Fic: Magical Karaoke

Mar. 25th, 2017 02:37 am
[syndicated profile] alisanne_feed
Title: Magical Karaoke
Author: [personal profile] alisanne
Rating: PG
Pairing: James Sirius Potter/Scorpius Malfoy
Word Count: 365 x 2 (730)
Genre: Humor, romance.
Warnings: None.
A/N: Written for [livejournal.com profile] hogwarts365's prompt #184: "Freedom and justice cannot be parceled out in pieces to suit political convenience. I don't believe you can stand for freedom for one group of people and deny it to others."-- Coretta Scott King, On Stage.
Beta(s): [personal profile] sevfan and [personal profile] emynn.
Disclaimer: The characters contained herein are not mine. No money is being made from this fiction, which is presented for entertainment purposes only.


~

Magical Karaoke

~

“No,” said James.

Al smirked. “And you call yourself Gryffindor?”

James gave him a flat look. “I hate being on stage.”

“Is my brave, Gryffindor brother too scared to sing a song?”

“Fuck. You,” James enunciated clearly.

“Eww, no thanks.” Al grinned. “Even if I liked blokes, which I don’t, incest’s a bit much to suggest, brother mine.”

“Arse.” James took another swig of his Old Ogden’s. “Why the hell did I agree to come out with you?”

“Because I promised you an official introduction to a certain best friend of mine you’ve been eyeing?” Al smirked as James blushed. “Although if you don’t man up, he’ll eat you alive.”

“I’m okay with that,” James muttered, downing his drink.

“I’ll bet.” Al laughed. “Come on. Magical karaoke’s brilliant fun.”

James shook his head. “Ugh, fine. But if you show anyone this memory, I’ll hex you into next week.”

Al rolled his eyes. “Go. I’ll pick something fun for you to sing.”

“Whatever,” James muttered, winding his way to the stage.

Several people in the pub clapped when he stepped into the spotlight, and when the music for a Celestina Warbeck song started, James glared at Al, who waved.

Rolling his eyes, James sang, “Freedom and justice belong to all. You can’t give some liberty and let others fall—”

From the corner, Al gave him a thumbs up, and several of the pub patrons began paying attention.

Towards the end of the song, the door opened, and in walked Scorpius Malfoy.

James stumbled, finishing as quickly as he could. “…b-belong to all!”

There was a smattering of applause, a couple whistles, and by the time James left the stage, he was beet red. “Hot up there,” he mumbled when he got back to the table.

Al smirked knowingly. “Right.” Turning towards Scorpius, he said, “You remember my brother James, right, Scorpius?”

“Of course.”

“Great. James, this is Scorpius. Remember him from school?”

“Definitely,” said James.

Scorpius’ smile sent shivers up James’ spine. “Nice to see you again.” He offered his hand. When James accepted it, a spark of awareness ran up his arm.

“So,” said Al briskly. “I see friends over at another table. I’ll be right back.”

“Al—” James said, but it was too late, he was gone. James coughed. “Would you like a drink, Scorpius?”

Scorpius smiled. “Sure. What are you having?”

“Old Ogden’s.”

“Sounds good.”

James signaled the bartender, and a couple of glasses appeared before them moment later. He picked up a glass. “Um, cheers.”

“Cheers.” Scorpius’ eyes held James’ as he sipped. “So, what’s Al told you about me?”

“That you’re an Unspeakable, you’re a skilled Seeker, and you’re living in a Muggle flat against the wishes of your parents.”

Scorpius smirked. “So, the boring bits, then.”

James laughed. “Oh, I dunno. Sounds exciting to me.”

“Maybe, but it’s not the important stuff.”

“Ah.” James grinned. “What’s the important stuff?”

Scorpius leaned in. “I’m single and available.”

James blinked. “And bold.”

Scorpius shrugged. “So are you. You were up on stage singing when I got here, after all. And nicely, I may add.”

“Thanks.” James smiled. “You like singers?”

Scorpius smiled faintly. “I like you.”

“I like you, too,” James admitted.

“Lovely. Just one other thing,” Scorpius said and, leaning up, he kissed James fully on the mouth.

Closing his eyes, James kissed him back, moaning as Scorpius drew back.

Tipping his glass to his mouth, Scorpius swallowed his whiskey in one gulp. “Well, that answers that. Shall we get out of here?”

“Definitely.” James looked around. “Should we tell Al—?”

Scorpius clasped James’ arm, and the words died on James’ tongue. “Al can figure things out for himself, don’t you think?” Scorpius murmured.

“Yes,” James whispered, falling into Scorpius’ eyes.

“Excellent.” Scorpius exhaled. “Let’s go.”

As they walked out, James saw Al smile, and continue talking to the girls he’d joined. James looked away, sure his face was flaming.

Once outside, Scorpius turned to James. “Mine or yours?”

James shrugged. “Don’t care.”

Scorpius hummed. “Mine it is.”

They landed, and immediately, Scorpius was on James, his hands everywhere. They collapsed onto a bed, groping, kissing. When their clothes disappeared James didn’t notice, focussed as he was on finding pleasure with Scorpius.

Afterwards, as Scorpius Summoned a blanket to cover them, James closed his eyes and smiled. Maybe magical karaoke wasn’t so bad after all.

~
[syndicated profile] kimeric_feed

Posted by kimeric kreations


So the doctors warned me of side effects of radiation (so did a lot of you!)  that can happen well after radiation starts, and sometimes even after it stops.    I know that AFTER the head radiation stopped, almost a week went by before my poor hair fell out again....and today I first experienced that deep sudden fatigue I was warned about.   My treatments are everyday at 11:20 am - and at 4 pm today I was suddenly so tired I could hardly walk.  We had stopped by Eric's Mom's to pick up laundry and see what else she might need...were just standing there talking...and I found myself leaning against the wall, eyes watering like mad...yawning...and barely able to keep my eyes open.   Eric took me to the car, I slept all the way home (20 minutes) - came in the house and fell into bed and slept until 7pm.   I feel ok now...still tired, but holy cow - that was one strange experience.  I have NEVER had anything hit me so hard and so fast like that.  I knew things were changing some, as I'm starting to "feel" the burn from the radiation in my chest area...its like having a sunburn on the inside of your throat...and the muscles in my chest are so very tender right now....but the instant fatigue was just plain strange.   Only four more treatments to go!!!!   The countdown resumes on Monday :)  Hope you all have a fantastic weekend....me - I'm going to relax and hopefully finish up in my kitchen!    

Tonight I have a wonderful Quick Page to share from Erika - I loved her page made with The Journey..and I hope you can find a great use for this quick page she is sharing with you, too!
 


Just click on the image to download - see you tomorrow! - Kim
[syndicated profile] bruce_schneier_feed

Posted by Bruce Schneier

Available on eBay.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven't covered.

Commenting Policy for This Blog

Mar. 24th, 2017 07:20 pm
[syndicated profile] bruce_schneier_feed

Posted by Bruce Schneier

Over the past few months, I have been watching my blog comments decline in civility. I blame it in part on the contentious US election and its aftermath. It's also a consequence of not requiring visitors to register in order to post comments, and of our tolerance for impassioned conversation. Whatever the causes, I'm tired of it. Partisan nastiness is driving away visitors who might otherwise have valuable insights to offer.

I have been engaging in more active comment moderation. What that means is that I have been quicker to delete posts that are rude, insulting, or off-topic. This is my blog. I consider the comments section as analogous to a gathering at my home. It's not a town square. Everyone is expected to be polite and respectful, and if you're an unpleasant guest, I'm going to ask you to leave. Your freedom of speech does not compel me to publish your words.

I like people who disagree with me. I like debate. I even like arguments. But I expect everyone to behave as if they've been invited into my home.

I realize that I sometimes express opinions on political matters; I find they are relevant to security at all levels. On those posts, I welcome on-topic comments regarding those opinions. I don't welcome people pissing and moaning about the fact that I've expressed my opinion on something other than security technology. As I said, it's my blog.

So, please... Assume good faith. Be polite. Minimize profanity. Argue facts, not personalities. Stay on topic. If you want a model to emulate, look at Clive Robinson's posts.

Schneier on Security is not a professional operation. There's no advertising, so no revenue to hire staff. My part-time moderator -- paid out of my own pocket -- and I do what we can when we can. If you see a comment that's spam, or off-topic, or an ad hominem attack, flag it and be patient. Don't reply or engage; we'll get to it. And we won't always post an explanation when we delete something.

My own stance on privacy and anonymity means that I'm not going to require commenters to register a name or e-mail address, so that isn't an option. And I really don't want to disable comments.

I dislike having to deal with this problem. I've been proud and happy to see how interesting and useful the comments section has been all these years. I've watched many blogs and discussion groups descend into toxicity as a result of trolls and drive-by ideologues derailing the conversations of regular posters. I'm not going to let that happen here.

[syndicated profile] whedonesque_feed

http://www.cbr.com/x-men-gifted-amy-acker-photo/

The first behind the scenes photo has been released featuring Amy Acker being directed by longtime X-Men film director Bryan Singer who is shooting the pilot.

"Gifted" is the current working title of the series but might not be the final title.

[syndicated profile] bruce_schneier_feed

Posted by Bruce Schneier

There are more CIA documents up on WikiLeaks. It seems to be mostly MacOS and iOS -- including exploits that are installed on the hardware before they're delivered to the customer.

News articles.

Fic: An Open Book

Mar. 23rd, 2017 10:17 pm
[syndicated profile] alisanne_feed
Title: An Open Book
Author: [personal profile] alisanne
Characters/Pairings: Minerva McGonagall, Severus Snape.
Rating: G
Word Count: 1820
Content/Warning(s): Whinging, humour, tired teachers being tired.
Summary/Prompt: Every year Minerva contemplates retiring, but the year all the Weasleys show up at Hogwarts may be the one that makes her finally do it.
Challenge: Written for [livejournal.com profile] capitu during the 2017 [livejournal.com profile] hp_goldenage Salt and Pepper Fest.
Prompt: Professor McGonagall is still teaching when the next gen children start coming to Hogwarts. She ponders about how different this generation is from their parents.
A/N: Thanks to [personal profile] sevfan and [personal profile] emynn for beta reading, and to [livejournal.com profile] capitu for the fabulous prompt! <3




An Open Book





The Hogwarts Book was sitting open on its stand when Minerva entered her office. “Merlin, is it that time already?” she murmured. Putting down the newspaper she had been reading, she approached it.

The Book glowed as new names began to be magically inscribed onto its pages. It had been a few months since she’d last checked it to see who they should expect to attend school over the upcoming year. Smiling, she scanned the list, shaking her head when she saw Scorpius Malfoy, Penelope Parkinson, yet another Potter, this one named Albus S, and—

Minerva blinked and quickly counted again, then did a rapid calculation in her head. “Nine Weasleys at Hogwarts? All at the same time? Dear Godric!”

Shaking her head, she turned away. Were any of the new ones twins? That trait did seem to run in the family.

Exhaling, Minerva called a house-elf for tea, and once it had been delivered, she opened her bottom drawer, pulled out the emergency whisky, and poured a healthy dollop into her cup.

“Drinking already? Whatever shall you do once the term actually begins?”

Wincing, Minerva turned to glare at Severus. “I didn’t realise you were there. What are you doing, spying on me?”

Severus, his face in the Floo, smirked. “I was waiting for you to return. The governors wish to set up a meeting.”

“The governors?” Minerva made a rude noise. “We have bigger issues.”

“Do we?” Severus’ gaze went to the Book and his eyes narrowed. “Salazar. Fine, I’m coming through.”

A moment later the fireplace flared green and he stepped in. Striding over to the Book, he pulled out his glasses and leaned over to read. Minerva almost laughed when he went rigid and quietly began to swear.

Wordlessly, she poured another cup of tea, added some whisky and levitated it over to him. Turning in time to intercept it, Severus plucked it out of the air and downed it in one gulp.

“I counted nine,” she said once the alcohol had relaxed her muscles.

“Circe’s tits,” Severus swore, throwing himself into the chair across from hers and holding his cup out for more. “Surely there’s something we can do.”

Minerva sighed, Leaning forward, she refilled his cup, this time with straight whisky. “I’m open to suggestions.”

“We could ask Ilvermorny to take them. Maybe an exchange program? A seven-year exchange program.”

Minerva laughed.

“I’m serious.” Severus closed his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose with his fingers. “Alas, I doubt the governors would allow me to use them for potions ingredients.”

“Probably not,” Minerva agreed.

“I’m getting too old for this nonsense.”

Minerva raised an eyebrow. “You’re too old? You’re under sixty!”

“It’s still too old to deal with more Weasleys.” Severus hummed, sipping his drink. “Perhaps it’s finally time to retire. I could open a potion shop in Diagon.”

“That doesn’t sound like much of a retirement.” Minerva smirked. “I suspect you’d come running back after a few months of being in retail.”

Severus huffed. “You’re probably right. Although retiring is all the rage these days. Did you see? Even Arthur Weasley is retiring from the Ministry.”

“Yes, I saw it in the paper this morning. It seems he wants to leave the work of reforming the Wizarding world to the youngsters.”

“Smart.” Severus smirked. “Perhaps I’ll retire and leave the work of educating them to the youngsters as well.”

“Absolutely not,” Minerva said, fixing him with a flat stare. “You can’t leave me here to face the Weasley hordes alone.”

“I’m no longer headmaster,” Severus pointed out. “You have that dubious honour. So yes, I most certainly could.”

“I’m only Headmistress because you refused the position and claimed you hadn’t yet earned it.” Minerva eyed him over top her glasses. “If I recommend you for the position and demote myself, I’m sure they would trust that recommendation.”

Severus looked away. “I still haven’t earned it. If you don’t want it, perhaps Horace—”

Minerva snorted. “He keeps making noises about retiring, too! I had to offer him a pay rise to get him to stay as it is. And he’s told me he has no interest in being Headmaster.”

“Rise?” Severus looked affronted. “You didn’t offer me a pay rise.”

Minerva rolled her eyes. “Not the point! Now, can we get back to the issue at hand, which is, how are we going to manage a school full of Weasleys?”

“Stock up on whisky?” Severus suggested. He sighed as she glared at him. “Fine, fine. They’ll all probably end up in Gryffindor, so we should start by warning Professor Longbottom.” Slowly, Severus smirked. “Actually, won’t this primarily be his problem as Acting Head of House?”

“And I suppose Fred and George Weasley weren’t problems for everyone?” Minerva asked pointedly.

Severus blanched. “Are any of the new ones twins?”

“Possibly, who can keep track?”

Severus pursed his lips. “You could conscript some of the older Weasleys to manage the younger,” he suggested. “Appoint some as prefects.”

“I’ve already selected the prefects for the year.”

“Fine, then call them something else. Junior prefects, I don’t care what they’re called.” Severus waved a hand. “Just someone with a vested interest in keeping their behaviour this side of civil.”

Minerva smiled. “You know, that could work. Especially since we’ll be getting a Malfoy and a new Potter this year as well. Have you met Draco’s son?”

“Indeed. He’s well behaved. A quiet lad.” Severus raised an eyebrow. “I don’t suppose you’ve met the Potter?” He rolled his eyes. “Imagine naming him Albus. What a suck-up.”

“Albus is a lovely name.” Minerva smiled. “And no, I haven’t met him. I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

“Except for being a Potter. Must I remind you his older brother set fire to greenhouse three last year?” Severus shook his head. “This is what comes from naming a boy after two people who called themselves Marauders. Disaster.”

Minerva sighed. “I had mercifully blocked that from my mind. You know, I believe I understand now why Albus removed his memories and kept them in phials! It was to protect himself.”

Severus snorted. “A lot about Albus’ behaviour now makes sense,” he said. “I’m convinced he was driven quite mad by the end, probably as a result of direct exposure to the students, poor sod.”

Minerva sat up straight as something occurred to her. “I’ve got it! We need a new Charms professor.”

Severus raised an eyebrow. “This is true. Although I fail to see how this will impact our impending Weasley doom.”

“How many applicants have we had?” Minerva asked.

“Very few.” Severus sighed. “Last I checked, the most qualified candidate is also being scouted by three other schools and Gringotts.” He huffed. “I’ll give you one guess as to who pays more.”

“Then I think I know the perfect candidate for the position.” Minerva stood up and began to pace. “She’s non-traditional, but she’s certainly qualified. And she may solve both our problems.”

“Indeed. And who is this paragon?” Severus asked. When Minerva told him, he smiled. “You know, you could be right.”




“Hello and welcome to Hogwarts.” Minerva looked out over all the impossibly young faces and sighed. “In a moment, we’ll begin the Sorting Ceremony, but first, let me introduce this year’s faculty.

“I am Headmistress McGonagall. Our Deputy Headmaster and Defense Against the Dark Arts professor is Severus Snape.”

There was a small smattering of applause from the Slytherins and maybe ten other students in other Houses. From the corner of her eye, Minerva saw Severus incline his head.

“Our librarian is Madam Pince. Our Transfiguration professor is Professor Zabini, for Herbology we have Professor Longbottom, our Potions professor is Professor Slughorn, and for Astronomy we have Professor Sinistra.”

The announcement of those names was followed by more sustained applause.

Minerva waited for it to die down. She could see several red-haired children fidgeting in the front and she suppressed a smile. “And finally,” she said, “please join me in welcoming our newest professors, Madam Molly Prewett-Weasley who will be teaching Charms as well as serving as Head of House for Gryffindor, and her husband, Professor Arthur Weasley, who will be our new Muggle Studies teacher and Groundskeeper.”

At that announcement, several students in Gryffindor jumped up and began cheering wildly. Students in other Houses applauded as well, but it was nothing like the celebration in Gryffindor. The first-year Weasleys all froze, eyes wide, however, and several exchanged apprehensive looks.

It seemed Molly’s reputation was well known within the family. Relaxing, Minerva cleared her throat. “Now, let us begin the Sorting Ceremony.”

With her years of experience of seeing students be Sorted, Minerva knew not to display any surprise although, when the Hat Sorted Albus Severus Potter and Scorpius Malfoy into Ravenclaw, and she saw them smile tentatively at each other as they settled at the Ravenclaw table, she did exhale in relief. Perhaps that family feud would finally come to an end.

After the Sorting, Minerva returned to the Head Table.

“Albus Severus Potter? That’s what the S stands for?” groused Severus as she sat down beside him. “Merlin on a stick.”

Minerva hid her smile. “Harry and Ginny probably meant it as a compliment, and it’s a lovely one at that. And I imagine you’re his hero, Severus. Harry’s sure to have told him stories.”

A look of utter horror crossed Severus’ face. “Merlin forbid.”

Unable to help herself, Minerva laughed while Severus glared at her. After a moment, she patted his arm. “I’m sure you’ll manage. Plus, it’s no shame to be the idol of a new generation.”

“We’ll see,” Severus snorted, although he did look slightly mollified. “Did you see their faces?” he asked after a minute. “The new Weasleys looked properly cowed.”

“I did.” Minerva permitted herself a small smile. “Who knows? This may be the most peaceful year at Hogwarts yet.”

Severus opened his mouth to reply, only to be interrupted by a loud crash. They both looked up to see a Weasley, his hair singed, while around him, his relatives were all grinning and clapping. An empty Weasley Whizz-bangs box was at his feet.

Minerva glanced at Molly, who was already on her feet and heading over to the miscreants. Her face was set, although her eyes were twinkling with amusement, and Minerva slowly released her instinctive grip on the table.

“Hm,” Severus hummed, sipping his wine and watching Molly lecture the children even as she adroitly charmed the mess away. He smirked. “Perhaps this will work out.” He hummed. “And should I need someone to cover my Defence classes, we could do worse than either her or Arthur.”

Minerva helped herself to more wine, watching the scene with satisfaction. She smiled. “You could be right, and you know, I believe it will.”

Fin
[syndicated profile] kimeric_feed

Posted by kimeric kreations


Posting a bit early as we are in a huge storm system pushing thru - right now we have hail like crazy...and I should be getting offline for a bit :)   This week I have a new collection that I did with me in mind - called The Journey.  Good days, Bad days....its all here, and perfect for everyday scrapping!  Best of all, it's on sale now at The Digichick for 30% off until Monday at midnight.   I have some beautiful clusters to share that have been made with it - beginning tonight with one from Jenni!  
 

and a little inspiration!


wonderful inspiration pages!


Just click on the image to download - see you tomorrow! - Kim
[syndicated profile] thebloggess_feed

Posted by thebloggess

Today I planned on going over all the craziness of the book tour but I’m postponing for a bit because I’ve come down with a mild case of I-HAVE-THE-PLAGUE-AND-I’M-GOING-TO-DIE.  And I asked Victor to feel my head to see if I have a … Continue reading

Eliza Dushku joins CBS' 'Bull'.

Mar. 23rd, 2017 09:40 pm
[syndicated profile] whedonesque_feed

http://tvline.com/2017/03/23/eliza-dushku-bull-season-2-cast-cbs/

She will have a 3 episode arc beginning May 9th with the possibility of a promotion to series regular for Season 2.

No Man’s Land

Mar. 23rd, 2017 08:18 am
[syndicated profile] stonekettle_feed

Posted by Jim Wright

 

Alien: Release … me. 
President Whitmore: I know there is much we can learn from each other, if we can negotiate a truce. We can find a way to co-exist. Can there be a peace between us?
Alien: Peace? No peace…
Whitmore: What is it you want us to do?
Alien: Die… Die…
  -- Independence Day, 20th Century Fox, 1996




 

 

Nuke ‘em.

Let’s nuke the bastards.

It’s the movie’s pivotal scene, right?

President Whitmore starts out a liberal peacenik. He’s a nice guy, kind of a young Jimmy Carter type. He’d served in the military once upon a time, flew fighter jets, but as a Fox News commentator says in the background of one scene “Americans thought they were getting a warrior, instead they elected a wimp!”

Then aliens invade the earth.

Whitmore comes face to face with the monster in a bunker under Area 51, the tentacles of its armored suit squeezed about Doctor Okun’s throat, working Okun’s brain telepathically like a broken puppet. We can co-exist, Whitmore pleads, we can have peace. No. No peace, says the alien. Die! Die! And then tries to invade Whitmore’s mind via telepathic assault.  The soldiers in the room shoot the alien monster down in a spray of bullets and as it lays dying on the floor, Whitmore turns to the generals and says,

I saw its thoughts. I saw what they're planning to do. They're like locusts. They're moving from planet to planet, their whole civilization. After they've consumed every natural resource they move on. And we're next. Nuke 'em. Let's nuke the bastards.

Let’s nuke the bastards.

No compromise. No way to co-exist. No peace between us. Die. Die.

That’s a great scene, isn’t it? I love that scene.

What brings this up?

That’s where we’re at, right?

Well, isn’t it?

That’s what you’re telling me. We see what they’re planning to do. They’re like locusts. They’re moving across the country now, consuming every natural resource, and we’re next. No peace. No compromise. Let’s nuke the bastards.

Sure, that’s it.

I’ve written two essays since the election, Bug Hunt and Red Sea, in which I suggested liberals and progressives are going to have to start compromising with conservatives.

I said Democrats are going to have to win over at least some of those red areas in the middle of the country.

 

image

 

I mean, it seems like it should be easy.  

Or if not easy, at least not an insurmountable task.

Look at all that red.

Look at it.

Red is Republican. Blue is Democrat. But the people who live there are conservative – even the liberals in those areas are comparatively conservative. The people in charge of those counties are conservatives. The voters in those counties send conservative senators and representatives to their conservative state congresses.  Those conservative state governments in turn appoint the conservative electors who select the president. And that president now has a willing Congress of his own, made up in the majority of … conservatives.

But here’s the thing: A lot of those conservatives really hate what’s happened to modern conservatism.

They do.

They’re no fans of the de facto conservative party, i.e. the GOP, Republicans.

And yet – and yet – many of them voted for the people who appointed the electors who selected Donald Trump and even though they can’t stand the guy, they voted for him because they’d much rather have him than a Democrat.

They would rather have a guy that they can’t stand, than a Democrat.

Think about that. They would rather have Trump than a “liberal.”

Why?

Well that is the question, isn’t it?

As I noted in both Bug Hunt and in Red Sea, they’re afraid.

Now I’m sure I’ll get angry denials. We’re not afraid! The messages will say.

But they are. 

Sure they are.

We’re all afraid of something. There’s no shame in admitting that. Liberals, progressives, the Left, they have their own exhaustive list of things they’re afraid of, things they fear will come from this administration.

But we’re talking about those red areas in the middle of the country and there? There, as I noted in the previous essay, conservatives are afraid transgender people will assault their daughters in public restrooms.

Yes, they are. That’s exactly what they’re afraid of, don’t take my word for it, go read any newspaper in North Carolina and see for yourself.

They don’t know any transgender people. They don’t understand transgender. Hell, to be perfectly candid, it’s hard for me to understand because I’ve always been comfortable in my own skin. But I’m at least trying to understand. They aren’t. They don’t want to. They look at Caitlyn Jenner and they see a creepy dude in a skirt. A tranny from Pornhub. It’s the joke from their childhood, Flip Wilson as Geraldine. They think transgender is a hairy-knuckled pedophile in a dress, some creeper who wants to sneak into the girls bathroom and molest their daughters.

And they think liberals would rather side with, hell enable, a sexual predator than protect their kids.

Now, that’s not what transgender is. You know it and I know it, but Democrats haven’t done a damned thing to dissuade conservatives of their fear.

image

 

They’re afraid gay people want to get married in their churches.

They mostly don’t give a damn if gay people get married, or at least they’ve resigned themselves to same sex marriage. But they’re afraid the next step is the Big Gay Agenda being forced into their churches, just like their restrooms and locker rooms. They’re honestly afraid that a liberal in power will force their religion to not only accept LGBT people, but make the church actively promote “The Gay Lifestyle” (whatever the hell that is) from the pulpit.

And Democrats haven’t done a damned thing to dissuade them of this idea.

They’re afraid foreigners with strange accents and religions and ideas will come to take over their towns.

Now, sure, this isn’t anything new. Every settled culture is afraid it will be replaced. And no, no, the people who still speak with a Dutch accent in Western Michigan or a Norwegian one in Minnesota, the people down at the local small town pizza parlor, or the folks cheering on the local St. Paddy’s Day parade, or enjoying a meal in San Francisco’s Chinatown or Chicago’s  Little Italy or grabbing lunch from a taco truck, no, no they don’t see the irony. So, yes, the same people who enjoy a good falafel or some shawarma from their local kebob shop, or think nothing of hopping into a cab driven by a guy from Pakistan, or buy a sixer of Bud Light from some brown skinned Muslim down at the local minimart, can still be terrified that those people are somehow stealing their culture.

(note: that last example is from personal experience. I stopped in a very rural liquor store. I couldn’t find what I wanted. So I asked the brown-skinned Middle Eastern looking woman behind the counter. Her English was passible but not extensive so she called her husband from the back. He’d never heard of the brand I was looking for either. So they had me spell it out. They carefully wrote it down and asked detailed questions since, they explained, as Muslims neither of them could consume alcohol themselves and thus had no direct experience. And they kindly promised to carry the brand should I happen by again).

Despite the fact that we are a nation of immigrants or maybe because of it and therefore know how mass immigration can change a culture, many Americans are terrified of how immigrants will impact our way of life – even though ironically the things many of us enjoy most about our culture are those very traditions imported from elsewhere via our immigrant forbearers.

For many, the words “immigrant” and “refugee” and “illegal alien” and “criminal” are all interchangeable.

And because of that, they’re afraid illegal aliens who slipped into America across unprotected borders will come to take their jobs. They’re afraid terrorists who slipped unvetted into America disguised as refugees will murder them in their places of worship or their shopping malls or their businesses. They’re afraid gangs of criminals, foreigners who have no loyalty to America and no desire to assimilated into our culture, will come from the cities to kick in their doors.

And Democrats haven’t done a damned thing to dissuade people of this fear.

They’re afraid liberal teachers are going to turn their children against them and away from their heritage.

In truth, this is something all parents fear to some degree.

But many conservatives are afraid liberal teachers are brainwashing their kids into hating America, into hating white people, into hating “our” history and religion and culture. 

Many of these people have been tricked into believing any criticism, any unblinking look at our mistakes, anything but unquestioning loyalty, is embarrassing and unpatriotic and treasonous.  Worse, a foundation of critical thought often leads children to question the world around them, to challenge sacred beliefs, and seek deeper truths in areas many adults – many Americans – would just as soon remain out of sight and out of mind. It’s damned hard to talk honestly about Manifest Destiny or slavery or WWII internment camps or previous waves of immigration without pain, without guilt, without uncomfortable truths.

When a kid asks a parent why we were attacked on September 11th, 2001, the answer is simple: because the terrorists hate us for our Freedom, that’s why.

Because they hate us for our freedom.

That’s a kid’s answer. That’s an America Oorah! answer. Simple. Easy to understand. They hate us because they ain’t us.

But when a kid asks a teacher, well, the answer is anything but simple and easy.

When a kid asks a teacher why the US was attacked by Muslims on 9-11, the answer is complicated and involves a hundred years of failed foreign policy and wars of colonialism and conquest and oil and money and ideology and religions and has nothing whatsoever to do with our supposed freedoms. They hate us because we blew up their country, because we killed their families, because we sided with their enemies, because we came to their land seeking riches and power and we don’t really give a damn about them so long as we get what we need for our civilization.

What?

What’s that?

You disagree? You violently disagree? You’re instantly pissed off? You think what I said about the causal effects of 9-11 make it sound like we somehow deserved it? Like it was our fault?

Heh.

Well, that’s my point exactly. No, not that America – or any country – deserves terrorism and mass murder, but rather your reaction. Your outrage at my phrasing. We can’t look at history dispassionately and without taking it as a personal affront.

Which is why we keep making the same mistakes over and over. But I digress.

Let me use a different example: Nowhere is the difference between how Americans see their history more stark than the issue of slavery.

It seems to me that slavery is the one thing we can all agree on. I mean, it should be, right?

Sure, there were many reasons for slavery. There were a thousand reasons people used to justify slavery as an institution. Certainly slavery helped build this country and shaped its culture and traditions and prejudices and outlooks and civil rights and its impact is still being felt today. But even though slavery was once acceptable – even the norm – it no longer is. We’ve advanced as a civilization and it should be the one thing we can all agree on without reservation. Slavery is evil. Slavery is wrong. Slavery is terrible. We should all be able to agree on that, black, white, left, right, conservative, liberal, Democrat, Republican, all of us should be able to agree that slavery is a horrible blot on our history.

But we don’t.

As soon as it comes up, a certain segment of Americans reflexively become slavery apologists.

Sure, slavery was bad, they rationalize, but hey, look at all the good things that … and I’m left standing there, mouth agape, boggling at anyone who feels somehow that they must rationalize this horrible thing solely because discussing it honestly within the context of our modern enlightenment is just too goddamned painful and embarrassing and guilt inducing.

People of strength and moral character acknowledge unpleasant truths with unflinching determination and use it to make a better future, one where they don’t hate us because they ain’t us.

But many see that unflattering truth as an attempt to paint America as a villain and they just can’t get beyond it, they’re afraid that if our children are taught that unvarnished truth, then they’ll somehow hate their own country, their own culture, their own traditions and people and parents.

And Democrats haven’t done a damned thing to dissuade people of that fear.

They’re afraid the government is coming to take their guns, their freedom, their rights.

image

And democrats really haven’t done a damned thing at all to dissuade conservatives of those fears. Not really.

Most of all, the people in that sea of red are afraid that their voices are being ignored in Washington.

And Democrat politicians can’t dissuade conservatives of that fear because it’s true.

Their voices are being ignored. 

And so are ours.

That’s not my interpretation, that’s their words, their fears, nearly verbatim. They said so. They continue to say so, in every man-on-the-street interview. At every Trump rally. On Facebook. On Twitter. On Instagram. On Fox & Friends. On Breitbart. In the Wall Street Journal. On the signs in their front yards.

And, yes, some of those conservatives are pretty damned deplorable. They are, no doubt.

image

But not all.

Not even a majority.

Many, many conservatives are just as disgusted with Trump, with the Republican Party, with the Democratic Party, with the country, as liberals are.

To be honest, many conservatives didn’t really believe Trump would be as horrible as he’s turning out to be.

You remember, right?

Sure, they were the ones telling the rest of us, it’ll be okay, you’ll see, he’ll pivot once the election is over, he’ll be more presidential, he’ll stop the bombast and the tweets and the pussy grabbing. You’ll see.

Of course that was wishful thinking.

Of course that didn’t happen.

Of course it didn’t.

And sure, there’s certainly some schadenfreude to be had here. Ha ha, told you so. Absolutely. But if you can see past that, well, you’ll realize those conservatives are just as disgusted as you are, and maybe even more so since they were the ones who got suckered.

But they continue to vote for Republicans because the alternative, so they believe, is worse.

So it seems to me it should be easy.

Or at least if not easy then not insurmountable.  

It seems Democrats have a historic opportunity, a moment when moderate conservatives could be given a choice other than dogmatic partisanship, if the left can pull together, can reach out, can compromise, and can but convince them that their guns and their bibles will be safe. If Democrats can address those fears up above in an honest manner and put them firmly to rest, then now, this moment right here, is an opportunity to prove that the alternative is better.

 

But here’s the kicker: that’s the easy part.

 

The problem isn’t conservatives.

Or at least not just conservatives.

You see, in those previous two essays and up above the word I used was compromise.

Compromise.

I know there is much we can learn from each other, if we can negotiate a truce. We can find a way to co-exist. Can there be a peace between us?

And the overwhelming response was … no.

No. Not from conservatives. But from liberals.

clip_image001

- I don’t think you know what compromise means!

- When you talk about compromising with the GOP, as it currently exists, what does that mean for you personally? What do you see yourself sacrificing as an individual? You don't have a uterus. You are not black, brown, Muslim, or LGBT […]

- […]What do YOU risk, Wright? Nothing! But nice job mansplaining, condescending prick […]

- […]I agree with you in principle about compromising, but in practice I'm finding this a little difficult. Almost anything we give up is going to hurt somebody. Who do we abandon, or throw to the wolves? It's all too easy to say, well, that issue isn't a big deal, if it doesn't affect us personally. It's a different story when it does.

clip_image001[4]

- I don't expect this comment to get posted, I just want to communicate with you: Wow, Jim, I'm really disappointed with you for the first time. This essay reminds me of a boss who used to yell at us in our weekly team meeting about not showing up at the weekly team meeting. Hel-lo? Why are you yelling at us? *WE'RE* the ones who DO show up. And I, for one, am tired of being lectured about this when I have never missed *ANY* election since the time I was eligible to vote. I'm also tired of the endless apologia for poor white Trump voters. I live in one of the most affluent counties of America, and the McMansions and estates were positively lousy with Trump campaign signs. The only thing these people were frightened of was that some dark-skinned person might possibly get a nickel more than they "deserved" as a dark-skinned person. It is they, more than the types of Trump voters you cite, who are the problem.

- You can’t compromise with evil!

- And what's your's Jim. I like most of what you write, but too often on this topic you just revert to centrist pablum. As others have said; it's not compromise when only one side is compromising.

- I agree with some of this, but I have a problem with the argument that we are all the same. Statistics show the real gung-ho Trump supporters are white men without a college degree. I think education and diversity of experiences plays a huge part in how we are different. I come from a very rural, impoverished part of Michigan, and I know people who get stuck in that cycle of poverty and lack of education. I'm not like them. There's a fundamental difference in world view. Studies show we don't enjoy the same sorts of entertainment, and so on. Perhaps this is my go to cause for problems with almost everything, but it's a lack of education that's at the root of it.

clip_image001[6]

- Okay, so what do we say to those who view politics as theater, fear mongering as amusement, who chuckle when liberals and independents concerns are played out by Mr Trump? What do we say to the farmers who thought Mr Trump wouldn't follow through on his threat to deport en masse the illegals and the unwanted? And further, what do we do when the fear is irrational, that belief has replaced facts, and that dismissive rhetoric is considered a good enough explanation for ridiculous policies? Compromise is a two way street, Mr Wright, and when one party demands the other yield...That's not an invitation for compromise, that's a demand for surrender.

- These people have let Republicans lie to them to their faces for decades. They see the terrible results of right wing policies over long periods of time, especially in the South. And they still vote for the bullshit every single time. There is no reasoning and no compromise with this single minded stupidity.

- Pretending you can get people to turn from their tribalism by being reasonable is what got us in this mess in the first place.

 

clip_image0018

- Time to play hardball.

It’s not us. It’s them.

We’re the good ones, they’re the bad ones.

You can’t compromise unless you’re going to lose something too.

If fact, you can’t compromise unless all sides lose equally and all sides  gain equally, we have to keep score.

You can’t compromise with single minded stupidity. You can’t compromise with evil. You can’t compromise if somebody gets hurt. You can’t compromise with people who won’t compromise. You can’t compromise if you’re too centrist – because that’s somehow bad. We can’t compromise with people who got suckered because really fuck those people. We can’t compromise with people who aren’t the same as us.  We can’t compromise because the other side is stupid and evil and unAmerican and horrible hunchbacked stinking black-eyed oily-skinned trolls who eat babies and worship Satan and  who are against everything we believe in Goddamnit! We can’t compromise! No way, no how, and fuck you. No. Hell no. Time to play hardball. No compromise. No peace! No peace! Nuke ‘em! Let’s nuke the bastards! Die! Die!

Right?

And so where does that leave us?

No peace.

No compromise.

No middle ground.

Where does that leave us?

image

No really, look at that map and tell me, what does that leave?

You won't compromise. You can’t. 

Because you don't believe there are any rational conservatives left to compromise with.

That sea of red, that’s the enemy. You’ve written them off. That’s the evil. You can’t compromise with evil. If they’re afraid, if they voted for Trump, fuck ‘em they deserve no sympathy, no attempt at understanding. No peace. Die.

And so where does that leave you?

Where does it leave you if you regard half the country as The Enemy?

If you don’t believe the system can be salvaged?

If, hell, you don’t believe the system is worth salvaging, it’s rotten and corrupt and can’t be fixed?

If you believe the game is rigged and you don’t believe you can win via legal means?

If you believe the opposition is illegitimate and therefore not worthy of consideration or any respect?

They hate you and you hate them and there can be no peace between you.

You will not compromise.

They will not compromise.

So what's your plan? Where does that leave us? Where do we go next? What options do we have?

Do you march on Washington with your guns and tri-corner hats?

Do you rise up in violent revolution? 

Secession and civil war?

A coup d'état?

Do you find yourself a disgraced scientist and a daredevil pilot to fly a stolen alien craft loaded with nuclear weapons straight into the mothership in a mad suicide mission, one last desperate gamble, and winner take all in the radioactive ruins? And when you succeed, assuming that you do, and you seize power, what then? What comes then? What do you do with the people you can’t compromise with? Purges? Genocide? Ghettos? Reeducation camps? Mass deportation? Imposition of your ideals via the muzzle of a gun? How will your force those conquered people who you cannot compromise with to comply?

How long do you think you can hold it, assuming you are able to seize the reins of power in the first place?

How stable do you think such a country would be? How productive? How innovative? How free?

Or are these more of those unpleasant truths we don’t want to face? 

 

I used the word compromise on purpose.

 

I used it deliberately and with malice aforethought.

I used it knowing what would happen, how you’d react.

I used it because I knew, I knew, that it would provoke a visceral reaction. I used it because it’s as much a trigger for many of you as it is for those you despise. You hear compromise and instantly your teeth are bared and your fists are clenched. No. No compromise. It’s not up to us to compromise, it’s up to them! No. No compromise. No peace. Die!

But, you see, in those paragraphs describing civil war and reeducation camps up above, the partisan you isn’t identified and as such those statements could apply equally well to the other side – and do.

I said I wasn’t asking you to compromise with hate, but with fear.

You’re just playing with semantics, you yelled back. How do you compromise with those who won’t compromise? How?

How? Well, of course, you don’t.

How do you compromise with hate and unreason?

You can’t.

Nowhere did I suggest that any of us should compromise with neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan, with haters and bigots, and gun waving fanatics or dimwitted goons. 

Nowhere did I suggest you should give up your civil rights, your freedom, or your integrity.

But that’s exactly what a number of people thought as soon as they heard the word compromise. Because just like conservatives, liberals hear the word compromise and they’ll be damned if they’ll budge.

Folks, I submit to you that there are far, far more reasonable people, on both sides, standing closer to the middle than to the edges and the only thing which really divides those people one from the other is … fear.

And yes, it’s true that hate cannot be reasoned with.

It can be burned down, shot, bombed from the sky, plowed under, locked up, marginalized until it starves to death, but it can not be reasoned with.

Fear, however, can.

And so perhaps compromise was the wrong word even though it served my purpose.

Regardless of what words I use, we – all of us – must find a way to address that fear. The fear that is tearing our country, our people, our civilization apart.

Not dismiss, not mollify, but address honestly and in good faith no matter how painful and unpleasant.

You know, it’s funny. I came from the Heartland, the Midwest. I spent my life in the ultimate bastion of conservatism, the military. I lived in Alaska, the reddest of the Red States. I live now in the Panhandle of Florida among conservatives. I talk to these people. I eat with these people. I drink with these people. I’m related to these people. Those things up above? Many reasonable conservatives don’t really give a damn about those things. Not really. They want the same things you do, peace, security, safety, good paying jobs, decent schools and decent neighbors, bridges that don’t fall down, clean water, clean air, safe food, affordable healthcare, respect, pride, and it’s likely that we, left and right, have more in common than we don’t.

Look out there. What do you see?

Republican politicians can’t even talk to their own people.

Republican politicians are afraid, terrified, to face their own people in a town hall.

Doesn’t that suggest to you an opportunity?

When I talk to conservatives, the reasonable ones, it seems their ideals and the things that are important to them – really important -- are far closer to that of the Democratic or Independent parties than to the platform of the GOP. But they all say the same thing: I can’t vote for a Democrat. I can’t vote for a liberal.

Because of all those fears, it’s being labelled a liberal they fear the most.

Change that

… and you change the map.

David Levinson: You really think you can fly that thing?
Captain Steven Hiller: You really think you can do all that bullshit you just said?
-- Independence Day

Yes I do.

Drabble: The Way It Was

Mar. 23rd, 2017 02:49 pm
[syndicated profile] alisanne_feed
Title: The Way It Was
Author: [personal profile] alisanne
Pairing/Characters: Severus Snape/Harry Potter (eventually).
Word Count: 100 x 6
Rating: PG
Challenge: Written for [community profile] snarry100/[community profile] snarry100/[livejournal.com profile] snarry100's prompt #568: Strong.
Warning(s): None. This is part three of what I'm calling my Wisdom Series (LJ/IJ/DW).
Beta(s): [personal profile] sevfan and [personal profile] emynn.
Disclaimer: The characters contained herein are not mine. No money is being made from this fiction, which is presented for entertainment purposes only.


~

The Way It Was

~

“Here we are,” Harry said, leading Snape into Grimmauld Place. “And sorry if there’s a strong odor of lemon oil, I’ve been cleaning.”

“As odors go,” Snape said, looking around, “it’s relatively inoffensive.”

“Right.” Harry held his breath, waiting for his verdict.

“You’ve renovated,” Snape finally said. “A definite improvement.”

“Thanks.” Harry looked around. He’d stripped the house down to the studs to rebuild, and in doing so, discovered he liked a modern aesthetic. White walls, dark wood floors, clean lined furniture. “I like it.”

“I see why. You’ve…good taste.”

Harry blushed. “Thanks.”

Snape hummed. “Dinner?”

“Right this way.”

~

“Is garlic acceptable?” Harry asked as he gathered ingredients.

“Certainly,” Snape replied. He was leaning against the kitchen counter, watching Harry work, and it felt oddly domestic. “Why?”

“Garlic’s a strong flavor, so I like to check.”

Snape hummed. “So you weren’t referencing my reputation as a vampire?”

Harry rolled his eyes. “That hadn’t even entered my head.”

Snape chuckled. “It’s fine. I know how my former students saw me.”

“And you didn’t do anything to encourage that impression, right?” Harry deadpanned. “What with the snapping, black robes.”

Snape smirked. “I’ve no idea what you mean.”

Harry laughed. “I’m sure.”

~

Snape didn’t say much as they ate, but he did accept seconds, and he cleaned his plate. Harry took it as a strong indicator he’d enjoyed the meal.

“I’ve berries and cream if you’d like pudding,” Harry said once he’d cleared the table.

Snape cleared his throat. “I shouldn’t. I ate too much as it is. You’re…not a bad cook.”

“Thanks.” Harry pursed his lips. “You’re sure? It won’t be heavy. Just some strawberries and raspberries.”

“And cream,” Snape said.

“Right.” Harry grinned. “Or we can have elf wine.”

“Wine?” Snape hummed. “Why didn’t you say so? Lead on.”

~

“Wow,” Harry said after his first sip of elf wine. “That’s strong.”

“Elf wine’s double distilled,” Snape said. “It’s potent.”

Harry set his glass aside. “I should slow down or I’ll be pissed in no time.”

“Have you never sampled it before?” Snape asked.

“Nope.”

“You’ve quite the collection for someone who isn’t a connoisseur.”

Harry shrugged. “Gifts. People give me stuff and I put it away to gather dust.”

Snape snorted. “Then I’m pleased to give you an opportunity to open a few bottles. I’ll be back whenever you wish to sample more.”

“Brilliant.” Harry grinned. “It’s a date.”

~

Snape went still. “Date?”

Shit! Harry coughed. “I misspoke. I meant no offence—”

“I wasn’t offended,” Snape said, face expressionless. “I’m just curious who told you.”

Harry blinked. “Told me?”

“That I like men.”

Harry’s mouth fell open and he had the strong urge to pinch himself to see if he was dreaming. “You’re gay?”

“As I just indicated.” Snape huffed. “If this makes things awkward—”

“No!” Harry ran a hand through his hair. “It’s just a surprise, is all.”

“Why?”

Harry raised an eyebrow. “My mum?”

“Ah.” Snape nodded. “We were friends. I loved Lily, but not like that.”

~

“How was it, then?” Harry asked, moments later.

“She was my best…my only friend.” Snape sighed. “And I ruined it. In my desire to show her how wrong she was about Voldemort, I proved her right.”

Nodding, Harry picked up his glass of wine, taking a sip. His eyes watered as the strong liquor trickled down his throat.

Snape took his own sip of wine, closing his eyes. “In the end, it all worked out, I suppose. And, to honour her, I ended up looking after you.”

Harry cleared his throat. “I never said thanks.”

“That’s unnecessary.”

“Thanks anyway.”

~
[syndicated profile] bruce_schneier_feed

Posted by Bruce Schneier

Turkish hackers are threatening to erase millions of iCloud user accounts unless Apple pays a ransom.

This is a weird story, and I'm skeptical of some of the details. Presumably Apple has decided that it's smarter to spend the money on secure backups and other security measures than to pay the ransom. But we'll see how this unfolds.

[syndicated profile] photojojo_feed

Posted by Meg Golz

We love it when our friends do cool things, especially when they’re cool photo or video things. And we love it even more when they tell us all the secrets to how they did it.

Our friend Meg is in the band Seasaw and she recently used a few Photojojo products, an app, and an iPhone to make their latest music video – a cover of Weezer’s “Say It Ain’t So.”

The entire video was shot in just six hours, in a kitchen. Say whaaaat? Just how did they do it?

Below you can find Meg’s steps to music video magic, and try one or all of these tips when filming your next flick!

(...)
Read the rest of How Seasaw Filmed a Music Video in Just 6 Hours, and You Can Too! (703 words)


© Meg for Photojojo, 2017. | Permalink | No comment | Add to del.icio.us
Post tags:

Wanna Get Lucky? *g*

Mar. 23rd, 2017 03:03 am
[syndicated profile] alisanne_feed
So I posted my [livejournal.com profile] hp_getlucky fic today!
Check it out if interested. :)

Title: The Gift of Luck
Author/Artist: [personal profile] alisanne
Prompt:S-3: Someone "cursed" Draco to get lucky. Of course that 'get lucky' involved being around Potter 24/7 so for now Draco's seeing it as a curse, but he eventually knows better.
Pairing(s)/Characters(s): Harry Potter/Draco Malfoy
Word Count/Art Medium: ~2700
Rating: PG-13
Warning(s) (Highlight to view): *Mild angst*
Disclaimer:Harry Potter characters are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
Notes: Thanks to my beta readers, [personal profile] sevfan and [personal profile] emynn. Alas, prompter, you mentioned bonding, which I couldn’t manage, but hopefully this suits. :)
Summary: Just when Draco thinks his day can’t be any more unlucky, Potter shows up.

The Gift of Luck
[syndicated profile] kimeric_feed

Posted by kimeric kreations


New Releases are coming pretty soon - but I have one more gorgeous cluster made with Whispers of the Soul to share with you . . . from Anita :)

 

Just click on the image to download - see you tomorrow! - Kim

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