Monday, September 01, 2014

Pres in Boots?

We all heard about Ted Cruz calling Barack Obama a "kitty cat".

"The Russian bear is encountering the Obama kitty cat," Cruz said, according to the Washington Times, adding "The reason Putin feels no fear to march into his neighbors, the reason our allies up and down Europe are terrified of what happens next is because our president is leading from behind."

see textWell, that story was picked up by the popular on-line Russian paper Gazeta. There are some interesting translation errors in that story, discussed below, but I want to draw your attention to the picture Gazeta chose to run on its Facebook page linking to the article.


Yeah. That's Puss in Boots, making his famous big eyes ... the ones that come just before he whips out his sword and cuts you to ribbons. I wish I knew if the guy who picked that did it on purpose...

(At least a couple of commenters also wonder.)

There are a couple of tiny translation errors in their rendering of that quote (the "kitty cat" one was pretty straight-forward: «русский медведь столкнулся с котенком Обамой»).
«Причина, по которой Путин действует без опаски, кроется в страхе наших союзников в Европе перед тем, что может произойти дальше, так как они не видят впереди себя нашего президента», — заявил Круз на партийном мероприятии в Далласе.

"The reason Putin acts without caution is that our allies in Europe are in terror of what may happen next because they do not see our president in front of them," Cruz declared at a party event in Dallas.

Or, more literally: ... in the fear of our allies in the face of what may happen next, since they do not see...
Yeah, that's not exactly what he said.

Let's just hope that this is just as wrong:
Сенатор Круз считается наиболее вероятным претендентом в кандидаты на пост президента США на выборах, которые пройдут в 2016 году, от республиканской партии.
Senator Cruz is considered the most likely claimant for Republican nominee in the 2016 US presidential elections.
Although that would give us a pretty clear choice.

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"Hidden" text

By the way, I'm aware that the "hidden" text on my Lock In post isn't hidden, though I hope it's unreadable. But I just spent 30 minutes trying to decipher the source code and get that background color, and could not. And then I went to one of those sites where you create a color and it gives you the hex code - and even though it looked like a match to me, when I plugged it into the post it was anything but.

So I gave up. Sorry. The colors defeated me.

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Pendleton and Milton-Freewater

On the way to the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute, which is in Oregon (Walla Walla is quite near the border), we passed through a little place called Milton-Freewater, which seems to have frogs as its symbol, and Pendleton, home of the Mills, where they have a very nice shop :-).


We kept hearing ads on the radio for this festival, but I confess we didn't go. (Muddy-Frogwater is apparently a local nickname for Milton-Freewater.)


A frog king riding on a snail. Okay...



Welcome to Pendleton


Horses graze inside the town



A nice line of goods!

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Tamástslikt

Tamástslikt is the only Native American museum along the Oregon Trail. Its name means "the turning of the years" or "telling our own story". On the Umatilla Reservation, it shows the culture of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (the Cayuse, Umatilla, and Walla Walla). It was built in 1998, funded by Oregon and the tribes (the Interior Department's budget did not "include any money for Indian interpretive centers," but after protest and publicity, the BIA guaranteed a loan to help finish the construction) to "tell the story of the Oregon Trail from a Native American perspective." It's a gorgeous place, well curated and accessible (no photos inside). Don't miss the Coyote Stories in the theater!

The Casino is the first thing you see, but the cultural center is well back from it


The cafe is supposed to be good, but it was closed when we were there


My school-teacher friend's nightmare: a field trip on our vacation! (Though actually, there were no kids, and the guy seemed to be using the parking lot to learn how to drive.)


The building was the home of many barn swallows




No pictures inside, but the village outside was open for photography


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Gender (and Race) in Lock In

So, I just had it pointed out to me in a discussion thread at Making Light (not to me personally, but I realized I had been doing it): the narrator of Scalzi's Lock In is not identified by gender. Since it's first-person, there's never any reference to "he said/she said", it's just "I said", and no one ever actually uses a noun that would nail it down. Chris is "a rich kid" and exercises "my rich-person privilege". When people remember Chris's childhood, it's "a child-sized threep offering an Easter Lily to the Bishop of Rome" and "a child's first steps". There's also no hint of Chris's sexuality to help (or hinder). Like the attorney Hilary Tamar in Sarah Caudwell's excellent novels, Chris could be either gender.

Wow.

I have to admit I didn't even notice. I read the book with a preconceived idea of Chris's gender, and now I'm realizing that I brought that, and others brought something else. Now I'm looking at it with the notion that one of the many fascinating things going on here was the idea that it doesn't even matter.

I'll note here that the gender of other hadens is perfectly clear. Pronouns, etc., are deployed as usual, and when we see the digital self-images of Tony and Cassandra, they're idealized versions of themselves, male and female.

Also, race wasn't hidden - but we don't find out about Chris's parents' races until 72% of the way through the book, in Chapter 19 (spoiler: highlight to read: Chris's father is black, his mother white). And again, I noticed that - when it happened.

So. Well done, John Scalzi. You've not only told me a wonderful, ingenious story, but you've shown me something about myself, and brought me questions to think about - even more questions than I actually realized the day I finished the book the first time.

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Goodbye to Summer

Well, today is meteorological autumn. School starts (if it hasn't already) tomorrow. It's been an odd, cool summer - yesterday, the last day of August, we had our first 90°-day - for August! one of them! - and a tremendous thunderstorm.

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Weekend brought to you by...


And this fabulous poster is by Ricardo Levins Morales Art Studio

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Happy Labor Day

This year we in the US celebrate Labor Day today.

By Hammer and Hand all Arts do stand.

Although it is true that only about 20 percent of American workers are in unions, that 20 percent sets the standards across the board in salaries, benefits and working conditions. If you are making a decent salary in a non-union company, you owe that to the unions. One thing that corporations do not do is give out money out of the goodness of their hearts. Molly Ivins

Labor Day differs in every essential from other holidays of the year in any country. All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflict and battles of man’s prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race or nation. Samuel Gompers

If any man tells you he loves America, yet hates labor, he is a liar. If any man tells you he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is a fool. Abraham Lincoln

Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost. Ronald Reagan

With all their faults, trade unions have done more for humanity than any other organization of men that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in men, than any other association of men. Clarence Darrow

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership - the American worker. US Department of Labor

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Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Week in Entertainment

DVD: Mr and Mrs North, a light-hearted tv series from 1953/4. I remember the books as being funnier and less predictable, but that's probably not a fair criticism of a half-hour show. The actors are pretty good, even though the show's a bit dated (one of them was all about how we just can't let Andy ruin his career and make a lot of embarrassing trouble by stopping his stepfather from hitting his mother). One note - this show is said to be the inspiration behind Hart to Hart. The rest of Shetland, which continued to be quite nice.

TV: Dammit, the DVR didn't record the second Dr Who episode, and it's not on On Demand yet! Fortunately they'll repeat it, but I'm hoping it makes On Demand tomorrow. Grrrr.

Read: Another pre-order hit the Kindle - Scalzi's Lock In. Brilliant. It's a good thing, because I had started The Rings of Anubis and was being bored to tears by it. Started Wildwood, a YA sort-of-urban fantasy set in the big park in Portland, Oregon. Pretty good so far.

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Fort Nez Perce/Walla Walla and Madame Dorion

West of Walla Walla is McNary National Wildlife Refuge along the Walla Walla River. Here is the Madame Dorion marker, and just up the road is the site of the original Fort Walla Walla, the Hudson Bay's Company one.



This terrain is called "shrub-steppe"


Madame Dorion's memorial marker (she's buried in the Willamette Valley, though). She was one tough lady.












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At 4:04 PM, August 31, 2014 Anonymous Kathie had this to say...

You had a far more interesting time those weeks than I did. Many thanks for sharing!

 

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Frenchtown

Before the Whitmans got to Washington, there was a Hudson's Bay Company outpost (you know, "54-40 or fight!") here, and its trappers and other personnel lived in a settlement called Frenchtown. After the battle of Walla Walla (Dec 1855), part of the Yakama War, the town was abandoned for a time. There's very little left here, but there's an effort underway to restore the site.

the site's sign


Frenchtown site marker - badly shot by me!


Frenchtown and Santa Rosa church marker


the cemetary


this is one of the posts marking the site of the church



A light-morph Swainson's Hawk soaring overhead, probably one of the ones we saw at the Whitman Mission, given how close the two places are


These are some of the many red-winged grasshoppers around the site. Drab and hard to see when on the ground, they flash a sudden and unexpected red when they fly. It was impossible for me to get a good shot of that - they're small, fast and unpredictable, but it was magical to see. Below is someone else's shot of their wings.




Here's a shot of one showing its wings (©Charley Eiseman, licensed under Creative Commons).

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The Whitman Mission

In 1836 missionaries from the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions crossed the Rockies and established a mission at Waiilatpu (the place of rye grass), near modern Walla Walla. (The wives were the first white women to come west overland, though Sacajawea and Madame Dorion both preceded them, the latter also living in the area). After an apparently successful first few years, the Whitmans found that the Native Americans in the area weren't converting, and he turned his attention to the increasing Oregon Trail pioneers, setting up a school and hospital, taking in orphans from the trail, and giving them a place to rest up after the mountains, though he did continue to treat the Cayuse and Nez Perce, though  unfortunately without much success. On November 29, 1847, after a particularly dreadful attack of measles (brought by the pioneers) killed half of the local Cayuse, including almost all their children, the Whitmans and some of the pioneers overwintering at the mission were killed, the rest of the residents held for ransom and later released. The wonderfully curated Whitman Mission National Historic Site is a great place to visit, providing an even-handed view of the tragic incidents that sparked the eight-year Cayuse War. The rangers are great, knowledgeable and helpful, and they have a terribly good (and new) film about the incident, and a ranger talk that places it in the greater geopolitical context of US history.

The marker for Waiilatpu (Why-ee-lat-poo)



Entry to the National Historic Site


Rye grass


A photo from the exhibit, a Cayuse chief


Diorama of Cayuse meeting the Whitmans


The Great Grave


The Whitman obelisk


On top of the hill, a drawing of the site in 1847 overlooking the area illustrated...




... so you can compare




Soaring overhead, several Swainson's hawks




Surely this is an unnecessary sign!


Ruts from the actual Oregon Trail



Concrete blocks outlining the buildings


A dragonfly


Here's a redtailed hawk overlooking the road between the mission and Frenchtown (next post!)



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