Make That Change

Aug. 16th, 2017 12:45 pm
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[personal profile] goss
In these dark times, what can we do that will have the most positive impact?

Someone on my flist posted about feeling like they're not doing enough. But they were speaking with family and friends and trying to understand their views.

I actually think this is the MOST IMPORTANT THING that we can do.

It's sometimes the hardest thing to do, but I strongly believe it's the one thing that will have the most impact in the long run.

I have found that being courageous and speaking up when you are around relatives and loved ones who make racist, sexist etc. comments, challenging them, creating a dialogue about the issue, reasoning with them, correcting inaccurate beliefs, etc. - that's the key.

Do not sit silently by and let their way of thinking go unchecked. Sure, it's the easier thing to excuse it, or to not want to make a scene at a family gathering. It's safer and more comfortable to reblog your opinions in a virtual environment of strangers, but it will never make as much impact as confronting your own near and dear ones, and trying to effect change from the home, you know?

I now call out my father's sexist thinking, my mother's racial prejudices, my friends' sometimes off-colour, gossipy comments. If you don't do it, who will? You will be amazed how your intolerance of this sort of thing can make them think twice about what comes out of their mouths. Maybe even question their own bigotry and open their eyes to another way of thinking.
[syndicated profile] seattlereviewofbooks_feed

Wednesday August 16th: Why Poetry Reading

Matthew Zapruder isn’t a Seattle poet, but he edits for Seattle-based Wave Books and he publishes with Port Townsend-based Copper Canyon Press. His newest book is a self-described “impassioned call for a return to reading poetry” titled Why Poetry. While generally demands that people should read poetry are like telling kids to eat broccoli, Zapruder is a brainy and passionate advocate. Sorrento Hotel, 900 Madison St., 622-6400, Free. 21 and over. 7 p.m.

Thursday August 17th: Darkansas Reading

Seattle writer Jarret Middleton’s first novel, An Dantomine Eerly, was a surrealistic book about the death of a poet. His second, Darkansas, is about a country singer who comes home to the Ozarks to attend his twin brother’s wedding. Meanwhile, his father’s ghost lingers over the proceedings and things get really creepy. Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave, 624-6600, . Free. All ages. 7 p.m.

Friday August 18th: The Pox Lover Reading

Everyone’s favorite interlocutor, Seattle’s own Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, interviews journalist Anne-Christine d’Adesky about her memoir of lesbian activism and global refugees. Sarah Schulman says the book is “Reminiscent of the luscious lesbian literature of the Parisian past but propelled into the era of AIDS, ACT UP, and the Lesbian Avengers.” Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 10th Ave, 624-6600, . Free. All ages. 7 p.m.

Saturday, August 19th: Fun Home Book Club

Now that all the drama nerds are excited about Fun Home because of the musical that just came to town, it’s important to recall that Alison Bechdel’s first memoir is a complex and beautiful work of literature on its own. Come talk about one of the best comics of the last 20 years with a group of comics fans. Outsider Comics and Geek Boutique, 223 N. 36th St., 535-8886, Free. All ages. 5 p.m.

Sunday August 20th: Cephalopod Appreciation Society

See our Event of the Week column for more details. Waterfront Space, 1400 Western Ave., Free. All ages. Noon.

Monday August 21st: Booze and Lasers: All the Birds in the Sky

We tend to have fewer readings at this time of year, which means it’s time for you to visit some book clubs! This new boozy book discussion group is devoted to appreciating recent sci-fi gems by women and authors of color. Their most recent selection is Charlie Jane Anders’s sci-fi-and-fantasy mashup, All the Birds in the Sky. Third Place Books Seward Park, 5041 Wilson Ave S, 474-2200, Free. All ages. 7 p.m.

Tuesday August 22nd: Found: A Life in Mountain Rescue Reading

Bree Loewen is the leader of Seattle Mountain Rescue, a volunteer organization that saves the lives of people who get lost in the wilderness. Her memoir about those rescues — successful and not, famous and obscure — builds into a portrait of the region’s outdoor community. Read it while you’re still able to get out to the mountains for a few more weeks. King County Library, Redmond Branch, 15990 NE 85th St,, 425-885-1861, Free. All ages. 7 p.m.

[syndicated profile] seattlereviewofbooks_feed

Sierra Nelson loves cephalopods. Squids, octopuses, cuttlefish — you name it, if it’s a bilateral mollusk with a big-ass head, Nelson is positively gaga over it. Nelson is a Seattle-area poet, and you can understand how a poet might fall in love with betentacled sea creatures: they’re romantic figures, skulking in the ocean — a part of the great marine biosphere, but also remote from the whales and fish. Those articulate limbs and big brains set them apart from the rest, leaving them to skulk and mope fabulously. And they even produce their own ink! How could a poet not land on Team Cephalopod?

But Nelson is more science-minded than your average poet. She’s a co-founder of the Vis-á-Vis Society, which applies scientific rigor to crowd-sourced poems, often employing large crowds at parties to write, Mad Lib-style, a series of poems about love and longing. No other poets in town have likely dissected a poem into pie charts on a whiteboard while wearing a lab coat.

On her own, Nelson loves to tease out the poetry in science, finding resonance in the long and mysterious Latin words and phrases that we’ve used to name the world. One of my favorites of her poems is “The First Photograph,” which explains the process that created a blurry heliograph by the father of photography, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce:

Through the pinprick it all came to us,

how close we were, upside down,

several hours on the windowsill.

We were surfaces arranged to receive.

The poem concludes: “Yet I capture you. Close to the sun./I coated my longing in bitumen.” Much has been written about the way photographs capture a moment in time, but rarely is that desperate need so beautifully overt.

So yes, there’s whimsy in Nelson’s celebration of all things squid and squid-like. But there’s also serious investigation and a questing mind, fusing together science and art and seeing what happens. She’s been throwing Cephalopod Appreciation Societies every year since 2015.

The Cephalopod Appreciation Society is a multidisciplinary arts celebration with music, film, visual art, poetry, and speeches. Past participants have included musician Lori Goldson, biologist Stephanie Crofts, marine cinematographer Laura James, and novelist Kevin Emerson, and presentations have included stickers, classes on incorporating marine biology into creative writing, octopus-themed animation, and sea shanty singalongs.

This year’s Society is in a different setting: whereas past assemblies happened at the creative hub of the Hugo House, this year’s edition meets on Sunday, August 20 at the Waterfront Space, a gallery on Western Ave. Nelson encourages participants of all ages to come dressed as their favorite cephalopod, and she promises there will be a “mini-parade” to the waterfront, presumably where she will call on a giant squid to rise from the deep and cast a judgment on Seattle. Will we be destroyed by the mammoth monster from the briny depths? Or will our suction-cupped friend recognize the like-minded intelligence in our eyes and guide us to a happier future? Only our molluscular overlords know for sure.

World Fantasy 2017

Aug. 16th, 2017 11:57 am
marthawells: (Stargate)
[personal profile] marthawells
The World Fantasy Convention ( is November 2-5, 2017 in San Antonio, TX this year.

Headliner guests are Tananarive Due, Karen Joy Fowler, Gregory Manchess, David Mitchell, Gordon Van Gelder and the toastmaster is Martha Wells (me!)

The con has posted the preliminary list of program topics:

Alternate Africas: The Growing List of Fantastic Alternate and Secret Narratives Set in Africa
Beards and Intrigue: Queering the Historical Fantastic
Calamity Jane Defeats Conan: The Persistence of American Folklore in Fantasy Literature
Exceptional Characters in Horrible Times
The Fiction of Mildred Clingerman
Gender Fluidity in Fantasy
History — Secret, Hidden, or Otherwise
Keeping Texas Weird
Kitsune and Dragon: Thoughtful Approaches to Alternate Eastern Asias
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley: Still our Modern Prometheus
Metaphors and Metadata: Libraries in Fantasy Literature
Molly Weasley Was a Bad Ass: Aged Protagonists in Fantasy
New Twists On Traditional Myths & Archetypes : What are the Pitfalls?
The Old West: Not Entirely Wild but Always a Fantasy
Once More Around the Bloch
The Other in Fantasy when Everyone is an Other
Place Matters: Geography’s Influence on Fantasy
Pulp Era Influences: the Expiration Date
Putting Historical Persons into your Fantasy
Religions of the African Diaspora: Beyond Zombies, Ancestors, and Giant Apes
Research, Research, Recherchez: History is Easy to Get Lost In
The Role of the City in Fantasy Settings
Small Presses that Open their Doors to the Unusual: Past and Present
Urban Legends in the Age of Fake News
What’s the Difference Between Dark Fantasy and Horror

The list of Award Finalists is here:

The convention rules state that it can only sell 850 memberships, and right now there are only about 140 or so spots left.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Aug. 16th, 2017 11:57 am
laundrybaskets: laundry (Default)
[personal profile] laundrybaskets posting in [community profile] exercise_every_day
Hey, EED community!

Here is your daily exercise check-in post! Hope everyone is having a great day!
[syndicated profile] designsponge_feed

Posted by Sofia Tuovinen

In the Netherlands, a Houseboat Offers Colorful Living on the Water | Design*Sponge

When Dieuwke Vos, a law student, and her husband Gerrit, a chef, were looking for a new home in Groningen, the Netherlands, they came across a rental ad for a houseboat. A strong connection with water and boats runs in the family — Dieuwke’s grandfather was a captain and both Dieuwke and Gerrit spent their childhoods sailing with their parents. The idea of living on the water immediately felt like the perfect choice, and the couple quickly decided to jump on the rare opportunity. Five years in, they couldn’t be happier with their spur-of-the-moment decision.

Dieuwke and Gerrit’s houseboat is 485 square feet and comprises of three rooms. They have made it work for their needs by opting for creative storage solutions and smaller-scale furniture. When the couple moved in, they realized that none of their existing furniture worked in the smaller spaces. To create a functional home, they sold their big pieces and started from scratch. Despite the lack of space and low ceilings, Dieuwke and Gerrit have been determined to create a home that feels bigger than its square footage. They have used each space to its full potential by creating various multifunctional areas; the kitchen bar serves as a dining table and extra counter space, while the secretary desk in the study can be closed to allow for more room when needed. The couple has also added different storage solutions wherever possible. Various shelves, hooks and crates have been hung on the walls to free up valuable floor space.

As Dieuwke is still studying, it was important to decorate the home on a budget, using thrifted pieces. Although finding each item takes more time, it also means that everything found on the houseboat has a story. Dieuwke is a devoted decorator, and often changes things up around the house. At the moment, the houseboat feels like an eclectic mix of different styles — mid-century, Scandinavian and industrial all play a part in this eclectic home. The common thread is the creative use of color. Colorblock walls and painted furniture create a fun atmosphere where the small size of each room is easily forgotten. Lately, the couple has also embraced the jungalow feel by adding lots of plants around the house. “They just make your home feel so much more alive,” Dieuwke explains.

For Dieuwke and Gerrit, the best thing about living on a houseboat is naturally the water. Usually, their own sailboat is moored right next to the house, a true luxury for these avid sailors. Having the possibility to sail away for the weekend or just take the boat into town for a drink is priceless. Another bonus is having plenty of outside space — the deck and the big garden are ideal spots for entertaining and watching the boats sail by. “In the winter our home is cozy and small, in the summer it’s twice the size because we mostly live outdoors,” Dieuwke explains. Choosing to live on the river has been one of the best decisions that Dieuwke and Gerrit have made. Surrounded by water and nature, the couple feels like they’re on a constant holiday — have a peek into this creatively decorated river home and you’ll see why! —Sofia

Photography by Dieuwke Vos and Jakoba Vos

Image above: In the hallway of their houseboat, Dieuwke and Gerrit wanted to create a dark and bohemian feel. Due to lack of space, the couple chose to hang various hooks on the wall instead of using a coat rack. The bench doubles as shoe storage.

Wednesday Reading Meme

Aug. 16th, 2017 12:54 pm
sineala: Detail of Harry Wilson Watrous, "Just a Couple of Girls" (reading)
[personal profile] sineala
What I Just Finished Reading

Therese Sellers, Alpha is for Anthropos: Look, I read a book this week! Okay, so it's a children's alphabet book for Attic Greek, but it's still a book and therefore it counts. Anyway, it's very cute; all the art is done in the style of red-figure pottery, and the accompanying little rhymes scan (more or less) to various children's songs.

What I'm Reading Now

Comics Wednesday!

Black Panther and the Crew #5, Generations Wolverine And All-New Wolverine #1, Invincible Iron Man #10, Secret Empire: Brave New World #5, Spider-Men II #2, US Avengers #9, Ultimates 2 #100, X-Men Blue #9 )

What I'm Reading Next

[syndicated profile] vector_bch_feed

Posted by Sukanya Charuchandra

CST axons sprout from intact to injured side
CST axons sprout from intact to injured side
Therapeutic mixture induces sprouting of axons from healthy (L) into the injured (R) side of the spinal cord.

Neuron cells have long finger-like structures, called axons, that extend outward to conduct impulses and transmit information to other neurons and muscle fibers. After spinal cord injury or stroke, axons originating in the brain’s cortex and along the spinal cord become damaged, disrupting motor skills. Now, reported today in Neuron, a team of scientists at Boston Children’s Hospital has developed a method to promote axon regrowth after injury.

“In mice, for the first time, we have a treatment that promotes functional recovery after spinal cord injury and stroke,” says senior author on the paper, Zhigang He, PhD, of Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

The team developed a therapeutic cocktail which took its roots in previous work. During earlier research into optical nerve injury with Joshua Sanes, PhD, of Harvard University, He’s team had observed that the combination of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) and a protein called osteopontin (OPN) promoted nerve regrowth and vision improvement in optically-injured mice. He’s team decided to investigate whether this mixture had therapeutic potential in other types of nerves.

Regaining function after spinal cord injury

First, the team studied a mouse model of spinal cord injury to one side of the body. Without intervention after injury, the mice were gradually able to recover some major motor function through natural resprouting of their axons. But, big shortfalls remained in their fine motor skills, making it difficult for them to walk on ladders with irregularly spaced rungs or retrieve food pellets.

In contrast, when the mice were injected with adeno-associated viruses expressing IGF1 and OPN one day after spinal cord injury, their fine motor skills greatly improved. By week 12, the team observed that the mice’s error rates on the irregular ladder dropped to 46 percent, performing strikingly better than the untreated control group, which still continued to make errors 70 percent of the time.

According to He, the improvement was caused by a boost in spinal cord axon sprouting and regeneration that resulted from the therapeutic mixture.

Next, the team wondered if the addition of 4-aminopyridine-3-methanol, known to improve axon conduction, into their therapeutic cocktail would further enhance the mice’s functional recovery.

When they treated the mice with the trio of molecules, they saw their error rates in the irregular ladder task fall to 30 percent, even more narrowly trailing the 20 percent error rate of the uninjured side of the body.

CST axon regeneration in spinal cord
Cocktail of molecules promotes axon regeneration in spinal cord.

Recovering motor function after stroke

While studying a mouse model of stroke, He’s team made a surprising observation.

“First, we saw what we expected – axon sprouting in spinal cord,” says He. “But then, we also found something unexpected – increased axon sprouting in the subcortical area of the brain.”

The subcortical area is located below the brain’s cortex, and is crucial for many complex motor and non-motor functions.

“The functional outcomes of such subcortical sprouting remain to be tested,” He says.

Excited by their findings, He’s team is now in talks with rehabilitation centers to determine the prerequisites of ultimately taking this work to clinical trials.

Yuanyuan Liu, Xuhua Wang, Wenlei Li contributed equally to this work.

Supporters of the study include grants from Craig Neilsen Foundation, NINDS, Wings for Life, Hong Kong Spinal Cord Injury Fund and Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation. IDDRC and viral cores used for this study were supported by NIH grants P30 HD018655 and P30EY012196.


Read more about Zhigang He’s previous research on optic nerve injury.

The post Novel therapeutic cocktail could restore fine motor skills after spinal cord injury and stroke appeared first on Vector.

An Easterbrook Update!

Aug. 16th, 2017 09:34 am
[syndicated profile] ittybittykitty_feed

Posted by Laurie Cinotto



Katy and Jerry, who adopted Thurston (Saucer) and Norma (Binka) Easterbrook are very dear friends of ours, so we get to their kitties often.   I've shared updates Saucer and Binka before, and many of you have commented on their sleek, lovely coats. They are beauties, for sure, and two of the shiniest cats I've ever seen!

They're sweet, too, and it is always a pleasure getting to spend a little time with them.  Whenever we do,  there's always a game of fetch with Binka, and when his curiosity gets the best of him, Saucer will always appear and share his awesome belly.

Here's our update from Katy:

Our sweet kitties celebrated their 6th birthday, and every day we enjoy their company. Binka is curious, outgoing, motherly, slightly bossy and sweet. She nearly always comes right away when called and knows exactly when we are talking about her, chiming right into the conversation with well-placed meows. We call her B for short, Queen B, and occasionally Beagle, because she still loves to fetch. She loves to exercise with us in the mornings and meets us on our yoga mats with her ball. I often think of her as a spiritual teacher because she is energetic, physical and always up for an adventure yet when you pick her up she has no tension or stress in her body. I aspire to be more like Binka...

Saucer is a special boy who is a very handsome, sensitive guy who is quite a lover in private and is also a fierce hunter. Though Binka seems more curious on the surface, Saucer is the one who dominates in the true hunt on the occasions that mouse or shrew has gotten into the house in the winter. We also affectionately call him Saucy Boy, Gentle Boy, and Tiger Kitty, and my special name for him is the Duke of Saucer because of his extra smattering of chin whiskers which give him a rather regal look. He is quite a lounger and we have a special ritual when we get home at night to go into the bedroom for some private love with just him. He likes to climb onto our backs and he gives the best body hugs when we pick him up, as he curls around the back of our necks with his head. They are indoor cats except during summer when we have supervised outings on our patio. They have been amazing about learning and mostly sticking to their boundaries and I'm always grateful and impressed with how well they mind. We love spending time on the patio. This photo really perfectly captures them. I call it "Balance B and the Spider Hunter." Binka (who has also earned the nickname Balance B, for her propensity for balancing on thin railings watches intently as Saucer fearlessly goes in to reach for a spider.)

We love our kitties and are forever grateful to have found them through the IBKC.

 "We don't allow the cats on the tables or counters....except we realized they don't seem to have gotten the memo." 

: )

Thank you for sharing your kitties with us today, Katy!  Give 'em some love from all of us!

NIF: eps 47-9, Xia Jiang's Attack

Aug. 16th, 2017 09:30 am
sartorias: Mei Changs (MC)
[personal profile] sartorias
This is the second climax, as tense and emotionally powerful as the Hunting Lodge battle--and there is a third to come.

One of the many things I love about this series is that now, so near the end, it could easily have descending into all grim all the time, but first there was Nie’s surprise reappearance, and then Lin Chen strolls in, and proceeds to tease absolutely everybody with his insouciant wisecracking and unruffled competence.

The result is, the serious scenes still hit with resonating impact, carrying all the emotional velocity of the storyline so far, but we get these delightful moments of relief and delight that keep emotional reaction swinging from bright to dark and back again.

Read more... )

Killjoys season 2

Aug. 16th, 2017 04:58 pm
beccaelizabeth: my Watcher tattoo in blue, plus Be in red Buffy style font (Default)
[personal profile] beccaelizabeth
Watched all of season 2 in 2 days.
... still needs more women.

and less Read more... )

it divides their world into players, with at least some free will left, and pawns, who can only act when others push the buttons. and that's really thoroughly wrong.

but hey, interesting characters, twisty world, stuff to watch.

also, from a science fiction point of view, the inconsistent application of local tech level just... it makes very little sense. if one guy was modded to be immortal, then immortality is within the reach of humanity. if one guy has a matter printer, it makes it real difficult to explain why they don't live in a post replicator society, though he did have a bigger energy supply than pretty much anyone. if they've got androids that can pass for human then why do they have prostheses that can't? if they've got AI that can want kissing and run around being snarky at each other then why aren't AI closer to being citizens, or any significant part of the plot? why mention that someone too extensively modded isn't legally a person, and then do nothing with that?

how can their society exist, given the technology they repeatedly demonstrate?

they don't answer that, so they make messes of their setup.

but the running around doing politics and rebellion stuff is interesting to watch, so, there's that.
monanotlisa: (sato toshiko - tw)
[personal profile] monanotlisa
And lo and behold, [profile] cofax offered to go out for a drink and food last night, and that was the bright spot of my day. (I love Bask up on Columbus, where they also never gluten'ed me).

The rest of the day...don't ask. When you schlepp home five pounds of reading at 11pm in order to prepare, and find out after dutifully going through it that none of it was relevant? Suboptimal. Should have known this day, minus the A+ dinner with C, would suck dead rats through a garden hose (Exhibit 1, Exhibit 2).

I feel like I should say

Aug. 16th, 2017 12:02 pm
bironic: Neil Perry gazing out a window at night (Default)
[personal profile] bironic
U.S. politics has (have?) washed over my head again, as it does periodically, rising from the baseline fear and disappointment that mounted during election season and spiked in November.

I don't talk about it much here. This blog, and [ profile] bironicwastaken, are my dedicated fannish spaces online. It looks like we all understand that media consumption, fannishness and other creative pursuits are permissible hobbies, community building in an environment of divisiveness, necessary breaks and even artistic acts of resistance as we struggle with current events. Still, I sometimes (1) worry that fannish-oriented posts strike the wrong tone in wider context, such as yesterday's, and (2) feel a defensive urge to point out that I'm doing things "in real life" to fight what's happening, even if they may not be enough and even though no one has said anything.

When I get down on myself about not doing enough, I focus on things like these, in addition to thinking through how I can have a greater impact:
- Since November, every feature article I’ve written at work has made a strong implicit or explicit political statement
- This auction vid not only raised money for a good cause but is also about celebrating many characters of color in current genre sources, and that's not for nothing these days
- Every month, I donate to activist and/or minority-support organizations
- I talk to people, including family and friends who voted in ways I am trying to understand
- etc.

That is all. It's a[nother] tough day.

(no subject)

Aug. 16th, 2017 11:50 am
sovay: (Sydney Carton)
[personal profile] sovay
The news remains unspeakable (except that once people start saying things that should not be said, they have to be faced and spoken against), but it is sunny outside and [personal profile] selkie tagged me a bathtub full of Jeremy Brett and I don't know how I'm going to sleep during NecronomiCon, but I hope I'm going to have fun. Everybody take care of themselves.
just_ann_now: (Reading: Jolly Good)
[personal profile] just_ann_now
I felt a bit at loose ends this week - I'd finished all the "big" books I'd been looking forward to (The Harbors of the Sun, The Bedlam Stacks, A Tyranny of Queens) and wasn't at all sure what to pick up next. But I came across some unexpected winners, wow!

What I Just Finished Reading

Lhind the Thief, by Sherwood Smith, which I had as part of the Light in the Darkness collection. Lots of really unusual worldbuilding, and great characterization.

Jackalope Wives and Other Stories, by T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon). In addition to the award-winning "Jackalope Wives" and "The Tomato Thief", there were lots of other delightful stories here. I loved the bird ones (of course.) $3.99 on Kindle today, and worth every penny!

What I Am Currently Reading

In Other Lands, by Sarah Rees Brennan, which I saw recommended by Martha Wells yesterday, and checked out on a whim. I have not laughed so hard in ages! Every single YA portal-fantasy trope is sliced and diced with consummate skill. I am very much looking forward to settling in to finish it this afternoon.

What I Am Reading Next

My hold of Golden Hill, by Francis Spufford, has finally come in! I have been waiting to dig in to this.

Question of the day: What books/movies/TV shows are you looking forward to right now?

Start throwing (metaphorical) rocks.

Aug. 16th, 2017 11:18 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
On taking action against white supremacists as metaphorical rock-paper-scissors.

I'm not going to repeat all the links in the superb posts I'm seeing. Instead, I'm asking you to go read this one by [personal profile] rydra_wong and this one by [personal profile] kore because they're brilliant. And they have good historical info on the way the Klan has moved through the last century of US history, what knocked them down and what's different now. For instance, I don't recall any other time when KKK/white supremacist members rallied without their robes, with their faces uncovered and in bright torchlight so they're identifiable in the camera photos that are posted online -- and then must account to the others in their lives (bosses, families, universities) for their actions.

And yes, Trump did not slip when he said the alt-left in Charlottesville was attacking "us". He did mean that he identifies with the white supremacists/Nazis/KKK. It wasn't a slip-up, no matter what you hear from "unnamed White House sources". Watch the Rachel Maddow videos in [personal profile] kore's post; she puts it together well. Ignore the toadies from the staff. But do take note of them as untrustworthy; they have already sold themselves to Trump.

ETA: [personal profile] rachelmanija is planning to be part of a counterprotest, to oppose Nazis at a rally in Los Angeles this Saturday, and invites those of you who wish to join her to let her know. Be safe, please, and counterprotest while keeping a good distance from people with clubs and other weapons, okay?

In the middle of this hatefulness, I implore you to find something that feeds your spirit, your soul, whatever you want to call the deepest inmost part of yourself, that makes you happy, that gives you joy, and keep doing it. The only way to do this kind of work, opposing hate, and get through it sanely is to fill yourself first with joy and love and peace to give you strength. Whatever it is, let it be your refuge. We will not see the last of this for a long time; best to start now to create your own inner sanctuary that nobody can mess with. For me it is meditation, prayer, shamanic practice, and tai chi. Handwork also helps-- knitting, spinning, weaving. Walking on the woods trails, when my foot is up to it again. Music, always. You can't give to others from your own lack; fill yourself first.

The Big Idea: Stella Parks

Aug. 16th, 2017 02:18 pm
[syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed

Posted by John Scalzi

I’ve eaten Stella Parks‘ desserts, and, oh, man, they are so good. So I’m delighted to give her space today to let her tell you about her debut cookbook BraveTart, which examines and celebrates a branch of America’s culinary tradition Parks thinks is overlooked and underappreciated. Is she right? Read on.


When people hear that I’m a classically trained pastry chef or that I work at a place called Serious Eats, most everyone will ask how I got my start. I can’t help but imagine they want to hear about a magical summer in France or else how I learned to bake at my mother’s side. Maybe they want me to say that I always loved Julia Child, or that I saved up my allowance to buy my first croissant. Trouble is, it didn’t happen that way at all.

I grew up in suburban Kentucky, my summers spent with Puddin’ Pops on the porch, my winters passed one mug of Swiss Miss at a time. I loved the tongue-scorching sweetness of a McDonald’s apple pie from the drive-thru window and the muffled scrape of a plastic spoon against the bottom of a chocolate pudding cup (the tinfoil lid curled back and licked clean, natch). At the supermarket, I learned the heft to a tube of cookie dough, the lightness in a bag of marshmallows, and the rattle of rainbow sprinkles in a plastic jar. That’s how I got my start—somewhere between the milk-logged squish of an Oreo and the snap of a Crunch bar.

Sure, it sounds a little trashy compared to that whole Proust thing with madeleines and tea, but I find those bites are just as transportive, little triggers that send me flying back through time. Chances are, if you grew up in America, you’ve got some memories like that as well. Maybe it’s the a dollop of Cool Whip on pumpkin pie, the sticky fingered bliss of an ice cream sandwich, or that familiar slab of birthday cake on the conference room table. Those shared experiences, however mundane, connect us across most every demographic.

It’s a common phenomenon, but a culinary tradition we pay little respect—we call it junk food. Truth is, mass produced snacks have a lineage as respectable as any other. Animal crackers, vanilla wafers, and Fig Newtons all date back to the 1800s, and even newcomers like Rice Krispies Treats, Reese’s Cups, and Milky Way bars are nearly a hundred years old. For anyone raised in America and alive today, these sweets have always been a familiar part of life. Yet they’re not really ours; industrial formulas are subject to change or even cancellation outright (RIP, Coke Zero; adios, Magic Middles).

So when I set out to write a cookbook about American desserts, I knew I couldn’t leave the “junk food” behind. It had damn well earned a place at the table—right alongside “proper” American desserts like devil’s food cake, chocolate chip cookies, and apple pie. With that mandate in mind, I spent nearly six years writing, researching, and developing recipes for everything from Snickers to snickerdoodles. In the end, I don’t think of it as a cookbook so much as a culinary time capsule, stuffed full of recipes, vintage images, history, and photography to tell the story of American desserts as a whole.


BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

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Wednesday is positively summery

Aug. 16th, 2017 03:53 pm
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[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished The Color of Fear: up to usual standard.

PC Hodgell, The Gates of Tagmeth: these have definitely succumbed to a kind of Dunnett syndrome, in which there is some huge mysterious meta-arc going on, occasionally alluded to, but each episode deals with some particular problem that Jame (mostly) has to face (there were a few other viewpoint sections in this one) in the foreground and doesn't seem to be advancing the longer game particularly. On the other hand, kept me reading. On the prehensile tail, so not the place to start. (Are there really only 8 books in the Kencyrath sequence? only I have been reading them for decades, so it seems more.)

JD Robb, Echoes in Death (2017), as the ebook had finally come down to a sum I consider reasonable for an ebook. The mixture as usual, pretty much. Okay, not the most sophisticated of mystery plots, I got this and the twist very early on, but it's the getting there, I guess.

On the go

Discovered I had a charity-shop copy of PD James, The Private Patient (2008), the last of the excursions of Dalgleish, which I had not already read for some reason - possibly because I wasn't at that time sufficiently keen on PDJ and AD to shell out for a trade paperback.

Up next

Dunno, really.


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Elizabeth Culmer

August 2017

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