(no subject)

Jun. 25th, 2017 12:34 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] shana!

30 day music meme, day 17

Jun. 24th, 2017 11:03 am
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Default)
[personal profile] kindkit
17. A song that you would sing as a duet on karaoke

I don't sing in public. But if I did, I might pick this song, preferably with two accomplices rather than one. (What's the word for a three-person song? Anyway, in the case of this song, "threesome" is probably as good a term as any.)

Mitch Ryder got famous doing blue-eyed soul in the 60s, then nearly tanked his solo career in 1979 when he released How I Spent My Vacation, which is mostly about his sexual and romantic relationships with other men.* He continued to release music but as far as I know it sold very badly. In 1983, he made a "comeback" album, Never Kick A Sleeping Dog, produced by John Mellencamp, which includes this song.

*A lot of Ryder's music is not really my cup of tea. He first appealed to me because of the queer element, which I learned about around the time NKASD was released; astonishingly, within a couple of months I found a vinyl copy of HISMV in a secondhand store in the very small town where my family did its shopping** and listened to it over and over again on the sly. I only loved it for its queerness, but that was enough.*** I do genuinely like much of Never Kick A Sleeping Dog, though, and especially the following.

Mitch Ryder with Marianne Faithfull and John Mellencamp, "A Thrill's A Thrill"





**We didn't live in a town. We lived in the country about 40 miles away and only came to town for shopping and other necessary things.

***A queer element was how I discovered a lot of music as a teenager. The Smiths, for example, and David Bowie (like a lot of queer boys I wanted to be Ziggy Stardust; I just happened to want it a decade too late) and the Jam (via Paul Weller's later project the Style Council and the swirling rumors, all too vehemently denied by Weller, that he and bandmate Mick Talbot were a couple).

Speaking of the Style Council, this ended up getting long and not fun, so it's under a cut )

sharp dressed man

Jun. 24th, 2017 10:27 am
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Airship)
[personal profile] kindkit
I've fallen a bit in love with this image by Masterji, and wanted to share it.


man reclines handsomely on a coffee table" />

A pique-nique of linkspam

Jun. 24th, 2017 02:57 pm
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin

I am fairly hmmmm about this piece on empaths, and wonder if some of those consultant empaths are employing the cold-reading tricks attributed to psychics, but buried in it is actually an interrogation of how useful quivering responsiveness to emotion is and the suggestion that 'empathy alone is not a reliable way of coming to a moral decision', and

Empathy is not action. It’s much more useful to be knowledgable about what’s happening so you can effect structural change. If everybody’s swimming in a sea of feelings, it’s an impediment to action.

And possibly somehow related to this, on the advantages of scheduling over spontaneity.

See also, review here of Selfie by Will Storr: 'This engaging book links the ‘self-esteem’ industry to Ayn Rand and neoliberalism. But is the selfie-taking generation unusually narcissistic?'. And is there not something problematic about making a big deal out of a single young woman who takes a lot of selfies? (shoutout here to Carol Dyhouse's Girl Trouble and the constant motif of young women's behaviour epitomising what is supposedly wrong with These Here Modern Times.)

And in Dept of, Countering National Stereotypes, the French minister who wants sexual harassment fines and is annoyed by the cultural myths about Frenchwomen.

Born in 1799, Anna Atkins captured plants, shells and algae in ghostly wisps and ravishing blues. Why isn’t she famous? - how long have you got to listen to my answer?

A book on hares which is, it sounds like, more about hares than the writer's journey and epiphany from their encounter with nature

Invitation to the dance

Jun. 23rd, 2017 07:57 pm
oursin: Illustration from the Kipling story: mongoose on desk with inkwell and papers (mongoose)
[personal profile] oursin

Well, not literally.

But I have finally managed to have a discussion with the editor at the Very Estimable and Well-Reputed Academic Press whom I had hoped to get together with during the Massive Triennial Conference the other week, which did not happen for, reasons.

And they are very keen about a book I have been thinking about for ages, which is not the Major Research Project of the moment, though somewhat tangentially related, and I'm hmmmmmm about it.

Because it's a book where I haven't done more than research rather a small part of one angle of the bigger picture, but on the other hand, I do know what has to be in there and where to look.

And unlike the Major Research Project, which is large and contains multitudes, this would be a discrete project that wouldn't (I hope) keep starting yet more hares for me to go baying after.

*Wibble*

(no subject)

Jun. 23rd, 2017 10:32 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] bessemerprocess and [personal profile] libskrat!

30 day music meme, day 16

Jun. 22nd, 2017 01:34 pm
kindkit: A late-Victorian futuristic zeppelin. (Airship)
[personal profile] kindkit
It has been hot here. Yesterday it hit 100F/37.7C; right now it's 96F/36C, although because it's cloudy it doesn't feel too awful.

I know it's even hotter in places like Arizona, and it's been nearly as hot in places that are much less prepared for heat (e.g. much of southern Britain), but I wanted to complain anyway, if only because the heat half-melted my brain and I forgot about this meme for a couple of days.


16. One of your favorite classical songs

I'm pretty ignorant of classical music, and to the extent that I have opinions they are odd ones: if it's much more recent than Bach, I probably don't like it. Plus, the question got me into a mental twist about what counts as a song. So I picked something that is definitely a song, if not technically classical since it dates from the 13th century. It's one of the most famous pieces of medieval music, quite catchy, and the first documented English use of the verb "to fart." There's more info here (including a transcription and modern English translation) and here (primarily about the manuscript).

The Hilliard Ensemble, "Sumer Is Icumen In"




Heh. I do like this song, but it feels odd to post it given how little joy I feel about summer right now, and how much I wish it was igonne away.


All the prompts )
oursin: Photograph of a statue of Hygeia, goddess of health (Hygeia)
[personal profile] oursin
[R]ed tape also means regulations that protect citizens, at a certain cost to companies that otherwise have little incentive to sacrifice some profit to mitigate risk. It is because of red tape that you cannot buy a flammable sofa, and that you are very unlikely to die in an air crash.

Much red tape, indeed, is the frozen memory of past disaster. Modern regulatory regimes as a whole came into being in the late 19th and early 20th centuries because of public outrage at the dangerous practices of unrestrained industry.

This is perhaps partly similar to the phenomenon that having effective infrastructure and ongoing regular maintenance of same is not as dramatic a story as horrendous accidents.

It's possibly also analogous to people becoming anti-vaxxers, because vaccination programmes have been so successful that there is no notion of the risks there used to be from common diseases of childhood.

For the first few years of 'there were no new cases of polio in the last twelve months' this is news. And then that becomes the default setting.

For those who decry 'Elf and Safety, I recommend a salutary reading of the London Medical Officer of Health reports from the C19th, freely available digitised and searchable online.

There are some Victorian values one can get behind, and the rise of public health is one of them.

On other Victorian values, however, and those who ignore history are condemned to repeat it, this person seems unaware that providing tied housing contingent upon working for a particular employer is nothing like a 'welfare state':

it was recently reported that Google’s parent company, Alphabet, is spending is around $30m to provide short-term, prefab housing for 300 of its employees because Silicon Valley housing is in such short supply. Tech giants helped cause a housing crisis in Silicon Valley, now it seems they are becoming landlords. It’s feudalism 2.0.
Not so much feudalism as C19th model towns, e.g. Saltaire, founded by businessmen to keep their workers contented and (I hypothesise) spurning the trades union movement (having had to do with a late C19th enterprise with some of the same elements of benevolent paternalism towards the workforce).

And, looking at that article, was New Lanark really quite the same thing? Enlightened capitalism not quite the same as utopian socialism.

Also had the thought that people who are 'regulation BAD' seem to reverse this opinion when it comes to panic measures against terrorism that are often symbolic rather than proven efficacious.

(no subject)

Jun. 22nd, 2017 09:40 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] woldy!
sineala: (Avengers: Sign it)
[personal profile] sineala
This was not on my fic WIP list, but it kind of just happened. You know. Like these things do. After this it's back to regularly-scheduled programming, I swear.

The Right Thing (1987 words) by Sineala
Chapters: 1/1
Fandom: Marvel (Comics), Marvel 616, Avengers (Comics)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Steve Rogers/Tony Stark
Characters: Steve Rogers, Tony Stark
Additional Tags: Anniversary, Hydra Steve Rogers, Not A Fix-It, Civil War (Marvel), Secret Empire (Marvel), Avengers Vol. 7 (2016)
Summary: Today is a very important anniversary for Steve and Tony, and the fact that Tony's currently comatose isn't going to stop Steve from celebrating it.

You know how sometimes you get to thinking about how people used to call Tony a scumbag fascist dictator because of Civil War? You know how then you start thinking about what would happen if Actual Scumbag Fascist Dictator Steve Rogers, the leader of Hydra, showed up at Tony's bedside to tell him how much of an inspiration Tony has been to him? Wouldn't that be great? Hey, where are you going? Come back!
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished Binti. Reminded me a bit of other things I have read over my sff reading life, but well-done, may well go for the next one.

Sarah Gailey, River of Teeth (2017). Okay, everybody mentions the hippos, but isn't it, underneath that, a combination western/caper tale where an unlikely team is brought together and has its own tensions besides the issues with what it has to do? (not that that isn't a good armature). Enjoyable, but ended abruptly and cliffhangingly, and is the new thing (see Binti above) of issuing novellas which are only the beginning of a longer story arc the new allotrope of serialised fiction? (but hey, it worked for Middlemarch, though at least Ms Evans indicated that it was an ongoing story.)

Dana Stabenow, Bad Blood (2013). Not quite as good as the last one I read, I think, but ended with A Thing that makes me want to go on to the next quite shortly to see how that pans out for Kate Shugak.

Two short pieces of Barbara Hambly's 'Further Adventures': Hazard (2017) (Sunwolf and Starhawk) and Elsewhere (2017) (Darwath).

Picked up in booksale, Arthur Ransome, Missee Lee (1941). I remembered very little about this, even though I later discovered I already had a copy on my shelves. I don't think it was ever among my favourites of the Swallows and Amazons books; but I've found, on re-reads of these books, that somehow they do not do for me what they did in youth - something about the style? I don't know. Also, early C20th rendering of Chinglish, sigh.

On the go

Elizabeth George, A Banquet of Consequences (2015). I was considerably off these when they were turning Lynley's Epic Manpain up to 11, but this one was very cheap in a charity shop and promised mostly Havers. And really, do we not want more of the scruffy maverick with constant disciplinary issues who is also a woman? - the 'top brass not pleased' is massive at the beginning of this one. Okay, it's got a standard E George riff on 'all unhappy families are different in baroquely complicated ways, and there are no happy families' (the misery handed on is not so much a coastal shelf as the Mariana Trench), but I have stuck with it, though have just been irked that over 500 pages into the narrative they are only just looking into how anyone might have got hold of the somewhat unusual toxic substance involved.

Also, on the ereader, because I don't want to tote around a damn great fat paperback, from the romance bundle, Ivory Lei, How to Wed an Earl (2013) - not got very far, but seems as, 'be betrothed in infancy by respective parents' is how...

Up next

Well, in another charity shop found the preceding volume by Elizabeth George, Just One Evil Act (2013), which, I daresay, will reveal what got Havers into the deepest of disgrace and quite possibly the depths of depression, but I'm not sure I really want to commit to going straight on to another of these. Or maybe the next Stabenow in the series.

Or I could look through my tbr piles, actual and virtual.

(no subject)

Jun. 21st, 2017 10:09 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] adrian_turtle!
oursin: Books stacked on shelves, piled up on floor, rocking chair in foreground (books)
[personal profile] oursin

I was responding to someone else's post and saying that I'm actually quite hesitant about recommending some of the writers/works that I love, because I can see that they have very individual and distinctive styles and that these may not work for everybody.

Some while ago (but failed to save the link) read a post somewhere pointing out that if you write a book or make a movie or [whatever], that people really really LOVE it is pretty much certain that there will be some people who really really HATE it; and that people who are aiming to make something that will appeal to everybody end up with a bland mush* that nobody HATES perhaps but nobody goes raving enthusiastically about either.

For some people, and maybe in some genres, this is a feature and not a bug: I have lately been reading various romance authors and a lot of them seem fairly interchangeable to me, i.e. I would not pick up a work and immediately know it was by YX rather than XY. See also some of the comments I have made about the reissued 'Golden Age' mysteries I have been sent as freebies and made myself read. Sometimes e.g. Allingham may irritate me intensely, but you know that you're reading a book by her and not Any Old Person.

Me myself I am a sucker for a distinctive voice provided that it is fresh rather than derivative (suspect this may account for why I like the Flashman books but not the various works that have tried to do the same thing, without, I depose, anything like GMF's abilities).

Though I am also generally twitchy about people who proselytise for authors/works/movies; possibly the flipside of that is people who diss on something you're reading or have on your shelves, which is rude. (Plus, if you a person who reads ALOT, you are going to have books about that are not favourites of your heart or indeed anything but something you are reading, because reading is what you do, they are at least a step up from the back of the cereal packet.)

As I have heretofore remarked, there is no book that everybody SHOULD read.

*Though is there not a proverb about porridge and no danger of world shortage of oatmeal?

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Queering Holmes

July 2010

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