Link Log from November 26-30

Links from the long holiday weekend, as many as possible…Categories: Animals, Books, Crafts, Food (Yum), Global Warming, Vaccinations, Women’s History.


Extremely cute cats…

…and foxes. (Did you know Robertson Davies once said that God created the cat so that humans might embrace the fox? That quote’s in The Papers of Samuel Marchbanks, a three-volume reprint that is, so far, my favorite of Davies’ books.)


Posted a few years ago, and recommended because it’s still a fun read…especially for those of us currently getting bleak November-type weather, who may want to read about Australia.


Something to think about if you’re going to Florida this winter…

Food (Yum)

A whole batch of guaranteed tasty vegan recipes…not all gluten-free or sugar-free, but most easily adapted.

Global Warming

Steve Milloy shared this link with the note that it smells like cronyism. I’ll add an apology…this NYTimes link worked, but displayed a truly obnoxious warning that they think they can afford to “stop supporting” my browser. It’s your job to keep your site reader-friendly, guys. If you don’t work with my browser and with a lot of browsers that are older and lower-memory than mine, go ahead and self-destruct by losing readers; see if we give a flip. Your writers can find better publishers.


John McDougall, M.D., on flu shots and more valuable vaccinations…

(Grandma Bonnie Peters agrees with him. She had a nasty case of flu in September, kept coughing until she’d transferred the cough to me–I don’t get flu when I keep a Good Healthy Distance from other people–and developed pneumonia and other complications, but she’s walking again, and looking for part-time jobs.)

Women’s History 

Fun facts and quizzes from Dan Lewis:


Here’s an easy writing challenge, if you have the time and inclination…

Confession Time : Did You Know This About Me?

Link Log for November 25-28

Although I’m scheduling some content to appear on Blogjob over the holidays, I don’t plan to be live online again this week, so here’s the final Link Log. Categories: Books, Food (Yuck), Phenology, Politics, Technology. (The Food links are yucky but they might help you save someone’s life.)


Maria Popova reviews an American classic, Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey:

This one is specifically for Catholics, but Protestants might want to check it out too–How to Defend the Faith Without Raising Your Voice by Kathryn Lopez. (The link that came in the e-mail may be for a newer edition than the Amazon link.)

Civil Rights 

Feds beware…the Hammonds have ever so much more potential popular appeal than David Koresh, Rodney King, or Randy Weaver. And the young seem much more restless than my generation were back then…maybe because the Welfare State hadn’t totally destroyed the economy, back then, so nearly all of us were focussed on doing our jobs!

Food (Yuck) 

As if you hadn’t already read enough reasons to avoid anything containing corn or rice, now that so many corn and rice products, even Success Brown Rice, contain enough “Roundup-Ready” (GMO) rice to make me feel sick and send some people to the hospital…

Are any farmers reading this? Y’might want to invest in another mule!

Is there a cure for the damage glyphosate has done? Jeffrey Smith has a hope…


Y’know…I think the whole idea of trying to measure global temperatures may be flawed. It’s just too weird to read that an El Nino (Spanish: lower-case, would mean “the little boy”; upper-case, means “weird weather”) year, in which my part of the world set records for cold winter weather, for heavy snow sticking on the ground for weeks and deep freezes and mass deaths-from-freezing of wildlife that normally survive our winters, followed by a very long and mellow spring and a very mild summer and a mild, slow autumn, was “the hottest on record.” Mercy, Maud, I want to shout, where were you? 1986 was a hot year. 1987 was a hot year. 2015 was a cool year…where I was. Even if the cheaper kind of mercury-based thermometers were literally blowing their tops if placed on sidewalks in Baghdad.

Steve Milloy shared this NYTimes link (you’re warned; sorry if it crashes your browser) as a joke, with the suggestion that certain “researchers” are planning to fabricate the weather reports that’ll make 2016 seem even hotter than 2015. Well…if you crunch honest numbers in certain ways, you get any kind of statistical results you want. That’s not exactly news. To the extent that El Nino is a weather pattern, it seems to be followed by a backlash some call La Nina…this web site will know that that’s true if we’re cooking on the sidewalks of Kingsport next summer, while Baghdadis parade around in long-sleeved shirts in July.

And La Nina may be approaching. Here it is the day before Thanksgiving, and although I have turned on the heater in the office room, I left it turned off when I headed out in the T-shirt-dress I’m wearing now. The ground froze last night and the night before, but thawed into squidginess in the afternoon sun–it’s squidgy outside by now, and not uncomfortable if you step outside without a coat and move briskly.


But the convoluted reasoning ascribed to the President here…

…makes him sound either less intelligent or more un-American than he is, which, I believe, is really trop fort. It is convoluted, and unlikely enough to remain hypothetical, but, for young Twits who haven’t been following the issue…ISIS is part of the general craziness in the Middle East, as was Al-Qaeda, as was the P.L.O. The craziness in the Middle East is caused by too many people wanting to own land that contains oil, even though it doesn’t contain enough water for all of them to live on or near it. Reducing the global demand for oil would (a) reduce these people’s desire to live in the same place and (b) reduce their ability to amass lethal weapons to fight over it. (See Bill Maher‘s When You Ride Alone You Ride with Bin Laden, although that was meant to be controversial entertainment too.) In theory, if we all wanted to get serious about using less petroleum, it would dampen all the craziness in the Middle East. Maybe even dampen the land and give people living there access to a decent quantity and quality of water. That is, of course, postulating that if you or I walk to the post office somebody else won’t drive to the post office, drive back, and then insist on offering us a lift to the post office, thereby doubling his petroleum consumption and offsetting our reduction of the same. Anyway, the President wasn’t saying that solar panels will stop bombs. They won’t. He knows that. All people our age know what he meant. He simply expected that youall had heard all of this explained over the past fifty years, too.

(Yes…for those who wonder…not only can people who Twitter be called Twits, with the capital T, but some controversial organizations and high-profile celebrities now demand that those following them on Twitter confirm that we’re Real Twits.)

For U.S. readers, here’s a post by Publius Huldah:


More about the “bugs” in the emerging technology of electric cars…(Apologies for the NYTimes link, but it behaved fairly well on this fairly old, fairly small laptop, so it’ll probably work for most readers. Sort of.)

Non-book-review cat, also from Morguefile:


Link Log for November 24

Lots of food-related links today…everyone must be thinking of Thanksgiving dinners! Categories: Animals, Books, Crafts, Food (Yuck), Food (Yum), Fun Stuff, Reader Feedback, Technology, Writing.


Polar bear pictures…

Total cuteness overdose:


Another book review at Blogjob.

Here’s one I’ve not seen in the real world yet, but I’m looking forward to it…Feisty and Feminine, by Penny Nance. (Not an endorsement–I want to read it.)


At any age, actually: if you’re thinking about getting married, knit or crochet a wedding gown. If you’re still in love by the time it’s ready to wear, the marriage might stand a chance…

Food (Yuck) 

This unusual, unlikely scenario is the one the gene splicers seem to think reflects the real world…anyway, this painting will remind you of The Less Fortunate, for sure.

Here’s the dismal documentary of what the gene splicers are doing to the real world…

Food (Yum) 

How “Kung Pao Chicken” recipes have travelled around the world…(yes, the link says “General Tso’s Chicken,” but the article is about “Kung Pao Chicken”).

Yes, (some) authentic Asian food does use wheat flour; wheat thrives in colder climates than rice. These cookies aren’t gluten-free. (No problem if you want to serve them at a meal to which I’m invited. I’ll just eat the leftover cashews, thanks.)

Gluten-free people sometimes cook omelets instead of pancakes. What about egg-free people? Why not an egg-free pancake?

A pumpkin pancake?

Greek yogurt can have all the delicious add-ins full-fat ice cream has. Maybe cheaper, if your family eat a lot of ice cream and/or yogurt. If you really want watermelon fudge ripple with cashews, it can be done…

Non-food treats to inspire your inner creative chef…

Whatever you’re cooking for the next few weeks, the holidays are a good time to use up those coupons…

Fun Stuff

The mathematical madness behind Alice in Wonderland‘s Tea Party, that is.

Reader Feedback 

Someone Twittering as “Narcotics Anonymous” shares a link to the NA online newsletter at:

This was in response to:

Stupidity Is a Choice 

Actually I suspect the King of Sweden is calling on people to take efficient showers rather than filling a big old tub. However, I’m hypersensitive on this issue because I’ve known some Greens who became literally Sick Greens by imagining that bathing is the big waste of water in most of our lives. Truly, Gentle Readers, this is not the case. I’m a warm bath fiend. I believe in immersing at least the possibly contaminated parts of the body every single time you sit down on the toilet (Doing Number Three), and I’ve practiced this rule while living in a house where I’d shut off a drippy water line and was manually flushing the toilet with only about a quart of water each time, and the city water office got suspicious that the water bill had dropped so far below average. Leaks and inefficient flushing are what waste water (and money). We can all afford to smell fresh. (People who sit on the toilet and try to wipe themselves clean with dry tissue paper, no matter how many squares they use each time, smell disgusting if you have to sit next to them on a Metrobus on a warm afternoon…one Washington memory I’d just as soon never relive for the rest of my lifetime.)


Growing pains of electric car technology, shared by John1282:


Here’s a prod to those who, like me, have a Hub Pages account but haven’t used it…lately, or ever…

Link Log for November 23

Malware issues didn’t even leave much time to go through five days’ backed-up e-mail. Here’s what I found so far. Categories: Animals, Food (Yuck), Food (Yum), Phenology Links, Politics, Privacy, Travel, Writing.


The Institute for Responsible Technology comments on the news from Food Democracy Now, below:

“The Atlantic Salmon Federation has expressed grave concerns about how natural food supplies and fish ecosystems could be disrupted should these new, voracious super-sized salmon accidentally escape into the wild.”

More at .


Wayne Muller, here writing for a nondenominational site:

Food (Yuck) 

From Food Democracy Now:

“Yesterday, officials in the Obama Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shocked Americans by opting to approve GMO salmon for human consumption here in the United States, where 90% of the population favors GMO labeling. This deeply flawed and irresponsible approval is an outrage and means that the first genetically engineered animal will soon be on the shelf in grocery stores and restaurants across the country.

And because of current U.S. law, these newly approved GMO Frankenfish will appear on your plate without you knowing it due to a lack of mandatory GMO labeling laws here in the U.S..

Help stop Monsanto’s desperate plan to kill states’ rights to label GMOs! – Tell your Senators and the President: “I support GMO labeling!” Every voice counts!

Tragically, Obama’s approval of AqauBounty’s genetically engineered salmon was done using only the company’s own shoddy scientific studies, which were so poorly designed they wouldn’t pass a 5th grade science fair.

For two of the studies submitted, AquaBounty used sample sizes so small that they have no scientific credibility, with only 12 fish tested for one study, while another study on possible allergic reactions in humans involved only 6 fish! Despite this scant evidence, the FDA approved AqauBounty’s GMO salmon anyway. Seriously?

This is so irresponsible it should be illegal! Unfortunately, if everyday people like us don’t stand up, we will soon be forced to eat these untested GMO Frankenfish because there are no laws that require mandatory GMO labeling.

Now U.S. Senate is Poised to Kill GMO Labeling Once and For All

Even worse than this new approval is the fact that yesterday, Politico reported that your Senators are close to a deal on possibly selling us out on GMO labeling once and for all.

Right now Monsanto lobbyists are scrambling to get your Senators to support efforts to kill GMO labeling and preempt states’ rights so food companies can avoid mandatory GMO labeling.

Even more alarming is the fact that Politico reported that some Senators may even go so far as to attach a rider to the end-of-year budget bill to create a voluntary GMO labeling standard to stomp out the GMO labeling movement once and for all.”

Food (Yum) 

Ben & Jerry’s promises a selection of dairy-free, almond-based ice cream:

And here’s a treat for the carnivores…

Phenology Links 

In the Deep South, goldenrod is still blooming. Not where I am…Gate City finally saw a killing frost this morning. (When I went out to feed the cats, the thermometer was showing 18 degrees Fahrenheit. On Saturday we were still enjoying T-shirt weather; on Sunday we all put on overcoats and prepared for snow, and instead we got a real, though brief, freeze.)


Hillary Rodham Clinton’s latest expression of brain damage is too easy a target for Jonah Goldberg’s talent, but I chortled…


If you distrust any mechanical device that’s alleged to be “smart,” on principle…a principle with which this web site agrees…you might be interested in this site:


Hawaii with the McDougalls, anyone? (This temporary link is meant to stop working after the retreat fills up, so use it now if it interests you.)


Whether you’re interested in her mystery novels or not (Edisto Jinx and others), Hope Clark does an awesome job of sharing links of interest to writers in this newsletter. Today’s issue is enhanced with Buff Orpingtons…not my favorite breed, but I have warm fuzzy feelings about all pet chickens…

Non-book-review cat:


Link Log from November 18

Categories: Animals, Art, Bizarrerie, Food, Google +, Muslims, Phenology, Photos, Poetry, Psychology, Thanksgiving Day, Writing.


+Sandy KS shares fun facts about an ugly but interesting animal.

(In between Animals and Art, somebody may enjoy scrolling through +Raphaël Vavasseur Art ‘s Google + gallery of paintings…I don’t know, they seem to express a lot of the emotions and associations humans project on to our cats.)


Peter Streep shares a painting by Pieter Saenredam, an obscure Dutch artist whose style seems ahead of his time.


How I’m getting referrals from this site is anybody’s guess…could it be because I’d said, more than once, that the word “honey” in modern U.S. usage is so vulgar, so often, that it should probably be considered unprintable? Oh well. Nobody minds the cute, innocent little bees, and the bees at this Blogspot “hive” seem busy indeed. What are the hidden dangers of visiting online “mobile recharge sites”? When you exchange your cell phone number for recharge minutes from a web site, how many nuisance calls are you signing up for? I don’t know. I can’t even afford to check this out. If someone out there wants to check it out and report back, I’d thank them.

And here’s the inimitable Vladimir Putin…I agree with the +Allen West Republic assessment. Totally.

Food (Yum) 

Would you pay $6 per month to join a spice club?

I like this beef-and-vegetable soup recipe. I like okra.

Google + 

“Revitalizing” Google +? Three thoughts:

(1) Computers are business tools. If you want people to hang out on social sites, you pay per post. That’s the secret of the relative success of all the other alternatives to Facebook.

(2) Business tools should never call attention to themselves. If you want people to use a web site when they’re not being paid to use it, you never, never, never change a button that was working, and you avoid adding clutter or screeching, clashing background colors.

(3) Personally, the reason why I backed away from Google +, where I was connecting with some e-friends I’ve missed, has been that I’ve switched from mostly using public-access desktop computers to mostly using a privately owned laptop computer. Google + is one huge mess of memory-hogging graphics. Some laptops won’t open it at all. And as I read that more people are buying even cheaper and flimsier “tablets” and using phones for their Internet activity, I think I’m onto something. The way to “revitalize” Google + might begin with offering a graphics-free version.


Bill O’Reilly wants a “Million Muslim March” to condemn ISIS.

Morgan Griffith wants Saudi, Egyptian, Jordanian, and other Muslims to join us in a war against ISIS.

For quite a long time, I’ve wanted just to link to articles or review books in which Muslims denounced ISIS and/or the Taliban and/or al-Qaeda…good luck, gentlemen. Brigitte Gabriel may have a point, much as I hate to admit it. If the peaceful majority are afraid of offending the loud lunatic minority, then the peaceful majority may be irrelevant.

And, while we’re here…I think Muslim drivers who refuse to deliver beer…should own their own independent outfits, if they like, but not take jobs driving for companies that handle beer.

Phenology Links 

In Canada, they’ve just had the First Snow…serious snow, mind you. (In Virginia, when we get this much snow, levelheaded people call it a Big Wet Snow, and those who panic easily start carrying on about “snow emergencies” and “blizzards.”)

And then in Scotland…


Dan Lewis has found quite a collection of photos of active volcanoes:

The Vagabond Tabby has found a charming ruined house:


Speaking of charming ruins, Alice Walker posted a new poem:


Scott Adams discusses the psychology of late adolescents (ages 15-30) in ways that probably just won’t make sense to anyone under about age 20. Let’s just say I agree with him about the rationalization process; all of us humans do a lot of the things we do for reasons we don’t completely understand (I don’t usually eat when I’m sleepy, but often eat when I’m thirsty) and then, if asked why we did those things, we invent reasons that don’t actually account for what we’ve done.

Thanksgiving Day 

Big-chain stores get the message: Don’t open on Thanksgiving Day.


Here’s a site that delivers a word and a quote (not related) per day.

Neil Gaiman talks about stories:

E-friends from AC, please don’t drive +Lyn Lomasi completely around the bend, but…she’s built her site up to Real’Zine status and can accept a few guest posts and/or applications. Hurrah! If any of us deserved to reach this point first, she did.

Link Log for November 13

Categories: Animals, Boys & Girls, Censorship, Movie Stars, Politics, Writing. Some links and comments about Gardening & Farming are being scheduled for Sunday.


This reminds me of Heather’s half-grown son Elmo, who shouldn’t be at the Cat Sanctuary any more, but he is…his coat’s much redder than this cat’s coat appears to be on my screen, but he has the same kind of mackerel stripes, the same kind of adolescent look, and the same kind of attitude. (Elmo aged past being adopted by one permanent home and has yet to be claimed by another permanent home.)

Thanks to Mei/Poke for this:

Boys & Girls 

Some men, young sisters. Only some men. I’ll never dispute that being willing to kill the rotten ones is an asset when it comes to finding the precious ones. (And curbing the rotten ones, too–some of them may eventually outgrow their current rottenness.) Women should, like men and like the United States, not start a fight and not lose a fight. But seriously…I’ve met a few jerks too, but what I really wish were different about men is that the good ones are so fragile. They die so young. They’re so precious that even if they’re ninety-nine years old, when they die, that’s still far too young.


I agree with Jason Howerton, and apparently many of the students: hatespeech is not a crime, and shouldn’t be treated like one. However, in view of the crimes that were probably triggered by hatespeech and have been reported at this campus…is it appropriate to summon the campus police to watch in case a crime does occur?

In my home town, Gentle Readers, you can be arrested for “public drunkenness and disorderly conduct” for using, on the street, some Washingtonians’ favorite words. The assumption is that if a Virginian is in mixed company and uses the F-word or the S-word, or arguably even “Hell” in a sentence that does not refer to Michigan, he or she is probably drunk. And y’know, although I oppose censorship… not only do I not feel that this needs to change, I feel that printable-but-obnoxious words like “honey” and “lousy” should be added to the list.

Movie Stars 

I think Billy Hallowell posted this one just for us old ladies who’ve never really got into Denzel Washington’s guy-oriented movies or adult-content soap opera:


Lots of working people have violent fantasies about their bosses. If the said bosses ever go into politics, nobody is surprised when the said working people declare their support for the opposition…or even for the said bosses. Well, I voted for Ralph Nader, and people who’ve worked with him campaigned for Terry Kilgore, but they are men you don’t meet every day. So I wasn’t terribly upset to read that a former employee of hers said he wants to strangle candidate Carly Fiorina. Or that opposition candidate Hillary Clinton laughed, even. But Jason Howerton has a point here. Remember how the Democrats screeched and carried on when Republican candidates said much less inflammatory, nonviolent things…?

This one is long, serious, recommended to policy wonks and Washingtonians…Charles Cooper argues that Justice Thomas has come into his own, in recent years. (For a while there he was perceived as Justice Scalia’s shadow.) Thanks to Patricia Evans for sharing:


This cartoon post is about drawing, actually, but it’s relevant…When I get halfway through writing something and realize that I’m bored, I take that as an indication that other people might agree that it’s boring. It might need revising, or re-thinking, or recycling into the compost of my mind.

This, of course, is a useful policy only for the more “creative” type of writing. Fiction readers might not want to read a story about a four-year-old watching baby chickens scratch in the yard. Blog readers might not want to read a post about an old textbook I have for sale, even though somewhere out there is somebody who used that book in college, lost or sold it, misses it, and wants it back. But no matter how boring a post about reviews of baby buggies on Amazon may be, the only reason why I started to write such a thing is that somebody out there is paying for it. So, while trusting my intuition that most people would agree with me that that post is painfully boring, I just push on and finish it…and the handful of people who wanted it to be written are delighted.

Now about grammar…I saw another example of comma confusion more recently. Apparently a Catholic author wanted to dedicate a book to three separate sources of inspiration, and had been taught that it’s acceptable to omit the comma before “and” or “or” in a list that ends with an “and” or “or” phrase. So the book was dedicated “To my parents, the Pope and Mother Teresa.” (I’ve not seen the book, but have read reports that it was printed that way.)


Link Log for November 9-10

This one started yesterday, but wasn’t posted because Blogjob shut down. Categories: Animals, Economy, Education, Food (Yum), Holidays, Music, Obamacare, Politics, Phenology, Politics, Technology, Thank a Veteran.


Kellogg’s is phasing out eggs from miserable, short-lived battery hens. Want to lean on General Mills, too?


Economics 101, or, if you don’t like the current level of your local economy, stop wailing and fix it. (Even though this presidential administration has encouraged many efforts to make it harder for people to boost their local economy, like encouraging the substitution of cards that can be spent only at big-chain stores for cash that can be spent wherever a neighbor needs to sell something.)


Hillary Rodham Clinton pulls a 180 on the question of charter schools, although the schools themselves aren’t reported as the problem…Some public schools are very good schools. I attended one. Still, no school can afford to batten on a monopoly, the way the public schools did when I was a schoolgirl. Even at good schools, monopolies foster outright child abuse. Students need to be able to vote with their feet and maintain an incentive for teachers to do their best work. And once again, my home town was a battleground for school choice in the 1980s, and once the battle was won and the Gate City Christian School opened, the public school principal agreed that having an alternative served the public school well too. Children study better and behave better when they have a choice between different school atmospheres and teaching styles. Some children who were chronic problems at one school did well at the other school, so the benefits of choice were mutual for the public and private schools.

Food (Yum) 

Pumpkin spices and chocolate chips? Pumpkin spices and raisins? I can’t even test gluten-free versions of these cookies, but somebody out there will love them. (For future reference…this is aimed specifically at the person to whom those two pumpkins stranded in the drainage ditch belonged…if you carve your pumpkin on Halloween afternoon and set it inside the window, you can still eat it. A pumpkin thrown out on the ground, while it’s still firm and edible, is a sad thing to see.)

I don’t eat pork but I do like bacon…turkey bacon. (For the gluten-tolerant, as +Andria Perry mentions, there’s also Morningstar Farms soy-and-wheat-gluten bacon.)

And here’s a salad idea:

What do you donate to your local food bank, if anything? (I don’t–it’s so painfully obvious that too many people donate to the food bank, and as a result their standards of “need” are too lax. I’ve seen young people who were living in their parents’ home, working full-time, wearing expensive new clothes and driving super-expensive new cars, go to the local food bank with empty hands and come out loaded with more than they could carry. It made me reflect on the backwardness of this situation, and as a result I’ve never donated anything to my local food bank. I wouldn’t take food from them, either, no matter how long it takes me to collect what this last online rip-off artist owes; I can survive a few days without food but don’t think I could survive being mistaken for a Blatantly Bogus Welfare Cheat like Some People.)


In some countries tomorrow will be Remembrance Day…and in some it’s St. Martin’s Day. (In some countries, the warm spell in November that we used to call “Indian Summer” is “St. Martin’s Little Summer.”) Here’s a post about St. Martin’s Day in Germany:


This is a fan site, not maintained by the singer himself…Gordon Lightfoot is still planning an overseas tour next year? Fantastic!


Personally, I suspect that any large-scale plan to base anything on an insurance gambling scheme is doomed to implode.

You have to think through the sales pitch at this next link. How will getting more people involved in a gambling scheme build a healthier community? Er um…if Obamacare, for which I may be qualified but I’m delighted to save the nation a few dollars by not signing up, is used in such a way as to weed out the sicklier members of the “community” in question…

(I’m guessing you never thought of some of these big, sprawling, messy, riot-ravaged cities as “communities” before, either. Calling Chicago, Philadelphia, or even Tampa a “community” is one of those things that reflects on the speaker…y’know, if you’re capable of confusing “Greater Washington” with anything like a “community,” that shows that you don’t remember when a few neighborhoods like Arlington, Takoma Park, or even Chevy Chase in its own weird way, had a hope of becoming communities. Let’s just say that communities don’t riot.)

Phenology Link 

Today’s phenology, here? You didn’t want to know. November rain…somehow it seems perfectly appropriate that a document I need for another paid writing site is on Blogjob, and Blogjob is down. (Update: November 10 has been sunny and chilly.) So, in some places today’s phenology is more colorful. Fantastic foliage found in Scotland.

In other places it’s goofier…this was actually the week before last, but still: Sheep take over Madrid. (Thanks to Greg at for sharing.)


From Adam Brandon at Freedomworks, which is not actually working today but is still generating group e-mails…

“Rand Paul has just confirmed that he will be speaking at the Rising Tide Summit in Cedar Rapids, Iowa on December 5th. Joining Senator Paul will be Senator Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, businesswoman Carly Fiorina, Governor Bobby Jindal, and former Senator Rick Santorum. That makes six, count them six, presidential candidates speaking at the Rising Tide Summit. Register today to secure your seat for the conservative event of the year!

Publius Huldah gets controversial. Furiously controversial.


Dan Lewis reports on low-tech travel…

Thank a Veteran 

Guess what day tomorrow is? For foreign readers, in the U.S. the eleventh of November is Veterans Day. Most businesses stay open (for which some veterans are thankful, because people who take Veterans Day seriously are likely to treat them to dinner on this day). Some veterans say that, rather than closing government offices and inconveniencing veterans, a more appropriate observation of the day might involve sending veterans money. Meh. A lot of other things would have to be defunded to make room for that. However, for those who don’t have a close friend or relative to treat to dinner, money, errands, a day at the lake, an evening of tickling and pillow fighting, or whatever, here are some additional ideas:

First, General Motors is sponsoring an effort to install adaptive technology in the homes of 200 selected veterans with major disabilities.

fundraises to give disabled veterans “smart homes.” (ASL sign “house”) Click to help.

If you support the U.S.O. (verbally or financially) you, too, may have received this link in an e-mail from Joan Jett:

None of the veterans I know personally uses e-mail, but, for those whose favorite veteran does:


Link Log for November 6

Categories: Animals, Fun Facts, Nature, Pictures, Politics, Writing.


Twitterers, do you, too, suspect that the original Ben and Jerry wouldn’t have needed to be told that God gave cows tails for a reason?

Fun Facts 

The essential calendar for all fun fact fans:


Not phenology, exactly…Maria Popova picks Goethe‘s brain and reprints five (English translations of) poems about clouds.

Here’s a belated phenology photo. I snapped this Annual Cicada’s picture in September but didn’t e-mail it to the computer until I e-mailed Wednesday’s doll picture…no extra charge for uploading it now.

More pictures here; this article by +Barbara Radisavljevic reminds me of Piers Anthony’s Shade of the Tree, a delightful book I’ve reread several times…


Remembering Gordon Parks…(Warning: it’s pictures, so, duh, it may foul up slower computers.)


Rush Limbaugh takes credit for making the Illiberal Left as illiberal as they are today…

Jonah Goldberg explains the difference between conservatives and libertarians.


Can any creative work remain independent of sponsors? Well…I have a nice ad-free Blogspot blog that I’ve maintained for years, and there’s been no online response to its “Last Post?” I’ve worked with the assumption that at least equal numbers of the Blogspot’s regular readers like it and hate it. (Blogspot reports these things; I know for sure, and have known since the first few months of the Blogspot, that some regular readers do hate it.) Maybe all of them hate it. I received complaints that people weren’t able to comment on the Blogspot using the regular Blogger comments system. I installed Disqus for those people. Still no intelligent comments. So, nobody’s getting paid to interact on Blogspot/Blogger/Google+, so evidently nobody wants to interact there, so hosting the nice ad-free (and computer-memory-friendly) Blogspot is a waste of time. Too bad; it’s been fun and all that. I logged into Blogjob hoping to see lovely content-supportive Prosper Ads, and what I saw was an obnoxious pop-up “personalized ad” from Amazon. Icky. But I do see evidence that people are reading the Blogjob posts.

Does everyone need to write a novel for National Novel Writing Month? Maybe. (I’ve written about a dozen full-length novels.) But do those novels need to be published? Maybe not. (None of mine’s even been submitted to a publisher, unless we count a prank parody novel I sent to a publisher on a dare bet when I was fifteen.)

Announcement, Links, and Supplementary Rant

Announcement: Some clients find it hard to understand the concept of writers having real lives. I just told somebody I’d be available to add a link to an article today. Somebody went ahead and put in the request for a change yesterday, when I’d said I wouldn’t be online. So when I came online the system had automatically deleted the request. Sigh. I had planned to work in that link today, instead of spending time drawing out haters and encouraging fellow introverts at a teen-oriented web site. I will not be online sixty hours a week this week. Sorry.

It doesn’t mean I don’t liiike youall any more. It doesn’t even mean I don’t need some payments for some existing writing that have become past due. It just means that, in order to move, as planned, to a location nearer home where I should eventually be more available online, I have to spend some time moving objects around in the real world. And I can’t even commit to a schedule; this all depends very much on weather.

Categories: Food (Yum), Poems, Social Problems. (Without the rant about Social Problems this post would be too short. With the rant it’s too long. Well, you’re free to go directly to the link and ignore the rant.)

Food (Yum) 

This web site likes bush beans, and, when we buy beans in tins, we also like Bush beans.


From Elizabeth Barrette:

Social Problems 

I actually think this article offers some good suggestions…if it’s read with a mature understanding. The story I shared, encouraging said mature understanding, triggered all sorts of displays of hostility and conceitedness from extroverts. Go on and out yourselves, haters. I’m concerned solely with sending empathy vibrations to all the wonderful young introverts out there. Yes, I’m seeing evidence that youall are reading my web site; thank you (for reading), and you’re welcome (to continue reading).

And, if any extroverts are reading this…yes, I did say that self-accepting introverts learn to love youall, if we do, more in the way we love dogs than in the way we love our close friends. Try not to take it to heart (she says, feeling really chuffed by the hatespews from people who might otherwise have gone on representing themselves to Christian students as friends and mentors, and who are So. Not. Helping.). You do, as a matter of scientific fact, have different and in some ways inferior brains. But most introverts I know love our dogs (and our friends’ dogs).

What appeared to be the site’s official resident troll called my comment racist. Because I identified the annoying person in the story as a White girl? Well, she was…and there are reasons why that fact sticks in my memory: (a) I’m legally White myself, so entitled to mention other people’s Whiteness if I feel like it; (b) I am in fact biracial, and at that school, where all but two of the other summer kids appeared to be either White or Black, I was constantly and excruciatingly conscious of it; (c) the precise way in which she was considered funny-looking is an irrelevant detail that should probably have been left out, but it was a White way, and (d) I was especially aware of this on that day because I’d already been overtly harassed by one of the Black teen-trolls. That’s a different story, so there was no need to specify that this was the attack by the White girl, but that’s how I remember it and how I wrote it. I was tired at the time.

A better thing to call the adolescent Priscilla in the anecdote would have been “clumsy” or “adolescent,” which of course I was…only a year or two ahead of the dateless girl. However, where my anecdote failed was that people who didn’t go to church schools apparently didn’t get the picture. That child was not interested in actually being kind to me. This was not just “My date didn’t show up either, so would you mind very much sitting next to me while what I have in the way of friends snog and I try not to cry from self-pity”; it was a gambit that sucked me in because I mistook it for that innocent, “My date didn’t show up either” type of thing. She was interested in trying to boost her own social status, from which extroverts get their self-esteem, at my expense. And yes, as distinct from things like my brother’s recent death, which made me feel primarily sad, and the culture’s sick attitudes toward young women, which made me feel primarily righteous, this petty little incident where I walked into a social trap did make me feel exclusively, unrighteously, helplessly and childishly angry, at the time.

I wanted to share that–with strangers? yes, y’see introverts are not necessarily shy–because I’m quite sure that the arrogance of “I don’t actually like you, but I’m donating a little attention to you as an act of charity because you’re such a pathetic loser” would paint a target on the back of anybody who takes that approach to an incipient homicidal maniac.

Actually being friends with the ordinary, nonviolent, non-psychotic, harmlessly lonely young people who are out of step–gifted/backward, tall/short, fat/skinny, mature/baby-faced, rich/poor, pimply, clumsy, sickly, dealing with an unusual amount of emotional anguish at an emotional-anguish-ridden stage of life–is of course a good thing. It may be what some of them need to stay off drugs, and to grow up to be the wonderful human beings nature intended.

It cannot be faked…I’m feeling frustrated, at the moment, because I am all in favor of actually appreciating people who are likely to be “less popular” in college. Before working overtime to become “Queen Bee of a Popular Clique” I was one. And so were the friends who made up that group, which was what made it such an awesome experience for us and so infuriating for the extroverts who were welcome to hang with us but just didn’t fit in. Instead of any “Wonderful Me, Pathetic You” garbage, or even our previous year’s “I had a friend I really liked but s/he’s not around this year, waaail,” about a dozen people reached across the demographics and found enough in common to be friends. Which happened to include that we were earning our own money and could therefore afford to have enough fun to make the children of rich, indulgent parents realize that they weren’t the only Popular Clique in town.

So I agree that the clumsy geek in your class may be the richest and best looking person at your class reunions, and if you like him, you may live to be glad that you became his friend before he was cool. Which is a valid reason to become his friend, if you get the chance.

If somebody is just hanging onto life while the post-traumatic stress of past bullying fades (the way I was in middle school), that person may not want a friend–yet–even if that person likes you later on. If somebody is out of step because he or she genuinely is different from you–maybe the one musician in a crowd of tin-eared scientists as in The 400 Eels of Sigmund Freud, etc.–then that person may feel obliged to be kind to you, but not accept you as a friend. Even if that person eats lunch with you, s/he will be continually reminded that you are at best a nice associate, but not a real friend. And if somebody just feels like an adolescent social misfit, “here’s a crumb of attention from Wonderful Me to Pathetic You” is guaranteed to exacerbate that feeling…and if the person receives the wrong kind of “help” and develops a violent psychosis next year, guess who’s likely to play a leading role in his or her pseudomemories.011

Link Log for October 8

Categories: Books, Christian, Communication, Funny, Pictures, Politics, Race, What?.


If you liked The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, pre-order now…

Congratulations are in order to historian/dramatist Svetlana Alexievich:

The funniest thing about this comparison of gender references in different novels is that, in Chesterton, I don’t mind. He lived in a Victorian gender-segregated world, and wrote about men living in that sort of world, with only an occasional passing reference to Father Brown hearing an occasional female confession. That we don’t have equally good novels by and exclusively about women (Alison Bechdel is not, in my judgment, equally good) indicates an imbalance, although anybody might correct it any day. That all the characters in Chesterton’s novels are male, and/or that all the novels are more about human activity than about human personality, tells me something about Chesterton, and it makes some of the novels less enjoyable than others, but it doesn’t offend me.


As a professional hack writer I usually mention what I’m writing for paying customers, at this web site, only when there’s a possibility (however remote) that a piece might be appropriated without payment. Hack writers’ contributions to magazines, newspapers, blogs, and web sites are traditionally anonymous, subject to such massive revisions that what’s published may in fact be the work of a client who’s taken our ideas and research as a suggestion for his or her own. But I have to note a personal milestone: After ten years of full-time writing, during which at most I’ve been paid pennies for mentioning Christian writing or speech, I’ve finally been commissioned to contribute an anonymous page to a devotional. The text is 2 Corinthians 1:4–an encouraging opportunity to write about encouragement. Before running on further, I’d prefer to read yourall’s thoughts:


Uh-oh. I don’t text often, and when I do it’s usually to people at least as old as I am, so I doubt this has become a problem. However. For the record. I am a writer. I think in complete sentences. If those sentences don’t end in question marks or exclamation marks, they end in periods. (Online, they may also end in smileys, winkies, or frownies.) When I add a period in a text message, the meaning is “Yes, I finished what I was saying before pressing ‘send’ and/or starting another sentence.” I don’t think text messages are good ways to express emotions, but if I were to send a ticked-off text, the expressions of anger would be ALL CAPS and/or exclamation marks and/or frownies and/or expletives (e.g. “dang”) identifying what I’m most angry about.

* “I m here. WHERE R U?”

* “We never buy anything from sales pests. Don t call here again!!!”

* “GBP still has blasted pneumonia :-(”

And if I don’t see a period at the end of your message, the interpretations that come to mind are (1) “I was running out of space,” (2) “I either haven’t found the punctuation characters on my phone keypad or didn’t want to take the time to type one,” or (3) “I hit ‘send’ before I finished the message.” If I texted with someone younger or foreign, the absence of a period might suggest “I didn’t learn the rules of English punctuation.”


Thanks to Natalief for sharing:


More hide-and-seek graphics: The Language Log captured this photo of William Campbell’s paintings of pathogenic microorganisms. The actual story is at Reuters but, when I read the story, I don’t see the photo.


If there are any circumstances under which you’d vote for Ted Cruz (my reservations are based on (1) the “birther” faction and (2) my Carson/Paul preference), you might want to take this survey.

President Obama made another serious mistake…and it’s possible that somebody at has finally got the point; for the first time in years I was actually able to read a story there, online, firsthand.


It’s not racism as such…it’s just the way Caucasian-types do think (in spite of good intentions) unless, and until, they’ve lived in places where Whiteness is not the norm. (And sometimes it’s the way militant spokesmen for other ethnic groups have told us to write, draw, and stage, as well–the assumption that we wouldn’t know how a major character who wasn’t White would think. Shakespeare could imagine a Black man in Italy because he could count on any non-British members of his audience to be quiet if Othello seemed too easy for Brits to relate to.) I spent a long time in the non-federal parts of Washington, D.C., where the default assumption is that Blackness is the norm, so I believe that simply taking it as understood that all the interesting characters are going to look like you is a human imperfection rather than an act of hate. (When I write fiction that’s set in a place like Washington, if a character’s physical look is not specified, you may visualize the character as you like.) But in a story about a modern U.S. city, if the story goes on very long or has more than two or three characters, making them all the same color is a way a story loses credibility. At school, at work, in an apartment building, there’d be a mix.


Actually, for many things posted at , about all there is to say is “What?” (Or, in my idiolect, “Whaaat?”) So “What?” is the category for posts like this one (mostly shorter):