Remodel the kitchen or embrace what you have with gratitude and work for social justice instead? The choice should be easy, but it’s not. I admire the man in this article and his family so much, especially now that I pay two mortgages and consider daily how to remodel this new home in the Northwoods. Maybe I should buy a hammer instead of surf Apartmentherapy. How to use that hammer without succumbing to DIY culture is a whole different question, though.  

Give me gratitude or give me debt: http://momastery.com/blog/2014/08/11/give-liberty-give-debt/

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Which company will become Skynet? Will it be Google or Amazon? Although Google has a neural net cast over the entire world, giving it a head start in the race toward Skynet dominance, Amazon is building drones. Drones are only a step away from Terminators. Google has turned its back on its “Don’t Be Evil” corporate ethos, but Amazon’s labor practices are, well, evil. If these two companies have babies, we’re all a step away from getting Terminated. So, uhhh, yeah, I have a drone. My household now has an Echo from Amazon. (Note: I am not the one who purchased it.) Echo is aRead More →

Bring Back Our Girls As the tragic spectacle of 276 kidnapped Nigerian girls receives international attention, I can’t help but feel sick to my stomach thinking about Nigerian Scams, and the context in which they arise, in the deepest Hunger Games kind of way. As celebrities stride red carpets in stunning pink, carrying bold posters for the cause, I want to root for “our girls” much the way I cheered for Katniss to save Rue in a mediated extravaganza, a spectacle the state designed to distract me from world poverty, hunger, slave labor, and mass slaughter. Hollywood is filled with the scandalous objectification of littleRead More →

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A new romantic relationship has brought with it a Brady Bunch-style merger of household objects into my life. Since my partner makes more money than me, each new item triggers my underlying class-passing anxiety.  Financial planners are full of advice about how to handle money when couples earn disparate salaries, but they don’t say anything about handling preferences in sheets, candle holders, or coffee makers. I could joyfully give away my battered, low-rent belongings and welcome the bounty of bridal-registry quality treasures in my life, but that tiny cash register noise that totals up the cost of replacing everything when the relationship fizzles is overwhelmingRead More →

Huey Long is the heart of Louisiana. I think of him when I think of Louisiana, and I understand the anathema of this state. Its collectivism, which derives from its non-Anglo traditions and its agrarian culture, gave easy rise to its populist politics. That populism was intensely complicated by a racism that Huey Long managed to navigate. Long dreamed of a “share the wealth” program encapsulated in his “A chicken in every pot, and every man a king” sound bite. He is an indirect grandparent to Occupy Wall Street.  Long despised big oil and big banks; he drove the expansion of Glass-Steagall in Congress andRead More →

As a nation, we are ontologically insecure, yet we define ourselves as exceptional. We are ontologically homeless in a state of exception. Political theorists and pundits talk about American exceptionalism as a global stance, as a doctrinal extension of our manifest destiny. In the American Monomyth, Jewett and Lawrence elaborate on this bedrock of our national imagination. We conceive ourselves as superheroes rescuing the world. The problem is that at the end of the story, closure is attained when paradise is restored, and the hero fades into the background. American exceptionalism inherently prevents this closure. We believe we are all special snowflakes, and hence weRead More →

I read about a woman who used to be a punk rocker and now is a 44 year old mother. Boy, did I identify with that article, especially when I listen to the kid playing her music, which is music I used to listen to when I was younger. Admittedly, she has some rather eclectic tastes, but my point still stands, as evidenced by her desire to copy my Sahara Soundtrack, which contains classic rock from my high school days. The comments on the article are great. One specifically says that old punk rockers are the new old hippies. …Not that I was ever aRead More →

I spent part of today cleaning out my clothes of old clothes. Tomorrow I am going to go through my drawers. A sort of purging, I guess you could say. I don’t know what to do with these clothes, since most of them are good. They aren’t rags or torn or stained. They are just clothes that I don’t wear anymore for a variety of reasons. Which is just embarrassing because it’s emblematic of my crass consumption. I read on ABC an article that talks about where your clothes go when you donate them. They -don’t- go to poor families for free. Anyway, we’re spendingRead More →

This article reports about a survey that reveals the biggest time wasters at work. The list is unimportant, but the survey itself suggests that our Protestant work ethic is kicking into hyperdrive. The article recalls something Susan Willis once wrote (at least I think it was Susan Willis) about how academics think of themselves as having it easy because we don’t have to work the way most people do, when actually what we should do is question the Protestant work ethic roots of the U.S. that unfairly demands so much from all workers. Right now it’s spring break and I should be in the UKRead More →