- NOW Toronto shares photos of the Pride Toronto parade.
- blogTO notes that, in a recent ranking, Toronto is one of the best cities in which to not be straight in the world.
- Bloomberg notes the importance of gay pride parades, as self-assertion and resistance, in the age of Trump.
- Kevin Ritchie's cover article for NOW Toronto looks at the successes and innovations of drag in the era of RuPaul's Drag Race.
- VICE looks at the extent to which gay life has been transformed by the culture of the app.
- If all it took for Germany to move towards same-sex marriage was to introduce Merkel to a nice couple ... well done. The Los Angeles Times reports.
- Laurel Gregory of Global News looks at research into children who have been out throughout their school years. I can scarcely imagine.
There's a great deal going on in the offline life, all kinds of things, and some of it, believe it or not, is actually positive for us personally, in many ways, including paying work, despite the political billionaires' and religious whackos' derangement of objective, ideology, utterance, attitude and action having taken over seemingly the whole world, except -- maybe -- for France?
Therefore, perhaps it is particularly rude of us to keep laughing at the French as we make our way through Capetian France 987 - 1328? This is the read-aloud-before-bed book that succeeded Havana and the Atlantic in the Sixteenth Century (el V's favorite century!) which was all about the plundering, corsairing, privateering and pirating of Spain's ports, ships and fleets by all of Europe's powers in mostly the 16th century, through about 1628.
Both of these books have been terrific reads, before bed, hough in a different ways. It was particularly pleasant to have them when I went down with a very nasty virus two weeks ago, and couldn't read for myself. One of the symptoms was eyes that watered constantly, making vision iffy at best -- not to mention the lack of concentration. What I did mostly during that period was lie in the dark, listening to book streamed from Overlook.
. . . . As far as the Capetians are concerned -- what is up with us and the French and laughter? As soon as el V and I began reading my history of the Capets with each other, as opposed to me reading the book by myself, we got the giggles. Evidently even when they weren't French, but Goths (Merovingians) and Franks (Carolingians), which is when this laughter began earlier in the year, they were sufficiently French to be amusing and good company?
The Capetian monarchy is not only post-Carolingia, but post Vikings and the Dark Ages. We begin to see what political historians have called feudalism as an administrative organizational structure becoming the predominate system, along with the proliferation of castle-building -- which reached its peak in France in the 11th century.
I'm getting a sense that with the Norse now integrated into Francia at every level of society (though probably not in the peasantry?), so much of what they severely disrupted in the kingdoms after Charlemagne was no longer around to hold things together, in many ways all systems from trade and taxes to governance and land holdings had greatly stabilized. In other words we have now entered what historians used to regard as the Middle Ages and have emerged out of what historians used to call the Dark Ages.
By the way, the Norman kingdoms were very well organized and administered, the best of them all. As far as we've gotten, the Normans are about poised to take over kingdoms in Sicily and southern Italy -- not to mention England.
This is so interesting! But, I wonder, if anywhere else in this vast, densely populated city, in June, 2017, anyone else is considering these matters? I have the feeling that only here, in this apartment, in this building, is this happening. One indication is that these books from the graduate school library haven't been taken out in years and years. And their publication all date from the 1970's, at the latest.
. . . . What have I listened to? The most entertaining was James Buchanan: The Worst President Ever (2016) by sports journalist >!< Robert Strauss. It's a fairly light-hearted treatment of the guy who did nothing to keep the Union together (though he did a lot to allow it to fall apart, They Say). There are lengthy digressions into the author's own childhood and the father with whom as a boy he shared an obsession for US presidential trivia. There are further lengthy digressions into playing basketball at his gym and elsewhere in Philadelphia, where he was born and continues to live, and more yet about his wife and daughter. His historical method, as far as it goes, is to compare and contrast Buchanan's biography and presidency with that of the other 44 (as of his writing) presidents, to make the case that Buchanan was The Worst Ever. However, Buchanan's got a real run for his title going these days. One wonders if the author would have been so off-handed about the mess JB helped make if he were putting the book together today. OTOH, in the stuperous state of my whole sick system, that was about as much cogitation as I could manage.
I listened to two novels via Overlook. The first was Daphne DuMaurier's Frenchman's Creek (1941). She was so good at what she did. And one must get to the very end to see just how good at it she was. Through much of the book one of the lesser character's wife is pregnant. He's deeply concerned about his wife and the coming delivery, hoping for the best, fearing for the worst, which was the outcome far too often in the 17th century of King Charles II, which is the time the book takes place. That this becomes a major plot point won't even be clear until the very end! I was so impressed.
The second novel was Ann Cleeves's second title in her Shetland Islands series, White Nights. I've read all the others but it took this long for the replacements to show up at the NYPL after the others were worn out. In my opinion this one is far superior to the others.
I am also listening to three other fascinating, books, The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad (2013) by Lesley Hazleton (NPR review here) The Crucible of Command: Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee: The War They Fought, the Peace They Forged (2015) by William Davis
|A UK Guardian review of the book here.|
-- and the brilliant The Crusades: The Authoritative History of the War for the Holy Land (2010) by Thomas Asbridge. This latter is big -- 784 pages -- because he tells the politics of the crusades from both Christian and Islam's contexts of the times. I've been listening to it for weeks, as one can only check out an audio stream book for a maximum of 3 weeks, and I usually only listen to them while working out. It's a popular title and then I have to wait until whoever else had it on hold expires it to get it back again. (The Overlook system that has highjacked all the public library systems is truly awful and stupid in every way.) I've now reached the fifth crusade.
It's really been books this month, far more than television / movies, due to my eyes being so bad from being sick.
Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher. This was a childhood favorite. I thoroughly enjoyed rereading it. Betsy is an overly-sheltered city child who is unexpectedly shipped off to live with her Vermont cousins. She learns how to think for herself, how to solve problems and be self-reliant.
( Read an excerpt )
What I'm Reading now (but not for long):
Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey. I've been enjoying the TV series on Syfy. The Expanse community on DW, rocinante is doing a rewatch. (Which reminds me, I need to go post about the season finale.) There isn't much fic so I was hoping that the books would fill that need.
Well. I'm in the middle of book one, Leviathan Wakes, and I'm pretty sure I'm not going to finish it. It's not half as well written as the TV series. The characters are empty shells. They don't even rise to the level of predictable archetypes--there is no there, there. After a few chapters, I wondered if I was being too hard on the writers. So I got out a couple of favorites and read over the first few pages. Sure enough, I learned more in seven pages about the three main protagonists of Red Mars than I did about any character in Leviathan Wakes after seven chapters. The TV series has a structure, and an endgame. The book's pacing is slow and the style is pedestrian. The TV series is far more suspenseful and exciting. I am so, so disappointed. If I wasn't a fan of the show, I'd have quit reading this turkey already.
What's next: All the President's Men by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.
Lest you forget, you have until 9:00 PM EDT, JUNE 28, 2017 to sign up for The Exchange at Fic Corner | fic_corner. That would be today. After I looked at the sign up summary, I relaxed. I can match on two of the three fandoms I offered, and everything I asked for has at least one offer. I just hope my letter doesn't freak out my writer too badly.
Why yes, my homemade banner is an illustration from All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor. And yes, it is one of the fandoms I'm offering.
- I think I had the best cauliflower gratin ever on Monday. I was at our largest hospital for a day-long HR course so finally got to eat at the cafeteria there (I regularly browse the menus, they're that delicious-looking). I should have had two orders. Made me think of all the times I've been in England and gone to museum cafes--quite often I'd find some kind of cauliflower gratin dish on the menu and always got it. But man, this one was good, melting soft inside and crispy cheesy crust.
- Today is Indian cauliflower soup day! One bowl for lunch and one bowl ready to take home for dinner tonight.
- Badge pay is down, but our cafe people are so awesome they're letting us write down our badge numbers with our charges and they're going to batch enter them later.
- I finally found Rainier cherries at the grocery store! Seems late this year.
- It was biscuits with gravy breakfast today. I've been eating too many carbs and junk lately (puts my fasting BGs usually between 110 and 120, which is still OK but it's top of the OK range). So I spent the drive in to work discussing with myself how I was not going to have biscuits and gravy. Apparently not in the mood to listen to myself today but I did only eat a half a biscuit, which is actually my norm.
- I have been doing a comparison of Vegemite and Marmite the past week. I usually eat Vegemite but when I went to World Market a few weeks ago to get a jar, they were all out on account of a big sale on Vegemite so I had to get Marmite. Vegemite is now back in stock and I decided I'd better analyze them scientifically. Results below.
Vegemite Vs. Marmite
Color: Vegemite is quite a bit darker than Marmite. Marmite takes on a bit of a golden brown color after you spread it on your buttered toast.
Consistency: Marmite is thinner and melts more nicely. Vegemite maintains its dark color and is a little less melty.
Smell: Vegemite smells darker though both are rather sharp, salty smells, which makes sense since it's fermented yeast products.
Taste: I'm thinking the Vegemite tastes a little more intense than the Marmite.
Comparison of flavor when adding jam to the butter/yeast extract mix: TBD
Conclusion: Both are delicious though Marmite is prettier. Spread Vegemite on one half of my English muffin and Marmite on the other half.
And tomorrow is my Friday since I have actual Friday off :-)
PaperGirls, Vol. 2 by by Brian K. Vaughan/Cliff Chiang,
For the Love of God, Marie! by Jadie Sarson,
and a manga called Scum's Wish/Kuzu no Honkai (Vol. 1) [I think, I read this on-line, so I'm not sure how far I am in the actual tankōbon. I got through all of them that were published on MangaReader, about 15, which I'm guessing is only the first volume.]
Interestingly, there was kind of 'the perils of promiscuity for women' theme in both For the Love of God, Marie! and Scum's Wish. I gave up on Necrotech by K. C, Alexander. I wasn't in the mood for it, I suppose, also on the road and it was an inter-library loan so it needed to go back sooner rather than later.
How about you? Manage anything fun?
By Ashley R. Pollard
It seems that television science fiction serials on British TV are like waiting at the bus stop for a London bus to arrive. You don’t see one for ages, and when you do, three turn up at once.
Therefore I am quite excited by the announcement of a new SF anthology series called Out of this World. So excited in fact that when I heard the news, I had to sit down, and then have a nice cup of tea to calm down. While it’s always good to see SF stories on television, the announcement of a series is also a portent of more to come.
(see the rest at Galactic Journey!)
Being able to wander around an observatory equipped with two big telescopes with whatever non-flash camera equipment that I can dig up is such a wonderful perk of being married to an astrophysicist!
This photo was hand-held, f1.4 at 1/5th of a second, ISO 800. Very minimal manipulation. The bright light to the right of the top monitor was the Chinese scientists working with/on their instrument.
Normally operations are conducted from a lit and comfortable control room, but this instrument was being continuously, and I mean CONTINUOUSLY, tweaked. So all four of them were spending most of the night in the dome. Frequently they'll use the in-dome computer for instrument set-up at the beginning of the night then put it it to sleep and go down stairs for most of the shift.
She had chosen to work the entire time the Chinese scientists were going to be there because she understood them better. It's not that she speaks Chinese, it's just that she's worked with them before and understood their broken English pronunciation better. Plus, astronomy has a limited vocabulary of key terms (azimuth, seeing, magnitude, etc.) A second telescope operator, Ted, was supposed to take the second half of the night Weds/Thurs, he was then going to be working Saturday/Sunday. Tuesday night Russet gets an email from Ted's girlfriend: he's in the hospital with food poisoning. Felled by a Taco Bell in El Paso. There's only four people who are qualified and allowed to work on the 3.5 meter telescope. Of the other two, one just came off-shift, so it's not fair to ask him to come back, and the other is up in Albuquerque doing out-reach. So not only does Russet have to work four solid shifts in a row, she also has to pick up Ted's weekend.
Not much fun. Fortunately weather was not good, so the dome was closed a lot of the time.
I have to take Cordelia out to Domino Farms for a doctor's appointment. That means taking a cab, and given construction, I'm wondering if I ought to allow more time for the trip. Then again, maybe the cabbie will be sensible and get around that bit by taking 14 to 23 to Plymouth Rd instead of Plymouth Rd straight through. It wouldn't normally be faster, but right now, I think it is, especially in the middle of the day when the highway isn't backed up.
Scott will likely be able to pick us up after the appointment. He has PT at 5:00, so he's not likely to work late.
The appointment is the only thing we absolutely have to do today. We might have people over this evening for either Scott's Firefly game or board games, but I'm worried that I won't be up to it. I'm not sure if Scott would want to run without me. I feel bad because it's been a while since we got together, but I really do feel like crap.
I very much want to do some writing. I posted my Not Prime Time story yesterday, but I have something else, a treat for a different exchange, almost done. I also need to start two other stories for something else entirely.
Scott took Cordelia to Traverwood yesterday to renew her library card. The timing was bad, so the road he'd normally take was backed up for about three blocks from the four way stop sign at the bottom of the hill. He tried another route only to discover that that road doesn't currently go through, due to construction. Cordelia knew that but didn't understand what he was trying to do, so they got all the way out there and then had to come all the way back. I had wondered why I had time to shower and then sit around for another half an hour while they were gone, and that all explains it.
Scott is going to be working Saturday. His company wants full production then in the hope that they'll be able to give everyone Sunday through Tuesday off. I'm keeping my fingers crossed because three days would be really, really nice. Also, given that he took Monday off this week, Saturday only makes a five day work week for him as opposed to a six day.
Okay, half an hour to come up with food for me and Cordelia and get everything ready to go...
Такая, казалось бы на первый взгляд положительная новость, в современных реалиях, отягощённых законом яровой, обернётся на деле тем, что стоимость услуг без роуминга будет ближе к роуминговой, а все тарифы будут включать лимит трафика, включая голосовой, и даже внутри сети...
- Citizen Science Salon links to some ongoing crowdsourced experiments that non-scientists can take part in.
- The LRB Blog reports on the return of Newt Gingrich to the American political scene.
- The NYR Daily compares Donald Trump to a 19th century counterpart, Andrew Jackson.
- Roads and Kingdoms reports on the now rather different cocaine problem of Medellín, Colombia.
- Starts with a Bang's Ethan Siegel reports on a paper suggesting potential problems with gravitational observatory LIGO.
- Towleroad notes a recent sharp drop in new HIV diagnoses in the United Kingdom, thanks to treatment and PrEP.
- Window on Eurasia reports on projected long-run economic decline in Russia, argues about the potential for instability in Tatarstan, and reports on Belarusianization.
- Arnold Zwicky describes Silver Age Rainbow Batman and his later pride appearances.
This really isn't rocket science. Most of the rest of the world has figured it out years ago. The solution, in broad strokes, is:
1) Get everybody to pay into the healthcare system, whether via taxes or private insurance. Actually, taxes are cheaper because private insurance has marketing and profit overheads. But everybody is important, in that you don't want some freeloader rolling into an emergency room, especially for something that could have been managed cheaply had they been able to see a doctor sooner.
1a) Everybody in is also important in that, just like auto insurance or homeowner insurance, those that don't file a claim subsidize those that do.
2) Allow the large payers (in our case Medicare / Medicaid) to negotiate pricing. In every other country, they do so, and get meds and equipment at a fraction of the cost. For example, in Belgium, if you need an artificial hip joint, you get the same one you do in the US (both made in a factory in Indiana) but the Belgium one cost $800 and the US one costs $20,000.
3) Pay doctors on performance, not activity. Right now, my doc has every financial incentive to order every test I'll take. Penalize hospitals for things like hospital-based infections. Again, the financial incentive of a hospital is to keep you in. These changes will force the health-care system to get more efficient.
Most of the rest of the world accomplishes this by having a government paid-for (Canada) or government-ran (UK) system that relies on private insurance for supplementary things, like private rooms or other upgrades. In fact, in Canada, they call it Medicare and it works like US medicare except you buy in at birth. I'll say it because somebody will comment on it, but even when Canada has to ship somebody to the US (which they do, at government cost, because it's cheaper than having Canadian specialists) they deliver quality health care at a fraction of the cost.