Saturday, December 31, 2016

Good-Bye 2016

I wish I could hope 2017 would be better, but frankly the portents point to nope.

Here are my favorite posts from 2016:

January 2016

Happy 2016: I'm sharing this mostly for my hilarious look at what I thought 2016 would be like. HA HA HA HA HA I was so innocent.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Return to the Fort

We spent the past week in New Orleans, with (most) of my family, celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah combined. My oldest brother and SIL were only in town briefly, since she had to work Christmas; but we did see them the first night we were in town.

Now we are back in the Fort, and all of us are sick -- fever, sore throat, fierce headache. Since we always get sick for the holidays (being academics) this is NBD.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Five Stages...

I finished a short story. This is the first story I've written (started and completed) since the vile one won the election.

I might be emerging from the depression stage. MAYBE.

Whether it's a good story or not, meh -- I'm still deep enough in the depression stage that everything looks terrible. But it's a competent story, and it's finished. I'll take that.

The trouble with leaving depression is that I'm supposed to move onto the acceptance. And frankly, yeah, I don't see how to do that. Accept Trump as our president? What are you, nuts?

Saturday, December 17, 2016

A Little Joke For This Freezing Night

It's sleeting here in the Fort

Here's a cartoon

Thursday, December 15, 2016

What I've Been Doing

So what am I doing, in Trump's America: The Hunger Games Version?

Moping, a lot. I'm still in the depression stage of grieving. Nowhere near acceptance yet.

WTAF, is what I keep thinking, every time some new aspect of this horrible national nightmare comes to light.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

How Well Do YOU Know Your Country?

This quiz (it's not really a quiz) posted at the Guardian won't take long, and (at least for me) is interesting in what it reveals about our preconceptions.

How Well Do You Know Your Country?

(The answer for me, mostly: Not as well as I thought I did! The answer for How Happy Are Most People? shocked the living bajeezus outta me, I'll tell you that for nothing.)

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Gift Idea!

Still looking for your Christmas / Hanukkah / Festivus gift? Sinclair Lewis's It Can't Happen Here is a perfect choice this year!

In 1935, with Hitler gaining power in Europe, and fascism rising up in various political groups all over the world -- including in America -- the common wisdom said nothing like Hitler could EVER happen in America. Sinclair Lewis's alternative history / SF novel is a scary vision of just how easily it can happen here. 

And his fascist president, Buzz Windrip, is a scary archetype for our own Donald Trump.


Never argue with a young male libertarian on FB.

This has been your warning.

ETA: Probably a young woman libertarian would be just as hopeless, but at least there wouldn't be the added MRA bullshit stirred in.

Friday, December 09, 2016

The Reality Gap

This is a real problem. From Steve Benen, on the Maddow Show blog:

...what struck me as especially notable about the new survey results is the persistence of the so-called “reality gap.”

* Unemployment: Under President Obama, job growth has been quite strong, and the unemployment rate has improved dramatically. PPP, however, found that 67% of Trump voters believe the unemployment rate went up under Obama – which is the exact opposite of reality...

* Popular Vote: As of this morning, Hillary Clinton received roughly 2.7 million more votes than Donald Trump, but PPP nevertheless found that 40% of Trump voters believe he won the popular vote – which is, once again, the exact opposite of reality.

* Voter Fraud: Even Trump’s lawyers concede there was no voter fraud in the presidential election, but PPP found that 60% of Trump voters apparently believe “millions” of illegal ballots were cast for Clinton in 2016 – which isn’t even close to resembling reality.

As Benen notes, when a sizable percentage of our country is invested in believing  -- for whatever reason -- what is transparently a lie, it's hard to know how we're going to move forward.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Colbert on the Pizzagate Nonsense

This is a great segment.

Colbert acknowledges at the top that he's not a journalist. Nevertheless, he's doing stellar work here.

I'm still seeing Far-Right blogs claiming that this Pizzagate drivel is true, by the way. Seriously, how intellectually limited do you have to be to buy into something this transparently ridiculous? It's like believing in chemtrails. Or that ridiculous claim that Planned Parenthood sells fetal body parts -- Rod Dreher is still repeating that vile lie.

Really, they're daily more pathetic. You would think, now that they've got their Liar in Chief headed for the White House, they'd calm down. But nope. They're ramping up the Bullshit Machines: Full Speed Ahead.

Grading, and so on

I am grading, and also moving my office from one building, on the northeast side of our campus, to another (slightly newer) building on the northwest(ish) side of our campus.

Though the buildings are no more than a few hundred yards apart (maybe three hundred? I'm terrible at judging distances), still I have heaps of books* and files (ten large boxes), and can't really move myself.

I am at the mercy of our grounds crew, and they are at the mercy of whoever is in charge of assigning their workload, I assume. In any case, though I was supposed to be moved today, yeah, not so much.

Could I come in tomorrow (and wait all day, I suppose, for the grounds crew to cancel on me again), I was asked.

Yeah, not so much.

I counter-proposed that they come move me on Tuesday, when I'll be on campus anyway, giving my last exam. I am waiting to hear whether this will be acceptable.

Meanwhile, I have stacks and stacks of essays, final exams, and papers to grade, as well as grade totals to figure once that is done.

See you on the other side.

*This does not count all the books I weeded out and dumped on our Free Book table, which students happily carried off for me, or the old files I dumped in our recycling bin.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

Home for the Holidays

This year, we're driving down to New Orleans to stay with my parents for the holidays. Christmas and Hanukkah coincide this year, interestingly -- or at least the first day of Hanukkah coincides with Christmas. I'll be hauling bags of presents with us, is what this means, mostly.

Also, I have to remember to do about six billion things. So far I've reserved the rental car (our car being unreliable), reserved a space for the dog (we have to board him, though the cats will stay here and be looked in on by a friend), bought presents, and plotted our route.

An Important Post from TYWKIWDBI

Over at TYWKIWDBI, we find an important informational post:

Kleptocracy (from Greek: κλεπτοκρατία, klépto- thieves + -kratos rule, literally "rule by thieves") is a government with corrupt rulers (kleptocrats) that use their power to exploit the people and natural resources of their own territory in order to extend their personal wealth and political power. Typically this system involves the embezzlement of state funds at the expense of the wider population, sometimes without even the pretense of honest service...

(By the way, if you don't read Things You Wouldn't Know If We Didn't Blog Intermittently, you're missing a real joy!)

Monday, December 05, 2016

So How Am I Doing?

One month after surgery, more or less?

I saw the surgeon for a follow-up today. He says I'm doing well. He says probably one day I'll be able to eat bread again, not to mention meals bigger than a quarter-cup in size.

Meanwhile, the heartburn is entirely gone, and most of the surgical pain as well. Physically, I'm almost entirely recovered -- I don't get tired walking from my car to my office, for instance, and I can lift things again.

Also, I have once again started drinking coffee. What a relief that is.

So I'm better, even if our nation is fucked.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

White Moderates

Yesterday, I wrote about a hate-group putting up vile posters on our campus.

Other people on campus also wrote about this, several of them on their FB pages. On several of these pages, people got comments about how “we” should just ignore these posters. Some said we should ignore them because we had better things to do; others claimed it was their free speech right to put up the posters.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Trump's America

So this happened on my campus.

This got posted on the building where my new office will be:

Teaching Students Grammar -- Useful Y/N?

Over at Bardiac's place she wrote a post about strawmanning -- the ridiculous perceptions of what professors do and how we teach (or ought to teach).

In my comment there, I kind of went off on a tangent, orthogonal to Bardiac's original point. That tangent is one I'd like to take up here.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Packing to Move

So plant operations has finally sent me my packing boxes. I am packing my books and files, preliminary to the moving guys showing up, next Thursday, to move me to my new office, over in the fancy new building.

Well, newer building.

Meanwhile, I certainly have a lot of books. And more art on the wall than I would have guessed.

I don't think I'm going to have nearly enough boxes, y'all.

ETA: Man, I shoulda wished for money. No sooner did I hit post than the plant operations guys showed up with 15 more boxes!

ETTAA: Man, do I have a lot of books.

Small Sliver of Good News

A payment came through yesterday for some writing I did.

I love getting paid for writing.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Not The WORST Thing, but Still...

I used to semi-enjoy reading conservative blogs, for pretty much the same reason I was almost an anthropology major, and probably for the same reason I read and write science fiction. I like walking in other people's shoes. I like to be able, just for a bit and even if it's only slightly, to understand the worlds of people who are not me.

This election, though, has ruined that pleasure for me. Homo sum, said Terence, and therefore, humani nihil a me alienum puto. This is what I believe as well.

But sadly, conservative blogs are now gulping down the Trump Kool-Aid in two-liter sized go-cups. As much as I would like to continue to read and try to understand them, right now at least, there's nothing to understand. They're all repeating the same lies and fake news stories, while howling with hysterical hatred about those evil liberals (baby-killers, flag-burners, ballot-stuffers, and traitors).

Having read one (actually, I've read about fifty) of these post-truth screeds, I find I don't need to read another.

More than one Trump supporter has told me they voted for Trump because America was "so divided (with the implication that Obama/progressives caused this terrible division) and that "we" had to bring the country together again.

Somehow I don't think the foaming wrath of the alt.right is our path to that.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

New post up at Cooking with delagar

The kid and I have been making banana bread about twice a week for the past months. "Have you put this recipe up on Cooking with delagar?" she asked.

"Well, no," I said.

"Why not?"

Why not indeed.

Excellent Banana Bread

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Here We Are, Thankful America

All over the internet, people are posting "Why I'm Thankful" posts, though some are also posting, "Holy Hell 2016!" posts.

I'm leaning more toward the latter, frankly, what with our country being occupied by alt.right Nazis and White Supremacist plutocrats, but I fight to maintain a certain zen. Or at least to hang onto non-panic by my fingernails.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Review of To Shape the Dark

Oh, look! My review of To Shape the Dark, a wonderful new anthology edited by Athena Andreadis, is live today, over at Strange Horizons.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Hilarious New World

So we've elected a whiny baby to be our next President.

When he's not appointed racists and bigots and sexists to important post in our government, or using his new position to make himself richer, he's firing off tweets demanding that American citizens stop saying mean things about him.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


We all know the five stages of grief -- denial & isolation; anger; bargaining; depression; acceptance.

I seem to have gone straight from anger into depression.

I'm not sleeping and I'm not able to get much work done. Why should I, when our country has decided, out of pique and spite and hate, to elect this vile joke into our highest office -- when, now that he is in the highest office, not just America, but probably the world, is doomed?

Trump plans to pull out of the Paris Agreement.

That right there is all you need to know. Never mind what he'll do to education, to a woman's right to control her own body, to LGBT rights, to the immigrants in our country. Never mind the effect he's already having, with the spike in hate crimes / assaults.

All of those we might survive and mend, once (if) America comes to its senses. But climate change? Yeah, it's already almost too late to do anything about that. Trump's destruction of our progress on that, along with what he'll do to the EPA, that's going to be something we can't change.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Things Could Be Worse...

...though right now I am struggling to see how.

My one hope is that Donald Trump is, in fact, a joke -- he knows nothing about how the US Government works, he has no ability to negotiate or to work with other people, and he has the attention span of a gnat. How much will a man this inept be able to accomplish?

That's my hope, anyway. As I'm telling all the smug, triumphant, Trump-supporters I know, yeah, let's check back in a year or two. See how we think then.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Drinking Tea

I'm drinking tea. It's not decaf, despite the orders on my diet. But it is delicious.

Yesterday I ate a little chicken broth and some orange Jello. Also a lime Popsicle.

It's the high life.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

I'm Alive

The surgery went well, and they gave me nice drugs to get me through that and the immediate aftermath.

I haven't had any reflux since the surgery (knock wood); but on the other hand, I feel like I have a belly full of sharp bits of tin.

Monday, October 31, 2016

This Year's Jack-o-Lantern

Designed by the kid, carved by Dr. Skull

Tomorrow They Cut on Me

...which sounds really dramatic.

Tomorrow morning at five a.m. I check in for the surgery to fix (let's hope) my hiatal hernia, which is causing my GERD, which is causing my ulcer.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

I Need Xanax

Sweet Jesus, this election is on my last nerve.

I'm mainlining Nate Silver, which only helps a little.

Dr. Skull, the kid, and I went down to the courthouse and voted early. Now we just gnaw our nails and wait.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


So oddly enough -- odd, because I don't usually get enough space in my day to watch this much media -- I watched two documentaries yesterday, back to back.

First I watched 13th, the documentary by Ava DuVernay about the loophole in the 13th Amendment that made it possible to continue slavery by another name, by turning black Americans, and specifically black males, into a criminal underclass.

It's very well done and worth watching, though I'd also recommend reading Slavery by Another Name, which adds a lot of the deep background this documentary presents in summary.

I knew most of the information in 13th, but not all of it -- I didn't know the information toward the end, for example, about ALEC and its connections to the prison industry. And I'd heard some bits of the information about what's happening with immigrants and private prisons, but I learned more here.

Well worth watching.

Then -- right after watching this film, which made me angry and depressed and furious about how fucked up our country was -- I watched the PBS documentary Hamilton's America.


I don't know if you saw it. (You can stream it for a limited time through the link above.) But it's lovely, and Lin-Manuel Miranda is just lovely in it. This documentary made me feel so hopeful and happy about this country. Brilliant, talented people working hard and well, creating something amazing, and having amazing success: that's the America we all love.

Both of those are the real country, hard as that is to wrap our heads around sometimes.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

So, This Happened (TW: medical procedure)

I may have mentioned my ulcer.

I've got this ulcer, caused by my hiatal hernia, caused by having a baby -- well, by being pregnant.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Raising a Genderqueer Kid in Arkansas

I didn’t intend to give my kid – a brilliant Jewish atheist with anxiety and depression issues – a childhood in a small hyper-conservative city in Arkansas, where most of the people she went to school with would be Evangelical Christians, not to mention Far-Right (read: Trump-flavored) Conservatives.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Rosh Hashanah 2016

Yesterday was Rosh Hashanah, the last the kid will spend at home as a child -- she goes off to college next year.

As we've done every year since she turned four, when we moved to this town, we went down to the Arkansas River to throw bread in the water and our sins with them.

"I'm sorry I yelled at the dog!"

"I'm sorry I fight with people on the internet!"

"I'm sorry I use gendered insults!"

"I'm sorry I don't pay more attention to Mom!"

Then we came back here and had a fine meal of stewed chicken with garlic, grilled asparagus, challah, and honey cake.

"Have some more honey cake," Dr. Skull said. "You have to have more honey cake, so you'll have a sweet new year. Here," he said, giving a bit of honey cake to Heywood. "You have a sweet new year too, you little freak."

Have a sweet new year, all y'all!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

NPR Fact-checks the Debate for All

This is great -- NPR not only provides a transcript, they provide fact-checking (and links) on both candidates.

Go here: Fact Check and Analysis of First Debate 2016

Monday, September 26, 2016

Underground Railroad, Underground Airlines

I read over this past week and weekend, back to back, Colson Whitehead's Underground Railroad and Ben Winters' Underground Airlines.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


This is your semi-regular reminder that you should be reading my kid's wonderful comic, Fragile.

Now with more dragons!

You can find it here: Fragile.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Review of Hwarhath Stories

Over at Strange Horizons, my review of Eleanor Arnason's Hwarhath Stories is now live.

This is a wonderful book, which all y'all should all read.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

RIP Big Dog 2001-2016

Thursday when I was at work -- Thursday is my long day, when I'm at work from seven in the morning until eight at night, and this Thursday things were made even longer by meetings -- but anyway, when I came back from one of the meetings, I had four missed calls on my phone, and one message. The message was from my kid, saying that Big Dog, our sweet old blue heeler / dingo mix, had collapsed in the back yard and couldn't seem to stand, and that they had taken him to the vet.

I called back, and Dr. Skull said he'd talked to the vet, who had done some blood work, which looked good, and they were going to watch him overnight; but that Big Dog was still having trouble getting up.

Friday morning, he was worse, and he grew worse all day. He wasn't eating, and was confused and altered.

This was not, exactly, a surprise. My poor sweet dog has been going downhill all year, getting more addled and having more and more trouble walking and eating. He's been essentially blind and deaf for the past year and a half. But he still seemed to enjoy his biscuits, and he liked lying in the sun.

Plus he was my Big Dog. He was always so swift, running full out across the yard to chase birds and squirrels out of his yard, catching tennis balls right out of the air; and also such a good dog, sweet-tempered and friendly with everyone. Except the UPS guy. Boy, did he have it in for the UPS guy.

The end just came so fast.

Yesterday afternoon I held him while he died. He was a good brave boy even to the end, laying his head against me and holding still for the vet.

Saturday, September 10, 2016


I have an excellent teaching schedule this semester -- Tuesdays and Thursdays only, with my first class starting at 11:00 -- but I begin to fear that this wonderful schedule, which looked as if it would leave me plenty of time to write, is going to be wrecked by a plethora of meetings.

I am on far too many committees, and each of these committees seems determined to hold weekly meetings. Then we have a monthly faculty meeting. Then I have ad hoc meetings, for this and that, all of them necessary -- I agree they're necessary, each one of them -- but sweet Jesus, they're eating my life.

The biggest time suck now is a work-intensive committee involving a university-wide responsibility which ought to resolve itself by early October. Here's hoping.

And some of the other committees, I hope, will also calm down soon.

Meanwhile, though...

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Changing Your Name: a Rant

Here's why I think women should not take their husband's name upon getting married -- or, well, you know, why NO ONE should change his or her name upon marrying ANYONE, though let's be honest, it's women who change their names, 98% of the time.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Reading for Vampires, Zombies, Apocalypses

So I'm reading wide and deep for my Popular Lit Spring class in Apocalyptic Lit. So far I am mostly finding books that I'm not going to include, for one reason or another, although I did find another short story to include, Naomi Kritzer's "So Much Cooking."

(That was sort of cheating, though. I'd already read it, it just slipped my mind when I was making up my list. But then when I was doing my Google Trawl, there it was. This is one of the stories that should have been nominated for a Hugo this year, had the troll pups not been up to their usual griefing.)

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

New Course for Spring

In the spring, I will be teaching a course tentatively titled Vampire, Zombies, and Apocalypses: Our Hunger for Destruction. It's for our general studies, sophomore level class in popular lit, and we'll be looking at why works on mass death and destruction are so population.

That said, this is a bleg, or at least a call for suggestions. What movies, books, graphic novels, or short stories do you think I should include in this class? These should be fiction and they should fall into the category of popular culture, though they don't necessarily have to be American or current.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Unpleasant Things That Happened This Week So Far

(1) My genderqueer kid got told by an adult who should know better that being LGBT is an evolutionary error, because gay people don't have babies, and evolution is all about passing on those genes, isn't it. Evolution is teleological, y'all. Who knew.

Thursday, August 25, 2016


I'm having the worst insomnia, y'all.

I've always had trouble sleeping -- I'm talking since infancy. One of my earliest memories is being four years old (we had just moved into our new house, out of the trailer) and wandering around in the dark in the middle of the night after everyone else was asleep. This wasn't just once, either. I did this all the time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

One Good Thing From Our Pre-School Training...

This was shown during the Title IX Training session:

It's from the folks at College Humor. Watch it to the end, as those kids today say.

Monday, August 22, 2016

What's up with Me?

I've been writing and writing, which is why no posting.

Other news: I went in for a EGD, which is what they call it when they run a camera down your gullet to look at your throat and belly and decide if you need surgery to correct your ulcer or not. (Spoilers: Yep.)

Friday, August 12, 2016

Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin

I may have mentioned to y'all, a few dozen or a few hundred times, that the kid is genderqueer.

And, as you know, Bob, we live in a Red State, and in a severely conservative area, and deeply Evangelical Christian area, of that state.

All this by way of saying that her adolescence has been rough.

Just recently, and once again, she was treated to another adolescent informing her, piously, that while he didn't have anything against LGBTQ people himself, and while he certainly believed that they should have equal rights, nevertheless he believed, due to his religious convictions, that what they did was a sin.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

Could This Be Good News at Last?

Why, yes, it is!

I have sold a story to Fantasy & Science Fiction. I cannot even tell you how pleased I am. F&SF is one of the "big three," the top SF print magazines, and also this story, "The History of the Invasion Told in Five Dogs," is one I like a lot.

The editor, C.C. Finley, was just great, working with me during the submission process.

I'll let you know when it comes out!

Thursday, August 04, 2016

New Office

So I heard from the Committee for Central Planning. My new office has been selected.

I have to admit I was in denial about all this. The CCP has been threatening to tear down our building for years, and nothing ever came of it. Sure, every other professor in the building except me and one other has been moved out over the past year... but surely the CCP was just, um, surely...

Nope. I'm out too, as of this month.

The new office is in a (slightly) newer building, which I suppose is good news.  It has a window (yay!) and only one bookshelf, but a much bigger desk. It's on a long hallway filled with my colleagues, so that's nice. The one bookshelf is going to be a problem -- I have three here in this office, and they are crammed full. I think I can fit the small one into the new office. Aside from that, I am going to have to weed out books, I guess. (NOOOOO.)

It's a nicer office in general, except for the bookcase issue -- by which I mean it doesn't look like it was built in a day and a half, which this office does, since it was. The walls aren't made of sheetrock, and the floor isn't indoor-outdoor carpeting laid over cement slab. That sort of thing.

Also I'd imagine the mold and dust issue is better over there.

I'd be pleased, in general -- and I will be pleased -- except for how I now have to moved. Once the move is done, I'm sure I will be pleased.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

So Where Have I Been

Laid low, y'all.  Laid low.

I got some sort of evil virus, or flu, or demonic infestation, which made me sicker than I have been in year. For a few days there I did almost nothing but sleep. Seriously, at once point, clawing my way to consciousness, I googled sleeping sickness to see if, you know, maybe....

It's not endemic in Arkansas, though.

I went back to school on Monday, which was probably a mistake, even though all I had to do was meet students for conferences over their papers; and on Tuesday, which was definitely a mistake. I taught for about forty minutes (I do not remember most of what I said -- I vaguely remember going off on a rant about Plato), realized I was very close to passing out, and sent them home.

Today, like a miracle, I am all but well.

Lying there on the sofa at my sickest, though, racked with misery, fever, and pain, I thought about Elizabeth Barrett Browning -- who lived for years like that, in pain like that, unable to move from a sofa, and all the while managed to write poetry*.

A better man than I am.

*I couldn't write. I read, during the hours I managed to stay away, straight through Kage Baker's Company series. The entire thing.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Here's What I'm Doing

Two of the kid's friends have come to visit, so I have a house filled with young adults.

These are her two best friends, Rabid and Neon (those are net names). She met them over the internet, which according to internet lore means they ought to be 57 year old pedophiles. Instead they are nineteen and twenty-two and delightful.

They've spent the week talking comics (they are all web comic artists), catching Pokemon, drawing and discussing their drawings, and watching movies. On Friday we went up to Crystal Bridges.

Crystal Bridges has a wonderful new painting, by the way, by  George Copeland Ault.  This one:

It's much more amazing in person. I tried to find prints in their gift shop, but no go.

Then yesterday we drove up to Devil's Den to hike Yellow Rock trail. It was hot and humid, but due to all the rain we've been having lately, so green. And so many flowers. More hikers than I've ever seen up there as well. My little pack of artists were hiking on only five or six hours of sleep (they have also been staying up until four-thirty every night) but seemed to enjoy the climb nonetheless. Many hikers had their dogs along which helped. Also we saw tiny toads, lizards, and also one snake.

When we reached the top, some adorable Christian had used the loose rocks of the scree to spell out GOD! in big rock letters.

My kid (making an annoyed face): "Rabid. Help me change this to GOD IS DEAD, okay?"

But instead, what they did was rearrange the rocks to read DOG.

"After all," as they put it, "God is probably a dog. Or at least he likes dogs."

Saturday, July 09, 2016

Book Review: Ringworld

Apparently this summer I have decided to read a great deal of 1960s/1970s SF written by men.

Why? I do not know.

Ringworld, written by Larry Niven, was published in 1970. I read it as a kid. I can't remember when, exactly, although it would have been sometime after it was published, probably when I was fourteen or fifteen.

It was the first Niven I read, and I do remember liking it. I liked it a lot. I liked it so much, that I read every book I could find by Niven, no matter how terrible they were, right up until Footfall, when I just gave up. I couldn't take anymore.

Friday, July 01, 2016

Reviews of 1960's SF

I am currently reading -- I can't even remember why -- two SF novels published in the 1960s, both by men. One is Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, which I read I was (much) younger, and a big Heinlein fan.

The other is William Nolan's Logan's Run, which I had never read before.

One point I'm going to make up front is that, wow, science fiction is terrible at predicting the future.

The second is that these particular SF writers certainly have an interesting attitude toward women.

The third point I will only mention: LGBT issues. Yeah, wow.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


So my kid received a comment from someone on her currently running comic asking if she could make it "a bit more obvious" who is male and who is female in the comic, since the reader was having trouble deciding this important issue.

My kid's reply: (a direct quotation here): "nah the gender binary is bullshit my friend"

Yep, I do parenting right.

Friday, June 17, 2016


While our AC was down, I was just not able to function. I am not functional when in an environment where the temperature is 90+ and the humidity is 80+, though mad props to all y'all who are. (Dr. Skull is one who is. He loved the AC crisis.)

Essentially all I did was teach (the university AC was wonderful -- I'm the only one left on our hallway, as our building is scheduled to be torn down soon, so I could crank our AC down to 66 degrees, and I did), and -- when I reluctantly returned to the pit of hell that is our house, slouch in my chair in the middle of three different fans and under a ceiling fan and read.

Here is what I read:

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Update: Much Rejoicing!

The air condition repair guys, having worked from just past eight this morning until now, just past four, have -- knock wood -- fixed the air conditioning.

Are we not filled with bliss?

Help. Send Ice. Send Ice Packs. Send Winter.

So here is what it is like in Arkansas when your air conditioning has not worked for three days.

Number One: Every linoleum floor is sticky or else literally covered with a fine slimy layer of condensation. Mopping this up will only work briefly. This humidity-induced slime, by the way? Oh my what a fine stench.

Number Two: Every thing begins to smell, almost at once. You can't leave garbage in the pail all day, or milk in a cup by the sink. Deal with that shit pronto.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Teaching Again

I've picked up a Summer I class from a colleague who has a family emergency, which mean we have a little more money this summer -- yay!

In other news, the air conditioner which was fixed three days ago failed again yesterday afternoon. The landlord sent new guys to fix it. The other guy had said it needed Freon and also my filters needed cleaning (they didn't -- I clean them religiously, mainly because that's one way to help keep the cost of electricity down, summers). He cleaned the clean filters and put in new Freon.

These guys said the compressor was shot. They're supposed to come back today with a new compressor.  I hope they do, and I hope this works. Summer in Arkansas without AC is... well, many people in this country are having a worse week than I am this week, obviously, so I won't say hell on earth. But it's very unpleasant.

Right now I'm in my office, where I'm the only one on the hallway, since it's summer.  I have the AC cranked down to 66.  Bliss.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Fragile Updates!

Fragile, the comic by our favorite kid, has updated.

This panel might be my favorite so far.

Read it here: Fragile.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Complaining Post

This is going to be a whine, so feel free to skip it.

We rent, because my cancer some years back destroyed me financially in a way we are only just beginning to recover from. I don't think we'll ever own a house, at this point.

Luckily, we live in an area where rent is cheap. And we've had more or less decent luck with landlords.

Monday, May 30, 2016

New Post on Cooking With Delagar


Another post on Cooking with Delagar? Already?!

Yep! It's on Beef Stew, or stewed beef, really.  Go Here.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

What I've Been Reading Lately

Now that I'm done with teaching, at least until Summer II, I'm writing non-stop, and also reading a lot.

Here's some of what I've been reading (only the good stuff -- the books I've read and not liked are left off this list.)

Eleanor Arnason, Hwarhath Stories

Doing a long review of this elsewhere. For now, just saying this is the best of all the books I've read recently. Get it now!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Kid's Comic Updates!

The kid's new comic updated!

Early reviews: The best online comic with only four pages so far, one reviewer states.

I couldn't agree more.

Read Fragile here.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Remember That Cooking Blog I Have?

I finally put up a new post.

I was reading a British mystery novel, and the main characters had baps for breakfast.

You had what? I thought to myself, and looked this strange item up on the internet.

That's how I spent a large portion of the past several days researching what baps are, and how one makes them, and the best recipes for baps, and how to make baps in America.

Then today I made some.

I'm happy to report they're lovely.

Here's the recipe, over on Cooking With Delagar: Baps.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Grades Are In, Summer Begins

I have submitted my last set of grades (go me), and now my first true summer break in -- good shit, thirteen years? Yes, thirteen years -- is about to begin.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Oh My God, Tear This Guy Apart

So, you might have heard -- yesterday Obama issued a directive ordering US public schools to allow students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.

The Far-Right Conservatives promptly lost their nut.

On my FB page, students I respect, who are intelligent and well-read, good-hearted, but who are conservative Christians, are likewise losing it over this.  Apparently respecting the rights of trans children, well, it's just a step too far.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Ethics, Morals, "Christians"

My kid took the English AP exam yesterday.

"How'd you do?" I asked when she got home.

"Kicked its ass," she said.

I was not at all surprised, obviously.  As the child of not one but two English Ph.Ds, one of us a fiction writer, the other a poet, she's been raised around books and reading, discussions of language and literature, grammar and rhetoric, all her life.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

New Comic from Our Favorite Artist

The kid's new comic has dropped!

It's a quest story -- a wolf mother who has taken up with a one-winged exile (who has a troubled past) is seeking her lost son. In the course of this quest, they become entangled with a revolution on the edge of explosion.

You can view it here: Fragile. 

Updates twice weekly.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

The 100 Must-Read SF Books by Female Authors -- A Challenge List

You might have seen this post, over at Book Riot: a list of the top 100 SF/F books by women writers. Some of my favorites are missing, but still! Not a bad list to start with.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Cat Pictures, Please

Update: Due to Tom Mays' withdrawal -- good for him, by the way! -- "Cat Pictures, Please" is now a Hugo Nominee.  Yay!

So yesterday we're driving to the bookstore, as we do, and Dr. Skull says to me, he says, "Hey, did you hear about that idiot that's trying to wreck the Hugos?"

Friday, April 29, 2016

Rod Dreher Gives Himself the Vapors, Yet Again

Oh noes!  Sex Ed in KINDERGARTEN?

The culture is doom-ed!

Yes, Rod, sex education can start in kindergarten.  My kid, when she was in public school, had sex education classes in kindergarten.  I don't know what ridiculous fantasies have your trousers in a wad, but all this means is that once a month or so, the school counselor took them all down to the resource room and they sat in a circle and they talked about Stranger Danger; or on other days about how no one had the right to touch their bodies without permission.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Passover 2016

We held Passover last night, smaller than usual -- Uncle Charger's mother, who usually celebrates with us, died suddenly last month of a heart attack. (What is it with 2016?  Stop killing people!)

So it was a slightly sadder than usual celebration, but still lovely.  Here we all are at the table near the end of the ceremony:

All of us except Dr. Skull, who is taking the photo.  That's the kid to the right, me in the center, and Uncle Charger to the left. (He's an uncle in the Southern sense, as in Dr. Skull's best friend for 30+ years, who became the kid's uncle that way. His mother, Joan, was deeply fond of the kid as well, and the kid loved her.)

The menu! Matzo ball soup, gefilte fish, roast chicken, asparagus, potato kugel, and a KFP cake for dessert, which was very afflicting. Matzo with schmaltz throughout the meal.  Dr. Skull rendered the schmaltz himself. It was interesting, but there's not much you can do to matzo to make it edible, I'm afraid, except dip it in dark chocolate.

Have a good holiday, y'all.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

For My Global Lit Class

I wanted to use some graphic stories/graphic lit for my Global Lit class.

Here's what I'm using, so far -- any suggestions for what I might add?

Requirements: It needs to be short, and it needs to be by an other-than-American (USA, in other words) writer:

This link goes to the START of a collection -- these three writers are the ones I'm using:

James Stewart, Catherine Brighton, Faye Moorehouse, Isabel Greensberg
(Note the arrow at the bottom of the page -- that's how to move to the next page)

His Face All Red, Emily Carroll

 Bongcheon-Dong Ghost” by Horang (This one is scary!  Like, no kidding, made me scream out loud in my office scary. Skip it if that's not your deal.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Well, That was Upsetting

I just had my first wreck -- I mean, the first one that was my fault.

Readers of the blog will remember I was hit from behind by a guy in a truck last August -- that wreck wasn't my fault.

This time, though, I was in a hurry and changed lanes without looking (never change lanes without looking -- d'oh!) and side-swiped a Mitsubishi Eclipse.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

Paying Taxes

I have paid my taxes, once again.

I am all for the payment of taxes, by the way.  This is not a whine about how eeevil the government is for taxing us. I like living in a place with roads that are paved, and water that is (often) clean, with decent schools and social safety nets.

In fact, I wouldn't mind if the taxes were higher, and the social benefits were better.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Trump Among the Razorbacks

So here in NW Arkansas we have a certain percentage of people who are supporting Trump. And many of these people have kids who go to my kid's school.

My kid's school is pretty much a bastion of Far-Right Evangelical Christian culture as it is; so, you know, I'm not that surprised to find a fat wodge of Trumpeters there. However, also not surprisingly, there's a lot of pushback against Trump, even among the conservative kids.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

My First Lie

Over on her blog, Madeline Robbins writes about her first memory, My Mother Went Out for Lemons. Go read it; it's a great story.

It also prompts me to write about my first memory -- or, well, my first memory that's a coherent story.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

New Story up at Sockdolager

I've got a new story live at The Sockdolager today.

It's one I'm very fond of -- a time-travel story, sort of.

Go here to read it:  Down The Twisting Alleyways.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Virtue-Signalling and The Right

So we all remember when the Right seized upon Politically Correct as their favorite excuse and cudgel.

Politically correct, invented as an in-joke by Leftists for those of us who were taking things a bit far (out-Veganing the Vegans, being more holy about using the correct pronouns than even the most Tumblr of the Tumblrites), was taken up by the Far-Right as an excuse to be as rude as they liked, under the guise of not being (I guess) a Leftist.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

America: Where You Can Be Long as You're Like US!

So as many of you know, the new battle against LGBT people from the Far-Right Conservatives is being waged in the bathrooms.

This is nothing new.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Review: Zootopia

For those of you who have not yet seen Zootopia, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

I was not that excited about seeing it, frankly -- a Disney movie about a bunny who wants to be a cop?  Whatevs.  I went mostly because the kid wanted to see it so badly, and since my child almost never wants to go see a movie, we'll take her to anything.

Spoilers from here on out:

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Spring Evening in the Fort

I am just back from an early evening walk with the little dog.

Our new little dog, Heywood Floyd -- not that new, I suppose; we've had him since July -- is, we have determined, part Jack Russell terrier, and very high energy.

Without at least one long walk a day, he is fraught with unexpended energy, and rushes through the house, rrrrring and flailing and finding toys for everyone to throw him.

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

It's That Time of Year Again!

Yes, that time.

Annual evaluation time!


I'm trying, y'all.  I'm trying.  But seriously, what a waste of my life and life-force.

Plus, the language this enterprise requires.  Learning goals.  Assessments.  Multiple literacies. Demonstrated Learning Outcomes. Global perspectives.  Kill me now.

It's not bad enough that Drumpf is apparently going to be a serious candidate for our country's highest office -- I have to spend the next week writing this... document.

Mood: sullen.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Art by the Kid

Her latest watercolor

She likes art deco now as you see.


I love the roses.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I Suppose I Shouldn't Be Surprised

It is their culture, after all.

Over here at Rod Dreher's blog, he notes the utter disaster that Jindal has left behind him in my home state of Louisiana. The state is looking at a shortfall of over two billion dollars.  This is the worst economic crisis in its history -- at a time when most other states in the union are seeing their economic outlook improve.

Or, I should say, states that had the good sense not to elect GOP governors and Tea-Party legislators are seeing things improve.  States like Kansas, Arkansas, Idaho, and yes, Louisiana all have state governments filled those who adhere to policies endorsed by Ayn Rand and Reagan -- that government solutions don't work and can't work (and if they did work, they'd be evil); that the best way to govern is to get out of the way.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

What's UP?

So many things.

Mostly I've been sick, with a low-grade sick.  It's a cold, or it's allergies.  Who knows.  It's annoying, anyway.  Not sick enough to take to my bed and make out my will sick, but sick enough to feel terrible and cranky sick.

Also conferences with students.

Also book orders for Fall 2016 were due.  I'm teaching a very cool class next fall -- World, Class, and Women -- which I can't wait to teach, but book orders, being due earlier every year, as is the tradition, were due last week, or actually the week before, but since I was sick and cranky and whiny I got a week's extension.

So I was researching possible texts.  And whining, as I mentioned.

Whining takes up a lot of time.

And the kid was also sick.

I also wrote a short story.  Yay me!

So that's where I've been.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Roddy Doyle, The Snapper: A Review

Probably most of you have heard of Roddy Doyle, who wrote The Commitments -- that was the first book of his I read as well, just after seeing the movie version, both of which I recommend, especially for anyone interested in the use of dialect in fiction.  Doyle's great at that.

Right now I'm re-reading The Snapper, which is a not-quite sequel to The Commitments.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

The Roosevelts: A Review

I'm probably the last person in America to watch The Roosevelts, Ken Burns' documentary about the interwoven lives of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt. I stumbled across it the other day, and have been binge-watching since (quite a task since it's a seven episode series, with every episode being almost two hours long).

I don't know as much about this period of history -- the very early years of the 20th century -- as I do about other eras.  This is partly because in Louisiana, where I was schooled, history classes always stopped at the Civil War; and partly because when I went to the university (at least the university I went to) you could take either US or World History, and I went for World.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Kid is Open for Business

I've been posting my kid's drawings here for a while.  She's been drawing full-time since she was eleven or twelve, and now -- finally -- feels ready to take commissions.

Here's the link to her page.

Update: The kid draws a goblin for goblin week.

The goblin is eating an orange, peel on, as goblins do.