My First Guerilla Art Piece

Off to put this someplace! Not sure where, but I’m excited! The directions are below if you want to try it.

Mary Karr Makes Me Weep

It was so worth lingering over the last few pages of Lit. I finished her trilogy of memoirs this summer and feel all the better for it. There was healing in those pages.

Lit

I am dreading finishing this book. I have spent hours in it for the past two evenings, not to mention sitting on a rock at the playground one afternoon absorbed in this book’s honesty, humor, and wisdom. I counted my three children every couple of pages, just for safety’s sake. When I am done these last 41 pages, what will I find next to take up my time?

Connecting to Judaism Through Picture Books (Even if You’re Not Jewish!)

I’m going through our mail from when we were away, and the most exciting pieces are books from PJ Library. We are lucky to get free books from them every few weeks for all three of my daughters. The books help us to get a little glimpse into Jewish culture and holidays. And honestly the books we have received thus far make Judaism so exciting – from Passover to journeys to Israel, my girls are definitely engaged in each book because they are so celebratory and have great illustrations to boot. This generosity came from connecting with a PJ Library table at the Boston Children’s Museum. It seemed too good to be true at the time – free picture books! – but the books keep on showing up in our mailbox. Mazel to PJ Library for “doing a mitzvah” for our family!

Baltimore to Boston Road Trip Library

Some professional reading, a memoir because I’m on a Mary Karr kick, Lonely City bought from the Baltimore Museum of Art and some books to browse that I picked up from a Little Free Library in my Mom’s neighborhood. Plus I printed out a Wikipedia article on the 7 Deadly Sins for a project my Mom and I are doing. (Music = Pixies!)

Oh, the Places I’ll Make Art

I purchased this gem of a D.I.Y. book yesterday at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore.

After a wonderful “artiful” school year, I am growing back into an artistic identity and exploring ways to make art as much as possible in simple ways.

This book is so full of possibility. Will I seed bomb a neglected lot of Boston? Will I make fortunes to leave in random places? Or should I place found photos in my favorite places?

I look forward to getting in touch with my inner Guerilla Girl. Stay tuned!

“She anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.”

Do you like to read aloud to your friends and family? I do. And this week, a trio of articles served as a catalyst for discourse and especially for wild gut-busting laughter during some family car trips.

The Article: How We Are Ruining America by David Brooks

The premise of this piece is that upper middle class Americans deliberately move their families away from the other half (read: “the poor and less educated”) and therefore limit opportunities for inclusion. This essentially bars class mobility. Basically, it is a caste system – locking out the untouchables, with little access to the upper classes. Education is a key part of this, and the system for college admissions is rigged to prioritize children of parents who are wealthy enough to play the game.

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While Brooks’ premise is aligned with my experiences with my own education and my profession as an educator, he makes a BIG MISTAKE – a paragraph so distracting that it is ripe for parody, and, well, just pretty dumb.

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Here it is – in all its glory:

Recently I took a friend with only a high school degree to lunch. Insensitively, I led her into a gourmet sandwich shop. Suddenly I saw her face freeze up as she was confronted with sandwiches named “Padrino” and “Pomodoro” and ingredients like soppressata, capicollo and a striata baguette. I quickly asked her if she wanted to go somewhere else and she anxiously nodded yes and we ate Mexican.

This is a lesson in writing – reread and ensure that your discourse is aligned and on message. The paragraphs before and after are written with on message and with academic language that fits the tone of the rest of the article. Brooks attempts to use a personal anecdote to connect with the reader – but it is an incredible distraction from his message and drew enormous critical responses about this single paragraph (see the fun part below). The poignant parts are forgotten as America reacts to the mention of delicatessen.

Also interesting to note that Italian is perceived as sophisticated (a change from just a century and change from when Italians were outcasts and even lynched) whereas Mexican is clearly just a step above a Miller High Life,  a bag of pork rinds, and some stale circus peanuts.

And now for the fun part…

Exhibit A: From the poignant blog The Outline, an  op-ed piece by Alex Nichols

Stop patronizing the working class: Why are pundits obsessed with Applebee’s and farm workers?

BOOM! Here’s the question on everyone’s miss after reading the sandwich shop story:

“First of all, how does someone so stereotypically provincial manage to befriend a high-profile Times columnist?”

And the following paragraph (definitely read this one aloud to a friend!) rips the equally-obsessed-with-how-the-lower-castes-handle-food columnists anti-gay conservative Rod Dreher and Bloomberg columnist Meghan McArdle a new one:

There is indeed a pattern here, but it isn’t that working-class Americans universally break out in hives when confronted with food other than hamburgers and mac ‘n’ cheese — it’s that no one wants to go out to lunch with any of these pompous hacks.

BOOM! Ain’t that the truth!

Exhibit B: From The AV Club‘s Sean O’Neal

Explaining David Brooks’ column to a stupid coworker who’s scared of fancy meat

This article is an absolute gem. And a single sentence had my husband and I laughing so hard that my daughters all laughed along with us:

“Indeed, I said single-malted-scotch-ily. I explained how this column serves as yet another clarion call alerting us to America’s slow sinking into a morass of cultural decline, which David Brooks and others like us—we who thoughtfully chew our piquant charcuterie while brooding over the Proustian reveries of ourselves it inspires—can only look upon it sadly, gazing down at our bologna-smeared consorts and lamenting the many bloviating, condescending, overpaid butchers of language and meat that are driving us apart.”

“Single-malted-scotch-ily” – who writes like this? Amazing. Just meet a friend for lunch (antipasto, anyone? or maybe just a gas station pickle in a bag)  and read this article to them. You are giving them a gift, seriously.