Friday, August 26, 2016

Women's Equality Day

This morning, Wikipedia informed me that it is Women's Equality Day. Ever heard of it? Ever celebrate it? Did you buy sheets on sale, or have a barbecue? I'm not sure of the proper procedure here.

I just feel like... if we have to have a "day" for it: we are doing it wrong.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Collection





This is a GREAT piece from NPR on fun that's no fun for some - but if you listen, please also read. Because this piece is monochromatic.

Okay, and in the what is old department, we have irony … which, like anything else, is STILL not new again. Does anyone remember the scene from Name of the Rose, where Brother Jorge argues against the idea that Christ ever laughed? It’s a more important question than most of us are really able to comprehend. The turn-of-the-millennium context is strong, but I might quibble with one or two points on the Protestant history in this essay. But the overall point is: one generation ALWAYS complains about the next. (This one is for Jeff Sypeck, as we were so recently discussing the subject of hand-wringing elders!) I would argue the statement that people are especially self-aware these days. And what we’re dealing with nowadays is less “irony” than a couple of decades of SNARK, which has become exhausting.

Walt Whitman, recognized, in 1871, that "the aim of all the litterateurs is to find something to make fun of."

Enclothed cognition has been getting a great deal of attention. NPR’s recent piece by Invisibilia included the issue of feeling in control – a test subject who participated in one study protested that she preferred to feel like she was more in control – but, of course, we take control over this in the choices we make out of our wardrobes in the first place, right? I have had countless discussions with others at the office in any one of my squillion different jobs and offices, about how multiple people seem to be dressed the same way on a given day, or about wearing bright colors to wake or emotionally perk ourselves up.




I personally feel I exert a great deal of control over my emotional state and my readiness for a day based on how I choose to dress. It’s one part of the reason I set out my clothes when I come home rather than trying to choose something in the morning. Planning saves me time and pre-caffeinated “thinking”, and it gets something done I won’t have to manage in a stressed-out state. I also have a little fun with it – ooh, what jewelry will I take out on the down, what style will I deploy? And I go to bed knowing it’s one less thing to deal with. It’s also a decompressive time at the end of a work day. I come home, feed the kids, put Pen in her yard, and Goss and I go up to the quiet bedroom, where I shuck the day literally and figuratively, and plan the next one. It is a peaceful ritual, and gives me quiet time with The Grey Poobah, while Yellow Poobah enjoys some decompression of her own in her beloved yard.

On August 8, as I languished in the Atlanta airport with thousands of other victims of the Delta outage,  one of the things I noticed was the number of people who were dressed WELL. I was not one of these people. When I travel at all, I tend to dress not merely for comfort, but actually for invisibility. When I was young, this was a mechanism to deflect attention to whatever attractiveness I possessed, and to make my way with the least resistance. Flying or driving, I did not want to be approached - traveling alone, nobody wants company at the rest area or sitting tightly packed on a plane. A woman doesn't want to be subject to her own appeal. With age, I continue the comfort-lack-of-style as a matter of practicality and owing to how sick I get.

There is a freedom (hah) in ageing-woman invisibility, but for a lot of us it is also painful. If your figure has also changed with the years, it can be difficult to survey a crowd of thousands and to feel invisible. Or, worse, to think of being seen - for the dowdy old thing you have become. No longer caring.

Mr. X is coming in my direction at some point in the next several months. Invisibility is a problem, and frumpy is a not-having-it deal breaker. So I have invested in some comfort clothes that are less ... beige.


Okay. Enough of that.

Now on from enclothed cognition to ... well, how about literally another way of thinking?

… that Botox thing, where empathy is constrained by the paralysis induced by the botulonum toxin? It’s called embodied cognition. Huh.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Carolinized

I need to thank Donna Everhart for pointing me toward this link ...

My Penny is not the only one. In fact: "There can't be only one", if I may steal from Highlander.

There is nothing I can do to top the post I have linked, so I beg of you to read that. Its main result here has been a review of my pics of Penelope here upon the blog - and inspiration to create something of a different sort of Collection post.


I've been told of Dr. Brisbin, pretty much The authority on Carolina Dogs, but am also arrogant enough to self-diagnose Penelope's breed. As she is spayed, there is no other way to know. She just *is*. My ur-puppy.

She has the fishhook tail, the almond eyes - the yaller coat I cannot spend enough time scritching. She digs snout holes. She looks like pariahs across the world; those dogs in Egyptian stelae, living half-wild in New Guinea, known in Korea ... and the Midatlantic U. S.



Her relationship to the ground seems to me clearest in this photo. It's merely the thing she uses to lift herself up; nothing that has pull on her, it is the springboard from which her life above it is conducted. Occasionally, it makes a good place to nap.



... or to play ...



But really, the ground is just where she keeps a few things and leaps up from.

This was my outdoor bone. It was like ten pounds. I flindered it.
Only half an ounce or so remains of this mammajamma.

This. Is my indoor bone. It is a hambone.

The Yellow Poobah likes They Grey Poobah well enough. They get along.



But it's nowhere near so snugglesome as occasionally it may appear.



Pum's muscular power became clear to me about this moment, when I'd known her about a year:



Her smile is beautiful, and she loves Christmas.



Ugh. I mean, seriously. Have you ever seen a more beautiful thing, greater happiness and contentment, sweeter eyes, funnier ears?

A more natural nature?



I am privileged, both in Pen and in Gossamer too.

I oughtta repay the privilege I have in Pen, and take her to one of those tail-gate events for her kind.

They adopt good.
--Mark Eden

Yes. Yes, they do. As people, we should do as well.

And, to paraphrase Cy Brown's closing lines: I love *my* Penny. I'm her people.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Collection

Museum Day is coming, September 24! Do you have one you'd like to see but haven't been there, or not recently? Check to find out whether they are participating ...

Awrighty, fellow Trek fans. We've been saying since 1987's Next Generation debut that Star Trek's tech was prescient - the personal computer ubiquitous by the late 80s strongly resembled the terminals used in the original series, flip phones looked rather like the original communicators ... and, later on, we pointed to Trek's PADDs as inspirations for today's tablet devices. Welp, ladies and germs, please officially welcome the food replicator. Kind of. There's been talk of 3D printing's resemblance to some of the sci-fi technologies long dreamed of, even before Trek. At bottom, though - all the "wow, look how predictive science fiction is!" gee-whiz comes down to this: humanity is composed of a whole lot of dreamers and a few innovators, and the latter bring to life the visions of the former. Because you don't have to be an Asimov fan to be into robots, or read Philip K. Dick to want to talk to someone and see them at the same time.

In need of a funny story? KD James has a great one, about a frog in a fireplace. Go! Enjoy!

Ooh, a nice post from someone I knew about six lives ago - no parking, comfort zone!

I've known for years that dying in the hospital - or living in one, for that matter - is anathema to me. As it is to most people. But I fail to subscribe to a unique tenet of modern life, that you have to go to the hospital every time something goes wrong, especially the older you become. Here are two reasons there is hope this could change. Understanding is growing, that hospitals are bad for us, particularly for the elderly. And there are other ways to find care, such as hospice. I could live with hospice. And I could die with it, too. Much more happily than any hospital bed.

And, as an antidote to thoughts of death - how about the top 9 things John Davis Frain has to teach us about owning a convertible? Bwaaaaaahahahahahahahahaaaa!! (Notes: my brother and I used to ride in the back seat of my dad's Fiat Pininfarina as kids; this was a family car! I had forgotten about the rain thing. Dad bought another Fiat in the early 1990s, and brother asked him, "Hey dad, did you break down and get a radio?" Dad replied, "Yes; it even has a tape deck! But they don't make 8-tracks anymore, do they?" My Beloved Ex was MOST excited to take that 8-track off his hands. Because: dork.)

Paul Lamb's summer of waning ticks and chiggers, horseflies ... and how writing is really rewriting. He's such an evocative writer of *place*.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Not-Trek

A funny thing happened on my way to Star Trek: Beyond. Every other movie for the past few years.

There's long been a hallowed tradition in American filmmaking, where (especially with Ye Summer Blockbuster) shit-blowin'-up-real-good is perhaps the core of the attraction. We like watching buildings explode, continents going kablooey - we even had fun with CGI destruction of major cities for a while there. Gosh darn it, good clean American fun, where nobody gets hurt (they're all just digital ants, right) and loud noises suffice for entertainment.

Rebooting has also been a big money maker, so we've rebooted the CRUD out of, say, Spider-Man (we're on #3 in under ten years, folks), every television show known to the Baby Boomers and now even some Gen-X'ers, and ... oh yeah, Star Trek.

Three years ago, DC Comics debuted their 'verse challenge to the box office, television, and beyond domination of Marvel's stunningly successful multiverse, giving the world the grey, grimy, gloomy, and petulantly self-indulgant Man of Steel. Antithetical to almost any possible character trait of Superman as he's existed for GENERATIONS now, this movie failed to score in one very major way: its sickening collateral destruction. The hue and cry against Supes' heedless and violent smackdown of his enemies, and the resultant, ya know, complete razing of some significant areas of human habitation, were loud and lamenting.

For those who are not fans: Superman is essentially a Christ figure. He never quite dies for our sins, but the only son sent from, well space, who gives up a normal life to serve mankind: yeah, it's a bit of a parallel.

So to make him an emo jerk with zero personality and a whinging little ax to grind, and to indulge an entire grubby looking feature film to the insane amounts of damage he and Zod leave around them without the slightest nod to those people and properties they destroy? Unpopular. And the movie sucked.

The result has been Batman Versus Superman. Not greatly more loved, as far as I have heard: but wow did it backpedal on the whole collateral damage thing.

Add to this Marvel's own multiverse spending now literally *years* addressing exactly the same issues - in the Netflix series Jessica Jones, on an existential level; in ABC's Agents of Shield, almost for the run of the series; in Captain America: Civil War, one of the biggest movies of this year. And it's no accident Civil War bears Cap's name, not The Avengers. He is all but alone, of his compatriots, in all the sacrifice and service we once saw and loved in Supes. And he's not a gun-toting ass, he is a human, the most human perhaps of all the Avengers, striving for principles and fiercely moral. Cap has become one of the most fascinating characters cinema has had to offer in a long time; his portrayal at Chris Evans' hands has been pretty remarkable on multiple levels.


So. Violence, and the fact that even in America its emptiness has begun to cause backlash.



I've been on record most of my adult life as being an open-minded fan - I will take what I'm given and generally try to enjoy it. Expansions of the Trekverse have rarely struck me as a bad idea.


Now we are "Beyond" the universe.

The latest Trek is a good movie. It's got some humor, it's got characters I quite like. I was surprised when I saw Simon Pegg was a writer (I might have expected *more* humor, if I'd known; but I was fairly successful in going in - even as late as I did - with little knowledge beforehand).

Pegg's Montgomery Scott has been a wonderfully winsome, moral presence himself, through the reboots. In Darkness, he was the voice of reason asking "hey, do we really want to go hauling possibly illegal weaponry into territory we're not allowed to be wandering around in in the first place?" and lost his job for it. For a while. He had to kill at one point, which was horrible to see and made me sad, but at LEAST it was theoretically justified by the script.

Beyond ... well, goes beyond. And over the top. And so forth.

The level of CRUELTY in Beyond is something worse than merely distasteful, it is both disrespectful of the entire Trekverse (and fandom) and a betrayal of the ideals on which every franchise used to be built. It is also incredibly tone-deaf.

In a world where DC Comics has to answer for wanton destructiveness, TREK of all things has produced a story in which hundreds, perhaps thousands, of deaths just mean nothing. We've all joked about red-shirts, I can't pretend not to have myself. But the level of viciousness, the level of truly morally bankrupt violence in Beyond is heartbreaking.

TOS killed off the occasional redshirt, but generally to make a point about the awfulness of death - or, at the very least, the awfulness of whatever enemy/obstacle the crew were up against. TNG didn't do much killing, but they honored the redshirt tradition here and there, and stuffed up their crew's shirts with a fair amount of moral superiority along the way (I will say: not always justifiably).

DS9, long my favorite of the series, took death and allowed war itself into the Trekverse. But even the war was not a wanton reaction; it was an attrition, a defense, and tapped very much into the ideals of Roddenberry's universe. It explored with more depth, at times, the twisted moralities and allegiances born out of humanoid conflict. It was, for the most part, honest - and earnest.

There is no earnestness in Beyond. Much urgency, but little morality.

Our villain, in Beyond, is a confusing morass of magical properties. We're not supposed to recognize what he is, so he is capable of changing appearance for no particular reason. He's supposed to be scary and evil, so occasionally he's some sort of energy-draining vampire. How this works, why it is so, is not much explained; he's just BAD GUY (and a cruel short-changing of the talents of Idris Elba - and also, was nobody at all a bit squirmy about making a large black man the villain, after the racial issues attached to whitewashing Khan?). His entire motivation is, um. That he is semi-immortal and went nuts because of it? That he was abandoned (shades of Bond Reboot #2)? That he is personally offended (shades of Trek Reboot #1 or CA;Civil War)?

Trek villains are usually greedy or (sigh) culturally inferior (see also, my many issues with TNG's unrelenting smugness), not torturing madmen giving mental illness a bad name.

The villain - as we've seen so often in recent years - is merely the mechanism by which we get the story, such as it is, and the 'splosions, such as they are, into motion. I don't even mind that; many's the Bond film predicated on such red herrings.

But you have to tell a good story once you get the mechanism ticking.

Beyond ... is not a bad story. But it could have been so much better.

One friend of mine commented on the old "tech that's been lying around for centuries magically working just like that" but I stand by that as a Trek trope of long standing. Fine. And, if it bugs you, well consider that Jaylah has been caretaker of "her house" (and all its tech) for some years, apparently. So she kept things in trim.

More than anything else, I wish I could have seen even ACKNOWLEDGEMENT by the crew that people were dying left, right, and down the middle, and that was A Bad Thing. Nope. They're driven, yes, and death is bad, but there's no feeling towards the masses of people destroyed along the way.

And the Enterprise herself is killed off early in the film.

It all feels like a character is missing. And the killing-off here is done along the way to action scenes we've seen before.

The character sliding down the hull of a dying ship. Check: Khan did this in Reboot #2. The characters flying through space/midair without any craft. Check: Reboots #1 and #2 both. Exciting once, amusing twice, retreading now, and taking up time and space that could have had some sort of story going on. Spaceship rising out of the water. Check: Avengers did this a few years ago, and Enterprise did it in Reboot #2, opening sequence no less.

Trek depends upon tropes; I've made this clear right here - redshirts, and gee-whiz tech, and setpieces, oh my. But retreads are just a drag. And laziness is a killer.

I came in wanting to love Star Trek: Beyond, and knowing as little about it as I could. Reviews were sounding good, but I'd seen some doubt.

And I liked it. I liked it in parts. I liked Jaylah, a good character for a woman, something all to hard to come by. Cis-checked and Hollywood pretty of course, but still a strong opportunity in an industry not plagued with good women's roles.

I enjoyed what humor there was, and appreciated the memorial to Leonard Nimoy. Some of the nostalgia felt earned, even as strategic - and manipulative - as necessarily it was. It was respectful, and I loved the shot of Nichelle Nichols and the TOS cast.

The delving into Bones' and Spock's relationship was not merely Pure Comedy Gold My Friends, but lots of genuine fun. THAT was a great movie, braided into a couple other movies with hit-and-miss quality.

I thought Kirk was great, here. His reactions, his actions. I believed him wholly. Same with Zoe Saldana's Uhura, which has been among my favorite aspects of the reboots. This magnificent woman, played first by the marvelous Nichelle Nichols and now by the sensitive, powerful Saldana, has been wonderfully developed through the new films. Her beauty is impossible to miss, but the fact that that is only the smallest part of her has been too. Uhura has been a glorious part, character, image, story, since Abrams took the helm. She is not short-shrifted here.

And yet. And yet.

I liked it in parts. I will get it on disc, when it comes, for those parts. I'll listen for the places this film harmonizes not only with its fellow reboots, but with the Trekverse itself. The music of the spheres, Trek-style.



But oh dear me. The ways it failed are truly bleak.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Delta'd

It's one of those "I was/wasn't supposed to be there" moments - like the time my uncle missed the massacre at the Dome of the Rock by hours because of a flight delay, or the eighty-year-old couple who never might have met but for one tripping in the park and the other coming to their aid ...

Originally, I had an American flight, on Sunday.

But American canceled on me, and booked me on the next-best option - which left the gate before I cleared security.

Dang.

They wanted to book me on the next flight, but that would not get me where I needed to be until 11:45 or something the next day! Horrors!

So I resolved to drive - 800+ miles, but I like a nighttime drive, and I'd be in control. Aces.

Along the way out of security, I sat down and called my mom to let her know what was up, then called my boss. "Use your best judgment" he said, but discouraged driving. I booked a 5:30 a.m. on Delta, it'd get me there HOURS before the American flight would! Yay!

And so, I went home to sleep just a few hours. The house fresh and clean so I could come home and not have that to think about, I didn't even sleep in my bed. Pulled up the couch, closed my eyes till 3:00 a.m.

I'd had a BAD night's sleep Saturday, and this was even worse, of course. For some reason, before the first planned trip out, I'd had butterflies constantly - not typical for me, for travel. I don't get *nervous* usually. Just sick.

I didn't wake up until 3:23 a.m. Ugh. Not the worst thing, honestly; my city's airport is much smiled-at for calling itself "international". It's not what you'd call the most challenging to travel through.

Still, I wasted no time. Brush teeth, braid hair, pull on clean shirt, get out. I was back and got a great parking spot before 4:00 a.m. easy.

I did decide to check in, so I could check my suitcase.

It was at this point, heading toward my gate, I realized: I'd left my phone charging at home. Clever girl. Our airport being what it is, I could have gone and gotten it, and I knew that, but ... sometimes, you just have to minimize your stress. How much do I need that phone, really? Not all that desperately. So home it would stay.

Gate. Sit. Relax.

After a while, they told us there was some sort of computer issue - worldwide. Hm. Oh.

... and there it began, fella babies.

I'll be honest, the flight out to Atlanta airport - my first leg - seems such a long time ago, I have no memory of how long it was delayed. Significantly, let's leave it there. But we got to Atlanta.

This was not, and did not feel like, a coup. Atlanta was every bit the cluster-festivity we expected it to be, and more. Everything you could dream of.

Initially, we did go to the assigned gate for the next flight out. Nobody imagined that would be the end of it, and it wasn't. Flight canceled of course, and then it was on ... to The Line.

The Line stretched down one of Atlanta airport's impossibly huge concourses. The Line was so extreme, all afternoon people walking by it offered condolences, were incredulous they'd have to be in it, recorded us on their phones, photographed us. I've seen news stories on airline outages before, and I can tell you, having my sweaty ass broadcast internationally was NOT on my list of things I was pleased to put up with that day.

Throughout our tenure on The Line, most of us made friends, chatted, smilingly rolled our eyes. We were a bit concerned about how fast The Line moved - because, in fact, it actually did. Not as reassuring as it might seem; we fully expected the end of The Line to be someone telling us we were up a certain excremental creek, thank you for playing, we're fresh out of paddles. (One suspects Delta might well have run out of paddles merely in the hopes nobody would turn them on any Deltoid fannies.)

It took about an hour and fifteen minutes or so to clear The Line. Throughout this time, I had my laptop on top of my carryon, kicking the latter along the way when we moved, typing on the former when we didn't. I emailed my boss, my mom, the hotel for our meeting this week, and a certain sports team, 67 of whose tickets I had for safekeeping on my person. "Can the tickets be reprinted?" Yes, for $5 each, but they'd cap that at $40. Whew. Hotel event coordinator was overwhelmingly lovely - she changed our lunch date to "what would you like waiting for you in your room?" and I may or may not have admitted a liking for hard cider.

The Line moved across a wet patch on the floor. My carryon is not wheeled. Ew.

Throughout the day, I reminded myself of two important things: unlike a friend of my family, who's been a part of our lives all of my own, I am not losing a foot today. And I don't work for Delta today.

As baselines for "how bad is  your day?" these things might seem almost extreme for comparison, but remembering our family friend honestly did keep me from turning into a freaking, stress-riding shrew. I prayed for her and meant it. I took NSAIDs for my headache and knew, whatever came, my problems would end - maybe even within just hours.

We came to the end of The Line around 2:30 I think. Maybe. One loses all sense of time, even dates, in an aiport, and that is of course very intentional. Can't have people aware of what's going on about them.

I got to the gate for the 3:32 flight before I really looked at the new boarding pass.

It was for August 9.

I was pretty out of it, but Monday, I was reasonably certain, was in fact August 8.

Two more compatriots from The Line appear. I ask them if they saw the date on their HOORAY, YOU REACHED THE END OF THE LINE release slips. They crumple when the realize our mutual mistake.

There is no going back to The Line and cutting it.

We turn to the nearest gate agent, and wait.

The problem being shared, so too is the solution. A 7:28 p.m. out of gate such-and-such.

We find gate such-and-such and settle in. It is a nice gate. Small, quiet, clean.

It is, naturally, too good to last.

There are three gate changes as the afternoon wears on. Atlanta is, by the way, the largest airport in the world. You need to catch a train to get from one concourse to another. You can, if you are especially sleep-deprived and castaway by Delta airlines (hometown carrier for ATL), miss the right concourse and have to get back ON the train again. These are things that can happen.

At last, I ended up at gate A1. I kept thinking about steak sauce, what it has that Worcestershire sauce doesn't, and that family friend. This gate is large, but crowded, ugly-lit, dirty - and low on seating. By this point in the day, my tailbone is hurting in any case. Air travel is hard on a fat lady's tailbone. Sitting too straight, sitting not straight enough. It's all very trying. Sitting on the ground is no better. I finally capitulate and try to lie down.

In that magical carryon - un-wheeled, as I have mentioned - what I have not mentioned is its very weighty contents. Apart from the laptop, it holds a presentation projector. Tiny, to be sure, but still. I'm hucking *equipment* all over G-d's creation, hung off my shoulder. It also holds my tablet computer.

Battery life still kicking, but sinking, on the laptop, I decide at last to fire up the Galaxy tab. It has updates. I let it update.

This takes roughly sixteen months, and renders everything on the tablet unusable. No email. No KINDLE. I poke at it listlessly less than half an hour, and finally just turn the thing off. I haven't so much as fiddled with it since. Some stress we tend to invite in. I was not feeling hospitable for tech issue frustrations, so. Shut it down.

The gate is moved again, but this time only across the way, to A2.

Right about here, for whatever reason, I indulge in that most heedless rashness: belief that this next flight is Going to Happen. It is from the chairs here, waiting, I say the most coherent prayer for our family friend. It is here I watch the most luminously beautiful lot of students, traveling together, laughing and finding their own flight has been canceled. They thread their way away, and the sun seems to be dipping slightly.

On the plane. It is a miracle.

I email my boss. My hotel. My mom.

And we sit at the gate an hour and a half. Some ticketing issue with a lady and her young son. They get on the plane very late in the game. They get off again. I can't pretend that my feelings at this point were completely charitable; whatever this lady needed to get to, or away from - she kept hundreds of others waiting, as if we hadn't all done enough of that by this time.

But wait. More waiting. Lady and son are long gone off the plane again, and it transpires; our weight paperwork is not right.

I don't know what time the plane pulled away - between time zone shifts and delays, I know it was well past the final delayed takeoff time for our flight. But we lifted away from the tarmac, and flew at long last.

I cannot tell you how good the beds are at the event property where my meeting was held.

I also still cannot tell you how Stella Artois cider tastes. (I most often drink Virginia cider.) There were two Stellas in my fridge; but no bottle opener. And none to be had with room service.

Just as well.



The thing about these massive airline outages is that they are genuine crises for too many passengers. As for me - I was on time for the meeting, it went well. I didn't get to the "rehearsal" session, I didn't get to tour the hotel nor the city, and I didn't get to test that projector I'd been hauling around - which turned out to be not bright enough for the room. So it goes.

But for some, computer outages like this lead to real-world consequences that matter. I'm inevitably reminded of Douglas Adams' character Trillian, who hitches a ride and gets the adventure of her life. But who, in another scenario, misses the flight as it were. This Trillian meets a group of aliens who've lost their brain. Literally - the master mission module for their spaceship is lost in space, and they have no memories, no mission, nothing to do ... but to settle on a distant planet(/oid) and monitor Earth.

I felt a bit like that Monday. After an initial surge of "I want to quit and go home" frustration, I fell into the day and went where it took me. Call that a buffeting - it might have been - or me being flexible - if I was, it was more from exhaustion than Zen-like philosophical limberness ... whatever it was, at some point relatively early on, I abdicated action and succumbed to passivity. There can be ease in that, and I needed all the ease I could get on Monday.

My time card runs from about 3:30 a.m. Eastern time to 11:30 p.m. for Monday. Yes, I am paid hourly. So two hours on Sunday for the aborted American enterprise. Twenty more Monday. Unlike most folks, I will be paid for this debacle. Whatever Delta chooses to do may not be super relevant to me, in time. A $200 voucher for future use - with Delta - is not as attractive as one might like. But they have their own problems.

And, as in politics, so goes travel. We have little choice - Delta will live on.

Collection

Stephen G. Parks and his partner on whether or not salt can expire. I love this post!

Feelin' flossy? Okay, much as I'd love to cite a classic Simpsons joke, I won't comment on the fact that the Brits are the ones finding that flossing is not efficacious. As for me, I do it less as a health concern than just because it makes me feel like my teeth are cleaner and out of  very minor concern that what I clean out of there could cause bad breath.

(W)e’ve trapped ourselves behind glass. We’re so bewildered by real life that we’ve had to invent a hashtag for it, and IRL – in real life – is now a state that is removed from the way we actually spend our days.

Okay, y'all have me dead to rights. I can't pretend I am not obsessed with The Drumpf's hair. But so many people are! Anyway, how am I not going to share this headline: The Citrusy Mystery of Trump's Hair? The plot thickens (even as the hair thins). This writer, though, misses the fact as obvious as my sixth grade teacher's ever-changing locks. She left every Friday with faded color, and returned to class Mondays with bright red hair. It was just a temporary rinse, and regular maintenance was for the weekend. Okay, now who's going to monitor Donald's mood-hair-color schedule? (BTW, "chromatic symphony with his face" is brill.)

Americans have a situation of overdue justice, wherein a male candidate is finally drawing as much sarcastic, snickering attention for his appearance as so many female candidates have long endured.

Also political wives, daughters, celebrities, athletes, any victim of anything which is covered by the media ... and, indeed, even the reporters, anchors, and commentators themselves, if they have the misfortune to be women ...

Speaking of women ... it is not only the problems we face, but the eloquence with which sometimes those are addressed, that makes it impossible for me to keep this blog from turning, at times, to the social and political struggles in the world. It is important *for* our world that, for instance, people should read the extraordinary and harrowing statement of the plaintiff (I refuse to call that woman a victim) in the Brock Turner case. It would be good, too, to click on the link above ... when the simple fact of a victim's gender can make murder "understandable".

Let's have a lighter note. Have you been following Janet Reid's blog as it goes to the dogs? It's also going to piglets, horses, and of course cats as she takes a month off babysitting her reiders to get in some good reading time. Her community's pet photos are a lovely way to while away an August day.

Y'all know I enjoy a good "oldest" artifact, and Cute Shoes knows I love jewelry - how about two for one? The oldest gold bead - inevitably, courtesy of The History Blog.

Also at The HB, on the road to hell with good intentions. The kids who tried to fix an ancient petroglyph ... It makes your heart just hurt, really.

And hearth rights - in a different way than I usually conceive of the phrase, as in the rights of a team to excavate and learn. The US Air Force and an archaeological team in Utah have brought to light a hearth dating back more than 12,000 years. And proof the area was once lush wetlands. And the oldest known human use of tobacco seeds. Huh!

Oh ... what do I usually mean by hearth rights? It's an ancient principle - basically, the concept of domicile and the precept of hospitality, manifest in the concrete. The hearth is the center of manmade fire, and it was a physical heart to humans' daily lives for millennia, throughout the world. Tending the hearth, the right to be warmed beside it, to enter its protective light out of the darkness, to be fed from the food cooked upon it - these were core to human experience throughout history, and hearth rights were not to be trifled with. The hearth gave us community, sustenance, security from the night. This is why hospitality, enshrined in so many cultures, is such a great gift.

But the archaeological right to explore is perhaps as important. It is the way we record how we once lived - and reflect that upon how we live now.

And finally, from The Washington Post - better passwords aren't nonsensical, they're LONGER. This also marks the first time I've ever failed to cringe at the phrase "all intensive purposes".

Collection

Stephen G. Parks and his partner on whether or not salt can expire. I love this post!

Feelin' flossy? Okay, much as I'd love to cite a classic Simpsons joke, I won't comment on the fact that the Brits are the ones finding that flossing is not efficacious. As for me, I do it less as a health concern than just because it makes me feel like my teeth are cleaner and out of  very minor concern that what I clean out of there could cause bad breath.

(W)e’ve trapped ourselves behind glass. We’re so bewildered by real life that we’ve had to invent a hashtag for it, and IRL – in real life – is now a state that is removed from the way we actually spend our days.

Okay, y'all have me dead to rights. I can't pretend I am not obsessed with The Drumpf's hair. But so many people are! Anyway, how am I not going to share this headline: The Citrusy Mystery of Trump's Hair? The plot thickens (even as the hair thins). This writer, though, misses the fact as obvious as my sixth grade teacher's ever-changing locks. She left every Friday with faded color, and returned to class Mondays with bright red hair. It was just a temporary rinse, and regular maintenance was for the weekend. Okay, now who's going to monitor Donald's mood-hair-color schedule? (BTW, "chromatic symphony with his face" is brill.)

Americans have a situation of overdue justice, wherein a male candidate is finally drawing as much sarcastic, snickering attention for his appearance as so many female candidates have long endured.

Also political wives, daughters, celebrities, athletes, any victim of anything which is covered by the media ... and, indeed, even the reporters, anchors, and commentators themselves, if they have the misfortune to be women ...

Speaking of women ... it is not only the problems we face, but the eloquence with which sometimes those are addressed, that makes it impossible for me to keep this blog from turning, at times, to the social and political struggles in the world. It is important *for* our world that, for instance, people should read the extraordinary and harrowing statement of the plaintiff (I refuse to call that woman a victim) in the Brock Turner case. It would be good, too, to click on the link above ... when the simple fact of a victim's gender can make murder "understandable".

Let's have a lighter note. Have you been following Janet Reid's blog as it goes to the dogs? It's also going to piglets, horses, and of course cats as she takes a month off babysitting her reiders to get in some good reading time. Her community's pet photos are a lovely way to while away an August day.

Y'all know I enjoy a good "oldest" artifact, and Cute Shoes knows I love jewelry - how about two for one? The oldest gold bead - inevitably, courtesy of The History Blog.

Also at The HB, on the road to hell with good intentions. The kids who tried to fix an ancient petroglyph ... It makes your heart just hurt, really.

And hearth rights - in a different way than I usually conceive of the phrase, as in the rights of a team to excavate and learn. The US Air Force and an archaeological team in Utah have brought to light a hearth dating back more than 12,000 years. And proof the area was once lush wetlands. And the oldest known human use of tobacco seeds. Huh!

Oh ... what do I usually mean by hearth rights? It's an ancient principle - basically, the concept of domicile and the precept of hospitality, manifest in the concrete. The hearth is the center of manmade fire, and it was a physical heart to humans' daily lives for millennia, throughout the world. Tending the hearth, the right to be warmed beside it, to enter its protective light out of the darkness, to be fed from the food cooked upon it - these were core to human experience throughout history, and hearth rights were not to be trifled with. The hearth gave us community, sustenance, security from the night. This is why hospitality, enshrined in so many cultures, is such a great gift.

But the archaeological right to explore is perhaps as important. It is the way we record how we once lived - and reflect that upon how we live now.

And finally, from The Washington Post - better passwords aren't nonsensical, they're LONGER. This also marks the first time I've ever failed to cringe at the phrase "all intensive purposes".

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Collection

Dena Pawling's legal and book review blog is such fun for absolutely splendid arcane info sometimes. On owning the moon. *Speaking* of the old "I've got a bridge to sell ya" joke ...

The link between mental illness and violence is promoted by the entertainment and news media.

Is spectacular violence always perpetrated by the mentally ill? (Hint: no.)

And, for our next link ... ironically, the answer is "Yes we can." The Springsteen stuff is meaningless to me, but the coda here is devastating.

(Though, in view of the Khan family saga of this week, I'm beginning to give greater credence to the theory that Donald Trump has never intended to become president at all.)

Colin Smith's blog has a really nice discussion of audiobooks (I am no good at them!) - with recommendations, if you're interested. I have to say, anything read by Tim Curry does sound good ...

... and at Donna Everhart's blog, we talked about supper. Because dinner happens at noon, y'all.

Finally, you didn't think I'd manage a Collection post without linking to The History Blog, did you? Of course not, I can't stay mad at 'em. Today, I had to choose. There was a bit about super stinky cheese ... but I thought the article about the canals under Pakal's tomb at Palenque was the obvious choice this time.