Thursday, May 25, 2023

The Kid Gets Published

The kid's very first poem was composed when he was sixteen months old. Untitled, it was this verse:

Racoon in the moon


This week, his first published poems appeared. You can read them here. 


The domestic


Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Cat Pictures

My kid draws cartoons of my cats:

Jasper would like to make the point that she is NOT THAT FAT.

Junti asserts that she is, in fact, that angry.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Vegetable Pie for Dinner

My dinner:

Dr. Skull make the crust, but the filling is simple. Cut up a mix of vegetables (I use an onion, a carrot, a sweet potato, a potato, some celery, peas, a carrot, and an apple). Cook the onion and sweet potato in butter. Add about a quarter cup of flour and your seasoning -- I use curry and salt. Add about two cups of broth or water, then the rest of the vegetables. Cook for about twenty minutes, then let cool.

Then put it all in the pie crust and cook for an hour at 350. Tasty!

Pork Allergy?

Is it possible to be allergic to pork? Lately every time I eat anything with pork in it, I get terrible stomach aches and other gastrointestinal issues which I will pass over in silence. 

The internet says meat allergies are becoming more common, but I think this one is just to pork.  I admit I don't eat a lot of meat, so I might not have noticed. I will have to get a hamburger and see what happens.

This says that it starts with a tick bite, and I haven't had a tick in years. And this says cat allergies are linked, but I'm not allergic to cats.

I do eat a lot of cheese and drink milk in my coffee, and those don't seem to bother me. What happens if I have to become a vegetarian? I mean, besides it being good for the planet and all.

Apparently I could still eat fish and chicken. I like fish, so good.

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Second Spring

We're having a two-day second spring here, which lets me keep the windows and the cat porch open. This is my favorite, as you know.

Tuesday we return to the regularly scheduled early summer.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

Grammar Blog

I forgot I had a grammar blog. Look, it's still live!

Everything you could possibly want to know about grammar, and more!

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Things I have Learned My Students Do Not Know

(A Partial List, In no particular order)

Who Cain and Abel are and what Cain did to Abel

What a "hook and eye" is 

What feminism is (they think it's "hating men")

That reliable birth control was illegal in (some parts of) this country less than sixty years ago

What Jesus actually said 

The difference between Old English and 19th Century English

What "left wing" and "right wing" mean (they know Democrats are evil, but not what a leftist is)

What Pompeii is and what happened there

What a highwayman is

The difference between "a story" and scientific article 

The difference between someone with a million dollars (who, yes, is rich) and someone with billions of dollars

What eugenics is

What a sonnet is

when the Civil War happened and what it was about

Likewise WWI and WWII 

Anything about any religion other than their own specific sect of Christianity

Anything about Christianity, for that matter 

Where England is (probably other countries too, this was just the one I was trying to get them to find on our classroom map)

How common illness like measles, mumps, chicken pox, and tetanus were in this country before vaccines became wildly available

What evolution actually is and how it works (this is even educated students)

What a pogrom is

How common it was for black people to be lynched less than a century ago in this country

The difference between truth and opinion, or how to tell if something is true

How to read difficult material

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

What I'm Reading Now

Josephine Tey, Brat Farrar, A Shilling for Candles

These are rereads. I love Tey's books, which are British mysteries from that sweet spot of British mystery writing, the 1930s through the 1950s. A Shilling for Candles is her first novel, and she's already a pro. It's one of her Inspector Grand novels. Brat Farrar is about a British upper class family in which the heir was killed/went missing as a child of 13, except now that son returns. Or does he? (No, it's an imposter, which is not a spoiler, since the novel reveals that he's an imposter at the very beginning.) The mystery here is what happened to the missing child; but as always with Tey, the delight is in the setting and the characters. I recommend these highly if you want a 'nice' book to read.

K.J. Charles, The Secret Lives of Country Gentlemen

I like Charles's books a lot, but they are mostly e-books, and I really like real books, especially for reading at night when I am tired. This is the first print-copy of Charles my library has purchased, so I snapped it up. It borrows a bit of its setting from that Georgette Heyer novel about smugglers, but it's a fresh take. The young heir to a smuggler's den strikes up a romance with the young baronet, and complications ensue. Charles does this kind of romance very well. I also love the smuggler's dialect, of course. Dialects are my jam. This one has a sequel coming out -- a sort of sequel, it looks like it's set about ten years in the future, and concerns a minor character in the first novel. Anyway, a ripping yarn. I need to seek out more K.J. Charles.

Jonathon Kennedy, Pathogenesis: a History of the World in Eight Plagues

Kennedy's thesis is that communicable diseases did as much or more to shape the world than any human agency, specifically by killing off great swaths of people whenever two previous isolate groups came into contact -- as, for instance, when h. sapiens met up with h. neanderthalenis; or when the Roman empire was struck by the bubonic plague due to trading and invasion from various points, leading to the the fall of the empire. And, of course, the Native American populations, both in North and South American, were nearly wiped out by diseases brought with explorers and colonists, which allowed European populations free access to the continents. In other places, Kennedy argues, such as Africa, where the local population infected the invading population (Europeans, mostly), such conquests did not happen as easily. He also cites Haiti, where a plague of yellow fever kept the French from taking back the country after the slave uprising. The slaves, many imported from Africa, were far more resistant to the fever than the French army, and so the uprising succeeded (at least in part.)

This is a readable book, if a little more shallow than it should be. 

Connie Willis, The Doomsday Book, Blackout, All Clear

These are a re-read. I do love Connie Willis. These books, which are all set in the Oxford Historian/Time-Travelers AU, have gotten a lot of (justified) criticism for their inauthenticity. Willis is an American, and writes about Britain, like, a lot. I don't think she's ever lived in Britain, or known a British person; she gets a lot of details wrong. Apparently she's basing her notion of the British world on the British mysteries/television/movies she's watched. 

Also none of her people in 2060 Oxford have cell phones or the internet. Instead they have to do research in newspaper morgues and by looking things up on microfiche. This was maybe understandable when she first wrote in this universe -- Wikipedia tells me "Firewatch," which I think was the first story featuring Oxford Time Traveling Historians, was written in 1982. But the later works, including Blackout and All Clear (a paired set of novels, a MASSIVE duology) were written after the internet had appeared, and our time traveling historians still don't have cell phones. This is so Willis can set up the problem/interference/interference/ solution pattern which she loves so much, and which to be fair is really effective.

Anyway, I started out saying that Willis's works have garnered a lot of criticism from British readers, but if you're not a British reader, these are wonderful books, especially The Doomsday Book, which I just love. Science fiction, or rather science fantasy. Passage is probably Willis's best novel, and probably the one which comes the closest to getting the science right. I might re-read that one next.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Summer Arrives

We had a very short spring here -- forecast shows highs in the 80s for the near future, and even when (as today) the high is in the 70s, it is too humid outside to open the windows or turn the AC off. Five more months until fall.

I have moved my office into my summer quarters (a fancy word for colonizing part of the living room for my office, in the space close to the heat pump, which is reliably five to ten degrees cooler than the rest of the house). This is where I now write:

Bonus cat in the foreground.

Saturday, May 13, 2023


Camestros Felapton cracks me up 

Are conservatives ever going to get tired of publishing this whine? Let's leave aside the fact that it's a great big strawman -- no one is stopping novelists from writing whatever they want, as shown by the fact that every single example Parker gives here is from a published work. What people *are* saying is that writers who have authentic experience in an area maybe have something to say about that area? So when you get John Boyne, for instance, writing about Jews in the Holocaust, or about trans kids, maybe what he has to say isn't as interesting as what an actual Jew who lived through the Holocaust had to say, or what an actual trans person might say? 

Maybe you thought Jordan Peterson was bad, but this video will surprise you!*


Roads in Florida could soon include phosphogypsum — a radioactive waste material from the fertilizer industry — under a bill lawmakers have sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Conservation groups are urging DeSantis to veto the bill, saying phosphogypsum would hurt water quality and put road construction crews at a higher risk of cancer.


A state house investigation last week determined that [Bryan Slaton] supplied alcohol to the intern and another young staffer, had sex with the intern after she had become intoxicated, and later showed her a threatening email while saying everything would be fine if she kept quiet about the encounter.

Tennessee and the Moms of Liberty attack a teacher because her mother's day lesson doesn't suit their notion of what "real" mothers are. (I'll save you the trouble of linking through: real mothers are straight cis women married to straight cis men raising children they have birthed with their own bodies. No one else is actually a mother.)

Louisiana, Kansas, New York, North Carolina, and Texas -- gun-toting conservatives shoot children in their yards. I used to stray onto my neighbor's property from time to time as a kid. Once I got collared by the neighborhood "mean lady" who yelled at me for five minutes. But I never worried about anyone shooting me.  

In Texas, abortion is murder, and murdering a woman who gets out of line is just what good men with guns do.


*I mean, seriously, who knew he was this bad? Okay, sure, all of us, but

Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Barbara Kingsolver's Demon Copperhead won the Pulitzer, as did a novel I haven't read, called Trust, by someone named Hernan Diaz. I'll have to read that one next.

I've been reading Kingsolver since her first novel, The Bean Trees, which I liked a lot. I enjoyed Demon Copperhead, but as I recall it's not my favorite by her. I'm glad she got the prize, though!

Sunday, May 07, 2023

The Kid is Twenty-Five

The kid's birthday was yesterday. He and the fiancé came down, and we had a dinner party to celebrate, with French onion soup, corned beef, asparagus, potatoes dauphinoise, rye bread, and cheese cake, all made by Dr. Skull from scratch except for the asparagus.

The Cheesecake
The Corned Beef

The French Onion Soup

How did he get to be 25 years old? One day at a time, I guess.

Saturday, May 06, 2023

While We're Talking about Trans People

 Here, finally, is a non-ridiculous post about puberty blockers. Gender affirming surgery also gets a mention.

“From an ethical and a legal perspective, this is a benign medication,” Giordano says. She is puzzled by the extra scrutiny these treatments receive, considering their benefits and limited risks. “There are no sound clinical, ethical or legal reasons for denying them to those in need,” she says.

To McNamara, the widespread attempts to take these decisions out of families’ hands by banning care for transgender youth is a clear indication that the goal is not to protect the health of children, as proponents claim. “These bans did not come from a public outcry about concern for trans youth,” she says. 

Also, I love this thread: 

Just a Reminder

 Fascists start with trans people

So if you're supporting this bullshit, congrats, nice company you run with.


Friday, May 05, 2023

Cat Pictures


Also the little dog with his squeaky pig: