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04 Sep 10:52

BRA KITS!! They're finally here!!

by EmeraldErin

Hi All!

I'm so excited to announce that my BRA KITS are up on Etsy! and available for purchase!!

YAY!! and to celebrate every bra kit comes with a FREE PAIR OF WIRES!!!

This has been quite a while in the making, and it's still just the start! :)

So let me tell you a little bit more about these kits!

The main feature in these kits is this lovely no-stretch knit for cups! 

You may remember the red bra that I made a few weeks ago...

When I said I had a beautiful new fabric that I was testing out..

Well I can honestly say that I've hardly taken this bra off since I made it. It is by far the most comfortable and favourite bra that I own! (shhhh.. don't tell my other bras!)

So I'm very excited that I can bring this fabric to you! YAY Comfortable bras for all!

Let me tell you a little more about this fabric! It is a lightweight, knit fabric with NO stretch! Perfect for making bras!

It's very breathable, and has wicking properties (who doesn't want that in a bra!) and is really smooth against the skin! And I find that it has just enough 'give' to be really nice and smooth in the cups, unlike some other super-rigid fabrics.

It doesn't have quite the super-duper support and rigidity of fabrics like duoplex, or completely rigid embroidered lace, but it is very light and comfortable!

And now I found it in four other colours! I don't just have the red but also: Pink, Raspberry, Chartreuse & Blue!

(sorry if the colours seem a little off- you wouldn't believe the problems I had trying to white balance these! I tried to make them as colour accurate as possible!)

Here is a behind the scenes photo where you can see them all together!

But besides this fabric- I wanted to make sure that these kits have everything that you need to make a bra! Because I know how hard it is to source out all the little pieces!

They also include:

- Powernet - .5m X .38m (or 20" X 15") Perfect if you want to make a regular OR racer back!

- 15 denier- in a lovely nude colour for lining the bridge for extra stability (although I include enough to line the cups if you like!

Along with those fabrics I offer two sizes of findings!

For the SMALL range of findings kits I include:

- 3 m of 3/8" plush back elastics (for top and bottom band)

- 1 m of 1/2" strap elastic

- 0.8 m of channelling

- 1 set of 1/2" sliders & rings (in black, silver or gold)

- 1 set of Hook & Eyes (2X3)

** These come in White, Black & Red! **

And for the LARGE range of findings kits I include: 

- 1.2 m of 3/4" plush back elastics (for bottom band)

- 2 m of 3/8" plush back elastic (for top band)

- 1 m of 3/4" strap elastic

- 0.8 m of channelling

- 1 set of 3/4" sliders & rings (in silver or black)

- 1 set of Hook & Eyes (3X3)

** Currently these are only available in white***

I wanted to give two size ranges for the findings because everyone has different needs and wants when it comes to their elastics and findings! Personally I find myself grabbing for the smaller range for some bra styles and often the larger range for bralettes! (I mean, who doesn't love a 3/4" strap!)

I don't have the findings kits up separately right now, they are soon to come!

And of course I'm offering a FREE pair of wires with every bra kit!! YAY!! You simply need to make a comment on the purchase of what size and style you want!

Taken Straight from Etsy!: 

I also have extra sliders and rings up for purchase :)


I'm so excited to be able to spread the love of bra-making and all my favourite things with all of you! And I promise this is just the start!

Let me know if you have any questions about the kits or anything else! 

xo erin

03 Sep 19:37

Cleverly Designed Scented Candles That Appear to Cry When Lit Inside Their Decorative Bases

by Lori Dorn
Russian Sledges

via A. Kachmar

guess I'll have to hop over to inoreader to share with firehose

The Jacks

The Jacks by Sculpy, are very cleverly designed scented candles that look like they’re crying when lit inside their decorative bases. The current offerings are black or white skull bases with brain-shaped candles, rabbit bases with accompanying ears and deers with antlers. According to the founders, the project came about accidentally.

One of our sculpting member’s hobby is to make useless things with 3D printer. One day he realized that he had no ashtray so he created a skull looking ashtray for his cigarettes, and Sophie lit a candle in it.And then an idea came up…We thought it was fun to depict a dripping of wax as a tear flowing from the skull.
By adding diverse product lines we have created our first The Jacks candle series.

Sculpy is currently raising funds through Kickstarter to bring The Jacks to market.

Skelton Candle

Rabbit Candle



Candle gif

Skull Candle gif

images via The Jacks

via Cool Material

03 Sep 10:57

New voice transcription feature in Google Docs censors (some!) swearwords

by Gretchen McCulloch
Russian Sledges

via multitask suicide

Google Docs announced today that you can now create documents using your voice.  And of course, like any good linguist, I immediately went to try to stump it. It’s pretty good, actually — it recognized both pronunciations of “gif” and “aunt” in the contexts “animated ___” and “uncle and ___” although it tended to assume that I might have the bit/bet merger, which I most emphatically do not, and thus presented me with a few transcriptions that felt like odd candidates to me.

But then I tried swearwords and hit the fucking jackpot. Here’s a screenshot of what I got:

google docs censors swearwords

Fuck, shit, and cunt are bleeped out with asterisks — well, if you’re going to censor swears, that’s the least surprising. God damn, hell, bastard, and bitch aren’t bleeped — well, they’re on the tamer side. Tits and piss aren’t bleeped either, but it took several tries to convince the voice transcriber that I actually wanted to say them — those “f”s you see are me trying to say piss, which it only finally accepted once I added off (fuck is not helped by the addition of off, and motherfucker, interestingly, gets its first part transcribed just fine but as a separate word). Similarly, I eventually got it to write tits, but it aimed for text and tents first. And perhaps most interestingly, cock and ass are uncensored, but cocksucker and asshole get bleeped. Surely a sociology study could be written about such a distinction.

I mean, I get the point, surely you don’t want your voice transcription program accidentally peppering your business memo or school essay with f-bombs, but it does seem like certain fuckers might want the option — it would certainly make it hard to draft a post for this blog! I poked around in settings for a bit but I couldn’t find a “disable SafeTranscribe mode” akin to “disable SafeSearch”, and that does seem like a fucking loss!

Anyway, this was just a quick list of the swears I could think of, aided by the 7 words you can’t say on TV, so if anyone thinks of other words to try, you can enable this feature in the Tools menu of any Google Doc, and do let us know in the comments whether or not they’re bleeped! Also, anyone know what the hell earlier dictation programs did with swears?

02 Sep 17:23

Damascena Kleid | Vintage 60er Jahre Kleid • floral print 60er Jahre Kleid by DearGolden

145,00 USD

Vintage 60er Jahre weißer Seide Mischung Mantel Kleid mit leichten Reich Mieder, unterbrochen von einem stationären Bogen, Prinzessin Nähte und Fett rot und rosa Blumenmuster. Metall-Rücken-Reißverschluss.

---M E A S U R E M E N T S---passt wie: kleine Oberweite: 34-36" Taille: 27" Hip: 40" Länge: 40" Marke/Hersteller: n/a-Bedingung: ausgezeichnet für eine gute Passform zu gewährleisten, lesen Sie bitte den Sizing Guide: ✩ mehr Vintage Kleider ✩ ✩ Besuch das Geschäft ✩ ___ ✩ ✩ twitter: Deargolden

02 Sep 11:42

Wonderful surprise from my husband when we came home from our...

Russian Sledges

I keep a copy of this at my desk for no good reason

Wonderful surprise from my husband when we came home from our vacation 🌺!! And obviously this feed needs a bit of color (I only took walnut ink on our Summer trip 😁)!

#frakturmonamour #typography #blackletter #fraktur #gebrocheneschriften #gotisch #gothic

02 Sep 11:34

The Beauties of Writing | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

by russiansledges
Published in 1777. Calligraphy by Thomas Tomkins:
02 Sep 10:40

This is the 2000-year-old temple that ISIL apparently just destroyed

by Caitlin Hu
Russian Sledges

via firehose

Reduced to rubble.

“The city of Palmyra, noble for its situation, the riches of its soil and its pleasant streams, encloses its fields with a vast compass of sands,” wrote Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder in Natural History (in 77 AD). “And as if shut out by nature from all other lands, it is by a peculiar lot between two mighty empires, the Romans and the Parthians, wherein discord is ever the first object on both sides.”

That cultural discord remains in Palmyra today. New satellite images reveal that the ancient city’s iconic Temple of Bel has been blasted to rubble by terror group ISIL.

Taken on Aug. 27 and released today by the United Nations, these satellite images confirm rumors of an explosion over the weekend.(EPA/UNOSAT)

Constructed in 32 AD, the once-splendid Temple of Bel was nearly 2000 years old. It was “one of the most important religious buildings of the 1st century AD in the East and of unique design,” according to UNESCO, which lists Palmyra as a World Heritage site.

Just weeks ago, on Aug. 19, ISIL was reported to have publicly murdered Khaled al-Asaad, an 81-year-old archaeologist who had worked to preserve Palmyra’s antiquities for decades.

ISIL often justifies its claims to vandalism—including the destruction of nearby Baalshamin temple—as part of a purge of idolatrous relics. Smaller historical artifacts claimed to have been pillaged by ISIL have also been sold on the black market to unscrupulous collectors, apparently to fund the self-declared caliphate’s activities.

Palmyra’s ruins were once so beautiful that, according to legend, they inspired 17th- and 18th-century Western travelers to revive classical architecture in the West. Very soon, there may be nothing left to see. For a look at Palmyra before the ravaging of the historic site, see the photos below, or tour UNESCO’s photo gallery here.

The Temple of Bel in the historical city of Palmyra, Syria.(REUTERS/Sandra Auger)
Colonnade in the historical city of Palmyra, Syria.(Reuters/Sandra Auger)
The Funerary Temple in Palmyra.(Reuters/Sandra Auger)
The historical city of Palmyra.(Reuters/Sandra Auger)
Colonnade in the historical city of Palmyra.(Reuters/Sandra Auger)
The Temple of Bel.(Reuters/Sandra Auger)
The Temple of Bel.(Reuters/Omar Sanadiki)
General view of the ancient Roman city of Palmyra, just northeast of Damascus.(SANA via AP, File)
A Syrian family drives in front of the famous Roman ruins of Palmrya.(EPA/Jorge Ferrari)




02 Sep 09:40

US clerk defies gay marriage order

Russian Sledges

'Ms Davis stayed inside her office with the blinds closed as the couples demanded to see her. She eventually came out, but she said she would not issue any licences. "Under whose authority?" she was asked. "Under God's authority," she said.'

A Christian official continues to refuse to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples in Kentucky despite exhausting all of her legal options.
01 Sep 21:41

Supreme Court Says Kentucky Clerk Must Let Gay Couples Marry

Russian Sledges

'Ms. Davis told the Supreme Court that her Apostolic Christian faith forbade her to affix her name to a document endorsing the view that the marriages of gay men and lesbians were authentic. “This searing act of validation would forever echo in her conscience,” her lawyers told the court. Ms. Davis should not have to choose between her sincerely held religious beliefs and her livelihood, her lawyers said, particularly when same-sex couples can obtain licenses in other counties. “More than 10 other clerks’ offices are within a one-hour drive of the Rowan County office,” Ms. Davis’s lawyers wrote.'

The new case from Kentucky, Davis v. Miller, was the court’s first opportunity to consider whether government officials may refuse to recognize same-sex marriages on religious grounds.

01 Sep 21:26

New Bar in [Town]

by Max Chanowitz
Russian Sledges

Who else is excited for the new cocktail bar?

I’m talking about the one opening up in [historical building] in [up-and-coming neighborhood]. If you haven't heard the buzz on [local news site] or [social media place], it’s time to crawl out from under that rock, because it sounds like it’s going to be [hyperbole].

It’s a new venture by [notable local restaurateur], the owner of [famous upscale bar], [spin-off of famous upscale bar], and [spin-off of the spin-off] — so you know it’s going to be good. The bar will feature inventive cocktails with a local twist, including hand-made [ingredient] from [local boutique food business]. There will also be a limited food menu of “small bites”, including such delights as [unexpected meat] sliders and Sriracha [something].

Prices are reasonable — most drinks will run you from $[outrageous number] to $[5 more than that].

The new bar is taking over the space that used to house [charming yet now-defunct local business]. [Said business] was a much-loved fixture in [neighborhood] for decades, providing [charming yet outdated product] to the local community. The owner, [beloved immigrant with heartwarming success story] who inherited the business from his father, shuttered the store last year, explaining that [the charming product was too old-fashioned to sell to mainstream consumers, yet not old-fashioned enough to sell to hipsters] meant that the store could no longer be economically viable.

The building’s previous tenant is gone but not forgotten — there are plenty of cheeky references to [charming relic business] in the decor and cocktail names. They have a drink called The [the street it’s on], and another one named after [famous person in local lore]. They also reportedly serve a [neighborhood name], which is like a Manhattan, but with [unnecessary twist] instead of [what it should be]. Intriguing.

The space is beautifully done, with reclaimed wood siding and antique light fixtures taken from [defunct local factory].

The interior design was done by [Trendy Interior Design Firm], the same folks that designed [the other new cocktail bars up and down the block from this one]. They spared no expense including all sorts of interesting touches, from the [unexpected material] tabletops to the [old-timey objects] adorning the exposed-brick walls.

Anyhow, this place shows a lot of promise, and it just may become the next neighborhood [ironic outdated expression for a bar]. It will certainly be a great setting for [moneyed twenty-somethings] to [idly stand around and flirt with each other].

The bar is called [Something] & [Something Else]. I'll see ya there!

There’s a brand-new bar in the neighborhood — but you’ve already been there.

Continue reading on Medium »

01 Sep 21:10

InteRose Underwear: That’s Not How Thighs Work

by bev
Russian Sledges

via A. Kachmar

You’ve got to love how they made the front and the back views consistently awful.



Whoa, now that’s a thigh gap! Thanks, Raquel, for spotting this hilarious disaster on her new package of undies.

The post InteRose Underwear: That’s Not How Thighs Work appeared first on PSD : Photoshop Disasters .

01 Sep 18:55

French Publisher Won’t Print Book on Moroccan King After Authors’ Arrest

The two authors have been charged with blackmail and extortion on accusations they demanded 2 million euros to keep the book unpublished, which they deny.

01 Sep 18:55

At Auschwitz, a Summer Precaution Is a Grim Reminder to Some

Critics said overhead sprinklers at the entrance to the death camp’s memorial and museum were reminiscent of the showers the Nazis used to gas Jews in World War II.

01 Sep 18:55

Pope Asks Bullied Girl to Sing for Him

After learning that Valerie Herrera, 17, used music to cope with being bullied for a rare skin condition, Pope Francis said he would like to hear her sing. “Be courageous,” he added with a smile.

01 Sep 16:07

Regarding Trans* and Transgenderism

by -julia
Russian Sledges

via bernot ("haters gonna confound your attempts to reclaim words and create increasingly inclusive language")

Last year, in the second half of my piece A Personal History of the “T-word” (and some more general reflections on language and activism), I described what I call the activist language merry-go-round. Here’s how it works: Because trans people are highly stigmatized and face undue scrutiny in our culture, all of the language associated with us will face similar stigma and scrutiny. At some point, every single trans-related term will be called out as “problematic” for some reason or another—e.g., its origin, history, aesthetic quality (or lack thereof), literal meaning, alternate definitions, potential misinterpretations or connotations, or occasional exclusionary or defamatory usage. And supposedly more liberatory or inclusive alternative terms will gain favor. But over time, these new terms will eventually be challenged too. Because the crux of the problem is not the words themselves, but rather the negative or narrow views of trans people that ultimately influence how these words are viewed and used by others.

So rather than constantly trying to eliminate certain words and inventing new replacement terms, I argue that we would be best off challenging the narrow or negative views of trans people that sometimes latch themselves onto trans terminology. That is a brief synopsis of the activist language merry-go-round; I encourage you to read the linked-to essay above, as I make my case far more thoughtfully and thoroughly there than I have in these two paragraphs. 

The reason why I am bringing this up now is because I want to share some of my personal thoughts regarding the terms trans* and transgenderism, both of which have come under activist-language-merry-go-round scrutiny lately.


Since the 1990’s, the words “transgender” and “trans” have been the most often used broad umbrella terms to refer to people who defy societal norms with regards to gender. But on many occasions over the years, some people have objected to them. For instance, I’ve heard some transsexuals object to “transgender” because it was previously favored by Virginia Prince to distinguish herself from transsexuals (even though that is not how most people use the word today). And some non-binary folks have told me that they don't like “trans” because they feel it is too closely associated with transsexuals who identify within the binary (e.g., when it is used in the phrases “trans woman” or “trans men”).

In attempts to be inclusive of people who dislike these labels for one reason or another, trans activists (including myself) sometimes turn to alternate umbrella terms, the most common ones being “gender non-conforming” and “gender variant.” But of course there have been complaints about these terms as well (e.g., too clunky, too vague, seems to favor some identities over others, objections to being called “variant” or “non-conforming”). Again, it’s not that any of these terms are inherently better or worse than others—they can all be used in a respectful and inclusive manner. It’s just that there is no perfect word: Every term will have its detractors, and so long as trans people are stigmatized in our culture, some people will use these terms in disparaging or exclusionary ways.

Over the last few years, trans* has become the new umbrella term du jour. The way it was told to me, the asterisk is intended to serve the same “wild card” function that it does in search engines—thus, trans* would include trans, transgender, transsexual, transvestite, and so on. While I had seen the term used on a few occasions in the past, starting around 2013 (and seemingly out of the blue), it was practically everywhere: in articles and trans-themed glossaries, in the names of organizations and events, and so on. Being interested in trans terminology, I was curious as to how this came to be. Perhaps there was some blog-post or manifesto out there that galvanized the community to start using the word? I never did find out, in part, because doing searches for trans* is complicated by the fact that search engines view the asterisk as a wild card!

While I have no problems with the term trans*, I did dislike some of the dynamics that accompanied it during its rise in popularity. Specifically, I’m talking about a phenomenon that I’ve seen play out before in other marginalized communities, and I’ve come to call it word-sabotage (to contrast it with word-elimination). Here is what I mean: When activists say “don’t use the word tranny,” or “it’s transgender, not transgendered,” that is an explicit word-elimination campaign, one that directly states that the word in question (e.g., tranny, transgendered) is bad and should not be used. Word-sabotage is indirect, as it insinuates that certain terms are suspect or problematic on the basis that they are supposedly not as liberatory or inclusive as the term being championed. I have encountered this on many occasions within BMNOPPQ communities, were some people prefer to call themselves pansexual, or multisexual, or polysexual, rather than bisexual. And this is totally fine—people are free to self-identify however they like. However, sometimes people will claim that they have chosen their preferred label because it is supposedly more liberatory or inclusive than bisexual. This latter case is an example of word-sabotage, because now people who identify as bisexual and who use that term in an inclusive manner (such as me) are now presumed to be conservative and exclusionary.

On a number of occasions, I saw this sort of word-sabotage come into play with the popularization of trans*: Because many people viewed the asterisk as imparting broad inclusion, suddenly the use of the terms transgender and trans sans asterisk—which I have used in a broad inclusive manner for well over a decade—would sometimes be questioned, or might be interpreted as promoting exclusion.

It is rather surreal to have the language you have long used as part of your activism shift in meaning or connotation so quickly. But the activist language merry-go-round keeps on spinning, so of course the inevitable happened: People started critiquing trans*.

The first such complaint that I heard was from a trans woman who felt that the asterisk seemed to suggest that being trans is illegitimate—the example she offered was how asterisks are used in sports statistics to imply that a particular record is not legitimate for some reason. I suppose that somebody somewhere out there has probably complained about how asterisks are often used for footnotes, thereby insinuating that trans people are merely footnotes rather than part of the main text! I am joking a bit here, but these sorts of literal interpretations of words are often invoked in word-elimination attempts (e.g., “I don’t like the word ‘transsexual’ because it has the word ‘sexual’ in it”). In general, people don’t read words literally—they get their meanings from how they are used in everyday conversation. However, when it’s a term associated with a marginalized group, then people will tend to pick it apart in this manner, and in countless other ways.

In the last few months, I have become aware of a new claim: Trans* is apparently trans-misogynistic. I am not sure where this originated, but it seems to have garnered steam (a recent google search using “asterisk” and “transmisogyny” revealed numerous pages of results to this effect). According to a recent post by Tobi Hill-Meyer (that I encourage you to check out), she summarizes the current arguments being made against trans* this way: “that female assigned genderqueers popularized it as a way to prioritize their issues at the expense of trans women.” But she then goes on to talk about many previous incarnations of the trans* in “2010, 2007, 2003, and 1998” when it was forwarded by trans women to circumvent “transsexual vs. transgender” infighting that was occurring in those settings at that time. The last paragraph of her post really resonated with me:

I'm not really invested in whether or not people use [trans*]. I don't feel it's important enough to fight over. But seeing the way people talk about it now makes me sad that the trans community seems to have a historical memory permanently limited to only 2-4 years back.

The word trans* is not inherently inclusive or trans-misogynistic. Rather, like all words, it gets its meaning from the way in which people use it. And it may be utilized towards positive or negative ends. Just because some people may use it in an exclusionary way doesn’t mean that the word itself disparaging or exclusionary.


The word transgenderism has been around for as long as I have been aware of transgender activism. It appeared in the titles of explicitly trans activist books such as Patrick Califia’s 1997 book Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism, and the 2003 anthology Bisexuality and Transgenderism: InterSEXions of the Others. It appears in Kate Bornstein’s Gender Outlaw, Leslie Feinberg’s Trans Liberation, and countless other trans activist books, including Whipping Girl—most notably in the chapter “Coming to Terms with Transgenderism and Transsexuality.”

In all of these cases, the word “transgenderism” was used in a neutral manner to denote one of two things: the phenomenon of transgender people (our existence and our experiences), or the state of being transgender (e.g., I might talk about my own transgenderism). It is very common in English to use the suffixes “-ity” and “-ism” to create nouns that describe a phenomenon or state of being—for example, I might talk about my curiosity or intellectualism. So transsexuality and transgenderism are linguistically akin to those examples, and to me talking about my bisexuality, or discussing the subject of lesbianism more generally.

Prior to the last two years, I would (on rare occasions) hear complaints that transgenderism sounded like jargon or was too academic. Admittedly, it is not an “everyday conversation” word, but it does sometimes come in handy when one is writing about gender variant people and experiences (e.g., transgenderism throughout history, or people’s differing experiences with transgenderism). I have heard people presume that transgenderism has its origins in psychiatric/sexology discourses, the implication being that this would automatically make the word problematic. While I haven’t been able to confirm its first usage, I have doubts that this is necessarily the case. “Transgender” itself was a community term (not a psychiatric/sexology one), so it seems likely that the first usage of “transgenderism” would come from within the community, or at least from someone who was aware of and respectful toward trans perspectives. But even if it did originate in psychiatric/sexology discourses, this (in and of itself) wouldn’t disqualify its usage, as many other terms that trans people use all the time (e.g., transsexual, FTM/MTF, dysphoria, SRS) had similar origins. Indeed, the first known usage of cis terminology occurred in a 1914 German sexology article—I certainly do not think that we should stop using it for that reason.

So anyway, transgenderism has a long history of being used in a nonjudgmental and neutral manner, often by trans people themselves. But then, in the last couple years, some TERFs (trans-exclusive radical feminists) have purposefully misappropriated it in a way that confuses the state of being transgender with a potentially dangerous political ideology. This tactic is most obvious in Sheila Jeffreys’ 2014 book Gender Hurts: A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgenderism. And it was repeated in last year’s Michelle Goldberg “faux journalism” article “What Is a Woman? The dispute between radical feminism and transgenderism.” Both of these subtitles compare apples to oranges—transgenderism is a naturally occurring phenomenon, not a political ideology—and both subtitles would have been more accurate had they pitted trans-exclusionary radical feminism against transgender activism (which is an actual ongoing political/ideological debate). This incorrect usage seems to purposefully capitalize on the fact that transgenderism is not an everyday word (so it will strike trans-unaware readers as somewhat alien) and seems intended to invoke certain oppressive ideologies (e.g., sexism, racism, fascism, and others) that also just so happen to end with the suffix “-ism.”

Jeffreys’ and Goldberg’s subtitles most certainly should be critiqued for insinuating that the existence of transgender people and the state of being transgender (i.e., transgenderism) is merely an oppressive political ideology. But sadly, it is so much easier to destroy words than to save them. So unsurprisingly I suppose, in the wake of Jeffreys’ book and Goldberg’s article, a word-elimination campaign against transgenderism began to pick up speed.

The most common complaint in this campaign against transgenderism centers on statements like “transgender people are not an ‘ism’.” But as I said earlier, “isms” aren’t always ideologies—many of them (e.g., magnetism, metabolism, hypothyroidism, lesbianism, transgenderism) are simply naturally occurring phenomena. Plus, not all ideological “isms” are bad or dangerous—for instance, I personally think that feminism (as a whole) is a positive and beneficial thing. If the subtitle to Jeffreys’ book was “A Feminist Analysis of the Politics of Transgender Activism” (as would be more appropriate), would we be calling for a ban of the phrase “transgender activism” because it implies that transgender people are associated with an "ism"?

The other meme I’ve heard on multiple occasions in this recent word-elimination campaign is that trans people have never accepted or have always rejected the term transgenderism. Such statements are utterly ahistorical: As I’ve detailed above, the word has been used by trans activists (including myself) in a nonjudgmental and neutral manner for over two decades. What is new is that the term is now being misused by TERFs. And even if you do not personally like the word transgenderism (which is absolutely your right), you can probably recognize that it would be an extremely counterproductive strategy to surrender trans-related words to our enemies (whether they be TERFs, conservative political forces, etc.) as soon as they start misappropriating them. To take another example: Jeffreys and others misuse and abuse the word transgender in all sorts of ways (e.g., “transgendering,” “transgenders”), so does that mean that we should eliminate that word as well? And what would the ramifications of that be?

An alternative to sabotaging and eliminating words

I didn’t write this essay to tell others what words they should or should not use. And I am fine with trans-related language gradually evolving over time. But I do wish that we (transgender/trans/trans* folks) would think more about the long-term ramifications before engaging in word-sabotage (e.g., trans* is the most inclusive, so therefore trans sans asterisk is exclusionary) and word-elimination (e.g., transgenderism is a slur, and trans* is inherently trans-misogynistic, so therefore we should all stop using these words). As I have shown, such arguments are arbitrary and ahistorical, as words are often used by different people in different ways, and may take on positive, negative, or neutral connotations depending on the context.

But more importantly, the people who use trans-related terminology the most (by far!) are other transgender/trans/trans* folks. And whether intentional or not, attempts to undermine some specific trans-related term will have the effect of undermining those transgender/trans/trans* individuals who use that term in their activism and/or to describe their experiences.

It is really easy to condemn a word: to take offense when people say it, to tell others it is disparaging or exclusionary, and that they should not use it. But it is not the only path (or even the best path) moving forward. Perhaps instead, we could try saving words, by calling out the negative or narrow assumptions that sometimes latch themselves onto trans-related language. When someone uses a trans-related term in a disparaging or exclusionary way, perhaps we should challenge the misappropriation of that term, rather than surrendering or undermining the word itself. It is not the words themselves, but the negative assumptions and sentiments behind the words that are the problem—so perhaps they should be our primary target.

[note: If you appreciate this essay and want to see more like it, please check out my Patreon page]

01 Sep 15:56

Pope Action

by David Kurtz
Russian Sledges

'Before this announcement, a Catholic woman seeking the sacrament of forgiveness for an abortion had to go to a special priest selected by her diocese's bishop instead of confessing to her local parish priest'

For his "Year of Mercy," Pope Francis announces special dispensation for women seeking to confess their abortions.

01 Sep 13:23

Suspended T officer charged with assaulting wife at concert

by By Associated Press

FOXBORO — A suspended transit police officer named in a civil rights lawsuit for allegedly assaulting a woman at a bus station is now facing charges of assaulting her wife outside a country music concert at Gillette Stadium.

Jennifer Garvey was released on personal recognizance after pleading not guilty Monday in Wrentham District Court to domestic assault, disturbing the peace and resisting arrest.

Prosecutors say she shoved her wife Friday night at the New England Country Music Festival.

01 Sep 13:16

Berkeley Public Library director resigns amid contention over book weeding

by Steven M. Cohen

“Jeff Scott, the director of library services for the Berkeley Public Library, announced his resignation Monday after multiple protests related to the removal of thousands of books from the library’s inventory. Scott’s resignation will take effect Sept. 8, less than a year after he was appointed to the position. Sarah Dentan, acting deputy director, will take over the position while the Board of Library Trustees searches for a permanent replacement.” (via Daily Californian)

01 Sep 13:15

British Library turns down Taliban archive because of UK terror laws

by Steven M. Cohen

“The British Library is refusing to store a collection of Taliban material because of UK anti-terrorism legislation. It took the decision not to store the archive, which has been compiled over the past three years, on legal advice. The library was told that it could be in breach of the law if it made the material, which includes Afghan Taliban maps, radio broadcasts and news papers, accessible. Since 2012 experts have been translating the archive into English as well digitising the information.” (via The Telegraph)

01 Sep 12:43

Recueil Méthodique de Principes d' Ecriture

by russiansledges
Russian Sledges

niiiiiice copperplate manual

01 Sep 12:43

Interpreting MARC records - Folgerpedia

by russiansledges
This page is meant to be a short guide to working with MARC bibliographic records for those who do not normally create or edit them, but would like to better understand how the library catalog works, or want to use MARC records in their research.
01 Sep 12:31

Greta Garbo in Mata Hari

Greta Garbo in Mata Hari

01 Sep 12:21


Russian Sledges

via carnibore

31 Aug 22:36

Diversity Panels I’d Like To See

by Annalee

Generic “diversity panels” are boring.

Header image: “Backstage” by Gabriel Garcia Marengo. CC-BY.I get it: you schedule “Women in Gaming” and “Disability in Genre Fiction” with the best of intentions. You know these are hot topics of discussion in the fandom community right now, and you want your con to add to the conversation.

But these generic panels don’t so much add to the conversation as recap it. It’s impossible to go into a subject as broad as “Race In Science Fiction” in any depth in a one-hour slot, and without knowing how well the audience has educated themselves on the topic, the panelists generally just end up summarizing the background reading.

What makes this worse for panelists is that, as members of underrepresented groups, we’re in high demand for this kind of “diversity homework.” We get scheduled for these panels instead of panels on subjects related to our actual expertise or current projects. While folks with more privilege get scheduled for memorable topics that will help them raise their profile and promote their work, we’re stuck explaining Empathy 101 to folks who could just as easily look it up on Tumblr.

So if ignoring diversity topics completely isn’t the answer, but including diversity programming isn’t good enough either, what’s a programming head to do?

The very best thing you can do is make sure you have a diverse concom, especially on your programming and safety teams. A diverse team can help you develop engaging panel topics and recruit underrepresented panelists.

But getting underrepresented people to volunteer when you don’t have many to start with can be tough. Developing panel topics that will actually contribute meaningfully to ongoing conversations about diversity in the SFF community is a good first step.

A good diversity panel doesn’t try to tackle the entire ‘diversity issue’ in a single hour. Instead, choose a more focused topic that will give panelists a chance to share their perspective and experience while grounding the discussion in something concrete, so it’s accessible to an audience that hasn’t necessarily done all their homework.

I asked folks on Twitter for some examples of diversity panels they’d like to see, and we came up with some examples.

Instead Of Disability In Genre Fiction:

  • Accessibility in Futuristic Societies
  • Re-Inventing The Wheelchair: Assistive Devices in Science Fiction And Fantasy
  • Positive Portrayals of Neuroatypicality in Genre Fiction: who’s doing it right and what we’d like to see
  • Protagonists With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Medicine After The End Of The World: Managing Chronic Conditions and Serious Illness After The Apocalypse

Instead of Gender In Genre Fiction:

  • Marginalized Perspectives On Mass Surveillance
  • Science Fiction and the Future of Childbirth (careful not to be cis-normative!)
  • Beyond The Boob Window: Practical and Stylish Fighting Clothes For Your Intrepid Heroine
  • Toxic Masculinity As Villain (This panel was proposed and led by @Sinboy at Readercon. Check out the full panel description here. Or watch the panel on Youtube, courtesy Scott Edelman. (h/t @rosefox))
  • Saving The World After Fifty: Celebrating Genre Fiction’s Silver-Haired Heroines
  • Standards of Beauty in Secondary Worlds. Beauty/fashion is always related to a display of wealth. Think past slender and fair.
  • The Female Gaze Is Coming For You: Romance’s Assault on Patriarchy
  • Men In The Post-Patriarchy: Inter- and Intra-gender Friendships, Collaborations, and Rivalries in Societies that Don’t Dehumanize The Feminine
  • Female Characters In Video Games: What makes a female character fun for women to play?
  • Hell Hath No Fury: Ways To Motivate, Impede, and Change Female Characters (That Don’t Involve Rape)
  • Queer Identities After The Apocalypse: Trans Health Care and Queer Reproductive Choices In Post-Apocalyptic Worlds (h/t Kelly Szpara)

Instead of Race In Genre Fiction:

  • Marginalized Perspectives On Mass Surveillance
  • The Future of Racism: The past’s virulent racism against the Irish has now faded to linguistic artifacts like “paddy wagon” and “red-headed stepchild.” What traces will present-day racism leave behind, and what new forms of racism will emerge?
  • The Colonialism of Fairytales
  • Colonialism in Secondary World Fantasies
  • Describing Race In Secondary Worlds
  • Religions of the African Diaspora in Genre Fiction: Beyond Zombies and Horror (h/t India Valentin)
  • But Where Did This Chocolate Come From? Even Fantasy Cultures Don’t Exist In Isolation
  • Creating Imaginary Races Doesn’t Erase Racism: How Real-World Racism Bleeds Into Secondary Worlds
  • “But Her Race Isn’t Important To The Plot!” and Other Terrible Reasons not To Include Non-White Characters In Fiction

More Suggestions:

  • Language, Dialect, and Code-Switching
  • Beyond The Hero’s Journey: Non-Western Narrative Structure in Genre Fiction
  • Alien Cultures That Don’t Dehumanize: creating original alien societies without portraying real minority races, religions, and cultures as literally not human
  • Defense Against The Dark Arts: Dealing With Internet Trolls (I give a forty-five-minute talk on how marginalized people can keep themselves safe, and how others can help protect them. Invite me to give it at your con!)
  • How to Fail Gracefully: You’re going to make a mistake. Here’s some things that will keep an error from turning into a Fail.

Special thanks to Mary Robinette Kowal, K. Tempest Bradford, and Natalie Luhrs for helping me generate panel topics. Feel free to use any of these topics for panels at your cons. I ask only that you be conscientious about who you put on these panels, or any other diversity programming you schedule. Finding people who’ll volunteer for these panels to talk about what great allies they are is easy. If you really want your con to move the conversation forward, make it a priority to seek out and center marginalized voices, and folks who can speak to these topics from their personal lived experience.

Are there diversity panel topics you’d like to see? Feel free to suggest them in the comments below.

Edited to Add: Michi Trota of Uncanny Magazine has an excellent post up about diversity panels, and how underrepresented panelists deserve to be included in all kinds of programming instead of being sidelined: Diversity Panels Are The Beginning, Not The End. I highly recommend it to everyone involved in con programming.

31 Aug 21:48

houghtonlib: Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt wearing bat hat. Otto....

by villeashell
Russian Sledges

via otters


Portrait of Sarah Bernhardt wearing bat hat. Otto. Paris, ca. 1880?


Houghton Library, Harvard University

31 Aug 21:42

Journalist Spends Four Years Traversing India to Document Crumbling Subterranean Stepwells Before they Disappear

by Christopher Jobson
Russian Sledges

via baronhose


Across India an entire category of architecture is slowly crumbling into obscurity, and you’ve probably never even heard it. Such was the case 30 years ago when Chicago journalist Victoria Lautman made her first trip to the country and discovered the impressive structures called stepwells. Like gates to the underworld, the massive subterranean temples were designed as a primary way to access the water table in regions where the climate vacillates between swelteringly dry during most months, with a few weeks of torrential monsoons in the spring.

Thousands of stepwells were built in India starting around the 2nd and 4th centuries A.D. where they first appeared as rudimentary trenches but slowly evolved into much more elaborate feats of engineering and art. By the 11th century some stepwells were commissioned by wealthy or powerful philanthropists (almost a fourth of whom were female) as monumental tributes that would last for eternity. Lautman shares with Arch Daily about the ingenious construction of the giant wells that plunge into the ground up to 10 stories deep:

Construction of stepwells involved not just the sinking of a typical deep cylinder from which water could be hauled, but the careful placement of an adjacent, stone-lined “trench” that, once a long staircase and side ledges were embedded, allowed access to the ever-fluctuating water level which flowed through an opening in the well cylinder. In dry seasons, every step—which could number over a hundred—had to be negotiated to reach the bottom story. But during rainy seasons, a parallel function kicked in and the trench transformed into a large cistern, filling to capacity and submerging the steps sometimes to the surface. This ingenious system for water preservation continued for a millennium.

Because of an increasing drop in India’s water table due to unregulated pumping, most of the wells have long since dried up and are now almost completely neglected. While some stepwells near areas of heavy tourism are well maintained, most are used as garbage dumping grounds and are overgrown with wildlife or caved in completely. Many have fallen completely off the map.

Inspired by an urgency to document the wells before they disappear, Lautman has traveled to India numerous times in the last few years and taken upon herself to locate 120 structures across 7 states. She’s currently seeking a publisher to help bring her discoveries and photographs to a larger audience, and also offers stepwell lectures to architects and universities. If you’re interested, get in touch.

You can read a more comprehensive account of stepwells by Lautman on Arch Daily.












31 Aug 13:05

Ivy City Gin

by Jenifer Tracy

Ivy City Gin is a new American dry gin coming out of the Washington DC distillery, One Eight Distilling. The gin is named after the northeastern neighborhood of Ivy City where the spirit is made, a neighborhood currently undergoing a bit of a renaissance. A city not known for it’s distilleries, this is only the SECOND gin produced in the District post-prohibition! 

“As part of its ongoing commitment to the Ward 5 community, One Eight Distilling will donate $1 from every bottle sold in D.C. this year to Habitat for Humanity of Washington, D.C. in support of ongoing projects in Ivy City.”

It’s quite a hefty bottle that One Eight Distilling is packing their product up in. The bottle features a simple map of the iconic shape of Washington DC, with a star to highlight the northeastern neighborhood of Ivy City. It’s not a flashy bottle of alcohol, the gin name is typeset in a lightweight, serifed font and the majority of the artwork is black line art. Of course it should be noted that “Handmade in Washington DC” is featured quite prominently - as this is a unique selling point. 

“Ivy City Gin is distilled from locally-sourced grains (63% rye, 26% corn, and 11% malted rye). The complex yet well-balanced taste profile features forward notes of Juniper and Spicebush, and a subtle bouquet of eight additional botanicals.”

Set in the bottom left corner, a compass spreads its arms out across the bottle, with the One Eight Distilling logo mark sitting right above it. The logo is a bright shade of red, bringing some contrast to the otherwise one color palette. Made up of the numbers “one” and “eight” from the company name, the logo is very clean and minimalistic. I have to give the designer on this project a thumbs up for knowing how to work with design restraint!



Client: One Eight Distilling

Country: United States

31 Aug 13:03

Jameson Bitters

by Theresa Christine Johnson

As if you needed another reason to break out the Jameson, they’ve just announced their new Wild Sloe Berry Bitters. Superbly designed by the folks at Pearlfisher, this small bottle will not only be a lovely addition to your liquor cabinet but it’s also sure to up your cocktail game.

“This is a new, beautifully crafted and locally sourced Bitters brand from Jameson that delves into the brand’s Irish roots and flavours, and is designed to give influential bartenders and drink enthusiasts new ways to enjoy and experience the iconic whiskey brand. With the rapid growth in Bitters brands, a certain ‘type’ of Bitters language was quickly saturating the category. Pearlfisher’s task was to create a visually distinctive look and feel for Jameson Bitters, whilst ensuring we complement, respect and become a great companion to the Jameson master brand.”

Jameson’s Wild Sloe Berry Bitters is a delightful addition to their line of spirits, creating an entirely new way to view the brand. Where their traditional whiskey feels strong and authoritative, their new bitters is delicate and gentle. Of course, it is still 100% Jameson — the recognizable brand name is written at the top in the same font, combined with the logo and green bottle — but the off-white label, lavender text and graphics, and small bottle give Jameson something new. The bitters contain ingredients that were hand foraged in Ireland, and the packaging implies the careful attention that goes into creating the product.

“The new design is honest and unpretentious, capturing and preserving the essence of hand foraging with a raw and rustic delivery. The Jameson hierarchy is maintained but the label encapsulates the idea of stepping into the wild, and the journey of the forager, by using natural stock, hand illustrated detailing with a single-minded and simple use of colour representing the seasonality of the ingredients.”


Designed by: Pearlfisher

Country: United Kingdom

City: London

28 Aug 01:56

Structured Settlements

by editors
Russian Sledges


How an entire industry built itself convincing lead-paint poisoning victims to sign over settlement payments for a fraction of what they’re worth.

[Full Story]
28 Aug 00:05

houghtonlib: This illustrated 18th century love letter was...

by villeashell
Russian Sledges

via otters


This illustrated 18th century love letter was originally folded into a small interlocking square called a “puzzle purse”. (You’ll be relieved to know that we used a facsimile version to make the demonstration GIF above.) For more on this charming piece of folk art, see this post on the Houghton Library Blog.

MS Am 3030

Houghton Library, Harvard University