1. says

    It sort of reminds me of the whole Comcast Retention Agent deal last month – the guy whose epic phone call to customer service made headlines. It’s not the Retention Agents’ faults their job is bullshit. They’re trying to do a thankless job a faceless corporation foists on them for piddling change. Have the decency to understand that.

  2. chimera says

    Cross-posting on several threads. Antonio French, alderman, who covered Ferguson last night on Twitter, from one of his re-tweets:

    Meanwhile, @AntonioFrench’s Twitter followers are 20k+ due to his on-the-ground witness in #Ferguson. If all gave $5:

    It’s an education initiative for kids.

  3. says

    Kevin, on the one hand, yeah, I try to be polite to telemarketers because they’re just working people trying to make a living. No thank you, we’re on the Do Not Call List, goodbye. Which, incidentally, has gotten me a fair few fuck yous in return.

    On the other hand, we’re on the Do Not Call List and have been for years, and they ignore it, and keep calling, and calling, and calling, and some of the companies leave prerecorded robot calls on my answering machine, which is flat-out illegal.

    It’s a real pity that the DNCL isn’t being enforced. In my more cynical moments, I wonder if it’s been leaked to all these asshats, because the calls just never stop. I let the machine pick up before I answer the phone, and about 80% hang up when they get the machine, without leaving a message. With my elderly mum and all, I tend to freak when I come home and see the answering machine flashing at me, so telemarketers do not help my state of mind.

    Sorry, babbling, too early in the morning, need more tea.

  4. blf says

    No lounging-visuals this time, PZ?

    Poopyhead is in the Irish Depenedencies, and is still trying to deal with the shock of beer that (a) Doesn’t taste of pea / horse piss; and (b) Isn’t frozen. Give him time… most USAliens either recover and appreciate, or leave in a funk. (Not sure how many of the later then gun crowds down out of sheer annoyance, but it’s probably a minority, as most successfully escaping visitors are just desperate for some edible food…)

  5. opposablethumbs says

    Portcullised; re-posting:

    Has anyone heard of or from Ogvorbis?

    Ogvorbis, if you see this – you are missed. Very much hope you are OK.

    fuck I am so sorry about all the crap that’s being flung on that thread and about what it’s putting you through. All the hugs and well wishes to you.

  6. blf says

    I was reading one of my security blogs this morning — Bruce Schneier — and he linked to an IT specialist who tricked a telemarketer into resetting their telephone to factory settings.

    I was not amused for the briefest moment with regards to that, because thanks to that IT specialist, someone may have lost a job.

    I assume you mean Chris Blasko’s entry of 5-Aug-2014 (untitled), which for some reason I can’t link to and is making my browser freeze up (fecking Generalissimo Google”+”!). I totally disagree. The telemarketer demonstrated he(? she?) has no concept of even the most basic security practice — verify who you are talking to — and needs either remedial training or to be banned from the industry. Do you really want to quote to someone who can be so easily tricked your credit card and/or banking details? If so, I have bridge in Brooklyn in need of a gullible owner…

    (Disclaimer: I work in the systems engineering side — microprocessor and O/S design — of the financial terminal industry, and corrupt / incompetent “insiders” are one of the hardest Risks to protect against. I have no tolerance for these fools and criminals.)

  7. bassmike says

    Tony! let me add my name to to (gratifyingly) long list of people expressing their sorrow at what you had to put up with in the RW thread, and admiration for sticking with it for so long with such eloquence and dignity.

  8. Great American Satan says

    Is it a literal witch hunt, no exaggeration? Sorry, skeptifem. I wish this country wasn’t so damn amenable to lethal woomeisters.

  9. says

    I thought I’d have woken up refreshed and rejuvenated. Didn’t happen.
    I’m still unnerved.
    I’m still raw.
    I’m still scared.
    I’m still angry.

    And I have to go before a judge in a few hours over an unpaid credit card bill. Put in perspective, it feels so small. Almost unimportant. Yes, I fully recognize it is my responsibility to pay the debt. I don’t deny that. But held against the systematic oppression faced by minorities in this country, it just pales in comparison.

  10. says

    Republicans are now blatantly into deceiving voters with fake news. This pseudo news initiative is spreading.

    The National Republican Congressional Committee, which came under fire earlier this year for a deceptive series of fake Democratic candidate websites that it later changed after public outcry, has launched a new set of deceptive websites, this time designed to look like local news sources.

    The NRCC has created about two dozen of these new faux news sites targeting Democrats, both challengers and incumbents, and is promoting them across the country with localized Google search ads.

    The NRCC’s single-page sites are designed to appear to be a local news portal, with logos like “North County Update” or “Central Valley Update.” The articles begin in the impartial voice of a political fact-checking site, hoping to lure in readers. “We’ll take a look at her record and let you decide,” starts one. Then they gradually morph into more biting language. […]

    Just as the NRCC did last year with the faux-candidate sites, the group is promoting its look-alike news sites through Google search ads. So when a voter in Democratic Rep. John Barrow’s Georgia district, for instance, searches the congressman’s name on Google, the first ad that shows up leads to the faux news site. […]

    National Journal link.

    From Steve Benen on The Maddow Blog:

    This is the second time this year the NRCC’s efforts to push the limits of online propriety have caused a stir. In February, the Republican campaign committee created another series of misleading websites – the sites led visitors to believe they were financially supporting Dem candidates, when in fact the money was ending up in the NRCC’s coffers.

  11. dianne says

    And I have to go before a judge in a few hours over an unpaid credit card bill. Put in perspective, it feels so small. Almost unimportant. Yes, I fully recognize it is my responsibility to pay the debt. I don’t deny that. But held against the systematic oppression faced by minorities in this country, it just pales in comparison.

    But it’s all part of the same system. Would you be up in front of a judge if you were white? For example, I missed a number of payments of various debts (credit card, student loan, phone bill, etc) when I was a resident and chronically sleep deprived. Not one of my creditors took it to legal action. Was it my light skin and European sounding last name that kept me out of trouble? Perhaps in a matrilineal society where my last name would be Garcia I would have had a summons rather than simply having a bad credit score for a while. It’s not small if it’s affecting your life. And it’s racism even if you can’t prove it every time. No need to apologize for worrying about it.

    Also, my apologies for being kind of snarlish this morning. No excuse for my bad mood, it’s just there.

  12. The Mellow Monkey says


    I’m still unnerved.
    I’m still raw.
    I’m still scared.
    I’m still angry.

    I’m so sorry. I know I’m just pixels on a screen, but I’m thinking about you. ♥

    I’d been pretty deep in a hopeless hole before and it’s not looking much easier to climb out. All of the “just do it” and “you get the life you really want” lying bullshit out there really doesn’t take into account exactly how crippling depression is or just how bad poverty can actually get.

    I’m still just going to put one foot in front of the other. Not dead yet.

  13. blf says

    I’m also not dead yet.

    Are you sure? Have you checked vital signs: Pulse, breathing, craving for cheese, no craving for brainz, and most importantly, no paramilitary-“police” in the area ?

  14. Pteryxx says

    It’s not small if it’s affecting your life. And it’s racism even if you can’t prove it every time.


    Tony! good luck and my thoughts are with you. You deserve fairness.

  15. morgan ?! epitheting a metaphor says

    I’m not dead yet either. Just feeling wrung out, hopeless, lifeless. What do we do, friends? Militant pacifism?

  16. says

    Texas anti-abortion activists have admitted that they track both patients and doctors.

    […] “The license plates that are coming into any abortion facility, we have a very kind of sophisticated little spreadsheet, everybody keeps track. This way you can track whether or not a client comes back, if they turned away,” Karen Garnett, executive director of the Catholic Pro-Life Committee of North Texas, said on the recording. She described that tactic as “totally legal.”

    “You have license plates, car make, model, description of the person,” she added. “Then as far as the staff members and the abortionists, you can identify if you got a new abortionist.”

    Another speaker, identified as Abby Johnson of Live Action, said that her organization had looked through tax records to determine where an abortion provider may be relocating his clinic.

    “These abortionists are feeling the pressure from the pro-life movement in Texas. I think they feel like they’re on the run,” she said on the recording. “And that’s how we want to keep it, we want to keep pressure high on them and let them know they can move wherever they want … We’re still gonna be there outside their clinics, we’re still gonna be praying, we’re still gonna be sidewalk counseling, and we’re still gonna be exposing what’s going on inside these buildings.” […]

  17. Pteryxx says

    *refills bucket o’ hugs*

    Stay friends and live. Also self-care. Self-care is radical and political, too.

    (There’s a reason why oppressors target morale and community.)

  18. says

    I’m adding this to our Republicans Saying Stupid Stuff file:

    In an interview with former Navy chaplain turned conservative activist Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, Colorado state senator Randy Baumgardner (R) dismissed concerns over methane from fracking operations posing a risk to water supplies by saying it’s a natural occurrence.

    “I’ve been to a lot of the fracking seminars,” Baumgardner said.

    Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that also happens to be highly flammable. But, according to the state senator, methane in water supplies actually served to benefit Native American tribes. “They talk about methane in the water and this, that, and the other,” Baumgardner told Klingenschmitt, “but if you go back in history and look at how the Indians traveled, they traveled to the burning waters. And that was methane in the waters and that was for warmth in the wintertime. So a lot of people, if they just trace back the history, they’ll know how a lot of this is propaganda.” […]

  19. Brony says

    I posted this to Facebook, I hope it’s useful and effective (and I’ll take comments on that).

    For once I’m not going to care.

    Fuck our criminal justice system, fuck the bad cops we can’t get rid of because of institutional inability to deal with wrong doing on the part of authorities, and especially fuck the part of the population ignoring this atrocity.

    Don’t even bother complaining about the language or you will get an eye-full about your mixed up priorities. Because if you think cuss words is the offensive thing in here, we do not see eye-to eye on morals at all and I want nothing to do with yours.

  20. morgan ?! epitheting a metaphor says

    I have this big Box ‘O Hugs. I’ll leave it here for y’all. Also, homemade fudge and toffee. Help yourself.
    And Petryxx, you are so right. Yes, self care.
    I’m going to go take a long bath.

  21. David Marjanović says

    *empties hug bucket over Tony*
    *restocks hug truck*


    A blast from the past (1998): Blue tits are ultraviolet tits. Safe for work, I promise.

    Campaign for Koch-free elections“! “Sign the petition now to demand Congress pass meaningful campaign finance reform.”

    A more concrete version of the above – mentions a draft “Voting Rights Amendment Act”.

    Amphicoelias fragillimus is only known from a very short description with a drawing of a part of a vertebra of a sauropod dinosaur, published in 1877. The fossil has disappeared; fossils from that particular site are so poorly preserved that it has probably crumbled to dust. Based on the drawing in the original description, people have recently made a replica… take a good look at the photo.

    Three Charts to Email to Your Right-Wing Brother-In-Law — Updated

    Problem: Your right-wing brother-in-law is plugged into the FOX-Limbaugh lie machine, and keeps sending you emails about “Obama spending” and “Obama deficits” and how the “stimulus” just made things worse.

    Solution: Here are three “reality-based” charts to send to him. These charts show what actually happened.”

    Cartoon: Obama press conference about torture.

  22. David Marjanović says

    Join the ACLU’s online Protect the Vote Team. Between now and November 4th, we’ll ask you to defend the right to vote by signing petitions to Congress, sharing the ACLU’s ‘Know Your Voting Rights’ resources, and passing along truth-telling videos about efforts to block the vote.”

    Press release about (finally!!!) radiometric dating of dinosaur sites from the Triassic of North America. Turns out dinosaurs didn’t show up later there than in South America, as used to be thought.

    Parents Part of Problem in Distracted Teen Driving, Study Finds” – “Teens often take calls from parents who also use mobile phones while driving, survey reveals”…

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

    Apologies to all the people out there doing the heavy lifting in the threads about the media coverage and racism in decisions thereof.

    I’ve barely been able to read the last 72 hours, much less comment, much less comment intelligently and at length. Even yesterday that thread was going way to fast for me to keep up in my impaired state.

    Trying to do some work now. Thanks everyone for fighting it out when I wasn’t available.

    I love you and I’m worried about you. Check in when you can, okay?

    Militant pacifism is the only way. I don’t claim any credit or glory for it, b/c I was a kid, and powerless, and what options did I have other than standing there and taking it? But I remember being beaten furiously with a thick stick. Whack after whack with this thing that really got the benefit of leverage from its meter length.

    And then on one blow on my spine right about my kidneys, it snapped. The short end in the hand of the person hitting me. It wasn’t nearly as effective. Even tossing it aside and picking up the bigger end couldn’t reproduce the impact of the full stick. Plus I had this weird sense of victory. Plus I think the person who hit me was kind of stunned by breaking the stick. Oddly it didn’t really stop the beating, but it did force some thinking. It sticks out as a moment of triumph for me, and even if it counts less as militant pacifism than it does as simply inability to get away, it dramatically shaped how I feel about resisting violence today.

    Today, I hope that I could do the same on purpose. Whatever there is of value in protest is there in Dharasana in spades.

    But it doesn’t take a Gandi. He had been arrested prior to Dharasana. It doesn’t take an Dr. King. While he’s credited with leading the Birmingham Boycott, he was out of town when Bull Connor called out the dogs and turned on the firehoses on mostly-student protestors.

    All it takes is an awareness of what sets off those who wield power unjustly, a willingness to take the consequences upon oneself, a calm demeanor as one pushes the buttons one knows will trigger disproportionate and unjust response, and a tiny bit of media savvy – sufficient to record and tweet a video, these days.

    While there were riots and there were two (or more) sided fights in our noblest struggles against unjust oppression, the most enduring images are those of non-violently registering our discontent in ways that predictably bring down disproportionate and unjust wrath. The vicious anti-Semite who passed his name to Dr. King isn’t remembered for hating on Jews. He’s remembered for calmly tacking up lists of grievances on the property of the most powerful institution in Europe and, not incidentally, the one which guaranteed his food and shelter. The violence of Lexington and Concord is less remembered than the Declaration of Independence. You can probably finish the sentence, “From where the sun now stands, …” but what details can you provide of Geronimo’s words?

    No, I completely understand defensive warfare as a response to genocide. Don’t try to peg me as saying the Apache wars are examples of bad tactics or bad media relations by members of First Nations when other nations were being not just decimated but eradicated.

    But in the globally-linked context of anyone accessing Pharyngula, our best shot at making a lasting, memorable difference will always be through militant pacifism, and law-abiding militant pacifism whenever possible.

  24. morgan ?! epitheting a metaphor says

    Thank you so much, CD. You are wise. And I remember that violence. We of a certain age who posses any compassion were participants. Never again, I thought.

  25. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Went to visit the Redhead on my lunch hour, and she was moved upstairs to a regular floor while I was there. Progress.

  26. cicely says

    *extra hug ration* for PatrickG. And *extra hug ration* for Tony!, as well.
    Hell, *extra hug ration* all ’round.

    Am I being too cynically depressed?
    It’s just that I know that there are people who are looking forward to a Race War, wanting it, and I can’t help but wonder…is Ferguson an attempt to provoke a Race War? One that can be spun as a “measured response to a Threat”? As, “Yes, but they started it“—concentrating on the “rioting” and ignoring the precipitating murder?
    Am I the only one wondering?
    *wandering off in search of playful kittens on teh Webs*

    Also hoping that Ogvorbis is okay.


    […] beer that (a) Doesn’t taste of pea / horse piss; […]

    …or Horse peas….

    “In a hundred years we’ll all be dead, but here and now, we are alive.”

  27. rq says

    In a hundred years? I dunno, I may still not be dead yet then, too. More’s the pity for everyone involved in that project.

    Round of resounding *hugs*

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


    congrats on the anniversary!!!

  29. The Mellow Monkey says


    Am I being too cynically depressed?

    The tactics you describe have been used to provide justification for the murder and oppression of indigenous peoples and minority populations many times before, so I don’t think you’re too cynical at all.

    If they fight back somehow, it justifies disproportionate “defense”. If they accept the treatment, then the terrorism and murder can continue unabated. It’s the same cycle it’s been for hundreds of years now. Yay, colonialism!

  30. estraven says

    Well, I was told to go and kill myself today because I admitted to once having been diagnosed as clinically depressed in the same comment where I expressed sympathy/empathy for Robin Williams. It was like “Stop whining.”

  31. David Marjanović says

    And on it goes. Open-access paper: “Discovery of a Rare Pterosaur Bone Bed in a Cretaceous Desert with Insights on Ontogeny and Behavior of Flying Reptiles”!

    Sign the petition: Water is a human right and a public trust. Turn the water back on in Detroit!” It’s harrowing to read how tap water is sold there.

    Fun with English in Latvia.

    Gotta sell ’em all!!!

    BTW, lángos (well known, less well liked, in Vienna) isn’t “fried dough”. It’s garlic with fat and dough; it’s not sweet (nor actually salty).

  32. David Marjanović says

    carlie! Yay! *hug* ^_^

    Well, I was told to go and kill myself today because I admitted to once having been diagnosed as clinically depressed in the same comment where I expressed sympathy/empathy for Robin Williams. It was like “Stop whining.”

    Somebody’s wrong in their head… and it doesn’t look like it’s you.

  33. says

    In response to comments up-thread, I checked my vital signs to make sure that I’m not dead … yet. I have a heartbeat, blood pressure, and a craving for cheese, especially cheese danish. I think I’m still alive.

    In other news, here’s a story about some doofus making buckets of money with pseudo science. Texas is paying him to fly the anti-abortion banner in court cases:

    Denying Texas women access to abortion is proving to be pricey. Texas has paid Vincent Rue, a Florida marriage therapist best known for his discredited theories about how abortion causes mental illness, more than $42,000 in less than six months to aid its legal defense of a new law that would close all but a handful of the state’s abortion clinics.

    The controversial legislation, which was the target of state Sen. Wendy Davis’s 11-hour filibuster, places strict new regulations on abortion clinics with the aim of shutting them down. […] to defend its abortion restrictions, Texas brought in Rue, who helped draft, edit, and find citations for the reports its experts witnesses submit to the court.

    But Rue, who holds a doctorate in family relations from the University of North Carolina School of Home Economics, is an odd choice for the job—”a long-discredited quack,” in the view of one state representative from Wisconsin, where Rue performed similar defense work. Although Rue testified about the harms of abortion in two landmark abortion cases in the early 1990s, the judges in those cases dismissed his testimony as personally biased and lacking expertise. Rue has pushed the medical mainstream to recognize “post-abortive syndrome”—a mental illness that supposedly results from abortion—only to have organizations such as the National Center for Health Statistics pan his research. In 1981, he claimed in a report to the US Senate that “abortion re-escalates the battle between the sexes” and “abortion increases bitterness toward men.” […]

  34. cicely says

    carlie, happy anniversary!
    You look so young.

    *hugs, or other appropriate non-intrusive gestures of support and sympathy* for estraven.
    So many assholes….

  35. says

    estraven, many hugs for having to endure such a thoughtless and damaging attitude.

    In other news, it really is a crime to be poor. Yes, they will put you in jail.

    The United States Supreme Court has ruled that a person sentenced to probation cannot then be incarcerated simply for failing to pay a fine that they genuinely cannot afford. Yet many misdemeanor courts routinely jail probationers who say they cannot afford to pay what they owe—and they do so in reliance on the assurances of for-profit companies with a financial stake in every single one of those cases.

    In Georgia, Thomas Barrett pled guilty to stealing a can of beer from a convenience store and was fined US$200. He was ultimately jailed for failing to pay over a thousand dollars in fees to his probation company, even though his entire income—money he earned by selling his own blood plasma—was less than what he was being charged in monthly probation fees.

    […]public officials allow probation companies to profit by extracting fees directly from probationers, and then fail to exercise the kind of oversight needed to protect probationers from abusive and extortionate practices. All too often, offenders on private probation are threatened with jail for failing to pay probation fees they simply cannot afford, and some spend time behind bars.

    Privatization is turning out to be an ideologically based nightmare for every level of the justice system in the USA. It’s getting so bad that every time I hear a conservative politician say “privatization,” I look to see what he/she is lying about now.

  36. toska says

    This video is a year old, but it cuts right to the heart. Especially in light of the events in Ferguson.
    Javon Johnson – “cuz he’s black” NPS 2013

  37. says

    I called a friend and asked him if he could take me to the courthouse, which he was agreeable to. When we arrived, as I opened the car door, he wished me good luck and handed me a wad of money-$500. Out of the blue, no strings attached, and he told me not to worry about paying him back. He just wanted to see me get back on my feet. That was so incredibly nice and kind. I had to have thanked him 5 times.

    I was nervous waiting in the courtroom and it turns out it was needless. It was small claims court, and the judge just asked for my address, phone number and if I could pay at the moment or could set up a payment plan. Since I couldn’t do either, the other option was some sort of judgement whereby the company suing me sends me some sort of information form that I fill out and send back. The form lets them know I’m jobless and when I get back on my feet, I’ll be able to start paying them.

    Speaking of paying…when I got out of court, I had a missed call and a voicemail from the restaurant that I’ve been waiting to hear back from.
    I HAVE A JOB! I start work tomorrow.
    I’m so fucking excited I feel like I’m going to burst out of my skin!
    I’m sure you all know how stressed I’ve been the last few months. And especially after last night, I was feeling really down and frustrated.
    I needed this so fucking much.

  38. says

    @Lynna #47: How is this different from having debtors’ prisons?

    In outcomes, it is not different at all. In terms of the language of the law that for-profit probation companies are supposed to follow, it is different. Poor people don’t have enough political capital to change this. Big Money Dunderheads have enough influence to keep the corrupt system in place.

    Same with private prisons. They can utterly fail to save state funds, can rack up distressing death and injury rates, etc., but they are still in business … in big business.

    The probation companies that charge money to supervise parolees are promising to fund the court system of the USA on the backs of poor people. This disgusting situation has developed, in part, thanks to conservative politicians cutting state funds for all institutions, including the courts. Once they cut the funds, courts begin to founder, they begin to look more inefficient, and then the politicians have an excuse to cut the funds again while simultaneously promoting privatization of many court functions.

    It’s a business ploy to put more money in the hands of their often inept and unethical cronies. There’s money to be made in running prisons and parole systems. There’s money to be made in running schools. Let’s privatize the whole shebang! Fucking idiots. Some institutions, which provide equal opportunity and a social good are better off not being run with profit as the primary motive.

  39. The Mellow Monkey says

    That is fantastic to hear, Tony!! What a wonderful and kind thing your friend did, I’m so glad court went that way, but most especially…


    Excuse me. I might have something in my eye now. ::sniffle::

  40. rq says

    As MM said,


    You deserve it – you deserve kindness from people, and you deserve this chance to get back on your feet. *high five*
    That is some awesome news to tie up my otherwise-rather-mediocre day. :)

  41. says


    Well, I was told to go and kill myself today because I admitted to once having been diagnosed as clinically depressed in the same comment where I expressed sympathy/empathy for Robin Williams. It was like “Stop whining.”

    I’m so sorry. Whoever said that is a heartless, insensitive asshole.
    You have my sympathy.

  42. Esteleth is Groot says


    There’s a party for Tony, staring now, in the Lounge.

    *rolls in a keg*

  43. jrfdeux, mode d'emploi says

    I’m SO happy to hear you’ve finally had a turn of good fortune after that awful stretch of hell you’ve been living through. I know they’re late, but *HUGS* anyway. All the hugs, all the time.

    Other.Topic: On the subject of depression and anxiety and suicide. I just wanted to throw an observation I made about myself out there. I realized that the two times I ideated suicide I did it to give myself a sense of control. I was feeling awful emotional pain and overwhelming anxiety, and saying to myself “if it comes to it, if the pain is too great, I can always just off myself” gave me a sense that I had an out for the horrible headspace I was in. Even though I very much doubt I would ever end my life (although I guess you never know) just saying that I could gave me the tiny spark of hope I needed that the pain would indeed end one day.

  44. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    *grog and swill on the house in honor of the Shoop’s job*

  45. opposablethumbs says

    Tony! I AM SO HAPPY TO READ Y0UR NEWS!!!!! That’s fantastic – both because of your friend (and the court thing not being as bad as you feared) and because of starting your new job! That’s wonderful, I’m smiling all over my face right now.
    and Happy Anniversary Carlie!!!! You both look so happy, it’s a lovely pic!

  46. Morgan!? Militant Pacifist says

    Tony! Party time!!!!! Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  47. Rowan vet-tech says

    My brother and I have made an agreement to poke each other into doing things to help out depression. As a result, just now I have actually called to schedule an appt to get seen and back on meds for my ADHD and relatively recent depression. I go in in just 2 weeks, which makes me very happy.

    Here’s hoping things will get better.

  48. shala says

    Good to hear about the job, Tony. I’m not caught up on how your situation’s been, but it’s good news nevertheless.

    And a happy anniversary to carlie! That is wonderful to hear.

  49. says

    Tony! !!!!!! I am so so happy for you! Yay!!!!!!!!!

    *happy Kermit arm-waving* got something in my eye. *sniffles happily*

    Rowan, good on you and your brother, and best wishes to both of you! *hugs*

    *makes note to order more !s*

  50. opposablethumbs says

    Rowan, that’s brilliant. Good for you and your brother helping each other like that, and good for you for making the appointment! That can be such a hard thing to do – I’m waving a 10-tentacle salute from here (yes I know each of us only has eight, but I’m sure nobody will mind if I borrow a couple for such a worthy purpose). Hope the person you see turns out to be really helpful and knows their stuff. Go you.

    And a large consignment of hugs and pillows and chocolate kittens for the whole Lounge, because a lot of people have some hard stuff to deal with and – and – and morgan and estraven and – and I wish I could do more than listen.

  51. says

    carlie @37:
    congratulations my friend.
    I’m very happy for you and the SO.


    I’d also like to thank you all. Growing up I never had a close group of friends. Oh, I had a friend here and there, but I always longed to be part of a circle of friends. I didn’t have that in middle school, nor high school. I saw people with groups of friends and I wanted that so badly. Going in to college I hoped I’d get to see what that was like, but nothing ever came to pass. It wasn’t until Micah came into my life that I got to know what having a close group of friends is like. He and I, along with E, and our other friend T, were a tight group of a few years-obviously until Micah passed away. After that, we drifted apart (which is strange to say, since E has been my roommate since 2002). I’ve been trying to reconnect with the both of them, as well as other friends (though the lack of transportation makes it a bit harder). One of the things I do have is you all.
    Though we don’t get to interact in meatspace, the friendship and support I’ve found here is invaluable. I value you all so much, and hearing your kind words and support through these last few months has been much appreciated. In a oddball kind of way, hearing the response from you all to the news of me getting a job has actually made me feel even more joyous. The knowledge that I have friends that I care about who care about me means a lot, and I deeply appreciate it.

  52. ceesays says

    Whoo Tony! Float money and a JOB! This is awesome. This is good.

    I’m currently trying to pack for a vacation, and I have no idea what to do. I haven’t been on a vacation in years, and when I was it was always to the cabin or to the lake, so i could basically pack a bathing suit and flip flops and call it good.

    But what am i forgetting that I need to bring? I don’t want to have to pack along more than one bag. I’m taking the bus for 14 hours and then getting around Vancouver via public transportation. I’m just all flustered and unsure.

  53. blf says

    Shoop, Congratulations on the job and other good news. If the mildly deranged penguin was around, she might even be prepared to overlook being mistaken for a gaudy fruitfly, and offer you some cheese.

  54. says

    Well, if it helps, Tony, you totally made my night. I’d been kinda bummed about needing to call legal aid and get the next appeals rolling, maybe wallowing a bit. Now I feel energized and happy, because something(s) good happened for a change, and to someone I like and respect a whole bunch.

    So, thanks for having such a great day, and for telling us. :)

  55. says

    Yay !

    I generally go with one set of socks/underwear per day, one pair of pants/4 days, and one shirt/2days, plus specialty clothing for any planned activities if needed (e.g. beachwear or the like).

  56. The Mellow Monkey says


    In a oddball kind of way, hearing the response from you all to the news of me getting a job has actually made me feel even more joyous. The knowledge that I have friends that I care about who care about me means a lot, and I deeply appreciate it.

    I’ve been severely depressed lately, to the point that I’ve sort of passively been hoping to die rather than experiencing suicidal ideation. I have felt utterly hopeless. Seeing good things happen to you today and seeing that there is hope? That’s given me some badly needed hope for myself, too. It’s made me smile and get all teary eyed (I’m an overemotional marshmallow) and wish badly that I could actually give you a hug.

    I am so happy for you and I am so happy to have this community here.

  57. says

    Ugh. The ‘Pitters are out in force again.

    Yes, PZ said something stupidly offensive. He stuck his foot in it good. (What, did we expect perfection?) But he has a damn good point about the media half-assing and ignoring racially-based violence!

  58. blf says

    ceesays, I’m a notoriously light traveler. Adjusted for climate, I generally reckon on a change of clothes, two changes of underwear and socks, detergent to wash the not-being-worn clothes / underwear / socks, money (cash and credit cards), passport, ticket(s), photocopies of passport / tickets / reservation confirmations (stored separately), small flashlight with fully-charged batteries, pocketknife (e.g., swiss army, albeit a bit awkward these days), some Terry Pratchett to read on the ‘plane, portable music player with fully-charged batteries and battery charger (and plug-converter), a few bars of chocolate and/or some dried figs, the relevant Lonely Planet †, if in Europe a Thomas Cook European Rail Timetable †, a small medical kit (sticking plasters, tape, aspirin,…), comb, soap / shampoo (If not the same as the detergent), watch, spare eyeglasses, notebook / diary and several working pens, and an emergency penguin.

    If I require more than a few pockets and an (small-ish) carry-on bag, then I’ve overpacked (with some allowances for extreme weather or similar).

      † Photocopies of the relevant pages are smaller and lighter-weight.

  59. says

    A friend of mine packed his wallet and several slices of ham in his pocket when he left Mikkeli for a week (or a few) at and around Roadburn a few years ago. He’s not the cleanest dude around, but he tends to survive.

  60. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Tony! , you got a job!
    That makes me feel so happy for you.
    The reason I haven’t commented around here for a couple of months is that I got a short term job. It felt like a tightrope act while juggling my anxiety and depression but I got through it just fine. On to the next one! ( when I find it… )
    I sincerely hope your happiness levels get a well deserved boost.

  61. yazikus says

    Congratulations on the job, Tony!

    Weedless Monkey,
    Pocket-ham… Delicious new product to market? Or, shall I file it away with my millionaire-making idea for… drumroll…. Chicken-Nugget-Shaped-Hotdogs. For real! Hot dogs are the number one choking hazard for small children. I’m brilliant! / tucks amazing idea back away with the pocket-ham.

  62. blf says

    I;m trying to envision the best way of folding a pig for pocket ham. I imagine the inverse (unfolding) is more-or-less automatic — or should I say annoyed-o-matic? — but the folding has me a bit stymied.

  63. blf says

    Ah. Festivals. This is in Ingeroutlandish, correct? In that case, it’s not the sweat which gives the pocketham its flavor, but the mud.

  64. carlie says


    Thanks, everybody. :) We’ve been through some bad times, so it really does feel like an accomplishment that we earned rather than something that just happened through the clock ticking. Although, we probably won’t see each other today at all. I’ve been having to put in early mornings at work before he wakes up and he’s helping a friend with a food truck at a fair this week, so he’s getting home after I’ve pooped out and gone to bed for the next early morning. But jeez, isn’t that picture something? We were babies, for pete’s sake. And that is the church I grew up in, and we had the whole traditional fundamentalist shebang (and I got my dress at a department store!)

  65. Funny Diva says

    Just read your Excellent News.
    I’m so very, very happy for you. Here, have some moar hugz.
    Best wishes, espesh’ly for the new job. Hope it’s the sort of place and people who will act like they’re lucky to have you because…they ARE!
    Hope these new developments go some way towards getting you more rested and refreshed.

    Crip Dyke: Hope you’re feeling better today, and then feeling even better tomorrow.

    Memo to Teh Universe: Plz stop pouring suck on good people who work hard to make life suck less for other people! KThxBai.

  66. Funny Diva says

    Tony! @72

    Dang! Now _I’ve_ got something in my eye!
    I’m so glad you’re here, Shoop, surrounded by friends, because IMO you’re a _very_ friend-worthy and emotionally generous person. I’m sorry the journey took so long.

    *waves grog tankard*
    To The Horde: you’re Teh Awesome! May your awesome endure and increase, thread without end, Ramen.

  67. Morgan!? Militant Pacifist says

    Hey Tony!
    Once you get settled into your new job might we be graced with a few more “Tales From Tony?” I loved your stories of gentle enlightenment in conversation with your co-workers. Be well, my friend.

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

    threadrupt, but I did notice funny diva wishing me well – thanks.

    I also noticed an anniversary of some kind for carlie. Yay you and anyone else involved.

    Finally, I noticed Tony!’s comment b/c I saw all your whoops for the Shoop. Yay for money. Yay for job. good luck.

    Now to the concern of the moment and why I’ve not been posting. I have a rib injury. It may just be a rib out of place without any cartilage tearing or anything else, but bending at the middle just kills me and standing up for prolonged periods isn’t possible with my disability.

    There is no, repeat NO chance I’m going to die from this, but typing is an ordeal, even reading is an effort. Breathing is the fundamental problem.

    I have no parenting support until late night tomorrow. Do I take the kids to the ER where they will be bored stiff and possibly kept up for hours? Do I foist them on a neighbor…we’ve only been in this building for a year, and though we’re friendly with about 1/2 the folks in this few-unit place, I wouldn’t think of any of them as friends of the kind I could just dump my kids on. I wouldn’t even trust some of them with my kids – not that they’re bad, just that I need a lot to start trusting someone with my kids.

    Anyone have any ideas? If I can keep the kids playing by themselves, I’d really rather wait until tomorrow to go in. Plus, although chiropractors are quite quacky about some things, if you need a rib popped back into place, they’re the ones to do it. There’s a chiropractor with good prices who can often squeeze in a quick problem on short notice whose been seeing Ms Crip Dyke for years for her old back injury that acts up now and again. His office is closed Wednesdays, but if this is just an out rib, popping it back in place will remove the point from my lower lung and diaphragm and whatever pain I feel will be greatly reduced…to the point that I can act normally even if I don’t feel normal. I’m kind of hopping he’ll return my call early tomorrow, which is another reason to wait until tomorrow instead of going in to a hospital that generally doesn’t pop dislocated ribs back into place, but gives muscle relaxants until eventually it eases itself back naturally. Which can take quite a while.

    I feel completely overwhelmed right now and haven’t had a deep breath in 60+ hours.

    Not being in a great place for rational analysis, I’ll take any advice here I can get.

    Again, the options I see are:
    1: dump the kids on someone else and go to the hospital
    2: take the kids with me to the hospital
    3: hope the kids can mostly take care of themselves for the night and, if I can’t get in to the chiropractor, see if I can get away with dropping the kids at their cousins for a play date tomorrow and slip away to the hospital then (the play date was going to happen anyway, though I was supposed to stay).

    Other ideas are as welcome as critical thought on these options.

  69. Esteleth is Groot says

    CripDyke, I’d advise you to go and get an X-ray, if for no other reason than to confirm that there isn’t a fracture.

    Also, if I may ask, which rib (if you’re a normal person, you’ll have 12 pairs, numbered from top to bottom)?

  70. says

    Crip Dyke:
    Oh shit. I’m so sorry.
    I don’t have any helpful advice, but I really hope you get this taken care of ASAP.

    I was thinking about that a few weeks ago. I kinda miss talking to people at work. I hope I’ll have the chance in the future. If I do, I’ll definitely share them here.
    (btw, why the nym change?)

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

    Yeah, want an x-ray. the question is how to get it. Chiropractor does x-rays too, so urgent care, walk-in clinic, chiro matters little for basic diagnostic tests.

    The real problem is I have 2 kids with no one else to care for them.

    As for ribs, yeah, I know the numbering. I think it’s 9 but it might be 8 or 10.

    1) I can’t focus
    2) my chest muscles are in such spasm it’s hard to feel my way down. It’s easier to do on the other side and transfer over, but I still can’t be certain.

    In any case, I’ve numbered my own ribs enough times that I think I know them without counting, and based on proprioceptive recognition rather than counting, I also think it’s #9.

  72. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    CD, I don’t have a good answer for you. Sometimes there is no good answer.

    My sister is hoping that the Redhead will never make it home, and be stuck in a nursing home for the rest of her life. It would kill the Redhead, and we don’t have long term care insurance in any case. Not an option for the two of us. I gently told my sister to back off.

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


    I gently told my sister to back off.

    more polite than her behavior warranted, but I’ll agree it shows the kindness that all human beings deserve.

  74. cicely says

    Tony!—your friend is Made of Awesome! Be sure to tell him that a Complete Stranger said so!
    The court not taking the opportunity to shaft you is also fantastic.
    And I am so happy and relieved that you’ve got a Job!

    *hugs* and encouragement for Rowan.
    The Buddy System, at work.
    (Which, now I come to think of it, is a good description for this place—someone’s always got your back, with advice, encouragement, sympathy/empathy, and a few chuckles, every now and again.)

    ceesays—Toiletries, meds (if applicable), a small emergency toilet paper roll (such a comfort in Unpleasant Times!), contact-related stuff (if applicable).
    Sunscreen? Bug spray? Mini-flashlight with batteries? Trash bag for keeping dirty clothes away from clean ones?

    *additional hugs* for The Mellow Monkey. I know that “passively hoping to die” feeling all too well—though not recently, knock on Genuine Imitation Formica!

    Also, add me to the “Tony!’s good news gave me a much-needed lift” club.

    gobi’s sockpuppet’s meatpuppet—Hurray! for successful juggling of tightropes!

    *non-rib-ouching hugs* for Crip Dyke. Take care of yourself, ‘kay? We need you!
    Unfortunately, I have no useful advice for your kid-parking dilemma.


    My sister is hoping that the Redhead will never make it home, and be stuck in a nursing home for the rest of her life.

    Is your sister familiar with nursing homes, at all?

  75. toska says

    Congrats on the job! I haven’t been here long enough to know of all your struggles with unemployment, but my partner had a similar break through on the job front only a few weeks ago, so I can definitely relate to the relief and joy it brings.

    Crip Dyke
    I hope you get in to a doctor soon! As far as advice on what to do with the kids, I guess, from my perspective, it would depend on the ages of your children and if they are mature enough to handle sitting in a hospital or not. Hospitals really should have a day care service for these situations. It’s often a necessary part of providing medical care to parents.

    Nerd of Redhead
    My deepest sympathies. I hope things start looking up very soon.

  76. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Is your sister familiar with nursing homes, at all?

    She did work with a hospice for a while. But the Redhead is healthy except for her present wound (healing), and residual paralysis from her stroke. The paralysis isn’t getting worse, but her present problems have weakened her, but her strength should be regained with proper physical therapy.

  77. says

    Nerd, what the fucking fuck? Best wishes and good thoughts for you and the Redhead, and I hope you can bring her home soon.

    CD, ouch. I won’t try to hug you – I’ll just offer to bring you tea and anything else you need, and I wish I was nearer, so I could watch your kids for you (not to mention that I’d love to meet you anyway, but under happier circumstances).

  78. Ryan Malone says

    Good thing it WA a lounge week… Thunder done would be a mess right after PZ’S version of “Dear Muslima.”

  79. Morgan!? Militant Pacifist says

    Tony, re nym change. I asked upthread what we friends could do in these dire times. Be militant pacifists? CripDyke responded that that is precisely what we can do. So that is what I am doing. And if I get beat to shit while protesting injustice, then fine.

  80. Morgan!? Militant Pacifist says

    Fuck…… I wish we were closer. I’d just come over and babysit the kids for as long as needed and help you get the necessary medicals.

  81. Ryan Malone says

    It was entirely polite observation, but in the spirit of kindness, I shall simply tip my hat.

  82. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    RM, from another thread misposted by PZ

    This is the lounge. Anyone else who brings up a subject that already has two active threads dedicated to it and is better suited to Thunderdome will get the banhammer.

    So, take it to the Thunderdome.

  83. Colin J says

    Over on the Even atheists have sacred cows thread, The Vicar made an comment I found interesting (#3). What I found interesting about it isn’t relevant to that thread so I thought I’d bring it over here.

    Or the way, over on Friendly Atheist, there’s a rush to defend Richard Dawkins. It’s mildly interesting: the people who hold him in esteem seem to overwhelmingly be the people who came to atheism because of his books; those of us who either were already atheists before reading his books, or were not converted by them, really aren’t all that upset.

    Richard Dawkins was always my kind of guy. My background is very English (culturally, not nationality) – polite; restrained; detached, even. When I was a christian I found his books intriguing. I loved the science but the atheism just washed over me. I wasn’t the kind of christian he was railing against so his arguments against religion meant nothing to me.

    It took coming to Pharyngula for me to actually ask myself just what sort of christian am I? What do I really believe? And after a long struggle and a lot of introspection I realised that I am an atheist.

    With Dawkins it seems that there is one kind of christianity and that is stupid, illogical and indefensible (the christianity, I mean, not the belief that there is only one type). What he portrayed didn’t match my view of myself so his arguments were easy to ignore. Pharyngula allows that people are different, they believe different things and there are different paths to atheism. By not presenting a black and white world view it challenged me to work out where I fitted, to actually analyse my beliefs.

    Which is why, to me at least, Dawkins has become increasingly irrelevant.

    Anyway, I just wanted to share that.

  84. Funny Diva says

    Nerd of Redhead @99
    WTF, I don’t even! Werdz fail. Too bad they couldn’t have failed your sister instead…ugh.
    I hope Teh Redhead continues to heal, and gets the PT she needs. She’s really blessed to have you. Hope you’re keeping up with the self-care as much as you can, too.

    Crip Dyke: oh, ouchie, ouchie OW OW OW!
    I wish I had a magic suggestion. Best I can come up with is…maybe set an early “deadline” for hearing from the chiropractor? After which you head to the nearest urgent-care place that can manage an X-ray? They might be quicker and easier on the kids than a trip to the ER? Then if their interpretation suggests you seek more care right away, drop off the kids with their cousins while you do that? Would their mom understand?…I mean, it’s pretty serious to be in so much pain that you can’t think straight, and the lack of sleep can’t be helping!
    Alternatively, if you have a regular primary care clinic they might have a few open or work-in slots for really acute situations like yours. Might be worth phoning them as soon as they open.
    Also, too, might you be able to explore short-term pain control via pharmaceuticals tomorrow (if you haven’t yet, and if that’s a viable option for you)?
    Gah. I wish I could do more than wish you the speediest recovery evar.

  85. Funny Diva says

    GAH! I just noticed that I automatically assumed Crip Dyke’s kids’s cousins’ caregiver/supervisory person would be “mom”.
    Sorry, everybody. I seem to have some baked-in, partiarchal blind spots left. Whoooo knew?

  86. says

    Ryan Malone:
    It may have been a kindly observation, but the subject matter is not going to lead to a kind discussion. That’s why it is not welcome here.


    Good luck with the packing.
    Oh, and unless I’m mistaken, this is your first foray into the Lounge. Welcome. Pull up a seat. We have a papasan in the corner, a few bean bags scattered around, a rocking chair that’s incredibly comfortable, or you can belly up to my bar and take a seat on one of the so-comfortable-you’ll-never-want-to-get-up bar chairs.
    If you partake of herbal substances, we have a room devoted to that down the hall behind the steel door (not everyone likes the smell, so we try to respect that and keep the odor away from the main gathering area). Please ignore the study. There was a fire recently (thanks to our former mascot, a certain deranged penguin), and rq is still demolishing the place with her sledgehammer. Downstairs you’ll find Nerd working on the hoverchair.
    There’s an Olympic sized hot tub out back.

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

    hi, all

    turns out I have some friends closer than Seattle. Well, at least Ms Crip Dyke does. I was going to wait and not put anyone out, but Ms Crip Dyke skypes with me when she’s out of town and didn’t like how I looked/moved/breathed so ordered me to go to hosp and helped find someone to sit kids

    Through triage and paperwork intake. Now in separate “treatment waiting room”. First exp with Canadian emergent services. We’ll see how they do.

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

    ceesays in the lounge?

    ceesays in Vancouver?

    Is that the Canadian Vancouver? CD would bolt the hospital to see ceesays, if ceesays is amenable.

  89. Funny Diva says

    Crip Dyke:
    *kermit arms* YAAAAAAAAYYY! Ms Crip Dyke scoops All Teh Awesome Points for the Night!
    So glad things are moving in the right direction. I’ll keep my digits crossed that you encounter the very _best_ tonight’s medical professionals have to offer. With a steaming side of kindness and compassion, plus appropriate pain-mitigating pharmaceuticals.
    Here’s hoping your road to recovery is looking much more manageable _very_ soon!

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

    I think

    *kermit arms*

    keeps at least a few of Teh Awesome Points For The Night in the USA.

  91. Esteleth is Groot says

    Hooray for Ms Crip Dyke being awesome!

    I hope things turn out well for you too, CD.

  92. says

    Crip Dyke:

    turns out I have some friends closer than Seattle. Well, at least Ms Crip Dyke does. I was going to wait and not put anyone out, but Ms Crip Dyke skypes with me when she’s out of town and didn’t like how I looked/moved/breathed so ordered me to go to hosp and helped find someone to sit kids
    Through triage and paperwork intake. Now in separate “treatment waiting room”. First exp with Canadian emergent services. We’ll see how they do.

    You GO Ms. Crip Dyke!
    I’m glad to hear this. I hope you’re back in good shape faster than fast.
    (In case you didn’t know ((I’m sure you know, but y’know what, I’m gonna say it again)) I have a deep amount of respect for you and value your presence here. I love reading what you write and I think you have such a unique and powerful voice. There’s a long line of Pharyngulites that I would dearly like to meet before I shuffle off this mortal coil, and you are absolutely on that list. If ever you want to or need to chat or get anything off your chest, you have my email.)

  93. says

    Crip Dyke:

    CD would bolt the hospital to see ceesays, if ceesays is amenable.

    ::deep in the bible belt a queer shoop stirs, perks his ear up, reads this comment and whispers silently “I hope the hospital bolting occurs, bc CD seems quite excited at the notion, but I hope it is after CD is back in good shape.”::

    carlie @91:
    Thanks for that video. I wasn’t expecting that.
    Are you and the SO going to have a chance at some point to celebrate your anniversary (if you so desire)?

    Colin J:
    Apologies. I read your comment earlier and neglected to welcome you to the Lounge. No matter how long your stay, I hope you feel welcome. Would you care for an eDrink? I specialize in tasty adult beverages, but I’m perfectly willing to serve non-alcoholic ones. Afraid I’m all out of umbrellas though. Someone keeps using them for minion umbrellas (glares at a certain wonderful Latvian who should be awaking sometime in the next few hours; just in time for me to wander off to sleep).
    Also, thanks for sharing your thoughts @112.

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

    Tony! I would love to hang with you, too.

    I have been sorely upset I couldn’t keep up with events, much less make a positive contribution over the past few days. Just paying attention enough to read requires me to hold my breath so as to avoid stabbing pain.

    Then when I try to catch breath afterward, my chest pumps arithmetically harder…but the pain growth is geometric. Needless to say, reading and writing in small chunks for the last few.

    And, yes, I’ve got your e-mail.
    Thanks, Esteleth. She is Teh Awesome.

    got your e-mail 2.

  95. rq says

    Crip Dyke
    Glad to read the progress of your situation, and that it worked out for you to be able to get the medical care you need. Hope the kids are okay for the duration, and hope it’s not too serious in your case (and heal fast!).

    Your sister could use a few lessons in tact. I’m glad the Redhead is on the mend, and that you are there to defend and care for her. You are, good person, a very good person in deed.

    Packing woes? I think everyone else has had better advice. I always pack too much initially, then spend the last few hours taking stuff out. With mixed results. Good luck, and safe travels!

    I’m not demolishing the place with the sledgehammer! Plus I believe I lent it to… Esteleth or bassmike, don’t remember now. Anyway, I only smash the old and unwanted stuff out back. I have not been interfering with the efforts on the interior, which have been progressing quite nicely.

    I’m sorry, I forgot to extend hearty congratulations to you on your anniversary!!
    *extends hearty conga rats*
    I’ve been feeding them well, and I wish you and your other half all the best in future years. Happiness, joy, good kids, all of that. :) *hugs*

    *hugs* and *minion umbrellas* (have a stash of tiny brightly-coloured ones here! weird…) to all those currently battling depression, anxiety, and all other assorted ills, and to those who have made progress for themselves re: treatment.


    My Twitter feed is currently alternating between tweets from Ferguson (as I catch up overnight) and tweets from the ROM: “What we have planned for kids and families this weekend.” My mind is in disconnect.

  96. ceesays says

    Well I will be arriving to find out just what kind of horror hotel I’ve checked into on Tuesday. I am going to be there with my most dearest friend (who is from Texas) and we’re going to the Supernatural convention (our fave is problematic. I’m actually less enthused about the convention than being in Vancouver)

    I will be leaving the following tuesday, the 26th of august. I have no idea how that would fit in your schedule. but I haven’t been there in years and I need to know where to eat cheap.

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

    @ceesays –

    is #126 for me?

  98. Ichthyic says

    I’m actually less enthused about the convention than being in Vancouver

    Vancouver was a fun city in the 80s; very friendly and outgoing folks. What’s your impression of it now?

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

    rib fractured-in-place. No pneumothorax. No dislocation. Elevated pulse (111-115) looks to be simply pain reaction, and with no significant elevated or reduced BP accompanying it, no reason to think that this is actually cardiac.

    Result? Go home, take pain pills, do nothing for a week. Oy. The partner’s parents are in town. How am I supposed to NOT take the kids over to their grandparents while Ms Crip Dyke is away?


    Oh, well. At least tonight the kids are being cared for by someone else. Tomorrow I’ll worry about tomorrow.

    love to all.

  100. bassmike says

    As usual everything exciting happens when I’m asleep/getting up to teething daughter!

    Tony! I am incredibly pleased for you: for the cheerfully anticlimactic court appearance; the generous friend and most of all the job! For some reason I was confident that you would get a job sooner rather than later. Judging by your posts here I couldn’t imagine anyone not giving you a job (ignoring potential racism/homophobia – and who’d want to work for someone like that anyway?). So I’ll raise a glass to you tonight.

    Carlie congrats to you too! Twenty years is impressive. I’ll raise a glass to you two too tonight.

    CD sorry to hear about your ribs. I hope you’re able to get some comfort soon. I’ve cracked one of mine in the past and it’s not fun trying to sleep, let alone simply breathe!

    Nerd I’m shocked how callous your sister is. I think you were more polite than she deserved.

    Ceesays Welcome to the lounge. From what you’ve written in other threads, I look forward to your ongoing contributions. As to packing: I’m going to have to do it myself very soon. As long as you have the necessary toiletries, a change of clothes, money, tickets and passport you should be okay…..but I’m not great at packing.

    rq sledgehammer, what sledgehammer? The noise you hear in definitely not me dropping anything behind my back. No nothing to see here. That pile of broken furniture has always been there.

  101. rq says

    Don’t worry, bassmike, I’ll just play this really loud and no one will hear anything.


    It’s taking me ages to catch up on the current active threads, but wow, some of you are amazing. Thanks for the updates – now I have Twitter and Pharyngula to stay up-to-date. I keep checking local news, and not a word about Ferguson. The Toronto Star? Still nothing on the internets that I can see.

  102. carlie says

    Nerd – wow. I’m so, so sorry that your family is being so much the opposite of helpful. I wish we could all take turns making you casseroles and cleaning your house for you and doing things that might actually be helpful.

    Thanks again on the anniversary wishes. We had a bit of a close to fight when he finally got home, as I was glued to the tv for Ferguson, shaking mad, and trying to explain what was going on and he wasn’t getting it and I didn’t have the energy to lay it all out, but I realized we were both too tired and so dropped it, and then we had a good conversation about happier things as we were falling asleep, including him reminding me that it just fits into our track record of other stellar anniversaries such as the time we ended up in the ER with me getting stitches from falling down. We agreed it was our fault for getting married on the 13th and thereby being cursed forever after. :)

  103. says

    [tiptoes in]
    [quietly refills hugs basket, tea, coffee and pastries supplies, adds big boxes of kleenex to coffee table]
    [brings out hamper of fleecy throws for snuggling people who aren’t into hugs today]
    [subsides onto couch and curls up in a corner, wishing there was more I could do]

  104. estraven says

    I had to be away from my computer for quite a while but I want to thank all those who offered me hugs and support, and i want to say Yay, Tony! And also offer hugs to all who need them. We are all struggling with our personal stuff. It’s so good to be among people who are decent and caring.

  105. says

    Too much going on to catch up, I’m sorry, hugs and comfort and spaghetti – er, I mean confetti – for those as needs ’em.

    Did see ceesays mentioning she’s headed to the SPN con in VCR, and I’m envious. If you’re interested, ceesays, I started (but depression has…slowed me?…what’s the right word for taking a year off?) a progressivist SPN rewatch over at Fullmetal Feminist, my blog.

    Today, I’m going to go over there and post again. Yes. Then tonight, I’m going to watch an ep, and do a post about it, and hopefully get it up tomorrow.

    I hope you enjoy the con!

  106. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    I am alive! I’ve been having a rough time lately, but I’m getting by. Today is the first day of ten days of vacation. Being out of the office makes me very anxious…but I’m working on that. My new assistant (who started last Monday) is very competent and professional and I’m really pleased with her performance so far. I feel like my files are in good hands while I’m gone.

    I’m waaaaaaaaay rupt but see CD needs very gentle hugs? Hope you heal quickly and don’t exacerbate anything too much with being so good to those kiddos.

    Congratumalations for our Shoop! I’ve said it elsewhere but I can’t say it enough, I’m so happy for you!

    Back to packing for the trip!

    *hugs* all around as desired.

  107. ceesays says

    127, CD: yes. it was. I arrive tuesday, August 19, early in the morning, then The Best One I think arrives at the airport at noon, and then we’ll see if our hotel is terrible, and probably find somewhere to eat.

    I notice that our arrival is too late for Pride and too early for the Fringe, and that Bard on the Beach has become Shakespeare for the bourgeoisie in the decades since I left, and we’re going to miss the fireworks competition too. I would have liked it very much if we could have been there for Fringe, oh well.

    I think The Best One wants to check out some museums on the UBC campus, and wants to see Queen Elizabeth Park. He wanted to go to the aquarium but the ticket price has me cringing.

  108. David Marjanović says

    Tony!!! *Jadehawk’s® Totally Biodegradable Confetti™*

    My sister is hoping that the Redhead will never make it home, and be stuck in a nursing home for the rest of her life.

    What… why? *blink* For teh evulz?

  109. Brony says

    A political fist fight with my father and grandfather on Facebook over my post on Ferguson. Eh, it’s worth it.

  110. Brony says

    @ Tony
    Congrats on the job!
    @ Crip Dyke
    I hope everything goes as best as it can. Take care of yourself.
    @ Nerd of Redhead
    I want to wish you well, but I have to admit to being a bit confused by the context of your posts so I’m not sure what to say. Do you work in a nursing home? You occasionally seem to speak in a different perspective but that just might be me being me. Given what you are discussing I do wish you the best.

  111. cicely says

    So glad to see the kid-watching problem solved, and you off to get/have got that rib looked at, Crip Dyke!
    :) :) :)

    Where are my manners???
    Welcome In, ceesays and Colin J!
    Please to answer Standardized Test Questions viz:
    1) Horses
    2) peas
    3) cheese
    4) squashes
    5) Miracle Whip™
    6) spam (spam, spam, spam….)


    I am alive!


    I’ve been having a rough time lately,


    but I’m getting by.


    Today is the first day of ten days of vacation.

    Moar Yay!!!

  112. jefrir says

    Congratulations on the job, Tony!, that is awesome news!

    *Jedi hugs* to Crip Dyke, and I hope the rib heals quickly. Would the grandparents be able to come to you (and possibly take the kids out for a bit to give you a rest), rather than you taking the kids to them?

    I met my boyfriend’s other girlfriend for the first time last week – and we got on really well. I’ve not been in a poly relationship before, and so was a bit worried about how I would feel about it, but everything felt really comfortable and good. So yay! Everything I was worrying about when starting this relationship has turned out to be not a problem, and indeed generally a bonus.

  113. Brony says

    @ ceesays

    …the Supernatural convention…

    Supernatural stuffs or the television show? (I love that show)
    @ carlie
    Happy anniversary!

  114. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Crip Dyke,
    Damn! Broken/cracked ribs hurt…a lot. I remember every deep breath and every laugh hurting for a couple of weeks (of course, I was not on pain meds.). Please take it easy on yourself and mend well and rapidly.

  115. ceesays says

    @Brony – The television show. Wildly expensive to attend this thing, I gotta tell you.

  116. says

    Speaking of ‘Supernatural’, I really need to get caught up on that show. I stopped watching somewhere around Season 4 and didn’t get back into. I have a habit of losing interest in a show and not getting back into it. But that’s one show I want to get back into.

  117. says


    An African-American Seattle man who happened to be walking by a pro-Palestinian protest said that he is still confused as to why a security guard would have pepper sprayed him instead of a white man who was harassing demonstrators and yelling racial slurs.

    Freelance photographer Alex Garland, who photographed and videotaped the incident, told The Stranger that a white shirtless man had been trying to start fights with activists at a pro-Palestinian rally on Saturday.

    Garland said that the man had been shouting epithets like “towelhead” and “sand n*gger.”

    As 26-year-old Raymond Wilford was walking to a friend’s house, the shirtless man apparently confused him for a protester.

    “I was trying to avoid him because I heard him say a bunch of racial stuff,” Wilford told The Stranger.

    In photos taken by Garland, the two men can be seen squaring off in a fighting stance, but Wilford said he never actually threw a punch.

    That’s when a Westlake Center security guard arrived on the scene.

    “The security guard was like, ‘Stop,’” Wilford recalled. “The white guy was still yelling and walking towards the security guard. I was like, ‘Why are you pointing your mace at me? He’s the one being aggressive.’ And then he pepper-sprayed me.”

    Photos show the security guard walking past the shirtless white man to pepper spray Wilford, who is black.

    “The guy that was the aggressor was closer to the security guard,” Garland said, according to “The other individual, the person of color, was further away but he was the one who got pepper sprayed.”

  118. says

    A Planned Parenthood clinic in Kissimmee, Florida has been ordered to stop performing abortions and ultrasounds because such procedures may violate zoning restrictions on the property, The Orlando Sentinel reports.

    The deed on the property specifically restricts tenants from running an outpatient surgery center, an emergency medical center, or a diagnostic imaging center, as well as perform any procedures that are “obnoxious or out of harmony with other developments” in the area.

    Circuit Judge John Jordan ordered the clinic, which is located across the street from the Osceloa Regional Medical Center, to stop performing the procedures because there is a “substantial likelihood of proving” that the Planned Parenthood clinic was violating its contract with the property owners. In his ruling, Judge Jordan said that abortions violate the stricture against outpatient surgical procedures, and that performing ultrasounds amounts to running a diagnostic imaging center.

    He dismissed the plaintiff’s claims that distribution of the morning-after pill constitutes an emergency medical procedure and that the clinic is “obnoxious or out of harmony with other developments” on the property. However, he noted that Planned Parenthood “purchased the property with the knowledge of the restrictions and proceeded at its own peril.”

  119. says

    Update on mormon fundamentalist polygamists: FLDS leaders in Bountiful, Canada are getting some jail time.

    Many Pharyngulites will remember that I previously commented about teenage girls being transported from the Arizona/Utah border towns to Bountiful for the purposes of marrying them to older FLDS men. This traffic in young mormon girls went both ways. It was a means of expanding the gene pool (sort of, but not by much), a way to keep girls and young women in line, and an effort to provide more wives for FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saints) leaders.

    Canadian authorities finally got fucking sick of the whole thing. Unfortunately, the former top head honcho in Bountiful got off easier than some of his cohorts. He was NOT charged with sexual exploitation for having “conjugal unions” with ten minors. Blackmore is a “former” head honcho because he was excommunicated in one of the many unintentionally comic episodes of infighting.

    […] Canada’s most notorious polygamist, Winston Blackmore, was charged with one count of polygamy. Listed in the indictment against the former bishop are the names of 24 women who were in “a form of polygamy or practised a kind of conjugal union.”

    Among the women listed, 10 were under the age of 18. However, special prosecutor Peter Wilson did not approve any criminal charges for sexual exploitation. […]

    James Marion Oler was charged with one count of polygamy and one of child sex trafficking, in June 2004, for allegedly taking a person under the age of 16 out of Canada to facilitate sexual interference or sexual touching. […]

    Blackmore’s brother, Brandon Blackmore and Brandon’s wife, Emily Ruth Gail Crossfield, are also charged with child sex trafficking, which is alleged to have taken place in February 2004.

    The maximum penalty for both offences — polygamy and unlawful removal — is up to five years in prison.

    All four are expected to make their first appearance on the charges on Oct. 9 in Creston provincial court. […]

    The charges of unlawful removal of a child against Oler, Brandon Blackmore and Crossfield are based on information that was used in the Texas trial of FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs, including his diaries and church marriage records.[…]

    That evidence listed 31 girls aged 12 to 17, who over a 10-year period were alleged to have been transported by their parents between Canada and the United States for religious marriages.

    In the diaries, Jeffs detailed how some Bountiful men snuck their often unsuspecting daughters and sisters into the U.S. for arranged marriages and how many of the men returned with teenage American brides — with no consideration of either country’s immigration laws. […]

    Vancouver Sun link.

    More details of the trafficking in young girls are available at the link.

  120. Brony says

    @ ceesays
    *Jealously mode a activated*
    (Though since I live in Austin I really should have heard about something like this here by now. I need to get more social IRL :P)

    @ Tony
    It’s worth it. Lots of shows don’t do a really good job of extending things past what what they originally planned but I’ve been pretty happy with everywhere they have gone and how they presented it.

  121. mishcakes says

    A Missoula man has been charged in the shooting death of a 17-year-old boy after prosecutors said he set a trap in his garage to catch any would-be burglars because he was frustrated over recent thefts… He told investigators he heard a noise that sounded like metal on metal, and he was afraid the intruder would come out and hurt him. He said he did not see anyone in the darkened garage and did not communicate with anyone before sweeping the garage with four shotgun blasts.
    Dede was struck in the head and arm and died at a Missoula hospital, court records said.

    Missoula man charged with homicide in teen shooting


    Fucked up.

  122. ceesays says

    @brony: there’s one in Dallas, I believe. But i think it’s too late in the year to get tickets for it now. The conventions are unfortunately put on by Creation entertainment, and they’re stupid expensive, and I have to tell you that if The Best One hadn’t wanted to go I would have never shelled out the money. My ticket, which has decent reserved seating and access to some of the extra events, with a few included autographs, was over five hundred dollars. I’m still freaked out by the price.

    oh I just checked. there’s one in Dallas, in September, and one in Houston, in January. Gold packages are currently on sale for Houston, as $699 US. If I dared go to the US I would likely be going to Austin, because that’s where The Best One lives, and I have a couple writer friends who live there.

    Tony!: it’s just waiting there on netflix, and season 9 should be up pretty soon. I didn’t get into it until a couple of years ago, and I marathonned seven seasons in about ten days. And then I wound up watching Grey’s Anatomy because it’s dead obvious that the supernatural show “Dr. Sexy, MD” is supposed to be Grey’s. I don’t mind Grey’s; it’s kind of soapy but it’s got one of the most diverse casts in TV, and it’s great TV for when i’m knitting lace – it’s not hugely actiony so I can keep my eyes on my knitting and just listen. (I knit while I watch Supernatural but only simple things I don’t have to look at.)

  123. dianne says

    From mishcake’s link @156: “Kaarma’s attorney, Paul Ryan, said his client feels terrible about the death of the young man, but he was also was disappointed that the Missoula County attorney filed the charge.”

    The shooter set a trap in his garage to try to lure someone into it. This trap included leaving a purse in plain sight in an open garage*. He then swept the room with shotgun blasts when he thought he heard someone entering. And he “feels terrible” that the kid died? What did he expect to happen when he shot him multiple times? Did he think he was facing a Terminator or what? Also, he’s “disappointed” that charges were filed after he lured someone into his house and killed him? I’m surprised and pleased that charges were, for once, filed.

    *I have the vague idea that it might be legal to enter an open door into a private building, i.e. that leaving the door open (not just unlocked, but actually open) implies an invitation to enter. But I think I’m getting this idea from Hollywood so it’s likely wrong.

  124. says

    Brony, ceesays:
    I intend to get caught up on Supernatural very soon. I must admit to being surprised it is still going, and that it has retained its quality. 10 seasons is impressive. And I’m looking forward to the upcoming quasi-musical episode in S10.

  125. says

    dianne, mishcakes:
    I understand the idea that people have the right to defend their home. What I don’t get is why people feel they must kill intruders. Why can’t they fire a warning shot? Why can’t they shoot to wound? I’d think either one would be a deterrent (this is a tentative opinion that is not back by any evidence, incidentally) to would be thieves.

  126. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Hmm. Yeah, as much as I’d ordinarily empathize with someone who’s sick to fucking death at being the repeated victim of theft, that’s messed up.

  127. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I understand the idea that people have the right to defend their home. What I don’t get is why people feel they must kill intruders. Why can’t they fire a warning shot? Why can’t they shoot to wound?

    Perverse incentives. I’ve been informed that there have been multiple cases in which a homeowner’s decision to do either of those things was used as evidence that their use of a firearm wasn’t actually justified since they weren’t threatened enough that they were willing to shoot to kill, and they were successfully sued and/or prosecuted for defending their own homes.

    Yet another example of why the practice of law needs a fucking ethical code.

  128. mishcakes says

    What if the German kid who was killed wasn’t even the one who’d been burgling the place earlier? Maybe he’d just seen the open garage and, being a 17-year-old who wasn’t accustomed to our shoot-first questions-later culture, stopped to check it out?

    I just cannot fathom. Poor kid.

    Tony – thanks for the welcome. :)

  129. says

    I truly am sorry if at any point in that thread I sounded as if I was supporting the injustice of these police shootings. I didn’t have a full picture of what was going on at the time (the news broadcast that I had caught part of on CNN was misleading about the details) and didn’t want to make any choices till I knew more (didn’t know saying I’m withholding my judgement until I get better info was keyword for I am for the violence). I was disgusted by CNN’s reporting in the three cases that I had seen, they came across as vultures feasting on misery and trying to incite more violence for there ratings (and PZ’s article hit home with the criticism of the media). Add to that someone had almost died about 150 feet from where I was (mangled under a hostler while walking in a cross walk), it was more than I could bear for a hectic busy day at work. I am not the most articulated person, but I’m trying to improve my writing.

    I was and still am outraged at what I have learned not just on Monday, but elsewhere as well. This stuff doesn’t make the normal rounds, nobody I knew had even seen or heard anything on it. That could be ignorance. I live near a base, the jets have been active for the last month, it usually is an omen for a war or military action ahead (air strikes in Iraq this time), but I usually am aware of the coming conflict and start to watch for where it will be on the usual news sources. Community violence is very minimal and especially during these active times people are almost uneasily silent just going about their daily business waiting for the tension to ease. The actions of those officers (referring to the news stories this month that were posted) aren’t anything more than privileged racists executing people (and I’m willing to accept it happens a lot more than I’m actually aware of). I could never wish or direct ill on another (that means any ethnicity or gender). Good to hear things are picking up with the job and all.

    Crip Dyke
    Take it easy on those ribs. A friend of mine went through that after a water skiing accident, just talking was enough to get her winded.

    Best of wishes to all from little known, somewhat progressive mind, in Mormon country. Only visit, because Utah Mormons are whole different breed of Mormon. Their nice at first but that is just their way of assimilating people. Once your in you’ll never be the same, that I can attest to.

  130. rq says

    I want to grow lemons. That way, when Life tries to hand me lemons, I can say, “I grow my own, superior-quality, lemons! Fuck off!! Erm… Maybe you need a supplier?” I’ll be rich in no time.

  131. says


    Why can’t they shoot to wound?

    Because not even Green Berets are good enough shots to do that reliably; there’s loads of places in the human body that’ll kill you if they get opened up, and bullets tend to open things up a lot. Also, actually shooting a moving target, when you’re hyped up on fear and adrenaline, and the light’s not very good, is hard enough without trying to target a specific area. There’s realistically no such thing as ‘shooting to wound’. There are a few cases where it can happen, but they’re very rare and usually involve considerable setup beforehand (e.g. efforts in various wars to leave the front by arranging with a comrade to suffer a nonfatal but serious gunshot wound to the foot, lower leg, or buttocks.) That said, the vast majority of intruders are likely to be dissuaded just by the knowlege they’ve been seen, and a baseball bat or kitchen knife waved menacingly at them will do for most of the rest. Also, with something like that it’s a lot easier to gauge how fatal/serious the injury you’re doing them is and harder to kill them without intending.
    Also, what Azzy said about the stupidities of legal response, which applies to the above as well.

  132. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    That said, the vast majority of intruders are likely to be dissuaded just by the knowlege they’ve been seen, and a baseball bat or kitchen knife waved menacingly at them will do for most of the rest.

    Unless, perhaps, they stole an unsecured handgun from their previous target… *sigh*

  133. toska says

    I live in Missoula. The German kid was not the same person who had previously burgled the place. The kids who did that came forward and confessed during the initial outrage over this incident. It’s heart breaking. We’ve had issues with the Castle Doctrine over the last few years (whenever it is used as a defense, it is certainly abused). Hopefully this case will finally make legislatures rethink these ridiculous laws that make it easier to get away with killing people.

  134. dianne says

    I understand the need to defend your home, but not the need to set traps for the unwary and curious just in case they might be interested in burgling your home. This kid didn’t randomly enter their house, they set the situation up to make entering the house more enticing and then killed him. Why not get an alarm system? Or a better lock? Or a yappy dog? Is shooting to kill really the only option?

  135. rq says

    I keep thinking maybe the kid was wondering why things were left all open like that and was going to warn the homeowners. There’s that, too.
    People. How do they work?

  136. dianne says

    I keep thinking maybe the kid was wondering why things were left all open like that and was going to warn the homeowners. There’s that, too.

    Especially since they left a purse in the garage to “tempt” the thief. I’d be concerned that the home owner forgot and was at risk of losing the purse if I saw something like that. I guess I know not to help suburbanites now, though. The cynical side of me thinks that the home owner is in trouble because the kid he murdered turned out to be white, but I’m glad that the shooter is at least getting mildly inconvenienced (he’ll probably get off) nonetheless. It’s not fair but it’s more right than his not being prosecuted.

  137. says

    Dalillama, Schmott Guy 169

    Why can’t they shoot to wound?

    I would highly recommend you check into their actual training. Green Berets and many other special ops are trained to control their fire under stressful situations in ways that the police force just doesn’t. First part of training is having the persons physically exhaust themselves, usually running laps followed by punching a punching bag, and while their doing that, constantly insulting, yelling and doing everything possible to drive the person into a rage. It is when they’ve finally reached their limits (literally exhausted and shaking with rage) that is when they go to the gun range. This is how the elite are trained so they won’t break down emotionally in the heat of battle and just start shooting blindly. And this type of training has to be kept up like any good skill, if you don’t maintain it people will lose their muscle memory and fall back on bad habits. This I learned from a good friend who actually was an instructor for this program. To quote him. “The people they trained were the only ones he actually trusted with a gun.” The only way for a person to be trained to respond to an enhanced situation is to train in the actual situation, and law enforcement is more about the cop doing PR and never drawing their gun because of the collateral damage of firing rounds. So the officer’s are left up to training themselves in that heightened situation, which if you never expect to be in it your more likely not to do it.

    Unfortunately they’re not trained well to handle these situations and it shows, but that aside the officers in the cases I saw (posted earlier in this thread) there isn’t any fault I could find in their victim’s action. Running away isn’t reason to open fire let alone shooting someone in the toy isle holding a toy gun. These reactions are more sinister that someone in a heightened situation acting poorly. I remember when a 14 year old boy was shot at his home running around playing in his yard with a toy gun. This was at night and the officer couldn’t tell if it was a real gun, so when the kid pointed it his direction he reacted. This was before toy gun manufactures were required to make their toy guns bright colors and avoided black. But we’re talking about a brightly lit store, and he was pleading it wasn’t real with the officer and still he opened fire. This type of reaction is irrational and this does nothing to protect people of a community. If this represents the standard training for officers then I truly am terrified, bullies with guns is no way to enforce law in a productive way.

  138. toska says

    The boy who was murdered was actually ethnically Turkish, but I do think the fact that the German embassy got involved with the case had something to do with the charges actually being brought up against the shooter.

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

    @ceesays, 139:

    I’d love to get together. The aquarium is something to which we have a family membership. I’ll see if there’s a guest pass – I think that there is, but I don’t remember how many times/year we get to use it and the grandparents are in town, the guest passes are usually used for them.

    I’d be happy to talk cheap eats and more. If you don’t have my e-mail, it’s the rather obvious gmail address: just my nym, no spaces, no honorifics. Drop me a line and we’ll talk more. With luck, I can get out of bed (gently!) long enough to take you to Bonn’s off Broadway and Bandidas and maybe somewhere else if I can swing more than 2 meals away from family during a grandparent visit (they’re here for 3 weeks, so not every moment is precious…on the other hand, I’ll already be missing family events b/c of these damn ribs, so we’ll see what I can reasonably get away with).

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


    Wow, I’m overwhelmed with the good wishes. As I said before, it was hard just to read anything. I literally had to hold my breath to read or type lest the stabbing pain make my eyes swim so much I had to start over.

    Morphine kind of changes that. When I’m alone – as I am this afternoon – that should mean more ability to actually catch up with reading you all and maybe even write something coherent.

    Thanks for all the good will. I’m up to give the cats some 6-hour overdue food (though they were fed a little extra last night in anticipation of possible late sleep, I’m not cruel).

  141. David Marjanović says

    Petition to the US Attorney General, the MO Attorney General and the police chief of Ferguson “to complete a rigorous investigation of the Ferguson Police Department’s racially discriminatory policing, prosecute said officers to the fullest extent of the law, and begin the firing process for all involved officers”.

    Paywall: “Body size evolution in Titanosauriformes (Sauropoda, Macronaria)” – “We used statistical methods to assess body size changes under both phylogenetic and nonphylogenetic approaches to identify body size trends in Titanosauriformes. Femoral lengths were collected (or estimated from humeral length) from 46 titanosauriform species and used as a proxy for body size. Our findings show that there is no increase or decrease in titanosauriform body size with age along the Cretaceous and that negative changes in body size are more common than positive ones (although not statistically significant) for most of the titanosauriform subclades (e.g. Saltasaridae, Lithostrotia, Titanosauria and Somphospondyli). Therefore, Cope’s rule is not supported in titanosauriform evolution. Finally, we also found a trend towards a decrease of titanosauriform mean body size coupled with an increase in body size standard deviation, both supporting an increase in body size variation towards the end of Cretaceous.”

    A paywalled blast from the past: bone reported in an Early Carboniferous shark in 1998. Bone is completely absent in today’s chimeras and sharks-including-skates-and-rays, but it’s clear from their phylogenetic position that they must have lost the ability to form bone at some point.

  142. jefrir says

    You mentioned knitting.
    I do believe you’ll find some fellow knitters in the Lounge (I’m not one of them, but I seem to recall a few others are).

    Yep, I’m a knitter, as are various of the others; Carlie and Esteleth, I think, I’m not sure who else. There’s even a Pharyngula group on Ravelry, although it’s never been busy.

  143. opposablethumbs says

    Crip Dyke, I’m way behind – but I am so glad you’ve got some chance of controlling the pain a little bit now, and that it’s been possible to get some help with the kids. Just the thought of trying to cope with the situation you were in … fucking hell. How could anyone function with an as-yet untreated unmedicated unassessed fracture ….. it’s just frightening.

    I really hope the grandparents are the kind of people who will say OMG you have a broken rib, of course let us look after the kids, at least for a bit!

  144. doublereed says

    You Are Not So Smart just did a podcast with David Epstein on the concept of Practice and how it changes the brain. They talk about nature vs nurture and why the “10,000-hour rule” has run counter to what studies actually show, hampering today’s youth. Really interesting.

    How Practice Changes the Brain with David Epstein

  145. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says


    Thanks :)
    pouncehug back

    Azkyroth at 164

    Yet another example of why the practice of law needs a fucking ethical code

    We have one, thankyouverymuch. The law and justice are often not the same thing, but that’s a very different matter from warranting maligning a whole group of professionals.

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

    bone reported in an Early Carboniferous shark in 1998.


    Mind sooooo blown.

    @Opposable Thumbs:
    Grandparents are good folk, but Grandpa doesn’t really have the physical ability to do much care taking. Nana being left to support the kids because step-mom won’t makes sense, logically, given combo of disability and injury on both my part and Grandpa’s, but

    a) I don’t like shuffling off the responsibility
    b) I don’t like the gender optics
    c) since I’m relatively new to the family (2.5 years) and very new to the single parenting thing (birth mom is an island away several days a week), I hate giving others the impression I’m less committed to the kids than Ms Crip Dyke who single-parented for 6 years
    d) I’m always scared of doing things that are reminiscent of stereotypically bad behavior of masculine people. It’s not that I’m not accepted in the fan, but as an MtF person, I know that there’s going to be tons they don’t get. Since they avoid talking about it (I realize that is probably their way of saying, ‘it doesn’t matter to us,’ but it leaves room for doubt) it’s hard to predict how different behaviors of mine will be read. As a woman? “Oh, of course she wouldn’t ask for help unless she really needed it.” As a man? “Hmph. Manflu again!”

    Not that they’ve (as individuals) given me reason to suspect that my behavior is under undue or unfair scrutiny. But society certainly has.

    So there’s all that. But more than anything else it comes down to this:
    Now that birth mom has a job that takes her away from the kids part of each week, they are feeling some abandonment-related stuff. I don’t want them to feel like I will send them away when things get tough. It’s one thing to have 2 moms and have one leave you in the care of another. It’s not so comfortable when one mom has always been there and the other is relatively new, but it is still staying home with mom. Leaving your house to stay with grandparents in your cousins’ house (because not being in the city, it’s bigger)? That’s different still.

    The little scamps somehow made me love them, so I’m stuck with caring about their well-being, drat them.

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

    Oh, and just FTR:

    There appears to be nothing in my life so awful that a purring kitten can’t make it at least a little better.

  148. opposablethumbs says

    Crip Dyke, I see – it’s kind of fraught, or complicated at least. And I totally get that you don’t want the kids to feel worried or upset, and why they might be. Argh. You mentioned the friends that Ms Crip Dyke helped get in touch with, are they or any other friends able to come to your place maybe once or twice to help physically? Or will Ms Crip Dyke be back soon?

    Now this is why we should all be able to teleport-commute to the PharynguCommune, so some of us could nip over and do your shopping for you. I’m a pretty rubbish cook, but I can just about follow instructions under supervision …

    Hope you heal up soon.

  149. opposablethumbs says

    Tony! , I think they almost are but maybe not quite: this is copy-pasta’d from my dictionary:

    In careful usage, farther and farthest are preferred when referring to literal distance: the farthest planet. Further and furthest are regarded as more correct for figurative senses denoting greater or additional amount, time, etc.: further to my letter. Further and furthest are also preferred for figurative distance.

  150. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    We have one, thankyouverymuch.

    …which permits a response to someone requesting assistance in suing the victim of their burglary for self-defense other than “get the FUCK out of my office.”

    My point stands.

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

    From the Queer Shoop:

    Question: Can farther and further be used interchangeably?

    I believe this should clear that up.


    Thanks for all the good wishes. Ms Crip Dyke gets home very late tonight, and has next week off (she couldn’t take the whole 3 weeks off, but she’s off til a week from tuesday, which should be long enough for me to be functional again).

    So whatever angst there be is soon to end…well, get better anyway. Then it’s just trying to breathe, and hey, I’ve managed to do that all my life, haven’t I?

  152. says

    Many thanks.


    Remember that friend I talked about yesterday who drove me to the courthouse and gave me $500? I was just catching up on Facebook posts, and noticed that he put a call out asking friends if they knew a good place to get a Moped or scooter.
    This, after he mentioned yesterday that a Moped or scooter might be work for me, since I don’t have a car.
    While I can’t say with certainty that he’s asking around for my benefit, I think it’s a very reasonable assumption to think he is.

  153. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says


    Your aim is off. The problem you’re talking about is the fault of legislators, not lawyers. And it’s not a problem with the professional code of ethics. Your broad-based assertions make it sound like you think lawyers writ large don’t have ethics, and maybe I’m just a little bit tired of hearing that one, so maybe I’m overreading your comments. But I am very tired of hearing how unethical I and many of my friends must be based on our job.

  154. Usernames are smart says

    I’ve been severely depressed lately, to the point that I’ve sort of passively been hoping to die rather than experiencing suicidal ideation. I have felt utterly hopeless.
    — The Mellow Monkey (#79)

    MM, sorry I didn’t see this earlier. If this is still the case CALL 911 RIGHT NOW. Do NOT “man up” or whatever. You deserve to get the help you need to make it.

    I’ve lost too many friends to stand by and watch another. And take it from someone who—gladly, damnit!—takes a handful of happy pills daily to keep on track, there is NO SHAME in taking care of oneself.

  155. says

    I noticed an uptick in viewers at my blog yesterday. I wonder if it had to do with my post on the events in Ferguson. Actually, I *hope* it had to do with that, bc I want more people to read about these events. I don’t care how they come by the info, but people need to be more aware and they need to care.

  156. jste says


    I noticed an uptick in viewers at my blog yesterday. I wonder if it had to do with my post on the events in Ferguson.

    Have you got Google Analytics or somehting similar set up? it should be able to show you exactly what your visitors are clicking on and how long they spend looking at it.

    Also, thanks for the spoons link in thunderdome. Spoons is used enough around here that context was enough for me to get the gist, but it’s nice knowing where the phrase came from, and exactly what it was referring to!

  157. Usernames are smart says

    Tony! – congrats on the job, man! Post your email address so I can kick you some cash until you get paid.

  158. Usernames are smart says

    I feel completely overwhelmed right now and haven’t had a deep breath in 60+ hours.
    Not being in a great place for rational analysis, I’ll take any advice here I can get.

    — Crip Dyke (#95)

    So, how did it go? If you still haven’t gone, may I suggest:

    1) you call your cousins (parents?) and tell them you’re having an emergency and you need them to watch the kids

    2) If they say no, tell one of your neighbors

    3) If they say no, take the kids to the ER with some toys/books/electronics (they usually have — ugh — teevee in the waiting room, so at least the kids will be mesmerized for a bit and it won’t kill them for a few hours, even if it is Fox “News”).

    Go to the ER, get well.

  159. says

    My pleasure on the link.
    I remember being curious when I first heard the term ‘spoons’. Like you I was able to figure out what it referred to in rough terms, but knowing the source of it was nice.

    As for the blog, wordpress has a function that allows bloggers to check their stats, so I’ll check into that.

  160. cicely says

    Yes, thanks, Tony!. I kept meaning to Favorite your blog, but I also kept forgetting.
    Done, now!

  161. says

    Thank you :)

    Brian Dunning showed up in the comments of a recent post by Jason over at Lousy Canuck:

    It’s staggering how much of this is flat-out wrong. Why does it never occur to anyone to ask for information before blogging? I remain available to happily answer any questions. Since August 4, I’m able to talk about it full detail. I got some of it out on the August 11 episode of Skeptically Yours (unfortunately I don’t have the YouTube link yet). I invite anyone to email me for direct answers to direct questions, which you’re welcome to publish or ignore. You can reach me at
    You have to understand that we were never able to present a defense because we were cooperating since 2007 and pleaded guilty. Thus, the only information that ever made it into the press was the press releases and motions filed by the prosecution. The majority of everything that happened in court was sealed. This article is chock full of factual errors. I can’t present sealed documents, but I can present a lot. Some is here at and some of it we were able to talk about on Skeptically Yours.

  162. Usernames are smart says

    Tony! – I just sent you an email to confirm; please let me know if you got it.

  163. says

    Discovery Channel’s ethical problems on display again:

    Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week” is misleading the public again this year with several documentaries. So why are scientists allowing themselves to be featured in these pseudoscience disasters? There’s a simple reason: Shark Week producers have been lying to them.

    Jonathan Davis, who now works for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, was studying the bull sharks in the Gulf of Mexico for his Masters research when he was approached by a Shark Week film crew. “They were interested in the sharks in Louisiana, and I was the person doing the research there,” Davis says. He agreed to take the film crew into the field, but quickly became concerned by their refusal to answer his questions.
    Davis was shocked to find that his interview aired during a 2013 Shark Week special called Voodoo Shark, which was about a mythical monster shark called “Rooken” that lived in the Bayous of Louisiana. The “other filming” his interview was combined with featured a Bayou fishermen, and the clips were edited together to make it seem like a race between his team of researchers and the fishermen to see who could catch the mythical voodoo shark faster. In reality, Davis was barely asked about the voodoo shark at all. His answers from unrelated questions were edited together to make it seem like he believed in its existence and was searching for it.
    Despite criticism for using this practice last year, Shark Week seems to have done the same thing again in 2014. Kristine Stump, a Postdoctoral Research Associate at Shedd Aquarium, will be featured in the 2014 Shark Week documentary Monster Hammerhead.

  164. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The majority of everything that happened in court was sealed. This article is chock full of factual errors.

    Considering such motions for sealing are invariablymade by the defense, why should I believe a word Brian Dunning says?

  165. says

    This article from Gawker bothers me:

    A pilot flying a Flybe plane with 47 passengers aboard learned an important lesson on a flight to Northern Ireland: always make sure your arm is attached before landing.

    An unnamed 46-year-old pilot was landing a Dash 8 plane at Belfast City Airport in gusty weather conditions when his lower left arm prosethetic became detached from its yoke clamp and he lost control, according to recent report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

    The senior captain who was described in the report as one of Flybe’s “most experienced and trusted pilots” was manually flying the plane when a flare maneuver caused his arm to detach, the BBC reports. There wasn’t enough time, he determined, to have the co-pilot take control. Instead the captain used his right hand to grab the yoke and safely land the aircraft – albeit with a bounce after touchdown.

    People with disabilities are dismissed, ignored, or condescended to all too often. Given the way society treats people with disabilities, I don’t like the use of someone with a prosthesis as the butt of a joke.

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

    @usernames are smart:
    got diagnosis – rib broken in place, so no cartilage tearing, no pneumothorax (when a bone or bone fragment punctures a lung, allowing air into the chest) or fluid in the lungs (like blood). The worst possibilities all came up nil. But still, breathing with a broken rib is terribly painful – at least with deep breaths. I’m on a powerful narcotic. The kids ended up staying with the cousins and grandparents. Ms Crip Dyke comes home late tonight.

    Everything gets a bit easier tomorrow. But the rib should still require powerful narcotics for a week to 10 days during active hours, and longer than that to go to sleep with pressure on the rib from the bed.

    But again, it gets easier tomorrow.

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

    I couldn’t remember Terry Crews’ acting, so I tried looking up clips…and found his old spice commercials.

    Holy cannibal crackers, Tony!, I hold you directly responsible for the massive amount of pain I experienced trying to find the pause button while watching those things. Too funny for women with broken ribs! Literally. They were too damn funny. Not finishing that compilation for a couple weeks.

    I vaguely remember him from Get Smart, but haven’t seen him in anything lately. Generally comedy is harder, from an acting point of view, but there are a lot of people who develop the comedy chops without ever developing the drama chops as they are separate skills (just like it’s possible to be awesome at chess but not at checkers because one is harder to master, but they are separate skills). If he’s got the chops to do drama, he’s certainly got the athleticism and the patient timing needed to make the one-liners work.

    That would make him a pretty awesome choice. I’m stoked on the series for the character, though, not for any actor. i **hope** they cast well, of course, but I don’t keep track of actors & such well enough to second guess their choices…at least until after I actually see a couple episodes.

  168. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Your aim is off. The problem you’re talking about is the fault of legislators, not lawyers. And it’s not a problem with the professional code of ethics. Your broad-based assertions make it sound like you think lawyers writ large don’t have ethics, and maybe I’m just a little bit tired of hearing that one, so maybe I’m overreading your comments. But I am very tired of hearing how unethical I and many of my friends must be based on our job.

    It’s not just a problem of legislators. I admit to not reading every entry in the code you linked to, but from skimming the table of contents, there appears to be a great deal about legal procedure and the attorney’s relationship to the client, but for instance, the “Rights of Third Persons” section reads in its entirety:

    (a) In representing a client, a lawyer shall not use means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden a third person, or use methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of such a person.

    (b) A lawyer who receives a document or electronically stored information relating to the representation of the lawyer’s client and knows or reasonably should know that the document or electronically stored information was inadvertently sent shall promptly notify the sender.

    Now, compare this to any Engineering Ethics code:

    Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: “We, the members of the IEEE, … do hereby commit ourselves to the highest ethical and professional conduct and agree: 1. to accept responsibility in making decisions consistent with the safety, health and welfare of the public, and to disclose promptly factors that might endanger the public or the environment;”[20]
    Institution of Civil Engineers: “Members of the ICE should always be aware of their overriding responsibility to the public good. A member’s obligations to the client can never override this, and members of the ICE should not enter undertakings which compromise this responsibility. The ‘public good’ encompasses care and respect for the environment, and for humanity’s cultural, historical and archaeological heritage, as well as the primary responsibility members have to protect the health and well being of present and future generations.”[21]
    Professional Engineers Ontario: “A practitioner shall, regard the practitioner’s duty to public welfare as paramount.”[16]
    National Society of Professional Engineers: “Engineers, in the fulfillment of their professional duties, shall: Hold paramount the safety, health, and welfare of the public.”[15]
    American Society of Mechanical Engineers: “Engineers shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public in the performance of their professional duties.”[22]
    Institute of Industrial Engineers: “Engineers uphold and advance the integrity, honor and dignity of the engineering profession by: 2. Being honest and impartial, and serving with fidelity the public, their employers and clients.”[23]
    American Institute of Chemical Engineers: “To achieve these goals, members shall hold paramount the safety, health and welfare of the public and protect the environment in performance of their professional duties.”[24]
    American Nuclear Society: “ANS members uphold and advance the integrity and honor of their professions by using their knowledge and skill for the enhancement of human welfare and the environment; being honest and impartial; serving with fidelity the public, their employers, and their clients; and striving to continuously improve the competence and prestige of their various professions.”[25]

    Do we notice a theme here? Virtually every code of engineering ethics contains an explicit invocation of the welfare of the public. It is accepted that engineers have a supervenient duty to the safety and well-being of the public, a duty that overrides their clients’ demands, their clients’ interests, non-disclosure agreements and in some cases even the law as written, where a party’s failure to follow the engineer’s advice presents a hazard to the safety or welfare of the public – to give advice that would in fact present such a hazard if followed is considered unthinkable.

    By contrast, in law, an analogous duty to the interests of the public and to justice, more broadly than mere legal procedure and beyond the interests of clients, is, except for specific kinds of procedural violations, enforced in fact – and as far as I can tell, even in theory – solely by the consciences of individual practitioners. Which is fine for attorneys like yourself who actually have one, but the effects of amoral, unscrupulous colleagues pursuing the perversion of justice for anyone with money is manifestly devastating, and the silence of the profession with regards to reigning in these abuses is deafening.

  169. says

    CD, my sympathies on the rib – I’ve broken a few myself on various occasions (fell off a stack of milk crates while in the army, and landed on one; got beat up, two separate occasions; drove through a storm with whiteouts in a car with a dying battery so we didn’t dare stop, was so scared and holding the wheel so tightly I literally fractured a rib with my own rib muscles), and it’s never, ever been fun. I’m glad they gave you the good stuff, that’ll help a bunch.

    If you run into itchiness issues, I’ve recently discovered that antihistamines can actually help with the opiate itch. I usually have it so bad that my arms and shins are always covered in scabs and stuff, but with the antihistamines, my shins are actually scratch-free for the first time in years. I mean, I’ll take the itching over the pain any day, but it’s nice to be able to kill the itch, too. Diphenhydramine hydrochlorate, says the wee bottle, is the one I’ve been using, fairly cheap for the OTC bottles. Not everyone gets the itch, but if you do, you’ll be glad of a relief, I promise.

    And yeah, grokked on the “what will they think of me?” thing; it’s part of why I stopped playing soccer for six years after I transitioned, because I didn’t want to do anything to give anyone any thoughts about my being masculine, which is slightly different than you’re talking about – for me in 1992, it was about physical safety, rather than social pressures – but still related. And even when I did find a family and friends with whom I could be out, and became a mom, I self-judged all the time about whether I was doing something my partner or our friends would think was an “oh, right, she’s trans…typical” sort of thing. I think it all comes out of a certain amount of…what, respectability politics, in a sense? “I’m not like those other trans people or cis people of my AAB gender!”

    At least, for me. You are probably (I say this with honest respect and admiration) better at doing that for good reasons than I am/was. :) I am/was pretty fucked up in a lot of ways, and I’m still getting over the traumas of transition, twenty years later. I just try to keep them to myself and my intimates, now, rather than making everyone suffer for it. *wry smile*

  170. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    (Although, yes, I admit that the literal reading of my assertion that the legal profession has no ethical code is false, perhaps egregiously given the phrasing “fucking ethical code” and the explicit prohibitions I’m told there are about who lawyers can have sexual relationships with. I stand by my assertion that the standards practitioners in general are held to, by parties other than themselves, are inadequate.)

  171. says

    Azkyroth, I think you’re being quite unfair and unpleasant, here, and that Portia’s been pretty gentle in trying to say that. Now you’re saying “some lawyers”, but earlier it was just “lawyers”. She’s right to be hurt by that, it’s a complete generalization, and by definition includes her.

    Lawyers have a very different relationship to their clients than engineers do. A public defender, for instance, must put their personal feelings about the crime committed aside, and zealously defend their client to the best of their abilities. Anything else would be catastrophic for ALL OF US. Else how does it end? With lawyers making decisions about whether or not someone should be represented based on whether or not they like them? How would you stop that?

    Electrical engineers work on toasters. Lawyers work on and with people, just as doctors do. Necessarily, their ethical considerations would be different; it’s simplistic and naive at best to suggest otherwise.

  172. A. Noyd says

    Tony (#152)


    Yeah, we like to pretend we’re sooooo progressive up here, too. I hope Wilford sues the ridiculous fake highway patrol uniforms pants off the security company. Also, Westlake is a terrible mall and I only go there anymore to use the restrooms because mall is located right over a transit hub.


    People with disabilities are dismissed, ignored, or condescended to all too often.

    Meanwhile, people with disabilities manage to be very accommodating of the able. I told a blind and deaf man today which bus was in front of him when he wasn’t able to get a useable response from the driver. I don’t know any sign languages, but he caught on immediately to my improvised signs pressed onto his palm. No doubt he can interpret a vast number of quasi-random, crummy, made-up signs while nearly everyone thinks of him as linguistically deficient.


    dianne (#158)

    This trap included leaving a purse in plain sight in an open garage*.

    What if someone saw the purse, was worried about thieves, and entered to hide the purse from outside view as a favor to the homeowner?

  173. rq says

    Crip Dyke

    I hate giving others the impression I’m less committed to the kids than Ms Crip Dyke who single-parented for 6 years

    I hate that this is such a huge worry for you that you can’t let yourself take some downtime due to a broken rib (or not necessarily even downtime, just asking for a bit of extra help or a couple of extra hours). I hate hate that most parents feel the need to compare themselves to some mystical ‘perfect’ parent, and are constantly made to feel that they don’t measure up in some way (quite often self-imposed). And the additional pressures on you…
    It shouldn’t be about showing commitment – if you need some extra help, you should be able to ask for it , unconditionally (because broken rib!), and your commitment to your children shouldn’t be a factor at all. It shouldn’t matter, vis a vis you, that Ms Crip Dyke single-parented for 6 years (but can I say wow?). And yeah, I say ‘it shouldn’t’, and then I realize that a lot of things that I do, I do because I worry about what other, less important people will think.
    And I am wowed by you pretty much every time you post, which is just about every day. You’re an awesome parent, and an awesome person.


    Today started off with Middle Child’s question:
    “Mum, when are we going to take a rocket to the moon?”
    *sigh* I wish, child, I wish.

  174. blf says

    Electrical engineers work on toasters.

    Who the then works on your mobile phone (as just one example)?
    A very poor and insulting choice.

    My problem with professional such as lawyers is simple: They police themselves. (This is true of numerous other professionals as well, and the point applies to all self-policing-professions.) This means it tends to be difficult to see wrongs righted, a problem which is perhaps especially acute for lawyers, since, by and large, only other lawyers can understand them. (All professionals have their jargon, but only(?) in the case of lawyers is “the jargon” probably routinely critical to the matter-at-hand.)

    And self-policing professions have the problem that “their” decisions, perhaps especially in both ethical and professional matters, are viewed with a great deal of cynicism. “They would do that, wouldn’t they?” How justified that cynicism is can be very hard to say, but it does seem the old Watergate manta — “follow the money” — can be illuminating.

    The lawyers ≠ politicians claim is dubious: They are different, only one is a true profession, but politicians, overwhelmingly, trained as lawyers. For that I reason, I tend to see them as a subset of lawyers, and assume their absolute disgustingness(politicians) “leaks” out in the wider community of lawyers. How far and how damagingly is hard-to-say, but assuming any given lawyer is unethical, immoral, and greedy (just like most politicians) is very understandable.

    A distinction between scientists / engineers and lawyers / policitans is the former tends to be self-correcting. If a bridge falls down, you don’t built it again the same way. But if a law doesn’t work or isn’t needed, you not only pass more laws in an effort to make the first one work, you pass other variants of the same law. You don’t need to demonstrate that a law works, but you sure do need to show a bridge — or a toaster — works.

  175. blf says

    What if someone saw the purse, was worried about thieves, and entered to hide the purse from outside view as a favor to the homeowner?

    Two better options: (1) Knock on the door to inform the people inside; or (2) Call the police to inform them of a seemingly-unguarded / open premises.

    I’ve done the later multiple times: Open door, broken window, ringing alarm, and people standing suspiciously around a vehicle. And someone once did it to me, when they apparently didn’t recognize me and saw me “lurking” around my flat late at night. (I didn’t mind and found it a bit amusing; also, this was in the UK where the cops don’t carry guns.)

  176. bassmike says

    Hi all. I hope everyone’s as well as they can be. This is my last day of posting for a while, so please don’t burn down the lounge again while I’m away (Yes rq & blf I’m looking at you!).

    Save me some cakes and grog.

  177. rq says

    I’m pretty sure it was A. Noyd last time. But I could be wrong.
    Hope you have a good Lounge break, with good health for everyone in the family!!!

  178. birgerjohansson says

    I try to be polite to telemarketers, but *not* to scammers who claim to be from Microsoft and claim my computer is in some imminent trouble and they want some confidential info from me….
    I got one such call yeterday. Haha, my own computer has been shut down for two months, I am currently using the one at work!
    Also, Microsoft may use Indian workers, but probably with less accented English.
    — — —
    “Richard Dawkins: I once tried to commune with God – aged 13”
    Meh. I tried to commune with Zod aged five. TV was showing “My friend, the Martian” and I wanted a toy version of that cool flying saucer. When I looked up and saw no such toy had materialised, I gave up on all that “prayer” stuff.

  179. dianne says

    The latest on Robin Williams is that he was in the early stages of Parkinson’s.

    Did he ever work with Michael J Fox? It’s probably recall bias, but it seems like a lot of Holllywood types are ending up with Parkinson’s.

  180. dianne says

    A distinction between scientists / engineers and lawyers / policitans is the former tends to be self-correcting. If a bridge falls down, you don’t built it again the same way.

    I agree in general, but it’s not always that simple. Did your bridge fall down because you built it wrong or because it was poorly maintained, for example? Or was it the best possible way to build this bridge, but in such a risky situation that any bridge is likely to fall if put there? Ok, maybe that doesn’t really work for bridges (who puts up a bridge in a place where it’s likely to fall no matter how well you do it?), but consider medicine: Quite often the right thing to do in medicine has, say, a 50% chance of coming out well whereas doing the wrong thing drops that chance to, say, 20%. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to get a good outcome if you do the right thing–or a bad outcome if you do the wrong one. That makes it hard to figure out if what you’re doing is really the right thing. Hence, the ritualized protocols for clinical trials and the chronic uncertainty about whether we’re doing the right thing in a given situation. Not to mention the public distrust…

    Did I have a point? I’m sure I had a point when I started, but I seem to have come down to “life sucks sometimes” as the moral.

  181. echidna says

    Electrical engineers work on toasters [not with people like doctors and lawyers].

    That really is insulting. I’ve worked on electrical systems for a long time. Planning stuff to make sure people on home-dialysis machines stay powered, that hospitals aren’t vulnerable to a single-contingency failure, that the operators getting power back in a storm can do so without being electrocuted.

    I spend a lot of time making sure that systems work safely. Engineering is about people and their well-being every bit as much as any other profession, and it’s reflected in those codes of practice.

  182. dianne says

    Plus if you make a toaster wrong it can do anything from inconvenience to kill dozens (consider a toaster shorting and starting an electrical fire in a crowded apartment building.)

  183. dianne says

    Reading up the thread a bit further, I don’t think the wholesale criticism of lawyers is justified either. There are a lot of very ethical and dedicated lawyers out there doing their best to keep the law on the people’s side. If we didn’t have laws and bureaucracy, we’d be back to rule by force and everything going to those in charge and their favorites. I don’t think any profession or group of people is really capable of self-policing, so if the point was that there should be outside monitoring, I’ll agree. I will say that, much as I don’t like lawsuits as a way to police medical personnel–both too many nonsensical lawsuits AND too many people who can’t sue when they experienced malpractice–it’s far better than NOT having that control. Nothing like “we can’t do that, we’d get sued” to make hospital administration see the error of their ways when they’re contemplating violating EMTALA or similar.

  184. rq says

    The point was about lawyers and ethics, with the implication that lawyers don’t have / have crappy ethics / no code of ethics.
    I think it would be helpful to point out that, being a lawyer, can be a lot like being a doctor (in some ways). As a doctor, your (for instance) religious beliefs should not interfere with your ability to provide the best possible care to your patients. The fact that you, personally, believe that birth control is evil should not dissuade you from spreading proper and correct information to those who require or request it. As we all know, however, nobody’s perfect.
    Similarly, as a lawyer, sometimes you have to put your personal beliefs aside in order to defend or prosecute a case where, on a personal level, you may not agree with your own arguments, but you have to do your best for a client. Sure, you can say that one can refuse a case if one doesn’t agree with the position. And everyone can refuse to represent Person X in court, because nobody agrees with the position. What, then, becomes of Person X’s right to a proper defense in court (or whatever the proper wording is)? Do they honestly, as a human being, no matter how terrible, not deserve appropriate representation?
    I understand there’s a lot of corruption in law, as there is anywhere, and that often it seems more visible due to the nature of practicing law, especially in high profile cases where a lot of money exchanges hands. But that doesn’t make all lawyers corrupt, and it does not mean that there isn’t a code of ethics in law.
    Just means a lot of people do not adhere to it.

    (Also, Cait, to imply that electrical engineers work with toasters? It is a bit insulting. But I understood your point, that they (engineers mostly in general) work less with people on a daily basis, but with machinery and technology. The product of their work, however, does very often influence people and their lives quite directly, though.)

  185. rq says

    Just means a lot of people do not adhere to it.

    … And this is a different issue from ‘Lawyers should have a code of ethics’.

  186. says

    So electrical engineers don’t work on toasters? Toasters just spring up, ab initio, out of the ground?

    FFS, way to focus on the trivial part, when as rq noted, the point is clear: they don’t work with PEOPLE.

    As to the awesome lifesavingness of electrical engineering, tell me what the ethical part of developing nuclear weaponry, LDAP people-deafeners, smart bombs to shred children in Gaza, and so on is? It doesn’t seem to be forbidden by the codes, and sure as shit EEs were involved in all of them. How many people have been killed by lawyers’ work, compared to the hundreds of thousands killed by weapons developers, many of whom are electrical engineers?

    It’s great that some work on lifesaving stuff. Wonderful. But it doesn’t mean the profession is some kind of holy grail of ethical behaviour.

    And with that, I’m done. Let’s go back to celebrating the virgin-pure ethics of the people who brought us mass destruction, as well as smoke alarms.

    Oh, but those are individual cases, right? JUST LIKE THE UNETHICAL LAWYERS YOU’RE WHINGING ABOUT.

  187. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Azkyroth –
    I get more what you mean now. The engineers thing is a false analogy, though. You want lawyers to pledge to support public welfare. As rq and Cait observed, the public often views their welfare as at odds with the constitutional rights of defendants. I got a not guilty verdict in a jury trial where a guy was facing 120 years in prison, and most of the public would have been happy to let him rot there. Do you think my conscience led me to do the right thing, even though I was totally within my code of ethics? I’m also defending someone accused of aggravated sexual assault. What of that?

    Believe it or not, those “self-policing” bodies that are in charge of lawyers’ discipline are very concerned with public perception of lawyers. In Illinois, whenever there’s a disciplinary decision, they publish it. “Attorney X was suspended from the practice of law for 5 years for improper use of client funds.”

    I’m not even getting into how many citations are needed. That was insulting and not useful to the discussion at all.

    The practice of law is a unique profession. We are trained to be adversarial, and the public wants advocates. So many people hate lawyers, denigrate them, put them down, say they’re assholes and over aggressive, and responsible for frivolous litigation. Then they get in a car accident, or need a divorce, or they’ve been unlawfully searched by the police, and they need someone on their side. They need someone to advocate for them. They need someone aggressive. And they will tell me that when they call. They will tell me “If you’re not really on my side, I will find someone who is.” That’s the fucking response I get when I give people reasonable expectations. That’s the response i get when I say “We can’t do that, it’s not okay.” Don’t tell me lawyers are the problem. People are the fucking problem.

  188. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Another question about the ethical code of engineers. How does a disciplinary body quantify the “public welfare” thing in order to penalize the violation of that rule?

  189. Rob Grigjanis says

    Portia @242: I think the reason so many people hate the legal profession is that the best representation is available to those with the most money. How many people have been screwed because they couldn’t afford a good lawyer, or any lawyer? On the other hand, corporations and rich people can get away with murder.

    Of course, that hatred is misplaced. Do people without the benefit of wealth, or a good health care plan, hate doctors? Probably not so much.

  190. bassmike says

    I’m disappointed to say that I’m now somewhat glad that I’m taking a break from the lounge. There’s a bit of an atmosphere that I’m finding unpleasant. I’ll leave my cushion fort open for anyone who feels they need to use it.

    Bye for now.

  191. dianne says

    Do people without the benefit of wealth, or a good health care plan, hate doctors?

    Fortunately, most of them hate HMOs and bad insurance, which creates an opportunity for bonding since most doctors hate them too. People hate doctors when they fail to cure them, which is a whole different issue.

  192. dianne says

    I apologize for jumping into the lawyer/engineer conversation without reading the whole thread and making the atmosphere worse.

  193. katybe says

    @CaitieCat (or anyone who thinks she wouldn’t mind an e-mail address being passed on) – someone I know from an online group has put out a request from someone she knows related to a paying project looking for someone who can translate business docs into French. I’ve said I’m aware of someone who might be able to, and would she mind if I passed the message out online, to make sure we weren’t getting too many indirect links in the chain for her comfort level, and she’s asked me to pass the word. I have no idea about things like deadlines/amount of work/amount of money, but am able to facilitate putting you in touch if you might be interested.

  194. says

    katybe, thank you so much for thinking of me, but unfortunately I am not among the very small subset of translators who work bidirectionally. All my language pairs are XX -> EN only. :(

    Sorry I can’t help directly. I could probably help find someone else if she still can’t. She’ll also probably want someone with active certs, and atm that’s not me.

  195. David Marjanović says

    Kevin! *Jadehawk’s® Totally Biodegradable Confetti™*

    Discovery Channel’s ethical problems on display again:

    *flips desk*

    Considering such motions for sealing are invariablymade by the defense, why should I believe a word Brian Dunning says?

    And indeed, later comments on that thread reveal that it was indeed the defense who had the documents sealed…

    self-policing professions

    Like mine for instance. *sigh*

  196. katybe says

    She didn’t mention any kind of certification, but then I didn’t think to ask. Sorry I couldn’t put you onto a useful connection this time, but if I see anything else come up, I’ll know for next time.

  197. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    It’s Azkyroth’s prerogative to not enter the Dome, and he makes it known he won’t do that. Fine. But he says inflammatory, personally insulting things in the Lounge, and they’re supposed to go unchallenged? I’m supposed to go shout into the Dome where his points won’t be actually answered? No. That’s not fair. It’s not fair of you to say it should go to the Dome. The Lounge isn’t supposed to be disagreement-free. It’s supposed to be kind. If I was being unkind, please tell me where.

  198. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Rob @ 245
    Yeah, I think that once again comes down to the adversarial aspect. When a doctor fails you, it isn’t because someone else won and you lost and that’s the doctor’s fault. : /

  199. says

    So much for divine revelation. So much for God speaking directly to the Prophet/Seer/Revelator of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

    To get some info on which they will presumably act, mormon leaders are conducting a survey to find out how mormons feel about the role of women in the church, about ordination to the priesthood, and about apostasy.

    As part of this new survey strategy, we find out something new about the mormon church. And it is hilarious in a black comedy way:

    “The only authorized research agency of the church is the Research Information Division of the Correlation Department,” the publication states. “Representatives of this department use questionnaires and interviews to obtain information on issues of concern to general authorities. […]

    Right. The “research agency” is a division of the “Correlation Department.” Dickens anyone?

    Here’s another bit from the article that unwittingly reveals details about LDS record keeping when it comes to membership roles: “The survey went to “1,000 randomly selected men and women who are active members of the church…” Okay, get that? Mormon records distinguish between “active” and inactive members. Big Brother is watching.

  200. says

    Here’s a comment from a reader of the article about the mormon “research agency”:

    A random survey, that sampled ALL registered members, would more accurately yield views more in keeping with the actual numbers.

    One has to wonder, if they’re at all concerned about gathering up the possibly wayward flock, or simply ‘sampling’ dyed-in-the-wool members, to see how amenable they might be to ‘revealed’ changes in policy.

    My knowledge of human nature suggests that currently active members would continue to sanctimoniously support and defend the status quo. And that they’d resist any changes that meant surrendering the embrace of their own perceived, self-righteous, moral high-ground.

    Yes. Way to make sure the results of a survey support the patriarchal doofuses in charge.

  201. David Marjanović says

    carlie late last thread:

    In other news, there is a journal called The American Journal of Potato Research. :)

    Curses! You’ve sent me to a time sink! I just read the entire blog – fortunately it’s young and doesn’t have many posts yet.

  202. A. Noyd says

    blf (#226)

    Two better options: (1) Knock on the door to inform the people inside; or (2) Call the police to inform them of a seemingly-unguarded / open premises.

    Yeah, #1 is better way if you have a chance of being murdered by unreasonable people. Not so sure about #2. Depends on the neighborhood and the race of the caller.


    rq (#230)

    I’m pretty sure it was A. Noyd last time. But I could be wrong.

    Yes, that was me. Over English grammar, of all things.


    birgerjohansson (#232)

    I try to be polite to telemarketers, but *not* to scammers who claim to be from Microsoft and claim my computer is in some imminent trouble and they want some confidential info from me….

    My dad, who believes in ancient aliens and any number of medical conspiracies (he says if he gets cancer he won’t touch chemo, but will try to cure it with coffee enemas instead), fell for the Microsoft scam. A skeptic he ain’t.

  203. says

    Another rich white mormon capitalist criminal walks after having been judged by another mormon:

    A federal judge on Thursday blasted federal prosecutors as he permanently dismissed all criminal charges against Rick Koerber, the former Utah County real estate guru who now no longer faces accusations of operating a $100 million Ponzi scheme.

    In dismissing the charges, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups cited “the government’s pattern of neglect and dilatory conduct” as well as “several instances of questionable ethical conduct in prosecuting this case.”

    Waddoups dismissed the case with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled against the man who once was seen as an investment guru who could turn home equity into big returns. But that was before his operation — known generally under the names FranklinSquires Cos. and Founders Capital — crashed in 2008, leaving investors owed about $48 million.

    The five-year-old case was tossed because prosecutors violated laws that require trials within certain time limits, and they did not file timely requests for exemptions from the deadlines. […]

    Koerber had been facing 18 fraud, tax and money laundering charges.

    Under the Speedy Trial Act, if more than 70 days pass after the charged person first appears in court without a trial or other resolution, the case must be dismissed. However, prosecutors can seek exemptions because of certain time-consuming court procedures.

    Waddoups wrote in 17-page decision that the U.S. Attorney’s Office had shown neglect in failing to manage the requirements of the act. […]

    Prosecutors argued that Koerber had agreed to the February 2009 interviews [with the FBI and IRS] and was not represented at the time. But testimony called that latter assertion into question, and Waddoups said those sessions could not be used as evidence […]

    Koerber styled himself as “Latter-day capitalist,” and promoted a real estate investment strategy he called the Equity Mill in which equity in a home was used to produce returns.

    Salt Lake Tribune link.

  204. says

    Here are some comments about the Salt Lake Tribune article that discusses yet another mormon scam artist getting off with no jail time (link in #261). Both judge and the Utah prosecutors in the case were mormon:

    I am disgusted by scum bags like Koerber and Judge Waddoups (as well as his brother), who seem so hell-bent on protecting the “rights” of criminals to financially sodomize their fellow mankind here in Utah. What IS the connection between Koerber and Judge Waddoups? With his latest ruling, there HAS to be a very tight one
    Wasn’t it Judge Clark Waddoups that gave the Davis County couple a standing ovation after they bilked the school district of millions in that textbook scandal a few years back?
    how does a $48 million dollar fraud case suffer such mishandling at the hands of the prosecution team? Blame the judge or blame the prosecution. Either way, this scoundrel has dodged a bullet, and his victims can’t even have the satisfaction of seeing him behind bars. What a travesty!
    “The Utah Department of Commerce began investigating Koerber back in 2007, but the department took the case to federal authorities after what officials perceived was political interference by then-Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, whose office refused to file a lawsuit against Koerber.”

    Stalling tactics were employed until Waddoups would have a good chance to rule that a speedy trial was not provided.

  205. says

    The problem which sparked the current discussion of the legal profession is less one with the legal profession generally (although I will note that both the national Bar association and many state Bar associations are often somewhat lax in their enforcement of said ethical codes. So are medical associations, and probably others, it’s not limited to lawyers, but it is an issue) than it is with a particular subset thereof, notably prosecutors. There is a shit-ton of abuse and bullshit that prosecutors routinely pull, because they’re judged, paid, and promoted basically entirely on how many convictions they get. One of the better solutions I’ve seen proposed is to merge the Public Defender’s office with the DA’s, draw prosecutors and defenders from the same pool, and base pay and promotions on a seniority system or similar.

  206. rq says

    Try opposablethumbs, she does romance languages. :) She should be around soon!

    *sends up opposablethumbs signal*

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

    Cat on lap, purring.

    Day sucks less.

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

    the Republicans Saying Stupid Stuff file

    The internet?

  209. opposablethumbs says

    Hi katybe (and hi rq!) – no, I’m like CaitieCat and (I think) most people who do this – I too only go in one direction, into my mothertongue (which is English. Sadly I’m not like some of these amazing polyglots, like Giliell and rq and Beatrice and David M and Parrowing and …. wow, there are a lot of polyglot Horders! (and who is it again who’s in Spain, it’s on the tip of my tongue – well, on the tip of my fingers – oh bother, apologies my memory for names is so bad) … who can and do write and talk to us in several, and often in one which isn’t even their first!).

    So, sorry I wouldn’t be any use here. Hope you can find someone easily, though!

  210. opposablethumbs says

    (Am disappearing, temporarily, soonish – just for a couple of days – so apologies in advance if I don’t respond to things over this weekend) (it’s just one overnight stop, but I hope we manage to put the teeny tiny tent up before it starts raining (as it is, indeed, forecast to do … :-)))

  211. says

    Dalillama, Schmott Guy
    I love your suggestion on combining them in one pool. The downside I can see from this is that Lawyers who are successful enough to remove themselves from public defenders, go into private business or become a DA, because that’s where the money is. Public Defenders are generally poor, work long hours, handle too many cases, and not paid well because they cannot afford a good paralegal team like lawyers and DAs do, paralegals are the ones who do the majority of footwork so that when the lawyer is in court he can have a strong case even though he is handling several cases around the same time, but unlike public defenders he isn’t devoting the vast majority of his time to research and instead has more time to better work on how to formulate a strong case. The legal system is so vast that no one person could ever grasp it all, so it really comes as no surprise that poor get bad representation and rich get better (the more researchers one can have will most likely result in the best legal representation).

    As for DA’s given that part of their responsibility is determining whether there is good enough evidence for a case to be brought to trial, I could see many complications in this type of rotation. Especially with the distrust and lack of knowledge many public defenders have (they are usually green thumbs or those who are unable to make it in the private sector or not able to become a DA). Though a large public pool of paralegals for both DA and public defenders may be possible, I just don’t know if it would be feasible (by this I mean a tax increase to level the playing field so there are more paralegals).

    Even this option of a large pool of paralegals is problematic (mainly the cost of upkeep would almost rule it out). Good paralegals go into the private sector so they can make a better living. No matter how I look at it, the lack of pay and long hours drive good public defenders and paralegals to the private sector. DA’s have a lot of authority so unlike public defenders and paralegals they actually have good monetary reason to stay in their profession.

    As for hospitals, I think there are ways we could clean up this exploitation of people in a better more ethical way. First of all I am for free healthcare clinics as a standard. This would allow the government to regulate the costs associated with medical care (the abuse here is so rampant and this is the main reason for medical costs being soo high). It would also force insurance companies to offer better benefits for people to want to buy into their insurance. So it would prevent hospitals from charging more for the same medical service to different clients, people with pre-existing conditions can still see a doctor affordably, and best of all your employer cannot control what an insurance company can cover (fuck Hobby Lobby). I find it ridiculous how much premiums are and that they cover soo little. For my insurance privately it would be $600+ a month (vs $110 through my employer) and you still would have to pay $25 for a doctors visit and not to mention a $3500 deductable. If anyone thinks this is affordable please explain how.

  212. says

    Wes Aaron

    The downside I can see from this is that Lawyers who are successful enough to remove themselves from public defenders, go into private business or become a DA, because that’s where the money is. Public Defenders are generally poor, work long hours, handle too many cases, and not paid well because they cannot afford a good paralegal team like lawyers and DAs do, paralegals are the ones who do the majority of footwork so that when the lawyer is in court he can have a strong case even though he is handling several cases around the same time, but unlike public defenders he isn’t devoting the vast majority of his time to research and instead has more time to better work on how to formulate a strong case.

    This is a problem. yes, which is why I’m proposing that prosecutors and public defenders get the same pay and same access to resources, and come from the same group of people, such that the defense attorney in this case may be the prosecuting attorney in the next, or vice versa.

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

    and Dalillama isn’t the first to suggest this.
    Although I’m willing to have different pools of people do defense and prosecution (different people have different talents and motivations and some may be better prosecutors than defenders & vice versa), I think it is absolutely required for real justice to have the public defenders paid the same as the public (crown) prosecutors. I’ve said it for years and still maintain it: the differential funding of public defenders wages and prosecutors’ wages is a willful stacking of the deck. When a legislator does this knowingly, one must hold the legislator accountable for the natural consequences of this action: higher rates of unjust convictions, higher rates of unjustly long sentences, higher fiscal costs of unnecessary and unjust imprisonment, and higher social costs among those who are justly angry over the injustice built into the structure of the system.

    The only just response is a strike by prosecutors until their counterparts are paid equal wages. Strikes by defenders are not sufficient and may be counterproductive.

  214. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    I love the direction this has taken because I am both a prosecutor and a public defender, by virtue of a few different contracts. It’s in different jurisdictions, but the effect on my practice is probably what you all are looking for. :)

  215. rq says

    I’m so sad this link is in Latvian: Mysteriously periodically disappearing lake on the verge of disappearing again. It comes and goes.
    (Apparently it’s home to a geological feature known locally as the ūdensrijējs (the water swallower), I suppose something like a drainage hole, that, due to the surrounding water table and run-off, allows the lake to empty out every now and then. Cool!)

  216. blf says

    Jesus wept … oh, it’s bad plumbing. Indian rationalist targets ‘miracles’:

    Sanal Edamaruku faces jail for revealing ‘tears’ trickling down a Mumbai church statue came from clogged drainage pipes

    When water started trickling down a statue of Jesus Christ at a Catholic church in Mumbai earlier this year, locals were quick to declare a miracle. Some began collecting the holy water and the Church of Our Lady of Velankanni began to promote it as a site of pilgrimage.

    So when Sanal Edamaruku arrived and established that this was not holy water so much as holey plumbing, the backlash was severe. The renowned rationalist was accused of blasphemy, charged with offences that carry a three-year prison sentence and eventually, after receiving death threats, had to seek exile in Finland.

    Now he is calling for European governments to press Delhi into dropping the case. And on the first leg of a tour around EU capitals on Friday, he warned that India was sacrificing freedom of expression for outdated, colonial-era rules about blasphemy.

    When the state “miracle” was pronounced, he went to Mumbai and found that the dripping water was due to clogged drainage pipes behind the wall where it stood. His revelation provoked death threats from religious zealots and ultimately charges of blasphemy under the Indian penal code in the Mumbai high court.

    Edamaruku said his exposure of the weeping statue was also a contribution to public health in Mumbai as some believers were drinking the water hoping it could cure ailments. “This was sewage water seeping through a wall due to faulty plumbing,” he said. “It posed a health risk to people who were fooled into believing it was a miracle.”

    He has been living in Finland since the summer. He was in Europe on a lecture tour in July when his partner rang to say the police had arrived at his flat. “I felt really upset because under the blasphemy law you cannot get bail until the court case begins. I would be in jail now if I had been at my apartment in Delhi,” he said.

    He has spurned an offer from a senior Indian Catholic bishop to apologise for the exposure of the “miracle”.

    “The Catholic archbishop of Bombay, Oswald, Cardinal Gracias, has said that if I apologise for the ‘offence’ I have caused he will see to it that the charges are dropped. This shows that he has influence in the situation but he will not use it unless I apologise, which I will not do as I have done nothing wrong,” he said.

    So where is the new, more cuddly model, chief of the child rapists? He and his criminal gang in the Vatican are noticeably silent.

  217. says

    Dalillama, Schmott Guy
    There’s definitely merit in the change. When I get home from work, I’ll have to dig some more and see what’s out there.

    Good day, all.

  218. blf says

    There is, of course, no moral justification for nuclear weapons. So why did the politicianstrained-as-lawyers fund the building, and then use the results? And continue to fund their existence?

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


    Why did academics continue to do the enabling research?

    Why did the teamsters deliver necessary supplies?

    Why did Mars provide the Skittles and PepsiCo the Mountain Dew that made the breakthroughs possible?

    PepsiCo, at long last, have you no sense of decency?

  220. Rob Grigjanis says


    The physicists are to blame. Everything else can be explained by the answer to “why do dogs lick their arses?”.

  221. Funny Diva says


    For some reason your #284 made this question pop into my head:
    “How did the jelly get in the doughnut?” (I doughnut know!). Along with the silly song from, iirc, Captain Kangaroo, circa Nineteen SeventyMumble…
    Thanks for the moment of silly. I think I needed it.

    Hope you’re feeling better. Also that you’ve increased your dietary fiber intake to combat the, um, digestive side-effects of opiate painkillers–I have failed to do that in the past and very much regretted it.
    Please give your purring kitteh some scritches from me.

  222. Esteleth is Groot says

    Seriously angry.

    My psych textbook has some huge piles of shit in it.

    Here are some choice quotes:

    But first, I am sticking a TRIGGER WARNING: TRANSPHOBIA on this.

    First, we get this charming comment:

    Treatment aimed at reversal in behavior, if it is desired by the client*, is consdiered cautiously optimistic if initiated in childhood. After establishment of a core gender identity, it is difficult later in life to instill attributes of an opposite identity, and in most cases is not desired by the individual.

    *Note that the text is describing children – “gender dysphoria in adolescents or adults” is discussed in a separate section. So who is the “client”?

    And then, we get into a discussion of the hows and whys of dysphoria and how to care for the patient:

    The following criteria may be used for measurement of outcomes in the care of the child with gender dysphoria.
    The client:
    -demonstrates trust in a therapist of the same gender.
    -demonstrates development of a close relationship with the parent of the same gender.
    -demonstrates a diminishment in the excessively close relationship with the parent of the opposite gender.
    -demonstrates behaviors that are culturally appropriate for assigned gender.
    -verbalizes and demonstrates comfort in, and satisfaction with, assigned gender role.
    -interacts appropriately with others demonstrating culturally acceptable behaviors.
    -verbalizes and demonstrates self-satisfaction with assigned gender role.

    Bolding is mine. Because yes:

    Gender roles are culturally determined, and parents encourage masculine and feminine behaviors in their children. Although “temperament” may play a role with certain behavioral characteristics being present at birth, mothers usually foster a child’s pride in their gender. Sadock and Sadock (2007) state,

    The father’s role is also important in the early years, and his presence normally helps the separation-individualization process. Without a father, mother and child may remain overly close. For a girl, the father is normally the prototype of future love objects; for a boy, the father is a model for male identification.

    In a 2003 study, Zucker and associates found a high rate of psychopathy and family dysfunction in children with gender dysphoria.

    After that, we get a Freudian explanation, basically saying that gender dysphoria is the result of an Oedipal conflict gone haywire.

    As if that isn’t bad enough, we then get a model care plan that revolves around browbeating a trans child into behaving in a “culturally acceptable” manner. It suggests, for example, providing positive reinforcement for stereotypical behavior consistent with their AAB sex and “[n]o response for stereotypical opposite-gender behaviors.”

    Finally, after four and a half pages of “make the trans kid behave,” we get a short paragraph on Lupron therapy (full of unnecessary qualifiers like “some professionals” and weasel words about how it’s acceptable if the child has “extreme” and “lifelong” dysphoria and if they have “supportive parents that encourage the child to pursue a desired change in gender,” which is the slimiest description of allies I’ve read in a long time). This is followed immediately by a quote about how once the fucked-up family dynamics/parental mental illness are resolved, the gender dysphoria generally “dissipates.”

    The section on gender dysphoria in adolescents and adults isn’t much better.

    To say that I’m horrified is putting it mildly.

  223. ceesays says

    That’s horrifying. And so wildly incorrect. but I suppose establishment textbook writers aren’t consulting actual trans people as people in order to write their textbooks…ugh.

  224. Esteleth is Groot says

    This same textbook suggests that Autistic children be rewarded (?!) for initiating eye contact by being given hugs.

    I don’t think the author understands what “Autistic” means.

  225. Morgan!? Militant Pacifist says

    Has anyone seen this?

    A grand jury indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Friday for allegedly abusing the powers of his office by carrying out a threat to veto funding for state prosecutors investigating public corruption — making the possible 2016 presidential hopeful his state’s first indicted governor in nearly a century.

    This warms my evil Librul heart.

  226. The Mellow Monkey says

    This same textbook suggests that Autistic children be rewarded (?!) for initiating eye contact by being given hugs.

    …and people with social anxiety will be rewarded for going out with friends by being forced to talk to strangers?

  227. Esteleth is Groot says

    I don’t know, MM. Do you really want me to look up social anxiety in the index and see what it suggests?

  228. Esteleth is Groot says

    The suggested treatments for social anxiety (which it classifies as a phobic disorder) are anxiolytics, antidepressants, antihypertensives, and therapy of the “structured exposure to the object of fear in a safe environment” model.


    (Wait, antihypertensives?)

  229. says

    Esteleth, antihypertensives for social anxiety? Meds for high blood pressure? I’ve been taking meds for my high bp for years now, and I haven’t noticed any improvement in my social anxiety issues. Perhaps I’m doing it wrong.

    Or perhaps that book is really from The Planet of Opposites. Judging from all the wrong you’ve documented, it seems plausible. How old is it, anyway?

  230. A. Noyd says

    Esteleth (#287)

    After that, we get a Freudian explanation…

    This is the point in that passage where I would have been setting the textbook on fire after digging it out of the book-shaped crater in the wall for the tenth time.


    therapy of the “structured exposure to the object of fear in a safe environment” model.

    Uh? And if the object of fear is a particular environment, then what?

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

    Persistent anxiety can cause persistent high blood pressure. The hypertensives wouldn’t be to treat anxiety, but you might need to consider them if you’re not reducing anxiety through, y’know, exposing people to the source of their anxiety.

    I’ve got other text-book quotes to challenge you with, though, Esteleth. There’s this amazing 4 page passage in a book that is actually supposed to be supportive, and holy cannibal crackers is it anything but…

  232. Esteleth is Groot says

    Well, Anne, I looked into it, and apparently beta-blockers do help with anxiety. Due to reasons. Which is to say, we have no idea.

    And the book’s 6th (current) edition is copyright 2014. And the WRONG! chunk references the DSM5, which came out quite recently.

  233. Esteleth is Groot says

    A. Noyd, the idea is that if you expose the patient to [object of phobia] in small does, in a structured way in a situation where the patient feels (1) safe and (2) that they have an escape route, the amount of exposure can be slowly ramped up over time until the patient is able to face it in the real world. Not the worst idea, and it does have some merit.

    In some situations.

    Not sure how you’d do an environmental phobia, but I suppose maybe you could by constructing a faux version?

  234. A. Noyd says

    For the linguists around here, professional and otherwise.


    Esteleth (#300)

    Well, Anne, I looked into it, and apparently beta-blockers do help with anxiety. Due to reasons. Which is to say, we have no idea.

    I could swear I remember my psychiatrist explaining something about how the physical manifestation of panic reactions create a feedback loop. So if your heart is racing, it makes you more panicked.

  235. says

    Esteleth, Planet Opposite it is, then. Everything you’ve quoted is ghastly.

    Time to rummage around for some dinner. At least Patches the Great White Tum seems to have rediscovered her appetite – she was off her feed this week and I was getting worried.

  236. Esteleth is Groot says

    A. Noyd (#302)

    I could swear I remember my psychiatrist explaining something about how the physical manifestation of panic reactions create a feedback loop. So if your heart is racing, it makes you more panicked.

    Sure, why not?

    I’d also suggest that (mild, hopefully) hypotension, by blunting the physical symptoms of a racing heartbeat, would lessen the feedback loop of anxiety.

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

    I stand corrected. That’s a good point about the physical feedback loop with anxiety.

  238. says

    Trying to get home, but I planned my return trip poorly. I’m currently stuck in Newark for 3 hours, waiting for a flight to fucking Chicago. Just shut down O’Hare already — it rivals LAX as one of the worst airports ever.

    Once I get to Chicago, I have a six hour layover before my flight to Minneapolis. 6 hours. After midnight. In O’Hare. I do believe in Hell.

    Then, once I get to Minneapolis, I have my usual 3 hour drive home.

    I’m not even close to getting home, and a shower, and sleep.

  239. robro says

    Beta blockers block the response of the heart and other muscles to epinephrine (aka adrenaline), part of the physical side of anxiety. They are given to people with heart problems to reduce stress on the heart. My wife took them briefly after getting heart stints but stopped partly because they made her lethargic. Like a lot of “mental” conditions, anxiety has significant physical aspects as the body/brain divide is a fiction of our perspective. Anxiety is a tricky problem for heart patients because heart discomfort increases anxiety which releases adrenaline, causing the heart to beat faster, thus increasing the discomfort, etc. I’ve seen in quite a lot with my wife, even when the discomfort wasn’t really her heart.

  240. robro says

    PZ, as you probably know it takes 6 hours or so to drive from Chicago to Minneapolis. Not that driving is an option, just that the joke that air travel gets you places faster sometimes smacks you in the face while sitting in the airport. Perhaps after your journey through Hell you can write an epic poem about the experience.

  241. says

    Damn. Gene Simmons (of the band KISS) is a fucking douchebag.
    (the opinions that Simmons shares in the following interview are deeply insensitive towards people suffering from depression; content warning)

    Gene: No, I don’t get along with anybody who’s a drug addict and has a dark cloud over their head and sees themselves as a victim. Drug addicts and alcoholics are always: “The world is a harsh place.” My mother was in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany. I don’t want to hear fuck all about “the world as a harsh place.” She gets up every day, smells the roses and loves life. And for a putz, 20-year-old kid to say, “I’m depressed, I live in Seattle.” Fuck you, then kill yourself.

    I never understand, because I always call them on their bluff. I’m the guy who says ‘Jump!’ when there’s a guy on top of a building who says, “That’s it, I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to jump.”
    Are you kidding? Why are you announcing it? Shut the fuck up, have some dignity and jump! You’ve got the crowd.

    By the way, you walk up to the same guy on a ledge who threatens to jump and put a gun to his head, “I’m going to blow your fuckin’ head off!” He’ll go, “Please don’t!” It’s true. He’s not that insane.

  242. says

    She got more than she bargained for:

    I was minding my own business at home, following the events today on Daily Kos, when a lady in an older Lexus stopped at home to give me some Anti-Kay Hagan propaganda. She was middle aged and had some sort of Christian symbol on her shirt with some stickers.

    She asked for a prior resident name. I told her there was no one here by that name.

    She asked, “Are you from North Carolina?”

    I say- ” I live here, I must be.”

    She beats around the bush mumbling and finally comes out with her sales pitch.

    “Kay Hagan is supporting taxpayer money for abortions and sending money to China encouraging Chinese forced abortions.”

    I say, “Wow, I never knew. Hey what about Hobby Lobby? Do you support them?”
    She nods her head. Her eyes widen like I’m on to something, ” Do you know most of their products are manufactured in China where residents may be forced to undergo forced abortions?”

    She frowns and changes the subject back. “Are you supporting Kay Hagan and forced abortions?

  243. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Bleh, now I’m not even sure where to pick up. >.>

    Dalilama, do I recall correctly you’re in Portland, OR? And do you still have the same email?

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


    Oh, also, I have a tentative invitation to speak in Croatia next year. I might be getting too old to travel, though.

    If you can make it, that would be awesome.

    But yes, that would be another long trip.

  245. birgerjohansson says

    Damn!!! I forgot about links and bandwith. Sorry for slowing down the internet for the rest of you.
    In my defnense I am tired from a sleepless night, my mom is in the geriatric clinic for a check-up which I hope will reveal nothing serious.

  246. rq says

    [partially legitimate whine]
    When it rains, it pours.
    Yesterday, the kids dropped the camera and broke it (the mechanism in the retractable lens bit). This morning, the computer won’t turn on – by that I mean the screen went dead: it flicks on for two seconds, and I can hear everything working on the inside, then it shuts off (just the screen, like when you close a laptop and it goes to sleep). Now it turns out the strap on my purse is again nearly fallen off (I must be wearing them wrong, that’s 3 purses in 6 months). And someone stole my eyebrow tweezers, so yes, my neutral face is now going from just plain glum to positively glowering. And I’m at work, and I think I’m going to cry.
    [/partially legitimate whine]

    [partially justified rant]
    I hate this country’s legislating bodies and politicians, I really do. Pretty much all of them. One or two exceptions, no more. (And so few of them are trained lawyers – they’re mostly humanities-history, economics, business-and-management types (with close ties to prominent bankers in- and outside of Latvia), not to mention all the athletes, artists, musicians and certified tractor drivers with incomplete high school education (okay, there’s only one of those).) They really, really, really, don’t get [things]. (No, it’s nothing specific, just a bunch of crap that’s been piling up and federal elections are in October and I have no idea how to go through with my civic duty without kicking myself over it by next summer. I guess I shouldn’t worry about that until October, though.
    [/partially justified rant]

    Thank you for your attention. Carry on.

  247. birgerjohansson says

    Thank you, rq.
    She has had no appetite for a week, they are taking lots of blood samples. The reason why I have not joined in previous comments about commenters with cancer-sick relatives is that it feels to emotionally charged for me, I am well aware that the very old have a massively increased risk for cancer. Every small symptom makes me worry.

  248. birgerjohansson says

    Fuck the fuckers:
    “Public dollars, private rules: The charter school calculus”
    “The phenomenal growth of charter schools nationwide has been aided by a canny legal strategy in which the schools claim to be public for the purpose of taking in tax dollars but private for the purpose of evading government oversight, according to Preston Green, John and Carla Klein Professor of Urban Education at UConn’s Neag School of Education.”

  249. birgerjohansson says

    Even the rich are happier in countries with bigger government!

    “Bigger government makes for more satisfied people, international study finds.”
    People living in countries with governments that spend more on social services report being more contented, according to a Baylor University study.
    “The effect of state intervention into the economy equals or exceeds marriage or employment status—two traditional predictors of happiness—when it comes to satisfaction,” said Patrick Flavin, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences.

    (Read the whole article, it is quite interesting)

    “The study’s findings held true regardless of whether respondents were rich or poor. The researchers also ruled out alternative explanations such as an individual’s health, education level, and marital status as well as the gross national product and unemployment rate of the country that he or she lives in.”

  250. blf says

    Without the involvement of legally-trained people, nuclear weapons could not possibly have been built, or even designed. That took an enormous amount of money.
    If you have money, you will find willing and capable people: The legal industry is only of the better examples of this, supporting (facilitating and, in the guise of politicians, enabling) and the “banksters” who tanked the world’s economy, and who (mostly) are both being rewarded and not even investigated.

  251. rq says

    I wish people in the world would stop being violent to each other. Can’t we all just be nice? [/rhetorical]

    It is now raining and I did not bring an umbrella. Or raincoat. *sigh* And the house isn’t co-operating with our shit-should-stop-breaking ideas.
    [/more whine]

  252. rq says

    But the line from financing to implementation is full of so many people – if it were so morally abhorrent to (say) build nuclear weapons, why didn’t all those people, the ones along that line, step up and say they wouldn’t do it? But you said it yourself: with the right amount of money, you can always find willing people. So it’s not only those with the money who are the problem, it’s people with a bad moral compass in the first place.
    Especially since the argument was that engineers have a better code of ethics (the public good and all that) than lawyers: if their code of ethics is that much better, why would this not deter them from (say) building nuclear weapons? Obviously, because not everyone applies that code of ethics all the time. Again, that’s a people problem in general, not one that can be stuck to only politicians or lawyers.

  253. says

    Rachel Maddow produced a segment on Rick Perry’s abuse of power:

    Sort of related to the discussion up-thread about lawyers, prosecutors and public defenders:

    […] Texas Governor Rick Perry has been indicted for abuse of power and coercion and the complicated political back story with the district attorney and the state’s Public Integrity Unit. […]

    “You may have the constitutional right to vote, for example, you don’t have the constitutional right to sell your vote. Your action itself is not necessarily independently evaluated from its motives in a case like this.”

  254. says

    rq, I had my talented brother, (the one that is a geologist and a custom jeweler), rivet the strap of my Michael Kors bag onto the bag. There. Problem solved.

    Kind of pisses me off when I pay for higher end merchandise and still end up with something that has a few cheap parts that break or come apart.

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

    I’m sorry you’re having crappy days with everything breaking down.

  256. The Mellow Monkey says

    Content warning for stalking, home invasion.

    Last night around eleven I got this text message from my mother:

    Someone is beating on the front door. Please come over quickly

    Unfortunately, I was writing with my headphones on and didn’t notice until a followup message. She huddled in bed, too afraid to move, until the person broke in. She saw a huge form coming toward her silently, reeking of alcohol strong enough to be smelled before he even entered the room. She screamed and the figure identified himself as a “friend” she stopped speaking to months ago*.

    Knowing who it was, she screamed more and more until he finally left. By the time I got over there, he was long gone. This is, unfortunately, not an isolated incident. On a previous occasion he chased her down in his car at high speeds on a backroad after dark until he had her cornered in a dead end. She ended up driving through a ditch and some brush to get away.

    We talked about calling the police, but unless they managed to catch him while he was out drunk driving it probably wouldn’t do any good. It’d be the county sheriff’s department who would deal with us out here and there is some bias that wouldn’t go in our favor.

    My brother had been staying here all summer, so his car was parked right out front. He left Thursday morning for college. All summer long, this man had left my mother alone. We figure he was driving by and waiting until she was no longer “protected” by a man in the house. Disgusting.

    I don’t know what the hell to do at this point. People have suggested she get a gun, but she’s adamantly opposed to that, thankfully.

    *He was emotionally abusive and wasn’t satisfied to stop with friendship. When she’d tell him she couldn’t be in a relationship with him, he’d counter that she “could if [she] tried.”

  257. says

    PZ needs a private jet, with a nice comfy bed in it. No layovers, plenty of rest. Maybe you could even indulge in a mani/pedi.

    Now, all we need to accomplish that is to start paying him 300 times what he is making now.

  258. says

    So sorry, Mellow Monkey, to hear that your mother is being stalked like that. Sounds like the stalker will continue to escalate, ramping up the invasive and abusive behavior. Especially if drunken behavior is added to the mix. You will have to involve the police.

  259. rq says

    Thanks, Beatrice. Things are slightly looking up.

    I’m going to have to look up some solutions similar to that, or else find a reasonably priced artisan who can make a purse according to my supersekrit, superstrong design. :P It’s those stupid cheap bits…

    Mellow Monkey
    Wow! I’m sorry your mom has to deal with that with no support from law enforcement, and I’m really glad she’s (physically) safe this time around. Does she have anywhere else to stay (just to have some respite)? (Not that she’d probably want to, it being her house and all, and it wouldn’t be right to have her scared out of her own house…) And what Lynna said.
    If he broke in, I hope the door/locks can be fixed quickly and well and as reasonably-priced as possible. :/

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

    Mellow Monkey,

    That’s horrible. I hope the police will help, because the situation doesn’t sound like something your mother and you can deal with on your own.

  261. The Mellow Monkey says

    Re: calling the police. We are rural. This would be covered by the sheriff’s department.

    A new sheriff was just elected, but we’re wary of the department still due to previous interactions that are really beyond the pale. The prior sheriff was also the fire chief when my house burned down. Specifically, he was alone on the property after the fire had been put out…and then it started again. And then–because the damn man had his fingers in every pie–he fought our attempts to get a permit for demolition, saying we could only get it by signing the property over to him. This was like going up against some bizarre, small town supervillain.

    Calling the authorities is no easy choice after all of this. It may come to that, but calling them is a dangerous gamble.

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

    Mellow Monkey,

    That’s… I don’t even know what to say about that kind of person. It’s no wonder you are distrustful of the police there.

  263. rq says

    Mellow Monkey
    Wow. What a conniving asshole. I can definitely understand your reluctance in contacting the authorities. I hope the new sheriff is better than that!

  264. says

    TMM, my sympathy on your mom’s situation. It sounds horrendous and terrifying.

    Is there a possibility the next level of police would be useful? Could there be value in appealing to the (what would it be?) state police, or something? Not at all sure how the jurisdiction works, so that could be a useless thought.

    I totally get not wanting to risk confrontation with a petty tyrant, though. A couple of my shorter postings in the CF found me put to work under a petty tyrant: both times a ‘career corporal’, that is, someone who got their first promotion, and either never got another one, or got one and lost it for bad behaviour, and got no more. One had been a corporal for 13 years, the other for 10 (normally, it’s about 4 yrs to make CPL, and pending your courses, another 4 to make MCPL, master corporal, the rank just below sergeant). If you’ve been a corporal or a lieutenant for more than 10 years, you need to accept you’re never getting promoted again, and the people that happens to tend to become bitter and petty.

    And with the power of higher rank, they get to toying with people, just to feel powerful. Which is probably why they failed their leadership courses that kept them from being promoted. But that doesn’t help, if you’re stuck under their power.

    So yeah. Hugs offered, and I hope you and your mum can find a solution that will keep her being and feeling safe.

  265. says

    The Mellow Monkey
    My sister in law’s sister went through a violently abusive relationship and when she ended it her ex had threatened to kill her if she ever tried to leave him. He was extremely violent, felon and his father had given him a gun when he wasn’t supposed to have one (which he had used many time to threaten her with), and heavy into drugs. He also pursued her for many years after her testimony put him in prison.

    I don’t know how violent this individual is but given his behavior it would seem he’s willing to break into her home.

    A couple questions…
    Does she have a protective order? If he forced his way through a locked door, get one. And as annoying as it is that the police won’t do anything for the longest time (even for the woman I was talking about, him just showing up wasn’t enough to do anything (the lady at social services told her it was vital that she reported every time he does this, so that when he is caught in the act they will have multiple reports and won’t dismiss it), unfortunately the track record is necessary for a conviction unless they are caught in the act.

    I understand her being unwilling to use a gun. Have you looked into home security? It doesn’t have to be expensive, One really cool way I saw that worked well was a wildlife camera, these can be bought with night vision and take pictures silently when motion is around them. In a couple cases of breaking and entering in the past couple years since they’ve been on the market. Their pictures led to the arrests of couple burglars who were completely unaware that they were even there. The best part about these cameras are they are inexpensive, easy to hide, and take good to high quality photos. Some cameras are available with online options to check, so you could check in on your mother (without having to run to the car and drive over) and call police informing them that he is in the house and what he is doing. If he is caught by the sheriff in the act of invading her home that will be all the evidence they would need to prosecute.

    From the research I have found it is roughly $150-300 for these options, but where this is a dangerous situation I would recommend it.

    Hopefully these suggestions help. Or maybe you’ve already found a way. Either way best of luck and hope your mom stays safe.

  266. says

    Not saying you’re wrong, Wes Aaron, but lots of advocates around domestic violence suggest avoiding restraint orders, because they tend to piss off the stalker and make them more violent, and being just a piece of paper that won’t actually bring the police any faster, can often have a net negative effect on people who seek them.

    Y(L/100km)MV, of course, but it’s something to consider.

  267. carlie says

    Just bought Child 2 his first My Little Pony t-shirt, which he desperately wanted so he can wear it when he goes to high school this year. :)

    Mellow Monkey – I’m really sorry. Is there a women’s shelter anywhere in your county? Not that your mom ought to go there for staying, but they’d know the kinds of resources available and how to get her in touch with them.

  268. says

    I remember the Popeye movie fondly – it was weird, but it was the right kind of weird, if that makes sense.

    MM, I’m very sorry, and I hope your mom can get the help she needs. Fingers, toes, and tentacles crossed for her and you!

    [refills basket of hugs for everybody I may have missed]

  269. The Mellow Monkey says

    Thank you so much for the words of support and suggestions, everyone. Because whatever she does is my mom’s exclusive decision, I’m going to pass on the suggestions to her and let her consider what might be best for her comfort and safety.

    In a total mood whiplash: OMFG. I just got a letter from a publisher I greatly admire. The editor has some revisions she wants me to make, but she said it’s just two small narrative fixes that I’m completely comfortable with. There was Kermit flailing and literal jumping up and down. I think it’s going to take a few hours for this to fully process.


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


    The first thing to do is create a coherent safety plan.

    It should start with today: what does your mom want to do to stay safe today? Getting information should be part of that plan.

    As information grows, she can make longer plans and plans more specific to each major context in her life (e.g. work, school, home, the community garden, the library, wherever she spends a lot of time). This can include an online/telephone safety plan (deleting histories, etc.)

    While restraining orders are sometimes not worth the paper that they’re printed on, that really depends on 2 things beyond the jerk wad’s self:

    1) will the local gov’t enforce it?
    2) will your mom actually request enforcement?

    If she thinks it will be too much hassle to participate in the enforcement process or if she doesn’t like talking to the cops or whatever, there’s no point. While the sheriff’s office may have biases, when you have an actual court order that may change their behavior. A local shelter may have an idea about whether or not your sheriff’s office can be counted on to enforce court orders, if asked to do so.

    Stalking by someone with whom you weren’t romantically involved can be different from stalking by someone with whom you are in the process of breaking up. There may be different results in serving a restraining order.

    Encourage her to read, and do some reading yourself. The place I would trust as the best starting place is the NCVC, here.

    After that, like I said, make a safety plan for today, then for the next couple of days. Make sure that the “next couple of days” plan is extendable if you don’t have time to create a new/better plan during those days. Part of the plan for these days is to create a longer term, more generalizable plan for the future.

    In the short term (“today” “next couple of days”) the plans can include things like whether you’re spending the night with your mom. In the longer term, generalizable plan, you have to plan for her to be flexible in resources and not assume that you, for instance, are available. In a rural area, the safety plan should include 60 minutes of safety after calling 911.

    Remember that part of the point of the plan is to create actual safety, but part is to create the feeling of safety. If your mom has a forcefield button on her belt that can instantly create perfect safety, but she’s too scared out of her wits to use it, the physical safety plan fails because emotional safety wasn’t provided.

    I would assume that cyber-stalking is going on, whether there’s evidence or not.

    Whether you call the cops or not, photographing everywhere jerk wad was last night is important, with close-ups on damage (like where jerk wad busted through a door or window). Keep a journal. Document everything. If she has a computer and a printer, she can type it up, but then e-mail it to you or someone else she trusts. For further security, she can print it out. But whatever she does, she shouldn’t be the one with the password to all the copies if all copies are electronic. Some should be on someone else’s computer, in someone else’s e-mail, etc.

    She can be relentless about documenting. If she wants, she may include any observation that seems relevant – like that the break in happened only after someone else’s car stopped being parked in the driveway.

    Obviously documentation isn’t required, but if she decides to call the cops and has lots of evidence, that will help a prosecutor. Likewise, it will help if she decides to file for a restraining order. In the interview for the temporary order, it won’t matter, but the subject of the order is allowed to challenge it. If jerk wad does, having the evidence at that hearing is important.

    Finally, if she decides to take him to small claims court or otherwise recover damages, that documentation + any receipts will be necessary. Documentation preserves options for the future – none of it **has** to be used. But without it, should things escalate and jerk wad do something like set fire to something valuable, the previous evidence will give your mom more options than would be available without it.

    That’s about all I’ve got right now. If you want to e-mail me, you’re welcome to do so.

  271. says

    The psychology of music:

    Imagine you’re listening to a new song and deciding whether you like it. That snap decision involves more than you might think. Because the likeability of music is so subjective, we all have our own personal preferences that go into our judgments. What you may not realize, though, is the depth of the physiological process that every individual’s brain goes through in determining whether a song pleases them or repels them. Let’s take a look inside.

    Dopamine, a neurotransmitter released in the brain, is triggered by rewarding stimuli such as tasty food, certain drugs, even experiences like getting flowers on your birthday. Musical information gets translated in the auditory cortex. If the song is familiar and pleasurable, the auditory cortex sends chemical signals to the striatum, where dopamine is released. Yes, that chill, “feel-good” sensation is dopamine rewarding you for listening to that song.

  272. Tigger_the_Wing, asking "Where's the justice?" says

    David Marjanović, comment 27:

    Amphicoelias fragillimus is only known from a very short description with a drawing of a part of a vertebra of a sauropod dinosaur, published in 1877. The fossil has disappeared; fossils from that particular site are so poorly preserved that it has probably crumbled to dust. Based on the drawing in the original description, people have recently made a replica… take a good look at the photo.

    The description of the photo that comes up when I mouse over it says:

    A visitor contemplates the immense dinosaur vertebra on display at the U.S. Bureau of Land Management office in Canon City.

    I’ve taken lots of close looks at this photo, and am getting frustrated at this stage.

    OK, I’m willing to be made to look foolish. Please, what is it I’m missing? While I still have some hair left? =^_^=

  273. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The Pullet Patrol™ just put her pictures up in their hall of fame. Now their starting their conga-rats line.

  274. says

    The way that cat leaps almost looks like it had bounced off a trampoline.
    I agree that’s a great visual representation of a pouncehug.
    Now if only we could get some flailing Kermit arms in there…

  275. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says


    Now if only we could get some flailing Kermit arms in there…

    There are tons.

    (Okay, so it’s like a couple versions of the same video clip, but still…)

  276. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Tony! Thank you for reminding me about the Popeye movie! I have mentioned it to people over the years and have aways been met with a glassy stare.
    Sure it’s a failure, but what a fascinating failure !

    One of my favourite films is Toys – another ‘failure’ starring Robin Williams.
    Who could ignore a Barry Levinson film inspired by the imagery of René Magritte?
    The whole reason and essence of the film is summed up in a line in the first five minutes – ‘it’s whimsical’ :)

  277. rq says

    That cat is just going for the tossed treat. [/cynic]
    Or maybe that’s what counts as *pouncehug with chocolate*? “I’ll just grab that on the way…”

  278. blf says

    On the key-loving-lock problem of some weeks ago: After dithering for quite a while, I lubricated the lock with the Tri-Flow–like dry film lubricant. No obvious change at all.

    In the week-or-so since lubrication, the problem has gotten worse, with it becoming harder-and-harder to extract the key after locking or unlocking (and leading to quite serious fears I might break the key in my struggles to remove it from the lock).

    This morning however, during an epic battle to remove the key, I noticed something I hadn’t seen before (perhaps due to lighting, not looking carefully, and other factors — this is not necessarily new, just not-before seen): When pulling on the key to extract it, the cylinder also came partway out of the lock. Not by much, a millimetre maybe, but noticeable.

    Some quick experiments along the lines of pushing the cylinder back in, or preventing it from pulling out in the first place, produce a 100% successful key extraction rate (which is to-be-expected from my understanding of how these sorts of locks work). Consulting Generalissimo Google™ University found a common diagnose and fix (paraphrasing): “The set screw holding the backing plate (which binds together the rotating cylinder and rest of the lock) is loose, a common problem, and is ‘easily’ fixed by tightening the set screw”.

    Not quite. The “set screw” is (probably(? usually?)) inside the lock, which means some disassembly required. Which I am not keen on doing myself, at least not without a backup plan for when things go wrong. (And I don’t mean calling a locksmith, I mean something I can do until the locksmith arrives (which could be days)…)

    This seems like forward progress. I now seem to have a way of extracting the key without (obvious) risk of breakage, and the (broad) outlines of a repair…

  279. Pteryxx says

    From Cracked: 6 Ways a Creationist Textbook Sabotaged Science

    You might have noticed there were two separate chapters on the moon. The history of the moon is separated from its current structure by insects, electricity, plants, length, and digestion. […] You get the feeling that digestion turned up when it did because it was now lunchtime in the single day the author farted this out — science! — and they were hungry.

    It looks like simple stupidity on the part of the author, but it’s highly advanced stupidity designed to become part of the reader. It’s genius(-preventing) brainwashing. They hammer the kids with random sets of terms to memorize, alternating any chapter that might suggest laws or a process with one that’s just a list of long words. They don’t even mention measurable quantities until the fifth chapter, and then they introduce it with a lumberjack apologizing to his bestial lover for a poor performance. [image of badly posed cartoon of Paul Bunyan and Babe the blue ox]


    Make no mistake: This book was written by people who think it’s their sacred duty to trick 9-year-olds. It isn’t designed to teach kids science, but to armor them against it. I would say “inoculate,” but that’s another thing home-schooled kids really aren’t famous for getting.

  280. blf says

    Women’s Rugby World Cup final underway. England vs Canada.

    Yeah, I know. Unfortunately, none of the local pubs here is showing the match, and I can’t find a decent Intertubes feed. (A local pub did show the semifinal between France and Canada, and I found a good feed for today’s Ireland / France game (until it went offline)), but watching the matches — trying to watch the matches — has been an exercise in frustration. Which is even more frustrating since the WRWC is being played here in France, and is claimed to have record attendances, as well be being broadcast in multiple countries.

  281. opposablethumbs says

    TMM, I hope your mother is ok – that is a beyond fucked-up situation, where the people who are supposed to provide law enforcement and protection are actively worse than useless. I hope the new sheriff is not a corrupt criminal like the last one, and I hope Crip Dyke’s advice and resources help.
    But your publishing acceptance – that’s such fantastic news! I see what you mean about whiplash, but it’s great and thank you for letting us know about that.
    A huge huge huge thank you to Esteleth – the envelope has landed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Oooh, I can’t wait to see if I can make head or tail of the new arrival! Thank you so, so much. That was so kind of you!!!!!!!!!

  282. Esteleth is Groot says

    Glad to know it arrived safely, opposablethumbs!

    Let me know if there’s anything that doesn’t make sense or if you need some pointers. :)

  283. says

    Important car repair tip: When installing a new radiator, do not forget to secure the hoses properly, with hose clamps in the proper position. Failure to do this may cause the hoses to come loose and dump all your coolant.

    I may have forgotten to do this and had to walk half a mile in hot weather to buy coolant and a pair of pliers to work with the hose clamp.

  284. ledasmom says

    Home from the hospital. Fell off a wall. Well, technically, fell onto the top of the wall and then somehow (can’t remember) wound up on the ground four and a half feet down. Nothing broken, but some pretty nice scrapes. Not looking forward to tomorrow.

  285. says

    Tony! – Grats on the job! And especially coming so soon after the court thing, I know I’d have been freaking about how I’d pay the bill.

    Watching the Ferguson stuff is unreal. I do know that I would love to see Antonio French in Jefferson City or even Washington. Ron Johnson seems to know who he works for, too. Things haven’t been perfect since he took charge of security, but they did improve tremendously. If he wants a higher position, I hope he gets it.

    I’ll be taking a close look at the gubernatorial primaries. I’ve liked Jay Nixon for the most part, but his dereliction of duty in the early days of the Ferguson crisis is really inexcusable. I’ll probably even look at the Republican candidate if Nixon runs and gets past the primary, though I doubt a Republican will reach lesser evil status, after Ferguson, I’ll give them more of a chance than I otherwise would have. Nixon dropped the ball big time.

  286. ledasmom says


    Thanks. I haven’t decided whether or not to go to work tomorrow. Not particularly thrilled about the potential giant forehead bruise, either.

  287. says

    I’ve only gone in for one orientation day (Thursday). I go back in for the start of training next week (Thursday again). Not sure how long training lasts, but they’re set to open on September 2, so hopefully it’s a decent chunk of training.

  288. gobi's sockpuppet's meatpuppet says

    Hey carlie, thanks for that link to ‘How Did This Get Made’.
    I got about 15 minutes into it but couldn’t face another 45 minutes of two guys complaining how they ‘didn’t get it’.
    Tip to film reviewers: if you don’t ‘get it’ try not to bang on endlessly about it…

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

    I just discovered the ‘Yo, Is This Racist?’ tumblr.

    Wait, what?

    I’ve been reading that for years. Truly great to see, in the face of relentless racism, some black humor.

  290. says

    Crip Dyke:
    Yeah. I just discovered it.
    It’s not my fault you folks have been holding out on me, not giving me the good stuff.
    I gotta hear about that tumblr on Facebook.
    Facebook for heaven’s sake!

    (there may have been snark in the above comment)

  291. birgerjohansson says

    Aardvarchaeology gives an example of a good Swedish word: försoffad, literally “becouched”, of people who have grown lazy and passive.
    Other literal Swedish terms/words:
    Gums: tandkött (tooth-meat)
    Weed: ogräs (un-grass)
    Tjuvlyssna/eavesdrop (thief listen)
    Hospital: sjukhus. Sick house.
    Vegetables: grönsaker. Green things.
    Straw: sugrör (suck pipe /suck tube)
    Nipple: breast wart.
    Bruise. Blåmärke. Blue mark.
    Vacuum-cleaner: dammsugare. Dust sucker. (Courtesy of The Local.)

  292. Owlmirror says

    The 2014 Hugo results are in, and it may be noted that a certain story by a certain racist and misogynist individual did not win.

    More careful inspection of the full voting round details shows that said individual was defeated for fifth (and last) place by (*drumroll*) . . .
    . . .
    . . .
    No Award!

    NB: As PZ noted, the story itself is bland rather than overtly bigoted, but it was nominated as a political statement nevertheless.

  293. Moggie says

    Owlmirror, I just want to quote some snark Scalzi tweeted, channeling an angry rationalizing Hugo loser:


  294. blf says

    A certain Stoop is snarking again: “It’s not my fault you folks have been holding out on me, not giving me the good stuff.”

    Er… Yer the bartender. If anyone knows where Teh Good Stuff is, it’d be you (in the absence of a certain penguin).

  295. carlie says

    Tony – there’s also a podcast of Yo is this racist. The quality varies depending on the special guest, but it’s usually good.

    gobi’s – they’re a pretty specialized taste, and only funny if you also don’t like the movie. They did point out a lot in Toys that I hadn’t thought about, though. Still an interesting movie.

    Talked with my mom on the phone about Ferguson last night (I’m from the St. Louis area). She at least sided with the protesters, from what I could tell. So that was good. My parents: not as racist as I thought they might be! It’s the little things.

  296. carlie says

    More careful inspection of the full voting round details shows that said individual was defeated for fifth (and last) place by (*drumroll*) . . .
    . . .
    . . .
    No Award!


  297. rq says

    Whoa… 17 patients with lab-confirmed ebola escape clinic in Liberia, after armed gang breaks in and declares that ebola does not exist. That’s the local version – the Toronto Star presents it differently, but still. Shee-it.

  298. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Some of this hits close to home.

    took 3 years of apologetics in HS. I was taught how to “win debates” but those debates had a “you sunk my battleship!” End to them if you said the right words. I thought I would convince everyone why they were wrong about the world.
    I was shocked the first time i had an atheist admit that life held no meaning and in my “gotcha!” Celebration, he shrugged his shoulders and asked “and? What’s the big deal about that?” Totally threw me for a loop.

    I was taught to “disprove” evolution in high school. Heh.


    I love YITR! I read it every day. Really reinforces my ability to just “What you just said was racist.” Or sexist. Or whatever.

    One of the partners at the firm just quit without notice. I might have to go home from vacation early. We shall see… Either way, life’s about to get busier. Bring it on, universe.

  299. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says


    By the standards they set, I was excellent.
    It actually set me up for a bit of success on my college debate team. And for having my college debate coach crush me in some philosophical arguments, but both of those are good things.

  300. says

    From Portia’s Reddit link above:

    A girl who was recovering from cancer joined my highschool class in 11th grade. She had never been to a real school before as she had been hospitalized from a very young age (6 or 8?). We really felt bad for her and took her in as best we could as we were a small class full of very nice people. Within the first day at our school it was apparent she had the social maturity of an 8 year old. She wasn’t mentally handicapped, she had just never interacted with people before other than her parents.
    Now the culture shock part. She was super spoiled by her parents so when she came to school she treated us like she treated her parents. At lunch if she saw something she liked that someone had packed in their lunch, she simply demanded it. Out of fear or pity, most kids just gave it to her. We talked among ourselves and decided that we needed to just say no as it was just making the situation worse by spoiling her more. So at lunch we started saying “No, you cannot have my food. I brought this, and if I give it to you I will not have anything to eat.”
    The first time someone said this, she just stood there in shock. She looked like it was the first time someone ever told her no. She instantly freaked out and started screaming and crying. She had to be picked up by her parents.
    This wasn’t the only incident, just the most memorable.
    This was MANY years ago, but last I heard she was going to do some social skills rehabilitation or something to get her ready to be around other people her age before going back to a school.

    culture shock indeed

  301. rq says

    We’re getting a new kitten. I don’t know why, but that makes me incredibly happy. An almost-rescue, if you must know: Friend lives out in the country at a dairy farm, and they get litters and litters of kittens throughout the year, so we’re rescuing one from a life of untended barn-living and death-by-fox.

  302. Brony says

    *drags self back to keyboard*
    Hi everyone. An offering of excited porcupine.
    My admiration for everyone collecting links about Ferguson and staying on top of things. I want to help so I’m going to try signal boosting articles on Facebook while working on applications today. What helps the most? I have done troll battles at alternet in the past and I can do some of that.

    @ Esteleth is Groot 287,291
    Agreed on the transphobia in that book. It did not really take me long to think that if what passes for sexual attraction can be pushed around on a spectrum, the internal emotional environments that have to do with gender self-identification can also be pushed around in individuals. After talking to trans folks online and hearing their life experiences with the phenomena it just seems another area where forcing change for the sake of “clients” who are proxies for a future adult with their own preferences is likely to run into the same problem as did people trying to change their sexual orientation.

    This same textbook suggests that Autistic children be rewarded (?!) for initiating eye contact by being given hugs.

    That a psychology book is unable to identify that physical contact is problematic for many autistics and thus offering a punishment for a desired behavior to be incompetent at best.

    Not sure how you’d do an environmental phobia, but I suppose maybe you could by constructing a faux version?

    That could work, or pictures and videos can be enough for mild exposure and one can work up to something bigger. Maybe there are elements to the environment that trigger? A good psychologist should be able to tease out what about an environment causes anxiety. On some levels a university campus triggers my depression. That has similar aspects but is less severe (I trying to stay hopeful that professional success will change things for me).

    rq 321
    I waffle back and forth between the system being broken beyond its ability to repair itself and keeping an eye out for politicians that might have functional means of repairing the culture in government in mind.
    @The Mellow Monkey 333
    I really hate my species sometimes. I wish you the best luck. I hope your Mother has some community there she can contact in an instant to summon help or similar. Maybe a “panic button” and a neighbor since that other person is basically acting predatory? That is such a common denominator to boundary issues I hear about around here, predatory behavior. I’m seconding Wes Aaron and Crip Dyke about multiple ways documenting and creating plans for rapid responses to situations. A record of predatory behavior on this guy’s part could be invaluable at multiple levels as well as demonstrated willingness to damage property and violate boundaries.
    Congrats on the publisher.

    @ carlie

    Just bought Child 2 his first My Little Pony t-shirt, which he desperately wanted so he can wear it when he goes to high school this year. :)

    Was it a Fluttershy shirt :)

    @ Portia

    I was taught to “disprove” evolution in high school.

    That were my favorite creationists to argue with when I first started getting into that debate and they still are today. On the internet anyway. Formal debates are only so useful as a contrast to how creationism is normally discussed online. Going on the attack is only so useful when the reality rarely matches with claims, and any person challenging something has to have a rational reason for why the thing bothers them and that gets into what they want to replace with. There’s always a thread to pull on.
    “…best culture shock moments…” um, does my life count? I feel culture shock everywhere I go. Tourette’s is a bit like being an outsider in every social situation because you can never quite get all the subtleties, or completely control all of one’s odd mannerisms and reactions.

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

    My mum thanked me for putting up with her.

    That’s what he does to her. I’m not unfamiliar with feeling incomprehensible rage at simplest mistakes, because I can get like that too, and I see how easily that can turn one into an abusive person (I’m not joking when I say that I’m an asshole), but I try to control myself. When I fail, I acknowledge I made a mistake, apologize and try harder not to fail again.

    When my heart starts racing and I feel the rage and horrible words coming up, I try to disengage from the conversation quickly. I leave the room until I get it under control or turn it against myself in self-loathing. That at least avoids collateral damage.

    I’ve been home for 3 days, and it seems he’s become worse than before I left. So much for me being the peace-ruining factor, as he usually accuses.

  304. opposablethumbs says

    Fuck, Beatrice. I totally sympathise with your mother.

    Everything you said about what you do? Acknowledging, apologising, leaving the room? That’s the difference between you and an asshole (which you are not).

  305. rq says

    Your dad getting worse while you’re away? That’s a bit frightening. :( And you may be an asshole, but you’re a pretty awesome asshole. :)

    A few of the good people that seem to get into the politics here get run out of it pretty quick, mostly for being too honest. Happened to the last equivalent-of-Minister of Natural Resources. The media’s pretty horrible (where isn’t it?) and owned by mostly the same people who own everything else, which means the headlines get spun every which way. In 2005, scared of the spectre of gays and lesbians trying to get married, they actually changed the constitution the make sure it says ‘between a man and a woman’, to define marriage. It’s still one of the only amendments in that document (they recently added a preamble, specifying christian values). Forefront of progress? HAHAHAHA. Reusable energy? Ha, my oligarch friends in Russia don’t like it when we use less of their oil, so I’m going to set up a bunch of fake companies, buy up all the biogas quotas, and make a mess of the business, just to prove it doesn’t work (and make a few million on the side). So… I keep an eye out for the good people, but they’re here today, gone tomorrow, because someone with money always comes along with better posters and a media campaign. *sigh* Anyway, you don’t need to answer to any of that, I’m just rambling.

  306. Brony says

    @ rq
    Ramble away. I’ve got one of my own.

    The whole system is just completely backwards when it comes to ethics and morals with respect to competence and holding people accountable for wrongdoing. We transmit morals, ethics, and values top-down (from authorities), and horizontally (to peers). This toxic political mess has people on top being protected from consequences or even rewarded. Those moral messages transmit down and across as well. Change is impossible without authorities becoming willing to push against this and take substantive actions to display credibility of our institutions to have any pretense of everyone being equal under the law and preventing things like toxic systemic bias and economic collapses. We need direct attention to things on the level of torture, surveillance abuses, a completely dysfunctional justice system, failing economic structures, and we especially need people willing to attack and root out where these things are in their own political parties regardless of political fallout. I don’t see how we can avoid a social crack up of who knows what intensity without a total overhaul in terms of accountability, oversight, transparency, and effective consequences that are demonstrated to stop institutions as large as governments and the oil industry from considering certain actions.

    While I see the Republicans as far worse and individual Rs as having almost no chance of earning my vote, I actually tend to save most of my anger for the elements of this mess that Democrats have had a role in. Who knew Obama would make himself complicit in the torture mess (some of you did, I did not). How the heck is it that whistle blowers seem to have as much to fear from Ds as Rs? How could the Democratic culture in Washington be involved in creating this mess with the NSA? The rhetoric with respect to Ds and social issues is totally out of synch with the Justice Departments ability to actually hold people accountable for messing up the economy. There is little reason for any economic institution to worry about being deceptive, risky, and ignore the cost of their actions on society at large. The parallels between Ferguson and OWS are pretty obvious to me and the encroaching police state is not a single party phenomena despite being able to point to more problems in one group. The other group can still be said to be enabling everything.

    Everything you have complained of is mixed up in this mess. Honest ethical people can’t survive without finding a way to create effective defensive and offensive strategies with like-minded people and I fear there are too few. People in general love to find something else to blame things on and the groups are pretty interchangeable in a lot of ways. Gays, racial minorities, religious minorities, the mentally ill, the poor. You need organization and enough power to push past that noise and get attention and I fear that it’s too late to do that without things getting worse. “They” (various groups that at least in the US correlate with white, rich, christian, male and established power and wealth and defined ways of shaping the whole system to their advantage) control the governmental social, economic, and political power and do not want to let any of that go, unless they feel the threat of their whole system crumbling. And often the rhetoric of those folks tries to pretend that any change will cause the system to crumble in a particularly nasty form of projection.

  307. cicely says

    Mildly ‘rupt.
    *hugs* all ’round, with encouragements and sympathies, wherever needed.

    5e…is far from the worst system I’ve played—at least, as far as what’s been released, goes.

    The Mellow Monkey:

    Content warning for stalking, home invasion.

    At the very least, I think your mother needs to report this, and any further unwanted contact, to the police—establish a history, from which to base any necessary future actions.
    The sheriff is, himself, a problem.
    Well, fuck.
    :( :( :(
    Following the mood whiplash, good news about the publisher!

    gworroll, I first read your post at 380 as saying, “Important car repair tip: When installing a new radiator, do not forget to secure the horses properly, with horse clamps in the proper position. Failure to do this may cause the horses to come loose and dump all your coolant.”
    I’m sorry that the Horses made you have to take an unnecessary walk in the heat.

    *extra hugs* for Beatrice.

  308. Morgan!? Militant Pacifist says

    I wish I had a “Kill Switch” for my brain. I am profoundly effected (affected?, I can never keep them straight) by the political horror going on in this country. I’m trying to do self care, but really all I want to do is hide. But I can’t stop reading updates. Fuck. To all the social justice warriors here, I wish I could cook for you. That is what I do for people I love.

  309. says

    Morgan, I know what you mean. I can’t stop reading, even though it’s making me despair for my country.

    All of you keeping the rest of us informed, I’m not much of a cook, but I wish I could do something to show my appreciation. Beverages, at least.

  310. rq says

    Brony @417
    I’m not in the US, slightly different system, but the results are pretty much the same.
    What you said about organization, though, struck a chord: it takes time and energy and people to organize, and it’s hard to do, because there’s usually so much other stuff to get through in a day (me, it’s the kids by day, work most nights, the second job during ‘free’ time, oh and myself and the Husband enjoy attention once in a while, too). This doesn’t make it impossible, but it makes it difficult, especially when the voices that should be heard (the poor, the minorities, the otherwise-downtrodden) are often those with the least amount of time to participate. So the cycle perpetuates itself, I think. Plus as you say honest people need to survive with offensive and defensive strategies, and these can suck a lot of energy out of a movement simply by deflecting to things that are Not the Point. It’s hard to move forward if someone keeps shoving you off the path.
    And yeah, the change part is what scares people here back into voting for the same corrupt faces, because the new ones? Well, who knows what they’ll do with all those crazy educational ideas. The media said they were once involved in possibly slightly shady dealings, so why should they have my trust? I don’t trust the other guy, but at least I know he’ll screw me over, fair’n’square. Plus as I mentioned, they can afford the glitz of a sniny ad campaign – and never mind 50 years of Soviet rule, these people seem awfully susceptible to propaganda.

  311. Morgan!? Militant Pacifist says

    If I were anywhere near Ferguson I’d be out there in the street. I wouldn’t be on the front lines ’cause I’m too old and infirm, but I sure as hell would be at the support areas helping with whatever I could. And I sure as hell would not be at home sitting on my butt. I’m so fucking angry.

  312. rq says

    morgan and Anne
    I’m not even American or in America, and it all feels way too close to home.
    I do a mean cheesecake. We should have a banquet.

  313. rq says

    I’d be too scared to be on the front lines (plus, you know, small kids), but like you, I’d get to the support areas – first aid (since I’m not squeamish) or food distribution, or clean-up, or knocking on the doors of the elderly to make sure they’re okay. But yeah, not so much at home…

  314. rq says

    Heck if I had to be at home I’d open my kitchen/backyard/couch for those who need ’em.

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

    Yeah, I’d be on the front line, in a wheelchair with a really good cushion, as close to the tear gas launchers as I could get.

    let ’em fire on the crippled, middle-aged white lady with a previously broken rib, if they want. The video that goes around the world will hurt the cause of government violence more than it could possibly hurt me.

    @rq, 411

    Both our cats are the same. Rescued from semi-feral barn life isn’t the same as “rescued rescued”, but the older is now spayed, and the younger will be as soon as she’s old enough, and they have regular food and each other for company. I feel very good about it.

  316. dianne says

    I hope in a Ferguson type situation I would be the person quietly documenting it all on her cell phone while police and protestors alike ignored her. I’m invisible that way. I’d probably be at home hiding under the bed, though, cause I’m scared of loud noises and violent acts.

    It’s not out of the question that something like that will happen where I am: Philly isn’t exactly an oasis of racial and class harmony.

  317. Morgan!? Militant Pacifist! - Occupy Ferguson! says

    I don’t do Twitter, but someone ought to start #OldWhiteWomenAgainstFascism

  318. Brony says

    I can’t turn it off either, but there are going to be places in the system that can be taken advantage of somewhere. The social brain is very real and will beat on you when you sense suffering. I think that how we look at empathy has a couple of flaws in that there are elements of empathy that are always present, but the key to how we want to see it involves creating bridges that reveal the common problems that are created by a stagnant social system that is resisting change regardless of what race or group is at the top.

    Racists (conscious or unconscious) sense the suffering in Ferguson, but they contextualize it with all the excuses that we keep encountering that have the effect of moving the blame to the black community or the victim, excusing the society or authority that they have an identification with, or just denying the consequences. But there are common problems that are impacting other communities. The police response to OWS and Ferguson is evidence of systemic problems dealing with wrong doing in the justice system that can impact anyone if the economy gets worse. The economic problems we are facing affect racial minorities more because of greater poverty but the systemic problems will effect everyone.

    It’s a difficult balance to keep attention focused on particular problems with unique aspects like systemic racial bias, and point out to others how the system that is and can become racially biased has moral and ethical problems that create lots of other bias that will wreck this for everyone because the social structures are not doing their damn job. A group that can be biased against a race can just as easily be biased towards the powerful, comfortable, and careless and against anything those folks don’t like. Somehow there is a way to tie the basic structural problems to any given in-group member and get alliances between groups. Sure the problems in the atheist/skeptic community are symptomatic of this problem but I also see us as a test bed for solutions. Science can be fun…

    For example Libertarian-ish folks get it that authorities can be threatening and that they can wield power badly, but they can’t see that their own local and personal set of hierarchically organized monkeys has the same flaws and the aggressive profiteer “survival of the fittest” attitude too often shines through. What good is preventing aggressive, abusive behavior in government when there is no focus on the individuals that collectively act that way on a general level to produce the government in question? I share what looks like their desire to make everyone about as powerful as the next person, but remain annoyed with a group tendency to recognize the abuse of power in their own. There have to be empathy ties in there but the group bias is strong as can be seen with respect to Dunning and knee-jerk support of harassing and abusive individuals.

    I guess that is why I tend to avoid any arguments that require group affiliation or leaders and only spare rhetoric for how an opponent might be leader and group-dependent when doing politics. A political group or a leader is only an example of ways of doing things right now and I’m more concerned with the parts that don’t involve identity, unless identity is critical to the subject like racism but even then the problems usually involve more universal behaviors in a particular context. You can substitute color-bias for other sorts of bias like bias against the poor in many general ways. The value of the specifics is in identifying the manifestations of the bias for each group that may fit into formulas because bigotry is very formulaic. There are more good reasons for skeptics and atheists to get used to the logic of emotions, it helps in identifying the logic of racism, sexism, homophobia, bias against the poor, and the emotional logic that lets people take advantage of others.
    I’m managing some optimism today.

  319. Morgan!? Militant Pacifist! - Occupy Ferguson! says

    What the fuck happened to us? Did the Civil Rights Movement ever exist? Did it accomplish anything? Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.

  320. The Mellow Monkey says

    ‘Proportional Representation’ Has No Place In Diversity Discussions

    Census numbers and statics on demographics are not objective representations of a population. Behind the numbers is a whole history that answers the question “how did this happen?” You cannot say the US and Canada are white majority countries without acknowledging that the US and Canada are white settler colonialists nations.

    I’m sorry. Are we not supposed to talk about that?

    You cannot point to the small percentage of people from x ethnic background as justification for their exclusion without acknowledging that the departments of immigration (and national security) of the US and Canada tightly regulate the movement of peoples across their borders based in large part on the labour needs of the state.

    Were we not supposed to talk about that either?

  321. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    What the fuck happened to us? Did the Civil Rights Movement ever exist? Did it accomplish anything?

    We keep thinking the Rat Fucks will play by the rules, accept defeat, and adapt.

  322. rq says

    Neil Gaiman once pointed out the problem of Susan in CS Lewis’ Narnia books. There is, however, the problem of Aravis. While I can agree that there are a lot of women characters in his books ‘doing things’, one must also look at how they do those things, and how they are rewarded for doing those things, and what sorts of things they do compared to their male counterparts, to really find out if their activity is meant to be an example or not.

  323. Brony says

    In 429 I meant to say’
    “I share what looks like their desire to make everyone about as powerful as the next person, but remain annoyed with a group tendency that fails to recognize the abuse of power in their own.”

  324. Esteleth is Groot says

    Re: Aravis:

    I’d say that some don’t want to acknowledge Aravis because discussing how badass Aravis is means discussing how flagrantly racist the depiction of the Calormen (SERIOUSLY!? THE CALORMEN?!) is in A Horse And His Boy (and, for that matter, The Last Battle).

  325. katybe says

    I wonder if I could pick a few brains in here before I jump in and upset a few people in a different online community. Is anyone familiar with something called Jamberry nail wraps? They don’t seem to be available outside of the US and possibly Canada, so I’d never heard of them until several people in this group started selling them. The marketing is fairly aggressive, and I’ve now been added to 3 sales groups on facebook, which means I’m getting to see people posting identical messages about a week apart, each purporting to give their own personal experiences about how great these things are, and trying to get people to join their sales teams as well as place orders. This screams pyramid scheme to me, and I’m feeling like I need to say something to warn people before they end up at the bottom of the pyramid, but it’s complicated by at least 2 people in the group having been recruited by someone else there too. I don’t want to come across as accusing the first seller of dragging people in to something dodgy deliberately, or as suggesting they’ve all been gullible, but before I jump in and try and inject a note of caution into matters, does anyone know if it really is a pyramid scheme, or just looks that way from the outside?

  326. carlie says

    Was it a Fluttershy shirt :)

    FLUTTERSHY IS HIS FAVORITE. He has a figurine of Fluttershy. :) But the t-shirt was a Street Fighter style 8-bit that says “Choose your pony” at the top, then Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie squaring off, and all the others in the little boxes below it.

  327. Morgan!? Militant Pacifist! - Occupy Ferguson! says

    katybe, re: Jamberry nail wraps,

    Search google for jamberry nail scam. Technically, they are legal, but a rip off.

  328. Morgan!? Militant Pacifist! - Occupy Ferguson! says

    Oh, not much. Murder, mayhem, you know, the usual.

  329. Owlmirror says

    Re Aravis:

    In Ana Mardoll’s Narnia deconstruction, she actually forward-references A Horse and His Boy during Prince Caspian, pointing out that Doctor Cornelius does to the gentlemen-in-waiting watching Caspian (set by Miraz) exactly what Aravis does to her maid (set by her stepmother), in the same circumstances: put them to sleep so that escape could be effected, with the certainty that the sleepers would be punished by those who set them as guards and spies.

    Nothing more is said of the gentlemen-in-waiting in Caspian’s story, but Aravis is physically and brutally attacked by the God of Narnia in eye-for-an-eye (or claw-mark for whip-stripe) punishment for the beating of her maid.

    So there’s an implicit double-standard in how boys/men and girls/women are treated for pretty much the same actions.

    That’s one of the many things that I’d never thought about in reading or re-reading the stories.

  330. Esteleth is Groot says

    But see, Caspian is the heroic boyking of Narnia.

    Aravis is a suspiciously brown girl who is going to grow up and marry the blond boyking of Narnialite Archenland.

    That’s different.

  331. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    rq and Esteleth
    I don’t know much about the story you’re talking about, (I haven’t read Narnia-stories in…so long) but every time I read Aravis, I mentally hear “avarice” Relevant? At all? Seems about as subtle as CS Lewis usually is.

    Jamberry nails. All I know is that they’re structured similarly to Mary Kay/Avon/Advocare etc. So, probably a crappy thing if you’re not super awesome at sales. I think Mary Kay makes you purchase a sizable inventory to start out, for example, and it’s your problem if you don’t sell it. Maybe a gentle question about how it works? If someone hasn’t gotten involved yet, and they haven’t asked all those questions, you could maybe sow some seeds of skepticism? “How big is the initial expenditure? Do they buy back what you don’t sell?” etc.

  332. Brony says

    @ carlie
    Fluttershy is my favorite too (Pinkie Pie is a second fav) :) I’m glad your son is in a position where he feels he is able to wear a shirt like that. There have been a lot of male fans of the show that have not been as successful in getting to do so.

  333. Esteleth is Groot says

    Portia, Aravis Tarkheena (note: “Tarkheena” is not a name but a title, indicating that Aravis is a noblewoman) is a girl – perhaps eleven or twelve, but we’re never told exactly how old she is – from the Land of Brown People in the south. The Brown People are (1) savage (2) pagan in a gross fashion (3) slave-owners (4) barbaric (5) prone to marrying their daughters off very young (6) prone to fantasizing about kidnapping white virgins and (7) prone to talking in a stilted “O My Son and O The Delight Of My Eyes” stereotypical manner.

    Aravis lives with her father (who seems very absentee), her evil stepmother, and her very young half-brother in a grand house in the country. Her father is rich, powerful, and capable of standing up in front of the king of the Brown People, because racist stereotypes are fun. Her evil stepmother is evil and wants to be rid of her charmingly heroic stepdaughter, so she arranges an marriage for Aravis to an old man who, we’re told, looks like a monkey, because racist stereotypes are still fun. Aravis is displeased by this, as the man is (1) old (2) ugly and (3) simian in appearance. She decides that death is preferable to marriage to elderly monkeys, but her talking horse (who is, of course, (1) Narnian and (2) a slave) talks her out of it. The horse suggests that the two of them escape together to Narnia. Aravis agrees to this and, after some fun with lying, fake letters, and multiple slaves who are going to be in acute danger from their angry masters, makes a run for it. Eventually, due to the needs of the plot, her paths cross with Our Hero (the titular Boy), who has his own reasons for wanting to go to Narnia, and is riding another Narnian talking horse who’s been enslaved (the titular Horse). Naturally, the group agrees to continue on together, and after many adventures and derring-do, they get out of the country and manage to learn of a dastardly plot whereby Narnia-lite will be conquered and the virginal white queen of Narnia will be raped and married by force. They then ensure that the right people learn of this in time, and The Day Is Saved, and it turns out that Our Hero is actually the king’s son (and there’s much rejoicing), so Aravis moves into the palace and, many years later, marries Our Hero, for the sake of them being able to make up better after their many fights (yes, really).

    As for her name? Dunno. It is – like the names of most of the people and places where she’s from – generically Middle Eastern sounding, without being definitively so.

  334. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Not keeping up with the Ferguson news like I should, but the Redhead got transferred from the hospital to an extended care facility today. I had to go along and feed her dinner (she ate all the soup, a piece of a tasty Reuben sammich, and part of a chocolate chip cookie, the most she has ate in days), and help get her checked in and settled. The vibes I got were good. No ignore hygiene smell, everybody alert, with it, and even overly chipper.

    I suspect her appetite will come back when she is off the antibiotics. Now to let the family and friends know about the transfer, then I can have my dinner, and then to bed.

  335. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says


    I left you a comment in the Dome, if you care to look. If not, no worries. Either way, have a nice evening.

  336. cicely says

    Nerd, it’s good to hear that the Redhead is apparently on the improve, and that the facility seems to be…not one of the ones that immediately jump to my mind, when the phrase “nursing home” is used.

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

    good luck to Redhead…and to you, Nerd.

  338. says

    Best wishes to the Redhead :)

    I’m not a huge book reader, and certainly haven’t read the novels on which many movies were based, so I didn’t know any of the backstories for the movies covered in this article.
    Where was the Joker in Dark Knight Rises?
    Obviously Heath Ledger was dead, but the in-story reason?

    Turns out The Joker was being held as the lone resident of the brand new Arkham Asylum – rebuilt after the events of Batman Begins. To make matters worse for poor Joker, he was in solitary confinement, giving him no one to “play with.” Guess even though Bane and Talia al-Ghul wanted to destroy Gotham with a nuke, releasing the Joker would have been TOO crazy for them.

    Where does Gizmo (from the Gremlins) come from?

    Turns out, Mogwai were created as an ultra-peaceful, pacificist race by an alien scientist named (not joking here) Mogturmen. A Mogwai was to be sent to every planet in the universe in order to inspire its inhabitants to be kind and peace-loving as well (or get stolen by mysterious Chinese shopkeepers, either way). Earth was one of the first “test” planets.

    Obviously there were still some bugs to work out – since all of the Mogwai birthed from Gizmo turned out to be sneaky, evil assholes. Mogturmen made the “give birth by gettin’ wet” deal so that Mogwai could easily reproduce quickly and help spread the message of peace. It’s never really made clear why the “no food after midnight” rule was implemented – probably just a bug that he was working on.

    I’m fine with cute adorable Gizmo and the sinister Gremlins, but I’m not sure their fictional world is made better by having them be artificially created by aliens. It adds one more fantastical element to a world that doesn’t need it.

  339. annie55 says

    Primarily a lurker here…occasionally have something to say.

    As a late middle-age agnostic leaning heavily toward atheism, I came to FTB just as it all hit the fan. Learned very quickly that silence was golden.

    It is only recently that I finally visited the Slymepit, and what struck me most seriously was the header…a site specifically devoted to opposing “Social Justice” “hypocrisy.”

    Reading thru the posts was like reading a particularly obnoxious junior high school “slambook,” but even that wasn’t as disturbing as the logical conclusion to the premise: Atheism has no purpose nor any positive contribution to make to world.

    Noticeably absent from FTB is much concern with what Slymepitters have to say on a daily basis. The egregiousness gets called out from time to time, but for the most part, FTBers are busy discussing and enjoying other things…and actually giving meaning and value to the lack of belief in the higher power.

    Here’s the thing…if agnosticism/atheism is solely about the individual right to be a anti-social, non-believing asshole…great…go be a non-believing asshole. To take issue with non-believing folks who actively seek to make the world a better place is bizarre.

    Do these people really envision a world as unpleasant as themselves to be some sort of atheist utopia? I don’t get it and I’m guessing that millions of closeted agnostics don’t either, and are subsequently content to stay closeted.

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

    Yay for new commenters!

    Welcome in, Annie55. Please feel free to consume the latest in USB Grog X [Buccaneer]. We’re a friendly bunch, by and large, but watch out for the scum and villainy. I’ve heard this is a wretched hive of scum and villainy.

  341. says

    Welcome to the Lounge!

    As a late middle-age agnostic leaning heavily toward atheism,

    I don’t know if you’ve heard of the term agnostic atheist, but it could be a phrase you might like. Since agnosticism deals with knowledge and atheism deals with non belief, you can be a person who acknowledges that they don’t know if a god (or gods) does or does not exist while also being someone who doesn’t believe in god (or gods). Just as a theist could be an agnostic theist: one who doesn’t know if a god (or gods) does or does not exist, but believes in a god (or gods) nonetheless (similarly, one could be agnostic about the existence of fairies or elves, but either believe or not believe in them). I only mention this because it seems a lot of people view agnosticism as being on a continuum with theism and atheism, when it’s not.

    It is only recently that I finally visited the Slymepit, and what struck me most seriously was the header…a site specifically devoted to opposing “Social Justice” “hypocrisy.”

    I’ve only visited the Slymepit perhaps 3 times since I’ve been commenting at FtB. I didn’t stay long. I’ve interacted with Pitters all across FtB and other blogs and I have nothing nice to say about any of them. Given their opposition to feminism, it doesn’t surprise me that they’re devoted to opposing social justice. They don’t appear to want to make the world a better place, which is very sad. It shows that they aren’t concerned about the suffering of their fellow humans.

    Reading thru the posts was like reading a particularly obnoxious junior high school “slambook,” but even that wasn’t as disturbing as the logical conclusion to the premise: Atheism has no purpose nor any positive contribution to make to world.

    At a guess, I think that’s because many of them adhere to the idea that atheism should only be about not believing in deities. They don’t take the further step and reject all the baggage that comes along with theism (and there’s a LOT of baggage). If they were concerned with examining their beliefs, biases, and prejudices to see how religious belief affects them, they might realize how fighting against religious belief intersects with the battles against social ills like sexism and racism. But they have no interest in self-reflection, nor in fighting for a better world.

    Noticeably absent from FTB is much concern with what Slymepitters have to say on a daily basis. The egregiousness gets called out from time to time, but for the most part, FTBers are busy discussing and enjoying other things…and actually giving meaning and value to the lack of belief in the higher power.

    Pretty much.
    I love the variety to be found here at FtB. While it’s made up largely of atheists, non belief is but one facet of the various bloggers here. Some people are interested in fighting sexism and misogyny. Others are concerned with fighting transphobia or homophobia. Some are focused on the separation of church and state. Some cover all of those subjects. Many even blog about things that *aren’t* social justice related (such as Greta Christina blogging about Project Runway, PZ’s biology related posts, or Jason’s movie recaps). As you say, the bloggers here really aren’t that concerned about the Pitters, save for the times when the Pitters direct some of their venom in this direction (or in the direction of other social justice allies, like Skepchick). OTOH, the Pitters’ r’aison d’etre seems to be simply to oppose everything FtB stands for. Which puts them in the position of encouraging sexism, racism, homophobia, and more social ills. It’s really a bizarre position they’ve chosen for themselves. But it’s one that allows them to maintain their privilege. They don’t want to give that up, no matter what.

  342. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate)

    I left you a comment in the Dome, if you care to look. If not, no worries. Either way, have a nice evening.

    And I to you, Portia.

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

    It is only recently that I finally visited the Slymepit, …

    I’ve only visited the Slymepit perhaps 3 times since I’ve been commenting at FtB.

    I might have visited it once many moons ago, near when it started, but the only time I remember visiting there was when I was trying to search for a previous thread using google and forgot the ‘’ search element. The slymepit came up in a way that my ‘nym was visible in the search results. i clicked through to see what was going on. I was unimpressed, but not instantly puking or anything. They seemed to be patting themselves on the back for an observation that, while not to be ignored, was no end point, nor even a way station. They seemed content with this one observation and how fiercely superior it made them (even if only one made it and others just agreed). The arrogance was repellant, sure, but far from the kinds of horrors that occasionally get singled out as the worst of the slymepit.

    I can see myself going back…if and when an ongoing campaign of harassment necessitates evidence collection. Short of that? Not even better lighting and a soundtrack can make their amateur wanking into something worth my bandwidth.

  344. chigau (違う) says

    So, I’m ‘rupt.
    Tony! got the job. Yay!
    The Redhead had some bad stuff but it got sorta sorted. Yay!

  345. Pteryxx says

    (from the Ferguson threads) Thanks, JAL. I hope you got the latest Hobb book – if you need one I’ll be glad to get a copy and send it.

  346. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says


    (from the Ferguson threads) Thanks, JAL. I hope you got the latest Hobb book – if you need one I’ll be glad to get a copy and send it.

    There’s another one coming out already?!? (I gleefully refuse to acknowledge wait times between book publishing, makes it agonizing. heh)

    YAAAAAAAAY. Well, hey now I’ve an excuse to bury my head in a book if I can tear my eyes from Ferguson. Since mom’s sleeping here until fuckface gets out of jail I’ll have plenty of time at night to do so.

    Thanks for the offer. Let me check around first to see if I can snag a copy. I have rating everything Hobbs that I’ve gotten my hands on as 5 stars so that hopefully means something, somewhere. lol.

  347. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    Oh, Tony got a job! CONGRATS!

    (saying I’m ‘rupt at this point is merely a formality, I should re-do my nym accordingly lol)

  348. chigau (違う) says

    I refuse to acknowledge the release of tree-books until they are in paperback.
    and sometimes until they hit the used-book-store.

  349. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    chigau (違う)

    I refuse to acknowledge the release of tree-books until they are in paperback.
    and sometimes until they hit the used-book-store.

    It makes not being able to afford the new stuff a lot easier, doesn’t it?

    (Or am I being made fun of and I’m too dense? It’s hard to tell sometimes.)

  350. chigau (違う) says

    I’m dead serious, no making fun.
    I loves my tree-books and I’m willing to wait until I can get them in my approved format.
    and I appreciate people not doing spoilers until a year or so after the release.

  351. A. Noyd says

    It’s kind of difficult to read a futuristic fantasy novel in a foreign language when you know jack shit about computing and electronics in either that language or your native one, which is what the magic system is based on, and half the words are either made up or are borrowed from computer science and physics.

  352. chigau (違う) says

    A. Noyd
    Anyone who can really function in more than one language has my deep admiration.

  353. Brony says

    I looked in at the Slymepit at about the time the debate was taking place between the “sides” (wasn’t it Stephanie Svan that wrote for the social justice side?) while trading jabs with some of them on Nugent’s blog. Honestly after having a morbid fascination with with internet drama and places like 4chan/b/ (long story) I thought the pit was pretty boring in comparison. It was mostly a bunch of people obsessed with FTB, getting to misbehave without consequences, with some other conversation that could be found in plenty of other places around the web.

    I can compare them to one other group of people that I have encountered and the dynamics seem similar. While I was a member of Ponychan, and during my tenure as a moderator a lot of the people permanently banned instinctively looked for a place to gather, complain, plan, and most importantly mythologize. There are plenty of people that just will not accept that they have broken any rules and instead it’s “how dare you have these rules!”, or “I did not break any rules!” and they gather with like minded people and spin each other stories. Eventually new Brony chan-type boards were created and we had a “schism” very similar to the one in the atheist community but based over hatred of being banned from Ponychan or pissed off that we did not allow porn.

  354. says

    Andrew Wheeler is a writer for Comics Alliance, and he also has his own Tumblr. I came across his answer to a question posed by one of his followers:

    gpack3 said: What do you think would be the best way to introduce a trans superhero? Introduce them first and then reveal they’re trans after the audience is used to them? Introduce them as trans from the beginning? Have them transition on panel? Take a preexisting character whose past is something of a blank slate (eg. Eye-Boy) and make them trans?
    I’d love to hear from trans people about what they’d like to see in a trans superhero, because I’m sure they have sensitivities that I don’t have, and I’m sure they’re aware of cliches and pitfalls that I’m not aware of.


    To answer from my perspective as a gay man who does not identify as trans, I would tentatively draw a parallel to what I always want to see in gay heroes. Namely; I don’t want to always have to see gay people struggling and suffering with their identities. I want to see gay heroes who are at peace with their identities, and who face the same problems as other heroes, because that’s a much more hopeful and inclusive message.

    So I’d most like to see a trans superhero who is totally at peace with their identity, and whose identity is very quickly and unambiguously established to the audience. That seems like the most positive way to represent trans people in superhero fiction.

    That said, coming out stories and self-acceptance stories are hugely important – especially if they come from people who can make those stories personal. I’d love to read a story about a superhero transitioning, but I’d like to read it from a trans writer.

    Either way, I think establishing or reintroducing an established character as trans would be most useful given how difficult it is to establish new characters in superhero comics. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, my personal choice would be to reintroduce Christian Frost as a trans woman whose transition allows her to access her mutant powers for the first time – and whose transition is celebrated by her sister Emma.

    Christian was previously written as a gay man with severe depression. I don’t think it would be implausible to re-imagine the character as a trans woman. But I may be stepping into cliches that I’m not aware of.

    (As a final note, I should acknowledge that when I say I don’t want to always have to see gay people struggling and suffering with their identities in fiction, my own Sacha Valentin in Valentin & The Widow is exactly that sort of character. But I am at least a gay man writing from personal experience, and Sacha also gets to travel the world punching evildoers.)

    I worry that a non trans writer would wind up doing some stupid or offensive shit, so perhaps, as Wheeler says, it would be better for a trans writer to create such a story.
    But then I’m reminded that Gail Simone created a trans character as Barbara Gordon’s roommate in Batgirl and that character has been, IIRC, well received. Her name is Alysia Yeoh:

    States like Arizona are currently spending taxpayer’s money trying to legalize trans discrimination, and others like Idaho are arresting and citing trans patrons from using public restrooms that don’t match their birth sex.

    As this kind of discrimination continues to reach bizarre new heights, there’s one place where trans acceptance seems ready to take hold—in the hallowed halls of geekdom known as DC Comics. This week, the comic book giant published Batgirl #19, featuring a storyline involving the first ongoing, trans-identifying character in a mainstream superhero book.
    Wired reports that in the latest Batgirl edition, the character Alysia Yeoh reveals to her roommate, Barbara Gordon (aka Batgirl), that she is a trans woman. In addition, Alysia is also bisexual.

    Author Gail Simone tells Wired that the impetus to include a trans character came from a pretty obvious source of inspiration—her fans. And building out a world as diverse as they are is her ultimate goal.

    “It’s the issue for superhero comics. Look, we have a problem most media don’t have, which is that almost all the tentpoles we build our industry upon were created over a half century ago…at a time where the characters were almost without exception white, cis-gendered, straight, on and on,” she said.

    “It’s fine—it’s great that people love those characters. But if we only build around them, then we look like an episode of The Andy Griffith Show for all eternity.”

    I really like that last line from Simone. She wants to help build fictional worlds that reflect the world we live in today, rather than the world of 75 years ago.

  355. rq says

    Hello, chigau! So the caribou didn’t get you. :) (Someone drank all the rum, though.)

    Hello, JAL! :)

    Hello, annie55 and welcome in! Please fill out the following membership questionnaire, outlining your views on:
    1) horses;
    2) peas;
    3) cheese.
    Some might ask you about Miracle Whip, too, so I suggest you prepare a few answers. ;)

    Thanks for the update, Nerd – I really hope you get some rest, and that the Redhead’s recovery continues just as smoothly and complication-free!!

  356. says

    Famous works of art touched up to reflect the standards of beauty found in various parts of the world today. I think it was done to highlight the differences in the perception of beauty that people hold, as well as show that great art can reflect reality as it is-no photoshop necessary.

    Whether it’s tucking tummies, contouring jaw lines, enlarging eyes and lips, brushing out cellulite, or full-out head swapping, I’ve seen it all as a photo editor. While the conversation about the media’s portrayal and obsession with an unrealistic and unattainable beauty standard is not a new one, I think it’s crazy how much retouching people don’t notice. Over the last five years, having done many of the quick, subtle fixes that are the industry standard myself, I know that even an image considered to look “natural” is anything but.
    Of course it hasn’t always been that way. Throughout art history, painters from Titian to Rubens to Gauguin found beauty in the bodies of women who would never fit into a size 0. But what would these famous works of art look like were they to conform to today’s Photoshopped standards of beauty? We’ve taken a digital liquefy brush to the painstakingly layered oils of some of the most celebrated paintings of the female form, nipping and tucking at will. There may be something sacrilegious in that, but the same could be said for our contemporary ideas of beauty.

    The images are fascinating.

  357. says

    Upthread, I recall some people expressing a desire to help the people of Ferguson in some way. The blogger I mentioned above, Andrew Wheeler, had another follower pose a question to him:

    Anonymous said: I feel so useless sitting here. What can I do to help Ferguson??

    there’s a bail and legal fund that’s been set up for those who’ve been arrested

    this person is trying to organize a food drive for school kids in ferguson.

    national moment of silence 2014 (for victims of police brutality)
    share the following:

    videos of what has happened

    continued, bc there’s more than 5 links

  358. rq says

    So last night Husband was like, ‘So who is Michael Brown?” (It hasn’t been on the news here, and I haven’t discussed it with him, because I’ve been running it as a social experiment, because (1) I want to see how long it takes to get into the media here and (2) I want to see a first reaction unbiased by my discussion. It’s still not in the media, but someone apparently linked the autopsy on his twitter feed.)
    I gave him a quick rundown of the week’s events (shot unarmed teenager, didn’t arrest the cop, brought out excessive force in face of peaceful protesters, the National Guard, etc.). His response: “They’re doing all that to protect one shit cop???” Yeah. He gave up immediately.

  359. rq says

    Ugh. Shoulda been out of the house a half hour ago. Youngest had a sudden attack of ‘Fashion’. (That is, “Noooo, I won’t wear thooose paaaants! Nooooo, not those either!!” *sigh*)

  360. katybe says

    Thanks Morgan!? and Portia – I’ll see if I can sow a few seeds.

    And thank you to everyone curating the Ferguson stories on the various threads.

  361. A. Noyd says

    chigau (#470)

    Anyone who can really function in more than one language has my deep admiration.

    Couldn’t agree more. Because that’s not me at the moment with this book. Took me an hour to read one page yesterday with like 85% comprehension.

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

    Heh, I’m struggling with a French crime novel. It’s supposed to be “easy” reading.. not so much.

  363. rq says

    Also, just read an article in our Civil Law Codex (or whatever it would be translated) that basically allows parents to enslave their children, as long as the children are their dependents (and as long as parents provide the necessities of life). That seems… very medieval. :/

    A multi-media play on mental illness is looking for funding, a friend of mine is part of the project. Would be nice for them to succeed, please pass the word along!

  364. says

    I just defriended the ex-BF I spoke of on Facebook. His last message to me was dismissive and indicated he didn’t read any of the links I provided to show him that I’ve been following the Ferguson situation fairly closely. No, *I’m* the ignorant one.

    This is a fucking travesty.

    Authorities have said they were not aware children were staying at the home, but the Bounkhams said their minivan with car seats and decals depicting the couple and their four children was parked near the door.

    Bounkham was released from the hospital in July and returned with his family to Wisconsin, where they had lived before the fire.

    “His face still bears scars that are going to take a number of reconstructive surgeries,” said family spokesman Marcus Coleman. “We have been informed by the family that every single night, every single night, this child wakes up screaming and holding his face.”

    Officials in Habersham County, which conducted the drug raid, have turned down the family’s request to pay for the boy’s medical bills, saying they’re not allowed to help.

    “The question before the board was whether it is legally permitted to pay these expenses,” county attorney Donnie Hunt said in a statement. “After consideration of this question following advice of counsel, the board of commissioners has concluded that it would be in violation of the law for it to do so.”

  365. cicely says

    Welcome In, annie55!
    I remember pre-Slymepit days too well to ever want to hang in their lair.

    […] the board of commissioners has concluded that it would be in violation of the law for it to do so.”

    How convenient.

  366. blf says

    Shoulda been out of the house a half hour ago. Youngest had a sudden attack of ‘Fashion’. (That is, “Noooo, I won’t wear thooose paaaants! Nooooo, not those either!!”

    Potatoe sacks. If the sprog won’t wear one, then stuff the sprog into one (tie tightly shut to prevent accidents).

  367. Brony says

    @ Tony 476, 477
    Thanks. I’ll look though them. I’m already on Facebook arguing with family members and friends so I hope that helps.

    @ Tony 475
    That is fascinating. I have pointed out to my wife that her body shape is basically like the freaking Roman goddess of love in “Birth of Venus” (but in more empathetic terms). It’s amazing what culture does with perception.

    @ Everyone
    Would it be alright if I made a longer post asking for advice related to employment issues today? I have some difficult things to consider and I’m taking on all perspectives that I can.

  368. blf says

    I just cooked and ate for dinner something I haven’t had in a long time. So long, in fact, I don’t recall when I did last have it.

    Eel. Fresh eel.

    Served with spinach and Tagliatelle, a light cheese-and-vin sauce, and the rest of the vin.

    It was GREAAAAT!! I’d nearly-forgotten how tasty eel is.

    I still remember the first time I had eel, in the mid-ish–1980s, in California. I was with some friends at a then-fairly-new Thai resturant which several people recommended. One of the starters was a eel soup. None of us had ever had eel before, and we were intrigued. So what we did was order a few starters to share, the eel soup and some “safer” stuff.

    The eel soup never stood a chance. Everyone loved it…

    (In doing a bit of research for this comment I noticed that Greenpeace has put several different eels — very probably including the one I just ate — on its seafood red list: “The Greenpeace International seafood red list is a list of fish that are commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, and which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries.” Oops! This eel was bought from a local fishmonger and so might have been sustainability sourced…)

  369. says


    I’m already on Facebook arguing with family members and friends so I hope that helps.

    I would never tell you that the actions you undertake in the name of social justice are insufficient. You’re doing what you can based upon your own appraisal of what is within your ability to do.

  370. says

    The first time I ever ate eel was also the first time I ever ate sushi. I had a Dragon Roll, and it would have been very tasty, if not for the fact that I spread the entire dollop of wasabi over the roll. I didn’t know what the stuff was, but figured I’d try it anyway.
    You all can guess how I reacted (and I like spicy food). I’ve since learned to mix the wasabi with soy sauce to dilute it. I’m still mastering the use of chopsticks (I fumble a bit initially).
    I still really like Dragon Rolls and in fact, could go for one right now.

  371. The Mellow Monkey says

    blf, Monterey Bay Aquarium has a fantastic Seafood Watch app as well as downloadable pocketguides if the app isn’t an option. It makes choosing the most sustainable seafood easy.

  372. says

    Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige wants a Black Panther and a Captain Marvel film (he’s getting a lot of pressure from fans):

    If you’re eagerly awaiting Black Panther and Captain Marvel movies from Marvel Studios, here’s some encouraging news right from the source.

    Studio President Kevin Feige sat down with IGN for a conversation about current and upcoming projects, including the status of the two aforementioned movies, which have not been announced, but have been widely speculated about and hoped for. The pleas for films centered on T’Challa and Carol Danvers haven’t fallen on deaf ears, apparently, as Feige says he and Marvel “absolutely” want to make those a reality.

    “They’re both characters that we like, that development work has been done on; it’s continuing to be done on them,” he said. “It’s a question I get asked more than anything else — more than Iron Man 4, more than Avengers 3. That’s sort of the first time that’s really happened to us. That makes a difference. That’s something we have to pay attention to.”

    But just because the interest in Black Panther and Captain Marvel has reached a high point, doesn’t mean Feige and Marvel will alter their plans.

    “I’ve always said we have our plan, and it’s served us very well,” he said. “There hasn’t been anything that has made us deviate or change from that based on opinions. Because opinions online change, and they alter, and are based on what limited information they have of behind the scenes.”

    That said, Feige concedes things seem different in the case of Black Panther and Captain Marvel.

    “In this particular case, I think it’s a groundswell,” he said, “and I think it means something substantial.”

  373. blf says

    I’m struggling with a French crime novel.

    Fixes most problems (except peas).

  374. Brony says

    I appreciate that Tony, but you and others with direct experience are the ones that know the shapes that the obfuscation and distraction take when people try to minimize and explain away situations like Ferguson. I have seen enough articles from people complaining about people outside the group trying to help and doing it badly to think that what I am doing is necessarily the best thing I can be doing. I’m not saying I’ll do anything asked of me or that I won’t have possible questions or anything, but there is a sense in which getting feed back on priorities and effectiveness is needed.