The Gist

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REAL TALK with KINARI WEBB

By Theresa Steinmeyer

Founder and president of Health in Harmony, an organization that works with communities in Indonesia to develop programs that provide affordable healthcare. These programs lessen Indonesians’ reliance on environmentally destructive practices (such as logging), leading to a healthier and more sustainable future.

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Excerpts from a Jan. 14, 2014 Branford College Master’s Tea

On visiting Indonesia for the first time “I fell in love with Indonesia. But I had no idea what poverty meant until I went to Indonesia. What it means to have no healthcare whatsoever.”
On feeling hopeless “It doesn’t matter whether I have hope or not. I just have to give my whole soul to the world.”
On logging “If your child is going to die today, you will cut down the forest to pay for their healthcare. And that’s the right choice to make, actually. But it’s a problem.”
On listening “The local people will tell you exactly what the issues are and how to solve them.”
On an excited child “He came running … and he’s like, ‘I just have to tell you, I’m so excited, our village has gone green this month!’”
On having to spend two years in bed after being stung by a box jellyfish “It was an amazing experience … One of the things that was so wonderful was to watch my team take over.”
On the future of forest preservation efforts “Circles of compassion are expanding. It’s not perfect, it’s not there yet, but it is getting better.”

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LAUGHING MATTER

By Will Adams

Mental Floss recently published an article about what would have happened if certain historical events hadn’t occurred. Due to space constraints, some had to be left out. They are listed below.

What if Christopher Columbus had actually reached what is now India instead of what is now America?
Effect: Owen Wilson doesn’t have that weird thing that’s going on with his nose.

What if Socrates hadn’t been poisoned with hemlock?
Effect: Algeria declares independence from France on July 6, 1962 instead of July 5, 1962.

What if the Milwaukee Brewers had won the 1982 World Series instead of the St. Louis Cardinals?
Effect: The apocalypse. The streets are flooded with rivers of blood.

What if Al Gore had won the 2000 presidential election instead of George W. Bush?
Effect: The apocalypse. The streets are flooded with rivers of Mrs. Butterworth’s maple syrup.

What if Albert Einstein had never developed the theory of relativity?
Effect: In 2007, Adolf Hitler rises from the dead and gets his own reality show on E! that’s pretty good for the first two seasons but after that kinda overstays its welcome.

What if Beyoncé Knowles hadn’t released her widely acclaimed self-titled album in 2013?
Effect: No effect.

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FROM THE BEINECKE: MAN’S BEST FRIEND

By Eve Houghton

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If you find yourself underwater with long toenails, how fortunate that you have the Book of Sports, or, Man of Spirit’s Companion (London, J. Bailey, 1819), which contains illustrated guides for “The Proper Way to Cut One’s Toenails Underwater,” “A Correct Abstract of the Acts of Parliament relative to Angling,” and a complicated wrestling maneuver known as “the Cornish Hug.” It also includes advice for removing “a companion that disturbs your mirth.” To be rid of him, “with your left hand take hold of his collar behind, and with your right put between his legs as far as his codpiece, and lift him up easily, and thrust him out of the room…” This sage recommendation, however, is tempered by caution: “If you lift him too hard, you will throw him on his nose.”

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MAP OF THE MONTH: JOHN BULL AND HIS FRIENDS

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In 1900, Fred Rose created “John Bull and his Friends: A Serio-Comic Map of Europe.” According to the reference key on the cartoon political map, “Russia, in spite of the Tzar’s noble effort to impress her with his own peaceful image, is but an Octopus still. Far and wide her tentacles are reaching. Poland and Finland already know the painful process of absorption. China feels the power of her suckers, and two of her tentacles are invidiously creeping towards Persia and Afghanistan … ” Meanwhile, in Great Britain, the two wild cats of Transvaal and the Orange Free State attack John Bull. At his feet, a letter from Uncle Sam reads, “We wish you success. P.S. But we hope ye’ll get likked.”

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BIT LIT

By Abigail Carney

Emma was walking to a funeral. She believed in dressing up for God and the Devil at dying parties. She’d stolen the red-soled shoes. That had been easy. You’re only what people expect of you and no one expected that of her. Though it was winter, the air smelled like drugstore lilac perfume and gasoline. The last time she’d seen Johanna here it was warm. They’d held hands then, a coy gesture reminiscent of their childhood, before the fire. Johanna had said, “I hope you’re past it.” Emma had said, “Of course.” Johanna had been Emma’s all, past growing up, past the salami sandwiches cut into neat triangles and the asphalt baseball field, past the drugs, the nights swollen with heat. Then there was the fire and Johanna got scared. She left Emma for Wisconsin and a man who liked golf. Emma waited at least a hundred moons, but then once she decided, it was easy to fly to Wisconsin. Simple to tell Johanna that she loved her and give her the belladonna wine and hold her hand. Six days later, she walked to Johanna’s funeral, in Johanna’s shoes.

 

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