little moments of alienness and not

Sep. 25th, 2017 09:10 am
brainwane: My smiling face, including a small gold bindi (Default)
[personal profile] brainwane
Years ago, when Leonard was writing Constellation Games, he named the various alien species after different human words for "alien" or "foreigner". So there are Aliens, Foreigners, Farang, Gaijin, Extraterrestrials, the Others, and so on. One species of them is the Auslanders; later a German-speaking friend told us the spelling of the plural ought to be Auslender.

Today I was rereading a little chunk of Lake Wobegon Days and came across Keillor referring to Ausländers, and was reminded of that moment years ago. And then just after that was the passage about Flag Day, and I was catapulted far further back, to fourth grade and the first time I read (or was read?) any of this book. I was in a Gifted and Talented class in an elementary school in the suburbs of St. Louis, Missouri, with that teacher who had a chunk of the Berlin Wall in her classroom. Did she read that to us or did I read it by myself?

Saturday I was on the 7 train back home from Maker Faire and I was sitting near some girls who -- as they happened to say aloud, in their conversation with each other -- were 12 or 13 years old. I am about three times their age. Yet I wanted them to look at me not as an alien grownup but as someone they might be like. They all have smartphones and evidently deal with boys sending them dick pics. And they act blasé about it; I don't know how they actually feel. The next day I talked about this with the people staffing the table next to mine. One of them suggested that boys have always done sort of body-part-display to girls less as a sexual come-on and more as a thrill-of-the-forbidden act, with dick pics as analogous to mooning. We joked about the dedication of an imaginary man from a previous century who worked in rotogravure or lithograph or woodcut. Or at least, like, Matthew Brady or someone using silver nitrate film.

cue "Ashokan Farewell"

My dearest Elizabeth. Tonight the Union Army rests. We know not what battle the general will order us to tomorrow. But know that my love for you is the wind that calls your name through the trees. Here's a dick pic. I had to sit for five hours for the army portrait painter boy to make this.

Sergeant Cowling was killed at the Battle of Bull Run.


I was laughing pretty hard by the end of this.

Maybe one reason I like laughing with others, and making others laugh, is because it is a kind of proof that we are not entirely aliens to each other.

Find and Replace

Sep. 25th, 2017 08:49 am
goss: (Yip yips)
[personal profile] goss
...is truly a blessing. Thank you, Microsoft Word.

- Any version of Mycroft other than "Mycroft" makes me want to die inside. (My, Myc, Myke, Croft. WTF. I'm just waiting to come across "Ycro". LOL.)

- Also, who is Noah? Sheriff Stilinski's name is John, dammit. :b

So what are *your* favourite "Find and Replace" words in fic?

(no subject)

Sep. 25th, 2017 07:24 am
copperbadge: (radiofreemondaaay)
[personal profile] copperbadge
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Radio Free Monday!

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And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
netgirl_y2k: (winter is coming)
[personal profile] netgirl_y2k
Earlier this year I tried to game my sign up in an exchange, failed badly, and found myself writing a fic about the Baratheon brothers at The Wall, focused on Renly, who by a very small margin I find the least boring of the three. (Brother, It's Cold Outside.)

[archiveofourown.org profile] prodigy remixed it into the Stannis centric Black Horns, White Snow which I liked a lot; Stannis' bitterness at Ned was darkly hilarious, and it fixed some issues with Stannis' characterisation that I felt my original had.

My remixee was [archiveofourown.org profile] The_Plaid_Slytherin who writes a lot of fic about Stannis, all of it good, and all of it skated right over my eyeballs because even after all my years in ASOIAF fandom my feelings about Stannis are still mostly: Who? What? Huh?

Writing fic about characters you don't like doesn't necessarily have to be hard (there's a difference between having a different take and bashing, obviously, and you should try to stay on the right side of that) but what is hard is fic about characters whose existence you struggle to remember.

I do understand why people get irked when it seems obvious that your remixee has scrolled through your works looking for one of these things which is not like the others (I've had it happen to me) but sometimes with remixes it's unavoidable, because sometimes the answer to the question how would I write this fic? is simply I wouldn't.'

I ended up remixing a short fic about Loras and Margaery bonding (For The Best) into a Margaery character study. For the Best (My Church Offers No Absolutes Remix).

As a remix it's less than ideal, but on the plus side I was writing it just as the show pulled Rhaegar and Elia's annulment out of its ass, and I managed to channel my annoyance into the line: Many men came to care little for their wives, that was why the laws of gods and men made it all but impossible for a husband, king or commoner, to set his lawful wife aside.
[personal profile] ewt posting in [community profile] crowdfunding
Copied from [personal profile] fjm's DW:

After my book on Heinlein went beyond a length that most academic publishers could manage (it may be around 500 pages) I decided to go with a Crowdfunding publisher called Unbound. They can keep the price down to affordable levels.

Of course I would love it if you bought the book:

ebook £12
ebook and hb £35

But what I really need is signal boosting. Please copy and paste.

https://unbound.com/books/robert-heinlein

---

Of note:
After the finance is raised to publish the book the author’s share of subsequent proceeds will be divided between The Foundation for America’s Blood Centres http://www.americasblood.org/, and Con or Bust: http://con-or-bust.org/

Internetsmanship

Sep. 25th, 2017 06:53 am
supergee: (bug)
[personal profile] supergee
Alex Acks on how to win an online argument (fsvo win)

Thanx to File 770
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
Germany just got a 13% vote for the populist anti-foreigner party. In 2015 Britain also got a 13% vote for their populist anti-foreigner party.

In Germany that will result in them getting some MPs in a separate party, and their centre-right party will do a deal with someone more central (their centre-left party last time, probably the Greens and the liberals this time around). Total influence of the far-right: almost zero.

In Britain this resulted in the Conservatives basically implementing the manifesto commitments of UKIP in order to stop their party fragmenting. Total influence of the far-right: Brexit.

This is _entirely_ down to the voting system. Germany has basically had the equivalent of a Lab+Con coalition for most of the last ten years, and the parties are constantly moderated by having to work with each other. Even France's two-tier presidential elections allowed people to vote for a relative outsider.

In Britain you end up with two main parties which spend all of their time scrambling to keep both wings together. It's a political system which, frankly, encourages extremism by making the more central politicians reliant on the further-out wings of their parties.

Kit Reed 1932-2017

Sep. 25th, 2017 06:22 am
supergee: (mourning)
[personal profile] supergee
Kit Reed has been publishing excellent novels and short stories (sf, mimetic, and, as she would say, transgenre) for almost 60 years. We enjoyed her company at many ICFAs and Readercons. RIP.

QotD

Sep. 25th, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"For both men and women the first step in getting power is to become visible to others, and then to put on an impressive show ... As women achieve power, the barriers will fall. As society sees what women can do, as WOMEN see what women can do, there will be more women out there doing things, and we'll all be better off for it." -- Sandra Day O'Connor (b. 1930-03-26; US Supreme Court Justice 1981-09-25 to 2006-01-31)

rydra_wong: The display board of a train reads "this train is fucked". (this train is fucked)
[personal profile] rydra_wong posting in [community profile] thisfinecrew
(Cross-posting from my DW.)

McCain's a no, Susan Collins is finding it "very difficult" to envision voting for the bill, and others are dithering or have expressed concern. But as I understand it you need three Republican "no" votes to stop Pence from tie-breaking, and Trump and co. are leaning hard on people to fall in line.

The latest trick is revising the bill to send money towards the states of potential holdouts.

So -- things are looking hopeful, but it's not a given that it'll fail.

[tumblr.com profile] plaidadder: Zombie Trumpcare 3.0 continues to stagger through the streets. It is time to call your elected representatives again.

[tumblr.com profile] bengaliprincess: heads up: as of right now, whip count for the graham-cassidy health care bill (trumpcare 3.0? i think it’s 3.0 honestly i’ve lost track) is split evenly at 50-50.

[tumblr.com profile] sashayed: Hello! Good morning! Did you know Congress is trying to kill millions of people, again? (includes script, with screaming; maybe leave out the screaming? or maybe don't?)

[tumblr.com profile] digoxin-purpurea: Anonymous asked: yeah that's part of the issue.... phone anxiety means i don't like to make people uncomfortable even if it's Very Worth It (contains very brief and good phone script)

WaPo current tally:

Cassidy-Graham whip count

Satirical commentary:

McSweeney's: Why Won’t You Just Let Us Pass a Health Care Bill and Kill a Few Million People?
defrog: (Default)
[personal profile] defrog
Here we go again.

The GOP is giving the Big Repeal another go with the Graham-Cassidy bill, and by most reliable accounts it’s even worse than the last few.

Which is saying something.

As usual, most people are only interested in the hyperpartisan batshit rhetoric that supports their side. For the rest of you, here’s a couple of possibly useful links:

A good summation of what the bill is trying to accomplish (as opposed to what will actually happen if it passes).

Another good summation of why the GOP is desperate to repeal Obamacare.

A fine collection of GOP senators trying to explain why the Graham-Cassidy bill is great, and generally failing.

All I can add is:

1. It’s stunning just how bad the GOP is at this, not least because they don’t seem to have learned anything from their previous experience. It’s as if they think the problem with badly written healthcare bills and rushing them through by any chicanery necessary before anyone has a chance to evaluate or debate them is that they weren’t fast enough.

Little wonder their bills are so unpopular. You’d think the message to Congress was blindingly obvious: “Look, if you really think Obamacare is so awful (and there’s no convincing evidence that it is, but let’s say there is) that you need to get rid of it, okay, but replace it with something as good or better. It’s complicated, so take all the time you need, vet it, debate it, and come up with something solid and workable.”

The fact that they’re doing the OPPOSITE of that suggests strongly to me that they don’t have a better idea for doing what Obamacare does, apart from “leave it to the states and the free market and it’ll be fine”. Which by all accounts it won’t be – not under this bill, anyway.

Not that it matters, since I’m reasonably sure many Republicans want to ditch Obamacare for the same reason Trump does – it’s a product of the Obama admin. They’re made it clear they are far more interested in repealing than replacing.

2. It’s kind of amusing that most of the debate about Graham-Cassidy is being led by late-night talk-show hosts.

Naturally conservatives are trotting out the old “celebrities shouldn’t express political opinions, they should stick to entertainment” meme. Which is disingenuous, considering how many of them voted for the current POTUS. See also: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ted Nugent, Chuck Norris, James Woods, Kid Rock, etc. So I can’t take people who pull the “stay in your lane” argument seriously – let’s admit, they only object to celebrity political opinions when they disagree with them.

Anyway, I don’t have a problem with Jimmy Kimmel making an issue of it. Given his family situation, I don’t blame him.

3. Bernie Sanders is using this as an opportunity to revive his single-payer universal healthcare idea – which of course has zero chance of passing now, but I assume he’s warming it up now in case the Democrats take back Congress in 2018, in which case it still won’t pass because Trump will veto it. Unless Bernie is also banking on Trump getting impeached by then, but I don’t see President Pence being any more willing to sign something I’m sure he feels is probably the only thing worse than Obamacare.

Anyway, you can read the details here, but if you felt the Bern last year, odds are you already know what he has in mind. For me, the chief problem with Berniecare – then and now – is that it’s really difficult and expensive to implement, and Bernie tends to get really vague on the details on just how we would go about funding Berniecare apart from “we’ll tax the rich enough until it’s paid for”. Which personally I don’t find particularly convincing.

Incurable,

This is dF
fadedwings: (bird love)
[personal profile] fadedwings posting in [community profile] common_nature
I love these beautiful noisy birds. We have a few that come to the yard. It's hard to get pictures though because they're a bit shy. I had to take this between the railing on my porch.
Read more... )

Bending the Knee

Sep. 24th, 2017 05:04 pm
cahwyguy: (Default)
[personal profile] cahwyguy

userpic=divided-nationOver on Facebook, a conservative friend of mine posited the question, “Someone, anyone… please enlighten me by pointing out the racist portion(s) of the following song lyrics:”, after which he quoted the Star Spangled Banner. I hesitate to respond directly on his post because of the shitstorm from the Trump-dittoheads that would ensue; instead, I’m responding on my forum.

First and foremost, the problem is not with the anthem itself, just as the fight against the Confederate statues is not about the specific statues, or the protests against the pledge are about the specifics of the pledge. The problem is with the underlying symbolism. Further, “racist” is the wrong term. “Problematic” would be much be much better.

So where is the problem? It is captured in the simple phrase, “Land of the free”. The problem is that our nation is not living up to that ideal.

Are we the “land of the free” when:

  • A black US citizen cannot drive through a white neighborhood without being pulled over, while a white US citizen driving through a black neighborhood is not hassled?
  • A brown US citizen cannot drive near the Mexican border without being stopped and asked about his immigration status, whereas a white US citizen driving near the Canadian border is not stopped?
  • An Arab-American US citizen wearing a hijab is instantly suspect of being a terrorist, whereas the white guy buying the nitrogen and ammonia is not suspicious?
  • When statistics show that brown and black citizens arrested as suspects by the police are more likely to be treated harshly, receive longer sentences, and be shown less lenience.
  • Our President criticizes black football players for not standing up and putting their hand over their heart for the National Anthem, when he has been recorded not doing so?

By the way, when y’all go to church, how do you show respect to G-d? You kneal.

We say we are the Land of the Free, but we don’t demonstrate it as long as we discriminate against people based on conditions that are not of their choosing: skin color, country of origin or heritage, religion, sex, gender, orientation. People are choosing to show respect in a non-traditional form, because that which is different must be respected as well.

This entry was originally posted on Observations Along The Road (on cahighways.org) as this entry by cahwyguy. Although you can comment on DW, please make comments on original post at the Wordpress blog using the link below; you can sign in with your LJ, FB, or a myriad of other accounts. There are currently comments on the Wordpress blog. PS: If you see share buttons above, note that they do not work outside of the Wordpress blog.

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copperbadge: (Default)
[personal profile] copperbadge
R: [chess partner] lost one of my black bishops from the chess set last weekend.

Sam: You should go to the thrift store and find something cool to replace it with! That’s how you get a really unique chess set.

R: So you’re saying his mistake became….a mistakapportunity? 

Sam: Of the millions of words that I thought you might say when you paused, mistakapportunity didn’t even make the list.

from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2y0YuXL
via IFTTT
cahwyguy: (Default)
[personal profile] cahwyguy

Tonight is the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery (FB). The first episode will be broadcast on CBS; for the rest, those in the US must subscribe to CBS’s exclusive pay-streaming service, CBS All Access. I’m a long time fan of Star Trek, and avidly devoured all of the TV series from the point where I could choose my television: the animated series, ST:TNG, ST:DS9, ST:V, and even ST:Enterprise. But I’m not going to be watching Star Trek:Discovery beyond the first episode (and possibly not even that). I think that were Gene Roddenberry alive, he wouldn’t be watching it either.

Here’s why.

In how CBS has chosen to broadcast Star Trek:Discovery (ST:D), I feel they are not being true to the Star Trek vision. Gene Roddenberry emphasized in Star Trek an optimistic attitude, a view of the world where barriers between people did not exist. The class distinctions were gone, and race, gender, orientation, religion, and similar divisions were not factors. All of the other instances of Star Trek on the small screen were egalitarian in their broadcast: if you had a TV, you could watch them, be they on NBC (TOS), the UPN network (Enterprise, Voyager), or syndicated (TNG, DS9). But for Discovery, this isn’t the case. Those without Internet access or those who are not paying for streaming service (read: most cable and satellite users) are disenfranchised. They can’t watch the show. Those with Internet access can, but only if they pay. This reduces the audience to a particular wealthy demographic.

That’s problem enough for the Emmys, as I’ve discussed previously. They no longer serve to encourage excellence in Broadcast TV (or basic cable).  Let the plebeians have crappy TV; those with the means can pay to watch the quality stuff on Netflix and Hulu and Amazon and … Streaming provides the wealthy audience that buys stuff, or pays the network directly for their programming.

But for Star Trek? Putting Star Trek on a streaming platform creates the exact class distinctions that Roddenberry fought against. It is a pure grab for money and revenue from technically savvy Trek-fandom who have more money than they need — money CBS feels free to separate from them. Much as I want ST:D to succeed, it should be on a mainstream broadcast or basic cable channel: the CW or SyFy, not pay-streaming.

This entry was originally posted on Observations Along The Road (on cahighways.org) as this entry by cahwyguy. Although you can comment on DW, please make comments on original post at the Wordpress blog using the link below; you can sign in with your LJ, FB, or a myriad of other accounts. There are currently comments on the Wordpress blog. PS: If you see share buttons above, note that they do not work outside of the Wordpress blog.

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