The Bigger Picture
Oddly specific. Universally applicable.

Well-meaning white people should focus on being anticlassist, not antiracist

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Human beings are funny creatures.

We’re often reluctant to change the way we think or move through the world, but when we’re forced to change, we do it without asking questions. We go all-in and don’t look for middle ground.

When terrorists highjacked planes on 9/11 and airports turned into mini Gestapo states, we never asked ourselves if it was possible to fly safely without shredding the Constitution. …


As we celebrate Women’s History Month, I’d like to recognize my Mama

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I grew up on the cusp of learning how to iron my man’s shirts and the promise of the ERA. I credit my Mama for leading me away from the former and firmly in the direction of the latter. I knew I could do anything I wanted to or was capable of because she did it in the years leading up to my liberation.

June M. Krenzer was born in small-town Indiana, the daughter of a German immigrant and his wife, who heralded from Pennsylvania Dutch stock. …


Swearing in the age of atheism

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I’m not averse to swearing. The problem is that I’m not religious.

That doesn’t create an issue when it comes to my sex-based or bodily function-based foul language. It doesn’t even matter for my illegitimate descendant-based cursing like “bastard” or “son of a bitch.”

But it does create a problem when I use religious-based profanity. After all, if I don’t believe in any deity (or at least have serious doubts), it’s a bit hypocritical of me to take the name of what to me is a non-sacred and possibly non-existent being in vain.

There’s a handy explanation, of course. I…


The alt-rock god teaches us a classic dish from his adopted home of New Orleans

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In this latest installment of Cooking with Celebrities, Trent Reznor walks us through a New Orleans classic: red beans and rice.


Toronto’s brutal winter, long lockdown, and the lack of vaccines are wearing away the resolve of Torontonians to take care of one another

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It is -12C (10.4F) in Toronto today but people in this city are feeling hot under the collars of their puffies. We have been in unremitting lockdown since November 23, our paltry vaccine supplies were exhausted weeks ago and the promised shipments are still days if not weeks away. To add to our frustrations, the escape hatches from our frozen country are battened down to keep out the marauding new strains of the corona virus.

Since lockdown apparently comes in fifty shades of grey, I should add that Toronto’s ongoing lockdown is night shade. Stores are limited to curb side…


1939's unbelievable and shocking fad

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It started as a publicity stunt when a Harvard freshman named Lothrop Withington Jr. swallowed a goldfish in his bid for class president. After boasting that he has once swallowed a goldfish, a fellow student offered to pay Lothrop $10 to do the stunt again. Lothrop agreed and repeated the action. Therefore starting the goldfish-swallowing trend, which spread among college campuses in the late 1930s.

Three weeks later, the number of goldfish swallowed rose to three and four days after that it jumped to 24. By the end of April 1939, the record for the number of goldfish swallowed stood…


Family

Born into badassery

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My mother is a badass, in the most aspirational of ways.

Before her retirement a few years ago, she was the most sought-after professional in her trade in our city. Anyone reading this who has met my mother will probably laugh. Because to meet her, she is nurturing, compassionate, and down to earth.

Nothing close to the power suit-wearing professional she was by day.

My mother worked in the finance industry for over 30 years. A field predominantly composed of men. However, she knew what to wear, what to say, and what time of day to say it in order…


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As a pre-teen, I always dreamed that I’d take a beachy, tropical, possibly debaucherous senior trip in high school. Cancun. Acapulco. Hell, even Myrtle Beach would have sufficed. Instead, I found myself, three days before graduation, zipped into my sleeping bag to avoid contracting malaria in a rickety, cobwebbed cabin along with eight other girls in Caratunk, Maine.

Despite spending my formative years in the snow capital of Syracuse, New York and the woods of New Hampshire, I’ve never been an outdoorsy person in the slightest. I appreciate a good (four-hour round-trip) hike on a brisk fall day. I also…


How I came to recognize racial inequality in America

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I’m not entirely sure when I first awoke to the true nature of racism in America. I think it was probably in May of 2016 when my wife and I played tourist in Washington, D. C. for five days.

Of course, I was well aware of the historical markers regarding slavery and its aftermath: the Emancipation Proclamation, the 13th Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Having grown up in Northern New York State, I was well educated in this version of American history seen through somewhat rose-colored glasses.

I had naively viewed the history of civil rights in…


The confidence you place in them — not your sympathy — is the key to lifting the next generation out of poverty

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I used to work as a math teacher at a Title 1 school, which means that everyone in my classroom was beneath (or near) the poverty line. All but one of my students came from families that relied heavily on food stamps and free school lunches.

Having almost no experience with handling money meant that these children were financially illiterate. My students were completely baffled when it came to working through problems in our math textbook, as many of the word problems asked questions about money.

Even the most basic concepts — like the fact that you can’t buy two…

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