Tag Archives: xkcd

The Best Things I Read on the Internet, 2012

Like last year, I’m doing a Best Things I read on the Internet list. This is obviously in no way complete or comprehensive, it is merely a tiny slice of the internet that I really enjoyed and I hope you enjoy too.

  • How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in AmericaGawker (Kiese Laymon): I’ve read this essay about violence and race and home and promise so many times. There are phrases I’m sure will stick with me forever, “I’m a waste of writing’s time,” and “I wish I could get my Yoda on right now and surmise all this shit into a clean sociopolitical pull-quote that shows supreme knowledge and absolute emotional transformation, but I don’t want to lie.”
  • “Can You Call a 9-Year-Old a Sociopath?”New York Times (Jennifer Kahn): In the wake of Sandy Hook, this investigation of psychopathy in children hits particularly hard. How early can you identify the traits of psychopathy, and what do you do about it?
  • “Expectations”The New Yorker (Katherine Boo): This is the story of the uneasy relationship between an aspiring politician, Michael Bennet, and a high school on the edge of disfunction (or maybe over it?) in Denver. We talk about turnaround schools, benchmarks, races to the top, but what does that actually look like reflected back in the faces of teenagers?
  • “The Last Tower” – Harpers (Ben Austen) – For you Chicagoans, or those who wish to be Chicagoans, the towers of Cabrini-Green hold a particular and problematic place in our recent history. I walk by the remains of them every day. How did they start? Where they wrong from the beginning? Could they have been saved? Should they have been saved?
  • “Transformation and Transcendance: The Power of Female Friendship”The Rumpus (Emily Rapp): I hate, hate, hate the title of this essay if only because of how many potential readers might be turned off by it’s hippie-dippy enlightenment vibe. It’s so amazing and fantastic that I want every single person to read it. This was the first thing I ever read of Rapp’s, and I’ve been hooked since.
  • “Click and Drag” – xkcd (Randall Munroe): This isn’t an essay, per se, but I find it profound and delightful nonetheless. In an interactive cartoon, “Click and Drag” is about finding small pleasures, and remembering how much of the world there always is to explore.
  • “Odd Blood: Serodiscordancy, or, Life with an HIV-Positive Partner” The Atlantic (John Fram): A piece of the HIV puzzle we don’t see exposed very often, “Odd Blood” is a lyrically written account of a relationship in which one partner is HIV-positive and the other is not.

Part 2 coming later this week!


Filed under Really Good Writing by Other People

Gift Guide – Part 2

Last week, we did the Rosie Says Non-Denominational, Non-Seasonal Gift Guide Part 1. Still at a loss for that special someone/boring-co-worker/favorite aunt/least-favorite uncle? Search no further:

slotSparkly Things: Though much of my jewelry is a) my mother’s from the 80s or b) bought on a boardwalk shop in Virginia Beach in 2003, I like accessories as much as the next girl, especially necklaces with bookshelves, muffin tinssloths, T-rexes, or DNA base-pairs at the ends of them. For the wrists, what about a Chicago map cuff, or a delicate leaf bangle?

booksGeekery/Nerdery: Abraham Lincoln band-aids? Yes please. From Novel-T, get him a Gatsby tee, or a Hester Prynne version for her (or switch it up, gender norms are for losers). Do you like big books? Of course you do, be loud and proud with this tote. Everyone’s favorite comic artist, xkcd, also has a store with nifty stuff like the Map of Online Communities poster, or the “Science: It Works, Bitches” t-shirt.

coolieFoodie Winners: Make your own cheese! Or grow your own mushrooms! Figure out, finally, what molecular gastronomy means! Deb at Smitten Kitchen has a new cookbook out, and so does Coolio, so those are probably pretty much the same thing. And for the winos, there are always sippy cups.

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Filed under Art, Books, Food


Polls are really good at one thing, creating jobs for people who like talking about polls:

And this is only but a teaser. Click for full chart.

Similarly, in things that do not matter:

Come on, New York Times, you too?

Related Post: Is it Election Day yet?

Related Post: My Lincoln obsession started early.

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Filed under Media, Politics

Sunday Scraps 76

1.VOTING: Slate has a time lapsed map marking the last 100 years of presidential elections. Oooh, watch the pretty colors change!

2. SMARTS: Atlantic interview with Randall Munroe, creator of xkcd, about his uber famous comic and his new geeky science project, What If?

3. BOOKS: How to pair cocktails with book club books, a guide from Flavorwire. We’re reading Boss in my book club at the moment, which I think requires a Chicago beer that has been purchased in exchange for a couple of votes in a tricky precinct.

4. MAGS: The Daily Beast profiles Vice, a Brooklyn based online and print magazine that uses raunch humor, on-the-ground cheap reporting, and multi-media to try to make millennials care about the world.

5. FOOD: As nutritional labels hit McDonald’s, do consumers care if their lunch is 1,800 calories? Apparently not.

6. WRITING: Words of writerly wisdom from Zadie Smith, whose new book NW I’m very excited to read.

Related Post: Sunday 75: black moms-in-chief, library tattoos, Republican history of America

Related Post: Sunday 74: Emily Dickinson, the end of the Kournikova era, Junot Diaz


Filed under Books, Food, Media, Politics, Really Good Writing by Other People

Sunday Scraps 75

1. MOBAMA: Many folks (including me) roll their eyes at Michelle Obama’s self-labeling as “mom-in-chief,” but Tami Winfrey Harris at Clutch explains why a black mom-in-chief is an entirely different story.

2. INK: Yesss, Mental Floss has compiled a gallery of library-themed tattoos, and I want them all.

3. COMICS: This cartoon from Explosm says it all. Gender rolls, lol.

4. HISTORY: What is the GOP position on the Revolutionary War? On slavery? On McCarthy? Jack Hitt at the New Yorker has helpfully assembled a conservative history of America.

5. WORDS: Man, English is the coolest and makes no frickin sense. I love it so much, and so does Ted McCagg, who created a bracketed contest seeking the best word ever.

6. LOVELY: Normally, xkcd is just plain clever, but last week they knocked it out of the park with this delightful, surprising, sweet exploration of everything.

Related Post: Sunday 74: Trans respect posters, Junot Diaz, Emily Dickinson photos!

Related Post: Sunday 73: My new favorite NFL player, Philip Roth vs. wikipedia, Joy of Sex illustrations


Filed under Art, Books, Gender, Media, Politics, Really Good Writing by Other People

Sunday Scraps 50

1. LAW: The New Yorker has a fascinating piece on the true story behind the Lawrence vs. Texas case. Who was Lawrence, and who was the other guy, and what was actually going on? Hint: It’s not what you think.

2. TELEVISION: In the midst of 8 gazillion March Madness style tournements, Grantland is running one pitting characters from The Wire against one another. My money’s on Obama’s #1 seed.

3. POLITICS: Alternet has helpfully curated a list of the 11 dumbest things Republicans have said about women (recently).

4. DATING: xkcd tackles pick-up culture and hits the nail on the head. Gentlemen, we know what you’re up to.

5. LANGUAGE: From Buzzfeed, a chart tracking the usage of the word “slut” in recent years.

6. WORLD: Does four years with an American president feel like a long time? The Economist compares the average tenure of our leaders to the rest of the world.

Related Post: Last Sunday, we had a Lena Dunham interview, 1938 dating advice and 6 houses in Chicago.

Related Post: Two Sundays ago, Zilla marches, feminist pornographers, and Jonathan Lethem on copyright.


Filed under Gender, Hollywood, Media, Politics, Really Good Writing by Other People

Three Things About Maps

My dad spends a lot of time with maps. He highlights the bejeezus out of them, marks hypothetical shortcuts for hypothetical emergencies, and sharpies from edge to edge. To my dad, maps are grown-up coloring books. Maybe his obvious delights in anything with a scale and a legend is what led to my aesthetic appreciation of maps. I just adore them. The funny part is that I don’t really like using them. I’m more of a wanderer; eventually I’ll find my way where I’m going.

1. xkcd strikes again:

And oh, there are so, so many more. Don’t even think Gall-Peters.

2. Remember this?

Africa is fourteen times larger than Greenland. Goddamn Mercator.

3. Note’s for a People’s Atlas: This is a cool community-sourced project where residents map their cities according to their rules. For example:

Looks about right to me.

Related Post: More stellar (well, sad and problematic, but well-told) Chicago history, this time from The Reader.

Related Post: What does your flickr stream say about your level of tourism vs. local?


Filed under Art, Chicago, Family