Saturday, October 14, 2017

Monica Chalabi

I Want My 2.3 Bonus Years


Credit Mona Chalabi
If I could prolong my time as a young adult by, say, 2.3 years, here is a list of things I would like to do:
• Go to more parties. Preferably wild parties that I can think about, years later, at mild parties.
• Get fit (i.e., get at least one ab before I die). This, I’m told, is easier to achieve when you’re young.
• Have more romantic partners. Preferably ones with abs.
• Get a bit higher up the career ladder a bit earlier on. That would probably boost my earnings, giving me more financial security. I could use that money to go to more parties, get a membership to a fancy gym and maybe even meet a romantic partner on the ab machines.
Most men who date women don’t fantasize about what they would do if they had these bonus years, they simply get them. In two-thirds of heterosexual couples, the man is at least a year older than his partner. The average age difference is 2.3 years according to the Census Bureau.
Continue reading the main story

Continue reading the main story

Study of Attraction

Dating website OkCupid collected data showing the most attractive ages to both men and women.
I know what you’re thinking: “What’s dating got to do with your weird list?” You’re right, in theory — life doesn’t stop once you settle down, so you could complete your own 2.3-year list regardless of your relationship status. But in reality, most couples who do commit long-term end up having children, so the age gap carries over into parenthood. The average age of a new father in the United States is 31 years, compared with 26 years for a new mother.
Continue reading the main story

Typically, becoming a parent has an enormous impact on your health, your career and your ability to party. It’s already bad enough that those burdens are more likely to be shouldered by mothers than fathers. The fact that women end the childless part of our lives earlier than our male partners is just salt in the wound. And looking even farther down the line, the bigger the age difference, the more likely that it will be women who take care of their male partners in old age.
Outraged at these numbers, I send my mom a text outlining my plans to find a much younger man and redress this scourge. She replies, “Women are more mature than men.” I roll my eyes. If there is any truth to her claim, maybe it’s because men know they can settle down at a later age. Where’s the incentive to grow up before you have to? Before I can reply, I get the rest of her message: “The French president’s marriage is an exception, and it is too early to know what is next.” Harsh, Mom.
Maybe she’s right, though. I change tactics and organize a date with a fellow 30-year-old. He waits in the garden of a Brooklyn bar while I get us two spicy margaritas. When I come back, I ask him what he is looking for.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, do you want something serious?”
Leaning back in the sunlight, he smiles and says, “Oh, no, I don’t think so. I’m not in a rush.”
Hmm. My eyes fall upon his sleeveless T-shirt. I imagine pouring my drink on it. My friend Jon tells me that these are “intrusive thoughts” and everyone has them. Which gives me permission to also imagine setting the shirt on fire. Ah, peaceful lakes! Birdsong!
I know I’m not a fun first date. I want to ask prospective partners whether they want to become parents and when — and excuse me? You haven’t given it much thought? A shrug from a man who already has a couple of gray hairs strikes me as wild arrogance.
This arrogance has, as I see it, two main causes — one, a belief that their spermatozoa are good for a very long time, indeed, and two, a belief that they could get a younger woman if they wanted to. Let me examine the evidence for each of those male beliefs; fertility first.
Your sperm is not immortal. A study that tracked 8,559 pregnancies found that “conception during a 12-month period was 30 percent less likely for men over age 40 years as compared with men younger than age 30 years.”
That research was gathered in 2000 and was one of the few studies that focused on male fertility. See, scientists have invested a lot of time in poking and prodding women to understand conception, but only a small fraction of those studies have controlled for the age of the father. In other words, all that data we have about how women in their late 30s are struggling to get pregnant doesn’t take into consideration the fact that many of those women are trying to conceive with men who are in their 40s.
Men are much less fooled when it comes to that second belief — that they could get a younger woman if they wanted to. I’m not just basing this on the Census Bureau data I cited. There’s also the information gleaned from OkCupid’s millions of preferences. The dating site’s researchers found that most conversations take place between an older man and a younger woman and in almost half of them, the age gap is at least five years.
But men might still be mistaken about just how much younger their next partner could be. That same OkCupid data shows that even when men are in their late 40s, they carry on looking at the profiles of women age 20 to 24 (women, by contrast look at older men’s profiles as they get older).
Where do 50-year-old men get this strange impression that they could date a 23-year-old? Perhaps it’s their TV screens. When New York magazine looked at the careers of 10 leading men, it found that as they aged, their onscreen love interests didn’t. Take Liam Neeson. In 1990, he appeared alongside Frances McDormand, who was five years younger than he. By the time he starred in “Third Person” in 2013, the 61-year-old Neeson’s lover was played by 29-year-old Olivia Wilde.
We are socialized into thinking that men are like wine, they get better with time. Whereas women are like cheese, they get blue veins and start to stink. At some point, I subconsciously signed up, too. I find George Clooney hot and Justin Bieber not (Clooney is 26 years older than me and Bieber is seven years younger).
Do I sound angry? Maybe, but I’m also scared. I inspect my body when I step out of the shower and I can see the skin loosening above my knees. I don’t want to choose between being single or dating a much older man with much older knees. I think, maybe, I could deal with dying if the person I love is creaking along at the same rate I am.
So, this is where I ask for help from other single women seeking men. Sign a pledge with me here today. Not of celibacy (where’s the fun in that?), but let’s end this scourge once and for all by committing to contemporaries.
I understand your reluctance. Perhaps we’ve dipped a toe in the younger male waters and been burned by the sleeveless shirts, the sheetless beds, the unbridled selfishness. But sisters! We must persevere. If not for ourselves, then for one another. I hereby swear that I will not take an eligible older man out of the dating pool — to do so would be to slap future-me in the face but it would also signal to men my age that it’s O.K., you have time. Time is too precious to donate — so don’t give away 2.3 years of it.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Two songs figure prominently in Bill McKibben's new cli-fi comic caper novel RADIO FREE VERMONT: [lyrics are here]

Two songs figure prominently in Bill McKibben's new comic cli-fi caper novel titled RADIO FREE VERMONT.

One of them is AH, MARY and here are the lyrics and the YouTube link where Grace Potter performs on the Jay Leno Show in 2007

She's skilled at the art of deception and she knows it
She's got dirty money that she plays with all the time
Yeah, she waters the garden and maybe she just likes the hoses
She puts herself just a notch above human kind
Ah, Mary
She'll bake you cookies then she'll burn your town
Ah, Mary
Ashes, ashes but she won't fall down
She's the beat of my heart
She's the shot of a gun
She'll be the end of me
And maybe everyone
Yeah, she's the beat of my heart
She's the shot of a gun
She'll be the end of me
And maybe everyone
Call her a bully, she'll blow up your whole damn playground
Pour her a drink and watch it go straight to her head
She'll take you so high up and cover her eyes as you fall down
Then in the morning, don't be surprised if you're dead
Ah, Mary

YOUTUBE LINK, words and music by Grace Potter


The other song in the novel is ''O-o-H CHILD'' by Stan Vincent in 1970


"O-o-h Child" was a 1970 single recorded by Chicago soul family group the Five Stairsteps and released on the Buddah label. Previously, the Five Stairsteps had had peripheral success recording in Chicago with Curtis Mayfield: when Mayfield's workload precluded his continuing to work with the group they were reassigned to Stan Vincent, an in-house producer for Buddah Records, who had recently scored a Top Ten hit with the Lou Christie single "I'm Gonna Make You Mine". Vincent wrote the song for his son, Chuck. The Five Stairsteps' debut collaboration with Vincent was originally formatted with the group's rendition of "Dear Prudence" as the A-side with Vincent's original composition "O-o-h Child" as B-side. However, "O-o-h Child" broke out in the key markets of Philadelphia and Detroit to rise as high as #8 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1970. the track's R&B chart impact was more muted with a #14 peak, although "O-o-h Child" is now regarded as a "soft soul" classic. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 21 song of 1970. The Five Stairsteps' only pop Top 40 hit, "O-o-h Child" would be the group's last R&B top 40 hit (they had several top 40 R&B hits in the 1960s) until 1976's "From Us to You". Included on the band's The Stairsteps album from 1970, it has become the Stairsteps' signature song and has inspired more than twenty covers since its release. The song featured various members, including lone female member and eldest sister Alohe, brothers Keni, Dennis, James, and lead singer Clarence Burke, Jr. singing in various parts of the song.

The lyrics tell the listener that "things are gonna get easier" in times of strife. The song's uplifting message helped the song to become popular among pop and rhythm and blues audiences when it was released.


A love letter to 'cli-fi' academics worldwide! #CliFi #academia #genre #tenure #academics

A love letter to 'cli-fi' academics worldwide! #CliFi #academia #genre #tenure #academics

A love letter to 'cli-fi' academics worldwide!

by Dan Bloom

As the cli-fi literary genre gathers steam worldwide, it turns out that the major force behind its meteoric rise -- both championing cli-fi and studying it -- is academia. This is my love letter to academics worldwide, who have taken up the challenge of researching, studying and writing about cli-fi. 

Cli-Fi is where it is today largely due to the interest of hundreds academics in English-speaking nations, including the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Among them, just to name a few here, there's Edward Rubin at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee, there's Arindam Basu in New Zealand, there's Stephanie LeMenager at the University of Oregon, there's Jennifer Wicke in Virginia, there's Adeline Johns-Putra in the UK, there's Andrew Milner at Monash University in Australia, there's PhD candidate Cat Sparks in Canberra, there's Daniel Aldana Cohen in Pennsylvania, there's Axel Goodbody in Britain, there's Amitav Ghosh in Brooklyn, there's Gerry Canavan in the Midwest, there's Catriona Sandilands in Canada, there's Serpil Oppermann in Turkey, there's Elizabeth Trobaugh at Holyoke Community College (and a fellow Tufts alum), there's Terry Alan Harpold in Florida, there's Heather Sullivan at Trinity College in Texas, there's Greta Gaard at the University of Wisconsin, there's Amy Brady with a PhD from the University of Massachusetts, there's Ted Howell who earned his doctorate from Temple University, there's Dan Kahan with a deep interest in communicating climate issues, and there's Manjana Milkoreit who is teaching and writing now at Purdue University. And dozens more, more than 100, more than 500 actually. Don't forget T. Ravichandran in India, Scott Slovic in Idaho and Una Chaudhuri at New York University. And in France, Christian Chelebourg!

Academics all. Part of a worldwide movement among academics studying and promoting the literary genre of cli-fi since 2010, some even earlier.

Cli-fi has become popular not because of the main newspaper and website media -- not the mainstream media like the New York Times or the Washington Post or the Boston Globe -- nor because of solitary freelance book reviewers, or literary critics or literature and science bloggers. No, the main force behind cli-fi's rise has been the global army of literary academics who have been writing papers, penning opeds and publishing books about cli-fi. It's in the air, and they are writing about it loud and clear.

So this is my love letter to academics worldwide, who often labor in obscurity and without major newspaper headlines announcing their work to the world, but who aside from their teaching duties in classrooms and workshops, take the time to delve into a new literary genre that has much to say about our literary response to global warming and climate change.

Academics are interested in cli-fi and for a very good reason. The rise of cli-fi fits into the reason why they worked hard to obtain their PhDs  and become academics in the first place. They are not beholden to the mass media or to literary gatekeepers. Academics are pioneers, seekers, philosophers, critics. They see the world through their own personal lenses, and cli-fi fits right into their very reason to be alive and living in the 21 Century. Academics are the vanguard, while most literary gatekeepers represent the rear-guard, afraid to venture out of the comfortable cubicles and challenge the status quo. I mean, why rock the boat.

But academics have a different mindset and they are not afraid to rock the boat. It's always been that way. Academics fear nothing.

So long live academics! They are championing cli-fi in a way the MSM has never done, except for a few odd articles here and there. Academics go where their interests take them, without fear or favor. Academics are trailblazers, not gatekeepers, and they are not interested in keeping the "new" out of sight and off our radar screens. Academics write nonfiction, but what they write is powerful and important, full of brilliant insights and analysis in this Age of the Anthrocene.

Academics of the world, I love you!

When I showed a preview of this oped to a friend of mine in academia who has been at the forefront of the cli-fi movement among his peers, he told me in an email: "Nice piece! Very well put. And it's great to see praise for academics."

This academic paper by Susanne Leikam and Julia Leyda in Europe shows exactly how welcoming the academic world has been to the rise of cli-fi and how welcoming it will remain in the future as well.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Over 100 academics worldwide have led the way in championing the rise of the cli-fi literary genre --- OPED

Over 100 academics worldwide have led the way in championing the rise of the cli-fi literary genre



A love letter to 'cli-fi' academics worldwide!

#CliFi #academia #genre #tenure #academics

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Spunky Knowsalot Knows A Lot About Bill McKibben's new comic cli-fi novel RADIO FREE VERMONT but so far he's not telling...

Is this Spunky Knowsalot?


American climate activist Bill McKibben has entered the cli-fi world, with a debut novel titled “Radio Free Vermont.” And we have Spunky Knowsalot to thank for this 250-page seriocomic piece of writing. Who? Keep reading to find out who Spunky Knowsalot is!

Way back in 2005, McKibben was calling for novels and movies about cli-fi, and he revisited the same essay in an updated form again in 2009, also calling for cli-fi novels as he did in 2005, but it took him another 12 years to finally sit down with the help of Spunky Knowsalot to write his own comic entry in the cli-fi sweepstakes.

When he wrote the Grist essay titled ”What the warming world needs now is art, sweet art” in 2005, the cli-fi term had not yet been coined. But fast foward to 2017 and McKibben is aboard the train now, using a semi-comic novel to reach readers worldwide, as the book will be translated into 25 languages over the next several years.

So who is Spunky Knowsalot? He first surfaces on the book's dedication page where Mckibben writes: "For Spunky Knowsalot"

Starting November 7, which is the novel’s official publication date, McKibben will embark on a nationwide book tour to promote the novel, and you can expect literary critics and book reviewers and newspaper reporters to ask him about the identity of Mr Spunky Knowsalot. Who? Keep reading.

McKibben’s debut novel -- and a goood solid piece of cli-fi it is! -- follows a band of Vermont patriots who decide that their state might be better off as its own republic in the Age of Trump.

Witty, biting, and terrifyingly timely, ”Radio Free Vermont” is Bill's fictional response to the burgeoning resistance movement created by the election of Donald J. Trump in 2016. It’s cli-fi with a comic twist, as only Mckibben can twist it.

So before we end this preview, who the heck is SPUNKY KNOWSALOT? So far, Bill is not telling, his editors at Blue Rider Press are not telling, his PR people at Penguin RandonHouse Group USA are not telling, and his marketing team is not saying either.
Hint: if anyone knows the identity of Spunky Knowsalot, please leave a message in the comments section below.

Friday, October 6, 2017

"Blade Runner 2049" is it about global warming or global cooling? Great movie, bad science?

"Blade Runner 2049" is it about global warming or global cooling? Great movie, bad science?


 Wisely, Villeneuve doesn’t try to do that in taking the story forward, but his smog-infested and snowy Southern California as presented here makes a strong case not for the effects of global warming, but rather global cooling. Spoiler alert: It snows in L.A. in this thing.