#weem hill Tumblr posts

  • tommymacsblog
    25.11.2021 - 1 week ago

    Spot the rare Sorbus rupicola (Rock Whitebeam) at Weem Hill, near to Aberfeldy, Perthshire. I believe, still, currently not formally recorded. [Situated adjacent to the currently persisting Sticky Catchfly population] Photo by Tom MacDonald, 24/5/2019.

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  • skowhegan
    08.07.2021 - 4 monts ago

    Mel Chin (F ‘95), Nicole Eisenman (F ‘06), LaToya Ruby Frazier (A ‘07, F ‘15), Jeffrey Gibson (F ‘14), Gary Hill (F ‘96), Toba Khedoori (A ‘90), Whitfield Lovell (A ‘95, F ‘01, ‘02, ‘05), Rick Lowe (F ‘98), Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle (F ‘02), Kerry James Marshall (F ‘98), Trevor Paglen (F ‘13), Shahzia Sikander (F ‘05), Kara Walker (F ‘01), Carrie Mae Weems (F ‘00), Fred Wilson (F ‘95), Xu Bing (F ‘03) Towards Common Cause: Art Social Change and the MacArthur Fellows Porgram at 40 Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago 5550 S. Greenwood Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60637 July 15 - December 19

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  • travelinmattinokc
    29.10.2021 - 1 mont ago
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  • travelinmattinokc
    27.10.2021 - 1 mont ago
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  • garblegox
    01.09.2021 - 3 monts ago

    • Humpty Dumpty Elegy 2 •

    Unravelling the mystery of Humpty Dumpty has been like one furious rendition of the Twelve Days Of Christmas. Where every gift is another crime he committed against the group.

    "Yo Wednesday, Hump got me a partridge in a pear tree. I think he might be a great big piece of shit."

    "DUDE! I swear to god, he got me two turtle doves as well. I can't believe he also got you a partridge in a pear tree, what the FUCK!"

    A second friend pops into voice chat, we rattle off our gifts.

    "You know, I thought I was the only one getting gifts from Humpty. I'm on my third French hen. But if you got two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree, something must be up!"

    Every friend has been a brand new day of Christmas. And I'm about seven days in. Day one, I only had one story in my head. By day seven, I've heard or repeated them all at least 28 different times.

    The Twelve Days of Christmas is a song that always fills me with panic and dread. Real Bill Murray, Groundhog Day shit. Opposite to how talking to a shrink makes your head feel lighter and shrunk, talking about Mr. Dumpty makes my skull feel like a 16lb bowling ball, dipped in hot moldy fondue.

    • # 1 The Coddling Of The American Mind by Greg Lukianoff & Johnathan Haidt •

    I was born in 1995. All throughout school, it felt like the kids in my grade were the last ones to have any fun.

    Playgrounds got dismantled, piece by piece. The ground under them went from sand, to pebbles, to wood chips, to bouncy asphalt. Can't throw a giant rubber mat into someone's eyes.

    There was a gentle, not even 15-degree-inclined hill behind one school I went to. We'd summersault down it, roll into each other's legs, toboggan on our coats, write in the snow with our footsteps, dozens of things silly kids do on a tiny hillside. When I hit the 6th grade, only 6th graders and above were allowed on it, and when I went to highschool, it was strictly prohibited. To everyone's knowledge, nobody in the history of the hill ever got hurt on it, but it was off-limits in the name of safety nonetheless.

    Or as we little morons used to say, "Hill's outta bounce."

    I remember when the phrase, "exclusion is a form of bullying, same as the others," was new. I remember it backfiring spectacularly. A group would form, and a kid that was disinvited from that group would end up furious. Instead of asking, "how do I get in?" He'd go full Randal Weems. First, angrily threatening to snitch. Next, pitifully sobbing, and running to the teacher to tell them the whole spiel. The teacher would then tell us if we want to make a group, absolutely everyone must be invited.

    The kid would get his way, and treat his own presence like the greatest victory in the name of spite. We'd say something to the effect of, "Well, you got your own way. Now we get to hate you up close." This would last one to three days, a week at the most, and the group would voluntarily dissolve. At least in any in-school form. School turned the art of association into a bullying conspiracy; We learned to speak in symbols like Freemasons.

    Humpty was a kid that got excluded a lot. For all his frustration, he got to watch these conspiracies from behind a veil of flattery, resentment, and placation. No, "improve X aspect of yourself, and you'll fit in" from his peers. Nothing constructive to reflect on. Just bitter kids, silently parting away from him like the Red Sea. That's why I wrote this. I believe we busted our asses off to be constructive, and I refuse to be accused of not doing my best at that.

    Contact sports stopped using contact. Dodgeballs became these useless foam core sponges with the kinetic energy of ping pong balls. Track & field day legitimately started involving participation ribbons. So kids like me couldn't just blow the whole event off; we got to take home an official stack of loser-colored failure tokens. Me and the kids with spina bifida, and electric wheelchairs.

    Humpty is only 3 years older than me. Plus, he was held back a grade. We went to school in the same province. We both saw the same circus. He's a young Millennial, I'm an old Zoomer.

    Just a sidenote, I streetviewed my old school, with the hill out back. Between 2009 and now, every single climbable non-coniferous tree has been cut down. Not just on the property, but along every sidewalk leading to the school, all the way to the neighborhood I used to walk from. That just makes me so sad. We're fucking primates, man. This is that "abiosis" those oracles warned all us about.

    I wanted Humpty to feel like I did, when I read this. Like it wasn't just me, and my particularly satanic schools. I wasn't being some curmudgeony ass Chicken Little, screaming, "THE BALLS ARE TOO SOFT!" That almost everyone our age, at least in most English countries, watched the same thing in their school as well.

    It's almost a boring cliché, all the people saying, "School doesn't teach you to be smart, it teaches you to be compliant." But now, add to that, alongside "compliant": helpless, incurious, mechanical, snitch-happy, anti-competitive, hyperbehaviorized Skinner pigeons with brain AIDS. With 3 Grand Untruths to live by:

    What doesn't kill you makes you weaker

    Always trust your feelings

    Life is a battle between good and evil

    Or, as cognitive behavioral therapists would call it: The shittiest way to look at the world, ever; The most anxiety-inducing, narcissism-affirming, history-forgetting way to perceive one's own life. But why? Since when? And what does sane look like? You gotta read it, homie.

    • # 2 The Science Of Evil by Simon Baron-Cohen •

    Perhaps you think I'm pulling this whole, "fake autism" thing out of my ass.

    Remember those haymakers I mentioned in the last one? I ran them by a different autistic friend. Emphasizing the part about seeing Humpty in a new light, and finding him dishonest and manipulative.

    Our friend immediately recalled a story, where a girl he knew for a long time suddenly said to him, "I've rethought our relationship. I think you're dangerous, suspicious, and a liar. I don't want to spend any more time with you, leave me alone."

    He said it made him panic instantly. He felt helpless, he started crying. He felt like autism done went and did it again, taking nice things away from him. He thought, "Why does this happen to me? What can I do?" And he rushed to rectify it with her, whatever way he could.

    This is exactly what I expected Humpty to do. It's what I think I would do, and why I was fully prepared to ease up. I've thrown about five more elbow drops from the turnbuckle, right onto his balls, and nothing has made him flinch.

    There are plenty of things you could say to offend him or make him defensive. None of these were it.

    Friends have listened, and said they were shocked with how cruel I was able to be. Honestly, I am too. I can't believe we never noticed how little listens, and I'm still plumbing the depths of his selective hearing patterns.

    Since writing this, Humpty has independently parroted my words back to me a few times, sarcastically.

    Once, he guffawed, "So what are you saying, you think I have a dissociative mental illness, instead of autism?"

    I said, "You took the words right outa my mouth."

    Hump certainly does have one real, life-disrupting problem: zero empathy.

    With empathy, a little goes a long way. There are multiple ways to reduce it to zero. By state or by trait.

    States are hopeful. A bad state, that leads you to think and act unempathetically, can be improved, and the empathy will return to natural levels. But traits determine the natural levels. With 10 different brain regions involved in empathy, there are many ways to compensate for deficient traits in one or more.

    Most of our effort has been focused around how he can improve his states. He has attempted a grand total of 0 suggestions. No matter how atomically small the change may be.

    Now, getting Humpty to cooperate in any discussion of his states or traits is excruciatingly difficult and unproductive. He's unclear about his past and his present, always. Think about how Tommy Wiseau answers questions. Identical. Just an inscrutable quadruple pendulum of bullshit, till you tap out or lose your train of thought.

    Zero empathy has two faces, "zero positive" and "zero negative". A good face and a bad face. "Systematizers vs Empathizers"

    Zero positive is things like Asperger's and autism. Zero negative is borderline personality, psychopathy, and narcissism.

    Asperger's and autism are thought of as positive, because in leu of empathy, their brains have an incredible capacity for memory, linear thinking, and systematizing. They're people you really want on a team.

    They can learn empathetic ways of behaving, through a systematic approach. They still see people as objects, but they're 100% capable of systematically treating those objects with sweetness and light. Think of a collector, with everything in mint condition.

    As Kahneman and Tverski show in their book Thinking Fast And Slow, we have two thinking "systems" at work, simultaneously: Fast intuitions, and slow reasons. Autists lack a fast empathic intuition, but can slowly make up for it using their strong reasoning abilities. As a kid, autism is a struggle. As an adult, autism is a style.

    My other autistic friends are shining examples of this. The guy I mentioned earlier has more friends than anybody in the discord group, because he's a god damn lovely son of a bitch.

    Again, it's just a matter of partici-fucking-pation. And believe me, I've lost count of how many ways I've tried to say this to Mr. Dumpty. I even gave him Baron-Cohen's bona fides. He said, "that's a nice theory, but I'm the one here who was in a mental institution as a kid." Not kidding. He's never quoted a single thing from his childhood psychiatrists. But the fact that he had them, makes him the expert.

    Important side note, Wednesday's been in and out of psychiatric care his whole life. He's got an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) score of 9 out of 10. Wednesday has shared all of these stories with him. The Egg is the only one in our gang who forgets about them somehow.

    Humpty Dumpty a zero negative.

    He's the only autist in the group who is just a simmering kettle of entitled rage. Every day, he claims a new person slighted him and condescended because they knew he was autistic and stupid.

    He believes people can see autism in the bone structure of his face, and the way he smells. But he's absolutely deaf to the idea that what people really sense is a hostile sociopath.

    We say "Maybe if you internally worked on how much you hate women, they'd find you more attractive." The imp replies: "They never know how much I hate them. They're perfectly unaware."

    Every time one of us describes an act of generosity or humanity, he puts on this mocking derisive tone, and says, "Oooh it's the monkey brain instincts forcing men to act as a provider so people will find them attractive hmmMMmm" or some permutation of that Incel brand EvoPsych bullshit. Anything to diminish the role of empathy in people's behavior.

    God forbid you're generous or humane towards women. He'll jeer and coo at you, like you're a fool sleepwalking into a siren's song. We can't seem to get him to stop calling people's girlfriends "holes". When people say, "Humpty, if you said that in front of me I'd be tempted to strangle you to fucking death." out come those giggles.

    I won't be explicit. But suffice it to say, all of his fantasies, sexual or otherwise, seem to be centered around guile, coercion, humiliation, and schadenfreude. And his favorite way to break an awkward silence is grumble into his microphone, "I'm gonna kill myself/I'm gonna kill someone/I'm gonna kill myself and others"

    To that I now just make fart noises into my mic. It's been way more fun.

    Like I said about that benefit of the doubt shit. The second I decided to take his words seriously, and stop looking through pity-tinted glasses, I remembered I'm hanging with a monster.

    Narcissists, psychopaths, and borderlines are not hopeless. They make up the majority of people seeking psychiatric care. However, a zero-negative, masquerading as a zero-positive, has no place to turn. It's possible to be both, but he'll only admit to half and get nowhere.

    • # 3 Bullshit Jobs by David Graeber •

    "Hrmmmmph! Off to my wage cage...*bu-boop*" -- Humpty Dumpty grumbling goodnight.

    What kind of piece of shit thinks having a job is degrading or unfair? A guy who's almost 30, living in his parents' house, pretending to be autistic, raking in disability money, who spends 100% of that money on merch, and a new videogame every single day.

    Most recently, that money went into buying a brand new 1.5-foot-tall, $750 Shadow the Hedgehog statue. That's sesquipedumbralievable. He complains about living with his oppressive parents. Then he spends a month's rent on garbage. As with everything, he blames his spending on "monkey brain."

    He complains about being treated like a mentally disabled person at work. He vacillates between that, and claiming people are always surprised when he tells them he's been diagnosed with autism.

    He has a college degree in administration. A higher education level than almost half the discord group.

    He won't stop applying to temp agencies for the mentally disabled. Jobs that he always finds to be beneath his above-average intelligence.

    He believes he has scientifically proven that handing out resumes doesn't work. How? He handed out 40 resumes. I said, "Yeah Humpty, businesses put out job offerings to keep everyone unemployed." He piped up, enthusiastically, "Well, actually that's true. They..." but the conversation was moving in a different direction. What a shame I didn't get to hear that theory.

    Where does this book enter into this shell game?

    All people need to believe their daily grind contributes to the wellbeing of society. R-worded or not. The absence of that is painful, and it creates a sense of nagging dissonance. People who have an innate sense of shame, at least.

    I'm a fry cook. That's good karma. It doesn't pay big money, but I know I'm worth every dollar. I work lunches, so I'm a hangover nurse to boot. I don't have time to dick around on my phone or watch Netflix. I'm never just pretending to be busy or useful. Even all my bosses are respectably occupied with some cumbersome shit.

    My job is a "shit job" not a "bullshit job". Shit jobs are a heavy duty grind, but an honest day's work, and a benefit to society. They also don't pay spectacularly well. Bullshit jobs are rent seeking, obsolete, wasteful charades. People waiting to be needed, and using the majority of their brainpower for appearing industrious. They pay the most.

    This book made me much more content with my shit job. Second, it totally restructured my career goals with my soul in mind. Don't just value your money, don't just value your time, value your role in your community. Bullshit jobs pay the best because they drain the most from your meaningful and finite existence. Philistine money for a mechanical, philistine lifestyle.

    "I'm a parasite, and a drain on society! 😆" -- Humpty Dumpty the Triumphant, real quote.

    I was hoping Hump maybe wanted to stop that, at some point. Maybe put that administration degree towards more than just office busywork for lobotomites? Maybe make use of his rigorous systematizing brain, for a project he believes in?

    Nope. No thanks.

    Since the agricultural revolution, humans looking to contribute to their tribe have been presented with two main lanes: Work hard, or sit down and use that big brain of yours for the benefit of the busy.

    I don't believe there's such a thing as playing a valuable role in society, without it being done from one of those two lanes. I think the vast majority of people feel the same. Simply based on how rare it is to find anyone who will admit "My job contributes nothing to society, other than money in my pocket." Try to find one, even the boldest rogue. I bet they'll get screwfaced and defensive at the mere suggestion.

    Even the shittiest, most shameless people I know, have died a little inside while working bullshit jobs. One of my uncles, a lifelong bully, a textbook narcissist, and someone I truly believed had no remorse, wound up with stress-induced epilepsy from selling medical/life insurance. He screwed the most desperate people out of their last hope, as often as he hooked them up with some nice insurance. Being a parasite was too much for a man whose sweetest joy is the sound of sobbing children, and the sight of rolling eyes.

    Just like everyone else, Old Captain Humpsack McDump would also prefer, deep down, to play a real role in this society. A role he can expect real gratitude for. His own cubicle-farm version of cooking delicious fried chicken for pickled dickbags. And that's what this book is all about. That, and sour-graping on rich people with all their money.

    Plus, if your job really is bullshit, there's a Sword of Damocles hanging above your head, every day. When you wake up, struggle to find a reason to get out of bed, then commute to a new space to get nothing done, you get the added spiritual joy of realizing that if your bosses knew any better, or maybe just had the balls, your ass would be without a job, and the world would be a better place.

    Now, I won't be a fry cook forever. What's next? I haven't decided yet. But after reading this book, the list of potential careers has shrunk to a fifth of what it used to be. Money at the expense of my dignity will not do. I'd rather be a mediocre contributor, than an extravagant waste of air. I'm thinking maybe a stone mason. I'mma be Big Bad Wolf proof.

    • # 4 The Gift Of Fear by Gavin De Becker •

    I'm afraid of Humpty Dumpty.

    My friends are not. I'm not sure why. He's got a long history as a doormat, so maybe they think that's a fixed quality; He's got no charisma, so maybe they think he couldn't talk us into a dangerous encounter; He's got no good reasons to want to hurt us, so maybe they think he has no bad reasons either.

    My friends have not read this book. They like to think that, even though Humpty has a mountain of downsides, violence isn't one of them. That our judgement couldn't fail us that badly. Whatever makes them comfortable. God fuckin bless.

    "What's so scary, Garble? Why you bein so melodramatic? You dislike a stinky egg so much you're gonna liken him to a murderer/mass murderer/stalker type fella? Sheesh H. Christ my dude, chill!" people exclaim.

    At first, I only ever had gut feelings. I never consciously recalled this book, whenever it applied. Until Humpty invited himself to my house. Then the klaxon blared. Mom's fuckin spaghetti.

    Humpty checks every last warning sign illustrated in this book. And again, I'll repeat, that's not typical of autism. From the case studies, to the hypotheticals, to the acronymous omen lists, Humpty Dumpty is described in this book from start to finish. Yuck.

    My goal for Hump with this book was twofold: Stop looking like a mark, AND a crook.

    Before realizing my fear of Humpty Dumpty, it was mostly all about mark-proofing him. Bad guys don't just pick on nice guys, they pick on the easiest target they can find. And he seems to think being a bullseye is stylish.

    Post-fear, I completely switched focus to "stop looking like a crook" mode. Because if Dumptylocks can give me the heebie jeebies, god knows how he makes strangers feel.

    Lets compare Humpty to one of De Becker's list of bad omens:

    Forced teaming


    Charm and niceness


    Unsolicited promises


    Discounts the word 'No'

    Forced teaming was a latecomer addition to Humpty's dark history. What's forced teaming? The sudden and unjustified use of "us" to insinuate oneself into someone else's situation. It's one of the subtlest and most challenging manipulation tricks to overcome.

    "Lemme get those bags for ya. We gotta get these to your front door." Said the stranger, outta nowhere.

    What'd Humpty do? He us'd his way into a magic mushroom trip with Wednesday and I. One we had planned for a year already. Hump's been abundantly clear: Don't give me drugs, or I'll kill everyone. Woooo, spooky. So it's not a tricky decision, he was never invited, or welcome, at our mystery. We're not sober-sitting a quasi-murderous douchebag while sweating out glitter on shrooms. DUH!

    Yet, suddenly, the story mutated into one involving Humpty. It became a "we" thing. That's when I realized, this book woke long ago, and has been wailing like a baby from some crib, deep in the cracks of my noggin. Crying, "Don't let this motherfucker sleep next to your knife rack!!"

    The other omens were no-brainers, upon reflection: He typecasts everyone as either "Normies" or "Monkey Brains." His own brand of Caulfieldian phonies and prostitutes; He's the quintessential 'Niceguy' in terms of women, and he'll openly tell you when he's merely doing things to charm or placate you, which is always; I've mentioned the too-much-info (TMI) problem earlier, when I talked about the non-sequitur fountain. His Tommy Wiseau gimmicks involve a million answers to questions that absolutely nobody asked; His whole presence in the Discord group was an unsolicited promise; He bought me the most recent Doom game, without me ever asking or showing an interest, I enjoyed it, and fully planned to finish it, but after not playing it for 5 days straight, he angrily boomed at me, "PLAY MORE DOOM, GARBLE!" He wasn't kidding, he was annoyed, and convinced I wasted his highly-disposable money; And finally, most importantly, every which-way one could say "NO" to Dumpty means NOTHING. He's always just a liiiiiiiitle too autistic to get what you meant by "NO," or "DONT." And so much more.

    When Dumpty was a friend of mine, these faux pas just seemed naive. We've all made these mistakes here and there, and we've probably always regretted them. And the reason why they're such regrettable behaviors, is that they put us in the same lot with psychopathic felons. Humpty's problem comes down to the attractiveness of his behavior, not his fairly attractive face and body. Bitch is 6-foot-something, broad shouldered, and has "predator eyes". His incel friends would be big jelly.

    And my problem, now, is staying safe from a dude that scares me. Because, as The Dumpster might say, it's better to be wanted by the cops, than not wanted at all.

    The other omen list goes by 'JACA':





    That list is used to judge the immediate danger of a sketchy person. Maybe they do it all, from typecasting to not taking "no" for an answer, but what are the odds they'll hurt you?

    Humpty's justification for violence? Same as Elliot Rogers'; Alternatives? Humpty has one story, and he's sticking to it; Consequences? Martyrdom; Ability? None, until he invited himself to my god damn house for the night.

    So, whether you are trying to avoid hanging out with creeps, getting supercreeped outta the blue (by like, rapists or murderers), or being a creep yourself: this is the textbook on creepy shit. You'll be the friend with the Spidey senses, who recognizes that muggers smile and act like a friend, not a mugger. Oprah used to fire hardcovers of this at her audience from a T-shirt gun, for a reason: THIS BOOK WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE.

    Oh, and one last thing. Didn't really know how to work this in. Remember the Toronto van attack in 2018? The killer pleaded not criminally responsible, because his "autistic way of thinking was severely distorted in a way similar to psychosis."

    Humpty was overjoyed at the precedent that would create. He said it was going to pave the way for an autism-woopsie-doo-dah killing spree of his own.

    Thankfully, the killer didn't make his case, and got to go to regular shitbag jail. Part of me wants to believe that since Humpty is waiting for legal loopholes, he's not truly impulsive enough, or committed to any real crimes. But he could also just be a bog-standard crook, browsing for easier and easier marks. Or a typical-shmypical terrorist, looking for long fame with a short sentence.

    I hang out with this guy. So wassup, RCMP! I know you're reading. This guy is not my guy, bud. He's a real Snidley friggin Whiplash gongshow type fuckin feller man, eh. Christ. Fuck. Oops. Sorry. Take it easy. ⛄❤☮🍁

    Alright I'm legally off the hook from the feds.

    • # 5 Atomic Habits by James Clear •

    He's like Jocko Willink and Leif Babin's nerd sidekick. Extreme Ownership was all about "if you know better, you're responsible for doing better." This book defines "better."

    I hesitated for a long time, before reading this. I knew I was going to get called out on some punkass behavior. I'd either be forced to grow up, or just pretend I didn't read anything at all. But thankfully, the growing was painless. It felt like sharpening a knife, and learning to keep it sharp, rather than forging one from scratch.

    Much of this advice is stuff you've probably seen or heard people practicing. But if you're like me, it's hard to tell what's signal vs noise. People try all sorts of different ways to hack their habits, for better or worse. Once one's scientifically sound life advice begins seeing results, they just prune the science from their sales pitch and go, "[shrug] works... look."

    James has that fresh brain science; No old wives' tales, or my-daddy-saids. Just the leading know-whats on this noggin we all got. Because if I'm going to radically adjust my behavior, it's not just going to be based on scattered anecdotes.

    It's not about your goal setting abilities. It's about the systems you build to reach those goals. It's better to have a well-refined system with no goal, than an extraordinary vision and no system to achieve it.

    This is the only thing I've read on habits that has made delaying gratification more gratifying. He calls them "atomic" because they're the absolute smallest changes you can make. Then, he encourages the art of stacking as many good habits on top of each other as you can.

    The biggest revelation I got out of this book was this: stop waiting for a big surge of willpower and energy; you're an efficiency-minded, conditioning-driven animal who prefers the path of least resistance; good habits reduce friction, so you can take your lack of willpower for granted. Shit, there is never any need for Gary V levels of hypermania.

    Should all be up Humpty's alley. It's got monkey brain facts; Typical of most books on psychology, it's full of references to our wild ancient past. And it's explicitly about taking a systematic approach to behavior.

    But of course, I tried to reach him with it, even with the help of friends, who themselves have used these tricks, and it's all just silly to him. He doesn't have the signal vs noise issue. Multiple anecdotes at once, from non-strangers. And we'd fill him in on the science to boot. This one's so short and to the point I figured he'd never need to read it; we've covered the whole thing, scattered through different conversations. We figured, like us, he just needed reminders.

    He'd need to appreciate the advice first, if there's ever to be reminders. He'd need to not be competitively dedicated to sucking ass. It's really all he needs for this one to work.

    • END BIT •

    My friends believe we created Humpty as a team. Because he's autistic and feral, he didn't know right from wrong, socially. His only technique was to mimic the group. When you look at our group, shit, it's plausible; We're an isle of misfit toys. Toys with asbestos stuffing, lead buttons, and radium paint. We're absolute rotten fucking trashballs.

    If it'll get us put on an RCMP, FBI, EU, CCP, or Boko Haram watchlist, we're gonna loudly blurt it into one another's ears like morons. Basic, non-stop, juvenile, atrocious verbal horseplay. From suicide to genocide, all violent crime, all perversions, if we shouldn't joke about it, we will. It's a marvelous freaker's ball.

    The theory is, Humpty went in, tabula rasa, and through misunderstanding the intentions behind our jokes, developed this hateful demonic pervert persona that we never laugh about.

    We didn't chuckle him into being bitterly envious of people who have what he wants; or into hitting all of Gavin De Becker's red flags; or reading gaming news articles while we're talking to him; or grossly exaggerating his level of disability; or openly flouting the actionable advice he asked us to give him; or into comprehensively hating and dehumanizing women. Each of us had tons of experience disrupting all the fun just to say "Humpty, no. That's not acceptable."

    Everyone in the group has their own shadow. Not a worthless statue, but a dark side. We fuck up our lives, sometimes in ways that make other friends grimace with contempt. We insult each other, and forget boundaries. We can be hypocritical, and waste everyone's time saying shit they know we don't believe. We've all taken turns being a headache.

    But we don't transfer all our power and choices onto our friends, and make it their job to carry our lives forward. We don't tap dance constantly on a cliff's edge, to gauge our friends' passion about our existence. We don't pull the focus of every conversation to ourselves, and the problems we've explicitly abandoned the quest to solve. We hang out for FUN, remember?

    None of us are therapists. Who were we to take on the mantle of solving Humpty Dumpty's problems? Even therapists gotta show some people the door sometimes.

    Howard Bloom says, "Attention is the oxygen of the human soul." Never underestimate it as a primary motive. I think that's been Humpty's #1 goal. In a way, it was mine, too. For all my attention as one man, I wanted one man to pay attention back. Coulda been a humble little deal. But like some sucka ass bitch, I got georgia'd. Took me a year to realize I never copped my scratch. Cold.

    And hey, I really do hope it was our fault. That'd mean the solution is that he just needs to hang out with different people, for his own good. Maybe he in fact is super autistic. Maybe irony is dangerous in his hands.

    5 more books next month! I'll maybe be more humane towards my former friend. I have death in mind. 💀💀💀💀💀

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  • ejumoh
    10.07.2021 - 4 monts ago


    EDINBORO, Pa. — Junior EJ Umoh (Bear, Del./Appoquinimink (Lock Haven)) of the Kutztown University men’s track and field team had the furthest throw of the group of 18 competitors in the weight throw to win the event in highlighting KU at the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) 2019 Indoor Championships at Edinboro University Saturday in a shortened one-day event.

    EJ Umoh

    Kutztown has its highest finish at PSACs since placing third in 2012.

    EJ Umoh becomes Kutztown’s first individual indoor PSAC champion since 2016, throwing for a winning mark of 17.34m (56–10.75) to lead a group of a team-high five Golden Bears competing in the event. Mike Campione (East Northport, N.Y./Commack) and Larry Brown (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) both finished in the top-seven of the field, as Brown had a career-best throw of 15.92m (52–2.75).

    A total of 12 Golden Bears achieved career-bests Saturday, and five more found themselves with top-10 marks in program history.

    Freshman Brandon Smith (North Plainfield, N.J./North Plainfield) crossed the finish line with a PR in the 60m hurdles final of 8.48, which ranks eighth all-time in KU lore. He also had a third-place finish in the long jump. Stanley Green (Philadelphia, Pa./Holy Cross) posted a PR of 6.93 in the 60m, second all-time. George Weems (Cheltenham, Pa./Upper Dublin) and Dontez Jolly (Philadelphia, Pa./Academy at Palumbo) each finished in the top-10 of the 200m with career-best times. Jolly’s 22.37 is seventh-best at Kutztown. Jolly and Weems also had PRs in the 400m. Evan Adanatzian (Manahawkin, N.J./Southern Regional) posted a PR of 15:24.65, eighth all-time, in the 5000m. Caleb Baukman (Wallingford, Pa./Strath Haven) placed third in the high jump and cleared a career-high mark of 1.99m (6–6.25), which ranks seventh all-time in school-history. Xavier Feliciano (Kennett Square, Pa./Kennett (Immaculata)) had a second-place finish in the pole vault at 4.59m (15–0.75). Greg Hoch (Philadelphia, Pa./Archbishop Ryan) was sixth in the shot put. Andrew Sulon (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg Area) ran the mile in 4:31.70, a career-best. Tommy Oliver (Bensalem, Pa./Bensalem) competed in the pentathlon and finished in second-place. He had career-best marks in the 60m hurdles and shot put.

    EJ Umoh (Bear, Del./Appoquinimink (Lock Haven)) — 17.34m (56–10.75).

    Kutztown Results DMR

    5. Colono-Cruz, Fortna, Sulon, Ismen – 10:47.13 (four points) 60m Hurdles Prelims

    8. Brandon Smith (North Plainfield, NJ/North Plainfield) – 8.52q

    60m Hurdles Final

    7. Smith – 8.48 ( career-best) (two points) (eighth all-time) 60m Prelims

    7. Stanley Green (Philadelphia, Pa./Holy Cross) – 6.99q

    60m Final

    6. Green – 6.93 (three points) ( career-best) (second all-time)


    5. George Weems (Cheltenham, Pa./Upper Dublin) – 22.12 (four points) (career-best) 9. Dontez Jolly (Philadelphia, Pa./Academy at Palumbo) – 22.37 (career-best) (seventh all-time) 24. Ryan Benner (Sellersville, Pa./Pennridge) – 24.73


    8. Evan Adanatzian (Manahawkin, NJ/Southern Regional) – 15:24.65 (one point) (career- best) (eighth all-time)


    6 . Evan Adanatzian (Manahawkin, NJ / Southern Regional) - 8:57.68 (three points) 8. AJ Kilpatrick (West Deptford, NJ / West Deptford) - 8:59.08 (one point) 15. Andrew Sulon (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg) ) Area) – 9:16.29 21. Derek Barney (Oakland, NJ/Indian Hills) – 9:40.02


    6. Dontez Jolly (Philadelphia, Pa./Academy at Palumbo) – 49.76 (career-best ) (three points) 8 . George Weems (Cheltenham, Pa./Upper Dublin) - 50.05 (career-best) (one point) 12. Austin Cory (Kutztown, Pa./Kutztown Area (Elizabethtown)) - 50.54 Mile

    10.Andrew Sulon (Mechanicsburg, Pa./Mechanicsburg Area) – 4:31.70 (career-best)

    4x4 Relay

    6. Jolly, Ismen, Cory, Weems – 3:23.14 (three points) 4x8 Relay

    8. Colon-Cruz, Fortna, Riley , Leonardo – 8:24.58 (one point)

      Triple Jump

    8. Da'Vante Parker (Clementon, NJ/Highland Regional) – 13.48m (44-2.75) (one point) (career-best)

      High Jump

    3. Caleb Baukman ( Wallingford, Pa./Strath Haven) – 1.99 m (6-6.25) (six points) (career-best) (seventh all-time) 5. David Awurumibe (West Lawn, Pa./Wilson) – 1.94m (6- 4.25) (four points) 8. Tommy Oliver (Bensalem, Pa./Bensalem) – 1.89m (6-2.25)

    Weight Throw

    1. EJ Umoh (Bear, Del./Appoquinimink (Lock Haven)) – 17.34m (56-10.75) 5. Mike Campione (East Northport, NY/Commack) – 16.24m (53-3.50) 7. Larry Brown (Harrisburg, Pa./Central Dauphin) – 15.92m (52-2.75) (career-best ) 16. Greg Hoch (Philadelphia, Pa./Archbishop Ryan) – 13.71m (44-11.75) 17. Abdul Saad (Adamstown, Pa./Cocalico) – 13.33m (43-8.75)

    Pole Vault

    2. Xavier Feliciano (Kennett Square, Pa./Kennett (Immaculata)) – 4.59m (15-0.75) (eight points) Shot Put

    6. Greg Hoch( Philadelphia, Pa./Archbishop Ryan) – 15.23m (49-11.75) (three points) 12. EJ Umoh (Bear, Del./Appoquinimink (Lock Haven)) – 13.56m (44-6) 13. Abdul Saad ( Adamstown, Pa./Cocalico) – 13.34m (43-9.25) 15. Mike Campione (East Northport, NY/Commack) – 13.20m (43-3.75)

    Long Jump

    3. Brandon Smith (North Plainfield, NJ/North Plainfield) – 6.77m (22-2.50) (six points) 8. Stanley Green (Philadelphia, Pa./Holy Cross) – 6.41m (21-0.50) (one point) 9. Da'Vante Parker (Clementon, NJ/Highland Regional ) – 6.39m (20-11.75) Pentathlon

    2. Tommy Oliver(Bensalem, Pa. /Bensalem)

    60m Hurdles – Pentathlon

    5. Oliver – 8.74 (career-best)

    Long Jump – Pentathlon

    6. Oliver – 6.11m (20-0.50) Shot Put – Pentathlon 5. Oliver – 10.20m (33- 5.75) (career-best) 

    1000m – Pentathlon 7. Oliver – 2:51.21

    High Jump – Pentathlon 2. Oliver – 1.89m (6-2.25)

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  • weemsbotts
    06.05.2021 - 7 monts ago

    The Hidden Drawings of Dumfries Homes from the 1700s-1800

    By: Lisa Timmerman, Executive Director

    Mutual Assurance Policy documents do not generally excite people unless they know the potential of such boring sounding insurance documents. While fire prevention and response evolved in Virginia somewhat piecemeal, these early insurance documents are little deposits of hidden gems as residents and business owners in the 1700s-1800s described their property, documented renovations/additions, and even drew little pictures of their prized structures.

    First, fires. Large fires devastated early colonial settlements, from homes to capitol buildings, and could easily burn stored and drying tobacco. Legislation in major cities and towns throughout Virginia prevented the construction and repair of wooden chimneys and by 1755 Virginia statutes penalized people for starting fires in or near tobacco warehouses due to its potential for catastrophic damage. Officials fined white freemen but lashed the enslaved population. The fine and physical abuse increased by 1783 for anyone building a wooden chimney or sparking a fire within 200 yards of the warehouse – now enslaved persons received twenty lashes.

    The Virginia Assembly took a major step toward fire precaution and awareness by incorporating the “Mutual Assurance Society Against Fire on Buildings of the State of Virginia” on 12/22/1794. Incorporated into a special act, this state-wide plan imposed a $3 million fire subscription requirement, which eventually led to the formation of the Mutual Assurance Society in 12/1795 with its first policy issued in 02/1796. All mutual societies shared the same basic characteristics – owned and operated by policyholders exclusively for their benefit. Officials determined rates by the materials of the structure and articles stored within them, evaluated every 7 years or when owners made changes to their property. Policy holders received the interest accumulated on the reserve fund if more than the amount necessary to pay annual claims for losses and damages. If the costs exceeded the income, the society could require members to pay quota, depending upon the sum insured and the rate of the hazard. This practice continued until 1817.

    (04/12/1805, Revaluation of the Building formerly declared for Assurance by David Boyle)

    These little gems can help us follow families. Meet David Boyle! Residing and operating in Dumfries, David Boyle filled out a Form of the Declaration for Assurance for his “one building on Main Street at Dumfries, now occupied by said Boyle, situated between James James’ store house and Oronoka Street”. He valued the store and dwelling house property at $1000 on 01/13/1798. On 01/13/1816, the Assurance Society revaluated the “Dwelling & Store House” situated between “Oronoco Street South & the house of Geo. Smith and fronting on Oronoco Street”, valuing his property at $2,000 on 04/12/1805. The Agent agreed, “We the underwritten, being each of us House-Owners, declare and affirm that we have examined the above mentioned property of David Boyle and that we are of opinion that it would cost in cash two thousand dollars to build the same, and is now actually worth two thousand dollars in ready money…” A small sketch often accompanies the legal documents noting materials, size, and structure purpose. For Boyle, his buildings were built and covered with wood and he chose not to insure his stable or meat house, although the agent still noted their presence. Fast forward to 10/1827, we find the heirs of David Boyle valuing a dwelling house at $500 near “Delia Smith east and west” property. Popular in Dumfries, many families purchased it including John McKae, William Barnes, Timothy Brundidge, John Gibson & wife, and Nathaniel Macrae to just name a few. The amount of information gleaned, along with actual sketches (!!) is enough to excite a historian for days.

    One major book for HDVI was the discovery of Mason Locke Weems’ form in 1812. While he no longer used the Weems-Botts historic house for his book storage, this document proved he was still in town with both a dwelling house and store house. Besides for valuing the total property at 12,000, he noted “Two buildings om the Cross Street leading from Quantico Creek over Harrison’s Hill & at the point of intersection with the Main Street in the Town of Dumfries now occupied by myself and situated between the land of Murrays Devisees on the west and the cross street above mentioned on the east separating me from Jacob Merchant.” What questions we wish we could ask!

    (12/04/1812, Declaration for Assurance in the Mutual Assurance Society by Mason Locke Weems)

    These documents then become little puzzle pieces as we can determine the ownership of certain lots and their purpose and even map the changes over time. As you walk and/or drive in Dumfries, think of the historical landscape we cannot see today – from stores to homes to mills. Close your eyes and pause – perhaps you can still hear the crowds, shared laughs, despair, and sounds of a town long gone, but not forgotten.

    Note: Curious about your family? While we delayed our seasonal opening, we are still providing digital research services. While members can access these files for free (annual memberships range from $10-$30), anyone can request our services for a fee. On a much younger note, our next Children’s Day at the Museum Sponsored by Colonial Downs Group is Saturday, 05/15! Focusing on the humble ladybug, you can find more info here!

    (Sources: HDVI Archival Files: Dumfries Fire Insurance Policies; Library of Virginia: Collection – Mutual Assurance Society Policies for Richmond City and Henrico County – History of the Society, https://lva-virginia.libguides.com/mutual-assurance; Mutual Assurance Society of Virginia: Our History (https://www.mutual-assurance.com/history); Clarke, John B. The Fire Problem in Colonial Virginia. The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, vol. 57, no. 3 (July 1949): 244-251)

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  • sweeping-the-clouds-away
    02.05.2021 - 7 monts ago

    ahhfhfh ty @captainafab for tagging me!! this was a ton of fun, I’m definitely going to make more playlists!

    playlist based on my url:

    s- Sweepin' The Clouds Away, by The Columbia Photo Players (Ben Selvin Orch) (this is the song i named this blog after!!)

    w- When The Morning Rolls Around, Ted Weems

    e- Eternal Flame, The Bangles

    e- Everybody Plays the Fool, The Main Ingredient

    p- Painting The Clouds With Sunshine, Jack Hylton and His Orchestra

    i- I Know Why and So Do You, Glenn Miller

    n- Now That Summer Is Here, The Videls

    g- Goodbye Eddie, Goodbye, The Juicy Fruits

    t- The Moment I Saw You, Al Bowlly

    h- Heart And Soul, Bea Wain, Larry Clinton

    e- That's Entertainment, from The Band Wagon (eh, I’m counting it for “e” pfft)

    c- Cheerful Little Earful, Ben Selvin Orchestra

    l- Love On A Greyhound Bus, The Dinning Sisters

    o- Over The Hills And Far Away, Nightwish

    u- Upholstery, The Beach Bums

    d- Deeper Than The Holler, Randy Travis

    s- Shall We Dance, Fred Astaire

    a- Address Unknown, The Ink Spots

    w- Would You Go With Me, Josh Turner

    a- Ain't Misbehavin', Fats Waller

    y- You Couldn’t be Cuter, Al Bowlly (gotta be my favorite Al Bowlly song)

    I tag @hazel-jane!!

    #music#songs #ahh it’s so hard to choose from my favorite songs there’s just so many! #hazel-jane ya don't have to do it if you don't want to but I am curious to know if there's a song for the letter z #that you like
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  • weemsbotts
    09.04.2021 - 7 monts ago

    “Some Long-Forgotten Melody”: A View of Dumfries from the Ground and Sky in 1861

    By: Lisa Timmerman, Executive Director

    “Coming in from the North, winding between the hills and dashing over the rocks in hundreds of miniature cascades, the Quantico enters the town, and passes out of it through a marsh, or meadow, half a mile in length. From this point it grows wider and deeper, until it runs into the Potomac at Evansport”. This noteworthy description of the Quantico came in 1861, as soldiers recorded their experiences traveling through the Town of Dumfries and surrounding region. To visualize Dumfries, let us walk the ground with soldiers and take a balloon ride with a surveyor on this surprisingly mobile journey.

    Soldiers and war correspondents were not exactly kind in their descriptions of the Town and its people. While the colonial life of Dumfries was a happening and prosperous place for white male merchants and planters, the siltation of Quantico Creek led to a decline in the town’s importance by the 1820s. The Richmond Dispatch correspondent quoted above, “Bohemian” (identified as Dr. William G. Shepperson) related a ghost story (more on that in a future blog…) in his 11/22/1861 article, musing, “To those who are fond of relies of the past the spot was of interest, and one could imagine more old wives' tales hanging about it than pine cones in the forest. Standing beside it, many a delicious memory floats through the mind like the dream of some long-forgotten melody, and the brain is filled with weird and mystical recollections of long ago.” “Bohemian” continued to walk the town and reported that several “suitable” buildings, if not all, operated as hospitals. He stopped by the Dumfries Courthouse (still standing), the Jail (probable) and the Henderson House. More interested in the person he met than the house, he wrote, “It is owned by a man from New Jersey who has been some seventeen years in Virginia, an ignorant and not very brilliant individual, who spends his time in general loafing and in swearing at Lincoln and Seward.” The Weems-Botts Museum was right there! Was it one of the suitable structures to operate as a hospital?

    (Colonel William Small’s "Sketch of Virginia”, 1861, National Archives and Record Administration and re-posted by the Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum. The Weems-Botts Museum has a framed sketch of this map on display)

    Shortly after this letter, Union Colonel William Small took to the skies in 12/1861 as he conducted aerial reconnaissance in Professor Thaddeus Lowe’s tethered balloon. Major General Joseph Hooker ordered Small to draw a “map of the enemy’s position opposite your lines”, and according to Small, he took four ascensions to sketch “the encampments and batteries in Virginia”. The Union tethered the balloon in Budd’s Ferry, Maryland and Small wrote he reached 700 feet to both sketch the map and describe his impressions, “There are also three batteries – and a fourth, it is reported, is in progress of construction, - between the Chapawamsic [Chopawamsic] and Quantico Creeks…” Batteries along the Potomac River were a problem for Union forces and throughout 1861, Union forces engaged trying to break the Confederate blockades. These aerial surveillance balloons were super useful and inventive, but not stealthy. However, aeronauts launched them in safely positioned places and could glean positions of units and equipment up to seven miles away, even if Confederate soldiers attempted to shoot them down (unsuccessfully). Hooker and his forces contended with four major batteries in Prince William County alone, and with the balloon reconnaissance, urged for immediate action. Hooker finally received the order on 03/08/1862 from President Abraham Lincoln, but by then, Confederate forces had decided to withdraw and ordered evacuation on 03/07/1862, carrying or attempting to destroy the equipment. 

    (Blockade of the Potomac - by Rebels, winter of 1861, by Robert Sneden,  Robert Knox Sneden Diary (Mss5:1 Sn237:1), Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, Va, image obtained via Library of Congress, https://hdl.loc.gov/loc.ndlpcoop/gvhs01.vhs00205)

    Today you can view a framed sketch of Small’s map in The Weems-Botts Museum along with a few other Civil War artifacts located on-site. Although the renaissance and descriptions above of Dumfries did not mention our little historic house, we will continue to search for records from someone who noticed our curious little property!

    Note: Want to take an adventure? Join us for April’s Weems-Botts Bibliophiles program where we will read historical Sword & Sorcery stories! Go on the hunt for mythical weapons and experience first-hand encounters of scary creatures from the safety of your home with a mug of Ginger Peach Turmeric tea. Click here for tickets and more info – only 8 spots left for this delightful program.

    (Sources: HDVI Archives: Civil War: Descriptions of Dumfries; Paone, Thomas. More Than Just a Map. Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, https://airandspace.si.edu/stories/editorial/more-just-map; American Battlefield Trust: Balloons in the Civil War, https://www.battlefields.org/learn/head-tilting-history/balloons-civil-war; Townsend, Jan. The Civil War in Prince William County. PWC Historical Commission, 2011,  Edited and expanded by James Burgess; National Park Service: Prince William Forest: Civil War, https://www.nps.gov/prwi/learn/historyculture/civil-war.htm)

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  • orbemnews
    20.03.2021 - 8 monts ago
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  • dr-archeville
    17.03.2021 - 8 monts ago

    INDY Daily: A Chapel Hill Smoothie Shop Owner Stormed the Capitol, Allegedly Assaulted a Police Officer

    It’s Tuesday, March 16

    Join the INDY Press Club and register with our Passport Rewards program for increased chances of winning prizes.  Spread the word and invite your friends and family to support local journalism and INDY Week.  Stay tuned for more rewards and giveaways!

    This week's Daily sponsor is the Nasher Museum, which is collaborating with Duke Arts and Duke Health to present the  RESIST COVID / TAKE 6!  outdoor exhibition on Duke’s campus and in the surrounding community.  Artist Carrie Mae Weems, the creator of the exhibition, and Mark Anthony Neal, James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of African and African American Studies at Duke, will discuss how art can function as a public awareness campaign during a pandemic. Register here to join the discussion.

    Good morning, readers.

    Queue up that meme about the worst person you know making a great point: Madison Cawthorn supports getting rid of Daylight Savings Time, so we'd never have to adjust our clocks again, and he actually introduced a congressional bill to end it. Republicans in the N.C. General Assembly have also introduced similar legislation.

    This all makes me wonder if there's some nefarious conservative end game here that I'm not aware of but I don't see one: Republicans get tired just like the rest of us. Democrat Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, who announced she's challenging Cawthorn for his western N.C. seat, supports the move, too. Apparently, Daylight Savings time is associated with more workplace injuries, heart attacks, and fatal car crashes on the day after the clock adjustment.

    Right now, states can opt out of Daylight Savings Time (Arizona does) but they're not allowed to make the opt-out permanent. Seems like this an issue that could really unite the country.

    Like the INDY Daily? Share it with your friends and ask them to subscribe!

    Orange County

    Oh dear. The former owner of a Chapel Hill Frutta Bowls franchise was charged yesterday with assaulting the police officer, Brian Sicknick, who died from injuries he sustained during the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. Julian Khater, who no longer resides in Chapel Hill, faces multiple charges for assaulting Sicknick with bear spray during the riot. He made a court appearance yesterday. Khater and family members owned the Frutta Bowls location in Chapel Hill from January 2018 to January 2019. He then relocated to open another franchise in Pennsylvania, which has since closed. Authorities believed Sicknick died from injuries related to a blow to the head with a fire extinguisher, but now say they believe ingesting a chemical substance (possibly the bear spray) could have contributed to his death. There's video of Khater telling another man who was also arrested to "Give me that bear shit," in a location where Sicknick and other officers were standing guard.

    Durham County

    Durham's City Council yesterday named Wanda Page, a 33-year veteran of Durham's city government, as its next city manager (Page has been serving as interim city manager since Tom Bonfield's retirement last September). The vote to appoint Page was unanimous. Mayor Steve Schewel called Page "a consummate professional with vast experience, rock-solid judgment, and a deep knowledge of local government."

    Surprise! Duke students are mad that fraternities forced the whole campus into a week-long lockdown following drunken partying that led to spread of the coronavirus.

    Wake County

    The Wake County school board will discuss a return to in-person classes for all of the county's students at its meeting this afternoon. Currently, only K-5 students attend school daily with fourth and fifth graders returning most recently.

    And while Wake seniors won't have prom or graduation ceremonies in large venues this year, they will have celebrations in their own school stadiums for graduation and events that will "help to create memories that are an important part of the high school experience." Vague, but promising.

    North Carolina State's women's basketball team got the No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament we all knew they deserve.


    Sometimes, I think Republicans in the General Assembly will do literally anything else but adequately fund North Carolina's public schools. What other takeaway can there be from a bill that substantially expands the state's private/religious school voucher program while funneling $160 million dollars and resources away from the state's public schools? As if that's not bad enough, another bill filed yesterday would provide $1,000 in tax credits to families for each student they homeschool.

    As long as we're on the topic of Republicans assaulting public schools, here's Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson holding a press conference today to announce that he's creating a task force to "give students, parents, and school faculty a voice to speak out about cases of bias, inappropriate materials, or indoctrination they see or experience in public schools." Just what we need. 

    But here's what seems to be a good bill from Wake County Republican (yes, they exist) Rep. Erin Paré that would increase the minimum wage for non-certified public school staff to $15 an hour and provide $124 million for raises.

    U.S. Senator Richard Burr got The Onion treatment this week, marking the passage of one year since he sold a bunch of stock after receiving classified coronavirus intel.

    A 'real' quote from the Senator: "It’s crazy to think how much my stock portfolio changed that day, and I can’t believe I’ve spent a whole year feeling relieved I dumped all that hotel stock in time. I remember talking to some other senators, and we were all frantically trying to research the tech companies that were best positioned to increase their value off of all the lifestyle changes we found out were coming."

    Statewide COVID-19 by the numbers: Saturday, March 15

    1,337 New lab-confirmed cases (886,218 total; seven-day average trending down)

    976 Current hospitalizations reported (seven-day average going down; 11,709 total deaths, +18 over Monday)

    20,012 Completed tests (10.8 million total; most recent positive rate was 5.2 percent)

    3,335,363 Total vaccinations administered (State data not updated daily)

    Today's weather It's going to be rainy and much cooler today, with highs in the mid-40s to 50s.

    Song of the day Hot Snakes: I Hate The Kids This one should be turned up LOUD. Thanks to Mark Connor for the song selection!

    — Jane Porter— Send me an email | Find me on Twitter

    If you’d like to advertise your business to the Daily's 33,000-plus subscribers, please contact John Hurld at jhurld@indyweek.com.

    Love the INDY Daily? Support it by joining the INDY Press Club.

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  • dr-archeville
    15.03.2021 - 8 monts ago

    INDY Daily: Greek Partying Shuts Down Duke But Elsewhere, COVID Metrics Are Improving

    It’s Monday, March 15

    Join the INDY Press Club and register with our Passport Rewards program for increased chances of winning prizes.  Spread the word and invite your friends and family to support local journalism and INDY Week.  Stay tuned for more rewards and giveaways!

    This week's Daily sponsor is the Nasher Museum, which is collaborating with Duke Arts and Duke Health to present the  RESIST COVID / TAKE 6!  outdoor exhibition on Duke’s campus and in the surrounding community.  Artist Carrie Mae Weems, the creator of the exhibition, and Mark Anthony Neal, James B. Duke Distinguished Professor of African and African American Studies at Duke, will discuss how art can function as a public awareness campaign during a pandemic. Register here to join the discussion.

    Good morning, readers.

    File this under things we really ought to get rid of but won't, because of money: the Greek system. 

    Duke University took a step in the direction of abolishing Greek life when it prohibited potential members from rushing until their sophomore year; in response, seven fraternities disaffiliated from the university's Intrafraternity Council. Of course, rush activity and Greek partying is to blame for the current COVID outbreak at Duke, with in-person classes suspended for a week.

    UNC's Greek system isn't doing much better. In December, the INDY reported that  fraternities at UNC-Chapel Hill allegedly help traffic $1.5 million in drugs, including cocaine and narcotics.

    Add in the  allegations of sexual assault, hazards from hazing and initiations rites, student deaths, and traditional racism and classism, and you've got a toxic mix of headaches and liability for colleges and universities. And, I'm sorry, but any supposed philanthropy or social benefits of fraternities, especially, seem outweighed, to me, by the havoc they wreak on campuses and on students' lives.

    But Greek life, which has existed on campus for decades, correlates with strong donor networks and money flooding the coffers of colleges and universities that could aways use it. So while it's past time to get rid of the skull-and-bones nonsense, it won't be easy to actually make that happen.

    Like the INDY Daily? Share it with your friends and ask them to subscribe!

    Orange County

    Orange County is doing a good job tackling COVID. According to DHHS, Orange County saw no new COVID cases in the past week, a percent positive rate of 0.6 percent, and actually saw five cases removed from its running total. Additionally, 36,089 Orange County residents have been partially vaccinated against the virus, while 25,403 have been fully vaccinated. 

    UNC's men's basketball team, with an 18-10 record this season, will play in the NCAA tournament with a No. 8 seed. The team will play No. 9 seed Wisconsin on Friday.

    Durham County

    COVID numbers are dropping in most places but at Duke, they're climbing. As we touched on before, Duke students are sheltering in place this week following 180 undergraduates testing positive for COVID-19 and more than 200 quarantined for exposure. The order began Sunday night and will last through next Sunday morning. The outbreak, the university said, seems wholly related to in-person fraternity rush events.

    Duke's men's basketball team won't play in the NCAA tournament for the first time in 26 years. The NCAA deemed Duke's 13-11 season not good enough for the tournament and Duke opted out of playing in the 16-team National Invitation Tournament (NIT). So the Blue Devils' season is well and truly done.

    Fourth and fifth graders at 30 Durham elementary schools will return for all in-person instruction for the first time in a year.

    Wake County

    Wake County is meeting its percent positive goal for testing with a 4.6 percent (or below 5 percent) 14-day average percent positive rate as f last week. But Wake is seeing higher clusters in childcare and K-12 settings compared to neighboring and similar-sized counties. Wake County has 23 clusters, while Mecklenburg has 4, and Durham and Orange Counties each have one.

    With a 20-2 record this season, N.C. State's women's basketball team looks to be the team we should be hanging our hopes on to bring a national championship home to the Triangle this season. But the team might not be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Here's some analysis on why that could be. Brackets will be released today at 7 p.m.

    All fourth and fifth graders not attending Virtual Academy will return to Wake schools for in-person learning this week.


    On the topic of Greek life and the on-campus reports of sexual assault that's heavily associated with it, there's a new bill in the General Assembly aimed at protecting college students accused of sexual assault in the UNC System's 16 universities. Sponsored by three Republican women lawmakers (of course), the bill would make the burden of proof higher for universities to find students responsible for sexual assault and would allow cross-examination of alleged assault victims. Experts say the bill is unfair to victims and that the cards are always stacked against them in the first place.

    The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is understandably popular and N.C. Democrats are banking on riding that popularity on in to the 2022 mid-terms. No Republicans voted for the bill in either the U.S. House or the Senate. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses will tour battleground states this week and the Democratic National Committee will begin airing a 60-second TV spot in the Raleigh market this morning touting the stimulus package.

    Statewide COVID-19 by the numbers: Saturday, March 13

    892 New lab-confirmed cases (882,715 total; seven-day average trending down)

    1,028 Current hospitalizations reported (seven-day average going down; 11,691 total deaths, +69 over Friday)

    13,324 Completed tests (10.72 million total; most recent positive rate was 5.4 percent)

    3,162,635 Total vaccinations administered (State data not updated daily)

    Today's weather The warm, sunny weather was too good to last. Today, we return to cooler temperatures and rain showers with highs in the upper 40s and lower 50s.

    Song of the day Funkadelic: Super Stupid There's a lot that's been made about George Clinton and Eddie Hazel vibing on Maggot Brain's title track but this one straight up brings the funk and intensity that was the band's brand.  Thanks to Mark Connor for the song selection!

    — Jane Porter— Send me an email | Find me on Twitter

    If you’d like to advertise your business to the Daily's 33,000-plus subscribers, please contact John Hurld at jhurld@indyweek.com.

    Love the INDY Daily? Support it by joining the INDY Press Club.

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  • whisperthatruns
    30.12.2020 - 11 monts ago
    There is a Carrie Mae Weems photograph of a woman in what looks to be some kind of textile factory, with an angel embroidered to the left breast of her shirt, where her heart resides. The woman, like the angel, has her arms splayed wide almost in ecstasy, as though to embrace everything, so in the midst of her glee is she. Every time I see that photo, after I smile and have a genuine bodily opening on account of witnessing this delight, which is a moment of black delight, I look behind her for the boss. Uh-oh, I think. You’re in a moment of nonproductive delight. Heads up!
    Which points to another of the synonyms for loitering, which I almost wrote as delight: taking one’s time. For while the previous list of synonyms allude to time, taking one’s time makes it kind of plain, for the crime of loitering, the idea of it, is about ownership of one’s one time, which must be, sometimes, wrested from the assumed owners of it, who are not you, back to the rightful owner, who is. And while having interpolated the policing of delight such that I am on the lookout for the overseer even in photos I have studied hundreds of times, on the lookout always for the policer of delight, my work is studying this kind of glee, being on the lookout for it, and aspiring to it, floating away from the factory, as she seems to be.

    Ross Gay, from “Loitering,” The Book of Delights (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2019)  

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  • barbaramoorersm
    24.11.2020 - 1 year ago

    November 29, 2020

    November 29, 2020

    1st Sunday of Advent

    Isaiah 63: 16b-17, 64:19b, 2-7

    The Prophet speaks to a people who have returned from exile and describes the people as clay in God, the potter’s hand.

    Psalm 80

    This Psalm is a call to God to protect the people, the “vine”, the Divine One has planted.

    1 Corinthians 1: 3-9

    In this letter, Paul is full of gratitude and advice for this early Church.

    Mark 13: 33-37

    We are in a new Gospel, Cycle, B.  But why is Mark’s Gospel about the end times when we are just beginning a new year, Advent?

     This season of Advent for many is their favorite liturgical season.  The poet Ann Weems writes, “An angel-filled Advent has so many possibilities!”  And the Old Testament Prophet who appears so often in Advent is also a favorite for many, Isaiah.  One author has written about him in a book entailed, “The Fifth Gospel”.

    I am not sure why scholars selected this section from Gospel of Mark, our new Church year liturgical companion, because it refers to the return of God, and the end times.  But Marks’ advice is excellent for Advent because it asks its readers to “watch” and keep “awake”.  Mark’s Gospel does not contain any account of the birth of Jesus and begins with the ministry of John the Baptist.  But the conditions that Mark’s church faced must have seemed like the end times. Their Temple was destroyed, civil strife among the people was present and the overarching power of Rome was a constant reminder of their lack of freedom. They were also deciding how to live with the newest members of the Church, the Gentiles. The new Christians were living in the reality of the resurrection and that seems to be where their faith and stories were focused.  One can understand why the early Church could see the words of Isaiah, while being addressed to a returning freed people, could also be referring to the coming of Christ. “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down….”.   John Sawyer author of “The Fifth Gospel” writes that over one hundred verses from Isaiah have found their way into the New Testament. At least eight prophecies in Isaiah have been seen as “predictions” of the birth of Jesus.  Of course, our Jewish brothers and sisters draw different conclusions, but the first century Christian church quickly made these connections.  Remember most of them were by birth, Jewish.

    As the season of Advent unfolds, we will turn to the birth stories and see them exhibited in the manger, scenes we all understand.  We will once again meet the holy family and marvel at the ministry of John the Baptist. Matthew’s and Luke’s account of the birth will be merged into one story, into our cribs, and into art work recalling the birth of Jesus.  

    Perhaps this beautiful season might also be offering us the opportunity to reacquaint ourselves with the Old Testament figure, Isaiah.  I see in Isaiah’s writing beautiful metaphors like today’s which describes God as a potter and we humans as clay. We hear his words in Handel’s “Messiah” and Jesus launches his public ministry quoting Isaiah, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…”. (61) Peacemakers turn to the Prophet’s words in chapter 2, “…they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks…”. (2:4) And, one can envision the Kingdom Jesus longed to establish in the words of the prophet. “The wolf shall live with the lamb and the leopard shall lie down with the kid….” (11:6)

    While the Advent season reminds us of the joy and delight of Christmas, we cannot forget this Advent 2020 is also a season that has been painful for many, and so isolating for others.  And while Isaiah was writing to a people in exile, hundreds of years before the birth of Christ, his words and advice are very relevant and consoling for today, the 1st Sunday of Advent.            

    “Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem and cry to her…. A voice cries out: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, and make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill made low. Then Glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all the people shall see it together…’”  Isaiah 40)

    This was not only a message to an ancient suffering nation on the verge of exile, but it is also the message of this Advent as well as a needed message for all of us during this painful and heartbreaking season of Covid.  Comfort and tender speech are gifts we can give to one another as the weeks before Christmas unfold.

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  • weemsbotts
    22.10.2020 - 1 year ago

    The Disappearing Pitter Patter of Feet: The Colonial Girls Lost in Time

    By: Lisa Timmerman, Executive Director

    Participating in any of our outside walking tours, day or night, includes a trip to Dumfries Elementary Public School and Dumfries Cemetery. One ghost story specifically refers to the appearance of “colonial girls” and in a town filled with Civil War folklore, it is intriguing this particular association attached itself to the school. But if Dumfries Graded School and later Dumfries Elementary Public School operated in the early 1900s, why colonial ghost children?

    In 06/19/1795, Mrs. Simson advertised the opening of her Boarding School in the Republican Journal and Dumfries Advertiser. “Where she intends teaching all kinds of needle-work, in silk and worsted; she also teaches the tambour and embroidery, with the art and elegance of shading, and taste in the arrangement of patterns.” She wished to “cultivate their young minds, as well as form their manners” flattering herself “that she has given satisfaction to the parents of those whom she has already had the honour to instruct – and gained the love of her pupils.” Besides for needlework, she advertised “reading, spelling, and writing taught with propriety”.

    Mrs. Simson’s indicated that the Boarding School was “at the House of Thomas Lee, Esquire, on the Hill”. The famed Lee family owned property throughout Virginia including the Town of Dumfries and while both Colonel and former Governor of Virginia Thomas Lee and Thomas Ludwell Lee, Sr. died before the 1780s, Thomas Ludwell Lee, Jr. presumably placed a newspaper ad in the Alexandria Gazette on 09/17/1787 for persons wishing to rent “a large Commodious Store house in Dumfries, as well situated being nearly in the centre of the main streets…” Charles Lee also advertised in the same paper and date “…to be leased forever at public auction…about 15 lots situated in the town of Dumfries on the main street opposite to McDaniels Tavern being part of the square now occupied by Henderson, Ferguson & Gibson”. While the Lees rented and sold property in Dumfries, some to the Merchant family, the house “on the hill” likely referred to the area around the current Dumfries Elementary Public School.

    In 18th century America, middle- and upper-class white families usually hired tutors to instruct their young daughters the basics of writing and arithmetic, with more advanced and skilled instruction in needlework, music, manners, and other forms of arts and crafts. If the parents could and were willing to send their daughters to a boarding school, they would hone their skills in needlework and come back with a “level up” – a finished needlework to display prominently in the home, discreetly (?) informing guests of the family’s wealth, sophistication, and refinement. These “female accomplishments” were important signals to a society focused on appearance and marriage. Virginia prohibited the gathering of enslaved children for the purpose of education extending from the constant white paranoia that educated enslaved persons were more likely to rebel. However, the Bray Schools in Virginia instructed enslaved persons in Christian education through biblical literacy. Both Williamsburg and Fredericksburg operated official Bray schools ranging from 1760-1774, although Fielding Lewis encountered low enrollment and white hostility forcing him to close the Fredericksburg location sooner.

    Although siltation was an issue by 1795, the town of Dumfries still attracted people as the Henderson family resided in Dumfries and Mason Locke Weems had yet to purchase the lot for his book depository. However, we have so little information beyond the newspaper advertisement for the boarding school. Did anyone pay the fee to board their children? If so, which families took advantage of this offer and what were their experiences in Dumfries?

    Interestingly, the Republican Journal and Dumfries Advertiser also included the following song in the same paper with Mrs. Simson’s advertisement, titled “Domestic Felicity”. Although not attributed to any person in the newspaper, this song appears in Isaiah Thomas, Jr.’s ed, “The Sky Lark: or Gentlemen and ladies’ complete songster. Being a collection of the most modern and celebrated American, English, and Scotch songs”.

    “Though grandeur flies my humble roof,
    Tho’ wealth is not my share,
    Tho’ lowly is my little cot,
    Yet happiness is there.


    A tender wife, with mild control,
    By sympathy refin’d,
    When rage the tumults of the breast,
    Becalms my troubled mind.


    Three pledges of our mutual love,
    Kind Providence has given,
    And competence, to nurse their hopes,
    Is all we ask of Heaven.


    Still, from the little we enjoy,
    A little we dispense;
    And watch the buddings of their mind
    Just blossoming to sense.


    With arm entwin’d in arm we fit;
    And join their hands to pray;
    And teach the accents of their tongue,
    To hail the rising day.


    At eve again they kneel and bless
    The hours which are now past;
    And hope their cherish’d virtues may
    Prove happiness at last.


    Accept, Great Father of us all;
    Accept their little prayers,
    And grant the nurslings of our youth
    May crown our silver hairs.


    Let those whose weak and infant limbs
    With tenderness we guide,
    Be props unto our age when down
    The steep of life we glide.”

    (Image: Instruction with Delight. Thomas, Isaiah. Little Robin Red Breast. A Little Pretty Pocket-book Intended for the Instruction and Amusement of Little Master Tommy and Pretty Miss Polly. Massachusetts: Worcester, 1787. The Colonial Society of Massachusetts: 18th century Massachusetts Songsters, Volume 54, Music in Colonial Massachusetts, 1630-1820: Music in Homes and Churches)

    While the “colonial girls” will not respond to repeated queries (naturally), they and all the ghosts, such as the enslaved persons, represent our quest to understand everyone living in Dumfries. While essays and books are continually written about the white male society, they are not the ghostly figures people claim to see in this town – instead, it is the ones whom society did not equate as equal.

    Note: While our closed season begins on 11/01/2020, we will continue to offer online virtual tours! The online tour includes a meeting with the staff and a video of the house. Stay tuned for special virtual November Member programs along with news of possible holiday outside walking tours! Click here to access info regarding our latest & upcoming programs and tours!

    (Sources: The Republican Journal and Dumfries Advertiser, No. VI, Vol 1, 06/19/1795; HDVI Archival Files: Dumfries – Town Lots, Newspaper Notices; University of Michigan Digital Text Collections: Evans Early American Imprint Collection Text Creation Partnership; MET: Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Peck, Amelia. American Needlework in the 18th Century, 10/2003; Library of Virginia & Virginia Humanities: Encyclopedia Virginia. Bly, Antonio. Slave Literacy and Education in Virginia)

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  • ideonhenry
    03.10.2020 - 1 year ago

    Lizzo on Hope, Justice, and the Election: Vogue, October 2020

    Cover Look   Musician Lizzo wears a Valentino dress. Jason of Beverly Hills earrings. Rings and bracelets by Chopard and Tiffany & Co. Manolo Blahnik shoes.Photographed by Hype Williams, Vogue, October 2020

    IN OUR NEW WORLD, where travel is no longer advisable and social distancing mandatory, it has been a bit hard to connect with Lizzo. She has been on vocal rest in her home in Los Angeles, while I’m mostly isolated in my house on the East Coast. When a window of time finally opens, she settles in before the Zoom camera dressed casually, her sweater falling off her shoulders. She looks even more youthful than her 32 years, with her hair in two buns, reminding me of another princess, the fictional Leia from Star Wars. Both women took on the world and won. For Lizzo, this was not necessarily in our national script; for a Black woman it is never a given. But Lizzo’s script is an updated one. As she sings in “Scuse Me”: “I don’t need a crown to know that I’m a queen.”

    This is not the first time I have encountered the singer. On my birthday last year, my teenage daughter gave me tickets to her concert at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. She knew I would be ecstatic because every morning, as I pedaled away on my stationary bike, Lizzo’s music filled our home. It had been a long time since I first visited Radio City, on a class trip to see the Rockettes. In my memory, they were a line of leggy white women kicking the air—maybe a woman of color or two was included, but they are not who I remember. This time, the Black woman onstage would leave an imprint.

    As my daughter and I made our way to our seats, we passed through one of the most diverse crowds I have ever seen at a concert: queer men, older than I am, holding hands; suburban-looking women with young girls; people who drove their SUVs through the tunnels or across the bridges, judging from the license plates of the cars blocking the streets outside. All came to see Lizzo—in gold lamé pants with THAT BITCH embroidered down each leg—probably for the same reason my daughter and I did. Her music was a part of our daily lexicon—a means of communicating a myriad of emotions at breakneck speed.

    Driving home from the concert, I was struck by the sense that I had experienced something singular. Lizzo is the kind of artist who speaks to multitudes because—in an era of fake news and lying politicians and stressed-out white Americans shouting racist words at stressed-out people of color—she was committed to positivity. This despite the trolls going after her for her race, her weight, her sexuality. Anyone who could understand what it was like to be targeted felt spoken to by Lizzo. They were seen by Lizzo and were taking her lead to love themselves a little bit harder.

    But when I speak to her in late summer, last year’s gathering at Radio City feels very far away. Though I still do the bike in the morning and Lizzo’s songs still fill our home, we are in the middle of a global pandemic and a new civil rights movement, sparked by a police killing in a city Lizzo lived in not long ago. We are nearing 200,000 deaths from the coronavirus in the U.S., and the deaths continue to mount.

    “I’m in a hot spot,” she tells me, referring to Los Angeles, where she’s lived since 2016. “I’ve been in my house every single day. I can count on my hands how many times I’ve actually left. I’m fortunate that I am in that position. I really had guilt about that, early on.” She is acutely aware that the lockdown orders can put people in dangerous situations. “A lot of times, staying home isn’t staying safe. There are so many levels to the butterfly effect of this pandemic—not just the sickness but the emotional and mental effects. That is what keeps me up at night. And that’s what stresses me out.”

    “I always thought I needed at least two and a half white boys to make a song. One to engineer and one to produce. But now I can sit in my room and be my own engineer and producer”

    What Lizzo has not indicated, at least initially, as one of the stresses of the moment is the killing of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis, where her musical career ignited and where many of her friends and colleagues remain. Lizzo knows the streets where Chauvin knelt on Floyd as he called out to his deceased mother. She is familiar with the places where the protests occurred. “I saw one of my friends say, you know, ‘Fuckin’ cop just shot another Black man. Let’s all head out,’ ” she tells me. On Instagram, days after the killing, Lizzo wrote: “Protest is not the end of progress, it is the beginning.” She received almost 300,000 likes and 3,000 comments.

    She Can Be Heroes   “I had to travel the world and I had to meet people and read DMs and look into their eyes and really hear their stories, to believe that I was making an impact in a positive way,” says Lizzo. Moschino Couture cape. Sylva & Cie earrings. Bvlgari necklaces. Bracelets and rings by Tiffany & Co. and Chopard.Photographed by Hype Williams, Vogue, October 2020

    Like all conscious Black people, Lizzo says she has “been brokenhearted by this country” since she was a child. “My dad taught me very early on about what being Black in this country is. When I learned about Emmett Till, I was so young. And I have never forgotten his face.” The formation of Black Lives Matter in 2013, after the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin, was a somewhat hopeful moment; BLM demonstrations seemed to signal that change could occur. But then 12-year-old Tamir Rice was murdered, and Lizzo shut down. As she describes it to me now, she was thinking, “They don’t actually care. And ‘they’—I don’t know who ‘they’ are. But I know that they don’t care, because if shit like this is still happening, there has to be a ‘they.’ They don’t care about somebody’s actual life.” The realization in part prompted her to write “My Skin,” which she released in 2015, just after the Jamar Clark shooting in Minneapolis by police officers Mark Ringgenberg and Dustin Schwarze. “I woke up in this,” Lizzo sings. “I woke in my skin. I can’t wash it away, so you can’t take it away—my skin. Brown skin.”

    I have been thinking about this song lately because, for me, it speaks to the toll the violence takes against Black people, and because it performs the transformative achievement that Lizzo has come to stand for: The song politicizes, and in a sense weaponizes, self-love, body positivity, and sex positivity. We can’t stop the shooting, we can’t stop the racism, but we don’t have to take part in the hatred of us: “I love you, don’t you forget it, you beautiful Black masterpiece!” Lizzo sings. Here was Lizzo’s first message to Minneapolis and by extension the country: “I’m done with the struggle. I just wanna enjoy my life now and maybe appreciate my skin.” This enjoyment, this recognition, is for her the revolution. It’s in your face. Sometimes it’s a protest. Sometimes it’s just feeling free. But whatever the fuck it is, it’s being alive in our beautiful Black skin.

    When I ask her how she’s feeling now, she responds that she is allowing herself to be hopeful. But hope, she admits, is a scary word, “ ’cause I’ve been let down so much, you know.” She’s cautiously optimistic about the corporations that seem to be taking a stand, putting their dollars to work and pledging to hire people of color, but is tempering her positivity with a healthy dose of skepticism: “Mind you, capitalism is problematic in its own way and racist in its own way.” I share this skepticism: Segregationist attitudes still inform everything from redlining policies to gated communities. There is much that keeps Americans separate—even regarding their music, which brings me back to the crowd at Radio City.

    When I share with her my initial surprise and delight with the diversity of her audience, she reassures me I am not the only one who feels this way. Early in her career, Lizzo says, she was told by music-industry executives, “You can’t go white to Black. But you can go from Black to white.” Her response: “‘Well, I’m a Black woman. So I can do just about anything I want to do.’ How dare these people sit up and tell me who my music is going to appeal to or not?” In part owing to the music scene in Minneapolis—dominated by indie rock and Prince, rest in peace—Lizzo’s early audiences were predominantly younger, white crowds. In 2015, she opened for Louisville rock band My Morning Jacket. “Lotta white feminists,” she says of her early crowds.

    Now Lizzo is the recipient not only of Grammys and Queerty awards but also NAACP Image Awards, Soul Train Music Awards, and BET Awards. “When I go hiking or whatever,” Lizzo tells me, “it’s Black girls being like, ‘I like your music.’ ‘Hey, that’s Lizzo.’” These Black fans confirm for Lizzo what she already knows, that she’s “a Black woman making music from a Black experience”—and that her message can speak to anyone. Suddenly Lizzo’s usual unflappable confidence gives way to genuine disbelief: “I never thought that I would have…I guess you could call it ‘crossover appeal.’” I can’t help but grin back at her.

    Ballot Initiative   “My job isn’t to tell you how to vote. But my job is hopefully to inspire you to vote…to activate you, so that you can take your protest to the ballot box,” says Lizzo, here in a look by Gucci and Chopard earrings.Photographed by Hype Williams, Vogue, October 2020

    WHEN I NEXT SPEAK TO LIZZO, she’s sitting down in her house, looking like a photograph from Carrie Mae Weems’s Kitchen Table series. This day she’s without her Princess Leia buns and instead wearing a shimmery golden bonnet. Out beyond her patio there are pink plastic flamingos by her pool. Tomatoes and zucchini grow in the garden, rosemary and aloe plants too. There’s a giant screen set up so that she can project movies onto it while floating in her pool; she’s just watched Beyoncé’s Black Is King.

    “Having a Black woman as vice president would be great. I’m just always rooting for Black people. But I want actual change to happen. In the laws. Not a temporary fix to a deep-rooted, systemic issue”

    At the end of last year, Lizzo moved out of her small, one-bedroom apartment into this home, which has a recording studio. The writing, she says, has been therapeutic. Previously, she jokes, she was under the impression that she needed “at least two and a half white boys to make a song. One to engineer and one to produce. But now I can sit in my room and be my own engineer and producer.” (“She understands the basic constructs of music and the laws and theories that make you feel certain things,” says Lizzo’s longtime collaborator Sophia Eris.) When I ask Lizzo about a new album, she deflects: “Oh, girl, I don’t know. I gotta finish the songs. It’s gonna be good, though. I’ll tell you that. It’s gonna be motherfucking good.” Atlantic Records, with which Lizzo signed in 2016, has nothing to add except that she is currently recording. (A streaming deal with Amazon Studios was announced as this story was closing.)

    Despite Lizzo’s celebrity, it’s as if we have known each other a long time, but I know it’s just Lizzo being comfortable with Lizzo that puts me at ease. Eris had warned me about this, that “people feel like they’re best friends with her” very quickly. Marc Jacobs, who dressed Lizzo for the 2019 Met gala, fell in love with the singer through her music. “I knew from the start, from her energy—her smile and the fact that she hugs people,” he says, “I knew that we would be able to do something really great together.” He now counts her as a friend and invited her to his wedding last year.

    Lizzo tells me about her childhood, and it’s ordinary in the best ways. Melissa Viviane Jefferson was born in 1988 in Detroit during rush hour. Like her idol Aretha Franklin, she grew up with gospel music in the church. When she was nine, her family moved to Houston, where she took up the flute and joined the marching band. (Lizzo’s now-famous flute is known affectionately as Sasha, after Beyoncé’s alter ego, Sasha Fierce, and resides in a Swarovski-crystal case in her home.)

    Houston was also where Lizzo began free-styling, in school and on the school bus. Band music, Destiny’s Child, and rapper Little Flip offered Lizzo her first sense of ownership over music. “Beyoncé had a major impact on me,” she says now, “as an artist, period. She is the definition of work ethic.” Lizzo was also encouraged by Queen Latifah and Missy Elliot; both began as rappers—like Lizzo—and neither fit the mold of other popular female performers. They were, Lizzo explains, “women who looked like me and who were successful in the ways I wanted to be successful. I was like, ‘Okay. I can be confident and look this way.’ You know?”

    Taking Care   “I can count on my hands how many times I've actually left the house to do things,” says the singer. Lizzo wears a beaded top and skirt by LaQuan Smith and Sylva & Cie earrings.Photographed by Hype Williams, Vogue, October 2020

    In her senior year of high school, her family moved to Denver, but Lizzo returned to Texas to attend the University of Houston for applied music and joined the Spirit of Houston Marching Band. Halfway through her sophomore year, she left school to put herself through a kind of self-reinvention, setting aside the flute and trying to teach herself to be a singer. She joined a rock band, drank lots of whiskey and Lone Star beer, and lived in her car. (She is quick to note the difference between having to live in your car and choosing to live in your car. Her mother, Shari Johnson-Jefferson, and older siblings, Vanessa Jefferson and Michael Jefferson, were always available to take her in. The family now lives near her in L.A.) It was during this period, when Lizzo was 20, that her father, with whom she was very close, passed away. “I was showering at the gym, ’cause I had no house, when I got the news,” she tells me. “I was in a dark place, and it was a dark thing to happen.” In 2011, she decided to relocate to Minneapolis, which had been building a reputation as a hip-hop mecca since the mid-’90s.

    In Minneapolis, at a block party, Lizzo met Eris, who had come to the city from Dayton, Ohio, to study business and the music business in particular; they met up again later that first night, “got drunk, and bonded over karaoke,” as Eris tells it. The women quickly went on to become “like family,” Lizzo says, forming a band called The Chalice along with another Minneapolis musician, who went by Claire de Lune. The group started to gain traction on local radio, and from there the momentum and opportunities snowballed: “We just ran with it,” says Eris. When Lizzo’s solo career started to take off in the mid-2010s and she began touring, she asked Eris to come with her as her DJ. “I was like, Okay, now I need to learn how to DJ,” says Eris.

    “Me and Sophia—we really were in the trenches together early on,” Lizzo explains, “me and her in a rental car driving through America, you know, touring at, like, dive bars.” In those early years of her career, Lizzo was mainly performing, as she puts it, “rappety rap rap,” and so it was important to have Eris with her: “She played the music. I don’t know who else would. I couldn’t afford a band.”

    Lizzo remembers the day, the moment, when she met her other longtime collaborator, Quinn Wilson. “Me and Sophia walked everywhere back then,” Lizzo tells me. “We were walking down the street. And mind you, we had just gotten into a bar fight the night before, so we was all banged up and shit.” There had been an altercation over a cell phone, and Lizzo had ended up with “a little goose egg from hitting the concrete.” Wilson was pulling her car out of a parking lot but stopped to let Lizzo and Eris pass. “I literally turned to Sophia and I said, ‘We need friends like that in our life,’” Lizzo says, laughing.

    Eris ran into Wilson a few days later at a sneaker store and recognized her. The twosome became a threesome, with Wilson doing makeup for their shows. “I pulled some really not-so-good looks for the first couple of times,” Wilson says. “And then I got it together.”

    “The three of us,” Lizzo tells me, “have been like sisters. We have gone through so much since meeting each other. And we have always made sure that the relationship is what we prioritize. It’s never been money. It’s never been the career.” Wilson is now the creative director for Lizzo, with a hand in all her projects, committed to, as she puts it, “translating her vision visually.”

    “It’s lazy for me to just say I’m body positive at this point. It’s easy. I would like to be body-normative. I want to normalize my body”

    ONE GETS THE SENSE that sisterhood is of utmost importance to Lizzo. I mention Missy Elliot’s cameo on the track “Tempo” from her breakthrough Grammy-winning 2019 album, Cuz I Love You, and Lizzo says, with infectious delight, “that was incredible. And to still have a relationship with her—Missy calls me, texts me, and vice versa, just to check on me. And prays for me, and I pray for her. Being little and watching her, and being like, ‘Man, I want to be like that one day.’ Or, ‘I want to work with her one day.’ I don’t know what happened first. Having the thoughts because it was gonna happen? Or having the thoughts and driving myself to make it happen? But knowing that it did, yeah, is incredible.” Lizzo’s music is “empowering, liberating, and fun…with a side order of ratchet sauce,” Missy says. “She shows the world what strength and perseverance look like.”

    Work in Progress   “It’s gonna be good, though. I’ll tell you that. It’s gonna be motherfucking good,” says Lizzo about her next album. Lizzo wears a beaded top and skirt by LaQuan Smith and Sylva & Cie earrings. Mia Becar shoes.Photographed by Hype Williams, Vogue, October 2020

    When I ask Lizzo who she is dating, she tells me that her five-times-platinum single “Truth Hurts” from Cuz I Love You is “damn near a profile on a human being minus his name,” but she’s reluctant to say more; “I think it’s important to me as a human being to not disclose everything in my life.” As much as Cuz I Love You is an album about men, though, it is an album about self-love. Often, in fact, Lizzo’s songs don’t have an object of desire besides the self.

    What Aretha Franklin did with her release of “Respect” in 1967—during that decade when Malcolm X, Medgar Evers, and Martin Luther King Jr. were all assassinated—is not unlike the personal revolution Lizzo calls for with her work. Aretha’s “Respect” functioned as an intervention at a historical moment, where Black women were historically invisible to everyone except themselves. Lizzo also is committed to “keeping the torch going,” in the same mode as Aretha, she says, “making sure that people understand that self is so important,” especially in the midst of “this right now.”

    The “this right now” is the lockdown and the coronavirus but also white supremacy, sexism, homophobia, racism, and fatphobia—though she does not want her message boiled down to one of body positivity. Body positivity, Lizzo tells me, has been appropriated to a certain degree: “It’s commercialized. Now, you look at the hashtag ‘body positive,’ and you see smaller-framed girls, curvier girls. Lotta white girls. And I feel no ways about that, because inclusivity is what my message is always about. I’m glad that this conversation is being included in the mainstream narrative. What I don’t like is how the people that this term was created for are not benefiting from it. Girls with back fat, girls with bellies that hang, girls with thighs that aren’t separated, that overlap. Girls with stretch marks. You know, girls who are in the 18-plus club. They need to be benefiting from...the mainstream effect of body positivity now. But with everything that goes mainstream, it gets changed. It gets—you know, it gets made acceptable.” When I ask Jacobs about this, he speaks carefully: “I think what is so inspiring is the way she delivers the message,” says Jacobs. “Her positivity—putting the word body before it is just another part of her positivity, and that’s what’s really contagious.”

    “I think it’s lazy for me to just say I’m body positive at this point,” Lizzo says. “It’s easy. I would like to be body-normative. I want to normalize my body. And not just be like, ‘Ooh, look at this cool movement. Being fat is body positive.’ No, being fat is normal. I think now, I owe it to the people who started this to not just stop here. We have to make people uncomfortable again, so that we can continue to change. Change is always uncomfortable, right?”

    Malcolm X famously said, “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in American is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.” He meant thin or fat, tall or short, big or small, citizen or undocumented, senator or vice president—and so I have one last question for Lizzo regarding how she feels about our Democratic vice-presidential nominee, Kamala Harris. I am thinking about the avalanche of disrespect Harris will have to negotiate as a woman and as a woman of color.

    “Having a Black woman as vice president would be great,” Lizzo says, “because I’m just always rooting for Black people. But I want actual change to happen…in the laws. And not just on the outside, you know? Not a temporary fix to a deep-rooted, systemic issue. A lot of times I feel like we get distracted by the veneer of things. If things appear to be better, but they’re not actually better, we lose our sense of protest.” She makes sure to mention Breonna Taylor and Sandra Bland and all the women who, inadvertently or not, often get dropped from the conversation: “We need to talk about the women.”

    Forward Momentum   “We have to make people uncomfortable again, so that we can continue to change. Change is always uncomfortable, right?”Photographed by Hype Williams, Vogue, October 2020

    For Lizzo, the American public is in an in-between time. The present protests are a conversation with a possible future, and she sees herself as having a part in making it happen: “I just want to encourage people to register to vote. That is the most important thing to me. Because there’s a lot of upset people, and there’s a lot of people who have power. There’s a lot of voter suppression in Black communities. But there’s a lot of angry white kids now. And I’m like, ‘Yo, register to vote. Go out. You won’t get suppressed if you try to go to your ballot box.’ You know? I think it’s important to remind people of what they can do. My job isn’t to tell you how to vote. But my job is hopefully to inspire you to vote…to activate you, so that you can take your protest to the ballot box.”

    But first, she knows that in order to save and serve the culture, she has to save and serve herself. “I think it’s important that I take full responsibility for the way the world perceives me because that is the way they’re gonna perceive someone who looks like me in the future. Maybe, hopefully, that would give some young girl someone to look up to and take away the opportunity for someone to weaponize her uniqueness against her. I had to travel the world and I had to meet people and read DMs and look into their eyes and really hear their stories to believe that I was making an impact in a positive way. And now that I believe in myself in that way, I’m gonna continue to just push that conversation by being a better me every single day.”

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