Shared posts

01 Dec 03:38

Balenciaga Under Fire For BDSM Teddy Bear Campaign

Luxury fashion brand Balenciaga has apologized for its advertising campaign that featured young children posing with teddy bears that appeared to be dressed in BDSM costumes, claiming the ads were not approved by the company. What do you think?


01 Dec 03:22


by Sarah Andersen


30 Nov 18:30

Science News: Cracks Found in Nuclear Fusion Reactor ITER

by Sabine Hossenfelder

go to to receive 15% off your membership

In this week's science news we’ll talk about Trouble at ITER, robots that build robots, air pollution, AI that classifies supernovae, a small asteroid that hit Canada, Super GPS, a new supercomputer simulation of the sun, a quantum thermometer. And of course, the telephone will ring.

Correction: Lake Ontario is of course in South-East Canada (and not South-West).

The full ITER video is here:

The video about the robots building robots is here:

And the footage about the AI classifying supernovae is here:

👉 Transcript and references on Patreon ➜
💌 Sign up for my weekly science newsletter. It's free! ➜
📖 My new book "Existential Physics" is now on sale ➜
🔗 Join this channel to get access to perks ➜

00:00 Intro
00:32 Trouble at ITER
02:29 Robots that Can Build Anything
03:50 Air pollution impairs the immune system
05:38 AI Classifies 1000 Supernovae
07:12 Small Asteroid Hits Canada
09:00 SuperGPS
10:25 New Supercomputer Simulation of the Sun
12:00 A Quantum Thermometer
14:13 Sponsor Message

#science #sciencenews
30 Nov 17:45

Open Call for Houston Endowment Inaugural Exhibition

by Jessica Fuentes

The Weingarten Art Group (WAG) has issued an open call for artists living in or who are originally from the Greater Houston area to submit work to be considered for the Houston Endowment’s (HEI) inaugural exhibition.

In September, HEI moved into its new headquarters at 3683 Willia Street, west of downtown. Earlier this month, the organization announced the installation of its newly formed permanent collection, under the guidance of WAG. Starting in 2023, HEI plans to host two annual art exhibitions, each featuring works by one to three artists. The exhibitions will be held in the HEI lobby, and though the building is not open to the public, the exhibitions will be shared online and will be available to HEI visitors.

A photograph of the empty lobby of the Houston Endowment.

The Houston Endowment’s lobby space

The call is open to Greater Houston-area artists who are 18 years old and older. WAG has specified that artists should “submit artwork that envisions positive community change. Artwork may relate to our cultures, history, current events, infrastructure, or natural environment.” WAG welcomes submissions of artworks from a variety of disciplines, including painting, photography, works on paper, sculpture, site-specific or multi-media installations, lightworks, digital designs to be printed as vinyl wall coverings, murals, video, and new media. While a video screen can be made available, if an artwork includes sound it will only be considered if the audio can be played via headphones.

According to the online application, WAG, in partnership with HEI, will review and assess submissions based on the criteria below:
– How does the proposed artwork reflect and respond to the exhibition theme?
– What is the artist’s connection to the Greater Houston area?
– Is the proposed artwork appropriately scaled and feasible for the site?
– Do the artworks meet technical, durability and safety considerations?

Selected artists will receive awards ranging from $4,000 to $12,000 depending on the number of artists and artworks chosen. Additional funds will be provided to cover exhibition expenses including framing, art transportation, installation and deinstallation, signage, and photo/video documentation. All exhibited pieces will be returned to the artist(s) at the culmination of the exhibition.

The deadline to apply is January 8, 2023. Artists will be selected and notified by January 30. The first exhibition will be on view from April 10 through October 6. To learn more and apply visit Submittable.

The post Open Call for Houston Endowment Inaugural Exhibition appeared first on Glasstire.

30 Nov 17:34

update: the CEO is obsessed with me and wants me to be his emotional support

by Ask a Manager

This post, update: the CEO is obsessed with me and wants me to be his emotional support , was written by Alison Green and published on Ask a Manager.

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and for the rest of the year I’ll be running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

There will be more posts than usual this week, so keep checking back throughout the day.

Remember the letter-writer whose boss was obsessed with her and wanted her to be his emotional support? The first update was here, and here’s the latest.

Your readers may remember me as the executive assistant who wanted advice about the increasingly obsessive behavior of their CEO. Shortly after reading your response, I began job hunting in the public sector. I was disillusioned by my recent experiences and the thought of landing a position that was even remotely similar made my skin crawl. Fortunately, I was able to land a position in my local government after a relatively brief search. I’ve been in this new position for a few months and it’s been the single most humbling experience of my life: the caliber of people that I work for and with is astonishing; I’ve never been part of a team that operates this way and it’s incredibly gratifying. However, I’ve been struggling to find my footing and rather than hit the ground running, I took two steps and face planted. I feel like I’ve gone from playing with Lego Duplo to Lego Creator Expert sets overnight — one of the many astute comments left by your readers suggested that my old job was doing nothing for my skill building and they couldn’t have been more right! However, I’m happy to say my new boss has been incredible at every turn: they understand it’s been a rough transition and they are willing to see me through. I’m learning and growing in fantastic and challenging ways for the first time in my adult career. It’s been really hard, but the kind of hard that makes a person better for having experienced it.

As you can expect, it’s been a really bitter pill to swallow, now that I have first hand knowledge of what an appropriate EA/executive relationship should look like. In an effort to insure that my ex-boss is no longer able to leverage his title and position to manipulate or out-right force women into these relationships with him, I’ve retained an attorney and am currently working through the list of options available to hold him and the organization accountable.

And I’m still married, happily for the most part (ha!)

I remain forever grateful that you responded – you and your readers showed me everything I was missing when I was too close to see.

30 Nov 16:01

U.S Cable TV Companies Quietly Bled Another 785,000 Paying Customers Last Quarter; + more notable news -

30 Nov 14:09

Trump Hosts Kanye West, White Nationalist Holocaust Denier At Mar-A-Lago

Donald Trump hosted White nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes and rapper Kanye West, who has been under fire recently for antisemitic remarks, at his Mar-a-Lago estate, just one week after announcing his 2024 presidential bid. What do you think?


30 Nov 14:09

Christmas Ham Strapped To Roof Of Car

30 Nov 12:47

Comic for 2022.11.30 - Grapes

New Cyanide and Happiness Comic
30 Nov 12:31

Lack Of Clean Laundry Forces Man To Wear T-Shirt He No Longer Agrees With

30 Nov 05:17

Our greatest Zelda moments... but ANIMATED

by GameGrumps

00:00 Intro
00:09 ► ASKAnimator (Anastasia S. Kulczytzky Spruill)
00:33 ► Shoocharu
00:54 ► Jake Doubleyoo
01:12 ► MongooseMinion (Joey Morgan)
01:36 ► Animation: Zebirdbrain (Marie-Ève Lacelle) Backgrounds: Rene Rivers
01:50 Outro

Click to SUBSCRIBE ►
Support us on Patreon! ►
Our email list! ►


We have NEW MERCH every other TUESDAY!




Game Grumps are:
Arin ►
Danny ►

30 Nov 05:12

Twitter will no longer block COVID-19 misinformation, in move to unblock all the free speech that patriots can choke out around their ventilators [Sick]

30 Nov 00:15

update: my boss won’t stop texting me — and I’m in a hospital bed

by Ask a Manager

This post, update: my boss won’t stop texting me — and I’m in a hospital bed , was written by Alison Green and published on Ask a Manager.

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and for the rest of the year I’ll be running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

Remember the letter-writer whose boss wouldn’t stop texting her while she was in a hospital bed? Here’s the update.

First, I want to thank the commentariat for all the well wishes for my recovery and for those who shared their own stories of cancer/major illness. Reading your supportive comments got me through a difficult month. I’m six months out from surgery and just had a good scan and follow-up appointments. I’m seeing a therapist who specializes in patients who have/had cancer and have my first visit with the exercise oncology group next week. Things are looking good.

Before I get to the update itself, I also need to thank Alison who, on the day of and after my letter was posted, kindly and quickly dealt with my mental fog and opioid-induced paranoia. At my request, she made several edits to the piece (e.g. removing the word-for-word text messages I originally included) and removed my comments, which is why the comment section seems confusing. There were LOADS of identifying details in the post and in my comments, so I freaked out a little. She was great and reassured me as well as made every change I asked for.

Now, on to my update and to answer a few questions that commenters had. The flowers were purchased via a PO sent to an admin — not personally paid for by my team. More than a few descriptions of my boss were spot on: wants to be acknowledged for “kindness,” extrovert who is projecting her needs onto others, narcissist, has boundary issues, believes she is empathetic but shows it all wrong, and performative just to name a few. Several readers caught that I said these were just the texts my boss initiated, speculating that I’d been encouraging the communication. While, yes, I’d replied to her texts, I wasn’t the one to start any of the conversations. Grumpy Elder Millennial’s comment summarizes why I responded to them: “I’m guessing that OP is concerned about the interpersonal and career consequences of [ignoring them].” I also didn’t want my boss to have the phone numbers of any friends/family members (I’ll probably do this with a Google number next time), which is why she only had my number.

Now for what I did. I used Alison’s advice and some of the suggestions made in the comments to craft a reply that said I (1) was settling back in at home (I’m out of the hospital), (2)  was wiped out and focused on rest/recovery (I’m exhausted and healing), and (3) would get back in touch closer to my return date when I was feeling more up to it (I’m not at work so leave me alone). I also thanked the team again for the flowers and conveyed my appreciation for their concern. My coworker (we are a team of 3) reacted with a simple heart within minutes. Boss never reacted at all — no email, no text, no call, zero reaction. I hear nothing from her until I emailed several weeks later letting her know I would be able to come back half days a week before my return date, so all the advice worked. The relationship between the two of us is fine now. She’s back to her oversharing self but not hounding me like she was when I was on leave, which I can deal with now that 90% of my energy isn’t spent healing my body from a 10+ hour surgery with a surprise organ removal.

An unrelated, final thought for the readers who didn’t understand the difference between “Did they get all the cancer?” and “How did everything go?” Although people and cancers are all different, you should really never say that. Even if the surgeon or oncologist thinks they got it all, you really have no idea until you hit a 5-year (or more) mark — or when it comes back. There is literally no way to know if they “got it all” until years later. different pseudonym’s comment sums it up nicely: “There is a difference between cancer and ‘not feeling well,’ and when you speak as though they are the same you are being cruel.”

Thank you to everyone who engaged in the comments. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated it!

30 Nov 00:09

Author Talk: Peter Baldwin, The Copyright Wars

by chrisfreeland

Join copyright scholar PAMELA SAMUELSON for a discussion with historian PETER BALDWIN about THE COPYRIGHT WARS, covering three centuries’ worth of trans-Atlantic copyright battles. 


Today’s copyright wars can seem unprecedented. Sparked by the digital revolution that has made copyright—and its violation—a part of everyday life, fights over intellectual property have pitted creators, Hollywood, and governments against consumers, pirates, Silicon Valley, and open-access advocates. But while the digital generation can be forgiven for thinking the dispute between, for example, the publishing industry and libraries is completely new, the copyright wars in fact stretch back three centuries—and their history is essential to understanding today’s battles. THE COPYRIGHT WARS—the first major trans-Atlantic history of copyright from its origins to today—tells this important story.

THE COPYRIGHT WARS is available to read or download from the Internet Archive, as designated by the author. You can also purchase the book in print from Princeton University Press, or your local bookshop.

This event is co-sponsored with Authors Alliance.

Author Talk: Peter Baldwin, The Copyright Wars
Thursday, December 15 @ 10am PT / 1pm ET
Register now for the virtual event.

The post Author Talk: Peter Baldwin, The Copyright Wars appeared first on Internet Archive Blogs.

30 Nov 00:07

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Counsel


Click here to go see the bonus panel!

Official SMBC Box Whiskey (tm) is available free to anyone who spends more than 40,000$ at the SMBC store.

Today's News:
29 Nov 20:58

Stephen F. Austin State University moves to join the University of Texas System

by Kate McGee
Regents said they chose the UT System because of its access to the Permanent University Fund, which consists of oil and gas assets.
29 Nov 20:57

update: our boss is demanding a gift with an accounting of names and how much each person contributed

by Ask a Manager

This post, update: our boss is demanding a gift with an accounting of names and how much each person contributed , was written by Alison Green and published on Ask a Manager.

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and for the rest of the year I’ll be  running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

There will be more posts than usual this week, so keep checking back throughout the day.

Remember the letter-writer whose boss was demanding a gift with an accounting of names and how much each person contributed? Here’s the update.

Here’s what happened. Feeling more brave after reading your and readers’ responses, first I tried a lowkey version of asking for help from HR. When I asked them about the grievance process in general (I did not provide any specifics) , they said the first step in the official company process is to talk directly with the person to try to resolve the issue one to one. They said this was true whether it was a peer or a supervisor — even though I hadn’t asked that question. Which reinforced my belief that HR protects the company, not any of the human beings in their employ. This was an effective dead end because I neither wanted to share more details with HR, nor confront the boss about the whole messed up pay-for-performance-review system.

Then I asked around to get an idea of what other employees were planning to do. A few had already made substantial “contributions” but many hadn’t done anything yet because they were feeling stuck too. I suggested those of us remaining contribute to a gift made “in honor of the Boss’s leaving the company for XYZ Corp” to a local organization that focuses on people facing food insecurity. I liked the suggested idea of making a donation to a cause Boss would find odious. But we all agreed that doing something that would ameliorate suffering in our community would be more impactful. It would be something good to come of the bad situation we found ourselves. So that’s what we did. And then we waited.

The deadline for performance reviews came and went. Cartoon Villain Boss left town for the new gig. I assumed she passed her review of me to the new boss, so she would have the satisfaction of cutting me down and forcing another person to deliver the bad news, and also poisoning the new boss about my work as an added parting-gift evil bonus.

In my first meeting with New Boss I mentioned, Lt. Columbo style, “I noticed it didn’t seem as if Former Boss uploaded my performance evaluation before she left. Wasn’t sure if you might have it?” New Boss responds “It turns out Former Boss didn’t do performance reviews for ANY of her employees!”

I was relieved, perplexed, and annoyed, all in equal measure. Reviews are tied to our annual raises, tied to advancing in the company, etc. Turns out there was an upside and a downside. New Boss made sure supervisees got the base raise, thereby immediately gaining our good will. But she told us we won’t have a performance review for another year because New Boss hasn’t supervised us until now. For some that had outstanding years, this was not great because it kind of makes it as if that outstanding work never happened.

Your advice and that of readers was of great value in terms of possible routes of action I could take, as well as providing general affirmation that the situation I found myself in was not cool.

With appreciation,
Loyal Reader, Who Now Has A New Boss Who Is Not A Cartoon Villain

29 Nov 20:53

update: new hire keeps kneeling in front of me

by Ask a Manager

This post, update: new hire keeps kneeling in front of me , was written by Alison Green and published on Ask a Manager.

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and for the rest of the year I’ll be running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

There will be more posts than usual this week, so keep checking back throughout the day.

Remember the FASCINATING letter from the person whose new hire kept kneeling in front of him? Here’s the update.

A while back I wrote about a new hire that had a strange habit of kneeling in my office. First of all: the comments are always so unexpected. Commenters were convinced it was cultural, or that Sam was deaf or blind and needed to be inches from me to communicate, or that he was super tall or super short, or that he had some chronic wasting disease that made sitting in an office chair impossible and painful, or that my cubicle size/layout made the extra chair impractical. It really was just as simple as I suggested: a new employee just didn’t really get it.

Anyway, after I read through the response and the comments I decided I would ask him explicitly to sit in the chair. He came into my cube, and I said something like “hey dude, I don’t mean to make a big deal about this, but I’m gonna need you to sit in the chair. It’s just a little weird, especially when [president of company] walks by, you know?” He said OK (albeit somewhat confused), and sat in the chair. I had a hunch he may just be sick of sitting, so I said “you know [our company] has a bunch of extra sit-stand desks, right? You can ask for one.”

So, the next day Sam had a sit-stand desk. And then a few months later I moved cities to be closer to family. No telling if he’s gone back to his subservient ways or not.

29 Nov 17:39

Orion flies far beyond the Moon, returns an instantly iconic photo

by Eric Berger
Orion, the Moon, and Earth in one photo.

Enlarge / Orion, the Moon, and Earth in one photo. (credit: NASA)

NASA's Orion spacecraft reached the farthest outbound point in its journey from Earth on Monday, a distance of more than 430,000 km from humanity's home world. This is nearly double the distance between Earth and the Moon and is farther than the Apollo capsule traveled during NASA's lunar missions in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

From this vantage point, on Monday, a camera attached to the solar panels on board Orion's service module snapped photos of the Moon and, just beyond, the Earth. These were lovely, lonely, and evocative images.

"The imagery was crazy," said the Artemis I mission's lead flight director, Rick LaBrode. "It’s really hard to articulate what the feeling is. It’s really amazing to be here, and see that."

Read 6 remaining paragraphs | Comments

29 Nov 16:57

Comcast's Sneaky Broadcast TV Fee Hits $27, Making A Mockery Of Advertised Rates; + more notable news -

29 Nov 16:54

update: governor yanked telework for state employees and my office is in chaos

by Ask a Manager

This post, update: governor yanked telework for state employees and my office is in chaos , was written by Alison Green and published on Ask a Manager.

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and for the rest of the year I’ll be running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

There will be more posts than usual this week, so keep checking back throughout the day.

Remember the letter-writer whose office was in chaos after the governor yanked telework for state employees? Here’s the update.

Soon after my letter posted and there was related press coverage, two things happened. The first was that Governor Youngkin’s administration backed way, way off the enforcement of the new telework policy with only my agency. We heard through official channels, but nothing in email, that all employees and supervisors were to “use their best judgment” when July 5 rolled around and to “be flexible and use common sense.” So if an employee struggled to abide by the new telework agreement, that was okay. My friends in multiple other agencies said this was NOT the case in their offices. The second thing is that the Governor’s staff were cracking down on leaks, specifically this one. It’s no a secret that Youngkin decided to run for president soon after he became Governor, and he has been laying the foundation for that since he took office. Leaks are considered a fireable offense so while the Youngkin staff were nice in meetings, they were privately trying to find out who contacted you and other media outlets. They chatted with multiple friends of mine across different agencies, asking specific questions and names of potential leakers.

July 5 came and went with no fuss. You couldn’t tell the difference between the previous week and start of Youngkin’s new telework agreement.

Regarding the ADA accommodations, there was a lot of intense press scrutiny so the Youngkin administration backed off that matter too. One minute our ADA agreements were being scrutinized, and the next we weren’t required to show or do anything beyond what we had already done. I haven’t heard anything about the ADA since I wrote you.

Regarding the office space challenges, I did what you said. I drafted an email that outlined all the resources my staff required to return to the office. I never heard back, and my agency head hasn’t brought up the subject since the negative press coverage. I consider that a closed matter.

The most concerning detail is that we learned all the telework agreements were going to be printed and signed by hand by the Governor’s Chief of Staff. We asked multiple times about who was going to print them, where this information was going to be stored, and how long the Youngkin administration had to retain this information per FOIA. To this day, none of us got any sort of response. I’m still very concerned that all of my personal health information, which I gave under duress, is sitting in a random office or unlocked storage room somewhere where anyone can read it, copy it, etc. Quite frankly, I’m afraid to ask.

Given the hoopla around requiring a signed telework agreement on July 5, multiple agency employees and a few of my direct reports never got theirs back. Technically, those people are supposed to be working Monday-Friday, full-time in the office, but I decided to honor my direct reports’ telework agreements as if they’d been signed by the Governor’s office. I didn’t want the people on my staff who didn’t have signed agreements being resentful of the others who did. I assumed my decision would fall under the “use your best judgment” directive the Youngkin administration gave us.

While this update may seem like telework screeched to a halt, things are ramping up again. After seeing several empty cubes and offices in our space, high-level managers above me are now insisting that people are not adhering to their telework agreements so anyone who is out of compliance will face official disciplinary action.

Finally, a number of high-level, long-time people quit for a variety of reasons, including the new telework policy rollout and the Governor’s use of state agencies for his presidential ambitions. (We don’t do politics at my agency. One of my coworker’s official government email address is now on multiple GOP campaign mailing lists, and they are furious because they only signed up for official press releases.) I love what I do, and I wanted to retire here, but I’m nearing my breaking point. If I’m forced to participate in ratting out my direct reports over their telework agreements, I don’t know what I’ll do.

I wish I had a better update. Your advice and reader comments were awesome though!

29 Nov 16:22

Houston lifts boil water advisory after test samples meet safe standards

by Adam Zuvanich
The city's boil water notice had been in place since Sunday night, after a power outage at a purification plant caused water pressure to drop below acceptable levels.
29 Nov 16:22

Sticky warm today, but a front is on the way. Also, today is the final day for our 2023 fundraiser!

by Eric Berger

Good morning. Houston will likely see its first 80-degree day in more than two weeks this afternoon, but then we’ll be sharply cooler for a couple of days after a frontal passage. In something of the roller coaster pattern we’re used to during the fall and spring months, temperatures will then rebound for this weekend before yet another front in about a week or so.

This is your final reminder about our annual fundraiser. So far thousands of you have contributed to support the operation of Space City Weather, helping to pay for our server, app development costs, and our forecasting tools; compensating Matt and I, and so much more that goes into this. We are so appreciative. Today is the final day to buy Space City Weather merchandise, or donate by clicking “I’d like to make a donantion” only. If you’re tired of hearing about this, we’ll say no more until next November!

One of our t-shirt designs for the 2022 annual fundraiser.


Fog is fairly widespread in Galveston and other coastal areas this morning. What is happening is that slightly warmer air is pushing inland, moving across waters with surface temperatures just a bit cooler than the air. This is producing sea fog, and it is rather thick in some places so take care outside. After the fog lifts this morning we will be left with a cloudy and muggy day. Highs will reach about 80 degrees, with sticky dewpoints in the mid-70s.

As atmospheric moisture levels rise we’ll see some scattered showers today, and perhaps even a few thunderstorms ahead of tonight’s front. The most likely time and region for such storms is this afternoon, perhaps from 1 to 4 pm, near and northeast of Bush Intercontinental Airport. Overall the threat is low, and most areas should see little in the way of accumulations. This evening will be sticky in the metro area, with the front not reaching Houston until after midnight. I don’t expect a line of storms with the front.


Expect a blustery, cold day. The front should be off the coast by around sunrise, and in its wake we’re going to see brisk northerly winds and clearing skies. With the influx of colder air, highs will likely struggle to reach 60 degrees during the afternoon hours. Temperatures will plummet as the Sun sinks behind the horizon. Lows will drop into the low 40s in Houston on Wednesday night, with colder conditions inland.

Thursday morning will be the coldest of the week, by far. (Weather Bell)


This will be a fine day, with mostly sunny skies and highs of around 60 degrees. Temperatures on Thursday night will be warmer, in the mid-50s, as winds shift to come from a more easterly direction.


As high pressure departs to the east, we’ll be back into a full southerly flow by Friday. Look for partly sunny skies and highs in the upper 70s.

Saturday and Sunday

As warmer and wetter air moves back into the region, look for highs this weekend of around 80 degrees and a mix of clouds and sunshine. We’ll have a 20 to 30 percent chance of rain each day, but any showers that develop will probably be short-lived.

Next week

The next front should arrive by around Tuesday of next week, perhaps bringing a smattering of rain with it. It’s too early to say whether lows will drop into the 40s or 50s.

29 Nov 14:18

Houston officials say state made the call on water boil notice

by Sneha Dey
For more than 24 hours, nearly everyone in the nation’s fourth-most-populous city had been asked to boil water after a power outage at a water treatment plant Sunday.
29 Nov 14:16

Challenging the West: The Wheeler Brothers at Deborah Colton Gallery, Houston

by Bill Baird
Mixed media painting of a nude woman, and a pool in a target parking lot

Bryan Wheeler, “Creation Myth”

 I’ve come to know Jeff Wheeler as a San Antonio art ambassador — one of the amiable hosts behind the transportive Echo Bridge concerts, a collaborator with Texas music legend Daniel Johnston, and a curator of a recent Jad Fair exhibition — but I knew little of his artwork. So when I was asked to review Actual Scenes / Genuine Characters, an exhibition that brings Jeff together with his brother Bryan at Houston’s Deborah Colton Gallery, I was a bit hesitant. 

But maybe this lack of preconception, “this babe-in-the-woods-flying-blind approach,” could actually be an advantage? I’d arrive fresh, not burnt out or jaded. So I slid through Houston’s spaghetti freeways and endless expanse and drove to the gallery’s cozy confines.  

Inside the gallery, the Wheeler brothers use canvas, collage, acrylic, and other traditional techniques to remix Western tropes into a tightly conceived collection of imaginary landscapes rooted in their native Lubbock. Brothers Bryan and Jeff are Texas art scene veterans, and ran the Wheeler Brothers Gallery in downtown Lubbock for years. Their Lubbock origins — largest city on the Llano Estacado — dovetails with their show’s deconstructed Texas mythology.

“Where me and Jeff grew up, we always had a love-hate relationship with this place,” said Bryan in a recent phone interview.  

Texas, at one time, was the Western edge of American expansion, and this residual idea of The West and manifest destiny — an unfolding landscape given to European settlers by the divine bearded one himself — is pretty damn hard to shake. It is embedded in every lonesome cowboy ballad, every photo of an (admittedly) beautiful sunset, every song about ‘the open road’ or ‘riding the rails,’ every hardscrabble ‘pull-yourself-by-your-bootstraps’ self-help session. Manifest destiny long ago washed to the Pacific and now we’re all left here to wallow through the backwash. The ‘open range’ now feels more relevant in reference to an empty mall parking lot. The wider world has moved on but our origin story — our mythology — has not. 

Image of a mixed media painting of figures shoveling

A painting on view in “Actual Scenes / Genuine Characters”

The Wheeler Brothers’ Actual Scenes / Genuine Characters deftly navigates this gulf between inherited symbols of The West and the decidedly less glamorous reality we actually inhabit, presenting individual works from the brothers along with collaborative efforts. The cumulative effect makes this exhibition a skewed, humorous, bleak, and wholly magical melding of the minds.  

The brothers approach their idea of ‘The West’ from different, and yet complementary, angles. Jeff’s pieces often incorporate old land surveys, deeds, maps, and other government ephemera, and feel like travel brochures to a jumbled post-colonial wasteland. His work The Wild West, for example, reads like a Wild Bill western show brochure, while Just This Side of Magdalena collages football players sprinting across legal paperwork and a fire hydrant engulfed in flame. Jeff’s effortlessly humorous dissections of modern life fully resonate with the alienation felt by ‘outsiders’ all across our state, and his humor opens the door to a serious discussion.

“That started for me in grad school,” says Jeff.  “One boring speaker after another talking about his or her art saying, ‘if you don’t get it, you’re not smart enough.’  I knew I didn’t want to be that. In order to not be that, you have to take the work seriously, but not yourself. Humor always had to be a part of it. It’s easy to get art for the common people too, with humor.”

A dystopian landscape with fish, a plane, a bomb and air turbines

Bryan Wheeler, “Infinite Jest”

While some of Jeff’s pieces don’t fit as clearly into the ‘Western’ theme, that doesn’t blunt their impact, especially the Lost in Texas series, which depicts those Texans lost to Covid-19 in a grided, high school yearbook format. Jeff meant to depict every victim in Texas, but gave up the task when the numbers proved too overwhelming. When taken into consideration with the title of the exhibition, the piece takes on an added resonance. These COVID victims were indeed genuine characters in a national tragedy.

The ‘Western’ themes in Jeff’s works are natural extensions of his West Texas background. “In my early work I thought I would only do Lubbock landscapes forever because it provided such a great horizon line,” the artist tells me. “And now I use mountains, which I stole from Bryan! You’re in Lubbock, but you see those mountains in the distance, looking towards the west. So Lubbock as a gateway to the west. To add to that, the old papers I use come from the 1880s, so that’s straight out of the old west. I’ve always been fascinated with Buffalo Bill, not just because he came from the west, but also because he was the first real showman of America, the first celebrity all over the world. He’s a big part of that.”  

A glowing western sunset is perhaps the most overused image of all ‘Western’ art, which opens the door for playfully deconstruction. In the background of many of Jeff’s pieces, rather than an exquisitely rendered sunset, sits a large blank spot reading “Insert Beautiful Sunset here,” or some localized variation on the phrase.

Mixed media painting with cactus, a fire hydrant on fire, baseball players

Jeff Wheeler, “Just This Side of Magdalena”

“I could take all day and paint a realistic beautiful sunset or I could make folks laugh and they insert the image themselves and I move on to something else,” says Jeff. “For me, sometimes I want the idea more than I want to sit there and paint it.”  

Bryan’s canvases, meanwhile, largely eschew the humorous and playful, and take on a decidedly more dystopian tone, with recurring imagery of planes crashing, endless parking lots, and snarled freeways. The work The Souls of Texans Are in Jeopardy in Ways Not Common to Other Men #52 pulls no punches, neither in its title nor its jumbled contents, like the two-headed nude drinking a pool-side beer next to fleeing cats, a crashing plane, tornados, bullseyes, a Spanish missionary, and barbed wire. Like much of Bryan’s work, it’s evocative, skillful, and eludes easy interpretation. 

Drawing inspiration from famed Black Mountain poet Ed Dorn’s Gunslinger series —  itself a dissection of the west — Bryan’s Sublime, Starring the Man is arguably the show’s centerpiece with its massive depiction of migrating ducks against a row of identical workers unearthing a vast plain. It feels like you could step right into the painting, although you might not want to. Knowledge of Ed Dorn doesn’t feel like a prerequisite to understand the work, but I couldn’t help but feel I wasn’t getting the full picture and made a mental note to check out some Dorn from my local library.

Painting of various images collaged together, including a fish, a striped backdrop, and a bird on fire

Bryan Wheeler, “The Opposite of Poetry”

Moving from the main gallery space to several adjoining rooms reveals further works that double down on Bryan’s ornate, beguiling style. The Opposite of Poetry playfully parallels a Judeo-Christian origin story with an alien landing; each half of the painting shows a heavenly beam zapping down to earth. In one painting the beam comes from a flying saucer, and in the other from a glowing dove, a representation of the Holy Spirit. It was unclear how the title related to the piece, but I enjoyed the imagery.  

Infinite Jest, a literary nod to David Foster Wallace’s door stopper tome of the same name, shows a truly bleak western landscape, and would probably only prove jest-worthy to some divine creator with a cruel sense of humor. A large fish leaps over a crammed freeway, which has itself been peeled back to reveal neon bars reminiscent of a stylish jail cell, while a plane departs from between two erupting volcanoes. A very hectic day indeed.

Creation Myth #7 might have been my favorite of Bryan’s — an upsetting and slyly humorous creation jumble taking place in a Target parking lot that’s also part swimming pool and part gridded void. A nude woman peers out from a comfortable table while a bandana-clad laborer peels back another portion of the parking lot grid to reveal glowing red water. If this is confusing to read, it’s equally as confusing for me to write, but it’s this jumbled difficulty that provides the appeal.  

Some of my favorite pieces were the collaborative ones, combining Bryan’s bleakness with Jeff’s humor. Norman from Montana, for example, hilariously updates a civil war-era portrait into a sleazy ’80s man with his shirt unbuttoned to reveal a dollar sign medallion and patchy chest hair. Humor is a shared love for both of the brothers.

Mixed media collaged painting with a man in the foreground dressed in 80s fashion

Jeff and Bryan Wheeler, “Norman from Montana”

“It’s pretty easy in art to make somebody sob or contemplate while rubbing their turtleneck or beret,” says Bryan. “It’s hard to make somebody laugh. That’s why Jeff has always been my favorite contemporary artist. And he’s always been the one of us that’s pushing it. When we were teenagers, Jeff would drive 45 miles to the nearest town and sit there with all these little old ladies and draw landscapes.”

In multiple collaborative works using the show’s title, their humor toys with blasphemy. The first piece, entitled Actual Scenes/Genuine Characters, depicts Jesus crucified over a hot tub, while a second piece of the same title shows a gray-haloed matron presiding over a burning foot, a hot tub, a western horizon, and a patent certificate.  

If a hot tub crucifixion seems over the top or absurd, that feels like precisely the point. The works are meant to provoke, to shake us awake, and poke holes in our worn-out Texas mythology. 

“Lubbock is a symbol of what the west has become,” says Bryan. “It revels in its myths, which are primarily ‘cowboy-farmer-rancher-male-exceptionalist.’ Exceptionalism meaning we see ourselves as ‘different’ and ‘better.’ It’s all over America, but in Texas it’s just amplified. That myth, it’s something I’d like to expose. I know I’m not the first. Growing up here, you’re surrounded by it. It exerts so much power over us. Most people aren’t aware.”

“Why exceptionalism is so dangerous and why we need to keep recognizing it is because it’s exclusionary,” continues Bryan. “Othering. It’s heavily individual — a monadic individualism. All our cities are incredibly diverse, but if our Texas identity is solely based on these old myths, there’s no room for anything else.”

 Not content to simply sweep away old myths, the Wheelers are seeking new ones. Can our modern homogeneous landscape support new myths to replace the old? Is the modern West fertile ground for humanity to create a shared history?

“When I was little, my family went to Dodge City,” remembers Bryan. “They had the old decks by the old west saloon and all that romanticized version of the west. Me and a buddy went back out there a few years ago and as we were approaching it was a long line of Sonic, Burger King, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Sizzler. Completely surrounding the historic site. Can history be made in those kinds of places? Can a revolution be planned in a McDonald’s playland?”

The show doesn’t answer these questions but, as is often the case, the inquiry is the thing of importance. Asking these questions forces us to find our own answers. Bryan and Jeff Wheeler have used our unfortunate modern predicament as fuel for a thought-provoking, conceptually cohesive show well worth your attention.


Wheeler Brothers: Actual Scenes / Genuine Characters is on view at Deborah Colton Gallery in Houston through December 3, 2022. 

The post Challenging the West: The Wheeler Brothers at Deborah Colton Gallery, Houston appeared first on Glasstire.

29 Nov 14:16

Lawndale and Blanton Museum of Art Announce New Hires

by Jessica Fuentes

Recently the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas in Austin and Lawndale in Houston have announced new hires to their respective institutions.

A photograph of Kenyon Adams sitting on a set of stairs at the Blanton Museum of Art. He looks straight into the camera with a relaxed expression and pose.

Kenyon Adams. Photo courtesy of the Blanton Museum of Art.

In early November, the Blanton appointed Kenyon Adams as Director of Public Programs. With its redesigned grounds slated to open in Spring 2023, the museum is preparing to debut new programming. Along with heading up these new offerings, Mr. Adams will continue the online Curated Conversations series and the art and music series SoundSpace.

In a press release announcing Mr. Adam’s appointment, museum director Simone Wicha remarked, “We are delighted to welcome Kenyon Adams to the Blanton. He brings a wealth of experience in the arts and a proven track record of success in visionary public programming. Our new grounds have been designed to open the museum into the city, inviting people in to experience creativity and community throughout. I’m confident Kenyon will help us create programs that make the most of these beautiful new spaces, our collections, and our exhibitions—ensuring the Blanton is a vibrant and beloved destination.” 

Mr. Adams added, “I’m thrilled to join the Blanton during this transformational stage and lead its public programming in a reimagined space. The unique potential of public programs is the opportunity to activate spaces in ways that connect audiences, mission, and institutional memory. I greatly look forward to working with the team to further engage Austin’s diverse communities.” 

Originally from Orlando, Florida, Mr. Adams holds a Master’s degree in Religion and the Arts from Yale University and a BFA in Theater from Southern Methodist University. From 2016 through 2021, he served as the founding Director of the Arts Initiatives at Grace Farms Foundation, a nonprofit organization that seeks to pursue peace through nature, arts, justice, community, and faith in New Canaan, CT. Mr. Adams is himself an interdisciplinary artist who has contributed to the Louis Armstrong House Museum, Live Ideas (New York Live Arts), the Alpine Fellowship, the Langston Hughes Project, YoungArts, the National Arts Policy Roundtable (Americans for the Arts), the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College.

Mr. Adams moved to Austin in fall 2022 and most recently has worked as a Strategic Development Advisor for Fusebox Festival, the city’s annual large-scale performance art event. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College and a Resident Artist at Texas Performing Arts at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Last week, Houston’s Lawndale announced the growth of its team, including two new hires and a promotion for Emily Fens. Tamirah Collins and Jeremy Johnson join the organization in the roles of Gallery & Communications Assistant and Operations & Exhibitions Manager respectively. Emily Fens, who has worked at the institution since 2016, most recently in the position of Community Engagement Manager, has been promoted to the role of Assistant Director. Learn more about each of the team members below, via descriptions provided by Lawndale.

A photograph of Emily Fens set against a bright blue backdrop. She looks straight into the camera with a wide smile.

Emily Fens. Photo by Tamirah Collins.

Emily Fens

Emily Fens has worked in cultural institutions for a decade, beginning with the education department at the Houston Museum of Natural Science in 2012 and then Lawndale in 2016. She holds a BS in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles and is a practicing artist, including recent collaborations with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Music on the Plaza ft. Wild Moccasins) and Musiqa (LiveWire: an evening of modern music in conversation with dance and neuroscience).

A photograph of Tamirah Collins set against a bright blue backdrop. She looks straight into the camera with a wide smile.

Tamirah Collins. Photo by Tamirah Collins.

Tamirah Collins

Tamirah Collins is a visual artist based in the Houston area. She has recently obtained her BFA in Photography at Sam Houston State University. She is devoted to blending her passions of fine art and documentary photography as a form of expressing her Afrocentrism. Ms. Collins has been a pillar in her community of Third Ward through her dedication to the arts, having her work displayed at the annual Eye on Third Ward exhibition with Jack Yates High School (2015-2017) and also working with inner community social justice and art spaces such as, National Black United Front (NBUF), S.H.A.P.E. Community Center, FotoFest, Harambee Art Gallery, and The Community Artists’ Collective.

A photograph of Jeremy Johnson set against a bright blue backdrop. He looks off to the side with a wide smile.

Jeremy Johnson. Photo by Tamirah Collins.

Jeremy Johnson

Jeremy Johnson is a Houston native, fascinated with words; their sounds and the images they conjure. Jeremy is a student at the University of Houston, earning a degree in English.

The post Lawndale and Blanton Museum of Art Announce New Hires appeared first on Glasstire.

29 Nov 14:15

I’m starting to hate my customers, employee wants a month off in our busy period, and more

by Ask a Manager

This post, I’m starting to hate my customers, employee wants a month off in our busy period, and more , was written by Alison Green and published on Ask a Manager.

It’s five answers to five questions. Here we go…

1. I’m starting to hate my customers

I work in telephone based collections for a credit card and loan provider, but increasingly I’m getting frustrated by the attitude of the customers we deal with. I find myself uncharitably thinking that they’re lucky that we are willing to work with them to craft repayment plans as opposed to sending them straight to debt collectors.

Intellectually, I know there are a vast array of complex reasons why people fall into debt but it’s difficult to bear in mind when speaking to customers who have taken out dozens of pieces of technology on credit and they’re not able to repay these. They get frustrated and annoyed with us, and feel that we are treating them unfairly. Yet it is money they have borrowed from us and they are not able to repay it, I would hope my attitude doesn’t come through on the phone calls but I fear that my lack of patience is starting to show.

Try to keep in mind that you can’t know a stranger’s circumstances. You’re just seeing one very small piece of the picture with limited info. You don’t know if the person you’re talking to had an unexpected medical crisis, or a divorce, or lost their job, or all sorts of other things that can change a person’s financial situation without warning. But even if they did make bad financial decisions, a lot of people don’t get good (or any) financial education in this country, and credit cards companies employ armies of people to convince consumers they can afford to put purchases on credit.

Are there some people who are just flagrantly irresponsible deadbeats? Sure. But you have no way of knowing if you’re talking to one of them, or if you’re talking to someone who had a personal crisis blow their life up. You’ll do a better job — and be a generally kinder person — if you default to assuming it’s the latter, not the former. (If that doesn’t work, another trick: How would you want a bill collector to talk to someone you loved? Talk to them the way you’d hope someone else would talk to your grandma.)

2. Employee wants a month off during our busy period

I am a firm believer in using your vacation time – it’s part of your compensation package, you’ve earned it! – and am vocally supportive to my team members about taking time off and truly disconnecting when they do.

I have one team of four who work closely together, all pulling work from the same queue. Back in October, the team lead for this group asked for the entire month of December off to deal with a family issue. December is a busy month for us, and I knew it would put a strain on the rest of her team, but she’d already discussed it with her primary counterpart and come to an agreement on a division of labor that would minimize the impact, so I approved it. Today I got a request from a second employee in that same group to also take off four weeks of December and I’m torn.

Could the remaining two members cover it? Yes and no. Safety-critical work would get done. Other work would start to pile up. The team has annual goals on turnaround times, which they’re currently meeting, but the average would drop to a point they’d miss the target for the year. It would also mean starting the new year with a backlog and a turnaround deficit. In the circumstance of unexpected medical leave or a team member leaving of course we deal with the missed deadlines, but I’ll have a harder time explaining and excusing these missed deadlines when we’re fully staffed.

If I only approve two of four weeks the employee doesn’t lose anything – the vacation time will roll over. But I feel … icky. I hate the thought of denying PTO, especially when he’s a really strong performer and hasn’t taken any time off yet this year.

As a manager, is it worse to deny well-deserved PTO or to put the other team members in a position to have to pick up the slack / be penalized (via lower performance ratings) for missed deadlines? Is it fair that the team lead essentially had the same request approved just because she requested it first?

Giving only a week’s notice for four weeks off during your busy season is a really big request. It’s reasonable to say no, that’s our busy month and we’re already down one person. Yes, you approved it for someone else, but that was with more notice and when the coverage looked different. If you approve this request, it sounds like it would be a burden on other staff members and deadlines will be missed … and you’re saying people might even get lower performance ratings? If that’s the case, I don’t see how you can approve it, at least not without a really compelling reason (like a medical issue).

If you can give him two of those four weeks without those consequences, do that. And tell him you’ll work together to make sure he gets to take all of his vacation time next year — because he shouldn’t have ended up in a situation where he goes 11 months with no time off — but you can’t accommodate a full month on short notice during such a busy period. (And as with the letter-writer last week, it sounds like you need to be more proactive in general about ensuring people are taking time off throughout the year.)

3. How to deal with a complaining coworker

I have a coworker who really likes to complain. We work together on a fairly small team (four people) in a big organization and frequently have to collaborate with other departments. We both began working here last year during a really hectic and somewhat toxic transition, so she would often rant to me about things she found unreasonable. This wasn’t too bad, but I’ve never liked complaining, especially about other people. I felt like it was important for her to have some kind of emotional release, so I would mostly smile and say, “Yeah, that’s hard.”

Fast forward to a year later. Our managing team has been almost completely replaced, and I received a promotion within the same department. We no longer work the same position, but my coworker will still come to me and complain or even stop me when I walk in the mornings to start complaining. She’s been doing this about things that I find reasonable and using a high, mocking voice with exaggerated language that I’m certain none of our coworkers or partners actually use. I’m highly uncomfortable with this, especially as it’s in our workplace and I now work more directly with the people she complains about, but I’m worried that I’ve already set precedent by allowing her to complain to me in the same position. She’s very sensitive as well and tends to take any feedback personally. How can I tell her that it makes me uncomfortable without hurting her feelings?

If she’s sensitive and takes things personally, there might not be a way to do it without hurting her feelings — but that can’t be a reason for you not to speak up. The worst case outcome here isn’t that her feelings are temporarily hurt; the worst case outcome is that someone overhears her complaining to you and you sound like you’re agreeing. (Your “yeah, that’s hard” response could be interpreted that way — and really, any neutral response when she’s complaining about people you work with carries that risk.)

So you do need to shut it down. If you disagree with her, you could say “Hmmm, I don’t see it that way” or “I find Jane very easy to work with” or “wow, that’s really uncharitable to Jane” or so forth. I’d argue that your integrity demands that, especially if she’ll otherwise think you agree with her. And it’s possible that if you do that enough, she’ll no longer find it satisfying to complain to you and will stop on her own.

But if she doesn’t, you could try saying, “I’m finding we complain a lot when we talk, and I’ve realized I’m a lot happier at work when I don’t do that. So I’m trying really hard to avoid complaining, and I hope you’ll help me stick to that.” She might not like that, and that’s fine; you can’t control her feelings (and it’s unrealistic to try), only your own responses and boundaries.

4. Can I include links on my resume?

When (if ever) is it appropriate to add links in your resume or cover letter, if those links lead to work you’ve done?

I’m a children’s librarian and during 2020/2021 my library building was closed to the public, so we went virtual. This resulted in me making recordings of things like storytimes and book talks, which are now posted publicly on the library’s Facebook and YouTube pages. Now that I’m job searching, I’m wondering if it would be a good idea to put links to these videos in my resume, so a line on the resume might read something like: “Skilled at storytime for ages 0-3. *link*” (I’d probably word it better than that, but you get the idea). These are skills that I use daily in-person as a librarian, so it would be relevant to any employer to see my skills in those areas. However, unlike writers, or anyone else who has had to provide examples of their work when they apply to jobs, this is new territory for librarians.

You can include links! If you end up wanting to include more than two or three, consider creating a website with links to all of your stuff and then just linking to that site from your resume with a note about the specifics it includes.

5. A work Christmas market … for one

I just received a work email from the VP of HR with a calendar invite (using the company email and scheduling system) for a Christmas market in the office after work next week.

Turns out this “market” will sell beauty products from one employee’s personal business … and that’s it.

I’ve been with the company for 1.5 years, and have never seen anything like this before. It would be one thing if anyone could apply to sell their wares at this market, but I definitely didn’t see an email go around, and the market’s name cheekily refers to this employee.

This is weird, right? Is it worth speaking up, even though I’m just a contractor? I’ve never spoken with the VP of HR, and my manager seems unlikely to care. It just seems like weirdly preferential treatment in an otherwise normal office.

P.S. It does seem to be a legit small company and not an MLM.

It’s definitely weird. And it’s likely to cause resentment if there are other employees with side businesses or if it makes anyone feel pressured to buy things from this coworker. It also risks emboldening employees to start trying to sell products at work in the future (potentially including MLMs at some point).

All that said, as a contractor you’re not well positioned to speak up. Let it go and hope someone else raises it.

29 Nov 14:09

Poll Finds 82% Of Drunk Women Really Needed Night Like This

CHICAGO—In a nationwide survey of more than 5,000 girlfriends currently out on the town, a new poll published Tuesday by the University of Chicago’s Center for Public Affairs Research found that 82% of drunk women really needed a night like this. “Four-fifths of all female friends drinking to excess said that, until…


29 Nov 14:09

Bowl Of Soup Brings Man’s Lifetime Carrot Total To 11

29 Nov 14:01

Twitter staff cuts enabled spam porn deluge that drowned out China protest news

by Ashley Belanger
Twitter staff cuts enabled spam porn deluge that drowned out China protest news

Enlarge (credit: SOPA Images / Contributor | LightRocket)

This weekend, widespread protests erupted in China in what amounted to “the biggest show of opposition to the ruling Communist Party in decades,” AP News reported. Many protesters attempted to document events live to spread awareness and inspire solidarity across Twitter. Demonstrations were so powerful that Chinese authorities actually seemed to cave, appeasing some of the protesters’ demands by easing the severe lockdown restrictions that sparked the protests.

This could have been a moment that showed how Twitter under Elon Musk is still a relevant breaking-news source, still a place where free speech demonstrations reach the masses, and thus, still the only place to track escalating protests like these. Instead, The Washington Post reported that a flood of “useless tweets” effectively buried live footage from protests. This blocked users from easily following protest news, while Twitter seemingly did nothing to stop what researchers described as an apparent Chinese influence operation.

For hours, these tweets dropped Chinese city names where protests occurred into posts that were mostly advertising pornography and adult escort services. And it worked, preventing users attempting to search city names in Chinese from easily seeing updates on the protests. Researchers told The Post that the tweets were posted from a range of Chinese-language accounts that hadn’t been used for months or even years. The tweets began appearing early Sunday, shortly after protesters started calling for Communist Party leaders to resign.

Read 13 remaining paragraphs | Comments