Love is a Blank Check

“Sandra Simpson didn’t keep the suffering of the world at a distance. She invited it into her home and made it family…To believe in the power of adoption is to believe that the most profound way to help someone isn’t through large-scale structural change or foreign policy, but by opening up something as intimate as the family unit—by committing to love a kid you’ve never met.”

—”The Forest Hill couple who adopted 30 kids.” Toronto Life. August 2020.

For a long time, I wasn’t sure what it meant to “love” someone. Is love a feeling one has toward someone? Is love a verb?Is it not so much a feeling, but something we do? How do you know when you love someone? Or, that they love you?

But, merely asking these questions also suggests a poverty. Don’t most people know that their parents, siblings and extended family love them? Isn’t it a given?

I cannot speak for others, but for me, at this moment, the key to understanding love is to look at those moments — when we chose to get married, have a child, and so forth — where we make a commitment to put someone else before ourselves over the long haul, over a life, without any guarantees that it’ll work out well, and a virtual certainty, that, for some period, it’ll be a bad bargain. Love is what transforms a bad bargain into a good one, where you give someone a blank check, the ability to ask for and get more than you have, and by some miracle, at the moment it is needed, you find there is enough in the bank to cover it, money you never knew you had.

StoryWrangling.org

“StoryWrangler instrument reflects our first step towards wrestling the day’s events into coherence. It is an approximate daily leaderboard for language popularity around the globe…

…Half of a billion messages are posted to Twitter every day! Written on post-it notes, they would wrap around the Earth’s equator in a neon hug full of politics, pop music, and sports.

At the Computational Story Lab, since 2008 we have collected a random 10% of all public messages using Twitter’s Decahose API. Overall, our collection comprises roughly 150 billion messages requiring 100TB of storage.

https://storywrangling.org/

TheirTube

“Theirtube is a Youtube filter bubble simulator that provides a look into how videos are recommended on other people’s YouTube. Users can experience how the YouTube home page would look for six different personas. Each persona simulates the viewing environment of real Youtube users who experienced being inside a recommendation bubble through recreating a Youtube account with a similar viewing history. TheirTube shows how YouTube’s recommendations can drastically shape someone’s experience on the platform and, as a result, shape their worldview.”

http://www.their.tube

To Make Friends

Be able to talk and shut up. Listen well, particularly for the voice that is hard to hear in yourself and in others. Remember: there is little difference between being shut out and being shut in.

Best Argument for Wearing a Mask, Post-Pandemic

“Blöthar says wearing his has its advantages.

‘For one thing, people won’t really know what you look like, and that’s a great advantage, especially when you’re trying to commit armed robbery at your local convenience store,’ Blöthar says. ‘The other thing, especially if you’re really ugly, which most humans are … at least you get to walk around and not be as ugly as you usually are. There’s a big plus to that. Another big plus is other people don’t have to look at your ugly mug. And their days are not ruined.'”

—Blöthar the Berserker quoted in Chris Harris, “The Masked Bands’ Survival Guide to Your New Masked Life.” Spin. July 28, 2020.

Or, another way of looking at it.

“Wearing a face mask is simple, cheap, and easy. As I tell people in the medical field, think of a mask kind of like a hat. Most people like hats, except this is a hat for your mouth!”

——Grippo from Kissing Cadance, ibid.

Why We Will Lowercase white

“There was clear desire and reason to capitalize Black. Most notably, people who are Black have strong historical and cultural commonalities, even if they are from different parts of the world and even if they now live in different parts of the world. That includes the shared experience of discrimination due solely to the color of one’s skin.

There is, at this time, less support for capitalizing white. White people generally do not share the same history and culture, or the experience of being discriminated against because of skin color

—John Daniszewski, “Why we will lowercase white.” Associated Press. July 20, 2020.

The Darkest Timeline by siderea

“I think there is approximately no chance that there is not in the White House at least one influential person – and quite possibly several or many influential people – taken with the idea that it would be a very nice thing if a whole lot of Americans died.”

—siderea, “The Darkest Timeline.” siderea.dreamwidth.com. August 1, 2020.

Hanlon’s razor is my “hot take” on the idea that all the ham-fisted handling of the coronavirus pandemic could be plausibly explained by the intention, by some sub-faction of the White House, to get rid of people in some demographic segments in the United States and “clear out the barn.” But, the part that I find interesting is that the argument is plausible, certainly more so than your garden-variety conspiracy theory.