Friday, February 24th, 2017 05:42 pm

(Guess what, it's all more complicated.)

I was at a meeting at former workplace this pm because just because I am no longer professionally associated with [particular archive], I am still widely considered A Nexpert in the matter.

So anyway, I was at this meeting, and something set me thinking about the Broad Street Pump.

And how this gets boiled down into a metaphor about removing the handle of the pump as being the dramatic and appropriate action to stop [Bad Thing].

Incidentally we note from that account that John Snow did not himself go and dramatically wrench the handle off the pump but pursued proper channels, take that, mavericks!

But what it's actually about is:

a) meticulous gathering and mapping of data to identify the problem.

b) beyond the emergency intervention: how about we do something to prevent cholera getting into the water-supply, huh?

But people do love the dramatic iconic story. And while I doubt John Snow is exactly a household name, we do note that he gets a pub named after him, as well as there being memorials to the pump itself. Whereas Sir Joseph Bazalgette, who did a whole lot more to provide sanitation for London, doesn't, though he does have a memorial on the Victoria Embankment.

Friday, February 24th, 2017 10:19 am
The Standing Rock Camp is gone, but the protest continues. Defund DAPL.

The Wilderness Society's activist toolkit.


Bloomburg: Keeping America's doors open.

You need to know this: for deportation purposes, 100 miles from the border is still the border. Yes, that includes the majority of western NY state, and any other borderline or lakeside or oceanside state. Yes, NYCity and Philly and DC and San Francisco and coastal California and Seattle and more. 100 miles. This is insane. More on this here and here, considering Constitutional rights.

The working class now isn't largely construction or factory workers -- here are talks with working people outside those lines.

If what 45 thinks is true (doubtful), that the deportations are a military operation, that military operation is being carried out against civilians, which violates the Geneva conventions. And brings us to the brink of an uncivil war.

NY Gov. Cuomo: schools must protect transgender students.


The West Wing, what fragements there are of it, did not expect such splashback from the bigoted anti-Muslim travel ban. So they're revising and tightening and trying to make it impervious to everything. And not everyone agrees on it, there either.

As far as lying presidents go, we have been here before. Is compassion dead? Among Republican presidents, it appears so. There is no compassion in conservatism, just as there is none in stealing parents away from children and dumping them on the other side of a border.

And the environment will be damaged and streams destroyed because nobody in the White House understands the coal business, economics, ecology or the facts that more people are using natural gas. Oh, and the anthracite 'hard' coal is already gone, so what's left is bituminous, 'soft' coal, which produces soot, gases and other problems.


Humans in dark times, confronting violence.


The perfect shots of Oscars.

Tom Hanks on community college.

John Adams: portrait of a founder as a young schoolmaster.
Friday, February 24th, 2017 08:50 am

When Sophy dresses me for dinner, she says that there will be a fine tea-drinking with Copping tomorrow and mayhap she can contrive to discover the matter I spoke of.

Why, Sophy, says I, I hope you may, and I am sure you have watcht Docket about the matter oft enough to know that one must come at matters roundabout and not by direct interrogation.

Sure, says Sophy, one should not go about like unto a Bow Street Runner.

And even they, says I, may be oblig’d to go about indirect in their investigations.

Sophy says, indeed I hear that Mr Johnson tells very fine tales of matters he has been about, sure I should like to hear 'em. (I mind that Docket will be about standing upon rank and not go sitting in the kitchen of an e’en or over elevens, so I confide that she will not be letting Sophy attend these household convockations either.) But what a very agreeable fellow he is, sure I thought I should quite dye of fright did a Runner come question me, but he was entire civil.

Why, says I, I think he greatly approv’d the good sensible clear way you answer’d his questions, had a fine apprehension of where you had been and what had took place, 'twas most material usefull.

Sure 'tis nigh on impossible to tell does Sophy blush, but she looks pleas’d. I wonder does she take a girlish liking towards Matt Johnson.

I find that I am to be took in to dinner by Lord D-. Sure there is a deal that I should wish to discourse of with him but I confide they are not matters for the dinner table, and doubtless I shall be oblig’d to hear a deal about theologickal errours.

He shows civil enough to enquire whether I have lately heard from the antipodes - alas, no, says I, takes a deal of time for any communication to come from those parts – and also concerning the optickal dispensary, to which I say that we are in great hopes that another may be establisht quite shortly.

He goes on to say that there was one said to him that perchance his megrim attacks were to do with some weakness of sight – knew a fellow that suffer’d the like, went to see an oculist, obtain’d spectacles, and was entire cur’d. He dares say that I must have a deal of acquaintance among oculists?

'Tis so, says I, for there are several give their services to the dispensaries, and is one in particular that Mrs T- consult’d when she was in Town. Also I lately had my housemaid Prue see him, for altho’ she already wears spectacles, was squinting and having the headache, and indeed he prescrib’d different lenses and is entire improv’d. 'Twould sure do no harm did you take your trouble to him.

He is exceeding gratefull for this recommendation, tho’ I fear is about to embark upon a discourse as to whether 'tis in accordance with Biblickal edicts to take advantage of modern developments in matters of opticks, but that the first course is remov’d and we are oblig’d to turn to our other sides.

I find 'tis that amiable fellow Lord G- upon my other side, that notes that I do not wear my rubies - for, since there are none of the company know its history, I wear my diamond and emerald parure with the secret compartment holding a lock of my precious Flora’s hair, that Josiah gave me. Why, says I, they are exceeding fine, but a lady will be spoke upon does she ever wear the same jewels, just as if she ever wore the same dress. One must ring the changes.

He then goes on to say that he hopes that there will be no attacks by savage swans this year (I confide that 'tis a jest I shall hear entire too often over the next days).

When the ladies have withdrawn and tea and ratafia is serv’d in the larger drawing-room, comes up to me Lady G- and makes very civil. We have a little discourse on optickal dispensaries - let us, we say, see how a third one goes afore we start opening 'em up on every street corner in Town, that we daresay some of the ladies would like, but 'tis entire over-ambitious – and then she says, is glad to see me here as has a little matter to open to me.

Say on, says I, but is’t some matter of the orphanage ladies I may go run into hystericks.

She laughs and says, is’t not entire the same with her? no, 'twas a personal matter. She has a god-daughter, one Miss Frances C- - the Honble Miss Frances C- - daughter of her dear friend of girlhood, that marry’d Lord C-, that may be able to trace back his lineage to the Norman Conquest, but is now in somewhat impoverisht state. She purposes give the girl a season or two in Town, in hopes she may make a better match than is like to in their country society. And of course will present her at a drawing-room and ensure she has the entrée at Almacks &C, but would like to provide her with some younger company. And there is, she goes on, that very good set around the Duchess of M- in which you take interest, 'twould be entire ideal might she mingle a little among 'em.

(Why, thinks I, falls out exceedingly.)

Sure, says I, Her Grace of M- is become quite a leader in the younger set, and consider’d in quite excellent ton by some very exacting ladies.

And, says Lady G- with a smile, have been two quite excellent marriages made in her circle and we apprehend that Miss S- is like to marry a clergyman that has a deal of interest and ‘twixt that and her fortune, is like to go far.

(Sure 'tis very little to do with dear Viola that these very excellent matches have come about, but must seem entire auspicious for her circle generally.)

The next morn I confide 'twill look well for me in Lord D-'s eyes do I rise in time to attend the morning prayers he holds.

Indeed I think also reflects well upon him in the eyes of certain of the Evangelickal interest that are of the party, that make more than usual civil to me as we go to breakfast.

I go walk upon the lawn and down to the lake, where the ornamental water-fowl quack and gabble, and ponder upon how I might come about some private converse with Lord D-.

Most happyly breaks in upon these meditations, Lord D- himself, that rows upon the lake in a boat, and offers that I might care join him? We need not, he says, go anywhere near the swans.

Why, says I, that would be delightfull.

So I step into the boat and we set off across the lake in the direction of the little island in the middle, that has a folly, a duck-house in an Oriental style like unto the Pavilion at Brighton. Willows droop into the water. There are a deal of dragon-flies.

We come round to the further side of the island and Lord D- lets the boat drift a little. He says that he apprehends that I have the acquaintance of Mr L-, that makes suit to his sister-in-law - ?

Entire so, says I, an excellent fellow.

Sure, he says, his mother, and Theodora, cry that with her fortune Agnes might make a very fine match indeed, but he is like to be more prepossesst does she seek merit rather than worldly splendours - and while he has some concerns about Mr L-'s leanings in matters of theology and practice, he also apprehends that he is a fine conscientious pastor of souls to his flock, as well as most distinguisht for learning -

'Tis so, says I, and gains interest.

He rows on a little further away from the island towards the further shore, and then rests upon the oars and lets us drift again. I remain silent but with an air of one that is ready to listen, for I think there is some heavy matter he would wish disclose.

O, Lady B-, he says, all give out that your understanding of the heart is quite exceptional – sure I know not what to make of the matter myself. My belov’d Theodora –

He gives somewhat of a groan and then bursts into sobs. He tends to his oars for a moment and then looks up with tears upon his face.

- my dear loving affectionate Theodora that was, sure has entire vanisht. Shows cold and distant, when would be us’d to give pretty manifestations of wifely devotion: will even go cringe away do I approach too near, and will endeavour avoid being alone with me. Sure, he goes on, mopping at his face with a handkerchief, I quite apprehend that in the present circumstance I should show a proper manly restraint in the matter of conjugal embraces - Mr H- warn’d me very particular that 'twas entire deleterious to the female constitution to go be breeding too often and that 'tis an old wives’ tale to suppose that does a lady suckle her own child, 'twill preserve her from conception the while.

(I confide that 'twould not serve to inform Lord D- of the means by which the matter may be avoid’d, alas.)

But indeed, one may demonstrate affection, may one not?

Why, indeed, says I, tho’ I apprehend that there are those fear it may lead on to further embraces.

Lord D- says he hopes he is a fellow can master his carnal urges.

O, says I, I quite confide that you would. (Sure entire the best thing would be for him to communicate his praiseworthy resolution to Lady D-, but does she flinch so from his company, 'twould be hard to contrive.)

I am silent for a little while as he blows his nose and takes up the oars again. Alas, says I, I am in some concern that Lady D- has took against me for favouring her sister’s union to Mr L- - has shown somewhat distant to me of late – but I will see may I contrive to have some discourse with her.

He declares that he would be quite infinite gratefull, and rows us back around the island.

(I daresay all go think he discourses to me of the state of my own soul.)

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 08:57 pm
Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 02:17 pm
In no particular order:

If you have to rip back, rip back, carefully. Do it on a flat surface, gently, and the yarn might retain its shape enough to make it easier to pick up the stitches. If you pull at it too strongly, it'll deform and might loosen up further down than you want.

Pick up stitches with a smaller needle and transfer them after. I am working with a 40-inch metal #6 circular needle; I am picking up stitches with a #2 bamboo circular needle. The bamboo needle has very sharp points, good for picking up delicate thread. I pick up with that needle, knit them off onto the larger needle.

Crochet hooks are your friends! They're great at helping you pick up stitches, and reknit ones that laddered down a bit, or where the smaller needle split the yarn and you need the whole yarn for the stitch. Peruvian needles have hooks built into them, which makes them very sensible; those of us who don't have those need a few sizes of regular hooks. I have some in wood, some in metal, and they all work.

Big secret that will save you headaches: you do not have to pick up every stitch facing the right direction with the left side of the stitch hidden behind the needle.) It does not matter, as long as you didn't twist the stitch as you picked it up. As long as the needle you are knitting onto goes *into* the hole in the center of the stitch straight on, with the yarn in back, it's knitting. If you go into the stitch from behind the right-hand side, with the yarn in front, it's purling. Or you can certainly straighten out the stitches on the regular needle by picking them up off the smaller one and making sure they face the direction you want (right side forward, left side behind the needle.)

If you can't see the error, it makes no difference to the stitch count or pattern or final result, it doesn't matter.

Don't torture the yarn. Knitting is supposed to have some stretch in it, some ability to bend. If you feel as if you're knitting something that feels starched when it's not? You're holding the yarn too tightly. There are numerous ways to wrap it around your hand and get control of tension; play with them until you get something you like. I use my mother's method, which wraps around the last one or two fingers, pver the back of the hand and around the index finger. I modify this depending on what I"m working on -- but it doesn't cramp my hand and the yarn flows reasonably.

If you think you need stitch markers, you need stitch markers. Markers are a lot cheaper than ripping back and redoing your work. I have used regular markers, twist ties, earrings, rubber bands, anything that is handy, but the bits of plastic sold as markers work fine and don't catch on the yarn. The pattern I am doing calls for four markers, two at each end of the working area -- but I am adding about 20 more, to get better control of the repeating pattern in the middle. Who the hell makes a 14-stitch repeating lace pattern? This pattern's maker, apparently. Adding the markers made it bearable, and easier to track what went wrong when the count didn't work. Not adding markers because the pattern doesn't mention them and getting confused does not make you macha, but you can end up spending far too much time trying to figure out why that slipped stitch isn't where it's supposed to be or the interesting K2PS (slip a stitch, knit two together, put the slipped stitch over the top, a decrease of two stitches overall) is not working out.

My eyes are not what they used to be. I wear bifocals. If I knit for too long, without looking up, my eyes 'set' at that distance, which is not good. So I turn on whatever is on TV, generally movies, so I have something to look up at that is more than two feet from my eyes. It helps immensely.

Make sure you have enough light to see very well.

Work with yarn that feels good on your fingers and tools that suit you. I love circular needles - but I strongly dislike the expensive sets of them where you have 40 sizes of needle end and long cable to fasten together, because the yarn tends to get stuck at the join. So I have tons of different sizes of needles, a number of duplicates, plus my mother's collection of aluminum or plastic or bone straight needles from the past 60 years. Some I use, some I don't. I tend not to knit with the straight long needles because they put a lot of strain on my wrists, which isn't good. But they're good to hold long amounts of stitches if you're working around, say, a neckline. Do what works for you and don't listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. I also use the best yarn I can afford that suits a project, because working with cheap nasty stuff is no fun and I won't like the result. But I also spin wool and knit with that sometimes, too. It's all about what works for you.

And if it's not fun, and you don't like the process, and you don't like the result, go do something you like instead. There is no law that says YOU MUST KNIT OR DO NEEDLEWORK TO BE A PROPER FEMALE. Actually, I learned a lot about turning sock heels from my large and macho male cousin, who grew up knitting socks to send to the troops in WWII. So don't make assumptions, either. :)
Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 04:38 pm

I was given to think, if not very much, by this article which floated past my attention lately: If you want to get smarter, speed-reading is worse than not reading at all.

I assume he's talking about people who follow some programme that is intended to increase their natural reading speed, rather than people whose natural speed of reading is fairly quick (Frankie Howerd voice going 'Don't Mock' at his boast of reading 100 books in a year).

It is unlikely that readers will be able to double or triple their reading speeds (e.g., from around 250 to 500–750 words per minute) while still being able to understand the text as well as if they read at normal speed.”

If you’re reading fast, you’re not engaging in critical thinking. You’re not making connections between Infinite Jest and other post-modern texts; you’re not challenging a historian’s version of the American Revolution. You’re not having a conversation with the author. And if you’re not doing the work, you’re only walking away with surface knowledge.

Oh no? Begging to differ there. There is no 'normal' speed across the board: there is the speed that is normal for the individual reader.

Related, at least by a rather random process of association, In praise of readability, which is engaging with this rather problematic piece Against Readability (query: are not invocations of 'soap-opera' and 'middlebrow' gendered dog-whistles?), which is one of those 'god forbid readers should enjoy themselves' pieces.

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 09:23 am
Mexico will not take deportees dumped over the border. And it is their right to do this -- but what will happen to the thousands of people whose lives are in question? The deportation policy that ICE is enforcing is an assault on basic American values. It is about as unAmerican as it could be.

The Occupation has rescinded the access to appropriate bathrooms that Obama guaranteed for transgender people.


Standing Rock camp closes.


The five Trump administrations -- entertainment, cleanup, crazy, GOP, and essential -- and the perils of Potemkin democracy. And let's not forget poorly thought out economics.


The folly of abolishing the National Endowment for the Arts.

What Facebook owes to journalism -- and what it could do to support good reporting with 1% of its profits.


Protesters jeer at cowardly Congressmen who don't have the guts to face their constituents. And a woman whose husband is dying confronts her Congressman: “And you want to stand there with him at home, expect us to be calm, cool, and collected? Well what kind of insurance do you have?” And that was only the start.

Democratic Senators introduce legislation to stop the deportations.

The British Parliament votes no to a state visit from Trump. The vote is emphatic but nonbinding -- he can still visit, but it won't be the whole formal deal that other presidents received.

This is the page in for House Bill 610, which takes away free lunches from children who need them, and turns money for public schools into vouchers for private schools, as a way to destroy public education in America. Read it. Write your Congresspeople about it. Tell them to defeat it.

US libraries become sanctuary spaces, in resistance.
Thursday, February 23rd, 2017 08:52 am

Sir C- F- and I make very fond farewells to one another, for has been a most agreeable couple of days, and then I am bound for Lord P-'s, that sure is not an immense distance away.

Sophy remarks to me, as we are sat in the carriage, sure 'twas a very pretty place, but 'twas exceeding quiet. I confide she is us’d to the bustle of Town, and indeed in great houses there is usually a deal a-doing, a lively servants’ hall &C. She adds that she took advantage of that fine herb plot to put up some lotions and washes, they were entire agreeable to her using the stillroom.

Why, says I, I shall be giving excellent good report of you to Docket. Sophy smiles and says she wonders how Docket goes on in Weymouth. I confide, says I, that she and Biddy Smith will be promenading themselves and waxing extreme critickal over the way other ladies are dresst. Sophy giggles and agrees 'tis very like.

I look at her and think how well she has come on since joining our household. Will never be tall, but has fill’d out, and altho’ her looks cannot match those of Dorcas, that are most out of the common fine, is become a pleasing creature that I daresay already finds those that aspire to a kind glance from her.

She takes out some knitting – sure she is admirable diligent.

I open my traveling desk so that I may go scribble a little upon my novel of wreckers and sea-monsters.

But 'tis not long afore we are arriv’d at Lord P-'s fine place: and this year, I apprehend, there will be no bad poet even are there still horrid swans. I am greet’d by Lady P- that expresses great delight at seeing me, I cannot comprehend why except that it be somewhat effusive civility. She goes introduce her daughter, that looks a little sullen at being oblig’d to stand about the hall in order to greet their guests when she might be in the open air among the company.

This, she says with pride, is my daughter, Lady Rosamund, that makes her debut in the coming season.

Lady Rosamund goes make me a somewhat cursory curtesy. I daresay to one of her years I appear quite entire as already one of the fusties. Lady P- gives out a little sigh, and goes on to say that of course D- is already here, and Arthur grows a fine lusty infant.

But what is this about dear Agnes? she says. Shows an entire inclination to accept this offer from some country parson, when she might do so much better.

La, says I, is’t Mr L- you mean? Has been showing most attentive to her. Is a most not’d scholar that moves in learn’d circles, and also has a deal of interest.

Lady P- concedes a little grudging that this makes some difference, but one that might do as well as Agnes S- - seems that she throws herself away.

Why, says I, perchance he may end up a bishop or gain some other fine ecclesiastical advancement (tho’ I think neither Mr L-, nor Agnes S- on his behalf, have any such ambitions). But the prospect greatly mollyfies Lady P-.

She goes on to say that poor D- has latterly been suffering a deal with his megrim: she confides in these fine country airs he will soon improve.

And how does Lady D-?

Comes about remarkable, allows Lady P-, feeds the boy herself, entirely in health (but there is somewhat a little hesitant in how she conveys this intelligence).

(Indeed I apprehend that there is some kind of trouble with Lady D-, tho sure she seems recover’d and does not show melancholick after the fashion of Susannah after Sukey’s birth.)

I proceed to my chamber, where Sophy is already about unpacking, laying out a fine muslin that I may change into, putting out a very charming hat and my parasol. Sophy, says I, as she goes about to help me out of my traveling garb, do you have any occasion to convoke with Copping, there seems somewhat of trouble concerning Lady D-, should like to know what’s ado.

Sophy says that Copping ever shows agreeable and she dares say there will be some fine tea-drinkings while we are here.

Excellent, says I, looking at myself in the mirror and finding the sight very agreeable: sure I am a vain creature. Well, I will go mingle among the other guests.

There is a deal of company – I mind me that Lord P- takes a desire to get rid of his obligations to Society in a bunch, so that he may then return to his darling cows without distraction – including Sir H- and Lady Z-, that promenade together around the lake in a fine display of conjugal amity.

Comes up to me Agnes S-, that is looking exceeding well and happy, takes my hands and squeezes 'em and says, would be extreme gratefull might we contrive to convoke - o, indeed, all goes well, but there are one or two matters –

Why, my dear, says I, I am quite upon the qui vive to know how things go with you. Think you that did we ascend to the Temple of the Winds we might contrive a little solitude?

She looks about and says, sure there are a deal of what Em calls the fusties that I doubt would be inclin’d for the walk, also 'tis nigh upon the hour for tea that I daresay they will find more pressing than the fine views one may obtain from that vantage-point.

I laugh and say, from Lady Rosamund’s expression I fear I am now among the fusties myself, but I should be delight’d to climb up there – I apprehend that is the weather sufficiently clear one may see Wales.

Agnes S- says very pretty that even was Lady B- eighty years old she would still not be a fusty; but let us essay the walk.

As we make the climb up the winding path, she says that Lord and Lady P- go warn all very serious not to try to take a boat under the bridge, for the swans have another brood of cygnets and both mother and father will show extreme ferocious towards intruders.

We laugh somewhat, and then she says, sure one never sees anything lately of Mr W- Y-, I hope he is in health?

Why, says I, I am for some reason in a supposition that he has gone abroad. Tho’ for what purpose, whether 'twas to take the waters or to fight against tyranny -

Miss S- says 'tis far more like the former.

We come to the gazebo in the form of a temple of the winds, and we look about and observe that no-one comes up the path, and we go point out distant sights to one another, and we perceive that the company that is about the lawn and the terrace moves like unto to a flock of sheep towards the drawing-room, so we feel there is little likelyhood of interruption.

Well, says I, sitting myself down upon the marble bench that runs around the interior of the temple, how go matters with you?

O! cries Agnes S-, all comes about quite exceedingly. For I writ to Mr L- concerning my authorship and had the very finest response – has a vision of the two of us sitting in an agreeable parsonage parlour, he about his studies, me about my verses, 'tis entirely a delightfull prospect, he says.

Why, says I, that is a fine thing in him.

And my guardian wrote to him saying that I was not pennyless but had a portion – tho’ he did not say how large 'twas – and Mr L- wrote back to say, he entirely suppos’d 'twould be settl’d upon me, with he dared say provision for any children.

Indeed, says I, better and better.

But - she says, wringing her hands together – I would not say there is opposition exactly, but I am like to suppose that Lady P- was in some hopes that I would marry one that would be advantageous to their family interests –

'Tis entire likely, says I (for indeed do I consider upon it they must have had some hopes in the matter).

- altho’ Lord D- is not so much put about by Mr L-'s theology and liturgickal practice as I had suppos’d he would be, but I think approves that 'tis not an entire matter of worldly advantage

Why, says I, shows well of him.

- but, Agnes S- goes on, Dora. I cannot fathom it. Says I could make a much finer match, mentioning various fellows that I do not incline to and that do not incline to me, save for the thought of repairing their fortunes. Will say that at least 'tis not Mr O’N-, and I will not be going to Ireland, but shows very put about by the notion that I shall be quitting their household and no longer living with 'em.

Indeed 'tis curious, says I, for last year she seem’d eager to have you matcht up and marry’d, even was it not to title or antient lineage, tho’, indeed, to one that all say is like to have a fine distinguisht career –

'Twas Dora’s way, she says with a sigh, did she see a fellow but speak to me civil would be asking did I not have a notion to him. But seems entire chang’d and even as if she does not wish me marry at all.

She then sighs again and says, but – sure she will not speak plain of it, because 'tis one of the mysteries of marry’d women that she will not discourse of to me –

I snort somewhat vulgar –

- but there is something, somewhat that troubles her, that makes her nervous and unlike her wont’d self, in particular towards Lord D-, 'tis worrysome.

I take her hand and squeeze it. Perchance I may come about to find out more in the matter –

But 'tis indeed strange, Dora would ever look to me or our aunt to smooth out her way - o, she was not spoilt, or over-indulg’d, ever entire sweet-natur’d –

I say that one sees that still.

- but indeed she was very much our pet. But now – 'tis almost as if was a stranger.

My dear, says I, may be some quite foolish small matter that bothers her, do you leave it in my hands.

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 08:56 pm
A pretty spring day, but with a brisk breeze. Local drivers are learning that the dog crosses the road excruciatingly slowly.
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 08:32 pm
This date has some vague familiarity to me, but I can't remember what. Nothing earth-shattering like The Great Pistachio Massacre of November 22, 1979.

Anyway, I took the class pictures today. I have been doing this for about 8 years now. I pretty much have it dialed in. The secret is to take a lot of shots in rapid succession, and hope that in at least one of them, everyone has their eyes open. I am not sure how each succeeding class knows to ask me about taking their picture, but they do. I guess someone tells them I will. This year, they didn't really ask--just asked me if today was ok to do it.

After the pictures I went over to the hospital for a while so my students could select their patients for tomorrow. I have a former student on one floor who, whenever she sees me, runs up and gives me a big hug. I like hugs. She stuck around and talked for a bit. She loves being a nurse, and it shows. She brings light to that unit.

After I got out of the hospital, I went to the Greek place down the street and got a gyro. It was delicious as usual. I first went there years ago on a date with a pharmacist. That didn't work out, but I got the gyro place out of it, so consider it a happy ending.

After I ate I drove down to see one of my old houses, but got sidetracked and ended up near the river at a park that was developed around the old city dump. I used to come out here and eat lunch when I worked close by, but haven't been out here for a while. It was a good day for a walk, and that's what I did.

sutter's landing

To the left is the American River, a few miles up from where it joins the Sacramento River. To the right is where the dump was. I thought about what a gift it is to turn a dump into a park.

I walked down to an old railroad bridge that was built in 1901, the same year my grandmother was born. There were quite a few people out walking, many with their dogs. One guy had a dog that looked like a dingo. He said the dog's name was Dingo.


I came home and had a nice nap. When I got up it was pouring rain again, but ten minutes later the sun was back out. I had leftover stroganoff for dinner. I think it was even better the second time around. I had a nice text chat with someone I used to work with in the ICU. Lots of changes going on there. She says I was lucky to get out when I did.
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 07:59 pm
Why Does Dating Men Make Me Feel Like Shit? by Emma Lindsay
Usually instead of saying “I am turned on by that woman,” a man will say “that woman is hot.” The first phrasing places the locus of control within his own body (aka, in a way, making it “his fault” if he gets turned on), the second phrasing places the locus of control within the woman’s body (making it “her fault” if he gets turned on.)

This article explains rape culture. Men locate control of their sexual feelings in women instead of themselves because they feel ashamed. Wow. I've noticed the shame, but never understood it this clearly.
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 01:56 pm
Is you. And my SU and the cats. And the blue jays spreading word of the crows outside my window. And the snowdrops in the lawn. And the slanting sunshine pouring in the window so I can knit and not strain my eyes. And movies and books and fanfic.

But a whole lot of it is you all. You, who read what I put here and pass it along and comment intelligently. (Do you have any clue how rare intelligent comments are?) And you write fanfic about characters I care about -- you tell the truth aslant by putting it in the mouths of characters and making it real -- and record it so I can listen to it in the truck, and come up with alternate universes and ways to show me new worlds at an angle.

If I could, I'd buy you all coffee, or good wine, or sing you all a song I wrote about friends. (No, it's not on YouTube, and it won't be; it'll be some time before my voice is back to singing well.) I do what I can, which is to hold this space, to put things in it that I hope are helpful and that I hope aren't going to drive you to despair, and I try to put in some cheerful or offbeat things also. (I purely love the woman who stood off an intruder with a broadsword, for instance. SCA and similar for the win!)

What I am saying is this: if you weren't there, I wouldn't be here doing this.

Thank you.
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 12:29 pm
Deportees. Written 66 years ago by Woody Guthrie. Sung by Arlo Guthrie and Hoyt Axton.

Lyrics here.
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 12:03 pm
14 brands NOT to buy for olive oil -- it's fake. And a list of trustworthy brands.

The Second Amendment does not grant any right to own an assault weapon. So says the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals. So say we all. A similar ruling was decided by a court in Maryland, also.


As if there was anything else needed to make this Occupation look sleazier: how Rump and Bannon (I keep wanting to type Bannock, but that would slander a perfectly good pastry) are connected to pedophilia-advocate Milo Yiannopoulos.

The most important thing to know about Trump's deportation force is that they will be going after everyone they can. Any way they can. Every way they can. More here.

This is evil. Trump signed the bill getting rid of protection for streams. Say goodbye to trout, turtles, frogs and toads, and hello to mosquitos, poor water quality, and devastation for anything relying on that water. This is an attack on rural and urban America, on water flowing through farmland and through suburbs.


Two Russians admit to colluding with the Trump Campaign.


Independent film theatres are screening '1984' to protest the incremental authoritarianism. And would it surprise you to find that the Orwell novel is free on Kindle?

In Virginia, the governor vetoes a bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Thank you for women's lives, Gov. McAuliffe.

Students at a high school in Carroll County, MD, one of the less diverse areas of the state, were forced to take down diversity posters as 'anti-Trump'. But there's a campaign on to put the poster images on t-shirts the kids can wear. The posters are beautiful works of art by Shepard Fairey.

What to do when a restaurant puts a 'minimum wage service charge' on your bill -- that is, asks for money that is not for tips or for the cost of the meal, but theoretically to offset the cost of paying an actual living minimum wage. Cheap-ass jerks would not get return business from me. I'd give a big cash tip to the server, give the owners a piece of my mind about their underpayment of hard-working employees, and leave. Permanently. I tend to be hot-headed about mistreatment of restaurant staff, since I worked hostess for the overnight shift in a pancake house for a while, dealing with drunks, cops, wedding parties, exchange student employees and a misbehaving dishwashing machine. As hostess, I got a nickel more an hour than the waitresses, but I didn't get any of the tips. I also had to go outside and wash the glass doors even in snowstorms. It was not worth the trouble after a couple of months.
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 10:57 am
When did compassion become partisan politics?

ETA: Another way to think of it: when did legislating for the good of the majority, with as little harm to the minority as possible, become a rare bird, all but extinct?
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 10:33 am
Agent leaves the CIA because of Rump.


This is evil. ICE vans picking up parents as they come to get their kids at school, leaving children behind alone. Teachers are hiding the kids, sneaking them out, telling them not to come to school tomorrow.

Parents: Scarlet fever has returned.


Towers of secrecy; behind the shell companies.

The facts, not the alt-facts: Rump was bailed out of bankruptcy by Russian mobsters. He owes the Russian mob.


This is also evil. First take away health care, then take away food. The House of People who Do Not Truly Represent The Best Interests of Their Constituents wants to cut back on free lunches for kids who don't get that much food anyway. Yell loudly at your Congressperson about this!

Intellectual integrity and the news. Rump objects to objectivity itself. Read this.

Is Rump's thin skin keeping the government understaffed? Rump is clueless about how government works -- such as actually needing people to assist other people to get stuff done.


Roller derby woman subdues intruder with sword.

Withering into the truth.
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017 01:50 pm

What I read

I finished Truth is not sober, and while a lot of these stories were clearly responding to particular issues of the time, at which some worked better than others as actual stories for the ages, there was something very delightful indeed about coming across a trove of Holtby's fiction that I hadn't already read.

JA Jance, Judgement Call (2012) - clearly I've been falling behind on the Joanna Brady mysteries, because I discovered 2 I hadn't read available in ebook and one crossover with another of her series characters that I don't much care for. I'd forgotten how good they are, or maybe this was a particularly strong one.

Ellen Klages, Passing Strange (2017) - ok, it is a novella, but I thought this was a little on the slight side, might be just me.

On the go

Still trucking on with the massive Inchbald biography, which is perhaps a little close focus, but does do a good job of embedding her in her wider theatrical milieu.

In spite of Kobo's claim that I had cancelled my pre-order (on the very morning it was due to be available WOT) I have acquired KJ Charles, An Unseen Attraction and am about partway through. Just possibly the author is being a tad presentist in the characters' expressed distaste for the excesses of Victorian taxidermy - kittens stuffed and doing the sorts of things they do in Louis Wain paintings, etc?

I was also recommended (I think via [personal profile] coffeeandink, an ongoing WIP original fiction on AO3 'The Course of Honour' by Avoliot, which is charming.

Up next

Well, there's another JA Jance sitting on my ereader, plus the various Flashmans I inherited, and I'm tempted to see to what extent John Masters' Far, Far the Mountain Peak (1957), which was probably my personal favourite of his Savage family sequence, holds up.