The other day I watched a TED talk which I enjoyed so much that I want to recommend it. Dan Barber, a chef from New York, traveled to Spain where he met an eccentric fois gras maker with a unique approach to raising and keeping geese. I'm not a foodie and I've never even had fois gras, but I loved his story so much. If you've got 20 minutes, I promise you won't reget giving them to him.

After I'd watched it, I texted a friend to recommend it. He asked if I'd ever seen Sarah Silverman's TED talk, which apparently was pretty controversial. So I checked that one out, too, out of curiosity. If you haven't seen it and don't care to, the controversy boils down to the things she said about wanting to adopt "a mentally retarded baby with a terminal illness."

I think she made an interesting point in her interview with Bill Maher afterward, which was that the PC or un PC nature of the word "retarded" doesn't concern her, because the people that get upset by it aren't the mentally handicapped people themselves - they're their advocates. And she doesn't give a fuck about their advocates.

Anyway, what to me was more interesting than that part of her talk (which was more or less disjointed and unrelated bits of stand up), was her weirdly vicious attack on adult film actresses, in song form. It was just so strange and, like, cruel. And grossly misogynist, completely ignoring male porn stars. I just found it mean spirited and shaming and unfunny and sad-making. Sex workers are human beings too, for fuck's sake.


I unfollowed someone on Instagram yesterday, because he started adding Bible verses and religious quotations to every photo he posted (his pics are mostly various nature macros). I didn't say anything or flounce or whatever, I just quietly clicked the green button and showed myself out of the room. Well, this morning he commented on one of my pics, saying he knew why I'd unfollowed, but he still liked me anyway.

And we had a friendly exchange where I explained to him that while I understood that the verses were important to him to share, they made me feel like I was having to sit through commercials for something I have no interest in buying, when all I want to do is watch the show. His perspective was that he believes in heaven and hell, and he loves everyone, including me, and doesn't want me to go to hell, so he feels obligated to do what he can to prevent that.

So that was how that broke down.

It's the second time I've done that on Instagram. The first time, I think the woman must have lost a lot of followers, because she stopped doing it, and made a sort of outreach back to followers she'd lost, being very like-y and chatty with them. So I added her back, because I truly do enjoy her photos.

I enjoyed this other person's, too (as well as interacting with him), but when the verses and quotes are coming at me every single day, all day long, it feels a little heavy-handed and aggressive, and it's just alienating.

I suppose I could play the devil's advocate with myself here, though, and say that there are plenty of people who post lengthy comments, or poems, or song lyrics with their photos, and I just ignore that stuff when I'm not interested in it. So why can't I ignore the preachy stuff?

Well, I guess partly because I respect the creative endeavor of adding a bit of short flash fiction or original poetry or something like that. And the occasional quote (that someone else has written) doesn't bother me, and can in fact be cool. But I feel like those people who make an effort to match up quotes with their pics are at least diversifying a little bit, instead of just plunking down the same source (the Bible) again and again and again. I find the Biblical stuff alienating and boring, so I just change the channel.


Walking Chaucer has been so lovely lately, at dusk. The weather is amazing, and the grass at Grand Park is so nice. And none of the security minds if I unclip him and we play fetch on the (relatively, we are in the city after all) huge expanse. He just runs and runs and his tongue hangs out and he smiles and it's my favorite part of the day.

Here's our daily view:


And finally...out with the old, in with the new!

(Recaps still coming! They're just pretty epic and I've been waiting until I felt ready to tackle 'em...)