Friday Fun

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Brushing up for Tuesday.

“Friday Fun” isn’t a very compelling title for these posts…I’ll have to come up with something better. Unless someone else can, which would be even better…ideas?

Quote of the Week

“It’s a fantastic and terrifying liberation. The reason it is terrifying is because it makes you once and for all responsible to no one but yourself. Not to God the Father, not to Satan, not to anybody. Just you. If you think it’s right, then you’ve got to do it. If you think it’s wrong, then you mustn’t do it.” -James Baldwin

OK, maybe not a “fun” quote, but it’s one that everyone should consider – what it means to trust your own inner moral compass. What if no one is responsible for your decisions but you? No one to blame but yourself? It burns off a lot of the smoke we tend to generate around the decisions we make. I think sometimes we do that to shield ourselves from our own flawed logic. I should rephrase that – I think sometimes that’s why I do it. I don’t take this quote to necessarily only apply to atheists; it really is about taking radical responsibility for one’s own actions.

Fave links from around the interwebs

I hope this piece, entitled Dirtbag Winston Churchill, sucks you into the same Mallory Ortberg comedy vortex I’ve been in for the past two days (she has a book that just came out, Texts from Jane Eyre, which may be why the internet is flooded with Ortberg – and I couldn’t be more pleased, personally). You’ll be the better for it, I say. Here are a few of my favorites to get you started: Two Monks Invent Denominations, Dirtbag Athena, Women Listening to Men in Western Art HistoryThe Toast’s Mallory Ortberg on Death, Faith, and Why It’s So Easy to Make Fun of Christians.

I love her honesty about her doubt/faith and spiritual journey in that last interview and can identify a lot with it – we have weirdly similar backgrounds, actually. I love how she says, “Prayer was not something that made a lot of sense to me. Because it seems really clear to me that outcomes in the world are fairly inconsistent … But [another] sort of prayer is, ‘Given that anything can happen to me, given that life is sometimes cruel and sometimes beautiful and I don’t know what’s coming next, how can I handle what happens next best? How can I ask God to be with me in whatever shit goes down?’ And that is the kind of prayer makes a lot of sense to me.”

I also read this older essay of hers this week. I could have written a lot of that essay myself after college. This is still relevant today for me: “I had a copy of the Old Testament that was illustrated like a graphic novel, and I also had every novel published under the Star Wars Expanded Universe imprint published before the year 2000. I learned that every moment of my life, however trivial it seemed at the time, carried in it a potential charge that could draw me either closer to God or further away. I learned that God loved me, much as Mara Jade came to love Luke Skywalker after she was able to shake off the training she had received from Palpatine during her tenure as the Emperor’s Hand. I had at least three friends at any given time.”

OT: Mara Jade had a very important influence on my life, guys. And most people will never know her, now that the Expanded Universe has been unceremoniously chucked out the window by our dear friends at Disney (more OT: at the link, I disagree with the AV Club mourning the Yuuzhan Vong. I hated them and I never read another EU book after R.A. Salvatore introduced them and had them kill off Chewbacca). Anyway, it’s lovely to see that the Emperor’s Hand will not be forgotten. Let’s take a moment to grieve together.

Moving on.

Biking lanes! Maybe you wish you had them as much as I do. Wired recommends cities take an affordable approach, testing best practices before making more expensive, permanent changes. This could be the best way to get quick traction and momentum behind the idea in most cities, AND it’s been successfully implemented elsewhere! Could be a win-win for most city managers and cyclists.

Warning: if you’ve ever made an effort to support local farms, this article on the deceptive practices of some farm-to-table restaurants may infuriate you.

After last year’s demonstrations and student activism on the subject, my alma mater, Georgetown University, is sorting through the best way to make amends for the sale of 272 slaves in 1838. This could be important precedent among private institutions who owe their existence to the slave trade.

An interesting take on a possible cause that may explain the correlation between well-adjusted kids and regular family dinners.

Listened to this great podcast this week: Danielle LaPorte and Linda Sivertsen interview Brené Brown for their Beautiful Writers podcast. There are a ton of gems in this interview! I know a lot of my friends love Brené as much as I do, and you guys will probably enjoy this interview a lot.

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