Friday, July 30, 2021

Ooga-booga!

 Honestly, at this point it's like socialism. MAGA Americans have no idea what it is, but they've been told by Fox News they should hate and fear it, so 


I mean...


 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

One of My Favorite Poems

 

A Voice from Under the Table

Richard Wilbur

(From The Kenyon Review, Winter 1954, Vol. 16, No. 1)

 How shall the wine be drunk, or the woman known?

I take this world for better or for worse,
But seeing rose carafes conceive the sun
My thirst conceives a fierier universe:
And then I toast the birds in the burning trees
That chant their holy lucid drunkenness;
I swallowed all the phosphorus of the seas
Before I fell into this low distress.

You upright people all remember how
Love drove you first to the woods, and there you heard
The loose-mouthed wind complaining Thou and Thou;
My gawky limbs were shuddered by the word.
Most of it since was nothing but charades
To spell that hankering out and make an end,
But the softest hands against my shoulder-blades
Only increased the crying of the wind.

For this the goddess rose from the midland sea
And stood above the famous wine-dark wave,
To ease our drouth with clearer mystery
And be a South to all our flights of love.
And down by the selfsame water I have seen
A blazing girl with skin like polished stone
Splashing until a far-out breast of green
Arose and with a rose contagion shone.

“A myrtle-shoot in hand, she danced; her hair
Cast on her back and shoulders a moving shade.”
Was it some hovering light that showed her fair?
Was it of chafing dark that light was made?
Perhaps it was Archilochus’ fantasy,
Or that his saying sublimed the thing he said.
All true enough; and true as well that she
Was beautiful, and danced, and is now dead.

Helen was no such high discarnate thought
As men in dry symposia pursue,
But was as bitterly fugitive, not to be caught
By what men’s arms in love or fight could do.
Groan in your cell; rape Troy with sword and flame;
The end of thirst exceeds experience.
A devil told me it was all the same
Whether to fail by spirit or by sense.

God keep me a damned food, nor charitably
Receive me into his shapely resignations.
I am a sort of martyr, as you see,
A horizontal monument to patience.
The calves of waitresses parade about
My helpless head upon this sodden floor.
Well, I am down again, but not yet out.
O sweet frustrations, I shall be back for more.

(Source)

Yep

 

I mean, look at this bullshit.

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

This One Trick!

 I'm working on my budget, trying to make sure we can get to the end of September (which is when I next get paid), and I had an epiphany: we just need to stop eating.

If we just quit eating, we'll have plenty of money.


Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Arkansas Covid -19

 I'm sure this is just fake news, though. Or all the people in the ICUs have comorbities. Or they're old and would have died anyway. Or whatever absolute batshit the MAGA crowd are spewing at the moment.

Meanwhile, our legislature, working to protect freedom or something, has made it illegal for any state-run facility to require masks. That includes schools. It's also made it illegal for any public place -- including hospitals -- to require their employees to get vaccines, or to penalize those who refuse.

If this was just killing these whining, ignorant losers who have swallowed every bit of propaganda put out by Fox News and QAnon -- if it was only their lives they were risking -- that would be one thing. But these heaps of garbage are also risking the lives of the immunocompromised, some of them my students, many of them children.

What is it that the Far-Right say about that? Well, those people are weak, and we should let them die.

Eugenicists at heart. Or they would be, if they had hearts.


ETA: Bet you can guess who this vile loser voted for:




Monday, July 26, 2021

UGH More July

Last night we had a nice thunderstorm, which dropped a ton of rain.

Today walking outside is like walking into a steambath. Except with blistering sunshine. 

Tomorrow, the high will be over 100 degrees, as will the next day, and the next.

Heat Dome over central US, which is to say over ME

Ugh.

I spend some time every day browsing my calander and counting down the days until summer is FINALLY OVER. Which means end of September, here. So nine more weeks as of today.

UGH UGH UGH.

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Solid Truth

 

What I'm Watching

I finally watched On the Basis of Sex, as I noted a few posts ago. And Dr. Skull and I have been watching Rake, which is an Australian TV show about barrister, as well as life, politics, and sex in Sydney. (You can watch it on Netflix.) 

It's funny, and also appalling. The main character, Cleaver Greene, is an enormous jerk, who also happens to be brilliant in court. The supporting characters are great, though if I were any one of them I would have ditched him much, much, much sooner. Good writing and acting. Also, occasionally it gives us a look at the US through Australian eyes.

Shows/movies I have tried to watch and given up on after less than 20 minutes:

2012

The Lovely Bones

The I-Land

Awake

Some of them were too stupid, and some too boring. The Lovely Bones made me queasy. YMMV. We have finished watching Rake, and may try Ted Lasso next -- I hear good things about it.


Thursday, July 22, 2021

Re My MAGA at the Lab

 Apparently this is a new bit of performance art from the Trumpists?



Imagine having a life this pathetic. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

RBG: The Film

 I finally got around to watching On the Basis of Sex, the biopic about Ruth Bader Ginsberg's early career. As a piece of biography, or a lecture on women's history, it's fine. As a bit of dramatic art, meh.

I mean, it's okay, and the final scene in the courtroom does what it's supposed to; also the history of how Ginsberg gets to her arguments in Moritz v. Commissionar is also (as far as I noticed) accurate. But frankly, it ends right where the most interesting part of the story begins.

It's also interesting that everything the State was arguing in Moritz  was not wrong -- making women and men equal under the law has, indeed, led to women having careers, an increase in divorce, and so on. A different world was, indeed, created. Our economic system has yet to catch up to that new reality, sadly.

I suppose it's worth watching for anyone who has no concept of what the status of women used to be, previous in 1970. 


I could have done with less focus on Mr. Ginsberg too. Just saying.

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Arkansas July

 

Aw, jeez, it's going to be 100 degrees next week.


Monday, July 19, 2021

Trump's America

So this morning I had to go have blood work done. This is due to the cancer I had a billion years ago -- I'm on medication for it to this day, and every six months they need to draw blood to make sure my liver and kidneys are still happy and my thyroid levels are nominal. It's annoying, but better than being dead, at least so far.

ANYWAY. The mask order has been lifted here, which if you've had a look at new cases in Arkansas, that's pretty hilarious, and totally to be expected. Also our state legislature has just passed yet another ridiculous law, saying that no workplace in Arkansas, not even hospitals, can require its workers to be vaccinated. This has empowered our Trumpists, who see the law as evidence that their militant ignorance is justified.

ANYWAY. The medical building where the lab is located has a strict masking policy -- no one can come in without a mask. Most people seem fine with this. (I'm fine with it, even though I'm fully vaccinated, which means technically I shouldn't need a mask anymore.)

But about ten minutes after I arrived this morning, a Trumpist arrived, maskless. The lab tech pointed out the sign. The Trumpist argued, saying the masks do nothing, saying she didn't "have" to wear a mask, saying it was her body, her choice -- all the Trumpist arguments. The tech tried to explain that this was a medical building, that people came in here who had lowered immune systems, and that policy was --

"Shut up!" the Trumpist snapped at her. "You shut up and let me talk!"

The tech shut the door in her face and left.

"Rude bitch," the Trumpist said, and other unpleasant things, looking around at us as if waiting for agreement, or applause, or who know what. We all gave her stony stares, and she huffed and stomped away.

Meanwhile, did you see Trump's bizarre interview




Saturday, July 17, 2021

What I'm Reading Now

 

Nigh Vo, The Beautiful and the Chosen

Do you want to read the Great Gatsby told from Jordan's point of view? And with magic? Also gayness? This book is for you!

It's wonderfully written, as is the original, but Nick is bisexual, sleeping with both Gatsby and Jordan, and Jordan is an adopted Vietnamese sorcerer, and Gatsby has made a deal with the devil, which is how he got his immense wealth; he's also (like the original) not quite what he seems. I re-read the original recently, checking in as I do every few years to see if I hate it as much as I did in high school. (I do.) I recommend reading this one back to back with that one, so you can get all the Easter Eggs.

A lot of fun, and very much worth a read, even if you don't like fantasy.


Laurie King, Castle Shade

This is another in the Mary Russell series, about the adolescent Sherlock Holmes befriends in his old age and makes into his apprentice (and later marries). It's all right, though not the best in the series. Sherlock and Russell go to Roumania and deal with what might be vampires (but isn't) causing a ruckus around a castle owned by Marie of Roumania. I like these books a lot, but this one, I have to admit, feels like King is just going through the motions. Start with The Beekeeper's Apprentice


William Patterson, Robert Heinlein

This biography of Heinlein (the dean of science fiction) got mixed reviews when it debuted, back 2010 (first volume) and 2014 (second volume) and I can see why. It's not bad, exactly, but it's clearly an apology which ignores facts Patterson thinks might show Heinlein's feet of clay. 

It's also appallingly biased, not just toward Heinlein (who never makes a mistake or acts badly, at least according to Patterson), but against anyone to the left of Reagan -- I lost count of the number of times Patterson went off on rants against "Leftists" in America and their idiocy. This wasn't Patterson talking about what Heinlein had said; this was Patterson's own opinions, inserted into the text. This, for instance, in the second volume: 

...there had been imbedded in Roosevelt's New Deal the seeds of this current Leftist that was softening the brains of otherwise bright and well-intentioned people...(116).

Patterson also attacked Alexei Panshin, who dared to write critically about Heinlein, and accepts without blinking the weird conspiracy theory about Roosevelt conspiring to create the attack on Pearl Harbor. There's also a lot of slagging on other countries for not being as pure and perfect as (Patterson's imaginary) USA. And about fifty other things.

Not recommended unless you're a Heinlein completist.



Friday, July 16, 2021

Goldwater to Reagan to Trump

 I've been reading William Patterson's biography of Heinlein, which I'll talk about in an upcoming "What am I reading" post; but I've just gotten to the section where Heinlein campaigns for Barry Goldwater, apparently because Lyndon Johnson was an anathema to Heinlien's new political views.

I'm not precisely a fan of Johnson, though I'll note he did sign the Civil Rights Act in 1964, at great political cost to him due to angering the Southern Republicans (formerly the Dixiecrat Democrats, these legislators had switched parties in outrage over the support of the Democratic party for civil rights). 

Goldwater himself was pro-civil rights, but he was also very much a Republican. The Southern Republicans backed him, despite his pro-civil-rights record, mainly due to his opposition to FDR's New Deal, and his outspoken determination to do whatever necessary to take down the USSR -- and whatever necessary included nuclear attacks. Famously, he said in his speech accepting the nomination, "I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

I can see why Heinlein supported him, in other words: like many in those days, he was terrified that the USSR would attack the US with nuclear weapons. Many, many people then believed such a war would be survivable (spoilers: it would not), but Heinlien was convinced that the Russians would then invade and occupy the country. (What country? The nuclear slag that had been a country?) He was making plans, in fact, to become a guerilla fighter in this struggle against the Russian invaders. 

Goldwater's stated willingness to use nuclear weapons against the Soviet Union seemed, to Heinlein and some others, precisely the sort of saber-rattling the US needed to keep the USSR in check. To most of the US at that point in history, it seemed unhinged. We'd just come close to nuclear war in the Cuban Missle Crisis; no one wanted a repeat.

I have a personal memory of the Goldwater/Johnson campaign, just a short snippet. I would have been three years old, but I remember riding in the backseat of our car (a Dodge Lancer) listening to my father tease my mother, insisting he was going to vote for Goldwater, and her scoffing that he wasn't going to do any such thing.

Goldwater -- and this is another reason Heinlein probably supported him -- called for massive cuts in social spending, as well as shifting government programs to the private sector. The TVA, for instance, he wanted taken over by a private business.

But in most respects, he was what we would call a center-right liberal today: he opposed the war in Vietnam, for instance; he repudiated the KKK when they came out in support of him; he insisted on desegregating the Senate cafeteria, bringing his African American assistant in to dine with him.

But he also endorsing using nuclear weapons in Vietnam, opposed legeslatin to outlaw poll taxes, and argued for cutting government spending to the bone. He voted against the Civil Rights Act, because he didn't believe the Federal government should intervene in how states governed themselves (the "states rights"today's Republicans believe in, so long as the states are doing things they agree with); and he argued that government intervention in things like poverty were creating a "moral decay" which would destroy the country.

Goldwater was defeated in a landslide: in 1964, the American public repudiated and were revulsed by his center-right platform.

Sadly, his more extreme views lived on, and both infected and created the current American conservative movement.

Our nation has indeed changed since 1964 -- not to its benefit. In 1964, the American people rejected Goldwater as too extreme, and far too removed from factual reality. In 2016, the American people elected Donald Trump, whose entire unhinged brand was an extremism entirely removed from factual reality.

That's not a change for the better, to put it mildly.


(The famous anti-Goldwater commercial:

(




 


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

July in Arkansas

 Good news at last.

Though by "colder," they seem to mean 88 instead of 98. But hey, I'll take it. My power bill was $241 this month.




Sunday, July 11, 2021

July Storms

We had a massive thunderstorm here last night. Lightning crashing overhead, hail and driving rain. Not much wind, but the power went out all over town anyway. It was out here from just past nine until nearly midnight.

Luckily the storm also cooled things off, so we weren't very miserable. And also I have long since learned to keep battery-powered lamps in the house. But Dr. Skull needs power to run his CPAP, so he was up half the night. (It's supposed to have a battery, but it's so old the battery doesn't work.)

Then this morning there is a chicken in my yard. I hope it's just wandered over from someone's house, confused by the storm, because I don't feature adopting a chicken. (We don't have animal control here anymore, since the residents of my fair city voted down funding for the office. Yay Republicans.)

If it sticks around, I'll get on the residents' forum on FB and see if anyone has lost a chicken. Or if anyone WANTS a chicken.

Life in Arkansas.



Wednesday, July 07, 2021

Storybundle!

Good news! You can get so many books!

This is called a Storybundle. If you're not familiar with the practice, you pay what you want and get books. If you pay at least $15, you'll get eleven books, including mine!

These are all new books, published within the last three or four years, and all by writers like me, so you'll be helping to support new writers.

More information here.



Monday, July 05, 2021

Breaking the Law


Me, personally, I've got nothing against fireworks. 

I don't especially like them, mind you. If I had to choose between going to a fireworks display, shooting off my own fireworks, or lying on a sofa reading a SF novel, yeah, it's the last every time.

But here's the thing: for the past two years or longer we've been hearing from Rightwing pontificators that all of these are just fine:

  • police beating the hell out of people for being out past curfew
  • police killing someone for selling loose cigarettes
  • police killing someone for maybe being on drugs
  • seventeen year olds shooting people for being in a protest
  • drivers running down those who are marching on the road
  • and so on
because, after all, "those people" broke the law. And if you break the law, you deserve what you get.

Now these same people are arguing that it's fine for them to break the law -- shooting off fireworks in most cities is against the law -- because freedom.

"Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect."



Sunday, July 04, 2021

My Cat as a Kitten

 


What I'm Reading Now


Spiegelman, Nadja, I'm Supposed to Protect You From All This


Nadja is the daughter of Art Spiegelman, who wrote and drew Maus; this is an autobiography of her childhood and young adult years. If you're interested in the Spiegelmans, or in the children of famous people, it's worth reading. It's mostly about Nadja's mother and her relationship with her mother. I enjoyed it, but IDK if I'll ever pick it up again.



Robinson, Kim Stanley, The Years of Rice and Salt

As much as KSR's ideas interest me (colonizing Mars! A utopian space on the West Coast! How we save the world from climate change!), I always have trouble actually finishing his books. I'm not sure why. He's a competent writer and page by page the books are always interesting. Reading this one, I think I finally figured out why.

This is a novel which speculates about how the world might have developed if, instead of killing 1/3 of Europe in the 14th century, the Black Death had instead killed 90% of Europe. What would happen in a world in which Christianity and Europeans were not a dominant force? In which Christians, in fact, barely existed?

A very cool idea, which KSR approached obliquely. The title, The Years of Rice and Salt, refer to an Asian idea, a division of life into stages, with "years of rice and salt" being the years of adulthood in which we are engaged in bearing and raising children: the monotonous if rewarding years occupied almost entirely by mundane life. 

That's the subject matter for this book. He spends only a little time on the world-shaking actions -- wars, invasions, great men and their great actions. Mostly the book tells us about mundane people: kitchen slaves, mothers, two young girls growing up in Africa. Because of this, the book feels slow and meandering. There's no great forward momentum of the plot, in other words.

The other thread in this book is reincarnation. We follow a handful of characters whose karma is linked by a terrible event in their pasts as they move from life to life, interspersed with scenes in the bardo, where they reflection on their lives and their progression along the great wheel.

This is well worth reading (I finished this one!), but you can't approach it the way you might approach a regulat novel. Definitely a "be here now" experience.


Kress, Nancy, The Best of Nancy Kress

This is a collection, edited by Kress herself, of short stories and novellas written over her long career. As with KSR, I have a mixed attitude toward Kress. Sometimes I love her work, sometimes it annoys me. This collection, though, is excellent. It includes the novella which was later expanded into her most famous work, Beggars in Spain, about genetic engineering to create people who don't need sleep in a libertarian world.

Kress writes science-driven science fiction, but also creates engaging, interesting, non-stock characters, and realistic worlds. Among other things, her aliens are truly alien. This collection contains 22 stories and novellas, including ones I had never seem before. Very much worth reading, if you can acquire it.


Parker, Robert, Early Autumn, The Godwulf Manuscript, Promised Land, Looking for Rachel Wallace

These are mystery novels written from the mid-1970s to the early 1980s. Parker kept writing after that, but I only re-read the early ones, more for a kind of time travel than because I was all that interested in the stories here. The stories here are fine, but it was the look at the 1970s and 1980s that kept me reading.

What a strange time that was. Parker's descriptions of the clothes alone are worth the trip, but also the attitudes toward (for instance) LGBT people, and the unfiltered racism expressed not by our hero Spenser but by nearly every character, as well as the look at bars and entertainment and life in that ancient era in general. The last one, Looking for Rachel Wallace, is about a Lesbian feminist, and quite a read, especially the bits where Spenser gets patriarchal with Rachel. 

Delightful in an anthropological sense.


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Parenting Win

 My kid quotes me on Twitter:


I'm so proud.

Monday, June 28, 2021

News from the Fort

We're having highs in the 80s all week here -- hot, but not unbearable. (It's 114 degrees in Vancouver! Where they don't have AC! At least we have air conditioning here.)

My tomato plants are filling up with tomatoes and (so far) the rabbits have stopped eating them. I think the new tomatoes are too high up in the plant?

The kid's new job is traumatic in the way that minimum wage jobs are traumatic, but he's sticking in there. 

My dog had a terrible case of hives, which I thought meant he might be allergic to insulin, but apparently not -- I gave him his shot an hour ago and he's still fine.

The dog park here is going to close down, so that the airport can expand. (The dog park is right next to the airport.) Everyone is outraged, but I, at least, am not surprised. The motto of this city is "where life is worth living!" except that every single decision made by the council is aimed at making live less worth living. You'd be hard put to find an uglier, less livable city than this one. 

My review is going well. My favorite part (no shock) is reading all the books. I'm supposed to include 8 to 10 books in the review, which means I'm reading about 30 and winnowing down. (These are free books! The publishers send me free books! It's wonderful.)

Only 12 more weeks of summer. Ugh.




Friday, June 25, 2021

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

The Glamorous Life of A Science Fiction Writer

I took an hour to name a space ship in my new book today, which seems to have exhausted my creativity.

I'm also still getting ARCs in the mail for my guest review at Asimov's. So far the free books are my favorite part of this gig. 😏

The weather continues mild -- yesterday the high was in the 70s and today it will be in the 80s. Not only does this make my walks more enjoyable, it's helping out the AC as well. Fingers crossed that it might continue.

The kids are coming down the mountain for dinner on Friday -- one of the kid's roommates is having a birthday, so we're throwing a tiny party. 

Did I tell you the kid got a job? The kid got a job. Just a summer job, but he got it in about a minute and a half, and he says it's "bearable," so that's nice. 

Our new roof is complete. That's also nice. No more running around putting basins under drips when storms it.

We went for groceries this morning and I forgot to buy a watermelon. Either I make a special trip now (during which I will almost certainly buy more than just watermelon) or I do without until the next trip. I suppose I can live on cheese and toast for a while.


Tuesday, June 22, 2021

O NO NOT CRITICAL RACE THEORY

 

The lastest conservative scam continues. For those who need a cheat sheet, here is what CRT actually is (as oppposed to what the Far-Right is claiming it is). 


The problem, of course, is that Red States are passing laws -- unconstitutional laws, for the most part -- based not on what CRT actually is, but based on their own bigoted and silly notions of what CRT is.

See also this:



Sunday, June 20, 2021

My Ridiculous Cats

 




First Day of Summer

 Weather guy says tomorrow we'll have a high of 80.

OMG, pleease let this be true.

(It's been near a hundred here every day for the past week: hot, humid, and sunny. My least favorite weather.)

The kid sent me this, with the caption "u do this," and he is right, I do!




Saturday, June 19, 2021

The Latest Conservative Heap of Lies

Remember when Conservatives were in a screaming panic about Ebola? How Ebola was going to enter our country and destroy everything, all because Obama wouldn't man up and closed the borders? 

How you couldn't turn on Fox News or open a conservative blog without seeing raving fury and terror over Obama, who was going to let those Africans come over here and destroy everything? 

Lately, it's been trans people, and forcing people to use pronouns, which is going to destroy everything.

Before that it was immigrants. They were entering our country -- illegally! Illegals! -- and bringing disease and criminals non-White ideas, which was going to destroy everything.

Before that it was gay people, forcing people to bake cakes, and demanding to be allowed to marry, which was going to destroy everything.

Before that, black people. And Catholics. And Jews. And women, demanding rights, which would destroy everything. 

Atrocity stories play so well, at least to a certain sort of mind.

Right now, it's Critical Race Theory. I've been earnestly lectured, by more than one bot on FB, about how liberal Marxists who insist on teaching about racism and white privilege are just exactly like Stalin: how teaching kids (and apparently "kids" means anyone up to age 26) anything except that America is Great and Just and treats everyone exactly the same = Pol Pot. 

Some of these bots have earnestly explained to me that they had teachers whose parents or uncles or preacher came from Cuba or Portugal or wherever, and that person told them this is exactly what happened in their countries, and how it is going to destroy everything.

Most of these people couldn't explain what Critical Race Theory is with a gun to their heads. Or Marxism, for that matter. It's like when they were shrieking about socialism, a few months ago. "Socialism" meant "anything I don't like." By "Critical Race Theory," what these piles mean is "anything that talks about anything wrong that white people did."

It reminds me of when I was teaching in Idaho, about 25 years ago. My first job as a baby professor. Idaho was then -- I don't know if it still is -- a very religious, patriarchal community. The young men in the class saw themselves as having authority over me, because they were men, and I was just a girl. Not only did I not recognize this authority, I didn't even notice it.

So I taught the way I'd taught as a graduate student, asking questions, pointing out interesting subtexts, showing them how to use various critical lenses to interpret the texts. I taught them to examine sources for credibility, how to decide what was fact and what was opinion. The usual stuff. When they made a claim, I forced them to provide sources -- to back up what they asserted. (I still remember the young man who claimed that Indians were poor because they were lazy, dishonest drunks. (Racism against Indians is huge in Idaho.) I told him he had to provide evidence to support that claim if he was going to use it in his paper, and he got so mad.)

Some of the young men went to the dean to complain that I hated men, that I was "attacking" men in the classroom. When pressed, all they could say was that I was a feminist. (I was, and I said so in class.) That I didn't immediately agree when they asserted something. That I argued with their claims.

That's where we are with conservatives in this country at the moment. They have asserted that white men are responsible for civilization, that racism in the US does not exist, and has in fact never existed (oh, a few racist people, maybe, but not racism embedded in the de facto and de jure aspects of our laws and systems), and that anyone who says otherwise is just like Stalin and Pol Pot.

And not only are we not agreeing with their raving, we're for the most part ignoring it. 

I mean, why wouldn't we? It's obvious nonsense, and we have actual work to do.

So -- as with trans people -- the legislatures that they control are passing non-constitutional laws to forbid the teaching of certain subjects*, which even Trump's joke of a Supreme Court will overturn. But -- like my students who complained to my dean -- this makes them feel as if they have power.

And the illusion of power is all they really want. Illusions and lies being, after all, their entire world.

Anyway! If you want some facts about "Critical Race Theory," here's what the AAUP has to say.


ETA: While conservatives are waving this flag in front of us -- and their base -- this is what they're really doing.

Lonnie Hollis has been a member of the Troup County election board in West Georgia since 2013. A Democrat and one of two Black women on the board, she has advocated Sunday voting, helped voters on Election Days and pushed for a new precinct location at a Black church in a nearby town.

But this year, Ms. Hollis will be removed from the board, the result of a local election law signed by Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican.


They're changing election laws to make it easier to keep the "wrong" people from voting, and easier for them to overturn any election result they do not approve of. This was inevitable once the Voting Rights Act was abolished by the courts, and is how an unpopular party -- the Republicans -- must act if they are going to gain and keep control of our country.



*Remember when conservatives were shrieking about "trigger warnings" and how those violated free speech and would destroy everything? Trigger warnings about rape and abuse and violence are extremely bad, apparently, but laws forbidding the teaching of certain historical events are the salvation of America.



Thursday, June 17, 2021

Roofers!

 The roofers are here to put a new roof on the house.

This is a good thing, since we've had leaks in one closet and by the back door. On the other hand, I was awakened by hammering at dawn.

I assume this is so they can get off the roof before the monster heat strikes around 1:00, so I heartily approve.

(My old landlord would have found some way to blame me for the leaky roof, yelled at me over the phone, sulked for two days, and THEN sent someone to fix the roof. So glad I have moved.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Summer Meals

 It's so hot here.

I've stopped cooking -- toast with peanut butter and tabouli and chunks of watermelon make up 90% of my diet at the moment. Also popsicles.

I've scored a guest review gig at Asimov's, so I'm also reading heaps of SF/F novels, some of them quite good. Reading is something that can be done in an air conditoned room with a giant insulated glass of water at my side, so it's the perfect summer sport.

I'm hoping this extreme heat does not mean we're in for another summer of temperatures over 100 degrees. Is it too late to move to Alaska?


Friday, June 11, 2021

Tomatoes for Bunnies

My tomato plants are blooming and fruiting abundantly, but so far the bunnies are eating the tomatoes before I can get to them -- well before they're ripe.

The newer ones are all higher up on the plants. (These plants are six feet tall so far.) I'm hoping the bunnies won't reach them.

We have three adult bunnies and at least two little ones. So I guess they need a lot to eat. I can always buy tomatoes, I guess.

They also ate most of the oregano, but they're leaving the basil and rosemary alone.


Thursday, June 10, 2021

Nooooooooo!

 This is what I get for marveling at our abnormally cool spring:




Wednesday, June 09, 2021

New Computer 2021

 We've finally reached summerly temps here in the Fort  -- 90 degrees today, but extremely humid. I had many, many errands to run, and walking about was like moving through damp flannel.

Also the bunnies have taken to digging scrapes among my tomato plants and lying belly-down in the cool earth.

One of today's appointments was picking up my new laptop from the university -- the hinge broke on the lid of old one, and since I was due for a new one anyway, they just replaced it. This new one is just bigger than a hardback novel, and less than a quarter of an inch thick. 

The keyboard is much smaller, so I'm having to adjust to that. All the keys are in the wrong place. But it's very light (maybe a pound?) and very fast. Good sound too!

Laptops are much easier to set up than they used to be. It took me about an hour to transfer everything over and set up all my links and sites. I guess we're living in the future.

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Learning Languages

 I've been teaching myself French on Duolingo for almost two years now, and have gotten to the point where I can read the untranslated bits in English novels. Go me!

After watching the Beforeigners, I've started teaching myself Norwegian. 

What I like best about learning these languages is the grammar -- it's very cool to see how other languages work. For instance, in Norwegian, if you want to use an indefinite article (a spider, a horse), you put the word en or et in front of the word -- en edderkopp, en hest. Contriwise, if you want a definite article (the spider, the horse), then you move the en or et to the back of the word -- edderkoppen, hesten. 

So "a child" is "et barn," and "the child" is "barnet."

French grammar is very close to English grammar, unsurprisingly, so the interesting part of that is seeing how the French wordstock has influenced English (and v.v.) over the centuries.


Friday, June 04, 2021

Flora and Fauna

 We're having fewer rabbits this year, but I do see the foxes (two of them live down the street in a vacant lot) quite often. I suspect these two things are connected.

Also my Japanese apple-or-maybe-cherry tree has fruited this year. I am keeping an eye on how the fruit develop!

All this rain is giving us a lot of very green grass, but for some reason less vetch in the riverside park. Does vetch require less rain?





Last year the vetch was so thick and the flowers so abundant that they crowded out all the other flowers. Now it's growing in clumps, and the marsh marigold is crowding it out.






Thursday, June 03, 2021

How It's Going

 More rain.

It's also a little warmer than May -- days are in the high seventies and low eighties. This is still cooler than June usually is, so I'm not complaining. But we are running the AC, especially at night.

I talk to my father a couple times a week now. He tells me every time how lonely he is, and how much he misses my mother. He also asks me where he is. "I think we own this condo?" he asked me this last time. "Or are we renting it? I think we own it."

He's living in assisted care, of course. I said gently that I thought they were renting it, but that [my brothers] would know for sure.

"I'll ask them," he said, and paused, and added, "I used to know more than both of them put together. Now I can't...I can't..."

"You're having memory problems," I supplied.

"Yes! I can't remember things!" He paused again, and said, "It's the worst thing. I just can't...but it's no use trying to go backwards. Go forward! Try new things. Maybe it sounds funny, I'm 83 years old, and I'm saying do new things, learn more. It's the only way, though."

"It is," I agreed.

"And exercise! Exercise helps a lot. Well, it's got to."

He always asks after the kid. And he always remembers the kid's pronouns, and his name -- not his deadname, the one he's using now. Honest to God, if a 83 year old with Alzheimers can do it, all the whining bigots can fuck right off and then go down the hall and fuck off some more.



Saturday, May 29, 2021

What I'm Reading Now

 

I've been reading all along, but I see that I have stopped writing posts about it. Here's what I can remember reading over the past few months:


Alison Bechdel, The Secret to Superhuman Strength

I love Bechdel (source of the infamous Bechdel Test). Her first two graphic novels, Fun Home and Are You My Mother? are both brilliant. This one is also good -- we follow Bechdel, decade by decade, as she uses different sorts of exercise in an attempt to achieve enlightenment, and also has a life. As with the previous two books, her readings in the field inform her quest, so we hear a lot about other people who have tried to achieve enlightenment, and especially those who did so through physical exertion.

The art is wonderful -- the influence of Dr. Seuss is even more profound in this one -- the writing is wonderful, and the book is excellent. Are You My Mother? is still my favorite Bechdel, but this one is very much worth reading.




Martha Wells, Fugitive Telemetry

A Murderbot book. I will read anything about Murderbot that Wells publishes. This one involves a murder on Preservation Station, which Murderbot helps to solve. Lots of bots in this one. It's a novella, not a novel, but if your library is like mine, they've probably bought it.



Naomi Kritzer, Chaos on Catnet

This is the sequel to Catfishing on Catnet, which is excellent, and you should definitely read it now if you haven't already. Chaos on Catnet is a worthy sequel to that novel, set, as Kritzer notes, in the future Minneapolis she wants to live in. Me, too!

In this one, Steph and her Clowder, including CheshireCat, deal with the second AI who appeared at the end of the first book. Lots of other stuff happens too. Highly recommend, and not just because I like books about AIs.


Sarah Pinsker, We Are Satellites 

A high-concept SF novel, by which I mean it works because of the tech it speculates about -- in the near future, brain implants make it possible for everyone to multitask effectively and to hyperfocus on any given task, while also accomplishing two or three other tasks. Anyone without a brain implant thus becomes a less attractive employee, a less accomplished student, a second-class citizen.

Certain people can't get implants -- those from certain religions, or those who have some sort of brain dysfunction (like epilepsy). And of those who get the implants, a certain number have ADHD like problems. The company that created these implants covers up the problems, with long-term consequences for those suffering them. (The implants rebuild the brain with long-term use: brain plasticity for the, uh, win.)

This novel focuses around a family of four, two of whom get the implants, one who can't, and one who doesn't. The family is the best part of the novel, especially the kid with epilepsy: the two moms are well done, and the family dynamics were also good. This is a family in which you can screw up, but still stay part of the family. I don't think that gets shown enough in fiction.



Friday, May 28, 2021

Weather in Arkansas

 We're having an abnormally cool spring here. Yesterday, we hit the low 90s, but tomorrow it's back to low to mid 70s for the high.

Lots of rain means lots of humidity, but even so, much cooler than I'm used to for almost-June in Arkansas.

I've heard (from people on Twitter) that this is due to the volcano that erupted down in the Gulf, but I haven't seen any actual evidence that this is true.

This chart here is interesting.



Thursday, May 27, 2021

What I'm Watching

 Recently Dr. Skull and I have taken to streaming shows together in the evenings. We used to do this back when we had a TV, and the kid was young; but somehow we fell out of the habit.

What have we been watching?

Hell on Wheels

This is a complete series, five seasons, about building the transcontinental railroad just after the Civil War. There are some historical inaccuracies, and also the mistreatment of the black and Chinese workers is....not ignored, but somewhat downplayed. 

It starts also with the old lie about a Confederate slave-holder having freed his slaves before the war; but as the show develops, we learn this Confederate is lying about having done so. Which is something, I guess. In any case, a nicely diverse cast, even if the focus of most of the stories is still around three white guys. Very watchable.


Mare of Easttown

This one is a bit depressing -- the search by a detective for the killers of young girls in her city. I like the community, and Kate Winslet, who plays Mare, is great. In Easttown, by the way, there is no racial prejudice or sexism, though there is a lot of brutality. I'm dubious, but it's interesting to watch such a society.

The use of dialogue and the pervasive sense of a long-established culture make this one worth watching. Also, even though the police are shown as community workers instead of an occupying force, there's very little copaganda here.


Beforeigners

This is a Norwegian series, a science fictional tale about life in Oslo two decades in the future, and also two decades after people from the past begin coming through "time holes" in the ocean. People from the Mesolithic era, people from the Viking era, and people from the 19th century come through these time holes daily. Because the time hole are in the ocean, lots of people drown before they can be rescued -- this is a factor in the plot; but there are still thousands of survivors, who have to be integrated into 21st century society.

Apparently these "beforeigners" are appearing all over the world, but the show focuses on Oslo, and on two detectives, one from the 21st century, and one Beforeigner: Lars and Alhildr. 

This is worth watching not so much for the murder mystery which Lar and Alhildr work to solve (once again, dead girls) but for what the series shows us of Norwegian society, and the plight of the refugees. It's very funny and very enlightening.

It's also worth watching for the very much not-American policing. This is what police as community service officers is actually like.

Warning: full-frontal nudity of both men and women, mostly men; and an entirely Other attitude toward religious matters. "You won't see that on American television," Dr. Skull and I said more than once.


ETA: These are all available on Amazon Prime; you can get Mare of Easttown and Beforeigners on HBO via other platforms as well.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Happy Anniversary to Us

 Dr. Skull and I have been married 28 years as of 2:00 pm today. So far so good!

We're not doing anything for the anniversary today, though next weekend we are traveling up to Fayetteville to eat in a restaurant with the kid. Just like before the pandemic!

"What should I buy you for a present?" Dr. Skull asked. But we are too broke to buy a Roomba, which is all I really want. So we'll go to B&N and buy each other books instead.

The weather has cleared up, at least for now -- it is sunny and humid, though not as hot as a usual May in Arkansas. I am running the AC, though, because everything is so damp.



Friday, May 21, 2021

Review of Situation Normal

 You can read my review of Leonard Richardson's Situation Normal, a ripping space opera -- and deeply moving story -- over here at Strange Horizons.




Rainy Spring

 It's been raining every day here for weeks. And nothing but rain in the forecast for the next ten days.

This reminds me of that May a few years ago, when the whole city (and much of the area that was along or below the Arkansas river) flooded so bad we couldn't get out of the city.

The state had made some improvements since then, including building overflow basins for rainwater. Also our house is elevated a foot or so off the ground. But yeah, I'm starting to get nervous.


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Happy Being Married to Me!

 Dr. Skull bought me flowers (bonus cat in background):




Tuesday, May 18, 2021

WingNut Fantasies

Is this the silliest thing posted on the internet this week?  I myself have not seen anything sillier. (And I occasionally read Rod Dreher!)

"they also want to be smart because their college professors told them every “very smart” person believes in Marxism."

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Jaws: A Review

 I (re)watched Jaws last night. I hadn't seen it since I saw it in the theater as a kid -- or, well, it would have been the drive-in, I guess. 

My mother used to take a whole pack of kids with us to the drive-in on Thursday nights in the summer. Thursday night was dollar-a-car night. She'd make a big grocery sack full of popcorn, fill some canteens with water, and take us all. I remember sitting on the hood of the car munching popcorn, the stink of spray-on mosquito repelled stinging my nose, gazing up at the immense screen. It was usually a double feature with cartoons sandwiched in between, and kids usually fell asleep somewhere in the middle of the second movie. Though not me: insomnia meant I was always awake when the second movie ended around midnight or one a.m. and my mother drove us home through the empty streets.

ANYWAY. That would have been where I saw Jaws the first time. I remember the middle best -- the shark eating the dog. Watching it last night, I felt a pang of memory at that scene.

The movie holds up pretty well. Richard Dreyfuss is really good, and the pacing works. The roboshark is clearly fake in some scenes, but that doesn't really hurt the movie much. The dialogue is good, although the 1970s movie-habit of having everyone talk at once was kind of annoying.

Also, of course, there are no real women characters. Chief Brody's wife exists to smile supportively, and the first victim exists to take her shirt off and get killed. Only men exist as actual characters, and only men's experiences matter.

I've been listening to the book via YouTube (you can get all sorts of free audiobooks on YouTube now) and wow, is it badly written. I'm an hour and a half into the book and so far most of the time has been spent describing what sandwiches people are eating, and what minor characters look like, and the deep background of characters who never show up again in the story. Blah blah blah.

Like the movie, it's a sausage-fest, but the dialogue in the book sucks. Peter Benchley helped write the screenplay: someone else must have done all the actual writing.

Anyway, watch the movie if you have a couple hours to spare and want a view of life in the 1970s. Stay away from the book.





Monday, May 10, 2021

Now who are you again?

 I watched The Father, that Anthony Hopkins movie that won all the awards. It was gutting, honestly, the more so I assume because of what's going on with my father.

He's in Assisted Living now, and doing as well as can be expected, I guess. I call him every few days, and he's always glad to hear from me. But he can't remember anything -- he never knows where he is (I have to tell him), and tonight while I was talking to him he forgot who I was.

And even though he's cheerful, talking to him is heartbreaking. "I miss Shelby," he tells me, at least once every phone call. "I'm lonely. I'm just so lonely."

"Now where are you?" he asks me. "Are you in Arkansas? Is that right?"

God, I hate this.


Sunday, May 09, 2021

Hippy Happy Murther's Day

I dreamed last night that my mother, my brother Michael, an aunt, and my father came to pick me up and take me home for a visit.

Everyone except my father is someone who has died. And in the dream, he was far gone (as he is now) with Alzheimer's. 

My brother and I had been estranged for several years when he died; in the dream we still were -- we had one of the typical arguments we were always having, in which he repeated some silly lie he had heard on Fox News or from Rush Limbaugh, and I pointed out how the venue had misrepresented the truth, and he got pissed and called me a liberal terrorist -- but toward the dream's end we had a semi-reconciliation.

It was an odd and disturbing dream. Last week was my mother's birthday, and today of course is mother's day. Maybe that's what's up.



Thursday, May 06, 2021

End of Semester

 The kid is staying with us for a week or so. Here is his leg, and the little dog. The little dog is very happy to see him.



You Can See the Light from Here

 I am almost done grading -- half of both Comp II classes remains to do. Also I have to go to commencement on Sunday. Once those are done, I am done. ALMOST THERE.

It's beautiful weather here today, especially given that it's May 6: cool and sunny, with a racket of birds.

May 6th is also the kid's birthday. Right now 23 years ago, I was in a hospital in Pocatello, ID, and the kid was not...quite...born. There was a thunderstorm booming outside the window, and my mother had just arrived from New Orleans to be with me during the birth. (Dr. Skull was there too, but I wanted my mother.)

It's funny how clearly I can remember that day. The kid was born at 6:20 p.m. and they left him with me for a couple of hours. Around ten p.m. they took him to put him in the nursery, except I could hear him crying -- already I knew his cry from all the other babies -- so I walked down there and made them give him back.

He was ten days early, and so little, but so alert. His cry was like a little mouse squeak. In fact, we called him "Mouse" for the first month.


Tuesday, May 04, 2021

May in Arkansas

 Big storm last night -- a tornado hit Roland, OK, which is over near where I used to live. Here, we just got wind and rain and very impressive thunder. A big branch came down from one of the trees, and lots of little branches and leaves.

Plus the power was out from about ten p.m. to two a.m. We have two emergency lanterns, both battery powered. One of these worked, but not the other. Worse, the battery on Dr. Skull's CPAP failed. He tried sleeping sitting up in the big white chair for awhile, but that was impossible, and finally he went back to bed and slept (or tried to sleep) without the CPAP.

I was on the couch, trying to sleep without the AC. This was after the storm had passed through. While it was still going on, there was too much thunder and sturm to sleep.

Power is back now. A front is going through as we speak, and this evening is supposed to be in the 50s. That's May in Arkansas!


Monday, May 03, 2021

May in Arkansas

 It's nearly 90 here today and very humid. 

Plus the local water company has been doing SOMETHING all week on our street -- I don't know what. Not laying new pipe, I know what that looks like. Maybe cleaning out the old pipes?

Whatever it is, it's very noisy and requires immense trucks to block the street from about six a.m. to five p.m. The little dog wakes me up barking wildly every morning, because GUYS are in his YARD.

I've been grading all day today. My least favorite part of the job.


Saturday, May 01, 2021

Academic Papers

 XKCD did a thing, and now Twitter is running with it.


Economics Papers:



Sociology Papers:



Archeology Papers:



More here: Types Paper

Even more here!

Friday, April 30, 2021

All over but the Grading

I taught my last classes yesterday; today I spent writing and grading portfolios submitted by various students. About 1/3 of my students stopped coming or doing any work sometime in March. (I haven't done an actual count.) This will give me less to grade, clearly, but I'm still bummed about it.

I reached out, repeatedly, to students who weren't coming to class or doing the work. Those who responded told me about their workloads, or illnesses in their family (sometimes Covid, sometimes other illnesses), or problems with lost jobs which made it difficult for them to drive to campus/keep their laptops and internets working. Several are also suffering from depression, which, no shock there.

I'm not sure what the solution is. I offered to work with them, showed them the work they needed to do to at least pass the class, and sent follow-ups. Only a few of them got back on track. 

We're going back to f2f in the fall. Here's hoping that will help.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Insomnia

 I have suffered from insomnia all my life -- one of my earliest memories is wandering around my house at well past midnight, getting snacks from the refrigerator in the dark kitchen and playing with my toys in the light from the streetlight, as it shone through the living room window. 

I couldn't read yet, so I was probably four years old. One reason I'm a writer, I suspect, is because I got through those long nights by making up stories to tell to myself.

Anyway. For awhile I managed to control the insomnia with melatonin. But now it's ba-a-ck, but in a weird new form: I fall asleep, usually before one a.m., but then I just skim the surface of sleep, waking every ten or twenty minutes, never falling into deep sleep.

A benefit (I guess) of sleeping this way is I can remember all my dreams. How useful that would be if I were in therapy now!

My dreams are very bloody, but also very cheerful. Make of that what you will.

I plan to call my physician and see if she will give me some sleep drugs.


Monday, April 26, 2021

One More Week

 We're in the last week of classes now. 

It was a long semester. I can honestly say that I hate teaching online -- although one benefit was the discovery that doing "conferences" via Google Classroom was much more effective.

I used to hold one-on-one conferences with the students over every paper. This took about two weeks, and was exhausting, but was fairly effective in improving their papers. It also let me teach them how revision* works. 

This semester, since I couldn't meet with students one-on-one, I had them submit their papers to Google Classroom, and then I read them and sent feedback. Then they resubmitted. Then I sent feedback again. And so on.

This took much less time, and also seems to have been more effective at getting students to take direction. I suspect that some of them had trouble hearing what they were being told in person. Also, I can go into more detail on GC, because of its comment functions.

Anyway, that was useful information. 

I also taught Intro to Creative Writing for the first time in about a decade. It was more fun than I expected. I enjoyed teaching poetry writing, which -- as it turns out -- I know more about that I suspected.

Still, I am glad this semester is ending, and glad (if a little worried) to not have summer classes. I need a break.



*Some people will tell you they don't need to revise their writing, and some percentage of those people are actually correct. But those people I would excuse from conferences, and the rest were very much helped by having feedback and close-readings of their texts.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Sunny Sunday

 Cat on the porch:


It's been rainy and cold here all week, but today we have sunshine. The cats are pleased.


Saturday, April 24, 2021

A Tale of Two Bretts

 

Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition, to wit: There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect...



ETA AGAIN: And this:


Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Review of The Relentless Moon

 My review of The Relentless Moon, by Mary Robinette Kowal, is live at Strange Horizons.

Spoilers: I liked it, with some quibbles.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Bees

 Now I have a swarm of bees in my yard (hanging in the tree-that-might-be-a-Japanese-Cherry-tree). 

That's plague, screeching owls, and now swarms of bees. Hail and cattle disease, coming right up.

I asked the internet, which gives me conflicting advice. Most say to leave the bees alone for a little while and see if they leave -- they're looking for a new home, and will probably go find one if I don't bother them.

Others say they will die if it freezes, which...the low tonight is supposed to be 30 degrees. (In April! In Arkansas!)

There's a hive in one of the other trees, and I suspect this swarm came from there. I'm going to call the county extension office if the swarm is still there when I get home today. (That's the advice most of the internet gave me.)



Saturday, April 17, 2021

Screeching Owl

 A barn owl is living in one of the trees in my yard -- or maybe two owls.

Their screams are pretty terrifying. The first time one screamed, I thought, holy shit, is that an alien being tortured?


Like that, only really fucking LOUD.


April in Arkansas

 It's winter here again -- a frost warning for tomorrow night. (I am worried about my tomato plants.)

Mind you, I am enjoying the unseasonably cool weather. Usually by this time we are hard into summer and I am spending $$$ on air conditioning. Yesterday I had to put on the heat.

We filed our taxes. Only owed the state $58 dollars, and might get something back from the Feds -- which is better than a few years ago, when we owed them money.

Meanwhile our Biden buck finally arrived. I am saving them up against this summer, when I have no classes and also the new system used by the university is apparently going to fuck up my pay. 

They "can't" do a 12-month pay schedule anymore. So either I'm not getting paid this summer at all, or I'm getting 3 paychecks in June and then nothing until a half-check in August. Then next year, it's a 9-month pay schedule, though apparently they're going to set up some scheme by which we can "opt" to save 25% of each paycheck, and then...get all of that in June?

Also they'll be taking our part of the health insurance costs out in 9 lumps into of in 12 lumps.

Theoretically, it will be the same amount of money, just distributed weirdly. I am waiting to see what happens de facto. And hoarding cash, just in case.




Saturday, April 10, 2021

My Father

 It's been nearly three months since my mother died, back at the end of January. 

In the weeks after her death, my brothers and SILs (who since I live six hundred miles away had to deal with everything) learned just how serious my father's memory problems had become. Apparently my mother had been covering for him for years.

Though in fairness, I think he has deteriorated a lot in the past year. It was during this past year that my mother began mentioning to me how much trouble he was having, and asking me -- after they visited -- if I noticed how different he was. (I did.)

In any case, my SIL and nephew took him to a neurologist, and he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. We've got him in an assisted living facility now, which luckily his combined pensions and Social Security will pay for. He's physically very healthy, but he can't remember things -- he still has trouble remembering that my mother is dead.

This is all very depressing, I have to say. My father was a brilliant man -- his intelligence, his mind, was his strength. Now he can't remember how to charge his phone.


Hurry

Marie Howe

 

We stop at the dry cleaners and the grocery store   
and the gas station and the green market and   
Hurry up honey, I say, hurry,   
as she runs along two or three steps behind me   
her blue jacket unzipped and her socks rolled down.   

Where do I want her to hurry to? To her grave?   
To mine? Where one day she might stand all grown?   

Today, when all the errands are finally done, I say to her,   
Honey I'm sorry I keep saying Hurry—   
you walk ahead of me. You be the mother.   

And, Hurry up, she says, over her shoulder, looking    
back at me, laughing. Hurry up now darling, she says,   
hurry, hurry, taking the house keys from my hands.

 


Cold Spring

 We're having an abnormally cool spring here this year, which I am all in favor of -- usually by this time, we're seeing temperatures in the 80s and 90s. And we did hit 80 here last week. But mostly we're having mid-sixties, and lows in the 40s and 50s at night.

It's very nice. More of this, please!

Thursday, April 08, 2021

Re the Hate Bill

 Conservative bigots are so concerned* about damage being done to children, except of course when it is damage they approve of. See this thread here, and this one here, but I'm sure all y'all can fill in your own blanks**. 




*Spoilers: They are not actually concerned about the lives of trans kids. They're deeply pleased at the harm they are doing to trans people, and trans kids in particular. Their faux pretense of concern hides giggling glee at being able to hurt trans people and especially trans kids. That's how bigots work. That's what they are.

**For example, forcing 12 year old rape victims to continue their pregnancies, despite the damage that will do to their bodies; allowing young girls to take such things as ballet, despite the risk of harm that does to their bodies; letting children of 17 and 18 enlist in the armed forces in order to pay for college -- I can go on.

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

On the Other Hand

Duolingo is beta-testing Yiddish on its platform.

And my writing students are writing the best Bredlik poems.

And my kid does amazing art:


So, you know, not everything is terrible.



Bigots Surging

 As most of you probably already know, our state legislature overturned our governor's veto on the hate bill. This is all virtue signaling -- the ACLU is already planning to challenge this "law," and will certainly win handily, given that the bill clearly discriminates against one class of people. 

That is to say, for example, we can give puberty blockers to cis kids, and parents of cis kids can get them whatever therapy and plastic surgery they desire; it's only trans kids who can't, and parents of trans kids who are forbidden by the state from seeking medical and psychological help; and doctors are only forbidden by the state from providing needed medical care to trans kids.

The GOP and other bigots are showing their true colors here, of course. No government overreach, they howl -- unless that overreach allows them to hurt the people they hate. Then it's fine.

Meanwhile, in North Carolina, their legislature is voting to make it a crime for a medical professional to do anything that allows a trans kid to "present themselves" as their actual gender. And it will force teachers to report any kid who seems "gender non-conforming." 



This is utterly sickening. The fact that these laws can't stand does not erase the fact that citizens of my country think such vile bigotry is just dandy.

Ten years from now, every single one of these hateful vipers will be claiming they "have no problem" with trans people, and that "of course" trans people should have equal rights, and that "of course" no one sane thinks otherwise. 

None of us are going to forget, though. I promise you that.

ETA: More here