Good morning, y'all. Ready for those links? Yes? Let's do this thing!
Today's video is Oprah Winfrey's Golden Globes Ceremony speech, because how could it be anything else today?
Oprah is a bad ass. It's beyond awful that no black woman has gotten the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement until 2018. There were other important moments too (Natalie Portman making it clear that all the nominees for director were men, for example) but none were as vital as Oprah's speech.
Okay, and now for those links.
Sometimes I feel like social media's determined focus on the sensational is not a good thing. The clickbait obsession is already known to be harmful. It ends up pushing the exception rather than the rule. When I came across this story--The 99 best things that happened in 2017. I missed a lot of these stories. And here I thought I was paying attention! (Of course the one about the lower abortion rate in the US is not necessarily a good thing. If the cause were more frequently available birth control, I'd be all behind it. It's what birth control is for, after all. It's literally a life-saver. Sadly, I more firmly believe the drop has been due to limiting legislation created by uneducated misogynist legislators more interested in controlling women's bodies than actually doing the moral thing which means more unwanted pregnancies. Since the maternal death rate is on the rise, this also means more deaths.) Still, the article gave me a much needed boost. I hope it does the same for you.
That title is sort of a reference to the year we endured triple digit temperatures for more than ninety days straight and practically the entire state of Texas was on fire. (You could see the flames in the shape of Texas from space.) This week we hit 25F in Austin--which is pretty cold even if it's colder elsewhere. It's also snowed (lightly) about three different times. (It almost never snows here.) My favorite was when it snowed while I was walking home from the gym. It was magical. There were big, fat, fluffy flakes floating around--not the tiny, almost sleet particles we usually get when it snows. Anyway, it's been like this for a couple of days, but I'm glad of it. Sadly, it'll warm up again to 50F today. Because: Texas.
At least some of the fleas and mosquitos were killed off. Here's hoping for one more big freeze.
This morning I came across this image of earth supposedly taken by the Hubble space telescope but apparently not so much. (I kept thinking those clouds were awfully huge. Many thanks to Cam Loft for the Snopes link.) Still, I think it's my favorite visualization of earth. In a way, the planet looks so much more like the other planets in our system. You can see where our atmosphere starts and stops. The cloud cover is beautiful like Saturn's rings.
It's the kind of big picture we don't often see. I can't help feeling a lot of love for that big blue marble. Here's hoping it sees less damage and abuse from us in 2018.
I hope you're having a wonderful, restful time with friends and/or family. And may your best holiday wishes have come true. The New Year is right around the corner. And so is my novel deadline. So, I may have to cut back on the number of posts per week on this site for a while. I'll keep up with Feminist Monday because I feel it's a service to the community at large, and giving back is important. However, the Wednesday and Friday posts will be spotty until I can turn in my manuscript. It's a good thing. A shiny new SF novel will come out of it. So, there's that. Oh, and because New Year's falls on Monday I'll be taking that day off. So, the next Feminist Monday post will be January 8th. Sorry about that. I'll probably pop in a few times between then and now. (I won't be able to help it.) Just expect the unexpected for a bit.
Since Persephone Station is going to call me away for a while, it's only fair that I give you a small excerpt. I hope you enjoy it. I'll drop it behind the Read More tag. Once again, I hope you're having a wonderful, safe, and restful holiday. May 2018 be better to you and yours.
The Winter Solstice was officially yesterday, but this is the time of year where we like to drag out the celebration. It's drizzly and cool here. (Texas is not terribly great at winter, really.) There are so many holidays going on--I believe every major religion observes one at some point this month. (Which is why it pisses me off when 'practitioners' of a certain major religion attempt to erase the others. I thought sharing was a good thing?) This is, clearly, an important time of year for many. I hope that, whatever way you choose to celebrate it (or not), may you and yours have a joyous time and that the New Year brings you wonders and love.
I watched the first season of The Crown as a form of research. (I needed to see a woman in a leadership role badly. I still do. It's hard to imagine things you've never seen or experienced.) I've been watching Madam Secretary too. It's so rare that we see women in roles of power at that level. FYI: I'm not a fan of the Queen or the Royal family. Therefore, I resisted at first. But I was desperate. So, I relented. As it turns out, season 1 was great. I really enjoyed it. I didn't care for Philip--what a big baby! But it was fun for the most part. So, I signed on for season 2. And here's where it got really interesting.
For a start, it turns out that yes, even if a woman were to have all the money and power in the world--she'd still have to put up with bullshit from the Patriarchy. In this case, in the form of her husband. It is at this point where I'll put the rest behind a 'Read More' tag because Spoilers Abound.
Good morning, y'all. Ready for those links? I know I am. Here we go.
I read a really great essay on Tor.com the other day. It's called Fear of the Female Voice and it's by Sarah Gailey. It's a wonderful, powerful piece. If you haven't read it yet, you should. Go ahead. The rest of us will wait here while you read it. We're not going anywhere. I promise. Go on.
There? Done? Good. So, I just finished watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel which is a new series written by Amy Sherman-Palladino. I'm a huge fan of Ms. Sherman-Palladino. Gilmore Girls (the entire library was on Netflix--it might still be. If it is, GO WATCH IT.) got me through the terrible time after the 2017 election. Seriously. I was so depressed, but watching those two get through the ups and downs with a smile (and a more than a few tears) made me think back on the days when I could pretend that there was a time when a woman running for office wasn't an automatic trip to the 1950s time loop we're in now. It made me think back to that glorious fantasy of a reality when women's voices weren't "too shrill" for public office. (Let's fact it, ladies. It was a fantasy. Think back to all the ridiculous complaints about HRC and re-read what Sarah Gailey said about women's voices on the radio. Yes, bats and ghouls, THAT'S SEXISM.)
Here we are one year later and women's voices are being used to bring down abusive, powerful, sexist men. There's even a movement in New York state to put a toothier law in place that prohibits men with Domestic Violence convictions from owning guns. (See: “Where there are more guns, more women die”: A Harvard public health expert breaks down the data on firearms and women’s safety.) Since there is a strong link between Domestic Abusers and mass shooters, GOOD.
Amy Sherman-Palladino wrote another show. Unfortunately, the program is with the evil Amazon, and you can't see it unless you subscribe to Amazon Prime. (Yeah. Fuck you, Amazon. A lot.) I binged the show, and is it ever binge-worthy.
It's about a woman who (after her husband has an affair and leaves her) finds her voice and herself in stand up comedy. It's brilliant. It's funny. It's heartwarming. It's even a little depressing. (I ended up feeling a little sorry for Joel, even if he's a schmuck.) Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) has a wonderful voice. I love her. I love her manager Susie (played by Alex Borstein.) I'll be honest. I've always hated the 1950s. It was the epitome of everything that is awful about the Patriarchy. Reading The Feminine Mystique only intensified that hatred. (Frankly, I'd never want to be a time traveller as a woman. There really isn't an era before now that was even remotely pleasant. And it's so much worse if you're a person of color, or gay, or trans, or disabled. Yeah. Fuck that.) Anyway, the show is very Feminist and I enjoyed the hell out of it. Amy S-P is amazing with dialog--particularly my favorite kind of dialog, the fast banter. It's wonderful. I am in awe.
Mind you...the show isn't worth tying your future purchasing power to a retailer that doesn't support your local community forever and ever, but it's worth a month or two of Amazon fees. So... fuck it. Here's hoping Amy S-P ties herself to a production company not infamous for fucking over creatives just so they can have more low-priced "content." [shudder]
 Yeah. I got the stupid Prime account not only because of Amy S-P, but because Amazon instituted some squirrelly rule about how they couldn't guarantee your holiday gifts would reach recipients in time a whole week and a half before Christmas. Unless you have Prime, of course. So, I signed on and will promptly tell them to fuck off after a couple of months.
For those who haven't heard...and as often as I mention this project (or read from it in public) there are Readers who haven't heard about it...I'm working on a Space Opera. The elevator pitch is: Persephone Station is a gender-flipped Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven set in space with six women of color and one white woman who never speaks. It will be published by Saga Press of Simon and Schuster. Looking for music to inspire such a thing has been fun. I'm still searching--that's a lot of the fun with this sort of thing, at least for me. So, I may have posted a list before. It's changed since then. It generally does as I get acquainted with the characters and the story. So, in no particular order...
1) Short Change Hero -- The Heavy
2) Killing Strangers -- Marilyn Manson
3) The Fade Out Line -- Phoebe Killdeer & The Short Straws
4) Can't Kill Us -- The Glitch Mob
5) Beat the Devil's Tattoo -- Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
6) Lay Myself Down -- Mazzy Star
7) Tennis Court -- Lourde
8) Intro -- The XX
10) No Soul (PMT Remix) -- ILS/The Crystal Method
11) Butterfly -- Bassnectar (featuring Mimi Page)
12) Predator (Final Mix) -- Front Line Assembly
13) Black Melt -- Massive Attack
14) Overkill -- Kosheen
15) Say My Name -- ODESZA (featuring Zyra)
16) Anxiety -- Ladyhawke
17) Heart of Stone -- Ravonettes
18) Two Weeks -- FKA twiggs
19) You Don't Get Me High Anymore -- Phantagram
20) Stigmata -- Marilyn Manson & Tyler Bates
I spent most of the past few days with the muscled in my back tensed--ready for the horrible news that the state of Alabama elected a corrupt pedophile because he was running as a Republican. Things have been that squirrelly around here. I was starting to think that we'd reached the point of no return. I got even more stressed when I heard about some of the stunts that were being pulled to prevent black voters from voting. Nonetheless, Democrat Doug Jones won the Senate seat in a staunchly Republican state. I can't even begin to tell you how relieved and happy I am about this. (Mind you, its' taken a while to loosen the tension in my shoulders and back.) This is a good sign regarding the 2018 elections. I was almost as happy as I was when I heard about the indictments of Manafort and Gates in October. All of these are signs that we've a chance to seriously slow down this shit show in 2018. But it's clear an important message has got to sink in when it comes to the Democratic party. This, from the previous link: "Jones’s mobilization of African American voters was critical to his victory, and Democrats saw in his turnout emphasis a model for how the party must mobilize its essential voter coalitions in the coming year. In the final weekend of the campaign, Sen. Cory Booker (N.J.) and other prominent black Democrats rallied for Jones."
That's right, black voters were key to the win. Let me repeat that: black voters were key to the win, not disillusioned white Trump voters--black voters. It's long past time we stopped focusing on whites who voted for Trump. I've long felt those articles were a form of racism. Why focus on 32% of those who bothered to vote and still support the scumbag when we need to shore up and unify the other 68%? Black voters are important to the political process and they outnumber white Trumpians. Where are all the heartfelt articles about their anxieties and needs?
Anyway, I'm thrilled to death about Alabama's special election results. Now, let's see if the Republicans pull out all the stops to prevent Jones from assuming his seat ASAP. There are already rumors that they will push for a wait until after the vile Tax bill is passed. Did I mention I'm sick to death of Republicans being lying, cheating, scummy bastards?
 Alabama recently instilled a photo ID law--one wherein voters are required to have a state sanctioned picture ID in order to cast a vote. It's one of the oldest means of preventing minority groups and the poor from voting. It costs money and time to obtain a driver's license or a state ID. And they have to be periodically renewed. The poor can't afford either. As it turns out, a lot of the stories about Alabama closing driver's license offices in primarily black neighborhoods were from 2015. (They decided against it after catching vast amounts of flack for it.) However, I did see reports of individuals traveling to the polls being held by police for minor traffic violations for up to an hour before finally being ticketed.
is a Science Fiction and Fantasy author living in Texas.