Saturday, August 11, 2012

Various & Sundry: Thimbles, wine, culture, and song

Oy! I'm glad to have a little time finally to blog. So much to blog, so little time. Let's start with the obituary pages this week:

Have you ever thought about thimbles? "Diane Pelham Burn, who has died aged 79, was an international authority on thimbles and other needlework tools," and after reading her obituary, I took thimbles much more seriously.
“It is hard for us to imagine how rare and valuable needlework tools once were,” she told an interviewer. “The British Museum has on display a last will and testament that was written around 1600 in which a mother bequeathed her treasured needle to her daughter. A single needle. It was a very important possession.”

My favorite blogger Ta-Nehisi Coates had two great contributions this week. First, on his own blog on the Atlantic, he spoke of the limits of free will--simply fascinating insight. And in the NY Times, he has an op-ed about culture as a set of tools that is nuanced and subtle and illuminating. Do check them out.

Also in the NY Times is a strange and wonderful essay from a man who looked for a writing job in the wine industry. He nails the culture in two sentences: "In California, casual equals power. The people in ties valet park the cars of the people in polos." Oh so perfect. The rest of the story about a truly abysmal interview is cringingly hilarious.

Also in cringingly hilarious wine news, Tom Wark does a painfully funny take-down of a wine review. Be sure to read to the end.

The New Yorker has an article about a Gay Pride event in Uganda.

Uganda’s Pride was a weekend- long event, made up of film screenings, a fashion show in drag, and all-night (and into the morning) parties. Two hundred and fifty tickets had been sold, though, as a vivacious trans woman named Cleo told me, fifty-some people showed up on Thursday and Friday, because many were still wary about gathering in large groups. “We couldn’t have done this kind of thing two years ago, and for those that were here back then, they almost can’t believe things are safer and better now,” Cleo said. The first two days went off without a hitch, and more people, predictably, showed up for the evening bacchanals.

"Safer and better"--wow. Good to hear that. And kudos to the kuchus who are making this happen.

Burned out on the Olympics yet? Or is everything starting to take on an Olympic tinge? I loved this Olympic-level competition for national anthems. Anthems are scored by

1. Transcendence of Historical Suffering (Freestyle)
2. 200m Inculcation of Hard-Won Optimism
3. Compulsory Tingliness
4. Volksgeist, the Expression of the Spirit of the People

Which nation's anthem will bring home the gold? You'll just have to read the article and see. No tape delay available.

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