Ancient job perks

Aug. 23rd, 2017 09:56 pm
mildred_of_midgard: golden retriever puppy (dog)
[personal profile] mildred_of_midgard
And here is a more entertaining excerpt from Blackstone, a "TIL curiosity" of the sort I enjoy when reading works like this.

"One very ancient privilege is that declared by the charter of the forest, confirmed in parliament 9 Hen. III.; viz, that every lord spiritual or temporal summoned to parliament, and passing through the king’s forests, may both in going and returning, kill one or two of the king’s deer without warrant; in view of the forester, if he be present; or on blowing a horn if he be absent, that he may not seem to take the king’s venison by stealth."

I just love that. I should read the Charter of the Forest one of these days.

On elective and hereditary monarchies

Aug. 23rd, 2017 09:24 pm
mildred_of_midgard: (Aragorn)
[personal profile] mildred_of_midgard
So I finally have something to say about the content of Blackstone's Commentaries. Reading along, I was struck by the similarities of the following three passages in these works. Check out the dates on these.

1765: William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Book 1, Chapter 3.
It must be owned, an elective monarchy seems to be the most obvious, and best suited of any to the rational principles of government, and the freedom of human nature: and accordingly we find from history that, in the infancy and first rudiments of almost every state, the leader, chief magistrate, or prince, has usually been elective. And, if the individuals who compose that state could always continue true to first principles, uninfluenced by passion or prejudice, unassailed by corruption, and unawed by violence, elective succession were as much to be desired in a kingdom, as in other inferior communities. The best, the wisest, and the bravest man would then be sure of receiving that crown, which his endowments have merited; and the sense of an unbiased majority would be dutifully acquiesced in by the few who were of different opinions. But history and observation will inform us, that elections of every kind (in the present state of human nature) are too frequently brought about by influence, partiality, and artifice: and, even where the case is otherwise, these practices will be often suspected, and as constantly charged upon the successful, by a splenetic disappointed minority. This is an evil, to which all societies are liable; as well those of a private and domestic kind, as the great community of the public, which regulates and includes the rest. But in the former there is this advantage; that such suspicions, if false, proceed no farther than jealousies and murmurs, which time will effectually suppress; and, if true, the injustice may be remedied by legal means, by an appeal to those tribunals to which every member of society has (by becoming such) virtually engaged to submit. Whereas, in the great and independent society, which every nation composes, there is no superior to resort to but the law of nature; no method to redress the infringements of that law, but the actual exertion of private force. As therefore between two nations, complaining of mutual injuries, the quarrel can only be decided by the law of arms; so in one and the same nation, when the fundamental principles of their common union are supposed to be invaded, and more especially when the appointment of their chief magistrate is alleged to be unduly made, the only tribunal to which the complainants can appeal is that of the God of battles, the only process by which the appeal can be carried on is that of a civil and intestine war. An hereditary succession to the crown is therefore now established, in this and most other countries, in order to prevent that periodical bloodshed and misery, which the history of ancient imperial Rome, and the more modern experience of Poland and Germany, may show us are the consequences of elective kingdoms.

(And yes, sorry, 18th century authors didn't like paragraph breaks, and Blackstone *really* doesn't.)

Blackstone, mind you, has just been talking about "divine right" and how it is NOT a THING, definitely NOT. He actually gives a pretty interesting rationale in his challenge. And then he immediately follows that up with a discussion of how hereditary monarchy prevents civil wars. My reaction was, "Literally one page ago you were alluding to the Jacobites without mentioning them by name, and here you are saying heredity prevents these disputes from being settled by force of arms?" Then I remembered Gibbon and Paine both talking about hereditary monarchy, and that Gibbon defended it with much the same reasoning, but I couldn't remember exactly what Paine said. Here's what they say.

1776: Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Vol 1, chapter 7.
Of the various forms of government which have prevailed in the world, an hereditary monarchy seems to present the fairest scope for ridicule. Is it possible to relate without an indignant smile, that, on the father's decease, the property of a nation, like that of a drove of oxen, descends to his infant son, as yet unknown to mankind and to himself; and that the bravest warriors and the wisest statesmen, relinquishing their natural right to empire, approach the royal cradle with bended knees and protestations of inviolable fidelity? Satire and declamation may paint these obvious topics in the most dazzling colors, but our more serious thoughts will respect a useful prejudice, that establishes a rule of succession, independent of the passions of mankind; and we shall cheerfully acquiesce in any expedient which deprives the multitude of the dangerous, and indeed the ideal, power of giving themselves a master.

In the cool shade of retirement, we may easily devise imaginary forms of government, in which the sceptre shall be constantly bestowed on the most worthy, by the free and incorrupt suffrage of the whole community. Experience overturns these airy fabrics, and teaches us, that in a large society, the election of a monarch can never devolve to the wisest, or to the most numerous part of the people. The army is the only order of men sufficiently united to concur in the same sentiments, and powerful enough to impose them on the rest of their fellow-citizens; but the temper of soldiers, habituated at once to violence and to slavery, renders them very unfit guardians of a legal, or even a civil constitution. Justice, humanity, or political wisdom, are qualities they are too little acquainted with in themselves, to appreciate them in others. Valor will acquire their esteem, and liberality will purchase their suffrage; but the first of these merits is often lodged in the most savage breasts; the latter can only exert itself at the expense of the public; and both may be turned against the possessor of the throne, by the ambition of a daring rival.

The superior prerogative of birth, when it has obtained the sanction of time and popular opinion, is the plainest and least invidious of all distinctions among mankind. The acknowledged right extinguishes the hopes of faction, and the conscious security disarms the cruelty of the monarch. To the firm establishment of this idea we owe the peaceful succession and mild administration of European monarchies. To the defect of it we must attribute the frequent civil wars, through which an Asiatic despot is obliged to cut his way to the throne of his fathers. Yet, even in the East, the sphere of contention is usually limited to the princes of the reigning house, and as soon as the more fortunate competitor has removed his brethren by the sword and the bowstring, he no longer entertains any jealousy of his meaner subjects. But the Roman empire, after the authority of the senate had sunk into contempt, was a vast scene of confusion.


1776: Thomas Paine, Common Sense, pp. 26-27.
The most plausible plea, which hath ever been offered in favour of hereditary succession, is, that it preserves a nation from civil wars; and were this true, it would be weighty; whereas, it is the most barefaced falsity ever imposed upon mankind. The whole history of England disowns the fact. Thirty kings and two minors have reigned in that distracted kingdom since the conquest, in which time there have been (including the Revolution) no less than eight civil wars and nineteen rebellions. Wherefore instead of making for peace, it makes against it, and destroys the very foundation it seems to stand on.

The contest for monarchy and succession, between the houses of York and Lancaster, laid England in a scene of blood for many years. Twelve pitched battles, besides skirmishes and sieges, were fought between Henry and Edward. Twice was Henry prisoner to Edward, who in his turn was prisoner to Henry. And so uncertain is the fate of war and the temper of a nation, when nothing but personal matters are the ground of a quarrel, that Henry was taken in triumph from a prison to a palace, and Edward obliged to fly from a palace to a foreign land; yet, as sudden transitions of temper are seldom lasting, Henry in his turn was driven from the throne, and Edward recalled to succeed him. The parliament always following the strongest side.

This contest began in the reign of Henry the Sixth, and was not entirely extinguished till Henry the Seventh, in whom the families were united. Including a period of 67 years, viz. from 1422 to 1489.

Quick Update

Aug. 23rd, 2017 03:19 pm
sartorias: (Default)
[personal profile] sartorias
Leaving in an hour for Albuquerque. Back Tuesday. In between, a con!

I hope this is still cross-posting to LiveJournal. Anyone from LJ reading this, for the past 48 hours, LJ has not let me comment on anyone's journal. I will try again on my laptop on route, but might not be able to catch up.

Will talk more about a really good ballet I watched recently on YouTube.

Also, reading.
legionseagle: (Default)
[personal profile] legionseagle
I'm in general pretty sceptical about the Honours system, but over recent days I've become a believer. The Honours system justifies itself by continuing not to give a knighthood to Geoffrey Boycott and by very properly giving them instead to the likes of Viv Richards, Curtly Ambrose, Wes Hall and Gary Sobers (and why the hell has Clive Lloyd not appeared on that list?), something that has recently prompted the mouthy Yorkshire rhubarb obsessive to observe that the honour was handed out "like confetti" to Windies players and that "Mine’s been turned down twice. I’d better black me face.”

Honestly, it's like a variation on Lewis's law*: Boycs' explanation for why he hasn't been knighted shows why he mustn't be knighted.

However, speaking of white knights, a whole bunch of Boycott supporters have crawled out of the woodwork on twitter, claiming that the only reason their hero hasn't had the respect he deserves is because of that pesky domestic violence conviction from 1998, and after all, that was in France so it barely counts and anyway, she was probably lying.

And since most of them are talking about "new evidence" I thought it was my public duty to do a little gentle fact checking, as a resource for others who may have to deal with these pests.

Read more... )

Anyway, as [personal profile] kalypso and I have known since the early 80s, the block to his knighthood lies not in his domestic violence conviction, his racism, his ban from Test cricket as a result of touring apartheid-era South Africa, his running out of Randall or his all-round painful personality. It lies in the deep dark reason everyone in the know knows, but no-one can talk about.


*"The comments below any article on feminism justify feminism".

Wednesday is looking autumnal again

Aug. 23rd, 2017 10:00 am
oursin: Photograph of small impressionistic metal figurine seated reading a book (Reader)
[personal profile] oursin

What I read

Finished The Private Patient, which was readable enough, I suppose, but felt not exactly as if PDJ was phoning it in, just proceeding along well-worn ruts. Found it hard to believe in the characters. Also, while PDJ does have a sense that there is Modern Life, and makes a nod to it in Miskin, she still feels in a bit of a time-warp (unlike Rendell/Vine)

Read Ginger Frost's Illegitimacy in English Law and Society, 1860-1930 (2016), which was a freebie for reading a book proposal and I have been trying to get to for months, because Frost's work is always good and going into areas very under-explored. This one looks at illegitimacy from the angle of the illegitimate children (rather than the fallen mother) and is densely researched. Also more than a little depressing - illegitimate children had a very high mortality rate, if they weren't the victims of infanticide by desperate mothers they were subject to neglect or the general problems of poverty. Also the cruelty of the laws took so very long to change. But Frost does get the ambivalances: courts and local officials being sympathetic to the plight of unwed mothers and thus giving merciful judgments in infanticide cases, giving mothers out-relief rather than obliging them to go into the workhouse, demonstrating a certain flexibility; while thinking actually changing the rules would lead to the downfall of morality.

Also finished one of two books I have for a joint review, which also deal with a rather depressing topic.

On the go

Tanith Lee, Nightshades: Thirteen Journeys into Shadow (1993, and collecting some much earlier material). Some of these have been in other collections of hers I've read recently. Very good, if creepy.

Also, have started second book for the joint review.

Up next

If it ever arrives, the new Barbara Hambly Benjamin January mystery.

(no subject)

Aug. 23rd, 2017 09:20 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] natlyn!

Amsterdam – Canal Barge & Rijks

Aug. 22nd, 2017 10:36 pm
nanila: wrong side of the mirror (me: wrong side of the mirror)
[personal profile] nanila
On the previously mentioned trip to Amsterdam, the bloke and I stayed on a canal barge in the Westerdok.

This was the much bigger cousin of the holiday barges that pootle up and down our Worcestershire canal. The main bulk of the hull served as the home of the bloke who ran the B&B. We were in the wheelhouse, overlooking the canal. The docks seem to serve as pretty much permanent moorings for the barges in this area. Each one had a small garden, and there was even a floating children’s play area.

It was surprisingly quiet given that the location is a mere 15 minute walk from Centraal Station. We could hear a distant roar of traffic, but mostly we heard the hangry cheeping of two adolescent coots and the occasional quack of a duck. We also found a great crested grebe nesting a few boats down. It was definitely brooding, as we never saw the nest unoccupied.

Urban great crested grebe nest
The nest itself was a rather wonderful construction, being a mix of urban rubbish and plant detritus, with a few hollyhocks artfully arranged around the edges. The grebe had two female mallard bodyguards, who immediately came to circle the nest at a careful distance, giving me the side-eye when I hopped down on to the dock from the pavement to take photos.

The barge proprietor tiptoed in every morning to leave us breakfast on the table next to the wheelhouse. It included a bottle of freshly squeezed orange juice, muesli, yoghurt, and hardboiled eggs nested in knitted cosies. Much as I wanted to sleep in, the prospect of getting that into my belly when I heard his footsteps got me out of bed pretty early both mornings. We received so much food at breakfast that we were able to make sandwiches from the bread and cheese to squirrel away for later. We ate these in the Vondelpark on the first day, and for supper on the second after the lunch at Rijks.

Apart from the sheer pleasure of walking around Amsterdam, we also indulged in a trip to a Michelin-starred restaurant for a very belated birthday treat for me. We spent three and a half hours eating lunch at Rijks, which is next to the Rijksmuseum. The bloke had mentioned that it was my birthday when he made the booking. As a result, in addition to our pudding, I got a white chocolate candle with sorbet and a little message inside. We sampled both white and red wines, all by Dutch winemakers “from everywhere in the world” (e.g. New Zealand and South Africa).

Photos from Rijks behind the cut.

+++ )

7 hassles make a post

Aug. 22nd, 2017 05:07 pm
mildred_of_midgard: (Eowyn)
[personal profile] mildred_of_midgard
The last week has been a bit...much. Today has been the first inkling that things are starting to calm down.

Several very boring (except maybe the neighbor) hassles below.

neighbor )

collection threats )

back pain, TaskRabbit, wall damage )

databases )

stepdaughter's internet )

dentist paperwork )

eye exam )

If you go down to the woods today...

Aug. 22nd, 2017 06:38 pm
oursin: image of hedgehogs having sex (bonking hedgehogs)
[personal profile] oursin

Spotted this the other day and then forgot to mention it:

Sex Festival in Tunbridge Wells.

Actually, not in Tunbridge Wells, which evokes images of orgiastic goings on in the Pantiles amidst a crowd of the local denizens being Disgusted.

In fact, in a wood nearby.

'People living in the area have expressed concern over noise, parking and decency': which is almost in the fine tradition of the inhabitants of Hampstead not minding so much about the actual cruising taking place at the famed gay cruising grounds of the Heath, but that they were leaving litter.

A local farmer reported 'Locals that hadn't bought tickets posed the biggest problem for event organisers, with hundreds of people trying to get in on the action'.

A man was found dead and a woman unconscious at the campsite this morning: while all the reports namecheck the festival, it sounds as if it was over by then. The report in the Telegraph suggests that it is possible that fumes from a barbecue were to blame, and the death is so far described as unexplained. But obviously, all reports are going to mention the kinky sex party.

beauty

Aug. 22nd, 2017 08:24 am
sartorias: (white rose)
[personal profile] sartorias
I have been using up my birthday treasures so fast that I've changed my strategy. Yesterday's eclipse was so lovely not just in itself but the relief from the news, that when I woke up to the prospect of the orange horror playing video games with people's lives in Afghanistan I made a conscious decision to look for moments of beauty every day--moments of other human beings making art.

I found this wonderful dancer with a hoop--and this young man doing same..

Letter from a very contented lady

Aug. 22nd, 2017 10:45 am
the_comfortable_courtesan: image of a fan c. 1810 (Default)
[personal profile] the_comfortable_courtesan

Dear Mr Derringe

Your direction has been conveyed to me by way of Lady Bexbury, whose offices in the matter had been requested by Mrs Lowndes, sister of Miss Netherne – though I doubt not she is now Mrs Carter? – that so very kindly conveyed news of you.

I am entirely glad to learn that you and Mr Perry did not die of a fever in the South Seas, nor were eaten by cannibals, as some have rumoured, though I mind that you told me that the stories of man-eating were an entire figment, or at least exceeding exaggeration. I hope that you are entire recovered from the fever that brought you under Mr Carter’s care, and that your plans for a school prosper.

Dear Mr Derringe, pray do not distress yourself concerning our marriage that never came to pass: I confide that I too am by no means suited for the matrimonial state. But I assure you, I am now in quite the happiest way of life. Your very fine remarks about David and Jonathan brought to my mind that other remarkable tale of devotion in the Old Testament, that of Ruth and Naomi.

You will recall that my cousin Hester is Countess of Nuttenford – now Dowager Countess of Nuttenford, the late Earl having been fatally savaged by a bear whilst on a botanical expedition in Virginia. I became companion-chaperone to her middle daughter, Lady Emily Merrett, a very fine young woman with no inclination to marriage, while she was keeping house for her brothers, the Countess having been an invalid these many years and gone to reside with her eldest daughter, that had but lately married the Marquess of Offgrange.

The present Earl is now married to a very fine young woman, and has given over to our use one of his smaller estates, Attervale, an exceeding pretty little place if somewhat quaintly old-fashioned. There is a dovecote of considerable antiquity and I have taken to the keeping of these birds. Meanwhile, dear Em Lady Emily takes to the keeping of hawks, for there is a mews that we suppose originally intended to that purpose - as she also practices archery we might almost be took for some household of the Middle Ages.

There is a very fine orchard and we brew our own cider: dear Lady Emily’s stepfather, Sir Charles Fairleigh, was most helpful in instructing us in the matter, his own apples and their brewing being highly renowned.

Are you now acquainted with the Thornes and the Carters I confide that you are in a very good antipodean set. The Thornes’ fine humane endeavours for the unhappy convicts are very widely admired in our circles and Lady Bexbury, as I daresay they will have told you, is their benevolent patroness raising interest for them. Their scientific observations are ever attended with the greatest eagerness by savants. I like to think that you will have the opportunity of many fine games of chess with them: I ever regretted that I was by no means up to your mark in the matter.

Is there any service I may do you, I hope that you will always consider me your friend. Please convey my kindest regards to Mr Perry.

In great regard and esteem

Lalage Fenster

(no subject)

Aug. 22nd, 2017 09:13 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] elisem!

Who saw the eclipse?

Aug. 21st, 2017 08:21 pm
lastscorpion: pinkie pie says Yay!Pie (Pinkie Pie Yay Pie)
[personal profile] lastscorpion
OMG you guys! That was SO COOL!!!

A guy Pfeffa works with has relatives (with 4 horses & 3 big dogs!) with a large lot in Oregon. He invited people to come & camp, so we did, & got up at 4 am & went to a city park in Corvallis, and the weather was beautiful, and HOLE IN THE SKY!!! So AWESOME!!!!!!

(no subject)

Aug. 21st, 2017 09:57 pm
skygiants: storybook page of a duck wearing a pendant, from Princess Tutu; text 'mukashi mukashi' (mukashi mukashi)
[personal profile] skygiants
A couple months ago I was talking with my roommate about the new Anne of Green Gables TV series (I have not seen it, she had opinions about it) which led to us reminiscing about Other L.M. Montgomery Books We Had Known, which led to me last weekend rereading The Story Girl and The Golden Road.

I was actually much more attached to these books than I ever was to Anne -- they're about an extended group of cousins who have very wholesome adventures together. The cousins include:

Beverly, Our Narrator, most notable for his mildly purple narration and deeply sentimental soul
Felix, his little brother, who is Fat and Sensitive About It
Felicity, who is Very Beautiful and Very Prosaic and also Extremely Bossy, like Lucy from Peanuts if she also looked like Elizabeth Taylor
Cecily, who is Very Good and Very Serious and probably also Doomed to Die Young Like Good Children Do
Dan, Felicity and Cecily's brother, who is an Annoying Brother
Sara Ray, who lives down the road and cries all the time
Peter, who is But a Hired Boy but Clever and Talented and also In Love With Felicity
and, of course, Sara Stanley the Story Girl, who is not pretty but interesting, and has a spellbindingly beautiful voice, and is prone to stopping in the middle of any given conversation to announce that she knows a story that has some vague relation to the topic at hand and will then proceed to relate that story come hell or high water, which: oh god, of course I imprinted on these books as a kid, because I of course do the exact same thing, except without any vestige of a spellbindingly beautiful voice, and also instead of 'I know a tragic story about our uncle's great-aunt's wedding' my version is usually 'I read a book once in which somebody banged a griffin.' But, much like the Story Girl, once I get started on an anecdote of this kind there is very little chance of stopping me. I apologize to anybody who has suffered from this.

ANYWAY. Fortunately, the other kids (with the occasional exception of Felicity) never get fed up with the Story Girl and are always glad to hear an entertaining anecdote about the minister's cousin's grandmother or whatever the topic of discussion is that day.

The kids also get into normal turn-of-the-century-Canadian kid stuff, like pretending to be ministers, or freaking out because the local old-lady-who-might-be-a-witch sat in their pew at church, or panicking that it might be the Day of Judgment. Normal turn-of-the-century-Canadian kid stuff centers very prominently on appropriate church behavior, as it turns out. L.M. Montgomery's world is composed of Methodists and Lutherans and that's about it. I don't remember this being weird for me as an emphatically-not-Christian youth but it is slightly retroactively weird for me now.

Other notable things that happen in The Story Girl and The Golden Road:
- Dan eats poison berries because Felicity tells him he would be an idiot to eat the poison berries, nearly dies, then goes back and eats more poison berries because Felicity made the mistake of saying she told him so
- Cecily the Very Sweet and Very Good is mean to exactly one person in both books, a boy in her class who conceives a terrible crush on her and will not leave her alone despite multiple stated requests until she publicly humiliates him in class, which she ruthlessly does; a good lesson
- The Story Girl gives a great and instantly recognizable description of synesthesia without ever actually using the word
- The Story Girl befriends a desperately shy neighbor who is known as the Awkward Man, "because he is so awkward," our narrator Bev helpfully explains
- the Awkward Man is later revealed to have a secret room in his house containing women's clothing, which, the Story Girl explains, is because he's spent years buying things for an imaginary girlfriend - and, I mean, far be it from me to question the Story Girl! but some grad student could probably get a real good paper on gender and sexuality in turn-of-the-century children's lit out of this is all I'm saying

No neighbor updates, just rambling

Aug. 21st, 2017 09:05 pm
mildred_of_midgard: Johanna Mason head shot (Johanna)
[personal profile] mildred_of_midgard
My point-by-point rebuttal to her email to the landlord complaining that I'm unreasonable. The landlord forwarded this email to me and asked me for my input. This is the response I sent him. Real names redacted for privacy.

Cut for tedium. Commentary below the cut )

"I can confidently say I've never called her."

Anybody who's been reading this blog for any length of time has seen how I am about phone calls. I AVOID them!

"You don't try building a dog run for a one-off."

This was an allusion to the landlord in May claiming to me that he had no idea how bad the problem was, he thought it was a couple of one-offs. I am HIGHLY skeptical, since he's the one who told me about the previous tenants and their attempt to build a dog run to deal with the extent of the mess, which I here remind him of.

But since he has finally taken action, I see no need to go on the offense against him.

"when the grass was so high the landscapers had to get a ride-around mower"

That was insane. The landlord came over for repairs, did a double take when he glanced out the window, and I immediately started going, "I can explain! There's a story!" And the story was basically that she kept saying she was going to mow, then that she was going to hire someone, then that they showed up, refused to go back there without a ride-around mower, which they couldn't fit through the side yard, and we tried to get the phone # of the landscapers out of her so we could help, pay for them, find a different contractor, etc. and she refused to give us any info and kept putting us off. Standard operating procedure for her, this was just the worst instance in terms of grass height.

And this is someone who has apparently had 2 rent checks bounce, had her electricity and gas cut off for non-payment, and claimed to me she had no idea why the electricity was broken and sent me down into the basement to check the breakers, because she refuses to go into the basement. Not an ideal tenant.

Like, I'm sympathetic if you don't have the money to pay rent, utilities, or lawn-mowing services. But don't ignore my attempts to meet you halfway, refuse repeated offers of money from me for years, and then smash windows because I eventually go over your head to the landlord.

Also, as I keep pointing out, smashing a window does not lend credence to your claims that I'm the unreasonable one here.

I really hope she moves out, either voluntarily or because her probation has turned into a hard non-renewal after the window incident. That was some scary stuff. (She hasn't done anything violent since then, but at the time, we had no idea how far it was going to escalate.)

Such neighbor. Very drama. Wow.

Aug. 21st, 2017 07:07 pm
mildred_of_midgard: (bowiesmirk)
[personal profile] mildred_of_midgard
A while back, I posted about the neighbor. We live in a duplex, share a large, grassy backyard, and are supposed to share the responsibilities of keeping the grass cut. She has two dogs, a beagle and a lab.

She does not clean up after her dogs. There are usually at least a dozen piles of dog poop lying around in the yard.

She has insisted on taking full responsibility for mowing. I would do half the mowing, but I don't want to be picking up after her dogs. So when she said she would handle the mowing, I let her. But she doesn't mow very often. The weeds are not infrequently knee-high.

Neither of these things is good on its own, but the combination is awful.

The yard used to have a construct that was an aborted attempt at a dog run, started by the previous tenants in my unit, because they were so fed up with the dog mess. As I just said in an email to my landlord, you don't do this for a one-off. You do this if you're desperate.

So the yard is basically unusable.

I registered complaints for three years, which my landlord always met with "hire someone." In May, after a lot of attempts to work things out with the neighbor, I finally told him I was hiring someone, and taking half the cost out of rent, because I would mow if there weren't dog poop everywhere.

That lit a fire under his butt. He said cleaning up after her dogs was not my responsibility, nor was paying someone else to. He sent her a written reminder of her lease obligations to clean up after her dogs and share in lawn responsibilities.

She improved a little in terms of lawn mowing (in terms of how often the landscapers came over), but not in terms of dogs.

I sent a detailed update of the changes and lack of changes a couple weeks ago. He sent her an email saying he had decided not to renew her lease at the end of September. That if everything was perfect until the end of September, she could stay, but if she ever did it again, she was out, no more get out of jail card.

She was FURIOUS. (I am seriously eliding three years of efforts on the parts of me, my partner, and my stepdaughter to reach some sort of compromise with her, to cover half the costs of landscaping, etc., that she has consistently refused. Fortunately, some of these efforts were made in email, so I have a written record.)

She came home early from work, slammed the front door so hard it shook the house, and banged around. My partner and I were chatting when we heard the sound of breaking glass. We raised our eyebrows and went, "Is she breaking things?"

We figured she'd either accidentally knocked over a glass jar or something in her banging, or she was deliberately smashing her own stuff. Clearly furious, but not a problem per se.

Then my partner went outside. She found the neighbor sweeping up large shards of glass on the porch. Then she realized the window-sized glass pane in the front door was broken. The neighbor's unit is now open to birds, mosquitoes, etc. (We're talking probably 18 x 24 inches.)

We're not sure if she threw something through the window, or just knocked over a coat rack, but WOW. What if someone had been standing there? The landlord is now trying to get her side of the story.

The whole saga has been unfolding in a fairly dramatic way. As I reconstruct it:

Landlord emails neighbor with notice of non-renewal of lease.

Neighbor leaves a tearful message on my voicemail asking if I know why she's being evicted.

Neighbor calls landlord for explanation.

I email neighbor asking if she got clarification.

Neighbor sends me furious email saying she will clean up after her dogs but will not share lawn or snow responsibilities any more.

Neighbor comes home, bangs around, breaks window.

The weirdest part is the part where she went from asking me if I knew why she was being evicted (which the landlord said is technically not an eviction, but a non-renewal with 30+ days' notice, since she's month-to-month), to, when she found out, being furious with me.

I mean, I tried to work out the yard situation with her directly, without involving the landlord, in May. She ignored all my emails.

Then she got a warning from the landlord in late May about cleaning up after her dogs and mowing more frequently.

Then today he tells her (he forwarded the email to me), "The ongoing struggle with cleaning up after your dogs and your share of the lawn mowing is affecting our other tenants ability to enjoy the yard.

"We [he and his wife, co-landlord/landlady] really wish we were not in the position to need to take this step. This time, and this time only, we will reverse our decision if yard work and dog cleanup is kept up-to-date from here out. Should it become a matter of contention with our other tenants again, we would need to reinstate this decision."

Like, how was it not obvious that I had complained again? How was it, "I have no idea why the mean landlord is evicting me but maybe my friendly neighbor can explain" to "OH, it's the NEIGHBOR who's mean" in less than an hour?

That's what the warning was for. Also, he explained in the email notice. How did she not make the connection? I don't get it.

Anyway, waiting to hear back from the landlord on new developments. I really hope she moves out.

Also, I had to take half a day off work unexpectedly today to deal with this drama, and it's making it impossible to focus on what I really wanted to do today after work, which was write Finnick fic. (Yeah, I'm working on another story, or at least I'm trying to.)

Ugh.

Cannot cope, off to Mordor.

Onboard Alma

Aug. 21st, 2017 09:31 pm
[personal profile] karinfromnosund
M and I took a boat trip on Revsundssjön. There is a nice little steam boat called Alma, that sets out from Stavre every Sunday during the summer, and you can go down and see how the engine works if you like (we did). Yesterday's trip had about ten passengers, which included two musicians, who played... the usual stuff.

I found my glasses to be a little unreliable -- they kept seeing islands where there weren't any. I'm not sure if it was the movement, or all those trees growing almost in the water, or something else.

I asked M if that is where he goes sailing, but he said he usually stay further east.

Flat, and flat, for evermore

Aug. 21st, 2017 07:29 pm
oursin: George Beresford photograph of Marie of Roumania, overwritten 'And I AM Marie of Roumania' (Marie of Roumania)
[personal profile] oursin

Actually it was yesterday, rather than today, that I spotted this work recently made available through the good offices of Project Gutenberg:

William Carpenter, One Hundred Proofs that the Earth is Not a Globe (1885) -

- and I can't see that he entirely manages to give a plausible explanation for eclipses, but then he does think that the sun is a lot smaller than those there astronomers declare, and goes round the earth...

We do feel that Alfred Russel Wallace would have been better employed than debating with members of the Zetetic Society.

One is - a little - intrigued at what was published in Flat Earth journals (o, say, do, that it was Flat Earth hymns such as feature in Kipling's The Village That Voted the Earth Was Flat...)

But I was fascinated by this, in that Wikipedia article on Flat Earth Societies:

In 1969, Shenton persuaded Ellis Hillman, a Polytechnic of East London lecturer, to become president of the Flat Earth Society; but there is little evidence of any activity on his part until after Shenton's death, when he added most of Shenton's library to the archives of the Science Fiction Foundation he helped to establish.
The lengths to which librarians will go to add some particularly rare and choice material to their collection.

Eclipse

Aug. 21st, 2017 11:01 am
sartorias: (Default)
[personal profile] sartorias
The spouse and I watched the eclipse on tv (showing a town on the Oregon coast). Once they had totality, which was very cool, we went outside with our pinhole and paper; here it was seventy-something percent, and of course it happened a few minutes after the Oregon coast one because of the way California coast curves in.

We watched the crescent, came back in, and people on TV in Oregon were watching the sun shadow retreat. I came up to get back to work, reflecting that it was so very nice to pass through the kitchen and tv area and not be hearing the words "terrorists" "Nazis" "Republicans" or "Trump." So very nice.

That Whedon Thing

Aug. 21st, 2017 09:24 am
mme_hardy: White rose (Default)
[personal profile] mme_hardy
I gave up on Joss Whedon, Male Feminist Icon, after the first episode of DOLLHOUSE.   I was creeped out by FIREFLY's Madonna/whore thing, but somehow I reasoned around it.   The revelation that he's been using that reputation to predate on women is horrible, but not a shock.

When I read Kai Cole's statement -- do read if you have somehow missed it -- I kept flashing on the pivotal conversation in Gaudy Night, in which Harriet and Peter talk about spouses who have eaten each other, and whether there is such a thing as a marriage in which nobody is eaten.  Kai Cole was and is an architect.  Starting, by her telling, with Buffy, she dedicated hersef to  emotional labor for Joss Whedon, including producing projects that he worked on.  Harriet Vane would tell you that Whedon ate Cole.  And, going only by the direct quotations Cole gives, when Whedon confessed to her, he praised himself -- told her what a powerful stud he was, and that it wasn't his fault he was surrounded by "aggressive" actresses.

Whedon's public response to Cole's statement:

“While this account includes inaccuracies and misrepresentations which can be harmful to their family, Joss is not commenting, out of concern for his children and out of respect for his ex-wife.”

Let's unpack this.  

1.  Whedon cheated for over a decade, but Cole is the one who's hurting their children.
2.  Whedon used feminism as a tool to get laid, but now he's showing Cole respect.
3.  Cole has direct quotes from Whedon's letter, showing exactly who he is, but the account "includes inaccuracies and misrepresentations"

So.  "You're a bad mother, and I could explain how much you're lying, but I won't because unlike you I'm a good father and respect the children and you."

Whedonesque, bless them, have gone read-only and shut down.
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