Friday, April 30, 2010

Drill, Baby, Drill

See, here is what is wrong with the Republicans and their "Fish love those oil platforms!" approach to why drilling offshore doesn't hurt the environment.

As with so much else they say, it doesn't turn out to be the case.

The area under threat produces the largest total seafood landings in the lower 48 states, is a vital wintering or resting spot for more than 70 percent of the nation's waterfowl, is used by all 110 neo-tropical migratory songbirds, and produces 50 percent of the nation's wild shrimp crop, 35 percent of its blue claw crabs and 40 percent of its oysters. Ressearchers say 90 percent of all the marine species in the Gulf of Mexico depend on coastal estuaries at some point in their lives, and most of those estuaries are in Louisiana -- endangered by an oil spill that could last months.

See also here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Kid Is Appalled

Conversation Last Night At the delagar Household:

The Kid: So what was fan fic like when you were a kid?

Me: Um, well, really I don't think it was around so much then. See...

The Kid: (Astounded): What?

Me: See, previous to the internets...

The Kid: You didn't have fan fic? You mean everyone just went with Canon?

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Build Your Own Planet

If you haven't been keeping up with the Science In My Fiction link over at Crossed Genres, you should be very sad.  Cool posts over there.

Totally want to make sure you see this one, in any case: an excellent (and very pretty) post by Sarah Goslee on getting it right when you set out to build your world.   

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Well, Of Course They Aren't Racists....

Here's your must-read blog post of the day.

My favorite bit:

Protest is only seen as fundamentally American when those who have long had the luxury of seeing themselves as prototypically American engage in it. When the dangerous and dark “other” does so, however, it isn’t viewed as normal or natural, let alone patriotic. Which is why Rush Limbaugh could say, this past week, that the Tea Parties are the first time since the Civil War that ordinary, common Americans stood up for their rights: a statement that erases the normalcy and “American-ness” of blacks in the civil rights struggle, not to mention women in the fight for suffrage and equality, working people in the fight for better working conditions, and LGBT folks as they struggle to be treated as full and equal human beings.

And this, my friends, is what white privilege is all about.

Oh boy!

Strange Horizons has asked for a revision of one of my short stories.

This is the closest I've ever gotten with them.

Y'all wish me luck.

I'm going in.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Oh Noes...

The Kid: I need some new shirts.

Me:  What?

The Kid:  The only ones I have that are big enough anymore all have Billy Bragg on them.

Me: ----

The Kid:  Don't look at me like that.

Me: But....

The Kid:  I just don't like his music that much!

Me:  But he's Billy Bragg!  It's got nothing to do with the music.

The Kid:  Oh, Ma.

Me:  He's changing the world one song at a time!  He's doing it Woody's Way!  He's raising the Red Flag!  You can't -- You can't --
And then she rolled her eyes at me!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

Bragging on My Kid

This morning, over her waffles:

The Kid: I was reading in this how to draw manga book...

Me: (not my best before morning coffee) mrf.

The Kid: The guy writing it, he says, well, women characters, they're all drawn beautiful, and that's not very interesting, so we'll just skip to the male characters.

Me: (lifting my head slightly) grr....

The Kid: Yeah.  Plus, that's exactly opposite what Scott McCloud in Making Comics says.  He says how you should draw all your characters interesting, how that's your job as a cartoonist.

Me: (thinking about how much I really like this kid): vrrrr...

The Kid: So I quit reading that stupid book.

Me: Good plan.

The Kid: Plus it's not true.  If you look at Bleach, for instance, none of the female character look alike.  Even if they are all beautiful.  Want me to get the books?

Me: (oh please not before coffee...) urrrr--

(Too late, she has fled the kitchen, off toward her bedroom)

So those of you who are fretting that your kids will become awful as they near adolescence?  Nah.  They just get better and better.


Sun's over the yardarm somewhere, yeah?

Time to beak out the rum!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Separate and Unequal

Over in Mississippi, they're still putting black kids and white kids into separate classrooms and separate schools, apparently.

Which, color me shocked, because where I grew up, in Louisiana, that was far more likely to be the case than otherwise (things are somewhat different now, so far as I can tell, in many places in the state -- not so much in others); here in Arkansas, in many counties and towns, it's the case to this day.  Even where segregation isn't legal segregation, you end up with de facto segregation: white parents home-school, or transfer their kids to Charter schools, or to private Christian schools that just happen to be all white, or move to some nearby town or subdivision that's all white.  And if it just so happens that the schools the black kids attend aren't very well funded, or have teachers who aren't exactly qualified, well, how is that the white parents' fault?  Those black kids should have richer parents if they want a better education!

Then my freshmen tell me there's no problem with racism in America anymore:  what am I talking about?  It's white Christians who are discriminated against these days!  Everyone knows that.


Thanks to my cool nephew I have just discovered Lady Gaga.

Yows, is all I have to say there.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Here's a great EoTW post dismantling the recent libertarian post claiming 1880 as Prime-time America for Freedomland.  Since I spent about a month last summer reading Douglas Blackmon's Slavery By Another Name, among other books, doing research for my trilogy-which-is-now-a-series, the post had me sputtering with disbelief and outrage; so I've been mighty pleased by the various rebuttals.  This one is a fine one.

My Daughter Is Eleven

Over at Crooked Timber, they're posting about a Libertarian who is all sporty over the notion of how women were better off in 1880, when details like marital rape were "worked out" between husband and wife the way they sposed to be, and government didn't get all interfery like; when men were men, you know, and women had their natural power, at home, raising kids and doing housework, because if the law just stays out of our shit, everything is paradise, and women have it great.

Like these women here do.

Monday, April 12, 2010

America -- What Now?

We're reading True Grit in my 1213 class. I just spent 20 minutes trying to explain to my 11:00 class why it's wrong -- no, really -- for an officer of the law to shoot a suspect in the back from ambush. I don't believe I convinced them, either.

May I add that a good % of the class are home-schooled Evangelical Xtians?

Yay America.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

In April When The Showers Are Sweet...

...I spend one weekend doing taxes and cleaning house and boxing up excess toys, books, and clothing to give to the poor.  The weather at this point in Arkansas is usually sunny and cool, so the work can be done with windows open, and when I am done, everything is so dustless and spare and with the doom of how much we will have to send the Feds and the State coffers no longer hanging like a axe over my head (we never have a nickel to spare, ever, so that is always a giant axe) confirmed, a clean house is immensely helpful.

Not to mention the sunshine and clear breeze.

This year with all the pollen it is not such a clear breeze -- BUT!

President Obama's tax cuts came through for us!

Well, probably our poverty helped some.  We made two thousand (actual, not adjusted) dollars and change less this year than we did last year; that and the tax cuts meant we got a sizable refund this year, rather than (as was true every single year under Mr. Bush) having to make a  sizable (and I am talking in the 2000/dollar range, when you add state and federal payments together) payment -- and yes, that was a sizable payment in addition to what had already been always deducted from our paychecks.

So!  Good news!

I have to say the relief is enormous, as we have utterly no savings left, and have been, for the past several months, doing the balancing act to get through the last ten days of each month.  (You know that act:  which bill can we put off paying?  Which utility company won't cut us off if we don't pay the full amount and which will?  Is there anything in the cupboard we can eat so that we don't have to go to the store for another two days?  Ooo, look, what's this?  Grits from two years ago?  Do you think those are still good?  What if we cook them up and mix them with an egg, will that count as dinner?)  I've already raided the kid's piggy bank, back when the washing machine broke down, and both of the emergency credit cards are topped off.  What we were going to do if we owed money on our taxes, we had no idea.

Now?  Money coming in the mail!  Hot damn!

We can buy shoes!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Re The WV Coal Mine Disaster

What taddyporter says.


...if you haven't seen it yet, this video released by Wikileaks apropos of this post.

Update: See also here.

I Swear I Am Not Making This Up

Apropos of yesterday's post, the kid comes home from school yesterday, and we're having our afternoon bonding session (this is where we lie on my bed and discuss her day at school out of Herr Dr. Delagar's hearing, because he gets way too involved and angsty and, as the kid puts it, "gets on her" about minor events that I just find funny).

Anyway, after she told me who got in trouble today and who did not and who was a suck to the teacher and who was not and all the usual Upper El dramas, she added, "And Merry! Listen to what Merry said!"

Me: What?

The Kid: Merry said her daddy told her [imitates Merry's voice] that every little girl is Jesus' bride.

Me: (sitting up slowly): What?

The Kid: Her daddy says --

Me: What?

The Kid: She said her daddy told her that every little girl is Jesus' bride.

Me: (Staring at her.)

The Kid: (With satisfaction): That's what I said.

(May I add that Merry is about nine years old?)

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

It Is Not Yours

It's hard to even know where to start with the utter wrongness of this piece of work, given that there is so much skin-crawlingly wrong with what Hildebrand has written here; but I think that is, in fact, where I do want to start: with that central concept which seems to be where the Right and the Left have to part.

In this letter, you will notice, Hildebrand takes as a given that the young girl's body is not her own. It is God's, or it is her husband's. She herself only exists as an agent in that she is allowed to guard over the body.

That, I think, is the root of the divide. That is why true Conservatives and the Religious Right have a hard time accepting the notion of rape and being pro-Choice: they don't believe women actually exist, not in the way men do. Women are, in a real sense, only property, from their perspective, objects that belong to some real being: a man, or to God. They're a tool, made to bear children or care for their husband. They exist to serve some real person (or real God, but really, what's the difference from the Conservative POV?).

The Left, on the other hand, insists on believing that everyone is human and actual: men, women, people of color, gay people, disabled people, immigrants, people from Iraq, children, everyone. All these people exists in their own right, and as their own agents, just as much as a white guy does. None of them exist to serve the white guy, or act as the white guy's foil or backdrop or tool.

There's the issue, there's the rub.

And people like Alice Hildebrand, who thinks if she wears her leash tightly enough, and binds her daughters' feet tightly enough, she will get to be an honorary man one day and one day they will let her sit up on the plantation porch too, well, she'll find out, I guess. Probably she already has, though if that's the case, I imagine she blames herself (I shouldn't have talked back, I shouldn't have worn that dress, I should have paid attention where I was walking, who I was with, it's my fault for not asking God's protection, the excuses women find are endless).

Monday, April 05, 2010

Why You Gotta Be Like That?

Jill (Formerly Twisty) at IBTP speaks to my issues once again, on a post about women's clothing and how evil and oppressive it can be.

This is an issue that has been bothering me recently because the guys at the kid's school -- and I'm talking young guys, like 9 and 10 year old guys, sometimes 8 year old guys -- have been giving her shit about her refusal to perform her gender sufficiently to assuage their burgeoning masculine egos.

About a year ago, sick of hair that got in her face and eyes and had to be combed and styled every morning, she requested a "boy cut."  If that's what you want, I said, and we cut her hair as short as a boy's, a style that looks very cute on her.  With the way she dresses, in jeans and thermal shirts, or plain teeshirts, she does, however, look very much like a very cute (long-eyelashed) boy, and waitresses, checkers, and clerks frequently mistake her for one.

HOWEVER: she's been at this same school since she was five, as have most of the other 81 students.  It's not like they don't know she's a girl.  Their claims that they "can't tell" she's a girl, that she's confusing them, cut no ice with me.

"They keep saying they think I'm a boy," she tells me.  "They keep asking why I look like a boy."

"They keep saying," I interpret for her, "that they want you to wear a skirt and long hair and shoes you can't run in.  Why do you think that is?"

"I tell them I'm a girl and I look like this," she says, "so this is how girls look."

"They want you in the girl box," I explain, "so that they can feel that they're clearly in the boy box.  Why do you suppose they need that so much?  What's up?"

"I'm not growing my hair long," she says.  "I'm not wearing a dress.  Or those shoes.  They're stupid."

"Sing, sister," I say, and we bump fists.

Actual Coolness

This article, about how heteronormative preconceptions hamper science, actually is cool.

Oh, Well, Then...

Guess we'll let bygones be bygones.

No sense pointin' fingers, right? What's a few trillion dollars and a couple thousand dead soldiers and a hundred thousand slaughtered civilians, more or less, among friends?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

They Were Asking For It

Every time I think they can't go lower, lower they go.

The Far-Right is still on about the racist name-calling that they say didn't take place before the HCR vote, even though Congressmen attest to the name-calling, not to mention the spitting (but of course they're just gay Congressmen and black Congressmen and women Congressmen, not to mention Democrats, so it's not like anything they say counts, not if you put what they say up against what people who weren't even there say or who were somewhere else in the crowd* and are good God-fearing Tea Party members say).  And anyway, if it did take place, any of it, well, it was because those Congressmen and women provoked it, by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and by walking where they ought to have known not to walk.

You know, like women provoke their own rapes by going out in short skirts, and gay guys provoke beatings by being gay, and black people provoke lynchings by owning property in the South and shit like that.

Here's our buddy Rush to explain it to you, in case you're confused:

LIMBAUGH: I know it didn't happen. There's no evidence it happened. If they had videotape evidence that it had happened, they would have shown it. They don't have it. They were trying to create it. They were being provocative. They were being contentious. There's no reason that that group of people from Congress had to walk through the crowd. They never go to the Capitol that way. They get there in the underground tunnels. They want -- and Pelosi carrying that big gavel with that, you know, excrement-eating grin on her face. They were trying to provoke everybody into an incident. 

*From "Creekrat" in comments:

"I WAS THERE !!! I saw none of this. Lot of chanting, but great folks who care about this country. Not a speck of trash left behind, either !!"

It's so sweet, isn't it?  How the Republicans never litter or cuss?  Guess it's because they all have Jesus in their hearts the way they do.

Saturday, April 03, 2010


April issue of Crossed Genres is up: Anti-Heroes issue.  Some top-notch stories this month.

I Wish...

...This were funny.

This, OTOH, cracked me up entirely, esp. the final line.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


Okay, so I'm on the Parking Task Force, and collecting data.

What would be cool, if you work/attend/are on a university campus somewhere, if you could send me information about the parking situation on your campus.

Here's what I'm looking for:

(1) Does your university charge for parking, and if so how much?

(2) A very brief narrative regarding what parking is like on your campus -- for instance, is parking very difficult?  Do fist-fights break out over parking spaces?  Can freshmen have cars on campus?  That sort of thing.  Not a lengthy narrative.  I'm talking a short paragraph or so.  Don't hurt yourself.

Send it to drdelagar at gmail dot com if you feel inclined.  I'd be so grateful.  Oh -- tell me which U you're at, if you don't mind.  This is not for any sort of official study, just for our own task forcy purposes.

Why Can't We Have A Government Like This One?

From Crooked Timber -- a look into the the British way of governing. It has cheered my week Right up.