Friday, July 31, 2015

A Few Links, Some Phenology, Mini-Rant

This post wanted to separate into a full-length Link Log, Phenology Post, and Rant, but didn't have time...


A tempting recipe is in the comment section: vegan, gluten-free, and tweakable to fit other special dietary needs.

Every year or so I feel a need to publish some version of the comment I made at Natalief's Live Journal. Is making it on her LJ (and Tweeting it, too) hijacking her site for my purposes? I don't think so. I think (1) anyone interested in “face blindness” will want to follow the link she provided; and (2) anyone who has an opinion about whether autism and introversion are part of a “spectrum,” or are two unrelated things that may sometimes look similar, will be interested in comparing Natalief's blog with mine; and (3) anyone interested in knitting will want to follow Natalief's blog. Maybe if I'd thought about it longer I would have posted my comment here...or maybe not.

Phenology, or Stupidity, or Stealth Nag

Like,'s too hot to go out and look for flowers and butterflies. I don't really need to read the Blaze article about the idjit who left a child in a minivan outside a store. People do things like that. Most of the victims survive. Surely, nobody who reads this web site needs to be's high summer out there. Some places are setting new heat records. Do not leave any living creature inside a parked car. Not a child, not a dog, not a potted plant. Everybody always worries about children and dogs during the summer heat wave. Reports of actual heat-related deaths that I've seen make me a little more worried about adults who may or may not have already had a stroke or heart attack, who say “I don't want to go into that store with you. I'll just wait in the car.” Probably most of these people do know how to open the car door before the heat gets to them. Sometimes people who are in fact tired, sleepy, sluggish, or rheumatic and slow-moving don't react to the heat in time. My mother lost a yardman that way in 2003 (he thought thirty was “young enough” to do yard work in ninety-degree weather); the crowd celebrating Duffield Daze last year almost lost a vendor that way. So I'll say to the intelligent adults out there: Don't leave yourself inside a parked car. Go into the blasted store already. Demand a seat near the door where you can wait for the person who wanted to shop there.

(Once, when we were very young and ignorant, a friend and I took four cats in for rabies shots in this kind of weather...without a carrier box in the car. The cats were nice, quiet pets until the car got out into the blazing sun, when they started crawling up on us, shoving their heads right in our faces, saying “meow” in a way that clearly meant “Get us out of this deathtrap now.” They were due for rabies shots; rabies had been reported in the vicinity that year. We stopped at a fast food place and bought about a two-liter-size paper cup of ice. My friend drove, and I massaged him and the cats and myself, in turn, with ice cubes. We all survived. We all know better now. If you must take an animal anywhere in a car in this kind of weather, put it in a carrier box, put some ice cubes in the box, and put more ice in a plastic bag on top of the box.)


Frankly, kind of annoys me with the way they handle this tidbit: “Centers for Disease Control held meeting with scientists to destroy evidence linking vaccines to autism.” Well, duh. It's not “vaccines to autism.” What are youall...some kind of panic-mongers or something? It's fevers (which may or may not be caused by vaccines) to brain damage (which may or may not be or resemble autism).

Maybe if I make my argument personal, some people will understand it. My natural sister wasn't vaccinated; she had scarlet fever, she lost the ability to hear most of the notes women usually sing, she developed a peculiar way of walking, she talks with a “deaf accent,” and, possibly because she had had a real talent for music before this time, she's been peevish and depressive ever since. Heather Whitestone wasn't vaccinated; she had scarlet fever about the same time my sister did, she lost the ability to hear anything at all, she still became a beauty queen and a poster girl for A.D.A., she's still completely deaf. The Nephews were vaccinated; one of them had a reaction that included a high fever, had significant hearing loss, started wearing thick glasses in primary school, learned to greet people in a friendly way but still can't participate in a conversation, and, during the painfully shy stage of adolescence, was misdiagnosed as autistic. None of these people is in fact autistic. And although the difference between my relatives and Heather Whitestone, the first deaf “Miss America,” was probably an individual reaction, the fact is that Ms. Whitestone suffered more severe hearing loss from being unvaccinated than my relatives did from being either vaccinated or unvaccinated. Do these people begin to see the point now?

It's not “vaccines cause autism.” It's “vaccines may cause fevers, which may cause brain damage that is more likely to resemble autism than actually be autism, but may also aggravate autism if a patient has that type of brain damage.” Since either having a vaccine or not having the vaccine may cause a fever, how do parents make the decision for young children? Remember Ben Carson's Take the Risk? Do the “Best/Worst Analysis” relative to the actual risk that a child will be exposed to a disease.


I've seen and heard the word “spoons” floating around in contexts that showed that it's a new slang word. Many slang words enter our language without having a clear point of origin. Thanks to Natalief for steering me to the original explanation of phrases like “they didn't have the spoons to...”

+Sandy KS continues the ABC Emotions writing “challenge” for bloggers:

At, Neil Gaiman offers an “animation” of a conversation he claims to have had while he was asleep. I know the Sickly Snail won't play an “animation.” Your computer might play it. I'm sure Neil Gaiman has said and written things that weren't entertaining; I doubt that he's ever published those things.

Jerry B. Jenkins discusses how to edit our writing: