The Social Isolation of the Privileged


I’d like to give this piece an amen.

Originally posted on Education and Class:

This article offering advice for living frugally while in grad school was making the academic rounds last week.

And the comments on the article, on the Chronicle’s Facebook page, and across Twitter were consistent:

This couple’s story is about what can be done when absolutely everything has gone right in your life and your parents have a a backyard “that is by no means big”  where they can frugally host your wedding reception for 150 people (this tidbit is from the author’s financial advice blog she links to, not the article) and have pretty much financed everything for you except what your generous grad school stipend covers.

Or as one Tressie McMillan Cottom tweeted:

What strikes me about…

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Friday Prayer: Horrible Realization

Originally posted on RevGalBlogPals:

I can’t stop thinking about Sandra Bland,

An innocent black sister- life cut short

Reason not unknown, but unacknowledged.

Correspondingly, brothers and sisters call out

Post.    Tweet.

Declaring: “If I die in police custody, it was not suicide.”

The sighs of the Spirit in that prayer are the bellows of labor pain and drowned voices.

Oh, God, do we like substitutionary atonement

Because it absolves the ones in power of the full implication of having murdered an innocent brown man?

Are we falsely consoled by the idea that Jesus knew the cross was coming because it reduces our complicity?

Makes it our “heritage and history”, but not our fault?

We cannot bear the tweet of Christ, “If I die in Roman custody, it was not suicide.”

Oh, God, we have not named our demons with honesty that they might be driven out from us.

I have run out of…

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NPR: Max Gladstone’s CRAFT Sequence


This looks good! Have you read this series?

Originally posted on Amal El-Mohtar:

NPR Books recently launched a new feature called TIME MACHINE, to encourage more thorough coverage of series, since mostly there are a lot of reviews of first and last books, but not a great deal of critical attention given to a series as a whole, or to its middle books. I opted to cover Max Gladstone’s Craft Sequence, and my review went up this past weekend.

750 words contain only a fraction of what I could say about this series. I didn’t touch on the beautiful economy of its prose, the ways in which the world-building is devastatingly clever, the conflation of soulstuff and capital and the implications of that — but hopefully it’s enough to be getting on with, to convince you to pick up the books and talk to me about them, because they’re just SO GOOD and Elayne Kevarian is my everything and I can’t wait to…

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RIP Tanith Lee


I have greatly loved her work.

Originally posted on Sci-Fi Bulletin:

British Blood-20writer Tanith Lee passed away on Sunday May 24th, aged 67.

Lee was the author of over 90 books and 300 short stories, as well as four BBC Radio plays, and two highly-regarded episodes of the BBC’s SF series Blake’s 7 (Sand and Sarcophagus). She was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton in 2013 and the Horror Writers Lifetime Achievement Award this year, which joined her British Fantasy Award from 1980 for Death’s Master, and her World Fantasy Award for her short story “The Gorgon”.

Her work spanned many genres, including science fiction, fantasy horror and crime, but her preoccupation, she maintained, was always people.

Tributes have started to appear on social media with Guy Gavriel Kay noting that “We’ve just lost someone I greatly admired as a person & writer,” and many agreeing with Jonathan Strahan’s comment that “she was, simply, remarkable.”

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Everyone deserves a living wage…. even if they can’t spell ‘fries’


Alert for bad language in the shared post. But what he has to say is spot on. Same for what Jupiter says. Classism is ugly and it’s past time we did better by each other.

Originally posted on Poor as Folk:

The above response is perfect.

As a writer, I appreciate grammar and spelling. As a human being, I recognize that some people don’t speak or write with “perfect English” does not disqualify them from earning a living wage.   Perhaps I am able to see this because I was raised by my Grandpa who had to drop out of school in the 6th grade to help support his Mom and 6 younger siblings after his father died or because I have step-children who were raised in another country and speak English as a second language (they also speak Chinese and step-daughter also speaks French,Flemish, and Dutch but this doesn’t matter at all to employers and assholes of the general population who only hear an accent and “broken” English)  or because I have a child with a learning disability . But I’m a firm believer in the idea that we don’t…

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The Pastoral Is Political: Parenthood Is not Punishment

Originally posted on RevGalBlogPals:

I saw it again today: the argument that birth control is a way for women to have sex without consequence; that somehow single motherhood is the punishment for having a sexual relationship before marriage.

Let us tease that apart a bit.

Mother and child Photo: Michal Zacharzewski / RGBstock

First, let us acknowledge that there are women who desire to be mothers. Many of these women are, or plan to be, married; while others are not. So being a mother is not inherently punitive.

Let us also acknowledge that – despite the physical toll it takes on the body – most women find pregnancy, on balance, to be a positive thing. So being pregnant is not inherently punitive.

Let us not forget those women who have become mothers, but the lives of their children were cut short. They are mothers still, their arms empty but their hearts full. Their too-brief time with their…

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Unhappy with State Farm Home Owner’s Insurance :(

__First, the Flashback__

Some time ago, a service person from Sears came out to fix a dishwasher that was under warranty and broke the line going to it. We were unable to run the dishwasher (since it wasn’t fixed), and the water kept flowing.  It flowed under our kitchen floor and damaged the floor, then it flowed through & collapsed the ceiling in the basement in several places.  We thought our lines had backed up, so we hired a plumber, but he found no problem. The water, more or less, dissolved the wood under the sink and we had to cut that away to deal with the giant splintered remains of what had been the floor of the cabinet. With that, we finally figured out where the water was coming from and shut it off. We honestly hadn’t thought it was the dishwasher – since we couldn’t run it, were not trying to run it, and it was dry. But yep, it was the pipe to the back of the dishwasher; it had been snapped.

We asked Sears to come back out and supposedly  a claim was filed by a Sears service person, but we never heard anything – ever again.  We tried to communicate with higher level folks at Sears, but Sears was unresponsive (so we don’t buy anything from them anymore & we recommend you don’t either).

My Mom told us to call our homeowner’s insurance, State Farm.  She said this was the sort of thing homeowner’s insurance was for.  And they’d helped her with a similar issue.  So we called.  After a few discussions, State Farm told us that this wasn’t covered damage under our homeowner’s flood policy because it was a “slow leak”.  So, a cracked pipe would be covered but if the extensive damage caused by a cracked pipe happened over 48 to 72 hours, that was too slow to cover…or something. I guess.

__Cut to the Present__

This morning, after several days of rain -which is rare in Colorado- we woke up to a seriously flooded basement. Our basement is finished, so the damage included furniture, sound system, carpeting…just a devastating level of damage.

So – Darth, my husband, filed a claim.  I got the call-back this evening. The woman on the phone told me something like the damage wasn’t covered if “the water touched the ground first”.  Maybe she said something about “groundwater damage not being covered” but I am pretty sure that rainwater, whether it touches the ground or not, is not groundwater until and unless it seeps into the ground and joins the existing groundwater – which is about 400 ft below ground surface [bgs] around here in the Arapahoe Aquifer area of the Denver Basin. We aren’t in the 100-year flood plain either, so surely this isn’t what she said, right?  Surely she wasn’t trying to tell me that our policy didn’t cover rain damage in our basement if the rain simply touched the ground? That would imply what? That the only covered rain damage was damage caused by magical anti-gravity rain?

I handed off the phone to Darth since he saw the flooding first and since I was too frustrated to think straight.  Darth was too angry – and too busy cleaning up – to respond rationally either.  Wisely, he quickly signed off and told the woman to call back later.

Son 1 suggested we get a new insurance provider. He’s 10, but I still think he’s right. My Dad had State Farm, and I’ve had it my whole adult life. Darth’s Dad has always had State Farm & Darth’s had it his whole adult life.  I always thought of it as a solid, venerable company, but right now, after these two incidents, which apparently didn’t meet some elusive criteria for our flood damage coverage (which we theoretically have) to kick in, I feel hoodwinked.

One of the more frustrating aspects of this is that the rainwater probably wouldn’t be able to get in if our in-floor heating pipes hadn’t cracked some years back. Before a truly solid, venerable, WONDERFUL company, Mack-Vick, came and capped it off and moved the forced water heating lines above ground, another plumber “chased” the cracks by jack-hammering up the floor. We had it refilled, but it’s never been quite the same. And we didn’t think to file a claim for the initial pipe-break of the forced water heating. :(

Does anyone have any advice?  What company would you recommend for home owner’s insurance and why?