Saturday, February 26, 2022

Achievement Unlocked

The driveway melted enough that I could get out. Made it to the store. The cats are very pleased.

Tomorrow I will make it to the library. Paradise!

Meanwhile, in Ukraine

 Lots of these being shared over on Twitter:

Day Four of Ice Storm

The ice didn't melt enough for us to get out yesterday -- tbf, the temperature was only about freezing for maybe an hour, at four o'clock. Anyway, the sheer ice on the driveway did not melt.

Today the forecast says we'll get above freezing by noon, and to 38 degrees by four o'clock. Still no sunshine. But fingers crossed.

We're out of cat treats and wet dog food, but everything else is holding up. The dog does not want to eat his dry food, and the cats are very loud in their disapproval of our storm planning skills.

I'm also out of library books -- the library has been closed for ice for the last three days. This is causing me to make inroads on my to-be-read pile, so I suppose that's good. 

Our university closed for those three days too. Since I had a paper due, I just had students turn that in through Google Classroom, and we've been working that way. 

We're getting a little stir crazy. I haven't even been able to go out for walks, because ice. I do make infrequent trips out to check the ice on the driveway. Walking on ice uses muscles I didn't know I had.

Anyway, here's hoping we can get out, at least to the Wal-Mart, at some point today.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Day Three of the Ice Storm

We're on day three of being totally iced in after this storm. 

Yesterday, I hauled the trash to the street (about a 100 yards away from the garage) and that was a Thing. The icy snow on the driveway had partially melted in the late morning, when the temperature reached about 33 degrees; and then froze again in the afternoon, which was in the high 20s. So a solid crust of ice onto of grainy snow. I would slide and then break through the ice and then slide again. And probably the trash truck won't make it up my road today anyway.

We're hoping for the ice to melt enough for us to get to the store this afternoon -- I was supposed to pick up my medication refill on Wednesday, when this all began. (I'm not out, but I'm low enough to get nervous.)

We still have bread and milk, but mostly because I made bagels. And we are totally out of cat treats, which is, according to our feline overlords, unacceptable.

Thursday, February 24, 2022


I don't know enough about the situation to comment on it, but I will comment that watching the far-right cheer for Putin is not surprising at all.

They never met a fascist whose boots they wouldn't lick.

Rod Dreher, of course, says it's all the fault of trans people. He'll lick the boots of anyone who makes him feel better about being an ignorant bigot, which honestly is not much better.

ETA: Apparently the "Putin invades Ukraine because of pronouns" is a Right-Wing talking point, not just some bullshit Rod thought up on his own:

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Weather Report

Every school in NW Arkansas, including mine, has shut down due to this massive sleet-and-ice storm. All the roads in the Fort are icy and undrivable. I need more coffee, but the cats are sleeping on my feet.

How's the weather there?

They're not Bigots

 It's just SCIECNE:

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Weather in the Anthropocene Part Deux

 Yesterday it was 72 degrees and humid. 

Big storm last night -- thunder and more than two inches of rain. 

This morning when I woke up it was 60 degrees and damp. 

Now it's 30 degrees, and so bitingly cold that my hands hurt twenty minutes after reaching my office. (I was wearing gloves!)

Tomorrow and Thursday? Sleet and snow.

Conservatives Reveal Their Plan

Honestly, y'all, this is pretty dispiriting.

I've never supported conservatives, but at least they used to be rational creatures -- or anyway they understood the need to appear rational. Now they're just going hard for the conspiracy/pizza-gate crowd. I guess they think following Trump's game-plan will let them back into office?

But this is just some bewildering crap.

"We're going to pretend race doesn't exist."

"We're going to indoctrinate your kids instead of educating them."

"Because those Leftists burned down all our cities, we're going to give more money to the police."

This one is an actual quotation:

The nuclear family is crucial to civilization, it is God’s design for humanity, and it must be protected and celebrated. To say otherwise is to deny science. 

It's SCIENCE, y'all.


Men and women are biologically different, “male and female He created them.” Modern technology has confirmed that abortion takes a human life. Facts are facts, to say otherwise is to deny science.

Honestly, someone needs to make these people take some actual science classes.

ETA: An apt comment:

ETA II: The Rude Pundit chimes in  

My Kid Burns Me on Twitter


Also it's true tho.

If you don't live on twitter, you might not have met up with Jeans and Jort yet. Start here.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Weather in the Anthropocene

Last night it was almost 70 degrees at midnight. I had to turn on the AC to sleep. On February 16.

Currently, it's 42 degrees. The temperature will drop all day, and tonight will be 20 degrees.

At least I'll be able to sleep. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Thread from the Parent of a Trans Kid


The entire thread is well worth reading. Starts here. 

The tweet about trans kids not having the language to describe themselves, and so assuming they are broken, really hit home for me. 

Monday, February 14, 2022

Not Wordle, Dordle

Here is another version of Wordle -- this one is called Dordle.

You're basically playing two games at once. It does interesting things to my brain.

Saturday, February 12, 2022

What I'm Reading Now

I'm still re-reading all of Angela Thirkell. She is one of the writers I read when I am sick and too fuzzy-headed to focus. 

(The others are Kage Baker, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Jo Walton. This isn't because these books are simple or only fit for fuzzy-headed people to read; it's because I've read them so often I know the plots by heart and can follow what's happening without effort. Also because I already own or have access via the library to all their books.)

Anyway, so what I've been reading lately is all of Angela Thirkell, plus a mystery series about a Texas police officer named Deb Ralston, written by Ann Wingate under the pen name of Lee Martin. This latter is not all that great, but again, good for reading when fuzzy.

I'm better now, so yesterday I read Stephen King's big fat novel Billy Summers, after seeing it praised on some book blog, I forget which, as being excellent. It's not terrible, but I wouldn't say excellent. It's about a hit man who only murders bad people. The hit man is literate and thoughtful, so I can see why the book blogger liked him, but the last fourth of the book should have been trimmed down to ten pages. Also, there's a rape victim who is "saved" and then redeemed by the hit man. Not my favorite trope.

But as with much of King's work, this one was compulsively readable. And only a little spooky shit.

I'm also reading for my Global Lit class -- I read the Whale Rider, which commenter Nicky suggested, and am adding it to the syllabus. It's a slim, excellent novel, set in New Zealand, and written by Witi Ihimaera, who is Maori. Highly recommended if you haven't read it yet. I'd seen the movie, but hadn't read the book.

What about all y'all? Reading anything good?

Friday, February 11, 2022

February in Arkansas

It is February 11 and the temperature at my house is 71 degrees.

It's a very nice day, mind you, pretty and breezing with a lot of sunshine. But winter was like six weeks long this year. 

I'm sure that's perfectly normal, though.

Saturday, February 05, 2022

Snow and Ice, Ice and Snow

 It warmed up to the high 30s yesterday, which was not enough to melt the ice and snow, but was warm enough for me to have a walk. I made my mile and a half without having to stop and consider fainting, so I think I am cured.

Most of the roads were clear, but there were patches of thick ice in the shadier spots. I did get my mail yesterday. No trash pickup. The sanitation website promises they will come tomorrow.

My walk was sunny and beautiful. All the trees were coated with ice and the sun lit that ice in sparkling brilliance. The snow was marked with the footprints of birds, rabbits, and squirrels. I also found the fox's trail -- I think it was the fox, since it led into the field where I think she lives.

Freezing weather tonight too, and tomorrow. It won't get reliably above freezing until midweek. We may venture out to the store tomorrow, because we are running out of food. (Especially milk, but not bread, because Dr. Skull is baking bread daily. His bread is amazing.)

Friday, February 04, 2022

Gonna need some ice for that

Honestly how I feel about it, though: 

I remember when I started teaching, I used to pretend to my (extremely intolerant) students that I did indeed believe their religious beliefs were real. Yes, there was a God. Yes, Jesus did indeed care whether we wear earrings or drank wine. 

Now I tolerate them, but when they raise their hands and insist, for instance, that there really truly was a flood that killed everything on earth except Noah, I just say, "Well, the evidence doesn't support that," and move on.

But that's the thing -- that tolerance is not returned. We're supposed to accept their deeply-held convictions as though they were reality. We're supposed to build laws and design public school curriculums and organize our culture in ways that validate their belief system. 

But that tolerance doesn't go two ways. If a student wants to wear a hijab, or avoid pork in their school lunches, this is an affront they cannot tolerate. If we discuss (as I discuss) flood myths as they appear in Gilgamesh and in Native American narratives, I'll have students complain to the dean or write nasty notes in my student evaluations, about how I'm "anti-Christian." And if our biology curriculum includes evolution, or an English class assigns a book in which trans people exist, why, this is pornography, and the entire educational system must be redesigned to keep such evil from ever happening again.

This is the paradox of tolerance. We must tolerate what they believe. They, because what they believe is absolutely correct -- they know it is, because their God says so -- they not only need not tolerate what they believe, but are allowed to do whatever they can to destroy us, our families, our schools, our culture, our lives.

It seems increasingly unlikely that we can continue to co-exist with cultures like these.

ETA: The original Twitter thread, in which Triller makes it clear that she expects everyone to respect and enforce her home culture / belief system, while she is free to denigrate, mock, and trample on the culture and beliefs of others. There is some pushback, but there are also many, many, many people cheering her on.

ETA II: Lest you think I am solely ascribing this attitude toward Christians, let me add that it is the insistence that everyone else tiptoe around their own particular belief system, while feeling utterly free to dismiss other people's beliefs and cultures, which annoys me. I recently had a student who believed in the healing power of crystals, and was furious when I would not accept her websites as credible sources. How very dare I insist she use academic criteria to choose her sources!

Thursday, February 03, 2022

Moar Snow!

We're supposed to get another inch at least tonight.

It's 27 degrees here. I went out to take the bins to the street (probably uselessly, since I can't believe the trash collectors will drive on these roads) and MY GOD it's cold.

Under the snow, great plates of ice cracked beneath my boots. Also, I saw foot prints of rabbits, birds, and the fox. The fox came by at about noon -- his coat is very thick and beautiful. He stopped to look at a bird near my porch, considered it, and then just trotted on.

It is snow!

 An ice storm last night, and snow today. It's supposed to snow all day. 

Classes have been cancelled, though I am still making my students turn in their papers which were due today. So far the papers are surprisingly good. I told them exactly what to do and provided a model, so maybe that's why?

Also I think these kids today are more literate than those in the past. Which makes sense, since they spend half their time writing -- sending texts, reading texts, posting conspiracy threads on twitter....

Anyway, I'm drinking coffee and watching the snow fall. A nice day.

ETA: I'm seeing notices of more power outages in Texas due to this storm. That's what happens when the GOP runs your state. We get power outages here, too, for the same reason. They're so common that nearly every house, including my little rental shack, has a fireplace, so that when your power goes out in the winter you don't freeze to death.

But people in Texas living in trailers clearly do not have that option. 

I've also noticed that houses built from say, 1990 to 2005, also don't have fireplaces. And the house we rented in 2002-2003 had a fireplace, but it was bricked up. Luckily we didn't lose power that year, though we did have a massive ice storm.

ETA II: Our roads:

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

900,000 dead so far

The US has the highest death rate from Covid-19 per capita in the developed world.

As TYWKIWBI notes, we know why this is.

And, as this paper notes, we are almost certainly underestimating the number of deaths due to Covid-19 in nearly every country. (Date on paper is June 2021.)

Summing up the excess mortality estimates across all countries in our dataset gives 4.0 million excess deaths. In contrast, summing up the official COVID-19 death counts gives 2.9 million deaths, corresponding to the global undercount ratio of 1.4. However, there is ample evidence that among the countries for which the all-cause mortality data are not available the undercount ratio is much higher (Watson et al., 2020Djaafara et al., 2021Watson et al., 2021Mwananyanda et al., 2021Koum Besson et al., 2021Leffler, 2021). Using a statistical model to predict the excess mortality in the rest of the world based on the existing data from our dataset, The Economist in May 2021 estimated 7–13 million excess deaths worldwide (The Economist, 2021), which was 2–4 times higher than the world’s official COVID-19 death count at the time (3.5 million).

And yet we still get militantly ignorant losers in this country cracking jokes about "a bad flu" and how the entire pandemic was invented to "control" Trump voters. 

I watched Contagion again last night -- it's free with my HBO trial. The weirdest thing about the movie is how few people are wearing masks. But everything else, even to the scam "cure" and the anti-vaxxers, is spot on.