conuly: (Default)
Which means pretty soon we will have baby birds aplenty, and with that we will have well-meaning adults giving bad advice to kids, bad advice that can accidentally kill little birdies.

If you see a baby bird on the ground, and you've already touched it, that doesn't matter. The mother bird won't reject it for smelling too humanish because birds have an awful sense of smell. They live in trees and fly around, and a sense of smell isn't very useful to them. Birds can generally see color, but as a rule they have a crappy sense of smell.

You shouldn't go picking up baby birds for the lulz, because birds are small and fragile and humans, especially OUR young, are big and clumsy and can hurt them, but if you already have and haven't injured the baby there's no harm done, you don't need to either resign yourself to its death or try to raise it yourself. (And if it does come to that then you should contact a wildlife rehabilitator to take care of your baby songbird. They know what they're doing.) You can probably just put the birdie back where you found it, or in a safe and sheltered place near to where you found it and walk away.

If your sincere, honest, and educated opinion is that this bird still belongs in the nest (and many leave before they can fly), and you see the nest right there, you can put the bird back in, gently. With your hands, because that part doesn't matter.
conuly: (Default)
Japan is expanding its military role, ostensibly in response to China becoming so powerful.

Read more... )

Closing doors is the smartest thing you can do in a fire.

Read more... )

Most Americans are paying less in taxes than they were or would have been a few decades ago.

Read more... )
conuly: (Default)

For decades, the Judge Rotenberg Center in Canton, Massachusetts has been torturing and abusing people with disabilities in the name of treatment.
Residents are subject to electric shocks, food deprivation, prolonged restraint and seclusion, and forced witness of these same tactics used against other residents.

This video of Andre McCollins, then-eighteen, who has behavioral and mental health issues, has been sealed by the courts for the last eight years. Yesterday, it played in open court during his trial against the Judge Rotenberg Center.

I haven't watched the video in question. I've heard enough about the JRC that I felt that I didn't need to do so. I would like to keep my food down today. So I'm just going to assume it is triggering and move from there.


Nov. 30th, 2011 10:07 am
conuly: (Default)
Phishing attempts are being made on LJ. Short version: If you get a comment that is accompanied by a pop-up asking for your password, don't give it your password. If you've already done that, go change your password.

More information here
conuly: A picture of the Castleton Castle. Quote: "Where are our dreams? Where are our castles?" (castle)
(And to tell the truth, even if I did, comms like "50 book challenge" wouldn't help. That's less than a book a week!)

But since I know a lot of people do, here's two new challenges that I've seen around.

First, Books1001, their goal is to hit as many of the "1001 books you must read before you die" within a year as possible. (As a group, that is.)

Secondly, here's the picture book reading challenge. Which I *did* enter because... monthly prize drawings! That's the sort of book challenge I understand!
conuly: Good Omens quote: "Kids! Bringing about Armageddon can be dangerous!" (armageddon)
I am choosing to assume it's the desperately poor parents of a dying child who, in their grief, have forgotten all codes of conduct they should've learned when they were little, and who have given up on hospitals altogether and want to make their child's days at home a little more TV-filled. Because otherwise it just doesn't make sense at all, and we're back to "What sort of scum does this sort of thing?"

At any rate, there's a request out for anybody who has the money to do so to purchase child-appropriate Region 4 DVDs from sellers in Australia (that's where the hospital is) to send to them.
conuly: A picture of the bridge at night. Quote: "Spanned with a poem" (poem)
(I know, weird, right?)

So, in the interest in making us all look a little more educated, I'm going to explain the distinction between four homophones, and give alternatives:

Pallet: This word means a straw-filled mattress or a small, hard, temporary bed. If you find yourself having to use this word, and you're not sure how to spell it, try "mat".

Pallet: Same spelling, different etymology, you're most likely to use this to talk about a portable platform for storing or moving packages. If you can sensibly use "crate", go for it. Otherwise, you're stuck learning to spell.

Palette: This means the board you put paints on and by extension it has come to mean the colors on the palette themselves. If you have to use this word in the second sense, and you're not sure how to spell it, try "color scheme". If you mean the first sense, you're stuck learning to spell unless you don't mind saying "that thing artists use to hold paint while they're painting".

Palate: This means the roof of your mouth and, by extension, your (intellectual) sense of taste. If you find yourself having to use this word in the first sense, and you're not sure how to spell it, try "roof of the mouth". If you have to use the word in the second sense, try sounding slightly less pretentious* and just say "taste".

You may say "But Connie! Surely it's better to use the right word than your workarounds!", and in many cases you're probably right. But if you can't spell it, you're not using the right word. And although people probably shouldn't care, they do. Rest assured they're all making fun of you behind your back. Avoid the angst, and just choose another word!

*Yeah, it pretty much is pretentious the way a lot of people use it. It doesn't have to be, but it is. And even if that's not what you're going for, the people around you either are or think you are, and they'll never forget that you can't spell.
conuly: Discworld quote: "The new day is a great big fish!" (fish)
Somebody whose hair blog I read recently donated her daughter's hair to Locks of Love, and then she posted an update with some concerns about Locks of Love that she wanted to address. She followed up by listing a few other "donate your hair" charities, all of which were about donating hair to make wigs.

If you don't really cut enough hair for that purpose, if you have pets you groom, if you maybe own a salon or barbershop and want someplace for your scraps, or if you just never were attracted to the wigs donating....

Don't forget that you can donate hair to make mats to clean up oil spills!

This does not mean that one cause is worthier than another or anything like that. I'm posting this just to get the information out there.
conuly: Picture taken on the SI Ferry - "the soul of a journey is liberty" (boat)
Cutest little thing I've seen all week :)

I had asked her to bring her MT so that I could see how she was wearing it and adjust any little problems she had. Sometimes you do it one way when they're little, and it's fine, but when they get bigger you realize that you've been doin' it rong this whole time and it's no longer comfortable. (Specifically, I wanted to make sure she knew about the jumping trick and about the fact that sometimes babies WILL insist on trying to push away from you when they go up and you DO need to be ready for this. "Oh, like when you ride a horse and you have to punch him in the stomach so you can cinch the saddle?" Uh... yeah, I guess so, whatever metaphor works for you. If the carrier is too loose it's not as safe as it could be and it's also not as *comfortable* as it might be.)

Next time I see her I want her to bring her ring sling so I can show her a few other ways to use it besides a cradle carry. She mentioned that somebody had gone on and on about her about the Infantino, and - I cut her off at this point for my own little rant on the subject.

Warning! Once you read this rant you will be honor-bound to correct others if they make the same mistake I am ranting about.

The SlingRider (which has now been recalled and you can return it to them for a new product) is not a typical ring sling or pouch. (Definition: A ring sling is a carrier that goes over one shoulder and can be adjusted by fabric looped through a ring. (If making your own, DO NOT use craft rings, they're not safe.) A pouch is a similar carrier that is probably not adjustable, though some are adjustable through snaps, I believe.) It is a "bag sling" and has several design flaws which make it difficult or impossible to position your baby correctly so they can get enough air. Airflow. It's important. I'm not typing it all out now, but it's all over here at TBW if you have a membership.

SlingRider? Not safe. Most other carriers? About as safe as the person wearing them. Nothing is 100% safe, but in most carriers the worry is either incorrect usage (which is a worry with *any* product you're using for the first few times) or, occasionally, damage to the carrier (not an inherent problem with carriers, but some vendors *do* use cheaper materials. Please check reviews before buying to make sure there aren't any known issues with a particular seller, and please check any carrier for rips or weak fabric before using.)

So if somebody starts talking about how "slings" are unsafe because of this recall (or, worse, how "carriers" are unsafe!), go ahead and correct them.

Which is what I told her, and at this point everybody can stop telling me about this recall like it's news :)
conuly: (ducky)
Let's talk about outlet covers.

In the US, they're a bit of a hassle. Everybody seems to have a story about their kid taking one off and giving it to them, and a lot of people observe that sockets didn't become interesting to their kid until the covers were put in, at which point they became a FUN NEW TOY. So, you know, get them or don't, but you'll still have to watch your kid. (That's true of a lot of things.)

Apparently the situation in the UK is worse. Well, technically, it's better - your outlets are plenty safe as it is and you don't need to buy a single thing! However, many people buy covers anyway. Normally I'd just cite "a fool and his money" or "one born every minute" and be done with it, but apparently putting a cover in one of your super-safe sockets actually makes them less safe.

So don't do it. And tell all your friends!

Now - can we get those sort of outlets for the US?
conuly: (Default)
Let's see. Every applicant should possess:

Excellent interpersonal communication skills. Excellent may be a stretch, but I can do that for six months.
Good English skills (such as the ones that tell me possess isn't "posses") - got it.
An adventurous attitude. Check.
Willingness to try new things. Check, check, double check.
A passion for the outdoors. Sure, why not?
Good swimming skills and enthusiasm for snorkeling and/or diving. Uh... not so much. Or at all. Maybe I can learn by July?
Ability to engage with others. Um. Sometimes?
At least one year's relevant experience. WTF? What sort of experience is "relevant" to this?

So I'm all there except for the last three. And you can fake some of that, but I don't think I can fake an ability to swim.

I also need the ability to make a video application.


I don't think I'm getting this job.

But as for the rest of you, I'm sure you can use some of your prodigious salary, should you get the job, on babysitting while you go snorkel.

(I really wish I could get this job. Me and the rest of the world.)
conuly: (Default)
Best job in the world ain't no joke. Wow.

Oddly, the job application site seems to be down. I wonder why!
conuly: (Default)
Read this article about the new toy safety legislation
And this thread offsite here (you may have to be a member to read, I'm afraid).

Please, contact your representatives and tell them that this is a bad idea, that it puts an undue burden on small businesses. It's true, anyway.

There's another article with a form letter here, and still another post here.
conuly: (Default)
And let me just say that I am *so tired* of people referring to eating a new food as "introducing" it to their kid. I know what they mean, and it's certainly not novel, but I can't shake the impression that they're going "Kid, meet fish. Fish, kid. Now you can be BEST FRIENDS! Go off and play!"

But I digress.

The woman said she had no "history of food allergies", very specific there.

Except that many people actually do have an intolerance to foods and don't realize it. Why? Because when they think of "food allergies" they think mostly of stomach upsets - nausea or diarrhea - or they think of hives, or they think of fatal problems.

(And sometimes they don't even realize their stomach problems are food related! They think it's normal to have chronic gas, to be constantly bloated, or to always be constipated/runny!)

They don't think of eczema as being related to food. They don't think of asthma as being potentially triggered by food. They don't think of stuffiness and congestion as having anything to do with what they eat. They certainly don't think of mood and behavior problems as being related to common foods - or if they do, they think of it only in the context of artificial colors and sugar.

Of course, the reality is that food intolerances can cause all of these problems. So I'm posting this as a PSA - if you constantly have any of these problems, and nothing works, or you're so used to it that you just use stopgaps all the time? Try keeping a food diary. See if there's any connection.
conuly: (Default)
Care about abortion rights? Click the link.

Text of the link in here )

As always, I'm stuck having no idea what on earth to *say* in a letter to my various legislators. Anybody writing one, give me your draft to modify?
conuly: (Default)
This baby's parents need some equipment for their daughter. If you can help out, even a little, please donate.

Also, those of you living in the UK might like to write to whomever one writes to when the NHS acts in a sucky way, I don't know.
conuly: (Default)
From Shakesville comes this urgent call for action to save a woman's life. Kobra Najjar was forced into prostitution by her husband to support his heroin habit. A client of hers who was sympathetic to her plight killed him, and subsequently both were imprisoned for eight years. Now, however, she faces execution by stoning for adultery while evidently he does not.

Here are the people you can contact to help save her.

Update: Women's Action 29.2
July 2008

Iran: Kobra Najjar Faces Imminent Execution by Stoning for Prostitution

Kobra Najjar Equality Now is urgently concerned about Kobra Najjar, an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery who lost her final appeal for amnesty. Iranian women’s rights activists working on her case report that Kobra has exhausted all domestic legal remedies and that her execution by stoning could happen any time.

Kobra is a victim of domestic violence who was forced into prostitution by her abusive husband in order to support his heroine addiction. He was murdered by one of Kobra’s “clients” who sympathized with her plight. Kobra has already served 8 years in prison as an accessory to her husband’s murder. The man who murdered her husband also served 8 years in prison and is now free after paying blood money and undergoing 100 lashes, while Kobra faces imminent stoning to death for adultery - the prostitution her husband forced upon her.

Equality Now is also concerned about recent reports of seven other women and one man, all accused of adultery sentenced to death by stoning, whose executions are also reported to be possible at any time. In Iran, adultery is the only crime punishable by stoning.

Stoning violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Iran is a state party. The ICCPR clearly prohibits torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment. It also limits the imposition of the death penalty “only for the most serious crimes.” No criminal or other act warrants violent and inhumane punishments such as flogging and stoning. Moreover, adultery is a private act and should not incur criminal punishment. Protection from arbitrary or unlawful interference under the ICCPR has been found by the United Nations Human Rights Committee to include consensual sexual activity between adults in private.

Recommended Actions

Please write to the Iranian officials below, calling for Kobra’s immediate release, the commutation of all sentences of death by stoning and the prohibition by law of all cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments in accordance with Iran’s obligations under the ICCPR. Urge the officials also to initiate a comprehensive review of the Civil and Penal Codes of Iran to remove all provisions that discriminate and perpetuate discrimination against women, including those regarding adultery and fornication, in accordance with Iran’s own constitutional provision for equality before the law.

His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Head of the Judiciary
c/o Ministry of Justice
Park-e Shahr
Islamic Republic of Iran
Email:, and
Phone: +98 21 22741002, +98 21 22741003, +98 21 22741004, +98 21 22741005

Note: The contact information above may encounter delivery problems so please keep trying to send your message. Thank you for taking action!

Please also contact the Iranian embassy in your country. The following link may help you find the contact information:

List of embassies )

I'm never sure what to say in these sorts of letters. Does anybody want to help me out here? I'll post good suggestions up here for others with my troubles.


Jul. 17th, 2007 01:07 am
conuly: (Default)
There's a spoilery HP image that's being trolled all over. Could be real, could be unreal, I don't know. If you're concerned, go offline now and hide out until you've read the book.

All I know is that if CENSORED really CENSORED CENSORED, that's gonna mess up a lot of CENSORED fanfic!

And is it just me, or is it absolutely, positively, no question about it, just plain wrong that the bootleg bookstands are taking reservations for this book? They're selling stolen or illegally copied books! WTF? Seriously. What. The. Fuck?
conuly: (Default)
(English capitalization rules for titles always mess me up, forgive me.)

Rule 1: Ask the parents what the kid would like. Seriously, any child over the age of 18 months has toy preferences, and probably has enough toys and books that you're at risk of bringing a double, and the parents might have rules about what they let their kid know exists. Just ask.

In fact, I'm going to put this one in bold.


Rule 2: If, for some reason, you don't want to ask the parents... CRAFT SUPPLIES.

Every kid can use some more craft supplies, and it doesn't matter if there are extras - it gets used up.

Now, here's my advice for craft supplies:

If you like the parents a lot, and they're artsy types, get unusual-er supplies. Yarn, ribbons, magazines and scissors to cut up, buttons - stuff the kids might actually not have 17 tons of at home already. And a pack of stickers. And maybe a book on craft activities you can do with kids.

If you like the parents well enough, get crayons and paper, smocks (you can never have enough smocks!), mats to lay down over tables to keep the tables clean, watercolor paints, and maybe some glue sticks. And a pack of stickers.

If you don't like the parents and resent buying stuff for their brats, get poster paints, no smocks, markers, glitter, glue, and LOTS AND LOTS of stickers.

Rule 3: Skip the wrapping paper. It's a pain to undo, and it just makes a mess, so, unless you hate the parents, go with a gift bag. Kids love bags anyway, especially when they're little.

Rule 4: Also, get a card. Very little kids like the novelty of cards.
conuly: (Default)
My quick review of carriers and carries I have tried, for people interested in the subject.

I do not claim to be an expert in babywearing, or even in these carries. Different people have different needs, and what works for one adult and baby pair might not work for another one. Et cetera.

Mei-tai )

Ring sling )

Podegi )

Kanga )

Wraps )

And that's it, my very quick synopsis of the carriers I personally have tried. More information can be found at,, or [ profile] babywearer (which, for some reason, does not list babywearing as an interest, making it somewhat hard to find. Weird, huh?)

It's important to know all this stuff, because when the world floods, strollers just won't be good enough. (Luckily, some carriers are made of materials that can go in the pool or shower. Or, uh, inundation. That's what I call foresight.)
conuly: (Default)
For the record, Minor spoiler for VERY beginning of episode )

That doesn't erase phobias, but still!

Edit: Oh, they dealt with that. That doctor is frightening.


conuly: (Default)

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