The Folio Society is having a 50% off sale on over 160 titles!  It ends on July 12th.

Thinking of you, Beth Adele!

I finally bought the book I have been vulturing around for over a year ...

African Folktales collected by Roger B. Abrahams.

When I was a kid, one of my teachers from kindergarten through first grade was a professional African Storyteller.  Her name was Linda Goss, and not only did she involve us in the interactive process of listening to her stories (call and response chants, answering questions), she also directed some of us in a performance of one of the trickster tales.  We performed it at the local childrens' museum (the Please Touch Museum). Ever since then, I have felt a particular attachment to African folk tales, particularly stories about Anansi the Spider, the trickster who'd put all tricksters to shame ... if only he'd been able to get out of his own way.

I don't remember where Linda's stories originated - if they were tied to a particular country or region.  I was a shy little kid and I was excited to play the Rabbit in the show.  My friend Jenny played the Monkey. I remember crouching on the floor covered in a brightly-colored print and being rabbity, and I remember Anansi.

I've been looking for books of Anansi stories or of just African Folk Tales for years, and they are surprisingly hard to find.  Or maybe not surprisingly.  Anyway, I found one, and the table of contents is maddeningly NOT on the website, but the description gives me hope that Anansi will be inside, eating himself sick and trying to pull one over on his animal friends.

7/4 '19 5 Comments
Oh that looks amazing! The book and the sale!
Beth Adele 7/5 '19
TIL : Founded in London in 1947, The Folio Society publishes carefully crafted editions of the world’s finest literature. We believe that great books deserve to be presented in a form worthy of their contents. For over 70 years we have celebrated the unique joy to be derived from owning, holding and reading a beautiful printed edition.

Beautifully crafted, imaginative editions of the world’s great works of fiction and non-fiction, Folio Society books offer a rich literary experience to readers of all ages. The books we select for publication are timeless – we know they will be enjoyed and appreciated now and in the future. Because each book is considered as an individual object of value in its own right, there is a variety to our aesthetic – the only uniformity is in the quality of every single book.
Robert Bryan 7/5 '19
This makes me want to Buy All The Books.
I loved reading this post. Really really.

I voted.  I am nervous and my sinuses are exploding, but I voted.

I hope the rain didn't discourage people from exercising their civil rights.

I have broken apps at work that are confounding me, probably because the issue is on a machine that I don't have access to, but it's hard to convince the people who do have access that it might be one of their settings that's breaking my apps ... story of my life.

If you are in the USA and didn't vote early, I hope you voted today too.

11/6 '18 12 Comments
I voted too!
They were giving out hot roast pork sandwiches and meatball subs to anyone who voted at my polling location.
I love your face.
Wolftown Mercantile? What is that magical place? I am picturing an old-fashioned five and dime run by werewolves in carpenter's aprons.
Hmmm. I think I should write about it in a real post. Stay tuned, True Believer.

Also - a random dude approached me at a Wawa yesterday and asked me where Wolftown was - that he wanted to visit. I smiled my toothiest grin and told him.
Assure you, I have NO idea what you're talking about.

*cough* *cough*



2:04 PM - Nov 14, 2016
Karen Kuhl 11/8 '18
I may or may not have done that IRL. Well, minus the gym part, but...
Who hasn't eaten an entire rotisserie chicken?
Karen Kuhl 11/9 '18
Miles voted! Hunter voted twice, once with Mom and once with Dad. Illegal voting!
Attaboy! Vote early, vote often!

Revised ...

I kept a Dreamwidth account for reading/commenting.  It's here, come say hi if you have one too:

I deleted all of my imported LJ entries after I saved them as a PDF via BlogBooker, so Dreamwidth is empty, and my life story is here on OPW.

Why did I keep Dreamwidth?  I have some people in my life that I want to be in touch with wherever you go to write, so if it's there, I'll dip a toe in.

My livejournal is still around for a bit so I
Can backup my communities, but as soon as that is done- yeah.
Rabbit 4/5 '17
I just attempted to log into my lj only to be told it had been purged and deleted. Whatevs.
Beth Adele 4/5 '17
Alas, they have a six months idle and you're out policy now.
Well I haven't logged into that account in about 8 years. I wasn't really surprised. Just love the way the message this lj has been purged and it was some kind of ritual cleansing or exorcism! 😆
Beth Adele 4/5 '17
The Russians have deleted your work during the great LJ burning of the 20-oughts. Like Bear.
Beth Adele 4/6 '17

“At that moment, in the sunset on Watership Down, there was offered to General Woundwort the opportunity to show whether he was really the leader of vision and genius which he believed himself to be, or whether he was no more than a tyrant with the courage and cunning of a pirate. For one beat of his pulse the lame rabbit's idea shone clearly before him. He grasped it and realized what it meant. The next, he had pushed it away from him.”

― Richard AdamsWatership Down

For "General Woundwort", substitute "The United States of America".

I grieve.

11/9 '16 2 Comments
You aren't alone.
I'm going to miss Hazel-Rah.
Rabbit 11/9 '16

Copied from FB, because I want to save this for myself.  Writing this made me so happy.

 I'm not asleep. I like Hillary Clinton and I am thrilled that she got the nomination. I voted for her and I will be proud to vote for her again. I'm watching the DNC and I am moved by all of the speakers and their genuine regard for her - not only politicians and stars, but also Americans who she has helped over her many years of public service. I realize that I am opening myself up to bashing because I stated my opinion here, and I expect it, but I am not going to ruin my evening fending off personal attacks. I read news, I listen to political podcasts (all liberal, but not all pro-Hillary Clinton), I dig in and find out facts. I am not uninformed or foolish, and I am not looking for a debate or an argument. When Bernie Sanders emerged as a candidate, I read about him exhaustively, and when the accusations of corruption emerged, I researched them, using multiple sources, and I don't deny that the DNC did some shady shit, though I question whether it is new or same shit as always, just exposed. I am not insulting Bernie Sanders supporters, though I am sad that some progressives are so angry at Hillary Clinton that they will not even read her true, provable progressive record or her positions on the issues before voting against her in protest. I am a progressive liberal with an independent mind, and I'm with Her.

7/27 '16 8 Comments
I'm just saying hi. (This is to remind me to go back and read this later. I am currently studying and on a roll, so I will be back, but OPW pinged up and I had to peek. Judging from a quick skim, I need brain engagement big time for this post and my brain is currently occupied elsewhere.)
I'll be back
Beth Adele 7/27 '16

My iPhone has bricked itself.  T-Mobile could not unbrick it, so a new one is on the way, should arrive today.

My contacts appear to have not backed themselves up to the Cloud thoroughly, so I may be seeking phone numbers when the new device arrives.

I am getting a replacement, not an upgrade, which is good news because I just got this case for Christmas and it is the Best Case Ever:

This is just to say, then, that if you have called, texted, or snapped me, I am not ignoring you.  I am looking forward to the post-Ordeal-of-the-Phone snaps very much.

1/20 '16 5 Comments
That is an awesome phone case.
Beth Adele 1/20 '16
Thanks! Most terrifying moment of phone restoration thus far - realizing that I could not see the sim card well enough to put it in the phone without my glasses and a lot of light. I used to read in dim light and get annoyed at my Mom when she turned on brighter light for me ... now in dim light all of the letters go fuzzy.
So you're looking for a smartphone at work?
No, looking for a mind at work. Clearly not mine tonight.
Mine neither.

I was thinking about doing the dishes and the laundry, and then realized I was carrying the dishes to the clothes washer in the basement.

Yesterday, I tried to explain segregation to Hunter, who just turned four in December.  Media has a large progressive population.  We have a strong arts community and a lot of local outreach.  If Hunter had a black girlfriend (or boyfriend) and they walked down the street holding hands, no one in Media would bat an eyelash - but most of the people they passed on the street would be white.

Hunter is one of the most privileged people in America.  He is male, tall, blond, white, well-spoken, intelligent, celebrates Christian cultural holidays as well as Jewish holidays, so even though he's Jewish, he can blend in with the majority.  He has 20/20 vision, he is fast, strong and thin, he is able in every way. He is charming and perceptive.  He learns quickly.  His family is not wealthy, but we are comfortable enough that he wants for nothing. His parents are not divorced.

Hunter needs to have a strong sense of justice, because he may never experience life being unfair.  He needs to understand that he is privileged, and become the kid who stops the bully instead of joining the bully, ignoring the bully, or, even worse, being the bully himself.

I think about this a lot, more than I thought about it with Archer, because Archer, though he is also quite privileged, did not have the Houser Viking genes and attitude, and also comes from a "broken home".  Archer saw firsthand what it's like to be outside the "norm" and Archer's response was almost always compassion (and when it wasn't, he usually got a lecture from his mother).  

Yesterday, I was determined to explain who Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was to Hunter in a way that was meaningful and yet didn't lose his 4 year old attention span.  Of course, I started with music.  

When I was little, my brother and I had a few Sesame Street albums, including this one with Pete Seeger and "Brother Kirk".  At the time, "Brother Kirk" was this guy in a flat cap who talked funny and sang the Martin Luther King song.  I looked him up yesterday and found out that his real name is Reverend Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick, and, in addition to The Ballad of Martin Luther King, he wrote more songs about black heroes (Harriet Tubman, etc.).

It's a great song, and catchy (I remembered it 30+ years later), so I played it for both kids, and I explained to Hunter who Martin Luther King was.  I said that in the United States, there were white people who didn't let black kids go to the same schools as white kids, who didn't let black people eat at the same restaurants as white people and who didn't let black people sit wherever they wanted to on the bus, they had to sit in the back.  Martin Luther King fought against those people, but he didn't have a gun, he marched and marched with so many people that they changed the world, and it got better.  It's still not right, but it got better.  Black kids were allowed into schools and restaurants and they could sit where they wanted to on the bus.

That, I figured, was enough for one preschooler's attention span.

He said, "The white people who wouldn't let the kids in the schools, they were the bad guys."

I said, "Yes, and Dr. Martin Luther King was a hero because he fought for the black kids to be able to go to school just like the white kids did."

I also explained (because I remember thinking about this a lot when I was a kid), that white people aren't really "white" skinned, our skin is closer to pink, and black people aren't really "black" skinned, their skin is closer to brown, those are just words people use. 

Equality starts with us.  Equality starts with understanding that people who look different, speak differently*, think differently, like different music, smell differently, know a different set of cultural norms - that those people are people and have the same rights as we do, and that if they don't, it is OUR JOB to make sure they do.

Equality is not about who you like or how you think people should look or behave, equality is about hiring the most qualified person for the job, treating each person who commits a crime the same way as every other person who committed that crime, about suspicion of wrongdoing based on actions, not physical appearance.  Equality is about understanding that if you yell at a kid every time you see him, he will put his fingers in his ears when he sees you coming, and other kids might too ... so a black man will be more inclined to run from a cop than a white man will be, and that doesn't mean the black man is guilty, it means that cops have a shitty track record with black people.

Equality is about understanding that in the Race race, we are not all on the same starting line, so we have work to do if we want to find out who is really the fastest to the finish.

Equality is a marathon, not a sprint.  The training plan is hard, and we will get injured, and after that marathon, there's another one, and another.

"Now, it's time for you to take a look
At that mirror on that wall
Did you pull that trigger?
Were you there at all?

And there's a sickness in this nation
And it seems to be obviously clear
Gonna kill a man with hate
Because he would not die from fear.

And I've been to the mountaintop
Today I have a dream
Don’t you ever forget
The words of Martin Luther King" -Rev. F. D. "Brother Kirk" Kirkpatrick

He sung that on Sesame Street in 1974.  It's 2016.  We have a black President, but we also have a high black body count and an incarceration rate that is the highest in the world (the WORLD, including China, Iran, Libya!).  If the current incarceration rate continues, 1 in 3 black men can expect to spend some time in prison in his lifetime.  NAACP Criminal Justice Fact Sheet here.

Think about your three closest friends.  Think of one of them in prison - as a certainty.  Now, your three friends, they probably don't kill people, right? They might do some drugs, though, or get drunk and a little belligerent?  A lot of my friends do ... but I don't expect any of us to get arrested or go to prison.

One in three.

We have a lot of work to do, America.  Every last fucking one of us.  Every damn day.

* this is the hardest one for me.  I am totally serious.  People who do not use proper grammar are the second-easiest group for me to discriminate against without thinking about it.  The easiest group for me to discriminate against are those who discriminate against others.  As Tom Lehrer said, "I know there are people in the world that do not love their fellow human beings and I hate people like that."  I am more motivated to work on my grammar snob problem.

1/19 '16 14 Comments
I am the only one of my siblings to never spend time in prison. I am also the whitest looking one of the four of us. Yes, this includes my sister, even though she is the best and most thoroughly Adding To The World one of us. So, well, yep. It's still a thing.

Also, being well spoken, or nominally well spoken, is a privilege as well, and one with a lot of baggage among people of color. I had a boss who offered to pay for classes for a black girl who worked with us who spoke primarily with urban vernacular- now, we live in the South, so you might as well say, she had a southern accent, because poor whites and southern blacks sound awfully similar. But, well, she didn't have the genteel accent, and somehow, it didn't bug my boss with the poor white girl who worked for us. She was "just trying to be helpful," and didn't understand when the girl turned her down, although she did so very politely. But changing the way she spoke would have undercut all of her relationships with everyone she knew, even if it would have potentially helped her get better jobs in the long run. How does someone make a choice like that?

It's not like it helped Eliza Doolittle so much, in the end.
Rabbit 1/19 '16
Actually, it did help Eliza Doolittle, it just didn't help her in the way we find acceptable.

She started out homeless and ended up in a nice home with heat and running water - it helped. She was dependent on men (either Hill or Freddie) for these niceties, so we think, well, that's not so great, but the upgrade from starving and freezing and filthy was significant.
So that's the message - to succeed you have to be someone else. That message is horrendous. It's a pile of imperialist shit. How you write, that's different. To have a professional job, you need to be able to communicate, but how you speak - it shouldn't be a glass ceiling, but it is, and it is a ceiling that I am uncomfortable with, both that it exists and that I have unconsciously contributed to it.

I still hate twangy southern accents. I admit it - yeccch. It's like listening to someone scraping at a violin very badly. I wish those people would learn to speak something closer to "Standard English", or whatever it is they call the English they teach actors. "Received Pronunciation"? This is what I have to work on - I genuinely hate the way that accent sounds, but it's my job as a human being to not be biased against or demeaning toward that person because I don't like their accent.

Your sister was in prison? That's fucked up. That's like putting away an angel because she hit someone with a harp.
considering that it was a domestic dispute, that's pretty much right.
Rabbit 1/19 '16
So fucked up. I am sure she was a danger to no one other than the asshole she had the fight with.
Funny, my boys and I were talking about the way people speak only the other day. Mostly accents. It could be simply that I am ultra sensitive to the issue, but if you listen to Indigenous peoples talk, there is a slurring to our accents. And that slurring can sometimes make us sound inebriated or ill-educated.
My whole life, I have made a conscious effort when I speak. Of course, if I am angry, upset or around my sister...the accent comes out in full force.

I am a big enough snob to actually care about that. (My family accuses me of airs and graces because I believe in bettering myself, but what evs) This is my weird way of saying, I understand. I too have a ridiculous prejudice that I ned to rein in on a regular basis. Worse of all, I suffer from the damn thing I am prejudiced against. I just really hate sounding incompetent, stupid or like I am drunk or stoned. Intonation, pronunciation, they are there to be used people, so use them.

Ah yes, I am a massive bitch.
Beth Adele 1/19 '16
I do too - I have some elements of the "Philly" accent. We say "wooder" instead of "water", for example, and I hate it when I do that.

I love the sound of your voice.
You are kind. I sound like a muppet. On crack.
A friend once told me I sound like the love child of Nicole Kidman and Cathy Freeman. I am still unsure as to wether or not that was a compliment!
(PS. I love listening to you talk too.)
Beth Adele 1/20 '16edited
your voice is comforting and delicious.
Rabbit 1/20 '16
True. And so is yours, O my Rabbit, but in an entirely different way.
Folks have tried teaching "business English" as a second language, rather than "the only right way to speak," with a surprising amount of success. I wish it were done more often. It's a much less patronizing proposition.
Thomas Boutell 1/19 '16
I concur. Teaching it as something that can be put away-- I tell you, I get a _lot_ more vernacular when I talk to my brothers-- helps a lot.
Rabbit 1/19 '16
Well, none of us are who we really are at work (at least not at most jobs). I like that "business English" idea - it changes the parameters from changing one's identity to changing how one communicates at one's workplace.
Yes. My professional self and my personal self are two very different beasts. 'business english'...I like the way it's framed. It's like using your phone voice, or your inside voice.
Beth Adele 1/20 '16

TL:DR - Book recommendations needed, Coven, please comment as soon as you get time to breathe!  I know you are all busy as busy can be!

Today, I am sacrificing my post to boost the signal.

Lindsay  wants this:

"The Bechdel-Wallace (as Ms. B has said she thinks it should be called) Test is more important than I've realized. When I was a kid, I wanted to be Han Solo, so I could save Luke and kiss Leia.  Try to find any story where a woman does that. I'll read it or watch or listen to it, and praise you for leading me to it.

Here's her whole post.

My first response is, "Hey, I wrote that!  Twice!"  One was a story about a pirate mom rescuing her kid from other pirates.  It may not pass the Bechdel test, but the badassery was all hers.  Well, the kid too.  Also, I wrote a Three Musketeers-esque novella where the D'Artagnan-analogue was female.  Of course she had help from her friends, but that's how the three musketeers stuff works.

I am trying to think of books like that, but even my favorite books about women have them winning by sacrifice more than by kicking ass, Han Solo style or kicking ass up to a point and then the man steps in, or at least they collaborate.  Also, I have a shitty memory and I am sure I am missing a bunch of great books I read and loved.

So, let's talk about the Hunger Games.  Katniss is a fucking victim.  She is traumatized through the whole book.  Gale is the strong action hero.  Peeta is the gentle soul with the spine of steel and the mushy bedroom eyes.  Prim is actually pretty brave and sensible throughout, but she's a secondary character and she's the cleric, not the warrior.  Katniss is not a hero, she's a figurehead who can shoot a bow, but internally, she's a mental patient who is able to function with a large support staff and she's manipulated by them over and over.

I know they're out there, these books, these stories.

Grania was a good one (historical fiction about Grace O'Malley), but that was written in the 80s.

I was trying to figure out what I wanted to write for JaNoWriMo.  I think I'm starting to figure it out.

12/11 '15 4 Comments
I will happily read your work any time. I might be slow, but I will read it.
I feel like Gail Carriger's books seem to fit the bill. Her Finishing School series is all about teaching young women (in stempunk victorian times) to become spies and save themselves. She has boys in it, but she doesn't really rely on them as much as she relies on her female friends.
Purlewe RieMil 12/15 '15
_Three Parts Dead_, by Max Gladstone. Bonus because the main badass women are both of color. I haven't read the others in the series yet, but I just got them from the library.
Rabbit 12/11 '15
OMG, seconded on Max Gladstones books. I have the 4th one staring at me from the bookshelf (it is my bribe for finishing this term). THEY ARE SO GOOD OMG.
Cylia 12/13 '15

Let's get this party started!

Archer and I were disappointed by the Muppet Show reboot.  In fact, we almost stopped recording it, but we decided to give the second episode a try ... and we were still not thrilled.  The third was a bit better, but we were still not enthused, and we're HUGE Muppet fans.  Come on, Muppets, give us something!  We're your biggest fans!  We're oscillating over here!

In Episode 4, Pig Out, they gave us something. That something is glorious and totally worth waiting for.  You don't have to slog through the first three episodes if you don't want to (though episode 3 has some charming Kermit and Fozzie moments), because you have your humble Muppet curators to present the best part of Episode 4.  It's not the bear.  I've had bunions that were funnier than that bear! Heh heh heh.

It's the Swedish Chef karaoke-ing "Rapper's Delight".  The video's only 55 seconds long, and they may be the best 55 seconds of your day!

10/29 '15 6 Comments
Mwahahaha. "If it happens outside of work we don't owe an explanation."
Beth Adele 10/29 '15
Rabbit 10/29 '15
Love this.
I'll save my extended commentary for later. It could be a book.
It's all in the hands.
my take on this exactly. i was just extolling praise about the rapper's delight bit the other day :)
Ari Kleiman 10/30 '15