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"You should've gotten a subscription to Cricket."

"We already get a subscription to Cricket."

"So? N doesn't."

"N practically lives here. She doesn't need her own subscription."

"Don't you want her to

(Okay, she didn't say that last line, but she thought it VERY LOUDLY.)
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I happened to be standing next to a pair of adolescents. First the girl remarked that she couldn't believe she'd lived on the Island 16 years and never taken the Ferry (I couldn't believe it either!) and then her friend, clearly trying to impress her with his experience, found himself in a loop, repeating "It can take them a long time to get off" at least three times. (It CAN take them a long time to get off the boat! There's always somebody who thinks the announcement to disembark wasn't actually directed at them). But I don't think she noticed, so that's all right :)

I hope they had fun! The boat is really the most affordable date in town, and certainly fun if you don't take it every day.


10 Relics From the Horse-Powered City Hiding in Plain Sight

The Man Who Blew The Door Off The Microbial World

The Rivers of the U.S., Collected Into a Nifty Subway Map

Spiral arms allow school children to weigh black holes

The entrepreneur who asked Stephen King for a blurb and got a book instead

Scientists Reverse Brain Damage in Drowned U.S Toddler Eden Carlson

Heinz Develops ‘Chicago Dog Sauce’ for the City That Won’t Put Ketchup on Its Hot Dogs (LOL)

The Clay Models Used to Analyze Entrails in the Ancient World

10 Ridiculous Feats of Literature (The story about Hemingway's short story is silly. I guess we're supposed to think the baby died, but c'mon, it's a baby. They outgrow clothes all the time, especially shoes. If the parents had been saving that pair for a special occasion, that occasion never came, is all. And "baby outgrew clothes" isn't a story, it's a piece of advice - don't save the dress up clothes for dressy occasions!)

Not in This Day and Age? On “Feisty, Cheeky, and Rebellious” Women in History

Utah home-birth rate is double the US average, report says

Why Hospitals Started Displaying Newborn Babies Through Windows

Curiosity is underemphasized in the classroom, but research shows that it is one of the strongest markers of academic success.

Child living with HIV maintains remission without drugs since 2008

Magic Can Be Normal

Where Are All the Black Boys in Middle Grade Fiction? A 2017 Assessment and Comparison

Is It A Good Idea To Pay Villagers Not To Chop Down Trees?

Can Tennis Offer a Means of Social Mobility in India?

Why Canada Is Able to Do Things Better

12 Ways Airports Are Secretly Manipulating You ("Last year, the TSA announced it would give $15,000 to the person who comes up with the best idea for speeding up security." I have an idea - quit with the pointless security theater, and let us keep our shoes on! I'll be collecting my $15k now, please. Kindly send it in the form of $2 bills, thanks.)

The Un-Pretty History Of Georgia's Iconic Peach

What's the Matter With Little Free Food Pantries?

Beijing’s Balkan backdoor

South Park raised a generation of trolls

The Commodification of Orthodox Judaism

Which Anonymous Sources Are Worth Paying Attention To?

Rape Choreography Makes Films Safer, But Still Takes a Toll on Cast and Crew

The Good Guy with a Gun Theory, Debunked

The new astrology

Senate advances on healthcare, with dramatic return by McCain (Fuck you, McCain, you and the rest of them.)

Why an Effort to Thwart Some Boycotts of Israel Fails the Free-Speech Test

The Pentagon’s handling of munitions and their waste has poisoned millions of acres, and left Americans to guess at the threat to their health.
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I just won a free one-year subscription to a magazine put out by Cricket! We already get Cricket, so I went with Muse. Fingers crossed that the girls like it.
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New type of soft, growing robot created

On Teaching, but Not Loving, Jane Austen

The 19th-Century Lithuanians Who Smuggled Books to Save Their Language

When Young Chinese Ask, ‘What’s Your Sign?’ They Don’t Mean Dragon or Rat

How Checkers Was Solved

'Super Producer' Donates Gallons of Her Breast Milk to Feed Other People's Kids

Balls Out: The Weird Story of the Great Truck Nuts War

The Lonely Lives of Dolphin Lice

Lemon juice has long come in containers shaped like lemons.

When Girls Studied Planets and the Skies Had No Limits

A Search for the Flavor of a Beloved Childhood Medicine

North Dakota’s Norway Prison Experiment

What's It Really Like To Work In A Prison Goat Milk Farm? We Asked Inmates (The issue isn't the work, it's the pay. Pay them actual minimum wage. If you don't want them to use that money, require them to save most of it for when they are released. Even if you don't want to pay them, it seems obvious that not doing so drives down everybody else's wages.)

Cooling the tube – Engineering heat out of the Underground

The Kitten Rental Program is Saving Lives (It's all in the marketing ♥)

When New York City Rioted Over Hamlet Being Too British

Sean Spicer stole a mini-fridge from White House staffers (One can only hope they are now able to reclaim it.)

In South Sudan, a child soldier long thought dead comes back

Schumer, Gillibrand Co-Sponsor Senate Bill That Would Make Boycotting Israel A Felony (Oh, ffs. You can have a perfectly rational reason for criticizing specific policies taken by the Israeli government without hating or even disliking: Jews, Israelis, and/or the modern nation-state of Israel. And I voted for these people! Oh, uh... don't read the comments. Sheesh.)

Israel's struggle to integrate ultra-Orthodox and Arabs raises economic fears

Disabled and disdained: In rural America, some towns are divided between those who work and those who don’t

For Ethiopia’s Underemployed Youth, Life Can Center on a Leaf

How smugglers use trucks with sometimes deadly results

Protecting our children from climate change might take more than just cutting emissions
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I used to pick at my scabs until they bled, and then pick at them again once they healed up. I used to pick at peeling paint - I've mostly stopped that habit. But what I really like to do, really really, is get the peeling bark on trees that exfoliate like that. I've been known to cross the street and then stop for five minutes at a time to get at the London Plane trees on my block.

If I think about it much, when I think about it, I generally would attribute this sort of thing to being autistic. I mean, I'm sure there are plenty of people who aren't autistic who do this too, but probably not many who go out of their way to do it for fun. I could be wrong here, of course.

Which is where this gets interesting. I went out to bring my mother her coffee, and before I went in I spent a few minutes with our crape myrtle. And my mother said I was just like her mother.

My mother has a very complicated relationship with me and autism. On the one hand, she swears she knew when I was a small infant. On the other hand, she is eager to downplay any signs of autism that I might ever bring up - especially if they're traits shared with anybody in the family other than her father, who really was undeniably autistic. Either she denies that the traits exist, or she denies that they're quite strong, or she denies that they have anything to do with autism whatsoever. (There are some things she can't do this to, like the topographical agnosia, but otherwise she gives it the good ol' college try!)

So for her to criticize what I'm pretty sure is an autistic trait, and attribute it to her mother instead of her father - well, I could've used this as a segue into my ongoing attempts to speak with her on the subject of the broader autistic phenotype, assortative mating, and our family. But given recent events, I decided instead to talk about exfoliating bark and how I'm sure the reduction of dead bark will decrease the risk of a forest fire in our backyard.
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It was a little abrupt, but with all this that's going on I simply couldn't wait any longer. I'm just happy I didn't have to leave them at a shelter. I really think individual care is best for them right now - and that was what they weren't getting from me recently. (Also, boy, those kittens ate a lot, and produced a lot of poop as well! Two small kittens, and they were going through three or four cans of cat food today! The larger size, too, not the mini size.)

They went to a vet before going to their new foster home, and according to the update I got they are in comparatively great health - no FIV, no feline leukemia, and mostly recovered from earlier infection. Unfortunately, the one eye will not improve much from how it is now (there seems to have been some trauma, not just an infection), but the vet said it shouldn't affect her too much either. That's all we can hope for, and not that surprising.

Oh, hey.

Jul. 22nd, 2017 03:28 am
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Turns out he got captured in the Bronx. Because of course he did! Why the fuck would he hang around Staten Island at all, much less right where he already was? Once he was already escaped, he must've kept running. I know that when I went into the city, there wasn't anybody watching the boat. Why not? Because all the cops in the city and then some were corralled in a 750 foot stretch of Stapleton!

And to top it, the charge is "escaping from custody and possessing a controlled substance and weapon" which is bad, yes, but not bad enough to justify my having to wade through a swamp of cops just to walk the dogs - much less the police breaking into my house, etc.
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Sean Spicer has finally grown a backbone.

When asked how he's feeling, he said: "How do I look like I'm feeling? Relieved."

LOL, I bet!

Sanders read a statement from Trump at the press briefing this afternoon.

"I am grateful for Sean's work on behalf of my administration and the American people. I wish him continued success as he moves on to pursue new opportunities. Just look at his great television ratings," Trump said in the statement.

Dear god, it's like an Onion article, but more so. But listen, Trump, you wanna see great ratings? Just wait until Spicer publishes his salacious tell-all. Bestseller. (He better have a salacious tell-all in the works.)

I'm just disappointed that he made his decision first and then went on the air. I really was hoping to see him give up on national TV. Sigh.
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No wonder! Yesterday must have been scary, with strangers tromping around in her house and her own people weren't there!

And today the kittens have started using the litterbox. They've also stopped avoiding the door, which means I had to chase down Kid Blink and return her to her room. But she's definitely getting more used to humans - catching her was trivially easy.
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And she is back home. It's unfortunate that she missed another day of school due to all this, but at least it doesn't look like there's much risk of foster care. I don't think that'd help her education much.

Her dad has been caught. It must've happened in the morning, because as recently as late last night, when Michele dropped me off, there were cops peering in the car windows.

Conversation from the hospital:

Me: Oh, hey, Mommy, did you speak to your brother yet?
Mom: Yeah, I called him last week.
Me: Okay, but do you think you should call him soon?
Mom: I was going to call him Saturday. That's his birthday.
Me: ...
Michele: Oh, wonderful! "Hi, happy birthday, and by the way...!"
Mom: Oh, it's a minor stroke!
Michele: "Good news, bro, I had a stroke of luck!"
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She's talking just fine (which is great, she's a real chatterbox) and even though she has some weakness on one side, it's already improving.

And while we were gone dealing with this, the cops broke into our house to search for our escaped neighbor. Which is ridiculous - they didn't have a warrant, and they certainly didn't have probable cause, and they definitely did not have our consent to a search.

I must say, they're really pulling out all the stops here. The cops, the state troopers, a joint NY/NJ task force, a helicopter... all this for some dude who ran out of his house, handcuffed, in his undies. It's either overkill, or they're hiding something big.
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She has some writing in this book: All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism. If this is the sort of thing that interests you, you should definitely pick up a copy.

Or, if you're more in the mood for picture books, she hasn't written this one but I still need, like, a dozen copies: Why Johnny Doesn't Flap: NT is OK!

I tell you, this time Amazon's recommendations are exactly right.
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They were already a bit more semi than feral, and now they've been upgraded! Nellie is Sociable, and Kid Blink is Friendly But Shy. It is crucially important that we don't fall into the trap of giving Nellie more attention just because she is friendlier.


Found: A Letter to the Future From 1995

Your car has just been crushed by hagfish: Frequently Asked Questions

More Than Bread: Sourdough As a Window Into The Microbiome

A Window Into Windex

How Cellophane Changed the Way We Shop for Food

Scientists marvel at creatures' 'precise' body clock

Hyenas spark admiration, not fear, in Ethiopia's Harar city

Marrying Later, Staying Single Longer (Nifty animated graphs!)

The Power of Inclusive Sex Education

Tech giant releasing 20 million mosquitoes in Fresno; that's a good thing, really

Tribes commit to uphold Paris climate agreement

Under siege by liberals: the town where everyone owns a gun

The Myth of Drug Expiration Dates

Swiss glacier yields bodies of couple missing for 75 years

The Prisoner Who Painted Dachau’s Horrors (Some of the paintings are reproduced in the article.)

Puerto Rico economic crisis hits island's only zoo

The Summer of Misreading Thucydides

'Inappropriate' and 'Insulting.' Most Americans Disapprove of Trump's Twitter Use

More hospital closings in rural America add risk for pregnant women

Republican attempts to replace Obamacare fail

Separatists proclaim a new state to replace Ukraine

A video of a woman in a skirt sparks outrage in Saudi Arabia

Australians see woman's shooting by police as US nightmare

Children of the Opioid Epidemic Are Flooding Foster Homes. America Is Turning a Blind Eye.

'It's raining needles': Drug crisis creates pollution threat

UAE orchestrated hacking of Qatari government sites, sparking regional upheaval, according to U.S. intelligence officials
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I'll have to do it with them there, which isn't ideal, but what can you do?

(And they progress so rapidly! They no longer panic when I stand up, but just kinda look at me.)


City birds use cigarette butts to ward off ticks

Artificial Intelligence Learns to Walk

Southern-style barbecue is spreading around the world, turning weekend grillers into would-be pitmasters. Meet a real baron of barbecue – ‘Big Moe.’

Unsucking the Classics

10 Coolest Ice Cream Traditions

Jerry Foster: King of the Wild Blue Sky

A Refugee Family Arrives in Arkansas, Before the Door Shuts

Maduro foes: Over 7 million vote in Venezuelan referendum

6 Terrifying Powers You Didn't Know The Government Had

Despite low approval rating and controversies, Trump pushes forward

Trump Cuts Over $200 Million from Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs

Sessions Argues ‘Sanctuary’ Cities Breed Crime By Citing Study That Says They Don’t

As US hits 50,000 cap, refugees must prove they have American connections

Amid disputes, Indonesia renames part of South China Sea

200 Environmentalists Were Murdered Last Year

A Tide of Opioid-Dependent Newborns Forces Doctors to Rethink Treatment (The Atlantic asks the same question I had: Where was all this rethinking and non-judgmental reporting when these "opioid-dependent newborns" were mostly black?)

My Visit With One of the Forgotten Prisoners of Guantánamo

The unwanted: Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

In shadow of crackdown, Turkey commemorates failed coup

Turkey’s Erdogan turned a failed coup into his path to greater power

Year after coup, Turkey's opposition on the march. But to where?

Here are some of the toughest battles still to be fought against ISIS

Vaccine deployment for cholera suspended in Yemen

In St. Louis, America's nuclear history creeps into the present, leaching into streams and bodies.

Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think.
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And on the way I sat in the same car as one of my sister's friends, which was fun. She texted Jenn that there was a woman there who looked just like me, and Jenn texted me that she was 95% sure I was sitting opposite Melissa. And so I was! So I showed off J's awesome backpack, because it has a hood and a cape and is just the coolest backpack ever.

And then I picked up my CSA and headed home, and by the time I reached the boat I realized... I had actually managed to not eat anything all day. It was really hot! I wasn't hungry! But that won't do, and I was starting to get cranky, so I took my remaining $4, borrowed $3 from the boys' mom, and bought myself some food from Wendy's.

This is where the older boy spoke up: I like Wendy's food. They're my second favorite, after Burger King. I don't like McDonald's at all.
Me: Why not?
Kid: Because it'll make you fat!
Me: Hm. *munchmunchmunch* Are you perhaps operating under the impression that Wendy's or Burger King are somehow healthier than McDonald's?
Kid: ...aren't they?

It's interesting how kids get these ideas, isn't it? (Of course, I took pains to point out that skinny != healthy, and that fast food in moderation can be part of a healthy diet so long as you mostly eat healthy and get a reasonable amount of exercise, and that at his age he shouldn't be thinking about his weight at all.)

I should really start referring to him with a letter, like I do with most kids. Trouble is, his usual name is his initials already! So I can't just use those. He likes the Flash, maybe I'll call him Flash. Can't just keep calling him "the older boy", it's ridiculous.


Canceled $30K wedding becomes dinner for Indiana homeless

Actor and rapper Donald Glover, a.k.a. Childish Gambino, commissioned Sam Spratt to do the art for his 2012 mixtape “Royalty.” However, the project took on a life of its own and Spratt created ten limited edition prints inspired by Norman Rockwell.

Jane Austen, Home Brewer

The Story of the ‘Portofess,’ the Prank Confessional Booth at the 1992 Democratic Convention

New boy muppet in Afghanistan promotes gender equality

How transgender-friendliness may help in battling female-unfriendly toilet culture (In their analysis, they forgot two factors as to why women wait longer on line to pee. First, cisgender women have smaller bladders even we aren't pregnant, and sometimes we have to handle periods, two things which make us visit the bathroom more often. Even a small increase in potty usage can lead to lines. Secondly, children, regardless of sex and gender, are more likely to use the ladies' room than the men's room, because they're more likely to be with a female caregiver. Add that to the factors they did mention and - yikes!)

Sword belonging to commander of black Civil War unit found

If Disney Princesses Were Engineers…

Filipino church feeds expansion by buying ghost town in US

Generous people live happier lives

Baby squirrels are more likely to survive if they’re born early (The article just restates that in a wordier way. Ignore the words, look at the pics. SQUEE!)

How Goofing Off Helps Kids Learn

The Insolent Chauffeurs of America’s Early Automobile Era

‘400 years is long enough’: Virginia’s ‘first contact’ Indian tribes demand federal recognition

Females with autism show greater difficulty with day-to-day tasks than male counterparts

A Victorian Wife's Best Friend: The Role of Cats & Dogs in Cases of Spousal Abuse (This is not, of course, limited to the past.)

The Librarian Who Took On Al-Qaeda

A small, vocal group of Conservative rabbis is pushing the movement to accept marriages between Jews and non-Jews. The fight is really about the future of the religion.

After a Harrowing Flight From U.S., Refugees Find Refuge in Canada

A mission to the Pacific plastic patch

She’s His Rock. His Parole Officer Won’t Let Him See Her.

America Keeps Criminalizing Autistic Children

Police killings: the price of being disabled and black in America

The Reckoning Over Young Prisoners Serving Life Without Parole

Should NYPD lawyers step in to prosecute? Protesters say no

Mass Arrests of Protesters: Outrageous in Russia, Barely Worth Mentioning in US

Pakistan’s secret atheists

Rohingya villagers tell media of abuses during army crackdown
conuly: (Default)
Hi all :)

I was super bored, and went through Ursula Vernon's subscriber list. If this is all too weird, poke me and I'll unsubscribe.
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In the good news, the antibiotics are working. They're not sneezing as much, their breathing is very much improved, and there's no visible gunk in their eyes. In the bad news, Kid Blink's damaged eye is still filmed over. It's not clear whether she has any vision in it at all, actually. It doesn't seem to slow her down, at least.

They are habitually hiding when people enter the room... but when I shifted the bed a little they came out and purred at me. This is probably because they thought I had food. No such luck - Eva had already fed them, and since I know kittens who haven't gone hungry will eat until they vomit, and these kittens have, I didn't want to risk them upchucking even a little bit of their medicine. I'll feed them later. Nellie came close and let me pet her, even putting my hand over her eyes! But when I attempted to move her to my lap, she bolted. Conclusion: I'm definitely not the first one to try snatching her up. And Kid Blink also came and sniffed my fingers and gingerly rubbed against my hand for a second, which makes me feel really good about her prospects.

I meant to talk to my neighbor today, but I forgot she goes to Mass, and I don't know when she'll be home. I should leave a note on her door.
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With her sister for company, Nellie has decided she is scared of humans after all. Luckily, a little more food helped there, and once they'd eaten enough to make their tummies bulge out, I tossed around a cat toy for a bit, gave them something to do besides hide in a corner and avoid me. Kid Blink still isn't interested (though she's interested enough in food to get real close) but Nellie came and pet me a few times, and let me pet her so long as my hand wasn't at all in her face. I accidentally did that once and she bolted, and wouldn't come out again. Playtime is over, but I'll try another session in a few hours, before I go to bed. I'll also bring down some books and read there for a while. I'm contemplating the merits of sleeping down there. Pro: kittens can get used to me. Con: no a/c, and kittens are nocturnal. They might "get used to me" by jumping on my face!
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A bit shy, but pretty, and young enough to warm up to humans if they have love and attention! Pass it around. I'd like to save myself a very long trip to the animal shelter if I can.
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I want to insert something here. I am, I'm told, actually pretty smart. I don't usually say this, because there's no reason to, but other people sometimes tell me that. Never know how to respond, but they do. (At least nowadays, they say it in a good way. When I was a kid, they said it in order to criticize me for not doing my schoolwork.)

But I'm the one saying it now, and I'm saying it so you know not to judge me too harshly for the events in this story.

I was walking home from the grocery store, laden down with two very heavy bags (among other things, each had a six-pack of snapple), when I saw my chance to nab one of the two tortie kittens I've been worried about. Not the sicker one, the friendlier one!

Turns out this kitten is friendly enough so long as you don't act like you're trying to snatch her. This is unsurprising - apparently, two of her five siblings got picked up in just this way. (A third died. You can see why I want to TNR Mama.) So I waited until she was very close, and then I grabbed her nape. Well, kittens will settle when you do that, but she wouldn't let me hold her close, and I had no way to pick up my groceries!

As luck would have it, a family was walking towards me right then. I have always depended on the kindness of strangers, and had no hesitation whatsoever in asking them to help me with my bags if they were going my way. They dropped me off at the corner and I ran home, stashed the kitten in the front entryway, and ran back to grab my bags and the antibiotics from my neighbor.

Naturally, after having been isolated for five minutes in a strange place, the kitten decided that I must be her best friend. I've encountered this before when rehoming semi-feral kittens. If you'll excuse the armchair psychology, I figure it's some sort of Stockholm thing. They're away from everything they know, but you're familiar and you haven't actually hurt them, so you must be a friend! She purred up a storm and let me hold her properly to put her in a larger room with food. (FOOD!) There was medicine on the food, which is the important thing, but not what she cared about. (That medicine is crucially important - this kitty's eyes are better, but she's sniffling. Sniffles + eye troubles = bad news for kittens.)

Then I got a little overawed with my own mad skillz, and decided to get her sister. Guess what I forgot? Yes, I forgot to bring a carrier. Like I said, I'm usually smarter than this, so don't judge me! Her sister's eye is much worse, and looking at it, I'm not sure that there isn't any permanent damage. But at least it's only one eye. This kitten was not so friendly, and smart enough to avoid me after my first attempt, so I had to enlist the man who's been feeding her. Smart kitty - she wanted the food, but she was wary of approaching any human with me still right there! He wasn't clear on what I meant by grabbing her neck either, but between the two of us I eventually did manage to grab her nape and lug her home, so now she's ensconced with her sister. (This was the third not-so-smart move on my part. I should've isolated her for half an hour first, and then had her warm up to me before putting her in with family. Well, I don't care that much.)

I'm tentatively calling the one with the bad eye Kid Blink, so I guess that makes the other one Nellie Bly.


Jul. 15th, 2017 02:32 pm
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Down the way a bit, there are two semi-feral kittens, about four months old. Beautiful, really - but bad eye infections. I have had no luck snatching them, and while the guy feeding them gave me the okay to trap them, the person I know with a trap has lost that trap and is therefore no real help to me. They're not consistently enough there that it's worth calling out 311 either.

On to option two - put out small dabs of wet food with antibiotics every day, wait for the kittens to approach and eat them. Worst case scenario, they're cured of the infection. Best case scenario, they eventually chill out enough that I can nab them and take them to the shelter or to a feral rescue organization. They're young enough that they should be able to acclimate to living with humans, provided the humans don't mind shy cats. (I want to TNR the mom, too. Strangest behavior I've seen in a cat - she came up and rubbed between my legs while growling the whole time. Admittedly, she caught me in the act of trying to kittennap her babies, but seriously?)

But I have to move on this fast. The younger you get them, the better the odds. At least they're only semi-feral.
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So Eva's friend N is a bright kid. Doesn't like to read. She can read, she just doesn't like to.

However, any kid who goes anywhere with us - and she does - is expected to haul a book around, and eventually Eva will open up her own book and read. I've been handing N graphic novels to limited success, but yesterday I had the best success ever. I gave her a copy of Hamster Princess, and she said "Oh, good, I'm bored. And you know what? I think I'm kind of getting used to reading."

Then she literally read it while walking and laughed out loud as she did so. Ursula Vernon is a genius, and I'm going to pop over to her journal and tell her so.


Jul. 13th, 2017 03:43 pm
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So I order my pet food via Petco, because it's slightly cheaper than Amazon, and no way I'm going to lug 50lbs of dry food home on the subway. I don't love this, because their subscription page is impossible and gives me a headache every time I have to adjust something, but whatever.

I recently ended up with too much cat food, and put all subscriptions on hold for a while.

Funny thing. Once I did that, I got a whole bunch of "how can we tempt you back?" coupons. Some really nice ones, too - $15 off here, 25% of there. I never got shit from having them on repeat delivery. Apparently, the real discounts aren't from loyalty at all.

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As you know, I babysit two boys for an hour in the afternoons. Several months ago I lost the four year old's backpack (actually, he might still have been three) and so I bought a new one.

It's a pretty awesome backpack, actually, and he loves it. But I wasn't about to tell his mom "Yo, I bought your preschooler a $40 backpack", so instead I just said I'd budgeted $10 for it, which was the truth. I just went a little out of budget to get it.

Well, she saw it in a store yesterday going for $50, so now the jig is up. LOL. She wants to repay me, and I'm trying to back out of that one. If I'd wanted repayment, I'd've told her how much I really spent!


So What Does A Deep-Fried Grasshopper Taste Like? ("Not everyone is a fan of the idea — for the obvious reasons." Wait, what obvious reasons are those!? I thought it was just cultural conditioning not to eat a widespread, easy protein source that millions of people worldwide enjoy.)

The Original Gotham

Ants build sinking Eiffel Towers when trying to escape

First Object Teleported from Earth to Orbit ("Object" is stretching a point. It was a photon.)

Science education on a transphobic post (she's casting her pearls before swine there, but good luck)

Why It Took Scientists So Long to Figure Out Where Babies Come From

At 56, a ‘Light Bulb’ Goes Off and a Firefighter Emerges

Plate tectonics may have driven the evolution of life on Earth

“When you used to say ‘farmer,’ you wouldn’t have me as the picture.”: Urban farming in Sacramento

The British View the War of 1812 Quite Differently Than Americans Do

Political liberals display greater happiness, study shows

The Hidden Rules of the Puritan Fashion Police

Pope Francis creates fourth pathway to becoming a saint ("Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.")

The Timelessness of Millennial-Bashing

The 10 ways recipes are undermining your cooking

The Conservative Myth of a Social Safety Net Built on Charity

Does Commercial Zoning Increase Neighborhood Crime?

A village amid skyscrapers: how long can Kuala Lumpur's enclave hold out?

Arkansas' Ten Commandments Monument Lasted Less Than 24 Hours (Does this man have a fund for his legal defense?)

Trump Can't Reverse the Decline of White Christian America

Trump's environmental rollbacks are hitting major roadblocks

Republicans increasingly say colleges have negative impact on U.S. (This explains so much)

Iranian women spark debate by defying hijab rule in cars

When Anxiety or Depression Masks a Medical Problem

Slaves no more, but freedom brings new struggles

Russia steps up spying efforts after election

‘Category 5 hurricane’: White House under siege by Trump Jr.’s Russia revelations

Election to obstruction: The many tentacles of the Trump-Russia investigation

Civilians shouldn’t have to de-escalate police

How severe, ongoing stress can affect a child's brain ("A 2009 study found that adults with six or more adverse childhood experiences died nearly 20 years earlier than those with none.")
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This was discovered when Ana and Eva were casually re-enacting The Mysterious Ticking Noise and I joined in.

Jenn: Sometimes it's like you guys have a whole life I'm not part of.

So here, Jenn. For your edification: The Mysterious Ticking Noise! (Special anniversary edition.)
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And any other books written by Australian authors. It's irrational, and it's definitely not in keeping with descriptivism, but it always jars me when they use the word "meant" where an American wouldn't. "Isn't Vietnam meant to be America's greatest failure or something?" "Isn't he meant to be ten or eleven?" "I think you're meant to have a license".

I know, I know, it's not really any different from "supposed to be", but it always, always takes me by surprise and forces me to spend a few seconds re-reading so it makes sense. Why this item and not any others? Beats me. I'm not proud of it, but there it is.
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They just appear.

"Holy goodness, did we drink a lot of hard liquor in the late 1800s"

The graph doesn't show the late 1800s; it shows the late 19th century. The late 1800s would be 1805-1809.

Two different people corrected him, but he's still holding firm, three years after the first comment:

So, how do you describe the decade betwene the 1790s ("seventeen nineties" and 1810s ("eighteen tens"), then?

I couldn't resist, I made my own reply. That decade is, of course, the early 1800s.


Amelia Earhart's Travel Menu Relied On Three Rules And People's Generosity

How to pluralize the word "octopus": a flowchart

Scientists are about to change what a kilogram is. That’s massive.

American Reportage: documenting the American experience – in pictures

Chaos Makes the Multiverse Unnecessary

Why Do Stop Signs Have Eight Sides?

City of Sydney is axing fines for overdue library books because they don’t work

Why babies in medieval paintings look like ugly old men

Strange silk: Why rappelling spiders don't spin out of control

Why Coastal Tribes Are Growing Clam Gardens That Look Like Asian Rice Fields

Lynx could return to Britain this year after absence of 1,300 years

Bananas: Scientists Create Vitamin A-Rich Fruit That Could Save Hundreds of Thousands of Children’s Lives (If they're luckier than Golden Rice. Hey, why is it always Vitamin A they add to foods?)

Mexico And U.S. Team Up To Create Low-Cost Wheelchairs

Where did giant novelty checks come from?

For 23 World Cities, a Visual Inventory of Parking Lots

American Cities Are Chipping Away at the Burden of Parking Mandates

Watch Your Mouth Around My Kid

Texas border city considers helping US jail immigrants

Dying In The Desert Is Easy — These Activists Are Trying To Change That

The politics of fire: from Ancient Rome and San Francisco to Grenfell Tower

Teen bit in head by bear wakes up to "crunching sound" (OMGWTF!?)

Turkey’s opposition stages massive rally in a show of strength against Erdogan

Black homeowners struggle as US housing market recovers

Lisa, Laquanda, Machelle, and Kenya Were Sentenced as Children to Die in Prison. Decades later, a Supreme Court ruling could give them their freedom.

Gluten-free bread for Holy Communion is toast, says Vatican (Don't Catholics officially believe in a literal transubstantiation? Seems a bit strange if it doesn't work on gluten-free bread.)

Frustrated with North Korea? Welcome to The Land of Lousy Options This is a longer and more in-depth take, from The Atlantic)

Once Dominant, the United States Finds Itself Isolated at G-20 (And I bet Trump thinks being alone is a sign of strength and "independence".)

Goal of nation's first opioid court: Keep users alive

While Corals Die Along The Great Barrier Reef, Humans Struggle To Adjust

Here’s how hot your city might be by 2100

30 percent of the energy sent to Earth bounces back into outer space. Climate change could upend that. (Is that a Wrinkle in Time series reference in the subtitle?)

Gonorrhea is becoming harder and in some cases impossible to treat with antibiotics.

Teen's suicide emblematic of problems at New Orleans jail

U.S. Air Pollution Still Kills Thousands Every Year, Study Concludes
conuly: (Default)
That series was never so popular in the US, but when it came out my whole family was crazy about them. I've actually recommended them to Ana this week - they still hold up.

One complaint )

Still, other than that, it was worth a re-read. Not gonna recommend them to Eva, though. She doesn't like reading about dead people, and she certainly doesn't like reading books with dead dogs.
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I don't know what precipitated this, but the dogs have started playing together. This is a huge step from treating each other like roommates. I'm very carefully watching them out of the side of my eye and not interacting at all.

Edit: It gets better. Moonpie, ever the quieter dog, started barking wildly a little while ago. At first I thought it was Finn, then I thought it must be some outside animal! Eventually I realized who it must be, and when she came up the stairs I hugged her. She barked some more, ran downstairs, and practically gave me her leash. This marks the first time she has ever used barking OR running ahead of people to communicate a wish or desire. Good girl, Moonpie! (Finn does it all the time, but he's starting to figure out that he doesn't always need to bark to get our attention. And he's finally stopped howling. Good boy, Finn! It's funny, but I want each dog to be more like the other one!)


Harry Potter and the Neural Network fan fiction (Sample - Birds of a Saturday: Harry Potter is drunk and discovers he is an alternate universe.)

Cockatoos make their own lil drumsticks to play music

At Tom Thumb Weddings, Children Get Faux-Married to Each Other

This Secretive Billionaire Makes The Cheese For Pizza Hut, Domino's And Papa John's

The Pyramid Builders

Jellyfish use high-powered 'syringes' to shoot venom into your skin

40 Percent of the Buildings in Manhattan Could Not Be Built Today

The Quest to Make Vertical Living Family-Friendly

A Year Gardening the Grave of a Stranger

Can America's Farms Survive the Threat of Deportations?

Trump’s Deportation Surge Is Harming Domestic Abuse Survivors

Grasping At Straws

A Modest Proposal For Separating Blue States From Red

Confronting the Myths of Suburban Poverty

Shunned by the rich, Cairo's subway speaks of economic woes

What “The Merchant of Venice” taught me about ethnic hatred and the literary imagination.

When It Comes to Historical Markers, Every Word Matters

Under pressure, Western tech firms bow to Russian demands to share cyber secrets

Sheriff won't let his deputies carry overdose antidote

The Detransitioners: They Were Transgender, Until They Weren't (Interesting article, not sure what I think about it. The profiled people say they're just fine with transgender people, they just realized that they aren't. I suppose it would be stranger if that never happened. The comments are about 75% productive conversation, 25% transphobic and terfy trolling, but at least even they can form coherent sentences, so, you know, it's high quality.)

The Republican Backlash Against Trump's Vote-Fraud Commission

Voter fraud commission may have violated law

These Three Lawyers Are Quietly Purging Voter Rolls Across the Country

Trump's Master Class in Tax Deceit

The Heroin Crisis in Trump’s Backyard

Scientists are starting to clear up one of the biggest controversies in climate science

Meteorologists are running out of colors to map extreme heat

How the Death of a Muslim Recruit Revealed a Culture of Brutality in the Marines

Does the Militarization of Police Lead to More People Killed? Research Says Yes
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Mom divided 56 crayons so that Margie got 8 more crayons than her sister. How many crayons did Margie get?

Eva: Wow.

We did eventually do the math, but seriously, what's with the favoritism? In this problem, Margie's sister isn't even given a name.
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Also, art projects that aren't all either "Uh, here are some supplies, get messy" or "These are the carefully cut out parts, please make yours exactly like mine". Gosh, I hate the latter. I want all teachers of young children to memorize the phrase "it's the process, not the product" and apply it religiously.

Anyway, trying to do some fun and lightly educational things over the summer to make up for forcing Eva to do - gasp! - math every day. (The math is not optional.)
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Also cabbage, and some other stuff. But - cherries!


Scientists may finally know why these magnificent corals glow in the dark

Sketches of Summer

How Spam Went from Canned Necessity to American Icon

And Then There Were (N-One) (Fiction. Not sure what I think of the ending, but I myself would kill to get my hands on that copy of Parable of the Trickster one of the Sarahs brought. Also, would definitely host a con like this for myself. Are you kidding!? I'd get to call it ConnieCon!)

The Quirkiest Local Landmarks in Small-Town America

As Chinese, Iranian and Indonesian As Apple Pie

In the egg, American bullfrogs learn how to avoid becoming lunch

Crayola opens colorful contest for new crayon shade (All these new colors! I'd love for them to issue a box of just their retired colors! I miss cadet blue. And I love dandelion, and I loved mulberry.)

How to Beat Asthma

What Is Space? It’s not what you think.

Wales and Scotland offer free abortions to women from Northern Ireland

The surprising trend in extramarital sex in America

Gay Chinese man wins legal battle over forced conversion therapy

​​​​​​​The Diminishing Role of Art in Children's Lives

They Dreamed Of Being Doctors. Now They Help Syrians With The Same Dream

Our faces reveal whether we're rich or poor (53% of the time)

The Short, Unhappy Life of a Libertarian Paradise

A Conservative Christian Battle Over Gender

More families fleeing Central America resettling in Mexico

Purged: The officers who cannot go home to Turkey

What Sessions Doesn't Get: Narcotics Trafficking Is A Market

The opioid crisis is straining the nation’s foster-care systems

How Medicaid forces families like mine to stay poor

In Myanmar, one girl's plight epitomizes Rohingya struggle (Don't read if you're sensitive to stories about sick children)

Canada’s Hidden History, My Mother and Me
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1. If you have small children, take this advice. One day they'll scribble all over themselves with marker. When they do, don't panic. You can't scrub it off, so let them go to town, and if people question you, look down your nose and say "I don't need to explain my art to you" or, better, "Don't question my art". I stole that line gleefully from Empire Records and have never forgotten it.

2. Eva remembered that's her mom's favorite movie, but she's never seen it and therefore forgot the name. I asked her to tell her mom it was airing once - "Do you want to see The Emperor Archives?"

Missed a few 4th of July links, so here they are now:

18 Vintage Photos of People Celebrating Independence Day

Photographs of Independence Day in America

This woman’s name appears on the Declaration of Independence. So why don’t we know her story? (Fascinating story, though half of it is the Post conspicuously equating patriotism with journalism. Well, can't blame 'em, and they're right anyway.)

Why are Danes celebrating the Fourth of July?

How Americans Celebrated Independence Day in 1777

The government’s annual mannequin murders, ranked

Before America Got Uncle Sam, It Had to Endure Brother Jonathan

Why I Love (And Question) Independence Day
conuly: (Default)
(And boy, it was a doozy picking which one in the thread was the silliest - trust me, you're not missing out if I don't link to it)

How often do you ever see a 9 year old and a 6 year old in a deep conversation with their parents? A child doesn't have the attention span of that length to have a meaningful conversation with parents.

The really sad part here is that the person she was arguing with was also fantastically wrong-headed. And so is the person they were arguing with before she chimed in! It's the world's most boring, full-throttle flame war. Who the heck knew the comments sections to the newspaper comics were so full of drama llamas!? I've seen less pointless animosity in religion and politics forums. Hell, I've seen less of it in mothering forums, and until now I thought those were the be-all and end-all of internet drama.


Retro Hogwarts Pinups from Different Decades

This Native Tribe Is Reintroducing a Disappeared Species on Its Own Land

Millenials can kill anything.... (LOL!)

Time Has Only Strengthened These Ancient Roman Seawalls

Rocking the Stasi

A Dutch sailor’s photos of the New York of 1979 (Check out the comments)

Tiny Jumping Spiders Can See the Moon

Best Practices for Raising Kids? Look to Hunter-Gatherers

“There’s Nothing New / Under The Sun, / But There Are New Suns”: Recovering Octavia E. Butler’s Lost Parables

The Lost City That’s Not Lost, Not a City, and Doesn’t Need to Be Discovered

Historians Uncover Slave Quarters of Sally Hemings at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

US schools rethink meal-debt policies that humiliate kids (I can think of a policy that will stop humiliating kids - we can institute universal free lunch and breakfast. Bam, done.)

Dinosaurs' loss was frogs' gain: The upside of a mass extinction

The East St. Louis Race Riot Left Dozens Dead, Devastating a Community on the Rise

Father of Migrants

‘Love Thy Neighbor?’

Goodbye Nonpartisan Journalism. And Good Riddance.

What it's like to be a journalist in 2017. (Chilling.)

‘I was sold seven times': the Yazidi women welcomed back into the faith

Iraqi forces have killed thousands of Islamic State fighters. In death, what do they deserve? Seeking answers in the ruined city of Mosul, Kenneth R. Rosen unearths a terrible crime.
conuly: (Default)
[community profile] findthatbook for all your book-finding needs.

Spam it around, communities like this are extremely necessary!

(Okay, okay, I just want a critical mass because I love giving myself imaginary internet points every time I find somebody's book.)
conuly: (Default)
Moonpie isn't the smartest dog, I'll admit, but she does learn. Today she slipped out when I opened the door after her short midday walk, but when I called her back - she came! I didn't have to chase her! So I hugged her and praised her and didn't let on that I was annoyed. She's a good girl!

(Unlike a certain cat I could name who hid and I couldn't find her for her vet appointment. She is a very annoying animal. Well, I'll reschedule, it's just a follow-up, nothing critical.)


How an Organic Chemist Invented the Bone-Shaped Dog Treat

A Newly Discovered Manuscript and Its Lesson on Islam

Why do planes still have ashtrays?

A Big Dumb Button

Argentine woman becomes first nursery teacher with Down's syndrome

Why This Composer Made Melodies Out of Mountainsides

Meet the Rare Swimming Wolves That Eat Seafood

The German and British children who became post-war friends

Helping Homeless New Yorkers by the Books

The Advantages of Autistic Employees (Article's not that interesting, but wow, is it ever exciting in the comments! Not very enlightening, but exciting!)

Restaurants Can Be a Lifeline for the Formerly Incarcerated — and Vice Versa

States refuse Trump commission request for U.S. voter data

Beijing's struggle to win Hong Kong's young hearts

Oregon infant's illness prompts warning about placenta pills (Okay, I think the whole placenta-eating thing is a little weird, but a careful reading of the article shows that this warning could just as easily be phrased "be sure to cook it thoroughly first".)

'Carrot, not stick': Israel pushes its curriculum in Palestinian schools

Puerto Rico struggles to save historic buildings amid crisis

If Americans Can Find North Korea on a Map, They’re More Likely to Prefer Diplomacy (FFS, it's the Korean Peninsula. It has to be on a peninsula.)

Some would-be immigrants left in limbo after Supreme Court travel ban order

Texas Medicaid cuts leave special needs kids without therapy

The Deep Roots of Writing Violence Out of U.S. History

Japan considers detaining some asylum seekers to curb abuse of refugee system (This from a nation that only accepted 27 refugees last year!)

Visiting an Inmate You Love Is Its Own Kind of Prison

Feds will now target relatives who smuggled in children

Indonesia's gay community driven underground after police raids

This chilling NRA ad calls on its members to save America by fighting liberals (I was actually in NYC during/after Sandy. Reading this, I'm livid.)

As coal dwindles, mining states trim safety inspections

Facebook’s Secret Censorship Rules Protect White Men from Hate Speech But Not Black Children
conuly: (Default)
Eva is friends with N. N is friends with J. Eva doesn't particularly like J, but she tries to get along with her most of the time. (Some of the time they mutually ostracize each other.)

J's mother tends to overprotect her relative to the rest of the neighborhood. N's mother follows the more usual neighborhood tradition of letting her children roam completely unsupervised.

So, yesterday Eva asked if she could go to the pool. I said she shouldn't, but I guessed she could if she got back in time for her dentist appointment. (Spoiler, she didn't get back in time.) Later, as I'm walking around, J's mother stops me. "You don't look like you just got back from the pool!"

Apparently, J had told her I went there and supervised, because J isn't allowed to go to the pool without an adult. And J's mom thought this was a bit unlikely - she's known me 20 years, she knows I can't swim and don't particularly like crowds - but went along with it. Except I blew it right then and there.

So I got home and chewed Eva out. No lying to people about me! At least loop me in!

The plot thickens - J's grandmother (according to Eva) thought her daughter was being a bit overprotective and told J to tell her that I was there. Now, I'm with J's grandmother here, buuuuut... I would not have gone along with this. She's going to be gone long before her daughter will, nobody ever moves away from this block.

I told Eva that if this sort of thing happens again, she needs to be out of the room when the actual lying is going on. If she's not officially party to it, it's not her problem. I think that was the right thing to say. Was that the right thing to say?

(Well, J doesn't seem to be grounded, anyway, at least not while her mother is working and her grandmother is watching, so my guess is Eva was telling the truth.)
conuly: (Default)
I saw a man pick up a random McDonald's cup from the ground and put it in a plastic bag.

And I was right there, so I said "Thank you!"

Him: You know what, thank YOU for saying thank you!
Me: Oh, good, I was worried for a second that that might be kinda weird.
Him: Oh no! But I do this every day, and people see it, and you know what?
Me: They never say anything.
Him: Nope.
Me: Well, thanks!
Him: You too!

So he did his good deed for the day by cleaning up, and I did it by encouraging him! I felt all warm and fuzzy after. (Because I did worry for a second that it might be kinda weird.)


The Quest to Return Tomatoes to Their Full-Flavored Glory

Incremental discovery may one day lead to photosynthetic breakthrough

Vinegar: A cheap and simple way to help plants fight drought

Human reared wolves found to display signs of attachment and affection towards foster-parents (Duh, but who knew wolf cubs were so adorable?)

Water exists as two different liquids

Solving the Centuries-old Mystery of Rare ‘Bright Nights’

No detectable limit to how long people can live (Okay, great, but I don't particularly want to live to be 1,000 if I spend 915 years of my life in an old age home, so who cares?)

DNA solves ancient animal riddle that Darwin couldn't

Solar paint offers endless energy from water vapor

Select memories can be erased, leaving others intact (Mad. Science.)

Could Vitamin C Be the Cure for Deadly Infections?

Getting a flu ‘shot’ could soon be as easy as sticking on a Band-Aid

Why there are so many species of tropical trees and other organisms

Sensitive faces helped dinosaurs eat, woo and take temperature

Yeast’s Newest Trick: Detecting Deadly Pathogens

Talking turtles: Researchers discover more turtles that 'talk'

A third of marine megafauna died in a mass extinction that we didn’t even know about

Having a personality that’s different from average may increase teens’ risk of being bullied (Breaking news, stop the presses.)

Food allergies linked to childhood anxiety
conuly: (Default)
And when I came back I wandered around a bit on the conviction that if I headed downhill and generally towards the bridge, I'd eventually come out somewhere I recognized. (Gee, there are a lot of dead end streets in that neighborhood!)

This was completely accurate. I came out at Stone Street. Stone Street is a very narrow, very steep street leading from St. Paul's to Van Duzer. The street is exactly one (narrow) lane wide, no room on the sides for parking. The sidewalks, which have rails, are very narrow. Oh, and there's a tree growing in the middle of it.

20-odd years ago, when I first discovered Stone Street, there was a sign about how it was some sort of experiment. That sign appears to be gone. Now there's just a sign saying "Dead End", you know, in case you didn't see the tree. But it's only a dead end for cars. People and doggies can walk down easily, which we did.


Jordan's 'pay as you like' bookstore saved by crowd-funding

Which Books Do Americans Take on Vacation?

Kindling Curiosity on a Low-Tech Urban Scavenger Hunt

Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, Jews, And Christians Showed Us What They Wear When They Worship

State: 111 terminally ill end lives under new California law

Beekeepers Feel The Sting Of California's Great Hive Heist

Dutch sleuth hopes for breakthrough in biggest US art heist

Cantonese v Mandarin: When Hong Kong languages get political

Philippines bill proposes jail time for unenthusiastic anthem singers

The Lifelong Learning of Lifelong Inmates

The Moral Code of Chinese Sex Workers

Report: Black girls thought to need less protection

Three Big Ableist Myths About the Life of Helen Keller

New computer virus spreads from Ukraine to disrupt world business

Governor declares state of emergency for NYC transit system

No one is paying attention to the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II

Amid Turkey’s Purge, a Renewed Attack on Kurdish Culture

Philippine police use hospitals to hide drug killings

Mutant Strains Of Polio Vaccine Now Cause More Paralysis Than Wild Polio

Planned Parenthood Still Believes It Can Win the Culture Wars

Time Asks Donald Trump’s Golf Clubs to Remove Phony Magazine Cover

Trump's new foil: a silent Barack Obama

I Don’t Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People

Good Health Never Lasts

Global sea level rise accelerates since 1990, study shows
conuly: (Default)
And so zonked I actually got close enough to touch her, though I didn't because, you know, she's feral. I'm pretty sure waking her like this would not have helped her socialization, and would've gotten me scratched at the very least.

But it was adorable.

conuly: (Default)
If you want to be intensely spoiled for next season, clicky clicky. I can't wait!

Edit: Yeah, the nod to a certain government official — we thought we were being cute, and now, I find myself longing for George Bush, wishing we could have George Bush back in the White House and remembering him fondly.

Yeah, Rob, you and me both. Never ever dreamed I'd be nostalgic for those days.


Jun. 27th, 2017 10:12 pm
conuly: (Default)

Read more... )

So. Yeah. I'm... I'm... I think I'm gonna rewatch the whole series now. Because yeah.
conuly: (Default)
Two thoughts:

1. The author must have had "agouti" come up in his word-a-day calendar
2. Holy shit that ending. That just came the fuck out of nowhere.
conuly: (Default)
Comment here and he'll get you in touch. You gotta pick them up in Kitchener, though - at this point, I doubt she'll lug them to the post office to mail them, even if you promise to pay shipping and your firstborn.


conuly: (Default)

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