Category Archives: Rosalind Franklin

Hot Air: Literally

Smart Woman

Here’s a good gag from my old Whole Foods Market pal, David Staples:

Science professor: “Does everyone here know what Watson and Crick discovered?

Voice from the back of the hall: “Yeah, Rosalind Franklin‘s notes!”

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Unsolicited Advice

Personal to Hillary: As long as you’ve demonstrated the ability to wear a variety of political cloaks depending on how strongly the wind is blowing, you’d better don the very liberal/progressive raiment ol’ Bernie’s pushing you toward. Y’know, the one the Republicans have been accusing you and your husband of wrapping yourselves in ever since you came out of Arkansas? The one, BTW, you’ve never really worn despite what the Far Right imagines.

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Look Left

America’s Shart, Donald Trump, has the angry white guy vote all wrapped up. Now, you’ve got to nail down the angry everybody else vote. And there’s getting to be a lot more of everybody else than there are of angry white guys.

It’s just simple math.

Bernie’s Gotta Build, Redux

Sheila Kennedy, who’s one of the smartest folks around, writes today, citing the opinion of Ed Brayton, about how Bernie ought to start building up his movement, as opposed to focusing solely on gaining the Dem nom — which he’s not going to get.

Now I realize Bernie Nation is going to have apoplexy when they read what I’ve just typed (the he’s not going to get part) but that’s okay. It’s clear these days Bernie’s most rabid fans like having apoplexy. In any case, she writes the same thing I did yesterday in these precincts.

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Kennedy

Kennedy calls herself a Republican, although I have no idea why. She positions herself a tad to the left of Hillary. I suppose she’s holding fast to the notion that there have to be at least two teams going strong in this holy land and she’s going to do her level best, as an IUPUI Law and Policy professor and respected observer of the political landscape, to keep the dual party concept going.

I read SK’s blog posts every day and so should you. And thanks to Susan Sandberg for turning me on to her.

Journalism Royalty

How very cool! Historian Rick Perlstein will interview legendary journalist Seymour Hersh at the Printer’s Row Lit Fest in Chi., Saturday, June 11th.

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Hersh

Hersh broke the My Lai Massacre and cover-up story back in 1969, winning a Pulitzer Prize for his work. He’s written scads of books tearing the covers off the lousy tricks our gov’t likes to pull. For his part, Perlstein has written a thoroughly engaging series of books on the birth and growth of the modern conservative movement that began with the national ascendancy of Barry Goldwater in 1964 and has resulted in the rise of you-know-who, America’s Shart, today.

The PRLF has been going strong for 32 years as a street fest for the hyper-literate. Over the years, notable and fascinating authors from Augusten Burroughs and Chuck Palahniuk to Rick Bayless have appeared for panel discussions and readings at the event, formerly known as the Printers Row Book Fair. Each year hundreds of antiquarian and rare booksellers as well as publishing industry types and independent authors set up tables and booths on a five-block tract just south of Congress Street. Printers Row is an historic old Chi. district that used to be the center of the nation’s printing industry. It’s towering, elephantine old structures were built super-strong to bear the load of thousands of rotogravure machines and multi-ton rolls of paper. Now the buildings have been transformed into chi-chi apartments and condos for the new urban middle class. And, it being Chicago, there’s loads of food to be eaten at the fest.

Among the big names scheduled to appear this year:

  • Buzz Aldrin — The second human to walk on the moon and author of Magnificent Desolation and No Dream Is Too High
  • Sidney Blumenthal — Senior advisor to Bill Clinton and author of The Clinton Wars and The Permanent Campaign
  • Amy Goodman — Journalist, co-host of Democracy Now!
  • Ethan Hawke — Screen actor and director who dabbles in writing
  • Steve Inskeep — NPR Morning Editon co-host and author of Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab
  • Sebastian Junger — Author of  The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea  and War; directed the documentary film Restrepo
  • David Maraniss — Pulitzer Prize winner and author of First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton and When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi
  • Terry McMillanWaiting to Exhale, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Getting to Happy
  • Ruth Reichl — The last editor-in-chief of Gourmet magazine and best-selling cooking writer
  • Marilynne RobinsonHousekeeping, Gilead, Home, Lila
  • R.L. StineGoosebumps and other children’s series
  • Vu TranDragonfish: A Novel
  • Andi Zeisler — Co-founder of Bitch magazine

If you dig books and street fairs take in the PRLF.

May 5th Birthdays

Søren Kierkegaard — Danish philosopher and notorious buzz-killer

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Karl Marx — The original Marxist

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Nellie Bly — Muckraking journalist born Elizabeth Seaman, exposed harsh conditions in mental institutions

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James Beard — Bestselling cookbook author specializing in American cuisine

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Leo Ryan — Member of the US House from California, was killed by Jim Jones’s People’s Temple cult in Guyana in 1978

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Sylvia Fedoruk — Physicist specializing in cancer treatment, politician, and member of the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame

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Tammy Wynette — The First Lady of Country Music, sang “Stand By Your Man”

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Michael Palin — Member of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and author

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Adele — Chanteuse

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Hot Air

Gay’s Rights

Extremely tall poet Ross Gay is back in town after a year-long sabbatical. The assoc. director of the Creative Writing Dept. at Indiana University, Gay took the year off to practice his penmanship, churning out scads of new poems and even an essay or two.

Gay

Ross Gay [Image from The Cortland Review]

For instance, his take on the dicey relationship between this holy land’s cops and its darker-hued citizens ran earlier this summer in The Sun magazine. The Sun is a neglected jewel, tackling issues and featuring voices that the corporate media usually only sniff at. Search me as to how The Sun survives: There aren’t any ads for Chevrolet, Subway, or Home Depot. Its cover price is competitive with periodicals that are chock-full of pimpings for vodkas and boner pills.

I’ll take The Sun over Time eight days a week.

Anyway, Gay revealed some very personal experiences he’s had with cops making traffic stops on him. He is a respected member of the community, tenured, a leader in his department. He’s also Black. Well, light brown. His dazzling smile can brighten any room. To associate the strictly chromatic descriptor black with him seems somehow amiss.

To many cops, though, that’s all he is. Black.

Police Stop

Just Another Stop

You have to check out Gay’s piece, written even before Michael Brown was whacked. I direct this especially to those who can’t seem to grasp why all the rage over the Brown killing. Don’t worry — Gay’s argument is not all anger and righteousness. This guy can write, of course. He cites, as an example, a  joke about blacks and the cops:

The African American comedy duo Key and Peele have a skit in which President Obama is teaching his daughter Malia to drive. When she runs a stop sign, a cop pulls them over. Astonished and a bit embarrassed at having detained the president of the United States, the cop tells them they can go. But Obama, earnest as ever, says, “No, I want you to go ahead and treat us the way you would if I weren’t the president.” In the next shot we see Obama getting slammed on the hood of the car and handcuffed. It’s funny. And not only black people laugh at such jokes. Everyone does, because everyone knows. [The counter-italics are Gay’s.]

If the comedy duo’s bit appeals to you, sneak a peek at Paste mag’s “10 Best Key & Peele Sketches.”

For the Gay essay, go here.

[h/t to Bryce Martin.]

A Fine Man

One of my personal heroes is the late Nobel Prize-winning scholar Richard Feynman. The Bronx-born theoretical physicist who helped develop the frustratingly arcane study of quantum electrodynamics was named one of the ten greatest scientists of all time by a Physics World poll, played the bongos, and worked on his formulas while sitting in a booth at the local strip club.

In other words, my kind of guy.

It tickles me to note that his second wife (his first died of tuberculosis) sued him for divorce, describing him in her complaint thusly:

He begins working calculus problems in his head as soon as he awakens. He did calculus while driving in his car, while sitting in the living room, and while lying in bed at night.

Feynman gained national renown through his books and lectures. His memoir Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman and his collection of lectures on basic physics, Six Easy Pieces, are are valued parts of my core library.

Feynman

Feynman

Now comes news that his most famous lectures are available for free online. The California Institute of Technology has published his seven-hour-long “Feynman Lectures on Physics” in three volumes, readable on any device.

Say what you will about the internet — that it has turned us into a nation of screen-gawking zombies, that it makes nude pix of Jennifer Lawrence available to every drooling knucklehead, or that it is now the primary outlet for the likes of Glenn Beck — it allows us to learn the ABCs of physical existence through the words of one of the smartest human beings ever to walk the Earth.

[h/t to The Loved One.]

Church Girl

Speaking of drooling knuckleheads, who do you think makes the decisions about what you hear on your MP3 player? Not only are record company execs knuckleheads, they’re knuckle-draggers.

In their professional opinion, it seems, every artist who possesses a vagina must strip down and shake as much of her toned flesh as possible in order for her to be worthy of distribution through the corporate music system.

Here’s how bizarre the music biz is when it comes to gender politics: Rihanna earlier this year tweaked, bumped, grinded, and exposed herself while caterwauling the songs from her latest album — and she was praised for “empowering” women. The men who determine what we see and hear in popular music and the critics who shill for them view women as nothing more than fap fodder.

At least the strippers plying their trade while Richard Feynman worked on his calculus notes at a corner table didn’t claim they were the ideological daughters of Margaret Sanger, Rosalind Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Which brings us to Charlotte Church. Remember her? Back about 15 years ago, she made a huge splash as a cute, virginal 12-year-old, belting out arias and other classical and religious pieces in a debut album entitled Voice of an Angel. The Barnes & Noble music-buying crowd snapped up the disc by the millions. PBS ran a special featuring her, further endearing her to the faux-sophisticated crowd.

When she reached the age of 19, she decided she wanted to sing pop tunes. The first bit of advice she got from the bosses at her record company? Show ’em your tits.

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Church: The Virgin & The Whore

Well, that was essentially what they said. Here, let Church explain it herself:

When I was 19 or 20, I found myself… being pressured into wearing more and more revealing outfits. And the lines I had spit at me again and again, generally by middle-aged men, were “You look great, you’ve got a great body, why not show it off?”

Or, “Don’t worry, it’ll look classy, it’ll look artistic.”

Church revealed this in an eye-opening speech she gave at the BBC-6 Music annual John Peel Lecture.

Still a very young woman, Church felt enormous pressure to bare her skin. Those record co. execs made it clear that since they were paying her their good money, they had a say in how much jiggle she was to display. She continued:

… I was barely out of my teenage years, and the consequence of this portrayal of me is that now I am frequently abused on social media, being called slut, whore, and a catalog of other indignities that I am sure you’re are also sadly very familiar with.

How’s that for the voice of an angel?

You ought read the entire speech. It’s not long but it’s loaded with bombshells about the abuse of women by their record companies.

Me? I’ll still take Carrie Brownstein.

Brownstein

Brownstein [Image from Stereogum]

The Pencil Today:

HotAirLogoFinal Tuesday

THE QUOTE

“The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point then the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one.” — George Bernard Shaw

Shaw

UH, GEE, THANKS

Every year, someone who cares about you will give you a Christmas/Hannukah gift that you’ll never use. A gift, in fact, that you’d be embarrassed for the firemen to discover should your house go up in flames.

Surly Amy on Skepchick offered invaluable advice yesterday on what to do with a specific genre of such unwanted largesse.

From Skepchick

Go Ahead, She Won’t Bite

 

A reader wrote in to S.A. asking what to do with all the old pseudoscience, self-help, and pop metaphysics books she’s collected through the years. She has the courage and moral fortitude to admit she once bought into the “ideas” presented therein but now is a devoted skeptic. So, what should she do with those old books?

The usual answer would be to donate or sell them but the reader won’t do that because she doesn’t want to spread these virus-laden items around.

Surly Amy canvassed creative skeptics and was able to offer some fab alternatives:

  • Make an iPad holder
  • Make a “book” shelf
  • Create book art
  • Fashion paper flowers out of pages and book covers

From Skepchick

Voila: A “Book” Shelf!

Go to MadArtLab for more ideas on upcycling books and other fun projects.

Now you know what to do with those copies of Deepak Chopra’s big seller “Super Brain,” Michael Singer’s mega-seller “The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself,” or Rhonda Byrne’s old reliable “The Secret” that a well-meaning (albeit tragically misguided) soul might give you next week.

THE JOY OF GORGING

Speaking of X-mas, here’s my tried and true Italian holiday cookies recipe. Make these and you’ll be the toast of the block.

They’re great for dipping and late night snacking. And they’re guaranteed to add inches to your waistline.

I mean, what else are cookies for?

Now then:

Big Mike’s Italian Holiday Cookies

  • 5 cups flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ sticks butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 heaping tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp lemon extract
  • Half a bag of unsweetened jumbo baking chocolate chips

◗ Mix flour, powder, and salt together. Put aside. In second bowl, cream butter and sugar. In third bowl, fork whip eggs and add vanilla and lemon extracts — mix well.

◗ Pour egg mixture into creamed mixture. Stir well.

◗ Add flour mixture gradually to creamed mixture, combining as much as possible with wooden spoon. Then work dough with your hands. Completed dough should have the consistency of clay.

◗ Refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat and set oven to 350 degrees. Roll dough into 1-inch diameter balls. Place balls on ungreased, non-stick cookie sheets. Press thumb into center of balls to make lens-like discs. Place large, semi-sweet chocolate baking chip, pointy end down, into center of each disc. Bake for 12-17 minutes, until golden brown.

Eat and gain weight. Worry about your waistline next year.

WOMEN YOU SHOULD KNOW

Recognize these names?

Women

If not, why not?

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