Champagne

20 August 2017 10:14 pm
[syndicated profile] dailykitten_feed

Posted by Tom "The Kittenmaster" Cooper

Please join me in welcoming our latest Star Kit, Champagne. He is a 4 week old Tabby from Miami.

Champagne

We adopted Champagne and then we found out from the vet the other day that it’s a boy!!!

sovay: (Rotwang)
[personal profile] sovay
I am home from NecronomiCon Providence. I hope to write out a real con report before I forget the details, but not right now.

All panels present and correct, including the one I thought I moderated badly; I was asked after that one if I taught for a living (not for years and not in the sense they were asking) and my impostor syndrome was confused. I probably short-circuited my own reading, but again, I sold a copy of Ghost Signs (2014) afterward, so it cannot have been a disaster. All program items in which I was involved were a lot of fun, including the podcast on which I had not originally been scheduled to appear. The Lovecraftian erotica was amazing.

People kept handing me things. A lime-green rubber tentacle, a bandanna for the Lovecraft Readathon, a CD of Bohren & der Club of Gore's Black Earth (2002), a first edition of C.L. Moore's Doomsday Morning (1957), DVDs of The Bat (1959) with Vincent Price and Agnes Moorehead and The Lodger (1944) with Laird Cregar, a fictitious vintage program for the HPLHS' The Call of Cthulhu (2005 1927), Andrew M. Reichert's Weird Luck Tales: Monsters (2017). I got the souvenir book as part of being on programming, ditto the lapel pin with its emblem of the leaf-eyed pyramid like something out of Gravity Falls. I bought the Dwight Frye cards, the Lovecraftian postcards, the Miskatonic University T-shirt with an Art Nouveau design instead of the usual university seal, Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles' She Walks in Shadows (2015). I bought a birch-veneer screen print of two witch's cats by Liv Rainey-Smith as a present for my brother and his wife. I think I just picked up the fake vintage newspaper because of its headline "Has Science Gone Mad?!", but its supposed date is my birthday, forty-five years before I was born.

There was not enough seeing of people, but what there was was good. Late last night, I wrote three-quarters of a post on Penda's Fen (1974) that I did not manage to finish before having to check out this morning, so either I will finish it later tonight or I will sleep. Or both.

I am exhausted. Various parts of my body think I was trying to kill them and are now attempting to return the favor. It was worth the early mornings.

It was a camel!

20 August 2017 01:14 pm
rachelmanija: (It was a monkey!)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
This clip from CNN is well worth listening to.

It encapsulates both the jaw-dropping awfulness and bizarreness of the Orange Supremacist era, and the extent to which the mainstream media has gotten so appalled that they're dropping their usual false equivalency. I mean the old "both sides have a point," which works when both sides DO have a point, but does not when you're talking about Nazis vs. anti-Nazis or Cheetolini vs. human beings with empathy. Also, it made me laugh.

Yesterday post-rally [personal profile] hederahelix and I were discussing this.

"It's just so surreal," she said. "Hey... Is that a camel?"

I looked over. The U-haul next to us had a giant camel painted on the side.

Below the camel, as if in explanation of why a U-haul would be decorated with a giant camel, were a few lines of Wikipedia-esque notes on camels, something like "A camel is an even-toed ungulate within the genus Camelus, bearing distinctive fatty deposits known as "humps" on its back."

Not the response I was expecting...

20 August 2017 02:46 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
I texted a friend to say that we were planning to go to the Natural History Museum tomorrow to do their presentation on the eclipse, and you know what she said?

"What is the eclipse?"

...
batwrangler: Just for me. (Default)
[personal profile] batwrangler
I was looking up the details on making antivenin, like you do, when I found the above quote in a Popular Mechanics slide-show about the process: http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/g561/how-to-make-antivenom-why-the-world-is-running-out/?slide=1&thumbnails=
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
[personal profile] truepenny
Dear Senator Johnson:

I am very disturbed by your reaction to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, August 11-12. You made a statement condemning "hate and violence" initially, but since then, you seem determined to make everyone forget that the rally ever happened, that white men carrying Nazi flags, making Nazi salutes, and chanting Nazi slogans marched through an American city--and that a woman is dead because one of them thought he could get away with ramming his car into a crowd of counter-protesters in broad daylight.

What's even worse is your reaction to President Trump's appalling speech. You have said you "don't think" Trump is a racist, although you can't offer any reasons for that belief, and the most negative thing you have yet said about his speech is that "it didn't move us closer. It certainly didn't put the issue behind us."

Senator, it's not clear to me what you think the "issue" is.

You have not spoken out against the racism of the rally. You have not condemned the white nationalist principles of its organizers. You haven't even gone so far as to say that you are anti-fascist. This isn't hard, Senator. "Nazis are evil" is not a complicated or difficult concept. And yet it's one you don't seem to grasp.

You want us to "put the divisive issues off to the side" and "accentuate the positive." By which you mean, you want there to be no consequences of this Nazi terrorist action. You want those of us who are not white men to, once again, swallow the insult and injury offered to us because we are being "divisive" by pointing out that these alt-right Nazis want us dead and are demonstrably ready and willing to kill us themselves.

That's what the fuss is about, Senator. That's why some of us are so unreasonable as to not yet be ready to "put the issue behind us."

Moreover, your call for unity is alarming. I'm willing to extend you the benefit of the doubt--perhaps you genuinely don't know this--but the root of the word fascism, and the concept at the movement's core, is the fasces, the bundle of sticks that is stronger together than any one stick would be by itself. Fascists are all about unity, and when you call for "unity" in the wake of a fascist attack, and when it is clear that by "unity" what you mean is that non-whites and non-males need to sit down, shut up, and stop rocking the boat, I think a person is justified in wondering what you, yourself, think about fascism.

So that's my question to you, Senator. Are you pro- or anti-fascist? It's a very simple question, requiring only a one sentence answer.

I eagerly await your public response.



[ETA: I have emailed this letter to Senator Johnson, and will send a hard copy tomorrow. Plus I have sent a shortened version of this letter both to my tiny local paper and to the Capital Times.]

UBC: Schiff, The Witches [audio]

20 August 2017 08:53 am
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
[personal profile] truepenny
The Witches: Salem, 1692The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy Schiff

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


[library]

To get it out of the way, I hated the audio book reader. HATED. She sounded like a local TV news reporter doing a "human interest" story (smugly supercilious, like she finds it all too precious for words), and she had this way of pronouncing sixteen ninety-two that drove me UP THE WALL ("Sixteen ninedy-twoo" is the best rendering I can give; it made me understand why non-Americans can find American accents grating.) When quoting anyone's testimony, she over-emphasized and poured sincerity over the words like maple syrup over pancakes, making everyone sound like Gertrude, who doth protest too much. And The Witches is a VERY LONG book, so I was trapped with this woman's voice for a VERY LONG TIME. (I would have stopped, except that I sincerely wanted to hear the book, moreso than I wanted to get away from ther reader's voice, but it was sometimes a very close call.)

Okay. Aside from that.

This is really an excellent book on the Salem witchcraft-crisis. I don't agree with Schiff at all points (e.g., she's clearly following Breslaw in her assessment of Tituba's testimony, and I don't agree that that's the tipping point of the crisis), but she has done something that no one else writing on Salem has done, and it's something that needed doing. Schiff traces the relationships between the participants and she traces the history of those relationships back from the 1690s to the 1680s to the 1670s. Boyer and Nussbaum made a start at this sort of analysis in Salem:Possessed, but Schiff demonstrates how limited their analysis was, as she examines the web of relationships between afflicted persons, accused witches, judges, ministers, all the way up and down the social ladder from the indigent Sarah Good to the governor of the colony, Sir William Phips. This is a researcher's tour de force, and Schiff is a good, clear writer whose explanations are easy to follow, even when heard instead of read.

My biggest quibble with her is the same quibble I have with almost all scholars who write about Salem. She ends up making it sound like the entire thing was a series of nested frauds rather than the result of anyone's genuine belief in witches and witchcraft. I've talked about this in other reviews, how to a modern reader, it seems almost impossible that it could be anything but fraud and how hard-bordering-on-impossible it is for us to understand, much less enter into, the Puritan worldview, their sincere belief that they were at the center of the cosmic struggle between Go(o)d and (D)evil (sorry, can't resist the wordplay) and their sincere belief that the Devil was real and walking in New England. Puritanism was a culture that enshrined delusions of persecution/grandeur and in that culture witchcraft made sense in a literal way it doesn't in ours. And some of it was fraud. Some of the afflicted persons confessed as much. But fraud alone did not kill twenty-five people (19 were hanged, 1 pressed to death, 5 died in prison, 2 of them infants), and that's the weak spot in Schiff's otherwise excellent book.



View all my reviews
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
[personal profile] truepenny
In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS JeannetteIn the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


[library]

This was extremely entertaining, and taught me a great deal about the WACKED-OUT science of the late 19th century, with its paleocrystic seas and thermal gateways. It also provides excellent competence porn, as George De Long, his chief engineer George Melville, and the ship's doctor James Ambler were all insanely good at their jobs, and had plenty of opportunities to show it in the two years the U.S.S. Jeannette was trapped in the Arctic pack ice. (There's a fabulous piece of CSI: Jeannette as Dr. Ambler tracked down the cause of the lead poisoning that was slowly killing the crew.) 20 of the 33 members of the crew, including De Long, died in Siberia after exhibiting more epic heroism than should have been allowed to end in failure (but history, unlike fiction, does not care about your heroism), and the Jeannette's voyage remains eclipsed by the Erebus and the Terror

Trigger warning: aside from the ghastly deaths of De Long, Ambler, and most of the crew, horrible and cruel things happen to sled dogs, polar bears, and innumerable Arctic birds.

The audio book reader was competent and mostly a pleasure to listen to, except for his habit of raising the pitch of his voice when quoting women's writing and lowering the pitch of his voice when quoting men. This makes all the men sound excessively MANLY, and makes Emma De Long sound like a simpering idiot, when it's clear she was anything but.



View all my reviews

UBC: Reis, Damned Women

20 August 2017 07:51 am
truepenny: artist's rendering of Sidneyia inexpectans (Default)
[personal profile] truepenny
Damned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New EnglandDamned Women: Sinners and Witches in Puritan New England by Elizabeth Reis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I hate starting a review with "this book was meh," but . . . this book was meh.

Reis' thesis is that in seventeenth-century Puritan New England, when everyone was obsessed with scrutinizing their souls for signs of damnation or salvation, and when a central event in a person's life was likely to be their conversion testimony (you stand up in front of the church you want to join and tell the church members how you came to realize that (a) you were a sinful crawling worm and (b) God had chosen you to be among the Elect regardless), while men tended to say that their sinful actions corrupted their souls, women were much more likely to say that their corrupted souls led them to sinful actions. She talks about how this led (or might have led) to women's confessions of witchcraft--if you view sin as a continuum, and if your corrupted soul means you cannot deny that you are sinful at heart, then how can you be certain that you aren't a witch?

Reis proves her thesis, and it's a subject I'm quite interested in, but the book itself just . . . meh. It was a book. I read it. If you're researching the subject either of Puritan witchcraft or the experience of Puritan women, it's definitely worth reading. Otherwise, not so much.



View all my reviews

When I was a kid

20 August 2017 12:45 am
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Wise produced a variety of chips called Crazy Calypso. And they were delish. And then they went off the market :(

But! Later Wise produced an extremely similar flavor called Mambo Mania. These were also delish, and may have actually just been the first chips with a new name. Those too, alas, went off the market.

Since then, I've spent a ridiculous amount of energy trying to find a chip with a similar flavor profile, to no avail. But if anybody ever produces one, I'm going to stock up.

Nomnomnom.

***************************


Tribes hope for renewal in solar eclipse; not all will watch

How To Buy A Goat When You're Really Poor? Join A 'Merry-Go-Round'

How My Instagram Hacker Changed My Life

The Devil’s in the Details of These Dark Miniature Scenes

How one town learned to live with venomous rattlesnakes

The unlikely story of the undocumented attorneys fighting for the lives of their undocumented clients

Transgender Pakistanis Win Legal Victories, but Violence Goes On

Scorching heat, rolling blackouts: The West is changing how it does summer

Hospitals in Trump Country Suffer as Muslim Doctors Denied Visas to U.S.

What General Pershing Was Really Doing in the Philippines

The Company Behind Many Surprise Emergency Room Bills

Taking aim at China, India tightens power grid, telecoms rules

ISIS And The Middle East’s Vanishing Religious Minorities

How Syria continued to gas its people as the world looked on

Fentanyl linked to thousands of urban overdose deaths

Uganda struggles to cope as 1 million South Sudanese refugees pour in

In call to cancel debt, Cambodia asks: When war is over, who cleans up the mess?

Tracing The Dark Origins Of Charlottesville's KKK

Massive counterprotest upstages Boston "free speech rally"

Trump attacks Boston counter-protesters as 'anti-police agitators'

Trump's Racism Crisis Deepens Over His Barcelona Comments

Poem of the Day: Voyager

20 August 2017 12:00 am
[syndicated profile] poemoftheday_feed

Posted by Todd Hearon

We've packed our bags, we're set to fly

no one knows where, the maps won't do.

We're crossing the ocean's nihilistic blue

with an unborn infant's opal eye.



It has the clarity of earth and sky

seen from a spacecraft, once removed,

as through an amniotic lens, that groove-

lessness of space, the last star by.



We have set out to live and die

into the interstices of a new

nowhere to be or be returning to



(a little like an infant's airborne cry).

We've set our sights on nothing left to lose

and made of loss itself a lullaby.





Source: Poetry June 2008

Todd Hearon

Biography
More poems by this author

Cats Against Nazis

19 August 2017 01:58 pm
rachelmanija: (Heroes: support WGA)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
The rally was fine, though quite small. I imagine there would have been a much bigger turnout if the Nazis hadn't cancelled. One of my neighbors was there!

I went with [personal profile] hederahelix. We are now heading for Clementine.

Here I am with my sign and feline fellows in resistance.



conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
(And I swear, the next person to talk at me about "erasing history" is gonna sorely regret it.)

*****


What Kind of Monuments Does President Trump Value?

Where Statues Go to Retire

The Pernicious Myth of the ‘Loyal Slave’ Lives on in Confederate Memorials

Free Speech or Hate Speech? Civil Liberties Body ACLU Will No Longer Defend Gun-Carrying Protest Groups

Robert E. Lee's Direct Descendant Denounces Charlottesville White Nationalists: 'There's No Place For That Hate' (In this, he follows in his ancestor's footsteps. Lee himself made it clear he wanted no statues. They were put up after he wasn't around to protest anymore.)

The men in charge of all the branches of the US military have denounced racism and broken with President Trump's encouragement of racists.

The Charlottesville furor is the latest example of the chaos that can result from Trump’s temper and refusal to back down.

Charlottesville Police Refused to Protect Synagogue From Nazis, so Jewish Community Hired Armed Security for First Time

In Charlottesville aftermath, Europe sees widening divide with US

The Trickle-Up Theory Of White Nationalist Thought

What if Western media covered Charlottesville the same way it covers other nations

White Supremacist Who Boasted About Being 'Ready for Violence' Cries Over Possible Charlottesville Arrest Warrant (Boo-hoo-hoo.)

Weeping Nazi started off as a “men’s rights activist,” which is no huge surprise

As he coddles neo-Nazis, Trump’s political isolation increases

Fellow Republicans assail Trump after he defends Confederate monuments

He ‘Went Rogue’: President Trump’s Staff Stunned After Latest Charlottesville Remarks
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
(This always happens.)

I'll work my way up to it. I just get antsy thinking people will sneer.

(And now I'm thinking people will sneer because I didn't reciprocate. I can't win.)

On the plus side, my TBR list is full for at least a month. So thanks :)

****


Why It’s Better to Carry Weight on Your Head

The Newlyweds and their Baby Were America’s First Comic Book Family (1907) (These punchlines could come at the end of any modern hand-wringing about helicopter parents.)

Bacteria stab amoebae with micro-daggers

Britain's female wrestlers grapple with acceptance

When Astronomers Chased a Total Eclipse in a Concorde (I'm realizing now that I should've saved up these eclipse stories and then posted them all at once. Darn.)

Your City's 'Ghost Signs' Have Stories to Tell

Finding Somaliland's ancient cave art is hard. Protecting it could be harder.

Trump Administration Reverses Bottled Water Ban In National Parks

"What's 'smog' in Kazakh?" China language mix snags environment inspectors

The Surprisingly Important Role China Played in WWI

The real revolution in NKorea is rise of consumer culture

After brinkmanship, a diplomatic opening with North Korea

NASA's ambitious plan to save Earth from a supervolcano

Iconic Plague Images Are Often Not What They Seem

What Mormon Family Trees Tell Us About Cancer

As Confederate statues fall in U.S., Russians are erecting statues for dictator Stalin

Birds cut down by kite flying on Indian Independence Day

Britain 'confident' of new phase in Brexit talks by October

In Six Years the Number of Homeless Children in New York City Public Schools Jumped Nearly 50 Percent

Florida prisons — all of them — on lockdown

Sex Workers In Alaska Say Cops Are Abusing Their Power To Solicit Sex Acts

Think it’s hard for the white working class in rural America? Try being a person of color.

Despite Escaping To The U.S., These Brothers Are Still Terrorized By The MS-13 Gang

Bangladesh ramps up border patrols to deter fresh Rohingya inflow

Meet July, the Hottest Month Yet (In NYC it was actually cool and mild... which is exactly what was predicted would happen as the ice caps melt into the gulf stream, so you can't even enjoy it.)

The New Normal of U.S. Politics

U.S. forces to stay in Syria for decades, say militia allies

Sessions makes sweeping attack on Chicago’s sanctuary city policy

Trump Is Just Six Senate Votes Away From Impeachment

Trump's chief strategist Steve Bannon fired

Bannon, basically: Trump’s campaign was a fraud
umadoshi: (Yotsuba&! teddy bear (ohsnap_icons))
[personal profile] umadoshi
I meant to link this earlier, as the current event is only officially running for a few more days, but hey:


For ANY medium of fanwork (fic, art, vid, pod) & ANY fandom!

Interested? Check out our info and rules.
Our first round is 10 August - 24 August.

[dreamwidth.org profile] wip_amnesty is a new community that describes itself as "a place for you to leave the works you'll never finish". The user info (which has full details) also notes, "At the moment, we're running an event from 10 August to 24 August, but generally our comm is open indefinitely." [emphasis mine]

I should probably post at least one thing for this. I started out thinking about the Newsflesh psychic wolves AU, which I've been working on for a couple (a few) years now, off and on. I'd still really like to actually finish it, because there's a lot in there I like and think is worth writing, but OTOH if I cut it loose that's a lot of mental space that could potentially be regained. I don't know. :/

It was only within the last day or so that I thought about the X (TV anime)/Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle(/xxxHOLiC) fusion I've technically had on the go for, oh...thirteen years? Very off and on, as in with years passing between spurts of working on it?

IIRC the last time I really touched it was around when, and shortly after, I was working on the scripts for the shiny (oh, so shiny!) rerelease of X (no longer X/1999, thankfully) VIZ put out a couple of years ago. I think it's safe to say that story is never getting finished, and an event/comm. like [dreamwidth.org profile] wip_amnesty is probably the best reason I'm ever going to get to toss what does exist out there.

But with both of those WsIP, I feel more conflicted than I might if I wrote things straight through, start to finish--and there's a weird, uncomfortable dissonance between the fact that if I post never-to-be-finished WsIP in any form at all, it makes sense to think in terms of "well, someone might read them" and the fact that it seems ridiculous to think that anyone will.

If I wrote straight through, it'd be simpler. There'd be the first part of a story, however long it might be, and then it'd stop and that'd be it. But no, I write in chunks and fragments, with notes everywhere, and so anything I post that's incomplete is inherently full of holes and gaps, so at the very least, I'd want to add quick notes along the lines of "[{x} event/emotional progression happened here]".

(Absolutely any input/idle thoughts on this stuff welcome. I mean, thoughts/comments/etc. are always welcome on my posts, but...you know.)
carthaginians: ([b5] the thinker)
[personal profile] carthaginians posting in [community profile] poetry
they ask me to remember
but they want me to remember
their memories
and i keep on remembering
mine
umadoshi: (Jessica Jones 01 (bangparty))
[personal profile] umadoshi
--Such gross weather forecast for the weekend. (Mostly today.) [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose was going to go to the market this morning, but he slept later than intended and then got up and looked out the window, and NOPE. The amount of rain expected today isn't even that ridiculous, but it's dank and chilly and gray, etc. etc. etc.


--Last night I made it through the first three episodes of The Defenders, and might have made it further in that first stint if Iron Fist--excuse me, ~the immortal Iron Fist, as Danny insists on saying every damn time he introduces himself--weren't not only every bit as dull as expected but also a sullen charisma suck. Everyone suffers when he's on screen. The audience has to watch him; the other actors have to try to play off Finn Jones' "energy"; the other characters have to share air with him... If it weren't for Jess I might bail, honestly. But Jessica. (And Luke! And Trish!)

I want to love Colleen Wing on principle, but she's always with Danny, which...is not helpful.

Let's refer again to io9's helpful "Here's the Important Stuff That Happens in Iron Fist So You Don't Have to Watch It".

(I was just double checking Jones' name on IMDb and saw that The Defenders is only eight episodes. That seems awfully short for an MCU/Netflix property. But hey, that means I'm almost halfway through.)


--TBH a bit of me resents that Defenders is taking time I could be spending immersed in In Other Lands, but my mostly-"meh" feelings on the former don't change the fact that I don't have to worry about spoilers for the latter. Although now I'm reminded that I still have two episodes left in season 1 of Black Sails, after which I can (and yes, this is obvious) start in on season 2, where so many people start falling for it.

A lot of my mental energy is still hanging out with AGAHF, about which more later. (O_O)

ALSO, StarCraft Remastered is out, and I haven't even booted into my Windows partition to install it yet! But I really should.


--None of the above helps at all with the amount of work I need to get done between now and the end of September (and most of it by the third week of September, realistically), and there's other stuff happening between now and then too. [dreamwidth.org profile] seangaffney is visiting next week, and Hal-Con is next month, and and and...

Books read, early August

19 August 2017 06:20 am
mrissa: (Default)
[personal profile] mrissa

Originally published at Novel Gazing Redux. You can comment here or there.

Christopher Brown, Tropic of Kansas. Apparently two different professional reviewers described this as “the feel-bad book of the summer,” which makes me laugh and yet is not entirely wrong. (I enjoyed this book.) It’s an alternate America torn apart by climate change, a fascist government, the surveillance state, and…alternate. Yes. It is indeed alternate. But there are parts that make you wince, and the “ultimately hopeful” ending promised on the cover is a…conditionally hopeful ending. It’s the kind of hopeful ending that involves burning down institutions that need burning down. Which, depending on your personality, may be upsetting for you right now or just what you need.

Lois McMaster Bujold, Mira’s Last Dance. Kindle. This is the latest Penric novella, and I felt that it completed the arc of a previous story rather than standing on its own. It explores a bit more of what exactly it means to have all of Desdemona’s previous hosts living in Penric’s head with their own identities, but it’s at novella length, not novel, while juggling action and romance along with it, so while it seemed to me to be handled respectfully, there was plenty of room to go into more of it if she continues with this series.

Italo Calvino, Collection of Sand. This was a series of essays, all very short, very erudite, very much in the vein of, “Huh, wouldja lookit that.” If someone is not going to get intimidated by it being Calvino, it’s an ideal bathroom book, despite not being screamingly marketed as Italo Entertains You On the John or anything like that. Short attention span theater of letters.

Zen Cho, The Terracotta Bride. Kindle. Another novella, this one set in a Chinese-Malaysian hell with all the theological implications of same–with technological developments appropriate thereto, and interpersonal relationships the same. There’s a lot packed into novella length here, and I liked it.

George MacDonald Fraser, The Steel Bonnets. A history of the Scottish-English border and the wars and raids they had and the period when they settled down into not so much having them. This had been on my library list for awhile, and I thought, well, I’ll give the first few pages a chance and send it back rather than have it languish indefinitely on my list. Fraser doesn’t do what a modern historian would do with the topic, but he’s plenty engaging. I had had quite enough of the exploits of various clans and their scions by the time I was done, but it was a fast read for its size and worth the trouble of getting it from the library; I’m glad I tried it rather than thinking that anything that was on the list that long was clearly not a priority.

Seanan McGuire, Down Among the Sticks and Bones. A novella prequel to Every Heart a Doorway, and…I feel like it undermined that book weirdly. Every Heart a Doorway did the not-obvious thing, it did the “what happens after” thing. Down Among the Sticks and Bones gives you the portal fantasy that begins it all. Except that of all the fantasy worlds hinted at in Every Heart a Doorway, it picks the most obvious, least interesting one to portray–and only one–and then gives a backstory that makes the plot of EHaD feel…like it makes a lot less emotional sense to me. I don’t want to be more spoilerific than that, but people who have read both and would like to talk should email me about the experience.

Naomi Mitchison, The Fourth Pig. This is a collection of Mitchison’s retold fairy tales, done in the 1930s. It is fascinating in its own right, it’s fascinating if you’re passionately interested in the Great Depression (which I am), and it’s fascinating if you’re interested in retold fairy tales and want a look at what they looked like before Angela Carter got at them. I’m slowly working my way through Naomi Mitchison (she and Gerald Vizenor and Rebecca Solnit are the triumvirate of the moment that way–write me a joke where they walk into a bar) and I’m very very glad to have gotten to this one.

Rebecca Solnit, Savage Dreams: A Journey Into the Hidden Wars of the American West. And speaking of whom. This is not what I thought it was. It is mostly about nuclear testing. It is a bit about Yosemite and how we construct ideas of wilderness and other legends of The West. But it is really, really substantially about nuclear testing, which is something I mostly had focused on when it was interesting from a physics standpoint; what Solnit illuminated in some ways and could not illuminate in others, was not trying to, was the category of nuclear testing that occurs when the physics has been settled, and as a recovering physicist that had an extra-special horror. I think there are ways in which she made some stabs at understanding the physicists involved and got some part of the way there and some ways in which…eehhhh. I love me some W.H. Auden, too, but he is not a source of all models for everything in life maybe? I mean, maybe I’m wrong, maybe he is, but we can at least talk about this. “W.H. Auden handed me a dichotomy!” You’re allowed to hand it back I think. Uncle Wystan is dear and beloved, but so are your 6-year-old cousins, and some of the things they hand you can be deposited in the trash and your hand washed thoroughly after. I am still glad I read this. But I spent moments making faces of not-really-no.

Shannon Watters, Kat Leyh, Cary Pietsch, et al, Lumberjanes: Sink or Swim. What is better than Lumberjanes? Lumberjanes with a focus on water myths. Yes. For sure.

Poem of the Day: Persimmons

19 August 2017 12:00 am
[syndicated profile] poemoftheday_feed

Posted by Li-Young Lee

In sixth grade Mrs. Walker

slapped the back of my head

and made me stand in the corner

for not knowing the difference

between persimmon and precision.

How to choose



persimmons. This is precision.

Ripe ones are soft and brown-spotted.

Sniff the bottoms. The sweet one

will be fragrant. How to eat:

put the knife away, lay down newspaper.

Peel the skin tenderly, not to tear the meat.

Chew the skin, suck it,

and swallow. Now, eat

the meat of the fruit,

so sweet,

all of it, to the heart.



Donna undresses, her stomach is white.

In the yard, dewy and shivering

with crickets, we lie naked,

face-up, face-down.

I teach her Chinese.

Crickets: chiu chiu. Dew: I’ve forgotten.

Naked:   I’ve forgotten.

Ni, wo:   you and me.

I part her legs,

remember to tell her

she is beautiful as the moon.



Other words

that got me into trouble were

fight and fright, wren and yarn.

Fight was what I did when I was frightened,

Fright was what I felt when I was fighting.

Wrens are small, plain birds,

yarn is what one knits with.

Wrens are soft as yarn.

My mother made birds out of yarn.

I loved to watch her tie the stuff;

a bird, a rabbit, a wee man.



Mrs. Walker brought a persimmon to class

and cut it up

so everyone could taste

a Chinese apple. Knowing

it wasn’t ripe or sweet, I didn’t eat

but watched the other faces.



My mother said every persimmon has a sun

inside, something golden, glowing,

warm as my face.



Once, in the cellar, I found two wrapped in newspaper,

forgotten and not yet ripe.

I took them and set both on my bedroom windowsill,

where each morning a cardinal

sang, The sun, the sun.



Finally understanding

he was going blind,

my father sat up all one night

waiting for a song, a ghost.

I gave him the persimmons,

swelled, heavy as sadness,

and sweet as love.



This year, in the muddy lighting

of my parents’ cellar, I rummage, looking

for something I lost.

My father sits on the tired, wooden stairs,

black cane between his knees,

hand over hand, gripping the handle.

He’s so happy that I’ve come home.

I ask how his eyes are, a stupid question.

All gone, he answers.



Under some blankets, I find a box.

Inside the box I find three scrolls.

I sit beside him and untie

three paintings by my father:

Hibiscus leaf and a white flower.

Two cats preening.

Two persimmons, so full they want to drop from the cloth.



He raises both hands to touch the cloth,

asks, Which is this?



This is persimmons, Father.



Oh, the feel of the wolftail on the silk,

the strength, the tense

precision in the wrist.

I painted them hundreds of times

eyes closed. These I painted blind.

Some things never leave a person:

scent of the hair of one you love,

the texture of persimmons,

in your palm, the ripe weight.







Li-Young Lee, “Persimmons” from Rose. Copyright © 1986 by Li-Young Lee. Reprinted with the permission of BOA Editions Ltd., www.boaeditions.org.

Source: Rose(BOA Editions Ltd., 1986)

Li-Young Lee

Biography
More poems by this author

Hymns by Sherman Alexie

18 August 2017 07:24 pm
taiga13: Raylan Givens from Justified (Justified)
[personal profile] taiga13 posting in [community profile] poetry
Published August 16, 2017 in response to recent events in the United States

Why do we measure people's capacity
To love by how well they love their progeny?

That kind of love is easy. Encoded.
Any lion can be devoted

To its cubs. Any insect, be it prey
Or predator, worships its own DNA.

Like the wolf, elephant, bear, and bees,
We humans are programmed to love what we conceive... )

Leo

18 August 2017 09:16 pm
[syndicated profile] dailykitten_feed

Posted by Tom "The Kittenmaster" Cooper

Please join me in welcoming our newest Star Kit, Leo. He is an 8 week old Maine Coon from Detroit, Michigan.

Leo

Little Leo was rescued from high up in a pine tree in a town called Leonard at 7 weeks old. He had no home and was adopted by his current owner.

Leo

He is friendly and sweet to everyone he meets, and his energy embodies that of a little lion.

Leo

sovay: (Otachi: Pacific Rim)
[personal profile] sovay
This is not even an interim con report, because I slept approximately an hour before my panel on lycanthropy at nine this morning and I have spent most of the afternoon either at other people's readings or mooching around the dealer's rooms (I have three beautiful postcards by Darrell Tutchton and a half-pack of Dwight Frye character cards that I bought from the aptly monikered Mike Hunchback) and in slightly less than an hour I have to moderate a panel on the Lovecraftian erotic, but as we were passing through the lobby of the Biltmore Hotel I spied a flatscreen TV with the sound off and the text crawl at the bottom of the screen confirmed that Bannon is out of the White House, so I'm sure all sorts of unpleasantness will spin off that with his Breitbart base—roll on the globalist conspiracies—but at the moment it feels like genuinely good news out of our government and it's been a long time since that happened. Oh, and earlier today I was handed a translucent lime-green plastic tentacle, so I have been carrying it around in my coat like a reasonable person: in other words, there is a tentacle in my pocket, but I'm still happy to see you. So far, NecronomiCon, so good.

Vacation in 3-2-1

18 August 2017 08:37 am
oracne: turtle (Default)
[personal profile] oracne
As of 5:00 pm Eastern Time, I will be on vacation for a week.

Last night, instead of gym, I did this week's laundry so when I come back with a suitcase full of dirty laundry, I will...have more laundry. But new laundry, not old laundry.

I think I'm finished packing, as well. My big suitcase has everything from my clothes to my laptop; hopefully, I can get it down all the stairs without trouble. I suppose I could move the laptop and such into a knapsack if I had to.

A break will be good.
umadoshi: (Tutu/ItW "charm for a prince" (bookelfe))
[personal profile] umadoshi
There are only four days left in Sparkler Magazine's Year 5 Kickstarter, and at this point they're still only about halfway to the goal. Please do check it out if you haven't, if the thought of a wide variety of female gaze-centered comics and prose appeals to you. There's a ton of info on the Kickstarter page, including a link to a starter bundle you can download for free.


Fannish/Geeky Things

"Michael Sheen, David Tennant to Star in Neil Gaiman’s ‘Good Omens’ at Amazon". Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens, people, FFS. >.<

"Dream Daddy, a Queer Dating Sim, Might Be the Gaming Miracle of the Year". (I haven't played the game; please don't comment with spoilers.)

"Suits season 7 finale will be a backdoor pilot for Gina Torres spin-off".

"N.K. Jemisin’s ‘The Fifth Season’ Book To Be Developed As TV Series At TNT".


Social Justice

Great Twitter thread by [twitter.com profile] SmartAssJen, beginning with "To my 'good' white folks scared to speak out about race: no, you won't be 'perfect', you will stumble, but silence is complicity. Speak up."

"Fat-Positive Activists Explain What It's Really Like to Be Fat: Here's how you can be an ally".

"The Recent History of Fat Stigma".

At The Establishment:

--"How To Stop, Drop, And Roll In Mental Crisis".

--"Young Adult Fiction Writers Are (Finally) Ready To Talk About Sex". [January 2016]

--"Your Global Mansplaining Dictionary In 34 Languages".

--"What Happens When Your Biggest Fear Is Something Inevitable?" [Sarah Kurchak] "Sarah, I know your parents are wonderful people, but maybe you can help me understand this,” my therapist asked during a session that happened at some point after the death of my grandmother and the loss of my childhood home but before the death of my dog and the notification that my building’s owners have applied for a demolition permit. “Why did they feel the need to explain the impermanence of the universe to you at such a young age?”"


Miscellaneous

"As a female sex worker, I'd like to propose my own Google-style gender equality manifesto".

"IKEA Releases Instructions How To Make ‘Game Of Thrones’ Cape After Costumer Reveals Actors Wore IKEA Rugs".

"This Brazilian Tattoo Artist Is Horrible At Drawing, But People Still Pay Her To Get Inked".

"Philly company digitizes 25,000 old records and they're free to download".

"Being the Crazy Friend, 101". [Mishell Baker] ["Content warning: blunt descriptions of negative emotions and disturbed thoughts."]

"Story Time: 10 Times Our Favorite Authors Told the Best Stories on Twitter". [Book Riot] (Includes both Seanan McGuire's story about the guy with the lizard in his leg and Ryan North's live tweets when he got stuck in a hole, as is only right and proper.)

"Monkeys, Mermaids and the Evil Eye. Medieval Stone Sculpture at Kilkea Castle and Graveyard". [Pilgrimage In Medieval Ireland]

Via [dreamwidth.org profile] dine, "Forget Tough Passwords: New Guidelines Make It Simple". [NPR] And via [dreamwidth.org profile] hannah, xkcd's take.

Rhodes and Lee

18 August 2017 07:24 am
steepholm: (Default)
[personal profile] steepholm
Last year I spent some time on Facebook arguing with people who thought that the "Rhodes must fall" campaign was wrongheaded because it was erasing history.

I suggested that putting a statue up to someone was generally (and in this case undoubtedly) not intended as a dispassionate recording of the fact that such-and-such had occurred, but rather a celebration of that person's life and deeds. In this case, the statue of Rhodes marks the approbation of the Oxford college he had endowed with some of his very ill-gotten African spoils.

True, came the reply, but that approbation is itself a historical artefact, and to take down the statue is to erase it. Well then, why not put it in a museum, along with the other historical artefacts, and stick a label on it detailing exactly how Rhodes came by the money to endow colleges and scholarships? Why keep it in a place of honour, thus perpetuating the honour done to Rhodes?

Of course, taking down a statue can never be more than a symbolic act, any more than raising it, or indeed keeping it. Symbolism is the currency of statues. To try and pretend that they are naturally evolve into some kind of historical resource is profoundly disingenuous. (In the case of Rhodes, I don't think anyone tried to argue that the statue was a thing of beauty, but aesthetic arguments fall into much the same category.) Museums and art galleries are themselves far from politics-free zones, obviously, but at least they make some overt attempt to defuse and reframe such things as historical and/or aesthetic objects rather than direct political statements.

In the end, Rhodes stayed of course, because Rhodes's successors (the college's current donors) threatened to withdraw funding if it was removed. ("Now I see, I see, / In Fulvia's death, how mine received shall be," as they put it.) As ever, money shouts.

Anyway, I was just wondering to myself how the people I was arguing with on FB last year (nice liberal types, every one) feel about Trump making exactly the same arguments this week? Were they nodding along? If not, why not?

As a tangential postscript, I gave my friend Haruka a lift to Brighton yesterday (I was helping my daughter move some of her things back to Bristol), and we stopped in at my mother's for a cup of tea en route. Haruka took this picture of my mother. It was only after five minutes that I noticed that it also includes her care assistant, Haawa. Talk about hidden black history!

IMG_3680

Can you spot her, readers?
[syndicated profile] poemoftheday_feed

Posted by Gary Snyder

Down valley a smoke haze

Three days heat, after five days rain   

Pitch glows on the fir-cones

Across rocks and meadows

Swarms of new flies.



I cannot remember things I once read   

A few friends, but they are in cities.   

Drinking cold snow-water from a tin cup   

Looking down for miles

Through high still air.



Gary Snyder, “Mid-August at Sourdough Mountain Lookout” from Riprap and Cold Mountain Poems. Copyright © 2003 by Gary Snyder. Reprinted by permission of Counterpoint Press.

Source: No Nature: New and Selected Poems(1992)

Gary Snyder

Biography
More poems by this author

Jesus of the ...

17 August 2017 10:54 pm
asakiyume: (far horizon)
[personal profile] asakiyume
This font for holy water was in a model seventeenth-century Acadian house on the grounds of a historic gardens in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.

If you click through and look at Jesus up close, doesn't he seem strange? Otherworldly in an unexpected way, as if the painter had a vision of Jesus of the fishes, or Jesus as a curl of smoke, or Jesus whose body is a shroud, about to be lifted away.

Holy water

Linkspam Confronts Hates At Home

17 August 2017 09:16 pm
jjhunter: silhouetted woman by winding black road; blank ink tinted with green-blue background (silhouetted JJ by winding road)
[personal profile] jjhunter
Alex Schiffer @ Washington Post: Teen tackled by bystanders after vandalizing Boston Holocaust memorial
It was the second act of vandalism in less than three months at the site, located in Carmen Park near historic Faneuil Hall.

Steve LeBlanc @ US News: Gov. Baker Signs Resolution Denouncing White Nationalism
BOSTON (AP) — Republican Gov. Charlie Baker joined with Democratic leaders to sign a resolution Thursday denouncing neo-Nazism and white nationalism.


ETA: Combined Jewish Philanthropies (CJP): Donate to the New England Holocaust Memorial
Read more... )
kate_nepveu: sleeping cat carved in brown wood (Default)
[personal profile] kate_nepveu
Who gets to read "Riddles in the Dark" when reading The Hobbit out loud. =>

(I thought I was all set to read it to the Pip, since Chad got to read it to SteelyKid! But, foolishly, since chapter 3 is pretty short, I let the Pip talk me into just a little of chapter four last night . . . without checking how much of chapter 4 was left, or asking Chad to save chapter 5 for me.)

(Last time I read even-numbered chapters through chapter 12, then Chad read chapters 13 & 14 together, so I did odd-numbered from fifteen on; which, to be fair, now that we're back on me doing even-numbered, means I get to do the spiders and Smaug again, which were great fun. Still! "Riddles in the Dark"!)
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
This is factually untrue - I just finished a new book yesterday - but it does feel that way.

Recommend something to me! Especially nonfiction - I really don't read much of that, so I can promise that I'll never have read whatever you recommend! (Whereas if you recommend anything kidlit or YA there's better than even odds that I've read it.)

Later I'll post up my own list of random recommendations for everybody, but right now I really must dash.
umadoshi: (nonfictional feeling (oraclegreen))
[personal profile] umadoshi
(I tried to make this post more cohesive than it is. I really did! Pretend it worked?)

At last, I know what a childhood of X-Men reading prepared me for: coping with the severe cognitive dissonance when different components of/perspectives on a fictional world are staggeringly different from each other in tone.

Except that, where X-Men (and similar) comics have passed through countless creative teams over several decades (and are a big enough thing to have all kinds of quirky sideline projects), in this case, said staggeringly-different aspects are written by the same person.

I'm now mostly caught up on K.B. Spangler's work in the A Girl and Her Fed (AGAHF) universe, which consists of the ongoing A Girl and Her Fed webcomic and five novels (so far), one of which is Not Like The Others. Oh, and the first of a planned series of novellas cheerfully (and accurately) codenamed "Joshsmut".

I came at this world...out of order, I guess, in that I started with the novels. I'd heard of the AGAHF comic and had been meaning to read it, but I do better with novels...and I didn't really realize how intertwined the projects are. Here's an io9 review of Digital Divide, the first Rachel Peng novel. (Four of the five novels currently available focus on Rachel.)

(Note: I'd heard of A Girl and Her Fed off and on for at least a few years, and had it on my to-read list before I mentally connected it to the Rachel books, but I never really looked into what it is...even though I always tripped, and still trip, over the title because I always parse it wrong. My instinct is still to read the "fed" as a conjugation of "feed", not as "federal agent", which makes no sense at all. How am I STILL DOING THAT?)

So Rachel was my gateway. Rachel as we meet her is a smart, driven, ex-military federal employee who's working as the liaison between the D.C. police force and her own federal agency, OACET, which is made up entirely of a large group of cyborgs. More specifically, a large group of cyborgs created in a catastrophically flawed project that took some of the best and brightest young civil servants from across the federal government, put chips in their heads, and left them collectively traumatized and disturbingly overpowered.

Emphasis on the "collectively". The (functionally nonexistent) "So You're A Cyborg" manual didn't have a chapter for "Welcome to Your New Hivemind! (Please stop screaming! Everyone can hear you!)"

Rachel's books start several years after all that, and several months after she's joined the above-mentioned police force, for the express purpose of helping to ease the public into the idea that Cyborgs Are People Too!, and super-useful to boot! And guys, I love Rachel dearly, so she was a great gateway for me. I kept going with her books until I discovered that the sole (so far) Hope Blackwell novel is set before Rachel's fourth book, so I opted to both read that book and finally backtrack to read AGAHF...

And it turns out that my X-Men experience is only barely up to this whole experience. cut for length; there's about as much text under here as there is above )

Two things of note:

1) Spangler is in the process of redrawing the first chunk of AGAHF. I don't know when she started doing that, or how quickly it's progressing, but the result is that the first 90-100 strips or so have been redrawn (each one linking to its original version) and have had some dialogue tightened and some plot holes smoothed out, but then you run out of redrawn art and get dropped into the original art style for a while, and it's...well, it's pretty jarring. (Here is the current/redrawn first comic; here is the original version. So you see.)

2) I'm not great at picking up things that call for content notes/warnings, unless they're pretty obvious. But one thing that bothered me, and recurred often enough that I feel like I ought to mention it, is the frequent use of "psychopath" (plus some instances of "sociopath") as a descriptor. briefly expanding on that; not very spoilery )

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