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Chocolate Box Recs

Feb. 20th, 2019 09:01 am
rachelmanija: (Default)
[personal profile] rachelmanija
I got four fantastic stories for Chocolate Box this year!

Once and Future. Dark Tower - Stephen King. The ka-tet explores some more, and finds a different kind of tower. Lovely Mid-World story with the requisite bonding, eerie imagery, and metafictional elements.

Tech Support. The Punisher. David is the Punisher's tech support. That's okay. It's fine. Hilarious and poignant and all things wonderful.

born with the gift of a golden voice. The Stand - Stephen King. Larry is touring Las Vegas when the superflu hits. Flagg finds him in a hotel room. Beautifully written, and fucking creepy in the very best way.

Long Way Down. True Detective. Rivers of history inside of every human being. Gorgeous imagery, perfectly in-character Rust/Marty

Art Recs (all worksafe; some kissing with clothes on):

Left-Hand Man.. The Dragon Prince. Harrow and Viren kissing.

it's all been done.
Good Omens
- Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett. "You go your way, I go mine, but I’ll see you next time ..."

SSSS Homage to Peter Max. Stand Still Stay Silent. The whole crew, done in the style of Peter Max, the noted psychedelic artist, best known for his work on the animated movie "Yellow Submarine."

Ebb and Flow. Wonder Woman. Darling it's better, down where it's wetter ;)

I Have Loved the Stars Too Fondly. Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Rose and Paige Tico.

Comic Book Rec (generally work safe; making out but no full nudity)

Union of Heart. Original Fiction. When the recently widowed Duke of Bridgewater discovers he has inherited a cotton mill where the workers are striking, he decides to investigate the conditions of the workers and meets the impulsive Edward Mann, the union leader for his mill.

A delightful 11-page comic book romance for the pairing "Impulsive Trade Union Leader/Recently Widowed Young Duke."

Fic Recs (don't need to know canon):

Lace. Words: 470. Ephie is dressed in traditional Lephratan style, and is ready to meet her bride. NOTE: You used the magic phrase: costume porn. If someone says they’re open to costume porn, I must satisfy them! Original F/F. Sensual and sweet; as promised, the costume porn is excellent.

Fic Recs (better if you know canon):

get a little closer, let fold. Annihilation (2018 Garland). Anya can't get the way Josie smells out of her head. F/F. Tagged "porn without plot," but it's actually a fantastic example of how to convey character, atmosphere, theme, and setting by means of sex. Really well-done.

Three Times Lucky. Defenders. There is no such thing as luck, no such thing as magic fish, and Jessica wants a refund for this day. Short and hilarious; more fish jokes than you can shake a pole at.

Challenge Accepted. Iron Fist (TV). Misty doesn't have the Iron Fist, but she has an iron fist. G-rated but nonetheless extremely hot F/F, well-characterized and well-written.

Steady Gun Hand. Iron Fist (TV). Infected bullet wounds and heart to heart talks while hiding out from gangsters in Indonesia: just another day on the Rand-Meachum road trip of self-discovery. Great hurt-comfort, wilderness survival, characterization, and snarky dialogue.

I wrote three stories this Chocolate Box if you want to take a guess.

with pines around me spicy and still

Feb. 20th, 2019 03:56 pm
wychwood: Fraser flies for truth, justice, and the Canadian way (due South - Fraser Canadian way)
[personal profile] wychwood
This week so far I have achieved TWO new culinary experiments, at extreme personal cost.

First I made the mini spanakopita I mentioned last time, which somehow inexplicably took THREE HOURS and also my entire ration of cope ([personal profile] toft can vouch for how many times I nearly rage-quit the whole thing. Plus I put the frozen spinach in the fridge to finish thawing, and the (sealed!) bag turned out not to be water-tight, so I also had to clean out a frankly astonishing quantity of melted-spinach liquid and wash half the contents of my fridge.

However, the tartlets were actually not at all bad despite everything. The concept is definitely sound, I just need to work out a way of making them that isn't going to inspire MASSIVE RAGE.

Then yesterday my dinner was inspired by this braised lentil recipe, which [twitter.com profile] mthr_jo recommended, only I didn't have half of the ingredients, although I did have four onions which were casualties of the spinach-water flood so needed eating quickly, so I made it with those and red lentils (because that's what I had) and also a bunch of feta left over from the spanakopita, and I got half of the cooking instructions wrong and forgot to add any salt and pepper (fortunately the feta provided most of the necessary salt). It was thoroughly edible, and I had the second half for lunch today.

Really the nice thing about cooking is that it's relatively hard to really fuck things up - mostly the failure mode is "ok I guess" or "kind of boring" rather than "inedible"

(all this talk about food has spilled into the office, where I just had to convince a colleague that buying two pizza bases and putting ingredients between them was not in fact going to produce a convincing calzone... no, not even if you "glued the edges together with cheese"...)
[syndicated profile] languagelog_feed

Posted by Neal Goldfarb

An introduction and guide to my series of posts "Corpora and the Second Amendment" is available here. The corpus data that is discussed can be downloaded here. That link will take you to a shared folder in Dropbox. Important: Use the "Download" button at the top right of the screen.

This post on what arms means will follow the pattern of my post on bear. I’ll start by reviewing what the Supreme Court said about the topic in District of Columbia v. Heller. I’ll then turn to the Oxford English Dictionary for a look at how arms was used over the history of English up through the end of the 18th century, when the Second Amendment was proposed and ratified.. And finally, I’ll discuss the corpus data.

Justice Scalia’s majority opinion had this to say about what arms meant:

The 18th-century meaning [of arms] is no different from the meaning today. The 1773 edition of Samuel Johnson’s dictionary defined ‘‘arms’’ as ‘‘[w]eapons of offence, or armour of defence.’’ Timothy Cunningham’s important 1771 legal dictionary defined ‘‘arms’’ as ‘‘any thing that a man wears for his defence, or takes into his hands, or useth in wrath to cast at or strike another.’’ [citations omitted]

As was true of what Scalia said about the meaning of bear, this summary was basically correct as far as it went, but was also a major oversimplification.

To see that the statement was an oversimplification, we need only look at the definition by Samuel Johnson that Scalia relied on. What Scalia quoted (“Weapons of offence, or armour of defence”) was only one of five numbered senses Johnson gave; the others are as follows (with example sentences omitted):

2. A state of hostility.

3.War in general.

4. Action; the act of taking arms.

5. The ensigns armorial of a family.

Scalia’s omission of these other senses is understandable: he quoted the sense that he thought was relevant and left out those he regarded as irrelevant. But whether intentionally or not, the omission of senses 2–4 loaded the rhetorical dice. (I’ll give him a pass on leaving out number 5.)

You’ll recall that the whole dispute over the meaning of keep and bear arms was about whether it meant merely ‘carry weapons’ (or more specifically, ‘carry weapons for the purpose of being armed and ready for offensive or defensive action in a case of conflict with another person,’ as Scalia contended) or was instead understood as having what Scalia described as “an idiomatic meaning that was significantly different from its natural meaning”, namely, ‘‘to serve as a soldier, do military service, fight’’ or ‘‘to wage war.’’ If you’re going to rely on Johnson’s dictionary as your authority, as Scalia did, then Johnson’s senses 2–4 strike me as being relevant. Senses 2–4 resemble the idiomatic sense of bear arms that Scalia referred to, in that they were figurative rather than literal. And there was obviously a close semantic relationship between senses 2–4 on the one hand and the idiomatic sense of bear arms on the other.

So Johnson’s dictionary by itself supports my statement that Heller’s short discussion of arms was an oversimplification. But Johnson’s entry is a only vague sketch, compared to the entry for arms in the OED.

By a stroke of luck, the entry for arms was fully updated in 2016, and is now part of the OED’s Third Edition. That’s significant because although the Second Edition was published in 1989, it consisted mainly of the contents of the First Edition, into which were merged the five volumes of supplements that been published in the interim. So the 2016 revision was the first thorough updating of the entry since it had first been published in 1885. Its advantages over the original include not only that it provides more information (especially etymological informations) but also that the information that is carried over from the prior edition is better organized and easier to assimilate.

Whereas Samuel Johnson listed three senses of arms that had something to do with war or the military—“a state of hostility”, “war in general”, and “the act of taking arms”, the OED lists many more, once the many phrasal uses of arms are added in. In fact, it lists such uses going back to Anglo-Norman, the version of Old French that was used in England after the Norman Conquest, from which arms was “borrowed” by Middle English. Among the Anglo-Norman senses that the OED gives for arms (and its variants armys and harmes) are ‘fighting, war’ (dating back to 1155), ‘the military profession’ (second half of the 12th century), and ‘intances of military prowess’ (around 1170 or earlier). And before that, in classical Latin (!), the senses of arma included ‘military service,’ ‘military action,’ ‘fighting,’ ‘armed strength,’ and ‘troops.’

This etymological prehistory is significant (as is and the subsequent history of arms in English),  because it may help us overcome the fact that the English we know is not the English that was spoken in the 1790s. When the Second Amendment was proposed (along with the rest of the Bill of Rights), Americans’ understanding of it was a product of the linguistic environment in which they lived. The more we know about that environment, the better the chances that we’ll be able to accurately reconstruct how those Americans would have understood the text. While we obviously have no direct access to that environment, being aware of the linguistic history I’m discussing here will hopefully help us to at least partly make up for that inability.

For example, it’s easy for us to think that use of arms to mean ‘weapons’ was the word’s “literal,” “basic,”  or “core” meaning, and the senses of the word having to do with war and the military were extensions of that sense. But the fact that the “extended” senses existed in Anglo-Norman suggests that when arms became part of English proper, all of these senses came along with it. If that’s the case, what basis is there to assume that the ‘weapons’ sense is any more basic or central than any of the other senses?

And the OED provides reason to believe that this suggestion is well-founded. The earliest attested use in English of arms (around 1250) is a figurative use, which the OED  gives as “[a]bstract or immaterial things used in a manner comparable to physical weapons.” The earliest known instance of the corresponding “literal” use was from a little bit later, in 1275:

Weapons of war or combat; (items of) military equipment, both offensive and defensive, munitions. In later use esp.: military equipment or weaponry owned, used, or traded by a nation, regime, etc. Cf. arms race n. 1.

Then in the 1300s we see arms being used in additional military-related senses:

Armed combat as a professional activity; the military profession; service as a soldier. [Earliest known use circa 1300.]

Fighting; war; active hostilities. [Circa 1325.]

Brave, skilled, or renowned acts of armed combat; instances of military prowess. [Around 1393.]

(Note, by the way, that all the senses I’ve  mentioned so far, as well as those that I’ve yet to get o, are reported by the OED as having been in use at least through the end of the 18th century.)

I’m going to move on now to military-related phrasal uses of arms. The earliest of these that is listed is bear arms, with the first attested use being around 1325. I’ll discuss these in the post dealing specifically with that phrase. Moving chronologically, based on the date of first attested use, we next see the following relevant uses:

to arms!: “collect your weapons; prepare to fight” [circa 1330.]

to take (up) arms: to arm oneself; to assume a hostile attitude either defensive or offensive; to prepare to fight. [around 1420.]

force of arms: “the use of weapons or arms; military or violent means”. “Usually in by (also with) force of arms. [1529 (and possibly as early as 1430).]

man-in-arms: “a soldier, a warrior; a (heavily) armed man.” [circa 1540.]

to rise in arms: “to prepare to fight for one’s country, a cause, etc.; to join or form an armed force.” [1563.]

to lay down (one’s) arms (and variants): “to put down or stop using one’s weapons; to surrender; to stop fighting.” [1568.]

to turn one's arms against (also occasionally towards, and variants): “to wage war on; to attack.” [1569]

up in arms: “Willing or ready to fight; actively engaged in an armed struggle, protest, or rebellion.” [1576.]

to carry arms (against): “to wage war (against)’” [1580.]

to call (also summon) to arms (and variants): “to summon to prepare for battle or armed conflict”. [1592.]

under arms (and variants): “ (of an army, nation, etc.) equipped with weapons or arms; in battle array; ready to fight”. [1637.]

to lie upon one's arms: “to rest while still equipped with weapons or arms; to remain alert or ready to fight, esp. after a battle.” [1690.]

call to arms: “a summons to prepare for battle or armed conflict.” [1702.]

I’ve omitted the example sentences that accompany each of these entries, but a copy of the entries with the examples here (I may not get to it right away, so if it’s not there when you try to download it, check back in a few days.)

AS WE’VE SEEN, Johnson’s dictionary provided reason to believe that when Justice Scalia said  that in the 18th century, arms meant weapons, he was oversimplifying things. And the the OED showed that the picture painted by Johnson was itself an oversimplification. In addition to giving a more detailed account of the different ways that arms by itself could be used in referring to various aspects of war and the military, it listed more than a dozen idiomatic phrases enabling the expression of an even wider variety of meanings. And when we look at the corpus data, we see even more variety; there is a profusion of phrasal uses that the OED doesn’t list. More importantly, we can get an idea of the relative frequencies of the different uses, something that dictionaries can’t tell you.

The pattern seen in the data is one in which, outside the unusual context of fighting the Revolutionary War, the “nonliteral” military-related uses greatly outnumbered the uses in which arms simply meant ‘weapons.’ And even in the context of fighting the war, roughly a third of the uses conveyed nonliteral military-related meanings.

I’ll talk about the results in more detail, but first I need to take a detour through some methodological weeds.

The data I reviewed came from two corpora: COFEA (the Corpus of Founding Era American English) and COEME (the Corpus of Early Modern English), both of which are part of the BYU Law Corpora.

  • COFEA (the Corpus of Founding Era American English), which includes texts from several sources, dating from the period 1760–1799. Thof which three are significant here: (1) the Evans Early American Imprint Series, which contains books, pamphlets, sermons, and so on, (2) the National Archives Founders Papers Online project, which contains correspondence and other materials from the papers of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, and (3) Hein, which contains legal materials such as statutes, cases, legal papers, and legislative debates.
  • COEME (the Corpus of Early Modern English), which consists of materials that I think are generally similar to the kinds of materials in COFEA from the Evans collection; in fact, some of the texts appear in both corpora. However, COEME differs from COFEA in that, if I’m not mistaken, COEME includes texts that were published in England as well as the United States, while COFEA is limited to American publication. COEME also includes texts going back to 1475, but I limited my searches to the same 40-year period as is covered by COFEA.

In COFEA there were roughly 24,600 hits for instances of arms that had been tagged as nouns, and in COEME there were roughly 51,500 hits from the period I focused on. (From what I saw the accuracy of the tagging was in the range of 99%.) I originally downloaded 1,000 concordance lines from each corpus—a concordance line consisting of a use of arms with a small chunk of the text that immediately preceded and followed it. After eliminating duplicates within each data set and somehow losing 19 lines to gremlins, I was left with 982 lines from COFEA and 875 from COEME. In reviewing the COFEA data it quickly became apparent that it was dominated by results from the Founders and Hein collections (707 compared to 275 from the Evans results), I therefore downloaded additional data, with the source restricted to Evans, so that I had the virtually same amount of data from Evans (706 lines) as I had from Founders and Hein.

In addition to eliminating duplicate concordance lines within each set of downloaded data, I deduplicated the lines that appeared in both COFEA and COEME by removing each overlapping line from one of the corpora. Most of those deletions were made in the COFEA data and are accounted for in the final figures for the COFEA data in the previous paragraph. In the last round of deduping, the duplicate lines were removed from COEME rather than COFEA, resulting in the number of concordance lines from COEME being reduced to 685.

In all cases, the deduped data had confidence intervals below 5.0 at a 99% confidence level and below 4.0 at a 95% confdidence level..

OUT OF THE WEEDS, onward into the results.

In the COFEA documents that did not come from the Evans collection, there were twice as many uses of arms to mean ‘weapons’ (413 concordance lines, plus 13 that I wasn’t sure about) as there were uses that conveyed the broader ‘military/war” sense (213). In contrast, the pattern of relative frequencies in the other documents was reversed, with there being more than twice as  ‘military’ uses than ‘weapons’ uses. In the COFEA Evans documents, the ratio of ‘weapons’ to ‘military’ was 75 to 290, making ‘military’ uses 3.8 times as frequent as ‘weapons’ uses. In COEME, the ratio was 112 to 262, so ‘military’ uses were 2.3 times as frequent as ‘weapons'  uses.

I think that this striking difference is attributable to the fact that of the COFEA results that excluded the Evans documents, more than 90% of the concordance lines came from the Founders collection.  As you’ll recall, that collection consists of correspondence and other materials from the papers of the top six Founding Fathers: Washington, Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison. Among those documents was extensive correspondence about the progress of the Revolutionary War—thus my reference above to “the unusual context of fighting the Revolutionary War.” A recurring topic in these documents is (not surprisingly) the procurement,  management, and use of weapons. And the word that was used for ‘weapons’ in these documents was arms. (The likeliest alternative, weapons, is much less frequent than arms in the Founders documents, and my impression is that the when weapons does appear, it occur in the same kinds of documents as arms does.)

Here are some examples of the uses of arms that I’m talking about (all of which are from the Founders collection):

About 4000 besides those in the Field will probably be the Number provided they can get Arms Accoutrements & Tents: but there is at present so lamentable a Deficiency in those Articles that I very much fear Difficulties

he found two men recently killed by the appearance of their blood being fresh with their packs and  arms lying by them, that he proceeded to Gage ’s Hill, from whence he had a good view of the Lake

of those who may be Collected, there will not be more than one fourth of them that will have their Arms, many of them you [ may ] depend have thrown away their Arms with an expectation of getting Home by it

Your application to Commodore Tilly for arms meets our approbation.

18th 1777Sir I have the Honour to enclose all the Accounts we have in the Office of the State of Arms & military Stores.

Notwithstanding the strict and repeated Orders , that have been given against firing small arms, it is hourly practised, All Officers commanding Guards, posts and detachments, to be alert in apprehending all future Trangressors.

And here are examples of uses from the COFEA Evans documents and from COEME in which arms means ‘weapons’:

This man had, in defiance of the king's proclamation, made a practice of selling arms and ammunition to the Indians, whom he employed in hunting and fowling for him [COFEA Evans]

The indictment also charges him with having assisted in procuring arms, which no doubt were to be employed against the government of the country [COFEA Evans]

Suppose a body of Frenchmen to arrive at Boston, with arms and ammunition, which men may carry for their own defence [COFEA Evans]

THE zeal of the tribe of Zebulun was conspicuous on the occasion. Fifty thousand of its citizens, with arms in their hands, marched to the capital [COFEA Evans]

On a day appointed, the inhabitants, by general consent took their arms, and surrounded a large swamp which they penetrated in every direction, as far as it was practicable; [COEME]

they may, by the same rule, oblige them to furnish cloaths, arms, and every other necessary [COEME]

In contrast to concordance lines I’ve just quoted from, here is a sample of those in which arms is used to in one of its senses related to the military and war-fighting:

I will impose upon myself the drugery of saying something about the transactions of the 28th, in which the American arms gained very signal advantages; and might have gained much more signal ones. [Founders]

I have the pleasure to congratulate your Excellency on the success of the American arms in this quarter, in the reduction of fort Slongo on Long Island on the morning of the 3d instant . The [Founders]

enemy are undoubtedly concentering their force, upon a presumption, that there is imminent danger of an attack by the united Arms of France and America. [Founders]

How far there is a moral Certainty of Extending the American Arms Into Canada In the Course of next Campaign [Founders]

How far there is a moral Certainty of Extending the American Arms Into Canada In the Course of next Campaign [Founders]

to Sir Henry Clinton, on the 12th of May. A series of ill success followed this unfortunate event. The American arms in South Carolina were in general unsuccesful, and the inhabitants were obliged to submit to the invaders [COFEA Evans]

Their feeling remonstrance was answered by contempt, while the cords of oppression were drawn still harder; till the arms of Britain appeared on our shore. Their feeling remonstrance was answered by contempt Their feeling remonstrance was answered by contempt [COFEA Evans]

From this period, the affairs of America assumed a promising aspect, aided by the victorious arms of France, and guided by the unerring councils of that accomplished general, consummate statesman, and most virtuous citizen [COFEA Evans]

an opportunity of asserting their natural right as an independent nation, and who were even compelled by the arms of their enemies to take sanctuary in the temple of Liberty [COFEA Evans]

Finally, I want to point out a finding from the data that was I hadn’t anticipated. The majority of the uses that I categorized as expressing the ‘military’ sense were phrasal uses. And the variety of those uses is truly impressive—I previously described those uses as a “profusion”—and most of them aren’t listed in the OED:

able to bear arms, appeal to arms, appear in arms, arise in arms, arms and  arts, bear arms [military sense], bear arms against, bear arms in defense of, call to arms (against), carry arms against, clangor of arms, clash of arms, companions in arms, din of arms, enter into arms, exercise of arms, feats of arms, flee to arms, following arms, force of arms, glory of arms, in arms (against), inequality of arms, into arms, issue of arms, lay down arms, lay/lie on arms, men at arms, profession of arms, recourse to arms, recur to arms, resort to arms, rise (up) in arms, rouse [somebody] to arms, roused to arms, run to arms, rush to arms, science of arms, slew to arms [should probably be "flew to arms,"], sound of arms, stand (forth) in arms, stand to (their) arms, stimulate [some person or entity] to arms, take arms (against), take to their arms, take up arms (against), taken in arms, terror of arms, throw down (their) arms, thunder of arms, to arms, took up arms, train[ed] to arms, try my right by arms, tumult of arms, turn arms against, under arms, up in arms (against), urge [somebody] to arms, victorious arms

Here are examples of some of these uses:

The astonishing Success of the French in overturning every Country into which they have carried their Arms, has not satisfied them, but only proved a new Stimulous to their Greedy ambition of becomeing masters of the World

the British nation , which threatened the destruction of our commerce. The American policy was to negotiate before an appeal to arms was made. An envoy extraordinary to Great Britain was appointed.

therefore the consequence of their attempt to enforce their arbitrary exactions, and Americans indignant fly to arms.

These conquests they have gained incomparably more by intrigue and duplicity than by force of arms. Solemn professions of friendship, and a desire of peace, have been made a shield to cover the dark

the affectionate fears of our friends , to have conducted it prosperously amidst the conflict of a world in arms; is a task , which only the ignorant and thoughtless will deem light . And to have executed this task , without many

How fortunate and happy was it for America that, when she was driven to the dire necessity of recurring to arms in self dcfence, her eyes were directed to this accomplished CAPTAIN, to command her armies and direct the

made toward the bank , the whole party tumultuously crying to order, and, with the directors at their head, rose in arms to defend it

to the dreadful alternative of submitting to arbitrary laws and despotic government; or of taking up arms in defence of those rights and privileges, which thou , in thy goodness , hast conferred upon them as men

are to be carried, and can be carried, only by force of the soldiery, and the terror of arms, it is proof abundant that they are unlawful and unconstitutional.

to cloak his design under the cover of Parliamentary sanction. It may be, he desired to urge America to arms; that being vanquished (which seems to have been taken as a granted point)

COMING NEXT: I previously said that wasn’t going to do a post about keep arms, because I didn’t think I had anything interesting to say about it. After further thought, I no longer think that. So the next post will be a short one about keep arms. That will be followed by a substantially longer post about bear arms and then a post about keep and bear arms. Those two posts will be the most important posts in this whole series, for obvious reasons. And finally I’ll wrap everything up with some general observations.

Reading Wednesday

Feb. 20th, 2019 08:17 am
muccamukk: Gregory Peck looks up from the book he's reading. (Books: Hello Reading)
[personal profile] muccamukk
What I Just Finished Reading
The Great Cowboy Strike by Mark A. Lause
Unreadably bad, DNF at about sixty pages. I've trudged through a lot of poorly-written non-fiction, but this was something else. Topics jumped wildly between paragraphs, there was no filtering between what details someone needed to know (how the fucking cattle industry worked) and what they didn't (what day a minor character was baptised). I think I got it for free, anyway.

Ike’s Mystery Man: The Secret Lives of Robert Cutler by Peter Shinkle, narrated by Grover Gardner.
Robert Cutler was a Republican from a wealthy Boston family who served in WWII as a logistics type (organised soldier voting, mostly, also holy shit, most southern states didn't let soldiers vote at all! In WWII!), on Ike's election campaign, and then invented and occupied the post of National Security Advisor for most of the Eisenhower years. He was also queer as a three dollar bill, very much in the Wildian grand romantic feelings school, only he doesn't actually seem to have been getting laid that much/at all.

The first main thread of the book is Cutler's homosexuality, which largely took the form of what socially acceptable crossdressing he could pull off, pining in an epic way after a variety of (much) younger men, and various manoeuvrers to keep his job with McCarthy and Hoover sniffing at the door. The book laid out a lot of the social mores of post-War mainstream society, as well as gay male culture's methods of surviving them (moving to Paris was popular). Probably more interesting than Cutler was his primary object of affection, who was (unfortunately for Cutler) of the butch screw lots of guys and have as few feelings as possible school. The love interest also wrote a surprising number of sexually frank letters, considering it was 1948 and he was in intelligence work! The endless unrequited love and angst about unrequited love got somewhat tiresome in the last third.

The second main thread was how the White House intelligence apparatus worked in the '50s. The author is arguing that the system that Cutler developed--wherein the role of the security advisor is to gather people and information and present all sides impartially to the president, usually in form of the president sitting in on debates and reading a lot of papers--is better than the later school where the advisor offers advise, having crunched all that info beforehand. This seems pretty sensible to me, but meanwhile on this system everyone thought listening to the Dullas brothers, starting coups in like five different countries, getting involved in Vietnam, and doubling down on the nuclear arms race were totally the best ideas ever. I mean, I guess it's hard to argue a counterfactual, maybe without that kind of council post-War imperialism would have been worse? Or everyone would have just nuked each other?

The author had a pretty good hand at not trying to excuse Cutler when he was, say, advocating for the overthrow of Guatemalan democracy on behalf of United Fruit (who had him in their pocket). He's probably a little defensive of his subject in some other areas, but overall it felt balanced. Could have used about a third fewer diary entries.

What I'm Reading Now
Audio: The Tango War: The Struggle for the Hearts, Minds and Riches of Latin America During World War II by Mary Jo McConahay, narrated by Elizabeth Wiley. Very much by an American, not by someone from any of the Latin American countries, though at least McConahay worked in Brazil for ten years. She references a fair number of memoirs and histories written by Latin American authors, which I should track down. I'm a little over half way through and it's pretty interesting. Fun fact: the US government kidnapped Japanese families from Peru and put them in interment camps in the US in order to trade them to Japan for US civilians.

Library: Blood and Daring: How Canada Fought the American Civil War and Forged a Nation by John Boyko. About half way through this. It is indeed just not going to mention first nations after Tecumseh. However, there's a lot of US/Canada interaction in that period that I hadn't learned about before, as well as retreading the Trent crisis and hitting up Emma Edwards again. Seward: "I definitely think Invading Canada and starting a war with Great Britain would help us defeat the rebels!" Lincoln: "...would it tho?"

What I'm Reading Next
Got a bunch of short canlit things on my e-reader, may try those.

The Tale of the Monster Hard Drive

Feb. 20th, 2019 07:39 am
kengr: (Default)
[personal profile] kengr
A week or so back, Doug gave me a 500 gig Western Digital hard drive. It was a PATA (IDE) drive. Since new computers don't *do* PATA anymore, he had no use for it. But since I still use a lot of systems that are old enough to use them, I could use it.

I had another drive I'd had for a while (same model in fact) and since I was running low on space on the NAS (Network Attached Storage) boxes, I decided to plug them into my main box to use for storing some files that weren't as important from other drives.

Things were copying well when all of a sudden an error message popped up about the drive no longer being available.

I went into Computer Management, and did a refresh on the drive list. the 500 gig drive didn't show up anymore. but a "new" drive did show up. It had a semi-random string of ccharacters as a drive label.

And it showed as having two partitions. One of 16 gig, and the other of 2048 gig. (figures from memory, the may be a bit off). I couldn't do anything to the partitions. Got error messages.

I stuck it in my "bench" system and got much the same results. Tried accessing it with a Linux drive partitioning CD. Same deal.

*something* went south. And I now have a drive that reports that it iis a 1.3 *petabyte* drive!

If only...

Quiet Day

Feb. 21st, 2019 01:56 am
tyger: Vanitas fanart, looking really grumpy. (Vanitas - grumpyface)
[personal profile] tyger
Got back to the photoscan project today, finally. Did two albums!

Other than that, really quiet. Gone through one of the shelves of my books, found a few that there's no chance I'm ever going to read again, so can just. You know. Go. Also my small collection of Agatha Christies - the real reason I've kept them is so I don't, you know, read the same ones over because tbh they're not THAT great. So I'mma figure out a way to keep some kinda digital notes on what I've read, and then get rid of them, too. Got a stash of ebooks I got from A's daughter IDEK years ago, a lot of them. I *think* there's some Christie novels in there, so I may just import those ones to Calibre and mark them as read.

Opened up Calibre to do that, got distracted with some other book tagging stuff, but you know. Getting there! Will poke it more tomorrow, just, I know myself, not going TOO far down that rabbit hole at night, it's late enough as it is. >>;;

I have so much fucking shit to get rid of and organise, but also trying not to burn out on it, so. Yeah. We'll see how it goes.

Parallel beauty

Feb. 20th, 2019 09:01 am
mount_oregano: Let me see (Default)
[personal profile] mount_oregano
One reason to learn a foreign language is to find out about your own. Spanish — and French and Italian — avoid repetition by all means, frequently by employing what H.W. Fowler in Modern English Usage disparaged as the literary fault of “elegant variation.” But repeating words in English, except when done carelessly, is no fault: it adds clarity and even beauty. Repeated words sound especially beautiful to an English-language ear when they form part of a parallel structure, that is, a part of repeated grammatical structures.

Why is English like this? Because of the 1611 Authorized Version of the Bible, the “King James” Bible. As soon as it was published, its constant use as the major work of literature readily available to the ordinary person made it the standard and model of our language. Fortunately for us, the translators produced a direct, unornamented work meant for ordinary people, not scholars. They wrote when English was a new and fresh language and could be used without complication. They stuck close to the original languages, notably Hebrew.

Much of that Hebrew was poetic, using concrete and vivid language with simple phrases, easy to translate. Hebrew poetry does not rhyme; instead, it uses parallel, balanced structures of phrases or ideas, and of words or rhythms. The second half of a parallel may paraphrase the first half, it may give a consequence, it may contradict the first half, or it may add stronger and stronger clauses or sentences that lead to an apex. The rhythm can make the prose musical.

One example is from Ruth, 1:16-17:

And Ruth said, entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

The power and beauty of Biblical language and poetic repetition at work in modern English can be seen in this excerpt from a speech delivered on August 28, 1963, by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:

Now, I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day in the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slave-owners and the sons of former slaves will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the people’s injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

This is our home. This is the faith that I will go back to the South with — with this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope.

Call The Midwife: Violet's Fred

Feb. 20th, 2019 02:27 pm
smallhobbit: (Call the Midwife animated)
[personal profile] smallhobbit posting in [community profile] 100words
Title: Violet's Fred
Fandom: Call the Midwife
Rating: G


It wasn't something )


A Bite

Feb. 20th, 2019 01:32 pm
[syndicated profile] futilitycloset_feed

Posted by Greg Ross

From the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Chemistry World blog: In 1955, when impish graduate student A.T. Wilson published a paper with his humorless but brilliant supervisor, Melvin Calvin, Wilson made a wager with a department secretary that he could sneak a picture of a man fishing into one of the paper’s diagrams. He won the wager — can you find the fisherman?


mific: (Handmaid's tale)
[personal profile] mific posting in [community profile] fanart_recs
Fandom: The Handmaid's Tale (TV)
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Eden
Content Notes/Warnings: none
Medium: Digital art
Artist on DW/LJ: n/a
Artist Website/Gallery: buriedflowers on DA
Why this piece is awesome: This is a lovely portrait of a thoughtful, somewhat sad Eden, and it has a WIP procedure study as well which is always interesting. The finished work is below, and the WIP post is here
Link: Eden - the Handmaid's Tale

Five happy-making things make a post!

Feb. 20th, 2019 06:15 pm
swingandswirl: text 'tammy' in white on a blue background.  (Default)
[personal profile] swingandswirl
Happymaking thing #1: I got to hang out with my old grad school roomie D (who continues to be The Loveliest Person) on the weekend! She was in town for a workshop and had some free time on Saturday, so we went to get chaat (pani puri omnomnom) and then poked around my awesome local bookstore for YA books she could recommend to the school she teaches at, since they are a fancy-ass private school that has money :D

I was actually super pleasantly surprised by how many more books (especially YA/middle grade) feature or are written by people who aren't White, compared to when I was growing up. Not as many as I'd like, especially in the MG section, but still! Also, my sincere apologies for any harm done to your wallets.

YA: Roshani Choksi's Star-Touched Queen duology, From Twinkle With Love and When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon, Nisha Sharma's My So-Called Bollywood Life, A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena, Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed, That Thing Called A Heart and Mariam Sharma Hits The Road by Sheba Karim.

MG: Santayani Dasgupta's The Serpent's Secret, the Mayil series by Niveditha Subramaniam and Sowmya Rajendran, Ahimsa by Supriya Kelkar, Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie (oldie but a goodie) and Joy in Coorg by Tilak Ponappa.

Happymaking thing #2: Speaking of books, I actually started tracking my reading this year via a modified Smart Bitches Trashy Books spreadsheet and 10/10, would recommend. Because if I hadn't had my handy spreadsheet, I wouldn't have realised that I finished five books this year and am working on a sixth. Still not where I want to be two-thirds of the way into February, but. Better than how I thought I was doing. (BTW come join us at [community profile] dwbookbingo! It's fun and there will be prizes!)

Happymaking thing #3: In other media... Ek Ladki Ko Dekha To Aisa Laga is THE CUTEST and all y'all should watch it post haste. 1) It's a queer Bollywood movie. A queer Bollywood romcom with a happy ending, even. 2) The title is taken from one of the most famous Bollywood love songs ever, and seeing it be used for a same-sex couple is just... oh, my heart. 3) The male lead of that movie, Anil Kapoor, plays the protagonist's father in this one. 4) The protagonist is played by his IRL daughter and their chemistry is amaaaazing 5) The casting is brilliant and pretty much every single character is perfect 6) The love story (which only has a small amount of screentime, which makes sense as this is v much a story about Sweety and her family) is ADORABLE.

Happymaking thing #4: I'm starting Spanish classes soon! I AM EXCITE. A languages teaching institute near my house is starting classes early March, and although I’ve forgotten nearly all of my Spanish it’s going to be fun to pick it back up. Plus I get to be out of the house and see other people \o/

Happymaking thing #5: Hot oil treatments continue to be a delight and also the only thing that keeps my hair at all manageable. For any non-Desis: take some oil (the olive or coconut oil in your kitchen are both fine; no need to faff about with whatever nonsense they’re selling on teh Insta these days), warm it up to reasonably warm but no more than that in a double boiler or in the microwave, apply to your hair, making sure to coat strands and massage it well into your scalp. Put on shower cap and leave for anywhere between twenty minutes to overnight before washing off. You can thank me later.

late summer report

Feb. 20th, 2019 05:38 pm
tielan: pumpkin vines growing up against fence (garden 01 - pumpkin vine)
[personal profile] tielan posting in [community profile] gardening
I fixed the bathtub garden – pulled the water chestnuts out, drained the tub, and sealed the plug capping again, carefully filing in holes. It now holds water.

It also holds two water chestnut plantings and some azolla.

a number of photos )

Pics of the harvest tomorrow.
marginaliana: David Mitchel giggling (DMitchell - hee!)
[personal profile] marginaliana
I keep not posting because I feel like I have to do a vacation post first, but you know what? I really do not. So here are some things that are not about my vacation:

--I'm up for auction on Fandom Trumps Hate 2019. You can see my listing here, although I am also willing to write any fandom that we mutually agree on, even if it's not listed there. You have a week to browse (and consider) before bidding opens on February 26th. (Bid on meeeeeee!)

--Here is an interesting post about how we 'see' things internally when we read. I pretty much have no mental image when I read - I am entirely a words person and my experience of memory/imagination is mediated entirely by words. Even when I'm writing a story myself have have to visualize a physical activity, I struggle. I think that's partly why I'm not great as a physical artist. My mental idea of what a piece is supposed to look like is vague and doesn't translate directly to the real world.

What about you?

--I wrote a Historical Farm fic:

Nectar (1402 words) by marginaliana
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Historical Farm (UK TV)
Rating: Explicit
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Peter Ginn/Alex Langlands
Characters: Alex Langlands, Peter Ginn
Additional Tags: Plot What Plot/Porn Without Plot, supremely self-indulgent on the part of the author
Summary: "Can't believe you've never tasted honeysuckle before," said Alex, leaning back against the grassy hillock and letting his shoulder rest against Peter's.

--I nearly laughed myself sick on the train at this twitter thread, beginning with 'I forgot the word for photon so had to call it a “shiny crumb”'. There are SO many other examples in reply.

But I was thinking - why is this so funny? What is it about that situation that just hits the ridiculous spot?

Is it the incongruity of whatever people use in place of the right word? Banana = "It comes in its own case! It's yellow!" and Foal = "horse puppy." Is it because of the break in language, where there is a common word that the person definitely knows but they just can't get there? I feel like there's kind of an analogy to corpsing in theater, somehow. Or breaking the fourth wall.

Hmm. I wonder if anyone's done any science on this.
cimorene: blue-green tinted monochrome photo of a woman with short curly hair holding one hand to the back of her neck and looking to the side (helen kane)
[personal profile] cimorene
It really seems incredibly bizarre that Google Books uses some algorithm to suggest other books to me.

When I simply want to read one of their ebooks I can't even open the reader directly, I have to look at their stupid storefront, which insists on showing only five books, the two last opened and three terrible suggestions from the store. The suggestions aren't even weighted to show the next book in a series - in fact their default book page often doesn't even have that information so you have to know the title of the next and then search their disaster store for it!

Even if I charitably assume they've never heard of series, that's no reason to suggest random authors I have no inclination to read instead of things that could arguably interest me, like other books by the authors I've just bought! Yet at the same time nothing stops them from suggesting books I've already bought or "Top Selling" books based on location detection and hence in a language I've never bought a book in.

It's that time again.

Feb. 23rd, 2019 06:14 am
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Yay, bleeding!


Read more... )

Writing help?

Feb. 20th, 2019 11:44 am
notasupervillain: Cat at computer (Default)
[personal profile] notasupervillain
 Yo, what parts of University Administration would be most likely to attract Evil Supervillains to work for them?

Alumni? Donations?


jeshyr: Blessed are the broken. Harry Potter. (Default)
Ricky Buchanan