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Comments

  1. says

    Gender diversity in Hollywood. Or, more specifically, a lack thereof:

    http://www.dailydot.com/opinion/the-reason-people-hate-katherine-heigl/

    (note: I was expecting the article to be all about Katherine Heigl, but it segues into a larger discussion of gender issues facing Hollywood. It does so in a nice segue, but it’s still odd that Heigl isn’t the centerpiece of the article)

    In the latest issue of Marie Claire, Heigl elaborated on why she thinks her career stalled, and her answer boiled down to one thing: romantic comedies.

    “I had an amazing time. I love romantic comedies,” Heigl says. “I was so stoked to be doing them. But maybe I hit it a little too hard. I couldn’t say no. There’s nothing wrong with them, but maybe I overloaded my audience. I should have done a superhero movie or a psychological thriller.”

    Heigl isn’t wrong in suggesting that diversifying her output would have been a good move. But unfortunately for Heigl, her remarks speak to a larger problem in Hollywood not only about romantic comedies but about the ghettoization of actresses who make romantic comedies.
    […]

    It has become clear that the system which grinds up and spits out romantic comedy stars is broken. But there are several ways to fix it.

    Women buy as many or more movie tickets than men, but the discrepancy between female-centric movies and male-centric movies in Hollywood remains overwhelming. The first step to fixing this is to create more roles for women across the board. The idea that women who star in romantic comedies aren’t getting more roles written for them supports the idea that there are only a few kind of roles for women out there in general. To allow women to jump from genre to genre in their careers, this has to change.

    Oscar-winner and founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, Geena Davis, has talked about this a lot in the past few years. In 2011, Davis asked, “When are we going to get over the idea that it’s shocking that women can do things?” And Girls’ Lena Dunham echoed as much in March, after noticing the offers the show’s male lead, Adam Driver, was getting. “People are ready to see Adam play a million different guys in one year—from lotharios to villains to nerds,” said Dunham. “Meanwhile [co-stars] Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke and Zosia Mamet are still waiting for parts they can get interested in.”

    In advocating for more female roles, it might be tempting to assume that romantic comedies are part of the problem—but this is not necessarily true. The challenge is to inject the same kind of nuanced roles for women into romantic comedies that should also be injected into every other genre. If anything, women should be more involved in romantic comedies. And as Erin Gloria Ryan at Jezebel purports in an op-ed called “The Rom-Com’s Not Dead. Hollywood’s Just Lazy,” they should be involved at every level.

    “The problem is that there aren’t enough people in Hollywood who understand why women watch romantic comedies making movies—there aren’t enough women. Last year, only 18 percent of directors, writers, executive producers, producers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 grossing box office films were women, a 1 percent increase since 1998. That’s fucking embarrassing…but rather than involving more women to update the rom-com formula and compete with better, independently-produced films and TV, studios essentially asked a bunch of dudes what they thought women wanted and then got frustrated and blamed the audience when those dudes weren’t right.”

  2. HolyPinkUnicorn says

    @PZ#1:

    It’s still GIFfing in my head and I’m not sure how to stop it!

    Last night, John Oliver did a great segment on income inequality in America. Basically, how the American dream is just a dream for most of us. Reminded me of George Carlin’s “It’s called the American dream because you have to be asleep to believe it” joke.

    The craziest clip in that whole piece was from some local news station giving financial advice on what to do with big lottery winnings. I laughed so hard I cried…both tears of joy and sadness.

  3. says

    re: removing worms…
    FX’s The Strain has these worm-like creatures that are somehow part of a vampire that can dig into your skin and crawl around and infect you. It’s reeeeeeeeeeeeally creepy looking.

    But so much better than those sparkling fuckers.

  4. Reginald Selkirk says

    Mormons discuss Book of Abraham translation

    SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Book of Abraham is inspired scripture and probably not a literal translation from ancient Egyptian scrolls by Mormon founder Joseph Smith, the Utah-based church said in a new essay…

    Except that they don’t get around to admitting that Joseph Smith was a fraud, and this current whitewash does not agree with Smith’s own description of what he did.

  5. says

    So I need to come up with a wedding playlist for music. Neither Fiancee nor I are interested in pop or R+B or any of the typical “Wedding Music” playlist types. We both adore rock music, I like the EDM spectrum, and she’s more into punk than I am.

    It’s going to be a very interesting playlist for sure.

  6. Gerard O says

    ‘What happens when an irresistable force meets an immovable object?’ I found this in MENSA puzzle book and found the answer they gave to be unsatisfactory.

  7. marko says

    Gerard, the irresistable force stops, the immovable object moves. I have a mathematician friend who you can really annoy with the misuse of infinity.

  8. anbheal says

    Hey, the US National Woman Champ in A-S (Arms and Shoulders) Rowing is trying to raise funds to get her and her wheelchair and her service dog to Amsterdam for the World’s. Is it considered a violation of Pharyngula protocol to post a donor link here? Her story is heartbreaking and ennobling at the same time, and at present she’s only at ten percent of what she needs to get to the World’s. Please advise. She’s an inspiration, and oughtta get a crack at getting over there.

  9. Gerard O says

    It may interest marko at #12 that the answer given by MENSA was “an unforgettable event” — which I hated at the time and still do.

  10. marko says

    Yes, that’s much worse. I first heard of the riddle from Iain Banks, I think it was in “Walking on Glass”.

  11. opposablethumbs says

    ajb47, what you said at the end of the previous iteration of the Lounge? ME TOO! That was me, that was :-)

    Actually I think I rather like knowing that somebody (by the odds, probably many somebodies) out there seems to know exactly the kind of hesitation and deletion processes I go through!

  12. says

    Woo Hoo!
    http://thinkprogress.org/health/2014/07/14/3459632/teen-abstinence-education-class/

    After a Canadian high school student filed a human rights complaint against her school district, saying that her rights as a nonbeliever were violated by being required to attend a course on sexual purity taught by a conservative Christian group, school officials agreed to reconsider the curriculum. The anti-abortion group that taught that abstinence education course, Pregnancy Care Centre, won’t be invited back next year.
    Emily Dawson and her mother, Kathy, lodged a formal complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission after Emily was required to attend a two-day abstinence class in order to graduate. The complaint alleges that the Pregnancy Care Centre’s course used scare tactics, like misleading information about STDs and negative stereotypes about single parent homes, to dissuade students from having sex. The Dawsons identify as agnostics and were offended that they had no option to opt out of a course taught by a conservative religious organization with an explicit agenda.

    If only this would happen across the US.

  13. says

    More impressive yet, Tony, is that Alberta is basically Canada’s Texas: politically dominated by big-oil glibertarian/objectivists, it’s the spiritual centre of our right-wing, most Xtian-fundie, et c..

    I’m not at all surprised by the group having been called in to the school in the first place; I’m quite a bit surprised that the Alberta HRB ruled in the young woman’s favour. Pleased, but surprised.

    So, yeah. That’s what passes for the ‘right wing’ of Canadian political geography.

    Physically, Alberta is located north of (I think it’s) Montana, and has much the same geography, with the wrinkly bits in the left/lower-left side, but also some tundra-y bits in the north.

  14. says

    Pat Robertson does a spiritual diagnosis:
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/07/14/pat-robertson-tells-mother-your-sons-stomach-pains-are-caused-by-a-witch-ancestor/

    Televangelist Pat Robertson advised a mother on Monday that she could cure her son’s stomach pains by finding someone to cast out demons that were possibly caused by an ancestor who practiced witchcraft.

    In an email, a viewer named Dianne told the TV preacher that her son had “painful shock-waves thru his body” that originated in his stomach while she was praying for him and calling on “the name of JESUS.”

    “My son said it felt like something hit him very hard in the stomach,” the mother wrote. “I know this is not of God. He is a Christian. Can Christians be attacked by demons?”

    Instead of recommending that the mother seek medical attention, Robertson said that the boy could be “oppressed or possessed by demons.”

    “You need to get somebody with you who understands the spiritual dimension and doing spiritual warfare,” he continued. “If I were you, I would look back in your family. What in your family — do you have anybody involved in the occult, somebody in witchcraft or tarot cards or psychic things?”

  15. says

    Oooh.
    Documentary about gay athletes filmed segments in Russia, without the knowledge or consent of Russian authorities.
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/epix-air-gay-athletes-doc-716913

    EPIX is bringing a documentary about gay athletes to the small screen that was partially shot during the Sochi Winter Games. Titled To Russia With Love, the documentary features figure skater turned broadcaster Johnny Weir as host-interviewer and chronicles two generations of Olympic LGBT athletes. The film is produced by Robert Redford and Laura Michalchyshyn’s Sundance Productions. Weir was on hand at the Olympics in Russia, which has strict anti-gay laws on the books, as an on-air figure skating analyst for NBC. The documentary will make its world premiere Oct. 22.
    […]

    To Russia with Love examines human rights through the lens of LGBT athletes and includes interviews with legends Billie Jean King and Greg Louganis as well as the next generation of LGBT athletes who participated in the 2014 Olympic Games. Shooting worldwide in locations as diverse as Sochi, New York, Calgary, Toronto, St. Petersburg and Moscow, the film follows these athletes from the ice to the slopes as they bear the brunt of constant media questioning about Russia’s anti-gay laws. Noam Gonick, who directed To Russia With Love, collected the Sochi footage without the consent of Russian authorities in order to protect the gay athletes who participated.

  16. ledasmom says

    Ludicrous injury of the day:
    We have one cat who prefers that you not clip her claws. I attempted to clip her claws while she was in a particularly deep sleep, the sort of sleep where it takes three loud noises to wake her up. Unfortunately, where she was sleeping was the arm of the sofa.
    She woke up and fell off, but not all the way, remaining suspended by one claw from my finger, which was possible due to her impressively long and sharp claws. She did not take all of this in a calm manner.
    I have an eighth-of-an-inch-or-so slit in my finger, and the finger has taken on a rather interesting blotchy appearance in the vicinity, and is painful in the manner of a mild burn in the same area. The cat is, I believe, under the sofa. I have not as of yet been moved to try to get her out of there.

  17. cicely says

    Azkyroth:

    My mom uses one part-time. I’ll try to get you more detailed information.

    I’d appreciate that very much, and thanks!
     
    I really hate to bug y’all about this, but $40-50 is not in the “casual expenditures” range for us, and I’d hate to spend the money if it’s unlikely to help at all.

    These things that opposablethumbs said, about what ajb47 said.
     
    Plus what ajb47 said about “Me, too”-ing, though I try to over-ride that, where it’s a question of adding personal-and-moral support for someone.
    Plus plus when what carlie said, here, applies.
     
    With added over-thinking and self-second-guessing.


    Was “worms in the face” a common problem in colonial times???
    And is the remedy meant to be externally applied, or consumed?

    Kevin!
    *pouncehug*
    -

  18. morgan ?! epitheting a metaphor says

    “RUPT!”

    RAIN! Sort of.

    The sky is spitting up here in the parched mountains. I can’t recall when it last rained. Well, not rain really. Maybe damp air. But it smells like wet dirt which is wonderful. Grumble storms are predicted. We can hope, but then we want no lightening.

    We now return to your regularly scheduled program.

  19. Pteryxx says

    via MedievalPOC: a 1975 talk by Toni Morrison, audio released to the public by Portland State, with transcript of the full two hours by Mackenzian.

    Mackenzian:

    “A Humanist View” begins by surveying technically objective shipping records. Comparing the records’ descriptions of rice, tar, turpentine, and humans, Morrison highlights the inhumanity of American slavery, the studied ignorance and skew of contemporary social sciences, and opportunities for Black artists to write and speak to their own community rather than write as educators for curious White audiences.

    Toni Morrison quote from the talk:

    “The function, the very serious function of racism, is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language, so you spend twenty years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly, so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Someone says you have no art, so you dredge that up. Somebody says you have no kingdoms, so you dredge that up. None of that is necessary. There will always be one more thing.” -Toni Morrison

  20. says

    ledasmom:

    I have an eighth-of-an-inch-or-so slit in my finger, and the finger has taken on a rather interesting blotchy appearance in the vicinity, and is painful in the manner of a mild burn in the same area. The cat is, I believe, under the sofa. I have not as of yet been moved to try to get her out of there.

    Owww.
    My sympathies. One of my cats doesn’t like getting her claws trimmed either. In fact, I *don’t* trim them, bc she’s successfully clawed me up before. I just keep scratching pads around the house.

  21. says

    ajb47, I worry, too. I’m always afraid that I’ll say something hurtful without meaning to, or just confirm everybody’s existing opinion of my stupidity. Some days it’s just not worth the risk, so I shut up altogether. Here, have a hug. And here’s one for you, and you…

  22. says

    http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/conor-oberst-rape-accuser-i-made-up-lies-to-get-attention-20140714

    Joanie Faircloth, who alleged that Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst had sexually assaulted her in the comments of an XOJane article, has now admitted that she made the whole story up. In February, Oberst had filed a libel lawsuit against her, calling her accusations “absolutely, unequivocally false.” Now Faircloth is asking for forgiveness for what she wrote.

    Conor Oberst’s New Morning: Bright Eyes Hits Nashville for Solo LP

    “The statements I made and repeated online and elsewhere over the past six months accusing Conor Oberst of raping me are 100 percent false,” she wrote in a notarized statement via Buzzfeed. “I made up those lies about him to get attention while I was going through a difficult period in my life and trying to cope with my son’s illness. I publicly retract my statements about Conor Oberst and sincerely apologize to him, his family and his fans for writing such awful things about him. I realize that my actions were wrong and could undermine the claims of actual sexual assault victims and for that I also apologize. I’m truly sorry for all the pain that I caused.”

    I wish people wouldn’t do this. It *does* undermine claims from victims of sexual harassment. I’m sure the manosphere will be all over this story.

    ****

    ajb47:

    I’m just glad I’m not the only one who worries so much over how his posts will be read.

    You might be amazed how many people feel that way. I’ve been there. For all that I comment a lot, I still edit and delete posts. I sometimes still feel that I don’t have anything worth saying. It’s happened less over my years commenting here, but it does still happen.
    One thing I spend a lot of time on is ensuring (to the best of my ability) that my words convey my intent. I try to use precise language so the potential for misunderstanding is reduced. Depending on the subject matter, that can be quick and easy, or it can be time consuming and tasking.

  23. says

    Anne:

    I’m always afraid that I’ll say something hurtful without meaning to, or just confirm everybody’s existing opinion of my stupidity.

    Can’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t think you’re stupid at all. I value your contributions.

  24. carlie says

    So I need to come up with a wedding playlist for music.

    *lights the Janine signal*

  25. says

    carlie:
    No reason I suppose. It just never struck me as something I’d like. Plus, come on, you’ve seen how long winded I can be. Twitter demands one be concise. I don’t know how to do that :)

  26. says

    I’m not sure if this has been posted before, but I’ll just leave it here for those interested:
    My Book of Mormon podcast is a podcast where the host reads the Book of Mormon for the first time and gives his pure, unadulterated reaction to the text. He’s got a great voice and the commentary is often funny. Totally recommended.

  27. carlie says

    Janine says The Magnetic Fields “69 Love Songs”, and bands that are married or divorced couples.

    I add in BUT NO WHITE STRIPES. They are just overdone.

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

    There’s not a single regular or semi-regular that comes across as unintelligent to me. Not one.

    Now some may contend that this is at least in part because we have had and still have some whip-smart regulars and that combined with the blog’s generally high value on good argument will tend to cause people to refrain from posting when they don’t have something valuable to say.

    Me? I say that very few of us post the exact right amount. Some of us post more than our fair share (raising my own hand here) and some of us might be more reticent than we need to be. But if the argument is that people are voluntarily keeping uninsightful comments to themselves, well I think that shows a hell of a lot of wisdom (more than I frequently have) which is a frequently underestimated arrow in the “smarts” quiver.

  29. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    …aren’t the White Stripes brother and sister?

  30. carlie says

    Azkyroth – they claimed to be for a few years, until someone dug up their marriage license. They said they thought that people would find them more interesting if they were a sibling duo than a married couple, so they just lied about it.

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

    So, due to a mishap with an earring, I managed to partially skin my right lobulus auriculae. It stings a bit.

  32. says

    Well, this is fun. I somehow wrecked my knee in my sleep last night — maybe I was dreaming of chasing cars? — and now I’m in serious pain & unable to walk. I’m doped to the gills.

    I’m immobile in a recliner, and have found some show called Orphan Black on Amazon Prime. Might just zone out for a few hours.

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

    Well, this is fun. I somehow wrecked my knee in my sleep last night — maybe I was dreaming of chasing cars? — and now I’m in serious pain & unable to walk. I’m doped to the gills.

    !!! I presume you’ve gotten it checked out? If not, please do!

    Orphan Black

    :D :D Excellent, my Squidly Overlord!

  34. says

    PZ, ouch! You’ve had more than your share of mishaps lately, seems like. Immobile sounds like a good plan to me. I haven’t watched Orphan Black, but I’ve heard good things about it.

    I hope you feel better soon.

  35. says

    Esteleth:
    Ouch!

    ****

    PZ:
    No idea what Orphan Black is, but hope you get that knee back in good working order soon. How else are you going to kick the kids off your lawn?

  36. says

    When I start to compose a post and don’t finish, it’s usually because it turned out to take more energy to get it up to par than I have or than I feel the matter in question is worth, as the case may be.

    cicely
    I once had a set with a sort of springy metal mesh that went on both sides of the knee, and got great help from it. This was sewn into an elasticated sleeve that went over the joint. My problem is/was somewhat different(damage to the cruciate ligaments), so take it for what it’s worth. I’ve recovered to the point where I usually don’t need them, which is good because I don’t have any anymore. I miss them, though, and on days when my knees ache I wish I still had a pair.
    carlie#40
    That sort of thing isn’t uncommon; the idea is that a single star will be veiwed as a romantic idol by fans, who can fantasize about them due to their perceived availability. John Lennon’s marriage was concealed by publicists for some while on the same basis.
    PZ
    OUCH! That puts the ache in my knees in perspective, I guess. Take care of that, and get appropriate medical care.

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

    PZ:Well, this is fun. I somehow wrecked my knee in my sleep last night — maybe I was dreaming of chasing cars? — and now I’m in serious pain & unable to walk. I’m doped to the gills.

    !!! I presume you’ve gotten it checked out? If not, please do!

    Yes! It’s the full moon! Dreams like this could be an early symptom of lycanthropy!

    Or was Esteleth talking about the gills? I don’t know what gills mean.

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

    GO WTM!

    Congrats, and take that 1up with pride!

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

    Oh, and may I recommend you put all the skill points in perception? Really, it’s the most important skill you can have.

  40. says

    PZ

    Rest that knee and I hope it gets better soon.

    Tony

    Orphan Black is a BBC (or is BBCAmerica?) show dealing with clones. I mean to catch up with it one day. My brother in law says he sometimes forgets the same actress plays all of them.

  41. Rob Grigjanis says

    ajb47 @52: Orphan Black is a Canadian show which is shown on Space channel in Canada, and BBC America in the States.

  42. jste says

    Or was Esteleth talking about the gills? I don’t know what gills mean.

    Humans shouldn’t have them, in any case. Maybe PZ should look for a pool, before he suddenly turns into a were-fish.

    Congrats, WithinThisMind! I remember the feeling of handing in my last assessment. It’s quite a relief to know it’s finally done.

  43. says

    (wonder if we’ll make it to Lounge #500 before the end of the year…)

    ****
    Hulk Smash Time!

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/07/14/ex-co-cop-gets-30-days-work-release-for-years-of-abusing-girl-zip-tying-punching-choking/

    The guy got 30 fucking days of jail work release? That’s not justice. He beat her. He zip tied her. He choked her. For YEARS.

    A former Colorado police officer who was found guilty of abusing a 15-year-old girl over a period of years was sentenced to 30 days of work release and three years of probation this week.

    Last year, 35-year-old Berthoud Officer Jeremy Yachik was charged with four counts of child abuse and one count of false imprisonment after his ex-fiance sent a video to authorities showing a man kicking, choking and punching a child, who was described as his daughter in news reports at the time.

    In the video, Yachik appears to be angry because the girl ate “carrots” out of the family refrigerator. The girl later reportedly told investigators that Yachik had zip-tied her, choked her until she blacked out, and slammed her head into a wall so hard that it left a hole.

    The girl said that the abuse had gone on for years. At one point, she said that he forced her to eat “ghost pepper sauce,” which was described as being 10 times hotter than habanero peppers.

    Yachik could only explain his actions by saying that the girl “won’t communicate” with him, an affidavit said.

    Prosecutors allowed Yachik to enter an Alford guilty plea to one count of child abuse, which permits him to assert his innocence while acknowledging that he would likely lose at trial.

    On Monday, a Larimer County judge ordered Yachik to spend 30 days in a jail work-release program, and three years on supervised probation, according to KMGH.

    Yachik lost his job as an officer last year after the charges came to light. Police Chief Glenn Johnson also resigned because he had been accused of helping to cover up the crime.

    Berthoud eventually shut down its police department altogether, and now contracts law enforcement services through the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office.

    AND the police chief covered it up.
    This is disgusting.

  44. says

    I burned my wrist last night at work while reaching into the pizza oven. It was a special event that I was called in to cook for. To my surprise, the weekday cook (who’s been there a couple years, I think) was also there, but he was running food and stocking and the like while the cooking was all on my shoulders. Not that I’m complaining, it usually works out to extra money in my pocket (the staff eat free but usually tip the cook, and I get a share of the waitstaff’s tips). I’m just a little surprised, since as far as I know he’s been there for a couple years, compared to my couple months.

  45. says

    Went by the unemployment office today. Learned that I applied in the completely wrong manner. I thought you could sign up for benefits after losing your job, and *then* you had to start searching for jobs. Nope. I need to apply to 5 or more jobs each week to qualify for benefits. So now I’m filling out applications just to hope for benefits. It’s rather difficult without transportation, but I’m down to $40 to my name and I really, really need to work. Applied at Olive Garden, Chilis, and I’m going to apply as a manager at a local movie theater.

    Related to that, as I left the unemployment office, an older gentleman (probably in his 60s) asked for directions to the main office (it was located on an upper level bc the lower levels got flooded out after the heavy storms earlier this year). He made an offhanded comment about how ‘they probably couldn’t help an old guy out like me with a job’, to which I answered ‘there are all manner of jobs out there, and employers that will hire people whether they’re 25 or 75′. He thanked me and got on the elevator. Looking back, I wish I was more confident of what I said. Is it more difficult for people to get jobs as they reach retirement age?

    ****

    I think one of my cats may be sick. I’ve had her since 2000, when I took her in off the streets, so she’s at least 14 (she was a kitten back then). For years she was fat (this is what she looked like in 2010. This is how she looks now ) . Her belly dragged the floor when she walked. In the last year, I’ve noticed weight loss. She seems like she has maintained a steady weight for the last few months, but I’m feeling bones where I shouldn’t (around the joints in her front and hind legs). She’s till friendly, and she still grooms herself. She also continues to eat and drink, but it just doesn’t seem right. Another reason I hate being jobless and broke. I can’t even take my cat to the vet to see if she’s ok. I have this fear in the back of my mind that I’m going to wake up one day and she’s going to be dead.

  46. cicely says

    And also, this stuff right here, what Anne said.

    Serious sympathy (and if I dared so presume, I would offer *hugs* as well) for Our Squidly Overlord. I know the “knee obviously went drunk driving in my sleep” thing all too well; it completely fails to meet my expectations of a Good Time. In fact, it’s a contributing factor to my sudden and intense interest in knee braces.
    I hope yours recovers soon and thoroughly.

    Dalillama, I’m not sure that what you’re describing would be much help in my case; elasticated sleeves just slavishly imitate my knee socks, and race for my ankles.
    Although…elasticated knee sleeves with a garter belt.
     
    *runs visual through all available lobes; cringes*
    Or not….

    *applause* for WithinThisMind.
    How many Skill Points do you have coming, and what do you plan to use them for?
     

    Oh, and may I recommend you put all the skill points in perception? Really, it’s the most important skill you can have.

    *nodding*
    Crip Dyke is giving you sound advice, here. Perception, Notice, whatever the system offers in that area. Super useful!

    *hugs* for Tonly!, and my tentacles are still crossed for your job search.
    -

  47. cicely says

    Please delete the superfluous n.
     
    I wish I had something encouraging to offer about your cat…but it sounds too much like what happened with my Midnight-cat.
    :( :( :(
    -

  48. cicely says

    grrr!
    The superfluous l, dammit. Next to the entirely-correctly-deployed n!
    -

  49. says

    cicely:
    What happened to your cat?
    (I probably don’t want to know, but I’m trying to steele myself for the inevitable, which is becoming more evitable as the days go by)

  50. cicely says

    Tony!, we couldn’t afford to take him to the vet (this was during Round One of “The Hospital Gets All Our Moneys”), he got weaker and weaker, and died. In my bath tub. While I was at work.
    If there was any way I could send you money to take your cat to the vet, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
     
    No money.
    Just a massive Sad.
    :( :( :(
    -

  51. says

    Tony! Hugs for you and scritches for your cat.

    As long as your cat has normal input and output, she’s keeping herself groomed, and she’s happy and not in pain, there may not be anything a vet could or could need to do. I can understand your worrying over a family member, though. My cats have both lost some weight as they get older, although in Patches’ case it’s probably also due to her being on restricted rations.

    You might ask around to see if there’s some kind of assistance for people in your financial bind – maybe the vet would know.

    I am keeping all my tentacles crossed that you find a job worthy of you, and soonest.

  52. chigau (違う) says

    Tony!
    My kitteh looks like that.
    She’s 20.
    She sleeps a lot, even for a cat.
    Going up stairs seems OK, going down is harder.
    She eats, usually.
    Doesn’t groom much.
    But she’s not in pain and still orders me around.
    The inevitable is near but I am content for her to let me know.

  53. says

    cicely:
    Thank you. Sorry to ask you to dredge up painful memories.

    ****

    Dalillama:
    Thank you my friend.

    ****

    I came across this nifty comic book cartography site. The creator has uploaded maps and diagrams from various comics in the 50s-70s.
    I really like this Golden Age diagram of the Batcave.

  54. says

    chigau:
    Did your kitty have a rapid loss in weight? Kayta used to be 18 lbs. I just weighed her, and I think she’s around 10 lbs. That seems like a lot in less than a year (I don’t remember exactly when I noticed her losing weight; dammit I should have paid more attention)

  55. morgan ?! epitheting a metaphor says

    chigau,

    Getting old is not for sissies.

    Pedant ad nauseum: The original quote was from Bette Davis on various occasions:

    “Old age is not for sissies.”

    What a grand dame she was.

  56. says

    Anne:

    My cats have both lost some weight as they get older, although in Patches’ case it’s probably also due to her being on restricted rations.

    Hmm, I didn’t think about food intake. I feed both the cats at the same time, and their dishes are close together. Cassie has gotten fatter while Kayta has gotten thinner. I never thought about it, but perhaps Cassie has been eating Kayta’s share of the food. I’m going to keep a better watch. Thank you :)

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

    Two things:

    (1) The kitteh has ear mites. :( :( :( She’s been rubbing that side of her head, and I peeked in the ear and it is black.

    (2) One of my professors (who teaches a bullshit 2-credit class that is review for at least half of us) is an asshat who insists on being addressed/referred to as “Dr. [Name]” at all times. To the point of yelling at people who address him as “professor.” At the same time, he addresses all students by their first names. So…I decided that if he was going to be a snot, I’d be a snot right back. He called on me in class, asked me to remind him of my name, and I said, “I’m Dr. [Esteleth’s Surname].” The class applauded.

    I almost feel bad. Almost.

  58. says

    Tony, it’s possible Katya just isn’t as hungry, or that she’s being bullied out of her fair share. So yes, watching who is eating out of which dish might give you a clue.

    Isn’t there a Horde vet tech? Rowan, I think?

  59. chigau (違う) says

    Tony!
    Kitteh’s weight loss was significant but not as rapid as your kitty.
    She has always put on weight in Winter and dropped weight in Summer.
    Now she’s just skinny.

  60. says

    Anne:
    Yes, I believe Rowan is a vet tech. Perhaps they might have some advice for me. I’m not completely out of the worried zone, but I’m not feeling as stressed as I have been. You’ve been a big help.

    ****
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/07/14/federal-court-guts-indiana-law-requiring-clergy-to-officiate-atheist-weddings/

    A federal court ruled on Monday that non-religious people getting married in Indiana cannot be required to have a member of the clergy officiate their wedding, Religion News Service reported.

    The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the state law, which dates back to the 1850s, violated the First Amendment rights of atheists, humanists, or members of religions that do not celebrate specific deities, like Taoists and Shintos.

    “It is irrational to allow humanists to solemnize marriages if, and only if, they falsely declare that they are a ‘religion,’” Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote in the court’s decision. “It is absurd to give the Church of Satan, whose high priestess avows that her powers derive from having sex with Satan, and the Universal Life Church, which sells credentials to anyone with a credit card, a preferred position over Buddhists, who emphasize love and peace.”

    Yes! A 1st Amendment win. If I ever get married, I cannot see it being in a church, nor officiated by a priest.

  61. HolyPinkUnicorn says

    @Tony! #66

    Protester tries to handcuff Dick Cheney for being a war criminal

    I like to imagine his response was something like Grr, we use zip ties on the dark side, if you will.

  62. says

    http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/07/leaving-hiv-stigma-behind-at-summer-camp/374122/

    For most people, the idea of sleepaway camp conjures memories of peeing in the woods, food fights, late-night mischief. But for Maci, the summers she has spent at Camp Sunrise, a summer camp for children and youth impacted by HIV/AIDS, the experience was something more: a break from being different.

    “It’s the one week out of the entire year that I feel normal,” said Maci, who began attending the Columbus, Ohio-based camp when she was just six-years-old. “It’s the only place I can just be that person I’d like to be if HIV weren’t in my life.”
    {…}

    Founded in 1995 in response to the growing number of HIV-positive children in the early- and mid-1990s, Camp Sunrise is one of the few remaining summer camps of its kind. Over the years, Camp Sunrise has welcomed upwards of 1,000 children and youth who are HIV-positive, who have a sibling, parent, or caretaker living with the disease, or have lost a loved one to AIDS. Its goal is simple—to create an environment free from the social burdens so often associated with the disease.

    {…}

    Aside from “Club Med,” the tongue-in-cheek nickname for the infirmary, where a team of nurses are on hand to administer antiretroviral drugs and other medications, Camp Sunrise is in many respects like any other summer camp. Campers spend their days in the pool, on the zip-line, or tie-dying t-shirts and pillowcases. In the evening, the camp comes together for a campfire, a pool party, or a talent show. This year, in celebration of its 20th summer, Camp Sunrise is having a carnival.

    “It’s the one place where I can let go and be goofy and silly with my friends,” Maci said.

    Similar camps, faced with increasingly limited funding for AIDS-related programs, especially for those affected by but not living with the disease, have closed their doors. Others have broadened their missions to include services for children with other serious illnesses.

    But Keiffer Erdmann, director of Camp Sunrise, says camps like Camp Sunrise are still needed until the cruel stigma that surrounds HIV/AIDS goes away. Though scant research has been conducted on how children impacted by HIV/AIDS experience stigma, a growing body of evidence suggests that HIV-related stigma experienced by adults with the disease affects everything from mental health to treatment adherence.

    “We live in a world where people still tell AIDS jokes and think you can get HIV by sharing a drink,” he said. “Camp is sadly just about the only place many of these young people don’t have to worry about not being accepted.”

    I’m glad these kids have a place they can go and be themselves and enjoy life. I just wish society were more accepting so they didn’t have to go off to camp to avoid dealing with the stigma of HIV.

  63. anbheal says

    Tony, that’s plenty, and thank you — if her story goes semi-viral, the contributions will trickle in.

  64. ck says

    Tony! The Queer Shoop wrote:

    Gender diversity in Hollywood. Or, more specifically, a lack thereof:

    http://www.dailydot.com/opinion/the-reason-people-hate-katherine-heigl/

    I read this and was suddenly reminded of the only real thing I took away from watching the last Iron Man movie: Gwyneth Paltrow was great in her brief action sequence during the last scene of the movie (I can only assume she was given the terrible line immediately after to attempt to prevent it from overshadowing R.D.jr’s scenes), and she would probably do very well in an action superhero movie of her own, provided it was competently written. Sadly, I don’t think it’s going to happen.

  65. Pteryxx says

    Tony! (you deserve exclamation points) (and hugs)

    Can’t for the life of me remember where I got this – somewhere on the feministbatwoman tumblr, iirc – but it’s a list of sources of financial assistance for pet owners to get vet care.

    http://imgur.com/Yh8ZHGi

  66. says

    Pteryxx:
    Do you have a link to the feminist batwoman tumblr you’re talking about? I loved Batwoman under Greg Rucka and drawn by J.H.Williams.
    Speaking of Rucka, I recently re-read his Wonder Woman run. The man infused the book with the right mix of feminism, mythology, superheroics, and political intrigue. Damn. I didn’t appreciate it as much when it came out (back in 2004 or so, for a run of 30 or so issues), but now I really do.

  67. says

    Dalillama:
    While poking around, I found Rucka’s blog (which he hasn’t update in a while). He wrote a book called Lazarus for IMAGE Comics (not sure if it’s still being published). His description calls to mind the PZs ‘Class Warfare’ thread:

    Set in a near-future dystopian society where the economic woes of the early 21st century continued, then exploded exponentially, resulting in a world where a handful of Families control everything. Having divvied up the world into their own kingdoms, they now spend their days jealously guarding what they have, and coveting what they do not. But for those living without wealth, collectively referred to by the families as “the Waste,” the future is desperate, with day-to-day survival as much the result of the ruling Families as the weather.

    Endeavor Carlyle is the youngest daughter of the near-immortal Carlyle Family. She is their Lazarus, a position common to all the Families: part bodyguard to her family, part intelligence director, part military general, she has been genetically modified to defend the Family at all costs, with unwavering loyalty.

    But Endeavor Carlyle is beginning to ask questions, and her Family will do everything they can to keep her from finding the answers….

    http://www.gregrucka.com/wp/category/blog/

  68. says

    From a post on feministbatwoman (I don’t understand the Tumble machine well enough to know who wrote it):

    Watching TV and playing video games both put you into a mild trance-like state that makes you less aware of your surroundings. This has the side-effect of making you less aware of physical pain and discomfort. Because of this, a lot of people with chronic pain or chronic illness turn to TV and video games as a cheap and easy means of pain control, or otherwise distraction from unpleasant symptoms.

    THIS OH FUCK YES THIS.

    Nothing gets me out of my body as quickly or effectively as the slaughter of pixelpeople, or grabbing a very fast car and driving it through LA at ridiculous speeds. And being out of my body is a desirable state, at least a couple of times a day (when the old meds wear off, and the new ones haven’t become effective yet).

    Dissociation is My. Best. Friend.

  69. says

    On Friday night, while playing Arkham Horror with a bunch of men, one of them commented that if you didn’t get to the end of a game of AH feeling “like a rape victim”, then you weren’t playing it right.

    Big laughter.

    Until I said, “Actually, gents, I’ve been raped, and it wasn’t like playing a game at all. Not true, and not really funny either.”

    I had to make sure I didn’t laugh, though I really really wanted to, at how quickly they went from the laughing bro-ment to chastened little boys, who couldn’t meet anyone’s eyes. Someone mumbled “sorry”, and we got on with the game. No more rape jokes, all night. I’d be willing to bet at least half of them never do it again where they think someone who might say what I did could hear.

    Now, they won’t make the leap to realize that a man could easily say the same thing, but it’s a start, ne?

  70. thunk: totally inconvenient raingauge says

    ah… sleepiness. How delightful.

    My friends are better at this tumblr thing, but I occasionally browse around on there. It’s fun…but it wrecked my life at least once (it was the “all cis people & men are bad and evil” baeddel types and their wantonly insulting people and being mean if they thought it was “punching up”).

    Trying to look up the highest points on Earth that are easily accessible for a couch potato like me. I have an academic interest in peakbagging, but I’m not, and never will be, any sort of a mountain climber.

    A more serious question: Can someone point me to trans medical/psychological resources around the Oklahoma City area? To put it lightly, this isn’t the ideal location to go to university, but really good meteorology programs and free tuition outweigh that.

  71. says

    CaitieCat:

    On Friday night, while playing Arkham Horror with a bunch of men, one of them commented that if you didn’t get to the end of a game of AH feeling “like a rape victim”, then you weren’t playing it right.

    Big laughter.

    My reaction on reading this was a mix of “oh fuck no” and “oh god, how much more shitty are they going to get”

    Until I said, “Actually, gents, I’ve been raped, and it wasn’t like playing a game at all. Not true, and not really funny either.”

    After reading this, I was sure the guys were going to be Grade A assholes.

    I had to make sure I didn’t laugh, though I really really wanted to, at how quickly they went from the laughing bro-ment to chastened little boys, who couldn’t meet anyone’s eyes. Someone mumbled “sorry”, and we got on with the game. No more rape jokes, all night. I’d be willing to bet at least half of them never do it again where they think someone who might say what I did could hear.

    I’m pleasantly surprised by their reaction, and I’m glad it went this way. Hopefully you speaking up will stick in the back of their minds for the rest of their lives, and inform their words in the future.

    Much love to you CaitieCat.

  72. jste says

    From CaitieCat’s post:

    Watching TV and playing video games both put you into a mild trance-like state that makes you less aware of your surroundings. This has the side-effect of making you less aware of physical pain and discomfort. Because of this, a lot of people with chronic pain or chronic illness turn to TV and video games as a cheap and easy means of pain control, or otherwise distraction from unpleasant symptoms.

    Huh, this is an actual thing? I always thought I was weird, because nobody around me understands it.

    I suffer pretty severe migraines sometimes. Books and games only make the migraine worse, but while I’m absorbed in either, I can forget the pain, somewhat. Alternatives fails miserably because I end up dwelling on the pain instead of resting. (Also, mild trance-like state? I can get absorbed enough in a task that I can hold an entire conversation with someone and be completely unaware that there was any communication at all)

    Tony:
    I’ve heard good things about Lazarus. It’s on my list of things to read, when I get far enough through my backlog.

  73. A. Noyd says

    PZ Myers (#42)

    I’m immobile in a recliner, and have found some show called Orphan Black on Amazon Prime. Might just zone out for a few hours.

    Uh, watch that one for the acting. The science, not so much. The lead actor is truly amazing, though. She manages to do several times over what so many actors have tried and failed at: convincingly portraying multiple, unique characters.

  74. says

    Portraying a gay video-game developer named Patrick on HBO’s Looking has provided actor Jonathan Groff with a character that fits like a glove.

    ‘The character felt close to me than anything I had ever worked on before,’ he said during an appearance with castmates at Outfest in Los Angeles over the weekend.

    So what do he and Patrick have in common besides the fact that they are both gay?

    Says Groff: ‘The struggle trying to figure out where he fits in the gay community and I have felt that myself. What does it mean to be gay? How gay am I? Does my voice sound gay?

    http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/jonathan-groff-says-role-hbos-looking-closer-him-anything-hes-ever-played150714
    (bolding mine)

    I can relate to that. For the longest time I hated hearing my recorded voice. I thought I sounded gay (yeah, a meaningless phrase if ever there was one). It took time to overcome the internalized homophobia surrounding that belief, and I’m not sure I’m fully over it, but I at least am aware of it.

  75. says

    Ummm, yes please:

    ‘Credence has a universal message that in any kind of tragedy it’s important that couples come together and support one another,’ he said.

    ‘When we reach our IndieGogo goal, with everyone’s help we can finish the full film and show the world what it looks like when Sci-Fi is supports equality.

    According to the film’s website: ‘Credence tells the story of a family torn apart during the last evacuation on earth after violent storms have made survival impossible.

    ‘Hope has been found in the form of new worlds that support human life, however due to limited rocket capacity and life expectancy only children are permitted to evacuate, and even then – only the rich have ended up getting tickets.

    ‘The landmark film follows 2 fathers’ decision to make the ultimate sacrifice to give up all their possessions to ensure the survival of their daughter, and the entire human race.’

    http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/gay-family-torn-apart-new-sci-fi-film140714#sthash.cpLSNbup.dpuf

  76. says

    A. Noyd:

    The lead actor is truly amazing, though. She manages to do several times over what so many actors have tried and failed at: convincingly portraying multiple, unique characters.

    I find this intriguing.
    How does one acquire this talent?
    Can anyone develop it, or is there some special skill that only some people have?
    How can the audience determine how the depth of an actors’ talent?

    The last question, I’m really curious to know about from your perspective. How were you able to determine that the lead character was such a good actor? Do you have a background in acting, or something that allows you to identify what makes an actor that good?

    Oh, and I’m not criticizing you at all. I find it fascinating, bc people often talk about “so and so is a bad actor” or “so and so is a good actor”, but I’m curious what it means to say that Person X is a good (or bad) actor.

    ____

    Is ‘actor’ a masculine coded term, or can it be used for any gender?

  77. blf says

    Is ‘actor’ a masculine coded term, or can it be used for any gender?

    It can be, and is, used for any gender.

    I once heard an actor say that the term actress is mostly for females who take their clothes off in movies, but that otherwise, especially if they had played Shakespeare, they should be known as an actor. Of course, since she was a well-known Shakespearian actor, I suspect there was a bit of one-upship / snobbery there…

    The Online Etymology Dictionary says, for actor: “Sense of ‘one who performs in plays’ is 1580s, originally applied to both men and women.” And actress is a much later term (1700s).

    It also quotes the OED as defining showgirl as an “actress whose role is decorative rather than histrionic” (1836), which I find admit I chuckled over…

  78. says

    Tony!

    I find this intriguing.
    How does one acquire this talent?

    Practice and training, basically.

    Can anyone develop it, or is there some special skill that only some people have?

    Some people do seem to be intrinsically better at it, although I couldn’t necessarily describe what personality traits those are (an ability to partially disassociate oneself from one’s actual surroundings and submerge oneself in the persona).

    How can the audience determine how the depth of an actors’ talent?

    A few factors. The first one, I would say, is verisimilitude: does that person on the screen seem like someone who’s actually breaking down in grief-stricken sobs, or gushing over a marriage proposal, or running for their life, or does it seem like someone messing around? Does this action/behavior/speech flow naturally from what that character has done before or is it jarring? (this is partially on the writers too, of course). More specifically in the context of the immediate discussion, think of an actor you’ve seen in multiple roles in different films, shows, etc. Have you ever had a moment when you were watching something, and one of the characters seemed oddly familiar, but you don’t recognize them, and you go to look up who played them and realize “Oh wow, it’s her! And she was in that show, I’ve seen that one, and that other movie, and wow! I’d never have realized that it was the same person every time.” That’s one of the signs of a good actor. Watch about 3:20 and about 4:25 for an example.

    The last question, I’m really curious to know about from your perspective. How were you able to determine that the lead character was such a good actor? Do you have a background in acting, or something that allows you to identify what makes an actor that good?

    Oh, and I’m not criticizing you at all. I find it fascinating, bc people often talk about “so and so is a bad actor” or “so and so is a good actor”, but I’m curious what it means to say that Person X is a good (or bad) actor.

    Speaking only for myself, while I do have some acting training , I don’t think that it’s really needed; I’d tend to say that watching lots of movies/shows/plays is a perfectly good way to be able to judge, in the same way that I can tell whether someone’s, say, a good violinist even though I can’t play a note.

    Is ‘actor’ a masculine coded term, or can it be used for any gender?

    Yes. That is to say, the word is not intrinsically gendered per se, but came into use in English at a time when everyone on the stage was male. When women began to appear on the stage, the term actress was coined after the French/Romance language habit of gendered noun endings (which also gave the language waitress, aviatrix, and many others, relatively few of which are still current). I generally use actor universally, but many English speakers do not.

  79. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    PZ

    I’m sorry to hear about your injury. And may I make a suggestion? I’d leave the knee injuring to professionals like myself. We know how to do it with a maximum of absurdity and a minimum of collateral damage. “Did it in my sleep” is pretty good for an amateur, but you’re still a long way from the big leagues, ;)

    Hope you get better soon.

  80. opposablethumbs says

    PZ

    Well, this is fun. I somehow wrecked my knee in my sleep last night — maybe I was dreaming of chasing cars? — and now I’m in serious pain & unable to walk. I’m doped to the gills.

    Cephalopods have gills, but no knees. Therefore you must be pulling the wool. Nevertheless, best wishes for the knee errant, and hope it is back in the fold soon.

    Tony! I hate the awful unemployment bureaucracy hassle you are forced to endure. I hope the possible vet-help link proves useful (but mainly I hope that it turns out to be just a case of one cat half-inching* the other one’s food) and I am crossing every finger and every tentacle that you get some good things happening on the job front.

    * one of the London rhyming slang terms that is actually in use (and not just in Dick-van-Dyke-style mockerney talk (eugh ::shudders::)): half-inch = pinch.

  81. Derek Vandivere says

    Tony,

    There’s a kickstarter for a documentary about ‘gay voice,’ which apparently is a phenomenon that spans cultures as well, just google ‘do i sound gay’. There was a good interview with the guy who’s started the documentary on Savage Love – there’s a link to it on the Kickstarter page.

    PZ,

    I woke up yesterday missing half a toenail. Maybe I was kicking you in my sleep.

  82. opposablethumbs says

    one of the London rhyming slang terms that is actually in use

    sorry – make that moderate, occasional use.

  83. says

    So I’ve been having a major writer’s block and I think I’ve struggled out why.

    I need to write an introduction story. People just aren’t going to care about my work if there isn’t something to pull from. Why would a reader be interested in a tallis mage unless they already know tallis rarely become mages? If I want a reader to go “oh fuck” when they read about a blight elf, I have to already have set up the fact that elves are basically walking mana batteries.

    So I’m going to the drawing board and figuring out how to draft an introduction story. Basically I need to write a story that’s like “Hi, I’m Kevin’s world. Let me explain a few things before we get started on the real meat.”

  84. blf says

    [T]he word [actor] is not intrinsically gendered per se, but came into use in English at a time when everyone on the stage was male.

    Misleading… Yes, at the time, all actors in England were male. But that was not, and as far as I know never has been, the case in, e.g., southern Europe (e.g., Italy), where there were female actors at the time, and had been since antiquity. In England, there presumably would have been a loose association of “male” and “actor”, which possibly contributed to the invention / usage of the later term “actress”.

    (Weirdly, I just realized I don’t have the foggiest idea when the ban(?) on female actors in Britan(? England?) was revoked(?), and whether or not that is related to the later term actress…)

  85. Derek Vandivere says

    Kevin,

    One of the things I really like about some fantasy and SF is that as a reader you have to figure out what’s going on, and what the rules of the universe are. I think a big wad of exposition in the beginning might be a bit too much, too dry, and too much for suspension of willful disbelief – and would risk turning me off the book as a reader.

    One thing that I’ve seen work really well is brief character sketches – if you can tell how the tallis (talli?) became a mage effectively, you don’t need to explain the background as thoroughly. Maybe write up a bunch of smaller character bios / stories to explain? Then you can sprinkle them through the overall work on an as-needed basis to give the reader context, or release them as introductory stories (like Tor does to market longer novels)?

    Just a couple thoughts – not a writer myself…

  86. Derek Vandivere says

    blf – 17th century: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Hughes

    My impression is that actor is becoming a non-gendered word. I’ve heard various women in interviews refer to themselves as actors…

  87. says

    @Derek:

    I wouldn’t be writing a big exposition story, but I would introduce characters in such a way that you’d get the feel for the races. It would still be exciting and interesting, but it would also serve to introduce things to new readers so they can get the feel for why my world is special.

    Tallis (that’s the plural and singular) are an industrious race of draconic humanoids who create fantastic machinery. They are hyperactive, they are inventive, and they basically fill the “gnome / dwarf” niche in my stories. A tallis mage is basically unheard of, but without knowing that tallis a) just don’t do magic or b) have a rigid set of societal beliefs that children follow in their parents’ footsteps, there’s nothing there for the reader to hold onto. I feel like bringing that in would just make the reader go “so what?”

  88. blf says

    Hum… looks like my old network switch is still working, albeit I don’t like the way it is also doing an abnormal blink blink blink… — but the new(er) switch(? or its power supply?) is definitely kaput. So I’ll probably get a yet another switch anyways.

  89. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    *happy dance*
    My favorite candidate to be my new assistant just accepted the job! She has no legal experience, but she’s got basically everything else, apparent strong work ethic, congenial, eminently professional, smart, etc. She starts in three weeks. I’ve got to start making my own little training manual. It’s going to be a challenge, but a good challenge.

    Yay!!!

  90. says

    More Republican comments about unclean, disease-ridden immigrants:

    Last week, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) wrote a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with a dire warning: Some of the child refugees streaming across the southern border into the United States might carry deadly diseases. “Reports of illegal immigrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning,” Gingrey wrote. “Many of the children who are coming across the border also lack basic vaccinations such as those to prevent chicken pox or measles.”

    http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2014/07/phil-gingrey-migrant-ebola-vaccines

    And here is the source of much of the “disease-ridden immigrants” meme that is getting so much play on Fox News and other rightwing sources … oh, look! It is Rep. Phil Gingrey and his peeps:

    Gingrey has long-standing ties to the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, a far-right medical group that opposes all mandatory vaccines. The organization touts access to Gingrey as one of its membership perks. (The AAPS has, incidentally, taken the lead in pushing the idea that migrant children are disease carriers.) In 2007, he wrote an amendment that would allow parents to block their children from receiving HPV vaccines, which are designed to combat cervical cancer.

    Phil doesn’t have much influence in Guatemala, so most of the children there are vaccinated. The Guatemalan government supports a universal health care system, so vaccines are provided at no cost. There have been no measles outbreaks there since 1990. Kids in Texas are more likely to get measles.

  91. says

    Somebody needs to stop Dick Cheney from talking. Screw the handcuffs. How about a gag.

    During an event sponsored by Politico, Cheney said the next president needs to “turn around the whole trend” of cutting defense dollars.

    “That ought to be our top priority for spending. Not food stamps, not highways or anything else,” Cheney said. “Your No. 1 responsibility as president is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. [Obama] is the commander-in-chief and he’s absolutely devastating the United States military today.”

    I don’t think “defend the Constitution” equals building a bigger U.S. military. Cheney does, though.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/14/dick-cheney-defense-spending_n_5585129.html

  92. David Chapman says

    115
    blf

    Weirdly, I just realized I don’t have the foggiest idea when the ban(?) on female actors in Britan(? England?) was revoked(?), and whether or not that is related to the later term actress…

    When Britain was a Commonwealth under Oliver Cromwell, the Puritan bastard closed down all the theatres, which up untill then had involved only male performers. When Charles the Second was restored to the throne after Cromwell’s death, he brought with him from the French Royal court where he had been staying a much more permissive approach to sex than had been the case under Cromwell’s Protectorate, and an enthusiasm for theatre, which in France featured women. So theatres reopened in Britain, and this time they included the girls, yay!! :) And Shakespeare was performed with, for the first time, women playing the female roles originally written for boys.
    Actress is also a French word – actrice – so I’m guessing that this, too, crossed the English Channel with Charles II.

  93. A. Noyd says

    Tony (#105)

    How were you able to determine that the lead character was such a good actor?

    In this case, it’s about breaking or not breaking the fourth wall. I started watching the show knowing that one actor plays multiple characters, which usually doesn’t turn out very well. Actors often make it too obvious it’s the same person trying to play other characters. They break down the fourth wall by doing too little to differentiate the characters and making it hard to believe they’re not the same person. Even with low expectations, Tatiana Maslany managed to make me forget she was the same person talking to different takes of herself in different costumes. She had to come up with individual ways to speak, move and emote for something like four primary characters and several minor ones. And then never broke character.

    I mean, actors are supposed to be able to put on unique ways of speaking, moving and emoting, but surely you can see that most don’t bother and just play a somewhat modified version of themselves. (Or are cast that way, even if they could do better.)

    Is ‘actor’ a masculine coded term, or can it be used for any gender?

    Any gender. Though, awards shows and the like still tend to go with “actress” for women. Because we can’t have women competing against men or something.

  94. Rob Grigjanis says

    A. Noyd @124: I thought ‘breaking the fourth wall’ meant addressing the audience (or camera) directly. I suppose it could refer to any action which says ‘this is obviously not real’…?

  95. Pteryxx says

    I mean, actors are supposed to be able to put on unique ways of speaking, moving and emoting, but surely you can see that most don’t bother and just play a somewhat modified version of themselves. (Or are cast that way, even if they could do better.)

    The famous ones also are written that way… see Cracked:

    The same could be said of Ben Stiller, who, despite having appeared in a ton of different movies with a ton of different writers, always seems to end up sounding exactly like Ben Stiller always sounds. Is it because these actors have such distinct voices that any writer can perfectly ape their style? Is it because they all ignore scripts and improvise on the day of shooting?

    No. It’s because when a movie signs Ben Stiller, they’re also signing whatever writer Ben Stiller wants to bring on to punch up his dialogue. Established movie stars like Stiller or Adam Sandler or Will Smith can look at a script and say, “Wow, I want to do this, this movie looks great! The only thing that needs to change is literally every line I have. Just change them to the kind of lines that I sound cool saying.” Hell, for Men in Black 3, Will Smith hired a Fresh Prince writer to punch up all of his dialogue, and none of the other writers on the project knew about it.

  96. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    More Adventures in Church Signs:

    On the bus this morning, I saw a church sign that read
    PREPARE TO “SOW THE SEEDS” OF GOD’S LOVE

    …is it just me or do the quotation marks make it sound extra pornographic?

  97. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    UnknownEric:

    That’s a little…weird, you’re right. Right up there with “letting Jesus enter you”

    The one by me says “ROCKS MUST GO FOR SEEDS TO GROW” or something like that…they must get a newsletter telling them the “weird-ass sign slogan” theme for the week.

  98. says

    Raised atheist here, so I could be wrong, but the few times I’ve been in churches, they always have lists of verses for the week. Is it possible that the harmony in sign topics could be related to them going through the book in the same order and at the same pace? Am I wrong in thinking there is that much coordination?

    Like, if I were Catholic, and went to St. Mike’s usually, but this week I’m visiting my mother so I’m at St. Joe’s instead, would the priest there be addressing the same bit of silliness as the one back home anyway?

  99. says

    What is the deal with people who support the right of all women to have an abortion, yet complain about women using abortion as birth control?*
    First off, I don’t care what a woman’s reasons are. If she wants to be NOT pregnant, I support that right. It doesn’t matter if she wants to have lots and lots of sex and then abort the pregnancy, or if her birth control failed and she decides on an abortion. The end result is a desire to terminate the pregnancy. The reasons don’t matter to me (nor do I get a say in any case-and I don’t desire one).
    Moreover, isn’t it more costly to obtain an abortion vs using birth control?

    *I think I just realized it. No matter how supposedly well meaning some people are, the desire to regulate the sexuality of women is deeply embedded in society. Telling women they shouldn’t use abortion as birth control seems to indicate a desire to tell women that they can’t go around fucking as much as they want as often as they want.

  100. says

    Derek:
    Missing half a toenail? Ouch. Doesn’t sound pleasant.

    ****
    Portia:
    Congrats on the assistant (and congrats to her too)!

    ****

    UnknownEric:
    That does have the kind of euphemistic sound that one would associate with porn.

  101. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Okay, I’m having an anxious “am I reading people right” moment. I have been included for several months in a roughly monthly dinner date with a few other women lawyers, and usually one of us hosts. In May, I was going to have everyone over to have dinner on my deck. My house is far less lavish than the other women, they’ve all been at this a lot longer. I was anxious about that but decided I didn’t want to be a mooch and not host, and my deck is particularly lovely on a summer evening so I figured I’d go for it. It got rained out in May and long story short, it’s now set for tomorrow. I sent out an email with my address and cell number just in case, and three of the four other people emailed asking whta they can bring to dinner. The fifth, who is the nicest of the group, and possibly the nicest person I know, asked “Are you sure you want to do this? If you insist, I insist on bringing dessert.” I replied asking if she thinks the weather won’t be good, or something, but what I’m really wondering is if there’s a reason I don’t know about that I shouldn’t be hosting, or that I seem like I don’t want to host. I had gotten myself unstressed about this, and now I’m all stressed and nervous again. I have imposter syndrome, I feel like a bumpkin among chic, wealthy women. : /

    Halp, please.

  102. opposablethumbs says

    Portia, are you perhaps a bit younger than/not yet quite as well-established as most of the bunch? If so, she might be feeling a bit motherly, and hoping it’s not too much hosting-duties for you to cope with or something – or she might have noticed you being a bit anxious about doing your bit properly, and wants to help make it a bit easier on you?

    Without knowing any of the parties or having heard any tones of voice or anything, obviously, I’d guess that it sounds more like a desire to be helpful.

    Hope it goes well!

  103. says

    Portia:

    The fifth, who is the nicest of the group, and possibly the nicest person I know, asked “Are you sure you want to do this? If you insist, I insist on bringing dessert.” I replied asking if she thinks the weather won’t be good, or something, but what I’m really wondering is if there’s a reason I don’t know about that I shouldn’t be hosting, or that I seem like I don’t want to host. I had gotten myself unstressed about this, and now I’m all stressed and nervous again. I have imposter syndrome, I feel like a bumpkin among chic, wealthy women. : /

    Halp, please.

    Has your friend hosted a dinner before? If so, perhaps she has first hand knowledge of it, and thinks it can be a hassle. Or maybe clean up is frustrating. Or maybe she thinks it’s a lot of pressure to host a dinner at one’s house. Also, how well do you know her? Perhaps she knows how you feel re: imposter syndrome.
    Speaking of which: Imposter syndrome? Nope.
    You are no imposter. Whatever the wealth of anyone else, you’ve studied and worked hard and earned your position. You *are* a lawyer, and a good one at that.

    ****

    Marvel has been on a roll lately pumping out books with women as the title character. Books like She-Hulk, Captain Marvel, Elektra, Black Widow, Ms. Marvel, Storm, and in October, they’re going to add one more title to the mix: Thor.

    This October, Marvel Comics evolves once again in one of the most shocking and exciting changes ever to shake one of Marvel’s “big three” – Captain America, Iron Man and Thor – Marvel Comics will be introducing an all-new THOR, GOD OF THUNDER. No longer is the classic male hero able to hold the mighty hammer, Mjölnir, a brand new female hero will emerge who will be worthy of the name THOR. Who is she? Where did she come from and what is her connection to Asgard and the Marvel Universe?

    “The inscription on Thor’s hammer reads ‘Whosoever holds this hammer, if HE be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.’ Well it’s time to update that inscription,” says Marvel editor Wil Moss. “The new Thor continues Marvel’s proud tradition of strong female characters like Captain Marvel, Storm, Black Widow and more. And this new Thor isn’t a temporary female substitute – she’s now the one and only Thor, and she is worthy!”

    Series writer Jason Aaron emphasizes, “This is not She-Thor. This is not Lady Thor. This is not Thorita. This is THOR. This is the THOR of the Marvel Universe. But it’s unlike any Thor we’ve ever seen before.”

    THOR is the latest in the ever-growing and long list of female-centric titles that continues to invite new readers into the Marvel Universe. This female THOR is the 8th title to feature a lead female protagonist and aims to speak directly to an audience that long was not the target for Super Hero comic books in America: women and girls.

    http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=54067

    Jason Aaron is a good writer. That said, until it comes out, I’ll still have the nagging concern that she’s going to be too derivative of the classic Thor. I don’t want this to be similar to Superman & Supergirl, where the latter has often been nothing more than a young, female version of the man of steel. I want her to have a distinct personality, with her own motivations. Yes, she’ll have obvious ties to classic Thor, but she needs to be her own character.
    Also, good job, Marvel, on adding more books with women as the lead character. It’s a long time in coming, but at least you’re doing it finally.

  104. ledasmom says

    Rob Grigjanis @ 126:

    I thought ‘breaking the fourth wall’ meant addressing the audience (or camera) directly. I suppose it could refer to any action which says ‘this is obviously not real’…?

    On consideration, I believe I use it two ways: to reference the deliberate instance (“The Muppet Movie”, where it’s possible to find the main characters by reading forward in the script), and to reference the result – that is, the first is pointing out that what is going on is a movie or a play, not real life; the second causes one to realize that this is so – whether because someone specifically pointed that out or because the actors were not able to persuade one to suspend one’s disbelief. Of course, no matter how good the actors, there may be errors of fact that jar, and which ones do this are will vary from person to person. For me, animals reacting to people in that horribly jokey cued way do it every time – one reason among many why I thought the live-action “One Hundred and One Dalmatians” was crap (why the hell would you take Cruella’s speech about fur pretty much word-for-word from the animated version, when it makes no sense in a modern context? But I digress).

  105. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    opposablethumbs and Tony:
    Not only were your words really comforting, they were correct! She emailed:

    I don’t know about the weather. I do know that having us for dinner is a lot if work, and I sensed that u would prefer to go out.

    I answered: (Possibly too gushingly)

    You are very kind, I was a little bit nervous about doing all the hostess-y things correctly, I’ll admit. The effort of hosting, itself, doesn’t trouble me, I like preparing food and don’t mind clean up, etc. I think that my nervousness with doing everything properly and also not wanting to push a particular outcome on everyone, may have come across as not wanting to host:) Thank you for double checking, you’re really just the best. I look forward to your tasty dessert!

    This particular person is also not from money and in spite of being a lawyer for a long time, she worked retail jobs about as recently as me. So, she probably the least….snooty of them all, and she’s very empathetic and endearingly self-conscious herself. She’s in her 50s, I think, and yes, I’m the youngest, least established.

    For a little more context, there was discussion of the five of us going otu to a restaurant instead of the usual, which is gathering at someone’s home. When those two options were out there, I said I would go with the consensus but would be happy to host if people wanted to. Lesson about social interactions: don’t be afraid to volunteer, because other people aren’t going to say “Yes, I prefer Portia’s house to a restaurant” because they don’t want to push that on me.

  106. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    and Tony (I always seem to forget one thing I wanted to say)

    Speaking of which: Imposter syndrome? Nope.
    You are no imposter. Whatever the wealth of anyone else, you’ve studied and worked hard and earned your position. You *are* a lawyer, and a good one at that.

    Thanks for this, I needed it. *hugs*

  107. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    one last update:

    Awwww. Ok. Please don’t sweat it . No matter what, none of us will ever be like [fanciest Fancy Lawyer Lady]. She makes it look so easy!

  108. says

    Portia, I am very glad you got things sorted out with your friends! Nthing the “you are not an imposter”, hugs if you want ‘em.

    *******

    With the daughters’ help, I captured the cats and took them to their dental appointments this morning. After a particularly disastrous session with both cats in the same room setting each other off, now I sit in the car with them instead, and their charts have a note not to try to do both at the same time. All went well, although the dental tech did remark that Shadow was ” very vocal”. Yep, that’s my tortie.

    So that’s one appointment down, two to go. At least they’re both me, and I don’t bite or claw unless highly provoked. It’s going to be a long week, though.

  109. blf says

    David Chapman@123, Thanks! My recollection is the puritans managed to shutdown the theatres prior to Cromwell — I could be easily mistaken — but otherwise your explanation fits; e.g., the timing (actress is known to date to about that time) and the now-rarely-used alternative actrice (known to come from the French).

    Hum… (now having some idea what to search for…)… The theatres were closed in 1642, less than a month after the start of the English Civil Wars, so it wasn’t Cromwell per se who closed them.

    The first attempt to have a female actor (in England) was in 1629 (a visiting French company), but failed miserably, and it wasn’t until the 1650s that female actors were, apparently, “generally” accepted. (There were some plays done during the “blackout”, so there isn’t really a discrepancy in dates — 1650s for acceptance of female actors and 1660 for the theatres being allowed again.)

    I haven’t (yet?) found that there was ever an actual ban on female actors per se, just a prejudice against.

  110. says

    Heya
    End of term might be killing me, but at least it will be done with it soon.

    Portia
    Have fun with the dinner

    Tony
    *hugs*

    +++
    NEED HORDE BRAINS
    As you might remember, one of my ideas for my final thesis is to write about current discussions about gender and diversity in Fantasy and SF. While this sounds good in theory, the devil’s in the detail: To make it a nice paper I would need one or two primary texts, long blog-posts or essays around which the discussion evolves. Now there’s dozens of posts I read, but I don’t remember one or two in particular. Do you?

    +++
    From the anals why I fear the day many of my current students start working as teachers:

    1. Last week in a class we were discussiong ways of splitting a class into grous.
    The easiest: people sitting next to each other. Problem: you always get the same people working with each other, so we wanted more random distribution. Comment from one student: “That’s so r….”

    2. In a different lecture today the topic was inclusion of students with disabilities. The opinions and objections were cringe-worthy. Bite the table cringe-worthy to the worst comment ever which was “I don’t study her to have to do with disabled people!” (They probably have a special form of cooties).
    After that a blind student stood up and said something about discrimination, why it’s important to include disabled students and that they’re all too young to stop learning. I thought: “I hope the rest of you is feeling really bad right now”.
    After the lecture I stopped to tell him that I found his contributio really good and really important and we went on chatting on our way to the bus stop.

  111. says

    Tony! I took the cat quiz twice, and got Russian Blue both times.

    I could see you as a Siamese – smart, talkative (in a good way!), likes being with people.

    That reminds me, Aged Mum’s cat has figured out how to open the bolt on the door to her backyard. I’ve known cats who could stand up and turn a doorknob, but he’s way beyond that. Opposable thumbs? Who needs ‘em!

  112. says

    Ok, I’m reading comments over at The Mary Sue about the new female Thor, and I’m seeing people take issue with “boob armor”. I don’t understand the problem. Can anyone clue in this clueless guy?

    ****

    Anne:

    Tony! How are your kitties today?

    They’re both doing well. Kayta ate a good bit of her food and I’ve been checking. Cassie hasn’t snuck anything yet. Thank you for asking :)

    ****
    I got a compliment from a friend on FB. I’ve noticed she ‘likes’ a lot of my status updates, and she said she likes much of what I write bc it causes her to think more, and that my comments are helping her become more compassionate, less judgmental, and more accepting. Wow. I’m glad she’s found value in what I have to say, and in a way that benefits her life.

  113. says

    Anne:

    That reminds me, Aged Mum’s cat has figured out how to open the bolt on the door to her backyard. I’ve known cats who could stand up and turn a doorknob, but he’s way beyond that. Opposable thumbs? Who needs ‘em!

    Wow. That’s a talented kitty.
    I can think of one opposablethumbs I like having around ::wink wink::

  114. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    2. In a different lecture today the topic was inclusion of students with disabilities. The opinions and objections were cringe-worthy. Bite the table cringe-worthy to the worst comment ever which was “I don’t study her to have to do with disabled people!” (They probably have a special form of cooties).

    I think you’d be justified in reminding them of the *ahem* historical reasons for them to disavow that position….

  115. says

    Boob armour is a problem because it’s not what most women would choose, and none who understood the purpose and construction of armour. It’s what men who like to look at women choose for women.

    For women, when they’ve worn armour of the sort being contemplated (breastplates/cuirasses), they’ve gone, like men, for a simple convex shape, because this directs and deflects blows away from the chest, the place where one wants blows to avoid. Boob armour just provides places to catch the weapon on a projecting and very sensitive place of the body that one would rather not catch a weapon with. Think mono-boob sports bras for the way almost all the women I know who wear armour choose to go. Military flak vests are not made with breasts on the outside.

    Perhaps imagining why there isn’t genital armour for men that has an erect penis shape, and two external teste shapes, and if there were, no man who wanted to keep his genitals would ever put them into such a contraption, would help?

  116. says

    CaitieCat:
    Thank you. That really helped me understand the impracticality of ‘boob armor’.

    ****
    My FB friend just told me that she feels overwhelmed and saddened by our political system. Then she asked me “what makes you feel empowered to change the world”?
    I’ve never been asked that question. Now she’s challenging me to articulate my thoughts.

  117. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Another way of envisioning the problem: if you have one plate that’s got rounded boobs molded into it, between them they make a metal wedge. Now where is that going to go if an enemy swings a weapon into the crevice between the rounds?

  118. blf says

    Wait a minute! You mean chain mail bikinis aren’t practical, effective, armour ?

    Next you’ll be telling me dinosaurs didn’t keep humans as pets.

    Or that penguins don’t eat cheese.

  119. says

    Portia

    Good luck with the dinner and the hosting.

    Tony

    My FB friend just told me that she feels overwhelmed and saddened by our political system. Then she asked me “what makes you feel empowered to change the world”?
    I’ve never been asked that question. Now she’s challenging me to articulate my thoughts.

    I hate when that happens.

  120. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    I’m glad she’s found value in what I have to say, and in a way that benefits her life.

    And hopefully, the people in her life, too – you’ve created a positive ripple effect, my dear friend.

    I just consulted with two potential clients who were crying in my office and clearly struggling. I was as compassionate as possible while also trying to stay on point. As they walked out of our lobby afterwards, I heard one say “Isn’t she wonderful…” Made me feel pretty good. I can emote successfully with other humans! I can make people feel better!

  121. cicely says

    Tony!, it’s okay.
    Hopefully it’s a different situation with your cat; they do sometimes gain or lose weight for no obvious reason. Years and years ago, The Husband had a cat who porked way up—had to be over 20 pounds, easy—then, worryingly at the time, lost back down to a little less than her previous weight, then stabilized at that previous weight, staying right around there for the rest of her life…and she lived to be 19 years old.
    And I’d’ve remembered that, if Midnight wasn’t so strongly in memory, and at least offered that as a counterpoint.
    I’m sorry if I’ve added to your worry.
     
    (Later)
    Fuuuuuuuck.
    I know there’s a crisis on-going in the Methodist Church over gay marriage; one of my friends is a Methodist minister (I’m almost sure it’s Missouri Conference), and his wife is my oldest friend, and they are terrified that their church is going to split up over this.
     
    I believe that they’re correct; that it is inevitable, and that the “conservative” element will eventually hemorrhage membership until it becomes an irrelevance; and that in not-too-many years, the faction opposed to gay marriage will be in the same position as the factions that stuck by their guns on slavery, the subject of hasty disavowal whenever the subject comes up.
     
    (J. was appalled to find that there are out-in-the-sticks breakaways from major sects, that still affirm slavery. I just happened to have links on-tap.)
     
    (Even Later)
    See? It’s not just us who think you’re awesome!
     
    (Later Yet)
    The purpose of boob armor is to draw attention to the boobs—in case you’ve somehow managed to overlook them. The full-dress Chain Mail Bikini, if you will.
    Or, as CaitieCat said, and more thoroughly.
     
    (Even Later Than That)

    My FB friend just told me that she feels overwhelmed and saddened by our political system. Then she asked me “what makes you feel empowered to change the world”?
    I’ve never been asked that question. Now she’s challenging me to articulate my thoughts.

    Point out that, quoting you from #148:

    […] my comments are helping her become more compassionate, less judgmental, and more accepting.

    Wittling away at the Suck, one change-of-world-view at a time!

    Esteleth, I’m sorry the kitteh has ear mites; and *added applause* for your volley-back to Dr. [Name].

    Portia:

    My favorite candidate to be my new assistant just accepted the job!

    Hurray!
    *dancing a few measures in sympathy*
     
    (Later)
    As Tony! says, you’re no imposter!
    *spoken in indignant tones, with stern demeanor, fists on hips*
    -

  122. says

    Trigger Warning: Transphobia
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .

    http://www.thenation.com/blog/180633/hobby-lobby-now-discriminating-against-transgender-employee

    Meggan Sommerville, a Hobby Lobby frameshop manager in Aurora, Illinois, has for years been shut out of the store’s bathroom because her boss insists that, as a trans woman, she cannot use the facilities. She is pressing a discrimination case with the Illinois Human Rights Commission, contending that the ban is both insulting and illegal under state laws barring discrimination in both employment and in public accommodations. The lockout has become a full-fledged civil rights battle—and perhaps the next legal showdown in the debate around corporate personhood, religion and civil rights at work.

    A sixteen-year Hobby Lobby employee, Sommerville underwent her transition in 2010, and after informing her manager and having her legal identity changed, she says that her coworkers and customers have been supportive throughout the process. But for management, the bathroom door remains a bridge too far. The company’s persistent rejection of her demand for equal access seems to reflect the ideology that drove its Supreme Court crusade against contraceptive insurance mandates under the federal healthcare law. Hobby Lobby’s willingness to flout public mandates to impose conservative values suggests that bias against transgender workers may be another way the company tries to “live out our faith in the way we do business.”

    As reported by Newsweek, Sommerville’s pending case, which was first brought in 2011 (and reinstated by the state Human Rights Commission after initially being dismissed by the Human Rights Department for lack of evidence), is arguably an even more explicit example of a culture war being waged in the workplace. According to the complaint, Hobbby Lobby’s management states that unless she would “undergo genital reconstructive surgery” she would not receive equal treatment as a female employee.

    When Sommerville showed up for work just after having her name officially changed, she recalls, “I was told I would not be allowed to use the women’s restroom even though I had legally changed my name… I was devastated. It was a knife-to-the-gut insult to me.”

    (Many transgender people do not have surgery, out of choice or due to economic or medical barriers, and it is generally not necessary for official recognition.)

    The policy has affected her body and mind, as well as her ability to do her job. To relieve herself she must find another bathroom at an outside business or public facility. The complaint states that she was diagnosed in 2012 with thyroid problems and Fibromyalgia, which affect the bladder, and has suffered dehydration from “limiting her intake of fluids.”

    (hat tip to SallyStrange)

  123. says

    Tony

    And that’s one reason I don’t usually fire off quick comments. I believe this particular reason was called “Jokes that will fall flat”? Imagine sarcasm or facetiousness tags around my statement, please.

  124. blf says

    J. was appalled to find that there are out-in-the-sticks breakaways from major sects, that still affirm slavery.

    Unfortunately I cannot find a link now, but many years ago (10? 15?) the then religious affairs editor of the Grauniad wrote, in his last(?) column before moving on to a new position (at the Grauniad, as far as I can recall) of his experiences in covering crutch of little-ingerlandia affairs, and why those experiences caused him to lose his own religion beliefs. One of the comments he made was his astonishment at finding, published in an (in-house?) crutch magazine (The English Clergyman (as I now recall)) articles (plural (as I now recall)) supporting slavery.

  125. says

    Elder Daughter, who used to comment on Dispatches and Pharyngula, and who is the one who got me hooked… Anyway, she asked me to mention that humans still keep dinosaurs as pets – they’re just all over feathers and mostly on the small side.

  126. opposablethumbs says

    Opposable thumbs? Who needs ‘em!

    :`-(
    .

    I can think of one opposablethumbs I like having around ::wink wink::

    :-D
    thank you, Tony!

    (but yes indeed, a very talented cat, Anne!)

  127. cicely says

    hobby-lobby-now-discriminating-against-transgender-employee

    *sigh*
    Anybody surprised?
    *crickets chirp, tumbleweeds blow through the [Lounge]*
    -

  128. says

    Portia:

    And hopefully, the people in her life, too – you’ve created a positive ripple effect, my dear friend.

    Thank you for the kind words.
    I would amend that a little. I didn’t create the ripple effect. I’m a part of a ripple begun long ago and I’m just continuing to spread it.

    ****
    cicely:

    Tony!, it’s okay.
    Hopefully it’s a different situation with your cat; they do sometimes gain or lose weight for no obvious reason. Years and years ago, The Husband had a cat who porked way up—had to be over 20 pounds, easy—then, worryingly at the time, lost back down to a little less than her previous weight, then stabilized at that previous weight, staying right around there for the rest of her life…and she lived to be 19 years old.
    And I’d’ve remembered that, if Midnight wasn’t so strongly in memory, and at least offered that as a counterpoint.
    I’m sorry if I’ve added to your worry.

    Initially it did add to my worry. But it was mitigated by Anne’s comments, and now reading the above. Now I’m more or less back to normal. I know all animals (like people) aren’t the same, but I am hopeful that Kayta could still have more years ahead of her. I’m still going to worry a little, but who doesn’t worry about their animal companions?

  129. blf says

    Penguins don’t eat. They absorb nutrients through their skin.

    That’s certain why happens when the mildly deranged one encounters cheese at high speed (open beak not pointing in quite the right direction). I’ve never quite worked out how the feathers don’t seem to get in the way. Probably something to do with quantum.

  130. says

    Yes, opposablethumbs, you are essential! I’m sorry that I was ambiguous!

    Friskie is scary smart; my mum has been watching him lie on his side fiddling with the bolt night after night (it’s down near the floor) and one morning that door was open. He was inside, pretending to be asleep, the wretch. They’re going to put a heavy chair in front of the door at night from now on, to thwart the feline Houdini. I wouldn’t be surprised if he finds another way out, though.

  131. says

    ajb47:

    And that’s one reason I don’t usually fire off quick comments. I believe this particular reason was called “Jokes that will fall flat”? Imagine sarcasm or facetiousness tags around my statement, please.

    I didn’t take it as a joke, because I can see your response being reasonable. Not everyone is comfortable being asked questions about things they’ve never considered. I think that *if* you felt you didn’t like that type of question, that you would have good reasons for your opinion, and those reasons would be valid.
    So while it was a quick comment, I think even if you were serious, it wouldn’t have been a quick problematic comment. :D

  132. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Question for the Horde. The Redhead had to miss a doctor’s appointment today, as we couldn’t fit her swollen left foot into any shoe. She used to wear size 6 or 7 depending on the brand, but since her stroke and more recent lymphedema, she didn’t fit into a size 9W woman’s shoe with velcro straps. We even tried a mens 11 slipper (couldn’t get the heel to stay) and one of my regular shoes mens 10 EW (her present instep too high), and even they didn’t work. I’m looking for a sandal that is cheap and very adjustable. This one is available from Sears/K-Mart. A similar model from Walmart had the feedback that it was no good for high insteps. Any comments on the sandal, or other cheap possibilities would be appreciated.

  133. blf says

    Unfortunately I cannot find a link now, but many years ago (10? 15?) the then religious affairs editor of the Grauniad wrote […of] his astonishment at finding […]([…in] The English Clergyman (as I now recall)) articles (plural (as I now recall)) supporting slavery.

    Ok, I found a link to the article (republished), Demob Happy:

    I soon discovered there were quite enough feuds to be going on with even in the good old Church of England. The first inkling was when I opened what was to become my favourite religious periodical, the English Churchman, a deeply conservative publication which still calls the Pope the Anti-Christ, publishes the odd article suggesting slavery was not really such a bad institution…

  134. says

    Kind of ‘rupt, I know there were other things I meant to respond to but have now lost track of. In no particular order:
    Esteleth
    Excellent response to the prof.
    Tony!
    There’s a very strong possibility that one of the cats is stealing the other’s food. Cats are like that.
    RE: Armor, others have explained as well as I can, but here’s an example of what a breastplate should look like.
    blf
    The practices in England are the most relevant for the development of English, yes.
    Kevin

    I need to write an introduction story. People just aren’t going to care about my work if there isn’t something to pull from. Why would a reader be interested in a tallis mage unless they already know tallis rarely become mages? If I want a reader to go “oh fuck” when they read about a blight elf, I have to already have set up the fact that elves are basically walking mana batteries.

    (apologies in advance if this is long-winded, pompous or comes across as condescending)
    Not necessarily. Speculative fiction fans are often willing to let world assumptions, even major ones, be revealed by context over the course of the early-ish portions of the story (it’s not uncommon for the significance of certain things not to become fully clear until well into the second third of a book IME, and possibly later if it’s meant to be part of a series). So, e.g., if everyone shits themselves when blight elves are mentioned, it’s ok if it’s not instantly clear to the reader precisely why that’s the case, so long as it comes clear over time. Suspension of disbeleif will carry you through, because you’re getting a fair ration of it to start with. If the audience wasn’t willing to suspend a fair amount of disbeleif, they wouldn’t be reading fantasy or SF in the first place.

    That said, a lot of it is also context and the way things are described; the old saying is that you, the author, have to know hundreds of times more information about the world than ever comes out, because the unstated background provides versimilitude. Just like a story that takes place in the modern day leaves a lot of things unexplained because they’re just part of how things are, there can be background things that aren’t
    fully explained, just implied.

    So, for instance, your tallis mage might be living in the elf part of town (presuming there is such a thing), instead of in the tallis neighborhood and the description of her living quarters notes the rich mana flux generated by the neighbors. Then, at another time, another character is in the market examining a display of finely made tallis clockwork figures. When he inquires about them, the proprietor proudly explains that the stall has been in business for four generations, and these figurines are the best ones yet, certified to be of the highest quality, made using a melding of ancient wisdom and modern technique! while the other members of the family bustle around in the background making new stuff. Then the audience can contrast this with the lone tallis mage living in the wrong part of town and draw their own conclusions.
    Portia
    Yay for new assistant!

    Dvid Chapman

    Actress is also a French word – actrice – so I’m guessing that this, too, crossed the English Channel with Charles II.

    Pretty much. I simplified a lot to save typing.

    Giliell 145
    Posts in the Lounge or posts by PZ?

  135. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    “So, what’s a pretty girl like you doing on a dating site?” is quickly becoming the obvious virtual version of “What’s a pretty girl like you doing in a place like this?” I can’t decide if they’re asking if I have a personality defect or what…or maybe they just don’t have anything better to say.

  136. blf says

    So, what’s a pretty girl like you doing on a dating site?

    “Ignoring unimaginative bores.”

  137. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    “Ignoring unimaginative bores.”

    ^_^

    And there are so many to ignore…

  138. says

    Portia:

    “So, what’s a pretty girl like you doing on a dating site?” is quickly becoming the obvious virtual version of “What’s a pretty girl like you doing in a place like this?” I can’t decide if they’re asking if I have a personality defect or what…or maybe they just don’t have anything better to say.

    It’s such a stupid question.
    What other reason is anyone on a dating site?
    It’s like there’s an expectation that pretty girls (argh, pet peeve–you are a woman, not a girl; and I imagine the same hold for all the other women on the site) shouldn’t be dating or couldn’t possibly be dating. Like because you’re pretty you should automatically be someone’s GF, fiance, wife, etc. As if the pretty ones don’t have any reason to be on a dating site.
    Argh! The sexism it burns.

  139. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    “So, what’s a pretty girl like you doing on a dating site?” is quickly becoming the obvious virtual version of “What’s a pretty girl like you doing in a place like this?” I can’t decide if they’re asking if I have a personality defect or what…or maybe they just don’t have anything better to say.

    It’s such a stupid question.
    What other reason is anyone on a dating site?
    It’s like there’s an expectation that pretty girls (argh, pet peeve–you are a woman, not a girl; and I imagine the same hold for all the other women on the site) shouldn’t be dating or couldn’t possibly be dating. Like because you’re pretty you should automatically be someone’s GF, fiance, wife, etc. As if the pretty ones don’t have any reason to be on a dating site.
    Argh! The sexism it burns.

    it’s funny, because I just said ‘Same reason as anyone else, I suppose.” (translation: duh, dipweed, why are YOU on here). One guy called me an “attractive female” and I told him it soudned like he was describing a science experiment. But yeah, if I weren’t “pretty” I guess I would have a right to be dating online? I dunno. Their perception of my looks I guess means I should be claimed by now, or….something.

    btw *hugs* and high-fives, you are awesome.

  140. says

    From the Census Bureau survey:

    NHIS is an annual multipurpose health survey conducted
    continuously throughout the year. Analyses were based on data collected in 2013
    from 34,557 adults aged 18 and over. Sampling weights were used to produce
    national estimates that are representative of the civilian noninstitutionalized U.S.
    adult population. Differences in health-related behaviors, health status, health
    care service utilization, and health care access by sexual orientation were
    examined for adults aged 18–64, and separately for men and women.

    If I did my numbers correctly @552 people out of that total identified as gay and @241 people identified as bisexual.

    Can those numbers be extrapolated to estimate the number of gay and bisexual Americans?

  141. blf says

    1.6% of adults aged 18 or over identified as gay, while another 0.7% identified as bisexual.

    That seems broadly inline with previous results:

    According to the Williams Institute review conducted in April 2011, approximately 3.80 % of American adults identify themselves being in the LGBT community; wherein, (1.70%) identify as lesbian or gay, (1.80%) bisexual, and (0.30%) transgender… Studies from various nations, however, including the U.S., covering varying time periods and age groupings, have produced a consistent statistical range of 1.20–5.60% of the adult population

  142. says

    Thanks blf.

    ****

    Tonight in Minneapolis Seattle’s Felix Hernandez will throw the first pitch for the American League and St. Louis Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright will open for the National League. But by the time the first pirch is thrown, Major League Baseball will have made two enormous announcments in support of the LGBT community.

    First, former MLB outfielder Billy Bean, who played for the Tigers, the Dodgers, and the Padres from 1987-1995, will be named MLB’s ambassador for inclusion. It is the first appointment of its kind. Bean came out as gay after he retired — technically the second MLB player to do so — and penned an autobiography in 2003, Going the Other Way: Lessons from a Life in and out of Major-League Baseball.

    Outsports reports that “Bean’s job will be to assure all MLB stakeholders of an inclusive and equitable workplace and provide awareness and educational resources that help mandate the league’s workplace code of conduct. Bean will focus not just on sexual orientation, but also intersections of race, gender and other issues of diversity.”

    http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/major_league_baseball_makes_major_announcements_supporting_gays_opposing_homophobia

  143. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    In emails, this guy has hit all the boring notes, and finally he asks the obligatory “What do you look for in a guy?”

    blf, be proud, I actually responded: “Interesting topics of conversation.”

    :)

  144. cicely says

    Nerd:

    Any comments on the sandal, or other cheap possibilities would be appreciated.

    I don’t know about the sandal, but maybe something along these lines, if you wanted to handicraft it? Looks like adjustability could be dependent on the lacing.
    -

  145. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    “What do you look for in a guy?”

    A good spleen. You have no idea what a good spleen does for me.

    I’m crying from laughter. I’m going to use that.

  146. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    From a profile:

    “Pretty women only. I not chabby.”

    …I know some people have legit trouble with English, or spelling, etc, but in combination with “No uglies” …it just…I can’t help but giggle. ( I also can’t tell whether that’s supposed to be “chubby” or “shabby” I think it’s shabby though)

  147. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Thanks Cicely, but the Redhead has to be able to undo shoes/sandals with just her right hand. Her left hand is only good for doing barrel rolls in mittens, and flinging the mittens off when bored. Or putting a death grip on things for a while, between bouts of flaring where it tries to give the world the one finger salute. Its nickname is Houdini hand, the escape artist.

  148. opposablethumbs says

    I missed saying, that Portia your being-helpful lawyer friend sounds really nice – thoughtful, to have noticed that you were maybe a bit apprehensive and to have offered something practical to lend a hand. Great that your new assistant sounds like the bees knees, and also conga-rats on the clients who were so glad to have seen you – inevitably when anyone needs to see a lawyer the chances are high that there is good reason for them to have stress levels through the roof and maybe be feeling vulnerable. Good for you! Huh, now why couldn’t you be practising in, say, a populous bit of Albion … ::sulks::

    I think our two pictionary champions both do quite a bit of spreading good information and good ideas among those with whom they are in contact.

    Anne
    , just in case, I was totally kidding and not miffed in the slightest. I’m getting used to this nym, so lately I tend to notice when anyone mentions the real kind of gripping digits that come in so handy, and pretend it’s me :-)

    Nerd, I’m sorry about the footwear problem. My sympathies to the Redhead, that must be a pain for her not to be able to wear her old shoes – I hope she’s not in discomfort because of it. I haven’t said so before, but I take my hat off and sweep it waaaay down low to your resourcefulness in looking after her. That must be bloody tough to cope with sometimes, for both of you.

    I hope Meggan Sommerville is successful in taking the vile hobby lobby management to the cleaners – dog knows they deserve it – but I’m not sure how realistic it is to hope too much?

    Assorted greetings and well-wishes to the Horde. Youse lot are pretty damn consistently the greatest.

  149. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    I missed saying, that Portia your being-helpful lawyer friend sounds really nice – thoughtful, to have noticed that you were maybe a bit apprehensive and to have offered something practical to lend a hand. Great that your new assistant sounds like the bees knees, and also conga-rats on the clients who were so glad to have seen you – inevitably when anyone needs to see a lawyer the chances are high that there is good reason for them to have stress levels through the roof and maybe be feeling vulnerable. Good for you! Huh, now why couldn’t you be practising in, say, a populous bit of Albion … ::sulks::

    I think our two pictionary champions both do quite a bit of spreading good information and good ideas among those with whom they are in contact.

    Aw shucks, and thank you. Yes, isn’t she lovely? She is a really tender person, I’m most excited to spend tim with her, I think.

    Thanks for your kind words. *hugs*

    Now, I’m off to stop at the store before fire department meeting:D

  150. says

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2088428/The-shocking–forgotten–toll-missing-black-women-U-S.html

    A renewed campaign to highlight hundreds of missing African-American women has been launched amid ongoing criticism that less attention is given to their cases by authorities and the media.
    According to the National Crime Information Center, nearly 40 per cent of those who have disappeared, often in suspicious circumstances, are black. However critics allege that public attention mainly focuses on white women who have vanished.
    According to the Black And Missing Foundation, most women disappear in the states of New York, Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland and Florida.

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

    Post-veternarian visit report:

    Kitty does not have ear mites. She has an infection of bacteria and yeast in the ear.

    Vet pointed out that this is recurrent – off and on for a year and a half. So in addition to prescribing some drops, I’m to bring her by in 10 days for a scoping. :( :( :(

  152. says

    I’m home from the hospital. Just oral antibiotics, not IVs, thankfully.

    Last night was super stressful, they had one more antibiotic to give me at one am, and my IV stopped working. So they had to put a new one in just for that last medication. But of course they couldn’t get the IV in in one shot (apparently my veins and IVs don’t get along), and the poor night nurse picked one that was too small for the needle gauge, so I wound up in tears of frustration and pain. I made her feel really bad. :(

    So then they had their “pro” nurse do it, but he didn’t come in until 3 am.

    Needless to say all I’ve done since I got home is sleep.

  153. says

    Oh, and because whine, since Friday night, I got stuck 7 times for three IVs, 9 times for blood tests, twice for regular ol shots, and 8 times for glucose tests.

    And I bloody hate needles.

  154. says

    Esteleth:
    So it’s not anything life threatening then? I hope so. I know that doesn’t mean you won’t be stressed, but that can be weight off your shoulders.

    It also reminds me that I’ve seen black gunk in Kayta’s ears too…

    ****

    Rawnaeris:
    ::Hugs::
    I hope you’re able to get some rest

  155. A. Noyd says

    Rob Grigjanis (#126)

    I thought ‘breaking the fourth wall’ meant addressing the audience (or camera) directly. I suppose it could refer to any action which says ‘this is obviously not real’…?

    Yeah, technically it’s addressing the audience, but I’ve often heard it extended to mean “totally ruining immersion,” too. Breaking the fourth wall accidentally is a theater no-no, anyway.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Pteryxx (#127)

    The famous ones also are written that way… see Cracked:

    That article explains so much. And I wonder how many women are awarded the dubious privilege of having parts rewritten to all sound the same.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Tony (#148)

    Ok, I’m reading comments over at The Mary Sue about the new female Thor, and I’m seeing people take issue with “boob armor”. I don’t understand the problem. Can anyone clue in this clueless guy?

    Check out the posts on Bikini Armor Battle Damage over on Tumblr. They specialize in the issues with representations of female armor. You might also check out episode 4 of the Castle in the Airwaves podcast.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~*~

    Rawnaeris (#198)

    And I bloody hate needles.

    Sorry they perforated you so much, then. I don’t have much problem with needles, but because my upper arms are bizarrely oversensitive to being squeezed and pinched, those fucking rubber tourniquets are another matter.

  156. says

    Tony! Thanks for the hugs, it’s appreciated.

    —-

    A. Noyd, bwahahaha “perforation” I’m gonna steal that. Also, I’m thankfully not sensitive to the tourniquets, but they had to use them every single time. Even for the back of my hand, at the wrist.

  157. says

    Tony and Esteleth

    Our dog despises ear drops, but they worked nicely when she had an infection. Now she has eye problems we are working through (insufficient tear production led to an infection), which require two different eyedrops in each eye twice a day (one for the infection, one to stimulate tear production). She’s not much happier with this.

    Oh and Tony, I have a dog so I don’t have to own up to my own farts. (No, not really. Or rather, I make it obvious I’m trying to blame the dog.)

    Rawnaeris

    I hope whatever they gave you works.

    WMDKitty

    I haven’t seen the Weird Al video yet, but apparently, it was done all in one take. Or, I guess more accurately, they ran several tries, then used one complete take to make the video. I will probably check it out in a day or two.

    Portia

    My wife is an attorney, and I can safely say that having a great assistant can do wonders, so congrats. And I’ll again say that I hope your dinner goes well. It actually sounds like you have it all under control planning-wise, so I think you’ll be fine.

    And just make sure you get me my royalties every time you use that spleen line. kthxby.

  158. morgan ?! epitheting a metaphor says

    Rawnaeris,
    Please let us know if they ever identify the bug that is torturing you. I hope you feel better soon.

  159. says

    Oh, hi everyone. It’s been quiet here today: I’ve been flat on my back immobile all day long. Got up once to use the bathroom; it was agonizing. I’m thinking I should just lie here and piss myself.

    The drugs are fading now and instead of lying here in a haze I’m now lying here in pain.

    This is no fun at all.

  160. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Sounds terrible PZ. I’ve been lucky, like when I trouble getting out bed with back pain this last weekend, just taking care of the Redhead and things like laundry, along with a NSAID, helped alleviate the problem. But when one of my co-workers goes down, it can be weeks of rehab. Hope you aren’t the latter.

  161. says

    Morgan ?!
    Nope. The neck has been classified as “viral pharyngitis” which just means “viral sore throat” so yeah. It improving. I can swallow today, and managed to eat a banana without ending up in orbit from pain.

    The damnedest thing is aside from some shortness of breath, the pneumonia isn’t bothering me at all.

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

    @Tony!:

    Y’know, I think I remember that from when they were saying it was missing and murdered aboriginal women.

    You sure you don’t have it wrong? There couldn’t be two separate groups of women of color treated as disposable by two entirely different governments, could there? ‘Cuz that sounds almost like evidence for the racism that ended when Obama was elected.

    ==========
    PZ – I’m so sorry. I joked about the gills earlier, but I do wish you a speedy recovery. Unfortunately knee stuff often doesn’t heal quickly. I hear it’s about the difficulty in getting good blood flow to the area given the various bony structural reinforcements needed for omni-directional bipedal movement or something, but medicine isn’t my thing. For your sake, I hope your tentacular jointlessness sidesteps those issues.

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

    Tony!
    The whole point of doing the scoping is identifying the source of these recurrent infections. There might be a piece of gunk way back there. There might also be a benign polyp. There might also be a tumor.

    *helpless gesture*

  164. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Just informed the Redhead I’m heading for dreamland, and to wake me when she needs the commode. This is one of those areas where I swear she can’t/won’t do basic arithmetic. To me, 8 hours of “sleep” minus two times thirty minutes per commode calls equal 7 hours of good sleep; sufficient for my needs. Trying to cut back to one commode, means 7 hours minus 30 minutes, or 6.5 hours, not quite sufficient.
    And if like tonight, with 8.5 hours before commodes, I can almost feel myself dreaming, unlike with the sleep deprived timing. What’s interesting is dreaming about sleeping…..

  165. says

    Tony

    This may sound like a strange question — your URL is queershop, but your blog title is Queer Shoop. Is there supposed to be a missing “O” in the URL?

    Looking forward to your blog.

  166. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Thanks for the support and encouragement. I feel pretty prepared for tomorrow evening. The nice neighbor that our mutual landlord pays for lawn maintenance, kindly trimmed everything up on demand for me. I am trying to get my homemade wine bottle tiki torch to work.

    I’m serving something like this, should I plate them up separately?

    And refrigerate them during the nibbling phase of the evening?

  167. says

    Portia, IMHO, I would do one big salad bowl, that way if someone isn’t fond of eggs, they can avoid them, and the tomato lovers can grab extra without feeing bad about it. It also allows people to throttle how much chicken they want in the nibble phase.

    I don’t formal hostess much, but the times I have semi-buffet has always seemed to work best. If only because it allows the choosey folks to get what they want, in the amount they want.

  168. says

    Portia

    Caprese is fantastic. Adding some marinated grilled chicken can’t hurt it. I’m not sure why that site says balsamic vinegar is verboten, because I thought balsamic vinegar was the point of the recipe.

    Plating separately vs. family style — I think this might depend on how well you know your guests. Most of my guests when I host things are quite close and have no problem serving themselves. We all actually enjoy doing that whole “breaking of bread” thing literally. I don’t slice it, and we just break off what we want.

    I’d be tempted to just make a big serving plate with the caprese salad on it and let everyone take their own. Family style. My wife and I like to host our friends and family, but we are not the kind who make individual plates. You’re eating on a deck, which would indicate a less formal environment.

  169. says

    Ack. Forgot to address this.

    Tony

    Looks correct now. I have bookmarked your blog into my Atheism folder, mostly because that’s where I first encountered you. If you come across a comment or a like from “barkeeperin”, that would be me. It looks like you can get to my blog, with its attendant lack of updates, from clicking on my username at the top of my posts here.

    I really want my blog to hold my thoughts on things that matter rather then just things I like to do and daily activities. But this is another place where I have a difficult time with the “Me, too” syndrome. It works like this:

    Here’s an article that matters to me, but it is covered by someone who says everything I want to say and they say it better than I could. I need to find other current events websites, maybe.

    I need to get over this at some point.

  170. says

    ajb47:
    I’ve felt the same way before. It took some time for me to realize that even if I’m covering material others have, because I’m me, my coverage is still going to be different. Some people follow bloggers for their sarcastic wit, or their sterling personality, or some such. Then there’s the fact that a given story can be covered from different angles. I wrote about Michele Bachmann treating the immigrant kids coming into the US as if they’re invaders. I could have written a post on all the false things she’s said before or how illogical it is for her to make the assumptions she does. I could have written about how these children aren’t invaders or how she lacks in empathy (which I did touch on). I still echoed the sentiments of others, but I did it in my way, and I tackled the subject matter from an angle that interested me.
    Thanks for the interest, btw.

  171. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Caprese is fantastic. Adding some marinated grilled chicken can’t hurt it. I’m not sure why that site says balsamic vinegar is verboten, because I thought balsamic vinegar was the point of the recipe.

    Probably like that “no beans in chili” silliness.

  172. says

    Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :)

    Probably like that “no beans in chili” silliness.

    Exactly. I am very much into the “meat and beans” coming together and making a whole greater than the parts chili person.

    Tony

    Yeah, I am quite close to taking that post by Lynna where Cheney should just shut the hell up and trying to point out his opinion is asinine. And, from Ed Brayton’s post, wondering how to put my own thoughts on Gohmert saying Texas should blow these children away.

    There is part of me that just doesn’t know where to start, too. There are so many problems that are ongoing that my newby opinion can’t matter for much. Right?

  173. chigau (違う) says

    What was the point of differentiating between chili and chili con carne?

    I once had “chicken arroz con pollo” in a restaurant in Southern Alberta.

  174. says

    You people are making me crave chili now! I love chili. And yes, it must have beans. And cheese. I prefer it over a bed of rice too.

    ****

    ajb47:

    Yeah, I am quite close to taking that post by Lynna where Cheney should just shut the hell up and trying to point out his opinion is asinine. And, from Ed Brayton’s post, wondering how to put my own thoughts on Gohmert saying Texas should blow these children away.

    Go for it. I know you have a unique viewpoint to share with the world.

    There is part of me that just doesn’t know where to start, too.

    I agree that there’s a lot of material to blog about. Perhaps if you compiled a list and played a rousing game of “eenie meeney myney mo” to pick the topic to write about.

    There are so many problems that are ongoing that my newby opinion can’t matter for much. Right?

    Nope. I think you’re wrong there. Think about how many people have blogs. Or editorials in newspapers. I don’t have figures, but I’m going with lots of people. They probably faced the same problems you do. And they were newbies once too. You have a unique voice–it’s currently experiencing some self-doubt which is reasonable. But it doesn’t mean that what you have to say isn’t valid or reasonable. IIRC, you’re married right? I can imagine your wife might have favorable things to say about your thoughts and opinions, no? What about your kids? If the people around you can see that your views and beliefs are worth having or discussing, perhaps that means something.

  175. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    What was the point of differentiating between chili and chili con carne?

    Presumably in the original Spanish “chili” would have been understood as referring specifically to hot peppers, and the American dish of “chili” evolved from the Mexican(?) dish of chili con carne.

  176. says

    chigau

    The point is some of us are not in Texas? (chilli vs chilli con carne)

    Tony

    If you’re ever in the Philadelphia area, I’ll make you some chili, with rice and a nice crusty bread. Because, really, what doesn’t go better with a crusty bread?

    Done the Cheney one. Probably not as strong as I first envisioned, but got the point across I think.

    Yeah, married, two kids. 47 years old.

    I admit, it’s really a “Where do I start?” problem. I worry about coming into a discussion topic where most things have been discussed.

  177. says

    ajb47:

    If you’re ever in the Philadelphia area, I’ll make you some chili, with rice and a nice crusty bread. Because, really, what doesn’t go better with a crusty bread?

    That sounds awesome. I hope you make yours spicy. And yes, bread of any sort goes exceedingly well with chili. I used to make chili and crumble cornbread on top. By dog, now I want some chili and haz no ground beef, pork, chicken, or turkey to use. :(

    Done the Cheney one. Probably not as strong as I first envisioned, but got the point across I think.

    That’s all that matters, I think :)

  178. says

    Good morning

    “What do you look for in a guy?”

    I admit my thoughts wandered in the general direction of “Who do you think I am, Susan Bones?” or alternatively “the cause of his death”, too.

    +++
    I have completely no motivation for going to that school project today again. I’m done with my lessons and the support from the staff side is more than minimal. As a budding teacher it would have been nice if the teachers who are running the project had been present to give feedback. Instead, occasionally the usual subject teachers whose lessons we’Re using show up and they’re at best indifferent to us. Yesterday the maths teacher handed out some tests during our group work, which meant that for the next 5 minutes our work had to stop. One kid started crying because she got a bad result. Thank you very much…

  179. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    If you’re ever in the Philadelphia area, I’ll make you some chili, with rice and a nice crusty bread. Because, really, what doesn’t go better with a crusty bread?

    Strawberry pudding?

    Huh. Oddly enough, Korbel brandy and Christian Brothers taste really, remarkably different. O.o

    In unrelated news, I figured it out. :3

  180. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    (Also, Korbel edges out one form of tequila or another and E&J XO as the Thing I’m Most Willing To Ignore The Fucking Ethanol Vapor To Drink Neat. Hot damn. O.o)

    The CostCo bottle of Christian Brothers is henceforth dedicated to experimenting to finding the perfect concentration for my latest silly cocktail abomination.

    Tony, and does anyone else bartend? Even for guests? I may have some recipes you can borrow at your own risk. O.o

  181. A. Noyd says

    I just ran across a Japanese proverb that perfectly sums up what compels atheists to be good without god:
    情けは人の為ならず。
    (Nasake wa hito no tame narazu.)
    Which says: Compassion¹ is not for another’s sake.

    The implied meaning is that it’s to your advantage to be nice because your good feelings and actions towards others sustain you as they’re returned in kind. I know there are roughly equivalent proverbs in English, but I like how blunt the Japanese one is.

    …………
    ¹ Also “kindness,” “charity,” “benevolence,” etc.

  182. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Well, in the short run it IS for another’s sake.

    How about “compassion returns home, if drunkenly.”

    (Oh, hi. :P)

  183. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    “Compassion, like a drunkard, returns home. Belatedly, haphazardly, and try not to think about what happened to the rug – but there you have it.”

  184. opposablethumbs says

    If anyone has the wherewithal to get a message to Ogvorbis, I hope he knows we support him (particularly wrt the slime oozing out of the pit).

  185. rq says

    I’ll be back more or less regularly soon (it’s all a bit much right now), but in the meantime, find out which early christian herestic you are! (I got Arianism; in my circle of FB friends, Montanism is also popular. And beware the pomegranate salespeople.)
    Also, *hugs* and *minion umbrellas*.

  186. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    rq!!!!!!!!
    Good to see you
    *hugs*
    *umbrellas*

    That reminds me, I think I’m going to try to get a deck umbrella before tonight.

    Rawnaeris:
    Good point – let’s people be in control of their own dinner:)

    ajb47:
    Thanks for the input, you make sense. We’re all pretty congenial with each other, so the family style will work just fine. Someone else is bringing literal bread to break:) Also thanks for the thoughts on balsamic/caprese combo – I was wondering about that blogger’s comment on that. Thanks for putting that little nagging worry to rest:)

    Thanks again for the help.

    I know we all say it a lot – but this place in invaluable.

    *hugsandumbrellasallaround*

  187. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Giliell:
    I like your answer, too – especially since I’m working my way through Veronica Mars. Makes me a little more morbid.
    :)

    Sorry school is rough right now. *hugs*

  188. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Aaaand i always forget something:

    ajb47:
    Thanks for the commiseration – having the right assistant does make all the difference. Really, just having two people who can work well together makes all the difference. I am working really hard at getting along well with my current assistant and she still gives me push-back over the smallest things (e.g. let me know you received my email requesting X, so that I know that X will be done, and you didn’t overlook the email and then in three weeks it’s not done and I’m screwed and I never got confirmation that you received my request).

  189. says

    A biological basis for conservatism?

    The occasion of this revelation is a paper by John Hibbing of the University of Nebraska and his colleagues, arguing that political conservatives have a “negativity bias,” meaning that they are physiologically more attuned to negative (threatening, disgusting) stimuli in their environments. (The paper can be read for free here.) In the process, Hibbing et al. marshal a large body of evidence, including their own experiments using eye trackers and other devices to measure the involuntary responses of political partisans to different types of images. One finding? That conservatives respond much more rapidly to threatening and aversive stimuli (for instance, images of “a very large spider on the face of a frightened person, a dazed individual with a bloody face, and an open wound with maggots in it,” as one of their papers put it).

    In other words, the conservative ideology, and especially one of its major facets—centered on a strong military, tough law enforcement, resistance to immigration, widespread availability of guns—would seem well tailored for an underlying, threat-oriented biology.

    The authors go on to speculate that this ultimately reflects an evolutionary imperative. “One possibility,” they write, “is that a strong negativity bias was extremely useful in the Pleistocene,” when it would have been super-helpful in preventing you from getting killed. (The Pleistocene epoch lasted from roughly 2.5 million years ago until 12,000 years ago.)

    evolutionary psychology as a possible answer for conservative and liberal thinking?

  190. dianne says

    Have you ever been submitting a manuscript to a journal and had them require that you give them the names of a couple of potential reviewers and been tempted to reply to this question “do your own work, you lazy bleeps”? I’m just asking questions, of course. No bias at all about what the answer might be…

  191. rq says

    I hate the tax revenue service. What humanity? Pulling automatic scare-cards. I only have a question, dammit, I’m not planning to not co-operate!!

  192. birgerjohansson says

    Yesterday, Tuesday was the 100th anniversary of the opening of the Panama canal for traffic.
    A nd in less then a month we will “celebrate” the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of The Great War. It was initially a popular war. A war to die for. And twelwe million did just that.

  193. rq says

    It was initially a popular war. A war to die for.

    “Home for Christmas,” they said…

    +++

    I’ve checked. The bodies are still behind the shed (no zombies). Fewf.
    And the roses are blooming beautifully. I missed the Great Field of Poppies, though (as accidentally scattered last year). A shame; those things grow like weeds.

  194. birgerjohansson says

    As I track down more of Richard Kadrey’s John Stark novels , I am developing a “man crush” for the protagonist (while remaining completely, totally super-duper-straight!).
    .
    Reading a Kadrey novel is like watching a spaghetti western while doing “magic mushrooms” grown on the tomb of Howard Philip Lovecraft and harvested by insane killers. And then, to enliven the film you drop a bomb on the cinema.
    – – –

    Scotland takes historic step towards finding out how poor it is http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news-in-pictures/news-briefly/scotland-takes-historic-step-towards-finding-out-how-poor-it-is-201105063784

  195. dianne says

    It was initially a popular war. A war to die for.

    Everyone thought they had something to gain and that they could win. They were all wrong.

  196. dianne says

    And…I applied for a job about a month ago. Suddenly, about half an hour ago, they sent me a message saying that they want to interview me. Tomorrow. Oops, I’m out of town. Which also makes working out when I actually could go there awkward since I can’t figure out when I can do it so easily…

    So, should I run screaming from any potential employer that plays this sort of game?

  197. says

    Dianne, do you have a way to ask if they could do a phone interview?

    Otherwise, unless the $$ is really really good I’d be wary. (Disclaimer, I’ve not job hunted many times, and when I have, I usually only got one interview. Out of however many resumes I sent out.)

  198. says

    cicely, that comic! Hee hee, it reminds me of how I taught small Elder Daughter to deal with annoying adults who kept telling her to smile – just show them your teeth like a t-rex, dear.

  199. rq says

    Tony
    I collect spoons.
    Though I add to my collection by stealing from commercial entities like restaurants and hotels.
    That one’s really nice, though.

  200. cicely says

    Nerd, might something on this page be of help to the Redhead?

    Esteleth, do I understand that kitteh will be suffering from Recurrent Black Ear for a year and a half???
    *hugs* for you, and *comforting scritches* for kitteh.

    *hugs* for Rawnaeris.
    My hard-to-stick veins send greetings to yours.
    :)

    Additional supplies of sympathy and support for PZ.
    I blame the Horses.

    If it ain’t got beans, it ain’t chili. It’s some sort of meat sauce or gravy.
    Here I stand; I can no other.

    I ♥ Weird Al.

    *hugs* for Giliell. I’m sorry about the unsupportive staff.

    Azkyroth:

    “Compassion, like a drunkard, returns home. Belatedly, haphazardly, and try not to think about what happened to the rug – but there you have it.”

    *chortlesnortle*

    *hugs* and support for Ogvorbis, wherever he may be.

    Tony!, I agree; she is adorable!
    :)
    -

  201. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Oy, discovering that summer heat and salty snacks do not mix.

    On that note, gin and lemonade is not nearly as refreshing in the heat as you might think. >.>

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

    cicely,
    The kitteh has been suffering from recurrent black ear for a year and half. Hopefully no longer, though.

  203. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Well gee golly whiz. Ordered a pair of velcro sandals for the Redhead yesterday, and they appeared at work today via USPS. Checked the return address. Chicago. They were fast enough to get the box into the system by the end of the day. Now, to see if they fit the swollen left foot later tonight.

  204. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Nerd, might something on this page be of help to the Redhead?

    Yes, some of those dress sticks with shoe horns look ideal to get somebody’s attention. I won’t mention the someone who keeps forgetting things….

  205. Pteryxx says

    semirandom threadrupt links –

    Natalie Reed’s writing mini-essays on Twitter about superhero character designs – for instance, that critiques of female costumes as unrealistic miss the point, because superhero costumes are symbolic visual shorthand for aspects of the character and aren’t supposed to be functionally realistic in the first place. What’s more important is whether the costume is demeaning, objectifying, inappropriate for the character, and so on.

    via Crommunist: that self-proclaimed Democrat offering a bounty for sex tapes is a fake. Slate:

    One problem: Dickinson is not a Democratic candidate for Congress. The media slowly figured this out after February, when Dickinson started tweeting insults at Fox News and was booked on the network as “Mike Dickinson (D-VA).” He had to be set up like a punching bag one more time before Mediaite noticed that was not actually going to be a Democratic candidate in the fall. Dickinson failed to make time between TV appearances to file any candidate forms. His candidacy lives online, where he takes advantage of umbrage culture by soliciting donations—grifting, basically.

    and from The Mary Sue, a survey on sexual harassment in science fieldwork:

    Their findings indicate that of the women who responded, 71 percent reported having faced some kind of inappropriate sexual comment in the field, most frequently while they were trainees. 26 percent also said they had experienced sexual assault.

    As you can see in the above chart, 41% men also reported facing inappropriate comments, and 6% reported assault as well.

    Exacerbating the problem is where the remarks are coming from; the below charts suggest that while most of the inappropriate comments and unwanted reported by men came from their peers in the field, a whopping majority of those same reports from women were instigated by their superiors. [emphasis in original]

  206. says

    Nerd:
    Damn. Those sandals arrived fast. Hope they work out for the Redhead.

    ****
    Universal Pictures wants to reboot its monster movies. This time in a shared universe:

    Writers Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan will be in charge of ensuring that Universal’s series of monster films are a hit. You may not be familiar with those writers’ names, but Kurtzman and Morgan have each been behind quite the series of hits: Morgan wrote five Fast & Furious films, and Kurtzman has been behind blockbuster movies like Transformers and huge TV shows like Fringe. It’s not known if either Kurtzman or Morgan will be writing any of the monster films themselves, but they will be in charge of creating an overarching narrative for the pictures and ensuring that they’re put together in a consistent manner. Universal has rebooted several of these characters before, but this would be the first time that it began putting them all together.

    ****
    Medeival badass Barbie anyone?

    When Barbie appeared in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue earlier this year, it ignited newfound controversy over Mattel’s 50-year-plus tradition of using the doll to prop up absurd body image standards. Lost in the debate was the indisputable fact that her typical outfits are entirely inappropriate for storming a castle — but thanks to 3D designer Jim Rodda, that’s been resolved. Rodda has created the “Faire Play Battle Set,” comprising three full sets of 3D-printed battle armor for the iconic figurine. The designer has previously designed a number of 3D-printable items of a medieval persuasion, including functional miniature ballistae and catapults for tabletop gaming.

    ****
    This is a reasonable ruling on the Death Penalty in California:

    A federal judge in Orange County, California today struck down the state’s death penalty, arguing that the system is so fractured, it violates the state’s constitution.

    Filed today by US District Judge Cormac J. Carney in the Central District of California, today’s opinion — posted here by KWMU — explains that more than 900 people have been sentenced to death in California since 1978, but only 13 have been executed.

    The ruling ruled not based on the idea that the death penalty itself is unconstitutional, but rather that the delays and uncertainty constitute cruel and unusual punishment. For the hundreds of prisoners on death row, the opinion reads, “the dysfunctional administration of California’s death penalty system has resulted, and will continue to result, in an inordinate and unpredictable period of delay preceding their actual execution.” These “systemic” delays have made executions “so unlikely that the death sentence” serves “no retributive or deterrent purpose….”
    http://www.theverge.com/2014/7/16/5910063/federal-court-rules-californias-death-penalty-unconstitutional

    The death penalty isn’t any kind of a deterrent, no matter where it is utilized.

    ****

    Yahoo mostly has a bunch of white men working for them:

    Yahoo today became the latest tech company to reveal the gender and ethnic demographics of its employees, disclosing that the majority of those workers are white males. Yahoo’s broken down both gender and ethnicity profiles for its 12,200 employees globally and in the US where the company is headquartered. It’s also detailed those genders and ethnicities across its tech workers, non-tech workers, and leadership group, which comprises predominantly of white males.

  207. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Damn. Those sandals arrived fast. Hope they work out for the Redhead.

    I do have to acknowledge the USPS is very, very good, once something arrives in the area (meaning up to 5 am north of the Ohare downtown line), that it arrives at the local post office for deliver by the time the local trucks depart, except in the blizzard conditions. And they say government agencies aren’t efficient. *snicker*

  208. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Oh, and USPS packages make it here from the FedEx Smart post depot (FedEx until NB, then USPS for final delivery) in New Berlin, WI (a west suburb of Milwaukee) in a similar time frame.

  209. says

    Thanks to The Mary Sue it looks like Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” is going to kick off with bullshit again.

    http://www.bellmediapr.ca/Network/Discovery/Press/Wait-What-There-Are-Sharks-in-Lake-Ontario-Viral-Video-for-Discoverys-SHARK-WEEK-Marketing-Campaign-Proves-Canadians-Cant-Wait-for-the-Annual-Fin-Fest-

    It’s O.K., Canada. Summer swimming activities can resume as normal. Discovery wants to quell the concerns of Canadians everywhere and reveal that the widely-circulated video of a shark swimming in Lake Ontario is, in fact, not a real shark. The video of the incredibly life-like prosthetic model shark is the first stage of a multi-level marketing campaign tied to the channel’s iconic summer event, SHARK WEEK. Nissan is the presenting sponsor of SHARK WEEK 2014, a blockbuster summer event that offers the ideal promotional platform for the company’s Nissan Rogue brand. Released on YouTube last Friday, the video has since gone viral, capturing more than 220,000 – and climbing.

  210. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Sharks in the Great Lakes? Yeah, sure, hey. If the pollution doesn’t kill them, the temperatures will. Lake Michigan is running 20 degrees cooler than normal due to our cold winter….And I won’t mention Lake Superior…average temp, <40 degrees….

  211. says

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/07/16/road-raging-nm-man-shoots-at-carload-of-kids-in-cross-town-chase-over-traffic-disagreement/

    Holy fucking Hulk Smash.
    That guy could have killed a carload of kids because of road rage. This kind of guy is exactly the kind of person who should never have a gun. If we had psychological screening mandated before one could own guns, shit like this might not happen as often as it does.

    Related to that, I’m sick and tired of gundamentalists saying we will never be able to eliminate all tragedies…therefore we should do nothing…ARGH.

  212. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    That’s two browsers now the “adorable” link doesn’t load in.

  213. says

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/07/16/mysterious-giant-hole-in-siberia-likely-caused-by-global-warming-not-ufos-or-meteors/

    Dr. Chris Fogwill, a polar scientist from the University of New South Wales, said the crater was most likely caused by a geological phenomenon called a pingo.

    A pingo is a block of ice that forms under frozen arctic hillsides that can eventually push through the earth and leave an exposed crater once it melts away.

    Fogwill said the permafrost can be hundreds or even thousands of feet thick, allowing for very large ice formations.

    “This is obviously a very extreme version of that,” Fogwill said, “and if there’s been any interaction with the gas in the area, that is a question that could only be answered by going there.”

    The crater is located within the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug oil and gas region, which was discovered in 1972 and developed in 2012 by Russian oil company Gazprom.

  214. says

    Wow, this racism and misogyny is brazen:

    A 55-year-old Chicago man was arrested on Wednesday and charged with a hate crime for allegedly slapping, insulting and spitting on a 79-year-old Black judge and former National Bar Association president, the Chicago Tribune reported on Wednesday.

    Prosecutors in Cook County said David C. Nicosia approached Judge Arnette Hubbard out of anger over her smoking near him while they were both standing inside the Daley Center Plaza. During an ensuing argument, he allegedly told her, “Rosa Parks, move,” before spitting in her face. When Nicosia tried to leave the scene, Hubbard followed while asking for help. But Nicosia then reportedly turned around and slapped her in the face.

    Nicosia, who owns a local tech consulting business, was subsequently charged with four counts of aggravated battery on top of the hate crime allegation.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/07/16/chicago-man-charged-with-hate-crime-for-slapping-judge-and-calling-her-rosa-parks/

    It’s a good thing the douchebag didn’t have a gun.

  215. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    I have met Annette Hubbard.

    I’m a little ragey.

    She’s a really kind person, and really inspired me during law school.

    I’m otherwise rupt but wanted to update – the dinner was a smashing success. The only point where I felt awkwawrd (except being convinced that I talked too much….) was when they wanted a tour of my house because they thought it was a neat house (it is, small but pre-Civil War, I love it) and I demurred because I had only cleaned the parts I was sure they would see…

    : / Oh well. The weather was perfect and everyone had a good time and nothing major went wrong.
    I’m going to crash now.

    *hugs* and good night.

  216. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    (and for context in case anyone didn’t know, the National Bar Association is a nationwide black lawyer’s group, whereas the American Bar Association is the “standard” national group. So she’s extra cool)

  217. says

    Remember the politician who thought his opponent had died and was replaced by an imposter? There may be an explanation for his delusion.

    Senate candidate Timothy Ray Murray has reported that he believes that his political opponent, Senator Frank Lucas, is dead and being impersonated by a body double.

    Actually, in what initially seems more like a pitch for an episode of the TV series Get Smart than an alien invasion, Candidate Murray claimed that Senator Lucas died in 2007. He was then replaced by a body double.

    Subsequently – Murray claims – that body double was hanged in the Ukraine in 2011 before being replaced by a body double double.

    While it is tempting to think that Candidate Murray may be on to something – the idea that governments are populated by emotionless aliens carries considerable intuitive appeal – it is more likely that Candidate Murray may be suffering a Capgras delusion.

    Capgras delusions

    Described first in 1923 by French psychiatrist Joseph Capgras and his colleague Jean Reboul-Lachaux, Capgras delusions are characterised by the belief that someone known to us – a friend, spouse, child, parent or whomever – has been replaced by a physically identical impostor.

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/07/16/body-doubles-and-alien-replicants-capgras-delusions-explained/

  218. says

    More racism (x-posted from my FB page). This time from a clueless fuckwit:

    We live in a country where someone can do the following, and not realize it is racism.

    “A Wisconsin man has admitted sending a letter depicting a lynching to a black family, but he insisted that racism was not a motive.
    On Tuesday, Stoughton Police charged 21-year-old Matthew J. Cimaroli with Felony Threats to Injure or Accuse with a Hate Crime Enhancer, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
    Police reports accused Cimaroli of sending a hate mail to a black Stoughton family in April. The letter included a depiction of two young black men being lynched, and the typewritten warning that “Your Days Are Numbered.” The lynching image was reportedly taken from a historical textbook.”

    Racism is more than lynching. It’s more than uttering bigoted slurs. It’s more than discriminating against people of color (and yes, racism is more than just prejudicial or discriminatory behavior directed at black people; it happens to asians, hispanic, and first nations people too).
    Racism is POWER plus PREJUDICE. On the whole, white people in the US have the power. Institutionally, politically, socially, religiously-the power is held by white people. Always has been. That imbalance of power has resulted in a society where racism has become institutionalized. Racism permeates society. The man in this story doesn’t appear to think what he did was racist. But what he did was terrorize a black family using imagery deliberately meant to evoke a time of widespread terror black people experienced in this country. It very much was a racist action.
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/07/16/wisconsin-hate-crime-suspect-says-lynching-letter-he-sent-to-black-family-is-not-racist/

  219. says

    Yay, actually ate today! …..so of course my digestive system is all “WTF?! Is this that you are putting into me?” And generally throwing a hissyfit.

    Hopefully they finally have my antibiotic script worked out so I can actually start taking the damned things tomorrow.

    *****
    Portia *confetti*success*confetti*

  220. thunk: totally inconvenient raingauge says

    …for some reason, my brain refuses to put five minutes of effort into Stuff that Needs to Be Done, yet can do days on end of hard work for relatively pointless tasks. Heh.

    Fine here. Chilling. also catching up.

  221. rq says

    Brains in one’s shoulders? Why not?

    Then there’s the giant hole in Siberia. Flashbacks to Tunguska!

    Serving ideas for Riga Black Balsam for the bartenders among us. Personally, I find the stuff horrendous (except in coffee or black tea), but in a mix like this, it just may be drinkable.

    +++

    In other words, settling back home. Weeding the garden. Re-routinizing the life. Wondering how to get all my packed stuff from Canada to here (yes, the Parents are, after all, selling the childhood home, which meant extra stress in organizing stuff I’d organized years ago in boxes that some people felt warranted a look-through without my presence and thus ruining what organization there was). It’s mostly books, some photos… And I was prolific, back in the day. I even saved torn scraps of papers that had things written on them. That’s a lot of potential material…

    Lynna
    I got the book, and it is fantastic!! Thank you!
    Though I was disappointed with my postal service, they stuffed it down the mailbox (presumably) without a second thought – it is unharmed and still beautiful, but it was an awful risk they took with my book.

    Portia
    Hooray for a successful event! :) I’m so glad it went well. I hope future similar events cause you less stress. (Now I’m curious to see your house, too, because suddenly it seems historically significant!)
    *hugs*

    *general hugs* for the Truck and everyone desirable of them, with extra load of *minion umbrellas*

  222. birgerjohansson says

    “Described first in 1923 by French psychiatrist Joseph Capgras and his colleague Jean Reboul-Lachaux, Capgras delusions are characterised by the belief that someone known to us – a friend, spouse, child, parent or whomever – has been replaced by a physically identical impostor.”

    Is there a name for thinking *I* have been replaced by an impostor with implanted memories? It would explain how messed up I feel on mornings.

  223. rq says

    For a very narrow definition of ‘normal’, that is.
    And for a second there, I forgot how to spell ‘narrow’. :P

  224. Derek Vandivere says

    Tony,

    Hmmm. Given that the main joke is that all the meth users are turning into a single particular man, I think it falls on the line of acceptable. Maybe if they had included some non-white folks, or a cat or a houseplant (more types of transformation into that particular man), the absurd side of it would have outweighed the transphobic vibe?

    Oh: and chili should have beans, and if you don’t use meat bulgur wheat, and should go with cornbread. Chili with rice is the work of the devil.

  225. bassmike says

    I’m back! I caught whatever bug it was that my daughter had: headache, high temperature,aching limbs. Fun fun fun. She’s now fine, but I’m still not great. The heat here isn’t helping either.

    I’m sorry to have missed so many things: rq’s back home, Portia had a successful dinner party (Yay!), Tony’s set up a blog. All I’ve done is sleep a lot.

    It’s the last concert of the year on Saturday. I’ve had a couple of gigs with our little jazz group over the last few weekends which have been fun. Now some serious playing.

    *minion umbrellas with attached hugs* to anyone who wants them and *confetti* where appropriate.

  226. birgerjohansson says

    Tony,
    “up is fuchsia”

    That’s me on Mondays.

    rq, I konw werry vell how to spl “norraml”

    BTW we are in the “slow” news season, with more than usual of media bullshit about the private lives of celebrities, princesses and other pod people. I recommend a Martian invasion, just to stir things up. We could use that giant anti-matter chicken from “The Giant Claw” (a 1950s film that is so bad it is funny).

  227. rq says

    birgerjohansson
    I thought I did, too. I thought I did. *sigh* Apparently ‘narrow’ is ‘normal’. And ‘normal’ is ‘narrow’.

  228. opposablethumbs says

    Is there a name for thinking *I* have been replaced by an impostor with implanted memories? It would explain how messed up I feel on mornings.

    opposable thumbs syndrome

    up is fuchsia

    I knew it! That must be why the slithey toves are gimbling in the wabe so much. It’s all norraml here.

    Glad your dinner went so well, Portia (and not surprised :-) ) – and you got home safe and sound, rq!
    And that you have been playing jazz gigs, bassmike. SonSpawn reckons he is All Growed Up now, so he went jamming at Ronnie Scott’s without us at last – yay! Huge massive giant achievement in terms of his learning to do Age-Typical Stuff. His dad waited up for him to get home; I fell asleep right after he texted (as ordered) that he was on his way. Oops. Hope your daughter’s illness (so thoughtful of them, to carefully incubate all those germs just for us …) doesn’t knock you out too badly!

    Hi thunk! Good luck to your digestive system, Rawnaeris – is totally plain rice (no salt even) any help? Disgusting, but digestible. Or even, if it’s pretty dodgy going and things are still dire, not the rice itself but just the water it has been boiled in.

  229. rq says

    bassmike
    Get well soon, and I hope the concert goes well this Saturday! Any chances of a recording to hear afterward? (Still working on getting some from our fantabulous concert in Hamilton.)

  230. rq says

    opposablethumbs
    Yay for SonSpawn! I hope he had a super-wonderful time, that will encourage him to do Age-Typical Stuff more often. :) Flowers! Because I found some black-and-white ones. :) (By the way, the as-pure-white-as-possible opposablethumbs rose in the garden is blooming away wonderfully.)

    carlie
    Alas, the Amazing Carlie Rose will need replacing next year. It didn’t go alone, though. Apparently two other slightly-healthier members of my Rosaceae family decided the wonky weather was too much. But I’m determined – if no other colour, to retrieve the shades of the Amazing Carlie Rose.

  231. opposablethumbs says

    Thank you, rq! SonSpawn is being frightfully blasé about it, but it seems to be all good :-D. And oh my, I love those flowers – I cannot resist black and white flowers. They are beyond fabulous.

    Good luck for Saturday, bassmike! I slightly mis-read your comment and didn’t see that the big one is still to come. Hope you knock ‘em dead :-)

  232. bassmike says

    opposablethumbs well done to SonSpawn. He’s fortunate to have such a venue close by.

    rq Thanks, hopefully the concert will be good. If the forecast is correct it may be overshadowed (:-)) by thunderstorms. BTW, I record all of our major concerts so that I can post any good performances on youtube. I have a large archive of old concerts if you’re interested.

  233. rq says

    bassmike
    I am interested! :) Please link?

    birgerjohansson
    It’s why I love my Overlord.

  234. opposablethumbs says

    He’s fortunate to have such a venue close by.

    Yes he is. Negotiating the trip there and back was quite the adventure, though! :-\
    Would like to have a listen to a youtube link of any of your favourites, yes please bassmike :-)

  235. carlie says

    I’m sorry, rq! The rose must have absorbed my rotten feelings over the last few months. ;)

    opposeablethumbs, yay! That’s awesome.

  236. says

    Okay, thanks to people who commented on my story plot. I decided I’m going to go ahead and start writing. I have 4 interesting characters that I can do a lot of fun stuff with. They’ll start out as strangers and become friends and partners. And yes, one is named after our beloved Portia.

    Lieta – a tallis engineer and inventor who creates a lot of weird gadgets.
    Keelie – an elven paladin who smashes face and angers religious people.
    Digo – a gnollen marksman with a musket who gets a little too excited.
    Portia – a mesan warrior who dances around her targets while slicing them to ribbons.

  237. David Chapman says

    To everyone who I was arguing with on the Ladybrains evolved in the Pleistocene comments, I’d just like to say here that it was me who was in the wrong. I’ve added what I hope is a suitably humble apology there.
    Particular remorse for the personal abuse I posted, which was embarassingly pompous.
    Regards,
    David Chapman.

  238. rq says

    I haaaaaaaaaaate taaaaaaxesssssssssssss especially when they have multiple accounts for different kinds of taxes and suddenly it turns out I don’t actually have a tax debt, but paid into the wrong account, and now it’s a fucking hassle to get those funds shifted to the appropriate account.
    Good loving NEG, but I’m hiring an accountant next year. There’s no use in tearing up my nerve cells for something I’m trying to do punctually and honestly. There’s bigger criminal fish out there they could go after!!

  239. rq says

    Oh, and the tax people are really on the ball. I wrote a question a couple of days ago, that got cleared up yesterday, so I wrote a new email/submission with a new question… and today I receive the official email reply to that first email, but in my confused state of brain I thought they were incorrectly trying to reply to my new question.
    Government entities: slower than a racing tortoise.

  240. says

    @RQ:

    The first year I moved to Virginia I had to pay federal tax, state tax in Virginia and Pennsylvania, and Pennsylvania local tax. It was insane, and I had no idea how to do all four.

  241. rq says

    Kevin
    Ugh. At least I only have the social tax and the income tax right now. :P
    By the way, good luck with the writing. May it progress satisfactorily (and the wedding plans, too!)!

  242. bassmike says

    Okay, by popular demand, here’s one of my orchestra’s youtube entries:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZB1c5SMnfM

    There are a number of others, I can link to later, but I didn’t want to overload the lounge with links.

    Re taxes: I used to have to do mine annual for a few years. It was a lot of time spent for not a lot of gain.

  243. says

    Portia

    I am very glad your dinner went well. As the owner of a perpetually messy house, I understand the balance between wanting to accommodate your guests and not wanting people to see the mess.

    Tony

    Capgras delusions

    Described first in 1923 by French psychiatrist Joseph Capgras and his colleague Jean Reboul-Lachaux, Capgras delusions are characterised by the belief that someone known to us – a friend, spouse, child, parent or whomever – has been replaced by a physically identical impostor.

    I think one of the shows of the series “Perception” had this in it. Ah, found it — it was titled Alienation. A woman thinks her husband has been replaced by an alien double.

    birgerjohansson

    Is there a name for thinking *I* have been replaced by an impostor with implanted memories? It would explain how messed up I feel on mornings.

    I was going to go with “I haven’t had my coffee yet” Syndrome.

    rq re: Man burns down house trying to kill spider.

    If a spider invades your house, sometimes you have to kill it with fire.

  244. Derek Vandivere says

    Bassmike: So what do you play? You’ve got bass in your name but a treble clef in your image. Coincidentally, my wind orchestra just played the E Flat Holst suite..I’m a bone.

    Kevin: Dutch income tax, Dutch property tax, Dutch revenue tax since I’m a contractor, US income tax, and it could be that I’m also supposed to file VA state taxes, since that’s where I’m registered. Which reminds me, I need to call the belastingdienst and ask how much I actually owe (I forgot to file revenue tax for a quarter since I had no revenue, they assumed I owed seven grand, and we’ve been going back and forth for a month)…

    Kevin: Maybe some scene where the tallis mage (if I remember right) gets pissed off at somebody for assuming tallis can’t be mages? Good luck!

  245. Derek Vandivere says

    By the way, PZ, some 15 years ago I had a fairly bad slipped disk – bad enough that I eventually had an operation. I found the painkillers they prescribed (Valium, etc.) did just about nothing to help me go to sleep, but for the equivalent of a couple dollars I went to the coffee shop down the street and ended up sleeping like a baby.

    Not sure what the law’s like in Minnesota, but the distraction plus painkilling made it pretty effective.

    Oh, and if it’s not obvious: I live in Amsterdam.

  246. says

    Tony, yes, I agree, it’s certainly playing with the idea that not looking like your preferred gender is difficult and unpleasant, but not making the leap to ‘and so we should treat trans* people with dignity and common respect.

    So in effect, it becomes ‘isn’t it funny to show a picture of a person of the wrong gender expression, ha ha!’ – which is one of the roots of the way transphobia is often expressed.

    This is, of course, my opinion only; I am quite sure that a number of trans* folk would think differently. Thanks for noticing it, Tony. And you’re welcome to any words and ideas from me on this, for whatever good purpose.

  247. bassmike says

    Derek Vandivere I’m a double bass player, though not in that video, where I’m ‘”assisting” the percussion section. The treble clef in my gravatar is from the Stravinsky fountain in Paris – I thought it was a nice, anonymous, abstract musical image. Plus I love the fountain for its surreality surrealness uniqueness.

    I haaaaaaaaaaate taaaaaaxesssssssssssss

    but they’re useful. they get get you home after a night out. I know they’re expensive but…….. Ohhh taxes. Sorry!

  248. says

    He didn’t have the best World Cup for his country, but Mesut Özil donated his bonus to help 23 children get surgery in Brazil.

    Mesut Ozil has made the generous gesture of using his World Cup winnings to pay for 23 sick children to have surgery as a ‘personal thank you for the hospitality of the people of Brazil’.

    The Arsenal midfielder originally paid for 11 before the tournament in Brazil started, but decided to up the tally to 23 in reference to the number of players that formed winners Germany’s squad.

    Ozil said: ‘Prior to the World Cup, I supported the surgery of 11 sick children. Since the victory in the World Cup is not only due to 11 players but to our whole team, I will now raise the number to 23.

  249. opposablethumbs says

    David Chapman, thank you for that apology. Fwiw it looks to my (somewhat naive) eye like you have got most / not quite all (but a big chunk) of the point. And I appreciate the fact that you came by to say so.

    carlie, thank you – it’s one of those things that are a little deal per se, but that felt/feel like quite a big deal :-)
    Hope things are OK with you and yours!

  250. birgerjohansson says

    Since the second week in June, I have been helping a little old lady set up posters across town for a cat that escaped. Today it returned on its own accord.
    :-)

    And Mesut Ozil rocks.

    — — —
    Link dump:
    .
    Those Kids Crossing the Border from Mexico Wouldn’t Be There if Obama Hadn’t Supported a Coup the Media Doesn’t Talk About
    http://rall.com/2014/07/11/syndicated-column-those-kids-crossing-the-border-from-mexico-wouldnt-be-there-if-obama-hadnt-supported-a-coup-the-media-doesnt-talk-about
    — — —
    .
    Researchers develop ‘envy-free’ algorithm for settling disputes http://phys.org/news/2014-02-envy-free-algorithm-disputes.html
    — — —
    .
    Experimental ‘pulse radiotherapy’ kills cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-07-experimental-pulse-radiotherapy-cancer-cells.html

  251. says

    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/breaking_florida_judge_rules_ban_on_same_sex_marriage_unconstitutional

    Florida same-sex couples, including the plaintiffs, will be allowed to marry starting Tuesday.

    Time notes that “applies only to Monroe County, which covers the [Florida] Keys.”

    In his ruling, Monroe County Circuit Judge Luis Garcia — who was appointed by then-Gov. Jeb Bush — wrote a lengthy rebuke to those who place public opinion over the rule of law and equality for all:

  252. blf says

    What was the point of differentiating between chili and chili con carne?

    The amount of hot chillies you have to add to make it edible.
    Or, in one particularly memorable case, the number of peas which had to excavated and safely disposed of before you begin the process of making it edible.

  253. says

    Heya
    I’m pretty ‘Rupt-sur-Moselle and I’ unlikely to change that soon.
    I also tore a muscle in my neck and my computer killed my user profile, so I’m grumpy as well, so yu’re not missing out on much.
    *hugs*

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

    Chili and chili con carne are not the same thing.

    The clue is in the name: “con carne” means “with meat.”

    Chili that contains no meat (i.e. it has beans, tomatoes, chilies, etc) is a 100% valid – and tasty – thing.

    For the record, “chili with meat but no beans” (chili con carne pero sin frijoles?) is where I am known as “hot sauce.” Visitors to the area who ask for hot sauce (expecting Tabasco or sriracha) on their food are often surprised when their order comes slathered in ground beef.

  255. ledasmom says

    Missing work today on account of there being ten or more fire trucks on our street and the fire chief parked in our driveway. The porch on the house across the street burned. Everybody got out safely, and it seems to have been put out before much damage was done except to the porch. Son also missed dentist appointment. One of our tenants saw the fire and called 911 (yay!), and it was less than a minute, I think, before the trucks were coming up the street – very impressive, though I would have been fine with not seeing it. Currently the trucks and the firefighters and the EMS people are being watched by pretty much the entire population of the street plus the dog from upstairs, plus at least one camera crew including an camera guy with an actual camera-guy-type vest.

  256. opposablethumbs says

    Tony! :-D
    *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* *\o/* (do not know how to make conga-dancing rats out of keystrokes, so a cheering crowd will have to do :-)

  257. opposablethumbs says

    Giliell, I’m sorry about the concatenation of crappy things :-(
    Hope they improve smartish.

  258. rq says

    Giliell
    *hugs* and *soothing neck massage* and *mild touch of sledgehammer to computer*

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

    My trip to Sarajevo didn’t start off well, so I instantly hated everything about the place. I like it now, and I can’t wait to spend the whole weekend walking around town.
    I’m almost starting to feel at home here, but I do miss home already. I’m not used to being away from my family so often.

  260. rq says

    Better title: 15 hits and misses on nutrition. Actually, I’m just judging by my personal general knowledge, not any in-depth facts about any of these points. They did get #1 right, though. But the overall tone is a bit too sensationalized for me to take everything completely seriously.

  261. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I find the fact that Number 5 immediately follows the conclusion of Number 4 amusing.

  262. blf says

    The porch on the house across the street burned.

    What is the attraction of this “shoo a spider away with a flamethrower” fad ?

  263. blf says

    I find the fact that Number 5 immediately follows the conclusion of Number 4 amusing.

    Checks fingers… -1… i… 0… 1… 2… e… 3… π… 4… 5… 6… 17… 42… uh, “many”…
    Yeah, that is a bit odd. Must be this “new maths”. And quantum.

  264. rq says

    Beatrice
    Hope the rest of the trip goes better! With awesome weather and even better sights to see, and oodles of fun to be had by you. :) *hugs*

  265. rq says

    Azkyroth
    Probably just so people don’t get too confused about everything. *snicker*

  266. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    ….

    It is best to eat healthy, natural fats like coconut oil, butter and extra virgin olive oil avoid processed seed- and vegetable oils like the plague.

    5. “Natural” Doesn’t Necessarily Mean “Healthy”

    FFS.

  267. rq says

    Azkyroth
    I did get your point. Your emphasis just shows that they didn’t have much of an editor working that day.

  268. blf says

    avoid processed seed- and vegetable oils like the plague.

    I though the plague was a rat’s way of ridding itself of peas.
    (Thinks about that for a moment…) Fleas.

    I didn’t know They bottled the plague now and sold it in shops to drizzle on yer salad.

  269. says

    Look at that-the opposition to EdenFoods has had an impact:
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/07/17/1314628/-Eden-Foods-is-OFF-THE-SHELVES-at-Seattle-Co-op-thanks-to-you?detail=facebook

    But there’s good news, as reported in an open letter from Central Co-op to Eden Foods. Consumers in Seattle are voting with their dollars. The letter reads:

    We encourage our owners and customers to vote with their dollars by supporting companies that they respect. This is what we suggested our community do when outcry arose over your action last year; and recent renewed interest in your case was cause for us to review sales of Eden products and explore what options we might have that equally (or better) reflect our product guidelines. During this review we found that our community has indeed been voting with their dollars and that 80 percent of the Eden products on our shelves have failed to keep up with the sales of competing products. It is clear that your company has lost support from our community and that people are showing preference to other product lines.

  270. says

    I’m thinking this will please lots of people:
    http://techcrunch.com/2014/07/16/amazon-tests-kindle-unlimited-a-netflix-for-ebooks-and-audiobooks/

    Amazon might give readers something to get really excited about: A digital ebook and audiobook subscription service that provides Kindle users with all the content they can consume from a potential library of over 600,000 titles for just $9.99 per month. That’s according to this cached link, first spotted by GigaOM.

    This ‘Netflix for ebooks’ would compete with existing services including those from startup Oyster, but would obviously have more depth and weight behind it thanks to Amazon’s existing success with the Kindle and its extensive user base, as well as the size of its library. The test pages don’t contain any publishers from the so-called big five, which include Simon & Schuster and HarperCollins, both of which do offer their titles to Oyster.

  271. says

    semi ‘rupt. *hugs* all around.

    If anyone has the wherewithal to get a message to Ogvorbis, I hope he knows we support him (particularly wrt the slime oozing out of the pit).

    QFT
    birgerjohanssen
    Based on your affection for the Sandman Slim books, I highly recommend you check out Simon Green’s Nightside books.
    Rawneris
    Best wishes on the throat thing, and total sympathies about the needles.

  272. says

    This article is interesting. I can see the potential for people to misinterpret it though:
    http://dailycaller.com/2014/03/19/nobody-is-born-that-way-gay-historians-say/2/

    Are gays indeed born that way? The question has immense political, social, and cultural repercussions. For example, some of the debate over applying the Constitution’s equal protection clause to gays and lesbians focuses on whether gayness is an inborn characteristic. And the major argument gays and lesbians have made for religious affirmation has been, “God made me this way.”

    Thus, if it’s proven sexual orientations are not innate, much of the scaffolding upon which today’s LGBT movement has been built would begin to crumble. Given the stakes, most gays and lesbians are dismissive or hostile toward anyone who doesn’t think being gay is an essential, natural characteristic of some members of the human race.

    But a surprising group of people doesn’t think that – namely, scholars of gay history and anthropology. They’re almost all LGBT themselves, and they have decisively shown that gayness is a product of Western society originating about 150 years ago.

    Using documents and field studies, these intrepid social scientists have examined the evidence of homosexuality in other times and cultures to see how the gay minority fared. But they’ve come up empty. Sure, there’s substantial evidence of both discreet and open same-sex love and sex in pre-modern times. But no society before the 19th century had a gay minority or even discernibly gay-oriented individuals.

    (There weren’t straight people, either. Only our society believes people are oriented in just one direction, as gay history pioneer Jonathan Ned Katz, formerly of Yale, explained in his book The Invention of Heterosexuality.)

    According to the experts on homosexuality across centuries and continents, being gay is a relatively recent social construction. Few scholars with advanced degrees in anthropology or history who concentrate on homosexuality believe gays have existed in any cultures before or outside ours, much less in all cultures. These professors work closely with an ever-growing body of knowledge that directly contradicts “born that way” ideology.

    Please don’t confuse my points with the amateur arguments of people like Brandon Ambrosino. The subtle, counter-intuitive academic case that being gay is a social construction relies on abundant studies built out of actual data from leading scholars at major universities. Someone who quotes a few lines from Foucault and then declares that people choose their sexual orientations is making a mockery of this serious, vital subject.

    […]

    How can gayness be natural, if it is also culturally specific? The possibilities are underwhelming:

    The difference is semantics. It’s really not. Gay and lesbian historians aren’t just claiming that before the 19th century nobody was called “gay.” They’re saying nobody was gay (or straight). While various societies had different ways of thinking about and expressing gender, love, and desire, homosexuality was generally something one could do, not something one could be.

    Gays in other cultures couldn’t come out because homosexuality wasn’t accepted. But we have loads of evidence of same-sex intercourse and love, which would be unlikely if the problem was homophobia. We have no convincing evidence that the people leaving such records were unresponsive to the opposite sex or considered themselves to be oriented differently than those who expressed passion for opposite-sex individuals.

    The gay minorities from other societies left no records. Doubtful. We have documentation of so many aspects of people’s public and private lives that if there were long-ago gay people, we’d know about them. For example, there are thousands of 20th century letters and novels and speeches and diary entries that say some version of, “My parents want me to marry an opposite-sex person, but I don’t want to, because I only like my own sex.” But to my knowledge, there are virtually no such 10th-century documents.

    By definition, people who want or have same-sex love and sex are gay, and those who don’t are straight – yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It’s tempting to look for versions of our own lives and identities in other eras, but responsible history tries to understand the past on its own terms. Saying Shakespeare was gay makes about as much sense as saying he was a Republican.

    Of course, none of this means people don’t have sexual orientations today, it just means sexual orientations are specific to our culture, and thus not basic human nature. In tech-speak, that means being gay is in the software of some people’s lives, but it’s in nobody’s hardware.

    The compelling evidence nobody’s born gay doesn’t necessarily have to shred the LGBT agenda. Legitimate reasons for more liberal attitudes and policies regarding gays and lesbians still exist, such as freedom of association, the right to privacy, and respect for other people’s experiences. But those who demand social or political change because gays are born that way just don’t know much about history.

  273. says

    Dalillama @366

    semi ‘rupt. *hugs* all around.

    If anyone has the wherewithal to get a message to Ogvorbis, I hope he knows we support him (particularly wrt the slime oozing out of the pit).

    QFT

    Hey, here’s a place where “Me, too” fits.

    Beatrice

    Glad your trip is getting better.

  274. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Quiet…

    Been busy unloading the dishwasher, starting to reload the dishwasher, doing some hand washing, cutting up salad, and finally putting the frozen bag (shrimp, penne, and asparagus) into the microwave for dinner.

  275. says

    Hello all!

    Thank you SO MUCH for the suggestions to keep the Darkling occupied on our trip. We made it to (and from!) Maine without any incidents/fussiness/projectile vomiting.

    My kid is basically the best. ^_^

  276. cicely says

    I had several comments, but the computer eated it.
    For no good reason.
    :(
    I know there was congratulations for Portia on the success of her party, something pithy about the assorted racism and misogynisms pointed out by Tony!, a welcome-home for rq (and a short, but devastatingly witty bit about The Spider That Cannot Die; too bad it’s lost), a *pouncehug* for thunk (with an admonition that he stop using my brainz right now!…and I can’t remember the rest.
    :( :(

    A *haz-mat suited hug* for bassmike, with sympathies.

    310
    -

  277. says

    Tony @370

    Please don’t encourage those weirdos. Alright, please don’t scare the heck out of me with pictures or stories about spiders. (No, I didn’t click the link. And I never will.)

    Moving on…

    My wife’s birthday was yesterday. We celebrated by taking her car to be inspected today. Because that’s how we roll.

  278. cicely says

    Okay, if the computer is quite finished messing around, now….

    Ah, yes; there were also congratulations and commiserations for Rawnaeris in this time of Successful Consumption and Gastrointestinal Infelicitousness.

    *applause* for SonSpawn!

    Hurray for Florida!
    (Not something I have occasion to say all that often.)

    *hugs* for Giliell. Sorry about your neck.
    Necks are just generally badly-constructed, I find.
    -

  279. says

    ajb47:
    Happy belated to the wife.
    Oh, and that pic is adorable. You’ll positively die when/if you look at it.

    ****

    Alex:
    Glad you and the little one had a good time!

    ****

    Giliell:
    Hopefully the neck gets back to normal soon.

    I remember one time I woke up and twisted the wrong way and let out a scream of intense pain. My neck was in such pain that I could not move it. I had to turn my whole body to look in various directions. Had to work that day too and boy that wasn’t pleasant.

    Seconding cicely’s comment about the bad construction of the neck.

  280. says

    Everyone thank you for your sympathy and support the last week. I am finally feeling better and will be returning to work tomorrow.

    I am still not 100% but I am definitely on the mend.

    ****
    Alexandra, glad to hear the car trip went well.

  281. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Alexandra
    Hooray for good trip:)
    DarkToddler is indeed awesome

    Rawnaeris
    So glad you’re on the upswing. May the rest of your recovery be swift and painless

    ajb47
    Happy birthday to lawyerwife:)

    Nerd
    Sounds a bit like my evening.
    *commiserations*

    My new favorite dating site introduction:
    “Email me anytime you want to chat. Aaaaand if you don’t get in touch, I guess I’ll just have to set my house on fire to meet you! :D”
    Cutest arson threat evar.

  282. says

    Leading AIDS researcher among those dead in the Malaysia airline plane crash:

    Leading AIDS researcher Joep Lange is reported to have been among the passengers on the doomed Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 that was brought down by a missile near Hrabove on the border of eastern Ukraine and Russia earlier today. Lange was among other researchers heading to Melbourne for the 20th International AIDS conference, AIDS2014. Former President Bill Clinton is among the keynote speakers at the event.
    On Facebook and Twitter, friends and supporters were quick to express their shock and sadness. “One of the greats in AIDS research,” wrote activist Peter Staley on Facebook, adding that Joep was a pioneer in PrEP research. “How do we measure how much a person has done for humanity? People like Joep change the course of epidemics,” tweeted US doctor, Seem Yasmin.
    Joep, who dedicated much of his life to improving access to HIV/AIDS therapies in developing countries, served as President of the International AIDS Society from 2002 to 2004. He leaves behind a wife and five children.
    Of those on the flight, which American officials now confirm was brought down by a surface-to-air missile, possibly by Ukranian separatists, at least 154 were Dutch, with a further 45 identified as Malaysian, and 27 as Australian.

  283. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    I told someone I got a guy acquitted, and they said ‘I hope he changes his ways” without knowing anything else. I said ‘Well, he was acquitted, so there’s no reason to believe he needs to change anything at all…”

    what about “innocent until proven guilty” do people not understand? Oh, right, we human beings have a lot of trouble withholding judgment…

  284. A. Noyd says

    It’s like my body is slowly unwrapping some mystery disease. I don’t remember ever experiencing this particular progression of symptoms before. Started yesterday with minor nausea and headache (not helped by my neighbor’s extreme love of dryer sheets), now the last few hours have added a fever and maybe the beginning of sore throat. What fun symptom will crop up next?! What will the ultimate diagnosis be?!

    Too bad I can’t decline to stay tuned to find out.

  285. says

    Portia

    I think it’s two things. “Acquitted” to those who are on the fringe of the legal system and who get their legal knowledge from the media’s sensationalist reporting or from the bad legal shows seems to mean “got off even though was guilty”. Might get better responses if you phrased it as “successfully defended”.

    Also, I think there is a view that if the gov’t decides to bring charges, then there must be something there. It seems to have become “innocent until charged” in most cases. I admit to a bit of bias in that direction myself sometimes before chiding myself about it. This may also come from bad reporting and bad legal tv shows.

  286. says

    A. Noyd

    Sounds like flu. If the nausea was missing, I might offer strep throat. If the sore throat was missing, I’d suggest a stomach bug. Of course, those are the most likely based on what I’ve encountered — or had.

    ObDisclaimer – Not a doctor, don’t even play one on TV.

  287. thunk: turmite city says

    Hi! Having a pleasant evening, slowly preparing for college.

    Cicely:

    I’ll never stop using your brains, it’s more fun that way… also “he” is the wrong way to address that (I’m mostly a trans woman, whenever I can spit that out).

    Gah, Pro-Russian separatists. Now you have to do this. Sickening. Not to mention this means more awkward dinner table talk with my family friends, many of whom are decidedly pro-Russian.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-28360838#sa-ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=PublicRSS20-sa
    Bolivia lowers working age to 10.

    I’m not sure what to think. On one hand, families need support. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be children doing that.

  288. jste says

    A. Noyd sounds like the way the flu usually progresses when I manage to catch it. Hope you’re feeling better soon!

    Viruses seem to have gone mad around Sydney at the moment, and nearly everyone I interact with has succumbed to relatively severe throat and chest infections or gastro. Patiently waiting for my turn, though with any luck everything will pass me by this winter, I have enough problems already without being forced to take time off work. I hate this time of year.

  289. says

    35 epic cooking fails. Don’t worry, it doesn’t appear that anyone was harmed during these massive fuck ups. However, the poor cookies. Those dear, departed cakes. Just how does spaghetti catch on fire while it’s boiling? OH that pizza! And um, I’m not sure what a few of those things are.
    I was in stitches laughing so hard at these images. I started crying it was so funny!

    ****

    thunk:

    I’m not sure what to think. On one hand, families need support. On the other hand, it shouldn’t be children doing that.

    I’m kinda torn on that too. I can understand the families needing help, but as you say, kids shouldn’t have to sacrifice their childhood working.

  290. rq says

    Tony
    I once burned boiling eggs. Because all the water boiled away and the eggs burned. So, yeah, I’m pretty sure untended spaghetti can catch fire. :)

    A. Noyd
    That doesn’t sound pleasant. Get well soon!

    Rawnaeris
    Hope the recovery continues!

    thunk
    *waves*

  291. blf says

    “… Aaaaand if you don’t get in touch, I guess I’ll just have to set my house on fire to meet you! :D”

    What is it with arachnephobes and flamethrowers ?

  292. rq says

    Although, Tony, from your food list, I’m pretty sure they just turned on the wrong gas burner…

  293. A. Noyd says

    Thanks, folks. And yeah, the fever would seem to indicate it’s probably the flu. Though, I had 3 different colds this winter with 3 different patterns of symptom progression, hence the mystery.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    @Tony (#387)
    I’ve seen some of the pizza pics in your link before. They’re why I don’t ever follow the directions on frozen pizza to place it directly on the rack. (I mean, who the fuck thought that one up? Even a well-behaved pizza tends to shed a little cheese.)

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

    Thanks, rq and ajb47, it rains only during the night and a rare afternoon. Quite convenient.

    thunk and Tony,
    NO; they should have found any other solution.

    The article says that laws about violence against children were tightened along with this and then mentions 30 years for murder.
    But they don’t menion what constitutes violence against children under those laws. They don’t mention making sure that law is enacted. They don’t mention anything but a harsher sentence. It’s a smoke screen.

    Looks like opportunities for child trafficking spiking and opportunities for children decreasing.

  295. says

    Good morning
    Slightly less grumpy since suddenly the computer decided to let me access the files on my old profile, after I tried this without success for some hours last night.
    But now the computer is busy shuffling files.

    Re: child labour
    Looks like it’s one of those issues that get complicated quickly. I know that people and organisations in developing countries get pretty annoyed at the western moral outrage and simplistic solutions. Fact is that bans don’t stop child labour but make children and their families complicit in illegal activities, leaving them no resources in case of abuse.
    Fact is also that we treat different forms of child labour differently.
    Children doing chores is seen as desirable. Western children doing voluntary and charitable work is approved of. Kids helping on the farm is largely tolerated, because that’s how agriculture works. But when the poorest of the poor need to sell their labour because they cannot support their families otherwise we cry out and often demand solutions that allow us to feel good about ourselves but don’t really help the families. Because child labour shows the truth about capitalist production, the truth we hide behind so many feel good lies.

  296. says

    blf

    “… Aaaaand if you don’t get in touch, I guess I’ll just have to set my house on fire to meet you! :D”

    What is it with arachnephobes and flamethrowers ?

    What, would YOU want to get any closer than absolutely necessary?

  297. says

    I always think it’s odd that the solution of ‘pay the adults a living wage and take a bit less profit you obscene gouging bastards’ doesn’t get mentioned very often in ‘respectable’ circles. ‘Odd’ in the ‘not really surprising at all’ sense. We’re inculcated with the idea that the right to profit in perpetuity is the only reason for businesses to exist, rather than the idea that an economy is just a way of sorting out how many coconuts above survival each of us monkeys oughta get.

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

    Because child labour shows the truth about capitalist production, the truth we hide behind so many feel good lies.

    So do no minimum wage laws. And yet, we also cry out for minimum wage laws.
    Not because of “feel good lies” but because of trying to force governments and companies to allow their workers to be able to make a living with their work. (which would, incidentally, be one of the solutions to the problem necessitating child labour)

    I mean, my comment hasn’t given a solution other than “NO!” , and yours hasn’t either except for pointing out that capitalism sucks and therefore child labour is sometimes ok (for ten-year-olds!).
    (leaving for work, so I won’t be able to comment or read more until much later)

  299. dianne says

    I told someone I got a guy acquitted, and they said ‘I hope he changes his ways” without knowing anything else.

    My first thought was that you were talking to a banker who was appalled that there might be someone out there who wasn’t cheating the system and was hoping that they’d change their ways and be properly corrupt after this.

  300. opposablethumbs says

    cicely, thank you!
    .

    child labour shows the truth about capitalist production

    Yes.It’s fundamentally inhuman.
    .
    Tony! I’m thinking shirley I must be missing something major about that gay historians article you quoted. It seems to be saying, in essence, that the baseline human orientation is to be pansexual and it’s a cultural phenomenon to divide people in the particular arbitrary way we do these days. Either that or it’s saying that orientation is not a matter of what you are but of what you do. Neither of these things seems productive, helpful or illuminatory to me – I’m speaking from a very very low level of knowledge here, but I thought that in Roman culture, for example, only an adult male citizen’s desires mattered and as long as they were topping it didn’t matter who they topped – while in classical Greek culture women were for cleaning, cooking and incubating while real love was between an adult man (who again “had” to top) and a beardless (i.e. prepubescent) youth. In both of these cases, an adult man could be said to be pansexual I suppose but only in the sense that they were OK to fuck anybody (they couldn’t enjoy or actually prefer bottoming, for example – not and be a real adult man); nobody else was considered to even really have a sexual orientation.

    OK this is bound to be a gross oversimplification – and in any case it’s only two cultures close in place and time and I know less than nothing about how human sexuality is/has been seen in a million other cultures in different places at different times in history. I look forward to learning better from a lot of better-informed Horders.

    I’m assuming – well, I’m also hoping – that this article does not do justice to the thesis. Obviously it makes sense to look at the historically and culturally specific ways we currently define gayness and straightness and to see that they are not universal, but to suggest that nobody is born with any inclination towards preferring same- or other- …. that seems not to make sense. And of course it also seems potentially problematic, in a context where so many people are foaming at the mouth to condemn “evil choices” (in fairness the article does explicitly reject that, but it’s a danger all the same).

    What do you think of it?

  301. birgerjohansson says

    Wow, comment 400!

    Reminds me of the WWII pun, “P-400, a P-40 with a zero in its tail”.

  302. says

    beatrice

    I mean, my comment hasn’t given a solution other than “NO!” , and yours hasn’t either except for pointing out that capitalism sucks and therefore child labour is sometimes ok (for ten-year-olds!).

    I did what? You need to remind me where I said so. What I said, in case I expressed myself less than clearly, which is totally possible, is that to simply argue for bans without taking into account what will be the result of those bans doesn’t work. As with so many other things, the intent of the law doesn’t matter fuck when the consequences make things worse for those who should actually benefit.
    Yes, living wages for adults is a way, but it’s not something that automatically follows from banning children.

  303. rq says

    katybe
    Those look awesome!
    And judging from my own critters, 2 is not too young for a full set of action figures. At all. She may only fully appreciate them in a year or so, but not too young.
    (This is considering that all three of my kids expressed a desire and willingness to play with detailed objects soon after the age of 1 – small Hot Wheels cars, LEGO (the little pieces), adult-palm-sized dinosaur figures…)

  304. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    ajb47:
    I actually did say something like “I won a criminal trial, on the defense side” instead of “acquitted” in this particular conversation, but you’re probably right about the connotations of “acquitted.”

    dianne:
    That made me smirk :)

    thanks for the conga-rats everyone, on the dinner. One of the friends (the same one who checked in with me beforehand) confessed that she “freaks out” every time she hosts. It’s not just me:) We all know how comforting that can be.

  305. bassmike says

    Afternoon everyone. My daughter had a blood test this morning. This meant getting her up early, putting on the numbing cream and pads, giving her breakfast, eating our own breakfasts and getting to the hospital by 9.00. All managed with the minimum of fuss. The medical staff were great: they’re so used to taking blood from toddlers that they have perfected the art of distraction. Also the numbing cream did its trick, so she hardly noticed. Why can’t us squeamish adults have the same stuff?

    I’m feeling better. The sore throat is almost gone now and I don’t have a headache (hooray). Very soon I can take off the has-mat suit kindly supplied by Cicely.

    Portia internet dating can be an interesting and rewarding, if somewhat perplexing experience. I know of someone who met a date who brought their washing with them for the date to wash! There are some odd people out there, but some great ones too.

    I leave you with todays video:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGnb49mE_2g

    For those who are interested there are no two consecutive bars with the same time signature on the first page of the music!

  306. rq says

    bassmike
    I love watching conductors conduct weird time signatures like that. Makes it one of those pieces you have to play by feel rather than counting – not easy, but well done. Looks like the time signatures were shifty even after the first page, too. (Was that you actually double-bassing this time?)

    +++

    Off soon to spectate my choir in their final competition category in the World Choir Games. The goal is to not shame the name of the choir, as rehearsals began pretty much the day after flying in from Canada (the most of them got in July 10), and it’s been just over a week of all kinds of concerts, parades and acclimatization. I have refrained from participation, but I must show my moral support. Go us!

  307. bassmike says

    rq You’re right, the time signatures never settle down through out the whole movement. Yes it is me on the double bass this time.

    Good luck with the choir. It’s quite a tight schedule to tour in Canada and then have the Choir Games straight afterwards. Quite a few years ago we used to take part in ‘festivals’ which were really competitions. They were good in some ways, but not so good in others. They were always nerve-wracking!

  308. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    so that now Portia is the kick-ass godless elven warrior mage who pisses off the religious.

    OMG I MISSED THIS EARLIER

    I’m excited beyond words. I love the character description – I only hope to be a pale reflection of it :D

    I feel like a warrior some days ^_^

    So glad you’re writing, Kevin.
    *hugs*

  309. says

    @Portia:

    I’m really good at writing interesting characters, so I thought I should just plop four or five out and write a story around them.

    So far the Portia elf is a warrior mage using unusual magic who strives for justice and protects people from harm. She also smashes face with a maul. She doesn’t believe in the gods, which makes people very annoyed with her, but she doesn’t care.

  310. ledasmom says

    Looks like the house fire across the street was a tad more serious than I thought. It’s scorched up to the roof; the siding on the house next door is damaged; the fence between the two (plastic) has a large hole melted through it. Thirteen people displaced. But the house may be salvageable, and nobody was hurt, and that may be due partly to our tenant who pulled the grill with the big propane tank off the burning porch. Admittedly a reckless thing to do, but admirable nonetheless.
    It was quite some time before all the fire trucks and the EMTs and especially the spectators left, and all the while they were there the little dog from upstairs was wandering up and down the sidewalk, trying to get some attention and not having much luck.

  311. opposablethumbs says

    bassmike – just been listening to the two performances you posted. Youse lot are srs bsns all right. I will confess to not caring for the Holst march myself, but I love the movement from the John Gay suite – that is right up my alley. Any recordings of jazz gigs? :-)

  312. bassmike says

    Something kinda cool I got to do a few years ago – contribute to the latest version of OBOS. Shiny, huh?

    Yes that is rather cool.

    opposablethumbs Thank you! I tend to agree about the march stuff: it’s a little ordinary. I lot of the other stuff we do is more interesting. I might have some audio only of Jazz gigs. I’ll see what I can find and let you know.

  313. opposablethumbs says

    CaitieCat that is awesome. I still remember the prized dead-tree edition I had when I was a teenager …

    So shiny.

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

    Giliell,

    Can we keep a discussion about solving problems of child labor in mind for some other time?

    I’m exhausted, and a bit trigger-happy due to dealing with other people all day, so another time would be great. The topic will turn up eventually again anyway.

  315. says

    opposablethumbs:

    I’m assuming – well, I’m also hoping – that this article does not do justice to the thesis. Obviously it makes sense to look at the historically and culturally specific ways we currently define gayness and straightness and to see that they are not universal, but to suggest that nobody is born with any inclination towards preferring same- or other- …. that seems not to make sense. And of course it also seems potentially problematic, in a context where so many people are foaming at the mouth to condemn “evil choices” (in fairness the article does explicitly reject that, but it’s a danger all the same).

    What do you think of it?

    It bugged me in large part bc I’ve always thought of my homosexuality as innate. But as you say, we all grow up in a particular culture, so I don’t know what-if any-forces in society may have contributed to me being gay.
    I’m also a little fuzzy on the notion that same sex relations have existed throughout various societies in human history, but being gay hasn’t (at least not until the last 150 years). I’d have to re-read, but I don’t remember the article mentioning what the modern concept of gay even is. For my part, being a gay man means I am a man who is romantically, sexually, psychologically attracted to other men.
    Maybe it’s the idea that the above identity is something that didn’t exist in ancient times. Having typed that out, I can sorta see why the concept of being gay may not be as timeless as previously thought. There’s also the fact that being gay and having same-sex desires are often treated as the same thing when they aren’t.
    There’s quite a bit to unpack with that article.

    ****

    katybe @403:
    Those action figures do look fierce. And awesome. I like the one with wings (haven’t watched the video yet)

    ****

    bassmike:
    Glad you’re feeling better and the little one got a no-fuss blood test done.

    ****
    Kevin:

    So far the Portia elf is a warrior mage using unusual magic who strives for justice and protects people from harm. She also smashes face with a maul. She doesn’t believe in the gods, which makes people very annoyed with her, but she doesn’t care.

    Does this world have gods? If so, how could one not believe in them?

    ****

    CaitieCat:
    I’d never heard of OurBodiesOurselves. That was cool indeed. Glad you got to contribute :)

  316. thunk: turmite city says

    G’morn all!

    Tony:

    Does this world have gods? If so, how could one not believe in them?

    I think it’s more about rejecting their authority to dictate the behaviour of her life.

    —–

    Also why do I keep getting into arguments? I always end up regretting it. Ah whatever, things are mostly all right here.

  317. blf says

    Now here’s a flamethrower! However, explorer George Kourounis, who is from Canada and so must have been hiding from rq and her traveling henchchoir, only “[…found] some bacteria living at the bottom that are very comfortable living in those high temperatures, and the most important thing was that they were not found in any of the surrounding soil outside of the crater”. No spiders. Dropping in on Turkmenistan’s ‘door to hell’ — in pictures: “Forty years ago, a vast molten cavity known as the Darvaza crater — nicknamed the ‘door to hell’ — opened up in the desert of north Turkmenistan, and has been burning ever since. Now, Canadian explorer George Kourounis has became the first to make the descent into the fiery pit to look for signs of life”.

  318. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    who strives for justice and protects people from harm

    Hey! I do that! :D :D (I’m sure it’s a coincidence *nod nod*)

    I have to whine a moment. My “assistant” blew a deadline, and now I’m not going to get paid by the state for several court-appointed cases. I am at my wits’ end. I’ll probably get asked why I didn’t check up on the work. I told her the procedure and the deadline…

    I want to cry with frustration.

  319. cicely says

    Where babies come from, according to Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.

    Tom the Dancing Bug on Corporate Personhood.

    But, but Tony!, black people can use any public restroom they want, now!
    Even some peoples’ private restrooms!
     

    Leading AIDS researcher among those dead in the Malaysia airline plane crash

    :( :( :(
     
    (Later)

    35 epic cooking fails

    It’s the atomic pizza bomb!
    Cabbage isn’t food—it’s catapult-shot—but extermination is not the answer!
    Oh, my non-existent gods…the cupcakes!

    Wishing a speedy recovery to A. Noyd.

    thunk:
    1) I unreservedly apologize for misgendering you.
    2) ….which mistake nicely illustrates the inadvisability of using my brainz. Try the ones in the next jar over…labelled “Abby Someone”….
     
    I share your ambivalence on the Bolivian child labor situation. In a perfect, or even a good world, desperation wouldn’t drive people to so many undesirable expedients….

    katybe, that line of female action figs looks awesome!

    bassmike, glad you’re feeling better, and I agree—why can’t we adults have numbing cream before we get stuck?!? Age Discrimination!
     

    I know of someone who met a date who brought their washing with them for the date to wash!

    O.o
    -

  320. blf says

    Found at Ed’s blog, Dispatches from the Culture Wars:

     ● Republican Woman: Women Too Stupid for Charts and Data: “[H]ere’s an example of a female Republican legislator, Rep. Renee Ellmers of North Carolina, during a meeting on how the GOP can better reach women, saying bluntly that women are too dumb to understand charts and graphs and stuff”, like using flamethrowers to shoo away a spider.

     ● Cliven Bundy for Governor of Wyoming: “Taylor Haynes […] is running on a platform of taking over that state’s national parks, including Yellowstone, and arresting federal officers if they try to do their jobs”, like trying to convince people to not use flamethrowers and to not kill (harmless) spiders:

    Yellowstone was a national park before Wyoming even existed as a state and the Wyoming state constitution explicitly gives up any state control of federal land there forever (Article 21, Section 26). They can’t “take back” those lands because they never belonged to the state of Wyoming in the first place, just like the land Bundy thinks he can use free of charge never belonged to the state of Nevada. But these are facts, something wingnuts are allergic to.

    Except that it would scare the resident hyperthermophile bacteria, tossing these nutters into the Darvaza crater is attractive…

  321. says

    beatrice
    No problem. I’m quite mentally exhausted myself and it’s not a good idea to end up in a shouting match with friends because of reasons.

    +++
    I think today I kissed the idea to write about gender and diversity issues in SF and fantasy goodbye. After I’ve been reviewing blogposts and stuff to find text(s) to base the work on (because 50 blogposts plus 200 comments each is not something I can do) and when I was almost giving up I remembered Kameron Hurley’s collections of posts and essays and after I regained access to my files and could re-read the one I had in mind, I realized that this is not working: I cannot take a step back and academically talk about the backlash, the rape and death threats people I kind of know received as a result.

    But writing about Tamora Pierce is totally kickass cool as well. I just need to find out if anybody has already written about that topic

  322. says

    thunk:

    I think it’s more about rejecting their authority to dictate the behaviour of her life.

    Ah, if that’s the case then I completely get that (it’s probably how I’d be if gods were real, unless the were real and *nice*)

  323. blf says

    What is it with arachnephobes and flamethrowers ?

    What, would YOU want to get any closer than absolutely necessary?

    Depends who is operating the flamethrower.

    I’m surprised the “epic cooking fails” didn’t include untoasted spiders. Or, for that matter, burnt-down houses…

  324. cicely says

    (…although some of them do look as though napalm! may have been involved….)
    -

  325. says

    Portia:
    Hugs. Sorry for the stress.

    ****

    Having a discussion on Facebook about forced sterilization-I’m against it-to reduce child abuse, bad parenting, and population growth. Ugh.

  326. blf says

    although some of them do look as though napalm! may have been involved

    Well, that is a reasonably effective way of cooking Teh Pure Evil That Are Horses.

  327. says

    The unanimous ruling from the Connecticut Supreme Court has gone where no court has gone before, and its landmark decision has engendered a new debate: should same-sex couples who were denied spousal benefits because they were not allowed to marry, be able to sue to collect them retroactively.

    The ruling came by way of a malpractice case. Margaret Mueller and Charlotte Stacey were together 24 years before Margaret died in 2009. The couple entered into a civil union in Connecticut in 2005, and married in Massachusetts in 2008. But in 2001, before they were legally recognized as a couple, Margaret was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. In 2005, that diagnosis was found to be in error; what Margaret actually had was appendix cancer, which had been allowed to go untreated.

    Margaret sued for malpractice and was posthumously awarded $2.4 million by a jury. But Charlotte’s lawsuit for loss of consortium was dismissed because the couple was not married at the time the malpractice happened. An appeals court upheld that finding. But yesterday, the Connecticut Supreme Court reversed that decision, unanimously ruling that Charlotte may sue the doctor over the loss of Margaret’s companionship and income, even though that right to sue was limited to heterosexual married couples at the time the malpractice happened.

    http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/connecticut_supreme_court_grants_retroactive_rights

  328. says

    @Tony:

    The gods are very powerful magical spirits. The magic that Portia uses is a step down from the magic they use. So it’s feasible that the “gods” are just creatures using magic that no one else has had the ability to use.

  329. cicely says

    Well, that is a reasonably effective way of cooking Teh Pure Evil That Are Horses.

    Even when using napalm!, though, it is important not to put Them directly onto the grill.
    -

  330. blf says

    Even when using napalm!, though, it is important not to put Them directly onto the grill.

    Yeah, nailing Them to a stake, whilst a bit more effort initially, does result in a more even toasting.

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

    Weeee… Crip Dyke is back with the workshop!

    Crip Dyke, is it ok if I jump in even though I skipped a couple of last posts and only did the first couple of exercises?

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

    Heard this song yesterday on the radio and today again, while I was in a store.

    Yugoslavian music from 80s and 90s is very selectively played on our radio, but they have more varied playlists here in Bosnia. The song above is from a Serbian band Alisa.
    Song isn’t exceptional, I just like it and it was especially good to hear after a long time.

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

    *waves at rq*

    I’m drinking beer and reading a tour book about Sarajevo, trying to plan my weekend. What are you doing?

  334. rq says

    Beatrice
    Got home from listening to the choir perform, then afterwards going out for cranberry beers in the local park. Since the choir festival is on, there’s outdoor beer everywhere, with smoked meat. Kinda floating on positive feelings right now. :)

  335. rq says

    Beatrice
    Kinda funny, too – the only associations I have with Sarajevo are with war. From listening to news as a kid back in the 90s. Weird, that.
    I should probably visit sometime.

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

    rq, that sounds like a great day.

    Did I mention I’m eating crisps with that beer? O.O

    What do you think, center tomorrow and Pionir valley (zoo) on Sunday? As long as it doesn’t rain, I’m good.

  337. rq says

    Beatrice
    Sounds like a plan. The kind where you don’t really have a plan. :) Which means lots of unstressed satisfaction. I hope it doesn’t rain, too!

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

    rq,

    visit!
    You can still see evidence of war on buildings (either more litteral evidence like bullet and grenade holes or more metaphorical like buildings that are falling apart from neglect, due to the lack of funds ) and people (lots of poverty, beggars on every corner, going to your car while you’re waiting for the green light)… but when you get a bit used to the atmosphere, it’s quite beautiful. Wounds and all.

  339. rq says

    either more litteral evidence like bullet and grenade holes or more metaphorical like buildings that are falling apart from neglect, due to the lack of funds

    Sounds like a lot of Latvia. Personally I like it when there’s no fancy veneer on everything. I like seeing and feeling the history, though I can’t say I like it when people suffer for it. Never felt at home with too much glitter and modernity, I like a place with character and atmosphere.

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

    Oh no no no I’m going to start bawling like a baby thanks to reading the tour guide. So many buildings with comments like “[name], once…., was completely devastated by Serbian bombing” and a photo of burned buildings or buildings riddled with grenade holes.

    People suck.

  341. blf says

    the only associations I have with Sarajevo are with war.

    There is a fecking brilliant album by Tommy Sands, Joan Baez, Vedran Smailovic, Dolores Keane, Liam O’Flynn, Pete Seeger, and others, Sarajevo Belfast (1999) in response to the conflict. Some of the songs, Ode to Sarajevo, and Where have all the flowers gone.

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

    oh, the songs.

    I’ll just go cry myself to sleep.
    good night

  343. rq says

    Good night from me, too. Will think and listen more on Sarajevo tomorrow.

    *hugs* for Beatrice!

  344. A. Noyd says

    On the way home from lunch, I saw some street artists setting up to do a new piece on the wall of an empty lot. Empty, that is, other than heaps of morning glory vines and massive butterfly bushes. I bet more people would call the art “dangerous” and the flowers “beautiful” than the other way around, even though those two plants are invasive pest species and the art there is always intricate and high quality.

  345. se habla espol says

    blf, You should be here, with flamethrower. At the county fairground across the street, there is a horse auction going on right now. The parking field (between events, it’s used to grow alfalfa) is full of horse trailers.

  346. yazikus says

    Hey Loungers, I thought this might interest some of you! So my little dude smashed his fingers between the toilet seat and lid tonight- he was super upset and begging for some arnica (he was sure he had ‘burst a blood vessel and arnica is the only that that will help! please, mom!’). So I found some arnica salve, but he was like “Nooo! I need the tablet kind that my aunties have!” and he was just inconsolable. So I call the aunties (who live like a block away) and ask if I can borrow an arnica tablet. I run over there and am handed a tiny glass vial. It is labeled Arnica Montana, 30C Bruises & Muscle Soreness.
    I’m going to transcribe the directions:

    Natural Health Supply Homeopathic Medicated Pellets. Indications: To be used for acute, self-limiting conditions according to standard homeopathic indications. Directions: Take at onset of symptoms. Repeat every 2 hours or as needed until relieved. If condition persists or worsens discontinue use and consult a practitioner. Adults: dissolve 5-10 pellets in 1 oz. of filtered water or take dry by mouth; Children and Infants: 1-5 pellets. Warning: Keep these and all medicines out of the reach of children; if pregnant or nursing, consult a practitioner before using. Inactive ingredients: Sucrose/Lactose

    Now, I was warned by the aunties, “With homeopathic medicine, taking the whole bottle is the same as taking just one dose, so only do three pellets.”

    So yeah, my kid is hooked on homeopathy? Wut? (he is five). Do I just let him have it or explain that it is not medicine and deal with the fallout that will inevitably happen after he informs his aunties that I have told him that it is not medicine?

  347. says

    Crip Dyke:
    Did you keep up with Kieron Gillen/Jamie McKelvie’s Young Avengers run? It featured Kate Bishop as Hawkeye, Miss America Chavez, [kid] Loki, Hulkling, Wiccan, Prodigy, and Speed. I haven’t regularly bought comics in a few years, but I’ve kept up with things (and I buy trades on my Nexus 7). This wasn’t a book that interested me in the beginning. I’ve never read an issue. But then I heard the Prodigy was revealed to be bisexual (openly stating it). Later on I learned that Miss America Chavez was lesbian. Having fallen in love with Jamie McKelvie’s blog, I’ve been immersed in it all day. I came upon this link to Kieron Gillen’s blog where he revealed this:

    A majority queer superteam? Why so late in the run. It’s simultaneously not a big deal (because it bloody shouldn’t be) and a big deal (because we live on Earth). Front loading it makes it the story. I wanted to write a book that took for granted that we lived in a better world than we did, and we can create art like this. Doing it earlier felt like chasing publicity, when that’s the last thing I want, as it undermines the sincerity of the endeavour. With YA’s structure – the whole fractal thing – it means that this now echoes through it. And lots more reasons I really don’t want to talk about. It’s not like anything isn’t overthought.

    In short: felt like a good idea. Why not?

    Reading that page, I learned that Young Avengers has an entry on TV Tropes (why, I have no earthly idea).

    Cast Full of Gay: Or bisexuals in Gillen’s run. Besides Billy and Teddy from the previous run, the second run establishes America Chavez as lesbian, David Alleyne, Loki, and Noh-Var as bisexuals.

    I wish I’d followed the book from the beginning, but it lasted 15 issues (not sure if it was sales that prompted the ending or if this was planned), which is perfect for a Hardcover. The depiction of an all LGB team sounds amazing. I’m so going to find a way to read all 15 issues. I thought you might like to as well (assuming you hadn’t read it already).

  348. cicely says

    Son has strep.
    :(

    yazikus, I’d tell him.
    Sometimes, unscrupulous(er) manufacturers of homeopathic remedies put in things that aren’t declared on the label, and which are not harmless.
    -

  349. says

    cicely:
    Ugh. So sorry for SonSpawn. I’ve never had strep. Is everyone in the house going to have to avoid him?

    ****

    yazikus:
    It’s hard for me to offer advice on something like this, since I’m not a parent. I feel I lack the perspective to give an informed piece of advice. That said, the one thing I keep coming back to is “what is in his best interests?”

  350. cicely says

    Tony!:
    I sure hope not! The Husband and I were the ones who took him to the clinic, so we’re potentially exposed. His fiance is just over something (presumed to be strep plus something bronchial), is in her last month (approximately) of pregnancy, and does not need extra stress. Just in case, though, he picked up a package of throw-away masks, to wear around the house.
     
    At least, if we start showing symptoms, we’ll have a shrewd suspicion what it is.
    -

  351. says

    I’m sharing this Facebook post from a friend of a friend. It is largely about the refugee children coming to the US. It is also a personal story (I was given permission to share it in any manner I chose). It is a long, heartbreaking, informative, gripping read (the only changes I made were to include paragraph breaks):

    — “In light of the tragic crisis that has unfolded at the US-Mexico border, a couple of my FB friends have asked why I “defend illegal aliens.” Rather than respond to them individually, I am posting my response on my page. Be warned, it is very lengthy, but a short response would not adequately explain my views and I hope that at least those that asked the question are willing to hear the answer.

    It is important that you understand the perspective from which I approach this issue. I am an immigrant. My family entered the US from Honduras under political asylum in December, 1963. Just a few months later, Lyndon Johnson signed into law sweeping changes in immigration laws under which my family would not have been able to enter the country. We were extremely fortunate, yet it still took eight years for us to be eligible for citizenship.
    I am a master’s level social worker with 34 years of professional experience. In order to succeed and remain viable in my profession, it is imperative that I have detailed and extensive knowledge of the laws governing social assistance programs. My mother for many years has been a consultant and translator for a religious organization that provides services to undocumented immigrants. In that capacity she has worked with thousands of undocumented immigrants over the past 30 years. She also worked as a translator for North Mississippi Medical Center for 10 years, providing services mostly to undocumented workers.

    I have an uncle who is an undocumented immigrant. An engineer in Honduras, in the US he has worked as a busboy in restaurants, cleaning houses, and washing cars to protect his family from the violence in their Honduran city which is the most dangerous city in the world. As an American citizen, my mother has requested legalized resident status for him, but 11 years and thousands of dollars later, this has yet to come to fruition.

    I am a deeply spiritual person who digs Jesus and attempts to live an imperfect human life in accordance with his teachings, however, I no longer call myself a “Christian” because the self righteous ultra right wing hate mongers have sullied that name. I also dig the teachings of Gandhi, Muhammad, the Dalai Lama, and other prophets who taught love, compassion, and reverence for humanity and the natural world. I do not believe that faith and science are mutually exclusive nor do I believe in a literal interpretation of the bible or any other holy book written thousands of years ago.

    Most of my extended family still lives in Honduras. I value and cherish life and do not believe that any human or other living being is “illegal.”
    I come to my views on this topic based on my personal and professional knowledge and experience, that of my mother who daily works lovingly with undocumented immigrants, that of my undocumented uncle, and that of my family members who live in the most dangerous country on the planet.
    Six years ago my family returned to Honduras for my mother’s 70th birthday to celebrate with family we had not seen in 30 years. Once we arrived, my family would not allow me to rent the car I had reserved due to the danger of hijacking, murder, and robbery, so they provided a car and armed driver for our use while there. When we traveled to the coast to visit other relatives, we traveled in a bus with two armed guards due to the numerous hijackings and murders along the highways. My family members all live in mini fortresses with high walls topped with broken glass and barbed wire to keep out thieves. They are fortunate, for they are educated professionals who can afford the armed drivers and high protective walls, but they are the exception in this deeply impoverished country. We were appalled at the changes in our beloved country and wept as we witnessed our family living in fear. Just a few months after our trip, a cousin was murdered when attempting to stop thieves robbing the bus in which he traveled. About a year later, another cousin was murdered while exiting his car in front of his parent’s home.

    So you see, I do not come to my views based on a framework of fabricated information from US media who twist and skew information to suit their purposes. They all do it, but the most egregious of media outlets is Fox News who sued for and won the right to broadcast outright lies. I come to my views from factual, incontrovertible information obtained from my youngest brother who for the past 20 years has been a government documents specialist at a respected western university. I come to my views from a deeply personal knowledge base and historical facts.

    I love this country. I CHOSE this country and am not an American merely by an accident of birth. This country has given me and my family opportunities that we likely would not have had and I feel fortunate to be an American citizen.
    This country that I love and that gave my family refuge has a checkered past when it comes to immigration. The first colonists arrived on what is now American soil in 1609. Those colonists were all “illegal aliens,” murdering, raping, pillaging, infecting, and stealing the land from the Native Americans who had lived here for approximately 48,000 years before anyone even thought of the US. In 1637, the General Court of Massachusetts ordered that no town or person in the colony should receive or host any alien without permission from the authorities. Beginning in 1656, the New England colonies, with the exception of Rhode Island, developed legislation designed to prevent the coming of the Quakers and the spread of their “accursed tenets.” And so it began.

    In 1939, the US turned away the MS St. Louis, a German ocean liner filled with 937 Jews seeking refuge from the Nazis. Upon returning to Europe, many of those refugees were massacred in concentration camps. This despicable act committed first by Cuba, then by the US and Canada, will haunt our history and collective conscience forever.
    Despite these and many more heinous acts, our country was founded to provide freedom from the subjugation of monarchies and religious persecutors in Europe. One of the basic tenets of the founding fathers was to welcome ALL to this new land that provided liberty and opportunity to all who would come. The founding fathers did not designate an official language so that all would be free to maintain their rich cultural heritage even as they formed a new, cohesive culture in the colonies. They cherished the richness that a melting pot of immigrants brought to this new, radical country. The US was so respected for these tenets that France gifted us with the Statue of Liberty with its revered inscription of “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus: “Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, with conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand a mighty woman with a torch, whose flame is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame, ’Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she with silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’”

    Fact: No matter what Fox News tells you, undocumented immigrants are NOT eligible to receive assistance from social welfare programs. Fact: These undocumented immigrants are not stealing jobs from American citizens desirous of work. They perform menial jobs in agriculture, the hospitality industry, and private housekeeping; jobs which American citizens do not deign to do. If not for these undocumented immigrants, you would likely not have food to put on your table or, at the very least, would not have it in the abundance which you enjoy. Fact: Although children of undocumented immigrants born in the US are citizens entitled to the same benefits as any other American citizen, the vast majority of these parents would never darken the door of a government agency because they live in constant fear of being deported and separated from their children. Just a couple of illustrations from my mother’s work with this population:
    • A woman being physically abused by her husband would not go to a shelter due to her fear that the shelter would report her to immigration and she would be separated from her two children who were American citizens. After a particularly brutal beating, my mother was able to locate a safe placement with a trusted family in a neighboring state.
    • During the devastating tornados that ripped through Tupelo and many other towns in April, my mother was asked by FEMA to disseminate to the undocumented immigrants affected information regarding benefits that could be obtained on behalf of their American children. Although FEMA gave multiple assurances that they would not be reported, NOT ONE of these families applied for assistance. Their fear of the authorities led them to instead help and support each other. My mother also obtained assistance for them from various churches and not a penny of taxpayer money was spent.
    • My mother runs a food bank for undocumented immigrants through the religious organization for which she works because their fear prevents them from soliciting assistance from anyone but her, who they trust implicitly.
    As far as the current crisis at the border, these are children sent on a perilous journey by desperate families trying to keep them alive. Do you comprehend that? The majority are CHILDREN! Children with the same hopes and dreams as your own. Children who, like your ancestors, want nothing more than a better life and an opportunity to live in freedom in a country that promises liberty and justice for all.

    We gladly accept Cuban refugees into our great country. If they can make it here, we provide them an opportunity to live with freedom from the oppression of their government. Why are these children different? Do they not deserve to escape the murderous gangs and drug cartels that rape, mutilate, and kill them?
    I chose this country. I chose it because it was one where freedom, opportunity, self-expression, and human kindness formed the foundation upon which the nation was built. Despite the turn to the contrary that has been taken in recent years, I remain hopeful that this country that I love will return to that foundation. That is why I vehemently defend undocumented immigrants.”

  352. cicely says

    My suspicion is that the difference in treatment of Cuban refugees and the ones from Central America is that Communist Cuba Is The Enemy!!!—and therefore, every Cuban that escapes to our shores is a political (and ideological/religious) victory.
     
    You know…to people who think that way.
    -

  353. says

    You know…to people who think that way.

    For some value of “think”.

    Great piece, Tony, thanks for sharing it.

    My most effective response to this kind of nativist evil is to point out that my milky-white ass is just as immigrant as anyone from Honduras or Bangladesh or Slovenia. That I happened to come from an English-speaking country does not make me a ‘special’ immigrant. I stood in line and took my citizenship affirmation (right, like I’d swear an oath!) alongside immigrants from 37 other nations, in front of the same Canadian judge, proclaiming the same loyalty, and the same willingness to abide by the laws, do my civic duties, and love hockey above all other sports, eh.

    “Oh,” they say, “but we don’t mean immigrants like you. of course!”

    Fuck that. I stand with my immigrant colleagues.

  354. cicely says

    My usual response is to point out that, unless they (whoever is doing the spouting off) is Native American Indian (lumping ‘em all in, so as to reduce the wiggle room for people who define “native” as “born here”, and “Indian” as “from India”) to a convincing degree (in the opinion of the relevant native Nation/s), they do not possess the moral high ground.
     
    They usually grumble, and quit the conversation on some pretext.
     
    If they don’t, then they usually go for the “conquered people” card (isn’t that a Fox talking point?), whereat we then have a stimulating conversation on treaties (and the breakage thereof), and bad-faith dealings, and “save the man, but kill the Indian”, and similar matters. They get all hostile, but generally shut up.
    -

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

    Tony,
    that was a moving story. Thanks to your friend for sharing and to you for reposting.

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

    @Beatrice:

    Jump in any time.

    This has always been somewhat experimental. I’ve never done these types of things online. While some of that means certain things weren’t anticipated, the idea that people might come and go certainly wasn’t.

  357. says

    Any poetry fans in the Lounge (I’m not, but when I see things online I often stop to wonder if any of you folks would like them)? How about poetry and Star Wars?

    Star Wars aficionado Craig W. Chenery recently took a break from other projects on his website to re-tell the tale of A New Hope through nearly 200 haikus, an impressive majority of which follow the standard 17-syllable format (Although for the record, not all haikus have to follow the 5-7-5 guideline).

    […]

    Luke and Biggs scene cut
    Won’t be seen for twenty years
    Poor Garrick Hagon

    Jawas find R2
    He has a shocking good time
    Face down on the ground

    The Death Star’s no moon
    Imperials talk inside
    The big guys show up

    The rest of the haiku can be found here.

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

    Not star wars, but I did do 48 tanka that together told the story of a pair of monarchs who were forced by national necessities to marry each other. It was told from the perspective of a king and related 48 vignettes from his life. The vignettes begin before the king meets the queen he will eventually marry, while the “king” is still a prince under his mother’s rule (crowned in #8, betrothed in #12, married in #16) and end with his immediately-pre-death uncertainty about how his passing will affect the two lands, his wife, his children, and the 2 advisors to whom he is closest.

    He was always ambivalent about being a king and equally so about marrying the particular person he did. It works out fairly well in his marriage, partly because sexism gave him leverage to get his way more often than not when the two fought, but also because they did see many issues similarly. Yet, at the end, he’s wondering if she is now going to unfettered to take actions he opposed or if her perspective really had changed through a combination of his arguments and the generally positive outcomes. Even then, he’s not sure if he’s transformed the wolf or simply taught it the value of sheep’s clothing.

    It ends with the reader as uncertain as the dying king whether his heirs will survive, whether his peoples will suffer, and whether his wife is his ally or enemy.

    I haven’t read it myself in many years, and I don’t know how it would stand up to my critical eye today, but it seems to fit the theme of the evening, so I thought I would mention it. I haven’t even thought of it for quite some time. Funny the things you remember.

  359. says

    Morning
    Damn. I thought the reason we hadn’t fitted the palstic dishes cupboard with drawers was because we’d run out of money. It’s actually because the door doesn’t open wide enough to allow for drawers. Now I bought drawers….

  360. says

    Tony!#460

    I learned that Young Avengers has an entry on TV Tropes (why, I have no earthly idea).

    Same reason as anything else has an entry on TVTropes: someone who’s a fan of Young Avengers likes TVTropes and decided to write an entry. I’ve done a half-dozen or more myself for no greater reason.
    #464
    Thank you for reposting that. It was moving and horrible.

    cicely #467
    Yup, you got it. There was actually a bit in a book I was just reading involving Medea from Greek mythology wanting to go back to America with the group of mostly American moderns who’d got dumped in her time/place. One of them remarked that the INS might be troublesome, whereupon the Frenchman in the group said that if so, she should come to France where ” You will not have to swear that Satan is Fidel Castro in disguise to get refugee status.” (in reality, of course, French immigration law has some serious issues too, but that’s rather beside the point.)

  361. A. Noyd says

    Here are two of my favorite tanka, from the Hyakunin Isshu (a collection of 100 tanka by 100 poets). I think they make a nice pair:

    #79 by Fujiwara no Akisuke
    秋風に
    たなびく雲の
    絶え間より
    もれ出づる月の
    影のさやけさ

    Akikaze ni
    tanabiku kumo no
    taema yori
    moreizuru tsuki no
    kage no sayakesa.

    From between the breaks¹
    in the clouds that trail
    on the autumn wind
    leaks through the moon-
    light’s clear brightness!

    #23 by Ōe no Chisato
    月みれば
    ちぢにものこそ
    悲しけれ
    わが身一つの
    秋にはあらねど

    Tsuki mireba
    chiji ni mono koso
    kanashikere.
    Wagami hitotsu no
    aki ni wa aranedo.

    When I look at the moon
    I am overcome by the sadness
    of a thousand, thousand things—
    even though it is not [autumn]
    for me alone.

    …………….
    ¹ The translations are by a Joshua S. Mostow as found here and here, respectively. Other translations that I found were made to fit the tanka syllable form, but Mostow’s are way more accurate content-wise. Although, #79 is technically just a lengthily described noun: “brightness.” I think Mostow was more concerned with preserving the progression that puts “brightness” dead last in Japanese. Slightly more accurate English would have to put it first.

    Also, I switched “Fall” to “autumn” in #23 to make the two poems match better. It’s the same word in Japanese.

  362. says

    FYI, the asshole atheists, aka those who want us all the work together under a big tent, are back something fierce in the ‘Don’t be this atheist’ thread. Just in case anyone doesn’t want to deal with their BS. Or alternately, if someone has some stress the need to work out.

  363. says

    Dalillama:

    Same reason as anything else has an entry on TVTropes: someone who’s a fan of Young Avengers likes TVTropes and decided to write an entry. I’ve done a half-dozen or more myself for no greater reason.

    As I was reading your response, the answer to my question hit me. Those tropes are present in all different kinds of media-including comics. For some reason I was thinking TV Tropes was just supposed to be about how these themes play out on television.

  364. says

    I found an excellent article on racial diversity in comic book characters, across various types of media:

    Changing the racial identity of characters has become a contentious issue amongst fans of superhero comics and their adaptations in other media. The awful practices of casting white actors to play people of color, or of turning previously non-white characters into white characters, is all too common in movie adaptations of books, cartoons, TV shows, or even real life stories — but rather surprisingly, superhero comics and their adaptations have mostly avoided this problem.
    In comics, the controversy takes a different direction. Several white characters have become non-white, mostly in movies, and sometimes in reboots. Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm in the new Fantastic Four; Helena Bertinelli aka the Huntress in the New 52; Nick Fury in the Ultimate Comics line and on screen. These are changes that agitate some readers — but realistically, the changes don’t go far enough. Superhero comics have a cultural bias towards white characters that has everything to do with their institutional history and nothing to do with what makes sense to the stories.

    Though still not officially confirmed, it’s been reported that Jason Momoa will play Aquaman in DC’s very own Marvel Cinematic Universe — thus instantly boosting the appeal of one of the publisher’s more laughable superheroes by making him ludicrously attractive. I mentioned this on Twitter, and musician Marian Call wisely responded; “Tattooed Badass Pacific Islander Aquaman? It’s like the character makes sense for the first time EVER.”
    I agree with Call. Jason Momoa, born in Hawaii to a Hawaiian father and mixed race mother, makes sense to me as Aquaman in a way that the character never made sense before, and I think it’s specifically Momoa’s Pacific Islander heritage that made it click.
    This is not because I hold some weird belief that people from Pacific islands possess a unique and mystical relationship with the ocean. I do believe that there’s a stronger cultural connection to the ocean among people who live on islands — enough so that, if I were creating an ocean-based hero from the ground up, I’d sooner make him look like Momoa than, say, Chris Evans or Chris Pratt.

    When Aquaman was created by Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris in 1941, he and his fellow heroes were presumably created as white Americans because white American audiences expected their heroes to look like them. Audiences were used to heroes played by Henry Fonda, Errol Flynn, Cary Grant, or Randolph Scott. Diversity was not a consideration in a pre-Civil Rights America with a reportedly 90% white population. (The percentage of the U.S. population reported as white stood at its all time peak in the census of 1940.)
    Seventy years later, society has changed and progressed, yet superhero comics are anchored in the past, partly by virtue of the fact that the same 70-year-old characters remain popular. But nostalgia has created an industry that too often feels artificially out-of-touch with contemporary culture, and irrelevant to a modern audience.
    Warner Bros. is now in the position of re-creating Aquaman. The studio could stay true to his appearances in the books and make him a corn-fed blond who looks like he just drove his tractor to church, but does that feel like a plausible look for an ocean-themed hero? (Inexplicably, the comic book Aquaman doesn’t even have a surfer’s tan.) Taking inspiration from an island culture like Hawaii, Samoa, or Okinawa, actually feels more natural to the spirit of the character.
    These islands are all in the Pacific, of course, and Aquaman is linked to Atlantis and the Atlantic Ocean, so Aquaman could plausibly look… Icelandic? West African? Native American? Or, he could stay looking Anglo Saxon. The British Isles are Atlantic islands, after all.
    But the oceans are vast and interconnected, and Atlanteans are presumably well travelled and not bound to a single mainland culture. Making Atlanteans diverse is more interesting than making them homogeneous and white, and casting a mixed-race actor like Momoa makes the most sense. Casting a blond white actor would create the impression that Atlanteans are implausibly Eurocentric and strangely Aryan.
    That’s a direction the filmmakers could explore, of course. Even without exploring it, a justification could be made for Aquaman’s blondness or whiteness. In most tellings, Aquaman is half-human, and half-American, and maybe even half-Floridian, so there’s nothing saying he can’t be white and blond. Some humans, some Americans, and some Floridians are white and blond. (Many are not, but some are.)
    Come to think of it, an in-plot justification isn’t really needed. If the character is white and blond, audiences won’t actually question it.

    http://comicsalliance.com/diversity-race-changing-race-identity-momoa-aquaman-jordan-human-torch/?trackback=tsmclip

    There’s quite a bit more to the article, and it moves away from Aquaman to a larger discussion about race in comics.

    __
    One interesting tidbit I learned:

    It’s not that the world isn’t ready for a non-white Superman. We had one for several years — just not in the main comics continuity. Dean Cain introduced the world to a non-white Superman back in the ’90s in the show Lois & Clark.

    Cain is a Midwesterner, like the Kents. He’s also mixed race — his natural father was half-Japanese. His mixed heritage was always apparent to me as a viewer, and it seems that an audience of 15 million had no problem accepting Cain as Superman. Perhaps much of that audience didn’t recognize Cain as mixed race, but they were certainly comfortable with a Superman who looked like Dean Cain. The precedent was set in front of a prime time audience. Superman doesn’t have to be white. A mixed-race Superman won’t blow people’s minds.

    I didn’t know that about Dean Cain.

  365. rq says

    Tony
    Your Idris Elba post was mm-mmm delicious. Plus that tumblr has some neat metal/mechanical animal sculptures further down, worth looking at in a bio-steampunk kind of way.

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

    Tony!

    I don’t know if you’re interested in the OGW, but I’d love to see your thoughts about the definition of race I placed in there as an addendum for people to think about when contemplating how the reasons for defining something and the context within which we define something dramatically affect the actual definition – even for the same lexicologist.

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

    @Tony!:

    Everything in moderation, even Tony!’s comments.

    Isn’t that how the famous saying goes?

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

    Today’s city adventuring done. I’ve been out since 10 and I think that was enough.
    I knew it would be nicely cool here, so I didn’t pack any sunscreen. Ooops, my bony shoulders have fun red peaks now, and my upper back and neck are nicely burned as well.

    I’m ok being by myself, but I’m already thinking how it would be nice to come again with a friend and retrace the steps I made.

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

    I saw a silent march in support of Palestinian people today. One of the signs equated the picture of Israeli flag with the Nazi cross… the comparison is getting more and more apt.

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

    Giliell,

    I’m sorry for however much I contributed to that.
    Take care. I’ll be happy to read you, when you come back.

  371. says

    Crip Dyke:
    Did you happen to see my #460 up thread?

    I don’t know if you’re interested in the OGW, but I’d love to see your thoughts about the definition of race I placed in there as an addendum for people to think about when contemplating how the reasons for defining something and the context within which we define something dramatically affect the actual definition – even for the same lexicologist.

    I’ll check it out.

    ****

    Giliell:

    Folks, I’m probably out for a few days.
    Everybody seems bound to completely misinterprete me and be totally sure they know better what I mena than I myself and I really can’t deal with this atm.

    I understand. Be well. I’ll save your spot at the Lounge Bar.

  372. Gorogh, Lounging Peacromancer says

    Hi everyone, sorry for not coming by more often right now, it’s been a terrible week… important deadline next week which will decide about another year of funding for myself, plus (most likely related) I am experiencing some serious dysphoria and feelings of general irrelevance. Still, I will try not to drop out of sight for too long, and will keep a lurking eye on what’s going on here.

    Have a great weekend, folks!

  373. rq says

    Giliell
    *hugs*
    I’ll look forward to reading you (hopefully) soon. Be well, take care of yourself!!

  374. says

    Possibly ‘rupt, apologies to anyone I missed. I can’t seem to wake up fully these last few days, and I’m not fully up to par.

    Giliell
    *hugs* be well, and I look forward to your return.

    Gorogh
    *hugs* to you as well, and best wishes.

    CD
    I plan to post in the new gender workshop, when I can think more clearly.

  375. opposablethumbs says

    Looking forward to reading you again soon, Giliell – always good to read you.

    Good luck with the funding application deadline, non-irrelevant Gorogh, and come back soon!

  376. cicely says

    Last night’s Featured Attraction from Dreamland was a sorta “Tahlequah (where I went to college) meets Hogwarts meets Stross’ Laundry series” thing.
    It all hung together surprisingly well.

    I remember being quite happy to watch Dean Cain as Superman. And apart from a comment in some magazine about him being “the most ethnic Superman ever”, I don’t recall there being much attention drawn to it.

    Giliell, please take these *hugs* with you.
    Come back when you can/wish to.

    *hugs* for Gorogh, and good luck with the funding deadline.
    -