Archive for July, 2011

July 18th 2011
Not one more winter in the tipi, honey: gender and labor “off the grid”

Posted under American history & book reviews & Gender & local news & technoskepticism & women's history

Via Corrente, another Colorado blogger Michelle Nijhuis writes perceptively about the differences (encore!) in women’s and men’s labor when an idealistic heterosexualist couple decide to live their low impact dream inside a solar-powered yurt or straw-bale home:

Here’s what happens: A couple arrives in our valley, young, strong, in love, and full of plans to build an ultra-energy-efficient house out of straw bales, rammed earth, adobe bricks, or, heck, used bottlecaps. They set to work with equal enthusiasm, buying land and setting up temporary quarters in a yurt or a tipi. The weather’s good, the views are great, and the new house is humming along.

But at some point, the weather turns, or the project slows. Or a baby arrives, and everything gets more complicated. For whatever reason, their brio fades, NOMWITTH (“Not one more winter in the tipi, honey.”) sets in, and what was once a joint project becomes a battlefield, XX vs. XY. In mild cases, help is hired, the house gets a roof, and all ends well. In more serious cases, one person — inevitably XX — splits town for a fully-furnished condo with central heating, leaving XY alone with the low-carbon dream.

So why is it always XX who bails out on “the dream?”  Is it that the solar panels can’t power up their hair dryers and curling irons and they miss watching E! and HGTV?  Continue Reading »

34 Comments »

July 17th 2011
Dear Katie Rosman,

Posted under Gender & unhappy endings & wankers & weirdness & women's history

If it were so important to your husband that you share a last name with him and the children, why didn’t he change his name to Rosman?  After all, it’s easy to spell and easy to pronounce in English.  I don’t understand why you permit him to make this your problem.

Oh, and his little “jokes” with perfect strangers and your own children about your surname, and the fact that you wrote about them in the Wall Street Journal?  Maybe you two should see a counselor.

Good luck with that,

Historiann

60 Comments »

July 16th 2011
Martin Amis on sex and death

Posted under art & bad language & book reviews & European history & the body & unhappy endings

I’ve been a huge fan of Martin Amis’s writing ever since I discovered him and read his back catalog in the 1990s.  What I love about his work is that he never pulls back from his self-loathing instincts.  More than any other novelist, he describes in minute detail the horrors of inhabiting human flesh, and even his youthful novels are obsessed with documenting bodily corruption and decay. 

The Pregnant Widow is unfortunately a disappointment.  Amis pulls back on the self-loathing, and he shies away from the horrors of the flesh.  Perhaps this was inevitable, given the setting for the book (1970), the fact that the main characters are all in their 20s, and that the male protagonist Keith Nearing is once again only a lightly disguised version of the now 60-ish Martin Amis, and the middle-aged and elderly tend to romanticize youth. 

There are some good lines about aging and the prospect of death, however, that are vintage Amis:

When you become old. . . When you become old, you find yourself auditioning for the role of a lifetime; then, after interminable rehersals, you’re finally starring in a horror film–a talentless, irresponsible, and above all low-budget horror film, in which (as is the way with horror films) they’re saving the worst for last. (5)

Continue Reading »

10 Comments »

July 15th 2011
AIA Barbie Dream House competition

Posted under American history & art & childhood & Dolls & fluff & jobs

Architect friend MBB forwarded this intel on yesterday about the American Institute of Architects’s Barbie Dream House competition:

At the convention, there was a lot of buzz about Mattel’s Barbie® I Can Be™…Architect. Please help us continue the buzz by sharing the following with members so they can vote for their favorite dream house.

Check out the designs–the one with the pool slide from the runway is really tempting, but I think I like the Eero Saarinen-esque one the best. At least, I can see myself living and working in those airy, sunny pods quite easily! You can review them all and vote for your favorite, too. Continue Reading »

6 Comments »

July 14th 2011
Another reason not to become a “presidential historian”

Posted under American history & bad language & jobs & unhappy endings & wankers

Did any of you cats see this from yesterday?  Some idiots tried to rip off the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore:

An attorney for a presidential historian charged with the theft of such library treasures as papers signed by Abraham Lincoln and invitations to inaugural balls says there is no evidence against his client and he shouldn’t have been denied bail.

A request for a bail review was filed Wednesday for 63-year-old historian Barry Landau, attorney Steven D. Silverman said, calling the denial unreasonable.

Landau and Jason Savedoff, 24, both of New York City, were arrested and charged Saturday with theft of more than $100,000 after document thefts were reported at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore, according to court documents.

Landau is a published author whose works include “The President’s Table: Two Hundred Years of Dining and Diplomacy,” released in 2007.

A historical society employee told police that Savedoff and Landau had been acting suspiciously and called authorities after he saw Savedoff conceal a document in a portfolio and walk it out of the library, according to court documents.

.       .       .       .       .      

A search of a locker at a building that Savedoff was carrying a key to turned up 60 documents, many of which Landau had signed out, according to court documents. The items included papers signed by Lincoln worth $300,000, numerous presidential inaugural ball invitations and programs worth $500,000, a signed Statue of Liberty commemoration valued at $100,000 and a signed Washington monument commemoration valued at $100,000, court documents state.

See what might tempt you if you don’t listen to Historiann, Continue Reading »

20 Comments »

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