Summer is Here

Hi, y’all. We’re slowly shifting to the summer schedule, which turns out to be more frenetic than the regular schedule. I overscheduled activities for Ian, and Jonah has a work schedule that is throwing a major wrench into our two-car household. We are not ready to expand our car fleet to accommodate Jonah’s 5-dollar per hour bus boy schedule.

And $5 per hour? That’s what Jonah makes. Restaurants are allowed to pay servers less than minimum wage because they supposedly get tips. Jonah’s gets handouts from the bartenders and waitresses, so he’ll come home with $15 per night in tips. His first check for 35 hours of work was for $100. Meh.

Alright, I need to get my brain together here and get back to blogging/work. I’m going to go light this morning and just share some links.

This Iraqi refugee is doing amazing work with miniatures.

Upper middle class Americans are 21st Century Victorians.

New England style prefab houses are totally cute.

American workplaces are slowly realizing the potential of people on the autism spectrum and are making accommodations.

Professors on the chopping block. I’m going to come back to this one.


SL 690 – Only Girlie Stuff

I have a blog post in my back pocket about the reaction to my last article for the Atlantic. It will have remain back there for another day or two, because I’m flat out exhausted. I’m juggling mulitple writing gigs and the mom stuff, which includes graduation, prom, prom house, 8th grade class 3-day trip to DC (Steve’s going), 20-year anniversary, Jonah’s 18 year birthday, graduation party, Ian’s summer schedule, and college course selection. We still don’t have anybody helping us clean the house or mow the lawn either.

Yesterday, I sat on the sofa and read a trashy book all day, because I needed to shut down.    So, nothing but girlie-ness on Apt. 11D today.

I need dresses for several events in June and July, so here are a few of the options: this, this, this, and this. And new shoes – comfortable with a retro vibe.

I’ve been shopping. Oh yes, I have. Want to know what else? Jonah’s birthday and graduation is coming up. He asked for a gold cross and chain for his birthday. I was a little shocked by that request, but he says it’s a very preppy item right now. He needs a new laptop for college. I’ve got a few other little things for him, like this environmental bracelet and a Japanese watch that he heard about on Reddit.

Okay, who loved Pippa Middleton’s wedding dress? I did. And Kate’s dress totally sucked.

And let’s talk about Ivanka and Melania’s clothes on the Mid-East tour. Other than the gold-belt fiasco, Melania looked just like a military leader of a small South American country, which is actually a really good look for her. I’m not judging. Other than Ivanka’s sad hair, she rocked a series of dresses with large flowers.

And I got a haircut, too.

Photo on 5-23-17 at 5.02 PM

SL 689

I’m writing two articles today. One is super solid. I’m actually going to have a hard time keeping it to 1,200 words. It’s for that high prestige, low paying magazine.  I’m predicting a lot of traffic on this one.  The other one is for a not-yet-existing website that is going to pay me decently, but will probably have low traffic. I had trouble lining up interviews for that one, so I’m going to limp to the 1,200 word finish line.

I’m whizzing past the deadlines on both of them. Ugh. Other than a Red Bulls soccer match on Saturday where the other mom of many boys and I will be drinking, it’s going to be a work-y weekend.

It’s a lovely day here in Jersey. In the 80s and sunny. Everything is green and blooming. I did a few hours of work and a few more hours of wasting time with stupid video games. Between deadline whizzing and mindless games, I’m full of self hatred at the moment. So, let’s blog!

This profile of Rod Dreher is fascinating. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how blogging changed the lives of so many people who started way back when.

Does #vanlife sound appealing?

I’m semi-following Berkeley and Ann Coulter.

Food Trivia: This is the quantity of food consumed over three dinners in my house: 1.3 pounds of salmon, 1 box of quinoa, 1 head of cauliflower, 2 cups of rice, 2 cans of beans, 1.2 pounds of ground beef, 10 taco shells, 1/2 brick of cheese, 1 can of black olives, 1/2 container of salsa, 2 chicken breasts, 1 package of egg noodles, 2 containers of mushrooms, 4 carrots, lettuce.

SL 688

Currently, at the home of Apt. 11D, the big kid is upstairs constructing his promposal by gluing chicken wings on poster board. Yeah, I have no idea either. (For those without high school kids, a promposal is an invitation to the prom, which is a grand gesture that is captured on your buddies’ iphone and broadcast to thousands of friends and acquaintances on social media.)

The little guy is griping about being forced to practice his drum rolls, because he thinks drum rolls are boring. When hubby get home at 7, he will first inspect his tomato plants before he says hi to me. I finished work for the day and have an easy dinner planned. Steve requested Taco Tuesday. Taco Tuesday means I have time for Blog Tuesday. Here goes:

Not all heroes wear capes. This guy did a half marathon without training. He got over his worries about finishing the race by downing a beer at every mile point.

Is there something icky about Obama collecting $400,000 speaking fees?

We finally caught up to the latest “Americans” and now can tweet about the latest episode at the same time as the rest of the world. Thank God. I need another series to binge watch. I’m thinking about “Big Little Lies.”

Scary story about plastic surgery on your neck. I regularly google “saggy neck” and “turkey neck,” so I related to this woman.

Middle class families are stressed out by the crap in their house. I’m stressed out by chicken wings and promposals.

SL 687

I’ve got to pull together something for the Atlantic today — I’ve been really, really lazy  — so I’m getting back up to speed on education news.

  • There’s been a PILE of articles about the Sesame Street puppet with autism. I wrote about Julia a year ago. I should have done anther piece last week. Ugh. Kicking myself.
  • Special ed vouchers are BAD news for lots of reasons. I have some other reasons that aren’t mentioned in this article.
  • There’s going to be free tuition at New York State colleges provided that you stay in the state after graduation. There’s absolutely NO WAY that they could ever enforce this rule.

There’s incredible graphics on this New York Times article about London after Brexit.

Evicted sounds like a great book.

Japanese cherry blossoms are clear proof that we are definitely screwed. Sell your beach properties NOW!

SL 686

In the New York Times, Jennifer Senior writes, “Read enough stories about the madness whipping through college campuses right now, and you can’t help but wonder if our institutions of higher learning have put the “loco” in in loco parentis.” She’s reviewing a new book by Laura Kipnis, “Unwanted Advances: Sexual Paranoia Comes to Campus.”

Senior writes,

Once upon a time, explains Kipnis, female students celebrated their sexual freedom and agency. Today, students and faculty alike focus on their vulnerability. This, in her view, is a criminally retrograde story line, one that recasts women as pitiful creatures who cannot think and act for themselves — and it’s a story they seem to have internalized.

Scary stuff for mothers of boys heading off to college.

Senate showdown over Gorsuch.

College admission counselors are on the hunt for nice people. How can we ruin this?

Dan Drezner has an excerpt from his book (behind the paywall) about the declining influence of academics in public life, as idea influencers. I’m not sure there was ever a time when academics had a big role in shaping the intellectual life outside the university, but I haven’t read his book. I’m more fascinated lately with the impact of non-academics. Love him or hate him, TNC has to be one of the most influential thinkers in the past five years. I’m also fascinated by how much money that guys like TNC make on speaking tours, but that’s off topic.

SL 685

J. D. Vance, the author of Hillbilly Elegy, writes,

I’ve long worried whether I’ve become a part of this problem. For two years, I’d lived in Silicon Valley, surrounded by other highly educated transplants with seemingly perfect lives. It’s jarring to live in a world where every person feels his life will only get better when you came from a world where many rightfully believe that things have become worse. And I’ve suspected that this optimism blinds many in Silicon Valley to the real struggles in other parts of the country. So I decided to move home, to Ohio.

Ah, the affordable housing stock in Columbus. But, oh, the opioid epidemic. In fact, Vance is moving back to start an organization aimed at combatting the epidemic.

Andrew Sullivan says that the opioid epidemic is the new AIDS.

It occurred to me reading this reported essay by Christopher Caldwell that the opioid epidemic is the new AIDS in this respect. Its toll in one demographic  mostly white, working-class, and rural  vastly outweighs its impact among urbanites. For many of us in the elite, it’s quite possible to live our daily lives and have no connection to this devastation. And yet its ever-increasing scope, as you travel a few hours into rural America, is jaw-dropping: 52,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2015. That’s more deaths than the peak year for AIDS, which was 51,000 in 1995, before it fell in the next two years. The bulk of today’s human toll is related to opioid, heroin, and fentanyl abuse. And unlike AIDS in 1995, there’s no reason to think the worst is now over.

Dan Willingham, a UVA pyschology prof who specializes in education, has a daughter with a chromosomal disorder. He has some advice for parents whose kids gawk at his daugther.

Fun fact of the day, from the Atlantic:

According to a recent analysis of federal Department of Education data by Bloomberg, schools that beat performance expectations during March Madness receive a bump not only in public awareness, but also in the number of applications they receive.