July 1, 2015

Two things

Took a couple days off. Because.
Now I'm back. Two things:
1. Changing my avatar on Facebook to a rainbowed thing, is not an insult to LGBT people. Some hard-core activists are throwing shade at the rainbow avatars because they feel all the allies who are posting them aren't "invested" enough and don't deserve the right to rainbow. These whiners fail to understand that most of us are just celebrating the recognition that gay and lesbian people have *gasp* the same fundamental rights as every other American. As a hard-core feminist, I celebrate whenever human rights are validated. Yes, I am not gay. Yes, I have not ever filed an amicus brief with the court on behalf of LGBT rights. Yes, I recognize that we have a way to go. But for some to call the celebration "slacktivism" misses the whole point of the rainbows.
2. When the media spends nearly no time reporting on the arsons of historic black churches in the South, the point of whether there were 5 churches burned down by arsonists or 3 churches burned down by arsonists loses the thread. Outrage that there is ONE black church destroyed by arson is appropriate. Reporting that focuses on the two that were "likely" electrical or lightning, is just a palliative to our white guilt. We will cling to the two church fires that weren't arson, so we don't have to confront the truth of systemic racism and work to counter its effects.
That's it for now. Thanks.

June 25, 2015


The Supreme Court did well today. Let's hope the same goes for tomorrow.

update: IT DID! Equality wins.

June 24, 2015

Un reality

I'm feeling distinctly disillusioned with the real world of late, so here is a list of fictional characters I wish were real so I could hang out:
There are countless others who would be a hoot, but are not part of a series. The joy of characters who are in a series is that they come back and grow and become more real each new book. And the really well-created ones, get better with each book too.

June 23, 2015

Old hickory

We have a sick old hickory tree that, I believe has beetles and cannot survive. It is enormous and used to shade a large portion of the back yard. I wish I had thought to get a picture of it in autumn when the leaves are deep gold.

June 22, 2015

June 18, 2015


Rev. Clementa Pinckney, 41
Cynthia Hurd, 54
Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, 45
Tywanza Sanders, 26
Myra Thompson, 59
Susie Jackson, 87
Ethel Lee Lance, 70
Daniel L. Simmons, 74
Depayne Middleton Doctor, 49



Who would have believed that in this day and age, --50 years after civil rights legislation, 6 years into a black presidency, 150 years after the Civil War-- there are still Americans so full of hate.
Sad. Let's stop striving for "post-racial" and admit we see race. And once we admit that, maybe we can try to see the privileges and depredations. And once we see those, perhaps we can do something to bring about true equality.





June 16, 2015

Wait until next year

For all those of you who were rooting for the Cleveland Cavaliers, welcome to being Cleveland sports fan. Times 100.

Edit to add a link to this beautifully written Slate article expressing how Cleveland (or just me) feels about this season. 

June 15, 2015

It's not the heat; it's the humidity.

Currently the relative humidity is 91%. I has not been below 75% all day.
 (There's a lot of sciencey stuff here, but they break down the basic premise here: "For example, if the air temperature is 75 °F and the relative humidity is zero percent, then the air temperature feels like 69°F. If the relative humidity is 100 percent at the same air temperature, then it feels like 80 °F. In other words, if the air is 75 °F and contains saturated water vapor, then the human body cools itself at the same rate as it would if it were 80 °F and dry")


Everything feels damp.

June 11, 2015


Wikipedia says that Cavalier was originally coined as a pejorative term. Its root can be found in Shakespeare's cavaleros describing an "overbearing swashbuckler or swaggering gallant." During the English Civil War, Cromwell's Parlimentarians used the word as a derogatory term assigned to the Royalists.

However, for our purposes, we are using Edward Simmons description of a Cavalier:  "a Child of Honour, a Gentleman well borne and bred, that loves his king [James] for conscience sake, of a clearer countenance, and bolder look than other men, because of a more loyal Heart."

June 10, 2015


I took a couple of days off. We went to the zoo. I may have mentioned once or twice, how much I love the zoo. Even better: the Cleveland zoo has a carousel now. That's right. A merry-go-round/zoo combo is nearly a perfect summer pairing.
I had such a hard time deciding which animal to ride, I went twice. Really. The clown fish? The bald eagle? What about a classic like the tiger or lion? A fruit bat? A cuttlefish? Seriously, you can ride a cuttlefish--
both photos courtesy of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo
In the end I chose the naked mole rat and the octopus. Because how many times can you say you've ridden a naked mole rat?

June 4, 2015

All In

Last month, at the  beginning of the NBA playoffs, I posted about hope. Tonight, we hope. All Clevelanders, everywhere. Despite the facts. Because that, more than anything else, is what it means to be a fan in Cleveland:  147 Seasons since our last title; 0 Championship seasons since 1965, yet still we cheer. We put our hearts into each season of each sport and we all, collectively --rich, poor, white, black, male, female, gay, straight, and all the inbetweens-- we all HOPE.

June 3, 2015

Hawkish on terrorism

Never let it be said that the residents of the White House are not protecting us from the dangers of squirrel-Qaeda.
The New York Times reports a red-tailed hawk "has been spotted several times stalking prey on the White House lawn, including last week when it dived and grabbed an unfortunate squirrel and tore into it at lunchtime... ."
Doug Mills/The New York Times
Tom Auer of the National Audubon Society says, “If they find a good population of squirrels, they will stay until the food supply is exhausted.” 
That's right, squirrel-Qaeda, your days are numbered.

June 2, 2015


Everyone welcomed Caitlyn Jenner to the world yesterday. Here are some tips for understanding transgender people. I especially like this one (since we are so hideously nosy and at once fascinated and horrified by anything relating to naughty bits in this country):
DON'T speculate about medical procedures transgender people may or may not choose to undertake as part of their transition. This is private medical information, and a transgender identity is not dependent on medical procedures. Overemphasizing the medical aspects of a person's transition objectifies transgender people, and prevents the public from seeing the transgender person as a whole person.

June 1, 2015


I've always been a fan of Martha Grimes' Richard Jury, not least because of his ridiculous friends. Most of her novels feature Jury's friend Melrose Plant who has renounced his title, though not his fortune, and lives on the family estate in idle wealth the way we Americans imagine all earls living. In all his eccentricities, the most outlandish was his adopting of a hermit to live in his purpose-built hermitage.
I am now reading a completely different book by a different author (Dorothy Cannell's Murder at Mullings) and the main character's mother tells of a hermit living on the family estate where she was a housemaid.
This being too much of a coincidence, I did a brief internet search and discovered that, as absurd as it seems, English lords did employ "hermits" in the 18th and early 19th centuries. Per Wikipedia:
In some early instances, hermits were simply represented or hinted-at, rather than personified; outside a folly or grotto, a small table and chair, reading glasses and a classical text might be placed suggesting that it was where a hermit lived. Later, suggestions of hermits were replaced with actual hermits – men hired for the sole purpose of inhabiting a small structure and functioning as any other garden ornament. Hermits would sometimes be asked to make themselves available to guests, answering questions and providing counsel. In some cases, the hermits would not communicate with visitors, functioning instead like a perpetual stage-play or live diorama.
In return for their services-in-residence, hermits would generally receive a stipend in addition to room and board.
Our "hermitage" previously referred to as the Mother-in-law suite.
What would the want-ad look like for this job?

May 29, 2015

Friday Book Blogging

Holy god! It's been over TWO MONTHS since I've written a Friday Book Blog! And with this week being short (well, the week is still 7 days, but I had a few days off just like the rest of 'Murica) I didn't post as much as I should have, but what I am posting is --that's right-- a Friday Book Blog! Woohoo!
*disclaimer* Just because I'm posting about this book, does not mean that it is especially amazing. I just feel like I need to throw a FBB up here and I have been seriously slacking.
I've (obviously) read a load of books since the previous post on March 22, and nearly all of them were enjoyable. I think, though, I'll give the spot to an old favorite who hasn't had a nod from me before.
David Handler's The Girl Who Ran Off with Daddy features Stewart "Hoagy" Hoag, author, ghostwriter, screenwriter from Hollywood's Big Hair 80s slightly settled in with a new baby daughter and lovely wife on the East coast when what appears to me to be a thinly-veiled replica of the 80s Marlon Brando rides into town. The mystery that follows is interesting enough, but I really like the Hoagy mysteries for the nostalgic look at the decade of Fantasy Island, shoulder pads, and mullets.
Handler also writes a series in Connecticut featuring "mismatched romantic crime-fighting duo of New York City film critic Mitch Berger and Connecticut State Resident Trooper Desiree Mitry" which are also very good.

May 25, 2015


I'm just going to take a moment to remind you all that Memorial Day is a day to honor and remember those who gave their life in service to this country. It is not a time to reminisce about just anyone who has passed away, or even any veteran who has.
My father served in WWII, but he survived it and went on to marry and have children (thanks, dad!). He did not die as a result of serving in WWII. And while I appreciate the Boy Scouts who put a flag on his grave every year because it says USMC on his stone, they are missing the point.
And, while no day is inappropriate to be appreciative of the service of every veteran -living or dead- look to the vets who recognize that today is for the ones with whom they served but did not return.
Rejoice in the freedom you have, be thankful to all who helped secure it --even those who fought in wars that were contrived, because their sacrifice is no less if the war was deemed unjust. And remember solemnly that there were many who volunteered and did not come back.

May 21, 2015

Sometimes it's better just to give up

You know how, in the evenings, you hit a wall? The exhaustion peaks, the yawning is so non-stop that tears are running down your cheeks, and you're getting nostalgic for things you might miss if you go straight to bed.
But it you fight the power of lethargy and manage to stay awake (if not alert) for about half an hour, you can then stay up 'til all hours of the night without yawning.

May 20, 2015

Dare we hope?

I don't think it's possible for any city in the world to want their sports team to win as much as Cleveland is wanting the Cavaliers to do so this season. If our collective desire for a championship were a tangible thing it would blanket the city knee-deep in petals of hope.
We all want to believe.
Even here in Cleveland, home of the Drive, Red Right 88, the Fumble, the Shot, Jose Mesa, Rocky Colavito.
ESPECIALLY here in Cleveland.

May 19, 2015

Freedom to be a dick

If I want to treat you as less of a human being because my religion says you don't have the same rights as everyone else, I should be allowed to do so without legal repercussions. And if you make me treat everyone the same, that is coercing me to disregard deeply-held religious tenets which could harm me irreparably.
My deeply-held religious beliefs tell me that I must refer to all men as "Useless Asses." I must address all men as Useless or Ass or Useless Ass. If I do not do this, I risk angering my Goddess-mother She-Ra. I cannot ever be fired for referring to any of my male employees as a Useless Ass because I could bring a religious discrimination suit.
In fact all the men who work for me are required, by my religion to always have an erection. I should be able to control the bodies of my employees, the Useless Asses, because my religion says so. And if you don't like it, you can go work for Hobby Lobby where they only control their female employees' bodies.

In a secular nation (we are still a secular nation, right?) when did it become standard to argue that discriminating against others (women and gays, really) is okay because Jesus would have wanted it that way?