Who's your hero?

Jul. 20th, 2017 08:57 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I am reading The Geek Feminist Revolution, and it is making me think about heroes. Kameron Hurley, the author, has an essay about societally-based-in-the-1950s ideas of heroes (male, straight, white) and about how the only women who are killers and who could be considered heroes in movies are Thelma and Louise and Aileen Wuornos (in 'Monster'). She talks about Charlise Theron's Furiosa from the last Mad Max movie separately, and well, but Imperator Furiosa is not, overall, a killer. She may be one of the few women heroes who isn't propelled by rape -- once you look around, that trope is everywhere -- but her story starts with maintaining the status quo and ends with her having entirely overturned it.

(She isn't dealing with race here -- yes, of course, Luke Cage is a hero, how could he not be? And Falcon, and T'Challa. And many others whom I see on cable but whose names I don't know. But the field of combat/discussion is sexism here.)

So. Who are the women I see as heroes in movies, not as 'women heroes'? Not as sidekicks, or (forgive me, Rosalind Russell) as equal-to-men-but-in-a-men's-world, such as Hildy in 'My Girl Friday' (which was originally a man's role)? (I am exempting comedies from this, overall, because being a hero can be largely humorless. If someone has a hero who is female and in a comedy, I'd really like to know about it.) And what is a hero? For purposes of this post, I'm defining a hero as someone who goes up against impossible odds to achieve a goal that generally include keeping 'self and/or one or more other people alive, whether or not they are people the hero personally knows. (There are variations -- achieving an impossible goal can be heroic, but isn't always presented as such.) Another requirement is that the hero is someone with agency who chooses to use it to change the status quo for the better. By the end of the movie, something has to be different because of what the hero did. The stakes must be high, the difficulties many and the resources limited.

(Sexism example: Nobody complains about the Sundance Kid shooting people. They complain about Thelma and Louise blowing up the rude sexist trucker's truck. There's only one shooting in that movie, of a rapist, and I don't even want to hear about how he 'hadn't done anything yet' when he'd brutalized Louise in a way that made it clear that she's not his first victim.)

(Yes, Buffy and Faith are heroes -- but I'm thinking movies here, not tv, and the movie of Buffy was not so much about heroism as about overturning high-school and prom-night-movie tropes.)

Sigourney Weaver's Ripley, in Alien, Aliens, etc. My favorite is the second movie, because I went to see it with a really horrible boyfriend I was trying to break up with, and it gave me the courage to dump him. Ripley is a killer because of circumstances -- self defense and protecting the girl -- and her targets are the enormous aliens that are trying to kill them. Does it not count as being a killer if you use a spaceship to do it? Or if the victims are trying to kill you and are aliens?

(Ripley was originally a man's role -- it was written for Paul Newman, as was Axel Foley in Beverly Hills Cop. The name -- Axel Foley -- is a give-away, half Swedish and half Irish. I can come up with a few reasons why a black character would have that name -- but I seriously doubt that many black kids were named Axel until after the movie came out.)

Sally Field, in both Places in the Heart and Norma Rae. Neither of them has rape involved, present or past. This is steadfast, plugging, get-it-done heroism, not flashy. What changes is that through her hard work and steadfastness, and befriending outcasts (Danny Glover and John Malkovich), she keeps her home. It probably helps that Sally Field looks like a fluffy bunny in Places, and is sweaty and ungroomed in Norma Rae. I've worked in a factory without AC in the summer -- she looked like I felt on the assembly line. And that scene where she is dragged away to the police car, fighting for her life? She broke two ribs on one of the guys carrying her that day; she was dead serious in that fight.

Leia Organa, whether princess, freedom fighter, or general, is a hero. She's also a killer, unless all those dudes in white plastic armor don't count when she shoots at them and they fall down. She's also the Hutt-slayer and a liberator of planets. Over the first three movies (they will always be the first three for me, not the prequels) her character grows and develops. What we have lost when Carrie died was the rest of the story for her -- at least we have Movie 8 coming, with more of General Leia. (I have no idea why The Geek Feminist Revolution didn't include her as a hero, unless she's in an essay I haven't gotten to yet. I mean, she's the one with the two male sidekicks who think it's all about them.)

Karen Silkwood, played by Meryl Streep, is a hero, killed for trying to tell people about workplace safety violations in a plutonium factory. Meryl Streep also plays more of an action hero in The River Wild, and there are no rapes there -- and she does kill Kevin Bacon's character, who richly deserves it. However, Meryl Streep can play anything except a doormat; the closest she came to that was in Sophie's Choice, early on, where she is powerless to save both of her children from murder by the Nazis and never completely recovers afterward. It's a powerful role and amazing acting -- but she is not a hero, she's a survivor, and the two aren't necessarily the same.

Arwen Undomiel, one of two named women characters in Lord of the Rings (seriously: Rosie Cotton is a walk-on so Sam will have someone conventionally female to come home to) is a hero, and a swordfighter, when she rides down to the ford to bring Frodo up to Rivendell. I have fantasized at times about a version of LOTR from her viewpoint -- being the witness, seeing what's happening but not able to change the war, then choosing mortality over immortality because with Aragorn she had found something she could not find with another elf. There are hints in the books of their marriage being considered miscegenation by Elrond and others, but it can't be said overly strongly because he is Elrond Half-Elven, after all. What would her story look like, from her viewpoint? She wasn't Eleanor of Aquitaine, riding bare-breasted toward Jerusalem with the Crusades -- "the troops were dazzled" -- because sexuality barely exists in Tolkien's writing other than bromance. If anything, she is stuck being more like Katherine in Henry V -- outside the "men's discussion" of war and tribute and appeasement, but she escapes being the property that must be exchanged for the treaty to take place. But to get back to Arwen, heroes are people who act, and Arwen does act, in the scenes we see -- that is her choice. The book and movie show us the aftereffect, the willing bride and queen -- they don't show the inner struggle she went through to get there. (FWIW, I have a hard time not reading Merry and Pippin as kid sisters to Frodo, but that's me. Tomboy kid sisters who get into scrapes and out of them.)

Eowyn, also LOTR, is certainly a hero -- gets into armor, rides into battle, kills the Witch King --"No man can kill me." "I am no man." She also shows 'womanly' virtues by caring for the ailing king, her uncle, and mourning her brother. I would dearly love to see a story in which she and Arwen are hanging out and talking, since they are the co-rulers of neighboring countries. Peter Jackson has much to answer for in not having Faramir's courtship of and marriage to Eowyn in the movie. Yes, it was three hours long. It could have been three hours and five minutes.

I don't see Galadriel as a hero. Yes, she turns down the Ring. But that's it. Nothing changes for her after the movie -- she goes into the Weat, where all the elves were going anyway. She's a queen, a wise woman, a visionary -- but not a hero in these terms. And -- JRR Tolkien, why could you not have put Arwen and Galadriel in the same room *once*?

Speaking of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Katharine Hepburn plays her as a hero in her own eyes who is stuck in a proscribed women's role and trying her best to get out of it at times by manipulation and scheming (traditionally considered women's weapons). But she also brings knives to her sons when her husband has imprisoned them, so they can fight their way out --"It's 1183, and we're all barbarians." Much as I love Kate's movies, it's hard for me to call her a hero. A strong woman, yes, but in that narrative (play or movie) not heroic. She does not change anything. At the end of the story she's going back to her own prison, and everyone who was alive when the movie started still is, though their relationships have shifted a bit. Hepburn played the roles that were available, and women-as-equals or women-as-partners were her forte. But not heroes. But Kate Hepburn's movies could be an entire other post or three.

I am not sure whether Celie, in The Color Purple, could be considered a hero. She does not overturn the status quo as much as go along with it for her own survival. Much of the time she doesn't have agency, and when she does it's fairly minor -- designing women's trousers is not quite like going over a waterfall in a raft with your son and two murderers (The River Wild).

Regardless of Hollywood's prejudices, Black Widow is a hero, as well as a survivor. I would like to see a movie in which we see both of those -- the agency she has is to change herself after Hawkeye refuses to kill her. And yes, she's a killer -- it's her job. I'm not sure she's written as well as she deserves. Fanfic does better by her than the movies do, at this point, much of the time.

What women are your movie heroes, and why?

things i like and love

Jul. 19th, 2017 09:39 pm
toastykitten: (Default)
[personal profile] toastykitten
  • I really like Lena Headey's interior design tastes. And also like her practicality for choosing to live in the Valley in a reasonably-sized house for her family.
  • These teen girls protesting in their quinceañera dresses are far braver than I ever could be.
  • Fan Ho, Hong Kong's poet with a camera.
  • Dr. Jen Gunter's takedown of GOOP has been a lot of fun. Also for fun I checked Dr. Gundry's license and noticed that under the self-reported board certification, he lists "American Board of Urology - Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery", which is weird. The board of Urology does not certify for female pelvic medicine; that would be under the American Board of Obstetrics & Gynecology. His board certification(s) should be for the specialties he practices in, which would be primarily cardiology and thoracic surgery. So, that's just strange. Wonder why he doesn't list his actual boards, and if he does have them (board certification is not a requirement to be a doctor, it's just a lot of hospitals/insurances/med groups prefer that their doctors maintain board certification to stay current on knowledge), if they're current. 
  • So my teenage horror reading might be turned into a TV show: Fox is developing R.L. Stine's Fear Street with a female director, Leigh Janiak. Someone please please please pick up Christopher Pike.
  • New Guillermo Del Toro movie:


Wed Reading Meme and other things..

Jul. 19th, 2017 07:33 pm
shadowkat: (work/reading)
[personal profile] shadowkat
More other things...

1. A friend of mine on her FB page is having multiple heated discussions with various Doctor Who fans about well, a female Doctor Who. She's for it, of course, they aren't. Her discussions are reminiscent of the debates she had regarding Hillary and Trump.

She's a great debater. But people are...stubborn. Her best point was this Original Creator told BBC to cast Woman as Doctor in 1986.

Here's a link to an interesting article in The Mary Sue about negative female reactions to Doctor Who. And how ingrained misogyny is in our culture. I know it is, I've read a lot of romance novels and literary novels by female writers...and oh dear. Also, notably, I know a lot of men who are happy with Doctor Who being a Woman, voted for Hillary, and loved Wonder Woman, and a lot of women who need well a strong male lead and can't handle powerful women. I saw it in the Buffy fandom, Doctor Who fandom in regards to River Song, and Battle Star Galatica fandom in regards to Starbuck.

2. What I just finished reading?

King's Rising - The Captive Prince Part III and The Summer Palace by CS Pascat. Both were okay. Kings Rising was better. Summer Palace sort of works as a fanservice epilogue. Lots of boring sex, not a lot of story. I'd skip Summer Palace and just end with King's Rising.


What I'm reading now?

Lord of the Fading Lands by CL Wilson -- hmmm, apparently I'm on an initial kick.

This is fantasy, told in a fairy-tale style, with a romance at the center of it, at least for the first two books. The later three in the series apparently focus more on the battles and conflict apparently.

Not sure I'll make it that far. The writing style is not exactly captivating me. I'm having issues with how the writer perceives gender. Also she's very conventional, as is her story. It follows the established tropes.

That said, she says some interesting things about our culture, via fantasy, and is an excellent world-builder. From a thematic, world-building, and plot perspective, she's pretty good, somewhere in line with CS Lewis. And her style is in some respects similar to Anne McCaffrey. (I don't like Anne McCaffrey's writing style now, which is odd. I recently tried to re-read her Dragon Rider's of Pern series and gave up mid-way through. I have a feeling that I'd react the same way to CS Lewis. I loved both as a child, but now certain aspects of their writing and how they viewed gender, get on my nerves.)

I'm admittedly a little obsessed with gender issues at the moment. There's a reason for that -- points at current President, and last year's election.

3. Claws

Made it through five episodes of this series on "On Demand". (Adam Ruins the World -- almost ruined the episodes. He kept popping up in the commercial breaks -- which is every fifteen minutes for On Demand. And I kept muting him, because I cannot abide that man's voice. It's the human equivalent of nails on chalk board. Seriously, people, watch Bill Nye Science Guy instead of Adam. His show is on TruTV. The US has more television networks than it requires. I don't know, I think 1000 is a bit much, don't you?) BTW, the later episodes (of CLAWS not Adam) are really good. You sort of have to get past the introductory stuff...or I did. Actually this is true of most television shows. I rarely get hooked with the first episode. And when I do, the show tends to lose me after the third one.

I loved the fifth episode. Although, I feel a little guilty for loving it. It's hilarious in places.
There's this scene where ...you sort of have to see it for yourself. Too hard to explain. Oh and a great dance sequence to Lady Marmalade.

It also has a lovely twist, that had me giggling.

The series reminds me a lot of Breaking Bad -- except with a John Waters flair.

4. Struggling with a lot of things at the moment. I think I may have to go off fruit. Broke out in hives after having a dish of berries, truwhip cream and a little ice cream. Had the same thing last night, no issues. Not sure why I had a reaction tonight.

Super promises he'll paint the living room soon. Just hasn't happened yet. I'm waiting for it to get painted prior to doing anything else with it. I want a table so I can paint. I miss painting. I watercolor, not oil paint or not with acrylics. Although I have painted with acrylics in the past. Taught myself in my twenties. Just have had more watercolor courses and I'm more comfortable with the medium.

Considering taking another class -- but it meets on the upper East Side, and is at 6PM after work, and I just don't know if I can get there in time and if it's doable.

At loose ends. Want to do something, just not sure what. I want to paint, but do I really want to take a class? I need a table. I can't paint on my lap or the floor effectively. And I tend to spill things, so... Also, I have a bad back.

Also struggling with my novel. I don't really know why.

Cambridge, MA, photos 1

Jul. 19th, 2017 08:27 pm
microbie: (Default)
[personal profile] microbie
I took all of the photos over the weekend; it was cloudy Wednesday through Friday. I stayed at the cheapest hotel for the conference, a Hyatt that managed to be close to nothing yet still in a city.
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The exterior is neat, but inside it was the 1980s, still: dark brown carpet and upholstery and beige wallpaper.

The ~half-mile walk to the conference took me past MIT's athletic fields; I didn't even realize that MIT has athletics. Their mascot is the Engineer, which is represented by a surprisingly ominous cartoon of a beaver:
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At first I thought the cartoon was of a profile of a weirdly shaped baseball hat.
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One of the many cool buildings on campus. I think this is a dorm or residence hall; it's across the street from the athletic fields.
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This is also part of the athletic complex.
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An enormous brick building in pristine condition. I wonder what it's used for.
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The conference was held in the dome-shaped building behind the white tent (which was set up on the last day of the conference).
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This sculpture, not far from the conference site, was a popular place for photos
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I think this building houses the nuclear reactor.
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I'm not sure whether these buildings are owned by MIT; there's no clear border between campus and non. They're near the area where I'd usually get lunch.
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One of my co-workers said that MIT has a lot of modern architecture, but it wasn't as widespread as she had made it sound. This stretch of buildings was pretty cool.
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More sculpture
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I am a terrible person, because the idea of something for future children made me giggle.
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twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Yes, yes, I said I was walking away for a while -- and then we got wall-to-wall contractors (today, stonemasons and the installer for a new garbage disposal, and possible another beyond that) and I have to be here.

ETA: Got the new disposal, but the pipe needs to be snaked *below* the disposal, and this was discovered after it was installed. Plumber won't come till Friday. We're going to eat out a lot.

Anyway, now you suffer through a few links I tripped over:

Let's look at matters educational (or not):

School should be impractical. hmm.

Women's colleges may say they support women, but that doesn't always show in the way they treat adjuncts.

As paperwork goes missing, student loans may be wiped away.

Predatory programs aren't just from for-profit colleges. Look again. One of them is at Harvard, the American Repertory Theatre Institute. And as a result of people learning that ART Institute burdens students with tons of debt, that program isn't accepting admissions for the next 3 years.

In theatre, seeing your own face, your gender, your ethnicity on stage is important. It can, in fact, be magic.

Marriage and Brehon law in ancient Ireland. And all 10 forms of marriage are listed.

Media:

Ken Burns is doing a documentary on Vietnam. It's taken 10 years -- he's done a lot of interview, and nobody agrees about anything. He wanted to avoid the old tropes and the old narrative, and here's why it was difficult. And it starts in September.

Disney wants to acquire a new generation of Star Wars fans.

Behind the scenes of The Last Jedi.

The voice of Kermit the Frog has been fired.

Arundhati Roy on writing, life, politics and the air we breathe.

TED: Life lessons from writers.


Black Lives Matter:

If you don't know Ida B. Wells Barnett, you should.

Why I'm leaving the Southern Baptist Convention.


Trumpery and WTFery:

The real plan is to cut legal immigration.

Jeff Sessions was the guest speaker to attorneys from the rabid Alliance Defending Freedom, and he made them some promises: he told them to go ahead and impose their Christianist beliefs on unbelievers, LGBTQ people and more.
Money quote:

In all of this litigation and debate, this Department of Justice will never allow this secular government of ours to demand that sincere religious beliefs be abandoned. We will not require American citizens to give intellectual assent to doctrines that are contrary to their religious beliefs. And they must be allowed to exercise those beliefs as the First Amendment guarantees.

Note that he is promising that the entire Justice Dept. will back up this behavior.

This town melts down.

Something good: The House rejected an Islamophobic proposal that would have required Muslims to receive special scrutiny from the Defense Dept.

Something not good: Trump only plays golf on courses he owns. When he plays at the course along the Potomac, wounded veterans doing on-the-water rehab and Olympic kayak and boating teams are banned from the water for security.

A lawsuit forced Trump to hand over the secret Mar-a-Lago guest list to three watchdog groups.

The closing of the Republican mind.

Yes, Trump Tower is being used for money laundering, according to the eighth man in one of the meetings with the Russians. *looks out the window* I can almost see the grimy soapsuds from here.


None of the above:

Oops!

400 soldiers from Maryland that disappeared during the Revolution may have been found, in NYC. And no, they have not been on a bender the whole time.

Sacred architecture, not necessarily welcome.

Polyamory, not necessarily unwelcome.

How a hunter-gatherer diet affects the body. Also thoughts on decolonizing your diet.

Climate change is making Native people adapt their rituals. And would a revenue-neutral carbon tax slow it down?

The Kitten Rental Program is saving lives.

The defiant, refugee-loving history of New Mexico.

Is R. Kelly holding women against their will, in a cult?

To be a genius, think like a 94-year-old.

Of castles and bacon thieves

Jul. 19th, 2017 05:23 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[personal profile] sabotabby
Today we were incredibly productive. We hiked up to High Castle, which technically is neither a castle nor very high, but I am still proud of us, dammit. It's quite a view. Some of the original castle remains, but it's not particularly impressive compared to the sight of all of Lviv.

there are cats and other things )

what I should've said, maybe?

Jul. 19th, 2017 08:22 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I went to meet with one of the women's groups that's just starting up at my Quaker Meeting last night. And something happened that I both did and didn't expect.

I didn't know what to say. behind cut for length )

(no subject)

Jul. 18th, 2017 10:18 pm
shadowkat: (Default)
[personal profile] shadowkat
Whoa...HT to yourlibrarian for this link regarding how actors and filmmakers cope with enacting rape on screen . Made me rethink a couple of films I've seen and how I viewed psuedo rape scenes. For example there's a scene in LAST TANGO IN PARIS, that I didn't realize was rape, but the actress experienced as rape and it tramuatized her. Also, various actors who had to portray the rapist relate how taxing it was on them emotionally and mentally, along with the editors and film crew.

Reminds me of something James Marsters stated that haunted me. How he unraveled after being forced to do the attempted rape scene in Buffy. And how he'd had a nervous breakdown...in part because of it.

Yet, 46.7% of the scripts that the writer of the article has read, contained rape scenes. I have to admit, I stopped watching criminal procedurals and series like Supernatural after a bit, because I got tired of the sexual violence. They all have it. Every singled one. It's ...exhausting.

There's a very interesting section in the article concerning Ned Beatty, who states:


In the spring of 1989, actor Ned Beatty penned an op-ed column for The New York Times, writing, "If [men] felt we could truly be victims of rape, that fear would be a better deterrent [for committing rape] than the death penalty."

Beatty most famously played Bobby, a character who is brutally raped by a hillbilly in John Boorman's tense thriller Deliverance (1972). They rehearsed for days and finally completed the scene in a four-minute shot that would forever change Beatty's life. After the film's release, wherever the actor went, strangers would guffaw and yell, "Squeal like a pig," a line uttered by Bobby's rapist. Beatty was continually struck by these cold displays from fans. They seemed to expect him to smile and chat after they'd gleefully demeaned him in reference to a sexual assault.

"He felt like a rape victim," Boorman said later in commentary for the DVD of the film. It had never crossed Beatty's mind that he would become a public spokesman for sexual-assault awareness, but the experience reshaped his psyche, and he was forced to confront what we now call rape culture.


Some day, I'll have to watch Deliverance, never been able to get myself to see it all the way through. Just seen sections of it.

Fascinating article, recommend reading it all the way through, particularly if you are at all interested in film.

In Lviv

Jul. 18th, 2017 07:13 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[personal profile] sabotabby
This is a gorgeous city, maybe even more than Kiev. It's also very much a City Of Coffee, and I highly approve. There's a café where, if you go into the basement, you can "mine" for coffee in the walls, but besides that, when we asked the hotel guy where to get good coffee, he looked at us weirdly and said, "it's ALL good coffee." A random selection would suggest he's right.

We did a walking tour, saw various churches, the Catholic Quarter, the Jewish Quarter, the Armenian Quarter, all of which seem very close together by contemporary standards. Lviv has changed hands over its history, and the references to Galicia made me do a Google and feel like an idiot because Lviv was in the heart of what had been Galicia, and that's where my grandfather was from.

Anyway, here is the new friend we made:



more pictures )

This is Jane Austen's 200th Birthday

Jul. 18th, 2017 10:31 am
twistedchick: (Young Carrie Fisher)
[personal profile] twistedchick
As of today, Jane Austen is the only woman besides the Queen who will be on British money. She will be on the 10-pound note. The note is polymer, not paper, and once it enters circulation the paper money will be withdrawn from circulation.

And not only was Jane not shy, or hiding her writing from family and friends, she was a political symbol for early feminists.

And she wrote great books! This article thinks her most widely mocked character is her most subversive.

***

The resistance is getting somewhere. People going to Town Halls and harassing their congresspeople not to remove health care -- it's working. It looks now as if the Trumpnocare proposal is dead -- it lacks two Republicans. One of those is Jerry Moran, a second-term Congressman from Texas, with 300 constituents -- 100 of them showed up at his Town Hall, telling him about their lives and how they need health care. He came back and opposed Trumpnocare. (I would link this but it's the NYTimes editorial newsletter, which shows up in my mailbox and doesn't have a link.) Quoting:

You may recognize Moran’s name from the news this morning. He was one of two Republican senators, along with Mike Lee of Utah, who appeared to doom the health care bill last night by announcing their opposition.

I’m not suggesting that the Palco meeting was the main reason for Moran’s decision. Yet he clearly felt political pressure to oppose the bill, and his recent meetings with constituents were a big part of that pressure.

One of this newsletter’s themes this year has been the potential effectiveness of grass-roots political organizing. The Tea Party showed as much in 2010, and the so-called Trump resistance has showed the same in recent months.

“The nation owes incredible gratitude to @Indivisible_KC @Indivisible_LFK @KansasACSCAN,” Topher Spiro, of the Center for American Progress, tweeted last night (referring to the Kansas chapters of both the Indivisible organizing group and the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network). “It’s unbelievable what they’ve done.”

The fight to allow Americans to keep their health insurance still isn’t over, as Andy Slavitt, the former administrator of Medicare and Medicaid, noted last night. But the collapse of this bill is no small thing.

It would be excellent news if Congress now turned its attention to fixing the real problems with Obamacare and the health care system.


The Times editorial writer has some summer homework for readers who want to wrestle with a topic. (Not a requirement for you all, since you already do it, but may be of interest.)

And former EPA staffers have a how-to for resisting Trump's agenda.

***

Dress codes, appropriateness, Twitter, and so on. And in Saudi Arabia, a video of a woman in a skirts sparks outrage. Meanwhile, American tech companies -- and Netflix -- run afoul of censorship while trying to please the huge market in India, which is sexually conservative and doesn't want to see images of upset, injured or butchered cows. The part about trying to sell sex toys is interesting, too.

Finding deals in Barcelona.

Snail racing championships.

***

How to tell where broadband companies stand on net neutrality.

Here, have some pictures of Lviv

Jul. 18th, 2017 09:03 am
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[personal profile] sabotabby
We took the overnight train and got in at 6 am. Our hotel booking isn't until 2 pm, so we've just been wandering around and taking pictures of all the pretty architecture.

click to embiggen )

(no subject)

Jul. 17th, 2017 12:01 pm
twistedchick: (jesus juggling)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I did some manips of a really awful Sacred Heart image that The Bloggess commented on here. From her description, the original is an old household holy water font.

Here are a few of them, for you to take. My favorite is the Juggling Jesus that is on this post. Feel free to add text or other refinements (of a reasonable and non-hostile nature) to the ones without text.







And, as I said elsewhere, it's only sacrilege if you think that the image *is* God. And if so, I can direct you to a long list of theological articles about the error of confusing deity with a human-created object....

Besides, Jesus had a sense of humor -- how else could he have put up with the 12 Wiseguys?

Some more pictures

Jul. 17th, 2017 07:02 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[personal profile] sabotabby
Our last day in Kiev until the end of our trip. Here's a few quick glimpses of things we've seen, as we walked and walked. This is going to be a bunch of tiny pictures 'cause I'm writing from a café before we get on a night train for Lviv.

click for larger versions )
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
I don't know if you recall, but a month or so ago I wrote about how torrent-like flooding had come in through the brickwork in the fake fireplace behind the couch one night, during the kind of storm from the south that makes me feel as if I am truly down on the rocky ledge next to Niagara Falls, getting sprayed no matter what I do. The fake fireplace -- installed under a window, no, don't ask, I didn't do it, it's from the early 60s -- had a crack all the way across the brickwork. At that point I covered it with trash bags and rocks (to hold down the bags), and sought a stonemason.

We found one, a charming older man who, with his son, is tackling repairs on said bit of brickwork -- and the first part of it is using a big round disk-saw type of thing to cut away the broken brick. Hence the headache.

He had given us three options for repair: 1. fix the crack (which does not mean it couldn't open again, somewhere else), 2. take off the top layer of brickwork, put on one or two big pieces of slate and mortar them into place, 3. take the whole thing out, brick up the hole, redo that part of the patio. We went with #2 because Beautiful likes to sit on top of the thing when it's raining, far enough under the eaves that it's like she has her own back porch where she can sit and watch what's happening. And maybe the next person in this house -- several decades from now -- will brick up the window and reattach the gas main to the pipe and make it a fireplace. (I do not usually think of the wellbeing of the next person in this house because I probably won't meet them and when they are here it's their problem, not mine.) But at this point it's for the cats' sake, and for mine, so I won't have a cold draft down the back of my neck in the winter.

So it's loud out there, and I'm in here. I should go run errands but I want the headache to subside first.

Ultimately we will have a very nice fake fireplace thing, and then he's going to repair the stonework on the patio (yay!) and take a look at a place where some mortar-ish waterproofing is peeling away from the area between the poured basement and the brickwork above it. Yes, poured as in the entire set of concrete floor and walls was poured in one piece with a drain in the laundry room. It's like an enormous concrete cup, which confuses people, but hey, it's not cracked.
toastykitten: (Default)
[personal profile] toastykitten
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy

Man...this is difficult. Lots of books make me happy. Let's do Matilda, since I just re-read that with my daughter. I love smart little girls who outwit nasty adults and save the day.

Day 06 – A book that makes you sad

All those books where a dog needs to be put down because they got rabies. Old Yeller, Where the Red Fern Grows, etc.

(no subject)

Jul. 16th, 2017 05:49 pm
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[personal profile] shadowkat
1. Hmmm..they finally did it... 13th Doctor Who is Jodie Whittaker, first female version of the Doctor.

I admit that I'd sort of given up after Capadali became the Doctor, and quit watching for a while. Because honestly what is interesting about an old guy escorting a young gal about time and space

I came back for Pearl Mackie, who portrayed Bill.

So I find this intriguing. There's so much more they can do now. So many story angles that they haven't tried that opened up. It's basically made the series fresh, and more interesting, and more appealing to newer viewers like myself. Not to mention more relateable.

Now, if someone would just replace the American President with a woman, life would be good.

2. Tried Salvation -- sigh. An arrogant billionaire techie, a MIT Whiz-kid hipster, and a pentagon press secretary save the world. This time from a planet killing meteor, at least they think it is a planet-killing meteor. And a government conspiracy. Because of course the scientists at NASA and the State Department are too stupid to figure out how to save the world on their own, they require the aid of a corporate techie who runs a billion dollar corporation (think younger/hotter version of the guy doing SpaceX) and a whiz-kid. And course the government is killing anyone who finds out to prevent a panic...

Five minutes in and it felt very paint-by-numbers thriller, with a lot of pop science thrown in.
It could be fun, I usually like these things. But the characters are too stock and the casting isn't on target.

It feels like the networks are burning off pilots this summer.

3. Still Star-Crossed -- is hard to find. If I wasn't recording it, I wouldn't be able to follow it at all. ABC clearly has no confidence in it, and is pushing reality shows instead like (gag) The Bachelorette, and Battle of the Network Stars (are there any? I was wondering about this. It's not like the 1970s and 80s, when they used to do Battle of the Network Stars during the summer months...when there were only five or six channels and actual network television stars. Now, with over 450 scripted television series, there are no stars.)

Still Star Crossed was on at 10 PM on Sat. It isn't on Monday, because Battle of the Network Stars took it's time slot, and the Bachelorette has been expanded to a full two hours. Somehow, I don't think Still Star Crossed is long for this world, it feels like they are just burning episodes.

4. Hooten and the Lady -- this is on CW, and I have no idea how it got that far. It's atrocious. About a female archeologist, office worker, who works at the British Museum, and convinces the Museum to send her to the Amazon to hunt down some ancient relics for a big exhibition. (Don't they already have archaeologists doing this sort of thing under grants?) She runs into a mercenary, who goes by the name Hooten. (I'm serious he actually only goes by that name, and apparently by choice.) They run into each other, when they are captured by a bunch of natives, who want to roast her and use him as a sex slave. Unless he can challenge their warrior to a fight, and win. He wins.
The natives chase him and her out of their territory. I stopped shortly after that. I kept going to sleep.

Could not stay awake during it. But I couldn't stay focused on or awake during the first episode of Fargo either...

I think the networks are burning off bad television shows right now. Not Fargo, obviously. Hooten and the Lady.

PSA: taking a health break

Jul. 16th, 2017 12:40 pm
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Here's the situation: I have spent so much time in the last three years sitting down (or lying down, back early last year when I was so anemic and gut-bleeding from IBS that it was all I could do for a few months, other than run to the bathroom) that some of my muscles have decided they wanted to be shorter and tighter -- that's leg muscles, and it's no fun. It doesn't hurt to sit down, or (after 10 minutes) to walk, Or to just stand. But getting up and down hurts.

What would help the most is more time not sitting down, off computer. However, if I'm newsblogging at the rate I've been doing it lately, that's several hours a day going through news articles and another hour or more writing it up. Which I love doing, and I know it helps you all, but it's not helping my body much.

So I am going to take a break for a while from intense newsblogging. When it doesn't hurt as much to get up and down, I will be back at it. I *will* do short posts of whatever is drastic that you need to know about, but otherwise, I apologize, you will have to look elsewhere for the news.

Here are (the majority of) my sources, all of which you can find online, and many of which will gladly send you updates daily or weekly in your email. Apologies for not hotlinking any of them -- I think you should be able to find them easily enough. If you have trouble, let me know:

NY Times
Politico
Washington Post (it may be kinder to you than to me; it has tried to get me to subscribe but runs the numbers on me when I try to -- changing bargains into non-bargains -- which I think happens because I am in their delivery area. If you are not, you may not have this problem.)
Mother Jones
Yes! magazine
CNN
The Guardian UK
Vanity Fair
The Independent
Religion Dispatches
NPR
Time magazine (occasionally)
Rochester Business Journal
Empire Report -- this is a compendium of all useful Page One links throughout New York state, plus hotlinks at the bottom of the page for every daily newspaper in the state. It's daily, 5 days a week. If you want all the dirt on NYS politics, or how the state is dealing with the rising water in Lake Ontario, or what New Yorkers think of Chris Christie's machinations, this is your go-to.
Flipboard
Slate

Above is the short list, not complete. That may give you some idea of what I read daily.

I apologize again for doing this -- I don't want to let you all down -- but my health matters.

And, like Gen. MacArthur, Iron Man/Ironsides, and Captain America, I shall return.

ETA: One more thought on contacting your Congresspeople and Senators: each of them has a personal webpage online through Congress. If you really want to be heard, instead of just signing petitions, rewrite a petition in your own words and copy/paste it into the email section on that personal page. Mass-produced petitions can sometimes be overlooked, but Congresspeople tend to pay attention to what is sent individually to them. Many Republicans will not accept email from people outside their own representation area -- so be sure to contact your own people first. Doesn't hurt to point out that you put them in office, and you can work to get rid of them, so you're paying attention to what they do on this issue. Choose only one issue at a time, and give no more than 3 reasons why you support/oppose the bill. You should get an email that may look routine -- think of it as a receipt. You may also get something far more personal in reply -- that happens with my Congressman and one of my Senators fairly often, as well as with state-level representatives. It's worth a try and it costs no more than a few minutes' time.

***

A very few political links:

These three lawyers are quietly purging voter roles across the country.

Award-winning journalist writes about Jewish women barred from the Chicago Pride march, and is removed from reporting duties.

Watch out for 'skimmers' attached to ATM card readers -- they can steal your info.

The first of the Marines who posted naked photos of Marine women on the Marines United webpage has been court-martialed and sentenced. More court martials are to follow.

A few non-serious fun non-political links:

15 roles that prove Emma Watson has left Hermione behind.

The Book of Diana: Wonder Woman as theological text.

Poe Dameron as Hamlet: a review of Oscar Isaacs in that role, playing now.

Mezhyhirya

Jul. 16th, 2017 04:37 pm
sabotabby: raccoon anarchy symbol (Default)
[personal profile] sabotabby
Viktor Yanyukovitch was president of the Ukraine from 2010-2014, until he was fairly dramatically deposed and fled to Russia as he is currently wanted for treason here. By all accounts, he was incredibly corrupt, and acquired the massive Mezhyhirya estate with public funds. As wealth and corruption is no guarantee of taste, when asked which architectural style he wanted to build his massive palaces in, he must have replied, "fuckin' all of them," because when protestors walked in and took over the place in 2014, they were appalled not just at the excesses (which included a car museum, a zoo, a golf course, several tennis courts, and orchards), but at his alarming taste in decor.

It now belongs to the people and is a destination for Ukrainians to have weddings, bike around, and generally point and laugh. Also there are gigantic thrones and Greco-Roman ruins for no apparent reason.

pictures! )

Kiev, day 1

Jul. 16th, 2017 06:49 am
sabotabby: (gaudeamus)
[personal profile] sabotabby
I admittedly did little but eating and sleeping, as everyone is exhausted. We're staying right behind Maidan Nezalezhnosti, though, and even the laziest traveller could not fail to be moved by its beauty.



Post-2014 demonstrations, it is plastered with photos and memorials to the dead. No one goes out in Kiev this time of year except at night, when the fountains explode like fireworks and street musicians busk and young couples laugh and dance in the streets.











We grabbed dinner at an adorable café that, shock of all shocks, had food I could eat: mushroom kasha and vareniki stuffed with sour cherry, and sour cherry infused vodka.







Then exhaustion got the better of us and I probably slept more than I have in months. Awake bright and early now to do proper exploring.

P.S. Sorry for the size and quality of the images; DW's image hosting + being on my iPad makes for an unfortunate combination.







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