meirwen_1988: (anger)
it ain't about LOVE.

The state has no business talking about love. They're bad at it, and need to stay the hell away from it, and so does everybody else.

It's about the state interfering in the ability to MAKE CONTRACTS between two adults so that the property, debts, and entitlements which accrue to the individual follow a stipulated path (currently defined by state and federal laws regarding obligations of and to spouses). My social security would go to support a man I married, whether I loved him or not, whether I had sex with him or not, whether I lived in the same house with him or not. But if I die unmarried, it goes to no one, even if I had lived with, supported, and loved someone, male or female. So, the state doesn't CARE about love, and people need to stop using that as the argument, compelling reason, etc.

It's about inequity in the ability to make contracts. And it's wrong. And it needs to get fixed.

But it isn't about love. The state doesn't give a f*ck about love.


Mar. 6th, 2013 12:47 pm
meirwen_1988: (table tag)
Some day I will write that long post about how it seems that the left assumes that anyone who is very conservative is selfish, greedy, cruel, and unable to feel charity, empathy, or compassion and that the right assumes that everyone on the left is either rich and naive about the cruel realities of the world or poor, lazy, and looking for a government handout. And the post will talk about how that is not my experience with either end of the political spectrum.

But today is not that day.


Jan. 22nd, 2013 07:57 pm
meirwen_1988: (Default)
Why are people who are for the reasonable regulation of firearms widely characterized as "anti-gun" but those who believe in the reasonable regulation of intercourse (i.e., against child porn, for statutory rape laws, in favor of restricting to appropriate/non-public venues, etc.) not considered "anti-sex"? Or people who believe in licensing, insuring, and inspecting automobiles not considered "anti-car." There are people who are anti-gun, but I'm not persuaded the people described above meet the qualifications.

When did proposing and signing unpopular laws become "impeachable" offenses. Recall petitions I understand--but impeachment? In the words of Inigo Montoya, "I do not think that means what you think it means."

I really think someone needs to put a sock in the mouth of the gamin-faced George Stephanopoulos. He may have been the model for Sam Seaborn on The West Wing, but Lowe's character Nick Andros in The Stand consistently had more cogent and worthwhile things to say in the eight hours of the mini-series than Stephanopoulos has had to say in his entire 13 year tenure as a media personality.

And, while I'm not generally a Roger Federer fan, his Mercedes Benz commercial is "da bomb."

Okay--time for a dose of Bourdaine and Lawson. Cheerio!
meirwen_1988: (Queen)
One of my friends on Facebook (a friend long before there was a Facebook) has been going off on people, ungracious, and sometimes downright mean. I know her life sucks right now (hubby working far away all week long, menopause, economy is trashing her business), but I might just have to hide her until she stops being...irrational.

Saw The Hobbit in the 48fps 3D version today. Very mixed ideas about it. I think I want to see one of the 24fps versions before I pronounce judgment on the technology. And I want to re-read the book up to the point the movie ends before I pronounce judgment on the script or direction. Two points I will make now though, are the "Riddle Scene" was brilliant, and Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield was a revelation. I will never look at dwarves in Tolkein the same way again, and I mean that in all good ways. I was very nervous about his casting, but in this Jackson was right, and I was wrong. I can't say I feel that way about all of it, but in Thorin's case, I do.
meirwen_1988: (Queen)
Some folks read my LiveJournal who are not on my Friends list, and this will, unfortunately, affect you.

Lately I've been getting a lot of spam in comments, so I'm going to reset the comment default to disable comments by people not on my friends list. I apologize to those of you who either do not have LJ accounts or who, in order to keep my reading list manageable, I haven't friended here. This is really in response to the actions of commercial spambots, not any comments made by people about the actual content of posts.

meirwen_1988: (Queen Casket)

Or, perhaps more appropriately, commiserations. I applaud the spirit of public service which has led you to this position, and I thank you for doing the always taxing, frequently thankless job of being part of the government of this township, county, state, or country. I hope, when you leave public service, that you can look back on it with proud memories of time well-spent, with good work done.

That said, I ask you to never mistake victory for mandate. Frankly, unless you won with more than 60 percent of the popular vote you need to be sensitive that you were elected by a bare majority. In a country this diverse, and one that has laws specifically designed to protect the minority "from the tyranny of the majority," that means you need to move carefully, and incrementally in all things, because any dramatic moves will, in fact, likely alienate nearly half of those you serve. And your job is to serve all the people, not just the ones who selected your name on their ballot. Every national administration in the last twenty years has made a hash of the job because they have mistaken an electoral college victory or a 2% margin in the popular vote for a mandate to shove their agendas down the throat of the people. So far those of you in more local offices have avoided this hubris (for which I am very grateful), and I ask those of you in wider offices to take a note from your more local counterparts.

So, again, my sincere congratulations. I'll see you in two, four, or six years for a performance review.

Rosemary E. Mink
Registered voter since 1975

*I have been assiduously avoiding following the returns tonight. I'll find out tomorrow--finding out tonight vs. then won't actually change a thing in my life, and why should I let myself be annoyed by the histrionics on FB (pro or con, win or lose) or the faux gravitas of the news pundits?
meirwen_1988: (bitter)
I'm sorry, either you believe a woman has a right to terminate a pregnancy, or you don't.
If you don't, discussion is over. How she got pregnant is irrelevant.

If you believe she does, then you may still have limits. Perhaps she can exercise choice until a certain stage in fetal development. That seems reasonable. But if you say a woman has a right to choose, then the reasons that inform her choice are irrelevant.

You can't be "a little" right to life, any more than you can be "a little pregnant." You are, or you aren't.

Anything else is hypocrisy.

-rant over-


Aug. 7th, 2012 09:01 pm
meirwen_1988: (Default)
RE: attack on Sikh temple

"We cannot tolerate this hatred."

Umm. No. We cannot tolerate this behavior. Big difference.

More later.


May. 29th, 2012 06:29 pm
meirwen_1988: (Gibbs-smack)
Either our elected representatives should enact the "will of the people" or they should be expected to exercise their own judgement on our behalf. If you castigate them on Monday for the first, then bemoan on Tuesday when they've done the second, I call "hypocrite." Instead, though you claim a principled stand about the nature and purposes of government, I have noticed your opprobrium all depends on whether the "will of the people" or "their own judgment" coincides with your own. That only leaves labels my mother told me to never apply to people because those are bad words.

Apparently there are two kinds of stupid that can enjoy a measure of success. The first follows all the rules of a writing task, doing it correctly, but having the judgement and insight of a tomato bug. If it's a writing class I suppose it doesn't matter. The rest of the time, it does. Yes, political speech writers--I'm looking at you. The second shows insight and an ability to think clearly, but puts as much effort into the writing of the communication as a tomato bug. That measure of success only applies in the artificial confines of academia. The rest of the time people will just sort of shake their heads and move on. Sort of like when you showed up for the interview in a holey rock concert T-shirt, sweatpants, and flip-flops.

Junior faculty coming to me for advice is...disturbing.

Really--I wonder how big that hail was before it melted.

meirwen_1988: (Gibbs-smack)
So, last night, on the way home, too fried to care, I noticed that the gas gauge would soon be lit up by the oh-so-helpful little gas-pump-shaped light. But, I thought, if I have to I'll get fuel in the morning. I might even have enough to get to work and I can do it after.

Came home, graded late, which meant I didn't wind down until after midnight. Awake at usual 5:30ish. Came down groggy. Duchezz was running late. Chaos ensued.

Duchezz put a check on the table for me to deposit at bank this afternoon, which, miracle of miracles, I saw. I put it in my wallet (now if I could only find the reimbursement check I got from Elwyn this weekend. Alas-no.), grabbed my tea and went upstairs.

Got dressed, headed to work. Checked the temperature and forecast and saw I could wear a lighter coat today, so put yesterday's back on the rack and grabbed a jacket. Out the door before 8 (which is good since there were papers I wanted to grade to hand back at 9:30). Actually made it to Utica without the helpful little light coming on. So, as I made the turn off Valley View I reached into my purse to grab my wallet so I could get out the ID card that lets me into the parking lot.

No. Wallet.

And a quiet, all-consuming panic set in. Not because I couldn't park--it was early enough I was able to find a spot in the unassigned lot. No--it's because...TA DA!!! I'm on empty and have. no. money. See, my cash was in the pocket...of the coat I wore yesterday.

And my debit card is in the wallet (which I finally calmed down enough to realize must be on the dining room table).

And my ID is in my wallet--so I can't even go to the bank and make a withdrawal at the counter. Not to mention driving without my license.

So, the first thing I do when I get to campus, instead of grading the papers, is rifle my desk for spare change. I tend to drop it in a cup in my drawer those few times I buy coffee. Thank G-d! You know, if you do that for a few years in a row, the change adds up--$7 worth in fact. Which was enough for a gallon and a half of gas, enough to get me home.

Where my beautiful wallet was, right on the dining room table, under the morning paper that I'd carelessly put on top of it while I ate my breakfast this AM.

Yes, this was just the stress I needed on top of the other. Not to mention last week of classes.

So, I'm going to drink a cuppa, pet the kitties and puppies, and then...head back to Utica for my afternoon appointments. I think tonight there will be less grading and more wine.
meirwen_1988: (Duchess)
For years I've griped about the documentation required for A&S competitions. With the exception of major competitions like Northern Lights, Ice Dragon, and Kingdom Champions, I think we often set the bar far too high (thus discouraging entrants), and when it isn't set there, it is too low/absent (leaving the judges and populace with little or no information).

The Shire of Coppertree's event this weekend has an A&S competition, which I was asked to coordinate. So I came up with a form I think addresses most of my concerns.

The form gets torn in half, and the side with the entrant's name gets kept for tallying the votes and announcing the winner/s, and the other half goes with the entry.

I'm not convinced there will be any entries, but if there are we'll see how it works out. This is me, putting my money where my mouth is.
meirwen_1988: (Default)
Someday I will write about these last few days. About cars and pooling. About hemorrhages of cash. About sounds and grindings when LEAVING the place of repair. About Peter and Paul and the robbing and paying thereof.

About Dan and Wendy.

About my 40 year old office mate (active, father of 3, all under 13) who one week ago today had a heart attack, and 6 days ago had quintuple by-pass surgery.

But let it suffice that when Duchezz came home today she said "Hello Adventure Woman. Do I want to know how you bleached your red Forester into a white and grey Outback?" And that tomorrow, in theory, will see "The Return of the Forester."

Most of all, let it suffice that because it is Brighid, I made mac and cheese from scratch, using all the fat and cheddar cheesy goodness. And that tomorrow, because it is Candlemas, I will light a new candle.

meirwen_1988: (writing)
Recently, in another forum, a woman I used to babysit for was ranting about the fact that "they're no longer teaching cursive in schools." Hmmm.

Ah. Handwriting. When I was growing up, the handwriting in my house was a joy to behold. Daddy went through a spell of being very sick when he was at the age when students were learning cursive. He was stuck in bed for several months, and to make the time pass (this was the 1920's, and even radio wasn't omnipresent), he practiced his penmanship. He developed this wonderful hand, that was pointy, and angular, and...gorgeous. One of my most treasured possessions is four lines of verse he wrote for me, in his own hand.

Momma, on the other hand, was a product of Palmer Method. Moreover, as she was naturally left-hand dominant (back in the 30's, when teachers routinely smashed the hands of students using their left hands for pretty much anything), learning Palmer method with her non-dominant hand was a trial--one, like so many, she assailed, crushed, and danced on in triumph. Her hand was gorgeous--round, flowing. Even when the schleroderma and arthritis made writing a trial, her hand was beautiful and legible.

It is no wonder, then, that as a child and teenager I wanted my penmanship to be beautiful but distinctive. I took a bit from Daddy, a lot from Momma, and put my own spin on it. Writing hurts these days, but when I take the time, even now, people look at my handwriting and say "Your handwriting is beautiful," and for a moment it feels like Momma has her hand on one shoulder and Daddy the other, squeezing with pride.

With all of that, it may come as a surprise that when Lisa ranted about the lack of cursive instruction in the classroom my response can best be summed up by the phrase "So what?"

Perhaps my problem comes from knowing too much about the history of writing. Our cursive manuscript today is derived primarily from Carolingian Miniscule. Carolingian Miniscule was a hand developed for governing purposes to speed up the time it took to make multiple copies of documents from the Emperor Charlemagne to distribute to vassals and government officials (he who also thought that teaching people to read was a good thing). The calligraphy used before CM was labor intensive and took a significant amount of time, but the connected nature of the letters in CM, which meant fewer lifts of the pen from the vellum or parchment, increased the copier's speed.

Most cursive hands since (excepting extremely ornamented hands like Spencerian and others of that sort) have been devised mostly for legibility and speed of transcription. When the bulk of writing is done by hand, it is essential to make that writing readable and quickly produced.

However, it has been a long time since government and business relied primarily on handwritten documents. And for at least the last twenty years even those documents with sections to be filled in by hand have had,in teeny tiny letters, "Block letters only," or, in more polite circles, "Block letters please." A few years ago the U.S. Postal Service even sent out a communique informing the public that envelopes and packages addressed with cursive script were not guaranteed delivery. Hell--they don't even want you to use upper and lower case!

In academia, at every level, more and more "writing" is done in an electronic environment, with a keyboard, even for in-class and standardized tests. And when scribing is done, block letters work perfectly well (and when done with an electronic stylus and pad, block works even better).

Cursive script, as it existed for those of us who were schooled before the 1980's, is not the same as it is now. It does not serve the same utility, and it was for that utility--legible, quickly written documents--that it occupied time in the classroom. Given the amount of material an elementary teacher has to get through, given the time it takes to teach students cursive, if they have no need for it (and, let's face it, they really don't), then teaching it in school becomes uselessly quaint. Cursive script is now most appropriate for calligraphic purposes, and that is how it should be taught. In art class.

However, if they start getting rid of the teaching of writing altogether, I'll have a problem, because that will be throwing the baby away with the bathwater.

I look forward with no more joy than the next person to attics empty of letters written in beautiful cursive hands, where you can tell Grandma's letters from Aunt Josie's without even reading the names, but those days are gone. And holding onto the relic that is the cursive hand will not change that.
meirwen_1988: (Default)
So, in another forum a friend is complaining about a "Who's Your Candidate" quiz on the ABC site. The poster, and many of the commentors, are offended by the available responses to the questions, with particular horror at the biases in the options.

Sigh. The quiz puts forth very straightforwardly that your responses will indicate, based on your selections, which of the known candidates is the best match for you. If you read the responses it quickly becomes clear that the possible responses are either quotes or extremely close paraphrases of either statements by POTUS, the Administration's spokesmen, or the candidates.

I don't understand the ire. These are the current candidate options. It is likely that no one will find the options nuanced enough (unless they've swallowed whole a specific candidate's platform), but the reality is, these are the options. I guess I'm missing something.

And, for what it's worth, the ranking they gave for my top three candidates matched my own estimation. The results page did not, however, indicate that in all three cases if I voted for him I'd be holding my nose.
meirwen_1988: (writing)
I'd really like a "build the nominee" kit. I want to take parts of Obama, Gingrich, Paul, and Romney and build a strong, humane candidate who understands both how government and the private sector function.

While I'm at it, I'll build a senator or ten, using Scott Brown (the most recent senator from Massachusetts), Ted Kennedy, Orrin Hatch (no, really), and Lyndon Johnson (no, really) for basic building blocks.

The Representatives to Congress are supposed to basically dance as the electorate commands (unlike the Chief Executive, and the Senators, whose offices were designed to have the ability to exercise insight and the long view), so I'll not do anything there. In the case of the House, people get the representation they deserve, either because they voted for an idiot or because they couldn't be bothered to vote at all.

Yeah, I'll get right on that. Assuming I finish my Tardis in time.
meirwen_1988: (Queen)
 Dear Lindsey L: I have a solution to your problems. Go to jail. For a couple of years. Hey, it worked wonders for Robert Downey, Jr.

Dear Occupiers: Camping out has only just so much utility. Screaming "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it any more!" has extremely limited functionality. Kindly get an action plan together that has a shot in hell of doing more than expressing your "rage against the machine," or go home and stop littering the parks. KK, Meirwen

Dear Jackie Chan: Shilling for McDonald's? Really? REALLY? *sigh*

Dear Republican Flavor-of-the-week: Winning the Republican Primary may be possible by appealing to the extreme edges of the party, but winning the national election requires offering something for the vast part of the American population that resides in the Center. I encourage you to keep on with the histrionic rhetoric and half-baked positions. Even 4 years of Obama or Romney looks good in comparison to you.

Dear Electorate: Remind them that you are all part of the constituency, not just the interest groups currently acting like the tail wagging the dog. And tell them what you want. Rationally. With some degree of thought about the consequences of what you're asking for. If you ask for idiocy, that's what you'll get. Oh, wait. You did, and that's what we have. You get what you ask for, I guess.

Dear Self: Stop with the helium hand. Now. *Ooops* Too late.

meirwen_1988: (Duchess)
This week has been a strange one. There has been vehicle drama (sing with me now "Dead car in the middle of the road/Dead car in the middle of the road..."), followed by less than successful rescue/salvage attempts, mechanic magic, and the final pronouncement "it could die on you in two days or go five's a crapshoot." Then there was the nice collection man at the door today for one of the household bills NOT my responsibility (I do food, oil, car insurance on all three vehicles, cell phones, and the satellite TV). Since I like to bathe, and electricity is necessary to run the pump...

And then there's the packing for the yearly exercise in living in misery in order to "have fun," using some definition of "fun." There is one thing I really like to do there, now that watching the battles and tournaments is basically an exercise in enduring insult in order to experience misery, with very brief moments of actually seeing fighting. What I really enjoy is singing in the Pennsic Choir. But I haven't been able to do that lately because I haven't been able to be there for the concert dates, let alone rehearse enough. Classes can be fun, but lately the heat and humidity have really wiped me out to the point that the last thing I want to do is be trapped in a hot, humid tent, whose walls have clearly been mildewed (hello asthma!), with 20-40 other hot, sweaty people, at least half of whom seem to spend their time trying to one-up the instructor. Look, I'm the first to admit that sometimes the teacher doesn't really know what he or she is talking about. In that case, be polite, ask questions, and don't be a smart ass. And, frankly, if the "one-uppers" would shut up long enough, they'd find that most of the teachers, even if they get some things wrong, really have things of value to share. But, no, there's this real tendency for some people to use the classes as a way to try to prove that they should have more letters after their names than they do, and this is their venue to prove it. Look--we all know that the average IQ in the SCA is way above "norm" (someone even did the research). But it is also true that the social IQ quotient is probably below. One of our claims to fame is that we can "socialize" people so that they are no longer shunned as rude and boorish. Please, stop proving both stereotypes.

So tomorrow I leave for Pennsic. Gear is packed, food prepped (oops--need to make my lunch for the 8 hours on the road). Time to go to bed.

All of which is my long way of saying I'll be gone for a bit. I'm taking an Elizabeth Chadwick novel with me (though I may cheat and continue reading A Dance With Dragons on my iPhone). I'll be back with tales of handfastings, and 50th birthday parties, and well-deserved peerages, and probably a bit too much alcohol, and the inevitable fat-laden food.

As Garrison Keeler would say, "Be well, do good work, and keep in touch."
meirwen_1988: (Queen Casket)
Today, while sitting at my post at the OES rummage sale, a family came by. They came by in various configurations. First the mother with the 4 week old infant. Then the father with the 5-6 year old child. Then the mother with both children. Then the father with the boy again.

The child was...moderately ill-mannered, but I've seen far worse. Very careless of the objects he was investigating (I was manning the bake sale/kids toys table venue). The child picked things up, threw them down, a bit too violently or casually for someone like me who has well-loved and much-used toys and clothing from 45 years ago that are still in "nearly new" condition because I was taught to be careful of objects, clothing, people, and myself.

So the boy starting looking at the books, and decided he wanted the dinosaur book. The father took it from him to inspect it and make sure it was suitable (the book was something like The Mightiest Dinosaur, written for kindergartners/first graders). So dad is reading it, and says "Well, that's a lie." Turns another page. "Another lie." He then explains to me that "...all of that stuff about dinosaurs and extinction is a lie. They didn't die from some inability to survive in a changed environment. Humans hunted them to extinction." So then he tells me about this Eskimo carving of men hunting dinosaurs "that I have seen myself," and about carvings in the Yucatan Peninsula from only 1000 years ago showing people hunting a dinosaur, "So people were hunting dinosaurs as recently as 1000 years ago."

Then he explained to me that the world can't be millions of years old, citing Einstein and how the circumference of the sun reduces by 5 inches every year, and that if the earth and the sun were as old as evolutionists claim we would have been occupying the same physical space. And then he brought in the moon, which is moving away from us at "X" [I forget the number he gave] inches per year, "and if the earth was as old as evolutionists claim then the gravitational pull of the moon when it was as close to the planet as it would have had to have been then would have been so strong that it would have ripped our entire atmosphere away. And that is why my son doesn't go to public school--because they teach him all those lies which science proves are lies." Then he started to go on about this tail on bacteria "(that is only visible with an electron microscope) that rotates at 40,000 rpms," and how you couldn't make pulleys and gears to do that, but fortunately his son was getting restive, and the baby had woken up, and the wife wanted to feed the baby. But his son really wanted two books. The dinosaur book, and another one.

"No. You can't have them." Looks again. "Wait, maybe this one." So he took the other book, looked at it, flipped through it. "How much?"
"Twenty-five cents."
"Okay," and starts to hand it to the child, then stops. "Oh, wait." Turns to the wife. "Do we have this one?"
"Yes. Well, no. The one we have has scratch and sniff pages. So not that book. But that story."
He turns to the boy. "We have this at home. Why do you want it?"
"The other one has smells, but not this one."
"Okay. For 25 cents you can have it." And they walked away with the book. Without paying.

And the book it was okay to have, because it didn't have any lies?

It was about a talking rat, who saves a chef's career in a French restaurant in Paris. Ratatouille.
meirwen_1988: (Queen)
There is great ire in the universe, yet again because of Michael Vick.

This probably deserves a long, thoughtful, developed post, but my "annoyed" button has been pushed, and so here it is.

Either people grow and change, or they do not.

Either we believe people can grow and change, or we do not.

If we don't believe people can grow and change, then we need to punish people, every second of every day, for every bad thing they ever did from the time they were old enough to know that what they were doing was something others thought they shouldn't do. We should give up on the total notion of "second chances," "rehabilitation," or intellectual and moral development.

If we do believe that people can grow and change, then we need to present as role models both those who have always "been good" and those who pay for their mistakes and then move forward to lead lives of value and grace. The one is an ideal to strive for, the other is a promise that a mistake can be overcome. Everyone, particularly children, need to know that a mistake, no matter how horrifying, doesn't have to mean you can't become someone of value and benefit to others, and it is right of corporations to valorize both--the saintly and the redeemed.
meirwen_1988: (Strive)
I just watched the Endeavor lift off.
Last night, during the end credits of Thor I nearly sobbed--you see, the end credits are like flying through shots from Hubble, and because it is 3D, and well done, it was...

I have no words for how it made me feel.

These two things, coming so close together, make me think of a childhood full of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. Of Enterprise. And Asimov, and Bradbury, and Clark.

And my heart is full, and my head packed with thoughts, and somewhere, way down inside, is anger.

And then there was one.

And then there will be none.

This deserves a long, thoughtful post. But for now, I will borrow words from another:

"Ask ten different scientists about the environment, population control, genetics and you'll get ten different answers, but there's one thing every scientist on the planet agrees on. Whether it happens in a hundred years or a thousand years or a million years, eventually our Sun will grow cold and go out. When that happens, it won't just take us. It'll take Marilyn Monroe and Lao-Tzu, Einstein, Morobuto, Buddy Holly, Aristophanes .. and all of this .. all of this was for nothing, unless we go to the stars."
--Jeffrey Sinclair, "Infection," Babylon 5
J. Michael Straczynski


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