This One's For The Girls

Friday, August 18th, 2017 01:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed

Posted by Jen

(ATTENTION MOMS: this post may be mildly inappropriate for young children.)

 

Alright ladies, it's OUR turn.

That's right: it's time to turn the tables on all those chauvinistic guys who order the boob or butt cakes, rendering the female form as nothing more than an object - and an edible one at that! It's time to ogle the MALE form in cake for once, and show them how it feels! You heard me, gentlemen: prepare... to be objectified!! [rubbing hands together] Heheheh. This is gonna be awesome.

Ok, let's start the show!

First up, ladies, check out this sexy little...

Oh.

["Urp"ing noise]

Sorry, sorry. Uh, yeah, Julie B.? This one's really not doing anything for me. In fact, the neck hump area is kind of grossing me out.

 

Not to worry, though; there's more where that came from. Next!

Huh.

Um, Donna B., not that I don't appreciate the liberal use of painted-on under-arm hair (and other hair which I was kind enough to cover - you're welcome) and the whole "good luck on your wedding night" sentiment, but again, this is really having more of the opposite effect on me. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it looks like the chest of a pasty-white prepubescent.

 

Ohhhkay. Now I just creeped myself out, looking at this. [averting eyes] Next! NEXT!!

Whoa! I think we just went to the other extreme; this guys looks to be about 70. And is it just me, or does he have a bunch of raisins on his chest? That, or his chest hair has gone all matted and clumpy.

[gagging] Rapidly. Losing. Appetite.

By the way, Amanda E., not that I'm complaining, but I don't think he has any nipples. Again, NOT complaining. Really. Put those raisins down, woman!

 

Oh, look: Tam & Annabel found Mr. Heard-it-through-the-grapevine's bottom half, and it begs the question...

Is acupuncture ever a good package deal? Just wondering.

 

Ok, this is ridiculous. I don't feel like we've objectified any guys at all with these cakes! Sarah W., you're our last hope. Bring it, sistah.

Aaaugh!! My eyes! My seared, bleeding eyes!

What this headless, neckless, armless, and legless torso lacks in limbs it certainly makes up for with day-glo orange streakiness. Not to mention that it exudes a kind of sinister intelligence: I swear it's looking at me.

In fact, here's a hypothetical for y'all: You get up in the middle of the night, and turn suddenly to find this cake hopping along behind you. Do you:

a) scream
b) laugh
c) grab a fork or
d) all of the above?

[sigh]

Well, ladies, I'm sorry: our quest to objectify men using cakes has failed. But on the bright side, we'll always have Tom Selleck - right?

*****

Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

the last panel may surprise, and then appetize, you

Friday, August 18th, 2017 12:00 am
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August 18th, 2017next

August 18th, 2017: This week I have been at a delightful cottage and it has been delightful! I recommend: delightful cottages. Thank you for your time and attention.

– Ryan

Things could be bad in Boston tomorrow

Friday, August 18th, 2017 07:49 am
madfilkentist: Photo of Carl (Default)
[personal profile] madfilkentist
I've been trying to find first-hand information from the Boston Free Speech group, which is planning a rally on Boston Common tomorrow. They don't seem to have a Web presence. They have something on Facebook, which leads me through a captcha to a bunch of short reviews by other people.

They've made some serious blunders, and I'm afraid the result will be violence tomorrow. The first mistake was thinking Facebook is useful. If I knew what they actually had to say, it would be an improvement. Instead, they've let others take control of the narrative. John Medlar, one of the organizers, describes the group as "intentionally neutral libertarians." I don't think I know anyone who's involved with them.

Forming coalitions is difficult. You have to deal with people you dislike in some ways. The key is to choose people who'll present their case rationally and coherently. You can work even with people who have serious disagreements on that basis. Superficial agreement with someone who comes off as a loon is dangerous. I've just been looking at the Twitter feed of Joe Biggs, one of the speakers, and he often looks like the latter. For instance, "The left still ignoring the fact they created the KKK and their Lord Hillary looked up to Robert Byrd a KKK grand wizard." (Democrats did create the KKK, but it's unclear what meaning if any "the left" had in the 1860s.)

Gavin McInnes, who was originally going to speak but dropped out, describes himself as a "libertarian family man for closed borders." This is, at best, a serious inconsistency. The term "libertarian" has become popular enough that some people want to grab it for themselves. I can't prevent it.

The news media sensationalize everything. That's how they sell clicks. I don't think anyone at the Boston Globe actually wants violence tomorrow, but they find it useful to make the situation look as threatening as possible. Between them and Mayor Walsh's "We don't want you here" rhetoric, they're encouraging violence. Without them, this would have been a small event few people would have noticed.

There are people who call violence "kinetic beauty" and claim that beating up people they disagree with constitutes "fighting fascism." They may well show up at Boston Common tomorrow to make sure no one can hear what this rally actually has to say. If this happens, it will be a stain on Boston.

Helsinki, Worldcon

Friday, August 18th, 2017 12:04 pm
liv: Table laid with teapot, scones and accoutrements (yum)
[personal profile] liv
That was not the Worldcon I would have liked; I'd hoped to do as several of my friends did, and travel overland and explore some of the region. Or at least to really get immersed in the con itself. And I'd have liked a proper holiday with my partners and their children, which hasn't really happened this year though we've had a few short breaks.

In reality I was only able to go for the long weekend. I spent an eye-watering amount of money on a trip that didn't quite work for me, between flights, accommodation, Worldcon membership (when I actually only ended up attending for half a day), and just general living expenses in a not very well planned trip to an expensive city. It feels churlish to complain about being in a position to spend a bit too much on a less than perfect trip, and in many ways it was good, just not quite what I'd hoped for.

more details )

Irregular Webcomic! #3714

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 10:11 am
[syndicated profile] irregular_comic_rss3_feed
Comic #3714

I debated whether to use "retro feel" or "old-fashioned feel" in the punchline. I'm still not sure if I made the right choice. I guess this comic might still be...

August 17--May 22, 1977

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 09:10 pm
zyzyly: (Default)
[personal profile] zyzyly
Someone asked me what happened after I was busted for possession of hashish in the military 40 years ago. So here's what happened. I was 20 years old at the time, and a long way from home.

I was working nights in labor and delivery, and we had some mandatory thing after work. While we were in the middle of it, the first sergeant came over and asked me to accompany him across the street to our barracks. We walked up to the third floor where my room was, and some of my buddies were sitting on the floor in the hall, being watched by an MP with a police dog. I was invited to join them.

Meanwhile in the rooms, another police dog, Argo, was sniffing around looking for hashish. He was a good dog, and he found it. Interestingly, they guy who sold it to me and my buddies, sold us 5 chunks, each about the size of a thumb. The MPs knew how many chunks they were looking for, and which rooms to look in. We had been ratted out by the guy who sold it to us, who had likely been ratted out himself. By the time the day was done, he had been moved out and we never heard from him again.

They found 4 of the 5 chunks. One of my other friends, whose room was at the end of the hall, overslept and missed the meeting. He walked out of his room and saw all the commotion, said, "Must be a party", and returned to his room. He immediately opened his window and tossed his chunk on the roof. They eventually found it, but couldn't tie it to him.

We got taken down to the base jail and sat there for a while, and then our first sergeant came and took us home. He didn't say much, but he didn't have to.

What happened back then was that they gave you a chance to rehabilitate yourself. It involved lots of peeing in cups, going to rehab classes, non-judicial punishment, and whatever else they thought of.

Shortly after this all transpired, I went to talk with the first sergeant. He was a good guy. I told him I would do whatever it took to not get kicked out of the military. He told me what I would need to do, and I did it.

I went to all the classes and made all the meetings. I peed clean. I stayed out of trouble. I accepted my punishment, which was a temporary drop in rank and pay for 6 months. I also had to translate the dorm fuse box into English from German, and dig a ditch for a hedge the 1st Sgt. wanted to plant.

Everyone else that was caught that day got kicked out.

I learned a lot from the experience. I learned to face trouble on my own for the first time in my life. I learned that I could survive bad things happening to me, which would continue to help me down the line. I learned that I was a survivor.

I finished my tour of duty in Germany and was transferred to a base in the US. A few years later I received an honorable discharge. And a good conduct medal!

I'll never forget that 1st Sgt. who was willing to give me a chance to redeem myself. Glen Jackson. He retired somewhere in Germany.

One of the most encouraging things about reading my two friends' obituaries was that they were able to redeem themselves as well, and bring some love to the world. I am sorry we weren't able to celebrate that together, and that's what made me cry about all this as I wrote it.

Believe what you see.

Friday, August 18th, 2017 12:01 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
From a Charlottesville resident:

"There seems to be a perception from people outside of Charlottesville that what is going on here is two opposing groups coming to town and fighting some ideological battle that has gotten messy. That is not what is happening here. What is happening here is that several hate groups from the extreme right have come together under the "unite the right" banner here in our town and basically started acting as terrorists. This may seem like an exaggeration but it's not...."

Up to not-EIGHT-hours of sleep!

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 11:49 pm
archangelbeth: An anthropomorphic feline face, with feathered wing ears, and glasses, in shades of gray. (Default)
[personal profile] archangelbeth
Which is an improvement, but I should like to catch up with nine sometime.

Tomorrow the washing machine comes.

Today, I belatedly ordered spouse's anniversary gift. I told him this. He went, "But I didn't get you anything." I told him the washer could count. He said that sounded like something that should get him in trouble instead. OTOH, not having to go to the laundromat is certainly a win...

Plus all his clothes are permanent-press, and transporting those -- they have to hang to get the folds right -- would be pretty tricky or impossible to do from the laundromat. (Which made me realize that permanent-press is a status marker along the lines of "owns house and washer/dryer." The next status marker up is "send everything out to be dry-cleaned," I suspect? Which then removes the need for house and washer/dryer, probably due to living in a studio apartment downtown that costs eleventy zillion a month and has a spectacular view and white chairs...)

Portuguese version of Legend of the Morning Star should be up on the Zon now. And now I can fix... the copyright date. *headdesk*

(Please continue good thoughts for my friend who dearly, dearly needs them.)

Havva Quote
M__ needs to rant about Secret Empire again.
M__ thought he purged all the toxin. But then comics this week came out.
-----------------------Quoted by M__------------------------
M__: Wow, I'm glad Secret Empire can't get worse...

Marvel: HOLD MY BEER!
------------------------------------------------------------


INwatch+Bookwatch )

Dragons under fold )

But it's all right

Friday, August 18th, 2017 12:10 am
austin_dern: Inspired by Krazy Kat, of kourse. (Default)
[personal profile] austin_dern

Wrapped up another week on my humor blog. Here's what ran, in case you missed it at the time:

So Cedar Point has announced what they're doing with the former Mean Streak, and what the new ride's name will be, and it defied my expectations by not being Vicious Streak or what it should have been, Winning Streak. Instead it's completely non-streaky. The name is Steel Vengeance, and the ride comes with a backstory about it being the personification of JRPG lawmakers come to seek revenge on Maverick, the next-nearest roller coaster, that's a representation of a horse. Unanswered: wait, vengeance on a horse?

SAM_6619.jpg

And the entrance to Mean Streak's queue for our second and last ride on it that day. I notice with sadness that the approximate wait time for this, the last chance anyone would have to ride this, was still only 45 minutes.


SAM_6622.jpg

Green train returning towards the entry queue. Please admire what I did with light and color there.


SAM_6649.jpg

From the vast infield of Mean Streak. Again, please admire what I did with light and color there.


SAM_6656.jpg

Yellow train climbing the second major hill of Mean Streak.


SAM_6667.jpg

Footers for the roller coaster with suspicious-looking pink dots of spray paint. Note the other footers that don't have dots on them. This means something.


SAM_6670.jpg

Mysterious wooden post marked RMC 118 stuck into the ground near one of the footers. This means something. Well, specifically, the RMC all but surely means Rocky Mountain Construction, since RMC is the outfit that turns wooden roller coasters into steel coasters. I'm not sure if Cedar Point had announced RMC was doing the conversion at the time, but it's kind of like guessing that maybe the voice actor doing that wacky-sounding cartoon animal was Frank Welker? The 118, who knows what that could mean?


Trivia: New York City adopted the orange, white, and blue of the 17th Century Dutch Flag for its own city flag in 1915. Source: The Island At The Centre Of The World, Russell Shorto.

Currently Reading: A Gambling Man: Charles II's Restoration Game, Jenny Uglow.

Announcement: RainbowCon 2.1

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 07:09 pm
mdlbear: Welcome to Rainbow's End (sign) (rainbows-end)
[personal profile] mdlbear

RainbowCon 2.1 (our second convention, in our third year, thanks to a brief hiatus for moving) will be held on May 4-6, 2018! North American Guest of Honor is Cat Faber; Overseas Guest of Honor is Gwen Knighton Raftery. We are hoping there will be a toastmaster, but we don't have a name to announce for that yet.

Location is 4414 Skyline Drive, Freeland WA (on beautiful Whidbey Island), and there is information about local hotel options for people who want them. The new location has two acres of outdoor space in which we can spread out, hold our traditional maypole dance, and have outdoor song circles around the fire pit. Keep your eyes open for our neighborhood deer, who like to browse on the lawn.

We're still doing free membership but accepting donations to offset the out-of-pocket expenses of bringing our guests here and running this thing, for those who are able and willing to contribute. We welcome members who want to run events -- workshops, games, theme circles, or whatever. RainbowCon is a participatory event... everyone's welcome to take a turn at leading if they want to, but nobody is required to do more than show up and have fun!

Please contact nrivkis@fastmail.com with membership requests, or questions about the convention. Ditto if you want to be part of the programming. It will be really helpful to us if we can get early memberships, because then we'll be able to block out hotel space nearby.

We look forward to seeing you here!

'Eye of the Beholder'

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 09:01 pm
cyberghostface: (Two-Face)
[personal profile] cyberghostface posting in [community profile] scans_daily
 

'Eye of the Beholder' from Batman Annual #14 is probably the most important modern Two-Face story ever written. This was the issue that fleshed out Harvey Dent's origins and redefined his characterization as someone who was already struggling with his psyche before the acid hit. A lot of the material here was later used in 'The Long Halloween', the animated series as well as The Dark Knight.

Unfortunately this has yet to be reprinted by DC, either in trade or in digital format. I imagine the latter will happen sooner or later (Comixology is constantly adding old comics to the archive) but DC's treatment of this has always puzzled me.

Scans under the cut... )
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
Confederate-honoring statues are going down. In Hollywood Forever Cemetery, LA. And Lexington, KY. And quite a few other places. And Nancy Pelosi wants them out of the Capitol. Here's a list across the country.

And whose heritage do public symbols of confederacy belong to, anyway?

Florida has more racist hate groups than any other state; I wonder how old the members are.

Texas A&M cancels a rally by white supremacists, because of the possibility of violence against students.

Congressman Will Hurd and others say Trump should apologize for his remarks about Charlottesville.

Not only did Trump's business leaders walk away from him, they're not quiet about why. Here's another statement of why, including the following: "To be clear, the council never lived up to its potential for delivering policies that lift up working families. In fact, we were never called to a single official meeting, even though it comprised some of the world’s top business and labor leaders. The A.F.L.-C.I.O. joined to bring the voices of working people to the table and advocate the manufacturing initiatives our country desperately needs. But the only thing the council ever manufactured was letterhead. In the end, it was just another broken promise."

It took quite a bit of behind the scenes discussion, apparently.

And a look into the past history of American racism in the other inconvenient truth. Note the role Nixon had in creating hatred and persecution that continues to this day.

The racist who organized the Charlottesville white separtists ran away from his own press conference. Another white separatist was stuck having a press conference in his own office after two hotels turned him down.

I am not sure I agree with this idea of how to handle Trump, by making him say only what is written down. Why? I'm not sure he's literate enough to deal with the concepts. Even when he writes things down, they're offensive, ignorant, ahistorical and just plain wrong. And he's as much of a racist in private as in public. It's not just for show. He's bad enough at being president that the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is saying, publicly, Trump lacks the stability and competence to do the job. Is he about to go down in flames? The big question: What do you do when the President is unAmerican?

At this point, domestic terrorism is not a federal crime; that may change soon. Or we may have to consider if we are heading for another civil war.

Bannon doesn't understand about interviews. He should. He was a founder of Breitbart, and fell down their hole long ago.

And Silicon Valley is having an anti-Nazi purge. Twitter is shutting down white supremacist accounts. Can they shut down Trump now? Maybe the damaging myth of the longer genius nerd is involved.

The NYTimes has thoughts on how to roll back fanaticism.

***

Is there a better way to protest?

Malala is going to Oxford.

New Jersey introduces a fund to support local journalism.

A new poem by Sherman Alexie.

Trump's anti-abortion policies could keep girls around the world out of school.

Top journalists talk about the best job advice they were ever given. And 7 quick tips for conducting tough interviews.

When someone is hit by a train in the NY Subway, where do they put the body? In the MTA lunchrooms!

Some thoughts on signaling behavior and decisionmaking in government.

Buddhist wisdom: Everything we do matters, but two things are critical.

You don't know about Vernice Warfield, but you should.

Meg Wollitzer on feeling strong without a security blanket.

Talking with Lili Taylor and Janeane Garofalo.

"Have I told you lately"

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 08:38 pm
rosefox: Me looking at Kit and both of us grinning. (me and kit)
[personal profile] rosefox
It's my late night at the office. I videocalled home to say goodnight to the baby. They were tired, so after a while they waved bye-bye. I said "Okay, Kit, bye-bye! I love you!" and signed love you.

And they signed love back.

Me: [tears]
X: [tears]
Kit: [earnestly signing love at the camera]

My baby told me they love me. I'll just be here in a little melted puddle forever.

Free Speech and Nazis

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 08:42 pm
jimhines: (Snoopy Writing)
[personal profile] jimhines

Like many of us, I’ve been struggling to process what happened in Charlottesville over the weekend, and what’s been happening in this country for a while now. The racism and hatred and violence didn’t magically appear out of nowhere. It’s been building up for a long time…in fact, much of it has always been there. It’s just boiling over into the open right now, making it harder (but obviously not impossible) to look away and pretend it’s not happening.

Part of the argument I’ve seen centers around free speech and the First Amendment. Free speech is a right, an important one, and rights apply to everyone. Even people you dislike and disagree with.

But freedom of speech in this country is not and has never been limitless. From the U.S. Federal Courts, here are a few examples of actions not legally protected by freedom of speech:

  • Students making an obscene speech at a school-sponsored event.
  • Making/distributing obscene materials.
  • Inciting actions that would harm others (e.g., Shouting “fire” in a crowded theater.)

Now, here are some of the “alt-right” protesters who gathered in Charlottesville.

Read the rest of this entry » )

Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.

[ SECRET POST #3879 ]

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 07:05 pm
case: (Default)
[personal profile] case posting in [community profile] fandomsecrets

⌈ Secret Post #3879 ⌋

Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.

01.


More! )


Notes:

Secrets Left to Post: 01 pages, 10 secrets from Secret Submission Post #555.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.

Fig

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 05:48 pm
james_davis_nicoll: (Default)
[personal profile] james_davis_nicoll
Can maintain disdainful detachment even as another, unfamiliar, cat thoughtfully grooms Fig's hind paw.
superboyprime: (Default)
[personal profile] superboyprime posting in [community profile] scans_daily


'One of the complaints the Byrne Bashers like to dust off from time to time is that I have a "fetish" about young girls crushing on older men. In a forty five year career, this is something I have done a grand total of four times with Mac and Heather Hudson, Lana and Superman in GENERATIONS, Rita Farr and Cliff Steele, and Reed and Sue Richards. And that last one was set in place by Stan and Jack. As fetishes go, not much to write home about.' - John Byrne

Read more... )

Family.

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 02:28 pm
azurelunatic: A red apple with a bite out of it, captioned in Star Trek font "What no-win scenario?" (what no-win scenario)
[personal profile] azurelunatic
I am scared of my family right now.

My immediate family are largely good people who generally behave with kindness to all, and abhor the concepts of white supremacy and fascism like any decent person.

My aunts on my father's side are pretty awesome. Hippie Uncle is great, and Woodworking Uncle has good intentions and maybe a few distortions due to assorted experiences of privilege, but he does not appear to go out of his way to fuck other people over.

My aunt-by-marriage scares me. She's a doctor, and things she has said about transgender people, and gender in general, make me feel unsafe around her.

My uncle who is married to that aunt has good intentions, but does not appear to be in a position to temper his wife's attitudes.

"Racist Cousin Anna" has said some things about Mexicans that made me turn away from her. She's married to the older of that uncle's kids.

Both those cousins have posted things about guns and Muslims on Facebook that make me scared, like they wouldn't hesitate to support laws that would marginalize my friends, or might use one of those guns on someone.

I don't have the scariest family in the world. And I'm still skittish of saying anything that might prompt them to stop seeing me as their tame cousin and start seeing me as Other.

Greetings from the land of Hnnnnnnngh.

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 01:53 pm
sistawendy: (hand staple forehead)
[personal profile] sistawendy
I'd really like to sleep past 0600. I haven't managed that very often for the last few weeks, and my usual wakeup time on weekdays has been more like 0515. Is it summer, or is it just getting old? I'm hoping it's the former, natch. It's hurting my concentration at work, of course, and even on the way home: I got on the wrong bus yesterday, and I was late to make dinner for my son. And then I screwed up dinner, partially. (My son, unusually, didn't complain, but I wouldn't have blamed him if he had.) Tonight I let those fine professionals at Than Brothers do the cooking, as promised.

I think this must have been what Frodo & Bilbo felt like after wearing the Ring too much.

Worldcon 2017 Trip Day 11: On to Iceland

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 07:02 pm
kevin_standlee: (Kevin and Lisa)
[personal profile] kevin_standlee
We had an 8:45 AM flight out of Helsinki this morning, so after much too little sleep we lurched out of bed, completed our packing, checked out of the hotel, and got a train to the airport. We are very grateful to the extremely frequent airport trains, because we missed the first one we planned to catch, but there was another one coming along in just a few minutes, so it did not matter.

We're in Saga class for this trip (hooray for Alaska miles), so we had access to the lounge and therefore didn't have to buy breakfast. OTOH, my unfamiliarity with the airport cost us €5 because we didn't realize where to go to cash in the one tax-rebate purchase we made, and by the time we realized that the refund place was as the other end of the terminal, it was too late because the flight to Reykjavik was already boarding.

The flight itself was routine and comfortable, with complementary noise-canceling headsets (I forgot to bring mine, which was annoying on the trip out) and another breakfast. To save some standing in like at KEF, I pre-bought the FlyBus airport-to-city transfer tickets. By the time we got to baggage claim, our bags were waiting for us, and we walked outside and found the FlyBus. We got the front two seats for the 50 km drive to Reykjavik. At the bus terminal, we had to get out and wait for a mini-bus to collect us and take us to the stop near our hotel.

Easy to Find Landmark )

If you cannot handle stairs, never stay at this hotel. You need to negotiate stairs simply to get into the front lobby from street level, and there are no lifts. Normally for us this wouldn't be a problem, but Lisa's knee has been troubling her during this trip. She can walk on flat ground okay, but stairs give her trouble. And we have a lot of luggage. (Fortunately, our room was only on the second floor (of four), so I only had to carry luggage up one flight of stairs.)

As we expected, we were vastly early, but the hotel staff were nice and let us store our (substantial) luggage behind the counter. Tea/coffee/cocoa are available at all hours in the lobby (and you can take it back to your room), so we sat and had some tea while we repacked our bags and made plans for today. After putting most of our stuff behind the hotel counter, we set off to explore and kill time until 2 PM when our room would be ready.

Tiny Room and High Prices )

This is something of a letdown after the ten nights in an Executive Floor room at the Holiday Inn Convention Centre in Helsinki. I do really wish that IHG had properties here. But we'll make the best of it.

We Have Been Warned )

We'd been warned about the high prices in Iceland, and high they are. We'll be here four nights and most of five days, and we'll need to keep costs down where we can. Tonight we decided to just buy some groceries and eat them in our hotel room. There's no refrigerator, more's the pity, but Lisa had a can of tinned fish left over from Germany, I got some salami, and we made sandwiches. They don't allow outside food in the downstairs breakfast area, and as I said, the rooms are tiny, but we made the best of it, watching a train video that Lisa had on her computer.

Tomorrow we hope to take things relatively easy and not overwhelm ourselves. Aren't vacations supposed to be restful?

Lame-Duck President

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 11:54 am
elf: Many Americans have all the virtues of civilized people (American virtues)
[personal profile] elf
The Atlantic has a lovely piece of analysis on the current administration: Donald Trump Is a Lame-Duck President
"Just seven months into his presidency, Trump appears to have achieved a status usually reserved for the final months of a term."

It points out the features of a lame-duck presidency, which is usually reserved for the final handful of months, especially in a second term. (Hey, guess what! POTUS45 has accomplished in 7 months what it took Bush 7 years to do!)

Quotes )
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
This is factually untrue - I just finished a new book yesterday - but it does feel that way.

Recommend something to me! Especially nonfiction - I really don't read much of that, so I can promise that I'll never have read whatever you recommend! (Whereas if you recommend anything kidlit or YA there's better than even odds that I've read it.)

Later I'll post up my own list of random recommendations for everybody, but right now I really must dash.
andrewducker: (Default)
[personal profile] andrewducker
Monday is my birthday, and to celebrate Jane is going to show me around Paris for a long weekend. We're off tomorrow morning, and arriving back on my actual Birthday (Monday), which is _also_ the anniversary of the first time she hugged me (after she came to the airport to meet me off the plane back from my trip around the Southlands).

I arrived home to discover that she had made this wonder in the living room:


And I am looking forward to being allowed to open any of the things underneath it!

(Jim is being left with strict instructions that he is not allowed to eat any of the boxes. Or the tree. Or be sick on any of them. Or peek inside.)

hoo chapter 6

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 10:45 am
solarbird: (Default)
[personal profile] solarbird
Super-nervous about chapter six (just posted).

I always worry about tearing it, you know? In the showbiz sense. Breaking credibility, within a context, even if that context is pretty incredible (in the sense of not credible) to begin with, like Overwatch. And I kind of feel like I'm dancing up to that line with that chapter, with Venom as a character.

If people make it through Terrifying in Flight, I think chapter seven ("Is It Good Enough For You, Still?") will clarify some things. Angela thought, in chapter six, "that's a lie," and she was correct. But I can't put that in front of chapter six, I can't say, "trust me here," because, well, y'can't do that, it doesn't make sense.

Questions of identity float around in Old Soldiers, and this is part of that arc, and and and and.

Scary.
solarbird: (tracer)
[personal profile] solarbird

[AO3 link]

"Letting us take the first shot, then?" Gabriel Reyes asked Venom, eyeing the new intel sent along on sideband. "We got Sombra's location reports - thank you."

The Talon assassin nodded. "Yeh. I..." she frowned. "Gabe, luv, I'm gonna get this out there. I voted no. But I lost, so I'll go along."

"I appreciate that." Reyes gave Oxton a considering look. "You sure, though? The way you stormed out..."

The assassin nodded. "I've got my reasons, and I've made my promises - to Amélie - and I keep 'em." Just ask G/C Henderson, she thought, Oh wait, you can't, he's dead. The memory made her smile, just a little. Small but lasting comforts.

"Glad to hear it. Thank you," replied the tactical advisor. Promises to the Widowmaker? That'd do it. "We collectively - all of us at Overwatch, Tracer possibly excepted - want to bring him to justice, intact. Not just have him disappear again."

Lena "Venom" Oxton snorted, a little. "Might be right about Tracer. But for us - well, it's better than nothing."

Reyes breathed out. Good. "I'm putting together some plans, based upon your intel - and ours." He brought his right hand to his chin, thoughtfully. "I just wish we had a sniper. Closest we've got is Mei, and she's good with that ice pistol of hers, but it's not the same thing."

Venom thought about the problem, and a solution. Would Amélie be okay with it? Yes, she thought so. With the right conditions attached. Maybe even... proud. Let's float it. "You might. Have a sniper, I mean."

Gabriel tilted his head and stared into the screen. "...Amélie's suddenly willing to work with me?"

"No," Venom said. "But I am."

"Since when are you a sniper?"

Another snort. "C'mon, mate, how long have I been with the world's best sniper? Like I've told Winston - she teaches me her tricks."

"I can't see how you have the patience for it. How good are you?"

"I'm good, mate. Not Amélie good, but... good. Very good."

Gabe looked dubiously at her, through the screen. "How very good?"

Venom thought about it. "I keep a list of better snipers than me, right? Amélie's on top, of course; Zhanna Orlov's below her, Shimada Hanzo a few steps down, all that."

She's good enough to keep that list? he thought. But aloud, he kept it to, "Sure."

"Everyone on that list keeps a list like it. Amélie's still on top, but theirs has a question mark, down... maybe below number ten? But on the list."

"And that's you?"

Venom smiled. "Can't confirm that, luv. But."

"You willing to demonstrate that at the embassy?"

"Maybe. There's conditions." She looked thoughtful, glancing down to the side. "I have to check with Amélie. She might veto this."

"Why?"

"Reasons."

Gabriel nodded. Talon secret tech, or something like it. Fair enough. "Let me know. It sure would be nice to have a sniper available."

"Aye aye."

-----

Two days later, Tracer appeared on the balcony outside Winston's office, in the usual tangerine and white. She waved towards the glass door, and Winston started to let her in, then stopped, blinked, and stepped back.

"Honest, luv, it's me," came her voice through the door speaker. "Horizon Angle Delta Vector Seventeen Nine Seven Nine Banana Clown."

"Pictograph?"

"Waves."

The gorilla opened the door, still wary, and Lena Oxton stepped inside out of the sunlight. In the office, she looked less blue around the edges, thanks to the warm lighting overhead, but the tint was still there, and her goggles had a fleet of extra red eyes, in mobile plates, along the sides and top. "I wanted to arrive dressed as Tracer, so's nobody'd notice, but..." She pressed buttons on her grapple, now equipped with familiar and frightening extras, and her suit changed to black and green. "Mockingbird reporting for sniper duty."

"Lena, what did you do?!"

She smiled in a broad way, most unlike her spider, and most like herself. It helped, a little. "Nothin' permanent. I swear. This is just what I look like when I'm a sniper."

Gabriel and Angela came up the stairs to the ambassador's office, and froze in their tracks at Winston and Lena. Angela shrieked a little, and Gabriel shuddered. "That... that is... deeply disturbing. Lena, are you still you?" asked the doctor.

Gold-tinted eyes - regular brown still visible underneath, if you looked closely - darted to Dr. Ziegler. "Guess I shoulda warned ya, huh? Yeh, it's still me in here." Her voice was the slightest bit slower and lower than usual, but clearly still hers.

"What have you done to yourself?!" Angela leaned forward, and Mockingbird stepped fluidly back, with an ah-ah-ah finger motion. "Sorry, doc, no scans. That's the rule if I'm gonna be here like this."

"I wasn't going to. Is it, is it..."

"Permanent? Nah. Nothin' to it, really. Some drugs, some other tricks."

That's a lie, thought the doctor. "Why?!"

"All the sniper traits. Night distance vision. Stability, in motion. Patience - well, for me, anyway. Stillness, too - I can stop my heart for three minutes in this mode and be just fine. But I keep my twitch reflex, and the energy I store up is barmy! I won't need to eat for four days. Which is good," she joked, "'cause don't ask me to read a menu in the dark right now."

Gabriel shook his head back and forth. "Your whole organisation is not right in the brain."

Mockingbird laughed, a very Tracer-like laugh, and that, too, helped. "When we're on the range, I'm gonna be even scarier. I'll ramp down my emotions s'more and turn the spider all the way up." She brought up her vizor's extensions, and her goggles' primary field went dark red.

Winston reached out to her, without words, and she took his hand. "Or maybe I won't." She reset the vizor to standard mode. "Didn't think you'd be this fruck out, big guy. It's okay, honest."

"You weren't here when Amélie killed Gérard, you don't..." He felt her hand. "You're cool to the touch," he said, quietly.

"Not that cool. Just enough to avoid bein' picked up on infrared. Won't fool the best models, but it helps."

"Please say you aren't turning into Amélie. I... I don't want you turning into Amélie."

Mockingbird snickered, saying, "Well, they do say married couples start to look alike," and activated the vizor again.

"Lena, no! Be serious! I don't want to lose you."

She smiled, waved the magnifiers away, and held her friend's hand against her face. "Aw, luv, no. I like who I am. This is fun, but not... as fun. It'll all go away later. But right now, you need a sniper." She lowered his hand, and patted his shoulder. "I can shed most of this in about an hour, if I really need to."

"That's all it takes?" asked the Swiss doctor.

"For me? Yeh, in an emergency. I can throw 'bout half of it off in under a minute, if I really gotta - but it hurts like the dickens."

Gabriel shook his head. Crazy people, Talon - all of 'em. "Where's your rifle?"

Mockingbird, it seemed, had Lena Oxton's famous half-grin, and she flashed it, and flipped her pistols. "Right here." She popped them together, they locked, and the barrel extended. From a pouch, she pulled out a surprisingly conventional-looking scope, which snapped right on top. "But: ground rules. One: no scans. Sorry, doc. Two: I'm not Tracer, I'm Mockingbird. Stick to it, I mean it. No "Lena," no "Tracer," not outside this office. Three: nobody, and I mean nobody, touches my tech but me. Anyone does, I walk away completely, and for good. No more Mockingbird, and" - she said this slowly, and clearly - "no. more. Tracer. either."

She waited a moment to make sure all that had sunk in. "These are the terms. Otherwise, I leave now, no harm done, and Tracer comes back tomorrow wondering if she missed anything. Agreed?"

"Le... Mockingbird, this cannot be good for you," said Angela. "I promise, just a circulatory..."

"No," the sniper said firmly. "None."

The doctor sighed. "You are not the only one here who experiments with her body in extreme ways. You are stressing it more than I think you know. I want to help."

"We do this before breakfast, luv. But, y'know, if you ever want to switch teams, you could do all the scans you..."

"I don't think so," the doctor interrupted. "But how am I going to know how to treat you in the field, if necessary?"

Mockingbird tipped her head, and smiled. "I'll give you this." She held up a small memory card. "Complete treatment protocols for anything that has to happen faster than a Talon extraction team can reach me. You can have it once everything's settled."

"I insist that I be allowed to practice these protocols. At least the physicality of them. In battle," she did not really have to say, "it matters."

"Ah, yeah! As long as your nanos aren't taking samples, that's fine."

"And may I please, at least, examine you later? When this is over? To be sure you've handled this well? Your own doctors may want that data."

Mockingbird thought about it. The compassion was genuine, she was pretty sure, but so was the desperate curiosity to know how all this worked. There would be things for her to find, later, but little she wouldn't've had a chance to see before, and she'd be looking in all the wrong places... good enough, she decided. "They'll already have it, but - deal."

"Thank you." The doctor looked a little bit relieved, if still more than a little concerned. "I accept."

"Winston? How 'bout it?"

"Gabriel, are you willing to work under these conditions?"

The former Blackwatch head nodded. "I've worked under way worse than this. I'm good. Uh, I... accept the terms?"

"Oh, right," said the assassin, "This has to be for the whole organisation." She switched to Tracer colours, and said, "On behalf of Overwatch, I, Lena "Tracer" Oxton, agree to the terms of Mockingbird's service," before switching back. "Sounds like a bloody software license, don't it? That just leaves you, Winston. And Mei, but she's not here yet."

"I don't like it," said the gorilla. "But... deal. No scans, no handling, no anything."

Mockingbird smiled. "Brilliant!" She tossed Angela the memory card. "Have fun with that. The rest of us - let's go shoot some wings off mosquitoes!"

-----

"You know, as a sniper, I'll be going for the head shot," Mockingbird said over Overwatch comms, launching herself high into the air with her grapple. They'd started at the indoor range, but she got bored with 50 metre shooting and started coming up with creative ways to undo target clips with bullets, and the army's outdoor range was much more interesting. Still carried by momentum on the way up, she twisted left, and took the head off the first target dummy.

"We've been over this," responded Gabriel, watching as she took the head off a second target on the way down, before even landing on her cliffside perch. "We want him alive." He took notes that started with 'Terrifying in flight.'

"And we want him dead," she retorted. "I want him dead. Don't get me wrong, Gabe, I'm here, I'm goin' along with your plan, but alive's not the sniper's job." From that upper perch, she hit three for four on moving ground targets. Two headshots, one ricochet shot that missed, a follow-up direct shot leaving a grazed neck. That last one would walk away, with medical aid. "Damn."

'Never really stops moving,' the new Overwatch tactics expert added to his notes. 'Highly mobile.' "We just want the tactical visor gone."

She spun around from her nest and ticked a faceplate off the sixth target dummy. "And that's a headshot."

"Tracer, just..."

"Tracer's not here, luv."

"Mockingbird."

"Hiya!" She triggered reload, and launched herself to the second perch. He noted she wasn't jinking at all, no teleports, no rewinds, just running, moving with the grapple, and nothing else. Still all about movement, though.

Bang, target down. "No additional shots after the visor's gone." He could almost feel her dirty look from the ground. Bang, another ricochet shot, target missed.

She landed, swore, and took a second shot on the second target, moving within her section's perch point for a direct shot, taking the dummy down. "Not even to save another agent?" She ran a strafe pattern against moving dummies, bang, bang, bang. Four for three, including a domino shot. All perfect.

Jesus, she's good, Gabriel thought. Maybe not Amari good, those ricochet shots aren't working, but... Aloud, he said, "Except to save another agent."

"Short day for me, then." Another reload, and she launched herself into the air, diving to the final shooting perch. Gabriel surprised her with three airborne targets. Bang, down, bang, down, bang, bang, down. "Seems a shame if I have to get all gussied up." She landed and rolled to the third sighting point.

"A short day would be very, very good indeed."

Three fast targets, running along the ground, zagging, all with faceplates - the most human of them all. Three shots, three faceplates off, all targets down. "My way would be even shorter."

"Mockingbird. Please. I know what you are. Don't make it harder."

Lena Oxton breathed in, carefully. She wondered, occasionally, how long she could make this Talon-Overwatch joint arrangement last, and this was one of those times. It's for the best, she reminded herself. If, occasionally, a right pain in the arse. "Sorry, Gabe. I'm workin' so hard to remind everyone it's me in here, maybe I overdid it a bit. Is that it for the first round?"

"Yeah, that's the first set. What'd you think?"

"I liked the surprise skeet, that was fun! But I was sloppy. I can do better, if I drop the banter. And nothin' returned fire!"

"This is a target range, not a combat simulator, what'd you expect?"

"Might fix that."

"If we had the money. You're supposed to know that."

"Maybe Tracer's supposed to know that - I'm not."

Right, he thought. "Mockingbird, secure weapon, and return to start. We'll reset the range for another round."

"Gotcha!"

Five Things Chien Said

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 12:23 pm
[syndicated profile] ao3_news_feed

Five Things an OTW Volunteer Said

Every month or so the OTW will be doing a Q&A with one of its volunteers about their experiences in the organization. The posts express each volunteer's personal views and do not necessarily reflect the views of the OTW or constitute OTW policy. Today's post is with Chien, who volunteers as a translator.

How does what you do as a volunteer fit into what the OTW does?

As part of the Chinese translating team I assist in putting together Chinese versions for anything the OTW posts online, from AO3 guidelines to write-ups of amicus briefs. Basically I'm part of the bridge of communication that connects the OTW to the Chinese-speaking fannish community, helping to reach out to more people who might be interested in what we do!

What is a typical week like for you as a volunteer?

I joined the OTW right before my last year of high school and now I'm preparing for my UEC certificate exams in October, so generally my week is similar to that of any typical Chinese independent school student -- except I use Google Drive a lot more often! I live in the school dorms too, which (gasp) don't have any WiFi amenities, so I normally make my task for the week available offline and use my smartphone app during the week, then hand it in when I'm home for the weekend to save data charges XD. I also handle the occasional "do you get paid for your work?" from curious dormmates, but overall my work is like a de-stressing pastime for me.

What sorts of OTW content have you worked on?

Other than pages for the AO3 site and legal write-ups, I've done news posts and election manifestos too. I also dip into the Tag Wranglers' chat room to help out with fandom tags. And when I'm 18 in two months I'll apply for Abuse tickets too, because all experience is good experience, no?

What's the most fun thing to you about volunteering for the OTW?

Fandom tags are really great fun, especially when a familiar series pops up every so often (I was so hyped when the first Chinese tags for Yuri!!! on Ice came in.) It also keeps my mind on its toes as I jump back and forth between two languages, and I've always had a thing for linguistics, haha! Plus I've learned more legal terms in the past year than I have in my entire life, which could be a good conversation starter if I need one.

What fannish things do you like to do?

I made my FanFiction.net account when I was twelve, then moved to AO3 after getting into Free! My Tumblr blog is basically a collection of art reblogs from whatever fandoms I'm into, which could be anything from Steven Universe to Game of Thrones. I occasionally rant about issues in the fandom too, when I'm struck by the fancy. Then there's headcanons with fellow fans too, which may or may not be turned into NSFW fics on AO3.


Now that our volunteer’s said five things about what they do, it’s your turn to ask one more thing! Feel free to ask about their work in comments. Or if you'd like, you can check out earlier Five Things posts.

And down they come

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 11:34 am
twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
In Baltimore, four Confederate statues were taken down at night and without prior notice, by order of the mayor. The City Council had called for their removal, also.

In Durham, NC, the night after Charlottesville, citizens tore down a Confederate statue. Police are investigating. Three of the crowd are turning themselves in. And, in a genuine I-Am-Spartacus! move, others are joining them.

Why quiet liberal Charlottesville, home of the University of Virginia, became ground zero.

A positive and creative reaction to Nazis marching through your town -- don't just donate to anti-Nazi groups, but get out there and cheer them on as helping anti-Nazi groups. Confuses the hell out of them.

Why Robert Mueller is looking at Trump SoHo. Not about Confederates, but about working to throw a fascist out of the White House. And another piece of the Trump/Russia puzzle. Yes, it's probably slashy but I'm not interested to know the details.

And because of Charlottesville, Trump's two business councils dissolved themselves -- walked away. He, of course, took credit for disbanding them, but it was another lie.

Meanwhile, House Democrats are moving to formally censure Trump over his response to Charlottesville that indicated he was on the side of the Nazis and white supremacists.

***

In China, Facebook tests a stealth app. And how stealthy will it be if the NY Times is writing about it? Do they think they have no readers in China?

TED: How your brain decides what is beautiful. And let's end ageism. And the fascinating reason children write letters backward.

"Virtue signaling" isn't the problem. Not believing each other is. I'd add, not trusting each other.

Why some famous singers are ruining their voices. And yes, there are people whose voices I hear and it makes my own throat hurt.

Libraries are the real punk rock.

100 law professors have written to Trump to tell him there is no question that the Dream Act is Constitutional.

Democratic Socialists doing some good work

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 07:54 am
smilingslightly: little brown bat perched on her finger (Default)
[personal profile] smilingslightly
This seems a beautiful bit of community contribution/organizing in service of lessening contact with police. My knowledge of the event is based solely on the flyer so here's hoping it goes smoothly and helps some New Orleans folks out.



Text reads: )

RT'd on the New Orleans DSA Twitter account: "Out taillights are #1 reason for traffic stops. Traffic stops are especially perilous and life disrupting to undocumented immigrants and PoC. Good taillights provide a sliver of protection."

policing the Internet

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 10:35 am
cellio: (avatar-face)
[personal profile] cellio

Yesterday Cloudflare, a service that increases reliability (and speed?) of web sites, shut down the Daily Stormer web site. Daily Stormer, if you haven't heard, is the site for the a hate group with broad impact in the US, most recently in the violence and murder in Charlottsville.

Their CEO's blog post announcing the termination isn't just a "they're evil and they're gone" announcement like you sometimes see. It's a thoughtful post that explains the dilemmas faced by the organizations that, by and large, make the Internet work, and what dangers this decision opens up.

Our team has been thorough and have had thoughtful discussions for years about what the right policy was on censoring. Like a lot of people, we’ve felt angry at these hateful people for a long time but we have followed the law and remained content neutral as a network. We could not remain neutral after these claims of secret support by Cloudflare.

Now, having made that decision, let me explain why it's so dangerous.

[...] Someone on our team asked after I announced we were going to terminate the Daily Stormer: "Is this the day the Internet dies?" He was half joking, but only half. He's no fan of the Daily Stormer or sites like it. But he does realize the risks of a company like Cloudflare getting into content policing.

I also found this tidbit interesting:

In fact, in the case of the Daily Stormer, the initial requests we received to terminate their service came from hackers who literally said: "Get out of the way so we can DDoS this site off the Internet."

After finding that post I found this post on Gizmodo that, among things, quotes from internal email he sent.

This was my decision. Our terms of service reserve the right for us to terminate users of our network at our sole discretion. My rationale for making this decision was simple: the people behind the Daily Stormer are assholes and I’d had enough.

Let me be clear: this was an arbitrary decision. It was different than what I’d talked talked with our senior team about yesterday. I woke up this morning in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the Internet. I called our legal team and told them what we were going to do. I called our Trust & Safety team and had them stop the service. It was a decision I could make because I’m the CEO of a major Internet infrastructure company. [...] No one should have that power.

I don't have a coherent opinion yet. On the one hand, policing content is a dangerous game and why I support net neutrality. On the other hand, private companies (and individuals) should be free to act (legally) in their own interests; companies have been refusing service to unacceptable customers on a case-by-case basis for years. On the third hand, there are differences between competitive markets and monopoly markets. (Within monopolies there are government-sponsored ones and we're-big-and-drove-everybody-out ones too.) Balancing all of that is hard.

twistedchick: General Leia in The Force Awakens (Default)
[personal profile] twistedchick
First -- you need to know that the March for Racial Justice has been scheduled for Yom Kippur, excluding anyone Jewish who might want to participate, and the organizers refuse to reschedule: behind cut for length )

ETA: They changed the date.

Second, a Quaker response to Charlottesville from Baltimore Yearly Meeting Quoting: behind cut for length )

Third, the experience of Congregation Beth Israel in Charlottesville. Behind cut for length, but please, please read it. )

Fourth, a philosophical principle coined in 1945 could be a key US defense against white supremacists. It's the Paradox of Tolerance:

1. A tolerant society should be tolerant by default,
2. With one exception: it should not tolerate intolerance itself.

The REAL King Cake

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 01:00 pm
[syndicated profile] cakewrecks_feed

Posted by Jen

Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of Elvis Presley's death, so I thought I'd feature some appropriate cakes. However, I realize many of our younger readers may not be familiar with The King. So listen up, whipper snappers! Picture an older, more talented, better looking, Southern Justin Bieber wearing a white, bedazzled jumpsuit.

...

Also, he may or may not be dead.

...

Maybe don't picture that part.

 

Right. All together now? Then let's get started!

 

This is Elvis:

Rawr! Ffft ffft...

 

This...

...is not Elvis.  I'm thinking either Ray Liotta or Wayne Newton.

 

Elvis:

Not Elvis:

John claims this looks like Jimmy Durante. It's like I don't even know who he is anymore. (John, I mean. Jimmy I had to wiki.)

 

Elvis:

 

Um...

I'm going with Liza Minelli.

 

Elvis:

Oh! Wait! I know this one!

The Brawny paper towel guy!

 

And finally, Elvis:

Annnnnd:

Queen Amidala. Or maybe one of the guys from Menudo. (Thanks, John!)

No, no, I'm staying with Amidala.

 

Thanks to Paula H., Diana C., Connie B., and Chrissy K. who are all, collectively, nuthin' but hound dogs. And oh! The crying! ALL the TIME! Enough, already!

Ah thank you. Thankyouverramuuuch.

 

Update from john: The Munsters! The last one looks like the kid from The Munsters! I knew it was something with an "M" from my childhood.

*****

Thank you for using our Amazon links to shop! USA, UK, Canada.

daf bit: Sanhedrin 32

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 08:57 am
cellio: (talmud)
[personal profile] cellio

The mishna begins a chapter with an overview of how civil and capital cases are conducted:

  • Both civil and capital cases require inquiry and examination of witnesses. (This is done by the judges; there are no lawyers.)

  • Civil cases are tried by a court of three; capital cases are tried by a court of 23.

  • When the judges deliberate on civil cases, they may begin with arguments for either acquittal or condemnation. When they deliberate on capital cases, they must begin with arguments for acquittal.

  • Civil cases may be decided by a majority of one; capital cases may be decided by a majority of one for acquittal, but require a majority of at least two for condemnation.

  • In civil cases the decision may be reversed in either direction (for example upon the discovery of an error). In capital cases the decision may be reversed from condemnation to acquittal but not the other way around.

  • In civil cases, all present (including the pupils who are observing) may argue for or against the defendant. In capital cases, anybody may argue for acquittal but only the judges may argue for condemnation.

  • In civil cases, one who has previously argued for either acquittal or condemnation may then argue for the other side (for example because he realized his argument was faulty). In capital cases, one who has argued for condemnation may then argue for acquittal but not the other way around.

  • Civil cases are tried by day and concluded by night if necessary.
    Capital cases are tried by day and must be concluded by day. Civil cases can be concluded on the same day (either way); capital cases can be concluded on the same day for acquittal but not until the following day for condemnation. Therefore trials are not held on the eve of Shabbat or a festival.

  • In civil cases we begin with the opinion of the most eminent of the judges; in capital cases we begin with the opinion of the least ("those on the side benches").

  • All types of Jews (presumably they mean men) are eligible to try civil cases, but converts and bastards cannot judge capital cases.

(32a, which begins chapter 4)

The Big Idea: Anna Smith Spark

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 12:00 pm
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Posted by John Scalzi

The world we live in is not always peaceful… and maybe sometimes we kind of like it that way, whether we like to admit that or not. Author Anna Smith Spark has thoughts on the act of violence, and how it animates the story of her novel The Broken Knives.

ANNA SMITH SPARK:

The Court of Broken Knives is a novel about violence.

When I started writing the book, I didn’t have a plot or a world or a cast of characters in mind. What I had was a scene.

A desert.

A group of men.

Violence.

I’ve always been fascinated by violence: How one might respond to the opportunity for violence. What doing violence might feel like.  And that’s what The Court of Broken Knives ultimately became about.

I was brought up reading the great myths and legends, the old stories of heroes. The Iliad. The Eddas. Beowulf. Gilgamesh. The Tain. I loved these stories. Read and reread them, immersed myself in them, told myself stories set in their worlds. But what I came back to, as I got older, was the realisation that for so many of these stories we are not reading about good versus evil. We are not reading high fantasy, the last desperate stand where evil is vanquished and the Dark Lord is overthrown. We are reading about violence for its own sake. The act of winning, of killing one’s opponent and glorying in one’s triumph, is the victory. The hero is ‘good’ because he wins.

And yes, ‘he’. These are acts of masculine violence. More women have perhaps fought in battle than we realise, yes, granted. But, historically, organised violence has been the domain of men. Armies and battle hosts have been male places. Places from which women have been excluded. And that in itself is worth thinking on.

Let’s look for a moment on the Iliad. The Iliad was written down over two and a half thousand years ago. It was composed perhaps three thousand years ago. It is the first and greatest masterpiece of European literature, the foundation stone of western culture. It is a book entirely and totally about war. A very large number of people die in the Iliad. Graphically, horribly, and without even the consolation of heaven awaiting them. The whole reason for the war is shown to be futile.

But war is also the whole basis of the Iliad’s society. The leader of the Trojans is called Hector. He’s spent ten years killing Greeks for the sake of a woman who ran off with his little brother. He’s seen most of his brothers die, and his wife’s entire family die, and he knows, deep down inside, that he’s going to die himself. In one of the most moving scenes in the poem, he says farewell to his wife and child before going out to battle, and he knows and we know and they know that he’s not going to come back from it. And this is what he says:

When [their child is grown and] comes home from battle wearing the bloody gear

Of the mortal enemy he has killed in war-

A joy to his mother’s heart.

(Homer, Iliad, trans. Robert Fagles, Penguin, 1990, book 6, lines 568-574)

Coming home from battle still bloody with his enemies’ innards. That’s the greatest joy a woman can want for her children. That’s what makes you absolutely the top chap.

The Iliad is not a celebration of war. But is not a rejection of war, either. It makes one terrible, horrifying, entirely obvious point:

Winning at war feels great. And that’s a strange and exhilarating experience to write about—particularly someone who has not ever fought.

Reading about war is enjoyable. Writing about war is immensely enjoyable. And I strongly suspect, from everything I’ve ever studied about history, that actually doing war is even more enjoyable than reading or writing or watching it. Warfare has been pretty much a constant of human history, and those who are good at it have generally occupied the top social and sexual desirability spot. Some war is morally justified.  Most war is not. We’ve always known that. Right back to the Iliad. And yet we do it. We have always done it. We probably always will.

We do it because winning at war feels great. I wanted my characters to have the same feelings as Hector: to understand simultaneously that war is bloody and horrible, but also glorious and exciting and fun.

I do not say this because I think war is a good thing. It is a terrible thing. A horrifying thing. A thing of utter shame and grief.

But I say it because it is a true thing, and a thing that I wanted people to remember in The Court of Broken Knives.

—-

The Broken Knives: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

Read an excerpt. Visit the author’s site. Follow her on Twitter.


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Thursday, August 17th, 2017 12:00 pm
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Irregular Webcomic! #3713

Tuesday, August 15th, 2017 10:11 am
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Comic #3713

I'm not sure how many people have "midnight snacks". I've never had any inclination to do it myself, nor has anyone in my immediate family, so as far as I can tell maybe it's one of those things that you only ever see in fiction. I first came across the idea in Blondie comics, in which Dagwood Bumstead is a famous big eater who often raids the fridge in the middle of the night. Then of course there's that other well known comic strip eater, Garfield, who has also perpetrated the odd midnight snack. I seem to recall seeing Scooby Doo and Shaggy making late night snacks as well - usually before getting interrupted by the "ghost of the week" who turns out to be Old Man Smithers and who would have gotten away with it if not for those pesky kids. And in more recent times, Nigella Lawson has become known for ending her cooking shows with herself raiding the fridge in the middle of the night.[1] [1] This essentially qualifies as fiction too, as I'm pretty sure she doesn't really have a TV crew camped out in her kitchen all night just hoping to catch her in an unplanned late night snacking expedition.

Episode 1536: Dropping His Guard

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 10:11 am
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Episode 1536: Dropping His Guard

aurilee writes:

I wonder how Bria expects K-2 to do her laundry on a desert planet? Sandblasting? Lay the clothes out in the sun and have them disinfected by the UV rays? Some sort of space-dry-cleaning-apparatus that their ship comes equipped with? Maybe they're near a moisture farm?

And how do people on Tatooine typically do their laundry anyway? Dry cleaning is expensive, and I imagine that the moisture from moisture farms is dedicated to things like making alcoholic beverages.

Luke's outift in IV was not nearly dirty enough to have never been laundered... mysteries abound.

K-2, meanwhile, continues to be awesome. I hope he gets to slaughter people soon. Maybe some Jawas will try to ambush the ship.

Of course, since he's a rogue droid... he may not have any particular loyalties to Cassian. Perhaps he'll just decide to head into the city on a rampage.

I do wonder about that "here we go again" line. Is this a Noodle Incident we'll never learn about? Further reason to have a K-2 movie clearly.

— aurilee

Keybounce writes:

Sally, this is turning into one of those plans. You know, a plan where you have to kill everyone? They are not good plans.

Now, exporting sand? Or perhaps a sand by-product. I'm still going with the space navigation spice idea, that would make a good export and that hovering star destroyer probably consumes a lot of it.

And I like how the GM's character has to remind them that the city is not the enemy! No more Episode I plot hijinks. But I love how that same GM character treats a droid so poorly—remember, this is well after Episode I's "We must thank this droid that saved us", "droids are human too" culture—as to treat a PC as an NPC maid/servant.

Oh, wait... It's an NPC treating a PC the way PC's treat NPC's. Ahh. Now it makes sense. How often do your PCs treat important NPCs as little more than scenery to be ordered around?

Now, a technicality to note: Panel 3, the focus is on the droid. The people are out of focus, fuzzy—the droid is the important person in the scene!

The Droid. Is Important. The people are not.

(Not just panel 3. Look at the lovely focus in panel 5, compared to all the others. Heck, panels 7 and 8. Anytime the attention is on the droid, it's well-focused; anytime the attention is on the people, it's poorly focused or out of focus.)

This feels to me like an important "what to expect later in the movie". If we are going to have a TPK, and we see that the droid is important, will the final action be a transmission from one droid to another—Sally's droid sending the data off to Pete's droid just before dying—with Sally's droid being the last man standing? ... Err, K-something or other. What's that droid name again? (check ... #1532 is the last published strip and doesn't have their names. Looking at my old emails ... K-2so. Or is to K-2s0? Letter, or number? And does this name have any significance? Any puns? Keso - isn't that "cheese" in Spanish? Hey, Google "cheese in spanish" - Google knows how to translate, and it's not spelled that way. So much for Spanish being "it's spelled how its sounds" like a teacher insisted... 38 years ago?)

— Keybounce

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