Not surprising, perhaps, but wonderful and thought-provoking anyhow.
A lot of people around the world have ideas of what America is like, possibly thanks to Hollywood, or their local news channels, and maybe from what they’ve heard from families and friends. But then, they came here, to the grand old United States and their minds exploded. Taken from Quora.
“Why do poor people make stupid, illogical decisions to buy status symbols? For the same reason all but only the most wealthy buy status symbols, I suppose. We want to belong. And, not just for the psychic rewards, but belonging to one group at the right time can mean the difference between unemployment and employment, a good job as opposed to a bad job, housing or a shelter, and so on. Someone mentioned on twitter that poor people can be presentable with affordable options from Kmart. But the issue is not about being presentable. Presentable is the bare minimum of social civility. It means being clean, not smelling, wearing shirts and shoes for service and the like. Presentable as a sufficient condition for gainful, dignified work or successful social interactions is a privilege. It’s the aging white hippie who can cut the ponytail of his youthful rebellion and walk into senior management while aging black panthers can never completely outrun the effects of stigmatization against which they were courting a revolution. Presentable is relative and, like life, it ain’t fair… Gatekeeping is a complex job of managing boundaries that do not just define others but that also define ourselves. Status symbols — silk shells, designer shoes, luxury handbags — become keys to unlock these gates.”—Tressie McMillan Cottom, via TPM
"Most of the information I need to diagnose and manage patients comes from talking to them, what doctors call the “history of present illness.” (The rest comes from the physical exam and other tests.) But it takes time to glean these details from a patient and figure out what might be wrong. If I could focus on that part of my work, it would be a much better use of my time—and that of my patients. Instead, I spend most of my time with patients on basic tasks, like checking their blood pressure, and am left with only a couple of minutes—if that—on the more complicated work."
After learning my flight was detained 4 hours,
I heard the announcement:
If anyone in the vicinity of gate 4-A understands any Arabic,
Please come to the gate immediately.
Well—one pauses these days. Gate 4-A was my own gate. I went there.
An older woman in full traditional Palestinian dress,
Just like my grandma wore, was crumpled to the floor, wailing loudly.
Help, said the flight service person. Talk to her. What is her
Problem? we told her the flight was going to be four hours late and she
I put my arm around her and spoke to her haltingly.
Shu dow-a, shu- biduck habibti, stani stani schway, min fadlick,
Sho bit se-wee?
The minute she heard any words she knew—however poorly used—
She stopped crying.
She thought our flight had been canceled entirely.
She needed to be in El Paso for some major medical treatment the
Following day. I said no, no, we’re fine, you’ll get there, just late,
Who is picking you up? Let’s call him and tell him.
We called her son and I spoke with him in English.
I told him I would stay with his mother till we got on the plane and
Would ride next to her—Southwest.
She talked to him. Then we called her other sons just for the fun of it.
Then we called my dad and he and she spoke for a while in Arabic and
Found out of course they had ten shared friends.
Then I thought just for the heck of it why not call some Palestinian
Poets I know and let them chat with her. This all took up about 2 hours.
She was laughing a lot by then. Telling about her life. Answering
She had pulled a sack of homemade mamool cookies—little powdered
Sugar crumbly mounds stuffed with dates and nuts—out of her bag—
And was offering them to all the women at the gate.
To my amazement, not a single woman declined one. It was like a
Sacrament. The traveler from Argentina, the traveler from California,
The lovely woman from Laredo—we were all covered with the same
Powdered sugar. And smiling. There are no better cookies.
And then the airline broke out the free beverages from huge coolers—
Non-alcoholic—and the two little girls for our flight, one African
American, one Mexican American—ran around serving us all apple juice
And lemonade and they were covered with powdered sugar too.
And I noticed my new best friend—by now we were holding hands—
Had a potted plant poking out of her bag, some medicinal thing,
With green furry leaves. Such an old country traveling tradition. Always
Carry a plant. Always stay rooted to somewhere.
And I looked around that gate of late and weary ones and thought,
This is the world I want to live in. The shared world.
Not a single person in this gate—once the crying of confusion stopped
—has seemed apprehensive about any other person.
They took the cookies. I wanted to hug all those other women too.
This can still happen anywhere.
“At first it’s fine and you think you have a dark side – it’s exciting – and then you realize the dark side wins every time if you decide to indulge in it.”—Lana Del Rey (aka Elizabeth Grant), on her struggle with alcohol dependence, in a 2012 interview with GQ
“Nonfiction writers throughout history have faked materials, discovered lost texts that weren’t truly lost, or made up characters and events. What’s new…is how quickly Lehrer was exposed. Fact checking meet crowdsourcing.”—
Journalist Neda Ulaby, on Jonah Lehrer’s resignation from the New Yorker following revelations about the author’s “tendencies to reuse his own material and make up quotes”
“It is other women, not men… who most impact the evolution of girls into women. Other women, not men, who provide the opportunities for self-expression and self-discovery. Other women, not men, who bear witness to the triumphs and tragedies of young womanhood. Other women, not men, in whom we both find and lose ourselves.”—Anna Holmes, from “The Age of Girlfriends” (via New Yorker)
“One cannot compare tanning in Europe to the United States. Commercial tanning salons in the United States are a different matter altogether.”—
John Overstreet, executive director of the Indoor Tanning Association (an industry group), reacting to new findings from a European study that 1 in 20 cases of melanoma are linked to indoor tanning beds
Actually, I think indoor tanning in Europe is exactly like tanning in the US— except that tanning beds on this side of the Atlantic are far less regulated. This comment represents precisely the kind of rhetorical bulls*it that industry lobbyists use when they don’t have a legitimate scientific leg to stand on. I’ll bet smoking in developing countries is “a different matter altogether,” too…
Twenty people, mostly friends of Ms. Ginn or the gallery owner, Ms. LaViola, nibbled on goat cheese bruschetta topped with rat leg tenderloin, and rat-pork terrine encircled with beef fat, prepared by a chef after much trial and error with his proteins. The rats were shipped from a United States Department of Agriculture-approved West Coast processor that supplies pet owners with humanely killed, individually flash-frozen rodents, in classifications ranging from “jumbo” to “fuzzy.” Seventy five rats were skinned and cooked — and broiled and smoked and grilled — for the dinner, and most guests paid $100 each to attend, signing a liability waiver, some not entirely willingly.
“As external conditions change, it becomes tougher to meet the three conditions that sociologists since the 1950s have considered crucial to making close friends: proximity; repeated, unplanned interactions; and a setting that encourages people to let their guard down and confide in each other.”—
Rebecca G. Adams, professor of sociology and gerontology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro
“The cultural fixation on the couple blinds us to the full web of relationships that sustain us on a daily basis. We are far more than whom we are (or aren’t) married to: we are also friends, grandparents, colleagues, cousins, and so on. To ignore the depth and complexities of these networks is to limit the full range of our emotional experiences.”— Kate Bolick, from “All the Single Ladies,” (The Atlantic)