Quest to the North

Jun. 28th, 2017 07:10 pm
marycatelli: (Golden Hair)
[personal profile] marycatelli posting in [community profile] book_love
Quest to the North by Tom Rogneby

Book #2 of the Minivandians. A prequel, but spoilers ahead for Tales of the Minivandians.
Read more... )
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Are we seeing the end of the Left and the Right, as we know them?

Americans who can find North and South Korea on a map are more likely to prefer diplomacy to war.

Which country is our strongest ally? After dumping (on) Britain and Europe, Republicans are leaning toward Australia.

Being forgetful may mean your brain is working properly. Do I really have to remember the essay I wrote for the NYS English Regents exam?

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayer's dissent warns that the US is turning into a prison state. She's not wrong. Read this.

Body shape analysis with kittens.

Obama on the Trumplackofcare bill. Ignore the grandiosity of the webpage and drop down to the speech. And the Congressional Budget Office's crunched numbers show 22 million would lose health care. Essentially, it is the cynical and uncaring RetroRepublicans trading lives for tax cuts.

And an editorial on why people are in politics, and how this week will define them. Quoting behind the cut: )

And David Brooks writes on how the GOP has rejected traditional conservatism. Quoting behind cut: )

Since the Washington Post is still giving me stink-eye, here's Bipartisan Report's review of Sally Yates' blast at Jeff Sessions.

Where can the gay men fleeing Chechnya find refuge? I want to write 'our gay brothers fleeing Chechnya' because they are. But current US immigration policies will not make things easy for them.

What all 50 states are hungry for, on Pinterest.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
My grandmother Nellie had a younger brother, Jack, who was friendly and cheerful and helpful and became a baker (and all-around general cook, but that was later). He taught my mother his recipe for piecrust, and it never failed either of us: behind cut -- my comments in ( ) )

Jack was the kind of character that I wish I'd met when I was older -- I think I met him once when I was 4, which wasn't that memorable. As I said, he was a baker, and he was engaged to this girl that everyone in the family liked (which might have been difficult, since Jack was the youngest of 9 and the family tended to be protective of their littlest brother, never mind that he was in his 20s.) And on the day of the wedding ... she didn't show up. Neither did his best man. They'd eloped.

It broke his heart. He couldn't stay in the Ottawa Valley any more; it was just too uncomfortable. So he took a job as a cook on a ranch in Alberta, took the train west, and came back at Christmas when he could. He taught my mom to knit, because he knew how to knit his own socks, and held her skeins of yarn for her while she wound them into balls, telling her stories of the ranch all the time. He taught her how to make piecrust, and a cake that wouldn't fall, and a lot more. Nellie would write to him and get frustrated when he didn't reply -- someone from the ranch would stop at the post office in town once a week or so -- so after two attempts that got no answer one year she put on the address, "If not claimed within two weeks, addressee is deceased; please return to sender." He wrote back really fast after that, and made a big joke of it.

When he came back during World War I, both his parents were dead (his mother a few years earlier but his father died in about 1917-1918) and were buried out in the little cemetery by the river church, without a headstone. He went around to visit all his brothers and sisters, asking for a little money to pay a stone cutter, and got nowhere. And yeah, he could understand that farmers and small merchants had a hard time during wartime, but there was family pride at stake too. So he dug into his own pocket, and one day a gravestone, a tall, elegant granite marker, appeared over their graves. Engraved on it was, "Sacred to the memory of Daniel and Catherine McNeely," and their dates and I think (it's been a while since I saw it) a pious verse of some sort. But in another line, underneath, "Erected by their son, John McNeely." (Never mind his three older brothers, and five sisters.) Nobody in the family took it badly, and some found it really funny, but under it all people were grateful that it had been done. And they all thought it was very much a Jack thing to do.

When he died in the late 1960s, after several years in a nursing home back in the Ottawa Valley, near family, he was buried near his parents, and the marker was altered to add his name and dates.

So, please, use Uncle Jack's Piecrust Recipe, and welcome, and pass it along. I don't want it to vanish into the place where good memories go when nobody remembers them any more.

Unexpected encounters, part 3

Jun. 26th, 2017 09:55 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
It was the first day at St. Bonaventure University, to which I was transferring after two years above the Adirondacks at Potsdam State. One of the girls down the hall, who had been there for a couple of years, was showing me around the campus and filling me in on which professors to take for which classes, and which to avoid because they weren't as good, and which to avoid because they hit on the students -- all good things to know.

After we'd wandered around most of the buildings, she took me to the nature trails, on the wilder part of the campus by the river. The trails had been there for a century or more, weaving through the woods and the nearby swamp; the longer trail we ended up on ran from the village to the west, past the campus, and into a park halfway to the city of Olean, on the east. It was well-worn dirt, not bad for walking, and she was talking and gesturing as we walked and I listened.

Then I looked up.

There were trees on both sides of the trail, so we were walking under the arch of their branches. And on one of those low branches -- say, 15' from the ground -- there was a bald eagle, and it was staring at me. It shifted around on the branch to face me full on.

I tried to get her attention; I couldn't manage to interrupt her, and we kept walking forward toward that branch.

The eagle lifted off, watching me the whole time, and swooped low, its claws nearly touching my head, and swung off into the woods.

The girl with me never saw a thing.

I learned later that the eagle was one that had been found injured in a farmer's field, had been taken to a branch of the Audubon Society, where they had a vet who patched up wounded birds, and rehabilitated. When she was released, she built a nest on the edge of the swamp, near the river. That wasn't a bad choice for a fish-eating bird -- that river had four-foot carp, not to mention catfish and other fish.

I used to see the eagle again, when I was walking through the trails, taking a break from class. There was a small clearing in the woods, with a stone bench that caught the sun, and it was a good place to study or catch up on reading -- I've never been able to study with other people around me. After a while, the animals would come out to see what this odd thing was that smelled like a human but didn't move like one. I would see deer fairly often, and parts of wild turkeys (you never saw a whole one -- they always kept part of a tree between you and them), and once or twice a fox. But they left when I moved, and none of them gave me the intense close encounter that I had with that eagle.

last ones tonight

Jun. 25th, 2017 10:55 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Why Travis Kalanick resigned as Uber president. Quote: As Axios’s Dan Primack wrote, “Someone close to Uber recently said to me: ‘It’s wrong to say that Uber doesn’t care about women. It doesn’t really care about people, and women are people. It’s incidental.’ ”

In some of the Midwest, the problem is too many jobs and not enough workers.

In NYC, fighting for the immigrants of Little Pakistan.

Liberals in strange places... like Montana.

There may be a way to kill the Trumpcare bill.

Natives on the Hill -- an antidote to homesickness for Native Americans at the Capitol.

A superhero power for our time -- handling the truth.

Songs of Sorrow and Hope

Jun. 25th, 2017 08:01 pm
marycatelli: (Golden Hair)
[personal profile] marycatelli posting in [community profile] book_love
Songs of Sorrow and Hope: The Art of Jenny Dolfen by Jenny Dolfen

A collection of her work, from drawing to full paintings, with some discussion of techniques, quite a bit about inspirations (a lot of Tolkien), and a walk through of how one work was completed.

A lot of lovely stuff.
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Ifixit.com, the free repair manual.

The world's first waterpark for people with disabilies.

Facebook now provides resources for journalists' safety.

Trump has shut off the televised feed -- and all cameras present -- at press conferences (thus ensuring the only video record of what was said is in his hands), and journalists condemn this -- but they're not boycotting the conferences.

The Washington Post is using an AI to moderate comments to the paper.

Johnny Depp opened his mouth at the Glastonbury Festival and dropped a big one: When was the last time an actor assassinated a president? As if that weren't enough to catch the morning edition, his financial woes -- what is this, spending $2 million a month? -- may sink the Pirates franchise. I look at his spending habits and all I can think is, this is a guy who was a kid who was really poor at some point, and it has never left him.

Famous women have been denying the mores of fashion (and conservatives) and wearing menswear for years. Here are some photos.

Trump is being sued for intentionally destroying presidential records. And also, he's played upon the grief of people whose family members were killed by undocumented immigrants (whether in a car accident or otherwise) to get their support.

Canada is tired of dealing with Trump, so now it's doing business with individual states and cities.

Trump also has dropped a grant for a nonprofit that helps people leave violent right-wing groups. It's like he and his crew want us to be harassed by neoNazis, isn't it?

Sen. Warren blasts the blood-money cuts in the Republican anti-health bill.

Unfortunately for us all, the Senate can't slow the progress of the GOP bill once it's written, so they're doing all they can now. And here's the Economic Policy Institute on what we have to lose.

And five Republicans refuse to support the bill -- one because it's too harsh, four because it's too liberal. I have some concerns about the mental health of those four. And McConnell may think he will win by losing if it goes down at a vote. Why? Then it's over for this year and they can go on to amending the tax code to reward the wealthy and steal from the rest of us. What a thoroughgoing scoundrel!

I don't want to say this, but there are strong rumors that Supreme Court Justice Kennedy may want to retire at the end of this term. That means either we go back to an 8-person court or we get another retroRepublian, for the next 30 years. But, in the meantime, the Court has agreed to hear a bill on gerrymandering that will affect Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Maryland (and probably others as well.)

Bill Cosby, who will face another trial in the aftermath of his mistrial,
plans to give speeches on how not to be arrested for sexual assault. No printable comment on this is possible.

More on Yellowstone grizzlies losing endangered-species listing. Thing is, they don't always stay in Yellowstone, and they can be hunted if they stray outside.

Here is a graphic from NARAL that you are free to share where you will.

good? bad? who knows?

Jun. 24th, 2017 04:24 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
It's been a day and it hasn't stopped.

There are two farmers markets locally that we go to; the SU goes to the one by the railroad tracks with the good meats, and I sometimes go to the one downtown (locally, not DC), which has good veggies and fruit. I got ready to go to that one today. I got less than a mile away when my stomach said, loudly, "I don't feel well. I may give you back what you've eaten if you keep going."

What could I do? I took the next cross-street, which is a fairly direct route home, and came home and took something to settle the stomach, which continued to grumble.

I had put down my glasses for some reason; when I picked them up, one side piece fell off, behind the hinge. We went to Kaiser; no, they couldn't fix it, but they recommended a shop some distance away that was going to close in about 90 minutes. It took half an hour to get there, but we did. The cost isn't bad -- $65 is a lot better than ordering new glasses and going without for two weeks because the old ones hurt to wear -- and I can pick them up Monday.

The guy who does the repair also does lenses, replacement and new prescriptions, and I may take my very old Bausch & Lomb sunglasses there to get polarized lenses for them, or maybe even the distance half of my prescription so I can use them in situations where I'm at an angle to the sun that puts light on the *back* of the glass (which means I see the glass surface or dust or smears and not through the glass).

So, I can't drive till Monday after we pick the repaired glasses up, since I need them to drive (legally). I was going to get tickets for a local play - I know one of the actors - but the computer glitched on me and blew the sale, and I'm too frustrated, so it will be next weekend.

(I am very glad that I did not agree to be in the Second Life fundraising event today -- which took place about the same time we were driving along the six-lane looking for the address for the glasses repair place.)
(Oh, yeah, I got locked out of my credit union account on Thursday -- their new 'security system' sent my passcode slower than their time limit for entering the passcode, so I had to repeat the process, and then it said that was the wrong passcode... I got in this morning, no problem.)

And I discovered one of the two soprano coyotes -- it's the collie that belongs to what must be new people in the house behind us (none of the people look familiar and the others had a beagle.) It was listening for the *real* coyote in the park and singing replies. The baritone coyote is still out there being a coyote somewhere, I suspect.

But the contractor who bid on the masonry work we need looks very good and we said yes. And the garlic and onions I planted seem to be doing fairly well; I need to trim back lemon balm from shading the garlic, but that's all.

So the world is slightly fuzzy around the edges, but it's not that bad.

Swan Knight's Sword

Jun. 24th, 2017 04:20 pm
marycatelli: (Golden Hair)
[personal profile] marycatelli posting in [community profile] book_love
Swan Knight's Sword by John C. Wright

Third and final book in the Green Knight's Squire trilogy. Serious spoilers ahead.

Read more... )

Feast of the Elfs

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:49 pm
marycatelli: (Golden Hair)
[personal profile] marycatelli posting in [community profile] book_love
Feast of the Elfs by John C. Wright

Second book in the Green Knight's Squire trilogy. Serious spoilers ahead.
Read more... )

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