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  1. varady72 says

    Here is a brief summary of David Benatar

    http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/benatar01.htm

    1. Can one defeat his arguments logically?

    2. If so where are his flaws?

    3. Or conversely, if you agree with him, why?

    I find Benatar’s argument a damned interesting and intriguing one. Personally I find it the most interesting argument I’ve come across in a long time.

    I mean, maybe I’m really, really missing something here, but I simply cannot understand how anyone with their eyes open can unquestioningly accept and enjoy life…. Also, our parents certainly didn’t have us for our sake. We’re all just by-products of narcissistic lapses of reason & thoughtless conformity to subpersonal paroxysms.

    Maybe others have radically different tastes from me. Maybe they are awash in bliss, and I was just born without the sensibility to take in all the beauty and love the world has to offer. Maybe there’s no bliss, but they get by well enough, with comparable amounts of both. Maybe they are more mature than me, and can appreciate life despite the fact that it’s miserable – maybe they find joy in misery, maybe they see some higher end to it, maybe they have spiritual aphorisms that keep them afloat. Maybe all of these things: but I doubt I am so different.

  2. says

    Oh, jebus. Are you that same annoying twit I banned ages ago — the one who’d come in preaching that we all ought to just kill ourselves? Because I can tell you that even if you aren’t, if you start pushing this nihilistic line, you’ll meet the same fate.

  3. varady72 says

    PZ,

    No, I am not that person. This is only my second time posting here. Benatar’s book “Better Never To Have Been, The Harm Of Coming Into Existence” was published by Oxford University Press so it’s not about nihilism.

    Benatar argues forcefully (in my opinion) that common arguments for its being better to live a human life than never to live at all — for instance, that the good of a human life tends to outweigh the bad, that we tend to want to live rather than die, etc. — all fail. If I recall correctly there is plenty of evidence that (1) there is significantly more bad (suffering) than good (happiness) in most human lives, and (2) the mere fact that people don’t want to die is no evidence at all that it is good to live: the best explanations of why we want to live are (A) the sunk-cost fallacy (human beings tend not to want to quit things they have invested time and energy in), and (B) a natural, evolutionarily-implanted desire to live (which is no evidence of actual value in a human life, just a nearly-unavoidable, irrational, implanted desire to not die). Second, Benetar argues that even if some human lives have more good than bad, it is morally wrong to have children when the probabilities favor the opposite (most human lives have more bad than good).

    Part of what I find so persuasive about Benatar’s book is his claim that if we are honest with ourselves — if we are open-minded, rather than merely reactive — the claims he is making about human lives are, well, pretty obvious. And I have to say that, when I am honest with myself, it seems to me that the claims he makes are, if not obviously true, then at least very plausible. For when I think honestly about my life, and the lives of people I know, I see what he sees.

    Look, I’ve been pretty darn lucky in life. I’ve had good parents, was raised well, was lucky enough to be born into the most wealthy and powerful nation on earth…and yet, it seems to me that my life has had significantly more pain and disappointment than happiness. Yes, I have had some incredible moments of happiness: getting married, getting my PhD, publishing my first article. But these were but a few moments of intense joy over the course of several decades. Life’s disappointments have been far greater in number and more permanent in severity. There are daily stresses, of course. Daily life often has more difficulties and worries than joy. Then there are things like grief over the death of loved ones — kinds of pain and suffering that almost never fade. Then there are the many, “What ifs?” — things one could have done but didn’t — as well as ordinary mistakes in life (which cannot be changed, and profoundly affect one’s life prospects; I myself have many regrets). And of course all of our lives will end in tragedy: with death, often painful death. And again, I am one of the (very) lucky ones.

    Then there are the unlucky among us: people who suffer from mental or physical illnesses through no fault of their own, people who suffer profoundly bad luck (think: families of 9/11 victims or everyday victims of violent crime, people whose children die as a result of accidents), and so on. I have known some of these people, and have seen (and in some cases, shared) their suffering.

    In short, when I am being honest with myself, Benatar’s basic point seems right: although some small percentage of human beings may live truly charmed lives — living their hopes and dreams — human life, for most of us, is really quite dreadful on the whole, containing far more pain, disappointment and suffering than joy. We have all kinds of ways of rationalizing our lives to ourselves: ways of trying to convince ourselves that our lives are pretty good. But again, when I am honest with myself, all of the apologies for life realy do ring hollow to me. And insofar as they do, Benatar’s argument persuades me: I am not sure at all that it is morally permissible to have children.

    What gives me, or anyone else, a moral right to take such chances with the life of another? What gives me, or anyone else, a right to bring into the world a human being whose life is likely to contain significantly more bad than good?

  4. Seize says

    varady72, Benatar loses me here:

    The simple answer is that whatever view one might have about what makes a life good or bad, human lives fall short on the good things but abound in the bad.

    He says this after he goes the the trouble of stating that human judgments on the summation of lives are unreliable. So what makes him reliable to report that “pains” outcompete “pleasures” in most lives, or any of the other dichotomies he sets up? Moreover he doesn’t give us any hint of an objective framework for how he’s scoring any of these unpleasant or pleasant or productive or unproductive situations. He doesn’t even begin to account for neurodiversity, where one person’s affective trash might be another person’s treasure. One person’s lifetime disfigurement could be the beginning of a new life for another, one person’s fulfillment could be the early end of another person’s exciting journey, one person’s discomfort could be another person’s sexual gratification — I won’t even address all his attempted examples. He’s using his own biased assessment of a subjective quality as a yardstick.

    Godlessly I personally believe in “good” and “bad” behaviors, because I find it useful in discussing the current behaviors of myself and those around me and for understanding the history of my community and my country. I’ve spent my life building the scoring rubric based on empathy, logic, and a fair amount of trial and error. As a flawed human of infinitesimal knowledge I use “good” and “bad” as utilitarian descriptions to describe behaviors that I think are productive or counterproductive. My observation says much more about me as an observer and my attitudes than it does about any objective reality. Perhaps for a moment I might describe the life of a person whose history has been written as “bad” or “good” but that’s my momentary perspective from one human vantage point in all of human history. How many artists whose paintings now hang in the finest museums were tossed unceremoniously into a pauper’s grave and cursed by their landlord for dying before they paid rent?

    So should we reproduce? Should we live on? Should we build things? Should we explore new knowledge? It’s up to you. If you think you can do something which has a fair chance at bringing more good into the world or decreasing the bad, calibrate your ethical assays often and continue to live and work in a way which you think is best.

  5. Seize says

    Also, Varady, if you are in here in good faith (heh) you should know that you can easily discount most viewpoints which are portrayed on a purple background. This is a heuristic which will save you much time in life.

    Finally to the point I wandered into here to post about:

    PZ, sorry if this is rehash, but do lots of users of your site have problems with different blog comment threads being blacklisted as “Adult Content” or “Adult Material” on their filtering software? I frequently browse from work and we have a fairly generous net nanny filter installed which is basically designed to block gaming, streaming video and pornography. However, I frequently find that your blog posts (for example the recent redacted thread) to be flagged and inaccessible at work. This isn’t a problem on just your site; I frequently see it on snark blogs such as Sadly, No.

  6. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    I have listened to Pat Benatars ‘Love is a Battlefield’ and ‘Stop using Sex as a Weapon’…
    Does that count?
    Mmm?

  7. Howard Bannister says

    Don’t forget ‘Invincible.’

    I wouldn’t bring a kid into this world unless I was sure I could give them a good life. And I’m not, so I haven’t.

    But on the whole, I’ve filled my life with trying to make other lives last longer and have more meaning and be more interesting and I think that the results have been pretty spectacular. And I don’t think that’s just rationalization. I think my life is nice, I think other people’s lives are better for knowing me, and I think that there exists no objective measure for weeding the good from the bad in life. Everybody has to find it for themselves.

  8. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    gobi @ 7:

    You’re runnin’ with the shadows of the night. So hit me with your best shot. ;)

  9. Seize says

    Both Benatars seem to have a very pessimistic worldview, however, Pat seems to object to the other Benatar’s sorry attempts to establish an objective viewpoint from which to observe goodness or badness:

    We are strong, no one can tell us we’re wrong
    Searchin’ our hearts for so long, both of us knowing
    Love Is A Battlefield

  10. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Well… That’s was 10 seconds of fun.
    Good evening Lounge!
    Getting late here – getting ready to hand over to the day watch :-P

  11. David Wilford says

    The fact that there are several billion or so of us alive at the moment would seem to refute the claim that life isn’t worth living, but YMMV. I think there are more than enough of us though, but again, YMMV. Personally, I’d like humanity to refrain from causing another great extinction by not gobbling up every last resource on the planet.

  12. borax says

    I was nihilistic once, but I went out and had a few beers then went home and got a good nights sleep. Boom, nihilism gone. Now, I try to prevent nihilism at least three times a week.

  13. varady72 says

    Seize,

    Briefly, as I am getting ready to leave for work..

    From a straight dispassionate reading of life’s pleasure and pain balance sheet, as Benatar says, we see chronic pains, but pleasures are always fleeting; a lifetime’s learning can be wiped out in a second but we cannot gain a lifetime’s learning so easily. There are always an infinite number of ways in which things can go wrong, but very few in which they can go right. So, the observation that we mostly feel upbeat about life calls for an explanation I think.

    I think we all still carry some of that pre-Darwinian illusion about life being rosy in our heads. The universe is a chaotic place and as humans trying to create order out of chaos, we have the odds stacked against us from the outset. That we exist at all is highly improbable. What Benatar does in his piece is a little bit of telling it like it is, it cuts through our illusions, in the same way that an atheist cuts through theist illusions about a loving fatherly God and an afterlife in Paradise.

    Most people, for most of the time, feel good about their lives, but I think this feeling comes courtesy of a range of psychological strategies taken in combination with a finely tuned hormonal balance. Theism is the mother of all psychological strategies, a mindset that people cultivate to enable them to believe in an impossibly wonderful future, thus mitigating the harsh realities of their lives. But I think we all cultivate such delusions, on some scale or other; it’s all part and parcel of being human. These strategies combined with elevated endorphin levels keep us artificially happy when by rights we ought to feel wretched. In the end we all only take on as much reality as we can deal with comfortably.

    Looked at “neutrally” I think Benatar is mostly right. Life doesn’t seem worth the candle and, rationally, it would be difficult to justify bringing more children into it.

    However we don’t normally operate in that neutral fashion. Our hormones usually override actual experience and, at some point or other, most people feel that it’s a good idea to have children. In fact, as I’ve mentioned before on these fora, we are evolved to have an optimistic bias and to experience things spiritually so that we feel that our lives are meaningful!

    There is no particular reason to think that life is going to teach you anything or should or will be an enjoyable experience, it’s only that if you do you might feel better about getting through it, and may have kids who will keep this pyramid scheme going.

  14. rq says

    gobi
    Good night! The day watch was always standing by, though the weather’s too nice for me to be here too much. I want mah vitamin D! ‘Til tomorrow!
    (Speaking of Daywatch, I would like to learn to drive like this.)

    +++

    I’m so torn – I want to do more yardwork (sunshine! activity! good feelings! yay!) but we’re promised minus degrees (at least overnight) and snow for the weekend, so I’m wondering if it’s best to leave the leaves on the garden for now as a buffer between the tender shoots and the cold… Help!
    (Yes, my life is full of problems today. Please help me solve them.)

    *hugs* and *spoons* to the Horde.
    I must once again express my appreciation for those of you putting bad arguments where they belong on the abortion thread. You are all awesome and I am happy to know you.
    *grateful*

  15. David Wilford says

    borax @ 14:

    There’s nothing Nietzsche couldn’t teach ‘ya ’bout the raising of the wrist… ;^)

  16. carlie says

    To show to anyone who says “I don’t see color” : yes you do, asshole, in ways you don’t even realize.

    “Our research found that black boys can be seen as responsible for their actions at an age when white boys still benefit from the assumption that children are essentially innocent.”

    Also:”The general population respondents overestimated the [black] boys’ ages in felony situations by 4.53 years, meaning that “boys would be misperceived as legal adults at roughly the age of 13 and a half.” The police had a slightly wider spread: 4.59 years.”

  17. Kroos Control says

    I saw Benatar’s artcile.
    IDK . It seems like he seems to take a rather shallow view of life as good vs bad things , unfulfilled desires vs fulfilled desires
    I think the criterion he uses might be flawed .
    There are simple joys to be had in work , honing your skills and fulfilling your purpose on earth and I don’t find his argument that the bad outweighs the good not to be convincing at all.
    Perhaps things like friendship , fulfilling your purpose on earth , appreciating beauty and are such great joys they outweigh all the bad.

  18. Nick Gotts says

    when I am honest with myself, all of the apologies for life realy do ring hollow to me – varady72@4

    How do you think you know when you are and are not being honest with yourself?

  19. Nick Gotts says

    I doubt I am so different. – varady72@1

    Well since most people don’t appear to share your perception that life isn’t worth living, clearly you are “so different”.

  20. borax says

    @17 David Wilford. I am the Ubermensch. But I’m not here to save humanity, I’m here to enjoy my life.

  21. David Wilford says

    “In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move.”

    – Douglas Adams

  22. says

    There are simple joys to be had in work , honing your skills and fulfilling your purpose on earth and I don’t find his argument that the bad outweighs the good not to be convincing at all.

    Indeed. For instance: lying in bed last night, watching “Cosmos” and crocheting a toy octopus for my nephew: the purest pleasure.

  23. chigau (違う) says

    theophontes
    Interesting.
    But I don’t think our “alpha males” would agree to it.

  24. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    My depression and anxiety often try to tell me that the bad outweighs the good (it was practically screaming it last night), but quite often, I’ll then find something that just makes me happy for no good reason and then I tell my depression to piss off. (Last night, it was a stupid joke about McDonald’s, once before it was, don’t laugh, Danny Wilson’s “Mary’s Prayer.”)

  25. birgerjohansson says

    The meaning of it all?

    In Jack Vance’s “Lyonesse” the wizard walks through the forest and comes across a troll beating up a lank, furry creature. The creature cries: “Stop! This is a mistake! My name is Grofinet! Please stop!”
    .
    The waizard asks the troll “Why are you beating up poor Grofinet?”
    The troll answers “Why does anyone do anything? For a sense of purpose. For the satisfaction of a job well done. Now step aside while I trounce this cross between two nightmares!”
    (The wizard zaps the troll and gains Grofinet as a follower)
    .
    Actually, this is a pretty good answer. The universe may not have an intrinsic meaning, but you can create your own meaning by pursuing your own interest, and doing it well, regardless of wether it involves beating up people, collecting stamps, gardening or world domination.

  26. says

    Happy Birthday Lisa Marie!

    rq

    This was… really touching. I’m not sure why, but it just was.

    How sweet.
    Last week I had to disappoint the little one. I love snuggling with her and hugging and kissing, but the poor thing wanted a “kiss like daddy gets”.

    +++
    Tony
    Mr. got his crash course in these matters when he became a father. It’s always astounding to me how little people in general know about these matters and how much those topics are silent within families. When I was a teen many of my friends were surprised to know that I knew how naked men looked like because I had seen my father naked. And I was like “wait, you haven’t?” I mean their fathers, not mine..

    +++
    Musing about things…
    There are these people whose opinion on a group of people changes when they have to face the fact that one of their loved ones is either part of that group (LGBTQ) or loves somebody of that group (racism). And then there’s the tendency to think well about your dead family members…
    Mr. always assures me that his paternal grandmother, whom I never met, would have liked me very much, but everything I know about her makes me think that she would have hated me every bit as much as my dad’s grandmother hated my mother. Mr.’s paternal grandparents were catholic™ and when my dad in law had to marry my Lutheran mum in law they were all rather shocked and angry. Sometimes my mum in law talks about it, in half sentences, how she was not good enough because she was a Lutheran, how she had snatched away the good catholic boy and led him astray (Mr and his brother were raised Lutheran. My FIL did not appreciate a catholic upbringing)…
    Would time have change her stance? Would age have softened her views? How would she have reacted to a godless granddaughter in law? How would she have treated her gay grandson? The Lutheran grandmother was way more open than anybody gave her credit for…
    Musing a bit about love

  27. Howard Bannister says

    Most people, for most of the time, feel good about their lives, but I think this feeling comes courtesy of a range of psychological strategies taken in combination with a finely tuned hormonal balance.

    So I FEEL good, but I’m actually purely miserable?

    Wow, nifty.

  28. rq says

    I’m satisfied with life not having any direct meaning besides that which I attach to specific portions of it. But one overarching meaning to my life? Hm. Not really.
    Well, perhaps ‘to be a better person’, but that could mean so many things. Maybe ‘to live’. Or ‘to live well’. Meanings so broad, they could mean anything…
    *shrug*

  29. Howard Bannister says

    But even if I disagree with Benatar…

    fulfilling your purpose on earth

    This is unvarnished horseshit.

  30. says

    Republicans are counting on dissing Obamacare as a way to win back the U.S. Senate, and as a way to elect a conservative president in 2016. To that end, they have been busy rounding Obamacare horror stories to feed to the media and to use as the basis for political attack ads.

    The problem: dozens and dozens of the horror stories have been debunked. Most recently, their favorite Obamacare horror story, one which features Julia Boonstra in a Koch-financed ad, has also been debunked. The response to the debunking has been twofold. First Julia herself simply chooses not to believe the debunking:

    […]this “Obamacare victim” will, now know for certain, pay less money for better coverage and won’t have to change doctors. When advised of the details of her Blues’ plan, Boonstra said the idea that it would be cheaper “can’t be true.”

    “I personally do not believe that,” Boonstra said.

    The other response to this thorough debunking comes from right-wing politicians and right-wing media. They have decided that it is unforgivably rude to question the stories of citizens facing life-threatening ailments. They should not be subjected to fact-checking. We should just be nice and listen quietly and with respect. “It’s sad partisan politicians are attacking Bette.”

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/when-facts-cant-be-true

    Boonstra is now a national, right-wing hero. She has better health insurance, and it costs at least $1200 less than her previous, inadequate policy. The facts are ignored as Boonstra appears onstage at Republican National Committee events, and as the Koch brothers use her to defeat Democratic candidates.

    Meanwhile, this disinformation campaign is working to some degree, and is harming healthcare in the USA by discouraging people from signing up for insurance.

  31. says

    This is a follow up to comment #36.

    http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20140310/LIFESTYLE03/303100100

    The Detroit News and fact checkers last month cast doubt on the accuracy of the TV ad. On Monday, Boonstra acknowledged which health plan she chose, offering the first evidence of cost savings..

    Boonstra said Monday her new plan she dislikes is the Blue Cross Premier Gold health care plan, which caps patient responsibility for out-of-pocket costs at $5,100 a year, lower than the federal law’s maximum of $6,350 a year. It means the new plan will save her at least $1,200 compared with her former insurance plan she preferred that was ended under Obamacare’s coverage requirements.

    A Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan spokesman said the insurer welcomes a chance to help members understand their benefits and alleviate concerns.

    “We are here to help people like Ms. Boonstra to work their way through adjusting to the health plans we are now offering them,” the Blue’s Andy Hetzel said. “If there are questions … they should call.”

    Boonstra’s old plan cost $1,100 a month in premiums or $13,200 a year, she previously told The News. It didn’t include money she spent on co-pays, prescription drugs and other out-of-pocket expenses.

    By contrast, the Blues’ plan premium costs $571 a month or $6,852 for the year. Since out-of-pocket costs are capped at $5,100, including deductibles, the maximum Boonstra would pay this year for all of her cancer treatment is $11,952.

    When advised of the details of her Blues’ plan, Boonstra said the idea that it would be cheaper “can’t be true.”[…]

  32. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Benatar’s book “Better Never To Have Been, The Harm Of Coming Into Existence” was published by Oxford University Press so it’s not about nihilism.

    1. It was published by OUP
    2. ?????
    3. It’s not nihilism!!!!

    ===============

    Varady, you’ve already got PZ on edge. Take it to Thunderdome if you want to have a conversation without getting banned.

  33. says

    More follow up to comments 36 and 39. It’s not just fake Obamacare horror stories that the right-wing is using to harm or defund social welfare programs. They are using fake stories across the board, including some aimed at defunding food stamps.

    [Paul Ryan, speaking at CPAC] recapitulated the erroneous testimony of a fellow social spending scold without vetting her story, which she had taken from some pro-social spending literature and tortured beyond recognition. [As you'll remember from PZ's recent post, that's the story about a poor elementary school student saying he would like to have lunch in a brown paper bag because that would mean someone cared about him. Even the twisted right-wing version of this story makes no sense when applied to the "no free school lunch" concept.]

    For someone like Ryan who often treats politics as a contest of character, that’s a pretty epic blunder. He’s since apologized for not checking his facts, which undoes some of the damage. But that mainly just changes the frame of the story. In addition to making an incredibly questionable moral argument, he also exposed the depths of his most politically problematic ideological fixation. Either he doesn’t care about truth, or his faith in the ubiquity of poverty traps and dependency and so on is so strong that he sees no reason to doubt any corroborative anecdotes, no matter how apocryphal.

    This is a familiar epistemic problem, but I’m bringing it up now because it has metastasized into a national campaign strategy. […]

    Salon link.

  34. cicely says

    rowanvt!
    *pouncehug*
    -
    Tony!, a lot of guys are hazy on how the female reproductive system works/doesn’t work, just in general. I don’t know how it is these days (and you kids get offa my lawn, y’hear!), but Back In The Day, when “social hygiene” was presented, it was boys in one room, girls in the other, and not much point seen to lingering on the other-team-relevant material. Of course, these days the kids may not be getting any kind of sex ed at school at all, and their parents may be too uncomfortable with the subject (and/or working from the “if you don’t tell ‘em how it works, they won’t try to test the equipment” approach of ensuring an adequate rate of teen pregnancy to provide Society with cannon fodder encouraging pre-marital chastity) to teach their kids anything—at best, throw a little literature in their general direction, and hope it osmoses in.
    -
    -

  35. says

    So hi everyone, going through all the wedding planning things is fun. Fiancee and I found a great caterer and a nice place to hold it at. We had the fun of a mother-in-law refusing to not let us do a November wedding, so it’s in September (however, she fronted us $3000.)

    It’s getting close! Only 6 months left.

  36. rq says

    Kevin
    Wow, that is close!! Time will only go faster… Good luck with all that remains, and it’s good to hear that you have resolved catering and location issues!
    *hugs in support* if you wants ‘em, too bad about the potential MiL not liking your selection of month. :( Oh well!

  37. blf says

    I simply cannot understand how anyone with their eyes open can unquestioningly accept and enjoy life….

    I refute that statement thusly: The antics of the mildly deranged penguin.

    But I do wonder who “unquestioningly” does such extremely vague and undefined things, kemo sabe…

  38. Seize says

    I imagine The Lone Ranger would be just a scintilla more watchable if you made up your own appropriate translation for the term “kemosabe.”

  39. varady72 says

    Blf,

    The key word is ‘unquestioningly’

    Let’s try and look at it another way by considering a book by Richard Dawkins. Here is an excerpt from Mr. Dawkins book, “Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, Delusion and the Appetite for Wonder.” (1998)…

    “We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here…After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with color, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be a part of it?”* (I’m accepting this quotation verbatim…please inform me if there’s any inaccuracy.)

    Now, let’s break it down a bit:

    “We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born…”

    Right from the start, we are confronted with the ‘intuitive’ prejudice, that life is a great thing, and that, somehow, those who remain unborn are the ‘unlucky’ ones. Please explain to me how absolute nothingness can be unlucky. Are all the imaginary creatures I might think up in my head also unlucky? Is every unfertilized egg unlucky? In what sense is this true, other than a purely made-up sort of way? And is all life, then, by definition…lucky; just for having existed, and ignoring any and all of the factors which constitute a particular life?

    “The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia…”

    Let’s not forget here that the ‘potential people’ Mr. Dawkins is talking about are non-entities; there is nothing to mourn here, for nothing yet exists.

    “Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton..”

    Again, Mr. Dawkins uses the rather poetic term ‘unborn ghosts’, as if labeling a pure abstraction with a noun confers some sort of ‘more than nothing’ value. The true synonym for ‘unborn ghost’ is ‘nothing’…follow the bouncing ball, Richard! Concerning the rest? Hitler. Stalin. Pol Pot. Mao Tse-tung…you know the drill.

    “We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively exceeds the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here…”

    This ‘what are the odds?’ approach always leaves me feeling just a little bit queasy. Only possibilities which concretize into actualities ultimately matter. Oh, and might I add here, ‘so what?’

    “After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with color, bountiful with life…”

    We weren’t asleep…we DID NOT EXIST. Well, we DID exist, but only as the raw material, not as what is defined as life (though admittedly, we ARE made up of parts of other lifeforms). As for color…I suppose you could say that, in the tooth-and-claw struggle for superiority in the food-chain of this ‘bountiful life’, the prevailing color is blood-red (or, taking into account the insect world, perhaps it’s green).

    “Within decades we must close our eyes again. Who, with such a thought, would not spring from bed, eager to resume discovering the world and rejoicing to be a part of it?”

    Um, Mr. Dawkins, have you considered the million or so verified suicides that occur every year, or the twenty or thirty times that number of attempts? How about the fifteen percent or so of the population that suffers from chronic depression? And maybe you’re passing over those who suffer debilitating injuries and diseases just a tad too adroitly, as well as those who have suffered mind shatteringly tragic losses of one kind or another. To affirm your own happiness, or peace of mind or whatever, is fine as far as it goes. Personally, I’m happy as all get-out for you. But to believe that your mindset is reflected in life as a whole is beyond naive…it’s an assessment based on what has to be, at least to some degree, a purposeful ignoring of the evidence on your part. I am forced to suggest that you turn the light of your own, highly trained and dispassionate scrutiny upon the world as it really is, and not as you wish it to be. I’ve seen you dissect unreason with the sure hand of rational analysis many times…perhaps it’s time to turn that scalpel inward, and learn to face a few unpleasant facts about existence. It’s the scientific thing to do.

    I’d like to wind this up by citing another Amazon remark about David Benatar’s book, coming from a different perspective…

    “I don’t understand why people are hating this book without even reading it- so you’re glass half full people- people that never question their lives or existence- you are actually his target audience- he needs to make you see that what you believe is b.s. and that you should really try to look at life more objectively to determine how “worth it” it is…I think people really need to look at both sides of the story- everyone says that we’re all so blessed to be alive… WHY?! the only reason why people say that is because they had no choice in the matter of coming into existence and the only way to gain some control is by pretending that you wanted to be here… so stop lying to yourselves…. you had no choice in being here… so yeah… now that we’re here we make the best of it… but dont lie to yourself (and others) and say that life isn’t hard and harmful…if you hate the book so much just by the title- why dont you pick up and actually read it and see what his arguments are- and read it with an open mind!!life sucks- there’s no meaning- there’s no purpose and you didn’t even have a choice for whether to be in it or not… what’s not horrible about that???”

  40. Seize says

    Kevin, what was the objection to November? Is this some wedding taboo I am not aware of?

  41. blf says

    Apologies to the other degenerates here for triggering varady72‘s inane babblings.

    Which I continue to refute thusly: The antics of the mildly deranged penguin.

  42. David Wilford says

    In the multi-verse where everything possible happens, by definition you have to be born. The rest is just the breaks.

  43. Seize says

    @ Kevin

    Ah, so it’s reality-based-ish (depending on the MiL). :) I was afraid it was yet another strange thing I didn’t know about wedding customs.

  44. blf says

    I can understand not wanting to fly in November (at least in USAlienstan), as there lots of turkeys be chased about the place then. And then reindeer the next month, another bad one for traveling.

  45. says

    @Seize:

    Fiancee thinks her mom is lying – she apparently has a habit of twisting the truth to get her way.

    However, by giving us $3K ahead of time (I’m getting about $2K from my family) it goes a long way to helping solve the issue we had and the reason we wanted to push to November, anyhow.

  46. Seize says

    Alright. New topic. Teleconferences: why are they always awful? Is it possible to have a teleconference lasting more than 30 minutes that is not painful?

  47. Seize says

    @ Kevin

    Well, at least you’ve found a venue and both sides are so far cooperating! This is complex relationship negotiation!

  48. blf says

    Is it possible to have a teleconference lasting more than 30 minutes that is not painful?

    No.

  49. Seize says

    Perhaps my current exposure to a teleconference approaching its second hour is stimulating my urge to engage with nihilism.

  50. rq says

    Kevin
    I suppose December would have been christmas and January the New Year, etc.?
    Ah well… September should be lovely, at least warmer.
    Good luck with the finances, too, that’s always a tough one. :)

  51. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Never been in a teleconference either. It sounds terrible. I would feel bad about people hearing me munch on cookies. So I’m guessing no, there are no cookies?

  52. rq says

    Dammit! Can’t have a proper conference (tele- or other) without cookies.

    +++

    Well, this game won’t work on my computer, but then, I’m already here. Who wants to visit?

    Benny Hill dubbed over ravers. Why is it so funny???

    Some people just want to be bad and wrong, progress be damned! The author rails against trying too hard to be progressive in literature and script-writing… And he’s entitled to his opinion (yes, it’s a he!). And I’ll agree that writing a depressed, drug-addicted trans* character isn’t necessarily a bad thing – if they were also portrayed in the myriad of other ways available, and it was one portrayal among many. However, when your go-to depiction of a trans* (or any other minority character) is to sink to easy and disempowering stereotypes, I think there’s much, much room for improvement.
    From the article:

    One must be able to access one’s darkest self, one’s venality and pettiness and murderousness. How else can one imagine real people? How else can one create conflict that isn’t predictable and didactic? [Because real people fit into boxes of set shape and size all the time, and Hollywood has been producing such unpredictable conflict in its movies lately!]

    I did not know it was a stereotype, which means probably that it is not a stereotype, but anyway, Friess is angry that the character is unhappy. [...] Friess doesn’t come out and say it, but the logical conclusion of his views is that portrayals of trans people should be happy and positive. Such characters should be role models. Depictions should encourage “broad respect.”

    Do we really want role models from our fictions? Do we really want all our female characters to be strong and intelligent? Do we want to insist that every fictional person who ever shows up in a wheelchair has to be confident and problem-free – on pain of getting blasted by disability advocates? Do we want our stories to be empowering? Would those be gripping stories or sermons?

    … So there’s a lot wrong in the article, and a lot wrong with that author’s opinions. But he may cling to them if he wishes, I will happily watch the world be more progressive, more empowering, and role-modelly and more fun.

  53. carlie says

    Teleconferences: why are they always awful? Is it possible to have a teleconference lasting more than 30 minutes that is not painful?

    Having been in 4 since Friday, I agree that the answer is no.

  54. Seize says

    Experiment 1: Day 1: add cookies to teleconference to see if subjective experience thereof improves.

  55. says

    Not sure why, but teleconferences remind me of PowerPoint presentations, which are a blight on all mankind.

    I also don’t like committee meetings. Everyone is given a chance to talk. They think they have accomplished something simply by talking to each other. Meanwhile the one (and, rarely, two) people who actually do all the work have to pretend they have received useful input. Then the one (or two) go back to work, accomplish something, and … the head of the committee as well as the committee sheeple take credit.

  56. rq says

    I’d rather the PowerPoint than the teleconference.
    Committees, however – I agree with you, Lynna. Even when they have cookies.

  57. says

    Grover Norquist let the cat out of the bag at CPAC. He publicly outlined the anti-union stance of right-wingers, and he gave a reason for that anti-union stance: unions raise a lot of money and most of that money goes to Democratic candidates.

    No mention of economic theories or of false-front concern for workers, etc.

    […] the right wing let the metaphorical cat out of the bag when it comes to their strategy of transforming America’s democracy for the many into a tyrannical plutocracy for the very few, revealing just how disingenuous the Republican Party is whenever it offers any lip service to dealing with income inequality.

    On Saturday, anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist moderated a panel titled, “After Wisconsin and beyond right-to-work laws, what’s possible now to free workers and students from unionism?” While acknowledging that union membership has fallen to a historic low, Norquist opened the discussion by claiming that unions are the greatest political force in America at the moment.

    “They’re not dead yet — they’re in decline,” Norquist said. “They raise maybe $7 billion a year in dues. Imagine how much they spend of that on politics. They are the largest political player in American politics and will be for some time. What can we do about it?” […]

    Salon link.

    At least Norquist is honest about his union-hating sociopathic tendencies.

  58. says

    rq:

    Committees, however – I agree with you, Lynna. Even when they have cookies.

    Powerful committees (not powerful in terms of accomplishment or intelligence, but powerful in terms of office politics) also tend to reduce excellence to mediocrity.

  59. Portia says

    I am going to have cookies. And coffee. And ibuprofen.

    And a nap?

    No?

    …ok, fine. Just more work.

  60. Seize says

    My education has spanned the time in which we went from chalk to writing on an overhead projector to the ubiquitous PowerPoint. I gotta tell you…excepting only the dust, I prefer chalk.

    There is of course actually great stuff you can do with a PowerPoint or other multimedia presentation which chalk cannot approach, but most people use PowerPoint to do chalk.

  61. says

    Urgh, back from parents’ night at #1′s school. Not bad per se but at the moment everything is a pain in the ass for me and my extended family.
    And some things make you want to despair. We were warned that some 3rd graders have smartphones with internet and they are watching and showing porn and animal torture videos during recess. The school is getting a “no mobiles” rule installed, but so far they didn’t have one because grade schoolers with mobiles were something people didn’t think possible.

  62. daisydeadhead says

    Xanthe wins the thread, for making my whole day with the Maxwell Smart reference.

    I suddenly heard his entire post in that Don Adams voice. :)

  63. Portia says

    rq:

    :D :D You make me smile.

    I got my coffee. In this, which I doodled out last night during a spurt of inspiration.

  64. David Marjanović says

    *spontaneous hugs for varady72* ^_^

    This was… really touching.

    Yay hugs! ^_^

    fulfilling your purpose on earth

    …Also, colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

    Republicans are counting on dissing Obamacare as a way to win back the U.S. Senate, and as a way to elect a conservative president in 2016.

    What if, instead of Medicare, Ronald Reagan and his fellow conservative Republican friends had mockingly called it ‘Johnsoncare’?

    [...]

    Imagine if Republicans had taken up the full politicized revolt against Medicare that they have against the Affordable Care Act. If they had, LBJ would be remembered more for ‘Johnsoncare’ today than for the Vietnam War, and his face might adorn Mount Rushmore. Every election cycle for a generation or two, Democrats would take great pains to remind voters just how much the opposition had stood against Johnsoncare, preferring to see the elderly die in misery and squalor.

    Some conservative extremists even today want to repeal ‘Johnsoncare’ [link to freerepublic.com]. But most were wise enough to avoid placing themselves into such a trap.”

  65. David Marjanović says

    The History of Daylight Saving Time

    Petition to the London Stock Exchange to delist SOCO International, the company that wants to explore for oil in… wait for it… Virunga National Park. o_O Make sure which boxes to check and uncheck.

    Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, keeps cutting the school budget, with easily imaginable results. Petition to stop that at last.

    In German: The winter of 2013/14 was the second warmest in Austria since measurements began 247 years ago; it was 2.7 °C above average. Number 1 is 2006/7 (3.4 °C above average), number 3 is 1997/8 (2.3 °C above average).

    As probably everyone knows now (video with German commentary), Kim Jong-un was elected to the supreme assembly of the people with 100 % of the counted votes. Turnout was officially close to 100 % as well. This “election” is held every 5 years; people can only vote “yes” or, theoretically, “no” for a candidate proposed by the Workers’ Party. I am dumbstruck by the silliness of making it 100 %. All other communist dictatures use(d) numbers like 99.96 %; this makes people who voted “no” feel like their vote was counted, and at the same time it gaslights them by making them believe nobody agrees with them. 100 % is outright counterproductive in these ways. If this goes on, I fear the dictature will end the way it did in Romania when I was little.

  66. David Marjanović says

    Wow. Read the suggested e-mail about Virunga. Looking for oil there is even unconstitutional in the More or Less Democratic Republic of the Congo.

  67. Portia says

    I’m drafting a pre-nup and suddenly I wonder…are pre-nups designed to keep women dependent on men in spite of laws designed to allow women to get divorced and not be destitute? Did I really end that with a question mark when I know damn well the answer?

    Crap. I’m wearing a black hat today, I guess. Siiiiiiiiiiigh.

  68. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    …this is news to me; my understanding was that prenups were designed to maintain individual ownership of assets people had before marriage, in the event of the marriage splitting up.

  69. says

    Reginald Selkirk @20

    More proof that cats are evil:
    House cat in Oregon attacks baby, traps family in bedroom

    Yeah, AFTER the kid pulled hir tail and one of the large humans kicked hir. The cat was acting in self-defense!

  70. Portia says

    Well, yes, that’s the express intent. But as I sit here drafting it I realize that the 50/50 split of a divorce might be the only thing that makes it feasible for some women to leave a bad situation. And if you have nothing going in, it’s hard to have the power to turn down a pre-nup. One of those situations where it could affect a person of any gender and orientation, but seems most likely to affect women in het marriages.

  71. Portia says

    For instance – the law allows for a Petition for Interim Fees – a divorce lawyer can ask the court to make the other spouse fork over dough to pay the lawyer before the conclusion of the case. In practice, it comes out of OS’s bank account. In theory, and in the end, it comes out of “the marital estate” – the pie that is divided by the end of the process. If there is nothing to divide, because one spouse is going to keep the lion’s share of it, because of what they brought into the marriage, then the court won’t require the wealthier spouse to pay for the attorney fees for the poor spouse. Just one way a pre-nup could prevent a person from getting fair treatment.

  72. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Hello Tony!,
    Have a drink on me – I just had a quick look there…
    The unrelenting tenacity of some people is amazing.
    I am trying to be in a happy place – I just can’t muster the spoons for it.
    Kudos to you and the others for not letting comments go unchallenged.

  73. says

    Daisy Deadhead @#79, thanks for that – I was aiming for the driest possible snark in response to varady’s overwrought purple prose. Don Adams had the perfect deadpan delivery to make any ridiculous thing sound appealing – and I don’t actually mind if I am an accidental by-product of someone else’s subpersonal paroxysms.

    anuran @#93, your link: A Bingo Game for Ridiculous Female Armor.

  74. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    From the abortion thread:

    Past fetal viability, induced birth is the procedure that terminates a normal pregnancy, which satisfies the woman’s right to bodily autonomy AND preserves the fetus, allowing it to become a baby. Even in cases where the woman’s life is threatened, if induced birth is possible, it is still the preferred first option.

    I’m mildly surprised to note that Amphiox asserting this isn’t met with anything like the level of resistance that I received when I’ve expressed it in past threads. Did something change? :/

  75. rowanvt says

    I need more than just a couple drinks re: that thread and today.

    I do wonder what these people think of the abort-spays that we are doing. We had 20 pregnant ferals in, some that were only a week or so away from giving birth. We ‘killed’ close to 100 “unborn kittens” today. Is that a travesty, or a somewhat sad (because many people find kittens to be adorable, far more so than human infants) necessity to keep feral populations down? Is it a travesty when it looks like a little grape? How about when it’s a sort of blob? Or is it only a travesty when it looks like a kitten? Is it a travesty at all? And if abort-spays are NOT travesties, why are human abortions travesties?

    So, bowls full of uteruses full of dead kittens was kinda ‘blargh, but yay fewer cats able to get pregnant!’ today. But then we had a frelling tomcat die after his neuter. And I got to be the one to find him. I was checking on all the waking-up kitties, tapping the corners of their eyes to check their blink response, watching them breathe, etc. I went up to the pretty lynx-point tom and poked him. No blink response, but his eyes were wiiiiiide open. I open his mouth and he’s blue.

    You never want to be able to say to the doctor “So, I think the cat died.” We tried CPR, injected atropine and epinephrine directly into the heart. I intubated him and was breathing for him, but nothing. Really sucky way to end an already sucky day; 35 procedures, with 28 of them being spays is just far too many.

    So tired. Dinner was chocolate frozen yogurt with cookie dough.

  76. says

    Hey, did ya’ll know that the government shutdown last year didn’t actually happen?

    “The government didn’t shut down,” Sanford said. “I mean everyone likes to describes it as such … the president in some cases shut down parts of government that were most visible to people. People were still getting their Social Security checks. They’re still enacting … enrolled in Medicare. I mean, I could go through a lot of different functions of government. You know, we had planes that were flying on a nightly basis … you know, using pieces of sort of our national infrastructure grid. So a lot of things were happening.

    Yeah, that was news to me too.
    Republicans Retconning history. Again.

  77. A. Noyd says

    rowanvt (#97)

    I do wonder what these people think of the abort-spays that we are doing.

    Back when I used to volunteer at a cat rescue, there was another volunteer who was very against abort-spays on account of her Catholicism. She also thought that cats shivered after being bathed because they were cold, so she would kindly—and futilely and wastefully—wrap them in extra towels. Although she meant well, she was a bit dim, so it was hard to explain to her when she wasn’t actually acting in the best interest of the cats.

  78. rowanvt says

    But… but why wouldn’t she just scruffle them dry? Cold kitties are cold because their fur isn’t able to keep ‘em warm when wet. It needs for to be fluffies. At least get most of the water out of it! Simply coating them in more towel does nothing!

    My little foster kittens, after I scruffle ‘em mostly dry will happily turn into cave kittens in a blanket until they are fully dry.

  79. Menyambal --- making sambal a food group. says

    Yeah, when I bathe our little dog, I use one towel to dry him, and then another to really get his fur fluffed back up. Then, I let him run. Some people just dry him with one towel, then wrap him up in it and hold him while he shivers.

  80. chigau (違う) says

    Ugg boots are really more a fashion thing rather than something to wear whilst trying to walk on icy surfaces.
    *ouch*

  81. A. Noyd says

    Dogs on trampolines!

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    rowanvt (#101)

    But… but why wouldn’t she just scruffle them dry?

    They were plenty scruffled already, just trembly from the whole, hideous experience. She couldn’t get them any more dry without using a blower, and, oh boy, I can’t think of any more spectacular a way to fail at stopping a cat shivering than that.

  82. chigau (違う) says

    A. Noyd #104
    Dogs on trampolines!
    I like how them quadrupeds can jumpjumpjump and then just *stop*.
    That is very much harder for bipeds.
    Well for me, anyway.
    *ouch*

  83. rq says

    *hugs* for everyone!

    rowanvt
    That just sucks, having a kitty death after a super-long day… :( *hugs*
    Though I inadvertently connected your mentioning of grapes with ‘bowls full of uteruses’ and had a very… different image of a fancy party. :P

    Tony
    I’m going to go get caught up on that thread, yesterday I just had to go to bed instead of read more repetitions from some of the commenters.

  84. rowanvt says

    But cat’s looooove hair dryers! *coughs*

    Most of the cats I’ve bathed personally have been my foster kittens, and because they start getting baths at around 2 weeks old (yay poopy butts) all of them have been fine with their baths. They’ll even play in the water! But they still shiver after so I’m pretty sure they’re *actually* just cold, not also traumatised by an experience unbefitting a deity.

  85. rq says

    Another dispatch from PEARL: surviving winter! (Alright, so there’s a lot of stuff about hiking, but there’s some contact/twitter info at the bottom, too, if anyone’s interested.)

  86. says

    Oh dear, I remember the times I had to shower and shampoo my rabbit (he had a medical problem). Not fun. He hated it, especially the shampoo.

    chigau
    Don’t hurt yourself! Esteleth and I have already used up the Lounge’s contingent on accidents!

    +++
    I swear, secular pro-lifers can’t argue their way out of a paperback. The religious ones at least have something to fall back on. That something is based on nothing, but at least it allows them to argue coherently from that onwards.

  87. rq says

    Today’s Happy Morning Song:
    “But I’m so tyyyyyyy-urrrrrrd, I can’t get uuuuuuup; Loooook at meeeeee, I can’t waaaaaaalk… [interjection: So stay in bed!] But I want to go, I’m just sooooo tiiiiiiiiiiired, I can’t stand uuuuup…”
    Repeat ad nauseum and ad infinitum and all the rest. Such little people, so much drama!

  88. A. Noyd says

    I was looking at the update notes for the newest iOS update and one of the items in the list is: “Fixes display of Mail unread badge for numbers greater than 10,000.” (Meaning the thing in the white square here.) Who the fuck is that even a problem for? And how do they cope with such ridiculous amounts of mail?

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    rowanvt (#107)

    But they still shiver after so I’m pretty sure they’re *actually* just cold, not also traumatised by an experience unbefitting a deity.

    Hmm. Thing is, we would actually have trouble keeping that bathing room cooler than “maximum sauna” in summer, but the cats would still shiver. We did keep an eye on the kittens because of their smaller mass, but they tended to recover very quickly and would get distracted by the impossible choice between licking themselves back into order and play fighting with a littermate.

    Speaking of shivering and the tragedy of dying cats, though, I’m really grateful for the experience I got at that cat rescue because it let me treat two of my cats at home when they were dying. I didn’t have to haul them to the vet and hold them shivering on the table just for things like fluids or Buprenex injections.

  89. A. Noyd says

    Less depressing: One of my current cats gave me a vigorous neck massage a bit ago. Unfortunately, being a cat, she only did the one side and remained unconvinced she should repeat the favor on the other.

  90. Nakkustoppeli says

    About elections in communists dictatorships:

    What David Marjanović wrote about North Korean elections got me curious about how they actually do the show elections It seems that (according to Wikipedia), they have the name of the official candidate preprinted on the ballot and voting against the candidate is done by putting X over the name, which you cannot do in secret and those who vote no will be put in prison camps.

    The Soviets had the same system (according to a 1970s Finnish radio program “Näin naapurissa” (“The neighbours have it like this”)), although I don’t know if they actually persecuted those who voted against the official candidate or voted for a write-in-candidate by writing a name on the ballot. Also the radio program stated that voters could by law recall a representative if they were unhappy with their conduct. So the Soviets put some thought on how to hold make elections look fair while still making it as convenient as possible for the voters to toe the official line.

  91. says

    @Tony 99:

    News to me, too. I must have imagined having my pay withheld for three weeks…

    Fucking GOP.

    @A Noyd:

    My cat once did the pizza-paws on my back and it felt really good, but then he curled up and started to fall asleep on my back and he was heavy…

  92. rq says

    bluentx
    Not really, but close. :) Middle Child just has a difficult time waking up completely, and that in-between part is a minefield of half-woken emotions. And the words “Wakey wakey” obviously mean “Climb Everest NOW!”, and so all limbs are suddenly affected by a worm-like, boneless weakness and an inability to move coherently. It would be funny if it didn’t happen at 6AM. :)

    although I don’t know if they actually persecuted those who voted against the official candidate or voted for a write-in-candidate by writing a name on the ballot

    They did – not everyone and not always, but they did. Gah, I wanted to link to the Latvian Museum of Occupation, but the site seems to be down at the moment. But I know they have information on the elections and repercussions for those who refused to vote or who pencilled in their own candidates. (They also imprisoned the potential opposition parties right before the elections, though they did officially allow them to run, but since they were imprisoned on some kinda charges, they were scratched from the list because criminals.)

  93. A. Noyd says

    Kevin (#118)

    My cat once did the pizza-paws on my back and it felt really good, but then he curled up and started to fall asleep on my back and he was heavy…

    Yeah, spines definitely did not evolve to accommodate cats. My one cat would really love to sleep on my neck or back. Or face. Ain’t happening. The other also likes being near my face but will settle for legs as long as she can drape herself over my ankles until they go numb. They seem to think I’m crazy because I do not prefer the mashed together in a suffocating lump sleeping style.

  94. bassmike says

    Hi all!

    Just a note or two on video conferences: I used to be involved in regular video conferences in my previous job. They served a purpose, but the main issue was that the main screen reacted to noise so it would change when someone spoke. Ostensibly this meant that the person speaking was always in view. In practice there was a significant delay so you invariably ended up watching the person who had just spoken. It could get confusing!

    Now I support a system by which lectures can be broadcast to a number of locations. This is used by a number of universities to provide additional lectures for PhD students. It actually works pretty well and the delay isn’t too restrictive.

    Anyway, how is everyone?

  95. rq says

    Hi-hi, bassmike!!
    We’re enjoying spring over here – the bees are out, that must mean something!
    How are you?
    *hugs*

  96. bassmike says

    Hi rq !

    The bees are out here too, and I even saw a butterfly at the weekend. Hopefully it means spring is on its way.

    I’m doing okay thanks. My Dad is now in a hospice, which is a relief to everyone. I was able to visit him on Monday and he’s pretty much bed-ridden now and as you can imagine very gaunt. I can’t remember whether I mentioned it previously, but he has made it to 80 years of age, which is something. I don’t know how much longer he’s got, but he’s exceeded what the healthcare professionals expected.

    Other than that, my little one has been/is going through a phase where she wants to get up at 6.30. She was a bit later this morning, so we’ll see how it goes. Otherwise she’s doing fine.

    My wife is rather concerned about the situation in Ukraine. Does it have any effect on Latvian security?

    I hope everything is good in sunny Latvia.

  97. bassmike says

    Congrats Kevin that’s great news!

    I’ve been trying to keep up with the lounge as much as I can, but I’ve not had the chance to post. So I’m sort of aware of a few important things – like your impending marriage. I’m very pleased for you. I hope you get the Wedding day that you want and live happily ever after.

  98. rq says

    bassmike
    I’m glad your dad got a spot in the hospice, it must be a relief to everyone! I hope he is comfortable – 80 years of age and past doctors’ expectations, that’s pretty awesome!

    re: Ukraine
    There’s a constant sense of worry, along with a lot of deja vu for the older generation (annexation of Crimea = similar to the soviet annexation of Latvia), and really politically charged undercurrents, but Latvia is a member of NATO, so there’s that. Extra fighter jets have been positioned in Lithuania and, I believe, Poland, which somewhat mitigates the fact that Russian jets have been spotted uncomfortably close to Baltic airspace (but then, they always like to push the limits a little bit). March 16 is coming up, and it remains to be seen how much division-of-society will be happening (big thing here, the division of society, with all kinds of political parties constantly pitting ethnic Russians against ethnic Latvians, though really there’s no clear divide as such…). So generally speaking things are fine, if a bit tense.
    I hope your wife’s family and/or friends back in Ukraine are safe, and yeah, keeping all fingers crossed things don’t get any worse or any more violent!

  99. birgerjohansson says

    Bassmike, regarding your father, rq put it in better words than I can.

    Getting up at 6.30? When she reaches adolescence, you will long back to this time.

  100. birgerjohansson says

    Owlmirror produced this gem at the Thunderdome, which I am copying and pasting for the benefit of non-Thunderdomian readers.
    .

    ” Confusion is the path to the dark side!
    Confusion leads to anger.
    Anger leads to hate.
    Hate leads to suffering.
    I sense much confusion in you.

    (
    Suffering leads to Schadenfreude.
    Schadenfreude leads to pie.
    The more confusion, the more pie.
    Mm. Pie.
    ) “

  101. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    I will probably not be around very much for the next week or so. The discomfort from my neck/back/shoulders/head/everything makes it rather unpleasant to spend much time in front of the computer and I’ve got a deadline, meaning what time I can spend on the computer needs to be spent writing.

    And the discomfort is making me grouchy. And since my doctor said this may take months of recovery I’m cautious about relying too heavily on drugs. And nothing helps that much anyway.

    ::grumblegrumblewhine::

  102. says

    Kevin
    Yay for progress.
    Why do weddings have to be that expensive? I don’t understand that…

    bassmike
    I’m glad your dad could finally move to the hospice. It must be a relief for your mother. All the best for the next time.

    rq
    The little one is, when waking on her own, a bundle of joy and energy. When being woken by nasty mum or the alarm clock she will cry desperately because she needs to pee and her feet are still asleep!

    +++
    I’m suffering from an accute case of armchair boredom. But I will be a good girl and give it as much rest as I can before I start the internship next week…

  103. bassmike says

    Giliell my little one is the same wrt waking up: on her own terms it’s all smiles and giggles. If she’s forced to wake it’s all whining and lack of co-operation. Also, birgerjohansson I don’t know which will be worse: being woken at 6.30 or spending half the morning trying to wake someone up. I was that teenager!

    The Mellow Monkey take care and get better soon.

  104. rowanvt says

    @ A. Noyd-

    My bathroom only reaches anything even somewhat approximating ‘sauna’ if I have the water on scalding and the fan off. Otherwise I sit there in the shower far too long whining to myself “but it’s coooold out there”.

    We have a fabulous kitty at work named Muffin who needs a home and she is the ultimate shoulder cat. I’m wanting to do a series of little sketches showing how impossible it is to get this cat down once you let her up there. I have ended up face down on the *floor* rolling from side to side trying to get her off because a- I can’t reach her to pick her up safely, and b- she will position herself anyway she must to stay on you. I love her and I wish I could take her home with me. :3

  105. rq says

    The Mellow Monkey
    Ouchie, hope it gets better soon! :(

    Giliell
    Frankly, I don’t see the difference between waking up on your own at 6AM on Saturday (and bouncy, to boot), and being woken by mum at 6.15 on a weekday. *grumble grumble*
    Though I have discovered if I let him stay in bed and go back to bed myself, within 5 minutes he’s at the door crying because he does, after all, want to go to kindergarten, and did daddy and Eldest leave yet???

  106. A. Noyd says

    @rowanvt (#137)
    Ugh, cold bathrooms are the worst.

    Muffin sounds amazing, though. Even if you can’t take her, at least that sort of trick should get her a home fast. My sister rented this house once where a cat had been left behind. The cat got into the house at every possible opportunity and my sister is allergic. She made me pull strings to get the cat into the rescue ahead of the usual adult cat waiting list. But that cat got adopted almost immediately because she was really outgoing and had this habit of climbing into laps to give slobbery kisses to a person’s face and neck. Some guy came in asking for a cat that acted like a dog. They bonded pretty much instantly.

  107. says

    Hmpf, I just noticed that the fourth Glamourist book comes only out in April…
    Off to reading something else. I should probably warn Mr about the credit card bill this month due to me buying a book every other day. OTOH I didn’t spend a penny on anything else this week so far…

  108. says

    David M. at #83:

    Imagine if Republicans had taken up the full politicized revolt against Medicare that they have against the Affordable Care Act. If they had, LBJ would be remembered more for ‘Johnsoncare’ today than for the Vietnam War, and his face might adorn Mount Rushmore. Every election cycle for a generation or two, Democrats would take great pains to remind voters just how much the opposition had stood against Johnsoncare, preferring to see the elderly die in misery and squalor.

    That made me laugh, at first. The “Johnsoncare” moniker for medicare is awesome. That last part about letting elderly people die in misery and squalor, not funny. Horrible. The thing is, the people against commie medicare pretended to themselves and to others that elderly people would not die in misery and squalor without medicare. Delusional.

    The trope at the time was that medicare would make medical care worse for the elderly. Same trope being trotted out for Obamacare, but applied across the board so that Obamacare, they claim, will make medical care worse for everyone.

  109. says

    Someone stole $600,000 from Joel Osteen’s megachurch in Texas. The heist took only the donations that had been made over one weekend. Credit card info of congregants was also stolen. Osteen regularly takes in $600,000 or more per weekend service, and more on holidays or so-called holy day.

    His church, which bills itself as the biggest megachurch in the USA, reports attendance of about 40,000 people on Sunday.

    Houston Chronicle link.

  110. cicely says

    *hugs* for rowanvt.
    It’s only a “travesty” when its unborn humans.
    ‘Cause humans are sooper-speshul.
    -
    birgerjohansson, the article seems very hazy on the difference between Egyptians and Canaanites, just in general.
    Them Ancient Middle Eastern civilizations all look alike, I guess.
    -
    bassmike!
    *pouncehug*
    I is…sleepy. Still adjusting to Daylight Saving Time, plus the Joyfulness of High Winds in the Night, plus plus unacceptable levels of Noisy Friskiness on the part of the wildlife in the attic…and in the crawlspaces.
    *yawn*
    How are you doing, this allegedly-fine morning?
     
    6-fuckin’-thirty in the morning! Aiyeeee!
    Isn’t that against the Geneva Conventions, or something???
    -
    rq:

    We’re enjoying spring over here – the bees are out, that must mean something!

    That, unaccountably, some bees still survive?
    -
    *careful, fluffy hugs* for The Mellow Monkey.
    -

  111. anuran says

    115 bluentx

    Why does ANYONE consider Operation Rescue a legitimate organization? Because they: ‘Get the Job Done!”

    I consider them a legitimately terrorist organization.

  112. Pteryxx says

    Can I haz assistance with linky please?
    I’m looking for information on the difficulties women have with obtaining contraception in the US.

    Tony!: could you be more specific? There’s conscience clauses permitting doctors and pharmacists to refuse access to BC, defunding of BC in state funds and insurance plans, defunding and closing Planned Parenthood clinics which are a major source of BC, misinformation spread by crisis pregnancy centers and abstinence-only sex “education” and so on. Start with RH Reality Check and Guttmacher.

  113. Pteryxx says

    Tony! in fact, this massive evidence dump is on Guttmacher’s front page:

    http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2014/03/11/index.html

    “We want to clarify key points, including many that should be self-evident but have nevertheless been challenged by an ideological onslaught from anti-contraception activists,” says Adam Sonfield, a Guttmacher senior public policy associate and author of the new analysis. “Among these points are basics like the fact that contraception is distinct from abortion, that contraceptive methods aren’t interchangeable and that cost and lack of method choice can very much interfere with a woman’s ability to use the method that is most appropriate for her needs and circumstances.”

  114. says

    Moment of Mormon Madness, yet another addition to the liquor category.
    Salt Lake Tribune link.

    Utah lawmakers heed Mormon church, keep Zion Curtain

    The “Zion Curtain” at bars within Utah restaurants will remain, despite renewed attempts to tear it down that had gained more ground this year than many expected.

    Because of opposition in the Senate, Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, has abandoned his HB285. It would have removed the 7-foot-2-inch opaque barrier that newer restaurants must have in bar areas so children can’t see alcoholic beverages being mixed or poured. […]

    Both Valentine and Powell said a key reason the bill did not advance this year was opposition from the LDS Church. Before the session began, it issued a video and statement urging no changes in Utah liquor laws, including retaining the Zion Curtain. […]

    Valentine said the church’s position was key. “Candidly the capstone was when the LDS Church … came out in very strong support of the Senate’s position and keeping the demarcation between what’s a restaurant and a bar.” […]

  115. says

    This is a follow up to my comment @157. Here a few excerpts from the readers comments below the Salt Lake Tribune article:

    Thank you not-so-secret government on North Temple. You have a lot of people by the nuts.
    ———–
    The reason this issue is important is because it is driven by the same people who want to control every aspect of your life and deny any civil rights they consider a mote in god’s eye…
    ———
    Their “faith” is so fragile it cannot withstand seeing normalcy and the subsequent questioning that conflicts with their programming […]
    ——–
    I suppose it doesn’t matter that Brigham Young brewed beer, distilled whiskey, made wine and that ZCMI sold hard liquor in their stores.
    ———–
    In fact, there is record of a General Conference address by BY where he excoriated the Saints for buying their liquor from competitors.
    ———-
    I am so surprised that the Churchislature did what the church wanted. That never seems to happen in Utah.
    ————
    I am LDS, don’t drink and really don’t care if there is a barrier or not. I don’t think it affects the number of drinks being sold in Utah either way. It is kind of stupid. However the question that I have asked but still have not gotten an answer is why “zion curtain” is a big deal. If you get what you ordered, does it matter. How many need to see the guy at Burger King dispense the Pepsi into the cup. Does the Pepsi taste worse because the did not witness it? Is the reason is you don’t think you are getting what you ordered? The server is cheating you? I just don’t get what the problem is. […]
    ——
    Setting aside the question of undue influence by a church on legislation there’s a very simple reason this should not be law. It places a burden of cost and inefficiency on the business without any proof that it has the intended effect. […]

    Utah libertarian mormons must have their sacred undies in an unending bunch. Cognitive dissonance reigns supreme.

  116. David Marjanović says

    Glenn Ford, innocent, was on death row in Louisiana for 26 years. He’s not anymore. (In German.)

    24 pretty astronomy pictures. (Not 25. The last page just links to other galleries.)

    What David Marjanović wrote about North Korean elections got me curious about how they actually do the show elections It seems that (according to Wikipedia), they have the name of the official candidate preprinted on the ballot and voting against the candidate is done by putting X over the name, which you cannot do in secret and those who vote no will be put in prison camps.

    The Soviets had the same system (according to a 1970s Finnish radio program “Näin naapurissa” (“The neighbours have it like this”)), although I don’t know if they actually persecuted those who voted against the official candidate or voted for a write-in-candidate by writing a name on the ballot.

    Ah, much like in communist Yugoslavia, where you voted by publicly shouting that you were voting for a particular candidate.

    Fun with photoshop.

    + 1

    Largest yellow hypergiant star spotted http://phys.org/news/2014-03-largest-yellow-hypergiant-star.html

    Artist’s impression. It’s a double star… or rather… a peanut star.

    Praise be to He!

    Awesomeness.

  117. David Marjanović says

    I suppose it doesn’t matter that Brigham Young brewed beer, distilled whiskey, made wine and that ZCMI sold hard liquor in their stores.
    ———–
    In fact, there is record of a General Conference address by BY where he excoriated the Saints for buying their liquor from competitors.

    LOL! I had no idea!

    What is ZCMI?

  118. says

    Pteryxx @155, 156:
    Thank you for the links!

    ****
    Want to change the culture? You have to address racism:

    Community organizing has that history of ignoring things that are thought to be divisive or thought to wage differences in the base of people that we’re organizing,” said Bree Carlson, NPA’s structural racism program director. “So organizers tend to look for what is the common denominator and focus on that and try to minimize anything that could make their base break apart. So that has been pretty race-adverse — which is not to say that community organizing leaders don’t care about racism. It’s just harder to organize around something where people are going to feel wildly different about it. But the fact is, no matter how much that seems like a good idea in the short-term, it’s always going to haunt you in the long-term.

    This reminds me so much of the problems in the Atheist movement.

  119. says

    From Lynna’s #158:

    I am LDS, don’t drink and really don’t care if there is a barrier or not. I don’t think it affects the number of drinks being sold in Utah either way. It is kind of stupid. However the question that I have asked but still have not gotten an answer is why “zion curtain” is a big deal. If you get what you ordered, does it matter. How many need to see the guy at Burger King dispense the Pepsi into the cup. Does the Pepsi taste worse because the did not witness it? Is the reason is you don’t think you are getting what you ordered? The server is cheating you? I just don’t get what the problem is. […]

    Isn’t the Zion Curtain an infrigement on the religious liberties of non-LDS business owners?

  120. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Artist’s impression. It’s a double star… or rather… a peanut star.

    And it’s happy to see us :P

  121. carlie says

    I’m sooo happy. Finally had a day off today and some energy and went shopping looking for a new coat – mine is about 10 years old and has gotten to the point that I can’t mend it any more. There are threadbare holey parts on one elbow and in one spot right front center that I can’t put anything decorative over, and lately I’ve had to attend a lot of meetings with people at a much higher pay grade than me (while I try to maintain an air of authority and competence) and it’s become a bit of a liability. And even at the clearance sales going on now, I haven’t seen anything for a price I could handle in my size (I’m quite rotund, so stuff that fits me is always in the higher price bracket). So anyway, I braved the storm today and did the near-region thrift store circuit and oh my goodness, I found one (which again, my size at a thrift store is like finding a unicorn). It’s actually a size too big, even, and is a boring black, but it’s a nice wool blend in great shape and looks professional and looks a lot better than mine. Plus it came from Goodwill, not one of the religious thrift stores (that are much more common here for some reason). It’s a little thing, but just one less thing to nag at the back of my brain, you know?

  122. Kroos Control says

    So apparently this new version of Cosmos was light on teh history

    Take this bit, from about 16 minutes in – and you’ll have to forgive any errors in my transcription: “Back in 1599, everyone knew the sun, planets and stars were just lights in the sky, revolved around the earth, and that we were the center of a little universe, a universe made for us.”
    Stop the tape.
    The Aristotelian cosmos was huge. Ptolemy, in the first book of his Almagest, says that the stars are so far away that in comparison to their distance, the earth may as well be considered to be a mere geometrical point. And then he proved it (as well as anything of that sort may be proved) by geometrical arguments. The Aristotelian conception of the universe had us at the bottom – not the privileged place this narrative suggests. Nor was the Ptolemaic system the only one on offer. By 1599, there were plenty of Copernicans around, and they took the point of view that the size of the earth’s orbit was negligible by comparison with the distance to the stars. (No parallax and all that.)

    Okay, start the tape again.
    “There was only one man on the whole planet who envisioned an infinitely grander cosmos.”
    “Infinitely” here is, of course, a figure of speech, and it would be captious to complain that even our modern universe is not strictly infinite. But with all due allowance being made … only one man? Okay, so Copernicus and Rheticus were dead by 1599, and Henry More hadn’t been born yet. But how about Copernicans like Maestlin and Kepler who were working actively at that time? How about Galileo, who was already a Copernican long before he wrote his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems? Or even a maverick like Tycho Brahe?
    But no. They had to pick Giordano Bruno, who was infinitely (may I use that word too?) inferior to Galileo or Kepler as a scientist, chiefly because – unlike Galileo and Kepler – he was burned at the stake in 1600. And then they had to pretend that he was martyred for his Copernicanism, a problem that was brought on by his reading “forbidden books.”
    Let’s put this in perspective. Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus, published in 1543, was not placed on the Index Prohibitorum until March of 1616. So whatever the “forbidden books” were that Bruno was supposedly reading, De Rev. wasn’t one of them, and Copernicanism wasn’t forbidden at that time. (I confess to having a fleeting fantasy that Bruno invented the Delorean, slipped forward into the summer of 1616, and read Copernicus’s tome – disguised with a brown paper wrapper – before nipping back into the 16th century in time to be burned, thus adding the invention of time travel to his other mythical scientific achievements.)

    And Bruno wasn’t in trouble for his Copernicanism. He was in trouble chiefly for such forward-looking astronomical views as his denial that Jesus was divine, that Mary was a virgin, or that God was triune. We can all agree – I hope – that burning someone at the stake for his beliefs is wrong. (If you don’t agree, please find somewhere else to comment.) But Bruno’s scientific beliefs did not play a significant role in his trial, and we absolutely did not need for the first episode of the first season of the new Cosmos to perpetuate the mythology that they did. I don’t want to be unkind, but the people who write the script need to ask themselves a simple question: Why should we take seriously their speculations about the distant future or the remote past if they can’t be bothered to get it right regarding things in our relatively recent history that we know about?
    Oh well. At least the “Appearances in fiction” category on Bruno’s Wikipedia page can now be enlarged.

    - on Bruno

  123. zacharysmith says

    So I’m such a horrible person for questioning the need to insult other commenters? I’m sorry I have old fashioned views of respect and kindness and being able to disagree without being told to fuck off and being called an idiot. The type of vile behaviour promoted by Mr. Myers in his main blog is not for me.

    I am sad because you guys had welcomed me here.

  124. ChasCPeterson says

    The type of vile behaviour promoted by Mr. Myers in his main blog is not for me.

    “*gasp*” gasped the tone-troll.
    You’re talking, yes, about use of the epithet “idiot”?

  125. says

    zacharysmith:
    I hope you find somewhere on the net that conforms to your expectations more.
    That said, I think if you remained here, perhaps lurking rather than commenting, there is much you could learn. One of the first things I learned at Pharyngula is that tone is often overrated. Especially in discussions about human rights.

  126. Desert Son, OM says

    Hello, Lounge!

    Just quickly stopping in to say hello, with a brief update, then off to bed, because I have an early wake time tomorrow and sleep (or, at least, healthier sleep) has been . . . less than easily accessible of late.

    I may post more about this tomorrow or Friday, but I went and visited my sister and she is doing o.k. Not great, but o.k. This is a month ago already, so a bunch has happened, but my sister is alive, grieving the loss of her cat, but alive. That’s way too simplified, but it’s what I have the energy for at the moment.

    Except to say . . . ! Thank you!

    Thank you so much to Dalillama, Dhorvath, The Mellow Monkey, Pteryxx, Tony!, cicely, Azkyroth, rq, birgerjohansson, carlie, and anyone else I missed in (I think it was 5 or so Lounges ago) the Lounge who had helpful suggestions when I was on my way to try and help her during crisis. You gave me so much good information and supportive words and I wanted to say thanks again.

    Tony! at #168: my thanks for the notice and I hope this finds you well, with commiserations for the infuriating flares of outrageous privilege and presumption popping up in the other thread. And, of course, to all herein, wherever these electrons find you, I send my best wishes of support and abrazos paran alguien que los queren.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  127. rq says

    WMDKitty
    Oh noes, get well soon! *scritches* Hope the antibiotics work their magic!

    Desert Son
    Good to see you, I’m glad things are well, and hope you get some restful sleep! *hugs*

    zachary
    This Lounge is for politeness.
    The main blog is for putting down trolls. That’s not a polite sort of situation at all.
    Lurking helps. ;)
    And you’re still welcome here. But we aren’t actually a hivemind, some individual thinking may be required.

  128. says

    Good morning

    Carlie
    Yay for coat. Boring black has the advantage that you can now go wild with scarves, and pins, and whatyouhave.

    zachary
    I’m sorry you don’t like it here. There’s a tremendous variation among the commentors, some who often, sometimes and never insult. The point is that those groups usually manage to co-exist.

    +++
    Wish me luck, folks, today I have another X-ray and I hope I did not cause further damage last night with a single, stupid , movement *sigh*

  129. rq says

    Also, zachary, I believe it is Dr. Myers, not Mr. Myers. Just, you know, if we’re being all polite and respectful to people.

  130. rq says

    carlie
    Almost missed it – yay for the new coat! Buying relatively new and respectable items of clothing is definitely an awesome feeling. And as Giliell says, now you can go wild with the scarves, hats, and other accessories. Let the fun times begine! :D

  131. bassmike says

    Carlie retail therapy should never be under-estimated. Why are all clothes made in sizes that seem to fit no-one? Both me and my spouse have tremendous trouble finding clothes off the shelf that fit. When she buys jeans, she invariably has to have them altered at additional cost. I have short legs and am an intermediate size, which means trousers are either too long or two short. No fair!

    Cicely *pouncehug* returned! I think that was my first one. It’s another fine morning here after early fog. Not woken at 6.30 this morning….but that was because we were up for three hours in the night with my daughter. Swings and roundabouts I suppose.

    How is everyone this morning/afternoon/evening/night?

  132. rq says

    two short

    At least they’re symmetrically short!
    I also have issues with pants, since all made for my waist size are about 10 to 15 cm too long. Not everyone’s tall and skinny.
    Shirts aren’t so bad, but yes, short legs kinda suck sometimes.
    And you put it well, bassmike, retail therapy can work wonders sometimes, if only in the short term. :) (I know, because I recently replaced all my previous maybe-one-day-again pants with six new ones that actually fit, and only 3 pairs have to be resized! This is Victory!)

    I’m entering preliminary stress mode since Husband is determined to go out to the country this weekend, and I agree it must be done (fresh air, spring, his grandma, funtimes for the kids, etc.), but I really, really don’t want to hang around his father. Haven’t seen him since his New Year’s outburst, and frankly, I don’t want to make the effort of politeness and faux-smiles. Worst comes to worst I can sit upstairs and read, but really, his dad will probably be drunk and/or sleeping it off most of the time, so I suppose there’s little cause for worry. I’m sure it won’t be that bad.
    It never is. I just worry. :P

    ++++

    To lift the spirits, some parents lip-synch Frozen‘s “Love is an Open Door”. The daughter in the background is like… meh.

    It’s been three years already?? 750 000 photos restored after being rescued following the 2011 quake tsunami in Japan.

    New bacterial insight into Crohn’s disease.

    And some cute for those as wants some!

  133. carlie says

    Thanks everybody. I did actually buy a new scarf this week ($2 on clearance!) and it’s…. *pink.

    Desert Son – so good to see you. Always love reading your comments.

    bassmike – oh, I feel you there! Arm/leg length on clothes is a bad thing of badness.

    zacharysmith – the Lounge thread was specifically created for people to have a place to relax and rest from the heavy fighting of the other threads. That’s why it’s so different. But wanting a space to not engage in it isn’t the same as not understanding and appreciating it. The topic threads prioritize accuracy, clarity, and the ability to back up one’s opinions with evidence. Politeness doesn’t rate energy being spent on it. In fact, it’s not just cathartic to be able to insult people who are acting disingenuously, it is a method by which to call them out on their dissembling in a way they are more likely to pay attention to than a “it appears that your argument is without merit” polite comment. Plus, it gives them an incentive to up their game quick if they don’t like being called out for arguing badly.

  134. birgerjohansson says

    Zacharysmith- do’t give up yet, hang around and read.

    Desert Son, good to have you back

    — — — — — —
    Simulating how the Earth kick-started metabolism http://phys.org/news/2014-03-simulating-earth-kick-started-metabolism.html

    — — — — — —
    For the benefit of graphic novel readers: Later Garth Ennis stuff is great, if you can handle his dark humor and the ultraviolence.
    In earlier stuff, like “Goddess” Ennis had not yet matured as a narrator, and did not give the characters much time to develop in between the bloodbaths.

    That does not mean Goddess is without merit. The corrupt, murderous London bobby who stays polite while torturing and killing his way around the world is vintage Ennis.

  135. says

    Juuu-huuu
    Back from doctor. Yeah, that takes about three hours
    Very good news all around. Foot is oding fine and I can wean myself off the crutches AND then the horrible injections.
    And I’m going to need my in-laws’ car, because they have an automatic, but, well, that’s life.
    And the strap-on-thick sole for the healthy foot costs 30 bucks, but I don’t think it’s healthy to walk around with one leg 5 cm shorter than the other one for an additional 4-6 weeks. OTOH, I live in Germany, so far this whole thing cost me a lot of nerves and 10 bucks…

    +++
    Waves at Desert Son

    +++
    Carlie
    Contrary to what people might think, I don’t dislike pink as a colour, especially not rhaspberry pink (I think the light baby pink should be reserved for people of colour because only very few white people can actually wear it and look good). I dislike the symbolism and limitations…

  136. Portia says

    My co-worker’s wife had a healthy beautiful baby yesterday. Now I’m browsing baby-hat-patterns to knit. :D :D :D

    *hugs* all around, as needed.

    Giliell:

    Glad things are progressing well. Hooray for low cost healthcare! I have had health insurance for the last couple months, and the novelty of low-or-no co-pay is still surprising to me. Of course, there’s still the premiums, but they’re about a third of what they would have been before. Thanks Obamacare!

  137. carlie says

    Portia – I can vouch for this one being doable for someone who doesn’t knit much/well.

    Giliell – glad you’re improving – hope that foot heals fast.

  138. Portia says

    carlie:

    kyeeeeeeeewt :D

    Lynna and rq:

    thanks for liking my cup :) The very thorough and zealous cleaning person at the office found it and washed it. The sharpie did not weather the storm very well. I has a very big, fragile-souled-artist sad. Like when I spill something on a pencil drawing that took me a whole day. Ah well.

  139. Portia says

    WMDKitty:
    *scritches* Hope the antibiotics help a lot.

    -

    Azkyroth 189 – what do you mean?

    -

    zacharysmith:
    Based on what I can see, the Lounge-folk are still welcoming. I know I am. Ya just gotta learn the culture a bit, and realize that things are the way they are for very good reasons. Several of which carlie laid out in 181.

  140. rq says

    carlie
    Very cute cap!
    I’d attempt it if I even know how to knit at all. :D As many times as I’ve tried, somehow it just doesn’t take.
    Ah well!

    Kevin
    Unless you want a totally fresh spawn, you can borrow at least one of mine, anytime! ;)

  141. Portia says

    rq:

    Yeah, I neglected to bake it, but I planned to only wash the inside of the cup (semi-slovenly, i know ;) ) The cup was second hand and had visible cracking that didn’t actually separate, if you know what I mean? So I was worried it wouldn’t take the heat.

  142. tccc says

    I don’t think this really fits in the current abortion thread, but I heard about it today and think it is important that people who support women’s reproductive rights and access to safe, affordable and timely procedures should know about it.

    A very large study was just done in California (over 11,000 participants) that shows properly trained Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Midwives and Physician Assistants can perform the most common first trimester abortion procedure with basically no difference in complications compared to MDs. It is science based medicine at its best.

    And, unbelievably, California used that evidence to allow people in any of those three professions to receive the training and perform that particular abortion procedure now.

    For some reason I can’t get the a hrefs to work properly so here are just the bare urls to the study, an article about it and the article author discussing it on the majority report with Sam Seder:

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673521/

    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/california-reproductive-rights-revolution

    http://majority.fm/2014/03/11/311-irin-carmon-california%E2%80%99s-quiet-reproductive-rights-revolution/

  143. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Azkyroth 189 – what do you mean?

    Tried to post a response to Desert Son’s comment last night, but my computer decided it’d be cute to not actually go through with it.

  144. Bicarbonate is back says

    birgerjohansson @ 184

    From the article on Heidegger’s black notebooks to which you provide a link:

    The notebooks also show that for Heidegger, antisemitism overlapped with a strong resentment of American and English culture, all of which he saw as drivers of what he called Machenschaft, variously translated as “machination” or “manipulative domination”.

    I could say as much of Stéphane Hessel who everybody seems to take for a saint. I could also say the same of at least half of the population of France and in particular people identifying with the radical right, the radical left and sports fans.

    It reminds me of Gramsci writing from prison to his wife that maybe she shouldn’t let their little boy play with his Erector set, that new-fangled American toy that may surreptitiously pervert him.

    I don’t think you can go from here to “Heidegger was a total Nazi” and even if he were, it would not keep me from admiring Die Frage nach dem Ding.

  145. opposablethumbs says

    carlie, I am happy for you about the coat. That is exactly the kind of thing that makes me happy too – when you could really do with a something, and the affordable kind of these somethings are rarer than hen’s teeth, and you find one, and you don’t have to get it from a dodgy source either. That’s definitely worth drinking to in a Nice Cup of Tea, that is :-)

    Preferably in a magic-marker-decorated mug :-D (I don’t have an actual magic-marker’d one, but I do have a mug with some nice parachuting sheep on it. And DaughterSpawn has one I found for her, which has the Penguin of Death on it (and it says “Penguin of Death” in big letters over the picture of the Penguin of Death)).

    Hugs to bassmike! Hugs to Desert Son! Hugses to Portia and rq and Giliell and to the Lounge Horders! Azkyroth, I would be glad if you would care to accept a hug!

    And my biggest possible package of respect and thanks to everyone who is being so amazingly clear and firm in the current abortion threads.

  146. says

    Sorry about your cup, Portia. You could have built a fence around it. Or “framed” it in a lucite cube. Or planted a bloody knife in it (rice or beans for support) topped with a sign, “This is ART. Do not wash. Do not touch.”

    How about hiring a museum guard for your next cup?

  147. says

    There are lots of Republican lies about President Obama, I nominate Eric Cantor for the Lie of the Week award. Actually, Cantor told several lies at once.

    “His administration’s blatant disregard for the rule of law has not been limited to just a few instances,” Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., said on the House floor. “From gutting welfare reform and No Child Left Behind requirements to refusing to enforce immigration and drug laws, the president’s dangerous expansion of powers appears to be endless.”

    http://blogs.rollcall.com/218/immigration-gop-push-enforce-law-white-house-democrats-gop/

    In the president’s first term, a bipartisan group of governors asked the Obama administration for some flexibility on the existing welfare law, transitioning beneficiaries from welfare to work. The White House agreed to give the states some leeway, so long as the work requirement wasn’t weakened.

    That’s not “gutting” the law; that’s providing governors, including several Republicans, the flexibility they requested to help move beneficiaries back into the workforce. It’s exactly the sort of power-to-the-states policy folks like Cantor usually like.

    But in 2012, the policy inspired Mitt Romney and GOP leaders to turn this into a rather shameless lie, accusing Obama of weakening welfare work requirements. The more fact-checkers went berserk, the more aggressive Romney became in pushing the lie.

    That was nearly two years ago. Cantor still hasn’t let it go. […]

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/cantor-clings-welfare-lie

  148. says

    Carlie, congrats on the “new” coat. Always nice to find something decent that one can afford. I am faced with a shopping dilemma of my own. My daughter is paying for me to visit her in Manhattan. I doubt that just ironing my best flannel shirt is going to do the trick. I don’t expect to come up to NYC standards, but I also don’t want to be a walking embarrassment.

  149. cicely says

    Pretty astronomy pictures are pretty.
    :)
    -
    zacharysmith, Once Upon a Time, I felt that politeness in argument was necessary—after all, in my experience, once you called someone an asshat, they stopped listening; therefore, your logical, well-reasoned arguments were never, ever going to reach them.
     
    Then I came here, and saw that my experience was not the totality of it—and that, shockhorror, there are people who don’t even begin to pay attention until you’ve taken the argument out of the realm of logic and reason, and engaged them emotionally—perhaps by calling them an asshat when they are behaving like an asshat. My working hypothesis is that these people equate politeness with weakness, and the strong need pay the weak (and their obviously weak arguments) no mind. Sad, but (tentatively-inferred-to-be) true. Perhaps you simply need more data (lurk moar!), or perhaps Pharyngula is a poor fit for you. In either case, I wish you well.
    -
    Desert Son!
    *pouncehug*
    -
    WMDKitty, hurray for antibiotics! Hopefully they will soon banish the evil Phlegm.
    -
    Hurray for the good foot news, Giliell!
    :)
    -
    Clothing sizing.
    *spit*
    -
    rq, *hugs* and sympathy for the upcoming country visit.
    -

  150. blf says

    The very thorough and zealous cleaning person at the office found [my artwork cup] and washed it.

    Is said person small, smelling slightly of herring, wearing a feathered tuxedo, and devoted to the causes of cheese, cheese, MUSHROOMS!, moar cheese, vin, and a bitlots of cheese? If so, they you may have found a certain penguin: Whilst there was bacon involved, and no peas, there was a noticeable absence of cheese. She’d certainly be inclined to encourage more “creative” artwork.

    On the other hand, if the buildingcity is still standing, then it probably wasn’t her. She likes to do a thorough cleaning job, right down to the Earth’s mantle…

    (Actually, she prefers someone else to do the cleaning, provided there are lots of screams.)

  151. says

    Charter schools are having the effect that right-wingers wanted, they are separating poor, brown, or black students from more well to do white students. The stated purpose of charter schools is to give parents “freedom of choice” and to provide an alternative to “failing public schools.”

    What charter schools actually do is strip funds and expertise from public schools, funneling those resources into schools where the average student is richer and whiter.

    […] As charters in the city have exploded in number and size, “they’re fostering white flight, and they’re bankrupting us,” the city’s school board head charged in a Wednesday interview.

    “We are creating separate but equal school systems,” warned Hoboken Board of Education president Leon Gold. […] By capping property taxes and fueling charter expansion, countered Gold, Christie [New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie] “is increasing the segregatory effect of charter schools, while raiding our budget.”[…]

    Salon link.

    In most cases, charter schools also fail to provide a better education than do public schools. Less regulation allows religious organizations to sneak religious concepts and anti-evolution concepts into curriculums. Charter school advocates say this is not true, but it turns out to be true overall in state after state: Utah, Louisiana, etc.

  152. says

    The right wingers make no sense, as usual:

    Speaking at an event held by the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List on Wednesday night, former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee half-jokingly claimed that legalized abortion would inevitably lead to the systematic killing of elderly citizens.

    “If we teach the generation coming after us that it’s OK to terminate a human life because it represents a financial hardship or social disruption, what are we telling them?” Huckabee said. “We’ve already given them the full capability to take us out. Now, I’m not going to make it that easy for my children to get rid of me.” […]

    http://www.salon.com/2014/03/13/mike_huckabee_legal_abortion_will_lead_to_elderly_euthanasia/

  153. says

    Bike Trails and other public trails are at risk thanks to a recent Supreme Court decision.

    The Supreme Court Monday ruled 8-1 in favor of a private landowner in Wyoming who was fighting to keep bike paths from being built near his house. The decision, according to USA Today, threatens thousands of miles of public bicycle trails.

    The case wasn’t about bike paths per se — it was about whether or not the federal government retains its control over land that had been granted to railroad companies once it’s been abandoned. But the decision undermines a federal “rails to trails” program, threatening the more than 1,400 bike and nature trails it’s created since its inception in 1983. […]

    Salon link.
    USA Today link.
    NPR link.

    The plaintiffs in the Wyoming case, Marvin Brandt Revocable Trust v. United States, are descendants of the owner of a sawmill that produced railroad ties. The family was granted dozens of acres of land in Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest; they are resisting attempts to use part of that land for a trail.

  154. blf says

    We are now on antibiotics, as the phlegm has not cleared up.

    Return to orbit and nuke yer nose.

  155. says

    This is a follow up to my comment #210. Justice Sotomayor wrote a dissenting opinion. Here’s an excerpt:

    “By changing course today, the Court undermines the legality of thousands of miles of former rights of way that the public now enjoys as means of transportation and recreation. And lawsuits challenging the conversion of former rails to recreational trails alone may well cost American taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.”

  156. says

    Anyone here that is tech savvy?
    My laptop wont function correctly. Just tried to turn it on and I get a message saying ‘a disk read error occurred press ctrl+alt+delete to restart’. Which Ive done but to no avail. I get the same message.

  157. Portia says

    I’m working up my emotional energy to go do a settlement conference* on a divorce case. I don’t have many spoons stored up right now, but I’m going to try to fake it and get through the emotional trenches of this job this afternoon. I can dooooooooo it! :D

    *Two clients, two lawyers, and a lot of issues. Legal and otherwise.

  158. Nutmeg says

    carlie: Yay for new jacket! That sounds like the kind of thing that makes a big difference.

    ***

    *does the “significant results” dance* And the results a) are interesting, at least to me, and b) mostly make sense. Also, I used a new statistical test and actually understood what I was doing and why, and I was rewarded with significance. It’s a good day!

  159. says

    Oh, Utah conservatives, must you be so cruel as well as so ignorant when it comes to gay marriage?

    A pair of state attorneys told a federal judge on Wednesday that same-sex couples who believe they’ve been harmed by Utah’s decision to freeze their marriages rights created the problem themselves. […]

    Assistant Utah Attorney General Joni J. Jones told Kimball that the couples “had no rights under Utah law” until the Dec. 20 decision and once the ruling was stayed, they did not retain vested rights.

    Jones said the state is merely not recognizing the marriages while the question of whether same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marriage is resolved, she said. […]

    Joshua Block, attorney with the national ACLU’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project, said the state’s move to strip recognition from marriages already performed would be unprecedented.

    Whatever the outcome of the state’s appeal, that doesn’t change the fact that some 1,200 same-sex couples married in Utah before the decision was stayed and have a constitutional right to have those valid marriages recognized, Block said. […]

    “You don’t undo marriages that have already taken place,” he said, and it is the state’s attempts to do so that are disrespectful of judicial process. […]

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57670412-78/state-marriages-utah-couples.html.csp

  160. says

    From the readers comments section below the Salt Lake Tribune article, (link in comment #216).

    It is abnormal to promote perversion.
    ———–
    The harmed party is not the state of Utah, but those couples whose marriages should be recognized because the law was overturned. To continue to deny this equality while the state goes through it’s painful legal gymnastics is absurd. Find for the defendants and let Utah worry about the dumb decision they made to appeal.
    ——–
    It’s outrageous that the State is now blaming these gay married couples for their haste in getting married and that they should know that the finding might be invalidated. Most of these couples had been waiting many years to get married.
    ———-
    Society is falling apart because we started arguing over who God agrees with more. He loves us all equally. WE ARE EQUAL. Prove it. Stop fighting. Go to church and learn God’s teachings, live them, then acceptance is guaranteed. Because acceptance is only part of the bigger picture. Everyone is praying for change (to help make the whole world a better place). He always sends down an enemy disguised as Love.
    (Gay Love=Happy Love) He wants us to be happy. Learn the lesson. :)
    ———–
    God forbid Gay Love in the latest testament (2000 years ago)
    ———
    my tax dollars are paying for this?
    first, the defense used is moronic…the state acted in bad faith apparently by issuing the marriage licenses.
    second, defending this in the first place is indefensible.

  161. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    I have a lot of editing and I know there are at least two scenes I will have to add/expand, but…

    I am done with my first draft of this manuscript. Phew. ::collapses::

    Now when I have brain power again, maybe I can try to at least fake catching up on the Lounge.

  162. says

    Oil companies have illegally dumped radioactive filter socks in an old gas station in North Dakota.
    Bismarck Tribune link.

    […]
    She [Noonan Mayor Cyndie Fagerbakke] called the state’s lack of oversight of oil field waste “ludicrous.”

    “I’m not at all happy about how the state regulates these radioactive filter socks,” said Fagerbakke, a farmer. “Why isn’t the state more on top of this and why don’t they have a more stringent plan for getting rid of this stuff?”

    The North Dakota Department of Health, in response to the growing number of illegally tossed filter socks, announced last week that new rules are being written to track oil field waste. A draft of the new rules is slated for public review in June. […]

    This is not the only instance of oil companies illegally dumping radioactive filter socks.

  163. Portia says

    rq:

    Yay for cheerleading! Thanks for the happy thoughts :) It went smoother than expected – and faster. Woohoo! (No settlement yet, unfortunately.)

  164. Pteryxx says

    Tony! @213:

    Anyone here that is tech savvy?
    My laptop wont function correctly. Just tried to turn it on and I get a message saying ‘a disk read error occurred press ctrl+alt+delete to restart’. Which Ive done but to no avail. I get the same message.

    That’s never a good sign – I’m not up for diagnosis but it’s quite possible for hard drives to more or less abruptly fail. There could also be a loose connection, or stuck hardware in the drive itself. It might be possible for you to still access the hard drive by booting from a portable OS on a USB stick – that’ll let you run a free copy of some Linux variant or other for further diagnosis, and to salvage your files if the hard drive itself still works).

    http://www.wikihow.com/Use-an-Operating-System-from-a-USB-Stick

    http://pcsupport.about.com/od/tipstricks/ht/bootusbflash.htm

    And yeah, that trick requires access to a computer with internet to get the OS copy onto a stick in the first place.

    Your laptop probably has a hotkey somewhere that lets you interrupt the startup sequence before it gets to the disk read error stage – may I ask what model laptop it is and what OS?

    A couple of background threads for similar problems:

    http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-1714814/laptop-hdd-error-disk-read-error-occured-press-ctrl-alt-del-restart-dropped.html

    http://www.softwaretipsandtricks.com/forum/windows-xp/18848-disk-read-error-occured.html

    http://forums.pcworld.com/index.php?/topic/139318-disk-read-error-showing-every-time-i-start-laptop-help/

    especially from that last:

    It sounds to me as if your hard drive is dying. And that makes a backup your top priority. If you don’t already have an up-to-date backup–at least of your data–make one now!

    After that, diagnose your hard drive. HD Tune is a free, excellent, portable drive diagnostic program. You can run it from a flash drive.

  165. Portia says

    Ha! rq, it looks like you’re bidding us good night in a bit of a vulgar fashion ;) Love the new gravatar

  166. Nutmeg says

    I’m being a responsible adult this week.

    Today I worked out, did data analysis, and ate vegetables and fiber.

    I just signed up for a health insurance plan. It’s surprising how little our free universal healthcare covers. I wish I had taken care of this a few months ago, when I was booted off my parents’ plan.

    Tomorrow I need to buy some tax software, and on Saturday I will do my taxes.

    *sigh* This is all very boring.

  167. Portia says

    Gah. My grandfather’s in the hospital again. 2 hours away. I have trial tomorrow with The Threatener tomorrow on the other side. May have a major problem with the case that may or may not be resolved in my favor. I’m trying not to come apart.

    Sorry I’m so me-me-me lately. I will snap out of it. Blarg.

    Wine.

  168. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    Home!

    It being a school holiday, I decided to take a vacation this week. This involved not even peeking at anything other than Twitter and FB.

    It seems that I … missed something?

    I’m guessing that (unless I need my blood pressure raised) I can stay out of those threads?


    *hugs* for Portia, Giliell, and Ogvorbis.


    Odd discovery of the day: a meal heavy in tofu followed by a meal containing curry gives me lots of curry-scented farts. Sorry for the gross, but it amused me, because I am twelve.

  169. says

    Hi. Its my turn to suggest the next book for my book club. We’ve been reading lots of realistic fiction written by white people. Nothing wrong with that, but I’m looking to depart from that. Suggestions for Sci-fi or fantasy by minority authors? Also preferably a stand alone book rather than part of a long series. (If I don’t find anything else, I’m going with No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency)

  170. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    Have you read Octavia Butler’s Lilith’s Brood series?

    Series by a WoC with a WoC protag. Creepy awesome well-written.

    Downside: is a series.

    Alternative: Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. Le Guin is white, but all of the named characters in the book are PoC. Also excellently written, full of “hmm” moments. The basic concept is what a society where there is no sex (sex as in male/female, not sex as in the act – everyone has both “sets” of genitals/associated innards and is fully functional and fertile in both aspects) would look like and how it function. LHOD is part of a series, technically, but it stands excellently on its own.

  171. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    Alternatively, you could read James Tiptree. Wrote mainly novellas and short stories.

    (James Tiptree was a penname. Real name was Alice Sheldon.)

  172. Desert Son, OM says

    Dutchgirl at # 233:

    Some thoughts:

    1) Seconding Esteleth’s suggestion of LeGuin and The Left Hand of Darkness. Outstanding work, outstanding author. I can’t add much to what Esteleth already noted, except to say that this is one of the truly greats in what is considered the foundations of science-fiction writing, and is beautifully crafted by a woman who worked (and works) masterfully in a world that considered (and still very often considers) itself the domain of men.

    2) City of Bones or Death of the Necromancer by Martha Wells. Wells is also white. She uses her background in anthropology to brilliantly paint fantastic worlds with excellent characters and compelling stories. Her work is richly realized, complex, interesting, and fun.

    City of Bones is about an archaeologist at the intersection of clashing and integrated cultures during a time of economic and agrarian crisis in a fantasy world. Death of the Necromancer takes place in a fantasy city based on a meticulously-researched Victorian-era Paris, which alone is fascinating, because many works that take place during that time are situated in Victorian-era Britain.

    Wells is excellent at writing a stand-alone novel. Both I mentioned are independent, and you don’t have to have read anything else by her to slide deliciously into either. The downside may be finding these titles in print. I think Wells should be more widely read, but she’s not necessarily a bestseller, so finding her older works in print may be a challenge.

    3) The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston. This isn’t strictly a fantasy or sci-fi novel, per se, but Kingston interweaves folk-tale narratives of Chinese women warriors into an exploration of her own life, including her relationships with relatives such as her mother. I first encountered this book in college about . . . some . . . years ago . . . and at first thought, “This really doesn’t sound like my thing,” and then as I read it I was entranced, not only by the complexity of the narratives and exploration of themes, but also by the excellence of Kingston’s skill as a forger and shaper of stories.

    4) Frankenstein: or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley. This one sometimes gets overlooked because, “19th century lolwut?” and it isn’t necessarily what most people think of as science fiction or fantasy, but not only does it explore exactly the things those categories so frequently embrace, it’s also absolutely, stunningly, beautifully brilliant. Shelley wrote a book at age 19 with more skill, power, ambition, presence, and intelligence than most professional writers achieve by age 79.

    5) Reinventing the Enemy’s Language edited by Joy Harjo and Gloria Bird. Harjo is an enrolled member of the Muscogee Nation of Oklahoma, and Bird is an enrolled member of the Spokane Tribe of Washington. This is probably more challenging given what you’re looking for, simply because it’s not one narrative, but an anthology of many different narratives across many different types of expression, from essay, to story, to poem, to song. It’s hard to categorize and summarize, so instead I’ll just quote Alice Walker from the dust jacket: “. . . remarkable for its heroic, free-spirited recognizing, confronting, and naming; and for its dedication to liberation, beauty, and usefulness. I sat before a blazing fire, reading this gift: enthralled, enchanted, in tears, in happiness and hope for four days.”

    6) Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie. Alexis is Spokane/C’ouer d’Alene with ancestry that also includes Russian. Reservation Blues takes place on the Spokane Reservation (to start), and is a modern-day re-imagining of the Robert Johnson blues legend in which a famed blues guitarist sells his soul to the devil in exchange for musical prowess and success. It’s a Blues story, a native nations story, a journey story, an adventure story, a relationship story, a geography story. It’s comic, tragic, hopeful, melancholy, complex, beautifully told.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  173. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Tomoe Gozen – By mixed-race author Jessica Amanda Salmonson. She’s from Seattle and pretty cool. She wrote some clunkers, but Tomoe Gozen is a gem of a book. Really outstanding.

  174. rowanvt says

    Portia: Many hugs to you if desired. Roosevelt, the world’s tiniest werewolf, also hopes things go well for you and that your grandfather gets better.

    http://imageshack.com/a/img19/5027/glvz.jpg

    I will finally have teh behbeh snakies in about 4 months, including a chance at finally getting my SweetCorns started up again. Torandre is simply a doll and her babies on average are wonderful. I got a new boyo as a rescue about 6 months ago because an infant in the house got salmonella poisoning and they blamed the snake. My thoughts on that were “What were you doing? Were you letting your baby lick your snake?” I doubt it was actually from the snake, of course, but I lucked out with a positively enormous and incredibly gentle boy that I named Eugene. His original name was Ryder.

    The average corn snake is about 4 to 4 1/2 feet long. Torandre is just about 4 feet. Eugene is fully 5’6″ at least. He has been to a pet expo and a furry convention with me, and was passed around to dozens of people at each and maintained his utterly laid back personality the entire time. Here’s hoping for some extremely docile babies.

    http://imageshack.com/a/img43/8717/6vbs.jpg

    I’m also expecting that in another month I should be up to my ears in bottle-baby kittens that I may torment you all with.

  175. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    So, I ran across an OKCupid profile which has the follow characteristics:

    Profile pic: visibly male.

    Listed gender: female

    An actually filled out profile, rather than just the usual “0%/0%/0%” you get with guys who registered, didn’t fill out anything, and apparently didn’t notice that OKC defaults the gender to “female”.

    And, a combination of profile and match question traits which inspired me to compose the following message:

    Notes:
    1: “Match Question” -> “Answer”
    2: Trigger warning: rape culture, misogyny, controlling/abusive tendencies, also implicit racist, homophobic, and weightist-as-fuck-ism:

    I suspect I’m going to regret sending this, but there’s a small chance there might be a teachable moment here.

    So…since you randomly came up in my results and actually had enough profile filled out to give real percentages instead of 0%s (unlike most visibly male users who have their gender set to “F”), so I was curious and clicked on it…and noticed you asked:

    “And why does it seem like no one messages back I don’t get it ”

    I suspect part of it is that you are registered as “female” and “looking for: guys who like girls” even though your profile picture shows a very clearly male presentation and makes no reference to being trans.

    I would also suggest, assuming your profile isn’t some sort of masterful parody, that your answers to basically every second question in the “ethics” and “dating” section might contribute to it. Particularly (in addition to the weightist, racist, disturbing right-wing-authoritarian stuff which, sadly, far too many women do in fact agree with), the following, taken together, would take any woman I know from “No” to “Dust off and nuke the site from orbit; it’s the only way to be sure!”

    To wit:

    “No means NO!”

    ->”A No is just a Yes that needs a little convincing!”

    “Jealousy: healthy or unhealthy, in the context of a relationship?”

    ->”Healthy”

    “Is it a requirement that you communicate every day with your significant other (via phone, text, in person, whatever)?”

    ->”Yes, no matter what”

    “Would you be okay with your significant other spending a lot of time with one of his/her exes (as a friend)?”

    ->”No”

    “Do you care about other people’s suffering?”

    ->”No, everyone has their own responsibility”

    “On average, which best describes how often you GET WICKED DRUNK?”

    ->”Twice a week or more”

    “Do you like to gag girls?”

    ->”Yes”

    “During sex, if the other person looked like they had a serious psychological issue, would you stop the sex or keep going anyway?”

    -”Keep going” bonus anti-points for the explanation “Haha I would laugh a lot but”

    “Do you believe that men should be the heads of their households?”

    ->”Yes”

    “Do you think women have an obligation to keep their legs shaved?”

    ->”Yes”

    “Would you—for any reason—read your mate’s email or pose as him/her online, without his/her knowledge and permission?”

    ->”Only if I suspected them of something.”

    “Do you like horror movies?”

    ->”Yes”

    Granted, some of these are pretty innocent *on their own* but taken as a whole pattern (also, every single item on that list, juxtaposed with the first, because holy fuck…)…

    …um, I’m not a woman and will probably never meet you and I’m suddenly feeling an intense urge to guard my drink.

    What do you folks think? Should I send it?

  176. Crudely Wrott says

    Sending *gentle and healing hugs* to Giliell: hope the wheel heals fully and quickly.
    &
    For Portia, *hugs of confidence and determination with some also for Grampa*. As well, I am always impressed by your ability to just git shit done. Carry on, friend.
    &
    Zacharysmith, I echo the advice of commenters above. Come here to the Lounge to relax, to partake, to be renewed. Also to learn. Shoot, you might teach us a thing or two. Or you might simply help us enjoy the too-limited time we have to spend here with one another.
    Hey, it works for me. It just didn’t happen all at once. I recall a couple of spankings back in the early days . . . Hang with us, eh?
    __________
    Good news is sometimes the consort of bad news:
    Had, for the first time, a heart to heart moment with Son in Law. I mentioned recently that I had been pretty tough in my judgement of him. His forthrightness and earnestness confirmed that I had been too hasty and had made assumptions in error. (One must always allow for the “Oops Factor”!)

    Because of [reasons (mostly including idiot drugs and the uncertainties and misapprehensions that they engender)] I have been on tenterhooks for some time. Our few minutes together has reduced that feeling to a much more tolerable level. The short term effect is to assuage some of my fears concerning my near future course. Also enabling me to make plans and changes with more confidence than, say, yesterday. This is hugely encouraging to me.

    Not so good news is that my surviving daughter has faltered in fighting her addiction to opiods (the above mentioned idiot drugs). Honestly, why do people take drugs that make them idiots? I know, rhetorical question but, dammit, when Jesi was younger I tried so hard to inform her about such things . . . frank and honest conversations and such . . . I tried then, and I am still laboring now, to be a good father. I just don’t want to lose her too.
    __________
    A solicitation of suggestions:

    What kind of internet based opportunities might suit a poor old stove-up carpenter with fair language skills, underdeveloped search fu and contempt for marketing scams? I need to generate funds for the family’s benefit as well as my own.

    More directly, what web sites/resources have any of you had experience with that offered credible earning potential? Any? Not looking to get rich, here. Just to raise my level of financial participation. I’m investigating other avenues to make some bucks but since I do spend a lot of time at the Screen and Keyboard . . . maybe I could make profit in my off the work bench hours.

    Also, I need to buy moar tools! I still have my wood working skills though leaning over the work bench is taxing. Experimenting with raising and lowering my work surface to spare my back from assuming pain inducing postures. I’m working on a series of picture frames now, all hand tool work. They look good but the labor, not to mention the elbow grease, take lots of time. Oh! For a table saw with good blades and dados! I could get so much more done ever so much faster.

    *imagines hivemind vibrating softly, generating a soft hum that rises slowly in pitch and volume*

    All suggestions lovingly accepted. =)

  177. says

    Thank you for your thoughtful responses. I’ll have to pick one for the club, but they will all go on my reading list (although I have read some of them already, it may be time to read them again)

    Rowanvt: what do pet corn snakes eat? I’ve never been too much into non-mammals as pets, but your description of Eugene makes him sound positively cuddly.

  178. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Aww, moderated :(

    Rowan: If you happen to get any that turn out “mean,” you might consider labeling them as “Children Of The Corn Snakes” :D

  179. rq says

    Nutmeg

    ate vegetables and fiber

    I always picture people eating paper and cotton when they say things like this (mostly for the fiber part, not the vegetables).
    I have to do my taxes too. Really, I can’t skip them? *sigh* It’ll all be so tangly and odd since it’ll be the first time I have to do them as self-employed and I have no idea how that ties into my employment. Time to find the accountants among my friends!!

    Stealing that booklist, thank you, Desert Son! I await with anticipation what Dalillama will put forth.
    Going to second (third?) the Left Hand of Darkness, in the meantime – I have re-read that book so many times (though none of the others from that universe). I love it. Going to have to read all the rest of the list before I can say any more about them. :)

    *hugs* for anyone who wants, *other gesture of support* for anyone else, available freely!

  180. says

    Good morning
    Many hugs to Portia. Sometimes we need me, me, me time


    Also hugs to Crudely
    I’m sorry but I can’t help you with your problem :(

    Dutchgirl
    I totally and utterly recommend N.K. Jemisin’s “The Killing Moon” Written by a Woman of Colour, with a WoC protagonist and a world where white people are strange barbarians. Unlike your run off the mill fantasy she bases her world not on the European Middle Ages, but on ancient Egypt.
    It’s a bit hard to get started, because you’re getting thrown into this world without a warning (but the book does have a glossary), but totally fascinating.
    It’s the first book of a series, but you can simply read it as a stand alone, because the story has a climax and an end. The second book starts 10 years later and the protagonists of the first book are supporting characters in the second one.

  181. Crudely Wrott says

    Rowanvt, thanx for the snax pix.

    I now understand what your Sweetcorn project means.

    Back in the middle of last century my brother and I used to prowl New Hampshire stone walls on summer mornings. We took a gallon jug with us and often filled it full of Garters, Milks, Smooth Greens and my favorite, the name of which escapes me but is plain brown on top but underneath transitions from pale yellow under the chin through orange under the belly and finally red under the tail.

    The stone wall held the sun’s warmth well after sundown and were comfy places for the ectotherms to spend their nights. Under the morning sun the rocks warmed rapidly. Snakes went between them in the cool of the evening then climbed atop them in the morning to return to hunting temperature. That’s when we’d grab ‘em. They were too slow to escape two puny man cubs!

    Our most famous catch was a five foot indigo that bit me once during capture (didn’t tell Ma, of course) but became docile in a startling short period of time.

    We got a dime apiece for them at the local pet shop (not the Indigo; we took it back and released it where we found it; some kind of respect, I recall). I wouldn’t do that now. So many of those wondrous reptiles must have met untimely and cruel fates. But back in the day we made enough money to buy comic books and model rockets as boys were want to do.

    Our hands were so quick and clever then.

    Later in life I lived in Florida and observed and caught many rattlesnakes, Eastern Diamondbacks and Pygmies. There is an amusing story about the morning when a forearm thick Diamondback caught me with my pants down . . . I’d tell it now but I want to first be sure that Oggie is present.

  182. Crudely Wrott says

    Thanks, Giliell. *richocet hugs*

    Also, good morning from the dark latitudes even though it sure looks like night from here. =)

  183. Desert Son, OM says

    So, catching up somewhat sorta kinda:

    Azkyroth at #189:

    I apologize for not being clearer. I included you in my thanks because you offered encouragement and support, and I was grateful for that. I felt better, and your comment those weeks ago was part of that. Some of the commenters I mentioned offered suggestions for resources, some offered encouragement. I was grateful for both. I was grateful just to “speak/type” in electrons medium and “hear/read” voices back. My thanks again, and with apologies again for not making that clearer in my previous post.

    The general update about the situation with my sister, as much for myself as anything:

    Trigger warning for house pet death, veterinary medicine details, grieving, and psychological/emotional traumas:

    I drove up to see my sister on the 29th of Jan. Her cat had been diagnosed with renal failure and because of numerous shitty circumstances in my sister’s life, she felt she was losing all that she had left in life and had expressed suicidal ideation.

    I arrived at her place, there were hugs, many tears. I brought her printed resources of telephone numbers and organizations she might turn to in her area for difficulties she was having. Pteryxx gave me much good information. Again, my heartfelt thanks, to Pteryxx and also not just to Pteryxx, but to everyone who had something to say.

    We drove Abby to the vet. My sister forgot her glasses and so she asked me to be her “eyes” when the vet was showing us the most recent blood test results. Abby’s blood toxin levels were 8 times the upper limit—not just 8 times normal, but 8 times the upper limit for what would be considered sustainable/survivable/treatable/actionable. Her kidneys were gone at 9 years old. It was awful for my sister, and seeing her in pain, of course, summoned my own pain (I didn’t really know Abby very well, but we humans are social animals, of course, and we form profound emotional bonds—beautiful emotional attachments with complexity—with our pets as amongst ourselves). I grieved. My sister was crushed in grief.

    The vet informed us renal failure is not unusual in cats. The vet was very compassionate, knowledgeable, professional, caring, tactful, answering questions, waiting patiently for sis to speak, not trying to jump in with explanation until requested. My sister had asked me to be as objective about the situation as I could because she felt she couldn’t be. She later told me she was on the verge of grabbing Abby and running out the door, running away.

    The vet explained that Abby might live for another week, maybe more, but eventually it would mean sepsis, vomiting blood, pain, immobility. My sister kept asking me if euthanasia was the right thing. I told her it was, and I genuinely felt that, not just saying that to try and alleviate anything, or mediate anything. I would have felt wrong trying to mediate her emotion and experience anyway. Our father and mother have done that on occasion: “There’s no use in feeling angry. It doesn’t help anything.”

    Fuck that noise. I love my mom and dad, but fuck that noise. One of the things I have learned at Pharyngula is that anger actually is a very real thing and no less valuable for its reality. What we do with our anger is important, but having it, expressing it, experiencing it is not suspect or unworthy, and is often absolutely right. I was trying to support my sister, and also do what seemed ethically the right thing.

    Abby potentially suffering, vomiting blood, in pain, locking up in sepsis, and also my sister watching that happen, helpless to prevent it, to reverse it. So I told sis it was the right thing.

    She asked me if she thought Abby was angry with her for making that decision. So this was getting into challenging territory (but when is life anything else?), because sis’ question implies a consciousness post-mortem. I answered her as honestly as I could and trying to be careful not to turn these moments in time into a philosophical discussion about the nature of existenece. I said “No, I do not think Abby is angry with you for making the decision about euthanasia.” My sister knows I don’t believe in gods or afterlives or whatever, and it wasn’t about me, anyway.

    Tears as I write this now. I know it’s really disjointed narrative. It was a tough day. Sis was really worried that something she had done had resulted in Abby’s renal failure: failure to notice something earlier, failure to notice if Abby had chewed on a poisonous plant, similar. The vet and I both reassured her that such was not the case, and that with something like renal failure it’s not like an extra can of cat food, or a different brand, or something would have prevented the onset, especially since as a rescue there was no way to know what Abby’s early life had been like, what she had been exposed to, etc. Sis had been good about making sure Abby had her shots. Also, with something like renal failure, depending on how long it takes to present, it can be hard to see symptoms that don’t also look possibly look like something else, and by the time you’re certain, well, shit, it’s renal failure.

    Sis has done some work as a medical assistant with dialysis patients. She indicated verbally for the vet to proceed with euthanasia. She held Abby as the vet administered ketamine. Abby drifted to sleep. Sis was worried that Abby’s eyes were still partly open, but the vet assured her that with many cats their eyes do not fully close under sedation. The vet administered the injection to stop Abby’s heart I forget the name of the drug. Sis, in tears, asked me what was happening. I told her that Abby was dying in about as good a way as I could imagine it is possible: asleep, at peace, without pain, held by someone who loves you.

    This is turning out harder to write than I anticipated. If you could see me now you might chuckle as I struggle to open a fresh package of tissues. Can’t find the little tab. Scissors it is! Yay! I’m an example of an animal species that uses and makes tools, and am not unique in that, happy to be in good company, corvids, apes, some insects, others too numerous and beyond my ignorance to name.

    Sis asked again if it was the right thing. Yes, I answered. She asked if she had done wrong. On the contrary, I said, think of what you’ve done: Abby was a rescue. Who knows what life and pain she might have had. You took her in, gave her shelter, food, love, play, companionship.

    Sis cradled Abby. She asked for some of the fur the vet had shaved from Abby’s arm to find a vein. I wrapped the fur in some tissue and put it in sis’ purse.

    This is us. Long chains of hydrocarbons cycling electrical signals, aware of ourselves, making meaning, looking for beauty, seeing ourselves in others, and also failing to do that very same thing, as well. Wanting to be connected and differentiated, alive in both conditions, much more than just any two conditions at once, a riot of complexity. Translating our sensation of atomic experience into language that delights and frustrates in equal measure.

    My sister still believes in a god and a universe that cares, that has a purpose for things like the deaths of beloved cats. Many of my own cycles spent long years imaging the universe cared, yet grateful now that I realize it doesn’t, and therefor all the more important that we social animals care. Abby’s electrical cycles spun down. The vet returned and used stethoscope to listen for vital signs. None.

    The vet was kind to let us remain as long as sis wanted. We stayed a long time. Sis talked to the body and stroked it. I gave sis hugs when I think she needed, stood back when I think she needed.

    Sis had made arrangements for cremation through a service that provides the ashes in a small pine box with the pet’s name engraved. The vet told us the office would call in about six days to let sis know when the box would be ready. Sis now has that box on the work desk that was our grandfather’s and that sis inherited when Grandaddy died.

    On the drive back to sis’ apartment she asked again if I thought Abby was angry. I said no. She asked again if she had done anything wrong. I said no. She asked both of these questions several times over the course of the next three hours. Each time I said I thinks he did the right thing.

    We stopped at a gas station so I could get a bite of lunch and sis could have a cigarette. My sister wasn’t hungry, but asked for a soda. Before I went inside we stood out in the cool air. Sis got really angry. She yelled and said how she hated her life, hated the world, hated what had happened to her. She kicked one of those newspaper dispensers that hold free publications. She said how she was angry at god.

    A few days later, when we talked again on the phone, she thanked me for just standing there, not trying to soothe, not trying to placate, not trying to analyze, but just letting her yell and be angry. I often feel like I don’t get a lot of things right in life, but I think I managed to not fuck that one up and just let her be there, not in place of her or in judgement of her.

    She lit her smoke, I went inside, got food, two sodas. We drove back to her apartment and after I ate I helped her do some cleaning. I emptied the litter box, set it to soak in some water, put away toys, rinsed and stowed away food and water bowls. We talked about some things, some related to Abby, some related to family, some related to work, some related to other aspects of life.

    I had to get back to Austin, about 3.5 hour drive, so got on the road about 1800, Sis and I had a long hug. She thanked me for coming to visit and help, a day after her birthday, thanked me for the resources I brought (thank you again, Pharyngula!).

    I think I estimated approx. 120 miles worth of I-35 under some construction stage, either actual grading/lane-closure/tarmacking or prepping with orange barrels and concrete barricades off to the side. I’ve driven many of the U.S. interstate highways. It’s neither here nor there, but I really loathe I-35 between Austin and Dallas/Ft. Worth.

    I’ve chatted with sis since, on the phone. She’s doing o.k. Her part time job has had some small improvements. She secured an interview with a headhunter (I find that an uncomfortable term. Job placement facilitator?). She has begun volunteering at the SPCA. The other day, on the phone, she thanked me for what I did, for the resources I brought. She said I really helped her. I thanked her for saying so, and then said I think she also really helped herself.

    So that’s the story, with thanks again for the kindness and compassion and support I received here a little over a month ago. I was away from Pharyngula for the last few weeks. Occasionally I need a break from the internets.

    Psychedelic Furs, “Heartbreak Beat” just came up on music player. “And the world don’t stop every time that you call. And the world don’t stop every time that you fall.” The nostalgia rush for me on this song is pretty heavy. I’m laughing now, amidst the tears, remembering postures physical and intellectual I struck in the years around the time I first heard this song.

    So, to bed soon, and the comedy that that has been lately as I try to find some quietude for my brain so that I can actually reach some form of healthy unconsciousness.

    I’ve missed all that’s going on in this thread, so I apologize that I am not up-to-date. Support and abrazos si queren for Portia and Giliell, and a pouncehug in return for cicely, and wishes for everyone that, in your lives, there are some measures of peace interspersed with some measures of beautiful astonishment.

    Thank you again.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  184. Crudely Wrott says

    error report: replace “latitudes” w/”longitudes”

    *there’s that Oops Factor again . . .*

  185. A. Noyd says

    Azkyroth (#241)

    What do you folks think? Should I send it?

    What would that accomplish besides teaching him to lie so he could meet up with some women before they found out the hard way what a shitbag he is?

  186. Crudely Wrott says

    Desert Son, you wrote this:

    This is us. Long chains of hydrocarbons cycling electrical signals, aware of ourselves, making meaning, looking for beauty, seeing ourselves in others, and also failing to do that very same thing, as well. Wanting to be connected and differentiated, alive in both conditions, much more than just any two conditions at once, a riot of complexity. Translating our sensation of atomic experience into language that delights and frustrates in equal measure.

    Especially as it relates to your Sis and her beloved cat, this is achingly beautiful. These words would be well taught to children in the early grades. You are certainly not the only one with wet and blurry eyes.

    I’m going to take your post to bed with me now in the hopes that they will be woven somehow into my dreams.

    You did well, my friend. Not only for the sake of your Sis but also for the sake of Abby. No one could be angry. Life has its uncertain beginnings as well as its uncertain endings, all the while “aware of ourselves, making meaning, looking for beauty, seeing ourselves in others”. The meaning of life is caught up in and defined by exactly this sort of thing.

    Thank you.
    Good night.
    Sweet dreams.

  187. rq says

    Desert Son
    A heartfelt Thank you for that post.
    I have no words for you, but I do have some awesome *hugs* right here, if you would like some! (Alternatively, I can just sit beside you in companionship without any internet-physical contact.)
    I hope your sister continues to do well/better, and I’m glad she has someone like you to turn to. :) You rock!

  188. opposablethumbs says

    Desert Son, sounds like you are an exceptionally awesome brother and that you made one hell of a difference at a time when your sister really needed you. Thank you for being like that.

    And hugs to Portia - hope the sources of stress resolve in your favour, and especially good wishes for your grandfather. I’m so sorry he’s ill and back in hospital – hope he’s better soon!

    rq, thank you for the latest lot of pics, which are great. The “Man Attacked by Babies” statue is kind of compelling!

  189. says

    Desert Son @249:
    I couldn’t make it through your entire comment. Even with the trigger warning, I couldn’t handle it. Just about a third of the way through I started crying. Not mild crying. Full on waterworks. I don’t recall being triggered in such a way before.
    I lost my cat, Kara, several years ago due to kidney failure. She was such a wonderful companion. I could call her from across the house and she’d come running. She used to sleep on my chest when I took naps. The vet told me she didn’t have long to live, but that she could be fed intravenously until she died. I felt that not only would her quality of life not be great, but I worried that with my job schedule I wouldn’t be able to feed her at regular intervals. I opted to euthanize her. I held Kara as the vet inserted the needle. I held her as her body went limp. I held her as she died and I watched as…
    I can’t finish this.
    I can’t stop crying. It hurts so much.

    But I want to let you know I’m so happy you were there for your sister. Being alone when you euthanized a beloved animal is…

    good night all.

  190. rq says

    Tony
    *big giant hugs* and thanks for the compliment. :) It was all rather inadvertent, but I’ve been feeling pretty good about my contributions. So, having the time and the energy, I may participate more in the future.

    opposablethumbs
    I don’t know what it is about that picture (the caption? the pose?) but I definitely agree. :)

  191. says

    I don’t know, guys, help me: Do men suffer some real harm if they don’t mansplain once in a while?
    So, this week I’ve been doing the most necessary work in the kitchen. Last week Mr. made some very, very, very basic meals. Everybody was grateful when I managed to make something again last Saturday.
    So, that’s the level at which he’s navigating the kitchen. He can make an eatable sandwich.
    Today I’m preparing cupcakes for #1′s after school daycare who have a small event tomorrow.
    So, I need grounded almonds, but I only got whole almonds. So I said “I need to roast the almonds first and then cool them again” and he told me that “no, you have to ground them first!”
    Head->Desk

  192. rq says

    Giliell

    Do men suffer some real harm if they don’t mansplain once in a while?

    I would suspect that yes, they do. Or else it’s a kind of reflex instinct that they can’t always stop before it comes out, no matter how hard they try.
    For instance, today, I asked Husband if it was worth going to the store now, in the morning, or will we be doing all our shopping in the afternoon before setting out for the country. His response? No, the packing’s more important, we’ll do the shopping later. I mean, obviously I’m incapable of doing both, and haven’t done the packing yet, which is why I’m asking about shopping – so it must be either/or. Meh. (Still, I’d rather do the shopping later – it’s just the reply that got to me.)

  193. opposablethumbs says

    Eh, if you want almond paste, that is ;-)

    Tony, may I just say that I agree wholeheartedly with your #256!

    Yeah, having a pet put down is heartrending even when you know it would be cruel not to. Our first dog got lymphoma in old age and lost mobility, and we were told we could opt for intensive treatment for not-much-more life – maybe weeks – and with poor qol at that. We agonised over the decision and all came away from the vet’s in tears but it was the right decision. Quick and painless and being cuddled by all the family was better than the alternative. Always miss him, though.

  194. Portia says

    Esteleth: Thanks for the hugs and the knowledge that I’m not the only one who smells my farts ;0)

    Tony: Thanks for the hugs and the reassurances.

    CW: thanks for the compliment and the special hugs :) sorry I don’t have any advice, just lots of well wishes.

    rowanvt: Thanks for the support and I can’t wait for kitty-pics :D Glad your snakes are copacetic :D

    rq and Nutmeg: sssssshhhhhhhhh if you don’t draw their attention, the taxes won’t see me, I’m being very very still.

    Giliell: thanks. *gentle hugs*

    Desert Son: *hugs*

    opposablethumbs: Thank you. *longsqueezygratefulhuglikemyfavoriteauntiegives*

    Giliell:

    Do men suffer some real harm if they don’t mansplain once in a while?

    Like rq, I think that they must, and have an example. Last week we were discussing Long Term Things, and S started to tell me how tricky it is for women who breastfeed and work, what with breatpumps and whatnot. I may have snapped at him, because as a woman who has a male-dominated career and also wants to eventually have kids and probably breastfeed them, I clearly would never have thought about the practicalities of the issue. Noooooooooo.

  195. bassmike says

    Desert Son that was a very moving post. Thank you for sharing it. I hope that your sister is able to get to a better place emotionally soon.

    Tony *hugs* for your recalled memories.

    Giliell I’d love to think that I don’t mansplain, but I’m sure I do. For which I unreservedly apologize to anyone who has been on the receiving end.

    Portia as far as I’m concerned the lounge is exactly the place where you can be ‘me, me, me’. I enjoy reading you posts, no matter what the subject is. *hugs* if required.

    rowanvt Oddly I dreamt about a baby snake last night. Maybe the MDP spkied my cheese!

  196. carlie says

    Desert Son, that was so moving. Thank you for telling us. My cat died of renal failure too, although long and drawn-out rather than sudden, and if it would help your sister at all to know, we had the other end of it – we did not want her to die in pain, and we did not want the trauma of her dying at home and one of us having to discover her body somewhere in the house after the fact. The vet said we’d know when it was time. Well, time came at just the wrong time, on a weekend night. We waited, and waited, and it was time, and we still resisted that it was time, maybe it wasn’t quite yet, and then it was late Sunday evening, and if she could just get through till morning we’d take her in the minute the vet opened Monday morning, and she died that night. I just… we should have taken her in. I have no qualms at all now about having a pet euthanized when it needs to happen, because the alternative is no better and can be worse.

    Crudely – I’m so glad you’re doing better with your son in law. Hoping for your daughter to come to a better spot soon.

    rowanvt – you are the only person who has ever made snakes sound somewhat interesting to me. :)

  197. says

    Lynna will probably get to this later, but I’m so enraged:

    Michigan residents who buy health coverage in the private marketplace after Thursday will not have access to abortion coverage, even if a pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.

    On that day, a new state law goes into effect that prohibits insurance companies from covering abortion services unless customers purchase separate add-ons – called riders – to their insurance plans ahead of time.

    No insurance companies will be offering those riders to new customers in the private marketplace after Thursday, according to the state’s Department of Insurance and Financial Services.

  198. rowanvt says

    @244 Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    “Children Of The Corn Snakes”

    That is far too creepily perfect. XD

    @247 Crudely Wrott

    Always glad to provide pictures of the snakes. :D Also, I think the snake you’re describing is the aptly named Red Bellied snake. I have only ever seen a single wild snake, though I’ve heard plenty of rattle snakes. There was a huge gopher snake that lived in the horse pasture where I went to school for my vet tech license.

    @249 Desert Son, OM

    I am so sorry for your sister. ;_; It’s so hard to lose a beloved pet like that. If she asks again if she did the right thing, tell her for me that she absolutely did. I’m a veterinary technician, one of the ‘nurses’, and I consider euthanasia the last, best gift we can give our pets. I’ve seen cats die of renal failure and it is not a kind death. So 100% she made the correct choice, even though it was hard.

    @265 carlie

    Yay for making snakes somewhat interesting! I find their genetics fascinating, and really would like to see if they can be actually domesticated. Besides, a part of me wonders if making them more docile will have odd effects on color and pattern like it can in mammals.

  199. birgerjohansson says

    @249 Desert Son,

    Every time I have had to put down a sick and uncurable pet, I have hurt the same as your sister did. It means losing a family member.

    — — — —
    I am threadrupt, so it is possible you have already seen this:

    “Spiritual archaeology.”
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2014/03/13/benefiel-america-cursed-by-egypt-baal/#more-26407
    “Now here’s a meeting of conspiratorial minds. Cindy Jacobs, she of the bottomless spaghetti bowl*, and John Benefiel, another self-declared “prophet” who thinks the Statue of Liberty is demonic and that he can
    cause earthquakes with prayer, meet to discuss how America is cursed because the Egyptians
    dedicated the country to Baal, thus giving Satan a “legal right” to interrupt God’s blessings. They call this “spiritual archaeology.”

    *She literally claimed that Zod provided more spaghetti from her bowl than she had put in. While that may be a feature of RPGs**, it is rarely encountered in reality.

    **I am pretty sure there is a concept of bottomless containers in some RPGs but I have totally forgotten what they are called.S

    BTW Satan is a corporate lawyer???
    And “the Egyptians dedicated the country” -is this something that goes back to Seth, aka Souhtek, of “The Pyramids of Mars”?

  200. birgerjohansson says

    Snake genes:
    I think some genes involved in making more neck bones (thus longer necks) are also implicated in cancer, but snakes and wossname, slow-living mammals who live upside-down under branches, have so slow metabolisms that it does not matter.

  201. rq says

    Swiss carrot cake cupcakes

    Would that be Swiss carrots, or Swiss carrot cake? And where can I get some?

  202. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    birgerjohansson:

    wossname, slow-living mammals who live upside-down under branches,

    You mean one of these ?

  203. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    rq:

    Swiss carrots

    Those are the carrots with holes in them.

  204. rq says

    Ogvorbis
    Oh! I keep throwing those out. Didn’t know they were supposed to be that way. ;)

  205. David Marjanović says

    wossname, slow-living mammals who live upside-down under branches

    Sloths.

    Everything that’s not a bird or a mammal has slow enough metabolism to avoid problems, it seems; and birds, somehow, hardly ever get cancer.

  206. rq says

    Alright, y’all, I’m off for the weekend.
    My stress levels have already gone up due to certain people rushing for no good reason, but the car ride out should be quiet and calming enough. Have a nice weekend, allay’all!!
    *hugs*

  207. David Marjanović says

    “Dartmouth College” sounds somehow familiar, eh? Petition with trigger warning for rape.

    Wasn’t there recently a complaint that Facebook has a keylogger and uses everything you type, even if you never post it, to send information about you to advertizers and/or the NSA? Apparently they’re still doing it. Petition to stop.

    “The Ontario gov has decided that it will reinstate” a bizarre practice called the “spring bear hunt”. Petition to cut that crap. The e-mail, though bizarrely not the petition itself, goes on to explain that sightings of bears in urban areas do not correlate with the hunt, so that’s not an excuse.

    The new nominee for deputy trade representative of the US is Robert Holleyman, a former lobbyist who played an important role in backing SOPA. Petition to Congress not to confirm him.

    Petition to raise the minimum wage; apparently a vote is scheduled soon.

    (Also, I suggest Sheldon Whitehouse for president simply because of his name.)

  208. Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human. says

    rq:

    Oh! I keep throwing those out.

    Do they curve like a whiffle ball?

    I’m off for the weekend.

    Oh, look. An oppressive calendarist is oppressing me!

  209. says

    This is a follow up to my comment #206, regarding charter schools and the difference between their stated goals and the actual effect they have on education.

    What many far right conservatives actually think is that public education is socialism, oh great evil! Occasionally, they even say that out loud.

    A Republican member of the Ohio House of Representatives denounced the entire American public school system as “socialism” […]

    […] Rep. Andrew Brenner (R ) wrote in a post published Mar. 3 on Brenner Brief News, a website founded and edited by his wife. “That seems to summarize our primary education system. Public education in America is socialism.”

    Brenner serves as vice-chair of the Ohio House Education Committee.

    […] He noted that the Tea Party, which “will attack Obama-care relentlessly as a socialist system,” rarely brings up “the fact that our public education system is already a socialist system[…] and has been a socialist system since the founding of our country.” He addressed teachers unions — “an outgrowth of our socialistic education system” — which he granted originally improved things “temporarily” before they ultimately “became bureaucratic and they started to take the place of school boards and school management.” […]

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/andrew-brenner-education-socialism

    This reminds me just how much some conservatives hate public education, or even publicly-supported education. They have a hard time doing away with public education entirely, so they conduct sneak attacks via charter schools, which they say are “public schools.” They also remove regulation from some of their non-traditional school options so that they can introduce religion, so they can rewrite history, and so that they can promote faux economics.

    Conservatives seem to be also laboring under the mistaken impression that education should be a money-making corporate venture. This ties in with PZ’s post about shopping for education at the university level and finding that too many universities have taken counter-productive cost-saving measures, counter-productive to the goal of education anyway. Perhaps productive in reaching the goal of saving money.

    Conservative politicians also love to bleed public schools and publicly-supported higher education facilities of funds. After the bleeding, they point to failures produced by their anti-funding campaigns as being someone’s else’s fault. Maybe its the teachers’ fault and we should ban unions. Maybe its the fault of creeping socialism.

    Here’s Andrew Brenner’s summary of free market education:

    “In a free market system parents and students are free to go where the product and results are better,” he wrote. “Common core and standardized tests under such a system will not be necessary, because the schools that fail will go out of business. Government will not be there to prop them up with more tax dollars and increased regulations. Successful schools will thrive. The free-market system works for cars, furniture, housing, restaurants, and to a lesser degree higher education, so why can’t it work for our primary education system?”

    Yeah, more privatization. That’s the ticket, the ticket to separate and not equal school systems.
    http://www.brennerbrief.com/public-education-in-america-socialism-solution/
    Prepare yourself for encountering a big red hammer and sickle at the top of the page.

  210. opposablethumbs says

    rq, I hope your weekend has all the good bits it can have, and none of the un-good bits it might have. With sunshine, fun and possibly even cake.

  211. says

    Drug testing for welfare recipients failed miserably in Florida, (very few positive tests, lots of expense and time for the state), so yeah, why shouldn’t this brain dead idea be put into action by other Republican-dominated state legislatures?

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/mississippi-readies-welfare-drug-tests

    Residents who apply for temporary financial aid benefits in Mississippi will have to submit to drug testing if the state deems they are likely to be substance abusers under a new measure headed to Gov. Phil Bryant’s (R) desk.

    The bill passed the state Senate on Wednesday after passing the state House earlier this year. It would require new applicants to the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to submit to a questionnaire that would evaluate the likelihood of substance abuse.

    Washington Post link.

  212. says

    n this instance, the role of disingenuous and ill-informed politician was played by North Carolina’s GOP Sen. Richard Burr, who decided to use his question time to imply that the Canadian healthcare system was bad because it led to Canadian doctors moving to America and rich people going to the U.S. to get complicated and expensive surgery. These were both good points — except for the fact that they were, as Martin made clear, completely wrong.

    Heh. Don’t mess with Canadian healthcare policy experts like Dr. Danielle Martin, vice president at the Women’s College Hospital in Toronto.

    The North Carolina Republican, citing testimony that doesn’t exist, asked why doctors are exiting the public system in Canada. “Thank you for your question, senator,” Martin responded. “If I didn’t express myself in a way that made myself understood, I apologize. There are no doctors exiting the public system in Canada; and in fact we see a net influx of physicians from the United States into the Canadian system over the last number of years.”

    Undeterred, Burr tried again and again, asking pointed questions based on faulty assumptions. In each instance, Martin patiently and politely explained why the conservative senator was mistaken.

    It led to one especially memorable exchange:
    BURR: On average, how many Canadian patients on a waiting list die each year? Do you know?

    MARTIN: I don’t, sir, but I know that there are 45,000 in America who die waiting because they don’t have insurance at all.

  213. says

    Re Kevin’s comment #266, yes, Republicans are looking for every avenue possible to close off abortion services. The insurance regulations in Michigan are completely unfair, and will harm poor and lower income women the most.

    In other anti-abortion news, conservative legislators in South Carolina have come up with a bill that will close abortion clinics in that state. The bill is similar to the recent trap-law and doctor-requirement bill that closed more than 19 women’s health clinics in Texas.

  214. says

    It’s a busy day on ex-mormon forums and blogs. Today is the day that magistrates in the UK began hearing arguments in the fraud case against mormon prophet Thomas S. Monson. Geriatric Tommy is not there in person, but many well-paid LDS lawyers are.

    For this interested, here is a partial summary of events so far (in the text, you’ll see “TP” used as shorthand for Tom Perkins, the ex-mormon who pressed the case):
    http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,1203722

    LDS lawyers have so far been booed in court, and have failed to get the case thrown out.

  215. says

    Schweizer Rüblitorte
    That’s one thing about German: We know how to make compound nouns.
    I think I already posted the recipe, but i can do so again tomorrow

    Talking about carrot: #1 got robbed today
    We went to my parents and everybody was in the garden to enjoy the sun. After a while #1 wanted a carrot, which she shared with Pünktchen the rabbit. She nibbled, held it to the rabbit who nibbled, she nibbled, held it to the rabbit who seized the opportunity and took off with it. Her face was priceless.

  216. Pteryxx says

    threadrupt and just whizzing through *leaves clouds of hugs drifting along the floor*

    Crudely:

    What kind of internet based opportunities might suit a poor old stove-up carpenter with fair language skills, underdeveloped search fu and contempt for marketing scams?

    I’d suggest, if you have the bandwidth for it, look into filling a Youtube channel with woodworking projects – not sure what’s out there already, but a lot of crafters use videos for skills better shown than read off a page. There’s also Let’s Play videos and livestreams… I for one would love to just watch you work of an evening.

  217. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    I have an idea.

    How about sending an email saying “Hey, do you want to meet for coffee sometime?” to the man I mentioned kind of feeling things for? We see each other a couple of times a week, but sending an email would be so much easier than asking then. He can just refuse and I’ll send an “OK” back and hopefully won’t be too embarrassed the next time I see him.

    Thoughts?

    (If I send it at the optimal time, and he replies promptly, I might even have a couple of days to recover my pride before having to see and talk to him again.)

    ((Even contemplating this is a wow moment for me))

  218. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    No reason not to. I’d suggest a maximum of two sentences of hedging before the question, though.

  219. Portia says

    Beatrice:

    I think that is a solid plan. Low pressure for everybody, both in invitation and potential execution. I vote yes.

    -

    I think I want this framed for my office so I can just point to it when my “assistant” tells me one more time that she made a strategic decision on a case without consulting me.

  220. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Beatrice:

    Agreed that this is a good plan.

    Make sure to keep the e-mail short. The very length of the message can be used to infer that something is a big deal despite protestations to the contrary. So don’t protest that it isn’t a big deal. Don’t mention if it is or isn’t a deal of any kind.

    Just be all business:

    Hi! I was wondering if you wanted to have [coffee/a slice of pizza/some herring dipped in seal fat/a little amyl nitrate] at the usual place? I thought Tuesday might be a good day, since otherwise it would be a day we would normally meet to talk about work and it might not be as relaxing.

    This is only to give the spirit of inviting without explaining, not to suggest specific words or drugs.

  221. says

    Burnt through all my spoons doing coursework. Due to be running a game right now, but I just haven’t got the energy to cope with a bunch of near-strangers (new gaming group, met via a university group). OTOH, it’s a new group and I hate to look like I’m flaking out, but I don’t think I have it in me to put out a decent session. :(

  222. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Heh, I wanted to add an * after coffee with

    *or tea or beer or you know, a drink.

    Also, I don’t think I even know how to hedge.

  223. Dhorvath, OM says

    Beatrice,
    Do you have a personal email contact with this person or are you talking about using a work account? My knee jerk reaction to a co-worker (damn, now I am wondering if I have this remembered correctly) ask me through work to talk outside of it would be that they have a problem at work they need to talk with me about. So, yeah, my nerves would go off getting an email like that via work channels.

  224. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Oh gad, and I just realized that I actually almost did the coffee thing, accidentally!

    We have classes late in the evening, and suggesting coffee for after class would totally sound like coffee instead of coffee.

  225. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Dhorvath,

    No no no, no work relations.

    Just a chance to ruin my enjoyment of french classes. :/

    Maybe next week. Rejection itself isn’t as much of a problem as the chance of making an activity I love really awkward.

  226. Dhorvath, OM says

    In that case, maybe a last class thing to do. “I enjoyed taking this class around/with you, and would be happy to get together for a chat sometime…”

  227. says

    Portia
    Depends on how bad it winds up. I was totally incoherent by the time we were finished with character generation last time (it’s a new system for the players as well, so there’s that.) and I had to leave early. It’s hard enough for me to go out and socialize with a group of people to begin with, even if it is people I know.

  228. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Hmm, I’ll think about this a bit more, but I like the responses I got. I feel encouraged. :)

  229. carlie says

    Beatrice – it’s a late class? You could suggest eating somewhere near campus together before class! Or grabbing a coffee/snack just before class. Then if things get awkward, there’s a distinct time limit (oh, look at my wrist, it’s time to go to class…)

  230. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Asking to practice french together sounds kinda dirtier than that late “coffee”. :P
    (I’m twelve, sorry)

    (this is language classes for adults, we meet up in the evenings after work. Not really the kind of homework you do with someone – essays at this point mostly.)

  231. chigau (違う) says

    ***
    Hi. I finished my essay on [eroticism in the works of Baudelaire].
    I’d like someone else to read it before I turn it in.
    Would you mind?
    We could meet for coffee before class.
    ***

  232. carlie says

    Asking to practice french together sounds kinda dirtier than that late “coffee”. :P
    (I’m twelve, sorry)

    Beatrice – Because I’m 12. (should start at 3:15)

  233. Desert Son, OM says

    Crudely Wrott at #252:

    Thank you very much for your kindness. I wish you luck as you begin to explore additional work options. I have no suggestion to add, unfortunately, though Pteryxx’s idea about an online teaching/showcase video presence for woodworking sounds very awesome.

    And I’m starting to think Pteryxx is a perspective-encompassing, possibility-seeing, creativity-producing, problem-solving mastermind genius.

    I hope that recent small encouragements in your family relations may continue and grow, and also with great hope for you and your daughter as she struggles with her addiction.

    ••••

    rq at #253:

    Thank you, and I will take one of those hugs, with like in return if welcome. By the time you read this you will have already had your trip to the country, which I can only hope went better than anticipated.

    I join Tony! in his celebration of your own rockitude, as your consistent, welcoming support, engagement, and compassion shine in the Lounge and threads beyond.

    Safe travels.

    ••••

    opposable thumbs at #255:

    Thank you very much.

    ••••

    Tony! at #257:

    I am so sorry for your loss, and to have caused you pain with my post. I feel now I should have written it for my own catharsis and not posted it. And you still gave me encouragement and support for my sister. I am grateful for your story, which was a gift to receive, and deeply sorry to have prompted such anguish.

    ••••

    Portia at #262:

    Thank you. Hug returned if so desired for you and your grandfather.

    ••••

    bassmike at #263:

    Thank you, but now I regret prompting Tony!’s distress. Thank you for your words about my sister.

    ••••

    carlie at #265:

    Thank you. It’s nice to hear from you again. I am sorry about your cat, too. I realized in writing last night that I was going through the emotions of the experience with my sister, and also reliving memories of my own lost pets over the years. Thank you for your story.

    ••••

    rowanvt at #267:

    Thank you very much. I am grateful for your kindness and the perspective you have as someone who works in veterinary medicine. Thank you for what you said.

    ••••

    birgerjohansson at #269:

    It does, indeed. Thank you.

    ••••

    Giliell at #287:

    Utterly delightful story about the rabbit and your child! I smiled muchly!

    ••••

    Dalillama at #294:

    Recognizing that this may be too late to be of any value, but if a gaming group can’t survive the occasional—and totally warranted, understandable, and, frankly, normal—instance of a member (you, or anyone else) saying, “Sorry, I know we had a game, but due to all the shit that has gone down today, I’m just not going to be able to make it. Let’s have a conversation in the next couple of days to reschedule. Thanks!” then maybe it’s not such a great group, especially if they think that a totally reasonable request is somehow flaking out on your part.

    As someone who loves role-playing games, is an introvert who recharges psycho-emotional batteries by getting quiet time alone, and who appreciates honesty, it would raise my esteem of fellow game group members if they were up front about needing to reschedule, and any reason beyond “Just need to reschedule ’cause shit was heavy today” would be none of my business, anyway.

    Whatever you choose, and whatever happens, I hope it turns out well. Good gaming!

    ••••

    Beatrice at multiple:

    Bon chance pour une victoire de la relation! :)

    (Also, apologies if I have totally butchered that. It has been . . . some time . . . since I studied French.)

    Still learning,

    Robert

  234. Portia says

    We got about a half hour from home on our way to pick up s’s friend at the train and his car died. Damn damn double damn. His dad is on his way. We have to go anothe r45 min to pick up the friend and back home again. Crap sandwich!

    Beatrice: I am glad you are considering it more. Makes me happy for you to be thinking about taking the step to explore the idea. If that makes sense.

    Dalillama. I hope you feel better regardless of what you ended up doing

  235. says

    pretty ‘rupt, *hugs* all ’round.

    Portia, Desert Son,Thanks for the support, wound up not going.
    Portia
    Sorry to hear about your grandfather. *hugs*
    Desert Son
    It’s a regularly scheduled thing, every other friday. I have offered to arrange an off campus session, though.

    Beatrice
    Thumbs up and best hopes.

  236. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    completely rupt.

    Grandfather probe, Portia? I’ll catch up later, I hope 

    ======
    Does anyone who reads the lounge know Jennifer Clack?

    yes, that Jennifer Clack, the one with the honkin’ motorcycle.

    Or Per Ahlberg, I guess. Either one – they work together.

  237. says

    That moment when you realize that the game you’re playing is an elaborate reference to Milton. Whoa.

    The game in question is “Requiem: Avenging Angel” — it’s old-ish, obscure, and one hell of a game.

  238. says

    Robert:

    I am so sorry for your loss, and to have caused you pain with my post. I feel now I should have written it for my own catharsis and not posted it. And you still gave me encouragement and support for my sister. I am grateful for your story, which was a gift to receive, and deeply sorry to have prompted such anguish.

    Yes, it was heartbreaking to read, as well as triggering. I knew-on some level-what I was getting into, but I had no way of knowing that it would affect me so much. Was I reminded of the loss of my companion? Yes. I can’t deny that. The thought of your sister having you there at such a tough time also made me slightly envious. I wish I had had that myself.
    Envy, sorrow, pain, suffering…these are part of life. Now that time has passed though, I feel the pain less. The sorrow has diminished. In their place, I feel hopeful. I feel a measure of joy.
    In a time of need, you showed your sister unconditional love.
    In a time of need, you provided your sister with phenomenal support.
    In a time of need, you gave of yourself, to help in whatever manner you could, to ease the anguish and sorrow your sister felt.
    Compassion and empathy–values I cherish–shine in you. They serve as a reminder that for all the darkness in the world, there is a lot of light. There are people like you who endeavor to help their fellow humans, to ease their burden, to make the trials and tribulations of life easier to bear.
    Please don’t regret sharing your story. There’s no way you could have known how anyone would have reacted, and you were thoughtful enough to include a trigger warning. And though your story was one that reminded me of personal loss, it also reminded me that the world has some amazing people in it.
    You, my friend, are one of them.

  239. A. Noyd says

    There’s this book in Japanese called “Neko-Nari” (The Sound of a Cat) which is basically three plotless and somewhat interwoven novelettes that focus on emotional experiences. The third one is all about this lonely widower’s beloved pet cat dying of old age and all the care that he gives it as it wastes away. I’m not sure I’ve ever cried so hard over fiction before. (And it didn’t help that I read super slow in Japanese.)

    The comic book “Hoshi Mamoru Inu” (Stargazing Dog) came close in the tear-generating department, though. It’s available in English if anyone wants to be stabbed in the feels. (It was popular enough to be made into a movie.)

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    Beatrice (#298)

    We have classes late in the evening, and suggesting coffee for after class would totally sound like coffee instead of coffee.

    If you suggest an actual place to get coffee, I think that will properly convey your intent.

  240. opposablethumbs says

    Hi. I finished my essay on [eroticism in the works of Baudelaire].
    I’d like someone else to read it before I turn it in.
    Would you mind?

    chigau, I was so about to say “yes please!!!!” until I realised that this

    We could meet for coffee before class.

    meant it was a suggested draft for Beatrice :-D

    Beatrice, something sort of low-key and brief sounds good – and chigau’s idea or something similar, related to the activity you already share, sounds really good to me. The Horde can probably give good (really good) advice on almost literally everything from changing a tyre or a baby (swapping for a different model is recommended in these cases) to dealing with illness or death. You lot are seriously great.

    Sorry about the crap sandwich, Portia. Wishing some downtime for Dalillama. Sending well-wishes to the Horde.

  241. carlie says

    Sometimes I think about previous commenters who have stopped hanging around, and really miss them. Today I was thinking about Cath the Canberra Cook. :(

  242. Howard Bannister says

    @Giliell

    Over at Shakesville there’s a mention of her and a link with more information.

    Though Cait has worked with a very comprimised back for years, recently her problems have intensified greatly, going from bad to worse, and have forced her to cut back her professional academic editing so much she can no longer meet her financial obligations and is on the verge of being evicted.

  243. carlie says

    Howard – oh no, I hadn’t seen that. Definitely deserves a signal boost – thanks for the info.

  244. says

    You gotta say one thing about religious conservatives, they never give up. How many times have we seen the big displays of the Ten Commandments removed from state and federal buildings?

    Nevertheless, Georgia lawmakers approved a measure that would result in a granite block displaying the Ten Commandments being erected outside the state capitol.

    The state of Georgia wants to endorse religion, specifically their version of christianity. The monument is privately financed, which means nothing in terms of legality.

    I see this as a good way to spend taxpayer money defending the bill in the courts.
    Americans United for Separation of Church and State link.

  245. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    Here is the direct link to CaitieCat’s funding page.

    *raises the Hordefund banner*

  246. says

    Hey, PZ, should try this book marketing technique. Sneaky Christian tactics.

    Seattle’s Mars Hill Church paid a California-based marketing company at least $210,000 in 2011 and 2012 to ensure that Real Marriage, a book written by Mark Driscoll, the church’s founding pastor, and his wife Grace, made the New York Times best-seller list. […]

    Okay, nothing really unethical so far. Lots of authors pay marketing firms to market their books.

    The details of the agreement between Mars Hill and ResultSource are complicated. ResultSource received a fee of $25,000 to coordinate a nationwide network of book buyers who would purchase Real Marriage at locations likely to generate reportable sales for various best-seller lists, including the New York Times list. Mars Hill also paid for the purchase of at least 11,000 books ranging in price from $18.62 to $20.70, depending on whether the books were purchased individually or in bulk. The contract called for 6,000 of the books to be bought by individuals, whose names were supplied by the church. Another 5,000 books were bought in bulk.

    Mars Hill would not say whether the funds for the purchase of these books, which would total approximately $123,600 for the individual sales and $93,100 for the bulk sales, came from church funds […]

    Yeah, kind of murky on the tactics used. http://www.worldmag.com/2014/03/unreal_sales_for_driscoll_s_real_marriage

    Glenn Beck once used a tactic that included requiring any organization that hired him as a speaker to buy a certain number of his books. The result was inflated book sales stats, plus pallets of books stored in the basements of many institutions, where, hopefully, the books will rot.

  247. says

    Bad weather recently shut off power to some of the lights in the capitol of the USA. Oh, wait, that was not bad weather alone, that was God.

    “Do you think God has a sense of humor? Well, I think he does,” Robertson opined. “Let me tell you what happened. In the United States Capitol, Harry Reid, Barbara Boxer and the Democrats had an all night marathon advancing global warming. And they said we have to be in fear of global warming.”

    “So, God says, ‘Harry and Barbara, you’ve got it all wrong.’ He dropped the temperature 40 degrees, sent so much wind that it that it knocked out the lights in the Capitol dome for the first time in years,” the televangelist laughed. “And it’s still cold!”

    That’s Pat Robertson explaining that God slapped the Democrats around with a power outage.
    Raw Story link.

  248. Desert Son, OM says

    Tony! at #314:

    Thank you for that honor. I read those same qualities in you. Thread after thread and time after time you stand in support of others, convey encouragement and courage alike, raise your voice against the ignorance and injuries of the hateful when they arrive, stand as strongly for yourself as you do in solidarity with fellows, and all with resolute insight and ready humor.

    Your presence is a part of what makes Pharyngula valuable, a place to learn, to educate, to communicate, and also just to hang out in good company. Thank you for the honor, and thank you for being here. Here’s to your feelings of increased hope and joy.

    Thank you again.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  249. says

    Before I get sidetracked by life again (don’t talk to me about life), I just wanted to say this:

    A heartfelt Thank you! to all of you fighting the good fight in the various and sundry abortion-related threads on FTB.

    Also, hugs and good thoughts for everyone in need of them – the basket is full, help yourselves.

  250. says

    Dutchgirl
    Expanding a bit on recommendations:
    Others have already suggested Octavia Butler and N.K. Jemisin (I also recommend The Hundred Thousand Kingoms. It’s part of a series too, but works as a stand-alone.). The clause that they’re not part of a series is throwing me slightly since most of the stuff I tend to read is, so there may be some recommendations that are part of a series but can work alone:
    Steven Barnes:
    Charisma: Takes place 20 minutes into the future. Preschool children in an underprivileged area are given an experimental class environment designed to imprint them with the personality traits of a self-made millionaire. It goes horribly right. (Trigger warnings on this one, btw)
    Lion’s Blood:An alternate history which takes place in the Americas of a world where the centers of imperium are in Islamic Africa. Has a sequel called Zulu Heart
    Blood Brothers: A black computer programmer and a former Green Beret turned white supremacist ex-con learn that they share old family ties and old family enemies. Pursued by immortal sorcerers, they go on the run together.

    (Not SF) Sherman Alexie:
    The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven: A collection of interconnected short stories about life on the Rez which approximates a novel. Adapted to film as Smoke Signals, which I also highly recommend.

    POC protagonists (Author’s ethnicity may vary):
    Elizabeth Moon:
    Heris Serrano: It’s an omnibus of three novels, but I forget what the subsidiary titles are. Serrano is a former space naval officer drummed out on trumped up charges, now reduced to captaining a yacht for a wealthy dilettante. She finds a connection with her new employer and a chance to clear her name as they travel.
    Ben Aaronovitch:
    Rivers of London/Midnight Riot: The title varies between the UK and US editions. London bobby PC Peter Grant is due to spend his career filing paperwork down at the station, until he’s approached by a witness to a murder who happens to be a ghost. Grant ends up seconded to a little-known branch of the Met that deals with the supernatural. First in an ongoing series.

    I can come up with more, but this is taking a while and I need to go eat and stuff.

  251. says

    This is a follow up to my comment #286

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57683745-78/church-phillips-mormon-case.html.csp

    A British judge will decide by Thursday whether a fraud case that disaffected Mormon Tom Phillips brought against LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson can proceed.

    The writer of this article, Peggy Stack, is a mormon. In identifying Tom Phillips as a “disaffected Mormon,” she is following the pattern set in LDS news sources. Discrediting Tom Phillips is their first course of action. However, that tactic is failing in court.

    The Westminster Magistrate District Court heard arguments Friday about the legitimacy of alleged fraud related to elements of Mormon teaching.

    Monson, the 86-year-old leader of the 15-million member Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in a Jan. 31 letter was summoned by the court to appear to answer the allegations, but the man considered “prophet, seer and revelator” by Mormons was not there in person. […]

    “There was absolutely no requirement for President Monson to appear today,” church spokesman Cody Craynor said in a Friday statement. “The church was represented by legal counsel to contest the appropriateness of the summons.”

    The charges are based on Britain’s Fraud Act of 2006, meant to prosecute those who misrepresent themselves or their organizations for personal gain. […]

    Phillips, who was represented by three lawyers […] the LDS legal team tried to establish that Phillips’ case is “vexatious,” (similar to an American claim that a suit is “frivolous”) and should be dismissed. […]
    Phillips thought the day went well and is equally confident of an outcome in his favor.

    “I am certain at law we are correct,” he [Phillips] said. “They tried to influence the judge from a religious-freedom argument; our answer is that a religion is not free to commit crime. Once they start to make false representations to make money, that goes into the area of fraud.”

  252. says

    From the comments below the Salt Lake Tribune article (link in comment #330):

    My two cents is that Pres. Monson should have appeared in court in person and not send a legal team comprised of six attorneys that were less than stellar. Pres. Monson, as president and prophet of the Church, can put the entire argument to rest once and for all. Let him represent the Church and himself.
    ————
    “Prophet, Seer and Revelator” should trump any “Head Counsel.”
    Why isn’t God’s chosen prophet there to show the truthfulness of the gospel?
    ———
    Teaching that the Book of Abraham is the word of God can be taken on faith.
    .
    Teaching that Joseph Smith held in his hands papyri that were written on by Abraham himself and was able to “translate” them does not need to be taken on faith. We can look right at the pictures in the scriptures and see that the “translations” are incorrect.

  253. says

    More comments from the Salt Lake Tribune article (link in comment #330)

    The church’s lawyers seem to have thrown the church under the bus with some of their statements. The church lost a million members last year, Monson wasn’t responsible for the fraud, the church doesn’t claim its teachings are facts. With defense lawyers like this, who needs a prosecution.
    ———
    This is a wonderful missionary moment. There is nothing more uplifting than seeing how God turns things in His favor. At worst the world will get to know more about the Church, it will insight research, the very elect among the world will see truths that the trouble maker does not.
    ———–
    God never loses. And this will come out for the good of the Church in some way and will be a great learning experience for those that care. For those “disaffected” folks, it’s all right, freedom of speech is in the constitution. Poor guy, he really has a burr in his saddle though.

  254. Desert Son, OM says

    Dalillama at #311:

    Glad to hear it, hope you got some rest and a bit of respite from the noise of the world.

    How is your game going, by the way? You just started recently, if I’m not mistaken? What system are you all running? Just curious. Apologies if this is annoying, press-conference barrage. Lemme know, I’ll shut with the questions. Good gaming!

    Still learning,

    Robert

  255. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Robert, just want to say your recent posts on several highly vocal threads have been very insightful and pertinent. Keep it up.

  256. says

    Desert Son
    I’m using GURPS (the players are mostly Pathfinder folks) in a Weird West setting based on the premise that mystical forces exist, and the centuries of blood, torment and genocide that are U.S. history has warped and twisted the magical forces, leading to things like evil prairie dog hive minds, shadow demons that possess people and steal organs, the spirits and revenants of the unhallowed dead walking the land, and suchlike things. I haven’t actually gotten properly started, though, as the first session was devoted to character generation and the second was due to be last night.

  257. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Things here at Casa la Pilarroja have been unsettled. Evidently the cold weather, and my attempts to keep the Redhead warm, resulted in some nerve irritation manifesting itself in various and intermittent pains from the hips down, and included leg cramps. This appears to be exacerbated in bed, so the Redhead has been sleeping in her wheelchair, with some modifications on how things like the lap blanket are tucked in. This has really upset our old schedule in many ways, some good, some bad. I was just trying to get a quick lunch prior to washing her, and her BFF called, so I now have a few free moments. They usually talk for at least an hour. I wish her friends would call her more often. It cheers her up.

  258. Desert Son, OM says

    Nerd at #334:

    Thank you. Having long admired your presence and contributions at Pharyngula, I am grateful for your thoughts and encouragement.

    I hope this finds you and The Redhead having a peaceful day, some laughs, and a gentle sense of shared surprise at something beautiful.

    ••••

    Dalillama at #335:

    That sounds like twenty-five pounds of awesome in a five pound bag!

    And now I will probably never look at prairie dogs the same way.

    If you’re amenable in the future and with sufficient spoons, I know I’d certainly be interested to hear the occasional update on how its going.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  259. Desert Son, OM says

    Nerd at #336:

    Ah. Posted before I saw your update. I am sorry to hear about the Redhead’s sleep difficulties and discomfort, though gladdened that a friend called to chat.

    I don’t suppose there’s warmer weather in the offing in your neck of geography? Good wishes for a better afternoon and evening to both of you.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  260. theoreticalgrrrl says

    Carlie, Tony! and Desert Son,

    I’m so sorry for your losses. I had to make the decision to euthanize my cat two months ago, it was incredibly painful. Luckily my sister agreed to go to the Pet Urgent Care that night and I had someone with me when I had to make the decision. She almost didn’t come with me, but she saw how upset I was and changed her mind at the last minute. I didn’t go thinking I’d have to have her put to sleep, although I knew it might be a possibility, but when the Vet saw her he said it might be for the best.
    They told me it would be better if I didn’t go with them during the procedure to put her to sleep. I don’t think I would have been able to handle it anyway. It was hard enough to let them take her out of my arms for the last time. I didn’t want to let go of her.

    My cat was 12, she had problems with her digestive system for years, but she stopped eating off and on since Oct. 2013. The vet diagnosed her with inflammatory bowel disease. She was normally 12 lbs but kept losing weight until she dropped down to six lbs. I had taken her to Urgent Care three times and the Vet once in four months.

    My other cat, who is 7 months older and was my first cat, has really become clingy since then, and follows me around like a puppy now. She has always been independent, but once her adopted sister died, she has become very needy and meows at me constantly. She meows in her sleep sometimes like she’s having a kitty nightmare. I’m not sure what I can do to make her feel better.

  261. Imbecile Heureux says

    Hi All,

    As I mentioned on another thread a couple of days ago, I’m a very long-time lurker here. Recently de-lurked and made a bit of an arse of my first sustained attempt at commenting on a sensitive topic. Was asked to leave the thread; thought I’d leave it a bit, then drop in here to apologise.

    Sorry.

  262. ImaginesABeach says

    Hi everyone! I’m several months threadrupt (that happens most winters) but I hope things are going well for everyone.

    Beatrice – I’m pleased that you are considering taking the step of inviting him for coffee. The last time I visited the lounge, you would not have considered it.

  263. Crudely Wrott says

    No, theoreticalgrrrl. Not stupid. At least, not from the Lounge’s point of view. That’s one of its chief functions; to allow people to safely release things that are important or painful to them. No, not stupid. Just human.

    You can be assured that there will always be folks here who, even if they don’t understand your deepest feelings about stuff, will offer you a full measure of comfort and acceptance.

    Really, it’s almost like magic.

    Please, rest easily. There is always enough love to go around.

    *guess what? I haz sad kittuns and buppiez stories too . . .*
    *hugs* if you will have them.

  264. Desert Son, OM says

    theoreticalgrrl at #343:

    Just now making it back to Lounge and seeing your comments.

    Thank you for connecting and joining your moving story to the others here. I add to the messages of support for you at this time.

    Here’s to beloved pets present and passed, and to the people who care for them and give them good homes, good lives. Here’s to those among our fellow social animals with whom we find company, with whom we build our better experiences of the world. Here’s to moments in the Lounge spent supporting, sharing, venting, questioning, worrying, wondering, cheering, laughing, and sometimes simply sitting quietly and listening.

    *pours an IPA . . . toasts*

    Wherever you all are.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  265. Crudely Wrott says

    I can haz it lightly toasted with melty budder?
    Mmmm, mmmm, goood. Bread. Bread with budder. Bread with honey. Bread with budder and honey. Bread with bread and thin thin thinly sliced cheese and bits o’ ham. Leftover lamb, spam what am and bread bread bread oh! smell it! aaaaahhhhh. Bread. It’s good fer what ails ye. Bread. And cheese and meat and waaaaiiitt . . . waaaaiit, . . (cue MDP) . . . moar cheese and leftover peas and ham and bacon and, whoa! what’s this? peanut budder? sure smear that on . . . the BREAD! Hard to ruin good bread. It’s like trucks; just load up a slice and that’s how you transport good delicious miracles to your gullet. Bread.

    Bread.

    Gotta make some soon. (I know one of Ma’s old receipts is around here somewhere.)

    *makes note to self: get bread fixins, coupla baking tins and stop loafing around! and say thanx to chigau for making bread. Thanx. Share receipts?*

  266. Crudely Wrott says

    Bread and IPA are go wits. Bread and beer are go wits. The go wit each other nicely.

  267. chigau (違う) says

    recipe?
    for bread?
    um…

    flour
    water
    leavening

    mix
    bake

    I’ve been doing this for too long…

  268. Desert Son, OM says

    Azkyroth at #349:

    *makes a face* :P

    Ha! :D

    Cheers!

    I’ve only recently discovered the IPA (What am I? New?) and it has quickly become my favorite style of beer. Maybe because I’m bitter ;)

    ••••

    chigau at #348:

    Fresh bread: [Gandalf] “Don’t tempt me, Frodo!” [/Gandalf]

    Thanks!

    Still learning,

    Robert

  269. says

    theoreticalgrrl @340:
    I’m so sorry for your loss. Commiserations.

    ****

    Imbecile Heureux @341:

    Welcome to the Lounge!
    You’re not the first person to make missteps when commenting her for the first time. Others have done the same and become part of the regular commentariat here. I’d say apologizing (as you’ve done) is a good start (assuming you intend to remain delurked).

    ****

    theoreticalgrrl @343:
    Personal though your comment was, we are glad you shared it with us. There’s nothing wrong with expressing personal issues or expressing emotions here. In fact, that’s part of what I appreciate about this place. It’s a social experience. Not only that, it’s a largely humanisitic social area. So when people share their stories of loss and sorrow, we respond with compassion. Please never feel you can’t open up here about whatever you choose.

  270. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Whoa.

    ….

    Partially, people tend to target nerds who are marginalized on other axes— who are gender-non-conforming, poor, fat, disabled— because they hate people in those categories and are using “but they have male privilege!” to get away with it.

    Seeing this acknowledged not just unpressed, but unprompted, gives me soft little happy feelings.

  271. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Are they going to picket his funeral?

    I suggest we get some people to stand along the route his funeral procession will take with signs reading “We’re sorry for your loss.”

  272. says

    Good morning

    *leaves some spoons*

    Imbecile Heureux
    Hi!
    You know, what you just did is a great thing, more than most people manage.

    *hugs* imaginesabeach

    +++
    Bread can be the Best. Thing. Ever
    One holiday in Northern Spain Mr and I went for lunch in a reastaurant. We both ordered some local, sausage/meat based small dish and because we though that this might not be enough because we were really hungry after a long walk, we ordered tortilla (Spanish, i.e. potatos and eggs) with it. But they also served bread with it. Fresh, rather coarse bread baked in stone oven. We ignored the tortilla and in the end packed the bread we could not eat. The fried garlic chorizo was nice, but the bread… I still dream of it…

  273. Crudely Wrott says

    Re: Fred Phelps nearing his end.

    From WMDKitty’s link above to Hemant Hehta’s blog:

    Nate Phelps … is Fred’s son and a former member of Westboro Baptist Church. He left the church, and therefore the core of the family, in 1976 when he was 18 years olds and has since come out as an atheist, but he still keeps in touch with some of his extended family members, many of whom have also escaped from the church.

    Nathan says:

    I’ve learned that my father, Fred Phelps, Sr., pastor of the “God Hates Fags” Westboro Baptist Church, was ex-communicated from the “church” back in August of 2013. He is now on the edge of death at Midland Hospice house in Topeka, Kansas.

    I’m not sure how I feel about this. Terribly ironic that his devotion to his god ends this way. Destroyed by the monster he made.

    I feel sad for all the hurt he’s caused so many. I feel sad for those who will lose the grandfather and father they loved. And I’m bitterly angry that my family is blocking the family members who left from seeing him, and saying their good-byes.

    [emphasis mine]

    This is the saddest thing about placing dogmatic insistence ahead of loving kindness. Lives and hearts suffer. The traces of what may be good and wholesome and loveable in people’s lives are subsumed by “oughts” and “musts” and “deity says” and such trivialities.

    I never knew Fred Phelps save for what the news services and some journalists brought my way. He has been, upon such glancing references, a pale and spiteful man. It seems there is so little in him worthy of noting upon his [immanent] passing.

    I had a father (biological father) who was widely regarded as one hell of a fine man by those who gathered to remember him back in 1982. My father was well known as a philanthropist, a community leader, a friend to children, a hard working and honest man and a fantastic dancer.

    My father was also a racist bigot. He was not only disappointed but also rather astonished back in the 1960s when I resisted his attempts to persuade me to hate and distrust people who looked different, who had dark skin, who didn’t adhere to his ethos or who were younger than he was and didn’t share his “old fashioned” values.

    To this day I emulate my father and try to exemplify in my life those qualities that he had that transcended the limitations of his humanity as described in the above paragraph. I still recoil at the memory of first realizing that he had hatred for people he’d never met. Yet, still, I smile inwardly and affect his speech and even his mannerisms when I find myself teaching some youngster the way he once taught me. We are such byzantine creatures; none of us is pure. We are all some mixture of qualities.

    There are hateful qualities in my character. There are also laudable and tender qualities even as there were in my father. Therefore I take to heart and identify deeply with the sentiments of Nate Phelps. He is about to lose his father. For him it a great sorrow magnified by being ostracized by his family (a fate I, thankfully, never had to endure). It is this understanding that I share with Nate that prevents me from taking any joy in the passing of the old bastard.

    However hatefully he may be regarded by many he was, and will be, loved by the few who knew him in a role not plastered across screens and front pages. That love stands on its own and needs no editorial, no sermon, no excuse. It stands on its own. There it is, like it or lump it.

    I’ll shed not a tear for the passing of a man who has demonstrated how vile people can be. I will shed a tear for those who lose someone who was widely held in vilification but was, to them in private moments and in precious memory, a father.

    It ain’t easy being human. It tries us sorely. Sometimes it brings out the worst, sometimes the best. Mostly just the pedestrian, the meh.

    There was a kid in high school who used to beat me up. He made me very afraid of him. Late in my senior year I stood up to him and suddenly he was the frightened one. I learned later that his father was a brutal abuser. A few years ago I learned that my tormentor had died. I shed tears for him; I shed tears for a life that was stolen from its owner. I wept because I never knew him, I only knew the shadow left by the misery that was his father’s legacy that stole my classmate’s life. There is an insoluble tragedy.

    I sympathize with Nate Phelps. And, like I suspect he anticipates, I look forward to putting down the caricature that his father created and let Nate have his memories and his peace.

  274. says

    Hey there.
    Uhm, I need to ask a favour of the Horde so I can do a favour to one of the Horde.
    Yesterday the Horde-signal went up for Caitie, but I can’t donate via GoFundMe. Would somebody who can and who also has a Paypal account act as an intermediate for me?

  275. Desert Son, OM says

    Esteleth,

    I posted a similar message in Thunderdome but wanted to say it here, too. Thank you for your post there. I apologize for my own confusion of anonymity and pseudonymity in my comments.

    *sigh* I am shit at Thunderdome.

    Thank you again.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  276. opposablethumbs says

    Azkyroth

    Are they going to picket his funeral?

    I suggest we get some people to stand along the route his funeral procession will take with signs reading “We’re sorry for your loss.”

    Yes. This would be so very appropriate.

  277. rq says

    I’m back! I survived!
    Talk about safe travels… whew, the road out wasn’t bad, but what the hell, Spring? Or was that just a final performane of Winter’s Last Hurrah? Spent half the return trip in complete white-out conditions, and came home to a backyard full of unexpected snow.
    FiL was… social. And obviously off the drink for some time again, in a good way. There’s a different between someone being anti-social, and being shy – and he was being shy. But we exchanged some comments about the biathlon, so there’s hope for maintaining some civility in the relationship.
    Otherwise, despite the rather terrible weather, the time was enjoyable. Did a lot of apple-tree pruning, which may have something to do with it. :)

    +++

    Beatrice!
    I think you should go for the email, taking other suggestions into account – I especially like chigau’s excuse of discussing schoolwork or lessons, and keeping it short. Go you! *holding thumbs*

    Desert Son
    Thank you for your kind words, they are much appreciated by me on my return. *hugs*

    re: CaitieCat and support fund
    I’m rather in the same boat as Giliell here, though I can’t even use PayPal. If there is anyone willing to make a European fund transfer to pass along on my behalf, or anyone who wishes to receive mail from Latvia, please let me know, as I would like to assist Cait as much as possible. I can be reached here for further information, or emailed at taarpinsh at hot mail dot com.

    Imbecile Heureux
    Welcome in, and thank you your apology. Please stick around and learn some more, like we’re all attempting to do! :)

    theoreticalgrrrl
    Thank you for sharing your story, and if you accept them from an internet stranger, please accept some *hugs*. If not, please accept some yellow flowers.
    Losing pets is never easy. :(

    *waves* to ImaginesABeach

    Nerd
    You have all (well, most!) of my respect and amazement for your patience and strength and… well, you’re amazing in all kinds of ways. If I wore a hat, I would take it off for you.

    *hugs* and *scritches* for the crowd.

    *steals Dalillama‘s booklist*

    Now, about that IPA…

  278. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    I’m putting myself available to be a conduit for PayPal -> CaitieCat.

    Email is the nym at the google mail service.

    RQ, I think you may have my snail mail? It is the same as it was 2 years ago or whenever that was.

  279. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    Back from the weekend away.
    ♥ the Horde

    (carlie, aw… John Cusack. I’d give him french lessons any time)

  280. Nutmeg says

    rq: Yay for safe travels and a decent weekend with family! Boo for snow!

    ***

    I am feeling accomplished. This week I have:

    -made what is apparently called “gay eye contact” with three cute women. Okay, so a couple of those times I was startled and looked away and then remembered to smile. But a year ago I would not have recognized that gay eye contact was occurring, so I’m pleased with that progress.
    -filed my taxes.
    -finished the revisions on paper #1 and sent them to my adviser/co-author for approval.
    -acquired a bunch of spring clothing for a very reasonable price, including some wardrobe essentials I was missing.

    ***

    Here is a *pile of hugs and puppies*, free for the taking.

  281. Desert Son, OM says

    Crudely Wrott at #360:

    Intense, heavy post. I’m having different emotions about the Phelps situation, all of them on a bedrock of sadness/tragedy.

    But I wanted to thank you for your reflections, particularly about your self and your father. Maybe that’s something to take away from the Phelps history of pain and hate: We must continue to self-reflect, to self-examine, and to listen outside ourselves, as well, if we are to have any hope of not dying in a venomous atmosphere of our own making.

    ••••

    rq at #365:

    Welcome back safely! Glad to hear the weekend was alright. IPA ready to pour upon request. It will have to be virtual, I’m afraid. Pouring actual drinks into the USB port in the past has had negative results.

    ••••

    Beatrice at #367:

    Welcome back!

    ••••

    Nutmeg at #368:

    Congratulations on a week of accomplishments! Huzzah! Thanks for the hugs and puppies. Appreciated.

    Still learning,

    Robert

  282. Portia says

    rq:

    I don’t know why, but I missed the post about you leaving for the weekend, so I’m glad that it went relatively well.*high five* Awful about the snow. We got an inch.Not so bad, but I”m way over it!

    -

    Nutmeg:
    Well done on all counts!

    -

    chigau:
    Fire hot.

    -

    I spent a good long day with Grandpa. He’s in good spirits. And seems relatively comfortable. I wish I’d spent more time with him in the last ten years. Ah well. All I can affect is what I do in the future.

    -

    *hugs all around*

  283. rq says

    Esteleth
    Would you like your mail in EUR or USD… or CAD (that is, should I do the exchange on this end?)?
    And yes, I have re-found your address and will be able to mail along shortly. Thanks!

    Nutmeg
    Hooray for that list of accomplishments! Go you on the taxes, I’ve decided to collect all my guts and call up Accountant Friend today. :P It muuuuust beeee doooone!!

    Portia
    You know I support your knitting habit. But must you support your pea habit at the same time? It’s rather difficult to hold a fair and balanced opinion of your work in this case… ;)
    (Just kidding, it’s very cute!!! And *whispers* I actually love that shade of green!)

    Thank you for the IPA, Desert Son. I replaced your virtual one with a local brew that hit the spot just right.

    Crudely Wrott
    I’ll admit, I only read your lengthy comment today due to tiredness/time issues – thank you very much for sharing. I think Desert Son above said it best, that self-reflection is a continuous thing. *hugs*!

    +++

    Some links (a few were meant to go up before the weekend, but that’s all done…):
    They say balance is a good thing. But there’s a negative side to that (short film award winner from 1989, seemed to fit somehow).

    Another knitting project for Portia, one less offensive to my anti-pea sensibilities. ;)

    Artists on the inside. Turns out, no, they’re not all the same! (Hopefully they are identifiable to everyone.)

    Black and white.

    Really, gravitational waves??? That would be awesome. *fingers crossed* (The hype is great with this one – question is, is it deserved?)

  284. says

    Crudely Wrott:

    I’ll shed not a tear for the passing of a man who has demonstrated how vile people can be. I will shed a tear for those who lose someone who was widely held in vilification but was, to them in private moments and in precious memory, a father.

    Well stated. I feel the same.

  285. Pteryxx says

    Some detailed background reading on anti-abortion history, how abortion methods work and the plan to play off their ickiness, and the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, linked by hjhornbeck in Zvan’s comments.

    Web archive article from 2005: Gambling With Abortion

    In the evening one of the reporters covering the trial telephoned me at home; someone had suggested he talk to me, he said, because I had written a book about the abortion conflict. He had some questions about wording. He said he had not heard second-trimester abortion described in detail before. He sounded pretty upset. “I never,” he said, and stopped.

    Never what, I asked.

    “I never really thought about this before as anything beyond the right to choose,” he said.

    “You’re why they wrote this bill,” I said.

    A four-point crib sheet on right-to-life abortion legislation in the post-Roe United States:

    1. Nearly all of it is written with an eye toward reaching the Supreme Court. Most never does. But if abortion-rights lawyers can be provoked into a constitutional challenge, any case might be appealed, and might wind up before the Supreme Court, which might at that point be ready, because the right justices have either been replaced or had a change of heart, to reverse Roe v. Wade.

    [...]

    3. In 1992, amid many predictions that the reversal was finally about to take place, the Supreme Court surprised everybody in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, the product of a constitutional challenge to recent Pennsylvania abortion legislation. Casey upheld Roe, which was the surprise. But Roe had laid out its rules for state abortion law according to trimesters of pregnancy;[1] Casey said the trimester framework was “rigid,” and dumped it. The new guideline, according to Casey, is “undue burden,” with a cutoff—a qualified cutoff—at fetal viability. From conception right through to viability, Casey declared, women have a right to terminate their pregnancies, and no state law may unduly burden, or place “a substantial obstacle in the path of,” a woman’s choice to abort a nonviable fetus.

    By the summer of 1995, as the first House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Constitution Hearing on Partial-Birth Abortion was getting under way, D&E was the preferred method for any American physician who routinely offered mid-trimester abortions—between around fourteen weeks, that is, and twenty weeks, the point at which, as Haskell had observed, the toughness of the fetal parts begins making dismemberment difficult. And here were the real stakes in the pro-choice gamble—not D&X, a term nobody had ever heard of before 1992, but D&E, which in this country is used for tens of thousands of abortions each year; and by logical extension every other pregnancy-termination method that might qualify as horrific if an ordinary person were led into the procedure room and made to look closely at what the doctor was doing.

    and from the footnotes:

    5. Black humor, pro-choice version. Q: What are the only four categories for which a majority of Americans agree abortion should remain legal? A: 1. Life of the pregnant woman, or severe threat to her physical health. 2. Rape or incest. 3. Severe fetal deformity. 4. Me.

  286. rq says

    Desert Son
    I really liked this comment by you. Beautifully written – and, though I don’t fall into all of your listed categories, it’s certainly worth my while to learn to pay more attention to my privilege and when it is wiser to listen instead of speak.

  287. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    New empirical evidence just in: Kittens are terrible liars.

    Remainder of story redacted to protect the very, very guilty.

  288. A. Noyd says

    Crip Dyke (#378)

    Remainder of story redacted to protect the very, very guilty.

    *scowl* There’s gotta be a commandment somewhere about how thou shalt not redact naughty kitten stories.

  289. rq says

    Crip Dyke
    So not fair. That’s not even a cliffhanger, that’s outright meanness – I demand kitty story!!!!! You can’t just drop references and not explain yourself like that.

  290. Portia says

    rq:
    I maintain my wayward pea-loving ways!
    (thanks for the compliment :) )

    -

    Tones went off for a structure fire at 3 am. I am now home, just washed off the soot, now to put on the suit.

  291. birgerjohansson says

    Anecdote about messed-up climate.

    Every year, Umeå town places a raft on the ice on the river in the middle of town, then we bet what day the ice will break up, bringing the raft downstream*.
    This typically happens in the middle/later half of April (Umeå is far north). The previous earliest record was in 1976, April 9th.
    This year it happened Wednesday March 13th, a whole bloody month early!
    .
    *This event is called “Uman river”, a pun on words; in English, river = a wet something pouring downstream but in Swedish, river=”(ice is) breaking up”.

  292. rq says

    in Swedish, river=”(ice is) breaking up”

    That is so hilariously appropriate for Swedish weather… “Quick, jump in for a quick swim before it all freezes up again!” :D

    I know folks here are feeling a bit lost, since there’s no giant breaking-up-of-river-ice causing massive flooding this year. Something seems to be missing from the season…
    Ha, except for that extra snow that is still falling. But that’s not unusual, just unexpected this particular year.

    Portia
    }P <- That's my general bad-pun face. Those are supposed to be really scrunchy eyes. Like when you eat something sour. :)
    (Glad you're safe!)

  293. Portia says

    rq
    heheheh thank you for the pun reaction. the groans are half the fun :D

    and I just remembered I clicked ot open the knitting project youposted, and forgot to look

    OMG CATERPILLAR!!!!

    I love love love that.

  294. birgerjohansson says

    River can also mean “tear up/kill” as in the bear river a moose. You don’t want to get riven by a dizzy urside who has just risen from hibernation, and thinks you are a snack.
    .
    Oh no! “Thermal vision: Graphene light detector first to span infrared spectrum” http://phys.org/news/2014-03-thermal-vision-graphene-detector-span.html

    .
    Marvin the Paranoid Android:
    .
    “Now the world has gone to bed
    Darkness won’t engulf my head
    I can see by infra-red
    How I hate the night”

  295. rq says

    Spinach is not sour, it’s quite lovely. Fresh. And in lasagne. And tilapia and/or salmon pie. MMMMmmmmmmmmm…

  296. says

    I deserve cake!
    Slowly the results from last term’s classes and exams are coming in and I scored 2 A+ (how befitting) and for an assignement the instructor asked whether he could use it in the future as an example on how to do it.
    Also, my first day of internship went well and I can drive again. Well, I can drive as long as I have my in-laws’ automatic car, which means that I have to coordinate things with my mum in law because while my dad in law has my car, she can’t drive it because he can’t drive a stick.

    +++
    Seasons: I have a hard time accepting that it’s spring now because we didn’t have winter yet
    +++

    Esteleth
    Thank you, I’ll make use of your offer immediately

  297. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    RQ, USD would be most convenient, if you can swing that.

    Giliell and Beatrice, my PayPal has received pings from both of you. :)

  298. Desert Son, OM says

    rq at #377:

    Thank you. I am reminding myself, too. Just this morning I made what I thought was a clever remark in my privilege only to subsequently realize it was wrong. So I owned the error, made apology, and am now reflecting on where I went wrong, and feel like an asshole who would like to hide away.

    I spent a year and a half on the Bench of Shut the Fuck Up. Now I want to participate in the community again. I stumble a great deal and lack of self-confidence/self-compassion causes me difficulties communicating, too.

    Thank you again. I used to complimentary close my posts with “No kings,” a few years back. I had been trying to come up with something like “Neither gods nor masters” and didn’t exactly get it right. Then I realized it wasn’t really what I wanted to close with, and so I changed it to something that, I believe, holds very true for me, even (and sometimes especially) when I make mistakes. I still wish I could deal better with some fears and psychological paralysis that I get, but that thing that I believe holds very true for me is why I sign and remain “Still learning,”

    Robert

  299. rq says

    Esteleth
    I’ll do my best, if it looks like it will take too long, I’m just going to toss some euro your way. :/ Should be fine, though.

    +++

    What follows is a pointless story about children and fashion. You have been warned!!!

    [begin]
    Bah, kids! They could at least be consistent amongst themselves in their taste in clothing.
    See: Eldest, since always, has loved jeans, jeans of all kinds, cargo-type and plain, as long as they are jeans. Middle Child has never loved jeans, he has simply worn them if he must. His True Love is corduroy in various earthy tones (and yes, he’s that specific about colour – though black dress pants might soon take over as #1 Pant to Wear).
    Anyhoo. I have several pairs of Middle-Child-sized jeans squirreled away, from when I bought them for Eldest at a similar age and size, just in case (because the fewer shopping trips I have to make, the better, and all that…), basically fresh from the store. Middle Child is growing out of his current corduroys. I offer him nice, never-worn-by-Eldest jeans.
    No, I’m not going to wear that!” *pouty stubborn pose with disgusted face at jeans*
    *flail flail flail* “They’re perfectly nice pants! No holes! Lovely colour! Feel the fabric!”
    “No. I want some corduroys! These ones!”
    “They have holes in them, see? / They’re too short for you, see?” **
    “Then I need new pants!”
    “Yes, see these beautiful jeans? They should fit you perfect!!”
    “No.”
    [repeat] [repeat] [repeat]
    *sigh*
    This is the child who refused to wear stripes at a year-and-a-half. Screaming fits at the sight of a striped shirt, especially red stripes. Now all his favourite sweaters are striped. His very favourite – with red stripes. He’ll only wear non-striped sweaters if it’s the yellow hoody.

    ** Wearing pants with holes in them is way below his dignity level. He’ll refuse to put them on if he spots the slightest extra thread somewhere. Dirty pants, not so much. But holes? That’s tantrum material right there, no matter what alternatives are available.

    Contrast that with Eldest:
    “Hey, you bought me new clothes?? Awesome!! I always wanted a shirt exactly like this!!!” (Not a joke.)

    [/end]

  300. says

    rq
    I know your woes. #1 was always pretty easy when it came to trousers, so I bought mainly blue jeans, especially the sort where I could regulate the waist (sweatpants usually just dropped off her ass). The little one hates blue jeans and mostly refuses to wear them. So now I have a wardrobe full of pretty good blue jeans that are being ignored

  301. rq says

    Desert Son @393
    Well, I think you’re doing a pretty magnificent job of it. At least, I’m impressed, for whatever that counts.
    (Also, I’m glad I’m not the only one too scared to spend too much time in the Thunderdome. I can manage to turn in from time to time, but… it’s stressful, and I don’t even know why! But it is! So yeah. This was a message of companionship. :) )

  302. rq says

    Giliell
    At least all signs so far are pointing to Youngest being as easy-going as Eldest. I can only handle one (child) diva in the family. ;)

  303. blf says

    Bah, kids!

    No, no, yer animals are confused again.
    Sheep go “Baaaah!”.
    Goats have kids.

    A “Baaaah!”ing kid is either a traumatized goat — possible sighting of the mildly deranged penguib? — or the Reptilians need to adjust the cloning machine again.

  304. blf says

    A penguib is a cross between a penguin and Tragelaphus scriptus, a small west African antelope.

    Seeing one would indeed traumatize a goat.

  305. Portia says

    Gave the Peapod hat to the baby, as he happened to bring his parents to the office today. He is soooooo sweet. His mom said she loved the hat, and that she wanted to put it on him when they have portraits taken next week, and wondered if they could “put in orders” for more hats as he grows. So fun that it was so well received. That’s my favorite part of making something as a gift.

  306. Dhorvath, OM says

    rq,

    I’m glad I’m not the only one too scared to spend too much time in the Thunderdome. I can manage to turn in from time to time, but… it’s stressful, and I don’t even know why!

    I try to remember this, but occasionally get my wires crossed and behave here like I would there. I actually find the Lounge harder to deal with because of that, but more people is better so I continue to come back. That’s mighty greedy of me so I will endeavour to remember where I am sitting.

  307. cicely says

    Once again with the weekend ‘ruption.
    *sigh*
    Just jumpin’ back in any-ol’-where.
    -
    Azyroth, the person you reference at #241 sounds like Trouble. Anxiety-making.
    -
    *hugs* and sympathy for Desert Son and sister. I’m so sorry about her cat.
     
    My Midnight died almost certainly of renal failure, at about 10.
    We couldn’t afford to have him euthanized.
    I was a complete mess for…a while. Coupla months.
     
    I still feel guilty.
    -
    Tony!:

    rq:
    I have noticed more comments by you around Pharyngula and almost every time my reaction has been ” DAMN! She rocks!”.

    Indeed she does!
    Well, apart from that whole Slave of the Horses thing….
    :D
     
    (Later)
    *hugs*
    I’m sorry about your Kara.
    meat-space tears.
    -
    *hugs* for Dalillama.
    Just Because.
     
    (Later)
    It’s too late, now, but I would endorse Desert Son’s advice @309, re Gaming Without Spoons.
     
    (Even Later)
    Evil prairie dog hive minds…..
    This is a fantastic idea!
    -
    *hugs* for Crip Dyke, also Just Because.
    :)
    -
    Wishing I could help CaitieCat….
    :( :( :(
    -
    *hugs* and on-going sympathies for Nerd.
    -
    ImaginesABeach!
    *pouncehugs&chocolate*
    -
    *hugs, or other acceptable-and-non-intrusive gestures of sympathy and support* for theoreticalgrrrl.
    -
    Welcome In, Imbecile Heureux!
    -

  308. Desert Son, OM says

    rq at #:396

    Thank you again.

    Also, I’m glad I’m not the only one too scared to spend too much time in the Thunderdome. I can manage to turn in from time to time, but… it’s stressful, and I don’t even know why! But it is! So yeah. This was a message of companionship. :)

    I am fortunate to be in very good company! :)

    A little bit of why its anxious for me:

    First, I often feel simply outclassed in terms of the content of conversation. There are so many who make really good, strong, perspicacious comments, arguments, and points, and demonstrate immense knowledge about a wide range of topics. I’ve never felt unwelcome, just intimidated, like arriving at the start line of a sprint and looking over to find it’s me and Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Veronica Campbell-Brown, Usain Bolt, and Mo Farrah. I have a decent vocabulary, a decent understanding of reason and logic, questioning, examining, and so forth, but still feel overwhelmed. This is really my problem, not Thunderdome’s, because I’m the one falling into an insufficiently sophisticated view of Thunderdome participation as a zero-sum game: a race; when, in fact, I could be viewing it as a cooperative effort to communicate. I recognize this intellectually, but my anxiety issues surface and play havoc with my perception.

    Second, I get worried that when I screw up (and it’s inevitable, as I did this morning, though not in Thunderdome, but at another blog) that I’ll be blasted. Again, this is my problem, because instead of recognizing others calling out my errors as an opportunity for me to learn and grow, I’m thinking of it as an entrance exam into life and worthiness as a human being that I just failed.

    Third, as part of my anxiety issues, I sometimes self-punish unreasonably, and get caught in a spiral of “I’m a terrible and appalling representative of the species.” And, again, this is my problem, not Thunderdome’s, because while it’s important to recognize when we do make mistakes, to own those mistakes and apologize for them, and to make effort to learn and grow, by spending excessive time and energy punishing myself I’m hampering the “learn and grow” part. It’s not that we shouldn’t feel bad when we do wrong, it’s that I’m feeling bad, and then checking into the I Don’t Deserve To Feel Anything Other Than Bad Again Hotel, vacancy and rates may vary.

    Thunderdome intimidates me because I am struggling in a psychological place to learn to take better care of myself so that I can be a better participant in life in general. It’s what I’m working on in my counseling right now. I am making progress. It’s like running: Some days I have more distance, better form, better pace, better endurance. Other days, every footfall is labored, short of breath, overheated, out of form. That’s just running. That’s just life.

    Anyway, thanks for listening. :)

    Still learning,

    Robert

  309. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    I don’t consider Thunderdome an angry place as much as a place where trolls go die a long, tortured and eventually boring death.

  310. Nick Gotts says

    rq@374,

    The discovery of gravitational waves (or “fossils” of them in the patterns of polarisation of the cosmic microwave background) looks fairly solid, and I’d guess the biggest thing in cosmology at least since the discovery of accelerating cosmic expansion in 1998! What but science can give us moments like this?

  311. rq says

    Beatrice
    I know Thunderdome isn’t an angry place. But it’s still intimidating!
    (And I consider it a failing of mine that I consider it intimidating, since I know myself a few years ago, and I would probably have been right in there with everyone. But now I’m just too scared. And torn between that whole desire-to-bite idea and the mothers-don’t-bite idea. Really, the looks I get when I’m not all soft and cuddly because children or something weird like that… It’s infuriating, but it’s really difficult to break out of it.
    Also, what Desert Son said about being outclassed. Way outclassed. Way way outclassed.)

  312. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    rq,

    I know people have all these expectations about how a mother is supposed to act, but I never thought about how much all that pressure influences the whole character and interactions away from kids.
    People are shit!
    (I do approve of that new avatar of yours! :)

  313. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    I chickened out of sending any emails, at least for now. But I feel really good about myself right now anyway.
    Just really feeling some things I almost thought myself incapable of feeling is good.

  314. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Thank you cicely!

    Here’s a warm, embrace of friendly length in return.

    *****

    rq, was it you who was saying that potty training had advanced in one of your children (I think the younger)?

    To whomever it was, congrats to the kids. I am sure I forgot to say it at the time, but I was thinking it.

    *****

    Inaji, you are often in my thoughts.

    *****

    @Giliell, Portia, & Esteleth:

    THinking positive things about y’all lately.

    I’ve been spending quite a bit of time indoors lately, but I’m getting out more in the last couple of weeks and I’m **REALLY** appreciating the bag Esteleth knit for me.

    Everyone whose received some of Esteleth’s knitting should give her 3 cheers, just for pure generosity and awesomeness.

    @Chas:

    Arrogant Wanker Hunters: He’s an arrogant wanker!

    Me: [Chambers shotgun round] But he’s our arrogant wanker, so cut him the hell down!

    Also, you’re not more of an arrogant wanker than I am, even if I am pissed off when you engage in your Sherlock-esque intellectualizing while people are suffering attacks on rights, dignity, and personhood.

    @All the people who were arrogant-wanker hunting:

    This is not to disagree with your criticisms of chas. Abortion threads are brutal, and arrogant, wankful intellectualizing can often be harder to take than outright hostility. I’m not saying it always is, or it should be, but it often is, and given the number of people who read Pharyngula, it’s inevitable that it will be for some integer number of readers > 0.

    @anyone pissed off at the failure to include the longer version of the kitten-mischief story:
    I humbly apologize. It was late, and I didn’t think I could write in such a way as to do it justice. Plus I just thought “kittens are horrible liars” was a good enough line that it would be a positive contribution to your amusement.

    I see now the error of my ways. No incomplete kitten stories in the future. Before 11pm tonight I’ll type up the full story of the kitten, the seedlings, the vomit, and the very bad lie.

    [see, I've learned my lesson: more details is better right? Bwahahahahahaha]

    @all the trans* lurkers and commenters:

    Each and every single one of you is feminine enough, masculine enough, androgynous enough, beautiful enough.

    Each and every single one of you deserves love.

    Each and every single one of you can get a new, loving partner if you’re unpartnered or currently partnered with someone you won’t stay with for the rest of your life.

    And if you’re worried that you will stay with someone for the rest of your life b/c of partner’s actions that hurt you, that make you sick, that increase your vulnerability, that consistently pick at your weak and sore places: You won’t.

    Non-trans* women leave an abusive partner an average of 7 times, if the commonly cited statistic is true. You can look at it as 6 failures before success, or you can look at it as 6 experiments in figuring out what you need in order to stay away, and one successful test of a refined hypothesis. No one will ever know if we trans* folk need to conduct more or fewer experiments, but I do know that we consistently get messages that we aren’t lovable.

    This is the comment you come back to when you feel that leaving a hurtful partner will relieve you of abuse only at the cost of love.

    Non-abusive love is out there.

    You deserve it.

    You can find it if you run the experimental trials.

    And the love of kinship and friendship is waiting here for you every day until you’ve run all the experiments you need to find a love that values you *AS* a trans* person, but not *because* you’re a trans* person and certainly not *despite* you being a trans* person.

    If it seems impossible: it isn’t. Look! Loving friendship has already found you. Loving partners are out there for you as well.

  315. rq says

    Well, I didn’t think I needed a good cry before going off to bed, but Crip Dyke has proved me wrong.
    You’re amazing, CD, and I am proud and glad to know you. ♥

  316. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    One of the problems the Redhead has is feeling useful. Today, we got a 48 hour boil notice from the city since they were working on a water main down the street. So, this afternoon, she got on the phone, called the neighbors to make sure they knew what was going on, and to spread the word to others. She was much perkier than normal when I got home from work. She would make a good node on a phone tree.

  317. Esteleth, [an error occurred while processing this directive] says

    RQ, if at all possible, please send me USD if you’re sending me cash. Exchanging currency here is a serious hassle. If you’d like to email me and let me know how much you’re planning on sending, I can send that along now and whenever your money arrives we can call it even.

  318. Crudely Wrott says

    First, thanks to Desert Son, rq and Tony! for supportive thoughts regarding my post about Fred Phelps. I almost didn’t click submit and it took several editorial reads and subtle modifications before I did.
    Large baskets of *hugs* and tasty treats, grog, ale and happy sentiment should be appearing at your locations just about . . . now!
    __________
    Add my voice to those lauding Crip Dyke for being an awesome heapin helpin of wonderful love, toleration, understanding, experience and compassion.
    CD, you make my heart smile and rejuvenate my optimism.
    Also, you swing a mean comment over at Ed Brayton’s place. I always enjoy what you write. =)
    __________
    Phil Plait has a couple of posts up today about the CMB polarization news that’s making waves<—. Go here. His short, follow up post, “Inflated Timescales” is recommended for anyone wanting a good brain stretching.

    There are so many cool things about this announcement and the InnerTubes are awash in articles for anyone interested. If the claims made today withstand scrutiny, and the while be scrutinized ferociously I hope to tell you, we have just witnessed a scientific sea change. Why, general relativity and quantum mechanics might even learn to get along with each other!

    One particularly cool thing is another example of how science progresses from certainty to uncertainty to certainty to brand new questions and moar experiments! It may appear, to a layman to move haltingly, stutter stepping and often back tracking but it does move onward and sometimes opens to our eyes vistas of magnificence and unexpected illumination.
    __________
    A true fact and a timely confluence of small details in a single small life:
    On my bedside table lately there’s two books. One is Einstein’s Relativity: The Special and General Theory, from 1916. The second is David Lindley’s Uncertainty: Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr and the Struggle for the Soul of Science, from 2007.

    Uncertainty and Relativity.

    How cool is that? That such a coincidence of second reads from my limited library occurs at just now? Today’s announcement is intimately entwined with the seminal and inspired work of such worthies and could not have even been possible were it not for them. They and a grand, extended cohort of curious minds paved the way for what is now taking place. They are still shaking the world and pulling aside the curtains of ignorance. These are exciting times. I’m so glad I’m alive to experience them.

    Of such small delights my life seems often made.

  319. Nutmeg says

    I must vent about an inconsiderate friend, compounded by my own awkwardness. Feel free to ignore, it’s nothing serious.

    A close friend has developed a pattern of not replying to emails in a timely manner and forgetting scheduled events. Today, she forgot to text me about social plans with someone who’s in town for a limited time period, after saying just last night that she would keep me posted. By the time she remembered, it was too late. I had waited around the university for an extra couple of hours, then decided that either the party had been cancelled or I wasn’t wanted at it (I’m not a central member of that group, but my friend is). So I went home, and I missed whatever it was that was happening, which had presumably started while I was still around.

    And, okay, I could have texted her to ask what was happening. But we had talked about it just the previous night, so she shouldn’t have needed a reminder. When she didn’t get in touch, I figured maybe I was missing some signals here and I wasn’t actually welcome at the party, and I don’t want to be the person who butts in where they’re not wanted, so I didn’t text her. So the “not following up when things weren’t as expected” part of this is my jerkbrain’s fault, sure. But I don’t know if I should have done anything different?

    I don’t know how a non-socially-anxious person who has confidence in their reading of social cues would have handled this. Would texting be polite, or nagging/pestering? And I don’t know how the way I handled it would have looked from the outside. Did it look like I didn’t care, or like I was appropriately shy (please remember that I’m Canadian, “appropriately shy” is totally a thing here), or like I was way too shy, or like I was being passive aggressive? (If I’m being totally honest with myself, there was probably a bit of passive aggression in there.) And of course it’s hard for anyone else to know what would have been appropriate, without knowing all the nuances of the situation, which I don’t even understand myself, because social awkwardness.

    And when my friend texted to apologize, I didn’t want to say “It’s okay”, because it actually isn’t. I’m sick of this behaviour from her, and I was inconvenienced by not hearing from her, and missing this party was a disappointment. So I just said “It’s too bad” and changed the subject.

    I’ve been trying to give her the benefit of the doubt for months. My patience is all used up. I don’t know what the hell is going on inside her head, but from the outside, it looks like she’s being self-centred and inconsiderate towards multiple people in her life.

  320. birgerjohansson says

    I read an article in Science about how medicine is trying to cure or ease the many bad consequences of Down’s syndrome. :)

    Also, indians (and many Siberians) are descended from a groupof people that was trapped in Beringia* for ten thousand years during the last glacial maximum.

    *Today mostly submerged, once vast plains from Siberia to Alaska twice the size of Texas.

  321. birgerjohansson says

    Nutmeg, when reading about your friend I spontaneously think of the song “Fuck You”.
    Also, there was an eighties group who wrote musical spoofs, one of them titled “Your’re a Bastard”.
    Just in case you need inspiration for expressing your feelings.

    — — — — —
    “A brain signal for psychosis risk” http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-03-brain-psychosis.html MMN may be a biomarker

    “New nanoparticle that only attacks cervical cancer cells” http://phys.org/news/2014-03-nanoparticle-cervical-cancer-cells.html

  322. rq says

    Giggled all morning over this: Neil DeGrasse Tyson in slo-mo. Sounds drunk, the kind of drunk where you wait forever for him to finish sentences. “How does that work?”

    Anyone try this program for language learning? They make some funny claims at the bottom, but I’m thinking of giving it a try (improving my German!).

    Kyooooooooooooooooooooot!!!

    Yah, some people are just weird (and their kids, too!). :)

    +++

    Nutmeg
    If it was a one-time thing, I’d say it was a simple miscommunication, where both parties figure the other will figure it out, and by the time both realize they should be in touch, it’s too late. :(
    But it sounds like it’s part of a larger pattern, and that’s no fun at all anymore. Yeah, maybe you could have called her, but at the same time, you two had an agreement, and if she has issues remembering these things, it might be helpful for her to set reminders (in her phone, for instance). Does she know how you feel about her absent-mindedness?
    I don’t think a text from you would have seemed like nagging and/or pestering, considering these were potentially your plans too and it’s always nice to know what you’ll be doing. :P
    Still not entirely your fault (I do similar things when the unexpected happens – wait around and go home, and yeah, I don’t know how to break the habit).
    *hugs* if you wants!

  323. Portia says

    rq:

    I just signed up for that Duolingo thing, thanks! I’m looking forward to trying it out in conjunction with the Spanish CDs I got a the library. The placement test made me laugh, it said “Translate this sentence: Tu no hablas espanol” (accents ommitted by me because laziness). Sassy test is sassy.

    Nutmeg:
    Hugs for the friend situation. I don’t think you’re being unreasonable at all. I don’t think you did anything wrong. To your question about texting when you didn’t hear from her, if you have hung out in the past several times, I don’t think it’s naggy to shoot a text and say “Hey, haven’t heard, what’s up?” or something. Of course, doesn’t mean you should have had to in order for her to let you know what’s up.
    *moar hugs* because that’s just a sucky way to treat you.

  324. Portia says

    Funny story from last week:

    S’s mother’s first language is Spanish. She is fluent in English, but (understandably) prefers Spanish. S and his sister and father all are fluent in Spanish. So at S’s parents house, there’s lots of Spanish. S and I were talking about me learning Spanish, and I said “Well, I guess I’ll have to stop letting myself daydream when the Spanish starts because I’m certain no one is talking to me when they’re speaking Spanish.” S laughed really loud and said “Actually, Mom is definitely still talking to you, she just switches to Spanish without realizing it.” So I guess I really better learn, because I’ve been very rude so far ^_^

  325. rq says

    Portia
    Nice about the Dr Plague outfit… And here I’d been thinking pterodactyl the whole time. :D

  326. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @rq

    that SMBC was awesome. Def. a keeper.

  327. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Crudely

    you swing a mean comment over at Ed Brayton’s place. I always enjoy what you write.

    Thank you, Crudely.

    you make my heart smile and rejuvenate my optimism.

    You’ve needed those smiles, and it would be more than understandable if your local store was almost out of stock on optimism, so I’m glad for any assistance in the supply chain I can provide. Just call me the UPS of optimism. Because I’m brown, but paler. Or something.

    ======================

    Looooonngg delayed kitten story:

    Family gets some seedling plants – mostly spider plants. Worried about kitten attacking, so we place them at the very back of the counter where the worst she could do is knock them over. In the middle of the night, I hear some thuds that might not be kitten jumping down from somewhere and then some thuds that might be. She’s knocked something over, but nothing broke or I would have heard a crash. i roll over and go back to sleep.

    Some time not-too-much later, I hear an awful sound. Worry about the kids, but it’s coming from the other direction. Hmph. Listen closer. It’s the kitty. Well, the kitten deserves momma-care too, so get up out of bed. Come out of room, close door in case I need to turn on a light, turn corner walk the hallway, turn on light just after horrible noise stops.

    There is green slime directly in front of kitten. With two slender green blades in the middle of the pool. Kitten walks around the puddle and then sits just an inch in front of it, blocking my view.

    “Meow?!?”

    “Uh huh. And what did you knock of the counter?”

    I step forward to turn the corner and look into the kitchen. Kitten sprints forward, splays in front of me, and with flexible spine rolls so that hips are sideways with haunch pointed toward one wall, back feet toward another, but her chest is up toward the ceiling, front feet paw the air as she tips her head backward to look at my feet and then, claws carefully retracted, reaches out to hug my ankle. I lean forward anyway. Dirt spread across the counter, one plant in the sink, two on the floor.

    “Kitten, you are a rotten liar.”

    “Me? Ow!”

  328. says

    Heya!
    *hugs* for Nutmeg

    How come my days are over so quickly atm but always last so long?

    +++
    mini-rant and huge display of able-body privilege
    So, I’m dragging my ass to my internship every day, and it works so far, I’m just a bit sower than everybody else. And everybody is so terribly nice and considerate. I hate it.

  329. rq says

    Crip Dyke
    Apparently her kitten-eyes have not developed yet. :)
    I hope she’s okay health-wise, and hopefully at least one of the plants is salvageable.
    Great story, thank you for taking the time and succumbing to popular request!
    Also, *hugs*

  330. says

    Remember the billionaire, Tom Perkins, who compared the persecuted rich folks to the victims of Kristallnacht? Well, now we have another billionaire bemoaning the persecution of the rich, and yes, Nazis are in this story too.

    http://www.politico.com/story/2014/03/the-rich-strike-back-104753.html

    […] wealthy Republicans — who were having a collective meltdown just two months ago — also say they see signs that the political zeitgeist may be shifting back their way and hope the trend continues.

    “I hope it’s not working,” Ken Langone, the billionaire co-founder of Home Depot and major GOP donor, said of populist political appeals. “Because if you go back to 1933, with different words, this is what Hitler was saying in Germany. You don’t survive as a society if you encourage and thrive on envy or jealousy.” […]

    Also, don’t raise the minimum wage because that persecutes rich people as well.

  331. says

    Oh, my aching head. Republicans are issuing word salad sound bites about women’s rights, women’s economic issues, etc. And [more head-desking] they are having Republican women make these ridiculous statements.

    There’s a new Republican political action committee in Texas called RedState Women, which hopes to give gubernatorial hopeful Greg Abbott (R) a boost with women voters later this year. […]

    Over the weekend, RedState Women’s executive director, Cari Christman, sat down with WFAA in Dallas, and fielded questions about, among other things, Republican opposition to measures like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Christman argued that women “want real-world solutions to this problem, not more rhetoric.”

    It was an odd thing to say. Federal laws that empower workers facing wage discrimination to seek remedies in the courts aren’t “rhetoric,” they’re the opposite. […]

    When asked what her proposed solution to the gender pay gap might look like, she began repeating the point that women are “busy.”

    “If you look at it, women are extremely busy,” she said. “We lead busy lives, whether working professionally, whether working from home, and times are extremely busy. It’s a busy cycle for women, and we’ve got a lot to juggle. So when we look at this issue we think, what’s practical? And we want more access to jobs. We want to be able to get a higher education degree at the same time we’re working or raising a family.”
    Hmm. The Democratic position to help ensure pay equity is passing measures like the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. According to Christman, these legal protections are a mistake … because women are “busy.”

    […] Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said women don’t want federal laws to ensure women receive equal pay for equal work. Rather, Blackburn argued, women “want to be able to have the power and the control and the ability to make those decisions themselves.”

    As a substantive matter, this was gibberish, though Blackburn didn’t seem to care.

    More recently, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the House Republican Conference chair, was asked whether she agrees with President Obama’s position on laws mandating equal pay for equal work. “Yes, absolutely,” she responded. But in reality, McMorris Rodgers, like nearly every other congressional Republican, voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.

    It was soon followed by this exchange on Fox News between Martha MacCallum and Alan Colmes about Obama’s comments on the issue.

    MacCallum: I think most women do not want to be treated as sort of a special class of citizens. They want to go to work every day, they want to get paid for being a professional, for doing their job really well. And they don’t want to be treated like some group of people who have to be, you know, given a little special handout just to make sure that they’re okay.

    Colmes: It’s not a special handout. It’s equality. It’s equal pay for equal work.

    MacCallum: Many women get paid exactly what they’re worth, Alan.

    […] they want to be against discrimination but they also want to reject employment regulations and safeguards. […]

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/why-pay-equity-keeps-tripping

  332. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Making a list of things to take out of town. List gets full as is on a small section of the white board. On the last line is written:

    Laser Waffles

    Partner is the secret identity of an evil genius?

  333. birgerjohansson says

    I watched the latest Riddick film yesterday. It occurred to me that the bounty hunters going after his head provide a very clear demonstration of darwinian selection pressure. The careless or overconfident do not get to reproduce.

    And the local predators were cool.

    – — – — – — –
    Antarctic moss lives after 1,500 years under ice http://phys.org/news/2014-03-antarctic-moss-years-ice.html

  334. rq says

    To my brain, “Antarctic moss lives” = “Antarctic moss livers”. I wonder if they taste good with Laser Waffles.

  335. morgan ?! epitheting a metaphor says

    Nutmeg,

    I’ve been thinking about your rude friend and want to offer another perspective. Do you know if she endures any sort of depression or feelings of insecurity? I know from mortifying experience that some people have such deeply hidden self-loathing that in their mind, not following through on agreements is seen not as rudeness but is a manifestation of the sense that “I am so worthless that no one will care if I don’t do X.”

    I know this sounds vastly illogical, and in fact is, but it is a mental process that does take place in some people. It is much more complex than I am describing here, and the problems it creates for friends (and former friends) are painful.

    I cannot recommend a course of action, I just wanted to cast a different light on the situation.

    Be well.

  336. cicely says

    Crip Dyke @412:
    *sniffle*
    Sinuses.
    I swear.
    -
    Nerd, is there perhaps some local community service organization for which the Redhead could put her skills to use?
    -
    *hugs* for Nutmeg.
    As someone who constantly over-thinks matters of Social Interaction, I cannot advise you…but your predicament is broadly familiar. People—how the hell do they work???
    -
    rq, you beat me to posting this.
     
    (Deliberate repetition, because Kyooooooooooooooooooooot!!!)
    ;)
     
    Also, I agree with Portia—my first thought was “plague doctor”.
    -
    I’ve killed spider plants….
    -

  337. Nutmeg says

    Thanks for the validation and/or hugs and/or advice, birgerjohansson, rq, Portia, Giliell, cicely.

    morgan, I really don’t know about my friend’s mental health status. She has had some brushes with depression in the past but has pulled out of them on her own. And she seemed to be doing very well lately, so I’m leaning towards thinking that she’s just inconsiderate. I can’t be sure, of course, which is part of what makes this situation frustrating. Her behaviour is not okay, but I don’t want to rip a strip off of her if there’s a bigger issue, but I also want her to use her words and tell me if there’s an issue, and then get help for it, because things are not okay the way they are. *deep breath*

    I would really like to say, “You’ve been acting like an inconsiderate asshole for months, and multiple people in your life are sick of putting up with it. You weren’t always like this. If you have a problem like depression, you need to get your ass to a therapist, because this is not okay. I will be more than happy to help with the logistics of that. And if you don’t have that kind of problem, then you need to figure your shit out ASAP, because this is not okay. Act like a fucking adult, schedule a time every day to answer your goddamned emails, and stop forgetting your obligations, before you start losing your friends.”

    I would really like to write an email like that. But she has a job interview tomorrow, and I don’t want to upset her and make her bomb it, because I am a considerate person who thinks about my friends’ needs. If it still seems like a good idea in a couple of days, I might try to tone down that message a little and send the email, drama be damned.

  338. blf says

    BigDumieCo apparently instituted a policy sometime last year that all people writing software for BigDumbieCo have to take a BigDumbieCo-written “Software Quality Process” course. Not necessarily a bad idea, but

    I glanced through the slides this morning. It was like déjà vu au max — can anyone say “Waterfall model”! No iterations, no attempts to learn lessons from what went right or wrong, hence no corrections or improvements to be applied in future projects, no mechanism for amending / correcting  / fixing / improving the process itself, and on and on and on. And the process ends with a “release”. No customers ever report bugs, I guess — and continuing maintenance, nope, sorry, seemingly not for BigDumbieCo.

    I need to find my copy of The Mythical Man-Month to wash my brain out with after just skimming through that trash…

    (I haven’t taken the course yet, and am considering what to do. My initial inclination is to write a review, but this is BigDumbieCo, so that will accomplish precisely nothing.)

  339. says

    birger, extremely dumb guy you noted in comment #437 not only thinks slavery was not so bad, but that entitlements are a means of exerting power over people. I wonder why people like that politician never think that many entitlements/subsidies/sweetheart deals given to corporations do not result in us having power over industry giants.

    Looks to me like right wing politicians really want to strip entitlements from poor and low-income persons precisely to prevent those people from becoming powerful, to prevent them from emancipating themselves from poverty.

    Arizona Republican Jim Brown has since apologized, but I don’t think he really learned anything:

    I made a post yesterday implying that the entitlement state being created in our country is similar to to the method slave owners used to keep their slaves under control. (Taking care of their basic needs while denying them real education and opportunity) Some people read this to mean that I didn’t think slavery was that bad. I believe that slavery is worse than death – yesterday, today and tomorrow. I apologize to anyone I offended. If I had it to do over I would have been more careful with my wording, but you don’t get do overs in politics. So, I’ll have to pay the price for this. My platform is “responsibility” and I accept the responsibility.

    https://aattp.org/arizona-gop-congressional-candidate-providing-social-safety-nets-is-just-like-slavery/

  340. says

    Rather than post this in PZ’s old post about Paul Ryan, I thought I’d post an update in the Lounge.

    A lot of journalists have since weighed in on the egregious stupidity Ryan showed when he recently referred to Charles Murray as a source.
    http://www.salon.com/2014/03/18/paul_krugman_demolishes_charles_murrays_stunning_racist_dishonesty/

    […] like all of Murray’s work, “Coming Apart” is shot through with genetic fatalism, that lower IQ people are on balance lazier, more promiscuous and more crime prone, and that social policy that seeks to help them only encourages them to reproduce, worsening our problems. […]

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/17/opinion/krugman-that-old-time-whistle.html

    […] it’s comical, in a way, to see Mr. Ryan trying to explain away some recent remarks in which he attributed persistent poverty to a “culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working.” He was, he says, simply being “inarticulate.” How could anyone suggest that it was a racial dog-whistle? Why, he even cited the work of serious scholars — people like Charles Murray, most famous for arguing that blacks are genetically inferior to whites. Oh, wait. […]

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/easy-to-be-misunderstood-when-you-cite-experts-who-say-blacks-are-inferior-to-whites

    […] When you start off by basing your arguments around the work of Charles Murray you just lose your credibility from the start as someone actually interested in addressing poverty or joblessness or really doing anything other than coming up with reasons to cut off what little assistance society provides for its most marginalized members or, alternatively, pumping up people with racial resentments against black people and giving them ersatz ‘scholarship’ to justify their racial antipathies.

    That’s because Murray’s public career has been based on pushing the idea that black urban poverty is primarily the fault of black people and their diseased ‘culture.’ Relatedly, and more controversially, he has argued that black people are genetically inferior to white people and other notional races with regards to intelligence. Yes, that last part should be crystal clear: Murray is best known for attempting to marshal social science evidence to argue that black people are genetically not as smart as white people. […]

  341. says

    More backup for Paul Ryan’s ignorance of culture, race, economics and … well, just about everything:

    […] A quick point of trivia: I first learned about Atwater’s comments years ago, in this New York Times column by Bob Herbert questioning why anybody was surprised to hear GOP education secretary-cum-talk radio host Bill Bennett say, “I do know that it’s true that if you wanted to reduce crime, you could — if that were your sole purpose — you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down. That would be an impossible, ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do, but your crime rate would go down.”

    Guess whose program Ryan was a guest on when he stepped in it last week? […]

    http://www.salon.com/2014/03/17/paul_ryans_race_flap_even_worse_than_it_looks/

    For reference, here are Lee Atwater’s comments referenced in the above paragraph:

    ”You start out in 1954 by saying, ‘N—-r, n—-r, n—-r,’” Atwater explained. “By 1968 you can’t say ‘n—-r’ — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘N—-r, n—-r.”’

  342. David Marjanović says

    *phew*

    Link dump.

    Mercury has been shrinking over the billions of years as it’s been cooling out. Article in German, written by journalists who mention there’s a paper somewhere in Nature Geoscience but couldn’t be arsed to actually cite it or link to it.

    Petition to Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act.

    Petition to Sepp Blatter to keep the pressure on Qatar.

    “FIFA should:

    · Call for an end to the exploitative kafala system in its current form in Qatar, specifically by allowing workers to freely change jobs and leave the country without their employer’s permission.
    · Demand that fundamental labour rights are protected as a requirement for countries to be selected to host World Cups.
    · Call on the Qatar 2022 organising authorities to establish a complaints mechanism that allows migrant workers to report abuses and secure justice.”

    Uh, this is about the soccer world championship, for those (undoubtedly Americans) who don’t know. :-]

    Petition to Wal-Mart to raise its pathetic wages.

    Seriously big mosasaur found in Italy.

    Petition to the Swiss legislature not to weaken the restrictions on the countries Swiss companies is allowed to sell military weapons to.

  343. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @David M:

    Petition to the Swiss legislature not to weaken the restrictions on the countries Swiss companies is allowed to sell military weapons to.

    Just curious: in the English language custom of allowing objectless final prepositions common in other languages?

    Admittedly, the last time I could be called fluent in French was 20 years ago or so, but I do read the news occasionally, and I’ve read the Harry Potter books and some other random things over the past 5 years – thousands of pages – and I don’t think it commonly occurs in those written contexts. From what I remember of spoken language conversations, I don’t remember it happening frequently if at all. I could, of course, be wrong about that, it was a while ago, but it’s also exactly the kind of thing a grammar nerd like me would notice if it occurred, so my confidence in this doesn’t approach zero.

    Other than French and English, I’m not and have never been fluent in anything. I’ve got a smattering of hebrew, less yiddish, a decent sample of spanish, and some ASL, but nowhere near enough to make coherent judgements about preposition use in any of them.

  344. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Oh, holy crap!

    I can read Italian!

    Sure, I need the context of the other words, and I’m synthesizing what I know of French and Spanish, and I will obviously have no idiomatic understanding (all of which means, among other things, that there’s no way I would get any jokes), but in a straight up news article I’m just reading along with an occasional “Huh? Oh, yeah, probably that.” I’ve never tried to read Italian until I followed David M’s link on the Mosasaur article, which happens to be in Italian, and Presto!

  345. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Okay, I ran into some trouble in some paragraphs, and I’m best at the technical parts, but wow do I understand way more than I ever thought I would.

  346. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Hey Everyone! Hope everyone is doing well. *hugs* all around, if wanted.

    I have great news: He got the job! :DD

    Now, it’s just the gap of waiting for that first paycheck and having to pay all the debit that’s built up. At 8 bucks an hour, it’ll take a bit. We’ll be behind the internet bill two months soon enough for 300 bucks, which’ll hurt. But we’re close, so close to being out of the hole.

  347. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Ug about the hole, JAL.

    Congrats about the job.

  348. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    There appears to be a parent haranguing his adult daughter about what her boyfriend/prospective boyfriend NEEDS to do because he’s a MAN, at the other table. At least, I assume she’s an adult; she looks 15, but she’s having beer…. >.>

  349. says

    CD
    Yeah, I can read Spanish fairly well and read a bit of Italian off my knowledge of French.

    JAL
    Yay for a light at the end of the tunnel anyway. Also *hugs*.

    General: pretty ‘rupt, hugs and cookies.

  350. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yay for JAL seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Tonight I get to set up three crock pots, and get some veggies/spices ready for the morning. Then I get up early tomorrow to get the corned beef started before heading off to work. I’ll cook the cabbage when I get home tomorrow night. One piece with veggies goes to the neighbor who does the Redhead’s hair, the other two are for us (and guests if they desire a taste). At least I don’t have to do certain holidays on those holidays when the fridge is still full from the previous holiday.
    (The Redhead must celebrate all holidays in some fashion.)

  351. cicely says

    [...] what her boyfriend/prospective boyfriend NEEDS to do because he’s a MAN [...]

    …rather than a shell-less gastropod, for instance? Or a paramecium?
    -

  352. Hekuni Cat, MQG says

    Threadrupt.

    cicely – *pouncehug with chocolate*

    JAL – Good news! *another pouncehug with chocolate*

    *restocks the pile of hugs and chocolate* Please take as needed.

  353. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    Hey, Avo: how’s the nose?

    you can consider this an apology for the hoppy-nasal-membranes injury.

    I’m going back to the states for a bit. Should be fun.

  354. chigau (違う) says

    I am very happy that overnight temperatures are now tending to be above freezing.
    a wee bit

  355. opposablethumbs says

    bourneagain, this is a social space and not your slymepit. Stay in the thunderdome where you belong.

  356. rq says

    PZ and his cult members

    I’ll have you know that this place is full of them, and since you know they’re going to exclude you from the discussion anyway, why bother trying to be social? Ta!

  357. rq says

    birgerjohansson
    That comic just confirms my view that Iceland is a world of its own. Probably a fragment of an alien population containing the last viable bits of DNA that somehow managed to survive a dunking in the Earth’s oceans, and is now proliferating among the volcanoes.

  358. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Hushfile engaged until cleanup is over.

    Got the corned beef started at this early hour as I couldn’t get back to sleep after the 3 am commode break. Now waiting for crockpots to boil.

  359. opposablethumbs says

    Yeah, that is all.

    “give me a kitten until it is 7 months old, and I shall give you the cat”

    :-D

  360. says

    Heya
    Short day today, thankfully.
    Yesterday I had 6 hours of internship plus 4 hours of work and in the end I couldn’t decide which foot hurt more.

    Nerd
    I can understand the Redhead.
    Hell, this rotten foot is driving me nuts already, I can only imagine how she must feel…
    I second the idea of looking into volunteer work at the phone

    JAL
    *pouncehug*
    Hope the hole fills up quickly

  361. birgerjohansson says

    This is a nasty disease that c laimed an aunt and my previous cat.

    “Swedish early detection test for pancreatic cancer developing ahead of schedule”
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/03/18/swedish-early-detection-test-for-pancreatic-cancer-developing-ahead-of-schedule/

    We are so cool! I mean, not “we” since I did not contribute, but…er…my presence must have inspired them. Although I do not live in that city, but …flapping butterflies! That’s it! (actually, I may accidentally influenced the discovery of gravitational waves the same way) (and carbon nanotubes)

    – — — —
    Derivatives of a known drug inhibit the replication of a pathogenic coronavirus. These compounds can now serve as a basis for the development of a novel, *broad-range* antiviral agent http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-03-derivatives-drug-inhibit-replication-pathogenic.html
    I am particular ly interested in anything that can prevent pneumonia, since the elderly are very vulnerable to it.

  362. Portia says

    *megaflailinghappydance* for JAL. :D :D :D

    -

    So, the paralegal who took over some of my files under the New Arrangement of Things, is awesome. She stayed late last night to help me out with something, and then this morning brought in a box of donuts for the office. (I went and got her a chai latte to thank her, as well. She loves Motley Crue, so I printed out a photo of a band member giving a thumbs up and wrote a thank you note on it. She enjoyed my dorky clumsy methods of gratitude, which is pretty cool). Yay!

    -

    *hugs* all around. Well, mostly around.

  363. Portia says

    rq:

    That gif set with cat facts made me laugh. Love it. moar cat fax.

    -

    Ha! Paralegal just took a pic of my note and the latte and posted it to facebook with the caption “I love my job” I have (some) people skills! WoooooooooOOOOoooo!

  364. rq says

    Haha, Portia, #10 on that list is for Crip Dyke! :D
    Also, yay for paralegal!

    Also, because I forgot, big hooray for JAL, and I hope the road up and out keeps progressing!! :D

  365. numerobis says

    birgerjohansson @485 : sweet!

    I was first made aware of this disease by Randy Pausch, who gave a nice speech about dying. As inspiring a speech as it was, I’d have preferred if he could have continued being a jovial presence in the department (I’d graduated when he fell ill, but I still visited often), and if he could have continued his program of early computer science education — teaching kids (particularly girls) to program computers!

    Pancreatic cancer also killed Jack Layton shortly after he was elected to lead the opposition. There were rumors he wasn’t well during the election, which cost his party a few votes — without those, we might not have had a majority Harper government.

    Not to forget Steve Jobs, who forced the computer industry to start thinking about design, not just technical specs.

    I already hate this disease, and now you say it killed your cat? Mine are getting extra head scritches right now. I sometimes forget cats don’t actually have nine lives, and they die of some of the same things we do.

  366. says

    So Little Cat (Fiancee’s addition to our lovely family) has been having a lot of problems adjusting to the presence of Fat Cat and Derpy Cat, but yesterday when I was home sick, she decided to come curl in the computer chair that Fiancee usually sits in. She’s rarely over in that corner of the house. I think she’s getting more used to the boys.

    Of course we think she’s still finding places on the carpet to pee…

  367. birgerjohansson says

    “a majority Harper government.”

    Cancer has a lot to answer for.

    — — — — — —
    A bit abstract news, but maybe interesting?

    “Math models analyze long-term criminal activity patterns in a population” http://phys.org/news/2014-03-math-long-term-criminal-patterns-population.html

    “New DNA-editing technology spawns novel strategies for gene therapy” http://phys.org/news/2014-03-dna-editing-technology-spawns-strategies-gene.html
    More capable gene scissors…

  368. cicely says

    ‘Mornin’, all.
     
    Linky Goodness:
    Overwhelmed Cats Voicing Your Frustrations
    and looky! Moar kittehs! Sharp, toothy ones!
    -
    *return chocolatey pouncehug* for Hekuni Cat.
    :)
    -
    Hey, Avo!
    Also, *pouncehug*.
    Speaking for my little sub-unit of the Collective, things are going pretty well.
    At the moment, nothing is hurting.
     
    I could get used to this.
    :) :) :)
     
    And how’s yourself, this fine day?
    -
    chigau, I share your hoppiness happiness at the above-freezingness of night-time temps. Perhaps we can has feeling in our toeses, nao?
    -
    rq, your link made me lol.
    :D
    -

  369. cicely says

    *turbo-hug* for fast-and-fleeting Beatrice.
    -
    Portia, Paralegal sounds like a great choice of co-worker on your part!
    :)
    -

  370. says

    Doing well and good and feeling fine, cicely. I’m glad you haven’t much hurt, and I’m hoping it sticks around long enough to get used to it.

    Things just look good. Even if I have to go back to work in a couple of weeks.

  371. says

    “In my opinion, Putin is right on these issues,” Franklin Graham writes of Russia’s controversial prohibition on gay “propaganda.” “Obviously, he may be wrong about many things, but he has taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda. “Our president and his attorney general have turned their backs on God and His standards, and many in the Congress are following the administration’s lead. This is shameful.”

    Franklin Graham is not the only rightwing religious zealot who is praising Putin. Certainly lets us know how important the anti-gay agenda is to some segments of the USA population.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/franklin-graham-sees-putin-moral

  372. says

    You may not have thought it possible, but Georgia has become even more retrograde when it comes to healthcare.

    http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/watch/outcry-as-state-gop-moves-bad-samaritan-bill-199523395851 This is a 5:27 video in which Maddow covers the story well.

    From the comments below the story:

    The Republican legislators and governors that block Medicaid should be prosecuted for manslaughter if not murder as many will needlessly die because health care is being denied to them. Law enforcement should explore legal options for civil suits as well as criminal prosecutions.