Callin’ it! An open thread.

Ta-Nehisi is reportedly “out seeing America” so we might as well call it early and open up ye ol’ student lounge!

For your chit-chatting pleasure….

Standard FYI clause: My rule of thumb is that I wait for 2 hours after Ta-Nehisi would usually open a thread (roughly noon, EST), and if none is forthcoming, I put one up here.

140 Comments

  1. I’m here inside America, doing my day job. Not quite seeing America. But the outside view is pretty.

    • Hold on. Are you perhaps seeing… RUSSIA?

      • Oh. Laugh out loud. For reals.

        We snuck out for lunch today. I know. Bad, bad, bad. But we felt like saying “Enough with you, Whole Foods, and your emphasis upon healthy food! We want french fries!”

        Tomorrow it’s back to tofu pudding, I guess.

        • Someday I’m going to get the chance to actually hear you laugh and that will make me happy indeed!🙂

    • caoil

       /  February 8, 2012

      I can see America* from my work desk (not my porch).

      *Well, Mt. Baker, at least.

      • I can see America* from my desk too!

        (*Arlington, where all the white folk who work on the Hill live.)

        • caoil

           /  February 8, 2012

          I think there’s a joke in here someplace, with hill zombies, but I can’t quite get to it.

  2. David L

     /  February 8, 2012

    I’m rather irritated that the firewall at work blocks Kotaku under the category of “games”, so I can’t actually read K. Cox’ stuff as she posts it.

    • Whereas I am irritated that each time I try to sign up for her RSS feed, the site gives me a page of code! Not helping, Kotaku, not helping!

      (Also, and please, my geeky friends: What does “Kotaku” mean?)

      • “kotaku” is more or less a way of saying “little fanboy” (“fanperson”?): “ko-” is a prefix meaning “small”, and an “otaku” is an obsessive shut-in (here, a loanword used widely to refer to an anime/manga aficionado).

        also, my complaint is that i do in fact get the rss feed for kotaku, and it’s mostly a bunch of scrubs not named kate cox. what is this?!

    • mythopoeia

       /  February 8, 2012

      We theoretically have a firewall. It has not blocked YouTube, Reddit, or Facebook to date. It does block Kotaku.

      Mostly it just pops up annoyed messages at the social sidebar plugins on various sites, but then lets the full page load. I can’t really figure out the sense in that.

      • David L

         /  February 8, 2012

        Ours allows Twitter and Google+, but not Facebook. Nor does it allow me to get to any of the sites used to post images to Twitter. How our official Facebook page is maintained, I dunno.

        • cofax

           /  February 8, 2012

          Ours blocks Twitter, G+, FB, Tumblr, Youtube, and Disqus. Makes any online conversation kind of difficult.

  3. JHarper2 wrote again last night, and it looks like it was a good thing that we showered him with love yesterday:

    I looked in at beginning of the OTAN when I was in dialysis this morning, and saw the first few comments. Then things went bad again, today has been one of the worst days for pain ever with this problem. I looked again recently when I got up, and was just overwhelmed. The Horde really is the best. I am just, just, well you know. Today through everything, the sun shone on my face.

    I am also so happy that Anibundel is going to let me put up my thoughts at her place* and so grateful that she took time from her own writing (and life) (and kitties) to, as she put it “edit for clarity”. This is what I have been unable to do, and the fact that she undertook to do it leaves me deeply in her debt.

    Big Whoop for Paul W being offered a job. I know it is not his chosen (and loved) field, BUT! It will bring him income and the self-affirmation that comes with having someone want to pay you money, AND, it is always for some reason easier to get a job when you have a job. And once a door opens, who knows into what rooms it may lead. (I have to remain an optimist, any other course for me is too dark these days).

    And RWG sent me a song by Townes, it is like he knew what I needed. There is also a story about Health Bureaucracy obtuseness for Taylor16, but that will have to wait for another time.

    I read a lot of British Social History in the late 70s and 80s which I was able to use in the Downton post. In the wake of Upstairs Downstairs, a number of people who were domestic servants in the twenties and thirties published their memoirs which included reminiscences of what they were told by older servants of the Victorian/Edwardian times. Many of these people worked for Lord and Lady Astor so they were at about the same level of society as the Granthams. Some have now been republished. In keeping with the Horde tradition of recommendation of books.

    http://www.amazon.com/Rose-Life-Service-Lady-Astor/dp/0143120867/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328641237&sr=8-1-fkmr0

    http://www.amazon.com/Below-Stairs-Inspired-Upstairs-Downstairs/dp/1250005442/ref=pd_bxgy_b_text_c

    In terms of physical comforts, I have all those things that my diets (diabetic, renal failure, calciphylaxis) allow me to have. About the only thing I can have, but can’t use is books, even Agatha Christie is too complicated for my brain these days.

    Again, most sincere thanks to you and Ani for taking the time to help reconnect me to my “invisible friends” in the Horde and please thank all of them for their sincere wishes. You can update your “Emily’s Map of Canadians” and put me in Regina, SK.

    *it’s up at her place now. I’ll post the top and a link in another comment.

    Oh, and I’ll repost all of the above in the next OT at TNC’s.

    • caoil

       /  February 8, 2012

      Hm. This struck me yesterday, but twigged here by his mention of getting a song from RWG – what if a bunch of people each pitched in a song we think he might like, whether it’s fun and silly, or relaxing, or clever, and then either burn it to a physical copy that could be mailed, or else zip it and upload it somewhere he (or a family member) can retrieve it from?

      Just a thought, since books aren’t an option right now.

      • Bookwoman

         /  February 8, 2012

        That’s a wonderful idea.

      • caoil

         /  February 8, 2012

        (given the lack of an edit button, at least as far as I can see…)

        …I should clarify – I meant one person could collect ’em all up and do either of those options, as opposed to 70 people each sending an individual file or cd to him.

        • I got that – no worries!

          I can take care of the part where I ask how to get it to him, if someone else can do the tricky tech bit…!

          • caoil

             /  February 8, 2012

            I do not mind being the collator of musical enjoyment for this, unless someone has the ability & interest to get all fancy and do it up on a mixing board or something.

      • watson42

         /  February 8, 2012

        Music is a great idea. I was thinking yesterday maybe we could get him a funky hat in honor of Downton Abbey, something crazy/over the top that would make him laugh. (What would an appropriate hat of the Lost Batallion of the Golden Horde of Black Republicans look like?!?)

    • Sorn

       /  February 8, 2012

      Tell Jharper I’m sorry I didn’t see his OTAN status till late–I tend to skip down through the first batch of posts. It must be hell. My thoughts and prayers are with him, but I would very much like to know if he would like a few books on tape? I know he can’t read so much, but maybe just the right story with just the right voice would be good.

      Anyway, I really don’t know what else to say or do. I’ll be praying for him in my own agnostic way.

    • taylor16

       /  February 8, 2012

      Awww, thanks for this. And to see myself name-dropped? I’m …….. oh, look. Must have something in my eye.🙂

      Thanks for passing this along. Anything else that helps him pass the time that we can donate? E-books? Games? Funny videos?

  4. From JHarper2’s Downton Abbey post at anibundel’s place:

    Why are the Crawleys so poor?

    Watching Downton Abbey and having some interest in the social history of the time, it struck me that both the Matthew Crawley family and the Crawleys of Downton Abbey seemed under-servanted for their time and class. Sure enough, my suspicions were confirmed. Let’s look at this handy “Domestic Servant Hierarchy and Wage Scale.”

    To read the rest of his research and insights, please do click here! http://anibundel.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/poor-crawleys-a-study-of-downton-abbeys-staffing-woes/

    • Bookwoman

       /  February 8, 2012

      I just read it and commented over there; the post is great! I’m an unrepentant Anglophile, and Mr. Bookwoman and I are currently rewatching Upstairs, Downstairs. Carson is great, but he’s no Hudson.

    • Thanks! Sorry, I am being swamped with work type stuff here at work.

      • YOU HAVE TO WORK?!

        I faint at the very notion.

        (It’s cool! And this isn’t exactly the high-traffic, scanning-for-DA-news spot that is TNC’s anyway!).

        • Anywhere that someone might see it is good enough right now.🙂 The hats insanity from yesterday has died down and we’ve returned to new-normal levels, (as opposed to pre Jan 23rd normal-levels.) I’m thinking it must’ve been picked up by an Australian DA fan sight, because the numbers spike was all in the pre-dawn hours.

          • taylor16

             /  February 8, 2012

            Did you see that Alyssa Rosenberg linked to that post a few weeks back? I just ran across it on my RSS reader last night. That might help explain some of the traffic as well…

            • Oh yes, but that wasn’t one of the Big Spikes. I mean, I thought it was big at the time, but it only produced 500 hits or so. (Yes, I did just write that sentence.)

              The truly big spikes have come from Facebook fan groups. Yesterday it got 1951 views. Just yesterday. (The total views are in the 6000+ range.) Of those views 1499 came from “facebook.”

  5. mythopoeia

     /  February 8, 2012

    Did y’all see that James Fallows did an IAMA on reddit today? http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/pged2/i_am_james_fallows_national_correspondent_for_the/

  6. I need to spend more time here, though that requires that I have more time to spend. Anyway, here’s the latest cute-ish thing I dropped on my Tumblr. http://newindesmoines.tumblr.com/post/17269977071/this-is-what-it-feels-like-being-a-teacher

    Oh, in other news, I was just invited to read in Minneapolis in April and Des Moines in May. This, along with my reading in Chicago in March, means I’m officially on tour, I think. A year after my book came out, but still on tour.

    • Reading in Chicago in March you say…?

      Hmm. I wonder who lives nearby Chicago who might like to take you out for a beer? Can’t think of her name….

      • Yep. And for a good cause too. The Rumpus is doing a reading to raise money for 826 Chicago on the Thursday night of the AWP convention. March 1st. I’m reading with Nick Flynn, Cheryl Strayed, Peter Orner, Sommer Browning and Stephen Elliott. I’m a little intimidated by that group, so I’ll try to make up for it with braggadocio and racy poems.

        • Oh that’s right, the AWP conference! You did mention that.

          Well, if you find you’ll have a spare slice of time for coffee or beer, do let me know! (Incidentally, the Palmer House, where at least some of the events are taking place if I’m not mistake, is where my husband and I had our honeymoon! It’s super-dooper lovely).

    • taylor16

       /  February 8, 2012

      Heh. That is almost exactly how I’ve described teaching to my husband and a few other people. I taught a 3-hour night class for a year, and I used to say that I felt like some kind of kiddie entertainer up there, trying to keep them focused and interested and awake. Running to one side of the room, waving my arms: “look over here! I’m doing something interesting! Yayy!!” Then putting on a movie: “Look! Look! A movie!!” But you can’t leave it on too long… Then back up front to ask questions and bounce around some more: “Interaction! Interaction! Interact with me!!!”

      Huge exaggeration, of course. I liked teaching, and a lot of it was really great. But … yeah.🙂

  7. Neocortex

     /  February 8, 2012

    The Occupy DC raids made me sad because I’d been there. I watched people get beaten on the livestream and videos and recognized a couple of people that I’d met (and watched Quinn, the wonderful Wired reporter who spent a bunch of time hanging out with us at Occupy Boston and has written some of the best Occupy articles out there, livetweet having been beaten). And then the brick that someone supposedly hit a cop with, which was the focus of 90% of the media coverage even though protesters had bones broken, turned out not to have been a brick (for the record, you should also not hit a cop with your soda).

    In the interest of medic solidarity, an Occupy Oakland medic said this last night to the Oakland City Council (which was debating, and ultimately voted down, a resolution that would have increased police enforcement at Oakland protests), after another protester stated that the City Council would have blood on their hands if they approved the resolution:

    “How many of you have cleaned tear gas out of the eyes of children? How many of you have cleaned the wounds from rubber bullets? How many of you have cleaned wounds from the ‘bean bag’ rounds? I can assure you they are not beans. They are rubber pellets. So when people say that the blood is on your hands…they are wrong. The blood is on my
    hands. I am the one mopping it up.”

  8. Am seriously considering purchasing Anti-Icky Poo upholstery injectors after HisCat lost control of her bladder on the couch yesterday. She was asleep, and then she peed, and then she was most upset.

    • caoil

       /  February 8, 2012

      Oh no! Poor sweetie! Is she an older cat?

      • She’ll be 16 in May. This is not the first time it’s happened either. She probably will avoid the couch for a while. The couch blanket caught most of it, but some soaked through. Has anyone used the injectors before? They sound like a brilliant notion, but they also sound like something I should use when R’s on a 36 hour day, and I’m going to be gone for hours on end too, because the couch will be un-sittable.

    • corkingiron

       /  February 8, 2012

      Our female (spayed) dog had this problem. Turns out it’s a fairly common problem with spayed pets – the cure for She Who Must Be Walked was simple – a small dose of estrogen once a week. Not terribly expensive either. Maybe it’s the same in felines?

    • Never a good sign…😦 Give your kitty a good hug… you know, after you’ve cleaned her off and everything…

  9. I thought we had all decided, as Americans, that Ellen Degeneres was our Gay of choice and we weren’t going to protest any shit that she does because she’s safe and uncontroversial and middle-of-the-road and all the things that we want Our Gay to be.

    • I hate JCPenny’s, but I might just go shop there to support Ellen. Those people should be taken out and smacked. Hard.

      • She’s the perfect Mom comedian, a little bland but enthusiastic, and up on mainstream popular trends. Boycotting her seems completely counterproductive.

        • corkingiron

           /  February 8, 2012

          Apparently JC Penney sent out a press release yesterday that they were happy to have her as a spokesperson, and that they “shared Ellen’s values”. If there was a JC Penney in Canada, I’d shop there just for them saying that.

    • Look at her talking about it on her show, and listen to the crowd’s responses:

      http://www.buzzfeed.com/mattcherette/ellen-degeneres-responds-to-anti-gay-one-million

      If that’s not the sound of America changing, I don’t know what is.

      (Of course, on the other hand, there’s still this: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/one-towns-war-on-gay-teens-20120202 so, you know. No complacency just yet).

    • Bookwoman

       /  February 8, 2012

      I hadn’t heard about this, and upon googling, came across this surprising reaction: http://popwatch.ew.com/2012/02/08/bill-oreilly-ellen-degeneres/

      In a surprising move for the conventional Fox News pundit, Bill O’Reilly came to the rescue of Ellen DeGeneres, who is currently facing heat from conservative groups over her recent partnership with J.C. Penney….”If you remember with the McCarthy era of the 1950s, they were trying to hunt down communist sympathizers and not let them work and put them on a blacklist… What is the difference between the McCarthy era communist blacklist in the ‘50s and the Million Moms saying, ‘Hey, J.C. Penney and all you other stores, don’t you hire any gay people. Don’t you dare.’ What is the difference?”

      • When FoxNews says you’ve gone too far….you’ve GONE TOO FAR.

      • Yeah, the Bill O’Reilly thing really points to how counterproductive this gesture is. It’s not so much the “even Bill O’Reilly thinks…” of it, it’s that I assumed that someone like O’Reilly would be against this stupid move by this group. It’s Ellen, for Christ’s sake. I call her America’s Gay only half as a joke – that genuinely kind of is the role she fills, the safe, lovable gay person that everyone can agree on. I think more and more people are rushing in to fill that void, be it NPH or Jane Lynch or whatever, but Ellen was really the pioneer. Her coming out was a big deal not because she was the first out celebrity, but because she was the first big celebrity whose appeal was directly aimed at middle America to come out. And she weathered the initial storm, and when she emerged from the other side what remained was still a person who appealed solidly to middle America.

      • That’s really astonishing. Maybe I now understand a little why Jon Stewart seems to like having O’Reilly on his show.

        (Also, I remember when Ellen came out and it was a HUGE DEAL. How far we’ve come.)

    • David L

       /  February 8, 2012

      The culture warriors seem to have not figured out that, on the GLBTQ stuff, they’ve already lost the war. The fact that Ellen Degeneres isn’t being hired as a spokeswoman because she speaks to counterculture or courts controversy, but because she hosts the biggest show in all of daytime television and is seen as the middle-aged but still hip woman next door, speaks to that.

      It was already over when being GLBTQ doesn’t disqualify you from being bland and mainstream enough to end up on daytime TV (see also Tim Gunn, Clinton Kelly, Sara Gilbert, Rosie O’Donnell, and various soap opera plots.)

      It was already over when I was in college and there were more straight/cis students debating/ shouting down/ laughing at the traveling preacher who used our university’s free speech area to lecture on the evils of homosexuality than there were ones applauding/ supporting him.

      It was already over when Zachary Quinto’s coming-out wasn’t even the focus of the interview in which he came out.

      And so on and so on. The anti-GLBTQ forces are still out there and making a ton of noise, but the resounding response on the part of America seems to range from “So what?” to “Go away.”

      • efgoldman

         /  February 8, 2012

        Didn’t I see Ellen recently as a spokesmodel on a TV commercial for some makeup or other? [Being of the male persuasion, I don’t pay a lot of attention to those spots.]

        • Yup. Revlon. Same company that has Beyonce and Drew Barrymore as their spokes models. Tagline: “Because you’re worth it.”

  10. David L

     /  February 8, 2012

    Since someone asked me for an update yesterday on my knee, here goes:

    First, for those of you who didn’t hear, I had a second knee surgery last Thursday (2/2). The surgeon removed some scar tissue from my knee that was preventing it from bending fully, and I immediately improved my range of motion from 75 degrees even with force on it to 95 degrees effortlessly, and almost a full range if he really pushed and stretched my muscles.

    Since then, life has pretty much consisted of sleep, a little bit of work, and keeping my knee moving to prevent it from tightening and/or scarring up again. It’s not always comfortable, but it’s rarely very painful other than a general achiness in my knee from all the inflammation post-surgery. I live and die by the measurement of the range of motion; the highest we got was 99 degrees yesterday, but today I was back down to the 95 I was getting immediately after the surgery. For reference, my doctor says a “normal” range of motion starts around 110 degrees, so you could say that I’m about 90% of the way there. I have a history of healing really tight after injuries, so I think that last 10% may be quite a bit of work.

    • BJonthegrid

       /  February 8, 2012

      Thanks for the update. I was interested.

    • taylor16

       /  February 8, 2012

      Glad to hear you’re healing reasonably well. I’m sure range of motion, like anything else, probably varies a bit by day. It sounds like you’re coming along nicely.

      And to make you feel better, in terms of “things could be worse?” I just sent out a surgery claim for a patient who was mountain biking and had a really bad crash. He broke both of his wrists and both of his ankles, AND tore his left ACL. Man.

      • David L

         /  February 8, 2012

        Luckily, everything seems to be working out wonderfully with my insurance, except that my (still pretty darn low) out of pocket maximum is on a calendar-year basis rather than a rolling basis, so I’m going to end up paying that amount for last year’s ER and surgery and again for this year’s surgery and physical therapy.

        Luckily, I live well within my means and I’m saving a ton of money by not eating out nearly as much as I did before this, so I think I might just make it through without having to touch my savings or go into debt.

        • taylor16

           /  February 8, 2012

          Oh, that is good news. I hate the thought of people having to put medical bills on credit cards. With the office I bill for, I have to personally approve every patient account that goes into delinquent or collection status. I simply will not approve any account where someone’s paying regularly – even if it’s just $5/month or something. But from what I understand, that’s kind of a rare policy. So I’m glad that you won’t have to go into debt to pay for your needed medical treatment. (And I hate that that sentence is necessary).

          Of course, if any bill looks even marginally weird or inconsistent with the rest, you know who to call…

          • David L

             /  February 8, 2012

            I did have to have a chat with the anesthesiologist’s billing office because they’re way behind.

            They submitted half my claim almost immediately, then the other half substantially later. The first statement I got, just after the second claim was submitted, had “INSURANCE PENDING” in the balance due box at the top of the page, but there was a line item below showing that insurance had paid the first claim and I owed x% of the allowable. A month later, I get a vaguely threatening letter demanding my share of the first claim plus the full billed amount of the second claim (which had, according to my insurance, been paid in full nearly three weeks before) because it had been 30 days since they first billed me for anything. The check I mailed in last week hasn’t cleared and the person I spoke to said that the past due thing was automatic and they couldn’t change it.

            • taylor16

               /  February 8, 2012

              Yeah, most billing companies don’t send out their own statements and are pretty powerless about what actually appears on them – how they’re formatted, whether there’s a big “past due” notice when none is needed, or sometimes even what total appears on the bill. Our bills go out with a big notice about how they’re “over X days past due” based on the date you were IN THE OFFICE … not based on when your insurance actually, you know, processed the bill. It really is out of my control and really stupid – I have to tell patients that all the time.

              The best piece of advice, always, is to do exactly what you did – call and try to find a friendly person at the billing office who will be on your side and willing to work with you and who is smart enough to understand when they need to be flexible with your “balance due.” Unfortunately, this industry isn’t exactly teeming with people like that. Sigh.

              Also, though, sometimes claims can be submitted on time, but magically “lost” by the insurance company. It happens a lot. You’ll send ten claims over, and three of them “magically” go missing and you have to resubmit them a few months later. It must be the easiest job at the insurance company – open each envelope and throw out every third claim.🙂

              • David L

                 /  February 8, 2012

                The actual letter said within 30 days of the date of service, but it was dated 30 days after the initial statement was sent. I’m also sympathetic to the “the computer won’t let me” argument, considering that my job involves being the guy who tells the computer what you can and can’t do.

                Luckily, the person on the phone agreed with me that all I really needed to pay was my percentage on the first claim.

    • Sorry to hear about all the pain. Glad things are going better.

    • Good luck on the recovery! My husband had a round of knee surgery maybe fifteen years ago where they put him immediately into a device that straightened and flexed his knee automatically, continuously over a two minute cycle. It was not fun. I’m glad you missed it. But, if you’re not in a lot of pain, that’s a good sign you’ll be able to do the work to get it back to something resembling normal.

      • David L

         /  February 8, 2012

        Those machines still exist. I’m in one four hours a day and it particularly sucks for me because my thigh is eight inches longer than the distance from where it assumes my knee is to the ground when it’s bent at 90 degrees. I’m actually doing some work from home while I’m in it because when you added up work, time on the machine, the exercises, time spent in front of a physical therapist, preparing meals, basic hygiene and sanitation, sleep, and so on, I got more than 24 hours a day.

        • Ugh. Husband didn’t have it for the most recent round—similar procedure, 12 years later, other knee—so I thought they’d discovered something better. I guess not. The fact that the thing does not even fit is an unpleasant bonus. Sending comfort and healing vibes your way!

          • David L

             /  February 8, 2012

            It’s not all bad. Right now, I’m sitting in the machine, but I’m also next to a wide-open patio door (got to love those mild Texas winters), with the sun on my face and bare chest (Vitamin D helps me stay sane when I’m stressed).

    • David L

       /  February 8, 2012

      Late update! I have just returned from a test-drive where I have decided that, although I may not quite have the strength for anything lengthy (thus depriving me of the possibility of a visit to San Antonio this weekend), I am strong enough that I can start driving myself pretty much anywhere I want, as long as it’s in town.

  11. So for GoodEats fans, The final episode is upon us, and I have written an ode to the end of my favorite Food Network show.
    http://t.co/EUGUOHJr

  12. Captain Button

     /  February 8, 2012

    Regarding the DC meetup Saturday, what are the topics-which-may-not-be-named besides oatmeal, haircuts, and steak?

  13. dmf

     /  February 8, 2012

    • OMG I love this song so much!

      Mah mind. U red it.

      • dmf

         /  February 8, 2012

        i don’t know why i love the line ‘big hands i know you’re the one’ but i do.
        takes me back to a very jagged but energized time in my life, being in a body electric is not all it’s cracked up to be

  14. cofax

     /  February 8, 2012

    A Wrinkle in Time is 50 years old!

    I remember reading it in third grade, and finding it really very scary. It wasn’t my first SF novel, that was probably something by Andre Norton swiped from my older brother’s bookshelves.

    But I love Madeleine L’Engle, and it’s great to see her get some appreciation, and get some love for awkward mathy Meg and her Nobel-laureate mother.

    • Captain Button

       /  February 8, 2012

      And I haven’t reread it in at least 30. And have never gotten around to the sequels. 8-({

      • cofax

         /  February 8, 2012

        The first two sequels (A Wind in the Door and A Swifly Tilting Planet) are good, but skip Many Waters, which is about Noah and the Flood. Loads of L’Engle’s other books are great, though–she ended up with two main series, which intersect in interesting ways, and a lot of the characters pop up in other books. Rather like Pratchett, that way: each book stands on its own, but it gains a lot of power if you’ve read some of the others.

        • mythopoeia

           /  February 8, 2012

          I loved, loved Many Waters as a kid. I have no idea what it would be like to read that book for the first time as an adult, but when I was in fourth grade I read it until it fell apart.

          The sprawling nature of the series actually kept me from getting into it beyond A Wind in the Door as a kid; I was dead set on reading them in order and couldn’t figure out the order, and this was before the Internet would have been able to give me a reading guide. I’m trying to make up for it now–just grabbed a random one off the shelf recently, and we’ll see where I go from there.

          • cofax

             /  February 8, 2012

            I really really disliked Many Waters, but I read it as an adult, probably in my 30s. But to be fair, I couldn’t tell you know why I disliked it so much.

          • k___

             /  February 8, 2012

            I loved it too, I don’t remember why either.

  15. BJonthegrid

     /  February 8, 2012

    So I am having a hate men week. The Komen scandal and Contraceptive battle started it but the straw that broke the camel’s back was the story of JFK’s intern – Meredith Viera did an interview. Seduced on Day 4 on the job? Really? She was probably still getting lost walking around the White House. There is no way anyone can say this 19 year old virgin is even remotely responsible. Exactly what could she have done after she was fetched by the Secret Service? What could any woman done in the 60’s.

    Really is it too much to call this what it is – Sexual Harassment. I personally will go with rape after hearing the details but he’s a American Hero and you know people get more except changing their opinions of people they think they know over people accusing them.

    • BJonthegrid

       /  February 8, 2012

      Taking back hate men week…..How about society at large. .

      • Ian

         /  February 8, 2012

        If it’s just for a week, I’m okay with it. I just punched myself in the face for you.

        • BJonthegrid

           /  February 8, 2012

          No! I don’t want to incite violence. Find someone to kiss your boo boo.

      • You have awesome kids. You are an awesome mom. (You don’t talk much about your partner, but probably awesome, too.)

        You’re doing what you can right now to make it better. I’m glad for that.

        Hang in there. It gets better for everyone.

        • BJonthegrid

           /  February 8, 2012

          I lost all my anger. I love the world again. Thank you!

    • It seems pretty problematic to turn all of these disparate things into a larger narrative of “hating men”. I mean, I hate men, but that’s because I hate everyone. Komen, in particular, was a problem fostered into this world by a woman.

      • BJonthegrid

         /  February 8, 2012

        I agree after re-reading it. First sentence wasn’t supported by narrative. Poor writing. *still mad*

        • Yeah. I guess I don’t really care about the third story very much. I certainly don’t feel any degree of “liberal nostalgia” for JFK. If he was a lech and a predator, meh, so be it.

        • corkingiron

           /  February 8, 2012

          You’ll want to ration that anger. You’re going to need it. The Komen thing was just a skirmish. There’s more coming. Wish it weren’t true.
          As for the intern – I haven’t followed the story. Does she describe it as a rape?

          • BJonthegrid

             /  February 8, 2012

            No – it’s very murky how she describes it. She says she wasn’t over powered but she couldn’t say now. I am not a sexual victim nor a doctor – I don’t want to go into her thought process – it’s not fair. I do know that the 45 year old man knew what he was doing when he told Secret Service to bring her to him in a bedroom.

            • corkingiron

               /  February 8, 2012

              Yes, he no doubt did – and I think you’re right that a modern court might well find this a kind of sexual assault .In Canada, the law is very clear that if the consent is obtained through the “exercise of authority”, then it is not freely given. I’m assuming most American states have similar legislation.

    • I had nothing to do with JFK. I voted for Pat Paulsen.

      …what?

      • efgoldman

         /  February 8, 2012

        I wasn’t old enough, and neither were you!
        When do you start the new job?

  16. dmf

     /  February 8, 2012

    Is anyone else reading Luminarium by Alex Shakar? I’m enjoying the ideas at play more than the characters and not sure if the last 2/3rds of the book will be worth it

  17. chingona

     /  February 8, 2012

    It’s kind of killing me that the comments are closed both on the birth control and the Planned Parenthood article over at TNC’s place. I feel so freaking warm and fuzzy inside that PP’s “deep bench” rose up and sent Komen back on their heals and just generally showed the entire country how strong the support for PP is. As with SOPA, I’m not sure this could have happened without social media. At the same time, I wonder if my daughter will be fighting these battles. Will we ever reach a point where this is just done and settled?

    • dmf

       /  February 8, 2012

      no end to to these tensions as long as limited resources are involved.

      • chingona

         /  February 8, 2012

        How are you thinking of resources in this context? I’m not really talking about the Komen money in and of itself. PP raised more than twice what it got from Komen in the week of this controversy. I mean, will women’s bodies ever stop being a political battlefield?

        • dmf

           /  February 8, 2012

          not as long as tax dollars are involved

          • chingona

             /  February 8, 2012

            Well, I just don’t see a lot of evidence that’s really the driving force here.

            • dmf

               /  February 8, 2012

              you really don’t see a connection between politicians being actively interested in these matters and tax money being spent? we live in different worlds then.

              • chingona

                 /  February 8, 2012

                You really think the people who want abortion and contraception to be illegal would stop their fight if no public funds were spent on them? We do live in different worlds.

                • dmf

                   /  February 8, 2012

                  I think that they wouldn’t have enough support/power to make a difference, they only have power by joining up with people who want less govt spending and less taxation.
                  politicians follow the money, can you think of an issue with substantial political support that doesn’t involve tax dollars?

                  • chingona

                     /  February 8, 2012

                    Which is why the executives of the Iowa Corn Council live under death threats. Gotcha.

                  • Ian

                     /  February 8, 2012

                    If you look closely enough, you can tie almost any issue to tax dollars. It’s a technique for validating an argument that you want to make anyway. And politicians do not always follow the money. Many follow the votes. Also, there are politicians with deeply held convictions that are wrong. I don’t think Santorum is just telling people what he thinks they want to hear. He’s been consistent.

    • efgoldman

       /  February 8, 2012

      At the same time, I wonder if my daughter will be fighting these battles.
      I wondered, too. She’s 31, and she is (and damned well, if I do say so….) She doesn’t have a kid yet, but I expect she’s thinking the same thing.

  18. chingona

     /  February 8, 2012

    Elsewhere in technology, I am one of the people who manages my newspaper’s twitter account, and it always amuses me when we get spam that tells us we can make a lot of money with an online business. There’s a lot of newspaper executives and their underlings who would love to know how to make money with an online business.

    • Bookwoman

       /  February 8, 2012

      He’s an amazing poet. Have you read “The Best Day the Worst Day”, his memoir of his life with his wife Jane Kenyon? It’s shattering.

  19. I can tell you chaps one thing: it isn’t always easy to hold this smile.

  20. David L

     /  February 8, 2012

    As long as we’re talking about contraception and birth control, I’ll throw this in:

    http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/blotter/entries/2012/02/08/austin_teacher_facing_felony_f.html

    A high school physical education teacher is facing a felony charge for giving a “morning-after pill” to a student who was worried that she was pregnant, according to an arrest affidavit released today.

    Tracy Lee Steinberg, 32, has been charged with delivery of a dangerous drug following an investigation into the incident last month at LBJ High School in Northeast Austin, the affidavit said.

    I’m of greatly mixed feelings about this. First off, I’m a proud alumnus of LBJ High School; it’s not quite a typical majority-minority, inner-city school because of the liberal arts and science magnet program there, but the non-magnet population is very typically inner city. I’m not sure that it was right for a teacher to be doing this for a student, but the fact that the student was too young to get a morning-after pill without a prescription and the idea that it’s a felony to provide something that, in a year, will be available to this girl over the counter, is a little ridiculous to me.

  21. Who’s excited about the floor fight at the RNC this year? I give us a 30% shot at getting one.

    • Yeah, I’ll take those odds.

      (Mitt Romney will have this thing sewn up by mid-April at the latest, and then everyone can start wanking about whackadoo potential VP’s like Herman Cain and Karen Handel before he picks Marco Rubio.)

    • efgoldman

       /  February 8, 2012

      I think the nomination itself will be a certainty by then, for The Mittster, but I think its likely that the crazies get some concessions like whacko (even more than expected) platform planks, or a prime-time speech by one of the extremest of the extremes (think Pat Buchanan in the 90s) or selecting another winnah like Palin for VP.

      • They’ll definitely get red meat at the convention. But there is no chance that the Romney campaign lets Sarah Palin happen again. Say what you will about Mitt Romney but he is not a capricious man, and he’s not going to let some unknown lunatic sink his campaign just because moonperson Newt Gingrich said he will abort straight babies so that more gay AIDS babies can be born to nigras and spics.

      • Honestly I think so too. But we’ve got another month or two of fun before that. My colleagues are all switching their voter registrations to Republican in case it lasts through California.

        • I wish we had someone good on the ballot in Virginia. All we have is Robot Man and Crazy Uncle.

          • David L

             /  February 8, 2012

            Come to Texas! We don’t even know when our primary is, so everyone and their brother can still get on the ballot!

  22. corkingiron

     /  February 8, 2012

    Washington State House has just approved same-sex marriage bill – 55 to 43.

  23. helensprogeny

     /  February 8, 2012

    Well, fuck. Jury duty tomorrow. I just found out that I not only have to show up, I have to show up at 7:30. In the morning. God is not even properly awake at that time of day. I’m usually wake and about by then but I don’t usually present myself for meaningful interaction with other live humans before 9:30 or 10.

    I fully believe in doing my civic duty, but waaahhhhhh!! Jury duty tomorrow means I won’t get a day off this week. Also that I won’t get to spend the day at the world’s largest gem and mineral show, which is in town this week and which is what I’d planned to do tomorrow. Because I thought I’d be excused.

    You’ll pardon me while I have my tantrum over here.

    I’ll be fine tomorrow. I promise. So if I do happen to be selected for your trial, I won’t take my resentment out on you. Pinkie swear.

  24. dmf

     /  February 10, 2012