[I never got around to using this when folks were still dealing with the sale of LJ, but it's been sitting in the queue waiting for something like Facebook suddenly getting insistent about its real names policy (or Google's outing of trans people a few years ago) ...]
"We give these companies a great deal of control over our privacy and our speech - and even if we trust that company with those responsibilities now, there are no guarantees that the pressures upon and motivations of that company will stay constant over time.
"The news that LiveJournal has been sold to SUP, a Moscow-based company, is the latest vivid indication of this danger. [...]"
-- Danny O'Brien, "Between Friends: The Perils of Centralized Blogging", Electronic Frontier Foundation, 2007-12-03
[Happy first day of (astronomical) Autumn! For folks who like to keep track, the exact time of the Autumnal Equinox this year as 22:29 last night Eastern Daylight Time / 02:29 this morning Coordinated Universal Time.]
22nd September 2014: inheritance powder
What I’ve been up to
Firstly, a very happy birthday to my (no longer little!) brother Andrew, who is rather younger than eleventy-one today.
As for me: I'm still ill, still working on getting better. Here's a story: a few months ago I was hit by a car when crossing the road. I escaped with only a sprained ankle and bruised ribs, but I was so anxious to get over it that I ignored much of the advice about keeping my ankle iced and raised. Instead, I took painkillers and went on with my everyday life. This certainly had its problems in the short term-- I attempted to carry a powered wheelchair through a doorway, put weight on my bad leg, and ended up dislocating my shoulder-- but I suspect it made the sprain slower to heal as well. And now I'm thinking about this as a metaphor for healing in general. What are the equivalents of ice and elevation, for example, in living with chronic depression?
A poem of mine
I thought I saw an execution there.
The fascinated public gathered round.
The cheerful hangmen stripped the victim bare
And built their gibbet high above the ground.
The rope was taut, my wildness filled with fear.
I saw him fall. I heard his final cry.
Yet when the hangmen left I ventured near
To find my fault: I'd never seen him die.
In fact, I think he'd died some years ago.
There's blackness of decay in every breath.
The sound of flies was all that's left to grow,
Now free to come and feast upon his death;
Prince of the trees, I have a simple plea:
I will not die till death has come to me.
Dog, to sheep: "I saw the farmer making mint sauce."
Caption: My dog has been sheep-worrying.
In 1800, there lived in Berlin a young woman named Sophie Ursinus. She was married to a senior politician, who was much older, and (possibly at his suggestion) she had a boyfriend, who was an officer in the Dutch army. Between 1800 and 1801, both her husband and her boyfriend died suddenly; so did her elderly aunt, leaving her a good deal of money. No questions were asked. But in 1803, shortly after Mrs Ursinus argued with her servant, he became ill, and became suspicious; he took the plums she had given him to a friendly chemist, who confirmed that they appeared to have been laced with arsenic. The law was called in.
But there was then no reliable test for arsenic, and the pathologists could not confirm beyond a reasonable doubt that the exhumed body of her husband contained the poison, any more than it could have been detected at his post-mortem. Fortunately they were more sure when they examined the body of her aunt, and so Mrs Ursinus was sent to prison for thirty years.
Arsenic was nearly the perfect poison: readily obtainable if you claim you're trying to kill rats, easily administered by mixing into your victim's drink, causing symptoms plausibly similar to those of various then-common illnesses such as cholera, and-- should you be found out in the end-- almost undetectable in the body by any reliable test. So many people used it to remove rich and elderly relatives who had survived inconveniently long that it became euphemistically known as "inheritance powder".
In 1832 a man named John Bodle was accused of murdering his grandfather by putting arsenic in his coffee, and the prosecution called a chemist named James Marsh as an expert witness. Marsh discovered arsenic in the body, using the test developed by the homeopath (!) Samuel Hahnemann, which was the best available method at the time. But a positive result with Hahnemann's test deteriorates so fast that by the time of the trial the jury were not convinced, and Bodle was acquitted; he confessed his guilt as soon as he was protected by double jeopardy. Marsh was stung, and set out to discover a reliable test for arsenic.
He found one, and published it in 1838: it has become known as the Marsh test. It builds upon the previous work of Carl Scheele, who had shown in 1775 that arsine gas (AsH3) would result from treating arsenic with zinc and nitric acid. Marsh's breakthrough was to set fire to the arsine gas in the presence of charcoal, producing arsenic and water vapour, and staining the vessel with a silvery-black colour that came to be known as "arsenic mirror". (I apologise to my chemist readers if I have misunderstood any of this, and invite corrections.) Marsh's idea had its first successful outing in 1840, in the trial of a French poisoner named Marie Lafarge; so widely was this success reported in the news that poisoning one's relatives with arsenic became passé almost overnight.
Marsh and his test
One interesting footnote: modern detective fiction began in 1841, with Edgar Allen Poe's story The Murders in the Rue Morgue. I doubt there's any direct connection, but the timing amuses me: detective fiction would be far less interesting with the easy availability of undetectable poisons!
Something from someone else
by George Meredith (1828-1909)
On a starred night Prince Lucifer uprose.
Tired of his dark dominion swung the fiend
above the rolling ball, in cloud part screened,
where sinners hugged their spectre of repose.
Poor prey to his hot fit of pride were those.
And now upon his western wing he leaned,
now his huge bulk o'er Afric's sands careened,
now the black planet shadowed Arctic snows.
Soaring through wider zones that pricked his scars
with memory of the old revolt from awe,
he reached a middle height, and at the stars,
which are the brain of heaven, he look'd, and sank.
Around the ancient track marched, rank on rank,
the army of unalterable law.
Gentle Readers is published on Mondays and Thursdays, and I want you to share it. The archives are at http://gentlereaders.uk/ , and so is a form to get on the mailing list. If you have anything to say or reply, or you want to be added or removed from the mailing list, I’m at email@example.com and I’d love to hear from you. The newsletter is reader-supported; please pledge something if you can afford to, and please don't if you can't. Love and peace to you all.
I always wanted to do this, but in years past, I didn't use my iPod. About 18 months ago, I actually loaded the thing, and have even added things to it from time to time. So here goes: I just put it on shuffle and clicked through 20 songs, which are —
- The Dog Days Are Over - Florence + the Machine
- Peggy and Her Gallant Soldier/ The Rolling Wave - Tinsmith
- New Year's Day - U2
- Dirty Paws - Of Monster and Men
- Under the Milky Way - The Church
- Rebel Rebel - David Bowie
- Do It Again - Steely Dan
- It's Too Late - Carole King
- Somebody's Baby - Jackson Browne
- Ayal-Ayale (The Handsome Hero) - Idan Raichel Project
- Marrakesh Express - Crosby, Stills & Nash
- Take My Hand - Dido
- Mama I'm a Big Girl Now - Hairspray (Original Cast)
- Demon Lover - Steeleye Span
- Don't Stop - Fleetwood Mac
- Straight On - Heart
- Fire at Midnight - Jethro Tull
- Before the Fall - Carrie Newcomer
- That'll Be the Day - Linda Ronstadt
- Sweet Surrender - Sarah McLachlan
Hmmm, less folk/world than I would have expected.
( Photos of the odd beast )
I also started the pleather backpack, and ... eek. The tutorial I used as a guide was for medium weight fabric + interfacing, which is not the same as using heavyweight pleather :-/ Although the order of assembly is still helpful. Next time I'll look for more pleather guides, and I'm more than a little worried about my leather-hoodie project now. Playstation (my machine) is miserable. But I have to finish this silly bag b/c I hate using shoulder bags everyday. Still have a whole bunch of pleather leftover, I can make a better backpack later.
I also want to make a bunch of small items this week before September is over. Probably earrings, and pins festooned with polymer clay "Trinkets" from my vendor days. I have the idea and materials to do something with them that would make them more listing-worthy. Probably earrings too, tho I'm not sure I have any sterling hooks left. I could just mostly-complete them and add hooks next month.
After NYCC, my next costume-deadline is Halloween weekend, which is also NYC's MES larp weekend for November (they decided against moving it to the first full Fri-Sun weekend). So instead of working on the CIC dress (postponed for Arisia), Ima work on my Lost costume for Friday night's game. Might be fun to put it on at work and then wander around before game. I can edit/finish an older project for Requiem. Maybe make the pleather hoodie for Accord (its also supposed to be a magic wolfie item).
But its Samhain weekend and I'm not sure I want to give it all to larp. On the other hand Halloween in NYC is one big obnoxious frat party, last year's Samhain ritual was aggravating (look! gf cookies! and we mixed them with the regular cookies b/c we're morons!), and I have a fellow larper friend staying at my place from out of town. Pretend debauchery is still better than none at all? I could also take that Friday off and go out Thursday nite... *ponders*
Who does the LAPD Police Protective League think it's protecting?
Then there's Jefferson County School District, Colorado, where the school board wants to eliminate advanced-placement history classes -- yes, they don't want students to actually be able to *think* about history.
Republicans don't like early voting because they think it's not patriotic enough. And it attracts all those Democrats. And voting on Election Day is a treasured Republican ritual. Or something like that.
"Why is it that EVERY TIME States' Rights are invoked, it's to protect bigory?
"I could totally get behind States' Rights if it meant I was actually supporting real freedom, but if you argue that States' Rights mean that more people are less free and less equal? (and that seems to be the case EVERY TIME)"
-- Steve Haug, 2014-09-10
In fact, I worry that I might fit badly on any off-the-shelf bicycle in the categories I want, as someone who's too tall for most "women-specific" bikes. But I'm reasonably sure I can get something great without having a custom frame made, because that is $$$$$$.
The trouble is, I can't really get the bike of my dreams on a moderate budget - the bike of my dreams, to be specific, is a steel touring bike or randonneuring bike or a do-it-all kind of bike that's sturdy enough for overnight camping or credit-card touring (the kind of touring where you stay in hotels and eat at restaurants, so you don't have to carry around a tent and a stove and all that.)
A bike like the All City Space Horse. Because COME ON IT'S A SPACE HORSE.
What I should ACTUALLY DO instead of buying a Space Horse:
- Get a professional fitting done, even though they will laugh at me because I'm a fat lady, to see if there's anything I can reasonably do to tweak the fit.
- (If that fails) Watch Craiglist like a hawk, because if I can get a well-maintained vintage steel road bike that fits me well, then I would happily spend a bunch of money to fix and update the components.
And, in less exalted news, Beautiful caught a mouse outdoors yesterday, and was on the way to present it to me when it escaped; this happened twice more, and it finally vanished under the tangle of English ivy in the side yard. I am a bit relieved; I don't know exactly what she would have wanted me to do with the mouse: admire it? eat it? cook it for her? At least she was not pursuing either the red-headed woodpecker that has been coming through lately (not one of the usual varieties and so fairly unusual) or the chipmunk that likes to chirp loudly toward the back of the house so that all the windows will echo at him. It is a bit annoying at times; think mechanized Disney chipmunk on stun. But I keep telling Beautiful that the chipmunk is all fur and really not tasty, and so far that has worked.
If I were at home, I think I'd at least have the energy to do Saturday's todo list, but I'll have to see this afternoon if I can actually "get'er done" on this. Also not sure what happens when I run out of spoons on this, will I miss the signal and crash out? Feel extra gross the next day? Do I magically have more spoons to begin with?
So far it feels more like I have standard ADHD instead of my weird chronic fatigue version. But friends and my psychiatrist explained the whole "speed up to slow down" idea of ADHD meds (or tried to, I still don't really get it), so will have to see what happens when I increase the dosage. Definitely feels like a stimulant, but it's actually an uptake-blocker, so I guess its giving me more of my natural stimulants to work with?
And since my pinkie toe is still numb, and my sinuses are still "Ugh, ragweed!!" there's a lot of other stuff going on in my body right now :-P At least my back feels a bit better.
Ordered more fabric for future projects last nite b/c it was on sale again. ( I have a problem. )
Y'know, summer is historically a terrible time for my budget, and not just because DCon (and even less so, now that I know how to budget and save ahead for that trip). This year I noticed a lot of "I feel cruddy, so Ima make a bad (or imperfect) purchase decision." I'm thinking of doing a Buy Nothing Summer next year to see if I can. I can spend $$ on going out and doing stuff, and groceries/rx, but not on things that can become pointless physical clutter.
That could backfire, as I make a longer and longer shopping list over teh summer and then go crazy in September. Or I spend a ton around my b'day to stock up on some stuff before the dry spell. And then there's "I'd like to take this jewelry commission, but I'm all out of crimp beads." I've got nine months to figure it out.
On that note, it would also be nice to have a regular extra chores/cleaning day so I don't have to do all of it all at once some ill-fated weekend and f#$% up my back and leg muscles. :-P
Weekend's plans: regular chores, clean the bathroom, *maybe* swiffer and mop the other floors too. Take Discardia claims to the post office, and put the rest downstairs. Then I have a dress and a backpack to make (I wonder if the one-side shoulderbag is contributing to the nerve pinch making my toe numb?). My parents are coming in on Sunday for Dad's b'day, and then a friend is stopping by later to get more Discardia stuff. I should do laundry, b/c I'll be busy for the next three weekends. Or I could take a chance and push it off for a weeknight? The laundry rack and sewing table don't fit together in the space.
Today I have to stop by the bank with a lot of coin rolls. Last night I put those together out of purchase guilt, but as it turns out they almost cover last night's fabric purchase, so yay for that. Less credit card panic.
Next week I think there's an IAF meetup, yay. Other than that, probably not going out much, b/c I'd like this toe situation fixed before I go to Boston on Friday for the weekend of gaming and geekery.
Two views on the culture of corporal punishment of children and Adrian Peterson. And Judge Mark Fuller of Alabama is urged to resign after being charged with battery -- beating -- his wife in a hotel.
Representative Terri Sewell, the sole Democrat representing Alabama in Congress, drew a direct connection between Judge Fuller’s future and the current storm over domestic violence in the N.F.L. “If an N.F.L. player can lose his job because of domestic violence,” she said in a statement, “then a federal judge should definitely not be allowed to keep his lifetime appointment to the federal bench.”
If you ever used a credit card at Home Depot before Sept. 8, it's probably one of the 56 million whose information was taken in the hack.
China views from afar the Scottish independence vote, considering the people within its borders who would love to be able to have a vote like that.
In the other Scottish vote, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club agreed to open its doors to female members...at last.
Why you should care about the lives of politicians.
We could save the Caribbean's coral reefs.
In Georgia, politics moves past black and white.
Sun and wind alter the landscape, leaving utilities behind -- not just in Germany.
I may not even look at news tomorrow. I don't want to hear the smug speeches from the unionists, all of which are missing the point with their smugness. When nearly 50 percent of a population wants independence, this is significant. The United States was started with only a third that wanted independence: 1/3 for breaking away, 1/3 were loyalists and didn't want to leave, and 1/3 either did not care or did not have a voice in it.
ETA: I stand by my statement on smugness. This is my opinion, and my observation, of the English view of the vote. The fact that so high a percentage of the population wanted independence is *significant*. The reasons it did not pass are also significant -- but not, I think, enough to prevent a vote from occurring in the future.
On the next Project Censored Show on Pacifica Radio, join co-hosts Mickey Huff and Peter Phillips as they celebrate Banned Books Week. This year, BBW focuses on Graphic Novels. Their first guest is Charles Brownstein, executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Charles will give a history of censorship and comic books and […]
Affirm the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, Sept. 21 – 27, 2014 CHICAGO — It may surprise some to find out there are hundreds of reported attempts to ban books every year in the United States. It may be even more astounding for them to hear that since 1990, the American Library Association’s […]
The post PROJECT CENSORED is a proud sponsor of Banned Books Week again this year! appeared first on Project Censored.
Sister Megan Rice: "To remain in prison for the rest of my life is the greatest honor you could give me."
On religion, white supremacy and the people's movement in Ferguson, Missouri. AKA I cannot believe I still have to protest this shit!
Bad TV shows exploit the Amish people with lies.
Andrew Keegan went from "10 Things I Hate About You" to forming his own religion. But where is it going?
Fundamentalist LDS claim that, because of the Hobby Lobby decision, they don't have to pay teenagers to pick pecans.
What it takes to live in poverty in America.
I do not think Jesus had this in mind when he broke bread and shared wine with his friends.
"Moreover, the evidence reveals that the most iconic Radical Feminist institutions were designed to be trans-inclusive, until TERFâs violence forced trans people to choose between their own safety, the safety of Radical Feminists and the institution itself and leaving the space. As has always been, TERF aggression comes wrapped in the guise of Radical Feminism, for the purpose of colonizing Radical Feminism." -- Cristan Williams, "The Michigan Womynâs Music Festival: The historic RadFem vs TERF vs Trans fight">, 2014-09-02
But last night I didn't have to turn on my a/c until bedtime! Even after using the oven to cook bacon for the first time in months. So its that time of year again (as soon as ragweed goes away, ugh).
This year I decided to make some things for the colder weather but not go completely crazy. Except so far it seems crazy, b/c the corduroy I wasn't going to order until October was suddenly on sale the day I got the swatches for it last week, so... argh. I think I'll still count it towards next month's budget, but this is adding to my feelings of financial stupid. Yesterday I got a 4 lb box of fabric, today I got another that's 14 lb, and some of the swatches I got today are *also* suddenly on sale. I feel like fabric.com is stalking me :-P
( Sho many plans )
OK... that's a lot of sewing projects. Maybe January isn't long enough, maybe after the last couple of costume bits I should put a moratorium on fabric shopping until my b'day in May. Especially if I want to do weird things like leave the house, or make jewelry for the Etsy shop. Eeep. Maybe I'll just start with all the deadlined stuff, and work my way out.
With luck, I haven't broke my back this week, or am not developed any permanent or degrading kind of nerve illness, so I can keep up with my sewing without destroying my health. Yaaay.
Maryland -- what the hell? In Anne Arundel County, the guy who won the Republican primary for a seat on the county council and the party executive committee is a Christianist Neo-Confederate -- and so is the uncontested Republican candidate for county sheriff."> More here, but I'm cutting to a long quote: ( read this )
In other words, white right-wing gun nuts with a hatred of the current government are trying to take it over and disable it -- and this is probably not even being looked at by Homeland Insecurity.
The Say-What? category: NFL owners face losing their tax-exempt status [TAX-EXEMPT NONPROFIT?!?!?!] unless the Washington team changes its name from the racist epithet it has borne for 80+ years. Nonprofit? That billion-dollar enterprise pays no taxes under the nonprofit category. It's a moneymaking enterprise; it *should* pay taxes.
Religion Dispatches considers how the attitudes about Proper Christian Womanhood fit into what's going on with Ray Rice. Personally, I think that all professional athletes, particularly those in body-contact sports like football, wrestling, boxing and soccer, should be required to see counseling and take classes in anger management. And that any -- ANY -- athlete who abuses anyone who is younger, smaller or weaker than himself should lose his contract. Period. I am tired of hearing about beaten women, beaten children and gang rapes that are handwaved because the athlete's life and career are considered more important than the athlete's victims' lives.
A pro-patriarchy argument against contraception, in all its illogic -- not to mention its assumption that What Men Want Is Always Right And Takes Precedence Over Everything Including Women's Childbearing And Women's Bodies. [Don't ask me how I feel about this unless you want something large thrown at you, like Denali -- bears, weather and all. Especially bears.]
Wage theft in fast food.
Some good news: MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant awards announced. And congratulations, Alison Bechdel!
"[T]there is a big difference between a 'real' name and a 'legal' name. Our real name (or names) is our identity, our legal name is just something we use to interact with the state. Certainly for many, they are the same, but for many others they are hugely different. A name that may not be a legal name certainly need not be 'fake'!." -- Marla Louise, 2014-09-15