Archive for November, 2011

A New Yorker Thanksgiving (thanks to Roz Chast)

November 24, 2011

Photo diary: random Vegas shots

November 22, 2011

Katie, Curves' resident exercise physiologist

lion cage in the lobby of the MGM Grand

the Dutch concept design store has an outlet on the Strip

faux pumpkin patch in the mall, faux Jetsons-style restaurant above

Quote of the day: LOVE LANGUAGES

November 22, 2011


“Adults all have a love tank. If you feel loved by your spouse, the whole world is right. If the love tank is empty, the whole world can begin to look dark.” The problem: individuals fill their tanks in different ways. To illustrate, [Southern Baptist minister and author Gary Chapmn] told the crowd a story of a couple on the verge of divorce who came to see him. The man was dumbfounded. He cooked dinner every night for his wife; afterward he washed the dishes and took out the trash. “I don’t know what else do to,” the man said. “But she still tells me she doesn’t feel loved.” The woman agreed. “He does all those things,” she said. Then she burst into tears. “But Dr. Chapman, we never talk. We haven’t talked in 30 years.” In Dr. Chapman’s analysis, each one spoke a different love language: he liked to perform acts of service for his wife, while she was seeking quality time from him.

“Each of us has a primary love language,” Dr. Chapman said, and often secondary or tertiary ones. To help identify your language, he recommended focusing on the way you most frequently express love. What you give is often what you crave. Challenges in relationships arise because people tend to be attracted to their opposites, he said. “In a marriage, almost never do a husband and wife have the same language. The key is we have to learn to speak the language of the other person.”

He eventually labeled these different ways of expressing love “the five love languages”: words of affirmation; gifts; acts of service; quality time; and physical touch.

— Bruce Feiler, “A Sermon to Save Marriages,” New York Times

Photo diary: Occupy Wall Street, November 17, 2011

November 20, 2011

Last Thursday, November 17, was a National Call to Action by Occupy Wall Street, which seemed like a good time to hit the street. There was a 5:00 rally in Foley Square that seemed aimed to manifest a critical mass of citizen participants — numerous labor unions had signed on for the event — so I went down with my friend Jonathan to add my presence and, as he likes to say, “get a sense of the meeting.”

Jonathan (above right) is a certified ’60s radical with plenty of experience with political protest, including tales of being caught in police riots at the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968. His comrade-in-arms from those days, Mike (above left), now a lawyer whose office overlooks Zucotti Park, also joined us for the rally. Their war stories are older than mine. Events like this one reminded me a bit of my days with ACT UP. This event did make me long wistfully for the elegance, focus, and theatricality that ACT UP brought to its public actions. In Foley Square, there was pretty much mild chaos. There was a loud, crappy sound system — I couldn’t see where the microphones were stationed, but they mostly broadcast exceedingly mediocre rapping.

It was a cold night but the square filled up with tens of thousands of people — a New York mixture, men and women, all colors, all ages, union members pushing comrades in wheelchairs, elderly women on the march, plus the inevitable ragtag marginal old-school lefty soapboxes (Workers World Party, calling for the Communist Revolution, etc.).

The sentiments were all over the place. Observing myself agree/disagree/agree/disagree with signs pointed up the essential value of Occupy Wall Street, which is not to let Them decide what the issues are and what should be done but to look inside. What do I think is important? What are the burning issues I am willing to devote time, energy, and resources to?

The police presence was insanely out of proportion for what is categorically a peaceful protest situation. The police mounted a miliary campaign of control and containment, looking for all the world like they were expecting to face an army of masked bandits wielding automatic weapons and Molotov cocktails. They had set up Foley Square so there were bizarre pockets of metal barricades with dead space inside. Despite their heavy numbers and the threatening presence of police on horseback, I didn’t witness any disturbances, even when the demonstrators decided to push a bunch of barricades aside and occupy the entire square.

As with the Times Square demo I attended, this one got a boost when a few thousand students showed up who’d marched down Broadway from Union Square. Eventually, a march across the Brooklyn Bridge occurred — I didn’t stick around for that, but I understand that mostly it was a peaceful procession in collaboration with a squadron of NYPD Community Affairs officers in light blue windbreakers. There were some arrests for blocking the roadways, an action that usually strikes me as a relatively lame form of civil disobedience, but I appreciated the sentiment expressed by the woman in the sign above: “Sorry for the inconvenience, we are trying to change the world.”

Quote of the day: MARGARET SANGER

November 20, 2011

The first birth-control clinic in the United States opened on October 16, 1916, on Amboy Street in Brooklyn. There were two rooms, and three employees: Ethel Byrne, a nurse; Fania Mindell, a receptionist who was fluent in Yiddish; and Byrne’s sister, Margaret Sanger, a thirty-seven-year-old nurse and mother…Between 1912 and 1913, Sanger wrote a twelve-part series for The Call, the socialist daily, titled “What Every Girl Should Know.” Because any discussion of venereal matters violated the Comstock law, Sanger’s final essay, “Some Consequences of Ignorance and Silence,” was banned on the ground of obscenity. By way of protest, The Call ran, in place of the essay, an announcement: “’What Every Girl Should Know’ – NOTHING!”…
In 1914, Sanger began publishing The Woman Rebel, an eight-page feminist monthly, in which she coined the term “birth control”…[The following year she rented a storefront and opened the birth control clinic that eventually became Planned Parenthood.] Nine days later, an undercover policewoman came, posing as a mother of two who couldn’t afford any more children. Mindell sold her a copy of “What Every Girl Should Know.” Byrne discussed contraception with her. The next day, the police arrived, arrested Sanger, confiscated an examination table, and shut down the clinic…
At Sanger’s trial, during which the judge waved a cervical cap from the bench, Sanger hoped to argue that the law preventing the distribution of contraception was unconstitutional; exposing women, against their will, to the danger of dying in childbirth violated a woman’s right t life. But the judge ruled that no woman had “the right to copulate with a feeling of security that there will be no resulting conception.” In other words, if a woman wasn’t willing to die in childbirth, she shouldn’t have sex. Sanger went to Queens County Penitentiary. She was sentenced to thirty days.

— Jill Lepore, “Birthright: what’s next for Planned Parenthood?,” The New Yorker

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