Friday, February 14, 2020

Cat Pictures

Here's Jasper in the front window.That's the tiny rose bush Dr. Skull bought me for Valentine's Day next to her.

New Recipe up at Cooking with delagar

Go here to see my recipe for potato curry soup, a delicious choice for frosty weather.

Sunday, February 09, 2020

The Kid in Tulsa

Before the concert, the kid and his roommate are visiting a Jewish museum of art in Tulsa.

Here's the thread.

My favorite picture so far:


The Kid Grew Up

So today my kid is on his way to Tulsa with his roommate -- driving there in a car, like the two adults they are -- and I am here in my little writing nook feeling, well, pleased.

My kid has his own place. He makes his own medical appointments. He cooks his own meals and pays his own bills and when he wants to go to a concert, he books tickets and off he goes.

Look at this. I raised an adult.

Friday, February 07, 2020

How Is This an Unpopular Take?

Over on Twitter (yes, I know, we're doomed already), Sarah Nicholas put forth what ought to be a commonplace opinion: if you want to be a writer, you should be reading current fiction.

That's not an outlandish idea. In fact, it's one I spend at least ten minutes of every writing workshop trying to get my newbie writers to understand. I can't tell you how many times I've had a writer who is trying to write a science fiction novel who has literally not read a single science fiction novel. Ditto for literary fiction (they haven't read a novel published in the last century), ditto for mystery novels, and so on.

You have to read -- and read a lot -- if you're going to write. And you have to read current books, things being written now. Mind you, I love Jane Austen and George Eliot as much as anyone. But what they're doing in their books and what (say) Ann Patchett or Naomi Kritzer is doing -- those are centuries apart.

I can't tell you how many science fiction recommendation threads I've been on where writers recommend nothing but books written in 1960 or before. As if Asimov or Heinlein were the sole source available. Sometimes they'll mention Le Guin as well -- rarely, but sometimes. Now mind you I like Le Guin and I've read everything Heinlein ever wrote. But come on. The field has moved on since then. If you don't know that, your writing is going to be...odd, to say the least.

And of course there are "writers" who don't want to read at all. Anything. They play video games or watch movies instead. Nothing wrong with video games, but they're giving you the background to write games, not books.

If you're going to write, (1) read a lot -- and feel free to read older books as well as the new stuff. But (2) you have to read the new stuff.

I mean, this is not a hot take. This is obvious stuff. You would expect, then, Sarah Nicholas's tweet to have attracted no attention what so ever, given it's a commonplace.

But no!

So much outrage!

Sexual harassment and death threats, obviously -- that's what she gets for being a woman on the internet -- but also comments such as, "Well I only read the classics," and "Don't tell me what you read, you SNOB," and "Well I won't compromise my vision to be trendy," and "that's creative bankruptcy," or "that's a corporatized mentality" and "But I want to create aaaart, not best sellers."

I mean, God save us.

Thursday, February 06, 2020


This is interesting

The damage done 

I mean, no one is really expecting anything else

Just a little list

Might be the problem

America -- SO GREAT

Your typical TERF -- and, sadly, more and more often your typical "Christian."

How cool is this? (Probably only really cool if you're an English professor)

Brookings on the SOTU speech (The Brookings Institution is a non-partisan think tank -- well worth following: they put out succinct but data-filled papers on crucial issues of the nation.)

See also this

Image result for trump impeachment political cartoon

Wednesday, February 05, 2020

No Such Thing as Peak Trump: Rush and the Medal of Freedom

Image result for The Medal of Freedom Elie WieselLast night, Trump gave the Medal of Freedom -- the highest civilian honor available -- to Rush Limbaugh.

Previous winners include Georgia O'Keefe, T.S. Eliot, Elie Wiesel, Aaron Copeland, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

What has Rush done to deserve such an honor?

  • Invented the term feminazis
  • said women who use birth control are sluts
  • Promoted creationism
  • said that evolution can't be factual, since apes in zoos don't "evolve" into human beings
  • denied climate change, because "God wouldn't do that"
  • promoted the anti-vaxxer position and blamed immigrants for recent measles outbreaks
  • mocked Michael J. Fox's Parkinson's disease
  • mocked a Chinese president in a racist segment
  • told a black caller to "get the bone out of her nose" 
  • said that "all newspaper composite" crime photos look like Jesse Jackson
  • claims that Democrats deliberately keep Latinx and black voters poor and ignorant in order to create their base
  • calls AIDS the "only federally protected virus"
  • denies that AIDS has ever spread to the heterosexual community -- claims it's "just" a gay disease
  • claims that, in sexual relationships, guys know that "no means yes" in most cases
  • Likewise, thinks consent is nonsense -- guys don't need and shouldn't seek consent before sex with women 
  • Defended the Christian terrorist group, the Lord's Resistance Army
  • Spent years railing against those addicted to drugs, calling for harsher prison sentence, while himself abusing drugs pretty much non-stop
Said this about Sandra Fluke (among other, even worse things):

What does it say about the college co-ed Sandra Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex, what does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. What does that make us? We're the pimps.

He also frequently makes the claim that there are more trees in America now than there were when the Europeans first came to Plymouth. This was how I first became aware of his existence. My previously rational brother, who had started listening to Rush, came to my room to explain this to me. As someone who was even then being educated in how to judge and evaluate an argument, I looked at him like he had two heads. (No, there are not more trees now than there were then. See here for more.)

Rush was an early proponent of this sort of thing -- telling huge and obvious lies, which then people who should have known better would at least pretend to believe. Many people actually did believe his lies.

His success, because it turned out there was a market for people who preferred lies that made them feel better over facts and truth, led directly to Fox News and such vile hate-mongers as Tucker Carlson and Alex Jones. And that, as we know, led directly to Donald Trump being elected president.

In other words, Rush has done far more than most people to destroy this country.

But of course Trump gave him the Medal of Freedom.

We have always been at War with Eastasia, after all.


Sunday, February 02, 2020

Little Women Review

Dr. Skull and I are doing this thing where he picks one movie to see and I pick one movie to see, and we alternate.

Back when we were first hanging out, we went to like 3 or 4 movies a week. It seems like there were more movies worth seeing then, but probably actually we were just less picky. Now I don't want to see a movie unless I'm sure it's going to be an excellent movie. Then, as I recall, we went to almost every movie.

On the other hand, "every movie" wasn't the same three movies, remade and remade and remade: A superhero movie; a remake of a kid's cartoon from the 1990s; a woman-gets-raped-and-murdered-and-a-man-takes-revenge movie.

Which seems an odd thing to complain about, since this time the pick was mine and I picked Little Women, which, yes, is a remake of a kid's movie, remade and remade and remade. On the other hand, it's Little Women. I'll admit I didn't love this book as a kid the way I love Alcott's Little Men but it's still one of the formative texts from my childhood.

Also, Dr. Skull had picked Midway last time, so it was my turn.

Also, it's not like we had a lot of choice. Here in the Fort, you can see a Jesus movie or you can see women-getting-raped-and-murdered movies or you can see (usually very bad) kid's movies. Midway and Little Women are anomalies.

All of this to say that Little Women was surprisingly good!

I guess I shouldn't say "surprisingly," since every review I've seen (except those written by MAGA Americans making culture war points) has said how good it is. But still, I was surprised.

You probably need to know the source text to like the movie as well as I did, but given that, it's probably the best Little Women movie I've seen. About halfway through I heard Dr. Skull sniffling. (He hadn't brought tissues. I had, of course. I mean, Little Women!)

The actors are all very good, by which I mean the women acting in the movie are all very good. Men are only in this story as sidekicks or objects for the women to react against. Mr. March, for instance, is gone for almost all of the movie, off being a chaplain in the Civil War; though he does have one of the movie's best lines, near the end. And Jo's love interest is basically a cipher.

But the women are wonderful, and they are, after all, what the story is about. Also wonderful scenery -- it's a beautiful movie, visually.

Very much worth watching. And a must-watch for those who love the book.

Saturday, February 01, 2020

Trump's America

I misjudged how depressing it was going to be to watch this happen in real-time.

We still need to vote every last member of the GOP out of office, but I am no longer quite convinced that will be enough.

How are y'all doing?

Friday, January 31, 2020

Fates and Furies

My book review of Fates and Furies by Christine Lucas is live at Strange Horizons. (Currently on sale for $3 from the publisher!)

The best stories in the book are the last two, “A Thousand Waves from Home,” and “Leaping over Bonfires.” In the first of these, an old woman, Athena, her children long grown and gone, is visited by a strange wizened creature, starving and misshapen. We learn that this is an alien, a refugee from a dying world. At first Athena is wary of this creature, but later she befriends it, leaving it food and gifts; and later still she follows it—into the cave of the Mother Goddess.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Seems to be the Case

I was listening to NPR yesterday, and yes, this seems to be their defense.

Vote the GOP out in 2020. Vote them all out. It's the only way to be sure.

The sad truth

Not just our parents's generation, either.  I wish.

The thing is, there is peer-reviewed evidence available to show that playing video games can actually make kids smarter and more literate. (Depends on the games, clearly.) Equally, there is a ton of peer-reviewed evidence showing that watching Fox News or getting your information from the Daily Mail or Breitbart or similar outlets -- the real "fake news" -- makes you, not less intelligent, but more gullible and less able to tell a credible source from a bad source.

Willful ignorance feeds itself, in other words.

Which explains about 1/4 of our country right now.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020


Look at this good news!

Congratulations!  Your sabbatical request for Fall 2020 has been approved!  We look forward to your campus presentation.