Iterations in green and gold

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 Music
    housemates & a child being loud
Hummingwolf by Dandelion

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.}
Iterations in green and gold

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:
Collapse )

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 Music
    Carrie Newcomer, "The Madness You Get Used To"
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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.
Hummingwolf by Dandelion

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 Music
    "Summertime" in my head
  • Tags
Hummingwolf by Dandelion

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 Music
    housemate in kitchen, fan at my back
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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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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.
Iterations in green and gold

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.