The Old Man at Burning Man. "When I mentioned to friends that I was going to Burning Man with my 69-year-old father, 'Good idea' were the words out of no one's mouth."
About a year after her participation in the groundbreaking Comedy Central documentary series the Comedians of Comedy, Maria Bamford was on stage at the Friars Club in LA when a heckler began shouting at her. What happened after that isn’t entirely clear, other than Bamford had a breakdown, walked off stage, and disappeared. She was found three months later selling clock radios on the sidewalks of Detroit. A fellow homeless person, who was also a Comedy Central fan, recognized Bamford and eventually her parents were contacted. They brought her back home to Deluth, Minnesota and began to get her help. Maria decided to document her recovery in a series of short videos called The Maria Bamford Show, which were first posted to the TBS networks' now abandoned Super Deluxe Web site. [more inside]
I love you, dad One of my fondest childhood memories is me sitting on a sled, being dragged along a thinly snow covered road by my dad. I was looking up at him and reflecting on the fact that he is also an individual person, just as I am. He has his own thoughts, his own wants, and his own memories. He’d had an entire life to live before I even existed.
“Commitment vows are very powerful, even in a cynical era when people aren't afraid of getting divorced,”
Families in Flux:"As household arrangements take new directions, scientists attempt to sort out the social effects" [more inside]
"With multiple organ failure it’s hard to get everything balanced just right so that oxygen is getting to the brain and the person can “wake up.” So, if nothing else, I know how to misallocate an important moment. Here I was, with my mother dying in front of me, and I still wanted her to be proud. Just, proud."
"It feels strange to be active and highly visible on the Web for 15 years but it was only when I joined Facebook that someone from elementary school or high school ever contacted me." In which on Ev Williams's platform, Mr Haughey compares his experiences of Facebook and Twitter. [more inside]
"Which is another way of saying that Facebook is George Costanza's worst nightmare: It enforces, second by second, the collision of worlds."
Are Your Facebook Friends Stressing You Out? (Yes.) - "The finding, which is similar to one determined last year, is nice as a headline: It's both unexpected (friends! stressing you out! ha!) and ironic (the currency of the social web, taking value rather than adding it!). What's interesting, though, is the why of the matter: the idea that, the report theorizes, the wider your Facebook network, the more likely it is that something you say or do on the site will end up offending one of that network's members... Unsurprisingly, per the study's survey of more than 300 Facebook users, 'adding employers or parents resulted in the greatest increase in anxiety.'" [more inside]
“I stole this book from the library ages ago…”Behind the Curtain (AKA OMG Marvin K. Redpost is a girl!) is one of the funnier excerpts from The Complicated Geography of Alice, a memoir in progress.
“Fourth grade” I say, watching them huddled together in the mirror.
“…one of those Marvin K. Redpost books. He kisses his elbow one day and when he wakes up the next morning he's a girl.”
“I meant to make you take it back but I bet we still have it.”
“My mom's cataloging fifteen years of gender-bending in one week.” She says, rolling her eyes.... “Seriously Mom, how did you NOT know?”
She will ask me this a hundred times. I will ask myself a hundred more and still never I didn't have a good answer then and I don't now. Perhaps we simply see what we expect to see and write off anything that doesn't fit into the little boxes we put people into. Or perhaps she'd learned to mask and over-correct, to hide so well that by the time those distinctions matter, I could not see her until she tore down that wall. I wish I'd known sooner.
"Farmer's Dilemma" is a short, sad and beautiful comic about family and acceptance. From Sam Alden's art blog, GINGERLAND.
Cargo bikes, long a mainstay in the Netherlands and emerging as an automotive alternative in the U.S. (via bike-friendly Portland), come in many flavors: Longtails, longjohns, cycle trucks, porteurs, trikes and the traditional Dutch bakfiet. Will a cargo bike transform your life?
The Mom Stays in the Picture - When Allison Tate wrote about how "Too much of a mama's life goes undocumented and unseen... I'm everywhere in their young lives, and yet I have very few pictures of me with them", it resonated with many other women. "To read through the notes that came with the thousand-plus photos (and yes, we have read every single one) was to read the minds of today's mothers. Over and over you told us that you don't look the way you want to look, don't look the way you once did. Even when joining a movement created around the motto 'I am not perfect to look at and I am not perfect to love, but I am perfectly their mother,' you felt the need to apologize." (via middleclasstool's other half)
Expedia's latest and ongoing ad campaign, "Find Your..." offers 'personal journey' stories from travelers who have used their site, with footage from their trip. Their latest entry: "Find Your Understanding," tells the story of a father traveling to his daughter's wedding. Via.
Levi van Veluw* has taken his self-portraiture to the next level by bringing his family into the picture. "Portrayed in this piece is a room with 5 persons sitting at a table.... The endless repetition of wooden blocks stands for van Veluw’s attempts to gain control of his own position within the familial structure."
He was doubled-over, crying. He looked up at my mom and simply said, "Play this at my funeral." Which we did, on Memorial Day, in our backyard beside his trout pond. .."I made this video with and for my father, Larry Zander, who died a few weeks ago, on May 27, 2011. He was 78. For those of you who knew my Dad, you will instantly recognize him in his natural habitat."
Don't judge Honey Boo Boo, because the tv show doesn't care what it's saying about American culture.
A Confederacy of Bachelors [NYT] Meet the brotherhood of Fortress Astoria: Danaher Dempsey, Luke Crane, Rick Brown and Shyaporn Theerakulstit, best friends and artists. They have no children, no linear career histories, no readily disposable savings. The four men, all heterosexual, approaching 40 and never married, have lived together for 18 years, give or take a revolving guest roommate, cohabitating in spaces like an East Village walk-up, a Chelsea loft and, now, a converted office space in Queens. [more inside]
Louis C.K. on eating pressure and providing an alternative to The Man - "I ask him to think about what he really needs; when he tells me, I give him a little more. It buys me goodwill with this person; I feel good about what I'm paying them. I like to give people a little more than they want, and I like to ask people for a little less than they're willing to give." [more inside]
"I think my father is a hateful person first. The religious beliefs gave him a forum and permission to be cruel to the world." Nate Phelps, son of Fred Phelps, answers questions about growing up in the Westboro Baptist Church, and his life after leaving it. (Warning: descriptions of domestic violence.) [more inside]
"I had always assumed that if I could get a foreign-policy job in the State Department or the White House while my party was in power, I would stay the course as long as I had the opportunity to do work I loved. But in January 2011, when my two-year public-service leave from Princeton University was up, I hurried home as fast as I could." Anne Marie Slaughter, the former policy director for the State Department and professor at Princeton University, has written a nuanced essay for this month's Atlantic Monthly, about the feminist generation gap and work-life balance at the top levels of government and academia: Why Women Still Can't Have It All. [more inside]
'A childhood that began with a sort of cautious optimism quickly devolved into absolute horse shit.'
Matt Might, computer science professor, has a son with a new genetic condition. This is the story of how they figured this out. Matt Might, perhaps best known for the illustrated guide to a PhD, tells the wrenching tale of their son's terrible medical condition and how they've worked to figure out what is going on with him.
Eugene Ahn, AKA Adam Warrock, on quitting being a lawyer to become a full time rapper.
The GOP’s woman problem is that it has a serious problem with women. Frank Rich on George Stephanopoulos's unanswered question, how the Republicans have shifted to being the party of misogyny since the 70s, and why Mitt Romney would be just as bad as Rick Santorum.
"Andrea Yates' story tracks so many of the themes we talk about all the time today. The role of religion in family life. The cognitive dissonance of so many marriages. Lingering stigmas about mental illness, especially as they relate to postpartum depression. The Yates trial was a big deal 10 years ago — even though it was overshadowed by the fallout from 9/11." The Atlantic looks back at the Andrea Yates case and how she's doing now.
Given or Taken – an ABC television documentary by the usually excellent 4 Corners looks at a period in the nation’s history when unwed mothers were forced, coerced or tricked into giving up their babies- often without holding or even seeing their newborn. Writer Kim Berry describes a little of what it was like to be relinquished by her teen mum.
Dementia be Damned [via mefi projects] With dementia and brain related links, personal stories about good and trying times, and information about the latest research, it's a fascinating read about a woman with lots of personality and her amazing Mom. [more inside]
Tollemache, Ralph William Lyonel Tollemache- (1826–1895), Church of England clergyman and bestower of eccentric names.
In 2002, Doug Monroe placed his parents in assisted living. A decade later, he's looking back at "the weighty financial and emotional costs that come with a parent's immortality": The Long Goodbye.
Family Dysfunction: Some Tense Literature for Thanksgiving (Plus a Playlist) In honor of the holidays, here’s a dysfunctional family reading list and playlist to celebrate those good people who you just can’t get away from.
A woman wonders how she will teach her daughter about sex in an essay titled How I Learned About Sex.
After months of struggle to get his family out of Cuba, Orestes Lorenzo got his response. Raúl Castro, then Minister of the Armed Forces, declared "If he had the balls to steal one my MiGs, then he can come back and get his family himself!" In hindsight, that was probably the wrong thing to say. [more inside]
Split Family Faces. "How much do you and members of your family really look alike? Quebec, Canada-based graphic designer and photographer Ulric Collette has created a shockingly cool project where he's exploring the genetic similarities between different members of the same family. By splitting their faces in half and then melding them together, he creates interesting new people that are sometimes quite normal looking and other times far from it. He calls this series Genetic Portraits."
When Brandon left for camp, his last words were, "stay out of my room!" Unfortunately for Brandon, he has the
meanest most awesome family in the entire world. [more inside]
"Three days after the September 11 attacks, reporters at The New York Times, armed with stacks of homemade missing-persons fliers, began interviewing friends and relatives of the missing and writing brief portraits of their lives to create “Portraits of Grief.” Not meant to be obituaries in any traditional sense, they were informal and impressionistic, often centered on a single story or idiosyncratic detail." As we near the tenth anniversary of 9/11, the Times has revisited some of the people they interviewed back then, for Profiles Redrawn. [more inside]
Two and a half years ago, we explored the early history of Cartoon Network... but it wasn't the only player in the youth television game. As a matter of fact, Fred Seibert -- the man responsible for the most inventive projects discussed in that post -- first stretched his creative legs at the network's truly venerable forerunner: Nickelodeon. Founded as Pinwheel, a six-hour block on Warner Cable's innovative QUBE system, this humble channel struggled for years before Seibert's innovative branding work transformed it into a national icon and capstone of a media empire. Much has changed since then, from the mascots and game shows to the versatile orange "splat." But starting tonight in response to popular demand, the network is looking back with a summer programming block dedicated to the greatest hits of the 1990s, including Hey Arnold!, Rocko's Modern Life, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, The Ren & Stimpy Show, Double Dare, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, Legends of the Hidden Temple, and All That. To celebrate, look inside for the complete story of the early days of the network that incensed the religious right, brought doo-wop to television, and slimed a million fans -- the golden age of Nickelodeon. (warning: monster post inside) [more inside]
"With same-sex marriage now legal in New York," the New York Times reports, "some gay sons and daughters are starting to feel the same heat from parents as do their straight siblings." As with so many things, The Onion saw this coming years ago.
30 and Pregnant "How did this happen?" he said. I couldn't believe he didn't know. "We were so careful." I sighed heavily, twirling a piece of spaghetti around my fork, feeling overwhelmed that now I would officially have to come down on one side of the cloth versus disposable diapers debate.
The Survivor. "When your family is murdered, and the home you had made together is destroyed, and you yourself are beaten and left for dead — as happened to Bill Petit on the morning of July 23, 2007 — it may as well be the end of the world. It is hard to see how a man survives the end of the world. The basics of life — waking up, walking, talking — become alien tasks, and almost impossibly heavy, as you are more dead than alive. Just how does a man go about surviving such a thing? How does a man go on? ... Why does one man come undone while the next finds a way to make it through?" [more inside]
Artist Debbie Grossman starts with Russell Lee's Depression-era photographs of Pie Town, New Mexico, and then Photoshops the men into women. (via) [more inside]
Cantankerous curmudgeony robber baron Wellington R. Burt was among the 8 wealthiest Americans, worth around $90 million when he died in 1919. He feuded with his 7 children, and left them very little. In an act of supreme cruelty, or foxy genius, his will stipulated that 21 years after the death of his last grandchild, any remaining heirs would receive the fortune. 92 years later and the money is being distributed, to three great-grandchildren; seven great-great grandchildren; and two great-great-great grandchildren.
'These children don’t recognize the flags of their home countries, but they can all sing "Jesus Loves Me."'
Rick Hill was vacationing in Hawaii. So was Joe Parker. The two lived within one town of each other in Massachusetts, but discovered on that Hawaiian beach, when Joe offered to take a picture of Rick with his fiancee, that they have the same father.
Udderly Amazing. [SLYT] 15-year-old German girl could not have a horse, so she trained one of her family's cows to become a show jumper. Luna the cow has come to navigate the pasture with equine ease.
A University of Michigan study has found that 1 in 5 American women have had children by several different men. Time Magazine dubs the phenomenon "domino dads". The study is the first of its kind to survey Americans from all walks of life, and it finds that the practice can be found across economic classes. But is its publication putting an unfair spotlight on black women?
With Few Jobs, an Unmarried Pastor Points to Bias “Prejudice against single pastors abounds,” Mr. Almlie wrote in articles (Part 1, Part 2) he posted on a popular Christian blog site in January and February, setting off a wide-ranging debate online on a topic that many said has been largely ignored.