#CancelTheDuggars – Replace it With This, #TLC

So, TLC, it’s time for a little real talk. Sit down. Shut up. Listen. I know you’re scrambling for ways to save your cash cow. You think sacrificing Josh Duggar will be enough. You think since Ma and Pa Duggar aren’t squirting out the kids (and, also, turned out to be hypocritical child sex abuse-hiders), you can just turn to exploiting the newlywed and newly-mom girls instead. Like that’ll make it all better. Like that’ll allow people to forget that you filmed a family that beat its children with a stick and sheltered a child molester (autoplay vid at link), and pretended you were good. You think people will forget that you knew, all along. Had to have known – at least about the sexual abuse, even if the Duggars somehow hid from you the blanket training by tempting babies to crawl off a blanket, then beating them with a plastic ruler when they followed their natural curiosity. You knew Josh Duggar was being monitored by the State of Arkansas for forcibly probing his sisters’ genitals, even if you didn’t see the parents forcing children to smile while they beat them with a stick. You were there rolling cameras when he sued the Arkansas Department of Human Services. Kinda a hard thing to miss, even if they kept the beatings on the down-low.

You could have pulled that Josh-featuring marathon when the story about his assaults broke, but you let it run, took days to pull the show, and even now haven’t done the right thing and cancelled it.

Your network is a cesspool. You’re nothing but a bunch of exploitative assholes who’d let children suffer just about anything as long as they make you enough money. Yeah, you’ve got the fig leaf of cancelling Honey Boo Boo when you learned mommy might be dating the man who’d just got out of prison for sexually assaulting her daughter. But that doesn’t cover you. It just shows what you should have done with the Duggars, long ago.

If there was any justice in the world, your network would be DOA after this. But alas, you’re not going away. [Read more…]

Bad News for Hollywood

So, you know those disaster movies where volcanoes explode like St. Helens but also spew fountains of really runny lava like Kilauea on laxatives?

I have really bad news for them, courtesy of Edward Wolfe and Thomas Pierson in Volcanic-Hazard Zonation for Mount St. Helens, Washington, 1995.

Lava flows are destructive but generally not life-threatening because they normally advance so slowly that people can walk or run away from them.

Drat.

Of course, it’s never about realism anyway, which is why I avoid any disaster movie with a volcano in it – I know I’d end up ruining everyone’s movie experience by howling, “That doesn’t happen!” every ten seconds or so. (And no, I sure as shit am not going to see San Andreas – that looks even worse than the volcano flicks, and I’m not interested in dying from apoplexy at my tender age. I will probably eventually watch Pompeii because some of you asked me to years ago, and I can now watch it here at home, where I can scream into a pillow so as not to disturb the neighbors.) I’m not a fan, is what I’m trying to say. Some people enjoy disaster films despite (or because of) the absurdity. I have a lot more fun with reality. I mean, this is the greatest shit ever!

Did you hear that crackling?! Did you see the little pieces of volcanic glass popping up like popcorn kernels in a hot pan? Did you seem them cook burritos and marshmallows on a bloody pahoehoe flow? And hear the squeals of pure science-geek joy? Oh, yes. That’s my kinda flick! You can see the whole video here.

So yeah, those of you who like your volcano disaster flicks can enjoy the ridiculously-funny lava and the volcanic bombs that set off huge gasoline explosions wherever they land and stuff. I’m just gonna enjoy watching geologists amble around the edges of active lava fields.

Image shows a steaming black lava flow oozing onto a grassy field. It appears to have eaten a fence.. A geologist in a red shirt and a backpack skirts close to the edge.

A USGS geologist maps the margin of the active lava flow in an open field west of the town of Pāhoa on Oct. 26, 2014. Image and caption courtesy USGS.

I mean, that is so ridiculously epically awesome – except for the people of Pāhoa: I’m so sorry Kilauea ate your town.

And now Ima go watch my favorite lava lake video of all time.

Preparing for the Apocalypse – Escape Chapter 2: Child’s Play

Reading books like Escape makes me realize how sheltered I was.

I wasn’t taught to fear strangers. I wasn’t in an environment where abuse was rife and women forced into loveless marriages, all stamped with God’s approval. And I was taught games like Kick-the-Can and Hide-and-Go-Seek. No one ever taught me to play Apocalypse. [Read more…]

It’s Also Geek Pride Day. I’m Geeking Out On…

…This amazing Mount St. Helens Lidar image.

Image is a LIDAR view of Mount St. Helens. With all the trees stripped away, the various volcanic deposits and stream incisions are wonderfully clear.

Mount St. Helens lidar
by Vivian R. Queija/USGS.

Oh, people! Those flows! If you look closely (which is far easier if you download the pdf file), you’ll notice the drastic difference in texture between the young, pyroclastics-rich north and the older south side with its stubby flows. Oh so delicious!

I never would’ve appreciated Lidar before moving to the Pacific Northwest. Up here, having a technology that can look past trees is priceless. This is so neato! And yes, I literally drooled when I saw the full file available for download.

What are you geeking out on?

Two Stark Poems for Memorial Day

It’s traditional to remember the sacrifice of soldiers on this day, the battlefield fallen.

Iron

by Carl Sandburg

Guns,
Long, steel guns,
Pointed from the war ships
In the name of the war god.
Straight, shining, polished guns,
Clambered over with jackies in white blouses,
Glory of tan faces, tousled hair, white teeth,
Laughing lithe jackies in white blouses,
Sitting on the guns singing war songs, war chanties.

Shovels,
Broad, iron shovels,
Scooping out oblong vaults,
Loosening turf and leveling sod.

I ask you
To witness—
The shovel is brother to the gun.

 

Image shows two soldiers standing side-by-side in the snow in front of a building. Their backs are to the camera. One has a shovel slung across his back, the other a rifle and ammunition bag.

Norwegian soldiers, ca. 1928. Public domain image courtesy Anders Beer Wilse.

But today, let’s also remember those the fallen leave behind.

Patterns

by Amy Lowell

I walk down the garden paths,
And all the daffodils
Are blowing, and the bright blue squills.
I walk down the patterned garden paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
With my powdered hair and jewelled fan,
I too am a rare
Pattern. As I wander down
The garden paths.

My dress is richly figured,
And the train
Makes a pink and silver stain
On the gravel, and the thrift
Of the borders.
Just a plate of current fashion,
Tripping by in high-heeled, ribboned shoes.
Not a softness anywhere about me,
Only whale-bone and brocade.
And I sink on a seat in the shade
Of a lime tree. For my passion
Wars against the stiff brocade.
The daffodils and squills
Flutter in the breeze
As they please.
And I weep;
For the lime tree is in blossom
And one small flower has dropped upon my bosom.

And the splashing of waterdrops
In the marble fountain
Comes down the garden paths.
The dripping never stops.
Underneath my stiffened gown
Is the softness of a woman bathing in a marble basin,
A basin in the midst of hedges grown
So thick, she cannot see her lover hiding,
But she guesses he is near,
And the sliding of the water
Seems the stroking of a dear
Hand upon her.
What is Summer in a fine brocaded gown!
I should like to see it lying in a heap upon the ground.
All the pink and silver crumpled up on the ground.

I would be the pink and silver as I ran along the paths,
And he would stumble after,
Bewildered by my laughter.
I should see the sun flashing from his sword-hilt and the buckles on his shoes.
I would choose
To lead him in a maze along the patterned paths,
A bright and laughing maze for my heavy-booted lover,
Till he caught me in the shade,
And the buttons of his waistcoat bruised my body as he clasped me,
Aching, melting, unafraid.
With the shadows of the leaves and the sundrops,
And the plopping of the waterdrops,
All about us in the open afternoon
I am very like to swoon
With the weight of this brocade,
For the sun sifts through the shade.

Underneath the fallen blossom
In my bosom,
Is a letter I have hid.
It was brought to me this morning by a rider from the Duke.
“Madam, we regret to inform you that Lord Hartwell
Died in action Thursday sen’night.”
As I read it in the white, morning sunlight,
The letters squirmed like snakes.
“Any answer, Madam,” said my footman.
“No,” I told him.
“See that the messenger takes some refreshment.
No, no answer.”
And I walked into the garden,
Up and down the patterned paths,
In my stiff, correct brocade.
The blue and yellow flowers stood up proudly in the sun,
Each one.
I stood upright too,
Held rigid to the pattern
By the stiffness of my gown.
Up and down I walked,
Up and down.

In a month he would have been my husband.
In a month, here, underneath this lime,
We would have broke the pattern;
He for me, and I for him,
He as Colonel, I as Lady,
On this shady seat.
He had a whim
That sunlight carried blessing.
And I answered, “It shall be as you have said.”
Now he is dead.

In Summer and in Winter I shall walk
Up and down
The patterned garden paths
In my stiff, brocaded gown.
The squills and daffodils
Will give place to pillared roses, and to asters, and to snow.
I shall go
Up and down,
In my gown.
Gorgeously arrayed,
Boned and stayed.
And the softness of my body will be guarded from embrace
By each button, hook, and lace.
For the man who should loose me is dead,
Fighting with the Duke in Flanders,
In a pattern called a war.
Christ! What are patterns for?

Sunday Afternoon - Ladies in a Garden. Detail of painting by unknown English School artist.

Sunday Afternoon – Ladies in a Garden. Detail of painting by unknown English School artist.

War is a tragedy. War destroys lives and causes unmeasurable suffering. It should never be entered in to lightly: lives are too precious to waste. We forget that all too often.

Every Memorial Day, I hope we remember.

War Memorial at The Park at Bothell Landing

How I Wish I’d Known It Was Erupting At the Time…

Of course, if I’d know Mount St. Helens was actually erupting at the time, I’d probably have never gone. Volcano phobia, doncha know. I did haz one. But I thought all the eruptions were over, so I went up the mountain with my old friend Victoria, and didn’t realize until long afterward that we’d been there during an eruption. Sometimes, they’re that quiet!

I bring it up now because I just fetched my Mount St. Helens photos off the external hard drive in preparation for sorting out what I’ll need for the book I’m working on. I couldn’t resist flipping through the photos from that May 13, 2007 trip, and ran across the one Victoria took of me with my favorite volcano in the background. Alas, we only had my horrible old digital camera, so the pictures aren’t spectacular, but this one turned out well enough for me to crop to a nicety. [Read more…]

To The Victims of Josh Duggar and Predators Like Him

The girls who were abused by Josh Duggar, and other kids in the Duggar family who need to escape, will probably never see this post. But if by some miracle they do, I want them to know: there are avenues of escape, should you want them. I’m pretty sure many of your fans would leap to provide you financial assistance through a GoFundMe campaign. Even those of us who aren’t fans would chip in – we care about your safety and well-being. You can hear other survivors’ stories and reach out for advice through No Longer Quivering and the Spiritual Abuse Survivors Network. I’m pretty sure the Free Jinger folks would lend a hand. If you need resources to help you deal with what Josh did to you, reach out to the good folks at RAINN [Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network] for information on where you can get proper counseling. You don’t have to wear a mask forever. You can overcome this, and you can live a life you were never allowed to dream of. And those resources will be available whether you need them today or decades from now. Someone on the outside will always be here for you.

That goes for all victims of sexual assault, and everyone trapped within the Christian Patriarchy movement. You don’t have to face this alone. The abuse you suffered does not define you. [Read more…]

#TLC – Cancel the Duggars Immediately: Links to Horrifying News and Incisive Opinion

So, it seems (as I write this on Saturday evening) that TLC is having a hard time deciding whether to take the Duggars’ wretched show off the air, or continue right on, just quietly shuffling Josh off to the side. When they found out one of their stars was a serial child molester who’d not only victimized young girls, but his own sisters, that show should’ve come down so fast it left a sucking void in the programming. Instead, they let a whole marathon run before reluctantly pulling episodes off the air, without even cancelling the damned show.

Judging from TLC’s recent shows – things like Sister Wives, and that submissive wife shit, and the asinine and exploitative My Husband’s Not Gay, they’ve either got people up top who love to parade religious fanatics around for the S & Gs, or they’ve got people at the top who are rabid Christians hoping their programming will program viewers into proper little godbots. I don’t care what the reason is. It just needs to stop. And the first thing they need to end is the program that features a serial child molester, the victims who were forced to forgive him, and the parents who did everything they could to bury it.

Since TLC is having a difficult time deciding to do the right thing, I’d like to invite advertisers to follow General Mills’s lead and pull their advertising completely. Money is the kind of talk they’ll listen to, probably, since common decency isn’t getting through.

But maybe a few people there still have a shred of decency tucked away. Maybe a few people there can push to do the right thing.

Image is a promotional shot of 19 Kids and Counting with the word CANCEL stamped across it.

Whether they’re moneygrubbers or possibly decent people, all of the execs at TLC should read these links, preferrably after cancelling 19 Kids forever, but at the very least immediately afterward. [Read more…]

Silver Lake’s Adorable Baby Duckies

Y’know, if it wasn’t for the occasional devastating eruption and house-eating lahar, I think I’d actually love living down by Silver Lake. B and I took a walk there near sunset on our last trip, and in the slanting reddish-gold rays of the lowering sun, it was about the most peaceful and beautiful place on Earth. I could spend hours just sitting on a boardwalk and watching the wildlife, from the insects to the birds and beyond.

I think the lake hosts the fastest ducklings on the planet, too. A mother and her group of babies passed us by at one point, swimming under the bridge, and they moved quicker than I’ve ever seen ducks go. One of them rocketed past its siblings so fast that B dubbed it Zipper. Here’s all I could catch of it on camera. [Read more…]

Josh Duggar Molested Children, Then Made a Career Claiming Gays Dangerous to Children

It’s not shocking that the Duggar family’s bright, smiling Good Christian™ Image hid some terrible things. It was obvious to anyone who knows anything about the Christian patriarchy movement that all those shiny happy faces concealed some pretty harsh truths. I figured the wheels would come off eventually, but I didn’t anticipate Josh Duggar being outed as a child molester. Needless to say: content note for child sexual abuse. [Read more…]