Volcán de Fuego and Perseid Meteors

Sep. 26th, 2017 03:01 am
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  Perseid Meteor shower over erupting Volcano (4)

Photographer: Sergio Montúfar

Summary Author: Sergio Montúfar

The photo above features Volcán de Fuego, in Guatemala, erupting with three conspicuous Perseid meteors streaking across the sky. It was taken on the night of August 13, 2017. I had to work quite hard to find a spot offering a view of both the night sky and the volcanoes that wasn't cloud-covered. This entailed a night on the go and even a 30-minute trek through a river valley. At right is Acatenango, like Fuego, an active stratovolcano. Note the lamps of the climbers on its upper flank. The two bright stars above the volcanoes are Deneb at left and Alpha Cephei at right.

Photo Details: A 22 image composite; ISO 5000; f/5.6; 10 second exposure for each image.  

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Posted by Hannah

Now, we all know that my favourite kind of cake is chocolate cake. But all types of cake are welcome here! I also have a lot of time for a good carrot cake. Carrot cake is a flavourful, comforting, pleasing option from the cake world, and I am always happy to see one. Here, we have carrot cake with a difference. This week, I am working with Indigo Herbs, who sell not just herbs but a wide range of high quality, organic, natural health products. With some fantastic ingredients from their online shop, I’ve created these gluten free carrot cake muffins.

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These muffins are really simple to put together. You don’t need any special equipment, or any complicated baking skills. The muffins keep well, and are very portable. Packed full of carrots, walnuts, and dates, they’re great for an energy boost, and even a pretty legitimate breakfast choice.

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Using walnut flour and coconut flour here means the muffins are gluten free, but also means they have a delicious and complex flavour. You can, of course, use regular gluten free flour, but if you’ve never worked with walnut or coconut flour before then this is a great easy introduction to these ingredients.

Similarly, you don’t have to use coconut sugar here, but it’s got a lovely coconut scent and flavour and a tempting, caramel-like colour.

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Notes:

If you don’t need to make these muffins gluten free, or don’t have some of the more unusual baking ingredients listed here, then I’ve included alternative options.

I use tulip muffin cases for absolutely no reason other than I like the look of them. Standard muffin cases will work just as well.

The icing can certainly be skipped, if you prefer. It’s lovely with the muffins, but not essential if you’re trying to keep the sugar quantities down.

Ingredients:

140g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
175g coconut sugar (or caster sugar)
250g carrots, grated
100g chopped dates
100g walnut flour and 100g coconut flour (or 200g gluten free self raising flour)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder (gluten free if necessary)
3 eggs, beaten
50g walnuts, chopped
100g icing sugar
juice of 1 lemon

Method:

  1. Heat your oven to 180C/ 160C fan/ gas 4. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases. In a large bowl, beat your butter and sugar together until creamy and well-combined. Stir in your grated carrots and chopped dates.
  2. In another bowl, combine your flour(s), cinnamon, and baking powder. Begin to add your eggs to your carrot mixture, a little at a time, alternating with spoonfuls of the flour mixture, until everything is mixed together. Finally, mix in your walnuts.
  3. Divide your mixture evenly between your 12 muffin cases. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until firm and starting to turn golden. While they bake, pop your icing sugar (if using) in a large bowl and slowly drizzle in the lemon juice, mixing with a whisk or a fork, until you have a smooth, fairly thick but pourable icing – you might not need all of the lemon juice.
  4. Let your muffins cool for 5-10 minutes, then drizzle with the icing.
Disclaimer: I was kindly given the products from Indigo Herbs used in this recipe as a gift, but all opinions are my own.

The post Gluten Free Carrot Cake Muffins with Indigo Herbs appeared first on A Bond Girl's Food Diary.

"National backbone"

Sep. 26th, 2017 12:40 am
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Posted by Victor Mair

I. J. Khanewala writes:

While visiting the tomb of the first emperor, I saw a sign in Mandarin which read minzu jiliang and translated as "National backbone". It left me quite mystified.  Here's a photo of the sign:

Source ("Utterly lost in translation").  Any idea what it could mean?

Textual references to "mínzú jǐliang 民族脊梁" ("national backbone" — that's what GT, Microsoft Translator, and Baidu Fanyi all have, and it's not far off; there's not much else you can do with it, though it would sound better if worded as "backbone of the nation") abound in modern China and calligraphic representations of the phrase are in evidence in many public spaces.  So it's not surprising that it would be in evidence at the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor.

"Mínzú jǐliang 民族脊梁" ("national backbone") is a variant of "中国的脊梁" ("the backbone / spine of China"), coined by the great author Lu Xun (1881-1936), whom we've mentioned many times on Language Log, in his article " Zhōngguó rén shīdiào zìxìnlì le ma 中国人失掉自信力了吗?" ("Have the Chinese People Lost Their Confidence?").  It was written during the period of the buildup to the Second Sino-Japanese War (July 7, 1937 to September 9, 1945) to encourage people not to lose strength and hope in their struggle against the invaders.

The most famous calligraphic exemplar of "mínzú jǐliang 民族脊梁" ("national backbone") is that by Zhao Puchu (1907-2000) at the Big Goose Pagoda in Xi'an, which is closely associated with the celebrated Buddhist pilgrim and translator, Xuanzang (fl. ca. 602-664).  Zhao evidently meant his rendition of "mínzú jǐliang 民族脊梁" ("national backbone") as a tribute to the Tang dynasty Buddhist monk.

Here's a photograph of the wall on which Zhao's calligraphy is displayed, with a portion of the enormous pagoda looming in the background:

Geremie Barmé comments on Zhao's calligraphy thus:

It's an oddly anachronistic work. The calligraphy is by the pro-Communist state Buddhist layman Zhao Puchu 赵朴初.  Zhao is celebrating the achievements of Xuanzang 玄奘. What mínzú 民族 ("nation") in the Tang, one may well ask?

Barmé is not the only commentator to question the appropriateness of Zhao dedicating the phrase that originated with Lu Xun during the period of the Second Sino-Japanese war to the Tang Buddhist monk, Xuanzang.  Numerous posts online reveal that many people know about the association between Lu Xun and this phrase, but they are confused about why this phrase appears next to the Big Goose Pagoda in Xi'an.  Some commenters opine that it is weird and awkward to juxtapose this phrase with the Big Goose Pagoda because they don't sense any convincing connection between the place and the phrase.  Presumably, the phrase is also calligraphically displayed at the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, which might similarly lead to the same kinds of questions as those raised about its appearance at the Big Goose Pagoda.  The difference, however, is that Zhao Puchu was one of the most famous calligraphers of the second half of the twentieth century, so that — no matter whether fitting the context or not — Zhao's calligraphy, which may be seen at countless places all over China, seems justified by the sheer eminence of the artist.

Here's the phrase on a wall in Shaoxing, Lu Xun's hometown in Zhejiang Province:

There's little doubt that it perfectly suits the place and the person.

[Thanks to Yixue Yang and Jinyi Cai]

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Posted by John Scalzi

There was thread over at Metafilter this week talking about book sales and author earnings, including a link to a study that purported to chart author earnings, based on sales at Amazon.  I have to admit I had a bit of a giggle over it. Not because it was attempting to guess author incomes, which is fine, but because the methodology for estimating those earnings came almost entirely from trying to estimate sales of the authors’ books on Amazon, and extrapolating income from there.

Here’s the thing: For non-self-published authors, the correlation between annual book sales and annual “earnings” as a writer can be fairly low. As in, sometimes there is no correlation at all.

Confusing? Think how we feel!

But let me explain.

So, I’m a writer who works primarily with a “Big Five” publisher (Tor Books, which is part of Macmillan). For each of my books, I’m given an advance, which in my case is paid in four separate installments — when I sign the contract, when I turn in the manuscript and it’s accepted, when the book is published in hardcover and when the book is published in paperback. This is fairly typical for most writers working with a “traditional” publisher.

Once the advance is disbursed, my publisher owes me nothing until and unless my book “earns out” — which is to say, the amount I nominally earn for the sale of each unit (usually between 10% and 15% of each hardcover, and 25% of the net for eBook) exceeds cumulatively the amount I was offered for the advance. Once that happens, my publisher owes me for each book sold, and that amount is then usually disbursed semiannually…

usually. There could be other complicating factors, such as if the royalties of the books are “basketed” (meaning the contract was for two or more books, and the royalties are not disbursed until the advance amount for every book in the “basket” is earned out), or if some percentage of the royalties are held back as a “reserve against returns” (meaning that some books listed as sold/distributed are actually returned, so the publisher holds back royalties for a payment period to compensate).

Bear in mind that most publishers try to offer as an advance a sum of money they think the book will earn, either over the first year in hardcover, or across the entire sales run of the work. Which means that if the publisher has guessed correctly, it will never have to shell out royalties. Sometimes they guess poorly, which means either they paid too much for an advance or not enough; in the latter case, that’s when the royalty checks come (please note that even if a publisher pays “too much” and the advance isn’t earned out, it doesn’t mean the book wasn’t profitable for the publisher — their bottom line is not necessarily heavily correlated to the author’s advance — nor does the author have to pay it back).

So what does this all mean? Well, it means that for a non-self-pubbed author, often none of their annual earnings from a book are directly related to how many of those books sell in a year (or any other specified time frame). In fact, depending on how the advance is paid out, three-quarters or more (even all!) of the author’s earnings from a book are disbursed before the book has sold a single unit.

Like so:

Book is contracted: 40% of the advance (“signing installment”) goes to the author. Books sold to date: 0.

Book is turned in and accepted: 20% of the advance (“delivery and acceptance installment”) goes to the author. Books sold to date: 0

Book is published in hardcover: 20% of the advance (“hardcover installment”) goes to the author. Books sold to date: 0 (there may be pre-orders, but the sales don’t usually start being counted until this time).

Book is published in paperback: Final 20% of the advance goes to author. Books sold to date: Hopefully some! But even if the number is zero, the final installment gets paid out (if so few books are sold that the publisher foregoes the paperback release, there’s still usually the contractual obligation to pay out).

Note these advances can be paid out over more than one year — I once got a final installment for an advance roughly six years after I got the first installment (it was a complicated situation). Likewise, once the book starts selling, it can be years — if at all — before the author starts earning royalties, and even then, thanks to the reserve against returns, what the author gets in those semi-annual royalty checks is not 1:1 with sales for the period the check covers (note: this sometimes works to the benefit of the author). Also note: Those semi-annual checks? Often cover a period of time located in the previous fiscal or calendar year.

All of which is to say: For a “traditionally published” author, at almost no point do what an author’s yearly earnings for a book directly correspond to how the book is selling in that particular year.

(Is this bad? No, but it needs paying attention to. Authors tend to love advances because they’re not directly tied to sales — it’s money up front that doesn’t have to be immediately recouped and can help tide the author over during the writing and the wait for publication. But it also means, again, that it can be years — if at all — before money from royalties comes your way. Authors need to be aware of that.)

To move the discussion to me directly for a moment, if someone tried to guess my annual earnings based on my yearly unit sales on Amazon (or via Bookscan, or anywhere else for that matter), they would be likely be, well, wildly wrong. At any moment I have several books at various stages of advance disbursement — some contracted, some completed but not published, some published in hardcover and some published in paperback — a few all paid out in advances but not earned out, and several earned out and paying royalties.

Add to that audio sales (another set of advances and royalties) and foreign sales (yet another) and ancillary income like film/tv options (which are not tied to sales at all, but sales help get things optioned) and so on. Also note that not all my sales provide royalties at the same rate — a lot will depend on format and how many were previously sold (if they are in print or physical audio), unit price (if they are eBook or audio files), and on other various bits that are in contracts but not necessarily disclosed to the wide world. Oh, and don’t forget my short fiction and non-fiction!

Basically, my yearly earnings as an author are a delightful mess. I’m glad I have an accountant and an agent and a very smart life partner to help me stay on top of them. These earnings have almost nothing to do with unit sales in any calendar year, and more to the point, never have, even when I was a newbie book writer with a single book contract to my name. I signed my first book contract in 1999; since then I have yet to have a year when my earnings from being an author approach anything like a 1:1 parity with my book sales in that same year.

Does this matter? Well, it matters if you are, for example, trying to extrapolate what “traditionally published authors” make based on their annual sales, and are then comparing those “earnings” to the earnings of self-published authors. It’s ignoring that these are entirely different distribution systems which have implications for annual earnings. I don’t think one is particularly better than the other, but a direct comparison will give you poor results. Note also that’s true going the other way — applying “traditional publishing” income models to self-published authors will very likely tell you incorrect things about how they’re doing economically in any one year.

(And as a further note: Do likewise be aware of the caveats for anyone trying to extrapolate self-pub/indie annual author earnings from Amazon as well. It misses direct sales, which for authors who ply the convention circuits can be significant, and also may not fully incorporate how Amazon deals with payments in its subscription models, which are handled rather differently than actual sales, and which (unless it’s changed very recently) come from a pre-determined pot of payment rather than a straight percentage of sales. Hey, it’s complicated! Almost as complicated as the “traditional” model.)

Here’s one thing I suspect is true: It’s possible to make money (sometimes a lot of it) as a traditionally published author, or as an self-published/indie author — or as both, either in turn or simultaneously, since, as it happens, there’s no deep ideological chasm between the two, and generally speaking an author can do one or the other depending on their project needs, or their own (likewise, it’s possible to make almost no money either way, too. Alas). It’s not an either-or proposition.

But yes: Here is a grain of salt. Please apply it to anyone who tells you they know how much any author (traditional or self-pub/indie, but especially traditional) is earning in any year, based on Amazon sales, even if they’re  limiting it to Amazon sales. They’re just guessing, and you have no idea how far off their guesses are. And neither, I strongly suspect, do they. Only the actual authors know, and most of the time, they’re not telling.


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Posted by Paige Connell and Danielle Antoinette Hidalgo

Mild Spoiler Alert for Season 3 of House of Cards

Where is Rachel Posner?

Representations of sex workers on popular shows such as Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, and, of course, any version of CSI, are often stereotypical, completely incorrect, and infuriatingly dehumanizing. Like so many of these shows, House of Cards offers more of the same, but it uses a somewhat different narrative for a former sex worker and central character, Rachel Posner. Rachel experiences many moments of sudden empowerment that are just as quickly taken away. She is not entirely disempowered, often physically and emotionally resisting other characters and situations, but her humanization only lasts so long.  

The show follows Rachel for three full seasons, offering some hope to the viewer that her story would not end in her death, dehumanization, or any other number of sensational and tumultuous storylines. So, when she is murdered in the final episode of Season 3, viewers sensitive to her character’s role as a sex worker and invested in a new narrative for current and former sex worker characters on popular TV shows probably felt deeply let down. Her death inspired us to go back and analyze how her role in the series was both intensely invisible and visible.  

Early in the show, we learn that Rachel has information that could reveal murder and corrupt political strategizing orchestrated by the protagonist Frank Underwood.  She is the thread that weaves the entire series together. Despite this, most characters on the show do not value Rachel beyond worrying about how she could harm them. Other characters talk about her when she’s not present at all, often referring to her as “the prostitute” or “some hooker,” rather than by her name or anything else that describes who she is.

The show, too, devalues her. At the beginning of an episode, we watch Rachel making coffee one morning in her small apartment.  Yet, instead of watching her, we watch her body parts; the camera pans over her torso, her breasts in a lace bra, and then her legs before we finally see her entire body and face.  There is not one single scene even remotely like this for any other character on the show. Even the promotional material for Season 1 (pictured above) fails to include a photo of Rachel while including images of a number of other characters who were less central to the storyline and appeared in fewer episodes. Yet, whoever arranged the photoshoot didn’t think she was important enough to include.

Another major way that Rachel is marginalized in the context of the show is that she is not given many scenes or storylines that are about her—her private life, time spent with friends, or what’s important to her. This is in contrast to other characters with a similar status. For instance, the audience is made to feel sympathy for Gavin, a hacker, when an FBI agent threatens the life of his beloved guinea pig. In contrast, it is Rachel’s ninth episode before the audience sees her interact with a friend, and we never really learn what motivates her beyond fear and survival. In this sense, Rachel is almost entirely invisible in her own storyline. She only exists when people want something from her.

Rachel is also made invisible by the way she is represented or discussed in many scenes.  For instance, although she’s present, she has zero lines in her first couple scenes. After appearing (without lines) in Episodes 1 and 2, Rachel reappears in Episode 7, although she’s not really present; she re-emerges in the form of a handwritten note to Doug Stamper (Underwood’s indispensable assistant).  She writes: “I need more money.  And not in my mouth.” These are Rachel’s first two lines in the entire series; however, she’s not actually saying them, she’s asking for something and one of the lines draws attention to a sexualized body part and sexual act that she engaged in with Doug. Without judging the fact that she engaged in a sexual act with a client, what’s notable here is the fact that she isn’t given a voice or her own resources. She is constantly positioned in relation to other characters and often without the resources and ability to survive on her own.

This can clearly be seen in the way Rachel is easily pushed around by other characters in the show, who are able to force their will upon her. When viewers do finally see her in a friendship, one that blossoms into a romance, the meaning that Rachel gives the relationship is overshadowed by the reaction Doug Stamper has to it. Doug has more contact with Rachel than any other character on the show; in the beginning of the series, he acts as a sort of “protector” to Rachel, by finding her a safe place to stay, ensuring that she can work free from sexual harassment in her new job, and getting her an apartment of her own. However, all these actions highlight the fact that she does not have her own resources or connections to be able to function on her own, and they are used to manipulate her. Over Rachel’s growing objections, Doug is able to impose his wishes upon her fairly easily. The moment she is able to overpower him and escape, she disappears from the show for almost a whole season, only to reappear in the episode where she dies. In this episode, we finally see Rachel standing on her own two feet. It seems like a hard life, working lots of double shifts and living in a rundown boardinghouse, but we also see her enjoying herself with friends and building something new for herself. And yet, it is also in this episode where she has leveraged her competence into a new life that she also meets her demise. Unfortunately, after seeing this vision of Rachel on the road to empowerment, more than half of her scenes relate to her death, and in most of them she is begging Doug for her life, once again reduced to powerlessness. 

Every time we begin to see a new narrative for Rachel, one that allows her to begin a life that isn’t entirely tethered to Doug Stamper and her past, she is almost immediately drawn back into his web.  Ultimately, in this final episode, she can no longer grasp her new narrative and immediately loses hold of it.  In her final scenes, after kidnapping her, Doug temporarily lets her go.  She begins to walk in the opposite direction of his van before, only moments later, he flips the van around and heads back in her direction.  The next scene cuts suddenly to her lifeless body in a shallow grave.  The sudden shock of this scene is jarring, yet oddly expected, given how the show has treated Rachel’s character throughout the series.  It’s almost as if the show does not have any use for a sex worker character who can competently manage their own affairs.  Perhaps that idea didn’t even occur to the writers because of the place in our society in which sex workers are currently situated, perhaps it disrupts the fallen woman narrative, or perhaps for some reason, a death seems more “interesting” than a storyline where a sex worker has agency and takes an active role in shaping her own life and affecting those around her.  Whatever the reason, House of Cards ultimately fails Rachel and sex workers, in general.

Paige Connell is an undergraduate sociology student at Chico State University. Her areas of interest include intimate relationships, gender, and pop culture. 

Dr. Danielle Antoinette Hidalgo is an Assistant Professor in Sociology at California State University, Chico, specializing in theory, gender and sexuality, and embodiment studies.

(View original at https://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Stigmatization of dialects

Sep. 25th, 2017 03:03 pm
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Posted by Victor Mair

[This is a guest post by Krista Ryu]

I was reading the book, Language Change in East Asia, and one of the articles, "Dialects versus the Standard Language in Japan," talked about the standardization of Japanese and its consequence on the many "hougen” (方言) of Japan. I thought it was very interesting and related to what we talked about in class regarding the various Chinese languages (topolects).

While there was no real designated common language in Japan, the "variety based on the dialect of the upper-middle class inhabitants of Tokyo" was functioning as the de facto common language from approximately the 17th century (pg 7). Increased mobility of people with the lift of travel ban and abolition of shogunate domains, as well as the establishment of universal education in the late 1800s, allowed the spread of this common language across the country (pg 8). However, only after formal approval from the Japanese Ministry of Education in the early 1900s, an official standard form of Japanese, or "hyojungo” (標準語), was established.

What is interesting is how the creation of this "standard" form of language gives it a certain "halo," while it stigmatizes other local dialects. The author states:

Dialects were characterised as slovenly (kitanai, 汚い), bad , incorrect, and inferior. In extreme cases, sensitivity on the part of non-standard dialect speakers was manifested in severe linguistic insecurity, for which Shibata Takeshi coined the term hōgen konpurekkusu (dialect complex). People from the provinces who moved to Tokyo were mocked about the way they spoke, resulting in depression and even suicide. (pg 8)

This reminded me of how pyojuneo (표준어, 標準語) in Korean is also considered the "correct way" of speaking on many occasions, forcing speakers of other Korean dialects to change their way of speaking and be ashamed of having an accent. Many times, on TV shows like soap operas, characters that are supposed to be "crude" or "uncultured" will be using some sort of "bangeon" (방언, 方言).

However, the article also does say that recent trends show that people in Japan started seeing dialects as "warm," "authentic," and as part of a unique local culture that needs to be preserved. This is also the case in Korea in recent years. Young generations have started being more proud of using their local dialects. Such phenomena seem closely related to the one seen in China where popular culture using local language has gained favor among young people (e.g., rap music in nonstandard topolects).

 

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Posted by JenniferP

Dear Captain,

A few months ago, I met a cute new person and we clicked pretty well from the start. We both had another primary partner at the time and we often talked about those relationships as well as (of course) many other things. After a while, he and his primary broke up, and he was pretty devastated by it. I didn’t mind that he was a bit more “down” when we spent time together, and it seemed only natural to me that he talked about his break-up feelings sometimes. I still don’t mind those things.

Now here comes the difficult part: I feel like this relationship is getting more and more asymmetrical. I’m busy with a demanding job and an active social life (and I like it that way), and he has a lot of time on his hands. He has made it clear that he’d prefer to spend much more time together than we currently do (including weekend trips and the like), while from my perspective we’re close to “too much”. He is way ahead of me with things like “I love you” (WAY too early for me!). I feel like I have to be “on” at all times when we’re together, because he always seems worried that I’m not being enthusiastic enough and something must be wrong and don’t you like me anymore?

He’s had a bunch of personal issues come up lately, and he’s generally pretty unhappy right now. I find it really hard to find a balance between being kind to a person I like, and setting some “don’t make me responsible for your happiness!”-boundaries. I understand anxiety and sadness and insecurity, because I deal with plenty of that in my own life, but it feels like he’s subconsciously weaponizing these things to demand my time and attention. He often says things like:

  • “you’re the only good thing in my life right now”
  • “I feel like everyone is rejecting/leaving me lately”
  • “I’m not doing so well,
    Please view this post in your web browser to complete the quiz.
    , can I come by tonight? I need comfort”
  • “I’m dealing with so much shit that I can’t carry it on my own”
  • “You give me so much strength when we spend time together”

I really like this guy! We have a lot in common and we’ve had fun times together. I would love to see him once or twice a month for many moons to come, and for us to grow closer over time, but right now I feel like I’m under siege and I have to focus on setting boundaries and finding new ways to say “no” all the time and it’s starting to suck the joy out of what (I hope) could be a genuinely fun and rewarding relationship – through good times and bad.

Can I salvage this? How can I communicate with him in a way that does NOT say “I can’t handle people who have negative emotions ever”, but rather “it feels like you’re using your emotions against me and that’s not cool”?

Thank you!

You’re absolutely right to see a litany of “you’re the only good thing in my life” and “everyone else is rejecting me (so you won’t, won’t you?)” statements as being red flags of codependence. I’m not sure the end result of my advice is “fun new relationship is salvaged!” but I think you do have a good opening here to have an honest talk with him about getting help in handling hard life stuff and the reciprocity & seriousness of your relationship.

There are two separate conversations to be had here. I’m not sure in which order, so, use your judgment.

Conversation #1:

[Partner], I can see that you’re really suffering right now as you [grieve the loss of primary relationship][handle this recent raft of difficult life stuff]. I’m feeling overwhelmed by it all and I think it’s time to find some more support for this stuff. Maybe a trained sounding board – like a therapist or counselor – can help you process all of this.

There is a 99.99% chance he will feel insulted and hurt that you are fobbing him off on other people instead of investing deeply in his emotional well-being yourself. Get ready for some intenso responses involving “You are tired of me and you are going to reject me like everyone else” + 1,000 reasons that therapy/counseling is impossible/useless/too hard for him. This is because:

  • He is primed to feel rejected right now. Everything that isn’t “I love you come over right now and let me comfort you my dear boy” = rejection.
  • You are sending him to other people instead of wanting to deal with it yourself. (That’s okay! Just, acknowledge the truth of that so you don’t fall for the negging when it comes).
  • Mental health system is imperfect and it does take a lot of resources and energy to find a good fit and treatment that can work for you. It’s a hard thing to do when you’re feeling great, never mind when you’re feeling terrible. It’s okay to acknowledge the imperfections in the mental health system and also remind yourself that those difficulties don’t automatically make his emotional well-being your sole problem to deal with on demand in real time.

Follow-up script:

I know this sucks and that’s not what you wanted to hear. You’re right, I am telling you that you need to find other people besides me to lean on, and you’re right, the mental health system can be really difficult/annoying/expensive. But I am not comfortable or prepared to continue being your main sounding board about this stuff. I think your problems are real and serious and that taking them seriously might involve bringing in a trained listening person for a little while. Think of it as giving yourself the gift of a safe space to unload and process all of this that’s 100% focused on you, a little time in your week where you have permission to feel as sad and lost as you need to feel and get all the feelings out so you can start to heal and deal with them.

Get ready for a question like “So I guess I’m not allowed to talk about serious stuff or feelings with you anymore?” (It’s 99.99% coming)

Your script: “That’s not what I’m saying, but I am saying that I don’t want the time we spend together to be all about [Serious Feelings Stuff and Comfort]. I am asking you to find and take advantage of some alternate avenues for support and comfort, so things with us can be a little more balanced than they have been.

Chances are he will not like it. He likes his comfort to come with a side of romance/sexytimes and whyyyyy should he make an effort to find a therapist when he has youuuu? But you’re doing a kind thing by being honest about your limits and directing him toward something that actually has a chance of making him feel better.

Conversation #2 

Sometimes the answer to “I had a terrible day, can I come over and be comforted” is simply “Sorry, not tonight.” And then you put your phone away and focus on what you originally planned to do and he finds a way to self-soothe somehow. If he deals with that well, then maybe it can get better.

That doesn’t mean there is no big conversation to be had. He wants to say “I love you” and plan weekends away and remind you that you’re the only great thing in his life and it’s making you feel crowded and overwhelmed. Time to talk about that. Maybe time to also talk honestly about the way you do polyamory, like the fact that you have someone in your life that you consider to be a primary partner and that there is a hierarchy there maybe not of feelings but in terms of how you allocate time/vacation days/long-term relationship planning, etc. It seems like your relationship really worked when he had that in place too but now things have become unbalanced. This conversation might mean that y’all create something new together over time or it might mean that he and you find out that are unsuited to each other.

The thing where he wants you to be “on” and show that you are sufficiently enthusiastic seems to be the best entry point for this conversation, as in, the next time he makes you you feel that way it’s time to talk about what’s up: “Listen, I like you a lot, and I like you enough that I can make space for you to be sad and grieving right now but that also means that you make space for me being tired or having an off night or for not exactly mirroring your enthusiasm back to you. For example, we’ve only known each other a short time and I’m not ready for ‘I love you’ yet. I would love to get there someday but I need more time. When you say ‘I’m the only good thing in your life’ I know you mean it as a compliment but it feels like pressure. Also time we spend together is already about the maximum time I have to spend with you in a given week. Like of course it would be nice to spend ‘more time’ together, but I can’t do that without breaking other commitments that are pleasurable and important to me. I need you to understand that and focus on enjoying the time we do spend together.

Then, say the thing that’s the elephant in the room: “I feel like you want me to take the place of [Former Primary Partner] in your life, and that’s an okay thing for you to want on an emotional level, I get it, but it’s too much/not the right fit for me/not what I signed up for/making things unbalanced between us. I care about you a lot and I want to find a way to keep this going, so, how do we build something that is enjoyable and true and emotionally supportive without me feeling so pressured and you feeling so rejected?

He’s not going to like hearing this because it’s going to feed into the story he is telling himself about how everyone rejects him. Also there maybe is no balance between “Ideally we’d hang out once or twice a month, forever” and “LOVE ME!!!!!” But if you can’t talk honestly about this stuff and you keep feeling suffocated and overwhelmed, the thing is not going to work. “I’m at the limit of what I have to give you in terms of time and affection” isn’t what any romantic partner really wants to hear, but it’s important information if it’s the truth. The truth can hurt but it can also help us make good decisions about how to take care of ourselves. He may decide that what you have to offer is not enough for him. You may decide that what he wants is just not compatible with what you want and need. That would be painful, but I have to think that it’s better than letting him continue to build this fortress of need around you while you’re looking for the escape hatch.

Reminder for commenters: Spell out the whole word “polyamory” please.


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Biz and Theresa are funny, and share so honestly about the trials and triumphs of being parents - and I'm really honored to be the featured guest on their latest episode (#222), "Flexibility Hurts plus LGBTQ Literary Archivist Lee Wind"

Check it out - it's a really cool and pretty in-depth half-hour interview in a show that's about an hour and half long.  (The interview with me starts at 47:45.)

At the end of the interview, Biz says this, which is lovely...
"We also want to make sure everybody goes to the website, it's leewind.org, where they can find all the resources you've been talking about with us.  Guys, it's such a good site for finding these books for young adults and for kids, and we want to say thank you for choosing to put this together ten years ago. It's such a great source, and I think it's sorely needed." –Biz Ellis
Listen to the podcast episode here.

Thanks, Biz and Theresa!

Unicorn Slaw, 18p (VEGAN)

Sep. 25th, 2017 10:32 am
[syndicated profile] cookingonabootstrap_feed

Posted by Jack Monroe

This particular recipe doesn’t strictly fall within the ‘bootstrap’ range, owing to its use of ludicrously beautiful blue petals as a finishing touch, but if you’re willing to abandon them, then it’s a different – and simpler – prospect entirely. I try to keep the recipes on this blog to easily accessible ingredients for as many people as possible, but when I posted a photograph of this on Twitter and Instagram, I was inundated with requests for the recipe. Cornflower petals are admittedly a little specialist (once you’ve been cooking for a living for a few years, your shelves do acquire all sorts of oddments…) the more humble kitchen could replace them with chopped parsley or mint for a similar eye-popping colour contrast, without the hit to your wallets. Serves 4 as a side dish at 18p each – including the stupid and entirely unnecessary bright blue flowers A generous handful (100g) of cabbage, kale or spring greens, 14p+ (Sweetheart cabbage 70p/500g, Spring greens 85p/200g and kale £1.20/250g – take your pick!) 1 carrot, 5p (75p/1.5kg, Basics carrots) 1 onion, 9p (80p/1.5kg, Basics onions) 1 beetroot, fresh or pickled, 20p (Vac-packed 80p/250g, fresh £1.65/200g) 1 tbsp red or white wine vinegar, 3p (at a push, malt vin will do if you don’t keep the fancy stuff kicking about…), (£1.15/500ml, Sainsburys own) A few pinches of salt, <1p (40p/750g table salt) 1 tsp/4g sugar,<1p  (80p/1kg Fairtrade granulated white sugar) 4 tbsp […]
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Posted by Charlott

„Wer schweigt, stimmt zu! Gegen die Normalisierung des Hasses“. Anti-AfD Kundgebung vor deren Wahlparty in Berlin, 24.09.2017.

Mit 12,6% ist gestern die AfD als drittstärkste Partei in den Bundestag eingezogen. Daran lässt sich Nichts schön reden und nein, es ist nun wahrlich nicht die Zeit für aufbauende Memes, in denen es heißt, dass 87% der Wähler_innen nicht diese Nazipartei gewählt haben. Zum einen haben die übrigen Prozent nun auch nicht unbedingt für emanzipatorische, anti-rassistische Politik gestimmt (CDU/CSU 33,0; SPD 20,5; FDP 10,7; Linke 9,2; Grüne 8,9), zum anderen sind 12,6% genau 12,6% zu viel.

Eine vollständige Analyse der Wahl und politischen Gesamtsituation kann und möchte ich hier heute Vormittag gar nicht leisten (letzteres erschließt sich ja auch eigentlich durch die Gesamtheit der Beiträge hier im Blog, nicht erst seit gestern). Stattdessen gibt es hier – wie bereits vor vier Jahren – einige Gedankensplitter zur Wahl und dem gestrigen Abend.

  • Die Wahlbeteiligung lag etwa 5 Prozentpunkte höher als bei der letzten Bundestagswahl. Die Partei aber, die (im Verhältnis zu den Stimmen, die sie insgesamt erhielt) am meisten Nichtwähler_innen mobilisieren konnte, war die AfD. Ein Phänomen, wie es auch bereits bei den letzten Landtagswahlen zu beobachten war. Hohe/ Höhere Wahlbeteiligung an sich ist also – wie unüberraschend – kein Garant gegen Rechte. „Wenn mehr Leute wählen, hat die AfD weniger Prozent!“, stellt sich wie zuvor als falsch heraus. Der Umkehrschluss sollte natürlich nicht sein „Ja dann lieber alle nicht wählen gehen“, aber politische Diskussionen dürfen nicht bei „Geh wählen“ aufhören.
  • Bei all dem Gerede von einer Zäsur und Nazis im Bundestag, sollten wir unsere Blicke schärfen für Kontinuitäten. Mit der AfD ziehen nicht erstmals seit 1949 Nazis in den Bundestag. Bei Wikipedia gibt es eine handliche Übersichtstabelle mit ehemaligen NSDAP-Mitgliedern, die nach 1945 politisch aktiv waren – zum Beispiel bei der CDU/ CSU, SPD und FDP. Dass es aber eine gesamte Partei mit klar völkischem, rechten Programm in den Bundestag schafft, ist neu. Dies hat ganz spezifische Auswirkungen, denn nicht nur beeinflusst das den politischen Diskurs, auch gibt es ganz handfest Geld für Nazistrukturen und eine Fülle an Jobs für Rechte.
  • In den letzten Tagen war häufig zu lesen, dass die AfD nun die Masken fallen lassen würde. Dies war natürlich Hohn für all jene, die seit Gründung der Partei gegen diese anreden, denn versteckt haben sie sich nun wahrlich nicht. Nach der Bekanntgabe der ersten Prognose, knüpfte ADFler Gauland direkt und unverblümt an: „Wir werden sie jagen, Angela Merkel oder wen auch immer, und wir werden uns unser Land zurückholen.“
  • Gauland war (je nach dem welchen Sender man verfolgte) gleich die erste Stimme, die es nach der Bekanntgabe zu hören gab. Rechte Hetze auf dem besten Sendeplatz. Vor vier Jahren schrieb ich hier an dieser Stelle: „Das politische Klima ist eindeutig rechts-konservativ. Dass dabei im Fernsehen bei der Wahlberichterstattung vollkommen neutral über den möglichen Einzug der AfD gesprochen wird, spiegelt dies vielleicht auch einfach nur perfekt wieder.“ Die Normalisierung der AfD und ihrer Positionen hat auch unter Unterstützung vieler Medien (auch wenn diese bei der AfD-Anhängerschaft ja eher unbeliebt sind) stattgefunden. Unter dem Mantel der „Entzauberung“ wurde der AfD der rote Teppich zur Aufmerksamkeits-Bühne ausgerollt. Über „Themen, die die Bürger_innen bewegten“ wird so gesprochen, als seien diese naturgegeben und nicht auch mitbeeinflusst von medialer Berichterstattung und Themensetzung. Auch am gestrigen Abend wurden Politiker_innen vieler Parteien zunächst gefragt, ob sie nicht besser der AfD hätten ihre Themen abnehmen können. Eine Journalistin bei Phoenix sagte zur Linken: „Die AfD macht ihnen ja das Thema soziale Gerechtigkeit streitig.“ Gauland hingegen wurde gefragt, ob sie weiter mit dem „Stilmittel“ der „gezielten Provokation“ arbeiten werden.
  • Erkärungen zum Wahlerfolg der AfD wurden gestern auch gleich einige geliefert, doch Konzepte wie Rassismus, Antisemitismus, Hetero_Cis_Sexismus und Ableismus waren abwesend. Dies ist nicht zufällig so, müssten sich sonst doch auch strukturellere, gesamtgesellschaftliche Fragen gestellt werden und könnte die „Schuld“ nicht an einen „unzufriedenen“, rechten Rand geschoben werden, der äußerst wenig mit einer als nicht rassistischen, liberal wahrgenommenen „Mitte“ zu tun hat. Wenig überraschend, aber trotzdem nicht weniger erwähnenswert, dass die AfD in weitaus größerem Maße von Männern gewählt wurde. Das Gender-Gap ist bei keiner anderen in den Bundestag gewählten Partei so groß.
  • „Wir haben verstanden, dass wir die rechte Flanke schließen müssen“, kommentierte Alexander Dobrindt das CSU-Ergebnis. Menschen müssten schneller abgeschoben werden, hieß es ebenfalls. Das erinnert nicht nur daran, wie allgemein eh schon in der letzten Zeit agiert wurde, sondern auch ganz stark an die 1990er als die Antwort auf Gewalt gegen Geflüchtete die de facto Abschaffung des Asylrechts war. Ganz ohne AfD übrigens. Auch aus diesem Grund ist ein Feiern der 87% vollkommen unangebracht, denn menschenfeindliche Politik wird nicht nur von einer Partei allein gemacht. In Sachsen, wo seit langem vor allem von der CDU der rechte Flügel weit offen gehalten wird um „besorgte Büger_innen“ abzuholen, ist die AfD nun die mit 27% die stärkste Partei. In Bayern, wo die CSU gern über „Obergrenzen“ spricht und auch sonst nicht zurück hält mit rassistisch-motivierten Politiken ist die AfD so stark wie in keinem anderen anderen alten Bundesland. Eigentlich wäre nun mal Zeit den Ängsten jener zuzuhören, die geflüchtet sind, die Rassismus und Antisemitismus erfahren, die durch Behindertenfeindlichkeit eingeschränkt werden, deren reproduktive Rechte beschnitten werden, die mit Hartz4 leben müssen, deren körperliche Selbstbestimmung verletzt wird.
  • Richtig feiern konnte gestern die FDP. „Ab jetzt gibt es wieder eine Fraktion der Freiheit“, jubelte Lindner, so als wäre nicht gerade eine rechte Partei mit zweistelliger Prozentzahl in den Bundestag eingezogen. Aber gut, stilecht fand die Wahlparty ja auch in der Parteizentrale, die nach einem ehemaligen NSDAP-Mitglied benannt ist. #Kontinuitäten
  • Die SPD hat gestern direkt angekündigt, dass sie in die Opposition gehen wird. Damit wäre sie die stärkste Partei in der Opposition und die Oppositionsführung läge nicht etwa bei der AfD. In seiner ersten Rede nach der Hochrechnung bezeichnete Schulz die AfD konkret als rechtsextreme Partei, der sich mit aller Kraft entgegengesetzt werden muss. Hoffen wir, dass davon viel in der Praxis ab heute zu sehen sein wird.
  • Gegen den AfD-Wahlerfolg und das gesamte politische Klima gingen gestern direkt – in verschiedenen Städten – Menschen auf die Straße, ob mit Demozügen oder Protestveranstaltungen direkt vor den AfD-Wahlpartys. Dieser sichtbare Widerstand war gestern wichtig (war immer wichtig) und wird in Zukunft wichtig bleiben. Die Reaktionen auf die Proteste aber erinnerten auch direkt daran, dass wir es mit einer rechts-konservativen Gesamtlange zu tun haben und nicht unerklärlichen Ausreißern. Oftmals wird linker Protest als zu laut, zu falsch, zu gewaltvoll (?), zu radikal wahrgenommen, eingordnet, dargestellt. Linker Aktivismus wird immer wieder illegalisiert (zuletzt fallen da G20 und linksunten ein. Menschen, die sich gern als „gute Mitte“ inszenieren und rein gar nichts mit rechten Gedankengut zu tun haben wollen, sind sehr schnell dabei sich von Linken ebenfalls zu distanzieren. „Es gibt kein Recht auf Nazi-Propaganda.“, skandierten gestern die Demonstrand_innen in Berlin und das sollte doch der mindeste Mindestkonsens sein.

Die Kommentare hier sind offen für eure ersten Analysen, Ängste und Ideen zum Widerstand.

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Caustic Reflections and More

Sep. 25th, 2017 03:01 am
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Bridge - Gail 1 (1)

Photographer: Gail Garner 

Summary Authors: Dave LynchGail Garner 

The photo above shows several interesting reflections. It was taken at the Cass Street Bridge on the Boardman River in Traverse City, Michigan. The brownish light reflected from the water in the middle foreground is actually a third order reflection, which in general is not unusual but also not commonly recognized by observers. Sunlight reflects off the water in part of the scene that we cannot see and on to the underside of the bridge (first order reflection). This reflection produces caustics that can be seen as bright areas on the underside of the bridge. This light then reflects (second order reflection) off the underside of the bridge and onto the water below. After reflecting off the shaded water’s surface (third order reflection), the dark brown colored surface, it reaches the observer’s eye, or in this case the camera. That the Sun is low in the sky is evident from several aspects of the landscape illumination.

The bright brownish color on the underside of the bridge is probably that color for two reasons: (1) the Sun is low in the sky and probably somewhat yellowish (the spectra for yellow and bright brown or for brown and dark yellow is basically the same); (2) the river here is shallow so sunlight penetrates the water, reflects off the brown sediment in the riverbed, then reemerges and illuminates the underside of the bridge. Photo taken at 9:45 a.m. August 21, 2017. 

Photo Details: Camera Maker: Apple; Camera Model: iPhone SE; Lens: iPhone SE back camera 4.15mm f/2.2; Focal Length: 4.15mm (35mm equivalent: 49mm); Digital Zoom: 1.669x; Aperture: ƒ/2.2; Exposure Time: 0.0071 s (1/140); ISO equiv: 25; Software: Adobe Photoshop CC 2017 (Windows). 

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Posted by Hannah

I was embarrassingly excited about caramel week from the moment I heard of its existence. ‘Now that’, I thought, ‘is going to be a fun bake off bake along week’. I mean, who doesn’t love caramel? People who are wrong, that’s who.

Stroopwafels are one of my favourite things ever… but I don’t have a waffle iron. I was very torn. There was a serious moment when I considered buying one (I got to the ‘looking up prices on Amazon’ stage), but it seems a bit too insane and profligate to buy an expensive bit of kit just for the sake of making one bake off bake along technical challenge. Even on caramel week.

Realistically I would never use it again, and in my teeny tiny kitchen every single bit of kit has to be there for a good reason. It’s a bit rubbish, actually, for them to set a technical challenge that requires an obscure bit of equipment, so people at home generally can’t join in. Also, considering that every single person messed up the stroopwafel caramel, I reckon they were either given insufficient instructions or insufficient time. I mean, if half of them messed it up then fine – but all of them?

DSC_0004-2-1024x683

So, down to a choice of two things. I absolutely love a millionaire’s shortbread, but since I have done the signature challenge every single week for the bake off bake along so far, I thought this was perhaps my one chance to give a showstopper a go. You know, when it wasn’t something insane, like a biscuit board game or a bread sculpture. A caramel cake seems pretty reasonable. I make stupid huge cakes fairly often.

It felt like cursing myself to think this, but I have never been particularly scared by the concept of making caramel. One of the things I bake most often is salted caramel brownies, so I make caramel for those all the time. And it hasn’t gone wrong yet. Cue targeted lightning strike from the heavens directed at my kitchen and everything blowing up.

DSC_0048-2-700x1024

It was actually fine. But I did cheat slightly in that I didn’t use a spun sugar decoration. I’ve done spun sugar at culinary school, and I love playing with it, but… well, to be honest, it’s an absolute and total pain cleaning up little bits of spun sugar when they are scattered and hardened all over your kitchen, and now that I’m working full time I have to cram these bake along sessions into sneaky little grabbed hours.

So here we have it: a chocolate brownie and pistachio cake, sandwiched with a salted caramel layer and a pistachio buttercream, decorated with raspberries, homemade honeycomb, and pistachio caramel shards. It’s not the prettiest thing ever. It’s fairly messy, and I was rushing. But it was tasty. And it has caramel, chocolate, and pistachio. And those are three of my favourite things.

DSC_0055-1024x683

So where’s the recipe?

This might be a bit of a cop out, but I’m not sharing the recipe, because it would be incredibly long and complicated. Two different types of cake, salted caramel, pistachio buttercream, honeycomb, pistachio shards… I am assuming no one is going to be casually making this! Do let me know in the comments if you’re particularly after the recipe for any of the elements of the cake and I will happily provide it.

Another week, another bake off bake along done, and enough caramel made to use up all the white sugar in my baking cupboard. And there was a really serious amount of sugar in my baking cupboard.

The story so far: bake along one, two, and three

The post The Bake Off Bake Along: Chocolate & Pistachio Caramel Cake appeared first on A Bond Girl's Food Diary.

When taking a stand involves sitting

Sep. 25th, 2017 04:51 am
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Jason Eisner

The most pervasive metaphor in English may be the use of "higher" to mean "better" (e.g., stronger or more moral), which has spawned endless figures of speech.  It's hard to avoid those metaphorical phrases, although that might be wise in situations in which "higher" also has a relevant physical meaning.  The New York Times on Saturday ran the following headline:

(1) As Trump Takes On Athletes, Watch Them Rise

Indeed, these athletes may be rising metaphorically as a political force.  But they're refusing to rise physically for the singing of the U.S. national anthem.  On the same day, the New York Times wrote (in this article, though it has now been edited away):

(2) Some people urged more players to kneel or sit during the anthem at football stadiums on Sunday as a way to reinforce their First Amendment rights. Others urged more white players to stand with black players who have knelt or sat during the anthem.

How confusing!  White players are urged to stand metaphorically with their black teammates … by physically kneeling or sitting with them, or by speaking out afterwards.

But how do we readers know that "stand with" in (2) is metaphorical?  Why couldn't the second sentence be about white players standing physically?

In fact, it's tempting to interpret (2) physically — "some people" encouraging kneeling while "others" are encouraging standing.  There are indeed Americans urging both actions.  But it's an implausible interpretation because of little clues like "more" and "with":

  • It happens that nearly all white players have continued to stand during the anthem.  So it would be strange to urge "more" of them to stand, rather than urging "the rest" to stand or asking "the few sitters" to "resume standing."
  • Physically standing "with" someone presumably means that you stand at the same time as them, or that you walk over and stand next to them.  Neither is likely here, since there seems to be no opportunity to carry out either move as a political gesture.  (At the relevant time, these black players presumably aren't planning to stand at all, and the white players are presumably already next to them.)

Thus, it's unlikely that the "others" are urging white players to physically stand by their kneeling or sitting teammates.   (If the white players did so, then they wouldn't be metaphorically "standing by" their teammates.  At best, they'd just be "standing by" as the controversy unfolded … a.k.a. sitting it out.)

One more, from Yahoo Sports (h/t Ben Zimmer):

(3) NFL shows it won't sink to president's level

The "sinking" is again metaphorical.  This time, the headline happens to be literally true as well: the president is presumably sitting as part of the TV audience, and the National Football League players are standing, not sinking physically to his level.  Yet again, no one who knows the context could think that the headline literally means "NFL shows it won't sit or kneel."  Why?

  • "Sink to the president's level" is too roundabout a way to say "sit or kneel."
  • "NFL shows it won't sit or kneel" isn't true: sitting and kneeling during the anthem are on the increase in the NFL.
  • "These NFLers show they won't sit or kneel" still wouldn't be plausible as a choice for this headline.  While the photo does show that they have decided not to go as far as kneeling, the newsworthy bit is that they are nonetheless protesting and their team's owner has joined them.

Getting computers to attend to all these factors, as we humans seem to, is why passing the Turing test will be hard.

Question for LL readers: What's a clever name for a metaphorical phrase whose literal interpretation is at odds with the facts?  (A "mixed metaphor" is a pair of metaphorical phrases whose literal interpretations are at odds with each other.)

Thrupenny PBJ cookies, 3p (VEGAN)

Sep. 25th, 2017 12:23 am
[syndicated profile] cookingonabootstrap_feed

Posted by Jack Monroe

This afternoon one of my readers got in touch via Twitter to ask me how to make these cookies vegan, for a friend. This is one of my favourite recipes for a rainy-day activity with my small boy, and as the weather draws in around us and we will be looking for more baking days than beach days, it seemed […]

"Sons of a bitches"

Sep. 24th, 2017 10:18 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

In his 9/22/2017 rally speech in Huntsville, Alabama, Donald Trump said

Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners
when somebody disrespects our flag
to say get that son of a bitch off the field right now —
out, he's fired.
Fired!

This posed a question for people who wanted to speak up in support of the football players he was threatening: What's the plural of "son of a bitch"?

I always thought it was "sons of bitches", but a surprising number of people decided on "sons of a bitches" instead. (See "Plurals", 9/22/2013, for some additional context.)

 

 

Tw*tbreads, 4p

Sep. 24th, 2017 08:10 pm
[syndicated profile] cookingonabootstrap_feed

Posted by Jack Monroe

I joke that ninety-seven percent of the spontaneous conversations that my friends start with me – especially mid afternoon or early in the evening – are panicked cookery conundrums, photographs of burned pans, musings about what to have for dinner based on photographs of their kitchen cupboards, or emergency cake queries. This afternoon was no exception.  It started off innocently […]

Ow. My heart.

Sep. 24th, 2017 06:50 pm
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Posted by thebloggess

Today is Hailey’s birthday.  She’s now officially a teenager, which seems wrong because this was her yesterday: Or maybe it was seven years ago. Feels like yesterday. Except yesterday she was still a pre-teen and two days ago I tucked … Continue reading
[syndicated profile] cookingonabootstrap_feed

Posted by Jack Monroe

This beautiful recipe was born of a Sunday morning trying to impress my still-quite-new but comfortingly familiar paramour, that settling in period where weekend pancakes with the newspapers have become a routine, but I still want to pull the proverbial rabbit (!) out of the hat every now and then. She had never had banana bread – never – and […]

Politically adorable

Sep. 24th, 2017 01:09 pm
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Mark Liberman

I wondered when this would happen. Jack Shafer, "Week 18: The Further Perils of Paul Manafort", Politico (Swamp Diary) 9/23/2017 [emphasis added]:

Flynn has hired seven attorneys, and his family has established a legal defense fund for him, stipulating that donations from foreign governments or the Trump campaign or business won't be accepted. Isn’t it adorable that Flynn, who worked for a United Nations klatch of clients now insists on a legal defense entirely made in America?

In current public discourse, adorable is mostly what young children and small fluffy animals are, with the range of reference occasionally expanded to include young women, courting couples, or old people being childish. A small sample of today's adorable headlines: "Feel the full range of emotions with this adorable baby Orioles fan";  "ADORABLE: Baby calf and baby human make friends during photo shoot"; "Kelly Clarkson's Adorable Kids Come Visit Her on Set of 'Love So Soft' Music Video"; "Phoenix Zoo welcomes adorable baby giraffe"; "Marcel The Adorable Therapy Dog Brings Joy To People With Dementia"; "Inside Mandy Moore's Adorable Engagement Party With Her Besties"; "You Will Never Guess Prince Philip’s Adorable Pet Name for Queen Elizabeth"; …

But adorable entered socio-political discourse about a month ago, as a sarcastic insult meant to suggest that ordinary people are small, childish, and unworthy of attention other than as a source of amusement.

Louise Linton, the wife of the U.S. treasury secretary, had instagrammed a picture of herself returning by government jet from a quick trip to Fort Knox to look at piles of gold (yes, really), hashtagging elements of her expensive wardrobe — "#roulandmouret pants #tomford sunnies, #hermesscarf  #valentionrockstudheels #valentino".

In response, Jenni Miller, described by the NYT as "a mother of three from Portland, Ore", commented "Glad we could pay for your little getaway #deplorable", where deplorable is an echo of Hillary Clinton's "basket of deplorables" comment.

Linton seems to have been stung, because she responded at considerable length:

She uses forms of adorable twice:

Aw!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! Adorable! […]
You're adorably out of touch. […]

The meaning in context is clearly sarcastic — Ms. Miller is framed as one of those little people who are so far beneath Linton that she can view their criticism as amusingly cute, like a mischievous puppy chewing on one of her designer sandals.

Presumably Linton's adorable was primed, consciously or not, by Miller's deplorable. But I wondered at the time whether the word, as well as the attitudes it so effectively expresses, might be common in Linton's social circles.  Unfortunately for my curiosity, this word choice clearly communicated more about Linton than it did about Miller, and so given the wave of negative reactions, we're unlikely to see more examples from others like her.

Still, this way of expressing disdain is too effective to be abandoned, and so I've been expecting to see it picked up by others in contexts that are safely distant from Linton's "let them eat cake" effusion.

Michael Flynn is a perfect target, from that point of view — he's not poor, ordinary, small, fuzzy, young, female, elderly, or visually cute. But by suggesting that Flynn's defense-fund appeal is "adorable", Shafer manages to suggest that Flynn is now a powerless and even pitiable player trying in kittenish ways to escape the much larger and stronger forces threatening him.

 

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kaberett: Overlaid Mars & Venus symbols, with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
kaberett

September 2017

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