[Lounge #484]


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

Status: Heavily Moderated; Previous thread


  1. says

    Awww, my first portcullising. Now I really feel like I belong!

    As I was saying – awakeinmo, books are a good choice whether she can read or not – they can be read to her, and she’s probably already making the connection between the marks on the page and the sounds.

    As for what sorts – my daughters are of course many years past that stage so I’m way put of date, but there are some picture books we all remember fondly. Listen to the Rain was one, and Stellaluna, which is about bats, and all of Beatrix Potter and Dr Seuss and Margaret Wise Brown.

    I’m sure someone here could recommend books about more active princesses, too.

  2. Ranzoid says

    Are certain pop culture icons important for encouraging general egalitarian/feminist ideals? Like the character of Ellen Ripley or is it misplaced hero worship?

  3. says

    I adored Beatrix Potter stories as a kid. Still do. I definitely keep that in mind. I tend to fall into “kids these days” thinking. i.e. “kids these days wouldn’t sit still for The Tale of Benjamin Bunny.”

  4. says

    Re: The current Rolling Stone retraction of the UVA rape story: I’m curious why so many men seem willing to get online and dismiss the entire story as a demented lie, when in reality none of knows anything other than what Rolling Stone published earlier. As far as I know, there has been no (even vaguely) objective investigation into the facts of the complaint. But here are all these men piping up to defend a bunch of fraternity brothers they wouldn’t give a damn about in other circumstances.

    I personally would prefer to await further data.

  5. rq says

    She’s into princesses? The Paperbag Princess, by Robert Munsch. It’s a quick read about a princess forced to rescue the prince from a dragon.
    I’d also recommend Princess Mononoke, but that might be a bit advanced at her age – it’s a movie (surely you know it) with a non-standard princess character.
    Beatrix Potter is awesome (there’s a movie about her, called Miss Potter, that is surprisingly lovely to watch, accidentally saw it a while ago with Husband!). And kids do sit still for Beatrix Potter, the boys were all in love with Peter Rabbit for a year or so after a compilation of his stories was gifted to us (within the 4-year-old spectrum of age).

  6. rq says

    Also, science-books for kids – anything with great photography and/or colour illustrations: insects, rocks, etc. Especially if they have close-ups of parts you don’t normally see (LIKE INSECT MANDIBLES). She can learn to read the text later, but it’s the pictures that will get her attention now.

  7. ceesays says

    what rq says about science books is true. I loved my science books when I was a kid.

    what I loved even more was having the cool pictures explained to me. Learning how to read it could wait.

  8. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I’d count Portland in the ‘smallish city’ category.

    …by Minnesota standards?

  9. says

    I suppose it depends on where you put your cutoff between ‘town’ and ‘city’. Apparently, in those U.S. states that make an official distinction, towns start around 1500-5000 people, which is smaller than I thought. I’ve always personally characterized Eugene, Oregon (population. ~ 170,000, 351,715 in Lane County, which is contiguous with Eugene/Springfield) as a town, for instance, but it appears that it’s generally characterized as a city. By that standard, Portland (population ~600,000, ~1.5 million in the metro area) is pretty big, but by comparison to places like Chicagoland (9.5 million people), or greater New York (23.5 million), or even Phoenix and environs (4.3 million), it’s pretty small.

  10. Ranzoid says

    I’d count Portland in the ‘smallish city’ category.

    …by Minnesota standards?

    Errr…No. Since Portland (OR) has a population of, and i’m guessing, all of Minnesota, i won’t call it smallish.

  11. Yellow Thursday says

    In Minnesota, any town that’s incorporated is called a “city.” So the town I work in, which only has a population of about 1500, is called “the City of…” Minnesota also uses “town” and “township” interchangeably. So “Town of White” and “White Township” are the same place, which includes several “cities.”

  12. says


    So that anti-psychiatry nutter I was complaining about the other day? She refuses to cite her sources, and continues to make unsupported claims about psych meds being “damaging” and “addictive”. Her evidence is a single anecdote of one person who, when they go off their SSRI, cries uncontrollably for no reason. (Gee, you don’t think that could be the depression, do ya?)

    I’m going to need a good helmet for the amount of headdesking going on.

  13. rq says

    Also, books with maps – like a kids’ atlas. Or any good knowledge-based interactive book with the little openable windows (we have an atlas like that plus a book on the human body and one on simple machines, they’re great).
    And if she likes princesses, buy her some HotWheels cars – you can find some pretty awesome princess-like ones, too, and hey, it’s cars!! And every princess needs at least one set of decent wheels.
    (I’m only going by my kids here, so YMMV.)

  14. chimera says


    A mighty girl dot com has many holiday gift suggestions. I used it for finding stuff for my granddaughter. They have an entire section called “The Independent Princess” with books, toys, dolls, dress up and more. They list 55 princess books for the 3-5 year old set.

    A Mighty Girl’s top picks of books starring Independent Princesses. These princesses are smart, daring, and aren’t waiting around to be rescued – more than likely, they’ll be doing the rescuing themselves! Fans of independent princesses will also appreciate our collection of girl-empowering dolls, which includes several of the princesses depicted in these stories, as well as our collection of dress-up clothing which features several independent princess outfits. Our clothing section also features a Princess Alternative section with shirts depicting both independent princesses and alternative princess themes. For a diverse selection of more empowering fairy tales, visit our Fairy Tale & Folklore Collection.

  15. rq says

    (Sorry I’m kind of running with this.) If she was a bit older, I’d say get her a book on vintage cars and tell her they’re princess cars. For variety.
    Either way, I hope you figure out what would be perfect for her, even mixing and matching ‘typical’ princess stuff with something science-y or different.

  16. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says


    The Paper Bag Princess is an excellent place to start.

  17. bassmike says

    Completely threadrupt, but will check back when I have time.

    My daughter is now back in hospital with breathing difficulties……again.

    We’re a little hopeful that she’ll only be in for a few days, if not just tonight, as she’s not as bad as she was the last two times. I’m lacking sleep as I woke to her laboured breathing at 3.00am on Friday which is when we took her in to hopsital, and haven’t really slept since. My wife is with her tonight.

    Note to future UK government: don’t dismantle the NHS!

    It’s not been a good year.

    Sorry for the self-centred post and I really appreciate the support.

  18. says

    Wow, guys! Thanks for all the ideas and resources!


    If she was a bit older, I’d say get her a book on vintage cars and tell her they’re princess cars. For variety.

    I do love this idea. :D


  19. says

    Grats to your niece on being published again and yay for science and yes. good! for government support for university-level tuition and research grants and everything.

    Yellow Thursday
    I was going to recommend the northeast, as the urban centers are pretty liberal and climate is milder than Minnesota. But it’s hard to go wrong with coastal Pacific Northwest or urban Colorado too. My brother lives in Washington state and the mountains out there make the Appalachians look like molehills.

    A set of the little kids’ Lego bricks to make a princess’s castle?

    Gentle hugs if you want, and best wishes for your daughter. I hope you can get some sleep.

  20. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Bassmike, hope things go well with your daughter. Don’t worry if you need to talk about your concerns.

  21. yazikus says

    I love all of the Pacific Northwest love. I like to think it has everything in 6 hours. Coast to desert, mountains to forests, cities to towns, beer culture to wine culture to coffee culture, etc. You like rain? Stay on the west side (they even have a rain forest!). You like sunshine? Try the east side, or Bend. Pretty much a little bit of everything.

  22. says

    I’m dense sometimes. I didn’t realize that PZ had started a new Lounge thread and had been wondering why I wasn’t getting any updates. I thought no one was chatting in here. Silly me.


    I’m going to vent a minute and then catch up.
    One of the owners (white guy) at my restaurant in homophobic. He made a passing comment while in my presence that he doesn’t like the town of Fairhope, Alabama because “too many fag*ots live there”. I found out earlier this week that he and one of the managers (also white) are also racist. A co-worker, D, told me how she overheard the two of them making disparaging comments about “those people” and dangerous areas in Atlanta where people don’t like to go. She said they didn’t use the N* word, but she could tell from the way they were talking that they were referring to black people. She said once they found out that she has bi-racial children, that they tried to tread carefully around her, but they still slip up from time to time.
    D also told me that many of the people in our Back of the House are homophobic. They’re all Hispanic guys working in the kitchen and one of our expo’s is a gay man. Apparently, they’ve called him “fag*ot” in Spanish several times, but he never knew what they were saying. D told he and I about that recently, which just added to my frustration.
    And of course, on top of all that, this restaurant isn’t providing much in the way of income. I’m working 30 hours a week at the most and taking home maybe $300 if I’m lucky (and a chunk of that gets eaten up in the $20 cab fare it takes to get to work).
    Frustration abounds.
    Fuck me for not finishing college back in the 90s so I’d have something to draw upon for alternate jobs.


    Anne @3:

    Awww, my first portcullising. Now I really feel like I belong!

    Believe me, you definitely belong here :)

    Keith Welch @6:
    WAIT. WHAT?!
    Rolling Stone retracted that article?
    I did not know that. I need to learn more.

    Last month, Rolling Stone published a story titled “A Rape on Campus” by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, which described a brutal gang rape of a woman named Jackie at a University of Virginia fraternity house; the university’s failure to respond to this alleged assault – and the school’s troubling history of indifference to many other instances of alleged sexual assaults. The story generated worldwide headlines and much soul-searching at UVA. University president Teresa Sullivan promised a full investigation and also to examine the way the school responds to sexual assault allegations.

    Because of the sensitive nature of Jackie’s story, we decided to honor her request not to contact the man she claimed orchestrated the attack on her nor any of the men she claimed participated in the attack for fear of retaliation against her. In the months Erdely spent reporting the story, Jackie neither said nor did anything that made Erdely, or Rolling Stone’s editors and fact-checkers, question Jackie’s credibility. Her friends and rape activists on campus strongly supported Jackie’s account. She had spoken of the assault in campus forums. We reached out to both the local branch and the national leadership of the fraternity where Jackie said she was attacked. They responded that they couldn’t confirm or deny her story but had concerns about the evidence.

    In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced. We were trying to be sensitive to the unfair shame and humiliation many women feel after a sexual assault and now regret the decision to not contact the alleged assaulters to get their account. We are taking this seriously and apologize to anyone who was affected by the story.

    Will Dana
    Managing Editor

    Hmmm, I guess I can understand where they’re coming from. Personally, it doesn’t change my opinion one iota about UVA. Even if Jackie’s story turned out to be untrue, there are plenty of other people from UVA with horrific stories of sexual assault and rape.


    latias @7:

    What do you think of this. Guess who is on the list of fictional atheists in the animation section.

    I’m uncertain what you’re asking. What do we think of a list of fictional atheists and agnostics? Ummm, I can’t say I really have much of an opinion. There are atheist and agnostic women and men that exist in fiction. Is there something else that you were hoping to hear or discuss? I really don’t mean this rudely, but I’m lost as to what you’re wanting to discuss here.
    Also, I’ve no clue who you’re referring to in the animation section.

    WMDKitty @18:

    So that anti-psychiatry nutter I was complaining about the other day? She refuses to cite her sources, and continues to make unsupported claims about psych meds being “damaging” and “addictive”.

    Perhaps she’s been reading about Scientology…


    bassmike @23:
    So sorry to hear about your daughter. She’s had her share of health problems this year. Here’s hoping she’s back in tip-top shape soon, and won’t have any more health issues any time soon.


    Oh, that was a quick catchup.

  23. markd555 says


    Are certain pop culture icons important for encouraging general egalitarian/feminist ideals? Like the character of Ellen Ripley or is it misplaced hero worship?

    I think any hero worship is misplaced, because they never live up to ideals. But that does not mean we can’t just simply enjoy them or cheer them on. And if a character was written specifically to fulfill ideals *as a priority*, it would likely fall short as an ideal story. (due to predictability of an ideal “perfect” character)

    The most important thing is to continue to encourage the future production of women in fiction to be written as human beings. Not necessarily superheroes, or out-manly-manning the men around her. There are many ways to be a strong character. Being a macho bad ass in only one small way. Empathy, self sacrifice, moral strength against adversity, and bravery are even better.

  24. latias says

    Really, what do you think of Ash Ketchum as a fictional atheist? I didn’t see him practice a religion, but I never recalled him saying he didn’t believe in a god or make an affirmation for atheist/agnosticism.

  25. says

    latias @35:
    That’s more helpful :)
    Of course I’ve no clue who Ash Ketchum is. Perhaps others here do.


    Did ya’ll read about Sony Pictures being hacked?

    Sony Pictures Entertainment, one of the largest film studios in Hollywood, appears to have been the subject of a massive, devastating computer hack. The hack, which came to light last week, included leaked full-length versions of five upcoming Sony Pictures films, along with a trove of sensitive internal documents, and a hijacking of Sony Pictures’ corporate Twitter account.
    This morning, I received a link to a public Pastebin file containing the documents from an anonymous e-mailer, and have spent hours poring through some of them. I’ll spend more time in the days ahead. (Update: the leaks include thousands of social security numbers and personnel files.) But one interesting tidbit caught my eye: a spreadsheet containing the salaries of more than 6,000 Sony Pictures employees, including the company’s top executives.
    Authorities still aren’t sure who is behind the hack, although a group calling itself “GOP” (Guardians of Peace) is claiming credit for the leaks, which they said totaled “tens of terabytes.” Sony Pictures, which hasn’t confirmed or denied the veracity of the leaked documents, is reportedly investigating whether North Korea could be involved. “The theft of Sony Pictures Entertainment content is a criminal matter, and we are working closely with law enforcement to address it,” a company spokesman told the Washington Post.
    The salary list is contained in a spreadsheet from the leak entitled “Comp Roster by Supervisory Organization 2014-10-21.” The spreadsheet appears to contain incredibly detailed data about the compensation plans of Sony Pictures employees, including those employees’ names, job titles, home addresses, bonus plans, and current salaries.
    Normally, this wouldn’t be particularly enlightening information for anyone but industry gossips and voyeurs. But when I sorted the list by “annual rate,” I noticed something notable: a stark homogeneity among the people earning the most. Based on the spreadsheet (and bear in mind that these numbers are unconfirmed – Sony Pictures didn’t respond immediately to a request for comment), the employees of Sony Pictures with the highest annual rates appear to be nearly entirely white men.
    According to the leaked data, there are seventeen U.S. employees of Sony Pictures with “annual rates” of $1 million or more. Of these seventeen, only one – Amy B. Pascal, the co-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment and chairman of SPE’s Motion Picture Group – is a woman. Pascal’s annual rate is $3 million, according to the spreadsheet, the highest on the list, and the same amount earned by Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton.
    One other observation to make about Sony Pictures’ top-paid executives is that they’re almost entirely white. From some quick Internet searching, fifteen of the seventeen appear to be Caucasian, one (Dwight R. Caines) appears to be African-American, and one (Man Jit Singh) appears to be South Asian. (I’ll update these numbers when and if I hear back from Sony Pictures.) In other words, unless I’m missing something, the upper pay echelon of Sony Pictures is 94 percent male, and 88 percent white.
    Under U.S. law, companies are required to disclose the pay packages of some high-ranking executives and board members in their proxy statements. And, of course, you could have looked at Sony Pictures’ public list of senior leaders to get a sense of who’s on top. But the Sony Pictures hack appears to have shed light on something the public rarely gets – an unfiltered look at exactly who’s making what within a large corporation.
    Sony Pictures isn’t alone in having a predominantly white, predominantly male leadership, or paying its top executives multiples of what other employees make. But the numbers leaked in the recent hack – assuming they’re accurate – would mean that the top ranks of one major Hollywood studio are perhaps even less diverse than those of Silicon Valley tech companies and large Wall Street banks. After it patches up its security measures, that’s another problem Sony Pictures may have to reckon with.

  26. says


    I’m working 30 hours a week at the most and taking home maybe $300 if I’m lucky (and a chunk of that gets eaten up in the $20 cab fare it takes to get to work).

    Fucking hell, man! I work ~15 hours a week and I can net around $200 for that after tips and share of the house, and I know for damn sure that the bartender gets more than that (on account of more tips and more hours)
    btw, Ash Ketchum is a (the?) principle character of the Pokemon series.

    Being a macho bad ass in only one small way.

    And even if that is what you’re after, I can think of loads of better examples than Ellen Ripley.

    latias 35
    I have no idea what, if any, religious practices exist in Pokemon, but as I understand it, religion is not mentioned at all, and there are not temples or churches of any sort pictured or mentioned. In that case, it’s reasonable to infer that not just Ash but his society in general are nonreligious/atheistic. I’ll also note that the list in literature is wildly incomplete, but that’s only to be expected, really.

  27. toska says

    I was surprised to see two pokemon characters on the list. I haven’t watched any pokemon since I was quite young, but I don’t remember religion being discussed at all. On the other hand, I do remember evolution being a subject in the games (No, not the transformation type evolution that is all over. I’m talking about the caves with ancient pokemon and fossils. I think evolution was discussed in that context), and I think I also remember some environmentalist themes in the show. It’s really been so long since I’ve watched though.

  28. toska says

    Sorry to hear about your daughter! I hope she feels better soon. *hugs*

    The work situation sounds rough. In an ideal world, you should be able to ask the owners not to make discriminatory comments in the workplace, and they would have to comply or face a possible discrimination lawsuit, but I know from experience that that is not how things usually world in the real world. I hope you are able to find a reasonable solution. It sounds like the money you get from this job isn’t worth the headache. :( *hugs*

  29. says

    Horde, has anyone flown with a pet on US Airways? We’re having to take our pug with us due to our pet sitting plans falling through.

    He fits (not happily) in a Sherpa Medium carrier, but US Airways won’t even guarantee a Sherpa Small.

    Which brings me to the main question: have any of you been turned away from your flight for a carrier that was too large? How did you handle it? Did they let you get on a later flight?

  30. Rob Grigjanis says

    Dalillama @37:

    And even if that is what you’re after, I can think of loads of better examples than Ellen Ripley.

    Never mind the “macho bad ass” wording. I can’t think of a stronger character in recent scifi. Who do you have in mind?

  31. says

    So I just got word that my little brother had a heart attack this morning, and that my mother is having cardiac problems, too.

    I think I’m just going to go to bed for a while.

  32. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I think I’m just going to go to bed for a while.

    While the problems will still be there in the morning, you will be more rested. Which is good thing. I’ve got relatives with stents in them. It may be in my future too….

  33. OptimalCynic says

    So World of Tanks, an online game, just introduced female crew members (you can customise your tank by changing crew member pictures). The bad side is that they’re a special reward for a particular in-game mission. The good news is, here’s what they look like:


    Not a low-cut top or long flowing lock in sight. The uniforms actually look like, and are modelled after, the ones worn by genuine woman tank drivers from WW2.

  34. F.O. says

    @Tony! #36: You’re a smart guy, I can’t believe you’re stuck in such a shitty job!
    No way out? =(

    @PZ: Fuck. I’m so sorry.
    Hope he’ll recover well.

  35. F.O. says

    @Portia: Hi! =)

    @OptimalCynic: Wow, I didn’t even know that there were female tank drivers.
    Not feeling like cheering about that though.

    Re pop culture icons: not sure it’s any pop yet, but Legend of Korra has great female characters, pretty much each episode passes Bechdel with flying colors AND the combat scenes are simply superior to anything that Holliwood has been throwing at us for the past 20 years.

  36. toska says

    F.O. @55
    I watched the first season of LoK when it was airing, and I meant to watch the next season when it came out, but I never got back to it. I’m glad to hear the show is going well, and that’s given me extra incentive to check it out (although I’ll probably have to rewatch the 1st season to remind myself of the context). When I first watched it, I was pretty ignorant about feminism, but I’ll pay more attention to that aspect of it this time around :)

  37. toska says

    OptimalCynic @53
    I like that the Soviet women look like they probably represent more of the Soviet republics than just Russia. The whole female crew member as a reward for a special mission thing is pretty strange though.

  38. Ranzoid says

    Despite how evil the Soviets were they knew they where up against a better equip (and equally evil) adversary that had invented modern warfare, so of course they would break with convention up to that point and have female soldiers, the Finnish did the same thing…against the Russians during the Winter War.

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

    I’m sorry to hear that, PZ. I hope everyone feels better soon.

  40. F.O. says

    I will project an episode of Inside Nature’s Giants for my friends, the series is just awesome but it reminds me how much I appreciate Richard Dawkins when he speaks of biology. I feel I have to add a disclaimer “I don’t support his personal views” or something. Bleh. =(

    @toska #58: There’s not much to notice from a feminist perspective other than most of the main characters being female and not defined by their gender.
    Uh, and the fact that every major character, even if uses a common bending technique, fight with their own stile, all their bodies *move* differently.

  41. says

    Good morning
    Hugs and best wishes to your family

    The same to you!

    That sucks :(

    Different suggestion: a beads set. Those things let the princess infested heart beat faster and they are really good for training fine motor skills.

    I wished that people without a family would remember that people with a family need a bit of an advance notice before they go out for a night.

  42. opposablethumbs says

    My sympathies, bassmike – I hope your daughter is OK. Nothing like worrying about small offspring … and yes, let’s keep the NHS. And it looks as if we may have to fight for it (again) soon, if Tory budgetary plans for draconian cuts come to fruition. Last night I heard the word “co-pay” used in reference to the UK for the first time on TV news; the right-wing think-tanker wasn’t referring specifically to the NHS, but let’s say it won’t be surprising if that’s the link.

    All my good wishes for your brother – and for your mother, PZ. Hope they are both all right – that your brother is getting competent, skilled and caring medical care, and that your mother doesn’t need any (and that she can easily get any care she does need).

    Congratulations to your niece, birgerjohansson! That’s a fantastic achievement!
    I wish we still had free-at-the-point-of-access tertiary education too :-(
    I loathe and despise the bastards who introduced those fees. They all had free university education (and many of them could have paid without even noticing) and have no concept of what it means to get into debt – even debt on these relatively very good terms – when you don’t have money to back you up.

    Tony, I’m sorry your bosses and some of your co-workers have turned out to be such arseholes. I hope you can stick it until you can find a better job, and that you can find a better job soon.

  43. rq says


    I wished that people without a family would remember that people with a family need a bit of an advance notice before they go out for a night.

    Oh double-plus yes!

    Sorry to hear that, here’s to hoping that the problems are fixable and everyone comes out as healthy as can be!

    *hugs* for you re: your daughter, I hope it’s a short episode that improves rapidly. Is your daughter’s doctor looking into exploring perhaps reasons why she may be so prone to respiratory infections? It sounds like she’s having them rather too often for a child of her age… :( Here’s to rapid improvement and improved sleep patterns for you and your wife!!

  44. rq says

    TW for images of war, 40 Rare Historical Photographs You Must See. Considering I’ve seen about half of them, I’m not sure about the ‘rare’ part, and of course they include the sailor sexually assaulting the nurse in the list, but some pretty good ones in there anyway.

    For the firepeople in the gallery at the bottom of the article. A mix-n-match best-of, if you ask me, and only one of them was really trying (maybe two), but it’s a first for Latvia: it’s very own half-naked firefighter calendar. Enjoy!

    A pretty awesome music distribution company.

  45. birgerjohansson says

    Hugs to both PZ and Bassmike.

    — — — — —
    Lucifer is NOT Satan
    -This is yet another screwup by early Christian translators.
    (I am forwarding this quote from listverse by Raven at Ed Brayton’s blog.)

    http: //listverse. com/2014/11/04/10-things-everyone-gets-wrong-about-satan/
    8 “Lucifer Isn’t Another Name For Satan”

    Anyone who’s been to Sunday School knows the story: Satan was originally an angel named Lucifer who turned on God and was cast down from Heaven. The thing is, that story is nowhere in the Bible. The one time Lucifer is mentioned is from a relatively new translation, and it’s also a misinterpretation.

    The only occurrence of the name Lucifer in the Bible is in Isaiah 14:12, in this verse: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How are thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” Seems pretty straightforward, but it turns out that it’s another case of misinterpretation and mistranslation. If you go back to the original Hebrew text, you find a story not about a fallen angel, but about a Babylonian king (Helal) who figuratively fell from his throne when he began persecuting the Israelites.

    By the time the book was translated by Christian writers, the king became an angel. The name Lucifer comes in when the king’s name, Helal, gets translated. Helal means “day star” or “son of the dawn.” The Romans found a word close in meaning. Lucifer is the Roman name for the planet we call Venus, which is often the first visible celestial body to appear near dawn. The name didn’t have anything to do with the appearance of a Satan-like figure until much later, when its imagery was cemented with a fourth-century translation of the text by Jerome.

  46. birgerjohansson says

    Sorry. Here is the correct version of the link: http://listverse.com/2014/11/04/10-things-everyone-gets-wrong-about-satan/

    Another link if you want to read more on the subject. Interesting that you must go to non-christian sources to get the background facts right.

    “Satanists Get Display at Florida Capitol. Cue the Outrage.” http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2014/12/05/satanists-get-display-at-florida-capitol-cue-the-outrage/#comment-383761

    Dispatches from the Culture Wars is the bestest blog after Pharyngula

  47. guitaro says

    It’s official:
    Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas is the lowest rated movie on the Internet Movie Data Base.



    “Not only does the film have a 0 percent approval rating among professional critics on Rotten Tomatoes, it is now the most poorly rated film on the Internet Movie Database, meriting only 1.3 stars out of 10.

    “In order to appear on the list, a film “must have received at least 1,500 votes,” which means that a significant number of the site’s users felt it to be significantly worse than the Carmen Electra vehicle Disaster Movie (1.9 stars), Mariah Carey’s unwatchable biopic Glitter (2.1 stars), and John Travolta’s ode to Scientology, Battlefield Earth (2.3 stars).

    “Despite recent stream of credible rape allegations against its star, even Bill Cosby’s disastrous foray into science fiction, Leonard 6, is able to maintain 2.3 stars.”

  48. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Dang, order said king sized liner, got shipped a single size liner. Gotta replace the leaking mattress today in any case. Getting something local is proving to be a problem. Two out of three stores that supposedly carried waterbeds are out of business, and the third won’t answer their phone. Hate to drive 45 minutes to find out they don’t stock such merchandise any more.

  49. says

    Fuck. This ain’t good:

    And this week, religious tyranny came to Michigan, with House Bill 5958, The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). This bill legalizes a Christian extremist’s religious freedom to discriminate, and commit other breaches in law and social mores. The law makes it legal to refuse service, deny employment, housing, and violate other citizens’ rights, any rights, if a theocrat claims it violates their religious freedom and objects on religious grounds.

    As if this were not terrifying enough, our worst fears should be reserved for the Orwellian-titled “conscience clause.” This clause allows any Christian Fundamentalist working in the healthcare industry to cease a patient’s medical care if they claim their objection is founded on religious beliefs, and the Healthcare provider would be obliged to send a patient away. This would give legal cover to religious pharmacists to refuse to fill prescriptions if they “think” a person is gay, a woman is a single mother, or the patient is the “wrong religion.” It would also mean a first responder, whether law enforcement, fire protection, or ambulance personnel can use “religious objections” to refuse to provide service to a person or group they feel violates their religious beliefs.

    This move to theocracy was entirely foreseeable, it’s not like we haven’t had due warning. In his 2005 book American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century American political writer Kevin Phillips provides a harsh critique of the past forty years of the Republican coalition in U.S. politics. He “presents a nightmarish vision of ideological extremism, catastrophic fiscal irresponsibility, rampant greed, and dangerous shortsightedness.”

    Phillips points to three unifying themes holding this coalition together. First, its tie to oil and the role oil plays in American and world events. Second, to the coalition of social conservatives, Evangelicals and Pentecostals in this Republican coalition. Finally, he points to the “debt culture” of this coalition, and to a coming “debt bubble” related to the debt of the U.S. Government and U.S. consumers. In short, he argues, the U.S. has become the very thing it existed to escape — a theocratic colonial juggernaut in the shape of former world powers such as the Roman Empire and the British Empire as they declined from their peaks and fell into disarray.

  50. says

    Ouch, best wishes for you and your family members.

    Rob Grigjanis

    I can’t think of a stronger character in recent scifi. Who do you have in mind?

    Just off the top of my head (although the first one may stretch the meaning of sci-fi), Toph Beifong (Avatar: The Last Airbender, B’Elanna Torres (Star Trek: Voyager), Honor Harrington (Honorverse), Gunnery Sergeant Torin Kerr (Confederation of Valor), Captain Heris Serrano (Familias Regnant), Bosun Ellie Woetjans (RCN)… I realized as I was writing the list that you may have meant recent sci-fi movies, and I’m afraid I can’t help you there, since all the ones I’ve heard of lately sound like enormous piles of shit and I haven’t watched them. That and all the problems of sci-fi being mostly a het white boys club are exagerrated when it goes to Hollywood, so a number of those characters might not count anymore if they did make it to the big screen.
    In addition to my comment about your abysmal pay, sympathies on the awful co workers. I can at least rely on not having to deal with homophobia from co workers (as ~90% of my co workers are gay men).

    Fuck me for not finishing college back in the 90s so I’d have something to draw upon for alternate jobs.

    I did finish college; it didn’t help. The idea that lack of a degree is what’s holding people down is, not to put too fine a point on it, victim blaming bullshit. At least half the jobs that supposedly ‘require’ a degree don’t need any such a thing, and can be done perfectly well by anyone with a high school* education and some on the job training or trade school. The same is true of a vast number of small businesses. The stumbling block in both instances is principally monied elites protecting their monopolies and collecting ever more obscene amounts of wealth for themselves.

    *Assuming that it’s actually a real education and not the jesus academies and unfunded festering ratholes that comprise a considerable proportion of primary education in the U.S., but that’s another story.

  51. says

    Added to the above, I still support publically funded education through university and beyond, to the limit of the individual student’s ability and/or interest, but that’s got nothing to do with jobs as such.

  52. rq says

    Mm, and StatsCan on conviction rates for sexual assault and other related data points, for anyone who needs the latest statistics on that in Canada.
    And they are abysmal.

    In the most recent Statistics Canada of survey of victimization, 472,000 women self-reported a sexual assault. There were 1,610 guilty verdicts in sexual assault cases for 2011/12.

  53. yazikus says

    I love that right now, little dude is humming along to the intro music to Life of Mammals. Last night he came to me so upset, that his netflix suggestions didn’t have any nature shows, “I need more nature shows, please!”. Right now he is hollering at me, “We’re a great ape, mom! we’re a great ape!”

  54. says

    Rick Santorum, religious dunderhead and rightwing fanatic, is gearing up for another presidential campaign. In speaking to some likeminded groups, Santorum let his real views be known, no buffer. Here’s one of the things he said:

    […] “the words ‘separation of church and state’ is not in the U.S. Constitution, but it was in the constitution of the former Soviet Union. That’s where it very, very comfortably sat, not in ours.”

    So, Rick thinks separation of church and state is a commie plot. Thank goodness Simon Brown bothered to correct Rick (not that Rick will take any notice of having been corrected).

    As famed church-state lawyer Leo Pfeffer once explained: “It is true, of course, that the phrase ‘separation of church and state’ does not appear in the Constitution. But it was inevitable that some convenient term should come into existence to verbalize a principle so widely held by the American people….” In other words, church-state separation is a summary of the Constitution’s religion clauses. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

    Roger Williams was talking about church-state separation in 1644. More than 100 years later, key founders like James Madison and Thomas Jefferson championed the idea. Madison, who is widely considered to be the “father of the Constitution,” was a primary drafter of the First Amendment. In a document known as the “Detached Memoranda,” Madison wrote, “Strongly guarded … is the separation between religion & Gov’t in the Constitution of the United States.”

    Here’s a newsflash for Santorum: Williams, Jefferson and Madison were not communists.

    And Steve Benen made this great point:

    As for the constitution from the USSR, it copied a variety of our First Amendment principles – including freedom of speech and press, which the Soviets promptly ignored – but it obviously doesn’t mean our First Amendment is communist.

    We don’t know what wannabe President Santorum would do to damage the principle of separation of church and state, but we don’t want to find out.

    On another subject, so sorry to hear about the heart ailments of PZ’s relatives. That’s going to be stressful for all concerned. I’m hoping that good medical care will improve the situation. In the meantime, a nap sounds like an excellent idea.

  55. says

    Oh, lawd, this is bad:

    […] White evangelical Protestants are more likely than any other religious group to be climate change Skeptics. Only 27% of white evangelical Protestants are climate change Believers, while 29% are Sympathizers and nearly 4-in-10 (39%) are Skeptics. […]

    White evangelical Protestants are much more likely to attribute the severity of recent natural disasters to the biblical “end times” (77%) than to climate change (49%). […]

    Public Religion link.

  56. says

    Another cop gets away with the use of excessive force:

    A local prosecutor announced on Friday he would not seek criminal charges against a Seattle police officer who was shown on video throwing a bone-breaking punch at a woman who was handcuffed in the back of a patrol car. […]

    Video released by the Seattle Police Department showed the arrest and the struggle that ensued. The video appeared to show the woman trying to kick the officer, and then showed the officer responding with a punch.

    The Seattle Times reported that the punch resulted in a fracturing of the orbit of Durden-Bosley’s right eye. Medical records later showed the officer sustained “no obvious injury,” and it was unclear whether the woman’s kick had even connected with him, according to the newspaper. […]


  57. gog says

    @Lynna #86

    Watched the part where she got punched. Not exactly a measured response by the cop. Isn’t the standard protocol to use only as much force as is necessary to apprehend a subject? This looks like retaliatory violence.

  58. says

    If they’re allowed to at all, Tony. My daughter JJ had a hell of a fight trying to find a surgeon who would accept her, as in fact many women find it very difficult to have certain surgeries over the insistence of doctors who tell us we’re too young to decide we want to not be fertile, for example.

  59. The Mellow Monkey says


    many women find it very difficult to have certain surgeries over the insistence of doctors who tell us we’re too young to decide we want to not be fertile, for example.

    Is that ever the truth. My niece is having a hell of a time getting someone to agree to give her a tubal ligation. And her husband’s consent is demanded, laws be damned. It’s grotesque.

    Today was an amazing, strange day. I received some money I hadn’t realized I was owed but desperately needed, over $600. I was able to pay rent (a little late, but still paid!) and buy Christmas presents, two things that were flat out impossible without that surprise money.

  60. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    The Redhead told me to drive to Kenosha, so I did after the old waterbed mattress had finished draining. Turned out to be very timely. The third shop in Kenosha was in the process of changing the type of business they had (retail to wholesale), and was moving this next week. So I was able to purchase a king sized liner and started the filling process as soon as I got home. I’ve had to stop twice, to allow the water heater to “recharge”, but will have the mattress filled before bed time. Now, just need to check the temperature. It felt warm on a test lay, but I have lab thermometer (calibration back to NIST), will test. It will take a couple of months for the mattress to stabilize, and quit burping air. Now I need to find the jar of benzalkonioum chloride.

  61. says

    I thought the days of comics being perceived as “bad for kids” were over. I was wrong.
    The following letter was sent to comic book artist Reilly Brown. His response follows.

    Dear Mr. Brown, My mom makes me go to church and last sunday the pastor said comics were evil. He showed us a copy of some comics and Lobo was one of them. Are you evil? I told mom that maybe the guy that writes it is evil. He looks like a devil with glasses. Can you tell my pastor you aren’t evil? That would help a lot because mom wants to throw my comics away. Do you know Mike Mignola? Thanks, Kyle

    Well, I’ll tell ya Kyle, I’m not particularly evil, but Lobo’s a bit more questionable. I mean, if you think chopping up aliens into tiny little pieces and feeding them to their own dogs is evil, then there’s a good chance Lobo’s not going to be much of a spiritual adviser for ya.
    And I’ve got to say, if your mom is worried about the comics you’re reading, definitely don’t let her know you’re browsing Tumblr! DC won’t let us print stuff half as disturbing as the stuff that’s regularly posted on this site!

  62. carlie says

    Nerd – I feel for you with the waterbed. Spouse has been camping in hostile environments numerous times, but he’s said that he’s never, ever been as cold as the time in high school when his waterbed heater quit working once after he went to bed and he woke up at 3am freezing.

    Ever had one of those times when a minor mystery from long ago in your past gets solved? I was just looking up approved moisturizers from the National Eczema Association (it’s that time of year, and don’t even get me started), and they have a caution notice on Aveeno products that their colloidal oatmeal ingredient is related to food allergies. Light bulb. Once, when Child 2 was tiny, he had a rash and I used an Aveeno bath soak for him because that’s what you’re supposed to do, oatmeal is one of those skin calming agents. His whole body lit up like a lobster an hour later; we had to take him to urgent care. He had started antibiotics a day prior for an illness, and the conclusion was that the most likely culprit was shit, no more Zithromax for you, ever. Now I wonder if it could actually have been the oatmeal. Not that I’d ever test it out either way, but, huh. (he has nut allergies)

  63. cicely says

    See the Inspirations birth Retraction These Parents Took Out for Their Transgender Son

    Police Accountability more important than Bodycams

    *hugs* and support for bassmike.
    I hope your daughter Gets Well Soon.

    *hugs* for Tony!. I’m sorry about your at-work situation. Wish I had useful suggestions to offer.

    Best wishes for your brother and mother, PZ.

    Hi, Portia!

    Sorry to hear about your leaky waterbed, Nerd.
    I dread the day ours springs a leak—last time, Walmart still stocked replacement mattresses, for less than $50; but no longer.

    Mellow Monkey!
    Hurray for Surprise Money!


    Spouse has been camping in hostile environments numerous times, but he’s said that he’s never, ever been as cold as the time in high school when his waterbed heater quit working once after he went to bed and he woke up at 3am freezing.

    Waterbed…ice storms…two weeks without electricity…..

  64. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Sorry to hear about your leaky waterbed, Nerd.

    Well, I’ll see if that is fixed tomorrow. Temperature high enough to sleep on as long as the heater is working normally. That is the original heater (with a new triac in the controller years ago) from almost forty years ago.

  65. says

    Good morning
    I did have a nice evening with my college friends, sans kids and husbands. Funny enough, the host was somebody I couldn’t stand at all when we were first teamed up for a project. The more I got to know her, the more I liked her. She’s also a catholic SJW. Now, she’s still wrong about that catholicism things, but a way better person than the atheist dudebros.


    as in fact many women find it very difficult to have certain surgeries over the insistence of doctors who tell us we’re too young to decide we want to not be fertile, for example.

    This week I had a discussion with my secondary gp (his wife is my primary GP, but they each have their special subjects) about finally getting some of the vaccinations I didn’t get during my childhood.
    “When you get the measles vaccine, you mustn’t get pregnant for 3 months because that can lead to malformations”
    Me: Don’t worry, I won’t have any more children
    He: Ah, you take the Pill, or did you have a tubal ligation?
    Me: No, I use condoms
    He: But condoms are not as safe as the Pill!!!!
    Me: Trust me, I have never had an unwanted pregnancy, I know how not to get pregnant.
    He: But you have to understand me, I don’t know you that well.
    Me, annoyed: Why do you then trust me to take a pill every day?
    Seriously, the safety of the Pill depends on me complying 100% with the regime. I have to take it every. single . day. One fuck-up can mean loss of protection for the whole month and I might not even notice.
    One fuck-up with the condom means loss of protection for that one fuck and usually it’s quite obvious which means you can then go and get emergency contraception.

    The perfect example of mansplaining

    I haz new camera. I have a REAL camera again. One with shutters and things.
    Which reminds me, does esteleth still need money or has the Horde fund covered it already?

  66. says

    I need to go to bed…


    F.O. @104:
    I wish I could remember this site I found (or maybe it was recommended from someone here…can’t recall) that discussed how to vet charity orgs. Maybe someone else here can be of assistance.


    Giliell @105:
    Daaaaaaaaamn. That’s a pitch-perfect example!

  67. says

    Ok, last linky and then I go sleepy.
    For those interested in the history or study of language:
    I was worried about that title at first, bc while we do create culture, it’s not as if we exist independent of it. We create it and are affected by it. The article is an interview with Daniel Cloud, author of The Domestication of Language. Haven’t read the whole thing, but it doesn’t seem like the title of the article fits.

  68. Esteleth is Groot says

    I was okay and out-of-the-woods, and then yesterday the mail presented me with a surprise! bill.

    FML. >_<

  69. says

    The RS retraction of the rape is based on just one thing: the frat’s carefully-worded denials. No proof, just idiotic questions. These guys have nothing to lose by lying—–and as rich white guys they’re deemed to be trustworthy. Does anybody really think a bunch of rapists who planned more than one rape would give the victim their real names, locations, schedules, job titles, or anything? Or is it that rape victims are expected to take notes? That’s all RS did. They accepted what the frat claimed.

    RS: “Did you rape this girl?”

    Frat: “Sure didn’t!”

  70. says

    gog @87:

    @Lynna #86
    Watched the part where she got punched. Not exactly a measured response by the cop. Isn’t the standard protocol to use only as much force as is necessary to apprehend a subject? This looks like retaliatory violence.

    That’s what I thought too. The cop is supposed to be the calmer, more reasonable person. The punch was way too much.

  71. says

    Yes, corporate profits are sky high and still on an upward trajectory. Unemployment is running at about 5.8% in the USA. This is generally good news. However, wages for low and middle income workers remain stagnant or are actually dropping.

    So what do Republicans want to do with their very limited time at work in December? They want to pass extensions of corporate tax breaks.

    Worker productivity has increased, but the workers do not benefit accordingly. Median household income is down.

    There was a deal in the works to make permanent a bunch of these corporate tax breaks, to which lame duck Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) apparently agreed even after Republicans withdrew their initial promise to include permanent extensions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit as “payback” for President Obama’s executive action on immigration.

    Bear in mind that the deductions—in theory—exist to give an incentive to businesses to make productive decisions. Well, the year is just about over, and companies have made whatever decisions they are going to make for 2014. That’s why passing the tax cut at the 11th hour is truly nothing but a giveaway to corporations. Oh, and unlike, say, extending long-term unemployment insurance, Republicans aren’t insisting that the cost be offset. I guess only government spending that goes to the little people has to be paid for.

    So, on Thursday the House of Representatives voted to extend these corporate giveaways retroactively for one year.

    Excerpts are from here. There’s a plethora of excellent charts and graphs at the link.

  72. says

    Oh …. oh my.

    Bill Donohue’s latest “Christian persecution” campaign took another bizarre twist yesterday when he told Newsmax host Steve Malzberg that he is willing to pay for therapy for non-religious people…since they are probably insane.

    “They believe that freedom is license to do whatever they want,” the Catholic League president explained. “They don’t want to be told anything, which is why they die prematurely, they’re unhappy, that’s why we have a disproportionate number of agnostics and atheists in the asylum, all of this is true.”

    Donohue said “secularists” have an inferior “mental health, physical health and degree of happiness,” adding: “They got to work it out, fine, I’ll help pay for their therapy, just take your hands, your mitts off the Catholics during Christmas.”


  73. says

    Hi Loungers!

    Still making my way forward. Physio has been good and bad. On Tuesday, instead of the shortwave heat machine (which I’ve found effective, but was broken briefly), I acquiesced to the use of the electrical (TENS) stimulator, which many of my friends have sworn by. I’ve tried it before, many years ago, but found it too triggering to be helpful. I’d hoped that with more time*, my experience would be far enough in the past that I could use it and gain value, but I was mistaken. I ended up with nightmares bad enough that I slept maybe a dozen hours between waking up Tuesday morning and getting to sleep at 21h last night. Finally crashed and stayed crashed last night, and got up at noon or thereabouts. Still had nightmares, but copable.

    So I feel liberated today…for the first time in several days, I’m getting up after meds in a reasonably good state. I’ve got to work up the script today for that commercial I’m going to voice over, and hopefully we’ll be able to record this evening. Which is its own scary – I REALLY hate my voice, though other people regularly tell me how much they like it, with Kathleen Turner the usual comparison point.

    It was also very nice not to have to engage much in that “two steps” thread, thanks to the Horde. I can’t tell you how…how relieving it is to know that that is going on in one’s happy place, and to be confident that one doesn’t have to jump in and get all wound up and unhappy because no one else will. I was worried we’d end up more like that appalling thread on The Friendly Atheist recently, where I got Watsoned (I said “Please don’t do that”, and the dogpile got rolling about my hostility and incivility”.

    So that’s my Sunday.

    DL, I’m glad you’ve got less than a week to go before you can get free of that awful place. You have my deepest sympathies, it’s so, so stressful to be in that spot.

    Nerd, glad to hear the waterbed change is going well. I can’t use them myself, I need something with a fair bit of stiffness under my back when I sleep. Nights on waterbeds have been problematic the next day in recent years. Too bad, because I used to like them.

    bassmike, sorry to hear about the troubles with your wee one, I hope it settles soon for you all.

    Giliell, that was a brilliant example. I love that he tried to backtrack and say he meant “(I) read the article already.” Yeah. Right. Suuuuure you did. That seems very likely. I could sprain my optic nerve eyerolling that hard.

    Enjoy your Sunday or Sunday-adjacent time. :)

    * When I was 15, my father was killed in an accident by electricity. My sister and I survived, but were both exposed to the current while in the water for several minutes. I have a fairly strong reaction to the sensation of electricity ever since. I’d hoped that 33 years would be enough. It is not. It didn’t help that people kept interrupting me; the plan I’d had for getting through it involved playing Doctor Who: Legacy on my tablet, and completely zoning out. Each time I became aware of the current again, I’d have the panic-tension hit, so I got that jump half a dozen times in half an hour. I also, because they hadn’t read my history, required to explain why the electricity was a problem for me three different times that day, which didn’t help: reliving the thing while trying to also endure it was distinctly counterproductive. So yeah. There’s that.

  74. rq says

    So to return to a conversation about women in sports – spec., bobsleigh – two women-led teams have qualified for the World Cup circuit, one American and one Canadian. And it is AWESOME!
    One thing struck me, though:

    “Kris, Trevor and Nic were great and supportive all week,” said Meyers Taylor, who used borrowed equipment in France and got help from several different national teams to wrap up her qualifying. “It was a long week for all of us. Thanks to everyone all season long who helped me get qualified, I’m so excited for the World Cup season to start.”

    See that bit about borrowed equipment? Yeeeaaaahhhh… somehow I doubt any of the all-men’s teams trying to qualify for WC have to borrow equipment. And probably get help from their own team.
    What was that about level playing fields again?

  75. rq says

    *hugs* for Cait, I’m sorry your physio took a few steps back but I’m glad you’re on the mend and doing relatively okay.
    And you do have a really nice voice. :)

  76. Saad says

    Tony, #113

    Oh gee. Just what the world needs: Ayn Rand’s unpublished novel is getting published.

    What can one do upon hearing such news but shrug?

  77. says

    And they said publishing was dead. Or maybe they just wished it…

    On another subject, the visit to Aged Mum went as well as possible. I brought her a surprise mini rosebush, which cheered her up – a little rosebush with red-and-white-striped blooms can work wonders. And the roofers have been busy, so there may be light at the end of the reverse mortgage application tunnel yet. Also, my favorite cousin promised to call her tomorrow, so it won’t just be me.

    *refills baskets of hugs and treats, and fluffs up the pillow fort*

  78. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    How does one suggest a link (URL) that one thinks that PZ should post for all to view?

    Either e-mail him at this g-mail account, or post it here if it isn’t super inflammatory, in the sense of requiring strong language to respond, in which case post at in the Thunderdome. He does monitor this thread.

  79. cicely says

    CaitieCat, I wish I could feasibly be accused of having a Kathleen Turner-esque speaking voice!
    *hugs* and general rejoicing that your day went…better-than-average, and sorry to hear about your more…electrifying…experiences, past and present.
    I’m just opposite with the waterbeds; a firm mattress leaves me feeling the next day as if I’d been beaten all over with a stick, and bungs up my knees something fierce. In fact, I’ve only just today recouped from spending two nights over Turkey Festival Time at my best friend’s house, sleeping in a Bed Of Most Exceeding Firmness. I wonder…would sticking an air mattress between my bod and said Implement of Torture mitigate the effects? I’ll have to keep it in mind.

    glasmann, thanks for the link; I’ve just posted it on my Facebook.
    This should be interesting.

  80. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says


    *hugs* I’m glad you’re fairly ok, hope the recording went well.

    Hooray for unexpected money! *hugs*

    Last night SO and I went over to a friend’s house to watch the Peter Pan musical…it was…not great. Half of us fell asleep. Christopher Walken was comical in ways I don’t think they intended. But we had fun anyway.

    Had a free steak dinner tonight courtesy of the lady judge that I worked to re-elect, she took out her campaign committee to thank us. It was a lovely evening, and SO skipped his weekly hockey game to go with me. Which was really nice given he typically goes to hockey as a legit mental health management tactic. (Stress relief via physical exertion). Anyhow, there was lively conversation, and no one too odious considering there were no Republicans. I was belatedly validated by an acquaintance I was talking to: I mentioned having been on the village zoning committee, and she said ‘I heard you were treated badly.” It was so nice to know that that wasn’t all in my head…

    Anyway. Have a pile of hugs, here. Take as needed. <3

  81. says


    Glad to hear your SO is treating you right. Though as far as I can tell, your SO is not good enough for you — ’cause you’re awesome, and there are only a few people who are as awesome as you. So… yeah.

    I have some hugs for others if they are needed or wanted.

  82. says

    Somehow I have problems falling asleep. You’d think that I had done everything that would ensure sound sleep yesterday: getting up before 8 am, exercise in the fresh winter air, no nap, and still I must have been awake until way after 1 am. I’m going to take a nap now.

    Sorry to hear about you being triggered *gentle hugs* But Yay! for recording.

    Good that SO went with you and good to hear that somebody helped you fighting the gaslight. It can be such relief when you know you’re not making shit up in your mind

  83. says

    I think 100% like a man, too, even though I think that jewelery is a cooler gift than a gun.
    I tried to give the most stereotypically feminine answers and look and behold, I got % like a woman. I guess they didn’t credit women with “thinking” anyway, so being able to make it to the end of the questions gives you a % guy bonus already…

  84. rq says

    I think you’re supposed to be distracted by butterflies and the thought of new shoes by question 3.

  85. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    That’s really nice of you ^_^ I’m pretty happy about SO’s behavior, too. He’s doing quite alright.

    I did the opposite, I slept a lot yesterday. But then again, I seem to be sick. : / Hope you got that nap.

    Well, you talk about several other things besides clothes and your children, so clearly you are a man. (I’m not sure I can stand to go and look at the actual questions on the quiz ;) )

  86. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Holy cow that treadmill use…I can barely manage not to break my face when using it normally.

  87. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Happy birthday, Anne! :D
    *confetti and frosting*

    “Are you the lawyer, or do you just work for the lawyer?”
    “I’m the lawyer.”
    “Really, really.”

  88. rq says

    Happy birthday, Anne! I hope your day goes without any excess stress, lots of delicious tea and cookies, and general good feelings of happiness and awesomeness! *hugs*

  89. birgerjohansson says

    Happy Birthday!
    — — — — — — —
    Watched “Prometheus” yesterday. The plot had two big flaws.
    1: While you can breed another species to resemble you, no amount of genetic tinkering will make two separate evolutionary lineages match their DNA (Ursula K Le Guin made the same mistake)
    2: The crew randomly spots the base…on an Earth-size world! A clever teenager could have come up with something more plausiable, like tracking neutrinos emitted by the power source of the alien base.
    The film makes despise their audience. (And you don’t get mountains that high in Earth-level gravity)

  90. rq says

    Can you stick that article on Later This Morning?

    And Portia, you’re the one that does the firefighting and lawyerin’ around here. What does that say about you? ;)

  91. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    I’m not sure what it says, but it occurred to me yesterday that I’m part of both the most loved and most hated occupations in the U.S. ^_^ Or rather, most trusted and least trusted. Firefighters come out on top in most of the surveys I’ve read. It’s interesting to me.

  92. opposablethumbs says

    Happy birthday Anne! Hope you have a good day, and that you and yours are all in good health and spirits!

  93. Saad says

    rq, sure. I was going to put it there at first, but it’s just a video clip and because of the humorous nature of it, I thought it’d fit the Lounge better. It’s a pretty nice dissection of their stupidity though, so I’ll post it there.

  94. says

    The treadmill (#137) was awesome. Made me laugh.

    The Jon Stewart segment (#138) reminded me that former mayor Rudy Giuliani “Fundamentally Misunderstands the Reality” as Mayor Bill de Blasio said. Link. Giuliani seems to be getting worse as he ages.

    Excerpt from what Mayor de Blasio said:

    “I think he fundamentally misunderstands the reality. We’re trying to bring police and community together. There is a problem here, there is a rift here that has to be overcome. You cannot look at the incident in Missouri, another incident in Cleveland, Ohio, and another incident in New York City, all happening in the space of weeks and act like there’s not a problem.

    It’s different for a white child. That’s just the reality in this country. And with Dante, very early on with my son, we said, ‘Look, if a police officer stops you, do everything he tells you to do, don’t move suddenly, don’t reach for your cell phone,’ because we knew, sadly, there’s a greater chance it might be misinterpreted if it was a young man of color.

    We all want to look up to figures of authority. And everyone knows the police protect us. But there’s that fear that there could be that one moment of misunderstanding with a young man of color and that young man may never come back.

    I will cross post this to the Later This Morning thread.

  95. says

    Thanks, everybody! I’m having a good day, and I’m trying not to worry about any of the worries. So there, life!

    I had suggested owly gifts, since I am supposed to be getting wiser along with the older. So Elder Daughter gave me an Audubon great horned owl plushy and a baseball cap with a great horned owl’s face embroidered on it, and I learned something new from the tag on the hat. The other common name for this owl is the tiger owl. I love tigers. A tiger owl, how cool is that?

  96. rq says

    Oh man, got into an abortion/racism conversation on twitter. Because fetii are more precious than black thugs, and did you know that fetuses breathe??? I think I’m going to take my Block button out for a run!!

  97. OptimalCynic says


    “I like that the Soviet women look like they probably represent more of the Soviet republics than just Russia. ”

    That’s because they used their actual, real-life female employees as models for the pictures, which is one of the reasons I posted it here. Not only do they use real women instead of hyper-sexualised drawings, they actually have sufficient diversity within their company to do that. Isn’t it great when video game companies don’t follow the stereotype? They’re not perfect but considering the industry they’re doing pretty well.

  98. says

    This is another headdesking moment associated with the influence that the oil industry has over Republican (rightwing) state attorneys general and over the environmental protections those AGs are supposed to enforce:

    In late October, just a few days before the midterm elections, the New York Times published a lengthy report by Eric Lipton on corporate lobbyists solidifying ties with state attorneys general. It painted an ugly picture — Republican AGs, elected with financial support from lobbyists, appear to have allowed corporate pressure to influence state investigations.

    Over the weekend, Lipton published an even more brutal follow-up, documenting the “unprecedented, secretive alliance ” between energy firms, their lobbyists, and Republican state attorneys general that’s been cultivated in recent years. […] Link.

    The letter to the Environmental Protection Agency from Attorney General Scott Pruitt of Oklahoma carried a blunt accusation: Federal regulators were grossly overestimating the amount of air pollution caused by energy companies drilling new natural gas wells in his state.

    But Mr. Pruitt left out one critical point. The three-page letter was written by lawyers for Devon Energy, one of Oklahoma’s biggest oil and gas companies, and was delivered to him by Devon’s chief of lobbying.

    “Outstanding!” William F. Whitsitt, who at the time directed government relations at the company, said in a note to Mr. Pruitt’s office. The attorney general’s staff had taken Devon’s draft, copied it onto state government stationery with only a few word changes, and sent it to Washington with the attorney general’s signature. “The timing of the letter is great, given our meeting this Friday with both E.P.A. and the White House.”

    Mr. Whitsitt then added, “Please pass along Devon’s thanks to Attorney General Pruitt.” Link.

    Fucking lap dogs for the oil industry. That’s not how it is supposed to work.

  99. blf says

    The deluded bigot who is the current leader of the British fascist party (UKIP), Nigel Farage, has just given an excellent example of how deluded and bigoted he is, Farage blames immigration for traffic on M4 after no-show at Ukip reception: “‘It took me six hours and 15 minutes in the car to get here. It should have taken three and a half to four,’ he later said. ‘That has nothing to do with professionalism. What is does have to do with is a country in which the population is going through the roof, chiefly because of open-door immigration, and the fact the M4 is not as navigable as it used to be.'”

  100. says

    More details concerning the control of state attorneys general by corporations, the oil industry, and the rightwing fanatics:

    In 2014, fundraising for Republican state attorneys general candidates reached levels unseen in American history, with donors investing at least $16 million in GOP candidate this year, roughly quadruple the amount donated to Democratic state attorneys general candidates.

    The result was predictable: voters have now elected 27 Republican state AGs – the most in American history.

    And now, largely without the public’s knowledge, “corporate representatives and attorneys general are coordinating legal strategy and other efforts to fight federal regulations,” getting a terrific return on their election investments.

    What’s more, it’s not just environmental protections at stake. The more corporate interests force strong alliances with Republican attorneys general, the more these state AGs have been eager to pushback against the Affordable Care Act, the administration’s regulations of the banking industry, and the president’s immigration policies.

    Paul Nolette, a political-science professor at Marquette University, told the Times, “It is quite new….The scope, size and tenor of these collaborations is, without question, unprecedented.”[…]

    This time industry lobbyists and the Koch brothers got their money’s worth.

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

    Happy birthday, Anne!


    Also: when something round is rolling behind you – run to the side!!!

  102. rq says

    It’s funny, in Latvia, where the population has been steadily decreasing and births are too few to replace all those who die, traffic has gotten progressively worse over the years, too! I thought it was due to an exaggerated car culture encouraged by the perceived increase in status arising from car ownership… but now I know, it’s those waves and waves of immigrants having their children here!

  103. blf says

    Hum… I supposedly think 50% like a man and 50% like a woman.
    Since I didn’t grok half the questions, the other half did not seem to include the usual space alien answers, and half failed to give any sensible choice at all — for instance, cheese orker stotting — this must be plot by the peas. Or perhaps celery since it’s so idiotic.

  104. blf says


    Eleven exclamation points (emphasized ones count double) is not only a sign of wearing underpants on head backwards whilst pogo-ing down the street carrying a goldfish bowel containing a mouse dressed in a toga, it also suggests pursuit by horses.

  105. rq says

    a goldfish bowel

    I have never, to my knowledge, participated in the evisceration of a goldfish, and I have never, to my knowledge, carried any fish entrails around.
    In public.

  106. blf says

    Just because you couldn’t see — underpants on head backwards — doesn’t mean you weren’t out in public. Gave all those immigrant’s car-driving kids quite a show, but it was probably the alien flying news saucer that snarled the traffic. I haven’t seen either one yet, but I suspect it’s the report Potatoe fiend makes mouse seasick, or possibly Goldfish in diplomatic incident with Oreo.

  107. says

    As we all know, the National Rifle Association needs all the help it can get to keep lots of guns on in the hands of citizens of the USA, right? /sarcasm

    To that end, Republican politicians are constantly sneaking pro-NRA legislation into bills that have nothing to do with guns. For example:

    Last October, a Pennsylvania state senator successfully added a potential windfall for the National Rifle Association and other gun groups to a bill intended to protect against certain forms of metal theft. The new metal theft law’s gun provisions permit the NRA and similar groups to sue cities, townships and other localities that provide their citizens with additional protections from guns beyond the protections that already exist in state law. It also potentially could force these local governments to pay for the privilege of being sued by the NRA. As a result, several Pennsylvania townships have already repealed ordinances requiring residences to report a lost or stolen gun.

    On Thursday, however, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D) announced that she will not defend this metal-theft-turned-gun-protection-act against a lawsuit alleging that the way it was passed violates the state constitution. A provision of the Pennsylvania Constitution provides that, “[n]o bill shall be passed containing more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title, except a general appropriation bill or a bill codifying or compiling the law or a part thereof.” The lawsuit alleges that, because guns have little to do with metal theft, the new law violates this provision of the state constitution.

    In light of Kane’s decision not to defend the law, lawyers working for the state’s governor — currently Republican Gov. Tom Corbett — have the option of taking up the case. […]

    The only problem here is that Pennsylvania is one of a dwindling number of states that have a State Attorney General (Kathleen Kane) that is not a Republican. /more sarcasm

  108. says

    Well, today I made 3 sorts of cookies
    One had too much flour, one had too little, the third one didn’t have any flour at all but still didn’t work out as it was supposed to.
    I also noticed that making sugar cookies with my gran as a kid was huge fun. But making sugar cookies with the kids now turns the stress up to 20. Something went horribly wrong with my life.

  109. toska says

    No, nothing is wrong with you! It’s well known that baking with children-helpers is one of those magical experiences that only grandparents can do stress-free.

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


    Something went horribly wrong with my life.

    Nah, growing up is, unfortunately, mandatory.

  111. toska says

    I love seeing the Horde jump on that transphobic, MRA troll in the “Two steps forward” thread. You all do wonders for my faith in humanity. :)

    The trolls in that thread have been particularly egregious though. *sigh*

  112. blf says

    I also noticed that making sugar cookies with my gran as a kid was huge fun. But making sugar cookies with the kids now turns the stress up to 20. Something went horribly wrong with my life.

    You didn’t turn into a wolf and eat her back when you had the chance?

    (Reads it again…)

    Ah! I see the problem. You don’t make sugar cookies with kids. You make them(cookies) from, ah, I dunno, snails or something. Baking is not my specialty (other than navigating to the bakery), but I’m fairly sure kids aren’t a normal cookie ingredient. I think they(kids) are used, in, um, (takes a wild guess) donuts? Something squishy with gooey filling anyways.

  113. K.R. Syncanna says

    I love seeing the Horde jump on that transphobic, MRA troll in the “Two steps forward” thread. You all do wonders for my faith in humanity. :)

    Seriously. I am trans* and have been loving the responses.

  114. says

    toska, dear one, that is…very small potatoes for online anti-trans ‘trolling’ (I tend to think of it as deliberate abuse, but tomato/tomato). We’ve had a single TERF banned, one hurhur trans type, and now Mr. PhrenologyIsTooScientificYouTakeThatBack!.

    Please believe me when I tell you this is extremely mild. No one has been deliberately misgendered to their face. No slurs have been used. Nobody has mentioned believing they’re Napoleon. I don’t think anyone’s mentioned autogynephilia, or self-mutilation, or porn yet. Add in some of those, and we get to ‘openly trans on Internet’ level.

    I won’t inflict trans-activist levels of abuse on the lounge, but…no. Not egregious. The stuff Kate and I got for writing at shakesville… it would put hair on your feet, let me tell you.

    Please don’t hear this as a rebuke, because I’m not at all upset with you, promise, but this has been in no manner an exceptional level, save perhaps unusually light. There’s a reason trans PoC have the highest murder rate of any identifiable demographic. There are some people who hate and fear us, on a deep level. Like, KKK level. They are not rare. :(

  115. toska says

    I’ve seen much worse transphobia elsewhere. I guess I was more disgusted to see it here at Pharyngula. I guess I hold the discourse on the blogs here at a higher standard. I feel like equivalent levels of bigotry against other demographics would get insta-banned.

    But yeah, thanks for the reminder. There’s a whole world of ugly out there. I’m sorry that you and others (especially PoC) have to deal with not only the horrible words, but the violence as well. :(

  116. K.R. Syncanna says

    Aren’t they going to start selling Girl Scout cookies online? Fucking dangerous, that stuff. An average serving is a whole box.

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


    You are always nice, but you get noticeably more polite and walking-on-eggshellsish when you talk about anything related to transness. I kinda hate that you feel you have to be like that even here. *hugs*

  118. says

    Thanks, Beatrice. Did you see that thread at The Friendly Atheist? Literally 11 polite words, and the hostility and incivility read into those words was astounding. When speaking truth to power, one can either be very, very polite, or very, very rude. I don’t want to be rude here. I like these people, and don’t want a rift, especially over something intended to help be a better ally, so I choose extra careful and explicitly nonthreatening.

    When a Black man speaks of being seen as inherently scary, I grok that. I’m 170cm or so, 115kg, and a former athlete and soldier. For the entire time since I transitioned, I’ve been walking small, trying not to meet people’s eyes, to become unthreatening. When I played still, I pulled out of tackles and challenges so as not to get called for fouls that were really just a size mismatch. I’ve become the perfect peacemaker, because I don’t want to risk being seen as a threat: I stop fights, step in physically, because I don’t dare risk a situation where the police are deciding who was at fault.

    There are good reasons for me to be crazy as a bughouse rat, after all. 22 years of it has been…wearing.

  119. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Oof, I know it’s a privileged problem to have, but some days it sure does wear on me to be people’s pawn in their petty fights. I really wish adults could be adults and understand that I am not here to vindicate their wounded egos. I’m so tired.

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


    Probably not, I only rarely visit The Friendly Atheist. Neither the main blogger nor most of the commentariat are to my taste.

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

    I mean, I’m not sure what thread you are talking about.

  122. says


    *big hugs*
    That thread at the Friendly to the status quo atheist was a world class example of how one can never be polite enough when challenging the status quo and that any perceive lack of politeness is then used to dismiss the demands of the marginalized out of hand.

    +++Let’s see if that sleep thingy works tonight

  123. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    *Hugs* back, good luck with the sleep.

    Yeah, the more progressive I got, the less I could stand to read TFA. Hemant shows himself to be a shitty ally on so many issues, it’s disgusting. Not to even mention the commentariat over there.

  124. says

    Kind of ‘rupt. extra *hugs* for CaitieCat, and seconding what Beatrice said @185
    *hugs* for Portia
    General *hugs* for anyone else who needs/ wants some.
    Neighbors got home last night just as L and I were going to bed, and decided to announce it by thumping loudly on the ceiling, which did nothing for our ability to get to sleep. This morning, we awoke to a message saying that L’s shop is in danger of being closed because Fox complained about the Firefly costumes again (fucking assholes; I notice that Cartoon Network, Marvel and DC comics, and Paramount Pictures don’t seem to mind; even fucking Disney is leaving this shit alone). We’re also behind on the bills and trying to juggle those and the moving expenses; the electric company is being very helpful, but Comcast are being assholes about it (what else is new). Not helping is the fact that we’re still waiting on a payment from a customer that’s been owing nearly 2 months now. /whine.

  125. toska says

    I saw the thread at the Friendly Atheist. Let me promise here that I will never Watson you. Speaking only for myself, you don’t need to worry about my feelings when talking about things that affect you and not me. I firmly believe that part of being a good ally is feeling bad when you mess up (not getting angry, but feeling genuinely remorseful). Otherwise, there’s a good chance you’re being a non-ally.

    None of that is to say you hurt my feelings today. You readjusted my perspective, and I think it was needed. It’s pretty fucking dangerous to get so used to the more enlightened attitudes around here that I forget what I logically know — we are the exception. But if you need to hurt my feelings someday, it will probably also be a needed adjustment. And I’ll always try to listen instead of making the issue about me and my fee-fees.

  126. Rob Grigjanis says

    CaitieCat @186:

    When I played still, I pulled out of tackles and challenges so as not to get called for fouls that were really just a size mismatch.

    Oh no! As a relatively shrimpy player (5′ 6″, 140 lb playing weight), I never minded getting clattered by a large person. The only thing that bothered me was the elbows. I still have nightmares about towering multi-elbowed defenders.

  127. jste says

    Giliell, 134:

    I think 100% like a man, too, even though I think that jewelery is a cooler gift than a gun.
    I tried to give the most stereotypically feminine answers and look and behold, I got [70]% like a woman. I guess they didn’t credit women with “thinking” anyway, so being able to make it to the end of the questions gives you a [50]% guy bonus already…

    I answered as honestly as I could given those questions, and apparently think 100% like a woman…

    I love internet quizzes. They are always so predictably useless.

    (I mean, this goes for a lot of people here on a lot of topics, but for you in particular)

    I love it when you post things about gender or trans* issues. I almost always learn something new, or find something to help me be a better person. It makes me sad/angry that so many people are so close-minded when forced to examine themselves. Keep on being awesome for as long as you can, because you do help at least one person become a better human being!

  128. jrfdeux, mode d'emploi says

    Hello again Hordelings.
    So last night I decided to watch Bill Burr (an American comedian) on NetFlix. It was a show in Atlanta, which seemingly gave him an opportunity to bring up the topic of racism, et al. Five minutes into the routine I was wondering what else I could watch. Ten minutes in, I was feeling very uncomfortable. Twelve minutes in I was horrified.

    What makes me feel even worse is that ten, heck, even five years ago I would’ve been chortling along with the rest of the audience. Jokes about POC. Jokes about women. Mocking comments about being “too sensitive” for said jokes. By minute thirteen-and-a-bit I changed the program to, IIRC, a documentary about Hitler and aliens.

    I’m glad I’ve changed my thinking, but it’s tough to look back and see how much of a douchewaffle I was. But I also note that comedians like Bill Burr still draw huge crowds, and still make people guffaw. How depressing. :-(

  129. says

    OK y’all! I want to extend thanks once again for all your help in choosing a christmas gift for the 4yo girl. Seriously, you helped me avoid a lot of stressiness. I ended up getting four books:
    The Paper Bag Princess
    The Princess and the Pizza
    Princess Hyacinth
    Rosie Revere, Engineer

    I can only hope these will help hold back the crazy princess mentality. Oh, did I tell you about the conversation I had with this girl? She was playing in a tent and…
    GIRL: Help, help! Save me, Prince!
    ME: Save yourself. You’re strong enough.
    GIRL: No I’m not. Girls aren’t strong.
    ME: What?
    GIRL: Girls are weak.

    Yeah. It’s pretty bad.

  130. Von Krieger says

    Got into a heated argument with my crank magnetic (Vaccine denial, anti-GMO, Funamanetalist, YEC, Adventist Vegan, Organic food loving) mother in which she trotted out the Seralini study as proof that GMO causes cancer.

    Of course trying to point out anything wrong to her is like bashing your head against a brick wall, but less fruitful. Though it got me thinking and wanting an answer to a question that I can’t find via google-fu.

    10 exceptionally cancer-prone meeses in a group is most definitely far too low and prone to random probability producing erroneous results.

    So how many critters are typically used in a proper study to determine harmful or beneficial effects? The more the better, obviously. I’ve found mention of facilities housing over 10,000 mice. But I can’t seem to find out how many would be used for testing in a decent study.

  131. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    So how many critters are typically used in a proper study to determine harmful or beneficial effects? The more the better, obviously. I’ve found mention of facilities housing over 10,000 mice. But I can’t seem to find out how many would be used for testing in a decent study.

    Acute harmful effects, like LD50, can use about 10-12 animals. For gross beneficial effects, about the same. The numbers go up as the effects, both harmful and beneficial, get smaller.

  132. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    So…I passed my final fire academy written exam. Now I just need my hazmat test score back and I’ll be Firefighter II official. Fire chief called me with a law question (he wants my help…at least he recognizes some of my talents…unlike the ones who act like I’m just a big bag o’ stoopid) and when I told him I passed the final test he said he’s pretty sure I’m the first woman in the history of the fire department to have gone through the state fire academy (firefighter II, for the savvy). So, that’s pretty neat.

  133. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Cait, Anne, chigau, thank you :D Y’all are seriously balancing out the fact that the first fb comment I got on the subject was “That’s hot!” uuuuuuuuuuuuugh.

    There was a FF I. Then they combined it with II, and now the two classes are pretty much run together. Next year Illinois is changing it further and calling them “Basic” and “Advanced” so I got it before the system got more confusing ^_^

  134. toska says

    Hugs to everyone who needs them! Gah, I’m starting to feel like a zombie who does nothing but work and has no individual personality left. “Oh, hello, I’m a typical American Worker Drone.”
    That’s awesome! Congratulations!

    I’m glad you’re having a good day :)

  135. chigau (違う) says

    Portia, Smokey the Advocate, Advanced Firefighter
    yer gonna need a smaller nym

  136. Morgan!? the Slithy Tove says

    Congrats, Portia. There was never any doubt. How lucky we are to have you as a Hordeling.

  137. says

    Just had the misfortune of arriving home at the same time as the neighbors; they followed me up the stairs and started pounding on the door as soon as they got there, and shouting at us some more. They appear to have gone home without further damage, although I did hear some loud rattling of the mailboxes. I’ll see in the morning.

    Congrats, Portia.

  138. toska says

    That’s horrific. No one should have to be harassed daily like that as part of their living situation. It’s 4 more days, right? *hugs* I hope these next few days go by quickly.

  139. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Portia, Smokey the Advocate, Advanced Firefighter
    yer gonna need a smaller nym

    How about Portia, Smokey II the Advocate? Conga rats!
    Now back to a real disaster, the Redhead’s checkbook. She can’t even read her own writing…
    I got it balanced, but a little cash will help to pay the CNAs who watch her during the day. My complaint is not that they feed the Redhead, but they feed her at 3-4 in the afternoon. They also buy stuff to share or make stuff at home and bring it her to fatten her up. I sometimes get leftovers, so it goes to waste my waist. She was finishing up her lunch when I got home from work this afternoon.
    I’ve been making DVDs of Project Runway (various forms) and Dancing with the Stars for her use. She can’t use the DVD player at night, as there is no one to change it. But the Apple TV is remote controlled. So I’ve been converting the DVDs (mp2) back to mp4 so she can watch the backlog. The recent stuff is still in electronic form, so it is trivial to deal with. It beats the Food Network for my taste. ;)

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

    Portia! That’s so HOT!

    No, wait. Really. It’s a pun totally original to me. Really. I make bad puns all the time. Totally. As, um, God is my witness???

  141. microraptor says

    @jrfdeux, mode d’emploi #202

    I hear you on that. I look at a lot of comedians and think that it just sounds like the schoolyard bully all grown up.

  142. rq says

    Go, Portia!
    They need to put up a special plaque for you at the FD. Using the ‘nym “Portia”, of course, to hide your identity (it’s no good coming out public as a superhero). And well done, madam, well done!

    *hugs* for Dalillama, four more days… right? *holds thumbs* Those people need to get arrested. I hope the mailboxes are okay. :(

    *hugs* for everyone else!!!

  143. Tapetum says

    *pokes head in* *waves*
    I don’t think I’ve ever posted in here before, but I’d like to join the conversation.

    Congratulations, Portia! You are awesome!

    And good luck, Dalillama – I’m not too sure exactly what’s going on with your living situation, but it sounds awful. I hope your new place is ready soonest.

  144. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Cait, Anne, chigau, thank you :D Y’all are seriously balancing out the fact that the first fb comment I got on the subject was “That’s hot!” uuuuuuuuuuuuugh.

    Not a fire pun, I suppose. Blech. >.>

  145. says

    Is it a plane? Is it a bird? Is it an echidna? No, it’s Super Portia!!!!

    Good luck, Dalillama

    Yes, I slept well. I slept so well in fact that I slept late. Bit we still made it to school on time. Even with the ice on the car. In my car, I have a silvery sheet to drape over the windshield. In my car I have an ice remover with a long handle so I can get to the middle of the windshield. Unfortunately, I have Mr.’s car this week…

  146. rq says

    It’s because Mr’s manly weather-sense told him it would be more sensible to have your prepared car rather than his own this week!!!
    (Glad you had a good sleep!!)

    Hmm? New person? I see you, Tapetum! You will not escape the paperwork! Don’t worry, it’s only several dozen pages of fine print and fill-in-the-blanks. :)
    Actually, we need to know your thoughts on:
    1) horses
    2) peas
    3) cheese
    BONUS) Miracle Whip.
    Feel free to take your time answering, but you only get the comfy chair for today. Other days, you have to fight for it along with the rest of us. Drinks by Tony, cookies by whoever’s cooking today, so help yourself to whatever’s left. :) Welcome in!

  147. Tapetum says

    rq Bring on the paperwork! I’m doing bills tonight anyway.
    So thoughts on:
    1) Horses – love them. Used to ride them competitively, albeit not at a high level (English jumping, highest ever finish was 13th at a small National show). Unfortunately, also violently allergic to them, which sucks.
    2) peas – acceptable when fresh, steamed lightly and served with butter (and preferably a little mint). Otherwise meh.
    3) cheese – one of the foundational foods of life
    BONUS) I refuse to name the stuff of which you ask. I like to believe that if I ignore it hard enough, it will quietly vanish as if it had never existed.

    Thanks for the welcomes! *snuggles in comfy chair* Do I get poked with the soft cushions too?

  148. rq says

    Poked with the soft cushions? If you like – we cater to a wide range of tastes ’round here. There’s a Spanking Parlour, even!
    Good luck with the bills!

    Hum… well, I’m out of ideas, then. :)
    (Agree on the horsepower, though… too bad we only have the one car. But it is a sporty one. Every time we borrow Husband’s brother’s boat-sedan, I miss the low-seated, loud-engined family car. Just a bit too easy to speed in it, though.)


    So clever me spilled boiling (as in, literally boiling because the recipe calls for it) sugar syrup mix on three (two-and-a-half fingers), so any tpyos are due to the fact that I’m trying to keep the index and middle fingers on my left hand as immobile as possible (which is to say, barely possible at all).
    And yes, I’ve got the cold running water and also aloe vera and no blisters. So far.

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

    Sigh, rq?

    Wherefore sigh?

    It couldn’t possibly be related to Tapetum’s paperwork, could it?

  150. opposablethumbs says

    Hi, awakeinmo – belated possibility to consider for next present-choosing-time – “The Tough Princess” by Martin Waddell. :-) Not perfect, but quite fun.

  151. opposablethumbs says

    ::refreshes, very belatedly::

    sorry about the fingers, rq. Can you unscrew them, keep them on ice for a few hours, then re-attach?

    Crossing all my fingers that you get to move soonsoonsoon, Dalillama. FSM but what utter shits these neighbours are.

    hi Tapetum! And yay *\o/* conga rats *\o/* Portia!

    ::adds bundle of hugs to hug stocks::

  152. rq says

    *scribble scribble*
    Hm? Oh.

    Crip Dyke
    No, it’s not the paperwork. Another Week of Death, wherein extra brainspace is required for planning around the single-car, two-jobs-and-two-schools, out-of-town-funeral aspect of our family life.
    So, *sigh*

  153. birgerjohansson says

    “I think that jewelery is a cooler gift than a gun”

    It is possible to combine the two… I use a rail gun to accelerate a diamond-tipped missile to velocities where it is able to penetrate my enemies´ force fields. Also useful for fragging incoming nuclear missiles.

  154. Saad says

    I was flabbergasted listening to people talk about justifying torture on the radio this morning because the CIA says it did lead to some accurate intel.

    If I was on that panel, I would ask them so torture is okay by anyone in the world, using any method they choose, and against anyone (including Americans) as long as it gets them the accurate info they want?

    I suppose their answer would have been American exceptionalism blah blah blah.

    Hello, Tapetum :)

  155. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Hello and welcome, Tapetum:)

    Thanks for the high-fives, everybody, it’s so fun to have cool people with whom to share my good news.

    The bad news is, I now have pain in my ears and this cough kept me up all night. I think it might be time to go to the doc-in-a-box. Ugh.

  156. rq says

    May have led to some accurate intel, but it has mostly led to inaccurate intel or no intel at all. I had an article on this. :P
    Anyway, anyone justifying torture is a terrible person in my book.

  157. says

    Hugs and soft cool air blowing on your fingers
    My mother once tested the texture of molten sugar with her finger.
    Also my condolences to family death.
    The car is, btw, not sporty in the conventional sense. A Peugeot 5008 family van. But it has a hell lot of WUMS.

  158. birgerjohansson says

    Medicine n´stuff
    Enzyme identified which could lead to targeted treatment for PMS http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-12-enzyme-treatment-pms.html

    Injectable 3D vaccines could fight cancer and infectious diseases http://phys.org/news/2014-12-3d-vaccines-cancer-infectious-diseases.html

    Hybrid chemical / genetic therapy restores light sensitivity to retina in blind mice, dogs http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-12-hybrid-chemical-genetic-therapy-sensitivity.html

    Rule of three: Hormone triplet offers hope for obesity and diabetes http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-12-hormone-triplet-obesity-diabetes.html

  159. birgerjohansson says

    “Also my condolences to family death”
    — — —
    “I think that jewelery is a cooler gift than a gun”
    Would a Ring of Power qualify as both jewelry and a weapon?
    — — — —
    Accurate intel from CIA torture = myth.
    This crap has turned back the clock on worldwide human rights by a generation.
    Putin and other scum now refer to Merican use of “interrogation” to justify their own brutality.

    — — — — —
    I may have posted this in previous iteration of The Thread but I post it here to make certain I am sharing it: Using uncrewed balloons (not airships) to cruise between air layers with different winds to stay stationary,
    I heart lighter than air stuff.
    “Not As Loony As It Sounds Google’s “impossible” plan to beam Internet from solar-powered balloons is actually working. Here’s how. ” http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/12/project_loon_how_google_s_internet_balloons_are_actually_working.html

  160. birgerjohansson says

    Saudi Arabia Forbids Badawi’s Sister From Traveling http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2014/12/08/saudi-arabia-forbids-badawis-sister-from-traveling/#comment-384403

    My fellow bloggers, I feel it is time for me to tell the facts to you as they really are:
    1. Bananas are marsupials.
    2. Cars run on gravy.
    3. Salmon live in trees and eat pencils.
    4. Saudi Arabia is not run by a bunch of fascist assholes.

  161. Athywren; Kitty Wrangler says

    Hello everyone. I’m wondering a thing, and you lot always seem to be a good source for such things… I was going to ask this in Thunderdome, but it’s blocked by the library proxy for “intolerance” and I’m feeling too lazy to get around it, but it should be alright for the Lounge, so….

    Is there a version of Poe’s law, or a similar thing, which deals with the idea that extremists or the chronically misled can’t tell that exaggerated satire of reasonable positions and/or strawmen are satire or strawmen because they’re so invested with the idea that the reasonable position is an extremist position?

  162. says

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the committee’s chairwoman, summarized the four key findings of the report this way:

    1. The CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” were not effective.

    2. The CIA provided extensive inaccurate information about the operation of the program and its effectiveness to policymakers and the public.

    3. The CIA’s management of the program was inadequate and deeply flawed.

    4. The CIA program was far more brutal than the CIA represented to policymakers and the American public.


  163. Tapetum says

    Anne I really, really hope so. Younger sprog has been up two nights straight. He’s been napping in the afternoons, so he’s still chugging along. Momma, otoh, would really like to fall over now. Please, please let him sleep tonight!

    rq My spouse has lost two (company issued) phones in the last six months, which has upset IT quite a bit. He hasn’t lost them in any of the listed ways, though. Phone #1 was dropped in a vat of resin. Phone #2 was dropped in a vat of resin – and then got stepped on, while still gooey. So when IT demanded the phone back as proof that it was really irretrievable, they got a block of resin, with pieces of phone suspended in it, like insects in amber. This time they sent him a waterproof sports model, on the theory that if it falls in resin, it can be allowed to harden, then chipped out and rescued.

  164. thunk: cloistered says

    Hello, everyone! I almost forgot about you folks here:

    Portia, congratulations on becoming an advanced firefighter. I am quite happy for you. That is more of an accomplishment than anything I’ve done recently.

    Dalillama, I’m sorry that your living situation is as horrible as it is. That’s just despicable. Best of luck, and may the twelfth come soon!

    I’m doing a lot of finals right now. It’s a bit hectic and boring at the same time. I just want to get home sooner!

  165. says

    Cheney is, as expected, defending so-called enhanced interrogation techniques. John McCain is on the opposite side of the fence. McCain is speaking now and he against the use of all kinds of degrading interrogation techniques, let alone the dangerously harmful techniques. McCain’s main point is that torture is also an ineffective interrogation technique.

    Cheney said: “What I keep hearing out there is they portray this as a rogue operation and the agency was way out of bounds and then they lied about it,” he said in a telephone interview. “I think that’s all a bunch of hooey. The program was authorized. The agency did not want to proceed without authorization, and it was also reviewed legally by the Justice Department before they undertook the program.”

  166. says

    Here’s an article that describes in detail how torture does NOT work: Politico link.

    It’s official: torture doesn’t work. Waterboarding Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of 9/11, did not in fact “produce the intelligence that allowed us to get Osama bin Laden,” as former Vice President Dick Cheney asserted in 2011 […]

    I was privy to the information provided by Khalid Sheik Mohammed. I was aware of no valuable information that came from waterboarding. And the Senate Intelligence Committee—which had access to all CIA documents related to the “enhanced interrogation” program—has concluded that abusive techniques didn’t help the hunt for Bin Laden. Cheney’s claim that the frequent waterboarding of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed “produced phenomenal results for us” is simply false.

    The self-defeating stupidity of torture might come as news to Americans who’ve heard again and again from Cheney and other political leaders that torture “worked.” Professional interrogators, however, couldn’t be less surprised. We know that legal, rapport-building interrogation techniques are the best way to obtain intelligence, and that torture tends to solicit unreliable information that sets back investigations.

    Yes, torture makes people talk—but what they say is often untrue. […]

    Terms like “waterboarding” and “enhanced interrogation” obscure the brutal, sometimes bloody, reality. It was about the delivery of pain. […]

    I should clarify my comments about Senator John McCain’s speech (see #258): McCain said the ineffective nature of torture is only one point, and that it is more important that we do act in ways that are against our values.

  167. says

    Some info on the man quoted in comment #259:

    Mark Fallon served as an interrogator for more than 30 years, including as a Naval Criminal Investigative Service special agent and within the Department of Homeland Security, as the assistant director for training of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center

  168. blf says

    There seems to be an amusing “evil” display planned for Moscow, which has the local kooks freting about, er, something — Planned giant Eye of Sauron installation in Moscow condemned by Orthodox Church:

    A Russian Orthodox Church spokesman decried the installation, to be affixed to the 21st floor of a skyscraper, as a ‘symbol of the triumph of evil’

    The Russian Orthodox Church has warned of dire consequences for Moscow if plans proceed for a skyscraper light installation modeled on the all-seeing evil eye at the centre of JRR Tolkien’s fantasy novels.

    A property company plans to raise what resembles a giant glowing eye on the 21st floor of a skyscraper this week…

    The installation is planned as a 1 metre (3.3 foot) sphere on top of a 21 storey building, with a light show projected from behind to create a 3-D effect…

    But for the Russian Orthodox Church, the evil eye is no fiction.

    “This is a demonic symbol,” the Russian Orthodox Church’s head of public affairs, Vsevolod Chaplin, told Govorit Moskva radio station.

    “Such a symbol of the triumph of evil is rising up over the city, becoming practically the highest object in the city. Is that good or bad? I’m afraid it’s more likely bad. Just don’t be surprised later if something goes wrong with the city.”

  169. rq says

    thunk! Alloooooha! Good luck with the exams!!!

    How old is the youngest sprog? Hope he gives momma some opportunity to rest tonight and all nights forthcoming!!


    And the adventure begins. I get the kids for 24+ hours all on me lonesome, but I got left the car, which means we’re mobile. *phew* Tomorrow morning’s going to be hectic, and tomorrow afternoon/evening, too. I’m hoping the hours at work will let me unwind. Funeral on Thursday, and then – yippee! – I get carted back home to spend Friday to Sunday on my own. At work, of course. :P

    In rather more intriguing news, the chirrun are meant to prepare short poems from memory for their school/daycare christmas pageant thingies – they’re not religious as such, there’s usually a short play and some singing about fir trees and animals in winter, and then Winter Solstice Man arrives and hands out presents.
    THE POINT: Middle Child has to select his own short poem this year to memorize, and so I pulled out the giant book of children’s poetry that we have to look for one with him. We looked at a bunch, and he was all ‘But they’re all so long!’ and it’s true, most of them are, though I pointed out some shorter ones. He sighed but then said, ‘It’s okay, I just thought of my own.’
    So we just transcribed his first self-composed poem to be presented publicly. I do hope his teachers will let him do it, it’s a cute one about a hibernating bear and animals playing in the snow. And then they all get presents at the end.
    (It’s actually his second attempt, as the first was a rather bloody attempt about a squirrel and a wolf hunting during a moonlit night, and tearing a rabbit apart as the sun rose… I explained it wasn’t exactly seasonal. He reconsidered.)

  170. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    This time they sent him a waterproof sports model, on the theory that if it falls in resin, it can be allowed to harden, then chipped out and rescued.

    I guess they’re smarter than Verizon/Asurion, which insisted on replacing my old flip phones with the same model…which had a structural defect in the hinge design, and thus each broke in the same way within 6 months of normal use.

  171. blf says

    rq, As I recall, you had a not-exactly-recommended encounter with some boiling water recently. And now boiling sugar. I suggest you stay away from hot liquids. There’s a job on 67P to reposition a somewhat misplaced lander, guaranteed no hot liquids involved (and a great view). May I suggest you apply?

  172. toska says


    (It’s actually his second attempt, as the first was a rather bloody attempt about a squirrel and a wolf hunting during a moonlit night, and tearing a rabbit apart as the sun rose… I explained it wasn’t exactly seasonal. He reconsidered.)

    On a serious note though, I think it’s awesome that he is so creative. I admire that in people. I’m glad you’re encouraging him. :)

  173. Tapetum says

    Youngest sprog is actually fourteen. I had had some (I think reasonable) expectations that I would be getting regular sleeping hours rather well before this stage. Instead I got a 14-year-old insomniac, who simply gives up and stays up all night, unless I sit on him. And if he misses any more school between now and Christmas, we’re likely to end up a) with him failing a couple of classes, and b) in family court for truancy.

    And his brother is up, and getting ready for school between 5:30 and 6am. Momma is not having a good year this year. (Wife and daughter are also not having good years, for completely different reasons. Would that we were all actually separate people.)

    And I second blf – you need to stay away from the hot liquids!

    Also, good job with your son and his poetry. I always hated memorizing poetry. I started setting it to music, though, rather than composing my own.

  174. says

    Home at last
    And slightly panicky because I have to write the abstract for my final thesis for next week

    My sympathies

    Very talented kid you have!
    #1’s latest book (by now she writes and draws her own books) is about a literal piece of shit that didn’t get flushed down the toilet and subsequently becomes part of the family…

  175. says

    Ouch. Hope your fingers feel better; I’ve still got a scar covering the entire first segment of one of my fingers from a boiling water incident.

    You can do it!

    Hello and welcome in.

  176. Yellow Thursday says

    Since it was mentioned upthread, I remembered that I never answered the Lounge Questionnaire.

    1) horses: They’re pretty enough, and if I didn’t have a car, I’d probably need one to get to work. But other than that, meh.
    2) peas: Good as long as they’re not overcooked. And if they’re overcooked, they’re only good for something akin to split pea soup.
    3) cheese: Nature’s purrfect food. I have never met a cheese I didn’t like, even the ones that decided they didn’t want to remain inside my body. My favorites are Roquefort and good ole cheddar.
    BONUS) Miracle Whip: an abomination that attempts to pass itself off as a substitute for mayonnaise.

    Since I don’t post often, I don’t get a chance to commiserate and congratulate, as appropriate. But I just want to let you know that all of you are awesome! Reading the Lounge helps me get through my day sometimes.

  177. rq says

    Well, Eldest has been writing his memoirs…
    But that story about the piece of poo, that is pure Awesome. :D
    Re: final thesis – good luck with that, may it go better and faster than expected!!

    14? I was under the impression that my sleep patterns would be normalized well before then (that is, well before any of my children reach that age). Thank you, kind person, for dashing my hopes against the cold hard cliff of reality. *moresigh*
    Good luck with the non-truancy, you’re really not giving me much to look forward to (seeing as how Eldest is only in grade 1 and already a right sloth in the mornings, need a shoehorn to pry him outta bed on time… only to listen to him complain about how we’re running late yet again).

    Won’t be that bad, though I was in a bit of a panic when it happened. Pot of sugar syrup boiled over and it has short handles so I went to take it off the heat and it boiled over my fingers, of course.
    Still have thumbs on hold for you and an eventless move!!!

    I figured the violent hunting fantasy might end up causing more trouble than I’m prepared to put up with right now. :D

    Yellow Thursday
    It’s nice to see you around. :)

  178. thunk: cloistered says

    Hello everyone, again

    rq: Sorry to be the bearer of more bad news, but just after turning 18, my sleep patterns are only now starting to become normalized. Though not recently— I just can’t seem to go to bed properly when I’m sick. It’s frustrating.


    I guess they’re smarter than Verizon/Asurion, which insisted on replacing my old flip phones with the same model…which had a structural defect in the hinge design, and thus each broke in the same way within 6 months of normal use.

    Did they hire the same hinge designers that Toshiba used? :p My laptop (and a lot of my friends’ of the same type)’s hinges kept routinely failing after 6 months or so. Admittedly, I’m a bit rough on technology, but it was still a flaw.

    Also… I’m not used to it being so warm in December. It actually means I can walk outside though.

  179. Tapetum says

    thunk -it may be bad news for rq, but that actually gives me some hope that younger sprog may one day get to a better place sleep-wise. Though he has the opposite problem of you – when he’s too short on sleep, he gets sick (nausea, vomiting), which is why he’s missed so much school this year. Next year he and his brother will be in the same school, which will at least help with the conflicting schedules part of messing with my sleep. Also Mr. Tapetum will be done with his first round of being an experimental guinea pig in the cause of cancer research, which should lower everybody’s stress level (presuming decent outcomes from the experiments, which seems increasingly likely at this stage of the game).

  180. says

    OK, um, belated Happy birthday to Anne.

    A congratulations to Smokey the Advanced Attorney Firefighter II Advocate.

    Another congratulations to Esteleth.

    And I am someone else hoping Dalillama is able to get out of the very bad neighbor situation without further problems.

  181. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    This popped right into my head, ha. Not sure if that’s what you were going for. ;)

    Thanks again for the moral support, folks, it makes me feel like I’m not wasting my time with this whole fire thing.

  182. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I see the Pullet Patrol is getting in the graduation spirit. Half are running around in firefighter gear, and the other half is wearing a starched white hat.

  183. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    thunk @257
    Thank you and good to see you, good luck with finals. You got it. :)

  184. carlie says

    Congratulations to Portia!

    Congratulations to Esteleth!

    Hi thunk!

    Hi Tapetum!

    rq your life always sounds exhausting!

    I am going to bed now!

  185. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Thanks carlie!

    Sweet dreams.

    I got this reflective yarn to make SO a hat for when he’s totally ridiculous and goes for a run in the winter when it’s dark so early. It’s really soft and cozy knitting up, and I know he’ll be really excited when he sees it. :D

    He asked if I wanted to train for a triathlon (I don’t know how long most of them are, but this doesn’t seem too awfully long). I don’t know why it freaks me out so much to even think of it.

    I feel crummy. Tea, sweet potatoes, and bed.

    Got through a fire meeting without wanting to strangle everyone, just a couple of people. Woo!

  186. rq says

    I’m sure it’s not as bad as it sounds, I just complain at the tiring moments. :)

    Yay, Esteleth!!! Stack of balloons for you, and go forth and heal the wounded!

  187. says

    Yay esteleth


    I’m sure it’s not as bad as it sounds, I just complain at the tiring moments. :)

    I know denial when I see it. ;)
    Let’s be honest: Our lives are fucking exhausting and we’re pretty kick-ass for dealing with them. *fistbump*

  188. azhael says

    Hey, i just wanted to say thank you to Cerberus, CaitieCat and others who have been enduring the transphobic extravaganza thread. I know you don’t need anyone to tell you this, least of all me, but please know that the pain that those pieces of shit cause you is acknowledged, and that we are genuinely grateful for the valuable information that you share. I know that it’s little consolation when you have to endure abuse on a daily basis and there’s no end to it in sight, and that being subjected to that abuse is terribly draining, but those of us who are benefitting from you and your experiences are thankful for the opportunity it brings us to confront our prejudices and biases and improve ourselves towards the goal of achieving basic human decency. I can only hope that the sacrifices you make, because that’s what they are, can some day be repaid with a somewhat less shitty world.
    I’m sorry that i’ve been part of the problem. I’m sorry that the world can be such an awful place. I know what it’s like to live surrounded by people who think you are less than at best, and an abomination at worst, just for who you are, even though it has absolutely nothing to do with them nor impacts them in any way, and it nearly cost me my life many, many years ago. Since then, my world has changed dramatically, though it still needs work. I hope you get to say the same one day. Your strength is admirable and is way beyond what i can personally fathom.
    Anyway, sorry for the rambling, that fucking thread has me all emotional. I hope i didn’t sound patronizing and that the sentiment is well received. You amaze me with every post i read.

  189. bassmike says

    Hi all!

    Congrats to Portia and Esteleth you are both qualified to go out and help humanity.

    Dalilama I hope the next few days pass quickly.

    Thanks to everyone for their wonderful support, it means a lot to me. Fortunately, my daughter is now back home. She came out of hospital on Monday and I looked after her yesterday. She appears to be back to normal. We had to administer ventolin every four hours, but that stops this evening so we can get a full night’s sleep. She’s on antibiotics until Friday, then she’s been prescribed a low level antibiotic for the winter to hopefully stave off any further infections.

    On a completely different tack: My department is asking for volunteers for the diversity committee. They need a representative for LGBTQ people. Although I I am not a member of that group I feel that, if no-one else can be found to take the post, that maybe I could at least represent their interests. Do any of you think this is a good/bad idea?

  190. birgerjohansson says

    Planned giant Eye of Sauron installation in Moscow condemned by Orthodox Church:
    http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/dec/09/giant-eye-sauron-installation-moscow-church-evil Yes. Sauron is totally in the same story cycle as Jehowah.
    Also, JRR Tolkien’s wartime gun goes on display in Manchester http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/dec/12/jrr-tolkien-gun-first-world-war-manchester
    Tolkien’s horible experiences at Somme during WWI played a major role in his decision to start writing.

  191. birgerjohansson says

    “we’re nearly ready to combat evil”

    But….I thought we were it? Ehvil (TM), that is. Big ehvil feninisty atheisty face-huggers from Zeta Reticuli.

    — — — — —
    I have recently read Stephen King’s Revival. Good until the last 30-40 pages.
    The Big Bad Old One revealed at the end was just too silly.

    You know, like some stories by Lovecraft where the terror just is not there. Or the poor CGI in the 80s film version of “Who Goes There”, where a severed head grows spiny legs. If it had completely morphed into something insectile it would have been scary, but it was just a head with stick legs. Not scary, just silly.

  192. birgerjohansson says

    Not Santa Claus, but Sinterklaas http://www.amazon.co.uk/Saint-DVD-Huub-Stapel/dp/B005FPU2G2/ref=pd_sim_d_h__1?ie=UTF8&refRID=0GMN2BSV0WDZQZ9AA7M2
    Over-the-top horror comedy (set in Holland)

    — — — —
    Our Large Moon Does Not Stabilize Earth’s Axis (pdf) http://davidwaltham.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/EPSC2013-37.pdf

    — — — —
    Metal test could help diagnose breast cancer early http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-12-metal-breast-cancer-early.html -Changes in the isotopic composition of zinc,

  193. opposablethumbs says

    Glad to hear your daughter is back home again, bassmike, and I do hope all of you get that full night’s sleep!

    I get (and would share) that strong desire to make sure the post on the diversity committee is filled, but I am also sure that few if any non-LGBTQ people could or should do so; it would be better on many levels to invite someone who is LGBTQ even if they don’t match some of the other criteria for the committee (I mean, if the committee is supposed to be all faculty, for example, it might be better for the committee to be advised by someone who is not faculty but who does have the lived experience – rather than the other way around, someone who is faculty like yourself but who doesn’t have the experience no matter how respectfully and conscientiously they fill that role). Partly because we see all the time how there are things we hadn’t thought of or hadn’t understood as well as we thought we had, but mainly because it’s key both in practice and in principle for actual LGBTQ voices to be heard rather than spoken for.

    And I totally understand that your only wish is to make sure that position is not left vacant, which is obviously very important. I just reckon that you would probably do a great job of making sure an LGBTQ person is found who is willing and able to be mindful of other marginalised groups (e.g. not a hypothetical somebody who is pro-TERF, for example, or misogynistic).

    Will you be on the diversity committee anyway? I hope so, I bet your voice would be a good one there, just not in this specific capacity. Does that make sense? Other Horders are quite certainly better able to say than I am.

  194. bassmike says

    opposablethumbs I entirely agree. The role on the committee should be taken by a member of the group in question. Apparently they are looking for an undergraduate representative, ideally. My real concern is in the case of the role not being filled at all.

    In general I’d like to be on the committee, but as a white straight male I feel I may be taking a position best filled by someone more diverse! If you get what I mean.

  195. rq says

    Maybe you can take on a temporary advisory role and help with outreach to find someone for that role? Fill in so that nobody forgets about the position, but with the clear and stated intention of finding an undergraduate with the lived experience? I don’t know how these things work, though, so that may be bad advice.
    *hugs* for you and YAY! for healthy daughter, here’s hoping she lasts a long while without any further illness!

  196. Ogvorbis says

    birgerjohansson @298:

    Tolkien’s horible experiences at Somme during WWI played a major role in his decision to start writing.

    His wartime experience also shows up in the descriptions of the landscape on the plains before Mount Doom in Mordor. The description of a cratered wasteland with no plants, no towns, just dirt and dust and mud mirrors very closely descriptions I have read of some of the WWI battlefields — Ypres, Messines, the Somme, Verdun . . . .

  197. says

    […] As recently as two years ago, Public Policy Polling found that nearly half of Republican voters believed President Obama only won re-election because of ACORN’s interference – even though ACORN didn’t exist at the time. […]

    The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has not existed for some time now (4.5 years). Never mind, once Republicans latch onto a conspiracy theory they never let it go.

    For a little while, at least Congress Republican Critters stopped trying to defund this nonexistent organization, but now they are back at it. Yesterday they unveiled the bill that is supposed to provide funds to keep the government from shutting down. The bill includes: ““None of the funds made available under this or any other Act, or any prior Appropriations Act, may be provided to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), or any of its affiliates, subsidiaries, allied organizations, or successors.”

    Well, at least that’s settled! Phew! /sarcasm
    Oh my aching head. There is no ACORN. There is no ACORN. There is no unicorn.

    Republicans and their imaginary problems:
    – they voted to prevent the Department of Energy from blocking offshore-drilling permits –but the DOE has nothing to do with those permits
    – there are the many laws preventing the imposition of Sharia Law, which no one is trying to impose
    – they refuse to believe their own, Republican-generated report that puts to rest the Benghazi conspiracy
    – they refuse to let go of the non-scandal “IRS Scandal” (they suppose, wrongly, that the IRS targets rightwing organizations, probably under orders from Obama)

    Well, etc. etc. I don’t see how these fools can possibly govern. I’m not surprised that chaos and ineptitude shows up at every level of their attempts to govern. Even though it looks like we may not be able to keep the government’s lights on thanks to right-wingers, the doofuses are using up some of their precious time before lights-out to push anti-contraception clauses:

    Cultural conservatives in the House and Senate were also pressing to include a “conscience clause” for employers who say funding contraception violates their religious beliefs.

  198. Rowan vet-tech says

    For Chigau:

    Rowan’s handy-dandy How to Get Your Feline Overlord Into the Kitty Carrier of Doom

    Step 1: Gently scruff your feline overlord with your non-dominant hand.
    Step 2: Partially lift your feline overlord.
    Step 3: With your dominant hand, grab your feline overlord’s ankles from behind, being sure to secure them well.
    Step 4: Maintaining both these grips, turn your feline overlord so that they are now upside down, with their back being supported by the forearm of the scruffing hand.
    Step 5: Maintaining this position, slide the now befuddled feline overlord head first into the carrier.
    Step 6: Release your feline overlord, remove your arm from the carrier quickly and shut the door.
    Step 7: Marvel.

  199. says

    Oh, boy, the Koch brothers may have a hard time getting out of this one.

    Overnight, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists broke open a new scandal involving the Koch Brothers intricate plan, dubbed “Project Snow”, to dodge taxes.

    […] It’s a scam enabled by the four largest accounting firms: Price WaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and KPMG. Here are the details:

    […] The Koch documents, also prepared by Ernst & Young, describe “Project Snow,” a 26-step restructuring of Invista designed, they say, to simplify the company’s structure, centralize its cash flow into Luxembourg, and pay down debt. […] thousands of tax deals over 22 years that helped save companies billions of dollars.

    The documents show that in the restructuring, which took place starting in September 2008, the subsidiaries of Invista passed hundreds of millions of dollars back and forth, converting shares to debt and occasionally dissolving firms. Tax-free “hidden distributions” among subsidiaries are just one type of head-spinning transaction included in the confidential tax ruling approved by Luxembourg authorities. Another section describes a $736 million loan that gets passed from company to company until a U.S.-based subsidiary becomes “both the debtor and creditor of the same debt,” and the debt is canceled. […]

    From 2010 through 2013 the company paid $6.4 million in taxes on $269 million in profits. Its highest annual tax rate was 4.15 percent.

    […] one of these companies was part of a U.S. election fraud: Koch Industries admitted in 2011 that one of the key companies in its Luxembourg holdings, Invista S.à.r.l., had funneled a dozen illegal campaign contributions to state political candidates in Virginia, Delaware and Kansas and to the U.S. Democratic Governors Association. […]

    […] what the Koch Brothers is doing is part of the general robbery of the U.S. Treasury undertaken by many companies who keep money stashed abroad–that amount is now almost $2 trillion–through a variety of scams, particularly through so-called “tax inversions” […]

    Daily Kos link.
    ICIJ link.

  200. blf says

    Two great quotes from Ms Yousafzai’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech:

    Why is it that countries which we call strong are so powerful in creating wars but are so weak in bringing peace? Why is it that giving guns is so easy, but giving books is so hard?


    We are living in the modern age and we believe that nothing is impossible. We have reached the moon 45 years ago, and maybe we will soon land on Mars. Then, in this 21st century we must be able to give every child a quality education.

  201. says

    So, Republicans did pass a bill that will keep the lights on for the government of the USA.

    They included the following lovely evil provisions:
    – bank lobbyists will write the laws that apply to banks.
    – school lunches for American children will include fewer whole grains and more sodium
    – regulations requiring sleep time for truckers were weakened
    – methane emissions from livestock are not to be regulated by the EPA
    – funding for the Environmental Protection Agency was cut by another $60 million (this is on top of the $2.2 billion cut since 2010)

  202. blf says

    Saad, That idiotic “…of the Year” designation is massively sexist; e.g., A woman has only won Time’s person of the year three times: “An abstract grouping or concept such as ‘the American soldier’ or ‘the protestor’ has won Time’s person of the year more times than the award has been given to a woman”. It’s also massively USAlien-centric, albeit that might be understandable given that it is a commercial ploy by a USAlien-centric tabloid.

    I concur that this year’s designation is massively better than the seemingly-usual politician or other liar, such as last year’s.

  203. Sili says

    I met my first real, live Mormons today.

    Sadly, I was too busy to stop and talk to them about Yule.

  204. says

    When Fred Phelps died we thought there might be a vacuum in the “I hate gays and god hates gays” category. That vacuum has been amply filled:

    Pastor Steven L. Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Arizona, infamous for his virulently anti-gay preaching and open calls for gays to be put to death, seems to have found at least one acolyte eager to help him spread his message.

    In August, Anderson ordained Pastor Donnie Romero, who then established Stedfast Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, where he preached the message last Sunday that all gays should to be put to death.

    Romero says that if he ever goes “soft on sin,” he hopes that his children will call him out and tell him to “get up there and rip on these queers because it’s only getting worse and worse.”

    “I’m not going to let any of these dirty faggots inside my church,” Romero said. “They are all pedophiles … They’re always trying to rape and hurt other people. They’re relentless. They are relentless. They are predators and given an opportunity to snatch one of your children, they would do it in a heartbeat” […]

    Right Wing Watch link.

    Baptist churches in Texas — OMG.

  205. blf says

    I met my first real, live Mormons today.

    Live!? Aren’t they one of the nastier blood-and-everything-else sucking vampire cults? If so, they may be many things, none particularly pleasing, but alive is not one of those things.

    (Amusingly enough we may be suffering from some “missionaries” in the French village where I live. There’s a pair(?) of English-speaking people who resemble the stereotypical image of such vampires who have been wandering about for the last few months(?). I’ve managed to avoid them, except they’ve worked out I speak English (I suppose carrying a British newspaper is perhaps such a strong clew even undead morons can think it through…).)

  206. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Or the poor CGI in the 80s film version of “Who Goes There”, where a severed head grows spiny legs. If it had completely morphed into something insectile it would have been scary, but it was just a head with stick legs. Not scary, just silly.

    The 1982 version of The Thing used traditional effects.

    And is in fact one of the most popular comparisons for CGI- masturhating sessions.

  207. says

    Speaking of mormons, they have an odd approach to Christmas, which is more like Smithmas. There are even Joseph Smith nativity scenes:

    Some mormons have complained about the lack of appropriate decor in their ward buildings, and about the lack of emphasis on the baby Jesus. From ex-mormon “ziller”:

    If not for the push by Mormon Headquarters in Salt Lake City to appear like a mainstream Christian church, Mormons would not celebrate Christmas at all.

    Too much emphasis on the birth of Jesus Christ detracts from the worship of Joseph Smith, Jr.

    Smithmas falls on December 23rd and conflicts with the gentile celebrations surrounding December 25th.

    More here.

  208. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Rowan’s handy-dandy How to Get Your Feline Overlord Into the Kitty Carrier of Doom

    I’ve found “put the carrier down, open, in front of the cat and give her butt a little push” works fairly well.

  209. Rowan vet-tech says

    Azkyroth, your feline overlord is clearly defective and must be returned so you have a proper overlord. Correct reaction to any attempt to entice the feline into the carrier is a whirlwind of teeth, claws and fur. If blood is not drawn, your feline overlord is not acting correctly and needs retraining.

  210. says

    The House is about to vote on a budget deal, a deal negotiated behind closed doors that slips in a provision that would let derivatives traders on Wall Street gamble with taxpayer money and get bailed out by the government when their risky bets threaten to blow up our financial system.

    That’s Elizabeth Warren speaking today.

    This is a followup to my comment #321, which notes that Republicans are sneaking all kinds of bad news into the bill to fund the government of the USA.


  211. says

    And here’s more crappy legislation that was jammed into the keep-the-lights on bill:

    A provision tucked deep inside the $1.1 trillion spending bill filed by Republicans on Tuesday night would dramatically increase the amount of money a single rich donor could give to national party committees each year — from $97,200 to as much as $777,600.

    Just what we don’t fucking need.

    Politico link.

  212. says

    Coming soon to Times Square, Noah’s Ark:

    Answers in Genesis, the group which runs the Creation Museum, hopes to promote its Noah’s Ark-themed amusement park with a digital billboard in Times Square […]

    Let’s hope it costs them a lot of moola, and that New Yorkers laugh at it.
    Right Wing Watch link.

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

    It’s not reasonable to be this angry just because dad had to go and muck up my new African violets, right? I just planted them two weeks ago and talked about needing to buy some more garden dirt for them and he was nice enough to buy it while I was away… and then also replant my violets because they were “too deep in and would never have a chance to grow” so now they are barely hanging in the dirt.

    Ok, fine, he’s generally better at this gardening thing than I am and I could use advice. But I don’t like that he just goes and does what he wants with my fucking flowers which I wanted to grow the way I wanted them to grow (so what, they would have a harder time growing but they would also have solid roots in the dirt once (if) they managed (I’m sure there’s a metaphor somewhere in there…. for something))

    And now I hate them because they are not my work any more. That’s totally childish but right now it’s the thing that bothers me and makes me think about it and poking at the leaves and getting angry all over again every time I look at them-

    Wow, I have some issues there. Sorry. I just can’t get it out my head. I wanted to replant them again, but I can’t find the bag with the dirt and it’s a small balcony so I have no idea where the hell could he have put it. And it’s bloody cold outside to poke around just in my pajamas.

    Can someone please kick me in the head so that my brain restarts into something resembling sanity?

  214. says

    This is a followup to comment #331.

    Citigroup wrote that legislation that Republicans just snuck into the government funding bill. Citigroup wrote regulations (or lack thereof) that will allow bankers to rip people off again. Elizabeth Warren pointed this out.

    Republican politicians do not even bother to write their own bad financial regulation bills, they just have industry lobbyists, or the banking industry itself, write the bills for them.

    The new bill allows Citigroup to gamble with taxpayer-backed funds (banks use government insured deposits to bet on a wide range of risky derivatives).

    The main beneficiaries of this new bill are Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JP Morgan Chase. Together, these too-big-to-fail institutions control 90% of the $700 trillion derivatives market. Now their gambling in risky business will be insured, so to speak, by the taxpayers. We will bail them out if there’s trouble.

    A side by side comparison of the Citigroup text with the text of the bill can be found here. Scroll down to see the comparison. Yes, Citigroup wrote this self-serving and dangerous crap.

    So, yeah, home, retirement accounts, jobs … well, the entire economy is at risk again thanks to some addlepated politicians.

  215. says

    Holy hell, but I hear you there. I so often find myself in the “yeah, they’re trying to help but GODDAMMIT” area. I don’t think you need a kick in the head. If so, then probably everyone here would. HUGS

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

    So, anyways, work isn’t enough to get me out of the obsessive loop. Thread about atheism is too surreal right now for me to concentrate on with most of my brain screaming “flower! roots! dirt! HULKSMASH!”

    I wanted to watch the mid-season finale of Agents of SHIELD but, er… I can’t obtain the newest episode at the moment from the place where I usually get it from. *shifty eyes*

    Can’t wait for Christmas. I’m probably going to feel depressed and lonely, but at least I’ll rest from work. Right now, that part balances out the former.
    Met my best friend yesterday and we had nearly nothing to talk about. I don’t think it’s her fault. I’m a bit weird lately.

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


    I probably shouldn’t have had that coffee. I’m a bit high strung right now. I’d ask if it shows but I know it does :)

    I forget, are you also in the “living with parents” group?

  218. says

    Beatrice, that would frustrate the hell out of me. My mother used to rearrange my dressers and closets sometimes, just because she felt like it. She was sure she had a better system, so she’d just…do it. It felt like such a violation every time, just a failure to recognise my autonomy*.

    So yeah, totally get it, and you’re no crazier than I am. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether that’s a comfort. :)

    It’s also unfortunately common in men to simply jump in and do things for women, and I’ve never known that to feel good, either.

    * There was another reason: it made it MUCH harder to keep my stash of Cait-stuff hidden; my mother tended to not take evidence of my continued deviancy very well. These things are probably causally related, after the first time they caught me being me (I was 5, and we never visited those friends again.

    Sigh. I really meant this to be a lighthearted comment about bad parenting and early trans life, but it sorta went pear-shaped, sorry.

  219. says


    My mother used to rearrange my dressers and closets sometimes, just because she felt like it.

    Oh, man…My mom was like that. But her preferred method was to dump all my drawers and closet contents into the middle of the room, then tell me to clean it up right.

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


    So yeah, totally get it, and you’re no crazier than I am. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether that’s a comfort. :)

    You’re pretty awesome, so I’m going with comfort. :)

    It’s good to hear that at least you have some space now, even if it’s sometimes not enough.
    With the number of times my mom is on the phone with me when I travel, I suspect she will have similar problems once I’m outta here.

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

    That’s bad. Invasions of privacy and disrespect in both your cases.

    Mine are small fries in comparison, I have to admit they are otherwise pretty good in giving me privacy and respecting my things.

  222. says

    Moment of Mormon Madness, forcing-mormonism-on-others category, and also failure to understand separation of church and state. Mesa, Arizona is burdened with a large and active mormon community.

    Three public school students in Mesa, Arizona, including a team captain, were allegedly removed from their varsity softball team, in part because they did not want to start each game with a “team prayer.” According to a complaint filed in a federal court in Arizona, the three girls were “penalized for not conducting ‘team prayer’ in accordance with the directive of Joseph Goodman,” the team’s coach. Coach Goodman, allegedly acted “for himself and at the behest of certain parents that were part of the [Mormon] Church.”

    The complaint paints a picture of a community where Mormon parents and students demanded the ability to micromanage other students’ lives. […]

    Think Progress link.

  223. Tapetum says

    Beatrice – I’m going with it being a perfectly normal reaction, too. My parents were on the opposite end of that spectrum – took no interest in my room or my stuff at all (I’m having a hard time tracking my kids’ homework and such, because my parents never did anything past look at my report card when it came home, ever. So the idea of keeping track of what homework they have, and whether or not they’ve done it is very alien to me.) – to the point where I made my mother a small rug for Christmas one year, and simply kept the stuff in my room, right out in the open. The neglect may not have been entirely benign, but it seems to have given me a lot fewer issues than my friends with parents who didn’t respect personal space and stuff.

    This is not to say I escaped without serious issues (not just no, but hell no), but more to say that wanting your own stuff, and methods to be respected is not unreasonable, nor is anger when people don’t respect such.

  224. says

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you feel like your problems are “small fries.” I do totally get how awful it feels to have someone just plow in and do stuff to your stuff without your permission. Sorry.

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


    no, no, no, no sorries. I know my flowers are small fries compared to pretty much everything.
    I just wanted to acknowledge the seriousness of some of those violations of your and CaitieCat’s privacy and autonomy.

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


    Hello, I’m sorry I haven’t welcomed you yet.
    Yeah, that’s the other end. Does anyone not have issues with their parents?

  227. says

    This is a followup to my comments (321, 331, 335) about Republicans sneaking disgusting bank-bailout legislation into the government funding bill: It is now about 30 hours before funds run out and the government shuts down.

    As Elizabeth Warren said, we did not elect politicians to represent Citigroup.

  228. Morgan!? the Slithy Tove says

    About bad parenting… You the know old saw, “young women eventually become their mothers.” And just how in all fuck do we avoid it? I look like my benighted mother. I am now the joyous possessor of nearly all of my mother’s physical and emotional maladies. I RAN as fast and as far as I could from my parents as soon as I was able. They gave not one little tiny shit about me. The fact that I got an education and had any success was due to reaction against them, not help or support from them. They are the pure source of my underlying rage and ultimately my self-destruction.

    I am weary of analysis. I understand so, so much of it. But just how the fuck do we escape it? Only death, and I consciously choose life. But that doesn’t make the days any better.

  229. says

    If anyone needs a kick in the head it’s your dad, and I say this as someone who would have felt a strong impulse to do what he did (i.e. butt into a situation where I [think I] know what to do and just do it, rather than, e.g. offering advice to the person whose situation it is). I have learned, however (mostly via metaphorical boots to the head) , that even if I do actually know better what to do, it’s still an asshole move, and not appropriate behaviour.

    Does anyone not have issues with their parents?

    Only exceedingly minor ones, Mom can be a bit excessively prone to unsolicited advice., and I sometimes feel like they’re a bit disappointed in me, but that may be in my head; my siblings are both doing considerably better than I am financially, both of them have completed more schooling than I have, etc.

    CaitieCat, awakeinmo


  230. says

    Guh. So sorry.

    …“young women eventually become their mothers.”

    Well, hopefully that has something to do with young women historically having no options other than birthing and housekeeping (just like mother). I’ve got my fingers crossed, anyway.

  231. Morgan!? the Slithy Tove says

    The thing about young women becoming their mother is more about misogyny than social opportunity. Young men were (are) advised to look at a woman’s mother to predict how the young woman will mature.

  232. says

    Saad @122:

    What can one do upon hearing such news but shrug?

    I’m sure you heard the news and gave a set of sad shrugs…

    …baaaaaaaaad shoop.
    rq @160:

    Because fetii are more precious than black thugs, and did you know that fetuses breathe???

    I’m guessing the person you were chatting with didn’t have black fetii in mind…

    I’ve been meaning to ask you…how did you come up with Slithy Tove?

    K.R. Syncanna @183:

    Aren’t they going to start selling Girl Scout cookies online? Fucking dangerous, that stuff. An average serving is a whole box.

    ::somewhere in Florida, a shoop whistles silently while staring at the ceiling and refusing to tell anyone how many servings of GSC’s he’s eaten at one time…::

    Giliell @190:

    That thread at the Friendly to the status quo atheist […]

    It took me a second to realize what meant here, but now I get it. Hemant doesn’t want to rock the boat. I’ve never read him regularly, but for a few years, I’d read stuff by him off and on. After that guest post about “secular reasons for opposing abortion” though…over. it.

    Dalillama @192:
    My sympathies and hugs.
    I’m hoping the 12th is still a go for you and L so you two can get away from those horrible neighbors.


    Anne @195:

    I’m having an unusually good day, and I want to share some of the nice.

    Aww, that’s so sweet :)

    It’ll probably never happen, but I’d love to see a day when we’re *all* having an unusually good day (or even just a good day).


    Portia @207:
    Congratulations on passing the exam!

    Tapetum @223:
    Welcome to the Lounge!
    Can I offer you a tasty beverage (w/ or w/out alcohol)?

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

    Hah, I got one over Them and I have much more in common with my dad than my mum!

    I could do with some more patience and a longer fuse.

  234. says

    Hugs for all and sundry, with extra for Beatrice. I hear ya – Aged Dad never did get that pesky boundaries thing, especially after the daughters were born, and I was too used, hell, conditioned by him to feeling like I owed the APs for even letting
    me exist, miserable worm that I am, to put my foot down. Not going there, that way
    lies the huge black cloud o’doom…

    Speaking of daughters, a mom-brag: Elder Daughter got the results of her comprehensive exam last night, and she passed! She also heard from one of the linguistics profs that they could hardly wait for the official notice, they were so impressed with her performance on the exam.

  235. says

    I’m not Morgan, and therefore cannot speak to the reasons for it being in their nym,but Lewis Carrol’s Jabberwocky (part of Through The Looking Glass) opens:
    “Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
    All mimsy were the borogroves,
    and the mome raths outgrabe.”

  236. Morgan!? the Slithy Tove says


    Slithy Tove is from Lewis Carroll’s nonsense poem Jabberwocky. See Wikipedia
    According to Humpty Dumpty ” ‘Slithy’ means ‘lithe and slimy’. ‘Lithe’ is the same as ‘active’. You see it’s like a portmanteau, there are two meanings packed up into one word.”[15] The original in MischMasch notes that ‘slithy’ means “smooth and active”[16] The i is long, as in writhe.
    ” ‘Toves’ are something like badgers, they’re something like lizards, and they’re something like corkscrews. […] Also they make their nests under sun-dials, also they live on cheese.”[15] Pronounced so as to rhyme with groves.[18] They “gyre and gimble,” i.e. rotate and bore.
    Pretty accurate description I’d say. Especially the living on cheese.

  237. jrfdeux, mode d'emploi says

    Morgan #352:
    I hear you and I’m sorry. I don’t know how you escape it other than to somehow let out the anger and come to terms with it. Perhaps therapy? I’ve had some success with it for my own pain and problems. Those pressures and expectations (and yes, abuse) we experience as children shapes who we are deep inside, and as adults we respond to events and challenges through that fucked up lens crafted by our childhoods.

    I know someone whose personality has been disastrously shaped by her parents. I don’t know if she’ll ever get help for it, and so I expect some kind of implosion from her in the next several years.

  238. Tethys says


    ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

    “Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
    The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
    Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
    The frumious Bandersnatch!”

    He took his vorpal sword in hand:
    Long time the manxome foe he sought—
    So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
    And stood awhile in thought.

    And as in uffish thought he stood,
    The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
    Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
    And burbled as it came!

    One, two! One, two! and through and through
    The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
    He left it dead, and with its head
    He went galumphing back.

    “And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
    Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
    O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
    He chortled in his joy.

    ‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
    All mimsy were the borogoves,
    And the mome raths outgrabe.

    from Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There

  239. Morgan!? the Slithy Tove says

    Thank you jrfdeux. I am “a woman of a certain age,” and I have had an entire lifetime of therapy. I first sought it at the age of eighteen, right after I fled from the family. I am a veteran of therapy and I can attest to the fact that there are far, far, far more bad therapists out there than good ones. In the last ten years I was fortunate to have found a very good one. But that is all luck.

    Tapetum, a belated welcome to you. I am the commune’s “Master of Soup” (ask Tony!) and I take requests.

  240. Tethys says

    I’ve had plenty of therapy. It’s helpful for understanding a completely awful childhood, but it doesn’t fix the underlying problem of being unloved. A vorpal blade sounds like just the thing to slay the evil PTSD jabberwock.

  241. jrfdeux, mode d'emploi says

    Morgan, understood — your journey through therapy is probably a lot more comprehensive than mine so I am sure you have that figured out. I, too, am of “a certain age” but I didn’t have to escape from abusive* parents. What scars I do have are pretty deep, but maybe all scars that come from childhood are like that.

    *For various definitions of “abuse.” I received “values” abuse — taught values that filled me with guilt and shame in adulthood.

  242. jrfdeux, mode d'emploi says

    Tethys: PTSD. Oh…oh. Yeah. It feels like that’s where a big piece of my life has gone. I get it. Snicker-snack all over the PTSD.

  243. Morgan!? the Slithy Tove says

    Ah, I’d give my royal realm for a true Vorpal Blade. I have a Frumious Bandersnatch that sits on my shoulder and mutters all the lies of depression.

  244. Tethys says

    I too am a woman of a certain age. I am sick of therapy, and PTSD, and being told by those that trigger the PTSD that I need more therapy. It’s just a massive circle of victim blaming. A vorpal blade club sounds far more useful than endless triggering talking about why my parents were so bad at parenting

  245. Morgan!? the Slithy Tove says

    Anne, huge conga rats to Elder Daughter on her exam results. Very brag-worthy. *\o/*

  246. Morgan!? the Slithy Tove says

    In my extra-curricular studies of wildlife I’ve become very interested in the phenomenon of “imprinting.” For instance, most baby birds do not know what they are when they hatch. There is a short span of time during which they imprint upon their parents – they identify as a like kind. Once this imprinting is accomplished, it is impossible to reverse. It is the bird’s identity. This can be very harmful if a newly hatched wild bird imprints on humans. They do not learn to be afraid of humans and if they are to survive they should be raised and maintained in captivity. This also happens with bears.

    I have no real knowledge of human neuroscience. Is there something akin to imprinting that happens to human children? Are there aspects of behavior that are so fundamentally imbedded that they cannot be altered? I’ve often wondered if this could be a source of so much emotional pain which was first experienced at a very early age and despite great effort seemingly cannot be purged.

  247. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    high-five for Eldest Daughter :D :D

    *hugs* all around
    I’m feeling crummy and whiny, today was just….Not Good.
    But it’s over now, and SO is finishing the spaghetti that I started, and it’s going to be a relaxing evening. I have decided.

  248. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says


    I told my therapist I was scared of turning into my mother. Having met my mother (when she dragged me to family counseling as a teenager) he said “That’s a legitimate fear. You can do something about it though.” So…now I actively try to avoid certain behaviors…but sometimes it’s just inevitable it seems.

  249. thunk: cloistered says

    Hello all.

    Beat. Tired. Sick. etc. But finished another final. And I’m almost-guaranteed to get straight As this semester. Yay, I can say.

    Now if only I didn’t set aside my personal life for the entire semester, I miss actually having friends (haven’t found many where I am).

    Morgan and others: I have noticed a certain tendency to be like my father. In many ways, I really am, often to my detriment. I try to keep the good bits, however– I’m lucky enough in that my folks respect my privacy.


    Live!? Aren’t they one of the nastier blood-and-everything-else sucking vampire cults? If so, they may be many things, none particularly pleasing, but alive is not one of those things.

    I know at least one Mormon, who although misguided and wrong in several matters, was still a decent human being. An organization does not speak for any one person, and holding problematic opinions still does not make someone an undead vampire. I get what you’re trying to say, but this is frankly a bit insulting.

  250. Tapetum says

    Thank you everyone for the welcomes.

    Tony@356 – I’ll take alcoholic today, please. As strong as you’ve got.

    Warning! Rant ahead.

    It looks like an emergency IEP meeting is in store regarding my younger son. His old IEP coordinator retired last year. Unfortunately, he also graduated speech therapy, his principal changed, and none of his teachers are the same. There was such a stunning loss of institutional knowledge that I’m having trouble processing how bad things have got how fast. Now my child, who has been steadily dropping accomodations, because he didn’t need them any more, and who has had consistently fantastic grades from kindergarten up, is going to need a major intervention to get back on track, and not to fail both math and language arts. (How can the kid with the best reading score the school has ever posted be failing language arts?)

    He’s been steadily going downhill since school began – not talking to his teachers, refusing to do work (things like a page full of graphs, because he’s in algebra, and nobody told his math teacher that he has physical problems with writing and drawing). And instead of doing something sensible, like contacting me, or even reading his bloody file, they just went ahead and assumed that he was uncommunicative because he’s ASD, when actually he will talk your ear off if he’s comfortable – shutting up is a sure sign something is very wrong. So nobody talked to me until it was two weeks until the end of the semester, and he’s failing two classes. I could tell he was miserable at school, but I was thinking it must be something about the other students, because his grades are always great. I didn’t even look at school work (bad mommy).

    When they did call me, they were trying to tell me that unless he did a month’s worth of work in the next two weeks (on top of his normal school work), he will be failed, and possibly kicked out of both classes, since they’re advanced sections. They sent the first make-up math home yesterday, and it had four pages of graphs to be hand-written – it would take him a week of daily work just to complete that one assignment at the rate he writes. And he’s supposed to have an assignment of that size in math, and in language arts, every night from now until next Friday. Not happening. This is their mess, and while I will help my son to catch up in every way I can, they are not going to treat him like this.

    I want to go shake the lot of them until some brains fall in. It’s so bad that they didn’t even know his father and I were married (we have different contact #’s), and they completely forgot the little tidbit of “his father has stage IV cancer, and the whole family is under stress”. Who are these incompetent, ignorant, so-called professionals, and how did they end up in charge of my child? If they haven’t set his mainstreaming back at least a year, it will be a miracle.

  251. says

    Good morning
    Let’s just build the mummy-issues pillow fort. I’m in there :)
    But I think there’s hope: If we’re afraid to “turn into our mothers” then we are aware that being like them is not a good thing and can change it. We’re not computer programs that will run the very same algorythm no matter what.
    Yep, my childhood was abusive. Especially emotionally, to a lesser extent physically (the spanking was more an extension of the fundamental “you’re not good and need me to keep you in line. My mother used to say that I needed to be spanked every 6 weeks or so or I was insufferable.)
    That’s what got me into therapy for three years (and I can’t thank the Horde enough for getting me through this. Couldn’t have done it without you). That’s why I’m keeping my distance and why I’m making sure they’re not getting that emotionally close to the kids. They will never have that power over one of us again.
    As a result I’m now a mostly functioning person who can do things in my life. I am also somebody who got triggered by Disney’s “Tangled”. The moment you realize that you have basically been raised by the wicked witch…

    My sympathies. My eldest is slightly not neurotypical and it took me a year to get her teachers to understand that things that work with neurotypical kids are really not a good idea.
    It also took me time to understand that, just because I want to be a good parent. It breaks my heart that sometimes I can’t comfort her but have to tell her firmely to stop it!

  252. F.O. says

    So, I got a guest via BeWelcome, seems a really nice guy…
    FO: “So how do you know your friend here”
    Guest: “Ehm… We are part of an online community.”
    FO: “Ok. What kind of online community?”
    Guest: “Personal development.”
    Uh oh….
    FO: “Nice. And specifically?”
    Guest: “Ehm… Uhm… Don’t know if you know it… It’s called RSD”
    FO: “Like, Real Social Dynamics?”
    RSD = nest of PUAs
    Guest: “Ehm, yeah”
    I tell him I’ve been there and it’s just not the kind of people I like to have around, we chat a bit about his experience, he fully acknowledges the harassment, sexism and misogyny of the community. He seems a nice guy and extremely embarrassed.
    Guest: “So… Ehm, are you angry?”
    FO: “Uh?”
    Guest: “Yeah, for like, me being in RSD…”
    FO: “Did you have problems because of that?”
    Guest (looks down): “Eh, yeah… So don’t you think bad of me?”
    FO: “Look, in general I have a pretty low opinion of the people there.”
    I feel for him. Been there. He seems like a very nice guy. WTF is he still doing there?
    Tomorrow I’ll have a better opportunity to chat with him, I’m really curious, but I thought I’d share.

  253. opposablethumbs says

    Oh, argh, Tapetum, that is such a fuck-up on their part not to talk to you. I can feel my hackles go up in Horrible memory. (My younger Spawn had a Statement of SEN right through primary and secondary school. We were lucky inasmuch as most of the school staff we had to deal with were good (some not so much, but also one or two outstanding) – but the head of the Local Education Authority SEN department made up for that all on his own. He was an out-and-out slimy shitweasel (with apologies to weasels) who actively sought to cut support for SEN kids as much as possible and was more than happy to use bullying and threatening tactics in order to do so. (he verbally openly-but-just-barely-deniably threatened us that if we did not accept whatever support level he was offering our then severely and extremely in-need Spawn, our only other option was to take the LEA to a tribunal – which, as he was at great pains to point out, would mean zero support in the meantime. And (as he also pointed out) the tribunal process takes months – potentially the best part of a whole school year. Oh, but he wasn’t threatening the Spawn, oh no. )

    I am so sorry your kid has been let down by this lack of communication, both between staff and with you. I hope they get their act together and that he gets the proper IEP and support he needs.

  254. Tapetum says

    opposablethumbs – that’s horrible! I’m bristling for you, just at the thought. I don’t think any of these people are malicious (I reserve the right to change my mind as we try to fix this), but if they were having problems, why wouldn’t they ask the one person left who actually has experience with the kid (I.e. me)? Just in a five minute conversation with his IEP coordinator yesterday, she had so many different mistaken notions that I’m still trying to figure out how to address them all.

    For example: she told me she had emphasized to my son that these classes counted for high-school credit, and appeared on his transcript, and thereby it was really important that he do the work needed to catch up, and not have a fail appear on his records before he ever got to high school.

    My son is painfully conscientious, and he’s physically reactive to stress and pressure (nausea and vomiting). He’s already feeling pressured to the point where he’s been throwing up three mornings out of five for the last month. We need to reduce the pressure on him, if he’s ever going to catch up, not up it. So much wrong – and that was just the last few sentences out of her mouth in a whole conversation of wrong.

    giliel – Tangled – just a little too on-the-nose for some of us to enjoy. I’m sorry you’re a member of the club.

  255. Yellow Thursday says

    Good morning, all. I’d like to join those in the mummy-issues pillow fort, if that’s ok. My mom wasn’t bad, really. She did the best she knew how, but she was an odd combination of over-protective and extremely gullible (though I didn’t understand how gullible until later in life, when she started using woo-ey remedies for her ailments). We got into a lot of terrible arguments before I moved out of the house. I remember her screaming “where did I go wrong?” when I told her I didn’t want to go to church any more.

    I, too, fear turning into my mother. As an educated atheist/skeptic/feminist, I think I’ve broken the mold. However, I still get upset with myself when I find myself sitting the way she used to or doing things she used to.

  256. says

    270,000 tons of plastic floating in world’s oceans:

    A new study estimates nearly 270,000 tons of plastic is floating in the world’s oceans. That’s enough to fill more than 38,500 garbage trucks.

    The plastic is broken up into more than 5 trillion pieces, said the study published Wednesday in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

    The paper is the latest in a nascent field where scientists are trying to better understand how much of the synthetic material is entering the oceans and how it’s affecting fish, seabirds and the larger marine ecosystem.

    The study’s lead author is Markus Eriksen of the 5 Gyres Institute, an organization that aims to reduce plastic in the oceans.

    To gather data, researchers dragged a fine mesh net at the sea surface to gather small pieces. Observers on boats counted larger items. They used computer models to calculate estimates for tracts of ocean not surveyed.

    The study only measured plastic floating at the surface. Plastic on the ocean floor wasn’t included.

    Bits greater than about 8 inches accounted for three-quarters of the plastic that the research estimated is in the ocean.

    Kara Lavender Law of the Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, who wasn’t involved in the study, said the researchers gathered data in areas where scientists currently don’t have measurements for floating plastic debris, including the Indian Ocean, the Southern Ocean near Antarctica and the South Atlantic.

    In addition, the study’s estimate for tiny plastic bits less than one-fifth of an inch – about 35,540 tons – is comparable to an earlier study by researchers in Spain who used different methodology, Law said. That study estimated there was 7,000 to 35,000 tons of plastics this size floating in the ocean.

    It’s encouraging that two different approaches came up with such similar answers, given how difficult it is to measure plastic in the ocean, she said.

    Studying the amount of plastic in the ocean will help scientists understand how the material will affect the environment and potentially the food chain


    Rhino species may die unless science can help:

    The task was never going to be easy: Fly four highly endangered rhinos from a Czech Republic zoo to East Africa, drive them to the savannah grasses of Mount Kenya and hope that the natural environment helps produce a calf, staving off extinction.

    The experiment has all but failed.

    The keepers of three northern white rhinos in Kenya – half of the world’s remaining rhinos of that species – have begun saying publicly for the first time that their one male and two female rhinos will certainly not reproduce naturally.

    The silver lining, though, is science. Efforts will now be made to keep the species alive through in vitro fertilization, and possibly by working with the rhinos’ genetic material in a budding field known as de-extinction.

    “We always knew from the very beginning that the chances of this working were small even if they bred,” said Richard Vigne, chief executive of the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, where the rhinos have lived since December 2009.

    The conservancy said in a statement Wednesday that artificial reproductive techniques “could provide the last chance of survival for the world’s most endangered mammal.”

    That echoed the phrase written on the wooden crates the rhinos were transported in from Nairobi to Ol Pejeta: “Last Chance to Survive.”

    Some animal experts at the time said the effort was too little, too late, and that the experiment’s budget could have been better spent on other conservation projects. But the bulk of the more than $100,000 effort came from a donor – Alastair Lucas, then the vice chairman of Goldman Sachs in Australia – who wanted to see the project carried out.

    Vigne said the project was not done in vain.

    “They’ve been returned to Africa from a zoo, and they’ve thrived in that environment. In that way it’s been a success,” he said. “The fact they haven’t bred is clearly a massive disappointment, but there are new technologies being invented all the time to rescue technically extinct species.”

  257. says

    Here’s some good news: the National Labor Relations Board has ruled against Walmart, saying that the company illegally intimidated activist workers.

    In a decision made public on Wednesday, Geoffrey Carter, an N.L.R.B. administrative law judge, also found that a Walmart manager had illegally intimidated workers by saying, “If it were up to me, I’d shoot the union.” In addition, the judge said it was unlawful for Walmart managers to tell employees that co-workers returning from a one-day strike would be looking for a new job. […]

    Judge Carter ruled that one Walmart manager had engaged in unlawful intimidation when he told an Our Walmart supporter who had a rope tied around his waist, to pull a heavy load, “If it was up to me, I would put that rope around your neck.”

    Daily Kos link.

  258. says

    More info on poison pills that Republicans sneak into the funding bills:

    On December 4, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

    Hidden in the defense bill was a package granting an illegal land swap near Superior, AZ, for the benefit of a foreign company Rio Tinto PLC who seek to mine copper. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) as part of the Senate Armed Services Committee was instrumental in pushing to get the provision language included.

    All 2,400 acres are part of Apache ancestral and ceremonial lands. So although Republican lawmakers have tried for years to secure the transfer of these lands, they have always run into strong opposition from the San Carlos Apache Tribe and Democratic lawmakers and conservation advocates.

    Apache leaders learned of the inclusion of the provision to the NDAA while attending—ironically—the White House Tribal Nations conference. […]

    Daily Kos link.

    Rachel Maddow also covered the Rio Tinto giveaway.

  259. says

    If residents in the Washington D.C. area don’t like congress critters negating the measures for which residents have overwhelmingly voted, they can just move — or so say the Republican critters that ignored the more than 70% vote to legalize marijuana in D.C.

    “That’s the way the Constitution was written,” Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) said in an interview Wednesday. “If they don’t like that oversight, move outside of the federal district to one of the 50 states that is not covered by the jurisdiction of Congress as a whole.”

    Sounds kinda like big government, anti Tea Party, anti libertarian principles at work. Republicans are confused.

  260. opposablethumbs says

    The only good thing about all that is that it’s over – I mean, that particular stage of things is over for us, at least!

    I hope you get the chance to have a proper session with your son’s IEP coordinator, tapetum; it sounds like they have quite some coordinating work to do.

    Conga rats for Elder Daughter, Anne – great achievement!

  261. says

    Michele Bachmann is headed out the door. She recently gave her last speech on the floor of Congress. Here’s an excerpt:

    Because you see, Mr. Speaker, Moses is given for the full honor of the greatest lawgiver in this chamber, because he was chosen by the God that we trust to be entrusted with the basis of all law. The ‘basis of all law’ as was written by Blackstone, the famous English jurist, was the Ten Commandments, that were given by none other than the God we trust on Mount Sinai,” the congresswoman said.

    “We know those laws, those laws are the fundamental laws of mankind, and here in the United States, the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses is the very foundation of the law that has given happiness and the rise of the greatest prosperity that any nation has known before.”

    “Mr. Speaker, it could be no coincidence that this nation, knowing and enjoying the heights of such great happiness and such great prosperity, that it could be built upon that foundation of the Ten Commandments and of the law given by the God in whom we trust.”

    Ow! Headdesking too much, too much.

    So, that’s part of the explanation for Texas School Board members insisting on including Moses in a history book. Ditto for some charter schools in Louisiana.

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

    My comments apparently still disappear at B&W. Oh well.

  263. azhael says

    Argh….i’ve been watching this years Skepticon videos and predictably, PZ’s and Watson’s videos are infested with rabid anti-feminists….
    The videos have more negative votes than positive, and the comments are dominated by arseholes who no doubt will harass anyone who dares to comment positively about either of them… I know that i shouldn’t be in any way surprised that Youtube comments are a cesspool of disgusting idiots, but i wish i could enjoy the videos without the smell of shitstain arseholes bothering me…

    Anyway, PZ, good talks, very enjoyable as always!

  264. says

    Beatrice, I haven’t even tried posting anywhere but Pharyngula for a while, because all my comments disappear too. I decided nothing I had to say was worth it anyway. You, on the other hand are definitely worth reading. Is there a way to contact Ophelia and ask her to check her spam for your posts?

  265. says

    The USA is not a racist country, oh no, not at all. /sarcasm

    Yesterday, a small group of right-wing demonstrators gathered in front of the White House at a rally scheduled to coincide with the visit of a number of sheriffs who were in Washington, D.C., to protest President Obama’s executive action on immigration.

    One activist who was filming the rally spoke to several attendees who said they wanted to lynch Obama.

    Among the remarks picked up by the cameraman:

    “Hang the traitor!”

    “Hang the lying Kenyan traitor!”

    “We’ve got rope.”

    “Plenty of trees in the front yard, wouldn’t be the first one hung on one of them trees.”

    “Whatever happened to those good ol’ days?”

    “Don’t stab his neck, you watch him choke to death.”

    “He’s just biding his time until Satan takes him home to where he belongs.”

    Right Wing Watch link.

  266. says

    Gun Rights outweigh gun control in new Pew survey:

    For the first time in at least 20 years, significantly more Americans say it’s more important to protect the right to own guns than to control gun ownership, according to the Pew Research Center.

    The survey found that more than half of Americans (52 percent) sided with gun rights compared with the 46 percent who favored gun control.

    The findings represent the continuation of a shift that was only briefly interrupted by the Newtown, Conn., school shootings in 2012.

    In April 2007, the Pew survey found only 32 percent of Americans said it was more important to protect the right to own guns, while 60 percent said it was more important to control gun ownership.

    Pew says its survey, conducted during the first week of this month, also found that well over half of Americans said that owning a gun protects people from crime.

    And I’m sure all those saying that have mounds of evidence to back up their belief.

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


    I sent already an email to tech support, a couple of weeks ago. No luck. I’ll live.

  268. azhael says

    Our friend petrander is at Aron’s whining about how awful we are for not being willing to let sexism slide. Blergh….

  269. carlie says

    Tapetum – ugh, what a horrible situation! I hate to say it, but from everything I’ve experienced and seen, it’s only pitching a huge fit that’s going to get you anywhere at this point. Like, if he has anything about handwriting listed in his IEP and the teacher is going against that? BIG no-no. Like, “this parent could sue our asses if we don’t figure this out” no-no. Don’t necessarily be angry, but be really fucking insistent. Let them infer that you might go that far if you have to. You can be as nice as you want, you can say you understand that there wasn’t a single person who dropped the ball and you’re not trying to blame anybody (even though you totally are and can), but that the way this gets resolved can’t be at your child’s expense. ARGH. I am SO MAD for you.
    We are touch-and-go this year with tiny versions of that. Child 2 is now entirely off of IEP, and in a new school in the district, and it’s all at the discretion of the guidance counselor what and how much teachers know, and she was of the “let’s not tell them about the ASD thing so as to not prejudice them from the get-go” mindset no matter what we said, and sure enough it was less than two weeks from the start of school to the first disciplinary phone call home. (Us: “Was it during group work?” Them: “Yes”. Us: “Well, DUH.”) Most of his teachers this year have worked it out, but there’s still one who doesn’t quite believe us when we tell her what Child 2 needs to calm down in an escalating situation. We’ve asked for another teacher who is making it work to talk to her, and hopefully that’s happening. But it will probably be repeated every time he gets a new teacher.
    Jeez. You shouldn’t have to be on top of them to do their jobs so much, you know? I have some sympathy because school districts keep cutting staffing in those areas, but still. Waiting so long to contact you was unconscionable.

  270. rq says

    I’m back! I survived the icy roads and Husband’s extended family, and Husband’s granny has been laid to rest with all due pomp and respect. *tear*
    KittenCat Hermione has missed me – she is trying to wrestle with my arms and, when I shake her off, she just goes for my back with all four feet extended, claws out. Thank goodness for this thick wool sweater!

    *hugs* to all and sundry, I shall catch up and try to be more specific in my salutations next comment.

  271. Tapetum says

    carlie – yeah. As far as I can tell, unless I stay right on top of his coordinator, she’ll go right back to ignoring things as soon as immediate failure is staved off, because Sprog 2 is a smart, respectful, well-behaved kid, and she has a plateful of kids with much more difficult daily issues. Except that with a bit of early intervention and communication, she will never have a crisis with Sprog 2 at all. Which would be much easier on everybody. And seriously, how hard would it be to pass a note on to all of his teachers saying he had motor processing issues that affect his ability to write and draw, instead of just to his LA teacher? A few pre-printed graph templates, and we probably wouldn’t be having issues with math right now. Not too pleased with his math teacher either, since his writing problems are not exactly minor or subtle, but I’m inclined to cut her a little more slack, since she just had a baby mid-semester. She’s also being sensible, and has already responded to my loud squawk about the number of graphs with a note saying she’ll accept 1 problem in 4 on the missed assignments, and pre-printed axes are fine. She just wants to know he understands the math before she gives him a passing grade.

    I’m very bad at angry, but I can do persistent. I will also milk sympathy for Mr. Tapetum’s cancer for all it’s worth, if it gets more consideration for Sprog 2. (MT is on board with this plan.)

    Still pushing for an all-hands-on-deck IEP meeting next week if it can be swung, or as early as possible thereafter if not.

    Thank the FSM – if we can get him through this year, he will have the same counselor next year as his brother currently has, and I already have that line of communication open.

    I’m glad Child 2 seems to be doing all right generally with the transition off the IEP. There always has to be one person who doesn’t believe, doesn’t there? I hope his holdout teacher gets it straight soon.

  272. opposablethumbs says

    Sounds like you have the approach and the attitude that works, Tapetum. I’m just sorry you and Sprog2 have to deal with this unnecessary extra stress. Crossing all the fingers for you!

  273. says

    FUCK!! New landlord says we can’t move in until the 17th, and current landlord just sent us an eviction notice for the 15th, because of not paying rent (only, we did, because we paid first month, last month, and deposit when we moved in; this is the last month, so we don’t owe any). I’m trying to get in touch with them now.

  274. says

    Oh fucking hell, DL, can’t catch a fucking break. I’m so sorry. *hugs* offered.

    Tapetum, hello and welcome. :)

    Playing “Plague, Inc.” right now on my tablet. Game has you trying to wipe out humanity as a disease, ‘evolving’ traits to increase or decrease three stats (infectiousness, severity, lethality). The trick is to maintain different levels as needed for the stage of total disaster you’re at. Ramp up severity too quickly, and still-effective rich nations might find a cure too early. Keep lethality too high while trying to spread the disease, and you could burn out.

    Anyway, it’s fun in a grim sort of way, free to play (small ads for probably dodgy games in the status bar), and definitely available for Android. I have no connection to the app makers, just thought you might like this, some of you. :)

  275. says

    Oh, and Greenland! *shakes fist*

    Your sparse population and physical isolation makes you hard to destroy!

    Curses! Foiled again by the cold wet walls of Greenland. 56000+ hardy folk, the sole survivors of humanity.

    This time.

    (mine is an evil laugh!)

  276. says

    CaitieCat re: Plague, Inc:

    My ten year old son has great luck with brain worms. And zombie apocalypse. Of course, he plays on the lowest difficulty.

    I can’t get it on my laptop, I should see if I can get it on my Nook.

  277. says

    Dalillama, damn, you just can’t catch a break! I hope you can get things sorted out quickly.

    I just made a pair of earrings for Aged Mum – little maneki neko beads with jingley bells hanging underneath, red bell on one earring, green on the other, gold findings. Lightweight, seasonal, all stuff I had on hand. It does feel good to finish a creative thingy, even a little wee one.

  278. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Shit Dalillama, Schmott Guy, if we need to send up the horde signal for you to rent a truck for storage for those days, and you and the family a day or two in a motel for the same, say so.

  279. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says


    Plus I know someone who might know someone, in the area. Have an opening message outstanding to check into it.

  280. Tapetum says

    Oh crap, Dalillama, I’m so sorry to hear that. I have no idea what area you’re in, but I hope you, the Horde, or some combination can come up with a way to bridge the transition.

    Hi, CatieCat! Sprog2 loves Plague, but usually Madagascar is his nemesis, not Greenland.

  281. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Can I see a picture of the earrings, if you don’t mind? I used to make jewelry, and I’d love to oooh and aaah :)


    I’m tired.

  282. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says


    I got a 404 error for your link, but I poked around and I love that moon pendant, lovely :D

  283. Ogvorbis says

  284. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    SO had suicidal ideation today, and has done everything one would recommend to deal with it: made an appointment with the MD to discuss re-evaluating meds, and made an appointment with his talk-therapist, and talked to me about it. I’m the one that’s not dealing properly at the moment, I think. Gah.

  285. jste says

    Anne, I love those earrings!


    Playing “Plague, Inc.” right now on my tablet. Game has you trying to wipe out humanity as a disease, ‘evolving’ traits to increase or decrease three stats (infectiousness, severity, lethality). The trick is to maintain different levels as needed for the stage of total disaster you’re at. Ramp up severity too quickly, and still-effective rich nations might find a cure too early. Keep lethality too high while trying to spread the disease, and you could burn out.

    When the only humans left are a thousand Greenlanders, you should earn a victory anyway. Goddamned Greenland.

  286. says

    Portia @426:
    Sorry to hear about SO. Hope things get better quickly.


    Ogvorbis @425:
    Shit like that makes me want to go demolish a building or something. Hulk Smash!

    19 science fiction and fantasy novels by by Women of Color you must read

    Here are the first 8 (there are short descriptions of the books at the link):

    Parable of the Sower, by Octavia Butler
    The Summer Prince, by Alaya Dawn Johnson
    Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafar
    Spirits of the Ordinary: A Tale of Casas Grandes, by Kathleen Alcala
    Ash, by Malinda Lo
    The Salt Roads, by Nalo Hopkinson
    A Stranger in Olondria, by Sofia Samatar
    Joplin’s Ghost, by Tananarive Due

  287. says

    Many of the books on that list are interesting, but this one piques my interest the most:

    19. The Lost Girl, by Sangu Mandanna

    Eva is Amarra’s “echo” — created to replace Amarra if she were to die. From far away, she spends her life studying Amarra’s habits and routines so that if something were to happen, Eva could quickly take her place in India, where echoes are illegal. But when Amarra dies in a car crash at 16, Eva is hardly prepared to risk her life and leave the life she has known.

  288. Portia (aka Smokey the Advocate) says

    Thanks, Tony!

    I got over myself long enough to call him and check in, and his phone is off.
    Which does wonderful things for my already-wonderful mental state.

  289. says

    Portia 426

    I have no advice, but I offer a bunch of support and those hug things people talk about. Talking to a friend who cared at my low point 30 years ago probably started drawing back my own thoughts. I don’t think she knows to this day what she did for me, and I don’t know how to tell her.

    Anne Really nice earrings.

    Tony 428

    [facetious] I just started reading SciFi-Fantasy by women, and now you want me to move on to Women POC? [/facetious] (Alright, I didn’t “just” start, but I did recently try to make sure my readings were at least gender balanced as best I could.)

  290. says

    Tony 429

    After reading ‘Ancillary Justice’ and just finishing ‘Ancillary Sword’, I find I have an interest in stories about identity. “The Lost Girl” and a new viewing of Blade Runner may be in my future.

  291. says

    Light bulb moment!
    Know how we always have to have the Racism 101 discussion in threads about race? Know how people so often go back to the dictionary definition of racism? I wonder who got to write those definitions?

    White people can’t be victims of racism?

    For a good few of you reading this, that will have been the first time you’ve ever heard this information and all I can say is don’t panic. The first thing white privilege teaches everyone is the notion that everyone on Earth is already equal in the eyes of institution and therefore reverse racism is a totally valid concept, right? Well, not exactly. Abandon the dictionary definition of racism for a moment which states “prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior” and was most likely written by a biased white man.



  292. rq says

    SHIT Dalillama is there any good reason for the sudden change in move-in dates??
    I wish I had a way to help you out!!!!

    *hugs* for Portia


    So that horrible psychotherapist, who wrote that totally hypothetical and theoretical blog post about how women need a good beating to be brought into line? He needs to have a chat with Dawkins, they have a lot in common and I bet they’d enjoy each other’s company. Because he is now complaining about being silenced, about having limits placed on his freedom of speech and his fantasy (WE HAVE CHAINED HIS BRAIN TO THE TEDIUM OF ROUTINE UNORIGINALITY!), this is a matriarchal uprising, etc., etc. Yet since his horrible blog post was published, he has had at least 3 public interviews in fairly prominent, widely-read media outlets, both printed and on the internet.
    I wish they’d stop doing that (interviewing him, I mean). What a nasty piece of work.
    If I ever go to an event where he has been booked as public speaker (and I have no doubt that he will still get invited, for his provocative and unoriginal and questioning views), I will be walking out rather loudly. Or at least, visibly.

  293. rq says

    *ahem* In that last line, the second italicized word should be ‘original’, not ‘unoriginal’. Silencio, freudian slip!

  294. says

    Good morning
    There’s a storm blowing here right now. It must NOT interfere with our trip to Ikea (julbord christmas dinner)

    hugs to DL and Portia

    Those are cute. Maybe one day I’ll go back to wearing earrings


    she’ll go right back to ignoring things as soon as immediate failure is staved off

    The horrible thing is that “staving off catastrophies” is kind of the official policy in many countries. You might not know yet, but:
    -I’m in teacher training
    -have a slightly non-neurotypical kid myself
    That kid, she’s bright. Damn bright. At her 5th birthday she drew a house in fucking 3D. At 6yo she figured out that if you add two odd numbers you always get an even one. Last week she told me that multiplication and division are related to each other the same way addition and substraction are. I should mention that they haven’t yet had multiplication let alone division in school. But honestly, I’m much more worried about her school progress than I am about her little sister’s (OK, that kid is still in preschool anyway)
    What makes me worry so is that, as a teacher in training, I know the situation in schools. First of all, teachers have NO clues about anything that isn’t teaching the neurotypical standard variation. In my last internship I met a kid who, apart from having been abused, also suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome. Apparently none of the teachers there knew that him uttering highly inappropriate words is part of the symptoms. Ok, in that school they have a zero tolerance for potty language and insults. It’s necessary because most of the kids come from families where they’re not taught appropriateness. You have to teach the kids that they mustn’t call people in authority asshole to their face because out there that might get you fired. Not to mention sexual harassment…
    But they didn’t know that they need to make an exception for him because he can’t really control that and that making him write lines will not teach him control.
    The second thing is that you only get help if things go really bad and only to the point that the kid will finish school. The kids’ true potential isn’t realized because as soon as they get out of the red, they’re on their own.

    Well, another person has been viciously beaten in Germany for coming to the aid of a woman. Fortunately this time not to death, but the guy (a 74 yo man!) needed to be treated in hospital.
    I’m fucking sick and tired about the fact that we’re talking about “Zivilcourage” (civil courage, the idea that ordinary people should stand up against other people doing bad things) and not about harassment and violence, as if those fuckers were a force of nature.

  295. says

    FDNY drops physical test requirement amid low female hiring rate:

    The Fire Department has stopped requiring probationary firefighters to pass a job-related physical-skills test before getting hired — a move that critics derided as a lowering of standards.
    The move by first-year Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro, which allows probies to fail components of the Functional Skills Training test but still graduate from the Fire Academy, comes amid criticism of the department’s low hiring rate of women.
    “It’s a lowering of the standards across the board,” said one former FDNY official familiar with training protocol.
    “What needs to matter is how well you perform the tasks of firefighting,” he added. “The question is when you’re 270 pounds and you’re on the fourth floor and someone comes through that window — can they pick you up and drag you out or not?”
    The FST drills include advancing a heavy tire 6 to 8 feet, raising a ladder up a wall and breaching holes in a ceiling — while wearing an oxygen tank with a limited amount of air.
    Nigro revealed the adjustments to the exam at a City Council hearing Wednesday where members questioned whether the skills test was responsible for the 10,500-member force including just 44 women.
    Department officials insisted the two issues were unrelated and that the changes hadn’t impacted anyone in the academy class that graduated last month. While 95 percent of men pass the FDNY’s demanding physical test, only 57 percent of women manage to get through.
    After the hearing, Nigro said passing the skills tests had only been required of the two most recent classes — and not for any of the 15 years before.

  296. opposablethumbs says

    Dalillama, fuck. I’m so sorry. I hope either or both sides will shift – ideally in the direction of your being able to move sooner, but damn how can they pretend you’re not paid up when you are?!!?

  297. says

    Small Horde Call
    I’ve finished my first draft of the abstract. Would some of you read it and give me feedback? It would be totally cool if it were people who have read Pierce and people who haven’t. Those who have could tell me if you think I’m onto something with my thesis, those of you who haven’t could tell me if it’s intelligible

  298. says

    Hey there ‘Good News’! So nice to read you again!
    Gender reassignment surgery in New York is now covered under insurance

    Insurance companies may no longer deny gender reassignment surgery to New Yorkers who need it. In a letter to insurers obtained by the Times, Governor Cuomo made it clear that if a doctor determines a patient needs the procedure, the companies must pay.
    “This is an absolute sea change in the way that insurance for transgender people will cover their health care needs,” Michael Silverman, the executive director of the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund told the Times. “This essentially opens up an entire world of treatment for transgender people that was closed to them previously.

  299. rq says

    I can read. I have read Pierce but not a lot, so I can haz an in between perspective?
    Eye zed ay enn dee ay at google’s mail service.

  300. says

    I would totally go here:

    The UK’s first café dedicated entirely to cereal opened on Brick Lane this morning, with queues out the door from 7am. We were there to see whether it would bowl us over or let us down like an own-brand box of cornflakes.
    The concept
    Cereal Killer Café is the brainwave of Belfast-born twins Alan and Gary Keery, who hit on the idea last year. Gary tells us: “I was hungry and kept passing places serving Mexican, Chinese, burgers and all sorts — but all I really wanted to eat was a bowl of cereal. We decided we wanted to open a cereal café and did some market research which showed that people liked the idea.” He also tells us that “if it was going to work we knew it had to be in Shoreditch; it’s where things are happening and where people embrace originality”.
    The cereals
    Cereal Killer Café opens from 7am-10pm, serving over 120 different kinds of cereal (including gluten-free), 13 milks and more than 20 additional toppings. The cereals range from British favourites to US and Asian varieties rarely seen on these shores. They all cost £2.50 for a small bowl, £3 for a medium bowl, and £3.50 for a large with milk included. Toppings cost 50p and a few premium milks cost an additional 20p.
    We felt it appropriate to go all out, so feasted on a medium bowl of US peanut butter toast crunch flakes, pimped with maltesers and served with a mini bottle of banana milk (there’s a photo of it in the gallery above). And we couldn’t resist a small second helping in the form of Oreo O’s — a sugary cereal based on the dark-coloured cookies — which is now only made in South Korea. Throw in a black coffee and we were left well and truly buzzing, but we’ll be back soon to try a bowlful of Popping Pebbles, which are imported from the US and consist of multi-coloured, berry-flavoured puffed rice and popping candy.
    The rest
    It may be all about the cereals but there’s a fair few other options, too. Toast with varying toppings (strawberry fluff, Nutella, Marmite) costs £1.50 for two slices; there are 12 different Pop-Tart flavours; and you can tuck into cereal-themed cakes such as Rice Krispie Victoria sponges and Coco Pop brownies. Drinks focus on teas and coffee from nearby roastery Allpress, and there’s also a range of juices and canned drinks.
    The place
    The environment certainly milks the cereal theme. The small site’s bare brick walls are enlivened by swathes of cereal boxes — including those emblazoned with the likes of Batman, Barbie and Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles — and decorated with memorabilia such as cereal box giveaways and vintage milk bottles. Portraits of serial killers — Hannibal Lecter and Dexter, not real ones — made with cereal are a focal point, while the brightly-coloured basement that holds most of the seats looks like a child’s bedroom. A feel-good soundtrack spans Queen and the theme from Ghostbusters.

  301. says

    I finally found Waldo the Mildly Deranged Penguin!
    She and a few relatives and close friends greeted the Antarctic expedition team on the Chinese vessel Xue Long. There may be some cute pics at the link.


    28-year-old Henan woman with rare ‘aging’ disorder seeks plastic surgery in Shanghai

    A 28-year-old woman from Zhengzhou, Henan province arrived in Shanghai last week seeking cosmetic surgery after she was diagnosed with a rare condition that has made her appear twice her age.
    After giving birth to her first child 11 years ago, Hu Juan’s appearance began changing, as if she was aging prematurely. Although she is only 28 years old, her face appears like that of a woman in her 60s or even 70s, reports Xinhua News.

    Hu was diagnosed with a disorder called Cutis laxa, characterized by skin that becomes loose, saggy and wrinkled at a rapid speed due to a loss of elasticity. The effect is only seen in Hu’s face and neck.
    Less than 10 people in the world have been diagnosed with the disorder, and only one in China, according to Xinhua. There’s no effective treatment, but plastic surgery could help correct her appearance.
    For the past 11 years, Hu’s husband has stood by her side as she’s watched her youthful appearance fade before her eyes. She avoided going outside and looking into a mirror, and noticed that her young son gradually became more distant. He is ashamed to tell his friends that Hu is his mother.
    Hu suffers from depression, and once attempted to kill herself. The couple thought that having another child could help, but nothing had changed after the birth of her daughter.
    A plastic surgery clinic in Shanghai put together a professional team to help Hu, including a psychologist. Hu said she is hopeful about regaining her youthful looks, although doctors have expressed uncertainty about the results at this stage.

    Given her own son’s reactions, I can imagine how others have reacted. FFS, it’s a change in her appearance. I don’t think a change in appearance should necessitate being shunned.

  302. says

    I think I did not understand your email instructions.
    Maybe DM me on Twitter?

    Hmm, I decided that my friends and family can buy their own kiddie clothing and send the stuff the kids have grown out of to the refugee (detainment) centre because we’re such a fucking rich country that we don’t even issue toothbrushes to kids.
    Turns out I still have more stuff than I thought…
    Guess I need to drive there…

  303. rq says

    I can DM you when I get home but that will be late – umm, try iz and a (as one word, ‘and’ is not a conjunction but part of the email here) at the google mail.

  304. says

    Trans activist Andrea Majanik Bowen remembers Mayor Marion Barry. She has a nuanced view of Mayor Barry, acknowledging his opposition to marriage equality and his support for the virulently anti-gay Bishop Harry Jackson, while applauding his support for the Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Equality Act of 2013.

    When I was nineteen years old and interning at a lefty think tank in D.C., I took a day off to see Bill Clinton speak. It was the summer of 2005, and Clinton had by then passed from ignominy in the opinions of pundits and into that beloved bipartisan player that, also in the opinions of pundits, swaths of America seem happy with today. Anyway, I saw Clinton speak, and the day after the event, one of my older colleagues said, mostly sincerely, I think, “Did he make you believe?”
    Somewhere in there is a viable comparison to Marion Barry, who will be buried at the end of this week. With Barry, as with Clinton, you have that person of amazing virtue and ideal-killing reversals, of civil rights leadership and love-of-welfare-reform, of economic populism and embrace of economic royalists, of legendary rhetoric and wheeler-dealer blandness, of, well, the stuff of epic 20th century liberal politicians. I had the weird fortune to live in D.C. during the end of Marion Barry’s life. I had the weird fortune to see the contradictions in the man’s character that are probably mandatory for a writer to mention. I had the weird fortune to be an organized-labor-and-then-transgender activist who ran into Barry and, upon hearing him speak up for my causes, believed.
    When I say I believed, I don’t mean that I forgot about Barry’s more sinister tendencies, like his opposition to marriage equality and embrace of Bishop Harry Jackson (Jackson, who was about as hateful toward the LGBT community as a person can get without, say, actually killing an LGBT person). What I mean is that in these moments I’m about to tell you about, I understood—through the things I saw and heard from Barry himself—why people loved the guy, why he inspired people, why he had a greatness. What I mean is that for these moments, I felt inspired by him, and even with his history, I thought he was on my side.
    One of the things happening while I was in that job was that I was transitioning, going from working as a dude in a tie to living my entire life as the woman that I am. I mean to say that I’m a transgender woman, and I was closeted while I worked at the Iron Workers. But I was taking hormones—testosterone blockers and estrogen—in secret during my last year. I went to work looking like a dude (albeit one who was slowly growing breasts), and then went home, dressed like a lady, and occasionally volunteered with DC Trans Coalition, a grassroots transgender advocacy organization. A more established member drafted me, on the basis of the things I had done with the District government, to get a bill passed in the Council that would help transgender people change their birth certificates more easily.
    Before the bill passed, a transgender person in D.C. needed to get surgery before getting the “M” or “F” changed to the correct marker. Most transgender people don’t get any of the many surgeries that are available for transition-purposes; medical treatments for transgender people, until very recently in DC, weren’t covered by insurance and cost many thousands of dollars. So the ability to get one’s gender marker changed wasn’t available to most transgender people born in D.C. The bill I helped get passed changed that. It was called the Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Equality Amendment Act of 2013, named for Deoni Jones, a transgender woman who was murdered in February 2012.

    I left the Iron Workers in July 2012, started living as a woman full-time and spent August—as I waited to start graduate school the next month—lobbying for the bill. By the time the bill was introduced in February 2013, I had been given guarantees from every Council office that their respective member would support the bill. The bill was introduced at a Committee of the Whole meeting, and every member was present except for Barry. Every member co-introduced or co-sponsored except for Barry. After the bill had been introduced, I checked in with Barry’s staff. “You said Councilmember Barry would support the Deoni Jones Act,” I politely reminded a staffer or two, “but Councilmember Barry wasn’t at the Committee of the Whole meeting where it was introduced, and the Council website doesn’t say whether he’s a co-sponsor or co-introducer. He still supports it, right?” The staffers said yes. Time passed; the website still didn’t list Barry as showing support. I bugged the staff again. They told me it was weird that the website hadn’t been updated to show his support, but he supported it, and the site would be fixed.

    Good God, I wanted Barry’s love. Yvette Alexander, the other member of Council who opposed marriage equality, the other Councilmember of a Ward east of the Anacostia River (the standard geographic race and class dividing line of the city) supported the Deoni Jones Act, and her staff helped get it passed quickly. I wanted the bill to be a coming-together of the government for my community; a symbol that LGBT justice wasn’t another battle between parts of the city east and west of the Anacostia River. But winter became spring became summer, and Barry still wasn’t on the record supporting the bill.

    In D.C., all bills are passed twice by Council, by law in sessions at least two weeks apart from each other. The Deoni Jones Act’s first passage would be June 26, 2013. I showed up early and walked to the dais over and over again, thanking Councilmembers for their support of the bill as they appeared or finished chatting with various and sundry other people. I kept eyeing Barry, who talked with a seemingly endless succession of people during the immediate lead-up to the Legislative Session. The session was about ready to start. Barry was finally free. I walked up to him. He was looking at his cell phone.

    “Councilmember Barry?” I said. He didn’t look up. “Councilmember Barry?” I said again. He still didn’t look up.
    Councilmember Wells, who sat next to Barry, nudged his neighbor and pointed to me. Barry leaned over. I extended my hand. “Hi, Councilmember Barry,” I said. “I’m Andrea Bowen? From DC Trans Coalition? I’ve talked to your staff about the Deoni Jones Birth Certificate Equality Amendment Act, and they said you support it. But I wanted to make sure I have your vote.”
    “What’s this about again?” he asked.
    “Transgender people and birth certificates,” I clarified.
    He sat back, then pointed at me. “Transgender. We got this.”

    I shook his hand again. “Thank you, Councilmember.”
    Transgender. We got this. That wasn’t actually an absolute affirmation, but it was wonderful all the same. The session started, and I sat down. The Deoni Jones Act was first on the agenda. Yvette Alexander, whose committee had jurisdiction over it, spoke first. David Catania, who introduced it, spoke next. Then: Barry asked for his turn to speak. This exchange was actually caught by video, so that we can all actually see and hear Barry saying this.

    “Chairman,” he started, “let me thank Mr. Catania and Ms. Alexander for this great leap forward. The District has been a place where we welcome all persons: race, creed, sexual preference, religion—and unreligion. We got to keep that pace going. And I know some people are a little surprised I support this, but I’ve been a long-time supporter of the gay—lesbian, gay, and transgender community. Since 1971, when we had a gay teacher at McKinley Tech High School, about to be fired. I was President of the Board of Education. I said ‘No, it won’t happen,’ and introduced a policy that no one would be fired because of their sexual preference or their orientation or et cetera. I supported domestic partnerships, I supported everything—except one. And so Mr. Chairman, this just is right to do.”

    I grew up in suburban Central Maryland, where the more morbid version of the Barry story was the one I grew up with. I always liked sending my parents word about the real adventures in D.C. local politics that I was having, and it felt like some blessed historical corrective to let them know this thing I had just experienced. I texted what had just happened. Since that day, I mention Barry to my parents and they say, “Transgender. We got this.” The Bowen Family came to believe.

  305. says

    Wow. Shonda Rhimes may have broken through the glass ceiling, but she recognizes that she couldn’t have done so without all the women that came before her.

    Thirty years before she stood at the podium this week, Shonda Rhimes remarked while receiving an award from The Hollywood Reporter for breaking TV’s glass ceiling, there would likely have been only two powerful women in all of Hollywood — and she would have been “serving them breakfast.” But in her incredibly generous and perceptive speech, Rhimes refused to take sole credit for the momentous cultural change that had taken place in the intervening years. She really broke no glass ceilings, she said.

    This moment right here, me standing up here all brown with my boobs and my Thursday night of network television full of women of color, competitive women, strong women, women who own their bodies and whose lives revolve around their work instead of their men, women who are big dogs, that could only be happening right now.

    Think about it.

    Look around this room. It’s filled with women of all colors in Hollywood who are executives and heads of studios and VPs and show creators and directors. There are a lot of women in Hollywood in this room who have the game-changing ability to say yes or no to something.

    Expanding on the idea that good timing and more general political progress made her rise to TV power possible, Rhimes offered us a new broadening of the “glass ceiling” metaphor, an interpretation notable both for its humility and its perceptiveness about the actual process by which change occurs.

    What does it take to break a glass ceiling? It isn’t as simple as superstars flying straight up and through. Instead, it takes lots and lots of ordinary, driven people pushing against that boundary, often at great pain to themselves, until it’s vulnerable. Then, of course, it’s ready to be smashed by someone — in Rhimes’ case, someone incredibly smart, savvy, and talented — who sees the cracks that have opened and moves through them.

    As she said:

    How many women had to hit that glass before the first crack appeared? How many cuts did they get, how many bruises? How hard did they have to hit the ceiling? How many women had to hit that glass to ripple it, to send out a thousand hairline fractures? How many women had to hit that glass before the pressure of their effort caused it to evolve from a thick pane of glass into just a thin sheet of splintered ice?

  306. says

    It’s raining. Patches woke me up around 3:30 because it was Very Windy and therefore time for breakfast (you mean it isn’t?), and then the rain started pouring down around 4AM. Which we need, but it is very wet and slippery out there and there are already accidents on all the freeways. I’m going to worry until the Husband gets safely to work and emails me back.

    Also later this morning I need to drive the Younger Daughter back to campus to clean out her art locker, but maybe the rain will have passed through by then.

    At least Aged Mum should have a non-leaky roof, and just in time.

  307. rq says

    Ugh, I hate bad weather.
    We’re in for a warning, too, but at least I’m taking the train home. Which means the walk from the station will be no fun, but probably safer than being on the road tonight.

  308. Saad says

    I think that’s another version of it. There are so many different spellings of all these names depending on the language. It’s been way too long since I used to read about this stuff.

    (I was going to use the original Frigg, but that makes it sound sarcastic… Thank Frigg it’s Friday!)

  309. Saad says

    Actually, I just looked it up and it seems Freyja and Frea/Frigg were too different goddesses. Sheesh! No wonder the religion went away. God. Let’s keep it simple…. or else!

  310. rq says

    Well, there seems to be some debate, as they could be the same goddess split over time… (I just did some reading too! :D) Nobody knows!

  311. birgerjohansson says

    This Drone Footage Of Desolate Detroit Looks Like Something From ‘The Walking Dead’
    (annoying ad at beginning)

    — — — — —
    Last day I got called a China-hating troll on a blog because I -in adition to posting positive things about China- also posted negative things about their authorities and calling the Chinese censors “wankers”.

    Wow. I haven’t been called a troll since 2004, when I made some joke about the suitability of the newly re-elected George Bush. And apparently I hate USA.
    Do I get a time-share in the supervillains’ underground headquarters?

    — — — — —
    Can you guys stop stirring up the wrath of Jehowah? Whenever he tries to destroy America, we get rainfall in North Sweden. Since I would prefer snow this is quite frustrating. And the storm did not help.
    PS -Do Chinese rain gods have jurisdiction this far west?

  312. birgerjohansson says

    Catastrophic volcanism in India coincided with asteroid impact, helped kill the dinosaurs.

    The new data come from an expedition to the Deccan Traps, east of Mumbai, a region known for its expansive, step-like topology. (The term “traps” is Swedish for “stairs.”)
    : http://phys.org/news/2014-12-asteroid-dinosaurs-earth-experienced-short.html
    “The researchers determined that the eruption began 250,000 years before the asteroid strike and continued for 500,000 years after the giant impact, spewing a total of 1.5 million square kilometers of lava. “

  313. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    I’ve been to Japan.
    Racism against ‘whites’ exists there.

    I’ve been informed that that’s not racism, that’s xenophobia, because they’re also prejudiced against other Asian ethnicities, and obviously Western racial categories are binding on other cultures literally on the other side of the world.

  314. Morgan!? the Slithy Tove says

    Wet! Lots and lots and lots of wet! And wind that howls. Had so much wind last night I was afraid our trees would blow down. Just a bit paranoid. Thank almighty Maude for the new roof!

  315. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says

    Husband got to work safely, yay. He said it took longer than usual, which is not surprising; the standard response to rain in So Cal is “Scary! Sky is falling! Drive faster!”.

    I’m positive you mean “Scary! Sky is falling! Slow down to 5 mph!” Unless it’s a very narrowly So Cal thing.

  316. Azkyroth Drinked the Grammar Too :) says


    “I don’t have a problem with all jerks, heck, some of my best friends are jerks…” :D

  317. Morgan!? the Slithy Tove says

    “Scary! Sky is Falling!” accurately translated into SoCal-ese means simply drive like an idiot… too fast, too slow, doesn’t matter.

  318. says

    Fox News hosts would like women to revel in unequal pay situations, and to “be reasonable” about gender inequality in the workplace.

    It’s true, you women earn less than we men do. But there are reasons for it. You, maybe, are more sensible. You have put more emphasis in not working in a horrible place, not working in dangerous places, you take time off to take care of a family. There’s a reason for that. [That’s John Stossel speaking during an on-air conversation with Elisabeth Hasselbeck.]

    In the same segment “ridiculous” beliefs on climate change, etc. were discussed. Raw Story link.

    On the pay inequality thing, Stossel is ignoring the fact that women earn less than men straight out of college. Women who don’t take time off to raise children also earn less. As women age in the work force, the pay gap widens.

    BTW, the entire Stossel segment is called “Be Reasonable.”

  319. says

    Money talks:

    We cross-referenced the vote with data from the Center for Responsive Politics on how much each member had received in campaign contributions from the finance/insurance/real estate industries. This isn’t only from PACs affiliated with those industries, we’ll note; it also includes employees of firms in those industries. On average, members of Congress who voted yes received $322,000 from those industries. Those who voted no? $162,000.

    Washington Post link.

    This is a followup to comments 321, 331, 332, 335, and 351 (best explanation is in #335). Yes, the House passed the bill that was literally written by Citigroup to benefit big banks. Wall Street will be able to crash the economy again if things go sideways when they place bets on risky derivatives. We the taxpayers will be on the hook to bail them out.

    The graph here is particularly telling. It shows that both Democrats and Republicans that received big cash infusions from the financial industry voted for the Citigroup legislation.

  320. says

    Saad @467:

    Actually, I just looked it up and it seems Freyja and Frea/Frigg were too different goddesses. Sheesh! No wonder the religion went away. God. Let’s keep it simple…. or else!

    See, this is a sign that Christianity is a good and truely true religion with the one true god and one truely truthful truth. After all, Christianity is much simpler than Norse myth. So much confusion from the latter. But the former? Christianity has the elegant and completely not-confusing-or-nonsensical Trinity.


    birgerjohanssen @471:

    Can you guys stop stirring up the wrath of Jehowah? Whenever he tries to destroy America, we get rainfall in North Sweden. Since I would prefer snow this is quite frustrating. And the storm did not help.

    Fun Fact: Whenever Jehovah hears the closing lines to the ‘Flintstones’ theme song (“…we’ll have a gay old time…”), he sends a storm to destroy the United States. His aim is always off.

  321. says



    SHIT Dalillama is there any good reason for the sudden change in move-in dates

    Because that’s how long it will take maintenance to fix the place after the last tenants. Fortunately, it appears that the current assholes won’t actually be able to turf us out

    I’m willing to have a go at it.

  322. rq says

    Trying to ignore all the bobsleigh and skeleton results in my twiter feed as I catch up on Ferguson information. (Watching right now on repeat. And yes, this will be a running theme until the season ends sometime in, oh, March, I believe? I have warned all of you.)


    Oh, that’s at least a good thing. I mean sucky that your moving in gets pushed back, but a good reason. *hugs* I’m counting the days along with you, though definitely not with the same level of anticipation.

  323. says

    Oh, FFS, she is not gone yet. Michele Bachmann attends a Christmas party at the Whitehouse and urges the President to bomb Iran:

    “I turned to the president and I said, something to the effect of, ‘Mr. President, you need to bomb the Iranian nuclear facilities, because if you don’t, Iran will have a nuclear weapon on your watch and the course of world history will change,’” Bachmann explained.

    And he got his condescending smile on his face and laughed at me and said, ‘Well Michele, it’s just not that easy,’ ” she said. “And I said to him, ‘No, Mr. President, you’re the president, it will happen on your watch, and you’ll have to answer to the world for this.’ And that was it and then I left. Merry Christmas.”

  324. rq says

    Oh? Arkansas town repeals anti-discrimination ordinance, thanks in part to Michelle Duggar

    The town of Fayetteville, Arkansas, has voted to repeal an ordinance banning discrimination on the basis of numerous demographic characteristics — age, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, the list goes on — thanks at least in part to the efforts of Michelle Duggar. Over the summer, the “19 Kids & Counting” star recorded a hateful, trans-phobic robocall encouraging voters to overturn Ordinance 119, inaccurately claiming that the measure — which allows transgender people to use public facilities associated with their identified gender — would allow “males with past child predator convictions that claim they are female to have a legal right to enter private areas that are reserved for women and girls.”

    Thank you, Michelle!

  325. says

    Moment of Mormon Muppet Madness. Oh, no, say it ain’t so. Mormons are using the muppets in their Christmas show.

    I don’t want to see Bert, Ernie and Big Bird singing for the mormons.

    From the comments section on the Salt Lake Tribune site:

    For this performance…….there were 12 elderly, half senile men in the balcony in lieu of the two regular Muppet characters.
    Fantasy puppets join fantastic choir from fantasy church to celebrate fantasy holiday.
    The Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Program has been one of the best part of Christmas in SLC. Their productions are fantastic. But, last night’s program was hijacked by the Muppets. For me it was not good at all. If you like the Muppets perhaps one would like this years show. Very much miss their usual production.

  326. Saad says

    Tony, #483

    All three are same as that one other thing, but they’re totally not the same as each other. What’s hard to understand?

    Lynna, I wish you were making that up (#486). I wish there was a picture of Obama’s expression that she’s talking about. I bet that would make a great reaction meme.

  327. says

    Having just finished a Woman of the Day entry for Dr. Katsuko Saruhashi, I’m nearing the end of my series highlighting the achievements of women throughout history. I’ve rather enjoyed the series and decided to do a thematic follow up for notable LGBT people. I figured I’d see if anyone here knew of some good resources to use in finding historically important LGBT people in history. I’ve come to like having images of the people I’m highlighting which means I’m largely limited to the modern era. I’d also like to feature people from other countries. So if anyone has ideas, I’m all ears.

  328. rq says

    Just think of it as the three primary colours! Individually, they’re completely separable and bright – mix them together, and get a weirdly brown coloured mass of… gunk. Yay!

  329. rq says

    It’s a fetus with wings, like a little angel. If you click on it to open it, and look in the URL, there’s a 48 in it, add a 0, and it will give you a bigger size.
    I forget who taught me this, but it was someone in the Lounge. May have been doki.

  330. says

    This is some good news: <a href="Apple has removed music with racial supremacy–themed messages from iTunes, following scrutiny from the Southern Poverty Law Center […] white-power groups like Skrewdriver, Max Resist and the Bully Boys, as well as offering a "Listeners Also Bought" feature that suggested like-minded hate mongers. […]

    "Apple is doing the right thing by preventing iTunes from being used as a recruitment tool for white supremacists," Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC's [Southern Poverty Law Center] Intelligence Project, said in a statement. "Amazon and other online retailers that continue to sell this music need to realize that they are providing a powerful platform for extremists to reach young people with messages that advocate hate and violence against African Americans, Jews and others."
    Rolling Stone link.

    The bad news is that Amazon, Spotify, etc. still offer white-power hate music.

  331. Saad says

    Tony, #493

    Meant to ask, what’s your gravatar? I can’t quite make it out.

    It’s the cover of the Sigur Rós album, Ágætis byrjun.

    Beautiful, beautiful music. I recommend starting with these two tracks if you want a good idea of their music (Glósóli is my favorite song of theirs). Coincidentally, Jónsi, the singer for the band, is gay, but not a historically significant figure so my recommendation would be to maybe do one on Virginia Woolf. You may have done a piece on her already since she was also a feminist.