Who's your hero?

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:57 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I am reading The Geek Feminist Revolution, and it is making me think about heroes. Kameron Hurley, the author, has an essay about societally-based-in-the-1950s ideas of heroes (male, straight, white) and about how the only women who are killers and who could be considered heroes in movies are Thelma and Louise and Aileen Wuornos (in 'Monster'). She talks about Charlise Theron's Furiosa from the last Mad Max movie separately, and well, but Imperator Furiosa is not, overall, a killer. She may be one of the few women heroes who isn't propelled by rape -- once you look around, that trope is everywhere -- but her story starts with maintaining the status quo and ends with her having entirely overturned it.

(She isn't dealing with race here -- yes, of course, Luke Cage is a hero, how could he not be? And Falcon, and T'Challa. And many others whom I see on cable but whose names I don't know. But the field of combat/discussion is sexism here.)

So. Who are the women I see as heroes in movies, not as 'women heroes'? Not as sidekicks, or (forgive me, Rosalind Russell) as equal-to-men-but-in-a-men's-world, such as Hildy in 'My Girl Friday' (which was originally a man's role)? (I am exempting comedies from this, overall, because being a hero can be largely humorless. If someone has a hero who is female and in a comedy, I'd really like to know about it.) And what is a hero? For purposes of this post, I'm defining a hero as someone who goes up against impossible odds to achieve a goal that generally include keeping 'self and/or one or more other people alive, whether or not they are people the hero personally knows. (There are variations -- achieving an impossible goal can be heroic, but isn't always presented as such.) Another requirement is that the hero is someone with agency who chooses to use it to change the status quo for the better. By the end of the movie, something has to be different because of what the hero did. The stakes must be high, the difficulties many and the resources limited.

(Sexism example: Nobody complains about the Sundance Kid shooting people. They complain about Thelma and Louise blowing up the rude sexist trucker's truck. There's only one shooting in that movie, of a rapist, and I don't even want to hear about how he 'hadn't done anything yet' when he'd brutalized Louise in a way that made it clear that she's not his first victim.)

(Yes, Buffy and Faith are heroes -- but I'm thinking movies here, not tv, and the movie of Buffy was not so much about heroism as about overturning high-school and prom-night-movie tropes.)

Sigourney Weaver's Ripley, in Alien, Aliens, etc. My favorite is the second movie, because I went to see it with a really horrible boyfriend I was trying to break up with, and it gave me the courage to dump him. Ripley is a killer because of circumstances -- self defense and protecting the girl -- and her targets are the enormous aliens that are trying to kill them. Does it not count as being a killer if you use a spaceship to do it? Or if the victims are trying to kill you and are aliens?

(Ripley was originally a man's role -- it was written for Paul Newman, as was Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop. The name -- Axel Foley -- is a give-away, half Swedish and half Irish. I can come up with a few reasons why a black character would have that name -- but I seriously doubt that many black kids were named Axel until after the movie came out.)

Sally Field, in both Places in the Heart and Norma Rae. Neither of them has rape involved, present or past. This is steadfast, plugging, get-it-done heroism, not flashy. What changes is that through her hard work and steadfastness, and befriending outcasts (Danny Glover and John Malkovich), she keeps her home. It probably helps that Sally Field looks like a fluffy bunny in Places, and is sweaty and ungroomed in Norma Rae. I've worked in a factory without AC in the summer -- she looked like I felt on the assembly line. And that scene where she is dragged away to the police car, fighting for her life? She broke two ribs on one of the guys carrying her that day; she was dead serious in that fight.

Leia Organa, whether princess, freedom fighter, or general, is a hero. She's also a killer, unless all those dudes in white plastic armor don't count when she shoots at them and they fall down. She's also the Hutt-slayer and a liberator of planets. Over the first three movies (they will always be the first three for me, not the prequels) her character grows and develops. What we have lost when Carrie died was the rest of the story for her -- at least we have Movie 8 coming, with more of General Leia. (I have no idea why The Geek Feminist Revolution didn't include her as a hero, unless she's in an essay I haven't gotten to yet. I mean, she's the one with the two male sidekicks who think it's all about them.)

Karen Silkwood, played by Meryl Streep, is a hero, killed for trying to tell people about workplace safety violations in a plutonium factory. Meryl Streep also plays more of an action hero in The River Wild, and there are no rapes there -- and she does kill Kevin Bacon's character, who richly deserves it. However, Meryl Streep can play anything except a doormat; the closest she came to that was in Sophie's Choice, early on, where she is powerless to save both of her children from murder by the Nazis and never completely recovers afterward. It's a powerful role and amazing acting -- but she is not a hero, she's a survivor, and the two aren't necessarily the same.

Arwen Undomiel, one of two named women characters in Lord of the Rings (seriously: Rosie Cotton is a walk-on so Sam will have someone conventionally female to come home to) is a hero, and a swordfighter, when she rides down to the ford to bring Frodo up to Rivendell. I have fantasized at times about a version of LOTR from her viewpoint -- being the witness, seeing what's happening but not able to change the war, then choosing mortality over immortality because with Aragorn she had found something she could not find with another elf. There are hints in the books of their marriage being considered miscegenation by Elrond and others, but it can't be said overly strongly because he is Elrond Half-Elven, after all. What would her story look like, from her viewpoint? She wasn't Eleanor of Aquitaine, riding bare-breasted toward Jerusalem with the Crusades -- "the troops were dazzled" -- because sexuality barely exists in Tolkien's writing other than bromance. If anything, she is stuck being more like Katherine in Henry V -- outside the "men's discussion" of war and tribute and appeasement, but she escapes being the property that must be exchanged for the treaty to take place. But to get back to Arwen, heroes are people who act, and Arwen does act, in the scenes we see -- that is her choice. The book and movie show us the aftereffect, the willing bride and queen -- they don't show the inner struggle she went through to get there. (FWIW, I have a hard time not reading Merry and Pippin as kid sisters to Frodo, but that's me. Tomboy kid sisters who get into scrapes and out of them.)

Speaking of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Katharine Hepburn plays her as a hero in her own eyes who is stuck in a proscribed women's role and trying her best to get out of it at times by manipulation and scheming (traditionally considered women's weapons). But she also brings knives to her sons when her husband has imprisoned them, so they can fight their way out --"It's 1183, and we're all barbarians." Much as I love Kate's movies, it's hard for me to call her a hero. A strong woman, yes, but in that narrative (play or movie) not heroic. She does not change anything. At the end of the story she's going back to her own prison, and everyone who was alive when the movie started still is, though their relationships have shifted a bit. Hepburn played the roles that were available, and women-as-equals or women-as-partners were her forte. But not heroes. But Kate Hepburn's movies could be an entire other post or three.

I am not sure whether Celie, in The Color Purple, could be considered a hero. She does not overturn the status quo as much as go along with it for her own survival. Much of the time she doesn't have agency, and when she does it's fairly minor -- designing women's trousers is not quite like going over a waterfall in a raft with your son and two murderers (The River Wild).

Regardless of Hollywood's prejudices, Black Widow is a hero, as well as a survivor. I would like to see a movie in which we see both of those -- the agency she has is to change herself after Hawkeye refuses to kill her. And yes, she's a killer -- it's her job. I'm not sure she's written as well as she deserves. Fanfic does better by her than the movies do, at this point, much of the time.

What women are your movie heroes, and why?

Wednesday books, or what I read

Jul. 19th, 2017 10:21 pm
adair: computer (computer)
[personal profile] adair
What I finished

I read Reginald Hill's Recalled to Life, first published in 1992. I was drawn to it because part of the plot involved a woman who was released from prison after a long sentence. I do tend to read these kind of books. One feature of this one is Andy Dalziel in the USA; he is curious, but still very much himself. Another part of the plot is Dalziel as a young policeman; he was part of the investigation of the murder for which the woman was sentenced. People who read Dalziel/Pascoe books will enjoy this one. Pascoe plays a secondary role here, and Andy in the US is a joy to read.

Another book I finished, in 2 days is The Sum of Small Things; a theory of the aspirational class, by Elizabeth Currid-Halkett. She teaches public policy at the University of Southern California. I found this book a little uncertain of just who its audience is, but with a lot of thought and example of the development of the segment of the upper middle class she terms the aspirational class. She compares the present elite to the leisure class described by Thorsten Veblen; C. Wright Mills is also frequently mentioned. There are a lot of specific examples of the tastes and consumption practices of the aspirationals, their influence on how we all make choices, and how this influences policy. I could argue about some of these consumption examples, but the book as a whole is about changes I have seen during my life in movement from the rural working class to my current ill-defined middle-class status, over-educated for my job and more broadly read than my class position would suggest.

What am I reading now

My current reading is David Pogue's MacOS Sierra; the missing manual We are going to buy a new desk computer - the iMac, with a 21 inch monitor. It has bluetooth-connected keyboard and mouse, and we will add a track pad and a DVD/CD drive. Since the laptop it will replace was bought about 8 years ago and uses Snow Leopard OS I have a lot to learn before I set up a new computer. I want to limit the iCloud use that seems to be how Apple wants to do everything, including the iCloud Keychain password app, I am making notes about what to be sure to turn off. I have to limit syncing as well, since it will certainly try to sync music and ebooks to my iPad. I like to keep easy device to itself so I know what it does and where things are, and where they are not. This seems to be not what Apple things people want, so I have to prepare for a lot settings changes.

What will I read next

I don't really know. I have plenty of books stacked around, and several partly finished that I would like to complete, but until I get the computer setup done, and the data migration from the laptop working correctly, I can't really get into anything else.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Yes, yes, I said I was walking away for a while -- and then we got wall-to-wall contractors (today, stonemasons and the installer for a new garbage disposal, and possible another beyond that) and I have to be here.

ETA: Got the new disposal, but the pipe needs to be snaked *below* the disposal, and this was discovered after it was installed. Plumber won't come till Friday. We're going to eat out a lot.

Anyway, now you suffer through a few links I tripped over:

Let's look at matters educational (or not):

School should be impractical. hmm.

Women's colleges may say they support women, but that doesn't always show in the way they treat adjuncts.

As paperwork goes missing, student loans may be wiped away.

Predatory programs aren't just from for-profit colleges. Look again. One of them is at Harvard, the American Repertory Theatre Institute. And as a result of people learning that ART Institute burdens students with tons of debt, that program isn't accepting admissions for the next 3 years.

In theatre, seeing your own face, your gender, your ethnicity on stage is important. It can, in fact, be magic.

Marriage and Brehon law in ancient Ireland. And all 10 forms of marriage are listed.

Media:

Ken Burns is doing a documentary on Vietnam. It's taken 10 years -- he's done a lot of interview, and nobody agrees about anything. He wanted to avoid the old tropes and the old narrative, and here's why it was difficult. And it starts in September.

Disney wants to acquire a new generation of Star Wars fans.

Behind the scenes of The Last Jedi.

The voice of Kermit the Frog has been fired.

Arundhati Roy on writing, life, politics and the air we breathe.

TED: Life lessons from writers.


Black Lives Matter:

If you don't know Ida B. Wells Barnett, you should.

Why I'm leaving the Southern Baptist Convention.


Trumpery and WTFery:

The real plan is to cut legal immigration.

Jeff Sessions was the guest speaker to attorneys from the rabid Alliance Defending Freedom, and he made them some promises: he told them to go ahead and impose their Christianist beliefs on unbelievers, LGBTQ people and more.
Money quote:

In all of this litigation and debate, this Department of Justice will never allow this secular government of ours to demand that sincere religious beliefs be abandoned. We will not require American citizens to give intellectual assent to doctrines that are contrary to their religious beliefs. And they must be allowed to exercise those beliefs as the First Amendment guarantees.

Note that he is promising that the entire Justice Dept. will back up this behavior.

This town melts down.

Something good: The House rejected an Islamophobic proposal that would have required Muslims to receive special scrutiny from the Defense Dept.

Something not good: Trump only plays golf on courses he owns. When he plays at the course along the Potomac, wounded veterans doing on-the-water rehab and Olympic kayak and boating teams are banned from the water for security.

A lawsuit forced Trump to hand over the secret Mar-a-Lago guest list to three watchdog groups.

The closing of the Republican mind.

Yes, Trump Tower is being used for money laundering, according to the eighth man in one of the meetings with the Russians. *looks out the window* I can almost see the grimy soapsuds from here.


None of the above:

Oops!

400 soldiers from Maryland that disappeared during the Revolution may have been found, in NYC. And no, they have not been on a bender the whole time.

Sacred architecture, not necessarily welcome.

Polyamory, not necessarily unwelcome.

How a hunter-gatherer diet affects the body. Also thoughts on decolonizing your diet.

Climate change is making Native people adapt their rituals. And would a revenue-neutral carbon tax slow it down?

The Kitten Rental Program is saving lives.

The defiant, refugee-loving history of New Mexico.

Is R. Kelly holding women against their will, in a cult?

To be a genius, think like a 94-year-old.

what I should've said, maybe?

Jul. 19th, 2017 08:22 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I went to meet with one of the women's groups that's just starting up at my Quaker Meeting last night. And something happened that I both did and didn't expect.

I didn't know what to say. behind cut for length )

Green Thumbs

Jul. 18th, 2017 01:17 pm
robling_t: (Default)
[personal profile] robling_t
I MADE A BUTTERFLY.



Four, to be exact; I planted dill this year, and one by one captured and interned five caterpillars that research determined were black swallowtails:



They eat plants in the family that includes dill and, fortunately, common-midwestern-weed Queen Anne's Lace, so I was able to keep them happy without having to sacrifice all of my dill. As it turns out, they get a little restless right before Caterpillar Puberty; I came home one night to find one making a break for it into the living room and only three still in the vase of QAL, and a day or so later two more were gone and turned up some six feet away trying to abseil to freedom down my stack of blocking mats, so I built them a caterpillar Supermax facility:



And the four remaining subjects spun themselves linesmen's harnesses and pupated:



(One of these days I'm going to find a dead caterpillar or butterfly in a corner of the studio, unless it went the other way into the living room and Ren ate it...)

Naturally I was out of town when all the Butterfly Hatching Action happened :( , but Mum kindly took some beauty shots:





What she did not do whilst I was gone, however, was keep an eye on the cucumber patch:



This, ladies and gentlemen and decline to answer, is the after picture once I'd hacked a pathway to the garden faucet around the edge of the planter...

This is Jane Austen's 200th Birthday

Jul. 18th, 2017 10:31 am
twistedchick: (Young Carrie Fisher)
[personal profile] twistedchick
As of today, Jane Austen is the only woman besides the Queen who will be on British money. She will be on the 10-pound note. The note is polymer, not paper, and once it enters circulation the paper money will be withdrawn from circulation.

And not only was Jane not shy, or hiding her writing from family and friends, she was a political symbol for early feminists.

And she wrote great books! This article thinks her most widely mocked character is her most subversive.

***

The resistance is getting somewhere. People going to Town Halls and harassing their congresspeople not to remove health care -- it's working. It looks now as if the Trumpnocare proposal is dead -- it lacks two Republicans. One of those is Jerry Moran, a second-term Congressman from Texas, with 300 constituents -- 100 of them showed up at his Town Hall, telling him about their lives and how they need health care. He came back and opposed Trumpnocare. (I would link this but it's the NYTimes editorial newsletter, which shows up in my mailbox and doesn't have a link.) Quoting:

You may recognize Moran’s name from the news this morning. He was one of two Republican senators, along with Mike Lee of Utah, who appeared to doom the health care bill last night by announcing their opposition.

I’m not suggesting that the Palco meeting was the main reason for Moran’s decision. Yet he clearly felt political pressure to oppose the bill, and his recent meetings with constituents were a big part of that pressure.

One of this newsletter’s themes this year has been the potential effectiveness of grass-roots political organizing. The Tea Party showed as much in 2010, and the so-called Trump resistance has showed the same in recent months.

“The nation owes incredible gratitude to @Indivisible_KC @Indivisible_LFK @KansasACSCAN,” Topher Spiro, of the Center for American Progress, tweeted last night (referring to the Kansas chapters of both the Indivisible organizing group and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network). “It’s unbelievable what they’ve done.”

The fight to allow Americans to keep their health insurance still isn’t over, as Andy Slavitt, the former administrator of Medicare and Medicaid, noted last night. But the collapse of this bill is no small thing.

It would be excellent news if Congress now turned its attention to fixing the real problems with Obamacare and the health care system.


The Times editorial writer has some summer homework for readers who want to wrestle with a topic. (Not a requirement for you all, since you already do it, but may be of interest.)

And former EPA staffers have a how-to for resisting Trump's agenda.

***

Dress codes, appropriateness, Twitter, and so on. And in Saudi Arabia, a video of a woman in a skirts sparks outrage. Meanwhile, American tech companies -- and Netflix -- run afoul of censorship while trying to please the huge market in India, which is sexually conservative and doesn't want to see images of upset, injured or butchered cows. The part about trying to sell sex toys is interesting, too.

Finding deals in Barcelona.

Snail racing championships.

***

How to tell where broadband companies stand on net neutrality.

(no subject)

Jul. 17th, 2017 12:01 pm
twistedchick: (jesus juggling)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I did some manips of a really awful Sacred Heart image that The Bloggess commented on here. From her description, the original is an old household holy water font.

Here are a few of them, for you to take. My favorite is the Juggling Jesus that is on this post. Feel free to add text or other refinements (of a reasonable and non-hostile nature) to the ones without text.







And, as I said elsewhere, it's only sacrilege if you think that the image *is* God. And if so, I can direct you to a long list of theological articles about the error of confusing deity with a human-created object....

Besides, Jesus had a sense of humor -- how else could he have put up with the 12 Wiseguys?
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I don't know if you recall, but a month or so ago I wrote about how torrent-like flooding had come in through the brickwork in the fake fireplace behind the couch one night, during the kind of storm from the south that makes me feel as if I am truly down on the rocky ledge next to Niagara Falls, getting sprayed no matter what I do. The fake fireplace -- installed under a window, no, don't ask, I didn't do it, it's from the early 60s -- had a crack all the way across the brickwork. At that point I covered it with trash bags and rocks (to hold down the bags), and sought a stonemason.

We found one, a charming older man who, with his son, is tackling repairs on said bit of brickwork -- and the first part of it is using a big round disk-saw type of thing to cut away the broken brick. Hence the headache.

He had given us three options for repair: 1. fix the crack (which does not mean it couldn't open again, somewhere else), 2. take off the top layer of brickwork, put on one or two big pieces of slate and mortar them into place, 3. take the whole thing out, brick up the hole, redo that part of the patio. We went with #2 because Beautiful likes to sit on top of the thing when it's raining, far enough under the eaves that it's like she has her own back porch where she can sit and watch what's happening. And maybe the next person in this house -- several decades from now -- will brick up the window and reattach the gas main to the pipe and make it a fireplace. (I do not usually think of the wellbeing of the next person in this house because I probably won't meet them and when they are here it's their problem, not mine.) But at this point it's for the cats' sake, and for mine, so I won't have a cold draft down the back of my neck in the winter.

So it's loud out there, and I'm in here. I should go run errands but I want the headache to subside first.

Ultimately we will have a very nice fake fireplace thing, and then he's going to repair the stonework on the patio (yay!) and take a look at a place where some mortar-ish waterproofing is peeling away from the area between the poured basement and the brickwork above it. Yes, poured as in the entire set of concrete floor and walls was poured in one piece with a drain in the laundry room. It's like an enormous concrete cup, which confuses people, but hey, it's not cracked.
crafty_packrat: Yes, I own that gun. (skeetshooting)
[personal profile] crafty_packrat
I went with [livejournal.com profile] ipleasance and [personal profile] greenygal to IKEA today, and finally used the gift card my sister gave me for Christmas 2015. I got two KALLAX units, which I now have to put together, but which will give me a whole lot more shelf space when I'm done.

The last hour or so there I just hit a wall of 'too many people, too hot, here too long', so I'm going to finish eating a round of the Greek bakery's pita and go sleep. I have to be on point tomorrow, since I'm the only person working in my sub-department, now that the permanent employee has gone on her month-long vacation overseas...

PSA: taking a health break

Jul. 16th, 2017 12:40 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Here's the situation: I have spent so much time in the last three years sitting down (or lying down, back early last year when I was so anemic and gut-bleeding from IBS that it was all I could do for a few months, other than run to the bathroom) that some of my muscles have decided they wanted to be shorter and tighter -- that's leg muscles, and it's no fun. It doesn't hurt to sit down, or (after 10 minutes) to walk, Or to just stand. But getting up and down hurts.

What would help the most is more time not sitting down, off computer. However, if I'm newsblogging at the rate I've been doing it lately, that's several hours a day going through news articles and another hour or more writing it up. Which I love doing, and I know it helps you all, but it's not helping my body much.

So I am going to take a break for a while from intense newsblogging. When it doesn't hurt as much to get up and down, I will be back at it. I *will* do short posts of whatever is drastic that you need to know about, but otherwise, I apologize, you will have to look elsewhere for the news.

Here are (the majority of) my sources, all of which you can find online, and many of which will gladly send you updates daily or weekly in your email. Apologies for not hotlinking any of them -- I think you should be able to find them easily enough. If you have trouble, let me know:

NY Times
Politico
Washington Post (it may be kinder to you than to me; it has tried to get me to subscribe but runs the numbers on me when I try to -- changing bargains into non-bargains -- which I think happens because I am in their delivery area. If you are not, you may not have this problem.)
Mother Jones
Yes! magazine
CNN
The Guardian UK
Vanity Fair
The Independent
Religion Dispatches
NPR
Time magazine (occasionally)
Rochester Business Journal
Empire Report -- this is a compendium of all useful Page One links throughout New York state, plus hotlinks at the bottom of the page for every daily newspaper in the state. It's daily, 5 days a week. If you want all the dirt on NYS politics, or how the state is dealing with the rising water in Lake Ontario, or what New Yorkers think of Chris Christie's machinations, this is your go-to.
Flipboard
Slate

Above is the short list, not complete. That may give you some idea of what I read daily.

I apologize again for doing this -- I don't want to let you all down -- but my health matters.

And, like Gen. MacArthur, Iron Man/Ironsides, and Captain America, I shall return.

ETA: One more thought on contacting your Congresspeople and Senators: each of them has a personal webpage online through Congress. If you really want to be heard, instead of just signing petitions, rewrite a petition in your own words and copy/paste it into the email section on that personal page. Mass-produced petitions can sometimes be overlooked, but Congresspeople tend to pay attention to what is sent individually to them. Many Republicans will not accept email from people outside their own representation area -- so be sure to contact your own people first. Doesn't hurt to point out that you put them in office, and you can work to get rid of them, so you're paying attention to what they do on this issue. Choose only one issue at a time, and give no more than 3 reasons why you support/oppose the bill. You should get an email that may look routine -- think of it as a receipt. You may also get something far more personal in reply -- that happens with my Congressman and one of my Senators fairly often, as well as with state-level representatives. It's worth a try and it costs no more than a few minutes' time.

***

A very few political links:

These three lawyers are quietly purging voter roles across the country.

Award-winning journalist writes about Jewish women barred from the Chicago Pride march, and is removed from reporting duties.

Watch out for 'skimmers' attached to ATM card readers -- they can steal your info.

The first of the Marines who posted naked photos of Marine women on the Marines United webpage has been court-martialed and sentenced. More court martials are to follow.

A few non-serious fun non-political links:

15 roles that prove Emma Watson has left Hermione behind.

The Book of Diana: Wonder Woman as theological text.

Poe Dameron as Hamlet: a review of Oscar Isaacs in that role, playing now.
crafty_packrat: (foodie)
[personal profile] crafty_packrat
A pint of blackberries, a pint of blueberries, a pint of shiro plums, a quart of mango doughnut peaches (my favorite!), a pint of shishito peppers, garlic cheese curds, dill & garlic quark, herb roasted beets, olives in honey, pita bread, tiropita, seasonal Greek stuffed bread, batard of whole wheat bread.

I've finished up the peach butter I started last night -- I was so tired I had to put it in the fridge and finish this morning -- and I'm planning on making blackberry jam this week. I'll probably make kimchi stew to take for lunch this week, as it's pretty easy and I do have fresh shishito peppers...
crafty_packrat: Heart design on whorl of a polymer clay spindle (Default)
[personal profile] crafty_packrat
There's a catered picnic at work tomorrow, with an invite to bring a desert. I'm making clafoutis with the leftover cherries I have because it's an easy dish to make and it would be an alternative to the 'everything is chocolate' that seemed to be characteristic of the desert sign-up sheet.

(no subject)

Jul. 12th, 2017 12:11 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Alaska's bears will feel overheated this weekend. And the rest of us should find ways to keep cool also. However, weather change doesn't make caribou as anxious as logging does.

An iceberg the size of Delaware just broke off the Antarctic shelf. Maps will need to be redrawn.

The security company that tracked DAPL water protectors is off the job, no longer associated with Energy Transfer Partners.

After the first trial of Trump inaugural protesters, the first sentence is 4 months. Not 20 years.

Congress is unnerved by cyberattacks on the energy grid, possibly by Russians. Also, they're not especially happy that their pay and benefits are at a standstill -- but hey, what about the rest of us who don't have jobs with pensions and health care?

50 members of the KKK came to Charlottesville, VA. 1000 counterprotesters met them there. And then the police showed up.

In Mexico, spyware targeted investigators seeking lost students.

North Korea is exporting its citizens to Russia, where they work like slaves.

Israel to American Jews: You don't matter.

A portrait of Eric Prince (Betsy Prince De Vos's brother and founder of Blackwater mercenaries): tycoon, contractor, soldier, spy.

***

Yes, Donald Jr. met with Russians to get info to hurt Hillary. Did it occur to him that this is illegal? Does he comprehend the meaning of the word 'illegal'? Of course the official word at the White House is that the only thing 'illegal' about DJr's actions was the leaks that let the press know he'd done them. That sounds so much like some robber complaining that the only reason robbing a bank is illegal is that he was caught. And Mitch McConnell is punting questions about it. It seems that outraged Republicans want answers about the whole thing, and will not stop asking for them. The NYTimes weighs in: the moment Jr was approached, he should have contacted the authorities, preferably the FBI, as previous administrations did when approached by outsiders offering info. The Times says much more, of course, all of it valid. After all, when offered inside info, the Trumps embraced it like a long-lost relative. From this last article, a quote:

Read the whole email exchange, but here’s the key paragraph: “The Crown prosecutor of Russia … offered to provide the Trump campaign with some official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father. This is obviously very high level and sensitive information but is part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

This passage undermines the Trump and White House position in three crucial ways — not attributed to vague “sources” but in black and white documentary form. Here’s what the email does:

1. It shows that the Russian government was behind the effort. This is the Kremlin, not random Russians.

2. The Russian government is offering “sensitive” information and “official documents” that would incriminate Hillary Clinton. The clear implication is that this material is stolen by spies, probably hacked, for how else would the Russian government have it?

3. The offer is part of a pattern of the Russian “government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

Put these three points together, and it’s clear from the email that the Russian government has picked sides and is trying to secretly affect the outcome of the American presidential race by providing stolen information about a former secretary of state. For months, the Trumps have been publicly doubting that the Russian government interfered in the U.S. election, when Donald Trump Jr. had email evidence of this effort in June 2016!


Any way you look at it, this is a major fail.

And Jared Kushner, Ivanka's husband, tried -- and failed -- to get a half-billion-dollar bailout from Qatar.

New Yorker: Donald Trump is dragging down America (and can't even tell the difference.) But Trump seems to think of himself as a Russian-style strongman, not a democratically elected president... well, he wasn't elected democratically in a free and fair election, was he?

Who can tell what's true in the histories of Trump and Putin?

Trump (for no good reason and against all advice from his own staff) wants to start a trade war; Europe says, "Bring it."

***

The Voter Fraud Commission grinds to a stop, faced with a torrent of complaints and lawsuits.

Mike Pence is using the Naval Observatory as a hub for big-ticket donors. Isn't that misuse of federal property?

During the break, Republicans heard from their constituents; as a result, they're not so eager to get rid of the Affordable Care Act or adopt the current Trumpnocare proposal. McConnell has called for August recess to start two weeks late, but who's to say they'll actually get anything done? Or are they going to play let's-make-a-deal? Apparently the Republican plot to kill Obamacare is falling to pieces.

The Office of Govt.Ethics director who resigned says he was threatened by Reince Priebus, former head of the Republican National Committee.

Joe Scarborough, disgusted with all of this, is through with the Republican Party. So is Bob Schneider, who was a Republican for 44 years and an Independent for one; he's becoming a Democrat.

***

The transformative power of landscape.

Mexico and the US are teaming up to make low-cost wheelchairs for disabled people who can't afford much.

Enrollment is down at University of Missouri two years after the protests about racism.

In California, a bill is proceeding through the state legislature that would require police camera footage of serious/fatal events to be released to the public.

A jiujitsu master is turning an art into a science.

A Buffalo suburb retires its coal plant and finds a new way to go.

Bots have turned Twitter into a powerful disinformtion/misinformation platform.

That newly rediscovered photo that was supposed to show Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan? It was taken -- and published in a book -- two years before they disappeared. So, a clue to finding them? Not so much.

Thoreau wasn't that alone. And some of his neighbors couldn't go back to Concord much, or to other places.

The remains of the Romanovs.

How Politico's new generation took over Washington.

a change, unfortunately

Jul. 11th, 2017 08:29 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Due to a torrent of Asian-language spam in comments, the comments here will no longer allow anonymous commenters. Perhaps a week or two of banning anonymous comments will stop whoever is sending me unreadable messes.
crafty_packrat: (GardeningPots)
[personal profile] crafty_packrat
I got two more peanut plants a week ago and planted them. When I checked them today, the leaves had been eaten all the way to the stems -- something in the area really likes peanut leaves.

I'm not sure if I suspect the bunnies or not -- we definitely have rabbits here, little cottontails that are about the size of guinea pigs -- but caterpillars are also a possibility.

There's a cookout with potluck deserts at work on Friday. I'm debating bringing honey cupcakes or cherry clafoutis -- either way, a non-chocolate desert would probably be a welcome alternative.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
First, from Bible-Belt Tennessee, a little satire.

Trump's son met with a Russian lawyer after being promised damaging info on Hillary. And, for proof, here's the email offering the evidence.

Texas Republican Joe Strauss blocked the Texas bathroom bill, saying,"I don't want the suicide of a single Texan on my hands."

In other less reputable Texas matters, "Attorney General" Jeff Sessions has approved a voter ID law that discriminates against people of color, students, and anyone who doesn't have any of the 7 approved forms of identification.

Meanwhile, the New Yorker thinks America's future is Texas. I think we're bigger than that.

Maryland Democrat Donna Edwards, who ran against former Rep. Chris Van Hollen for one of the Maryland seats in the US Senate (Chris won), has multiple sclerosis. She asks Congress not to make her insurance unaffordable. The article has a link to her editorial in the Post, which is blocking me; you might be able to get there.

A group of so-called representatives of Arizona is calling for delisting of all national monuments in their state and elsewhere. Arizonans reading this, if there are any of you: get these bozos out of office.

NYTimes editorial: how to make Congress bipartisan.

Also -- a New Jersey Court of Appeals affirmed that you have the right to protect yourself against police brutality.

Actors are people; they have no immunity from being human. They are not gods. They are also not the roles they play to entertain us. And with that in mind, we have to talk about Johnny Depp.

I don't care what they call it in Ohio; this is cruelty and police brutality and should not happen.

A bee problem closes the Southern Nevada Visitors Center Rest Area near Searchlight, NV.

To the men I love about the men who scare me. And Stop making women uncomfortable.

You probably figured this out already: the American middle class is no longer the world's richest. Canada and much of Europe are ahead.

Yes, there were Norse women shamans.

Remember the ozone hole? It's been recovering from damage, but paint stripper chemicals are threatening it. Again.

Sinclair Broadcasting is making its stations give way more airtime for a former Trump official.

Much of the rest of Fashion Week may be unwearable -- but I dearly love the coatdress in the first picture in this article.

Amy Pascal's Hollywood ending.

Laugh and the world laughs with you. Type 'Ha', not so much.

For this couple, it's death till they part.

In case you hadn't already heard, Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park are leaving Hawaii 5-O because they are being paid significantly less than their equally-billed costars.

Strange days indeed

Jul. 10th, 2017 09:38 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
In Ohio, a right-wing survivalist group demanded $10 from a family before they were 'allowed' to walk through a local mall.

Oh, this is despicable. There's a plan to charge the military for its GI Bill costs.

Congressmen doing insider trading -- yes, it's illegal and inethical. And then there's Rep. Chris Collins, who broke his promise to divest from a foreign pharmaceutical company. And who is blasting the reputable and ethical Rep. Louise Slaughter (next district over in NY) for calling him out about this. I have met Louise Slaughter; she was my Congresswoman, when she was first elected. I would trust her word implicitly. I would not trust Collins if he said water was wet.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley has broken with Trump's (varying and never accepting the facts) views, by saying out loud and to media that everyone knows Russia meddled in our 2016 elections, as well as other elections around the world.

Hobby Lobby's black market dealings let the violent profit. This also throws deep shade at the "Museum of the Bible" that they are planning to build in DC.

How Rex Tillerson is wrecking the State Department.

The Atlantic: being in power can cause brain damage. I am not making this up.

Flat Earthers in Colorado.

***

Adaptive instruments and gear helps disabled musicians keep playing.

In New York, pregnant turtles shut down a runway at JFK Airport.

Nuns are dedicating an outdoor chapel, built in the path of the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline. Let's see the pipeline -- and security -- crews messing with Christian sacred ground this time.

The United Church of Christ has approved an emergency resolution about climate change.

A woman from Texas, who while in the military was awarded a Purple Heart, is entering a House race to unseat a 8-term GOP birther.

Here is a link to a free e-book on sacred drums of Siberia. And a link on more fancy chicken breeds than you may have suspected existed.

(no subject)

Jul. 9th, 2017 03:54 pm
lycomingst: (Default)
[personal profile] lycomingst
As you may have heard Photobucket wants to charge $400 per year to allow you to post a photo on a third party site. I have been having a frustrating time finding some place that will replace it; things don't work well with Chrome. I've had an endless loop of stupid with Flicker that I had a account with at one time but now remember nothing about it. Anyway, Photobucket is allowing (just, I think)paid accounts that are in good standing to do the usual thing until 2018.

So this is what I wanted to post. I said you had to add booze to win )

I'm trying to do some walking for exercise and my reward was getting a blister on my bunion.

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Tracy Rowan

August 2013

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