Friday Link Love

Henri, Paw de Deux -- YouTube My friend Jay described this as "the definitive cat video." I agree. This wins the Internet:




Diary of a Death Diva -- Ashley-Anne Masters

Ashley-Anne is a gifted pastor, writer and co-author of Bless Her Heart: Life as a Young Clergy Woman. She writes with a great combination of compassion and sass, particularly from her experience as a hospital chaplain. This post is a list of what not to say to someone who has lost a child:

“God needed another angel.” (I don’t even know what that means) Many people who have lost loved ones experience feeling the spirit of said loved one after their death, either at a family gathering, in nature, or in hearing a favorite song. Some even refer to those feelings as feeling like they have an angel with them, which is beautiful and comforting for them. However, again, none of us can speak to what God needs, and if God does in fact need more angels, I’m confident God can make that happen apart from the death of children.



David Foster Wallace on Worship -- Aaron Belz

Aaron was a highlight at the Festival of Faith and Writing, and his blog is eclectic and fun. This is an excerpt from Wallace's famous speech "This Is Water," which he gave at Kenyon College in 2005.

...In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship–be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles–is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.”

Aaron has more at his blog, or read the whole speech here.


The Busy Trap's Class Problem -- Slate

Last week's Link Love featured "The Busy Trap," which has been everywhere recently. Slate offers an important counterpoint:

Regardless of Kreider’s own personal financial situation (which I know nothing of), the pleasantly open schedule that he advocates is almost never possible without a healthy stack of family money or generous institutional grant.

I resent the implicit assumption of Kreider’s piece that anyone—from a soybean farmer to a New York blogger—could disappear for a retreat or fizzy drink in the middle of the day if only we wanted to escape our silly self-imposed bonds badly enough. Most of us need a stable income (hello, student loans), and moreover, the ongoing nature of assignments in many jobs means that as much as we might like to dedicate only morning hours to “the work,” we do, in fact, need to be connected for much of the day.

Yes, that.


Amber Waves of Green -- GQ

I linked to this article already this week, but here it is again---a fascinating profile of six people at varying income levels. Says a self-made billionaire:

"Politically I'm on the enemy list. I've lived my whole life doing what I thought was right, and now I'm an enemy of the state."

...But the reality is that rarely are enemies of the state treated so well. Except for a brief stint in the late '80s and early '90s, their tax rate is at an eighty-year low. In the 1940s and 1950s, the top tax bracket paid more than 80 percent. It was 70 percent when Reagan took offlce, 40 percent under Clinton, and now, under Obama, it's 35 percent. But the very, very rich don't pay even that. By taking full advantage of an investor-friendly tax code, which takes a much smaller bite out of capital gains and dividends than it does for salaried income, the 400 richest Americans pay, on average, 18 percent tax.


Lean with It -- Colossal

Pictures of people leaning at impossible angles with trees:

In addition to being amusing and visually arresting, there is something about these photos that inspires me. How much of the good stuff in life involves leaning into the newness, the fear, the possible? Then there's this: to achieve these crazy angles, these people must have had to fall. Are there times when we need to actually fall, to "fail," in order for something great to happen?