August 28, 2014

Out of the office

My brief "stay-cation" is over.
I read three books. I watched 17 hummingbird fights at the feeder. I saw a red-shouldered hawk try to catch an unwary sparrow. I bought two new outfits. I washed the bedsheets. I had a pedicure. I turned the air conditioning on because it was 89 degrees outside.
I was a lump for three days and now I'm paying for it at work. 5249 emails (pre-filter) down to just about 1700 after. I spent the day sorting and checking and answering. I left after 9 hours down to 127. Yay. This is why I don't like to take time off. And I don't even do anything important!

We need to work less.

 "Average worker productivity has doubled a couple of times since 1950, but income has stagnated—unless you’re just looking at the rich, who’ve become a great deal richer. The value from that extra productivity, after all, has to go somewhere." VICE

August 26, 2014


Last night at the Emmys Sofia Vergara was literally put on a pedestal. And while I think the intention of the bit was well-meaning, it certainly didn't go far enough to address the pervasive objectification of women in media.
Internalizing our own objectification is something we are taught at a very young age. Calling it out is important to ending the objectification of all women. Even if it was done as a joke, it should not be ignored. The more others (men and women) are aware of the insidious nature of the way that women are treated as objects (ubiquitous throughout pop culture) the less it will happen.
However, the tongue-in-cheek intentions at the beginning of a speech about diversity in television should not have ended with the man announcing that despite the gains of women (and presumably minorities, although no mention was made outside of the palliative "diversity") their number one goal remains "something compelling to watch."

ha.ha. Get it? We completely objectified this lovely woman to make a point about how important women are and they shouldn't be objectified except if it makes you watch TV. Then it's okay. No really.

August 20, 2014

Things we can learn from nerds and geeks

You know what the best thing about the geek community is (as witnessed this weekend at the Great Lakes Medieval Faire)?

They are so openly accepting of everyone.

August 19, 2014


Thunder * lightning * wind * rain.

I don't know anyone who is meh about a thunderstorm. Do you? A big thunderstorm is a love 'em or hate 'em event.
In our old house we had a screened in porch that we nearly flew out to upon an approaching storm. The downside of it was that it faced East, so you couldn't watch the storm roll in.
In this house we have no roofed/screened in area, but a small overhang at the front door allows us to be in the thick of a good storm. Unfortunately, it also faces East. When we moved in, we seriously considered adding on a screened porch out back just for storm watching. Hmmmmmmm.

August 18, 2014

Stop the insanity

For those of you who feel impotent when watching the clashes in Ferguson, Missouri, this week, here are two things you can do.
  • Tell your mayor you don't want surplus military gear for the police force. Chances are it's unnecessary and not cost-effective.
To find your representatives, type in your state name .gov in the browser. 

August 15, 2014

Friday Book Blogging

I read a fantastic book this week. David Morrell's Murder as a Fine Art ingeniously twines the real writings of  Thomas De Quincey who became infamous for writing a no-holds-barred expose of his own opium addiction back in late Georgian England. In addition, he wrote an essay about a mass killing in 1811 known as the Ratcliffe Highway murders. He titled his essay "On Murder Considered as one of the Fine Arts."
Morrell pulls De Quincey and his daughter Emily into a nightmarish recreation of the Ratcliffe Highway killings perpetrated by a murderous "artist" intent on gaining De Quincey's attention and punishing him for his alleged glorification of opium. The supporting cast includes a Scotland Yard detective and his constable assistant in addition to other characters real or imagined.
As the characters traverse the muck and soot of London's poorest neighborhoods, effect terrifying escapes, survive bloody battles, you are astonished that this book is more of a  psychological thriller.

August 14, 2014

Stress relief in a pop

I spent an hour on the back deck tonight popping impatiens' seed pods.

Best wind-down after a stressful day of work.

August 13, 2014

Mental journey

This is what a summer night sounds like in my memory. This is one of the sounds that lets me pretend to be a little kid again until morning, when I have to pretend to be a grown up again. Katydids and calliopes are the best transportation for trips to childhood.

What sounds take you back in time?

August 12, 2014

Sad tidings

Is it okay if I smack the first person who suggests that someone famous is going to die soon based solely on their pathetic interpretation of the mythical "rule of three"?

August 11, 2014

Color blind?

This is something I have always wondered, but Elise at IFLS and Michael at Vsauce state it better than I.
Everyone is told that the sky is blue, so we look at the sky and see blue. But what if what I perceive as sky blue is the same color that you perceive as sea green? Or cotton-candy pink? We don't know. We are both looking at a blue sky but may be seeing marginally different (or even radically different) colors.

August 8, 2014

Friday Book Blogging

 Due to technical difficulties (ie only one book read this week) there will not be a Friday Book Blog. I promise one next week.

August 7, 2014

In a man's world

Why does, in 2014, penis always trump vagina in the workplace?

August 6, 2014

Yes. Yes, we are.

Words of "climate scientist Professor Jason Box, who was unequivocal about the implications findings from Stockholm University scientists that methane plumes were escaping from the sea-floor in the Arctic ocean.
Despite his concerns Prof Box, of the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland, was polite enough to censor his language... ."

August 5, 2014


I was all jazzed up today to write about the origin of the word mushroom. Mush + room? I will grant you that it's a bit mushy when you cook it, but in it's natural state it resembles styrofoam more than mush. And room. There is no room in a mushroom unless you count its gills. And there isn't much room in those anyway.
I thought such a contradictory and interesting word would have an interesting history. I was right in that no one can agree on its origins, but all of the theories put forth are mediocre.
  • "[P]erhaps from Late Latin mussirionem"  
  • "might as well be borrowed from French."  
  • "of uncertain origin."   
  • "a word of pre-Latin origin, used in the North of France;"  
  • "usually is held to be a derivative of French mousse"moss" 
  • "properly 'applied to variety which grows in moss'" 
  • "nothing in common" with moss
I call bullsh*t.
So, let's say instead that one day in the 11th century (this is a very old word!!) Gervase (I have always wanted to write about a Gervase) is walking in the woods in Burgundy (why not?) and trips on a branch and falls on his face into a (as-yet-unnamed) mushroom patch at which time he curses, "MAH SRUME!" because he has broken his nose and the ancient Burgundian word for nose is NU (not really), but he can't say "my nu" correctly because his nose is broken. His friend who is looking on unhelpfully, makes note of the fact that the little umbrella-shaped (which he is familiar with since umbrellas were invented in 21AD) items growing on the forest floor are mushrooms.

Pass it on. (If enough people say it's true, it becomes true. I learned that from Fox News.)

August 4, 2014

Get rid of the lawn.

I've seen the toxic algae bloom on Lake Erie that has compromised the potable water for the greater Toledo metropolitan area blamed on agribusiness, but there don't seem to be a lot of people mentioning all the chemicals we suburbanites are dousing our lawns with.
Scott's Miracle Gro netted $1.08 billion (that's billion with a b) in the second quarter of 2014. They are certainly not the only provider of nitrogen- and phosphorus- rich fertilizers that will infiltrate the ground water and eventually end up in Lake Erie in concentrations that will cause toxic algae blooms, but they are certainly the largest company that sells such products. And millions of us all over northern Ohio smother our lawns in it to keep them artificially healthy-looking and green.
I have previously mentioned my dislike of lawns, but it bears repeating. Especially when we are so quick to blame farmers who are possibly using less chemicals than all of us lawn jockeys combined.
 In the U.S. over 70 million tons of fertilizers and pesticides are applied to residential lawns and gardens annually. Some of that, in our neck of the woods, is going to end up in our lakes. Next time you want a greener lawn, think about that. 

August 1, 2014

Friday Book Blogging

...on a FRIDAY! Woo hoo!
My favorite book this week was Jill Paton Walsh's latest Lord Peter Wimsey book, The Late Scholar. Those of you familiar with Lord Peter and his wife, know that the characters were created by Dorothy L. Sayers in 1923 and 1930 respectively. Upon her death an unfinished manuscript was completed by Jill Paton Walsh and published as Thrones, Dominations. Walsh picked up the Wimsey mantle and ran with it; this most recent book is her fourth.
As murder mysteries go, there was an over-abundance of bodies, and a simplistic lack of red herrings, but Walsh does an admirable job of hewing close to the established characters of Wimsey and Vane. Wimsey is a love-him or hate-him character, and I rather love him, so Walsh gets a thumbs up from me.

July 31, 2014

Just stop.

Israel is bombing schools and hospitals in Gaza. Hamas is using schools and hospitals in Gaza to store weapons.
No one is right. Children are dying. Stop. Just stop.

July 29, 2014

Subject to blue laws?

 A three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court has found that “the actual purpose in displaying the Cross at Ground Zero has always been secular.”
That’s right, the court ruled the purpose of displaying a Christian symbol has always been secular.
The appeals court ruled on Monday that the memorial cross at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York can remain at the newly-opened facility because the purpose of the cross is secular, not religious.

Perhaps the judges are unfamiliar with the word "secular." Perhaps we could point out that a synonym for the word is profane. Now the cross at Ground Zero is legally PROFANITY. I know a lot of atheists might agree, but I'm pretty sure all the Christians out there can't be happy.

h/t to LSH