Friday, January 13, 2017

January 13 Links

It was a dark and lazy morning. Wide awake, the blogger lolled in bed thinking "I'll get up when it's daylight, but ewww, do I haff to wear the nasty old shoes with the holes in them, or else drag the nice clean pair across rain-flooded pavement? Do I really need to go online today? It's market day, but there won't be any market. I wish the universe would send me a reason to go to work today." Suddenly the cell phone jingled. (It does not normally work in damp weather.) Someone was offering me a lift! So here I am, taking it on faith that there's some good reason to be doing this today. Actually this kind of weather is beautiful in its way (see the Phenology note below)...especially when it's possible to get out of the house in it without ruining a pair of shoes that cost more than the writing job I did yesterday even paid.

(At the end of the day: at least another paid job came in!)

Categories: Animals, Business, Christian, Cyberspace, Good News, Health, Phenology, Women's Issues, Writing.


More cats, in honor of Jamison:

More black cats? Well...yesterday the first animal link I opened featured a cat who was actually black and white, whereas Jamison was black. Yesterday's Petfinder links were to black cats, since they tend to fade into the shadows and languish in shelters longer than lighter-colored cats do, so today I'll be fair and share pictures of black and white cats.
CeCe - Purr-meister
Cece from Arlington...Some cats who've lost their first litter of kittens try harder and really bond when they're finally able to keep one of their own kittens as a companion--our Irene and Bisquit did. Others actually prefer not to go through the trauma again, and practice natural birth control--our Grayzel did. It's hard to guess, but Cece may not even mind being spayed:
Sweet Pea
Sweet Pea from New York:

Turtle from Atlanta is actually what I'd call an imperfect dark calico, since there are some small orange spots on her back. Whatever. Sometimes the animal color (and even breed) specifications on Petfinder look like total typos, but this one really is a black and white cat with just a few small off-color spots. Isn't she cute?
On the dog side, the lost dog Lulu was reported found. (Click for lots of animal "family" pictures; dogs and cats miss a companion dog too.)


Long ago I had school friends, and after that I even had young relatives, who were hired as cashiers in big-chain stores. More recently, I've seen nice, quiet, honest kids apply for these jobs and be passed over in favor of loud, pushy, untrustworthy brats. I've been told, online and in real life, that if anybody who gets hired as a cashier these days does have the minimal intelligence necessary to notice that customers are watching the cash register rather than making small talk with her or him, they've all been ordered to force the chatter, in an atmosphere where they're considered stupid if they don't use that distraction to cheat people. I don't think this is an accident. I don't think it's even merely and simply a consequence of hiring too many victims of extroversion. I think it's a well planned move--not at all unlike the well planned move to pretend that "skilled typists" really hated doing any personal letters or errands for long-term clients who'd become like friends, in order to create a feeling that, since "being secretaries" was so horribly demeaning, people should just buy computers and give up the expectation that anybody should know the difference between "affect" and "effect" any more. I see the robot-scanners in the big-chain stores already. I may not seem "friendly" to the poor brain-damaged slobs that work cash registers these days, and in fact I would not want any of them mistaking me for a friend; I dislike them, distrust them, wouldn't have them in my home...but I don't hate them as profoundly as the "sympathetic" managers who want to replace these shabby-excuses-for-people with machines hate them. I would never be so cruel as to spend a few years paying them the minimum wage and telling them to go ahead and think they're superior to people whose self-employment may or may not add up to as much as the minimum wage, then throw them out into the big cold world without a job skill, or a clue to their unpopularity, to their names. I kill dog ticks, but I don't torture them.


I'm linking to this sermon because it ends with a point of disagreement with me. I don't attend church; as an introvert I've found a tendency to confuse Christian charity, in the sense of good will, with obnoxious extrovert manners, which I've found positively toxic to my spiritual life; and I'm also convinced that the churches don't actually want any more female widows (male widows might be much better appreciated), that when they say "You ought to attend church" they really mean "You ought to be rich, and either a married couple or a single man." I would love for a church to prove me wrong, to convince me that Christian fellowship with a group big enough to have a church building is possible. I don't care how many fellow believers are now or have ever been able to read the whole Bible, how many choose to be either fashion victims or adherents to some sort of traditional "uniform" costume, or whether the pastor has an accent like Trump's (I joined Ron Halvorsen's church, back in the day, and his accent was much heavier than Trump's). My criterion for fellowship is simple: if, during the other six days of the week I'm working with or for other members of one church, earning enough money not to be rejected due to elitist bigotry, then I'm close enough to friendship and fellowship with enough of those people to endure their company for one day a week. But, in thirty years, the closest I've ever come to that point has been with Muslims...I can affirm the beliefs of almost any Protestant denomination, but at Muslims I draw the line. (I'll agree that La ilaha ill' Allah and even that Muhammad was a sincere "prophet" who spoke on behalf of that One God, but I can't agree that Muhammad was the last or the best or the most rightly guided "prophet.") 

So my reply to Crystal Krachunis would be: What does this say about Christians and Muslims in these United States? Why aren't Christians challenging themselves to show as much loyalty, in as practical ways, as Muslims do? Why are Muslims so much more committed to building solid friendships with people who might or might not agree with any of their religious beliefs, at all, let alone with a 29-point checklist? And what can Christians do to fix this?


This is so cool!

Good News 

Brookhaven Manor is...probably typical of what most of us think of when we think of the words "nursing home." Too many patients, too sick, for anyone to be very comfortable at best. Generally less than the best conditions prevail. However, an investigation reveals little evidence of deliberate, criminally motivated abuse; just your typical assortment of super-detached "professionals" bustling from bed to bed thinking about their next vacation. 

Meanwhile, homemaker Debbie Wiener launches a line of furniture that, according to the hype, might make even nursing homes...a few notches closer to bearability:


Stress relief: 

Phenology Links

Pretty picture from Montana...showing different trees than I see on the way out, but similar fog. On the road this morning I saw a thin but solid white cloud of fog, flat, parallel to the ground, hovering about halfway up the side of the Clinch Mountain; a person on top of the mountain could have looked down through the cloud and watched rain fall below, possibly while staying dry, though not while walking in the sunshine. (The Blue Ridge Mountains are high enough that it is occasionally possible to go out in the sunshine and watch rain or snow fall from a cloud below you. Trippy but real!) 

I like the grey undertones with the brown and orange leaves...larch woods generate a different kind of January "carpet" than the oak, poplar, and maple woods below the Cat Sanctuary, but as I rushed down the road to meet my car pool this morning you can be sure I was watching my step through the wet leaves, so I was enjoying the mauve-gray and deep purple-black tones to which coppery oak leaves gradually fade in winter. 

Here's a related poem from Ireland:

Women's Issues 

And the guys who just don't get's a young squirt saying aborted babies are cheaper than born babies. If you're thinking strictly about economics, guys, the frugal option is to stick to safe sex in the first place...and yes, this is why that "men are clueless" meme isn't dead yet.

(One comment I posted at the Blaze article probably ought to be here, too: 

Mother had the celiac gene, and yes, abortion has been recommended, sometimes even by doctors who had some (erroneous) idea what they were talking about. My mother, grandmother, and sister all ”chose life” despite horrible conversations. I’m the living proof that sick women can have healthy children. Well, sort of healthy, if mother and child work at it.
But people should know that when a woman appears to be too sickly to have a healthy baby, in many cases a ”chosen” abortion may do her more harm than either a spontaneous abortion or a live birth would do. That ”You’re diabetic, celiac, etc., so you should just default to ’choosing’ abortion” meme really needs to die.


Nicholas Kristof is trying to do something beautiful here. Now before our conservative readers say "Yah, recruiting young people to the Left with selective exposure to social problems to which the left wing is offering their kind of solutions"...What kind of exposure do youall think I got from volunteering under Mitch Snyder's guidance, then doing actual jobs under Ralph Nader's, Walter Hoffman's, Jim Wallis's, and William Sloane Coffin's guidance?  Deeply decent older people believed that left-wing solutions would work. People my age might or might not have seen, by now, a critical mass of situations where they don't. If this young lady really gets involved in prison reform, you know she's also going to be exposed to Colson's ideas on the subject, so Kristof's choice of that as a topic for a student to start digging into is truly liberal.