7 hours ago
Monday, April 22, 2019
So for a brief moment this morning MAGA Americans were losing their damn minds because a couple of politicians said that those killed in Sri Lanka yesterday were "Easter worshipers."
"How much do they hate Christians?" one demanded. "They can't even say our name!"
"Yeah! We don't worship EASTER. Say it RIGHT: we're Christian worshipers."
I asked if by that he meant that they worshiped Christians, and he blocked me.
Such delicate flowers, these fellas.
Saturday, April 20, 2019
Last night was our Seder. Theoretically, tonight should be the second Seder, but we've never done that.
Uncle Charger and the Kid's roommate, Clover, came down to celebrate with us. Despite the somewhat grim nature of the Passover holiday, which is about remembering that Jews were slaves in Egypt, and celebrating their escape from that slavery, it's always been one of my favorites of the holiday.
I think Rosh Hashanah is my favorite, and then Passover, and then Hanukkah. We almost never celebrate Purim, or that might be one of my favorites as well.
The Seder, though, with its set form and yearly rituals (one of the questions our Haggadah asks, for instance, is for everyone to tell how their ancestors came to America -- retelling these stories each year, with new stories as new people join our table, this is very comforting), and the fairly terrible food (the food of affliction), it makes me happy every year.
This year the food was
- a roast chicken and
- grilled asparagus
- Matzo ball soup (all of these were excellent)
- potato kugel (okay)
- brownies of afflication (brownies made with matzo-based cake flour)
- gefilte fish (I am not a fan)
- also KFP wine, which Uncle Charger brought, and which was excellent -- wine from Israel, instead of the grape-jelly-flavored KFP wine which is all that is available here in the fort.
Thursday, April 18, 2019
I'll be honest with y'all, this part of the book is really, really, really boring. If I'd been Beck's Ghost Writer's Editor, most of this would have been cut.
You'll remember when we last left Noah and Molly, they'd just found out about the Big Conspiracy to Take Over America By...Somebody I Guess It Was Noah's Daddy? I Don't Know.
Why would a PR firm want to take over the country? Surely there's more money in letting -- say -- Donald Trump take over the country, and then snookering him into looting the place for you.
Whatever. Molly takes Noah to see "how the other half lives," except that's more like 90% these days, but okay, and also, that's not where she actually takes him. Instead they go through a Sekrit Doorway into a Sekrit Hiding Place, one of the Freedom Fighter's hideouts. It has all these elaborate rooms, all built "with love and ingenuity."
How can Noah tell that? Well, he just can.
There are bookshelves. These contain all sorts of books, including the worst of Orson Scott Card, a John Birch society handbook, and a pile of
Hollis in one of them loading his own ammo, because it is tastier that way (I'm not kidding, that's the explanation we get, just like homemade cookies are tastier than storebought, ammo you load yoursef is better because...homemade, I guess?)
Also there a boardroom sort of place where some of the Freedom Fighters are cosplaying Founding Fathers. It turns out, just like in Fahrenheit 451, each Freedom Fighter memorizes some text written by the Founding Fathers, so that it will Not Be Lost From History.
Why don't they just buy some copies of the books? Yeah, I don't know either.
Molly recites the most common bit from Thomas Paine, the part about the summer soldier. Noah has never heard this before. Because he didn't grow up in the USA and wasn't educated in an American school.
That's the thing about Noah. Sometimes -- as in the opening chapters -- he's an utter dope, both stupid and ignorant. And sometimes, as when he gave that little speech in the bar, he's super competent, highly educated, and brilliant.
And then back to being an dumber than a box of hammers. "Thomas Paine? Who's he?"
Also, he's read Dale Carneige. I mean, oh, my God.
Molly fetches Noah some sweet tea. There's some chat about it being sweet tea. Because she's from the South. In case you forgot.
Then they argue about the 2nd Amendment, basically so Beck's Ghost Writer can make all the bone-headed points every gun nut makes.
Then -- plot twist! -- Noah passes out. THE TEA WAS ROOFIED.
Oh, Molly. Weren't you just trying to bone this guy last night? You heartless slut.
Back to Kearns and Danny. Apparently Danny's going to do some undercover mission with a fake nuclear bomb. Kearns back there in Chapter 16-17 seemed to be working for the FBI. In fact, as I recall, he had a government jet at his command.
But now he claims to be working all on his own. He's been "out in the cold" so long, only one guy still knows he works for the government.
It must be the guy who has the keys to the jet.
Also they eat breakfast in a farmhouse. Why? I don't know. I'm not even sure why this chapter is in the book. Maybe so Glenn Beck's ghostwriter can say "out in the cold," thus demonstrating to you that he knows all about Real Spy Stuff.
Kearns and Danny make a phone call to set up the meet. The guys they're going to sell the fake nuclear weapon fanboy all over Danny. Because he's a big YouTube star and terrorists planning to blow up things with nuclear weapons love YouTube stars.
(Is Danny supposed to be Rush Limbaugh? Or Louder with Crowder? Or Alex Jones? IDK, and this is so stupid I don't care.)
Kearns and Danny drive to the meet. On the way, Kearns stops the car so Danny can see what stars look like outside a city. Apparently Danny, though he is a famous YouTube Star and Freedom Fighter, has never left the city, or at least never looked up when he was outside a city.
Kearns says it's important to know the stars are there. Because stars = heaven.
They get to the meet, which is being held in someone's garage, apparently, and uh-oh, trouble: only four of the five guys they're supposed to meet are there.
I think this is another plot twist?
But apparently not, because they all sit down to talk. Missing Fifth Guy is away on a business trip. (Didn't they just set up the meet like 90 minutes ago?)
There is some chat about Zionist bankers.
(Side note: This is one problem with this book. Danny starts out being cast as a bad guy. Now, apparently, he's a good guy, sort of? But a dupe of Kearns, who is a good guy, maybe? And they're setting up these guys, who are buying nuclear weapons, so...bad guys? But no one's character is consistent, and every now and then someone who is supposed to be one of the heroes will say something about Zionist bankers or global conspiracy or some other coded (barely coded) speech for Them Evil Jews. It's hard to know how Beck's Ghost Writer means us to read all this. Or if he or Beck even understands what they're saying.)
After the anti-Semitic bonding is done with, Kearns shows them the bomb.
Why did he need Danny here again? You got me.
And then -- plot twist! -- we find out who the terrorists are going to blow up, with a fucking nuclear weapon: the Senate Majority Leader.
Why would you need a nuclear weapon to do this? How would you get a nuclear weapon into the office of such a person?
Who knows, who cares. I'm guessing Beck is planning to use this as his Reichstag Fire, to kick off Martial Law and Concentration Camps and the Death of America, but we're 60% through the book. I mean, come on.
Frankly, it should have started with the nuclear weapon. If we're going to actually explode this weapon, I mean.
Kearns and Danny drive away, not having sold the nuclear weapon to the terrorist fanboys. Kearns thinks the fanboys are up to no good -- maybe the missing one ISN'T away on business, but is planning to ambush them.
Apparently there's going to be another meet tomorrow, to actually sell them the weapon (why? Why not sell it to them tonight? What idiot wrote this book), but first we have to hear Kearns' life story.
Danny literally asks for it. "We've got a long drive," he says.
The next chapter seems to be Kearns's life story. What the actual F.
More in a few days, if I can stand it.
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
This is nice -- not the theft, I mean, the recovery
This is a trailer, more or less, but so cool
Erik Loomis is an American hero
A quiz! (I honestly don't know what to make of this.)
Researching something else and came across this guy -- the American prison system is legalized slavery, and we shouldn't ever forget that
See also this
I've seen this happen to too many people.
I don't know who's pushing this 4% number, but every white nationalist on FB has been screeching it lately
Who really erases history:
Rep. Andy Barr invited AOC to come meet coal miners in his district mad that the Green New Deal will take away their jobs. She accepted. Turns out there are no active coal mines in Barr's district because it's 2019, not 1919. So now Barr is uninviting AOC. https://t.co/JOY8Mai82O— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) April 17, 2019
Also, I want this crow to come hang around my office and talk to me:
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
Arkady Martine, A Memory Called Empire
I read about this book on several SF blogs I follow, and saw it mentioned by I don't know how many people on Twitter -- everyone raving about it -- so when I spotted it among the new purchases at my library I snatched it up.
The raves weren't wrong. This is a wonderful book.
It is not an easy read. If it hadn't been for all those accolades, in fact, I probably would not have pushed past the first 20 pages, which are dense and require a lot of faith on the part of the reader. This, as the title suggests, is a book about complex politics. It's a science fiction book, obviously, so they're alien politics. And the cultures involved, though human, are weirdly human. (Though this is one of the best parts of the book, once you're past those first few pages.)
There's also a f/f romance, and a delightful friendship, or rather more than one, and and wonderful writing.
And there's an index/glossary/list of characters at the back of the book, thank God. As with Russian novels, I read this one with two bookmarks, one in the index, and one to mark my place in the text.
Mary Norris, Greek to Me
In a world in which I was obscenely wealthy, or at least one in which I didn't have to earn a living and universities were free, here is what I would do with my life: first I would get a PhD in Greek. Then I would get one in Latin. Then I would get one in Linguistics. Then I would get one in Anthropology. (Probably cultural anthropology, though physical anthropology and linguistic anthropology both hold their attractions.) Then...
My point is, when I saw this book, Greek to Me, on the shelf at my library, I snatched it up with small squeaks of delight. Mary Norris worked as a copy editor at the New Yorker for years; during her tenure there, the magazine paid for her to take classes in both modern and classical Greek (can you hear me burning with envy from way over here?). She also traveled extensively in Greece on her extensive vacations. Five and six week vacations. This is apparently what the world used to be like. (Burning with envy.)
This book is a collection of essays about her experiences: with the languages; of her travels in Greece; about her reading classical Greek and modern Greek texts; about her life in general. The essays are hit and miss, but you can skip the ones you don't like so much and go on to the ones more to your taste. (I did.)
Mette Ivie Harrison, Mira, Mirror
My initial impression, as I read through the first pages of this YA novel, was that it was going to be a retelling of Snow White from the point of view of the mirror.
But Harrison subverts our expectations at every turn. It's true we're in the point of view of the mirror, very soon. But Snow White gets barely a mention, and the horrific betrays the mirror commits (and some of them are so horrific I almost stopped reading) turn the plot in new directions, mainly due to the surprising strength of the two young women who are the main characters, and the love and strength of the father of one of the young women.
I don't want to give spoilers, and I can only recommend this one like 98%, because the ending doesn't entirely work, I think; but the rest of it is very, very good. The rest of it is work reading despite the ending. And I'm certainly going to look for more of this writer's work.
Lori Gottlieb, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
This is a memoir, or maybe creative non-fiction. Gottlieb is a therapist who finds herself in need of therapy. This book is a narrative of her therapy, and also a narrative of her work as a therapist with several patients. (She got permission from the patients, and also changed a number of details, but this still seems a little unethical to me. I know I wouldn't want my therapist writing books about what happens in my therapy sessions. But she did get permission from her clients, so.)
It's a good book, and beside being entertaining and skillfully constructed, with plot-lines and character arcs and dramatic reveals (Gottlieb's initial career was as a story editor in Hollywood) it actually has something to say about the human psyche -- what we do with trauma, how it fucks us up, what we can do about that, why therapy works.
You kind of have to be interested in that, in trauma and fucked-up-edness and what to do about it for this book to be really good; but it's also good in the way reading Freud is, for the deep dive into the human mind.
It's also the story of a certain sort of life (a middle and then upper class woman) in a certain time (late 20th to early 21st century) in a certain place (Southern California/Hollywood). That part is also worth reading.
Alison Bechdel, Fun Home
A fer days ago, you might remember, Pete Buttigieg told us his ten favorite books. The internet being what it is, people immediately began to mock him, especially for his first choice, James Joyce's Ulysses, which I also think is one of the most overrated books on the planet, but never mind, that's not the point of this post.
The point of this post is someone on the Twitter then claimed that he would rather read Ulysses over and over than read any graphic novel.
I'd rather read 'Ulysses' over and over and over than ever 'read' a graphic 'novel'.— Christian Lorentzen (@xlorentzen) April 4, 2019
Apparently he was joking, but Twitter being Twitter people lost their damn minds.
That's not the point of this story either. The point is, his tweet got like 700 responses, most of them recommendations for brilliant graphic novels, and one of which was Bechdel's Fun Home, which I hadn't read in a long while.
So I re-read that yesterday. I'd forgotten what a large part Ulysses plays in it, by the way. Deeply ironic!
This is Bechdel's big breakaway work, the one that made her famous, and for good reason. It's brilliant. Brilliant structure, brilliant art, brilliantly written. It's autobiographical, the story of Alison's father and their family -- mostly the father and Alison, both of whom are gay, and the two houses that stand as metaphors for their lives, the immense Victorian house her father spends most of his life restoring, and the funeral home (the "fun" home) where her father works part time "restoring" bodies, preparing them for their viewing.
The book covers Alison's life from early childhood through early adulthood. There's a companion novel about her mother, Are You My Mother? which is also brilliant, though in a different way. If you haven't read these, you should. And well before you read Ulysses (or Uselesslys, as we call it around our house).
Naomi Novik, Spinning Silver
I've read this one before, but it's been nominated for a Hugo, so I read it again. Even better this time.
This is an excellent and ripping yarn, filled with engaging characters (lots of them women characters), re-imagined and sometimes inverted myths and fairytales, mixed in with Jewish shtetl life and a high stakes plot.
Very readable, as Novik's books always are. If I was voting for the Hugo's this year, this one would be high on my list.
To show you the depth of lunacy we're reaching on the Right, I posted on FB yesterday about Notre Dame burning, sharing this photograph of the cathedral:
Almost everyone replied with their grief, or some story about how their students came to them for comfort.
But this uneducated potato --
“My heart has not even skipped a beat knowing that an ancient church I've never seen in my entire life except for in Disney movies has caught on fire….don't let this distract you from the fact that thousands of people perished in 9/11 and we now know who is too blame and still have not rose against the tyranny of the government and the one's who really own this country."Bless his heart.
The damage to Notre Dame was not complete -- it did not "burn to the ground" -- though it was bad enough.
Those fighting the fire managed to save many of its treasures.
And not only were the Rose Windows saved, so were many of the other windows.
The worst damage was to the part where the fire started -- the part being rebuilt. Which makes sense.
It will take years to rebuild, but the rebuilding can include what earlier generations did not: fire prevention technology:
Any reconstruction of Notre Dame will surely involve fire engineering to protect the iconic building from any future fire, according to Professor Guillermo Rein, Professor of Fire Science, Imperial College London.
He added that fire engineers will then consider a combination of layers of protection (prevention, detection, evacuation, compartmentation, suppression and endurance).“Note that the previous timber roof that burnt last night was relying only on one single layer: prevention,” he said.
“The roof was known to be flammable, but they avoided the arrival of ignition sources. Unfortunately, it seems that the renovation works might have brought the ignition source which might have caused the accidental initial fire. I think the roof space had no detection, difficult evacuation, no compartmentation, no suppression, and no endurance.”
So yes, the source of the fire was an accident caused during the construction work. Not terrorism. Not a 'sign' about Christianity's collapse, or the decadent West, or what Islam is going to do to us all.
That won't stop the MAGA Americans, though, who are taking no pleasure in finding their hateful predictions are wrong:
Who is going to believe the “official” explanation for the cause of the Notre Dame fire?— Stefan Molyneux (@StefanMolyneux) April 15, 2019
Trust in Macron’s government is very low.
Monday, April 15, 2019
Here is how to respond to something so terrible:
Ave Maria pic.twitter.com/lb6Y5XV05a— Ignacio Gil (@Inaki_Gil) April 15, 2019
I heard this outside of my window and found this. Notre Dame is being serenaded. Honestly, it’s more moving than I could describe. pic.twitter.com/3AZRkFh1yO— Jojo 🌯 (@imperiumsilver) April 15, 2019
Not spreading lies.
Not engaging in hateful nonsense.
Responding to loss with beauty and grief.
While the cathedral was still burning, while most of us were filled with shock and grief, those on the Right began their old attempts to gin up a holy war.
Over at Rod Dreher's hate-blog, he hinted that the fire might have been caused by terrorism. Of course, his readership took that hint and ran.
More than one has suggested that no matter what anyone says -- even if those on the scene report (as they are reporting) that the fire was caused by a construction accident, "we" should not believe "them." They want an excuse to hate immigrants.
No, let's be blunt. They want an excuse to kill immigrants.
And others are nearly as bad. This fire is a "sign," it means something about the "end" of Christianity.
Oh my God.
This is why it's important to understand logic and reason. This is why you have to be so careful with your sources. If you're getting your information from uneducated potatoes or hate-mongers like Dreher and Fox News, I'm sure this accident being a "sign" sounds very reasonable.
Honestly, I wanted one minute to sit and grieve the loss of all that art and beauty. Instead I had to be smacked in the face with hate and bullshit, yet again.
It's not the end of Christianity. It's a deluge of willful ignorance, swamping my beloved country.
Our leader chips in:
President Trump discusses Notre Dame before holding tax & economy roundtable in Minneapolis: "It might be greater than almost any museum in the world & it's burning very badly, looks like it's burning to the ground. So that puts a damper on what we're about to say, to be honest." pic.twitter.com/bTqIJBdQAX— The Hill (@thehill) April 15, 2019
Earlier, he gave advice to Parisian firemen -- why didn't they fly over the cathedral and "waterbomb" it?
Securite Civile claps back:
Securite Civile claps back:
Hundreds of firemen of the Paris Fire Brigade are doing everything they can to bring the terrible #NotreDame fire under control. All means are being used, except for water-bombing aircrafts which, if used, could lead to the collapse of the entire structure of the cathedral.— Sécurité Civile Fr (@SecCivileFrance) April 15, 2019
Sunday, April 14, 2019
Or, I guess, why is the university? That's what I'm really thinking about here.
Is it to provide a ticket to a job? That's how it's often sold, as if the university is some sort of elaborate vending machine. Get this degree, get a well-paying job.
To be clear, I'm not opposed to people getting good jobs with decent pay. And certainly one reason I've encouraged my kid to get a degree is that he'll be more employable with one than without one.
But is that why we educate people? So that they can have jobs? Is that why universities exist?
Because if that is what a university is for, then the MAGA Americans and Evangelical parents who send their kids to my school are right. They don't need to study silly subjects like literature and humanities and Spanish. We shouldn't even be a university. We should be a trade school. You should send your kid to school to learn nursing, or welding, or automotive repair, or how to repair motherboards, or accounting -- whatever skillset their future job will require -- stamp their certificate, and put them in the workplace.
Let me be clear. There is nothing wrong with schools like that.
My father went to a school like that. He got an excellent job as a chemical engineer, worked for NASA on the moon landings and the shuttle program, and then later became a vice president for an oil company. He did very well financially.
Are schools like that universities?
They really aren't. Do we want all of our schools to be those schools?
That's something we need to decide. And I'm not talking about losing skillsets. If we just need, for instance, to teach people geology, or how to speak Spanish, there are much better ways to teach that than in a university.
I'm talking about the liberal arts education, which is why we built the university, back in 1100 AD (a bit earlier in some places, a bit later in others). Liberal was the key word then, and in order to make someone liberal -- able to be a free man -- we taught him the seven arts: grammar, logic, rhetoric, math, geometry, music, and astronomy.
Over the time, we've changed the arts part of the liberal arts; but we still have this idea. We still have a notion that there is a certain curriculum (a course, a route) people need to take if they are to be able to think and reason like free human beings.
What is that curriculum, that route?
(1) You've got to learn to reason -- that is, you've got to know how to build an argument based on logic, without fallacies; you've got to know the difference between a good source and a bad source, and how to select evidence to support your argument accordingly. You've got to be willing to make decisions based on what this evidence shows you.
(2) You've got to learn how science works -- what constitutes proof, what a theory is, how we "know" something as opposed to how we simply think we know something, what the scientific method is, what data is and isn't, how science reacts when the evidence changes. You've got to be able to read and understand scientific papers. You've got to be able to make decisions based on what scientific evidence says.
(3) You've got to know how to read literature and how to look at art and how to listen to music. You have to know what literature, art, and music are. You have to understand why this matter.
(4) You must know math, enough to be scientifically and economically literate.
(5) You must be able to communicate, both in speech and in writing, lucidly and effectively, about all of these things. You must be able to persuade, with logic and evidence, but also with pathos.
(6) You must know history -- what has happened, why it happened. Also, you must know philosophy, psychology, and economics. Without these, history cannot possibly be understood.
(7) You must know at least two languages other than your own well enough to read and speak fluently.
That's a liberal arts education, and that's the basics.
And that's what is being steadily stripped away from our universities, in a quest to make them "competitive."
Competitive with what? Well, with the trade-school type universities, for one; but mostly here 'competitive' means 'affordable.'
It's no secret that a university education has become unaffordable for all but the obscenely wealthy. My kid's education is costing, with room and board, just under $20,000 a year. He has a small scholarship, and because he went to an in-state school, we get a tuition rebate. He doesn't have a car, he lives on grits and apples, and he has a roommate. That is simply how much it costs.
In our case, the kid's grandparents started a college fund, which is paying most of the cost. (I buy groceries sometimes, and I bought the kid's laptop.) But many, many students end up working full-time, as well as taking out massive loans.
So you can see why there's a big push to pare down the curriculum -- to make it easier for students to complete it more quickly and more easily.
More quickly, so as to need fewer semesters in college and thus fewer loans.
More easily, because someone working full-time has no time to study.
This is all understandable.
What do we lose, though, when we turn the university into a trade school? When we pare away three hours of required history here, six hours of required humanities there, the political science requirement, the upper-level science requirement...
We graduate engineers who can build a bridge -- which is good! We need bridges! -- but who can't tell a good source from a bad source when they click on an internet link.
We graduate dental hygienists who are lovely people and wonderful at cleaning teeth, which again is a skill we need, but who will vote against a bill to put fluoride in our drinking water because they can't reading a scientific paper and evaluate its claims, so they listen to what their friends on FB say about it.
We graduate marketing majors who never took a history or a political science class, much less a philosophy class, so when a politician tells them immigrants are 'animals,' why, they see nothing alarming in such speech.
We create a country filled with people watching Fox News and reading absolutely nonsense (see Rod Dreher) who honestly can't tell that what they're reading is propaganda -- who can't tell facts from bullshit, and don't even want to try.
When my kid was little, his teachers asked him what church we went to. (This is a standard question in the South, as all y'all from the South know.) He came home and asked me. Amusing myself, I told him to tell his teacher we go to the church of books.
"Oh," the teacher said when the kid repeated this. "Are y'all Mormons?"
Oh my God.
But my point was, I do go to the church of books. My faith is this: I believe that education is our only hope. It's the only thing that has ever done any good, the only thing made this world any better.
Not always. Not every time.
But it's the one thing that does work.
Only if we do it right, though. And here in the USA, especially lately, we're doing every damn thing we can to make sure we do it exactly wrong.
Saturday, April 13, 2019
It's the Guardian, so no paywall, and you can click through, but the basics are this: It's Austin, Texas. A woman is waiting for her food at a food truck, as you do in Austin. Another woman, Gina Guidry, approaches, asking for money.
This is fairly common in my city, so I imagine it's fairly common in Austin as well. People usually have a riff -- their kid has diabetes and they need money for insulin, or their car is out of gas, or they don't have money for groceries. Maybe it's true, maybe they want to buy meth. I don't know, and I don't care. I always give them a couple of bucks.
But if you don't, that's fine. We all do our own moral calculus.
This person at the food truck didn't. And Guidry started yelling in her face, and then grabbed a dollar out of her hand. So the woman called the police.
The police show up. Guidry has gone nowhere. She still hanging out by the food truck, which tells you, I think, a lot about Guidry's mental and emotional capacity. The woman points her out: "That's her. She took my dollar."
The police arrested Guidry, and charged her with a felony. Sure, it was only a dollar, but "theft from the person" is a felony in Texas.
Also the bail for that is $12,000. Which obviously Guidry doesn't have.
So Guidry is being held in jail, awaiting trial -- which as we know means she can be held for years -- at the expense of the state, at the expense of what we can guess is her already fragile mental health, and toward what end?
I'm not saying whoever this woman who called the police on Guidry was wrong. It sounds like Guidry is probably not firing on all cylinders, and I'm sure the experience was terrifying for the woman who was attacked.
But putting people in jail because they are poor and damaged is surely not the best we can do as a society. And keeping them in jail for years because they are poor and damaged, so that we can then give them a trial and sentence them to -- what? What is the appropriate sentence for grabbing a dollar out of another woman's hand?
I'll add, also, that this story only happens because our economy is so broken. If we had resources for the poor, the addicted, and the damaged, Guidry wouldn't be wandering the streets begging for dollars, or screaming in women's faces at taco trucks. And if she was, there would be places we could take her that aren't Texas jails.
Wednesday, April 10, 2019
The two cats converge on my chair, where I am busily writing my novel, my earphones on, Steve Earle singing about laying his guitar down in my ears. They are staring intently upwards.
This is never a good sign.
I twist around in the chair toward the window to see what has caught their attention.
Holy hell, it's wasp.
I leap from the chair, spilling my laptop and coffee and dignity. Two minutes later, the wasp is smashed, the dog has fled in terror and the cats are watching me from the Way High Up.
"Why did you let a wasp in the house?" I demand of them. "What kind of cats are you?"
They regard me with disdain. Obviously wasps are my department.
Fact-checking Trump's many, many lies is pointless.
MAGA Americans -- and those who get their "news" from the National Review, or Fox News, or similar sources -- could not possibly care less that Trump is lying. They do not care about evidence, they do not care about reliable sources, they do not care what is objectively true or objective false. They care about hearing things that reinforce their smug and delusional worldview.
And the rest of us already know that if Trump is talking, he is lying.
The best move any serious news outlet could make would be to ignore Trump as much as possible, while covering the serious contenders for the 2020 election.
Sunday, April 07, 2019
So I was watching Legally Blonde on Netflix last night, partly because I had vicious insomnia and partly because so many people were talking about it Twitter, and there's this one scene where Elle is talking to wossname, the guy she's in love with (or thinks she's in love with) and thinks she wants to marry.
He says law school is a lot of work, and she agrees and wow, it'll be hard to handle the workload and this prestigious internship they're all competing for in the fall. Wossname smile patronizingly and says, "Oh, Elle."
She asks what he means, and he says well, come on. It's not like you really have a chance at getting that internship.
It's an epiphany for her -- that even though she's always made straight A's, even though she scored higher than he did on the LSAT, even though she got into Harvard Law on her own, while he had to use his father's influence to get in -- even so, he still thinks he's smarter than she is.
That made me go hah, because I remember so many of those exact moments, with my older brother; and my younger brother (not with my youngest brother); and guys I dated, and guys in my classes -- all of whom I was regularly outscoring on exams, all of whom I was surpassing academically in every way, all of whom I could outwit in arguments, all of whom I knew more than in many fields. Yet every one of them was sure they were smarter than me. I remember pointing out to one of these guys that cars were so dangerous because of the high speed, how the mass of objects within the car impacted at immense force when the car stopped unexpected in an accident. This is simply physics. "That's what does the damage," I told him. "That impact. That's why you should wear your seatbelt."
"Oh, bullshit," he said to me -- certain I was wrong. Why? Because he was male and I was female and obviously that meant I was wrong.
Then there was the guy in Greek class, a student of around my age who kept arguing with me about translations, this despite the fact that I was always right and that I always got higher grades on the exams than he did. (He finally got so pissed off he dropped the class.)
And my brother, who took took the same math class I did in college (finite math*) the year after I did, who was sure that if I could make an A in the class, obviously he didn't even need to study. (He flunked the class, do I need to add? Finite math ain't calculus, but you do need to pay some attention.)
And so many male students in my classes, who don't bother to read the texts, since if it's something a girl is teaching, pssh, how hard can it be?
And so on.
At this point, it doesn't bother me. Hard heads don't learn. Their loss. But it does make me roll my eyes when people worry about the poor men and how hard life is for them these days. As if.
*I love finite math.