american idiot

dana cass

“D’ya want [incomprehensible noise]?”

“Um, I’m sorry, what?”

“D’ya want [incomprehensible noise]?”

“I’m–um–sorry, one more time?”

“D’ya want [incomprehensible noise]?”

“I… no. No, thanks.”

I am in London, in a cafe on Charlotte Street, where I learn in short order that drip coffee is an American thing, and there is something else that I could have on my avocado toast, but I don’t know what it is and I’m not going to say yes on the off-chance it’s Marmite. That seems like the kind of stunt they might pull in a country where coffee is served in cups that look like doll furniture. Nobody’s awake enough to know better.

It’s the first time I’ve left America in nearly a decade. I live in a world where this is rare: as an employee of a multinational corporation, and also a white person who went to liberal arts college, my unmarked passport is a curiosity…

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A Letter of Regret From Your Anxious and Depressed Friend

talkingthisandthat

Dear Friend,

I was not always this way.

I did not always hide away from the general public for months or weeks at a time. Once I was quite confident. I occasionally felt happy. I had a full time job and I could face customers with no concern. I would chat to people over the phone, make an effort to see friends, be interested in daily life. I could cope with negativity. Overcome it, even. I wouldn’t let anything bring me down because I had something inside me that made me keep going out there, into the world, facing it all.

But sometimes, Friend, things happen. Sometimes just one thing. Sometimes many things. The courage to face these things is strong at first, at least stronger than now. But depending on luck, or coincidence, or fate, or opportunity, eventually the voice of that courage for some people is quieter. Weaker…

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Serial kid-producer reveals top 10 reasons not to have kids

Barb Taub

Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.

imgresI was lying awake last night, trying to memorize the feeling of everything being right with my family. We’re all healthy, happy, and remarkably satisfied with where we are in life at this exact moment. Even Child #4 has just taken her last ever Uni final, and pronounced herself ready to go off the family payroll.

A friend asked if I ever regretted having so many kids, or the time/money/everything that it took to raise them. She said her book club (having dispensed with the required 8.5 minutes of book-related discussion) were all talking about the reasons their grown children were not producing grandchildren.

That reminded me of this blast-from-the-past I wrote a few years ago.


Top 10 reasons not to have kids

There are actually LOTS of reasons not to have kids. As a serial kid-producer, I offer a revised list:

10. Vermin =…

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Walking Through the Witches

busy mockingbird

People ask me sometimes about ballpoint pen and how I use it in my drawings. They’ll say that when they use it, it smears or gets discolored. And I say, “that’s because no one in their right mind should be using ballpoint pen.” But I can’t help it–that’s what I like. It’s what I’ve ALWAYS liked, and what I’m most comfortable with. It’s cheap, portable, easy to find, easy to carry.

But it does have a couple of issues.

Don’t be scared, though! When I was younger, information was a lot harder to find, and I was about the only one I ever knew that drew with a PEN. Nowadays, there are TONS of fine artists that use ballpoint (sometimes they call it “biro”), and do some AMAZING work. I don’t know what they go through, but here are some things I’ve learned…

THE PEN ITSELF

I’ve learned that I…

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God’s gender: a cautionary tale

... because God is love

Is God a man?

Is God a woman?

Does it really matter?

These and similar questions seem to be doing the rounds again, on social media and elsewhere. My answers, in brief, would be “No”, “No”, and “Yes, very much.”

Why does it matter so much? Why does it matter what language we use about God, what pronouns and names and titles we use to address and describe God?

Let me tell you a story.

You know those arguments children have which go “boys are better than girls”, “no, girls are better than boys”, “no, boys are better than girls”, on and on and on? They’re especially annoying on long car journeys or in waiting rooms.

A while back, two of the children I work with, then aged about 5, were having just such an argument. I wan’t paying much attention, just keeping half an eye on things in case…

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“Playwright” vs. “Playwrite”

It's Kind of a Long Story

(This is a revised version of a post that was first published in October 2009.  I went back and changed some stuff so it sounded better.)

*  *  *  *  *

Playwright.“play”, from the Saxon “plega“, meaning “recreation”; and “wright,” from the Old English “wryhta“, meaning “worker.”  First recorded use of word: 1687.

I am a compulsive word-use-corrector, a ruthless proofreader, a highly-critical grammar snob.  Anyone who has ever made the mistake of asking me to edit a paper for them can verify that this is true.  I love my red proofreading pen with an unhealthy passion.  While it’s partly because I’m a judgmental pain in the ass, it’s also because I’m a giant etymology geek.  I love words (certainly I use a lot of them) and I find them really interesting.  Which is why the word “playwright” fascinates me.  It drives me bonkers when…

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