He Is Smiling

Feb. 21st, 2017 12:30 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Photo Description: Brendan Mason, wearing glasses and a brown tee shirt. He is smiling.
A friend of mine from Wales posted an article on Facebook about a man, Brendan Mason, who was beaten to death, while his attackers filmed him being tortured and humiliated. In my friends comments she mentioned the attack as one being based on hate. I went to one article and then another and then another and then finally, this one and I didn't see what I expected to see there, mention of hate being a motivator for the crime.

I messaged my friend in Wales to ask her a question but before she had a chance to respond, someone else posted an article that had the answer both in the text and in the headline. Yes, he had a "learning difficulties" which is what we call "intellectual disabilities" on this side of the pond.

We, as a community, need to be asking hard questions of the press and the justice system? Why was this not prominently mentioned in all the news articles about him? Why was it not made clear that his assailants manipulated him into thinking friendship existed between them and then conspired to beat him for fun? Why was the context of disability not discussed in these stories, and from the stories about the trial why wasn't a part of the court proceedings?

Isn't is responsible for the media to inform the public? Isn't it responsible of the courts to understand crimes against people with disabilities in the context of disability? I think both have failed Brendan and the community of others with learning difficulties (intellectual disabilities) and their families and support workers. We need to know about these crimes. We need to know how the perpetrators got to him, how they manipulated him and then the level of violence they sunk to in attacking him. We need to know these things, not to scare us, not to have us hiding in our homes, but to prepare us.

To prepare people with intellectual disabilities so that they know the dangers of 'pretend friends' and to watch out for signs of manipulation. To prepare parents and support workers so that they can do the teaching and the training necessary to live in a community where crimes like these are not only possible but distressingly common. Look again at the picture at the top of this post. Brendan Mason is looking out at us smiling. He was smiling. His life gave him moments like this. If his life with a disability was worth something to him then maybe it was worth a mention.

Proper reporting and proper judicial examination of motives and of hate alert us all. It makes us responsible for knowing and then for doing.

We know this can happen.

We know this did happen.

We know we must respond in some way.

We cannot sit with the knowledge of Brendan's life and Brendan's death and not be moved to DO SOMETHING. We can't just be silently outraged. We can't believe that Facebook posting is an effective tool for change. We can't emoticon our way out of this. We are responsible because, even if we don't know Brendan Mason, we mourn him. We are responsible because we know people like Brendan Mason who could be tricked in the same way, who could be manipulated by offers of false friendship, who would do what was asked because we taught them the ways of compliance without question.

We are responsible.

So action is the only way forward.

What can be done?

We can properly and responsibly inform each other about the tragedy of the murder of one of our own.

We can ensure that those who we parent or support have the opportunity to learn about bullying, social and physical violence, and develop strategies that work to keep people safer.

We can ensure that letters go to the media that hold courts and reporters to account for how they account themselves when crimes against people with disabilities come before them.

We can assert ourselves as a community in support of each other and in support of a world that takes violence against people with disabilities seriously.

Hate crimes against people with disabilities are growing more frequent (there is data on this) and the level of violence involved is also increasing.

Why don't we know about this?

Because, for some reason, who Brendan Mason was, and how he lived his life, was considered irrelevant. Well let me tell you this, for those of us who live our lives with disabilities, the context of 'disability' is never irrelevant and it's never shameful, and it never needs silence.

Silence = Death ... a slogan from the early days of AIDS, is one that should have taught the world that Silence = Consent.

Don't be silent.

Don't consent.

Doing damns the darkness.
[syndicated profile] aqueductpress_feed

Posted by Timmi Duchamp


I'm pleased to announce the release of Susan W. Lyons' debut novel, Time's Oldest Daughter, in both trade paperback and e-book editions. As the cosmic Big Bang propels Time, energy, and matter into motion, God and Satan squabble over their respective domains while Sin and her son Death stew in squalor and despair at the Gates of Hell. All she wants is to care for her child, who has an enormous appetite but nothing to eat in their dreary prison, other than herself, of course. But then Sin notices, far above the stink and squalor of Hell, the clean and sparkling garden of Eden, where Death’s apple-cheeked cousins Adam and Eve enjoy delightful childhoods and plenty of fresh, wholesome food in a setting where Death himself could thrive. So what’s a good mother to do?

Sarah Tolmie, author of the acclaimed novel Stone Boatmen and Two Travelers, writes:
Time’s Oldest Daughter tells an impossible story of the world before the world, the time before time, when none of the categories we use to think with yet existed. Lyons spins out the intertwined beginnings of semiotics and physics, from the first separation of subject and object in language (Satan’s separation from God) to the necessary co-presence of matter and time in the universe (as Satan and his daughter Sin fall into the world of physical and temporal forces and order them through their experience). The primary agent who navigates the ongoing process of a creation that includes quarks and photons, bacteria and algae is female, and infinitely older than Eve: Sin, born in heaven before the fall, the shadow that fell as Satan stepped away from God. John Milton, Sylvia Plath, Stanley Fish and Julia Kristeva would all recognize themselves in this book, though none of them wrote it. Lyons did, and her remarkable rethink of Paradise Lost in the person of Sin, Satan’s daughter, struggling to find a place for her son, Death, in creation is wonderfully and determinedly original.”
Faren Miller, in Locus, notes, "Susan W. Lyons's lead quotes in Time's Oldest Daughter ignore the limits of fantasy, with a line from biblical ''Genesis,'' three from Paradise Lost, then Einstein at his most succinct: E=mc². The daughter (Sin) speaks in the first-person, addressing a Daddy who’s not Time (as the word always appears here, regardless of context) but Lucifer, Bringer of Light, AKA Satan.... Time's Oldest Daughter magnifies notions like winter-death to cosmic dimensions without excessive length, solemnity, or bombast. This Divine Comedy can be genuinely comic (raucous and vulgar, with a great cast of caricatures) yet manages to slip both wise and touching moments into its sly insights about life, the universe, et cetera.

You can purchase copies of Time's Oldest Daughter from Aqueduct here
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

Many of the songs and choruses that make up our "worship music" claim to be about God, but the language they use to describe God is indistinct from the language we might use to try to describe the super-massive black hole at the center of the galaxy. Many of these songs could be sung, without changing a word, by a Sagittarius A* death cult.

When They Were Good

Feb. 20th, 2017 09:28 am
[syndicated profile] lovelybike_feed

Posted by Velouria



A friend of mine owns a late 1980s Claud Butler roadbike. And whenever I have occasion to look at it, I have the strangest mix of feelings that, for the longest time, I could not quite place.

Once in a while the bike is extracted for show-and-tell. Neighbours gather around.

"Ah this one's from back in the day," one says, "when they were good." And he points to the lugs, the Reynolds 531 decal on the frame. Others nod understandingly.



To most present-day cyclists in Ireland and the UK, the Claud Butler brand means internet-bought budget bikes. But once, this name was associated with greatness.

And I realise the specimen in front of me somehow encompasses both ends of this spectrum: It is as if its look simultaneously tells the history of this renown make, and suggests the extent of its future decline.



Described by cycling historians as the 'king of lightweights,' Claud Butler was one of the better-known British Lightweight manufacturers of the 1920s - 1950s. And one for whom, the 'lightweight' description holds true even by current standards.

I grew fascinated with this, when I noticed how little my own, original 1936 CB mixte, weighs compared to similar bikes produced today. I then had a browse through old Claud Butler catalogues, and realised that for them this was pretty much standard practice. In fact, my befendered fat-tyred 26lb mixte was a monster compared to the sub-18lb racing bikes the catalogues offered at this time. To see such weights quoted in an era we tend to associate with 'outdated' equipment and 'heavy' materials was an eye opener.

But Claud Butler was revered for more than just their lightweight production. The proprietary lugwork,  the finishing, the overall workmanship were amazing. In particular they were known for the quality of their fillet brazing and bilaminate (lug/fillet hybrid) construction. And, although this is seldom mentioned and little known, they were also among the first (if not the actual first) to develop the solid top tube/ split-stay style of mixte frame construction - the likes of which we still see today (i.e. the Rivendell Cheviot/ Betty Foy).


But all this, alas, was in Claud Butler's heyday, which ended by the time the 1950s arrived. As the British interest in cycling declined in favour of motorised and televised entertainment, so did the population's eagerness to purchase hand-crafted cycles.

For many bicycle manufacturers, the sharp drop-off in business at this time proved lethal. Claud Butler hung on for some time yet, and in 1958 was purchased by (another well known British Lightweight) Holdsworth, which extended their production by several decades. The Holdsworth-era Claud Butlers were bicycles of good quality. However, they lost the characteristics which made the original brand remarkable and unique, becoming instead a rebadged sub-brand of Holdsworth, and growing more generic in construction and appearance with each passing decade.

Finally, by 1987 Holdsworth too was in decline. And the rights to both brands were sold to the conglomerate Elswick-Hopper, which continues to own the Claud Butler name today.


My friend's late '80s Criterium has to be from the early years of these conglomerate-ownership days, twice removed from anything resembling original Claud Butler production.

Judging by the lack of a "handmade in England" decal (which I am sure would have been present were this the case), I am guessing it was factory-produced, in the Far East.

None of this, of course, makes this Claud Butler a 'bad' bicycle. But other things about it strike me as peculiar.


For one thing, despite the prominent decals touting the Reynolds 531 frame (although none on the fork), the bike feels remarkably heavy. Much heavier 'than it looks' and heavier than it 'should be;' I am guessing close to 30lb easy.


The Shimano Exage compoments (comparable to today's Sora) no doubt partially account for this. And their choice by the manufacurer probably indicates that the handlebars, stem, wheels, and other parts, are of similar weight and quality.


The decision to combine heavy budget parts with a Reynolds 531 frame struck me as odd and mysterious at first.  But after studying this bike on several occasions now, I think I get it.


It was a bike made to look and sound the part, in a superficial sort of way, without costing the part. It seems a similar mentality that produced the Raleigh Rapide I featured here last year - but taken a few steps further.

The crisply outlined lugs, the sparkly metallic paint, the aggressive lines of the frame and fork (check out the rake on that!) - I imagine when this bike was brand new it all looked rather dreamy. Not to mention, the Reynolds 531 frame, which everyone knew was good! 


And to a fledgling cyclist, I can see how this made for an attractive package, with details such as the low-end components and the weight seeming far less important.


It is no surprise that several locals I know recall the Claud Butler Criterium, from this very era, as their first adult racing bike. To these folks, the bike, from back in the day, was 'good.' Good as in durable. Good as in tactile in a way a modern bike is not. Good as in bringing back memories of their first club rides and races, of old friendships.

But of course - the bikes' former owners will add, snapping out of their nostalgia -  this good old bike was also heavy as heck! Naturally, because it was old. And made of steel. Which is why those who still cycle today will have of course long replaced it with aluminium bikes, and later still with carbon bikes weighing under 20lb.

I open my mouth to tell them, that an even older Claud Butler would have rivaled that weight. And sometimes I actually say it. On other occasions, I don't.



[syndicated profile] wonders_and_marvels_feed

Posted by Jack El-Hai

By Jack El-Hai (Regular Contributor)

Thousands of people will soon arrive in Washington, D.C., for President Obama’s inauguration. Who are the people who visit the nation’s capital to see the Chief Executive? For the past 70 years, researchers have wondered about the psychiatric makeup of the President’s visitors — especially those visitors who are psychotic.

Three studies in separate decades have scrutinized psychotic visitors to the White House.

Three studies in separate decades have scrutinized psychotic visitors to the White House.

From the 1940s

The first study, published in 1943 by Jay L. Hoffman, a psychiatrist at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, examined a group of 53 St. Elizabeths patients, about half of whom had been committed to psychiatric treatment years earlier after showing strange behavior and being turned away at the White House. (The remainder had been hospitalized after their bizarre conduct at other government offices in Washington.) Many had hoped to complain to the President about injustices they believed they experienced in finding employment, being previously confined to mental hospitals, and collecting financial payments they thought they deserved. Some wanted to give advice on matters of national importance. “Two claimed that they had been elected to the office of the President of the United States and came to Washington to be sworn in,” Hoffman wrote.

Hoffman sought patterns and common traits among the psychotic patients and found disproportionate numbers of paranoid schizophrenics, foreign-born people, and unmarried men among them. “Frequent references were made in the records indicating frustration in sex life and poverty of sex-experience,” Hoffman observed. “Delusions and hallucinations referring prominently to sex functions and sex organs were common.”

He wrote that most of these patients notably lacked insight, although they often were pleasant and polite despite their delusions. Few recovered their mental health. Hoffman concluded that members of this group were “a pitiful lot” whose presidential visits were but a single sign of their illness that left them isolated, unsuccessful, and frustrated.

From the 1960s

A 1965 study by Joseph A. Sebastiani and James L. Foy, psychiatrists with the University of Cincinnati and Georgetown University respectively, revisited the phenomenon of psychotic visitors to the White House. They went through the records of 38 patients referred for psychiatric treatment after seeking an audience with the President during the early 1960s. The patients ranged in age from teenagers to an 86-year-old man. Among them were five people in pursuit of property or sums of money, three presumptive presidents, two on “top secret” missions, one self-declared presidential wife, and a woman who claimed to be President Eisenhower’s mother. The psychiatrists characterized the group as “profoundly delusional individuals seeking an exclusive personal encounter with the President and an extraordinary association with the complexly symbolic office of the Presidency.” Nearly all had received diagnoses as paranoid schizophrenics.

The researchers raised the possibility that any similarities among the patients may result from profiles of White House visitors suitable for psychiatric referral that the Secret Service had developed. Sebastiani and Foy concluded that few of the patients had presented actual physical threats to the President.

From the 1980s

Twenty years later, a research team from St. Elizabeths Hospital and the National Institutes of Mental Health took yet another look at psychotic White House visitors. They reviewed the cases of 328 people sent between 1970 and 1974 to St. Elizabeths after problematic attempts to see the President. Like the previous studies, their research showed the patients to be predominantly white, male, unmarried, and paranoid schizophrenic.

Unlike earlier researchers, however, this team found few foreign-born among the patients, and they discovered that 22 percent of the group had made written or verbal threats against the President and other government officials. These psychotic visitors did not view the Chief Executive and his minions as paternalistically as had their counterparts of earlier decades. One of the 328, in fact, went on to murder a Secret Service agent, another attacked a security officer at the Department of the Treasury, and a third assaulted a person she had mistaken for the First Lady.

If you are attending the presidential inauguration this month, enjoy yourself. Just steer clear of all who say they’re seekers of lost fortunes or pretenders to the Oval Office.

Sources:

Hoffman, J.L. Psychotic visitors to government offices in the national capital. Am J Psychiatry 99:571-575, 1943

Sebastiani, J.A., Foy, J.L. Psychotic visitors to the White House. Am J Psychiatry 122:679-686, 1965

Shore, David, Filson, C. Richard, Davis, Ted S., Olivos, Guillermo, DeLisi, Lynn, Wyatt, Richard Jed. White house cases: psychiatric patients and the Secret Service. Am J Psychiatry, 142:308-312, 1985


Jack El-Hai is the author of The Nazi and the Psychiatrist: Hermann Göring, Dr. Douglas M. Kelley, and a Fatal Meeting of Minds at the End of WW2 (PublicAffairs Books) and Non-Stop: A Turbulent History of Northwest Airlines (University of Minnesota Press). He frequently writes articles on history and the history of medicine for such publications as  DiscoverThe AtlanticAeonScientific American MindLongreads, and The Washington Post Magazine  (among many others), and he has given presentations for the American Psychological Association, the Congress of Neurological Surgeons, the Mayo Clinic, Yale University, the University of Pennsylvania, Tufts University, and other universities and medical schools.

Find Jack on screen-shot-2016-12-13-at-4-54-23-pm

The post Mr. President, a Visitor Is Here to See You appeared first on Wonders & Marvels.

[syndicated profile] wonders_and_marvels_feed

Posted by Elizabeth Goldsmith

by Elizabeth C. Goldsmith (Regular Contributor)

Louvois by Larguillère (1680, detail)

Among the many powerful ministers of state who served the French throne, François le Tellier, Marquis de Louvois was one of the most impressive for his effectiveness, perseverance, and ambition. Minister of War under Louis XIV, he greatly expanded the size of the king’s standing army. Under Louvois, the state’s capacity to control its subjects was significantly enhanced.

He also oversaw the development of a network of roads traversing France, and tightened state control of the newly formed postal system. Under his supervision, the state postal system introduced a scheduled system of public transportation. Individual, paying travelers could ride in the postal coach or rent a postal horse.

On a personal level, Louvois was a man whose demands were not easily refused. He was feared for his severity and discipline. Once, he had two of his own sons imprisoned for insubordination. But in an episode that is rarely mentioned in descriptions of his life, he found himself spurned by a clever young woman who showed him how some of his newly designed systems for controlling the king’s subjects could be used instead to enhance their freedom.

Marie-Sidonie de Lenoncourt, the Marquise de Courcelles, had been married at age 16 and was unhappy in her marriage. In 1668 she was 18 when she met the 27-year-old Louvois who was basking in his rapid rise to power. He had just been put in charge of developing the transportation and communication systems in France. He thought that seducing the young Marquise would be an easy matter. But to his chagrin, she not only refused him but she chose another lover. Soon her husband discovered the betrayal and arranged to have her incarcerated for adultery, in a convent in Paris that served also as a prison for wayward wives.

Louvois could have used his influence to get her out, but he did not. Marie-Sidonie then managed to escape by squeezing her tiny self through the grills of the convent parlor. In disguise, she set out on a long journey across France, making careful use of the newly organized public system of postal carriages that would pick up passengers on a regular schedule. She wrote many letters to friends along the way, describing how she plotted her route and arranged to receive supplies in the mail. At one point, finding herself in a town that had no regular postal service, she sent a message to Louvois asking that it be established there.

Marquise de Courcelles, by Nanteuil (1679)

She managed to live this way for nearly 10 years, receiving almost no financial support from her family but enjoying the generosity of a growing network of friends and admirers. When her husband died in 1679, she returned to Paris, thinking it was finally safe for her. By this time, though, her independence was the topic of so much discussion and debate that her in-laws, feeling the family humiliated, decided to pursue the adultery charges that her husband had brought against her. She spent more time awaiting her trial in the Concièrgerie prison, where she was made to recount and justify her travels. But she persisted in writing letters from prison, receiving visitors and admirers, and arguing for the rights of women to leave unhappy marriages and travel independently. Finally, in 1680, she was released in exhange for a heavy fine.

Marie-Sidonie de Courcelles remarried and lived for another five years, dying at the age of 35. She wrote her memoirs and left behind a lively correspondence that was read by many of her contemporaries – especially the female ones – as an inspiration to take to the road in the pursuit of happiness and liberty.

 

 

Elizabeth C. Goldsmith writes on the history of autobiography, women’s writing, letter correspondences, and travel narrative. Her most recent book is a biography of the sisters Hortense and Marie Mancini, The Kings’ Mistresses: The Liberated Lives of Marie Mancini, Princess Colonna and her sister Hortense, Duchess Mazarin. She is Professor Emerita of French Literature at Boston University.

The post The War Minister and the Runaway Marquise appeared first on Wonders & Marvels.

[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Philip N. Cohen

A different version of this post was originally published at Timeline.

To get some perspective on the long term trend in divorce, we need to check some common assumptions. Most importantly, we have to shake the idea that the trend is just moving in one direction, tracking a predictable course from “olden days” to “nowadays.”

It’s so common to think of society developing in on direction over time that people rarely realize they are doing it. Regardless of political persuasion, people tend to collapse history into then versus now whether they’re using specific dates and facts or just imagining the sweep of history.

In reality, sometimes it’s true and sometimes it’s not true that society has a direction of change over a long time period. Some social trends are pretty clear, such as population growth, longevity, wealth, or the expansion of education. But when you look more closely, and narrow the focus to the last century or so, it turns out that even the trends that are following some path of progress aren’t moving linearly, and the fluctuations can be the big story.

Demography provides many such examples. For example, although it’s certainly true that Americans have fewer children now than they did a century ago, the Baby Boom – that huge spike in birth rates from 1946 to 1964 – was such a massive disruption that in some ways it is the big story of the century. Divorce is another.

The most popular false assumption about divorce – sort of like crime or child abuse – is that it’s always getting worse (which isn’t true of crime or child abuse, either). In the broadest sense, yes, there is more divorce nowadays than there was in the olden days, but the trend is complicated and has probably reversed.

It turns out, however, that the story of divorce rates is ridiculously complicated. For one thing, there is no central data source that simply counts all divorces. The National Center for Health Statistics used to divorces from states, but now six states don’t feel like cooperating anymore, including, unbelievably, California. Even where divorces are counted, key information may not be available, such as the people’s age or how long they were married (or, now that there is gay divorce, their genders). Fortunately, the Census Bureau (for now) does a giant sample survey, the American Community Survey, which gives us great data on divorce patterns, but they only started collecting that information in 2008.

The way demographers ask the question is also different from what the public wants to know. The typical concerned citizen (or honeymooner) wants to know: what are the odds that I (or someone else getting married today) will end up divorced? Science can guess, but it’s impossible to give a definitive answer, because we can’t actually predict human behavior. Still, we can help.

The short answer is that divorce is more common than it was a 75 years ago, but less common than it was at the peak in 1979. Here’s the trend in what we call the “refined” divorce rate – the number of divorces each year for every thousand married women in the country:

The figure uses the federal tally from states from 1940 to 1997, leaves out the period when there was no national collection, and then picks up again when the American Community Survey started asking about divorce.

So the long term upward trend is complicated by a huge spike from soldiers returning home at the end of World War II (a divorce boom, to go with the Baby Boom), a steep increase in the sixties and seventies, and then a downward glide to the present.

How is it possible that divorce has been declining for more than three decades? Part of it is a function of the aging population. As demographers Sheela Kennedy and Steven Ruggles have argued, old people divorce less, and the married population is older now than it was in 1979, because the giant Baby Boom is now mostly in its sixties and people are getting married at older ages. This is tricky, though, because although older people still divorce less, the divorce rates for older people (50+) have doubled in the last two decades. Baby Boomers especially like to get divorced and remarried once their kids are out of the house.

But there is a real divorce decline, too, and this is promising about the future, because it’s concentrated among young people – their chances of divorcing have fallen over the last decade. So, although in my own research I’ve estimated that estimated that 53% of couples marrying today will get divorced, that is probably skewed by all the older people still pulling up the rates. Typical Americans getting married in their late 20s today probably have a less than even chance of getting divorced. The divorce will probably keep falling.

Rather than a conservative turn toward family values, I think this represents an improving quality of marriages. When marriage is voluntary – when people really choose to get married instead of simply marching into it under pressure to conform – one hopes they would be making better choices, and the data support that. Further, as marriage has become more rare, it has also become more select. Despite more than a decade of futile marriage promotion efforts by the federal government, marriage is still moving up the income scale. The people getting married today are more privileged than they used to be: more highly educated (both partners), and more stably situated. All that bodes well for the survival of their marriages, but doesn’t help the people left out of the institution. If less divorce just means only perfect couples are getting married, that’s merely another indicator of rising inequality.

Putting this trend back in that long term context, we should also ask whether falling divorce rates – which run counter to the common assumption that everything modern in family life is about the destruction of the nuclear family – are always a good thing. Most people getting married would like to think they’ll stay together for the long haul. But what is the right amount of divorce for a society to have? It seems like an odd question, but divorce really isn’t like crime or child abuse. You want some divorces, because otherwise it means people are stuck in bad marriages. If you have no divorce that means even abusive marriages can’t break up. If you have a moderate amount, it means pretty bad marriages can break up but people don’t treat it lightly. And if you have tons of divorce it means people are just dropping each other willy-nilly. When you put it that way, moderate sounds best. No one has been able to put numbers to those levels, but it’s still good to ask. Even as we shouldn’t assume families are always falling apart more than they used to, we should consider the pros and cons of divorce, rather than insisting more is always worse.

Philip N. Cohen is a professor of sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. He writes the blog Family Inequality and is the author of The Family: Diversity, Inequality, and Social Change. You can follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

(no subject)

Feb. 20th, 2017 01:53 am
[syndicated profile] ursulav_feed


Built a proof-of-concept today. I don’t even know what this is–a mini-chinampas-inspired tub concept? Or is this something everybody already knows about and I just can’t get the right search terms to spit it out? Or has everybody tried this already and failed and now we all know better except me?

Well, I had pond liner and a whiskey barrel planter and Azolla caroliniana and I’ve been making grow bags, so let’s see what happens.

Take That!

Feb. 20th, 2017 12:30 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

I had just found a table and taken my seat waiting for Joe and the kids to come, laden with trays of food, to join me, when the man at the next table caught my eye and then glanced over at two women and two children at the table across from us. I looked and saw a lesbian couple with their two children. In the briefest of moments I found it fascinating that both kids called both women "Mom" and both women knew which one of them was being referred to!

Satisfied that I'd seen them he gestured again to another two women sitting with one child a little further away. The two women were holding hands and chatting as their child coloured in a colouring book while distractedly eating fries from his plate.

I was now really curious as to why this man at the next table had brought me into his confidence and pointed out the two tables. I looked to him. I could see then, just by the smirk on his face, that he hadn't brought me into his confidence but rather he'd attempted to bring me into an alliance of sorts. The constant presumption of heterosexuality annoys the hell out of me and in this case it really pissed me off.

Then he leaned over and said in a stage whisper, "It's Lesbian Mom Day here today." Then he laughed. Like that was a funny observation and like I would agree that these two tables, amongst perhaps a hundred or more tables being occupied by lesbians was an indication that lesbians were out, in force, intruding in public space.

I admit.

I was prepared.

I had kind of sussed out what was going on.

I leaned back to him, making him uncomfortable with my proximity, and I whispered back, "Yeah, isn't it great! Way better than 'bigot day' isn't it?"

Perhaps he threw his back out the speed at which those words and my presence threw him back in his seat because suddenly he was uncomfortable sitting there and quickly got up and left.

Have to say: didn't miss him.

e-cover sneak peek Pen & Des #4

Feb. 19th, 2017 07:18 pm
[syndicated profile] lois_mcmaster_bujold_feed
I am pleased to announce the next Penric & Desdemona novella, the sequel to "Penric's Mission", is finished in first draft and undergoing final edits. I hope to have it up as an e-book at the usual suspects within a few weeks. Title is "Mira's Last Dance"; it will top out at about 28,000 words.

Cover design by the estimable Ron Miller, incorporating but not limited to "Still Life with Fruit" by Jacob van Walscapelle, 1675.





The vendor-page ad copy will read:

"In this sequel to the novella “Penric’s Mission”, the injured Penric, a Temple sorcerer and learned divine, tries to guide the betrayed General Arisaydia and his widowed sister Nikys across the last hundred miles of hostile Cedonia to safety in the Duchy of Orbas. In the town of Sosie the fugitive party encounters unexpected delays, and even more unexpected opportunities and hazards, as the courtesan Mira of Adria, one of the ten dead women whose imprints make up the personality of the chaos demon Desdemona, comes to the fore with her own special expertise.

Fourth novella in the “Penric and Desdemona” series."

Ta, L.

posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on February, 19

Sunday favorites

Feb. 19th, 2017 11:23 am
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

"Almighty, give attention to us who are suffering grievously from an impious and profane man, puffed up in his audacity and power. For you, the creator of all things and the governor of all, are a just ruler, and you judge those who have done anything in insolence and arrogance."

My Rule Book

Feb. 19th, 2017 12:30 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

We headed over to the theatre with some real anticipation, we were looking forward to seeing "My Night With Reg" at a theatre just down the street from where we live. We are very familiar with the seating plan and, even though they insisted on taking us to our seats, we found our way easily. The theatre was filling quickly and people were pouring down the aisle. The accessible seats are at the very back of the house so after we were settled we just watched the crowd arrive.

Then beside me was a woman, a really large woman, with a really bid walker, appeared beside me. She got to her seat, which was at the end row, an aisle seat, just a little ahead and to the right of us. She got into her seat with some difficulty and an usher folded up and took her walker away for her. The seats are small and she looked uncomfortable, but she was in and seated, I knew what that felt like.

A moment later, the barest moment later, two women came who had seats in the same row as she was sitting in. She looked up at them with the question, "What happens now?" on her face. They pointed to where there seats were and she said, "Okay, but you'll have to climb over me." They abjectly didn't want to. After a long pause, she said, "Well, I could get up if that's what you want." 

The two women looked at each other and then gamely tried to slide by her without her getting up. She was very, very, big and there was no room. The amount of body contact between them all was considerate. I had to look away. When I looked back up, the two women were in their seats and it was almost time for the lights to go down.

I discovered, in myself, that I have all these rules for how to be fat in public and how to be disabled in public. These rules that I live by. Without question. I live by them. They exist to make me comfortable but also, to an even larger extent, to make people without disabilities feel comfortable with me being in their space.

This woman broke almost all of those rules.

AND I HAD A REALLY HARD TIME WITH IT!!!

I felt embarrassed for her.

I felt the shame that I thought she should feel.

I had empathy for those getting by.

I had, well I don't want to tell you what I had, for the woman at the end of the aisle.

I discovered, again, as I do over and over and over again, that I have deeply buried prejudices in my heart and soul. I have a judgemental vein that robs me of the ability to be compassionate or understanding or even a little bit forgiving.

When it was over, Joe and I waited until the aisle had cleared. Another rule I follow. She didn't, she got up as the usher unfolded her walker, leaned on it, stopped the flow of those exiting to join in and head out. Finally, it was our turn to go.

We turned north out of the theatre to head home and as we did I noticed the big woman walking alongside the two women who had climbed over her. They were all amicably talking about the play and what they had thought about it. Friendly strangers chatting about what was important, what they'd seen, not how they were seated.

Thank God those women had bigger hearts than I did.

Thank Heavens they had a softness in their soul that I lacked.

But me, I've still got my rule book. I can't help it, but I do. I'm not giving it up, I worked to hard to write it. I just want to realize that it's MY rule book.

And mine alone.

Come On, Dad, Let’s Play!

Feb. 18th, 2017 12:43 pm
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Posted by Daily Otter

Come On, Dad, Let's Play!

Via hehaden, who writes:

Elwood, one of the otters at the British Wildlife Centre, is a great father and always happy to play with his youngsters. This little pup is 3 months old now and super cute.

The Announcement

Feb. 18th, 2017 06:31 am
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Posted by Dave Hingsburger

I saw the announcement on Facebook.

A woman with Down Syndrome that I met a few years ago is getting married. I was so happy for her and immediately wrote my congratulations. She's a lovely woman, will make a lovely bride and the groom, a man I do not know, is a very lucky man. I scrolled away from that post to others and eventually took a highly scientific quiz to determine the name of my inner sprite. "Facebook keeps me informed," I tell people, when in fact its cheaper and more scientific that introspective therapy.

It was almost a day later when I realized that, for the first time, the news of a person with an intellectual disability getting engaged and looking forward to marriage, was just news. It wasn't long ago that any announcement of any kind of romantic relationship between those with intellectual disabilities would stop me in my tracks. It was big news. Not that the news of the woman that I've met getting married isn't big news, it is, of course, it's life changing news. But I mean BIG news, news that shocks rather than surprises.

I'm no longer shocked to see people with intellectual disabilities getting married.

I need to say that again.

I'm no longer shocked to hear about people with intellectual disabilities getting married.

I remember a young man named Dale who, when I was talking to him several years ago, distracted me simply because he was wearing a wedding ring. I couldn't take my eyes off it. I'd never seen one on a person with an intellectual disability. This was several years ago but not a long time ago.

That ring and these announcements and their resultant expectations are the result of a lot of different things. They are, of course, a testament to the parents who parented adults, parents who saw their child's potential to grow into relationships, parents who were willing to push by medical and societal predictions and prejudices and just parent the child that the got, not the child they were told they had. They are also a testament to those who supported these children as they grew into real adulthoods, a major victory, the teachers, and teacher's assistance, the direct support professionals, the behaviour therapists, the specialists and the generalists and everyone in between, who managed to dust off and actually use the tools that would lead to a real life in the real world.

But most of all they are a testament to the driving force of the will and unbreakable hope of those with intellectual disabilities themselves. Throwing tantrums when treated with disrespect. Staring down the harsh glare of 'good enough' and demanding instead, 'better.' The grabbing of low set bar of  expectation and pulling them up in an exercise of power that would change their lives.

Parents can prepare.

Support professionals can teach.

But people with intellectual disabilities do.

All are important, but it's the doing that damns the darkness.

Yes, it's the doing that damns the darkness.

Advanced Love: Dolores and Allan

Feb. 17th, 2017 04:31 pm
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Posted by Ari Seth Cohen

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Allan: We’ve been together a little over 30 years. This is our second marriage. We met November 16, 1986 in New York City at The Arcadia Restaurant 61 East 61st street where we had lunch and we’ve been together ever since that moment.

Dolores: But, there was a magic moment where our knees touched under the table and that’s where the sparks flew. I don’t think we’ve had one of those easy everyone’s happy kind of marriages. I think we were both very strong willed. We were already set in our careers and our lifestyle. We worked at this marriage.

Allan: Yes we have.

Dolores: And I think that’s what makes it work.

Allan: We had to come this place where we were both independent and we are pretty much there now. Of course I think that our marriage, our relationship is always a work in process and we each maintain our own places in life, we each have our own interests and we share many many wonderful times together.

Dolores: I think the thing that makes our marriage work is freedom, Allan gives me tremendous freedom to do, I mean look at me, I am the woman that he has allowed for me to create for myself.

Allan. It’s not a question of allow I could no more stop you than I could fly to the moon.

Dolores: And I also think its patience. When you get to where you have been married for so long that you finish each other’s sentences. That’s kind of where we are right now.

Allan: This is the best part of my life, being with her, and looking forward to spending time with her.

The post Advanced Love: Dolores and Allan appeared first on Advanced Style.

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Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

Flashback Friday.

Monica C. sent along images of a pamphlet, from 1920, warning soldiers of the dangers of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). In the lower right hand corner (close up below), the text warns that “most” “prostitutes (whores) and easy women” “are diseased.” In contrast, in the upper left corner, we see imagery of the pure woman that a man’s good behavior is designed to protect (also below).  “For the sake of your family,” it reads, “learn the truth about venereal diseases.”

The contrast, between those women who give men STIs (prostitutes and easy women) and those who receive them from men (wives) is a reproduction of the virgin/whore dichotomy (women come in only two kinds: good, pure, and worthy of respect and bad, dirty, and deserving of abuse).  It also does a great job of making invisible the fact that women with an STI likely got it from a man and women who have an STI, regardless of how they got one, can give it away.  The men’s role in all this, that is, is erased in favor of demonizing “bad” girls.

See also these great examples of the demonization of the “good time Charlotte” during World War II (skull faces and all) and follow this post to a 1917 film urging Canadian soldiers to refrain from sex with prostitutes (no antibiotics back then, you know).

This post was originally shared in August 2010.

Lisa Wade, PhD is a professor at Occidental College. She is the author of American Hookup, a book about college sexual culture, and a textbook about gender. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Five for Friday – Georgia Hunter

Feb. 17th, 2017 01:00 pm
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Posted by Cara Wilson

Interview with Georgia Hunter 

How did you come across this story?  What inspired you to write about it?

I discovered this piece of my family history at fifteen, when my high school English teacher tasked our class with interviewing a relative about our ancestral pasts. My grandfather had died the year before and with his memory so fresh, I decided to sit down with my grandmother. It was in that interview that I learned I was a quarter Jewish, and that I came from a family of Holocaust survivors. Six years later, at a family reunion, I was introduced to pieces of the greater Kurc saga—to stories unlike any I’d ever heard before. Nearly a decade would pass, however, before I gathered the courage to unearth and record my family’s remarkable Holocaust history.

What were your main sources for your research?  How did you organize everything?  (That is, got any tips for fellow writers?)

My research began in 2008 when I set off with a digital voice recorder to interview a relative in Paris. From there I flew to Rio de Janeiro and across the States, meeting with cousins and friends and strangers—anyone with a story to share. I saved all of my recorded interviews to iTunes and referred back to them frequently. The family’s narrative took shape, at first, in the form of a timeline, which I peppered with historical details and color-coded by relative to help keep track of who was where/when. Where there were gaps in my timeline, I looked to outside resources—to archives, museums, ministries, and magistrates—in hopes of tracking down relevant information. I was amazed at what kinds of information I was able to find. Once my timeline was complete, I plotted an outline and chapter summaries and from there, began the terrifying task of putting my story to paper!

*For more tips on how to conduct your own ancestry search, you can check out the Ancestry Search Tips page on my website.

What were the biggest challenges you faced either in the research, the writing, or structuring the plot?  

The Kurc family scattered at the start of WWII – their paths to survival spanned five continents over six years. Once I realized the (enormous!) scope of my story, the idea of telling it in a cohesive, digestible narrative was daunting, to say the least. The Kurcs’ diaspora meant that my chapters would have to be written from different perspectives. I thought long and hard on how to differentiate each of my characters, and how to convey thought long and hard on how to differentiate each of my characters, and how to convey those differences on the page in a way that would allow readers to remember who was who as they bounced between storylines. I also created a family tree, which appears at the front of the book, as a tool to help readers remember the characters and relationships.

Every writer has to leave something on the cutting floor. What’s on yours?

Uncovering my family history required so much digging that I was tempted to use every morsel of information I could find! That said, one element of the narrative I opted to omit out where the storylines of a handful of extended family members – great aunts and distant cousins – who also managed to survive the Holocaust. I felt it was already a  lot to ask of my readers to keep track of a set of parents, five children/their significant others, and a grandchild. And so, in the end, I decided to narrow my cast of characters to those dozen or so in my grandfather’s nuclear family in order to keep the story focused – and believable. 

Hunter penned her first “novel” when she was four years old, and titled it Charlie Walks the Beast after her father’s recently published sci-fi novel, Softly Walks the Beast. When she was eleven, she pitched an article—an Opinion piece on how she’d spend her last day if the world were about to come to an end—to the local newspaper. Since that debut in the Attleboro Sun Chronicle, her personal essays and photos have been featured in places like the New York Times “Why We Travel,” in travelgirl magazine, and on Equitrekking.com. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Hunter has worked in branding and marketing and is currently a freelance copywriter in the world of adventure travel, crafting marketing materials for outfitters such as Austin Adventures and The Explorer’s Passage. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and their five-year-old son.

 

 Missed our previous Five for Friday? Find last week’s interview with Anna Mazzola here. Want to binge read our interviews with fantastic authors? Check out our interviews with Essie Fox,  Ami McKay, and Eva Stachniak.

The post Five for Friday – Georgia Hunter appeared first on Wonders & Marvels.

In Anticipation of Us

Feb. 17th, 2017 07:27 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

On Wednesday I arrived at the venue where I was going to speak and Joe went in to check it out. Sometimes there are better, closer, entrances for us to use. When he got back he told me that we were at the right place, at the right entrance and that he thought I'd like the hall. As we made our way towards the hall Joe was describing it as a lecture hall, complete with stage. I clenched inside. These often don't have ramps and I'm usually then cramped up front at the base of the stage, it's not a comfortable place to present from.

But I was wrong, not only did it have a ramp but a beautiful one that gave me easy access to the stage itself. Had the feeling from that moment on that it would be a good day. I remembered a couple years before using a rickety, improvised ramp to get to a stage and I had the room set up guy say, in explanation for there being no actual ramp, "No one expected disabled people to ever need to get up here." I don't think he realized what he said. Suggesting that people with disabilities would never need access to a lecture hall stage because people with disabilities had nothing significant to say, or if they did, they never would because of the shroud of shame we live under. I was offended for weeks about that remark.

But here.

I had been anticipated.

(Not me personally, of course, but people like me, all people like me.)

When I first became disabled, sitting in that wheelchair for the first time, I had many thoughts about my life to come, but one of the primary ones was about my future as a lecturer and a trainer. I suspected that the disability might change what I had to say, even if slightly, but I worried that suddenly, I'd never be on a stage again, never teaching, again. I have always known that it's a privilege to do what I do and get the chance to educate or challenge or inform, but I didn't want it whisked away because of my disability.

Clearly I have continued to lecture and continued to travel to do so and that I manage in whatever venue they arrange for me, with the exception of those that I couldn't get in because, in one case there were 7 stairs to the front door and in another 12. But for the most part, we adapted what wasn't adapted and really enjoyed those where no adaptation was necessary.

After lunch I rolled back down the ramp to the stage, rolled out onto the stage, and began to prepare for the afternoon. I watched as people strolled back in from lunch. I watched them take their seat. And I realized something, all morning, from the moment they all arrived. None of them were surprised to see a wheelchair user on a stage. Now some of them knew who I was, but many of them did not.

It seems that the idea of being trained by someone with a disability was simply unremarkable to them, as an audience. How remarkable that is, isn't it? How incredibly remarkable.

LBCF, No. 122: ‘Fact and fiction’

Feb. 17th, 2017 12:22 pm
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Posted by Fred Clark

Left Behind is a fictional world, and as such its creators are free to invent a fictional president, a fictional Manhattan that's 50 miles long, and a fictional U.N. with fictional powers. They are even free to invent a fictional Bible full of fictional prophecies. This is exactly what LaHaye and Jenkins have done. Their problem -- and it's a big problem -- is that neither they nor most of their millions of devoted readers realize that this is what they have done.

Month...Eating...Brain...

Feb. 17th, 2017 05:03 am
[syndicated profile] ursulav_feed
 Apparently it has been two weeks since I posted. I kept thinking I'd do...something...but then I would get distracted and then it would be several days later.

My sprouts have sprouted! Some of them! Sunflower, Tithonia, Cilantro, Thyme, two species of poppies. I'm pretty stoked. Winter sowing is a wild success just on those fronts. Still waiting on the Solanums...they're a long shot, but I hold out hope.

I am reading about chinampas agriculture and fighting a strong urge to dig up large sections of the garden and put in a moat. Because that would be nuts. Surely.

Really.

I'll be fine. 
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

President Donald Trump held a press conference today. It was bonkers. Plus: Elizabeth Drew provides an overview of the first three weeks of Trump's presidency; a Barton-ite Republican announces his candidacy; and Reverend Bruiser vs. Dr. Viper.

three Korean covers

Feb. 16th, 2017 03:29 pm
[syndicated profile] lois_mcmaster_bujold_feed
Now that I've solved, well, worked around, my little difference of opinion with my programs...

Cetaganda:




Cetaganda, back:





The Vor Game:



The Vor Game, back:





Ethan of Athos:




Ethan of Athos, back:




Ta, L.

posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on February, 19

Cultural Revolution at the Louvre

Feb. 16th, 2017 08:28 pm
[syndicated profile] wonders_and_marvels_feed

Posted by Cara Wilson

By Anka Muhlstein (Guest Contributor)

I am often asked what gave me the idea of writing about the influence of painting on novels of the XIXth century. I was preparing a talk on literary society at the time of Renoir at the Frick, and I immediately thought of Proust because Proust observes how, once Renoir had been accepted as the great painter he is, all the pretty Parisian girls suddenly looked like Renoirs. The painter had literally changed the way reality was perceived. But much as I love Proust, I knew I had to enlarge the subject somewhat and I started reading up the century. I realized quickly that not one of the well-known novelists of the time – Stendhal, Flaubert, Balzac, Zola, the Goncourt brothers, Maupassant, Huysmans – fail to discuss painting or invent characters who are painters. Painting had become a central preoccupation in French literature of the time. What had sparked this interest exclusively in France? This question really obsessed me until it dawned upon me that the reason had to be the opening of the public museum, which was going to be known as the Louvre, in 1793, the most violent year of the French Revolution. Having easy access to great works by visiting a museum feels so normal to us now that we rarely think of the cultural revolution brought about by the advent of modern museums. And yet what a sea change in behavior this opportunity afforded for Parisians.

Everyone visited the Louvre, especially writers and artists—both masters and pupils. The museum attracted the inquisitive and the idle. It was warm in winter, thanks to its modern heating system; there was always something exciting to look at, and it was a respectable place to meet a lady, as she could stroll alone in the galleries without provoking comment. Most important for my purpose, writers acquired a deep understanding of painting and a common language with artists. No wonder novelists of the time tried to establish literary equivalents of pictorial achievements by taking in effect light and color. They truly invented a visual style of writing all the while dreaming up characters that allowed them to air their views on the art of the day and also depict the complex relationship between artists and the general public. There is a world of possibilities between Balzac’s genius Frenhofer, who despairs of ever convincing his fellow artists of his vision, and Proust’s master, Elstir, who has the patience to explain his art like an optician offering a myopic customer lenses of different strength until he can see clearly. At no point in history was the dialogue between painting and writing more intimate and fruitful.

 

Born in Paris 1935, Anka Muhlstein has published biographies of Queen Victoria, James de Rothschild, Cavelier de La Salle, and Astolphe de Custine; studies on Catherine de Médicis, Marie de Médicis, and Anne of Austria; a double biography, Elizabeth I and Mary Stuart; and more recently, Monsieur Proust’s Library and Balzac’s Omelette (Other Press). She has won two prizes from the Académie Française and the Goncourt Prize for Biography.

The post Cultural Revolution at the Louvre appeared first on Wonders & Marvels.

uploading blockage

Feb. 16th, 2017 01:07 pm
[syndicated profile] lois_mcmaster_bujold_feed
Well, drat. I just tried uploading cover scans of three Korean titles to share with you, and Goodreads spit them all back, claiming they didn't pass their virus scan. Since I scanned them through my Paint program identically to the way I've scanned in every other cover, I have no idea what they are on about.

Anyone else encounter this problem lately? Because if it's endemic, this is going to be a much less colorful blog.

Puzzled, L.

Later: when I attempted to upload the exact same scans through Outlook rather than Mozilla, they went up fine. Mysterious...

posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on February, 19
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Posted by Fred Clark

"It is a moral rather than an intellectual defect. ... Folly can be overcome, not by instruction, but only by an act of liberation; and so we have come to terms with the fact that in the great majority of cases inward liberation must be preceded by outward liberation, and that until that has taken place, we may as well abandon all attempts to convince the fool."
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Posted by Timmi Duchamp


White Ladies, We Need to Talk
by Beth Plutchak


It’s been a ride. I’m feeling a little queasy. But honestly, we’ve been here before and we need to be prepared not to make the same mistakes. I had such mixed feelings when I first heard about the Women’s March on Washington, originally named the Million Women’s March. I thought, this is a great thing, this is going to be big, this is important, this is solidifying (at least once they changed the name from the one they appropriated from black women). I also thought, what? Now? Now, you’ve noticed that white women are under attack. What about everybody else? And where were you before the election?

I’m terrified by the profoundly anti-American changes that have happened in Trump’s White House, from his nominees for key positions, to the unprecedented types and circumstances of his executive orders, to the central role of neo-Nazi supporter Steve Bannon and the reflection of neo-Nazi ideals in afore-mentioned nominees and executive orders. My family is black, brown, queer, poor, and disabled. The people I love are under attack in dangerous and specific ways that don’t touch me as a white woman, even though I am also under attack.

I was happy to learn that sister marches were being organized for women who couldn’t make it to DC. I live twenty minutes outside of Madison, WI and expected many of my family and friends would make the Madison March. At the same time, black women started saying “Where y’all been?” It took white women no time at all to call them out for being divisive.

The whole thing had echoes of the “divisiveness” in the feminist movement of the seventies. For my white college classmates feminism was about access to birth control and legalized abortion. We were so young, so naïve. Family planning, we thought, was about putting off having children until we were settled in our careers, and managing the number of children we did have. But I got kicked out of white feminism when I got pregnant at nineteen. And all of a sudden black and brown feminists who wanted to talk about forced sterilization, leaving their children uncared for when they were at work caring for white women’s children, and the violence of poverty made much more sense to me.

White feminists, led by the National Organization for women, made a strategic decision to focus on narrow interests that centered white women’s concerns. The only family planning they wanted to talk about was access to birth control and legalized abortion. NOW’s singular focus on the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment meant burying the concerns of women marginalized across more axes than gender. It turned the focus of the white feminist movement away from radical change. Later Gloria Steinman famously quipped, “We’ve become the men we wanted to marry.”

White women didn’t want to end the capitalist patriarchy so much as we wanted to have equal access to its fruits. We took up the mantle of progressivism, promising the more marginalized that their turn would come. We misquoted Martin Luther King—“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” We ignored the fact that the universe itself is amoral. The universe couldn’t care less about moral justice. That depends upon the acts of human beings. We settled for a rising tides approach to equality, and look what that got us: the Reagan revolution. Seriously, it was only a matter of time before we were fighting these fights all over again. Conservative forces learned what would satisfy white women and how easily they would betray women of color, queer, and disabled women. The Overton window was pushed further and further right. And it’s not like black and queer women didn’t warn us. They encouraged us to join the movements that they created to fight poverty, mass incarceration, police brutality. And what did we do? We doubled down. We bought over two million copies of Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In. We either declared the goals of black mothers “special interests” or used the tone argument on anyone who didn’t agree with us.

We, we white women, helped to set up the chain of events that got us to Trump’s America. And now there is only one way out. Inclusiveness is not the answer. We don’t need to bring more women of color into white movements.

We need to pay attention to what those more marginalized than us have been saying and what they are doing.

We need to ask humbly what we can do to help. We need to recognize and internalize the fact that our country was founded on violence against black and brown bodies.

We need to recognize that American art, literature, and music are infused with the courageous will to live in the face of genocide and slavery. We need to stop centering whiteness. After all, we are sleeping with the enemy. That enemy gave us a reprieve in return for upholding systemic racism. That reprieve is now over.

Beth Plutchak is the author of Boundaries, Border Crossings, and Reinventing the Future, just published by Aqueduct Press.
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Posted by Velouria



On the heels of a certain holiday which celebrates all things heart shaped, I thought it apt to post this second installment of 'Sticky, Squishy Love.' In Part I, as you might recall, I shared some notes on my experience with tubular tyres. Allow me now to share my experience with tubeless setups.

By way of a basic introduction, the term ‘tubeless' refers to a clincher tyre and rim setup, which foregoes the use of an inner tube. Instead, the tyre is inflated directly. To the naked eye, a tubeless tyre and rim look identical to an ordinary clincher setup. However, it requires some modifications. Namely, the rim needs to be completely sealed to ensure no air leaks from any part of it. Also, a valve needs to be sourced, since the tube it would normally be integrated with is absent. Finally, a specially formulated sealant is pumped into the tyre prior to inflation.



In theory, a number of factors makes setting up one's bicycle with tubeless tyres attractive. The lack of an inner tube is said to make the tyre more compliant, thereby improving ride quality and reducing rolling resistance. It also saves weight. 

But perhaps more importantly, tubeless setups are said to offer superior puncture resistance. The reasons given for this are two-fold: The absence of an inner tube removes the possibility of pinch flats. And furthermore, the sealant used in tubeless tyres is meant to be self-sealing in the event of a puncture, eliminating the need for repairing flats on the go (see, for instance, this video, for an ideal version of how this is meant to work).

Unlike tubular tyres, giving tubeless a try requires less of a commitment, since it can always be converted back to an ordinary clincher setup simply by inserting a tube.

And speaking of: Although some rims and tyres are specifically labeled as tubeless-compatible, often even those not labeled as such can be run tubeless. The basic idea, is that the rim needs to be sealable, and the tyre needs to sit airtight. But there are no hard and fast rules and in the end it is really just trial and error. If you are curious whether a specific rim and tyre combination can be run tubeless prior to investing in a bunch of supplies (see next section), an online search will soon bring up accounts of others who have tried it. Although mind you, there is no guarantee.


If running a tubeless setup for the first time, you will need the following items (in addition to the rims and tyres, of course):

. tubeless rim tape
. 2 valves
. valve core remover
. sealant
. an injector for delivering the sealant into the valves

The process itself is fairly straightforward:
. Seal the rims with tubeless-specific rim tape, cutting small holes for the valves.
. Insert valves into the vale holes in the rims.
. Fit the tyres.
. Remove the valve cores and pump sealant into the valves using the injector.
. Rotate the wheels to ensure sealant is evenly spread.
. Replace the valve cores and inflate the tyres.

Now, that last step - and tubeless enthusiasts tend to keep slyly mum in this regard! - is where people tend to run into trouble. Some rim and tyre combinations are very difficult, if not impossible to inflate using an ordinary track pump, and instead require the use of an air compressor which is able to deliver air in quick blasts.

They do make special tubeless floor pumps now, which store pressurised air in a separate chamber and are able to 'pop-inflate' the tyre. After reading their descriptions I am a little skeptical they have enough oomph, but will with-hold judgment until I get a chance to try one.

There are also conversion kits sold, where a thick rubbery layer of padding is placed over the rim to re-shape it for a more airtight fit with the tyre. But for anyone interested in weight savings this rather defeats the purpose. Plus it adds more complexity and cost to the process. And in the end, I am told, it still does not always work.

That is all to say... you may or may not be able to inflate a tubeless tyre without access to dedicated equipment!


My own forays into the tubeless world consist of the following two experiences:

Spada rims (700C) + Schwalbe Pro1 Tyres (tubeless specific)

Over the summer, my husband acquired a set of tubeless-ready 700C road wheels by the Italian manufacturer Spada. Conveniently, they arrived already taped, and with a tubeless-specific version of Schwalbe Pro1 tyres. With the help of the internet, we figured out the other stuff we needed. Installation went smoothly, and we were even able to inflate the tyres with an ordinary floor pump.

Gary enjoyed the feel of the wheels and tyres very much, and after 'running' them for a month and a half on his modern roadbike, he decided to try them on his vintage Italian bike for comparison. The vintage racing frame has tight clearances in the rear triangle, so he had to deflate the rear tyre in order to squeeze it in. We then spent hours trying to re-inflate the tyre, with no success! Having stretched after some use, the tyre would not sit on the rim sufficiently tightly, to be inflatable with a floor pump. No matter how quickly we pumped, the air was not being delivered fast enough. The tyres sprayed white fluid everywhere but would not inflate, inspiring jokes of a nature not fit to be retold to a cultured audience such as yourselves.

At length, we admitted defeat. Gary took the wheel to work and got it inflated with an industrial air compressor. Despite the rims and tyres being tubeless-specific, that was the only way he was able to successfully re-inflate the tyre ...a method that would obviously be unavailable in the event of getting a flat mid-ride! (And I know air cartridges are an option ...but not so much for wider tyres, and not everyone likes this disposable solution). The discovery of this limitation pretty much ended his excitement about tubeless setups. However he continues to ride his Spada wheels (they are his only remaining clinchers) and has had zero flats so far.


Pacenti PL23 rims (650B) + Pari-Moto Tyres 

Several months later I decided to give tubeless a go myself - on Alice, my DIY 650B bike with the Pacenti wheels I had rebuilt. My reasons for this were in equal measure to reduce flats, to save weight, and to achieve an even nicer ride feel than the bike had already. There are no tubular options available for (non-disc brake) 650B wheels, so I thought I might as well give tubeless a try - especially since we still had all the supplies.

Now, as far as I understand, neither the Pacenti rims nor the Pari-Moto tyres I used are tubeless-specific per se. But I knew that others (most notably, Peter Weigle) had successfully run this combination tubeless, and that allegedly it worked.

It worked for me as well ...but only with the use of the afore-mentioned industrial air compressor. We were not able to inflate the tyres in the house with a standard floor pump. However, a quick blast from the compressor did the job, and with weekly air top-ups using the floor pump at home they are holding air without problems.

As for the ride feel, having experienced the same tyres with and without tubes, I have to admit it does make a difference. Run tubeless, the same tyres feel 'squishier' and make for a softer, pleasanter ride feel. I imagine on a bike that is harsh, they would reduce that harshness considerably. On a bike that already rides nicely, as mine did, getting rid of the tubes makes for absolute luxury.

After 4 months or so of pretty frequent cycling (it’s the bike I’ve put the most miles on over this winter), I’ve had no flats so far. Whether that’s luck, or the sealant doing its job, I cannot say for sure. However, when run with tubes, I had found these same tyres to be pretty fragile.


In summary...

My impression is that tubeless tyres are an excellent idea in theory, but that in practice their usefulness is seriously limited by the fact that - more often than not - they require an air compressor to inflate successfully. I would also add that not knowing about this in advance can lead to lots of frustration at the user end, so the industry is not doing itself any favours by trying to downplay this drawback.

The availability of special pressurised air floor pumps is intriguing, and I do hope to test one in the near future. But once you start adding special pumps, and rim conversion kits and the like to the mix, the cost and awkwardness of the whole thing starts to rise pretty quickly. I suspect that in the future all of this will somehow be ironed out, and I look forward to that time. The idea in itself is appealing. And tubeless tyres eventually becoming the norm is, I think, inevitable.

As always, if you'd like to share your own experiences, you are very welcome to. Have you tried tubeless setups? Which rims and tyres? And was it love or hate?



[syndicated profile] muslimahmedia_feed

Posted by eren

I will start this post positioning myself as a cissexual and heterosexual BinizaaLatinx woman who converted to Islam about ten years ago. I am also an immigrant: a settler to the territories of the Algonquin, Cree, Anishinabe, Haudenosaunee and Métis nations, among others. The positioning is important because to discuss white supremacy is not only to talk about the colonial histories of Turtle Island, but also to identify the many ways in which white supremacy complicates our identities and exercises violence, in different ways, against racialized and “minority” communities.

On January 29th, Muslim communities in Canada were shaken by an attack on a Quebec City mosque that killed six men. Abdelkrim Hassane, Khaled Belkacemi, Aboubaker Thabti, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Ibrahima Barry and Azzeddine Soufiane were killed while in prayer by Alexandre Bissonnette. Bisonnette is a white man who has been referred in the media as a “student ” and a “lone wolf”, in an attempt to normalize racism and white supremacy and make them pose as something that must be understood as mental illness to be accommodated.

The night the news came through was a difficult one for many Muslims, including MMW writers who live in Canada. We exchanged messages and calls to check on each other because we were suddenly reminded that our places of worship, which are sacred for some, are easy targets of violence.

The week after the attack on the mosque, Black Lives Matter Toronto (BLM TO) organized a protest against Islamophobia and white supremacy under the banner of National Days of Action Against Islamophobia & Deportations. In recent years, at least in my view, BLM TO is one of the few movements in Canada which truly gets it. They get that we are on stolen land; that Islamophobia and anti-Blackness are not independent from violence against Indigenous peoples and their territories; that capitalism, heteropatriachy and white supremacy are intrinsically connected; that Black Muslims, especially those within the LGBTIQ experience, are very likely to experience State-condoned and other types of violence; that immigration in itself is a violent process; and that centering the voices of Black queer/trans women, who are the everyday targets of all sorts of capitalist, heteropatriarchal, racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic violence is a challenge to the very nature of the Settler-State.

Photo provided by the author.

I was there, in the protest, with a Bangladeshi friend of mine. To be a woman of color in spaces of protest, heavily surrounded by (primarily) white policemen, means that we always know we are at risk of violence and criminalization. Thus, we often make arrangements for friends and family to know where we are and to know to look for us, if we fail to report back. But despite the challenges, protestors, the majority Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPoC), continued to fill the streets despite the incredibly cold weather. Some counts say 5,000 people showed up.

For some Muslims, the show of solidarity from all segments of the population has been life-changing. For me, it was seeing Yusra Khogali, co-founder of BLM TO (and a Muslim herself), and Alexandria Symone, member of BLM TO, speak and call Justin Trudeau a white supremacist. Hearing them say the words in front of thousands, felt like a relief… perhaps a validation of much of my own experiences living in Canada and of much of what the women who have mentored me, the majority Indigenous, have taught me. In addition, it was a “f*ck you” moment for those people, immigrants or otherwise, who have an uncritical and relentless love for a white-man who, to date, has broken his campaign promises to everyone, including  Indigenous peoples, mingles comfortably with Israel, went back on his promise to change the electoral system and recently agreed to security measures that will criminalize minorities residing in Canada at US borders.

Sadly, but not unexpectedly, Khogali and Symone were heavily attacked in the media, and harassed elsewhere. Khogali, as the co-founder of BLM TO, has been a target not only for her political stance, but also for her Blackness, Muslimness and womanhood. The violence that Khogali has faced is something that many Black women activists experience because the reality of things is that anti-Blackness is something that has always existed in colonial spaces and that we, as immigrants and settlers, adopt and perpetuate. Not only that, gendered violence against Muslim women, particularly Black Muslim women, has been heavily normalized in the past decade in Canada.

But these attacks on Black Muslim women are one of the clearest demonstrations that Khogali is right. Canada is a white supremacist State with a Prime Minister that operates from a system that is inherently violent, and who has not political or personal interest in changing the conditions of the Settler-State in any way. I am neither surprised by the fact that those currently perpetuating violence against Khogali and Symone have found platforms to do so, nor by the fact that as Muslim immigrants, settlers and Indigenous peoples we are often reluctant to speak of white supremacy, let alone, call the Prime Minister of Canada a white supremacist. It seems that we give white men, with State-sanctioned powers to exercise violence, the benefit of the doubt any day, but God forbid a Black Muslim woman calls out racism, because hell breaks loose.

To name white supremacy and believe those who are always conceived as “the other” (i.e. Black Muslim women) goes against narrative of the “good immigrant.”  In this narrative you come to Canada, work hard, learn English, adopt “Canadian values” and assimilate in order to succeed. In addition, engaging in a critical exercise requires a deep analysis of our own colonial trauma, through which we have become deferent to colonial governments, to white-male leaders, to capitalism, to patriarchal relations, to white feminism, etc. But we are at a point, perhaps we have always been there, where our silence, our complicity, our anti-Indigeneity and our anti-Blackness result in peoples’ deaths.

These are very real things. We stay quiet, people die. It may not be “our people” today, but it will come. In fact, six Muslims were shot a few weeks back…

Photo provided by the author.

To attack a Black Muslim woman for calling out white supremacy in a Settler-State that has flushed through the genocide of Indigenous peoples, the enslavement of Black communities, the forced and low-paid labour of East Asian communities, the banning of non-white immigrants, the criminalization of LGBTIQ and disabled people and geopolitical abuse towards Third World countries, is to become a white-supremacy-bureaucrat… a person who participates in the upholding, endorsing and dissemination of white supremacy through discrimination, racism, sexism, Islamophobia, homophobia and ableism, and/or someone who believes that upholding such behaviours will lead to rewards or better status and acts on it.

But let’s be clear as Muslims and immigrants, we may occasionally benefit from being white-supremacy-bureaucrats, just like Muslim women may benefit from participating in patriarchal structures. Yet, the Canadian state was not created with BIPoC, Muslims or other minorities’ wellbeing in mind. It was created for white settlers, and to date, such is the case. We see it in the number of missing and murdered Indigenous women, the number of visible Muslim women attacked in the last decade, the fact that both Conservative and Liberal governments uphold the criminalization of Muslims, in the numbers of Black people criminalized and killed on Canadian streets, in the rising unemployment and discrimination among racialized youth, and in the fact that to be considered a real “Canadian Citizen” and maintain such a status, we are required to participate in the oppression of others.

As Muslims living on this land, is this really the best we can do? More importantly, as non-Black immigrants and settlers, is the role of the white-supremacy-bureaucrat what we aspire to?

That would be a negative

Feb. 15th, 2017 02:47 pm
[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

I’m at the airport, getting ready to head to Madrona, and because the universe is out to get me of a problem with my flight, I’m going Toronto to LA, then LA to Seattle. It means that from the time that I leave my house until the moment I fall helplessly into a hotel bed will be about 13 hours of travel. I’m trying to see the upside of that, which is a pretty awesome chunk of knitting time, which is great, because you wouldn’t believe the crappy knitting I did I had a few knitting problems over the last few days.  I knit the daylights out of a cowl that I’m making (no pattern yet, stand by) and was feeling pretty good about how things were going. A nice big cowl, and I had about 5cm of the ribbing done, when I was forced to admit that my gauge was complete bollocks a little off, and had to rip the whole thing out and start over.

I’m not so sure that would have completely broken my spirit bothered me, except that at the same time I discovered a nupp that was disintegrating completely and threatening to destroy the integrity of the entire blanket not quite right, and had to rip back several rows of that work too.

knitting bag1 2017-02-15

(Pictured here, the bag of travel knitting I’ll be trying to fix so that it looks like I can knit better than a drunk ferret how to knit enjoying today.)

So, there you have it, and in case you ever wondered, there are times when I spend hours knitting and am further behind than when I started  and completely waste two days of precious knitting time and my one wild and beautiful life make little mistakes. I’m hoping to get my &%#@@% together today will be a little better.

[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Zakiya Luna MSW PhD, Alex Kulick MA, and Anna Chatillon-Reed

Why did people march on January 21, 2017? As a team of sociologists interested in social movements, we know there are many possible answers to this seemingly simple question.

As a team of sociologists we have developed a multi-method, multi-site research project, Mobilizing Millions: Engendering Protest Across the Globe.* We want to understand why people participate in a march of this scale, at a critical historical juncture in our political landscape. Within weeks of discussion of the first march, there were already “sister” march pages national and internationally. While it is beyond the scope of this post to discuss all of the project findings thus far, the predictability of the racial tensions visible in social media or the role of men, local opportunities and challenges we do offer some early findings.

In the project’s first phase, we had team members on the ground in Austin, TX; Boston, MA; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA;  Portland, OR; Santa Barbara, CA and St. Louis, MO. We are currently conducting a survey about the motivations and experiences that brought millions of people to the marches worldwide. We recruited respondents from marches in the aforementioned cities, and online. This has resulted in responses from around the world. Our preliminary findings from the observations and survey highlight that 1) there were a range of reasons people attended marches and 2) across and within sites, there were varying experiences of “the” march in any location.

One striking similarity we observed across sites was the limited visible presence of social movement organizations (SMOs). For sure, SMOs became visible in social media leading up to the event (particularly for the DC march). Unlike at social movement gatherings such as the US Social Forum or conservative equivalents, the sheer number of unaffiliated people dwarfed any delegations or representatives from SMOs. Of our almost 60-member nation-wide team across sites only a handful had encountered anyone handing out organizational material, as we would see at other protest. This is perhaps what brought many people to the march—an opportunity to be an individual connecting with other individuals. However, this is an empirical question as is what this means for the future of social movement organizing. We hope others join us in answering.

Second, while the energy was palpable at all of the marches so was the confusion. As various media sources reported, attendance at all sites far exceeded projections, sometimes by 10 times. Consequently, the physical presence of the expanded beyond organizers’ expectations, which in many places required a schedule shifted. At all marches there were points where participants in central areas could not move and most people could not hear scheduled speakers even if they were physically close to a stage.  Across the sites, we also observed how this challenge stimulated different responses. In multiple locations, people gathering spontaneously created their own sub-marches out of excitement as happened in DC when a band started playing on Madison street and people followed. Or, while waiting, waiting participants chanted “march, march.” Still, in many locations, once the official march started, people created sub-marches out of necessity because the pre-planned march route was impassable. When faced with standing for an hour to wait their “turn” to walk or create an alternative, they chose the latter.

Creativity was visible in artistic forms as well. While there were professionally printed signs (and T-shirts), there was a wealth of handmade signs at the marches. As expected, a slew that referenced phrases the president-elect had said noting, for example, “this pussy grabs back.” Yet there was also a range of other signs ranging from simple text to complicated storyboards (see below).

Across sites, we also saw many differences: including which types of organizations sponsored (or “supported” or “ were affiliated with”) that march.

At the Austin, Texas march, marchers’ signs and chants reflected a wide variety of concerns, including women’s reproductive health care, Black Lives Matter, and environmental justice. The emotional tenor was frequently celebratory, though it varied from one point in the march to another across a crowd reported to be more than 40,000. Many speeches at the rally immediately following the march connected the actions of the Texas state legislature–on whose front steps the march began and ended–to the broader national context.

Photo of Austin, TX by Anna Chatillon-Reed.

The Los Angeles March numbers suggest it exceeded DC participation. There was a noticeable presence of signs about immigration and in Spanish, which is not surprising considering the local and state demographics.

Photo of Los Angeles by Fátima Suarez.
Photo of Los Angeles by Fátima Suarez

The Philadelphia, PA march was close to bigger cities of in New York and DC. Some participants noted that due to the location it was  “competing” for marchers.

Philadelphia photo by Alex Kulick.
Philadelphia photo by Alex Kulick.

The Portland, OR protest also exceeded attendance expectations as marchers withstood hours of pouring rain. Holding the “sister” marches on the same day worldwide emphasized the magnitude and assists in building collective identity. Yet it also meant organizers in different locations faced vastly different challenges. Factors such as weather that might not have existed if organizers had been scheduling based solely on local norms and contexts.

Portland photo by Kelsy Kretschmer.
Portland photo by Kelsy Kretschmer.

To help provide a preliminary sense of the motivations and continued engagement of marchers, we examined a sample of the ~40,000 tweets posted over two months. The analysis continues.

In the coming month, we are launching a separate survey to better understand a group social movement scholars are sometimes less inclined to study: people who do not participate in marches on January 21 (there are exceptions to this of course). As social movement scholars know, mobilization is actually a rare occurrence when we consider the range of grievances present in any society at any given moment. For a second phase of the project, we will conduct interviews with select survey participants.

Understanding the range of responses to grievances is critical as we move into this new era. If the first month of Trump’s presidency is any indication of the years to come, scholars and activists across the political spectrum will have many opportunities to engage these questions.

____________________

*The team Faculty collaborators are Zakiya Luna, PhD (Principal Investigator, California, DC, LA,PH and TX coordinator); Kristen Barber, PhD (St. Louis Lead); Selina Gallo-Cruz, PhD (Boston Lead); Kelsy Kretschmer, PhD (Portland Lead). The site leadership was provided by Anna Chatillon (Austin, TX); Fátima Suarez (Los Angeles, CA); Alex Kulick (Philadelphia, PA & social media); Chandra Russo, PhD (DC co-lead). We are also grateful to many volunteer research assistants.

Dr. Zakiya Luna is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research focused on social movements, human rights and reproduction with an emphasis on the effects of intersecting inequalities within and across these sites. She has published multiple articles on activism, feminism and reproductive justice. For more information on her research and teaching, see http://www.zakiyaluna.com.

Alex Kulick, MA, is a doctoral student in sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara and trainee in the National Science Foundation network science IGERT program. Their research investigates social processes of inequality and resistance with an emphasis on sexuality, gender, and race.

Anna Chatillon-Reed is a doctoral student in sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is currently completing her MA, which investigates the relationship between the Black Lives Matter movement and feminist organizations.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

CRUNCH!

Feb. 15th, 2017 06:49 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Until arriving at this hotel last night, I've done really well with using my own power to get myself around. It's something I'm proud of because it's a goal that I set for myself. Even yesterday, when the venue had a difficult pathway to the disabled entrance (it always annoys me when we are expected to go in a different door) I managed to push myself several meters on a steeply sloped sidewalk and then turn a sharp left to face the door and push through it. It was a tough push, but I managed.

When we arrived here last night, I immediately noticed the slope up to the door. It was ramped such that it was straight up to the door but, again, it was pretty steep. I got out of the car, got over to the bottom of the ramp, got my front wheels up over the small bump created by the fact that the curb didn't evenly touch the driveway. The on one push, I knew I was defeated. It wasn't the slope, although it was steep and I'm not completely confident that I could make it. It was the salt.

The entrance way was covered in a thick layer of salt. Big chunky pieces of salt. My front tire crunched on a couple pieced and then was stuck, I simply couldn't push through it. Joe was up at the door not really paying attention, and nor should he, I've been doing this independently for quite a while. I waited as I fought an internal battle. I knew I couldn't do it. I knew I didn't want to have help. I think this isn't an uncommon thing for people, I think maybe for disabled people that battle means something slightly different than it does for others, thought I could be wrong about that.

In the end I called out to Joe for help and we, together, got me up the slope and through the salt and into the hotel. Once through the door, though, my need for help was over and I went to register while Joe went to park the car.

For maybe an hour after I had to struggle with what happened. I had to examine myself to see if I gave up to easily, if I should have tried harder. Then I had to examine what asking for help meant and, then more reasonably, what it didn't mean.

Disability brings with it, for me, all these moments where my definition of myself is challenged and my own internal ableism and disphobia are up at the front of my consciousness. In a way, I'm glad of that. In a way I'm exhausted by it. I finally settled all the discussion in my head and was able to move easily away from that to figuring out, along with Joe, what we were having for supper.

The only thing I'll tell you about that, was that I insisted, for my meal ... no salt.

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