Tuesday, January 24, 2017

January 24 Links

Once again, lots of links indicate a post-holiday slump in writing gigs. Do I eat dinner tomorrow, or buy coffee and read yourall's links? This isn't good...so the first link is dedicated to fixing it. Today's Categories: Funding, Animals, Armed Citizen, Books, Christian, Crafts, Funny, Mental Health, Movies, Phenology, Pictures, Science, Virginia Legislature, Welfare, Writing, Zazzle.


One local sponsor has expressed willingness to commit to making monthly payments and wants to do that online, so I've set up a Patreon page. Good things: they promise to convert whatever online payment system other people use into Paypal payments I can use; they offer online sponsors (= e-patrons = Patreons) a special inside mini-blog with polls and perks. Perks include the opportunity to send me books (old or new) you'd like to promote here, and the opportunity to pick your own book-of-the-month. Not-so-good things: they naturally take their bite, so in order for me to receive $10 you actually send $11; also, you're making electronic payments--it's more secure just to send money orders (tucked inside greeting cards for maximum security) to P.O. Box 322. Will this system work better than Indiegogo (which attracted spam e-mail and hackers but no funders) or Fundly (which never got off the ground at all) worked in the past? Why not test it with a payment? If Patreon works, it'll promote your new books as well as my old ones...but making it work is (partly) up to you.



The first animal link that came in today is from the wild side. It's a song parody, or imitation, follow-up, filk, something in that genre anyway, but there's more to it than just a pretty romantic ballad to sing to a traditional sad ballad tune. This one aims specifically at fishermen who not only don't feel sorry for seals who may be trapped in big nets, but actively try to kill the seals who are competing predators on the prey the fishermen seem to think nature intended for them alone. Unfortunately, despite the evidence that humans have experimented with deep-diving gear made of sealskin, humans can't actually mate with seals. The idea of a peace treaty with our fellow predators being sealed by intermarriage has to be understood as a metaphor.


I wanted to link to the classic song as all baby-boomers learned it, about the Great Selkie and the earthly nurse, but Amazon doesn't show a link to that specific song title. I looked up about half a dozen LPs I used to have, didn't find "The Great Selkie" listed on any of them, decided to settle for a link to a songbook that I still have since I know it contains the words of which I'm thinking.

Here's a new recording...this may or may not be the same version. (There are lots of different versions, or different songs, about the Great Selkie. In some versions he's a half-seal, half-human spirit being who hires a human nurse to rear his "son" or human form as a human child, but warns that her husband will inadvertently "kill" this "son." In some he's a man who "becomes a seal" by wearing sealskin diving gear, and some versions explicitly say that men who did this were distrusted by those who didn't, and optionally that the woman may be the mother of his son, which in medieval days would have been considered more than sufficient reasons for her husband to want to shoot "both the son and the Great Selkie.")

The Great Selkie of Sule Skerry

Abby the Lab shares a hilarious piece of skid-talk from her human godmother's father:


It's understandable that he's not a big fan of the Atlanta Falcons...


Anyway, here are three dogs in honor of Abby. A local lurker asked on Sunday...Yes, each of these pictures was posted by some sort of animal rescue organization. Each picture represents an animal that was available for adoption through some shelter or animal sanctuary. Click on the link below each picture to find out more about the shelter and the animal.

Miss Lissy
Miss Lissy, a reformed "junkyard dog" from Atlanta: https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/27534802
Vidalia...may warrant some research, because she's being advertised from a Washington, D.C., shelter, she's not actually in D.C., and the shelter isn't saying where she is. She may have been petnapped. Rescuing her may mean researching her background, restoring her to her home, and busting a shelter whose "rescues" are actually stolen pets. This web site gives the D.C. shelter points for admitting this possibility. The more influence the Humane (Pet Genocide) Society has, the easier it becomes for petnappers to operate inside shelters as "animal-loving volunteers"! Even co-workers may not realize that these people may be cruising through rural neighborhoods and stealing pets...the shelter nearest where I'm writing this has some animals that actually need new homes, but has had some that I know for a fact were stolen--for profit--because they were or resembled valuable breeds. https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/37097280
Lil Girl
Lil Girl from New Jersey...looks like another Georgia gal whose story invites further investigation. I have to give this shelter points, though, not only for this adorable snapshot, and for admitting that a Georgia shelter may need to be investigated, but for recognizing that a natural-born follower dog like Lil Girl needs a leader dog to follow. If you adopt Lil Girl rather than restoring her to her home, you need a senior dog! https://www.petfinder.com/petdetail/36934023
+LadyNightwaveBrendaMarie Writer shared some pictures of a smaller dog reaching the end of a dog's lifespan:


On the cat side, here's an extra-cute cat picture...not technically a selfie since the human snapped the picture of the cat, but adorable, anyway.

Cat-related prezzies, for those who know a cat lover who collects trinkets:

Bad news for bird lovers: Steve Milloy reopens the question of why nobody has, in all these years, got close enough to confirm that there really is an ivory-billed woodpecker living in these United States. Usually, if there really is a bird living in a certain habitat, after a few years there'll be more sightings because more birds; if one ivory-bill moves into the U.S. it'll bring in its mate and, if all goes well, they'll hatch chicks and so on. And from a distance, in a video, ivory-bills look a tremendous lot like pileated woodpeckers, which are also nice, but not particularly rare.

For today's Obligatory Amazon Link, here's a fantastic book, fantastic in every sense, about a man who "becomes an Ivory-Bill" (but you have to read the story to know what that means and why it's a good thing...in view of the title, I should mention that the ghostly image gets a non-occult explanation):

Armed Citizen Fights Crime...and Crime Almost Wins 

Not all "Armed Citizen Fights Crime" stories end beautifully. This web site has linked to several that did, but this one from San Antonio did not.



Louise Erdrich has found two that sound good:



I had never given much thought to it before...showing that even for Bible Mavens there's always more to be learned about the Bible, Matt Krachunis explains the difference between a hired servant, a slave, and a bondservant.


Alice Walker posted a prayer that might qualify as post-Christian; worthy of Shug Avery.



Ann Mackie Miller has posted a list of the key differences in U.S. and U.K. crochet terms:


Naomi Parkhurst's "encoded words" knitting patterns fascinate me. I'm still trying to crack her code. Here's her way of knitting "resist" into a cat-ears hat...yes, you can support this blog by ordering either a pink cat-ears hat with "resist" as either a color or texture pattern, if you're still opposing our new President, or a standard-shaped hat in the color(s) with "resist" as a pattern if you're more concerned about resisting other forms of social/ideological pressure. Local people buy them, in the colors and patterns available, for $5 or order custom designs for $10 in cash; online readers may order them for the same prices, plus $5 for shipping, via U.S. postal money order to Boxholder, P.O. Box 322, or the same price plus $1 for Paypal surcharge to the Paypal address Salolianigodagewi will send you.



Vintage Dave Barry column...my e-mail stack needed this.


Mental Health 

It's a privilege and a pleasure to be able, finally, to agree completely with something Chelsea Clinton says in public:



A movie title like Monster Trucks is not exactly bait for aunts, so I'm glad Elizabeth Barrette posted this long, spoiler-loaded review explaining why we may actually like it: (1) Intelligent science fiction, (2) representing wheelchair users, (3) and nerds, (4) and horses, (5) with comedy. Any Nephews in need of a chaperone are hereby invited to invite me and their dates to this one; I promise to bring my knitting...something stupidly simple, since it sounds as if this movie might be fun to watch.



This is certainly being a long January thaw but, before people start blathering about how this means that the election of a newly self-styled "Republican" is going to cause global warming and turn Asheville into a beach town, here's a memory: the January thaw in 1980 was super-long, too. What an extra-long January thaw means is, mainly, a bad year ahead for apples and cherries (which are Northern species and bear fruit only if they get enough frost and snow each winter). Even the flower buds are likely to be killed if they open during the January thaw, which a few are about to do.

We've had rain almost every day in January and very little of it has frozen on the ground, which is becoming soft and marshy even in the mountains. Afternoon highs have been in the fifties and sixties, overnight lows in the forties, Fahrenheit. One day the afternoon high here broke the 70-degree mark, and either that day or the next day this blogger reported 57 degrees Fahrenheit in Ontario:


This European blogger reports more typical weather, though:



It's definitely a day for armchair travel here...and +Lyn Lomasi posted some lovely pictures from Colorado:


+Beth Ann Chiles has some from Daufuskie Island off the coast of South Carolina:


Rowkey shared an adorable nature cartoon:


Here's a vivid close-up of last summer's grasshopper:


Brian Leverton shares a drawing of Australian dingos.


Robin Lusk snapped a photo of a pair of trumpeter swans.



Science and its abuses: The problem with the "vaccine against fake news" item the researchers tested goes beyond the topic they chose (global warming theory). It's an unscientific fallacy that, if there is a solid majority of scientists who share an opinion or some other brainquirk, that means there's anything "scientific" about the opinion. A lot of scientists do endorse global warming theory, evolution theory, and various other theories--not because they've done research that supports those theories, but because either (a) they've always taken their teacher's word on topics of less interest to them or (b) they're willing to endorse whatever they've been advised influential colleagues or funders want them to endorse, in order to get on with their own work. A lot of scientists are lefthanded, and a thundering majority of scientists wear eyeglasses. (There is some evidence that these traits are influenced by the same DNA that gave them the higher than average tolerance for mathematics that a practicing scientist needs.) This does not, however, make it scientifically true that "Humans should write with their left hands and wear eyeglasses."


Pertinent comment on that article, pasted as a graphic then edited to remove some code that didn't work on this site:


tex152 on  said:

You do know that at one time, the scientific consensus in America was that black people were inferior to whites. At that time, anyone who thought otherwise, (Republicans), were considered crazy science deniers.

Nothing ever changes.


Virginia Legislature 

This batch of five bills is raising alarm among fiscal conservatives...though some of the bills were proposed by fiscal conservatives, including State Senator Carrico. Looks like we're in for another round of nasty in-fighting. Some fiscal conservatives, concerned about the looming federal budget disaster, want to call a constitutional convention just to revise the part of the U.S. Constitution that deals with the budget, on the theory that if Virginia calls for a constitutional convention with a state law that specifically rules out any dispute over the Bill of Rights, we can ensure that the "New Constitutional Convention" will not dispute any part of the Bill of Rights. Others warn that one State out of fifty won't have that much control over the agenda of a "New Constitutional Convention." Aaack! I, the writer known as Priscilla King, hereby stick my neck out and say I don't trust the other 49 States enough to support these bills. I've not even discussed any of them with other members of this web site, who don't always agree with me and who sometimes convince me...but as of today, this individual blogger would vote against all of these bills, regretfully including Senator Carrico's and Delegate Lingamfelter's. Here are the five links, for Virginia readers and for those who want to lean on your own State legislatures to consider:






The idea of a balanced budget amendment...was discussed a few years ago, at a number of sites including this one. It's worked for Virginia. There's been reason to doubt that it would serve the federal government well, since the easiest way to balance the budget would be to raise taxes. A federal balanced budget amendment that required any imbalance to be corrected by cutting spending would be a nice idea; if State Senator Carrico sees a prospect of getting that enacted, I say the sooner the better, but good luck getting it past the special interests.


Actually received last year, pursuant to something I'd written about our local food bank and local unemployed population, was an article (PDF, I'm sorry) by a team of British psychologists calling themselves the Psychologists Against Austerity, in which they discuss the emotions British welfare dependents have about proposed welfare cuts. Fascinating stuff, their 16-page article deserves a 16-page rebuttal about the emotions people have when government gets out of their way and lets them earn honest livings instead of handing them welfare and routing them through one-size-fits-all "programs."



+Andria Perry shares tips for bloggers:


Dave Urbanski reports on an interesting kind of writing contest: Students who are the epitome of "White privilege" are being invited to write about their awareness of "White privilege." I say it'll depend on who's judging the essays whether the whole contest is an exercise in cranking out derivative garbage by parroting things the kids have read...or a contest to find out which of them have actually visited the "inner city" areas of New York, Boston, or Washington. (And if it's the latter, it might actually be good!)



Since I've encouraged you to fund this site using money orders tucked inside greeting cards, here are some greeting cards currently on sale at Zazzle. (Brands don't actually have birthdays, but at least one of the mock birthdays associated with the "Priscilla King" brands happens to be in January. Just a thought. This web site really doesn't give a flyin' flip how long before or after a birthday we receive a money order. We'd accept a money order encased in a sympathy card, even a graduation card...but these are some cute digital-photo birthday cards.)