Better than salt money

Work like you were living in the early days of a better nation



A bunch of doctors are petitioning to have a very effective painkiller revoked: It’s “too scary”

Assholes.  I was talking with a friend yesterday.  Said friend has more pain issues than I do.  She gets grief from her doctors because she want’s drugs, “I’m afraid you might be bordering on drug-seeking behavior”.  I have semi-chronic pain. When I am running low on my drugs, and waiting for my refill to show up I am nervous, antsy.  I start to hoard my drugs.  Why?  Because today’s pain is more bearable than the idea of not being able to deal with what might come tomorrow.

When I broke my ankle I was suffering from that.  My usual drugs aren’t the sort to deal with that kind of pain (though serious anti-inflammatories do help in the early stages of that sort of injury), and I was doing the math.  I needed about a dozen more pills than I had. What I needed was more Percocet (I am a poor metabolizer: Vicodin gives me very little pain relief, and all the side effects.  Percocet works just fine).

So I went to the doctor.  I told him my dilemma, what I expected to use (about ten more doses than I had) and what I’d like (about 15 more pills, so I’d not be in the “can’t stop my pain, it might get worse).  He went away, and came back with a prescription.  In a very stern tone he said, “This is the only time we can do this,” as he handed me a ticket for 40 doses.  Almost three times what I wanted (and almost four times what I’d told him I expected to use).

When I am in pain, damn fucking straight I’m going to exhibit “drug-seeking” behavior.  I’d be a fool not to seek drugs in that situation. Which is why this pisses me off:

‘You’re talking about a drug that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of five times more potent than what we’re dealing with now,’ says Dr. Stephen Anderson, a Washington emergency room physician who is not part of the most recent petition to the FDA about the drug. ‘I’m five times more concerned, solely based on potency.’ The concerns echoed by all groups are broadly about the drug’s potency and abuse potential.”

Five times more effective means less strain on the liver (if it’s related to Codeine/Vicodin, the work of making it able to kill pain is done in the liver).  So a lesser dose means either the same effect for less strain or for those who are at the upper bound of being able to tolerate the drugs they need to get through the day the possibility of being able to move from “barely functional” to more completely abled.

Could it be abused?  Sure.  Anything can be abused, but a huge part of the present growth of heroin is the sheer expense of prescription drugs.

So to say this drug is “too powerful” when the ones we have now already seem to be creating the new surge in heroin addiction is facile.


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Tonight’s dinner is pretty simple:

Pork Chops, pan fried

Salad (romaine, basil, cucumber, tomato: perhaps some roasted cubanelle)

Baked potato

Side dish of onion and apple compote:  In bacon fat lightly caramelise one large onion; when that’s done add four apples, chopped small (I used pink lady, and braeburn).  cook until soft:  when it’s half done (still a bit firm in the apples), add a splash of cider vinegar.

I don’t have a dry white cold, so I’ll serve with either a märzen, or Anchor Steam Lager.  Guinness would be too mild.

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On fibers

I’ve not been spinning as much as I ought.  Given the way this year is scheduled, I’m never going to catch up to the fiber in the stash.  It doesn’t mean I’m not spinning, I am.  Right now I have two active projects on the bobbins (a blue and white twining cable, spun Z/S/Z, to end up with a 2×2 cable, which I am sending to be used in crochet), and a striping Targhee on the wheel right now (2-ply Z/S: which means it will be better for Continental/German/Pick knitting: It turns out I’ve been making yarns for the less common style of knitting in the US, which is British/Throw knitting.  On the flip side, this seems to be the more common style of yarn, so no one has complained.  It seems the books I was using as reference assumed the default was Continental, that or I misunderstood them).

I’ve also got a batch of generic white, which I’ve dyed with saffron. It’s got a lovely yellow shade to it.  I’ve washed about 6 oz of dirty wool (from an Arapawa fleece I was sent), so I need to pick/card that and see how it does.

But I’ve spun about ten different fiber types in the past year. I have been “chasing cobwebs” (i.e. I spin pretty fine yarns).

Merino:  Smooth, but a bit grippy.  It want’s a lot of opening our before drafting.  It’s also pulls fairly slowly, even when being done as a woolen.  I’ve gotten better at avoiding “slubby” patches, but I’m still not spinning it as evenly as I’d like.

Herdwick: Not sure what I think.  Short, tough, rough.  Has some kemp.  Spins to a very durable; if prickly, thread when fine.  I’ve not managed to spin any up with any bulk.  Would be great for weaving carpet-backs.  Could be used as an outer sweater.  Face the cuffs and neck.

Lopi:  Easy spinner.  The yarns I’ve had the easiest time getting some intentional bulk into.  A bit less than soft, but not all that rough.  Blended with some silk it might make warm, long wearing, socks.   Good for sweaters.  Not best for large areas against the skin, but would be nice as a hat.

Polwarth: CREAMY!  This is (to date) the nicest spinning I know.  It’s a long-wool (like the Targhee, and Merino), but it slides easily, so pre-drafting is both easy and less critical.  It’s smooth through the fingers, responding well to being semi-worsted (by passing the yarn over, then under, the fingers in my orifice hand).  As with all long wools it benefits from a more open hand position.  It’s very nice to spin fine. The time it takes seems to be less, because the feel is so nice.  One gets a little lost in the sybaritic pleasure of it sliding through the fingers.

Suri (Alpaca): A different sort of longwool.  Not as grippy as those from sheep.  Has to be handled with some care, as it gets really wiry (and harsh) when overspun.  Underspinning is easy to do, and that can make plying a bit more tedious (to say nothing of the frustrations that can lead to when one loses the drafting end and has to fish it off the bobbin; at which time bit, after bit, after bit, just frays to nothing).

Huacaya (Alpaca): Shorter, a bit less soft.  Easier to spin woolen, though it also needs to have a careful balance of twist.

Yak: Very short.  Warm, and soft in the hand. Not as elastic a yarn as wool, nor even as Alpaca, but the spring to the plied yarns is wonderful.  It’s plush.  Good for scarves and gloves.  If you can find some white/tan yak it would make a very nice shawl; from fairly open, to middling dense lacework.

Targhee: A lot like Merino.  Feltier, so it needs more opening before drafting, but it’s more forgiving in the working; both sliding a bit more before it locks up, and locking up pretty solidly when the twist sets in.  Spins very finely.  It would probably full very well,  so weaving it into peacloth, or a a beret/tam o’shanter would be a good use for it too.  Might not be as good for socks (felting), certainly that would want a fair bit of silk/tencel/bamboo added to the wool.

Suri Alpaca/Silk (80/20):  Nice to be done with.  The silk makes it very prone to the top/roving developing halo (this might be static, so a little water/spinning oil might help, if you don’t mind the way they make the fiber feel in your hands).  Once it’s spun it’s lovely stuff, but it does need more handling.  It’s also very slippy, so you have to be careful with your hands, not to tight (or the twist runs tighter than anything), nor too loose (or it flies out of your hand, onto the bobbin, and needs to be fished out).    [I’ll be playing with some plain silk, and that should help some.  I wonder what a 70/30 ratio would do, since the silk has a different luster (larger bundles stand out, as chatoyent gleam).  I suspect being better with silk (which has huge issues with trying to fly away), will help with this.

Finnish:  Very nice.  Easy spinner, moderate staple.  Can be spun fine, so 5-plies for guernsey/aran sweaters with lots of clean cabling would be doable.  Has a moderate halo (but not prickly), so blending it with some alpaca to make it a bit softer (with looser decorative elements) would still look/feel good.


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On engaging with the Men’s Rights Movement

There is more wrong than I can describe in the column Emily Matcher wrote in the New Republic, “”Men’s Rights” Activists Are Trying to Redefine the Meaning of Rape”. From the slipshod reporting, to the false middle, to the acceptance of one sides arguments without apparent question it has managed to rise to a level of error I am unable to describe; fractally wrong doesn’t begin to cover it.

The problem is there are social issues related to gender which affect men. A number of them aren’t being well addressed. A large part of that is because of the “Men’s Rights Movement” (MRM, the members of which often call themselves, Men’s. Rights Activists, or MRAs) For those who don’t know, the MRM is a collection of people who are engaged in vigorous, rhetorically violent; and usually incoherent, backlash against the modern world. They do this in the guise of being against the “unreasonable aspects” of feminism.

In practice what this means is they rail against anything smacking of equality, and this makes it harder to talk about these issues. Anything which might possibly be seen as less than laudatory of their “movement” brings out the worst in them, baying like hounds for blood (just look at the first comment in reply to the Matcher piece; follow the links, if you have the stomach for it).

They have been described by the SPLC as being worth watching because they have the prototypical signs of a nascent hate group. The violent rhetoric, vicious othering, support for actual terrorists (One of the larger loci of MRM activity listed, for years, under its, “Activism” header, the manifesto of Thomas Ball. In his suicide letter he claimed he was driven to set himself on fire because of an unjust system) §, and a tendency to attack those whom they see as, “evil”.

Which is why Matcher failing to question the things they said, nor to look at their backgrounds when she legitimated their actions, is so disturbing. Her first failure is not making it plain that all three of her sources are from the same organisation (the aforementioned AVFM). Among the most egregious of her faults is that she took their comments about on False Rape Accusations (one of the MRM’s biggest bugbears) almost at face value.

The stats on false rape accusations are about the same as any other crime. Somewhere between 2-8 percent. Figuring this out is simple, take the number of reported rapes, divide it by the number of them deemed to be false. This is not the same as estimates of how many of some type of crime go unreported (e.g. someone stole my knapsack from work a year and a half ago. I didn’t report it; so it’s not listed in the stats for theft in NYC, but there are analysts who try to figure out what the “underlying rate” is for such things).

The MRM defines things differently, they see an unbelievable number of false rape accusations. Partly this is how they define “false accusation”. The general argument they make is that any case which doesn’t lead to a conviction = false accusation.
They are also incredibly fond of finding a single study/event which supports their position (e.g. that Nifong continued a prosecution which wasn’t tenable), and even when it doesn’t hold up; e.g. that a false rape accusation “destroys” a man’s life, forever, the moment it gets made (quick, tell me the names of the Duke Lacrosse Team who were prosecuted by Nifong). From that (because there are some bad studies out there) they argue that half of all reported rapes are false accusations. There is even a large segment of the MRM who will argue that half of all rape victims are men; and that the vast majority of those men are raped by women. *

Matcher just lets that in, doesn’t address any of it; presents the idea that half of all reported rapes are false as if it’s a reasonable position to hold. She also presents the people at AVfM (which is basically the flagship of whatever organised activism the MRM has) as if they were reasonable people. Paul Elam, the owner of the site wrote this,

That’s it. In the name of equality and fairness, I am proclaiming October to be Bash a Violent Bitch Month.

Now, am I serious about this?

No. Not because it’s wrong. It’s not wrong. Every one should have the right to defend themselves. Hell, women are often excused from killing someone whom they allege has abused them. They can shoot them in their sleep and walk. Happens all the time. It’ll even get you a spot on Oprah, and cuntists across the cunt-o-sphere will be lionizing you.

In that light, every one of those women at Jezebel and millions of others across the western world are as deserving of a righteous ass kicking as any human being can be. But it isn’t worth the time behind bars or the abuse of anger management training that men must endure if they are uppity enough to defend themselves from female attackers.

The better option is to kick her to the curb, figuratively speaking, and hopefully move on to some better choices. Besides, violence in self defense should be in some way commensurate with the violence of the attack.

I will say this, though. To all the men out there that decided to say “Damn the consequences,” and fight back, you are hero’s to the cause of equality; true feminists. And you are the honorary Kings of Bash a Violent Bitch Month. You are living proof of just how hollow “don’t fuck with us,” rings from the mouths of bullies and hypocrites.

In he spirit of feminists everywhere, you GO, boy!

Not to mention that he wears a shirt emblazoned with I ♥ FTSU: which stands in for, I Love Fucking Their Shit Up:, harkening back to this comment of his: “I find you, as a feminist, to be a loathsome, vile piece of human garbage. I find you so pernicious and repugnant that the idea of fucking your shit up gives me an erection.”

This is the man the movement Matcher says we need to listen to (lest we, cede the debate).  The man that movement has as its, de facto, leader. This is the philosophical underpinning of the MRM. When you read enough of them (e.g. John the Other, Dean Esmay, Karen Straughn, Fidelbogen, Theodore Beale [who calls himself, Vox Day, the hubris of which is incredible, all things considered] Tom Martin, Peter-Andrew : Nolan(c), /r mensrights, W.F. Price, Eivind Berg, et al.), you realise the kernel of their philosophy, from which all else grows, is “women aren’t fully human”.

So what does Matcher’s piece actually argue?  Her core is this false dilemma:

The MRM’s tirades and hijinks certainly don’t meaningfully add to the debate surrounding the way we handle sexual assault. But to totally ignore the issues that they raise does not further a productive conversation.

Not only are the issues not being ignored, but to address them doesn’t mean one has to acede legitimacy to a movement which celebrates the Marc Lepine, and George Sodoni’s of the world. If we want to have a discussion about the proper role of religion in the public sphere; it’s not helping to take the Westboro Baptist Church as the other side in the discussion.

She also plays some of her own fast and loose with statistics:

A man’s chances of being falsely accused of rape are incredibly small,” wrote Slate’s Amanda Marcotte. (To be fair to Slate and the range of perspectives that it offers, Marcotte’s colleague, Emily Bazelon has written that fairly conservative estimates put the number of false rape reports at 20,000 a year.)

Those two statements are not in opposition. Assuming there are approx. 150 million adult males in the US, and that Bazelon’s estimates are true&dag; the odds of being a random victim of a false rape accusation is about 1:7,500. I might not have used exactly Marcotte’s language, but it’s not false to say the odds of being falsely accused is incredibly small. That Matcher chose to allege that the 20,000 a year figure is based on “fairly conservative estimates” further moves to make it seem false accusations of rape are much more common than they are.

For some perspective on that, I have a pop quiz:

1: do you know anyone who has been raped?

1a Do you know more than one person who has been raped?

2: Do you know anyone who has been, with malice, falsely accused of rape?

Odds are that the answer to 1 is yes. The answer to 2 is likely to be yes. The answer to 3 is probably no.

But Matcher stresses the point to say we need to talk about the false rape accusations, and to say the ways in which colleges deal with rape on campus is flawed, in language which makes it seem the real harm is being done to men, that the women being raped aren’t being treated as well as they might be, but OMG, there are men who are being told not to rape, and this one time, there was a dude who suffered. She ignores completely the women who are punished for speaking out about being raped.

High School student reports assault, gets suspended for public lewdness

UNC student threatened with expulsion for, “intimidating” attacker she never named

UC Berkeley handles all accusations behind closed doors rapists get “same disciplinary process as those caught cheating on an exam, their punishment — sometimes as light as a warning and an essay — decided in informal talks with the university.” (at Stanford, until three years ago, the accused rapist got to cross-examine the victim in a closed door session).

These are the systems the MRM says are too kind to women who file reports. This is what Matcher is giving credit too. These are the people she thinks Progressive need to give credence to, “lest we cede the debate”.

I’m sorry, there is no debate to had with people who say women need to shut up, sit down, “know their place”, and let men run the show. When those same people say women who get beaten, raped, harassed, underpaid, and even killed, “deserve it”, because they are women…

No way in hell I’m going to cede a seat at the table to them. No more than I would let an avowedly racist group set the agenda on issues of race.

§ Thomas Ball was guilty of abusing his daughter. The Court ordered him to undergo a short session in anger management. He refused. As a result he was denied visitation. He lost his job, and did nothing to attempt to get his child support payments modified. As a result he was unable to pay them. He was therefore in contempt of the court’s order, and likely to be jailed.
There are, in that story, some issues of justice to be resolved (i.e. the use of contempt of court findings to create de facto debtors’ prisons), but that’s not a “Men’s” issue, so much as it’s one of actual justice. That so many men are in violation of child support decrees is a different problem, and one the MRM uses to paint women as evil.

*Yes, men can be raped. Yes, women rape men. Yes, it’s under-reported. No, I don’t think forty percent of all rape is perpetrated by women raping men. The ways in which the MRM gets to that claim are ridiculous: Abuse of stats is rampant. I cannot count how many times I have seen this study used to show that men and women are being raped, by the opposite sex, in roughly equal numbers.

†I have some doubts, given the FBI lists a total of 83,425 forcible rapes reported in 2011, and says that of the rapes reported to them 90 percent were forcible, which gives a total of roughly 90,000 rapes in the FBI database. If we are generous and assume that 25 percent of police forces/prosecutor’s offices didn’t report their annual stats to the police we can add another 20,000 rapes (assuming the numbers are large enough to show a tolerably accurate sample; accepting that rates are local). So Bazelon is arguing something on the order of 1 person falsely accused per five rapes, or a 20 percent rate of false accusations (for the sake of simplicity I am treating this as if 1 rape = 1 person accused). That’s at odds with the FBIs stats on the false reporting of rape. If a larger portion of agencies are reporting, then the ratio of false reports being bruited about is even less plausible.

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A work in progress

I was at a poetry panel at Boskone, and the seed of this came to me.  I don’t think it is quite what I had in my head, but that’s part of the problem which comes of seeing a poem entire, as a sense of emotion, and then working to put it to paper.

So I won’t say this is done, but it’s past the first draft stage of things; though it does still need a title (116 Seconds seems a bit like over egging the pudding).

It happened when I was young,

A hanging curve and the sense of slowing time

Then the bat slicing round to meet the ball: a deep, flat, resonant, THWACK!

The ball leapt away, a sliver of white, all eyes following it to that moment of breathless equipoise

where it hung, for that long and pregnant second, before the arc of rise stopped

before it slid to earth; falling beyond the stadium wall, out of sight

while the circuit of the  bases was closed


In the compass of those curves was Summer distilled.