Ask and it shall be opened: Open Thread

Ta-Nehisi might still put up an open thread later, but I’m about to leave my desk for a few hours, so I thought I’d get this up just in case.

Make sure to check out all the fantabulous Brent Spiner (aka: Data) videos, immediately below, not to mention your fellow Hordian bloggers, listed to your right (and all the other delights this blog has to offer, of course!).




  1. Did you know? Obesity is to blame for the 2012 republican field being full of people the Media doesn’t approve of:

    • Really, and all this time I thought it was because the republican field being full of creationist, climate-denying, bomb-Iran, tax-cuts-for-millionaires-ONLY batsh-t crazies.

    • How many levels of assholery does it take to write something like this:

      “I’m not sure if he would have ever written the same after visiting an Applebee’s, Olive Garden or T.G.I. Friday’s, or the thousands of enterprises which make that trio look like the Four Seasons in New York or Alinea in Chicago. But if Americans truly crave substance — which I tend to doubt — it’s clear that in politics, as in dining out, they find it impossible to escape empty calories.”

      That is assholes inside of assholes, people.

    • taylor16

       /  August 23, 2011

      That is probably the single most dickish, condescending article that I’ve ever read. I’m actually …. wow.

    • Oh.My.God.

      That made me so furious I nearly spit! Ho-lee shit.

      Here’s the comment I left:

      No. Seriously?

      I absolutely agree that people get the government they deserve, and if we want better government (and better choices for that government) we are the ones who have to create it, and that it is hard to convince any group of people to make hard choices for a better future.

      But “waddled”? From that word, you lost me entirely. Because this is a piece of condescending, tone-deaf, arrogant, elitist (I can say that because I’m a member of the same elite) and fat-shaming (I can say that because I’m not fat) clap-trap, and if your point was to change minds or help the country out in any way, shape or form — wowie, did you fail.

      People who waddle are people. People who are fat are people, people who eat at the Olive Garden and visit state fairs are people, people who are working class and/or poor and often make up the clientele of the Olive Garden and state fair food tents — are people. And many of them (surprise!) are smart, thoughtful, and well informed. Some very, very skinny people who can afford to eat at nothing but the Four Seasons (where I am sure that not only the food but the very air is rare) barely pass muster as sentient beings (Ann Coulter comes to mind).

      I know that the “fat people are disgusting and represent all that is wrong about our society” analogy was not your point, per se, but you harped on it so long and so loudly that it was kind of hard to hear anything else.

      Also: You might want to read this, two new studies out of Canada (where health studies are NOT, apparently, funded by the diet industry) showing that “fat” and “healthy” aren’t, actually, mutually exclusive:… I know — it can be hard to hear news we don’t want to hear, but sometimes, for the good of us all, we have to listen to that which dismays us.

  2. Hey Emily, you mentioned Dean Obeidallah in a recent post–funny coincidence, as I recently caught the Axis of Evil show on Netflix Instant, at which he was a guest. The humor is partly dated, but often not, and great performances all.

  3. introducing the absolute best engagement photos ever:

    celebrating a love powerful enough to defeat a zombie attack

    (as a side note, have i ever mentioned that i have a massive blogcrush on julianne hing?)

    • I don’t believe that I will ever get the zombies thing… but this is still fairly awesome. (Other than Shaun of the Dead, of course. Shaun of the Dead is teh bomb).

  4. Job hunting update: Still haven’t heard from the company that offered me the contingent contract about a month ago. The community college library I interviewed over Skype also hasn’t called back yet about their final decision, so still pining. Another library (one locally) that I had interviewed with successfully in the past (I only turned them down because their salary offers were too low… in this day, I’d take it in a heartbeat) had an opening I sent in for, but I’ve heard they’ve already done interviews so I figure I’m persona non librarian there now. 😦

    Seriously, if anyone’s got an opening for a reference librarian, please for the love of Dog hire me.

    • the company who offered the contingent contract–have you followed up with them since then? it might be worth a shot if you haven’t.

      • It’s a company that works with the federal government, so there is funding they have to wait on. I check their company’s press release page to see if any funding updates are there. So I’m kinda dangling on pins, needles, hooks, hopes, etc.

        • It’s still worth following up and staying on their radar once every other week or so. Not so often that you become a pain in the rear, but just often enough that they know you’re genuinely interested in them and the position they have available.

          A really excellent girl I used to work with at my last job got the job because she was the one who kept in contact and kept following up. She was actually the second choice, based on resume and interview, but she was the one who sent a thank you note and who sent a professional follow-up two weeks later when no offers had yet gone out to anyone. The other candidate dropped off the planet.

      • I should have noted in the earlier reply that I did call the company, and the HR rep said the contract is still waiting on whether or not they’ll get the gov’t contract that covers that job.

  5. It’s not so much that I’ve run out of ideas entirely as it is that I’ve run out of *easy* ideas. Looks like for this week and next, this whole “look at me I’m playing writer” business will take actual research and editing and effort. Bah. Laziness is so much easier… but not more alluring. *puts rear in gear*

    • But on the bright side none of us are wasting time on yet another 3-Day Novel contest over Labor Day weekend. I mean, my God, all that stress for just 85 pages of mumbled plot holes… oy. We’re all better off writing short stories instead. …what?

    • dude, i swear, i have all these thoughts bouncing around in my head in response to your post on gamer death–which, if i might say, has been one of my favorites of yours in terms of thought-provokingness (“thought-provocation”? you’re so provocative)–but i haven’t been able to coalesce them into anything interesting yet. i have some catching up to do.

  6. JHarper2

     /  August 23, 2011

    As was mentioned later in TNC;s OTAN yesterday, Jack Layton, head of Canada’s NDP (progressive party) died of cancer early Monday morning. He was head of Canada’s Official Opposition (Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, yes that is an actual job).
    He left a remarkable letter to Canadian’s that he wrote on the Saturday just before his death.
    The entire letter is here.

    It is worth reading in it’s entirety, but especially for the ending paragraph which I quote:

    My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.

    RIP Jack Layton 1950-2011

    • helensprogeny

       /  August 23, 2011

      Consider this “like”d. Thanks for passing it along.

    • I’m sorry and said to say that I had only barely even heard of Jack Layton before yesterday, and now that I’m starting to catch up, I’m beginning to see what I lost. What an astonishing letter — from the business of what he’d recommend his followers do, to immediately trying to boost the spirits of other people who are ill, to doing what he can to help his party even after he’s passed, to that last sentence: “My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world.” Just astonishing. And lovely and heartbreaking.

      I actually saw that last sentence in a tweet yesterday: Someone had written it in chalk on a sidewalk and posted a picture:

      I think I may need to have a poster made of that. That is the whole thing, in a nutshell, isn’t it.

      Thank you for bringing this here.

      • corkingiron

         /  August 23, 2011

        Apparently it was turned into a poster within 12 hours of the letter being released. Jack’s greatest strength was his pragmatic idealism – and he knew how to get stuff done. His list of accomplishments is truly impressive.

    • caoil

       /  August 23, 2011

      I have to say I am still fairly devastated by this today. I couldn’t even watch the news blurb last night as I would’ve burst into tears.

  7. taylor16

     /  August 23, 2011

    The newest “Mindset of College Freshmen” list is out:

    I don’t like this one as much as the 2014 one, for some reason (, but it’s still worth a read. 🙂

    Hope you’re all having a good day!

    • JHarper2

       /  August 23, 2011

      Re: 2014 list, always had a cell phone/never needed a watch. A friend was at a music festival this summer where the beer sellers were required to ID all liquor purchasers (it was in a city park). As she was struggling to get out her ID, the checker said, I don’t need to see your ID, you’re wearing a watch.

      • Love that line.

        Every so often I get carded. I feel as if I have wings.

        • taylor16

           /  August 23, 2011

          Too bad you didn’t live in Indiana between July 2010 and July 2011 – the legislature idiotically passed a new law that mandated that *every* person in the state get their ID checked for alcohol, whether they were 21 or 91. Excise cops started sending around people in their 50s and 60s to catch cashiers and bartenders who weren’t checking IDs.

          So for a year, we could all fool ourselves into thinking we all looked young while we dealt with this moronic law. 🙂

  8. dmf

     /  August 23, 2011

    interesting talk on what has happened to valuing quality and craft in our working lives:

    • If I limited my media consumption to the links you leave for me here, and only those links — I would be well-informed and highly entertained, and probably never really need anything else.

      • dmf

         /  August 23, 2011

        that’s most kind ee, of course there are needs and than wants…
        if you get a chance in your all too busy days to check it out drop me a line and let me know what you think.

  9. MightBeLying

     /  August 23, 2011

    Where is our resident seismologist? Apparently we just had an earthquake in Philadelphia. (I was freaked out bc I thought someone had somehow accessed the floor above me, earthquake is way less disconcerting). My facebook news feed is blowing up with reports of “DUDE EARTHQUAKE!”

    I guess the Californians are probably laughing at us. Kind of like we laugh at Georgia when they get flurries and buy out all of the bread, milk and toilet paper.

    • taylor16

       /  August 23, 2011

      We had a 5.2-ish magnitude one here in Indiana a few years back. It wasn’t bad or anything, but given that it wasn’t exactly expected in the area it did freak us all out a little bit. When you don’t live in an area that’s prone to them, it *is* a little odd to be sitting there and suddenly think “okay, why is my furniture randomly banging against the wall??” I’d probably be about 50 times more freaked out if I was in a high-rise!

      What I’m confused by, though, is that apparently people in the Detroit area felt it. Is there a fault line that runs that way or something? Because we’re about the same distance away from DC, but I felt nothing.

    • I’m in Manhattan right now, and I felt it. The whole room shook like a washing machine with the clothes weighted unevenly. I thought it felt like a quake, but I was sure there must be some other explanation because I don’t normally expect quakes of this scale on the East Coast. I’ve been in one real quake before this, a 5.4 in Frisco where I was 20 miles away from the epicenter. That’s how I knew what it felt like. I was in a motel in the early morning, and I first thought some people upstairs were moving some heavy furniture causing everything below to shake, before I realized there was no upstairs. I’ve also apparently lived through a couple of tiny ones in Baltimore which I didn’t notice when they occurred.

    • helensprogeny

       /  August 23, 2011

      I just sent my brother in NYC a text which read: “I just heard about the quake, you guys okay?” He, recently moved from SF, wrote back: “Quake?” Apparently, it literally didn’t register with him, although I’d read a news report that said buildings in NYC were swaying.

  10. cofax

     /  August 23, 2011

    Still waiting for my job situation to get resolved. I’m employed, so yay, but the benefits suck and I want to get back on Kaiser so I can deal with some medical issues I’d been putting off. On the positive side, it looks like if I do leave there is work out there — I had a nice chat with a former coworker who asked me to send along my resume.

    Anyway, the big boss said he would have some news for me today about my position, except he hasn’t called and hasn’t called and I am sitting here chewing my nails.

    Really, I would much rather be at home reading fanfiction and going for long runs in the woods.

    And I’m getting a sore throat. Boo.

      • cofax

         /  August 23, 2011

        (Heh, blocked, what a suprise.)

        And I wrote a ton of XF fanfic. Some of it’s on Gossamer, even. But not, I think, the epic post-colonization adventure I wrote with a couple of friends.

        • Wait, blocked? What? Is there something the blogger needs to attend to?

          • cofax

             /  August 23, 2011

            Nope, it’s blocked by our webfiltering software. Same way I can’t read TNC’s comments at work–the software blocks Disqus. And, apparently, Gossamer (porn! and bad fanfiction!).

  11. Holy heck!

    Virginia just got hit with an earthquake.

    Tweeter is full of #500footbinladen tags at the moment.

    And there IS a seismic zone!

    • I wasn’t paying attention and I didn’t notice fuck-all and I am sad.

      • Ian

         /  August 23, 2011

        Seriously? Aren’t you at Virginia Tech? You didn’t notice this:–.2011082300.gif ?

        • I don’t know, but I didn’t. Maybe it was a particularly riveting episode of WTF or something. I’m kind of hoping for some kick-ass aftershocks, because I am going to ride those motherfuckers like a goddamned jet-ski.

          • Ian

             /  August 23, 2011

            I knew a guy in San Francisco who didn’t feel the Loma Prieta quake. He was on his bicycle.

            • I remember turning left during one earthquake and thought I had blown a tire, the car was shuddering so strong. But seeing all the windows in the buildings sway in and out – and then seeing the ground swelling up and down in waves – made me realize it was an earthquake.

          • We had an earthquake in Tel Aviv once. It made my wheeled desk chair wobble a bit, and the book shelves did a brief samba. It was very weird.

    • 5.9 magnitude? That’s an impressively strong one.

      Yowza. The newsfeeds are going wild.

  12. David L

     /  August 23, 2011

    Alterna-open-thread blog flog:

    On why heteronormativity can be a good thing, and why so many LGBT commentators seem to not realize it.

    • I think you’re talking linguistics here, and now I shall have to go read to find out.

      • dmf

         /  August 23, 2011

        the use of “heteronormativity” is enuff of a warning to keep me from following you down that rabbithole but on a more general note (if not total tangent) I would suggest that any use of the term “problematic” is a clear sign that the chances of actual conversation/learning happening is next to nil.

        • Nah, d – go ahead and read it! It’s interesting, through provoking stuff. Pinky swear! (Also: David didn’t say “problematic”…?)

          • David L

             /  August 23, 2011

            Dang. I was most of the way typing out a comment saying that I’d avoided “problematic” when I accidentally hit F5 and saw that you’d beaten me to it since my last reload.

            To be honest, the word “heteronormative” and its variants make my skin crawl. I guess that the concept needs a name, but it seems like some bright person somewhere should have come up with a less clinical one. I’m not real enamored with the usual rheteoric that goes with the word, either, but I think that I’ve got enough to say there that I’m going to make a follow-up post tonight.

            • dmf

               /  August 23, 2011

              ok not the PC flashback that I had imagined, in academic circles, (who else would coin such jargon?), heteronormativity doesn’t just signal a preconception but more an attempt to enforce a norm, we need terms for negative reactions (like some kinds of disgust or hatred) that aren’t about fear as homo-phobia suggests.
              I’m all for greater specificity (which ironically much identitypolitics-academic-speak tends to cover up) and so applaud all efforts to help people avoiding thinking of (or otherwise treating) actual multitude-containing individuals as examples of preconceived types.

  13. Just found this through a random blog hit:

    What do you think?

  14. Hey now –

    How is the kid? Everything OK? We’re thinking about you – keep us up-to-date.

    • : )

      It’s a (drumroll)… virus! Apparently not strep. The doctor says that she doesn’t go soaring back over over 99 in the temperature department, she can go back about her business tomorrow. And she is already so much better. It seems the boy she probably got it from was better within three days, so fingers crossed!