August 17th, 2017

Posted by Alan Brown

In this bi-weekly series reviewing classic science fiction and fantasy books, Alan Brown looks at the front lines and frontiers of the field; books about soldiers and spacers, scientists and engineers, explorers and adventurers. Stories full of what Shakespeare used to refer to as “alarums and excursions”: battles, chases, clashes, and the stuff of excitement.

Edgar Rice Burroughs’ most popular creation was Tarzan the jungle lord, who had many fantastic adventures with strange creatures and lost cities. Tarzan’s strangest adventure, however, came when he crossed over into another Burroughs series, and visited a mysterious world in the center of the Earth: the land of Pellucidar. There he found dinosaurs and saber-tooth tigers, lizard men and pirates, cavemen and pterodactyls. 


Hidden Treasures

There is one encounter I had with the works of Edgar Rice Burroughs that I will never forget. One of the big annual events in my hometown was our church auction. As each summer progressed, basements and barns of church members filled with donations. We sold books in box lots, and one year, when I was 11 or 12, I had the job of making up the boxes—and discovered some hidden treasures. Someone had donated a collection of Stratemeyer Syndicate and Edgar Rice Burroughs adventure books from the 1920s and 1930s (you can find a review of a typical Stratemeyer book here). I separated the ones that we didn’t already have in our basement and put them in the bottom of a box with some uninteresting books on top; a few cookbooks and something about a car called a Chilton Manual. This box was the one I would bid on in the auction.

But when the bidding began, I found I had a competitor. I had six dollars in my pocket, a hefty sum at that time, and all the money I had in the world. But I had bid five and was beginning to sweat before the man finally dropped out. For some reason, my plan had not worked out the way I had intended. As I was carrying off my box, he approached me, said he thought we were bidding for the box for different reasons, and offered me two dollars for the Chilton Manual. I happily agreed, and learned several lessons from the experience; that strangers can be kind, that a good negotiator can help both parties end up ahead, that not everyone puts the same value on the same thing, and that when you practice to deceive, you can be your own worst enemy. And in addition to those lessons, I had some great books to read during the rest of the summer.

My older brother was the big Tarzan fan in the family, but one particular Tarzan book caught my attention because of its fantastic setting—the book in which Tarzan traveled inside the Earth itself and had adventures that boggled my mind (adventures involving dinosaurs, a passion of mine in my younger years).


About the Author

Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) was born in Chicago, and before he became a writer, he dabbled in many professions, never with any success. He attended several schools, spent a short time as a trooper in the Seventh Cavalry, and in occupations as diverse as salesman, prospector, shopkeeper, cowboy and railroad cop. But he had a flair for storytelling, and enjoyed reading the pulps. Thinking he could do better than some of the other authors in those books, in 1911 he submitted the first John Carter story, “Under the Moons of Mars,” to All-Story Magazine. When the story sold, he knew he was on to something. The next year he created another character, Tarzan of the Apes, and he was on the road to fame and fortune. In addition to the jungles of Africa, his characters roamed the Earth, Mars, Venus, the Moon, and even the Earth’s interior. He was a pioneer in writing what became known as “planetary romances,” inspiring a sub-genre that filled many magazines with stories, and many young heads with dreams of adventuring on strange worlds. He was a pioneer in licensing his characters for appearance in other media, and Tarzan appeared in comic strips, in movies, and on the radio. While his fiction liberally uses the tools and tropes of pulp fiction, Burroughs was a master storyteller, with an unusually fertile imagination who wrote stories with tremendous energy. It is no wonder that he quickly rose head and shoulder above his peers.

Modern readers must be cautioned that Burroughs’ stories are influenced by the pervasive racism and sexism common in the era. Tarzan can be seen as an example of what has come to be called the “white savior” trope. Burroughs’ characters often jump to conclusions based on the race, sex, and appearance of other characters, persons of color are used for comic relief, and vicious conflict between races and tribes is portrayed. That being said, characters are also often shown rising above this prejudice, and while the women in his stories are generally there to provide his male protagonists with a love interest, they arguably exhibit more agency than women in many other stories of the era.



The most popular of all the characters Burroughs created, Tarzan was the very embodiment of what Burroughs considered the highest virtues of both civilization and nature. His adoption by apes followed in the tradition of many figures of legend, such as Romulus and Remus, founders of Rome, who were suckled by a wolf after being abandoned in a forest. Tarzan learned the ways of the jungle from his adopted tribe, and was intelligent enough to learn to read from the children’s primers and other books his shipwrecked parents left behind. He was at the peak of human conditioning and abilities, his strength honed by his jungle life. He was faithful to his wife, and constant in his desire to protect the weak and the helpless. He was chivalrous, and a fierce enemy when provoked. Those whose view of Tarzan was shaped primarily by the movies and Johnny Weissmuller’s incarnation of the character, with a limited vocabulary and simple worldview, are often surprised to meet the erudite and thoughtful Tarzan of the books.


Hollow Earth

Mankind has long been fascinated by the concept of another world beneath our feet. The idea of the land of the dead, or Hell, being underground is just one of many such legends. Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth described adventurers finding massive caves full of strange plants and creatures deep below the surface. Starting in the late 17th Century, there was speculation that the Earth might be a shell, only a few hundred miles thick, with another world contained within. In the early 19th Century, an American named John Symmes put forward a theory that gained many followers, suggesting that not only was the Earth hollow, but that entrances to its interior could be found at the poles. Even into the 20th Century, as polar explorations found nothing of the sort and all scientific evidence pointed strongly against it, some people clung to the hollow earth idea.

Polar explorers of the time had their own odd theories. One persistent theory, which led many to their death, was that there existed an Arctic continent and a warm water ocean above a rim of ice. There were even those who called this continent Ultima Thule, after ancient writings that probably were, in actuality, describing Scandinavian lands. Some occult-obsessed Nazis even argued that this land was the source of their so-called “master race.”

In 1914, Burroughs saw the idea of a hollow earth as a fertile landscape for adventure. He wrote of a pair of explorers, David Innes and Abner Perry, who used a drilling machine to bore through the earth’s crust to find this mysterious land, which Burroughs called Pellucidar. They found a world with no horizons, because the surface curved upwards, and permanent daylight, with a small sun floating in its center. A small body near the sun created one small area of darkness. The continents and seas were a mirror image of what was found on the surface of Earth. And, capitalizing on the then-current interest in fossils and prehistoric creatures, Burroughs populated this world with dinosaurs and other holdovers from bygone eras on the surface. There were also pirates who had wandered in from the surface world, as well as all sorts of sentient creatures evolved from different animals. While a veneer of scientific explanation is given for the various wonders Innes and Perry find in Pellucidar, the science is of the “pseudo” variety, and these tales fall squarely into the realm of fantasy.


Tarzan at the Earth’s Core

The book opens with Tarzan investigating a party that has intruded on his jungle home, led by a young American inventor named Jason Gridley, who has recently received mysterious messages on a new type of radio. Gridley tells him of a mysterious world within the Earth, and how another American explorer, David Innes, has been captured and is in need of rescue. Gridley proposes that Tarzan co-sponsor an expedition that will use a dirigible to travel via the polar entrance to this world. Gridley is concerned that normal dirigibles need lots of ground support, but Tarzan has a better idea: a friend of his has discovered an incredibly light and strong material that could be used to build pressure vessels that could be pumped down to a vacuum, and provide even more lift than lighter-than-air gasses. (I suspect that this approach would require new physical laws rather than just a new material, but we are reading a book where the Earth is a giant hollow sphere, so let’s just accept that and move ahead.) Together, they go to Germany and commission the construction of this craft, which they dub the O-220. They hire a crew that consists of German airmen, an African-American cook, and Filipino stewards. Tarzan enlists ten Waziri warriors from his African homeland to defend the expedition. Oddly, the only person from this crew who displays any personality at all is Robert Jones, the cook, whose bemusement about the strange environment and perpetual noon is presented as a running joke. The others simply serve the plot as required.

The O-220 lands on a prairie, and Tarzan heads out to explore. Eventually, distracted by the strangeness of the land, he finds himself captured and hanging from a tree limb by a primitive snare. A saber-toothed tiger stalks him as he hangs there. Back at the O-220, Gridley decides to search for Tarzan, taking the Waziri as well as one of the German crew, Wilhelm von Horst. They follow game trails, and see all sorts of strange beasts. Soon they realize that the animals are being herded by a group of saber-toothed tigers. The tigers attack, and the group is scattered. Meanwhile, Tarzan is rescued from his own menacing tiger by a group of Neanderthal-like gorilla men. He is surprised to find that they speak the same language as the ape tribes of Africa. One of them, Tar-gash, is friendly to Tarzan, and when they take him to their village, Tarzan returns the favor by warning him against an attack by a rival. Both flee the village, and Tar-gash suggests that they go find Tarzan’s people. Bewildered by the odd terrain and the perpetual noonday sun, however, Tarzan soon realizes that, for the first time in his life, he is lost.

Gridley has been hiding in a tree since the tigers scattered his party, and eventually makes his way back to the O-220. He takes their single scout plane, but is attacked and brought down by a pterodactyl. Tarzan and his companion are heading toward a land where Tar-gash knows that people like Tarzan live, and they see the scout plane pass overhead. They are attacked by a giant flightless bird, and kill it with the assistance of a human warrior. Tar-gash wants to kill the man, whose name is Thoar, but Tarzan suggests that he can trust a man who just saved them, and they team up.

Meanwhile, a beautiful young woman, Jana, is being pursued by members of a tribe whose practice is to capture mates from outside the tribe. Jason Gridley, regaining consciousness after parachuting from his wrecked aircraft, sees her pursued by not only the four tribesmen, but also a pack of hyaenodons. Gridley draws his trusty Colt revolver and fights off both the creatures and the tribesmen. Together they find the remains of Gridley’s aircraft and he recovers a rifle and other gear; the plane, however, will never fly again. A short while later, Tarzan and his party find the aircraft, and Thoar recognizes the footprints of his sister, Jana. At the same time, Von Horst and the Waziri are lost in the wilds, and the O-220 sends out yet another search party—which, though unsuccessful, at least finds its way back to the airship.

Gridley and Jana learn each other’s language, and head back toward her people. They develop affection for each other, but when she confronts him about his feelings, he finds he can’t admit love of a savage, no matter how desirable. Jilted, she turns away from him, but he continues to follow, his mind in turmoil, his civilized notions of a proper mate warring with his natural inclinations. Tarzan is carried off by a pterodactyl to its nest, and Tar-gash and Thoar, thinking Tarzan is doomed, go their separate ways. Tarzan, being who he is, escapes from the nest. There is a cloudburst, and Jana thinks Gridley has been killed in the flooding that follows it. Tarzan sees a lost boy being attacked by a massive cave bear, and jumps in to the rescue. Meanwhile, Gridley, who has survived the flood, spots a warrior being attacked by a stegosaurus, and also leaps in to the rescue. This creature is the weirdest of all, defying the fossil record and the laws of aerodynamics by pivoting the bony plates on its spine, and using them to glide in to attack.

Somewhere amid these somewhat random adventures, Burroughs seems to realize that he has a plot to advance, a captured David Innes to rescue, and a lovers’ quarrel to resolve. And eventually, with liberal use of coincidence and serendipity, he brings all his characters together for a fast-paced conclusion.


Final Thoughts

There is much in this book that you can poke fun at: the tortured science, the clichéd background characters, the numerous coincidences that help resolve the plot, and the contrived and episodic adventures that face the protagonists. But the main characters are sympathetic, the cliffhanger switches in viewpoint keep you guessing at what happens next, the procession of prehistoric creatures keeps your interest, and the book succeeds in keeping you engaged throughout. Burroughs might have had his flaws, and freely used the many conventions of pulp fiction of the era, but he was also a master storyteller, and Tarzan is a walking example of wish fulfillment, someone many readers might aspire to be. This book, with its fantastic setting, stands as one of his most unique adventures.

And now, as always, I open things up for comments. If you’ve read Tarzan at the Earth’s Core, I’d be interested in what you thought of the book, and comments on any other works by Burroughs would also be welcome.

Alan Brown has been a science fiction fan for over five decades, especially fiction that deals with science, military matters, exploration and adventure.

klb: (Default)
die before Methuselah (Star Wars - All Media Types, Star Wars Prequel Trilogy, Star Wars Original Trilogy)
written by [ profile] girlmarauders, performed by [ profile] knight_tracer
Summary: Padme and Obi-Wan in self-imposed exile on Tatooine.

A Surprise at the Ball (Allerleirauh | All-Kinds-Of-Fur (Fairy Tale))
written by [ profile] LadyBrooke, performed by [ profile] podfic_lover
Summary: Allerleirauh, from the perspective of the officials and newspapers.

Choose Your Own Inquisitor (Dragon Age: Inquisition)
written by [ profile] Hananobira, performed by [ profile] blackglass, [ profile] Kess, [ profile] Opalsong, [ profile] RsCreighton, [ profile] SomethingIncorporeal
Summary: A Choose Your Own Adventure story, DAI style.

Those who try to take a stroll, Are sure to get the klink (Captain America (Movies), Captain America - All Media Types)
written by [ profile] zombieunicorn, performed by [ profile] Vaysh
Summary: After the Battle of Azzano, Bucky is somehow the senior most officer of the 107th left alive. Now, keeping his guys breathing is a much bigger war that fighting the Krauts.

The Pesky Superhero Job (Leverage, Supergirl (TV 2015))
written by [ profile] dapatty, performed by [ profile] theleanansidhe
Summary: The crew decide to take down a white collar criminal in National City. It goes about as well as expected.

Five Times Christian Eriksen Helped His Teammates With Their Problems (Football RPF)
written by [ profile] ItsADrizzit, [ profile] WhiteHaru37, performed by [ profile] annapods, [ profile] Arioch, [ profile] dapatty, [ profile] frecklebombfic, [ profile] fulldaysdrive, [ profile] ItsADrizzit, [ profile] RsCreighton, [ profile] WhiteHaru37, [ profile] wingedwords
Summary: Christian Eriksen has a lot of love for his Hotspur teammates, even if it does get him caught up in their antics and drama.
In which Chris just wants to ignore his feelings, Dele and Dier need to talk it out, Son Heung-min is a ridiculous human being, and everyone sends far too many text messages.

A Place at Home in the Stars (Marvel Cinematic Universe, Guardians of the Galaxy (Movies), Iron Man (Movies))
written by [ profile] dapatty, performed by [ profile] DuendeVerde4
Summary: Peter totally doesn't like-like Tony Stark, except that he does.

Love at First Swipe (Les Misérables - All Media Types)
written by [ profile] within_a_dream, performed by [ profile] fulldaysdrive
Summary: This is going to be Cosette's year. She's going off to college, which means she can turn over a new leaf and start dating. If that means working up the nerve to use Tinder, so be it.
selenic76: (HeartCandy)
posted by [syndicated profile] scalziwhatever_feed at 12:00pm on 17/08/2017

Posted by John Scalzi

The world we live in is not always peaceful… and maybe sometimes we kind of like it that way, whether we like to admit that or not. Author Anna Smith Spark has thoughts on the act of violence, and how it animates the story of her novel The Broken Knives.


The Court of Broken Knives is a novel about violence.

When I started writing the book, I didn’t have a plot or a world or a cast of characters in mind. What I had was a scene.

A desert.

A group of men.


I’ve always been fascinated by violence: How one might respond to the opportunity for violence. What doing violence might feel like.  And that’s what The Court of Broken Knives ultimately became about.

I was brought up reading the great myths and legends, the old stories of heroes. The Iliad. The Eddas. Beowulf. Gilgamesh. The Tain. I loved these stories. Read and reread them, immersed myself in them, told myself stories set in their worlds. But what I came back to, as I got older, was the realisation that for so many of these stories we are not reading about good versus evil. We are not reading high fantasy, the last desperate stand where evil is vanquished and the Dark Lord is overthrown. We are reading about violence for its own sake. The act of winning, of killing one’s opponent and glorying in one’s triumph, is the victory. The hero is ‘good’ because he wins.

And yes, ‘he’. These are acts of masculine violence. More women have perhaps fought in battle than we realise, yes, granted. But, historically, organised violence has been the domain of men. Armies and battle hosts have been male places. Places from which women have been excluded. And that in itself is worth thinking on.

Let’s look for a moment on the Iliad. The Iliad was written down over two and a half thousand years ago. It was composed perhaps three thousand years ago. It is the first and greatest masterpiece of European literature, the foundation stone of western culture. It is a book entirely and totally about war. A very large number of people die in the Iliad. Graphically, horribly, and without even the consolation of heaven awaiting them. The whole reason for the war is shown to be futile.

But war is also the whole basis of the Iliad’s society. The leader of the Trojans is called Hector. He’s spent ten years killing Greeks for the sake of a woman who ran off with his little brother. He’s seen most of his brothers die, and his wife’s entire family die, and he knows, deep down inside, that he’s going to die himself. In one of the most moving scenes in the poem, he says farewell to his wife and child before going out to battle, and he knows and we know and they know that he’s not going to come back from it. And this is what he says:

When [their child is grown and] comes home from battle wearing the bloody gear

Of the mortal enemy he has killed in war-

A joy to his mother’s heart.

(Homer, Iliad, trans. Robert Fagles, Penguin, 1990, book 6, lines 568-574)

Coming home from battle still bloody with his enemies’ innards. That’s the greatest joy a woman can want for her children. That’s what makes you absolutely the top chap.

The Iliad is not a celebration of war. But is not a rejection of war, either. It makes one terrible, horrifying, entirely obvious point:

Winning at war feels great. And that’s a strange and exhilarating experience to write about—particularly someone who has not ever fought.

Reading about war is enjoyable. Writing about war is immensely enjoyable. And I strongly suspect, from everything I’ve ever studied about history, that actually doing war is even more enjoyable than reading or writing or watching it. Warfare has been pretty much a constant of human history, and those who are good at it have generally occupied the top social and sexual desirability spot. Some war is morally justified.  Most war is not. We’ve always known that. Right back to the Iliad. And yet we do it. We have always done it. We probably always will.

We do it because winning at war feels great. I wanted my characters to have the same feelings as Hector: to understand simultaneously that war is bloody and horrible, but also glorious and exciting and fun.

I do not say this because I think war is a good thing. It is a terrible thing. A horrifying thing. A thing of utter shame and grief.

But I say it because it is a true thing, and a thing that I wanted people to remember in The Court of Broken Knives.


The Broken Knives: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|Indiebound|Powell’s

Read an excerpt. Visit the author’s site. Follow her on Twitter.

selenic76: (OldTypewriter)
marycatelli: (Default)
Title: Under the Rainbow
Fandom: original
Character: original
Length: 629
Rating: G

Read more... )
lilysea: Serious (Default)
posted by [personal profile] lilysea in [community profile] metaquotes at 07:00pm on 17/08/2017
oh and a warm apple. like, a really warm apple. warmer than my teeth when i bit into it. no offense but. why. did they microwave this apple? did they store it in a dragon's mouth before allowing me to purchase it? did this apple recently return from a trip to the surface of the sun?

Context is the slings and arrows of working in the food service industry.

wyomingnot: (eveningtree)
posted by [personal profile] wyomingnot at 06:24pm on 17/08/2017

It's nice to be wanted. I stopped in at the primary school today to pick up books and schedule and was greeting quite warmly. :)

Sadly, it looks like management isn't quite following through though. I only said okay to the split schedule (part-time primary school, part-time branch) because I was told I'd have only two or three classes at the branch. Ha. No classes have been removed, so I've got six classes - that equals 12 hours. On top of the 10 at the primary school.

Bright side - it's 10 classes, not actual hours. Still. Ginormous classes (45-50, instead of the 15 or less at the branch). Whatever. I thought I was going to end up with grade 1 and grade 6, but I was wrong. Grade 1 and grade 2. I can totally do that. It also means I get to go back to working with my favorite chinese teacher. :)

I'll muddle through.

sherlockbbc_mod: (Default)
lamentables: (Default)
posted by [personal profile] lamentables at 10:28am on 17/08/2017 under
The view from the hotel forecourt next morning was pretty amazing.

monastery in the morning

In the distance, on the hilltop is Tawang Monastery the principal reason for our visit. It's the largest buddhist monastery in India and second only to Lhasa, being large enough to accommodate around 1,500 monks. It was very shiny in the sun, and also visible from our hotel room - imagine being able to see that view from your bed. (I'm now overcome with a desire to be back there.)

At breakfast my Spanish omelette was mostly like a super-sized masala omelette - tasty, but definitely not worth the extra hassle D caused by ordering it. In the course of a chaotic breakfast, we discovered firstly that the hotel had run out of cornflakes, and then that our cars were carrying our own personal supply of cornflakes.
Truthfully, abrinsky and I would prefer to be eating local food, but there is always a presumption that as tourists we'll want to eat familiar food for breakfast, and at least cornflakes provide me with a safe gluten-free option. Next time I organise a private trip, I shall try to make non-cornflake breakfast arrangements. And, in fact, we have a vague plan for a trip around Assam that has a focus on local food, because another frustration is that we often end up eating 'pan Indian' instead of local. In some places that does make sense, given that we eschew meat, but I think we could do some interesting eating in Assam.

Our hotel in the morning sun was the tallest

the tallest

and the greenest

and the greenest

Oddly, there didn't seem to be many guests staying in such a large building. We couldn't figure out if all the floors were hotel, or if some were...residential?
rydra_wong: Doonesbury: Mark announcing into a microphone, "That's guilty! Guilty, guilty, guilty!!" (during the Watergate scandal) (guilty)
posted by [personal profile] rydra_wong at 09:57am on 17/08/2017 under
I just woke up to find that somehow Steve Bannon accidentally(?) gave an interview to a left-wing political magazine and I can't cope with these things before multiple cups of coffee.

I honestly have no clue if that's accidentally or "accidentally", and maybe he's trying to separate himself from the Charlottesville marchers by dismissing them as "losers" and posioning himself as more rational/reasonable than Trump on North Korea before he gets fired, or what the actual fuck. Especially given that he was reportedly delighted and "proud" about Trump's press conference statements.

seriously wtf
lilysea: Serious (Default)

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My stepfather’s grandson’s wedding is black-tie optional, and my stepfather’s children are renting him a tux. My mom, who is 90, thought she would wear a nice pants outfit with a dressy jacket, and is resistant to buying something new. She has been through a lot this year (treatment for lymphoma, cancer surgery, and she recently fell and broke her pelvis, so she is in a lot of pain).

I and my three sisters (my mom’s only children) live on the opposite coast, but we are now being pressured by the mother of the groom (my stepfather’s daughter) and my stepfather to see that she is outfitted appropriately -- not just for the wedding, but also for the rehearsal dinner (cocktail attire) and the wedding breakfast to be held the day after the wedding.

They have also expressed concerns about the shoes my mother prefers (very safe, comfortable, but not at all dressy). My sister even heard my stepfather tell her that if she doesn’t get something new to wear, she can stay home and not attend the wedding or other events.

My mother doesn’t stand up for herself, unfortunately. Two of us will be traveling to see her soon, and plan to take her shopping. My sister is even purchasing a few things for my mom that she will bring with her, in the hopes that maybe something will fit and work for this event.

Personally, I think it is extremely superficial of them to dictate what she wears (especially since the wedding is six months from now!). If it were me, I would just be thrilled they are both well enough to attend, regardless of how they are dressed.

Is my mother wrong to resist the request to buy something more formal? Or should the step-family back off?

GENTLE READER: What happened to the “optional” part?

While Miss Manners always advocates dressing properly for the occasion -- and generally abhors “optional,” as it just invites chaos -- the particulars of your mother’s dress seem to be unduly fixated upon here. There is certainly a lot of undue angst being put into this poor woman’s wardrobe that seemingly requires three separate outfits and uncomfortable, possibly dangerous, shoes.

If your mother can reasonably be jollied into the shopping expedition or accepts one of your sister’s choices for one new outfit, fine. But if not, please talk to your stepfather about “backing off.” Surely this cannot really be worth all of this fuss.

rachelmanija: (Buffy: I kind of love you)
posted by [personal profile] rachelmanija at 10:04pm on 16/08/2017 under
Full letter with prompts to come ASAP. The letter below is incomplete.

Dear FemslashEx Writer or Artist,

Thank you so much for writing for me! This is my first time doing FemslashEx, so I'm really excited.

(I only requested art for one fandom; however, if anyone is moved to do an art treat for me in any of them, I would absolutely love that.)

Loves, DNWs, and notes/prompts for my fandoms (Aliens, Carrie, Original Work, Star Trek: Classic Timeline, and X/1999 below cut). Read more... )
sincere: DGM: Lenalee's back to the viewer (Default)
Not everything is the worst! A few good things happened between Tuesday night's rock bottom of US politics and today. Weirdly, good news came to us out of Texas.

Texas courts ruled that some of their gerrymandered districts have to be redrawn because they were inappropriately using race to draw the district lines. One of these districts, currently represented by a Republican, was ruled to be deliberately undermining Hispanic voters. The other district I'm not sure is a win for minorities: the district was ruled to have "illegally used race as the predominant factor in drawing it", but that doesn't actually say that the use of race was discriminatory.

Gerrymandering designed to consolidate the power of conservative voters and minimize the power of liberal voters is a huge, huge obstacle that Democrats need to overcome in order to take control of the House of Representatives. Every victory matters. Even if it's only the one district, good. (Source: x)

Also in Texas (Rs there had a bad day) a transphobic bathroom bill has been blocked. The significance and newsworthiness of this item is self-explanatory. But aside from the simple fact that there have never been any incidents of harassment that these bills claim to be trying to prevent, I appreciate the fact that this article describes a great deal of the economic downsides to passing stupid discriminatory legislation that nobody actually wants.

Texas could have lost about $5.6 billion through 2026 if it had enacted such a measure, said the Texas Association of Business, the state's leading employer grouping. [...] Texas-based energy companies Halliburton and ExxonMobil Global Services, [have] said the bills would make it hard for them to recruit top talent.

Like it or not, many Republicans are capitalists at heart and the only way to make them listen to what real people want is to tug at their purse strings. They don't care about whether or not the thing they're fighting is real, or about human rights, but the economic cost of boycotts can make them bend. That's why North Carolina eventually caved, and it's why states like Texas are balking. (Source: x)
zhelana: (hockey - joy)
posted by [personal profile] zhelana at 12:07am on 17/08/2017 under ,
Progress This week:

Prepare and teach a class on Judaism in period - I'm reading a book on the Khazars although this is not the class I planned. This may wind up being a second class and I'll still do the one I planned though.

Post 100 situations prompts to AO3 - Well I had some difficulty figuring out how to do it on AO3 so I'm putting it on

30 entries to monthly diary day - yep posted this month.

30 new kiva loans - did that on the 15th, I made a loan to Zamiyya Natalia for education expenses in the Dominican Republic.

Read 3 books on the Kyivan Rus - there may not be 3 English language books on the Kyivan Rus. I'm searching. Though I'm currently reading a book on the Khazars which mentions them, and I'm counting.

Listen to 90 podcasts - I listened to one about whether we've historically had a right to privacy in this country. Spoiler alert: that's a no.

Read the entire bible - I've started 1 Kings
August 16th, 2017
teaotter: a dark haired woman in sunlight (Default)
yuuago: (SSSS - Emil - Reading)
posted by [personal profile] yuuago at 09:53pm on 16/08/2017 under ,
Finished reading: Circling North by Charles Lillard. Some Canadian poetry has a certain... aesthetic, and I can't quite figure out exactly how to describe that aesthetic. But I figure, the Canadians on my flist probably know what I mean. Reading Lillard's stuff, there's definitely a sense of "Boy howdy, this sure is some Canadian poetry, all right". It's not just the sense of place; it's something else, too. ...But unlike some of the Painfully Canadian stuff I have read, it didn't put me to sleep.

Currently reading: Arctis, selected poems of William Heinesen, translated by Anne Born. This guy sure has a way with words, and I bet his stuff is even more beautiful in the original Heinesen was a Faeroese poet who wrote mainly in Danish. Lots of beautiful nature-based imagery here, and a definite sense of arctic-as-place, which I appreciate. "Winter Dream" is probably my favourite of what's in this collection so far.

Also Currently Reading: With Fire and Sword by Henryk Sienkiewicz. I haven't managed to get very far with this one because it's a huuuuge hardcover, and taking it on the bus to work with me would be ridiculously impractical. So. Anyway, it's an epic novel set in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth during the 17th century. Only one chapter in, but it's great so far! I just... wish this book weren't so huge.

Reading next:
I'm trying to read through all of the books I bought in Victoria last time I went there. Not sure what the next will be, but probably another volume of poetry.
aethel: (gerard bed head [by obsessivewhore])
posted by [personal profile] aethel in [community profile] fanart_recs at 09:54pm on 16/08/2017 under
Fandom: Bandom (Mindless Self Indulgence)
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Lindsey Way
Content Notes/Warnings: none
Medium: traditional (markers)
Artist on DW/LJ: N/A
Artist Website/Gallery: [ profile] ghostparachutes

Why this piece is awesome: There's a lot of delicious colorful art by ghostparachutes to love, but I picked this one because I have found so little high-quality art of Lynz. There are two pictures in the post I linked, but I especially like the portrait of Lynz playing her bass--the red bandana and matching bloody knees (and hands!), the guitar, the hair, and the dark cloudy background.

Link: lynz
rahirah: (su_editor)
GROO: And that, my princess, is my story in full. When the Covenant summoned me I was vanquishing the Mogfan beast that bedevils the scum pits of Ur. CORDELIA: Uh, that's a great story. And you are a great groosalug. But, I'm not your princess. The truth is, I'm not anybody's princess. GROO: Have you not the curse? CORDELIA: The visions? Oh, yeah, I've got visions coming out of my ears, sometimes a little blood, too, but that doesn't make me a princess. That just makes me kind of weird.

~~Through The Looking Glass~~

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