December 11th, 2012


[links] Link salad saw that she had such a pretty face

Publishers Weekly reviews Kalimpura — A largely positive review, but sadly no star for me this time.

Haldeman's Marvelous Forever Warriors — Ta-Nehisi Coates on Joe Haldeman's classic.

Secret Space Plane Set to Launch on Mystery Mission Today

26 Amazing Facts About Finland's Unorthodox Education System — Almost all the student and classroom oriented assertions in this piece are also true of [info]the_child's Waldorf school, and of Waldorf schools in general.

Origin of intelligence, mental illness linked to ancient genetic accident — I want to know more about those mice using touchscreen computers. (Snurched from [info]deborahjross.)

The contract between science and society, plus a possible new RenaissanceGenomics may accomplish a lot, but could it redefine humanity's view of itself?

Yale scientists name Obamadon, a slender-jawed lizard, after the President — Rawr!

Mayan apocalypse: panic spreads as December 21 nears — Because people are stupid. This is dumber than believing in the lottery or supply side economics. At the least lottery entertains, and supply side economics is a feel-good fairy tale for low-wattage ideologues. I'm not sure what anyone gets out of faux-Mayan apocalypticism.

When is a religion not a religion?O’Reilly and Staver are both trying to justify Christian privilege. They want the free exercise clause of the First Amendment to apply to Christianity, and exclusively to Christianity (and maybe Jews, too, if they behave). And they want the no establishment clause of the First Amendment to apply to every religion except for Christianity.

'Like lesser Americans': Atheists face discrimination, persecution, report saysIn at least seven U.S. states, constitutional provisions are in place that bar atheists from public office and one state, Arkansas, has a law that bars atheists from testifying as witnesses at trials, the report said. It's much worse elsewhere in the world. But every time I see one of those polls that atheists are the least trusted group, or hear some Christianist conservative talking about how morality cannot exist without religion, I remember that Hitler and Pol Pot were Christians. And yes, I just Godwinned myself. (Via [info]shsilver.)

Scalia Defends Anti-Gay Quotes — In which his arrant conservative bigotry is laid plain. Again. And this man sits on the Supreme Court. Evaluating Justice Scalia on the plain face of his own words on this subject, he doesn't have the moral character, intellect, compassion or discernment to qualify as a dog catcher. So much for impartial justice. Or any justice at all, really.

Poll: Colbert The Most Popular Choice To Replace Outgoing Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) — Do people not get the joke? Colbert in character (and he always seems to be in character) is Poe's Law on the hoof.

How to Raise a Little Liberal or ConservativeIn short, authoritarian parents are more prone to produce conservatives, while those who gave their kids more latitude are more likely to produce liberals. This strikes me as painfully obvious, but I suppose the news is that there's evidence for the assertion.

Democrats and Republicans belong to different groups — (I think I got this from Fragano Ledgister, but I lost the source.)

How the Mainstream Press Bungled the Single Biggest Story of the 2012 Campaign[C]ampaign coverage in 2012 was a particularly calamitous failure, almost entirely missing the single biggest story of the race: Namely, the radical right-wing, off-the-rails lurch of the Republican Party, both in terms of its agenda and its relationship to the truth. Romney and the GOP lied knowingly, constantly, and unapologetically. They bragged about it. And they nearly succeeded with that strategy, displaying unambiguously the miserable public character of both Money Boo Boo his own self and the conservative movement as a whole. But the American Right is so worked up about Kenyan Muslim socialism that they neither noticed nor cared about the utter failure of their own leadership.

?otD: Did God in His mercy lend her grace?

Writing time yesterday: 0.0 hours (chemo brain)
Hours slept: 9.0 hours (solid)
Body movement: 0.5 hours stationary bike ride
Weight: 216.4
Number of FEMA troops on my block enforcing international law and Kenyan Muslim socialism: 0
Currently reading: The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks


[cancer] A difficult day; and lending grace

Yesterday was a difficult day.

Not profoundly miserable, as some are. More like difficult in a sense that anyone feeling poorly could have. But it had a good ending.

The fundamental problem was that the previous two nights I'd skipped the Lorazepam, trying to find my own natural sleep cycle. I slept poorly but not dreadfully both nights. These days, deep in chemo, I have no reserves for that sort of thing. So while none of my chemo side effects were particularly out of control, my body wasn't happy, even by my current admittedly lax standards.

Then I got drawn into a family squabble that didn't directly concern me. Some unfortunate events, a lot of emotional tension, and one of those annoying teachable parenting moments, stretched through most of the day on the installment plan. This did nothing to improve either my mood or my physical energy.

On my lunch hour from Day Jobbery, I had a phone meeting with my agent. It was positive and constructive, and she is as always a jewel. However, I wound up being very depressed afterwards. We are in effect winding down my writing career, pending further illness. As I observed to her, we can wind it right back up again if I come out of all this with some years of significant time and energy available to me. But that's not the current assumption. I spent the rest of the day feeling gloomy about my mortality.

By the end of the day I'd been slammed physically, emotionally and professionally. Not the first time, and it won't be the last, but that made the day difficult.

Then, right at bedtime, I got two emails on the subject of parental mortality. They are not my stories to tell here, but suffice to say that one was sobering but encouraging, the other made me weep because I realized that I might have just for a moment lent someone else a needed moment of grace.

The price I pay for all of this is too high for anything I will ever realize from it, but there are rare moments where it does seem worth the cost and I feel like I got something right.