Let’s try something new.

Yesterday was my birthday. I usually commemorate it in my this blog by going through all the horrible things that happened this week. This year, I think it is really important to keep strong, so I’m going to try looking for the positive:

Railfan made me a kick-ass cake. Dark chocolate cake, split layers, with ganache made from Guittard between the layers, with the whole thing covered in chocolate buttercream. The Resident Shrink, who is careful about what she eats in a way I wish I could emulate, actually got a second piece.*

April 17:

  • Daffy Duck debuted.
  • The Apollo 13 astronauts returned safely to Earth.
  • Geoffrey Chaucer tells the Canterbury Tales for the first time at the court of Richard II.
  • Lochner v. New York. (Ok, this might not be a good thing, but it is interesting.)
  • The Kepler telescope identifies an Earth-sized, habitable planet around another star.
  • Thornton Wilder is born.
  • Sean Bean is born. (Among a lot of other people.)

April 16:

  • The first railway through India is established.
  • Natural Bridges National Monument is established in Utah.
  • Harriet Quimby becomes the first woman to fly across the English Channel.
  • Albert Hoffman accidentally discovers the hallucinogenic effects of LSD.
  • MLK writes the Letter from Birmingham Jail.
  • The last Apollo flight, Apollo 16, takes off from Cape Canaveral.
  • Ford Maddox Brown was born.
  • Charlie Chaplin was born.
  • Henry Mancini was born.
  • Dusty Springfield was born
  • Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Claire Foy, and Chance the Rapper were all born.

April 18:

  • Yankee stadium opens. (I realize for a lot of people this is NOT a good thing, but YMMV. In any case, it is important for the history of baseball, no matter how much you hate the Yankees. I hate the Yankees too, as far as that goes.)
  • Irish Republic Act goes onto effect. The Irish Republic is established.
  • The International Court of Justice holds its first meeting in the Hague.
  • Lucrezia Borgia is born, making Renaissance history more interesting.
  • Clarence Darrow is born.
  • David Tennant (*swoon*) is born.

I could go on to the other days this week, but I think I will leave it at this. At any rate, at least some positive things happened this week in April.

Oh, and I was born. For now, I am going to treat that as a good thing.

*I had a second piece, too, for breakfast.

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Notre Dame.

Notre Dame is burning.

To quote the CNN commentator, “It was a reminder that there is still beauty in the world….  We all need beautiful things right now…. It is a reminder that there is something bigger in the world than you.”

There are several buildings whose destruction would pain me more — Westminster Abbey, the Prado — but very, very few. Watching Notre Dame’s nave burn and its spire fall hurts.

I have been to Notre Dame. Yes, I had a money belt stolen there while I was maneuvering though the crush of tourists. But what I remember is sitting the cathedral, of praying for my family. Of lighting a candle for my sister who died.

Thank God no one has been killed. The loss of the art (and those amazing stained glass windows) is terrible, but it would have been worse to lose people.

It’s Holy Week.  There is a resurrection at the end, but I can’t see that in those flames.

Posted in Art, Culture (popular and otherwise), God faith and theology | Leave a comment

Nerding out.

I don’t want Iron Man’s suit. I don’t want Captain America’s shield. I don’t even want a supply of Vibranium.

I want Mjolnir.

Oh, and a lasso of truth. Yes, that’s DC not Marvel, but it’s my world and I’ll get what I want.

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As if it weren’t cool enough already….

The upcoming Good Omens miniseries will feature Michael Sheen as an angel, David Tennant as a demon, and…

Benedict Cumberbatch as Satan, and….

Frances McDormand as … God.

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Addendum.

After being told by several people that I was, in effect, being over-sensitive about the Joe Biden issue, that it may have been creepy but it wasn’t abusive, that I was having my feelings on the issue “weaponized” against me (what the hell does that even mean?) by Biden’s political opponents, I have left Facebook indefinitely. I will be back at some point — I have friends with whom I keep in touch via the platform — but it’s going to be at least a little while.

I wanted to at least make one other point on the issue of consent, so I’ll make it here. I have fibromyalgia and, as I have written about before, bipolar disorder. When I am having a FMS flare, or a hypomanic episode, my skin can become extremely sensitive. Being hugged hurts.

My friends know enough to ask or to watch my body language. I also feel comfortable putting my hands out to stop them if a hug would be unpleasant.  Also, quite frankly, I am much more willing to put up with discomfort for my friends than acquiantances.

FMS, bipolar disorder, PTSD, injury… there are a lot of reasons a person might need consent before being touched. Just because the hugger is or was a powerful elected official does not change any of that.

All of this goes far beyond politics, or even simple politeness.   It’s a matter of bodily autonomy.

And consent.

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Is #MeToo for only people we don’t like politically?

I have been watching Joe Biden for a long time now. As Vice President of course, but before that as well. And the way he has interacted with women over the years frequently made me uncomfortable.

Not my business, I used to think. Different women react to physical touch differently. Maybe they didn’t mind. If it were me, though, had I found myself in the same room with the man, I would have stayed as far away from him as possible.

It seems his physicality with women he doesn’t know is finally being called into question. Two women have come forward with accounts of unwanted touching.

Women all have lived different lives. Some of us have survived rape or other sexual assault. That’s exactly why (in California, at least) we stress positive consent before sexual (or in this case, perhaps non-sexual) touching. You do not simply walk up to someone you do not know and essentially force-kiss them.

I can tell you how invasive it can feel to have a complete stranger grab you in a bear hug without asking first, especially from behind when you are not expecting it.  I often find my heart racing and have trouble thinking clearly. I have never hauled off and decked anyone, but I’ve come close. (Friends, of course, are a much different matter.)

The reaction from Biden’s camp is predictable, if saddening. He is regretful, he never meant anything but good, etc… A non-denial denial.

It is the people who leap to his defense that infuriate me. “He’s a good guy,” “he didn’t mean anything,” “he was acting grandfatherly,” etc. Not to mention questions about the timing of the accusations, as though a woman might not hold off on saying anything about a very powerful man until she felt she had to.

Belittling. Minimizing. Excusing. Treating the objects of the unwanted attention as though they were doing something wrong. Complaining about the “bashing” against a grown man who should have known and acted better.

A lot of the people defending Biden view themselves as supporting women’s rights. Clearly, when the rubber hits the road, they’re more interested in protecting a powerful man than standing up for women’s right to bodily autonomy.

They should know better.

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Hurrah for Lyft.

People are snarky about ride-sharing users. You know, the hipsters and tech bros who live in places like San Francisco where owning a car is just not practical? Or who take a Lyft or Uber so they can go out drinking? Those people who disdain taxis?

Or the disabled?

I currently have very frequent migraines. The migraines have morphed and are now distinguished mostly by serious dizziness (often to the point of being hardly able to walk).  Then there is the fibromyalgia…

Many days I can’t drive. I don’t really qualify for paratransit. I do not live in a big city. The last time I ordered an actual taxi it took over half an hour to show up. I’ve never had Lyft take more than five minutes.

Quite frankly, I don’t know what I do without it. I doubt that I am the only disabled person who relies on them. And what about people who don’t drive, either because they never got their license or because their license has been suspended for some reason?

Do I want Lyft and Uber to treat their drivers better, starting with making them employees rather than independent contractors? Absolutely.

Am I concerned about what will happen to fares down the road, when they need to actually show a profit? Yep.

Do I give 5 stars? Do I tip — often very well?  Yes. Every time. (I once tipped 100% to a driver who offered service above and beyond what I expected. I also wrote a letter to Lyft.)

Am I glad they’re there?

Completely.

Posted in Social Issues | 2 Comments