David Orland at Boundless Webzine:

The great thing about music, the really powerful thing, is that the very act of listening is to accept an invitation to moral sympathy. In this way, listening to a song is no different from reading a novel. In both cases, the audience, whether listener or reader, is invited to put himself in the position of the person telling the story. Since every storyteller has his own point of view and characteristic values, to put one’s self in his position is, however briefly, to allow one’s self to share his perspective. With time, this perspective can rub off on the audience. When the novels or songs in question serve to affirm the values of a truly moral life, that’s a good thing. But it can be a bad thing, too, if — as is so often the case today — the music or literature in question is in the service of a set of values which are perverse or anti-social.

Exactly. Which is why I didn’t finish Lost Souls and I don’t read the thick historical romances which seem to require a rape in each.

He also said:

Whenever young people meet, there comes a point early on when they ask one another about their musical tastes. It is not an idle question. As anyone who has grown up in America knows, musical preference is at the same time a matter of allegiance: what one listens to is always in part a self-conscious assertion of community and of support for the values upon which that community is founded.

Which means more to me than it usually would because R asked that question of the models for the calendar. And it normally means a lot because people talk about country music and say “it’s all about getting drunk and cheating.” While there are songs like that, there are many more which DO say something about me. “I’m Proud to be an American.” “Ragged Old Flag.” Forever and Ever Amen.”

The Common Room directed me to the above article and wrote:

While I would not go quite so far as the author, there is a general cultural assumption that musical preference is at the same time a matter of allegiance: what one listens to is always in part a self-conscious assertion of community and of support for the values upon which that community is founded.

Don’t Know Much about History

Well, I do. But Nancy Pelosi doesn’t.

She was fussing about Donald Rumsfeld saying that those people wanting us to pull out of Iraq are like Hitler appeasers.

And she said, “we have now been in Iraq longer than we were in Europe for World War II.”

No. No, we haven’t. The war started, for us only, with Germany and Italy only, on December 11, 1941. Victory in Europe was May 8, 1945. And we did not leave when we won. We stuck around. In fact, we’re still there. We’ve only recently closed a base in Germany.

March 19, 2003 was the beginning of the Iraqi war. And it’s now August 2006. That is three years and four months.

Four years and six months is a minimum of how long we were in Europe for WWII.

It’s embarrassing that the House Democratic Leader doesn’t know any better.

Use for a drought

Austin, TX has been having a drought. It’s one of those where you only get to water on certain days. And they ask you to get low flush toilets.

But Live Science has an article that says the drought, which has brought Lake Travis down 16 feet below its August average, has unearthed an ancient skeleton and arrowheads.

The body is now at UT being examined.

Civil War reading

Today at the library I found A Black Woman’s Civil War Memoirs: Reminiscences of My Life in Camp With the 33rd U.S. Colored Troops, Late 1st South Carolina Volunteers by Susie King Taylor.

I read it today.

It is well-written, easy to read, and gives a small glimpse into the life of a soldier’s wife who went with the camp in 1861 and following.

The end talks about her good life, with basic equality, in Massachusetts (which gives me a fonder view of that state than I have heretofore had) and the horror she experienced on a trip from there to Shreveport to reach the side of her dying son.

There are several things I don’t understand. Why did she give up her child? Why didn’t she say how she met her husbands? Was she really 14 when she married Sgt. King?

But it was an interesting book.

Rough Medicine

drs-tools-old1Coming right after my last post, you might wonder if this is goth, too. But it’s not. The book is titled Rough Medicine: Surgeons at Sea in the Age of Sail. It is about the doctors who plied the waves on whalers from 1647 to 1840.

Did you know that in May 1747 a whaler surgeon carried out what may be the first clinical trial in history?

…Lind selected twelve men with scurvy for special treatement. All twelve were given sweetened water-gruel for breakfast, mutton soup or “duff” (a flour-and-water pudding) for dinner, and barley, rice or sago with currants and raisins for supper. Additionally, two were given a quart of cider to drink, while two others had elixir of vitriol. Two more drank vinegar, and two were given seawater, while another two were dosed with an elixir of garlic, mustard seed, horseradish, balsam of Peru, and myrrh. The last coulple were given oranges and lemons, and these were the men who were up and about and nursing the others six days later. (Druett 145)

Betel nut, areca, and lime paste, while an interesting mix and highly chewable, makes you look as if your moouth is full of blood. And while it starts off helping concentration, it eventually makes you depressed (169)

And the logs discussed describe a Western man getting tattooed. (It was certainly preferable to death and being the main course for the next meal.)

There were two “tatoo-men” with two assistants who bore the instruments, which were pieces of flat bone in all different sizes, each with a cane handle and serrated at one edge for incising the skin and inserting the pigment. After stabbing patterns into the skin wiht these combline tools, wads of fine bark cloth were used to wipe off the blood, “in order to see if the impression is perfect,” and then the dye was beaten in with the rapid hitting of a stick on the slanted handle of the tattooing tool. The process was just as uncomfortable as it sounds. “The constant hammering at the skin, or into it, with considerable violence, irritates the whole frame, and the constant wiping off the blood with the tappa[bark cloth] is worse. However, as the work proceeds, the flesh swells up, which gradually benumbs the parts.”
for four hours the first day and three hours the second. Then he was rubbed all over with coconut oil… (175)

It was interesting and I now know how to describe, if I want to, tattooing in the days of Dielli.

Lost Souls

I have a few friends (four) who are goth. I like them and don’t even care that they are goth. I’ve never gotten why mainstream people are afraid of goths. Tattoos don’t bite anyone. Pink hair is hot. Black hair is great. Black clothes are easier to match…

Then I talked to one of the four about a book I am writing and he recommended a book to me, Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite. He said he was thrilled when, upon attending a Vampire Ball in New Orleans about ten years ago, people told him that he looked like Zillah (pronounce zee-lah).

I was interested in reading about goths and was thrilled to have a recommendation that I could read and discuss with him.

Oh my goodness. I cannot finish reading the book. There is death, lots of death, including a guy helping to kill a friend of his that he used to have sex with. There is hard core sex scenes between teens. There is a rape, vividly described. And the people like each other afterwards. There is incest between a father and his daughter once, which freaks the dad out. There is incest between a father and son multiple times and they all think this is good. That’s just some of the stuff.

And you know that writing maxim of “show, don’t tell.” Unfortunately for my peace of mind, this author is excellent at showing, not telling. I’ve got images and words in my head I wish I didn’t.

I think I gave the book more than a fair chance. I read 226 of 355 pages. It’s a twisted book.

And if people think that is goth, and that Nothing and Zillah are heroes of goth, then I can understand why they are afraid.

However, if you just want scary, messed up stories, this is one.

Gender Matters

Joanne Jacobs posted on an MSM discussion of a study of eighth graders which said that 8th grade boys do better with men teachers and 8th grade girls do better with women teachers.

I wonder if that would apply to homeschooled boys and girls as well. I doubt it. Part of the problem appears to be that with a female teacher “boys were more likely to be seen as disruptive.” Since I have only boys, I don’t really judge them by their gender. I just try to work to their strengths. (That can be a challenge.)

Light Reading

I enjoy light reading immensely. Usually, though, I only read it once. (Patricia Wrede’s dragon series being an exception.)

Rough Medicine is both a light read, because it is exceedingly well written, and not, because it is filled with medical esoterica from the 1600s through the 1850s.

Good stuff.


Sea onion sweetened with honey has been used as a diruetic and an expectorant. Homer wrote about it. And Dioscorides, a Greek army surgeon of the first century BC, also wrote about it.

I, however, learned about it in Rough Medicine: Surgeons at Sea in the Age of Sail, a fascinating, well-written book I picked up at the library.

It’s something Dielli would have known, a common remedy where she was from.

Hearse Wash

R got some good photos from the hearse wash for the Goth Swimsuit calendar.

Six hot bathing beauties in high heels out with two hearses. We were in a pretty isolated place and we got several slow downs and turn arounds who wanted to watch.

Fear and Trembling

My eldest has college starting again tomorrow. And my classes begin on Tuesday. I don’t know why I am so nervous, but I am.

And, of course, tomorrow homeschooling starts up again after a three week hiatus.

Obesity Linked to Virus

This CNN article is not the one I was remembering the other day, but it does say that a virus causes animals to put on more fat when they are injected with it. It is apparently a virus that lots of overweight people have.

I wonder how it works. Does it slow down your metabolism? Or is the fat storage an attempt by your immune system to knock it out?

But not just one virus causes folks to get fat. This article by Discovery is probably the one I was remembering. It says:

At least three viruses may cause humans to gain weight, a finding that could explain why obesity can affect many people in the same region over relatively short periods.

Ah hah. Now we know why Houston is the fat capital of the US.

Now how do I get rid of these viruses? (Virii?)

Parasite Changes the World

I was talking to my husband the other day about this post from Microbiology Bytes. I must have gotten two different posts messed up, but this one says that a common brain parasite might change our culture. It acts differently depending on its host.

Women become more intelligent, warm, outgoing, attentive to others, kindly, easy-going.
Men show lower intelligence, novelty-seeking and bad tempered [sic].

So if your hubby gets grumpier, starts doing more risk taking, and isn’t as smart… he might have a brain parasite. If, on the other hand, you are more attentive and kind, you do too.

Air Marshals Safer

Air marshals are safer now that the dress code, which required them to wear suits in a day and age when most people do not, has been dropped. Now they can dress like normal people and they will be less likely to stand out and thus be targeted.

This is good for the air marshals. I am glad. My FIL was an air marshal years ago.

It is also good for Americans. When the air marshals are easy to spot, the terrorists can either take them out or get on the next plane. When they aren’t easy to spot, the air marshals will have an easier time doing their job of keeping Americans safe. And it’s much more likely to happen now.

ABC News

Terrorism would have good results?

Russel Shaw at The Huffington Post says if there is a terrorist attack before the next elections it will be good for the Democrats and they need it because they would then be able to:

“Block the next Supreme Court appointment, one which would surely result in the overturning of Roe and the death of hundreds if not thousands of women from abortion-prohibiting states at the hands of back-alley abortionists;”

How many women died? “For 1972, the last full year before Roe, the federal Centers for Disease Control reported that 39 women died due to illegal abortion. (The death total for all abortions, including legal ones, was 88.) That figure is low, thanks to underreporting, but in any case the number of deaths had been dropping sharply for the previous few years. A statistic perhaps more typical of the pre-Roe era was reported in a 1969 Scientific American article cowritten by Christopher Tietze, a senior fellow with the Population Council: ‘The National Center for Health Statistics listed 235 deaths from abortion in 1965. Total mortality from illegal abortions was undoubtedly larger than that figure, but in all likelihood it was under 1,000.'” At least according toStraight Dope.

Thousands, maybe. Maybe thousands. As opposed to 47,282,923 babies who have died. And we don’t know how many hundreds or thousands of women have died as a result of legal abortions.

Note that given the 1972 data above 49 died of legal abortions in 1972, which is more than those who died from illegal abortions- at least according to the CDC.