Invisibility: The Cure

Jun. 26th, 2016 12:30 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Image description: A Tim's card with the words 'great coffee' above and 'cures invisablity' below. On each side of the care is the word 'Magic' surrounded by pink fairy dust

She was sitting in the sun, resting her back on the base of a streetlamp. Her hat was in front of her with a few meagre coins in it. The corner she was sitting on was at one of the wealthier intersections of the city. People, with shopping bags full, swarmed by her, not seeing her, not stopping. I, however, was headed right towards her.

I've written here before that I keep 5$ gift cards for Tim Hortons in my wallet to give to people on the street. In winter they can get something hot, in summer something cold. And if you're not Canadian, you need to know that here in Toronto at least, you are never far from a Tim's. I have been criticized for giving the cards, not cash, but, it's what I do and it's what I'm comfortable with.

Just as I got to her a group of men and women stepped right in front of me. Right into my path, as if I wasn't there. They stood there at the light, waiting. I was in a bit of a hurry and so I said to the couple who stood between me and the woman, the couple that was part of the group who somehow couldn't see me, "Excuse me ..." They looked back, saw me and stepped over a bit, as if I was jockeying for a place at the curb.

Instead, I leaned down and said to the woman, "Hello!" She looked up and responded, "Hi!" All the while we chatted about the weather, and the crowd waited for the light to change. I pulled my wallet out. I handed over the card to her and explained that it had 5$ on it. She said she was needing something cold and carefully, very carefully, put it in the pocket of her pants.

I didn't notice, because I was focused on talking to her, that we had made those at the curb very, very, uncomfortable. I know this only because as the light changed she said to me, "Did you see what happened when you spoke to me?" I said that I didn't, I had been looking at her. "Suddenly people could see us. We were both invisible and then we became really visible. They were so uncomfortable with us both being human and being kind to each other." I wondered, I said to her, if maybe it's okay to make people a bit uncomfortable some times.

"Thank you," she said as I left.

"Enjoy the card," I said.

She said, "I will, but that's not what I'm thanking you for. Thanks seeing me. Thanks for making me visible. I felt like I mattered for a few minutes."

"You do," I said.

Joe told me that he had seen the same thing. He had stood and watched people react with real discomfort as my act of giving was held in stark relief to their act of not caring. I told him what she had thanked me for and then said, "But the thing is, I was invisible until I spoke to her, it's like we both, for a moment, became real, flesh and blood, people. I wish I'd thanked her, because, for a few moments, she made me visible too."

Year 3, Comic 5 - The After Kegster

Jun. 25th, 2016 09:40 pm
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★ Notes on Year 3, Comic 5 – The After Kegster ★
☆ ☆ ☆ NOTES ☆
☆ ☆



How long were Jack and...

How the Childfree Decide

Jun. 25th, 2016 09:48 pm
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Posted by Braxton Jones

Media have tended to depict childfree people negatively, likening the decision not to have children to “whether to have pizza or Indian for dinner.” Misperceptions about those who do not have children have serious weight, given that between 2006 and 2010 15% of women and 24% of men had not had children by age 40, and that nearly half of women aged 40-44 in 2002 were what Amy Blackstone and Mahala Dyer Stewart refer to as “childfree,” or purposefully not intending to have children.

Trends in childlessness/childfreeness from the Pew Research Center:

4

Blackstone and Stewart’s forthcoming 2016 article in The Family Journal, “There’s More Thinking to Decide”: How the Childfree Decide Not to Parent, engages the topic and extends the scholarly and public work Blackstone has done, including her shared blog, We’re Not Having a Baby.

When researchers explore why people do not have children, they find that the reasons are strikingly similar to reasons why people do have children. For example, “motivation to develop or maintain meaningful relationships” is a reason that some people have children – and a reason that others do not. Scholars are less certain on how people come to the decision to to be childfree. In their new article, Blackstone and Stewart find that, as is often the case with media portrayals of contemporary families, descriptions of how people come to the decision to be childfree have been oversimplified. People who are childfree put a significant amount of thought into the formation of their families, as they report.

Blackstone and Stewart conducted semi-structured interviews with 21 women and 10 men, with an average age of 34, who are intentionally childfree. After several coding sessions, Blackstone and Stewart identified 18 distinct themes that described some aspect of decision-making with regard to living childfree. Ultimately, the authors concluded that being childfree was a conscious decision that arose through a process. These patterns were reported by both men and women respondents, but in slightly different ways.

Childfree as a conscious decision

All but two of the participants emphasized that their decision to be childfree was made consciously. One respondent captured the overarching message:

People who have decided not to have kids arguably have been more thoughtful than those who decided to have kids. It’s deliberate, it’s respectful, ethical, and it’s a real honest, good, fair, and, for many people, right decision.

There were gender differences in the motives for these decisions. Women were more likely to make the decision based on concern for others: some thought that the world was a tough place for children today, and some did not want to contribute to overpopulation and environmental degradation. In contrast, men more often made the decision to live childfree “after giving careful and deliberate thought to the potential consequences of parenting for their own, everyday lives, habits, and activities and what they would be giving up were they to become parents.”

Childfree as a process

Contrary to misconceptions that the decision to be childfree is a “snap” decision, Blackstone and Stewart note that respondents conceptualized their childfree lifestyle as “a working decision” that developed over time. Many respondents had desired to live childfree since they were young; others began the process of deciding to be childfree when they witnessed their siblings and peers raising children. Despite some concrete milestones in the process of deciding to be childfree, respondents emphasized that it was not one experience alone that sustained the decision. One respondent said, “I did sort of take my temperature every five, six, years to make sure I didn’t want them.” Though both women and men described their childfree lifestyle as a “working decision,” women were more likely to include their partners in that decision-making process by talking about the decision, while men were more likely to make the decision independently.

Blackstone and Stewart conclude by asking, “What might childfree families teach us about alternative approaches to ‘doing’ marriage and family?” The present research suggests that childfree people challenge what is often an unquestioned life sequence by consistently considering the impact that children would have on their own lives as well as the lives of their family, friends, and communities. One respondent reflected positively on childfree people’s thought process: ‘‘I wish more people thought about thinking about it… I mean I wish it were normal to decide whether or not you were going to have children.’’

Braxton Jones is a graduate student in sociology at the University of New Hampshire, and serves as a Graduate Research and Public Affairs Scholar for the Council on Contemporary Families, where this post originally appeared.

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

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Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

Will Davies, a politics professor and economic sociologist at Goldsmiths, University of London, summarized his thoughts on Brexit for the Political Economy and Research Centre, arguing that the split wasn’t one of left and right, young and old, racist or not racist, but center and the periphery. You can read it in full there, or scroll down for my summary.

——————————–

Many of the strongest advocates for Leave, many have noted, were actually among the beneficiaries of the UK’s relationship with the EU. Small towns and rural areas receive quite a bit of financial support. Those regions that voted for Leave in the greatest numbers, then, will also suffer some of the worst consequences of the Leave. What motivated to them to vote for a change that will in all likelihood make their lives worse?

Davies argues that the economic support they received from their relationship with the EU was paired with a culturally invisibility or active denigration by those in the center. Those in the periphery lived in a “shadow welfare state” alongside “a political culture which heaped scorn on dependency.”

Davies uses philosopher Nancy Fraser’s complementary ideas of recognition and redistribution: people need economic security (redistribution), but they need dignity, too (recognition). Malrecognition can be so psychically painful that even those who knew they would suffer economically may have been motivated to vote Leave. “Knowing that your business, farm, family or region is dependent on the beneficence of wealthy liberals,” writes Davies, “is unlikely to be a recipe for satisfaction.”

It was in this context that the political campaign for Leave penned the slogan: “Take back control.” In sociology we call this framing, a way of directing people to think about a situation not just as a problem, but a particular kind of problem. “Take back control” invokes the indignity of oppression. Davies explains:

It worked on every level between the macroeconomic and the psychoanalytic. Think of what it means on an individual level to rediscover control. To be a person without control (for instance to suffer incontinence or a facial tick) is to be the butt of cruel jokes, to be potentially embarrassed in public. It potentially reduces one’s independence. What was so clever about the language of the Leave campaign was that it spoke directly to this feeling of inadequacy and embarrassment, then promised to eradicate it. The promise had nothing to do with economics or policy, but everything to do with the psychological allure of autonomy and self-respect.

Consider the cover of the Daily Mail praising the decision and calling politicians “out-of-touch” and the EU “elite” and “contemptuous”:2

From this point of view, Davies thinks that the reward wasn’t the Leave, but the vote itself, a veritable middle finger to the UK center and the EU “eurocrats.” They know their lives won’t get better after a Brexit, but they don’t see their lives getting any better under any circumstances, so they’ll take the opportunity to pop a symbolic middle finger. That’s all they think they have.

And that’s where Davies thinks the victory  of the Leave vote parallels strongly with Donald Trump’s rise in the US:

Amongst people who have utterly given up on the future, political movements don’t need to promise any desirable and realistic change. If anything, they are more comforting and trustworthy if predicated on the notion that the future is beyond rescue, for that chimes more closely with people’s private experiences.

Some people believe that voting for Trump might in fact make things worse, but the pleasure of doing so — of popping a middle finger to the Republican party and political elites more generally — would be satisfaction enough. In this sense, they may be quite a lot like the Leavers. For the disenfranchised, a vote against pragmatism and solidarity may be the only satisfaction that this election, or others, is likely to get them.

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

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

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Posted by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Every fall Sunday, when I was a kid, half an hour before the pre-game shows and an hour before the games themselves, I would tune into the latest offering from NFL Films. This was the pre-pre-game show—an assembly of short films derived from the massive archive of professional football. Steve Sabol, whose father founded NFL Films, would preside. He’d offer and then throw it to Jon Facenda or Jefferson Kaye, who would narrate the career highlights of players like Gale Sayers, Earl Campbell, or Dick “Night Train” Lane.

“Highlights” understates what NFL films was actually doing. The shorts were drawn from some the most beautifully shot footage in all of sports. It wasn’t unheard of for NFL Films to go high concept—this piece on football and ballet, with cameos from Allen Ginsberg and George Will, may be the definitive example. Great football plays would be injected not with the normal hurrahs, but with poetry. When Facenda, for instance, wanted to introduce a spectacular touchdown run by Marcus Allen, he did so in the omniscient third person: “On came Marcus Allen—running with the night.”

I watched that Super Bowl run live when it happened. I can still remember leaping up and down in my parents’ living room. But the NFL Films version, with its sweeping chords, is so powerful that I remember it through that lens. Indeed Todd Christensen—who was on the field in that very game—remembers it in the same way. The point of all of those sweeping chords was to convince the viewer that professional football was not just a sport, but an elegant tradition. The NBA was a game. The NFL was heritage.

More importantly, NFL Films was propaganda—beautiful, gorgeous, and artfully rendered propaganda, but propaganda all the same. Some of that same footage appears in the first episode of Ezra Edelman’s majestic documentary O.J.: Made in America, though to very different effect. The five-part film is as great as everyone says—a majestic work which doesn’t uplift, but haunts. Edelman agrees with the NFL—football is heritage—but proceeds to put that heritage within the context of the flawed human history that makes football so necessary to us all.

In this business, it’s worth restating that O.J. Simpson was a dazzling tailback and Edelman frames him in all of his balletic beauty. We see Simpson—high and angular—his hips lurching in one direction, his head swiveling in another. We see him accelerating at an uncanny rate—surrounded by swarm of defenders, and then just as suddenly alone in the open green. He seems to have an advanced sense of space and time, twisting defenders in knots, juking them until their sense of balance distorts and they fall as though struck by a great blow. There’s one shot of Simpson falling untouched on a play and the defender falling with him. But unlike the defender, Simpson gets up and keeps on running. “This is how it is supposed to be,” he said, attempting to capture the sentiment of breaking a big run. “This is correct. This is the natural state of things.”

NFL Films usually backs its highlights with loud, martial music. Edelman prefers the kind of subtle pianos and soft strings more appropriate for an in memoriam segment. Where NFL Films typically celebrates a running back gliding through a hole, Edelman seems to be mourning the death of some part of Simpson, or the death of some part of us. The contrast—awe and loss—works because football is itself a great contrast: a game of terrible, violent, brain-bashing beauty. As beautiful as Simpson is cutting through the field—and he is beautiful—you always know that the subtext of that beauty is 11 men paid and primed to inflict as much violence as the rules permit upon his body.

The employment of contrast goes beyond the music. Edelman pairs the violence of the football field with the violence of America itself. Simpson came of age in the late ’60s, during a time when America was exploding with riots and assassinations. He dazzled at USC—a veritable utopia built within walking distance of Watts. While other athletes perceived the overlap between sports and politics, Simpson and his coterie would have none of it. “For us, O.J. was colorless,” says the Hertz CEO Frank Olsen. And then the racist underpinnings of that “colorless” status become clear. “He’s African,” says the ad man Fred Levinson. “But he’s a good looking man, he almost has white features.”

What O.J. seemed to perceive—and then exploit—was the extent to which the larger country was interested in his talents and disinterested in the forces that produced them. At one point Edelman asks O.J.’s USC teammate Fred Khasigian what he thinks about when he thinks of 1968. Khasigian pauses for a minute. We see a collage of images—Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, the violence at that year’s Democratic convention. And then he answers:

I think of winning all the games, getting O.J. famous. Everybody on campus thinking this is the greatest thing on earth. That’s all we thought about. There was nothing else going on.

In fairness, Khasigian is likely aware that more was “going on” that year. But he captures the insular sense at USC and around football in general—the notion that sport can, somehow, be greater than all of us. But it is not. And the contrasts that Edelman teases out throughout the film are not artifacts of the past. Though Edelman is skeptical of its import for Simpson, the question of CTE hangs in the background throughout the series. As do the ways in which black athletes are used up and disregarded at the college level. Episode One is a counterweight to the kind of slick football propaganda NFL Films fed us as kids. It works not by being delivered as an anti-football screed, but by showing all the beauty and ugliness of the game, all at the same time, and thus giving the truest depiction of pro football I’ve ever seen.

[syndicated profile] tanehisicoates_feed

Posted by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Every fall Sunday, when I was a kid, half an hour before the pre-game shows and an hour before the games themselves, I would tune into the latest offering from NFL Films. This was the pre-pre-game show—an assembly of short films derived from the massive archive of professional football. Steve Sabol, whose father founded NFL Films, would preside. He’d offer and then throw it to Jon Facenda or Jefferson Kaye, who would narrate the career highlights of players like Gale Sayers, Earl Campbell, or Dick “Night Train” Lane.

“Highlights” understates what NFL films was actually doing. The shorts were drawn from some the most beautifully shot footage in all of sports. It wasn’t unheard of for NFL Films to go high concept—this piece on football and ballet, with cameos from Allen Ginsberg and George Will, may be the definitive example. Great football plays would be injected not with the normal hurrahs, but with poetry. When Facenda, for instance, wanted to introduce a spectacular touchdown run by Marcus Allen, he did so in the omniscient third person: “On came Marcus Allen—running with the night.”

I watched that Super Bowl run live when it happened. I can still remember leaping up and down in my parents’ living room. But the NFL Films version, with its sweeping chords, is so powerful that I remember it through that lens. Indeed Todd Christensen—who was on the field in that very game—remembers it in the same way. The point of all of those sweeping chords was to convince the viewer that professional football was not just a sport, but an elegant tradition. The NBA was a game. The NFL was heritage.

More importantly, NFL Films was propaganda—beautiful, gorgeous, and artfully rendered propaganda, but propaganda all the same. Some of that same footage appears in the first episode of Ezra Edelman’s majestic documentary O.J.: Made in America, though to very different effect. The five-part film is as great as everyone says—a majestic work which doesn’t uplift, but haunts. Edelman agrees with the NFL—football is heritage—but proceeds to put that heritage within the context of the flawed human history that makes football so necessary to us all.

In this business, it’s worth restating that O.J. Simpson was a dazzling tailback and Edelman frames him in all of his balletic beauty. We see Simpson—high and angular—his hips lurching in one direction, his head swiveling in another. We see him accelerating at an uncanny rate—surrounded by swarm of defenders, and then just as suddenly alone in the open green. He seems to have an advanced sense of space and time, twisting defenders in knots, juking them until their sense of balance distorts and they fall as though struck by a great blow. There’s one shot of Simpson falling untouched on a play and the defender falling with him. But unlike the defender, Simpson gets up and keeps on running. “This is how it is supposed to be,” he said, attempting to capture the sentiment of breaking a big run. “This is correct. This is the natural state of things.”

NFL Films usually backs its highlights with loud, martial music. Edelman prefers the kind of subtle pianos and soft strings more appropriate for an in memoriam segment. Where NFL Films typically celebrates a running back gliding through a hole, Edelman seems to be mourning the death of some part of Simpson, or the death of some part of us. The contrast—awe and loss—works because football is itself a great contrast: a game of terrible, violent, brain-bashing beauty. As beautiful as Simpson is cutting through the field—and he is beautiful—you always know that the subtext of that beauty is 11 men paid and primed to inflict as much violence as the rules permit upon his body.

The employment of contrast goes beyond the music. Edelman pairs the violence of the football field with the violence of America itself. Simpson came of age in the late ’60s, during a time when America was exploding with riots and assassinations. He dazzled at USC—a veritable utopia built within walking distance of Watts. While other athletes perceived the overlap between sports and politics, Simpson and his coterie would have none of it. “For us, O.J. was colorless,” says the Hertz CEO Frank Olsen. And then the racist underpinnings of that “colorless” status become clear. “He’s African,” says the ad man Fred Levinson. “But he’s a good looking man, he almost has white features.”

What O.J. seemed to perceive—and then exploit—was the extent to which the larger country was interested in his talents and disinterested in the forces that produced them. At one point Edelman asks O.J.’s USC teammate Fred Khasigian what he thinks about when he thinks of 1968. Khasigian pauses for a minute. We see a collage of images—Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, the violence at that year’s Democratic convention. And then he answers:

I think of winning all the games, getting O.J. famous. Everybody on campus thinking this is the greatest thing on earth. That’s all we thought about. There was nothing else going on.

In fairness, Khasigian is likely aware that more was “going on” that year. But he captures the insular sense at USC and around football in general—the notion that sport can, somehow, be greater than all of us. But it is not. And the contrasts that Edelman teases out throughout the film are not artifacts of the past. Though Edelman is skeptical of its import for Simpson, the question of CTE hangs in the background throughout the series. As do the ways in which black athletes are used up and disregarded at the college level. Episode One is a counterweight to the kind of slick football propaganda NFL Films fed us as kids. It works not by being delivered as an anti-football screed, but by showing all the beauty and ugliness of the game, all at the same time, and thus giving the truest depiction of pro football I’ve ever seen.

The Time of Her Life

Jun. 25th, 2016 07:49 am
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Posted by Dave Hingsburger


Image description: A clock face with the 12, 3, 6 and 9, diving the face. Between 12 and three the word 'congregate' is writting in red and underlined with the words 'for your own good' written in lavender. between 3 and 6 the word 'segregate' is written in red and underlined and in purple below are the words 'for the good of others' between 6 and 9 the word 'restrict' is written in red and underlined and the words 'for the good of the system' are written, and between 9 and 12 the word 'freedom' is written in red and underlined with the words 'for your good from your voice' are written.
This is beginning to happen more and more often. And because of that I can testify that dreams, even impossible dreams, do come true. I am not writing this as an 'inspirational story' I want to be careful to assert this right up front. This story isn't about anything other than how wrong we, who are professionals, and we, who are parents, and we, who are paid to assess, can get things very wrong. This story isn't about anything else but how the voice, clearly spoken, of someone with a disability can be buried under the opinions of others, smothered by stacks of paperwork and silenced by expertise. That's what it's about. It's about running into people, years later, and seeing the life they had now, and what we predicted then.

I don't want to even remember how long ago I met her. Let's just say I've been doing this now for over 40 years and it was near the start of my career in the community. I wasn't long in institutional care, so very near the beginning. She was known to be "non compliant" at the time, which just meant, and I did see that then, that she was what my Grandmother would have called, "contrary." She didn't willingly submit to the authority of others. She wasn't "out of control" even though everyone thought she was. She never lashed out physically, never broke anything purposely, never spat, or kick, or slapped anyone. She did break rules, but only the ones she thought were unfair.

When planning for her future she stated that she wanted to live independently. Everyone thought this was a very bad idea. They came up with all sorts of reasons why it was an 'inappropriate dream,' as if there is such a thing, but, though no one said it, her gender made the difference. I'd like to say, remember this was nearly 40 years ago, but I'm not sure that the same kinds of decisions aren't being made today. They came up with the 'excuse' of vulnerability. It was an easy sell. They talked about her vulnerability from only one perspective: the world is more dangerous for women than for men. They didn't talk from the perspective of disability: people with disabilities may well be safer walking down the street in their neighbourhood than they are in the group home in which they live. Now we are working to change that now, but we weren't doing jack shit about it then.

From the very first, I have worried about the conception of people with disabilities being vulnerable because they have a disability. That makes us lazy. "Well, can't change that, so we're done and dusted." I've always thought that because we didn't teach safety skills and abuse prevention skills and self advocacy skills, we were kind of responsible for at least some of the issues regarding vulnerability. I had not, at this time, developed 'The Ring of Safety' which are the skills people with disabilities need to learn in order to live more safely both in services and in the community, so all I could do was suggest that given her skill set, she needed to learn skills that would allow her to fulfil her dream and move into the community. Here's what I hate writing, because of immense pressure, not from the agency I worked for, but from the team supporting her. I did add a line in the report about her vulnerability.

This is something I regret.

I have not always been strong enough to do my job both ethically and well.

Well, she did well on her behaviour plan, primarily because the plan looked at how staff needed to respond when 'behaviours' occurred and when resistance was met with reasonable discussion, a new kind of relationship was begun with the staff in the home. I don't know what happened in the intervening years, because I was done, and I was gone.

Then, the other day, I noticed a woman in a scooter, headed towards me smiling. I thought I recognized her, so I waved. She pulled up beside me and said 'Hi.' It was the voice. I remembered her voice. We pulled off to the side to talk. She told me that she'd been using the scooter for about a year and laughed and laughed as she talked about the things she destroyed learning to drive it. I asked her where she was living and she told me about her apartment a bit nearer the top of the city. She paused and looked at me, "I'm in my own place. I've had it a long time."

I was thrilled. I knew this was her big dream, her professionally determined, psychologically assessed, 'impossible dream' came true. I asked her what it was like to have her own place. She looked at me strangely. She said, "People ask me that all the time and I don't know what to say. How do you like having your own place?"

You know I don't think at all about 'liking having my own place,' I like my place but that's a different thing. I never assumed I wouldn't have my own place so having it was kind of immaterial. What I had taken for granted, she had had to fight for, tooth and nail.

We spoke a few more minutes and then she said, "Do you still work at the same place?" I told her I didn't. Then, I said, "I want you to know I'm different now, I listen better and I have more courage about what I need to say and when I need to say it."

"Good," she said, "good."

It's Not All Doom and Gloom!

Jun. 24th, 2016 07:01 pm
[syndicated profile] lovelybike_feed

Posted by Velouria



So you may have heard some interesting political news from Europe this morning. But take it from someone who lives on the Ireland/UK "frontier" - everything is fine! Absolutely fine, I tell you. The price of imported rapeseed oil has only gone up by 400% so far. They won't be starting to deport the cross-border cattle till next Tuesday. And it will surely be weeks yet before they begin building the wall.

Now, I know that in these confusing times, opportunity for reflection can be difficult to come by. Which is why I'd like to help - with some reflective leopard-print decals from the Swedish manufacturer Bookman (who also make some cool lights).



For readers in Ireland and the UK, I've been entrusted with some black, silver and gold reflective bicycle-stickers to give away. Matte in the daylight, they light up zoologically in the dark in direct light - presumably terrifying other road users into giving you more space.

If you have a black, silver, or golden-yellow bike, you can get tone-on tone stickers so that they're invisible in the daytime and only light up at night. Of course, if you actually want your bike to look like a leopard even in daytime, get a colour that will stand out.

As far as a user's review: I can report that they work as described, and are easy to both stick on and remove, leaving no residue. My only criticism is that one packet is really not enough to cover an entire bicycle frame - so be economical!

In any case - If you'd like some, leave a comment with the colour of your choice, and I will select recipients at random after the weekend. UK and Ireland only please for this one (but remember the #bikepeeing contest is open internationally).

As for the political end of things: Take a break from thinking about it for a bit and ride your bicycle instead? Happy weekend to all, and thank you, as always, for reading.


[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

There is nothing that I regret about the last few weeks of my life.  That my time went to my girl and her wedding, that my energy went in that direction? A good choice, my knitters. A good choice. The shawl, the arrangements…it was all fine, but the whole time there was a twitchy little voice in the back of my head … a voice that said “What about the Rally?” and in true Stephanie form, I replied that I would worry about that later.

Blog.  It is later, and despite the fact that I am in my late forties, for some impossible magic reason I thought that procrastination would work better for me now than it has in the past.  (I suppose I procrastinated on figuring out that procrastination is a bad plan.) Last night I looked at my fundraising (way behind) at my work on the Steering Committee (barely up to date, thanks for covering me  Cam) and then my Blog, I looked at my arse, and I realized that on no level am I ready.

helmet 2016-06-24

Departure is in 4 weeks and 1 day.  This weekend marks the back-to-back deadline. By now, I’m supposed to have ridden two long rides, 90km or more, on two consecutive days.  I haven’t been on my bike in (ahem, I was doing a wedding) more than a week. (It’s longer than that, but there’s only so much panic I can engage in at once.) Last night I made a vow. I looked at the date of the rally, I realized that If I don’t get on my bike in a really, really big way in the next couple of weeks, riding my bike to Montreal is going to hurt like you wouldn’t believe, and I made a commitment to ride every day between now and then.

Then I lay in my bed, cried and coughed, because Blog, I have a terrible cold.  I caught it right before the wedding, and thanks to the miracle of modern medicine and the ancient tactic of whiskey, I made it through the whole thing, but I’m still wheezing and coughing and blowing my nose, and this morning I realized that I’m still too sick to ride, and I felt just horrible. Every minute I am not on my bike fills me with panic, but today I realized that I just wasn’t going to win the day, and I lay down.

Tomorrow I’m going to ride 100km, cold be damned. I might do it slowly, and I will likely be sorry the whole time, but I’m going to ride it. On Sunday I have to sweep a ride in the car with my Co-Lead, and so that day is out.  On Monday though, if I get up and get it together, I can ride another 100km, and on Tuesday, I can do the same thing… and then… If I can somehow repeat that over and over for the next month, there’s a chance that my middle aged self can somehow get myself to Montreal without crying the whole way.

I sometimes forget, because I’ve done it a few times now, that riding your bike 660km is… well, it’s really, really hard.  It’s easy to blow off the preparation, to say “I’ve done it before, I can do it again” but the truth is, I am neither young, nor beautiful, and it is a long way, and I am not ready.  I’ll do Karmic Balancing gifts on Monday.  If you want to encourage me, most of my weekend will be spent serving a cause I think is important, and I’ve set up my phone so that it dings every time I get a donation. It’s motivating.  If you’re thinking about sending a little encouragement my way… this weekend would be a great time.  (Cough.)

May the force be with me.

(PS. You are the force.)

 

 

 

Save

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Posted by Fred Clark

As you select names for your characters, for the businesses where they work, and for the town or city in which your story is set, you may decide that these names should be not only apt, but Meaningful. Good for you. Meaningful Names can reinforce character and theme. But some subtlety is required.

Chinuk man = interpreter

Jun. 24th, 2016 02:46 pm
[syndicated profile] chinookjargon_feed

Posted by chinookjargon

chinookman

Chinuk Man (6)

It’s several years since I shared my find of Chinuk man, as the term for “interpreter”, with the then rather smaller Jargon community.  This is a word worth making better known, as this linguistics paper does.

It comes from the above-shown snippet of Kamloops Wawa #149 (February 1897), page 26.  The words you see are these:

<15. St Mark.> Sin Mark.
15. St. Mark.     Saint Mark.

Sin Mark iaka Sin Pitir iaka intirpritir, kakwa
Saint Mark was Saint Peter’s interpreter, like

iaka Chinuk man; kimta iaka mamuk cim iht…
his Chinook man; later he wrote a…

I always prefer being able to back up any find I make in Chinook Jargon, and usually once I notice a “new” word, I do find it somewhere else.

That’s happened here.  I’ve been listening to some audio that SV Johnson recorded in his dissertation research, and the unnamed male speaker refers to a Chinuk man having been brought along to the 19th-century treaty negotiations with local tribes.

There too, it’s made clear that an interpreter is meant. So we have confirmation.

Whew, because my avatar here at the Chinook Jargon blog is shorthand Chinuk man!


[syndicated profile] lois_mcmaster_bujold_feed
The new novella is up:

At Nook:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/penri...

and iBooks:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/penr...

and Kindle:

https://www.amazon.com/Penric-Shaman-...

Unfortunately, the Amazon 'bot automatically inserts "book" before the series number, which I think may engender more confusion than it settles. NOVELLA. I wanted a simple "#", which implies nothing about length but does give the order, which some readers find useful. I'll let it run this way a few days and see how it works. (It's going to be a pain if I decide to jump around in the timeline in future, but we'll cross that bridge later.)


Our vendor-page description:

"In this NOVELLA set in The World of the Five Gods and four years after the events in “Penric’s Demon”, Penric is a divine of the Bastard’s Order as well as a sorcerer and scholar, living in the palace where the Princess-Archdivine holds court. His scholarly work is interrupted when the Archdivine agrees to send Penric, in his role as sorcerer, to accompany a “Locator" of the Father’s Order, assigned to capture Inglis, a runaway shaman charged with the murder of his best friend. However, the situation they discover in the mountains is far more complex than expected. Penric’s roles as sorcerer, strategist, and counselor are all called upon before the end.

Bujold delivers an astonishing tale that is not soon forgotten."




My work always seems to get plenty of reviews on Amazon -- B&N and iBooks reviews are generally thinner on the ground. But best of all are reviews or mentions out and about on the net, where people who don't already know about the work might learn about it.

Ta, L.

posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on June, 25

Good morning Britain

Jun. 24th, 2016 12:51 pm
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

I'm sure not everyone in the UK who just voted to set fire to the bedsheets shared all of the ugly racism of UKIP supporters. Others apparently just thought it might be fun to swing the wrecking ball and see what happens. We could think of such people as Jesse Ventura Voters or as Arnold Schwarzenegger Voters or as Assholes Who Don't Care If Vulnerable People Suffer Just As Long As They, Personally, Are Entertained.

Stranger: Three of Five

Jun. 24th, 2016 08:18 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

The presentation was over. It had gone well. I'd enjoyed the audience and the audience had seemed to enjoy my presentation style. I was packing up, getting things ready to go back into my wheelchair bag or into my briefcase, a few people had asked questions afterwards but the room was nearly empty now.

Then, she came in. She was a young woman, I had noticed her right from the start. She had a unique and quite beautiful tattoo wrapped around her upper arm. I also noticed that she was one of the people who had reacted emotionally to a lot of the stories I told and was also one of the few who had the daring to ask a question. I say daring because, the larger the group, the fewer the questions. There are risks in asking any question, but those risks increase where there are more there to hear the question and then judge you for asking. It's odd that those who come to an event to learn can be very judgemental about those who participate in their own learning process.

All that to say, I recognized her. Joe tells me that I sometimes explain too much, I tell him, "yeah but it's interesting right"? Joe gives me a look that I've yet to really be able to interpret.

She approached me at the table and I could tell, which surprised me, that she was quite nervous. She'd seemed so confident during the lecture itself. When she got to the table she put her hand out for me to shake, which I did and she introduced herself. She didn't introduce herself by name, or by occupation, as most do, she introduced herself by gender. "Hello, I am a woman," she said. I was nonplussed because, though I am a gay man I recognize women with a fair degree of accuracy. I said, "Clearly, you're going to say something to me that makes that introduction necessary." She nodded, gravely, without a smile.

I had told the story of Ruby in Florida when she was 3 as the closing story in the lecture. She said she liked the story and asked, "Am I correct in assuming that you love that little girl?" I said that I did and that I had mentioned that fact in the story.

"Well, then, she said, this total stranger, "I noticed that you used the word "B*tch" in your lecture a couple of times. I nodded, that I had.

"I have a question, how are you going to feel the first time Ruby is called that as a name simply because she's a woman?"

I didn't have to think.

"I'll be angry."

"Then why, during lectures to make it an OK word for people to say? Why do you make it easier for a little girl that you love to be hurt by such an ugly word. You recognize it's an ugly word right?"

I was standing there stunned. To be honest, I'd not thought about the word anywhere near as deeply as I was being challenged to think about it. My first response, as it always is, was defensiveness. But I got over that fairly quickly, I think, primarily, because I really love Ruby and Sadie, who came along a little later.  I said "I'll think about what you've said."

She nodded, a bit of disappointment on her face, she didn't understand that when I say, 'I'll think about it' I really will.

As she reached the door I called to her. "OK, I've thought about it." She smiled, surprised. "I won't use that word ever again in a lecture and I will take it out of my speech and out of my writing. You're right, I love those girls, I love my women friends, I respect the women I work with, I need my language to show which side I'm on."

I've kept to my word. I've slipped a couple of times, and I've apologized when I've done so. Further, it's out of my spoken language now, pretty much for good and I haven't written the word since.

A stranger, with courage in her heart, came and challenged me.

And  I was made different.

She may never understand how deeply that confrontation changed me, how it made me think about the simple things we can do to make the world safe for women. I learned to be intentional in interacting with the world that those two girls are growing up in.

Love, isn't just an emotion, it's a responsibility.

Friday Link

Jun. 24th, 2016 06:00 am
[syndicated profile] muslimahmedia_feed

Posted by samya

Ramadan is a time of discipline and self-control, and a month to slow down the pace of life – to focus on faith, family and charity. For professional CrossFit athlete Shaikha Al Qassimi, the test is also to maintain her fitness and nutrition program.

California cafe sued for ejecting women wearing hijabs files countersuit, led by lawyer who says womens’ claim is part of ‘jihad’ to weaken western civilization.

 Paula Simons: In honoring strong Muslim women, Edmonton school names send powerful message.

The Minister of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, Dr. Sylvia Olayinka Blyden has called for more Sierra Leonean Women to attend this year’s Hajj Pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Mecca.

Around 35 Muslim girls will practice yoga at a training camp organized by a BJP leader in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Lok Sabha constituency of Varanasi, India on Monday — a day before the International Yoga Day.

Police have charged a woman with assault after another woman was punched, spat on and had her hijab pulled in a London, Ont., supermarket.

With the current influx of local brands, getting the perfect hijab has never been easier. Although, it can actually be harder as there are just so many styles and colours to choose from!

With 15 collections under her belt, Amalina Aman has made a name for herself as a hijab designer. Based in Lakemba, Australia, Ms Aman, 31, is exhibiting her latest collection at the Creativity Unleashed Expo at Parramatta Town Hall this weekend.

[syndicated profile] omgcheckplease_feed


★ Notes on Year 3, Comic 4 - Home Opener ★ 

 ☆ ☆ ☆ NOTES ☆ ☆ ☆


You know, I get why everyone hates the Samwell hockey team. They’re a loud group of people. Imagine sitting next to all that chanting and screeching and unexplained crying for hours on end. You have Nursey and Lardo who are mostly calm, but trend towards chaotic. You have the loudest bros in Massachusetts: Shitty, Ransom, Holster and Chodwer.  Hm, well, you also have Dex who thinks this’ll simmer down after the first few minutes (no). Then of course you have Eric Bittle who is a maelstrom of emotions because his dreamy secret boyfriend is playing ice game with big stick and swooshy hair.


Whoa! WAIT is that Marty speaking Quebecois? Oh, you betcha. He and Jack pretty much always speak English, so how considerate of Marty to call out Jack on his dork friends in another language.


Is Shitty wearing a tweed coat? It sure does have elbow patches, doesn’t it? He went from no clothes and lots of hair to dork clothes and no hair, 0 to 100mph, they grow up so fast.


Jack and Shitty as alums! Watching Samwell men’s hockey! Supporting the crew! Shitty is happy to be away from all those terrible Cantabs and Jack is a maelstrom of emotion because his adorable secret boyfriend is playing ice game and nothing is better than boyfriend and ice game.


Okay, finally, was that actually a check? It was definitely a nudge but HMM. There are so many types of checks in hockey…if Bitty’s playing defense and stopping the other guy from doing what he wants….yes? I think this means the comic is over.


UP NEXT: 

Shitty: Wait wait wait wait how’d you convince professional hockey player Jack “my bed time was 5 minutes ago” Zimmermann to go to this kegster?
Ransom: idk but he said:

image


☆ ☆ ☆ NEWS ☆ ☆ ☆

☆ Social media connections for you to connect to:

- @ngoziu - a Twitter account
- @omgcheckplease  - a Facebook page
- Store - a store
- Get sneak peeks of the next comics and livestream access via Patreon.


☆ Not much news! I’m hoping for a much bigger update at the end of the summer. Things have been a bit hectic of late, but I’m putting my head down and working on thumbnails / scripting the next-next updates too. 


Anime Expo.  AH!! July 4th weekend!  If you’re really looking to pick up Year One (which will be reprinted!) You’ll probably want to drop by my table on Saturday or Sunday since I won’t have all of my merch on Friday. I’ll tweet about this to remind folks.

☆ Store. I opened the store for a hot second last-last Friday, and things sold out very quickly. I will try to order, ship and restock merchandise and prepare for a pre-order sale, but please be patient!



As always thank you for reading, sharing and being generally enthusiastic about my story!…Thanks!

‘Religious outreach’

Jun. 23rd, 2016 10:40 pm
[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

While Donald Trump's evangelical outreach continues to flail -- "We've gotta spiritize this country!" -- another election year brings about the quadrennial ritual of articles fretting about the need for "religious outreach" by Democrats. Remember, though, that Hillary Clinton's long history with her United Methodist Church and her involvement with its women's groups doesn't count, because mainline Protestantism doesn't count. "Religious outreach by Democrats" only counts if it involves obsequious overtures to white evangelicals.
[syndicated profile] lovelybike_feed

Posted by Velouria



How do you know when you've got gears you don't use or need? It's a tough call. Some might even say there is no such thing as "gears you don't need," especially when it comes to those low-low-low ones. If you can set up your bike with a sub-(sub)-1:1 gear, go for it! And even if you usually don't use them, you never know when they might come in handy, so better save them for a rainy day. I mean, who knows - you might go on a long trip where all the climbing comes at the end, when you are already right and truly exhausted. Or you could be called upon to rescue a cat from a tree.

Anyway, that has been my take on it at least. Which is why, even when I stopped relying on the biggest cogs in my SRAMpagnolo drivetrain on a regular basis, I kept them. Just in case!

...Until one day, I lost use of them completely. I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but hey - I never did claim to be fastidious when it came to bike maintenance. But anyhow, at some point my chain started skipping whenever I would try to get in the big cogs. Adjusting the derailleur didn't fix it, and it was that particular flavour of skipping, where I could tell the cable needed to be replaced. But I procrastinated. And procrastinated. And in the meanwhile I simply didn't use those 3 biggest cogs that were problematic. And hey - it was winter, so I didn't go on any long or overly hilly rides anyway. I would get the drivetrain fixed before spring came.

But spring came, and I procrastinated still. I started doing longer rides, steeper climbs, all with the malfunctioning drivetrain. In short, 4 months went by while I rode without the use of my lowest gears. And I didn't miss them.

Looking at my drivetrain one day, I realised I was essentially lugging around three "vestigial" cogs. And an unnecessarily long-armed derailleur that was installed specifically to accommodate them, into the bargain. Now: If I had managed to make do without them for this long, while doing rides incorporating the steepest climbs around, exactly what was I saving them for?

I examined the SRAM cassette to remind myself what gearing I was in fact using. To my surprise, the biggest three cogs were 36t, 32t and 28t. Whoa. That meant the biggest functional cog in the cassette was a 25t. So really I was using a 7-speed 11-25t cassette to do all those  climbs, except with a lot of extra weight attached to it. I believe the technical term for that is: Jayzus!

So... I don't know. I am not going to go as far as switching to a racing cassette. And I still believe in stashing some "just in case" gears. But I think that the 12-29t cassette I had on my original all-Campagnolo drivetrain will be quite sufficient in that respect.

As mentioned in the previous post, I am dismantling my roadbike to have the frame painted. And when I get the frame back, I am going to re-assemble it slightly differently. Namely, the bladed-spoke wheels (which I have already given away) will be replaced with something more crosswind-friendly. And while I'm at it, I also think I will go back to my original all-Campy (sorry: "Campag") drivetrain, with a standard "rear mech" and "sprockets," if you know what I mean. It's a little sad to have finally achieved a perfectly functional hybrid sub-1:1 drivetrain, only to get rid of it 3 years later. But hey: Use it or lose it. It's evolution, baby. (Now: if anyone local needs an X9 derailleur and a 11-36t cassette, give me a shout.)

Do you ever discover "vestigial" parts on your bicycle? I am curious what they are, and what you do about it!


[syndicated profile] yarn_harlot_feed

Posted by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

That was my favourite comment out of all that you left on my last post, and trust me, I loved and read them all. Yes. Man, have you been reading this blog for a long time.  The first time I mentioned wee Meg (properly) was Jan 27th, 2004.  She was 12. The second was May 4th, in a post entirely devoted to her. (In the name of soft warm merino, click on that link.)  That little bundle of knitting energy, of cleverness of… Megan, that teeny girl wed on Monday, and she was not a child.  I had been worried that she would be. That she would still seem too small to me. Too… young. I worried that I wouldn’t be able to see past being the mother of that girl to see the woman she’s so properly become.

Bad news.

I was able to do this, but only on her wedding day, in horrific waves of emotion – which means that for a McPhee woman, I was completely out of control. I was not too bad the evening before.  We went out for a “last supper” just our little family, and her betrothed was noticeably and deliberately absent. We went to a stupid local restaurant we’ve been too a hundred times exactly because of that. We went there, and we ate what we always did, and laughed about what we always do, and then we went home and had champagne in the backyard, and I was fragile, but okay.  I went to bed, and the sisters stayed up and drank bubbly in the backyard and were sweet to each other and I don’t know what they said, and I don’t care.  I fell asleep to their laughter, trickling in my window like bells.

The next morning, it was over. I woke up early and came downstairs and drank coffee, and wrote a post to you, and waited for the girls to wake up, and then they did, and the morning was… perfect.  There was nail polish crisis* and then I tried to make Meg’s bouquet and there wasn’t enough greens and Amanda drove me to get more and… even that was perfect.  We cooked the food for the reception, we tied the bouquet with ribbon. We chimed in on which tie Ken should wear. What lipsticks for the sisters… Right before we left, Megan sat herself down, took a few minutes, and embroidered her wedding date on the hem of the underskirt of her dress.  In blue.

sewing 2016-06-23

I don’t know what it was about that.  It was, so much a lesson of her youth. A lesson about handwork and the value of it and what it means to wield a needle and my wee girl thought that up herself, and sat there in the sunshine, needle in hand, and it felt like something I gave her, but maybe it wasn’t.

shoesjoe 2016-06-23

That morning was a poem. It was everything this family was good at… and then we got in the car and went to my mum’s and kept on rolling. My sister was there and my Mum and my aunt and Joe shined his shoes and everyone got their hair done (even me which is why I look weird but good in all the pictures) and we were tight. We were generous with each other. I love us best when we are like this.  All of us. Our family works beautifully when we are all present.

When we were all ready, I was going to go, to get in a cab and take Joe and Ken and go to the restaurant (did I mention Meg was married in the restaurant my sister owns? Perfect.) and I had a bag and a camera and a thousand details, and then Meg asked me if I would come up, and put her in her dress.  Blog, I swear everything was fine until then. At the risk of being overly intimate, I went upstairs, and my sweet daughter stepped out of her jeans and her tee shirt, and she stood there, naked and perfect, and moved from one space to the other, and I held her wedding dress out, and she stepped into it. I don’t mind telling you, as she stepped in, and I held it up, and it slipped up over her hips and into her form, and as I slid the zipper up over herself… it ended.  I wept. I took the shawl I had made her and placed it round her shoulders, and I kissed her, and fled cowardly to the kitchen.

shawl2 2016-06-23

hem 2016-06-23

Her sisters came up then, and were with her. Joe and Ken and I a lift with Pato, and we went to welcome guests.  We waited there, me being the only one who had seen her, and the text came, saying she was in the cab, on her way. Her bridegroom stood (I told him she was coming) and then I moved to the back, to take her in though the back door.  As I waited, a storm of feelings, my brother stepped up next to me and asked if he could come with. “Oh Please” I said, and we met our girl.

bridebywindow 2016-06-23

From there, it is a train wreck.  From there, I wept every minute.  She was, Blog… so beautiful.  She was perfect.  I mean that. She was generous. She was kind. She gave her day to so many people, and I have never been prouder, and I don’t even know why because I think that marriage is optional.

She walked down the aisle with Joe and Ken, and she moved from their arms to his… and somehow, we let go.** Off she drifted. Off she decided. And I wept, just because she was not my baby anymore.

megandalex 2016-06-23

I’d promised Meg that we would make every minute of her wedding special, and we did. The flowers were done by my mum.  Her bouquet was by me. Her venue was my sister (as was hair) Her cake was made by a childhood friend and knitter (Hey Katie it was so beautiful!) We cooked the food ourselves and Blog – you were there. Presbytera, Our Lady of the Comments – sent the most beautiful package of Greek pastries.  (Think about that. she baked them, then mailed them… all so we could have a Canadian version of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Meg was so touched, and they were devoured.  (Note to Presbytera: I love you. You’re one of the best things to ever come out of this blog, also Rams.)

The evening went on, and yeah. You’ve already asked, there was a song.  I won’t post the video, I think Joe and Ken would kill me. We practiced and practiced, and everything was beautiful, and Meg loved it. (We are a musical family, and there’s no getting around that. Joe played the guitar, Ken played the drum, Amanda sang and played the violin, Sam was our ringer, playing the ukulele and lead voice, and Pato and I sang too.  (I sing once a decade. Usually at family stuff I knit.)

songpic 2016-06-23

She wed. We welcomed the lad and lo, he is ours.  I cried, somewhat helplessly, throughout my whole toast.  I kept trying to reign it in, but she is mine and I love her, and I didn’t know how to let go of that whole thing.

cake 2016-06-23

My daughter is a married lady.  I am still… overwhelmed by that. I think the thing that is the finish of me is that I cannot make her a baby in my mind any longer.  Sam – Sam still curls into my bed from time to time.  Amanda seeks advice, and is going to school. (Clever, clever girl.) Megan is married, with an unpredictably weeping mother by her side.***

parents 2016-06-23

Oh Meg.

That will be all.

*The nail polish crisis was me. The ladies put it on me, because of some ridiculous Mother of the Bride rule that I think they made up. it was pink.  I wore it until today, when a nice person at a Bike Rally meeting had nail polish remover, and I got it off me.

** This is not even remotely true. I told her husband during my speech that we would not surrender this girl, that at the best, he could share.

*** Joe and Ken you were very strong. My sister and brother cried though.

**** (There is no **** in the post but I wanted to add something) Joe asked the DJ to play “our song” after Megan’s choice at the wedding.  I was incredibly touched by his romanticism… Except for when I had to remind him it was our song, and dance with me. We are old. Our daughter is married.

***** Any rumour suggesting that Joel Plaskett attended Meg’s wedding and sang to her and Alex is totally true.  Also? Alex? Welcome to A REALLY COOL FAMILY. We’re loud and weird, but as long as you’re this good to our Meg, we’re on your side.

[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by David S. Meyer PhD

Democratic members of the US House of Representatives sat in on the floor of the House, demanding recorded votes on gun control measures. Rep. John Lewis (Georgia) made the speech that launched the effort, and was framed at the center of most of the photos; after all, he has an unrivaled record for participating in such efforts that dates back to the sit-in movement of 1960.

Click image to watch the video:

4

They’re grandstanding, hoping to the play to the crowd by violating the norms and rules of the House where, under normal circumstances, a member of the minority party can’t do much on matters of policy. Appealing to the public is their best shot to get a vote, but it’s not a very good one; and it’s extremely unlikely that anything gun control advocates in the House want could win majority support in that body. The members sat on the floor in the well of the House, likely the most comfortable surface Rep. Lewis has ever protested on, without much fear of arrest or violence. The presiding officer, always from the majority party, adjourned the session, turning off CSPAN’s cameras – seeking to deny Democrats the audience they seek. But the protesters are livestreaming on a variety of social media. It’s not quite so easy to control the flow of images and information anymore.

The Democratic revolt in the House is yet another response to the mass shooting in Orlando, which once again reminded Americans – and their representatives – that it’s very easy for dangerous people you don’t like to get powerful weapons. The sit-in is also an attempt to escalate the political conflict and make more of the generally fleeting moment of public attention that follows such a tragedy. We’ve all seen it many times before: a mass shooting captures public attention and sets the agenda, but only briefly, and a familiar political ritual plays out: Advocates of gun control hold vigils and make speeches; advocates of gun rights mostly stay silent on matters of policy, and offer thoughts and prayers for the victims and their families. And the moment passes.

In normal political life, when  everyone isn’t talking about guns all the time, the gun rights side of the debate enjoys a substantial advantage, particularly visible in the National Rifle Association, which deploys more money, more active membership, and calls upon more well-positioned allies than its opponents, who come and  go. Gun control advocates have been “outgunned, outmanned, outnumbered, outplanned” (to quote Hamilton).

Since the tragic massacre of school children in Newtown, Connecticut, gun control advocates have been building organizations and  an infrastructure for action. They have been better able to exploit the moment of a massacre, and less willing to allow their opponents to stall until concern passes.

Last week, Senator Chris Murphy, who previously represented Newtown in the House, staged a filibuster of sorts in the Senate, monopolizing the floor while standing, not sitting, and talking about the need for action. In the upper house, a Senator can hold the floor as long as he can stand and talk. Most Democrats, and a couple of Republicans, joined Senator Murphy for part of 15 hours, offering sympathetic questions and taking up some of the talking. The leadership agreed to hold votes on four gun control bills, and Murphy stopped talking. The next day, the Senate rejected all of them.

Movement on policy? Not so much, and not so fast, but all of this sets up further contest in the November elections.

Meanwhile, other advocates are prospecting another strategy that operates with different rules and on an alternative schedule. Parents of some of the massacred students at Sandy Hook Elementary School have filed a product liability suit against Remington Arms, the company the  manufactures and markets the AR-15 Bushmaster, the weapon used in the mass murder. (See Evan Osnos’s report at The New Yorker.) By pursuing their argument about deceptive marketing, they hope to publicize the workings of the arms industry, contributing to a political debate that’s only slowly emerging. America offers many outlets for people to try to organize for change, none of them very easy or fast.

Nothing gun control advocates have tried has affected national policy for more than twenty years. As public concern and political resources grow, however, they keep trying to innovate new approaches, hoping that something works before the next time.

David S. Meyer, PhD, is a professor of sociology and political science at the University of California, Irvine. He blogs at Politics Outdoors, where this post originally appeared, and where he offers comments on contemporary events informed by history and the study of social movements. 

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

[syndicated profile] lois_mcmaster_bujold_feed
We've finalized the e-cover for the new novella... not long now. (When it goes live, I'll post here again.)





And it's always a good idea to check how it's going to look in black and white, on some people's screens...




Ta, L.

(NOVELLA, NOVELLA, NOVELLA. 37,700 words. Just sayin'. Because a lot of people missed that , last outing, and artificially nonplussed themselves.)

posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on June, 25
[syndicated profile] muslimahmedia_feed

Posted by syahirah

In a way, it’s a Ramadan like countless others. I am spending most of it in my home country, Singapore, with average daylight times that, over thirty days, vary by only ten minutes. Breastfeeding my two-year-old son has dwindled to a handful of comfort-seeking times a day, so I am able to fast with a body that feels more or less normal again. I am now already used to waking up to eat a simple sahur for just two, a meal of eggs and oatmeal that is nothing like the more complicated meals at my parents’ house.

But I can’t seem to get a state of mind back; the one that wanted to go to terawih prayers at night, something that is now even easier because I live close to three different mosques and a partner who is always willing to care for our son while I go; the one who wanted and did not forget to pray five times a day.

I think that some of it came from living in an Islamophobic country where religion in general and Islam in particular was something shameful to wear. Even though I grew up feeling proud of my cultural and religious upbringing, living in the Netherlands for five years took its toll.

I feared outing myself as a Muslim by hanging a ‘Happy Ramadan’ sign on my window because maybe the people who smashed my Turkish grocer’s window would also come after my house. I hesitated over a cup of tea at my in-law’s house because she said that “fasting is dangerous”. I made and ate daylight dinners for my in-laws because we did not meet more often than once every few months.

It became easier to pretend I had no religion than to deal with the hate speeches disguised as objective truth, information from mainstream media, and watching looks of surprise, then caution wash over someone’s face.

Since moving back to Singapore, I’ve also been surprised to not be assumed to be a Muslim, despite the fact that almost all Malays are Muslims. When I’m out with my son, who is fairer than me, I’m often assumed to be his Indonesian or Filipina domestic worker. A few weeks ago, I spoke to an Indian-Muslim family, who mentioned Ramadan and I never let on that I was also going to fast. It was as if I didn’t even feel safe to be Muslim in the country I grew up and know by heart.

Maybe this Ramadan will change things. Maybe it might take another few years to rid myself of that fear. Whatever it brings, I’m still waiting with hope.

[syndicated profile] tnc_atlantic_feed

Posted by Ta-Nehisi Coates

One of the best parts of the old blogging system, here, was the ability to talk about what I was reading at the time. I think I’m going to try to bring some of that back.

I’ve read a lot over the past year or so (though less than previous years) and there’s a lot I want to talk about: Yaa Gyasi’s Homecoming (inspiring in its generational ambition), Laurent DuBois’s Avengers of the New World (history of the Haitian Revolution, an idea some 200 years ahead of its time), John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War (conservative and romantic in every way that I love), Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s Black Widow (so intense, and this story never lets you take a break—oddly reminiscent of Mad Max: Fury Road), William Doyle’s Oxford History of the French Revolution (great primer for anyone starting—as I was—with just the barest knowledge of the French Revolution.)

But those are things I’ve already read, or, in the case of Black Widow, ongoing things which I’m in the process of reading. Right now my eye is trained on a book that my historian friends have been demanding I read for the past few years—W.E.B. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction In America. I just started yesterday, and already I can see why the book has so many fans in the academy.

Over the past 40 years or so, there’s been a movement among some American historians to put white supremacy at the center of their field of study. Much of my own work, and my current understanding of American history, pulls from these historians—Edmund Morgan, Beryl Satter, Ed Baptist, Thomas Sugrue, Arnold Hirsch, Eric Foner, Barbara and Karen Fields.

Read On »

[syndicated profile] tanehisicoates_feed

Posted by Ta-Nehisi Coates

One of the best parts of the old blogging system, here, was the ability to talk about what I was reading at the time. I think I’m going to try to bring some of that back.

I’ve read a lot over the past year or so (though less than previous years) and there’s a lot I want to talk about: Yaa Gyasi’s Homecoming (inspiring in its generational ambition), Laurent DuBois’s Avengers of the New World (history of the Haitian Revolution, an idea some 200 years ahead of its time), John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War (conservative and romantic in every way that I love), Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s Black Widow (so intense, and this story never lets you take a break—oddly reminiscent of Mad Max: Fury Road), William Doyle’s Oxford History of the French Revolution (great primer for anyone starting—as I was—with just the barest knowledge of the French Revolution.)

But those are things I’ve already read, or, in the case of Black Widow, ongoing things which I’m in the process of reading. Right now my eye is trained on a book that my historian friends have been demanding I read for the past few years—W.E.B. Du Bois’s Black Reconstruction In America. I just started yesterday, and already I can see why the book has so many fans in the academy.

Over the past 40 years or so, there’s been a movement among some American historians to put white supremacy at the center of their field of study. Much of my own work, and my current understanding of American history, pulls from these historians—Edmund Morgan, Beryl Satter, Ed Baptist, Thomas Sugrue, Arnold Hirsch, Eric Foner, Barbara and Karen Fields.

Read On »

A Different Coming Out

Jun. 23rd, 2016 12:30 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

Sometimes there is a depth of sadness that comes with disability that is frighteningly deep. I felt it today coming home from meeting with and speaking to wonderful people up in Owen Sound. We were driving up Church Street and there's a place that I would desperately like to go. If you don't mind I'm not going to tell you where that is, it's kind of personal, and I'm not sure that, if you heard where it was you would understand why I felt like I did. Anyway, I glanced over and saw it.

I knew it was inaccessible. I realize it anew every time I go by. My first thought is always, "Oh, I'd like to go there." My second thought is, "Oh yeah, it's not accessible." People speak about accessibility and inaccessibility all the time, I have have done so myself many times here. But, I'm coming out. I'm going to state, categorically, that sometimes the experience of wanting to go somewhere and not being able to because it has one step, as in this case, or ten steps as in many other cases, is devastating emotionally. In short, it hurts. Really hurts.

Today I had the 'Oh, I ..' and the 'Oh, yeah ..' experience again and suddenly, felt like weeping, just letting go and crying. The sadness I felt at the simple fact that I can't go somewhere that I really want to go because ... and here's where this thinking is dangerous ... I have a disability.

I had to wrench myself away from that thinking. That's thinking that will lead, for me, to depression. I had to remind myself that the source of my sadness is the inaccessibility, the concrete barrier, the prejudice built into design, that I was faced with, not the wheelchair I sat in. The wheelchair that carried me up to Owen Sound, the wheelchair that made the lecture possible, the wheelchair that gave me the life I have.

But none of that matters.

What matters here and what I want to say, is that there is a deep sadness, a barbed sadness that hurts when you swallow it down, that comes from watching others step in to where you can never go.

I've pulled myself up from where that feeling left me, but my emotional muscles will be sore tomorrow.

Inaccessibility isn't just inconvenient, it hurts.

Really. Deeply. Hurts.

Journal 6-22-16

Jun. 23rd, 2016 03:00 am
[syndicated profile] ursulav_feed


Turns out the sort of regrettable people who scream about how white genocide is ongoing are also super sensitive about their kerning skills. Who knew?
[syndicated profile] lovelybike_feed

Posted by Velouria



As you can see, I have been taking this weight-savings thing quite seriously - to the point that I've now removed all but the most essential parts from my roadbike. Can't you tell that my new wheels are practically light as air?

Okay, I tell a lie. But I am in the process of stripping my bike. As I'll soon be sending the frameset off to get painted. Note that I write painted, not re-painted. My roadbike's titanium frame is nekked as the day it was born, which is the way I wanted it when I ordered my bike over 4 years ago. Or so I thought.

"I still don't get why you didn't get your own bike sprayed," says my husband as he catches me, staring at his sparkly, gorgeous, green and blue paintjob, with mouth slack and eyes full of longing. Again.

"Oh, you know. It was unnecessary. My bike is titanium. They don't need paint, that's the whole point."

He is silent, but in a searching-for-the-right-words-while-suppressing-a-laugh sort of way. I can tell what he's thinking: "Since when has something being 'unnecessary' stopped you?!" Instead, he says diplomatically, "Oh come on. Get the thing painted. You like pretty bikes, it's okay!"

Urban Cycle Path Seven

I do like pretty bikes; that much is obvious enough!  And people who know me find it a little strange that the one I ride most is not my idea of "pretty." Don't get me wrong: I admire the workmanship. And I appreciate the aesthetic. But that ain't the same thing as actually finding it beautiful. It's not gushy-squealy love.

But in a way, I think that gushy-squealy love was a thing I tried to avoid with my roadbike. Being enamoured of a bicycle's aesthetics had let me down in the past; it had proved counterproductive to finding something with the ride quality, performance, and degree of comfort that actually suited me. Thanks to a month-long rental in 2011, I already knew that a Seven would have the magic mix of those ingredients. And as I rode the bare, industrial-looking demo-bike in awe of its speed and comfort, an association between its look and feel formed and perhaps created a false dichotomy: "aesthetics vs function." So, when it came time to spec my own bike, following a twisted sort of logic, I worried perhaps that making it pretty would jinx the ride experience. Safer to keep it plain!


There are benefits to not being obsessed with a bicycle's looks. When I think of my roadbike, I do not picture the machine itself. It is as if the bike is invisible. What I picture are scenes like the one above. I picture the beautiful places it has taken me to, the magical experiences it has given me.

There are other things I've enjoyed about the plain and minimal matte-gray frame. For example, the fact that it matches everything. I could get any colour bartape I wanted, and it would look fantastic. The purple I chose (and have kept the entire time) was a wild infusion of colour that looked unexpected and chic, like a pair of brightly coloured shoes with an impeccable all-gray ensemble.

But am I an impeccable gray ensemble kind of girl? Not really. I am Edwardian florals. Paisley. Filigree. Clashing Donegal tweeds. All of it crumpled and wrinkled and worn till it's threadbare, of course.

There are cyclists I know - vintage enthusiasts, mainly, but also admirers of modern handmade bikes - who make a sharp distinction between the bicycles they love and the bicycles they ride in an everyday context. The latter is usually a machine toward which they feel no attachment and no affection. Similarly, among fountain pen enthusiasts there is a concept of "user pens" - that is, those pens deemed unremarkable enough for daily writing. I do not want to head in that direction. I want to use what I love, and to love what I use.


In our four and a half years together, my roadbike has given me some 20,000 miles of joy, comfort and general cycling pleasure. The fact that I did not fawn over its looks took my focus away from the bicycle as an object and directed it more keenly toward the cycling experience itself. At the time when I got the bike, I believe that I needed that. Now? I'd like to think that I am less confused about what I want. And more capable of a balanced approach.

In short, I'd like for my roadbike to be pretty and I am going to have it painted. Nothing crazy. Nothing overly fancy. No trendy themes that might make me cringe a few years down the road. But it'll be one of my favourite colours. It will have that candy-wrapper sheen that I love. And the rear triangle will be left bare titanium, because the way Seven's signature curved stays and the dropouts are done is my favourite part of the frame construction; I enjoy remembering watching them being welded.

Will the bicycle be any better once it is painted? Not at all (and just think of the extra weight!). But that really isn't the point. The relationship between use and admiration is an interesting one. And an ongoing one. And one that we must each figure out for ourselves. Me? I am still in the process. And I am enjoying the current stage of it very much.


[syndicated profile] slacktivist_feed

Posted by Fred Clark

"Ralph Reed worked for team Abramoff by mobilizing Christians opposed to gambling to shutter casinos. The only hitch: Reed was usually paid by other casinos who had a financial interest in eliminating their competitors. ... He was engaged in a kind of spiritual fraud: telling his supporters that he was opposed to gambling when, in fact, gambling was making him rich."

Blue ruin in Chinuk Wawa

Jun. 22nd, 2016 06:33 pm
[syndicated profile] chinookjargon_feed

Posted by chinookjargon

blue ruin pdx-1844-first-house-420

House of the “blue ruin”, a status-enhancing custom of the White

 

Another Chinuk Wawa song!

A new word!

And shoddy anthropology!

It’s easy to gin up a short article today, with material like this footnote from Hubert Howe Bancroft:

The missionaries, the women of Oregon city, and friends of temperance generally, were still laboring to effect prohibition of the traffic in spirituous liquors. The legislature of 1847 passed an amendment to the organic law, enacting that the word ‘prohibit’ should be inserted in the place of ‘regulate’ in the 6th section, which read that the legislature should have power to ‘regulate the introduction, manufacture, and sale of ardent spirits.’ Or. Laws, 1843-9, 44. No change could be made in the organic law without submitting it to the vote of the people at the ensuing election, which being done, a majority were for prohibition. Grover’s Or. Archives, 273-4. When the matter again came before the colonial legislature at its last session, that part of the governor’s message referring to prohibition was laid on the table, on motion of Jesse Applegate. A bill to amend the organic laws, as above provided, was subsequently introduced by Samuel R. Thurston, but was rejected by vote, on motion of Applegate, Id., 293. Applegate’s independent spirit revolted at prohibition, besides which he took a personal gratification from securing the rejection of a measure emanating from a missionary source. Surely all good people would be naturally averse to hearing an uncultivated savage who was full of bad whiskey, singing in Chinook:

     ‘Nah! six, potlach blue lu (blue ruin),
     Nika ticka, blue lu,
     Hiyu blue lu,
     Hyas olo,
     Potlach blue lu.

Which freely translated would run:

     ‘Hallo! friend, give me some whiskey;
     I want whiskey, plenty of whiskey;
     Very thirsty; give me some whiskey.’

Moss’ Pioneer Times, MS., 56-7.

— “History of the Pacific States of North America“, volume XXV: Oregon, volume II: 1848-1888.  San Francisco: The History Company, 1888.

Bonus!  You get a new Jargon word, blue lu, which is from slang in English: “blue ruin” meaning “gin”.  

This Moss person seems to be Sydney Walter Moss, an early pioneer of Oregon who ran a saloon and/or a store and wrote the first published work of fiction in the Territory.  (Amusingly there is a SW Moss street in modern-day Portland.)  There are quite a few references to him in Bancroft’s volume.

The manuscript “Pictures of Pioneer Times at Oregon City” (1878) must’ve been acquired by Mr. Bancroft (confirmation here), because it now lives at UC Berkeley Libraries.  I still need to make a research trip there, and visit Jim Holton’s vineyard to say potlach pil wine :)

Great stuff.

But.

A parting admonition: a recent book “The Dry Years: Prohibition and Social Change in Washington” repeats on page 18 the above song with contextualizing comments that seem to purposely miss their mark by a mile.  Instead of availing himself of Bancroft’s and Moss’s perfectly accurate translation, which he consigns to an endnote, author Norman H. Clark insists on that most amateurish of scholarly approaches that has victimized our poor Chinook Jargon for the longest time: he “translates” by elaborately speculating on the meanings and associations of individual, decontextualized words of the song.  Because you know, you can do that with primitive languages, eh?

This results in his claiming that this “blue lu” came from illegal stills (despite having established in his previous paragraph that Moss was a licensed seller who was supplied by licensed distillers).  Appealing to Edwin M. Lemert as an authority (“Alcohol and the Northwest Coast Indians“, 1954, given a lukewarm review by Helen Codere), Clark also invents the fantasy that “potlach” here is “the whiskey feast…through which a host might confer upon himself a high degree of prestige.”

Come again?!  I try to speak well of everyone, but I have to resist a historian stepping outside of his expertise and passing his anthropological-linguistic imaginings as citable fact.

It’s another of the endless examples where hiring a linguist would have provided solid and reliable scholarly results.  What a shame.  Read with caution.

(Clark isn’t the only one to fall for the “whiskey feast” claim; it’s sagely referred to with the [wholly invented, add an asterisk] Chinuk Wawa phrase “whiskey potlatch” on page 108 of 1975’s “The Indian in America” by Wilcomb E. Washburn.  Argh.  Citing previous scholars without evaluating their ideas is another status-enhancing custom of the White.)


[syndicated profile] sociological_images_feed

Posted by Lisa Wade, PhD

“It was ‘Latino night’ at a gay club,” Salvador Vidal-Ortiz wrote. As a sociologist who identifies as a queer Latino man, the intersection of race, gender, and sexual orientation itself was the central story of the Orlando massacre, even as liberal media pundits seemed to fixate on sexual orientation and conservative ones on the identity of the shooter.

In fact, research suggests that racial minorities are far more likely to be victims of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes than whites.

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Program collected data on hate crimes against LGBTQ and HIV-affected people (and those perceived to be so). The 1,253 incidents were self-reports collected by local chapters in 12 states. The data isn’t national or representative, so their results should be considered tentative and exploratory and, for what it’s worth, it’s difficult to get good data on hate crimes, so there isn’t a perfect data set out there.

Still, if their data is anywhere close to accurate, the findings suggest that race and citizenship status are central to even an elementary understanding of hate crimes against (perceived) sexual minorities.

While only 38% of the US population identify as people of color (non-white and/or “Hispanic”), the NCAVP study found that 60% of survivors of anti-LGBTQ and anti-HIV hate crimes identified as such. And, while only about 3.5% of the US population is unauthorized, in the country without the required documentation, 17% of survivors reported being undocumented.

The NCAVP allowed the 752 survivors of color to choose more than one race for a total of 931 racial categories. The chart below features the responses (excluding white when white was mentioned alongside a non-white racial category). Latino/a was the racial identity most frequently reported, followed by Black or African American. These two groups made up the vast majority of victims.

4

Black and Latino/a Americans are the largest racial minorities in the US (at 13% and 17% respectively), which may account for much of the disparity among non-white victims, but probably not all. It’s hard to parse the disproportionality because survivors could choose more than one race. The under-representation of Asians is likely real because being able to choose multiple races would err on the side of over-representation. The federal government considers people who are Arab or Middle Eastern to be White, but that doesn’t throw off the numbers that much.

These statistics, as I said, are likely quantitatively imperfect, but they are likely not qualitatively wrong. Thanks to some combination of discrimination and structural vulnerability, people of color are more likely to be victims of anti-LGBTQ and HIV-status violence. “It was ‘Latino night’ at a gay club.” It matters.

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

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

a nice mention

Jun. 22nd, 2016 08:06 am
[syndicated profile] lois_mcmaster_bujold_feed
May be found here:

https://www.amazon.com/b/ref=s9_acss_...

20th in a list of 20 is a lot better than being 21st in a list of 20... I wonder how many F&SF books total have been published in 2016 so far?

Ta, L.

posted by Lois McMaster Bujold on June, 25

"I really don't mind," she said.

Jun. 22nd, 2016 12:30 am
[syndicated profile] rollingaroundinmyhed_feed

Posted by Dave Hingsburger

We were in a real hurry, Joe had picked me up from work, rushed me home, and because we were so pressed for time, we changed our routine. Normally, Joe comes in with me, helps me into the apartment and then goes and parks the car. I am so much stronger now because of the weight lifting that I thought we could try something different. I asked Joe to help me into the building, we don't have disabled access doors, and then I'd get to the apartment, and in, myself. He agreed.

Once in, I pushed the button for the elevator and was alone when one came. With Joe there I back in, I realized I couldn't do that alone because the door would close before I got in. No one else was there to let on first so I began to roll in, I got in, turned so I could push the button, and was surprised that the door wasn't closing. I thought maybe I hadn't pulled in enough. I turned to look and a woman was holding the door open. I saw her and she said, I swear I don't make this shit up, "That's OK, I'll take the next elevator."

Now, the way I was in did preclude her getting on, but, what?

I said, "Thanks."

She said, I swear, "I really don't mind waiting for the next elevator." Her hand was firmly planted such that it blocked the door from closing.

I said, "Thanks."

She said, I really do swear, "It's really OK for you to go by yourself, I can take the next one."

Her hand didn't move and the elevator was now protesting the blockage and beeping.

I said, "Thanks, could you let the door go now please?"

She said, do I have to swear again, "I'll just wait here in the lobby and take the next one, you go on up yourself."

I'm now frustrated. I want to get up, because I've got to get in, eat a really quick lunch and head out for a meeting downtown. I said, "Let. The. Door. Go."

She said, even to my incredulity, with the elevator beeping loudly, "You go ahead then, I'll wait for the next one."

I sat there. I didn't look at her. I didn't engage with her. I just let the elevator say in it's own dialect, 'get your hand of my freaking door.'

That worked.

She let go.

And presumably, though I'm guessing here, waited for the next one.

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