Oh boy.

Sep. 5th, 2011 08:46 pm
conuly: (creepy)
I'm not sure how I found this post, but you can go read it:

My life as a daughter of Christian Patriarchy

This woman has a blog in which she talks a lot about leaving her Quiverfull family and becoming an atheist and all that.

The post is okay, but then there's the comments. Or rather - The Comment, by Mr. "I'm gonna tell you what you should have posted".

Read more... )

Does anybody have a derailing bingo? Because I think that last paragraph hits all of it. I'm laughing over here, but only because I don't want to cry.


Apr. 27th, 2011 09:05 am
conuly: (Default)
A quick run-down of some of the comments here....

Oh, I was soooo upset, my school gives out free food on weekends to poor families, and once when school was closed for the snow they sent out text messages and gave the food out anyway, and I can't believe these people can afford cell phones but not food, and they can come in for handouts but not school! LOL!

1. It's not as though the parents make the decision to close schools, you twit. In fact, I bet a lot of them were upset that they had to take an unpaid day off of work to stay with their kids, or else they had to scramble to find childcare because they couldn't take the day off.

2. If you don't make many calls, cell phones can be cheaper than landlines. And if you have to pick just one or the other, it makes sense to go with cell phones, especially if you're looking for work, because you can get that "Come in for an interview!" call wherever you are.

3. Also, you may be eligible for a free cell phone for just this reason.

Oh, gosh, if I only had $100 to spend for the month, you can bet that feeding my kid would be my priority!

Well, goody for you. Meanwhile, if you get kicked out because you didn't pay the rent, or you don't get that new job because you don't have a phone to answer calls, I hope you still have that $100 next month.

I mean, if I had only $100, and I had to feed kids and handle every other bill that had to be paid, yeah, I'd take advantage of free options here. Because I think there are a LOT of things kids need. Like a roof over their head, running water, heat, and clothes that fit.

These kids would be better off hungry than eating food that's been near plastic.

You're a loon. That is all.

These breakfasts suck! I'm going to talk to you about my wonderful breakfast! Why can't the schools serve my wonderful breakfast instead???

Because... we don't want... to pay more taxes to afford this? Or was that a rhetorical question?

This breakfast is unhealthy.

No argument here.

OMG, what sort of person has kids if they can't feed them? It never occurred to me that people might do that!

1. The sort of person who can't afford birth control.
2. The sort of person who doesn't realize how tight their budget is going to be after children.
3. The sort of person who realizes they'll never have much money, and wants kids anyway. Admittedly not the choice I'd make, but I'm not quite comfortable with telling people not to have kids.
4. Most commonly, the sort of person who could afford to feed their kids, and now can't. Apparently, in this person's perfect world, nobody ever loses their job or suffers catastrophic medical bills or loses their home to some sort of disaster.

Wow, can't they buy $25 worth of rolled oats? In bulk at Walmart, that's 25 pounds! Unless it's a lot to carry home on the bus...

Or unless they don't have $25 upfront, and have to pay twice as much (or more) over the course of several months instead, or unless their kids don't like oatmeal but will eat school breakfast (again, not necessarily the choice I'd make, but a valid one), or unless they have no place to store these oats, or unless they choose not to support Walmart because Walmart underpays its workers, thus contributing to the problem of poverty. They say beggars can't be choosers, but that's not actually true.

I can't believe people buy their kids new shoes! And cable! When they're poor!

Yes, heaven forbid your children have shoes that fit and don't have holes. As for cable, that can cost as little as $15 a month. Sure, it's an unnecessary expense, but really? That $15 a month is probably not going to provide breakfast for two children, for the whole month.

Now, I do have a question about free lunch/breakfast, which is why parents can't opt to just get the money that would've paid for their kids food, possibly in the form of food stamps. The government reimburses schools $2.76 for each free lunch bought... uh, served. Even if we count that some of that is the cost of trays and forks and lunch ladies and all, some of that money could go directly to the families instead, couldn't it, thus allowing more choices.
conuly: Dr. Horrible quote: All the birds are singing, you're gonna die : ) (birds)
I spent all day trying to find this video!

I would love to tell you what it's about, but you absolutely have to experience it firsthand. It's short!

Don't read on until you watch the video! )
conuly: Quote from Heroes by Claire - "Maybe being different isn't the end of the world, it's just who I am" (being different)
It always craps out in the rain. And this time it was raining AND the ceiling was leaking RIGHT OVER MY BED. (I moved my bed.)

Here's a story about Autism Speaks raising money to help a school that couldn't open because of Katrina. Aww. They finally did something righ- no, no, wait, actually it seems they never gave any of the money they raised to help that school or any other, and who knows where it went.


Well, I'd say "that sucks", but that's pretty much par for the course for these people. I'd like to pretend to be surprised... but I'm not. I mean, how could I be?


Jun. 14th, 2009 09:20 am
conuly: Quote from Veronica Mars - "Sometimes I'm even persnickety-ER" (persnickety)
Curiosity is an everlasting flame that burns in everyone’s mind. It makes me get out of bed in the morning and wonder what surprises life will throw at me that day. Curiosity is such a powerful force. Without it, we wouldn’t be who we are today. […] Curiosity is the passion that drives us through our everyday lives. We have become explorers and scientists with our need to ask questions and to wonder. Sure, there are many risks and dangers, but despite that, we still continue to wonder and dream and create and hope. We have discovered so much about the world, but still so little. We will never know everything there is to know, but with our burning curiosity, we have learned so much.

That's a pretty inspiring essay, right? Sure, it reads like something written by a sixth-grader - but hey, it was written by a sixth-grader, so that's all right.

That's why the new Mars rover has a new name, Curiosity. Read this link too. Annnnnnd this one.

Now, before you read the comments (and you know the rule about reading the comments!), go post your own comment about this. What do you think of the name "Curiosity", and the contest?

Great! Now, most of the comments are okay. They're polite, anyway. Some of them, though....

Apparently (read this, it's a good rant on the subject) she's been accused of picking a "cutesy" name (because she's a giiiiiiiirl, and has coooooooties), and of only being chosen because she's a girl and Asian and OMG SO PC!!!!!!111. (Picking the best essay is PC now?) We're "lucky" she didn't pick "My Little Pony" or "Hannah Montana" - because those names would definitely have won the contest, uh-huh. (Actually, that'd be pretty funny if they did, but that's beside the point.)

As I said, Curiosity may not be as good a name as Very Large Array or Yogi Rock, but it's certainly satisfactory for anything roving the surface of another planet.
conuly: Quote from Heroes by Claire - "Maybe being different isn't the end of the world, it's just who I am" (being different)
Taken from ABFH

I find the behavior of the "adults" in this article to be unconscionable, reprehensible, and pretty fucking close to evil.

Pretty recently, when talking to somebody else about the Ann M. Martin book "Inside Out", written a good 20 years ago about a family with an autistic child, I said the bar was set really low. If there's no outright malice in the book (and there isn't, in my recollection), I'm not going to condemn it. Hell, I'm just glad nobody there advocates killing the kid, which is about as bad as things are some days. And with that said, I still am managing to be appalled at the total lack of civility described in the article. I always say not to look at the comments, and today I am following my own advice. I am sure no good can come of it.

I am sorry for the lack of substance to this post. I'm just so... I'm not happy. Sometimes, it's almost enough to make me wish I believed in a god, any god, vengeful or just. I'd feel better knowing that people get what's coming sooner or later.

As long as I'm loosely on the subject, here's a post about biased research regarding autistic children.
conuly: (Default)
She also brought home the monthly newsletter, which illustrated a few things:

1. Ana is incredibly photogenic.

2. Ana did indeed receive the Dolphin Award (for just generally being a great person and consistently being compassionate and helpful) at assembly last week and not just the attendance award. If they'd bothered to tell us this beforehand, I would have been there. Gah.

3. There is indeed a pajama party at school next week (in two weeks?) as Ana said. We didn't believe her because, again, this is the first official communication about it. Gah again.

4. The person who edits that newsletter is totally incapable of stringing together a coherent sentence. There is never, ever, ever going to be a need to put together seven exclamation points at the end of a sentence! And, for that matter, putting an exclam at the end of every single sentence just makes your work sound weak and childish. Save it for unusual emphasis. And on *that* note, quotation marks do not add emphasis - or, at least, not the kind she thinks. I want to know, if she is "thanking" us for this and that, what she's really doing? Mocking us behind our backs, perhaps? (Yeah, pot, kettle, but my post only reflects badly on me. Her abysmal writing skills reflect badly on the entire school.) And at least twice this person switched topics randomly in the middle of a paragraph! That's not even the half of it....

I suggested to Jenn that next PTA meeting she offer up her, mine, or our mother's services as proofreaders. But in some tactful way, not like I just did.
conuly: (Default)
There's a recent kerfuffle about it, you know. Some (Native American) woman out in CA is upset that her son's kindergarten dressed up in Pilgrim and Indian costumes for the holiday. She says they're inaccurate and offensive. (And they're no more accurate for the Pilgrims than for the Native Americans, let me just note.)

Cue the responses: Oh, PC has gone too far! Oh, whatever happened to teaching children history? Oh, she just wants to ruin children's fun!

Now, the first just annoys me, because what people call "PC going too far" is what I like to call "good manners" - don't do things that you know upset people unless you have a good reason for it. (What constitutes a good reason is something I'm sure you'll enjoy figuring out for yourself.)

It's very funny when you consider people going "PC! TOO FAR!" are often the same people decrying the lack of manners and morals in today's youth. I don't know about you, but I always thought manners and morals started at home. How mannerly and moral is it to teach your children that it's okay to do and say offensive things just because you've always done it?

As far as history goes, I'm all for it. I agree, we should teach children history. Teach them accurate history. And, as much as possible, get rid of textbooks and work from first-hand accounts. That's not happening here, though. The "history" being taught is simply stories. Why teach children fictions that they'll simply have to unlearn later? (And for that matter, why does it matter to teach children the history behind Thanksgiving? Isn't it more important to teach them why we celebrate it now? To talk to them about feeling thankful and appreciating what they have? About sharing with others and helping people with less? Why do we have to bring the past into it at all at that age? Focus on the important things first, then do the history when they're old enough to get the unexpurgated version.)

And the last, "ruining children's fun", that one just pisses me off. (Especially when phrased, as one lovely person put it, as "the needs of the few trampling on the needs of the many". Since when is "dressing up" - no matter how inoffensive the costume - a need of children? It's pleasant, but surely they don't need it? (Surely they can do it on their own time?) Of course, this person went on to say that the NA woman should "go back where she came from", so I'm not entirely sure he got the point.)

As I see it, children won't have their fun ruined if they don't realize they're supposed to be having fun. If you spend the day before Thanksgiving telling stories about what other people you love do for you (and what you do for them), if you make handprint turkeys, if you make pumpkin pudding or popcorn in class? The kids won't realize they're "missing out". In fact, they won't be missing out. They'll be having just as much fun *without* being inaccurate and potentially racist.

But that would require changing instead of whining, I guess.
conuly: (Default)
Let me go on the record as saying that text messaging me your change of plans does *not* constitute asking permission to glean free babysitting from me. An agreement that I'd watch them while 'dul is *nearby* and they're *still asleep* is not the same as "Yeah, sure, pop off to a movie a few hours away at this hour of night, and I don't mind putting them to bed once they have nightmares". Not in this lifetime, and certainly not for free. (I believe that under the standard rates in this city I've racked up at least a good $30 - and that's just for all the babysitting that happened after 'dul skipped off.)

I am fucking PISSED OFF right now, in fact. (Although I'm kinda happy that Ana remembered to knock at my door this time instead of just barging in and SCARING THE CRAP OUT OF ME).

So, after a good 45 minutes of sitting outside their door telling them not to fidget and to go to sleep, I realized that I actually didn't care if they're yawning all day tomorrow, or if 'dul is up all night tonight putting them back to sleep, or if his great plans for tomorrow are foiled because of lack of rest for the lot of 'em.

It's all his fault anyway.

So we trooped into Jenn's room (I could at least be comfortable, right?) and I let them stay up and be all good and hyper (put the kibosh on the pillow fight, though, and I *did* refuse Ana's suggestion that I simply make my way back downstairs and leave them awake and unattended) for the next hour.

I wasn't really being indulgent. I was just being petty. But it was fun, and not in the small-minded way. I mean that watching them be all bright and bubbly is fun! It is! Especially when it is, for me, totally consequence-free. If it'd gone on another 20 minutes, I'd've started baking cookies, too, so I'd say 'dul arrived just in the nick of time... baking at my current level of awakeness mayn't be the best of all possible ideas.
conuly: (Default)
And as I do it, I've also been reviewing them on Amazon, trying hard to avoid just marking everything five stars. That site suffers from serious overrating of books sometime, probably because they don't make clear what the stars should stand for, so people use five stars as the default "like it" level, and one star as the default "don't like it" level.

But I digress. As I've been entering books, I've been mocking to myself other people's poorly written reviews (not that mine are always great, you understand).

Since the girls are eating their snack (goat yogurt! sheep yogurt! Yay! By the way, sheep yogurt absolutely ROCKS and you should try some, *nodnodnod*), I thought I'd post a brief bit on the sort of things that will cause me, unequivocally, to make your review as Not Even Remotely Helpful.

1. I really don't like it when people whine that they'll probably get marked down for having an unpopular opinion. Just because you're petty doesn't mean the rest of us are.

2. I will mark you down if, when you mean to say "I don't like this book for these reasons" you go "This book is totally inappropriate for any child ever and I think all those people marking it up are crazy". Don't insult me, or anybody else, just because we happen to disagree with you. That's just rude, and it doesn't persuade me anyway.

3. Reviews that run "This book is boring, don't buy it" or, worse, say the same thing but with more hyperbole? Not helpful. Give me some examples of how it's boring (or a bad example for kids, or poorly written, whatever), don't expect me to take your word for it! This goes double if everybody else has given this book five stars. (This one doesn't apply for reviews saying "This book rocks". I assume you're incoherent with glee.)

4. If you don't like the art, say "I don't like the art". If you specifically don't like the color or the way the people are drawn, say that. Don't go on and on about how "even a baby" could do better, and how the artist is "really bad at what he does" and should "never draw again" and how your "eyes burn". Just don't. It's rude, and even if I agree with you, I'm never gonna call your review helpful.

5. Not every book is for every person. If you want to censor your child's reading, do that. Don't neglect this duty and then act all shocked that your kid read something you don't like. "I didn't know I had to pre-read picture books!!!!!" Yeah, well, you do. And this goes double for books in the "Heather Has Two Mommies" genre, because the subject of those books shouldn't be taking anyone by surprise. If you know in advance that a book is written for people who don't believe what you do - don't read it! And don't review it, because you're NOT the intended audience anyway.

If you legitimately can claim to have been surprised, fine, go ahead and post about the matter of the book so that other people can use the information. (And how I wish Amazon had a no-rating, just review option!) But even then - use reasonable language, thanks. Not everybody shares your put-on outrage over everything.

6. Don't post about how you "don't understand" the zillion positive ratings for a book you hate. If you don't understand it, try reading everybody else's reviews. That might help it all become clear to you.

7. If you ordered a board book, and got a board book, and were Very Upset that you got a board book - that's your own damn fault. Learn to read the information before you click "purchase". All you're doing is skewing the results for everybody else.

8. A note to teachers everywhere - STOP. TELLING. YOUR. KIDS. TO. GO. ON. AMAZON! They regularly break all these rules, and they type badly too. Just stop doing it. STOP.

Anywhere, here are my three pages o' reviews. All the reviews say the same thing, I don't want to type three separate ones, you know.

conuly: (Default)

Somebody elsewhere tried turning this into a commentary on mainstreaming, and why this proves that it's not appropriate or something (and when I was young there was no diagnosis Asperger, so this kid would never be "mainstreamed", would he. He'd just be in the regular classroom as a matter of course, and people would have to deal), ever - and I'm still upset. How is that relevant to the fact that the teacher acted wrongly?

"Oh, well we don't know the whole story."

Well, yeah. I've been following this story. I know we don't have the whole story, and I know people are so upset that it's quite likely we'll never have the whole story. But what we have of the story is that the teacher admitted to using the other students to - in the best possible light here - discipline another student.

Five year olds, too.

I'm not really sure what other part of the story is going to justify that.
conuly: (Default)

Oh, I'm sure there are doctors here, but none of them can really prove it anyway.

If you or your loved one or your KID is acting funny, and you have the opportunity to post on LJ asking "Gee, should I take him to the doctor?" - stop and think. If the odds are that everybody is going to say yes, get off the computer and head out now.

Repeat the mantra with me now, everybody: WHEN IN DOUBT, CHECK IT OUT.

I'm not saying you should rush to the emergency room on a Friday night just because your precious stubbed her pinky toe - but when you suspect a serious injury or illness just get up and go already. Don't waste valuable time posting on LJ, because your uninsured ass is just going to end up in the hospital anyway, might as well be sooner than later, right?

GOD, people.

Oh dear.

Apr. 25th, 2008 01:26 am
conuly: (Default)
We went into Manhattan today. While we were waiting for the boat, the kids played with one of the payphones which nobody uses anymore.

Another woman started using the phone next to it, and when Ana waved at her, I called her back, telling her not to bother other people who are talking on the phone. Then, since the boat was docking, I collected both kids and directed them towards the doors, walking in front of me.

The woman falls in next to us, and is talking to Ana - her name is Anna too, and such and fuch. And then she more or less put Ana's hand in mine and told me "never to let go of her hand" because there are some "sick people" out there, and "she started talking to me".

Yeah. When she was four steps away from me (I tend to count them) and I was watching her the whole time, she waved at a stranger. Wowee.

And really, if you're so concerned about the issue of stranger danger? Here's a hint - don't talk to random kids! Don't call them by their names! Don't teach them that strangers (like you) are great people! You're a hypocrite, you little twit of a woman!

I did, at this point, start holding Ana's hand - although I wished I didn't have to - because we'd reached the crowd and I don't like her getting lost in it. Not that I specifically think anybody in that crowd was itching for a child to abduct, but because there were simply a lot of people and it can be hard for a little girl to see around them.

As far as stranger abductions go, the numbers I see around are a little divergent. Either there are something like 3000 of them in the US every year - or there are only some 200 in the US every year. I don't know which ones are the more accurate numbers, so I'll be safe and go with the larger one. With those numbers, the average child still has the same chance of dying in a car accident with a drunk driver. (Nobody is going after drunk drivers who kill people with near the same ferociousness as any of this, and what people *know* about carseat safety is usually vastly different from what they *do* about carseat safety - and you'd think this would be something easier to control than predators!) And I don't even want to think of the number if we added in non-drunk-driving crashes!

Remember the nine year old? People asked his mom "how would you feel if something happened that day?" Sheesh. They ought to ask themselves how they'd feel if their kids died the next time they rode in a car, because that actually happens a lot more often.

Of course, I'm all for taking reasonable measures to preserve safety. I do not, however, think insisting that an (almost) five year old child never, ever, EVER let go of an adult's hand is reasonable. (I do think that puts her at a serious risk for nursemaid's elbow, though!)

(Oh, and a special note to my morning bus-driver - yeah, jerk, I know the bus stop isn't at the corner. The stop for the *other* bus is, though, and I like to be able to catch *either* bus. And if you "looked right at me", you should have seen me getting both children corralled so they would get on the bus with me instead of being left behind - and you certainly should not have deliberately closed the doors in my face! Oh, I should move faster? Yeah? And what, drag the baby along the ground when she trips? She doesn't run that fast yet. The woman in front of me had not even taken her metrocard out of her purse when you pulled that little stunt. Those five seconds weren't exactly going to throw you off schedule. So yeah, fuck you.)
conuly: (Default)
Listen, I know you feel the call of duty. I do.

But last I checked, I had not participated in the vote for general arbiter of all that is right, good, or useful in the world.

When we do hold such an election, be sure to wake me. I promise to vote in a careful and conscientious manner.

Until then - really, feel free to lay down your burdens. You do not need to take the job for your own. No, really. No, really. When the world decides it needs somebody to tell us which books are okay to read, and which ones are only okay if we're adults, and which pictures are safe to see and which ones are dangerous for children under the age of 35 - on that day, we're as sure to turn to you as you are sure to jump to the call. Until then, you can just go take a little nap of your own. How about under a mountain somewhere, safe until your country, nay, your very world needs you again?

I promise - we won't forget the thankless task you've made your own for so many years. But now, now it's time to rest from it.

Seriously - knock it off already. It's getting a little annoying.

This has been sponsored by the letters S, E, and X, and commenters like you!


Jan. 20th, 2008 10:08 pm
conuly: (Default)
That stupid link is everywhere now!

I've gone from emphatic, to linktastic, to trying to ignore the whole thing, to being very blunt indeed.

So now I'll sum it up very briefly, for anybody who might be even remotely tempted to click the link and donate not-quite-half-a-dollar to Autism Speaks.

At least two people associated with the organization - including the vice-president - have spoken publicly about their wishes for their autistic children to die. The vice-president not only mentioned thinking about outright killing her daughter, but stated, in front of her daughter, that it was the normal daughter who saved her life.

When pressed on the subject, the filmmaker - and I can only assume this was with the blessing of AS, because I can't recall any denouncements of her words - claimed that most parents, if they were honest, would admit to wanting to kill their autistic children.

These people not only want their children dead, they want you to think it's normal to want that, and would like to project their homicidal tendencies on parents who actively love their autistic children.

Really, there's probably a less inflammatory way to put that, but I don't give a fuck right now.

And don't talk to be about context. I'd like to know the appropriate context for telling your kid "Hey! I've thought about killing you! And I didn't spare your life on your merits, ya brat!", while she hugs you. Seriously, the most disturbing shit I ever saw in my life.

So if somebody asks you to "just click the link!", ask yourself. Not if you want a cure, or don't, but rather - whatever good you think they might do, is it worth it to have them thinking you might one day want to kill your child, and that's okay?

Because the scary thing is I'm not even twisting their words to present this argument. And that's just fucked up.
conuly: (Default)
And last season was all about a nuclear holocaust in, uh, my city, and this year is all about a worldwide plague (featuring scenes of, wow, my city), and during the show is a commercial about some disaster film featuring, imagine that, scenes of my own city.

I am so sick of people destroying New York.

Every disaster film ever seems to feature NYC getting destroyed. Even if it's the entire world getting destroyed, they show footage of New York. Tidal waves crashing into the WTC (back when there was one, of course - I could never watch promos for that one, even before 9/11), aliens shooting the Statue of Liberty, I don't know. And endless scenes, of course, of abandoned New York City streets.

Why don't they pick on some other city for a change? How about Des Moines? I hear Des Moines is nice this time of year. Or Vancouver! They do all their filming in Vancouver anyway, why not just admit it? Or let's do something really crazy and do a city like New Delhi! Lots of people live in New Delhi! Or if you need that New York State atmosphere, you could always go for Buffalo. Lots of good jokes about Buffalo, and if it's a nuclear winter, well, there's always snow in Buffalo. Don't have to edit it in or fabricate it, it's just there.

That health teacher I mentioned a while back, that was in 2001. And after the disaster (which is to say, for very nearly the entire term), he referred to the WTC site (when it came up, which was more often than reasonable, at least after the first couple of months) as "Ground Hero" Really stressed that h in it, and it used to really annoy me. I don't even like saying "Ground Zero" and simply refer to it as the World Trade Center. That's what I've always called it, and until something else is there I see no reason to stop. Everybody knows what I mean anyway. I have a point with this paragraph, and that point is... uh... well, I guess it's just that it's really annoying and everybody should go destroy something else for a change the end.

(It's more than annoying. Like I said, I never could watch films which showed my city getting destroyed. This is my city! Hurts my very heart. Destroy the rest of the country, destroy the world, have the entire universe prematurely implode, but please show footage from somewhere else, thanks. That's all I want.
conuly: (Default)
My mother has a habit of resenting things. It is not possible to, say, accidentally take her towel without her resenting this. Well, she's getting better, but I still dislike the word immensely.

However, it is the only word appropriate for what I'm about to say. I resent (yes!) that in order to buy in bulk (as is recommended for Saving the Planet), I must therefore buy plastic. I resent that it is possible to either buy small, expensive glass jars or large, inexpensive plastic jars - but no large glass jars. I resent that if I wanted to get the glass bottle of vinegar in the supermarket, I'd have to buy the name brand, which is more than twice the price for the same amount of vinegar. I resent that if I carefully rebag all the groceries so that the single roll of toilet paper is not in its own separate double bag, the bags I removed it from are thrown into the garbage. And I really resent that it's so damn hard to find metal toothpaste tubes, especially when the plastic ones don't roll up nicely and are therefore harder to use.

Honestly, it's enough to make me want to throw in the towel now and go whole hog with my energy consumption on the theory that the sooner the end comes, the better.
conuly: (Default)
Am I the only person who thinks that 3 am is an unreasonable hour for a baby/toddler (young toddler? Older baby? Whatever) to be awake and playing with people? Is it perfectly sensible to find quiet games to play with the kid at that hour instead of putting her back to sleep? And when asked for quiet games, is it wrong to suggest that maybe, just maybe, the kid needs to sleep more than she needs to have fun? (Not to mention it can't be good for the parents to be up at all hours when they presumably do not have odd sleeping habits by nature.)

Because, frankly, I think the advice (politely stated at first... the person in question doesn't like me, and I feel no need to keep up the pretense) "PUT THE KID BACK TO BED" is eminently better than whatever That Twit was fishing for.
conuly: (Default)
After we went to the Central Park Zoo today, we headed over to the Billy Johnson Playground - 45 foot slide!

Now, those of you who haven't been there, let me describe this playground. It has two main attractions for older kids - a big sandbox and a big slide. In between is a network of bridges which prevent people at the sandbox from seeing the slide, and vice versa. There are also baby swings (visible only from the slide) and a gazebo (mostly not visible to any of it, but somewhat visible to the sandbox).

Ana, the baby, and I were going up and down the slide on our boxes. At the top of the slide is a fence that leads to the rest of the park... nothing a kid couldn't just climb over. There isn't much room there, so the line gets chaotic sometimes. Parents often stand up there to ensure their kids don't cut (or get cut) in line. If you have one adult up there, the rest of the adults can all sit down. On the side of the slide are steps to go up more directly than the roundabout route younger kids prefer.

A group of camp kids, maybe ages 6 - 10 (some might have been as old as 12, but I don't think so) shows up, a good 20 or 30 of them. So I left and went back to the sandbox until they ran off some steam. All the counselors at this point were at the slide, with most of the kids. A few of the kids were at the sandbox, and eventually some of the younger ones started throwing sand at each other. No counselor, no counselor... I stepped up quickly and told them it wasn't safe, there's little kids there, do I have to go *get* a responsible adult? Eventually they listened, and listened to me when I said kicking sand was also a no-no.

There weren't any visible counselors to me at this point.

(I'll interrupt to say that if I were there with three counselors (as they appeared to have), I would put one on top of the slide to control the line, one at the bottom to keep kids from climbing up the slide itself (instead of the sides) or dawdling at the bottom, and one at the sandbox. If I had a fourth, that one would walk around.)

Ana convinced us to go back to the slide. There were less kids there... but no counselors. They, I found out later, were all three of them at the gazebo talking! Can't really see the kids from there. At all. And now the kids who were left were walking up the slide or walking up the sides and jumping in in the middle. This is not only unfair to the kids who are waiting for their turns, but it's unsafe - kids speed down that slide on boxes! Another adult went to get their counselor to complain, but I don't know if she found them. It doesn't seem like she did.

And eventually Evangeline and I bumped into one, and I was *pissed*. He could really have been hurt, and that's no joke. And I told him so, I was that upset, while another kid ran for the counselors. By the time the counselors arrive, the kid is back to playing.

And she tells me she was told I screamed at the kid. Untrue... and even if it had been true, she should have been close enough to have *heard* me screaming, instead of having to trust hearsay. And she asks which kid was climbing up the slide. Uh... most of them? I don't know one from the other, they ain't my kids! And I mention the sand, and she goes "Were they throwing sand at you, or at each other?", like it matters, and again won't listen unless I can point out the kid in question. (And if I had, the kid would've gone "Not me!", and whom would she believe?) I ask for her camp's number. She won't give it, but the name is all over their shirts, so that's no problem. I ask for her name, she won't give it.

At this point, *another* woman helps me find the number, so we'll both be calling tonight or in the morning. It's just not safe for those kids, they could have any one of them have just left the playground or gotten hurt, and those counselors would not have known.

It's Church of the Living Hope at, I believe, 104th Street, if you're curious... and if I had to call every Church of the Living Hope in the city, I would.

Incidentally, is there a number to call to report unsafe conditions at a camp or daycare? Because now that I work it through in my mind, I'm wondering if that's what I saw, more than just incompetence.
conuly: (Default)
Of course I can, it's my journal :)

Lemme just share one thing people do with their kids that pisses me off.

I see this with some of Ana's friends, and every time it scares me, too, which is why it upsets me at all. People who let their kids just wander off wherever.

I'm not talking about people who try to stop their kids from wandering/running off, but it still happens. Or about people who have one very young child, and they follow the kid rather than trying to keep him/her contained.

Read more... )

I like these kids, too, and I like their mom... but man, it scares me. It's bad enough they both of them like to go wherever, some kids are just like that - but it occurs to me that it didn't take long to (mostly) cure Ana of this affliction, and it just seems like a safety issue to me (and that even if it took longer to cure these kids of it, the effort should still be put in). Maybe I'm wrong, I don't know. I certainly don't know everything going on with everybody, but... *shrugs*
conuly: (Default)
Folks, let's just ask a simple question.

Let's say that there's someplace you really want to be - a dog park, a playground, a classroom, a bathroom, a fenced yard... whatever. Point is, in order to get inside, you have to open some sort of gate or door. So you open it, and you go inside. Or maybe you're leaving, so you open it and go outside.

When you've done this, do you...

[Poll #992256]

I'm hoping you all answer correctly! Now, let's say you're going in, and the place is just *full* of rambunctious critters who are liable to escape - and you have one too! Assuming you picked anything other than the correct answer before, can I assume that you at least care about your own critter's safety and will properly close the door/gate behind you?

[Poll #992257]

Because we all know that when doors and gates are left open, and dogs and children escape, it's never the fault of the people who kept walking in and out and in and out and re-opening that damn door or gate!!!!!

What should I do when I see this going on?

[Poll #992258]
conuly: (Default)
If you ever see somebody doing something you are unfamiliar with, and you ask if they need help, and they say no - don't help them!

If you come up and yank my mei-tai straps around, no shit I'm gonna yell at you. Because I need to know where they are. (And she's seen me put this on before, so I don't know *why* she thought this time was different!)

More to the point, if what *I* am doing is adjusting my wrap so the baby's arms are in and she isn't flopping around as she sleeps, and what *you* are trying to do is take the baby off of me - dude. Not only is that completely unsafe, and really scary, but you woke the baby. Don't get offended that I don't want people touching the baby. I don't even know you! And, as I said - you WOKE the BABY. Why you thought I'd even want her down in the subway when she was asleep, again, I don't know - BUT YOU WOKE THE BABY!

If I need help, I'll ask for help. Until then, keep your hands to yourself, thanks.
conuly: (Default)
And there's a group of adults there in wheelchairs. I'm busy keeping Ana from running directly in anybody's path (!!!!!!!!!!!!!), when I hear one person (not in a wheelchair) talking to another...

"Remember, she understands everything you say."

Well, that's nice....

"...and she's not as stupid as she looks"


What? If you just finished saying somebody understands everything you say, can you take a moment to consider she may just understand when she's being insulted? And I'm guessing the woman was right there, too, though I wasn't paying enough attention. I mean, I don't see any way that sentence isn't insulting.
conuly: (Default)

As usual, the fashionable view eventually becomes tyrannical and will no longer permit debate. It looks now as if the momentum of the global-warming evangelists is unstoppable.

You state in your Feb. 3 front-page article that the United States accounts for 5 percent of the world’s population and 25 percent of the world’s emissions. Somewhere between consuming and emitting fossil fuels is that thing called United States economic growth, which continues to be a boon to the world — for 2006, a sparkling 3.4 percent.

Some say they don’t want their children to have to cope with the alleged nightmare of climate change, but I am far sadder that my children will have to cope with the reduced richness of opportunity that will exist at every socioeconomic level in an economy crippled by restricted access to the energy that powers it.

It will be a sad sight to watch the spectacular American private-sector engine and the optimistic innovativeness that has always been its hallmark diminished for want of fuel.

She'd better get used to it. For better or for worse, the fuel was going to end eventually. If we end up switching to better sources of fuel, if we end up being less wasteful of it - there's still only so much oil in the world.

How short-sighted can you be, anyway? That's what I want to know. An "alleged" nightmare? As near as I can tell, it's already cost more than enough money in the US and overseas dealing with (not fixing) problems caused by climate change. That's an economic crisis right there, if you can't bring yourself to mind about human lives.

But, oh, don't mind me. It's not as though I've got evidence on my side or anything.
conuly: (Default)
The Friday program had been moved to another room because Portia's Playhouse was frigid in the morning. That gave all of us a chance to play with "new" toys. (Not new to Evangeline, but new to most of the babies who go to the Friday program - they don't go on Tuesdays and Thursdays.)

One of the toys there is a "garage" with three rescue vehicles (police car, firetruck, ambulance) and three corresponding figures. The figures act as keys to open the garage doors, and also to release the vehicles from the garage by pressing down where they rest. It's hard to explain, but it's a really nifty toy.

A woman was sitting there with her 16-month old, and they were playing with this toy. She told me it was the longest he'd played with a toy before but he's "always going for the boy toys".

Well, I've said before, I think people see what they want to see when they say that, but I don't know these people. She could be right. I didn't really care, anyway, so I was prepared to just nod and smile. Until... "I'm sure your girls are the same way, always going for the girl toys".

Oh no. It's one thing to say that about your kid, or about kids you at least know - but I'm sure you don't know one thing about my nieces. For example, of the toys up there, Evangeline prefers the animal shape sorter with keys (gender-neutral?), and Ana's favorite is that very same truck toy.

I didn't tell her that. What I said is that I've actually never seen that with any child of that age (admittedly I don't have years and years of experience, but I have paid some attention during these programs) and that most of the time, downstairs in the blocks, the kids all swarm towards that kitchen. "Oh, I think I've seen my son play in that kitchen." (That comment came just after she told me he wouldn't really "get" the stacking pots with the mirror in them. In fact, the mention of the stacking pots was what started this whole discussion in the first place. When I put the on the table, guess what? He loved them. Those things are cool.)

(I was so very irritated by this that I forgot to tell her they're not my kids. Usually, that's the first thing I say! I'm so tired of people being shocked several months later by the revelation that no, they have actual parents. Who aren't me. If only "Connie" didn't sound so very much like "Mommy". Even as a kid, I could never tell if my sister was calling me or my mom, and neither could anybody else in the family.)
conuly: (Default)
Sure you did, I posted all about it!

I'm sure I knew this - it's reminding me that I knew it - but I forgot. They made it longer (god knows why) and are showing it at Sundance this year. It's sure to be the feel-good movie of the festival!

There's a petition about this. Or, at least, about disagreeing with everything the video stands for, or at the *very* least, disagreeing with the comments that "almost everybody" wants to kill their autistic kids. Y'know, deep down inside.

There's a whole website devoted to videos about people loving their autistic kids... why can't that be at Sundance?

(That said, if anybody can snag me a copy of the full length video, without in any way contributing money to the parent organization that created that dreck, I'd be grateful to you. I have a perverse desire to see it.)
conuly: (Default)
And that's bogus statistics.

"100% of pediatricians suggest that if possible a child would go barefoot - however they also note that it is not possible as a result of sharp objects like glass, rocks, tacks, tree roots or even toys on the floor - so a shoe which is very flexible is needed."

100%? Really, exactly, precisely 100%?

How did they find that out? Did they poll every pediatrician on the planet, and keep an updated list from med schools so that as new pediatricians are created, their opinions are also noted?

No group of people ever agrees 100% on any subject. I promise you, there's even one pediatrician out there right now who thinks that sugar water is an appropriate diet for a baby, or that children grow best on a diet of chips and ice cream. Sure, that pediatrician isn't very well qualified, but that's not the point, is it? (And this is an issue of an entirely different nature, anyway.)

Their site is also poorly edited. Never use a period when a comma is better, folks.

You know, it's not the fact that these stats are wrong, it's that they're blatantly wrong. It's insulting!

Just like I tell Ana: "If you can't lie well, you shouldn't lie at all." It's bad enough being lied to, if they'd said 99.9 I would have been taken in - but to lie badly, that's just... just... that's rude!
conuly: (Default)
First we get the disabled girl who was sterilized and given hormones so she'd stay small (so she'd be easier to care for, an admirable goal, no matter how dubious the decision - and this is pretty damn dubious), naturally without her consent....

And just when you're getting over the WTF-ness of that....

Doctors: let us kill disabled babies (actual title!)

I haven't even gotten past the title yet. Taken a gander at the "related articles" section, with such gems as "Haunted mother who backs mercy killing" and "It's your right to die if you want to". Mind, I tend to agree with the second, disabled or not (though adding in proper help first, because it is a shame to up and kill yourself without a better reason than most seem to have), but it hardly applies to babies. I mean, let's say that word again - b a b y.

It's like we never left the dark ages. At least they were more honest about it, just stuck their unwanted children outside.
conuly: (Default)
It was old even when I read it - a back issue of my dad's.

And there was this article about some "new" technology which would allow a phone to ring differently depending on who was calling. Amazing, right?

But the researcher interviewed said that they would do simple three or four note rings - not music, because they'd found that this was "really annoying".


Boy, were they ever right.

So, I've got my new phone, right? And although I've done everything I can to make every possible call come in using a normal ringer, apparently the default ring for contacts added to my list is always going to be this annoying musical ring. Even though I've set my ring to just be "telephone" instead of "annoying music", contacts are automatically assigned a "special" ring, which defaults to the annoying music. I have to scroll down to the bottom to make it normal.

This is driving me batty. All I want is a phone that rings, or possibly vibrates. That's all. Instead, I get annoyances.

conuly: (Default)
It's not my fault if you feel guilty over your choices. You think you don't eat as healthily as me? That's your problem, not mine.

You think I'm judging you for not eating as heathily as I do? Maybe I am, and maybe I'm not, but, again - your reaction to this perceived judgment is not my problem and it's not my fault.

I take no responsibility for other people's feelings, certainly not when I judge those feelings to be, frankly, absurd.

If I make (say) a comment that I find carrying my nieces in a sling to be more comfortable than the alternatives, that's hardly a statement that *you* don't love your children. And if you want to construe it as such, go right on ahead, but don't expect me to fall on my knees and pleadingly sob for forgiveness.

And if you sit around and whine how I and others make you feel unwelcome for your choices, well, guess what? Those choices are your responsibility - they sure as hell aren't mine.

Here's another newsflash: I don't know you? Then I don't care. I don't care if you drink, and I don't care if your drinking is totally excusable because of your shitty life, and I don't care if you rot your liver drinking, and I don't care about the excuses you think will make me apologise for my short-sightedness in saying "I never drink alchohol". My choice not to drink has nothing to do with any of the choices you make in your own life - which is good, because I don't care enough about you to necessarily make the right choices for you.

(Here's the part where, if I cared, I'd go on and on about how I don't drink because I dislike the smell of alchohol, and how it's in no way a moral choice. But guess what? I don't feel I have to defend my choice to not drink. I don't have to defend *any* of my choices - they are what they are. And for me to say "I don't drink" is not, despite your claims to the contrary, an attack on anybody who has ever accidentally overindulged. No, really!)

If you make a choice, and you think it was the right choice, great! You don't need to defend yourself to me just because I've made different choices. And even if I've made different choices and am totally judging or mocking you for the choices you've made, you *still* shouldn't defend those choices to me, because I don't care. I'm not going to read your defense and suddenly become a caring individual. I probably won't think much of it, in fact. And if you're secure in your choices, then your opinion should be the only one that matters. Certainly, I can't imagine why you care about the opinion of some random stranger.

Oh, and if you made a choice, and think it's the wrong choice? Deal with your issues on your own time. I don't need to spend my life listening to you whine about how you know it was the right choice when, by your persistance on the subject, you make me suspect that you really think it wasn't. (Not that I'm likely to say that to you, because I'm not a damn mindreader, but sometimes, really, the lady doth protest too much.)

In short, my acceptance or non-acceptance of your life doesn't change whether your choices were right or wrong. Take some responsibility for your own damn feelings instead of trying to lay all the blame on others.

Thank you.
conuly: (Default)
That's got to be good, right? Can't fool everyone, right?

If she ends up serving no time (not counting time prior to trial), can we sue Autism Speaks for their role in educating prejudicing the jury?

You know who really has to live with autism every day? Autistic people. Read the whole thing before commenting back, if you do, 'k?
conuly: (Default)
Same guy as wrote the last two editorials about that poor little girl... "Before you judge her mother, go watch the Autism Every Day video!!!"

Read more... )

Some links regarding that video...

One about unresponsiveness

Okay, I can't find my other links, but I'm sure people will rush to the cause to help me.

You know what the first article I read about Katherine McCallon said? It said that the day she was murdered by her mother, she had been "very stimmy" and wouldn't take a nap.

Basically, all in a day's work for a three year old, diagnosed or not.

Think about that.
conuly: (Default)
More (minor) spoilers )

Honestly, sometimes fans have no sense, none at all.
conuly: (Default)
I had a revelation the other day while riding the train.

The reason Jesus doesn't want people to pray in the streets like hypocrites is because loud train preachers just drive people away from God.

It's like a plot of the Devil - "Go out and preach! And send people scurrying from that arrogant God-guy! Hee, hee, this is brilliant, the sillies will just think the message came from God, because it sounds like what he'd say!"

When confronted with a street preacher, I feel like my space has been invaded. I start to think nasty thoughts towards Christians and their perceptions of God. Given the huge range of Christianity there is, this is a bad sign.

And it's such an unpleasant experience that the odds of me stepping anywhere near a church, for reasons other than "getting home", are very slim indeed - who wants to voluntarily sit through hell on earth?

I may even, being in such a bad mood, go and do some minorly bad things - yell at Ana more, forget to say thank you, snap at people who speak to me in a non-prosteletyzing manner.

I don't think anybody's been converted via the efforts of street preachers. Even if some have, if my experience is at all typical, more people have been driven *away* from church than driven *to* it. It's not like going to church will shut the sillies up, after all.

And what's really bad about the whole experience is that street preachers seem to think that talking louder is how you win arguments. Talk loudly enough, and you can't hear the people who disagree with you!

Believe me, I know the feeling. When confronted with an angry, stupid, uncaring world, all I want to do is yellyellYELL until people are forced to listen, forced to understand what's so very obvious to me! And I've done my fair share of it. More than, even. And when people refuse to listen, I'm worse than many street preachers - I want to tell them how stupid, wrongheaded, hurtful they are. I want to hit them until they understand by force and by arms that I'm right, they're wrong, lalalala!

Of course, it doesn't work. They don't listen to me. They yell back. They convince themselves that yelling is going to work on me, even as it fails to work on them. They insult me back - instead of hearing how obviously right I am, they try to blind me to the truth of my own arguments. They leave, and don't hear at all.

Why should I expect it to work? It *never* works. I'm right, but I've hardly done any good with it.

I'm not a religious person. But I know a few people who are, and a few who have converted. It seems to me from what I've read that people are more likely to be converted when they see how absolutely wonderful and nice and driven religion makes their friends. They see people they know who really are committed to the idea of making the world a better place, and they see how their actions lead to that.

I'm told this is a good way to raise a child, too. Don't say "Hey, dummy, are you too stupid to understand that I don't want you to be mean? *thwapthwapthwap*" but instead show them by example how much better it is to be nice.

This is obvious, right?


Okay. Then, in an open question to all of LiveJournal, I have only this to ask...

Why do you hate your own causes?

Why is it that when somebody says something you don't agree with, instead of ignoring it, or talking to them nicely about why you don't agree with it, or asking them why they believe that (and listening to them, because it's flattering to be listened to), or showing them how much better you are for believing as you do... why do you immediately tell them they're horrible, stupid, mean people for daring to be less educated, less conscientious.

Not only are you making yourself look bad, you're making everyone else look bad. Next time somebody's a little touchy, the insulted person (who's by now gone deeper into their pit of disagreement, and will hold their views more firmly for the challenge) will take it as a deep insult. And it just gets worse from there, until you end up with a simple "Gee, I don't do that" being taken as a grave "YOU IMPERFECT FOOL!" Why do you think so many people get offended at the thought that some children don't watch TV or eat fast food? All it takes is a few people being snotty about it, and all of a sudden *everyone* who's made this choice is considered to be doing it only to rub it in other people's faces. (They're reacting to their own feelings of guilt, of course, or else they wouldn't overreact as they do. But it really doesn't help that there *are* people who are snots out there, on every side of every issue.)

It's stupid, sure. But you can't go around insulting people for being stupid. They won't get any smarter if you do that. You have to lie, really. You have to act like you understand, even if you don't. Act like you don't want to insult people, even when you do. Act like you care about their feelings. Some of them will change their minds, if you go about it in the right way. (Heck, maybe you'll be the one to change your mind. Oh, sorry. I know it's a scary thought. Just forget I even said it, okay?) That's called helping people.

Or, I guess, you could opt to simply be right. Don't have to help people if all you want is to be right. And it's sure easier.

This really applies to any issue under the sun, though lately I've seen it more with parental types. Makes me annoyed. It's so counterproductive.
conuly: (Default)
Or, rather, on not being outright mean.

A lot of people seem to be of the feeling that "If you can't say anything nice, you shouldn't say anything at all". I hope you know what I think about *that*! Important things generally aren't nice - but they have to be said.

There's another view, which is "Since that rabbit is stupid, I shouldn't bother about being nice. I don't care about these people". I'm inclined to agree with that view, really - except when I want to change somebody's mind or actions.

It's very easy, when you know somebody does something INCREDIBLY STUPID that you disapprove of, to call them out for it in no uncertain terms, especially if they're not "real people" - that is, not people you care about and expect to have to worry about. It's equally easy, especially with people you care about, to not mention it at all, even when they're risking something.

So you get the strange place where somebody's offhand comment about voting Republican leads to "OMG! YOU HATE PEOPLE! YOU ANTI-AMERICAN TWIT!" and similar, but your mom's constant spending of money faster than it's earned gets nothing. Like there's no line between very nice and rude.

Problem is, neither method is very helpful, is it? If you want people to do whatever it is you like, and your method of correcting them is to, apropos of nothing, call them stupid, hateful, uncaring, or the like - odds are you're just going to make them even more determined to do whatever-it-is. (And don't even talk to me about not bringing it up.)

There's a place to insult people, but it's generally not the first step you should take.

(I know, I've made this rant before, bear with me.)

This, ladies and gentlemen, is why people should make an effort to be marginally courteous with others, of course. Not for silly reasons like "You care what they feel" or "You wouldn't like it if they did that to you", but because being mean is ineffective. Flies, honey, vinegar.

This is basic stuff. So basic, I don't want to see anybody getting it wrong for another three months, okay? I'm not perfect in this department, but I make the attempt, with things I care about, to be polite in the first few tries to tell people they're completely and totally incorrect. Well. At least, I mean, I don't start off as though we're down to hour 20 of the all night flamewar.
conuly: (Default)
You know what? I don't believe that.

Oh, I believe that she's having more and more trouble trusting people, but I don't believe that people are less trustworthy now than they've ever been.

That statement sounds suspiciously akin to "children today are far worse behaved than in my youth" and "the end is near" and "there's nothing new under the sun", statements which have been made since the discovery of fire. I'd say that they seem to be said more often these days, but then I'd have to smack myself. It's just that I notice them more because I'm not a child.

When I was a child, I was more trusting than I am today. I was naive, and even when people didn't act in a trustworthy manner, I often didn't notice, or chalked it up to one-time events. Now I'm, of course, a born cynic - but I don't believe the world has changed. I think I've changed, is all.

Read more... )

Of course, I have no way to sort out those few bad apples (and I don't think there's proportionately that much more of them now than at any other time in human history) from the good. The safe thing to do probably would be to not trust any of them.

But I just refuse to do that. I absolutely refuse to go around acting as though everybody I meet is probably scum (or, at least, people from certain restricted classes who, for reasons outside their control, Just Can't Be Trusted. Catch the hidden message in this rant, why don't you). It's not right, and it's not fair, and it really pisses me off when people act like that anyway. Caution is okay, in a fair measure. Paranoia generally isn't.

Furthermore, I refuse to justify other people's stupid beliefs. Whether or not anybody trusts me, or cares, I am going to resolve, from now, to conscientiously act in a reasonably trustworthy and upstanding manner. This will not, of course, change anybody's opinion, even if I managed to get a lot of people to do that.

But I absolutely cannot stand people making dire statements like this and expecting the world to conform. I hate it.

(Plus, it really really *really* irritates me when those same "can't trust anybody" people then go ahead and act in stupidly foolhardy ways. Do they think they can't trust anybody, or that the world is populated full of saints? I just can't tell sometimes!)
conuly: (Default)
If I catch anybody sending around this poem, I'm going to have to rant. You don't want that.

Honestly, I don't know what was going through this person's head as she wrote this poem. I can only hope it was better before it got edited by being spread. Right now the rhyme and meter are both off, and the whole thing seems... trite.

It seems like the sort of thing written by somebody with no experience of child abuse, not even second or third hand experience. Somebody who just thinks child abuse is wrong and should be stopped.

Well, everybody thinks child abuse is wrong and should be stopped. I bet abusers even think that, whether or not they realize they're being abusive. That's one of those statements you can't help but agree with. Truth, justice, freedom, and child-abuse-should-be-stopped. Child abuse, much like Carthage, delenda est. You can just tack that line anywhere, and everybody will nod sagely. What else would they do?

Here's the thing. Passing on a stupid chain letter will *not* end child abuse. It won't help abused children get help, and it won't help abusers stop. It'll make you feel good, if you're that sort of person, but then you'll go along in your life and never think of it again, because you're the sort of person who passes along chain letters, and that's about as much as you think about this issue or that one. Great help.

Please forward this letter if you are AGAINST CHILD ABUSE. And if you're not, you're a horrible heartless person. Oh, and pray a lot. Because prayer has been proven to be effective in 87% of all child abuse cases. 25% of cases improved with a placebo. Side effects of prayer may include....

And while you're sitting there praying, some of the rest of us might be doing something. I don't know what, but I'm sure I can find something.

Of course, what really pisses me off isn't the standard stupid spiel you always find in chain letters, it's the poem. What on earth possesses people to take serious issues and type them up so badly as to make them laughable? When talking about Hitler, we don't have to preface all statements with "He was a very, very bad man". When we discuss genocide, we don't have to start out "Now, kids, this isn't very nice. Don't try this at home!" When talking about child abuse, we cheapen our argument by starting out with a sappy poem. It makes the entire issue into a joke.

And that's just not right.

And I've rambled, and I'm sorry, but I *hate* this sort of stupid thing. Anybody I catch passing around stupid chain letters is going to have some serious explaining to do, you can be *quite* sure.
conuly: (Default)
First off, this? Didn't deserve an arrest. Duh. Back in high school, as soon as it dropped to 20 degrees out (or rose, whatever), there'd be guys coming in to school in bright Hawaiian shorts (about as much coverage as those boxers). Why? Because they could. And probably because they took the bus. If it's okay in school, it's damn sure okay on the train.

Secondly, the next person to tell me they have a right to be upset at free users getting subdomains, or that they don't think anybody will ever guess their password (or want to) is going to get royally smacked upside the head. I am dead serious.

There's more, but I'll go on all night.
conuly: (Default)
What, now? Now they've gone too far? They didn't go too far when some of them started refusing to treat rape victims in hospitals, they didn't go too far when they started refusing to fill standard BC prescriptions, they didn't go too far when they started getting laws passed to allow people to not do their fucking jobs, but this? This is going too far? The guy isn't saying anything that they haven't been saying for years - disease is a punishment for your sins. Unhappiness is a punishment for your sins. Being a self-righteous little prick is a punishment for your sins. Having to spend eternity in the presence of other self-righteous, sanctimoneous little jerks would also be a punishment for your sins, but I'm not sure they'll realize that the joke's on them until it's too late.

I have ceased to even be shocked. Something... something's gotta change, but I don't see how. I'm thinking, though, that it's going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better.
conuly: (Default)
Yeah. I've just now realized the *other* reason the complaints against it irritated me.

"Oh, my autistic kid doesn't rock, nor spin, it's such a stereotype, etc, etc, etc"

*taps foot*

Here's the thing. Many autistic people do rock. And guess what? SO DO NTS. Cradles? Rocking chairs? Swings, rocking horses, see-saws, rock-a-bye expletive baby? Rocking is something NTs do all the time.

And they spin, too! They pick their kids up and twirl all around, holding them by the waist or the hands or a hand and a foot. And then kids and adults clamber to go on carosels, and merry-go-rounds. Sit-n-spins weren't invented just to cater to autistic kids, after all.

And yes, non-autistics spin objects, too - spinning tops and dreidel-dreidel-dreidel-I-made-you-out-of-clay and pinwheels and spirographs....

So this is a bad thing why exactly?

Autistic kids rock. So do all kids. It's what they do.

(And before you tell me that the difference is in degree, I *know*. That's not the point.)

I have another rant on playing coming right up.
conuly: (Default)
Now, I've been hearing a lot about two big things regarding the recent little storm. The first, neatly summarized here, involves the mistakes made which turned this problem into a much bigger problem. Along with that, I often hear "well, what would you have done differently?"

Hah. No. It's not my job to do disaster planning. My taxes (if I paid taxes) pay some theoretically intelligent people to do that for me, people who know what they're doing. And yet, even though I'm not one of those people, I can still think of many clear ways they dropped the ball, starting with the evacuation. If they have school busses now to get people out, why didn't they send the busses in *before* to take the people out who didn't have cars? One would really have thought that was basic....

The second has to do with certain countries trying to help, and being refused.

I remember the first thing I ever really learned about North Korea. There was a famine, a big one, and the South Koreans were offering to send food and aid - but the government of North Korea refused it. And you know, I understood that? I understood it in my mind, I mean, I still thought it was pretty stupid - if they'd accepted aid, they would've been saying they need help, which might've meant admitting that they'd screwed up, and they just couldn't do that.


I'm well beyond being sad for these people in any personal way, but I sure am full of my righteous anger. It's so much so that I can't even think on it much - I'm only paying as much attention as is strictly necessary.
conuly: (Default)
This is one of my mother's favorite stories about me. I've told it before, so I'm going to cut it.

Somebody carried a big stick, but he didn't walk softly )

I should explain that "it has a name, you know" was a catchphrase around the house my entire life. The word "thing" was Just Not Acceptable. (I sometimes wonder how my mom would've reacted to Latin, where the word "res" is bandied about like nobody's business, but that's a tangent.) So part of my reply has to do with the fact that I knew that everything has a name, and that that name is rarely, if ever, thing.

But the rest of it centers squarely on my belief, already firm as a child, that most of the world is stupid. Fortunately (or perhaps not), I'm not entirely certain of that belief anymore, but I find myself thinking that people are stupid all the time. And I always want to use those four words: "That's stupid. You're stupid." It's so often true, after all.

People are unbelievably stupid. They do stupid things. They say stupid things. And then they act like the stupid things they do aren't stupid, even though they can't explain why they do it.

They say things are fine when they clearly aren't fine, and get upset when you point that out, when all you want to do is know how to act better so that things will be fine again. The smart thing would be to tell people what's upsetting you, but instead they do the stupid thing and lie.

When confronted with the basic fact that many children are savage beasts, they conclude that they should teach the preychildren to be different, because... I don't know. Because there's less of them? But clearly the solution lies in making the other children gain some measure of decency, doesn't it? (I rather like children, tell the truth. There's something refreshingly honest about their general uncivilised ways.) The savagebeastchildren aren't going to stop attacking the others just because the others work themselves to death trying to change, they're too clever to be fooled that easily. And even if they are, they'll find somebody else to pick on. Every wolfpack has its scapegoat. Scapewolf? Point is, that's how people tend to be. Except we're not wolves, or lions, we're humans, and we can either admit we don't live up to our ideals, or stop doing that.

I'm tired. I've been getting to bed early. This post isn't very good. People are stupid, though. I'm sorry to say so, but it had to be done. Love you all dearly, you're clearly not people, because I don't think you're stupid. I'm going to bed now. This ending is also not very good, and I wonder if maybe I shouldn't type until I wake up.


Aug. 11th, 2005 08:07 pm
conuly: (Default)
There's a hell of a lot of people reading my damn disclaimer lately.

Unfortunately for them, none of them are really my intended audience.

See, my intended audience is people who do things like say "UR HORRIBLE!!!!" and then, when I ask what I did, keep insisting that I know, and that I've made them cry, and that I should let it drop already, until I am crying.

My intended audience is not those who offended me first, because in that case, there's a good chance I wanted to offend them right back. I can do that, you know, I am allowed. It may not be the most mature route...

Well, screw it. I find it hard to dredge up much sympathy for somebody who reads my disclaimer, starts off saying "I know you might not have meant to offend", and then ends up yelling at me and telling me that tired old (and stupid!) rule about only saying nice things. While yelling at me, and thus breaking that rule. It's not an important rule to me, but if it's important to you, (which it clearly wasn't in this case, or she wouldn't've said the offensive things which first upset me), oughtn't you, y'know, attempt to follow it? Perhaps by not yelling "shut the fuck up" at me via the internet?

In other news, Ana is too smart. Much too smart.

Not smart enough, though, to actually stay out of our water fights, even though she is scared of them. She keeps wanting to grab a water gun, squirt her daddy (that's funny, she doesn't squirt me), and then runs in fear when she gets squirted back, or splashed.
conuly: (Default)
Serva me! Serva me! Undae magnae sunt!

(I love that line. Latin for Americans, people!)

I hate that argument. Loathe and abhor it. Do you know how many times I've heard some self-righteous little mind cry that society is in decline? Wish I knew. And when I read back through the pitiful collection of historical documents I, um, read through, guess what? That's the unifying thread. No matter when or where you are, somebody is there getting up on a soapbox and declaring that society is in decline, that children don't obey their parents, that life was better when they were young, and it's a crying shame that we should Do Something About.

The books are all wrong now, the winters are too short, and we don't get proper sunlight nowadays. Why, when I was a young whippersnapper, I hiked three miles, in the snow, just to get to school, and I was happy for it! Uphill, both ways!

People were saying that before there were schools, and it was a lie then just like it's a lie now.

Society can't possibly be in constant decline. We'd've noticed. Among other things, at this point we'd all be pointing, grunting, and having sex with our brothers and sisters. Instead, what we've got here is a classic case of overexcited hyperbole by somebody who doesn't like Harry Potter, and who thinks that's linked to the current decline of society.

I wonder if I should take my time to argue. All this has happened before, and will happen again, right? (Look at me, all Ms. Pop-Culture-referency!) So I could correct her, but another three would take her place (and you know what I blame that on the breakdown of? Society!). So it's a bit of a waste of time, really.

Still irritates me. A lot. Grr.

As for "what is literature", that's just a stupid question. I note that nowadays many people reference Uncle Tom's Cabin as literature. I've read that. It's a piece of well-written, fairly-honest, useful propaganda, but I wouldn't deign to call it literature. I do suppose it's better than anything about a boy called Tom Swift, though.... (But, gasp, at least they didn't have Famous Harry Potter to idolize then!)

And now he says, when I call him out on his sexist, ageist, and racist language (and I still think that was racist): You're not the boss of me! This is a free country! And other such playground classics from the man who wants us all to graduate "highschool". I've removed myself from the discussion, because he apparently doesn't realize that it doesn't matter whether I rule the world or not, that sort of thing is not acceptable. We've all refrained from commenting on his age, race, gender, sexuality, the whole of it, the worse any of us has done is called him "stupid". He gets to try to do the same now. Fair's fair, right?
conuly: (Default)
I'm describing it that way because I'm about to go off on a tangent.

A while back, I made a passing comment about potential gay relationships in Harry Potter, and received the reply that it would never happen because JKR is writing a fun book, she's not trying to "make a point about homosexuality".

I didn't reply. I know this may come as a surprise, given my propensity for charging in wherever I think somebody is wrong, but... I couldn't find the words. What could I possibly say to this person?

I remember the Kel books, by Tamora Pierce. In one of them - the first one, I think - one of the characters (a good guy, as it happens), got back at the Sexist Pig Jerk character for an insult by turning it around and making it a gay innuendo. Which eventually prompted a short discussion on how homosexuality isn't accepted in Tortall, but it is elsewhere, something our main character, as far as I remember, doesn't find completely rational (the first part, not the second). Gay people are at least acknowledged to exist in Tammy's books, even if in them no person is explicitly identified as gay. This didn't detract in any way from my enjoyment of the books, nor did I feel I'd been preached at. Later, I read transcripts of several conversations with her in which different characters are identified as gay. (Pretty sure they were reliable transcripts, but I could be wrong here. I wouldn't mention them, though, if I doubted their veracity.) Does that make these books political?

Harry Potter already had one openly-disabled character, Moody. Nobody thinks that having a guy missing a leg and an eye is some sort of statement on disability, do they? They don't complain that by having him turn his missing eye into an advantage that she's somehow bowing to political correctness, not that I've seen.

Racism is a persistant theme in the Harry Potter books. Various groups of people are discriminated against because of what they are, instead of who they are. This would seem to go against the idea that JKR is just trying to write a fun book. But, interestingly, all conversation about race is limited to fictional groups of people - giants, werewolves, goblins, elves. There's at least two clearly defined black people in this English school. There's the Patil twins, obviously Indian. Does this mean that JKR is trying to make some sort of point about race and multiculturalism in England? Or is she just writing the magical world as a logical subset of the nonmagical world, with the human races represented in the same proportions as they are here? Certainly, if she is going for that level of realism, it would be fair to assume that the same percentage of wizards and witches are gay/bi as in the real world, right?

When we find out that Blaize is black, nobody in the books seems to go around shouting OMG! BLACK PEOPLE IN OUR SCHOOL! (The real world is a separate issue, and it will cease to be so as soon as I self-define "real world" to exclude those sillies.) So why should it be an issue to find out that a minor character (or, gasp, a major character, should she be so daring) isn't straight? All it has to be is one line about how so-and-so kissed so-and-so else, and they both are the same sex. They've had interracial couples, and nobody thought that was some sort of political point.

I mean, this is Harry Potter! Action, adventure, and derring-do! It's not like she's devoting chapters and chapters to... um... well, if she'd had more gay, maybe she would've avoided it so as to not upset the fundies. (Not like she should care, they hate her already for magic, but...)
conuly: (Default)
This is even worse than frantic comparisons of anything and everything to Harry Potter. (Here's a clue. Even though The Young Wizards series includes magic, it's really nothing like Harry Potter. It's possible to like both series. It's also possible to like one, but not the other, and the fact that they're completely different should make that obvious.)

The article is apparently here.

I can only imagine that the writer of that article never read a book in his (her?) life. Certainly not Diane Duane, or DWJ, or even Pratchett, who has included Morris Dancing in his books.... (Oh, the shame.)

When it comes to that, JKR's books aren't even that original. They aren't subverting anything, anymore than all those fractured fairy tales are, because it's been done. Doesn't mean they aren't worth reading, but... they're hardly subverting the genre here. School of magic? I can name at least five authors who got there first, without even pausing for breath. Magic and realism combined? Three, but I got interrupted to look for tape. Multiracial, multicultural, sexual? Oh dear god, do you want me to count? Magical worlds that aren't any better than the original? Well, gee, that's only about half of them.

Sci-fi tends to have the same problem. People think that because they didn't like Star Trek, they know everything about every sci-fi book ever written. I'm not even that well-read, and I know a lot of sci-fi is nothing like Star Trek, and that's nothing new. JKR hasn't read much fantasy, so she assumes what she's done is unique, when the fact is it's not. It's still a fun read, and it's still good to analyse it to death, and it's not like there's ever anything new under the sun, but... if there were, Harry Potter wouldn't be it.

And now I'm repeating myself. Sorrysorry.

And another article.
And Gaiman's take on it.
And Pterry's reply to the storm surrounding his letter.

Oh dear. It's been fandomwanked. Must run hide.

Ahem, sorry: Fandomwank
conuly: (Default)
It's my rant. Yay!

On respect, and teaching )

On a side-ways tangent, let me just say that offering rewards for doing well in class is just a bad idea. One would think that research in that area was wide-spread enough that everybody would know it by now. But maybe psychology isn't a required course to become a teacher...?
conuly: (Default)
Many people are claiming that it is impossible for the characters in HPB to be "ooc" because, after all, JKR wrote the book, and they're her characters, so they're always in character!

I'm not going to argue over whether or not they are in character. I will say, however, that it is possible for them to be out of character, or, at least, to have inconsistent characterization, which is just about the same thing.

If JKR had written five books that involved a sweet kid who never would hurt a fly, and then, in the sixth book, had him go on a murderous rampage for no reason whatsoever - that would be out of character. If Harry had been writing Hermione love letters for the past five books, and dreaming about her, then to have him suddenly declare his undying love for McGonagal in this book would be out of character. If Voldemort suddenly appeared at Hogwarts with some chocolate and said he just wanted to make up - that would be out of character, and it doesn't matter who writes it.

None of that happened in this book, granted, but my point still stands. It is entirely possible for JKR to have written this book with all the main characters out of character. Please don't use this post to argue that they are or aren't, because I'm not getting into that. Just... be logical, thanks.

Oh, and incidentally? If you're reading these books because of the Harry/Draco or Ron/Squid love, or whatever else you've got going - I'll move a complaint that you *may* be reading them for the wrong reason. Even in book 6, the relationships aren't the focus of these stories.


conuly: (Default)

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