Hot-button issues

I love finding people who keep their Issues and Causes very close to themselves; the people who start long, passionate conversations if you are fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to mention a word that triggers them. You said the word “corn” and all of the sudden you’re locked in an hour-long conversation about the evil machinations of the FDA and big agribusiness. I like finding these people because they make me feel a bit less alone. They remind me that maybe I’m not the only person who has to rein herself in (often unsuccessfully) during conversations.

I probably care too much about things that I don’t know that much about. I was realizing this today. I am too quick to express my quickly formed opinions.

And so I write this list to caution you. These are the things that could trigger a brutally long and vehement conversation with me. You have been warned.

  • Any permutation on the topic of dogs. (Dog breeds, training, health, adoption, behavior, psychology, etc.)
  • Why Ayn Rand isn’t worth a second of anyone’s time.
  • Law school.
  • Homeschooling.
  • Mega-churches fixated on growth.
  • Reproductive rights.
  • Why paper and ink books still matter.
  • Christians judging other Christians for being on birth control.
  • Sororities and fraternities.
  • What I’ve been reading lately.
  • Anti-women policies and practices of conservatives.
  • Childhood obesity.
  • Dolphins.
  • Underpaid teachers.

Anyone else? Do you have “hot-button issues” that invariably embroil you in desperate, heated discussions–almost against your will? I hope I’m not the only one…

Monday Snax

What a busy and full weekend! I got to see my parents twice, take the train to D.C., spend a weekend laughing and making dumplings with Angela, brunch with Eric and Cristina, and see Kelsey all in a matter of two days. Whew! More photos on Flickr.

Dinner with GrandTeats and Juju
Dinner with Mom and Dad in Pantops.
Grabbed a laidback lunch at Eastern Market with the ever-beautiful Angela.
Eric and Cristina!
And got to lunch with Eric and Cristina at Meridian Pint before going to see their lovely house and my sister.

Brief reflections on D.C.: The city as a whole seemed a lot more neighborly than I thought it would be. Everyone was out on their front stoops hollering at each other. It was great. I loved how everybody so carefully and meticulously cultivates their tiny squares of grass in their front “lawns.” Free museums = totally awesome. Most stressful part of D.C.? DRIVING. I got really anxious every time we had to get in a car. I don’t know how anyone drives in that city. Those roads were not made for cars.  Or people. But the Metro was fun and you can walk just about everywhere, so that makes up for those barbaric streets.

Snax with dumplings made from scratch, which are clearly the best:

So! You Want to Get Married! Ladies, please enjoy this 1947 book for young Catholic women, advising them on how to snare a man and be a perfect wife. My favorite bit of advice? “But if you whine and complain, if you get your ‘feelings hurt,’ you can make him a nervous wreck: when that happens, you will have your hands full. You might have to go out to work to pay for his hospital expenses.” Take this to heart, wives! If you complain, your husbands might get committed to an asylum and then, heaven forbid, you might have to go WORK. (The Hairpin)

On the Desire to Be Well-Read: A Review of The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. I empathize with the author’s ceaseless inner competition to read more, always be reading more and more and more… (The Millions)

In Which We Take Notes on the Important Parts. I resonated deeply with this author’s childhood self, because it was my childhood self. I was also an obsessive list-maker and I still am. I enjoyed her guesses as to why this might be, why girls like us loved Harriet the Spy. (This Recording)

George Steinmetz Lands in the Lower East Side. Charlottesville’s photo festival gets a shout-out in the New Yorker! These giant, aerial-view photos were so mesmerizing and beautiful–especially when hanging in treetops on the Downtown Mall. (Photo Booth, The New Yorker)

“Between the Folds”: An Origami Documentary. A film about folding paper? Sign me up! No, seriously. I want to watch this. (The Fox Is Black)

The Quiet Film. A thoughtful review of “Meek’s Cutoff,” which Jonathan and I have been reading about from the film critics. (The Curator)

Adult Child, What the Hell Are You Doing at Work? This is exactly what my parents should be asking me. (Postcards from Yo Momma)

Everybody Loves a Baby Dolphin. But nobody loves them as much as I do. (ZooBorns)

Wait for Meeeee. My new favorite Tumblr. (Animals Being Dicks)

Where Every Day Is Caturday. Tashirojima is an island in Japan also known as “Cat Island.” It is entirely overrun with feral cats. As one can expect, it is also unbearably cute. (Cute Overload)

Monday Snax


Last night, we had 12 friends over to watch “Babies” with us. Guion and I watched it on Friday night, but were so eager to watch it again that we had to host a showing. Particularly, Guion hatched a plan to invite all of our childless friends, with the intent of persuading them to procreate, so that, in his words, “I can enjoy your babies without having any of the responsibility of raising them.” Exactly. We lit candles and passed around chocolate. It was a very romantic and fun evening. And, apparently, our scheme worked… very quickly. After the movie ended and we were all sitting around chatting, a brief silence fell and one of our married couples looked at each other and laughed briefly. “Well, I guess this is as good a time as any… Your plan worked, because WE’RE PREGNANT!” And they weren’t kidding. Ensue lots of hugs and laughter at the sheer appropriateness of it all.

Seriously, though. You have to watch this movie. It’s so sweet and uplifting. (And yet I still don’t want to have a baby of my own. Clearly, we’re doing good work convincing our friends to reproduce!)

Monday Snax, in the house:

How to Stop a Baby From Crying. Speaking of babies… I don’t know how I feel about taking advice from a self-proclaimed “baby whisperer,” but this method does seem to work. Guion and I need to study up, because it looks like we’re going to be busy babysitters in the near future! (Wise Bread)

Basic Religion Test Stumps Many Americans. According to this Pew Forum study, Jews, atheists, and Mormons know the most about religion. How do you shape up? Take the actual survey here. How did you do? I got 15 out of 15 right. I don’t think it’s all that hard, and I don’t really consider myself all that knowledgeable of world religions. (New York Times)

Women of the World. My little sister on things she’s been learning, reading, and watching about women’s rights. Love that kid. (Como Say What?)

Study: Bilingual Dolphins. Reason no. 4,508 why dolphins are THE coolest animals alive. A recent study shows that two different dolphin species–who communicate with different lexicons–create a pidgin language (like Spanglish) to talk to each other when they meet. The coolest thing I’ve heard all week. (TakePart)

Nancy and Jonathan, the Yadkin Valley. Sharon Clark is one of my favorite wedding photographers, and I read her blog religiously. You can imagine my surprise and delight when I saw our friends Nancy and Jonathan featured in this gorgeous engagement shoot. (Smitten Photography)

Topography. How does she do it? Beautiful topographical invitations from calligrapher Betsy Dunlap. (Betsy Dunlap)

What We Wore. Whoa. Hello, Most Hipster Family Alive. (Bleubird Vintage Blog)

Past & Present: Windsor Chair History and Resources. Design Sponge’s feature on Windsor chairs. We’ve had these chairs at our long, weather-beaten kitchen table for as long as I can remember, and I’ve always harbored a deep fondness for them. (Design Sponge)

Book Teaches You How to Use Moleskine Notebooks. Japan. You are indeed the greatest country. (Tokyo Mango)

What We Talk About When We Talk About Men Not Reading. Interesting thoughts on an interesting phenomenon. (The Book Bench)

Congress Doesn’t Think It’s Such a Good Idea to go on the Colbert Show Anymore. I mean, duh. You’re just now figuring this out? Colbert wins, every time. (Daily Intel)

Mapping Stereotypes. “The geography of prejudice.” We’ve all probably seen some variation of this idea before, but it’s always funny to me. A European perspective. (Alpha Designer)

That’s Not How E-mail Works. As Jonathan would say, “Many LOLs.” Hey Mom, at least you’re not quite this bad with computers… (Postcards from Yo Momma)