Wednesday, March 31, 2021

What I was Saying

 They don't care about women's rights, and they don't care about rape, and they could not care less about "protecting the children." They just want to be bigots.

See also this:


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Telling Lies to Further Bigotry

 I've had more than one person earnestly explain to me that this bill in Arkansas is good because parents were "chopping off" the sexual bits of their kids, or else forcing them to take "drugs" to change their sex.

(1) No

(2) Also no

One gleeful bigot puts it like this: Parents are "chopping the breasts off of teenage girls."*

And another tells me that parents are doing this because they aren't happy with the little boy or little girl that was born to them, so they force their kids to change to the other gender.

(3) No

(4) Good Lord, no

The thing is, giving kids puberty blockers is done for all sorts of reasons, as is hormonal treatment (including parental convenience. Note that this is the only actual case of a pre-adult child having her "breasts chopped off.")  The Arkansas law only prohibits giving these drugs to trans kids. This is obvious and blatant discrimination. And fortunately the ACLU is on it.

Most "transitioning" done before the age of 18 involves things like allowing the child to wear their hair the way they like, and dress the way they like; calling the child by their new name, and using the preferred pronouns.

Nothing in that is either appalling or radical. But the bigots can't run with that, since they know how silly they would look, so they make up hateful lies and repeat them endlessly.

Like Goebbels, they know if they tell a big enough lie and repeat it often enough, people will believe it. And that it helps if you can get the state to enforce that lie.

*I will not provide citations to any of these disgusting liars. Bigots don't get clicks. 

Monday, March 29, 2021

Transparent Bigotry

 Watching conservatives pretend to care about free speech is adorable, since all of us can remember (and see in action) all the times they "cancelled" people for their speech. Right now, it's Lil Nas X. Twenty years ago, it was the Dixie Chicks.  Out in Idaho right now, the legislature is passing laws defunding the universities if they dare to teach anything which is not conservative propaganda. But sure, some adolescents being mean to people on Twitter, there's the real problem.

Watching conservatives pretend to care about women in sports is similarly adorable, given that most of us can remember how vicious they were (and still are) about Title IX and funding women in sports.

Watching conservatives pretend to care about rape, so long as it gives them an excuse to strip the rights from trans people -- same thing.

Right now, pretending to give a shit about child abuse, my legislature is passing a law which will make it illegal for parents to provide medical care for trans kids; and for trans people of any age to use insurance to get medical care; and will allow all medical providers to refuse to treat trans people at all. 

"It's to protect the children," they declaim piously, these same people who believe beating kids is just good parenting, and that twelve year olds should be compelled to carry their rapists' pregnancies to term. Because they care so much about children. 

They're not fooling anyone with their transparent bigotry. And frankly I don't even think they're trying to. They know exactly what they're doing. (Well, maybe not Rod Dreher. He's about as self-aware as a fucking rock.) They think co-opting the language of social justice ("Are you assuming my vaccination status?" one of them asked on FB this morning) is hilarious.

I find all of this extremely depressing. I used to have hope for this country, but being surrounded by hateful bigots is really taking a toll on me.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Summer, My Enemy

 Ugh, it's already summer here. 82 degrees and sunny.

Who ASKED for it?

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Why I love the Internet


In case you are not familiar with the Bredlik form, here is an explanation. And here is more.  Also, in case you've been living in a cave, the internets have lost their mind over the boat in the Suez Canal.

I am thinking of making my intro to creative writing students write one of these poems. We're in the poetry half of the semester, I'm focusing on form, and this is a new form which likely would not have happened without internet, so it seems perfect.

On the other hand, they get so upset whenever something isn't written in Standard English. Some of them literally can't read anything that plays with language this way -- at least, they say they can't ("I couldn't understand it! It took me an hour to read the first paragraph!") and I've begin to stop doubting it.

I gave them "The Semplica Girl Diaries" to read a few weeks ago (when we were still doing fiction) and they were destroyed. (Not because they liked it, or found it devastating: because they literally could not read it.)

Monday, March 22, 2021

Help Me Identify My Tree

UPDATE: My tree in the sunlight:


Here's what it looks like from afar:

Here's what the flowers look like close up:

I'll post more tomorrow if we get some sunlight!

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Spring in Arkansas

Everything is starting to bloom. The pear trees are filled with blowing white blossoms, and tiny wildflowers carpet lawns. Redbuds are budding. Some sort of tree filled with what looks like purple tulips is everywhere. The violets and the spiderwort are not yet blooming, but the tree in my yard (which I have not yet been able to identify) put out its yellow-white flowers yesterday.

This time of year is lovely -- not too hot, with crisp air and sunlight -- but I always know it means summer is coming, and wow, do I hate summer in Arkansas.

I'll be here now, I guess.

Saturday, March 20, 2021

What I'm Reading

 I've been reading a lot, but failing to keep track of it. Low bandwidth. This is the worst time of the semester -- just before and after midterm -- which is why we put spring break here. Our school is still having spring break, thank God; but the kid's cancelled theirs. He's having a hard time.

Here are some things I've been reading:

Sarah Gailey, The Echo Wife

This is a novella-length novel, as was the last Gailey I read (Upright Women Wanted). This -- publishing novellas and pricing them like novels -- seems to be a new trend in the SF world. I got this one at the library, but nevertheless it's not a trend that makes me happy.

Still, this is a good novel(la). The main character is a scientist, who has developed a way to both create clones and install (some) of the memories of the host into the clone. These clones are then used as body-doubles for politicians, for instance; when the need for the double is over, the clones are "disposed of." The main character, Evelyn, had an acrimonious break up with her husband, Nathan, a scientist who is not quite the world-class scientist she is; one bone of contention between them was her refusal to have a child and "take a few years" off doing science to raise it. Early in the novel, she finds he has made a clone of her, and that the clone is pregnant.

The science here is kind of science-y, but good enough not to get in the way of the story. The real interest in the novel lies in Evelyn's character, and in her relationship with both Nathan and the clone, Martine. Evelyn, we soon learn, is something of a sociopath and very much an unreliable narrator. Then we learn why: both her father and Nathan emotionally abused her; her father physically abused her as well. She's become what she is as a kind of protective camouflage.

And then she has to deal with Martine. This changes her, and watching the slow, prickly growth that Evelyn experiences through the narrative is the best part of the story. Not that she is cured, or healed, or fixed, by having to come to terms with Martine. But she is changed.

Good writing here, and an excellent look at what happens to character under abuse.

Emily Tesh, Drowned Country

A sequel of sorts to Silver in the Woods. Equally charming. I like the mother in this one. This is fantasy, with magic creatures and magic monsters. Not usually my sort of thing, but the characters here, and Tesh's worldbuilding, make me like these.

Arkady Martine, A Memory Called Empire

This is a re-read for me, because the sequel has come out, and I wanted to remind myself of the intricate world Martine built before I plunged into it again. A slow start, as I had remembered, but then very compelling. If you like political novels that are also science fiction (this is my sweet spot), you'll like this one. Give it about 20 pages before you quit, though. When I say slow start, argh, it's glacial.

Waiting eagerly for my library to get the sequel, since we're too broke to buy books right now.

Monday, March 15, 2021

Car Diagnosis

 Not a leaky hose -- a broken cooling fan. 

Not too expensive, though: less than $400. Whew.

I'd been saving up money against the medical bills which we will owe (we're still negotiating with the hospitals), so we have $400. 

This is what it is like being lower middle class*. You manage to save, by scrimping and doing without, and then boom, some disaster strikes, and there goes that money.

I mean, I'm better off than if I hadn't saved the money (I would have had to put the repair on one of the credit cards I have been painstakingly paying off over the past two years). But it's discouraging.

 *And of course it's much worse for those who are actually poor, like many of my students. An unexpected $400 bill for most people is a disaster they might not recover from.

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Biden Bucks!

 According to the IRS site, my Biden Bucks are coming on my birthday.

Best news ever!

A Year Ago

 This time last year, more or less, we were told by our university to warn students that all classes might move to remote delivery after Spring Break.

I remember talking to my classes and one of my students (who is immuno-compromised) going wide-eyed with panic. "I think I should leave," she said, and told me why. (I hadn't known until then.)

And I remember how we all thought it would be over by June. July at the latest.

I remember how a thousand deaths seemed like a lot.

Right now our university is determined to return to f2f in the fall. And as of yesterday, 530,693 people have died in the US.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Why Is This So Depressing?

 My car broke down today -- probably a split hose in the coolant system, the tow truck driver says. The gushing steam was very dramatic.

We have AAA, and if it is a hose, that probably won't be very expensive to fix. And yet I am mortally depressed.

Which always happens when my car breaks. Why is it so depressing? I have no idea.

I'm going to eat a bagel and see if that helps me feel better.

Thursday, March 11, 2021


It's not even spring yet (officially), and already the weather here has turned hot and humid.

I had to put the AC on last night so we could sleep. On March 10.


On the plus side, the daffodils have started blooming.

Saturday, March 06, 2021

Checks Out


New Post up at Cooking with delagar

 This one goes out to the kid, who wants to make lasagna at home:

My Lasagna

Friday, March 05, 2021

Annual Evaluation Time

 It's that time of year, when we turn in our annual evaluations.

I hate this with such a passion. I don't mind the part where we list what we did during the year -- published this, sat on that committee -- but we also have to write little narratives, explaining how our teaching methods were improved and how we responded to student feedback and GOD I hate this part.

That's bad enough, but over the past two years our university has decided we should fill out spreadsheets -- each thing you could possible have done as a faculty member (in theory) is listed and assigned a numerical value. Then you go through the spreadsheet and check little boxes, for everything you have done. Then you get a score, and voila, you've been evaluated.

I suppose this makes someone happy somewhere. For me, the hardest part is figuring out how to save the fucking spreadsheet once it's filled out.


Thursday, March 04, 2021


 I put a new bowl of water out for the cats, because they will ONLY drink water if it is ABOLUTELY fresh. None of this 20 minute old water.

Anyway, Jasper galloped up to drink it, stuck her nose in too far, and sneezed. I laughed, and both cats gave me long stares of affront. "How dare you," those looks said. "Cats are not funny."

Monday, March 01, 2021

Vaccination Part II Achieved

 This morning at dawn (okay, eight o'clock) I received my second dose of vaccine. So far, despite the rumors, no side effects to speak of. (A little ache at the vaccine site.)

Mainly I'm concerned about whether this vaccine will protect us against the variants. I'm seeing mixed reports on that.