Thursday, December 22, 2011

North Dakota and Other Jokes

Tonight I hung out with Ruth.  We watched some bad tv together, making fun of the shows. 
When I first got there, Claire and her were talking about crepes, and she asked me if Americans had them.  I told her yes, but I pronounced the word differently, and then she made fun of me. 
We had a good series of giggles, and I laughed so loudly and long that I think I frightened other people away.  Ruth has no tolerance for American television, which means she made a lot of faces of horror and disgust.  I turned on a crappy sci-fi show and we began making fun of how racist and xenophobic it is.  Afterwards, I turned on a show with a hot guy, and things calmed down. 
Ruth was doing some research, and she told me that the Eisenhower Library charges seventy-five cents per page to print information for you.  We talked about how steep and crazy that was.  (It really is.)  The library is in Missouri, and Ruth's not really interested in going all the way out there, "Even if it's in Kansas City, which is big," she said.
"Oh, there's Tennesse," she said, looking on Google maps. 
"It's not that close to Tennesse," I told her.
Then Ruth went off about the middle of the country having absolutely nothing. 
"Have you ever been to North Dakota?" she asked.  Then she started planning her trip there.
Two minutes later: "Did you know that there are two Hicksville's in the U.S.?  Do you want to go?"
I don't want to go, Ruth.
"Why not?  What more do you want in life?"
She is very cross with me for not going.
"It has a mall," she said, trying to get me to come.  And then she started talking about how malls are awful.
"It has a vitamin shop," she said, trying, again, to get me to come.
"I saw an advert for IHOP; I don't remember what it is."
"I might have to go to Hicksville.  It's probably just as shit as the rest of New York."
Then she started using Google's Streetview to look at the city.
"There's nothing here!  I'm going to check out the mall."
Then she found a store that sold shoes for "problem feet."  Which led into a fight over how to pronounce "podatrist." 
She explained to me that England only has dentists.  And then looked up a list of the famous people from North Dakota. 
"Sam Anderson's from North Dakota?" I asked.
North Dakota has some famous people, who I hadn't heard of.
We both knew who Leonard Peltier was, so I guess we weren't completely out of our league.   
"We can go to a rodeo and a powwow.  It's part of their culture."
Okay, okay. 
"I think they are faking this 14 days of fun.  It won't load!"
Then she started researching weird deaths.  In between, the North Dakota page loaded.  "Look, they have peacocks and snow!  People jog there!"
"People jog here," I say.
"That's because you've never been there," she said. 
They also have the world's largest catfish, which she told me all about. 
"North Dakota has a special place in my heart," she said. 
She got excited for their manufacturing plants and their tax rise.  "They must be crazy," she said, about the latter.  "And they extended it for 2016, because they're crazy." 
I told her I was tired, and she gave me the chance to go to bed.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Benjamin Andre 3000

This might be the best picture of a founding father ever.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What if the Tea Party Was Black?

I am totally fascinated with this rap song, which asks listeners to consider what a black Tea Party would look like.
I like that this song questions how white people are given far more leeway when it comes to their behavior. They are allowed to make militant speeches or express anger without it being stereotyped as angry or dangerous.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mother and Baby Giraffe

This is possible the cutest picture featuring giraffes I have ever seen. The Memphis Zoo is super lucky.

Charts and Graphs

Found this great bit from How I Met Your Mother featuring Marshall's graphs and charts. I know lots of people who organize their life this way (myself sometimes included.) I really love that he ranked U.S. Presidents by how dirty they sound. That strikes me as a surprisingly good party game.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Report Cards

There's this great little story today about a man who saved a small group of report cards from the Manhattan Trade School for Girls and the stories he discovered there. This is such a great moment of an amateur historian working with a primary source. I love that he contacted the families and gave them information they might not otherwise have.
That said, I'm not sure if I want my future family members seeing my report cards. Mostly they are decent, but if there are the kinds of notes that these have, then really, even I don't want to know.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Seperate and Unequal

So, a few days ago I wrote about how I didn't think men were obsolete/less important. And thankfully, someone agrees with me. Sort of. Christina Hoff Sommers talks about how men are more likely to run for political office, are more likely to win Nobel prizes, get patents, etc. But then she makes all kind of assumptions about gender that make me want to gag. She assumes men are by nature, more violent. She talks about their economic power as if it was their right and as if capitalism were okay. Oh, and she assumes there's nothing wrong with the military. She basically says that women are separate but equal, even though she should know better than that. And honestly, some of her claims make me feel like she isn't really talking about the original article that touched off all this debate in the first place.
All of this is so frustrating. The obsolete question seems like the wrong framework to even be dealing with this issue. We need to celebrate gains (especially for queer women, women of color, disabled women, etc.) and acknowledge all the work that needs to be done. Men are not inherently anything; it's all cultural, so they can't be obsolete; the only thing obsolete is the way some of them have been raised.