Saturday, January 10, 2009

I woke up this morning at an ungodly early hour, shortly after 3 a.m., wide awake and not sure why. I know I was dreaming, but not sure about what other than it involved babies. I've never been one of those people who can remember dreams very clearly, never had much luck in trying to keep a dream journal, and don't put much stock in what different things in dreams might symbolize. What might seeing a baby fall out of a Johnny Jump-Up symbolize? My Apostle Islands quarry article isn't going to get published? I'm not going to get the new assignment I'd like? Or I'm remembering the Younger Daughter's stories about her cousin Lora, aka The Evil Babysitter, who allegedly dropped her a lot and/or kept her locked in the bedroom while her older sister was allowed to watch tv? Going by the stories my kids tell now, it's a minor miracle either of them made it to adulthood.

In any case, I'm awake, and might as well note a few things that caught my eye, both out in the real world and on teh intertubes, this week:

Annoying comments, commenters, trolls, and related issues: Greta Christina did a great post on her comments policy, and it's one that's true of any blog. What it boils down to is "Commenters in this blog are guests in my home. And I have the right to decide who I let into my home and who I don't." If someone keeps coming around that the blog owner doesn't like, he or she has a perfect right to figuratively slam the door in that person's face -- and it can be for any reason. Might be the commenter is a troll who's just looking to stir things up for no apparent reason, might be the commenter wants to use the blog's comment space to carry on a pissing contest with other commenters, whatever. It doesn't matter. My space, my rules -- if I decide one day to turn comment moderation on and another to turn it off, that's strictly my business. On any blog anyone who doesn't like the comment policy has a perfect right to go start their own blog where he or she can set up his or her own rules and be arbitrary and capricious to their heart's content.

That said, if someone does come around here and annoys me, unless for some truly screwy reason I feel threatened in a real world sort of way, like in the unlikely event I pick up psycho stalker vibes, the most I'm ever going to do in response to a jerk is not publish his or her comments. It's not worth my time or energy to engage beyond that. If some creep living thousands of miles away wants to say something obscene, sexist, racist, or otherwise disgusting in a comment on my blog what is the impact on my actual life? Zilch. Nada. Nothing. A second or two of annoyance, a brief flash of distaste, and that's it. It does not pay to feed the trolls by complaining about them in comments to other bloggers, threatening to report them to Google or Word Press or whoever is hosting their blog, or noticing them in any way, shape, or form any more than you would waste time responding to junk mail or phone calls from telemarketers. Noticing they exist just encourages them to continue in their socially unacceptable behavior.

Teh Fat and Dieting Insanity: Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast has a great post up on eating sensibly and not driving yourself crazy trying to achieve the impossible. Here's a snippet:
You'd think that after all the research, we would have reached a conclusion that there is no magic bullet for being thin. Yes, there are people who have spent their lives struggling with weight who, by devoting their entire waking, nonworking lives to the pursuit of thinness, have managed to fight their bodies' tendency to store fat. But does that mean that everyone should have this as a singular focus? Should fat people be doomed to denying themselves the pleasure of a social evening with friends because it might involve food? Should fat people have to isolate themselves in a cocoon of iPod-fed music, spending every waking hour at the gym when others can get by with a good brisk walk for an hour? Should fat people have to regard a restaurant menu as an enemy while their thin compatriots can feel free to order the fetuccine alfredo if that's what they're really wanting that day?
For various reasons, I'm troubled by the current hysteria about the "obesity epidemic." Too much of it ignores heredity, body type, environment. . . it's an endless list. And too much of it is subjective and/or arbitrary -- the body mass index, for example, got adjusted down in the 1990s. People went from being okay to being overweight overnight without gaining an ounce. Society as a whole is being socialized to view stick-thin models who maintain their weight through copious consumption of black coffee and cigarettes as "sexy" and/or "healthy" while seeing body types considered incredibly attractive not long ago (Marilyn Monroe being the classic example) as too fat. It's insane, it's unhealthy for society as a whole, and it's distracting us all from far more important health issues.

The modern equivalent of a birch bark basket, aka survival skills: I learned (and actually should have known, but had never really thought about it) it's possible to heat water in a plastic bottle over an open flame. Good to know if one is ever unwillingly emulating Survivorman.

Sarah Palin refuses to go away. Fortunately for the rest of us, Mudflats and other Alaska bloggers haven't stopped watching her:
The subject of the interview was the media’s “mistreatment” of Palin during the campaign while she was running for VP, more than two months ago. And the interview was done for the benefit of those in the Lower 48, to whom the governor referred in the video more than once. Palin wants them to know the real her. She wants to tell them to look at her actions. She wants them to judge her by her record…..while she’s playing hooky 11 days before the start of the legislative session.
It was interesting watching the commentary on CNN yesterday about Palin. Even the Repugnican hacks seemed to think she came across as whining, and that she needs to shut up and go away for awhile if she wants to have any hope of a political career beyond Alaska. (If disappearing from public view might help to redeem her, then my feeling is she needs to stay out on that public stage and keep right on running her mouth so no one forgets just how incredibly self-centered, ignorant, and generally clueless the woman truly is.)


  1. The wee morning ventings are just lovely. I too, was unable to get back to sleep after 3 am, and seriously thought about much the same as you. I agree wholeheartedly about the trolls/commenters. Push of a key and they are history. I almost feel that Palin (gag) is deliberately keeping herself in the media (which she abhors), for future political gain - whilst not realizing she is a nauseating and insipient fool. 'nough said! Have a good day!

  2. The quarries article has been "in review" for several months now. History journals tend to move slow, but it's beginning to hit me it's been awhile since the last e-mail from the editor.

  3. While I do not have enough readers at this point to worry aboutit, I agree that there is no point in aloowing troubled people to use your forum for their own rants.

    I am, and have since puberty, a stuggling member og the fat group. At my starvation level I was akin to Marilyn in looks. Now I am of the obesity group. I am back to the starve and gym again - more out of concerns for my health as age is adding it's own insults to my body. I appreciate the kind words for those of us who are different from the norm.

    And as much as I cannot bear to hear any more from SP - I agree that keeping her on the airwaves may just the the best way to get rid of her.

    Good Sleeping tonight!

  4. Thanks for posting that snippet about commenters/trolls, etc. I will let someone disagree with me, but the minute they start attacking other commenters on a personal level, I feel it necessary to intervene. And if they attack me personally? Like you said, I slam the door in their face and block their ISP, if possible.

    And I am so tired of the impossible thin standard, I could scream. I'm currently losing weight with the help of a doctor, but there's no escaping the fact that I am fighting my genes. If I can teach my kids moderation, that's the best I can do, I figure.

    I hope that dream meant nothing at all.


My space, my rules: play nice and keep it on topic.