ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Oct. 21st, 2017 12:17 am)
This poem was written outside the regular prompt calls, inspired by the "teamfamily" square in my 5-29-17 card for the Pride Bingo fest. It has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem deals with some touchy topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It features bald women, messy medical details, references to past cases of cancer, infertility, distracting visions of Amazon life, historic references to dubious consent and inane attitudes, fostering, failed conversions, frank talk about death, and other challenges. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

Read more... )
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([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Oct. 20th, 2017 10:12 pm)
Today we saw the Ikebana exhibit at Krannert.  It was small, but very pretty.  It's worth going if you're in Champaign-Urbana or very close, but not worth a longer drive.  Only the demonstration is listed on the website, but the free exhibit is open Friday-Sunday.  They had many things in styles I recognized, and a few plants I'd never seen before.  Also a style I'd never seen before: bark, metal, and flowers all glued to a flat board.  That was pretty cool.  There were several of the classic spiral vases with two openings.  My favorite, however, was an arrangement which used a big silver dryer hose curled into the same spiral -- simultaneously referencing the very old spiral vase and modern Japan's tech base and love of all things robotic.  It was just SO JAPANESE.  But I bet it's like the Hokusai wave, nobody will get it for a few decades and then suddenly it will be the most Japanese thing EVAR.

I couldn't help think of Terramagne.  People there often weave their hobbies into work.  If you go into a business, you may see the owner's collection of china plates over the door.  Things like flower arranging are often done by clubs, where you can pay a higher fee to take it home to display in your house or business, but a lower fee if you just want to make something fun and then it goes to a library or hospital or women's shelter where lots of people can enjoy it.  And all that stuff gives folks something to talk about as they go through their day.  "Did you see the new painting in Burger Bash?  Carrie's son did a giraffe this time." "Yeah, he's getting really good."

We visited with my parents and dropped off a batch of poetry, already sponsored.  I don't know whether I'll have time to post this tonight or wait until tomorrow.  You can look forward to "Death Whispers at the Tip," "Capable of Stretching," and "A Moment of Atonement."

For supper, we went to a new Japanese restaurant in Danville called Fujiyama.  I am only somewhat a fan of Japanese cuisine -- I love sushi but can't each much of it -- and not at all a fan of flaming tables.  This place greatly exceeded my expectations.  First, the performance area is separate from the regular dining area, so that was a big relief.  People who want excitement can get it without bothering people who want to relax.  \o/  Second, the menu has lots of tasty things to choose from.  I picked out two different appetizers to fill up on (pork dumplings and coconut shrimp) and then had a piece of the sushi that other folks got (California Roll, Spicy Volcano Roll, and Bayridge Roll.  Where things really got interesting: they will make "reasonable substitutions" in the sushi constructions if there are things you can't eat; replacing avocado with cream cheese is a standard  substitution.  :D  I have never found a sushi place that would change anything, they all acted like their recipes were dipped in gold or something.  So if you are looking for a special-diet-friendly sushi place, check out Fujiyama.

My father sent home a bag of 30 bulbs, which at a quick glance seem to be a random mix of tulips and daffodils.  I think I will plant them in the prairie garden en masse.
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([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Oct. 20th, 2017 09:23 pm)
 I love this episode, especially the fanservice in the final exchange.

Posted by Manny Tejeda-Moreno

I remember certain parts distinctly; or I should better say that the images are clear; some details less so. I was cooking something, but not in a house. It was a professional kitche; there were lots of pots and a few Dutch ovens. I also remember seeing a tin food mill hanging close by. I know I was preparing some kind of food, but it wasn’t a quick dish.  For some reason, I think it was a terrine of some sort. As I looked away from what I was cooking toward the entrance of the area, something happened. The pain was sharp and sudden. I think it was in the chest. I remember holding myself up with my left hand against the stove and a hat —my hat — flew  off to the side and on to a pilot flame. It burned, and I got burned trying to hold myself up, but pulling my hand away made me fall to the floor.


Then, when I hit the floor, I could see beneath the stove. It was black with charcoal dust, and I thought it needed cleaning. A moment later, someone was yelling — it was very muffled — and then I was flipped over. The rest I remember even less well. The yelling faded away. It got darker — at least as I remember it now it was a shimmering, odd sort of dark foam – almost like the edge of a fog made from soap suds, and it was sort of everywhere with no starting point. I stood up and waited around. Someone was there, but I don’t remember who.

The next thing I remember is sitting under a tamarind tree at home. It was the one in our backyard, my hands were covered in sticky pulp and I still had pieces of the husk attached to my skin from the goo. I remember more stuff later,  just as you’d expect.

The tamarind tree is my earliest memory. The earlier story is the one I told my parents as soon as I could talk. It didn’t go over well.

In a Christian-dominated society, toddlers talking of such things is neither entertainment nor encouraged. It’s an unappreciated and unwanted type of childhood storytelling that may require a physician, an exorcist or both. Such memories of survival are described by most Christian faiths as the workings of demons. Preexistence is heresy, And when I occasionally tell the story even now, I still creep people out, and it goes from discomfort to fear to anger.

Other faiths and cultures aren’t so sure about the demonic origins of memories crossing the death passage. The transmigration of souls is/was commonly accepted, not just among Hellenic Greeks but by Romans, Celts, Hindus, Jains as well as in the Yoruba faith. In the Yoruba tradition, reincarnation can happen and is often familial. The expectation of reincarnation is even embedded in names like Babatunde which means, “father returns.” While some souls may rest elsewhere, some come back.

I was fortunate. I was raised at the confluence of three religions, and what Catholics and Jews could not explain, the Yoruba could. My experiences were affirmed as normal, requiring spiritual rather than psychiatric attention.

When we approach the Samhain season, I end up reflecting on those childhood memories, and yeah, I really do get the creepy part about it. The transmigration of souls does imply that some of us are our own ancestors (whoops, eerie). I’ve seen the movies too, about the creepy kid doing weird things (someone cue Tubular Bells).

All of that doesn’t quite explain the emotionally-charged reactions around personal reincarnation stories. Reactions that range from simple disbelief to disturbing glances to calls for diagnosis, almost exclusively from parents. It’s not clear why, either. Parents may justifiably worry for their child’s welfare, but what I have come to learn is that these stories are troubling because they confront the illusion of control. The child becomes a vehicle for something that adults cannot explain nor command. Parents look for causes, altering the narrative from normalcy to pathology, from illness to demons; usually never considering that it might be part of the natural flow of the universe.

Reincarnation doesn’t just complicate our views on death, it complicates our view of children. Some children may have memories that extend their experience beyond their age. The presence of a past life suggests that age and agency are not conjoined, and while that may raise questions about the child’s consent to all sorts of things from  adultism to imposed medical procedures to belief indoctrination and faith involvement, it also raises questions about the perceived — even desired — order of the universe. The challenge when children remember is accepting the inability to explain what has occurred. The dominant faiths of the West are ill-equipped to offer guidance, so the usual formulas for control, like invoking authority, become lame. Offering explanations like possession and witchcraft means adults can avoid an uncomfortable confrontation with the unknown.

The very idea that souls transmigrate deeply challenges priestly authority and the common expectations of a well-behaved monotheistic universe. To obviate the structure is to undermine a basic belief that whereby choice and free will cannot extend beyond death. It is like accessing “other memory” with no spiritual mechanism to explain how it happens other than heresy, anathema or abomination. Monotheism isn’t required either.  The dogmatic mechanics of scientism will also drive emotional stances. When there is no explanation for what is happening, there is no means to control what is happening. That lack of control produces only fear.

Most seriously, in order to maintain control and authority, we suppress the sense of the natural. In the case of a child remembering, adults will subordinate a child’s sense of the universe. We often demand the children align their spiritual sense with adult expectations: a path that leads to fearing the spiritual world instead of working in it.

Quelling our inborn spiritual sense is a poor choice, one that our community has routinely experienced, that our sense of the world is flawed. I would argue it’s even a form of violence, a type that many of us have experienced. We collectively feel the onslaught of reeducation to mis-align our spiritual experience of preexistence with foreboding, and even oppressive adult spiritual architecture. We are victimized when people in power insist that our spiritual experiences are not real, merely the product of delusion or indigestion. Through it all, that tactic tears away at our self-esteem and trust our own spiritual sense. We have each survived this kind of gas-lighting as adults and as children.

Access to that spiritual ancestry is much of what Samhain is about, and it is the one sabbat that survived oppression by recognizing our access to spirit, now and as children. Long before the modern Pagan revival movement, our ancestors used trick-or-treating to resuscitate what had become a minor, lost even dead (pun intended) holiday.  The modern rise of Halloween happened through children. In a way, ancestors called back the sabbat of Samhain through its secular counterpart, Halloween. For many Pagans and non-Pagans, Halloween became a spiritual gateway: some fear it, some do not. Halloween may not be a sabbat, but it is certainly an entryway. There is something universally — even intentionally — clear about this holiday; something more is happening than just candy and costumes.

Our ancestors can be crafty folk. Whether present as children or guiding our society from the far side of the veil, they had a remedy to restore their presence, heal our senses and break our indoctrination through Halloween, we reclaimed Samhain. That reclamation is now a powerful blessing. It’s as much an invitation to explore the veil that we may have crossed when we entered this life, as it is an opportunity to explore it with the agency we may have denied children, and been denied as children. That is ancestral magic at work and an ancestral gift for us to honor this season. Remembering, perhaps, that some of our ancestors may already be here, and asking for candy.

* * *

The views and opinions expressed by our diverse panel of columnists and guest writers represent the many diverging perspectives held within the global Pagan, Heathen and polytheist communities, but do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wild Hunt Inc. or its management.
weofodthignen: selfportrait with Rune the cat (Default)
([personal profile] weofodthignen Oct. 20th, 2017 09:12 am)
It was raining gently last night when we left the house for the housemate to drive me to the bus stop, and the rain intensified on the way. It was a generally quiet shift, and at one point I was alone in the store when the door banged in the wind and I looked out to see a wind-whipped deluge in the parking lot. I hope it doused the fires. However, of course we had a power cut here during the night.
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([personal profile] drewkitty Oct. 20th, 2017 12:06 am)
[This is an update of a folk song which traveled across America with the pioneers, and made it to California. Certain objectionable passages have been modified to better fit modern sensibilities, and new verses added. It remains extremely non work safe and obscene.]

The mountaineers have hairy ears.
And bulging leather britches.
They bang their cocks against the rocks.
They're hardy sons of bitches.

Those mountaineers, they give three cheers
For Hell and all its trifles.
They hang their balls upon the walls
And snipe at them with rifles

The mountaineers, they're hung like steers.
They'll shag a yawning chasm.
They flop their nuts against their butts,
And shoot a mean orgasm.

The mountaineers, they love their beers,
And quaff one every minute.
They drain their jocks in big stone crocks,
And wash their dishes in it.

The mountaineers, they shed no tears.
They're full of quips and frolics.
They poop foul gas from out their ass
To cool their iron bollocks.

Those mountaineers can shift their gears
And shit in all directions.
They wipe their ass on broken glass
Or on their proud erections.

Those mountaineers with hoots and jeers
Bewail a cuntless nation.
They jab their tools in gals and dudes
And abandoned masturbation.

Those mountaineers, they have no fears
Of crab-infested niches.
They scratch their pricks with sandy bricks
When annoyed by lousy itches.

They pound their cocks upon the rocks,
Those hardy sons of bitches.
They wipe their ass with broken glass,
And care not if it itches.

When tail is rare, they seduce the bears,
And tie them in half hitches,
Nor hesitate to masturbate
Within their leather britches.

They use their pricks for walking sticks
In crossing muddy ditches.
They fuck their wives with hilts of knives
And flog their butts with switches.

They brew their booze from boots and shoes,
A drink they seem to relish.
They shave their jaws with crosscut saws,
Which makes them look quite hellish.

They always are quite kind, you know,
To ladies and to babies.
But with bitches and in the ditches
They fuck like minks with rabies.

From dark till dawn with one bone on,
They fuck their horny wenches.
Then the wenches don strap-ons
And give their men attentions

From dawn till dark, they beat their bark
And screw knotholes in benches.
How they toy with grrls and bois
is too obscene to mention.

With limber tools they screw in twos
And warm each others' britches.
With stiffened cocks they pry up rocks
And boost Fords out of ditches.

The mountain lass has quite a gash.
They crack nuts in their snatches.
They love to screw an hour or two
Bare-ass in bramble patches.

The mountain twat is boiling hot.
It covers pricks with blisters.
A stranger once tried lapping cunts
And singed off all his whiskers.

Those hardy cunts use double shunts
And mighty heaves and passes,
That pull the pricks of common hicks
And set them on their asses.

The lass ne'er despair when prick is rare,
But frig themselves with cactus,
Or mount dildos in all their holes
Which gives them lots of practice.

Mountaineers grow everything,
In any soil they are master.
Every crop recovers clean
From any and all disaster.

They grow the ganja and the weed
And cannabis sativa
Beware the joint they roll and point
A puff will leave you weaving.

Mountaineers brew beer and spirits
From any slash on offer
If you drink more than a sip,
You're drunker than a potter

The earth can shake and quake
And land slide down like water
The mountaineer just laughs and laughs
And builds his campfire hotter.

Wildfires can overrun both the forest and the fauna,
The mountaineer just rebuilds
And makes his home the stronger

The mountaineer's a pioneer,
He goes just where he pleases.
When others try to chase him off
They're the ones who end up leaving.

Should invaders come into his hills,
To take away his nation
The mountaineer's a rifleman
and a skilled marauder.

In time of peace, he's meek as mice
Until someone seeks to be his master
Then by fair or foul, by hook or cowl,
He makes them run off even faster

The mountaineer's neither straight nor queer,
He likes to fuck with relish
He tells orgy bedtime tales
He has no need to embellish.

Every word of this is true
This proud poetic stanza
The mountaineer's got hairy ears
And his life is a bonanza!
A library realized that homeless people were hiding books under cushions to finish later.  So the librarians designated a shelf for homeless readers to store their "in use" books.  This is a replicable solution that any library can use if they have a similar challenge.  Meanwhile over in Terramagne, this sort of thing is common.
This poem is spillover from the November 5, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] technoshaman, [personal profile] ari_the_dodecahedron, and Anonymous on Dreamwidth. It also fills the "drunk girl / guy" square in my 11-1-16 card for the Fall Festival bingo. This poem has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles. It belongs to the Mallory thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

Warning: This poem contains some intense topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers. It includes confusion, indecision, college party hijinks, Whitney sneaking alcohol into a non-alcoholic event, binge-watching television, Whitney passing out drunk on the couch, reference to past alcohol misuse, reference to past rape, Mallory having a panic attack with awful flashbacks and other intrusive images, Heron calling the Student Health Center for Whitney, Mallory crying on Heron, and other angst. But there's a lot of fluff too. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward. However, this is a major plot point, so skipping it would leave a gap.

Read more... )
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([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Oct. 19th, 2017 05:13 pm)
Today is sunny and warm.  Birds are fluttering around.

We went out and scraped ash out of the firepit, so we can build a fire for Samhain.  Then we picked up sticks out of a big pile of leaves that Doug raked up earlier. 

Posted by Liz Williams

UNITED KINGDOM — A petition has been circulating around UK-based Pagan websites calling on Parliament to act in the wake of a proposed plan by the National Health Service (NHSE) England to stop prescriptions for herbal, homeopathic and other alternative forms of medicine.


Up until now, the NHSE has prescribed herbal and homeopathic remedies for patients. For example, it is used for those those patients who suffer from severe side effects caused by pharmaceutical medicines or for patients who have experienced no improvement in their health from those medicines.

In the UK, treatment is free at the point of delivery, although patients have to pay a basic fee (£8.60 per item) for each prescription. This chosen route has not been without controversy historically speaking. In 2010, Tom Dolphin, a leading member of the British Medical Association described homeopathy as ‘witchcraft.’

The NHS system is partly funded by a National Insurance scheme, which British citizens pay into through wages.

While it is of course possible to take out private health insurance, the NHS was founded in order to provide for everyone, including the poorest and most marginalized members of society. The system has been extended in recent years to include some alternative treatments. Over the last 5 years, the NHSE has spent over £600,000 on homeopathic treatments.

However, as noted, there has been dissent based on the assertion that homeopathic remedies are not evidence based. Now, the NHSE is saying that prescribing homeopathic and herbal remedies is a ‘misuse of scarce funds.’ NHSE chief Simon Stevens commented that “at best homeopathy is a placebo.”  He said that “NHSE funds which could be better devoted to treatments that work.”

The NHSE includes 16 other treatments in the ban and is encouraging patients to buy over-the-counter remedies for complaints, such as indigestion and sore throats with the aim of saving approximately £250 million a year. The ban covers some 17 items, including herbal medicines, Omega-3 fatty acids, liniments, and travel vaccines.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, the chair of the Royal College of GPs (general practitioners), said that reducing prescription costs was desirable, but warned that the more vulnerable members of society could be significantly affected.

Stokes-Lampard said, “If patients are in a position that they can afford to buy over the counter medicines and products, then we would encourage them to do so rather than request a prescription – but imposing blanket policies on GPs, that don’t take into account demographic differences across the country, or that don’t allow for flexibility for a patient’s individual circumstances, risks alienating the most vulnerable in society.”

Michael Marshall is the President of the Good Thinking Society, which has threatened to put the Department of Health up for a judicial review if it failed to blacklist homeopathic and herbal preparations. Marshall states:

This is very welcome news…Every credible medical body certainly knows that homeopathic remedies are just not effective for any conditions at all and it is great to see this strong statement from NHS England officially acknowledging the fact.

However, Cristal Sumner, chief executive of the British Homeopathic Association and the creator of the recent petition, says the NHS plans were “bad for its already overstretched budget and for patients.”

She has criticized the report used to draw up the new guidelines, commenting that, “This recommendation is not cost effective as patients will be prescribed more expensive conventional drugs in place of homeopathy, which defeats the object of the exercise.”

Don Redding, policy director at National Voices, an umbrella organization which covers 140 health care charities, including the British Heart Foundation, suggests that this is bringing charges in through the back door.

He believes that that those who are unable to pay will now be unable to obtain treatment. This, he says, violates the ‘free at the point of use’ principle which underpins the foundation of the NHS.

Alternative medicine is a topic of considerable interest within the Pagan community. However, Pagans appear to be divided on the issue.

Those who practice alternative forms of medicine are skeptical about the ban and have been publicizing the petition, while others have reservations about the evidence-basis of some alternative practices.

Concerns have also been raised about making rash and unsupported equivalences between different types of practices.

Helen Compton says, “My initial reaction to the ban, as a herbalist, is that they are incorrectly lumping us in with homeopaths, nothing wrong with homeopathy but herbalism is a very different healing modality. ”

“The intent behind this incorrect conflation seems generally malign, to show herbal medicine as an ineffective waste of time,” Compton explains.

“Also, seems that it doesn’t make clear that herbal medicine largely isn’t available on the NHS, the ban concerns things like senna etc. It is limiting patient choice of generally safe and cheap medicines, not logical and I sense the hand of large pharmaceutical companies somewhere behind this.”

However, not all Pagans are critical of the ban, with some calling for tighter controls on alternative medicine and more extensive use of peer review.

Herbalist Helen Maria says, “unless they’ve been properly trained doctors are not qualified to prescribe herbs. It is not symptomatic prescribing like pharmaceutical drugs.”

Maria goes on to further explain, “[Herbalism] is individualistic and looking at the root cause. It is not really possible to go nettle = eczema because the cause of everyone’s eczema is different. Therefore I’m sort of happy they’re not doing it. On the other hand this smacks of further marginalising, and discrediting other healing modalities.”

There is a general consensus, however, that the ban is part of a move to induce patients to pay for a greater range of over-the-counter remedies, which is in turn an aspect of the funding crisis currently experienced by the British National Health Service.

The online petition, which has now reached over 16,000 signatures, will be open to signatures through March 13, 2018.

weofodthignen: selfportrait holding bra and alien love doll (work)
([personal profile] weofodthignen Oct. 19th, 2017 10:01 am)
They finally instituted a clock-in system. Unfortunately a side effect is that we all lose 1/4 hour of our paid hours per shift; and another 1/4 hour if the other person is a little early and clocks in immediately. Apparently it was going to be half an hour. I'm still not pleased.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Oct. 18th, 2017 09:20 pm)
People are freaking out over football players kneeling as a civil rights protest. As I've said repeatedly, this should be encouraged, not condemned. It is a rational, legal method of solving problems. If you block that, people will resort to less rational, less legal methods. I would prefer not to have race riots all over the place. Again. The catch is, kneeling is an effective way to attract attention but it doesn't solve the underlying problems. For that we need more. And then [personal profile] dialecticdreamer came up with this gem:

"Kneeling falls entirely under right of free expression and social protest. Anyone who tries to decry that it 'damages' the corporation a public figure works for, whether a sports team or a bakery, is an authoritarian idjit. Were I the manager of a sports team, the SECOND one of my players knelt in protest, I'd arrange to meet them, and ask what can help. Public outreach. More sports camps and mentorships for youth in poverty, who are disproportionately darker-skinned (but I'd be careful not to make skin color a requirement-- you've heard this rant before)."

Well, the famous guys are difficult or impossible to reach, for practical reasons. But it's not just them anymore; players on local teams sometimes do the same thing. They can be reached, and so can their managers. Letters to the editor of any newspaper would be another way of publicizing this idea. We can also just put this topic in blog posts. Then if anyone is involved in sports where this is happening, they have a solution to try.
Recently a friend mentioned looking forward to an event but worrying that it might be overwhelming. This can happen. It happens more often to people with special needs -- or introverts, who are a huge portion of the populace that is simply ignored in almost all event planning, thus necessitating additional accommodations. Here are some ideas to make your trip safer and happier ...

Read more... )
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([personal profile] ahmik Oct. 18th, 2017 06:28 pm)
Back yard walk about, almost stepped on a rabbit. It showed an impressive rate of acceleration in escaping, a blur of white tail clear across the pasture and out of sight toward a gap in the fence.
weofodthignen: selfportrait with Rune the cat (Default)
([personal profile] weofodthignen Oct. 18th, 2017 02:27 pm)
And now Boulder Creek is burning, so the smoke is coming from a lot closer.
weofodthignen: selfportrait with Rune the cat (Default)
([personal profile] weofodthignen Oct. 18th, 2017 02:25 pm)
The dog has started digging in the back yard. I hope it will rain soon and the grass will grow over the bare patches and discourage her. I notice the oxalis is starting to come up in some places where I water.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
([personal profile] ysabetwordsmith Oct. 18th, 2017 04:00 pm)
Today is sunny, mild, and breezy.  I refilled the birdfeeders.  Birds are fluttering around in the nice weather today, although I haven't seen any on the feeders.

I planted 24 Muscari armeniacum  around bushes along the driveway.  This is a classic type of blue grape hyacinth which puts up spikes of tiny purple flowers shaped like bells.

We hope to get back out later and work on the area around the outdoor woodpile.

EDIT 10/18/17: We moved a wheelbarrow of firewood from the yard onto the porch.

EDIT 10/18/17: I went back out and fertilized the bulb gardens and some places where they're naturalized.  Thanks to whoever it was that reminded me of this.


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