Good News

Jun. 28th, 2017 12:38 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Good news includes all the things which make us happy or otherwise feel good. It can be personal or public. We never know when something wonderful will happen, and when it does, most people want to share it with someone. It's disappointing when nobody is there to appreciate it. Happily, blogging allows us to share our joys and pat each other on the back.

What good news have you had recently? Are you anticipating any more?

Caturday, with big cats and a kitten

Jun. 28th, 2017 01:27 pm
madfilkentist: The Catmobile at Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society (Catmobile)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
When I got to the kitten room Joni Mitchell was at the door, looking as if she wanted to be on the other side. I used a broom to make sure she couldn't get through; I wasn't going to risk putting a hand or foot in reach. Once she got food, she was in a slightly better mood.

The star for today was a black, cage-climbing kitten named Diadem. She's everything you'd expect a kitten to be: cute, friendly, and extremely active, making a mess of her cage. Virginia put her in a carrier while cleaning the cage. There wasn't much else to do, since we didn't want her running among the big cats.

And there were some very big kitties this week. Bongo (long cat) is still there. There was a gray cat who sat in the bathroom sink and filled it completely. There was also a small tortoise-shell named Shasta, whose name I didn't know at first, but who answered to "Hübsche Katze" (pretty cat) when I called her that.

Vin Diesel was in a particularly bad mood, and Virginia and I both got slight scratches from him. He jumped me from behind when I was sweeping up spilled cat food. Maybe he thought I should have left it there.
[personal profile] tigertoy
I have a philosophical question that I'd like to pose as a hypothetical. This is strictly a thought experiment and it's not intended to refer to any real person and certainly not to any identifiable group of real Americans.

Suppose there is an able bodied person. They have no physical limitations and no diagnosable mental health issues. They have no kids. They don't do unpaid work (such as assisting family or volunteering). They are simply unwilling to work in any way.

What obligation does society have to that person? Is it ethically appropriate to leave them to starve in the gutter? If not, what level of support must society provide? If the answer is "it depends", how would you define what it depends on how the obligation varies with that?

In particular, what is the obligation in a prosperous modern Western democracy?

A Verse

Jun. 28th, 2017 11:12 am
[personal profile] tigertoy
I took a nice long walk this morning, and as I walked I wrote a little song.

(ttto "Babylon Is Fallen")

I wish I had an orange tiger. I would beep him on the nose.
I would give him lots of scritches; I would pet his fuzzy toes.
I would give him toys to play with; I would give him lots of love,
But I would not walk beneath him where he could pounce from above.
For I know he's very pointy; he could bite my spine in two,
And I know that his instinct even though he loves me too.

Contata (or is that ConToddler?)

Jun. 27th, 2017 09:58 pm
gorgeousgary: (Default)
[personal profile] gorgeousgary
We had a good time at Contata, despite my frequently missing pieces of concerts as I chased a certain toddler on a loop through the main room, dealer's room, con suite, dealer's alley, and back through the main room. Such is my life these days. What I was at least aware was going on (if not attentively listening to) sounded good, including concerts from MEW and Ed, Twotonic, Jane Sibley, the Angry Antz (Silke Kovàr and Steffi Zurek, from Germany), and the cast of dozens in the so-called "Kabarefsky" (singing songs of GOH Bob Kanefsky). I got to sing "Come Ye Muppets" (Bob's parody of "Come Ye Knights") in the Kabarefsky and play guitar for [personal profile] batyatoon on "Bootstrap" (Bob's parody of "Uplift").

Speaking of the Antz, apparently the rule that filk fiddlers (Silke in this case) must have at least a few streaks of blue hair applies in Germany as well...

The schedule was a bit unusual by filk con standards, including both the Brave Toaster and Interfilk concerts being on Sunday. Some of this was to accommodate the three NEFilk Summits to discuss the future of the NEFilk convention. (Short version: the occasionally-discussed merging of the three cons into one appears reasonably likely to actually happen.) Some was to accommodate the sound check for the Kabaresky (which I'd have put in the late morning, myself).

Having been mocked mercilessly for failing to include a lunch break in a Conterpoint schedule years ago, I was amused Contata failed to include a lunch break on Sunday schedule. Grazing in the con suite didn't quite stave off hunger from having a somewhat-hearty breakfast at 11, but a nice dinner with [personal profile] madfilkentist and [personal profile] lemmozine at The Famished Frog made up for the wait.

We also had a nice dinner at Marjan Persian Grill with Bill Laubenheimer, Carole Parker, [personal profile] runnerwolf and [personal profile] happyfunpaul on Saturday night. At least 15-20 other folks from the con had a similar idea. Thankfully we beat the rush. The food and conversation were good.

On the flip side, dinner on Friday was one of those "look back on and laugh" moments. Sheryl and I had gone to Ming II, since we (and Sam) like Chinese. However, for some reason the little guy didn't take to either my duck dish or Sheryl's noodle dish. To make things more fun, he found a pepper on my plate which he got a small bite of, then proceeded to rub on his cheek. Followed not surprisingly by a full meltdown. Once we got him back to our hotel room, washed his face off, then hit our stash of yogurt, fruit cups and apple sauce, he calmed down. (Other than a few minutes of fussing after I went back downstairs for the Kanef Source Songs theme circle.) Toddlers...

(I am told Paul and Beth are taking notes, since everything we are currently experiencing is in their future...*grin*)

Traffic was craptastic on the way north, thanks to a wreck on the Delaware Turnpike plus a later start from Maryland than planned. (We ended up having to run a few errands on Friday morning. Also, note to self...listen to Waze.) The run south was largely smooth sailing and left us time for dinner with my mom after we got home, as well as food shopping for the week.

Epic Dessert

Jun. 27th, 2017 07:35 pm
ysabetwordsmith: (gold star)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today, in Reasons Not to Hurl the Planet into the Sun, I discovered that Cracker Barrel has a new dessert for summer: Campfire S'Mores.  This consists of a graham cracker crust, warm fudge brownie, roasted marshmallow, and melty chocolate bar accompanied by a scoop of vanilla ice cream drizzled with dark chocolate sauce.  *DROOL, SLOBBER*  It's harder than it looks to translate recipes across different cooking modes, such as bringing a campfire classic into the kitchen.  I've had several attempts at indoor s'mores, including the pretty good s'more dessert pizza at Brixx, but nothing that compares to this.  So if you like s'mores and you're near a Cracker Barrel, go try this.  \o/

EDIT 6-27-17: Someone has thoughtfully posted a copycat recipe.  This will be useful after the special concludes in August. Meanwhile go throw money at the people who invented this, in hopes they will make more awesome food.

EDIT 6-28-17: Now in delicious poem flavor!  I wrote about some supervillains discovering this dessert.  "Reasons Not to Hurl the Planet into the Sun" is 60 lines, Buy It Now = $20

4th Street, Context, and Terms of Art

Jun. 27th, 2017 07:00 pm
lydy: (Default)
[personal profile] lydy
Slightly edited from comments I posted on File 770:


The biggest objection to Steven's statement at Opening Ceremonies was not about content, but about context. Context controls meaning. "How are you?" can be a polite place holder, the opening to a bit of small talk, or an invitation to talk about something serious going on in your life. Opening Ceremonies is a time for the staff of the convention to welcome people, thank people, provide some administrivia, and set the tone. It is not a time for conversations. Those happen later in the convention. It is supposed to be a feel-good half hour to ease people into the space that Fourth Street wants to create. What Steven did was an abuse of power in several different ways. In the first place, possibly inadvertently, he made it sound like his particular issue was, in fact, Fourth Street policy. I'm not sure what it says about Steven that he didn't understand before it was pointed out to him. I can think of both charitable and uncharitable explanations, but it really doesn't matter. What matters is what he did.

Although Steven claimed to be trying to start a conversation, everything about his action was designed to shut down conversation, rather than open it up. He spoke from the dias, at an event which is designed as a presentation, from a written speech. It should also be noted that Fourth Street has a single track of programming, most of the convention was at Opening Ceremonies, and probably 20% of the attendees were new to the convention. The fact that several people questioned Steven and pushed back at his behavior is not to his credit. Instead, it underscores how completely outside accepted norms his behavior was. It was sufficiently upsetting that numerous people broke the semiotic frame to challenge him. Alex, also sitting on the dias, could see people being visibly upset, some in tears. Her decision to shut Steven down was probably based, in part, on watching the damage he was doing happen in front of her eyes. If she did it less than gracefully, again, think about the frame. And think about the fact that this was completely unexpected. It is rare for the Safety Coordinator to have to operate in crisis mode. Usually, we are notified of harassment well after the fact, well after the actual crisis is past. This, this was happening right in front of her eyes.

The specific language that Steven chose, most especially "safe space", appeared to be carefully designed to undermine an entire department of the convention. Fourth Street uses the safety model, they have a Safety Coordinator, and they are doing a pretty good job of addressing issues of harassment and bias in the convention. To have someone, from the dias, in a presentation, essentially say, "These are not really Fourth Street's values," was shocking and unacceptable. If, as I gather elsewhere, this was the result of Steven losing an internal political battle, my god was this not the appropriate response.

I prefer to use consent as a model for dealing with crappy behavior in conventions. Using this model, what Steven did was completely beyond the pale. He foisted on an unsuspecting and unconsenting audience and incredibly complicated and uncomfortable topic, and did it in such a way that objecting was very hard, and conversation nearly impossible. Let's say you want to, for example, have a conversation about whether old white guys should be allowed to bang on about cultural appropriation. If it is on the schedule, clearly marked, and the panelists identified, a body could make an intelligent choice about whether or not one wanted to have that conversation. Or a body could decide that they don't have enough spoons for that particular conversation, and not go. It is not ok to try to force other people to talk about the things you want to talk about.

It should also be noted that there are conversations that are not valuable. No one needs to have another conversation about whether or not the Nazis were right about the danger of Jewry destroying Western Europe. No one needs to have another conversation about whether Jim Crow was maybe a good thing for colored people. These conversations give oxygen to toxic concepts, and yield no light. Fourth Street may well decide that some conversations are not likely to yield much enlightenment, but likely to cause actual hurt to attendees. This is not avoiding difficult concepts, this is properly budgeting time. There's a limited amount of Fourth street, an infinity of really cool things to talk about, and I get down on my knees in gratitude to editors who are good at their jobs.

Terms of Art:

I would like to point out that “safe space” is neither a literal nor a metaphorical phrase. It is a term of art, coming out of various complex discussions about how to deal with racism, sexism, and kierarchy. Like the term “positive reinforcement” which, in operant conditioning, doesn’t mean what you think it means, “safe space” has a specific, technical meaning. And the attempt to treat it as either literal or metaphorical completely misses the point. Deliberately so, in most cases.

I have problems with using the term safety to discuss harassment and its attendant issues. However, I am really, really annoyed at the people who use the term “safe space” as a stick to beat people doing real work. And seriously, pretending I don’t know what metaphor is is just not on.

In its most basic sense, “safe space” just means a place where we don’t have to have 101 conversations. A safe space for women means not having to constantly explain why we are fully human, not having to do the work of explaining why harassment is bad. A safe space for people of color means much the same, a space where people of color don’t have to explain their life and experiences and reassure the anxious white people around them. Fourth Street Fantasy Convention is, in point of fact, a “safe space” for fantasists, a place where writers and readers don’t have to explain why this stuff is important, don’t have to justify their passion for fantasy. That conversation is very much off the table.

Term of art, for fuck’s sake. It really chaps my ass to watch people attempt to abuse language in this fashion, especially people who claim to be professional writers. Sententiously insisting that they are speaking metaphorically, while simultaneously insisting that other people are speaking literally.

Language does weird shit, especially when you try to create precise terms. Writers do weird shit to language; it is their stock in trade. Pay some fucking attention. The language is going at right angles again. Like it does. All the fucking time.

Tuesday Yardening

Jun. 27th, 2017 04:12 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Today is beautiful, cool, and sunny.  I trimmed brush around the purple-and-white garden, finishing that round.  \o/   

EDIT 6/27/17: Round 2, I watered plants.  Then I hauled 4 garden carts full of brush from previous projects to the brush pile in the ritual meadow.  I have not yet picked up the giant ring of trimmings around the purple-and-white garden though.

EDIT 6/27/17: Round 3, I sprayed week killer in the old raspberry patch and in the streetside yard.  In some places there is poison ivy as far as the eye can see.  >_<  I expected that, because it is a "bandage" plant that appeared in disturbed earth, but I do not want it here.  I have firmly suggested that Gaia patch the ground with something else, such as the grass I spent two weeks planting there.  Some of the grass has grown in beautifully, but other areas remain stubbornly bare dirt or noxious weeds.  Ah well, it's a work in progress.

Poetry Fishbowl on Tuesday, July 4

Jun. 27th, 2017 01:29 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This is an advance announcement for the Tuesday, July 4, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. This time the theme will be "gender, orientation, and identity." I'll be soliciting ideas for QUILTBAG folks, queer allies, homophobes and other identity bigots, boomerang bigots, gender scholars, the oppressed, the misunderstood, ordinary people, outcasts, abuse survivors, the women that men don't see, questioning, debating labels, losing everything, looking in the window, taking people for granted, surviving oppression, hiding in the closet, coming out, upstanding, speaking truth to power, punching up, protesting, telling your own story, bedrooms, classrooms, counseling offices, churches, government buildings, libraries, cities, alleys, bars, parades, liminal zones, self-discovery, self-awareness, QUILTBAG pride, pride flags, other symbols of identity, birth control, reproductive freedom, sex toys, assumed male gaze, same-sex marriage, alien sex/gender dynamics, unpaid labor, self-sacrifice, emotional labor, disruptions, subversive education, humility, humiliation, social evolution, appreciation, identity literature, and poetic forms in particular.

I have a linkback poem, "The Emulsification of Humankind" (14 verses, Torn World). 

If you're interested, mark the date on your calendar, and please hold actual prompts until the "Poetry Fishbowl Open" post next week.  (If you're not available that day, or you live in a time zone that makes it hard to reach me, you can leave advance prompts.  I am now.)  Meanwhile, if you want to help with promotion, please feel free to link back here or repost this on your blog. 

New to the fishbowl? Read all about it! )

Invisible 3 Release Day

Jun. 27th, 2017 10:49 am
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Invisible 3 CoverINVISIBLE 3, a collection of 18 essays and poems about representation in SF/F, is out today! The ebook is edited by myself and Mary Anne Mohanraj, and is available at:

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Google Play

As with the first two volumes in this series, all profits go to benefit Con or Bust.

Here’s the full table of contents:

  • Introduction by K. Tempest Bradford
  • Heroes and Monsters, by T. S. Bazelli
  • Notes from the Meat Cage, by Fran Wilde
  • What Color Are My Heroes? by Mari Kurisato
  • The Zeroth Law Of Sex in Science Fiction, by Jennifer Cross
  • Our Hyperdimensional Mesh of Identities, by Alliah
  • Erasing Athena, Effacing Hestia, by Alex Conall
  • Not So Divergent After All, by Alyssa Hillary
  • Skins, by Chelsea Alejandro
  • The Doctor and I, by Benjamin Rosenbaum
  • My Family Isn’t Built By Blood, by Jaime O. Mayer
  • Lost in Space: A Messy Voyage Through Fictional Universes, by Carrie Sessarego
  • Decolonise The Future, by Brandon O’Brien
  • Natives in Space, by Rebecca Roanhorse
  • I Would Fly With Dragons, by Sean Robinson
  • Adventures in Online Dating, by Jeremy Sim
  • Of Asian-Americans and Bellydancing Wookiees, by Dawn Xiana Moon
  • Shard of a Mirage, by MT O’Shaughnessy
  • Unseen, Unheard, by Jo Gerrard

Huge thanks to the contributors for sharing their stories and experiences. I’ve learned so much from earlier volumes in this series, and this one was no different.

And hey, if you haven’t seen the previous volumes…

INVISIBLE: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Google Play

INVISIBLE 2: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | Smashwords | Google Play

If you’re a reviewer and would like a copy, please contact me and let me know your preferred format and where your reviews are published.

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

ConCertino 2018

Jun. 27th, 2017 07:01 am
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
[personal profile] madfilkentist posting in [community profile] filk
ConCertino 2018 will be in Dedham, Mass. (south of Boston) on June
29-July 1, 2018.

  • Guest of Honor: Cecilia Eng

  • Toastmaster: Errol Elumir

  • Fan Guest: Filthy Pierre (Erwin S. Strauss)

  • Interfilk Guest: Gabrielle Gold

More information at

This will, in all likelihood, be the last of the rotating northeast filk
conventions. Three meetings took place at Contata to plan the new
NEFilk, an annual convention with a single committee and geographic
area. Watch for updates.

Water-Powered Robots

Jun. 27th, 2017 05:14 am
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
These robots crawl or grasp based on humidity rather than a conventional power source. 

End of the Quarter

Jun. 26th, 2017 10:20 pm
[personal profile] ndrosen
After coming in to work on Saturday and Sunday, I arrived Monday morning, and resumed writing my latest Office Action. I finished it, but at 3:47 PM, almost an hour too late to get it counted for the third quarter.

That's a disappointment, but not a disaster. I should be within my safety zone, but I need to do better the final quarter, and make a success of the fiscal year.

Letter in the Financial Times

Jun. 26th, 2017 10:09 pm
[personal profile] ndrosen
The Financial Times printed a letter of mine today, and here it is:

Encourage the more efficient use of land

Sir, Diane Coyle writes that the market is not going to fix the housing problem, which is true in a sense, but states that private developers will not want to increase housing supply enough to bring prices down ("Grenfell Tower tragedy offers a chance to fix housing policy", June 22). Private developers may not want that result, but each developer stands to profit by increasing the housing supply a bit, and the total effect should be a large increase in that supply.

The real market failure is that private developers cannot increase the supply of land. It would be possible, however, to reconsider land use regulations, and to tax land more while cutting taxes on buildings, wages, and value added. This would encourage efficient use of land, while rendering land speculation unprofitable, and thus reducing land prices.

Nicholas D Rosen
Arlington, VA, US

In Memoriam

Jun. 26th, 2017 04:48 pm
onyxlynx: Some trees and a fountain at a cemetery (A Fine and Private Place)
[personal profile] onyxlynx
All New York Times obits.
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