Category Archives: General

Identifying with characters in stories

As a young girl and woman (and even now) it was difficult to find female characters that I could identify with. I am white, nerdy, Asperger (although I did not know this at that time) and Norwegian. As time passed more female characters entered the scene, but their roles were often romantic seconds. Not until the last few years have great female characters become more common. Finding characters that you can identify with if you belong to any female minority must be extremely difficult. Perhaps especially in a society as misogynistic as the US.

Along comes Marley Dias who is 11 years old. This amazing girl manages to launch a book-collection campaign focusing on books with black girls as main characters. I would never have dared, or even come up with, such a thing when I was 11. How can I do anything but look up to such a wonderful person?

Marley Dias, 11, Launches Social Action Campaign to Collect #1000BlackGirlBooks

Marley Dias Book Drive 1,000 Black Girl Books
11 year-old Marley Dias at Lingelbach Elementary School in Germantown, collecting books as part of her #1000BlackGirlBooks social action project. (JANICE DIAS/FOR PHILLYVOICE)

In the past year, Philadelphia native Marley Dias has successfully written a proposal for (and received) a Disney Friends for Change grant, served food to orphans in Ghana and recently launched a book club.

Dias is 11 years old.

“I’m hoping to show that other girls can do this as well,” Dias told PhillyVoice. “I used the resources I was given, and I want people to pass that down and use the things they’re given to create more social action projects — and do it just for fun, and not make it feel like a chore.”

Dias’ latest social action project is the #1000BlackGirlBooks book drive. Frustrated with many of the books she’s assigned in school, she confessed to her mother during dinner one night that she was unhappy with how monochromatic so many stories felt.

“I told her I was sick of reading about white boys and dogs,” Dias said, pointing specifically to “Where the Red Fern Grows” and the “Shiloh” series. “‘What are you going to do about it?’ [my mom] asked. And I told her I was going to start a book drive, and a specific book drive, where black girls are the main characters in the book and not background characters or minor characters.” ………….

The rest of the article may be read on Good Black News

Terry Pratchett: Long live the King. The King is dead.

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Yesterday, Terry Pratchett died, only 68 years old. All of 68 years old. I’m guttered.

Once Pratchett told us about his Alzheimer, my intellect told me we would only have a few years more of him. Now that the moment has arrived, those years seem too short for a person who became a dear friend.

I never met Mr. (Sir) Pratchett. Or maybe I did. His books, his documentary and his speeches have all made my days brighter. All revealed a side I, the public, could partake of.

When Snuff and She Wears Midnight came out, and I had completed the books, I remember just sitting there needing to digest the stories. They felt like a first goodbye from Terry. Then came the public appearances when people had to read his speeches out loud for him. Writing them weren’t the problem, as long as someone else could type his dictation. As long as another person could read out loud what he had dictated. Alzheimer had taken the ability to recognize physical objects.

I miss him. Already! Hopefully, the love of the world will bring some small comfort to his near and dear ones.

Artist: Aville
Artist: Aville

“Sometimes I get nice letters from people who know they’re due to meet him (Death) soon, and hope I’ve got him right.
Those are the kind of letters that cause me to stare at the wall for some time.”
― Terry Pratchett, The Art of Discworld


Hurtado, Aída: The Color of Privilege: Three Blasphemies on Race and Feminism: Page 135

Trick Number 6: The Pendejo Game

When you, the outsider, come close to subverting my power through the sheer strength of your moral arguments or through organized mass protest, I will give you an audience. I will listen to you, sometimes for the first time, and will seem engaged. At critical points in your analysis I will claim I do not know what you are talking about and will ask you to elaborate ad nauseam. I will consistently subvert your efforts at dialogue by “claiming we do not speak the same language.” I will assert that many of our differences, if not all, are due to our different ways of communicating. I will ask you to educate me and spend your energies in finding ways of saying things so that I can understand. I will not do the same for you. Instead of using your resources to advance your causes, I will see you like a rat in a cage running around trying to find ways to explain the cage to me, while I hold the key to open the door. At the same time, I will convince you that I have no ill intentions toward you or those like you. I am simply not informed. The claim of ignorance is one of my most powerful weapons because, while you spend your time trying to enlighten me, everything remains the same. The “Pendejo Game” will also allow me to gain intimate knowledge of your psyche, which will perfect my understanding of how to dominate you.

Great horny toads

Yosemite sameYosemite Sam – Great horny toads

Great horny toads: An interjection used to exclaim surprise or astonishment. Has redneck-ish (and even sexual) connotations and is perhaps used mainly in rural America. Also known to be occasionally used by the Looney Toons cartoon character Yosemite Sam. (Urban dictionary)

Pandora’s Box: A Discussion on the Hobby Lobby Verdict

The Hobby Lobby decision by the Supreme Court in the USA has the potential of being a decision that will impact not only them but other countries as well. Dylan Greene’s essay on the subject is amazing.

Parable of the Isms (1936)


Feudalism: You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk. (Anonymous)

Socialism: You have two cows. The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor. (Silas Strawn, 1935)

Pure socialism: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. You have to take care of all the cows. The government gives you as much milk as you need. (Anonymous)

Bureaucratic socialism: You have two cows. The government takes them and puts them in a barn with everyone else’s cows. They are cared for by ex-chicken farmers. You have to take care of the chickens the government took from the chicken farmers. The government gives you as much milk and as many eggs as the regulations say you should need. (Anonymous)

Communism: You have two cows. You give them to the Government, and the Government then gives you some milk. (Silas Strawn, 1935)

Pure communism: You have two cows. Your neighbors help you take care of them, and you all share the milk. (Anonymous)

Applied communism: You have two cows. You have to take care of them, but the government takes all the milk.

Fascism: You have two cows. You give them to the Government, and the Government then sells you some milk. (Silas Strawn, 1935)

Militarianism: You have two cows. The government takes both and drafts you. (Anonymous)

Capitalism: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. (Silas Strawn, 1935) Then put both of them in your wife’s name and declare bankruptcy.  (Pat Paulsen, 1968)

Nazism (dictatorship): You have two cows. The Government takes both and shoots you. (Silas Strawn, 1935)

New Dealism: You have two cows. The Government takes both, shoots one, buys milk from the other cow, then pours the milk down the drain. (Silas Strawn, 1935)

Environmentalism: You have two cows. The government bans you from milking or killing them. (Anonymous)

Totalitarianism: You have two cows. The government takes them and denies they ever existed. Milk is banned. (Anonymous)

Pure democracy: You have two cows. Your neighbors decide who gets the milk. (Anonymous)

Representative democracy: You have two cows. Your neighbors pick someone to tell you who gets the milk. (Anonymous)

American democracy: The government promises to give you two cows if you vote for it. After the election, the president is impeached for speculating in cow futures. The press dubs the affair “Cowgate”. (Anonymous)

British democracy: You have two cows. You feed them sheeps’ brains and they go mad. The government doesn’t do anything. (Anonymous)

Singapore democracy: You have two cows. The government fines you for keeping two unlicensed farm animals in an apartment. (Anonymous)

Anarchy: You have two cows. Either you sell the milk at a fair price or your neighbors try to kill you and take the cows. (Anonymous)

Political correctness: You are associated with (the concept of “ownership” is a symbol of the phallocentric, warmongering, intolerant past) two differently-aged (but no less valuable to society) bovines of nonspecified gender. (Anonymous)

Counterculture: Wow, dude, there’s like… these two cows, man. You have got to have some of this milk. I mean totally. (Anonymous)

Surrealism: You have two giraffes. The government requires you to take harmonica lessons. (Anonymous)

Therapyism: You have two cows. One is a metaphor for your inner child. The other is the manifestation of anger toward a parental figure. You take one of the cows on walks through grassy fields by the gentle ocean waves. The other you beat with an anger bat. (©2007 Mike McLoughlin, Executive Director, Memphis Recovery Centers)

Recoveryism: You have twelve cows … and a sponsor. (©2007 Mike McLoughlin, Executive Director, Memphis Recovery Centers)

Insurancism: You have two cows. The Federal regulator requires you to hold one cow in reserve because they predict a shortage of milk. The Provincial/State regulator requires you to drop the price of milk because they predict a surplus of milk. The courts deem your cows inherently dangerous and order you to provide free milk to anyone who has ever been frightened by a farm animal. The marketing people are promising chocolate milk at an enhanced commission and you discover your own actuaries have been building pricing models assuming goats instead to save on the expense line. (©2002 Saskia Oltheten Matheson)

Russian company: You have two cows. You drink some vodka and count them again. You have five cows. The Russian Mafia shows up and takes however many cows you have.

Californian company: You have a million cows. Most of them are undocumented immigrants.

US Company: You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why
the cow has dropped dead.

Greek company: You have two cows. You borrow lots of euros to build barns, milking sheds, hay stores, feed sheds, dairies, cold stores, abattoir, cheese unit and packing sheds. You still only have two cows.

French company: You have two cows. You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

Japanese company: You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create a clever cow cartoon image called a Cowkimona and market it worldwide.

Italian company: You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are. You decide to have lunch.

Swiss company: You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you. You charge the owners for storing them.

Chinese company: You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity.
You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

Indian company: You have two cows. You worship them.

British company: You have two cows. Both are mad.

Iraqi company: Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that you have none. No-one believes you, so they bomb the ** out of you and invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least you are now a Democracy.

Australian company: You have two cows. Business seems pretty good. You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

New Zealand company: You have two cows. The one on the left looks very attractive…

United nationism: You have two cows. France vetoes you from milking them. The United States and Britain veto the cows from milking you. New Zealand abstains.

Frisbeetarianism: You have two cows. One of them flies up on the roof and gets stuck. You hope the government provides cow ladders.

Intel Pentium 60 – A80501-60: You have 2.0000000056987983 cows.

In the marketing department: Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of two thousand millicows!

Political philosophy / Wikipedia / Lillic0rr


Argentina’s INTA governmental research body has developed cow backpacks that use a tube from the cattle’s rumen leading to a bag, to trap the methane they produce in order to turn it into green energy. You’d think this a joke, till you realize its 250 liters of methane a day. Question. At some point do they float away? Or by accident rocket away?