[Lounge #479]


This is the lounge. You can discuss anything you want, but you will do it kindly.

Status: Heavily Moderated; Previous thread


  1. says

    It’s funny, growing up I never had much interest in school. I didn’t suck at it, but I was average. Math. Science. Social Studies. History. None of it appealed to me. None of it called my name. At times, some classes were a struggle (Geometry, I’m looking at you). I think I graduated high school with a B or so. Even in college, I didn’t gravitate towards any particular studies, although that changed when I took Intro to Philosophy. For the first time, I’d found a course that I enjoyed and excelled at. I’d never aced a class before, but I did with both Phil 101 and 202 (I’ll never forget my professor in my 202 course telling me that I was one of the few student he had that seemed to “get” the material with such ease).
    But then I dropped out of college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and didn’t want to waste any more of my parents’ money trying to figure that out.
    Would that I’d have stayed in. That’s one of my great regrets.

    And yet…

    For most of my life I’ve never had a hunger for knowledge. I never wanted to, well know things. I’ve mentioned before that the depression I went into following Micah’s death (in 2010) was hellacious. There was one bright spot–something awoke in me one day while watching Michelle Bachmann talk about the US being a Christian Nation. I’d never done any internet research (when I was in college, the internet wasn’t as ubiquitous as it is today, and I dropped out before I really learned how to research things), but I remember sitting on my bed wondering “is that true?”

    I recall my immediate thought was “Oh what a load of bullshit”, but that was followed by “but how do you know it’s bullshit? How do you know she’s not telling the truth?”

    That led me to trying to figure out how to verify truth claims people make and in short time (with the help of some friends and family), I learned how deeply wrong she was. I learned the value of skepticism, and of verifying information. I’ll never forget how daunting it was, sitting on a computer in 2010 with all the information on the internet at my fingertips, but not knowing how to sift through the dreck to find the valid info. But learn I did.

    After that, something clicked in me. I wanted to know more. I started reading Quackwatch and Skeptics Dictionary. At some point I stumbled on Greta Christina’s blog, which led me to here. The rest is more or less history.

    One thing that has grown though, is a desire to learn. I never thought I’d say this, but I miss school. I also never thought I’d say this, but there’s so much I want to know, much of that interest being spurred on by discussions I’ve been involved with (or followed closely) here at Pharyngula. From the history of sexism to the feminist movement in the United States, to the long term impact of slavery on African-Americans, I’ve discovered an interest in both sociology and history. The little bit of research I did on my series of racist caricatures on my blog ignited an interest there as well.

    Once I finished that series, I initially thought I’d return to the topic of race, but I found that I wanted to shift a bit, and decided to focus on highlighting women throughout history. One of the many things I’ve learned here is that women have all too often been ignored. I realized that I couldn’t recall learning about the achievements of that many women growing up. If I didn’t know many, chances are the same held for others. So I began my current ‘Woman of the Day’ series.

    I just finished writing about Alice Catherine Evans and her discoveries in the field of bacteriology and I greatly appreciate her findings, most especially because I love to drink milk.

    Where was this thirst for knowledge 20 years ago? Ah well, better late than never.

    I still have no interest in math though.

  2. says

    Sleep well, Nerd

    What a scare. But it was probably less dangerous than you thought. Gas stinks like hell on purpose so you notice a leak and unless your kid’s room is very close to the leak and the basement is very tightly shut it’s unlikely that you build up enough gas to cause a fire that far away from the leak.
    It is possible to get rid of eyebrows that way as I found out once on a holiday when Mr. had not set up the cooker correctly.

  3. says

    Thank you for sharing that, Tony!. It sounds corny to say “that was really interesting” but it was. I like hearing about how other people approach learning, what interests them and what doesn’t.

    Basic arithmetic gives me willies. My brain tries to run away and hide.

    English and history and art were my things at school. The rest – maths, accounting, home eco, woodwork, accounting and fucking awful phys ed, I hated with a passion and sucked at.

    For me the thirst to know focuses on individual people. It’ll broaden to learn about their time (and the fashion, always the fashion!) but getting a handle on how they thought, or just the minutiae of their lives … that’s what I love to learn. Used to be quite the expensive slog in pre-internet days, too.

  4. says

    Stupid fluffycat decided, for the second day in a row, that 4AM was the time for people to be up and entertaining her. 4AM. It’s not even light outside at 4AM. Even on weekdays, the alarm doesn’t go off until 4:50, and they don’t get fed until 5:30. Stupid fluffycat.

    I ignored her until she started banging on the bedroom door, then I got up and told her that she was an hour early, go away, and I went back to bed. She kept meowing and banging on the door. I ignored her. I think Husband slept through the whole thing.

    So I am very grumpy, and I still have a large list of Aged Mum’s grocery shopping to reorganise and purchase this morning. I feel like Charles Darwin, “very poorly today, and very stupid and hate everybody and everything”. Especially the fluffycat.

    I’m going to take my morning pills, drink my tea, and maybe then I can sort out AM’s list so I don’t miss anything. Later, Horde.

  5. rq says

    Thanks, everyone. You’ve been awesome.
    I ended up going to a choir social thing last night, but left the party knowing I shouldn’t have gone – not that it was bad, I just couldn’t get into it at all, especially since I figured I wasn’t in a mood to even try drinking in large amounts (I had a beer). Everyone was either too loud, too drunk, too stupid or not one of my talk-to friends, but the event itself seemed to be pretty good. Our line-dance performance was a huge hit. Had good conversation on the way there and back, though, with Friend whose husband is Husband’s cousin – we went through familial troubles, music, relationship issues, feminism and religio-atheism (she’s one too!), on top of complaints about the weather and politics.
    I also realized that just getting out of the house socially isn’t what I need, nor is going to work alone. I want to go see a movie alone, something entertaining yet brainless with a textbook unlikely happy ending, and with as little problematic material as possible. Maybe next week. :)

  6. rq says

    *hugs* for Anne, I’ve got a giant pot of tea on, if you like. With some smoked chicken on the side.

  7. says

    Here’s coverage of some real science — (not like Ken Ham at all): Maddow Show link for the comment Siding Spring.

    There’s a high-speed flyby taking place today, but not here on Earth – on Mars. At 2:27 P.M. Eastern, a comet going over 125,000 mph will buzz by Mars at less than a third the distance between the Earth and the Moon, just under 90,000 miles. The comet is named Comet Siding Spring, a first-time visitor to the inner Solar System from the Oort Cloud […]

    Lovely video presentation from NASA at the link. A good illustration, and concise text also at the link.

  8. says

    Fascinating. The ugly, supposedly sacred undergarments worn by mormons who gone through “endowment” ceremonies in a mormon temple are now on full display.

    In fact, mormons leaders have a made a video available:

    The “Sacred Temple Clothing” video equates mormon garmies with sect-specific clothing from other religious. “Stir the deepest feelings of the soul” if you must, but I still think that mormons get a prize for the ugliest “religious vestments.”

  9. says

    Forgot to mention that the mormon video referenced in comment #13 also shows the “Temple Garments” that mormons wear when they go through the ceremonies there. Yes, the cartoonish green apron and baker’s hat are pictured, but since they are flat and partially hidden in the photo, you don’t get the full comic effect.

    I also notice that mormon powers-that-be have decided that the sacred under garmies are no longer magical. They are not protective after all! Big surprise to older mormons who were all raised on mythical tales of mormons being saved by their garmies.

  10. says

    Mormon culture shows up as “worst state for women” in a Wall Street “special report”:

    1. Utah
    > Gender wage gap: 70 cents per dollar (4th worst)
    > Poverty rate, women: 13.6% (13th lowest)
    > Pct. in state legislature: 16.3% (6th lowest)
    > Infant mortality rate: 5.0 per 1,000 births (2nd lowest)

    Utah is the worst state for women. Less than 31% of management positions were held by women in Utah, the second lowest rate nationwide. Women were also less likely than women in the vast majority of states to hold leadership roles in government. Of the 75 seats in the state’s House of Representatives, just six were filled by women last year. And there were just five female state-level senators. In all, women made up just 16.3% of state legislators, less than in all but five other states. Perhaps the lack of women in traditionally high-paying management and high-level government occupations has exacerbated the gender pay gap. While a typical man in Utah earned more than $50,000 last year, most women made 70% — or $35,252 — of that figure, nearly the largest pay discrepancy in the country.

    By Thomas C. Frohlich, Alexander Kent and Alexander E.M. Hess

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

    So. I burned tomorrow’s lunch because I forgot about it while trying to finish work. Dad was right there in the kitchen the whole time… and he did nothing.
    Came over to my room when everything had already gone to hell to tell me I screwed up, not even turning off the knob before.

    It’s my fault, I know, but he was right there the whole time. He could have at least looked at the damned pot. Oh, he forgot. But that I forgot is a crime against humanity, and I’m trying to kill him when I ask him why didn’t he check.

    My responsibility, my responsibilty… so if I’d accidentally put the kitchen on fire he would have just watched because it’s my responsibility?! I don’t understand that.
    I can be an asshole who crows when mum forgets something is on the stove, but that’s after I turn the knob down or move the pot or whatever. And not to this level.

    I could deal with everything, but it escalates immediately , I don’t think there is anything I can say to prevent that … and escalation means accusations that I want to kill him by tormenting him with whatever I said.

    I can’t take that any more. I’m not the nicest person, but he just throws that “you will kill me” at me. I can’t take that. I know he’s ill (heart), but that can’t mean I have to take everything silently so as not to upset him.

    … I was in a hurry cooking and working so that I could go to Joan Baez concert in about an hour and a half, but now I just want to go to bed.
    I don’t have anyone to go with anyway, so no one will miss if I just stay home.

  12. rq says

    *hugs* Beatrice – if it helps to get out of the house, I’d say go to the concert anyway, but considering my crappy attempt at removing myself from stress last night, I doubt I’m the best person to be giving advice on this. :/ *hugs*

  13. opposablethumbs says

    Tony!, this is part of what makes you such an awesome human being. Getting more, rather than less, intellectually active and rigorous with the years (together with the compassion and human decency, obviously) – well I wish I could say as much about myself.

    rq, here’s to getting the hell out from time to time!!!! Sounds like Friend-whose-spouse-is-OH’s-cousin was the right person to talk with, though! :-)

  14. says

    Beatrice, your father is being an asshole, and quite likely sexist into the bargain. I hate that learned helplessness schtick that people pull: oh, I can’t cook, its much too complex, pretends the physicist, or that laundry, everything’s better in hot, right, says the doctor. My kids used to do it too: do such a crap job of the dishes that I’ll just give up and do them myself rather than deal with the pain in the ass of trying to get the kid to do them.

    As to the ‘you’re trying to kill me’ manipulation, see this old clip. Sanford used to use that ALL THE TIME. It’s a comedy routine, not an argument. My sympathies, and thanks for your kind words last night.

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

    CaitiCat, oh no, he knows how to cook and he cooks sometimes.
    He just “doesn’t want to get involved” (other than to lecture us) when mum or I cook, or he honestly didn’t notice it was cooking on too high for too long.
    I don’t know, I can’t even care, I just wish a failure of mine isn’t always a catastrophe that needs to be moaned about until I’m goaded into responding and then getting the “you’re torturing/killing” me treatment.

    Seats are numbered, and I’m at the beginning of a row, so there shouldn’t be any problems if I arrive just before the beginning… .if they even let us in at 8. I’ll go.


  16. rq says

    As of last night Pharyngula-time, I owe several of you various kinds of personalized *hugs*: Dalillama for having a bad time lately, carlie for the stress (though it seems to have ended well for everyone, yay cheese!?), CaitieCat for the painful appointment and in anticipation of the goodish news.
    I did read everything, just forgot to respond immediately, and we all know what happens then. :P (Actually I just blame the brain and the rain and the setting in of dull, grey autumn, as the shiny, golden autumn swings out again until sometime next year.)

    You’re not a bad sort, even in your advanced old age, intellectual non-advancement (says you!) and all. ;) How’s things generally (the tinnitus more specifically)?
    (And you’re right, the Semi-Related-Friend was the right person to talk to – I just didn’t get out of it what I would have liked, but I suppose that will come eventually with a touch more sleep and (thankfully, for once) a touch less work (i.e. late nights) in the next week.)

  17. rq says

    … And, of course, Tony, better late than never with these intellectual things, and from what I’ve been reading from you, you’re catching up at a remarkable pace – and I’m glad I know you, you being the wonderful person you are. Keep up the amazing work you do, both in educating yourself, and in educating those around you (incl. me!!). *hugs*
    (I find it interesting and appropriate that a bartender’s favourite and best course of study was philosophy – perhaps with a side of psychology? ;) )

  18. opposablethumbs says

    I’ll go.

    Yes!!!! And I hope you have a really good time at the concert, in spite of your dad’s frankly mega-arseholeish attempt to put you down.
    Maybe I’m projecting (hell, I probably am projecting like whoa. Please tell me to pipe down if I’m being presumptuous and impertinent from all these miles away, which I very well may be, and I’ll apologise and shut up.) but if you ever do get a reasonable chance to get the hell out of Dodge I hope you grab it and run without looking back. Maybe your mum could visit you from time to time :-)

  19. rq says

    I hope you have an awesome time (jealous, here, too!), in spite of your dad. I hope it’s an awesome concert!!
    And I hope you get a chance to move out on your own soon (financially and geographically, etc.).

  20. says

    Fanatically religious Israeli settlers, and, sometimes, the Israeli military, are killing Palestian children. Daily Kos link.

    Numerous sources in Israel-Palestine are reporting that an Israeli settler ran over two young Palestinian girls with a car, killing 5-year-old Enas Shawkat and injuring the other, in a terrorist attack at a kindergarten in the occupied West Bank today, near Ramallah. […]

    This loss comes only three days after the murder of another Palestinian child. 13-year-old Bahaa Samir Badir was shot three times in the chest, at close range, by Israeli military forces.

    Studies show that, for the past 12 years, a Palestinian child has been killed, on average, every three days. Bahaa was killed on the 16th, Enas on the 19th. Unfortunately, we can expect another murder in just a few days. […]

  21. says

    Fox News (in the form of Republican psychiatrist Keith Ablow) says stupid stuff:

    […] Keith Ablow is the Fox News resident “psychiatrist,” and his long-held schtick is to come on Fox News, usually in the already dismal caverns of Fox & Friends, to explain why the current president of the United States is not a true American in spirit. Period. It is presented as a medical opinion and given the accompanying jargon: The opposition president (opposition to Fox News, that is) has any number of psychological conditions that cause him to hate America, and to want to destroy America, and to be glad when something bad happens to America, and all of this is conducted via “Dr.” Keith Ablow’s patented method of psychological seance. […]

    When asked why Obama wouldn’t impose a travel ban on flights from Africa, Ablow responded that Obama’s “affinities, his affiliations are with them. Not us. That’s what people seem unwilling to accept. He’s their leader … we don’t have a president.” He added: “We don’t have a president who has the American people as his primary interest.” […]

    He continued, speculating that the president believes America shouldn’t be immune to Ebola when “others are suffering, when we are a bad people.” […]

    Daily Kos link.

  22. opposablethumbs says

    Hey, rq! Thank you :-) and, well, hanging in there … it looks like the tinnitus is here to stay (as far as I know there’s no actual cure so I’m trying to avoid freaking out about it – it’s only been a month, I’m still new at this!). if it stays as it is right now I guess I can live with that (not like there’s any other option! Or at least, not one I’m interested in ;-p ), but what sometimes frightens me is the prospect of it getting worse. It’s actually pretty mild at present, but my OH has it badly (and has had for quite some time now) so that fear is hard to avoid thinking about. I’m having a hearing test in a couple of weeks, as I understand that alleviating any actual hearing loss is a good idea (apparently if you are straining to hear, it makes it sound louder). So, yeah, well … I shall just do the Recommended Things (low caffeine, exercise, try – ha! – not to get stressed (yeah, right)).

    And Momentous Things … did I mention that SonSpawn is braving the challenges of living in student halls of residence this year? (I probably did, sorry! I’m still reeling from the shock :-D ).
    An acquaintance of his (a fellow musician about 10 years older) is getting married next month, and SonSpawn is playing in the dance band for the party. I wish I could be there, I bet it will be a lot of fun! Acquaintance can’t afford to pay the band actual money, all the musicians are basically pals, doing it as a sort-of-present, for fun (with all the party food and booze, of course, as a token of appreciation) and it sounds really nice.

    Right, that’s the most consecutive words I’ve written about my household for, um, yonks.

    I shall be rooting for you to get a decent break some time soon! Both on the home (break as in a bit of down time) and work (break as in some good luck) fronts.

  23. says

    Republican Governor of Florida does stupid stuff, then stupidly brags about having done stupid stuff:

    One accomplishment Scott singled out: making it easier than ever to obtain a permit for filling in wetlands, pumping water out of the aquifer or pouring pollutants into the water and air.

    “Recently Florida has successfully reduced its environmental permitting time down to just two days, and that’s great!” Scott said. “We take care of our environment, but when we know we’re going to give a permit, give it to them quickly.”

    [Partial list of stupid stuff Scott did:]
    • Slashed funding for the DEP and the five water districts
    • Laid off veteran DEP and water district employees, including Everglades scientists
    • Put the DEP in the hands of people connected to the industries the agency regulates
    • Emphasized helping industries avoid fines instead of prosecuting polluters

    Under Scott, the driving force in the DEP became “a hatred of regulation in general and in particular environmental regulations,” one laid-off DEP veteran, Mark Bardolph, said. […]

    The Tampa Bay Times has done blockbuster research and reporting on Scott’s decimation of Florida’s environment. Video and additional facts are available at the link.

  24. says

    Mormon retrograde rancher and wildly conservative doofus, Cliven Bundy, is in the news again, sort of. One of the organizers who hung out at Bundy’s ranch during the standoff with the Bureau of Land Management also organized a cowboy-driven traffic jam in Washington D.C. today.

    It was a traffic nightmare for many in Washington, DC this morning as a result of protesters on horses and mule wagons. No really this is NOT The Onion. It really happened without a scintilla of awareness of the irony of it all on the part of the “authentic cowboys” who journeyed from California across the US to DC to bellyache about the Bureau of Land Management having the audacity to limit their subsidized grazing on drought stressed land. […]

    The organizer is Grant Gerber, a Bundy-ite who is also a commissioner in Elko County, Nevada. Daily Kos link.

    In other Cliven Bundy news, the old dude appeared in an ad with black Congressional District 1 candidate, Kamau Bakari. Both wore cowboy hats, and at one point the ad features this dialogue from Bakari: “A brave, white man like you would be just what we need to put an end to this political correctness stuff in America today.”

    You can view the ad on the Daily Beast site. It is a wonder to behold. There is a white horse, Bundy wears assless chaps over his jeans, etc.

    To refresh our memories, this is what Cliven Bundy said when he was in the news several months ago:

    I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro […] In front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids—and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch—they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do. And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do? They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.

  25. Brony says

    In a good bit of news I was at the Austin Celtic Festival, and as an observer the Caber toss looked completely integrated by gender. Every woman that wanted to participate looked like they got to at every level. Sever were pretty good too. The announcer even mentioned for one particular pole (a longer one that was top heavy) if the woman that tried it was successful she would be the first woman in Texas to do it.

    Hugs for Anne, rq, Beatrice, and CaitieCat

    What is the experience of tinnitus like? I get a ringing in my head when I use nicotine. I’ve been wondering about that.

    @ Tony
    I’m a bit of the opposite.

    My whole life I have had an insatiable curiosity and was good with storage, but had an inability to use it the way that I wanted. I absorbed everything I could around me and more than one friend called me something like “a depository of useless information”. I liked school (except for the bullying, my ticcing started in elementary), but until middle school I was terrible at it. I remember nights where my parents would try to help me understand fractions and no matter what they did I just could not understand it. None of us knew it at the time but my brain just had slower development when it came to using abstract symbology. The ultra-religious culture did not help either. There was a big focus on learning and accepting, but not really thinking deeply about it.
    Interestingly I was rather good at geometry.
    In middle school I went from consistent failing to honor roll in two semesters. Nature finally turned something on, and it made up for lost time. Whatever it was that turned on was so loud that I was able to use it in math and other classes finally, but all the social aspects were all but incomprehensible. I had no idea how to make friends and I was lucky to be invited to join the local collection of people that fit in nowhere else. I think that when I was really young I was the sort of kid that my parents really needed to set up social situations for and I never really got that, maybe. Some of the stuff I have been reading about developmental timing makes these features seem a little too convenient in groups.

    Oddly enough the social programming finally became comprehensible later in life. I’m still socially weird in that I can only really handle a smaller number of social connections at once, but I seem extra skilled at the simple stuff (the lower part of Maslow’s hierarchy). It’s the more complex parts where I am rusty and I try to keep challenging myself. The tourettic OCD’s are very interesting in this regard (Obsessions: violence, sex, aggression, and …religion. Compulsions: touching, counting, hoarding, symmetry, checking, ordering). It’s getting kind of creepy the way different people seem to be sorting into ways of being that make sense in different contexts.

  26. rq says

    Sexism in advertising: women, men, and advertising. TW for sexual violence, unTW for the role reversals at the end.
    The only problem I have with these campaigns is that the men they often select to reverse in the roles of women are NOT your typical, magazine, sex-pack-ab men, not sexualized to the same level of all those svelte women. The men used in these ads are usually a more non-typical-for-advertising body type, which seems like a kind of fat-shaming-into-ridiculousness. In other words, to drive the point home even better, they need to use yer typically ‘sexy’, uber-sculpted men to show the ridiculousness. To really make it a one-to-one comparison.
    (Generally, though, I support the use of a variety of body-types – except that this isn’t the case with women in advertising, so to make a point, the creators should stay consistent to this when making the role reversals.)

    Taking his wife’s name: “I feel like a hero, but I don’t really know what I did.” The public reacts.

  27. opposablethumbs says

    Brony, from what I have read it can vary quite a lot from person to person. It’s pretty common to hear sort-of-electronic-sounding tones (often pure tones, or nearly) – anything from fairly quiet to really loud – because it’s to do with a nerve or nerves firing when they didn’t ought to (I think). I haven’t read up much on what the nerves are doing or not doing ’cause I’m kind of sort of trying to ignore it mostly. For me it sounds (and actually feels, too) a bit like the water-in-the-ears thing you get when you’ve been swimming under water and you’ve just come up – only more so. Not utterly horrible per se – the frightening thing to me is that it’s constant, it’s particularly noticeable when everything’s quiet (such as sitting at my desk, like now, or when trying to get to sleep) and I may have no respite ever ever ever until I die; the really frightening thing is that I know it can get way, way worse – at any time – and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. Soooo … I think Imma probly go back to ignoring it after this evening :-)

    Though if anyone has actual medical/technical expertise in the form of “sometimes it goes away spontaneously” or “this white noise generator/medication/self-hypnosis technique/whatever may help slightly in about 35% of cases” I’d be happy to read it ;-)

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

    Thank you for your support, everyone. It means a lot to me.

    The concert was beautiful, sadly I couldn’t fully concentrate and kept getting distracted by my thoughts.

  29. says


    My whole life I have had an insatiable curiosity and was good with storage, but had an inability to use it the way that I wanted. I absorbed everything I could around me and more than one friend called me something like “a depository of useless information”.

    I hear this.
    Continuing to whine: The weather has started to change to something like fall (finally), and then back again in a quite disconcerting fashion. I suspect that the accompanying pressure changes may be related to why my knees are both massively flared up, to the point I’ve basically not been able to ride my bike for about a week now, because after a few blocks I start feeling like there’s heated tenpenny nails being driven through my kneecaps. If I persist, my hamstrings get in on the action. Sometimes walking and standing are doing the same. This has made my job (which involves moving around the kitchen a lot and some days also hauling the food up a narrow staircase to the waitstaff) exceedingly unpleasant, not to mention difficult, at times.

  30. opposablethumbs says

    Beatrice, I’m really glad you went to the concert – and that it was good. Sorry the family crap got in the way of being able to concentrate on it properly, but I hope you were able to get at least some of the enjoyment {{hugs you}}

    Dalillama I wish I had a set of replacement knees for you :-( All I got are these transatlantic hugs, but at least they don’t weigh much. Hope the pressure stabilises and your knees feel happier soon.

  31. rq says

    Pictures from Post Internazionale. Click through (should be okay without signing in), with the added bonus of my hotmail email address. :)

    *hugs* for Dalillama

    Beatrice – I’m glad you went and that it was a good concert, and I totally get the distracting thoughts bit. Hopefully you got at least some enjoyment out of going!!

  32. rq says

    Thanks for the update on You. That’s so exciting for SonSpawn – both the residential living, and playing at a friend’s wedding. Exciting for you, too. It sounds like you’ve done a fine job with him! How’s DaughterSpawn?
    And I, in turn, will hold a slew of thumbs with the hope that one of them, when squeezed just the right way (and I do that to all of them, of course) will end your tinnitus and return all your proper hearing in good order. *hugs*

    PS I’m consistently looking into possibilities of making another visit to my brother in Ye Olde Londonne, so when I come upon a good deal and/or opportune weekend, I shall give you a raised head!

  33. carlie says

    Beatrice – I’m so glad you went. I’m sorry your dad is acting like such a jerk. :(

    opposeablethumbs – so sorry about the ears. :(
    Hooray for SonSpawn, though!!! How exciting. :)

    Dalillama – sorry about the knees. :(

    I wish we could all have a nice, glorious week of simply nothing going wrong. Wouldn’t that be fantastic?

  34. rq says

    That would be the definition of glorious, especially if the rest of the world co-operated.
    There’d probably be an extra terrible week to follow to make up for it, though. :(

  35. says

    Brony, thank you!

    Beatrice, I’m so glad you went to the concert, even if you couldn’t give it all your attention.

    opposablethumbs, huzzah for SonSpawn, that is very cool indeed!

    carlie, I’d love a whole week where nothing went wrong. I’d probably just spend it waiting for the next shoe to fall, though.

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

    .. maybe we’ll all start that trouble-free week tomorrow.

  37. opposablethumbs says

    Thank you, rq and carlie! (the slew of thumbs really made me smile!)
    If you do find yourself in the Smoke to visit Brother, on the wings of a deal, I shall jump at the chance of meeting you for a coffee or something, that would be really nice :-)

    ProudParent-likeStuff: SonSpawn is finding it a pretty hard struggle (not the classes themselves, but the social side of coping with other students, and having to mentally process complicated paperwork and suchlike) but he’s being really brave and pretty sensible and coming to us for help and I have to admit I’m kind of hugely proud of him and hugely worried for him at the same time. Eh! ::makes faces and gestures of feeling Conflicted and Confused::
    And hugely proud of DaughterSpawn also, handling the not inconsiderably scary times of Final Year and EXAMS and What Can I Do After I Graduate Next Summer. She really wants to do a one-year Masters if her degree is good enough, but how to pay for it is the problem – there’s no student loan for a Masters. She’s hoping she might be able to find work for some time to try and save up for it (oy, money :-\), so she’s juuust starting to send out a few speculative letters-with-CV to companies in the right sort of field in the hope of a chance to work after she graduates. There’s a city she really wants to move to, as she has a network of friends there and it’s where the Masters is. So, she knows what she’d like to do – but there’s no knowing if she can do it (if her degree will be good enough, or whether she’ll find work … )

  38. opposablethumbs says

    Hey Anne, thank you! It was kind of an extra big deal for him because of the non-neurotypical-ness making some activities just that much more challenging for him, so I get a bit OTT about it sometimes, eh. One day eventually they will both be All Grown Up … won’t they? (your daughters are young adults, I think?)

  39. says

    opposablethumbs, yes, chronologically my daughters are both young adults. Emotionally, though, sometimes I’m not so sure.

    I do wonder if we’ve held them back, especially the Elder, by letting them live at home. On the other hand, there’s no way we could have managed grad school for the Elder’s MA otherwise. Even with the money their grandparents gave us for college funds, even with both of them starting out at community college and Elder going to the local state college, education is bloody expensive. Which is a pretty sad commentary on the general attitude towards education in my state. But that’s another rant for another time…

  40. carlie says

    Seriously lighting the Squid Signal here – I have a friend who’s meeting with a community org. this week and needs some references on why adding diversity to their lists of speakers doesn’t mean lowering standards. I know a lot has been written on FTB, and am going looking for them now, but anybody have any particular favorites?

  41. cicely says



    For Giliell, full array of crossed appendages, with extra *hugs*, and *boozes* added to taste.

    *hugs* for Tony!.
    This Raimondo guy sounds like a real pip.
    By which I mean, assclam.

    I’m glad that Terrible Things did not happen.
    Gas leaks are just one of the many things that I freak out over—and at this time of the year, it always gets me. Somewhere around here, somebody’s burning some kind of wood or other fuel in their fireplace that my nose immediately misidentifies as gas. It’s woken me from a dead sleep many times.

    *hugs* for Dalillama.
    Hopefully tomorrow will be better.
    Sorry to hear about your elbow. Ice it?

    And I’ll catch the rest of the way up tomorrow.
    ‘Night, all.
    ‘Ware the bedbugs.

  42. Brony says

    @ Dalillama
    Hugs for Dalillama too.

    I hear this.

    The other day in a post,
    Me: *vomits stream-of-consciousness on the screen*
    Other poster: “What are you talking about?”
    Me: *facepalm. Types two carefully thought out posts.*
    I wish I knew how to pull my brain together first.

    @ opposablethumbs
    Thanks. I get the impression that tinnitus might be different. I actually always have a ringing in my head. It just gets louder with the nicotine and I normally only hear it when it’s really quiet. Until lately. Or maybe I’m just used to it?

    I hope yours gets better.

  43. says

    Well, a perfectly good comment in the feminazi thread…one of those I spent some time actually crafting and giving thought to…gone. Lost in the wilds of the internet. Not a word in there that should have tripped the filter. I guess the FtB curse is returning to this Queer Shoop.

  44. says

    ::waves at rq::
    Sends E-hugs to beatrice.
    I’m sorry your dad is such an asshole to you.
    Sends E-hugs to dalillama.

    I’ll catch up with the Lounge in a bit.

    I just realized why my comment in the feminazi thread got eated (I quoted from the OP which contained slurs). Konks self on head.

  45. rq says

    Oops, sorry Tony, I ran off to take Eldest to school. I do have this dusty Scrabble board sitting here, though…


    In totally unrelated news, strangely enough, I realized last night that the thing that actually made me feel better about everything… was the fact that Husband bought purple toilet paper. I have no idea how my brain works.

  46. birgerjohansson says

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


    Little things… like purple toilet paper or strangers being nice for no reason

    This morning a young woman gave me throat pastiles when I started coughing in the tram.

  48. says

    I only got 12%. Quite a few of those countries I’d never heard of, and the only ones I knew for sure were South Africa and Madagascar.

  49. Nick Gotts says

    85% – but I’m a long-time political geography nerd. All those I got wrong were on the coast of west Africa, oddly enough, which is currently the part in the news.

  50. Nick Gotts says

    Oh, and what about Comoros and Cape Verde? If Madagascar is included, why weren’t they?

  51. says

    Good morning
    I’m still in teh grip of a nasty cold. Also, the weather forecast prophecies that I’ll have to deal with half a dozen kids bent on destroying my flat come Wednesday. Yes, my little one turns 5, would you believe it?

    22%, but honestly, I don’t think that this tells you much about what you know about Africa. I probably would only get 60% or so in such an exercise with Europe where half of the countries are in quite unmistakable locations, like Italy and Spain and so on.

    Is there an option of sharing a flat with another adult? Gets more popular here all the time with flats being expensive…

    Oh, I’ve finally made it to Ancillary Justice by Anne Leckie
    She truely manages to challenge the naturalized category of sex. Within the Imperium everybody is “she”. Of course, they know that bodies come with variations, but yeah. So people go on and have sex and be friends and be lovers and simply be without anybody even wondering what the variation beneath the clothes might be.
    Now the protagonist is outside of the Imperium, dealing with people who have sex and gender and gets permanently confused and goes about her day misgendering people or paying really close attention to what pronouns and grammatical constructions others use as to infere the category of gender from that because she really can’t tell cause she can’t see what body variation people have beneath their clothes and even then that doesn’t always match.
    Love it.

  52. birgerjohansson says

    Another interesting SF novel: “lexicon”
    Neurolinguistics and mind control. Hack the brain’s machine language.

    — — — — — —
    Scientists discover new molecule from local herb with potential for drug development
    “Clitoria ternatea”?

    — — — — — —
    Rapid agent restores pleasure-seeking ahead of other antidepressant action http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-10-rapid-agent-pleasure-seeking-antidepressant-action.html
    Great. If I had known this back in the nineties, my last twenty years would have been very different.

    — — — — — —
    Cats Giving Dogs Massages Is An Odd, Beautiful Thing http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/17/cats-give-dogs-massages_n_6002708.html

  53. Pteryxx says

    via NPR’s Code Switch, a study that compared an Anglo vs a Latino name on identical letters sent to state legislators.

    There was a difference, and the difference had a partisan tinge to it. Democrats responded about the same to both names, but Republicans were more likely to respond to the man with Anglo name rather than the Latino name. …

    Grose told me that he and Mendez decided to look a little bit deeper at the data and they found something very interesting. In many ways, the difference was less between Republicans and Democrats and more between some Republicans and other Republicans.


    “Republicans who support voter identification are different than those Republicans who did not support voter identification,” Grose says. “Among those Republicans who did support voter ID laws, the Latino constituent was very unlikely to receive a response from their elected official. The difference was almost 40 percentage points, which is just one of the largest gaps I have ever seen.”

  54. Pteryxx says

    (warning for domestic abuse, descriptions at the links)

    In pretrial hearings for Marissa Alexander’s new trial, where she’s facing 60 years of prison for firing a warning shot towards her abusive husband, five more women have come forward to testify that he’s been violent towards them as well. Much more info and background at Daily Kos. Source article at First Coast News:

    Whether the women’s testimony is heard at trial depends on whether Circuit Judge James Daniels agrees that his prior behavior is relevant to the present case. Gray is expected to testify at a hearing late next week.

  55. says

    Ogvorbis is the man when it comes to knowing Africa. I’m impressed.

    In other news, some addlepated, clueless, rude Christians have been interrupting gay weddings. How far off the rails are these people to be that much of a wreck? It’s like they’ve thrown their humanity away.

    With gay marriage now legal in North Carolina, it was only a matter of time before Flip Benham of Operation Save America started crashing wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples.

    The North Carolina-based pastor […] reportedly disrupted several weddings at the Mecklenburg County and Courts Office in Charlotte last week.

    Benham’s group, which in July disrupted a memorial service at a Unitarian Universalist congregation in New Orleans, “interrupted several couples’ weddings as supporters held up a large rainbow flag to block his view,” […]. “Another protester waved a bible in the air as he screamed several profanities and vulgarities.”

    Right Wing Watch link.

  56. says

    Here’s a new adjective being used by right-wingers to demean gays, “Gremlins.”

    The Republican challenger to Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) described same-sex couples as “gremlins” in a Facebook post dated Oct. 14.

    Anthony Culler urged voters to oppose gay marriage during the midterm elections by voting for him over his opponent “who OPENLY supports same-sex ‘marriage,'” and who seeks “to destroy the traditional family and the values we cherish.”

    Culler said “same-sex ‘marriage’ is a pestilence that has descended on our society, against our will, by those in the courts and government that do not value the traditional family.”

    “Same-sex couples that seek to destroy our way of life and the institution of marriage are NOT cute and cuddly but rather (for those of you that are old enough to remember the movie), Gremlins that will only destroy our way of life,” Culler said. “These people are bullies and now that they are winning their true and hateful nature is much easier to see and hear. […]”

    […] Look away from this scourge on society and condemn it.”

    We can’t really expect that this will happen, but I really wish that all this anti-gay palaver would bite Republican candidates in the butt at the ballot box.


  57. says

    How the fuck is that legal?

    Beats me, Giliell. Seems like they ought to be arrested, but apparently the rude, self-righteous christians are getting away with it. Hopefully, news coverage and public opinion will shut them down.

  58. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    In other news, some addlepated, clueless, rude Christians have been interrupting gay weddings.

    How the fuck is that legal?

    Freeze peach, I assume.

  59. rq says

    I declare today to be cream with everything day

    And to think I passed up a beautiful opportunity to buy cream today. *sigh*

  60. cicely says

    Some are born cheesy.
    Others have cheese thrust upon them.

    *hugs* for Beatrice.
    Your dad’s attitude and behavior are uncalled for. There are people who one cannot make happy, no matter how hard you try; sounds like he’s one of ’em.
    *moar hugs*
    Here’s to a viable escape route for you, and soon.

    ““A brave, white man like you would be just what we need to put an end to this political correctness stuff in America today.””

    I just sprained my eyebrow, I raised it so hard.

    opposablethumbs: Good for SonSpawn! And best of luck to DaughterSpawn!

    rq…you…you have purple toilet paper?!?
    *ded from WANT*
    I remember, back in the misty days of my mis-spent youth, that there existed colored toilet paper—a veritable rainbow of colored toilet paper—so useful for Creative Purposes!
    Now, alas, the toilet paper is all white, and all the joy has gone out of papering…um…never mind….

    Hi, Ogvorbis!

  61. Ogvorbis says


    Ogvorbis is the man when it comes to knowing Africa. I’m impressed.

    Which comes from studying colonial African history (Packenham’s book on the slicing and dicing of Africa is a good read) and modern military history.

    And a few lucky guesses.


    In other news, some addlepated, clueless, rude Christians have been interrupting gay weddings.

    How the fuck is that legal?

    I’m guessing he’s white, cis-gendered, Christian, male, and therefore, er, something.

    Also, I declare today to be cream with everything day

    So I should post my peas in cream sauce over pasta recipe?


    Waves back to cicely in a slightly drug-altered manner.

  62. A. Noyd says

    Totally ‘rupt, but I wanted to share how I saw a poster on a utility pole today that equated gun control advocacy with homophobia. Made me so damn mad.

  63. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Yeah, but it’s a kind of private ceremony AND and an official business.

    Here it depends on where the ceremony is held. In the JP’s office or license bureau, it’s a public area, and you can’t keep them out. I’m sure most of the people would probably try to protect those getting married though, as they are there for a similar function. A church is sometimes considered a semi-public area, so I don’t know. Any private business or homes, they can be booted out and/or arrested for trespassing.

  64. says

    Thanks for that book recommendation, Ogvorbis. Looks like a good read.

    In other news related to Africa:

    Conservative sources are playing down the fact that about three dozen people who were being monitored for possible contact with Ebola have been cleared to return to work, school etc.

    “In Hazelhurst, Mississippi, a crowd of parents pulled their middle school students from class Friday after learning that the school’s principal recently had traveled to attend a family funeral in Zambia, which is in southern Africa and about 3,000 miles from the outbreak in West Africa.”

    “The World Health Organization declared Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, officially free of Ebola infections on Monday, calling the outcome the triumphal result of ‘world class epidemiological detective work.'”

  65. says

    Republicans continue to say stupid stuff. Here’s some more:

    Milwaukee County’s Republican Elections Commissioner Rick Baas warned a crowd of volunteers and supporters Friday night to be “concerned about voter fraud,” and urged the hundreds of attendees to take an “extra step of vigilance. […] You as a Wisconsin resident can challenge people who are not supposed to be voting,” he said at the Milwaukee County Republicans event. “You’ve got to do that.” […]

    Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) signed a law earlier this year allowing poll observers to be as close as three feet to a voter. […].

    Yeah, that’s just what Wisconsin voters need, a bunch of self-appointed vigilante right-wingers harassing voters.
    Think Progress link.

  66. says

    The sneaky, dishonest dunderhead James O’Keefe is at again:

    […] Last Tuesday, a man who appeared to be in his 20s showed up at a Democratic field office in Boulder wanting to volunteer to help elect Udall and Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) […]. The man introduced himself as “Nick Davis,” and he said he was a University of Colorado-Boulder student […], and he asked the staffer if he should fill out and mail in ballots for other college students who had moved away but still received mail on campus. The Democratic staffer says he told Davis that doing this would be voter fraud and that he should not do it.

    On Friday, Udall campaigned with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on the University of Colorado-Boulder campus. After the event, a woman calling herself “Bonnie” approached a different staffer and, according to this staffer’s boss, asked whether she could fill out and submit blank ballots found in a garbage can. The staffer, according to her boss, said that she told her no.

    That same day, the guy identifying himself as “Nick Davis” returned to the Democratic office in Boulder. He was accompanied by a man wearing heavy makeup and a mustache, according to the Democratic staffer who had met Davis three days earlier. Davis introduced his friend as a “civics professor” at the University of Colorado-Boulder and the faculty adviser to Rocky Mountain Vote Pride. Davis and the professor, who said his name was “John Miller,” picked up Udall campaign literature and canvassing information.

    On Monday, O’Keefe tweeted a photo of himself with a mustache and said he’d recently posed as a “45yo” for one of his “election investigations.” […]

    He seriously wants to prove that voter fraud is big issue, and that Democrats perpetrate voter fraud. Delusional.

    I guess we can expect some deceptively edited videos to emerge from all of this amateur undercover work by O’Keefe and his cohorts: “We’re not making any comment on potential operations in Colorado at this moment. But watch for our upcoming videos.”


  67. says


    In a rapid program of reform it called “the program”, the Whitlam government created Australia’s national health insurance scheme, Medibank; abolished university fees; introduced state aid to independent schools and needs-based school funding; returned traditional lands in the Northern Territory to the Gurindji people; drafted (although did not enact) the first commonwealth lands right act; established diplomatic relations with China, withdrew the remaining Australian troops from Vietnam; introduced no-fault divorce laws; passed the Racial Discrimination Act; blocked moves to allow oil drilling on the Great Barrier Reef; introduced environmental protection legislation; and removed God Save the Queen as the national anthem.

    I can’t bring myself to comment on this, as I’m likely to tear up. I’ll just spend the day being grateful for my university education and affordable healthcare, and that my father didn’t have to fight in Vietnam (by the skin of his teeth).

  68. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Possibly a first? All-blind darts team in Cornwall.

    You mean, to start with?

    (…sorry. x.x)

  69. GaiusIuliusTabernarius says

    from what I can tell the intro posts were discontinued 2 years ago so I figured this would be the sensible place to post this.

    Hi, I’m me, Gaius Iulius Tabernarius, Giuliano Taverna, Caesar, roman guy, this, that, and several other things. I’m a biotech major/history geek and a huge fan of your work, and from what I’ve skimmed also your blog. I’ve also spent the past few weeks listening to the various video’s of you on youtube and trolling the horrible people who post comments on them.

    I found out about you by following Rebecca Watson, who I found out about through Richard Dawkins believe it or not… A lovely man but he occasionally says things that make me cringe, more frequently of late than prior. I found out about the whole series of controversies that had occurred over the past few years, and basically came to the conclusion that you guys are awesome, I hate and am disgusted by your critics, and would probably do better to waste my time here than to continue arguing with them on youtube. Though I am in the beginning stage of producing my own subversive content there. I figure I could at least do better than some of the trolls I’ve seen do it. I included a link to my google+ account on my profile here which is connected to my profile there, on the off chance anyone is interested in my self conscious mediocrity.

    That’s more or less it. I’ll come up with ideas for my own blog when I’m not consciously aware of the fact that I’m procrastinating and have a lot of actual work that I have to do. Foremost at present trying to sleep.

  70. says

    I do’t know if anyone’s followed UC Boulder’s little problem. Being investigated for a Title iX charge they commissioned an outside assessment of their philosophy department with devastating results.
    Their’s an article now on people complaining about the fact that their behaviour has consequences (suspensions, firings, some new rules). saying it could have “chilling effect”. Yup, that’s the expression.
    Elsewhere (sorry, can’t find the link) there were complaints that students are worried about their letters of recommendation, when they “don’t know who the harasses are”. Right, because there’s no evidence, is there. You can’t actually listen / watch how someone treats women and minority students. Or see whom these students are happy to interact with an whom they avoid. Basically, the white male students are defending their right not to have to pay attention to how other people are treated.
    Oh yes, and CUB now thinks it was a mistake to publish the findings. There were other inspections that didn’t have all this “fallout”…
    This is just so depressing.

  71. says

    Good morning
    I had the weirdest dream this morning
    First thing that was weird was that I was very definitely not me, and I was aware that this person who is experiencing these things is not really me (I’m pretty sure I’d have noticed if I was a 50something woman who is president of the local photography club and an ambitious amateur detective. I probably shouldn’t watch Barnaby before going to bed), but I still experienced them first hand.
    Second was the intense reality of the dream. I discovered that somebody high up in the police had actually committed murder, but since that person couldn’t kill me, too, without making herself look suspicious she decided to brainwash me. Yes, the content of the dream is weird, too, but that’s an aside. So the murderer drugs me to feed my brain new, false information. What really struck me was how clear and intense the sensations were. The back of my nose, close to the top itched, and I tried to scratch it repeatedly, but it was a side effect of the drugs, and I felt my limbs getting heavy, and then my alarm clock rang and for a few moments it was as if I had to shake off the aftereffects of the drugs, which was probably just my body coming out of this particular sleep phase. Usually the memories of my dreams fade within a few minutes of waking up, but this one stuck.

  72. birgerjohansson says

    Barnaby is cool, but my nightmares are dominated by SF and horror. Xenomorphs still haunt me, 35 years after that film.
    — — — — — — — — —
    Hong Kong leader complains: Allowing democracy would let poor people dominate elections http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/10/hong-kong-leader-complains-allowing-democracy-would-let-poor-people-dominate-elections/
    Isn’t it sweet that members of the rich oligarchy and the Chinese communist party are on the same page? Also, the shared values explains why there are so many super-rich in today’s China, but so few non-imprisoned worker’s safety advocates.

  73. birgerjohansson says

    rq @ 107,
    You are saying the Jewish-polish immigrant was (gasp) innocent????!
    That cannot be right.

  74. birgerjohansson says

    Lynna, about liars: If you see my post @ 111, you will find that China (or at least Hong Kong) is run by Republicans. Imagine millions of them…

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

    Heh, I thought I wasthe only Barnaby lover here.
    Giliell, your dream sounds cool

  76. says

    Barnaby is cool, but my nightmares are dominated by SF and horror. Xenomorphs still haunt me, 35 years after that film.

    Well, I guess the drug and brainwashing part of the dream originated in reading Ancillary Justice before actually closing my eyes. But the 50+ photographer was definitely a Barnaby stock character. Maybe with a hint of Margret Rutherford Miss Marple…

    Hey, I’m almost done with that fucking report.
    By now I hate writing in German because it takes me two days to get back into proper written grammar…

  77. katybe says

    With the thing about it being legal to interrupt weddings, over here (UK) my impression was that a wedding had to be open to members of the public who wanted to show up – that whole Jane Eyre thing of giving people chance to interrupt with any legal impediments.
    And by the way – I’m currently loving the new Brian Cox BBC show, Human Universe – episode 3 is tonight – and it occurred to me that it would probably not have yet crossed the radars of the non UK horde, but that you might enjoy the opportunity to try and jump through whatever hoops you need to to see it online. Episodes 1 and 2 were both still on iPlayer as of 15 hours ago.

  78. opposablethumbs says

    I got lucky – dreamt I met Tim Minchin :-)))))) and woke up smiling :-)

    Unfortunately the day so far has not lived up to its auspicious beginning ::growls::

  79. rq says

    It would seem investigators might have erred, but you know, as Russell Edwards “definitely, categorically and absolutely” said, “I’ve got the only piece of forensic evidence in the whole history of the case. I’ve spent 14 years working, and we have finally solved the mystery of who Jack the Ripper was. Only non-believers that want to perpetuate the myth will doubt. This is it now – we have unmasked him”. You decide! :D


    AFAIK in Canada, the ceremony is public and anyone can go, but the reception is most definitely a private affair.

  80. opposablethumbs says

    Also enjoying the new Brian Cox series, though (so far) not as much as previous ones (I like more specific scientific info and less, um, sweeping leaps????). Also a bit pissed off at the marked preponderance (again, so far) of images of men and boys standing for “people”, with actually rather remarkably few women and girls on screen while the script refers to wot the human race has done/does/is doing.

    Will definitely continue to watch, though. Even as is, it’s pretty good and also I remember thinking several times that previous series got better as they went.

  81. Ogvorbis says

    birgerjohansson @111:

    Hong Kong leader complains: Allowing democracy would let poor people dominate elections

    Well, that’s the way it has worked over here. Just look at the poor, and middle class, voter’s issues dominating the political discourse and voting — tax cuts for the rich, tax cuts for big business, energy and agriculture, benefit cuts for the poor, slashing funding for primary and secondary education — all near and dear to the hearts of the poor and middle class.


    Lately, my dreams have been narcotic induced weirdness — producing Hamlet with a new Serbian script but set in 12th century Anasazi Frijoles Canyon; building a 12 to 1 scale model of a large steam locomotive (rather than 132 feet long, it was now 1584 feet long and weight had gone from 600 tons to 360,000 tons (and yes, I did that in my dream)); feeling very embarassed because I showed up in my junior high school fully clothed on nude day; weird shit like this.

  82. A. Noyd says

    @Giliell (#108) [#608]
    That’s sort of close to a dream I had once where government agents were trying to extrajudicially execute me with poison in the gift shop of a hotel after hours. (Well, not me me, but not a particular character either.) And waking up in reality meant succumbing to death in the dream.


    Ogvorbis (#121) [#621]

    feeling very embarassed because I showed up in my junior high school fully clothed on nude day

    That’s kind of hilarious, though.

  83. birgerjohansson says

    “Panetta: Obama Furious Over Senate Torture Investigation” http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2014/10/21/panetta-obama-furious-over-senate-torture-investigation/#more-31006
    Seriously, fuck Obama and his cronies.
    Yes, I know Obama and the Democrats are currently the only alternative to the batshit-crazy thugs but that does not mean they deserve praise.
    My recommendation is; -go on voting for the lying hypocrite party to stop the medieval/crazy/serial-killer party, but do not donate anything but spit.

  84. rq says

    I cannot express the extent of my passionate hatred for traditional family values.
    There’s a group holding a sort of march on Saturday. They’re going to thank the president for holding out against EU recommendations about sex.ed. for kids, for being ready to uphold traditional family values, for being an awesome representative for the non-corruption of children via sexualized education (yes, they say ‘sexualized education’), for not supporting such things like non-traditional family models (incl. same-sex). They even have some weird petition going, and I have no idea why this has suddenly become a thing. I guess they’re just coming out for one last exercise before hibernating for winter, but I’m a bit worried that this is going to become something more and more prominent in this country.
    I don’t understand what they’re afraid of. Most of them don’t even argue religion, but nature.
    I should put on all my rainbow clothing and go stroll around nearby. :P Too bad I’ll have to be at work, most likely.

  85. birgerjohansson says

    A couple of more uplifting posts:
    The Daily Mash: Reasons why people get depressed in winter fairly obvious http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/science-technology/reasons-why-people-get-depressed-in-winter-blindingly-obvious-2014102191933 “RESEARCHERS into seasonal affective disorder believe it may be caused by everything being dark, cold and awful for months on end.”
    — — — —
    “Bright poor kids work out they’re probably f*cked” http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/society/bright-poor-kids-work-out-theyre-probably-fcked-2013101780447

  86. birgerjohansson says

    “I guess they’re just coming out for one last exercise before hibernating for winter, but I’m a bit worried that this is going to become something more and more prominent in this country.”
    I will regard them as volunteers for my cryosuspention experiments.
    — — — — — —
    “Kernel” lexicon of languages remains stable in the long run http://phys.org/news/2014-10-kernel-lexicon-languages-stable.html
    -This bodes well…for the villains in “Lexicon”* using neurolinguistics to rule the world.
    *much recommended thriller/SF

  87. birgerjohansson says

    WATCH: St. Louis cops arrest protesters for smashing ‘police brutality’ pumpkins http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/10/watch-st-louis-cops-arrest-protesters-for-smashing-police-brutality-pumpkins/
    Police officers in Clayton, Missouri told reporters that they had to use force to arrest a woman holding a pumpkin with the word “racism” written on it because they “sensed” that she might smash it outside the St. Louis County Justice Center.
    — — — —
    An All-Female Mission to Mars http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/space_20/2014/10/manned_mission_to_mars_female_astronauts_are_cheaper_to_launch_into_outer.html

  88. says

    I’m with you. I’m also sick to death and fucking angry about the fact that they’re acting as if they’re supporting me and my family. That we’re a “traditional family” of a heterosexual couple with their children has nothing to do with them. I did not marry a man because I hate gay people. Also, who says what sexual orientation my children have? Do we stop being a family if one of them is gay? And what about my gay family members? Are they not family.
    The fact that we resemble the only kind of family they recognise as the only one existing is no support for their hatred

  89. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Hi Lounge.

    I hab a code.
    Oh well.

    I voted early today, got to vote for my mentor. Gave me warm fuzzy feelings.

    Then I went and got a book on the 1921 burning of Tulsa’s “Black Wall Street” because I’ve been wanting to learn more about things I should have learned in school. The downtown library has self check out! My mind is blown.

    On Saturday night, several friends went out for further celebration after another friend’s wedding. S and I walked down the street by ourselves at about 1am, and I noticed a young woman sitting back from the street by herself, next to an old brick church. She slumped over a little, so I went over to check it out. She asked me a few times to help her get to her apartment on the sixth floor…then she threw up all over the church while I was calling 911.
    I know it’s not very nice of me to giggle that she threw up all over the church, but here we are.
    (An officer and then two medics showed up in quick succession, so I’m pretty sure she’ll be just fine).

    My friends put my name in their program as a thank you because I did some signs for the reception. Made me all warm and fuzzy – I’ve never been called a Calligrapher before. :D

    So I’m apparently in a good mood – I’ve got a lot of hugs to spread around.

    Peeeeeeeeeople – why are they so ridiculously obtuse and ignorant and and and. I can’t get it, and it drives me up a wall even when they’re not so close. *hugs* Sorry they’re so obnoxious.

  90. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    *For clarification, what makes me giggle is the symbolism of vomiting all over a church, not that the poor thing was so miserable. And abandoned. I’m mad at whoever was with her and left her sitting there. It wouldn’t have gotten below freezing that night, but fsm knows what could have happened to her. Sheesh.

  91. rq says

    As long as the geese aren’t crowing, we’re all good. I say again, no geese are crowing.

  92. says

    Portia, tea? Chicken soup? Kleenex?

    Giliell, rq, hugs just because.

    Today is cats teeth-cleaning day. Because the two of them set each other off so they can’t be in the same exam room, and because sitting in the waiting room at the vets’ stresses them out, I get to sit in my car and talk soothingly to two sadly singing cat carriers until the techs come out and get each of them in her turn. And that’s after chasing each of them around and around trying to get them into the carriers in the first place. The older they get, the harder it is. Wish me luck?

  93. rq says

    re: family
    Exactly. I may have a ‘traditional’ family, but they sure as hell don’t represent me. And I don’t support them.
    My cousin just came out as gay a couple of weeks ago – granted she’s in Oz and we communicate via FB, but seriously, is she not part of the family anymore? Or is the entire family discredited? Also, she has three kids from two previous hetero relationships. How would she be classified?

    Thanks Portia. :) People are stupid sometimes, but you’re pretty much all-round awesome.

  94. Ogvorbis says

    Long distance support going out to rq.


    If feel the same way. Because I have a 1950s-middle-class typical family — both on first marriage, kids born more than 9 months after the wedding, older boy, younger girl, large American sedan, etc — many people who know me peripherally are phenomenally surprised that I am not a right-wing tea party anti-human rights GOP hardliner. And when gay marriage comes up, I always ask the same question — how would it change my marriage? How would it change yours? Just because my marriage is what they hold up as the One Right Way doesn’t mean I am against marriage equality!

    And that is way too long to put on a t-shirt.

  95. rq says

    Just because my marriage is what they hold up as the One Right Way doesn’t mean I am against marriage equality!

    Well, in very fine print, it could work…
    (And thanks, Ogvorbis.)

  96. says


    Lynna, about liars: If you see my post @ 111, you will find that China (or at least Hong Kong) is run by Republicans. Imagine millions of them…

    Pretty depressing, that is. And notice the result, Hong Kong has one of the widest income gaps in the world. The rich are richer and the poor are poorer.

  97. says

    rq, Shadow is quite the singer. She is A Cat of Constant Sorrow, all the way there, all the time she’s there – last time, the tech said she was “very vocal” – and all the way home. As long as all she does is talk, she can talk all she wants. Patches is quieter. They’re sisters from the same litter, but their personalities are completely different.

    Also before I forget again, what you and Giliell have been saying about sex education and gay marriage and all those human rights issues that ought to be obvious – yeah, that goes for me too.

  98. cicely says

    Fall TV Flops
    Conspiracy Theorist Nursery Rhymes

    A. Noyd:

    Totally ‘rupt, but I wanted to share how I saw a poster on a utility pole today that equated gun control advocacy with homophobia.

    That’s ’cause Real Men™ loooooove their guns.
    In a totally non-ammosexual way.

    Hi, GaiusIuliusTabernarius; Welcome In.

    Giliell, I’ve had that kind of not-me/watching-not-me dreams, too.
    Unsurprisingly to anyone who knows me, they are frequently tabletop RPG-esque; though I also dream a mean Lovecraftian/Strossian horror-flick.

    On the (passing) mention of Stross:
    The Curse of Laundry


    Words aren’t enough – a look at dysprosody. I had no idea it was a thing.

    I didn’t either.
    “Dysprosody—for when the inability to convey nuance in text-form just isn’t enough….

    Hi, Portia!
    Yeah, Tulsa has a ripe—but covert—history, where racial relations is concerned.
    None of which was touched on in Oklahoma History classes in [redacted], a mere 20 miles from Tulsa.

    …then she threw up all over the church while I was calling 911.

    (My emphasis, natch!)
    That’s…a lot of barf….
    I cannot do calligraphy.
    Illuminate, yes. Calligraph, no.
    It is a grief to me.

    Anne, good luck with teh kittehs.
    Also, this thing:

    Also before I forget again, what you and Giliell have been saying about sex education and gay marriage and all those human rights issues that ought to be obvious – yeah, that goes for me too.

    what you said.

  99. GaiusIuliusTabernarius says

    Thanks chigau and cicely, I enjoy welcoms and cookies. Speaking of things new people get on forums, blogs, and websites, does anyone know how to change my profile icon to something other than the default? If that’s possible, I assume it is given the other pictures most of you have in place of that green box thing.

  100. says

    My sympathies. I lost my bookmarks when my computer decided to eat my user profile.

    You need a gravatar account.

    Things done today:
    -not killed elder daughter
    -written a report
    -helped out friend
    -started the kinky brownie cake experiment
    -baked cupcakes
    -made dinner

    Still to do:
    -clean up kitchen
    -wrap gifts

  101. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    that made me laugh. But it was a lot of puke. I definitely got hit with some splash damage.

    Illuminate vs. calligraph? Illuminate me pls.

    Nice job – very productive of you :)

    I just got back from a Continuing Legal Education program put on by the local domestic violence advocacy organization. It was absolutely wonderful. Their pamphlet promised a “feminist, non-oppressive” approach, and I couldn’t find one thing I didn’t like. (Of course, it was all white people in attendance, and white people putting the thing on, so I’m sure I missed something from a perspective not my own…) There were male attorneys in the audience who asked some odious questions



    “What about these immigrant women who encourage this because it’s been done this way for centuries in their culture?”
    “What about when someone is clearly working the system and reporting abuse just to get their way?”
    but they handled it pretty well.

  102. Ogvorbis says


    I know how you feel. Last night, I knocked my copy of LoTR off of my nightstand and my bookmark fell out. Well, different scale, but I feel for you.


    Dinner tonight — chicken, roasted peppers and roasted onion in a pomodoro sauce served over mafeldine pasta (think long thin crinkly lasagna noodles).

  103. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    D’aww, I missed this earlier, rq

    Thanks Portia. :) People are stupid sometimes, but you’re pretty much all-round awesome.

    I feel the same way about you. *hugs*

    Thank you, I’ll take them all! S and I made some homemade chicken noodle soup last night…turned out just the way I wanted. So comforting.

    Glad you’re home intact:)

  104. says

    That’s an easy one. You just move past the “Frodo was very tired, Sam was very worried and Gollum ate a fish” stage ad read from there on.

    Some dudes…

    Which reminds me: fuck the Pistorius verdict. So, if you’re the perfect victim (white, rich, attractive) your whole life is worth 5 of his. We can now calculate our individual worth with that.
    Or as a columnist in the Guardian put it today “his life was ruined”.

  105. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    From a BBC story on the Pistorius verdict:

    “A non-custodial sentence would send the wrong message to the community. On the other hand, a long sentence would also not be appropriate either, as it would lack the element of mercy.”

    The judge also said: “It would be a sad day for this country if an impression were to be created that there was one law for the poor and disadvantaged, and another for the rich and famous.”

    Did the judge not hear the wooshing and the parrot getting quieter as that ship sailed the fuck away?

  106. rq says

    See, if he’da been thinking about the victim, this would make no sense at all and there would be a few extra years (less some, due to the fact that she is a female). But of course, it’s the richness and fame of the perpetrator (esp. being a man) that one must always keep in mind – and hey, nice suits wrinkle easy, okay? The poor and disadvantaged can handle prison because they’re used to terrible conditions – 5 years for Pistorius, though, that’s like 50 years of torture for your average poor-and-disadvantaged! Relativity, my friend, relativity! [/snark]

    By the way off-topic, whatever-the-hell happened to the Snark Hat?

  107. says

    *from the pillow fort, a small voice speaks up* Oh, I thought Hobbes was wearing the Snark Hat today. Hobbes, what is that thing on your head?

    Walked around shopping center, ate lunch, kludged a pair of stands for the Steiff tiger and lion handpuppets I found at a yard sale, and set them aside while the glue dries. Going to lie down and read about the Mitford sisters now. See you later.

  108. cicely says

    Giliell, congrats on not killing your elder daughter!
    The Authorities—to say nothing of family and friends—often Take A Dim View of such lapses.

    On medieval/Renaissance manuscripts, the calligraphy was the pretty lettering; the illumination was the other decoration—borders, figures, etc.—including the little pictures inside the capitals.
    They’re shiny.

    The judge also said: “It would be a sad day for this country if an impression were to be created that there was one law for the poor and disadvantaged, and another for the rich and famous.”

    Did the judge not hear the wooshing and the parrot getting quieter as that ship sailed the fuck away?

    …and burned to the water line…then sank, with a mighty *gloop*….

  109. Ogvorbis says


    That’s an easy one. You just move past the “Frodo was very tired, Sam was very worried and Gollum ate a fish” stage ad read from there on.

    They just left Faramir and are headed for Cirith Ungul, so, yeah. Pretty much.


    Boy is currently painting a pumpkin for the chef at his restaurant. He is doing the Swedish Chef — complete with hat.

  110. rq says

    I have no idea what youŗe talking about…. that’s just the Snark Hair. When I need extra snark, I add the Snark Hat, but it seems to have been missing for a while. Perhaps I should jsut go see Hobbes about that.

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

    Weeeeee, first day of classes about rules and regulations needed before I can start taking driving lessons.

  112. says

    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie just said this: “I gotta tell you the truth: I’m tired of hearing about the minimum wage. I really am. I don’t think there’s a mother or father sitting around a kitchen table in America tonight who are saying, ‘You know, honey, if our son or daughter could just make a higher minimum wage, my God, all of our dreams would be realized.’”

    Chris Christie makes $175,000 a year, the fourth highest salary of any state chief executive in the nation. And in addition to that salary, he gets lots of perks in the way of state vehicles, travel expenses, office expenses, staffing expenses, etc. In 2013 he vetoed a bill that would have raised New Jersey’s minimum wage to $8.50 an hour. $8.50 was, in Christie’s words, “too much, too soon.” New Jersey voters later overruled the governor by approving a ballot initiative that raised the minimum wage in their state to $8.25.

    Chris Christie is a dunderhead.

  113. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says


    On medieval/Renaissance manuscripts, the calligraphy was the pretty lettering; the illumination was the other decoration—borders, figures, etc.—including the little pictures inside the capitals.
    They’re shiny.

    Oh, those are fun. Let’s create something lovely together. The Lounge Commune Manifesto?

  114. says

    In a followup to our discussion up-thread about income disparity in Hong Kong and in the USA, I see that Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen gets it. Here’s an excerpt from remarks she made on Friday:

    Ms. Yellen did not mention recent market turmoil or monetary policy during her 30-minute speech. Instead, she painted a bleak picture of the increasingly unequal distribution of wealth and income, warning that Americans already have relatively little chance to advance economically, and that the problem may be worsening.

    “I think it is appropriate to ask whether this trend is compatible with values rooted in our nation’s history, among them the high value Americans have traditionally placed on equality of opportunity,” she said in her speech, which opened a conference on inequality at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.


  115. rq says

    Wheeee!!! It’s good to know the rules, even though most seem to get tossed out the back window when practical application occurs. :) Good luck, have fun (that is, don’t be too bored), and go you!

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


    I don’t have time to be bored, the lecturer is talking so fast I barely have time to take notes. I just spent an hour copying it all neatly, and I’m only half through.

    But work tomorrow (and more classes afterwards)! .. so I’m off to bed.

    Sleep well, my darling hordelings (whenever you go to sleep next).

  117. cicely says

    In contemplating such a project of Great Historic Importance, it is important to bear in mind that I do not claim to do illuminations well…just that I do them.
    Then I inflict them on my horrified Family and Friends.

  118. rq says

    Posterity will admire your work no matter how well they are done – they will create a new genre of art just to make your illuminations truly stand out amongst all the other medieval imitations. Fame! Posthumous fortune!
    I think you should go for it.

  119. says

    As we’ve all noticed, Republicans have been very busy restricting voting in ways that favor those likely to vote for conservative candidates, and in ways the obviously infringe on voting rights for likely Democratic Party voters. This is actually a constitutional problem. There is no basic “right to vote” in the Constitution. This should be changed.

    When the constitution was enacted it did not include a right to vote for the simple reason that the Founders didn’t think most people should vote. Voting laws, at the time, mostly favored white, male property-holders, and the rules varied sharply from state to state. But over the first half of the nineteenth century, the idea of popular democracy took root across the land. Property qualifications were universally abolished, and the franchise became the key marker of white male political equality. Subsequent activists sought to further expand the franchise, by barring discrimination on the basis of race (the 15th Amendment) and gender (the 19th) — establishing the norm that all citizens should have the right to vote.

    But this norm is just a norm. There is no actual constitutional provision stating that all citizens have the right to vote, only that voting rights cannot be dispensed on the basis of race or gender discrimination. A law requiring you to cut your hair short before voting, or dye it blue, or say “pretty please let me vote,” all might pass muster. And so might a voter ID requirement.

    The legality of these kinds of laws hinge on whether they violate the Constitution’s protections against race and gender discrimination, not on whether they prevent citizens from voting. As Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier has written, this “leaves one of the fundamental elements of democratic citizenship tethered to the whims of local officials.”


    A pair of Democratic congressmen is pushing an amendment that would place an affirmative right to vote in the U.S. Constitution. According to Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), who is sponsoring the legislation along with Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the amendment would protect voters from what he described as a “systematic” push to “restrict voting access” through voter ID laws, shorter early voting deadlines, and other measures that are being proposed in many states.

    “Most people believe that there already is something in the Constitution that gives people the right to vote, but unfortunately … there is no affirmative right to vote in the Constitution. We have a number of amendments that protect against discrimination in voting, but we don’t have an affirmative right,” Pocan told TPM last week. “Especially in an era … you know, in the last decade especially we’ve just seen a number of these measures to restrict access to voting rights in so many states. … There’s just so many of these that are out there, that it shows the real need that we have.”


  120. says

    More input, this time from Norm Ornstein, concerning the right to vote in the USA:

    We need a modernized voter-registration system, weekend elections, and a host of other practices to make voting easier. But we also need to focus on an even more audacious and broader effort – a constitutional amendment protecting the right to vote…. [T]he lack of an explicit right opens the door to the courts’ ratifying the sweeping kinds of voter-restrictions and voter-suppression tactics that are becoming depressingly common.

    An explicit constitutional right to vote would give traction to individual Americans who are facing these tactics, and to legal cases challenging restrictive laws. The courts have up to now said that the concern about voter fraud – largely manufactured and exaggerated – provides an opening for severe restrictions on voting by many groups of Americans. That balance would have to shift in the face of an explicit right to vote. Finally, a major national debate on this issue would alert and educate voters to the twin realities: There is no right to vote in the Constitution, and many political actors are trying to take away what should be that right from many millions of Americans.


  121. says

    Republicans saying and doing stupid stuff in Texas, (the God-speaking-through-Duck-Dynasty part is a new flavor of dunderheadedness to me):

    As a Texas state senator, Dan Patrick has conducted himself in a manner consistent with the shock jock he once was. Patrick—who is now the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor—has railed against everything from separation of church and state to Mexican coyotes who supposedly speak Urdu. He’s even advised his followers that God is speaking to them through Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson. […]

    With a victory on November 4, Patrick, who is leading Democratic state Sen. Leticia Van de Putte in the polls, would find himself next in line for the governor’s mansion of the nation’s second-largest state. (Rick Perry, the current Republican governor, was previously lieutenant governor.) But even if Patrick advances no further, he’d be in a position to shape public policy—Texas’ lieutenant governor is sometimes called the “most powerful office in Texas” because of the influence it has on both the legislative and executive branches. […]

    Patrick told Mike Huckabee he had a Christian obligation to ignore Senate rules if the lives of fetuses were at risk. [in reference to squashing Wendy Davis’ filibuster.]

    […] “There is no such thing as separation of church and state.”

    […]”God is speaking to us from the most unlikely voice, Phil Robertson, about God’s Word. God is using pop culture and a highly successful cable TV show to remind us about His teaching.” […]


  122. jrfdeux, mode d'emploi says

    The four most powerful words I’ve heard this month:

    “Hurt people…hurt people.”

    Said by actress Jamie Lee Curtis, in a video on Upworthy that I can’t find right now dammit.

  123. says

    Amusingly, I was listening to my Pandora station when I clicked the link (My internet sound is muted), and the dancing still corresponded pretty well to the tune that was on. (a Breton folk band called Tri Yann).

  124. rq says

    I think I’m missing a reference here. Am I?

    tee hee, Music transcends dance – Since someone started editting together those videos of people dancing to not-the-music-they’re-listening to (can’t remember the name or a valid search term right now), I have understood that rhythm is universal. :)

    Late. Going to bed, good night all.