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Aug. 21st, 2017 09:57 pm
skygiants: storybook page of a duck wearing a pendant, from Princess Tutu; text 'mukashi mukashi' (mukashi mukashi)
[personal profile] skygiants
A couple months ago I was talking with my roommate about the new Anne of Green Gables TV series (I have not seen it, she had opinions about it) which led to us reminiscing about Other L.M. Montgomery Books We Had Known, which led to me last weekend rereading The Story Girl and The Golden Road.

I was actually much more attached to these books than I ever was to Anne -- they're about an extended group of cousins who have very wholesome adventures together. The cousins include:

Beverly, Our Narrator, most notable for his mildly purple narration and deeply sentimental soul
Felix, his little brother, who is Fat and Sensitive About It
Felicity, who is Very Beautiful and Very Prosaic and also Extremely Bossy, like Lucy from Peanuts if she also looked like Elizabeth Taylor
Cecily, who is Very Good and Very Serious and probably also Doomed to Die Young Like Good Children Do
Dan, Felicity and Cecily's brother, who is an Annoying Brother
Sara Ray, who lives down the road and cries all the time
Peter, who is But a Hired Boy but Clever and Talented and also In Love With Felicity
and, of course, Sara Stanley the Story Girl, who is not pretty but interesting, and has a spellbindingly beautiful voice, and is prone to stopping in the middle of any given conversation to announce that she knows a story that has some vague relation to the topic at hand and will then proceed to relate that story come hell or high water, which: oh god, of course I imprinted on these books as a kid, because I of course do the exact same thing, except without any vestige of a spellbindingly beautiful voice, and also instead of 'I know a tragic story about our uncle's great-aunt's wedding' my version is usually 'I read a book once in which somebody banged a griffin.' But, much like the Story Girl, once I get started on an anecdote of this kind there is very little chance of stopping me. I apologize to anybody who has suffered from this.

ANYWAY. Fortunately, the other kids (with the occasional exception of Felicity) never get fed up with the Story Girl and are always glad to hear an entertaining anecdote about the minister's cousin's grandmother or whatever the topic of discussion is that day.

The kids also get into normal turn-of-the-century-Canadian kid stuff, like pretending to be ministers, or freaking out because the local old-lady-who-might-be-a-witch sat in their pew at church, or panicking that it might be the Day of Judgment. Normal turn-of-the-century-Canadian kid stuff centers very prominently on appropriate church behavior, as it turns out. L.M. Montgomery's world is composed of Methodists and Lutherans and that's about it. I don't remember this being weird for me as an emphatically-not-Christian youth but it is slightly retroactively weird for me now.

Other notable things that happen in The Story Girl and The Golden Road:
- Dan eats poison berries because Felicity tells him he would be an idiot to eat the poison berries, nearly dies, then goes back and eats more poison berries because Felicity made the mistake of saying she told him so
- Cecily the Very Sweet and Very Good is mean to exactly one person in both books, a boy in her class who conceives a terrible crush on her and will not leave her alone despite multiple stated requests until she publicly humiliates him in class, which she ruthlessly does; a good lesson
- The Story Girl gives a great and instantly recognizable description of synesthesia without ever actually using the word
- The Story Girl befriends a desperately shy neighbor who is known as the Awkward Man, "because he is so awkward," our narrator Bev helpfully explains
- the Awkward Man is later revealed to have a secret room in his house containing women's clothing, which, the Story Girl explains, is because he's spent years buying things for an imaginary girlfriend - and, I mean, far be it from me to question the Story Girl! but some grad student could probably get a real good paper on gender and sexuality in turn-of-the-century children's lit out of this is all I'm saying
breakinglight11: (Default)
[personal profile] breakinglight11
This I whipped together late the other night. It's a scene from the past, where the Colonel is confronted by his brother Ambrose. The idea came from thinking about how Ambrose likely heard through his society connections that his brother would be offered the knighthood, and be so delighted by that fact that when he heard Reginald turned it down, he would march over there and give him hell for it. It's very rough and banged out, but it's interesting to think about these things that shaped the events that actually featured in the text of the plays.

Day #18 - No Knights )

Brian W. Aldiss (1925-2017)

Aug. 21st, 2017 04:39 pm
supergee: (nebula)
[personal profile] supergee
The International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts has lost a Permanent Special Guest, and the field as a whole has lost one of its widest-ranging geniuses: universe-spanning imagination (Galaxies like Grains of Sand), Joycean psychedelia (Barefoot in the Head), beautiful decay (The Long Afternoon of Earth), alternatives to humanity (The Malacia Tapestry), world building (Helliconia), history of the field (The Billion Trillion Year Spree), and even a mimetic best seller (The Hand-Reared Boy). My idiosyncratic favorite is The Shape of Further Things, a meditation on diverse topics written around the time of the moon landing.

Yay -- science still works

Aug. 21st, 2017 02:49 pm
jducoeur: (Default)
[personal profile] jducoeur

Having not done the advance planning needed to procure a pair of the dorky-but-necessary goggles for directly looking at the eclipse, I did the quick-and-dirty version instead: creating a "pinhole camera" by taking two index cards, punching a hole through one with a needle, holding them a couple of inches apart, and adjusting the distance between them until I got reasonable focus.

Quite neat -- while not nearly as spectacular as being in totality no doubt would have been (both my parents and my boss flew to the Carolinas for it today), it provided a good firsthand illustration of the principles as the visible dot in my "camera" went from circle to crescent over about ten minutes or so.

The one negative observation: I am now nearsighted enough that actually observing this now requires taking off my glasses. (Even my bifocals aren't good enough to resolve that level of detail. But at least my eyes are Really Good at Up Close and Tiny nowadays.)

Signal Boost: Fatal Encounters

Aug. 21st, 2017 02:37 pm
jducoeur: (Default)
[personal profile] jducoeur

Spreading the word (h/t to [personal profile] mindways) -- Fatal Encounters is a site doing research that everyone has talked about for decades but ever-so-conveniently not actually performed: how many people are being killed by police, under what circumstances, and how has that been changing over time? In an absence of data, talking heads fill the void with their own assumptions, and that needs to change. So they are building out an as-comprehensive-as-possible searchable database on the subject.

They're currently running a modest IndieGoGo campaign to fund operations for the next six months. It looks to be a good cause, and I've tossed a few dollars into the pot -- check it out...

Dear Miller Medical...

Aug. 21st, 2017 11:36 am
thnidu: What, me worry? MAD Magazine's Alfred E. Neuman (idiots)
[personal profile] thnidu
(which is the name my address book has for this number), or Montgomery Medical Equipment (which is what your voice menu thanks me for calling), or whoever you are:

I missed a call from you at 10:21 this morning. I have been trying to call back for the last 10 minutes, but your voice menu always assumes that I know what your call was about, and hangs up when I press zero for operator. CALL ME BACK, and if I am unable to answer please LEAVE A VOICE MESSAGE.

QotD

Aug. 21st, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Anti-Blackness doesn't stop being important when we are talking about the environment, White supremacy doesn't stop being important... Environmentalists that know how to talk about the ice caps melting, but can't talk about asthma rates in cities are missing the mark." -- J Mase III, 2017-01-03

Seeking a book for someone.

Aug. 21st, 2017 02:07 am
thnidu: Gay-friendly poly-friendly pagan-friendly monogamous straight Jew (friendly)
[personal profile] thnidu
I just saw a request on a community called findthatbook, which I am pasting below. I don't remember if nonmembers can read posts, but they can't post. Since I know that a number of LGBTQ people read my blog, rather than link to there I told the OP I would ask here and pass the information on to them.




gay novel from the early 80s?

I recently remembered a book I last read in the early 80s, but can't recall the exact title (or author) - I *think* it was called something like The Stairs on Avenue C but googling that and some keywords like 'book' 'novel' or 'gay' got me nowhere. it was a paperback about a gay guy in New York City (who lived on Avenue C?); and I vaguely remember the cover illustration was a doubling-back staircase - I think the cover was greenish. It was definitely no masterpiece and I think relatively negatively slanted; I can't remember if the protagonist turned out to be a serial killer or died, but that's the sort of impression I have. it was early in my discovery of gay lit, and I was gulping down anything I could lay my hands upon. and now I'm vaguely curious about it but unable to gratify that curiosity.


anyone have any pointers for where I might look?

Done last week (20170813Su - 19Sa)

Aug. 20th, 2017 09:44 pm
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
[personal profile] mdlbear

The last pod has been emptied -- it will be hauled off on Wednesday -- so I guess that means we're officially moved in. So many things we really shouldn't have taken! (And a few we should have, but gave away instead...)

We decided not to go to Oregon to see the eclipse. Just didn't start soon enough; maybe we can get to 2024? Tough decision, but we hadn't planned far enough ahead; with the expected traffic we probably wouldn't have made it, we would have had to scramble to find someone to care for the cats, and the room was expensive.

A lot of overload/stress/depression/anxiety problems, especially Monday and yesterday. Yesterday was particularly bad -- I felt drained pretty much all day after a morning meltdown. I probably need to bunny more.

There are continuing problems with the cats. Bronx is still pretty sick, and Ticia spent much of the week hiding under the bed. We finally set Colleen up in the brown recliner, with her usual bowls of water and treats. That seems to have worked, or at least helped. She's still awfully skittish. May have to do with the kittens. Especially Bronx.

Notes & links, as usual )

thnidu: outline of Texas, colored like the state flag (Texas)
[personal profile] thnidu
The Best Trick U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves Ever Pulled on a Criminal
A particularly glorious example of “fake it ‘til you make it.”

facial portrait

by Eric Grundhauser
August 08, 2017



The American Old West was a fertile cauldron for myth and legend, producing such fantastical figures as Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill. But while many folk heroes of the era may have been embellished-unto-fable, or completely dreamt up, the legendary Wild West figure Bass Reeves was absolutely real, even if his exploits sound like tall tales.

Reeves was one of the most remarkable figures of the Old West, serving as a deputy U.S. Marshal from 1875 to 1907, mostly in and around the regrettable Indian Territory, which once made up much of what is now Oklahoma.

(Click title for article)

Socialism, Fascist-Style

Aug. 20th, 2017 04:56 pm
jducoeur: (Default)
[personal profile] jducoeur

In the wake of Charlottesville and the past week, I strongly recommend reading this article in the Guardian, which explores a bit of the ideology of this particular chunk of the far right. The heart of it is a reminder that Nazism is national socialism, and they are making hay with a philosophy that is basically a racist (and inegalitarian) corruption of classic socialism. It's bullshit, but seductive bullshit, now just as it was to Germany in the '30s.

It's a bit skin-crawling to think about (it's a bit hard to come up with a more exact opposite of my own worldview), but we're going to have to understand the enemy if we're going to fight them. And I think it's clear that we are going to have to fight them -- at the very least, this is a dangerous and rising memeset that needs to be opposed now, and vigorously...

Ugliness in Boston

Aug. 20th, 2017 07:51 am
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
Not a shining day for Boston, but not as horrible as I thought it might be. Here I'm going by Boston.com's coverage. Timing notes follow the article. They're the times of the posts, not necessarily when things happened.

Reported events from Saturday )

Conclusions? The number of people trying to intimidate or harm people must have been relatively small, considering the size of the crowd, or there would have been far worse. Nonetheless, it's significant that every act of aggression, or nearly so, came from people masquerading as "anti-Nazis" or "anti-racists." (They're neither, but just bullies.) They're the kind people who shout down speakers or block access whenever they can. The kind who think their throwing rocks and urine is "kinetic beauty." They usually confine their actions to college campuses, where they think they won't be punished.

It's very disturbing when the police commissioner says it's a "good thing" that people can't get to hear a message he doesn't want them to hear. That's the voice of the police state.

Also disturbing is the lack of any intellectual content to the protest. It was, as far as I can see, basically an exercise in name-calling. Or at least that's all that we get to hear through the usual news reporting. When they use "nazi" to insult anyone whose message they don't like, it accomplishes two things:

(1) It trivializes actual Nazis. In Charlottesville, there were actual, swastika-wearing Nazis chanting "blood and soil." Nazism supports many of the worst forms of brutality ever devised, including the murder of millions.

(2) It mainstreams Nazism. If everyone you dislike is a Nazi, then maybe Nazis aren't so bad. At least some people will think that way.

Is this the new normal in America? Mobs forming to intimidate every speaker they don't like? Then we might as well give up on America.

Update: Based on this Eagle-Tribune article, people were prevented from hearing the speakers. According to one account, "They spoke for about 40 minutes. Whenever they got loud enough for anyone over here to hear them, people booed them and drowned them out."

On the other hand, the rally itself sounds strange: "The group had gathered to share members' views on free speech, but did not allow any members of the press inside the barricades. They had no public address system and could not be heard by the thousands that had gathered to protest the rally." Nor by those who gathered to hear it, it seems. That would explain the lack of coverage of content. If they wanted to be heard, why did they not bring sound equipment or let any press in?

The Eagle-Tribune article notes that Antifa people were present, and it's reasonable to suspect they were behind the worst acts. The article notes that in one case of bullying, some protesters "shouted for them to not engage physically, and others still helped police escort him to safety." I think the overwhelming majority of the crowd was good people, but the danger is letting the pro-violence, anti-free speech people become their public face.

Update 2: A bike ride later, what remains disturbing to me is that thousands of people were so upset that someone they didn't like was speaking in public that they had to denounce it in exaggerated terms. These people had just a Facebook page rather than a real Web presence, were confused about how to get a permit, and didn't have a PA system. The event would have gone by without any notice, but that would have been horribly unforgivable.

Update 3: The more I learn, the harder it is for me to excuse the people involved. There have been people bragging of driving anyone so much as wearing a "Make America Great Again" cap out of the downtown area.

QotD

Aug. 20th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

From the Quotation of the day mailing list, 2017-05-10:

"One of the great challenges of our age, in which the tools of our productivity are also the tools of our leisure, is to figure out how to make more useful those moments of procrastination when we're idling in front of our computer screens. What if instead of tabbing over to the web browser in search of some nugget of gossip or news, or opening up a mindless game such as Angry Birds, we could instead scratch the itch by engaging in a meaningful activity, such as learning a foreign language?

"If five million people can be convinced to log into Zynga's Facebook game Farmville each day to water a virtual garden and literally watch the grass grow on their computer screens, surely, Ed [Cooke] believes, there must be a way to co-opt those same neural circuits that reward mindless gaming to make learning more addictive and enjoyable. That's the great ambition of Memrise, and it points towards a future where we're constantly learning in tiny chunks of our downtime."

-- Joshua Foer, on British memory champion Ed Cooke's online learning company, Memrise.

[ https://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/nov/09/learn-language-in-three-months]

(submitted to the mailing list by Terry Labach)

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Joshua Kronengold

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