Ysabetwordsmith's family members' situation has gotten a little better. But they still need help getting home. Read the update (http://ysabetwordsmith.dreamwidth.org/1
Ysabetwordsmith's family members' situation has gotten a little better. But they still need help getting home. Read the update (http://ysabetwordsmith.dreamwidth.org/1
Someone asked me, on Twitter, why I was picking on Russell Moore in this post.
Well, first of all, I’m not picking on him. I’ve been there and done that, having to help write just exactly the same sort of statement even when there was no way of doing so that didn’t undermine the logic of our then-shared “stance” on abortion and reveal it to be — to ourselves as well as to others — a pose that we weren’t able to find wholly convincing. I remember that — how it made me full of trouble because it forced me to realize, or almost realize, that I was playing double, that I warn’t square. It was unsettling, threatening my identity and all that I’d invested in the world of that pose. But it was also a kind of kairos moment, a place where grace allowed me to glimpse the light that shone through the cracks.
So I’m not picking on Moore, I’m praying for him.
When Moore first replaced Richard Land as the Southern Baptists’ chief public spokesman, I expected a change in tone, but not in substance. But, happily, Moore has exceeded my expectations. The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission probably still does more harm than good, but it’s been a lot less harmful since Moore took over. I’ve previously described the difference between Moore and Land by saying that Land was driven by the desire not to be perceived as racist, while Moore seems more concerned with actually not being racist. And Moore even seems smart and self-aware enough to understand that simply not wanting to be racist isn’t enough. (That’s not easy to understand in a white evangelical subculture where ethics are often reduced to personal salvation and thus intent — having a “good heart” — is often regarded as sufficient.)
The biggest change from Land to Moore, though, is that the new face of the SBC seems far more focused on the church-y aspects of evangelicalism. During Land’s tenure, those concerns took a backseat to the louder, better-funded aspects of American evangelicalism — the direct-mail industry and the financial agenda of the largest donors to white evangelical institutions. That’s really what distinguishes Moore’s approach to “racial reconciliation” (an awful, and awfully abused, term) from that of his predecessor and of his mentor, Al Mohler.
To understand that difference it’s helpful, as always, to follow the money. The Southern Baptist Convention, as a denomination and as a church,* has a financial stake in racial reconciliation. That financial interest should not be, and probably isn’t, the primary motive for the church-ier evangelicals within or without the SBC, but it’s very real. Churches need to grow to survive financially. They need to baptize more than they bury every year, and that hasn’t been the case for the SBC lately. One clear hurdle to the growth of the church here in the U.S. is the nation’s changing demographics. A predominantly white institution catering primarily to white people cannot expect to grow when the white population represents a smaller share of the total every year. If the denomination hopes to thrive and remain relevant in the decades to come, it will need to become more diverse along with the rest of the country.
If this sounds like it closely parallels the briefly considered talk about “minority outreach” by the Republican Party post-2008 and post-2012, that’s because it does.
So from the church-y side of things — in the realm of pastors and congregations and local churches — “racial reconciliation” is a financial imperative. Their financial survival depends on their ability to grow beyond being a predominantly white enclave. This is why that clumsy, a-historical, awkardly un-self-aware effort to create a poll-driven rewrite of the Bebbington Quadrilateral came from folks in the church-y faction of white evangelicalism. The National Association of Evangelicals is a collection of denominations and LifeWay is a denominational pollster. They desperately want a new definition of “evangelical” that doesn’t restrict potential church membership by partisan political affiliation and ethnicity because they want — and financially need — their churches to grow. (Yes, like the GOP, they’re only able to imagine growth among African-Americans, Hispanics, women, etc., on their own white, male terms, which is another vastly huge problem, but they at least genuinely want to see those folks join them.)
But this church-y interest has relatively little influence within or over white evangelicalism as a whole. Its concerns are usually drowned out by the far-louder voices from the much larger platforms of the direct-mail fundraising industry and the donor-devoted institutions. And both of those factions are inextricably linked to Republican politics and thus, in 2015, to being predominantly and almost exclusively white.
Those factions have a financial interest in “stewarding the term” evangelical to mean white Republican Christians. They don’t need to attack the NAE’s “new” definition of evangelical because it doesn’t actually threaten this white partisan identity in the least, but they’ll undermine it by ensuring that the tribe’s gatekeepers continue to purge and exclude unacceptly non-white voices and anyone else who strays from the official required Republican stances on abortion, gays and whatever the other partisan wedge issues du jour might be. Their financial security depends on that.
Again, these rifts and competing concerns within white evangelicalism closely parallel the rifts and competing concerns within the larger Republican Party. The direct-mail fundraising industry — by which I mean all of the institutions we think of as the “religious right” — have roughly the same relationship to the church-ier parts of evangelicalism that Fox News has to the larger Republican Party. Their agendas are closely aligned, but their financial interests are not, and when those come into conflict it becomes harder to tell which is the tail and which is the dog.
Outside of the religious right, the donor-devoted institutions of white evangelicalism play the same kind of role that all the post-Citizens United dark money billionaires have come to play in Republican politics (involving most of the same small cadre of donors, actually). Those donors want to see the Republican Party succeed because they perceive that as being what’s best for their bottom line — for unfettered, unregulated corporate profits, taxes paid by wage-earners and not by wealth, etc. But wherever their personal interest clashes with the long-term health and interests of the party, the party can, like everyone else, go screw itself. The party may refer to these donors as “supporters,” but support really seems to be flowing in the opposite direction. It’s no longer clear who’s really in charge just as it’s no longer clear whether I’m talking about the Republican Party or evangelicalism.
All of that provides the context for poor Russell Moore’s statement in response to the right-wing terror attack on a Colorado Planned Parenthood on Friday. As a church-y person, he has to condemn such violence, but as an evangelical who wants to remain in the evangelical tribe he also has to continue to agree with the ideology of that violence — the pretense that abortion is murder indistinguishable from the murder of any other fully human person. Take away that pretense and you take away the assurance that white evangelicals will continue to be a reliably partisan voting bloc.
The direct-mail industry can’t allow that — it’s the essential ingredient to their fear-mongering appeals and to their ability to pretend to represent the moral high ground. And the institutional donors won’t allow that — partisan identification in support of deregulation and regressive taxation is the entire basis and motive for their “support.”
So, again, Bebbington Schmebbington. Doctrinal distinctives are irrelevant. Evangelicals are white Christians who oppose legal abortion and who are never allowed to say or think otherwise. Period. The culture war may be a lie that’s killing the church in the long run, but in the short run there’s too much at stake financially for those non-church-y factions to allow “evangelical” to be defined as anything other than white and Republican.
- – - – - – - – - – - -
* Technically, the SBC is still Baptist, and is therefore neither a denomination nor a church. When I worked in Valley Forge for the American Baptist Churches, nothing would get me in hot water more quickly than failing to stress that plural final syllable in church-es, lest I be seen as implying that our association of congregations of freely baptized believers had forgotten it was a sect and begun acting like a church. You can still find traces of this fiercely Baptist attitude in the SBC, but really they’ve been acting like a denomination and a formal church for decades now. If the mitre fits …
This circle is PERFUMES ONLY (unless you want a full bottle of hair gloss or bath oil as an add on). If you're in Crimson Peak or Anniversaries, I will combine shipping, unless you specifically tell me not to.
DECANT COST: $4/decant, $11.50/HB, $23/FB
SHIPPING COST: $3 US shipping; $8 international shipping to Canada and to rest-of-world for up to 5 decants; $10 rest-of-world international shipping for 6+ decants or any order that has a bottle/half-bottle in it
MINIMUM TO ORDER A BOTTLE: 2/6 slots filled
ORDER WILL BE PLACED: Probably Wednesday or Thursday
HALF BOTTLES/FULL BOTTLES/RIDE-ALONGS: Half bottles: yes, although half bottles are still operating under "fucking leaky dram bottles" rules: unless there's a spare bottle, you'll get it as 3 decants. Add-ons: from the Post only, since they don't allow combined shipping.
The signup to copy/paste:
( Scents and signups )
A jury found Assemblyman Sheldon Silver — for years one of the most well-known and powerful legislators in Albany — guilty on all seven counts Monday afternoon. The 71-year-old Lower East Side Democrat was hit with federal corruption charges — including bribery, extortion, and money laundering — earlier this year after U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara accused him of obtaining “approximately $4 million in payments characterized as attorney referral fees solely through the corrupt use of his official position [as Speaker].”
Since state legislators work part-time in New York, Silver, who resigned from his position as Assembly Speaker after being arrested, had a side gig at the law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, where he was accused of accepting bribes involving a cancer researcher at Columbia. Prosecutors accused him of receiving money from another law firm, Goldberg & Iryami, after getting two major developers to use its services. During closing arguments, one prosecutor said that “Sheldon Silver was a master of every form of deception: lying, keeping secrets, even splitting hairs.”
— Lauren Galik (@lauren_galik) November 30, 2015
My mistake. This is “What does race-baiting and dehumanization of African-Americans for page hits and profit look like?”
BrownBlaze summarizes my feelings. Or the ones I’d print, anyway.
⌈ Secret Post #3253 ⌋
Warning: Some secrets are NOT worksafe and may contain SPOILERS.
( More! )
Secrets Left to Post: 02 pages, 038 secrets from Secret Submission Post #465.
Secrets Not Posted: [ 0 - broken links ], [ 0 - not!secrets ], [ 0 - not!fandom ], [ 0 - too big ], [ 0 - repeat ].
Current Secret Submissions Post: here.
Suggestions, comments, and concerns should go here.
Onto Tana French, the first of the ‘only counts as British because all Irish people who accomplish impressive things get claimed as British unless, of course, those impressive things involve some sort of successful military or political action against the British’ crime writers (Brit-ish, perhaps, with apologies to Jonathan Miller). I’ll be honest, I’d seen her books in airport bookstores for a while; my unreasonable prejudice against apparently made-up names (I know that Nicci French is a made up name, and suspect I was confusing Tana with Nicci); and quite well-supported belief that books in airport bookstores are not for me led me to dismiss her.  A friend gave me In The Woods for my 50th birthday, and I eventually turned to it. So…
All 5 books so far are brilliant.
They constitute a series, although the central protagonist of each book is different, and, after the first one, is typically someone who appeared in a less central role in a previous novel—all members of the (fictional) Dublin Murder Squad. This gives French more freedom than most series writers, allowing her to play with different characters, and allowing readers room for to imagine that loose ends (as in the first novel) might get tied up later—maybe much later. Her confidence and mastery show up in her outright violation of one of the great conventions of crime writing in the very first novel (no, I’m not going to tell you which convention, that’d ruin it), and doing it well! The masterpiece – her Brat Farrar, in more senses than one – is her second, The Likeness. Like Kate Atkinson, French is willing to stretch credulity, and I think The Likeness is the crime novel I have believed in that stretched my credulity more than any other (including Brat Farrar) depending, as it does, on the idea that the protagonist can impersonate a recently dead doppleganger well enough to fool at least some and maybe all of the people the dead woman lived with (a household resembling slightly the revolting cast of The Secret History). My teenage daughter thought I would find The Secret Place – set in a posh girls’ school where the investigating detective’s daughter is connected to a clique any one of which, including her, might be the killer – sub-par, because, she thought, I would find the characterizations of the teenage girls implausible, but I didn’t. And, she, the budding sociologists, said that if I had found them implausible I’d have been wrong. 
Although in so many ways unlike PD James, it’s no surprise to find Innocent Blood on her top ten list (and still less to find two books by Josephine Tey). Her claustrophobic worlds are populated with characters damaged by their pasts. I look forward to her next book the way I used to look forward to the next Reginald Hill or PD James (and still do when I forget that none is on its way).
Finally. As usual, ideally you’d read the books in the order they are written in. But, I would say this series is more forgiving in that way than most. Definitely you should read the first two in order (In the Woods, then The Likeness). and definitely you should read the 3rd and 5th in order (Faithful Place then The Secret Place), but you could get away with reading 3-5 before 1 and 2, if you had to.
 Why can’t one of those freakonomics people write about why the quality of books in airports has not improved during the period in which the quality of food in airports has improved?
 According to wikipedia the New York Times praised the novel as “much more than a genre piece” but noted that the teenage characters’ frequent use of American slang “may not make this the most inviting milieu for those who like the sheer Irishness of her other novels.”: fwiw, having seen my step-nephews’ texts and facebook posts, the texting seemed wholly realistic to me.
Characters: Cassandra Pentaghast, Rhiannon Hawke
Type: Gen, Banter
Notes: Cleaning out some WIPs and drafts that never went anywhere else. To be fair, I think there's more that could be done here, and I'd like to explore more Rhi and Cass, but I actually liked this one on the re-read.
Summary: Hawke and Cassandra finally meet.
( Read more... )
Tate decides to bring out their dominant side.
Words: 590, Chapters: 1/1, Language: English
I feel like my world has gotten so much smaller and closed in and I don't like it.
This year sucked so badly.
I almost feel like a wishlist would be pointless anyways.
(Please excuse the angst. I'm tired from a long day of work.)
“What, did you finally tell him you’re madly in love with him?” Sandro asks.
Thomas, mid sip of coffee, ends up spitting it on the counter.
“Huh,” Sandro says. “I thought spit takes only happened in movies and shit.”
Words: 1914, Chapters: 1/1, Language: English
Series: Part 24 of Vinny gets a life
which means I have a TON of catching up to do. I've spent most of the day catching up on $legalname emails from the last week or so (argh, too many), drinking tea, fighting eczema, doing some web management stuff, and fighting against re-triggering myself. I don't feel okay, to be honest. But I feel WAY better than I had been.
Still, I don't want to rush myself into work just because I feel like I should. But "resting", whatever that means, is really hard too. I feel pretty proud of myself for going out for a walk in the snow and cold and coming back still alive. And I just want to make sure I am still alive over the next few days, because this week is going to be... something else. I'm going to be extremely anxious and nervous and I just want to get back into my routine but I can't, not really. I have to focus on NOT getting back to where I was last week because I have a two-hour drive each way to a doctor's appointment this week, and this is The One Where I Get The Answers Or At Least The Process Started.
But I waaaant to do the thiiiiings. I want to debut Tarot readings! But I need to be my best and not tax myself. THIS WEEK IS GOING TO NOT BE OKAY. Grrr.
I grew up without electricity -- we didn't get it until I was around 13 or 14 -- so all my winters were like that once upon a time, long and dark and lit only by kerosene lamps and the flickering of the fire. Now? Now I complain if I have to go for half an hour in the darkest heart of winter without my bright overhead fluorescent lights and my Internet.
There was something strikingly peaceful about it, though .... reminiscent of my cabin childhood. The house gets so shockingly quiet without the background hum of electronics and the refrigerator. We're far enough out in the country that there's little traffic, and the handful of neighbor lights normally visible from the windows were out as well. The moon was very bright, the night very clear. No distractions, no Internet, no temptation to turn on some device. Orion went to bed immediately, like a sensible person, so it was just me and the moon (and a rather anxious dog) until I got tired of straining my eyes trying to read, and went to bed myself.
Secondly, I spotted this over with cereta:
Make a post. It can be public or friends only, whatever you're most comfortable with. The post should contain your list of ten holiday wishes, and these wishes can be anything - from simple (fan fiction written about your favorite pairing), to medium (a DVD you want), to really extravagant (a brand new laptop or car).
Just make sure these are wishes for things you really truly want.
Skim through your friends list and see who has posted their own wish lists. Then - and this is the most important part - if you find a wish you can grant, and it's in your heart to do so, make sure that person’s wish comes true.
Sometimes a person's trash is another person’s treasure. If you have a leather jacket you don't want or a gift certificate you’re never going to use, give it to someone who wants it.
Post this wish list any time after November 1st. Then repost it two weeks before Christmas.
You needn't spend money on these wishes unless you want to. The point isn't to put people out, it's to provide everyone a chance to be someone else's holiday fairy - to spread the joy.
Gifts can be made anonymously or not, it's your call.
There are no rules with this project, no guarantees, and no strings attached. Just...wish, and it might come true. Give, and you might receive. And you'll have the joy of knowing you made someone's holiday special.
( wishlist: pretty simple, mostly fannish )
Don't forget to post your own wishlists, and I'll see what I can do...
I am sad to report that Shigeru Mizuki (1922-2015) has passed away from a heart attack. While he did many things in his lifetime, he is most famous for the manga Hakaba Kitarou ("Graveyard Kitarou") which was renamed Gegege no Kitarou for the TV series.
Drawn and Quarterly, as it happens, is coming out with an English edition called Shigeru Mizuki's Kitaro next year.
So I thought I would show a few preview pages from the first volume. Safe for work, but this is a horror comic.
( Meet Kitarou's parents. )
A while back, I reviewed a volume of Mizuki's autobiography, covering his war experiences (he lost an arm) and post-World War Two difficulties. http://www.skjam.com/2015/06/21/manga-r
He will be missed.
Your thoughts and comments?
So, after the on-the-night (slightly) controversial exit of Jamelia, this was going to be the night when the seven ‘contenders’ were going to do two dances.
( Seven do a quickstepathon )
( Results )
My prompts so far (open to reuse if any inspire!):
- Harry Potter, Madame Pince, user-centered institution
- Glamourist Histories, Jane, letterlocking
( Read more... )
(A younger guy picks out a shotgun to buy so we proceed to paperwork.)
Me: *looking at his ID* “Is this your current address?”
Customer: “Not anymore! Just moved back from [University] into my old place [Next Town Over].”
Me: “Okay, do you have anything with your new address? Car registration, hunting/fishing license, etc.?”
Customer: “Not at the moment. I just moved.”
Me: “Well, we can’t sell the gun to you unless you have a valid address.”
Customer: “Oh. Well, that’s my current address, then.”
Me: “That doesn’t work.”
(I deny the sale; he gets angry and leaves. Later I see him filling out paperwork.)
Me: “Did you get a new ID?”
Customer: *happily* “Nope! Just told [Coworker] it’s my current address!”
Me: “Okay…” *goes to the gun vault, finds coworker* “Hey, you getting that shotgun for that guy at the counter?”
Coworker: “Yeah, why?”
Me: “Can’t do it; he doesn’t have a valid license.”
(We deny him the sale again.)
Customer: *yelling* “THIS IS BULL-S***! I’M GONNA GO TO [Sporting Store down the road] AND BUY IT FROM THEM! AND I THOUGHT THIS WAS F****** AMERICA!”
Me: “Good luck with that.”
(I call up the place down the road and inform them of the customer. No surprise, he comes back, red in the face.)
Customer: “WHO RUNS THIS F****** PLACE?!”
Manager: “What’s the matter, sir?”
(The customer tells his story, but my manager stops him short.)
Manager: “You tried to knowingly break the law while also trying to convince my employees to break the law as well? I’m going to have to ask you to leave right now.”
Customer: “BUT TH—”
Manager: “And if you don’t leave or you try to pull this s*** again in the near future, I will not hesitate to call the police.”
(We never saw the customer again.)
THE LITTLE THINGS || A young adult novel being written by Melanie L. H. || Cover design by Phil Sieradzan
REGO || A young adult novel being written by YWP participant Nona David || Cover design by Mark Dudlik
Phil Sieradzan is a Baltimore-born graphic designer by trade.
Mark Dudlik is the Director of Operations & Graduate Advisor for the Masters in Branding program at the School of Visual Arts.
30 Covers, 30 Days 2015: Day Thirty
Every November, during National Novel Writing Month, thirty professional designers volunteer to create book cover art inspired by novels being written by aspiring authors from around the globe. Why? To encourage new, diverse voices, and help build a more creative world.
30 Covers, 30 Days is presented in partnership with designer and author Debbie Millman.
Read more about these NaNoWriMo 2015 novels-in-progress, and the cover designers, below.
The Little Things
A young adult novel being written this November by Melanie L. H.
A couple who have been together for several years and are both in their senior year of high school have to change their relationship when Walter, who has always had vision issues, discovers he is going blind.
Another snag in their plans for their senior year? Walter’s manipulative aunt is trying to gain custody of Walter saying that his family’s neglect led to his blindness, which is a blatant lie. Life isn’t going to be boring for this couple.
Cover Designed by Phil Sieradzan
Phil Sieradzan is a Baltimore-born graphic designer by trade, but works with every design medium ranging from illustrations to motion video. He believes criticism is key to any quality work and very much misses 90s Nick.
A young adult novel being written this November by YWP participant Nona David.
In Rego, everyone is born with a twin. You are either the good… or evil twin. At the age of fifteen, you and your twin are sent to live separate lives in two different realms. In the good realm, Bonum, you are trained to be a a helpful person dedicated to their community. In Tzar, you are taught to be a hateful person who devotes their lives to making people suffer.
Alex Wilcox’s twin died at birth. After close observation, the government sends her to a realm, but she begins to doubt their decision. How will she truly discover who she is?
Cover Designed by Mark Dudlik
Mark Dudlik is the Director of Operations & Graduate Advisor for the Masters in Branding program at the School of Visual Arts.
Batman’s Gotham City doesn’t exist, but as the setting for one of the most enduring characters in U.S. culture, it feels familiar — especially if you live in New York City. Within the DC Comics universe, New York and Gotham City are distinct locations,1 but Gotham is clearly inspired by New York.2 In fact, there’s a fantastic quote that has stuck with me3 about Gotham City from Dennis O’Neil, the editor of several Batman titles, including the legendary “The Dark Knight Returns” and “The Killing Joke” graphic novels.
O’Neil said “Batman’s Gotham City is Manhattan below Fourteenth street at eleven minutes past midnight on the coldest night in November.” And by that metric, tonight is most often the night that New York is its most Gotham-esque: In seven of the past 50 years, Nov. 30 was the coldest night of the month.4 Here’s the breakdown by day:
A little cleaner, here’s the cumulative probability that the coldest night in November has already occurred, or will be that night, based on the past 50 years of data:
And while so far the coldest night of the month was the evening of Nov. 23, when the temperature hit 34 degrees, all I’m saying is that if you’re leaving an off-Broadway show tonight with your fabulously rich parents, maybe take an Uber rather than go down that alley.
I failed to water the Sergeant before going way for Thanksgiving, because I'm testing these water-filled gelpack things as a way to keep the Sergeant alive over the extra-long Christmas holiday (we're a university; we get the week from Christmas to New Year off, and Toby and I are taking a couple of extra days off so we can avoid traveling on the worst of the travel days). I was going to water him thoroughly on Tuesday and stick a couple of the gelpacks on his soil and see how he held up over my days off.
Naturally, I got a migraine on Tuesday and didn't make it in to work. I'd put one gelpack in the pot the week before. I get in this morning, and the Sergeant is perky and looks exactly like he does when nothing is wrong and he's fully watered, which was unexpected, as I figured he'd be flat by now, even though the soil was dry as a bone.
HOWEVER. Apparently he required an audience, as within three hours of my arrival he was swooning and droopy and looking as though he'd never been given a drink in his life.
Verdict on the lone gelpack: I think they work well enough to keep him from dying over Christmas and in the spring when we go on a cruise and I won't be in for a week, even though peace lilies aren't supposed to like waterlogged soil. I think he'll survive that for a week and a half better than he will no water at all.
Although he might complain about it.
in other news, work continues to be very hard and long, like many things we could mention. (proust's in search of lost time)(tomorrow, i leave euston for liverpool at 7am. this means i leave my house before 6am. FML)
and in other other news (or the same, depending on how you look at it), a whole bunch of other zines arrived for me last week from watervole \o/ some reviews to follow, but basically - it should come as no surprise that an AU where avon is da vinci (then reincarnated as galileo) and blake is machiavelli is a pretty good time for all. and also gay - though it be not gay. currently reading 'trooper orac's fantastic plastic army', which is a) very good and b) has an amazing cover from the era of photoshop. fonts like that also make me slightly nostalgic for a simpler age.
also - on saturday, erin's sister, my mother and her partner all went to look at some houses/flats in [unfashionable london borough]. this was both quite exciting and quite boring. really i just want someone to say - here's a house you can live in, move in whenever and pay rent to barclays rather than to your landlady from now on. unfortunately before we can move in anywhere we need to get the mortgage question settled, and so far all i have established is that if i take absolutely all the money that erin and my parents might have to lend us... we still will only just have enough to get somewhere that is quite small. tedious. just give me a house!
anyway - that's all.
In the aftermath of C.J. Anderson’s 48-yard overtime touchdown — which unceremoniously ended the Patriots’ undefeated season — just one NFL team remains perfect: the Carolina Panthers. Unlike New England, Carolina delivered the goods again in Week 12, routing the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day to become just the 12th team of the Super Bowl era5 to start a season 11-0.
Already, this is the best team in franchise history. It’s hard to go 11-0; the other teams to pull it off have been historically great. But despite the unblemished start, there remain statistical reasons to wonder if these Panthers are quite as great as their 11-0 forebears — and, perhaps, reasons to wonder if the stats are missing something about their style of play.
Let’s start at the top: This season, Carolina is outscoring foes by about 11.5 points per game, which is relatively low by the standards of an undefeated team. Among the 11-0 club’s dozen members, only the 2009 Indianapolis Colts and 1969 Los Angeles Rams had lower per-game scoring margins than the 2015 Panthers. Further, the Panthers have piled up the wins against a schedule rated as the league’s second-weakest by Pro-Football-Reference.com’s Simple Rating System (SRS). According to SRS, only two of the Panthers’ opponents thus far have been above-average teams: the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers.
Add in the fact that Carolina wasn’t expected to be anything special before the season began, and it isn’t hard to see why our Elo ratings6 still doubt that the Panthers are even the NFL’s best team this season. (So forget about asking if their rating measures up to that of great historical squads.) By Elo, the 2015 Panthers are the worst team of the Super Bowl era to start a season 11-0:
|THROUGH 11 GAMES|
|YEAR||TEAM||ELO||OPP. ELO||PPG||OPP. PPG||FINAL W-L|
Elo assigns Carolina a rating that implies it would win about 11.5 games against an average slate of 16 randomly drawn opponents. That’s quite good — in terms of true talent, it’s better than about 93 percent of teams under the current structure of the NFL. But going into this season, the average historical 11-0 team had the talent to win 12.5 games against the same kind of schedule. In other words, the 2015 Panthers are missing a whole win of talent compared with their 11-0 peers. And a win of talent goes a long way — according to Elo, it’s roughly the difference between Carolina and the 6-5 Kansas City Chiefs.
Abstracted strength of the team’s true talent aside, the most glaring way in which Carolina lags behind those historical squads is under center. Although Panthers QB Cam Newton is a strong MVP candidate, it’s more because he’s the charismatic face of an undefeated franchise than his own statistical performance. According to ESPN’s Total Quarterback Rating (QBR),7 Newton ranks 20th out of 31 qualified passers this season. QBR is hardly an infallible metric, but in Newton’s case, it’s notable because in addition to passing, QBR also accounts for his strong rushing ability. That makes his QBR underperformance especially disappointing, and it’s corroborated by other data points.8 Simply put, quarterback play probably isn’t the main driving force behind the Panthers’ success.
You can see this in the team’s expected points added (EPA), which tracks how many net points can be credited to each phase of the game. EPA says Carolina possesses a strong rushing attack and the league’s top defense against the pass,9 so even though the Panthers’ passing offense is also above average, it isn’t the team’s strongest suit. This stands out when compared with the other 11 Super Bowl-era teams to start 11-0: Only those ’69 Rams averaged fewer EPA per pass play (relative to the league) than Carolina has,10 with most getting far more production through the air than Newton’s Panthers:
|EPA RATING (100 = AVERAGE)|
|YEAR||TEAM||PASS OFF.||RUN OFF.||PASS DEF.||RUN DEF.||TALENT WINS|
To find an 11-0 team led by an aerial attack similar to the Panthers’ — decent, but not great — you’d need to go back to the fabled 1985 Bears, which only serves to underscore just how rare (and challenging) it is to put up a long winning streak without a standout QB. That Chicago team was unique; it used Jim McMahon’s solid passing to complement the elite rushing of Walter Payton and one of the most dominant defenses ever. It should also be noted that the league had not fully opened up the passing game by the mid-1980s, so top-flight passing was not as much of a requirement as it is now.
Although the Panthers, including Newton, run the ball well and their D has been terrific against the pass thus far,11 I don’t think anyone’s confusing this Carolina team with the ’85 Bears — going by Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA), the Carolina defense doesn’t even match up with the 2013 Seahawks.
But if Carolina does have a secret weapon in the passing game, a place where the overall stats have a blind spot, it could be in Newton’s ability to throw the ball deep. Among qualified passers this season,12 Newton ranks seventh in QBR on passes that travel 20 or more yards through the air. The ability to complete deep passes affords a QB more margin for error on shorter passes — good news for Newton, whose completion percentage hovers near the bottom of the league — and leaning on the deep pass also meshes well with a roster built around efficient rushing and tough D. In an inversion of the typical QB-for-MVP argument, the makeup of the Panthers may actually help boost Newton’s value.
While the Panthers’ unbeaten run is an outlier among 11-0 starts, both in quality and composition, there are far worse fates than potentially being the worst team to accomplish the feat. In fact, how they’ve done it emphasizes how impressive the streak is: 11 wins without a loss in the NFL is truly rarified territory, and Carolina got there without putting up the rarified stats that typically go along with the record. Put another way: The Panthers win ugly.
Check out our NFL predictions for each team’s chances of advancing to the playoffs and winning Super Bowl 50.
Today is the birthday of Samuel Clemens and the Feast Day of St. Huckleberry. We celebrate that occasion around here by re-reading this.
If you want to know what I believe about conversion, salvation, and what it means to be “born again,” and what ought to happen after that, this will show you. It’s all right here, whole hog.
I about made up my mind to pray; and see if I couldn’t try to quit being the kind of a boy I was, and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn’t come. Why wouldn’t they? It warn’t no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from me, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn’t come. It was because my heart warn’t right; it was because I warn’t square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting on to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth say I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write to that nigger’s owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie — and He knowed it. You can’t pray a lie — I found that out.
So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn’t know what to do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I’ll go and write the letter — and then see if I can pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I felt as light as a feather, right straight off, and my troubles all gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all glad and excited, and set down and wrote:
Miss Watson your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile below Pikesville and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for the reward if you send. HUCK FINN
I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn’t do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking — thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me, all the time; in the day, and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a floating along, talking, and singing, and laughing. But somehow I couldn’t seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I’d see him standing my watch on top of his’n, stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him agin in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me, and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had smallpox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the only one he’s got now; and then I happened to look around, and see that paper.
It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:
“All right, then, I’ll go to hell” — and tore it up.
It was awful thoughts, and awful words, but they was said. And I let them stay said; and never thought no more about reforming. I shoved the whole thing out of my head; and said I would take up wickedness again, which was in my line, being brung up to it, and the other warn’t. And for a starter, I would go to work and steal Jim out of slavery again; and if I could think up anything worse, I would do that, too; because as long as I was in, and in for good, I might as well go the whole hog.
Title: On Broken Wings
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Rating: PG (might change in the future)
Summary: Five years after Meteorfall, Sephiroth returns - the true Sephiroth, the man behind the monster. Traumatized and ill-prepared for life outside of the control of either Shinra or Jenova, Sephiroth nevertheless seeks redemption for the suffering and death he caused: starting with the man who was forced to kill him.
Link: on AO3
Lately saw this somewhere: Christian 'naturism' advocate appointed Bishop of Sherborne.
What this enquiring mind wants to know is, does she cite the tradition of the Ranters? Or Blake playing Adam and Eve in his South London garden?
(I am not sure why the scare quotes round 'naturism' in that headline.)
University of Georgia head football coach Mark Richt got fired yesterday, just ten months after he got an $800,000 annual raise, which kicked his base compensation to $4 million per year, before “performance incentives,” which could have totaled another $1.8 million annually. Richt’s contract, which was originally signed in 2012, and extended in January through 2019, guaranteed him a minimum of $18 million over its term.
In addition, as is the custom among the lesser nobility in the New Gilded Age, the contract also provided him with various things that most people pay for themselves, such as the use of two new cars each year, with the insurance for them being paid by private donors, and a $3,600 annual clothing allowance.
Today Richt was noting how obsessed everyone seems to have become with winning football games: “Expectations have been built to a point where if you don’t win a championship it’s miserable around here,” he told reporters. I’m not picking on Richt in particular, since he’s merely repeating the lament of lots of big-time college coaches, who — no doubt sincerely — deplore the overt professionalization of big-time college sports. These days, it seems, it’s just like the NFL: either win big, or get fired.
Whatever happened to instilling character, teaching leadership skills, celebrating teamwork, and I almost forgot, helping “student athletes” get an education? The answer of course is that that’s not what he was getting paid $4 million per year to do. Like a comparably paid NFL coach, he was getting paid to win, period. In that regard, he was in the same position as his players, who, for all practical purposes, are just like NFL players. Except for the getting paid part.
"Can I talk to you for a second?" Gerard poked at a suspicious stain on his jeans and glanced up through the screen of his eyelashes.
Ray gave Gerard a dubious look. It was an effective one, complete with squinty eyes and a little quirk to the lips that clearly said, 'I don't trust you.' He made no attempt to take off his headphones when he said, "Is it about music? Because I have time to talk about music. If it is about Bob, Bob's shoulders, Bob's lip-ring, your guilt about Bob's wrists, or your personal drama about meeting Bob's parents, then I am hard at work on this song and probably should not be interrupted in case I lose the flow."
Gerard closed his mouth with a tiny, audible snap. "Fucker," he said. Ray snorted and turned back to his laptop.
Gerard managed, just barely, to not stomp his foot when he turned to leave. If he was pouting, well, nobody saw him and they couldn't prove a thing.
- bayleaf's Twist to Fit the Mold
(For the last few minutes, I’ve noticed people acting strangely towards me.)
Me: “Hello, what can I do for you?” *smile*
Customer: *eyes bug out* “Um. Ah. Never mind.” *practically runs*
(I take out a small mirror to inspect my face, thinking I have some food for lunch left on it. Nothing. Bemused, I shrug and continue what I’m doing.)
Customer: “Hello, may I get a printout of my account?”
Me: “Of course, ma’am.”
(The customer eyes me weirdly, but I ignore the look. Then as I look down to type, I notice something MOVING on my shirt. It’s a beetle, as black as my shirt. I’m deathly afraid of bugs.)
Me: “Ahhh! Help! Help! Ahhh!”
(The customer and my coworkers stared as I frantically jumped around, swiping at the front of my shirt. The manager came out to see what I was screaming about, and I finally got it off. To this day since then, people call me the Bug-Brained Boy!)
The battle of Chuck v. Chuck rages on…
I apologize for inflicting this on you, but this is how Chuck C. Johnson is trying to extract money from RW rubes. pic.twitter.com/ddOcXpyTwB
— Charles Johnson (@Green_Footballs) November 30, 2015
This makes me want to FIGHT BAD, CONFUSING GRAPHICS. Seriously, I have no idea what’s going in that sign. I think Bad Chuck is warning us against giant women who leave their giant sharp instruments around and like to rudely sit on folks who trying to “YMCA.” But Shakezula disagrees:
@vacuumslayer Comma headed baby sitters unite against scalpels and scissors!
— Feminazgûl (@jkyles10) November 30, 2015
Player Character: Melisande Trevelyan
Universe: As Holy Does
Summary: Brief one-shot featuring Melisande during my headcanoned attack on Ostwick. Bit of an exploratory fic as I still work out some details for that event and how it shaped her. Takes place approximately 12 years before DAI.
( Read more... )
And I'm thinking it's robotic dinosaurs for everyone!
yhlee sent me a pretty fantastic mermaid recently. She seems to be part of an online collectible card game now being Kickstarted, with another quite decent mermaid if you scroll down a little. This sort of thing improves my day.
I have never seen any Baby Peggy films, but I hope Diana Serra Cary can get the support she needs. I should look for her books. People become amazing links of time.
Further content forthcoming.