Saturday, August 30, 2014

Vintage Caturday: A Girl and Her Kitten

My parents got me a kitten when I was about 4 years old.  Her name was Rainbow.  We got along swimmingly.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Surely the People are Sheep

The people are but sheep. They graze on catch-words, and they go to their slaughter.
~R. A. Lafferty

The other day, I had the misfortune to be entrapped in a conversation I really did not want to be a part of, revolving around the need for USians to have more guns.  As is usual in such conversations, the reasoning for guns was entirely based on fearmongering.  The reason this conversation stood out rather than being the one I'd heard many times before was that my interlocutor maintained that the U.S. is full of sheep at the mercy of armed wolves; the US is the only country in the world in which people don't know how to defend themselves.   Look at those children who are not subject to corporal punishment and never learn to fight back!  

I mentioned most of Europe, as an excellent example of a place where most people don't have guns and yet somehow are not typically subject to mass shootings and made my escape.  I didn't really want to discuss the corporal punishment thing, since I'm not sure what exactly to say.  Back in the 1800s, when it was legal to beat children a lot in school and in other places, there are recorded incidents of children bringing guns to school and retaliating against the corporal punishment from their teachers by shooting them.  Would that be considered by this person speaking to me a non-sheeplike and therefore good thing, as it is teaching children to fight back?   I know there is a school of thought, though the only names I associate with it are those of James Dobson and Michael Pearl, that says that bullying is good because children will naturally form a hierarchy and should learn to be strong in that hierarchy.  I tend to regard this school of thought as barbarity.  And at the end of the day, is this proclaimer of the sheepiness of the U.S. really going so far as to advocate that we arm children?  When Africans do that we call it an outrage and an atrocity, and besides which, it just never ends very well.     

As far as just asserting sheepiness of people who aren't us in general, well, I think XKCD can retort better than I.  

Alan Turing discusses a polite convention in which, although we cannot ever fully know such to be true, we yet assume and act on the assumption that other people think the way we do.  I vote for extending this to a polite convention in which we assume other people both think and aren't sheep.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Poetry Tuesday: Night Lights

Ever as I steal along the rice-field path to meet my lover,
The firefly kindles a light to show me the way.
~Anonymous Japanese

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Snake Oil!

To cure the consumption, the ebola, the diarrhea, and the stupid!  One low price!  Also good for oiling one's snake.  Give me all your money!

Found at an amusement park in Valdosta, Ga.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Poetry Tuesday: Ogden Nash on Having a Job

I would live all my life in nonchalance and insouciance,
Were it not for making a living, which is rather a nouciance. 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

In Which I Lament the Vapidity that is the U.S. Notion of the Pinnacle of Artistic Achievement

I bought shoes recently.  For Argentine tango, in which I am taking classes.  This requires me to dance in heels, which in turn requires me to purchase good heels.  The sort with good thick leather soles.   I described my needs to the helpful sales clerk with the reason thereunto, the tango that is.  Her response, which I think was supposed to be a compliment, was that maybe I'd be on Dancing with the Stars.

No.  Terrible television shows are not why we dance.  At least, not why I dance.  As long as people who dance love their dance, who am I to judge, but television shows are a horribly vapid reason for dancing.  Please do not ascribe such to me.  

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Caturday Post: I am Not Pleased With This Window

 Probably because we didn't put a little table with a fluffy towel flush with the sill. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Signs that Include a Possibly Unnecessary Amount of Detail

Above the door of the training center where I am taking Red Hat Certification courses.  I worry about their opinion of their students.  I realize doors are often slightly ambiguous in terms of direction, but this seems slightly overly detailed.


Poetry Tuesday

                                                                 More and more
                                                                 All that is behind me
                                                                 Is what I long for;
                                                                 How I envy
                                                                 The returning waves.

Tomorrow I start back to Wyoming.  I only have to survive one more year there, and then I can come home. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Today in Offhand Sexist Remarks

More comments from the instructor of the certification course I've been taking, who is turning out to be pretty much a casually sexist random remark generator.  This time the remark is about the good city of Austin, Texas, which is home to many famous people that one might encounter while buying coffee.  This apparently includes Sandra Bullock with her now ex.  The ex was forthwith described by the instructor in disparaging terms about his appearance with an appended "how did he get Sandra Bullock?"  Clearly then, women are gettable things and physical appearance of the getters is necessary and sufficient to completely describe the likelihood of success at getting.  Well done, everyone.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

In which Sexism Leads to Incorrect Assumptions

This is completely shocking.

The teacher for this latest round of certification classes is actually a very good instructor, but he has a habit of making broad sweeping statements about what men and women are like.  I mostly try to ignore this.  But sometimes things bother me.  As, for example, when the instructor is talking about the spread of ebola and postulates that along might come Mr. Mosquito, to drink the blood of an infected person and then spread it through bites.  I interjected that this would have to be Ms. Mosquito, since that males don't bite.  The instructor rejoined that because human males are naturally more aggressive, he'd just assumed mosquitoes were the same way.  Even leaving aside points like sweeping generalizations and socialization issues, and how are we defining aggression anyway, this is what viewing the world via primate-centric gender binaries does to us.  It makes us wrong.  We have to let go of our prejudices to more accurately describe the world around us.