of the civil war and the right wing coup in the sixties - anything… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:32 AM on January 26, 2015
The male youth of Greece is up in revolt. Anarchy, riots in the street, etc

You know, there are women activists in Greece, some of whom are anarchists and riot in the streets.

And the implication that all these women - whoever they're dating! - are focused immediately on getting married and producing a kid and buying a house, and of course they're thinking of politics primarily in terms of "how will… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:50 AM on January 26, 2015
I wonder about the symbolic importance of Greece - it's this country on the periphery of Europe, it's small, it hasn't been rich in a very, very long time, it has some symbolic weight because of its ancient history, it's weak in international terms, it's sort of halfway between Western Europe and the middle east. It's striking that it has such giant weight in international terms - the British backing the right in the civil war, for instance, and the… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:42 AM on January 26, 2015

A nice thought, but if that were really the motivation, the US probably could have been more effective at appearing to be non-monsters to the developing world by, you know, actually not being monsters in the developing world.

No, it's not a nice thought - it's actually true. LBJ and his advisors, for instance, were well aware of the propaganda traction that the Soviets and their allies made out of racism in the US. This isn't even in… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:04 AM on January 26, 2015
You know what really gave Communism traction in the developing world? Popular opposition to the mass-murdering authoritarian juntas installed by the CIA.

Yabbut we are totally talking at cross purposes here, and I am really confused about why. None of this has anything to do with what gave communism traction among people outside the US state department; none of this has anything to do with the US really, truly not wanting to be… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:37 PM on January 26, 2015
And just to clarify - "modulated certain of its policies to the left" doesn't mean "became left"; it means "were less right-wing than they would have liked to be".
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:39 PM on January 26, 2015

The Aging of Abercrombie & Fitch
“Every single aspect that you can imagine that affected the airplane or our behavior in it was controlled by Abercrombie & Fitch, specifically, Michael Jeffries and Matthew Smith.” The four male crew members (models provided to Abercrombie) had to wear jeans, boxers, polo shirts, and flip-flops. The manual specified the seating arrangements for Jeffries’s three dogs, the length of the spoon Smith required for his tea, and the proper way to respond to requests (“No problem”), fold… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:03 AM on January 23, 2015
"I'd like a quarter-scale rhinoceros in dark brown leather, thank you"

Oh my god, I would like a quarter-scale rhinoceros in dark brown leather. Especially if it had cute little button eyes. It's a good thing I wasn't old enough for a credit card back then.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:20 AM on January 23, 2015
So on a quick Google I see that Jonathan Adler's now selling them.

But they're backordered, yoink!!!

(Actually, I bet it would be easy to make out out of a sturdy twill. I once made a corduroy horse on similar lines - smaller, but the same logic applied.)
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:28 AM on January 23, 2015
Not that I want to get in the way of a high-end Arthur Conan Doyle porno or anything, but you don't need to use a quarter scale leather-covered rhinocerous with cute little button eyes for anything; you just put it in the corner of the room and contemplate it - the pleasure of its company is enough. I have a vintage Magneto plush toy which serves the same purpose, although it is not quarter scale and covered in leather with cute little button eyes. (Which… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 2:08 PM on January 23, 2015

Why sell Thin Mints when you could be starting a revolution?
I have my reservations about children acting out parental political causes whether it is "radical brownies", "antiabortion picketers", "children's crusade for christ or ....(you name it)", manning picket lines"etc. The political cause (liberal, conservative, radical, reactionary) is irrelevant to me. Teenagers, yes/maybe, preteens no. I have no data or scientific support for my concerns--just does not feel right. Much different if the groups are… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:07 AM on January 23, 2015

The dream of the 1890s is alive in Portland
Did I really just read an entire article about the creation of Oregon as a whites-only territory that did not mention the indigenous people who were already living there?

It did mention violence against native people in passing, but yeah.

I was just looking - here in Minnesota - at a poster copy of the documents that ceded land for the UMN in 1851 and 1867 and thinking about how all this, too, is stolen land. It wasn't ours… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:36 PM on January 22, 2015

The new male body
On the one hand, I really support body modifications - I think there's something interesting, perverse, powerful, radical when people decide that they're going to transform themselves in new ways. So part of me looks at these bodies - which look weird to me, it makes me really anxious to see all the muscles in that much detail, like something is going to rupture - and I think oh wow, this is sort of neat and anti-Romantic/Natural and post-human and weird,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:02 AM on January 21, 2015
On the other hand, have you ever thought about what it would feel like to be hugged by Chris Evans? Because I have. A lot.

Long ago I dated a guy who was really built - he lifted heavy objects for a living, had played sports in school and was just sort of naturally mesomorphic anyway. A prince among men, too - he had his problems, but he was an absolutely magnificent boyfriend. Also very handsome in a big-nosed and strong-featured… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:01 AM on January 21, 2015
I'll also just go ahead and throw it out there that literally nobody in my life has ever said "you looked better before you started working out!" to me. Before, people mostly told me they were "concerned" about my body or outright called it "gross," as in, like, to my face.

These were terrible, horrible people though, right? The kind of people who kick tiny adorable kittens? And metafilter should send our strike force to… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 6:24 PM on January 21, 2015
"Your body is not appealing to me" is not the same as "your body is disgusting [as a body]". Admittedly, "shaming" people for having a highly socially-desirable body type isn't quite the same thing as shaming them for failing to live up to social norms, and I know only too well that it's cathartic to witness someone who gets nothing but praise for their beauty encounter, for the first time, the idea that they are not a universal attractor....but… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 10:25 AM on January 22, 2015
Honestly, I would like it if I never had to hear bullshit "that body is so gross" stuff ever again.

I would love it in particular, in fact, if I didn't have to hear it about old people, the disabled, and significantly fat people, because people I love fall into all those categories and hearing some little twit call some old guy at the beach "gross" because he has wrinkles and veins really makes me want to kill. ("You don't want to look at… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 11:40 AM on January 22, 2015

The estate we’re in: how working class people became the ‘problem’
This makes me wonder if "working class" is defined differently in the UK. I'm assuming a council estate is similar to a housing project, and the "working class" people I know are very proud to NOT live in housing projects. Like, the "we are the 54 percent" crowd.

If I understand it correctly, there is a LOT more "public" housing (even now) in the UK than in the US and people who live in it are (or have been,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:28 AM on January 21, 2015
Also, if you want to read a really interesting book about the UK in the seventies, which was when the groundwork was laid for Thatcher and her horrible ilk, you could do worse than When The Lights Went Out: What really happened in Britain in the Seventies. It's extremely readable and the author is really interested in understanding what all the people involved thought they were doing in addition to actual outcomes.
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 7:31 AM on January 21, 2015
This reminds me of a Pat Barker novel, The Century's Daughter (also published as Liza's England. (Pat Barker wrote the Regeneration trilogy about WH Rivers, Siegfried Sasson, Wilfred Owen, anti-war Britons, shell shock, WWI and stuff.) It was written in the early-mid eighties and the characters are reflecting that conditions are deteriorating for working people under Thatcher - the elderly working class woman, who is living in some kind of perfectly decent council housing,… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 8:45 AM on January 21, 2015
That was the feeling I got when reading about didn't seem like there was a huge quantity of class mobility. It just seemed so incredible to me back when I was reading novels and memoirs that the possibility was even available. We've got plenty of things here in the US that are nominally equalizing but really favor the middle class, certainly, but they are always so stingy and limited in scope, and they have so little potential that the whole idea of "you can… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 9:12 AM on January 21, 2015

Almost as appealing as a nailclipper next to a plate of eggs
I wonder what this writer would think of a book with an even more complicated and longer-ago setting and which follows even more distant literary conventions - maybe Moby Dick or Great Expectations or something. Gutting the floating corpse of a whale for the fat? Who does that? Why would anyone have a wooden leg instead of one of those cool prosthetics? This boat would rent for $10,000 a day in New York!
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 5:54 AM on January 21, 2015

Karl Lagerfeld's Muse: Brad.
Karl Lagerfeld actually did a lot of very interesting fashion-y stuff - if you want a trashy yet very informative book that's equal parts Karl Lagerfeld bio, Yves Saint Laurent bio and general popular culture in late sixties through mid-eighties France, I recommend The Beautiful Fall. It's full of various kinds of scuttlebutt, of course, but there are some quite interesting interviews with important fashion people and also a bunch of former models, artists… [more]
posted to MetaFilter by Frowner at 12:37 PM on January 18, 2015

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