Friday Link Love: Stephen Colbert, the Art of Procrastination, and More on the Bombing in Boston

First, the links of self-promotion. My publisher, Chalice Press, is giving away free e-books this month in honor of Earth Day. Go there and get free stuff. Next, the link of friend-promotion. I forgot a book on last week's list of books published by friends. It's The Benefit of the Doubt: Claiming Faith in an Uncertain World by Frank Spencer.



My Father's Arms Are a Boat -- Brain Pickings

A picture book from Norway. My children are outgrowing picture books but I'm sure not:


This tender and heartening Norwegian gem tells the story of an anxious young boy who climbs into his father’s arms seeking comfort on a cold sleepless night. The two step outside into the winter wonderland as the boy asks questions about the red birds in the spruce tree to be cut down the next morning, about the fox out hunting, about why his mother will never wake up again. With his warm and assuring answers, the father watches his son make sense of this strange world of ours where love and loss go hand in hand.


Stephen Colbert Wears His Religion in His Punch Lines -- LA Times

This whole article is MaryAnn bait:

There was a time when [Martin] Sheen's brand of liberation theology drove social and political conversation. Now Colbert is its most visible proponent — if he wasn't married and didn't make so many jokes about "lady parts," he could be this generation's hot radical priest.

The brilliance of "The Colbert Report" is its refusal to dismiss or denigrate the religion with jokes that equate faith with idiocy or churchgoing with bovine surrender. Instead Colbert attempts to extricate what he sees as the essential message of Christianity from the piles of intellectual rot and political carpet bags that have been piled on and around it in the last 10 years.


Magnetic Putty is Completely Amazing/Terrifying -- Colossal

Is it ever: "Magnetic putty is just like any other putty in that you can handle it, sculpt it, and squeeze it in a fist as you visualize your enemies. But place it anywhere near a strong magnetic field and it will SPONTANEOUSLY ANIMATE and move to consume anything magnetic in its path like a voracious mutated slug."


The Pmarca Guide to Personal Productivity -- Marc Andreessen

The guy invented the first widely used web browser, so he's got some game.

This is a great list. Even the stuff I can't emulate for practical reasons (I'm a pastor, and pastors have meetings) still intrigues me to think about. Here's structured procrastination:

The gist of Structured Procrastination is that you should never fight the tendency to procrastinate -- instead, you should use it to your advantage in order to get other things done.

Generally in the course of a day, there is something you have to do that you are not doing because you are procrastinating.

While you're procrastinating, just do lots of other stuff instead.

As John says, "The list of tasks one has in mind will be ordered by importance. Tasks that seem most urgent and important are on top. But there are also worthwhile tasks to perform lower down on the list. Doing these tasks becomes a way of not doing the things higher up on the list. With this sort of appropriate task structure, the procrastinator becomes a useful citizen. Indeed, the procrastinator can even acquire, as I have, a reputation for getting a lot done."


Two links inspired by Boston:

How Terror Hijacks the Brain -- Time

Know thyself:

Traumatic events typically evoke a whole suite of brain responses, such as making people faster to startle, increasing their reaction time and producing hyper vigilance to any type of sensation that might be linked with the threatening experience.

And this warping of perspective is exactly what terrorists aim to achieve. “Terrorists are trying to induce fear and panic,” says Hollander, noting that media coverage that repeats the sounds and images of the events maximizes their impact. The coverage keeps the threat alive and real in people’s minds, and sustains the threat response, despite the fact that the immediate danger has passed.


#PrayForBoston: Prayer as Meme -- Elizabeth Drescher, Religion Dispatches

Prayer memes shared in times of crisis do something besides expressing traditional religiosity, calling us to God, to regular spiritual practice, or to worship. Rather, in an increasingly secularized America (the Land of the Rising None), praying or calling for prayer in times of tragedy seems to mark a kind of existential angst, sorrow, or confusion for which other words or gestures seem inadequate. Likewise, the impulse to pray holds a space that we may not even believe exists, giving us time to gather our less spiritually distracted wits about us. It is “true” in what it offers more than in what it is.


The Economic Logic of the 'New Domesticity' -- Ann Friedman, New Republic

A new book, Homeward Bound: Embracing the New Domesticity, offers another angle to the lean in/opt out discussion:

Each of the lightning-rod articles that [discussed the opt-out 'revolution] (Linda Hirshman’s in 2005 and 2008, Anne-Marie Slaughter’s in 2012) was primarily about what women are saying no to: women who don’t want to do what it takes; women who can’t have it all; women who are letting their careers slide; women who are walking away. These are all articles about the demands of the workplace, not the joys of the home, chronicling why women are pushed out, not pulled in. This implied lack of agency is probably why women on all sides of this debate tend to get so defensive—think Sex and the City’s Charlotte screaming, “I choose my choice! I choose my choice!” ...

Still, these women are not exactly CEOs or congresswomen, and the number of women at the top of the professional world is still dismal. Feminism, many argue, has not gone far enough. But to hear many of the new domestics tell the tale, feminism has gone too far. In nearly every arena, second-wave feminists come in for some of the blame. They stand accused of pushing women into the workforce but failed to break the glass ceiling or ensure paid family leave. They’re charged with devaluing domestic skills like cooking to the point where we all got fat on fast food. But feminists “did not invent the two-career family,” Matchar points out. “The economy did that.”

As a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field, I care about breaking the stained-glass ceiling. And as a part-time writer, I like being here when the girls get home from school and being able to chaperone their field trips. So I toggle between all kind of contradictions and negotiations. Sounds like an intriguing book.


Have a great weekend, everyone! We are going to see American Utopias at Woolly Mammoth Theater, in between shuttling kids to birthday parties. And you?