The Virtual Pub Is Open

image of a pub Photoshopped to be named 'The Shakesville Arms'
[Explanations: lol your fat. pathetic anger bread. hey your gay.]

TFIF, Shakers!

Belly up to the bar,
and name your poison!

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Mojo

By popular demand (and thank you to everyone who sent this to me!), here is a terrific video of a pitbull puppy greeting the man who'd rescued him the day before: "Joey Wagner, who is an animal rescuer from Nova Scotia, came across the badly mange-infested pup all by itself out in the cold and immediately brought the little guy to a vet for some much needed care. When Joey turned up the day after to check in on the puppy (who had to be completely shaved due to the terrible mange), the pup was so overcome with joy that he jumped right into the loving embrace of his rescuer. Joey decided to keep the puppy and named him Mojo."

At a vet's office, a vet tech who is a thin white woman, holds a shaved, pink puppy, wearing a tiny t-shirt for warmth, on an exam table. Joey, a bearded, fat white man wearing a baseball cap, leans over the table and looks at the puppy.

"What are you smelling?" he asks the puppy, who is sniffing something on the table. "Hi, Mojo," he whispers, as the puppy stands up. "Hi."

Mojo sniffs Joey in recognition, then moves toward his face. The woman laughs as Mojo licks Joey's nose. Mojo walks toward Joey and begins nudging and licking him with the desperate fervor of a dog so happy to see someone they would crawl inside them and live there forever if they could. Joey nuzzles and cuddles him, and Mojo's wee tail wags furiously.

"It's making me teary-eyed," says the vet, a thin white woman.

Mojo rears up on his back feet and puts his tiny front paws on Joey's chest and then on his face. The vet and the vet tech laugh. Mojo licks and nibbles at Joey's face. Joey gently picks up Mojo and holds him over his shoulder like a baby. "That's a good boy," he tells him.

Mojo paws at Joey's face. Kisses and nibbles and wiggles. Joey gently strokes his back. "What are you doing?" he asks, as Mojo bats off his baseball cap. "Wow, he plays with us, but not like that!" exclaims either the vet or vet tech, offscreen. More wiggly affection. "How ya doing?" Joey asks him. "How ya been?"

Joey gently sets Mojo's tiny little butt on the edge of the exam table and carefully pulls down and smooths his t-shirt, which has gotten all bunched up. "Whaddaya think, huh?" Joey asks him. "You ready to go home?" More adorable wriggly cuddles.
Though this was only posted on Viralnova a few days ago, the video is a couple years old. Via his Facebook page, where his guardians have shared his rescue story to help raise funds for other animals in need, here is a picture of big, beautiful Mojo, all grown up and relaxing in the forever home he shares with the man who saved him:

image of a large white and brown-speckled pitbull, sitting on a sofa with a rawhide between his paws
♥ ♥ ♥

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Wow

[Content Note: Misogyny.]

For a very, very long time, I have been following and documenting media coverage of Hillary Clinton. I've been paid to write articles about misogyny used against Clinton, and I've been mentioned in a book as a key observer of misogyny used against Clinton in the media during the 2008 election. I've spent enormous amounts of time documenting how she was told to GTFO during the '08 primary, to step aside and let Barack Obama make history, and how she has been publicly admonished that she must run in 2016, and how she is now, once again, being told to GTFO, before she's even declared her candidacy (or lack thereof).

The point is, I have spent a lot of time reading how members of the media talk about Hillary Clinton, thinking about how members of the media talk about Hillary Clinton, and deconstructing how members of the media talk about Hillary Clinton.

And you need to understand that so you can really understand what it means when I say: This is one of the biggest piece of shit articles I have ever read about Hillary Clinton.

"Has America ever been so thoroughly tired of a candidate before the campaign even began?" Molly Ball asks.

Yes. Hillary Clinton, in 2007. When she nearly won the Democratic nomination for the US presidency, and would almost certainly have beat John McCain as handily as the gentleman in whose administration she went on to serve as a wildly popular Secretary of State.

Everyone hates Hillary. Until the media decides it's time to love her again.

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White House Rolls Out "It's On Us" Campaign

[Content Note: Rape culture.]

Today, President Obama officially rolled out the "It's On Us" campaign, which is part of his administration's focus on preventing sexual assault on college campuses.

The President gave an introductory address (I'll come back to that), and a PSA released earlier this week is now prominently featured on the front page of WhiteHouse.gov:

screen cap of White House website featuring PSA

The PSA features a collection of celebrities, as well as the President and Vice-President, laying out the basic principles of the "It's On Us" campaign: "It's on us to stop sexual assault; to get in the way before it happens; to get a friend home safe; to not blame the victim; it's on us to look out for each other; to not look the other way; it's on us to stand up; to step in; to take responsibility; it's on us, all of us, to stop sexual assault. Learn how, and take the pledge, at it's on us dot org."

This is the pledge found at the referenced website:

screen cap of pledge, reading: 'THE PLEDGE: This pledge is a personal commitment to help keep women and men safe from sexual assault. It is a promise not to be a bystander to the problem, but to be a part of the solution. | I PLEDGE: To recognize that non-consensual sex is sexual assault. To identify situations in which sexual assault may occur. To intervene in situations where consent has not or cannot be given. To create an environment in which sexual assault is unacceptable and survivors are supported.'

Two things to note at this point:

1. The campaign is very focused on bystander intervention, despite the fact that many anti-rape activists (myself among them) have repeatedly communicated, at each stage of their campus rape prevention action plan, that an emphasis on bystander intervention is problematic for multiple reasons. Instead of listening to these concerns, the White House has now rolled out an entire campaign centered explicitly around intervention.

2. In neither the PSA nor the pledge is anyone asked to not rape. "It's on us" to stop sexual assault—and yet sexual assault is being discussed as though it's just something that happens to people, like a natural disaster. This rape prevention campaign doesn't even include rapists in its messaging about personal accountability for preventing rape. Instead, it's directed at everyone but rapists. Now, not just victims are tasked with the responsibility to prevent rape; but everyone is. Everyone except rapists.

An effective rape prevention campaign shouldn't double-down on the sinister rape culture narrative that rapists aren't accountable for rape.

Further, to write rapists and potential rapists out of the messaging, to fail to include simple and straightforward language like, "It's on us to not rape other people," the campaign suggests that rapists are outside of us, other than us, strangers lurking in the dark and waiting to harm us. This, despite the fact that a woman on a college campus is more likely to be assaulted by the friend who walks her home than the proverbial stranger who jumps out of the bushes.

I hoped that the President's address might be better, but, alas, this is the closest he ever comes to saying "it's on us to not rape":
This is not just the work of survivors, it's not just the work of activists. It's not just the work of college administrators. It's the responsibility of the soccer coach, and the captain of the basketball team, and the football players. And it's on fraternities and sororities, and it's on the editor of the school paper, and the drum major in the band. And it's on the English department and the engineering department, and it's on the high schools and the elementary schools, and it's on teachers, and it's on counselors, and it's on mentors, and it's on ministers.

It's on celebrities, and sports leagues, and the media, to set a better example. It's on parents and grandparents and older brothers and sisters to sit down young people and talk about this issue.

And it's not just on the parents of young women to caution them. It is on the parents of young men to teach them respect for women. And it's on grown men to set an example and be clear about what it means to be a man.

It is on all of us to reject the quiet tolerance of sexual assault and to refuse to accept what's unacceptable. And we especially need our young men to show women the respect they deserve, and to recognize sexual assault, and to do their part to stop it. Because most young men on college campuses are not perpetrators. But the rest—we can't generalize across the board. But the rest of us can help stop those who think in these terms and shut stuff down. And that's not always easy to do with all the social pressures to stay quiet or go along; you don't want to be the guy who's stopping another friend from taking a woman home even if it looks like she doesn't or can't consent. Maybe you hear something in the locker room that makes you feel uncomfortable, or see something at a party that you know isn't right, but you're not sure whether you should stand up, not sure it's okay to intervene.

And I think Joe said it well—the truth is, it's not just okay to intervene, it is your responsibility. It is your responsibility to speak your mind. It is your responsibility to tell your buddy when he's messing up. It is your responsibility to set the right tone when you're talking about women, even when women aren't around—maybe especially when they're not around.

And it's not just men who should intervene. Women should also speak up when something doesn't look right, even if the men don't like it. It's all of us taking responsibility. Everybody has a role to play.
Some of this, as well as other parts of the speech, are really good, and I'm very glad that our President is saying them.

But shit like this? "And it's not just on the parents of young women to caution them. It is on the parents of young men to teach them respect for women. And it's on grown men to set an example and be clear about what it means to be a man." Is spectacularly unhelpful.

Young women don't need to be cautioned. Lots of "grown men" think that sexually assaulting women is part of "what it means to be a man." And teaching young men respect for women is crucial, but explicitly telling them not to rape is even more important.

In fact, it may well be the most important thing we can do—to say, in plain language, over and over and over again, don't rape people.

So why is that the very last thing that anyone seems to want to do?

[Related Reading: Not Alone; Quote of the Day; No More; No More, Again.]

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The Friday Blogaround

This blogaround brought to you by the sea.

Recommended Reading:

Nyasha: He. She. Zhe.

Squinky: [Content Note: Misogyny] Slut, Friend Zone, and Bitch

Angry Asian Man: [CN: Racism; antisemitism] Oops. Joe Biden Refers to Asia as "the Orient."

Ragen: [CN: Fat hatred] Too Fat for the Holidays

Erica: [CN: Class warfare] Poverty Above Pre-Recession Levels in 47 States, New Census Data Show

Carla: Group Buys Millions of Student Loan Debt—To Cancel It

BYP: [CN: Domestic violence] NFL Players Union Files Appeal on Behalf of Ray Rice

Leave your links and recommendations in comments. Self-promotion welcome and encouraged.

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Daily Dose of Cute

 picture of a beagle mix dog in a Wonder WOman costume photo shakesnelliewondy_zps35ca9f28.jpg

Look! Up in the air! It's a dog... it's a plane... it's WONDER DOG riding in the invisible plane!

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime



Barbra Streisand: "A Piece of Sky"

This week's TMNS have been brought to you by Barbra!

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

[Content Note: War] Welp: "The U.S. Congress gave final approval on Thursday to President Barack Obama's plan for training and arming moderate Syrian rebels to battle Islamic State, a major part of his military campaign to 'degrade and destroy' the militant group. The Senate voted 78-22, in a rare bipartisan show of support for one of Obama's high-profile initiatives. With the House of Representatives approving the legislation on Wednesday, the measure now goes to Obama to sign into law. Ten Senate Democrats and 12 Republicans voted no." The one thing on which bitter partisan rivals can always agree: Funding war!

[CN: War; anti-immigrationism] Speaking of war, North Carolina Republican congressional candidate Mark Walker says he'd totes go to war with Mexico: "I will tell you if you have foreigners who are sneaking in with drug cartels to me that is a national threat. And if we got to go laser or blitz somebody with a couple of fighter jets for a little while to make our point, I don't have a problem with that either. So yeah, whatever we need to do. ...We [went to war with Mexico] before. If we need to do it again, I don't have a qualm about it." He seems nice.

[CN: Illness; death; racism] Since March, "more than 300 local health workers, including doctors, have contracted [Ebola] in three hardest-hit countries: Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. ...But it was only in late July, when two American volunteers working at a Liberian hospital contracted the virus, that global attention turned to the story. Beyond questions of attention, the focus on the lives of Western aid workers has brought the inequalities in the medical treatment of expatriate and local health workers into stark relief. While American and European workers were evacuated to better care in developed countries, the locals have been left to die or struggle under a lower standard of care in their home countries." This is a must-read piece.

[CN: Sexual violence] Congress has renewed the Debbie Smith Act, named for a survivor of rape whose case languished for years while the evidence went unexamined. The program "provides federal grants to state and local law enforcement agencies so they can speed their analyses of untested evidence kits. ...The Senate used a voice vote Thursday to give final approval to the bipartisan bill. The measure was approved by the House in April, and it now goes to Obama for his signature. The legislation renews the program through 2019. Without congressional action, the program would have expired on Oct. 1."

Laverne Cox's new special The T Word will air on MTV and Logo on October 17: "For many of us, the 'T' in LGBT means more than transgender; it also means truth. The cast members in this documentary are fearlessly living their truths and in sharing their stories will send the message to other trans youth that it's okay to be who you are."

One of the things I really like about Chrissy Teigen is that when she talks about her private life, especially her love life, as female celebrities are inevitably obliged to do, is that she tends to acknowledge not everyone's life looks the same. This is what works for us, but it might work some other way for you. I've seen her do the same thing in interviews about body shape/body image. Thumbs-up!

And finally! Here is just a really solid video about a cat looking at itself in a mirror, lol.

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And Again

[Content Note: Police brutality; death; racism.]

Savannah, Georgia, police officer David Jannot has been put on administrative leave while an investigation gets underway into his killing 29-year-old Charles Smith yesterday morning. Smith, a black man, was handcuffed in Jannot's custody when he was fatally shot.

And, once again, there are fairly significant discrepancies between eyewitness accounts and the police account of the shooting:

Police had arrested Smith on outstanding warrants and put him in a patrol car with his hands cuffed behind his back, GBI spokeswoman Sherry Lang said in a written statement. Smith was able to move his hands to the front of his body and kick out a window of the patrol car, Lang said.

...Lang said officers noticed that Smith had a gun when he tried exiting the patrol car and he was shot by an officer. A gun was found under Smith's body and the incident was captured on video, Lang said.

But those who demonstrated Thursday night against the shooting clearly had their doubts. They rallied in front of the downtown precinct as uniformed officers stood by. Among the demonstrators were eyewitnesses, relatives, community activists and area ministers. "We want justice, justice for Mr. D," they chanted in unison.

Eyewitness Maurice Williams, 27, said he knew Smith from the neighborhood. He said about 11 a.m. he saw Smith in the back of a police car. He stopped to watch it go by when Smith, who was about 6 feet 7 inches tall, kicked out the window, folded his legs out and pushed on the door.

Williams said the officer exited the patrol car as Smith kicked the window a third time. Williams said he heard the officer say, "Do you want to die?" while he shot Smith in the legs.

Williams said he saw Smith, still handcuffed, escape out the window and fall to the ground. He said the officer fired his weapon three more times, striking Smith in the head and back.

...[Rev. Dr. Leonard Small] of Litway Baptist Church said he dropped off three eyewitnesses to meet with investigators from the GBI, and he sat in on one of those interviews.

What baffled him, he said, is that while the shooting was being videotaped "nobody saw a gun. … The man holding the camera turned his back and there was a big gun," Small said.

"I don't believe it. They didn't find the gun when he was frisked and put in the police car. It was a big gun."
So, somehow the officer missed finding a large weapon on Smith's person before putting him in the patrol car, and then Smith managed to get his handcuffed hands around to the front of his body, access the weapon that the officer missed, and, while still handcuffed and following a fall to the ground from the patrol car, aim the weapon at the officer, but in a way only the officer and no eyewitnesses could see. Sure. That sounds likely.

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The Nos Have It

The no-voters, i.e. those who voted against Scottish independence, won the vote yesterday, 55%-45%. So Scotland will remain, for now, part of the United Kingdom.

Prime Minister David Cameron proclaimed this morning: "There can be no disputes, no reruns—we have heard the settled will of the Scottish people." So, that's it, Scotland! You had your democracy and now it's OVER! Forever!

If anyone was confused about why there are lots of people in Scotland who voted yes, well, it's kinda shit like that.

In a bid to keep the union together, Westminster had promised a greater devolution of power to Holyrood (Scottish parliament) if no took the day, and now comes the time to make good on that promise. Andrew Black at the BBC has a good piece detailing what that means, in practical terms.

image of a Scottish thistle
Onward, Scotland.

ETA: One of the most incredible stories about the referendum was the voter turnout, which was an astonishing 84.5%, "a whole and a new record for any election held in the UK since the introduction of universal suffrage in 1918."
As he conceded defeat, Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond told supporters: "The process by which we have made our decision as a nation reflects enormous credit upon Scotland.

"A turnout of 86% is one of the highest in the democratic world for any election or any referendum in history - this has been a triumph for the democratic process and for participation in politics."
Can't argue with that. It was an extraordinary thing to watch, even from afar.

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Open Thread

image of a sea turtle swimming toward the camera in beautiful blue-lit water just above a coral reef

Hosted by a sea turtle.

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Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker RachelB: "What current thing about you would most surprise your younger self?"

I think the thing that would most surprise my younger self is how content I am with myself. I spent an awful lot of years feeling bad about who I was, what I looked like, etc. And I never saw then any indication of how that might change, or how radically it would.

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Who's Such a Good Dog?! YOU ARE!

Okay, I just blubbed my face off for one million years at this video of Hope for Paws rescuing this blue heeler who'd been living under a dumpster for 11 months.

Zelda is one-quarter Australian Cattle Dog (aka blue heeler), and despite her obvious shar-pei ears and neck wrinkles, and her husky coat, the rest of her—her stocky little body, her movement, and especially her giant grin—are all blue heeler.

Between the familiar grin and the fact that Zelda was a stray before she was rescued, I'm pretty much just a heap of joyblubs now.

Text onscreen over video of a car pulling into a lot with a couple of dumpsters: "Hope for Paws received a call about a scared dog living under a dumpster." A man and a woman in the car talk about spotting the dog.

Text onscreen: "The dog had been abandoned there 11 months prior, and he would hide when anyone came near. A Good Samaritan left him food and water daily while searching for help."

The woman throws bits of a cheeseburger to the dog, who is crouching in the dusty space underneath the dumpster. She speaks to him in a soothing voice and urges him closer with more food. The dog begins to slowly move toward her. He takes the food right from her hand, and then pokes his head out.

Just as he is about to emerge, a stranger can be heard coming up to speak to the rescuers, and the dog scurries back under the dumpster. They begin the slow process of coaxing him out once more.

The woman reaches in, offering the dog some more food and gingerly strokes his cheek, which seems to startle him in a way that being touched after a long absence of contact does. He comes closer to her, but keeps his back legs underneath the dumpster. Almost there.

They tempt him with the burger to put his head through a leashed collar, and slowly, gently, close it around his neck. When he starts to pull backward, they let him, giving him just enough slack so that he can't go all the way back under the dumpster. In time, they urge him away, and they pet his head and then carefully lift him to carry him to the car.

Text Onscreen: "Lisa Arturo suggested we name him Cowboy. After a nice warm bath, Cowboy's sweet personality started to shine through."

Cut to Cowboy in the shelter with a huge grin on his face, getting his head pet and hearing what a good boy he is. Cut to Cowboy playing investigating a tiny kitten, then leaping from the floor into his foster mom's arms.

Text Onscreen: "Cowboy loves his foster mom, Chelsea Fragnoli." He hugs her and licks her face. "Oh I love you!" she tells him.

Cut to Cowboy visiting another dog. Text Onscreen: "At the hospital, Cowboy visited PJ who was rescued the previous day."

Cut to Cowboy in his forever home, in the backyard beside a pool, playing fetch with his new family. Text Onscreen: "When Cowboy was ready, our friends at Coastal German Shepherd Rescue found him an amazing forever home!"
Love with so many hearts!

[Via the Animal Rescue Site.]

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Photo of the Day

image of three rows of cupcakes; the first decorated with the Scottish flag, the middle decorated with question marks, and the last decorated with Union Jacks
From the Telegraph's Scotland Independence in Pictures gallery: for 'Referendum cupcakes' featuring a Scottish Saltire (left), a Union flag (right), and a question mark (center), symbolising the 'undecided voter' are pictured in a bakery in Edinburgh. [AFP/Getty]
The polls are now closed, and the votes are being counted.

First Minister Alex Salmond says he believes that, irrespective of the outcome: "I think you'll find that 99 percent of Scotland will be happy with the result, whatever it is, they just wanted the vote."

I hope he is right.

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TV Corner: New Fall Series

We're reaching the time of year (at least in the US) where new network shows tend to premiere. (As well as favorite network shows returning for new seasons.) Have you heard about any new shows that you're keen to give a shot?

(Here's a list of some new shows soon to debut.)

I am probably going to check out Madame Secretary and Shonda Rhimes' new show How to Get Away with Murder, but nothing else has really caught my eye. Did anyone watch the premiere of Red Band Society? I like Octavia Spencer so much, but that just doesn't sound like a show I'd enjoy. What did you think, if you saw it?

Of what shows are you looking forward to new seasons? I can't wait for the return of The Good Wife!

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Daily Dose of Cute

image of Zelda the Black and Tan Mutt sitting next to me on the couch, grinning broadly
"Hey! It's a day!"

As always, please feel welcome and encouraged to share pix of the fuzzy, feathered, or scaled members of your family in comments.

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An Open Letter to People Who Defended Richard Dawkins for Many Years and Are Now Distancing Themselves from Him with Maximum Haste

[Content Note: Threats; misogyny.]

Dear People Who Defended Richard Dawkins for Many Years and Are Now Distancing Themselves from Him with Maximum Haste:

First of all, I want to say that I'm sorry. It stinks when someone you respect and admire, someone from whom you learned and helped you grow, disappoints you.

Secondly, I want to tell you that if you were among the many, many people who have, over the years, responded to feminist critics of Dawkins by reflexively screaming at us that we're overwrought, hysterical, opportunistic cunts who deserve to be raped and killed, then please let me offer you a massive treasure chest full of fuck yous.

For years, feminists (and others) have been highlighting Dawkins' misogyny, gender essentialism, rape apologia, racism, and disablism (just for a start), and, for years, we have been widely met with derisive dismissals.

Which is my polite euphemism for: Angry emails and tweets riddled with rank misogyny; garbage comments; harassment; name-calling; photoshopped imagery of our public photos; mocking and/or misrepresentative blog posts; mendacious attempts to discredit us; professional attacks; and/or threats of violence.

All because we saw, and called out, the reprehensible attitudes Dawkins has now made so manifest that you cannot possibly continue to ignore it.

And for the iniquity of being right about your hero, before you were ready to see it, you harmed us.

You owe us an apology.

More importantly, you owe us this: Next time there appear feminist critics of an Important Man, instead of reflexively screaming at us that we're overwrought, hysterical, opportunistic cunts who deserve to be raped and killed, or even engaging in the "more civil" variation of invoking classic misogynist silencing tropes or sniffing "I don't see it" from behind a gilded balustrade of claimed objectivity, you could take a moment to consider that maybe we're more sensitive to the red flags of misogyny than you are.

That maybe, just maybe, there's an outside possibility that we're right.

Warmest regards,
Liss

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Two-Minute Nostalgia Sublime



Barbra Streisand: "Somewhere"

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Shaker Garden Thread: September Edition

photo of gourds pumpkins and fall mums photo shakesgardgourds_zps3c3fbdf6.jpg

Howdy Shakers! September is here, and for some us that means fall is here full-on, while summer of us are in a late/summer early fall--and if you're down under, make that spring, early spring/late winter! How are your gardening projects looking?

As you can see above, I've harvested some pumpkins and have a few gourds drying. Most of the gourds I'm trying to leave on the vine to dry, but these had something nasty befall their vines, so I cut them early to cure. The gourds have been a really easy crop overall and definitely thrive in this climate. I've even gotten a few luffahs, although I think it will be another month for most of them.

Meanwhile the pumpkins have been a mixed bunch. As you can see in the first picture, I got exactly one cheese type pumpkin this year, a small Musquee de Provence. They just didn't set fruit very well. I've had better luck with the two kinds of Seminole Pumpkins I'm growing (one large, one the traditional small type that hangs on the vine). I was having real trouble with pickleworms boring into the fruit, and then i hit on this:

 photo of a seminole pumpkin on the vine covered in hose shakesgardhosepumpkin_zps5e13adf2.jpg

After having read about one blogger's discovery of paper bags against pickleworm, I decided to try a barrier method myself. The moths are active at night, and the worms hatch during the day and night. So once I had a fertilized flower, I removed the blossom (sometimes with worms already in it! grrr!) and put cut-off hosiery around the small pumpkin, securing it with a twist tie, as above. So far I have not had any more holes bored into these pumpkins--pretty miraculous, since the pickleworms are still attacking tender vine shoots, flowers, etc. It is, admittedly a small sample of 5 pumpkins, but since I was finding holes in every. single. pumpkin. before, I am cautiously optimistic about this technique.

 photo shakesgardbanana_zps6e1d0aa0.jpg

Although the leaf-footed bugs devastated my tomatoes, I've been pretty happy with some of my other projects. I got two rhubarb plants through the hot Southern summer with some dappled shade and a lot of water. I also got a "Hurricane Katrina/Peggy Martin" rose started and kept the deer from devouring it, thanks to the partner's jawesome fence-building. And the potted banana and pineapples have really taken off this year. (A Greater American Beaglemix models alongside the banana, above, for your convenience in judgeing scale.) The only challenge will be getting it back into the house this winter, as it gets too cold here to leave it outside.

Shakers, how does your garden grow? Whether it's some pots on the rooftop or windowsill, indoor plants, flower beds, or many acres, feel free to share your stories here. (As a commenting reminder, please respect that different people have different goals and needs in their gardens; this is a thread for sharing rather than judgement. Thanks!)

 photo shakesgardflowerluffah_zps224daaa4.jpg

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In the News

Here is some stuff in the news today...

Today is the Scottish independence vote, and it's really coming down to the wire. The Guardian has live coverage here. I've been chatting with my Scottish cousin about it this morning, and it's very exciting! What a nail-biter!

[Content Note: Misogyny] And the pendulum swings back: First, Hillary was supposed to go away. Then she was supposed to run for president or be accused of ruining the Democrats' chances and destroying the entire country and possibly the planet. And now it's back to go away again: "Left blasts Clinton in secret emails." Of course.

Wow: "The proportion of privately insured U.S. women who paid zero dollars out of pocket for oral contraceptive pills increased sharply, from 15% to 67%, between the fall of 2012 (before the ACA's contraceptive coverage requirement took effect for most women) and the spring of 2014, according to a new Guttmacher study published in the journal Contraception." That is remarkable.

In less good news: "Despite an Overall Decline in the Poverty Rate, the Number of Women in Poverty Hasn't Changed in a Year." Fuck.

[CN: Harassment; sexual assault; misogynistic slur] A NYC bartender wrote an open letter to the reprehensible shitbird who grabbed her ass and propositioned her. And he responded by saying he's grabbed lots of asses but never hers, then calling her a "fucking cunt" and vowing: "I will make sure she doesn't get another job in New York City. I know everybody. The bar owners, the club owners—that's a terrible thing to write about somebody." Well, you've convinced me of your moral superiority, sir!

[CN: Wildfires] California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency "in response to a raging wildfire that has threatened thousands of homes in what is being called the state's worst-ever fire season. Brown has put all state resources at the disposal of his Office of Emergency Services in response to the so-called King fire, the largest of 11 major wildfires raging across the drought-ridden state, and another powerful blaze farther north, he said."

[CN: Class warfare] I really think we're going to have to start calling it something other than the justice system, unless we all agree it's ironic: "Innocent People in New York Who Can't Afford a Lawyer Are Pretty Much Doomed."

Neato: "Astronomers from the University of Utah recently found a supermassive black hole in a very small dwarf galaxy, M60-UCD1, one of the smallest galaxies currently known. This discovery could mean that other similar dwarf galaxies, which are dense, could also have large black holes, meaning that black holes, in general, are more common than originally thought. Astronomers also now believe that these galaxies were once part of other larger galaxies that separated after collisions with yet other galaxies."

Lifetime is making a Grumpy Cat Christmas movie, because of course it is, and they just announced that the voice of Grumpy Cat will be Audrey Plaza. OBVIOUSLY. WHO ELSE COULD IT POSSIBLY BE? NO ONE!!!

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