Here’s That Post You Wanted

Bob and I have finished Act One of Rest in Pink, which is pretty damn good since we started it about two weeks ago. We have had a few kerfluffles–he insists on only one space after a sentence and I don’t care if it does make me an old fogey, you need two spaces for clarity; I am trying to teach him that plurals do not take apostrophes; it gets heated at times–but we’re pretty much in sync at this point, although we do spend a lot of time arguing about what fictional people would do. In our last debacle, I did a sex scene and sent it to him last thing at night, and then stayed awake most of the night because it was the wrong scene in the wrong place at the wrong time. I e-mailed him the next morning and said, “DON’T READ THAT,” but it was too late and while he had some questions–JUST DELETE IT, BOB–he thought we should keep it. That took up a chunk of the morning.

But the point is, we’re at 34,000 words, so we’re both feeling pretty smug about the whole thing.

And now back to you. When we were talking about the blog awhile ago, some of you said you’d like an open post to talk about anything you wanted and to ask each other questions. That was confusing to me because it’s not like we make you stay on topic here and the comments generally range pretty wide, but evidently some of you felt constrained, so here you go. No constraints. Go where you will in the Comments, Argh People. It’s all yours.

243 thoughts on “Here’s That Post You Wanted

  1. OMG. The freedom! Whatever shall we talk about? I know! We can discuss grammar! I respectfully have to differ with you, Jenny, it’s ONE space, not two, between sentences. Please don’t hurt me. 😉

    1. I always understood it to be two spaces but I get away with using one space because I’m not an author.

      1. It was, but the rules changed. It drives me crazy, but I know I need to adapt. Sigh!

        1. It’s just seems so wrong! It is easier to read with the second space, one knows that means a new sentence especially with ereaders as it tends to look like one long run on sentence if the font is smaller.

          And WHO decided that it should only be one space instead of two! I could go down a big rabbit hole coming up with the culprits. Was it a back room deal? Was it a nefarious group of crazy grammar rebels?

          And, any grammy can tell you it makes one look unwise in the eyes of grandchildren. Oh, the eye roll.

          1. So I posted my comment before reading further. I get it but it still seems wrong.

    2. All being well, your copy-editor will do a global, replacing any double spaces (a hangover from typewriters that didn’t have proportional spacing) with single ones. It’s such a necessary change that the Penguin guidelines for copy-editors ask us to do it twice, repeating the correction at the end of our edit, in case any have crept back in during the editing process.

      And I don’t see why plurals shouldn’t be capable of a possessive form: the Smiths’ homes (meaning various homes belonging to members of the Smith family). It’d be rare, but surely correct.

      (I’m taken aback to find myself on Bob’s side, when I’d completely reject the presence of zombies.)

        1. There you go. I did not know it was called the greengrocer’s apostrophe, though. The more you learn . . .

          1. My husband calls it “Deppenapostroph” (idiot’s apostrophe). He ‘s a teacher and is greatly annoyed that the greengrocer’s apostrophe has made it over the pond, too.

          2. Well, Bob spent some time over there in Norway and Afghanistan. Maybe that’s where he picked it up.

      1. Yep. In my life BR (before retirement), I was a writer/editor. The “double space after a period” thing was the burr under my saddle. I think maybe the people who learned typing on an actual typewriter will eventually die out, and future W/Es won’t have to beat that particular dead horse any more.

        1. I know that I will eventually die out. Yet I experienced the situation in the reverse: the double space after a period was the accepted rule until computer scientists decided to drop it to a single space. Rules for business writing followed tech. Then academics were forced to drop the extra space. It makes a difference to me when I read the printed page. — Oops! I read paper books, not ebooks. Another reason to die.

          Then there’s the comma preceding the word “and” in a series. I wish it were still there.

          1. The Oxford comma is still style for many publishers, including Oxford University Press, and I thought was standard in US English. (I don’t like it, as I’ve explained before; and it’s not Penguin UK style – so I don’t usually use it for work.)

          2. There you go. I did not know it was called the greengrocer’s apostrophe, though. The more you learn . . .

            Also, the Oxford comma is the hill I’ll die on.

          3. Has it gone somewhere?! I still us the “, and ” construction if previous list items were separated by commas.

        2. I learned typing on an actual typewriter in 1966 (my great-aunt the business teacher taught me more in ten days of half hour lessons than my friends learned in a semester of Personal Typing in high school) but in the thirty years I’ve had a computer I have almost adapted. The single spaces end about 60% of my sentences. In my personal not to be sent or printed writing I don’t bother to edit them. So by the time I do die out I will probably be up to 90% or more.

          1. Yes, but that’s one reason I don’t like using it every time: I use a comma before a conjunction when it clarifies the sense; otherwise, the conjunction itself is the pause.

          2. Life Is Good has t-shirts that say:
            LET’S EAT KIDS
            LET’S EAT, KIDS
            a of drawing of a roaring bear

        3. Thanks, Pam. I knew the world was waiting with bated breath for all of us to die out… but when I was taught typing sometime during the middle ages (mid 60s in real time) – a very nasty trollish teacher stood over me and glowered it I didn’t use two spaces (on my IBM Selectric) AND the oxford comma.

          So now I’ll begin arranging my funeral… Wanna come?


      2. I teach this lesson every year as part of our curriculum.

        The (one) boy’s dog

        The (two) boys’ dog

        It’s a plural possessive. If you don’t change the apostrophe for the plural, no one knows if one or more people own/posses the thing.

        The most popular place we see it today is in shower invitations. It’s a bridesmaids’ luncheon since it is for all the bridesmaids and not one..

        Whose side am I on? Jenny or Bob? I lost track.

        1. Wrong example.

          Jenny: The boys have a dog.

          Bob: The boy’s have a dog.

          It’s like a tic with him.

          1. Unfortunately, that’s the new reality. I had a mid grade novel which I started a number of years ago and I had to go through and take out all the double spaces between sentences. Arduous. I still double space sometimes.

          2. Okay, then I agree with you, Jenny. In this case, the boys is plural and not possessive because of the placement. Right? They have a dog. It was the boys’ dog. The boys have a dog.

          3. He just sticks apostrophes in plurals. The way I automatically stick two spaces at the end of the sentence.

            I got this from Bob earlier tonight: “Apostrophes in plural is the moral equivalent of two spaces after a period.”

          4. PS – I put both sentences through Pro Writing Aid, and only Bob’s came back as incorrect. It highlighted boys’ in blue and popped up the rule that this apostrophe was unnecessary.

            The boys have a dog. It’s fine without the s’ on boys.

            I looked everywhere for the rule, but I do not see it. I am sure it has something to do with the verb and maybe direct objects. Anyway, I am starting to hear the “Let It Go” song in my head now, so I will stop looking. However, I wanted to find a solid reason why Bob’s sentence is incorrect. Sigh. It’s the downside of being a teacher, lol. I have to find the answer.

          5. Bob’s sentence is incorrect because the apostrophe indicates the possessive – ‘of the boy’, and that’s not what he means. I think it may originate in the Early/Middle English possessive that would have been something like ‘boyes’, so the apostrophe indicates a missing letter, as it does in other contractions, such as ‘don’t’ – but it’s bedtime and forty-five years since I studied English, and I’m not going to check.

    3. It’s one space for proportional fonts (which adjust for the full stop), and two for fixed fonts, like typewriters.

      Don’t get me started on the grocer’s apostrophe 🙄

  2. Although, now I think about it, that’s more of a formatting issue rather than a grammatical issue.

  3. I’m on the “two spaces” side of the punctuation Mason-Dixon line because I have some visual issues and the two spaces make it much easier for me to read.

    On a related topic, is anyone familiar with bionic reading, where the first few letters are bolded, making it easier for readers to glide through text and stay focused.

    1. Ok I will comment one more time tonight. Just to say that I’ve never heard of bionic reading before, but it sounds interesting and I’m off to google it now…

    2. No, but it makes sense. I remember back in education classes (LONG TIME AGO) learning that people who read fast tend to skim by only reading the first two or three letters of a word.
      But what a nightmare for typing a text into a computer.

        1. My students who had problems reading and writing often raced through the assignment. They didn’t understand what they were reading because they didn’t read more than the first few letters of a word, then made the wrong assumption about what the word was. The same thing happened when they read only the first few words of a sentence.

          That said, one of them took a speed reading course and really bought into the way he was taught to read down the center of the page. I think the program actually taught him to read slower.

      1. So… I lurk and then comment every few years, and then today I am Sally Post-It-All!

        But I just finished my LETRS Reading Endorsement, so…

        *cracks knuckles and attacks keyboard*

        For quite awhile the belief was that people who skimmed only read the first few letters, but the latest research shows they read every letter. Researchers used high-powered cameras to film readers. Eye movement proves they (and we) actually read each letter. This means that a student who is struggling with a word will benefit from sounding out each letter, and it should helps older readers with multi-syllabic words.

        Whew! I would have continued to lurk, but the part of me that just spent over 80 hours studying this stuff would have slapped me.

        1. Interesting, Mermaid Scribbler! I’d assumed that my students who scored higher had a better sense of word meaning and context. They made the right guesses as they read fast.

        2. I always thought I was reading the shape of the word, as a fast reader. So that I occasionally misread words for something that looks very similar.

          1. That is what we were taught, but trained scholars now think this is why we have such large deficiencies in reading. Whole language taught the shape of a word, but kids missed phonics and individual phonemes. Without those, reading cannot happen.

          2. I was taught the old-fashioned way (Janet & John – I think this was phonics; it was 1961-2). But of course, I sped up, especially since I was a voracious reader from the start. So I think – certainly for me – there were two stages: my reading evolved. Maybe a third stage, in fact, when my history A level teacher insisted we learned to skim for the content we were focused on, since as she pointed out, it was impossible to read thoroughly (in the time we had) all the material we needed to look at in order to research our essays.

            Mind you, my friend who went on to teach history herself said the students weren’t expected to read books any more, so maybe that doesn’t happen now.

        3. I read very very fast and while my reading style has never been professionally analyzed/tested, my own sense is that I perceive a word as a shape, rather than a collection of letters. If a word is misspelled, or if it’s the wrong word (e.g. carat vs. karat), it’s the wrong shape. So it’s almost pattern recognition. (?)

          This helps a lot in catching mistakes as I write, because I type very very fast too (why I appreciate having only one space after a full stop despite having learned to type on an actual typewriter).

    3. I was trained to use the two spaces after a period in the sentence. It makes things much clearer.

    4. I love bionic reading! I just learned about it recently – they’re close to launching a Chrome extension that converts what’s on the page (so there def. Is software for it!). It did make reading easier for me, too!

  4. And grammatically I should omit “rather” from the preceding sentence. I’m clearly suffering from Friday evening brain at the end of a long week, so this will be my last comment tonight, I promise!

  5. I got to “DON’T READ THAT!”, and all I heard was ‘ “DON’T LOOK, ETHEL!” But it was too late, she’d already been incensed.’ So now I’m giggling quietly in my corner, and I need to go find that Ray Stevens video again.

    1. OMG!!! That’s exactly where I went too! That’s hilarious.

      Also, I was a 2 space girl for a long time until I just caved and went to one space and realized it actually saved me time when I was transcribing dictation. I’ve been single space gal ever since.

    1. I always tell Krissie it’s her fault my house is a mess. She doesn’t come to visit enough.

    2. Same, here. I sometimes invite my son’s family over just so I have to clean the house.

    3. Ha, I had people yesterday, so the house is clean for a change. It’s really nice, and makes me have good intentions, but they always slump after a while.

      1. This little discussion of needing an excuse to clean was my excuse for taking out trash, doing dishes, taking out the recycling, vacuuming (vacuuming!), and pruning the hot peppers. Note the comma before the and. I wouldn’t want you all to think I vacuumed the peppers and pruned them.

    4. I had a family get together this weekend and cleaned. Biggest challenge for me is clearing off the tables. I tend to use them to as storage. Drives DH crazy. We’ll see how long they stay clutter-free.

  6. I can relate Amyll. We don’t have people over often but when we do, I am secretly happy because My husband goes into superclean mode and the house looks extra nice without me having to clean. I hate cleaning.

  7. Oh, for hebbins’ sake! (sah-key, the rice wine stuff) On the one space/two space thing, if you’re printing out a rough draft, by all means double-space. If you’re creating a finished product, single space. If you’re making an ebook out of it, set the top and bottom paragraph margins to 1 or 2PX or .1 or .2EM, so there is a barely discernable gap between paragraphs. That gap is more obvious when you highlight several paragraphs, otherwise subliminal. It makes a difference.

    1. In the course of learning how to produce a legible e-book in the absence of professional editors/formatters (ain’t got the budget for that), I discovered all kinds of Word formatting tricks that I never use in the Day Job. Paragraph and line spacing, typeface compression, manually setting font sizes etc. They don’t tell you, in Legal Assistant Basic Training, that you can make your typeface Times New Roman 11.5. 🙂 I’m sure the word-processing specialists know all that and more, but I felt very fancy.

      1. I’ve made ebooks. I learned a lot of the tricks. But I never learned that you could split the difference between TNR 11 and TNR 12! TNR 11.5?! Old dog. New Trick.

        As far as two spaces after a period in a paragraph is concerned, HTML won’t display the second space, anyway, unless you code the space with the html entity known as “sticky space.” [& n b s p ;] which stands for “Non-Breaking SPace.”

        I followed Take pride in your eBook formatting by Guido Henkel because I could. He’s more nuts and bolts than many people want to deal with. But he’s also about achieving an attractive end product. 🙂

  8. a) two spaces, but I’m trying to break the habit
    b) I am silently correcting everyone’s grammar (including my own)… but I’m trying to break the habit. Last year my partner bought me Semicolon by Cecelia Watson. It both reminded me of why grammar is wonderful, and encouraged me to relax about it.
    c) A lovely kinetic words video on loving language by Stephen Fry

    Oooh, while I’m sharing random videos, female comedy musical duos for the win!
    Flo and Joan, nailing a night out (not that I do that kind of thing any more!)

    Also, Garfunkel and Oates The Loophole which I’m not linking too because CW! But just the content I needed today to deal with asshat (opposition, male, yes I know not all males) politicians looking across the world to Roe & Wade and going ‘well maybe…’

    1. There’s an asshat female in there, too. In the dictionary, next to smug, is her picture.

    2. LOVE Garfunkel and Oates! They are hysterical! And Kate Micucci (Oates) was in Raising Hope. Such fun!

  9. Discuss anything? I just harvested my entire crop of green onions – 65 grams worth, a little over two ounces – and it was all green tops. I think I’ll put the entire harvest into a four-egg omelet with cheese in the morning. Or maybe scrambled. With a side of bacon, if I don’t just mix the bacon right in.

  10. Still anything? I’m reading The Shepherd’s Crown (Diskworld) by Terry Pratchett, a fifth Tiffany Aching novel I didn’t know existed. I didn’t think that was possible, but here it is, and here I am.

    1. Have the hard cover, Still saving that, I remember reading the first few pages and I couldn’t carry on.

    2. I can’t read it. It’s the last new Pratchett I will ever read. My heart breaks. I have it in every format.

      1. I refuse to get emotional over the last Aching novel. I haven’t read Raising Steam, either, and I knew that one existed. All my Tuits are triangular; I’ll read it when I get a round one.

  11. We were supposed to stay in topic? So I guess Lupe and so blithering about shoes on Good Book Thursday is completely off base. I need some rules.

    1. Maybe we can barter for a shoe appreciation day? Not every week. Maybe quarterly?

      How is your vacation?

      1. So far so excellent. We are in Athens, getting ready to board our cruise or, as I like to call it, our own personal super spreader event. Every five years when he has a milestone birthday I take my dad on a trip and this time …he wanted to go on a cruise. So be it. Have worn four pairs of shoes so far (see that justification?) Have realized heels, no matter how kittenish, do not do well with cobblestones.

    2. If you want rules, go somewhere else.

      People think there are topics on here. They’re really just posting prompts. Go anywhere you want,

          1. You’re tempting me to say something naughty here but I am going to Contain Myself.

  12. It took me years to retrain myself. But now I’m a one space girl. *ducks*

    Yay for productive writing.

    I’ve been struggling with eye issues that have caused massive headaches for over 5 weeks, and barely able to write at all. But I am determined to go to the local (almost an hour away) Faerie Festival with friends, even though it means driving myself because the friend I usually travel with isn’t going because of her new Guiding Eyes puppy. (He doesn’t have his final parvo shot yet, so he can’t go where there are lots of other dogs.) This is one of the highlights of my year and they didn’t hold it for the last two years, so I really want to go to the ball…Wish me luck.

  13. Here’s something I love to hate… justified margins. It makes my brain hurt for the spaces between words to not be just one space. Maybe it’s 1.5 spaces or 3 spaces on the same line. THAT makes me crazy.

    1. It takes skill and care to make justified text work. There a good and bad places to break words, for example, and limits to how tight or loose a line can be spaced without becoming ugly and hard to read.

      1. I have just been talked out of justification on my blog. (As a format, I’ll still post my excuses for everything.)

        But I’m not going back to edit the 200 or so posts where I used it.

      2. I was a legal assistant for 20 years and I had one attorney who lived and died by justified margins. It made the legal documents look discombobulated because there was no rhyme or reason to it just a click of a mouse on MS Word. We finally had it out and I won since I was 15 years older than the attorney. 😀

          1. Bob Dear… if you justify your margins just one more time, an army of flaming zombies will appear and eat your brain.

            We need your brain to function in order to finish these books. Not that you don’t have value outside the written word.

            In other words… don’t make us come down there.

    2. Bob also does this. It makes me insane when I have to edit his stuff (as he edits mine).

  14. Talk about anything she said. Well here goes. I’m amping up my cranky old lady status because I went over to the library and asked that if they were going to close for a holiday could they send an e-mail to the patrons or even post holiday dates in their website. Monday was June Teenth I had no idea it was a holiday. As I finished my grumbling the librarian looked at me with a smile and said she was happy that they had a day off. Clearly I did not get through. Plus it wasn’t posted in the town newspaper. It truly was a small matter considering the week we’ve had with the two hearings and then Friday’s news from the Supreme Court.

    Did anyone notice that I used two spaces between sentences?

    Also years ago when I took a refresher course in typing I was taught to type a date like this 6.25.22 but then when working the date was 6-25-22. I never see the first.

    1. Well, it’s of course 25/6/22.

      Sorry about your libraries’ poor grasp of communications. Our library service is run by the local authority, so the council website has opening times (including holidays) for all branches. Google Maps also gives the opening hours today – don’t they do that in the US?

      1. I just went down the rabbit hole on my county’s library hours website. So much information, including a running table that shows hours for the next several days. They also put signs up at every library a few days before warning everyone that the library will be closed for the holiday. And all this time iv3 been letting Google tell me!

      2. It must depend on the library. My library’s website had a lurid pink banner running over the top of each page declaring closure for Juneteenth.

      3. I call your attention to ISO 8601. ISO 8601 tackles uncertainty by setting out an internationally agreed way to represent dates: YYYY-MM-DD.

        6.25.22, 6-25-22, 25/6/22, they’re all 2022-06-25. I use the ISO format on my blog. Because I can.

        1. We use ddMMMyyyy in aviation, to avoid confusion between different international date conventions. So 26JUN2022. It’s habit now, and frequently causes people I don’t know to ask if I’m ex-military.

        2. Always enjoyed our local Board of Elections arguing if a ballot envelope was properly dated because the voter used ‘military’ or European style dating. SCOTUS more or less agreed that the date doesn’t matter. One of the few decisions I’ve agreed with.

        3. I default to dd-mm-yy, or dd-mm-yyyy, and I can appreciate yyyy-mm-dd, but I will never get my head around mm-dd-yy. it’s right up there with international website that put prices in in $$, but don’t tell you which $$ – mine, or the US? It is immensely frustrating. Some online shops give you home country currency, some their home country currency, so you can’t just guess and it can be VERY hard to find.

          1. I like the ones with the flags to click on. I can recognize my own flag. (I do not recognize my country right now, but the flag is unchanged.)

    2. This whole holiday thing was a mess, this time. Juneteenth was On Sunday, but banks, the P.O. and other businesses celebrated on Monday, because they already had Sunday off. I want to work in a bank in my next life. Anyway, I had to pay my credit card on Bill Pay SIX days early to be sure they would get it in time!! Grrrrr.

    3. I’m so sorry Mary that the staffer on duty at the library was so obtuse. My local library post a bold, often red, header on the website to notify all and sundry of holiday closings. So, not only was I aware that the library would be closed both Sunday and Monday for Juneteenth, but was also closed March 31st for Cesar Chavez Day, among other not normally/formally recognized holidays. Some of this comes from living in a college town, even if it is in an awfully red state.

    4. The library I worked at was terrible about that stuff. It was so frustrating, as front line staff. We weren’t allowed to make signs. They all had to come from the marketing department. I fixed one with a typo once and the circulation staff got reprimanded. And so on. The management was truly terrible.

      Devil’s advocate, the bank I work at now had signs and updates on the website and we still got yelled at. I understand that it is going to take some time for this holiday to filter through the collective consciousness, but at neither job did I have any control over how it was shared with the public. The front line staff just gets to deal with the aftermath… :/

    5. I want to add that I’m probably spoiled by our previous director who covered all the bases and even would have the librarians call me and others when it was going to closed for a long holiday. That was if we had books or other material ready to be picked up. It is hard to adapt to a new regime.

    6. My Big City library always has holiday closings on its website. My Very Small Town library posts them on Facebook. (I never look at their website unless I’m signing in.) Your library needs to get out more.

    7. PS I have shared this before, but relevant! Earlier this year our (fabulous) public library was automatically unlocked and un-alarmed on a public holiday when it should have been shut. For four hours, until someone worked it out, people came in, browsed, issued their own books, left again…apparently nothing was stolen. I’m not sure I believe this last bit, but it’s a cool story.

  15. So much has been going through my mind, lately. (Rant following) I want to combine the two recent decisions of the Supremes into one big conflagration, where concealed carry lunatics go to the court to selectively eliminate certain justices, and then go on to congress to do the same thing, starting with Mitch, who made it possible for the Supremes to be who they are today. Otherwise, I really, really hope this will be a turning point in the elections coming up. But certain idiots will not budge. Somehow there have to be consequences for this. A woman does not get pregnant inconveniently by herself. It is the male’s fault, and he should bear the consequences. Any woman just minding her own business can go for years without getting pregnant. Years!!!! No abortion, no hetero sex!!! This is war!

  16. I am Team Double Space.. To me, it’s easier to read and I have to do it for work. I also hate justified margins. I’m Team s’ not s’s as well.

    As for that other thing, I am torn between rage and grief (especially in light of their dumbass ruling the day before) and its not even my country. I am pleased to see so many companies stepping up and saying that travel for medical services not offered in their home state is covered in their health plan. It doesn’t help some poor Latina girl working the night shift at a Wal-Mart in Texas and trying to finish high school but it’s a damn start.

  17. I am thrilled that you and Bob are writing and that it is going well!

    I just stopped writing screenplays, and I am now writing a short story. Then, I plan to write a novella.

    Writing a complete novel is daunting, so I am starting with a short story (which is equally daunting, I know). However, I just needed to fool myself into thinking it would be manageable. It’s short and small, and I have an outline.

    Anyway, yay for writing progress. ☺️

      1. Yes!

        However, I just feel so daunted about an entire book that I am starting here first. It may end up as a novella though.

        I remember a great dedication you wrote in one of your books where you detailed your first time finishing a novel and how you felt. It was beautiful – about how you thought people who wrote books were smarter or better than you in some way and then you did it, too.

        That’s what I want. I want to get a “running start” with a short story and perhaps a novella. Then, I want to finish getting to the top of the writing-a-novel hill, and afterwards take a moment to think, “Yay, I did it, too.”

        1. That was in the reprint of Manhunting, my first book.
          I still get teary when I think of what it was like, looking at that pile of typescript, a whole book, stacked on my table.

          1. And the first book of yours I ever read. I even remember the bookstore I bought it in.

  18. I’m so happy to see lurkers here!

    I have questions:

    Why do people who like the single space between sentences put an extra line space between paragraphs on the blog?

    Is anyone loving the January 6th hearings as much as I am? I haven’t heard so many quietly decent, honorable public servants speak in public for many years, and it’s filling me with relief.

    Why do we never discuss children’s books? I’d love to know what the regular people on this blog would call their one or two favorite books from childhood.

    How do I get poison ivy plants up and out from between large maple tree roots and concrete pavement? And not get poison ivy on clothes or skin?

    1. One of my very favorite books as a young reader was ‘The Velvet Room’ by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. To my mind a much better book about the Great Depression, for adolescents, than ‘The Grapes of Wrath,’ which I found grim, depressing, and a serious barrier to American Literature with a capital L. Don’t get me started on my rage about ‘The Red Pony.’

      I also loved the Chronicles of Narnia and re-read those several times until I discovered Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain, which I absolutely adored.

      In general, my adolescence was filled with books about animals. All of Walter Farley’s Black Stallion and Island Stallion books, Jim Kjelgaard’s Big Red series (and others), etc. 🙂

    2. I was the youngest of a very large family so learned to read early. I don’t remember – as a child – reading children’s literature. I vaguely remember reading Pipi Longstockings in third grade (about 8 years old) because it was the story the class was reading but I had moved on to YA. I was reading from the adult section of the library by the time I finished fourth grade (about 9). After I was in college I started a small collection of children’s literature. And now I occasionally read it. I never read Nancy Drew or Trixie whoever because by the third grade and thereafter I was obsessively reading Zane Grey, Max Brand and Erle Stanley Gardner – go Perry Mason. This is what my dad read.

    3. I’d put a double space between paragraphs that are full-out, since otherwise if the last line is full, you can’t see there’s a para break. Normal convention in printed material is full-out at the start of a section, followed by indented first lines, and no extra space between paras. (Again, this is stuff I usually have to do when I start editing a book, since I’m also cleaning up the file for the typesetters.)

      Favourite childhood books: the Narnia series and Winnie-the-Pooh, probably. But I had a lot of others.

    4. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this too many times to count, but my all time favorite is The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster with illustrations by Jules Feiffer. I like to give copies of it to adults at graduations and other happy occasions.

      As for picture books, there are far too many I love to list them all here. But I do tend to favor the more anarchic ones.

      Mo Willems: all the Elephant and Piggie books
      all the Pigeon and Duckling books
      The Stupids series by Harry Allard and James Marshall
      The Charlie and Lola series by Lauren Child
      The George and Martha series by James Marshall (who else would title a book about 2 best friend hippos Tons of Fun?)

      The Stinky Cheese Man and Math Curse by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
      Glasses, Who needs Them? by Lane Smith
      Dog Breath by Dav Pilkey

      For slightly older kids:

      The Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieszka
      The Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

      1. There’s a new one the heroes guide to saving your kingdom. Such a wonderful fun book. Christopher Healy. I’ve read all the books you mentioned and I adore them. I was so thrilled when my grandson told me that elephant and piggy were his favorite books.

    5. I recall one of my children’s books when I was a children was the Grimm Fairy Tales, the one where Cinderella’s step sisters mutilated their feet trying to fit the shoe. All the tales were similarly Grimm.

    6. Because blogs and comments do not indent.

      Yes. In particular, I love the way the Republican abettors are throwing each other under the bus.

      We discuss children’s book. We definitely talk about YA. Anybody who wants to talk about younger books is welcome to do so.

      Pour vinegar on the poison ivy. When it dies, get thick elbow length gloves–rose gloves are good–and dig it out or pull it up and put it directly into the trash bag.

    7. Oh, there are so many. I couldn’t possibly stop at one or two. People have already mentioned several good ones (Chronicles of Prydain; Phantom Tollbooth) What about Shel Silverstein’s poems? Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series? Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series. L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series. The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner. The Moomintroll series by Tove Jansson. And on and on. These days, if I am giving away kids books, I’ll start with Ursula Vernon’s books including the Hamster Princess and Danny Dragonbreath series.

    8. Regarding the January 6th hearings it just goes to show the integrity of the individuals between high ranking and people just trying to earn a dollar.

    9. I loved to read as a child. Phantom Tollbooth was a fave. But I DEVOURED every Nancy Drew book I could get my hands on. I also loved the Little House books. I remember being so excited to get the Weekly Reader catalogs and bringing it home to mom and dad to beg them to order another Encyclopedia Brown book. We couldn’t always afford them, which is when my love for the local library came into play.

      I have beautiful memories of spending a week with my maternal grandmother in a small Kentucky town and we would walk a couple of miles to the library to get books to read for the time I was there.

      My grandmother was a widowed retired school teacher and she would always either read out of her Bible or tell bedtime stories as we were getting ready for sleep. I miss that storytelling and wonder if people do that now?

  19. Stupid Question:

    A – narrator
    B – secondary character

    B – is looking out the window and makes a comment on what’s she’s seeing.
    A – doesn’t need to look out of the window to understand the comment but the reader needs to know what B is seeing.

    As B is not the narrator, other than A being the eyes of the reader, is there another way to write the scene? B describing what’s happening outside before she makes the comment would not work either.

    As somebody who learnt to type on a typewriter, I always use double space.

    1. Easiest: A goes to look at what B is seeing.

      B: My god, there’s a miniature squirrel out there.
      A, goes to the window: That’s a chipmunk.

      I don’t understand why the reader needs more. If A understands it, why doesn’t the reader?

      1. Chipmunks are even smaller than squirrels? I had no idea. I was astonished the first time I saw a squirrel, at how small they are. I had always assumed they were cat size.

  20. So. About grammar. I’ve been listening to an audiobook where the characters frequently say things like “I’m going to invite he and his wife to dinner,” and it just totally grates, because “he” is the object, not subject so it should be “him.” (It’s the same as the reason why “between you and I” is wrong, should be “between you and me.”)

    And it’s happening so often in a series that is otherwise solid grammatically that I’m starting to doubt myself. It’s a British historical (not Regency, but in that general timeframe), so is it possible that it’s actually correct British usage? Or, since it’s often in dialect, does it fall under the rule of “it’s how people really speak, as opposed to being correct” like no one uses “whom” in actual conversation, even when it’s correct?

    I dunno. It bugs me Every. Single. Time.

    And for the record, I’m a one-spacer between sentences. Retrained myself years ago when the spaces-between-sentences wars first began, because it was required for wherever I was submitting stuff. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly the new habit instilled itself.

    1. That’s not UK usage, even in dialect. I bet it’s an author with a poor grasp of grammar, imagining it was correct usage at the time. Probably due to the common ‘between you and I’ mistake, which was promoted as correct for a long time. (It’s from the mistaken idea that Latin grammar is the original, correct form, and English is descended from it – which of course it isn’t – and in Latin the verb ‘to be’ takes the nominative case.)

      1. I knew I could count on you you, Jane! Thanks for setting my mind at ease. I was wavering between “it’s a Britishism” and “it’s the author or character trying to sound more upper class than she is.” Well, between those two, and “it’s just a mistake.” I am surprised the copy editor didn’t catch it, because I haven’t stumbled over any other errors like that, over the course of … I think it’s 9 books now.

        1. You were able to read nine books like that? You must have nerves of steel. I’m not sure I could do that without chemical assistance.

    2. From Lavender’s Blue:

      “That is between my sister and I,” ML said.
      “My sister and me,” I told her. “Being a bitch is bad enough, get your usage right.”

    3. The misuse of myself. ARGH.
      Please contact Annie or myself if you have questions.

      And another one that always grates for me isn’t wrong, I don’t think – both options are right? It wasn’t that big OF…a something (a storm, a deal, a party). To me, the ‘of’ sounds baaaad.

      And then (because this is argh) there’s smirk.

      1. The added ‘of’ is an Americanism. They often get prepositions wrong: ‘outside of’; and contrariwise, ‘write someone’ rather than ‘write to someone’. I assume it’s due to so many of them (or their parents) having had to learn English as immigrants, and importing grammar from their native language.

        1. This thread is really bad for me: I’m sounding more and more like the grammar police, which truly isn’t me.

          1. I have the same reaction, though, when someone uses what to me sound like ignorant grammatical mistakes that just grate on my ear. And reading British books can give me a feel for what sounds that same way to the British concerning American usage. “Those colonists! They’ve misspelled the word ‘theatre’ again!”

            Still, though, language is always evolving and changing. It’s why Will S. was writing the English of his day rather than some Anglo-Saxon dialect or Norman French. And the Anglo-Saxon speakers were giving heart palpitations to their own stalwart old Saxon grandparents when they used some damn Frankish word when there was a perfectly good Saxon term, darn it all!

          2. Oh yes: and many of these grammatical borrowings from other languages are likely to become standard in British English, since American is so culturally dominant at the moment. Plus, of course, the number of English speakers worldwide for whom it’s a second language far outnumbers native speakers.

  21. Y’all are SO my kind of people.

    AP Stylebook says one space following a period.

    A company I once worked for had a battle in Editorial over whether to use 1) attorney’s fees 2) attorneys’ fees or 3) attorney fees with people on different sides actually threatening to quit over it. The Editor in Chief had to settle it; result was no to #1 unless the statute/opinion was being quoted and yes to nos. 2 and 3. Subtext in her directive was that she was dealing with lunatics.

      1. Definitely another skirmish. The problem with “legal fees” is that at least in the U.S., there are actually two categories of items in a bill from the lawyer — one for the lawyer’s (or lawyers’) work and one for “fees,” like court filing fees and witness fees and stenographer’s fees, and so on. Those non-lawyer-time charges may be lumped under “legal fees,” separate from the hourly (or percentage) rates.

  22. Anything goes. Right. I have a mouse problem. In summer they live in the compost heap. In winter they come inside for the warmth. They’ve never been a major issue because I’ve always had cats. But my last cat died a year ago, and the mice are making hay. I’ve been thinking … must do something about this.

    Last night there was a mouse in my bed. A MOUSE! In my BED! I am outraged. But mice don’t care about humans shouting at them. Which is why I am going to buy traps just as soon as the shops open.

    1. The important thing is to find the holes they use to get in and stuff them with steel wool, which they cannot gnaw through. Other methods are only effective in the short run until you do that. And there are fewer corpses to dispose of if they stay outside.
      And perhaps, after a year you are ready to get another cat.

      1. I’ve stuffed several holes with steel wool, but it’s hard to find them all in an old house. They can get through the most ridiculous holes.

        1. And sometimes steel wool only motivates them to chew around it. (That was a 1932 house with a rock foundation.) Here, 1970 house with concrete basement, the mice mostly stay in the basement (and don’t seem to be chewing up anything) and I find shed snake skins where the snakes have followed them in to eat them.

    2. My limit was a mouse running over my pillow in the middle of the night. I called the council next morning, and they sent a round, cheery-looking guy in a white coat, who had the most morbid imagination – he told me I was never more than a few feet from a rat, and that bubonic plague was likely to break out any minute. This was thirty years ago – I don’t think pest control is free any more. The trouble with mice is, they’re continuously peeing, and they carry nasty diseases. Plus they’d started eating the manuscript I was editing. He used warfarin, but the mice must have taken the bait home with them, as he said they would, because there weren’t any corpses.

      1. My main worry with baits and poisons is birds of prey and native cats etc eating the dead mice and getting poisoned. It happens a lot, and I really don’t want to add to it.

        1. I avoid using poisons around the house, too; same reason. Even the weed killer I apply to the wretched weedy grass that keeps growing through our cracked old driveway is mostly citric acid and clove oil.

          There are abundant mice in my backyard. Pretty sure they have a burrow under the studio apartment attached to the garage. Have witnessed one of the feral cats catching a mouse, to which I say: go cats; I am not feeding you, so feast on vermin. The mice may also live under the house (it would take very little effort for them to get *into* the house) but it’s a food desert compared to the yard full of tasty weeds and bugs. 🙂

          1. Right on Chachal! I think the reason I don’t get mice in my house is that I have a bird feeder, and I also leave stuff out at night for the Opossums, which the Raccoons also find and eat. Plus, I have a compost pile. I see at least one, maybe two, (mouse, mice?) mouses dart out and get birdseed after dark from the patio.

    3. This reminds me of a similar problem a friend had and a mutual friend told her to get a 5 gallon bucket and spead peanut butter inside the rim down about 3 or 4 inches. The mice would fall into the bucket trying to get the peanut butter.

      She followed the instructions and woke up to a bucket of mice. What he failed to tell her was to fill the bottom w water and the mice would drown.

      She ended up w a five gallon bucket full of mice that she carried out into the woods to release. 🙃

      1. The water was a crucial omission!!!! But a bucket full of wet, drowned mice would be pretty awful, too.

    4. I live in an old farmhouse and have vast amounts of experience with mice, alas. Even with multiple cats, I get them in the places the cats don’t go (walls, for instance, but also basement and mudroom, plus the little bastards like to build nests in the air filters in my car).

      Here is some of said vast knowledge:
      Be careful with poisons. They will not only die inside your walls and stink to high heaven for months, but the poisons make them thirsty and they will chew through your pipes to get to water. Also, if they make it out of your house, some poor neighborhood animal (cat, dog, etc.) might eat the dying mouse and get poisoned too.

      I use mini havaheart traps.. You have to release them outside and they might come back, but the traps work really well.

      Mice and all other rodents don’t like the smell of mint. You can use essential oil sprays around you foundation and any place the mice might be coming in, and you can also buy premade granules you can sprinkle. If you make a spray, it is pleasant enough smelling you can use it inside the house.

      Good luck!

      1. I git a humane trap when I was living at the cottage. Baited it with milk chocolate, which they apparently prefer to cheese, and was planning to release them in a wood more than half a mile away, which was supposed to be far enough that they wouldn’t come back. Was rather relieved when I didn’t catch any, though.

    5. Cat. I too had a mouse problem (well, I live in the woods.). Then I lured this skinny stray cat into my house, fed her designer cat food and found out that when she has enough to eat, she’s a beast, a Maine Coon, and she has been playing merry hell with the mice ever since. I think most of them just left. It wasn’t worth the hassle.

      1. I have just signed up to cat foster care. I’m hoping the first one they send me is a good mouser. I’d get another cat-for-keeps, but can’t quite bring myself to it yet. My last cat, Harry-le-Beau, was a hard act to follow.

      2. My aunt’s cat once brought me an I’m-not-quite-dead-yet mouse as a present. There was much screaming and wailing about!

    6. I have a rat and mouse phobia. I blame Orwell’s 1984 – the scene with the rats in the cage. Still terrifies me. One winter, we had mice living under our pantry. FS used traps and I refused to come down in the morning until he’d checked them. I think he trapped 20 or so over a couple of months. Fortunately, it was a one-time event.

  23. The pest control guy says that the stuff he puts out for the mice doesn’t make them very sick; it just makes them leave. I believe him because (1) I want to, and (2) there aren’t any dead mice — they all go away. (Years ago an exterminator used nasty stuff and we had to remove dead mice.) Beats having mice in your bed or dealing with dead mice.

    1. I’ve seen ads for ultrasonic plug-ins that are supposed to drive pests away, but I have no idea how well they work.

      1. Back in the 70s my parents got one of those for insects. The first weekend I came home I had to unplug it before I could go to sleep. I couldn’t _hear_ anything, but my ears hurt–a lot–and felt hot. It didn’t bother my parents at all.

      2. They didn’t work for us. They are still plugged in all over the house but they don’t seem to be effective.

  24. One space because no more typewriter and I’m lazy.

    Loving the 1/6 hearings except when I’m outraged.

    Had a really great turnout for the Roe ruling protest. And it was short notice. Hoping the anger translates to the ballot box. The local Pride March is tomorrow. I’m really interested to see how that goes.

    Discovering Georgette Heyer was a wonderful experience.

  25. Random Thoughts Saturday! Hitting it out of the proverbial park, so far!!

    And Audrey S. — did you JUST discover G. Heyer? Just recently?

    Here’s a question I would LOVE to hear people chime in on: what’s the first Heyer you ever read, and why did you pick it up to read it?

    1. After more than 50 years you expect me to remember which one I read first? I have a suspicion that my Mom gave it to me to try on a shared trip to the library, but even that memory is hazy.

    2. Frederica. It was on the new books display at the library and my mother and I looked over anything interesting the quite small library had just bought. We both loved it. (Decades later we could crack each other up by saying “Baluchistan hound.”) Then we discovered the library had quite a few more. Then they came out in paperback and we started buying them.

    3. Mine was The Nonesuch, which I found on the shelves of my high school library. I’d read all the Austen I could find by that time, so the period was familiar. I chose the book because of the beautiful Barbosa cover, and started looking for more by the author because there was a word in the text that I’d never heard or seen before — something like “supererogation,” I think? — which charmed me hugely. The more I read, the more I appreciated the non-phony, understated romances, the demonstrated good qualities of the MCs, and the humor. My very favorite was Sylvester, which I love, probably for the same reasons that I love Lake Silence.

    4. I get the Bas Bleu catalog, and they like her books. I read their review of The Masqueraders and thought it sounded interesting, so I bought it. I was hooked, after that.

    5. I think it was The Grand Sophy, a gateway drug if there ever was one. I still love that book. I named the heroine in Welcome to Temptation after her.
      No idea why I picked it up.

    6. I’m a late convert to Georgette Heyer too. I was in my 40s before I read my first one, which was A Civil Contract. Jo Walton recommended Heyer on her blog and I worked my way through her list of favourites. I reread them regularly because they’re kind and witty and clever.

    7. Arabella. I was twelve, coming back from one of a day trip to London, my aunt having recently married and moved down south. I found it in W. H. Smith’s at Victoria Station. It was my first adult novel.

    8. Cotillion. I was in my early twenties and thought Kitty was such an amazing girl (hey, I grew up in the fifties and was very shy). Now, I’m all Team Freddy, the “other” type of Heyer hero. I’ve collected all Heyer’s regencies and re-read them on a regular basis.

    9. Discovered her when I was much younger (early teens?). I think the first one was ‘The Corinthian”. I bought it when I was browsing the local book store and read everything else I could get my hands on.

  26. I have absolutely no idea which Heyer I read first but I’m fairly sure I was about 12 and exploring the adult side of the library having exhausted the childrens section. I was also reading the very bad romances (one step above Cartland) which lived in tbe hallway between childrens and adults. And I helped the childrens librarian; she kept a skunk under her desk and let him out when it was quiet.

    Speaking of childrens book… adding to the lists above would be Terry Pratchett, Diana Wynne Jones, and for younger kids Audrey and Don Woods, Sandra Boynton, Eric Carle, Tomie De Paola ….

    We have probably 50 feet of children shelves in the basement because kids books should be read in paper. Fortunately one of my kids is planning on producing grandkids so we will have someone to read them to. The other is leaning against but is 25 so there is hope still.

    My sort of god mother was a writer and artists agent and had rooms of bookshelves and for Christmas every year she would send us (my 3 sibs and me) a box of books , so maybe 30? . Heaven. (We were Jewish. She was Jewish. None of us were observant. But we were all readers. )

    Am I the only one here who has read “The young visitors or Mr Salteena’s plan” by Daisy Ashford? I think she was 9 when she wrote it around 1890. We got several copies of it so I assume my godmother had something to do with it. It’s charming .

    As a kid I also read things like the Greene Knowe series and Victoriana like all the Louisa May Alcotts and all the Oz stories and what Katy did. But I couldn’t get my kids interested in them. And my parents found some good progressive books so I actually read novels about people escaping slavery.

    I can, and maybe will, dig up many more given half a chance.

    1. Isn’t it ‘The Young Visiters’? Just checked, yes it is. The spelling is that of a 9-year-old. She writes some hair-raising things. I just found it on Gutenberg. This is the opening paragraph:

      Mr Salteena was an elderly man of 42 and was fond of asking peaple to stay with him. He had quite a young girl staying with him of 17 named Ethel Monticue. Mr Salteena had dark short hair and mustache and wiskers which were very black and twisty. He was middle sized and he had very pale blue eyes. He had a pale brown suit but on Sundays he had a black one and he had a topper every day as he thorght it more becoming. Ethel Monticue had fair hair done on the top and blue eyes. She had a blue velvit frock which had grown rarther short in the sleeves. She had a black straw hat and kid gloves.

  27. I usually read these in the morning, and comment then, too. I went back and read all the comments this evening, and I realize I’ve been missing out on a lot of the discussion. I try to avoid screen time late at night, but I might have to make an exception for this. I finished Slouch Witch and I cannot make up my mind about it. It was entertaining and moved right along, but there was something missing. Character development? I’m not sure.

    I started The Goblin Emperor, and it isn’t as hard to get into as I thought it would be with all the language and societal and technological idiosyncrasies in the book. I like that there is an explanation at the back and a list of characters with notes.

  28. I’m depressed af about Roe v Wade and hating our politicians. I know it’s not all, and I am ill informed, but it feels hopeless to start informing myself. It feels so corrupt?

    The comments above about the hearings – TLDR version, is it going to be effective? I can’t bring myself to read any politics (hopelessness), and it just seems like the effect will be none after all of it. Thoughts?

    I’m also scared DeSantis from Florida is gonna be the new Republican primary and I hate how he’s destroying rights in Florida.

    It all feels like there’s no point. Lotta negative emotions right now. I appreciate Liz Cheney a lot. I dont hate Republicans, I hate a specific subset and I wish the party would split. Anyone have any idea on the likelihood of that happening??

    Or are we trying to avoid these topics for sanity?

    1. Foreigner here, so no deep insights. But just read an alarming scare story about the likelihood of civil war – in the US, but I think other populist governments, including mine, also stir this stuff up. I think we’ve all got to find ways of listening to each other and cooperating on long-term solutions to our problems. Supposedly democratic systems have been so manipulated by politicians and their backers that they’re really not working.

    2. I still believe this is happening because the majority got complacent (that would be me), and the Republicans just screwed themselves on this one. And if they go after birth control and same sex marriage, they are going down in flames. I hope.

      I do believe that people are basically good and we’ll get ourselves out of this. But god, this is depressing.

      1. I so hope, too. This has to be the tipping point, or all is lost. If people can stay complacent about this and the gun decision, it’s the end of all good things.

    3. I believe the only solution that will be effective over the long term is to re-start the fight for a national Equal Rights Amendment, but the current version focuses on ‘sex,’ which as a legal construct is very outdated. It’s also too vague. Our second amendment states ‘A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.’ Everybody who wants a gun ignores the first two clauses, but they are there. It’s specific. The ERA needs to be actual legislation, redrafted for inclusivity, and should begin with a restatement of the ‘all men are created equal’ language in our Declaration of Independence. It should be ‘all persons.’

      Next on the list would be a statement that no person can be compelled to surrender bodily autonomy. If a person cannot be compelled to receive a vaccine, to be tested for diseases of epidemiological concern, or to sign up as an organ donor, then they cannot be compelled to have any other medical decision dictated by the state. No medical intervention can be applied or withheld without a person’s consent. (The U.S. is currently reckoning with reparations for people who were involuntarily sterilized. If you can’t do *that,* how can you justify forcing a citizen to bear a child?)

      Following that, a statement that any medication, medical device, or medical procedure approved by the FDA must be made available in every state and must be covered by all insurances.

      Then we need a statement that marriage is a legal contract (which it is; you can have all the ceremonies you want, but you aren’t legally married until you execute the license, it’s witnessed, and it’s recorded) that may be entered into freely by any two persons, regardless of gender identity, and must be honored by all states. (I realize plural marriage is a thing that some people want, but the fact is you can achieve that practical result through other forms of contracts. The word ‘marriage’ has millenia of baggage.)

      The main problem with the anti-equality legislation hitting the books is that it’s motivated by religious dogma, specifically fundamentalist Christian dogma. But we have to take arguments against religion out of the conversation about equal rights, because Americans do have a constitutional right to free exercise of religion. It’s important and valuable (and I say that as an atheist).

      What I think would be more effective is to point out the ways in which equality is an American value, and the process by which equality has been incrementally legislated as society evolves. We need to emphasize the ways in which even white men (if they weren’t landowners or Christians) had to fight for the right to vote, and relate those events to the end of slavery, the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the gay rights and women’s rights movements of the 1970s, the ongoing legal oppression of Native Americans, and the current efforts to restrict or roll back the rights of female, gay, and non-gender-conforming citizens.

      It’s very complicated. This is the problem with a federal republic. 🙂 I personally feel confident there *will* be another civil war within this century, possibly within my lifetime (I’m 56), and it will come sooner or later depending on the next presidency and whether any of the Western states vote to secede.

      1. What you say makes a lot of sense. There is a drastic shortage of sense in this country right now. We are heading into theocracy territory very quickly, and it will be hell if it goes full-on.

      2. I went to my pagan UU meeting tonight where it was a forum on the recent SCOTUS decisions, and I borrowed and shared some of your reasoning. I hope that is OK. What I learned at that meeting is that I’ve been depressed as hell because of all this looming over us, but now I am actually energized, and I hope many others are, too, and we will all do what we can to fight against this.

      3. I graduated from high school in 1975. I had a t-shirt that had the ERA proposal of the time printed on it. I wore it out. Wish I had it today.

      4. I think we need to emphasize the separation of church and state and lock it down. All the judges voting to overturn roe were far right catholic. Birth control will be next. I left the church over that and don’t appreciate the church interference in other’s lives. I would point out it’s not religious freedom, only favored religion’s.

    4. To most Florida residents DeSantis is a joke. Not sure why he is respected outside of Florida.

      1. My late brother was an Atlanta resident for most of his career. When James Earl Carter ran for president, Big Bubba said, “To most Georgia residents Carter is a joke. Not sure why he is respected outside of Georgia.”

  29. My latest blog post was about Ragoût de Chile, which is what I have come to call that chili-stew concoction I cooked with ground beef, ground pork, ground turkey, red onion, Vidalia onion, leeks, minced garlic, bok choy, sweet red peppers, sweet yellow peppers, jalapeños, habaneros, whole kernel corn, green beans, peas, carrots, whole cherry tomatoes, diced tomatoes, diced chilis, tomato sauce, tomato paste, Merlot wine, Worcestershire sauce, peppercorn chili oil, coarse ground black pepper, garlic powder, habanero powder, mushrooms, and two pounds of leftover chili from before.

    14 pounds, and I’ve eaten barely three so far. But as the blog post says, it ain’t chili anymore. It’s a stew, and I named it using my French Canadian heritage. So far it’s good on toast, good on or with crackers, good by itself, and good with LaChoy Asian-Style Crunchy Noodles. Tomorrow I plan to make some macaroni and cheese. I ‘spect it’ll go great with that. Monday, Ragoût on Rice. Tuesday, some kind of chicken dish, because man don’t live by ragoo alone. Anything not eaten on Monday gets frozen, and I’ll heat it up a pound at a time.

  30. I debated whether to mention my all-time favorite children’s books because a) they’re out of print except at stratospheric prices and b) there are only three books. It’s about a somewhat lonely D.C. boy who applies for a job at a dusty old antiques store. He gets the job because he suddenly sees the antiques in their shiny new form, which is the Revolutionary War era–which is the era that the books are basically set in and where he and the wizened old proprietor (now a vibrant young man) thwart evil-doer Claggett Chew. It involves espionage and shape-shifting (but with logical consequences–if you’re a fly on the wall and you get squished you’re well and good dead). Overall, they’re gentle and have great heart and values and good suspenseful action.

    The books are by Carley Dawson:
    Mr Wicker’s Window
    The Sign of the Seven Seas
    Dragon Run

    Turns out Ms Dawson was a minister, which I found out when as an adult I wrote to the publisher, threatening to steal the books from the library unless they could find me copies to buy. They couldn’t, but forwarded my letter to her. :)!! Ms Dawson kindly ignored the threats and helpfully recommended some bookstores. 🙂

    Anybody else ever heard of them?

    1. Mr. Wicker’s Window!! That is the book I’ve been trying to recall for years! When a kid in modern times goes into a small Georgetown (DC) shop and turning around, realizes that through the front bay window he can see tall sailing ships and people in 1700s dress walking along the sidewalk. I just bought a used copy, thanks to you!! I LOVED that book as a kid.

  31. So what I think will happen with Roe is that we are going to have to fight this both in Congress and state by state. Sometimes it will be bills to ban abortions and sometimes it will be bills to create federal protection or state constituonal protections.

    And pregnant people will die and children will be forced to give birth and children will lose their parents. And that reality will help change things but it will take time.

    I don’t know if it will happen in this election. We need to get people to vote and that probably takes stories about deaths from ectopic pregnancies and infections and people hemorrhaging as they drive to other states to get abortions. And it’s gonna be grim.

  32. I think I talked about it at the time but a few years ago my mom adamantly denied she had animals in the house until a flying squirrel flew from the wall mounted speaker to under the dining room table. The company that ultimately got them out (trap and release) found 27 flying squirrels (IIRC) one regular squirrel, and an opposum. I have no idea about the number of mice.

    So far as we know they haven’t come back—the company presumably closed up the holes.

  33. I am hoping that Congress will pass term limits for SCOTUS; age 75 or 20 years, whichever comes first. We would lose out on 20 years of Ruth Bader Ginsberg but we would also lose out on fixed Supreme Courts and inept appointees staying in power forever.

  34. The Supreme Court and the 1/6 hearings are depressing. Let’s try something else.

    A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon.

    As she laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his

    stethoscope and listened to the bird’s chest.

    After a moment or two, he shook his head and sadly said,

    “I’m sorry, but your duck, Cuddles, has passed away.”

    The distressed woman wailed,

    “Are you sure?” Sad

    “Yes, I am sure. Your duck is dead,” replied the vet..

    “How can you be so sure?” she protested.

    “I mean you haven’t done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something.”

    The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room.

    He returned a few minutes later with a black Labrador Retriever.

    As the duck’s owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs,

    put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom.

    Then he looked up at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head. Sad

    The vet patted the dog on the head and took it out of the room.

    A few minutes later he returned with a cat.

    The cat jumped on the table and also delicately sniffed the bird from head to foot.

    Then the cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and

    strolled out of the room.

    The vet looked at the woman and said,

    “I’m sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck.” Shocked

    The vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman..

    The duck’s owner, still in shock, took the bill.

    “$150!” she cried, “$150 just to tell me my duck is dead!” Shocked

    The vet shrugged,

    “I’m sorry. If only you’d taken my word for it, the bill would have been $30.

    But with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan, it’s now $150.” Cool

  35. Surely the US is going to allow abortions for ectopic pregnancies? It’s murder if they don’t.

      1. From the AMA morning news letter:

        AMA President Dr. Jack Resneck Jr. “condemned” the ruling “and said it is ‘a direct attack on the practice of medicine and the patient-physician relationship, and a brazen violation of patients’ rights to evidence-based reproductive health services.’”

    1. Well it will depend on the state. And on practitioners. One state tried to pass a law making abortion murder from the moment of conception. I believe it didn’t pass. Naturally doctors are going to be unwilling to go to jail for murder. They may try to send patients to another state where abortion is legal but not all women will make it.

      Women in Texas which made abortion illegal but instead of state prosecution opens the treating medical staff to lawsuits by private individuals if they are past 6 weeks (which of course is 2 weeks or less after conception) are driving hundreds of miles to get to a different state even when the pregnancy has failed because practioners are afraid to get sued.

      Patients are waiting hours for emergency surgery while their doctors consult lawyers.

      The ugly truth is that many women already were subject to similar treatment because they 1) went to Catholic hospitals or 2) were on armed forces health care and because of they Hyde amendment their doctors can’t give them abortions or tell them to go elsewhere.

      Yeah, women will die not just from self abortions but from lack of essential medical care. Its terrifying. I warned my daughters not to travel to abortion ban states because you never know if you are pregnant whether it will become a medical crisis .

      1. Does anyone know what the religious traditions the five right-wing judges on the Big Court come from? Was it one Catholic, two Catholics? Or some mixture of so-called evangelical Christians and others?

        All the preaching I have read online and in newspaper reports of those who are happy about this new decision are framed in highly religious arguments about the existence of the soul of the fetus, and when it can or cannot be assumed to have entered the tissue that would eventually become a person.

        And the belief systems that seem to have created the framework for their arguments all have this underlying flavor of the patriarchal goat flock owners whose world most of the bible texts are drawn from. Even the co-religionists of my Mormon ancestors seem to have picked that up, even though I have the impression that they just added Jesus Christ to the name of their church in the 1880s when towns began expelling them or burning them out of town because they were weird and advocated plural marriage.

        But patriarchs make pronouncements, regardless of their ignorance or their freedom from the messy and dangerous realities of pregnancy. I wish I could even imagine a way to get through to them so they would stop and think about what they are doing.

        1. Roberts, Thomas, Alito, Kavenaugh , are Catholic. Barrett is some Catholic cult . Gorsuch is some mix of Anglecanism and Catholic.

          Of the three dissenters Sotomayor is also Catholic and Breyer and Kagan are Jewish.

  36. What I wonder about are the pregnancies that go bad. My SIL at three months was told the fetus had died and she would have to have it aborted. Is this now illegal?

    1. It’s legal to abort a dead fetus. The problems arise when 1) It’s a dying but not dead fetus because the laws are really vague and doctors are terrified that their judgement will be second guessed or 2) It’s a dead fetus but doctors are afraid they will be prosecuted for claiming it was dead when it wasn’t .

  37. Women will die of these complications, because the answer to “can she get an abortion, if this is happening?” is NO. NEVER. Not for rape, not for incest, not for ectopic pregnancy, not for any reason can you harm that wonderful fetus, even if it would save the mother’s life. The gods of the court have spoken.

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