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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn

magic window


cropWell, first I was gonna post rose pictures, because I've been practising drawing them, but then it occurred to me, what with it being Year of the Rabbit & my last page-to-finish in Fran's sketchbook from 2020 being (more) bunnies, that would be awesome, except it's not going well & thus still isn't finished, not to mention the general downer the New Year has been for the US Chinese community...

But hey, we got some proper snow! I was beginning to think we weren't really gonna get any this season, but a couple of days ago we got 4–5 (perhaps even 6?) inches (100–150mm, for those of you with sensible measurement systems) and I got a chance to try out our new ‘teeth down’ snow shovel.

I rather enjoy shoveling snow by hand & would be perfectly happy to do my next door neighbors’ walks if they didn't feel so obligated to do it themselves. I mean, you get to go outside, enjoy the beautiful snow, get a bit of exercise and do something useful & kind for the local pedestrians (most of whom are dog-walkers, so we also try to use the plant and dog friendly salt, on those rare occasions when it's absolutely necessary.)



cropJust finished Kristin Du Mez's riveting book, Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation. None of the material is going to be a big surprise to people following progressive christian blogs such as Fred Clark's Slacktivist or the now defunct Libby Anne's LoveJoyFeminism (which the perennially flaky Patheos seems to have scrubbed, at least somewhat—her farewell post, in which she explains why's moving on to other things is gone, though some of the older posts remain) but Dr. Du Mez, a historian specializing in religion and gender at Calvin University, organizes that material into a coherent and snappy account to explain why (white) evangelicals and, eventually, other conservative branches of US Christianity found a “manly hero” in Donald Trump, despite his conduct, which at first glance should have horrified these folks.



cropI have actually been making—and stringing!—even photographing beads. (As well as a lot of gifts...) These will show up, someday. Really.

But in the meantime, I have another floral doodle in the year series.



cropUgh, the news. Eventually I will gird my loins and post my thoughts (not that they'll be any surprise...) but in the meantime, in the interest of getting my tabs down to under 25, here's a bunch of random linkies (from just about exactly six months ago—bonus, the news don't seem quite as awful...but in any case, I'm exhausted, so I'm digging this out of the archives in order to have something to post this week):

  • KC Davis, How to Keep House While Drowning: A Gentle Approach to Cleaning and Organizing , tidying up for those with ADHD;
  • Popeye the Sailor is nonbinary.
  • That anti-racism woke stuff has been around a long time. So has the powers-that-be’ objections to it... (And how do you correctly write the genitive case of a phrase in which the first, rather than last, word is the plural...?
  • The Brits’ ranting against their criminal corrupt leaders is so much richer and elegant.
  • Earliest known footage of NOLA mardi gras is pretty darn cool.
  • Codependency is a toxic myth (bonus, so is the idea you have to ‘hit bottom’ before getting better.)
  • The things I learn...ant [colony] casts!
  • That gorgeous confection of a pink and green tea dress in Jenny Islander's comment...!
  • Neandertal flute has a lovely sound.
  • In the the this-is-not-news-dept., cycling is (sigh) dangerous
  • Via FTB better, lighter, 2 bladed wind turbines with no downsides. (Actually I can think of one: the three blades ones are prettier and cooler looking: I love looking at them, one of the few pieces of modern technology that I find unequivocably beautiful...it's trivial, granted, but for me, real. But since I gather they're gonna have to paint one of the three blades black anyway to save the birds, that elegance looks to be disappearing regardless.)
  • Eventually I'm gonna have to read/listen to these articles about the wealth gap between whites and Blacks in the US, something of which I've been well aware for decades. But it wouldn't hurt to have a greater historical understanding.
  • Unsurprisingly Black women are at the forefront of defending abortion rights, since Black folks see the overturn of Roe v Wade/forced birth as an assault on their bodies akin to the ways slavery forced impregnation and child theft upon them. So Black veterans are leery.
  • Also, when my focus comes back, mebbe I'll finish this article on Dardistan, the ‘most linguistically diverse area in the world’
  • Living a more meaningful life. The simple, but difficult teal deer seems to be to focus on the things that actually make you happy and fulfilled, as opposed to the ones you think ought to...
  • Years ago, we stumbled—possibly with the help of the wizard's sister—on Found Magazine. Via bb ere's the library version, and it's pretty interesting.
  • Also via BB, that AI that everyone's using to generate stuff (especially weird paintings) made up some music that human musicians then took it upon themselves to play... Ofc, it sounds like classical (Western Art Music) to me, cuz that was the seed, I presume.
  • Elizabeth Loftus does a TED talk on the malleabilty of memory —something I've known since reading a Scientific American article (30? 40? years ago) in which people shifted, over time, their memory of a Black victim being threatened by two knife wielding whites, to being the aggressor: as handy a way as ever of illustrating the way racism permeates our society.
  • Jimmy Kimmel features this man-on-the-street query on women's anatomy and though appalling it was also laugh-out-loud funny.



cropDid you know today is Ephiphany? Back in ye Olden Dayes, before corporate commercialism started the xmas hols sometime before Halloween (siiiiigh) the traditional xmas season ran from the 25th to Ephiphany —the 12 Days of Xmas in that Partridge in a Pear Tree song.

This year I managed for the first time ever to actually do our holiday dinner on the Solstice (which I think makes far more sense for atheists), which is about as ahead of schedule as I've ever managed personally, but as you see I failed completely to post any gift decorations between the Dec 25 and today, or even to do the third in a series of New Year's doodles for today.


But hey, I've finally—after 35 years of trying, on and off—to make what I consider is decent citron, (technically candied grapefruit peel), which I use exclusively for my family's xmas holiday breakfast—so that seems appropriate, not to mention handy, as grocery stores just don't seem to be carrying citron any more.



cropHideho. I was in the middle of writing this long screed that among other things decried (organized) religion for its self-deceptive practises (i.e. believing in god(s), because I really don't think it's a good idea (though nowhere near as serious as actively hurting people), and how important it was to me as an atheist to be on the lookout for modern myths/just-so-stories/etc. And most especially stuff that science says are true.

Except so much of it's not. PZ's take from this article about debunked studies in the pyschology field is that even a lot of very smart people spend a great deal of time making up—and defending!—elaborate theories that simply aren't true.

Mine was psychology often gets a bad rap as a “squishy” field, but the compiler of unsupported research noted that


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