So did he go?

•July 18, 2022 • 6 Comments

Was just looking at the reviews. Wow!

Allons enfants de la patrie

•July 15, 2022 • 7 Comments

With apologies for my bad French, I hope everyone over there enjoyed your national holiday (called Bastille Day in the US)!

Might have been

•July 11, 2022 • 15 Comments

Batman was the Richard Armitage rumor that never really materialized. That never interested me all that much, although there were a lot of fan reactions. Like Bond, it was a conversation that never really went away.

Time flies. Armitage did those Wolverine podcasts and some people seemed to think they were a tryout to succeed Hugh Jackman. I read in the paper the other day that Taran Egerton is the next (indubitably white) hope for this role.

There was that time when we were all fevering about the Captain America: The First Avenger premiere. Armitage appeared in public for the first time in several months, and one of the main things he wanted us to take away from the film was what a great job Chris Evans had done. (Armitage has consistently shown admiration for people who work hard in their jobs.) And now Evans has finished with the role.

It’s amazing how fast this discussion has moved; the Batman conversations were a 2014 thing; The First Avenger came out in 2011.

Ereborians, not Etonians

•July 8, 2022 • 10 Comments

In response to Richard Armitage’s tweets, the DSP (Dwarf Superiority Party) has become active again!

 

The DSP would absolutely never break lockdown protocols. Its members are the epitome of sobriety.

They would never hold a bacchanal while the country was suffering. Absolutely not.

And if you needed any more convincing, their prime minister candidate will once again be Thorin Oakenshield.

 

Thorin is way more competent.

Not self-evident

•July 4, 2022 • 24 Comments

As a history professor, I repeatedly covered different aspects of the US Declaration of Independence in class. As a patriot, I want students to know and think about our nation’s vital texts. One of the most novel uses I have found for discussing this text lies in the question of the meaning of Thomas Jefferson’s statement: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

This statement has been useful to me both when I used to teach English comp, back in the 1990s, and more recently, when I talk about syllogisms in intro to philosophy. The point in each case is “how we define terms of an argument” and “language in context.” To begin, I ask the students repeatedly to define the word “man” — and once I have led them down that path, I ask them if I am a man and they always insist that I am not. Then I read them Jefferson’s sentence. This lesson works pretty much 95 percent of the time, since everyone insists that I am not a man, but none of them have so far been willing to say that I am not included in “all men.” As a tendency the men in the class think this is a silly way to make the point, and the women are somewhat more bothered.

I picked the example because I would have agreed (in the contemporary present) that of course, “all men” includes me. I could note that the point is not limited to the Declaration of Independence; there are issues like this in almost all English literature, and certainly in the Bible. Does anyone seriously think that “Happy is the man …” at the beginning of Psalms refers only to men? Or that when the angels announced the good news to the shepherds, that it was only intended for men and not women? Although Christian congregations have been fighting about how to word things at least since I was a little girl, in the wider world, times have changed and language reflects the changes. I’m not a radical in either direction when it comes to language changes. My response to charges of exaggerated political correctness has always been that (a) I want to be polite and not hurtful to others; and (b) I want to be accurate.

In US history, I have told students that in 1776, “all men” did not even mean all men, but through a series of painful struggles, the nation has moved to a place where at least in ideal terms, “all men” meant “all people.” Depending on my mood, I have also tended to say that there is good evidence that the trend would continue. I tend to take the long view, although I have never wanted to say “be patient” to marginalized groups while their civil rights were in question. A human life is only so long, and daylight is burning. But things I have said certainly contributed to the impression that I held that view. And now, several days ago, five justices erased me from the society of “all men.” “All men” have an inalienable right to things like the bodily autonomy that is the very basis of liberty. I no longer do.

I’m doing the Erma Bombeck fourth again this year. The green peas ripened this week and so I made a pea salad and in a little bit, I will go over to Obscura‘s. I am hoping for a smaller version of the classic Wisconsin summer potluck kind of meal. But I can’t help but think, “Gentlemen may cry peace, peace, but there is no peace.” I have declared an embargo on political discussion with HL and my family (who are all conservatives of various stripes). At work we have implicitly agreed not to talk about it. We’re all frightened, I think, of what could happen if we did.

Arguably, a more important part of the Declaration than its brief throwaway about human rights — Jefferson assumed that we all knew what John Locke and his contemporaries had said — lies in its justification of popular sovereignty.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

More and more people I know are thinking this, even if they aren’t saying it.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.-

We’re going to have to find a way to talk about it. Before there is no more “we.” We’ve been headed that way for a while.

Independence Day Richard

•July 4, 2022 • 9 Comments

I apologize for not decorating on Canada Day this year, but the relevant graphic is found here.

Boyfriend is looking authorial

•June 30, 2022 • 4 Comments

Congrats, Richard!

•June 28, 2022 • Leave a Comment

Via Esther. This could be interesting. [please comment on her blog]

The Book of Esther

He has hinted at it but now it’s apparently almost done: Richard Armitage has written a book!

He’ll be going to Switzerland in July, to Geneva I presume, to finish it – I wonder when and for how long? Should he happen to be in Lausanne at the beginning of August, I’ll be there for a day and will be happy to meet him… 😉

Anyway, the Audible page that Richard refers to in his tweet gives a little synopsis of the story…

“Nobel prize winning scientist Sarah Collier heads to an important conference in Geneva with her husband…

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Things that have been happening, 2

•June 14, 2022 • 31 Comments

[Continued from here]. So this is the thing that has really been occupying most of my time since the end of March. I’ve got a new job, and it’s not in a university.

This has been the plan since 2016 — to look for a full time position outside of higher education: but first it was hampered by the job market, and then by dad’s needs, and finally by COVID. I had a horrible panic attack in January, increasing anxiety, and then along about February, I had a sort of personal crisis and decided I need to get back out of the house. It took me about three weeks, but I finally said, “Apply for one job, any job, and everything will get easier after that.”

So I rewrote my resume, applied for this job, five days later I had a phone interview, and three days after that I had a job offer — without ever taking part in a F2F. I didn’t even have time to survey the market, but this seemed like a propitious moment. It helped a lot that when my (now) boss called to offer me the position and I asked him if he didn’t want to meet me first, he said, “I am a former drill sergeant and I can tell you’re a good person.”

(If you knew me in real life, you would know how flabbergasting a statement that is. I am not drill material. However, now that I’ve had a month to work with him, I just really love the guy. I have generally had much better “management” when I haven’t been in faculty positions, but this guy is especially good at his job.)

it’s a two year project position (with likely renewal or movement into a related position) in workforce development with the state, and it involves, well, developing the workforce. It’s considered a difficult job for several reasons, but the main one is that unemployment in this region is 2.6 percent. The estimate we’ve been given is that about a third of the people of working age (generally: 18 to 65) who are not participating in the workforce but not collecting unemployment payments would like to be employed, but haven’t found their way back into the workforce for whatever reason. My job is to find those people, identify the reasons for non-participation, and figure out what we need to do to get them working. Thus, I am out and about (the area I’m responsible for is about 90 minutes one way from my residence) 2-3 days a week, and working remotely from home the rest of the time.

So far I’m having a pretty good experience. Everything has its ups and downs, but I do get to use a lot of my skillsets in this position. I occasionally think wryly that this moment is why my mom practically forced me to sell Girl Scout cookies when I was a kid. So far (crossing my fingers) I haven’t had any incidence of the Sunday Scaries or Revenge Bedtime Procrastination. It’s early days, still, but I mostly haven’t had any problem switching the work computer off at 5. (It helps that my personal computer is not my work computer anymore, although the keyboard confusion is still annoying.) I work in a team of four and so far they all seem to be great, independent-minded, and self-motivated. I feel like we are getting things done.

All this has necessitated a lot of reorganization of my life and time during the day. Happily, I am also finding that my general energy level is rising and I’m getting more done (want something done, ask a busy person). Oh: and I have a living wage and benefits again. Nothing to sneeze at, even if it is allergy season.

Armitage loves a weird sister

•June 8, 2022 • 16 Comments

They were both in Macbeth back in 1999. He’s really been loving on her tweets. I would love to see that play, too.

 
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