Reading; Life

2017-02-25 10:18 pm
villeinage: (Default)
[personal profile] villeinage
I just finished my second read-through of Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go.It's a wonderful book, and in the light of current political events, breaks my heart.

I went back and read the reviews it got when it was first published. So many were superior and casually dismissive. We could afford to be dismissive of dystopias, back then.

At any rate, it's a book that should be read, loved and wept over.
[syndicated profile] digbysblog_feed

Posted by digby

Saturday Night at the Movies

Pre-Oscar marathon: Top 10 Movies about the movies


By Dennis Hartley

















I felt it apropos on this Oscar Eve to honor Hollywood's annual declaration of its deep and abiding love for itself with my picks for the top 10 movies that are all about...the movies. As usual, in alphabetical order:

Cinema Paradiso - Writer-director Giuseppe Tornatore’s 1988 love letter to the cinema may be too sappy for some, but for those of us who (to quote Pauline Kael) “lost it at the movies” it’s chicken soup for the soul. A film director (Jacques Perrin) returns to his home town in Sicily for a funeral, triggering flashbacks from his youth. He reassesses the relationships with two key people in his life: his first love, and the person who instilled his life-long love of the movies. Beautifully acted and directed; keep the Kleenex handy!

Day for Night- The late French film scholar and director Francois Truffaut was, first and foremost, a movie fan. And while one could argue that many of his own movies are rife with homage to the filmmakers who inspired him, this 1973 entry is his most unabashed and heartfelt declaration of love for the medium (as well as his most-imitated work). Truffaut casts himself as (wait for it) a director who is in the midst of a production with an international cast called Meet Pamela. His “Pamela” is a beautiful but unstable young British actress (Jacqueline Bisset) who is gingerly stepping back into the spotlight after recovering from a highly publicized nervous breakdown. His petulant, emotionally immature leading man (Jean-Pierre Leaud) is a fool for love, which constantly distracts him from his work. He also has to coddle an aging Italian movie queen (Valentia Cortese) who is showing up on set three sheets to the wind and flubbing her scenes. Truffaut cleverly mirrors the backstage travails of his cast and crew with those of the characters in the “film-within-the-film”. Somehow, it all manages to fall together…but getting there is half the fun. Truffaut gives us a genuine sense of what a director “does” (in case you were wondering) and how a good one can coax magic from seemingly inextricable chaos.

Ed Wood - Director Tim Burton and his favorite leading man Johnny Depp have worked together on so many films over the last 20-odd years that they must be joined at the hip. For my money, this affectionate 1994 biopic about the man who directed “the worst film of all time” remains their best collaboration. It’s also unique in Burton’s canon in that it is somewhat grounded in reality (while I wish his legion of fiercely loyal fans all the best, Burton’s predilection for the overly-precious phantasmagoric and quirkily macabre is an acquired taste that I’ve personally failed to acquire). Depp gives a brilliant performance as Edward D. Wood, Jr., who unleashed the infamously inept yet 100% certified camp classic, Plan 9 From Outer Space on an unsuspecting movie-going public back in the late 1950s. While there are lots of belly laughs, none of them are at the expense of the off-beat characters. There’s no mean-spiritedness here; that’s what makes the film so endearing. Martin Landau nearly steals the film with his droll Oscar-winning turn as Bela Lugosi. Bill Murray, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette and Jeffrey Jones also shine.
8 1/2 - Where does creative inspiration come from? It’s a simple question, but one of the most difficult to answer. Federico Fellini’s semi-autobiographical 1963 classic probably comes closest to “showing” us…in his inimitable fashion. Marcello Mastroianni is fabulous as a successful director who wrestles with a creative block whilst being hounded by the press and various hangers-on. Like many Fellini films (all Fellini films?), the deeper you go, the less you comprehend. Yet (almost perversely), you can’t take your eyes off the screen; with Fellini, there is an implied contract between the director and the viewer that, no matter what ensues, if you’ve bought the ticket, you have to take the ride.

Hearts Of The West - Jeff Bridges stars as a Depression-era Iowan rube, a wannabe pulp western writer with the unlikely name of Lewis Tater (the scene where he asks the barber to cut his hair to make him look “just like Zane Grey” is priceless.) Tater gets fleeced by a mail-order scam promising enrollment in what turns out to be a bogus university “out West”. Serendipity lands him a job as a stuntman in Hollywood. The film also features one of Andy Griffith’s best performances. Veteran scene-stealer Alan Arkin is a riot as a perpetually apoplectic director. The breezy direction by Howard Zeiff (Private Benjamin), witty script by Rob Thompson and a great cast help make this one a winner.

The Kid Stays in the Picture- Look in the dictionary under "raconteur" and you will likely see a picture of the subject of this winning 2002 documentary by co-directors Nanette Burstein and Brett Morgen. While it is basically a 90-minute monolog from legendary producer Robert Evans (The Godfather, Rosemary's Baby, Love Story , Chinatown , etc.) talking about his life, loves and career, it adds up to a surprisingly intimate and fascinating "insider" purview of the Hollywood machine. Evans spins quite the tale of a powerful mogul's rise and fall; by turns heartbreaking and hilarious. He's so charming and entertaining that you won’t stop to ponder whether he's making half this shit up. Visually inventive, thoroughly engaging, and required viewing for movie buffs.

Living in Oblivion- This criminally underappreciated 1995 sleeper from writer-director Tom DiCillo deserves a wider audience. Sort of the Day for Night of indie cinema, the film centers on a NYC-based filmmaker (a wonderful Steve Buscemi) helming a no-budget feature. Much to his escalating chagrin, the harried director seems to be stuck in a hellish loop chasing an ever-elusive “perfect take” for a couple of crucial scenes. DiCillo uses a clever construct that really keeps you on your toes (that’s all I’m prepared to say…no spoilers). DiCillo’s smart screenplay is full of quotable lines, and quite funny. Fabulous performances from a cast that reads like a “Who’s Who” of indie filmdom: Catherine Keener, Dermot Mulroney, Kevin Corrigan, James Le Gros and Peter Dinklage (in his first billed film role!). Dinklage delivers a hilarious rant about the stereotypical casting of dwarves in dream sequences. It has been rumored that Le Gros’ character (an arrogant Hollywood hotshot who has deigned to grace the low-budget production with his presence) was based on the director’s experience working with Brad Pitt (who starred in DeCillo’s 1991 debut feature, Johnny Suede). If that is really true, all I can say is…ouch!

The Story of Film: An Odyssey is one long-ass movie. Consider the title. It literally is the story of film, from the 1890s through last Tuesday. At 15 hours, it is nearly as epic an undertaking for the viewer as it must have been for director-writer-narrator Mark Cousins. Originally aired as a 15-part TV series in the UK, it made the rounds on the festival circuit as a five-part presentation. While the usual suspects are well-represented, Cousins’ choices for in-depth analysis are atypical (he has a predilection for African and Middle-Eastern cinema). That quirkiness is what I found most endearing about this idiosyncratic opus; world cinema enjoys equal time with Hollywood. The film is not without tics. Cousins’ oddly cadenced Irish brogue requires steely acclimation, and he has a tendency to over-use the word “masterpiece”. Of course, he “left out” many directors and films I would have included. Nits aside, this is obviously a labor of love by someone passionate about film, and if you claim to be, you have an obligation to see this.

The Stunt Man - “How tall was King Kong?” That’s the $64,000 question, posed by Eli Cross (Peter O’Toole), the larger-than-life director of the film-within-the-film in Richard Rush’s 1980 drama. Once you discover that King Kong was but “3 foot, six inches tall”, it becomes clear that the fictional director’s query is actually code for a much bigger question: “What is reality?” That is the question to ponder as you take this wild ride through the Dream Factory. Because from the moment our protagonist, a fugitive on the run from the cops (Steve Railsback) tumbles ass over teakettle onto Mr. Cross’s set, where he is in the midst of filming an art-house flavored WW I action adventure, his (and the audience’s) concept of what is real and what isn’t becomes hazy, to say the least. O’Toole chews major scenery, ably supported by a cast that includes Barbara Hershey and Allen Garfield. Despite the lukewarm reviews from critics upon original release, it has since gained status as a cult classic. This is a movie for people who love the movies.

Sunset Boulevard- Leave it to that great ironist Billy Wilder to direct a film that garnered a Best Picture nomination from the very Hollywood studio system it so mercilessly skewers (however, you’ll note that they didn’t let him win…did they?). Gloria Swanson’s turn as a fading, high-maintenance movie queen mesmerizes, William Holden embodies the quintessential noir sap, and veteran scene-stealer Erich von Stroheim redefines the meaning of “droll” in this tragicomic journey down the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
loligo: a green apple (apple)
[personal profile] loligo
I've tried different brands and different flavors, and it is just. not. right.

I try to tell myself not to compare it directly to pork sausage, and just consider it as its own food. Like turkey bacon -- you'd never confuse it for pork bacon, but it has its own charms, and I enjoy eating it.

But chicken sausage always seems to have this weird spongey texture that I just can't deal with. Chicken and turkey sausage both seem to work best when they're made in small links so that you get the maximum amount of crispy brown outside and the minimum of weird spongey inside.

I've had turkey sausage in restaurants before that was really quite good, but once I discovered that they're often made with beef casings or other beef additives, I had to give up on that. So I only buy it in grocery stores where I can inspect the ingredient list, and the beef-free ones just are not as nice.

In the year before my allergy was diagnosed, I discovered two local pork producers at our farmer's market who make *amazing* sausage, and now I just grumble every time I walk past. At my last allergist check-up in October, my antibodies were down to 1.39, so things are still trending in the right direction -- but at a party this fall, I met another alpha-gal sufferer who is having painful, dramatic reactions at 0.8. So I'm really trying not to get my hopes up for pork (or beef, or cheese, or any fucking thing with milk in it) being back on the menu anytime soon.

This grumbling brought to you by the disappointing chicken andouille in my gumbo tonight...

On the buying of comic books

2017-02-25 09:58 pm
sineala: (Avengers: Tony Fucking Stark)
[personal profile] sineala
So I am researching canon for the Cap-IM RBB I am writing, which as it turns out is going to be set in that slim period of time after Molecule Man (so Steve now knows who Tony is), after the second drinking arc in Iron Man, but before Armor Wars (the first time Steve and Tony really fight). For added fun, I'm going to try to keep the time period so it's actually 1986, although there might not be room for a lot of pop culture references. Mostly it's also way easier to strand people in the days before cell phones.

This means it is my excuse to buy me some graphic novels with this Amazon gift card. Yay. Merry belated Christmas to me.

Things I have learned over the last few years about how to buy Marvel comic books in paper (you know, as graphic novels), which I will now impart to you:

Cut to spare people who don't care... )

This has been your fandom grumbling for the evening.
musesfool: text icon: somewhere in this building is our talent (somewhere in this building is our talent)
[personal profile] musesfool
dear self,

you are writing self-indulgent, id-tastic, likely OOC AU porn. There is no reason to stop every five minutes to look up canon details.

no love,

me

*
momijizukamori: Green icon with white text - 'I do believe in phosphorylation! I do!' with a string of DNA basepairs on the bottom (Default)
[personal profile] momijizukamori
Last-minute #ouji coord for lunch at Max Brenner - I went straight for dessert, haha. Blouse is #littledipper, cost is #atelierboz and everything else is off-brand.

Skate comp and costumes

2017-02-26 10:05 am
fred_mouse: ceramic mouse-on-mushroom, viewed from behind (Default)
[personal profile] fred_mouse
Tonight is the first of the year's skate competitions for middlest and youngest (this particular competition used to be run in December, so it kind of feels like the last of last year's). So today, I'm assembling costumes. My soft deadline is to be at the rink at 6:30pm, which is when the first competitor skates; my hard deadline is that my kids are on the ice at 8:30pm. I'm not particularly stressed about this, because while I haven't done any assembly work for these costumes, we've done a significant amount of planning, and mostly it is based on items already in our possession.

So, we start with white leotards, which have been washed, bleached, and washed again. These are paired with black skate pants, which we coincidentally have a matched set of, being middlest's current pair, and middlest's outgrown pair. Because of the way that trousers fit these two differently, middlest's are relatively high waisted, while youngest's are down on their hips--but for both of them the length is about right. 

To the leotards we are adding long black sleeves and silhouettes of black chess knights, front and back. This is because they have picked a team name of 'The Black Knights' (they are skating shadows, because this is the only comp where they can skate together, and I really want to watch them skate together at least once before one/both of them quit). 

10:10am -- all the pieces have been cut. I have four sleeves, four knights (two facing left, two facing right) and four bases (simple rectangles). I've found the appliqué adhesive, and I know roughly where all the bits for the sewing machine are. Priority at this point is putting the horses heads on, which means that the next task is to spray with the appliqué adhesive, and then wait. 

10:45 am -- first horse head sewn on. Very slow sewing is stressful, am having short lie down before doing the next one. 

11:30am - 3 heads. Only now remembering to drink the tea from the last break.

Links + Action

2017-02-25 08:56 pm
lynnenne: (politics: there are no words)
[personal profile] lynnenne posting in [community profile] thisfinecrew

Feb. 14: The New York Times reports that Trump's team had continuous contact with Russian operatives during his campaign.

Feb. 22: The Minority President calls media the enemy. The intelligence officer who led the raid against Osama Bin Laden calls Trump's attacks on the press "the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime."

Feb. 23: CNN reports that the White House called senior FBI officials and asked them to deny the Russia story - interfering with the FBI's investigation.

Feb. 24:  White House press minion Sean Spicer bans NY Times, CNN and others from a media briefing.

Feb. 25: I make a "tribute donation" to the Center for Public Integrity (which funds investigative journalism) in the name of Sean Spicer, "Just because I care".






Little men in uniforms

2017-02-25 05:00 pm
[syndicated profile] digbysblog_feed

Posted by digby

Little men in uniforms

by digby


































Remember when Trump said he was going to be the "law and order"president? Well, he's making good on that promise:
The White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, said on Tuesday that the president wanted to “take the shackles off” of agents, an expression the officers themselves used time and again in interviews to describe their newfound freedom.

“Morale amongst our agents and officers has increased exponentially since the signing of the orders,” the unions representing ICE and Border Patrol agents said in a joint statement after President Trump issued the executive orders on immigration late last month.

Two memos released this past week by the Department of Homeland Security, the parent agency of ICE and the Border Patrol, provided more details about how it would carry out its plan, which includes Mr. Trump’s signature campaign pledge — a wall along the entire southern border — as well as speedier deportations and greater reliance on local police officers.

But for those with ICE badges, perhaps the biggest change was the erasing of the Obama administration’s hierarchy of priorities, which forced agents to concentrate on deporting gang members and other violent and serious criminals, and mostly leave everyone else alone.

A whirlwind of activity has overtaken ICE headquarters in Washington in recent weeks, with employees attending back-to-back meetings about how to quickly carry out President Trump’s plans. “Some people are like: ‘This is great. Let’s give them all the tools they need,’” said a senior staff member at headquarters, who joined the department under the administration of George W. Bush.

But, the official added, “other people are a little bit more hesitant and fearful about how quickly things are moving.”

Two officials in Washington said that the shift — and the new enthusiasm that has come with it — seems to have encouraged pro-Trump political comments and banter that struck the officials as brazen or gung-ho, like remarks about their jobs becoming “fun.” Those who take less of a hard line on unauthorized immigrants feel silenced, the officials said.

ICE has more than 20,000 employees, spread across 400 offices in the United States and 46 foreign countries, and the Trump administration has called for the hiring of 10,000 more. ICE officers see themselves as protecting the country and enforcing its laws, but also, several agents said, defending the legal immigration system, with its yearslong waits to enter the country, from people who skip the line.

John F. Kelly, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said in a statement after the first large-scale roundups of the Trump administration: “President Trump has been clear in affirming the critical mission of D.H.S. in protecting the nation.”

“There is no greater calling than to serve and protect our nation,” he added, “a mission that the men and women of ICE perform with professionalism and courage every single day.”

Agents are, in fact, predominantly male and have often served in the military, with a police department or both. New agents take a five-week Spanish language program as well as firearms training; they also learn driving maneuvers and have to pass seven written examinations and a physical-fitness test that includes an obstacle course.

The element of surprise is central to their work, and the sight of even a single white van emblazoned with the words Department of Homeland Security can create fear and cause people to flee. To minimize public contact, the arrests are frequently made in the early morning hours.

A supervisor in Northern California described a typical operation, with teams of at least five members rising before dawn, meeting as early as 4 a.m. to make arrests before their targets depart for work. To avoid distressing families and children, the agents prefer to apprehend people outside their homes, approaching them as soon as they step onto a public sidewalk and, once identified, placing them in handcuffs.

But arrests can appear dramatic, as agents arrive in large numbers, armed with semiautomatic handguns and wearing dark bulletproof vests with ICE in bright white letters on them. When they do have to enter a home, officers knock loudly and announce themselves as the police, a term they can legally use. Many times, children are awakened in the process, and watch as a parent is taken away.

Some of the more visible ICE operations in recent weeks have ricocheted around the internet, and sometimes drawn a backlash. At Kennedy Airport, Customs and Border Protection agents checked documents of passengers getting off a flight from San Francisco because ICE, a sister agency, thought a person with a deportation order might be on the plane. They did not find the person they were looking for.




After the arrests outside the church in Alexandria, Va., Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, wrote a letter to Mr. Kelly, saying the action “raises a concern that, unlike previous actions, ICE agents are detaining Virginia residents without cause or specific allegations of criminal activity.”

Bystanders are now being taken in if they are suspected to be undocumented, even if they have committed no crime, known within the agency as “collateral” arrests. While these arrests occurred under the Obama administration, they were officially discouraged, to the frustration of many agents. “Which part of illegal don’t people understand?” an agent in Arizona asked.

But officers said their work had become more political than ever, and they bristled at what they considered stereotypes of indiscriminate enforcers who want to sweep grandmothers off the street or separate families.

Perhaps their biggest challenge, said the supervisor in California, is the agency’s steadily deteriorating relationship with other law enforcement agencies, especially in liberal-leaning cities that have vowed to protect immigrants from deportation, known as sanctuary cities.

In one city alone, the supervisor said, the police once transferred 35 undocumented immigrants a day into federal custody, compared with roughly five per week during the final years of the Obama presidency.

On Thursday, Los Angeles, a sanctuary city, asked that ICE agents stop calling themselves police officers, saying it was damaging residents’ trust of the city’s own police officers.

Although all of the agents interviewed felt the old priorities had kept them from doing their jobs, John Sandweg, an acting director of ICE in the Obama administration, defended the rules as making the best use of limited resources. Without them, he said, fewer dangerous people might get deported. “There are 10 seats on the bus, they go to the first 10 you grab,” Mr. Sandweg said. “It diminishes the chances that it’s a violent offender.”

He said that he had spent a lot of time on the road, speaking at town halls where he heard a great deal from the rank-and-file agents about the priorities. “Certainly they were not terribly popular,” he said. “They wanted unfettered discretion.”

Agents said that even with the added freedom, they would still go after the people who presented the greatest danger to the public. And what Mr. Sandweg called unfettered discretion, they called enforcing the law.

“The discretion has come back to us; it’s up to us to make decisions in the field,” a 15-year veteran in California said. “We’re trusted again.”
These are your American gestapo. I'm sorry to have to bring that  allusion into it, but there's just no avoiding it.

*Note that tweet above refers to a domestic flight.  No border involved.

.
astolat: lady of shalott weaving in black and white (Default)
[personal profile] astolat


Never Did Run Smooth (12727 words) by astolat
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Wiedźmin | The Witcher (Video Game), The Witcher 3
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Geralt of Rivia/Emhyr var Emreis
Characters: Geralt z Rivii | Geralt of Rivia, Emhyr var Emreis, Jaskier | Dandelion, Sigismund Dijkstra, Cirilla Fiona Elen Riannon
Additional Tags: Forced Marriage, Ritual Sex, Consent Issues, Frogs, magical curses, Public Sex
Series: Part 5 of Witcher works
Summary:

“Uh,” Geralt said, staring down at the glass case.

“Ribbit,” said the frog.

Stuff and Things

2017-02-25 06:37 pm
lunabee34: (Default)
[personal profile] lunabee34
1. Downton Abbey watch continues. I'm put out with the latest plot development. spoilers )

2. Weight loss seems to have slowed down. cut for talk of weight loss )

3. IC stuff is going well. I'm not really having any side effects from the Elmiron. I'm not having any flare ups. I feel pretty good. *crossing fingers*

4. Josh's colonoscopy/endoscopy is on Friday. I hope we find out what's wrong and don't need any more tests.

The jerk at the end of the bar

2017-02-25 03:30 pm
[syndicated profile] digbysblog_feed

Posted by digby

The jerk at the end of the bar

by digby


I've always said that's who he is....here's proof:






.
katie_m: (Spaceship Paul Gibson from LJ destina)
[personal profile] katie_m posting in [community profile] vividcon
Spread the word: Attending registration for Vividcon (August 4-6, 2017) will open next Saturday, March 4th, at 12 PM EST! Membership details for this year:

Attending registration through 7/1/17: $110
Attending registration 7/2/17 and later: $125
Saturday lunch ticket: $25
A spot on the orphan vid table (DVD collection sales): $10
Club Vivid bar wristband: $30 for 21 and over, $15 for 20 and younger
Extra DVD sets: $15

Feel free to ask any questions here or at llama.reg@gmail.com. Supporting membership info to come.

Idiocracy at the border

2017-02-25 02:00 pm
[syndicated profile] digbysblog_feed

Posted by digby

Idiocracy at the border

by digby

This is so stupid I don't even know what to say:

The son of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali was detained for hours by immigration officials earlier this month at a Florida airport, according to a family friend.

Muhammad Ali Jr., 44, and his mother, Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the second wife of Muhammad Ali, were arriving at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on Feb. 7 after returning from speaking at a Black History Month event in Montego Bay, Jamaica. They were pulled aside while going through customs because of their Arabic-sounding names, according to family friend and lawyer Chris Mancini.

Immigration officials let Camacho-Ali go after she showed them a photo of herself with her ex-husband, but her son did not have such a photo and wasn't as lucky.

Mancini said officials held and questioned Ali Jr. for nearly two hours, repeatedly asking him, "Where did you get your name from?" and "Are you Muslim?"


What the hell?????


When Ali Jr. responded that yes, he is a Muslim, the officers kept questioning him about his religion and where he was born. Ali Jr. was born in Philadelphia in 1972 and holds a U.S. passport.

[...]

"To the Ali family, it's crystal clear that this is directly linked to Mr. Trump's efforts to ban Muslims from the United States," Mancini said, referring to President Trump's executive order signed Jan. 27 that instituted a ban for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries.

He's clearly an American. An African-American. The son of the most famous American Muslim in the world.

I don't know how stupid you have to be to not know that or realize that if you just let his mother, the former wife of the most famous American Muslim in the world go through, that means he is the son of the most famous American Muslim in the world, but apparently it's not so stupid that you can't be given a uniform and told to guard our borders.

This is the kind of stuff that's making me actually feel afraid. Obviously these people are so dumb that a smart terrorist would be able to talk circles around them. It's just average Americans and foreigners who still believe the world makes sense who are getting caught in this web.

Update: More morons

A visiting scholar to Texas A&M was detained by customs officials in Houston this week while on his way to speak at a symposium in Aggieland, officials said Friday at the conference.
Henry Rousso was flying in from Paris to participate in the Hagler Institute Symposium when he was “mistakenly detained” Wednesday evening upon his arrival, according to Richard Golsan, director of the Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research at Texas A&M.

“When he called me with this news two nights ago, he was waiting for customs officials to send him back to Paris as an illegal alien on the first flight out,” said Golsan during his introduction to the session which Rousso was set to participate in.

After learning about the dire situation, Golsan said he immediately called university officials, leading A&M President Michael K. Young to enlist the help of Texas A&M Law School professor and director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic Fatma Marouf.

“Due to her prompt and timely intervention, Rousso was released,” Golsan said.
Rousso, 62, is a senior researcher at the French National Center for Scientific Research, or CNRS, which the Egyptian-born scholar and author joined in 1981.

His work centers on the history and memory of traumatic pasts, France in WWII and the post-war period, his profile on the CNRS website says. Rousso's current study involves the relationship between history, memory and justice.


Oh who needs a guy like that, amirite?
runpunkrun: dana scully reading jose chung's From Outer Space, text: read (reading)
[personal profile] runpunkrun
Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom; or, The Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery, Ellen Craft and William Craft: I found this by way of the Criminal podcast. They did an episode about Ellen and William Craft, two slaves who came up with a plan, and a disguise, and calmly walked out of their servitude in Macon, Georgia, taking a series of trains, boats, and busses, all the way to Philadelphia—and freedom—in 1848. The podcast said they got a lot of the details from the book the two had written, and that it was available for free from Gutenberg, so I clicked right on through, and found it to be very readable with elegant prose, commentary, and humor:
Some of the best slaveholders will sometimes give their favourite slaves a few days' holiday at Christmas time; so, after no little amount of perseverance on my wife's part, she obtained a pass from her mistress, allowing her to be away for a few days. The cabinet-maker with whom I worked gave me a similar paper, but said that he needed my services very much, and wished me to return as soon as the time granted was up. I thanked him kindly; but somehow I have not been able to make it convenient to return yet; and, as the free air of good old England agrees so well with my wife and our dear little ones, as well as with myself, it is not at all likely we shall return at present to the "peculiar institution" of chains and stripes.
The first-person account is tense and swift. The structure is little rocky, as the Crafts felt it necessary to pause on occasion and build their case against slavery, but the explanation of current law adds necessary context to their story, and was especially helpful for this modern reader.

At one point, the authors speak of two million female slaves, and I thought millions? And turned to Google:
Between 1525 and 1866, in the entire history of the slave trade to the New World, according to the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database, 12.5 million Africans were shipped to the New World. 10.7 million survived the dreaded Middle Passage, disembarking in North America, the Caribbean and South America. The Root, Jan 6, 2014
Millions.

Only about 388,000 were shipped directly to North America, but according to the 1860 census, the population of the United States was 31,443,321; this included 3,953,761 slaves, representing 12.6% of the total population.

Millions. I don't know if they ever gave us a number when we covered the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in school, if they did, it didn't stick with me, but that number is hitting me hard today. This story, multiplied by four million. And this is one of the few with a happier ending.

After William and Ellen escaped, their owners wrote the president asking for help to retrieve them—the president!—and good old #13 Millard Filmore, who claimed to oppose slavery, "gave instructions for military force to be sent to Boston to assist the officers in making the arrest." Sounds like something our current president would do, overreach and all. In fact, there are a lot of unpleasant parallels to what's going on in the U.S. right now, with families being split up, people arrested and sent away from their homes, and the racism that has never gone away, only gotten further entrenched.

If you're interested in reading this, and it's definitely worth a read, I'd recommend listening to the podcast first (or second!), as it provides some background information the book lacks, though nowhere does anyone explain how the Crafts got so much money for their escape from their "little earnings in slavery" that there was still some left once they reached the North.
alyse: (tiffany oyster bay window)
[personal profile] alyse
A Promised Kiss and a Heartfelt Wish (937 words) by alyse
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights (2004)
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Katey Miller/Javier Suarez
Characters: Katey Miller, Javier Suarez
Additional Tags: First Kiss, Romance, Missing Scene

Summary:

"You see how much they want to be in each other's arms?"

His words curl around her like a caress and she shivers in spite of the heat. She doesn't need to look at the screen to see what he sees, not when she can see the reflection of it on his face. He sees a love that still shines as bright as the day it was filmed, and she feels an echo of it in the tremble of her fingers, in the catch of her breath, in the erratic beat of her heart.

Javier and Katey's first kiss.

ugh, I'm so annoyed

2017-02-25 02:15 pm
bedlamsbard: miscellaneous: cup of tea on a laptop (girlyb_icons) (tea and laptop (girlyb_icons))
[personal profile] bedlamsbard
Reasons I am in a bad mood today:

My dad came back, drank all the wine in the house on the grounds of "there wasn't much left, so I drank it," to be met with my mom going, "that's because we use it for cooking!" and me going, "IT WAS MINE!" (The red my mom bought, but the chardonnay and the pink moscato were both mine.) So I went to Fred Meyer in a rage this morning to get another bottle of chardonnay, since I use it for making risotto at 11 at night because that's when I get hungry, and now I've got a bottle of wine in my closet along with my remaining half-bottle of election night rum. (Which I hid before my dad got back, since I knew he'd drink it otherwise; before he left he drank the other bottle of rum, which my mom bought for making some kind of fruit in rum, my mother's cooking sake, and the plum vodka my mother made that wasn't even done yet.) I am not happy about having alcohol stocked away in my bedroom closet, but at least I know my dad won't look for it there.

I am kind of astonished he drank the moscato, because the last time I bought a bottle (it's what I drink), he wrote it off as "too girly" due to being pink and sweet. So I thought at least the moscato would be safe, but NOPE.

Oh, another reason I'm in a bad mood -- yesterday I found a book I'd been looking for for months at a price under three figures and happily clicked "buy," only to get the order cancelled half an hour later because apparently I'd gotten the last copy and the cover was ripped. I'M SO ANNOYED! (Star Wars: Lords of the Sith is out of print in hardback, and nearly impossible to find -- I'm furious with myself that I didn't get it in hardback when it first came out, just ebook.)
alyse: (dark angel - family)
[personal profile] alyse
Drift (2084 words) by alyse
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Dark Angel
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Max Guevara | X5-452 & Joshua (Dark Angel) & Alec McDowell | X5-494
Characters: Max Guevara | X5-452, Joshua (Dark Angel), Alec McDowell | X5-494
Additional Tags: Families of Choice, Team as Family, Bickering, Protectiveness

Summary: "There are ways Joshua can help that don't involve him having to carry a gun."

"You and me, Max, we don't get to make that choice for him." It's the 'you and me' that finally silences her.

Max and Alec have a heart to heart in Terminal City.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
But I rarely have a chance to give a good example of what that looks like to me and how I cope, and a perfect example cropped up earlier this week.

See, if this happened all the time, that'd be one thing, but it doesn't. Some places never get hit by this lack of recognition. Some always do. Mostly, whether or not I'm going to not recognize a place has to do with time of day and year, direction I'm coming from, the weather, my general state of mind, things like that. If the situation is different, the place will look different.

Which is what happened Tuesday. I went to the doctor with my mother, and we took a cab up, as we are wont to do. After we left the FDR drive, everything was going just fine - I saw and identified a large number of landmarks, and had a reasonably good idea of where I was. But the street we usually take was closed off, so we took a minor detour.

This meant that instead of being dropped off directly in front of the entrance, we were dropped off just around the corner. That was enough to turn a place I ought to have recognized immediately into one I had to work out by individual features and reasoning: This is the only hospital branch with a wooden bench outside. This hospital branch has a raised garden with a wall around it that has the most ineffective hostile architecture I've ever seen, and the aforementioned bench has nothing at all to keep you lying down on it in the first place. This is the only hospital branch with a covered passage from one side street to the next, with the entrance proper in the middle of it.

With those few facts in mind, I was able to confidently walk to the entrance and go in, rather than gazing around and hesitantly crossing the street. But it looked like a new place right up until I was actually inside the building. My guess is my mother doesn't even realize I had no idea where I was for a few seconds, or that it never clicked even when I did reason it out. And she certainly knows about that time I got lost in front of my house, and she definitely jokes that I'll get lost if I turn around (this is funny because it is literally true), but if I told her right now, my guess is she'd be shocked. I'm not entirely certain she realizes exactly how pervasive this is, or how serious it can be. (She did, in fact, act shocked afterwards when she asked if I wanted to go to the diner and I turned in the wrong direction. "You've been there before!" Yes, and? You've known me my whole life! Why are you surprised that I'd walk the wrong way to get to a place I've been several times before from here?)

***************


A preschooler’s bubbly personality may rub off on friends

The Answer to Why Humans Are So Central in Star Trek (DEFINITELY read the comments!)

Researchers use laser-generated bubbles to create 3-D images in liquid

Tracing (and Erasing) New York’s Lines of Desire

These seven alien worlds could help explain how planets form

In 1914, Feminists Fought For the Right to Forget Childbirth

Score! Bumblebees see how to sink ball in goal, then do it better

Indian sungazers keep up family tradition for four generations

Adding friendly bacteria to skin lotion wards off bad germs

Japanese Photographer Makes DC and Marvel Action Figures Come To Life

Tiny fibers open new windows into the brain

5 facts about crime in the U.S.

The U.S. Geological Survey hails an early spring — and ties it to climate change

How a True-Crime Podcast Became a Mental-Health Support Group

Striking on International Women’s Day Is Not a Privilege

Federal agents move woman awaiting emergency surgery at Texas hospital to detention site

Republican lawmakers introduce bills to curb protesting in at least 18 states

Egypt activist out of prison but still only half free

Sick, dying and raped in America's nursing homes

(no subject)

2017-02-25 04:05 pm
yhlee: Alto clef and whole note (middle C). (alto clef)
[personal profile] yhlee
Fantastic video takedown of why the Marvel movies have terrible scoring and, more generally, the problem of temp tracks in film scoring [Youtube]. Particularly scathing was the analysis of one scene where the music was basically compared to room tone. Ouch! But I cannot argue the point.

Also, film composers ALL hate temp tracks, haha, but that's not news to anyone at this point!

(I can't figure out how to embed this, sorry! The Youtube "share" thing confuses me.)

(Thanks to Seth Dickinson.)
legionseagle: (Default)
[personal profile] legionseagle
Some years ago, in the midst of what was then called "the warnings wank" or "another round of the warnings debate" [personal profile] melannen stated "I warn for 'Old People Sex' when one of the parties is over 55 or so."

I was not at the time 55 though I was within spitting difference of that age. Nevertheless, I felt ferociously angry on seeing that statement. "Trigger Warnings" surely are things that one puts on content because the mere thought of what is warned for is supposed to provoke PTSD. That's what warnings are for, is it not?

I am now past 55. And yes - TRIGGER WARNING TRIGGER WARNING TRIGGER WARNING --

I am still having sex.

Which leaves me in something of a dilemma. I am told, according to the best social justice theory going, that this makes me -- dread word -- "problematic".

Which is where we come on to the life and death of Helen Bailey.

Whom no-one came to help, because she was over 50 and therefore her sex life must be considered "problematic". The fact she was in the hands of a psychopath by then was exactly what she deserved for wanting to have a sex life after 50 in the first place. At least, when it comes to the opinions of people who assume over-55 sex needs a trigger warning.

The sheer waves of suicidal ideation which rise up ever time I think about "Frankly, I warn for 'Old People Sex' if the parties are over 55 or so" are so hard to combat, one might really welcome a serial killer, know what I mean? Bit of attention, at least.

Of course, wanting attention is terribly problematic. And requires a trigger wanrning.

a hymn I used to hear

2017-02-25 04:16 pm
[syndicated profile] ao3_jsmn_all_feed

Posted by <a href="/users/OfShoesAndShips/pseuds/OfShoesAndShips" rel="author">OfShoesAndShips</a>

by

John Childermass dies of his gunshot wound. But he is being watched over, nonetheless.

Words: 1199, Chapters: 1/1, Language: English

Two years later

2017-02-25 08:26 pm
[syndicated profile] rkirstein_blog_feed

Posted by Rosemary

This morning, Facebook reminded me that it’s been two years since my last chemotherapy session.

And how am I doing now?  Fine, just fine, medically speaking.

Well, I’ve got the scars.  And a sort of… call it a divot.  Because the chemo was so successful, I didn’t need the full mastectomy that we all expected at first.  They ended up removing so little tissue that under most circumstances the divot isn’t even noticeable at all.   The site aches a bit when I move in certain ways, but not enough to limit my motion at all.

I’ve been lactose-intolerant as a result of chemo for the last two years or so, but it actually seems like that’s starting to back off.  I might be free of it, soon.

I have some residual numbness in my fingers and feet, also a known side-effect of the really aggressive course of chemo we took.  It’s weird, but manageable: sometimes things can slip from my grip, especially very smooth things.  I just have to pay closer attention than I used to.  I have to watch out for bruises and cuts on my feet in places I can’t feel, and be careful of over-flexing.  (Which always reminds me of Cordwainer Smith’s story, “Scanners Live in Vain.”  I have to scan.)

And I have periodic check-ups from my oncologist and surgeon.  But these are being scheduled at longer and longer intervals.

So… No problems.  Two years later, no real problems.

When I reread the blog posts from the time of my treatment, it seems as if I was perky and cheerful for most of the experience — but I know that much of that is illusion, caused by the facts that a) I used my blogging to cheer myself up and stay positive, and b) when I felt really unhappy, I just didn’t blog at all.   But trust me: I experienced the full range of possible emotions during that time.  Including some that defy description.

I got a lot of support and encouragement from the comments and emails from all of you, by the way.  I can’t express how much it helped me to know you were out there rooting for me.

Of course, my sister Sabine was my main support person, and I was so lucky to have her.  Still am, generally, by the way — but especially during that time.  I can’t say enough good things about her and how she helped.

I had many things planned for that time, most of which had to be abandoned, or changed, or  postponed.  I was barely able to write during that period.  Some  writers and artists actually manage to maintain (or even increase!) their creative output during cancer treatments.  I was  not one of those.  The emotional limbo interspersed with  periods of stabbing angst were not, I found, particularly conducive to maintaining the clarity thought and steadiness of imagination I needed to make serious progress.  I had some spurts, but nothing I could maintain for long.

However, one thing that I did manage during all that was the publication of the ebooks.  For the most part,  the process was straightforward dog-work — tedious, but doable.  And with no set schedule and no deadline, I could do as much as my strength and mental acuity allowed at any particular time, and set it aside whenever I wasn’t up to the effort.

Below: Links to the posts I made during my whole cancer experience.  I just reviewed them myself, and found it pretty interesting…

12/23/2013: breaking the news

Sometimes the wind comes out of nowhere and knocks you sideways.

12/30/2013: First chemo

Quick post.

01/08/2014: A rant on pseudo-scientific bullshit included here

Amazon emails! Plus: here come the loonies

01/13/2014: losing my hair, but I don’t care…

Abandon ship!

 

01/19/2014: missing out on Boskone that year

As I feared, no Boskone for me.

01/28/2014: in the chemo suite

Three down, five to go

 

02/05/2014: health update inside ebook update

Predictably… Plus: ebook update

 

02/13/14: at the halfway point.

Snow day! Plus: halfway through chemo. Extra flash: Delia Sherman’s Con or Bust offering!

02/27/14 :  one way you  know you’re using the right chemo

You know what? This stuff actually works.

 

03/12/14: Cumulative effects of chemo, including no guitar-playing

Still here…

 

03/24/14: Just another day in the chemo suite

Use it when you’ve got it

04/01/14: Chemo continues, despite blizzard

Many thanks! Plus: Bumped by the blizzard

04/04/14: A hat.  I wore a hats a lot during my treatment

Delia Sherman knitted me a little hat.

 

04/07/14: Numbness side-effects of chemo, with drawings!

Annoyances and updates

 

04/25/14: Gaining strength once the heavy-duty part of chemo is done

Still here…

 

05/09/14: Surgery had to be postponed…

Surgery postponed

05/13/14: The body has a mind of its own

Foiled again.

 

05/21/14: results of that biopsy

About that biopsy…

 

06/01/14: More delays

Wait, what? Postponed AGAIN?

 

06/06/14: Just an update to say all went well

Quick update

 

06/07/14: What the surgery entailed

Two days later

 

06/15/14: Could not ask for a better outcome

And the official pathology report says…

 

06/24/14: Radiation therapy meant no WorldCon in London for me

Well, about WorldCon in London…

 

07/08/14: Prepping for radiation therapy

Hey, I got a tattoo!

 

07/17/14: Echocardiogram, because of Herceptin

Briefly ….

 

08/28/14: A post mostly about a poll, but including info about radiation side-effects

Poll reports. Plus: Ow.

 

09/07/14: And heading back to the day-job

Inching my way back into the Day Job

 

12/29/14: An essay on radiation therapy

Radiation therapy and me

 

02/25/2015:  Herceptin isn’t killer chemical like most chemo, so at some places they call a patient’s official Last Chemo the last of the heavy-duty chemo…. but at my hospital, they declared my chemo over with my final Herceptin infusion.

Last chemo

And that’s it.

Sometimes, looking back, it all seems sort of unreal.   I remember it all quite clearly — but heck, I have a writer’s imagination.  There are plenty of things entirely imaginary that exist in my mind just as clearly as if they happened.

I do know how to tell the difference, however.  This was real.  And… seems to be over.

In other news: Hey, I’m alive!

 

ratcreature: RatCreature is enraged, swinging an axe: Kill! Kill! Kill! (rage)
[personal profile] ratcreature
I have a new android tablet and I want Chrome to display my tabs like my old tablet does. That one displays tabs like on a desktop, with a tab-thing showing the title at the top and all are sort of in the same window like in a desktop browser. My new tablet does the annoying mobile browser display, where there is the little square next to the url that shows a number. Both tablets have Android 6 and the same Chrome so surely there has to be an option somewhere to tell Chrome how it should display its tabs, and yet I can't find it anywhere. And nothing that I tried putting into Google was any help either.
[syndicated profile] digbysblog_feed

Posted by digby

Tweet O' The Day

by digby
























Can you believe this stuff? Anyway, here's the fact check:

In President Donald Trump's estimation, the U.S. border isn't merely porous, it's "wide open." Darkness and danger are everywhere, even Sweden. American infrastructure isn't just in need of improvement but it's in "total disrepair and decay." The health law is not only flawed, but it's an "absolute and total catastrophe."

His apocalyptic view of everything he intends to fix leaves no nuance, but that's where reality often resides. For example, Trump himself actually likes parts of former President Barack Obama's health overhaul, such as the extended coverage for older children. And the U.S. remains an economic powerhouse able to transport goods in a stressed system of roads, bridges and ports that are not in total decay.

But the president is one to overreach for superlatives, whether describing the state of things as he found them or what he plans to do about them — or claims to have done already.

Some statements from the past week:

TRUMP: "Obamacare covers very few people."

THE FACTS: That's only true if you consider more than 20 million people to be "very few." That's how many are covered by the two major components of the law: expanded Medicaid and subsidized private health insurance.

The Medicaid expansion, adopted by 31 states and the District of Columbia, covers about 11 million low-income people, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The other, more visible, component is HealthCare.gov. The federal website and state-run online insurance markets have signed up 12.2 million people for this year, according to an Associated Press count this month, based on federal and state reports.

Altogether, since Obama's law passed in 2010, the number of uninsured people has dropped by about 20 million and the uninsured rate has declined below 9 percent, a historic low.

___

TRUMP, repeating a week-old assertion that Sweden is an example of violence and extremism due to immigration: "Take a look at what happened in Sweden. I love Sweden, great country, great people, I love Sweden. But they understand. The people over there understand I'm right."

THE FACTS: Trump was ridiculed in Sweden after he warned at a rally in Florida that terrorism was growing in Europe and something terrible had happened in Sweden the previous night. But there had been no extraordinary trouble that night in Sweden, a country welcoming to immigrants.

Two days later, though, a riot broke out after police arrested a drug crime suspect. Cars were set on fire and shops looted, but no one was injured. Attacks in the country related to extremism remain rare. The biggest surprise for many Swedes was that a police officer found it necessary to fire his gun.

___

TRUMP: The U.S. is providing security to other nations "while leaving our own border wide open. Anybody can come in. But don't worry, we're getting a wall. ... We're getting bad people out of this country."

THE FACTS: His wide-open border claim is bogus. The number of arrests of illegal border crossers — the best measure of how many people are trying to cross illegally — remains at a 40-year low. The U.S. government under Presidents George W. Bush and Obama roughly doubled the ranks of the Border Patrol in the past decade or so.

In addition, the number of people expelled from the country since Trump took office Jan. 20 has not been disclosed. No available data support his claim, made Thursday, that immigrants in the country illegally are being expelled at a rate "nobody has ever seen before." Deportations were brisk when Obama was president.

Altogether in January, 16,643 people were deported, a drop from December (20,395) but a number that is similar to monthly deportations in early 2015 and 2016.

This month, Homeland Security officials have said 680 people were arrested in a weeklong effort to find and arrest criminal immigrants living in the United States illegally. Three-quarters of those people had been convicted of crimes, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said. The remaining 25 percent were not.

The government has not provided information about who was arrested in that roundup, so it's impossible to determine how many gang members or drug lords were in that group. It is also unclear how many of those "bad people" have actually been deported.

That roundup was largely planned before Trump took office and was alternately described by the Trump administration as a routine enforcement effort and a signal of his pledge to take a harder line on illegal immigration. During the Obama administration, similar operations were carried out that yielded thousands of arrests.

___

TRUMP: "We have authorized the construction, one day, of the Keystone and Dakota Access pipelines. And issued a new rule — this took place while I was getting ready to sign. I said who makes the pipes for the pipeline? Well, sir, it comes from all over the world, isn't that wonderful? I said nope, comes from the United States, or we're not building it. American steel. If they want a pipeline in the United States, they're going to use pipe that's made in the United States."

THE FACTS: It's not that straightforward. Trump's executive order leaves lots of wiggle room on how much U.S. steel is actually used. The order states new, expanded or repaired pipelines in the U.S. must use U.S. steel "to the maximum extent possible" and allowed by law. That's not an all-USA mandate.

What's judged possible in the Keystone XL project remains to be seen. Pipes are already purchased. Contrary to his statement, Trump has not approved the project. Rather, he revived it by asking TransCanada to resubmit its application.

TransCanada did so in late January while saying it needs time to review how any buy-American plan would affect the company. It has said the majority of steel would be from North America, but that includes Canada and Mexico.

Trump's Jan. 24 order on U.S. steel has little effect on the Dakota Access project because it is nearly complete.

___

TRUMP on arrests of people in the country illegally: "It's a military operation because what has been allowed to come into our country, when you see gang violence that you've read about like never before and all of the things, much of that is people who are here illegally. And they're rough and they're tough, but they're not tough like our people. So we're getting them out."

THE FACTS: He was wrong in calling immigration enforcement a military operation.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, responsible for finding and deporting immigrants in the country illegally, is a civilian law enforcement agency. Military personnel were not responsible for recent raids that resulted in the arrests of 680 people. Planning for that roundup had been underway during the previous and was in step with large, periodic raids when Obama was president.

Kelly contradicted Trump on the nature of plans to step up border enforcement: "There will be no use of military forces in immigration," Kelly said. "There will be no — repeat, no — mass deportations."

___

TRUMP again claimed credit for a $700 million savings in the military's contract with Lockheed for the F-35 fighter jet. Speaking to the defense contractor's CEO Marillyn Hewson, he said: "Over $700 million. Do you think Hillary would have cost you $700 million? I assume you wanted her to win" — referring to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

THE FACTS: Cost savings for the F-35 began before Trump's inauguration and predate his complaints about the price tag.

The head of the Air Force program announced significant price reductions Dec. 19 — after Trump had tweeted about the cost but weeks before Trump met about the issue on Jan. 13 with Hewson.

"There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever of additional F-35 cost savings as a result of President Trump's intervention," said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst with the aerospace consulting firm Teal Group. He said Trump appears to be taking credit for prior-year budget decisions and for work already done by managers at the Pentagon who took action before the presidential election to reduce costs.


.

Le Tarot d'Ambre: Un complot

2017-02-25 02:43 pm
yhlee: Amber Tarot Knight of Swords: Benedict (Tarot d'Ambre: Benedict)
[personal profile] yhlee
Le Tarot d'Ambre par F. Nedelec, cont'd

A plot

Read more... )

Fic announcement

2017-02-25 03:09 pm
the_rck: (Default)
[personal profile] the_rck
Title: Paths for Getting Lost
Fandom: Chronicles of Amber - Roger Zelazny
Rating: T
Characters: Caine, Merlin
Length: 1948 words
Warnings/tags: None at present
Notes: I just couldn’t see all of Corwin’s siblings embracing Merlin as family without a lot of hesitation and suspicion.
Summary: "Caine volunteered to teach me how to use the Pattern to travel Shadow."

Caine and Merlin shortly after Patternfall.

Fic at AO3.

January 2017

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