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One of the surprisingly large number of biopics opening this month is "Breathe," based on the lives of Robin and Diana Cavendish. After getting polio in his late 20s, in 1958, Robin was paralyzed from the neck down, using a mechanical ventilator to breathe. Among other things, the Cavendishes worked with Teddy Hall to invent a wheelchair with a respirator, the first of its kind. The movie hasn't gotten great reviews in general, but it is the latest movie prompting annoyance, at least, from disabled people who think that non-disabled actors (in this case Andrew Garfield) should not be given the role instead of a disabled actor. Another film currently in some theaters is "Stronger," in which Jake Gyllenhaal plays Jeff Bauman, in the story of Bauman's wounding and rehab during/after the Boston Marathon bombing. Bauman has supported JG's casting, and worked with the cast and crew of the film. My general casting opinion is that anybody should play any role in a live theatrical production (color, gender, age, whatever). For movies and TV, though, I think the characters should be portrayed by people who match their salient characteristics as much as possible. For better or for worse, people believe what they see on film (digits), and I think an effort should be made to get it right. I am glad that the kid who plays JJ on "Speechless" actually is someone with Cerebral Palsy (as the character is), even though he is not quite the same - as one might gather from the title, JJ can't talk, but actor Micah Fowler can. Things have improved since 1989, when "My Left Foot" (also about a person with CP) came out. Daniel Day Lewis won an Oscar for playing the adult Christy Brown (Hugh O'Conor, who played his as a child, didn't get any awards that I know of). I don't think anybody tried to find an actor with CP in that case, but nearly thirty years have passed. I have some sympathy with casting a non-disabled person in the case of before and after stories - the other option would be casting a disabled person for the after part and doing a lot of CGI stuff for before. But when it is someone who has always been in a wheelchair/used a ventilator/been blind/whatever, a genuine effort should be made to find an actor with the features of the character. Something that is interesting is that as far as I recall, characters with Down Syndrome always are played by actors with DS. There is the weird example of "Glee," in which case the characters with DS were played by actors with DS, but the character who was paraplegic, using a wheelchair, was played by a non-disabled actor. Inconsistent, and confusing.
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One of the slavery adverts from October 1767 lists a "girl who can wash as well as any in the province, and iron tolerably well." This is not an uncommon adjective (or adverb, depending on the ad) - in "The Cooking Gene," Michael W. Twitty compiled a list of "tolerable cooks." But she's one of a number of good washers advertised this fall (-250) who were tolerable at ironing. Being a good ironer is hard now, and would have more so then. I think from time to time of getting rid of our iron and ironing board altogether, but occasionally use them in sewing projects. Arthur sometimes uses hotel irons when traveling, if his seminar shirt got crumpled on route. I am OK with wrinkles, mostly, but sometimes feel sloppy.

It continues to be worth the time to read these ads. The people who write the ads seem to be trying not to overstate the person's skills too much (hence tolerable), but no positive adjectives protected the person on the block from being minutely examined, often naked. The advertiser never says "I am a terrible person, and am complicit in human rights abuse." That would be truth in advertising.
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I am considering doing a race for which I would have to agree to open a fundraising web page and let my photo be used with folks from the charity. This gives me pause, because I try to keep myself at least somewhat private online. Even so, I feel like I really am all over the web (DW, twitter, Instagram, member of various chat lists), but after a google search and a duckduckgo search, I am a bemused by the results. Since voter registration and property taxes are public documents, I'm not surprised to see my name and address linked, but others are more mysterious. I have rung dozens (more) of quarter peals. Maybe half a dozen show up. I spent a couple of years writing a column for the local weekly newspaper. Nothing, although my dean's list and graduation notes from UMass Lowell are there. I have run many races in various places, the times of which tend to be online on sites like coolrunning. Only a few show up. I got a hit from an obituary in 2009, because I had written a one-line condolence message. I got a few things from church or charity newsletters. I have a common name - one of the snoopy sites claimed to have 125 people with my name. I didn't know that there had been someone with my name working for the BPD, but I did previously know about the real estate agent in Lexington, KY. This commonality means that many genealogy sites have what looks like my name, but only a couple of them seem to actually be me. I am linked to Arthur in a few places, including his academic web page. In some ways, the weirdest thing is the listing for a person with my name plus an added middle initial H. I get donation requests for her, and always assumed this was a typo from some organization. I remember the story of someone who could track which charity had sold or exchanged her name, because it was the one that spelled Eve as Eeeeeve. L. H. is listed on Intellius and others at our address, with our landline number, and my age. I don't know what to think of the online presence of typo lady, or whether I should try to get rid of her.
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Meb Keflezighi has said that the NYC marathon on November 5th will be the last of his career. I’d like to see him, and while there anyway, thousands of other racers. There is a Greyhound bus that will get to Port Authority at about 4:30 AM ( with the time change from EDT to EST happening on the way). That would be a couple of hours before dawn, and four before the first wheelchairs roll across the Verrazano bridge. What could I do before spectating? My thought was to watch from 4th Ave in Brooklyn. I could spend about three hours walking it, but a woman alone in the dark...

Edit: Arthur points out that the Tick Tock diner is open 24/7 (around the clock, as it were).
and I could spend part of the afternoon at the MoMA
Still, it might be more sensible to watch part of the race at home on TV and then go out an run in a local charity benefit 10K.
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The next-door neighbor's dogwood tree is full of berries. Every fall, there is a day (or two) in which all the birds in the area seem to converge, and after a short time, the berries are consumed. I don't know how the birds decide that it's maximum ripeness day, but seemingly it's time.
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In the 1970s, my knowledge of Russian was enough that I could make some small talk with people in the (then) Soviet Union in 1976, and could do some translations from the kind of readings intended for college students, first at UNC, then at Harvard Extension. Then it sat, for nearly forty years, mostly unused. When it became clear earlier this year that Arthur really wanted me to go along when he was invited to do three talks this fall, I started using a learn Russian program on the iPad, in fits and starts. I knew that I should be working harder, but self-discipline can be hard.
So - was it useful? Yes. I spent a lot of regret time on how little I knew, but at a minimum getting-around level, it helped a lot to know what was on signs, to be able to ask and comprehend directions, and so forth. In a lot of places in big cities, there are English signs up now as Russia prepares to host the World Cup next year. Considering the nuisance and expense involved in getting a tourist visa, I wonder how many people will come, but we saw lots of tourists during our week there. The signs don't necessarily mean that things are clear, or that everybody knows English. We were particularly surprised that the only English-speakers we found in a cluster of train stations in Moscow were part of a tour group from Singapore. We were looking specifically for the high-speed train to St. Petersburg, and had to be able to eliminate the areas for the commuter trains and slower long distance trains. Even the lady at the information booth didn't know English. I asked a few short questions in Russian that got the answers we needed ("Which way is the Sapan train?" "Go straight that way." "Is this the entrance for track 5?" "Yes") and figured it out. And it was just pleasant as a human to be able to speak to people in a brief way. Good morning, excuse me, please, thank you. We spent nine hours at the Hermitage museum in St. Petersburg. We were on the top floor in a coin exhibit at 8:45 PM. A guard came up to us and said something that I understood to be "blah blah blah closing blah blah minutes." I asked "How many minutes?" "Three." I looked at my watch, and we smiled at each other.
My favorite one requires some backstory. There is a nice park (St. Petersburg has a number of beautiful parks) that has an amusement park in one section, is near water on another end, and is a short walk to the city's soccer stadium. I had walked along the shore, walked through the wooded area, and noticed as time past that more and more people wearing matching fan scarves were walking through the park in the direction of the stadium. Somewhat to my surprise, many of them were stopping in the woods, in little clumps. Not exactly picnicking, but more like standing around consuming beverages (alcoholic or soda) and in many cases smoking. I wondered whether the stadium is smoke-free, and people were storing up their nicotine for the next few hours. A couple had set up a face-painting business (some stools and a little table for the paints). I watched for a while as the choices ranged from the team name to whole face coverage. I decided that as a nod to the cultural event I would get my face painted. I think she may have overcharged me, but what the heck, it was in an amusement park and near a professional stadium. The Big Wheel cost less that I expected, so things average out.

[In great frustration after trying to insert the image. I like Dreamwidth in many ways, but LJ was better about photos. Try this
face painted with FC Zenit logo

When it was getting dark, I sought out the busway at the edge of the park. I took the first bus that came, because traffic was already a mess, and I didn't want to wait. I had a language failure then, because my tap card didn't seem to be working. The driver in annoyance kept saying the same thing over and over that I didn't understand (and figured out the next day must have been "no charge"). Maybe it's like the T being free on New Year's Eve (getting to the match and back). But then I had an endearing conversation twice, with two separate pairs of concerned women, who worried that I was going the wrong way (we were headed away from the stadium), based on the evidence of fandom on my face. I reassured them, possibly ungrammatically, that "I was in the park. I thought it was pretty." It was nice of them to think of me.
People were kind in general, trying to make sure we got where we needed to go.
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The thing about having quick access to the internet and an out of town spouse is that when one wakes at 5 AM with a strong need to hear "Elsie Marley, " it's possible to do so without even getting out of bed. Being me, though, once I did that, the obvious next thing was to check email and then Dreamwidth, and now something that should have taken three minutes has been half an hour. Also, someone is wrong on the internet. Youtube has many fine renditions of EM, including one in a medley with Byker Hill (as it should be), but there is also a kid karaoke animated thing that pops up with lyrics set to the tune of "London Bridge is falling down." Is the idea that children can't deal with singing along to a jig?
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I was struck by the image of five blocks of people in a bucket chain, passing along rubble from downed buildings in Mexico City. How long could I stand, moving heavy objects over and over? Credit cards are easy (for me). Could I do something hard?
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In the 1970s, there was a NC state representative in a rural mountain area of the state who said that she counted the letters she got on any particular issue, and voted based on the total.
I think the point of representative democracy is that our elected surrogates are supposed to have the common good in mind, not necessarily going with the loudest voices. Says someone who has been encouraging people to call about Graham-Cassidy. There is a long history of pork barrel politics, but is that really what we want? And when it is money versus money, how to decide? Due to the heartlessness (or cluelessness?) of most GOP senators, as CNN says, it's all in some sense down to Murkowski (R) AK.
The cynical authors of the bill know that if Alaskan will be harmed by this bill, she'll vote against it. So there is a bribe included in the text of the bill - the grants for Alaska will be half again higher than for other states. If she counts the dollars (like counting the letters), I expect she'll go with the bad guys, despite the previous opinions of her constituents and the current remarks of the governor.
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In early August, I mentioned the clock we have that stops and then starts mysteriously. It started ticking again this morning (almost two months after it stopped).

A, C, D

Sep. 19th, 2017 08:28 am
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It dawned on me the other day that the US issues that worry me most* can be summarized by the first few letters of the alphabet. There is so much going on that a frightening number of people are unaware that the ACA might really be destroyed in the next couple of weeks by the heartless GOP.
Short, terrifying summary (the vote is expected before a new CBO score could happen:
Clear, almost snide opinion piece

I called my parents' senators about C-G last week while I was in NC. I thought about going to DC today to participate in the rally outside the Capitol building (it's at 12:15, if you're around), but decided to send the money that would be spent on transportation by donating to organizations like Indivisible. Bernie's timing promoting single-payer, as is often the case, seems self-aggrandizing rather than useful. It's a good idea, but right now we need to save lives that depend on the current system.

Updated - saw on twitter that Senator Murkowski (R) AK is accepting out of state calls, so I'm on hold, listening to patriotic music played by a brass band, presumably one of the military bands. Hard to beat the Stars and Stripes Forever ( about the fifth song I heard. The phone answerer was surprised to hear that I was calling from MA, so maybe it was just a rumor, but I thanked her).

Or, alphabetically, (ADA), one could worry about the House instead, and oppose HR 620. That's a bad thing, but proportionally the effects won't be as (literally) deadly as Cassidy-Graham.

And of course, there is the whole DACA business.

*(other than individual things like three people dying in a bus crash in NYC yesterday)
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I follow the Adverts 250 project on twitter, seeing every day ads about US enslaved people from 1767 (currently) in newspapers. There is a much more detailed web site, but the ads are the same in either format. A couple of days ago, I noticed the sixth one down on this page (I can't figure out how to isolate the image)
which says "To be sold for no fault, but want of Employ, a strong healthy Negro man, aged about 36 years, who understands the sawing business, and is very suitable for a master builder or cabinet maker. Inquire of Edes and Gill."
The ad was printed in the Boston-Gazette. The names tugged at me, and I realized that the re-enacted print shop near Old North was theirs. They currently mostly print a version of the Constitution, but they are clear about the link to the Gazette and the proprietors.
What the sites don't mention (among many other things, no doubt) was the slavery connection. Can I reasonably expect someone who was part of the "Sons of Liberty" (Edes) to have turned down paying customers who were happy depriving other people of their own liberty? I love that building, and like the press, and this is pissing me off. One of the historical advisors of the shop is J.L. Bell. I am coincidentally reading one of his books, "The Road to Concord," the thesis of which is that the whole Patriot's day ruckus was over some stolen cannon, not powder, so much. (I'm over-simplifying). Bell also follows the Adverts 250 project on twitter (along with hundreds of other people, several of whom I also follow). I am tempted to send JLB a personal message asking why the slavery issue is ignored by the shop, but I expect that would just get me blocked, and I haven't had the nerve to ask Gary the printer in person, either.
To be accurate, I think the original bunch of guys calling themselves Sons of Liberty were named after the Liberty Tree on the common, and they were formed to fight the Stamp Act of 1765, but still. Liberty is in the name.

(unrelated, I also have a question about a passing 1766 reference to the bells in "the Road to Concord" that has insufficient source citations).
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In a good way. There is a documentary about the Avett Brothers called "May it Last" that I gather will eventually show on HBO, but it played in cinemas "One Night Only" nationwide yesterday (except for a few hurricane-hit places, which may show it later). We attended one of the shows at the Landmark Kendall. The other greater Boston locations (Liberty Tree mall in Danvers, Framingham) only had the one 7 PM show, but Kendall had several over the course of the evening. I suspect if it had a regular theatrical run we would have meant to see it, been too busy, and then missed it, but since it was our only chance (we don't have HBO), we made an effort to shift around our plans. Recommended, although I don't know if a recommendation is useful, since it's gone. We think that the teenage girls a couple of rows behind us must have caught sight of themselves during a concert audience shot near the end, because they erupted in shrieks of laughter.
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After short visits (over decades) to Aruba, the Bahamas, and Puerto Rico, I felt that I had had enough Caribbean exposure to last - I live near a coast, why go so far for a beach? (in the case of PR, we went to Arecibo and the rain forest). Now I'm wondering whether it would be helpful in the next year or two to take my tourist dollars directly to some of the islands whomped by Irma. Antigua has taken in all of the residents of their fellow island Barbuda. They will need many kinds of support, including, as their ambassador told NPR this morning, a way to squeeze 500 kids into their schools immediately, since the school year has already begun. The One America Fund seems to be only supporting Texas and Florida, not the US Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico. I will send money in the short term, but after a while they might need business, not charity.
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These birds were on the window ledge on the 22nd floor of a hotel in the Kendall area of Miami. The windows don't open, so the people who have been concerned on the internet that nobody opened the windows for the birds aren't really helping.

This week's Masterpiece Mystery episode of "Endeavor," (which I watched last night on a re-broadcast) had a parrot as a character (and plot point).

I did the lesson on Russian pet words yesterday. I already knew the words for dog and cat (two separate cat words, gender-specific). I had not heard the word for parrot (попугай, pronounced popoogye, more or less), but after a couple of repetitions, I said to myself "that's the Italian word." The Italian is actually pappagallo, but close enough that it's clearly a cognate. This leads to the questions 1) why borrow from Italian, instead of some Amazonian word?
2. How did I know it was from Italian? If I look at "pappagallo," I am primarily reminded of radio ads of my youth for a store that sold Pappagallo shoes
Once I started checking, it turns out from online translations that the German, Portuguese, and Esperanto words are also Papag something or other. Even Finnish "papukaija," but not French, Spanish, Hebrew, Irish, or others I checked.
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It's been a day for that. First was this astoundingly well edited Marvel reel:
Normally my inclination would be to skip fight scenes if possible, but there they all were, and I was staring, transfixed.

If someone had told us we needed to see a movie about adultery with a portrait painter in the milieu of the tulip bubble, we would have scoffed, but then we saw the trailer
We pondered almost literally running out to see it at that very minute, but decided that we have other stuff to do today, and can wait until it's playing in Lexington, rather than being enforced into lounge chairs at the Burlington 10 (or travel farther). Or wait until it's on demand, and stand right up next to the TV, mouths hanging open at the gorgeous representation of 17th century Netherlands. Unlike some costume dramas that I avoid, in this case I will be tempted to scream "put your clothes back on" during the nude scenes. I know what bodies look like, in general. I need more close-ups of the garments.
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Pick those people up, and move them all to some (unspecified) other part of Texas, built from scratch. It would only cost hundreds of billions of dollars, which might not be much more than trying to rebuild a city that shouldn't have been as big, situated inside flood plains, next to chemical plants or pathogen labs* or leaky refineries.
We know people who live in Houston, but in the usual way, they're either economists or bellringers, who are better off than many of the flood victims.
*The Galveston National Laboratory is, well, in Galveston, but it's nearby. Also shocking, to me. I can't think of anything but the Mighty Storm of 1900 when I hear "Galveston," and I wouldn't have built anything there, modernly. But I'm not in charge

2/3 of Bangladesh is flooded. I can't even imagine that. Where is George Harrison when we need him?

Byron Rushing, on the likelihood of the Boston area being under water:
"Want to know if you're prone to flooding, get an 1815 map of Boston, your streets not there? Buy an inflatable boat."
Flo and Arthur dismissed my plan to buy an axe to store in the attic, for roof access, as we live at least six miles from any river (Concord, Assabet, Charles, Mystic) and farther from the ocean. And we're on a hill. Still, I am reviewing our homeowners' insurance today, with an eye to flood coverage. I also check the sump pump regularly.
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In preparation for the week in Russia in the fall, I have been using the Mango study program available for tablet through the public library. There have been lots of things I don't need. - they seem to think one will subsist on vodka and caviar (an exaggeration - there are a few other items). I am not planning to buy anything bigger than a postcard; definitely not fur. I suppose I might break down and get something more. The last time I was there, I bought a poster of the periodic table in Russian for a chemist friend. Not planned, and inconvenient to carry, but he liked it. The lessons on health problems seem potentially useful, although I hope not. I've used one of them above, though. It means "I have a toothache" (literally "By me hurts tooth.")
Based entirely on x-ray evidence of decay near the root (no pain, totally functional), tooth #18 has had its old amalgam removed, a root canal, an extension, and the accompanying temporary crown. The second I got out of the chair almost three weeks ago, I said to the hygienist "it's not right." She said I was still numb, and should see how I felt later. Later I re-read the disclaimer pages and decided that maybe the tooth was loose. In the meantime, I have only been in Massachusetts for four or five business days. They don't work on weekends. Instead of feeling better, it is worse physically (Я чувствую себя хуже) and I sometimes lie awake in discomfort and self-loathing, because I didn't trust my initial perception. I will go tomorrow without an appointment and wait until they have time to do *something.*
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