Archive for the ‘Salon’ tag
A different, and maybe better, kind of commencement speech:
“Follow your dreams” and “live your passions” are insanely unhelpful tips when the bills need paying or the rent is almost due. Invariably, commencement speakers tend to be the lucky few, the ones who followed their dreams and still managed to land on their feet: Most of us won’t become Steve Jobs or Neil Gaiman, regardless of how hard we try or how much passion we might hold. It’s far more likely to get stuck working as a waiter or bartender, or on some other dead-end career path. Most people will have to choose between “doing what they love,” and pursuing the more mundane promise of a stable paycheck and a promising career path. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with making the latter choice; in fact, I’d usually recommend it.
Sarah Bird desperately wishes that she could change her son’s sexual orientation: she wants him to be gay.
How could I not dream of having a son who cared deeply about all the right things: fashion, musical theater, interior décor? But mostly a son who cared deeply about the most right thing of all: his mother? How could I not yearn for a son who would tell me that the bias cut emphasized my saddlebag thighs, that no one was staining concrete anymore, that the tiniest bit of white on the upper lids would open up my eyes and make me look 10 years younger? And now that California is handing out marriage licenses, what mother could resist the opportunity to micromanage a union in which both participants would obsess with her about whether the color theme celadon and peach or apple green and hot pink best expresses their love?
In “City of Men,” a televised miniseries that ran in Brazil from October 2002 until December 2005 and is now available on DVD, Meirelles and his collaborators add dimension to “City of God’s” gory view of Rio’s other half, depicting domestic life in the favelas — shantytowns cobbled together from concrete, corrugated tin and cinder blocks by their poor inhabitants. Whereas “City of God” followed its characters through the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s, “City of Men” looks at contemporary life. Preserving the gritty, neorealist aspects of Meirelles’ film, the TV series offers glimpses into the homes, schools and shops where daily life in the favelas unfolds.
Even for homosexuals eager for the right to get married, there could be one drawback to California’s making it legal: doting parents and the persistant question of “When are you gonna get married?”
As you may have heard, a new Israel-focused lobbying group opened in Washington recently. Gary Kimiya’s thoughts on the subject are worth considering:
Nothing is more urgently needed in our political discourse than for the taboo against speaking forthrightly about Israel to be overthrown. After all, notwithstanding its profound connection to some American Jews and its (partly justified) status as a beloved icon with whom we have a “special relationship,” Israel is not the 51st state — it is a foreign country, and one smack-dab in the center of the Middle East, a region in which we have some considerable national interest. The enforced silence about Israel has prevented us from thinking clearly about the Middle East, and helped enable both the disastrous war we are now fighting in Iraq and a possible future one against Iran.
But because of the highly sensitive nature of the subject, American Jews must lead the way.
Which is why the birth of J Street, whose goal Ben-Ami says is “to redefine what it means to be pro-Israel,” is cause for unalloyed celebration. “Over the course of a quarter century of doing American politics, I’ve seen the way in which the Israel issue plays out,” Ben-Ami said in a phone interview from J Street’s Washington, D.C., office. “And it greatly disturbs me and it greatly disturbs a very large number of progressive American Jews, who believe very strongly in Israel but feel that the way in which the American Jewish community’s voice has been expressed on these issues doesn’t reflect our values or opinions. Only the voices of the far right have been heard. They’ve really hijacked the debate when it comes to Israel.”
Because I enjoy a bit of senseless swimming against the tide, I present Joseph Romm’s argument against Earth Day.
Only bitter environmentalists cling to Earth Day. We need a new way to make people care about the nasty things we’re doing with our cars and power plants. At the very least, we need a new name.
How about Nature Day or Environment Day? Personally, I am not an environmentalist. I don’t think I’m ever going to see the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I wouldn’t drill for oil there. But that’s not out of concern for the caribou but for my daughter and the planet’s next several billion people, who will need to see oil use cut sharply to avoid the worst of climate change.
It’s a hard question, and Salon’s Pablo Päster doesn’t give a broad answer — though he offers how to figure it out for yourself. For a 1986 Mercedes-Benz W126:
Given that your car is already built, we can write off the energy used in making it. We can also write off the emissions that it has already created from burning gasoline. That means that over the next 116,000 miles, your car’s greenhouse gas emissions will essentially break even with the emissions from the production and use of a Prius. I’m guessing your 22-year-old car probably has over 200,000 miles on it. If you’re lucky, you can get another few years out of it. So if you can afford a new Prius, you are better off switching now. And think of the fewer hassles of owning a new car.
Your daily “Whoa! Really?” is an excerpt (from a fascinating excerpt) from Daniel Radosh’s Rapture Ready!:
“Ladies,” announced Dillow, “sensuality in marriage is godly. Just as a husband and wife experience deep joy as they lose themselves and merge into oneness at the moment of sexual climax, we experience ultimate joy as we become one with Jesus Christ in a union that leads to incomprehensible joy. Sexual intercourse mirrors our relationship to God and causes us to worship him for giving us this good gift.” Surely it couldn’t be a coincidence, she added with a wink, that there is no better time than a long Sunday morning in church to practice your Kegel exercises.
Salon’s Pablo Päster makes clear that the United States could never manage to get all it’s power needs satisfied by solar alone. It seems obvious, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d wondered.
At 12,000 kWh per capita, electricity demand is roughly 3.6 trillion kWh, or the equivalent of 1,200 coal-fired power plants running full-time. To generate 3.6 trillion kWh per year, we would need to install about 1.5 billion square meters of solar panels, or around 586 square miles. This is clearly a lot higher than the number that you had heard and equivalent to one-third of Rhode Island.