7/13/16 10:23 pm - little!me animation
7/12/16 06:10 pm - dentist
My dental appointment is on Friday, but I went in for an emergency appointment today because of the pain. The dentist said I did the right thing, and the whole of that tooth had to come out. He took an x-ray and I had to hold the plastic bit in place with my tongue-- he said I have a strong tongue. I'm so glad I can suppress my gag reflex! [Edit: my goodness that sounds suggestive] Anyway, he said it was the most complicated extraction he'd had to do since he started working there.
This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/374012.ht
7/6/16 12:26 am - "a practice so general"
While looking through back issues of the Times for etymological citations, I discovered a rather strange classified ad for 23rd May 1786:
"This day is published, price 1/6, a letter to John Hunter Esq., FRS, [...] respecting his treatise on the venereal disease; shewing him to be highly erroneous in his observation of impotence, and more particularly pointing out the absurdity and immorality of his doctrine in favour of onanism or masturbation. By Duncan Gordon, MD."
Of course, I went to find out what Dr Hunter had said. Earlier that year, he had published a book about venereal disease, which made some shocking claims: masturbation is generally harmless, and the worst thing you can do is worry about it.
"OF IMPOTENCE: This complaint is by many laid to the charge of Onanism at an early age; but how far this is just, it will in many cases be difficult to determine; for upon a strict review of this subject, it appears to me to be by far too rare to originate from a practice so general.
How far the attributing to this practice such a consequence, is of public utility, I am doubtful, particularly as it is followed most commonly at an age when consequences are not sufficiently attended to, even in things less gratifying to the senses; but this I can say with certainty, that many of those who are affected with the complaints in question are miserable from this idea and it is some consolation for them to know that it is possible it may arise from other causes.
I am clear in my own mind that the books on this subject have done more harm than good. I think I may affirm that this act in itself does less harm to the constitution in general than the natural. That the natural with common women, or such as we are indifferent about, does less harm to the constitution than where it is not so selfish, and where the affections for the woman are also concerned.
Where it is only a constitutional act it is simple, and only one action takes place; but where the mind becomes interested, it is worked up to a degree of enthusiasm, increasing the sensibility of the body and disposition for action; and when the complete action takes place it is with proportional violence; and in proportion to the violence is the degree of debility produced, or injury done to the constitution. In the cases of this kind that have come under my care, although the persons themselves have been very ready to suppose that the disease arose from the cause here alluded to; yet they did not appear to have given more into the practice than common; and in particular, the worst case I have ever seen was where but very little of this practice had ever been used, much less less than in common among boys or lads. The only true objection to this selfish enjoyment is the probability of its being repeated too frequently."
Hardly surprising that it raised a furore!
This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/373186.ht
7/4/16 06:25 pm - "The Stalled Ox", by Saki
“Do you mean to say that you’re going to sit quietly down and paint that ox while it’s destroying my morning-room?” Let’s start the new series of Gentle Readers with a story in which absurdity is tamed by embracing it.
Full text: https://gentlereaders.uk/the-stalle
This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/372703.ht
6/24/16 02:02 pm - strip-lighted paradise
I was reading this two days ago. It needs saying today.
“Men use up their lives in heart-breaking political struggles… not in order to establish some central-heated, air-conditioned, strip-lighted Paradise, but because they want a world in which human beings love one another instead of swindling and murdering one another.” - George Orwell, 1943.This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/371703.ht
6/23/16 07:10 pm - the Holy Spirit versus cardboard
A story I was told at St Mark’s, a “high” Anglican church:
St Mark’s has a rather large contingent of de jure Roman Catholics in its congregation, who argued with the local parish priest or the Vatican and just decamped down the road. Many times this only gets discovered when they die and ask for their ashes to be interred in St Mark’s columbarium, whereupon the local RC priest turns up and objects.
So after this had happened a few times, they agreed that a small part of the columbarium would be dedicated as a RC burial place. And so that God wouldn’t get confused, they put a cardboard divider between them.
The person telling me this story concluded, “So apparently cardboard can block the Holy Spirit, just like alpha particles… wait. Don’t mitres have cardboard inside to keep the shape? I think we’ve discovered something here…”This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/371398.ht
6/20/16 08:35 pm - Why I'm voting Remain
If I had to choose either Strasbourg or Westminster to run this country, I'd choose Strasbourg. It has a better separation of powers. Someone asked what I mean by that, so I'll explain more fully.
A bit of civics background-- sorry if you know this already: There are three branches to every government: the legislature which makes laws, the executive which implements those laws, and the judiciary which deals with people who break them. In a carefully-designed system such as the American federal government, the three branches act as checks on one another's power. (In the US, executive=President, legislature=Congress, judiciary=federal courts.) This means that it's much more difficult for one or two people to fuck up the system.
But in the UK and the EU we don't have a complete separation of powers. In particular in the EU we have the executive (the Commission) having the sole power to propose bills to the legislature (the Parliament). This is undemocratic, and it's a problem. The legislature can veto bills, so it acts as a check on the power of the executive. But it cannot act alone.
In the UK, however, the problem is even worse. In our case executive=Downing Street, legislature=Parliament, judiciary=courts. Parliament was originally a check on the power of the King (when the King was the executive). But for the last few centuries, the Crown's ministers have effectively been the executive, and these ministers are always drawn from Parliament. A PM must necessarily almost always be able to order Parliament to do anything they wish, because they must belong to the majority party in the Commons, and MPs almost always vote as the whips tell them to.
So if for example we happened to get someone as PM who was determined to starve the poor and destroy the NHS, there's nobody at all who can stand up to him. In the US or in France it's routine for the legislature to say no to the executive (and vice versa). But it's near-impossible in the UK.
...there is, at present, one organisation which can say no to the PM.
That organisation is the EU.
That is why I'm voting Remain.
This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/371177.ht
6/18/16 09:55 pm - please do not press this button again
I was once in a psychiatrist's waiting room and they had a coffee machine with enough buttons to belong to Captain Picard. You know the sort of thing-- buttons for white coffee, black coffee, cappucino, hot chocolate, and so on and on. But one of them was unlabelled, and THAT was the one I wanted.
It took a while to brew me a cup. When it had cooled, I took a sip. The stuff was utterly foul-- like a sort of hot instant coffee made with lemons and ammonia. I can still taste it in memory.
Just then, the psychiatrist arrived, and asked what I was grimacing about. I explained the story and showed him the button. "Right," he said. "That's the self-cleaning function."
This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/370903.ht
5/28/16 03:19 pm - pig blood
[blood, guns, Islamophobia]
February 2016: Trump tells (untrue) story about General Pershing stopping terrorism by shooting Muslims with bullets dipped in pig blood. http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-m
May 2016: Texans are dipping their bullets in pig blood. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/w
This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/369631.ht
5/21/16 11:27 pm - like a night in the forest
When John Denver says "you fill up my senses like a night in the forest", is that supposed to be a compliment? Because I don't get it.
Forest floors are full of stones and roots, and dead needles if it's a pine forest, and you can't get comfortable. There are mosquitos hanging around, as well as other nasties that want to bite you. It pours with rain, and then the trees carry on dripping on you for hours.
It gets really really dark, with weird rustling noises, which is terrifying if you can't find your way out of the forest. And if you CAN find your way out of the forest, why the hell are you still in the forest?
I'd assume forests are different where John Denver comes from, except I know they're even worse because there are venomous snakes and poison ivy.
So if someone said I filled up their senses like a night in the forest, I'd think they meant I look pretty good from a distance, but when you get up close you'll wish you hadn't. IDK, maybe that's what John Denver meant too.
This entry was originally posted at http://marnanel.dreamwidth.org/368835.ht