The Overemployment Problem
Published on March 5, 2012 by Sara Foss

We constantly hear about the problems of underemployment and unemployment.

However, over at Jacobin Peter Frase argues that overemployment is also a problem.

Frase writes:

"The lowest estimates of overemployment come from the U.S. Government’s Current Population Survey, which asks people if they 'given the choice, (would) opt for more income and more hours, less income and fewer hours or the same income and hours?', and gives an overemployment rate of around 7 percent, even during recessions. Golden, in the paper linked above, surveyed eight other studies and found a range of estimates of the overemployment rate, from as low as 14 percent to a high of around 70 percent. None of those surveys asked for a specific hours target, while some of them specified that a reduction in hours would be linked to a reduction in income.

 The assumption that reductions in hours should be linked to reductions in pay is in some sense a political one. It’s not common now, but demands like 'thirty hours work for forty hours pay' have a long history in the labor movement. Asking for a cut in hours with no cut in pay is, in the end, just another way of asking for a raise."

The great 1931 French film "A Nous La Liberte" imagines a world where we don't have to work at all.

I'm not sure that's desirable.

But I'd be perfectly happy to work a little bit less.


Time To Think About Gardening
Published on March 5, 2012 by Sara Foss

Tonight feels really cold to me, and we had our first big snowfall of the year last week but, according to my colleague Margaret Hartley, it is time to think about planting the garden.

Click here to read what she has to say in her weekly column Greenpoint.

Greatest Character From "The Wire"?
Published on March 5, 2012 by Sara Foss

Grantland invites you to pick.

The answer, according to my friend Judy, is obviously Omar. But you can make a case for others. I mean, what about Bodie? Or Snoop?

Jane's Addiction, In Concert
Published on March 5, 2012 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I write about Friday night's Jane's Addiction show.

One complaint I didn't mention: They didn't play "My Time." Every concert always seems to have that one song you really wanted to hear, but didn't, and this was it. I think of it as "the song that got away."

Anyway, I digress.

Click here to read my review.

Notes On Poetry, Online And Otherwise
A Twitter Poetry Project
Published on March 4, 2012 by guest author: Dan Schneider

After writing a piece about poets using Twitter I became fascinated enough to want to join in myself (though still no  Facebook!).

I’ve also always been fascinated with writer’s notebooks, what interests and obsessions writer’s had, and I have kept a writer’s notebook in one form or another since college when my Creative Writing 101 professor said we all had to keep one. After going to Twitter a few times, I wondered what a writer’s notebook might look like if it were online, and decided Twitter might be a good place to start such a project.

So I am announcing the first ever, (as far as I know) open source, collaborative poetry notebook at @poetrynotes. If you write, or if you don’t, you can read my notes, post a thought, observation, weird  bit of language, or anything that catches your eye or ear and could be fodder for a poem or other form of writing. I’m hoping to create a space where anyone can share the raw material of poems, and then transform it into whatever work they find fitting.

And here are some recent poetry blogs from the web as well:

The Onion: National Endowment For The Arts Funds Construction Of $1.3 Billion Poem

McSweeney’s: Poetry FAQ

Dan Schneider is a former high school English teacher who lives and writes outside of the Rochester, N.Y., area.

Previous Posts By This Author: The Trouble With Poets

Where are the Poetry Blogs?: Twitter Poets

A 40-Day Challenge
Published on March 4, 2012 by Sara Foss

I've given up drinking soda for Lent.

Since I drink soda all the time, this is a huge challenge.

But it's getting easier.

Over at the DG, I attempt to explain what I'm going through.

Here's an excerpt:

"Since entering the work force, I’ve developed a terrible habit.

When I’m on the job, I drink soda constantly.

Specifically, Diet Coke.

I’ve always understood that this isn’t exactly healthy, but for the most part haven’t really worried about it. My theory is that it’s hard to get through life without developing one or two bad habits, and that as bad habits go, consuming copious amounts of Diet Coke is fairly innocuous. I’d never been a smoker, and I rarely drank coffee. Nor do I gamble or abuse drugs. Overall, I’ve always considered myself pretty vice-free.

A spate of recent articles about the pernicious effects of diet soda has caused me to re-evaluate this opinion.
A new study in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found that drinking diet soda every day is linked with a higher risk of stroke and heart attack, and a study presented last year at the American Diabetes Association last year showed that drinking diet soda is linked with having a wider waistline. I found this last bit of information particularly galling, because of course I was under the impression that drinking diet soda would help me avoid having a wider waistline."

Click here to read more.

Top Reads of the Week:
Published on March 3, 2012 by Sara Foss

Real Estate: Adam Rust on the hassles of dealing with Section 8 Housing, Parts 1 and 2

Parenting: J LeBlanc on rediscovering children's music

Movies: Sara Foss on "The Iron Lady" and "Albert Nobbs"

Writing: Sara Foss on writing her biography

Writing My Biography
Published on March 1, 2012 by Sara Foss

Recently at work, I was asked to write a short biography for an upcoming advertising campaign. Everybody had to participate; it's not like I was singled out. Even so, I didn't want to do it. I just didn't feel like there was anything to be gained from summing up my life in a short paragraph for thousands of people to read. Which might sound funny, given that I write a blog and a column. But for some reason providing personal details for an advertising campaign rubbed me the wrong way.

So how did I respond to the assignment? By writing a bunch of fake biographies. For some reason, they weren't accepted, but I think if you string them all together they actually say quite a bit about me. Here they are:

"Sara Foss is a private detective. She runs her own agency, with some friends from her New Hampshire hometown. Her favorite tool is a magnifying glass, and she takes courses in forensics in her spare time. Her inspirations are Encyclopedia Brown and the Three Investigators. For fun, she plays billiards and goes bird watching."


"Saving Face" in Pakistan
Published on March 1, 2012 by Sara Foss

One of the most moving moments of last weekend's Academy Awards ceremony occurred when Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won the Oscar for best documentary short. Her film, "Saving Face," tells the story of a London-based Pakistani plastic surgeon, Dr. Mohammad Jawad, who travels to Pakistan to treat women who have been disfigured by acid attacks, which are typically carried out by abusive men.

Over at ABC News, Christine Amanpour interviews Obaid-Chinoy about her documentary. Click here to see what she has to say. Also, click here to visit the home of the Acid Survivors Foundation in Pakistan.

The Frankenweenie Trailer
Published on March 1, 2012 by Sara Foss

One of Tim Burton's first projects was a short film called "Frankenweenie," about a boy who brings his dead dog back to life. It was released in 1984. And it's pretty good.

Much to my excitement, 2012 will see the release of a Burton-directed feature film called "Frankenweenie." A remake of his short film, it will be filmed in 3D and black-and-white and will feature stop-motion animation. Which sounds AWESOME.

Anyway, here's the trailer:

Snow, Finally
Published on March 1, 2012 by Sara Foss

Over at the DG, I offer some thoughts on our long-awaited snowstorm.

Click here to read them.

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