July 12, 2019

Henry and Mudge

I wrote this post early because by the time you read this, I’ll be on vacation! Just a couple short or light pieces this week:

  1. The Oral History of the Super Soaker, MEL magazine. I kind of love inventor stories. Super Soaker was one of those toys whose makers really cared about the product, and I like the design loyalty that comes with that over the years. This piece also made me realize that Nerf guns have gotten very militarized looking, which I don’t care for at all. “Part of the reason Super Soakers did so well is because they look nothing like a real weapon. They’re these things with giant orange nozzles, and they’re made to look like these space-alien things. To be honest, when we were kids, my friends and I would cover them with black tape and stuff, but for how they actually looked, you can’t mistake them for a real gun.” Plus a lot of people now like to make their own water blasters and modify their old 90s ones! “I started Waterarms Over Firearms about seven or eight years ago. It started with my own love of Super Soakers as a kid, and when I rediscovered it as an adult, I began acquiring old Super Soakers at yard sales and eventually via Amazon and eBay. Then I’d organize events where I’d give them to children and spread the philosophy that this is a peaceful gun — a water-arm that actually has a life giving ammunition. My hope is to help change these children’s attitudes about guns. I’ve made a point of visiting children in places that are heavily affected by gun violence — many of which are children of color — and I let them know that this peaceful gun was invented by a black inventor and that they can use it to have fun and give life as opposed to taking it away.” Now, who would like to have a water gun/balloon fight ASAP?
  2. Why Those Plus-Size Model Mannequins Matter, Glamour. Curvy plus-size mannequins at Torrid made me feel seen the first time I walked in there. “To place a plus mannequin on the store floor, front and center, is to proudly state that you stand for every single size you offer, that you believe that no matter the number on the shopper’s tag, they’re valuable and should have options to choose from. It signifies a mentality change from selling clothes by pushing an ideal to embracing who your customer is when they walk in.” I think this is true, but fashion retailers could all do better, from actually carrying plus sizes in-store and not online-only, to design that isn’t just a stretched out version of the straight size (my mom’s nemesis is the huge scooping neckline, like I saw in this review online: “Why do plus clothes makers think we need 2 foot round neck holes . Its crazy . Just how big do they think our heads are ? The size of beach balls ?”) “Brands need to have a long, hard think on their demographic and who they are selling their clothes to,” Scriver says. “So often I see brands introducing a plus-size line, but when I walk into the store or scroll through their online pages, there are no plus-size mannequins or models on-site to display or signal to me how the clothes would fit on my body. If you want to profit from my fat dollars, then you need to signal to me that you truly want to promote inclusivity and all shapes of all sizes.”
  3. Maryland voter registration to allow for ‘X’ gender identity, Baltimore Sun. Pretty cool news! This is to go along with a new law that starting in October, the MVA will allow Marylanders to use “X” in the gender field on their driver’s licenses and state IDs. Other coverage I read said that the database already had an “unspecified” option, so this change won’t have a fiscal or logistical impact. Love an easy, life-affirming change!
  4. The Why of Cooking, Sarah Miller. This essay is pretty funny. “My mother was always saying she just wanted to be alone with her book but it seemed like whenever this dream looked as if it might actually become a reality she would decide to make a pie.” This passage feels true to me: “People cook—particularly women, but not only women—because they think people are going to notice them, and love them, but no one thinks about who made what they’re eating or how it got on the table. They’re just hungry, and they eat, and they sometimes say thank you, and then they forget about it.” I don’t really feel the same resentment for cooking as this author, but I understand where it comes from and I believe she came to her conclusions honestly.
  5. Jessica Francis Kane’s Rules for Visiting in Real Life, Slate. “Studies show that when life gets too busy or too difficult, the first thing we drop is time with friends.” This author wrote a novel about a woman who decided to travel with the sole purpose of visiting friends, and then she did her own challenge and I really like that concept. “I’m after the kind of visit you get when you are present for all the intangible in-between times—coffee before everyone is up, a chat with one of the children when other grown-ups aren’t around, the sounds of your friend’s house at night—that somehow add up to more than the sum of their parts.” Yes! This is what I’m after in my visit to Amanda in Colorado this week!

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