Thursday, June 30, 2022

French Subjunctives

French irregular subjunctives are still making me nuts.

Maybe instead of buying the next Paladin book, I will buy a French grammar. 

Summer Pay

Because my Summer I class "made," which is to say it got the minimum number of students for me to get full pay for a summer class ($3700), my paycheck this month is very nearly like a real paycheck!

We get half the summer pay in June and half in July, minus various taxes, so next month will be a big check too.

What will I do with this bonanza? Pay medical bills! Go me!

I might also buy a few books. I've been reading T. Kingfisher's Paladin's series, which our library does not have. I could buy the next one of those.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

More Cat Pictures

My phone's photobank is 10% pictures of flowers and trees and 90% pictures of my cats:

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Indiana, 1955

 When my mother was in high school, in small town in Indiana in the 1950s, one of her friends was impregnated by another of her friends. 

(There were only ten or twelve people in her high school, so everyone was friends with everyone. This is how my mother told it, though you must remember my mother made friends everywhere she went.)

In 1955, of course, both birth control and abortion were illegal. A sixteen year old pregnant girl had few options. I've heard that the usual method was to send the child away for a year, after which she returned, without the child, and resumed her life. That's not what happened in this case.

In this case, the sixteen year old was not banished by her family. She stayed home (I suspect this was much more common than people now believe) and stayed pregnant.

The high school, however, expelled her. She was a bad influence, do you see, the evil, evil slut.

My mother never suffered injustice. She got all of her girlfriends (more than half of the high school) and stormed the principal's office. "You know who the father is," she said, and named him -- everyone did know, of course. I'll call him Fred here. "You're not expelling Fred. Why expel her?"

The principal could not expel Fred, who was one of the few college-bound students the high school had. (Everyone else was too poor to even think of higher education.) My mother staged a sit-in, though she didn't call it that. This was some years before sit-ins became common. She and her girlfriends refused to leave the principal's office until the expulsion was rescinded.

Which it was. The pregnant child married Fred, who ended up joining the military instead of going to college, since he had a family to support. Their marriage lasted decades, though it was never (I am reading between the lines here) all that happy, and ended, finally, in divorce.

That's the world the GOP wants for us and for our children. Our bodies, the criminal court has now made clear, do not belong to us. We are not citizens. We are property, and the state can use us as it pleases, quite against our will. 

Saturday, June 25, 2022

On the One Hand

 On the one hand, this is blackly amusing.

On the other hand, we want to remember that whatever conservatives are pretending to care about -- the "babies!!" previously, and now trans people -- that signals their next target.

The GOP can't fund-raise on how the evil liberals are killing precious ittle babies, though I expect they will continue to try to. (Vote for us, send us money, or else--!)

Now they will fund-raising on how the evil liberals are abusing babies by "chopping off" their breasts and forcing them to believe they're trans. Trans rights are their next targets, and the media is helping with that.


Friday, June 24, 2022

Roe V. Wade

Trump, who never won a popular vote, and was and is an incompetent, dishonest, corrupt hack, put three Justices on the Supreme Court.

That Court is busily dismantling the Civil Rights of all Americans, not just those slutty, slutty women.

I'm in black despair at the moment. I don't see how we fix the damage Trump voters have done, and are still doing, to this country.  

Also, I'll remind you, if you think the GOP is going to stop with stripping women of their rights, I've got news for you. Justice Thomas said it straight out in his opinion: Birth control, Marriage equality, and the right for adults to have whatever relationship they want, those are up next:

And if you think they're stopping there, think again. They're after trans rights, free speech, minimum wage, child labor, the right to a public education -- it's a long list. Look at what they're talking about on their blogs, in their podcasts, on FB. The end goal is stripping every American of any freedom to be anything except ignorant, desperate, impoverished wage slaves.

And giving them all guns, also, so that the rabble can think they have freedom.

I saw a survey not long ago that said 70% of Democrats wouldn't date a Trump supporter. Wouldn't date a Trump supporter. That's the shit conservatives are whining about. They can't get a date with someone whose rights they want to strip away.

Wait until they find out they too are living in this country, and their rights as well are going to be stripped away. They think waving that flag and having those ridiculous bumper stickers will save them. And my goodness will they be surprised when they find out otherwise.

Things that used to be unprotected rights not that long ago:

  • The right to wear whatever clothing you liked
  • The right of woman to have their own credit cards and bank accounts
  • The right to own property if you could afford to buy it
  • The right of to make medical decisions about your own body
  • The right of unrelated people to live in the same apartment
  • The right to have whatever sort of sex you wanted in the privacy of your own home
  • The right to rent a hotel room no matter your marital status, your gender, your race, or your religion
  • The right to eat in a restaurant no matter your marital status, your gender, your race, or your religion
  • The right to not have your child proselytized in public schools
  • The right for your child not to be forced to pray to a God they didn't worship
  • The right to a public school education 
  • The right to buy birth control
  • The right to educate another adult about birth control
  • The right to be paid for work you've done
  • The right to leave a job when you liked
  • The right to attend a college, a medical school, a law school even if you were the wrong race, the wrong sex, the wrong gender, or the wrong religion 
  • The right to not be beaten into a false confession by the police (I know, I know, but at least it used to be illegal, and you could, sometimes, maybe, have legal recourse)
  • The right to vote, no matter what color, race, gender, or religion you are, and no matter what your level of wealth or the amount of property you held

I know I've only hit on some of them. Apparently Trump supporters think they'll still have rights, no matter what happens to those dirty Democrats. Ha. You'll get all the rights your rulers will let you have, losers.

ETA add: See also this:

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Grumbling about the Gym

 (1) If you're going to hog the weights, lounging about on the benches between sets for six or seven minutes each time, please don't play your ridiculous positive thinking self-help book while you do that, without your earphones on, because that is an incitement to murder, you loser.

(2) If you are going to play your ridiculous positive thinking self-help book loud enough that I can't help listening to it while you're lounging on the bench of the weights I clearly want to use (I've been following you around the weights, loser), then don't stop playing it the minute your buddy comes in and start telling anti-liberal jokes at the top of your lungs.

(3) Especially when even your buddy clearly doesn't want to hear them.

Anyway, we've exercised, at least. Now I can deal with student essays and write something.

Saturday, June 18, 2022

French Subjunctive Irregular Verbs

 I have a 785 day streak in Duolingo French and I have just hit the subjective. Regular subjunctive I think have mastered, but irregular verbs? Yikes.

The grammatical explanation included with the lessons is not very helpful, may I add. Luckily I discovered Lawless French some time ago.

But I am actually learning French! Dr. Skull and I are listening to Jane Eyre while we drive to and from Fayetteville, and we've reached the part where Jane is acting as governess for Adele, who speaks only French, so that Jane and Adele have long conversations in French every few pages, and I can understand most of it. 

“Et cela doit signifier,” said she, “qu’il y aura là dedans un cadeau pour moi, et peut-être pour vous aussi, mademoiselle. Monsieur a parlé de vous: il m’a demandé le nom de ma gouvernante, et si elle n’était pas une petite personne, assez mince et un peu pâle. J’ai dit qu’oui: car c’est vrai, n’est-ce pas, mademoiselle?”

(My translation: "And that means," she said, "that there will be a present for me inside, and maybe for you, miss. Sir talked about you: he asked me the name of my governess, and if she wasn't a little person, skinny and a little pale. I said yes, because it's true, isn't it, miss?")

Thursday, June 16, 2022


 Have another look at my kid's new kitchen:

Do you see what's missing?

Kitchen drawers.

Who the hell designs a kitchen and leaves out kitchen drawers?

Matt Walsh, the Intellectually Dishonest Conman and Shoddy Scholar

 Here's a thorough examination of that transphobic piece of propaganda put out by Matt Walsh, which every conservative bigot is screeching with delight about.

I mean, we don't really need such a thorough study, because we know a pile of lying, hateful propaganda when we see it; and it will do no good at convincing the bigots that they're mistaken, since they could not care less about facts or evidence or what the truth is; but it's an interesting read, nonetheless.

A key point:

Debunking this stuff is easy. Men like Walsh, who portray themselves as defenders of Truth, Reason, and Science, do not actually to do the first things demanded by real scientific inquiry—namely to be humble rather than arrogant, to read widely, to fairly consider the opposing point of view, to put forward the strongest rather than the weakest version of the other side’s case, to question one’s own biases. They combine extreme ignorance with extreme arrogance, and while it is a cinch to demolish their talking points, it will be much harder to stop their social crusade.

See also this


Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Moving Day

Dr. Skull and the kid's Uncle Charger and I helped the kid and his boyfriend move into their new apartment.

It is a lovely apartment but I am dying now.

Moving is like childbirth, you forget how horrible it is until you have to do it again.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

My Cat Has Vocal Fry


 OMG is this one true:

Monday, June 13, 2022

And Another Thing about the Gym

 The gym we joined has a sauna. But really, who needs a sauna when they live in Arkansas? It's 100 degrees here today and a humidity of 65%. I can just go stand in the yard. 

Summer Again

Just four or five days ago I was musing to myself, "Wow, this is an unusually cool spring for Arkansas. I wonder if this weather will keep up all summer? Wouldn't that be great?"


Even with the air conditioning on, it was 80 degrees in my house at six o'clock yesterday evening. Four more months of this at least. UGH.

Sunday, June 12, 2022

Summer Teaching

 I'm teaching a single class this summer, Comp I, entirely online. 

Here are the things I like about it:

(1) It's online. I can teach it in my pajamas from my living room.

(2) Because it's a summer class, the enrollment is low. Also, it's my only class. There are 15 students in the class and I can focus on all of them. I can learn what's going on in their lives, and craft explanations for any individual who is having problems. This is something I would love to do always, but when I'm teaching 150 students (my usual load during fall and spring semesters) it's impossible. I end up focusing only on the really brilliant or the really challenging students.

(3) Because everything is online, no one has to try to read my abysmal handwriting. I can also go into much more detail when I'm commenting on their work.

(4) Also, with only 15 students, multiple drafts are feasible. (We only really learn to write through the multi-draft process. This is the hill I will die on.)

(5) The semester is only five weeks long. This means we have to laser-focus on getting things done -- no stretching out the work over months. A paper every week, each leading to the next paper, means no one forgets what our goal is.

Here are things I do not like about it:

(A) It's online. I can't see the students, usually. Without being able to see their faces, I don't know if I'm under-explaining or over-explaining. I don't know if they have questions. (They can ask, of course; there's a way to comment, or they can email me; but almost none of them actually will.) I can't assign impromptu in-class assignments when I can see they're not getting a point. Also, no class energy.

(B) It's summer, and many of my students are in the military. So they're doing military exercises, and while they think they'll be able to do that and my class, it seldom works out that way. Also, I always have at least one student who "has" to go on vacation during the five-week semester. They're only going to miss one week! They'll make up all the work! (See point 5 above.)

(C) Multiple drafts are feasible, but so much work. I do them anyway, because it is in fact the only way people learn to write, but ugh.

(D) The semester is only five weeks long. If someone has to spend a week doing military training or at the lake with their family, it's really hard for them to catch up. Or, say, if your part of the country has multiple massive storms, so that everyone loses power several times in the first week.

On the whole, though, I'm enjoying teaching this class. It's just the right amount of work, leaving me time for reading and writing my novel; and the extra money will certainly be helpful. 

Saturday, June 11, 2022

My Kid Comments on His Upbringing

 And it's pretty accurate!

my parents listened to such weird shit though i didn't hear anything other than anticapitalist protest songs and prog rock til i got online pretty much

The kid could sing this song when he was five


Tuesday, June 07, 2022

New Rules from the Right: No Trans Person Should Ever Be Allowed Access to Medical Care

Matt Walsh, whose ridiculous piece of faux intellectual anti-trans propaganda is making the bigots piss themselves with glee, posted this on Twitter:

Just in case you thought the bigots were being truthful when they kept squealing about the children, and how parents were abusing the children by helping them transition. ("Transition" for a kid under 18 means letting them wear the clothes they prefer, have the haircut they prefer, and be called by the name they prefer. That's it. That's all it is.)

Yeah, that was a lie, which I know we all knew. The thin edge of the wedge. They want every trans person either dead or locked up or miserable. That's their goal. Why? Well, bigotry and fear. 

See, if people can change categories -- stop being female, stop being (their notion of) black, stop being poor, stop being an immigrant -- well, how will they know who to despise and who to suck up to? Whose boots should they lick, and who can they stomp on and exploit? 

It's why they put so much energy into trying to keep black people powerless, not just from 1900-1950, but now. It's why they worked so hard --  in the early years of the 20th century and now -- to keep women from getting educated, getting good jobs, gaining bodily autonomy. It's why they spent the 1960s through the 1990s shrieking about gay men trying to rape children and destroy the American family and piling up wealth at the expense of decent, hardworking Americans. (Ironically, of course, it's strait cis men who do all those things. But as we know, the truth is not something conservatives are even vaguely interested in..)

Their world consists of categories, and those categories are binary: those whose boots they must lick, and those who they can gleefully abuse.

Hierarchy is their security blanket. Without it, they are lost and terrified.

I posted this on FB:

And my kid responded (I am clipping out his name):

We did not start getting therapy for him until he was in high school. He did not start on hormonal therapy until he was 21. He got top surgery only a few months ago, at the age of 23. The bigots would tell you he should not have been allowed to do any of that. Their terror and hatred should be more important than what he knows, what his therapist knows, and what his doctors know about him.

That's the world they want -- other adults must to conform to their narrow and willfully ignorant worldview because otherwise this imaginary world they had built up around their inferior and broken selves might not hold together, and they might have to face the world as it exists, unprotected by the lies they have put so much energy into believing.

It's only been in the past decade or so that these bigots have begun to let their true natures show. They could not take having Obama become president -- see, he got out of his place, he left the category of "inferior black man" which is one of their principle lies. They could not take it when most of the nation refused to lick the boots of Trump -- another category, superior rich white man. And they have absolutely lost their rag at having Biden and Harris defeat Trump. 

They would love to be attacking black people and gay people and Lesbians, but even they realize how that might make them look like they belong down in the underclass -- the poor, trashy white people that they despise as much they do any black or trans or immigrant person. So they have seized upon trans people, seeing them as a "safe" target. They can pretend they only care about the children.

Except now and then, when they accidentally spew out the truth.

But that's okay, because we always knew they were liars, not to mention great heaps of rotting shit.

And here's a bit of comfort: two-thirds of Americans disagree with them. So fuck their bigoted, cowardly, whiny little asses.


Rising Expenses

Gasoline at our "cheap" gas station (the cheapest one in town) is now $4.37/gallon. It's true the price of oil has risen, but it's not by any means at an historical high. (That was in June 2008.) I've heard that the current appalling price is gouging by the oil companies, and I am inclined to believe it. It's not like we can not buy gasoline, right? 

Same for the price of groceries. My local Wal-Mart has been raising prices steadily -- things that I bought three days ago for two dollars are now priced at $3.50. What are we going to do, not eat?

What are you doing to deal with this fucked up situation?

I'm driving slower and driving less, and I've quit buying "luxury" food, like carbonated water and fresh fish. We buy a whole chicken once in awhile, and use it in several meals. I'm eating more rice and legumes, and a lot less butter. We hardly ever eat out, but then we never have done that. But honestly, there's a limit to how much I can cut from my budget, which was already pretty frugal.  

I'm trying to remember what happened back in the 1970s, the other time prices shot up like this. I know my mother stopped buying sugar and coffee. I remember her switching to powdered milk as well. That shit was nasty. I don't eat much sugar or milk, but I'm not sure I can give up coffee.


Monday, June 06, 2022

And ANOTHER Good Thing

Another good thing about exercising is that, since we're out at dawn, we can do any shopping that needs to be done while it's still relatively cool outside and the stores aren't crowded.

And then we're done with all the chores by like 8:00 and I can have the rest of the day to work.

We swam today -- I think this is the first time I've gone swimming since I was about 26. I didn't forget how.


Friday, June 03, 2022

My Kid Does Art

 Watercolor on paper:

Life at the Gym

We've been working out at least four times a week at the gym for a month now. Time for an update!

(1) I like going to the gym at 8:00 better than at 5:00, which is doable during the summer. Come fall, when in-person classes resume, we may have to go back to 5:00.

(2) I do like getting the workout over before I start writing. On Sundays, the gym doesn't open until noon, so I write before we go, and ugh, I'm so logy. A quart of coffee helps, but 40 minutes of exercise before I start writing really clears the head.

(3) I like belonging to a gym. This is a surprise, since up to now I always scorned the notion. Why pay money to some gym when you can bike or walk or run for free on the streets? But having gym equipment available to me, and a gym to go to, and a climate-controlled space, makes exercise much more attractive.

(4) Also having a gym partner -- in this case, Dr. Skull -- really helps. On my own, I am sure I would find ways, and I know he would find ways, to skip gym "just this once," and then it would be two weeks without exercise, and ugh. But since we're both going, we make each other go.

(5) So far I am just doing weights and bicycling on the recumbent bike. Soon I might start swimming, though. This morning someone was on my weight machine. The nerve!

(6) Do I feel better with regular exercise? I think I do. We'll see in another month.

So far, the experience is 9/10. Recommended for those who have the $$ and the time.