Monday, January 10, 2022

100 ways to slightly improve your life without really trying

 The Guardian 100 ways to slightly improve your life without really trying  The Guardian – “Ask questions, and listen to the answers; Ignore the algorithm – listen to music outside your usual taste; Join a local litter-picking group (or do it daily by yourself – works for me); Set up an affordable standing order to a charity; and well…here’s a century of ways to make life better, with little effort involved…”

… Iceberg Bondi / find out about shrinking

BBC – “From award-winning fiction to moving memoir, here are BBC Culture’s top reading picks of 2021. Following two acclaimed, heavyweight (and Pulitzer Prize-winning) novels, 2016’s The Underground Railroad, made into a TV series this year, and 2019’s The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead’s latest is a crime caper, set partly against the backdrop of race riots in 1960s Harlem. Its protagonist is Ray Carney, a young furniture-seller caught up in a jewel heist. London’s Evening Standard praised the novel’s entertainment value, writing, 

“A more purely enjoyable novel is unlikely to emerge this year.” Harlem Shuffle also subverts the crime genre to explore ideas of property and theft, The Atlantic writes, “to expose the hypocrisies of the justice system, the false moral dictates set by capitalism, and the very fact that America itself was born of a theft that we are all complicit in.”

JOEL KOTKIN: AMERICA’S CLASS WAR IS JUST BEGINNING.  “The biggest loser in early twenty first century America has been the working class. With the exception of wage gains made during the first three years of the Trump Administration, this class has seen its real income decline. Today, wages are rising again, but inflation is reducing real incomes, and leaving more Americans, particularly the poorest 50 percent, struggling to make ends meet. The pandemic lockdowns, whether justified or overwrought, have pummeled low-income workers and made more vulnerable those living in crowded housing. Under lockdown the working class could not retreat, like the laptop class, to their computer screens. . . . In our pandemic apartheid almost 40 percent of those Americans making under $40,000 a year lost their jobs in the first few months. Some 44 percent of Black households and 61 percent of Latino household, notes Pew, during the first year of the pandemic suffered a job loss or pay cut, compared to 38 percent of whites. ‘Lockdown fanatics,’ thunders the widely circulated ‘labor populist’ blog The Bellows, ‘have helped manufacture consent for a brutal reorganization of labor that will plunge millions of people into serfdom.'”

Plus: “The working class may have suffered the most in the past decades, but the angriest class in America may be the small business and property-owning class that long stood as a critical part of our national ethos.”

Flashback:  America’s elites are waging class war on workers and small biz. “Lockdowns — where the laptop class stays home while working-class people bring them stuff — were enacted in many states. States that had them did no better, and often worse, than states that did not. This became obvious early but resulted in no change of policy. . . . So is it fair to call the overclass response to the pandemic a failure? Well, certainly not for the overclass, whose members are richer, more powerful and more secure in their positions than a year ago. For America? Well, that’s another story.”

Related: The rich and powerful thrived as the rest of us suffered in the year of lockdowns.

Martin Luther’s German Bible Is Now 500 Years Old

Some colorful facts surrounding one of history's most consequential translations: Luther wrote it while a fugitive; some first editions included woodcuts by Lucas Cranach; in the room where it was written there's a stain on the wall because Luther allegedly threw his inkwell at the Devil. - Deutsche Welle