The only thing we have to fear is fear itself… and sticking our feet out from under the covers at night (that’s how the monsters get you!).
Here are some summaries of articles I retweeted this week that I thought were pretty interesting, along with a few of my own thoughts on them. This might turn into a weekly post if I can keep up with it.
“The Russians Are Coming” | via Foreign Policy
The author spews out 10 reasons why we shouldn’t believe Vladamir Putin’s promise to President Obama that he is not going to invade the Ukraine. Most of the reasons seem to revolve around the author’s belief that the Obama Administration is at fault, i.e., Putin revels in embarrassing the administration, the foreign policy circles in the United States have publicly stated either that Russia is not violating international law (this is an argument I strongly disagree with; Russia’s actions are a flagrant violation of international law and the laws of war – a full blog post on that is coming soon), and the U.S. government continues to sit and watch Russia’s incursion on Crimea unfold.
However, the author does not shy away from Russia’s responsibility for its untrustworthiness. He notes that Russia has consistently lied about what is going on in Crimea, as well as its own involvement in other international crises, such as the war raging in Syria.
Ax These Terms From Your Legal Writing | via ABA Journal
Did you know that courts in both England and the United States have addressed the question of whether the term “and/or” is a word? Well, they have, according to this article. And they have unanimously answered in the negative. The Illinois Appellate Court went so far as to describe “and/or” as a “freakish fad” that is “an accuracy-destroying symbol.” So, in other words, it’s too vague for legal writing.
Other words that courts have either declared vague or at least open to several specific interpretations include “herein,” “deem,” “provided that,” “said,” and “same.”
Is the Contraception Mandate Doomed? | via Slate
As you may know, Hobby Lobby filed a religious freedom claim asserting that it should not be required to provide health care coverage for specific contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Hobby Lobby is not refusing to provide for contraceptives altogether, but rather, is refusing to pay for specific contraceptives that its owners believe can cause abortions. This article explains how the case arose, and what exactly happened during the oral arguments presented before the Supreme Court of the United States earlier this week. It’s a fascinating read, and the author cuts through the legalese so that you can really grasp what the case is truly about.
1. Jess Day (New Girl)
The quirky twenty-something (thirty-something?) wears her polka dots, bows, and dresses loudly and proudly. Her outfits are whimsical, but still demure enough that you could wear them to work. I love that she wears bold colors and funny patterns, and mixes super girly elements (like the aforementioned bows) with more tailored pieces (like tailored shorts or a crisp button-down). I guess I’m not the only one infatuated with Jess’s wardrobe; there are quite a few blogs devoted to it (including Dress Like New Girl, What Was Jess Wearing?, and What Would Zooey Deschanel Wear?).
2. Claire Underwood (House of Cards)
Claire Underwood is probably one of the most morally-corrupt and ice-cold characters on TV. However, her wardrobe is to die for. She’s notorious for wearing high-end designers like Zac Posen, Gucci, and L’Wren Scott, but she occasionally busts out some Reiss and Banana Republic numbers. The only downside to Claire’s closet is that all her outfits are in neutral colors: black, white, gray, blue. A different pop of color wouldn’t hurt, Claire!
3. Rachel Zane (Suits)
Rachel Zane knows how rock a pencil skirt at work. She also knows how to dress it down when she’s at home (love that cable knit sweater!). And look how polished she is when she sits for the LSAT (bottom right photo)! Stunning.
4. Abby Whelan (Scandal)
For the first two seasons of Scandal, Abby’s clothes were pretty drab. But now she’s in love with David Rosen, and it appears that her life and wardrobe are looking up. She’s ditched the oversized sweaters and replaced them with wrap dresses, funky printed pieces (Diane Von Furstenberg), and leather jackets.
5. Betty Draper (Mad Men)
Betty has to come in last place mainly because some of her outfits would look a bit crazy anywhere other than a 1960s themed party. That being said, a lot of the cocktail dresses, fitted capris, and coats Betty wears (at least in the first season or two – forgive me, but I’ve just started watching the show) would actually be quite fashionable even today. They are rather reminiscent of the Jess Day’s outfits, now that I think about it.
Pulled from lyrics written by indie(ish) songwriters. I designed all these myself for once! Hooray!
Top (left to right): Believer by American Authors, I Forgot to Tell You You’re Beautiful by Josh Weller, A to B by Matt Hires.
Bottom (left to right): Lost in My Mind by The Head and the Heart, As It Seems by Lily Kershaw.
I ran across a whiny Thought Catalog article today titled “When Are 20-Somethings Going to Get Over Themselves?” that seriously irked me.
The 21-year-old author literally starts off her piece with this hypocritical statement: “I cannot bear another whimsical article about being a twenty something.” She then proceeds to complain about being a twenty-something. She basically hates her own generation.
She claims that
– we “moan” about walking to class on Facebook
(My response: I’m a recent grad of a huge public university, and I don’t remember any of my Facebook friends whining about walking to class. I’m wondering what horrible people this girl is Facebook friends with. And even if they do whine, maybe they have a good reason for it. I mean, the weather this year has been dreadful.)
– we hate going to school
(My response: based on the fact that we are the most educated generation in American history, I’m going to say that she’s probably wrong about this)
– we don’t volunteer
(My response: clearly she’s never heard of unpaid internships and how common they’ve become within the past decade)
– we don’t write enough
(My response: I guess blogging, posting documentaries on YouTube, etc. doesn’t count as writing unless you’re writer for Thought Catalog)
I’m not a fan of Thought Catalog. The articles are filled with pretentious, self-absorbed twenty-somethings who claim that they are sick of our generation – their own generation. The writers pat themselves on the back because they are under the false impression that their writing is somehow deep or going to change the world. It’s not. They could be writing thought provoking pieces on real issues, but instead they are just a egotistical version of Buzzfeed.
Don’t believe me? Here are some examples of Thought Catalog articles that sound like they could be Buzzfeed listicles: “21 Secret Struggles of Being a Girly Girl,” “The 5 Things to Look for in a Significant Other,” and “9 People You Become on Payday.”
Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE Buzzfeed. But Buzzfeed doesn’t claim that its “mission” is “archival.” It also doesn’t claim that it aims to “shape culture.” You know who does claim that it has that mission? Thought Catalog.
At least Buzzfeed is aware of what it’s doing. It’s not trying to be thought provoking. It’s just trying to be a form of entertainment. Thought Catalog is doing the exact same thing, but with less GIFs and a greater sense of superiority.
*for the record, I don’t think my blog is going to change the world either – although it would be flipping awesome if it did.
ALERT. Today is National Puppy Day. This can only mean two things: 1) story time, and 2) puppy videos.
When I was 3-years-old, a crazily-enormous dog chased me through an orange orchard. You read that right, WordPress friends. I was minding my own business on my great-uncle’s farm, and this beast came out of nowhere. I don’t even know how I escaped. What I do know is that it scarred me for (10 years of my) life.
For the next decade, I fled from any dog I encountered. It didn’t help that I was once also chased by a rather territorial Rottweiler when I was in elementary school. I was just going on a walk with my mom and brother through my neighborhood, and this dog jumped over its fence and darted after us. I ran the entire way home. Once again, I have no idea how I escaped. What I do know is that I avoided that side of the neighborhood the same way that most kids avoided Boo Radley’s house in To Kill a Mockingbird.
I finally overcame my fear after hearing my mom tell lots of stories about the American Eskimo dog she had growing up (the dog went by the rather cliche name Lassie). After years of hearing these stories, I decided dogs could a) be sweet, b) be intelligent, c) be worthy of my love.
After much convincing, my parents agreed to let me get a puppy. More than 10 years later, people still mistake my dog for a puppy – not only because of his size, but also because of his playful personality. He’s the best dog in the entire world. He thinks he’s a human, he has a security blanket (a squeaky toy frog), and he enjoys drinking spilt frappuchinos, omelets, and cornflakes. He’s a weirdo, and I love him.
As promised, here is a video of puppies (Maltese puppies to be specific) being adorable little fluffballs.
While listening to a mashup of the best Harry Potter soundtrack songs during a study session last night, I had an epiphany: Hermione was responsible for (likely) sending her parents to prison or a mental institution.
Remember how she erased her parents’ memories of her at the beginning of Deathly Hallows? Well, she didn’t erase other people’s memories of her. What about her neighbors? Her parents’ friends? Her extended family? They would all still remember her, and what would they think when her parents denied she ever existed? They would have become concerned once they saw that any trace of her at her parents’ home had been erased. Eventually they would have begun to suspect that her parents hurt or killed her. And then they would have called the police. The police would have called in some psychiatrists. There would have been some sort of hearing, maybe even a trial. And then the Grangers’ would have been carted off to either a prison cell or a hospital.
NOT COOL, HERMIONE.