Sunday Reads: Reading Readiness

Home Works, Vogue Italia, 2008. Miles Aldridge

Home Works, Vogue Italia, 2008. Miles Aldridge  Home Works, Vogue Italia, 2008.

Yup it is Sunday…

And I didn’t forget what day it is this time.

While walking into the local Banjoville Walmart, I was stopped by an employee. He was on his way to bring in carts and it was obvious that being a greeter was not among his regular duties. He said, rather forced, “Welcome to Walmart” and then proceeded to ask abruptly, “Is that tattoo on your arm Arabic?”

Now, picture me…in my long Indian brightly printed yellow, pink and red cotton wrap skirt, a plain bold colored maroon t-shirt, with my head wrapped in a magenta flowered batik bandanna. No…I say to the man. That is a Tibetan tattoo. So is this one, I show him my other arm, they are both Sanskrit. “Are you sure that isn’t Arabic?” he says. Yes, I’m positive. It is calligraphy. He continues to insist…”It looks like Arabic to me. I’m certain it is Arabic.” He would not believe me. I had to get a bit confrontational and walk away. The man would not let up.

I felt like saying. Look, you have to be the most idiotic shithead I’ve come across. First off, what are you doing profiling the shoppers of this store? B) Are you that stupid, do you think this bandanna is a Hijab? And second…no…that is not a pressure cooker bomb under my skirt…my ass is just really that big!

Well, it turned out the dude is considered, “Special Needs” but honestly, that “label” could be used as an excuse for most of the populace today. (For what it is worth, to keep repeating the word Arabic, he must get his news from FoxNews?) I still don’t think having a low IQ should mean that folks should get away with all the foul and disgusting things being said (or done) that are completely out of line. Especially when it comes to the shit-stain running for the Republican presidential ticket.

But I refuse to link to anything that con-orange-weave-wearing-asshole has said or done.

Today the links I will share are all related to Reading. Because I cannot take anymore bullshit…I’m just too fucking emotionally drained to do anything else.

Oh, and many of the images are by photographer Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You to Love Me. | Blog. | The Creative Directory.

First up, take a look at this video: (I’ve embedded the video below, but if you do not see it, click on this link here.)

Rats still inundate major world cities, spreading disease, undermining buildings and generally grossing people out (even though they make great pets).

But thanks to one hardy biologist’s birth-control innovation, perfect harmony could now become reality.


From rats to bullies? Maybe: This is How Literary Fiction Teaches Us to Be Human

Think about every bully you can remember, whether from fiction or real life. What do they all have in common?

For the most part, they don’t read — and if they do, they probably aren’t ingesting much literary fiction.

This isn’t just snobbery, it’s a case that scientists are slowly building as they explore a field called Theory of Mind, described by Science Magazine as “the human capacity to comprehend that other people hold beliefs and desires and that these may differ from one’s own beliefs and desires.” Inan abstract published by the magazine in 2013, researchers found that reading literary fiction led to better results in subjects tested for Theory of Mind. That same year, another study found heightened brain activity in readers of fiction, specifically in the areas related to visualization and understanding language. As Mic explains: “A similar process happens when you envision yourself as a character in a book: You can take on the emotions they are feeling.”

More recently, Trends in Cognitive Sciences reported more findings that link reading and empathy, employing a test called “Mind of the Eyes” in which subjects viewed photographs of strangers’ eyes, describing what they believed that person was thinking or feeling (readers of fiction scored significantly higher). It turns out that the narrative aspect of fiction is key to this response.

815f7a1fdf2327d27a12f4d08eff5fbdSpend some time with that one by reading the rest at the link.

Another article for you, this time on the work of Walt Whitman: The Millions : An Essential Human Respect: Reading Walt Whitman During Troubled Times – The Millions

We live in contentious times.  In these frenzied days, it’s worth returning to Walt Whitman’s book of Civil War poetry, Drum-Taps.  First published in 1865, Drum-Taps reflects on the confrontation of grand visions and the human costs of realizing them.  It suggests the importance of empathy in the face of significant ideological disagreement.


Whitman took the side of the Union, the vision of which played a major role in both his poetic and political thinking. In his original preface to Leaves of Grass, Whitman called the United States “essentially the greatest poem,” and the visionary project of a poet for Whitman involved the creation of a broader fellowship that transcended the conventional boundaries of society.  He viewed the United States as a vehicle for this enterprise of fellowship.

In its record of the Civil War, Drum-Taps homes in on the juxtaposition of vision and the flesh, of aspiration and suffering.  For all the great ambition of the antebellum United States, it contained great pain, and the carnage of the Civil War painted in red, white, and gangrene the price of maintaining the hope of the Union.  Ideas clashed in the Civil War, but men and women bled.  Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust’s 2008 study This Republic of Suffering argues that the magnitude of suffering and death during the Civil War sent shockwaves through American culture; the equivalent of over 600,000 war deaths in 1861-1865 would be over 6 million deaths in 2016.

The horror of this legacy of pain influenced Whitman’s life and poetry. His brother George served in the Union army throughout the war, and Whitman himself had a front-row-seat for the carnage of the Civil War during his time as a medical orderly.  He spent countless hours comforting the wounded and sick soldiers in Washington D.C. and elsewhere.  In an 1863 report, he reflected on visiting the wounded at the capital’s Patent Office, which had been converted to a hospital:

A few weeks ago the vast area of the second story of that noblest of Washington buildings, the Patent Office, was crowded close with rows of sick, badly wounded and dying soldiers. They were placed in three very large apartments. I went there several times. It was a strange, solemn and, with all its features of suffering and death, a sort of fascinating sight.

Whitman attended to that magnitude of suffering in Drum-Taps.  In one of his notebooks, he claimed that “the expression of American personality through this war is not to be looked for in the great campaign, & the battle-fights. It is to be looked for…in the hospitals, among the wounded.”  In many respects, the poems of Drum-Taps are songs for and of the wounded.

10c0f1c798470093001e4d2a81aa5235One of the most famous poems of the collection, “The Dresser” (later titled “The Wound-Dresser”), narrates the experience of tending to those injured in battle:

Bearing the bandages, water and sponge,
Straight and swift to my wounded I go,
Where they lie on the ground, after the battle brought in;
Where their priceless blood reddens the grass, the ground;
Or to the rows of the hospital tent, or under the roof’d hospital;
To the long rows of cots, up and down, each side, I return;
To each and all, one after another, I draw near — not one do I miss;
An attendant follows, holding a tray — he carries a refuse pail,
Soon to be fill’d with clotted rags and blood, emptied, and fill’d again.

That refuse pail, ever filling and emptying, implies the seemingly endlessness of tending to bodies and spirits ravaged by war.  The figures of these soldiers are sacred and exalted — that “priceless blood” — but still they suffer.

Whitman’s verse does not hide that suffering, or the price it exacts:

From the stump of the arm, the amputated hand,
I undo the clotted lint, remove the slough, wash off the matter and blood;
Back on his pillow the soldier bends, with curv’d neck, and side-falling head;
His eyes are closed, his face is pale, he dares not look on the bloody stump,
And has not yet looked on it.

With grim irony, these lines attend to amputations suffered in the name of preserving the Union.  Beyond the specific details of this wound-dressing, we see also the signs of the psychological pain of the amputee, who cannot even bear to look at the site of his dismemberment.  In “The Dresser” and elsewhere, the poetic speaker does not profess an ability to end this suffering or nullify the pain of the sufferers.  Instead, he can only act as a witness to this suffering.

Please read the rest at the link, this article is written by,   who teaches at Boston University.

3b5f7a14a00de61e57d5390783480c0fReading is a form of relaxation for some, a chance to relate to others, but for one woman the form of a book…the place where books are held, the reading room, a library, was something to capture. How One Woman Photographed Every Library in New York | Literary Hub

When architectural photographer Elizabeth Felicella was not working for clients, she spent her free time photographing all 210 branches of New York City’s Public Library system. Five years later, the resulting work, Reading Room, is essentially an enormous catalog of over 2,000 negatives covering libraries in all five boroughs. We chose some of our favorites to feature below…


Through arrangements with each of the library systems, I worked mornings before the branches opened to the public. I traveled by subway and bus and made six to twelve pictures of each branch, interiors and exteriors, using a 4 x 5 inch view camera. My archive, to date, holds over 2,000 negatives.

new_dorp2(photo)New Dorp Branch Library, Staten Island

The library was a generous subject—it served as a rich source for reflection on both the topic at hand and on my work as an architectural photographer.  One of Melvil Dewey’s objectives in establishing his decimal system for library classification was to encourage browsing: materials were organized by subject in open stacks so that a reader might encounter a related, but perhaps unknown book, on her trip to the shelf. I identified with Dewey’s reader and adopted “browsing” as a criterion for shooting—a process that might render more or different things than I anticipated.

I borrowed metaphors from the library and began thinking of my photography in terms of reading and writing. The library offered a reprieve from the often strict conventions of architectural photography. Without abandoning my objective of describing each branch in pictures, I took license to shoot in long and short sentences: big, overall views full of tables and chairs, but also plants, bathroom graffiti, pencil sharpeners (a lot of them), magazine covers, people waiting in line outside. No shot list was applied: I photographed what struck me, following tangents, filling out categories that emerged on their own over the course of the project. The richness of the process was the richness of the branches themselves. I found them beautiful, even and sometimes especially the most neglected, with their layers of use, fragments of earlier arrangements, updates, familiar elements, improvisations, accidents, incongruities: in short, places that look something like what everyday thinking feels like.

More pictures at the link….I only put one of the images up here. Be sure to go and look at the others. There is also more to read about the process of the work…

Here is another interesting story for you: Bad Bitches in the Canon

What if Anaïs Nin and Flannery O’Connor had been friends?

“Lila appeared in my life in first grade and immediately impressed me because she was very bad.” -Elena Ferrante, ‘My Brilliant Friend’

The writers Anaïs Nin and Flannery O’Connor both hit milestones in the 1950s: O’Connor won a whole bunch of literary awards, and Nin married her second husband, (twenty years her junior) while still married to her first. The former was thwarted only by lupus, the latter by the IRS, which would not let both husbands claim her on their tax returns. Such is the life of a literary bad bitch.

ff331e3f575f5a262357f16792354ca2Nin is famous for her unexpurgated memoir Henry and June, which details her 1931–2 sexual obsession with the American writer Henry Miller and, now and then, his wife June (who appears in the flesh for about two paragraphs). About three fucks out of every ten thousand, Henry and/or Anaïs wonders if they’re together because they cannot be with June. She is the parmesan to their pasta — what O’Connor, in her letters, would spell as cheeze — but never the main dish. Nin’s memoir should have been titled Henry and…Where’d she go? NY? Oh well. As for O’Connor, well, even Esquire lists her on their predominantly male must-read list. She’s right up there — a few spots ahead of Henry Miller.

The funny thing is, Anaïs Nin is not on that list, even though she was all over Henry Miller. Most people — and by ‘most people,’ I mean ‘most woefully inexperienced freshman English majors,’ by which I mean ‘myself, once’ — read Anaïs Nin to learn how artists love, if not how to be an artist in love. And then they go into therapy.

Ah, that should give you enough to go and finish it off on your own.

And yet, I have one last link for you, yes…it is another literary themed article.

4b70b09930c51125086fe9e84661c5e2A Beginning, Not a Decline: Colette on the Splendor of Autumn and the Autumn of Life – Brain Pickings

In praise of “the gaiety of those who have nothing more to lose and so excel at giving.”

The weather has seeded our earliest myths, inspired some of our greatest art, and even affects the way we think. In our divisive culture, where sharped-edged differences continue to fragment our unity, it is often the sole common ground for people bound by time and place — as we move through the seasons, we weather the whims of the weather together.

Of the four seasons, autumn is by far the most paradoxical. Wedged between an equinox and a solstice, it moors us to cosmic rhythms of deep time and at the same time envelops us in the palpable immediacy of its warm afternoon breeze, its evening chill, its unmistakable scentscape. It is a season considered temperate, but one often tempestuous in its sudden storms and ecstatic echoes of summer heat. We call it “fall” with the wistfulness of loss as we watch leaves and ripe fruit drop to the ground, but it is also the season of abundance, of labor coming to fruition in harvest.

The peculiar pleasures and paradoxes of autumn are what the great French writer Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette (January 28, 1873–August 3, 1954), better known as Colette, explores in a portion of Earthly Paradise: An Autobiography of Colette Drawn from Her Lifetime Writings (public library) — the posthumously published, out-of-print treasure that gave us her abiding wisdom on writing, withstanding criticism, and the obsessive-compulsiveness of creative work.


Recounting an essay assignment from her schoolgirl days, Colette writes in the autumn of her life:

It has always remained in my memory, this note written with red ink in the margin of a French composition. I was eleven or twelve years old. In thirty lines I had stated that I could not agree with those who called the autumn a decline, and that I, for my part, referred to it as a beginning. Doubtless my opinion on the matter, which has not changed, had been badly expressed, and what I wanted to say what that this vast autumn, so imperceptibly hatched, issuing from the long days of June, was something I perceived by subtle signs, and especially with the aid of the most animal of my senses, which is my sense of smell. But a young girl of twelve rarely has at her disposal a vocabulary worthy of expressing what she thinks and feels. As the price of not having chosen the dappled spring and its nests, I was given a rather low mark.

She considers how autumn haunts the other seasons and signals its superior splendor:

The rage to grow, the passion to flower begin to fade in nature at the end of June. The universal green has by then grown darker, the brows of the woods take on the color of fields of eel grass in shallow seas. In the garden, the rose alone, governed more by man than by season, together with certain great poppies and some aconites, continues the spring and lends its character to the summer.


Depths of dark greenery, illusion of stability, incautious promise of duration! We gaze at these things and say: “Now this is really summer.” But at that moment, as in a windless dawn there sometimes floats an imperceptible humidity, a circle of vapor betraying by its presence in a field the subterranean stream beneath, just so, predicted by a bird, by a wormy apple with a hectically illuminated skin, by a smell of burning twigs, of mushrooms and of half-dried mud, the autumn at that moment steals unseen through the impassive summer…


Even a child cannot respond to everything. But its antennae quiver at the slightest signal.

Of course there is much more at the link, so be sure to read the rest of that thread…I know that you can’t resist it.

That is all for this first Sunday of Autumn in 2016.

This is an open thread.

Sunday F*ck You Trump and Other Reads



Good Afternoon

This post is more of a link dump than anything else, we are still working on the move…and it seems like it will go on forever.

The articles will be presented to you in a certain way…

Starting with the deep south…Florida:

Student found biting victim’s face after killings dared police to drug-test him | US news | The Guardian

In Florida, Pregnant Women Cover Up and Stay Inside Amid Zika Fears – The New York Times

Moving westward…Civil suit will cost parents of Ga. teen found dead in gym mat – NY Daily News

Trump has been causing the usual fuck ups at campaign rallies in North Carolina, Wisconsin and Michigan…

Being Donald Trump Means Never Having To Say You’re Sorry

Trump’s Second Amendment Comment Is Part of an Ongoing and Troubling Trend

Trump To Black Voters: ‘What The Hell Do You Have To Lose?’

Trump Surrogate Snidely Suggests African American Voters Prefer ‘A Backdrop With A Burning Car’ | Crooks and Liars

(Just a couple of more links on Trump that I have to include.)

Jerry Falwell Jr.: Trump is the Churchillian leader we need – The Washington Post

Churchillian? What the fuck is that?

Here is TPM’s take on that op/ed by Jerry Falwell Jr: Jerry Falwell Jr.: Americans Must Elect Trump Or ‘Suffer Dire Consequences’

Jerry Falwell Jr. penned a Washington Post op-ed posted Friday evening that compared Donald Trump to Winston Churchill and warned that Americans will “suffer dire consequences” if they don’t line up behind the GOP nominee.

“We are at a crossroads where our first priority must be saving our nation. We need a leader with qualities that resemble those of Winston Churchill, and I believe that leader is Donald Trump,” Falwell wrote.


Westward ho….to a new study out of Colorado: Contraception’s Role In Fighting Poverty

And in Washington State…Interracial Couple Allegedly Stabbed For Kissing by White Supremacist | LawNewz

Next up is a long read from the Grist: This California couple uses more water than all of the homes in Los Angeles | Grist

I don’t know I always find the topic of water rights laws interesting.

The Resnicks are the world’s biggest producers of pistachios and almonds, and they also hold vast groves of lemons, grapefruit, and navel oranges. All told, they claim to own America’s second-largest produce company, worth an estimated$4.2 billion.

The Resnicks have amassed this empire by following a simple agricultural precept: Crops need water. Having shrewdly maneuvered the backroom politics of California’s byzantine water rules, they are now thought to consume more of the state’s water than any other family, farm, or company. They control more of it in some years than what’s used by the residents of Los Angeles and the entire San Francisco Bay Area combined.

Such an incredible stockpiling of the state’s most precious natural resource might have attracted more criticism were it not for the Resnicks’ progressive bona fides. Last year, the couple’s political and charitable donations topped $48 million. They’ve spent $15 million on the 2,500 residents of Lost Hills — roughly 600 of whom work for the couple — funding everything from sidewalks, parks, and playing fields to affordable housing, a preschool, and a health clinic.

Last year, the Resnicks rebranded all their holdings as the Wonderful Company to highlight their focus on healthy products and philanthropy. “Our company has always believed that success means doing well by doing good,” Stewart Resnick said in a press release announcing the name change. “That is why we place such importance on our extensive community outreach programs, education and health initiatives and sustainability efforts. We are deeply committed to doing our part to build a better world and inspiring others to do the same.”

But skeptics note that the Resnicks’ donations to Lost Hills began a few months after Earth Island Journal documented the yawning wealth gap between the couple and their company town, a dusty assemblage of trailer homes, dirt roads, and crumbling infrastructure. They claim the Resnicks’ influence among politicians and liberal celebrities is quietly warping California’s water policies away from the interests of the state’s residents, wildlife, and even most farmers. “I think the Wonderful Company and the Resnicks are truly the top 1 percent wrapped in a green veneer, in a veneer of social justice,” says Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla of Restore the Delta, an advocacy group that represents farmers, fishermen, and environmentalists in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, east of San Francisco. “If they truly cared about a sustainable California and farmworkers within their own community, then how things are structured and how they are done by the Wonderful Company would be much different.”

In other California news, Hearst Castle threatened by fast-moving Chimney Fire – LA Times

Keeping with the Go West…theme: vintage everyday: Girls of Western United States in the early 20th Century: The Real Cowgirls of American West

Cowgirl – It’s not just a word it is a way of life! The Beauty of a Cowgirl must be seen from her eyes because that is the doorway to her heart, her true beauty is reflected in her soul.

Here are what images of badass cowgirls in the early 20th century looked like.

And just a few more articles, dealing with worldly news:

Why a 1995 speech proved formative for Clinton | PBS NewsHour -This is a post about that famous speech of Clinton’s given in China in 1995.

Refugees in Greek camps targeted by mafia gangs | World news | The Guardian

Not so jovial after all: how historians misunderstood William the Conqueror | Books | The Guardian

1-click exodus: Online ‘check out’ option sees Norway Church lose 15k parishioners in just 4 days — RT News

That is all the links I have for you today…this is an open thread.

Holy Hell, Wednesday Afternoon

Today is Wednesday, and it is a day of most importance to all “Gawd Furrin'” good xtians in Banjoville….it is a day that you will find most businesses closed. Yup…can’t even get you a new confederate flag or a can of lighter fluid down at the Local Red KKK Convenient Store because Wednesday is a day of rest and reflection and prayer for bigoted racist in this quiet red-neck backwoods mountain town.

I wonder if the talk at church this evening will be about the historic moment from yesterday’s DNC in Philadelphia. Hillary Clinton: The First Lady to Become the Nominee – The Atlantic

In a historic moment, the Democratic Party formally nominated Hillary Clinton for president Tuesday, making her the first female nominee for the nation’s highest office in 240 years.


I am so grateful for Boston Boomer, for putting up a thread this morning…as you all may know, we are in the process of moving to a new house…and today we are moving the big items. So again this is an open thread. Here are a few links to get you started:

Here is the transcript of the speech last night by Bill Clinton. I didn’t even get a chance to see it. We cannot even get satellite service here…the new house is that far into the mountains that the trees block all line of sight to the satellites above! From what I understand, it was a knockout:

Transcript: Bill Clinton’s DNC speech –

And next, a few links on Trump:

Trump Says Russia Will Be ‘Rewarded’ For Hack, But Pence Promises ‘Serious Consequences’ | Mediaite

In a bit of mixed messaging,Donald Trump promised mighty rewards to Russia in exchange for interfering in the election, while his VP pick promised “serious consequences.”

At a press conference Wednesday morning Trump encouraged Russia to release State Department emails in order to injure Hillary Clinton‘s campaign. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press,” he said.

Shortly afterward, his Vice Presidential nominee, Indian Gov. Mike Pence issued a statement saying that, rather than rewards, there would be “serious consequences” to Russia if it was behind the hack of the DNC emails released to the public last Friday. (Expertsbelieve that Russia is responsible.)

Pence’s statement reads in full:

The FBI will get to the bottom of who is behind the hacking. If it is Russia and they are interfering in our elections, I can assure you both parties and the United States government will ensure there are serious consequences. That said, the Democrats singularly focusing on who might be behind it and not addressing the basic fact that they’ve been exposed as a party who not only rigs the government, but rigs elections while literally accepting cash for federal appointments is outrageous. The American people now have absolute and further proof of the corruption that exists around Hillary Clinton. It should disqualify her from office, if the media did their job. [emphasis added]

Not backing down, Trump tweeted, “If Russia or any other country or person has Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 illegally deleted emails, perhaps they should share them with the FBI!”

Shakesville: What Donald Trump Just Did Is Tantamount to Treason

At a press conference earlier today, Donald Trump said: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the thirty thousand emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens.”

Holy fuck!

To put that in perspective…take a look at this headline:

Donald Trump To Begin Getting Intelligence Briefings : NPR

Now, let all that sink in a bit, and tell me if you don’t feel ill right about now.

More links to ponder:

From Wonkette: Donald Trump Wishes Democrats Would Maybe Use Some Patriotic Imagery, The Commies

Cheering crowds greet Pope as he arrives in Krakow – BBC News

Pope Francis calls for solidarity with refugees during speech in Kraków | World news | The Guardian

Column: What we need to do to prevent food shortages on a global scale | PBS NewsHour

Hey, It Was Hard Not to Cry at This Historic DNC — Vulture

The glass ceiling: a metaphor that needs to be smashed | US news | The Guardian

I hope everyone has a smashing afternoon!

Wednesday Reads: It’s Black…Its White…It’s Whiter White

Good Afternoon

As you will notice today’s post is being accompanied by black and white stripes. (Or are they white and black stripes?)

Black and white printed stripes, black shadows against white skin, or white lights streaming upwards against a black night.

Whatever the case may be, I think the last few days have brought home my deepest fears…perhaps it is because I live in Banjoville, a town that is so predominately Trump territory. So I have the intimate knowledge of the “phenomena” that is Trump-ism… you know that shit that so many dumb-asses in the media write about…let me tell you plain and simple what is Trump’s Juju with the crowd who is voting for him come November.

It is white supremacy.

Shall I repeat it? Yes, I think I should.

White Supremacy.



And it brings with it all the other horrible baggage you would expect…the usual racism, hate, intolerance, misogyny, assholism, and all the rest peppered with a shit load of “christian values” as they define the code of religious virtue…as it applies to who they feel deserves it. Which you all know is limited to those they consider “right” enough (white enough) to meet the approved standard.

imageAs this quote from Juan Cole, when speaking about the shit-stain Rep. Stephen King…and his disgusting comment at the RNC on Monday: Rep. Stephen King, White People and ‘Civilization’

Rep. Steve King objected to a comment during a cable news discussion at MSNBC that this will be the last election dominated by old white people.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) offered an unusual defense of the racial homogeneity of his party during a panel on MSNBC Monday evening.

The group, led by Chris Hayes, was discussing the first day of the Republican national convention and Donald Trump’s history of racially-loaded comments and behavior. King told Hayes that he thought Trump had “modified” his behavior in that regard, but Esquire’s Charlie Pierce said he didn’t see much diversity reflected in the gathering itself.

image“If you’re really optimistic, you can say that this is the last time that old white people will command the Republican Party’s attention, its platform, its public face,” Pierce said. “That hall is wired,” he continued. “That hall is wired by loud, unhappy, dissatisfied white people.”

King objected.

“This ‘old white people’ business does get a little tired, Charlie,” King said. “I’d ask you to go back through history and figure out, where are these contributions that have been made by these other categories of people that you’re talking about, where did any other subgroup of people contribute more to civilization?”

image“Than white people?” Hayes asked, clearly amazed.

“Than, than Western civilization itself,” King replied. “It’s rooted in Western Europe, Eastern Europe and the United States of America and every place where the footprint of Christianity settled the world. That’s all of Western civilization.”

There are lots of basic things wrong with King’s statement, even just starting with his category of ‘whiteness’. Whiteness is not ‘natural’– it is an invented category. Were Irish white? A lot of English didn’t think so. “Whites” rioted against Greek immigrants to the US. White supremacists still argue over whether to let in Italian-Americans. Me, I don’t want to be called white and I decline that categorization whenever the government or other people with questionnaires will let me. The Appalachian side of my family probably has some Melungeon to it and some of us aren’t all that ‘white.’

imageCole goes on to correct King’s ridiculous statement about “civilization” here:

If by civilization is meant urban society with high rates of literacy, scientific and technological innovation, role specialization and division of labor, and high levels of collective government, then northern European Christians did not invent it.

Iraq, Iran, India, China and Egypt did. The Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Elamites, Persians, Indians, Chinese and the Pharaohs of Egypt had civilization for thousands of years while Celts in Britain were painting themselves blue and doing hunting and gathering in the wastes.

There is way more at the link, please go and read the full article.

imageYou can see video of the statements here: America And White Cultural Superiority: Representative Steve King

Of course it is no use to show or tell these Trumptarians the facts. Because they will go on, completely make up false stuff, put it in school books and teach it to the young children. And hey, they don’t even have to stick to charter schools anymore, in Texas…where most of the US public schools purchase their textbooks to use in the public education system, fact is a thing of the past.

A Textbook That Paints Mexican-Americans As Lazy Could Be Coming To A School Near You

It’s “deeply flawed,” but that hasn’t stopped the Texas State Board of Education before.

imageA proposed Mexican-American studies textbook has drawn harsh criticism for what Latino educators and scholars in Texas are calling a lack of scholarly expertise, major factual inaccuracies and demeaning characterizations of Mexican-Americans.

“What we have now is a deeply flawed and a deeply offensive textbook,” Celina Moreno, of the Texas Latino Education Coalition, said at a Monday press conference.

Groups like Moreno’s came together with professors who specialize in Mexican-American heritage, and who had been independently scrutinizing the textbook, to share some of their disturbing findings.

imageEmilio Zamora, a professor of history at the University of Texas at Austin, reviewed material that covered the U.S.-Mexican War of 1846-48 to the present. He said he found “five to seven serious, serious errors per page,” which render the entire publication “useless and even counterproductive.”

The Texas State Board of Education is currently reviewing the book for potential approval. Although the book’s fate is far from clear, the board has previously approved textbooks and curricula that deny climate change, promote creationism, whitewash historical events and maintain that the roots of Western democracy are found in the Bible.

And last year, the board rejected a proposal that state-approved elementary and high school textbooks be fact-checked by academics. 

imageOh, that emphasis is mine…

Because of the state’s tremendous clout in the educational publishing world, Dan Quinn of the nonpartisan educational watchdog group Texas Freedom Network told HuffPost that content that makes the grade in the Lone Star State is likely to be adopted ― in some form or another ― well beyond its borders.

I really feel that this has been coming for some time. I remember writing about this textbook shit years ago…it is one of the topics we have discussed frequently on the blog.

The lone proposal for a Mexican-American heritage textbook came from Momentum Instructions, a company linked to Cynthia Dunbar, a former education board member known for her extreme conservative views. Quinn described her four-year term on the board as “one culture war after another.”

imageIn a 2008 book titled One Nation Under God ― released while Dunbar was still serving on the state board ― she called public education “tyrannical” and a “subtly deceptive tool of perversion,” according to the Texas Observer.

As for the proposed textbook, Quinn suggested that Dunbar and its authors were seeking to “promote their own political and personal ideas.” He said the authors lack credible expertise in the field of Mexican-American studies.

Emails and calls to Momentum Instructions were not immediately returned.

For a few more remarks on this “textbook” see this article: Scholars Have Scathing Reviews for Mexican-American History Textbook

imageIt sounds like something you would expect in a nation that has Trump as the official GOP Candidate for President…

As the State Board of Education (SBOE) is accepting comments on the book before voting on it in November, a group of academics and advocacy groups decided to take a closer look at Mexican American Heritage. Organized as the Responsible Ethnic Studies Textbook Coalition, they announced their reviews Monday morning at the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) offices in Austin.

As it went on, the press conference began to sound more like the least successful book blurb pitch session ever:

“A deeply flawed and deeply offensive textbook that has no place in Texas classrooms.” — Celina Moreno, Texas Latino Education Coalition

image“Useless and even counter-productive.” — Emilio Zamora, professor of history at UT-Austin

“Replete with … offensive racial stereotypes.” — Lilliana Saldaña, associate professor of Mexican-American studies at UT-San Antonio

“So riddled with factual errors that a traditional publisher would not have recognized or tried to publish this book.” — Christopher Carmona, National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies-Tejas Foco

“Willfully irresponsible, culturally chauvinist and discriminatory.” — Zamora

“The person who wrote the section on Texas history would have failed a fourth-grade exam. … There are no women cited or quoted in the entire chapter.” — José María Herrera, assistant professor of education at UT-El Paso

image“Simply unworthy. … Obviously a fraud.” — Zamora, again

The coalition is calling for the SBOE to completely reject the book — not just require a few tweaks to the text — for a combination of factual errors, academic laziness and cultural insensitivity.

Saldaña noted that the book not only refers to indigenous people as “Indians,” but provides a lengthy explanation of why “Indians” is the best term to use. Elsewhere, Saldaña pointed out, the authors describe one group of people as driven by “bloodlust” — language she said was better suited to a Hollywood script than a serious academic text.

imageUh…chapters with no women writers or quotes? What the fuck? (Misogyny strikes again!) I don’t know, the few comments from members of the Republican board members will give you an example of how frustrating the attitude can be…Proposed Texas textbook describes Mexican-Americans as ‘lazy,’ new coalition works to block it – The Washington Post

The Texas State Board of Education is reviewing the proposed book and will consider public comments and feedback in September.

In an article in the Austin American-Statesman last month, one board member said the textbook was okay with him:

Board member David Bradley, R-Beaumont, who opposed asking for a Mexican-American studies course and textbook, said the proposed book seems fine.

image“It’s really kind of amusing. The left-leaning, radical Hispanic activists, having pounded the table for special treatment, get approval for a special course that nobody else wanted,” Bradley said. “Now they don’t like their special textbook? I bet they want everyone to also get an A for just attending? The one thing we can’t fix in this world is unhappy people.”

It really pisses me off…fuck him. (That male superior tone in the statement. How I hate it.) And this is how the majority of the population in my home town think. It is exactly how a Trumptonain thinks. And it is the kind of person who will vote him into office.

imageJust one more link for you today…this: What’s on Display in Cleveland? The Republican Id –

The triumph of Trump has demonstrated the cost of the devil’s bargain that party elites — and the media — have accepted over the years.

What is on display at the RNC in Cleveland is the Republican id. We always suspected it would look something like this. But even though it reared its ugly head on occasion on Fox News or in Congress — on the lips of some right-wing preacher or billionaire hedge-fund manager. They would compare gays to Satan, progressive taxation to Naziism and people of color to criminals at best, animals at worst — but the more polite, polished folks who spoke for the party would always regretfully shake their well-coiffed heads and explain that wasn’t what the party was really about.

And to their eternal shame, most in the media ran interference for this confidence game, only to be blindsided when Trump demonstrated that it had always been a charade.

imageWell thanks to Donald Trump and his followers, the jig is up. Melania Trump’s plagiarism of Michelle Obama was just about the least offensive thing one heard from the podium on Monday night. The rest was a near orgy of hatred, racism, sexism and ethnocentrism. Rudy Giuliani has always presented himself as an avatar of “law and order.” This has been a conservative mantra for half a century. We always suspected it was code for the suppression of African-Americans and now we know. Ditto all this talk of “Judeo-Christian” values. It’s a code for Islamophobia and oppression. And the attacks on Hillary Clinton sound an awful lot as if they are being spoken by people who simply cannot accept the fact that women have the same rights and capabilities as men. And to their eternal shame, most in the media ran interference for this confidence game, only to be blindsided when Trump demonstrated that it had always been a charade.

Listen to the speeches by the Republican heavyweights who have agreed to take the stage in Cleveland; not one of them has put forth an actual idea that makes sense in terms of how to govern the United States. That’s because governance has long ceased being relevant to the Republican coalition. What holds it together is nothing more than nostalgia for a more oppressive America and resentment toward those who refuse, any longer, to sit on the back of bus.

imageMy only response to this is to say that it is what I’ve been seeing all along, for years…from my window into the world that is my “quiet redneck mountain town” of Banjoville, GA. It is frightening as hell. I cannot lean back and think this election is a done deal. That folks will vote for Hillary and that she is a foregone conclusion to win in November. I am truly scared Trump could pull it out, and the stupidity will put him in office…and we will once again see the white lights of supremacy that shone in Nuremberg those years ago…brightening the dark black skies over America…to make America Great Again…to make America Safe Again. (As the RNC message was on Monday.)

Fucking hell.





Wednesday Make-Up: A Laugh and Two, Ending on a Sharp Note.



Uh, Boy!


I slacked off on Friday…with Christmas and all…there was no Friday Nite Lite thread. Well, I will make-up for it now with a comic filled post. I’ll throw some links in that you might find interesting.



12/29/2015 Cartoon by John R. Rose

Cartoon by John R. Rose -


Trump Cards: 12/29/2015 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Trump Cards


This next one is a local NC cartoon, but the same could be said for the GOP asswipes in any double red State:  12/29/2015 Cartoon by John Cole

Cartoon by John Cole -


In Louisiana and several other states: 30,000 Louisianans Scheduled to Lose Food Stamps | Al Jazeera America

Joanika Davis relies on the $194 per month she receives in food stamp benefits every month to help her get by as she searches for employment.

But on Jan. 1, Davis is set to lose that financial lifeline — one of approximately 31,000 Louisianians set to suffer as a result of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s decision to reinstate the work requirement for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in his state.

SNAP rules typically allow full benefits to single able-bodied adults only if they have jobs or are enrolled in a job-training program. Otherwise, they may access food stamp benefits for no more than three months every three years. States with high unemployment can apply for a federal waiver, dropping that work requirement and allowing single adults to access full benefits regardless of their job status.

Since the beginning of the Great Recession, nearly every state in the country sought and was granted a federal waiver at some point. But recently, a number of states with Republican governors have allowed their waivers to expire, citing improved economic circumstances and a desire to get their food stamp recipients back to work. Jindal, a Republican, allowed Louisiana’s waiver to lapse on Oct. 1.

“We continue to seek opportunities for SNAP recipients to increase their self-sufficiency. Engaging in work activities is a key step in that transition,” said Suzy Sonnier, the head of Louisiana’s Department of Children and Family Services, in a Sept. 30 statement.

Starting in January, Davis, who told Al Jazeera that she is still hunting for a job, will have to find ways to make up a monthly shortfall of nearly $200. “Why should I have to fight for food right now?” she asked. “Why should I have to fight to drink water?”

And it is not only people in Louisiana who are losing out.

Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas and Wyoming have recently allowed the work requirement to be reimposed, leaving 28 states with their food stamp waivers intact in fiscal year 2016.

The people affected by the reinstatement of the work requirement tend to be among the poorest of the poor, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, an economic think tank. In 2014 able-bodied, childless, unemployed adults on food stamps had an average of $2,200 in gross income, the center found.

It also found that states that reimpose the work requirement tend to see a sudden sharp drop in SNAP participants, suggesting that thousands of unemployed recipients are unable to find work and maintain their eligibility.

“The idea that anybody is choosing not to work because of $190 dollars a month in food stamps — that’s really kind of a stereotype,” said Steve Spires, a senior policy analyst for the Louisiana Budget Project. “The reality is a lot of people want to work. There simply aren’t jobs…”


Clay Bennett editorial cartoon: 12/29/2015 Cartoon by Clay Bennett

Cartoon by Clay Bennett - Clay Bennett editorial cartoon

On the latest Trump news: 25% of Donald Trump’s political spending goes to his own companies – Quartz

“It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it,” Donald Trump told Fortune in 2000, during his first abortive run for president.

He was referring to a $1 million motivational speaking deal he got from Tony Robbins that he timed to coincide with his campaign stops. Then, he didn’t dominate the headlines—apparently the Clinton-Bush-Gore psychodrama was more compelling—and Trump’s greatest accomplishment was winning the Reform party nomination in California with a scant 15,311 votes. (His bon mots haven’t changed much—Fortune refers to “his usual critiques of Pat Buchanan (‘a Hitler lover’), Bill Bradley (‘a total disaster’), George W. Bush (‘no Einstein’), Fidel Castro (‘a bad guy’), North Korea (‘run by some very bad people’), and Russia (‘totally mixed up’).”)

This time around, as the leading candidate for the Republican nomination, he operates on a more rarified and lucrative plane: Trump’s companies have already earned $1.4 million from his campaign.

The billionaire builder often argues that his wealth guarantees his political independence, and describes his campaign as “self-funding.” That’s no longer true: While he was the main source of campaign funds during the early part of his run, the most recent financial disclosures through the end of September 2015, show Trump put less money into his campaign than his donors—and he stands to profit in particular from their backing.

Like the article says…”Follow the money.” And read the rest at the link.


Bruce Plante Cartoon: That Drone: 12/29/2015 Cartoon by Bruce Plante

Cartoon by Bruce Plante - Bruce Plante Cartoon: That Drone

12/29/2015 Cartoon by Nick Anderson

Cartoon by Nick Anderson -


The storms this Christmas have been terrible….The Mississippi River Is About to Have a Record Flood Completely Out of Season

The Mississippi River is flooding in a big way right now, at the wrong time of year, and is forecasted to match or break 22-year-old crest records over the next few days. Meteorologists are calling it “insane.”

Over the next three to four days, the Mississippi is predicted to reach a crest height of 49.7 feet at Chester, Illinois, one of several locations where the National Weather Service records data about the river. As of Tuesday afternoon, the river has already risen to 40.8 feet. According to Taylor Trogdon, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Memphis, that is an “absolutely remarkable” forecast.


The “great flood of 1993,” as it has come to be known, was “one of the most significant and damaging natural disasters ever to hit the United States,” according to a National Weather Service hydrologist, writing in 1996. “Damages totaled $15 billion, 50 people died, hundreds of levees failed, and thousands of people were evacuated, some for months.”

TRUMPNADO: 12/29/2015 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - TRUMPNADO

JEB RESOLUTION: 12/28/2015 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - JEB RESOLUTION

NAUGHTY LIST: 12/24/2015 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - NAUGHTY LIST

THE DONALD: 12/17/2015 Cartoon by Deb Milbrath

Cartoon by Deb Milbrath - THE DONALD

Cruz’s Daughters: 12/27/2015 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Cruz's Daughters


A few links regarding Cruz:

Cruz supporters are just as bonkers as Trump’s: Obama ‘ruined our country, ruined Christmas’

A woman spoke to C-SPAN at a recent Cruz rally in Mechanicsville, Virginia, where she explained that she intended to vote for the Texas Republican to drive President Barack Obama, who is constitutionally prohibited from seeking a third term, from office.

“I don’t like Obama no more,” the woman explained. “He’s ruined our country, ruined Christmas. He’s let the Muslims in. We can’t say that word, we’ve got to be ashamed of it — and we’re not ashamed people. We’re a proud people, and we’re gonna take our country back. So watch out, Obama! We’re coming.”

The reporter asked the woman to explain how Obama had ruined Christmas.

“He’s scared the little children,” she said. “They’re not allowed to have Santa Claus in the schools where, you know, it might offend the Muslims. But what about us?”

The woman’s loopy rant was reminiscent of remarks made earlier this month by Trump supporter Susan DeLemus, a New Hampshire state representative, during a CNN focus group.

“We’ve got people in positions of power who I know for a fact are liars. Liars!” DeLemus said. “I watch the TV — My president comes on the TV and he lies to me! I know he’s lying. He lies all the time.”

Cruz himself is a nut:

Via Conservative Tribune. com (I won’t quote the thing cause I don’t want any crazy Cruz troll nuts here making trouble…) you can look it up by the title of the article: Ted Cruz Issues Huge Statement on What the Bible Says About Killing Muslims… This Is Brutal

Sen. Ted Cruz said that he would not be violating his Christian faith if he followed through on his vow to “carpet bomb” Islamic State group militants — a statement that’s sure to upset liberals across the country.

The Texas Republican and presidential candidate told Newsmax Wednesday: ”Let’s be clear, the Bible says, ‘Thou shalt not murder,’ which is different from ‘Thou shalt not kill.’”

“Defending yourself is an obligation of any president. It is not murder,” Cruz added in the interview with Ed Berliner on “The Hard Line.”

What the fuck is that? Justified killing for “Jesus.” Sounds like what a religious zealot says after shooting and killing a bunch of innocent people at a Planned Parenthood Clinic.

But wait there is more:

Cruz pointed out that while America killed Nazis in World War II, it wasn’t murder.

“When you have the face of evil that has declared war … then it is the essence of duty to defend your nation, to defend the innocent,” he said. “When it comes to jihadists, they have declared war on us, and that’s what President Obama and Hillary Clinton refuse to acknowledge.”

The leader of the United States should fight radical Islam the same way President Ronald Reagan fought the Soviets when bringing an end to the Cold War, Cruz said. Reagan aimed his foreign policy around the notion of defeating communism — a strategy of “we win, they lose.”

Reagan “championed tax reform and regulatory reform,” Cruz said, which “unchained the American economy.” The economic growth that resulted from from his reform allowed the former president to rebuild the military and challenge Soviet communism “on every front, strategically we bankrupted the Soviet Union and won the Cold War.”

There is recorded sound from the interview at the conservative tribune link…if you must hear it. Five fucking minutes of this shit. Of course the CT (cuntservative tribune) is all hard for Cruz.

Speaking of Reagan…up next, a link sent to me from Boston Boomer: Behind the Ronald Reagan myth: “No one had ever entered the White House so grossly ill informed” –

Reagan embarrassed himself in news conferences, Cabinet meetings. Recalling how GOP cringed at his lack of interest

I always thought Reagan was much further gone with Alzheimer’s than we’re all led on now to believe…if that makes any sense. (As I am probably in the very early stages of Alzheimer’s myself.)

For BB: The Six Most Interesting Psychology Papers of 2015 – The New Yorker

I thought many of you would find this a good read: Sudan’s midwives take on Female Genital Mutilation

And this: 15 Remarkable Women of Color Who Rocked 2015 | Colorlines

This little tidbit: 8 Crazy Cuban New Year’s Eve Traditions — My Big Fat Cuban Family: A Cuban-American Blog

My Granny would throw a bucket of water out the back door, to wash away the bad luck from the last year…I don’t remember if it was dirty water or not.  Actually…I think she would toss a big pot of water. (One of her big cooking pots full…) So it would not be “dirty” and maybe that is why it never worked? She always had terrible luck…


Bruce Plante Cartoon: Bill and Hillary; Running Mates: 12/27/2015 Cartoon by Bruce Plante

Cartoon by Bruce Plante - Bruce Plante Cartoon: Bill and Hillary; Running Mates

12/26/2015 Cartoon by John Branch

Cartoon by John Branch -

Trump’s Flying Monkeys: 12/28/2015 Cartoon by Paul Fell

Cartoon by Paul Fell - Trump's Flying Monkeys


After U.S. Refuses Entry To British Muslims, Indian Students Are Being Turned Away In Droves | ThinkProgress

Twenty Indian students carrying valid student visas for colleges in California were denied entry in Chicago and put on planes back to India on Sunday, following other incidents of the U.S. turning away people from certain countries.

The U.S. is in a heightened state of vigilance since the terror attacks in Paris, France and San Bernardino, California. One of the shooters in San Bernardino came in on a fiance visa, prompting concern that potential terrorists could find loopholes to enter the country on valid visas or through the visa waiver program, which allows citizens of friendly countries to visit the United States without visas.

Some foreigners have already been barred from entering the country without being told why. Last week, a British Muslim family planning a trip to Disneyland was told by United Kingdom border officials that they wouldn’t be allowed to board a plane to the United States. Another 20 British Muslim families were reportedly denied entry into the United States without explanation.


12/28/2015 Cartoon by Randy Bish

Cartoon by Randy Bish -

Present Danger: 12/24/2015 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Present Danger

Jingle Trump: 12/22/2015 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Jingle Trump

All Purpose Hate Speech: 12/24/2015 Cartoon by Monte Wolverton

Cartoon by Monte Wolverton - All Purpose Hate Speech

So Long to the Year of Trump: 12/24/2015 Cartoon by Sage Stossel

Cartoon by Sage Stossel - So Long to the Year of Trump

From Riese via Our Picks For 2015’s Best Longform By Women

Hey, so, maybe you’ve heard about this gender byline gap? Like how in print, men make up about 62% of bylines in the most widely circulated newspapers, and 58% of those at the top four online news sites, (according to the Women’s Media Center). Or how women head fewer major US newspapers today than they did 10 years ago and are underrepresented in op-eds, book reviews and photojournalism. Or maybe you read that article by Dayna Evans on Matter about the otherwise progressive Gawker Media’s treatment of women, which noted that if Jezebel was excluded from the company’s editorial statistics, its staff would be 28% female. (It’s 38% female with Jezebel included.) Perhaps you’re aware that racial diversity in media is even worse — people of color account for only 13.34% of journalists at daily newspapers.

I’ve been assembling weekly, and then bi-weekly, lists of the web’s best longform for Autostraddle for four years now, and because of all those reasons above (and because we love women around here), I wanted to do a year-end round-up of the best longform written by women. I qualified “longform” as containing 3,000 words or more, but there are ten or so articles I included despite falling under that word count. I wanted a racially diverse group of writers and I wanted to represent as many independent and women’s publications as possible — which was tougher than I’d hoped, as most mainstream women’s magazines and even some of the most hyped new media sites for women rarely publish articles over 2,000 words. Independent women’s publications, like ours, face serious budget constraints when it comes to commissioning longer pieces outside of personal essays. But even well-funded properties go light on women’s longform; it remains far easier to find longform by women in major men’s magazines like GQ and Esquire than their female counterparts, like Elle and Vogue. As Amanda Hess wrote in Slate following a controversy regarding a male-dominated Port Magazine feature about the future of print media, “I hope we can also take this opportunity to question why women’s writing is aligned so heavily with personal essays and service journalism — the forms that are the cheapest and ad-friendliest to produce.”

That being said, it wasn’t hard to find women writing amazing shit all over the internet. Longreadswas an incredible resource for me when putting this together, and if you don’t follow them, you really ought to. Specifically, Emily Perper does some incredible work over there. And although I remain bitter that has yet to include our site on their app or website, I’m madly in love with their app and their website, and have been for years.

In some of the reporting pieces, men also were writers of the piece. I only selected a piece that had men involved if there were equal or more women involved.

In other news dealing with Women and GLBT’s Issues:

Hospital Refuses Pregnancy-Related Care Again Because of Religious Directives | American Civil Liberties Union  Another Catholic Hospital..

Religious Universities Get Exemption to Discriminate Against LGBTQ Students, Faculty

Forty-three religious universities applied for waivers in 2015 that will allow them to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Department of Education approved twenty-two of those requests, and the rest remain pending,BuzzFeed reported.

The number of schools seeking these waivers has spiked in recent years, jumping from one school in 2012 to 43 this year, according to a new report from the Human Rights Campaign.

Another story not getting much notice: Manning: Healing Continues 125 Years After Wounded Knee Massacre –

This year marks the 125thanniversary of the Wounded Knee massacre. On December 29, 1890, as many as 300 innocent and unarmed Lakota men, women, children, infants, and elders were gunned down by the United States 7thCavalry at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota. After the bloodshed, Chief Big Foot (Spotted Elk) and his band lie dead in the snow where they remained frozen for three days, until all were buried in a mass grave.

For decades, the Wounded Knee massacre was masqueraded as a battle, and marked in many American history books as such. A few months following the massacre, the United States government awarded 20 troops of the U.S. 7thCavalry with the Medal of Honor, and to this day, those medals have yet to be rescinded.


12/24/2015 Cartoon by Chan Lowe

Cartoon by Chan Lowe -

12/23/2015 Cartoon by Chan Lowe

Cartoon by Chan Lowe -

12/24/2015 Cartoon by John Cole

Cartoon by John Cole -

12/24/2015 Cartoon by Tim Eagan

Cartoon by Tim Eagan -

Now some other links…Science, History and Art, oh…and a huge ass natural gas leak in California:

Training The Immune System To Fight Cancer Has 19th-Century Roots : Shots – Health News : NPR

Ancient DNA sheds light on Irish origins – BBC News

Genetic Study Traces the Origins of the Irish – Archaeology Magazine

Fishermen Report Medieval Shipwreck Off Italy’s Southern Coast – Archaeology Magazine

We Ask Some Art World Luminaries to Pick the Best & Worst of 2015

Here’s what the English language sounded like 500 years ago

“Unstoppable” California gas leak being called worst catastrophe since BP spill


Gas is escaping through a ruptured pipe more than 8,000 feet underground, and it shows no signs of stopping,” as according to the California Air Resources Board, methane – a greenhouse gas 72 times more impactful in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide – has been escaping from the Aliso Canyon site with force equivalent “to a volcanic eruption” for about two months now.

New infrared footage exposes the massive leak…

Go to link to see that video…also looks like Erin Brockovich is working on this…

Infographic of leak (and potential solution)

As’s Claire Bernish details, methane gas continues spewing, unchecked, into the air over southern California from a fractured well to an underground storage site — at such an alarming rate that low-flying planes have necessarily been diverted by the FAA, lest internal combustion engines meet highly volatile gas and, well, blow the entire area to hell.  

This is, indeed, the biggest environmental catastrophe since the BP Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010; and for now, there is no way to stop it.

This methane disaster is worse than can be sufficiently described in words, because while it’s estimated well over 100,000 pounds of methane spew into the atmosphere every hour, the leak can’t be halted, at least until spring. Even then, that stoppage depends entirely on the efficacy of a proposed fix — which remains a dubiously open question.

Yeah, I am ending it on that disturbing note. There is plenty more at the link…it is a very long read. (I will say it is via a website called I am not familiar with that site, however…they do quote from reliable sources i.e. LATimes, CBS News, NY Daily News, court documents etc., which you can also verify by clicking those links within the article itself.)  In fact I would also suggest you read the comments…it may lead you to research into more natural gas leaks you can look up on Google…some fun for ya on the crust of the shitty year “2015” as we head over the cusp of the new year “2016.”

12/28/2015 Cartoon by Ann Cleaves

Cartoon by Ann Cleaves -


That does it for this Wednesday’s post…y’all enjoy this last couple of days of 2015!

What is going on in your part of the world? This is an open thread…

Wednesday Reads: Mistletoe this!


Mistletoe this!

Christmastime sucks….if you don’t agree? Then you can just, “Mistletoe my ass!”



Well, it is the Eve of Christmas Eve…and I cannot bear to write about the shit that is going on lately (other horrible stuff too)…so I am going to focus on more lighter sources of entertainment today.

They won’t be necessarily “light” reading, believe me…some require more thought waves than my brain can produce at this point in time, but I am sure you all will do just fine.

First I want to start with a link shared by Suzie Madrak: 80 books no woman should read

Suzie says….


I really like this article. As a female writer, I am still thoroughly flabbergasted at the notion that there is “manly” writing (i.e. “worthy” writing) and the lesser “womens” writing. I think there is good writing, and bad writing, and I’m not always reluctant to read the bad stuff if it has zing.


And it has always been a personal rule of mine to never, ever date a man who speaks highly of Charles Bukowski. (Because, you know, he’s so manly, goddamn it.)

Rebecca Stolnit:

There are good and great books on the Esquire list, though even Moby-Dick, which I love, reminds me that a book without women is often said to be about humanity but a book with women in the foreground is a woman’s book.

And that list would have you learn about women from James M. Cain and Philip Roth, who just aren’t the experts you should go to, not when the great oeuvres of Doris Lessing and Louise Erdrich and Elena Ferrante exist. I look over at my hero shelf and see Philip Levine, Rainer Maria Rilke, Virginia Woolf, Shunryu Suzuki, Adrienne Rich, Pablo Neruda, Subcomandante Marcos, Eduardo Galeano, Li Young Lee, Gary Snyder, James Baldwin, Annie Dillard, Barry Lopez.

These books are, if they are instructions at all, instructions in extending our identities out into the world, human and nonhuman, in imagination as a great act of empathy that lifts you out of yourself, not locks you down into your gender.

I love Doris Lessing. The Golden Notebook is one of my favorites. But…I also must say, Hemingway (which is on the list by the way) is very dear to me, both my kids are named after The Sun Also Rises…Jake and Brett. And there is something very important about that work in many ways, as a feeling…yes like that paragraph states…it lifted me out of myself.

Anyway. Susie is talking about this article here, 80 Books No Woman Should Read | Literary Hub. In this post author Rebecca Solnit references an article from Esquire that I mentioned years back called, 80 Best Books of All Time – The Greatest Books Ever Written. Back then I was more likely excited about A Confederacy of Dunces being on the list! (Y’all know that is my all time favorite book.) Here is what Solnit says about the list:


A few years ago, Esquire put together a list that keeps rising from the dead like a zombie to haunt the Internet. It embodies the whole mission of that magazine so far as I can tell. The magazine’s monthly instructions are not aimed at me, so I know the magazine mostly by the taglines and tarted-up ladies on on its cover. But I did just read Esquire’s list of “The 80 Best Books Every Man Should Read” when it popped up on my Facebook feed. The list is a reminder that the magazine is for men, and that if many young people now disavow the “binaries” of gender, they are revolting against much more established people building up gender like an Iron Curtain across humanity. Of course, “women’s magazines” like Cosmopolitan have provided decades of equally troubling instructions on how to be a woman. Maybe it says a lot about the fragility of gender that instructions on being the two main ones have been issued monthly for so long.

Should men read different books than women? In this list they shouldn’t even read booksby women, except for one by Flannery O’Connor among 79 books by men. The author annotates A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories with a quote: “She would of been a good woman… if it had been somebody there to shoot her every minute of her life.” Shoot her. Which goes nicely with the comment for John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath: “Because it’s all about the titty.” In other words, books are instructions, you read them to be a man, and that’s why men need their own list. And what is a man? The comment on Jack London’s Call of the Wild tells us “A book about dogs is equally a book about men.” Bitches be crazy men, I guess.



I will say that the one thing that stays with me about Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, is that Rose of Sharon delivers a dead baby, more than likely due to the poverty and poor conditions she has suffered through…only to keep a starving old man from dying, by helping him to suckle at her breast at the end of the book…call it what you want, it is a vivid image for me. She has given birth to what was throughout the book…seen as both hope and dread, the baby…she lost one life, but is able to give some hope of what remains to someone in need…ah whatever.

Solnit goes on to say:

Scanning the list, which is full of all the manliest books ever, lots of war books, only one book by an out gay man, I was reminded that though it’s hard to be a woman it’s harder in many ways to be a man, that gender that’s supposed to be incessantly defended and demonstrated through acts of manliness. I looked at that list and all unbidden the thought arose, no wonder there are so many mass murders. Which are the extreme expression of being a man when the job is framed this way, though happily many men have more graceful, empathic ways of being in the world.

The list made me think there should be another, with some of the same books, called 80 Books No Woman Should Read, though of course I believe everyone should read anything they want. I just think some books are instructions on why women are dirt or hardly exist at all except as accessories or are inherently evil and empty. Or they’re instructions in the version of masculinity that means being unkind and unaware, that set of values that expands out into violence at home, in war, and by economic means. Let me prove that I’m not a misandrist by starting with Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, because any book Paul Ryan loves that much bears some responsibility for the misery he’s dying to create.

She goes on…

Speaking of instructions on women as nonpersons, when I first read On the Road (which isn’t on this list, though The Dharma Bums is), I realized that the book assumed you identified with the protagonist who is so convinced he’s sensitive and deep even as he leaves the young Latina farmworker he got involved with to whatever trouble he’s created. It assumes that you do not identify with the woman herself, who is not on the road and not treated very much like anything other than a discardable depository. Of course I identified with her, as I did with Lolita (and Lolita, that masterpiece of Humbert Humbert’s failure of empathy, is on the Esquire list with a coy description). I forgave Kerouac eventually, just as I forgave Jim Harrison his lecherousness on the page, because they have redeeming qualities. And there’s a wholesome midwesterness about his lechery, unlike Charles Bukowski and Henry Miller’s.

Of course all three are on the Esquire list. As Dayna Tortorici said, “I will never forget reading Bukowski’s Post Office and feeling so horrible, the way that the narrator describes the thickness of ugly women’s legs. I think it was the first time I felt like a book that I was trying to identify with rejected me. Though I did absorb it, and of course it made me hate my body or whatever.” Writer Emily Gould described Bellow, Roth, Updike, Mailer as the “midcentury misogynists” a few years back, and it’s a handy term for those four guys on the Esquire list.

Ernest Hemingway is also in my no-read zone, because if you get the model for your art from Gertrude Stein you shouldn’t be a homophobic antisemitic misognynist, and because shooting large animals should never be equated with masculinity. The gun-penis-death thing is so sad as well as ugly. And because the terse, repressed prose style is, in his hands, mannered and pretentious and sentimental. Manly sentimental is the worst kind of sentimental, because it’s deluded about itself in a way that, say, honestly emotional Dickens never was.

More on Hemingway and others at the link, please go and read the rest of the post there.


As I said above, Hemingway is special to me for The Sun Also Rises. I can agree with her on some of the points above…but there is something so simple and beautiful in the words…

“Oh, Jake,” Brett said, “we could have had such a damned good time together.”
Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me.
“Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

Okay, moving on.

While on the subject of books and Dunces…Cooking for ‘Dunces’ –

In his rave for John Kennedy Toole’s “A Confederacy of Dunces” in the Book Review in 1980, Alan Friedman said the comic romp “generates the city of New Orleans in hot, sharp, solid, ethnic detail.” Much of that detail had to do with food. In the recently published “ ‘A Confederacy of Dunces’ Cookbook,” Cynthia LeJeune Nobles writes that its scenes “unfold through clouds of doughnut sugar, rivers of Dixie 45 beer, tangles of spaghetti and mounds of empty erster (oyster) shells.”

The endless appetite of the Falstaffian protagonist Ignatius J. Reilly inspires dozens of recipes here, from Miss Trixie’s Orange-and-Bourbon-Glazed Ham to the Bourbon Street Messy Dog, which involves French bread and chicken gravy. The book’s index is a culinary exploration in itself. A sampling of its entries: “alligator hunting,” “bacon grease,” “hog jowls,” “Wonder Bread.”

Nobles’s book is also a tour of the novel’s locales and a history of its food references. Paradise Vendors, for instance, which operates a fleet of hot-dog carts in the book, is based on Lucky Dogs, a French Quarter fixture that has moved more than 20 million hot dogs since 1947, according to Nobles. The cookbook is careful to point out discrepancies between the reputable Lucky Dogs and Toole’s inventive flights. In the novel, Ignatius asks the man who hires him to name the elements of the hot dogs. “Rubber, cereal, tripe. Who knows?” comes the answer. Ignatius replies, while chewing on his first of four: “They’re curiously appealing.”

I haven’t read that book this year, strange since Iggy is something I turn to often…I must remedy that.

Oh and speaking of New Orleans: Racists And History Nerds Join Forces To Save New Orleans Confederate Treasures | Wonkette



Many more Bookish links for you:

What Do Jane Austen’s Novels Have to Tell Us About Love and Life Today? –

Each week in Bookends, two writers take on questions about the world of books. This week, Adam Kirsch and Anna Holmes discuss what Austen’s work says now, 200 years after “Emma” was published.

By Adam Kirsch

“Emma” is a comedy — a story in which the world finally gives everyone what he or she deserves.

By Anna Holmes

I’m not convinced that modern methods of human interaction are any better than the epistolary intrigues of the early 19th century.

Give that link a click…hopefully you will be able to read the two thoughts on the matter.

Let us take a look at another work written years back, this poem from Rudyard Kipling: Iffy by Austin Allen

Behind the mask of Rudyard Kipling’s confidence.

It’s easy to imagine “If—” as a great modernist title. Terse, mysterious, hesitant, it could have introduced a Williams fragment full of precarious gaps and leaps, or anAuden riff on the As You Like It line about evasive speech: “Much virtue in If.” Instead the title belongs to Rudyard Kipling, to the year 1910, and to a didactic poem that remains a classic of righteous certitude.

If you can keep your head when all about you
     Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
     And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

Meanwhile, Kipling himself remains an icon of obnoxious wrongness. George Orwell’s 1942 disclaimer has been widely quoted: “It is no use pretending that Kipling’s view of life, as a whole, can be accepted or even forgiven by any civilized person.” Imperialist racist, aggressive militarist: Kipling was this and more, and very publicly. Even in his least controversial work, the outlook Orwell called “morally insensitive and aesthetically disgusting” bleeds in at the margins. Read “If—” beside Kipling’s “The White Man’s Burden,” and the line “Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it” starts to smell like colonialist arrogance—or “jingoistic nonsense,” as one British paper put it in 1995, after Britain had voted “If—” its all-time favorite poem.

And therein lies the reason for issuing disclaimers at all: Kipling has lasted. For decades, Orwell wrote, “every enlightened person has despised him, and at the end of that time nine-tenths of those enlightened persons are forgotten and Kipling is in some sense still there.” In his 1939 elegy for W.B. Yeats, Auden judged that time had “Pardoned Kipling” by separating his writing talent from his bigotry. Auden dropped that stanza from later versions of the poem, but global culture has never dropped Kipling.

Check that article out…interesting.

I know that Sylvia Plath is one of Mona’s favorites…This article is focused on the Plath’s husband, Ted Hughes…a poet that has a prolific life’s work behind him…Getting Over Sylvia Plath – The Atlantic



And the last bookish link today: She Played Hard with Happiness by Colm Tóibín | The New York Review of Books

This seem like one hell of a collection of short stories.

The Complete Stories

by Clarice Lispector, translated from the Portuguese by Katrina Dodson, edited and with an introduction by Benjamin Moser
New Directions, 645 pp., $28.95
Clarice Lispector

Clarice Lispector; drawing by Pancho

In Chapter Six of his novel Murphy, Samuel Beckett considered what he called “Murphy’s mind”:

Murphy’s mind pictured itself as a large hollow sphere, hermetically closed to the universe without. This was not an impoverishment, for it excluded nothing that it did not itself contain. Nothing ever had been, was or would be in the universe outside it but was already present as virtual, or actual, or virtual rising into actual, or actual falling into virtual, in the universe inside it.

In Beckett’s fiction, there is a sense that the spirit of his characters is elsewhere, hidden from their bodies. They may know how to think, but the notion that this leads them therefore to exist is a sour joke. The word “therefore” in the Cartesian equation has been somehow mislaid. Their bodies, in all their frailty and levels of discomfort, tell his characters that they are alive. This knowledge is made more comic and tragic and indeed banal by the darting quality of the minds of many of Beckett’s characters, by the amount of nonsense going on in their heads. They are like hens pecking at memory and experience.

Hens are dear to the strange, bitter heart of the Brazilian writer Clarice Lispector. Their general helplessness combined with their persistence, their constant pecking and mindless squawking, seemed to animate something in her spirit. During her childhood in the north of Brazil, according to her biographer Benjamin Moser, “she spent hours with the chickens and hens in the yard.” “I understand a hen, perfectly,” she told an interviewer. “I mean, the intimate life of a hen. I know how it is.” One of her finest stories is “A Chicken,” three pages long, which tells of a bird trapped in a kitchen waiting to be sacrificed for Sunday lunch who decides to make a brief, defiant flight, only to be chased by the man of the house. “From rooftop to rooftop they covered more than a block. Ill-adapted to a wilder struggle for life, the chicken had to decide for herself which way to go, without any help from her race.”

The day is saved, or at least the chicken is, when she lays an egg and it is decided not to cook her, but instead to include her in the household. Thus

whenever everyone in the house was quiet and seemed to have forgotten her, she would fill up with a little courage, vestiges of the great escape—and roam around the tiled patio, her body following her head, pausing as if in a field, though her little head gave her away: vibratory and bobbing rapidly, the ancient fright of her species long since turned mechanical.

Lispector, however, has no interest in allowing this triumph to be more than brief. In a brisk and sudden final sentence, she does away with her brave bird: “Until one day they killed her, ate her and years went by.”

Read the rest of the review at the link.

More links, but now on film.

Fro Kimberly Truhler via:   GlamAmor-ous Holidays–Orry-Kelly Style in 1942’s THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER | GlamAmor

1942’s The Man Who Came to Dinner has slowly become one of the classics I watch every year around the holidays.  Though it’s not necessarily a Christmas movie per se, it definitely has many of the elements that make for holiday fun, such as ice-skating on a frozen pond and placing presents around a beautifully decorated tree.  Like other Hollywood productions such as The Philadelphia Story (1940), the film’s origins can be traced back to Broadway–a 1939 play written by the brilliant Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman–and in real people who were central to the worlds of both theater and film.
The lead character of Sheridan Whiteside was based on none other than Alexander Woollcott–famed drama critic, essayist, playwright, and member of the Algonquin Round Table.  Though notoriously difficult, he was great friends with Moss Hart.  Woollcott would occasionally drop by quite unexpectedly and once, in the span of just one day, he completely turned Hart’s house upside down–taking over his master bedroom, ordering his staff around, and making a general nuisance of himself. When he finally left, Hart found himself relieved that he had not chosen to stay even longer.  He mentioned the theatricality of this possibility to his writing partner Kaufman and boom…a play was born.
The play was a great success from the very beginning and had nearly 800 performances before its run was done.  One of its audience was the great Bette Davis, who so loved it that she urged Jack Warner to buy the screen rights for herself and John Barrymore.  Screen tests were ordered and Bette was perfect as Maggie Cutler, Whiteside’s efficient and ever-patient assistant.  The subtle part was actually a welcome departure for the actress and her usual dramatic roles.  But Barrymore struggled in his tests as Sheridan Whiteside; even with cue cards, the rapid-fire dialogue was too much for the actor whose health was in decline as the result of years of drinking.  Once he was dismissed, other actors were considered–everyone from Orson Welles to Cary Grant.  Producers finally chose Monty Woolley, the actor who had originated the part on Broadway (cast while he was still a professor at Yale).  He was so brilliant in the role that he seemed to be forever typecast as that same sharp-tongued sophisticate.  Though Bette was unhappy because she “never got over [her] disappointment in not working with the great John Barrymore,” both the film and Woolley as Whiteside were an immense success.
In addition to Sheridan Whiteside, the play and film are filled with even more characters who were inspired by real people.  Alexander Woollcott was lifelong friends with Harpo Marx, so that is who inspired the character of Banjo (played in the movie by Jimmy Durante).  Noel Coward, another in their inner circle of artists and friends, was the basis for the character of Beverly Carlton (played by Reginald Gardiner).  It seems only appropriate then that Lorraine Sheldon (deliciously and devilishly played in the film by Ann Sheridan) should be inspired by stage great Gertrude Lawrence, a dramatic actress who had a long and very close, though tempestuous, personal and professional relationship with Noel Coward.
With these intellects as inspiration, it should come as no surprise that the dialogue throughout the film is fast and furious, and there are many cultural references that make this fiction seem more like fact, especially for audiences at the time.  Phone calls come for Sheridan from Winston Churchill and Eleanor Roosevelt.  Presents around the tree come from his friends and colleagues that include Deanna Durbin, Gypsy Rose Lee, and Somerset Maugham.  Beverly tells Sheridan a story of one of Banjo’s parties where he saw Hollywood queens Norma Shearer and Claudette Colbert.  Banjo, a professed lover of blondes, brings up Lana Turner.  Lorraine drops the names of Cary Grant and (then wife) heiress Barbara Hutton, who were allegedly at one of the parties she attended in Palm Beach.  Other names that are bandied about include Ginger Rogers, Sonja Henie, Zasu Pitts, fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (who had only recently abdicated the throne of England). Even Ann Sheridan’s own popular nickname “the Oomph Girl” is woven into the dialogue in reference to her character Lorraine.
One of the things that most fascinates me about The Man Who Came to Dinner, though, is that the film was put out by Warner Brothers at the top of the same year that the studio released one of the greatest of all time–Casablanca.  In fact, many of the team who were responsible for Casablanca were also involved in this production, including Oscar-winning screenwriters Julius J. Epstein and Philip G. Epstein as well as producer Jerry Wald (who also produced other iconic film noir such as Mildred Pierce (1945)).  And yet another member of the Casablanca team who worked on The Man Who Came to Dinner was costume designer Orry-Kelly.


Go read and see the rest at the link…

The 10 Best Female Performances of 2015 | Women and Hollywood

11 Stately Facts About ‘Barry Lyndon’ | Mental Floss

From the TCM blog: – Ghost Stories For Christmas

There must be something ghostly in the air of Christmas — something about the close, muggy atmosphere that draws up the ghosts, like the dampness of the summer rains brings out the frogs and snails.” – Jerome K. Jerome, Told After Supper (1891)

25 Holiday Film Facts | Mental Floss


Only 3 Women Composers Among 112 Original Scores in 2016 | Women and Hollywood

Final curtain coming down on giant Hollywood junkyard | Tampa Bay Times

It’s not just a junkyard — or even a really big junkyard — but a living, breathing monument to Los Angeles pop culture. And now it’s headed for the dustbin of history itself.

For 54 years, Aadlen Brothers Auto Wrecking, in a moonscaped, godforsaken-looking section of the San Fernando Valley, has collected far more than thousands of burned-out, smashed-up, rusted automobiles on its sprawling dirt and asphalt lot.

It’s also taken in just about every type of movie and TV prop imaginable while serving as the site of more than 200 Hollywood film shoots.

The last surviving “Bruce” the shark, made from the mold for the 1975 Steven Spielberg film Jaws, resides there, swimming ominously near an entrance. With its huge mouth agape, it appears ready to devour anyone foolish enough to try to sneak off the lot with, say, a pilfered power train from a ’32 Ford.

Nearby is the giant boom box Usher danced on for the 1997 video My Way. It’s actually a 53-foot-long big-rig trailer painted to look like the ’80s-era music machine. But viewed from a nearby freeway, it appears eerily authentic.

Now everything must go, says Nathan Adlen, owner of this hybrid junkyard-Hollywood back lot that’s been in his family since 1961, when this part of the valley was mainly a warren of sand-and-gravel quarries and garbage dumps.

By New Year’s Eve, he promises, it will be 26 acres of bare land surrounded largely by warehouses and car-repair places as he contemplates what to do next with the property.

More on the story and video at the link.

Next up, it is not film but TV: 5 Ways Abortions on TV Don’t Reflect Reality — The Cut

Television is, of course, fake, but it can provide an opportunity to consider controversial topics like abortion in a comfortable, fictional setting. Yet, as researchers with the University of California, San Francisco, group Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health found, abortion on TV is often unlike abortion in real life — and the mismatch could affect how people perceive women who terminate pregnancies.

For a study published in the journal Contraception, researchers looked at depictions of abortion on all U.S. television shows (including networks, premium channels, and streaming services) from 2005 to 2014 and identified 78 plotlines where characters considered abortion, including 40 where a woman had one. They found that women on TV who had abortions were younger, whiter, wealthier, and less likely to already have children than the average American woman who ends a pregnancy.

“All these factors work together to build an interesting social myth, which is that women who get abortions aren’t mothers and they don’t want to be mothers,” study co-author Gretchen Sisson told NPR. More often, these women are already parents who can’t afford or care for another child.

Go to the link to see the five ways discussed…starting with age.



Now another show on TV that made news this past week, Miss Universe. I’m not going into the bullshit, but rather the costumes, from the viewpoint of two queens who blog about fashion:

Miss Universe 2015, Part 1: Angels, Birds, and Flowers! | Tom & Lorenzo Fabulous & Opinionated

Miss Universe 2015, Part 2: Good Girls and Supervillains! | Tom & Lorenzo Fabulous & Opinionated

Miss Universe 2015, Part 3: Showgirls and Bigass Skirts! | Tom & Lorenzo Fabulous & Opinionated

Miss Universe 2015, Part 4: Freak-Flag Flying Fun Gals! | Tom & Lorenzo Fabulous & Opinionated

Now, you must click through all four to truly enjoy the fun, but I had to share this one with ya:

Miss Hungary


“Because Hungary believes women are a puzzle with a crotch!”


In connection with this beauty pageant:

‘People think we don’t love life’: Iraq holds first beauty pageant since 1972 | World news | The Guardian

First national beauty contest in four decades hailed by participants and organisers as a victory for hope in the war-torn country

Have y’all heard this song from Lady Gaga?

Lady Gaga Fights Back Tears During Emotional Speech

Lady Gaga was honored as Woman of the Year during Billboard’s Women in Music event on Dec. 11, and on Friday we finally got to see the emotional moment go down during the broadcast on Lifetime.

The singer first sat at a piano to perform her new single, “Til It Happens To You,” before accepting the award from her mother, Cynthia Germanotta.

“I don’t think I’ve ever dreamed of anything more than being a performer. I don’t really know why …” said Gaga before getting choked up.

“I’m a very emotional person,” she said with a laugh. “I never thought anything like this would’ve ever happened to me or my family.”

Gaga went on to deliver a powerful speech on her personal journey and called out sexism in the music industry, saying it’s like a “f***ing boys club” before laughing, “Sorry, Grandma.”

Gaga also thanked her supporters and even her haters for giving her the motivation to prove them wrong.


vintage everyday: 7 Interesting Facts about Santa Claus

Yeah, the link for Christmas…

3. Satire first sent Santa down a chimney

In his satiric 1809 book A History of New York, Washington Irving did away with the characterization of Santa Claus as a “lanky bishop,” says Whipps. Instead, Irving described Santa as a portly, bearded man who smokes a pipe. Irving’s story also marked the first time Santa slid down the chimney.

Funny huh?

Other links for you today…

Did People Ice Skate in the Middle Ages? –

Sea Snakes Thought Extinct Found Swimming In Australian Waters : SCIENCE : Tech Times

4,500-Year-Old “Rattles” Found in Infant’s Burial – Archaeology Magazine

New York’s pregnant inmates will no longer be shackled – NY Daily News

TV faith healer: Women have miscarriages because they don’t obey God’s law about being too emotional

Tennessee woman pleads not guilty to murder charge for abortion attempt

News from AP via Jezebel

A new poll has found that support for abortion rights has increased among both Democrats and Republicans in the last year. Fully 58 percent of Americans now think abortion should be legal “in most or all cases,” an Associated Press-GfK survey found, up from 51 percent at the beginning of the year.

Saturday Morning Fun Open Thread: Florida Man Goes Gay for Festivus

From Mark Joseph Stern, at Slate:

This holiday season, as many as eight state capitols will be graced with a rainbow-festooned Festivus pole—a 6.5-foot-tall display crowned by a glittering disco ball. The pole was designed by Chaz Stevens, head of The Humanity Fund, a scrappy advocacy group that champions separation of church and state, free speech, and constitutional equality. Stevens hopes to place his display in Republican-dominated states—Arkansas, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Michigan—as a protest against what he views as their support for laws respecting an establishment of religion

I spoke with Stevens on Thursday about his campaign to put gay pride Festivus poles in state capitols across the country.

Where did the Festivus pole idea originate?

In 2013, I got a tip saying, did you know there’s a manger up in Tallahassee in the capitol? So I write to Tallahassee, saying I want to put up a Festivus pole, thinking there’s no way in hell they’ll say yes. Three days later, they say yes. Up goes the pole. [Note: Stevens’ precedent paved the way for the Satanic Temple to put up its own capitol display, an angel falling into hellfire, in 2014.] Because of the timing—it’s Festivus, it’s a novelty, it’s Florida, there’s nobody getting killed, we’re not in a war—it goes viral.

Why did you choose a gay pride theme this year?

I am a privileged white heterosexual male in America, a lifelong ally of the gay community—some of my best friends are very homosexual, very out and proud, I love them to death—and we all cheered when the Supreme Court ruling reaffirming the rights of same-sex couples to marry came through. We thought,Finally! It’s about goddamn time!

Right around the corner, Kim Davis and her crazy people in Kentucky say, we’re not gonna give marriage licenses. That just drove me nuts. The very day that happened, I said to myself, those little fuckers! I am going to troll the living shit out of them. I’m going to wrap my pole in gay pride and put a disco ball on the top and stick it in the bowels of the Florida rotunda.

But you’re targeting more than just Florida, right?

Myself and my civil rights lawyer decided: Why not go on the road? I thought, we can take our trolling to an elite level. Let’s go to Arkansas. That’s where Huckabee is. Let’s wag this thing in front of Huckabee’s face and see if we can get him to react. Let’s go to Texas and wave this in front of Ted Cruz. New Jersey, Christie. Florida—well, I had those knuckleheads covered. I said, let’s go troll the living shit out of them.

More at the link.
Apart from applauding cheerful snark (look, a multi-colored pole with a disco ball is tame, compared to some other displays this year)

We will end the post with pictures….

vintage everyday: 20 Color Photos Show Girls of Chicago in Swimsuits in the 1940s

vintage everyday: Beautiful Vintage Photos of Black Ladies in Bathsuits

…and a ballet:

Ballet Dancers Shred Their Way Through Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Queen’s slow burn of an anthem “Bohemian Rhapsody.” To honor the epic number, English National Ballet’s lead principal Erina Takahashi and first soloist James Forbat performed an epic duet that truly captures what it feels like to be just a poor boy from a poor family.

With poise and drama, Takahashi and Forbat leap, twirl and bend their way through the six-minute rock opera, yielding a performance that would put even Wayne and Garth to shame. It’s so legit, Queen’s official channel even uploaded the video to YouTube. Check it out above. Try not to head bang so much you miss the good parts.



That’s all folks, have fun getting ready for tomorrow!


Sunday Reads: Divinely Inspired 

Good afternoon…

I may have used Divine as a theme in my previous blog post pictures, but I thought we all needed some “Divine Inspiration” lately so…what the hell.image

I don’t know about you, but I have felt that it is been impossible for me to look and read the news. I find that staying in bed with the covers over my head suits me just fine.  Even now the thought of looking up links for you is just too much for me this morning.

So, being as it is no longer, the morning…I am just going to give you a bunch of various stories and other crap to look at the rest of your day whenever you have a chance.

Yes, it is going to be a link dump with the keyword being dump, as fitting as that would be considering Divine is our focus on the images for today’s post.

And away we go……

Nevada lawmaker posts Christmas card showing family armed with guns | TheHill

Michele Fiore / Facebook

A Republican assemblywoman in Nevada this week shared her 2015 Christmas card on Facebook — which shows family members outfitted with a gun, including her young grandson.

image“It’s up to Americans to protect America,” Michele Fiore wrote on her Facebook page Monday. “We’re just your ordinary American family.”


Media Storms Apartment Of San Bernardino Shooting Suspects, An ‘Active Crime Scene’ | ThinkProgress

The bizarre turn of events raises a number of legal and ethical issues for the media and the landlord.

If, as the sheriff’s department says, the apartment is still an active crime scene, the reporters rummaging through apartment could be tampering or compromising evidence. Although the main suspects have died, evidence in the apartment could potentially implicate others.

imageThere is also the ethical question of showing the personal effects of a child and personally identifying information like passports, drivers licenses, and social security cards. Particularly amid a recent surge in harassment, threats, and violence against Muslim Americans, some media outlets have been criticized for broadcasting what is apparently the driver’s license of the suspected shooter’s mother.


There is also the question of whether the landlord had the authority to let reporters into the apartment. California law only allows the landlord to enter the apartment under very limited circumstances. The tenants in this case are deceased, so it’s unclear if those limitations apply. According to CNN, the landlord was escorted from the scene by law enforcement…

An NBC reporter claimed Inside Edition paid the landlord $1,000 to get access to the apartment first.

Pandemonium as media mob ransacks shooters’ home on live TV without FBI permission

Networks tour SB shooters' apartment (Twitter)

And to counter that….

Muslims mock media frenzy in San Bernardino with snarky tweets

Cats, Christmas trees, Chicago Bears jerseys: just a few of the items in Muslims Americans’ apartments.

imageWithin hours of the live broadcast that showed dozens of reporters from MSNBC, CNN and other outlets rifling through belongings in the apartment where San Bernardino shooting suspects Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik lived, zeroing in on so-called Muslim items in the home, Muslim Americans took to Twitter in response Friday.

In an attempt to call out the media’s Islamaphobia—with a heavy dose of sarcasm— people tweeted photos of their #MuslimApartments, which included items such as “sinister books,” “seasonings of mass destruction,” and “Disney-inspired infidel characters.”





Just a few of those…now on to other crap things of interest.

imageIn Translation – The New Yorker

relationship with Italian takes place in exile, in a state of separation.

Every language belongs to a specific place. It can migrate, it can spread. But usually it’s tied to a geographical territory, a country. Italian belongs mainly to Italy, and I live on another continent, where one does not readily encounter it.

I think of Ovid, exiled from Rome to a remote place. To a linguistic outpost, surrounded by alien sounds.

I think of my mother, who writes poems in Bengali, in America. Almost fifty years after moving there, she can’t find a book written in her language.

In a sense I’m used to a kind of linguistic exile. My mother tongue, Bengali, is foreign in America. When you live in a country where your own language is considered foreign, you can feel a continuous sense of estrangement. You speak a secret, unknown language, lacking any correspondence to the environment. An absence that creates a distance within you.

imageIn my case there is another distance, another schism. I don’t know Bengali perfectly. I don’t know how to write it, or even read it. I have an accent, I speak without authority, and so I’ve always perceived a disjunction between it and me. As a result I consider my mother tongue, paradoxically, a foreign language.

As for Italian, the exile has a different aspect. Almost as soon as we met, Italian and I were separated. My yearning seems foolish. And yet I feel it.

A bit out of the park for you there…

Before we get back to the serious stuff:

imageBreaking: Female Suspect in San Bernardino Shooting Reportedly Pledged Allegiance to ISIS | Mother Jones

Nation Confronts a New Menace After San Bernardino Shooting – WSJ

Another Black Man Told Police ‘I Can’t Breathe.’ One Replied ‘Who Gives A F**k?’

Interactive – Enemy of Enemies: The Rise of ISIL

Ghost Boats Mystery Grips Japan | Al Jazeera America

‘Self-Radicalized,’ ‘Terrorism,’ ‘Lone Wolf’: What do these terms mean & should we use them? | Informed Comment

imageCritics denounce ‘Muslim’ label on California shooters – Al Jazeera English

A Former Planned Parenthood Employee Tweeted This List of “Acts of Terrorism” She Survived

Syrian refugees arrive in Georgia, despite Gov. Deal’s opposition |

Another Syrian refugee family has arrived in the Atlanta area, becoming the first to relocate to Georgia from their war-torn nationsince Gov. Nathan Deal joined more than two dozen of his counterparts in vowing to halt their resettlement.

Mohammad, Ebtesam and their four-year-old son’s arrival in Georgia highlights how, despite the political rhetoric, states are powerless to stop that resettlement process, which is overseen by the federal government. And Deal — who has cited security concerns in the wake of last month’s Paris attacks — indicated he wasn’t even aware the family had arrived in Georgia.

imageTheir arrival also raises the possibility of a legal showdown. The Deal administration has ordered state employees not to process applications for benefits — including food stamps — for new Syrian refugees coming to Georgia. That has triggered a sharp warning from the Obama administration, which told Georgia it must rescind its order to comply with federal law.

Mohammad and Ebtesam, who asked that their full names not be published to protect relatives still living in Syria, applied to the state Thursday for food stamps and Medicaid. As of late Thursday afternoon, there was no word whether the state would process their applications.

imageIn other related Georgia news:  Elderly couple recovering after squirrel attack |

What Emily Yoffe Left Out of Her Polemic on The Hunting Ground –

In June, Slate columnist Emily Yoffe published a bombshell: an article titled “How The Hunting Ground Blurs the Truth,” in which she claimed that the campus rape documentary, which premiered earlier this year, had presented a misleading picture of one of its central stories. Yoffe wrote that the case perfectly illustrated the biases at work in the film; as she put it, “how deeply the filmmakers’ politics colored their presentation of the facts—and how deeply flawed their influential film is as a result.”

imageThe story is that of a former law student named Kamilah Willingham, who alleges that she and a friend, who Yoffe calls KF, were sexually assaulted while they were incapacitated one night in January 2011. The alleged assailant was a fellow law student named Brandon Winston, formerly a close friend of Willingham’s.

Willingham’s credibility, Yoffe wrote, is called “seriously into question” by the facts of the case. She called the alleged assault a typically “spontaneous, drunken encounter,” as well as “ambiguous sexual encounter among young adults that almost destroyed the life of the accused, a young black man with no previous record of criminal behavior.” (Willingham and Winston are both black. KF is white.)

imageIn a criminal trial earlier this year, a grand jury declined to indict Winston on any charges against Willingham. The trial jury convicted him of a lesser included offense, a non-sexual misdemeanor assault against KF, for which he was sentenced only to a brief probation period.

Winston has since returned to Harvard Law after a four-year absence; in the meantime, Willingham graduated. On November 11, a group of 19 Harvard Law professors issued an open letter in support of Winston, saying he’d been vindicated by both Harvard and the criminal justice system, but was being unfairly attacked by TheHunting Ground, which they called “a purported documentary” that paints “a seriously false picture both of the general sexual assault phenomenon at universities” and of Winston himself, who is not referred to by name in the film. (Yoffe, who recently announced she will leave Slate for the Atlantic, was the first person to identify him in connection with the film.)

image“We believe that Brandon Winston was subjected to a long, harmful ordeal for no good reason,” the professors wrote. They cite Yoffe’s work as an “investigative journalist’s in-depth story demonstrating the biased, one-sided nature of the film.”

In finance news: RushCard’s Attempt To Throw Out Or Delay Investigation Into Mass Outage | ThinkProgress

Nicki Minaj Posted Bail for Brother Charged With Raping a Child

San Bernardino, Guns, Republicans and the NRA |

imageScalia gets schooled by Reagan-appointed judge who perfectly points out his theocratic hypocrisy

7-year-old girl killed at MI soccer practice after ‘paranoid’ man with concealed carry license opens fire

George Zimmerman Gets The Boot From Twitter After He Posted Revenge Porn | ThinkProgress

Whoa….we need a break after all that shit.

The 15 Coolest Bookstores From Around the World | TIME

El Ateneo Grand bookshop in Barrio Norte, Buenos Aires, Argentina.Yadid Levy / AlamyEl Ateneo Grand bookshop in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

imageScribbling in the margins: Women’s Rights in Early Medieval Rus

he Ruirikid Dynasty ruled Rus lands during the eleventh century. This marks the early part of a Golden Age for the ruling cities Kyiv/ Kiev and Novgorod. These princes replaced many diverse local customs and created a Rus State that stretched from the Black Sea north of  Moscow and St Petersburg, which, if they existed at all then, were tiny hamlets. The ruling Ruirikid princes over the period of two centuries established a series of law codes known collectively as The Russkaia Pravda. These laws united various clans under the cultural and religious umbrella of the Byzantine influenced Russian Orthodox Church and established a common written language, Old Church Slavonic.

The Science Behind Baking Your Ideal Chocolate Chip Cookie : The Salt : NPR

Turns out cookie customization is easier than it seems.


imageI love this: Doctor becomes Question Time hero for refusing to pronounce Jeremy Hunt’s surname

A doctor has become something of a hero online for coming very close to deliberately mispronouncing health secretary Jeremy Hunt’s name on BBC1’s Question Time.

The unnamed man had the final word on last night’s show in Birmingham, when he questioned the health secretary’s repeated claim that higher death rates at hospitals during weekends was due to poor levels of staffing.

The doctor said his own experience was patients not wanting to have lifesaving operations at weekends as a result:

I work in liver transplant. My patients do not want to come in on weekends for an emergency transplant because they believe Jeremy, I’m not going to pronounce his surname because I might mispronounce it deliberately, because they think that by having a lifesaving transplant operation they will die and that liver goes to someone else.

imageNow, given his profound incompetence at this junior doctors contract issue, as well as previous health secretaries, is it not time for a cross-party healthcare commission to save our NHS?

You have to give it up to the Brits…go to the link to see the tweets the doctor got for his non “cunt” reference.


Amy Poehler and Tina Fey Perfectly Spoof All the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Hype | The Mary Sue

This One Poster Gathers the World’s 140 Metro Maps – CityLab – Can you guess what the cities are?

Go to link and find out.

Big Ass Lizard.

Big Ass Lizard.

Imagine coming home to that!

Bless this man from Sydney, Australia, Eric Holland, who first spotted this five-foot goanna on the ground in his backyard while working in his shed earlier this week. Holland seemed to still be in shock, rightfully, recalling the incident on Friday in an interview with Sydney radio station 2UE.

image“A bloody big shock mate,” said Holland. “I nearly trod on the bloody thing.” He’s used to seeing “blue tongues and lizards,” he added, “but never anything quite like this.”

Back to the Link Dump Divine Extraordinaire:

The left’s absurd Hillary hate: Why this ridiculous anti-Clinton crusade needs to stop –

The 12 Worst Habits for Your Mental Health | TIME

A girl-power playlist in honor of “Waitress”—a musical that’s imageabout to make Broadway history | The Feed | Hillary for America

Ohio community lives in fear as rifle-toting white man stalks black neighborhoods with impunity

Jimmy Carter reveals he’s cancer-free: Latest scans showed ‘cancer was gone’

Manuscript fragments bear ‘striking resemblance to The Book of Kells’ –

Medieval Music Manuscripts: Treasures of Sight and Sound –

WATCH: Trump tells black online hosts endorsing him, ‘Do a little routine’

Lynette “Diamond” Hardaway voices her support for Donald Trump during a rally in Raleigh, North Carolina on Dec. 4, 2015. [YouTube]

Senate Passes Bill Repealing Key Parts of Obamacare, Stripping Planned Parenthood Funds – NBC News

imageRepublican faces recall after saying the ‘real culprit’ in Colorado mass shooting is Planned Parenthood

Newborn Loses Faith In Humanity After Record 6 Days – The Onion – America’s Finest News Source


SCHAUMBURG, IL—In a turn of events that has stunned the worldwide medical community, local infant Nathan Jameson, born just six days ago, has become the youngest person ever to permanently and irrevocably lose all faith in humanity.

“This shatters all previous records,” University of Chicago psychologist Douglas McAllister said Monday. “In all of documented medical history, there is no case of a newborn taking less than four months to develop the mental faculties required to grasp the full extent of this existential nightmare we call life on earth.”

“Considering he already comprehends harsh realities that many people spend their entire fleeting, shallow existences attempting to deny, Baby Nathan is quite the little miracle!” he added.

imageThough he has not yet developed the capacity for speech, extensive cognitive testing has definitively shown that the shockingly perceptive 6-day-old fully understands and accepts that human beings cannot be trusted, that they remain far too ignorant for their opinions to be reliable, that a lack of self-awareness about their own destructive tendencies pervades the species as a whole, and that most are too ineffectual to successfully pursue even the shallow self-interested agendas that rule their lives.

imageSources said the early-blooming newborn was putting two and two together about the real nature of humanity even before leaving the hospital, where his first sensory experiences included the shouts of sick people arguing to get treatment they urgently needed, visitors staring vacantly at smartphones as they sat next to bedridden loved ones, televisions blaring the empty rhetoric and emotionally manipulative appeals of political advertisements, and dozens upon dozens of pained, desperate cries, including his own.

Local reports confirmed the baby’s disillusionment imagewas only compounded by the fact that he spent his first days in the bleak and soulless suburban conformity of Schaumburg, IL, its empty consumerist non-culture allowing him to realize in record time that all human pursuits are cold, joyless, and devoid of any substantive purpose or integrity.

“For a baby, he sure is an insightful little guy,” Nathan’s mother, Melanie Jameson, told reporters. “My husband and I are a loveless, narcissistic couple whose weird, freaked-out neediness and anxieties—which we sublimate under a mask of facile self-regard—would normally be introjected into our child’s forming psyche over the course of years. But this talented fella just took it all in at once!”

image“We’re awfully proud to have such a precocious son,” she added, her face displaying no genuine emotion.

According to household sources, Baby Nathan has already noticed that his father, Michael Jameson, resents the infant’s 3 a.m. crying, feels more trapped than ever in his sham-marriage now that he’s a father, and is inwardly building an ever-growing wall against the reality of his own life one mid-afternoon cocktail at a time.

“The kid’s not even a week old, and he has the thousand-yard stare of a middle-aged man,” said psychologist Helen James, one of the cognitive scientists who verified that by his third day of life, Nathan had already begun to sense the overwhelming air of desperation surrounding other people. “That look that says, ‘I’ve finally given up on the reassuring fictions that prop up humanity’s delusional self-image as dignified, intelligent, or decent in any way.’ He knows the truth.”

image“At this point, he shouldn’t even be able to distinguish between himself and the rest of humanity, let alone have the capacity to lose faith in it,” James continued. “Evidently, the human condition has gotten even more depressing than it already was, and we’re going to need to reformulate our entire theory of childhood development.”

Jon Stewart lambastes senators ‘hiding in their offices’ while denying health care to 9/11 responders

Noam Chomsky: The GOP is ‘no longer a normal political party’ — it’s a ‘radical insurgency’



My abortion almost killed me — but not for the reason you think –

imageI walked into my local Planned Parenthood, received the most amazing and professional care by some of the most supportive, understanding and genuinely warm women I’ve ever met. I was asked repeatedly if I was there of my own volition. I was given a hand to hold throughout the procedure, a nurse giving me permission to squeeze when the cramping became uncomfortable. I was given information and the contacts of numerous support groups and as much time as I needed to recover before leaving. In other words, I was given a safe and comfortable environment to do what I knew was best for myself, best for then-boyfriend, and best for our impending — and soon-to-be separate — imagefutures.

And then I walked outside.

In the bubble of a calm and understanding environment, in which the decisions I make with my body were respected and facilitated, I felt at ease with a choice I knew was right. But once I left that bubble, a society that forces women to feel shame and humiliation about an otherwise common procedure took its toll.

Friends would share memes and photos and hate-filled posts online, oblivious to my personal situation, claiming women who had abortions were everything I knew I wasn’t. Debates would rage on Facebook between acquaintances who felt powerful and courageous behind the protection of a computer screen, unaware of the particulars of their friends’ lives. While all of these debates were regurgitated, manufactured propaganda used to push a specific agenda, they still had a powerful effect on me. I started to believe what unknowing friends and family were saying or sharing.

imageI was a murderer.

I was a whore.

I was a selfish, sex-crazed monster who didn’t deserve to continue living.

I was in need of constant repentance if I was to be worthy of worthwhile life.

And in almost no time at all, I was lost.

I had broken under the immense pressure. I had seen enough pro-life friends call women who had abortions murderers, oblivious to the fact that I had just had one. I had read enough stories of regret and guilt that I started to feel defective for not feeling the same. Enough of my friends who were privy to my medical information told me they’d pray for me and admitted that they had cried for me, solidifying my feeling of brokenness and darkness because now, I was someone who needed to be prayed and cried for.

imageI had a friend share her mother’s decision to keep her unwanted and unplanned pregnancy, and the result was a thriving and successful individual. I remember her tipping her head slightly to the side, raising her eyebrows and telling me that she knew I could have done it if I had only had the courage. With each word she spoke, each expression of disappointment, my peace of mind crumbled. I started to demean myself in the same way others were demeaning me, comparing my decision to the decisions made by others, completely circumventing my very real and very valid circumstances.

imageI had bought into the idea that if I was to continue to claim to be a “good woman,” I had to hate myself for the decision I had made.

Read the rest at the link.

Ending this post with a few off the wall links…well not really off the wall, but not disturbing as hell. (Maybe.)

Dyes, Diets and Deodorants: Venetian Beauty Secrets Revealed –

Independent scholar Courtney Hess-Dragovich captivated the KZOO crowd with a fascinating paper, entitled: Deodorants, Hair Dyes and Diet Drinks: Renaissance Remedies from a 16th c. Venetian Beauty Manual where she talked about her attempts at using these recipes and what her findings were on Medieval and Renaissance beauty methods. So what was the Italian Medieval and Renaissance beauty ideal? It appears late Medieval and Renaissance Venetians prized a pale complexion, no hair except on the head, blondes, a tiny nose, grey or blue eyes, straight white teeth, and a small bust. How did they try to achieve this? Much like today’sCosmo’s, and Maire Claire’s, there were beauty manuals for keeping up with the latest trends. Beauty manuals were not uncommon during this time. Famed Persian Philosopher, Avicenna (980-1037) wrote about beauty. imageThe 12th century Trotula, a set of medical treatises for women, was also extremely popular. So how did Hess-Dragovich go about getting her findings? As she so aptly put it: she has some VERYgood, very patient friends, who were excellent guinea pigs for her various concoctions.

Portrait of a Young Woman - Sandro Botticelli (1480-1485). Botticelli captured the prized looks of the period in his intense detail to hairstyle and colour..

Portrait of a Young Woman – Sandro Botticelli (1480-1485). Botticelli captured the prized looks of the period in his intense detail to hairstyle and colour..

Deodorants: Yes, they existed!

There is an entire section containing 4 recipes for deodorising. Hess-Dragovich stated that idea that everyone smelled in the Middle Ages and Renaissance was a myth. She decided to replicate these deodorant recipes and try them on her friends. The solid deodorant was made with white lead but since lead is quite dangerous, she replaced it with Borax. Why did the Venetians use white lead? They used it because it was anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Borax does the same job but is much safer, and in keeping with using medieval ingredients. In the Middle Ages, Borax was scraped off the river beds in the Middle East. So how do you make medieval deodorant? In one recipe, you mix camphor, rose water and Borax and dry it on a leaf. She also made Trotula deodorant recipe #205: wine, used with a towel boiled in berries.

imageDid the recipes work? The end result: She tried them on approximately 100 people and half of the recipes were as accurate as modern day drugstore deodorants! The favourites from her test group were from the Trotula and the white lead recipe. The ever popular, White Wine and Nutmeg deodorant was nicknamed “Medieval Axe”, and it apparently really worked!

Argentina’s underwater town that was submerged for 30 years – BBC News

The town of Epecuen in Argentina was once a busy lakeside tourist resort.

But in November 1985, after a succession of wet winters, the lake overflowed, breaking through the lake wall and into the town.

Residents evacuated safely, but the town remained underwater for almost 30 years until the water evaporated.

Now the ruins of the town have emerged and residents can walk around their former home again.

imagePicture gallery at that link…

Lost Argentine town re-emerges from lake – BBC News

Video report at that link.

And since this entire post had a touch of “Divine Wisdom” from The Paris Review, January of 2014….Controversy at the Hagia Sophia


On May 28, 1453, the Byzantine emperor Constantine XI entered Hagia Sophia, “the church of the divine wisdom,” to pray. Constantinople was under siege, and the fate of the great basilica was unclear. The emperor prayed there before returning to the city walls, where he coordinated the defense effort against the army of Mehmed II, who would be christened conqueror by day’s end.Hagia Sophia Schezar Flickr

As the two armies struggled to outmaneuver each other, those caught inside Hagia Sophia waited anxiously, imagefearful of what might happen if the capital of Greek Orthodoxy fell into Muslim hands. Emperor Justinian had commissioned the church in 532 A.D.; planned by the mathematician Anthemius of Tralles and the physicist Isidore of Miletus, and built by more than ten thousand laborers, it was intended to symbolize the magnificence of Christianity and become the seat of the Orthodox patriarch. Twenty years after its completion, two major earthquakes shook Hagia Sophia and destroyed its eastern arch. After extensive renovation, it reopened in 562 A.D. to the delight of Justinian, who, three years before his death, saw his great church survive one of nature’s worst calamities.

imageOn May 29, 1453, Mehmed II and his army entered the city, immediately marching on Hagia Sophia. In their book Strolling Through Istanbul, John Freely and Hilary Sumner-Boyd describe how Mehmed “dismounted at the door of the church and bent down to take a handful of earth, which he then sprinkled over his turban as an act of humility before God.”

In the five centuries following that symbolic act, the greatest religious building of the Ottoman Empire continued to shine—but this time, the glory belonged to Islam. Hagia Sophia became an imperial mosque; it came to boast four minarets (these also serve an architectural purpose, protecting the building against collapsing onto itself) and additional türbes (Islamic mausoleums).


Enjoy the rest of your Sunday…