TNET 37 – Wish I Could Fly

I do not give names to my paintings, this is just an association that has popped in my head when I took this one out of the pile to photograph. The painting is 450×715 mm, distemper on hardboard and, as you can see, in rather a bad shape. That is the result of two things. Firstly, I did not have access to high-quality art supplies twenty-five years ago (and anyways, I lacked the knowledge to use them or the money to buy them) so it was done with the only distemper available at the local stationery store. And secondly, the painting hung several years in a room adjacent to a badly ventilated kitchen. The fumes from burning propane do “wonders” to everything in their vicinity. When I finally got round to buying varnish to help to stabilize the painting, it was already heavily damaged.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full

And since I got nothing else to offer for a new open thread, let this be one. Usual rules apply – talk whatever, just don’t be an ass.

Previous thread.


  1. says

    I love your interpretation of arms turning into wings, as well as in the other drawing.

    Today was school report day and both kids brought home excellent reports and both were unhappy. They have 5 Bs and 1C between them and I really don’t know why they are not terribly proud of themselves because I Pinky Pie swear that we never ever put pressure on them and always praise them. Except when a not so good mark is due to not having done the work.

  2. says

    Over the last 24 hours flooding rains have hit the state and of course there are idiots who try to drive on flooded roads. One hopes that eventually self driving cars will be too smart to do that and stop people accidentally drowning themselves and their families.

  3. says

    This morning I mailed a box of Aged Mum jewelry to my cousin. Unless something else comes up unexpectedly, that just leaves closing her bank account and mailing the checks to the siblings. I keep thinking I ought to feel more… something, but I’m just depressed and tired. I’m supposed to be seeing a therapist on Tuesday, maybe I can ask them.

    On the other hand, Kitty got into all three classes she wanted and Emily is having the best time in Edinburgh. Did I mention that Emily’s going to Brussels with her advisor to present a paper at a conference?

  4. says

    @Anne, my sympathies, I hope your therapist will be able to offer something useful. Dealing with inheritance is one of the more unpleasant tasks in life.

    What kind of paper is Emily presenting in Brussels? She will now have a bit more hurdles traveling between Edinburgh and Brussels after the Brexit fiasco finally happened.

  5. says

    Thanks, Charly.

    Emily’s a linguist. I’d have to ask her about the exact subject but her interest is evolution of language in humans and birds. Travel is going to be interesting, yes. I’m very glad she has friends near Edinburgh, because I worry about her getting stranded there. Which wouldn’t be the worst thing, she loves it there, but I still worry.

  6. voyager says

    I love the shape of those wings and the way the features fade into the clouds.

    I have the same sort of “not feeling much” about my mother’s death. I expected grief tinged with a bit of relief, but I’m just too tired to rally a response. I think it’s normal, but I hope your therapist can help you sort it out.
    Emily must be excited about presenting a paper in Brussels. That’s quite an honour. It’s always nice to get a bit of recognition for all your hard work.

  7. StevoR says

    So this detestable scumbag is my local MP. Still. As ever more comes out about how truly appalling he is :

    Yet still people keep hearing from & believing the mendacious Murdoch minions here :

    WARNING : Infuriating footage, smug Climate Denialists lying -- & being debunked for millionth-plus time too but still. Rage inducing & I understand if folks cannot bear to watch it. But worth watching if youcan take it Ithink obvs.

    NB. Transcrpt there if the video doesn’t work outside Oz which, dunno, hopefully it will & apologies if not.

    Yet there is also this :

    Hoping it could & will if we work for it and make it so I think maybe though dunno bout the evolutionary bit there interms of timespan and being that fine-tuned and all. More culture than genetics I’d think.

  8. StevoR says

    Also as seen on my TV tonight :

    Plus confronting bushfire footage from 4 Corners :

    WARNING,/b> : Potentially upsetting material, swearing.

    Plus, oh yeah, our election last year was bought NOT won & that’s setting aside all the Murdoch campaigning for the most toxic, incompetent, corrupt and sadistic govt so far in my lifetime :

    Election bought, democracy broken. Time we had some major political reforms now Australia before we went down the road of .. Oh yeah. The USA. Expletives, apologies, rage. Can we learn from Switzerland and Denmark and Iceland where they jaield their bankers and now have Katrín Jakobsdóttir as their PM please? Or Aotearoa / NZ with Jacinda Ardern please?

  9. StevoR says

    PS. Anne, Cranky Cat Lady : My condolences. I only begin to imagine. Words inadequate. Best wishes from me for whatever little they may be worth.

  10. says

    I’ve got a cold again. Sigh.
    And tomorrow the Autobahn will be closed because of flooding. I know that the grounds are still too dry, but this is not helping, dear weather, because they cannot soak it up that quick.

    *hugs are coming*
    I think that when we can already see death coming for a while, we do some grieving beforehand. My grandpa died suddenly and I know I was in complete shock and I cried for days.
    When grandma died it was more of an “ok, it was to be expected” kind of feeling and it#s not as if I loved one of them more than the other.

    Could you look into the Affinity Twitter account? I sent you a PM because of your necklaces.

  11. Jazzlet says

    Back from a weeks holiday in Cornwall and catching up with Affinity. We were nearish some of my family and ended up seeing Big Bro #2, his daughter and her partner, Little Bro and his civic partner, lovely but exhausting. We had reasonable weather and got in several beach meanders, otherwise we read and gazed out of the window watching the sea if it was in view or the very low cloud if it wasn’t.

    I felt rather like that when my father died, he had Parkinson’s and we spent a long time grieving the absence of the man we had known while he was still alive, there just wasn’t much to feel by the time he finally went. *hugs and mugs of cocoa with a dollop of clotted cream*

  12. says

    Today was therapist day. She was nice, she listened to my babbling, she made a good suggestion for getting to sleep better. We’re going to work on my nightmares next month, since I think things would be better if I could just sleep properly.

    Thanks, all. Shadow sends purrs from my lap.

  13. StevoR says

    @ ^Anne, Cranky Cat Lady : Awww. Thankyou. Nothing quite as soothing a sa happy purring cat.


    Never mind the “beer-flu”*, this is what should really scare us right now given its implications. Pollination of so many depends on this famously “hard-working”, “busy” species. Oh & its also a symptom of the crash in the base(s!) of our food chain(s) where we think we’re at the top but thus are standing on everything below -- knock out the bottom of the ladder and .. :

    See also :

    * As someone online has aptly dubbed the Coronavirus.

    Oh & in people are terrible, let’s find delicious ways to fight back news :

    Folks, if you like your local Chinese restaurant(s), now would be a good time to support them and order from or visit them for a meal. Because they are suffering and it really ain’t fair or justified. Dunno if its the same in the States but?

  14. Kreator says

    I requested this in an e-mail and got no reply, so could I please ask you here to remove my old contributions to the blog? The nature and art? For personal reasons I no longer feel comfortable sharing those pictures and the accompanying descriptions, and I think they’ve probably run their course anyway. Thanks.

  15. StevoR says

    @ Kreator : Respect. I’m sorry & I don’t understand & I don’t know enough by megaparsecs but,well, okay. if its really what you want & best wishes from me too. Hope you are okay & know you are appreciated.

  16. StevoR says

    So the Patheos nannybot filter seems to have decided that -- of all words -- “beer” is a forbidden word now.

    Beer singular that is. Beers plural gets through unmoderated and even “sharted” gets thorugh ok so .. what the?

    Have I missed something? (Very likely.) Try it for yourselves and let me know please. I kid you not. Dafuck?!

  17. voyager says

    I’m glad you felt comfortable with the therapist and hope you can find a way to sleep better and get your nightmares under control.
    Everything is more difficult if you’re tired.

    Thanks for all the interesting links.

  18. says

    Wishing you the best.

    I’m glad your appointment worked well. Good luck. It’s a hard road to walk.

    That fucking racist bullshit is everywhere. Sunday we went to an Asian restaurant to celebrate a friend’s birthday. You usually stand no chance there without a reservation and now it was near empty.

    Well, another week done. One more andwe get a week of holiday.

  19. Gelaos says

    Sunday we went to an Asian restaurant to celebrate a friend’s birthday. You usually stand no chance there without a reservation and now it was near empty.

    Yeah, it’s a simple (and often stupid) mindset: China = coronavirus; therefore anything chinese = no. Even here in Czech Republic there were 2 cases where restaurants (temporarily) refused to accept Chinese customers. What bugs me even more is the typical crowd of trolls, conspirators, opportunists or self-titled medical experts.


    It’s a nice painting. For me personally, it evokes feeling of unachiavable greatness. I love the contrast of big spread wings (a wish to fly, to rise up) and “roots-legs” (preventing the character from flying away). Just one question- there’s lot of “empty” space above the figure, filled only with sky and cloud. Was this “emptiness” intentional?


    And finally, a question for everyone who’s interested. Many people here don’t like religion much (for valid reasons, of course). My question is: do you have any favorite piece of culture -- a song, book, film, etc. that was made primarily to express religious belief? If you do, how do you feel about listening/reading/watching it?

    For example, here are some Christiainty-based songs I like:
    Amazing Grace (Il Divo),
    Hallelujah (Pentatonix version),
    If God Was One of Us (Joan Osborne),
    Hero (Skillet).

    Then there are songs that aren’t as explicit and/or can be interpreted also in a non-religious way, e.g. Million Reasons (Lady Gaga). And there’s also a ton of religious music that doesn’t even try to mask its brainwashing with lyrics or nice melody -- such songs I don’t like and don’t listen to.

    Usually I feel a sort of cognitive dissonance when listening to the above mentioned songs. On the one hand I like the songs themselves -- the rhythm, melody and usually even the lyrics. On the other hand the religious background of these songs sometimes “irritates” (don’t know how to describe it better) my personal beliefs (as an atheist).

    What do you think?

  20. says

    @Gelaos, The empty space behind the figure is intentionally there.
    Strangely enough, my feelings about the aforementioned songs are mostly in line with yours. I like the melodies and the lyrics are moving, although I do not have a religious cell in my body. There is, perhaps, some nearly universal “spirituality” among people.
    It is, after all, more than clear that atheists are not any better on average than theists, only their nastiness is expressed and rationalized a bit differently.

  21. StevoR says

    This is one terrible piece of news as the bushfires aftermath continues to play out :

    One of those hundred plus species :

    at risk of vanishing beyond the metaphorical event horizon of extinction.

    This is one powerful, poignant, beautiful song and accompanying clip :

    WARNING : Confronting and possibly upsetting scenes, animal death and suffering.

  22. StevoR says

    @ 25. Gelaos :

    My question is: do you have any favorite piece of culture — a song, book, film, etc. that was made primarily to express religious belief? If you do, how do you feel about listening/reading/watching it?

    There’s certainly religiously themed songs, movies and even books I’ve enjoyed &still enjoy. Just because you don’t agree with something -- sometimes even quite strongly -- doesn’t mean you cannot see it as evocative or aesthetically pleasing etc .. in my view. Art is always going to be subjective and I do think that sometimes you can find something enjoyable and interesting and think it has value and beauty and is worth even when it involves aspects like religious oens that are really problematic and wrong.

    FWIW, I’ve always enjoyed the music of U2 despite the frequent religion heavy references and including thsoe religion ehavy songs -- and when it comes to movies ‘The Life of Pi’ springs to mind here among others. Plus those What If God Was One of Us & Buckley’s Halleluh songs and an SF/ fantasy novel where a spaceship crew landed in one of Bosch’es reiligious triptych paintings come real and more. I’m not sure if it counts and, huh, perhaps a bad taste confession but also Chris DeBurgh’s ‘A Spaceman Came Travelling song ( ) is one you could add to that category and then the whole Star Wars religion as well if that counts and yet I got hooked on those as a kid too and still so .. yeah.

    Put it this way; if you enjoy and appreciate,say, (for random example among many that could be picked) Aztec artwork & culture and empathise with them and what the human sacrifices etc ..meant to them then that’s one thing and fine. If you start actually thinking its okay and even compulsory to make actual human sacrifices because your appreciation and understanding of Aztec culture and art and think that means they were correct to think Sun / Huitzilopochtli really & truly does need human blood to rise then that’s a whole other thing entirely!

  23. StevoR says

    PS. I am also quite willing to believe that the Aztec practices were also exaggerated,misunderstood and their culture and beliefs demonised by the Spanish Conquistadores who brutally conquered, murdered and destroyed them too FWIW. Example picked as a bit of an extreme case.

    Short version : Just because songs, movies, etc .. contain religious messages and aspects does NOT mean you cannot or should not still be able to enjoy them. And, yeah, sometimes the religious bits can be annoying and that’s okay to feel, note and be too. Art is subjective and personal and that’s ok. Also,apologies for typos and errors, its past my bedtime & over-tired here..

  24. StevoR says

    So, I don’t know how many others here watch The Young Turks (TYT) channel on youtube and thisus have already seen this and I do know that TYT are really partisan Sanders supporters but still think folks may find this grimly, infuriatingly interesting :

    Regarding Bloomberg especially around the 6 mins 45 seconds mark onwards.

    Also while the bushfire carnage has brought our appalling biodiversity loss and extinctions record into focus its not just the bushfires that’s been killing our native species -- its been LNP policies of neglect and contempt for the environment over decades :

    Meanwhile in totally diffrent news, the science findings from New Horizons and its encounter with Arrokoth indicate our solar system formed far more gently than once thought :

    Arrokoth incidentally being the new official name for the object previously known as “Ultima Thule” and chosen from a word meaning “sky” in the Powhatan / Algonquian language(s?) and the most distant object in the solar system we’ve ever visited.

  25. says

    Thanks for the links, StevoR

    Oh gods, Mr’s cousin is playing primary school “I will show whom I like better” by selectively inviting and not inviting family members.
    One, I wished I had the mental capacities for such silly games. I would use them for something productive.
    Two, me and Mr. couldn’t care less, but she’s needlessly cruel to her aunt.
    Well, what comes around goes around.

  26. lumipuna says

    It seems much of northwestern Europe is flooded or otherwise damaged from endless winter storms.

    No real flooding here, but my local weather station just measured almost 40 mm of rain in a 24-hour period. It’s one of the highest ever measured in Finland in February, and more than the average monthly precipitation. All of it was water (rather than snow), too.

    I also saw the news that first cherry blossoms are opening in southwestern Finland. This typically happens in late April.

  27. says

    We did have some mild flooding 2 Weeks ago when my commute led me through France. Now everything is soggy, but not flooded. I’m glad for it because we had two years of draught and in 1.80m the ground was still too dry, meaning no reserves for another dry summer.

  28. Ice Swimmer says

    I can concur with lumipuna. A lot of rain, but no real flooding. What was left of Dennis was here yesterday, rather good tailwind when I was coming back from work…

    I’ve been rather busy with my Master’s, a lot of articles to go through and to be found and a lot of equations to write. I would have already gone bonkers if I hadn’t learned LaTeX before starting this thing.

  29. says

    All the best for your thesis, Ice Swimmer.

    I had two teenagers here for 48 hours. I don’t think there’s any chocolate left in the house.
    I’m so happy that #1 has got a BFF to hang out with but gods do I dislike her parents.
    The kids had decided on a sleepover Sunday to Monday. On Monday I asked her when I should drive her home. She called home, they asked if she could stay a day longer? Last time they kept pushing back the time from morning to evening and the kid never even has a change of clothing when she stays over.

  30. Ice Swimmer says

    Thank You, Giliell!

    Good thing that the chocolate won’t go bad…

    It sounds like the girl’s parents don’t want her back, which is sad.

  31. lumipuna says

    Giliell, the behavior of those parents sounds more than a bit weird.

    I forgot to mention in my previous comment that some of the snowdrops at my balcony were just beginning to flower. Individual snowdrops as well as pearl hyacinths have been growing slowly and unevenly all winter, as if hesitating on whether it’s time yet.

  32. says

    All of you in the flooded areas, stay safe, that sounds scary.

    Giliell, I wish I could send you some chocolate, we have too much right now -- Kitty bought some at the Japanese market last week, and then I stocked up on the good stuff on sale after Valentine’s Day. Then I made her go through the hoard, and found stuff from last Halloween and Christmas. It won’t go to waste, but Paul has got to stop buying more when he gets bored. How many bags of chocolate peanut butter Christmas trees do we need, seriously? Especially when he’s the only one who likes them.

  33. StevoR says

    So, something new I can’t believe its taken me till today to learn even exists although very precariously so -- Cabbage on a Stick plant Brighamia insignis* --

    See also :

    Apparently they make great house plants, smell like “mild honeysuckle” and, oh yeah, their (only?) pollinator, a moth, has gone extinct meaning we are on the verge of losing them forever ..

    * & it seems Brighamia rockii too maybe which is a closely related species. See :

    FWIW, a while ago I was working for a neighbour doing gardening and she suggested how good it would be if every night the news featured an endangered (or extinct?) species. So, since then, been kinda trying to do that each day on fb and researching a whole range of threatened species from those I’m familiar with to those, I’m, well, not. Hence finding out about this partuicular natural wonder today.


    @ 40. Anne, Cranky Cat Lady : “All of you in the flooded areas, stay safe, that sounds scary.”

    Seconding that here. Thinking of all those affected & wishing you well.

  34. StevoR says

    Incredible animated film on the Lord Howe Island Stick Isect and its rescue from the brink of extinction here :

    Twenty minutes long but beautiful, poignant, hopeful and showing science and people at their best.

    Species info here too :

    From tiny critters to tiny planets, I learnt something new about Pluto and its discovery the other day :

    Trurns out it has its own “Hidden Figure” -- a woman computer -- back when computer was a job description -- who has fallen into almost total and totally undeserevd obscurity named Elizabeth Williams. She worked for Percival Lowell who began the serach for the then hypothetical planet X beyond Neptune and was the one who actually determined where in the sky it would be. (Near the star Wasat or Delta Geminorum to be precise-ish.) Clyde Tombaugh discovered it just where she calculated on Feb 18th 1930 -- almost exactly 90 years ago now. Unfortunately, given Pluto’s low mass, it turns out that was just a remarkable co-incidence rather than being based on Neptune and Ouranos being pulled around by the putatively much more massive Planet X but still. (Astronomers would later workd out from Voyager II’s Neptune fly-by of 1989 that our solar systems’ other blue planet was actually fractionally less massive than previously thought explaining the discrepancy.)

    Incidentally update to my #11 here my (gag, spit.) local MP Duluk has now -- finally -- been suspended as a liberal member but remains in Parliament.He’s also been charged by police but hasn’t resigned.

  35. lumipuna says

    It felt like November for a few months here, but now it’s already more like April. The birds are chirping, not only in daylight (which is normal in late winter) but even before dawn.

  36. lumipuna says

    We had a few days of mild freeze this week, after storms and unseasonal heavy rains. A shallow flood lake here in my neighborhood has frozen over neatly, forming a natural skating rink of more than five hectares. Here’s a news story of it, with some photos and video:

    That place is actually a crop field lying approximately at sea level, next to a seaside wetland. It has mechanical drainage that’s usually out of use in winter, at least when the soil freezes. This kind of major flooding occurs only rarely, when winter storms raise the sea level so much that it tops the levees.

    Sometimes you could skate on the sea, but typically the sea ice is covered by snow by the time it’s properly hardened. During this freaky winter, there hasn’t been enough cold to freeze the sea, or even allow the operation of municipal outdoor rinks.

  37. says

    @lumipuna, we had almost proper winter this week here too, several days of snow and mild freezing temperatures. Today most of it melted again.

  38. Ice Swimmer says

    On Friday, the sea did start to freeze near the shore in the more enclosed bays. There was a thin layer of ice forming while I was swimming. The broken edges of ice were quite sharp, but luckily the ice was also too thin and brittle to scratch my shoulders (my face is well-protected by the beard), so I could swim through it.

    The sea level has been high for weeks now. I wonder if a Major Baltic Inflow could happen now that when the water in Baltic Sea has packed into the Gulfs in the North (Gulf of Bothnia and Gulf of Finland). The Inflow would bring more salty and better-oxygenated water to the Baltic Sea but also push the dirty and oxygen-poor water from the deepest parts of the main basin towards Gulf of Finland.

  39. says

    The cranes are heading north
    I repeat, the cranes are heading north.
    Spring is on its way.
    I had to do that, hadn’t I?
    Because on Thursday we had the first(!) snow for this winter. So i had to drive home through snow and sleet and car accidents, sign up #2 for middle school, go shopping, get the kids, go home shovelling. Thankfully my neighbour had already done a round of shovelling, so I only had to get rid of the last few cm on our sidewalk and the next door neighbour’s (she’s rapidly approaching 90) and put out some salt. Thankfully it didn’t freeze again during the night so i got to work with no issues on Friday.

  40. says

    And then I don’t close my tag properly.

    BTW, is everybody else also hoarding food (and disinfectant…) or is that just us silly Germans?
    At least the supermarkets should get a nice boost from the whole Coronavirus thing…

  41. says

    @Giliell, in CZ people allegedly hoard food, disinfectants, and respirators too. People seem to think that being a few days at home will somehow protect them from something. It won’t.

  42. lumipuna says


    we had almost proper winter this week here too, several days of snow and mild freezing temperatures

    Do you have an official definition for “thermic winter”? Here in Finland, it starts when the daily mean temp stays below freezing for at least a week, and ends when the last such cold spell is over.

    By this definition, winter hasn’t yet begun in the southwestern coastal area -- typically it’d begin in late November-December. We’ve “almost had a winter” twice during February. During the previous freakishly mild winter (2007-08), we had a nine-day winter in late March, about the time when the thermic winter typically ends.

    Now, if it happens that we don’t get a thermic winter at all in some part of Finland, it’ll be a first-time-ever-recorded such event. For weather statistics, meteorologists will have to figure some novel way to delineate between fall and spring.

  43. Jazzlet says

    I don’t know about food, but shops have sold out of hand-sanitiser, even though it’s less effective thn washing your hands properly.

    On a slightly related note, in your various languages what do you call your fingers? In English it is Thumb, Index Finger, Middle Finger, Ring Finger and Little Finger. I was just aimlessly wondering about why we name them thus and if other languages had similar or different naming systems, and I though “a-ha, I know where I can get a few nswers to that question”. A related question -- do you celebrate marriage with an exchange of rings, and if you do which finger are they worn on? Thank you!

  44. says

    In German they are more or less the same, except the index finger is the pointer finger. The middle finger is colloquially known as the “stinky finger”.

    As for hoarding, it seems to me that a lot of people who are financially, physically and logistically able to are just now discovering the concept of having a properly stocked larder.

  45. says

    @Jazzlet, in Slavic languages there are too names for each finger, and in meaning they correspond to the english ones. Only index finger means “pointing” finger as it does in German.

  46. Ice Swimmer says

    In Finnish some fingers are kind of same and others different. Thumb is peukalo, index finger is etusormi (front finger), middle finger is keskisormi (the same), ring finger is nimetön (nameless or unnamed) and little finger is pikkusormi (the same).

    For engagement, both partners will have the ring (kihlasormus*), but only the woman will be given the ring (vihkisormus) at the wedding ceremony.

    * = Kihla has the same etymology as gissla (in Swedish) or Geisel (in German), that is, hostage. Sormus means exclusively a ring worn on a finger or toe.

  47. chigau (違う) says

    oya yubi
    parent finger

    index finger
    hito sashi yubi
    pointing at a person finger

    middle finger
    naka yubi
    middle finger

    ring finger
    kusuri yubi
    medicine finger

    little finger
    ko yubi
    little finger

    Thank you for the opportunity to flex my memory.

  48. Ice Swimmer says

    In Swedish, the names of fingers are quite similar to the English and German ones. Thumb is tumme, index finger is pekfinger (pointer finger), middle finger is långfinger (long finger), ring finger is ringfinger and little finger is lillfinger.

  49. Jazzlet says

    Thank you all!

    I think you are right about people discovering the benefits of a well stocked larder, though of course many in the UK have been stocking up, running stock down, stocking up, running stock down and now stocking up again because of Brexit. I can not express how thoroughly pissed off I am about Johnson reneging on the deal, not at all surprised, but really really pissed off. About the only good to come out of all this is the increasing length of Stewart Lee’s name for the shithole, it’s now got to “Boris Piccaninny Watermelon Letterbox Cake Bumboys Vampires Haircut Wall-Spaffer Spunk-Burster Fuck-Business Fuck-the-Families Get-Off-My-Fucking-Laptop Girly-Swot Big-Girl’s-Blouse Chicken-frit Hulk-Smash Noseringed-Crusties Death-Humbug Technology-Lessons Surrender-Bullshit French-Turds Dog-Whistle Get-Stuffed FactcheckUK@CCHQ 88%-lies Get-Brexit-Done Bung-A-Bob-for-Big-Ben’s-Bongs Cocaine-Event Spiritual-Worth Three-Men-and-a-Dog Johnson.” (those are all things Johnson has said at various times).

  50. voyager says

    A bit hard to remember, but that’s definitely a memorable name. I hope it all doesn’t get too bad for you and I hope you’re feeling a bit better.

    Thanks to everyone for the lesson on finger names. My favourite is from Chigau --
    -- index finger: hito sashi yubi, meaning pointing at a person finger.

    Winter has been like that here as well. It gets cold for a few days and then it melts. It’s been a continuous cycle and it’s damned annoying. I’ve never heard the term “thermic winter,” but we sure haven’t had one here this year.

    Ice Swimmer,
    Good Luck with your Master’s Thesis.

    Thanks for all the links. I like the idea of featuring daily a species near extinction. I hope it has some impact.

    Several of the songs on your list also affect me. I prefer the original Leonard Cohen version of “Halelujah” and the Joan Osborne song “If God was One of Us” is fabulous.
    The song that affects me the most is Morning has Broken, a hymn popularized by Cat Stevens, because I have very fond memories of singing it with a small group of friends in a quaintly beautiful little Anglican Church built by shipbuilders in the early 1800’s in the Gaspe.

  51. StevoR says

    @ ^ voyager : My pleasure. Happy to send info / links on endangered species to you if you want to feature them here?

    @ 45. & 44. Jazzlet : No worries -- I suck at typing so badly myself and thanks, me too!

    @ 52. Giliell : Not just in Germany, its happening in Oz too. Apparently consequently toilet paper is in short supply as is hand sanitiser and the best medical masks are in so much demand that the people who actually need them aren’t going to have enough ..

    @ lumipuna (various) : “Do you have an official definition for “thermic winter”?

    First I’ve herad of that term that I can recall but it makes immediate sense -- I presume the season (Winter specifically but guess there’s also thermic Summer, Spring & Autumn?) defined by a set temperature range? Here we’ve had a mercifullymilder February and start of March so far with nice cool conditions and even a bit of very welcome rain although much more is still needed. Plus our Bureau of Meteorology has confimed we’ve had our hottest and driest year ever :

    I used to enjoy Summers as a kid but now I find myself really dreading them and wanting them gone ASAP. It seems they are getting observably longer in the thermic (& precipitation) sense as scientific observations, again, have confirmed :,-while-the/12015752

    Although, staggeringly, even now, even after this horror Summer here, we’re still getting Climate Reality Deniers spewing their cow chutney online and on telly.

    @ IceSwimmer : Best wishes and sure you will do well on your Masters Thesis from me too.

  52. lumipuna says


    Yes, thermic summer is defined as when the daily mean temp stays above 10C in similarly consistent fashion. Thermic spring and autumn are just what’s left between winter and summer. Growth season is when daily mean temp is above 5C. Obviously, warmer countries would find some other definitions more meaningful.

    Here in southern Finland, thermic winter and summer are both traditionally about 4 months long on average. In the furthest north, summer is only 1-2 months and winter 6-7 months.

  53. Jazzlet says

    I have been reading reports of the evidence given at the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, it’s the architect at the moment and his ignorance is appalling, no he hadn’t read the fire regulations, no he didn’t read the specifications for the cladding, no he didn’t know that aluminium was a fire risk, no he didn’t know about the cavities required for fire resistance, but he did know that in an open tender his firm wouldn’t have had a chance at getting the work as they had no experience of refurbishing high rise buildings, and he knew that the cost of the refurbishment was actually higher than the limit for an open tender process because he was asked to phase his invoices so they weren’t too much in one year. Then the guy has the unmittigated gall to have to stop giving evidence because he is too distressed. He doesn’t have the right to waste the Inquiry’s time with his distress, he needs to suck it up and give the evidence. What really fucking infuriates me is that I know there are people sitting in offices all over the UK reading this and thinking “thank fuck it wasn’t one of my jobs” because this sort of skirting of the rules and reulations is just the way they do business.

  54. Nightjar says

    Hey everyone! Trying to catch up, but I’ve been having some serious difficulties concentrating on anything too intellectually demanding after leaving work, and apparently writing coherent sentences in English is among those things. I did write and submit two papers in a row recently (both now accepted!) so maybe I’m just worn out and tired of typing and thinking. Apologies if I don’t make sense.

    Ice Swimmer, best of luck with your Master’s!

    Finger names in Portuguese…
    Thumb is polegar and as far as I know that’s the only thing that word means. Index finger is indicador (can mean both “index” and “pointing” finger), middle finger is médio (same as in English), ring finger is anelar (same as in English) and little finger is mínimo (same as in English). The first three have nicknames, though: “lice-killer”, “cake-piercer” and “father-of-all”. Heh. Those sound weirder when translated.

    About the coronavirus, yes, people here are hoarding stuff too. One thing I’ve noticed is that people seem to be suddenly making an effort to wash hands properly rather than just doing the “tiny-bit-of-soap-on-fingers + briefly-sprinkling-hands-with water” pointless ritual I see sometimes. I welcome that change. Hopefully they will remember to practice it every winter, we sure could use less flu every year. Other than that I’ve been both amused and shocked at the poster with information about the new virus on display at my research center since last month. It’s basic information about the importance of washing hands and covering your mouth when you cough and that kind of stuff, but it’s written in Portuguese, English and… Mandarin? I guess? WTF? Like… why? Our Chinese students speak English just fine and they are living here right now so the risk is the same. Is it for any non-English speaking lost Chinese tourists that may accidentally find themselves inside a research center somehow? Is it a bad joke? Someone failed to check their sinophobia before sending that to be printed? I’m stumped.

  55. StevoR says

    Soup’er Tues. Do not despair. It did NOT necessarily decide the Democratic party nomination.

    There’s still a long way to go and still time. For things to switch around & change again.

    Wouldn’t write Bernie Sanders off yet.

    Sadly cannot see any hope now for Warren who is my favourite out of those remaining* but right now, I don’t see her having a chance and hate to say it and disappointed by it but think its probly better she dropped out now. :-(

    My fave because she’s younger & , I think sharper and has arguably less baggage and is, again, arguably the stronger of the progressive candidates. I’d have much preferred Bernie to support her and be her advisor instead of running himself and help her win but not how it is & the maths from here, well, I can’t see how she can catch up on delegates and votes from now.

    Progressives in the States have backed Bernie and now its time they consolidated behind him just as the moderates have behind Biden -- who I’d also not rate as the best moderate candidate. :-(

    PS. Kamala Harris was my first ideal choice out of the original Democratic party field. Then Warren then Sanders.

    PPS. Out of that mammoth 20+ original Democratic party field Biden would be my second last choice ahead only of Bloomberg. But still well and truly a huge improvement over Trump.

    I am NOT a USA citizen but it affects me who wnis. It shifts and influences our pale blue dot. Choose wisely.Pleaee.

  56. StevoR says

    Thankyou Feminists. All of you everywhere. For making the world and all our societies better. Fairer, more open to all, happier and free-er. For all of us women and men alike. Thankyou. I stand with you.

    We still have an awful long way to go. But you have made things so much better already and we will work together to make things ever better still.

    Trailer for SBS TV doco broadcast tonight :

    Plus doco in full via SBS ON Demabnd which hopefully peopel here can see?

    Plus a single very simple test :

    Axiomatic. Yet so amny ppplmstill can’t grok it? Or empathise or understnd even n 20-fn-20?

  57. StevoR says

    PS. Incidentally, that youtube trailer could sure do with some “pharyngulation” likes~wise.

  58. StevoR says

    Sorry my tying sux. Yáll get the gist hopefully.

    Also the Milu :

    3 mins 30 secs Truth spoken :

    “The Earth is NOT exclusive to human beings instead it should be shared by all creatures rather than just taking over their habitat, we should leave room for them.”

    -- Li Pengfei, Milu (Pere David’s Deer friend & good human being.)

    Quote of the day and endangered species of the Day.

    Plus :

    Scroll down for what is currently happening to one very important current and its implications.

    As our planet keeps overheating ever more.

  59. says

    Hello my friends
    I hope you didn’t celebrate International Women’s Day but rather remembered it as a fighting day of working class women.
    I know we demand bread and roses, but that’s figuratively, not literally.
    Apart from this, I had a busy week as usually.

  60. Nightjar says

    I just got an email from the rectorate saying the university is basically shutting down, all classes have been suspended, cafeterias are switching to take-away only and everyone (not just students) is being encouraged to work from home. It’s a preventive measure, there is still only one confirmed case in the city and not directly related to the university, but it’s also a small city so it seems like the right thing to do. Our healthcare system is extremely fragile (since the financial crisis) and not taking measures right now would be extremely irresponsible. So, it looks like I’m staying home for an indeterminate period of time. Thankfully I didn’t start any important experiments this week because I suspected this would happen sooner or later. I also have a grant to write (*sigh*), and that can be done from home, so at least until the end of the month (deadline) I will be busy, but isolated. I’m trying not to worry too much, but I do wonder how long it will take before things go back to normal.

  61. StevoR says

    @my #70. D’oh. Apologies for the repeated link. Mea culpa. I stuffed that up. :-(


    Anyhow here’s a few questions that have been running wildly around my head lately for those here who know the USA’s political systems better than I do which I’d love to see answered please :

    1) If something (COVID 19? Other health issues?) happens to take both Biden and Sanders out of the Democratic nomination race* would Tulsi Gabbard as the only other contender remaining in the race automatically become the nominee or would others who have dropped out be able to jump in again or what?

    2) More positive scenario here if Trump and Pence were both taken out by, say, COVID 19 and that put Nancy Pelosi into the role of POTUS (which I understand it would do in line of Presidential succession,right? (2b) ) then would or could she then become the Democratic party nominee as well as the incumbent / acting POTUS?

    Clearly both those scenarios are very unlikely but I guess no longer quite unthinkable?

    3) Finally, I don’t want to be age-ist but is it perhaps time -- given health issues, the stress of the job and the age-related cognitive decline issues raised by the likes of problems with Reagun and Trump that there was a maximum age limit imposed for those running for / serving as POTUS say, 65 at oldest?

    PS. 3 b) Oh & just one more thing, has Biden released his medical records yet or been pressure dto do so as I gather Sanders has refused to do?

    * Not necesarily by their deaths but maybe by becoming ill and realising that they cannot do the job?

  62. StevoR says

    Some good points in this youtube clip by here although WARNING swearing and a bit grating at times :

    This is a worry. The Mars Odyssey has been -- and continues to be very useful in our understanding of our small, red neighbouring world & it seems very much a waste and false economy to just end it prematurely when it still has a lot to offer and helps with other missions :

    Its a small thing in the greater scheme of things I know but still.

    Great (if with one flawed set of lines) parody song here :

    that I’ve stumbled on here recently.

  63. StevoR says

    Meanwhile as we focus on COVID 19 -- which, yes, is a real problem and no “hoax:” (Hey, Trump you catch it then tell us how much of a hoax it really is! Please?) :

    FWIW I’ve had a mild cold-y flu- thing lately. Pretty durn sure it isn’t COVID 19 yet personally but been careful to stay at home and not spread it anyhow. Haven’t been tested FWIW & haven’t felt 100% for. too long before this anyhow..

    But then there’s this:

    Which, if we understood the implications & could extrapolate the trend and had an inkling of what it meant would be headline news. But, well, you seen the news headlines today? This one of them?

    We all boned? (Expletives!)

    Oh & how do we “future proof” koalas as their world and their trees burn? As the bush dries up and not that slowly char-broils towards being desert?

    I hope I am being melodramatic here but, given the trends, given the evidence, am I? Read the link, extrapolate from it. Think about where we are heading and, for pity’s sake, work to change it.

  64. Nightjar says

    I went to the supermarket today because I was running out of cat food and a few other things, and I thought that since most people are still working if I went right after lunch things would be calm. They weren’t, the supermarket was full of people. But the shelves are still full, so that’s a good sign.

    But yeah, I think I have everything that I need to avoid the city for a few weeks if needed (the local shops here in my village don’t have cat food, among other things). I just have to go to the lab at the end of the week to freeze some bacteria that are in the incubator, everything else I can do from home. And those who can work from home absolutely should regardless of being sick or healthy. It’s not to protect themselves, it’s to protect everyone else. Flattening the epidemic curve saves lives.

  65. StevoR says

    I gotta say there’s no word really other than cute that seems apt for this critically endangered species here :

    Which is Zoro Chilote a.k.a. Darwin’s Fox (Lycalopex fulvipes) which, technically not a fox because zoology is technical? :

    Oh & if you want to know what they sound like? Well, here :

    Yes I went Awww!! No I didn’t know about them until just an hour or so ago either.

    No, I’m sure they don’t make good pets. Wow, do I ever hope these lil’critters make it & survive for futrure generations to know and love and for themselves.

  66. says

    @Anne. The faux coronasomethingflu?

    I guess there are no prizes for guessing.

    A friend of mine is in charge of a small pension/hotel. He thinks about closing it for intermediate time since due to the covid-19 pandemics he has almost no guests anyway. And he, just like me, is in the “susceptible” category regarding this illness.

    We have canceled a trip with my mom to my brother’s birthday. My sister in law works at a supermarket and she wisely decided that it would be better if we cut contact for the time being.

    My parents and their siblings seem to be pretty stoic so far. They all say that they are old, had a good life and that death comes sooner or later anyway -- and that better to die of Covid-19 than of cancer, or crippling dementia. I cannot say I share their attitude, I rather like my parents and my aunts and uncles.

  67. says

    Charly, dingdingding, you win.

    Younger Daughter is at Cal State Fullerton University, and at least one of her teachers is planning to try classes via the web just to be prepared. We’re lucky, she’s living at home already, so if they close the campus she won’t be without resources.

    I’ve been stocking up on groceries, within reason, just in case. Most important, I put in an order with the vet for a month’s--worth of Shadow’s supplements and food.

    I’ve been thinking about my Aged Mum, and being glad she isn’t here. I’d be worried about her, and she’d be driving me wild worrying about the coronavirus and arguing with me about quack remedies and Doctor Oz. Then I feel awful for being glad she’s gone.

  68. says

    Kitty just emailed me -- Cal State is going to online classes as much as possible. Her evening class tomorrow will be online.

    Last night AT&T had massive problems and we had wonky internet for several hours. This is going to be interesting, for some values of interesting.

    And IMPOTUS is currently pontificating. I am not reassured.

  69. StevoR says

    @ ^ chigau (違う) :

    Yes. Happy Equinox to you and everyone else here too! :-)

    If it seems to have rushed up on folks, well, it is actually the earliest one in ages as Phil Plait explains here :

    Feels good to get the Dec Solstice -- March Equinox (uneven) “quarter” of this year over with already, personally. Looking forward to cooler weather which is already mostly happening mercifully here. Could really do with more rain though. Also three bright planets -- Jupiter, Mars , Saturn -- and our Moon are currently looking quite spectacular and nice in our morning skies in case people here are awake and outside pre-dawn to see them.

    Incidentally, thinking of what’s in our skies right now it looks like we could just possibly have a nice bright comet :

    Meanwhile, did anyone else never think of trilobites as being potentially really colourful creatures till after seeing /reading this? :

    Which I stumbled on the other day? I wonder if ammonites were also that vividly coloured in real life too?

  70. lumipuna says

    Happy northern spring equinox and southern autumn equinox for everyone!

    Last year I felt so miserable during winter, with my broken arm and the icy walking conditions, that I didn’t even want to register the new year until about late March.

    This winter, the weather conditions have been endlessly muddy and rainy. It’s not the worst kind of weather (slightly further north from here, it’s been icy and rainy) but it gets tiresome after a few months.

    In a previous comment, I brought up the concept of thermic winter. Now it’s almost certain that we won’t get a thermic winter in Helsinki, for the first time in recorded history. There’s been this weird gradual shift from autumn to spring. Plants are starting to sprout at least a month early.

    Today was a brilliant, if chilly day. As I took a walk out at sunset time, it was very beautiful, but also oddly autumn-ish because dark is still coming somewhat early and there’s no snow. Usually, at least some remnants of snow and ice would be around until well into April. My neighborhood has been fairly quiet all day, ususally it’s like this only outside workday traffic hours.

    Now, the weather type seems to have changed from mostly rainy to mostly sunny. I seriously hope there won’t be another hot dry summer, after a miserably dark and wet winter. And (especially if that happens), I SERIOUSLY hope there won’t be a curfew during the brief period of lush greenery during late spring.

  71. voyager says

    I sent you an email message last week, but I haven’t heard back. Did you receive it? I might not have your current email, so if you didn’t get it, would you please let me know. My address is (it’s always on the sidebar)

    Thanks ;)

  72. says

    Today I have plowed and raked the potato bed, all approximately 50 square meters of it. Now I am soooo tired. Heands heavy. Body aches. Sleepy.

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