the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

Sir C- F- and I make very fond farewells to one another, for has been a most agreeable couple of days, and then I am bound for Lord P-'s, that sure is not an immense distance away.

Sophy remarks to me, as we are sat in the carriage, sure 'twas a very pretty place, but 'twas exceeding quiet. I confide she is us’d to the bustle of Town, and indeed in great houses there is usually a deal a-doing, a lively servants’ hall &C. She adds that she took advantage of that fine herb plot to put up some lotions and washes, they were entire agreeable to her using the stillroom.

Why, says I, I shall be giving excellent good report of you to Docket. Sophy smiles and says she wonders how Docket goes on in Weymouth. I confide, says I, that she and Biddy Smith will be promenading themselves and waxing extreme critickal over the way other ladies are dresst. Sophy giggles and agrees 'tis very like.

I look at her and think how well she has come on since joining our household. Will never be tall, but has fill’d out, and altho’ her looks cannot match those of Dorcas, that are most out of the common fine, is become a pleasing creature that I daresay already finds those that aspire to a kind glance from her.

She takes out some knitting – sure she is admirable diligent.

I open my traveling desk so that I may go scribble a little upon my novel of wreckers and sea-monsters.

But 'tis not long afore we are arriv’d at Lord P-'s fine place: and this year, I apprehend, there will be no bad poet even are there still horrid swans. I am greet’d by Lady P- that expresses great delight at seeing me, I cannot comprehend why except that it be somewhat effusive civility. She goes introduce her daughter, that looks a little sullen at being oblig’d to stand about the hall in order to greet their guests when she might be in the open air among the company.

This, she says with pride, is my daughter, Lady Rosamund, that makes her debut in the coming season.

Lady Rosamund goes make me a somewhat cursory curtesy. I daresay to one of her years I appear quite entire as already one of the fusties. Lady P- gives out a little sigh, and goes on to say that of course D- is already here, and Arthur grows a fine lusty infant.

But what is this about dear Agnes? she says. Shows an entire inclination to accept this offer from some country parson, when she might do so much better.

La, says I, is’t Mr L- you mean? Has been showing most attentive to her. Is a most not’d scholar that moves in learn’d circles, and also has a deal of interest.

Lady P- concedes a little grudging that this makes some difference, but one that might do as well as Agnes S- - seems that she throws herself away.

Why, says I, perchance he may end up a bishop or gain some other fine ecclesiastical advancement (tho’ I think neither Mr L-, nor Agnes S- on his behalf, have any such ambitions). But the prospect greatly mollyfies Lady P-.

She goes on to say that poor D- has latterly been suffering a deal with his megrim: she confides in these fine country airs he will soon improve.

And how does Lady D-?

Comes about remarkable, allows Lady P-, feeds the boy herself, entirely in health (but there is somewhat a little hesitant in how she conveys this intelligence).

(Indeed I apprehend that there is some kind of trouble with Lady D-, tho sure she seems recover’d and does not show melancholick after the fashion of Susannah after Sukey’s birth.)

I proceed to my chamber, where Sophy is already about unpacking, laying out a fine muslin that I may change into, putting out a very charming hat and my parasol. Sophy, says I, as she goes about to help me out of my traveling garb, do you have any occasion to convoke with Copping, there seems somewhat of trouble concerning Lady D-, should like to know what’s ado.

Sophy says that Copping ever shows agreeable and she dares say there will be some fine tea-drinkings while we are here.

Excellent, says I, looking at myself in the mirror and finding the sight very agreeable: sure I am a vain creature. Well, I will go mingle among the other guests.

There is a deal of company – I mind me that Lord P- takes a desire to get rid of his obligations to Society in a bunch, so that he may then return to his darling cows without distraction – including Sir H- and Lady Z-, that promenade together around the lake in a fine display of conjugal amity.

Comes up to me Agnes S-, that is looking exceeding well and happy, takes my hands and squeezes 'em and says, would be extreme gratefull might we contrive to convoke - o, indeed, all goes well, but there are one or two matters –

Why, my dear, says I, I am quite upon the qui vive to know how things go with you. Think you that did we ascend to the Temple of the Winds we might contrive a little solitude?

She looks about and says, sure there are a deal of what Em calls the fusties that I doubt would be inclin’d for the walk, also 'tis nigh upon the hour for tea that I daresay they will find more pressing than the fine views one may obtain from that vantage-point.

I laugh and say, from Lady Rosamund’s expression I fear I am now among the fusties myself, but I should be delight’d to climb up there – I apprehend that is the weather sufficiently clear one may see Wales.

Agnes S- says very pretty that even was Lady B- eighty years old she would still not be a fusty; but let us essay the walk.

As we make the climb up the winding path, she says that Lord and Lady P- go warn all very serious not to try to take a boat under the bridge, for the swans have another brood of cygnets and both mother and father will show extreme ferocious towards intruders.

We laugh somewhat, and then she says, sure one never sees anything lately of Mr W- Y-, I hope he is in health?

Why, says I, I am for some reason in a supposition that he has gone abroad. Tho’ for what purpose, whether 'twas to take the waters or to fight against tyranny -

Miss S- says 'tis far more like the former.

We come to the gazebo in the form of a temple of the winds, and we look about and observe that no-one comes up the path, and we go point out distant sights to one another, and we perceive that the company that is about the lawn and the terrace moves like unto to a flock of sheep towards the drawing-room, so we feel there is little likelyhood of interruption.

Well, says I, sitting myself down upon the marble bench that runs around the interior of the temple, how go matters with you?

O! cries Agnes S-, all comes about quite exceedingly. For I writ to Mr L- concerning my authorship and had the very finest response – has a vision of the two of us sitting in an agreeable parsonage parlour, he about his studies, me about my verses, 'tis entirely a delightfull prospect, he says.

Why, says I, that is a fine thing in him.

And my guardian wrote to him saying that I was not pennyless but had a portion – tho’ he did not say how large 'twas – and Mr L- wrote back to say, he entirely suppos’d 'twould be settl’d upon me, with he dared say provision for any children.

Indeed, says I, better and better.

But - she says, wringing her hands together – I would not say there is opposition exactly, but I am like to suppose that Lady P- was in some hopes that I would marry one that would be advantageous to their family interests –

'Tis entire likely, says I (for indeed do I consider upon it they must have had some hopes in the matter).

- altho’ Lord D- is not so much put about by Mr L-'s theology and liturgickal practice as I had suppos’d he would be, but I think approves that 'tis not an entire matter of worldly advantage

Why, says I, shows well of him.

- but, Agnes S- goes on, Dora. I cannot fathom it. Says I could make a much finer match, mentioning various fellows that I do not incline to and that do not incline to me, save for the thought of repairing their fortunes. Will say that at least 'tis not Mr O’N-, and I will not be going to Ireland, but shows very put about by the notion that I shall be quitting their household and no longer living with 'em.

Indeed 'tis curious, says I, for last year she seem’d eager to have you matcht up and marry’d, even was it not to title or antient lineage, tho’, indeed, to one that all say is like to have a fine distinguisht career –

'Twas Dora’s way, she says with a sigh, did she see a fellow but speak to me civil would be asking did I not have a notion to him. But seems entire chang’d and even as if she does not wish me marry at all.

She then sighs again and says, but – sure she will not speak plain of it, because 'tis one of the mysteries of marry’d women that she will not discourse of to me –

I snort somewhat vulgar –

- but there is something, somewhat that troubles her, that makes her nervous and unlike her wont’d self, in particular towards Lord D-, 'tis worrysome.

I take her hand and squeeze it. Perchance I may come about to find out more in the matter –

But 'tis indeed strange, Dora would ever look to me or our aunt to smooth out her way - o, she was not spoilt, or over-indulg’d, ever entire sweet-natur’d –

I say that one sees that still.

- but indeed she was very much our pet. But now – 'tis almost as if was a stranger.

My dear, says I, may be some quite foolish small matter that bothers her, do you leave it in my hands.

"It's so hard to say goodbye"

Feb. 23rd, 2017 01:17 am
rosefox: An adorable white toddler wearing an adult's grey flatcap (kit)
[personal profile] rosefox
Kit's developing some separation anxiety (yes, only now, at nearly 14 months!) and started crying tonight when we began the bedtime routine because bedtime means saying goodnight and everyone going away. We still did what we always do: big family hug, two parents say night-night and leave, and the third reads stories and provides cuddles and puts the baby in the crib. They clung to all of us during goodnight hugs, glumly (and sleepily) submitted to storytime, and finally fell asleep after only a little more fussing. Then we all sat around feeling heartbroken because it is so hard to see the baby so sad.

Tonight's bedtime story was No Matter What, by sheer coincidence; I spotted it while Kit was demolishing their bookshelf (a favorite activity) and realized we hadn't read it in ages. I'm never sure how much Kit understands of the actual words we say, but I think the meaning was clear, especially with the way I kept kissing and hugging them as I read. And I think it helped.

They've started getting upset when books end, too. We always have to open the book again to reassure them that the story is still there and they can reread it whenever they want. Sometimes they flip through it to find a favorite page before reluctantly accepting that the book is done. When we let them turn pages, they turn them really fast, without waiting for us to finish reading any text; one long look at the images on the page and then it's on to the next. It's so very like the way I blaze through books and then feel disappointed when they're done that it makes me laugh every time.

Kit endured their first ear infection this week, poor thing, and has been taking amoxicillin for it. As soon as they started on the antibiotics, their fever went away entirely and their vigor and appetite returned. (Their first full day of betterness ended with them not being able to fall asleep until 11 p.m. because all the energy they'd lacked while ill came roaring back with a vengeance. Fortunately that was a one-time thing and they're back on their usual sleep schedule.) I'm so glad for our access to good medical care, and also extremely glad to have a baby who sucks obediently on medication syringes, even when they hate the taste of the medicine, and doesn't appear to have allergies to anything. We were all very relieved that they went back to daycare today, because five days in a row of sick (and then recovering) baby at home was very challenging for all of us, especially as we were dealing with another family crisis at the same time. As always, I have no idea how single and stay-at-home parents do it. No idea whatsoever.

We're all quite convinced that Kit has psychic powers that only activate when they're asleep. Whenever X goes to bed—which doesn't happen at the same time every night—Kit sleep-fusses just enough to set off the monitor. Just now I returned to writing this entry after a while of doing other things, and Kit promptly made a few tiny noises. So I'm thinking at them as hard as I can: See, silly baby, I told you that we think of you even when you're not right in front of us. Rest now. No one is too far away, and we'll always be there when you need us.
thnidu: warning symbol, black exclamation mark in yellow triangle (warning)
[personal profile] thnidu
From A Science Enthusiast. H/t Diane Duane on Tumblr.

Fake ‘March for Science’ pages are stealing money from the actual March
By Dan Broadbent | February 19, 2017

By now, you’re undoubtedly are aware that there will be a March for Science in Washington, DC on April 22nd, 2017, on Earth Day. This is an excerpt from their official website:

The March for Science is a celebration of our passion for science and a call to support and safeguard the scientific community. Recent policy changes have caused heightened worry among scientists, and the incredible and immediate outpouring of support has made clear that these concerns are also shared by hundreds of thousands of people around the world. The mischaracterization of science as a partisan issue, which has given policymakers permission to reject overwhelming evidence, is a critical and urgent matter. It is time for people who support scientific research and evidence-based policies to take a public stand and be counted.

The March’s popularity has exploded over the past few weeks, as the creators scurry to get specifics about the March organized. And since almost nothing in life is free, they’ve created an official store on their website, as well as a site for you to donate to the cause.

I’ve come across many ads selling shirts for the March in my Facebook news feed. The ads included Bill Nye, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Jamie Hyneman (pictured in the embedded post below). At first, I didn’t think too much of them, as it made sense for prominent science communicators to support the March. However, something always looked off about them. How did they get the shirts so quickly? How did the creators of the March collaborate with these celebrities in such a short amount of time? And more importantly, why didn’t they set me up with a free shirt to model? (Alright, I guess I understand that last one.)

To help differentiate between the legitimate March page and the imposter pages, I created this quick primer below for you. [Embedded graphic]

What can you do? [6-point list]

Click headline for story.


Wednesday Ramblings

Feb. 22nd, 2017 11:50 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today we met up with my folks in Champaign-Urbana.  So they have their batch of poetry from the half-price sale.  \o/  We had lunch together too.

The main goal was making a major stockup run at Sam's Club.  We got a ton of food, some garden soil for leveling low spots, and a very cool garden cart.  We'll be making sloppy joe mix and keema, having picked up ingredients for those recipes.

We also stopped at Harvest Market.  They had more jackfruit, yay!  \o/  These were whole, about the size of a watermelon, but could be cut, so I got three big slices.  My plan is to make bread pudding and ice cream.  One of the employees also tipped us to the availability of barbecue jackfruit, which is made from the green fruit, so we got some of that to try also.  :D  They also had some shortbread cooking which turned out to be amazingly tasty and tender.  We did not, strictly speaking, need to buy a carton of cookies and half a gallon of farm-fresh chocolate milk, but after several hours of hiking around and buying healthy food, we decided that we deserved a treat.

Poem: "A Slow Ripening Fruit"

Feb. 22nd, 2017 07:59 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the December 6, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] kyleri. It also fills the "Must Be Doin' Somethin' Right" square in my 12-1-16 card for the IPod Shuffle Music fest. This poem has been sponsored by [ profile] starcat_jewel. It belongs to the Shiv thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Read more... )
thnidu: my familiar. "Beanie Baby" -type dragon, red with white wings (Default)
[personal profile] thnidu
Time. H/t John Davis

‘Love Heals.’ Jewish Families Heartbroken Over Cemetery Vandalism Find Comfort in Muslim Supporters

A Muslim-American group in the U.S. helped raise more than $77,000 in a single day to help a historic Jewish cemetery in Missouri repair hundreds of gravesites desecrated in what is being condemned as an apparent act of anti-Semitism.

The overwhelming support has brought some comfort to those whose relatives are buried at the Chesed Shel Emeth Society cemetery in St. Louis, where more than 150 tombstones were toppled and damaged this week.

“To me, that outpouring is love,” said Barbara Perle, whose grandparents and great-grandparents are among her relatives buried at the site. “In my heart, love heals.”

Perle, 66, who now lives in California, said she “felt heartbroken” when she learned of the vandalism in her hometown. She said she has not been able to find out whether her relatives’ sites were disturbed because the cemetery’s phone line has been inundated with calls.


Perle and others who have loved ones buried at the cemetery say they’re deeply touched by the online fundraiser, organized by two Muslim-Americans, which has been collecting an average of $1,000 every 20 minutes.

The donation page was started by Muslim advocate Linda Sarsour and Tarek El-Messidi, who also founded CelebrateMercy, a nonprofit that teaches about Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam.

“We just want to send a message that whatever haters and extremists try to destroy, we will rebuild,” El-Messidi, 36, told TIME. “Seeing this happen was just disgusting. It shows that when you put all the politics aside, we share humanity together. We want everyone to live in peace and we want everyone to rest in peace.”

Click headline for story.

State of the Meg Update

Feb. 23rd, 2017 09:48 am
megpie71: Animated: "Are you going to come quietly/Or do I have to use earplugs?" (Come Quietly)
[personal profile] megpie71
So, I'm heading back to uni (again - hopefully this time I'll get a degree out of things). I'm studying part-time, because that way I'm not going to be overloading myself, and I'll be able to get things like, y'know, housework and such done as well as studying without pushing myself to the point of breakdown. Unfortunately for me, this week is O-week, which means I pretty much need to be on campus every day.

Yesterday was O-Day (Guild clubs & societies sign-up day). It did not go well for me.

A bit of background: I am hyper-sensitive to noise. Lots of noise overloads me, because I basically don't have a filter for "foreground noise" or "background noise" - everything I hear comes in marked "process immediately", so too much noise, and too many sources of noise, and too much volume means my brain literally gets overloaded. I am also somewhat claustrophobic in crowded situations - I prefer having something of a generous personal space bubble, and crowded areas make me anxious and panicky.

O-Day yesterday was trying to cram pretty much the entire cohort of first year students, plus a fairly substantial chunk of second and third year students, into a single 500m by 20m (widest point maybe 50m) stretch of the campus. Plus two different sound stages within about 100m of each other, dozens of club and society booths, and numerous corporate and social bodies trying to get people's attention as well. Essentially, if I ever wind up in hell, it will be like being stuck in something like this on a never-ending basis.

O-Day officially started at 12 noon. I was getting the fsck out of there by about 12.30pm, and I only managed to sign up for one of the (potentially four) clubs I was interested in. Even thinking about it now is making me feel uncomfortable. I have not felt so purposefully excluded in years. (This was actually probably the least of their accessibility fails - I wouldn't have wanted to be trying to get a wheelchair or walker through that throng without a cow-catcher bolted onto the front, TBH).

Fortunately the earliest I have to be on campus today is about 3pm, for a Mature Age study skills session, and tomorrow I only have one thing to attend (a one-off lecture for one of my courses, where I'm hoping to receive the unit outline, since it isn't available online). But I'm really not feeling welcome there or happy about being there.


Feb. 23rd, 2017 12:47 pm
den: (happy den)
[personal profile] den
I have to say that, no matter how hot it is, it's never too hot to eat a curry meat pie.

chanter_greenie: a Pringles can with the words 'you can't write just one' written across it (drabbles are like pringles)
[personal profile] chanter_greenie
Finally got another piece finished. Not entirely sure where it came from, but it's been slowly percolating and now it's up for sponsorship. 'Working The Bands' shows three people in different parts of the orange!verse rolling up their sleeves for the long haul, as it were.

Surely this has been used

Feb. 22nd, 2017 08:22 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
A real estate developer who arranges for superhumans to scuffle in neighborhoods the developer wants leveled so they can buy the properties on the cheap and develop them.

What Went Right - 23 FEB 2017

Feb. 23rd, 2017 08:49 am
megpie71: Storyboard Zack Fair is happy - smiling, moving up and to the right. (Boing)
[personal profile] megpie71
Another three articles from the mainstream media about "what went right" rather than "what went wrong".

Western Australia introduces new border controls for managing bovine Johne's disease in cattle by Matt Brann (ABC Rural, Western Australia)

Western Australia has introduced border controls to protect cattle from Bovine Johne's Disease, a condition which is capable of killing cattle, and leads to a loss of saleable condition prior to death.

St John rewards 'heroes' for courage, skill and exceptional judgement in emergencies by Eliza Laschon (ABC Western Australia)

A group of 17 Western Australians have been recognised by St John Ambulance WA for their "exceptional judgement and skill to deliver care.. in a medical emergency", including a crew of eight who worked on a smash involving an ambulance on Mundijong Road last year.

Hunt for a safe haven for world's rarest marsupial continues by Lisa Morrison and Andrew Collins (ABC Great Southern, Western Australia)

Locations are being sought for rehousing colonies of Gilbert's Potoroo, the world's rarest marsupial. The potoroo had been believed extinct, but a small colony was discovered near Albany in 1994. However, bush fires in the area in 2015 mean the Albany colony is struggling, and new locations for colonies are being sought.

So there's my three for the day. If you've found any stories in your news feeds about what went right, why not share them in the comments?
drwex: (WWFD)
[personal profile] drwex
Go see this movie if you have any interest in history, in untold stories of black women who nearly got lost by systemic erasure, in the space program, in early computing, or just in some fine acting where there's a white guy finely portrayed by Kevin Costner and he is not the most important thing on screen. 5/5 stars

Seriously, about the only thing I can complain with regard to this movie is that given the time-period in which it is set, everyone should've been smoking like chimneys. Costner's Al Harrison chain-chews gum like you'd expect from a man trying to quit the habit - so he gets a pass - but beyond that nobody lights up, nobody is even seen with a cigarette. I've looked at several dozen historical images of the mission control room and nobody seems to have cigarettes in there so OK I can roll with that but outside of NASA, on the streets, in the churches and back-yard BBQs you'd expect that people smoked.

It might help you contextualize my reaction to this movie to know that when I was growing up one of my prized possessions was a then-biggest 64-color box of Crayola crayons and on that box I had affixed a Freedom 7 sticker. To say that I was a typical American kid obsessed with rockets and space and moon landings growing up is to understate it. So a movie that tells a true-er story of the fiction I absorbed is going to be right up my alley. I expected to love this movie, and I did.

And then there's the cast. I generally like Costner, and he turns in a very good show as a man balancing his personal obsession with the fact that he's leading a mission of obsessed men on an obsessive journey for an obsessed nation. I liked that he was so much a typical engineer - like the fish in water he's unaware of the racist system that supports him until the moment that racism becomes an obstacle to him getting things done at which point FUCK racism. If getting his work done means taking a black woman into a classified Pentagon briefing full of white men then so be it. Costner's Harrison isn't some newly enlightened white ally - he's a man on a mission and he's smart enough to realize that this black woman is essential to getting that mission done.

I'm not familiar with Taraji Henson's previous work, which appears to be mostly TV, but it's clear she should get more leading roles. She manages by turns to be a super-smart girl-woman, a wise and caring mother, a feminist romantic, a hard-working super-smart black woman who gets the short end of everything because she's that, and in the end she turns out to be the right smart person in the right place at the right time. Yes, there's credit due here to the writer and the director for setting this up, but it's Henson's style and talent that carry the role across all these varied situations.

Then there's Octavia Spencer, who does not exactly have the gut-punch level of emotional impact that, say, Alfre Woodard can deliver but she is not far off. She's mostly relegated to a supervisor/momma role in her interactions with the other characters which makes you forget just how smart she is until she turns the tables about 2/3 of the way through. Her interactions with Kirsten Dunst's character, the almost thoughtlessly racist Vivian Mitchell, are some of the best two-shot scenes in the movie. I remember Spencer from Snowpiercer, a movie I disliked enough to discount her work and I'm glad to see her getting a bigger role in a better movie here.

Then last you have Janelle Monae, whose singing and dancing (and awesome sense of style) I've enjoyed for some years showing up as a fine actor in her own right. Her character, Mary Jackson, is portrayed as the sexiest and also the boldest of the three main women. Her role is interesting to me because she has some of the strongest interactions with men. She is fine in the scenes with Spencer and Henson, but where she really shines and defines herself is first in her interactions with the Jewish WWII survivor who wants her to do more. Then in her careful yet strong and loving interactions with her husband, played by Aldis Hodge, as a black-rights near-militant activist, and finally in one utterly brilliant scene with Frank Hoyt Taylor (credited simply as "Judge"). If you can watch those scenes and not fall in love with Mary Jackson then you are not me.

In the end, I think what makes this movie great is that it makes a sweeping story - America's race to come back from our failure to put the first satellite and then the first man into orbit - into a series of tightly paired interactions that each tell facets of the story. Henson-Costner tell us the NASA parts of the story. Spencer-Dunst tell us the black woman-white woman inbred racism parts of the story. Monae and her foils tell us the black-women-fighting-uphill-all-the-way parts of the story. Things in movies are always made simpler and history is too complex to be told truly in a two-hour film. But within those constraints this movie does a brilliant job of revealing things we all deserve to know and helping us feel it through those who lived it.


Feb. 22nd, 2017 04:36 pm
thnidu: winged staff with two serpents coiled around it (caduceus)
[personal profile] thnidu
From NPF Blog.

No holds barred for this Psoriatic Psuperhero
Professional Wrestler Michael Murray puts new meaning into the phrase ‘wrestling with psoriasis.’

When Michael Murray was just three, he developed severe asthma. When he was 13, he was diagnosed with psoriasis. “The weird thing is, the asthma and the psoriasis swapped out,” he said. “I haven’t had an asthma attack and gone to the hospital since I was 12.”

Growing up with trouble breathing, followed by plaque psoriasis that “breaks out in chunks or big splotches,” doesn’t seem like a promising start for a professional wrestler. But Murray, who is 29, has been wrestling since he was 15. “Yes, this is my day job,” he said.

Click headline for story.

conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Does that explain how Africa looks an awful lot like Vancouver? I mean, I've never been to either place, but I'm guessing here.

(How did they escape global warming on Earth-2?)

Read more... )

Narnia fanfic

Feb. 22nd, 2017 12:26 pm
rachelmanija: (Default)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
For the Chocolate Box exchange, which focuses on romantic or friendship pairings, I wrote The Gift for [personal profile] aurilly's request for Emeth/Tirian from The Last Battle. If you don't remember him, Emeth was the honorable young Calormene officer, who made a disproportionate impression in a very brief appearance, at least on those of us who like noble warriors.

what keeps me going in all of this

Feb. 22nd, 2017 01:56 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Is you. And my SU and the cats. And the blue jays spreading word of the crows outside my window. And the snowdrops in the lawn. And the slanting sunshine pouring in the window so I can knit and not strain my eyes. And movies and books and fanfic.

But a whole lot of it is you all. You, who read what I put here and pass it along and comment intelligently. (Do you have any clue how rare intelligent comments are?) And you write fanfic about characters I care about -- you tell the truth aslant by putting it in the mouths of characters and making it real -- and record it so I can listen to it in the truck, and come up with alternate universes and ways to show me new worlds at an angle.

If I could, I'd buy you all coffee, or good wine, or sing you all a song I wrote about friends. (No, it's not on YouTube, and it won't be; it'll be some time before my voice is back to singing well.) I do what I can, which is to hold this space, to put things in it that I hope are helpful and that I hope aren't going to drive you to despair, and I try to put in some cheerful or offbeat things also. (I purely love the woman who stood off an intruder with a broadsword, for instance. SCA and similar for the win!)

What I am saying is this: if you weren't there, I wouldn't be here doing this.

Thank you.

on the Electoral College

Feb. 22nd, 2017 06:57 pm
[personal profile] calimac
I was asked to comment on this article about the Electoral College.

First I should add that most of my understanding of the Constitution’s intent probably comes from the Federalist Papers. Prof. Finkelman’s quotes all appear to be from Madison’s reports of the debates, which I’ve never read end to end, though I’ve certainly read a lot of works citing them.

Here is what I wrote directly in comment about the article:

That’s a very interesting article, but I’m not sure about accepting all of the arguments. It is, of course, dangerous for an amateur like myself to dispute with an expert when I haven’t even done any research directly in response to this, but I don’t have time to do anything other than lay out my thoughts based on my past education in the creation of the Constitution. I’ve tried to put the phrase “as I understand it” or “my understanding is” around everything I’m thus dredging up from memory.

I’d like to believe the argument that the construction of the Electoral College had nothing to do with protecting the interests of small states, because that would do away with the irritating Trumpista claim that the College’s purpose was to ensure that the presidency went to a winner of a wider variety of states. But I’m not sure I do believe it.

Certainly the Convention’s rejection of having governors choose the president is no proof that the interests of small states weren’t being protected. The governor system would mean one vote per state, which would give the small states too much power. My understanding has always been the makeup of Congress was intended as a compromise: the Senate was apportioned purely by state, while the House more closely approximated apportionment by population. Therefore, the Electoral College, whose numbers were tied to the number of members of Congress in both houses together, gave the small states more power in the Electoral College than they had in the House, but much less than they had in the Senate.

Also, because the number of electors per state was a second-order effect, derived from the numbers in Congress, I’m not surprised if there was not, as Prof. Finkelman states there was not, much discussion of using the Electoral College to protect the interests of small states. But I would be very surprised indeed if there wasn’t discussion of this point in the Convention’s consideration of the creation of the Senate.

Similarly, the 3/5ths clause was, as I understand it, intended to protect the slave power in the House. The Electoral College would again be a second-order effect, despite the quotes from Charles Pinckney and Hugh Williamson (which, as given here, don’t even directly address that point). In any case, because the Electoral College numbers were based on House + Senate together, the 3/5ths clause would be less powerful in the Electoral College than in the House. Although my understanding is that it is certainly true, as Prof. Finkelman states, that it was the 3/5ths clause that enabled Jefferson to defeat Adams in 1800.

(Incidentally, the description of Adams as one “who never owned a slave” reminds me that visits to historical sites have revealed to me that two presidents we don’t think of as slave-owners actually were slave-owners for brief periods, these being Van Buren and Grant.)

I’m also a bit bothered by an unspoken implication that the Electoral College is illegitimate because of the slave-based taint on its origin, even though the 3/5ths clause has been, by definition, a dead letter since 1865. Really it’s accusing the Electoral College of original sin, and as a Jew I find such an argument does not make much of an impression on me. In any case, I’ve seen people denounce the entire Constitution on grounds of one taint on the Founders or another, an argument that must go all the way back to the first Marxist who ever read Charles Beard’s Economic Interpretation.

Prof. Finkelman reports that James Wilson and Gouverneur Morris supported direct election of the president on the grounds that the people would be sure to elect a famous or distinguished candidate. I’m sure they said this. But I’ve always understood that the argument that prevailed against popular vote for president was that the general voters, being ill-informed of nation-wide affairs in days of poor education and when most voters thought of themselves as citizens of their state, not of the U.S. as a whole, would not know much about potential presidential candidates outside their state. But they would know who would know that, and the original intention was to have the electors of the Electoral College be the sophisticates of their states, men who knew the most eligible candidates from other states. But just in case the electors weren’t so sophisticated, there was the insurance clause preventing them from casting both their votes for candidates from their own state.

This argument contradicts the ones given by Wilson and Morris, but I would have thought that there were disputes over this point and that Wilson and Morris lost the argument. If that’s so, then to quote Wilson and Morris alone would be to misread the Convention’s state of mind.

I could be factually mistaken here, but only if I entirely misremember my own education on this matter. But these are my thoughts.

Judaism and Special Needs

Feb. 22nd, 2017 12:18 pm
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[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
[personal profile] gingicat tipped me to this online resource for Jewish teaching and special needs.  In addition to helping Jewish families with special needs, this is also useful for anyone who has Jewish friends.

Driving myself to distraction

Feb. 22nd, 2017 12:40 pm
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[personal profile] necturus
I've been spending way too much time behind the wheel of my car during the last couple weeks. There have been a number of scary situations: giant piles of snow making it impossible to see oncoming traffic; driving straight into the sun during afternoon rush hour; idiots appearing suddenly in my blind spot; and on one occasion, the car in front of me *stopping* at the end of a highway onramp, afraid to merge into traffic.

It occurs to me that autonomous vehicles, when they start to appear on the roads, are not likely to play well with Massachusetts drivers. The robot cars are surely going to get stuck in situations where they have to play chicken with human-driven cars in order to make certain turns or merge into crowded highways. When they fail, they'll back up everyone behind them, and the result will be a huge clusterfsck.

They're going to have to legislate manually driven cars off the road.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Deportees. Written 66 years ago by Woody Guthrie. Sung by Arlo Guthrie and Hoyt Axton.

Lyrics here.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
14 brands NOT to buy for olive oil -- it's fake. And a list of trustworthy brands.

The Second Amendment does not grant any right to own an assault weapon. So says the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals. So say we all. A similar ruling was decided by a court in Maryland, also.


As if there was anything else needed to make this Occupation look sleazier: how Rump and Bannon (I keep wanting to type Bannock, but that would slander a perfectly good pastry) are connected to pedophilia-advocate Milo Yiannopoulos.

The most important thing to know about Trump's deportation force is that they will be going after everyone they can. Any way they can. Every way they can. More here.

This is evil. Trump signed the bill getting rid of protection for streams. Say goodbye to trout, turtles, frogs and toads, and hello to mosquitos, poor water quality, and devastation for anything relying on that water. This is an attack on rural and urban America, on water flowing through farmland and through suburbs.


Two Russians admit to colluding with the Trump Campaign.


Independent film theatres are screening '1984' to protest the incremental authoritarianism. And would it surprise you to find that the Orwell novel is free on Kindle?

In Virginia, the governor vetoes a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Thank you for women's lives, Gov. McAuliffe.

Students at a high school in Carroll County, MD, one of the less diverse areas of the state, were forced to take down diversity posters as 'anti-Trump'. But there's a campaign on to put the poster images on t-shirts the kids can wear. The posters are beautiful works of art by Shepard Fairey.

What to do when a restaurant puts a 'minimum wage service charge' on your bill -- that is, asks for money that is not for tips or for the cost of the meal, but theoretically to offset the cost of paying an actual living minimum wage. Cheap-ass jerks would not get return business from me. I'd give a big cash tip to the server, give the owners a piece of my mind about their underpayment of hard-working employees, and leave. Permanently. I tend to be hot-headed about mistreatment of restaurant staff, since I worked hostess for the overnight shift in a pancake house for a while, dealing with drunks, cops, wedding parties, exchange student employees and a misbehaving dishwashing machine. As hostess, I got a nickel more an hour than the waitresses, but I didn't get any of the tips. I also had to go outside and wash the glass doors even in snowstorms. It was not worth the trouble after a couple of months.

Birthday greetings and felicitations

Feb. 22nd, 2017 09:23 am
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[personal profile] onyxlynx
 to [personal profile] emceeaich !  Happy (and dry!) day!  

This I believe

Feb. 22nd, 2017 12:06 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
When an elderly tomcat snuggles up next to a much larger, younger cat and then growls at him, it sends a mixed message.

Wednesday Will Happen on Thursday

Feb. 22nd, 2017 11:51 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
I will do Wednesday Reading on Thursday, because I have a sore throat and post-nasal drip and am at home today, which means no bench press tonight and my schedule thrown out of whack, which makes me mad.

(no subject)

Feb. 22nd, 2017 10:57 am
twistedchick: cptr art-bricks around a heart (room 4 love)
[personal profile] twistedchick
When did compassion become partisan politics?

ETA: Another way to think of it: when did legislating for the good of the majority, with as little harm to the minority as possible, become a rare bird, all but extinct?

sword and plague and evil

Feb. 22nd, 2017 10:33 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Agent leaves the CIA because of Rump.


This is evil. ICE vans picking up parents as they come to get their kids at school, leaving children behind alone. Teachers are hiding the kids, sneaking them out, telling them not to come to school tomorrow.

Parents: Scarlet fever has returned.


Towers of secrecy; behind the shell companies.

The facts, not the alt-facts: Rump was bailed out of bankruptcy by Russian mobsters. He owes the Russian mob.


This is also evil. First take away health care, then take away food. The House of People who Do Not Truly Represent The Best Interests of Their Constituents wants to cut back on free lunches for kids who don't get that much food anyway. Yell loudly at your Congressperson about this!

Intellectual integrity and the news. Rump objects to objectivity itself. Read this.

Is Rump's thin skin keeping the government understaffed? Rump is clueless about how government works -- such as actually needing people to assist other people to get stuff done.


Roller derby woman subdues intruder with sword.

Withering into the truth.

Armed To The Tea

Feb. 22nd, 2017 02:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed

Posted by Jen

Have you ever wandered through a bakery and thought, "Man, I could really go for a cake shaped like an arm holding a cup of hair right now"?

Well if so, then YOU are a very disturbed individual. Seriously. Maybe you should talk to someone.

But also, you're in luck!

Now, I know what you're thinking, and I completely agree. TOTALLY. But where would we even get a robot monkey at this hour? 

You may also be wondering where the hair is.

There it is!

("I see...THE GRIM. And he's shedding like crazy.")

I'd say it looks like someone plucked out their mustache, but only because there are children present and I wouldn't want this to get too...public. (HI, KIDS.) I'd also go out on a limb and say this baker has single-handedly created the most disarming assault on the funny bone yet - but only because puns make me snort-giggle.

But in case that's not enough hair for you, fear not; there's more!


Er, I about a hairy situation that must have taken a lot of elbow grease! Haha!

K, I think that's all I've got. SO, let the Professor Trelawney jokes...begin.


Thanks to Julia for reminding us of our universal right to bare arms. (Ok, that's the last one. Promise.)


Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.


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Edmund Schweppe

November 2016

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