Robert H. Lustig, The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and BrainsRead more... )

Richard S. Dunn, A Tale of Two Plantations: Slave Life and Labor in Jamaica and VirginiaRead more... )

Links Post

  • Aug. 18th, 2017 at 10:19 AM
The Atlantic: Annie Dillard's Classic Essay: 'Total Eclipse' "Seeing a partial eclipse bears the same relation to seeing a total eclipse as kissing a man does to marrying him."

Reading that sentence is what convinced me to ignore this eclipse altogether. It's only going to be a 65% partial eclipse in Los Angeles, so why bother? To tell the truth, I'm more worried about our electricity going out. Apparently, we're supposed to shut off everything during the eclipse?

Longreads: Pregnant, Then Ruptured. After an emergency operation, Joanna Petrone considers the medical advances and legal protections that allow women to survive ectopic pregnancies.

More links under the cuts.
POLITICS )
NOT Politics )

Have a kitty picture.

3 kittens

Literally as I was about to post

  • Aug. 18th, 2017 at 6:12 PM
to ask whether any kindly person was running www.hasstevebannonbeenfiredyet.com:

The Independent: Steve Bannon: Trump 'decides to remove chief strategist' from White House role
CBS live updates (warning: autoplays stuff)

"A person close to Bannon" said it was TOTALLY HIS IDEA Y'ALL, IT'S ALL PART OF HIS MASTER PLAN DON'T YOU SEE.

ETA: Recommended: http://plaidadder.tumblr.com/post/164338863264/goodbye-steve-bannon-you-were-fired-too-late
http://plaidadder.tumblr.com/post/164340936634/how-is-this-playing-in-breitbartville-not-well

faith is both the prison and the open hand

  • Aug. 18th, 2017 at 11:27 AM
So maybe there finally is an Obi-Wan Kenobi movie in the pipeline. Ewan McGregor's been pretty vocal about wanting to do one and he's the right age for something set smack dab in the middle of Obi-Wan's sad desert hermit years, which is what I'm guessing they'll do. The comics have been delving into that time a bit, and I would love to see either a noir or an elegiac western (or a noir western!) featuring him fighting Hutts and bounty hunters while watching over Luke (who wouldn't be present onscreen) from afar.

And Disney's already got Rosario Dawson in all the Marvel Netflix shows, so slap some head tails on her and have Ahsoka show up, and maybe Bail Organa as well. (I mean, I would ALSO be super into them retconning Satine's death if it meant we could get Cate Blanchett showing up as Satine. Or I guess they could cast Katee Sackhoff as Bo-Katan for live action too.)

I feel like the only way I'd be interested in a young, non-Ewan Obi-Wan movie is if they give us the story of his year on the run with Satine, but then they'd have to actually make all that Mandalorian stuff make sense, and I'm not sure that 1. it does or could, and 2. that I care about anything except their angsty teen romance. It would mean bringing Liam Neeson back, which I'm not sure they'd do either. It would also require finding a young actor who could pull it off which could be difficult. Otoh, there's Tom Holland? He could maybe? idk.

And in conclusion, I think sad desert hermit Obi-Wan fighting Hutts and gangsters is the way to go.

***

Assorted Charlottesville resource links

  • Aug. 18th, 2017 at 4:19 PM
Thanks to folks at [community profile] thisfinecrew for links, and links that led to other links among the following:

Solidarity Cville: Donate -- suggestions and links for local groups to support

Indivisble: Stand in Solidarity with Charlottesville - Find an Event

The Nation: Here’s What You Can Do After Charlottesville

Indivisible: Are Your Members of Congress Doing Enough to Respond to the Charlottesville Terrorist Attack? -- though this is several days old and therefore lacks a script for HOLY FUCK THE PRESIDENT IS DEFENDING NEO-NAZIS (EVEN MORE) WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO?

SPLC releases new edition of Ten Ways to Fight Hate guide after Charlottesville attack

Politico: GOP chairmen resist hearings on white supremacy

They don't want it. Demand it.

[tumblr.com profile] plaidadder: Three Democratic members of the House have introduced a censure resolution.

You can read the text here.

Censure is a formal reprimand. It is not legally binding, but it is rare, and Sends a Message. MoveOn.org originally organized around a campaign to get Congress to censure Clinton instead of impeaching him.

This may be an attempt to accomplish something less difficult than impeachment; or it may be a trial run to see how many Republicans are ready to jump from the Trump Train.


ETA: Politico: Pelosi endorses censure of Trump over Charlottesville response -- apparently at least 79 Democrats have signed.

Not directly Charlottesville-related, but interesting and could be worth asking your reps to support:

H.R.1987 - Oversight Commission on Presidential Capacity Act

To steal Wikipedia's explanation: "This bill would replace the Cabinet as the body that, together with the Vice President, determines whether Section 4 should be invoked. Under the bill, an eleven-member commission would conduct an examination of the President when directed to do so by a concurrent resolution of the Congress."

(Which, basically, shifts the power to forcibly 25th-Amendment the President back towards Congress to a greater degree, as opposed to depending entirely on the Cabinet which that President apppointed.)
I just finished The Entropy Effect by Vonda McIntyre and it is one of the best Star Trek books I've ever read.

I've read more enjoyable ones. In terms of sheer enjoyment levels, Vulcan's Heart probably still comes out on top, but Vulcan's Heart has Spock/Saavik, pon farr, Romulans, Tasha Yar, and Sarek. I cannot be objective about that book because it is plugged directly into my id. The Entropy Effect is better written. This is hardly surprising given that McIntyre won a Hugo a few years before she penned it. Clearly the woman knows her craft. But I was frankly disappointed in Enterprise: The First Adventure and didn't know what to expect with The Entropy Effect. Having read it, I suspect that McIntyre may have phoned it in a bit with The First Adventure. Entropy Effect feels more polished, and more...weighty. In a good way.

Also, the cover art with a mustachioed, long-haired Sulu is a sight to see.

So now I'm reading Vulcan's Soul, which is a trilogy written by Josepha Sherman and Susan Shwartz, the same authors who wrote Vulcan's Heart. The Vulcan's Forge/Heart/Soul books is basically the canon of the Spock/Saavik fandom, which is a tiny little corner of fandom that I'm inordinately fond of despite not being especially active in it.

I'm meh on Vulcan's Forge, love Vulcan's Heart for the aforementioned reasons, and don't yet know how I feel about Vulcan's Soul. Based on the first little bit, I suspect I'm going to land closer to Forge than Heart, but we'll see.

Tags:

Having names for things is so nice. I used to think, "I need to remember to bring something in case my anxiety spikes" and now I just add to the packing list, "emotional first aid".

In my case, this is usually a book or three, a journal, peppermint oil, and my ear buds so that I can listen to ASMR videos and soothing music on my phone.

That's the travel pack. At home, it also includes the heating pad, and hot showers.

What, dear DW, is in your emotional first aid kit?

hope for an answer some day

  • Aug. 17th, 2017 at 1:00 PM
TNT has optioned N.K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season! Which is great news!

I have questions though, because I can't imagine it being an easy novel to adapt. spoilers )

It'll be interesting TV regardless, I bet.

***
Either my internet access is really bad or something is wrong with DW; either way, apologies for the lack of cuts.

Ron Formisano, American Oligarchy: The Permanent Political Class: This cri de coeur about corruption has a lot of outrage, but it’s short on definitions and thus on solutions. At times, Formisano suggests that anyone with a state, local, or federal government job is part of the oligarchy, as well as doctors, people in positions of authority at nonprofits, think tanks, and businesses. There is a lot of corruption in the US; the chapter about the abuses in Kentucky, where poverty, pollution, child mortality, and other indicators of suffering are extremely high, should make anyone angry. I understand getting mad at nonprofit CEOs who are compensated like for-profit CEOs—but the problem is not the parity (I don’t like the argument that “you chose a helping profession, you should accept less pay because of how good it feels to do good”; not only is it a trope usually used to justify paying female-dominated professions less, it positions doing good as something you ought to have to pay for, when really you ought to have to pay for acting solely in your own self-interest) but the fact that anybody can get paid as much as for-profit CEOs do, with so little tax. It is appalling that CEOs of nonprofit hospitals are paid hundreds of millions while the hospitals garnish the wages of poor patients who can’t pay—but that is true of for-profit hospitals too.

Formisano also points out that our federal legislators get perks that let them live like millionaires even when (as is increasingly unlikely) they aren’t; during the 2013 government shutdown, Congresspeople stopped National Airport from closing because it served them and also deemed their own gyms and pools “essential” enough to stay open, though the workers there still didn’t make very much. These privileges, he suggests, corrupt even the people who moved up in class, so that a visionary leader at Brown University speaks eloquently about admitting more students from poor backgrounds but also doesn’t want to interfere with alumni preferences because she has a granddaughter. The elites funnel money to themselves and their families by self-dealing, whether in government (remember Kim Davis?), nonprofits, or business. Disgrace, if exposure occurs, is ameliorated by a soft landing—a pension, positions on other boards, and soft words from one’s co-elites. Even nonprofits are in on the game, and they increasingly replace grassroots activism with palatable-to-elites causes that are organized from the top.

Formisano quotes Robert Borosage’s criticism of liberal focus on “opportunity” instead of equity or punishment for elite cheaters as “passive voice populism,” to good effect. Defunding tax collection is just another mechanism of harm—creating more loopholes for cheaters, who are subsidized by ordinary wage workers whose taxes are collected automatically. Though it’s relatively easy to cherry-pick from history, this John Adams quote seemed apposite: “civil, military, political and hierarchical Despotism, have all grown out of the natural Aristocracy of ‘Virtue and Talents.’ We, to be sure, are far remote from this. Many hundred years must roll away before We shall be corrupted.”

James Q. Whitman, Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law: Repeatedly, Nazis looking for inspiration looked to the US system of racial discrimination, primarily in the treatment of immigration, the rights of those in non-state territories, and anti-miscegnation laws. Whitman emphasizes that the Nazis’ crimes were their own and that they also rejected liberal and democratic parts of American law. They also appealled to racist practices among other European colonial powers. Still, Whitman argues that, because the Nazis didn’t envision the Holocaust when they started out, they found compelling analogies in American discriminatory practices, even though these practices were often not aimed at Jews. As with everything about America, it was possible to be selective, and the Nazis had no problem claiming that New York City had “very little to do with ‘America’” because of all its race-mixing and Jews.

Hitler was able to see the US as a model of Nordic supremacy, and he wasn’t alone; a Nazi historian described the Founding, in what Whitman says was the received wistom of the time, as “a historic turning point in ‘the Aryan struggle for world domination.’” One detailed scholarly work, Race Law in the United States, had as heroes Jefferson and Lincoln—Jefferson because of his insistence that blacks and whites couldn’t live under the same government if both were free, and Lincoln because of his early calls for black resettlement outside the US. Similarly, “Nazi expansion eastward was accompanied by invocations of the American conquest of the West, with its accompanying wars on Native Americans…. Indeed as early as 1928 Hitler was speechifying admiringly about the way Americans had ‘gunned down the millions of Redskins to a few hundred thousand, and now keep the modest remnant under observation in a cage’ ….”

Jim Crow segregation, Whitman contends, wasn’t all that important to the Nazis, but citizenship and sex/reproduction were, and it was there that they took lessons from the US. In fact, “Nazis almost never mentioned the American treatment of blacks without also mentioning the American treatment of other groups, in particular Asians and Native Americans.” American immigration and naturalization law was, almost uniquely, racist and race-based, and Hitler praised it for being so in Mein Kampf. And there were various forms of de jure and de facto second-class citizenship for African-Americans, Filipinos, and Chinese, to which the Nazis could look as they created second-class citizenship for Jews—drawing on, for example, the distinction between “political rights” and “civil rights” that American whites offered to excuse segregation. Indeed, some Nazis considered openly race-based laws to be more honest about keeping “alien races” from getting the upper hand; they had no need for grandfather clauses, and they devised the Nuremberg Laws in part to “institute official state persecution in order to displace street-level lynchings,” which offended the facist need for state centralization.

The US was also unique in anti-miscegnation laws, with careful rules about blood quantum—in fact, there were no other models for such laws for the Nazis to consult. And it mattered, Whitman suggests, that America was seen as a dynamic country—confirmation for the Nazis that the future was going in their direction. Among other things, American creativity on the definition of race showed that one didn’t need a purely scientific or theoretical definition of race, despite the leanings of German law; one could proceed with a political, pragmatic definition in enforcing anti-miscegenation and other discriminatory laws. Indeed, that’s ultimately what the Germans did when they defined Jews as including people with one Jewish parent if and only if they practiced Judaism or married Jews (rejecting, along the way, the even more aggressive American one-drop rule). Whitman concludes that we have to acknowledge that the Nazis practiced a particular kind of Legal Realism, whereby the law was supposed to assist in the process of social transformation, throwing formalism aside and recognizing reality—and reality, in both countries, was racist. “[T]o have a common-law system like that of America is to have a system in which the traditions of the law do indeed have little power to ride herd on the demands of the politicians, and when the politics is bad, the law can be very bad indeed.” Whitman finds the most prominent modern manifestation of this in the US in its harsh criminal justice system.

WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK

  • Aug. 17th, 2017 at 9:57 AM
I just woke up to find that somehow Steve Bannon accidentally(?) gave an interview to a left-wing political magazine and I can't cope with these things before multiple cups of coffee.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/aug/17/steve-bannon-calls-far-right-losers-trump-warns-china-trade-war-american-prospect
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/17/us/politics/bannon-alt-right-trump-north-korea.html

I honestly have no clue if that's accidentally or "accidentally", and maybe he's trying to separate himself from the Charlottesville marchers by dismissing them as "losers" and positioning himself as more rational/reasonable than Trump on North Korea before he gets fired, or what the actual fuck. Especially given that he was reportedly delighted and "proud" about Trump's press conference statements.

seriously wtf

Nonfiction

  • Aug. 16th, 2017 at 5:46 PM
Peter Weisz, Puzzle Tov!: Short book of Jewish-themed brainteasers, some of them based on pretty old jokes and some requiring mathematical cleverness. I enjoyed it and was stumped by more than a few, but had the appropriate head-slapping reaction when I read the answers. For a puzzle-loving kid (or even adult) in your life.

Alan Dugatkin & Lyudmila Trut, How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog): Visionary Scientists and a Siberian Tale of Jump-Started Evolution: Short but fun book about the Soviet/Russian project to breed tame foxes. Wolves and foxes are related enough to make the attempt plausible, but zebras and horses are also closely related enough to breed, and zebras haven’t been successfully domesticated despite numerous attempts, nor have deer except reindeer (even though they live near humans and aren’t usually aggressive towards us, not to mention being important food animals, all of which suggests domestication would be favored if it were feasible). The Soviets picked the least reactive and aggressive foxes and bred them; calmer foxes appeared within three breeding seasons. And slightly greater tameness also shortened their breeding cycle and raised fertility a bit higher, bolstering the theory that in-bred tameness had complex effects on the whole animal. (Unfortunately, these shorter mating cycles didn’t allow multiple fox generations within the same year—although the scientists had sold the project to the Soviet government on the promise of increasing fur production, the shorter cycles meant that the mothers didn’t produce enough milk for their pups, whom they ignored. The scientists hypothesized that a longer transition might have let milk production catch up with increased fertility, as with dogs and cats and pigs and cows.)

Later generations began to exhibit tail-wagging, whining, licking hands, and rolling over for belly rubs—still later, some of the tame foxes’ tails curled, again like dogs. Tamer foxes retained juvenile behaviors longer than wild foxes—wild fox pups are “curious, playful, and relatively carefree when they are very young,” but that changes at around 45 days, when they become more cautious and anxious. After only a decade of breeding, tamer pups stayed curious and playful twice as long.

Tame foxes began gazing into humans’ eyes, which for wild animals is a challenge that can start an attack. Humans themselves, though they weren’t supposed to interact differently with the foxes, couldn’t resist talking to them, petting them, and loving them. When dogs and owners gaze at one another, both see increased oxytocin, leading to increased interactions/petting, “a chemical lovefest.” Adult foxes began to engage in object play—extended play with objects that are known—which wild animals don’t do. (Birds, chimps, and even ants play (with mock fights), but play is usually skill practice.) The tamest fox one year lived with the main researcher for a while, like a dog, and when she returned to her group, she began seeking out caretakers when other foxes were being aggressive toward her. Tame foxes began to demonstrate loyalty to particular caretakers (unlike simply being calm around humans) and jealousy of other foxes who might take their favorites’ attention. They began to bark like guard dogs when strangers appeared. They learned social intelligence: tame fox pups were as smart as dog pups in interpreting human behavior, and smarter than wild fox pups. So selection acting on tameness brought social intelligence along with it, suggesting that there was no need for humans to have bred dogs to be smarter: it could just happen.

The Soviets also tested their work by creating a line of incredibly aggressive foxes using the same selection procedures. Workers were terrified of the new line. When aggressive fox pups were swapped with tame fox pups and raised by mothers from the other line, the pups behaved like their genetic mothers. Genes clearly played vital roles, though tame foxes’ bonds with individual people also showed the role of learned behaviors. The genetic changes worked by changing production of hormones and neurochemicals, like oxytocin. These chemical pathways might help explain why the changes could happen so fast. Tame foxes had higher levels of serotonin than their wild cousins, as dogs have more than wolves.

The evidence supports a theory of destabilizing selection—genes may be similar, but the activity of those genes is very different as between wolves and dogs, chimps and humans. The dramatic changes of domestication seemed to come not primarily from new genetic mutations that were then favored by selection, though that played a role, but from changes in the expression of existing genes that led to very different results. For example, tame foxes started being born with white stars on their foreheads, which happened because the embryonic cells responsible for coloring hair had been delayed in migrating to their places by two days, causing an error in the production of hair color. The expression of the relevant gene was affected by the other changes caused by selecting for tameness. We may even have selected ourselves for tameness using similar mechanisms—we have lower levels of stress hormones in groups than our chimp cousins, we can breed all year round, and our kids stay juvenile longer, like those of other domestic species. And the bonobo may be in the process of doing the same thing, though I’m not sure they’ll have a planet to inherit when their brains get as big as ours.

Speaking of which, the collapse of the Russian economy nearly led to the fox project’s demise. Many foxes starved or nearly starved; others were selected for sale for fur to keep the project alive, a process that also deeply traumatized their caretakers. In 1999, however, a popular science article about the project came out in the US, and they received enough donations to stay afloat, because humans are sentimental. Maybe someday you’ll be able to get your own tame fox pup.

Duncan Green, How Change Happens: Green works in international anti-poverty programs, and argues for a systems approach in which one iteratively works with groups at different levels of the system, leveraging elite points of entry while taking direction from people on the ground. I thought the concept of “positive deviance” was useful—find people in the group you’re trying to help who’ve overcome the problem you’re trying to solve, and see if you can help other people do the same thing, using the positive deviants as the model.

i'm not saying you're not on my mind

  • Aug. 16th, 2017 at 2:02 PM
I don't generally play games on my phone - I have a sordid history with computer games going back to the days of Police Quest and the Indiana Jones game, where I would stay up all night playing and then be unable to get up for class. So I've made a conscious choice to just not go there again, though I have been known to waste some time playing solitaire or bubble spinner or Tetris of an evening.

And then I discovered 1010! Which is like Tetris but without the blocks dropping - instead you place them wherever you like/they'll fit to make complete rows etc. And I have spent the past few days enthralled and exhausted because I've stayed up way too late doing this. I even paid $1.99 so I could have it ad free!

And then last night when I looked up from my phone after many, many games, and it was 12:45 am, I deleted it, because I can't be having with that. I was seeing it behind my eyelids while awake, and dreaming about it when I was asleep. Ugh. It was so nice and soothing too. But since I can't control myself, I had to get rid of it. Sigh.

Anyway, Wednesday means books, so buckle up!

What I've just finished
Babylon's Ashes, the last currently available Expanse novel, which I liked a lot. Are these books perfect? No. There's still too much Holden, though I did like that spoilers ) Avasarala, Bobbie, Naomi, and Amos are still my faves, and Alex makes a good showing here, too. This and Nemesis Games are really one long arc, and should probably be read together.

Buried Heart by Kate Elliott, the conclusion of the Court of Fives trilogy. I enjoyed it, though I still think maybe Jessamy made some assumptions that she had no real basis for which turned out to be true (this happened in the first book too), which is a downside of first person POV, because I kept waiting for her to be wrong about some things and she wasn't (well, she was wrong about a bunch of things, but not some of the things I thought she might be wrong about). Anyway, I found it a satisfying if slightly pat conclusion, and as with the Cold Magic trilogy, I found the revolution a lot more interesting than the romance.

Bombshells vol 3: Uprising - after Recent Events, I decided to go back to this and finish it, and the titular uprising made me tear up on the subway. Also, MIRI MARVEL!!! I don't know if I knew about that? But I LOVE IT. ♥♥♥ I can't wait to pick up volume 4.

Star Wars: Kanan: The Last Padawan volumes 1 & 2. These were fine. I enjoyed them, but they were somewhat repetitive when read in trade - there was a lot of catching up in the narration, which is good for a monthly comic but less good when reading it all in one go. Also, every other page, he's like, "Don't call me kid!" which got a little old. Mostly interesting to me for sad Jedi details, like Caleb saying Styles was his first friend even though we see him with Tai and Sammo - were they not friends? That's so depressing. Unless he meant first non-Jedi friend, which is better. I'm just going to pretend that's what he meant so I can be slightly less sad.

Also notable for explicitly referencing the "Jedi code" which I hear a lot about in fic but am not sure I'd ever seen in any currently canon material, and it was "emotion, yet peace; chaos, yet serenity; death, yet the Force" which is interesting to me because it makes so much more sense than the other formulation I see in fic a lot: "there is no chaos, there is serenity" etc. I mean, you know me and my "take what I like and ignore the rest" approach to canon, so it's nice to have it there as needed, but as always I find the way things get flattened in fanon so interesting.

Because I mean, yeah, the Jedi were certainly culpable in both Anakin's fall and their own demise, because they were hidebound and corrupt the way any millennia-old organization made of people would be, and they definitely had some blindspots about a variety of things (providing therapy to members who needed it, using a slave army, being co-opted by the Senate, etc.), but they didn't deserve what happened to them. Let's not ever actually grace Anakin's horrific dumbassery ("from my POV, the Jedi are evil!") with any validity. Like, sure, Yoda gave him some poor advice, and Mace Windu was critical sometimes, and they made some compromised decisions, but that doesn't justify slaughtering anyone.

Anyway, it was also nice to see Rae Sloane, despite her poor life choices.

I also read Star Wars #34 this morning, which is mostly a standalone issue featuring Sana Starros swindling everyone in the galaxy from pirates to Hutts to Imperials and back. I would watch a whole movie about her. She might be Han Solo's fake (ex?)wife, but she's also Aphra's ex-girlfriend, so that would be amazing to see on screen. You could cast Nicole Beharie as Sana and Arden Cho as Aphra, and let them go be con artists together and I would line up multiple times to give Disney my money. Especially if Hondo showed up, too.

What I'm reading now
The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin, the third book of the Broken Earth trilogy. But I'm only a few pages in and it's taking me a little while to get back up to speed, especially since my brain isn't working so well today because of my lack of sleep. *g*

What I'm reading next
The next Craft Sequence book comes out in a couple of weeks, but before that, I dunno.

***
The Guardian: Trump reverts to blaming both sides in Charlottesville including 'violent alt-left'

Note: this headline is an understatement. The morning briefing headline does not pull its punches:

Wednesday briefing: Trump's words of comfort for Nazis

Mic.com: 5 takeaways from Trump's off-the-rails presser on Charlottesville violence

[tumblr.com profile] la-belle-laide points out a hell of a tell:

ALSO? The moment after he asks to define “alt-right” and is told that John McCain said that alt-right were the Neo-Nazis involved, he said: “Okay, what about the alt-left that came charging at us – excuse me – what about the alt-left that came charging at the, as you say, the alt right? Do they have any semblance of guilt?“

US.

The alt-right Neo Nazis is “US” to him.


I mean, we knew. I don't think anyone who's been paying attention is surprised that Trump thinks this. What terrifies me is that a) he's out-of-control enough to say this shit in public, and b) the Republicans might let him get away with it.

The Hill: WH sends GOP talking points saying Trump ‘entirely correct’ on Charlottesville

[tumblr.com profile] plaidadder comments:

Anyone you see tomorrow saying that, well, you’ll know they’re ‘just following orders,’ and that they always will.

Also, fuck the Republicans who will oh-so-bravely-and-controversially Tweet that neo-Nazis are evil, but not criticize Trump by name.

In fact, fuck the Republicans who will daringly tut and shake their heads sadly at Trump by name over this, but do nothing to stop him or remove him from power.

First as a tragedy, then as a farce...

  • Aug. 16th, 2017 at 1:43 PM
RE: ongoing horror show, err, US national and foreign politics: this is yet another reason why I find the entire Hydra in Marvel comics & MCU concept so stupid, not just in the WWII era, where the sheer logistics (or lack of same) break my brain, but also in the present day. Super-secret organization, master assassins, gadget weapons? This just isn't how fascism works. This is how fascism works. It shouts its goals to the winds and gets itself voted into power.

There is not a single member of the Republican party, nor any other voter who either elected the Orange Menace or by not voting enabled it, who can claim this isn't EXACTLY what they voted for or allowed to happen. Because Agent Orange certainly hadn't kept his views a secret. Nor did his minions.

Tags:

in a house like this

  • Aug. 15th, 2017 at 9:05 PM
*dashes in to c&p*
Ann Shayne, Bowling Avenue: A Novel (2012): extended reflection by single thirty-something protagonist upon recently deceased married, separated, and possibly adulterous older sister in Tennessee, with random anomie. So boring. The tickle of a romance arc goes exactly as expected, as does the community re-engagement of the protag.

Let's try that again. Shayne is half of the knit-blog duo behind Mason and Dixon (the other half, Kay Gardiner, lives in New York City), and their blog is a fine blog, yay. At some point I found Bowling Ave used for a dollar, a discard from King County's library system; when I visited King County for business, I took it along. And then---I assume that Shayne herself would have had little argument---I knitted during the plane-ride home instead of reading further.

Meanwhile, my airplane seat mate was reading (text-only, on her phone) a novel featuring the Voynich MS and Ashmole 782 which stars an investigator named Diana. Ah, the internet provides---part of a trilogy by Deborah Harkness. Diana is a witch, and some guy is a 1500yo vampire. Since they're het and Destined for reasons I didn't bother to look up, I guess it's better that the boy be the vampire, though only because that one character and that other character are relatively recent, whereas there are hundreds, probably thousands of years of evil lamia stories....

Anyone want a novel set in a sanitized version of pre-current-crush Nashville? (Between 2012 and a year or two ago, a bunch of artistic folk decided to move there or set up shop there. Now it's home to Fringe Association, Elizabeth Suzann, and so on and so forth.) I'll ship it for the cost of US postage. I doubt you'd want overseas postage, since as an ex-library copy it has a weighty plastic cover.

Tags:

So now I own a dry erase board

  • Aug. 15th, 2017 at 8:25 PM
So I can make tailored signs for all the damn protests.

I am not a protest person. I hate it. I don't get energized; I get tired. I don't like shouting slogans, I feel ridiculous. I don't like talking to strangers.

But if not me, who? So, I go.

Next one's Saturday.

salt water meets with the skies, dear

  • Aug. 15th, 2017 at 2:02 PM
Yesterday, I saw a t-shirt that read, "I don't trust atoms. They make up everything." and I grinned for the rest of my walk home. I love terrible puns.

Anyway. There's a meme going around somewhere? where you post the first lines of some of your works in progress? so I thought, why not? I sure have enough of them. So here are the first lines from a few of my wsip:

Half-Truths and Hyperbole (Star Wars; Obi-Wan/Satine Regency AU)
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a planetary ruler being targeted by assassins must be in need of a Jedi bodyguard.

how strangely my life is curved (Star Wars, Ahsoka unfrozen in the TFA-era)
"There's a message from Lando," Leia says.

How Soon Is Now (Star Wars, sequel to Sing a New Song)
Time moves differently on Malachor.

nobody move, nobody get hurt (Star Wars, Anakin/lady!Obi-Wan au)
Obi-Wan learns two things in the immediate aftermath of the disaster that is the mission to Naboo: one, it's harder to be a master than she ever thought, and two, she cannot--will not--replace Anakin's mother, and the boy won't settle down and learn until he's assured of his mother's safety.

the movement and the spin (Star Wars, Anakin/lady!Obi-Wan au, companion piece to nobody move, nobody get hurt)
Maybe one day he'll look back on this and laugh, but right now, Anakin hates being fourteen.

The Bonds That We Save (Peggy Carter & Etta Candy crossover)
A secretary leads Peggy through a bewildering series of corridors that are clearly meant to confuse the unobservant; even she might have a difficult time finding her way back out.

Drive It Like You Stole It (Star Wars, Han/Leia)
Leia's back hits the mattress, Han's body a warm weight above her, and she thinks, I don't deserve this.

That seems like enough to be going on with.

***

Orphan Black 5.10

  • Aug. 15th, 2017 at 12:59 PM
In which we get a LotR or Babylon 5 type of ending, and it's lovely.

Read more... )

i'm gonna drink that sun

  • Aug. 14th, 2017 at 2:22 PM
Miscellaneous Monday:

= thank you to everyone who commented on my post about the offer being accepted! I'm still working on replying, but your cautious yays are much appreciated. *g*

= One of my co-workers recently left for another job, and upon her departure, she gifted a number of us with tiny succulent plants in tiny plant pots. I dutifully looked up how to care for a succulent, because I have a black thumb and have never succeeded in keeping any plant alive (my mother was so good at plants, you guys! and I have always been terrible at them), so last week I watered it as directed, and this morning when I got to my cube, it looked like it had given up on life. It was all slumped and faded. Boss3 was out on vacation last week, so her little plant got no water, but lots of light. It had actually grown by a visible amount! So I just gave her mine to put on her windowsill. *hands* We'll see if it survives, or if my black thumb has claimed another hapless victim.

= I have been in contact with my new loan officer (the one referred by my broker), and she seems very on the ball. She sent me a list of required documents and I diligently attached all of them to my response. She also asked for two forms of ID, and since I have a valid in-state driver's license, according to the instructions, I could use my work ID as the second form. Alas, when I went to scan it, I discovered that my last name had been spelled incorrectly. I've had this ID card for 8 1/2 years, and never noticed that before. Not even last summer when I lost it and found it and had it replaced. (I knew my name was spelled wrong in ADP, but since it's right on my pay stubs, and my money gets deposited every two weeks, I don't really care. Of course, it's spelled wrong in a different way. idek.) So I couldn't use it. I thought I might have to wait until tomorrow, because my passport is at home, but they say they'll also take a utility bill, so I downloaded the latest one from ConEd and sent that along.

= My attorney received the new contract, so hopefully one day later this week I'll be able to sign it and get the ball rolling in earnest on this whole process. The contract lists a closing date of 'on or about' October 14, which would be amazing if it actually happened that quickly. I can be hopeful but I don't really expect it to happen like that. (Of course, after closing, I would still have to have some painting done and also the floors, but that shouldn't take too much time, right? *meep*)

= Last night, I was looking to watch something easy and comforting, and I remembered The Toast's recent take on The Hunt for Red October, and it's available streaming via Amazon Prime, so I put it on. I have a fondness for submarine movies in general, and this one in particular - my dad and I saw it together, as we did many other movies over the years. For a while in my teens and twenties, we had a standing Sunday movie date (in the 80s he was even okay with going to movies on opening weekend, and occasionally even on opening night - I'm pretty sure I saw ESB and ROTJ as well as Temple of Doom and Last Crusade with him the weekend they opened), and even in later years I could sometimes chivvy him out of his recliner to go to the movies - especially once reserved seating with in-theater recliners started being available. The last movie we saw together was CATWS, which seems right to me.

= And now, lunch.

***

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