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Friend of The Toast Julia Carrie Wong on Alicia Garza and the Bay Area roots of Black Lives Matter:

#BlackLivesMatter remains contested ground, both on- and offline. Young activists protesting in the streets of Ferguson, Staten Island, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Oakland have strong opinions on what the movement is and who it includes, while older generations of Civil Rights leaders, politicians, and pundits often struggle to keep pace.

That’s a weighty, unexpected fate for a phrase that Garza coined in a Facebook post two years ago. At the time, she was a respected Bay Area activist and community organizer. On the night of July 13, 2013, she was having drinks with her partner and some friends at Room 389 on Grand Avenue in Oakland, mourning the acquittal of George Zimmerman, the Florida man who’d shot and killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. “#blacklivesmatter” she posted on Facebook at 7:14 p.m. that night. Then, five minutes later, she posted again: “black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter.”

The next day, Garza joined dozens of other families at Sole Space, the downtown Oakland shoe store and cultural space whose owner’s practice of opening the storefront to the community in the aftermath of police shootings, non-indictments, and light sentences has become a depressingly frequent tradition.

Can I be real a second? I was saying on Twitter that the scary thing about feeling like I have Experienced a Real Encounter With God is that now I’m super worried that ghosts might be real too? Like, God was a fun surprise, but I don’t know if I can check in to any old hotels on moors anymore, in case something JINGLES AT ME or bleeds from the ceiling onto my bed! And then a bunch of NORMAL PEOPLE I KNOW messaged me their ghost encounters, and I am FREAKING MY SHIT OUT.

So, um, have you WITH YOUR OWN EYES (not, like, “my aunt Agnes did, and she would never lie”) seen a ghost or God-forbid GHOSTS?

Let’s hear it. NO GOD TALK, GHOSTS ONLY.

(I love stuff like the ghost stories on Jez and Reddit and everything, but for some reason I’m like “the Toasties will tell me the truth.”)

Jess Zimmerman is on the GBBO watching team now:

“Last week was cake week, and the entire country went mental,” she told us. “We were fixated on the screen like” — and here you’ll need to imagine an adorable Irish woman leaning forward and making a comically wide-eyed face — “will the chocolate shavings adhere?!

If you imagine the face and the accent well enough, you’ll understand why that pitch was impossible to ignore. In the spirit of experimentation, we parked our jetlagged butts in front of a rerun of Great British Bake Off that very day. (It was season 4, featuring the luminous Ruby Tandoh and Kimberley Wilson with her thousand-watt smile — an excellent introduction, especially if you’re on a ladies’ vacation and feeling inclined to think warm thoughts about dazzling women.) By the end of the trip, we were feverishly rushing to Marks & Spencer to get a small Victoria sponge before the newest episode came on.

Time Magazine has a massive piece on forgiveness and pain and healing and grief in the families left behind by the Charleston massacre, and I hope you read it, but it’s wrenchingly sad:

This scene doesn’t figure in Anthony’s account of that day, though he speaks of June 17 at length while his crab cake sits untouched on the plate in front of him. He doesn’t mention his frantic dash up Calhoun Street through the jam of police cruisers with their lights flashing, or the cop hurrying over to stop him, or the detective blocking his path and saying something about a very fluid situation. He doesn’t mention the fear, the anguish, the shock. Perhaps he would have talked about these things four months ago, when summer was coming down thick and sweaty over Charleston and that day was still a jagged wound. But the air is soft with the melancholy of autumn now, the pain is more of a vise and less of a dagger, and what he chooses to remember—if memory is even a choice—is Myra radiant just beyond his helpless reach, and the door closing.

OMG, Rachel Monroe wrote about our beloved “Death In…” books:

The books are satisfying in the same way that other accounts of peril in the wilderness are. But while most of those adventure stories center on crampon- wearing superhumans, the “Death in …” books feature characters with more familiar foibles. They get so excited when they catch a fish that they stand up in the boat. They try to impress their girlfriends. They slip on the ice. They want a closer look at the waterfall. They think the storm doesn’t look that bad.

This fundamental relatability makes reading these books an immensely taxing experience, a workout for your mirror neurons; it’s impossible not to identify with these people, in their hubris, clumsiness and bad decisions. The physical horror of their predicaments makes for years’ worth of nightmare fodder: the father who wanted to freak out his daughter by pretending to fall into the Grand Canyon — and then lost his balance and actually did; the man who was burned so badly in a Yellowstone hot spring that when rescuers tried to take off his boots, his skin came off with them, forming two perfect socks of flesh. But not every story is so dramatic: Death also arrives by way of a can of spoiled peaches, a slippery rock, a shard of glass in the river.

Kara Brown spoke to the amazing woman who read Claudia Rankine’s Citizen during the Trump rally:

Was it just a coincidence that you had Citizen on you?

I was just reading the book at the time. I actually wanted to bring two books. It was The Alchemist and that book, but I forgot The Alchemist on my table. I just started to read it. Then I was like, I’m in the middle, I’m on camera, so why not use the opportunity to promote a great book? I didn’t expect to get in an argument with the people behind me.

Yes, explain that exchange.

I got tapped on the shoulder. I think it was a couple. The man, he was mad but not as mad as his maybe-spouse. He had a more calm demeanor, just like, if you don’t want to be here, leave. They both said it but her’s was more from a place of genuine disgust and anger. I feel like he was a mouthpiece for her. And he probably was kind of mad, but I don’t think he would have tapped me on the shoulder if it wasn’t for the woman. The woman kept saying, “If you don’t wanna be here then leave. You didn’t even stand for the Pledge of Allegiance.” I said, “I do want to be here, that’s why I’m here. You don’t know who I am. I’m reading my book because I’m uninterested. Did you not just see what happened? This person disrespects women, minorities, everybody and you’re still supporting him. He’s not saying anything of substance.” If I met this couple at an event or a dinner party, I would think they were nice people. They probably are nice people. But I don’t think they have any right to tell me what to do. The lady, actually, she mumbled something. I didn’t hear but my friend told me the next day that she said, “I’m so glad you’re not my daughter,” or something along those lines. And I was thinking, “I’m glad I’m not your daughter either!”

NOW, THIS IS AN ACTUAL RELIGIOUS SCANDAL (Santas lurking in your Jewish chocolate!)

Australian paramedics have stopped asking patients who the current Prime Minister is, because who can keep track?

“We would ask patients that question because it gave us an idea of their conscious level and ability to recall events,” Mr Abood said. “But the country’s prime ministers are changing so often, it’s no longer a good indication of their mental status.”

Mr Abood once asked a patient to name the prime minister, only to be told: “I haven’t watched the news today.”

He said: “I’ve resorted back to asking them what they had for their previous meal. It’s a much safer question.”

ughhhhh, revolting:

Utah state child welfare officials on Wednesday were wrangling with a ruling by a juvenile court judge who ordered a baby to be taken from lesbian foster parents and instead placed with a heterosexual couple, saying it was for the child’s wellbeing.

Judge Scott Johansen’s order on Tuesday raised concerns at the Utah Division of Child and Family Services, said agency spokeswoman Ashley Sumner.

Missy, obviously:

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