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wallflower wednesday

It’s that time of year again.  The time of year to decide which of my acquaintances get a thoughtful gift purchased with chunks of my paychecks, and which get homemade 4 Loko or coupon books.  These weeks are all about power and determining the economic value of a yearlong kinship.  Everything, from whose holiday parties we attend to who receives our TMI holiday newsletters, is based on subtle algorithm, calibrated by the average rate of return on emails, the number of Likes on wall posts–in essence, our overall presumed followers.*

So this Wallflower Wednesday is all about the economy–that shifty, tenuous entity upon which we base decisions as insignificant as scented soap.

Twitter Mood Predicts the Stock Market on Technology Review Tweets can predict the stock market up to 6 days in advance.  They can also predict whether I will watch The Today Show up to 1 day in advance.

Soviet Collapse Lessons Every American Needs to Know on MadConomist.com

And a few on how to survive the malls:

How to Walk Through Crowds on Wired My favorite: employ the “shark fin”.

Parking Haiku

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*Maybe the most cynical thing I’ve ever written.  Which says a lot, considering I’ve written an essay on Meg Ryan.  I really adore the holiday season with all my heart!!  What I don’t adore is the barometer it imposes, and the extent to which all meaningful relationships are subject to the ebb and flow of the Dow.  But really, whatever–I have 8 tabs of Mariah Carey Christmas youtube videos open right now and it’s only December 1st.

Everything is old news already.  I think every link I’ve sent someone in the last week has been followed with an “Oh yeah, I already saw that.”  Is there a secret email newsletter that publishes cool articles a few days before I find them?  Is it called Facebook?  Is that it?

But of course, we want everything to be old news.  To us, I mean.  Who can ignore the giddy elite euphoria that washes over our keyboards when we get to type “saw it!”   Isn’t there an entire industry based on commemorative items printed with the words “Been There, Done That”?

Anyways, for this week’s Wallflower Wednesday I wanted to pick from some very old news.  I searched for keywords from today’s headlines in the 1851-1885 issues of the New York Times.  Below are the best results.  They only take a second to read, and some of them are unnervingly relevant.

This blog is a consignment shop, and vintage is so in right now.

Have you heard of LOLcats?

There’s a lot going on in gay news right now.  With regards to New York City, especially:  “Broadway is an unbent rainbow”

Related: Gays in the Military

There’s a ghost among the miners.

Victims of [The] Tea Party

Unemployment and immigration are not separate issues!  There’s plenty of living wages for those who want it.

The course of true oil drilling never did run smooth.

Let’s go Phillies, boo to the Giants, meeeeggggaaaa boo to the Bridegrooms

Parties and crowded bars are strange places to talk about religion.  Awkward, really.  The transubstantiation has nothing to do with drinking liquor out of an old Trader Joe’s marinara sauce jar.  Some Things Do Not Mix.

Such conversations have been happening to me in record numbers in the past few weeks.  Generally they move swiftly into a much more comfortable topic, like the playlist on the iPod.  But this week for Wallflower Wednesday, I wanted to indulge.

Seeker, Snooper, Teacher, Tale on Raplog Dr. Rappaport gave this lecture as a chapel talk to my class somewhere in the 2003-2005 zone.  It has remained in my head for years, and is still one of my favorite talks on the existence of God.

Why young adults change their religious beliefs on Epiphenom This is complete hogwash.

Meet the Antipope on Vice “Not a lot of people know this, but Benedict XVI is not the real Pope.”

Culture war on aisle 5: Walmart, Evangelicals, and “Extreme Capitalism” on PowellsBooks blog: “Many Americans who worked or shopped at Wal-Mart understood it to be a Christian company, its success a sign of God’s blessing. Frequent Wal-Mart shopping has been an even better predictor of conservative voting than frequent church attendance.  As the Left sought to champion low-wage America, then, it often ran up against low-wage America’s embrace of Wal-Mart values.”

Happiness levels not set in stone on LiveScience “People who went to church more often were happier, though the study can’t determine whether the happiness is related to religious views or to the social circle religious organizations offer.”

I’ve been in a rush of internet lately.  My job has led me to follow realtors in Chicago on Twitter, subscribe to RSS feeds of the Bergdorf blog, research ad words for cilantro, and do unspeakable things with Facebook.  I work at The Bins of the internet apparently.

I wish I could have a coherent selection of readings for today, but the only thing that comes to mind is Medea. You’ll see. I’ve been thinking a lot about her lately.  That may or may not have something to do with my not-so-secret dedication to MTV’s Teen Mom, I can’t really say.  Anyways, this Wallflower Wednesday takes brief cues from homeslice Euripides and runs.

Medea and Jason, the gold standard of unhealthy relationships

The Family Journal put out a special issue on infidelity in October 2008.  The articles are hit or miss, filled with boring advice for relationship therapists.  However, there’s one diamond in the rough: A Latent Variable Analysis of Couple Closeness, Attributions, and Relational Satisfaction.

Feralchildren.com Do I need to explain this one?

The Perils of Introspection on You Are Not So Smart “The problem is, according to research, your explanation is probably going to be total bullshit.”

Staving Off Despair: On the Use and Abuse of Pessimism for Life in Standpoint

Adam Phillips on the happiness myth in The Guardian

What a sloppy one this week.  Next week’s will be succinct and on point and all about last Saturday night, I promise.

I have of late–but wherefore I know not–lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame Philadelphia seems to me a sterile hellhole.

What do you read, my New Asshole? Words, words, words.

So I’ve been trotting over to the park or coffee shop, piles of books and newspapers in tow, losing myself in stories and characters and drama.  A mental vacation–I think that’s what people did back before they didn’t have TV on the internet, like in the Victorian Era or at camp.  Anyways this week’s Wallflower Wednesday is all words.

ClicheSite A list of cliches, euphamisms, and figures of speech, arranged alphabetically.  Extensive.

Unusual Words Everything from abcinate (to blind by putting a hot copper basin near someone’s eye) to zenzizenzizensic (a number raised to the eighth power).

Words David Foster Wallace Circled in His Dictionary That Were Used in Infinite Jest (And Where They Appear)

Common Errors in English Usage I had no idea the phrase is actually “you’ve got another think coming”

Brainstormer application Conviction, Viking, baker.  Go.

And one that actually resembles a standard Wallflower Wednesday selection:

Communication from the Condemned in The Psychologist Janelle Ward, Assistant Professor of Media and Communication at Erasmus University Rotterdam, studies the last statements from those on death row.  Related: Famous Last Words

is Assistant Professor in the
Department of Media and
Communication at Erasmus
U

Sunday we went to the river in Richmond; Monday I had a dream about Heraclitus.  I woke up and felt weird.  It seems my subconscious is a Philosophy 001 class.  I thought dreams were supposed to be magic happy time with giant donuts and kittens in vests, not life lessons about stepping in the same river twice.

what about swinging through the same river twice?  where does heraclitus fall on that?
what about swinging through the same river twice?

Strange too, since I always empathized more with Parmenides.  Everyone does.  We crave stability.  The notion that in order for something to change it has to actually stop being what it is is one of the most romantic ideas I’ve ever heard.  We are all little Zenos of Elea at heart–running around, eating quiche, restricting change in the universe.   We want to contradict non-contradiction, but only when it suits us.

I only have two links for this Wallflower Wednesday, both on the inconsistent nature of our species (body and brain)

The Way We Are on AULIS Online “We are a hybrid species. We are not simply the descendant of Cro-Magnon man…We can now for instance understand the nature and source of the unending conflicts which tear human communities apart from Northern Ireland to Bosnia to Indonesia to Nigeria. We can now also understand why we have a universal political structure of diametrically opposed left wing versus right wing views.”

Dualism in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy “It is imaginable that one’s mind might exist without one’s body.  Therefore it is conceivable that one’s mind might exist without one’s body.  Therefore it is possible one’s mind might exist without one’s body.  Therefore one’s mind is a different entity from one’s body.”