Heat's out

Blues Buzz

Northern Idaho really having A Time. On authenticity and our expectations of South Asian writers. Your favorite uncle, Khizr Khan, is back. After the fires, California takes care of its own. It is the poet's season. Marilynne Robinson on the humanities. The challenges of writing about ultra-Orthodox Jews. Joyce Carol Oates is being terrible on a lot of things; her comments on Mississippi and literacy have gone under-discussed. What we really lost in the Grenfell Tower fire. Left-wing women aren't happy about the misogyny displayed by men on the left. What Bruce Springsteen and Chance the Rapper have in common. How China will lead as the West retreats.


Richmond, Virginia. © E.A. Crunden

Richmond, Virginia. © E.A. Crunden

Around the Globe

Africa. A suicide bomber killed 13 people in Nigeria. Kenya's election disaster is somehow worsening. In South Africa, apartheid never really ended. Over a hundred people have died from plague in Madagascar. 

Americas. The body of an Argentinian indigenous rights activist was found. After decades, Colombians enjoy the fruits of their own labor. Nicaragua signed the Paris agreement. The U.S. introduced absurd new refugee limitations in addition to new flight measures. Trump finally declared the opioid crisis an emergency. So many men are terrible.

Asia & Australia. Japan's prime minister sailed to re-election. Australia is cracking down on airport security. Australia's birther controversy is somewhat amazing. An arrest warrant has been issued for former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Dozens of people died in a fireworks factory fire in Indonesia. Being queer in Egypt is set to become even harder.

Europe. Northern Irish citizens will be able to obtain fully-funded abortions in England soon. France's sexual harassment crisis is staggering among politicians. An obsessive man attacked a progressive journalist with a knife in Moscow, stabbing her in the neck. Catalonia's political crisis exploded, with Spain taking the semi-independent region under control following a failed strike for independence. 


Spoken & Written

“The President has great difficulty with the truth on many issues.” -- Senator Bob Corker (R-TN)



Journalism: Betsy DeVos didn't understand critical disability legislation; now she's rolling back guidance aimed at helping students with disabilities. An undocumented teenager was due an abortion, asap, and she got one -- but hundreds of others are stuck in limbo. The U.S. government would like to make that a problem for U.S. citizens as well as undocumented immigrants. The White House is open to "moderate" Taliban members joining the Afghan government. The new U.S. ambassador to Canada believes in "both sides" of the climate change debate. Russian journalists at the country's leading opposition publication may soon come armed

Anything goes:

Eating well has been a struggle the past month or so, something that intensified this past week. The bake function of our oven went out the week of Rosh Hashanah, in September, and last Sunday, the rest of the massive square -- stove and broiler functions included -- also blew, sending a shower of sparks and emitting smoke. Apparently the oven is 14 years old, so this was inevitable, but that hasn't made it bearable. The process of getting it fixed has been taxing and prolonged; in the interim, we've been eating out almost exclusively, and going long spurts without cooking, baking, or bonding over food.

That's been unhealthy, largely because we predominately consume bougie farmer's market produce and all the pricey niceties two decent-paying jobs in a prominent city can buy you, and also because I am the only Jew alive with an aversion to salt, something rarely found in our food at home and nearly always found in every dish served elsewhere. As a result, I am nearly always thirsty these days and my face is caving in on itself.

It's also been a strange shift for our relationship; our days are long, 2017 is long, and we've spent a lot of it cooking and baking and bonding over the things we can create, with and for each other.

I've never been someone who loved food, which is part of a longer story I don't need to get into. Learning to appreciate it has been a long process, as has sorting out my own health problems and trying to find a bearable relationship with the things that sustain me. As a 26 year-old I seem to have found at least somewhat of a compromise -- I spend more on quality groceries than I might otherwise, and I devote far more time to preparing food and making it appealing than I might otherwise. That's become therapeutic; it's a relaxing thing, chopping and stirring and blending and browning, only to have something empowering at the end, some kind of nourishment to fuel a family (even a very, very small one like mine).

But that's been an impossibility this week, worsening a situation I already thought was semi-unbearable. The oven being broken comes in the midst of thesis revisions and disputes, PIC's new job, stress over visas and sponsorship and crackdowns, and my own, ongoing state of exhaustion struggling to cover the news in a year where most of the news is constant and terrible. Staring at the defunct black shape, I keep finding myself wishing I could make something, channel my energy into creation and sustenance. Much like this year more broadly, it just stares back at me, defiantly, continuing to exist despite its own inefficiency. How is it only nearly November?