"Why was this not in The Onion?" asked the Twit who shared it. Good question; it's funny enough for the joke site, though true. Seriously, Gentle Readers, if you're paying enough attention to notice whether you have one of the (rare) Listening Cats in your home, you just might notice your cat giving you the "Why are you so clueless?" look if you refer to a cat by the wrong gender word. None of my recent cats has done it, but Black Magic did. But my solution hasn't been to give up using gendered words for humans, but to use words that help cats decode the English language if they are (as most cats are not) trying. Cats aren't "boys" or "girls"; they're cats. Asking a cat "Where's your pal?" doesn't help it learn that its baby-sitter, foster mother/sister, friend, competitor, brother, sister, cousin, whatever, has a name; I say things like "Where's Violet? Violet! Vi-kitty-kitty-kitty!" Using "he" and "she" accurately may help cats figure out those words, but until they start making it obvious that they're "he" and "she" (at puberty) cats aren't at all offended by being called "it." (And, of course, if you live with the much more common kind of cats who have no reason to imagine that human noises include particular words, no worries...) In any case, cats are not "gender-neutral"; even after neutering, adult cats show a strong sense of gender.
No, cats can't actually thrive on a vegan diet. (Active, healthy cats can thrive on a diet shared with human vegetarians, though--especially if they're lactose-tolerant, which many cats are not.)
Now, why was this (circulated by Change.org) not in The Onion?
September 15, 2016 marks the beginning of the Nevada Bear Hunt. This highly opposed hunt, which was first approved in 2010, will enter its sixth year. We are hoping this will be the last year.
We are asking the Nevada Department of Wildlife and the Nevada Board of Wildlife Commissioners to end this hunt at their February 2017 meeting."
Frankly, Gentle Readers, I'd sign a petition to expand bear hunting. The appropriate bear population for any area that is populated by humans, and/or is not separated from areas populated by humans by a 50-foot concrete wall on all sides, is zero. We need to open more space for young humans to be active outdoors, not generate more fear and more reasons to raise computer potatoes. Kill those bears!
Neil Gaiman’s a grandfather. (Already? Say whaaat?) And he’s dedicating Norse Mythology to his grandson:
Wendy Welch's pick seems like a good choice for National Coffee Day:
This one's still on the drawing board (literally, it's a graphic novel), but Margaret Atwood is backing it:
Three Tweets about someone else's charity, in one day? Not what I like to do, but the idea seems especially important in the context of today's links. As (The Great) Margaret Atwood says, kids need libraries. As I add, they need libraries that are nice, quiet, restful places where they can look out the window and read and think about what they read (the way I did), not "party zones" where after-school time means the whole building is dominated by screeching tots (and an obese bleached-blonde extrovert screaming their names and demanding that quiet children shriek too, and singing loudly off-key just in case the children have learned to sing properly at home, and teaching them to make animal noises that sound less like real animals than the noises some of the kids naturally do on their own...). And the window seat that's comfortable for kids (even up to 5'4") is blocked off for the free daycare...I've watched one high school student grow up enjoying free online time while waiting for Daddy in town. One. When I was in high school, my whole generation of our family couldn't go online, but we all used that window seat; we'd nicknamed it "The [Name Withheld] Family Corner." Now it's full of the Nefarious Librarian's idea of cute visual clutter, and the window's blocked, so even when it's not being taken over for free daycare, no child can sit there and read quietly any more. Feh. I hope the Killam Corner is set up in a quiet, thought-conducive, non-distracting way.
Good news...Charlotte needs prayers. (Thanks to Patricia Evans for the link.)
'Cos the news gets uglier.
Pray on, neighbors. Pray together!
In primary school, those tagged as "gifted" children (see below) got teased about having "cooties" (that was in California) or "germs" (that was back in Gate City where, by and large, the haterbabies were under better control by more responsible adults; "cooties" was another Forbidden Word). In adult life in a small town, those known to have less money...relieve the feeling. So here I stand to testify: we know I have a Real Christian Experience because, instead of being "huuurt" by all the hate, or hating back, I'm like, "Hate on, you haters. You condemn yourselves so much more efficiently than I or anyone else ever could." And to those who don't want to "get involved," let me just raise the question...What do youall plan to say when Jesus says to you, "I was walking in the rain, and you drove past me. I was standing in the Friday Market, and you walked past without buying anything. I saw you at work on a project with which you could obviously use help, and you had spent too much money on junk you didn't need to hire me"? Whether they're tempted to become welfare cheats or not, real (apostolic-style) Christians do not let able-bodied Christians qualify for tax-funded welfare. ("Free bread" existed in the Roman Empire; the apostolic church stopped fawning on the richies who handed out food "that had been offered to idols" and took care of their own people-unable-to-work-for-a-living.) If tempted to cling to emotional feelings of hostility toward those who insist on doing honest work rather than welfare-cheating, real Christians force themselves to act contrary to those feelings, not just by showing their teeth but by showing their cash as they force out the words "Please Ma'am/Sir, I need your help and I'm offering to pay up front for...", until those feelings go away.
Not a category I normally use, but...it's National Coffee Day, and if you can still tolerate coffee by the time this post goes live, Melissa has assembled a list of places where you can get coffee free of charge today.
I love that maple-leaf-colors quilt...one more for my "must knit something in these colors" file.
Those of us who were tagged as "gifted" children are probably still a majority in cyberspace, at least, and we all know the drill: Half the adults you know want to stifle your talents and force you to "fit in" by being like the no-talent brats (whom you automatically dislike, and who dislike you, purely because of this crazy idea that you're meant to be like them); the other half want to push you to overachieve in every possible way, win not just the trophies that come naturally to you but every competition they can find, define your entire self as "a talent," and crash into depression at seventeen when you discover that your talent is actually about average relative to your college friends (instead of being delighted to meet people like you). Blessed are those whose parents manage to keep them on the narrow path between these two pitfalls.
(Janet Gotkin is apparently still alive, though widowed and past retirement age; she lived and wrote the definitive story of the "talent" who crashed and burned in college, and although I've not written a full-length review of it, you may buy it here as a Fair Trade Book. Recommended. Do not fall for the claim that the new antidepressants are safer--they can be more dangerous in different ways.)
Here's an interesting collegiate concept: a store near a school offers "fine writing, fine gifts," etc., and a blog that supports books published by the faculty and presumably the alumni of that school.
Here's a less appealing concept. Can you teach math by using math time to have students draw or manipulate geometric shapes to talk about their feelings? Forty years ago, Mennonite pen friends were trying to sell my relatives on the idea of using math time to preach at students about honesty in business. I say it's a distraction and I say to (St. Joseph) with it. Use math time to study math. I have no idea whether offering any of the gadgets advertised at the post below as fun stuff for kids to play with, quietly, after doing their math assignments will teach them empathy, or keep them quiet enough to learn from boredom...
As for teaching children not to hate...
Here's another site...on Twitter I don't really mind seeing the word they made a mistake by using as their site name, but it's just the wrong name for a lot of sites.
They should've called it DangInteresting.
Consider this detailed history of the Hangul writing system, which, unlike classical Chinese and Japanese, is phonetic, thus capable of being transliterated and being used online. (At one time I actually carried around and used a Hangul transcription cheatsheet. It's a fast, and cool, way to write...and encode for privacy, if you happen to be writing in a language other than Korean, because few non-Koreans can read Hangul.)
No longer exactly news, but worth reading:
Here's another petition to sign (U.K.-specific), especially for those who can safely eat natural wheat and are now having celiac-like or other reactions to glyphosate-contaminated wheat:
And…can it be? Is prospective vice-president Pence actually going to mention local warming…not a theory but a verifiable, sometimes a deadly real, fact of life? I hope so. I’ll give him a cue line: I don’t want my government to kill American jobs. I want it to help get Americans back to work. I want a former coal miner, or the son or daughter of one, to put up a few rows of solar panels in the orchard. I want businesses to start counting ability to walk to work as a reason to hire people. Before I get too old to walk I want pedal-plus-solar-plus-dry-cell-powered personal ‘Wheels’ built by a former GM car assembler.
Once, long ago, my brother and I used to take picnics (and sometimes reluctantly take my natural sister) to the base of a wonderful old maple tree. It was the biggest maple tree we'd ever seen. Every limb on that tree was green and healthy every summer. The lowest limb was so big, old, and healthy we could actually swing ourselves up and roost on it. We had no idea how old that tree was until a greedhead from a city inherited the land and let the tree be "harvested," around the time my brother died. Sis and I walked back that way, one last time before greedhead banned hiking and picnicking on the now bare and erosion-vulnerable land, to count the rings on the stump of that tree. It would've been about the age of George Washington...and greedhead didn't even get to use that lovely lumber, because most of the tree had grown back together, and sealed off, an ancient wound that had given the tree a hollow heart. All my life, that tree has been my symbol of surviving bereavement. But I don't think I really should have known how much the tree had survived, yet; that tree ought by rights to have lived another fifty or hundred years, and been alive today. Anyway, here is a story about someone who succeeded in saving a fantastic survivor tree.
Ginger tea is magic…but it brings relief from nausea, not relief from immaturity or embarrassment…and it's another option for National Coffee Day.
Now a less cheerful (should I say warming?) post...This one annoys me because the "herd immunity" theory is so stupid! One unvaccinated individual in a crowd destroys "herd immunity." And that's a good thing, because when disease germs were completely bred out of existence in places like pre-Columbus North America, the result was that the majority of the human population evolved a lack of immunity that literally decimated their race. You do not want "herd immunity." If you're at risk for a serious disease, you want individual personal immunity, which you get by having yourself immunized and thanking the brave souls who continue to build and breed resistance into your community. I think it's called Logic 101.
(Fair disclosure: I personally have had vaccinations against things like diphtheria, and I'm glad; if visiting a tropical country I'd get vaccinations against deadly tropical diseases--but until I'm a good deal older, I won't seriously consider vaccinations against things like flu or strep infections. That's called the Risk/Benefit Analysis; thanks to Ben Carson for naming it.)
The R/BA makes posts like the one below annoying, too. Oh, sure the vaccine manufacturers are touting it...but this poor woman isn't talking about saving her kids from life-threatening cholera; she's talking about trying to "save" them from a tummy bug. The best way to "save" ourselves from tummy bugs is not to take (risky) virus vaccinations, but to let the virus clean out our digestive systems and stop eating until the virus gives up and goes away, leaving us with permanently enhanced immunity.
More Logic 101: We don't actually build up immunity by feeding animals that we eat, and thus feeding ourselves, antibiotics as a preventive. We need to save the antibiotics until someone is actually seriously ill.
On a different theme...need to pass a kidney stone?
Get into the rear car at the Big Thunder Mountain roller coaster.
Heroism (in the Face of Prozac Dementia)
When the Huffington Post doesn't mention the fireman being armed, but does mention that he stopped an armed maniac, what picture comes to mind? When HP (or most regular newspapers) don't mention which drug was found in the maniac's bloodstream, what category of drugs comes to mind? (Could have been PCP, LSD, STP if anybody's still bothering with that, even cocaine if he had that type of brain--but if it had been one of those you can be sure the commercial media would mention it. They stopped mentioning it when these characters were reacting to legal prescription antidepressant drugs, under pressure from the manufacturer of the first and best known drug in that category, the folks at Lilly who gave us the street name for all forms of "Prozac Dementia.")
Why do we live longer? Possibly because our brains have developed the ability to tell whether we're getting a real rest or not?
Corporations that are ashamed of their products, and show it…
Want to watch a documentary tonight? Discover the next Michael Moore or Morgan Spurlock? Find Targeted here...local lurkers, the closest theatre will be in Johnson City, Tennessee. (Thanks to Mike Huckabee for sharing.)
After arresting the reckless driver, Michigan cop drives passenger to Detroit:
Now why did the Huffington Post not break this story first? Or did they, and I just didn't scroll down far enough below the shooting story?
On the enjoyment of life...Seriously, although even when I was earning good money (perhaps especially then) I've been accused of living like a nun, I'd describe it more as living like an epicure, a classical Hedonist. Greed and selfishness don't make us happy--at least, not us HSPs. Frugality and generosity do.
Alice Walker celebrated Winnie Mandela's birthday:
Now a younger, so far less famous poet, Alex Clarke:
Politics (Election 2016)
Voters care how the debate made them feel…and a lot of guy voters feel that it’s not possible for a woman to look more presidential than a man, any woman and any man, as long as both of them are wearing suits without visible food stains on them.
But more than that is going on with this election. Has to be. I heard someone who appeared to be middle-aged and well-to-do say “I didn’t watch the debate. I don’t think much of anybody did. I think people’s minds are made up. I mean, you have a liar, and you have somebody that can look at you and tell the truth!” And I was sitting there thinking, “Mercy, Lord…which does he think is which?” There are certainly differences between Trump and Clinton. There are differences in the kind of lies they’ve told, and the way they’ve told them…but both of them have been public figures for long enough that you’d think every rational adult knew that both are liars. And although there’s room for doubt that, at their present ages, either of them can clearly see your eyes from a normal conversational distance, certainly both are capable of directing their eyes toward your face for as long as anyone could possibly want them to hold what appears to be full eye contact. So you know that, at some level, some sort of hypnotic deception is going on.
John Stossel unsurprisingly wrote the most useful review of Monday's debate that I've read so far. Dang he's good. Since I hate web sites that display articles on multiple "pages," here's the least annoying way to read it; after reading from this link, you can remove "print" from your browser bar to see page one and open the comments and share buttons (and ads, although at Reason the ads generally behave well).
Why, for that matter, do we prosecute prostitutes at all? Married men who participate in prostitution are guilty of violating at least their wedding vows. What I'll euphemistically call agents who take some part of the money from prostitutes are guilty of being parasitic disgraces to the name of slime mold. The prostitutes, themselves...walk a fine line. What exactly is the difference between a "party animal," Melania Trump, a person whose legitimate taxpaying job depends on her/his looking "attractive," a competent adult who collects "gifts" from his or her numerous admirers, and Julia Roberts' (bright, cute, independent, just-needs-love) character in Pretty Woman? We all know that these are five different ways young people express their youthful energy, appeal, and hormone surges...but only the person involved knows for sure which description fits her/him best. And anyone who's lived in Washington also knows that prostitution has always existed, will always exist, and is least likely to involve really vile abuses of children and brain-damaged youth when it's decriminalized. (When the customers can get the current version of Julia Roberts' character, they're less interested in the victims of real abuse.) I say we ban overt soliciting and look the other way when young women choose to clatter around in high-heeled shoes and scream "conversations" across the street. As a young woman who received tremendous benefit from the freedom to lead a clean ethical life without all the silly, irrelevant constraints placed on "Nice Girls" in places where prostitution is a crime, I say the whole world needs more of Washington's attitude toward this. And I may be the first married woman to have publicly thanked the downtown hookers (for making us legitimate sex (appeal) workers, the receptionists and stewardesses and so on, look good), but when more women think about it I'll not be the last.
(This one skirts the topic of Foreign Policy but our international readers need to know: sneaking into the United States is a dangerous game.)
And what d'you say to this one?
Not to be missed in Seattle:
Washington, D.C., Update
While I was in Washington, the snarky but cool City Paper launched an arts-and-crafts show that I think was really hurt by their choice of a cartoon and name for the weekend "festival." The cartoons showed a grumpy old man growling about "those crafty" something-or-others; leading up to the weekend of the show he mellowed out and told people where to find the crafty folk. City Paper readers chortled, but any time we mentioned the show to people who didn't read the City Paper they stiffened up and said things like "Can't they call it anything but that?" I proposed "Crafty Crones," or maybe, to make it age-and-gender-inclusive, "Crafty Crows" with cartoon crows "cawing"...to no avail. Anyway, the actual link violates this web site's contract, but it does happen to be an excellent arts-and-crafts fair. If you're going to be in the city this weekend, use this link to see where and when your favorite crafts will be on display.
D.C. crafters link here
Some might want to schedule time to walk to this (upper NW, western Red Line if you dare, 1 p.m.):
"For Teachers Only"? I don't think so.
Periodically Periodic Table of Elements Poster by ForTeachersOnly
View Teacher appreciation Posters online at zazzle
This one's not for teachers only, either: