Saturday, November 29, 2008
Noodle, no need to look away, it's about space, but it's not scary. Monday night watch the moon around twilight.
"It's not just families that are getting together this Thanksgiving week. The three brightest objects in the night sky — Venus, Jupiter and a crescent moon — will crowd around each other for an unusual group shot.
Starting Thanksgiving evening, they will appear 2 degrees apart, which is about a finger width held out at arm's length, said Alan MacRobert, senior editor at Sky and Telescope magazine. Then on Monday night, they will be joined by a crescent moon right next to them, he said.and Venus will begin moving closer so that by Sunday and Monday,
Look in the southwestern sky around twilight — no telescope or binoculars needed. The show will even be visible in cities if it's a clear night.
"It'll be a head-turner," MacRobert said. "This certainly is an unusual coincidence for the crescent moon to be right there in the days when they are going to be closest together."
The moon is the brightest, closest and smallest of the three and is 252,000 miles away. Venus, the second brightest, closest and smallest, is 94 million miles away. And big Jupiter is 540 million miles away.
The three celestial objects come together from time to time, but often they are too close to the sun or unite at a time when they aren't so visible. The next time the three will be as close and visible as this week will be Nov. 18, 2052, according to Jack Horkheimer, director of the Miami Space Transit Planetarium.
But if you are willing to settle for two out of three — Venus and the crescent moon only — it will happen again on New Year's Eve, MacRobert said."
photo and story via AP, here.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
So, I'm going to avoid going into the postcolonial critique of this illustration and our country's history and this holiday's origin. I do love what this holiday is intended to symbolize. A day of making peace and being grateful and eating 'til your pants pop right off.
In recent years, we've come to know that some people need more than just the common sense assertion that "gratitude makes you a happier person" and psychologists have taken to studying the idea. Think of this study as responding to the notion "why I should trouble my cynical ass and be grateful today." Here's why: (from a study by UC Davis)
- Well-Being: Grateful people report higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress. The disposition toward gratitude appears to enhance pleasant feeling states more than it diminishes unpleasant emotions. Grateful people do not deny or ignore the negative aspects of life.
- Prosociality: People with a strong disposition toward gratitude have the capacity to be empathic and to take the perspective of others. They are rated as more generous and more helpful by people in their social networks (McCullough, Emmons, & Tsang, 2002).
- Spirituality: Those who regularly attend religious services and engage in religious activities such as prayer reading religious material score are more likely to be grateful. Grateful people are more likely to acknowledge a belief in the interconnectedness of all life and a commitment to and responsibility to others (McCullough et. al., 2002). Gratitude does not require religious faith, but faith enhances the ability to be grateful.
- Materialism: Grateful individuals place less importance on material goods; they are less likely to judge their own and others success in terms of possessions accumulated; they are less envious of others; and are more likely to share their possessions with others relative to less grateful persons.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I don't like to use the F-word lightly, but after a couple listens to Johnny Flynn's "A Larum" I think Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit might be favorites. I don't know yet if they can stand alongside Jolie and Patty and Ray and Billy and all the other contemporary folkies I love, but time will tell.
Andrew Bird + (Billy Bragg + Woody Guthrie=Mermaid Ave) + (Be Good Tanyas - being female)= Johnny Flynn, "A Larum"
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Friday, November 21, 2008
I'm serious. Yesterday was World Philosophy Day. We had a little toast to our forebears, but our v mini-celebration quickly broke out into girl-time. Sorry, it was late.
We do love philosophy (except right about now we'd like to kick it in face, it's nearing the end of the semester).
Look at poor Socrates and his broken snubnose.
Hey sneaker peeps,
Sportie LA is having a crazy sale this weekend. Tons of shoes (Nike's, Adidas, Chuck's, etc.) are 75% off! If you've never been to Sportie LA, it's the sneaker Mecca of Los Angeles. The stores are usually jam-packed, narrow aisles, with shoes on every wall and displayed much higher than common sense would say is even worthwhile. There's three (last time I was there anyway) along the Melrose strip, and if you don't see what you want at one or they can't find your size, then they'll call the other spots to locate your shoe. If one of the others has it, they'll have someone run (literally) them to you or you can just swing over and pick 'em up yourself. Seriously, if you've been jonesin' for some gold leather Chuck's or some hot pink shell-toed Adidas, now's the time to get your fix.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Adriane got a little plastic fetus from a group of protesters at school a couple weeks ago. For a week it just lay curled up on his pamphlet on a counter-top in the kitchen. Every morning I'd wake up and hold him or pet him as I drank my morning coffee. Then one day I moved him over to the fruit plate and laid him to rest on a banana. It was a hit. Fun for the whole family. Every time a new roommate came home it was all giggles all over again. A couple of days later Lauren put the fetus on Jessica's pillow, so she'd come home to him tucked in her bed. Which prompted Jessica to put him in mine, and on and on. Now it's all out hide-the-fetus pandemonium. This is what happens when you OD on estrogen.
p.s. yes, there is tension over whether to call it a baby or a fetus, but I settled on fetus because it is a convenient way to distinguish a pre-birth baby and it's funnier
p.p.s. if that fetus ends up in the microwave the game is over
Sunday, November 16, 2008
people care because it's fab moretti (who needs to eat a sammich) but it makes my heart hum and belongs in a wes anderson movie.
also via catbirdseat.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
most of us got one. Why not meet up with kindred spirits? Well, honestly, my first thought is, "what about all the pretentious a-holes who are a part of this scene?" But then, I'm like, "yeah, why not?"
It'd support Chuck and Jeff too. The problem is I've got a lot of research to do and a wedding to go to this weekend. Not sure if I'll make it, but it looks fun and hip.
for boozin' it up. FFT (forced-family-time) can be pretty gruelling. We need a little somethin' to get us through to the New Year. So why not branch out and try something new, fresh (as in microbrewed), and fleeting. Go to beertown.org's website and you can search the seasonal brews in your area. They'll even tell you what food pairs well with each beer.
I'm hunting down two I found on the list: the Cranberry Lambic and the Old Fezziwig Ale. They're both Sam Adams but I've never heard of/seen either before. I'm quite excited, but I'll calm down before it's time to hit the bottle, wouldn't want to binge. Though, let's be honest, 'tis the season for that too.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Monday, November 10, 2008
We saw Synecdoche, New York last night. First of all, the little girl singing the Schenectady song is a brilliant intro. I'm dubbing it "the feel postmodern movie of the year." I mean, it's not just full of but it's also about irony and self-absorption and art imitating life and what happens when those things are taken to their (logical and absurd) ends. Or Kaufman might just be putting us on and making fun of the often pretentious people who read philosophy of art and know what words like simulacrum and theatre of the absurd refer to. Being one of those often pretentious people who never know when they're being made fun of, I feel like I can point toward some of what this movie is about, but it's hard to articulate any clear message here. Themes abound. Maybe I'm just talking out of my over-educated ass. Whatevah, I liked it. I will see it again (on DVD I'm broke).
BTW I couldn't help thinking about the movie as I read the article on DFW (link below). He's just a wee obsession.
Because Synecdoche is about that special breed of self-absorption and that dark-hearted loneliness that sometimes motivates "great" art and usually puts a real-life in shambles, I made some obvious connections.
Dr. Wallace on his mental state as written by Lipsky:
"There's good self-consciousness, and then there's toxic, paralyzing, raped-by-psychic-Bedouins self-consciousness." He talked about a kind of shyness that turned social life impossibly complicated. "I think being shy basically means being self-absorbed to the point that it makes it difficult to be around other people. For instance, if I'm hanging out with you, I can't even tell whether I like you or not because I'm too worried about whether you like me." "There is, in writing, a certain blend of sincerity and manipulation, of trying always to gauge what the particular effect of something is gonna be," he said. "It's a very precious asset that really needs to be turned off sometimes. My guess is that writers probably make fun, skilled, satisfactory, and seemingly considerate partners for other people. But that the experience for them is often rather lonely."
These words might have been spoken by the character Caden Cotard. BTWA, I had a sneaking suspicion that "cotard" meant something that I didn't know so I googled it and VOILA! --Wikipedia "The Cotard delusion or Cotard's syndrome, also known as nihilistic or negation delusion, is a rare neuropsychiatric disorder in which a person holds a delusional belief that he or she is dead, does not exist, is putrefying or has lost his/her blood or internal organs."
How can I get a copy of the October 30th issue of Rolling Stone? I'm in a bit of a panic. I finally brought myself to read David Lipsky's article The Lost Years & Last Days of David Foster Wallace, and I didn't expect much but I was taken aback as I read it. I need a copy to put in a plastic sleeve and keep on my bookshelf at the ready (and in my collection to peruse in my Old Lady Wisdom rocking chair which I'm going to purchase and live in once I retire). I think I'm S.O.L. because Obama's on the cover. It's probably a collector's item or something. Help me. Any ideas?