Puppy Love

Researchers found that when dogs stared into their owner’s eyes, oxytocin levels rose in both the people and the dogs. The same was not true for wolves, who were observed with their handlers. The team also found that when dogs were given a shot of oxytocin, they would stare into the eyes of their owners for a longer period, and that gazing, in turn, would boost the oxytocin levels in the owners. That increase points to a hormonal feedback loop between the dogs and the humans. [link]

Sherman Alexie on why YA novels should be allowed to be ugly, dark and violent

So when I read Meghan Cox Gurdon’s complaints about the “depravity” and “hideously distorted portrayals” of contemporary young adult literature, I laughed at her condescension.

Does Ms. Gurdon honestly believe that a sexually explicit YA novel might somehow traumatize a teen mother? Does she believe that a YA novel about murder and rape will somehow shock a teenager whose life has been damaged by murder and rape? Does she believe a dystopian novel will frighten a kid who already lives in hell? […]

When some cultural critics fret about the “ever-more-appalling” YA books, they aren’t trying to protect African-American teens forced to walk through metal detectors on their way into school. Or Mexican-American teens enduring the culturally schizophrenic life of being American citizens and the children of illegal immigrants. Or Native American teens growing up on Third World reservations. Or poor white kids trying to survive the meth-hazed trailer parks. They aren’t trying to protect the poor from poverty. Or victims from rapists.

No, they are simply trying to protect their privileged notions of what literature is and should be. [link]

The cornerstone of the confederacy was slavery

“Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.” [link]

Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America

Cornerstone Speech

Savannah, Georgia March 21, 1861

“The great truth, I repeat, upon which our system rests, is the inferiority of the African. The enemies of our institutions ignore this truth. They set out with the assumption that the races are equal; that the negro is equal to the white man.” [link]

Alexander Stephens, Vice President of the Confederate States of America

Speech to the Virginia Secession Convention

April 23, 1861

Poem: My Mother upon Hearing News of Her Mother’s Death by Cathy Linh Che

My Mother upon Hearing News of Her Mother’s Death
Cathy Linh Che

She opened her mouth and a moose came out, a donkey and an ox, out of her mouth, years of animal grief, I lead her to the bed, she held my hand and followed, she said, Chết rồi, and like that, the cord was cut, the thread snapped, and the cable that tied my mother to her mother broke, and now her eyes red as a market fish, and now, she dropped like laundry on the bed.

The furniture moved toward her, the kitchen knives and spoons, the vibrating spoons, her mouth a sinkhole, she wanted all of it, the house and the car too, with the AC and wood paneling, and the flowers she planted, narcissus and hoa mai which cracked open each spring—the sky, she brought it low, until the air was hot and wet and broke into a rain—

the torrents like iron ropes you could climb up, only I couldn’t, I was drowning, I was swirled in, I leapt into her mouth, her throat, her gut, and stayed inside with the remnants of my former life. I ate the food she ate and drank the milk she drank. I crowded the furnishing, her swollen heart. I grew up and out so large until I became a woman wearing my mother’s skin.