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Cut for dated, racist language )

Federal Attorney Charles E. Boles, in a legal memo for the U.S. Post Office during WWI, on the black paper's reportings of lynchings.

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So I'll be archiving my old posts here.
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Archived from Livejournal:

Yesterday, after his Robotics class, I told Beekman we were going to pick up some nuts before we went home. He was VERY invested in going home for screentime, either TV or gaming on the tablet, so he did not want to go. He was gretzing and whining, but I said, it will be quick, and then we'll go right home.

By the time we reached the small mom'n'pop nuts store, he was still upset, and when I told him he had to come in with me, he burst into sobs and tears. (This is his usual way of showing REALLY extreme disapproval of parental dictates; fortunately it doesn't happen often.)

Standing there with him outside the car, I made some calculations. I had said we were going to go get the nuts, and that he had to come with me. I was reasonably sure that nothing at this point was going to allow him to get himself back under control but a long session of grieving and then, eventually, getting what he wanted. And he was going to get what he wanted; he was going to get screentime after we got home and did his homework. I did not want to punish him for wanting what he wanted, nor did I want to reward him for the anger/tears by giving him what he wanted (not going into the store).

So, I took my crying five year old into the store, ordered the three things I needed, while talking softly to him and telling him it would be all right. I also asked him if he wanted some candy. We were the only customers, and the proprietor asked, in a fatherly way, why he was crying. I explained that he was learning a hard lesson about how sometimes we don't get what we want when we want it, but have to wait a little. "Ah," said the proprietor, not in a disapproving way. In the end, I bought some candy to share with Beekman, and the proprietor also threw in a free candy bar for Beekman. (Throwing in a free something for the kid appears to be common in the mom-and-pop stores around here.)

On the drive home I explained that I was totally sympathetic with his disappointment about how he hadn't gotten what he wanted when he wanted it, and that I understood that he couldn't stop crying right now. (Had I had other errands in mind, I would have abandoned them.)

Beekman and I went home, where he rejected the candy, and did some of his homework snuggled up in my bed, with sporadic bouts of sobbing; eventually, despite saying he didn't need a nap, he napped. When woken up for dinner, he was cheery, ate dinner, did his homework, and got screentime.

He didn't scream, howl or yowl, he just cried/sobbed. And no other customers were impacted. And this is exactly the way I vowed I would treat this problem way back when I was a tweenager and watched my brothers throw tantrums to get out of going places they found boring. But I'm fully aware that this is exactly the kind of parenting that makes teenagers and militantly childfree people look down on parents.

Which leaves me in that liminal space so common to parents, of not being sure whether acting according to one's priciples is immoral or not. :)
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The Medieval Kitchen: A Social History with Recipes
by Hannele Klemettila

There are some really good features of this book. The best is the illustrations. I'm not sure how they got permission (assuming they did get permission) to reproduce all those period depictions of cooking and eating, but the book is worth it just for those gorgeous color reproductions. These are illustrations you'll have trouble finding together in other sources, or finding online.

Another useful section is a two page spread on the chronology of some sources from the period, which I would have no qualms (after double-checking it) sharing with my students.

Furthermore, the author's Finnish origin and her use of non-English texts leads to the inclusion of information from Finnish, Norwegian, and Swedish documents that are just not available in other sources. The references to documentary history and archaeology that aren't really available to English-only readers, such as the quotations from the FInnish works of Michael Agricola, bishop of Turku, and the menus from Finnish sources, make it a valuable source for an area not usually covered by food historians.
However, the biggest flaw in this volume is the lack of source citation. While the author makes in-text references to where a recipe may be found, there are no notes indicating the sources of many of the descriptive comments. This is especially troubling when one is dealing with areas where the author disagrees with the general run of scholars, for instance asserting that radishes were now known in Europe until the 16th century. Some of these may simply be typos in translation-- the author appears to claim that brewing in Scandinavia, *unlike* in other European countries, was done in the home by women... but most modern brewing history seems to claim that in most other European countries, the majority of beer brewing *was* done in the home, by women. That could be a simple mistranslation.
The section of recipes-- one might even say 'recipe file'-- at the back is somewhat problematic. In some cases, the author includes the original text of a recipe from the period, but almost always untranslated, thus making it difficult for the English-only reader to determine whether the version presented reflects the original accurately. In many cases, however, the author only says her version of recipe "was developed in reference to" a primary or secondary source. There are at least two references of this sort likely to freeze the blood of a knowledgeable medieval cuisinier: one to "with reference to Madeline Pelner Cosman," the author of Fabulous Feasts, a text whose descriptive material is reasonably regarded but whose recipes are overly reliant on 1970s fashions; another is 'with reference to James Matterer's website Gode Cookery" a site that includes both medieval and Renaissance texts with cooking versions and "Modern Recipes for Beginners." The sources for the recipes section, in particular, are omitted from the book's bibliography as well, unless cited somewhere else in the text.

The result is the level of scholarship that we would accept, possibly with some reluctance, in the SCA publication Compleat Anachronist, where anything that sounds wrong should be verified with other sources. I still want to know how medieval pies were easily baked at home, without an oven, for instance. But the author omits the biggest sins of discussing medieval-and-Renaissance cookery (for instance, complaining about the amount of spices). But I expected better of someone with a doctorate in Medieval History-- compare it to Bridget Ann Henisch's Medieval Cook or Redon and Serventi's Medieval Kitchen; at best it's more like Maggie Black's Medieval Cookbook (a text that drives me insane by the way it uses recipes-- Le Menagier recipes for instance are ONLY in the section not devoted to Le Menagier, etc.)
It also is similar to Food and Drink in Medieval Poland, by Weaver and Dembinska, in the way it covers an area traditionally neglected, but undercuts itself by not citing sources and by including syncretic recipes without properly identifying their precursors.

In sum: worth it for the pictures, and the Scandinavian background. Double-check anything you read in here, using texts that cite their sources
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Miles, Margaret R. 2008. "God's love, mother's milk." Christian Century 125, no. 2: 22-25
EBSCO abstract: "The article presents an exploration into the use of nursing as a theological metaphor in Western medieval and Renaissance Christian art. An overview of several uses of the nursing Virgin Mary within church history is given, along with its gradual changes in artistic connotations throughout the Renaissance. The value of the religious image of nursing in spiritual life is emphasized."

"By 1750 the public meaning of naked breasts was largely medical or erotic. I have not been able to find a single religious image of the breast painted after 1750. By that time, it was impossible to symbolize God's love by depicting a nursing Virgin. Meanwhile, crucifixion scenes increased in number and in their graphic depiction of violence and suffering . . .
Did the increased attention to violent crucifixion scenes arise from social changes in Western Europe? . . . There are problems with the crucifixion scene as a representation of God's love for humanity. It presents a violent act as salvific. Are crucifixion scenes the unconscious origin, deeply embedded in Western Christian societies, of the sacrificial rhetoric that surrounds war? (On the eve of the Iraq war, George W. Bush said, "Americans understand the costs of conflict because we have paid them in the past. War has no certainty but the certainty of sacrifice.") Does the proliferation of crucifixion scenes habituate us to violence? The equation of love with heroic violence and suffering is typically a male-centered perspective. Depictions of the lactating Virgin, of course, also involve expectations about gender. Is God's love for humanity more adequately represented as the provision of life, daily care and nourishment, or as redemptive suffering?"
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I am listening to "My Stroke of Insight," by a neuroanatomist who had a severe stroke (but who recovered apparently fully). Luckily, because of where the stroke hit, part of her experience was a feeling of vast peace, probably because of the intermittent failure of 'brain chatter,' but she was able in her clear moments to realize and take steps to call for help. However, when she first realized the odd feeling was a stroke-- when her arm went numb-- her first reaction (as she recalls) was "I'm having a stroke! ... Wow, this is so cool!... Wow, how many scientists have the opportunity to study their own brain function and mental deterioration from the inside out?"
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Someone posted these lightbulb jokes about white male novelists:

I don't read horror. The closest I come is Shari Tepper's Beauty which is enough to put you off horror altogether. In fact, I don't read books about terrible people and how pointless their lives are-- that would be the entire literary output of the second half of the twentieth century. That leaves me not a lot, you know? Especially if I don't read 'men's fiction' genres.

I gave up on modern literary fiction in general after majoring in English and then encountering Barthleme's Snow White (from a class I was bright enough NOT to take). Boring white guys and their problems. I complained in high school about taking a short fiction class at a college where we had to read Miss Lonelyhearts among other stuff. My mother said, basically, we are all having to read books about middle aged white guys feeling how much their lives suck (or young white guys feeling how much their lives suck) because that's what middle aged white guys writing at that time-- and they were all middle aged white guys-- were thinking about. Basically, it's all just fridge horror. Think of Jude the Obscure. When I finished it, I upset the entire class by saying "Thank goodness. I'd been praying he'd have the guts to off himself for the last six chapters." (It was a spoiler, you see; not everyone else had actually kept up with the assigned reading.)

Now, if I want to deal with terrible things happening, I read non-fiction. I read more non-fiction than you'd think. But for fiction, I'm not all that interested in fiction that goes nowhere except up its own anus. And that covers so much 'adult' 'literary' fiction that it's just not worth it to keep trying. If I hate dark chocolate, and 95% of the wrapped candies are dark chocolate, but it's unclear which ones, why would I buy wrapped candy?
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Somehow no-one ever asks the sensible psychological questions about living in a poly household. Assuming they can drag their fevered imaginations away from the bedroom, and fail to sink forever in the morass of missonary tales of polygamy, they want to know why you would put up with it.

Read more... )

On one particular occasion, now known as the Sock Episode, Sarah and I were driving somewhere. As best friends who were pretty much the same clothing size, we shared clothing quite a bit, including a number of pairs of luscious cotton ragg socks I owned. This morning, however, it turned out that the balance of socks ended up all on Sarah's side. Inadvisedly and tactlessly, I tried to explain to Sarah that I didn't mind sharing my socks but I resented it when none of the socks were in my drawer. Sarah pulled over to the side of the highway, snatching off her footgear and ranting "Fine! I'll never borrow your socks again!"

There was a lot of the usual polyamory-standard talking after that, and we agreed that "Socks!" would be the codeword for "I think you're taking this too seriously." "I'll never borrow your socks again!" gets a regular workout in our house....


Oct. 21st, 2013 03:29 pm
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 “I also work here because I love books, because I'm inveterately curious, and because, like most librarians, I'm not well suited to anything else. As a breed, we're the ultimate generalists. I'll never know everything about anything, but I'll know something about almost everything and that's how I like to live.” 
― Josh Hanagarne, The World's Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette's, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family
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Steven Pinker just published, in the New Republic, one of those self-congratulatory science pieces with the whining about how people are taught too much humanities and not enough science, with the oh-so-approachable title: "Science Is Not Your Enemy An impassioned plea to neglected novelists, embattled professors, and tenure-less historians". (Adam Frank, in "The Power Of Science And The Danger Of Scientism" explained, "Thus, scientism is the "science can explain everything," (or, at least, "science explains everything important"), kind of position some folks take in arguments about religion, philosophy, the value of the humanities, etc;" For medievalists, this is the kind of attitude displayed by that dreadful nonsense, A World Lit Only by Fire. In fact, it's the kind of attitude that led the Enlightenment 'historians' to describe a 'middle' or 'dark' ages in which the church persecuted people for not believing the Earth was flat-- though the orreries installed in churches at in the Middle Ages and Renaissance for the calculation of Easter clearly rely on a non-flat Earth.)

Anyway, someone deliciously smacks down Pinker and his scientism:
"In Which Steven Pinker Is A Total Ignoramus Who Should Go Read A Fucking Book And Get Himself Some Fucking Education"

I'm as pleased with scientific progress as the next person but everyone should be thinking about how they are thinking about things-- and asking themselves if they are really using the right tools for the right problem. (Which is what the article Pinker was responding to was saying: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/books-and-arts/magazine/103086/scientism-humanities-knowledge-theory-everything-arts-science ) 
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Transcribed from the facsimile in the Larkey & Piles 1941 edition.


This herbe is called wormwood. The vertue of this herbe is thus. It is good to comforte the herte and clense the stomake. Galyan sayth that this herbe hathe ii vertues. One is laxatyve / and the other is constiputatyve. therefore Galyan sayth / that yf this herbe gyven to an (evill) of which the mater is not fully defyed / it shall harde the stomake and let the dygestyon And yf ye the mater be typed/ it shall make a man laxatyve and easily put awaye the mater. If this herbe be dronken with Spiconarde / it aswageth of the stomake and of ye wove that is engendred of wycked wyndes. Also yf this herbe be tempered with hony / it wyll ease the swellynge in a mannes mouthe. Also it dothe awaye the blacke myste in a mannes eyes & clereth the syght. Also yf this herbe be powned with the gall of a Bull / and afterwarde put into a mannes eyese / it putteth away all maner unpedyments of the syght.
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and possibly useful for SCA communication...
Dealing with Internet Trolls: The Cognitive Therapy Approach:
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This happens All. The. Time.
Generally, I contact the publisher and author and explain to them that they've plagiarized my work, and I would like to be credited (assuming they have lifted off my name) or my entire work used. They usually haven't gotten any gains from it, so I don't bother asking for damages-- and it's usually semi-'innocent infringement' in that they're too butt-ignorant of copyright and/or plagiarism to understand the problem.

In only a few cases have I demanded that my work be removed from their website.
Generally, I explain copyright to them and usually they back down. Persistence works, though I imagine someday I'll have to invoke a lawyer.

Remember kids: everything written published after 1976 is copyrighted to the creator, and many things from before then back to 1923. Fair use is determined by the four-factor test:
"1. The purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes
2. The nature of the copyrighted work
3. The amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole
4. The effect of the use upon the potential market for, or value of, the copyrighted work"
as the U.S. Copyright office summarizes.
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"at any given moment, our most complicated machine will be taken as a model of human intelligence, and whatever media kids favor will be identified as the cause of our stupidity."
"How the Internet Gets Inside us", Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker

And, if it was ever thus, how did it ever get to be thus in the first place? The digital world is new, and the real gains and losses of the Internet era are to be found not in altered neurons or empathy tests but in the small changes in mood, life, manners, feelings it creates—in the texture of the age. There is, for instance, a simple, spooky sense in which the Internet is just a loud and unlimited library in which we now live—as if one went to sleep every night in the college stacks, surrounded by pamphlets and polemics and possibilities. There is the sociology section, the science section, old sheet music and menus, and you can go to the periodicals room anytime and read old issues of the New Statesman. (And you can whisper loudly to a friend in the next carrel to get the hockey scores.) To see that that is so is at least to drain some of the melodrama from the subject. It is odd and new to be living in the library; but there isn’t anything odd and new about the library.

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2011/02/14/110214crat_atlarge_gopnik#ixzz1EbvZtM3z
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One of the big things anti-government 'economic conservatives' keep throwing out as a counter to government funded public libraries are the Carnegie Libraries.

As if, somehow, U.S. Carnegie libraries didn't have to set up local funding to RUN the libraries that were built by the Carnegie grants, but just 'decided' to do come up with funding.

CARNEGIE GRANTS paid for BUILDINGS! In order to get a Carnegie grant, the local community needed to pony up about 10% of the building money per year for OPERATING and MAINTAINING the library.


"the said community shall pledge itself by a Resolution of Council, to support a Free Public Library, at a cost of not less than _______________ Dollars a year,"

In fact, some anti-government-supported-library guy pointing to the example of the Carnegie libraries POINTED PEOPLE TO THE WIKIPEDIA ENTRY that MENTIONS the required community contribution.

Please can we send these people back to picking coal, or selling newspapers? PLEASE? Clearly they checked out of education at the child labor level.
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The CDC has updated me:

Your entry here showed up in a Google link.
11:12 am - How to lie with statistics
The estimated total number of pregnancies for 2005 was 6.4 million.
An update with a few more years of data is being worked on.

I am amused.


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