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Pam in CT

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Everything posted by Pam in CT

  1. re historical connection between Prohibition and KKK expansion *That* is a connection I never learned about.
  2. Around here, when folks want to put up a long wall of something not-too-expensive that will grow in FAST to hide something like a chain fence they usually use the upright hybrid form (not the sprawling-over-needs-pruning-or-it-looks-untidy natural form) of forsythia. It grows in FAST but then it doesn't grow too much more, and it's quite forgiving about pruning -- do it, don't do it, do in in the theoretically "proper" time of just-after-flowering, do it whenever you get around to it, do it with carefully sharpened and disinfected shears, whack it down with electric shears, it doesn't matter, you can't kill the stuff. Well, there's a lot of virtue in all of that. Downsides are its arguably garish color and that it loses its leaves in winter (though it blooms so early that it fills in by the time anyone's spending time in the yard). Privet is fast and cheap too, and some are evergreen. If you don't have deer, arborvitae is always evergreen, grows fast and has a very nice shape (but if you have deer, forget it). If you don't like the look of a solid WALL of the same thing lined up unbroken like soldiers against the fence, maybe mix in some cotoneaster upon occasion -- they have small evergreen leaves, sweet white or pale pink blossoms turning to bright red berries that attract birds, and attractive arching branches that you can cut and use in dramatic arrangements. I am very fond of cotoneaster and it isn't fussy about soil or sun, though it's too sprawling and slow-growing to work as the only species in a hedge. I love boxwood but it grows too slow for fence-disguising purposes. If you have a LONG timeframe, some sun but not direct sun, and a patient disposition, I have a master gardener friend who waited five years for climbing hydrangea to bloom (it *grew in* the first year and covered the fence, with attractive glossy near-evergreen leaves -- she's in NJ in zone 7 -- but it took 5 years before it *bloomed*). It is GLORIOUS now. It starts blooming in early August and carries straight through to end-September. ETA also whatever you do, it'll have more interest and break up the long line if you interplant low-maintenance flowering vines every so often and let them do their thing. My favorite low-maintenance slacker gardener vine is clematis, which comes in all sorts of colors and bloom times. Once it's established and happy, the lawn mower can run over it and it'll spring back the next season. Not that I know that from personal experience.
  3. I have two fancy-ish sheath dresses -- one black, one gray-- and one frum (3/4 sleeves, slightly longer) maroon dress; and that's pretty much all I wear to pretty much any formal-ish events from October-April. If it were afternoon and cold, I'd wear the frum dress, gray tights and knee-high boots. If it were evening, I'd wear the frum dress, real gray shoes (sigh), and gray tights. And accessorize with shawl and HAT. Also I wouldn't worry much about what anyone else thinks. It's cold, for heaven's sake.
  4. ((Stella)) holding you and yours in the light.
  5. Oh that looks lovely... (about ready for a chance in weather and scenery, sigh)
  6. I don't quite understand the question. There are LOTS of prescribed drugs that are used by people other than those to whom they've been prescribed. Opioids and drugs like Xanax are used (abused) recreationally; Adderall and Ritalin are -- I dunno that I'd quite call it recreationally, but by students to help their performance; steroids are -- again, I dunno that I'd quite use the word recreationally, but used off-label and often unprescribed by athletes to enhance performance. Sometimes doctors are complicit in folks' using these drugs differently than their FDA approved use; and all of them also have a lively trade outside the classification of for whom and how they're legally approved. As other pp have said, many substances (pseudoephedrine, alcohol, caffeine, codeine) have both an unprescribed/OTC use and are also used in prescription medications. But I don't expect it's a particularly great idea to think of *any* of these substances, including alcohol and nicotine, as OK to use "in any way we like." Which substances are permitted without any fetters at all (caffeine), which are semi-circumscribed by something like age requirements (alcohol, nicotine), and which fall into varying categories of FDA regulation are all a matter of balancing their pleasures/benefits, their health/addiction risks to individuals using them, and the public health/social risks around things like driving while impaired, secondary smoke and so on. Those balances shift over time.
  7. Yes, but make sure it's *empty* before you get in the security line; there's generally nowhere to dump it out once you get to the screening machines. Expect to remove laptops/ iPads etc, to pull out your ziplock or clear plastic case with any small-size toiletries and medications, and sometimes I've had to remove phones and cameras as well. I've definitely never had to pull out underwear! Enjoy your trip.
  8. Looove Up, and Aristocats is probably my favorite kids' movie of all time, though ...I suppose what I like about it is that it's not really a kids' movie. And Spiderman/Spiderverse... well, my kids aren't even kids anymore and I, um, have already seen it twice . But I tell myself that's about the animation genius, lol. I got pretty weary of the princess movies, but not to the point where I actually objected to the kids' watching them. Anything with good music -- Lion King, Aristocats, Jungle Boy, Princess & the Frog, Mulan -- tended to live in the FRONT of the DVD cabinet, while dopey damsel-in-distress storylines tended to languish in out-of-sight locations.
  9. Many national park sites are either not gated at all -- only the buildings and very selected areas require entrance (Mammoth Cave/KY), or have public roads cutting through them (Smoky Mountain/NC-TN, Shenandoah/VA), or have gated sections interspersed with private/residential/ungated areas (Acadia/ME) that make access in practice open, on the honor system. I can understand a family who's planned a vacation for months and paid for non-refundable airfare and accommodations being quite frustrated with a shutdown that hinders their longstanding plans. (Not CONDONING skittering into technically closed park sections, and certainly not condoning leaving trash behind -- understanding.) Hey, that's MY house!! This. The issue is not having infrastructure and services to haul garbage away. It's not like there are roomy dumpsters available outside the technically-closed park ready to receive dirty diapers, leftover picnic remnants My understanding is that those facilities (including the porte-potties) are closed and locked.
  10. re family living accommodations Her first year there I got an apartment over Thanksgiving week (which of course she did not get off), and we took the kids and my parents and did a big old Thanksgiving feast, to which she invited about 10 Americans who otherwise wouldn't have had any celebration. Bit of a squeeze but very fun. Warn your son that it does get dark by about 3:15 pm over Nov-Jan. There are those of us who find this difficult to take.
  11. re University of Edinburgh My daughter spent two years there; shoot me a DM if your son would be interested in talking to her. She loved Edinburgh and had a good experience with the university though she ultimately transferred and finished up in NY for some very specific-to-her reasons. As a parent, it was great fun having her there. And so long as we planned ahead on the flights and properly planned them out (so she didn't have RT tickets for short breaks; we stacked them so each travel interval was at least two months) the flight costs were more manageable than I expected; certainly offset by the lower cost of housing there than anywhere in the US my kids have lived.
  12. Well, my basic strategy is to aim low: I set ONE GOAL in a secular area for the calendar year and ONE GOAL in a spiritual/ religious area for the Jewish year. So my 2018 goal was around regular flossing, LOL. I did OK. My current spiritual goal (Sept-Sept calendar) is regular silent meditation, and I'm not doing nearly as well there as I'd hoped. Serious problem with monkey-mind, here. My secular 2019 goal is around keeping up IRL connection with longtime friends and family who don't live close enough for regular IRL contact to be easy and convenient. It's related to a 2018 realization about the limitations of social media interaction. Hope I keep on with the flossing, though.
  13. ((Lucy)) thanks for this reminder. Giving blood is about the easiest and sure way to save a life there is.
  14. Absolutely. I'd want to plan accommodations around where the train stations are, and maybe do a bit of tripadvisor sleuthing on Uber availability in less populated areas. But t's Scotland - even in remote areas where Uber isn't reliable I expect the innkeeper can round up a neighbor with a car willing to shepherd you around to the dog shows or escort you on the heath trail or whatever. There are places in the world where some upfront planning is time well spent, and other places where you can rest assured you can wing it once you're there; Scotland is solidly in the be-serendipitous-if-that's-your-style territory.
  15. How do you plan on getting around? That will make a difference. You definitely don't need a car in Edinburgh, and getting between the airport, Edinburgh and Glasgow is easy-peasy on public transport, and it's also easy to do day tour bus trips from either city to adjacent areas. If you want to get out and are planning on doing it by train, that will affect where to stay. I'm not really comfortable driving on the "wrong" side myself -- it takes sufficiently more cognitive energy that I'm tired by the time I arrive where I'm going -- but my husband is a champ so we generally do rent cars unless we're in cities.
  16. Happy anniversary!! Not tacky at all to throw it yourselves and also not tacky at all to say "no gifts please" right on the invitation or e-vite or whatever. I don't know what time of year you're aiming for, but we went to an anniversary Garden Party at the garden-club-tended section of a local park a while ago -- mid-afternoon, not a lot of fuss or expense, just tea and fancy cakes and little sandwiches and maybe mimosas or punch or something. It was AWESOME. Ladies wore HATS.
  17. No one's mentioned The Good Place? I think that's my favorite current series. I like funny and smart, and it really hits both cylinders. I don't do violence. Also: The Crown, British Bake-Off, Queer Eye, Mrs Maisel (language alert), Dear White People (sex alert), Parks & Rec (my prior favorite), Downton Abbey (my first favorite). And there are only a handful of episodes so far, but Hasan Minhaj's Patriot Act is Fan.Tas.Tic. It's unlike anything else out there.
  18. Oh dear. Please update with any news. Holding him and your community in the light.
  19. re tree identification For birds, I second the Sibleys. For trees, I love this Fandex -- it has the shape of the leaf on top, the texture of the bark along the long end, and on the back a photo of the full-grown shape and information about habitat / pictures of cones where appropriate etc. Can leave in the car, pop into a backpack for a short hike, etc. With the bark you can even identify trees in the winter when the leaves are gone.
  20. Wow! Mine are rather more pedestrian: Last year: floss regularly. I did OK. This year: once a week, call a friend or relative who lives in another state or country. *Any* friend or relative -- just going for contact generally -- I'm not as good as I want to be in actually staying in touch with people I care about in my head. (IRL in touch, not social media.)
  21. Big Brothers Big Sisters has a TRUCK they send around for PICKUP once a month or so, bless them. They call in advance, ask if we have anything for them, I *always say yes* if we're going to be home... then I look around and bundle stuff up. They'll take furniture, lamps, kitchen goods, clothing, just about anything I've ever left except baby goods (high chairs, car seats, trikes, pack n play etc -- I guess to avoid liability ? dunno). I leave it all on the porch well-marked and they just come and get it. Books to the library, which they then monetize in a huge annual sale. All the libraries in my area have huge annual sales which are humongous events, with a paid-in dealer day before the public days before the 1/2 price day before the "$10 a bag" day before any remainders are sorted & distributed to further charities and/or recycling. Appliances I've offered up to the local food pantry (Carol in CA suggestion!) and local DV shelter before arranging to have them hauled away if they can't use them. Otherwise I take stuff to a local shop that divides proceeds evenly between the public school-parent 501c3 and the DV shelter.
  22. re transparency/truthfulness in what data is being harvested and sold, vs "deceptive practices" as laid out in WDC AG claim This. I more or less concur with EmseB that where we look to services and apps we get "for free," we have reasonably to expect that the business model is the monetization of US... and in using such "free" services we are kinda-sorta giving consent to that monetization. But that Faustian bargain should be clear. It isn't just recipes and Pinterest pins, folks. If you're concerned about health privacy data: that ship has sailed (even as protections for pre-existing conditions are being dismantled). If you're concerned about gun registries: that ship has sailed (and "government" can buy up/compile that "like" and "share"/ Walmart ammo purchase/ NRA membership/ shooting range coupon behavior just as easily as an online accessory retailer can). If you're concerned about the security of your home when you're away: both your in-real-time current location and the precise location of the webcams monitoring your home is easily harvestable and combinable. I actually mostly agree with most of this. Whether we start from a 1984 worldview that most fears government surveillance and control resulting in coerced compliance, or a Brave New World/ Cloud Atlas worldview preoccupied with the dangers of corporate control resulting in consumer-driven compliance under a veil of voluntary choice... either way. At the end of the day the outcome is not so terribly different. To the bolded: speaking as an already-rather-paranoid person I am wary about fueling anyone else's paranoia. But I think that technology has rendered this confidence, once warranted, less true. Turns out WhatsApp and iMessage and Signal and similar apps, even the "encrypted" ones, are very easily accessible to LEO -- as accessible to them as to private sector hackers with black hats or with white ones -- even without a warrant. To tap an old fashioned phone, yes, hoops are required. Perhaps the hoop-jumping laws are due for an update.
  23. re being sanguine about private companies' harvesting detailed personally identifiable data vs discomfort with government's access to/ registry of that same personally identifiable data: The thing is, though, the government can BUY the data harvested by a firm like Cambridge Analytica. (Or use a straw man intermediary to buy it, or spin out a software application development company to write an app that accesses it, or buy out such a app company and thus gain access to its ongoing data stream, or any number of other means.) If the data is being harvested and sold freely on the market, the "government" can get it just as easily as the next Wayz developer. Or another government can. That is, in point of fact, the very conduct being investigated, quite plausibly, in the UK investigation. The claim is that Cambridge Analytica worked in concert with another foreign government, in furtherance of its purposes, against UK users.
  24. For those who don't have a subscription to the NYT, who did the deep investigatory dive based on the UK court filings and interviews with 60+ FB employees, service partners and app developers... the deceptive practices suit filed yesterday by the WDC AG under the Consumer Protections Act is available without paywall here. As formal legal complaints go it reads pretty accessibly, and it lays out much of the same ground. The first 9 paragraphs are prelude and definitions; paras 10-17 lay out what FB users generally see and expect as we populate our "profile" / upload our pictures, join affinity groups, hit "like" and "share", take fun quizzes etc... and see ads that relate back to what we've put in. The no-surprises "advertising based" model. Paras 18-22 starts getting into the parts of the business model that are not visible to users -- starting with FB's development in 2007 of a "Facebook Platform" on which third party software developers built applications that integrate with FB. As (only) one example of this the complaint details the use of "Facebook Login" -- through which users quick-log into participating applications, subscriptions, content providers and online retailers just by convenient-clicking through their (often always-open) FB account rather than having to remember & use multiple different passwords. Paras 23-30 details as an example how one such software developer harvested not just the open-profile information of open-profile FB users, but also their behavioral data (what they "liked" and "shared"; what ads they clicked on and how many seconds they stayed on the ads and which ones were consummated by sales, etc)... and not just open-profile users but also all of their FB friends' data... and not just data entered into or "behaved into" on the FB platform but also the content of messages sent via FB Messenger... and not just data generated on FB platforms but also data scraped from other applications integrated (for example, through Facebook Login) such as music-sharing, video-streaming, and GPS apps. This one software developer rolled all this personal/behavioral/purchase history/music & video preference/location information together and developed detailed, personally identified "psychographic profiles" of 70 million US-based FB users and their friends. (They were not the only developer to do such work, but they are the one that the UK court case has pried open.) 340,000 of those FB users on whom identified psychographic profiles were developed are based in WDC, which provides the standing on which the WDC AG is bringing the case. Paras 31-34 are narrowly specific to that one developer and its specific conduct. Paras 35-65 get into what to my mind is the substance of the concern from ordinary users' perspective: the extent to which FB appeared, to ordinary users, to enable "privacy settings" that did not do in reality what most ordinary users expected. According to the complaint, there are sufficient discrepancies between the language outlining "privacy settings" to users, vs the platform usage terms provided to third party developers, to amount to "deceptive practices" under the law. There are many examples of this outlined; one is: whatever privacy controls we thought we established over on FB itself, were overridden the moment with clicked that "Facebook Login" button. The moment we clicked, we were assented to the Terms and Conditions that any "service provider" negotiated, unseen, between FB and (say) Wayz. Just by logging in that way, we overrode -- forever -- whatever we thought we'd set up on our profiles. Deleting the Wayz app, deleting the FB app, and even deleting FB itself does not remove the existing data out there, nor terminate the existing psychographic profile out there, nor prevent the developer of the profile from continuing to add to the profile through other means, like for example a similar integration agreement with (say) Amazon or Target. This is the section to read to understand the nature of the beast.
  25. And it goest even beyond that. Back in the 1950's, the three (3! so cute!) major television stations made their money through advertising too. Though Zuck testified in US Congress that their core business model is "advertising based," the documentation being slowly pried over his vigorously protesting / stalling / stonewalling / litigating body over in the UK is suggesting that the core business model is something better described as "selling / renting microscopically detailed, intensely personal FB user, behavioral, and real-time location data to other platforms."
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