SL 795

Love a little Cornhole while waiting for a table in a restaurant.

I never read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book “Between the World and Me” five years ago, because I was turned off by reviews, which said that he was happy when white folks died in the World Trade Center during 9/11. But iBooks was offering the e-version for $1 last month, so I figured I would check it out. I’m just a few chapters into the book, but so far, it’s much better than I thought. Like really good. Worth a read for sure.

Alright, I’m obsessed with Dark Academia fashion now.

Eat your garlic scapes!

Looks like we’re going to need a new laundry room, along with a new family room, thanks to the great poop water disaster. So, I’m suddenly reading up on cool ideas for that room. I’m unusually amused by cool organizational equipment.

22 thoughts on “SL 795

  1. What reviews said that? TNC is super-sharp. I only got to it at the beginning of June because I’m a lazy bum and read books kinda at random. That said, his We Were Eight Years in Power is also terrific, even if you’ve already read most of the essays in The Atlantic.


  2. TNC is an amazing writer. I heard him speak (well, have a conversation on stage) at a conference. I’ve quoted him before as saying that he entered school with his eyes wide open and curious (and illustrated it with an imitation of himself as a six year old) and that the curiosity was crushed in school. I turned to a friend and said hat’s why I’m committed to the school our kids had attended — because my kids entered school with that same open-eyed curiosity and hope and our school nurtured it.


  3. I’m kind of obsessed with theoretical organizing (i.e. in my dreams and fantasies and developing theoretical constructs, rather than really moving things around and organizing them).

    I have a fabulous laundry room which was one of the exciting things about my house when we bought it. It has built-ins, so not directly relevant to the article, which seems to be furniture that you can add to a laundry room. One wonderfully functional feature is the ironing board, which folds into a murphy bed style cabinet which has room for an iron and ironing supplies, and, most of all, works. We iron really really rarely (say, 1 times every two years) so it’s particularly impressive that it works under those conditions. We recently removed the doors from the cabinet above the washer and that makes the shelves so much more functional.

    I think cloth baskets for clothes don’t work, and that they really don’t work if there is a lid (i.e. folding table). We use large plastic bins “Basic Open Hamper” from Target. But, what works in a laundry room depends on how you use it, in the same way that kitchens depend on the user.


  4. Also, I hate organizing suggestions that show the organization at its peak. Organizers should be required to show the space used over the course of the month. For example, my laundry room almost always has something piled on top of the dryer (which is front loading). And, there is always at least one basket of clothes (I have a celebration when there isn’t, which has happened, but rarely).


    1. bj said, “Also, I hate organizing suggestions that show the organization at its peak.”



  5. My husband dragged home some trash from a neighbor’s curb and made it into a cornhole frame that is currently being used in our front entry. (Husband had managed to score a set of inexpensive beanbags from Aldi around the same time.)

    My husband and the college freshman already own rollerblades, so we decided to get the 10th grader some, too. (We’re normally indoor rink people during the summer and I’d been holding off on rollerblades for the growing 10th grader, but it’s a really good time to do this.) They’re going to be able to rollerblade around campus and on top of a local dam together.

    The 2nd grader is enjoying some old school Wii games, has finished up her school reading BINGO, and has won two of the library reading/activity prizes that are available. We have her going to therapy 6 hours a week (and hope to kick that up to 9 later this month), but she really, really wants school to start. I also have her on a homeschool program where she does a total of about 2 hours of workbooks and reading a day Monday-Saturday, with just reading on Sunday (because I’m not a complete monster). If all goes well (*tfoo-tfoo*) our two younger kids will be back at school in just over a month.

    I continue to do a book swap with other neighborhood families with kids. We also continue to enjoy our local library’s curbside pick-up program.

    I was at the grocery today. 95% mask wearing, with some of the following: one woman with no mask, several men (mostly delivery people) wearing masks below their noses and one elderly woman with her mask around her neck. On the other hand, a lot of little kids who aren’t legally required to were wearing them.

    They continue to revise our local COVID dashboard. Rather than the tidy little peak and drop-off in positivity rates I described earlier, we now have a high-for-us week-long plateau of 11/12% positive. But it’s not shooting up, as it had been earlier. Yay?


    1. The data is messy. Texas has pretty good dashboards with a fair amount of data. You have to look at 7 day averages, though, because testing has a 7 day cycle because of testing & reporting.


  6. Our laundry room has the water softener, well thing, hot water heater, freezer, furnace+a/c, sink, washing machine and dryer. I dream of a place to hang something coming out of the dryer. I can’t even imagine shelves unless they were hanging from the (unfinished) ceiling. I do imagine a drop chute from the bedroom/s above.

    My comp I students read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Atlantic article on reparations (great research and maps on redlining) and then Between the World and Me. So any skepticism they have about BTWAM is preemptively dealt with by introducing him first as scholar and researcher. It’s worked well for our class for a couple of years now.

    Plans for the 4th? Hope we’re going out on the campanoe ( (scroll down to the green boat). It’s a really odd boat, no longer manufactured, but still working well for us on the St Croix river.



    1. kris wrote,

      “I do imagine a drop chute from the bedroom/s above.”

      We have that–the laundry chute from upstairs disgorges into a set of laundry room cupboards. It’s great. Even better, the laundry chute is right next to my youngest’s bedroom, so she’s really good about dumping her laundry down the chute.

      I had my husband install one coat hook in the laundry, and it is very nice to have, although it’s currently mostly where I hang my masks between uses.

      Our laundry room doubles as our tornado shelter. We keep a bin of Ritz crackers, bottled water, and various emergency sundries in there. The laundry room is also home to the kids’ squirt gun arsenal and sand castle molds.

      Pre-third kid, my buddy used to do online English for kids in China. She did this amazing thing with one wall of her laundry so that it looked like a classroom when her camera was pointed right.


  7. Cornell op ed in the WSJ saying they’re opening because the kids will come back anyway (because many live off campus) and this way we can have control over screening them. Williams and Yale plan to extensively screen as well (and, I think Yale).


  8. Pomona sent a dire email to families saying their heads are exploding and they don’t know what’s happening in California. Private schools here are announcing hybrid models where they have 1/2 their student population on campus at a time.


    1. bj said, “Private schools here are announcing hybrid models where they have 1/2 their student population on campus at a time.”

      College or K-12?

      At this point, I’m thrilled by any on-campus presence at all. If our kids school and college can manage any in-person classes (even half-time) it will be like winning the lottery.

      A vaccine would be nice, too.


  9. We probably could have had schools this fall but instead we prioritized reopening bars and hairdressers, going to parties, mask apathy, and public health conspiracy theories and data manipulation.

    Hope this tradeoff was worth it to the people who dragged us into it.


    1. Jay said, “We probably could have had schools this fall but instead we prioritized reopening bars and hairdressers, going to parties, mask apathy, and public health conspiracy theories and data manipulation. Hope this tradeoff was worth it to the people who dragged us into it.”

      …and keeping travel from Europe open way too late, keeping NYC schools open until NYC was mid-pandemic, keeping subways open, not requiring masks on subways, not cleaning subways until literally months into the pandemic, NY’s failure to protect nursing home workers and transit workers, lying to the public about mask efficacy to preserve supplies of PPE for hospitals, dumping sick people in nursing homes (a bunch of Northern governors), both parties doing rallies well into March, cross-country vacations, and (last but not least) hundreds of thousands of people packed into the streets in May and June participating in mass protests because it was so, so very important to do so in May/June 2020 in the middle of a pandemic. People couldn’t possibly have phoned or emailed their members of Congress instead and/or rescheduled their marches for after the pandemic? What percentage of people who packed into the streets (because it was so very important) bothered to make any contact with any of their elected representatives?

      My growing suspicion is that the BLM protests were a sort of lightly disguised (but very successful) youth anti-lockdown protest.

      Oh, and let’s not forget the impact of hobbling the police in the middle of a pandemic. Half of our problems right now are due to the fact that in a lot of areas of the country, we have virtually no tools left for ensuring public order–which is kind of important in a pandemic when you need to get some people to do stuff they don’t want to do. Aside from the impact of the marches themselves (and in addition to the mostly masked outdoor activities, you have to assume public transportation, carpools and people crashing at each other’s apartments), it set a heck of an example to see so many people publicly breaking the rules about large assemblies during the pandemic. A lot of people must have seen that, seen the gushing approval from various mayors for breaking pandemic rules, and decided, heck with it–I’m done. If they can do X just because they want to, I can do Y.

      Aside from the direct impact of the marches themselves, the bad example was really corrosive. And I see that people were doing Pride events too, especially this past weekend.

      I 100% agree with you that bars have turned out to be a huge problem and that they are probably one of our highest risk indoor activities. However, did even officials and public health people understand that until a couple weeks ago? Up until very recently, public announcements always talked about “bars and restaurants” as the same category.

      Have properly masked hairdressers serving masked customers actually proved to be a major source of infection?

      I would also point out that a lot of insights about the regional dynamics COVID are pretty new. It wasn’t completely stupid two months ago for people to hope that it would have the seasonality of flu and colds. As I’ve mentioned previously, my county in TX had virtually no COVID transmission between April 14 and June 11–a time frame which covers A LOT of the reopening. In fact, initial phases of reopening started in late April–over two months ago. My personal suspicion is that (along with various May/June events like Memorial Day, a month of protests and graduation parties), what is driving the current southern COVID wave is the impact of high temperatures driving people indoors. It is notable that the worst “new” state is Arizona–which is coincidentally one of our hottest states, one where it is least feasible to move dining and socializing outside. It’s also relevant (probably for a variety of reasons) that some of our current problem states are heavily Hispanic, which creates additional public health problems (due to living conditions, immigration status and language barriers). You’ll also notice that CA (specifically hotter, Southern CA) is having huge problems right now (see LA County)–I would suggest that being hotter and heavily Hispanic are currently bigger risk factors than specific reopening rules.


      1. We had large BLM marches here in Canada as well:


        as well as a number of the same errors. So far (fingers crossed) our current numbers have remained low. New cases for all of Canada yesterday were 352.

        By population, Toronto is the 4th largest city in North America, Montreal the 8th.


    2. Schools in the fall are clearly going to be affected by the wave of cases now. New York seems to be doing something right right now, and hopefully they are learning from other places on the number of cases. I don’t know everything happening in WA state right now, but we seem to have as many cases as NY, statewide, with less than half the population. I hope we get it under control. We were pretty smug in WA state when our loads were trending downward to the 40’s and our R0 less than zero. New York has not a lot to be smug about since >30K died. We should be careful to think that we know what is going on.

      And Texas, WA, AZ with their late increasing totals and wishy washy closings and openings (Texas has rapidly turned into the state with the 3rd highest number of cases. I expect it won’t be long (a couple of weeks?) before we see what I expected (but hoped against) which is case loads reflecting population (CA, TX, FL).

      Regarding the protests (where, at least in Seattle, nearly everyone is masked), there is no evidence showing a spike of cases related to the protests. Things can always change and all the data is preliminary so I’m still telling people I think any large gathering is problematic.


  10. I never read Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book “Between the World and Me” five years ago, because I was turned off by reviews, which said that he was happy when white folks died in the World Trade Center during 9/11.

    Of course he never said that. That was tendentious conservatives putting words in his mouth. What he actually said was that the racism he had experienced had desensitized him to the suffering of the 9/11 workers. The thing is, he was portraying this corrosive effect of racism and how it had changed him as a bad thing, not a good thing, and so what he was saying was almost completely opposite in meaning from what the reviewers said.


  11. I think we have to be careful when we discuss the best practices and harm reduction and the current state of evidence on the spread of the virus.

    For example, reviewing the New York experience is relevant if we take all the lessons into making decisions for the future. New York could have shut down more quickly, if it accepted, when its caseload was low, that it was on the way to an explosion similar to the one that happened in Italy. Texas used that advice, potentially shutting down sooner (kind of), but then opened after relying to heavily on fairly high plateaus of caseloads, but ones that were not increasing. Folks hope that seasonality might play a role (not unreasonably). But, hopes while reasonable, should not have been driving plans. New York is paying attention to the data on bars and restaurants and the Texas experience (delaying in side dining/bars).

    Current evidence does not support the idea that the large scale BLM protests are causing spikes in infection. But, as always, that’s only the current evidence (for example, in King County, the rate of infection among protest attendees is less than the county average).

    We can hope that the death rates won’t spike, that we are detecting more mild cases. But we can’t plan with that expectation in mind, at least not yet. Death is a lagging indicator, lagging weeks after hospitalization.


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