Saturday, February 18, 2017

Singalong! Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood by Nina Simone

Isn't this the cry of all of our hearts? To not be misunderstood? Sing it, Nina, and we'll sing along!

by Nina Simone

Baby you understand me now
If sometimes you see that I'm mad
Doncha know no one alive can always be an angel?
When everything goes wrong, you see some bad

But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood

Ya know sometimes baby I'm so carefree
With a joy that's hard to hide
And then sometimes again it seems that all I have is worry
And then you're bound to see my other side

But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood

If I seem edgy
I want you to know
I never mean to take it out on you
Life has its problems
And I get more than my share
But that's one thing I never mean to do

Cause I love you
Oh baby
I'm just human
Don't you know I have faults like anyone?

Sometimes I find myself alone regretting
Some little foolish thing
Some simple thing that I've done

Cause I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood

Don't let me be misunderstood
I try so hard
So please don't let me be misunderstood

Sing along with Nina Simone in Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood (lyrics provided)
Photo Source: Roland Godefroy

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Friday, February 17, 2017

Learning! Roundup: Get politics out of your feed, black cowboys, cerebral palsy, and more!

Image by Zabou

How to Remove Politics from Your Facebook Feed

If you're oscillating in the battle between staying informed and keeping your sanity, while still wanting to actually connect with your friends on Facebook (weird, I thought that's what Facebook was supposed to be about - or is it only for political diatribes?), then here is a solution! Real Simple has gathered together a collection of ways to eliminate politics from your Facebook feed. The suggestions range from installing the Social Fixxer plugin and eliminating posts with keywords like "Trump" to unfollowing the particularly virulent posters in your feed to banishing your feed all together, or just up and quitting Facebook.

Black Cowboys

Quick! Let's all picture a cowboy! Now read this Hyperallergic article about black cowboys and how they existed before they were whitewashed out of our memories.

About Cerebral Palsey

Don't know much about CP, or what it's like for people who live with it. This video from Zach Anner lists his top ten things he wishes people knew about cerebral palsey. It's hilarious and informative.

What It's Like to Be a Neo-Nazi

Have you grown up sheltered enough that you sometimes look at news about terrorists and neo-Nazis and wonder how on earth someone learned to hate so much? Me too.

Here is a really fascinating interview with a Quebec man who used to be a neo-Nazi. He speaks openly and candidly about what drew him to the movement and what changed his mind.

How Black Children Learn About the Police

The relationship between black people and the police has been, obviously, in the news for a while. This video is a really eye-opening and emotional look at how black parents have to teach their kids about dealing with the police.

Post-Election Slump

Feel like you've been less productive since the election? You're not alone. A new survey shows that about a third of people have lost productivity since the election.

How Job Listings Screen Out Disabled People

A handy reminder for anyone in a position to do some hiring: watch out for things in your job listing like "must be able to life 25lbs" or requirements of "normal" communications methods. Does the job ACTUALLY require that? Are there no ways you can work around someone with a disability? Here are some ways that your job listing might inadvertently be screening out people with disabilities.

Ten Black Female Academics to Watch

Hidden Figures was a FANTASTIC movie and a reminder of the erasure of black women from history. Want to avoid having to make another Hidden Figures in 30 years? Learn about these ten black women who are rocking their academic fields.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Hidden Figures: Thoughts and feelings and questions

Earlier this week, I watched Hidden Figures. It was a really wonderful, inspirational movie for so many reasons.

Image by Dunne Designs (Tumblr)

It also highlighted one of my biggest pet peeves about movies, plays, and books that tell stories of historical racism: I think they tend to lull us (white people/the establishment) into a pleasant sense of complacency. We see how bad things used to be and think, "oh thank goodness we are so much better now! History is unfortunate, but good thing we don't have segregated water fountains anymore." Then we mentally hug the brave protagonist who stood up to their oppressors and pat ourselves on the back for being better people.

At home we scroll through our Facebook feed and see stories of Black Lives Matter protests, Margaret Cho vs. Tilda Swinton, or Indigenous reserves that don't have clean drinking water, and through the power of our brain's incredible ability to protect itself from difficult thoughts, we don't put together ANY similarities between our current world and the movie we just watched.

If you ask me, our job when we watch movies about terrible historical realities is to ask ourselves what moments in the story still ring true today, and (if we dare) what we can do about them.

Of the MANY powerful moments in Hidden Figures, a simple exchange between Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and her supervisor Vivian Mitchell (Kirsten Dunst) that happens in the bathroom that struck me as emblematic of most conversations about race that happen between white people and people of colour today:
Mitchell: "Despite what you may think, I've got nothing against y'all."

Vaughan: "I know. I know you probably believe that."

Dorothy Vaughan just DROPPED THE MIC on her complacent supervisor SO HARD! And on me! And other people who think that we have nothing against [insert group identifier here], and yet are unwilling to go out of our way, even a little bit, to help them!

Screenwriters don't repeat lines very often in movies, and the line "that's just the way it is" is said SO MANY TIMES in this movie, someone should do a count. Most often, it comes out of the mouth of a white person who has the opportunity to help make a change, or even just extend a small kindness, but instead falls back on "the way it is." This movie is CHALK-FULL of white people who aren't racist, they just don't feel the need to ever go out of their way to help a black person.

This leads me to a question I would like to ask myself. Feel free to join me if you, too, would like to experiment with not being a part of an oppressive regime:

     Who do I "really believe" that I have nothing against?

     When do I say "that's just the way it is" about something that hurts them or holds them back?

     What are the actual arguments that make me think that answer is good enough?

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Inspiration! Roundup: Story objects, still dancing, punching the devil in the face, and Patrick Rothfuss

This Week's "I want to go to there":
A hammock and a book.

Story Objects with Vera van Wolferen

Love love love this series called Story Objects by Vera van Wolferen. (Also, what an incredible last name! I would actually considering changing my last name if I was marrying a van Wolferen. Although I may also need to become more brooding and dark as a person.)

A post shared by Vera van Wolferen (@veravanwolferen) on

Classical Paintings Get Modern

What would happen if the women in classical paintings suddenly were thrust into the modern era? This image series by Alexey Kondakov imagines just such a juxtaposition, and dang if it isn't stunning. I would buy these for my wall.

A post shared by Alexey Kondakov (@alksko) on

Still Dancing

This stunning piece of artwork by Jonathan Labillois commemorates the many missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. The title "Still Dancing" came from his sister, who said to him “Dancers dance for those who cannot, the sick, the elders, and those who are gone. It's like all those women are still dancing thru her.“

Still Dancing by Jonathan Labillois
Labillois donated this piece to the Montreal Native Women's Shelter.

Forget Punching Nazis

Punch The Devil HIMSELF in the face!

You and The Virgin Mary, anyways.

Every Woman

Just in case you still think that pregnant women should be confined to their beds and avoid physical activity, watch Ciara (among other things) jump a couch while dancing her belly off to Whitney Houston's "I'm Every Woman".

Of course, I'd love to see the moments after they finished shooting this video. Personally, I would have just laid down on the floor and not moved for the rest of my pregnancy. (Says the woman who has never been pregnant.)

What Can You Do?

"The simple truth is this: When things are bad, all you can do is what you can do."
-Patrick Rothfuss

Check out this awesome blog post from Patrick Rothfuss on what he is doing and how he is coping with a big, bad world.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

A Valentine's Day Poem

Hey! Hey!
Today is Valentine's Day!
Just in case you forgot.

Maybe you wanted to forget.

In which case, sorry to remind you.
Although I don't know how successful you were going to be at ignoring this holiday.
It pours out of every dollar store, drug store, and restaurant.

Hearts are everywhere.

Not literal, physical hearts though. So that's good.
Otherwise, things would be messy.
Although a good science lesson for kids.
And adults who didn't pay very close attention in science class.

Last year I made some Valentines.
Some of them were cheeky and some were sincere.
It's open to interpretation.
Because that's how art works.

A few years before that I made other Valentines.

Listen, this holiday isn't going anywhere.
Who cares why it was invented.

All that matters is that St. Valentine was martyred and this day commemorates him.

So maybe we should start throwing our physical hearts around?

It would help with global overpopulation.
And we would feel so much, we would really know we were alive.
In that moment, anyways.

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Cute! Roundup: Going full cat lady

It's happened, guys. I've gone full Cat Lady.

Other cuteness:

This owl shows us how to go with the flow.

New home, new bed.

Now this deer is feeling pretty good about life.

Someone should start a Tumblr of animals in their bizarre sleeping positions. Well, they probably have, but here's an entry.

Let's get him!

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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Singalong: Napoleon by Sarah Slean

Just throwing this song out for this week, as another not-so-subtle warning to all of us about, oh, I don't know, tyrants. Not that it's topical or anything.

by Sarah Slean

Under great golden statues
There is an ancient grave
The emperor's fort is restless
There's something he wants to say

To the princes of lazy science
To the merchants of holy war
He had but one instruction
Be careful with metaphor

So every nation be warned
Soon as the last one is mourned
Another tyrant is born

To the pirates that came to follow
Itching to wrench on the reins of force
Napoleon sent a message
Don't get high on your only horse

So every nation be warned
Soon as the last one is mourned
Another tyrant is born

Mother, I fear of madness
'Cause I heard him call my name
I followed his ghostly finger
And I saw a world in flames

Lyrics to Sarah Slean's Napoleon
Photo source: Flare

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