A Family Matter. Each year, California’s child protective services agencies remove thousands of kids from their homes. Some parents decided to fight back.
How John Hinckley Lives Now: He drives a Toyota. He eats fro-yo. He shops at PetSmart. You just might run into him.
The Kentucky Derby, "America's Greatest Race," will take place at Churchill Downs this weekend. CNN international has answers to 11 general questions to get you started in the festivities, and NBC New York has a short history of the spectacle around the race, which is largely about fashion through the decades. And then there's the opening ceremony and song - My Old Kentucky Home (official "sing along" video). It sounds pretty somber, and it is, especially if you sing all of the original 1831 lyrics. The Forgotten Racial History Of Kentucky's State Song (NPR Codeswitch). [more inside]
What is Design Fiction?
"the deliberate use of diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change. That’s the best definition we’ve come up with. The important word there is diegetic. It means you’re thinking very seriously about potential objects and services and trying to get people to concentrate on those rather than entire worlds or political trends or geopolitical strategies. It’s not a kind of fiction. It’s a kind of design. It tells worlds rather than stories." — Bruce SterlingExamples of Diegetic Prototypes in Design Fiction. [more inside]
NYC Public Advocate Letitia James and 10 children in foster care have filed a federal class action lawsuit [PDF, trigger warning] against the child welfare agencies of New York City and New York State, alleging "that the city’s Administration for Children’s Services fails to provide the services, planning and caseworker training to help children find permanent families before they suffer irreparable harm".
Only a handful of all the animal species on earth can be tamed, but that doesn’t stop a homesick girl of 15 from trying
With Career View, The Dissolve (previously) offers an extensive survey, and critical summary, of a career in film. [more inside]
"Is this thought experiment monstrous? Would it be monstrous to refer to the 40,000-plus domestic highway deaths we accept each year because the mobility and autonomy of the car are evidently worth that high price?" In 2007 David Foster Wallace invited readers to a series of thought experiments in a short piece. [more inside]
Note, too, that “interesting” first appears just two years after “bore.” 1768. Mark this, two years after. Can this be so? From "The Pale King," David Foster Wallace's last, unfinished novel, parts of which, it turns out, we have already seen.
The Lost Years & Last Days of David Foster Wallace, Rolling Stone (warning: long article; could make you cry)
This, like many clichés, so lame and unexciting on the surface, actually expresses a great and terrible truth. It is not the least bit coincidental that adults who commit suicide with firearms almost always shoot themselves in: the head. They shoot the terrible master. And the truth is that most of these suicides are actually dead long before they pull the trigger. And I submit that this is what the real, no bullshit value of your liberal arts education is supposed to be about: how to keep from going through your comfortable, prosperous, respectable adult life dead, unconscious, a slave to your head and to your natural default setting of being uniquely, completely, imperially alone day in and day out. That may sound like hyperbole, or abstract nonsense. Let's get concrete. The plain fact is that you graduating seniors do not yet have any clue what "day in day out" really means. There happen to be whole, large parts of adult American life that nobody talks about in commencement speeches. One such part involves boredom, routine, and petty frustration. The parents and older folks here will know all too well what I'm talking about. First reported by an anonymous tip to a blog, the Los Angeles Times has confirmed that David Foster Wallace has hung himself.
A teeny-tiny bloggie about itty bitty kitties. A foster parent of (usually) motherless kittens at the Tacoma Humane Society, Laurie Cinotto's blog IBKC has developed a following among ailurophiles through occasional shout-outs from Cute Overload. [more inside]
Got My Mojo Working was written by the little-known Preston Foster and first recorded in 1956 by the only slightly better-known Ann Cole. It was, of course, the Muddy Waters version that became the hit and a signature song for him: he sang it throughout his entire career, and it has become one of the best-known blues standards of all time. The song itself just has a lot of mojo, you know, so naturally plenty of others have covered it through the years: a small sampling from the YouTubes would include Carl Perkins, Willie Dixon, Elvis Presley, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, JJ Cale, Pinetop Perkins and Louis Jordan. Hell, even Bobby Darin couldn't resist the mojo!. NOTE: Check hoverovers for link descriptions. [more inside]
I took my video camera to a Foster Care Alumni meeting and asked seven foster kids to tell me about there experiences in Child Protective Services while wards of the state: Tristen, Andrew, Kyle, Aisha, Elnita, Ashley, Joshua. [more inside]
What to my wondering eyes should appear but the suggestion that "A Visit From St. Nicholas," the classic poem which has defined the American Santa Claus, from red suit and big belly to reindeer and chimney-delivery method, was written not by classics professor Clement Clarke Moore but by poet and military man Henry Livingston. Though some think the authorship controversy is sugarplum vision of Livingston's descendents, other scholars the claim: literary 'detective' Donald Foster agrees (though his sleuthing record is not unblemished). Leading historian of Christmas Stephen Nissenbaum, says that either way, St. Nick is the product of the same social world, that of the wealthy white elite in the New York of the early Republic. If the claim is true, then in the convoluted history of the manuscript we've gotten some reindeer names wrong.
"Good People": A new short story by David Foster Wallace. New to Wallace? Like "Good People"? Read "Incarnations of Burned Children", a story with a similar sense of tension and dread. Want more? Okay.
Steven Foster is the perfect bartender. He wants to share his ontology, his reflections on what it means to be happy, bird aquariums, how to make margarita mix from scratch, solutions to the world's five most pressing problems [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or just read the summary on every page towards the bottom], and more drink recipes than you can shake a stick at. This man delivers.
Did the blue dress ever exist? Regina Louise had a miserable childhood, shuttled from foster home to foster home, at best ignored at best and at worst abused. There was only one happy memory from her childhood: the time she spent with the sole foster mother to ever show her love. But that woman had vanished from Louise's life years ago, and it seemed unlikely they'd ever meet again... (Warning: this newspaper article may make you cry.)
In the pantheon of American popular music, Pennsylvanian Stephen Collins Foster (1826-1864) is a muse to all followers. He penned: "Oh, Susanna"; "My Old Kentucky Home"; "Old Folks at Home" ('Way Down Upon the Swanee River') and "Camptown Races" among a legacy of over 200 songs. Foster contributed greatly to the rise in popularity of the minstrel shows, displaying a humanitarian attitude towards blacks in his 'plantation songs', despite only visiting the south once briefly on his honeymoon. Copyright being what it was in those days, he made not much more than $9000 in his lifetime from publishing royalties. He died a pauper in New York following a head injury and was found with just 38c and a scrap of paper in his pocket book that read: "Dear friends and gentle hearts". His sketch book of songs was recently digitized and is hosted by the University of Pittsburgh. via