Proliferation of What?

Filed under:Language Barrier,Need a Good Editor? — posted by Anwyn on June 30, 2008 @ 7:41 pm

We don’t know, just that it’s to be “non-nuclear.”

[Christie Brinkley] is also on the board of directors of the Global Security Institute (they work for world peace and non-nuclear proliferation) and was recently in Rome for the Nobel Laureate Peace Summit.


Filed under:Cool,It's My Life — posted by Anwyn @ 4:36 pm

These are vacation posts, if you can’t tell. Short. Shorter than usual, that is.

I’m trying to learn about photography–i.e. learn what’s actually involved with making my various camera settings produce good photos rather than using Auto all the time, which tends to wash out faces with too-brilliant flashes. It’s perfectly appalling how much light is needed to get a good flashless photo if you’re not deliberately going for a time exposure with a tripod and all. So that even with our technology it’s still amazing how much more efficient the human eye is at its job than the camera.

And Just Like That

Filed under:It's My Life — posted by Anwyn on June 29, 2008 @ 7:52 pm

A friend says to me, of somebody else’s two small children visiting a state other than the one they live in, “First time they’ve been out of [small town in largely rural state where they live].” And just like that I appreciate far more the advantages of my military-brat upbringing.

Quote of the Day

Filed under:Cool — posted by Anwyn on June 28, 2008 @ 9:57 am

“I will not say the song is completely autobiographical, but I’m down with that core audience,” he says.

–Weird Al Yankovic on his song “White & Nerdy,” which is “packed with references to Dungeons & Dragons, ping pong, and glee club.”

Dude, when did “glee club” get nerdy? I thought it was only band geeks who got all the grief. Even the drum majors. Ahem.

Conversation of Yesterday

Filed under:Heh,It's My Life,Mothering — posted by Anwyn on June 26, 2008 @ 6:20 pm

I’m a mother prone to a little hyperbole. “You took the longest nap in the world!” is a regular comment of mine on the rare occasions when the Bean does nap. Because he’s still battling jet lag, he’s been napping quite a bit this week. He’s always accepted uncritically the idea that whatever we’re talking about at the moment was the [biggest, best, coolest, longest] in the world. Until last night. He looked at me suspiciously and remarked, “Some people take longer ones.”


Hell(er) Yeah

Filed under:Cool,Politics,Priorities — posted by Anwyn @ 8:18 am

Or, Is Justice Stevens Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?

Supreme Court overturns D.C.’s handgun ban 5-4.

Rachel Lucas points to a snotty, annoying, and oh yeah, completely off-rocker piece of rhetoric by Justice Stevens:

In dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that the majority “would have us believe that over 200 years ago, the Framers made a choice to limit the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons.”

He said such evidence “is nowhere to be found.”

No evidence that the Framers would much rather have limited, and did limit, the actions of our elected officials rather than limit the actions of free, innocent citizens?

Has he ever read the Constitution? I Am Not a Lawyer (as everybody reading here has had plenty of evidence to show), but even I can parse this: Whatever the available tools may be, Justice Stevens, they do not include infringement. That word means exactly what everybody thinks it means, no matter how hard you and others of your ilk try to convince us otherwise. There are only four lights.

Even in our public schools, at least back when I was attending them, which was since D.C.’s gun ban was enacted, thanks, it was made perfectly clear from the moment we started studying the American Revolution that the Framers had every intention of limiting most widely the actions of our officials rather than the rights of citizens. Stevens still sucks.

Another Flight Attendant on a Power Trip

Filed under:Jerks,Mothering — posted by Anwyn @ 6:08 am

If any flight attendant ever supposes she has the right to do anything regarding my child other than telling me what she wants him to do, I’ll get kicked off the plane for telling her to go to hell. You do not touch or tighten my child’s seatbelt–and, thankfully, no flight attendant on any of the many flights we’ve taken has ever felt it necessary to do so. They do not interact directly with the child; they go through me. The most annoying it’s ever gotten was an attendant who insisted–while he was dead asleep–that he could not be lying down during landing, even with his seatbelt on. I complied and sat him up. (Yes, I do know the meaning of the word “comply” and have even suited action to the word on occasion.)

This mother wasn’t so lucky. The flight attendant seems to have been, though–because if I were the mother she would have been bawled out the first time she touched him. Seems she got to extend her power trip through several more incidents.

I Gotcher “Context” Right Here

Filed under:Blogging,Language Barrier,Need a Good Editor? — posted by Anwyn on June 25, 2008 @ 6:29 am

The AP’s recent demand for bloggers to stop quoting them without payment, in a petulant bout of trying to unilaterally do away with fair use, included the pretext that people needed to read entire AP stories “in context” rather than bloggers’ selected quotes.

“Cutting and pasting a lot of content into a blog is not what we want to see,” he said. “It is more consistent with the spirit of the Internet to link to content so people can read the whole thing in context.”

No serious blogger I’m aware of quotes material without providing a link. Except maybe to the AP in the light of this silliness. But that’s beside my point today, which is that somebody should clue Time magazine into how this works. In an article linked by Hot Air headlines today, Time quotes a phrase from Rachel Lucas’s post on the pregnant teenagers in Gloucester: “marauding narcissistic sluts”–a phrase so strikingly crafted, by the way, that I recognized it and its source instantly upon reading it in Time, but you’d never know who said it if you just read Time. Moreover, you’d be informed that it came from a “conservative” blog, a description Rachel herself would certainly take exception to.

A blog at The Village Voice did a little better, linking Rachel directly in discussing her pronouncement that all teenagers should undergo mandatory sterilization, but failing to include what the AP would no doubt describe as context: The fact that Rachel doesn’t really support mandatory sterilization.

This is one of the pitfalls of blogging, that if people don’t read you regularly they may miss posts that explain some of your hyperbole, that mitigate some of your rhetoric, that outright say some things are satire or just an over-the-top rant. But at the very least, sources like Time ought to see an obligation to provide a link that allows people to judge for themselves what the person quoted is saying and what she means by it. The MSM has been doing this forever, quoting people at the scene of whatever incident they’re reporting and identifying those people by name, even though that adds no additional “context” to the story and not much about the mindset of the person being quoted. Now that the mindset and context are available out the ears, the MSM doesn’t seem interested in people’s real opinions or the reasoning behind them, or even, in this case, identification of the speaker–because that would involve sending readers’ eyes elsewhere, to mere mortals with blogs, and everybody knows they’re not real content providers, but just unreliable cut-and-pasters with no context of their own.

It’s a backward stance and a hypocritical one–if you’re going to cite bloggers, you need to identify the source, at the very least just as you would identify the speaker in a news story and at the very most with a link that provides the “context” the AP was so exercised about. If bloggers are such peons unworthy your notice, then stop quoting them at all. Oh, wait–they come up with really juicy phrases like “marauding narcissistic sluts,” don’t they? Too good not to quote, too bad to ID and link. Poor, poor MSM caught in the web–the World Wide Web, that is.

Update: Commenter Buzzion notes that the article no longer describes the blogs in question, including Rachel’s, as “conservative.” That’ll teach me to always screencap. The text now reads:

Some blogs hosted a righteous orgy of “slutshaming,” denouncing Gloucester’s “marauding narcissistic sluts” for following the toxic example of movie stars and the Spears sisters, and longing for the return of the scarlet letter.

This morning it said “Some conservative blogs hosted …” I’m (reasonably) certain of that because it was the first thing I emailed Rachel about it. You can take my word for it or not, as it is secondary to the point–that they should be linking or IDing by name blogs they quote, no matter from what spot on the political spectrum.

Speak Up, Pro-Life Atheists. Shut Up, Peace-at-All-Costs Christians.

Filed under:Abortion,Politics,Priorities,Religion — posted by Anwyn on June 24, 2008 @ 7:16 pm

One of my favorite atheist/agnostics points out that Obama chose poorly in using abortion to make the argument that those who have religion need to recognize that “because God says so” is not a sound basis for public policy.

Right on, he did, but it’s not surprising that he felt safe in doing so. The anti-abortion position is in no way limited to Christians, but any Christian who bases the anti-abortion argument on God is simply begging for marginalization. The argument must be predicated on the continual-line humanity of a person from conception to death in a nursing home for it to have legs in the battle against the pro-abortion position. The obvious relationship is that it is because humans are human no matter in what format or age that Christians are so well convinced that God views abortion as baby killing. The God part should be derivative, not foundational.

It seems by observation that another consequence of the self-marginalization that goes along with predicating the argument on the wrong keystone is that atheist/agnostics are hesitant to express outright pro-life positions because they find it difficult to formulate justification outside religion (and, as I was reminded after writing the post, because they fear being 1) lumped in with extremists; 2) lumped in with the religious who justify their positions on religion alone). Another of my favorite atheist/agnostics is not willing to see abortion banned but does admit she couldn’t do it herself and piles on a healthy dose of rage for those stupid enough to get themselves into positions where they think they have to.

Each of those times, even if the idea I might be pregnant only lasted for five minutes, I contemplated the possibility that there was a real live tiny human being inside my body, and I knew beyond any doubt that if it really were there, I could not kill it.

She goes right up to the idea that a human baby is a human baby from the very beginning but then backs off in the post to the point that every woman must decide for herself. I am in no way picking on Rachel here; I really liked that post as I like most of what she has to say. I’m just pointing to an example of a person who believes without religious foundation that a conceived fetus is a human baby and yet who will not go on to apply that as an objective standard. I think there’s a lot of that going around, and I think the marginalization of the pro-life as a religious position hastens others stopping short of applying that objective standard.

So Obama believes positions with religious origin or relationship must be shaped into cogent arguments not based on God or they have no place in public policy. As a Christian, guess what? I completely agree with that standard. Go tell it to the people who think “love your neighbor as yourself” and “turn the other cheek” are recipes for government instead of a standard of personal conduct–or rather, those Christians and non-Christians alike who use those passages as clubs against Christians who don’t believe that war is the greatest evil.

Conversation of the Day

Filed under:It's My Life,Mothering — posted by Anwyn on June 20, 2008 @ 10:22 pm

Flip. Flop. “Stop wiggling.” Wiggle. Waggle.

This is the sound of a little boy who has traveled all day, whose body thinks it is 9 p.m. while the clock says midnight, who took a nap on the plane so he needs an even later bedtime than usual.

One a.m. Ten p.m. on his internal traveling clock. Just about the time he would be going to sleep at home–“I’m hungry!!!!!” A wail. “I need food!!!”

Mom gives in. They troop downstairs to Grandma’s kitchen. Together they eat whatever happens to be around–some tortilla chips, a pop-tart. Mom idly reads a magazine while they eat. “Is your tummy all full?”

“No, I need something else.”

“What do you want?”

“I don’t know.”

Mom flips the pages of the magazine, buying time. “Hang on, I’m thinking.”

“Me too. But I’m using my brain.”


Out. Out. Out.

Filed under:Mothering,Priorities,Sad — posted by Anwyn on June 19, 2008 @ 1:25 pm

The more I read about public school systems and incidents that occur the more convinced I am that my son will never see the inside of one. Private schools may have as many dopey ideas, but at least if I remove him from one of them they will shrug their shoulders at the lost tuition and not bother me again.

** Out of their minds: Birth control without the consent of parents is wanted … because girls deliberately set out to get pregnant. So obviously, the problem was they couldn’t get birth control because of their parents!

** Out of money, they perpetually complain: Yet offering free meals to anybody under eighteen all summer long, no registration, no proving that your parents don’t feed you enough, no problem.

** Out of accountability and humanity: Parents, who sends their three-year-old child away on a bus? And then is left baffled when the child comes home with marks and bruises? My heart goes out to the child and may they find and punish the culprit, but parents, hello? Three years old! Can’t reliably tell where they’ve been, can’t clearly state who might have abused them, can’t fend for themselves in any way. Keep them out of places where parents don’t have direct supervision or control.

Get out, public schools. Get out of early childhood. Get out of the parenting business. Not needed, not wanted, not welcome.

What Fresh Horror Is This?

Filed under:Movies,Not Cool — posted by Anwyn on June 17, 2008 @ 10:29 pm

Relax, it’s only a movie, but potentially the most bizarre one I’ve ever seen on an IMDb rap sheet.

I admit I thought it was yet more bizarre than it is–I originally assumed it was live-action. Whew.

Please, Good Directors Everywhere, drop your obsession with telling stories about human beings in the weird plastic medium of CGI. Leave it to cars and pull-string toys.

Anwyn, Judge and Jury

Filed under:Uncategorized — posted by Anwyn on June 14, 2008 @ 5:30 pm

Guilty. Twenty years in prison, no possibility of parole, mother’s parental rights terminated.

I write this way about these articles because I can’t bear to write more. I can hardly bear to read about it, but people should pay attention to what some adults are capable of doing to children.

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image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace