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Tuesday, January 1st, 2019

1:10 a.m. - Happy New Year!
Happy 2019, everybody! May it be many orders of magnitude better than 2018, for all of you, for all you care about, and for all the world!

For me 2018 was weird, particularly the last few months of it. Here's hoping the bad weirdness comes to an end and that at least some of the good weirdness continues.
Current Mood: weird
Current Music: housemates & a child being loud

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Sunday, March 25th, 2018

4:19 p.m. - Minor Update (quiet as a hummingmouse)
Yesterday evening I discovered rather to my dismay that we had mouse droppings in the kitchen. Wasn't sure if it was a good thing or a bad thing that I noticed this after eating supper.

Since we had a bunch of snap traps left over from the last mouse invasion (in 2011? the year of this earthquake), I baited and set half a dozen of them in and around the kitchen. One mouse got caught. There is never just one mouse.

My landlord commented on the fact that the trap with the mousie looked like it had no bait on it--seemed completely clean, aside from a tuft of fur. I assured him that I had, in fact, put a dab of peanut butter on every trap that I'd set out. Noticed later that three other traps also looked completely clean. Well, if local mousies need to eat more food before they're heavy enough to trigger a trap, then I guess they'll get more food. There are now eight traps downstairs, each with its share of peanut butter. Here's hoping they get at least one more mouse (there is never just one mouse) so I can go on an exhaustive cleaning spree like I really, really want to right now.

Since today's an unseasonably cold day, I am wearing one of my warmer sweatshirts. I just realized that the one I chose this morning is decorated with a cute design of flowers, falling leaves, and mice.

{This entry is being posted mostly so I can confirm to myself that I still know how. More updates eventually (maybe even interesting ones!), I hope.}
Current Mood: nauseated
Current Music: random nonsense in my head

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Monday, January 1st, 2018

6:59 p.m. - Happy New Year!
Happy 2018, everyone! May the new year bring more joy, love, and other goodness to us all!

Among other things, 2017 brought me difficulty connecting to the internet, which is one reason I haven't been around much. I'm hoping that little problem will get fixed in 2018, but for now I'm likely to spend more time reading books than getting online. At some point, though, I'm going to find a way to post something about my life last year (things happened! things changed!).

I've continued to keep track of which categories (fiction genres or Dewey divisions) the books I read fall into, so if anyone is remotely interested, here's the breakdown for both 2016 and 2017:
Of little interest to anyone who isn't meCollapse )

If I were more awake, I'd say something interesting, witty, or wise in this space. As it is, I'm sleepy, hungry, and hoping for the arctic cold to leave soon. So I'll just repeat: Happy New Year! May the new year bring more joy, love, and other goodness to us all!
Current Mood: sleepy
Current Music: Carrie Newcomer, "The Madness You Get Used To"

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Sunday, August 13th, 2017

10:03 p.m. - Post-8/12
Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old paralegal, was killed on August 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia in an act of terrorism by a white supremacist. Heather Heyer was protesting against hate when she was murdered by a white supremacist terrorist who had been standing alongside members of the Vanguard America hate group mere hours before and who was undoubtedly encouraged to act by the presence of throngs of swastika-waving Nazis.

On Twitter, Gabriel Sherman writes: 'When I asked senior WH official why Trump didn't condemn Cville Nazis, he said: "What about the leftist mob. Just as violent if not more so"'

For most people, condemning the white supremacist hate that fueled the domestic terrorist who murdered Heather Heyer and injured many others would be a no-brainer. A statement unequivocally condemning Nazis who have caused the deaths of Americans should be a gimme.

And for most of us, it is: Estimates say there were 500-700 nazis in #Charlottesville yesterday. America responded: 778 events across every state in the nation.

Mood: Anger. Fear. Grief. Hope. Love. All of it, all together, all mixed up, with all of us.
Current Music: Prokofiev's Sixth Symphony

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Monday, June 26th, 2017

2:24 p.m. - Hello, LiveJournal
Because LJ has made it intensely difficult for me to sign in on my dial-up connection, and because I can't guarantee that none of the entries I write will violate the laws of the Russian Federation, I am pretty much a Dreamwidth-only creature these days. My recent entries have been access-list only, but if you'd rather not get your own account on Dreamwidth, then those of you who are signed into LJ should be able to log in with OpenID and participate that way.

Same username there as here. And just so you know, it hasn't been all whining over there. I had a good weekend. :-)
Current Mood: thirsty
Current Music: "Summertime" in my head

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Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

9:45 p.m. - Cheering up
Started out yesterday still feeling gloomy about the general state of my life, but by late afternoon I was feeling considerably more energetic than I generally do on the day after a farmer's market. So I went out to enjoy the relatively not-humid weather and walked a little over two miles total. Whee!

Today I left the house early in the afternoon and ended up wandering around town a bit (technically, wandered in two different municipalities) before finally coming home and eating a very late lunch. The weather was in the low 80s, not too humid, mostly sunny, and quite delightful. Though I put on some sunscreen before going out, I rather suspect I've gotten too much sun for the day. Well, I do need vitamin D, so maybe I got some good out of the ultraviolet light.

Unusually enough, I had enough energy to go out again a few hours later, so I bought a sweet potato and some cheese at a local shop. On my way home, some instinct told me to make sure I went past a specific restaurant even though I wasn't interested in eating there. As I approached the place, I saw two familiar-looking heads of hair which turned out to belong to a local couple of friendly acquaintances. They invited me to sit with them, so we had a good conversation before all walking our separate ways home. Not sure of my total miles walked today, but it was well over three and just possibly over four.

After getting home, I said something that eased a housemate's mind about one of his latest stressors--so in addition to getting some enjoyable exercise, I might even have done a good deed! And now I've eaten a supper of sweet potato, shiitake mushrooms, onion, and a duck egg. For the moment, I could almost be convinced that life is okay.
Current Mood: thirsty
Current Music: housemate in kitchen, fan at my back

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Friday, May 5th, 2017

2:59 p.m. - Nonrandom quote from a middle-aged encyclopedia
Sheep may be marched without protest to slaughter, even though they can look ahead and see the results at the end of the line, but people have an instinctive sympathy for others and will fight to save them, not only for humane considerations but because they can see that they, themselves, may be the next victims.

Abraham Lincoln once said that freedom seldom means the same thing to a wolf that it means to a lamb. If a shelter is built to protect the lambs, the wolves howl that the lambs have lost their freedom. Of course, public programs and collective bargaining restrict some kinds of freedom, but they may safeguard or create other kinds of freedom of greater importance.

--Walter Buckingham, "Automation" in 1986 Encyclopedia Americana

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Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

9:14 p.m. - Doubleplus alt-fact
*whispers into the void* In contemporary use, fact is understood to refer to something with actual existence.


So, I'm kinda fascinated by the whole concept of news conferences in an alt-fact nation. Reading, as usual, Daniel Dale's Twitter feed, specifically this thread on the "millions of immigrants voted illegally!" meme.

As evidence - FYI there is no evidence because it didn't happen - Spicer cited a Pew report from 2012 that does not show anything like this.

Q: Wouldn't millions voting illegally be an astronomical, historic scandal demanding investigation? Spicer: "He won fairly."

Official position of the White House: 1) Millions of people voted illegally. 2) Trump won in a fair election.

Q: How can Trump be comfortable with his win if there were millions of illegal voters? Spicer: "He's very comfortable with his win."

Q: Do you, Spicer, personally believe there was massive voter fraud? Spicer: Not gonna talk about that.

Q: Why won't Trump use his powers to investigate this supposed huge fraud? Spicer: He won an overwhelming victory, "very comfortable." ...


From The Washington Post:
Technically, the proper way to describe claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 election is to state that there’s no evidence that it happened. Shortly after the election, we tallied up reports of in-person voter fraud that occurred last year and found a grand total of four examples. There is no evidence that there was fraud at any significant scale at all.

Saying this, that there’s no evidence, is a hedge. We say it just in case somehow there emerges evidence that, indeed, hundreds of people registered to vote illegally and went to cast ballots. If we say it didn’t happen and then some evidence emerges, we are stuck. So we say “there’s no evidence” instead of “it didn’t happen.”</p>

That’s on the scale of hundreds of votes. On the scale of millions of alleged fraudulent votes, though? It didn’t happen. There’s not only no evidence that it did, it defies logic and it defies statistical analysis to insist that millions of votes were cast illegally in the 2016 election.


Trump Aides Can't Stop Blabbing About How He's a Madman. Are this New York Magazine piece and the articles it quotes true? Many people are saying that they seem like they could be true. Maybe they're factually true, or maybe they're "alternative facts." Facts, alt-facts, I don't know. You tell me.
Current Mood: indescribable
Current Music: Jonatha Brooke again

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9:35 a.m. - When you enter the woods...
Now that I'm getting back in the habit of reading Terri Windling's blog, I want you all to go to her post When you enter the woods...

Don't worry, this is not another post about politics--unless you see anything involving darkness, confusion, and reversal of fortunes as being about current politics, which is where I seem to be these days.
Current Music: Jonatha Brooke, "Charming"

(Leave a comment)

9:01 a.m. - The latest alternative lifestyle choice?
‘Alternative facts’? Journalists from Venezuela to Turkey have ‘seen this movie before’
The early months of the Trump presidency will involve fierce battles about such policy matters as health care, trade and immigration. As its very first fight, though, his administration chose a target that has alarmed observers of authoritarian leaders: verifiable facts.

In a monologue at the headquarters of the Central Intelligence Agency on the first full day of his presidency, Trump blasted the media for correctly reporting on the size of his inauguration crowd, falsely claiming it was actually much bigger. His press secretary, Sean Spicer, then did the same from a podium at the White House, making five provably false claims and walking out.

Spicer’s words were not lies, Trump counsellor Kellyanne Conway said on NBC the next morning. They were, she said, “alternative facts.”

The instantly immortal piece of spin triggered another round of mockery on social media and beyond. For watchdogs in countries that have slid away from democracy, it was not a laughing matter in the slightest. Phillip Gunson, an International Crisis Group senior analyst in Caracas, wrote on Twitter: “This is how it begins: casting doubt on the veracity of things you can see with your own eyes. After a while, you start to doubt your eyes.”


Fomenting doubt about the traditional providers of facts helps inoculate politicians such as Erdogan and Trump against future stories about their wrongdoing, Zeynalov said. He said they are especially sensitive to truths that call into question the supposed popular support they use to justify their governing.

“Crowd sizes, how many people applauded me, how many people voted for me — this is the essence of populist leaders: to make sure that the people who love them, who applaud them, are ‘bigger.’ Whenever you challenge that notion, you’re assaulting the crux of their argument,” he said.

Read the whole thing.

And as reporter Daniel Dale said on Twitter: It's kind of perfect that the administration supported by the white supremacist "alt-right" is now calling lies "alt-facts."

I'm glad the NYT is giving us stories like White House Pushes 'Alternative Facts.' Here Are the Real Ones. Here's hoping that journalists will do more of that, because we certainly need it for however long the current administration has any power at all.

And at this point, the explanation here might some obvious, but maybe we're going to need the reminders that constant, brazen lying is a strategy and it isn't a strategy used by the Good Guys.
Current Mood: alt-amused

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Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

9:02 p.m. - Words, words, words
Looking at some semi-random selection of things I wrote years ago, four words kept jumping out at me: ashes, denial, boxes, escape.

I've been thinking a lot about volcanoes and fire-breathing dragons lately. Of course, when the world seems to be skewing in the wrong directions, I always tend to think of how useful it would be to breathe fire...

I really need to get back in the habit of writing. I also need to get back in the habit of sleeping regularly, or at least going to bed at a reasonable hour.

I was thinking of going grocery shopping today, but I've been dizzy and the weather's been cool and rainy. So instead it's been a good day to stay inside in my cozy warmth and think about the meanings and resonances of ashes, denial, boxes, and escape.
Current Music: landlord closing a door

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Saturday, January 21st, 2017

6:46 p.m. - Friday Five on Saturday
This week's Friday Five

1. How do you like your coffee?

Chocolate-covered espresso beans! I don't actually drink coffee unless I have a migraine and there is no available tea.

2. How do you like your tea?

Usually hot without any additives. Sometimes, though, I love a good masala chai, with all the sugar and the spices and the milk (or coconut milk).

3. What's your favorite late night beverage?

Depends on how I'm feeling. If I've got a migraine, I can drink strong black tea all day and still pass out at bedtime. Usually, though, I try to keep caffeine levels light at night, so I'll stick with herbal tea (maybe something orange-flavored), cocoa, or relatively low-caffeine twig tea. In warmer weather, I often prefer fruit juice or plain water.

4. If you could only drink one thing for the next week, what would it be?

This week it's tea, either black or oolong. Another week, it could be different.

5. If you were on vacation, what would be the first thing you'd drink to celebrate?

That depends: where is this vacation, and do they have any special drinks there?
Current Mood: thirsty

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6:13 p.m. - Jan. 21 and the sea of pink
There was really never any chance that I'd be able to make it to the Women's March today--my body doesn't deal well with the early part of the day even on my better days, and today is emphatically not one of my better days. But I've been happy to see pictures of the marches all over the world (Antarctica too!), and some of the signs out there are glorious.

One of my neighbors left the DC march early because she was in too much pain to stay; but she described the event as "very friendly, with a great spirit" and was glad she'd gone. Here's hoping people continue to be active in all the right ways from now on. Rule by the people means something more than getting in a voting booth every few years, after all.

Too migrainey to say what I want to say right now. Maybe in the near future I'll be able to get it out?

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Thursday, January 19th, 2017

7:22 p.m. - Quote of the Moment
"I can tell you all I have learned in a lifetime of study in just three laws of history. And here they are:

“First, whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.

“Second, the mills of the gods grind slowly, yet they grind exceedingly small.

“Third, the bee fertilizes the flower that it robs.”

About ten days later we took a stroll along Riverside Drive in New York City. Evidently he had been giving further thought to my question. At any rate, he said he would like to add a fourth law to his laws of history:

“When it gets dark enough you can see the stars.”

--from “Charles Beard, The Public Man” by George S. Counts.

(For a history of that last law, see Quote Investigator.)
Current Music: "Starfish and Coffee" in my head


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Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

3:45 p.m. - For those seeking reassurance... don't look here
From Why Donald Tump Is Giving John Dean Nightmares (typo in the original title):

Few people are more intimately acquainted than Dean with the consequences of an American presidency gone awry. As White House counsel under President Richard Nixon from 1970 to 1973, he was a key figure in the Watergate saga—participating in, and then helping to expose, the most iconic political scandal in modern U.S. history. In the decades since then, Dean has parlayed that resume line into something of a franchise, penning several books and countless columns on the theme of presidential abuses of power....

Dean’s near-panicked take on the incoming president is shaped in large part by his years in the Nixon White House. In Trump, Dean says he has observed many of his former boss’s most dangerous traits—obsessive vengefulness, reflexive dishonesty, all-consuming ambition—but none of Nixon’s redeeming qualities.

“I used to have one-on-one conversations with [Nixon] where I’d see him checking his more authoritarian tendencies,” Dean recalled. “He’d say, ‘This is something I can’t say out loud...’ or, ‘That is something the president can’t do.’” To Dean, these moments suggested a functioning sense of shame in Nixon, something he was forced to wrestle with in his quest for power. Trump, by contrast, appears to Dean unmolested by any such struggle.

Current Music: rain continuing

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2:23 p.m. - Quote of the Moment
A victim of the cancerous disease of egotism, he failed to realize that wealth always comes as a result of the commonwealth. He talked as though he could plow the fields and build the barns alone. He failed to realize that he was an heir of a vast treasury of ideas and labor to which both the living and the dead had contributed. When an individual or a nation overlooks this interdependence, we find a tragic foolishness....

In a real sense, all life is interrelated. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.

--Martin Luther King, Jr., "The Man Who Was a Fool"
Current Mood: quixotic
Current Music: gentle rain and distant crows

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Sunday, January 15th, 2017

5:27 p.m. - Thank you, Scotland
For those who have somehow missed it, this bit of brilliance is from Scotland's Sunday Herald's TV highlights:

President Trump: The Inauguration

4pm, BBC One/ STV

After a long absence, The Twilight Zone returns with one of the most ambitious, expensive and controversial productions in broadcast history. Sci-fi writers have dabbled often with alternative history stories – among the most common is the “What If The Nazis Had Won The Second World War” setting – but this huge interactive virtual reality project, which will unfold on TV, in the press, and on Twitter over the next four years, sets out to build an ongoing alternative present. The story begins in a nightmarish version of 2017 in which huge sections of the US electorate have somehow been duped into voting to make Donald Trump president. It sounds far-fetched, and it is, but as it goes on it becomes more and more chillingly plausible. Today’s feature-length opener concentrates on the gaudy inauguration of President Trump, and the stirrings of protest and despair surrounding the ceremony, while pundits speculate gravely on what lies ahead. It’s a flawed piece, but a disturbing glimpse of the horrors we could stumble into, if we’re not careful.
Current Music: Suzanne Vega, "Thin Man"

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Thursday, December 8th, 2016

1:44 p.m. - In better news
There's gloom and doom aplenty, but here are 99 Reasons Why 2016 has been a great year for humanity.

Also, dinosaur tail, complete with feathers, found in 99-million-year-old amber from Myanmar. Seriously, people, "the tail of a non-avialan theropod (coelurosaur) preserved in Burmese amber, combining bone outlines with microscopic details of plumage and integument. This specimen sheds new light on the appearance and evolution of plumage of dinosaurs, providing a direct association between amber-entombed plumage and body fossil material." I'm not the only one squeeing out here, am I?

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Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

9:26 a.m. - Quotes of the Moment
The habit of narration, of crafting something miraculous out of the commonplace, was hard to break. Narration came naturally after a time spent in the company of talking scarecrows or disappearing cats; it was, in its own way, a method of keeping oneself grounded, connected to the thin thread of continuity that ran through all lives, no matter how strange they might become. Narrate the impossible things, turn them into a story, and they could be controlled.

--Seanan McGuire, Every Heart a Doorway


He was, he once confessed, an actor, and he learned to play the part of the Führer--how to talk, to stand, to move, to perform. Everything in his public life, and often in his private life as he came to believe his own publicity, was stage-managed. Even the war. He wanted to play the role of a general, and when he tried writing his own script of World War Two, he bombed.

By design rather than as a by-product of his image-building, out of the cult of personality grew his cult of celebrity. He knew no other way to become dictator than by performing. Fame was more important to him than governing, although in his mind they became one and the same thing. Culture and art became politics. Even suicide was a macabre element to his celebrity, his legend and his sense of immortality, which were all irrevocably connected to the final act of his life-long drama; he would write his own ending.

--Michael Munn, Hitler and the Nazi Cult of Film and Fame


We are who we are, no matter how that might conflict with who we think we are. Our suggestibility to manipulations, whether positive or negative, is fundamental to being human. And what looks like magic is often just our own frightened, malleable brains casting about for a way to explain what's going on around us. We are, all of us, storytellers, and the most powerful story we have is the one we tell ourselves.

--Erik Vance, Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain's Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal
Current Mood: hungry
Current Music: Nine Inch Nails, "We're in This Together"

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Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

2:51 p.m. - This is America, November 29
So, the person who will presumably become the next president of the United States had a little tweetstorm which included the statement that people who burn the American flag should suffer some consequence like losing their citizenship or spending a year in prison.

There are just so, so many things going on here. One thing nobody seems to be commenting on: Trumpelthinskin apparently believes that loss of U.S. citizenship is roughly equivalent to spending a mere year behind bars. Seriously? Which prison was he thinking of sending them to--Guantanamo?

Anyway, many people are responding to this. Some people think that responding to DJT's tweets at all is a mistake: Trump Wants You to Burn Flags While He Burns Constitution
But why would he choose to pick this strange fight? Here is a case where the common complaint that he is distracting the public from unflattering stories rings true. Proposing a flag-burning ban is a classic right-wing nationalist distraction, and Trump has a number of ugly stories from which to distract: his plan for massive, unprecedented corruption, the extreme beliefs of his appointees, a controversy over a recount that highlights his clear defeat in the national vote....

Trump’s flag-burning tweet is a frightening moment not because his proposal stands any chance of enactment, but because it reflects one of the few signs that his dangerous and authoritarian politics is calculated, and not merely crazy.

While there may be some merit to that argument, there's also the fact that the person we expect to be sworn in as the next president apparently wants us to believe that a proposal to strip someone of U.S. citizenship for exercising their first amendment rights is acceptable in American political discourse.

David Frum asks on Twitter: If flag-burning merits loss of citizenship, what should be the penalty for a Nazi salute by a Trump supporter?

which seems like a valid question.

Regarding flag burning, here's a bit of the SCOTUS decision U.S. v. Eichman: "Government may create national symbols, promote them, and encourage their respectful treatment," Brennan wrote. "But the Flag Protection Act of 1989 goes well beyond this by criminally proscribing expressive conduct because of its likely communicative impact. We are aware that desecration of the flag is deeply offensive to many. But the same might be said, for example, of virulent ethnic and religious epithets, vulgar repudiations of the draft, and scurrilous caricatures [all of which the Court had deemed protected by the First Amendment]. 'If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the Government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.' Punishing desecration of the flag dilutes the very freedom that makes this emblem so revered, and worth revering."

Yes, I am aware that HRC also wanted to outlaw flag-burning. I'm not a fan of the idea when it comes from her either, though at least she's never proposed stripping someone's citizenship for the act.

Also, if you were wondering if a natural-born U.S. citizen could lose their citizenship, the answer is yes, but neither burning a flag nor getting on Trumpelthinskin's nerves is enough to do it:

Section 349 of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1481), as amended, states that U.S. nationals are subject to loss of nationality if they perform certain specified acts voluntarily and with the intention to relinquish U.S. nationality.

More info here.

DJT isn't even president yet and he seems intent on proving in more and more ways every day that he is completely unfit for the office. This Is Not Normal. This Is Not Okay.

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Saturday, November 19th, 2016

10:23 a.m. - 2016 as Absurdist Theater
So, Mike Pence went to see Hamilton and the cast had something to say. Which makes sense, since the theater has historically--for centuries--been an important space for public dissent (for a major example from my lifetime, I'm thinking Václav Havel, who I suspect I'll be re-reading a lot in the next few years).

How does the presumptive president-elect of the United States of America respond to this?

Our wonderful future V.P. Mike Pence was harassed last night at the theater by the cast of Hamilton, cameras blazing.This should not happen!

and then

The Theater must always be a safe and special place.The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!

That's right: Trumpelthinskin is demanding a safe space.

2016, I don't even know what to do with you anymore. Maybe you need a nap?
Current Mood: morbidly amused

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Thursday, November 17th, 2016

11:11 a.m. - Let's make this perfectly clear
This Is Not Normal

The one thing authoritarians want you to do is to accept that their conduct is normal, even when it is not. They do not want you to yearn for a freer, less oppressive and less corrupt time, and they do not want you to think it odd when, say, a government agency is purged or a bunch of protesters are arrested and vanish into the prisons without ever seeing trial. They want you to think it is normal when the President is openly selling your interests out to a foreign power, or when he is using the levers of government to materially enrich and empower his family. The presumption of normality during abnormal times is one of the most powerful weapons the authoritarian has, and that is why it is so important to recognize how profoundly abnormal Donald J. Trump will be as president. So I assembled a list.

The Abnormal Presidency

I was going to quote a bit of this one as a teaser, but you should read the whole thing if you haven't already. Because, well, This Is Not Normal.
Current Music: Sting, "The Last Ship"

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Monday, November 14th, 2016

10:04 a.m. - Be good to yourself, good to your neighbors
I don't think I've ever loved my neighborhood more than I've loved it this past week. When I voted on Election Day, the line was just long enough for me to see that my fellow voters included African-Americans, Spanish-speaking immigrants, and at least a couple of Muslims. I am living in the land of Trumplethinskin's nightmares and I love it.

Of course that means that most of the neighborhood feels like our country has just voted us into our own nightmare. People have been numb, anxious, depressed. Yesterday it seemed that the shock was wearing off and being replaced by anger and a determination to stand up for each other--our fellow Americans, our fellow immigrants, the good people elsewhere on this beleaguered planet we're sharing. Here's hoping that determination lasts a good long while--because even if Hillary Rodham Clinton had won the electoral vote, we'd still have a bunch of people the worst part of DJT's campaign has emboldened to fight against not only her, but against all of us who love the diversity of our country. The number of "Black Lives Matter" signs in people's yards seems to be have increased since Tuesday, which I'll take as a good sign.

Link mostly for myself: Trendspotting from John Evans of Techcrunch, which has a bunch of links which may lead to other things I need to think about.
Current Mood: sleep-deprived

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Saturday, November 12th, 2016

10:54 a.m. - Letter from Toronto
Lessons for Americans from the city that elected Rob Ford

"Dear Americans,

"Hello from Toronto. We promise not to be smarmy or condescending.

"It's just that we have some experience electing a uniquely unqualified bigoted demagogue whose stunted emotional maturity and tenuous grasp of reality caused people to fear for things they held dear. But while we can't pretend that our late former mayor was ever nearly as terrifying as your president-elect, there are sufficient similarities that it may be worth comparing notes...."
Current Mood: cold
Current Music: rumble of distant traffic

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Friday, November 11th, 2016

9:58 a.m. - Veterans Day
Take some time to remember what our veterans fought for. Think about the things that you consider worth fighting for. Are you a nonviolent person interested in pursuing paths of peace? Good for you! There are ways to pursue what is right that don't involve picking up a weapon. If you can volunteer for good organizations that are under threat, please do so. If you have money, please donate. If you aren't able to volunteer or donate, send messages of encouragement to the people who are doing the work you believe should be done. Even a very little thing can find roots, branch out, and grow into something big.

The world is a big place. The world is your oyster. Be an irritant under its shell.

Consider the possibility that you've always been a butterfly.

Oh, just in case it might be relevant, here's a link: Autocracy: Rules for Survival.

(Leave a comment)

Saturday, October 8th, 2016

7:25 p.m. - Living
For those wondering: I am still alive, and I have lots of things to say if I ever find the energy to say them. (I am, in fact, working on finding that energy, but it eludes me so far.) I hope you're all doing well out there!

It's really too bad I can't take you all to the local farmer's market to hang out for a while. That'd be fun.

I should probably post this entry before I become completely hypnotized by the icon I'm using.
Current Mood: tired
Current Music: Howard Jones, "Things Can Only Get Better"

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Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

9:04 a.m. - Quote of the Moment
As a child of the 1970s in California, I was constantly told, "You create your own reality." But I lived in a home I did not design, breathed air I did not pollute, went to public schools I did not vote to underfund, rushed home as soon as the last bell rang to avoid the flasher who skulked in the yard across the street, ate off beautiful antique dishes I neither made nor worked for, and slept soundly between soft sheets.

I did not create my own reality.

"Ah, but that's because you hadn't yet taken responsibility for your own life," the New Agers would insist, sipping their bee pollen tonics and adjusting their crystal pendants.

Back then, as now, I understood their point: that which we water grows. But I also understood that most of them were privileged and narcissistic.

You create your own reality, they said. It's an idea that can be potent and empowering: if I can dream it, I can make it happen. But the belief has a dark side, too. Cancer patients are made to feel that they brought their illness upon themselves because of their own negative thinking. Underemployed workers are sent to career counseling, where they're taught that their real problem is their own sorry view of themselves. And I guess that folks living and dying through wars can assume that they're just not good enough at visualizing world peace.

--from Ariel Gore's book Bluebird: Women and the New Psychology of Happiness
Current Mood: unreal
Current Music: Icehouse, "Surgery"

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Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

8:48 p.m. - Old-school LiveJournal post
Because I'm trying to get back in the habit of posting but am too tired to write coherently, I'm posting some silly quiz results.

Cut for your protectionCollapse )
Current Mood: still achy
Current Music: Tears for Fears, "Laid So Low (Tears Roll Down)"

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Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

7:32 p.m. - Wednesday Report
Today's weather was blustery, with a high temperature twenty Fahrenheit degrees cooler than yesterday's. It was glorious.

Headache continues. I went for a walk anyway (actually a few short walks). Multiple optimistic daffodils are blooming throughout the neighborhood, though the daffodils on our street remain tightly enclosed in their buds. The two little pink cherry trees on our street have many pretty flowers on them, while most other cherry trees seem to remember that it's still very early in March.

Much to the surprise of nobody at all, I bought tea and chocolate while I was out. Somewhat to my own surprise, I was in the mood for milk chocolate rather than dark.

Eyes don't want to focus. Laundry doesn't want to dry. Brain doesn't want to come up with any better way to end this entry, so this is it.
Current Mood: need more tea
Current Music: Stephane Grappelli, "Manoir De Mes Rêves / Daphne"

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Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

7:12 p.m. - A pretty Tuesday, after all
Somehow--and don't ask me how--I managed to get just the right amount of tea today to dial the headache down to an ignorable level so I could go out for a walk. Today was a our third day in a row with temperatures in the Fahrenheit 60s, making for a wonderfully springlike stretch of days. While crocuses and snowdrops have been blooming since January, and daffodils have been thinking about bursting their buds, this week some of the earlier-blooming cherry trees have been turning distinctly pink. These aren't the famous Yoshino cherry trees tourists flock to see on the Tidal Basin in DC every year (those usually bloom a few weeks later), but they are a lovely harbinger of warm weather.

This being March, the weather prognosticators expect us to get some snow by the end of the week. Of course.

Anyway, today was pleasant and breezy and a good day to chat with one of my neighborhood friends who had just finished planting a basketful of bulbs in her yard when I passed by her house. After talking for a while about the weather and her garden (which had had to be torn up last year for various reasons, so she's trying to catch up on re-planting), she told me about a new used bookstore I'll have to check out some non-migrainey day.

I also went to the library, went grocery shopping, wandered around a little more (all while taking frequent breaks), and listened to a borrowed CD featuring jazz violinists. I have decided that I need more jazz violin in my life. I also need more chocolate, but you probably guessed that.
Current Mood: sleepy
Current Music: Don "Sugarcane" Harris, "Carlsbad"

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11:14 a.m. - A Super Tuesday?
Dear Fellow Americans:

If you happen to live in a place where there are primary elections today, could you please consider voting for someone who's not a living cartoon or actively inviting comparisons to all the actual historical Fascists? I realize this is going to be more difficult for some of you than for others, but still--please try to find someone halfway decent on the ballot somewhere.

2016: The first year I've heard a Republican talk about moving to Canada if their own party's presidential frontrunner wins in November.
Current Mood: still headachy
Current Music: Laura Love, "This Place I Love"

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Thursday, February 25th, 2016

7:10 p.m. - "Nikabrik's Candidate"
"If you ever doubt that C. S. Lewis was gifted with a prophetic voice, you need look no further for correction than Prince Caspian." Thus begins an opinion piece (which I got from the Inklings mailing list) which includes the question "Did C. S. Lewis foresee the rise of Donald Trump?"

I'm sharing this link mostly because I ended up getting sucked into multiple political conversations while I was out today; and, while I am delighted to know that my neighbors and friends all over the political spectrum--from Tea Partiers to mixed baggers and moderates to raving hippies--are nearly all in agreement that Trump should never ever be elected dogcatcher, much less POTUS, that still meant that I had to think about the clown for an extended period of time, which didn't help my headache. So now I'm sharing the pain.

Now I want more tea (no party).
Current Mood: hungry & headachy
Current Music: wind and distant traffic

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11:23 a.m. - Hello, Thursday
On the one hand, it's the start of one of my infamous regularly-scheduled, multi-day migraines, which tends to make me melancholy, angry, or both. I woke up too early this morning and quickly reached for the pain meds, wishing I had something stronger to help me deal with the start of the day.

On the other hand, as the sun was rising in the east, I walked to a window on the west and saw a high, shining rainbow.

The clouds closed back in after a few minutes, and hours later we've got overcast and breezy conditions. As long as the sun stays hidden away, it might be a good day for a migraine. It's certainly a good sky if you like to appreciate the wide variety of shades of grey.


Lately, the line "In some cases, despite careful and correct surgery, you discover that you still breathe flames" keeps popping into my head. Fire is useful, though. If you can figure out how to control your fire-breathing, you can do good things, maybe even great things. But you've got to know how to distinguish appropriate from inappropriate fuels. Bodies, for instance. It is unwise to burn bodies before you're certain that they're dead. You shouldn't burn bridges before you've crossed either, but everyone knows that by now if they've been paying any attention at all. Too many people still see living bodies as expendable.

I kinda wish I could breathe literal fire right now. Our clothes dryer's been misbehaving, you see, and I despise reaching into a dryer to find that my clothes are still damp and cold. It's February in Maryland, and damp and cold conditions are for outside, not in my limited wardrobe.

Anyway, at some point I'm hoping to write something, but I wouldn't bet on that happening today. I also wouldn't bet on it not happening. It's just a questionable kind of day.
Current Music: Telemann, "Divertimento in B flat major"

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Thursday, January 28th, 2016

8:28 p.m. - damn it
One of my earliest friends on LiveJournal, Nalidoll, died yesterday.

In one of her last posts, she said, "This year is for me." I don't think this is what she had in mind.
Current Mood: heartbroken

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Sunday, January 24th, 2016

5:14 p.m. - Digging out
After the busy week I'd had, I spent yesterday lounging around (collapsed, really) in the clothes I'd slept in. Watched the snow, listened to the radio, listened to the wind, watched more snow, admired the white-out conditions, read the final pages of a library book, but mostly drank tea and rested. Changed clothes in time to go to sleep again.

All the people on our little street are in agreement about one thing: We're okay with being snowed in for a while as long as we have electricity. We never lost power during the storm and we've still got it now, so it's all good.

I'm not sure which was the better investment--those new boots I bought or the chocolate. I do wish I'd bought more chocolate, though.

Today's weather has been beautiful: blue skies, sunshine, temperature a little bit above freezing, snow sparkling and slowly (very slowly) melting into fantastical undulating shapes.

Huge flocks of robins and starlings have been flying around in search of food, gathering excitedly wherever they see anything resembling bare ground. Canada geese and seagulls have flown higher overhead, apparently not seeing anything worth diving toward.

Our street has been plowed, but not particularly well. It's a one-way street now, but nobody knows which way. It's best if nobody drives anywhere, really. (Do you think this has stopped people from driving up or down our street? Have you met any humans?)

I began shoveling the front walk early this morning. About 9:30 I texted the landlord with "If you haven't maxed out on your daily pain meds yet, you're slacking. Time to shovel." In fairness to him, he did keep shoveling a path between our front door and the street yesterday and into the evening; but it was time to shovel that path again by the time I woke up. And the rest of the sidewalk? Well, I shoveled, with occasional breaks, from sometime before 9 a.m. till sometime before 3 p.m. Got help breaking up some ice from the landlord, and more useful help later on from a neighbor. Did an excellent job clearing the sidewalks in front of our house if I do say so myself, and even helpfully shoveled some grassy areas as well.

Took a shower (finally!). Took some more pain meds. Had a snack while trying to decide what kind of meal I might want. Looked outside and saw the landlord's wife shoveling our sidewalk, which confused me. "You did a great job!" she told me when I opened the door, then she continued shoveling for the next hour. I just... I don't even know.

Though I did try to follow best practices when shoveling today, my back hurts, my legs hurt, my wrists hurt, and I'm so very ow. I suspect I'll be maxing out on pain meds for at least a week. Oh, and I know I'll be sleeping a good long while tomorrow--possibly sleeping until the next farmers market, which may be this week.

I'm pretty sure I still have something else with chocolate in it somewhere. That sounds like supper.
Current Mood: hungry

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Friday, January 22nd, 2016

6:38 p.m. - Panic shopping
Why does everyone buy bread, milk, and eggs before a snowstorm?

For my part, I typically buy things I expect to want in the next few days, probably in larger quantities than usual to make sure I don't run out before I'm willing to leave the house. So no milk for me, because I never drink the stuff. Haven't bought any eggs this week because I have half a dozen now and I tend not to eat more than one a day. If anything is different about my shopping before a storm, it's that I buy lots of chocolate. I'm going to need those calories, after all!

Oh, and I bought a cheap pair of boots a few days ago. Don't know if they'll be any good for walking, but they'll provide more protection from the cold and the snow than the worn-out and well-ventilated running shoes I've been wandering around in lately.

I have half a dozen library books checked out. Decided not to borrow any DVDs. Here's hoping I won't regret that decision.
Current Mood: full
Current Music: Sting, "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You"

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