Friday, December 30, 2022

Happy Belated Hanukkah

Since we couldn't do Hanukkah at the proper time, due to the storm, we're doing it this weekend -- bringing the kids and the grandkitty down today, and having latkes and matzo ball soup tomorrow. Dr. Skull is also supposed to be making a dessert, but I see no sign of one so far. I have threatened to make a dump cake, in the interests of motivating him. May have to follow through.

I'm also hoping the trash will actually be picked up today. The city hasn't come for it in three weeks now, due to weather. Today is sunny and 50 degrees. Fingers crossed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Supply Line Problems

The store had three pints of cream on the shelf when I arrived yesterday. I am ashamed to admit that I bought two.

Still no bread flour and no decent bread. The chip aisle, I noted in passing, is decimated.

Organic veggies are still cheaper and in better shape than the non-organic. (I bought carrots.) Why would this be? Are organics locally sourced, maybe?

The storm has been over for days. What gives?

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Your Delivery is Delayed

I went to the other grocery, to find that cream is still not available. Neither is bread flour, and neither is any of the eatable sorts of bread -- Wonderbread is in fine supply. 

You can still get eggs, but not butter. Lots of margarine.

Meat and bacon are holding out, but no lox, oddly enough. Who is eating lox in Pork Smith?

I assume this is all because of the big storm, but it is creating a problem with making meals. I made some bagels with the last of our bread flour and we are having them with cream cheese, and I made bacon, which gave me some bacon fat, so I could make some black beans. (I have beans already.)

I also made gingersnaps, since we have plenty of all-purpose flour and spices. And there's some frozen sausage and fish sticks. We won't starve, at least not for a few days, and I can drink black coffee if I have too, but Dr. Skull insists on cream.

We might try Dollar General tomorrow, or the Walmart I Hate More Than Hell Itself.

Meanwhile I am reading a very interesting book by Redfern jon Barrett, an AU in which trans people rose up and defeated the Nazis (as they rose up in New York and defeated the police at Stonewall) with the result that Berlin has become a have for LGBTQ people, except conservativism arises in the 1980s (yes, conservative gays and lesbians) and -- as it did in the sixties in America -- a push to be the Respectable sort of LG (no BT or Q allowed) begins to dominate the city.

So far it's thoughtful and extremely well done. An author to watch.

Sunday, December 25, 2022

You Can Learn Anything on YouTube

My first pair of crocheted mittens:

The tricky part was not the thumbs, as I'd expected, but getting the tops to come out right. I had to rip them out and start again three times on the first mitten, and twice on the second.


The library was not only closed yesterday, and is closed today, but it's closed tomorrow too. 

AND it closed early the day before yesterday, because of the snow and ice. 

What am I supposed to READ?

Meanwhile, Dr. Skull is much better today. I tested him twice for Covid, and both times it was negative, so I guess he's going to live. I'm feeding him tea and also making him bagels. Tradition calls for Chinese food on Christmas day, but there's not a single decent Chinese food place left in this benighted town.

We could have Thai or Vietnamese, but they're all closed today. Next year in Fayetteville!

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Best of 2022

These are my best posts from 2022....or at least they're posts that I made in 2022. A lot happened this year, only some of it good.

January 2022: My interview!

February 2022: My kid burns me on Twitter

March 2022: A tie: My kid gets top surgery and What it is like to be a Bat

April 2022: We join a gym

May 2022: The kid makes me an icon and Child Sacrifice

June 2022: Roe V Wade is overturned

July 2022: The Heat Dome

August 2022: Faculty Training in the American Hellscape

September 2022: My brother dies

October 2022: My kid's jack-o-lantern

November 2022: Elon buys Twitter and the left responds hilariously

December 2022: The Senate Is Blue

Bonus comic:

This was also the year my new nephew was born, and the year the kids got a cat. 

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 23, 2022

Weather Update

A high of 17 today. Whaaaat.

But the roads look clear. I may venture out and look for cream later.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Menorah with Icy Windows

 Low of 5 degrees tonight, not to mention the wind. Very brrr.


The temperature dropped from 40 degrees at dawn to ten degrees now, and there is ice on the inside of our windows. It's snowing, but only a little bit. I'm wearing two sweaters and fingerless gloves to write, like a character in a Russian movie.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Winter Weather

We're supposed to have snow and dangerous cold and wind tomorrow, starting around eleven, so I went out to the grocery, for the first time in about a week, and holy hell the prices have shot up. I was going to make leek and potato soup, but they wanted -- I kid you not -- thirteen dollars for one single fucking leek.

So we're having onion and potato soup instead. Celery was seven dollars for a spindly, wilted bunch. I checked the organic, and it was four dollars for a better bunch. Potatoes are still cheap at least, and we have some chicken stock left over from our dinner party.

All the cream is gone. The lady at the check out says its supply chains. Probably it's also everyone baking. There was still milk and half and half, so I got some of each. Potato soup is better with cream, but half and half works.

My recipe:

  • a leek (or an onion)
  • A carrot
  • A stalk of celery
  • One potato per person and one for the pot
  • flour
  • chicken or vegetable stock or water
  • Pepper
  • Salt
  • Some sort of fat -- bacon grease is best
Cut up the leek, the onion, and the celery and cook them in a couple tablespoons of fat over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add about a tablespoon of flour and the pepper and cook, stirring, for another couple of minutes. You want to wake up the spices and cook the flour. You can add a little curry powder or some garlic at this point too.

Add a little water or stock. Stir to mix. Cut up the potatoes -- you can peel if you want, but I like the peels on. They should be diced, more or less. Add more stock, enough to cover the potatoes, and then bring to a boil, while stirring. Once its boiling, turn down to low heat and simmer for about fifteen minutes, or until the potatoes are soft. Taste the broth to make sure it's salty enough (there's salt in the bacon grease and in the stock, probably) and add salt if not.

Pull out some of vegetables and mash. Return to soup and stir. Add cream or half and half or milk -- as much as you want. I like a lot. Then bring to a simmer again. 

Eat with toast or crackers.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Menorah with Cat


Time and Sleep

I've been having trouble writing since the end of summer. I was struggling to get five hundred words a day, and every line was like rowing up hill. Now all of a sudden my mojo is back. The pages just roll right out. I can't tell you what a relief it is.

Also, this is cool. (Stolen from TYWKIWBDI)

Oh No!

Not women with graduate degrees!

Apparently conservative men are terrified of women who are smarter and more educated than they are, which explains a lot about the GOP, frankly.

Monday, December 19, 2022

Happy Hanukkah

 Day One. We're just lighting the candles, not doing latkes or anything, because (1) the kid can't get down here yet and (B) we're both dying from whatever this plague is.

Dr. Skull says I bought non-standard candles, but I say they're burning, aren't they?

Post-Semester Plague

Dr. Skull has what I am hoping is not COVID (he tests negative so far) and I am feeling achy and sore. Since everyone in town is sick with a ferocious cold, I'm hoping that's all it is.

And of course the bug waited until the semester was over to lay us low. Thoughtful!

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Let the Festivities Begin!

I have finished grading *and* sent off one of my book reviews. The other is due in early February, but I have made a good start on it.

No classes until January 17. Nothing to do now but drink coffee and write my novel. It is bliss.

Thursday, December 15, 2022


You're getting links because I'm grading final exams and working on two book reviews whose deadlines are fast approaching. I should clearly be spending less time on the internet, but.

Gifts for the MAGA in your life. These are all apparently real, and I'm not sure whether that's hilarious or just really sad.

Fox News attacks a Minnesota teacher. How dare she say that students are indoctrinated? That's their job!

I love this poem.

This is long, but makes a good point about moral panics.

Cars used to be the leading killer of children. Now it's guns. That's because we made laws about cars (seatbelt laws, car seat laws, rules about how they were built, rules about driving drunk or speeding in school zones, licensing laws) whereas all we do with guns is sell more of them.

Mike Pence wants to make it legal to kill police officers entering your house illegally. I mean, that at least fits the parameters of the Second Amendment, I guess.


Monday, December 12, 2022

It's Exam Week!

We've officially launched into final exam week. Since I'm only give that one exam (at eight a.m.), this mostly means, for me, heaps of grading. Final papers are due in all five classes, and the final exam in the Global Lit class. Ugh. I hate grading.

Meanwhile we had a good dinner party. The dump cake was a big hit. I sent the remains home with Charger, something I am now regretting.

Oh, and the boyfriend did indeed make deviled eggs. They were excellent. Next time I'll get a photo.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Heading into Exam Week

I'm only giving one exam this semester, and it's at fucking dawn on Tuesday. (Exams before 10:00 a.m. are the real oppression.) For my other classes, students are turning in big papers or portfolios, depending on which class it is -- portfolios for fiction workshop, papers for Comp I.

Meanwhile we're having Dr. Skull's birthday celebration today: chicken schnitzel, asparagus, mashed potatoes, chocolate pie, babka, and a dump cake I am making especially for Uncle Charger and me. I might get the kid's boyfriend to make deviled eggs again. He made them for our last dinner party and they were excellent. Everyone is coming, including my SIL. She's coming down for Hanukkah in a couple of weeks too. (I think I need to give her a blog name.)

So anyway I'm spending this morning cleaning up and making dump cake. I should get to it.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Weirdness on the Right

I'm not reading many conservative blogs or webpages these days, because they're all so unhinged they make me wince with second-hand embarrassment, but here are a few talking points that are boiling up from the Right.

I've seen a couple of people on the Right predicting a "hard winter," and asserting that America is going to be starving by spring. I have no idea where this is coming from. I know that on at least one blog (a very odd one) it's been asserted that the "Marxist Left" is keeping people from making or distributing fertilizer, because progressives are evil and love death, apparently; so maybe it's part of that?

Over on Twitter, conservatives have moved on from how evil it was for Biden to work a deal that got Brittney Griner out of a Russian prison to claiming Griner is actually a man. (To be fair, it's mostly TERFs doing this, but however much TERFs claim they are feminists, they are actually gender essentialists, which is to say, conservatives.)

And this, which I first noticed coming from Rod Dreher and wossname, up in Idaho -- the idea that fascism is necessary to save America from the non-Christians. Apparently the Right only believes in originalism so long as they're winning elections and the culture wars. When they start losing -- because most Americans don't like bigotry, actually -- why, now it's time to ditch the Constitution and the law. America is going to be a Christian nation, or else.

They're also very upset by the Marriage Equality bill. This is a little odd, given how many of them assert earnestly that the GOP would never overthrow Obergefell, why, that's settled law! (Same thing they asserted earnestly about Roe V. Wade, if you recall.)

There was a story in the Guardian about the mountain lion who lives in a wilderness preserve above LA, and how the fact that the lion is now attacking small dogs and scaring residents. The wildlife experts explain that the lion is stressed by the smallness of his habitat and his growing age (he's very old for a mountain lion), that these attacks are the result of stress. Not sure why this made me think of Conservatives. 

Thursday, December 08, 2022


I'm enjoying the comments on this post at Unfogged.

This fake crisis from the Right is also funny -- I mean, as Roy Edroso pointed out, previously the Right was wailing because Biden hadn't gotten her out of the Russian prison. Someone else in the thread points out this same pivot happened back with Obama and Bergdahl. 

Though I do like Pharyngula's take.

This is good news: The Marriage Equality bill got through the House. Some bipartisan support, even.

For all y'all Wordle fans, here's Hurdle, which is frankly more fun.

Wednesday, December 07, 2022


I have so many things I have to do in the next week. Some of them are things I want to do (dinner with family, for instance, or writing reviews for various science fiction magazines) and some are things I could do without (grading papers, exams, meeting with disgruntled students) but all of them are adding stress to my already over-stressed system.

Honestly, all I want out of life is day after day with nothing planned.

Can't I just sit here and drink my coffee and write novels?

The Senate Goes Blue

On the one hand, it's Georgia, so the fact that Warnock was elected is definitely a move in the right direction.

On the other hand, 48.6% of people in Georgia voted for someone more incompetent than Trump. 

Monday, December 05, 2022

Giving to Charity

I donate to my local foodbank, to ACLU, to Planned Parenthood, and to donor's choose, in roughly that order. (That is, monthly to my local foodbank and the ACLU, to Planned Parenthood and donors choose when I have some extra money.)

Nicole and Maggie have a post on places to give!

Other suggestions welcome!

Sunday, December 04, 2022

Birthdays and Hanukkah

Dr. Skull and the kid's boyfriend have the same birthday, December 8. 

Because Dr. Skull had lingering trauma from when he was a kid, and his birthday and Hanukkah coincided so often, he insists every year on having a separate party for his birthday. This year we're holding it on December 10, since that's a Saturday and the kids are both off.

Then Hanukkah runs this year from December 18 through the 26, so we'll probably hold the Hanukkah party (Latkes and corned beef) on the 24.

You see what this means. Yes, it means I must clean the house TWICE in two weeks.

On the other hand, latkes.

Friday, December 02, 2022

Extremely Cool

 There's also version aimed at people with more scientific knowledge:

All I Wanted to Do Was Read a Few Books

I'm at the point in the semester where I hate my life: grading season. Yes.

Ten percent of my students do wonderfully, but honestly they would do wonderfully without me. Ten percent are hopeless, and I spent 90% of my time working with them. The middle 80%, the ones I could help, end of getting short shrift because of that bottom ten percent. Honestly it's just depressing.

Why did I become an English professor? What was I thinking?

(This is a rant. Don't take me seriously.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Damage Done by Transphobes

My kid is an adult now, and safe from this, but that's not the case for thousands of kids.

When my kid was in his teens, he was terrified and miserable. We didn't know what was wrong. The therapists didn't know what was wrong. It was one of the scariest times of my life, and worse for him, I'm sure. 

If amidst all that, the state government had sent a social worker to investigate us, with the implied threat that my child could taken from our home, I honestly don't know if my kid would have survived that. 

My kid is so much better now. There's still residual trauma left from what he went through in those years, but once he -- and we -- understood that he was trans, things started getting better almost at once. We found a therapist that worked with trans kids. We started him on HRT. We got him top surgery. Each one of those things helped him immensely. 

Why is it the business of the state to stop families from getting the medical care they need for their children? I mean, these are the same people who don't want the state to compel them to vaccinate their children. So they're opposed to state control of them; but they are pro-state control of others?

I'm kidding. Of course I understand why the same people can be anti-vax, and yet for state control of trans kids. 

These are hierarchal people. Their entire worldview is built around the idea that some people should be in control of what happens, and other people should be controlled. 

Some people have power. Those people should not be restricted in any way. They should be allowed to do what they will. If they want to carry guns in grocery stores and university classrooms, if they want to occupy state land, if they want to storm the capitol, they should not be opposed, or even criticized. The slightest infringement on their actions is an outrage.

Other people exist to be acted upon, and those people should be closely watched and fenced about with restrictions. Any act they commit that is not 100% in compliance with the approval of those in power -- like, for instance, wearing a mask; or selling loose cigarettes; or calling their child by the name and pronouns the child prefers -- these acts must be harshly opposed, and harshly punished. 

That worldview is the very basis of conservative thought, and it's why conservativism today is such a poisonous force in the world.

“Conservatism consists of exactly one proposition …There must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect.” -- Frank Wilhoit

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Gym Rat

According to this blog, we've been going to the gym since sometime in May. That's seven months now. I have actual muscles, which is nice; and we're up to an hour a day, three or four days a week (depending on how busy the week is -- we only went twice Thanksgiving week.

There are definitely days when I don't want to go work out. But I always feel better afterwards, so I remind myself of that, and off we go.

Being a member of a gym does help. It's partly that I've spent the money so I should use the gym, but also because all the exercise machines are there. It's somehow easier to exercise if I have machines available.

Monday, November 28, 2022

End of the Holidays

We took the kids back up the mountain today, and visited with my sister-in-law as well as my nephew, his wife, and the new baby. We ate some excellent gumbo, cooked by SIL.

Now we're home again. I have a ton of grading to do, and a final exam study sheet to write. All I want to do is read science fiction novels and write my own novel.

Soon it will be winter break, though. Counting the days.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Home for the Holidays

 The kid, his boyfriend, and their cat are all visiting us for Thanksgiving. This is them asleep and the cat staring wide-eyed out the window:

Their apartment has a window, but it looks out onto a kind of passage-way, so Amity (the cat) doesn't get much of view. She is enjoying all our windows.

Our cats hate her, and she herself is deeply confused by the little dog, who she thinks is the strangest cat she has ever seen. She keeps sneaking up on him (not difficult, since he's blind) and bapping him with her paw, trying to see what he's made out of, I think.

We stayed home mostly yesterday, in honor of Black Friday, and today will venture out to buy more food, and maybe have a walk. Tomorrow we drive them home again, and my SIL is going to feed us gumbo.

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Prepping for TNX

I'm cleaning house and buying supplies for Thanksgiving -- the kid and his boyfriend and their cat are coming for the holiday and staying through the weekend. I'm also writing and grading student work, hoping to get all of the grading done by tonight. Meanwhile I have written and submitted a ghost story.

The thanksgiving menu as it now stands:

  • Roast turkey
  • cranberry sauce
  • mac and cheese
  • broccoli casserole
  • stuffing
  • mashed potatoes
  • sweet potatoes
  • rolls
  • crudités
  • deviled eggs
  • Superior Pumpkin Pie with whipped cream
I'm making the sweet potatoes and the whipped cream. The kid is making the mashed potatoes. The boyfriend is making deviled eggs. Dr. Skull is making everything else, all of it from scratch, of course. I offered to make a dump cake, but Dr. Skull threatened to divorce me.

Besides the kid and his boyfriend, Uncle Charger will be attending.

After this, and in rapid succession, we will have Uncle Charger's birthday, Dr. Skull's birthday and the boyfriend's birthday (they share the same birthday) and Hanukkah. It's the festive season!

Recipe for a dump cake, in case your spouse is more forbearing:

One can of pie filling
One can of crushed pineapples
One box of white or yellow cake mix
One stick of butter
One half cup of crushed salted nuts.

Get a nine by ten pan. Drain the pineapple and dump it in. Dump in the pie filling. (I like cherry or blueberry). Mix it up a little. Dump the cake mix on top of this, and spread it evenly. Dice and scatter the butter on top of the cake mix. Scatter the nuts over it all.

Cook at 350 degrees for about thirty minutes, or until brown and bubbling. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. It's delicious! (And yes, I was born in a trailer.)

Monday, November 21, 2022

Plus ça change

I'm working on a short story about a pandemic, so I'm reading a lot of non-fiction books about various pandemics. One of them, written in the 1990s, is about the flu pandemic of 1918, and the author notes in wide-eyed wonder that if such a disease struck today, a million people would die in America, and six million worldwide.

Deaths from COVID-19 worldwide are currently at 6, 626, 455. Deaths in the US are 1,102, 688. (Source is here.)

Apparently people behaved equally badly during the 1918 pandemic, refusing to wear masks, wash their hands, or self-quarantine. There were also conspiracy theories -- for instance, that Bayer aspirin mixed the flu virus in with their aspirin tablets, in order to make more people sicker. Why am I not surprised. 

Friday, November 18, 2022

Billionaire Incompetence

Honestly it's kind of funny watching Elon Musk destroy Twitter.  Also I'm having a lot of fun watching the retrospective tweets people are posting. It's not like Twitter is a net good in the universe, though I have gotten a number of professional gigs out of it -- book review jobs and editing work and so on. I'll miss that part of it. The funniest part is how so many people assumed Musk was competent just because he had a lot of money. As they say on the bird site, lol.

This song is about Elon, btw:


Tuesday, November 15, 2022

What is a Woman

Good thread here, though of course it won't matter for the bigots, since they actually don't care what a woman is; they just want an excuse to be bigots. Still, worth reading for the rest of us:

Monday, November 14, 2022

Winter Has Come

It's been in the 40s and 50s here all week, with lows in the twenties and thirties. I like this weather, but as usual our heat didn't work. It took until today for the guy to come fix it -- everyone's heat needs help at this point in the year. 

It's nice to have heat, even if we do have all these windows that just let cold air right back in. I do like winter.

I'm writing my novel and grading the first draft of my students' final papers. Also drinking a lot of coffee. This is my idea of paradise. Well, except for the papers.

Have a cat picture:

I took this one mainly because I love those trees across the street, but Jasper adds a certain touch.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

Leftists Talk about the Election

I'm not actually seeing too much of this. Most leftists are relieved by the win, I suspect, and beyond that just really tired of having to fight for things that ought to be our by right -- ownership of our bodies, for instance, and the right to vote, and the right to say what we think is true, even if we are working as teachers in public schools.

Anyway, here's Scalzi's take

Likewise “your vote shouldn’t count if we don’t like it,” is also something of a non-starter for a lot of people! Having the GOP become the political face of US authoritarianism in a moment when authoritarianism, including sham elections for political advantage, is being actively (and popularly!) combatted in Europe is not a great look. I also think the political strategy of trying to separate out trans people for persecution, popular as it was and is with the intolerant, was not particularly smart. Trans folks really are a small sliver of the population, but everyone understood the point for the GOP was and is to start with trans folks, and then just keep going to gays and lesbians and then to other groups, including, inevitably, the Jews. 

And here's Pharyngula.

On Twitter, people are furiously pointing out to each other that yes, it still does matter if we take Georgia as well. Couldn't agree more with that one.

Crooked Timber makes a connect to Ukraine.

Saturday, November 12, 2022


 We won Nevada!

Red Wave my giant ass.

Holding the Senate

Mark Kelly, my favorite astronaut, won in Arizona. Cortez Masto is coming from behind in Nevada. I don't know what's going to happen in Georgia, but it's not impossible that Walker will be defeated. If we win either Nevada or Georgia, we hold the Senate. As Nicole and Maggie say, if you're in any of those states, make sure your vote counted. And if you're in Georgia, vote!

Meanwhile the MAGAs are melting down. Some are bailing from Trump like the sinking ship he is, transferring their (extremely changeable) allegiance to DeSantis, under the belief that he can win the country back for them --- that most of America wants to be led by a fascist who attacks women, minorities, and the LGBTQ community, while licking the boots of the wealthy. 

I know, I know, Trump won. So it's not impossible for 18% of the country to impose their bigoted views on the rest of us. A lot of young voters have grown up in the country Trump destroyed, though -- their schools closed because he was too inept to handle a pandemic; the economy tanking because he gave tax breaks to billionaires; mass shootings increasing because of his followers and their slavering love of guns. Those young voters swing hard for the Left, not being bigots or watchers of Fox News. 

The overturning of Roe v Wade has also brought out voters, and they aren't going Red.

I've also seen reports that COVID-19 is killing more people in Red States than in Blue, and thus more conservatives than liberals. I haven't seen any studies on that, though, so I don't know if it's true.

Others are just continuing to scream about the Democrats "frauding." These people are still repeating the same old lies from 2020. Rod Dreher insists it's because the GOP didn't attack trans people enough. If they had only pushed more hate, he says... And you know, he's not wrong. Today's conservative sure loves to hate.

Anyway, vote, and make sure your vote counts, especially if you live in a swing state.

Friday, November 11, 2022

Winter is Here at Last!

Highs in the 40s and 50s for the next ten days, and lows in the 20s and 30s. I'm so pleased.

We appear to have skipped fall, however. Yesterday had a high of 80, and everyone was in shorts and teeshirts.

Life in Arkansas.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Reactions from the Right

 Rod Dreher is very sad to learn that there was no Red Wave. Surely everyone hates trans people as much as he does? He takes comfort in DeSantis being re-elected, though. At least someone in America hates trans people and is willing to stand up to those militant leftists who think people should be able to control their own bodies!

Sarah Hoyt is sure that the election was frauded. (Yes, she uses fraud in this extremely odd way.) The Left, after all, is a CANCER and since good Right-Thinking (pun intended) Americans did not cut that cancer out (hanging leftists from light posts and throwing them from helicopters is a frequent fantasy among her commenters) well what did we expect?

Red State sounds almost sane in contrast: true, Leftists are eeeevil and corrupt, but the real problem is the terrible candidates put forth by the Right, as well as the fact that although Conservatives have no answers, no solutions, and no ideas. Oh, and the Leftist-controlled Global media (they're too polite to say the Jews openly over there) is lying about our (new) Lord and Savior, DeSantis.

(Almost everyone I'm looking at is waving DeSantis's victory like a bloody flag. Apparently the lesson they are learning from his victory is that because DeSantis attacked LGBTQ people and still won re-election, Americans want the Right to attack LGBTQ people. Correlation ain't causation, but you're not going to get people whose motto is "Scientists are a bunch of lying commies" to understand that point.)

Bradley Devin spouts the usual talking points -- the fact that all the votes aren't counted yet means the Left is FRAUDING; the victory of DeSantis and JD Vance means America is fine with persecuting trans and gay people; the loss of the Senate is a small price to pay for getting rid of Roe v Wade. Also, Conservatives need to swing hard toward Trumpism. A direct quotation: 

But isn’t that always part of the Democrat's electoral strategy? To call Republicans fascists, bigots, misogynists, and all the other dirty words in the liberal mind? 

Clearly, "fascist," "bigot," and "misogynist" are not dirty words to anyone except liberals, so if the Right wants to win over real Americans they need to go hard with their bigotry, fascism, and hatred of women. Because they haven't been going hard so far. I mean the real problem with Republicans is how nice they are.

Anyway, that was all I could take, so if you see some other Rightwing takes that you want to share, feel free in the comments.

Wednesday, November 09, 2022

Election Results

I woke up at 8:00 to find the news was better than I had been expecting -- we might hold onto the Senate, and though we have surely lost the House, it is by a trickle, rather than a wave.

Given that the party in power almost always loses control of Congress during the midterms, this is sort of good news. And it looks like people under 35 are coming out strongly for the Democratic party, which bodes well for 2024.

On the other hand, here in Arkansas we elected Sarah Huckleberry Sanders. I'm not in the least surprised by this, since (1) all the yards since in the richer parts of town sported her yard signs and (2) Chris Jones is an educated black man, and there is no way Arkansas in general is voting for a black man with an education.

We also voted against legalizing marijuana. By "we" I mean Arkansas, since I voted in favor of the bill. I think what hurt us here was a strong push by the Enemies Of Good. The bill wasn't perfect, so some of the people who do want legal marijuana voted against it. 

We've got a lot of that sort here, the ones who didn't vote for Clinton in 2016 because she wasn't a perfect candidate, the ones that say, "The lesser of two evils is still evil, so I'm going to vote for this candidate who has no chance of winning instead." The ones who put three fanatical conservatives on our Supreme Court. Yeah, them.

I'm still keeping an eye on the results, hoping Georgia goes blue, but all in all "coulda been worse" is my take here.

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Voting Accomplished

 I have voted. Jasper bears witness:

There was no one in the polling place but Dr. Skull and me. I voted as you would expected, except for one place where my choice was between a Republican and a Libertarian. I decided not to vote for either of them, since they were both terrible choices.

I also voted for legalizing recreational marijuana, though I don't expect it to pass.

And I voted against the Huckster's kid, and for the physicist, though -- again -- I don't expect it to matter. The citizens of Arkansas would far rather vote for a Mini-Trump than for a black physicist.


Though I am rapidly losing faith in democracy in America, and though I live in a red state where my vote is essentially meaningless, I am nevertheless going to vote this afternoon.

Join me if you can. 

Pharyngula on the subject.

I especially like his comic:

Monday, November 07, 2022


I've been having insomnia + non-specific free-floating anxiety for some time now. Probably the insomnia is caused by the anxiety? IDK.

Anyway, I would very much like this little bout to end. Exercise doesn't help. Maybe I should stop eating carbs. Dr. Skull claims if I stop eating carbs my entire life will be transformed, and I will no longer have anxiety, my joints won't hurt, I'll fall asleep in minutes and 

Also, I was checking the relative worth of money in 1913 (for something I'm writing) vs the same money today, and while I was there, I checked my annual salary in 2003 (when I started this current job) vs my salary now and BIG SHOCK, adjusted for inflation I was making more money as a brand-new assistant professor than I am now, as a full professor who has been nearly 20 years at this institution.

You too can play this game! Go here.

Sunday, November 06, 2022

Can We Not Have Normal Time?

I like when daylight savings time ends, because we get an extra hour of sleep; but then it will have to take up again, come the spring, and I hate that coming time with a passion.

If we could stick to normal time, we'd have nice early sunsets and sunny mornings here in November, and earlier dark come summer. That would be pleasant when the day already seems 20 hours long, and most of it blistering hot afternoons.

I've never gotten a good explanation for why we keep this odd custom. Apparently it was a pet dream of Benjamin Franklin, who thought longer hours of daylight in the summer would save on candles? And now people argue that it saves on power bills, but I don't see how. 

Or the argument goes that people want more time with daylight after they get off work in the summer, for, I don't know, sporting and cavorting?

None of it makes much sense, and everyone hates it. Why not stop?

Friday, November 04, 2022


This story at Uncanny is worth reading. Uncanny is doing excellent work lately.

Pharyngula reports on a couple of really bizarre stories from the Right -- JD Vance talks to Tucker Carlson 

I can sort of see his logic. His base hates foreigners, and also hates trans people, so combining the two into some hateful amalgam will win him votes, he thinks. Also, his base consists of some of the dumbest, most gullible people in the country, so maybe they’ll believe him.

and people who have no idea how evolution works talk about the future of human evolution.

This is interesting -- every time I teach Genesis, as I do in every single Global Lit class, I get some earnest local Evangelical fundamentalist who stays after class to explain to me that Noah's flood totally really actually did happen, there is evidence.

John Oliver:

Thursday, November 03, 2022

The Onion Weighs In

 The trouble with the Onion is that it hits too hard:

Tom Cotton: "This attack never would have happened if the hammer hadn't been allowed across the border."

Rick Scott: "I find it absolutely disgusting that Nancy Pelosi has a husband."

Erik Bolling: “How many innocent people have to die before we realize that words do matter? Crazy people act on the crazy things they hear from politicians and celebrities. Oh shit, wait that was what I said on Fox after Steve Scalise got shot. Fuck. What I meant is that there is no connection between words and violence. Shit, shit, shit. Forget I said anything.”

Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Living by Lies

Conservatives in America keep telling obvious lies to support their ridiculous worldview:

Bolduc said: “Guess what? We have furries and fuzzies in classrooms. They lick themselves, they’re cats. When they don’t like something, they hiss – people walk down the hallway and jump out.

“And get this, get this. They’re putting litter boxes, right? … These are the same people that are concerned about spreading germs. Yet they let children lick themselves and then touch everything. And they’re starting to lick each other.”

Meanwhile, the obvious lie about Paul Pelosi being assaulted by his gay lover -- not someone who was radicalized by Right-Wing propaganda -- continues to be repeated.

I was compelled to watch Fox News in the waiting room of our eye doctor yesterday. Not only is it fact-free programming, it's unbearably tedious. The talking heads make a claim, and then they restate that claim in about sixteen different ways -- or even the same way -- without ever providing any evidence. 

What is the fascinating with such boring bullshit? Are bigots that desperate to have their lies validated?

(The giant TV blaring Fox News had a sign on it, forbidding anyone from lowering the volume or changing the channel. I would love to find a new eye doctor, but this is the only one in town who takes my insurance.)

Sunday, October 30, 2022

My Kid Makes a Jack-o-Lantern

 Here it is:

And here it is with bonus cat:

What I'm Reading Now

Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan, Mad Honey

Jodi Picoult is hit or miss with me. Sometimes I enjoy her work a lot, and sometimes I quit halfway through. This one is pretty good. It's co-written with Jennifer Finney Boylan (the trans woman who Richard Russo famously wrote about, and who is herself a writer) so you won't be surprised that the big twist in the plot is that one of the characters is trans.

There's some good stuff about bees, and the plot resolves nicely. Picoult's novels (mostly) have good narrative flow. The characters are often a little predictable, and she's kind of a one trick pony (kids in peril, and big twist near the end). It's like Flannery O'Conner, whose every story was about how people are monstrous freaks who need the grace of God to make them bearable. Picoult's every story is kids who seem to do monstrous things, but really haven't.

I did enjoy this one, but it self-harm and abusive relationships put you off, maybe skip it.

Barbara Kingsolver, Demon Copperhead

Kingsolver is also, for me, hit and miss. I really liked her first three novels, and haven't much liked anything since. This one is Kingsolver's recasting of David Copperfield, moved from 19th century London to 1990s Appalachia and the opioid crisis. I mostly enjoyed it, though once Demon becomes addicted to opioids, Xanax, and other pills, it's a grim slog. If you like David Copperfield as much as I do, there's a certain amount of pleasure in spotting the parallels.

Sarah Miller, Marmee 

Sarah Miller wrote Caroline, which I liked a lot -- it's the story of Little House on the Prairie, one of my favorite childhood books, but from the POV of Caroline Ingalls (Ma). This one is Little Women, told from the point of view of Marmee. We get a more accurate and less Jesus-y picture of what life might have been like in the March household during the years between 1862 and 1872. Especially if Little Women is one of your favorites, you'll like this.

I see Miller has written some other books. I'll have to hunt them down.

Right Wing Lies Are Dangerous

Remember back when the FBI noted that White Nationalists and Christian Extremist groups were the biggest threat in America, and the crybabies on the Right threw a tantrum?

Remember when Clinton pointed out that a certain percentage of the Right was deplorable, and the crybaby Right threw a tantrum?

Remember when the Right attacked our capital in an attempted coup, and the Right began screeching that it was all lies? That those were just tourists, visiting a public building?

Remember how the Right continues to repeat the lies that Liberal politicians and "elites" are pedophiles, are trafficking children, are mutilating children to further the trans agenda, are selling the organs of aborted fetus, are keeping millions of children prisoner in tunnels under Nevada (or wherever), are coming for your guns, are setting up re-education camps, are controlled by the Jews, who want to replace white men....I could go on for pages.

Remember how people who probably don't even believe this bullshit repeat it in person and online. Some of them probably think it's funny. Others just want to be cruel (and probably think cruelty is funny).

But people hear them, and people act.

Not our fault, say the MAGA assholes. Or else begin spinning further conspiracy theories.

This is what my last post was about. How does our country survive these new "conservatives"? 

Deplorable was just too mild a word.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Why I Don't Read Right-Wing Blogs Anymore

Apparently it is a matter of faith on the Right that our current inflation is caused by those stimulus checks we got in the middle of the pandemic. (See the link on Nicole & Maggie's blog here.) This is so hilarious I wish I had discovered it earlier, but I've stopped reading the blogs on the right.

It is not my fault. I used to have five or six RW blogs I read, simply because I like to understand what those living in the world with me are thinking. But post-Trump, most of the Right degenerated into a tangle of fact-free nonsense, both boring and hateful, that eventually was not even useful for understanding their world -- their world was no longer understandable. Rod Dreher, for instance, spends all his time ranting about how evil the trans agenda is; and Hoyt has gone so far down the rabbit hole of QAnon that her posts don't even make internal sense.

The Right these days reminds me of back when I used to ride Greyhound or Trailways to travel back and forth to school, or to visit friends. Nearly always, when I was waiting at a layover, some old man (or rarely an old woman) would sit down next to me and start telling me about the aliens (or the liberals, or the lizards) that were controlling the world market (destroying the economy, making people gay) and how it had all been caused by infiltrating communists (fluoride, aliens, lizard people, radio waves). The most recent example was a guy who was next in line with me at the post office who started explaining to me that wood alcohol in diet soda was a direct cause of the drop in intelligence among the American people, and that "soda companies" were doing this on purpose, because they were owned by some big liberal company, and that was why the commercials were full of gay people.

I suppose it's possible that some of these people are mentally ill; but most of them, I'm afraid, have fallen victim to Right-Wing propaganda. (I know left-wing propaganda also exists, but oddly I've never had anyone come up to me while I'm standing in line and start squealing about them. And, as a whole, leftists are much more likely -- in my experience -- to check their sources, and to have good bullshit detectors, making them much less likely to go about repeating obvious lies.) (Did you know public schools these days have to provide litter boxes for their students who identify as cats? It's true! My cousin's best friend knows a janitor who works at this school in Michigan, and he says --- )

Nothing the Right is saying these days makes sense, or is based on reality. All of it is some talking point they received from Fox News, or talk radio, or (as with Rod) from commenters who have bought into similar propaganda outlets. 

This might just be mildly funny, if the Right had not weaponized this propaganda, using it to punish those they don't approve of, and as a method of state control. (That's why they're going after abortion and birth control and screeching about inflation and student loan forgiveness. When someone has six or eight kids, no real education, and is working a low-wage job, that person is very easy for a fascist state to manipulate and to control.)

I'm beyond being able to think of what to do about all this. I used to believe education and voting could save us, but at this point too many people have been brainwashed from infancy, and others are happily swallowing down nonsense because it justifies their sense of bigotry and their desperate need to feel important. So I don't know what the answer is now.

Persist, I suppose. The arc of history and all that. 

I used to want to understand what the Right was thinking, with the hope that we could find common ground, and thus live in this country together. But it's clear that's not what the Right wants, and that there is no common ground. So that's why I don't read what the Right is saying anymore. What's the point?

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Wait, I Think I See the Problem

 Janel explains:

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

In the Future, All Restaurants Are Taco Bell

A few months ago, our local Petco opened up a side hustle called Vetco.

So I suppose this was inevitable. 

Walmart Health, you will be glad to know, offers healthcare ranging from physicals to urgent care to online counseling sessions for such things as anxiety, depression, and relationship issues. They also offer dental and eye care, all for the low, low, low prices you have come to expect from Walmart.

I'm wondering if they fill the Xanax scripts at their own pharmacy. Oh, what I am saying, of course they do.

Monday, October 24, 2022

I Am Having a Bad Day

First off, a big storm is coming through and the front has given me a migraine.

Next, I have been trying for months to get AT&T to turn off two phone lines we no longer use, and nothing I do -- going in person, calling their help line, getting online and arguing with a chat bot -- nothing works. (We can't just shut it off because Dr. Skull set up the online account, and he has forgotten his password, as well as the answers to the Security questions that let us change the password.)

Next, the toilet clogged up and flooded the bathroom.

Next, I have read all my books and our library isn't buying anything new I want to read.

Next, I have had insomnia for days, and I hate everything.

Hope your life is going better.

Sunday, October 23, 2022

The Triage of Teaching

I'm grading preliminary work on my students' third (and major) paper, and have once again been noticing the problem with teaching writing in a class in which we have more than five or six students.

My fiction workshop this semester has only seven students in it. This is very nearly the perfect size. I am able to get to know every student. I am able to spend time on their writing, understand what they are trying to do, show them -- in detail -- how they might want to do that. Also, I am able to know them as people, not just students, which helps us work together, and to trust each other. Trust is basic for true teaching.

In contrast, I am teaching three sections of Comp I, which means I have 67 students turning in every assignment (at least theoretically -- in actual fact, maybe twenty percent of the students fail to turn in any given assignment). This means I cannot get to know them as much more than names in my roll book. I know very little about their lives or their goals. I can spend maybe ten minutes per student per assignment -- sometimes more, if it's a paper and not ground work for the paper; but seldom much more.

What happens, because of that, is I end up triaging the students. 

Those who just can't or aren't doing the work, which is about 20%, need more help than I can give them. I don't know why they aren't doing the work, for the most part. When I track them down to ask, mostly they don't respond. 

When they do respond, they tell me they have three kids and a full-time job and they share a computer with their brother who lives twenty miles away and they can't always get over there. (There is now something I can do for these students, at least -- we have a way to check out loaner laptops to them. There are also emergency grants for students who have small financial emergencies.) 

Or it turns out they aren't native speakers of English, and cannot understand what they're supposed to be doing. (We do not have English-as-a-Second-Language sections of Comp I. Again, I can now send these students to the writing center, where we have a EASL tutor.) 

Or it turns out they're homeless (this just happened) and working fifty hours a week at two jobs, and their tablet, which they were using to do all their work, has broken. 

Or their uncle has COVID and they've all been quarantined and there's no money to pay the electric bill, so they can't get online, and they've been trying to do the work on their phone, but they can't charge it now.

Or, or, or.

These students need a lot of help, but I have 66 other students, and so I can't give them as much help as they need. There are too many of them, and their real problems have little to do with how to write a good paper. I make sure to notify the proper administrators about their problems, hopefully getting them some aid; but I can do very little about teaching them writing. With these students, I end up doing the best I can to get them to C-level work, and honestly mostly fail to achieve even that. Their other problems are just too overwhelming.

Then there are students who are excellent writers already. This is maybe six out of the 67. These students also get very little help from me. This is the group I would love to work with, but as it is, I'm too swamped by the 20% who can't do the work and the middle group, the ones who can do the work but only with a lot of help.

I spend most of my time with this middle group, working on grammar and structure, telling them over and over about correct format, about how to cite a source in-text, about making sure they have one idea and only one idea per paragraph, about providing credible evidence to support their claims. Sometimes these students are working full-time jobs too, and many of them have a two or three (or five, in one case this semester) children, so that it is hard for them to get the work done on time, or at all. I work with them. I work with them. But there are only so many hours in the day.

If we actually want students who learn, this is not how we do it. Expecting people to go to school full-time while working full-time while raising three or four children -- this is not how education happens. This is how triage happens. 

Which is probably the actual plan. Rich people's kids go to schools with small class sizes, where they get plenty of help, and where they don't have to work and run a house and take care of children while trying to study microbiology. These kids will get an actual education. These are the kids who actually matter, to those who make our laws and fund our schools.

The rest of them, the students here at my working class university, what they get is the FEMA version of an education. They get something that looks like an education, while not requiring the resources and support of an actual education.

Despite all our efforts, most of them will emerge in the working world not knowing the difference between a credible source and bullshit, not knowing how to thinking critically, not knowing how to write a coherent sentence or understand their own history. They may be perfectly nice people, and perfectly able to do whatever low-level job they end up in, but most of them will not be educated, not in the true sense of that word.

It's discouraging.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Car Trouble

When my kid was like two days old, I remember Dr. Skull and I were sitting on the bed gazing anxiously at the crib (did he have a fever? Was his breathing okay? Would he live through the night?), and Dr. Skull let out a gust of breath and said, "This is never going to end, is it?"

I laughed, but you know, it's really not. Any problem your kid has is like 20,000 times worse than any problem you have. When the kid had that health scare a few years ago, I honestly thought I would going to die from the anxiety. I remember when the doctor called and talked to Dr. Skull (and not me) about what the new X-Ray showed, I sat up half the night, twitching with anxiety and forcing Dr. Skull to tell me (over and over and fucking over) what the doctor had said.

Anyway, right now the kid is having car trouble, which is not the worst news -- no problem that can be fixed with money is a real problem -- but I'm still twitching with anxiety. 

I just want my kid to be okay forever. IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK?

Update: The kid and his boyfriend's car had its catalytic converter stolen. Cost them $500 to replace it, but at least it was a quick fix.

This is apparently a thing now -- my brother, who lives in New Orleans, also had his stolen recently. What can you do it prevent it? Park your car in a garage, except my kid and his boyfriend don't have a garage, and their apartment complex is open-gate.

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Fall Break

It's fall break here in the Ozarks and we're actually having fall. On Tuesday, there's a high of 57 and a low of 29. Whaaat!

Meanwhile I have 63 papers coming in from my Comp I students. So that's what I'll be doing over break.

Also I've got something -- not COVID, I hope, but some nose-and-throat ailment. According to Dr. Google, the Omicron version does indeed have these symptoms. I don't have a fever, though, so.

I'm also having mild depression, probably directly related to the death of my brother. So the ailment may be somatic symptoms. Ugh, having a body, who asked for it.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Buying Candy in a Dream State

Apparently last night when I was very sleepy, I ordered some Basset's Allsorts, with next day delivery.

I have a vague memory of wanting licorice yesterday, but I don't actually remember ordering them. This is what happens when you have insomnia for three days in a row.

Oh, well, if I can't sleep, at least I can have licorice. 

Friday, October 07, 2022


Night before last, I did not sleep until nearly four a.m., and had to get up at 5:30. (It's advising season, and I need to be in my officer at 6:30 to catch my students before their classes start.) Last night I went to bed at 11:00 pm and slept until 10:00 a.m. Why can't my body make a decision?

I've got new books from Jodi Picoult and from Kate Atkinson to read. And it's almost the weekend!

I'm also writing new reviews for Asimov's and for Interzone. The Interzone one is a very cool book with worldwide disaster plus gay wizards and rocks. As with Jorts the Cats, it's like someone made a present just for me.

Also it looks like fall might finally arrive. Tomorrow is a high of 76, and then (after a stretch of highs in the 80s) this Thursday coming up, temperatures plummet!

Thursday, October 06, 2022

A Brand-New Jennings

The new baby, which was being expected by my nephew and his wife, has arrived.

My nephew gave the eulogy at his father's funeral last week, and noted that his new child and his father probably met each other on the way -- one going, one coming. It's a nice thought.

I got to meet and hold the baby yesterday. He's perfect. I'd forgotten how tiny and how soft new babies are.

Sunday, October 02, 2022

Chilly Sunday Morning

It's in the mid-60s here, sunny and chill. My favorite weather.

I've caught up on grading, and actually finished and submitted a story. Also I made bagels. Today: more grading, more writing, and the gym.

Friday, September 30, 2022

Just a Reminder

Even though the pandemic has officially been declared "over," we are still losing between 500 and 3000 people a week to it. That's just the deaths. Far more than that are suffering long or short term disabilities due to Covid.

But since it's an article of faith among the conservatives in my state and elsewhere that COVID-19 is just a "bad cold," or lately a "bad flu," I don't expect much to be done about it.

How many American dead so far? 1,084,282.

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Non-Stop Work

I finished and submitted the review to Asimov's. Now I'm powering through all the grading I did not do over the past week.

I'm also wishing I had something delicious to eat for dinner tonight. What's some comfort food which won't take very long to make?

ETA: The cat is really enjoying the cooler weather, which allows me to leave the doors open.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Updates on Everything

The funeral was yesterday. One of Scott's sons and my little brother (who is for fuck's sake 48 now) gave the eulogy, and then we all had BBQ in the church's community room. I saw my nieces, whom I hadn't seen since they were very tiny. Now they are very tall, ages 14 and 12.

Fall has arrived. It's 60 degrees here now, and the forecast has highs in the 80s and lows in the 40s and 50s for the next ten day.

I got very behind in all my work over the past week, for obvious reasons. Going into overdrive to catch up -- a review for Asimov's is due, plus all my grading. I finished the reviews for Strange Horizons, and am about halfway through the next one for Interzone.

I've been having a lot of nightmares, again for obvious reasons. Last night I dreamed our house was full of junk and trash, and the more I tried to clean up, the worse it got. Then a big storm hit and the roof was leaking and all the junk in the house got soaked. This is probably some sort of Freudian dream, what with house = family or self, and so on.

We also haven't exercised in a week. Maybe tomorrow.

Now that the heat is broken, I might make some bagels. Bagels and lox would cheer me up.


Sunday, September 25, 2022

Scott Jennings 1959-2022

Scott was born fourteen months before I was, both of us in Renton, Washington, where my father worked for Boeing and my mother stayed home in our little pink trailer with (soon) three children under the age of four.

My earliest memories are of Scott, who must have been three years old then, making breakfast for me. He would take slices of white bread from the wrapper and make smiley faces with ketchup, and then we would eat them while we watched cartoons on the little B&W television that was all our family owned. (My mother, already pregnant with my brother Michael, went back to bed after she got my father off to work.)

Later he and I roamed the little trailer park -- people let small children out on their own back then -- and I would be remiss if I didn't tell the famous story of how he pushed me into a red ant pile when I was four. On purpose, I always swore, and my mother would swear he had done it on accident. I remember we were balancing along a brick flower garden border. Red ants means it must have been in New Orleans -- we moved there when I was three and Scott was four.

Later we moved into an actual house in an actual subdivision. You could buy houses on one salary back then. Soon after we moved down, five year old Scott took a machete from the garage and chopped down all the bushes in the hedge out front. He was gardening, as he ingenuously explained to my mother. I think he just liked wielding the machete, myself.

When he started school, later that year, the local schools were still overwhelmed by all the children moving into the subdivisions that were springing up in the area, to handle the people transferred in by Boeing, which was handling contracts from NASA at that point. Scott had to go half days, and the next year so would I. We went afternoons. It was a big shock to me, about halfway through the year, when the new elementary school opened, and we had to attend school from 9:00 to 3:00.

Around that time, my father sold our old car (a Dodge Rambler, I think? He would know, but I don't remember). Scott loved that car, and for years would, every now and then, complain about my father selling it.

My mother ran a cub scout pack for Scott and my younger brother Michael; later he would be a boy scout. He joined the local baseball and football teams that sprang up. His dream then was to be a famous quarterback, but when he was eight, he was diagnosed with diabetes, just a few months after my grandfather, my mother's father, died of it.

After that, his life veered into a new path. In junior high, the football coach refused to let him play on the team, saying his diabetes made him too much of a risk. Honestly, my parents should have fought that. But they did not. After that, Scott focused more on board games -- chess, for instance, was a favorite. I remember him coaxing me to play him, even though I was absolutely terrible at chess.

And as he grew up, he played with city teams and coached his sons on their teams. Sports remained one of his interests throughout his life, as did all games. He was a lifelong Saints fan, for instance. He also loved Star Trek novels, and had shelves and shelves of them.

He married my best friend, Toni, when he was 22 and she was 21, and after finishing college -- him with a degree in math education and her with a degree as a medical technician -- they moved a few blocks from my parents' house and had two sons, one in 1987 and one in 1988. He taught in the New Orleans school district for years, some of it at my old high school, before he retired due to his failing health.

After he left teaching, he worked a series of less stressful jobs before retiring on disability. He and my sister-in-law planned to move to Fayetteville as soon as she retired, which she did this past spring. They moved up right away, since their second son and his wife were having a baby. Scott was looking forward to his first grandchild, so much. When I rode home from the hospital in their car, there was already a car seat installed in the back.

People with Type I diabetes are living longer these days -- my grandfather died at 57 -- but they still die younger than non-diabetics. When he was in his 20s, he would say he wasn't going to live to 50, and then after he turned fifty he would say, every year, that this would be his last Christmas. It got to be a family joke, though it doesn't seem so funny now. He said it a couple months ago, one of the last times I saw him -- "This is going to be my last Christmas." 

We all laughed. 

His wife and sons are asking people to donate to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in his memory.

Friday, September 23, 2022

My Brother

The EEG showed very little to no brain activity, so my SIL and her sons decided to take him off life support, and he passed away quietly a few minutes later, with her and my oldest nephew there with him.

I've sort of known this was coming for the past few days, but it still feels like a shock. 

ETA: Some photos

My brother Scott

From left to right, my father, my oldest nephew, Scott, and my youngest nephew

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Update on My Brother

He is not responding to stimuli. I don't have to tell you this is not the news we were hoping for.

They're running a 24 hour EEG. We'll know more after that.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Another Update

Okay, they've got his temperature back up to 98.6 now (37 Celsius, which is how they actually do it), and they've begun weaning him off the sedative/paralytic which they have to use with hypothermia therapy. Apparently that's going to take most of the night. In the morning, if he's not responding, they'll bring in the neurologists. 

My SIL is having trouble sleeping. "Do you have any Xanax?" I asked.

"Oh, [her sister] brought me some. I might take half a one. I've never taken it before, and I don't know how I'll react."

Me, stunned: "You've never taken Xanax?"

"I had to get drug-tested!" she protested. Then she admitted, "Once, when I had a prescription for it, I didn't even fill it."

"Wow, I hate you," I said. In the background I could hear her sister and my nephew mocking her unceasingly. 

I mean, if I had my way, you'd be able to buy Xanax out of gum machines in the grocery store. It should be a major food group, that's all I'm saying.