Friday Links 5/11

boop.jpgHappy Friday and Happy Mother’s Day weekend!
Do you have any plans?
In a few hours we (my parents and I) will be going up to Belfast, Maine to spend the weekend with my Aunt Susan and Bill, whose mother owns an alpaca farm.  There will be alpaca shearing, vegan food, and tactful discussions about Infinity War without mentioning to movie fan Bill (it’s so nice to be around other movie fans) that I never plan to see it.

I’ve been reading a lot, falling behind on the films I have checked out from the library, gardening for hours a day, and enjoying the springly weather. I also cooked some interesting pancakes yesterday so that  have foods when I return next week. I will report back.

What’s happening on the worldwide web?

  • Speaking of movie people, this film looks like it could be amazing. Also really excited for The Seagull, an adaptation of one of the few Chekhov pieces I’e actually read.
  • A beautiful essay that I’m at a loss as to how to describe.
  • The Duchess of Northumberland sounds like a fun lady- she created the garden at Alnwick Castle, possible the deadliest garden in the world.
  • How does Deadpool always win the promotion game? This is genius.
  • One of the greatest things about being back in America is the access to SNL’s youtube uploads. I know the main story (DESERVEDLY) is the release of This is America by Donald Glover- but let’s not forget about the Barbie skit.
  • #MeToo and Junot Diaz: Cycles of victimization and victimizing, sexual harassment, celebrity and race.
  • When two celebrity ladies (internet fashion personae?) give birth in close succession and get together to share their experiences with the early days of motherhood.
  • I love this Public Place Meditation Guide– it’s very closely related to some wisdom my mother shared with me years ago: practice seeing the divinity in everyone around you.
  • A mathematical model may explain how two brains agree on the experiential profile of smells.
  • Possibly the most charming interview I’ve ever seen. I think I may have just fallen in love with all three of these men.
  • Have you liked any pages created by Russian bots?Ask Facebook.
  • A complex algorithm predicts the likelihood of final season Game of Thrones deaths. Bye, Daenerys.
  • An amazing photograph. I love whales.
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Links and Things

After a short hiatus that coincided with finals period and stress and projects, I am back in the US of A and home in Boston where there are cats and vegan food and gardens that need working it.

And a smallish backlog of links.

Top Disney Lullabies

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I’ll admit that I’m on a bit of a Disney kick lately, but this idea didn’t sprout from some subconscious desire to make up for the pain of the other day’s Disney bracket.
Actually, it was inspired by my inability to fall asleep last night.

So here it is, a count down of the top Disney lullabies, and one honorable mention.

#6: Baby Mine, Dumbo
If this helps you fall asleep there is undoubtedly something wrong with you.  Sure it sounds soft and gentle, but if you pair the actual lyrics with the context of the film it’s absolutely heart wrenching and sob-inducing. I still can’t hear it without tearing up WITHIN THE FIRST FEW BARS. And I still can’t watch Dumbo.
Not soothing, 0/5

#5: So This Is Love, Cinderella
I wouldn’t have included this but apparently my cousin, when she was little, liked for my aunt to sing it to her at bedtime.
Because I love Megan and respect her choices, 1/5

#4: Love, Robin Hood
Robin Hood is one of the lesser known Disney films but I wouldn’t exactly say that it’s under appreciated.  Truly in my opinion there isn’t much to appreciate besides this song, which is lovely and poignant.  But… a lot of musical interludes and somewhat repetitive/oddly spaced lyrics.
Life is brief, but when it’s gone, love goes on and on, 2/5

Notice: We’re now getting into what I consider to be the ~real stuff~

#3: When You Wish Upon a Star, Pinocchio
You don’t need to have the voice of Louis Armstrong for this to sound beautiful (I mean, Gepetto pulled it off pretty well, right?).  Also, it’s pretty hard to argue with this as a classic.  Points docked, however, for a disagreeable message.
Some requests are too extreme kids- life’s not fair, 3/5

#2 is a TIE!

#2: Second Star to the Right, Peter Pan
I have to admit that this is one of my all time favorite Disney songs and I also have to admit that it probably sounds better if you have The Disney Chorus on hand.  But one voice could also do this pretty beautifully, with the exception of that very high pitched interlude, the main cause of docked points. You’ll have to work your way around that one.
Upshot: Dreams, stars, Neverland, mention of ‘twinkle, twinkle’, but still not basic. 4/5

#2: Bella Notte, Lady and the Tramp
As sung by the Disney chorus as opposed to the offensively stereotypical yet still lovable Italian pasta chefs. Seriously, can I just rent out the Disney Chorus when I give birth? Maybe not, they must be pretty old now.  Some charming and profound lyrics like “This is the night, it’s a beautiful night, and they call it ‘beautiful night’, but in Italian”. It may not turn your baby into Einstein like some Mozart arguably might, but it sure is soothing.  And at east chances are your baby will learn at least two words of Italian along the way.  I feel bad being so sardonic because I truly do love this song (its another of my favorites) and the rest of the lyrics are, to borrow a word from the song ‘enchanting’.  Short but sweet.
Can be repeated as necessary, 4/5

The BEST Disney Lullaby of ALL TIME
#1: La La Lu, Lady and the Tramp
*whispers* little star sweeper
My Mom sang this one, 5/5

————————

Honorable Mention: That’s My Lullaby, The Lion King 2
Parents, don’t try this at home

Links Actually on Friday: 3/23

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I’m getting out a links post actually on Friday, pre-classes, pre-full-day-of-smelling-synthetic-raw-materials.

  • Welcome to space. Meet Steve.
  • Congratulations to John Oliver (and best wishes to Marlon Bundo and Wesley).
    Love is love.
  • …There’s going to be a live-action Lady and the Tramp.  Can someone please explain why CGI counts as live action? And can someone also please explain why, in general?
  • The beauty and power of fandoms. Read it for the first, introductory segment alone.
  • A super interesting read on the ‘brand-influencer power struggle’. An examination of the rise of Instagram influencers and bloggers as fashion personalities, how they’re compensated, what it means, and how it’s changing.
  • Honest Trailers does it again.  On the slate this week: every Wes Anderson movie. One of my pet favorite directors and they get his idiosyncrasies so right.
  • “Visitors are encouraged to create drawings, one of which will be interpreted into a personalized Diptyque scent.” Diptyque is opening an interactive shop in Soho! I’ll have to visit once I’m back in the US (because lord knows there aren’t enough Diptyque shops in Paris).  Don’t want to miss out on the fun? You can also submit online.
  • “I will insist on my grandchildren referring to me as Grandmamá, with extra emphasis on the á.” All the Glamorous Things I Will Do When I AM A Rich Old Lady. Honestly- goals. But also, don’t wait! Get that Burmese python now! Or, you know, perfect your posture).
  • Roland Mouret on his scent preferences and his newish perfume, Une Amourette.
  • Olivia de Havilland, 101, alive, and very much kicking. I watched In This Our Life, featuring her and Bette Davis, this week while studying. Not the best movie ever but watching them was like visiting two old friends of mine.

Not-So-Friday Links

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I’m mid-viewing of There Will Be Blood and mid-studying after a kind of abortive trip to Paris.  Never trust weather.com when it predicts no precipitation. Always bring your umbrella.  Because if you don’t it will rain in the morning and snow in the afternoon.

  • The top Welsh names in Wales.  There’s something intriguing about Welsh names- from the enigmatic (to me) spelling and pronunciation to the Lord of the Rings- vibes.  Not to mention names like Angharad and Gwilym- characters from one of my favorite films, How Green Was My Valley.
  • Speaking of movies- an enjoyably extra idea for creating memorable movie nights for the family- themed invitations and menus.
  • Remembering Hubert de Givenchy, a brilliant couturier and the designer most associated with Audrey Hepburn‘s rise as a sartorial star.
  • This movie looks insane-in-a-good-way. Also excited to see Lakeith Stanfield in another role post-Get Out.
  • I would watch a Jared Kushner musical.
  • A visually beautiful article about the production of roses for Chanel No. 5. Via my Mom. (Also, I’ve been to Pegomas just this year!)
  • Am I the only person who’s thought about what I want done with my body when I eventually and inevitably kick the bucket? This natural burial ground in Tennessee is actually closest to what I’ve imagined.  Except god forbid my final resting place be Tennessee.
  • Surprise surprise: A huge MIT study finds that fake news stories are much more likely to spread and go ‘viral’ than real news stories on Twitter. Kind of expected but no less scary for that.
  • Having never been married and having no children of my own, I can’t realistically vouch for any of this advice- but I do like it.
  • The mysteriously adorable allure of maternity overalls.
  • Are intimately subtle, barely there perfumes having a renaissance?
  • Taking down the single versus spoken for binary. “Does the idea that people have to “love” — or simply feel any specific way about being single — give the concept of romantic attachment too much power?”
  • This French food waste law is changing how grocery stores approach excess food.

Icebreaker Questions and Answers

Icebreakers and I have a tempestuous relationship.
Despite being something of a hot seat devotee and a major fan of random and revealing questions, my first memory of icebreakers is on the traumatic side.

It was the first day of 3rd or 4th grade.  Our teacher (Probably Ms. Ellis in fourth grade, this seems like just her brand of sadism) told us we would be going on an impromptu camping trip, passed around a roll of toilet paper, and told us to take what we thought we would need for an overnight stay.
I was pretty sure something was up. I may have been eight years old but I was no fool.  They needed my parents’ signatures to bus me to the Science Museum for a few hours. But still part of me was completely appalled at the threat of being spirited away for a night. And having to reveal my toilet paper needs? It was the height of humiliation.
You may have played this game before- you have to share a fact about yourself for every sheet that you take. I don’t remember what I did- probably something middle of the road like 5.  Someone took one sheet and another boy (I think it was Pedro) took about half the roll.

So while I have no problem with sharing some level of personal information and even less of a problem listening to other people’s stories (when it doesn’t border on the TMI) I hate the enforced ‘getting-to-know-you’ of icebreakers, which are really only good for uniting a group against the irritating and condescending authority demanding how many bones you’ve broken.

Which is a long way of saying I found 25 fun icebreaker questions and I’m going tonsure some of them.
Please do not be inspired to use these for their purported purpose of ‘team building at work’.

  • What was your first job?
    My first paid job was as a barista at a Barnes & Noble Starbucks.
  • Have you ever met anyone famous?
    The most starstruck I have ever been was when I met one of the horses who played Shadowfax in Lord of the Rings.
  • If you could pick up a new skill in an instant what would it be?
    So many I can’t choose: a language, hunting with falcons, parkour, an instrument…
  • Seen any good movies lately you’d recommend?
    Good Time wasn’t my kind of movie but it is being criminally overlooked. It came out in 2017.
  • Been pleasantly surprised by anything lately?
    The only things coming directly to mind are both today: Clinique’s eyeliner is in fact easy and liquid, and it sounds like Black Panther is super intersectional and has strong female characters.
  • Favorite band ten years ago?
    I was twelve, which was about the time I got my iPod and started listening to music for the first time. Honestly it was probably Aly and AJ or Avril Lavigne. Embarrassing.
  • What’s your earliest memory?
    I remember sitting on the rug at preschool and thinking to myself, “I’m three”.
  • Been anywhere recently for the first time?
    Grasse and Nice!
  • What was the first thing you bought with your own money?
    The first big ticket item I bought with my own money was one of those felted cardboard cat condos. It was two floors. We still have it. It was $80 and I had saved for forever. I think I was in Elementary school. I was a high roller.
  • Any phobias you’d like to break?
    Nope, spiders and I are good with where our animosity is, thanks very much.
  • What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?
    I’m such an old person, I like raisin bran. But I remember being young and loving the Cap’n Crunch I had at my cousins’ beach house. When I came home and asked my parents if we could buy it they told me it wasn’t sold in our state. Ah, the lies our parents tell us.

How to Reach Peak Feminine

I’m going to be honest, this is more of a rant/potential overreaction in response to a perceived injustice.

Perceived injustice in the form of something a friend/classmate said that I found both a) hurtful, b) thoughtless, and c) pretty damn problematic.
So definitely one of the lesser injustices in the world, but still something that raised a lot of feelings for me, which  am now going to get off of my chest.

The remark was something along the lines of stating that pregnancy= peak femininity. At know time in a woman’s life is she more truly a “woman” than when she is with child.

Ugh.

Okay, my problems with that statement first, and then a list of ways I think we can be EVEN MORE FEMININE.

  1. A lot of women cannot, in fact, get pregnant. A lot of women feel broken, less than, and incomplete because they can not give birth to the children they desire (or that society has conditioned them to see as the defining purpose of their lives). Many women feel like failures if they have infertility issues.
    I may be one of these women. For medical reasons, its quite possible that I won’t be fertile. I love children, and despite my fear of being a terrible mother and the pain of natural childbirth, having a baby is something  I would really love to be in my future (witness my obsession with baby names, children’s books, and all manner of miniature person paraphernalia).
    The takeaway here is- many women can’t have children and that doesn’t make them and less female.
  2. Defining the epitome of femininity as pregnancy- something kind of passive in that it is done to a woman by a man- is an issue for me.  It’s a really reductive view of what it means to be a woman- i.e. to be a baby-making machine, an oven for a bun, a brood mare, (your analogy here).  There is so much more to being a human woman than passing on your genes and prolonging the species.  And I’m not talking about boobs either.  It’s just such a dull view of what women can be. So biological, so without choice, so impersonal, so f*cking traditional and… medieval.
  3. Which brings me to I guess my last point, which is that society has conditioned women to see childbearing and motherhood as their final purpose, their definition, their ultimate test for hundreds if not thousands of years. It’s 2018. The idea of womanhood and femininity really needs to expand beyond basic biological processes to include all of the different things that womanhood and/or femininity (because anyone can be feminine, not only women- it’s a gender rather than sex thing) has to offer.  There are so many different ways to be feminine. So many different life paths you can take.  Deciding not to have children, being unable to have children, having an unconventional pregnancy or path to motherhood does not mean you’re not feminine or not a woman.

So here are some suggestions on alternative ways to reach peak femininity, that don’t involve getting knocked up. Or a penis. Or subjecting your body to drastic changes. Or a huge life choice that may or may not be what you want for yourself.

  • Take female-specific multivitamins.
    I have never felt more feminine that when popping a One-A-Day Women’s. Not sponsored.
  • Watch a chickflick.
    Do you self-identify as a chick? Is this a film you like? Then it’s a chickflick. Get it, girl.

You know, I can’t even do this anymore. I was googling ‘how to be feminine for more ideas that I could subvert, but they’re also a irritating, contradictory, and offensive that I can’t even complete this list.

Here are some favorites though:

  • Speak softly/learn to be shy (but also cool and be outspoken)
    No lie these four are all on the same list.
  • Smell good.
    Not like a smelly man.
  • Don’t cut your hair.
    After multivitamins, looking like Samara from The Ring has always made me feel particularly ladylike and attractive.
  • Avoid arguments.
    Well, failed that one.
    But can we also just recognize that this disqualifies SO MANY AMAZING WOMEN WHO ARE KNOWN FOR THE THINGS THAT THEY’VE DONE AND THEIR OPINIONS AS OPPOSED TO THEIR LOOKS AND BREATHY VOICES?
    Yeah, bye Rosa Parks.
    And don’t even get me started on the angry black woman not fitting the ideal vision of femininity because I’m already going to explode.
  • BUT DON’T FORGET: BE YOU AND LOVE YOURSELF FOR WHO YOU ARE
    Yes, this is on the same list. Excuse me while I go jump in a lake.

I just looked at another list thinking of continuing but there’s so much more and I’m getting keyed up. It’s 8:30 am on Sunday and I’m calling it quits.

It’s funny how when there are huge systemic problems involved you can never actually success in getting your frustration off your chest because there’s just more and more and more and more.