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Posted by Kaila Hale-Stern

When we’re young, we’re especially susceptible to a fear-reaction, as it can be difficult to differentiate between what’s real and possible, and what’s not. We envision monsters under our beds or lurking in closets. And sometimes we read a book or see a TV show or movie at an early age that leaves a lasting, indelible impression.

I was an excitable kid, and there’s a lot of media in the pantheon of things that frightened me. I can still recite ghost stories that we told to us in the Halloween assembly in first grade. Someone let me read Stephen King when I was 11 and I still haven’t quite recovered. But movies had the biggest impact, and my earliest memory of total horror—and the realization that the world was cruel and dark—came from an unexpected place: the 1988 Robert Zemeckis film Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Despite its Disney production, Toontown interludes and inclusion of animated characters, Who Framed Roger Rabbit is not really a movie best consumed by young children, yet there I was. And even decades later I can’t think about the scene where Christopher Lloyd’s bad guy Judge Doom murders an innocent toon without internally freaking out a little. Honestly, I couldn’t even tell you why he does it, because I have since refused to revisit Who Framed Roger Rabbit, but this scene is burned into my memory—and apparently, I’m not alone.

“One of the most chilling scenes I’ve ever seen, and it’s of Christopher Lloyd executing a cartoon character,” writes the YouTuber who uploaded the clip, Robert Griffin.

Reading the comments on the video make me feel that I’m not alone, at least, that I didn’t overreact so many years ago. (I only made it through half the scene this time around.)

Mike S.: “I can’t even hit the play button. I refuse to. I can watch people be dismembered and tortured and murdered and raped all day every day in TV and movies and read disgusting shit but I cannot handle watching this poor shoe die. Nope.”

Minori: “I watched this again yesterday. Legit cried like a bitch then screamed “WHY WOULD YOU KILL THE SHOE” in anger for 5 minutes. I wasn’t even high.”

Stephen Martell: “I always hated this scene. As a kid and still to this day it’s sad to see.”

Incog Nito: “The scene that scarred me for life.”

And on and on and on and on. These people get me. I can hear the little toon shoe’s pitiful squeaks in my nightmares.

Commenter The King of the Penguins writes, “Fuck Bambi’s mom. To hell with Mufasa. This shoe left me more mortified than any horror movie or dramatic death scene in the history of cinema. It left me bawling every time as a kid to the point where I couldn’t even watch or hear the scene. As a teenager I watched it and started to break down when the shoe was cuddling his foot like a scared animal. It trusted him, which made it so much worse. As an adult this still hurts me, since this is closer to animal cruelty than the death of a humanoid character. And animal cruelty always hits hard considering their innocence.”

At last I feel understood. I’m pretty sure this scene is the reason I’m a vegetarian.

So let’s have a fun, light-hearted Wednesday: what did you see or read when you were young that scared the hell out of you? Tell us in the comments.

(image: Disney)

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Posted by Casey Cipriani

Outlander, both book and television series, has always been rather vague on the methods and ramifications of their time travel. With the latter’s third season diving into Voyager, the third book of Diana Gabaldon’s series, (minor spoilers ahead) we will find Claire spending a good chunk of her life back with Frank, in her original timeline. Her past with Jaime in 1700s Scotland, their intense, sexy marriage, time in France, involvement in the Jacobite Uprising, and her pregnancies, have become seemingly a part of “another life.”

Though Jamie and Claire, it seems, weren’t able to change history via the outcome of the Battle of Culloden, Claire’s experiences and time spent in the 18th century will remain with her throughout the following 20 years we’re diving into in Outlander Season 3. How a person mentally handles having lived so long a time in seemingly another world is what makes Outlander so interesting to watch, and every time I do, I’m reminded of a much-beloved episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation—one that touches on how its main character also deals with multiple lives and realities.

“The Inner Light” is considered one of, if not the best, episode in the entire run of TNG, showing up on top ten lists of both super Trek fans and TV critics alike. Written by Morgan Gendel and Peter Allan Fields, “The Inner Light,” the 25th episode of TNG’s fifth season, tells the story of a long-destroyed planet called Kataan, through the eyes of Captain Picard, as he lives an entire other life among its citizens. The Enterprise stumbles upon an old probe floating in space and Picard is hit with an energy beam and knocked unconscious. He wakes up in an unfamiliar house to a woman named Eline, who calls him by the name Kamin and claims she’s his wife. Naturally, Picard is furious, thinks he’s been kidnapped, and demands that he be returned to his ship. Eline says that Kamin has been sick, that these memories of being a starship captain named Jean-Luc must have been hallucinations, dreams brought on by intense fever.

Realizing that he’s trapped on a planet that has no interstellar travel or communication with other planets, and with everyone insisting that he’s another person entirely, Picard slowly, but eventually, gives up trying to get back to the Enterprise and accepts his new life. He has children and grandchildren. He learns to play a small flute, however badly. He works as a welder, has a best friend, and lives a pretty simple life. Picard spends decades as Kamin, just as long as, if not longer than he has as Picard. But as Kamin reaches old age and the planet’s inevitable destruction by its own sun looms, the episode’s conceit is revealed: Kataan was destroyed one thousand years ago, and the probe the Enterprise encountered serves as a time capsule so that their civilization will be discovered and remembered by others in the universe. When Picard learns the truth, he wakes up on the Enterprise, with Dr. Crusher informing him that he’d only been out cold for 25 minutes or so.

Imagine living an entire other life within 25 minutes, bookended by your “true” life. The result has to be total confusion and division of loyalties. Picard snaps back into “himself” on the bridge of the Enterprise after waking up, but the ramifications on his life as Picard are inevitable, both lives seemingly affecting each other. While he was Kamin, he played “Frere Jacques,” a French tune, on his flute, but once he returns to being Picard, he plays the song he learned for his son’s naming ceremony.

Picard continues to play the flute throughout the rest of TNG; it appears in two other episodes of the series, and was even included in the film Nemesis, though the scene was deleted. He occasionally brings up his other life, obviously still affected by his experience, feeling that those loved ones were truly his. Essentially, Kamin had all the things that Picard gave up—family, children, simplicity—in order to become a starship captain, so the pull of his life as Kamin echoes throughout the rest of his time as Picard. It stays with him and will always affect him.

The same is true for Claire in Outlander. In Season 1, when she first came to 18th century Scotland, she kept a tight hold on her life as a 20th century woman. She used her knowledge of the future to try to manipulate her way back to the mysterious stones, to return to Frank, England, and the world she once knew. But much like Picard, with no obvious way of finding her way back to her “real life,” she eventually gave up. But accepting her fate, and diving fully into an epic love story with Jamie, didn’t stop her from still caring for and thinking about Frank.

Much of Season 2’s conflict came from Claire trying to maintain historical occurrences that would lead to Frank’s existence. Season 3 finds her in the reverse situation. Like Picard returning to the Enterprise with memories of Kataan, Claire finds herself back in the 20th century, in a post-World War II society, with all of the scientific and gender advancements that come with it. But it’s obvious from these first few episodes and the trailers that Claire won’t be able to give up her life with Jamie, and that she’ll spend years thinking of him, longing for him, and trying to get back to him. Much like Picard, she can’t forget her former life; they’ve both become real, and they’re both a part of her.

Aside from these thematic connections, there’s the very literal connection between these two series in the form of Ronald D. Moore. Moore was a writer, script editor, and producer during TNG’s time on air and is the creator, executive producer, and showrunner for Outlander. Of “The Inner Light,” Moore has said, “I’ve always felt that the experience would’ve been the most profound experience in Picard’s life and changed him irrevocably … the larger implications of how this would really screw somebody up didn’t hit home with us until later.”

Both Outlander and “The Inner Light” touch on how experiences make us who we are, but also turn that idea on its head by forcing the two characters to question their very existence in a life they didn’t choose. Claire does choose to stay with Jaime in Season 1, and tries her damndest to get back to him in Season 3, but Picard’s other life is lost forever. If given the option, would Picard have chosen to return to Kataan, his wife, and his children? It’s hard to say. But it will be interesting to watch how Claire’s lives affect one another going forward. Picard hung on to both dearly, but it’s looking more and more like Claire prefers one over the other.

Casey Cipriani is a New York-based arts and entertainment journalist with a passion for watching sci-fi and fairy tales and addressing women’s issues in the industry. She has written for Indiewire, Vulture, Slate, Refinery29, the New York Times, the New York Daily News, Women and Hollywood, and Bustle. She earned her Master’s Degree from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism where she concentrated in arts and culture reporting and criticism. 

(image: Starz/CBS)

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MADRID (AP) -- Spanish police arrested at least 12 people Wednesday in raids on Catalan government offices, news reports said, as national authorities intensified a crackdown on the region's preparations for a secession vote that Spain says is illegal....
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Most days, Matt Whitaker wakes up, puts on a suit, and goes to his job at a law firm in Sydney, Australia.

This past Sunday, September 17, he woke up, put on a suit, and went to run a marathon instead.

Whitaker spent the race—the Blackmores Sydney Marathon—trying for a very obscure (and commensurately impressive) Guinness World Record, for "fastest marathon run in a three-piece suit." He succeeded: his time of 2:44:29 beat the old record by over 13 minutes.

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Marathoning is an extremely competitive sport, and the days when amateurs could dream of setting a world record, or even a course record, are pretty much toast.

Luckily, there's always Guinness, which grants records for marathons run in various outfits, including "martial arts suit," "armor," and "dressed as a fruit."

"Last year, someone tried to break the world record for fastest marathon in a jester's suit, which I thought was pretty awesome," says Whitaker. "I had a bit of a Google of different records and settled on this one."

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With this decision made, it was time to find the proper uniform. Whitaker bought a whole new suit, so as to avoid wrecking his work clothes. He went with wool fabric, on the Internet's advice.

"They thought it was a bit weird at [menswear store] MJ Bale," he says. "I got it one size too big so it wouldn't be restrictive." He then had it tailored, so as to not get tripped up by the pants.

Whitaker took a few practice runs in the suit, in order to "iron out the kinks," as he put it. "I got a few weird looks," he recalls. (After the marathon, many people shared stories online about having watched him train—"a few more than I thought had seen me," he says.)

Getting out there was worth it, though. "There were a couple of issues that emerged, chafing being the main one," he says. "I'm glad I discovered that as an issue before race day."

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Guinness rules require the besuited runner never to remove any piece of the suit, to keep their tie on even if it flaps, and to make sure their shirt's top button stays closed. Despite these restrictions, the race went fairly smoothly. Whitaker had two main competitors: the clock, and another dressed-up runner, Mike Tozzer, who currently holds the record for fastest half-marathon in a suit.

Whitaker went hard out of the gate, and kept his pace up until the final ten miles, which he says were killer. "The three layers were really starting to wear me down," he says. "I had this realization that maybe I had made a huge mistake."

But every day's work comes to an end. Whitaker crossed the finish line in 27th place overall—well ahead of Tozzer—and did so quickly enough to claim the record as his own.

Now, he heads to the office with an extra spring in his step. "In a different suit," he clarifies.

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to cara@atlasobscura.com.

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Posted by Miss Cellania

The 1987 movie Over the Top had Sylvester Stallone playing the sports underdog, as he did in Rocky, but this time the sport was arm wrestling. The movie was nominated for three Razzies and won two. Thirty years later, you might find that the things going on behind the scenes are more interesting than what made it onto the screen.

9. The movie had its own toy line.

For a brief period of time a line of Over the Top products were available in the toy aisles of many stores. They didn’t last all that long though, just like the movie.

8. Stallone literally pinned critic Roger Ebert against a slot machine to talk to him.

Anyone that remembers Siskel and Ebert recalls that these guys were brutal when it came to criticizing movies. They also weren’t that nice when it came to describing the actors either. So Stallone actually confronted Ebert and told him it was okay to criticize the movie, but not him.

The most surprising thing about Over the Top was that it contained more real physical action than you'd expect. Read the trivia list about Over the Topat TVOM.

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Posted by Zeon Santos

Rick and Morty is at once brilliant and moronic, totally brand new yet somehow really familiar, and even though the show has moved far away from creator Justin Roiland's original concept that has proven to be a good thing. So what, you may ask, was Justin's original concept?

The Real Animated Adventures of Doc and Mharti, which was meant to troll Universal Pictures and "poke fun at the idea of getting cease and desist letters", original title Back to the Future: The New Official Universal Studios Cartoon Featuring the New Doc Brown and Marty McFly. (NSFW)

(YouTube Link)

As you'd imagine the short is raunchy and very NSFW, but it also serves as a great example of how a concept, however crude, can become something great if you selectively breed that concept into a champion.

-Via VICE

(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2017 09:01 am
dark_phoenix54: (skull on books)
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Don’t Doubt the Magic! –the Story of Bernice O’Hanlon, Part Two By Cathie Devitt. Roundfire Books, 2017

Bernice O’Hanlon has returned to the island she grew up on. She is looking for answers- and two of the people who could provide those answers are now dead: her grandparents. The farm she feels should be hers by inheritance is lived on by a pair of brothers, who have been working the farm for her grandparents for years- and they have moved into the house. Bernice is a witch, and in this story she works with the Tarot to figure out how to proceed. The action alternates between the island and Glasgow.

This is the middle novelette of a trilogy, and while it’s said to be readable as a standalone, I had trouble figuring out who all the characters were and how their relationships worked- and there are a lot of characters. The action switches between them rapidly. I felt like I was watching a sped-up film; unable to catch up with what was going on. I enjoyed the premise that there were a group of witches on the island, and that the skills had been passed on to Bernice. I could understand her need to find out what happened to her parents and to her infant son. But with so much going on, I couldn’t form a connection to her or any other character. There was not enough time spent with anyone to care about them. I can only give it three out of five stars.
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Posted by Teresa Jusino

After the franchise flop-fest culminating in Terminator: Genisys, James Cameron is returning to the Terminator franchise to oversee an all-new trilogy of films that would give a proper ending to the Humanity vs. Skynet conflict. We’ve now learned that another very important piece of the Terminator puzzle is returning. Ladies and Gentlemen, Linda HamiltonA.K.A. the OG Sarah Connoris back!

Hamilton will be reprising her iconic role alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and returning franchise co-creator James Cameron (the other creator of the Terminator franchise is, of course, the badass Gale Anne Hurd). While the films will be based on a story by Cameron, and he will likely have some input in the writing, they will be planned and written in a writer’s room including David Goyer, Chris Eglee, Justin Rhodes, and Josh Friedman.

The trilogy, or at least the first film for sure, will be directed by Deadpool‘s Tim Miller.

When Cameron announced the news at a private event, he said, “As meaningful as she was to gender and action stars everywhere back then, it’s going to make a huge statement to have that seasoned warrior that she’s become return. There are 50-year-old, 60-year-old guys out there killing bad guys, but there isn’t an example of that for women.”

Hey, don’t let Helen Mirren (A.K.A. Victoria Winslow in the RED series) hear you say that. She was in her late 60s when she last played that role. But yes, point taken. It would be awesome to see another woman over the age of 60 playing a hardcore action role, as so many men do (some past the point of belief).

What gets me about this is that, even as Cameron talks about Hamilton’s involvement as being important for women, none of the announced creative voices on the team are female so far. Male director, all-male writer’s room (so far), and Cameron overseeing it all, despite the fact that Hurd was instrumental in the first Terminator film (even though Cameron is quick to dismiss her contribution by emphasizing that her screenwriting credit doesn’t mean she actually did any writing on the script. No, she just fixed it.)

I really wish that men in Hollywood would actually include women in the process, not simply have one or two important women scattered around and surround the with dudes. That would be really great.

(via Deadline Hollywood, image: Orion Pictures)

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Posted by Charline Jao

Stephen Frears’ Victoria and Abdul is more Victoria than Abdul.

Announcing early on in the title screen that the events of the film are an imagined portrayal of two real people, the narrative unearths the deep friendship shared between Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and her Indian advisor Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal). Karim, a young clerk, travels from India to participate in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. There, he eventually becomes an important part of her household, teaching her about Indian culture and history, Urdu, and mangos.

This is an unknown history and not by accident. After Victoria’s death, Karim is unceremoniously thrown out following her funeral by the high society that detested him and all records and letters between the two burnt. The film is based on Shrabani Basu’s Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant. (Basu had discovered his diary in recent years.) Written by Billy Eliot’s Lee Hall, the story is one highly invested in this unlikely and unexpected friendship—one that is deep and caring despite differences in age (almost 40 years apart), culture, and status.

Dench gives an intimate and thoughtful portrait of a Queen at the end of her life, giving us glimpses at the many sides of Victoria—lonely, regal, grieving, etc. From the first moment we see her in the middle of a ceremony, she is the unsmiling and unamused center of gravity in this film as everyone moves to accommodate and respect her. After Karim is introduced, that dynamic shifts as she begins to speak frankly to him about her loneliness and her curiosities (she wished to see India, but never could). Karim, much to the dismay of the Queen’s staff and family, gains more privilege to the Queen as a kind of adopted son.

However, as beautiful as this story of friendship appears and as critical the film is of the racism Karim faces, it stumbles more when trying to address the backdrop of colonialism. The violence of the British Empire is mostly a sidenote, mostly voiced by the less privileged attendant Mohammed (Adeel Akhtar) who names Victoria as oppressor. Victoria is portrayed as mostly oblivious to the conditions of the British presence in India, and her ignorance of the Indian Rebellion of 1857 is the focal point of one subplot.

The film is by no means an active promotion of empire, even making a few small jokes at the Empire. When Karim and Mohammed first arrive in Britain, they’re told, “Welcome to civilization” as they look at the disgusting shipyard in horror. The British ignorance of India is played for laughs. Still, while these small jokes allude to awareness, they fall short in compensating for the lack of dimensionality in Karim.

It is this side-stepping that the film struggles with, as Victoria is given many beautiful speeches, moments of triumph and despair, and vulnerability. Karim, in contrast, remains a mostly one-dimensional character seemingly present only to incite these changes within Victoria. In one of his first encounters with Victoria, he goes on a monologue about carpets that feels like something right out of the “Magic Brown Man” handbook.

The timeliness of reviving a history that tells us there was a Muslim at the center of the British administration is not lost on me, but to focus so heavily on his service rather than his, well, personhood feels misguided. At best, it’s a story that prioritized Victoria and sidelined him despite good intentions (Dench is, we know, a bigger star). At its worst, it’s a trope-y portrayal that ends up perpetuating the narrative of the “good immigrant” through Karim’s gleeful subservience. The second time he encounters Victoria, he kisses her feet…because he thinks it’ll cheer her up?

Karim constantly gushes about how honored he feels, how thrilled he is to serve, and his incredible joy in being allowed to teach Victoria—though the instructions feels at times more like play or tourism for Victoria. She gets to wear accessories, sit in a recreation of the Peacock Throne, and eat curry. Karim doesn’t need to be a fierce anti-colonial advocate—that might be a bit of a historical jump—but to try and focus on their human connection absent of the conflicts of nation feels dishonest or irresponsible.

I enjoyed the way the film dove so deeply into Victoria at this stage in her life and all the complications of a woman who outlived so many of her loved ones, served as the longest-reigning monarch of her time, and existed during a time of so many changes. I wish it thought to do the same of Karim, a man whose extraordinary and previously unknown story deserved more.

(image: Focus Features)

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Posted by Kaila Hale-Stern

Netflix and Marvel released a full trailer for the upcoming Punisher series, and it is A Lot.

We’ve noted that from Netflix’s promotional material, the first season of Punisher will see Jon Bernthal’s antihero Frank Castle take on a conspiracy at the highest level of government. It looks like we’ll also be seeing Frank’s origin story—the graphic murder of his family—either in real-time or in flashbacks.

The trailer starts like the tease of another show entirely: a loving family drama, with Frank enjoying time with his laughing kids and lovely wife. Then the wife is shot point-blank in front of him, and the ominous music kicks into gear. We hear the shaking of a spray paint can and the drawing of the Punisher’s iconic skull symbol. Then, Frank suiting up for battle—it looks more like war in this case, given his soldier’s background—and a whole lot of people start dying.

“They killed my family to get to me,” Frank says in voiceover, while he stares, bloodied, into a mirror. We hear that he suspects his family’s assassination was all part of a “covert CIA operation … the man in charge wants me dead. Homeland, the FBI, everybody’s part of this.” And Frank announces that he has plans to kill everyone who was involved. So, like, a good chunk of America’s intelligence community.

As the fitting strains of Metallica’s “One” play in the background (“Darkness imprisoning me / All that I see / Absolute horror”), a lot of folks start dying while we meet some of the new cast of characters amidst the whirlwind of carnage.

I’ve been excited for the Punisher series based on the strength of Bernthal’s breakout performance in Daredevil, and many of you have expressed a similar sentiment: while we might not have been big fans of the Punisher in comics, we’re willing to give the series a shot for its star’s sake. I still feel the same way, but I’m also curious now whether the kind of hyper-violence we see here can be sustained every episode without audience burnout.

This will be one of the first Netflix/Marvel collab where the lead relies on massive guns and military weapons rather than a superpower to dispatch their enemies, which makes it feel a lot more real (but also relevant). Of course, if you’re a longtime Punisher fan, this likely hits all the right notes. And as Teresa pointed out with the first teaser, maybe this is the kind of cathartic, righteous fury we all need right now. Along with the rest of us, Frank Castle has entirely run out of fucks to give.

What do you think?

(image: screengrab)

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PARIS (AP) -- Researchers say Islamic State supporters have found an ephemeral platform to share propaganda on Instagram, using the service's "stories" feature which sees posts disappear in 24 hours....
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ISTANBUL (AP) -- A fire on marine explorer Jacques Cousteau's iconic ship Calypso has delayed the vessel's restoration by between six to eight months, a representative of the Cousteau Society said Wednesday....
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Posted by JenniferP

Dear Captain,

Over the last year, a once close friend of mine and I have been experiencing the African Violet of broken friendship. We had been through a very intense multi-year creative work project together, and after the project finished and she moved onto another job, we kind of drifted apart. For my part, I felt that sometimes she could say very unkind or cruel things. I noticed about two years ago that I was working very hard to win her approval, and felt very anxious if I didn’t get it and recognized that this friendship had become a bit unhealthy. I still valued many things about my friend, and thought that by setting some boundaries I could change the dynamic. After any incident where she said something unkind (for example, that half of the work on my part of the project was not my own work, which really hurt my feelings) or been judgmental (for example, negatively commenting on the dynamics of my relationship with my partner or how much I was eating and snacking during the intense project), I would take some space. Over the last couple of years my confidence has grown, not just in this area but in many other areas of my life, and I have been able to deal with some anxiety issues I had and learn how to set boundaries.

She started mainly hanging out with some different friends, and although we were still in touch, our conversation was becoming more and more surface-level. Anytime I suggested meeting up she would be really vague or say no. I was quite hurt at the time that she didn’t seem to want to hang out with me anymore, but I knew that we had just been through a really intense period in our lives and maybe she needed her space. There was always room for our friendship to get renewed further down the line. Before yesterday, we hadn’t been in contact for about four months. There wasn’t anything particularly negative about our last contact, it just tailed off.

I recently got a new job that I am very excited about and yesterday, in a whatsapp group she is also part of, someone congratulated me on my new job. About an hour later I got an feelingsemail from my friend. It’s not a nice email. It’s basically a bitter rant about how I have changed as a person. She said she didn’t recognize me anymore and how she had become fed up of what she perceives as my faults, and me being distant, over the last two years. She said that she didn’t deserve this kind of behavior from me and that she had never thought I would cut her off like this, although she had seen me do it to others (I don’t know where this comes from, I haven’t cut any one off apart from one girl back in high school which was 15 years ago!). In her mind, I am the bad guy, and it doesn’t sound like she is open to listening to anything else. She did say congratulations about the new job at the end.

I want to reply in a kind and compassionate way, because there were many things I valued about our friendship. We were so close, and I miss her. However, I don’t know what to say or how to respond to this email. I understand she sent it in a fit of overwhelming feelings, and underneath the accusations and manipulative statements, really she’s just sad about the loss of our friendship. I am open to being friends again, and rebuilding our relationship but it can’t be like this. I want to acknowledge the email, but I don’t want to get caught up in back and forth about who did what, or act in a way that says I think this email is acceptable, or apologize for things I haven’t done. How should I respond to this feelingsbomb? Should I even respond? How can people respond kindly and compassionately to feelingsmail in general?

Best wishes,
I’ve got feelingsmail

Dear Feelingsmail Receiver,

Your friend is projecting all over the place and all over you, a behavior where you take the stuff you are doing (especially stuff that you feel guilty about or ashamed of or upset about) and assign that behavior and the blame for it to someone else. Like the thing where you kept trying to make plans and she rebuffed you is now all about how you’ve abandoned her. Interesting.

Also Interesting: The less time you spend with her, the happier and more confident you’ve become over time.

Interesting Indeed: A really happy moment for you (congratulations on your new job!) has become the catalyst for her to criticize and accuse you of being a bad person and a bad friend. Not cool.

I don’t know how you repair that. It sounds like the way you’ve been drifting away from each other has been organic, with you taking care of yourself by taking space when you need it, and her choosing the company of other friends over you when she needs that.

Now she wants you to apologize and accept all the blame for the fact that your friendship isn’t as close as it was, and she also wants you to chase her. Do you want to do any of those things?

In your shoes I might just write back “Wow, okay??? Thanks for the good wishes at least. As for the rest, I miss spending time with you, too,” and just ignore the steaming pile of Feelings and Accusations. And then I’d let the ball be in her court to follow up, either to apologize or to suggest a time to get together.

I predict she will find this answer from you somewhat maddening and not see it as the face-saving mercy that it actually is, but that’s not your fault or your work to do to deal with. You don’t owe her a point-by-point response to her projection or the emotional catharsis she sought at your expense. (Note: You don’t actually owe friendship or any response at all to someone who sends you such a mean, rude message!) If she comes back with an apology or invitation to grab lunch or coffee, that will give you some useful information and if she comes back with renewed vitriol about what a terrible friend and person you are that will also give you some useful information.

If you do eventually sit down and address the issues in the friendship someday, you could say “Well, I’d been feeling like you didn’t want to hang out with me, so I stopped pushing and gave you space. I guess we’ve been mirroring each other.” It’s true and is neither an accusation nor an apology.

You can also ask her “Well, in a perfect world, where we have exactly the kind of friendship you want, how would you like this to work out?” and see what she says. In a difficult conversation where there’s a risk of getting stuck in a back-and-forth “It’s your fault”/”No it isn’t” about the past, this question can prompt people to stop and articulate a positive vision for the future. What’s the best case scenario where you get to recover a friendship that works for both of you? This “workable” version may be a very tiny, small-doses thing or no friendship at all, but I think this is your best chance for finding out if anything here can be saved.


(no subject)

Sep. 20th, 2017 09:48 am
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[personal profile] silveraspen
Went with [profile] wickedtrue​ and [personal profile] vivien to watch the Vegas Golden Knights in their inaugural game, which happened to be against the Colorado Avalanche.

Looks like the Golden Knights are going to have a solid team. And it also looks like the Avalanche still have a lot of work to do if they ever want to get back to the glory days of 1995-2001.

[Crossposted to Tumblr.]
[syndicated profile] atlasobscura_article_feed
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The island of Chapelle Dom Hue is a small hunk of land off the coast of Guernsey, itself a small island in the English Channel. For many years, people have found bits of pottery and flint there that date back to the medieval period, but beyond that the island’s history has been lost. Another small island nearby had been home to medieval monks and, when archaeologist Phil de Jersey started excavations on Chapelle Dom Hue back in August, it seemed possible that he would find evidence showing that the monks used the island as a retreat, The Guernsey Press reported.

Instead, he found something much stranger: a carefully dug burial, of the type where one might expect to find human remains, but that instead held the remains of a porpoise. The grave, which contained a porpoise skull and bones that look to be shoulder blades and ribs, was also aligned east to west, as a person’s would have been. It is, de Jersey says in a YouTube video, “one of the strangest and most bizarre things I’ve ever come across” in 35 years of archaeological work.

Why would a porpoise have been buried so carefully? With the sea so close by, de Jersey points out, it would have been easy to dispose of it in some other way. One theory is that the cetacean was buried to preserve its meat, and then never recovered. But it could have had some other meaning. As Philip Hoare, author of Leviathan or, The Whale, wrote in The Guardian, this isn’t the first time that porpoise remains have been found buried in a deliberate way. In 1958, an archaeologist’s young assistant found a porpoise jawbone buried with 9th-century jewelry and other treasures.

The newly discovered marine mammal's burial contained no comparable grave goods, though. It is, de Jersey told The Guardian, a “slightly wacky kind of thing,” but also a “wonderful surprise.” There are no answers yet, but the fascination with with a find like this one comes from the unexpected questions it raises.

When Old Lighthouses Find New Lives

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:00 am
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Sometime around 1919 (reports vary as to the exact date), the Rubicon Point Lighthouse shut down.

During its brief existence, having been completed just three years earlier, in 1916, it illuminated the water of Lake Tahoe for passing steamers and mail ships. It did so from an elevation of 6,300 feet, making it the highest lighthouse in America. But it wasn’t spectacular to look at. Wooden, square, and only 12 feet tall, it didn’t have the capacity for a lighthouse keeper, or anything else really aside from an acetylene gas lantern that flashed every five seconds onto the lake below. After it was replaced by the Sugar Pine Point Lighthouse, Rubicon Point remained in situ. For many years, hikers mistook it for an outhouse.

Rubicon Point is just one of many abandoned lighthouses across the United States. There is even a lighthouse "Doomsday List" published by Lighthouse Digest, of those on the brink of destruction (Rubicon Point was on the list in the 1990s, although it has since been renovated). Some are famous, such as the St. George Reef Lighthouse that lies six miles off the coast of Northern California. Constructed of granite and concrete atop a treacherous outcrop of rocks, it was designed to withstand the monster seas that frequently roiled around this area of the coast. The only way onto the lighthouse was via a 60-foot boom, which would winch up small boats. Both keepers and Coast Guards lost their lives trying to reach the St. George Reef. One particularly unforgiving storm produced a wave so fierce it broke the glass in the lantern room.

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The St. George Reef Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1975 and replaced by a floating buoy. It sat, empty and abandoned, until the St. George Reef Lighthouse Preservation Society took over management of the site in 1996 and began to operate helicopter tours to fund its preservation. In March 2012, an automated light was installed, giving the tower a second chance at life.

Not all of America’s abandoned lighthouses are as isolated, or as dangerous. Off the coast of North Carolina is the Frying Pan Shoals Light Tower, a squat, steel lighthouse that more closely resembles the platform of an oil rig. It operated as a light house for 13 years, but today, thanks to its 5,000-square-foot living space and helipad, it's a bed and breakfast for adventurous tourists.

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These lighthouses appear—along with many beautiful, still-functioning ones—in the new book Lighthouses of America. Of the enduring charm of lighthouses, the book's editor and former Coast Guard rescue pilot Tom Beard writes, “Open seas in darkness is an eerie, sometimes frightening experience for navigators, but a distant, flashing light to sailors conveys a symbol of hope, tranquility, and comfort. Inside the tower, stalwart lighthouse keepers, tending lights in all manner of weather and personal privation, add to the mystique.”

Today many lighthouses run on solar power or make use of LED technology, but they still evoke a nostalgic mood of beacons flashing quietly through the night, illuminating remote coastlines and isolated islands. Below, a selection of images from the book shows how these landmarks have evolved over time.

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Kazkhstan goes Latin

Sep. 20th, 2017 03:17 pm
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Posted by Victor Mair

Excerpts from "Kazakhstan: Latin Alphabet Is Not a New Phenomenon Among Turkic Nations", by Uli Schamiloglu (a professor in the Department of Kazakh Language and Turkic Studies at Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan), EurasiaNet (9/15/17):

Kazakhstan’s planned transition to the Latin alphabet raises complex questions. While alphabets may not be important in and of themselves, they play an important role in helping define a nation’s place in the world.

As a Turkologist, I regularly teach a range of historical Turkic languages using the runiform Turkic alphabet, the Uyghur alphabet, the Arabic alphabet and others. Turkologists also study various Turkic languages written in the Syriac alphabet, the Armenian alphabet, the Hebrew alphabet, the Greek alphabet and others.

Stated briefly, you can use a lot of different alphabets to write Turkic languages. From a technical point of view, it is just a question of how accurately any particular alphabet represents speech sounds.

The classic version of the Arabic alphabet — with additional letters introduced for Persian — does not represent the vowels of Turkic languages accurately. Nevertheless, it was used successfully for Chagatay Turkic in Central Asia and Ottoman Turkish in the Ottoman Empire until the early 20th century. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, innovations were introduced to represent vowels more accurately, and this is certainly the case with the reformed Arabic alphabet used currently for Uyghur.

Using the Latin alphabet to represent Turkish languages is not a new phenomenon. The alphabet was used to write the Codex Cumanicus in a dialect of Kipchak Turkic in the early 14th century. More recently, Turkey adopted one version of the Latin alphabet beginning in 1928, as did Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan from 1991, and Uzbekistan in 2001, following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

We should also recall that in the early Soviet period most of the Turkic languages of the union shared a common Latin alphabet — the so-called Yangälif — beginning in 1926. But this alphabet was soon superseded by individual Cyrillic-based alphabets that were different from each other.

There are several linguistic factors supporting Kazakhstan’s planned switch to the Latin alphabet. One, of course, is that the Latin alphabet is familiar to a far larger number of educated persons than the Cyrillic alphabet. It is also used widely for communication over the internet and cellular telephones.

It is now official policy in Kazakhstan to promote three languages through the educational system — namely Kazakh, Russian and English. I think it is well documented by now that the Russian-speaking space is in decline throughout the former territories of the Soviet Union. But Kazakhstan, like Tatarstan, is so strongly bilingual that I am not worried so much that the use of Russian will decline in Kazakhstan any time soon. The real challenge is to make sure that Kazakh becomes viable as the official language of Kazakhstan.

Unlike in Turkey, or say Uzbekistan, Kazakh has a long way to go before it becomes the default language of choice among citizens of Kazakhstan.

The entire article is fascinating and well worth reading, not just by linguists, but also by political scientists, social scientists, and cultural historians.  The only thing I would add is that the movement toward the adoption of the Latin alphabet among modern Turkic-speaking peoples began in 1928 with its promotion by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938), the founder of the Republic of Turkey.

[h.t. Jichang Lulu]

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Posted by Abigail Nussbaum

I missed Twin Peaks the first time around.  Which is to say that I was aware of it--aware, even at the time, that it was considered a major event, and a shattering of the norms of what television could and should do.  But I was a little too young to watch it.  If my mother had watched the show I might have joined her, as I did with St. Elsewhere and L.A. Law, but as far as I know she wasn't

Drabble: Perfect Conditions

Sep. 20th, 2017 10:08 am
alisanne: (Nev_eyes)
[personal profile] alisanne
Title: Perfect Conditions
Author: [personal profile] alisanne
Pairing/Characters: Neville Longbottom/Draco Malfoy
Word Count: 100 x 3
Rating: PG-13
Challenge: Written for [insanejournal.com profile] neville100/[community profile] neville100's prompt# 365: All Year Round.
Warning(s)/Genre: Erotica, mild bondage.
Beta(s): [personal profile] sevfan and emynn.
Disclaimer: The characters contained herein are not mine. No money is being made from this fiction, which is presented for entertainment purposes only.

Perfect Conditions )

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