Oct. 11th, 2017 01:54 pm
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The first set of Pinch Hits ended up in my Junk mail box. I missed out on a couple I would have loved to write.

I just have to take a deep breath and assume something really awesome will come up later.


Oct. 10th, 2017 10:39 am
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I already have my Yuletide assignment. Wow.

Say what?

Sep. 26th, 2017 12:07 pm
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I was running late this morning. Since it's pay day, I decided to be less late by taking a cab. As we turned from 4th Street onto Pennsylvania Avenue, I saw the Newseum's sign for the Berlin Wall VR Experience.

I don't know what to say. The wall itself was just a wall with guards. It cut through the Brandenburg gate, and, if I ever get back to Berlin, I'm going to have the thrill of walking through it.

The idea of walking through "the deserted streets of East Berlin" just doesn't do much. (n.b., the streets were often deserted, it's true. I didn't recognize Alexanderplatz in the Bourne Supremacy because I'd never seen it with people before.) If there was a way to go into the museums, maybe, but unless there's something explaining "Moscow Gingerbread" housing and the Russian insistence on leaving the bullet marks on the buildings, I don't know what the experience can impart to someone too young to remember the Cold War.
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The physical therapist performed the maneuver. I'm feeling better. However, she also thinks the doctor may have misdiagnosed me. I may have been holding my jaw so tight that it affected my inner ear. She based this on the tightness of my shoulders and mandibular muscles (my name for them, probably not the right one) and the weakness of some of my throat muscles. I have homework to strengthen the latter and loosen the former as well as other exercises in case it is the gravel. One other thing she noticed is that my eyes aren't tracking smoothly, especially down to up. In her words, they jump. She thinks this may be a contributor to my dizziness, too, and gave me eye tracking exercises.

I have a lot of homework.

PS: I made it through the day without medication, though I did have some brief spells. I'll probably take it tonight, though, since waking up is one of my worst times for dizziness.
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There's another try to ruin US health care. Unlike this summer, there aren't many calls coming into congress (per the New York Times) protesting this. Without the protests, it has a chance of going through.

So, since I don't have a congress critter of my own, I'm asking those of you who do to roll up that metaphorical newspaper and whack them across their noses. Call. Calls are logged. Email. Emails are logged. Write via snail mail -- that's considered the gold standard because it has a level of difficulty which implies commitment on the part of the writer.

Signing petitions is fine, but calling offices does much more.


Sep. 18th, 2017 11:08 am
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Not the song.

I have gravel (the doctor's term) in my inner ear. I'm having a hard time reading and writing. Lying down is preferable to anything else. And, as I found out the hard way, the twisting chairs in offices are not my friend. Thank heavens for the colleague who switched my customer chair with my desk chair.

I picked up the cane for balance. It helps a bit, but wow, am I dizzy.

Article from NPR:
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Dear Yule Goat -- I've been a good girl and posted lots of stories.

In general, I'm thrilled that you're writing for me and I'm thrilled to be taking part in another Yuletide.

I've put any fandom specific limitations in the prompts, but there are some things I just really love or hate.

General nos: Extreme violence. Rape or Dubcon. A/B/O. AUs unless requested. There are certain acts which just don't turn me on: scat, blood play, golden showers.

All BDSM must be safe, sane, and consensual.

General yeses: Exploration of emotions and the consequences of actions, even if those consequences are negative. I'm fine with explicit slash, het, or threesomes (or moresomes). I like a happy ending, but completely understand if it doesn't make sense with the story. A well-written fic with a sad ending is better than something jammed in to make it happy.

The fandoms are:
Easy Virtue (2008)
Hellspark! by Janet Kagan
Undercover Blues
The Illusionist
The prompts are behind this cut. )

Thank you so much for writing a story for me. I can't wait to read it.
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I hope anyone I know who is near the flooding is somewhere safe and warm.

It disturbed me when people were cheering that Harvey had been downgraded from a category 4 to a category 1. There's far less chance of wind damage that way, but a swiftly moving storm will hit a wider area dispersing the rain and probably blowing itself out.

A category 1 or a tropical storm will hang on in one place. They tend to be wetter.

I haven't been in serious flooding in close to 40 years, but I remember vividly. Agnes got trapped in the Blue Ridge mountains of West Virginia in the early 1970s. It just kept raining. The tributaries to the Potomac overflowed their banks. The Potomac rose high enough that the water touched the overhang at the Kennedy Center (about 15 feet). The stains can still be seen. My summer camp was in West Virginia, and we briefly ran out of food. We got supplies in by boat in the late afternoon, so we only missed lunch. Breakfast? Well, the taste of sour chocolate milk on Rice Krispies comes back every time I look at the pictures of Houston.

As of a few minutes ago, the warnings went out that one of the big dams is about to overspill and the powers that be really aren't sure where that water will go.
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My great-great grandfather enlisted at 16 just in time for the siege of Richmond. My father heard stories from him and his sisters about the war when he was a small boy. (Ltc. Custer used the family farm as a base for a little while, too.) My family goes back to 1613 in Virginia. I went to boarding school in Richmond, and I think Monument Avenue is lovely.

These statues must go.

That's it. Whatever romantic notion of some grand civilization destroyed by manufacturing tradesmen from the north that you're hanging onto must go, too. The reality is that the South fired the first shots. The stated reasons for the war in the individual states' articles of secession included slavery, very often as the chief motive for seceding.

Our ancestors were racist. It's sad, but it's true. The best thing we can do is stop reinforcing this racism with public monuments to individuals who violated their oaths as officers in the Army of the United States. Too many southerners try to say the War was about honor. If that's true, why are we celebrating oath breakers?

(Adapted from a comment I made at Slate)

Be aware

Aug. 15th, 2017 11:05 am
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I am not seeing this covered as thoroughly as it might be. The Department of Justice has requested information on over 1.3m people who visited Gizmodo and The Verge seem to have the most coverage at the moment, but, in some ways, this is as disturbing as Charlottesville. The only reason to look at this site is because it is anti-Trump and organized protests for his inauguration. Asking to see information about the people who were arrested or seen near the violence would be a reasonable limitation on the warrant, but that's not what's happening. The DoJ want information on anyone who used the site, ever.

I can't swear that I never followed a link and ended up there by accident, even if I know I never went there deliberately. Can you?

Please be careful.
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is having her first novel published on August 1. There's going to be a reading at One More Page in Arlington, VA on September 14. For my Boston/Cambridge/Somerville friends, she'll be at Harvard Coop on August 9 at 7 pm.
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April of 2010 I started having violent vomiting, etc., to the point that I called for an ambulance. After a couple of weeks on the BRAT/BOAT diet, I found that eating red meat always caused me to vomit. Here's more about the cause.


Jun. 14th, 2017 09:30 am
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Last week, as I was going to work, I fell.

There was a motorcade, and, as I've told anyone who's asked, I have to learn to stop rather than continue to walk in those cases. The lights and noise mildly disoriented me. So, I tripped over a crack in the sidewalk. Being a good little local politician, I immediately (okay, two hours later) reported the issue. The response was a polite "Thank you" and "it will take 270 days to get this repaired." The list of broken sidewalks is so long that it takes 270 days to get it fixed.

After 5 days of bed rest, I'm doing better. The left ankle is still puffy and, more importantly, still hurts, so I'm back on a cane. I could weep. The right knee is still slightly painful and one spot still has a little swelling. The left hip hurts, too. I really love the muscle relaxants which are helping me sleep. Otherwise, I'm taking no extra medication.

I just can't believe how long sidewalk repair takes.
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One of the minor miracles of my time in California last month was not one but two pleasant 5-hour drives with my mother. On the way up to Lodi, we mostly listened to old radio shows on Sirius, including a Colloquy from the 1950s led by a professor. He interviewed Shakespeare with a view to establishing who'd actually written the plays. Kit Marlowe interrupts. Then someone mentions Bacon (who's appalled that he's considered a possible contender, bless him). Edward de Vere wanders in, claiming it's all his, before Richard Burbage points out that none of it matters without actors. I think, in some ways, Mom enjoyed my reactions to it as much or more as the actual discussion. Over lunch, we talked about why I'd laughed so hard when de Vere swanned in, and how I'd known it was Burbage before he said his name.

On the way back, the radio plays weren't particularly interesting so I scanned through and immediately found Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. We ended up listening to classical all the way to Los Angeles. The real discovery was violinist Nichola Benedetti. She played Bruch's Scottish Fantasy and as soon as I got home I needed to buy the whole album (also called Scottish Fantasy). I finally got to listen to the whole thing today, and it's beautiful. I'm usually more of a cello or viola girl, but there's something plangent about her tone that captivates me. Even her rendition of Loch Lomond was lovely. But, other than the Bruch, the two following were my favorites.

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Look, protesters, I love you. The guy in the White House deserves to be yelled at on a regular basis until he starts behaving like a real human being. Also, I know many of our fine hotels and restaurants appreciate your patronage. I can even handle some of the issues your presence creates around the Metro (meaning the subway only in this instance), although with our SafeTrack project continuing, you are adding a degree of difficulty.

Here's the problem: The people of the District are paying for everything.

This isn't coming out of your Federal taxes (as of last week's science march) because Congress CUT their contribution to handle protests. They gave us less money for the inauguration, which, barring all the jokes, had a lot of people, than the cities which held the conventions got even though the convention crowds were smaller.

As of the Climate March this past Saturday, every hour of police overtime, every penny of the cleanup (National Mall may have some funding left through the National Park Service), every bus line rerouted (and believe me we're coming back to that one), and every car needing to be towed so you can take the walk between the White House and Congress is being paid for by the people of the District of Columbia because Congress has decided not to fund it.

From Congress' point of view, in the words of Neotoma, this is a feature, not a bug. The people of the District don't appreciate Congress -- in their view. Here they are trying to make our world a better place by forbidding us to use our own money to fund needle exchanges -- which cut down on the HIV transmittal rate in a city where approximately 5% of the population is HIV positive -- because all that will do is encourage HIV drug use, and do we appreciate it? No, we do not. We don't appreciate so many of the things they try to do for us, like retrocede us to Maryland (pace Jason Chaffetz) or control the way our building look (seriously, the Commission for Fine Arts has got to go) or generally treat us like whiny children for complaining that we don't have representation in their august body in spite of being required to register for the draft, fight if conscripted, serve on juries and grand juries, and paid more in federal income tax than Wyoming, Montana, Alaska, and Vermont combined ($20.5b in 2015 for the four states named, $21.2b for DC).

One solution would be to raise the hotel tax, but that would mean people who have tight budgets might not be able to come to a protest which means a great deal to them. Believe it or not, we don't want that.

I don't know the solution. The biggest issue for me, personally, and my constituents is that the protests change the bus routes drastically. This can mean no groceries or no visiting an elderly relative or helping a young mother cope or... We need our buses and as long as you're using the National Mall, the major changes to the bus routes are going to continue. (It also doesn't help that four stops are Exit only during the march and Entrance only after the march.)

The financial issue includes my fear that the money spent now on cleanup will be taken away from my local middle school's renovation. It's been promised since before the recession and is finally budgeted for 2020, but if we spend too much of our resources now on protest cleanup, the money may not be there in 2020 and our middle schoolers will get shafted again. I was at the school last Monday for the Ward 6 budget discussion. I'm pretty sure the air conditioning units are so old (no, no central air, just individual window units) they might still use freon.

Can someone more knowledgeable than I am look into setting up a charity. People who can afford to contribute to the District's cleanup could do so, and the money could go to local projects which might be impacted by the cleanup funding. I don't think there's any way to give the money to the District, but mitigating some of the impact would be a great kindness.

Also, when you call your congress critter, remind him or her that they should be paying for this or remind them that the District still needs voting representation in Congress.
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I don't know how I missed The Shrouds of the Somme commemoration, but I found it today.

Doctor Who

Mar. 24th, 2017 04:36 pm
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I'd like to see Alexander Siddig as the new Doctor. If he weren't on Timeless, I'd be rooting for Paterson Joseph, and if she weren't on Blindspot, it would be Marianne Jean-Baptiste.


Mar. 17th, 2017 09:59 am
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I've been posting at Slate about this. The below is from my comments there.

A single Air Force Bomber costs $550 million. The National Endowment for the Arts annual budget is $146 million. The National Endowment for the Humanities costs $167.5 million.

Using the annual budget of $3.1 billion which is the amount of the CDBG block grants and multiplying it by .05 to get the 5% that most jurisdictions use on Meals on Wheels, I get $155,000,000. What are we going to do with the other $81,500,000?

One plane less. When people tell you that "guns or butter" arguments don't work, remember that 1 less bomber for the Air Force would cover the above. Cutting half a squadron, 6 bombers, would cover the CDBG block grants in full and still leave enough left over to fund the National Endowment for the Humanities and have $32.5 million left to play with.

The Air Force has requested 100 bombers.
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the term "bloated plutocrat" was both out-of-date and an insult?


Yes, I have been reading about the new healthcare bill, why do you ask?


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