med_cat: (woman reading)

No shame in channel change

Tuning out politics and tuning in to pop culture isn’t just a guilty pleasure. Doing so can help keep our minds from exploding.


The line to ask Connie Britton a question stretched down the aisle at the theater in the National Museum of Natural History, where the “Nashville” and “Friday Night Lights” star was onstage for a Smithsonian Associates event. It was January, 10 days after President Trump’s inauguration. Sarah Leavitt of Silver Spring, Md., approached the microphone: “I just wanted a little life advice tonight.” ¶ Leavitt, 46, explained that she felt overwhelmed by a barrage of news since Trump took office, including the volume of opportunity for activism, such as phone calls to representatives and participating in the Women’s March. A few days earlier, she bailed on plans with friends to see “Dirty Dancing” on the big screen — it didn’t feel right on the same night that people were storming airports to protest Trump’s executive order for a Muslim travel ban. ¶ “I can’t understand how to talk about pop culture and how to be a citizen in this world that we’re in at the same time,” Leavitt said. “And I was just wondering, how do you calibrate your time, and think that we should calibrate our time now in this new situation?”

Britton responded, “I’ve been thinking about the exact same thing . . . . I think we’re all figuring it out.”

Six months later, the Washington news cycle rages on both sides of the aisle, with constant headlines about health care and Donald Trump Jr.’s emails. Political activism is especially alive in liberal areas such as Washington, a city where a third of the people have protested Trump, according to a Washington Post poll. And some still wrestle with the idea that it’s okay to step away. Binge-watch a show. See a movie. Listen to a podcast. Deep down, it’s easy to feel as though you’re doing something wrong for not focusing enough attention on serious issues.

After Britton’s response, the Q&A moderator, NPR writer and “Pop Culture Happy Hour” host Linda Holmes, had a metaphor to share:

“Did you see ‘The Martian’ with Matt Damon? He’s got a big thing he’s trying to solve, which is that he’s stuck on Mars and he has to get back to Earth. And they spent a lot of time in the movie on the fact that he has to figure out how to grow potatoes on Mars. The potatoes on Mars do not actually get him back to Earth. He’s not actually solving the problem. But if he doesn’t have potatoes, he’s not going to live long enough to solve the problem and get back to Earth.”

She continued: “So, to me, my hope is, the songs that you love, the books that you love, the TV that you love, the conversations that you have about people that are kind of nourishing to you, help you — those are your potatoes . . . and you have to have that stuff in order to make it long enough to get back to Earth.”

Judging by the applause from the audience, Holmes’s words struck a chord. And they hit a bigger nerve the next day, when I tweeted a transcript of her quote. It was retweeted thousands of times and responses poured in, with sentiments along the lines of “This made me cry” and “I really needed to hear this right now.”

“To me, it encapsulated and distilled a fairly complex idea into a simple one,” said Mike Nothnagel, 42, of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. “The world is a challenging and serious place, but you have things you like that can help you navigate it.”

Read more... )

med_cat: (woman reading)
Anne Lamott

We are so doomed. There is nothing we can do. We are at the mercy of two evil ignorant syphilitic madmen, the two worst people on earth. I mean that nicely.

Where do we even start?

We stop trying to figure things out. "Figure it out" is not a good slogan. We practice trust, and surrender, and attention to what we know is beautiful: dogs, art, the Beatles, each other's eyes. And we don't give up hope. Emily Dickinson said that hope encourages the Good to reveal itself. We need all the Good we can summon in these Locked and Loaded days.

So what do we hope for?

Pivot! A perfect time for the Pivot.

Just kidding.

We hope and pray for the return of sanity, or even sanity-ish. I do not hope for a successful Trump presidency or failed Trump presidency. I hope that he does not blow up the whole world.

Is that so much to ask?

What if he accidentally blows up a little bit of the world?

Well, these things happen. We'll stick together. What has always lifted my spirits is a promise that I made to myself, that if it looks like the end of the world, I get to eat every single thing on earth that can't outrun me: the last few days, I will only eat nachos and creme brûlée and Safeway carrot cake. Oatbags of M&M's. No vegetable matter!

That's something to look forward to!

One more question: how do we get to hope in these dark ratty days? )

med_cat: (woman reading)
Elizabeth Gilbert

Question of the day: IS YOUR SOUL APPALLED?

Dear Ones:

I often receive questions from people who are trying to find their path in life, but don't know which way to turn. ("I'm stuck," is the most familiar expression of this dismaying condition.)

Getting unstuck can be a long process — even a lifelong process — but here is a line of thought I try to offer people, when I see them goes something like this:

For reasons that you may never understand, you have been given stewardship over a human soul — which is, of course, your own. This soul was born into YOU — born into your very specific life. Your soul, born into this life, is what my friend Rob Bell calls "a unique event in the history of the universe." There has never been one of you before. Nobody has ever tried the experiment of YOU yet. Nobody has ever tried being this particular soul, lodged in this particular body, born into this particular family, arriving at this particular moment in time, raised in this particular culture, faced with these particular challenges. (And, as Rob also reminds us, that realization alone can be a comforting thought, when you are feeling lost and overwhelmed: NOBODY HAS EVER TRIED THE EXPERIMENT OF YOU YET. Why did you think you were supposed to get it right on the first try? You are a unique event. There is no precedent. There is no operational manual. So show yourself some mercy, if this business of being you seems impossibly tricky at times. You have to figure you out as you go. Sometimes "figuring yourself out as you go" can feel like you're tinkering with the engine of a car, while you are also driving that car down the highway at 70 mile an hour, and while you are also the passenger. Perfect. I think it's supposed to feel like that. It's a strange situation. Have patience with yourself.)

Read more... )

med_cat: (SH education never ends)
Steve Maraboli

Empty Your Cup...

One of my favorite stories concerns famed martial artist, Bruce Lee, and his desire to be trained by a local Master. At the time, Bruce had extensive fight experience and a background in martial arts training. He approached the Master, and after making the customary bows, asked him to be his teacher.

At that time, Bruce began to talk about his experience and rambled on and on about the many fights he had won. The Master listened patiently and then began to make tea. When it was ready, he poured the tea into Bruce’s cup. As Bruce watched, the cup slowly filled until it began to overflow, first on to the table and then on to the floor. While trying to be respectful Bruce couldn’t hold it in any longer and shouted, “Stop, stop! The cup is full; you can’t get any more in.”

The master stopped pouring and said, “You are like this cup; you are full of ideas and opinions. You come and ask for teaching, but your cup is full; I can’t put anything in. Before I can teach you, you will have to empty your cup.”

Read more... )

med_cat: (woman reading)
Anne Lamott
15 hrs ·

I have been traveling around the country for nearly two weeks on book tour, and without exception, my audiences have been filled with lovely bright people who feel doomed. In New York City they were too sad to be ironic, just devastated, and in the Deep South, where they pet me and give me home baked cookies and pocket crosses, and where I develop an accent, their eyes tear up.

People do not feel "anxious" or "frustrated," or doomed-ish, in a mopey Eeyore kind of way.

They feel cursed, cut down, scared to death, like during the Cuban Missile Crisis. It's as if we're all waiting for biopsy results for someone we love. We try to be brave.

No one has a clue how we are going to come through this fever dream. They come to my events because I am usually a cranky optimist who believes that if it seems like a bad ending, it's not the ending. They hope I have found some spiritual, political or psychological tools to cope and transcend.

Read more... )
med_cat: (cat in dress)

Image via Instagram.

Mari Andrew illustrates comics for more than 300k followers

Mourning the loss of a loved one is a painful part of life we’re all forced to endure. It’s easy to feel abandoned and lost while working our way through the stages of grief. That’s why one artist started creating art about it – to help others feel less alone.

“My dad died two years ago today,” writer and illustrator Mari Andrew wrote on Instagram. “It’s different for everyone, but my personal experience is that grief doesn’t ever go away, but it does change shape and it becomes something you can hold rather than something that overwhelms you—a part of you, rather than a burden.”
Read the rest of the article and see the illustrations here:

med_cat: (cat in dress)
Thanks to [ profile] browngirl for the link!
Dan Rather

And so it begins.

Of the nearly 20 inaugurations I can remember, there has never been one that felt like today. Not even close. Never mind the question of the small size of the crowds, or the boycott by dozens of lawmakers, or even the protest marches slated for tomorrow across the country. Those are plays upon the stage. What is truly unprecedented in my mind is the sheer magnitude of quickening heartbeats in millions of Americans, a majority of our country if the polls are to be believed, that face today buffeted within and without by the simmering ache of dread.

I have never seen my country on an inauguration day so divided, so anxious, so fearful, so uncertain of its course.

I have never seen a transition so divisive with cabinet picks so encumbered by serious questions of qualifications and ethics.

I have never seen the specter of a foreign foe cast such a dark shadow over the workings of our democracy.

I have never seen an incoming president so preoccupied with responding to the understandable vagaries of dissent and seemingly unwilling to contend with the full weight and responsibilities of the most powerful job in the world.

I have never seen such a tangled web of conflicting interests.

Read more... )
med_cat: (Ad astra)
I'd posted it back in July; Letters of Note reminded me of it today; they mentioned they'd had a huge spike in traffic to this particular letter. So, I thought a repost might be appropriate; perhaps some of you had not seen it before...

Wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day

Author E. B. White won numerous awards in his lifetime, and with good reason. Born in 1899, he was one of the greatest essayists of his time, writing countless influential pieces for both The New Yorker and Harper's; in 1959, he co-authored the multi-million selling, expanded edition of The Elements of Style; he wrote children's books which have gone on to become classics, such as Stuart Little and Charlotte's Web. He was also responsible for writing hundreds of wonderful letters.

In March of 1973, he wrote the following perfectly formed reply to a Mr. Nadeau, who sought White's opinion on what he saw as a bleak future for the human race.

(This letter, along with 124 other fascinating pieces of correspondence, can be found in the bestselling book, Letters of Note. For more info, visit Books of Note.)

North Brooklin, Maine

30 March 1973

Dear Mr. Nadeau:

As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness.

Sailors have an expression about the weather: they say, the weather is a great bluffer. I guess the same is true of our human society—things can look dark, then a break shows in the clouds, and all is changed, sometimes rather suddenly. It is quite obvious that the human race has made a queer mess of life on this planet. But as a people we probably harbor seeds of goodness that have lain for a long time waiting to sprout when the conditions are right. Man's curiosity, his relentlessness, his inventiveness, his ingenuity have led him into deep trouble. We can only hope that these same traits will enable him to claw his way out.

Hang on to your hat. Hang on to your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.


(Signed, 'E. B. White')

med_cat: (dog and book)
I've translated another one of his tales, also a long-time favorite.

A magic fairytale

Жил-был добрый волшебник. Он мог превращать песок в сахар, а простую воду в молоко, но он ничего этого не делал, так как был убежден, что чудес на земле не бывает.
Пошел он однажды на край света. Пришел, свесил ноги через край и сидит, смотрит вниз — на звезды и луну, на разные планеты.

Once upon a time, there lived a kind magician. He was able to turn sand into sugar, and plain water into milk, but he never did any of these things, because he was convinced that miracles don’t exist in this world.
One time, he walked to the edge of the Earth. When he arrived there, he sat down, hanging his feet over the edge and was sitting there, looking downwards--at the stars and the moon, and different planets.

Вдруг добрый волшебник почувствовал, что рядом с ним кто-то стоит. Он скосил глаза и увидел петуха, который пристроился на самом краю и преспокойно клевал звезды.
— Что ты делаешь! — забеспокоился добрый волшебник. — Ведь так мы останемся без звезд.
Петух перестал клевать.
— И правда, — сказал он, — мне это как-то не пришло в голову. Но согласитесь — здесь же больше нечего клевать.
— А зачем ты забрел на край света? — спросил добрый волшебник.
— У меня просто не было другого выхода, — сказал Петух. — Так сложилась жизнь — ничего не поделаешь.

Suddenly, the kind magician felt someone sit down next to him. He looked askance and saw a rooster, who had ensconced himself at the very edge and was very calmly pecking at the stars.

“What are you doing?!” the kind magician exclaimed, worriedly. “If you keep doing that, we’ll not have any stars left.”

The rooster stopped pecking.

“That is true, now that you mention it,” said he, “I just hadn’t thought of that, somehow. But surely you must agree--there is nothing else to peck here.”

“But why did you wander to the edge of the world?” asked the kind magician.

“I simply had no other option,” said the Rooster. “That’s how life turned out--nothing I could do about it.”

Доброму волшебнику захотелось узнать, как складывается жизнь у петухов, и петух охотно ему рассказал.

The kind magician wanted to know how life turns out for roosters, and the rooster readily told him.Read more... )
med_cat: (Ad astra)
[ profile] debriswoman--here you are :)

And I thought perhaps some other people here might like this story, I don't believe Krivin's work has been translated.

Let me know if you'd like to see more, I'll translate a few more of his sketches as time allows.

Жил на свете Художник.
Однажды, еще в детстве, он нарисовал портрет старика. Старика этого он выдумал, но на портрете старик получился совсем как живой. Маленький Художник никак не мог расстаться со своей работой: он все что-то добавлял, подмалевывал и так увлекся, что старику это надоело. Он сошел с портрета и сердито сказал:

— Довольно! Ты меня совсем замучаешь!

Once upon a time, there lived an Artist.

Once, when he was still a boy, he painted a portrait of an old man. The old man was his own invention, but the portrait came out extremely life-like. The young Artist just couldn’t bear to part with his handiwork: he kept adding a bit of paint here and there, retouching, and got so carried away that the old man had enough of it. He came out of the portrait and angrily said,

“Enough! You’re going to work me to death!”

Read more... )
med_cat: (dog and book)
The "Election Day" one was rather interesting...:P

Originally posted by [ profile] mi3ch at оживляж

В продолжение темы собак на картинах. Норман Роквелл на вопрос, можно ли улучшить неудавшуюся картину, отвечал: «Можно. Нужно дорисовать на ней собаку».

А в галерее Уффици рассказывали о причинах изображения собак на больших полотнах. Во время эпохи Возрождения большое количество картин заказывала католическая церковь. Чтобы интерес был не только у взрослых, церковь очень рекомендовала художникам изображать внизу картины то, что интересно детям.

И в ту же коробочку.
Великий театральный художник Тышлер, создавая эскизы декораций, в углу рисовал маленькую зеленую собачку. И когда кто-–нибудь из приемной комиссии спрашивал: «Мне все нравится, но причем здесь эта собака?», художник со вздохом сожаления замазывал ее. На этом процесс обсуждения обычно заканчивался, работу принимали, оставляя у вопрошающего сладкий привкус плодотворной творческой дискуссии с маэстро…

Также есть упоминания «красной собачки». Некоторые приписывают авторство Ле Корбюзье, некоторые — Николаю Улласу, одному из педагогов МАРХИ. «Суть «красной собачки» заключается в том, чтобы на листе учебного проекта изобразить нечто постороннее, небольшое, но весьма заметное, способное увести комиссию от обсуждения по существу. Бросаясь в глаза, «красная собачка» помогает не заметить по–настоящему серьезные ошибки, несуразности и нестыковки».

Ходят еще слухи о братьях Фарелли и их белой собачке, собаке Фаворского и желтой собачке Девятова.

Илье Кабакову жутко надоели все эти истории с разноцветными собачками, что он решил раз и навсегда с ними покончить полотном «Смерть собачки Али» via

Several more paintings with dogs: )
med_cat: (cat in dress)
Surprising Lessons Learned by a Physician-Turned-Patient

(from Medscape; website registration required if not previously done but it's free and easy)
med_cat: (cat in dress)

Born near the end of the 19th Century, Irving Berlin went on to become a celebrated composer of American popular music that was to influence generations of song lovers.

*Berlin was born in Russia in 1888 and died in New York in 1989 at the age of 101.
Read more... )
med_cat: (woman reading)
Elizabeth Gilbert
12 hrs ·

Dear Ones:

Good morning.

As Beyonce once sang, "We woke up in the kitchen, saying 'How the hell did this shit happen?'"

Oh baby.

I did not want this outcome. I did not expect this outcome. I did not in any universe imagine that this outcome ever could have occurred — and the fact that I did not imagine it as possible means that clearly I have been out of touch with the hearts and minds of millions of my fellow Americans. I cannot say that I understand them. I certainly don't agree with them. And yet this is the world we wake up to today.


Every single day, you must face whatever world you have woken up to — whatever that may be. That's the only world you get. You must start there.

Let me tell you what happened in our home last night.

Read more... )

med_cat: (cat in dress)
Dear Ones -

I want to offer you something today, which I hope might make you feel a little better, if you happen to be worrying about anything. (And who isn't?)

It's about the difference between the word "worry", and the word "concern".

The word "worry" comes to us from the Old English verb "wyrgan", which means "to strangle". The word "worry", therefore, shares a similar root to the word "wring". Both words mean to seize something by the throat, and choke the living breath out of it.

How's that working for you?
Read more... )
med_cat: (cat in dress)
Anastasiya Rubtsova, from FB; English translation's mine

На днях клиентка говорит мне с мучительным стыдом:
- Никто из нормальных людей не будет жрать чипсы в подъезде прямо из пакета. Вы, например, так не делаете наверняка.
Да ладно. По-моему, если уж жрать чипсы, то именно так – в подъезде, радостно, тайком от родных, хрустя пакетом и облизывая с пальцев соль. Что там еще вредного, глютамат натрия, специи? Вот их еще облизывать. Ну а как еще прикажете есть чипсы – ножом и вилкой, с фарфора?
Но тут, конечно, не в чипсах дело.

A few days ago, one of my clients told me, with great shame:

"No normal person would ever be scarfing up potato chips right out of the bag, while standing just inside the door of the apartment building. I bet you never do such a thing yourself."

Oh, come on now. In my opinion, if one is going to scarf down potato chips, that's exactly the way to do it--just inside the door of the apartment building, happily, in secret from your family, scrunching up the bag and licking the salt off your fingers. What other bad for you things are in the potato chips? Sodium glutamate, spices? There, you should lick them off your fingers too. How else is one supposed to eat potato chips--with a knife and fork, off a fine china plate?
Of course, it's not the chips that are the real issue here.

Read more... )


med_cat: (cat in dress)

When I introduce myself as “Betsy Braud, the jazz nurse,” people ask what I do and why I call myself a jazz nurse. I explain that nursing is my profession; that I incorporate music into my nursing and nursing into my music; and that I serve my community as a performer, presenter and arts educator.

Growing up in Louisiana, music has always been a part of my life. I began studying music when I was 8 years old, beginning with piano lessons and then switching to flute when I was 10. As an adolescent, I played flute in the school band and church and played with hippies in the park. As a teenager, I used music to manage grief. I lost my father, an uncle, a brother and a dear friend all before I turned 17. I lost another brother two years ago. If not for music, I don’t know where I would be.

I believe in the healing power of music. There are mounds of literary references that tout the benefit of music and mounting evidence that demonstrates how music can heal. I have experienced it for myself, up close and personal.

Genetically predisposed to being a healer, my first career track was music therapy. My parents were both physicians and four of my siblings are either physicians or nurses. I was studying music therapy when I decided to pursue a degree in music performance. My life changed in 1977 when I heard Alvin Batiste, a legendary clarinetist and educator, perform magic on his clarinet in New Orleans. Upon learning that he was an instructor and director of the Jazz Institute at Southern University in Baton Rouge, I relocated and began my mentorship with Batiste. I studied classical flute and completed my music performance degree while I immersed myself in the world of jazz.

Read more... )

med_cat: (SH education never ends)

Today in Mighty Girl history, Maria Montessori, the Italian educator and physician who created the Montessori Method, was born in 1870. Montessori's educational philosophy of encouraging children's learning through discovery is now used in an estimated 30,000 schools worldwide.

Montessori grew up in Italy and enrolled in the University of Rome's school of medicine in 1893. As a woman, she faced hostility from both fellow students and professors, even being forced to perform dissections alone after hours as it was deemed inappropriate for her to attend classes with men in the presence of a naked cadaver. Despite the obstacles, she graduated in 1896 and set up a private practice.

Montessori rapidly became an advocate for both women's rights and the rights of children with disabilities. She regularly worked with children facing these challenges, and she was a major supporter of their right to access education. In 1901, she left her practice to engage in further study in psychology and educational philosophy, and began considering how to adapt the methods she used for general classroom use.

Read more... )
med_cat: (cat in dress)
There is such a thing as a harmless little white lie.

The best anecdote I know about this came from President Jimmy Carter’s mother, who — when her son was running for president — was visited down in Georgia by a pushy New York journalist, who demanded to know, “Is it true that your son has never told a lie? Seriously? NEVER?”

Mrs. Carter thought about it, and said “Well, Jimmy has told some white lies….”

The journalist thought she had Mrs. Carter in trap and said, “Aha! But isn’t a white lie just a lie, all the same?”

Mrs. Carter said, “No, white lies are harmless.”

The journalist said, “Give me an example of a harmless white lie.”

Mrs. Carter said, “Well…remember when you came into my house today, and I told you that it was very nice to meet you? THAT was a white lie...”

(from Elizabeth Gilbert's article "Truth and Kindness", full text below)

Dear Ones –

The biggest emotional trouble I’ve ever gotten into in my life always stemmed from the same dilemma — when I was torn between telling the truth, and being kind.

Both matter immensely to me.

Both of these virtues (truth and kindness) are top-notch, A-grade, golden-ticket qualities, recognized by every human society in history as being essential for basic goodness.

I want to be unfailingly honest, but I want to be a REALLY NICE PERSON.

But here’s the thing: I’ve traditionally had trouble figuring out how to be both. Because sometimes the truth really hurts people, and I never want to hurt anybody. So — for most of my life — when I had to choose between truth and kindness, I always went with kindness. Because my need to not hurt people was bigger than my need to be truthful.

Also, isn’t it a fact that most people — no matter what they may claim — actually don’t really want you to tell them the truth? (Or so my reasoning went, anyhow.) As a Ethics Professor of mine taught me back in college: “Most of us grew up in families where our parents DEMANDED the truth, but they couldn’t DEAL WITH IT…and so we all learn how to lie.”

Didn’t the world teach you how to lie, too, in order to keep things peaceful and smooth? So aren’t you doing people a favor, when you them what they want to hear? Isn’t that nice of you?


Here’s the thing I have finally learned, after years of struggling and suffering over this subject )
med_cat: (cat in dress)

Happy 98th birthday to pioneering NASA physicist and mathematician Katherine Johnson! One of the earliest women to join NASA, Johnson's skills in celestial navigation were renowned. Among other mathematical feats, she calculated -- by hand -- the launch window and trajectory for the 1961 space flight of Alan Shepard, the first American in space, and the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon. For her contributions to the space programs and for blazing a trail for women and African Americans at NASA, Johnson was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country's highest civilian award, last year.

Read more... )


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