1. dongiovanni (Now onto Wagner) says

    It’s quite alright, and I’ll keep an eye on the language I use in future. As you can see, my social skills leave more than a little to be desired, so apologies again if I’ve done anything else unpleasant.

    My condolences to Mellow Monkey, and I hope that things look up soonish.

  2. ajb47 says

    I know I’m late to the party but some of the subject hits close to home…

    re D&D (Tabletop) Sex

    Started with D&D back in 1978? 79? (I admit that I don’t feel like doing the math for when I started JR high — when I started). As a DM, I spent most of my time with pre-written modules, and the stuff I did myself followed the modules I had read — meet someone in town, get hired to go into the dungeon, kill monsters and take their stuff, profit.

    The first time I ran into the sex problem was when someone who didn’t usually run a game wanted to run one. I spent most of my time running games for almost all of my RPG career, so when someone else had an idea, I was happy to let them run with it. There had been a couple of fun games following that formula. ANd then there was this one, which had fun parts, but the guy… Well, he is possibly the strangest guy, or maybe the most dichotomous I have ever met. He is at once the most immature and very mature person I have ever met. Having played more with him, I know that he just plain didn’t think through his plan, but at the time (he was in his late teens at the time)… Three PC’s caught by the (stereotypical) evil sorceress, and she says, “I’ll let you go, but when I catch you again, you have to have sex with me.”

    Yeaaaahhhh. No. The campaign fell apart once I pointed out what that amounted to.

    We don’t generally have sexual relations “on screen” as it were. Romance happens, and there is a fade to black when things get physical. Especially at the table. My group had been all guys until my wife joined us anyway. I’ve been playing with the same guys for at least 15 years now, so we don’t have problems in that area.

    Besides what was written earlier in this thread, I have read tales on forums of crap like that happening, and I just wonder how some people come the idea that “This is fun.”

  3. rq says

    Mellow Monkey
    *soothing hugs*, although I know there is little to be done with a migraine. I hope it passes soon – five days is torture!

  4. says

    Good morning

    *gentle hugs* MM

    This is “our” place and it’s pretty new, since we’re not a traditional region for that kind of stuff. It’s not like I believe in most of the ridiculous health claims, but it’s really a gorgeous place to relax.
    It’s also a place totally free of any body shaming. No mirrors at all.

    Sex in RPGs
    Well, we usually don’t go into details. With my former character the routine would be that she’d pay for a bunk bed in the common room of a tavern and then look around and decide which gentleman would have the pleasure to invite her to his single room for that night. She saved a lot in expenses. It was also a reliable way to introduce NPCs and plots.
    We also had violence and bad things happen to characters, but usually either in agreement with the player or simply by saying “OK, you take X damage and you’re in a bad shape…” and then the player can decide what they are ok with and what not.
    What I’ll totally not have and what hasn’t ever happened is gratitous sexual violence against female characters, especially as a way to “punish” male characters. Because we all know that threatening some guy’s love interest with rape is totally about the guy, he’s the real victim here….

    Something that came to my mind: Have you tried giving him lactase? Maybe he’s lactose intolerant, which can upset the digestive system a lot…


    light ranting
    Could parents (I’m pretty sure present parents are not meant by this) please teach their sons some manners?
    It really struck me over the last two weeks that usually when you notice some kids being really loud and disruptive it’s boys, and their parents are standing next to them doing nothing.
    Really, it’s not raising my girls to be passive objects if I teach them some respect for other people’s ears and personal space

  5. says

    Yeah, never mind the woo claims about the aromas and the toxins and crap. It just feels good, and the non-body-shaming thing was one of the things I loved totally BEST about Germany and Germans. There’s an easiness about nudity and non-gendered bathrooms and sex shops/Poofstrasses that is just really positive and, I think, pleasant to be around, compared to the more usual experience in low-clothing environments in much of North America or the UK.

    And the saunas/plunge pools/swimming pools/solaria are really nice in themselves, even leaving aside all the woo. For all their much-reputed seriousness and scientism, Germans are also quite happy consumers of woo of all sorts, at what I’d view as a California level of engagement, from a NAm point of view. But saunas in a non-body-shaming environment are a serious level of luxury. I’d really like to be able to get back there now that I’m a lot more comfortable being nude than I was when I was younger, when I was publicly misgendered in a way that being naked would only have made more awful for me.

    Giliell, I’m struck by the prices, they’re much better than I expected, especially for a new facility. Also got a better idea of roughly where you are, that’s kind of cool. Not so awfully far – for a North American point of view, though I’m well aware that’s quite different than the local perspective – from where I was, back in the day. Beautiful country, I did a fair bit of cathedral-sketching in that region.

  6. rq says

    re: parenting boys
    Yup, I feel you – we’ve been pretty insistent that the boys learn common decency towards other people, even at a young age. It’s not always easy, they don’t always remember, so it’s a constant work in progress, but I hope we’re never caught standing around doing nothing if they’re being particularly rude and disruptive (although it may happen sometime).
    That being said, some parents are just exhausted from dealing with their kids on a constant basis – one of Eldest’s friends is (still) having trouble adjusting to his younger sister, who has had a lot of health-and-stress issues (no confirmed cause) and therefore a lot more parental attention and what could be perceived as special treatment (though the parents do their best and a lot of the possessive attitude from the sister is due to habit). Anyway, he’s often loud and disruptive and a bit of a ring-leader, and I know that it’s exactly the same (if not worse) when they’re at home, so I can perfectly understand that the mother, in public, just doesn’t have the energy to deal with it sometimes. Last time I asked her how they were doing, she nearly broke down in tears. So. It happens.

  7. blf says

    Potatoes sliced, chopped, hashed, whatevered, and cooked in duck fat is extremely tasty, despite the duck’s objections. Add chilies, garlic, échalote (shallots), and, of course, bacon. And MUSHROOMS! And the duck, despite its objections.

    Alternatively, there are various cheese and potatoe dishes. Omit the potatoes for better flavour. A very tasty example is Tartiflette
    (there is a recipe in the article I originally linked to (I haven’t tried that particular recipe but it looks very similar to what I do)).

  8. rq says

    Texts from my dog. hehehehehehehehe!

    And yes, the combination potato/cheese is best with as little potato as possible. For most recipes, double the recommended amount of cheese and omit potato for best results.
    If you must keep the potatoes, then quadruple the cheese. And butter, while you’re at it. Yummmmm…

  9. says

    Consent Panties?

    A little over a year ago, the “Pink Loves Consent” campaign took the internet by storm. It appeared as though Victoria’s Secret had launched a new line of underwear displaying messages like “No Means No” and “Ask First,” and a lot of people were really excited that the company was taking such a strong feminist stance. But the campaign ended up being too good to be true. It was a prank spearheaded by the group FORCE: Upsetting Rape Culture — a creative tactic to get people talking about sexual assault prevention.


    Amulya Sanagavarapu, a college senior in Canada, is working to raise $150,000 for her line of consent underwear, which includes both women’s and men’s styles. The panties proclaim messages like “Consent Is Bootyful,” “Ask First,” “Talk To Me,” and “Not That Guy.” She was inspired directly by FORCE’s prank.

    I like this idea.

  10. dicerosbicornis says

    Yo horde,
    I don’t comment much/at all but lurk from my mobile (curses tiny touch keyboard). I have a request for y’all, if’n you don’t mind…because this thread is always a source of…stuff. Inspiration, information, thoughts and teachable moments. The regular lounge commenters include some pretty amazing people. I have learned much here over the years.
    My request: I’ll be traveling to Israel in the spring with a small group. Where can I find good historical information that will help me learn enough about the “the holy land” to appreciate it from the non-beliver’s perspective? (I’m pretty sure I’ll be the only atheist in this group, and probably the only one not particularly wowed by “Jesus was born/lived/walked/died here.”)
    I’ve asked around a bit for advice from the folks I know in meatspace, but “read the Bible!” is really quite unhelpful. Are there good, readable accounts of the history of the area that anyone here could recommend?

  11. says

    Yes, I think for American standards that counts as “just around the corner”. For our European ones, not that much. And us people in this very small state are even worse because, well, I can reach two different countries within 50 miles :)
    I actually was in Baden Baden once!
    For US Americans I usually tell people “half an hour away from Ramstein”, because everybody knows Ramstein (the air base, not the band)
    And yes, the prices there are OK. We’re not a traditionally rich or touristy region, so they have to gear their stuff towards more regular people who come back.

    Believe me, I’m pretty sympathetic towards being perma-exhausted. But I think there’s a limit when something that is meant to be a shared space becomes unusable for less aggressive or smaller kids. It#s also something that teaches boys that those who can’t stand this are losers and that they themselves have to be tough guys and if you’re tough enough you get what you want. Not good.
    And it’s also hard to believe that those really bad times somehow happen to families with boys 95% of the time and that they are all just having a very bad day.
    I know it is hard and it’s unfair, and I’ve cried about it, but yes, sometimes being a parent just sucks. It means that now you’re going to miss out on the one thing you’ve been looking forward to all week/month/year because you have to remove your out of control children from the situation. But the good news is that this usually only happens two or three times until they understand that yes, you expect a minimum of decent behaviour in public. The girls didn’t become a pleasure to go out with* all by themselves or by virtue of having two X chromosomes.

    *seriously, I rather go out with them than stay at home, they’re much better behaved in public

  12. rq says

    Yeah, I understand.
    I also understand this:

    seriously, I rather go out with them than stay at home, they’re much better behaved in public

    (At least until they reach that point of over-exhaustion where their little brains just shut down.)


    Two ferrets and a kitten.

  13. blf says

    consent underwear … panties proclaim messages like “Consent Is Bootyful,” “Ask First,” “Talk To Me,” and “Not That Guy.”

    I mostly don’t get this. Not the message — of course I get the message — but the placement. Take a stereotypical violent rapist, he (probably) has pinned her (probably) down and is removing assorted items of clothing, and he finds her panties say “‘No’ meas NO” and… “Oh, right. Sorry, I though all the screaming meant you was jusr a playful ‘no’. But your underwear is correct, so I’ll be leaving now. Bye!”

    (I am well aware a high precentage of rapes are not of that sort, but I don’t see how that affects my point / puzzlement / misunderstanding.)

    Does this proposed underwear have special ninja cooties or something?

  14. says

    That’s probably also something you only learn the hard way: Those 10 min you get when they are still happy and awake but will totally break down if you don’t leave NOW.

    I have a confession to make.
    It will probably cost me my evil feminazi card.
    I like things that sparkle.
    Many things can be greatly improved if you add afewhundred hotfix christals

  15. rq says

    Noooooooooooooo… First Dana Hunter, now you! Feminazi cred, gone… forever… *dying gasp*

    As for the ten minute limit… Haha, yes, we have learned to identify it, and have learned to resist staying ‘five more minutes’ even when friends insist, because it just ends that badly. It’s a bit of an art, a bit of a learned skill, but we have it (mostly) down. Mostly. :)

    I think it’s more to counter these sorts of slogans on panties. (Here’s some more, with some repetitions.)

  16. dongiovanni (Now onto Wagner) says


    Simon Montefiore wrote quite a good book about Jerusalem, with the title being the same. Beyond that, I have no ideas. Also, I know it’s annoying, but a good academic commentary on the bible might not be a bad idea, if only to help cut through the bullshit.


    Indeed. I would also note that potatoes roast up really well when coated in duck fat, and thence are excellent with roast… well, anything that has been roasted. Preferably with a lot of garlic and herbs and mayhap some sweet potatoes and onions.


    Currently having a breakfast consisting of tea and brioche with raspberry preserve while listening to a Handel oratorio. I think I’m doing this atheism thing wrong.

  17. rq says


    Currently having a breakfast consisting of tea and brioche with raspberry preserve while listening to a Handel oratorio. I think I’m doing this atheism thing wrong.

    As long as you’re not enjoying any of the above, I think you’re still angry, aweless and unappreciative enough to remain atheist. :)

  18. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    And who the heck has breakfast at 11.15 PM???

    Early birds. >.>

  19. rq says

    2.54 AM or PM? AM or PM?? So much hinges on this answer…!
    (Mine says PM… That’s a bit late, for breakfast. Or, again, way too early.)

  20. says

    Rich people are being persecuted. Mitt Romney was right! /sarcasm

    Seriously, billionaire Tom Perkins thinks that persecution of the rich is so bad that he compares it to how the Jews were treated by Nazi Germany:

    Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its “one percent,” namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the “rich.”

    From the Occupy movement to the demonization of the rich embedded in virtually every word of our local newspaper, the San Francisco Chronicle, I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent. There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them. We have outrage over the rising real-estate prices which these “techno geeks” can pay. We have, for example, libelous and cruel attacks in the Chronicle on our number-one celebrity, the author Danielle Steel, alleging that she is a “snob” despite the millions she has spent on our city’s homeless and mentally ill over the past decades.

    This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent “progressive” radicalism unthinkable now?

  21. says

    Yes! Same-sex couples, and hetero couples, will be married during the Grammy Awards.

    Producers for Sunday’s Grammy Awards are hoping the biggest show-stopper of the night will be the an on-air wedding of 34 couples — gay and straight — during a live performance by hip-hop duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis of their Grammy-nominated song “Same Love.”

  22. David Marjanović says

    This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent “progressive” radicalism unthinkable now?

    I must say I’m impressed.

    Anyway, link dump:

    Editor of Scientific American writes thoughtless pro-circumcision article, citing the Wall Street Journal instead of the bad study the WSJ cites. Doesn’t seem to know there’s a world outside the US. Is taken apart in the comments but never enters the discussion.

    Complete genome sequenced from 7000-year-old wisdom tooth root shows man from spain had blue eyes but “darker [skin] than any modern European”. BTW, the blue eyes are not as much of a surprise as the article says – the mutation was already thought to be 6000 to 10000 years old.

    Nation’s Veterans Demand Farmland In Gaul

    Baby moray eels!

  23. says

    The latest amusing take-down of rich guys who help rich guys has been posted by Matt Taibbi.

    Excerpts below:

    […] If you don’t remember Kashkari’s name, you might be excused – he was actually better known, in his 15 minutes of fame five years ago, as “The 35 year-old dingbat from Goldman someone put in charge of handing out $700 billion bailout dollars.”

    Now you remember. That guy! Neel Kashkari when he first entered the world of politics was a line item, usually the last entry in a list of ex-Goldman employees handed prominent government and/or regulatory positions, as in, “. . . and, lastly, Neel Kashkari, the heretofore unknown Goldman banker put in charge of the TARP bailout program . . .” […]

    Neel was also the human parallel to the original TARP proposal written by Paulson, which was famously just three pages long. […] The original three-page proposal specified no review “by any court of law or any administrative agency.” […]

    So Kashkari takes the job as bailout czar and starts hurling fistfuls of cash at the banks, in a fashion that turned out later to have been beyond haphazard. Critically, even though the Treasury promised only to give out TARP funds to institutions that were “healthy” and “viable,” Kashkari had no protocol in place to even decide whether a bailout recipient was solvent or not.

    […] Maryland congressman Elijah Cummings raked Kashkari over the coals for allowing AIG executives to give themselves $503 million in bonuses. […]

    After this “chump” episode, and others, Kashkari apparently became despondent. He and his wife reportedly were particularly upset by a snickering item in Gawker. The item read, “Financial Crisis Taking a Toll on Our Favorite Asshole Banker,” and made the neatly cruel observation that that Kashkari, who was a fit/lean/bald banker of Paulsonian persuasion when he arrived in Washington, had begun “putting on classic stress-related weight under his chin.”

    The item featured before and after photos. The “after” photo was shot from just below chin level. It was brutal. […]

    The Washington Post actually tracked Kashkari down in the woods after the bailouts. They photographed the tiny shed he’d built for himself in Nevada County, California. They were shown the incredible list-of-things-to-do he’d written on his way out of Washington. I have to keep repeating this, but this isn’t a joke:

    1. buy shed
    2. chop wood
    3. lose twenty pounds
    4. help with Hank’s book […]

    Neel Kashkari was the administrator of the biggest corporate welfare program in history, took shit for it (“Beating on the Hill,” he would pencil for certain times in his calendar), went into the wilderness to get his mind and body right after the experience, then re-emerged to take a high-paying job with a company that was a significant beneficiary of government largesse. […]

    Taibbi goes on to point out that Kashkari has been lecturing poor and lower middle class people, telling them not to accept government aid, turn down those entitlement programs for your own good. Welfare for the rich is okay, I guess, but not for the poor.

    The clincher, this doofus Kashkari guy is running for Governor of California. Kashkari’s favorite phrase is “free markets.”

  24. cicely says


    Besides what was written earlier in this thread, I have read tales on forums of crap like that happening, and I just wonder how some people come the idea that “This is fun.”

    It’s the same ol’ set of cultural expectations, coupled with inadequate education on Biology & You: Sex!
    We don’t do RPr0nG, either; but sometimes those Random Encounters get unexpectedly Random.

    rq, I *snortled* at the Texts From My Dog—then posted it to my Facebook.

    Giliell, it’s all part of the “boys will be boys!” approach to social conditioning. Those parents are seeing their expectations [“vindicated” is not quite the word I want here, and neither is “fulfilled”—but something along those lines. Maybe “reinforced”?].

    Many things can be greatly improved if you add afewhundred hotfix christals

    Or the equivalent in glitter, depending on the medium.

    Hi, dicerosbicornis; Welcome In!
    Enjoy the trip.


    Currently having a breakfast consisting of tea and brioche with raspberry preserve while listening to a Handel oratorio. I think I’m doing this atheism thing wrong.

    Can’t see why; the tea, brioche and preserves are religion-neutral, and a lot of incredible art has been done with religious themes…just as a lot of incredible art has been done without religious themes.
    Art is a neutral tool.

    “Wheeeen an eel rushes out
    And it bites off your snout….”


  25. says

    I had a short conversation at work about making fun of people with mental disabilities. One server was making a “joke” about people with Parkinson’s and tried to cover his ass by saying he has several family members with Parkinson’s Disease, so it was all ok. He wandered off too quickly to get the initial part of my response, but another server (A) and I chatted for a few minutes. A agreed with me that joking about mental disabilities is not cool…that even if he and his family members have laughs over it, that one should not think that makes it ok to joke about PD to anyone *outside* of those family members. As one doesn’t have a way of knowing who has a particular mental disability, it’s best to not make those jokes to begin with. He wandered back into the conversation around the time I mentioned that just b/c some black people are “allowed” to use n****r, doesn’t make it right to use it.

    The chat between A and I morphed into a humorous story about training oneself to avoid gendered pronouns. I told her something I’ve never told anyone before (not a big deal, but I find it amusing). Recently I found myself startled by a mouse. As I tried to corner the litter critter to bring it outside, I repeatedly caught myself calling it “little fella” or “here boy” (yes, I was talking to the mouse). Even though it’s just a mouse I’ve found it helpful to correct myself whenever I default to male pronouns to get out of the habit of doing so.

  26. rq says

    I’ve found it helpful to correct myself whenever I default to male pronouns to get out of the habit of doing so.

    Actually, I recently had the exact same thought, I think about bird-watching. Only about Latvian, which is a severely gendered language, and there was still no real excuse, besides habit, for defaulting to a male pronoun.

    You should stop doing that.

  27. dongiovanni (Now onto Wagner) says

    That raises some interesting questions. Do you think that the language one speaks influences how one thinks?

    And yes, I really should.

  28. blf says

    [Does] the language one speaks influences how one thinks?

    By “language”, do mean Englisch (Anglais, English), French (Français, Französisch), Allemand (German, Deutsch), etc., or, as one example, the possibly inappropriate use of gender? (Or both?)

    And if you mean English, et al., do you mean yer native language(s), or do you also include those you have learnt (voluntarily or not)?

    In any case, what about mute people? And/or deaf people? Or, perhaps, people with severe a stutter? Broadly, they don’t “speak” the same as most of the community, despite understanding the same language.

    More speculatively, what about some animals, e.g., whales and similar: They seem to have self-awareness, a languagge of sorts (which mutates over time and is recognized by others). I think there is plausible evidence they communicative, albeit at what level, I have no idea. Maybe just at the level of “Hi, I’m Fred”, “Danger! Mildly deranged penguin spotted! Swim away! Swim away!”, and “So long and thanks for all the fish”, or perhaps something else. Whalespeare, anyone?

    I myself suspect “both” (English and how you spake her), and also “both” what you consider your own native language and those you have non-trivial exposure to (whether or not you “know” or are fluent in them), do have an influence on “thinking”. So does the community around you and how it speaks (my own Ingerlish has definitely changed, and I don’t mean in terms of accent, as a result of my time in various places in Europe — as have my attitudes and similar, albeit aging and experiences also probably play a role here). Disentangling the effects of culture from those of language is an issue…

  29. opposablethumbs says

    Do you think that the language one speaks influences how one thinks?

    Absolutely. All the (many) Horders who function in more than one have probably noticed first-hand that one’s personality is different (sometimes subtly, sometimes less so) in different languages, and that certain ideas and attitudes come more easily to one than another. And that’s before getting into the mental habits that accompany and are fostered by using one kind of language rather than another. There’s a reason why we don’t care for things like “don’t be such a little girl/old woman about it” and “man up” !

  30. opposablethumbs says

    PS sorry, totally ‘rupt. Really chaotic couple of weeks. Huge pile of hugs to any Horders as would care for ’em!

  31. rq says

    Do you think that the language one speaks influences how one thinks?

    Yes, definitely. dongiovanni and opposablethumbs actually said most of what I was thinking. I would also like to add that the way we structure our sentences and how well we are able to do that changes the way we prioritize our thoughts. Not necessarily the big ones, but it’s just a matter of being conscious of what comes first / with what ending in a sentence, and, in a particular language, keeping those things foremost in our minds. Switching languages often requires alternating between these sorts of priorities. In the long run, I think that yes, it can also influence overall ways of thinking – but that is no excuse for bigotry or discrimination, because those ideas are bigger than language.
    (One rather bad example, with respect to genderised language, is my experience with both Latvian and English. English has the ability to present things in a non-gendered fashion, while Latvian does not, at all. In English, I try to think in terms as neutral as possible, while attempting to remain conscious of automatic default genderisations, as with the birds above. In Latvian, however, I have no opportunity to think in neutral terms – so, it’s a matter of reminding myself to either alternate between ‘default’ genderizations, or to constantly think in terms of both s/he, either/or, right off the bat. It’s a bit weird to explain it, but it does require some effort in the language shift, especially when switching back to English and realizing that I’m defaulting to male pronouns again. Because habits and dying hard.)

    *hugs* and how’s the visit going??

  32. opposablethumbs says

    *hugs back*, rq! It’s lovely, but also aaaaaaaargh!!!!!! at the same time :-)

    I do love this relative very dearly indeed, but oh my we really do not see eye to eye about some things! :-D

  33. rq says

    As long as it’s bearable! And of limited time. ;) (I find most things are bearable if I know that, and when, they will end.


    Seriously, the universe is joking with me again. Last week I looked at the laundry hamper, and decided I could afford to not wash anything this week, since it was (surprisingly) barely half-full. Yesterday, I decided to get a bit of a head-start on things, and put some towels in to wash (not even anything important, like socks and underwear)… And now the godsdamned washing machine broke down. I’m 90% sure it’s only the drainage filter clogged again, but by jove, I hate flooding the bathroom floor for no real reason.

  34. yazikus says

    So Ukraine.

    rq, do you ever read Natalia Antonova? She is a journalist/blogger who has an interesting perspective on the whole thing.

  35. rq says

    I haven’t, all I get here (I admit, I haven’t been searching for other stuff!) is the whole fear-of-Russia bit, and how current events in the Ukraine will influence our politics with Russia (apparently, not all that much…).
    I’ll take a look at her stuff, thanks for the recommendation!

  36. Dhorvath, OM says

    Do you think that the language one speaks influences how one thinks?

    As an English only speaker maybe I am not quite understanding the question. At the least, I am immersed in a variety of environments, each with their own rules and expectations regarding language. Words and sentence structure that make waves in one part of my life wouldn’t raise comment elsewhere. But, within that context there is feedback in both directions. How I think influences the language that I use, and the language that I use has it’s impact as well.
    Perhaps more importantly, when trying to give voice to an internal thought or opinion which I have not found adequate wording for, I am quite sure that producing some manner of verbal description overwrites what I thought before. This happens constantly, language is the rivercourse that my thoughts must pass through to be shared with anyone else; when used carelessly language builds the banks in unexpected fashion, but it is also the tool I must use to divert my thought’s course.

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

    Do you think that the language one speaks influences how one thinks?

    As Dhorvath pointed out, it’s a two-way street.

    More and more often I think in English rather than in Croatian. When it comes to certain topics that I almost exclusively discuss here, my mind defaults to English when I start thinking about them. Example is gender equality. I’ve also widened my English vocabulary on the topic, but lack vocabulary in my own language. There’s the fact that we simply don’t have adequate expressions for some things, and that those we use are anglicisms so I might as well go back and use the original word instead of a differently pronounced abomination.

    I can also express myself better in English, even in my thoughts.

    (I’m spending too much time here? Gee, you think?)

    Back to gender equality. I have a similar problem to rq. I can’t not use gendered language in Croatian, but now I’m aware of all the ways my language is also unnecessarily gendered (like defaulting to masculine pronouns when the person’s gender is irrelevant or unknown).
    But I think I owe that to the education I got here rather than the language it was conveyed in.

  38. says

    It’s an impossible task, but we have to try to keep up with eruptions of whackitude from the far-right ragged edges of the Republican Party. Our latest eruption is courtesy of a Michigan Republican National Committee member, Dave Agema. He’s so offensive on so many levels that some Republicans have called for his resignation. Of course, others have cheered Agema on.

    Highlights from Agema eruptions:

    […] President Barack Obama is a practicing Muslim who secretly sired a bastard; Muslims have never made positive contributions to the fabric of American life and society; endorsing the oppressive laws of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime, which supports “arresting political opponents, censoring reporters, jailing dissidents and eliminating free speech”; and gays and lesbians are responsible for the majority of murders in the United States. […]

    Agema has also said that he is being attacked for telling the truth, just like Jesus. Bryan Fischer loves Agema and is spreading the bigoted rants.

    Right Wing Watch link.
    Daily Mail link.

  39. blf says

    It is claimed that if the cheese is inside, and the mildly deranged penguin is outside (whenever she finally turns up), then the cheese might be safe. This explains the high price, Jurassic Park velociraptor cage proves meaty fare for eBay users: “Bids on film prop at $99,500 and counting as eBay users look to snap up memento of 1993 dinosaur blockbuster”.

    I rather doubt that hypothesis. Just because she’s an ex-dinosaur doesn’t mean a dinosaur-proof cage will slow her down…

  40. says

    More whackitude from the far-right id, this time courtesy of the irony-meter-pegging Ted Cruz:

    […] “Throughout the government shutdown I opposed a government shutdown. I said we shouldn’t shut the government down, I think it was a mistake that President Obama and the Democrats shut the government down this fall. […]

    “Right now the Democrats are telling you that they want another shut down, because they think it benefits them politically. Why is it hard to understand that they forced the shut down when they think it benefits them politically.”

    Eventually, a slightly confused Schieffer asked, “Senator, if you didn’t threaten the shut down the government who was it that did?”

    The fact that the host seemed mystified was understandable; few politicians can convey up-is-down assurances with the kind of condescending certainty that Ted Cruz offers.

    In the same interview, Cruz said it would “irresponsible” for the nation to simply pay its bills without far-right goodies attached. He went on to say President Obama ought to use the State of the Union to apologize for the Affordable Care Act.[…]

    Right. So Cruz is threatening to shut down the government again if you listen to his “irresponsible” statement. Cruz has argued repeatedly that government subsides that help poor people pay for health care “exacerbate income inequality.” Say what?

    And maybe his previous efforts to shut down the government were actually him channeling Democratic Party goals. /sarcasm

    Here’s my conclusion, Cruz does not intend to make sense. He is fact-free, or anti-fact if you will, because he is aiming to amp up his constituents with direct shots to their primal, thought-free, reason-free guts.

    His constituents reward him for this.

  41. Pteryxx says

    and for something completely different: Tunisia signs new constitution

    The new constitution sets out to make the country of 11 million people a democracy, with a civil state whose laws are not based on Islamic law, unlike many other Arab constitutions. An entire chapter, made up of 28 articles, is dedicated to protecting citizens’ rights, including protection from torture, the right to due process, and freedom of worship. It guarantees equality for men and women before the law and a commitment from the state to protect women’s rights.

    “This is the real revolution. Many democratic constitutions don’t even have that,” said Yahyaoui. “It will have a real impact on the rest of the Arab region, because finally we can say that women’s rights are not a western concept only, but also exist in Tunisia.”

    Tunisia has always had the most progressive legislation on women’s rights in the Arab world and Yahyaoui believes the longer drafting process for the new constitution has made people comfortable with its contents.

    One of the most debated articles guarantees “freedom of belief and conscience”, which would permit atheism and the practice of non-Abrahamic religions frowned upon in other Islamic countries. It also bans incitement to violence and declaring a Muslim an apostate – a fallen Muslim – which leaves them open to death threats. In response, conservative lawmakers insisted “attacks on the sacred” be forbidden, which many see as a threat to freedom of expression.

  42. blf says

    Beijing, we have a problem: China’s first lunar rover, Jade Rabbit, signs off: “Chinese followers express condolences on social media sites as news breaks of rover’s ‘mechanical control abnormality’ on Moon”. Bummer! No reports of any penguin sightings…

    They apparently haven’t noticed the moon is an artificial, an Orbiting Cheese Vault. Well, neither did the Russians or the USAliens, despite some claiming it is made of cheese. How close they are, how close they are, not “made of”, filled with

  43. cicely says

    I’d like to ask a favor, of anyone who is willing to do it; have a look at this for me.
    I want too desperately to believe it…and therefore don’t believe that my own judgement is worth anything, here.
    Think of all the bread products languishing, un-eaten by me.


    As long as that doesn’t include sparkling vampires, your feminazi card is still valid.

    I say it again—if it’s daylight-tolerant, supernaturally beautiful, super-humanly strong/graceful, and sparkles, it ain’t a vampire; it’s some kind of fey.

    *pouncehug* for opposablethumbs.

  44. rq says

    Wow, hooray for Tunisia! That’s a huge step, and it sounds like many good things have been put into that constitution!

    Thanks for all the links on Ukraine! It’s not that I haven’t heard anything about it, but a different perspective is nice… without the local (to my location) spin. Thank you!

  45. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says

    dongiovanni @ 543

    Do you think that the language one speaks influences how one thinks?

    As somebody who has some severe difficulties with audibly received language, I know that my thought process is greatly affected by how I communicate. Even if I’m perfectly capable of hearing and understanding every word someone says, I still can’t absorb the information as easily or readily as I could if it was given visually instead. This is especially difficult with languages other than English, since a lot of the cues I’ve learned for English don’t transfer very well. But I can think in German and read it relatively well–or at least I could before I got all rusty. How confident I am, how quickly I think, how empathetic, etc, are all affected by the difference between visual and audible communication.

  46. blf says

    Awful title (probably a silly subeditor), but&hellkip; High heels? There are better ways of exercising your pleasure muscles:

    Flat shoes may not give you long legs and a pert bum, but at least you don’t end up tottering alongside your boyfriend like Bambi after a shot of absinthe

    … Stilettos are not renowned for their comfort: many a time have I peeled off an elegant-looking pair of heels to reveal a stomach-churning mush of blood, blisters, mangled stocking and mutilated toenail. I have many friends who have lost the nail on their little toe entirely because of repeated stiletto torture.

    Flat shoes have rarely appeared on the catwalk in the last few years so aren’t often featured in fashion magazines: they’re just not trendy. …

    The enduring popularity of high heels can be explained by three simple factors: they give long legs, a pert bum and perceived air of vulnerability. This is the holy trinity of femininity, and heels deal with all three in one 5in statement shoe. …

    Flats, on the other hand, are practical. … The renewed popularity of flats over heels doesn’t just tell us something about fashion; it whispers something important about the role of women in society today. Our skills are rapidly becoming worth more than our ability to decorate the room.

    Yes. This is related to a reason I have trouble with the concept some women feel “compelled” to wear these stoooopid-looking torture devices by the “demands and expectations” of their peers or profession. It helps to not look like a slave to a small-ish and woo-full cabale of “fashion” buffoons. (Of course, appearances shouldn’t matter at all.)


    Of course, most of us (male and female) also want to look good while going about our daily business, and that’s no sin. It’s only when looking good gets in the way of conducting business that it starts to look like a pretty shoe concealing a very ugly concept. That’s why I, for one, will be welcoming the flats of spring with open arms — and unbandaged feet.

    Indeed. And with a bit of hyperbole, What the feck is the difference between feeling compelled to wear a niqāb and a pair of high-heels ?

  47. rq says

    I was under the impression that a lot of the gluten-scare so fashionable among today’s youth was due to the badness of wheat, and the excellentness of the paleo diet – you know, it makes you gain weight in awkward locations, and then you get all sorts of other issues… Unless you cut that bread right out of your life.
    But I’m a bit hesitant to cheer about the article, since it seems to deny the existence of celiac disease at all. It tends to focus on the symptoms, and not physical manifestations of celiac disease, which are (I’m told) quite real. Also, vitamin C has been claimed to cure cancer, to prevent miscarriage, to induce a miscarriage, to clear spots and various other ills. Then the article goes on to compare gorilla vitamin C consumption with that of humans, which makes me a bit iffy on their research skills.
    But I’m no expert. :) This is all pure opinion.

  48. Dhorvath, OM says

    Mellow Monkey,

    Even if I’m perfectly capable of hearing and understanding every word someone says, I still can’t absorb the information as easily or readily as I could if it was given visually instead.

    This resonates. Although for me it’s about ease of second access. Videos are fast becoming the norm in relating new products and service techniques in my field. I don’t learn things at all well in that fashion and often find forty seconds of text provides more utility to my learning than four minutes of video. Where it becomes most evident is when I don’t understand something directly as it is exposed to me; when reading or looking at a graphic I can easily move between segments of information and build my mental model as they allow me. When given the same details by a presenter I am tied to their order of presentation with skipping backwards and forwards becoming cumbersome and time consuming.

  49. Dhorvath, OM says

    I found the split between avoidance and defense bizarre in that article. Not eating something which gives me trouble means that my life is easier to lead. If that’s not defensive, I don’t know.

  50. says

    One of the reasons I don’t like interpreting (as opposed to translating; oral, rather than written) is that it gives me a headache, trying to track what people are saying while also interpreting what they were saying two sentences ago. But also because I just don’t track oral information nearly as well as written.

    I have one client who insists, every time he sends me a project, on going over every detail on the phone. This time is utterly wasted for me, as there’s no way I can take in the level and detail of information he’s trying to give me, and given that this is a graphic design/layout client as much as a language/editing client, detail is crucial.

    So as much as he insists on giving me every detail on the phone, I insist on my not starting the project until he’s recapitulated every word in an e-mail, that I can go over at my leisure, and reorganize the information into a Cait-useful format at my own pace.

    On the “does your language influence your thinking?” question, I’d say…sorta? A little? I tend to believe the evidence for the weak form of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, but with exceptions and carveouts and “oh-but-not-in-this-case”-s. I don’t find that I have any particular trouble expressing any particular idea in any of the languages I’m comfortable in. I don’t believe that any modern/living language is incapable of expressing any humanly-conceivable concept, but certainly some ideas are easier to express in some languages than others, in the sense that, for instance, German has a single word “Schadenfreude” for a concept that requires a phrase to express in English. That doesn’t mean English speakers can’t express the concept, just that it takes more words to do it. Or did, until (as English is famous for doing) we just nicked the word from German and used it as-is*.

    Also, 10 easy things cis people can do to support trans people, for your edification.

    * See the famous aphorism expressed by my local friend and fellow gamer James Nicoll about the purity of English:

    The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.

  51. rq says

    re: interpreting
    Translation-wise, I’d always considered myself to be the reading/text type, but I may have to revise that – this past week I had my first chance to do some interpreting (sitting in the microphone booth and all), and it was surprisingly easy. And fun. And I want to try it again. :) I was surprised (then again, it was between my two easiest languages – English-Latvian and Latvian-English, which I tend to mix and match a la Frenglish when speaking with other Eng-Lat bilingual people). But yeah.
    Otherwise, write it in an email. :) Much easier.

  52. says

    Yeah…I took an interpreting course in a summer seminar when I was in university, to see how I felt about interpreting, and discovered the headache problem. The canonical standard in professional interpreting is to be two full sentences behind your speaker (not in interviews, obviously, but speeches and such), and to stay that way. So, speaker says Sentence1, then S2, and when they start S3, you’re still taking in the new stuff while now producing S1 (and listening to S3). And so on.

    There’s a reason that UN interpreters work on a two hours on, two hours off schedule. It’s well-paid because it’s exhausting, and much the worse for a serious introvert like me.

    I can do it, I have done it; I’ve had five different Russian interpreting gigs of 1 day or longer, and a couple of shorter German ones. French is so easy to come by here in Canada that I don’t really get much call for it – there is usually someone around who’s better than polyglot-of-all-trades me – but the others have had some exercise in the skills. The Russians weren’t too bad, and were mostly interesting: some museologists from the Battle of Borodino Museum, visiting War of 1812 (US-Britain) sites and museums in southern Ontario and western New York. That one was awesome, because I’m a huge museum buff, and Napoleonic history is my favourite period, especially of military history, followed closely by WWII – and Borodino was a major battle site in turning back both Napoleon and Hitler.

    Then I had three days with Elena Bonner, Andrei Sakharov’s widow and fellow lifelong campaigner for human rights and peace. That was AMAZING. She was a force of nature, just the most personality-presence I’ve ever experienced in a person. Before I met her, I thought people saying that “so-and-so was such a forceful personality that people around them walked like they were heading into a 50-knot wind” were exaggerating for poetic effect. Ms. Bonner taught me that this was in no way an exaggeration.

    There were two delegations of Russian “biznesmen” – this was the mid-90s, when the kleptocracy was in full and open control of Russia, unlike now when they pretend to be holding “elections” and stuff – meeting with important business officials and politicians in Hamilton, where I’d gone to university. That was pretty gross, spending several days having meetings with slimey greedheads that I’d rather have been spitting on than chatting with.

    And the worst, a pair of parasitologists from Siberia, who had come to give a presentation at a conference in Toronto, and with whom I spent an entire weekend being grossed OUT OF MY MIND by slide after PowerPoint after glass jar of the most appalling, disgusting things I’ve ever had the misfortune to encounter. The only up side was that they were two lovely, old-school Russian gentlemen, kulturnij in all the best ways, who were delightful conversationalists and spent an extra two days taking me to art galleries and symphonies and such, after I’d pointed out that being a poor grad student, I rarely had a chance to do so. They stayed on an extra couple of days, postponed their return flights, so as to take me to art galleries and the ballet and symphony concerts. Sure made up for all the horrors, and their delight at the McMichael Gallery and the Group of Seven – whom they said would be right at home in any gallery in Russia, and whose landscape subjects would be instantly familiar to many Russians – was really wonderful to share.

    My two German gigs were both business meetings, mostly meet-and-greets where the actual negotiations would be handled later. Much easier, and somehow a lot less…gross…than the “biznesmen” and their local counterparts had been.

    That’s my tales of the Tage von Riemen und Zwiebeln/дни ремней и луком/jours de ceintures et oignons, as was the style at the time.

  53. Pteryxx says

    cicely, re your link: the article sounds really woo-y and anti-medicine to me (there aren’t any profitable drug regimes for gluten intolerance, so why assume that’s a driving factor? Not to mention massive vitamin C supplements have been a woo-y standby for decades…) However, getting more C and D wouldn’t hurt anything and IMHO I wouldn’t be surprised if they did turn out to help. Gluten intolerance and food sensitivities in general, such as MSG sensitivity, tend to share symptoms with and be exacerbated by stress and other cofactors, including other foods eaten at the same time (and they’re often amenable to placebo effects as well) so hey, why not. I doubt that gluten intolerance can be explained AS merely undiagnosed scurvy, however, because to the best of my knowledge it doesn’t follow the demographics of scurvy – and megadoses of vitamin C beyond the necessary baseline don’t improve human health.

    Dhorvath: but avoiding *gluten* isn’t trivial. It basically means you can’t trust *any* food you don’t make from scratch, including sauces and flavorings and even so-called gluten-free products, on pain of losing a day or more to sickness from any given exposure. That’s easily enough to lose a job. People will routinely skip meals or go hungry in public rather than chance it. I know someone who plans business trips around whether there’s a gluten-free restaurant within walking distance from the hotel, because one contaminated meal means taking a loss instead of profit on the trip.

    The article is citing a research editorial from Elsevier (in English here) about vitamin C mitigation in cultured biopsies from celiac patients.

  54. says

    Right-wing whackitude aimed at Wendy Davis:

    Wendy Davis has done even more to damage modern feminism than Monica Lewinsky playing Human Humidor with Bill Clinton in the Oval Office.

    Wendy Davis stimulates the kneepad economy. And a lot of penises. […] I wonder how many knee pads she went through at Harvard?

    In other news, Wendy Davis took a short break from blowing “campaign contributors” today to condemn remarks made by Mike Huckabee …

    LOL! Nobody has any respect for Wendy Davis. Not even Wendy Davis […] REAL men have respect spineless bitches talk shit online

    Those all all tweets from Todd Kincannon, a former South Carolina GOP operative. Since these tweets appeared, Kincannon’s Twitter account has been suspended. Salon posted the screen grabs.

    In addition to Kincannon, other Republicans have attacked Wendy Davis mercilessly. “Abortion Barbie” and “pathetic” have been used. Davis is the Texas Democrat who stood up for women’s reproductive rights in such a spectacular way that she became a national icon. She is now running a campaign for governor. She is a long shot, but she obviously has Republicans running scared.

  55. A. Noyd says

    blf (#544)

    And/or deaf people? … Broadly, they don’t “speak” the same as most of the community, despite understanding the same language.

    Deaf people don’t necessarily understand the spoken language of their region unless their deafness started later in life, after they started acquiring it. Those without hearing from a young age tend to grow up learning a sign language, making them part of a language minority. (Sign languages are not local spoken languages represented with the hands.) If they do understand any spoken language, it’s because they learned it as a second language. You should look into sign languages and Deaf (w/ a capital D) communities from a linguistic standpoint if you’re interested in this question.


    What the feck is the difference between feeling compelled to wear a niqāb and a pair of high-heels ?

    Well, god says you have to wear the former, so that’s one not-inconsequential difference. It’s one thing to give the finger to the patriarchy and another to give it to the grand patriarch himself, especially in areas where “blasphemy” can get you killed.

  56. says

    How a harrassment policy should work. Having some backup for when I get cornered by the weird tranny-fetishist would make me a LOT more likely to go to cons, as the response in the past has tended to be…less than enormously helpful, let me say in that delightfully understated English style.

  57. rq says

    Really? Two sentences behind? Huh, I was sticking with it the whole way through because that seemed easier. I had to wing it because there was a momentary shortage of actual available interpreters in the afternoon, and I had the best grasp of English and Latvian in the room. I may look into actually taking an interpreting course, though.
    What’s the rationale behind the two-sentence rule? Or is that just convention? Or something to do with sentence rearrangement in languages and the like?

  58. says

    This past year has been terrible for women’s health issues. Mother Jones posted a scary summary, and a handy map of the USA. The state I live in is one of the worst.

    Looking back at the legislative landscape in 2013, you have to give anti-choice lawmakers points for creativity. In South Carolina last year, one male senator managed to introduce six different bills making it harder for women to get abortions. In Arizona, a bill about child therapy morphed into a law that opens abortion clinics up to surprise state inspections without a warrant. In Iowa, a rape victim now needs the governor to sign off on Medicaid funding for her abortion. And in North Carolina, a new “Motorcycle Safety Act” contains more provisions about abortion than it does about motorcycle safety.

    In all, lawmakers in 22 states enacted 70 new provisions that curbed reproductive rights—that’s more new abortion restrictions than there were in any year but 2011. Earlier this month, the Guttmacher Institute, a think tank that supports abortion rights, reported that more new restrictions have passed in the last three years than in the entire previous decade. […]

    Republicans’ sweeping gains in the 2010 elections gave them control of 25 state legislatures, power that was often used to push through abortion restrictions. “One of the biggest trends we saw was politicians running roughshod over the political process,” Borchelt [Gretchen Borchelt, the director of state reproductive health policy for the National Women’s Law Center] says. “We saw that in Texas where they kept calling special sessions to ram through an omnibus abortion bill.”

  59. Dhorvath, OM says

    Fair. I don’t have celiac disease. What I deal with is cumbersome when ignored, but has seldom cost me an entire day of work. I should know better than to project my relatively narrow experience onto a broader topic. My apologies, most especially to anyone here who does have celiac disease, for trivializing the issue.

  60. says

    I’m not sure what the two-sentence rule is in aid of, but I know it was ironclad if you want your interpreters’ certs, or to work at a high level. I think/suspect the idea is to give the interpreter a bit of lead time, so they can work on rendering things at a high level of accuracy, rendering tone and register and pragmatics and so on. With translation, I can generally take my time: I tell people how many words/hour I can reliably do, and that’s how long it’ll take me. With interpretation, you’re on the clock, but the needs for accuracy are supplemented in difficulty by the need to render tone of voice and emotional/bodyparl and so on. So the gap may well be/is likely (this was 25 years ago, mind, that I did my course) intended to allow for the confident production of good target language.

    All I know is, BIG HEADACHES. I’ll stick to text. Much easier for the introvert. :)

  61. cicely says

    It does sound woo-y and anti-medicine-y…but on the other hand, fast&easy cure for scurvy. And what if my apparent problem (not officially confirmed, because testing costs $$$$) with teh wheats isn’t actually a gluten problem? And I don’t trust the links that google up, and I don’t trust my limited knowledge of relevant science, and I reallyreallyreally love bread….

  62. rq says

    How much vitamin C do you ingest on a daily basis? Does it meet or exceed approximate recommended daily guidelines? (Keep in mind there are many sources of vitamin C.)
    If yes, you probably don’t have scurvy. And sadly, I think your love for bread will remain unrequited…

    Interesting. If I ever do take a course, I’ll update you on the new guidelines (if any). Because to be honest, it was easy to do it without the two-sentence gap… Though I don’t know, I know I wasn’t on the speaker(s) word-for-word, even with inflection, tone, body language, emphases… so there’s obviously a natural delay. But. *shrug* I really think it’s to do with the languages in use.
    Anyhoo. Written text, at the end of the day, is less stressful any way you look at it. But I’m itching to try it again sometime. ;)
    (Sorry it gave you headaches.)

  63. Portia, semi-bait says


    I’m not good at deciphering those things. I sympathize with the love of all things bread. I’m avoiding it at the moment, but it doesn’t make me sick. It does make my mom sick. She doesn’t have an official diagnosis either, but has read Grain Brain and treats it a bit like a Babble…

    The point is, *hugs*…sorry I don’t have more to offer.

    I’m a big ball of irrational anxiety today – every little thing.
    I feel stressed out about the Tiniest Possible Role in the play I auditioned for, and feel like rehearsal just doesn’t use my time well – the prospect of going to it is freaking me the hell out and I don’t want to quit for fear of seeming like a flake or a jerk – it’s been like 2 weeks since I accepted the part – the play would not really be affected by my withdrawal since it’s a totally made up part that impacts the plot not at all…why do these things give me palpitations?

  64. Pteryxx says

    cicely: I’m told (by my doctor, actually) that gluten sensitivity testing’s not only expensive, but unreliable, both for false positives and negatives. Even the same patient might get different results on subsequent tests. So, even having the test might not help you manage your life, I’m sorry to say. That just leaves keeping a food/symptom diary and a lot of trial and error. Sometimes switching brands might help… in my experience, cheap bread seems to cause a lot more problems than real bakery bread. And not everyone has an absolute no-wheat-ever level of sensitivity, and cutting way back on gluten can damp the symptoms down for some; maybe having really good bread, but only once or twice a week on a generally wheat-free background, might be more tolerable for you (in both senses) than trying to cut all of it out forever?

  65. Pteryxx says

    Trying to do homework at McDonald’s – how internet access is still out of reach of poor Americans.

    Connection failed

    Even as some schools forge ahead by incorporating computers, many students are left behind due to the lack of connection at home. In a February 2013 survey conducted by Pew Research, College Board Advanced Placement program and National Reading project, 54% of teachers said that all or almost all of their students had access to digital tools such as computer and internet connection at school. Only 18% said the students had similar access to such tools at home. More than half of the teachers of the lowest income students, at 56%, said that students’ lack of resources presents a major challenge to incorporating computers into their teaching. For teachers of students from mostly lower-middle income, that number was 48%.

    Despite understanding that students face limited access, 79% of teachers said they have their students access or download assignments from an online site and 76% have students submit those assignments the same way. Other ways teachers ask their students to use internet include posting their work to a website or a blog (40%), participating in online discussions (39%), and editing their classmates’ work through web-enabled sharing tools such as Google Docs (29%).

    Life without internet access

    Was there ever a time when you felt that you didn’t need internet? When you thought to yourself, “I can go to the library” or has your reason for not getting it always been cost?

    No, it’s always been cost. I’ve never felt like I didn’t need it. Especially when wanting to further my education, I have always felt like I needed it for everything: to log onto college applications or to write your college essay or even to research anything. I’ve never been able to look into anything unless it was on a need-to-do basis, like homework that’s assigned right then and there.

    Did it ever come up in conversation? Do you ever feel judged? Are people surprised?

    They kind of overlook it, [as if] I am just saying it. It probably doesn’t matter to them, because they have internet. So they don’t …

    … realize how hard it is?

    Yeah. And I am over here [thinking], “But how am I going to print that? And if it’s due tomorrow? But I have to type it first, too?” And everybody is like, “Well …” And I am like, “Can I email it to you and then you print it and bring it back to school?” It’s hard. You don’t want to rely on someone else, and you know you could have it done, but you just don’t have that accessibility to do it.

    Not to mention applying for benefits, healthcare, housing, searching for jobs, applying for jobs…

    What about applying for unemployment?

    I haven’t, but I do think of it when I’ve gone over six months and then left my job, and then I think,”Ok, well I need to just rush and go find [a job].” I know for the unemployment process, you have to go online even after the first time, and you have to go online and register [to claim weekly benefits*]. I’ve seen people do it. And I’m just like, if I had to do this, I would be shit out of luck. I would have no way to control it and maintain it.

    [*While one can initially apply for Unemployment Insurance by phone, the New York State Department of Labor websites advises that “it is best to apply for UI online.”]

  66. says

    Two of the same-sex couples that got married last night on the Grammys are from Utah.

    […] “It is magical to have Sir Paul McCartney look at you and touch his heart and say, ‘Thank you,’ ” said Knuth, who alongside Bishop is pursuing a career in musical theater. “These are people we looked up to our whole life.”

    Near Knuth and Bishop, Spencer Stout and Dustin Reeser ­­— who now have the last name of Reeser-Stout — of Salt Lake City also exchanged vows.

    When Stout proposed to Reeser in September with a flash mob in the lumber aisle of Salt Lake City’s Home Depot, he did not know the proposal video would go viral — or that Madonna, Queen Latifah, Mary Lambert and Grammy-winning new artists Macklemore and Ryan Lewis would be in their wedding. […]

  67. Pteryxx says

    bah, I’m not doing talking very well.

    cicely: shorter me, I’d suggest a) there’s probably nothing to the vitamin C theory and b) since you feel this strongly about it, take the darn vitamin C anyway and good luck with it. May it mitigate the betrayal of your comfort food. I’ve invented placebos for myself with less justification than that, and they worked, too. *offers toasty anklehugs*

  68. rq says

    *hugs* for the breadlessness… :(


    Apparently, these are 20 dresses worth dying for (the list is at the very bottom). I like to go through such lists and see how many of the dresses resemble household items – for example, in this case, #2 = curtains; #4 = table-cloth; #6 = lampshade and/or teapot; #11 = ironing board; etc. So if I ever need to recreate any of these fashions, I will know where to go for inspiration.
    (I did enjoy dresses #9 and #17, though… With a soft spot for #1, #3, #10 and #18, and the colour of #8. But I wouldn’t be willing to die for any of them.)

  69. Portia, walking stress ball says

    I love google translate: “20 dresses, which makes it worth going to die!”

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


    (Irrational) anxiety sucks. Can’t really give any advice except that you try and go to the rehearsal if you can. Otherwise:

    I can’t go to French class, I didn’t even open my book since last time.
    But I did write the homework.
    It’s probably all wrong,
    Which I’ll never know if I don’t go to class.
    but they’ll realize I’m stupid.
    Realize? Only now?
    I should go.
    Oh gad, I’ll have to talk.
    And teacher will ask what I did last week. I just worked. That’s all.
    So did others.
    They hate me. I’m boring.
    No one cares. Really.
    OH GOD. No one cares about me!

    and so on.

    Er. That’s, if you talk/think to yourself like I do :)

  71. Portia, walking stress ball says

    But going to rehearsal is the worst thing in the world omg
    that’s just on repeat in my head. It’s not really a conversation, more of a broken record, ha.

    who drags people out in -5°F temps, anyway?!

    I have had a remarkably unproductive day

  72. dongiovanni (Now onto Wagner) says

    Sadly, fast and easy cures tend to not work a lot of the time :(.

    With regards to the language discussion, I speak Polish, which is gendered, but I have quite a limited vocabulary in the language so often have difficulty expressing certain concepts. The few times I’ve visited the country, I get the impression that the way people think and the general culture is quite significantly different from the anglo-saxon culture I’m used to, though how much of that is due to language is questionable. More to the point, I think that I think in Polish and in English in a pretty similar fashion, but that often seems to lead to a significant degree of incomprehension when communicating with native Polish speakers.

    Also, how is the grammar of sign languages structured? Does it generally bear any resemblance to the language spoken in the area, or is it more or less arbitrary?


    The parasitologists sound like a barrel of laughs.

    Also, link to a somewhat amusing image.

  73. rq says

    Rehearsals are always crap. Just wait until you get to performance time! :)
    *hugs* and I hope you go to rehearsal, if for nothing else but to assure yourself it isn’t that bad!

  74. rq says

    Thanks for the awesome hymn lyrics. But, as is often said, you owe me a new keyboard. I was in the process of drinking beer.

  75. Pteryxx says

    CaitieCat #576, thank you SO MUCH for linking that. Harassment policy + training + followup by the con and within the community, resulting in removing a guy who’s obviously (now that the pieces are assembled) a far bigger problem than just one ‘clueless’ or ‘mistaken’ groping. The Harassment Policy Wars were worthwhile.


    Reblogged by Scalzi here: A Convention Harassment Policy in Action

  76. Portia, walking stress ball says

    If it’s not that bad, then I am a dummy dumb dumb for fearing it.
    If it IS, then I’m vindicated but miserable.
    Anxiety disorder also knows which buttons to push, like depression does.
    I know, I am incorrigible.

    Instead I’m going to gobble peanuts from my desk drawer and be glad my 4pm client canceled so I don’t have to pretend to be a coherent adult. Weeeee.

    Need to think up something positive.
    Let’s see….either way, this evening, I get to hunker down with warm tea and snuggle my honey.

  77. says


    Number 6


    At work I’m behind on project B because I was going to work on it after I got project A to a sufficiently advanced point (but interruptions keep delaying completion of A). Just got a call from my supervisor: “Put together a plan for doing B”. So, A is going to further be delayed and thus delay B, because I need a plan for B now. And, I always hate plans that call for estimates on how long it will take to do something never done before. Because, yeah, like I know how long it will take… Which just sends me into a spiral of avoidance, delaying things further…

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

    Today I learned what various heart defects in children sound like through a stethoscope, and how quickly said defects are fatal. That was after the morning lecture, on neurological disorders, which was a refrain of “we don’t understand what causes this, and treatments are limited to palliative care, specifically…”

    This included the tidbit that the #1 proximate cause of death in people diagnosed with Parkinson’s, Alzheimers, ALS, and multiple sclerosis is aspiration pneumonia. That is, the patient inhales something they meant to eat, and dies of the pneumonia that results. The #2 cause of death (except in Alzheimer’s) is suicide.

    Well, that wasn’t depressing at all…

  79. yazikus says

    Thanks for all the links on Ukraine! It’s not that I haven’t heard anything about it, but a different perspective is nice… without the local (to my location) spin. Thank you!

    rq & Pteryxx
    I totally should have linked when I mentioned her writing, sorry rq & thank you Pteryxx!

    I really enjoy reading about your various adventures, thanks for sharing your fascinating experiences and life!

    I am a pretty anxious person in general. If I know exactly that I am in for it is a lot easier for me to deal with. The minute something unexpected comes along I kind of freak out. For about a year or so there were only a handful of places I could deal going to. My grocery store, a tiny frozen yogurt shop where the owner was a closet liberal in my very conservative town, and work. I tried going to a concert with my partner and we had to leave a little bit in, because I just couldn’t take it. I like to think of my house as my ‘hidey-hole’, which is safe and cozy. I’m not nearly so bad now, but I do need a few hours of ‘hidey-hole’ time a week, watching silly shows or whatnot to feel like I can face the rest of it.
    Hugs and I hope you feel better after your evening tea and honey.

  80. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Ugh, temperature at -5 F and heading downward. Should bottom out around -16 to -19 F around 6 am. Fortunately, it will be closer to -10 when I leave for work.
    I think the Redhead is trying to sleep through this cold spot like she did the one three weeks ago. She did request some homemade chili and cornbread for dinner. She bought and froze some HUGE jalapenos before her stroke. I think only one is needed make the chili up to her standards.

  81. says

    The winter weather is making its way to the South.
    Today, we had temperatures in the 60°s F
    Tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday, we have temps in the low 20°s.
    Much precipitation is expected. We’re even supposed to get *snow*.

    In Pensacola, Florida.

    The worst part is that ice is expected to build up on the roads–overnight. People down here are (by and large) unfamiliar with driving in hazardous winter conditions. All schools and universities in this region are closed the next two days. Non-essential government offices are closed too. I’ve heard rumors of bridges being closed too (one such bridge, the 3 Mile Bridge would prevent many people from getting to Pensacola Beach where many businesses are open). I hope the people who get out on the roads are extremely cautious.

    I’m off the next two days, and without a car, I’m obviously not going anywhere. Nonetheless, I spoke with our owners about the possibility of closing the restaurant. I’ve read multiple weather reports, and they all say icy conditions are possible. I really don’t like the idea of making people risk their lives to come to work. They didn’t respond with any concrete answer.

  82. says

    Tony, I hope you can stay safe, and your fellow employees can too. Double-edged sword, of course, because I’d bet some of those wait staff and kitchen workers really need those couple of days’ pay, too. :(

    Universal Basic Income now!

  83. yazikus says

    I’m off the next two days, and without a car, I’m obviously not going anywhere.

    I hope you stay safe and warm and have some good books to read. I just finished Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy, and quite enjoyed it. I’m now reading Thinking, Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman, and it is quite interesting.

  84. says

    Thank you.
    And yeah, that’s definitely a double edged sword.


    I just noticed the addition of Consider the Tea Cosy** in PZ’s sidebar. I’ve only read one blog entry, but I liked it:

    Hi there RTE,

    I would say that I’m not normally one for open letters, but this is the second in as many months. Congratulations- you’re turning a first into a trend.

    I’m afraid, though, that that’s all I can congratulate you on tonight. You see, I’m writing this to express, well, my utter outrage and disgust at the extremely irresponsible and damaging actions of your spokespeople tonight. Specifically? On The God Slot’s Twitter account.

    The God Slot- that’s, as you know, a programme on your very own RTE Radio 1- published this tweet regarding their programme for Friday 17th January:

    The blog is by Aoife O’Riordan*. It’s banner reads “Scepticism, feminism, and queeristry with an Irish bent. Expect occasional knitting, cookery and roller derby. It’s all in bits, like.”

    I see some overlapping interests.

    *what’s the correct pronounciation?
    **I have only heard a tea cosy referenced once: Season 3 Episode 1 of Buffy:

    I don’t want any trouble. I just wanna be alone and quiet in a room with a chair and a fireplace and a tea cozy. I don’t even know what a tea cozy is. But I want one. Instead, I keep getting trouble, which I am more than willing to share.

    (I thought I’d have to dig a little while to find this quote. Boy was I wrong.)

  85. The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical says


    Also, how is the grammar of sign languages structured? Does it generally bear any resemblance to the language spoken in the area, or is it more or less arbitrary?

    I know nothing about the linguistics of sign languages in general, but American Sign Language is a distinct language from American English. British Sign Language is distinct from American Sign Language as well, with only about a third of the signs being the same. It’s definitely not just oral language translated into signs like some sort of cipher.

    This has some information on grammar specifics for ASL. I’d recommend the syntax page, too.

  86. says

    Oh, I could get lost in this. I’ve mentioned I play a fair bit of Football Manager, and I often play in places that are not English-speaking. This means I regularly encounter names whose pronunciation is something I can only guess at; Asian names using non-Latin scripts are a particular issue, because names are the one place no one feels bound to use any particular romanization scheme. Which, fair enough, it’s their name, but it doesn’t make it easier. :)

    And now I find there are, of course, a kajillion videos on “How to pronounce $NAME”. I fucking LOVE living in the future, sometimes. It’s hard to explain to people who grew up post-Internet, how frustrating it used to be, the tiniest things.

    I remember giving an album to a friend of mine (yay vinyl!), an EP import, which was either a song by “Visage” called “The Damned”, or a song by “The Damned” called “Visage”. Neither I nor the friend I gave it to knew which, and there was simply no way to reasonably access that info in 1983. If you could find an address, I suppose you could write to the record company or the band’s management or something, but writing meant “typing out on paper and putting in an envelope with stamps and waiting for six to eight weeks”, not “fifteen seconds with my TwitterGoogle machine”. Certainly not something a bored 17-year-old was going to bother with.

    And no way could I afford a phone call to England. My family did so once a week, for ten minutes, because that was all we could afford to keep in touch with family back home. Making a giant $2.15/hour, I certainly wasn’t going to afford many echo-y minutes waiting on a Transatlantic phone line for someone to answer my question!

    The future sucks in a lot of ways, but it also haz bukketload of awesome, too.

  87. says

    Mildly ‘rupt
    Best of luck with class. If you want someone to read over your French homework before you turn it in, feel free to send it to me. My French is a bit rusty, but 12 years studying it’s got to be worth something.

    L is in a similar boat regarding anxiety. My sympathies.

    * hugs*

    There’s a joke in The Critic. In case you were wondering, a tea cozy is a quilted item which one places over top of a teapot to help keep the tea warm.

    Pteryxx #587
    There’s no good reason not to have civic fiber already.

  88. says

    Ah, thank you. Tea cosy’s sound adorable.



    And now I find there are, of course, a kajillion videos on “How to pronounce $NAME”. I fucking LOVE living in the future, sometimes. It’s hard to explain to people who grew up post-Internet, how frustrating it used to be, the tiniest things.

    I know what you mean. I think it is so cool. When I first started working in restaurants, I was 16. In the 22+ years, I’ve had many conversations about “who sang that song” or “what movie is that from”. Until the last decade, those answers were not conveniently found (at work, anyway). With the advent of smartphones and even easier net access (for those with the privilege of having cellphones or computers), if you have a question about darn near anything you’ll find it somewhere online. Many times, search results come up quickly.

    Love it :)

  89. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I have rum.

    The Redhead has a beer in the freezer for her chili. I, of course, have gr*g.

  90. ajb47 says

    Tony @622

    I’ve had many conversations about “who sang that song” or “what movie is that from”. Until the last decade, those answers were not conveniently found (at work, anyway). With the advent of smartphones and even easier net access (for those with the privilege of having cellphones or computers), if you have a question about darn near anything you’ll find it somewhere online. Many times, search results come up quickly.

    It has been hell on those of us who used to be able to remember all that stuff. Due to the overlapping but varied musical tastes of my parents, my sister, myself and my friends, I used to know “who sang that song” for stuff recorded from the fifties to the late eighties (alright, just a big honking lot of it). It’s mostly gone now because I can just look it up (and because I gave up on radio in favor of my own recordings of things several years ago). Same with TV (I have watched far too much TV in my life).

    And do you want to know what the worst part is? I don’t know what has replaced that mostly useless trivia. Maybe stuff my kids have done? Or tips for my budding photography hobby? Whiskey? It sure isn’t remembering everything I need to buy for the house on the first grocery shopping trip. Or, you know, remembering to write down a list of everything I need to buy for the house on the first grocery shopping trip.

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

    Gross thought of the night: ever wondered how many Scoville units the BM after a spicy meal has? Probably quite a few, I’d think.

  92. says


    Not until you mentioned it, no.

    I pretty much figure if it burns on the way in, it’s gonna burn on the way out. (The “spicy” doesn’t break down in the digestive tract. At all.)

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

    I actually went to PubMed to see if anyone has measured this. I couldn’t find anything, but I did find this paper that appears to feature giving rats hot sauce enemas.

  94. Nutmeg says


    I’m now reading Thinking, Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman, and it is quite interesting.

    I enjoyed the first part of that book, but I got bogged down when it went into economic territory (I know nothing about economics) and I haven’t returned to it. Maybe someday, when I feel like reading a book that makes me work. Usually I don’t feel like that.


    I tried to write coherent thoughts re: anxiety, but this cold is lasting forever, and I’m currently in the major brain fog stage. Coherent thoughts about a complicated subject are just not happening tonight. (Short version: I learned some tricks from a group at school. Some were helpful and some weren’t. Overall I’m somewhat better, but I still do weird shit in my sleep when I get stressed out. The most helpful thing for me is remembering that I can’t trust my own brain when it comes to risk assessment.)

  95. ajb47 says

    Nerd @625

    The Redhead has a beer in the freezer for her chili. I, of course, have gr*g.

    Why the “*”? And I mean that in more than just the ‘Wildcard-You-Could-Use-“?” ‘ sense. I am genuinely curious as to whether the name of the pirate swill is to be somewhat censored for a reason I have never heard or thought of.

    On the other hand, beer in chili was a revelation when I was told about it a couple years ago. I admit to not knowing why it is in the freezer, though. That I have not heard about.

  96. A. Noyd says

    dongiovanni (#596)

    Also, how is the grammar of sign languages structured? Does it generally bear any resemblance to the language spoken in the area, or is it more or less arbitrary?

    It’s arbitrary to a large extent. American Sign Language is very different from English and, I think, more varied. And Japanese Sign Language is SVO or S(V+O) (where the verb and object are combined into one sign) whereas Japanese is typically SOV. However, there’s always influence from the local spoken language in areas where oralism or signed spoken languages were, or still are, imposed.

    And, of course, sign languages can use spatial grammar. For instance, changing where around one’s body a word is signed can have grammatical significance. Or you can sign something in one spot and designate that spot as a sort of pronoun; instead of resigning the word you just point to that spot. Facial expressions are also used grammatically.


    Tony (#613)

    Twilight vamps are real vamps in the same way Zilla was the real Gojira.

    In this Japanese novel I was reading a few months ago, one of the characters commented on the Hollywood version of Godzilla. He used the term “batakusai” (バタ臭い) to express his distaste, which literally means “stinks of butter.” Apparently it’s a not-so-nice term people used to use for Western things.

  97. ajb47 says

    Tony @613

    I just realized…
    Twilight vamps are real vamps in the same way Zilla was the real Gojira.

    Took me a bit to notice this, but (and I’m sorry, I haven’t followed the link yet — I thought of this response first)

    … in the same way Bacchus is Dionysus.

    Been one of my peeves since the mid 90’s when I was taking my Greek mythology and Greek drama courses in college. Accept no substitutes!

  98. chigau (違う) says


    I will fuck dispense with smoking.
    (I knew what you meant. Then I went to format the strike and my mind went elsewhere.)

  99. ajb47 says

    You know, I never really “formally” introduced myself here. The many threads of this Lounge (448) have helped me to decide that maybe I should at this point.

    I lurked mostly because when I first started using Usenet in 1992 when I first went back to college. Netiquette demanded that one lurk on discussion groups and learn/get a feel for how the groups worked. So I lurked here for a long time before posting. I don’t even remember what my first post here was about.

    Anyway. I was a software engineer who has become a stay-at-home dad. With an attorney for a wife, financially the decision made the best sense. I grew up smack dab in the middle class — my dad was a music teacher in the Philadelphia School District. I also grew up smack dab in the middle of white hetero male (middle class) privilege. At the time, it was probably lower middle, but still, as that article says, I started life on the lowest difficulty.

    I found Pharyngula because a Friend on FB posted a link to one of Dr. Myers’ takedowns of the “pictures show life came from outerspace” articles at least two years ago (three? It was still on the network that NatGeo took over). I spent the rest of that day reading as much as I could. I’ve been lurking here ever since.

    I still live in southeast PA, USA. And I have spent the last half hour typing in (and erasing) various thoughts and events from my life that in the end I cannot decide in they matter in the grand scheme of things. I’ll answer questions, as best I can because at the least, my wife needs to remain anonymous for work concerns, if any questions are asked.

    In the end, though, I want you all to understand that I am still learning. White, hetero, male, middle-class (during my formative years). I consider one of the greatest goals of humanity (a meaning of life, if you will) is to keep learning. Never stop learning. Seems simple, but then look at Ed Brayton’s blog entries.

  100. chigau (違う) says

    Welcome in.
    Have some rum and fresh rye bread.
    Nerd will be along soon with grog.
    I’m going to bed.

  101. ajb47 says

    OK, here’s something that just passed through my FB feed:

    A virtual Big Block of Cheese Day. USAns might remember the TV show West Wing, or even go into history for Andrew Jackson’s first one.

    I imagine the current version will result in only platitudes and cliches as they pick the most nebulous of questions to answer. I think Ed Brayton alone would concievably break the whole endeavor with questions of government transparency, and I’m not sure there is not a “mollify the plebs” element to it. But someone putting forth a concerted summary of questions might get something answered.

  102. birgerjohansson says

    Super Bowl Special:
    Ha Ha, “Inspector Brit in Murder By Anglophilia”

    Researchers find ancient plague DNA in teeth
    “Fortunately we now have antibiotics that could be used to effectively treat plague, which lessens the chances of another large scale human pandemic”. Goddamit! Off to the lab for some antibiotic-resistance work.

    Spanish hunter-gatherer had blue eyes and dark skin “The study of the genome suggests that current populations nearest to La Braña 1 are in northern Europe, such as Sweden and Finland”
    Lawsuit! I will now lay claim to Costa Del Sol as my heritage.

    Extraterrestrial Intelligence: The Challenge of Comprehending E.T.’s IQ

  103. says


    Welcome abj47

    There’s also good news in that there’s lots of progress on the heart front. Mr’s colleague’s daughter has one of these rare heart defects. The poor kid spent more time in surgery as a baby than in the bathtub, but now she’s a happy 7 yo who goes to regular school. And there’s no prognosis for her. Because she currently is the prognosis for everybody else with that defect. It’s fucking amazing if you think about it. 10 years ago it meant a dead baby, now it means “it’s totally possible that your child will go to school just like everyone else”.


    *what’s the correct pronounciation?

    Gaelge is pretty fun pronounciation and spelling wise. See that I in Aoife? The only reason for it to be there is because there is an E after the F. You can have all kinds of vowels together, but as soon as a consonant goes in between only I and E can go together and AOU.
    Many other combinations also look nothing like anybody would expect from these combinations, so “mh” is pronounced as “v”. Niamh is roughly the same as Neeve. And then there’s the eclipse, which means that because one letter goes before the other (or behind), this letter is no longer pronounced.
    So, Dublin is “Baile atha Cliath” (bilee aha clia) (no T if followed by an h), but “in Dublin” is “i mBaile aha Cliath” and the B becomes silent.
    It#s also fairly interesting in how the language is structured, which gets us back to “different language, different world”. For example, you dont have brown hair. There is brown hair on you.
    One day I need to refresh my Irish…

  104. rq says

    Hi, abj47! :)

    Stay warm, all you unusually-cold-weather folks!
    We’re still in our cold snap, but things have warmed up to a nice -8°C or so during the day. Husband still wakes up at about 2 or 3 AM to start the car, just to make sure it’ll start in the morning, and I think the end of the week will be colder again. We’ll see. Still waiting on some more snow. But the ice is great!
    And the first (observed) woodpecker showed up on scene at the feeder today. (Photograph not mine, but I may be attempting some photography myself soon. Steady traffic at that feeder, just a shame it’s a bit far from the house – but that’s due to Cat, the birds are that much safer being across the yard rather than right next to Cat’s favourite kitchen window.)

    I’ve always been mystified by Irish/Welsh spellings. I once read up on them quite a bit, and I could more or less pronounce things, but I never had a chance to actually practice, so I’m pretty sure I did more mangling than actual pronunciation. If you ever brush up, Giliell, I’d be glad to read about it here. :)

    Perhaps the MDP is somewhere in there, hiding amongst others of her kind…

    And oops.

    If I understand correctly, some of my brother’s visualisations and contributions can be found in this book. *proud*

  105. rq says

    And I’m so frustrated!! Tomorrow the Museum of Occupation is doing an event on Latvian women in WWII – combat lines, behind the lines, assisting the guerillas, etc., and I can’t go because WORK. Friend of mine is among the organizers, but I doubt I’ll be able to finnagle myself an individual presentation. But I want to go1!

  106. says

    I’m going to need help picking my jaw up off the floor:

    Six weeks pregnant, I was already too late to get a spot in many of Paris’ public maternity wards. Only then did I learn that most Parisian women call the hospital the day they miss their period. I have a friend who walked to her local hospital with her pregnancy test in hand the minute she found out.

    This kind of crowding, especially in bigger cities, is one of the downsides of a government-run health care system. On the upside, had I managed to book a bed in one of the public wards, my birth would have been completely free, paid for entirely by the government’s Assurance Maladie. Everyone pays into Assurance Maladie through charges that are taken directly from their paycheck. (Unlike Americans, French employers and workers quote salaries as net, not gross—so your salary is what you receive after deductions for health care and other social services.) From the sixth month of pregnancy to 11 days after a child’s birth, the government covers a woman’s medical expenses in full.

    (bolding mine)

    From 2004 to 2010, the prices that insurers paid for childbirth — one of the most universal medical encounters — rose 49 percent for vaginal births and 41 percent for Caesarean sections in the United States, with average out-of-pocket costs rising fourfold, according to a recent report by Truven that was commissioned by three health care groups. The average total price charged for pregnancy and newborn care was about $30,000 for a vaginal delivery and $50,000 for a C-section, with commercial insurers paying out an average of $18,329 and $27,866, the report found.

  107. rq says

    Once I’m pregnant and registered as pregnant (basically, go see my doctor), all my pregnancy-related medical expenses are covered (oh, except for special requests such as pain relief during birth). Up to two months following birth, I believe, which is when I’m supposed to go for my follow-up check-up at the gynecologist’s. :)
    What’s this about booking a spot, though?? That sounds weird, considering natural labour isn’t particularly predictable… And it sounds like the maternity wards are amazingly crowded. We just went when we had to and there was space. (Then again, Paris is, I believe, a somewhat larger city…)

  108. says

    Health care costs in France (related to early childhood care)

    Tanya says health care in France is a lot easier to use. There is a neighborhood health clinic, where she can show up with the baby anytime, with or without an appointment. She gets letters from a local health authority telling her what benefits are available and when she should come to a clinic with her daughter for her regular checkups.

    When Ella got a stomach flu earlier this year, a doctor made a house call at 3 a.m. on a Sunday. It was paid for entirely by health insurance.

    (bolding mine)

    I have no idea if doctors in the US A) make house calls B) do it at 3 am and/or C) on a Sunday. And I have a feeling even if they did all that, the expense on the part of the parents would be immense.

    More at the link:

    Does anyone know if there are official (or unofficial) guidelines to follow when quoting a source? There are times I’ve been at a loss to figure out what segment of an article to quote (one paragraph? Two? Half the page?). I’ve considered longer, more extensive quotes, but that just doesn’t seem right, so I usually opt for a few paragraphs (though even that depends on the length of the article)

  109. says

    Heya, Horde.

    Since I’m logged in anyway, I thought I’d drop by and leave a pile of hugs. Help yourself.

    I had thyroid surgery (removal of right half) two weeks ago, and I am grumpily recovering. Grumpily because (a) I sound like a raven at the moment, although it should get better (I had a normal voice immediately after surgery, go figure)

    and (b) I have too much I need to do, too much I want to do, and no energy for any of it.

    Stay warm and safe, all.

  110. says

    All pregnancy related stuff is completely covered by healthcare in Germany, including OB/Gyn, midwives, hospital.
    In fact you’re even excempt from many co-pays like the 10 bucks a night in a hospital bed and doctors are allowed to prescribe things like good iron supplements you usually have to buy yourself.
    There are only some things that are not covered, like when you want to have a homebirth but want the amulance wait in front of your house, or the prenatal tripple testm which only gives you a statistical probability for birthdefects.
    Your doctor can also “ban you from work” if this threatens the pregnancy. That means health insurance keeps paying you most of your wages. Then there’s 6 weeks prenatal maternity leave and 8 weeks antenatal maternity leave and you can take off up to 3 unpaid years from work. This only sucks if you don’t have a regular job.

  111. says

    Another point of anecdata: I’ve never, NEVER, heard of anyone here in Canada having any trouble arranging prenatal/birth care, outside of their issues with their own job/transport situation (e.g., not able to get time off during the day on weekdays). France has a weird hybrid system, which isn’t actually allowed here for the most part, called “two-tier” and generally reviled as “a way for rich people to jump the queue”. Proper single-payer really doesn’t have these issues with basic care. The government puts incentives in place for graduates to take up jobs as GPs in underserved places, or as specialists where needed – loan forgiving, enhanced salary and benefits, housing allowances, whatever. Not generally going to happen in a for-profit system.

    Now, you might have to wait a few months to get your knee replacement, or some other less-common surgery, but OB/GYN care? No. We had a period where MRIs were a bit hard to find, but then they let private clinics get into the job of providing MRI on the health plan. They don’t get more money than a non-profit hospital does for it, though. They have to find their profit on their own.

  112. says

    Oh, and parental leave: details are available here. Highlights:

    EI maternity benefits are offered to biological mothers, including surrogate mothers, who cannot work because they are pregnant or have recently given birth. A maximum of 15 weeks of EI maternity benefits is available. The 15 weeks can start as early as eight weeks before the expected date of birth, and can end as late as 17 weeks after the actual date of birth.


    EI parental benefits are offered to parents who are caring for a newborn or newly adopted child. A maximum of 35 weeks of parental benefits is available to biological or adoptive parents. The two parents can share these 35 weeks of benefits. For more information on sharing parental benefits, see page 6.


    If your newborn is hospitalized, the 17-week timeframe can be extended by the number of weeks your child is in the hospital, up to 52 weeks after the date of birth.

  113. Portia, walking stress ball says


    Hello and welcome – grog’s over by the bar, with our resident mixologist. I’m sure he can make a delicious recommendation. Comfy couch with pillows and throws for sipping tea on is over there.

    Make yourself at home.
    (Personal sidenote, I dream of having a high enough paying lawyer job that my partner could be a stay at home parent if they wanted to…)

    Anne D: Good to see you! Hope you feel better soon.

    I went to the rehearsal thingy, which was more of a roundtable discussion about the themes of the play. Mainly, what does gender look like in a world with a Queen Lear who has decided to declare a matriarchy, where the women are the soldiers, etc. It was a bit interesting, and only briefly annoying from some of the men (“Women would use cunning in battle, for sure. That’s what I believe about women now, and I believe it would be true in this universe. Women would value cunning over strength.” Facepalm). I excused myself after an hour, I didn’t think I could last for a whole three hours of what was shaping up to be a gender studies seminar course sprinkled with clueless doods.

  114. rq says

    I’m pretty sure men have been known to be cunning in battle as well… However, I do not know of any historical battle that was all-cunning – that is, entirely violence-free. Does he mean to imply that a woman would have won battles merely by cunning, without resorting to any violence, at all??? What a maroon.
    It’s probably good those dudes got a gender studies seminar; sad that it had to occur on theatre rehearsal time. But at least you went! Yay! *hugs*


    Pre-natal /post-natal care/support in Latvia
    Well, you get two months (8 weeks) off work before your official due date. Then it’s 8 weeks off post-birth, 10 if you go see a doctor before 12 weeks pregnancy. These periods are extended for multiple births and caesarians (post-birth period), I believe they are automatically doubled, plus you can get special concessions for neonate illness and stuff. Your workplace does not pay any of this, state insurance does (approximate salary amounts per month), and it’s called a maternal vacation in slang terms here (not much of a vacation, let me tell ya!). Plus you get a one-time amount for giving birth (with higher amounts for second and third children). Easy to get rich!! hahahahahaaaaa…

  115. opposablethumbs says

    Thank you for the pouncehug, cicely! They are one of my favourite kinds :-)))

    And I wish I had the first idea about the gluten issue; sadly I have absolutely none of the knowledge necessary :-(. Though I thought the idea of only artisan-baker-made baked goods and only as an occasional treat sounded hopefully worth a try??? I do sympathise, it must be such a pain and so frustrating to have to avoid something that a) is always around, everywhere and b) you actually like. Dammit. hug via USB.

    Wow rq is that the actual very selfsame brother whom I met? Huge congratulations to him! That is so cool! :-))) He gets a credit in the book, I hope?

    Hi abj47, good to meet you – hope you enjoy the grog/bacon/roast baby, and watch out for the peas and horses. Oh, and the mdp of course. Whom I expect you know all about, and may even have encountered on her mysterious peregrinations. ::waves::

  116. birgerjohansson says

    …and they manage to make increasingly complex heart surgery through tiny holes instead of by sawing up the chest, reducing the risk for complications.

  117. birgerjohansson says

    rq, if you convince an enemy that resistance will be futile, he may give up without a fight. However, history shows this is a rare outcome.

    ajb47, American kids are good at learning things, now, if they learned useful things with the same motivation as trivia they will be collecting Nobels in a couple of decades.

  118. birgerjohansson says

    Unintentionally funny theories that might benefit from skepticism: Tabloid names Swedish king as murder suspect
    Feasible…didin’t “The Bruce” in Scotland personally murder a rival?
    A Win for the Climate Scientist Who Skeptics Compared to Jerry Sandusky

    Smoking Marijuana Without Memory Loss?

    Stephen Hawking’s new theory offers black hole escape

  119. says

    Some mormons, like Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart, are trying to circumvent Moments of Mormon Madness perpetrated by their peers, a good sign. This MMM is from the liquor sales category:


    House Speaker Becky Lockhart said Monday that she would still like to see the state get rid of the so-called Zion Curtain or Zion Wall, a 7-foot-2-inch barrier restaurants must have so children can’t see alcoholic beverages being mixed or poured.

    Lockhart said the goals of the state’s liquor laws are to reduce underage drinking, overconsumption and drunken driving.

    “Then let’s do those things that get us toward those goals, and let’s let go of those things that don’t, and that we don’t have any data to support. I believe that the Zion Curtain is one of those,” she said. […]

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints took the unusual step last week of issuing a public policy statement, arguing that Utah’s laws are saving lives and strongly opposing any changes. D. Todd Christofferson, the apostle featured in a video accompanying the church’s statement, offered the opening prayer in the Senate on Monday. […]

  120. says

    There’s a “rally for equality” and an anti-gay marriage rally scheduled for today in Salt Lake City.

    […] The Stand for Marriage gathering looks likely to be the largest event yet in support of Amendment 3, the state’s ban on gay marriage. […]

    Organizers are expecting around 1,000 people to hear speakers such as Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, which has campaigned for a same-sex marriage ban known as Prop. 8 in California. Utah Valley University President Matthew Holland is one of its founding members, though he resigned to take over leadership of UVU.

    Recently added to the agenda is Doug Mainwaring, a gay activist who opposes same-sex marriage because “denying children parents of both genders at home is an objective evil,” he wrote on the website Public Discourse.

    Robert Oscar Lopez, who was raised by a lesbian couple and equated child-rearing without a mother and father to abuse, will appear via video — a last minute change due to travel plans. […]

    The rally begins at 7 p.m. inside the capitol rotunda. Participants are encouraged to wear pink and blue to show support for hetrosexual marriage.

    It’s set to begin shortly after another gathering of people on the opposite end of the issue — those who say the state must make same-sex marriage permanently legal.

    The Rally for Equality starts at 5 p.m. on the south steps of the capitol building. […]

    “The message is that we’re angry, we’re hurting and we’re tired of people thinking it’s OK to cause pain,” said Bob Henline, assistant editor of Q Salt Lake magazine, who organized the rally. “The legislature needs to say, ‘Enough is enough,’ and not give the attorney general $2 million to continue this [appeal].” […]

    It would just be so wonderful if the anti-gay “Stand for Marriage” group hosted a rally and no one came. Not likely though, this being the heart of the morridor (mormon corridor) and all.

  121. says

    From the comments below the Salt Lake Tribune article (link in comment #667):

    HQ is bringing in their well funded hate group, NOM, to spread trash. These guys must be beside themselves with the heathens uprising. First it’s the apostle making videos, then the same guy prays for the Senate, now hater #1 coming to speak.

    You’d think some big time PR firm would make a discrete phone call to North Temple and tell them they are screwing up.

  122. Portia, walking stress ball says

    So on Friday an opposing party in a visitation dispute made some pretty adamant threats about what will happen if I win and “take away his child.” I called the Sheriff’s office and let them know so that the officers covering the courthouse are aware, and I just called the clerk’s office so they know this guy has made threats. I have to be the person standing in this guy’s way of getting his way. I am nervous but I’m hoping that I can have a deputy walk me to my car and whatnot after the hearing. He thinks he’s getting a full hearing on the day he chose for the hearing, but really it’s just a day to set a day for hearing, that’s how the procedure works. He wouldn’t listen to my attempted explanations on the phone, then he started threatening me so I hung up. We will see if he flips the hell out at the courthouse and reveals his true nature to the judge. : – /

  123. David Marjanović says

    He thinks he’s getting a full hearing on the day he chose for the hearing, but really it’s just a day to set a day for hearing, that’s how the procedure works. He wouldn’t listen to my attempted explanations on the phone,

    That’s a special kind of stupidity.

    then he started threatening me so I hung up. We will see if he flips the hell out at the courthouse and reveals his true nature to the judge. : – /

    I expect precisely that to happen.

  124. Portia, walking stress ball says

    Fair prediction, DDMFM. I guess he might make my argument for me, if he chooses that course.

    yazikus, thank you. I hope so too!

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

    Is there any rum left?

    I wanted to share good news of getting a permanent position, but this is also a day everything is going wrong so now I’m being stupid and feeling guilty about getting a permanent position even though I’m stupid and what are they thinking?!

  126. Portia, walking stress ball says

    Beatrice, congratulations!

    You deserve the position. You are awesome!

    rq, thank you. I hate feeling anxious, but sometimes the bad guys use intimidation because it works. I’m going to pretend he didn’t get to me and let him dig his own hole.

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

    Thanks, Portia.
    Your feelings from yesterday migrated across continents, it seems. Or maybe it’s contagious!

    *hugs* and I hope the scary guy leaves you alone

  128. Portia, walking stress ball says

    *hugs* to you.
    Cross-continental anxiety FTL! ; P
    Hope it leaves you in peace quickly.

  129. says

    On women being “cunning” at war: yes, because men have never used cunning to win battles.

    Also, what’s supposed to happen when women meet women? They’re supposed to, what, have riddle contests or something? Having been in a couple of mass brawls of women (Canadians v USans in one, lesbians v anti-abortionists for the other), I can assure you that there was no rock-paper-scissors going on.

    Well, okay, there was that one girl who picked up a rock, and someone did haul out some nail scissors, but they weren’t planning on being “cunning” with them, unless Baldric is your standard for cunning.

    ajb47, welcome to unlurkdom. Glad to have you here.

    Actually, it occurs to me I don’t know if I ever introduced myself, as such. So, me, in an unusually brief (for me) description:

    I’m a 47-year-old white woman, a (step)mom to two, foster mom to two more, all of whom are between 25 and 29. They each have at least one child, making me grandmother to four (plus one more adopted out to friends).

    I’m a polyglot by avocation and vocation, working freelance as a professional translator for Russian, German, and French to English, and as an academic editor/proofer for grads and postgrads. I also dabble in graphic design/layout, painting, poetry, and fiction and nonfiction writing, all for pay when I can find it.

    I live with a serious disability based in chronic pain in my junkyard spine, for which I am heavily medicated at all times, as well as serious chronic depression, seasonally affected (much worse in winter, much less in summer). I use a cane all the time.

    Born in the UK, came to Canada at 9 – actually, 38 years ago last Saturday – I did my undergrad in linguistics and modern languages (yay triple major!), and started my MA in Russian Lit before dropping out to transition to become me finally. That was…21 years ago. Also did some time in the Canadian military, back in the Cold War days, before being kicked out for queerness.

    Hobbies include gaming (video, tabletop, RPG), painting, drawing, reading sf/fantasy/mystery, (until recently) being a player/referee/coach/administrator of/in a local football league (football as the world sees it, not USan handegg), performing standup poetry/comedy, acting/directing in community theatre, juggling baby geese, and being a seriously committed Marxist/leftist/feminist/socialist/radical/commie.

    Queer as a three-dollar bill, polyamourous, fat, and happy. Also, inclined to wear an onion on my belt, as was the style back in the day, and ramble endlessly about it.

    That about sums me up. :)

    Oh, not the baby geese, though; I do juggle, but that was just to see if anyone’s listening.

  130. says

    Anne D, hopes for a swift and painfree recovery.

    Portia, give me a ding if you need some unassuming muscle around. I’m a mean cane-hand, after I took aikido for a bit, and people tend to read me as nonthreatening. At least until I no longer mean them to. *evil grin*

    Beatrice! What excellent news. I’ve no doubt it’s well-deserved, and I’m glad you’ve got some security. I’ve known plenty of people let go after their probation periods, so I think it’s safe to say they wouldn’t have kept you if they didn’t think you were the real deal.

    Out of energy. Time for sleep.

  131. rq says

    Bah, and Congratulations! to Beatrice, complete with *confetti&champagne&fireworks*!!! You deserve a position, and don’t worry – some days are just terrible. But it doesn’t make you any less deserving. Awesome you!! *hugs*

    I think today is the one-year anniversary of signing the papers for the house. It’s either today or tomorrow, so I choose to celebrate both days!

  132. says



    “Women would use cunning in battle, for sure. That’s what I believe about women now, and I believe it would be true in this universe. Women would value cunning over strength.”

    Yeah, because Boudicca was all about winning through cunning. No, wait, that was brutal violence, that’s right. She was all about winning through brutal violence. Same for Trưng Trắc and Trưng Nhị, Queen Mavia, and the other women I know of who led armies. Cunning is a bonus, of course, just like for male war leaders, but intense violence has always been a winning strategy in warfare, regardless of gender.

  133. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    (“Women would use cunning in battle, for sure. That’s what I believe about women now, and I believe it would be true in this universe. Women would value cunning over strength.” Facepalm)

    Hmm. Assuming this was a matriarchy and female army carved out of a society somewhat like ours, there’s some logic in the idea that they would be somewhat more motivated to seek and rely on “force multipliers” than a traditional male army. But “cunning in battle instead of violence” is incoherent.

  134. blf says

    The UK’s über-nuts, the UKIP, a xenophobic, racist, bunch of extreme nutters, has been shooting itself in various amusing ways recently. The latest example, Ukip donor pays for Telegraph advert to claim ‘sodomy has always been a crime’:

    Demetri Marchessini also says there is no such word as homophobic in open letter to Times columnist Libby Purves

    A businessman … has taken out an advertisement in the Daily Telegraph describing “sodomy” as a crime and saying there is no such word as “homophobic”.

    Demetri Marchessini, … paid for an open letter to be published in the newspaper attacking Times columnist Libby Purves after she wrote about Russia’s “bashing” of gay people in the runup to the Sochi Olympics.

    In the advertisement, which appeared the day after Ukip leader Nigel Farage said he wanted to distance his party from barmy types, Marchessini declared “sodomy has always been a crime” and homosexuality has been a sin for 2,000 years.

    As an aside, Farge is just trying to quite down the louder nutters prior to the upcoming EU Parliament elections. The actual likelihood of “distancing” this collection of extremists from their core is about nil.

    “It has already been repeatedly explained to her (Purves), that there is no such word as ‘homophobic’. It cannot be found in any dictionary, nor does it have any meaning,” Marchessini wrote, even though it is listed in many.

    The Greek businessman has previously caused controversy for saying women dressed in trousers are showing hostile behaviour, unmarried mothers deserve a good smack and that date rape is an invention of feminists.

    Purves said she was not upset with the Telegraph and would not want to censor anybody, adding that Marchessini is a “hoot” who writes her endless rude letters. However, she said “young men being beaten and put in prison and hanged all across the world, including some Commonwealth countries, is not a joke”.

    The [UKIP] has been embarrassed by a wave of controversial comments made by activists, councillors, and an MEP over the past year.

    …[O]ne of Ukip’s councillors, David Silvester, [said] the recent floods had been God’s punishment for gay marriage laws. His comments have led to an increase in sales of the 1980s chart hit It’s Raining Men, which is likely to return to the top 20 at the weekend as a protest .

    … Godfrey Bloom, an MEP, [referred] to women as “sluts” for failing to clean behind the fridge and countries that receive foreign aid as “bongo-bongo land”.

    On Monday, Bloom was criticised again for mocking a disabled student during an Oxford Union debate, asking whether he was Richard III, the medieval king who had a spine deformity.