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April 17, 2008

Comments

What are you thinking about?

Gah.

I'm thinking about moving to Canada.

Thanks -

How to feed myself this summer when the inevitable layoff comes... as I try to afford the gas while looking for another job in a severely depressed construction industry.

Well, totally offtopic, I'm thinking that after battling the cellphone company I signed a contract with for months, five minutes ago I got a phone call of surrender and admission that they have to follow their own fine print even if this entails letting me escape their contract without paying them a couple of hundred pounds.

This only involved, um, letters to the CEO of the megatelecom that owns that company, letters to the CEOs of the partner cellphone companies in that megatelecom, letters to the CEO and the chief marketing executive and sales executive...

...but I won. :-D

Drinks all round!

What are you thinking about

Hey, you asked -- I'm thinking about identity confusion in Pamuk's The Black Book -- my notes on this are here for anyone that's interested -- and about how to get a program that's supposed to be delivered tomorrow functioning when it is currently anything but -- and this is my earworm today, and a very nice one too!

tomorrow

(Possibly Monday, nobody's quite sure what we told the client. But it seems likely we are going to have to tell the client to readjust his expectations in any case.)

The Congolese Bantu majority is intolerant of their underclass minority, the Pygmies. The Pygmies are treated as sub-humans, enslaved, and often eaten.

Army, rebel and tribal fighters - some believing the Pygmies are less than human or that eating the flesh would give them magic power - have been pursuing the Pygmies in the dense jungles, killing them and eating their flesh, the activists said at a news conference yesterday.

"In living memory, we have seen cruelty, massacres, genocide, but we have never seen human beings hunted and eaten literally as though they were game animals, as has recently happened," said Sinafasi Makelo, a representative of the Mbuti Pygmies in Congo.

http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/05/22/1053585643490.html

Congo’s Minister of Forestry owns over one hundred Pygmy slaves; "We can make them sing and dance for you, if you want,".

http://www.newsobserver.com/110/story/552528.html

Before we can pursue true change in the Congo, we need to push for equality among ALL the Congolese. Where is the outrage?

Trying to TAKE OVER THE WORLD!

[stops channeling cartoons]

Water / crop prices / energy / the impossibility of building a nuclear power plant anywhere on the California coast.

Wondering just how bad the death spiral of falling house prices / increased foreclosures / loss of govt income / decreased govt services / increased crime etc. is going to get.

you know, the usual stuff that keeps me from sleeping.

If Cindy McCain's recipe for Ahi Tuna was actually her own, you might call her elitist. But, since she just copied it out of a cookbook, she's just like the rest of us...

thinking about a new career...

there are two words that crush the soul of any programmer: "maintenance programming". on top of that, add a 15 year old code base, written in a near-dead language, with a 16-bit complier that crashes every other time you use it (literally), and i'm at the end of my rope.

put me on a different project or lose me forever.

Anyone worried about this?

"The U.S. government will soon begin collecting DNA samples from all citizens arrested in connection with any federal crime and from many immigrants detained by federal authorities, adding genetic identifiers from more than 1 million individuals a year to the swiftly growing federal law enforcement DNA database.

The policy will substantially expand the current practice of routinely collecting DNA samples from only those convicted of federal crimes, and it will build on a growing policy among states to collect DNA from many people who are arrested. Thirteen states do so now and turn their data over to the federal government.

The initiative, to be published as a proposed rule in the Federal Register in coming days, reflects a congressional directive that DNA from arrestees be collected to help catch a range of domestic criminals. But it also requires, for the first time, the collection of DNA samples from people other than U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents who are detained by U.S. authorities."

As I see it, there are two ways to go on DNA collection. Either you can say: the benefits of having reliable information that will help us catch criminals is worth the costs to privacy, the risk that this information will somehow migrate outside law enforcement, etc. In that case, I think one should have a universal DNA sample bank.

Or you say: no, invasion of privacy and the risks of abuse are not worth it, though collecting samples is OK when someone has been convicted of a crime (or pled to one), in which case s/he can be held to have forfeited some rights to privacy. In that case, you collect samples from convicted criminals.

I really don't see the rationale for collecting DNA from people who have been arrested but not convicted. It introduces rather massive possible sources of bias -- e.g., bias against blacks will produce a much greater likelihood that blacks will be in the database, and thus a disparity in blacks' and whites' likelihood of being convicted of crimes they commit. It does so without any of the normal safeguards in the legal process. If we think conviction is irrelevant, we should collect DNA from everyone, not just from people who have been arrested or detained.

It introduces rather massive possible sources of bias

such as the prospect that people will be arrested on bogus charges just for the sake of being able to collect DNA from them - a DA fishing for suspects in an unrelated crime, for example.

I'm thinking that if there's another major terrorist attack on this country, we're doomed.

Does anyone think the secret service would arrest me if I gave Cheney's motorcade a good sieg heil salute the next time I happen to be outside and he goes by? What if it was in person?

If we think conviction is irrelevant, we should collect DNA from everyone, not just from people who have been arrested or detained.

This is exactly right. I was reading an article somewhere about how police departments circumvent search rules to obtain DNA samples from suspects and it was pretty weird reading -- sort of an end-run around privacy rules.

Jes, congratulations on the phone victory!

This seems a huge problem:

Roughly one in five U.S. troops is suffering from major depression or post-traumatic stress from serving in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and an equal number have suffered brain injuries, a new study estimates.
...
A recently completed survey showed 18.5 percent - or 300,000 people - said they have symptoms of depression or PTSD, the researchers said. Nineteen percent - or 320,000 - suffered head injuries ranging from mild concussions to penetrating head wounds.

Way to stick it to the Man, Jes!

Hooray, Jes!

Huzzah, more fafblog posts!

Jes - is this a big scandal on your side of the pond?

"I'm thinking about moving to Canada."

I am moving, to Raleigh, North Carolina.

Since this is an open thread...

For non-Washington state readers, I am thinking of, yet again, an attempt by denialist/creationist forces to cram their religion down our throats (see Expelled, the ironically titled movie).

For Washington state readers, I am thinking of zombies and Shakespeare.

What are you thinking about?

In no particular order:
A sick relative, dog-headed men, chocolate, getting a haircut, who will be the next US president, medieval peasants, what saliva is made of (my 5-year old asked me this afternoon), whether I spend too much time on blogs.

"In the old system, I would just take the public money and go drinking with women."

Since we seem to be operating under a version of the Mobutu system ourselves, I'd actually be somewhat comforted if I thought there was a trillion dollars' worth of drinking with women going on.

But I suspect that weapons diversions, black ops, private army-building, and rake-offs to the ruling clique's friends have a lot more to do with it. On top of the impenetrable, clueless, FUBAR waste that's been a feature of "defense" spending for fifty years.

Gary, very best wishes on the move. If lewtz come my way, some will come your tip jar's way, too.

I'm thinking about how nice it is to have signs of spring here in the north country, with finally a fringe of blue water showing up around the edges of the ice that still covers the lake across the road from where I live.

I'm thinking about cost-of-living all over the world (the subject of my paid work) and the local land trust newsletter (the subject of my volunteer work) and the final project I'm about to assign in the linguistics class I teach.

(I'm thinking, as I often do, about how different life might be if I weren't a dilettante.)

I'm thinking about the question of how I'm going to meet the challenge of being on crutches for (possibly) 6 weeks after knee surgery in May, and again after a second surgery later in the year.

I'm thinking that it's too bad I haven't been keeping a list of all the topics that mave made me wish for an open thread lately, and then I'm thinking that I wouldn't have time to think and write about them right now even if I could remember what they all were.

I'm thinking that I appreciate the Obsidian Wings posters and commenters a lot.

I'm thinking that I'm discouraged about this country (my native country, the US of A) and that following Russell's lead in thinking about moving to Canada (or somewhere) is a tempting idea (as if any country would just take me, ha ha) that in fact leads into a lot of juicy "open thread"-type topics, if (sigh) I had time.

I'm thinking: Gary, if you're willing/able to say, what takes you to North Carolina in particular? Do you have connections there already? I sometimes think of leaving Maine, but since no place in particular leaps out at me as the right place to go, and I do like it a lot here, I stay.

"I'm thinking: Gary, if you're willing/able to say, what takes you to North Carolina in particular? Do you have connections there already?"

Yes.

Spring will come, JanieM. You've helped me appreciate the intense greening happening here. I need to get out in it and let the renewal vibes do their good work...

hilzoy: "And -- this is fun to contemplate -- if Michelle Obama had been an adulteress, drug addict thief with a penchant for plagiarism -- do you think that she would be subject to slightly different treatment from the media than [Cindy] McCain has been?"

And who would it be more fun to be around, a former rodeo beauty queen (ride 'em cowgirl!), a University of Southern California alumnus ("I wish they all could be… California girls") who has an affinity for men twenty years older (tell me that's not going to consolidate the White Males Over 40 Vote) - or a shrew who belittles her husband in public, and sees the world through a race-based prism where white culture is negatively distorted (there goes the small town White Female Over 40 Vote as well)--

Lurker Here... Open Post, why not?

On my mind is: I just accepted a new job but in the offer letter they state a reference letter is required from my old supervisor. I left that person off my references for a reason, duh! I searched for a new job for a reason, duh! They have letters from 2 past employers and a letter from my someone at the same level of the ex-boss in the same department.

I was honest and told my new boss I was leaving for personal reasons and unprofessional actions (ex-boss).

So, not only do I have to piss in a cup, have a background check/credit check/, etc. etc., I have to get a letter from the person who now hates me because I left a position that was miserable!

Glad to see the little guy once again has no voice.

I might be happier squatting in some row house or camping out in the woods.

::Sigh:: ::deep breaths::

Oh, and forgot to say I love reading Hilzoy/Publius.. and all the regulars. I've been a regular lurker for about 2 years..maybe 2.5

Keep up the good work!

Because of an odd and not altogether intelligent analogy on another thread that I chose not to pursue, I'm thinking that I'm going to be permanently typed in the blogosphere as a callous dogkiller.

Well, one of my cats would certainly like it if I was: she once spent three weeks in a house with three large Alsatians and never got over it. She hates dogs.

I'm not sure if the other one (not yet a year old) even knows what a dog is: it's all cats in this street.

And I'm thinking a bit about my two previous cats, and the painful and necessary obligations that go along with pet ownership, including the obligation to provide your pet with a painless and humane death when you think it necessary. And how impossible it is to summarise, in a single blog comment, the lengthy mental agony of deciding how and when a cat you've reared since kittenhood should die.

And how much I would disagree with any legislation that made a pet owner a criminal because she could not provide a reason that a legislator found acceptable for taking a pet to the vet's surgery to have the pet put to sleep.

And how impossible it is to summarise, in a single blog comment, the lengthy mental agony of deciding how and when a cat you've reared since kittenhood should die.

A dog in whom I have a minority interest, but who whom I love dearly, is old and ill. So far he seems unaffected - good appetite, good energy level, no apparent pain or other problems, etc. - and we are hopeful that treatment will keep him going for some time yet. But I have already thought about the horrible day to come.

A long way of expressing sympathy.

Gary:

As you know, this means lunch!?? You know my name, look up the number.

Hilzoy:

Are you back and safe, especially the latter?


What am I thinking about? First, is my DNA on file, because my mind goes places without permission?

Jay:

Shrew? I don't care for Hillary's style much, but I just told a guy to stow the "bitch" moniker the other day.

So, when you're moody, what are you?

Probably moody is all. I become a bastid and I get my hormones all over everyone.

Again with the DNA!

By the way, Jes, I am always assigned the trip to the vet for the kitty's big sleep in my family.

I hate it, too.

I'm sorry.

One more thing on my mind:

Are Rilkefan and rilkefamily O.K.?

See ya.

Grievance-Bureacratic Complex family claims to us government cash. harvard is not yale.

JanieM: : “I'm thinking about the question of how I'm going to meet the challenge of being on crutches for (possibly) 6 weeks after knee surgery in May, and again after a second surgery later in the year.”

Six weeks, no problem. You just have to focus on something other than the injury. I had an Achilles tendon surgically repaired some years back, and was on crutches for about six weeks, then had to wear a special boot for a couple of weeks after that.

Here’s two suggestion to make the time bearable: light weight exercise for arms and chest, to keep the upper body toned and help sleep better at night; and reading three novels a week (I chose Elmore Leonard novels). There was a downside: now, when I read Leonard’s new books, I have this annoying urge to itch and scratch my foot, where the cast was.

Jes: And how much I would disagree with any legislation that made a pet owner a criminal because she could not provide a reason that a legislator found acceptable for taking a pet to the vet's surgery to have the pet put to sleep.

I am not a cat person at all. I have no use for them: snotty arrogant beasts IMO. But I love dogs. As far as putting a pet to sleep I agree with you, but I agree with Phil as well, that anyone who does that for “convenience” should be guilty of a crime. I say that having experienced more grief over having to put a pet down than over the loss of a family member…And the grief was more over trying to extend her life well past the point where she was ready to go than the act itself. I had a great vet but in the end I would say she gave us false hope.

So now we can segue to euthanasia…

Jay Jerome -- that made me laugh. Thanks for the tips. I've been trying to plan ahead in various ways, but picking a supply of 3-novel-a-week reading material hadn't yet gotten onto the list. I'll remedy that now.

Nell -- nice to think about how green and blossomy it must be where you are. I went outside tonight (helping pet-sit some nearby dogs) and heard spring peepers for the first time this year. Ice going off (or "out of," as they say around here) the lake, spring peepers, next thing you know the grass will start turning green, a balm for winter-weary eyes if ever there was one.

Jes -- I never had pets growing up, but I learned to appreciate cats when my daughter, 15 months old at the time, spent an afternoon watching solicitously over a stray that had lived in our barn and was now (though I didn't know it yet) fatally ill. Though I didn't know much about cats, I knew a cat person when I saw one. There have been cats around here ever since, and later, dogs as well. All friends, more or less. I'm not the one who owns/cares for them at this point, but I enjoy their company sometimes and especially enjoy watching their antics and interactions.

Gary -- good luck with the move.

Jes, I want you to know that nothing I said in the other thread was intended to be hurtful to you personally (or to anyone else), and if it was, I apologize. I know as well as anyone the difficult circumstances under which one sometimes must decide to euthanize a pet, and I've cried many tears over many hours because of it.

*hugs Phil*

Not that Phil would want that… ;) But yeah – the tears I have cried over having to put a pet down…

Based on last night's Democratic debate, I say these are all very fair questions to ask John McCain in the first general election debate. Please forward your questions to ABC.

I'm thinking about a dog who got put down this afternoon. Because of me.

I guess it was the best thing. I wanted to save him. I had fantasies abouut who good it would feel to him to get a bath and be cured of mange and how antibiotics would clear up all the disgusting green discahrge in his eyes and dog shamapoo would get rid of the foul stench and pain killers would help his broken leg.

This old stray dog has been sleeping in my client's garage for about two weeks, off and on. I brought some old sleeping bags in for him to lie on and I'be been feeding him my dog's pain killers. I called the vet and got the Ok to bring him in without an appointment--just whenever i could get him inot my car.

I put a tarp in the car to brotect the upholstery--I don't want to get mange-- and I bought some sleeping pills.

The fist time I doped him up I couldn't get him in the car because there ws no one around to help me lift him. The next day when my client's son was home, the dog had wandered off. The next time the dog showed up it was Sunday and the vet ws closed. Today when I went to see my cleint the dog was there and so was her son.

Newfoundland Rescue said that they would help. There's a lady who own a farm up in the foothills who said she'd foster him. I was so excited.

I gave him some sleeoing pills and we waited until he got dopey and using the sleeping badg like a sgtretcher we got him in my car.

But it sin't a happy ending. The vet said the mange was too far along to be cured and that the broken leg was a tumor. The poor old boy wagged his horrilbe black hairless tail while we stood around discussing his fate. I wanted so badfor him to get up to that farm in the foot hills and have a good meal every day and a warm plade to sleep and no pain.

But the vet said she couldn't help him and now he's gone. He didn't even have a name except I called him Hairy because I was hoping his hair would grow back when we got him well..

Jeez, sorry about that Wonkie. I was reading about the farm and getting all excited and happy and this while I knew the outcome based on your first sentence. Can't imagine what it must of been like for you.

Well I put his ashes in my garden and made a donamtion to Best Friens, a animal rescue organization. The res is overrun with dogs that don't seem to belong to anyone. I found a home for a puppy who came toddling up the driveway last summer and this winter my client and I cared for a wounded pitbull mix for several weeks. She had probably been used as a bait dog. She recovered and I see her everytime I go out there. I call her Lassie. I can't adopt her rbecause I loive in a condo and have no yrad. besides she marginally belongs to the nieghbors who seem to be dimmly aware when they are not in jail that they ahve a dog.

I'm thinking about winning Pennsylvania for Obama.

Anyone out there a Spanish speaker? We need Spanish-speaking callers in Philly this weekend!

I'm thinking about Mrs. Dr Ngo, who is entering the hospital tomorrow.

I'm thinking about Britten's "War Requiem," which I (and 300 or so other choristers) are singing Saturday and Sunday.

And a little part of me is thinking that Gary and I will be almost neighbors, since I live in Durham. I'd write him directly, but have never succeeded in posting on Amygdala. Sayang.

Best wishes to Mrs Dr. Ngo.

Best wishes to Mrs. Dr. Ngo, and Gary on his move, and Jes and Wonkie and everyone else who has ever had to put down, or otherwise deal with in some unpleasant way, an animal they loved, even if only briefly.

Oh, and John: no, not back yet. In a couple of days (though I lose track: sometime on Saturday, I will begin a horrific bout of travel, and between all the time in airports and time zones, I have no idea exactly when I am returning. I think sometime Sunday.)

. As far as putting a pet to sleep I agree with you, but I agree with Phil as well, that anyone who does that for “convenience” should be guilty of a crime.

I realized when I saw Phil's response that "convenience" had been a word badly chosen. The point I was thinking of making in that other thread, and decided not to there (interrupted by fortunate phonecall) was that in deciding when an animal has to be put down, some human has to make that decision - the animal can't. If you think about it, the right person to make that judgement call has to be assumed in law to be the animal's owner, and emotionally, that's the right thing too.

I spent a year watching one of my cats develop a tumor on her back that (we tried to operate twice: the second time the tumor returned, the vet and I mutually and very nearly simultaneously told each other we didn't want to try a third operation) would eventually get too big and cause her immense suffering before she finally - and, without human intervention, it would have taken a long, long time - died of it.

I had to decide at what point the tumor had got so large that my cat was going to become so miserable from it that it would be better if she were dead. I decided about six months before the final trip that my aim was to be taking her to the vet while she was still enjoying life - before the tumor began to ulcerate under its own weight.

I cannot tell you how much it would not have helped to know that besides trying to figure out the degree of discomfort she was in from the tumor, and judge when discomfort was about to become misery, I had also had to try and figure out at what point it would be legal for me to take her to the vet and if taking her earlier would count as "inconvenience". What if I had been unable to afford the second operation? Or the first? Or if the vet had wanted me to try a third operation, and had pressured me into it with hints that if I didn't, I could be prosecuted for making a decision based on "convenience"?

Cruelty to animals is a criminal offense, and should be. Sometimes a pet owner probably does make the wrong judgement call about when a pet needs to be put to sleep. But it's still their judgment call, and unless you know as much about their pet and their personal circumstances as they do, you have to accept their judgement.

Incidentally, I had to have my first cat put down a month before Katrina: and the stories of Katrina survivors that I found unbearable were of those people who'd brought their cat or dog along to the refugee buses out, and been told that it was humans only - their pet had to be left behind. I'm not pet-centric enough to think those were the worst stories in absolute terms, nor do I think that under the circumstances, it was wrong to allow space for humans only - I just found it, under my personal circumstances, unbearable.

Thanks for the sympathy, Phil, John, Bernard, Janie - and my heart's full of admiration/sympathy for you, wonkie. Well done.

Open thread!

Jes - is this a big scandal on your side of the pond?

From the linked-to article:

The Justice Department is investigating allegations that U.K.-based British Aerospace Systems (BAE) paid millions of dollars in bribes to Bandar and other Saudi officials—in possible violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Bandar, whose close ties to the Bush family earned him the nickname "Bandar Bush," has retained former FBI Director Louis Freeh to represent him in connection with the Justice Department probe.

Cash Rules Everything Around Me. Dollar dollar bill, y'all.

I am moving, to Raleigh, North Carolina.

Cool! Mazel tov.

I'm thinking about how nice it is to have signs of spring here in the north country, with finally a fringe of blue water showing up around the edges of the ice that still covers the lake across the road from where I live.

OK, never mind about Canada. Maybe I can get dual citizenship with Italy, my grandmother was born there.

Again with the DNA!

Thullen, good to hear from you. You been busy? We miss you.

I spent a year watching one of my cats develop a tumor on her back

Last pet I had was a cat who finally got so old that her body and her mind were in a race to see which would go first and fastest. She took to peeing on anything that was flat and made of plastic, which describes a lot of things. Her kidneys were going, so she got meds for that, but that made something else worse, I forget what.

She was a mess.

Finally, it got to the point where I had to give her a saline IV twice a day to keep her alive. I don't know if you've ever tried giving a skinny, ornery, demented cat an IV, but it's a trip and a half. After a week or so of that, I gave in and took her to the vet to be put down. Stopped on the way to buy her some sliced turkey, which she ate in the car and enjoyed thoroughly.

They gave her an injection, and she went to sleep and didn't wake up. Easy peasy, it took all of a minute. That was good in a way, but also weird in a way. It was shocking how easy it was for that living being to slip from this life.

So, you know, time takes us all, but it was sad as hell.

Thanks -

Jes - is this a big scandal on your side of the pond?

News stories in the Times, the Telegraph, the Guardian, the Independent, - that is, every single one of the national broadsheets except the Financial Times. Also in the Economist and Christian Today. ...yes.

Russell, what, you don't want to live in a place where there's still a big sheet of ice in mid-April? ;)

Actually, I'm pretty sure not all of Canada is as cold as where I live, latitude notwithstanding.

Two of my grandparents were born in Italy. After Bush was elected a second time, wondering just where we were headed, I looked into Italian citizenship requirements; grandparents weren't close enough. Unlike (also if I remember correctly; I don't have time to google it right now) Ireland, which I love and which would be my first choice if I had to leave the States, but where I have no ancestors as far as I know. Though my carrot-topped grandma (not the Italian one) always said that she was part Irish, the only ancestral lines she had records for worked backwards from "the Western Reserve," to Connecticut in the 1640's, to England. Of course, that's only 2 or 3 of my ancesters out of the 1000 or so from 10 generations back, so there could be some Irish DNA in there somewhere. Not recent enough for citizenship, though.

I've been writing half-jokingly, but my discouragement about this country is real and deep. And as I get older, the idea of leaving permanently just gets harder and harder to consider. When I was young I would have gone adventurously without much of a glance back. Even in early middle age I was thinking of setting myself up to live significant amounts of the time in Ireland.

Now...well, though practically every other major aspect of my identity is mixed, tangled, non-mainstream, and often confusing even for me, the one clear statement I can make about who I am is that I'm an American. For better and for worse.

We'll see where my kids settle. If they settle...

In unrelated news, I still have two extremely happy healthy bouncy dogs (well, one of them may be part space alien, but that's another story),

or, rather, they have me and my wife.

It's a gorgeous spring day in So. Cal. and the bouganvilla is blooming massively.

[this thread was making me cry. i needed to post something happy.]

[best of luck on your move, GF. hope to get some good stories from your trip, hil. enjoy the weekend everyone]

Now...well, though practically every other major aspect of my identity is mixed, tangled, non-mainstream, and often confusing even for me, the one clear statement I can make about who I am is that I'm an American. For better and for worse.

I hear that.

I talk about moving now and then as kind of a joke, or just to vent, but I'm not going anywhere. For better or worse.

We'll see where my kids settle. If they settle...

My stepson's in Eugene OR. That's almost like Canada!

Thanks -

the one clear statement I can make about who I am is that I'm an American. For better and for worse.

This is probably true of me as well. I have sometimes desired to be an expatriate American but I think that's pretty well off the table at this point.

Watching a really interesting exchange between Orhan Pamuk and Salman Rushdie on the subject of homelands (at the 2007 New Yorker festival -- video here) -- Rushdie says towards the end that people who never leave home are sad; Pamuk disagrees and says he feels sorry for those who are widely traveled but do not have a sense of home. (Me? I don't have super-strong home associations with the place where I grew up, although I do use it for my handle and although I do feel a little twinge of familiarity whenever I go back there. The feelings that Pamuk and Rushdie were describing, I think I associate mostly with the people outside my family who I grew up with, who mostly are scattered around the US nowadays.)

Rushdie/Pamuk summarized by Modesto pushes one of my, well two of my, most hair-trigger buttons:

-- my skepticism of blanket statements about "people" -- as though everyone is the same and should thrive in the same way;

-- my dislike of the passing of judgments by some people on other people on the basis of the aforesaid. (Yes, I know that's a judgment too. There's a way out of that self-referential labyrinth, I'm sure....)

Why not just celebrate your own love of wandering, or your own love of that place called home, instead of saying that other people are somehow deficient, or damaged, because they're not like you?

To quote Russell at the top: Gah.

BTW, Modesto, my Rushdie/Pamuk comment was in no way aimed at you. I think a lot about what "home" would feel like, and what it might mean in this era, or any era for that matter. I just let myself get sidetracked by a pet peeve.

Since it's an open thread, here's another topic I associate with "home"....

I have a neighbor who doesn't like cemeteries, and who has directed that she should be cremated when she dies because the human footprint is already too large on this earth.

I, by contrast, love cemeteries. I would gladly give up my share of the mall parking lot footprint in order to keep some cemeteries, which I would as soon get rid of as parklands.

Despite all that, I don't own a cemetery plot and I don't know what I want to say about burial vs. cremation. My home town and home area (northeastern Ohio) have cemeteries full of my ancestors and the names amongst whom I grew up. But I haven't lived there since I was 18. The town in Maine where I've lived for 21 years, which is the only home my kids have ever known, has a cemetery into which I've never set foot. I don't feel anything like the connectional/community ties to this place that I feel for my home town.

This is the "where's home" question in a nutshell, for me. I don't exactly have one, any more than I have a name-able identity in the terms that so many other people feel so sure about (gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, etc.).

And I'm saying it just because it's interesting, not because I want some patronizing author to feel sad for me!

Smiling....

Well I mean everyone generalizes from his/her own experience, right?

Sure.

But if you discover that a generalization isn't valid, and other people are actually different from you, it doesn't necessarily follow that you have to judge them, or patronize them, or etc.

Yeah, I was kind of joking around ("everyone generalizes") -- my smiley got eaten by ObWi's anti-emoticon software or something.

Ihave a neighbor who doesn't like cemeteries, and who has directed that she should be cremated when she dies because the human footprint is already too large on this earth.

Actually, cremation leaves a larger "footprint" than burial.

Although my will specifies a preference for cremation, on the basis that this seems likely to be simplest and easiest for my executor to arrange, the best ecological solution is a green burial - no expensive coffin, no embalming, just dig a hole, bury the corpse (all usable organs having beenb removed for donation to others, I hope) and plant a tree. Maybe the next draft of my will can express a preference for green burial...

I think I'll go the Valentine Michael Smith route and have my body be eaten.

And so long as we're telling pet stories, here's where I am right now: We have four cats at home. Our oldest, Marble, will be 17 this year. I took her to the vet recently because she appeared to have lost her hearing. My vet said yes, she has, probably from old age; but more importantly, she's developed hyperthyroidism. She may, in fact, have had it for some time.

So now we have to give her methimazole every day, one dose of 1.25mg and one of 2.5mg. We started with pills, which proved very traumatic for both us and her, so now we're giving it as a transdermal gel. This will have to go on for the rest of her life, with blood tests every 4-6 weeks.

On the downside, she's also got the onset of kidney disease. And, as you can guess, regulating the thyroid function exacerbates kidney disease, because the overactive thyroid supports the kidney function.

So now we have to find a dose that keeps her thyroid in the high-normal range and supports her kidneys so she doesn't have kidney failure.

We're going to have to make some serious decisions in the next several years about her quality of life, the trauma of daily medication and regular blood tests, possible kidney treatments, etc. And it breaks my heart. We've had her since we were married. I can't stand the idea of her suffering, or of losing her.

I'm sorry Phil. I guess that's the price we pay for love.

Jes, thanks for pointing that out about burial vs. cremation. Remaking my will is exactly what I'm working on (or procrastinating over). Green burial is my most favored option, but it doesn't answer the question of where. Since I believe that when we're gone we're gone, I sometimes wonder why I care. But then I think of how much I enjoy looking at the names in cemeteries, and wonder who will be looking at mine... It gives me a funny sense of having a "presence" in the future after all.

Hmmm. Sunny, beautiful day. Time to go outside and watch the ice melt.

The weekend's big story.

Awfully sorry about everyone's deaths, dying, illnessess, pet deaths, hospitalizations, identity questions, and any and all other non-cheery news and olds.

Funny, I just had the conversation about burial the other day with my son. I grew up in a small town -- very small. We had a post office, general store, phone booth, bar, and a cemetary. I spent many happy hours looking at the plots while tooling around town (this was in California's gold country.)

I asked my son to please make sure that a tree is planted on top of me.

What am I doing? I'm thinking about how utterly expensive the silicon valley is. Gas is $4 a gallon. Organic veggies are now $4 a lb. I'm wondering if there is some nice other place my entrepreneur husband and I can move to, where the people are nice, community-wise, the schools are good, and I can garden and my husband can find lots of Ruby on Rails and Flex programmers. Dream on.

Gas is $4 a gallon. Organic veggies are now $4 a lb. I'm wondering if there is some nice other place my entrepreneur husband and I can move to, where the people are nice, community-wise, the schools are good, and I can garden and my husband can find lots of Ruby on Rails and Flex programmers. Dream on.

I'm in the Boston area.

Gas here is about $3.35 for regular. Organic veggies are a lot if you buy them at Whole Foods, but Stop N Shop has some organic stuff, and in the summer lots of towns have farmers' markets. Some local farms will also hook you up with a year-round in-season organic market basket for a pretty reasonable subscription rate, and some will deliver to a local drop-off.

Folks here are OK, friendly enough, but it can take a while to really break in. In the town I live in, you're not considered a local unless you were born in the hospital that isn't there any more. It'll take time. That's New England.

Housing prices are high but less than where you are. We're zone 5 gardening wise, you can get away with zone 6 if you're near the water.

Your husband can find lots of any kind of programmers his heart desires.

It's colder here than where you are. You'd want to factor that in.

You might check out Providence, too, it's a little warmer, a little closer to NYC if that floats your boat, and Brown cranks out some damned good SW engineers.

Good luck -

I had lost track of this thread til Russell posted at 9:11, but his comment made me think of something.

I made quite a few trips to Pittsburgh a couple of years ago (family in Ohio, kid in college in Pittsburgh for a year). Compared to Maine, the climate seemed downright balmy. The city was a b*tch to get in and out of (but that's from a rural Maine perspective), but other than the traffic it seems to have undergone a renaissance since the decline of the steel industry.

Outside the city, lots of beautiful farmland. I doubt gas or organic food prices are all that much better than anywhere else, but what made me think of it while reading Russell's description of the Boston area (I spend a lot of time there but can't afford the rent to move even if I wanted to) is that there was a map in The Atlantic a couple of years ago that showed relative over-, under-, and just-right-ly price housing markets all over the U.S. Pittsburgh was one of the very underpriced ones. I don't know how that will have changed now, but it might be worth a look. Carnegie-Mellon is there, and Pitt, and (I dimly gathered) a fair amount of support for tech entrepreneurship.

The Atlantic a couple of years ago that showed relative over-, under-, and just-right-ly price housing markets all over the U.S. Pittsburgh was one of the very underpriced ones.

Good call. You can probably sell a house in Silicon Valley and buy a whole neighborhood in southwest PA. Cross the state line to WV and you can probably buy a whole town.

CMU has a freaking great CS department.

Gardening zone is zone 6 like Boston (not 5 like I said above). Surprisingly good local jazz scene in Pittsburgh, if that is of interest.

My wife's family is originally from Butler PA, which is quite near Pittsburgh. It's a really beautiful and interesting area.

It ain't California, but depending on your point of view, that might be a plus.

Local tip: "y'uns" is the plural of "you".

Good luck!

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