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"Any privileged group will inevitably seek to put a brake on progress in order to retain its privileges, while the oppressed section of society is bound to fight all such attempts in order to stand up for its own rights."
--Ivan Yefremov, "The Heart of the Serpent" in More Soviet Science Fiction edited by Isaac Asimov
Monday Morning Jazz Brunch
Saw American Hustle the other day and realized I hadn't listened to this one in a long while:
The characters flirted to "Jeep's Blues," but in was "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue" that (almost? I forget the details now) started a riot.
Huzzah! Comrade Gersen mentioned that to me before, but I haven't found all the Brust books I've been picking up to see if I have them all in order.
As for the Coloured Princess, well, I am no expert in accents or nothin', but she sounded a lot posher than those dudes in Lethal Weapon 2. Maybe she studied in ol' Blighty? Regardless, it was, indeed, sexy.
Comrade Closet, that's a big long question that I may or may not come back to depending on my mood.
Up to the issues that were published in the mid-'90s when a young Doodlebug was first coming around. Articles on the war on drugs and mass incarceration fifteen years before The New Jim Crow came out. No wonder I liked that book so much.
Immensely enjoying going back and forth between Hardy and Brackett.
"The crooked lane leading from their own parish to Mellstock ran along the lowest levels in a portion of its length, and when the girls reached the most depressed spot they found that the result of the rain had been to flood the lane over-shoe to a distance of fifty yards. This would have been no serious hindrance on a week-day; they would have clicked through it in their high pattens and boots quite unconcerned; but on this day of vanity, this Sun's-day, when flesh went forth to coquet with flesh while hypocritically affecting business with spiritual things; on this occasion for wearing their white stockings and thin shoes, and their pink, white, and lilac gowns, on which every mud spot would be visible, the pool was an awkward impediment. They could hear the church-bell calling--as yet nearly a mile off."
"I shot Laura three times, carefully, between the shoulders."
Nigerian Princess as she and Mr. Comrade get ready to go see the Anglo-Ibo singer Nneka:
"I haven't met a white American male who dresses well yet."
Mr. Comrade as he puts on a dress shirt and a pair of shoes that don't have holes:
"What about me?"
"Oh, it doesn't matter, I love you, baby."
The details escape me at the moment, but, recently, a female acquaintance complained that she thought her partner was going to be a better lover because he had read Castaneda. Yeah, I told her, I don't think that's what Don Juan is about. Haven't read the Acid Test since high school. Should probably re-read it.
Anyway, I'm a little terrified of the red inscription across the messageboards home page and worried that, come next Tuesday, I will no longer be able to post on these boards due to computer illiteracy. In case that is true, I love all of you and will miss you dearly and I have started reading Tess.
Thank you, I will pass the word along, Lord Dice.
He complained that Butler was the only black female sci-fi/fantasy author he could find at the Nashua Barnes and Noble and that Kindred was the only book they had by her. I then cuffed him for thinking that he could find a wide variety of books at the Barnes and Noble.
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
Was listening to (the corporate) "Boston's voice of new music and independent radio" yesterday and the deejay went
"And that was a new one by Wilco, coming up soon, Weezer with Thursday's Throwback, but first, the latest from Blur!"
and I was, like, Jesus, am I twenty again?
Doodlebug Anklebiter wrote:
Also, a big shout out to Comrade Curtin who gave Mr. Comrade and I a car full of books. We have yet to divy them up, but once we do, never fear, fellow Paizonians, I'll write up a list.
Brian Aldiss—Supertoys Last All Summer Long David Brin—The Postman
Glen Cook—She Is the Darkness
--Lord of the Silent Kingdom
--The Tyranny of the Night
--Surrender to the Will of the Night
--A Cruel Wind
L. Sprague de Camp—The Goblin Tower
--The Clocks of Iraz
--The Unbeheaded King
L. Sprague de Camp/David Drake—Lest Darkness Fall/To Bring the Light
Philip Jose Farmer—More Than Fire
--The World of Tiers, Volumes 1-2
The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm
Joe Haldeman—The Forever War
The Complete Poems of Keats and Shelley
Ursula K. Le Guin—The Other Wind*
--Tales from Earthsea*
--The Birthday of the World and Other Stories
Ira Levin—The Boys from Brazil
George R.R. Martin—A Game of Thrones***
--A Clash of Kings**
--A Feast for Crows*
--A Storm of Swords**
--A Dance with Dragons**
Michael Moorcock—The Fortress of the Pearl**
--The Revenge of the Rose**
--The Eternal Champion
--The Quest for Tanelorn
--The Champion of Garathorm**
--The Ice Schooner
--The Ringworld Engineers
--A Gift from the Earth
--Man-Kzin Wars IV
Kim Stanley Robinson—Green Mars
David Alexander Smith—Future Boston
--In the Cube
Neal Stephenson—Snow Crash
James Tiptree, Jr.—Her Smoke Rose Up Forever
A.E. Van Vogt—The Voyage of the Space Beagle*
T.H. White—The Book of Merlyn*
W.B. Yeats—Irish Fairy & Folk Tales
Roger Zelazny—Manna from Heaven
--Trumps of Doom
*Denotes an upgrade (usually from paperback to hardcover) of a book I already have
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
Also...half-dozen chapters to go in The Whispering Swarm. Hope to finish it today.
To quote from a Facebook post earlier today:
"Coming in on the end. Enjoying it quite a bit. Was a bit worried, for the past couple of chapters Moorcock has teamed up with Prince Rupert of the Rhine, Claude Duval and the Three Musketeers to rescue Charles Stuart from Cromwell's headsmen. Happily, though,
"Remember the fate of Charles I!"
Later surprise twist reading revealed that the traitor was...well, the traitor was pretty easily guessable, but what wasn't really guessable was that the traitor turned out to be
La Principessa was upset because her vice-principal reamed her out for not getting her grades in. Then she told me about the following (quoted from Facebook):
"So today I did the lesson I got from [redacted] (it's also available on the Zinn Ed Project site). In it, we're trapped in the classroom forever and I own the machine that makes the only food. They were divided into workers and unemployed. Five minutes after I used the unemployed to drive wages down and brought out the anti-union contract, the class decided to 'stab me to death with a pencil' and take over the means of production. The kid who had the plan got $1 more a day, but otherwise, everything got split evenly.
"I'm proud of the understanding of social unity and concerned about the bloodthirstyness at the same time. They didn't even TRY to imprison me!
"Maybe next year I'll do it BEFORE we read Animal Farm."
Personally, I think it shows that La Principessa is an awesome teacher and instilling her kids with good class instincts.
Was re-reading The New Jim Crow where she points out that, like everything else in America, drug crimes are rather segregated. Blacks sell to blacks and whites sell to whites. I know I usually get mine off of fellow ofays.
Anyway, commie article:
Baltimore: Racist Cop Terror and Capitalist Decay
Yeah, DuBois was a soft red. I've still got to read Black Reconstruction one of these days.
The leftie book club has decided to speed through the rest of The New Jim Crow (I think everyone in the group has already read it). We were taking suggestions for the next one and I was surprised how many people didn't get it and suggested novels.
Best recommendations thus far were James Baldwin, Notes of a Native Son and bell hooks, Ain't I a Woman?: Black Women and Feminism. Already read the latter, but wouldn't mind reading it with a group.
We're working on it.
After I took back being adamant about not moving to New York, she agreed to consider thinking about not being adamant above not leaving New York.
Anyway, she went back to her expensive, non-insurance covered behavioral therapy to learn how to deal with her anger management and other emotional outbursts, so, you know, she's trying.
Growing a grass-roots anti-racist group and having an emotionally unstable long distance girlfriend reallys takes away from your reading time, lemme tell you, but I am happy to report that Mr. Comrade and the Nigerian Princess have moved on from flirting over Patrick Rothfuss to flirting over Michael Moorcock. Mr. Comrade got her to read her first Elric novel; she loved it.
She's wicked into intersectionality so it was only a matter of time before the subject of black sci-fi/fantasy authors came up. I got to look pretty f*+@ing cool when I introduced them to Samuel R. Delany. (Thanks, Lord Dice!)
I've been meaning to get in touch, Comrade Curtin. My car should (I stress should) be roadworthy soon and, then, yes, I would like to come down and, vulture-like, take all of your books.
Then I will roll around in them, naked, dreaming of singularities and broadswords...
[Rest of the post redacted for common decency]
Did indeed read a great big chunk of The Whispering Swarm on the ride down to Brooklyn. I can see how the undevoted might not care, but I'm loving this shiznit. Whole bunch of name-dropping that would thrill readers of this thread ("I went to lunch with John Wyndham and Alfred Bester and we talked about Fritz Leiber..." runs a part that I just made up) mixed in with a good dose of class war (at one point he and his fictional girlfriend/muse hold up a train full of executive wage packets to give to the union so that their families won't go hungry during a strike). Had to put it down when I got to the part (autobiographical, I'm guessing) about his inability to console his clinically depressed first wife, which hit a little too close to home as La Principessa went from exultation that I was coming down a day early to sobbing depression to barely suppressed irritability within the course of three phone calls over the span of three hours. [Sigh]
Anyway, mixed it up with a book by dissident Marcyites called China: Revolution and Counterrevolution which is much too soft on Chairman Mao but, at the same time, makes me incredibly jealous because at least they're not running around saying the PRC is "state capitalist". [Shakes fist]
Anyway, I think this is the first time I've been left in La Principessa's apartment while she's at work when there hasn't been snow on the ground, so I'm thinking of going out to a park and drinking some cider and reading some more Moorcock. Hopefully, I won't get Broken Window-ed.
Back to CAJE:
The night before, we met at the anarcho-syndicalist hipster's house to make signs. It was me, Mr. Comrade, the anarcho-syndicalist hipster, an "anarcho-Zionist d+#&" professor, a Lebanese-American working class woman who might be to the left of me and is always inebriated, and a young high school teacher who has just been politicized. The latter was talking with Mr. Comrade about class and workers, etc., when all of a sudden he says, "So, wait a minute. Let's say I'm a worker and I make $20 an hour but the boss makes $100. Doesn't that mean the boss stole $80 from me?" Everyone started laughing and he blushed. "What?" "No, no, it's okay," said Mr. Comrade, "You just figured out the labor theory of value all on your own!"
On the way to the rally, it was me, Mr. Comrade, Lowell carpenter dude, and a different high school teacher in the car. "You know," she says, "Labor has never really been on my radar before" (she has a history in LGBT activism) "but the more I think of it, the more important it seems. And I was thinking, you know what we should really do? We should form one international workers union."
I love my front group!
Vod Canockers wrote:
Arcane Marxist shiznit: Not that it's really pertinent to this thread, but, for the record, the standard commie line is that cops aren't workers, they are agents of the state. Therefore, police unions aren't workers organizations but, rather, professional associations of agents of the state.
I don't call on them to do anything. I agree with the points you raise in your parenthetical paragraph, as my previous posts indicate.
It's unfortunate that the unions spend so much time and money protecting bad members.
In my experience, they spend a lot of time, but not so much money. I mean, the disciplinary meetings are on the employer's dime, not ours. [Details may vary from shop to shop]
I'm sorry to hear that, son. Your mother was an extraordinary woman.
"Rev. King knew the risks. In fact, after the Jan. 30, 1956, bombing of his home in Montgomery, he applied at the sheriff’s office for a permit to carry a concealed weapon. He was denied the permit, but this did not stop him from having firearms in his house."
I don't see how this is getting history wrong. Yes, he doesn't go on to say that MLK later got rid of his guns, (according to another article I just skimmed, it was the influence of Bayard Rustin that got him to give up his guns, not a heart-to-heart with Coretta, but that's besides the point), but that's not really germane to his argument.
Played some D&D last night, though. I dug out The Mad Hermit and played a solo bit where I saved a farmer's wife from marauding goblins, went to a druid's convention in the Big City, and made friends with some starving kobolds, while waiting to hear from The River.
The other two players got killed by dire rats in the Catacombs of the Black Vatican and have to make new characters before the party's even come together. My players still suck!
Thank you for the update, Citizen Lou.
Went to my Tattoo Artist Former Player and wife's house last night with The Black Goblin and his Pregnant Dreadlocked Libertarian Ex-Welder Girlfriend.
Tattoo Artist presented me with a sheaf of papers, about as thick as a volume of Capital documenting eight years of D&D campaign paperwork--character sheets, maps, inventory lists--and his drawings. He's a pretty talented dude, and I should make some effort to scan them on to the internet, but, anyway, it was amazing and led, inevitably, to talk of putting the band back together...
We're hoping next week and, best of all, I don't have to Dungeon Master!
More labor reporting from Comrade Omar:
GREENFIELD, MA-- On April 1, the members of UE Local 274 ratified a two year contract with Kennametal (formerly Greenfield Tap & Die) that included substantial wage increases and no concessions.
Five years ago, the Kennametal workers fought for nine months without a contract in an attempt to prevent the company from adding tiered wages and personal/sick time for new employees, among other concessions demanded by the company. Eventually the tiers were reluctantly agreed to. Last year, Kennametal closed an operation in Vermont and moved the work to the Greenfield plant, doubling the workforce there. Of course this now meant half the workforce was on the lower tier, and that when the contract came up for negotiations in March, eliminating the tier would be the top priority.
Both top and bottom tier employees unanimously agreed prior to negotiations that elimination of the tiers was the number one bargaining priority. Unfortunately, the excise tax of the Affordable Care Act (ACA/"Obamacare") threw a monkey wrench into those plans. The company already wanted to force workers into its company-wide high deductible health plan known as Flex, the terms of which they would not bargain with the union, nor guarantee the plan would not significantly change during the term of the life of the contract. Besides that the current health plan for Greenfield union employees would exceed the cap when the tax goes into effect in 2018, triggering the 40% "Cadillac" excise tax.
Since the union made clear they would not agree to the "Flex plan," nor would they agree for the members to incur all costs of an excise tax on the current plan, the company, wanting to avoid a showdown on these issues, suggested a two year contract. While this would avoid a big battle over health insurance it would also prevent the union from being able to close the gap in the wage tiers over the life of the contract, especially after the company insisted from day one they would NOT eliminate the tiers under any circumstance.
Instead the union committee, which consisted of all top tier employees except for one member, concentrated on getting large wage increases for the bottom tier in this contract. Assisted by membership activity, the committee was able to negotiate a 4.5% general wage increase for bottom tier workers in each year and a 2.75% lump sum in each year for the top tier-- closing an over 12.5% gap to within only 3.5% in only two years, hopefully making the job of closing the gap entirely in the next contract much more manageable.
In addition to the wage increases, employees kept their present health insurance plan without design changes, and only modest increases to the payroll contributions. Sickness and Accident benefits also increased, and the union and company negotiated the terms of a new weekend shift to help the company get caught up on its backorders in a way that was also beneficial to UE members.
The bargaining committee consisted of [redacted redacted]
I'm glad to hear it. Me and La Principessa are back together again, too.
Comrade Anklebiter wrote:
That's my girl!
Also, it tickled something in my THC-addled memory. Hold on a second...
And all my comrades are talking about Yemen, but I have yet to see any articles.