Power Fantasies

Do you fantasize about murdering random strangers who annoy you when you meet them in a public park? No? Great! Congratulations on hopefully being a sane person and a decent human being.

Yesterday I hit a new milestone in my blogging “career.” I got online death threats for the first time. Yay! Lucky me! Well, sort of. The person (whom I will call Crazy Murderous Daddy in this blog post) didn’t actually threaten to come to Latvia and kill me; instead they wrote a description of a power fantasy about how they would enjoy killing me and my dogs. I always expected death threats due to my blog posts about trans issues, but nope, instead a person got pissed off when I wrote that parents have a responsibility to supervise their kids and teach their kids not to touch other people’s dogs without the owner’s permission. Wow! And here I thought that “parental responsibility” is not a controversial subject. [Read more…]

Plastic Free July

It’s July now. The month in which people are reminded that they could try to reduce the amount of waste they create. Plastic Free July challenge encourages people to refuse single-use plastics in July (and beyond). The idea is that people can experiment with ways how to reduce the amount of plastic waste they create, find great alternatives for disposable goods, and hopefully also develop some new and better lifestyle habits.

What can you do? Here is a list of some basic ideas you can try. And in this blog post I have already written about how individuals can try to reduce the amount of waste they create. Basically, avoid single-use plastic packaging for the goods you buy, refuse takeaway items (plastic bags, bottles, straws, coffee cups), replace single-use items with reusable items (for example, safety razors and glass straws instead of plastic equivalents).

And here’s a picture with a summery of various things you can try to live with less waste:

Live with Less Waste

How to Live with Less Waste

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Summer Solstice Celebration

Summer solstice (Jāņi in Latvian) is celebrated on 23rd and 24th June where I live. And, yes, I do know that solstice is actually a few days before that. So it goes. Here Jāņi is one of the major celebrations, and some of the traditions, mostly remnants of the good old pagan days, are pretty fun. And somehow Latvian Christians who celebrate what is essentially a pagan holiday do not feel any cognitive dissonance. But hey, it’s fun.

Because of COVID-19, this year there was no large public celebration. Instead everybody had to celebrate at home with their family. Thus this time I will write about how Jāņi are usually celebrated in this part of the world in addition to what we could do this year. [Read more…]

Defining “Women” as “People who Menstruate”

Recently there’s been some talk about periods among Freethoughblogs bloggers. A rather famous TERF wrote some tweets about how women are “people who menstruate.” That’s not correct. It’s wrong to imagine that only women can menstruate (so can trans men and non-binary people). It’s also wrong to say that if you don’t menstruate, you’re not a woman (a lot of women, including cis women, do not have periods for various reasons). Periods are not what defines an individual as a woman. There are various groups of people who have been assigned “female” at birth and identify as women but do not have periods:

–Elderly women.
–Women who have had a hysterectomy.
–Some of the women who have had an endometrial ablation.
–Women who choose to continuously use hormonal birth control.
–Women who are malnourished or very physically active.
–Some women with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome).
–Women with various genetic health conditions.
–Women who were born intersex.

And, yes, of course, there are also trans women who do not have periods either. Welcome to the club! Statistically, trans people are a small minority, thus trans women are only a fraction of all the women who do not have periods. It’s funny how in their attempt to redefine the word “woman” TERFs came up with a definition that excludes so many cis women. Simultaneously defining “women” as “adult AFAB people” and “people who menstruate” is impossible, because both of these groups of people overlap only partially. [Read more…]

Police Violence: It Is Not Normal

People have a tendency to imagine that whatever is happening around them is normal. They get used to how things are and don’t always think about whether something could be done differently. I have recently heard a few American citizens insisting that cops need to be tough on crime or else the society will collapse. Or that cops need to shoot suspects or else innocent people will die. And here I am, living in a country where police officers do not routinely shoot or beat up suspects, where citizens aren’t scared or wary of the very people who are supposed to protect them. And no, just because cops are capable of restraining themselves and not acting like murderous monsters doesn’t mean that crime is rampant in Europe. Personally, as a European, I perceive the overwhelming violence perpetrated by American cops as unbelievable and horrific. [Read more…]

Realizing that I am the weird one

People have a tendency to imagine themselves to be normal. Moreover, unless they have strong evidence suggesting otherwise, they also tend to imagine that other people think, feel, and behave similar to themselves.

It took me many years until I realized that majority of people differ from me in various ways. As a child and later as a teen, I didn’t realize that my experiences were not the same as those of other people. Instead, I rationalized their (from my perspective) weird behaviors and sought excuses for why they did all those odd things that made no sense for me. [Read more…]

Recipe: Sorrel Soup

Sorrel soup is a very common food in Eastern European cuisine. Another name for this soup is “green borscht,” but I’ll stick with the name “sorrel soup,” because in Latvian “skābeņu zupa” means literally “sorrel soup.”

Personally, I dislike throwing out anything that a human body can digest, which is why I regularly make various foods from ingredients that other people tend to deposit inside the trash container. Not only animal muscles, but also their bone marrow, cartilage, skin, fat, blood, and organs are edible, and can be turned into extremely tasty dishes. Today I will share my favorite recipe with animal bones as one of the main ingredients.

sorrel soup

Sorrel soup.

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How Doctors Harm their Patients by Prescribing Placebos

When it comes to human attempts to improve their health, placebos are among the most commonly used treatments. “Alternative medicine” consists of nothing but placebos. For example, acupuncture doesn’t actually work; instead it makes the patient feel better, because of the placebo effect—they expected that there must be some improvement, thus they feel like they have gotten better.

Unfortunately, it’s not just practitioners of alternative medicine who routinely prescribe placebos. Even in legitimate clinics you can get placebo prescriptions from people who are supposed to be legitimate doctors. Since placebos can make a patient feel better, somebody might ask what the harm is. Why can’t legitimate doctors prescribe some placebo to a worried parent whose child has a cold? After all, it will make the parent feel better while they wait for the cold to end. Unfortunately, carelessly prescribing unnecessary pills can result in serious negative consequences. [Read more…]