Sometimes There Is No Movie

Conversation:

K: It just ocurred to me. A major flaw in the premise of the movie “Signs“.
Why would anyone go to a planet that contained such vast quantities of a substance so extremely toxic to them?

Me: USUALLY they don’t. In those cases the native species all die and there is no movie.
Yeah, it’s not like they could use us as food. No idea.
That, and the humidity in the air would burn whatever they use for lungs.
Of course, running around naked didn’t help. Didn’t they have space suits?
For that matter, why didn’t they have weapons? Never bring your own balls to a baseball bat fight.
And DAMN, did they not have doors where they came from? Locked in the *pantry*?

T: If today’s TV and movies were logical, most of them would last about 2 minutes. I tried watching “Alias” and the lead character is a CIA agent/grad student. She tells her fiance. He leaves a long phone message on her answering machine musing about this revelation. If it were at all realistic, both of them would be dead, not just the boyfriend – and Darwin would be proved right.

Me: Alias had its moments.

M: Cuz it’s in the script?

K: At the end of The War of the Worlds, the Martians died when they caught a cold. But why didn’t they bring any of their own viruses? They could have eradicated life on Earth by sending blankets infected with Mars-pox.

T: Ah, the good old days…when we didn’t know about small pox. And the only gals you saw in underwear were for Playtex.

Maidenform BRA Matador 1955

Maidenform Matador dream ad.


I dreamed I was a world-famous matadoress in my maidenform bra!!! In the 60s they couldn’t show bra models in magazines. Somehow it was acceptable to show a bra model in a fantasy photo.

K: Remember in old westerns when they would show “Kind Hearted” women taking blankets to the poor cold indians despite the warnings. Then we didn’t understand why the “Barbaric Savages” would reject the gift and take the women prisoner? Now we know and realize we might have done the same.

Me: I don’t recall any movies with “kind-hearted womem” being exposed to smallpox-infected blankets.

When Mars-pox kills everyone, there will be no movie. There was a sci-fi story by Racoona Sheldon called “The Screwfly Solution” in which aliens used pheromones to wipe out the human race. It was told from the viewpoint of a woman who escaped the carnage by hiding in the mountains. The story appears in The Oxford Book of Science Fiction Stories.

OTOH, in the book Evolution from Space two highly-esteemed astronomers state that since the earth is constantly being bombarded by graphite, it’s practically a given that the building blocks of alien life are constantly raining down on us. Graphite can be the result of exposing organic material to UV radiation in a vacuum.
Viruses that evolved with us usually don’t kill everyone. To be a successful parasite you have to have to have hosts to infest. Hoyle and Wickramasinghe also associated some historical plagues with celestial events such as meteor showers and near-misses by comets.
Viruses can be used to inject genetic material into our cells. I would guess that a number of these plagues from space injected USEFUL materials, hence “Evolution from Space.”

Please tell me you watched the classic WotW, not that tripe with the short Sc**ntologist.

I wonder whether the aliens in Signs were made of something that’s noxious to us. Like urushiol. Now there’s the stuff of nightmares.

K: I saw both versions. Best scene is when the probe is searching the basement where the people are hiding.

Me: …And then the naked alien walks in and looks for them. I’m detecting a pattern here

WordPress 3.5 Issue – Add New Post Toolbar

I upgraded to WordPress 3.5 and some plugins last night. The automatic install went smoothly as always, but dammit! something went wrong.

Problems:

  • “Add New Post” won’t switch from Text to Visual
  • Quicktags toolbar was blank or missing
  • “Add Media” popped up a red box alerting me that the WP 3.5 media uploader was New and Improved. meh. After I dismissed the popup Add New Post had the toolbar just one time.
missing quicktag toolbar

Missing toolbar in WordPress 3.5.

When the going gets tough, the tough take a nap.

It turned out that the tagaroo plugin wasn’t playing nice with WordPress. I suspect it’s due to the new WP code for Add Media.

If you have this problem here’s what to do:

  1. Try the Twenty-Twelve theme.
  2. Deactivate all plugins.
  3. Activate plugins one at a time, checking “Add New Post” after each activation.
  4. If that plugin doesn’t break WordPress repeat with the next plugin.
  5. If that plugin breaks WordPress:
    • Contact the plugin author. Be sure to include version numbers of WP and the plugin.
    • Contact WordPress. There may be other plugins with the same problem.
    • Tweet it!
    • Deactivate the plugin, leave it deactivated (for now) and continue checking plugins.

Moderate ADHD Likely

 

Moderate ADHD Likely

 

Best Books EVER

A conversation with my husband:

DH: How could you not have read “Tale of Two Cities”? It has the most famous opening line ever…
Me: “Call me Ishmael?”
DH: Ok, the second most famous opening line ever.

As it happens, we read the same authors but different books. In grade school I slogged through Dickens’ “Great Expectations” but DH read “Tale Of Two Cities” and so on.

I found lists of the best books ever written, boiled it down to a reasonable number, then downloaded the .epubs from Project Gutenberg. If you like my ebook selection, please donate to Project Gutenberg! These ebooks are all Public Domain in the U.S., that is, legal to download and to share.

The books are in .epub format, suitable for side-loading into your Barnes & Noble Nook
or Amazon Kindle
. There is also an addon for FireFox called EPUBReader.

Download these three .zip archives and enjoy!

Part 1 of 3 – Gutenberg

  • A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce
  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Anna Karenina by graf Leo Tolstoy
  • Cranford by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
  • Darkwater by W. E. B. Du Bois
  • David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Eugene Oneguine by Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin
  • Father Goriot by Honor‚ de Balzac
  • Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
  • Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift-images
  • Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • Howards End by E. M. Forster
  • Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bront‰
  • Le Mort d’Arthur Volume 1 by Sir Thomas Malory
  • Le Mort d’Arthur Volume 2 by Sir Thomas Malory

Part 2 of 3 – Gutenberg

  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • Nostromo by Joseph Conrad
  • Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  • Rosalynde by Thomas Lodge
  • Silas Marner by George Eliot
  • Sons and Lovers by D. H. Lawrence
  • Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  • The Ambassadors by Henry James
  • The Golden Bowl by Henry James
  • The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  • The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • The Iliad by Homer
  • The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Part 3 of 3 – Gutenberg

  • The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan by John Bunyan
  • The Pioneers by James Fenimore Cooper
  • The Portrait of a Lady – Volume 1 by Henry James
  • The Portrait of a Lady – Volume 2 by Henry James
  • The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli
  • The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
  • The Trial by Franz Kafka
  • The Turn of the Screw by Henry James
  • The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells
  • The Warden by Anthony Trollope
  • Tom Jones by Henry Fielding
  • Tristram Shandy by Laurence Sterne
  • Troilus and Criseyde by Geoffrey Chaucer
  • Ulysses by James Joyce
  • Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

 

Enjoy these all-time favorite books from Gutenberg.org.

Project Gutenberg offers over 40,000 free ebooks: choose among free epub books, free kindle books, download them or read them online.

We carry high quality ebooks: All our ebooks were previously published by bona fide publishers. We digitized and diligently proofread them with the help of thousands of volunteers.

No fee or registration is required, but if you find Project Gutenberg useful, we kindly ask you to donate a small amount so we can buy and digitize more books. Other ways to help include digitizing more books, recording audio books, or reporting errors.

Photo Credit:
Source Flickr
Author
Cloned Milkmen

In Spiritus Sanctum

To the Native Americans, breath and spirit were one and the same. A baby wasn’t instilled with a soul until he took his first breath.

In Latin “spiritus” can mean either breath or soul. Dying, “expiration,” means both that final breath and the departure of the soul.

Photo Credits
Pod
Source: Flickr
Author: Raymond Larose

Tie Me Kangaroo Down

This was my favorite song as a kid. My friend Max respun it for me.

Rolf Harris – Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport – Max’s Mix 2008

Educating Autistics

Asperger’s dropped from revised diagnosis manual | General Headlines | Comcast
xfinity.comcast.net

Asperger’s will be dropped from the next revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the book that standardizes diagnostic criteria for mental illness.

Brilliant. By eliminating an autism spectrum, the psychiatrists will be encouraging discrimination against “Aspies” (their word for themselves) who have higher IQs and marginally better social skills, i.e. are more capable of working.

All in all, it’s looking as if the DSM-V is categorizing the mentally ill by the DRUGS used to treat their illness. Dangerous.

It’s not that Aspies are at risk losing services, it’s that in order to get services they are at risk being treated – both in the medical and the social sense – as if they are sicker than you really are.

Simplify, Leslie… I mean the high-functioning autistics will have to prove every day that they are indeed high-functioning. Autism is not one-size-fits-all. I suspect, however, that the Aspergers diagnosis was invented when the shrinks realized that they could throw a net over shy, introverted children who are technically inclined. In the old days we called them “geeks.”

The DSM-V also gets rid of pediatric bipolar disorder, or so I’ve been told. It took YEARS for the shrinks to admit that some children were experiencing psychotic manias from the stimulants given to children with ADHD because they didn’t have ADHD! The seminal book on the topic is The Bipolar Child: The Definitive and Reassuring Guide to Childhood’s Most Misunderstood Disorder, Third Edition

Another thing that is STILL missing is an anosognosia specifier. It is my nightmare to be trying to convince some evil bastard that I am not insane.

Anosognosia means you are unaware that you are exhibiting the symptoms of your illness. Self-awareness, i.e. the ability to be objective about yourself, isn’t a guaranteed just because you’re human, but when a mentally ill person doesn’t have it, they can get in extra trouble.

The DSM-IV has specifiers for “last episode depressive” or “with psychosis” but there isn’t one for “painfully aware that she is batshit insane.”

It’s not enough to stay calm and not talk about space aliens. The powers-that-be ASSUME you’ll be on your best behavior. Once on a psych ward even a sane person would be hard-pressed to get back out. There was an experiment a few years ago in which psych grad students feigned hearing voices to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Once in, they behaved normally and tried to be released. In all cases the students had to submit to the will of their captors and admit they were mentally ill before being allowed to leave.

“The uniform failure to recognize sanity cannot be attributed to the quality of the hospitals, for, although there were considerable variations among them, several are considered excellent. Nor can it be alleged that there was simply not enough time to observe the pseudopatients. Length of hospitalization ranged from 7 to 52 days, with an average of 19 days. The pseudopatients were not, in fact, carefully observed, but this failure speaks more to traditions within psychiatric hospitals than to lack of opportunity.”
http://psychrights.org/articles/rosenham.htm

Anyway, back to autism. Aspergers have poor social skills. However, they are often brilliant in other areas. My fear is that Apergers will get thrown into social skills classes, never taught math and science, and held back by a curriculum intended for severely impaired students. You know, because autistics are usually not very intelligent.

Dr. Temple Grandin has some strong opinions about educating autistic children.

She is autistic herself and has a PhD in Animal Husbandry. She is probably the number one designer of humane slaughterhouses due in part to the fact that she thinks in pictures rather than in words. I draw the line before “because she thinks like an animal.” The powers-that-be love to say that autistics are like animals, a statement that is always used to dehumanize and to justify abuse.

Dr. Grandin’s book Thinking in Pictures, Expanded Edition: My Life with Autism is enlightening. Ms. Grandin is unable to conceptualize an abstraction such as long-term goals, so she concretized with the metaphor of a flight of stairs leading to a door that represented the goal of graduation.

Dr. Grandin has written a number of excellent books on the topic of educating autistics, including one called Developing Talents: Careers for Individuals with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism.

All-in-all Dr. Grandin has made some startling statements about how autistic children are being mishandled in our schools. The powers-that-be think they know better than her. After all, autistics think like animals. :-(

Goodbye, Dewey Decimal

I’ve discovered that the Dewey Decimal System is too exact for what I am doing here. I’ll be changing the categories to something simpler and deleting some tags too.

Epiphanies


Cthulhu: Genetic risk and stressful early infancy join to increase risk for schizophrenia
Me: Dr. Fuller Torrey says schizophrenia caused by cat shit. Pfffft!
Cthulhu: Ah, the Toxoplasmosis link? Yeah, I’m a little wary about that myself. I’d have to see more data on that published than has been.
Me: Empirical data shows that sometimes antipsychotics work. Therefore antipsychotics must kill T. gondii. So UNSCIENTIFIC.
Me: Same prevalence of T.gondii in Europeans but less schizo. Sad part is, this doc the head of a major bipolar research org.
Me: I think it turns people into cat ladies. LOL!!
Cthulhu: Yes, that does reek of pseudoscience. It reminds me of quack claims of the “one cause of all disease.”

GOD CREAT DISEASE

Me: There was graffiti on a bridge abutment that stayed for YEARS. “God creat disease.”
Me: Some bitter old drunk thought he was being profound. “God creat disease.”
Cthulhu: I think one of humankind’s greatest faults is the tendency to overestimate ourselves, especially our deepitudinosity of thought.
Me: The odd thing was, after they removed the graffiti the words stayed with us.
Cthulhu: Hmmm.
Me: Hmmmmmmmmm….
Me: Truthfully, read Alan Watts “The Value of Psychotic Experience.” Medicate a spiritual crisis?
Cthulhu: I remember having an epiphany of sorts myself in 2007, I thought about my own mortality for months, then accepted it afterward.
Me: I confronted that one in 1979, AND it can be unexpected, AND fairness does not apply.
Cthulhu: Agreed. Mine happened after an accident I had. I remember thinking for days afterwards while recovering.
Cthulhu: After I looked the Reaper in her bony eye-sockets that first time, I thought, “Sorry dudette. We dance some other time, not now.”
Cthulhu: “Dudette”… What a weird thing to call death, but also weird how unfrightening it seemed at the time.
Cthulhu: I decided that I had no inclination to go back to theism, even afterward, since I now think eternal life conceptually horrific.
Cthulhu: At some point, whether 100 years, 1,000 years, or 10,000 years, I’d just want it all to end.”
Me: Sorry, eternal life is obligatory. Here’s your harp.

breastbone harp

Harp

Me: You might get a kick out of this. Need to focus and end it with another mind parasite.
Me: Hmmm, that shit would make a great opener for a really scary book.
Me: Mine was after an accident. Had closed head trauma. When you aren’t sure you’ll survive the night you come to terms with things.
Me: Oh, right, yes. Went to the ER and they wouldn’t see me because I didn’t have insurance. Now even the irresponsible get treated.
Me: That, and was tripping when I was in the accident. (I was in the bed of a pickup.) So I had several hours to go when I got home.
Me: In the space of a year I had 3 concussions. The accident one left me with a migraine that subsided after a month and visual effects that didn’t. I think they are called scotoma. They come and go, usually when I’m tired.
Me: They have certain uses but I don’t want to get into it right now.
Cthulhu: After the thing in 2007, I started reading Sagan a lot, especially “Billions & Billions.” & “Varieties of Scientific Experience.”
Me: In 1980 I was in an accident that left me with a vicious migraine for a month, and occasionally thereafter and that’s when I discovered Sagan at the local library. I didn’t get to see all of the TV show because I didn’t have a TV.
Me: Or I had one but it wasn’t working. Or something. I just gave away a couple of his books but I see at least one on the shelf.
Me: I thought it bizarre that his spaceship looked like a dandelion?
Cthulhu: Cosmos! That show was so cool, and though some of the science is dated, much is still valid.
Me: I like that science is self-correcting.

 

Photo Credits:
Flower Power

Source
Flickr
Author
anomalous4

Death Panels

Your private insurance company decides when you die, not the government.

Bad Behavior has blocked 295 access attempts in the last 7 days.