Wednesday, December 11, 2013
I went to laughter yoga the other night, I guess because I live in a big city and sometimes wear stretchy pants in the street and pretty regularly force-feed myself kale.
Regular yoga is no longer the cure-all for your out-of-balance, toxins-infested mind-body; the cure-all is laughter yoga. Basically, laughter yoga is the new method for scrubbing out our dirty bodies and changing our brain chemistry and banishing sadness and stress from everyone. Forever.
The idea is that laughing is good for you (science says so, after all), and that pretending to laugh can be just as good for your health and wellbeing as actual laughing. So that’s what you do, in laughter yoga. You pretend—force yourself, even—to laugh. For an hour.
Here is what I learned at laughter yoga.
1. There is no yoga in laughter yoga.
I think I have a pretty forgiving definition of what yoga is (like, taking deep breaths when you’re trying not to punch people on the subway is clearly yoga), but standing in the dimly-lit “party room” of someone’s condo with a handful of kooky middle-aged ladies (respect), and forcing yourself to cackle maniacally at literally nothing for a full hour is just unsettling. It’s like the humiliating improv unit in high school drama class, but this time you paid money for it and everyone is 30 years older. My chakras are still unaligned. READ MORE
Edith Windsor, the 84-year-old plaintiff who paved the way for the Supreme Court's DOMA ruling this past summer, was on the shortlist for TIME's annual Human We Put On The December Cover Issue (the Pope won). She talked quite a bit on tape about her 40-plus years with her spouse, Thea Spyer, who died in 2009, and it's really nice. (She also shared a lot of old photos of the two of them. KNOCKOUTS.) [TIME]
I feel sick just writing this, and I don't want to lose something good, so here goes:
I'm a 34-year-old single mother of a beautiful, sweet, and healthy three-year-old boy. I never imagined having kids, but accidentally became pregnant three months into a destructive relationship. I kept the child and eventually got rid of the man (with the help of a domestic violence counselor and a restraining order), which was a healthy decision.
You see, healthy decisions are not my forte. With a few exceptions, I usually date the damaged bad boy, the alcoholic who needs rescuing, or the tortured artist. I scrapped all that when I had my son, and haven't dated since removing baby daddy from my life 2 years ago. Until recently. READ MORE
Are you ready for this? I wasn't. But I'm also not ready to face the reality that Christmas is in two weeks and I don't have presents for anyone yet. Rather than sensibly consider the very near future, let's strap ourselves down for a second and think about the past with this 62-year-old Christmas issue of Woman's Day, which shall guide us through the holiday season like an old-timey lantern fueled not with kerosene but with medium-grade crack.
So how does the holiday spirit look in 1951? First, like a G.E. clock called "The Clansman":
And a thirty-year-old dude carrying a Santa bag full of cigarettes, who's two seconds away from taking that beard off and doing that towel-slap thing with it:
What's with the man stuff, Woman's Day? The editors make up for it with a feature whose title will, many decades later, prove itself evergreen:
Here, "Susan Bennett Holmes," a sentient wig adrift in a sea of quaaludes, wishes you "a very Merry Christmas—in three dimensions!" This copy reaches Donald Barthelme levels of duplicity, formal anarchy and verbal collage. "What is a broken necklace to thee and us?" "Our old straw hat never broke itself into little grass rugs—even in our mind." The piece ends on the unpunctuated word "miniature," refusing to finish itself either elsewhere on the page or in the magazine, because the wig and her editors do not give a fuck. READ MORE
Hairpin pal Liz Galvao is doing a great blog advent calendar called I'm Down for the Holidays, and from Tuesday: "I took pictures from Kay Jewelers’ Previously Owned Treasures and captioned them with excerpts from sad Petfinder bios. I thought it would be funny and it is." Here is a sample:
People have overlooked her because she is a big gold ring but they have failed to see how sweet she is. For someone with an open heart and mind, they could make all the difference in the world for this old girl.
Adopt a butt necklace here today!
Mr Ros, be not uneasy, you son charley bruster be all writ we is got him and no powers on earth can deliver out of our hand. [Smithsonian]
Transcript after the jump. READ MORE
I work for a tiny domestic violence shelter in the Midwest; I thought I might speak to those folks wondering what they can do to help change things. (ETA: That got a lot more wordy and flail-y than I'd meant, but I think I'll leave it be.)
Political help: Know your representatives and senators and city council, etc. Be familiar with who's pushing for what, and why.
Know the numbers: Be prepared if you ever need to shoot down some dumb-ass argument (like "DID YOU KNOW that all those people on food stamps drive SUVs?? and similar nonsense).
And get to know your local stats: what's the current homeless rate? What's the breakdown for race, for substance abuse, etc? If your area is about evenly divided between X, Y, and Z groups, and group Y accounts for 60% of the homeless population, then what does that say? READ MORE
Of the 124 Authors Who Made the 'Times' Top 10 Bestseller Lists in 2012, Only 3 Were People of Color
This heartening infographic comes courtesy of Lee & Low, who got these numbers by looking at the New York Times "general bestsellers list, Combined Print & E-Book Fiction (adult), and the top ten books for all 52 weeks of 2012." They've also done this for the Emmy Awards and the children's book industry. Next up, a study showing how many minority writers need to be published in the New Yorker's fiction section for white male writers across America to start an ugly revolt against this marketing-based affirmative action: my guess is the whiskey-rant switch is flipped once we hit, hmm, 10%.
It's a tall order to cover Jessie Ware's biggest song, and Pure Bathing Culture stepped up. Like their great Moon Tides EP, this track has a moonlit, prom-deep-beneath-the-ocean feel; singer Sarah Vesprille doesn't try to belt like Jessie, but allows the song to float nicely on Pure Bathing Culture's decade-confounding miasma, a sort of folk/coke/Cocteau Twins/Don Henley vibe that is never quite ironic but always has a twinkle in its eye.
Our love exploded like a fireball
fireballs are hot, hot
stop, drop, and roooolllll.
You came at me like a curveball
I didn’t see you coming
heeeeey, heeeeey, you should really announce yourself, K?
I'm drunk on you like I had a few too many highballs
your ice cubes are huge.
You play me like racquetball
you know, racquetball
from the '80s?
You carve me like a Butterball
a delicious Thanksgiving Butterball
you give me a tryptophan high. READ MORE
Once—during one of those conversations in which you and a spouse/friend/coworker are formulating an alternate reality—my husband suggested that we move to Japan and become reality television stars. We're an interracial gay couple with the two cutest kids in the universe. In this country, we get occasional stares. In Japan, I'm confident we could be stars.
Gossip personality Perez Hilton is going to co-produce and star in a reality television show about gay dads, right here in America. It has a very descriptive name: "Gay Dads Of New York." We are not going to be on it. We weren't asked to be, nothing like that, and we're not the kind of people who would do well on reality television, anyway; neither of us has ever said "I'm not here to make friends." (We're not, though.)
It goes without saying that reality television has very little to do with reality. What such programming represents isn't a realistic depiction of a thing; it's the elevation of that thing to cultural prominence. It's the Tyler Perry conundrum. The popular culture will reckon with someone who is, on paper, representative of me. Does it have to be that guy? READ MORE
Hey, Blue Cup. How've you been. Yeah, this cupboard sucks. I know. Sorry. I’m taking you out to get a good look at you because, I admit, it’s been a while. Hmm. That’s not your best side. You’re fading a bit, yeah? I want to say you’re that Devil Wears Prada color—cerulean—but you’re actually reminding me of the color of the floor tiles in the shower of my high school gym. A color used only in public schools and prisons.
And you’re feeling rough to the touch. I can trace each dent and scratch on your surface. You dent and scratch easily. What? OK. It’s partly my fault. I know, I know, I’ve thrown you into boxes, sinks, across rooms. Across one particular room at one particular ex-boyfriend. He wasn’t right for us, was he, Blue Cup?
You handled it well. You’re tough, eh? Made of the kind of plastic they used to make suitcase handles out of in the '70s. Let me get a whiff of you. Huh. You still smell like the plastic they’re talking about in The Graduate. Yeah, you were mass-produced. It's true. But that’s OK. I paid very little to take you home, and you’ve done right by me. It’s been 15 years for you and me, Blue Cup.
You’ve still got your figure. You’re as square as they come, Blue Cup. What are you, about seven inches tall? I’m about 5’7”. Do you feel like you’re shrinking? Because that’s the way I feel these days. I’m 33. Jesus. READ MORE