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Silver Adept
09 September 2013 @ 08:41 pm
I welcome all of the following types of comments on ANY of my entries:
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  • "+1" or Facebook style "like".
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  • Long, wordy comments. Rambling is totally okay.
  • Comments and links on related topics.
  • Comments on single links, entities, paragraphs, topics, or words in the entry. I throw out a lot of things each entry, and I don't expect anyone to have to come up with a coherent comment on each and every one of them to comment.
  • Sequential commentary. It's totally okay to comment about one thing as you read it, then another thing in a separate comment, then a third thing after you've chewed on it for a while and feel ready to talk about it.
  • Incoherent comments. It’s all good. I would rather have you here and showing interest,, even if it's just a *flail*, than for you to stay silent because you are afraid or unable to get the perfect comment out.
  • Talking amongst yourselves in the comments is fine. I like creating a place where people get to interact!

I also welcome:

  • Comments on older entries, access-locked or public.
  • Comments on VERY OLD entries, access-locked or public. I have many years of archives.
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  • Comments from people who I’ve never met.
  • Comments from people who haven’t talked to me in awhile.
  • Comments from people who’ve never talked to me.
  • I like knowing the provenance of new commenters. If you're new, I'd love to know where you came from and what brought you here.

My great anxiety is that there's nobody out there and I'm shouting into the wind. If you’re feeling like you want to comment with something, feel free to comment with what feels good and comfortable to you, whether that’s leaving a !!! or an essay. If you don't have the spoons for any comment, that's okay, too. No pressure, no obligations.

How I reply to comments:
  • I mostly try to reply to comments.
  • I normally try to reply to comments as soon after they arrive as I can.
  • My comments will probably try to elicit more discussion and longer-form commentary. Part of it is my professional training, part of it is because I like discussions.
  • You are never obligated to reply to a reply, nor to write longer-form than you wish.
  • If you would like a response to a comment, I encourage you to let me know. “I would appreciate a response to this if possible,” etc. is totally fine with me.
  • Absentminded. If I have forgotten to reply to something you want a reply to, a poke is totally okay.

Linking to my entries:
  • If it’s public, it’s fair game.
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  • Please do not archive my work without asking me first.
  • If you do link to me elsewhere, it warms my heart if you tell me where you linked, but it's not a requirement.
  • If something I linked or wrote inspired you, it warms my heart if you link me to it. Also not a requirement.

Transformative works:

As of the time of writing this (02013-09-09), the content of my blog is licensed CC-BY-SA (3.0 Unported), which says that if you use my work for something, your work should attribute me (the user name and a link back to my blog is usually sufficient) and your work should also be licensed under a license similar to the Attribution-Sharealike license. The stuff I link to is not governed under this license and may have additional requirements for you to use.

Adding and access:

If you want to add me, go ahead! Please feel encouraged to do so.

I like new subscribers. I also respect access-locks - if something you created is That Awesome, I'll ask for permission before excerpting or posting elsewhere.

I may not add you back - I tend to evaluate based on what's available on your entries page. If you're mostly access only, it may take some comments or a conversation in a third space before I have an idea of whether I want to subscribe. If your journal is a repository for your fiction efforts, I may not add you back, because I do not have near enough time to properly read anyone's fiction as a part of my daily list crawl. I would probably enjoy it, if I had the time.

I don't give access, generally. For one, nearly everything posted is public, so you're not missing out on anything by not having that access. If I do post something under access-lock, it is probably something intensely personal, and so I'd be hand-selecting who I want to see it.

(This idea stolen and modified from [personal profile] trascendenza, who first broached it in their own journal when talking about commenting culture and their own anxieties.)

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Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: Mitsuda via Valente - Schala's Theme
Silver Adept
Yep, whatever was there is no longer, which is a thing that can be said of relationships and other interactions as well as posts, if you squint the right way. It with the long-time unhappiness, in with the new possibilities. Advice on what might help salvage a relationship before it's too far gone. But also the part where you have to realize the truth of what's going on. It helps if you have an idea of who you are (Rationality, Reverence, Sensitivity), but in many of the most important cases, that's not possible. And, perhaps, find the right story that can help get you out.

Take it one day at a time, and remember being human is good enough. Cultivate a positive body image.

Useful etiquette on pronoun usage and preferences. On the idea of gender as a feeling or emotion, rather than an immutable identity.

An aborted example of the negging technique. Don't do this, people. It gets you off on the wrong foot.

Jillian Holtzmann, autistic and queer? Certainly has the feel and the actions for it, even if Word of God doesn't confirm. Rachel Bloom on writing, starring, and producing a show that pushes the envelope and talks frankly. The Deadpool film didn't want to pay for the writers to be on set, so the main star did instead. Because you actually do want writers on set. The benefit of putting your show on premium cable is the ability to show nudity of all sorts - of course, if you actually want to show things, you have to be on those channels because of broadcast restrictions.

The private lives of DC heroes. Black Harley Quinn cosplay in the Suicide Squad style. The romance between a human and a mer-person.

A very large lot of celebrities would like you to vote this year, if you are in the United States and are eligible to do so.

There's still more work to be done than just voting. Take cues from those best positioned to know what's best. Read their works. Participate where they say, in the ways they request. Broaden your reading habits. Do the work without seeking rewards. Language is incredibly powerful. Choose wisely.

If someone is disabled and is having a good enough day to do something nice, celebrate them instead of accusing them of faking their illnesses. Understand that they have been told all their life that they should become the disabled person that doesn't need outside help. Judgment on someone else's body, especially unsolicited, rarely ends well. Especially thoughtless commentary. Teeth are often used as shorthand, which makes it criminal for teeth not to be included on plans to get everyone insured. All doctors should be held to the standard in this comic. Dieting doesn't help with health, HAES does, but neither helps with weight loss. Permanent contraception should be available to everyone who wants it, without gatekeeping.

Understand that loss is a thing and endeavor not to add stress or grief on top of that. Let people find their way through grief, and support them in it.

Respect someone's identity, always. Including the way they write their name, the way they choose to look, how they describe themselves, and how they choose to refer to their ancestry.

Representation is so important, especially to teenagers. No, really, representation is very important to teenagers. Teenagers deserve education that is accurate and inclusive to all their identities. Comics can help disseminate valuable information. (Comics that are not destroyed by censorship, that is.) Sometimes looking at a familiar character in a new way helps. Fighting to see more nuanced and accurate depictions on television helps. Reading a book with themes above one's supposed age group helps. Actually believing someone when they say what their identity is would help a very large lot. Adjusting your vocabulary to be more inclusive helps.

Everyone deserves a family or group to call theirs. Each person should be able to claim the identity they want, the hobbies they want, and be able to make their outer presentation match their inner self. However they choose to style themselves. And whatever size they need for it. Then choose the companions they want. Regardless of what they look like.

A good idea - show what beauty products look like on different skin tones.

A better idea - women who know what condoms they like and carry their own.

First Lady Obama says men need to be better when it comes to their dealing with women.

The War on (Some) Drugs isn't effective, according to a police officer that has been undercover for it, and now is coming to grips with what damage they may have done.

Tamora Pierce could do with movie adaptations. The case for divorce being normal in fantasy fiction. The need for good twists that affect the characters, rather than the audience.

Lovers of ancient Greek stories.

After the destruction wrought on Japan, many of the women came home as brides for the United States soldiers, and then had to live in the country.

What appears to be an act of cruelty might have a lot different meaning in the right context. Or it might be an act of cruelty that others can justify.

The popularity of those no longer pretending to be perfect mothers should say something about the expectation of perfection from mothers.

The feeling of brain fog - how people with mental issues may be while affected. What anxious people might be thinking about, even if they don't appear to be anxious. What some mental illnesses might look like if given form.

An open letter to the Internet asking us to fix the fucking problems that allowing unfiltered abuse has gotten us in to. Which I put next to denunciation of the content of Donald Trump's character, his choice of "humor", choice of reality, (and those that vote to put him in power) for likely obvious reasons.

The idea that J. K. Rowling is the best fan of Harry Potter, and this compelled to try and keep improving it, much to the aggravation of the fans who don't see it that way at all. A convincing argument for why those books should be "Hermione Granger and...".

A year of not throwing away one's shot. Of art capturing the feelings involved and the players that bring the drama to life.

Sweden has made governmental incentives to encourage repair and reuse and punishments for buying new disposable things.

Disclaimers about films being fiction have to do with someone suing about the inaccuracy of a film. And it involves Rasputin.

Fanfiction with original characters is a time-honored tradition - Shakespeare did it. As did Virgil. The decline of romantic fantasy - once material started arriving that suited tastes better, the genre that was almost to many declined.

The very earliest humans are likely to have arrived on the North American continent by boat, rather than land bridge.

Things that interfere in getting writing out the door.

Avoiding fear of things that are scary, like driving.

Tony Stark is not special. He cannot bankrupt a nation. His characterization is...not great, at best.

Photographs of the changing fashion of the Victorian bride. The history of women's sport often involves men saying that sport is bad for women and that they shouldn't participate, even into the current era. Despite the bevy of black girls and women winning medals at the Olympic Games and breaking world records (even when their bouquets have bees in them).

Sailor Mod? Cosplay in fuku. And the Sailor Evening Dress Scouts.

Cosplay for a movie that hasn't been released yet, Moana. Frozen with a cast of many black people.

An argument in favor of the mystery of illusions, and the ethics code that comes with it. The greatest illusionist of his time may have been a soccer player that never had to actually play or show his skills.

A ballet staged on the set of a movie about going to the moon...that's not actually in the movie about going to the moon.

The continued overexploitation of natural water resources in Oregon is contributing to the likelihood of drying up those resources.

The drift of Australia requires a significant GPS correction by the end of the year.

Photographs of the Perseid meteor showers, transforming a dress by leaving it submerged in the Dead Sea for a few months, translucent statues in the forest, constructing flowers in ice bricks, re-creating old photographs, using weighted blankets to help adults sleep better, what hot tea looks like when thrown into below-freezing weather, and sculpture in brick that casts different shadows depending on the angle of light.

Fingerprint collection technology on phones may be used to try and collect identifying data on thieves. Reasons to update your software regularly. The wireless signal around a computer may deform in ways that can be interpreted to read keystrokes. Recommendations to use lower intensity LEDs for street lighting, relaxing games for your mobile devices, a store of gadgets and interesting successful Kickstarter projects, visions of the future from the distant past, fountain sculpture that requires the water to be on for the picture to be complete, WhatsApp using its relationship with Facebook to share your days and give you ads in return, technology to help with painting nails, scientific experimentation about life on other planets through isolation, miniature crime scenes, and octopus-looking soft robots.

Horses. can be trained to communicate by pointing, cats and Doctor Who together at a cat show, professional photography of goats and sheep, majestic Maine Coon pictures, a goldendoodle on vacation, capybaras and other animals, a cute Bengal with spots, the Landlord's Game, using cat breeds, the successful best day of a dog that was in a fighting ring, a squid that looks like a child's toy, artistically constructed sushi to resemble mosaic, using photomanipulation techniques to produce a Clifford effect, a kitten and a baby waking up together, black and white photographs of cats, cats that look like Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon, and dinosaurs and women competing together.

Last for tonight, Stanislov Petrov, the man who prevented nuclear war.

The art of taking better selfies, with men providing the examples.

The reasons why people should still be out and proud and allies too after horrific violence to the marginalized.

Photographs of a couple still clearly affectionate for each other.

And Build-An-Eevee.

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Current Mood: anxiousanxious
Current Music: Lindsey Sterling - Moon Trance
Silver Adept
Shall we begin with Lemonade remixed? And continue on into the idea that not all songs that look like they're about men are about men.

The Impact 25, 25 women who have done great things and accomplishments in the world of sports, each given the Marvel hero treatment.

Methods for catching genuine childlike wonder.

Kings and leaders of various African and Middle Eastern nations that aren't all Pharaohs.

Fashion spreads involving really attractive women. A woman orc in cheesecake pinup fashion. An attractive and colorful mermaid. Dolls for the Vampire in you. Sailor Moon characters remagined in pinup and nose art styles.

Nickelodeon continues on their tradition of their acceptance of today's reality by putting a married gay couple in one of their cartoons.

So, a couple of posts back I mentioned a figure skater who did a Sailor Moon routine and got to meet the creator of Sailor Moon not too soon afterward. Here's the performance of the Sailor Moon ice routine. The decisions on the costume change were spot on, and the poses and synchronization to the music track work very well.

The power struggle that can develop between showrunners / authors and fans over the direction their work should be taking, now that fans have a lot more platforms to express themselves in numbers. That the article calls it an ideology suggests that they're listening to the loudest voices without understanding them, to me, as many of the very loud voices in fandom are about representation of reality in character choices, and that domains of fiction should be able to have characters that represent the diversity of people, without the diversity being the spotlight thing for that character. Now, however, instead of in zines and letters pages, fans are able to express themselves on broad broadcasting platforms like Twitter and Tumblr, and archive their work publicly on the Internet for others to see. The fans are better-connected now, which makes it easy for them to amplify their voices like an Occupy microphone. And if creators take the same tack that most figures did when confronted with an Occupy microphone, they shouldn't be surprised to see the voices arrayed against them getting louder and more insistent that they be heard.

The Supreme Court of the United States says people convicted of domestic violence charges should not have guns. Even if what they did was not deliberate - with weapons, a moment of passion can be deadly.

The history of gestures regarding the address of the United States flag by its citizens...and why there may not be a whole lot of attention paid to it.

If you seek to bring more people to a spiritual life and spiritual fulfillment, work to remove the impediments that prevent them from doing so. Social justice is spiritual work.

The Republican candidate may have insinuated that the Democratic candidate needed to die, lest she select Supreme Court justices that would narrow the scope of the right to have weapons.

Unsurprisingly, young people have issues with sex, often involving how to get to an orgasm or to prevent doing so too quickly. Perhaps because sex ed still doesn't include the part where good consensual sex is supposed to be about mutual pleasure and being able to say what does and doesn't move toward that goal.

There is a distinction between the idea of finding someone sexy and framing them to be sexualized and objectified. For the most part, objectifying happens to women characters, so perceiving the difference between how men are framed and how women are framed helps point out the difference.

Catholic hospitals still refuse to "do no harm" by not providing contraceptive and abortion care and not referring patients to those who will.

Before marriage, adoption was a method that gay couples could use to ensure rights and privileges were appropriately arrayed.

Trying to tell people in service work about your emotional states was a failure. Telling an intimate partner about it produced the connection desired. With an interlude of how horrible it is that men are socialized into a limited set of acceptable emotional expressions. So, two of of three (bad on emotional suppression, good on talking to friends) toward a good model of communicating feelings, at least. But spending the majority of the time talking to cashiers or other women in mind where they couldn't directly not engage him probably gives the writer the wrong impression about the world around them.

If your house is on fire, metaphorically, there are decisions that need to be made about whether to save it, and how to go about either getting out of it or bringing in the professionals to help put it out. The idea of the pod, who are the people you turn to for help with violence done to you or to get accountability for violence you are doing.

Avatar Cat. Crown Prince Zuko and his dragon. There's a whole idea there somewhere about how caring for a small dragon helped Zuko learn how to care for himself.

A thing to remember and put very close to my heart: Being brave and strong doesn’t mean that you have no wounds. Being brave and strong means being wounded, injured, and forging ahead anyways even if you’re close to collapse.

A story of twelve sisters lamenting what has been lost. A story of twelve sisters delighting in the dance. The cyclical nature of our stories are supposed to help us when we are down and when we are up.

On burnout and how it might be a symptom of not having made all that many decisions autonomously in life.

The assumptions of the world that a capitalist society insists are unbreakable truisms.

At a speech most White people wouldn't watch, Jesse Williams spoke truth about what life is for Black people. More of Mr. Williams. And physical intervention in the use of racial slurs.

Portland, Oregon still has a thriving black community, even with the gentrification that's making it harder for everyone to live affordably there. Consult BlackPDX for locations and listings of Black-owned businesses in and around the city.

Luke Cage is a hero needed right now, and it will hopefully be an awesome show with awesome people. Hulu wants Runaways to come to television, which can also increase the diversity on the television machines. But we note, as the Mary Sue does, that these shows are being commissioned by subscription television services, and not for display on cable or broadcast networks. Diversity and stories of our times are apparently not good enough for the regular airwaves. Star Trek: Discovery also needs to continue with diversity of cast, but also be set away from any of the established timelines.

Take My Wife involves two lesbians putting on a comedy show and living their lives outside of that.

Josika Nicole on coming to your identity and them embracing it.

Yotsuba&! is excellent manga. Go read. Squirrel Girl is awesome. Go read.

Lin-Manuel Miranda has been tapped to help with a live remake of The Little Mermaid. Guess that Ham4Ham was a premonition.

The cancelation of Agent Carter was apparently solely a network decision without consulting Marvel.

The new Ghostbusters movie is a strong critique of the academic system and its requirements.

The way that the Albuquerque Police Department intended to prevent anyone from reforming them while they continued to shoot people. Algorithms that reflect the biases of society need to be left unused when discovered. Regardless of where those algorithms are being deployed. Or for what purpose they are being put to use.

Trying to trademark an identity and sending cease-and-desist on it is generally a bad life choice and exposes how much extra work and funding entities such as the patent and trademark office need to prevent abuse.

Surveillance using the PRISM program wrongly targeted a New Zealand democracy activist at the request of the NZ government.

Transparency is a requirement for any public health organization that wants to try and combat an epidemic. Having a history of transparency is also a helpful thing. As is making sure your clinics in the most rural places are funded and staffed.

The Voice of Night Vale is also HIV positive.

Florida's open records laws contribute to the weirdness of Florida news stories, which means other states could get their own interesting bits of their governments would also apply transparency.

Listening to audiobook is the same cognitive load as reading things. So it's not cheating, and often better, to have someone narrating to you.

Work smarter, not harder, by not putting in more hours and by leaving jobs that insist you put in more time instead of being able to think through problems. Use recovery periods offered to you so that you may come back to your work (or whatever else) recharged and ready.

The passing of a pioneer of women in anthropology.

Creating frosted floral arrangements on cakes, succulent flowers version.

An acceptance speech for those who banded together to defeat a small number of rabid ideologues.

Advice for musicians and artists about getting beyond both the technical and the self-serving to get to the point.

In comedy, timing is everything. An attempt to suggest that being shy in person may be a contrast of having good skill at writing.

The iron-rich waterfall of Antarctica, a tearoom constructed in harmony with the tree that supports it, planters felted into animal shapes, what studying bones actually says about the person whose bones they are - not as much as one might think..., and a necessary, if artificial, salt sea.

In technology, musical prowess with vegetables, giant bronze statues, the origins of pink lemonade, HG Wells' prescience of the future, the possibility that a deja vu is the way the brain tries to fact check memory, illusions people have about their memories and their recall, the opening of research funded by NASA, a global view of a meteor shower, various less common vending machine products, a loom made of LEGO bricks, and the appeal of driving vehicles.

Physics of wheelchair use, with nice explanations as to why chairs work the way they do. Fashion for chair users.

Websites for learning, practicing, or expanding various skills.

The quotative like as a linguistic stopgap, rather than just a Valley Girl tic.

Tree communication networks, the return of water voles, the death of a matriarch of tigers, the problems of invasive species, like goldfish, cats that would like your appreciation, Kate McKinnon as servant to her cat,a garden full of plants that will kill humans, birdsong sang in the egg that affects development based on temperature, cats as vehicles for instruction on consent, photographing frozen flowers, nature documentaries with comedy show subtitles, and balloon animals beyond the standard ideas.

Last for tonight, even though it might normally go at the front, Chloe X Halle, young girls scouted by Beyoncé, sing the national anthem.

And book opening lines, which I managed to muddle my way to a perfect score on, despite not having read most of the books the lines came from.

Finally, finding the actress who played the only live version of Carmen Sandiego. Nice work, detective.

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Current Mood: anxiousanxious
Current Music: Casey Lee Williams - I Burn (Yellow Trailer Remix)
Silver Adept
10 August 2016 @ 07:40 am
Let's start with speculation on what happened to the Winter Soldier.

Following on with that, the many incarnations of Harleen Quinzel.

And, because it's well overdue, time for some Ghostbusters. The costuming choices in the film reflect the personalities of the people wearing them.

Paul Feig made this movie specifically for women and girls to be on screen and doing great. And guess what? Everyone is buying the merch. Seanan McGuire is on board with this movie, because it's miles better than what usually passes as a movie for women. Women get to act with agency and not be just possessed tools of demons. Women get to do science based on the real thing. Women get to be action heroes and Ghostbusters. It is a great movie to put little girls in front of.

Ghostbusters is a movie that tells men who are complaining about women in their clubhouse that the women belong there. It's also a better movie than the original movie.

Kate McKinnon's Holtzmann is gay except for official word from the studio, because gods forbid you have an action hero who's not het. The Internet will correct anyone who says otherwise. As for McKinnon, Gillian Anderson's Scully helped with identification.

Leslie Jones got the Patty role because she was incredibly funny. Patty as a character could stand to have done a lot better on racial tropes. Leslie Jones was subjected to Twitter harassment and vitriol from known trolls and harassers, and Twitter did very little to stem the tide. Better tools to ban known trolls would be helpful/a>. Really, though, harassing someone because they're black, a woman, and successful should be socially reprehensible. Social media platforms can put in place rules and devote resources to cleaning up their trash. Which means effective things - banning anonymity isn't always effective at stopping the trolls.

Ghostbusters needs to have companions - other movies with it that have women in roles normally reserved for men or that work on the Smurfette Principle. Because it really is an action movie for women, starring women.

The Spiritualist traditions of talking to the dead shows up a bit more on the reboot than the original.

Lastly, director Feig on why men aren't particularly funny or comedic.

Lessons for the budding social scientist on programming and tools that will help them greatly in their quest.

Being Black means dealing with hundreds of years of institutional abuse as well as White people taking culture and language for their own purposes. It means stylists not knowing what to do with natural Black hair. It means receiving no sympathy when your child is killed by police. To fix the problem, the institutions must be changed and the people who would be dismissed as "bitter" listened to. They are persisting in the face of a culture determined not to let them have anything. They disagree with those who are styled as leaders on the television screens. And there's a lot under the surface that needs to be unpacked. Actually, there's plenty on the surface that needs to be addressed, too. Which can really be achieved by having White people avoid becoming leaders and spotlight figures in movements about Black people.

An art challenge to draw a black woman in various animation and cartoon styles. Because practice at both drawing and at seeing black people in your cartoons.

Toxic masculinity, defined and shown with the consequences involved. We need men who have a definition of masculinity other than what we have. Like men wearing hijab in support of women not having to wear it, and men in suits to support their wives wearing them. We need women who choose not to play by men's rules and that do things like walking the streets and observing the world. We need woman marrying women who as to avoid being married by men. And the Republican candidate for the presidency does not help this, exhibiting a lot of traits that reinforce the toxic idea.

An account of being trans* and raising a child that is trans*.

Badass disabled women.

A woman cared for hundreds of men dying of AIDS when their families abandoned them for being gay. The memory of tragedy and disaster and war must be carried forward to the next generation, let we forget and have to learn it again the hard way.

Hilary Clinton has had to deal with decades of sexism and her politics, many of them posed as questions from women. It can be a revelation to realize that Hillary Clinton also is deserving of love.

The Republican candidate makes members of the military and intelligence communities very nervous about his abilities.

The ivory tower turns up its nose at those who don't act sufficiently like themselves.

A different type of exploitation has tourists going to areas of low security to experience the thrills of being in a place with low security. Because danger-seekers with money to burn just can't find something more local to get their thrills with.

Have some nice pictures of humans being kind. And an old theater converted to a bookstore.

North Carolina joins two other states in having their 'target Democratic voters' identification laws partially invalidated.

The New York Public Library has long been answering difficult or boggling questions by telephone.

Small self-care suggestions. Which can help if you're a person who can assert that they have a self worth caring for.

Getting really hit in the feelings by this piece about autonomy, attachment, and security in relationships for men, mostly because I can't tell which side of the line I fall on, and whether I've been contributing to difficulties or not. The follow-up post about cognitive distortions didn't help, either, because it suggests that at least some of the issues are things that a self has to work on, and I have a habit of blaming myself for all the problems in my life...

A story of a workplace that inspired a post-traumatic stress response. Which might be applicable outside that environment. The ways in which men can appear to be feminists, but are instead its opposite. Which I hope never to be.

Abuse should never be normalized, no matter where it comes from. Even if someone has been socialized to be abusive to others.

Sometimes realizing everything is fucked is completely liberating.

Intersectionality is everywhere, even in professed anarchism.

Berlin had a great gay and lesbian scene before the purge came.

The reasons went one might not want motherhood, but definitely still wants children in one's life.

What science says is the right course of action to recover from opioid addictions, which is the opposite of what usually is shown on television to be effective. Statistics suggest that drug addictions are recoverable, and usually successfully.

The Old English dictionary and its scholars, currently finishing H, with a long way to go. which I put next to alchemical diagrams because everyone needs pictures with hidden information.

The method by which food is cut may affect the perception of its flavor. A guide to various wok-frying techniques. A sourdough starter guide. Decoding the deli dessert case. Effectively stocking a pantry for Asian cooking. All you need to know to throw a tea party.

An accessible walking trail for those with visual impairment. Which is really rather cool - getting to experience nature and trails and paths shouldn't be restricted to only those with good eyesight.

The history of the dollhouse, as a display of wealth and an instructional item, before it became a toy thing and a place to show off miniature skill.

Getting rid of clothes sometimes helps the psyche more than trying to get rid of weight. Even though the stigma around weight is suffocating and more than a few marketing campaigns want you to be forever afraid of being fat.

Witches are powerful because they transgress, and it is dangerous to be accused of being a witch because of that transgression. Transgression takes many forms, however, and reacts to the culture it is in.

If you believe that women get abortions for kicks or other frivolous reasons, observe this account of a woman who had a child that could not live, and so aborted it at 32 weeks. Even those who do carry to team have issues to work with - a cultural assumption that every woman should get back to the shape she was in before pregnancy, for example.

When women say they are in pain, and it is horrible pain, believe them and offer them things appropriate to the level of experienced pain. Don't ask them whether it's a period thing.

Excuses attempting to disclaim that gender was totally not involved in any a woman got passed up for a promotion. A long list of topics which boys have asked a girl if she is familiar with them. She is.

When men disclaim rape as something else, it might be because calling it rape would make them rapists.

Rant that the profit motive prevents necessary medicines from being affordable, not that the country is over-medicated.

Observe how media outlets treat autism as a horrible thing, when it is as much a culture as a diagnosis. Refuse to buy in to narratives that are sympathetic to parents that murder their children because the children have disabilities. Support companies that produce objects to allow for stimming.

Books have power - they help us tell ourselves what we are, and they help us through the darkest of social times.

In technology, simple ways of making it less likely you will be hacked, food suggestions of yesteryear, a wooden puzzle book, immersive installations, cross-stitched planets, supplements that may actually be worth taking, the likelihood that someone else in the world looks close enough to you to fool another human, the discovery of a 15 year-old bug in software that interprets fMRI, the ability to turn Wonder Bread into insulating foam, attempting to explain good cinematography by making the lines explicit, overwriting graffiti in a more legible typeface, an explanation of the ouzo effect, the e-reader as the Internet's anthology collection, a reusable notebook and associated application, using technology to bring museums to people and make museum visits richer, making truer comparisons of countries to each other, early risers and late sleepers now have the perpetually energetic and their opposite to possibly be, common objects at very high magnification, the difficulties of crossing the ocean floor, Pokemon Go as a way of exposing people to metric measurements, a presidential candidate that dogwhistles the anti-vaxxers, Sojourner Truth's early adoption of photography as an abolition technique, the very common complaint that the younger generations are somehow inferior and fascinated by their technology, and a bug in SwiftKey that used email addresses and other potentially sensitive data as suggestions on new phones.

Game companies with policies on how to deal with abuse and harassment of staff online show their policies. More telling is the amount of companies that don't have one or declined to share theirs.

Roadside attractions of the various states of the Union.

Comics involving lesbian mermaids and lesbian selkies. Inclusive magazines that draw the ire of the Puppies.

Cats attempting jumps, the biodiversity of the Mariana Trench, using a drone to fire vaccine-laced candy at ferrets and prairie dogs, symbiosis between carnivorous plants and bats, a large lizard with a social media following, caring for hundreds of plants in a Brooklyn apartment, the intersection of Pokémon Go and birding, cat as comfort animal, merging objects and animals in art, pictures of sperm whales at play, and interesting fishbowls to purchase.

Last for tonight, tracing the story of family escaping the Holocaust, with the Internet to help and eventually facilitate contact with those who experienced it, factoids about Helen Keller, and reasons why young children can be hazardous to those around them.

A practical guide to titles and forms of address for members of the United Kingdom's aristocracy.

And poutine.

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Current Mood: determineddetermined
Current Music: Dream Theater - Train of Thought
Silver Adept
Let's start with the idea that police need domestic resolution tools if they really want to decrease crime. That would have a handy knock-on effect of helping them deal with situations that otherwise result in death and shootings by police. The are concrete steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of repeated police violence. Many organizations can help you figure this out. The are officers of color pointing in the right direction who could be listened to. White people can use their presence and assumed respectability to influence government and demand accountability. White people can work to make people of color be treated like White people are by the police.

No, talking about other things and trying to make them fit the context won't help. nor does engaging in common detours from the path.

Admitting black lives matter is the bare minimum. After that, it takes effort for white people to see the structures that make white people powerful (Here are some resources for getting to that point) and the ways in which white people allow violence against people of color to happen. Then comes the need for white people to use that power they have to get other white people to understanding, to help squash stereotypes and misinformation, to get other White people to abandon the idea that they are the oppressed ones, to show how to avoid talking over someone's experiences, to stop them from defending cultural appropriation, and to find ways of getting power back to people of color.

In defense of professors being able to say what matters to them in the face of critics. And in defense of a movement that has a lot of people ready to believe the worst about them. And worry that the next generation will grow up to be privilege blinkered. Your faith tradition probably supports Black Lives Matter.

Canada is not exempt from intersectional concerns, including cities like Toronto.

All collections eventually must have materials phased out, even if there are members of the public that feel that discarding anything is a travesty. Buildings, however, can be renovated. Have a look at the new renovation of the oldest standing library.

The job of the incoming Librarian of Congress is a very tall order, indeed.

Violet Ramis on Ghostbusters, her dad, and the best and worst impulses of fandom. Which I'll put right next to the way that She-Ra defied expectations of the 80s and gave us a proper show with lots of women.

Everyone needs books that reflect them, but children and teens need them most of all, despite pressure that wants to say everything is fine. Because it isn't, and waiting until adulthood before giving access is waiting for far too long.

Twenty-five years of Angels In America, from those involved in its creation and productions. The hope that shame will not color the experiences of the next generation. Things that can be done now to help bring this about.

Getting solidly kicked in the feels by a piece about restricting yourself and claiming you don't want when the truth is that you've been told you don't want it and you believed them. Sometimes you don't realize you're hungry until someone puts a pie in front of you. Chasing what society says it's perfect is a recipe for disaster.

A great primer on terminology around disability, and am introduction to how curb cuts came to be a common occurrence.

Women stunt performers have to do what the men can do, in much less clothing and padding, and often in heels.

Remarkably Normal, the play collected from the 1 in 3 Project, which aims to remove the stigma associated with termination of pregnancies.

Spec Fic recommendations! Mystery works by women are definitely in these days, having supplanted stories of the two-fisted private eye. And it's opposite, the phenomenon of photographs of fat people that doesn't include their faces.

A guideline on how to write a disabled character that doesn't land squarely in Tropeville.

The increased prevalence of Mx. as a title has the people at Merriam-Webster interested to see if it needs to be entered into the dictionary. Pokemon Go doesn't ask for a gender, just a style.

Since many churches are now stops in Pokémon Go, they're using that status to try and recruit. Even the ones that used to be very unhappy about Pokémon and considered it a tool of The Adversary.

The rather common occurrence of people stealing large quantities of food for resale, without necessarily taking into consideration proper care and storage. Why not steal the imperfect food slated for destruction anyway and redistribute it?

When it comes to food, it is more important to get enough of it and enjoy it than to try and figure out universal truths of nutrition.

The snacks of the Baby-sitter's Club novels.

Ethical and socially responsible travel decisions.

Guidelines for news organizations on keeping staff that deal with traumatic imagery safe and healthy.

The Jewish pirates of Jamaica, which seems to smash together two things that wouldn't normally mix, but is yet another reason why history is stranger than fictions.

France has discontinued allowing plastic shopping bags to be given at stores.

Getting a book sold often relies on connections of the author as much as the story's power. Various errors of writing. NK Jemisin on writing and inspirations and again on describing characters of color. Justine Larbalestier on writing people of color when White. Cassandra Khaw in letting your writing voice come out in your prose. Laura Broadbent on relationships, mostly, but also writing. V. E. Schwab on how success in writing is fickle-r than fate. There's a lot of work and perpetual "WAUGH" that goes into being a professional writer. The periodic table of tropes. S L Huang on the part where manpain is usually not man pain. Katherine Locke on how tension is a function of distance between internal and external selves. The case for adapting Octavia Butler and other PoC science fiction authors to the screen. Gillian Anderson is totally Bond.

188 deals to call your book something else than a thing dealing with a wife or daughter.

The index page to a lot of great posts on building worlds in your writing. And advice on what advice on writing to ignore. Followed by advice on writing.

Tor Books has an ebook club now!

A little bit on the Republican candidate for President - the book with his name was ghostwritten, his campaign promotes White supremacists, courts their favor, posts their preferred memes, denigrates and demeans minorities, declines to speak in front of minorities, and doesn't attempt to rein in or disavow supporters that act in racist ways. perhaps because those the support him turn out to be the most -ist people in the party.

It's not helping that the candidate gaslit a woman and then kicked her out of his rally over her child.

Social awkwardness is not an excuse for objectification or ignoring the idea that cosplay is not consent. Doing anything you perceive as nice for a woman doesn't obligate her to do anything for you. Young men need to have these conversations as soon as possible and as often as needed.

Getting divorced exposes how easily and willingly companies will still assume that a man has all the assets and income, and therefore all the power, in finances.

The power of politeness as a way to get people to like you and open up about themselves.

Science and the scientific process require several bugfixes to be more effective and, well, scientific, including incentives to not chase money, to not only publish positive, statistically-significant results, and to get trained people doing more than just research.

Photographs of the Mermaid Parade, Pictures of the first Pride Parades, and The realization for many young black people what having a black President means.

Photographs of the doll factory. And of skeletons richly adorned. Photographs of the oceans and photographs of wonders of the world.

In technology, the person employed by the Japanese government to hunt illegal uploads.

Pokémon Go uses binding arbitration to make sure the company can't be sued in a class action way. Here's an easy way of opting out.

Malicious apps trying to play on the popularity of Pokémon Go, Go as the harbinger of augmented and virtual reality as the next big thing, the various martial art skills of Pokémon, making sure a caught Pokémon status caught if the app crashes on you, possible improvements in later app versions, people trying to help each other have a great experience with Go, and a beginner guide to Go.

Photography of fireworks in black and white, doughnuts in the colors and sparkles of the galaxy, a little bit of data from a satellite that was supposed to be observing a black hole, an algorithm that helps people make appeals of small cases, like traffic citations, an indie record store in LEGO, bringing a large-scale miniature world to life, plans for fleets of autonomous cars, experimentation on headphone design, Tokyo getting a serious upgrade in wireless capability in anticipation of the 2020 Olympic Games, a nostalgia service only having a limited selection of games, the progression of technology from the public sphere to the private (and back again), creative thinking to avoid thievery, carving patterns into taiko drums to help their pitch become the resonant sound we expect, an idea to get women of NASA made into minifigures, a security vulnerability in Lastpass, now fixed, the acquisition of Yahoo! by Verizon, the use of Rocket Raccoon and Groot on an official NASA mission, restricting an Android phone to a single app, taking better photographs with a smartphone camera, and typefaces for book covers, by style or genre.

Implants in rats allow them to detect the infrared, an octopus and their consciousness, octopus eyes as color perceptors, sperm whales form clans and diverse language groups, adjustments that must be made when there are cats in the house, examining the number of neurons in bird brains, a cat taking a nap at a local shrine, working out how to care for cats that have lived long past their expected times, trying to get a trapped bear out of a car, drawings combining animals and plants, paper flower creations, confectionary sea otters, plants that can cause serious burns, life-size animal sculptures made from recycled metal parts, cat and dragon siblings, black shelter cats ready for adoption, bunny noses, a proud mom and her puppies, a proud mom and her pup, cats seeking warmth, wisely bringing the dog to help pick out the cat that will join the household, the suggestion that police departments could have official cats, a bear that walks on their hind legs, giant insects (and ranking the pain stings cause), squirrels having fun, floofy tail, golden retriever, a cat on the rugby pitch, squirrel grooms cat, baby elephant chases birds, and lichens have yeast as well as fungi and algae (discovered by a person in Montana).

Last for tonight, things real people do. Including grammatical analysis of the different users of the f-word and having to deal with the bias that talking a little about women is always talking about women.

And Mrs. White will be replaced by Dr. Orchid in the next edition of Clue(do) and the Jim Henson Company working on a Tiffany Aching movie.

Plus taking a course in Japanese literature from Keio University.

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Current Mood: moodymoody
Current Music: Casey Lee Williams - From Shadows
Silver Adept
To begin - Reparations.me, where persons who have been systematically oppressed can request reparations and those who have been privileged can make them.

A resource that will airlift support to, for example, explain why tags like #AllLivesMatter are wrong to use, so that someone doesn't have to spend their time explaining yet again.

Your public library needs to not be neutral on issues like Black Lives Matter. (Look, black science fiction writers!) Or, for that matter, on things like the abysmal treatment of Native culture in Pottermore. It's a very colonial narrative.

(Here's some help in at least getting the setting of the school right.)

Things to consider when confronted with the mass of information available on any given topic.

Now that one can personalize the data one collects through technological means, how do you ensure that factual, accurate information gets through? And what role do journalism and news outlets play in the creation and dissemination of truth?

If I say it enough times, perhaps I will believe it enough. Bad friends do not need to stay in our lives, when there are plenty of good friends that can be there for us. Occasionally, exit is the correct and only option. Self-care is not mere positivity and cheer. Gaslighting exists, and it plays fucking hell with your perception of reality. Admitting you need help often brings help. Not everyone deserves a full explanation, if they get one at all. Consent still matters, both ways.

The most difficult part of engaging in a fundamentally screwed up world is remembering to keep space for yourself to recharge and shed the darkness that collects on you. There's ways to try and cope with the flood.

Women suffer injuries from childbirth, and don't usually get them diagnosed and fixed because, well, women's health and all the things that get tangled up in that. At least the SCOTUS called bullshit on Texas's abortion restrictions that they claimed were for women's health.

People with disabilities may find alternative products to tampons more flexible and useful to themselves for controlling menstruation.

The stories we tell affect how we think about things, so much so that people who would never consider reading someone else have few qualms about assaulting people sexually. We need better stories for men. We need better stories for people of color.

The Dead Pool claims Jerry Doyle, known best for his role as Michael Garibaldi on Babylon 5, at 60 years of age. There are far too few of that cast still with us.

75 years of Wonder Woman, who continues to persist and will remain a strong icon in the years to come.

The Killing Joke did not create Oracle, Suicide Squad did, and to claim otherwise is to not give credit to those responsible. now if we could expand the ways that chair users get into stories, that would be great.

Spidey-Zine, showing what Peter Parker does when being a hero outside of the supervillain battles.

Comics for those who want no flying and no tights.

One does not succeed in spite of a disability if the thing that one succeeds at is well-suited to a person with that disability.

Accessibility, not accommodation. Which often means modifying your own speech to make it more accessible to others. And really thinking about how accessible your spaces really are.

If you don't see the anxiety brainweasels, if doesn't mean they aren't there. Some of us just get really good at working in spite of them.

Habits that may be helpful in building feelings that you can hack it in life.

Despite the faddish nature of it, the Ice Bucket Challenge seems to have done lots of good, even long after the buckets stopped dropping.

STIs are on the rise in the United Kingdom over the last four years, alarming health campaigners.

New York City libraries once had live-in superintendents keeping the place maintained and running.

Politically, the party of conformity is always going to want counterculture to adopt and pretend is their own. And then, the counterculture usually objects strenuously to being co-opted in such a way. Usually in all the venues that the matter is happening at.

Mr. Scalzi sums up cogent thoughts about Brexit and its consequences. It's not like the reasons why not to do it weren't already well-known. There's one thing still in the way that could be used to kill the process - if nobody actually makes a notification, then it doesn't happen. If what happened on the first day after is any indication, it's going to be a rough ride.

Sales and democracy are not as separated as you might think. Identity is incredibly important - Jewishness is a history of persecution, whereas "Judeo-Christian" is heavy on the Christians that do the persecuting.

The destruction wrought by a world at war must be remembered, or else it will become more likely to happen again.

Pineapple jokes are dangerous in Madagascar, and color is a protest weapon in Macedonia.

Syrian refugees in Canada pitch in to help with the wildfires around their home. Because treating refugees with dignity and respect earns their respect and willingness to help.

I'm behind, but poets featured in Lemonade deserve a mention, as does the apparent accusations contained within and their context. Decide for yourself, with the libretto of the album, and then indulge in the commentary created by the album.

Seeing people like yourself on stage is an empowering thing. Seeing a festival devoted to people like you is incredibly empowering. Seeing people write you in a book is devoutly empowering. Seeing authors understand what stories need to be written is inspiring.

Writing fanfiction requires knowing a character well enough to know how they would change to a new situation and rules, which means good writing skills, not just indulging yourself in silly things.

The Toast has closed, removing a site that celebrated uniqueness. Like navigating parenthood when not in a mom or dad role, the difficulties of being a writer seen to represent an entire ethnic group, and the extra benefits of getting stronger. It was also a place that celebrated women.

Mr. Rod Serling talks about the pressures of being a television writer when the studio and the advertisers have their own opinions of the writing. Ms. Suki Kim talks about having her investigative work reclassed as a memoir, and the attendant dismissal of her that followed.

Fiction about the information professional that manages to land themselves a job with Leverage. Art about Wolverine attempting to buy eggs. Fiction about the woman who makes bees, free will, and mansplaining.

Using spray paint on a flat surface to create ripples of color and dimensionality. Using the canvas of buildings to build realistic works of art. Using the canvas of the body to build something very, very creepy. Fannish expression rewarded. Carnival atmospheres. The best pictures from someone whose job it is to make iconic pictures. A suggestion on why so many nail salons age stated by people of Vietnamese descent. Civic murals putting art in the eyes of Montreal residents. Rob Gonsalves makes Escher-like illusions. Cassini took great pictures of Saturn, its moons, and Jupiter. Pictures of young Native American women. Pictures of New York City's Pride parades.

The understanding that creativity cannot be always-on.

The third season of the television show Fringe was the best of its five. Four and five were not as good.

In technology, the movie created by feeding a learning intelligence a lot of science fiction screenplays and seeing what it could create.

Some typefaces are easier to read than others. Some languages are easier than others. A historical thesaurus to help you find new ways of expressing yourself.

The use of cognitive-enhancing drugs in work and school carries ethics questions with it that have yet to be fully worked out. Environments have power to shape success and failure. They can also be used as methods of controlling populations.

Finding family in all the children conceived from a single sperm donor.

Air bags created by the Takata corporation are under recall for deploying themselves without a crash.

Philae, who landed on a comet, is going into deep sleep mode until the final phase of his mission.

A visualization of the air traffic network,
a chemistry set that is patterned after a tea set, scaling the minifig up to human sizes, a dirigible repair robot, the possibility that solar and lunar gravity pull causes more than just tides, using volcanic lightning to predict the amount of ash that will be spewed during any given eruption, the official Nintendo Entertainment System emulator, using public domain photos to create a Street View of 1800s New York City, using sheep to create a Street View map, a truly portable low-power air conditioner, an open-source loom, music as a cultural product rather than a universal anything, the mixed martial arts of the Victorian scene, the reasons why simulcasts might drive those that when on them to stress relief, why localization always takes so long, an app that will help interpret laundry symbols, injectable cameras, attempts to make pizza a fast food item, the reasons why movie lava death scenes are wrong, a rather beautiful music box that can be interacted with to change the parts of the tune being played, a prediction that video will be the majority of social media, the ways in which sexism held back space exploration, because the computers were women, the resonances of the Caribbean Sea, cancerous cells that can infect multiple species, bacteria in the human gut that use brain chemicals to thrive, the artifice behind wedding photographs, fun playgrounds, the history of data visualizations, free typefaces, and the trap of using technology as shorthand for something else.

A creation myth that acknowledges our selfishness and biological urges and yet allows us to build great things from them.

Looks of affection from dogs, cats using their gifts properly, cats caught during downtime, animals in a predicament, comparing vision of cats and humans, an orangutan that can mimic human sounds, the coo of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, more evidence on the evolutionary chain that links dinosaurs and birds, foods for cats to avoid, signs of cat illnesses, more humane methods of factory-raising chickens, Arctic fox dens as environmental assistance, the effects of invasive hippos, and repopulating butterfly populations in your backyard.

Last for tonight, more pizza styles of the United States.

The adult size catbus is ready for those who want to travel. Which will go well with the other Ghibli exhibition. And the animated sorry of the oldest known manga.

And the Mertz Library inside the city of New York and the Bronx Zoo Bug Carousel.

Insult generator.

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Current Mood: okayokay
Current Music: Jeff Williams and Casey Lee Williams - I Burn
Silver Adept
30 July 2016 @ 03:21 pm
Let's begin with random data.

After that, large blocks of unstructured time are essential for children to explore their interests.

Beyond that, a story of the past where a woman kept her lover, by mutual consent, in the attic.

An LGBT nightclub in Florida was the site of a mass shooting. It appears to have been specifically targeted for being an LGBT club by someone who adheres to a religion that forbids people from being LGBT and that may have been gay themselves. Which could point out one of the big problems with having a community that actively harms people based on their identity, no matter what they profess. Here are some things you can do to support your communities.

These are the names and the faces of the dead, who join an ever-growing list of those whose lives are shortened by violence and prejudice. They appear when awards are given, In discussions about his to prevent guns from being used as weapons of terror,

Being bi means getting misrepresented by someone who thinks a small sample size means speaking with authority for everyone.

Ways of fighting bias against you at your workplace. Written for trans* people, applicable to many more.

In the name of something that would never get near passing an institutional review, more than 70,000 OKCupid profiles were dumped, deanonymized, to the Internet at large. Congrats, someone self-publishing just doxxed a large group of potentially vulnerable people.

A Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom was stabbed and shot to death by a fanatic cloaking himself in the guise of patriotism.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals says states are fully within their rights to outlaw the concealed carry of firearms or to require very specific reasons to allow them.

The case of a rapist receiving far too little a sentence and far too much good press is a 101-level course in how privilege influences the world. For another, a short poem explaining why feminism should be intersectional. If it isn't, feminism risks alienating allies it didn't know if had. including the ones that reach lots of young women and men. If that doesn't happen, it's possible that feminism will end up committing the fouls it's supposed to avoid, whether outside of media or as a throughline for an entire season of a show.

A leftist political party in Spain printed their political platform in the same style as a furniture store sales guide. Readership has increased significantly, according to them.

MSF has decided to stop accepting donations from European Union governments based on those same governments treating refugees from Africa as a liability to be sent away rather than as displaced persons who need a home.

Now that the candidates for the United States Presidential election are all but determined, hackers affiliated with Russia appear to have stolen and released the Democratic National Committee's opposition research on the Republican candidate, a candidate that is both litigious and defending himself against litigation, many involving proper payment for work done
He also believes previous indiscretions are okay political fodder, including a rape accusation defended with the incorrect statement that martial rape is not possible. The candidate has succeeded at paying off investigators. And has also been unable to dissuade all the investigators.

The candidate enjoys sizable support from the class created to be as poor as slaves but given enough social privilege to believe they are better, a population rendered increasingly unable to live as their jobs are automated, their wealth is stolen, and their places are systematically destroyed and then rebuilt for wealthy people to use as a vacation destination. He is the distilled essence of off-color jokes and things let slide by people with the privilege to be able to ignore others' plight.

Actually, so does his opponent, really - they both support a system that will continue to make the poor obsolete and the rest of us poor.

We have to be able to hold contradictory truths in our minds instead of succumbing to the pull of everything having to BE MAXIMAL. For some people, that manifests as voting for the candidate they have an objection to to avoid having the candidate they detest elected.

On singing as a group, oral transmission, and keeping alive the songs and their reasons for singing.

Rather than celebrating gendered parent holidays, why not go straight for Parents Day, so that you can honor those who are your parents, even if they aren't biologically mother or father?

The reasons why readers put down books.

William Shakespeare as a patron of crossovers, alternate universes, and the intrusion of the fantastic in places it was not expected.

SpongeBob, the musical, complete with the a black woman cast as the squirrel. Which is pretty neat.

A fangirl coloring book.

Animals and children are reportedly the most difficult things to work with, so it should be no surprise the live show of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child chose not to keep using a live owl for performances - the owl did not return on cue.

Worries that gynoids might prevent menfolk from ever treating women as humans. I note the fault would not be in the development of the droids, but in the mentality societally inculcated into men that women are supposed to be like gynoids.

Carrie Fisher has an advice column, and would like younger people to write in.

The Artist once required a black woman to interview him, forcing a magazine conglomerate to put a relative newbie in front of him, because that's what they had.

The Canadian Mint has an entire series of Star Trek themed coins.

Consciousness may have evolved out of the need to selectively pay attention to certain signals over others, even when those signals aren't demanding overt attention.

Famous women on not having children of their own.

A lot of what we are told about how health works...is definitely not how health works.

Examining the fashion and makeup trends of ganguro and related looks.

A pamphlet of illustrations of the songs of Hamilton, created by a collaboration of artists, with the illustrations free for you to see.

The Tony Awards just gave all their major performance awards to people of color. That hasn't happened before. Hamilton and its cast took 11 Tonys all by themselves.

The idea that some people might not be strongly introverted or extroverted.

A tin tea canister, passed down through a family that held on to it through flight from Nazis, turned out to have gold inside it, confirming a story told of the can in the family as true.

Having seen the homelessness common in Los Angeles, a nine year-old girl [orig. woman - see why it changed in the comments] started making and distributing cloth bags full of feminine products for the homeless women. And has bigger plans than that. The future is awesome.

Photographs of parts of Iceland that have been abandoned, a mural that relies on the nearby lake to be understood, creating a bouquet of cupcakes, Rapunzel cosplay, princesses of art, the universe in a single head of hair, the use of vegetables as musical instruments,

Beyonce wins fashion awards, which should be no surprise to anyone that's seen her recently, although it wasn't nearly as easy to get fancy dress when she started in music. Beyonce also kills it completely in the music department as well, which is also no surprise to anyone that has heard her lately. Her Lemonade stand is doing quite well. And now, she's starting to use her power to help the next generation of musicians get into the business.

In technology, creating food-looking things with LEGO bricks, making hand puppets that have the articulation powers of marionettes, women who made Gibson guitars, creating labyrinths out of salt, the style books changing Internet to internet, indicating the generic nature of networks, tea joining beer as an artisan, crafted project, trying to use data to determine authoritarianism in the population, asking the government not to prevent things grown without soil from being called organic, the work involved in the construction of Paris's subway system, medical innovations of the Civil War, a map of where one can and cannot see the night sky in its full glory</a>, a program that reproduces a source art style onto a destination image, such that one can Starry Night anything at all, for example,

Cats in art, a gender-transitioning tree, using cats to recreate art, portraits of swimming fish, the nature of the wasabi plant, zebra facts, the movement of dolphins to a bigger sanctuary, badgers with interesting tastes, the history of hedgehogs, wombat cuddling, and cute sloths.

Last for tonight, an interactive collection of the complete works of Jane Austen.

And steps that change view in moonlight and at sunrise and sunset. Which I think might be more immediately happy-making than these prescriptions for happiness.

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Current Mood: awakeawake
Current Music: Yoko Shimomura - Another Side
Silver Adept
[This is the very last of a series exploring the Baseball Tarot. It's been a fantastic journey with all of you, and I hope that it has been helpful to you in your own journeys.]

Here we are. The last card remaining, deliberately chosen as the last of the Major cards, representing what is the final stop of any given season - the World Series. At this point in time, several teams were eliminated at the end of the season from continuing, and yet others in the playoff series, culminating in this, the champions of the American League and the National League facing each other for the Major League Baseball title. Many players will go their entire careers, some destined for the Hall of Fame, without even setting foot on this stage. The World Series, even though it is poorly named, is the thing that all seasons strive to reach and then win, a cycle that begins anew each year with the realization that in the eyes of the win-loss columns, all teams start equal. The influence of the Rookie right next door spills over, planting the seeds of a new beginning right in the middle of what is supposed to be the end. If we can only solve the Last Question at the end of the universe, even at that point, the seeds have been laid to begin it again, and work on solving the question one more time. We are born, we age, we get sick, we die. We are born again and the cycle continues.

Some people get to the Series early, others later. Some can go more than once, although the nature of baseball, its rather punishing season and propensity for teams imploding down the stretch and in the playoffs makes it hard for any one team to return the next year, much less win it. Baseball does not create dynasties, and those that try to exist are usually powered by unsustainable amounts of spending.

What I find interesting about this card, and its Rider-Waite equivalent, The World, is that this card is not and doesn't signify winning the World Series, just getting there. The culmination of a lot of hard work and dreams and stories and training and everything else that's in this deck, but not actually winning the games. That still has yet to be done. The season is not yet finished - four more wins are required before a team can hoist the trophy. Everything that has come before is important, informative, and provides the background, but there are still games to be played and won, and only the things that happen in the now will determine how it all turns out. Vegas may have odds, but odds are only guesses based on past performance. There are no foregone conclusions. The games can play out in any way at all - the powerhouses can choke, a pitcher can throw better or worse than expected, a manager can call up a trick play, or what should be a routine ground ball ends up slipping under the glove and through the legs of first base and the winning run scores from third. Everything is still possible. Even at this point, the arrival at the last series of the post-season, the games ahead are full of infinite potential.

Perhaps it's a design thing about Tarot decks that they have the ability to speak positive aspects and negative aspects and otherwise encompass the full range of experience and possibility in each card and in the deck as a whole. Maybe it's because we're humans and we want our cognitive assistance tools to do that, when they could be much more definite about their usage and meaning. But that even here, at what would normally be the spot to put in the most "Congratulations, you have achieved your victory! Revel in it!" card that you could find, there is still ambiguity and the possibility of things not going as well as we had hoped. After all, there are still two teams playing in the World Series. People remember the winning team, but there's still another one there, and they have to deal with having been the team that made it all the way to the end and came up short. It can be devastating to the psyche, it can be the bubble popping, the end of the Cinderella story, or it can be a team completely proud of the achievements they have done that season and entirely at peace with not having won it all. Sometimes the people most disappointed in how a team does in any given year are the fanatics, who expected their team to be better than they were. (Those whose expectations have always been fairly low are instead pleasantly surprised when their team does better than expected.) The fanatics may have more of their identity invested in the team than the players do, and so they are more strongly affected by the swings of fate and business dealings. One of the things that gets obscured, except when buying tickets and concessions or reading about contracts, is that baseball is a business that makes billions of dollars, and that the things that result in a good baseball team may not be the same as those that make a profitable one. The balance between being profitable and spending enough to attract enough fanatics to be profitable are important business considerations, and they interfere with decisions that would be made to create a good baseball team.

Infinite Potential in every pitch, every swing, every call, every time ball meets bat. Every out, every inning, every game, every season. To get here, to the World Series, one generally passes through all the other cards first, gathering experience and karma and knowledge along the way. But, as we noted at the beginning of this series, counting works in both directions. It's entirely possible that someone can walk their way back, taking the skills they learned as an All-Star, developing the mental state of the Rookie to new situations, and arriving at the great successes needed to achieve the World Series. It's rare, but it's possible.

The presence of the World Series in your reading indicates that you have had great success in your season and you are now ready to take on one of the biggest stages of your career. Your work has paid off, your team is strong, and now its time to go play for the big one. Good luck on winning.

If the happy context doesn't make sense, the downside of the World Series is being somewhere that you are utterly unprepared for. You've become yet another example of the Peter Principle, promoted to the level of your incompetence, and there's a good chance you are going to go splat on the biggest stage possible. Now might be a good time to talk to your manager of the coaches to try and get up to the standard. If you can't do that, now might be a good time to ask to be benched until you can get the actual skills needed to participate.

And thus, we are finished. I'm so glad I got all the way through the deck. I also hope that this has been somehow helpful to all of you that are reading, whether in your own decks and practices, or in giving you some insight into the Game of Nerds and why there are so many people still loyal to it.

If there are any remaining questions, about the cards, about baseball, or other things, feel free to ask them, including on their card pages. If you would like more depth on anything you've read, please ask.

Thank you all for taking this journey with me. Maybe I'll see you again for something else in the future.

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Silver Adept
[This is part of a series exploring the Baseball Tarot.]

A squeeze play in baseball is a thing that combines the worst potential consequences of a steal and a bunt, and also their best possibilities. With a runner on third base, the batter is instructed to lay down a bunt so that the runner from third can attempt to score while the batter attempts to get to first. Because of the presence of the runner and their attempt to take the plate, the bunt has to be exquisite and placed well away from any fielder so as to give the runner enough time to get home. Squeezes are attempted rarely, and succeed rarely.

There are two forms of squeeze plays. The safety squeeze demands that the pitch thrown be a strike, or the bunt is pulled and the player waits for a better pitch, and the runner on third doesn't break for the plate until the bunt has hit the ground, ensuring that they will not be part of a double play due to a fielder cleanly catching the bunt before it hits the ground and throwing back over to third. This delays the squeeze for some amount of time, making it more difficult to achieve.

The significantly more reckless cousin of the safety squeeze is the suicide squeeze. It earns that moniker because this squeeze is on, no matter what. As soon as the pitcher commits to the pitch, the runner on third breaks for the plate. Regardless of how well-delivered the pitch is, where it is, and what kind of pitch it is, the batter must lay it down as a bunt or risk having the runner tagged out at home. A bad bunt will result in two outs, instead of one, or a foul ball that negates the squeeze attempt in the first place and puts the defense on alert as to what might be possible on the next pitch. To attempt a squeeze, one must put aside good sense in favor of desperate tactical decisions.

To attempt the squeeze is to do something incredibly memorable. Whether it fails or succeeds, someone will be talking about it on the highlight reel show. It is an incredibly bold action with a low payoff rate, but when it works, it works REALLY well.

So what is it doing here with the card that represents Learning New Ways of Action? The squeeze is one of the last things someone learns how to execute, because of the extreme rarity of actually being called for. And because it basically requires two players to abandon just about everything they know to be able to make it work successfully. How else are you going to learn new things?

We're near the end of the journey that started with The Rookie, the character that represents the state of Beginner's Mind, a player that was unattached to anything, and thus could learn everything. But more importantly, he could forget everything she had previously learned. There's a scene in the movie The Forbidden Kingdom where the character playing the role of Tripitika, the T'ang Priest, is detailing all the moves they are hoping to see from the Kung Fu masters, moves seen in Kung Fu movies. The Monkey character, played by Jackie Chan, is pouring tea while this litany is being recited, and continues to pour tea past the point where the cup is full. The pain of the hot tea overflowing onto his hand is what breaks the recitation. The T'ang Priest complains about the tea, and Monkey remarks that his mind is like the cup - overflowing with supposed knowledge, which prevents him from actually learning Kung Fu.

The Coach of Bats is the hitting coach, who has to work with both mechanical errors in the swing (or bunt technique), mental errors in seeing the right pitch to hit, and those cursed things that can be categorized as "the yips". The yips are mental blocks that affect technique - they often result from thinking too hard about the swing or the mechanics, or trying to overcorrect something that the hitting coach has said needs to be changed. The yips get beaten with success at the plate. Success at the plate happens when someone forgets the details and the specific thing getting in their way and goes back to a nice, easy, corrected swing. Learning new ways of action requires forgetting the old ways, but also not stressing too much about the new ways and their details.

Because if you did stress about the details of a suicide squeeze, you'd never attempt one, including at the crucial point in the game where one needs to happen.

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Silver Adept
[This is part of a series exploring the Baseball Tarot.]

Baseball is mean. It is a game designed to crush streaks, humble braggarts, punish mistakes, suppress the unskilled, provide ample opportunities for failure, create tension, pressure, and stress, and generate chaos despite the very best attempts of anyone to impose any sort of order or general rules and abstractions on it.

Baseball is a nice game. It rewards persistence, has opportunities for big plays all the time, promotes teamwork and communication, fosters camaraderie, provides multiple layers of enjoyment, and is really good at keeping people who are introduced to the game as players continuing on in the game as coaches and umpires, even if their dreams of playing stop. It has mentorship, physical, and mental challenges, and promotes fun.

As with life, the constant of baseball is that it changes. While there is a moment of stilness before the action begins, after that, the game is in constant motion, even with the changes between half-innings, until it is finished and all the celebrations are done. If things are going well, that's great, but understand it's not forever. If things suck, well, that won't last perpetually either. Them's The Breaks, kid.

The Breaks is the Baseball Tarot equivalent of the Wheel of Fortune. Not the glorified game of hangman with a randomized element, but the songs and lyrics of Carmina Burana that talk about people who are on top of the world and those getting thrown out of pubs, despite being the abbot of the nearby monastery. The Wheel is always in constant motion, with all of us attached to it as it raises us to our highest points and also grinds us into the mud. This reality is fundamentally counterintuitive to human beliefs. Humans see patterns and ascribe motivations to them, so that things can be explained as "hot", "cold", "lucky", "unfavorable", or other things that are not explainable with the models of simulation and calculation that we have. There are ways of trying to prolong the good and shorten the bad, many of which are superstitious, many of which involve prayer to a supernatural entity of your choice. There are other ways as well, things involving charms and rituals and attempts at preparation for the bad things, which sometimes are adequate and sometimes are so far beyond the scope of what could be considered that no preparation would be sufficient for them. The reality that the universe is still so very far out of our explanation and control is frightening and scary and persists, even in baseball. Someone may not have the skills to progress beyond minor league baseball. A batter may hit a ball back at a pitcher sufficiently hard to end his career through head injury. Sliding into second may cause a ligament tear that requires a lot of physical therapy, recovery, and retraining before someone is able to return to the place where they were. These are all possible outcomes, even with all the strength, exercise, and experience that someone may have in baseball. Ultimately, retirement claims us all, and some earlier than others. Those, too, are The Breaks.

Of course, it works in reverse, too. A man who could not run the bases at full speed hits a home run to win a game, allowing him to take all the time he needs to circle the bases. A hitter staring down an 0-for-5 night ends up going 1-for-5, with the winning run batted in on a bloop single. A team bats around (goes through the entire batting order at least once in a half-inning). A pitcher that has had no control or power the entire game fans (strikes out) the side in the bottom of the last inning. A fielder times their jump correctly to pull in a home run from leaving the field, preserving a lead and cutting short a rally. A suicide squeeze succeeds. An otherwise unremarkable pitcher has the best night of their career and tosses a perfect game, with a little help from the fielders.

A team makes it to the World Series and loses in four games. A team makes it to the World Series and wins in seven games. The good and the bad are so tightly interwoven that every action in the game is both good and bad for someone. The good is to be celebrated, the bad endured. The wheel keeps turning. Them's the Breaks, kid.

...which actually makes this card really hard to interpret without the context around it. Sometimes The Breaks are an indication that your fortune is changing. Sometimes it's a reminder that good (or bad) circumstances are the reason why you're in the situation you're in, and that shoring up your position against a bad break is advised. Sometimes it represents the complexity of everything, and can either be a recommendation to not stress out too much about the details of it all, or a warning against trying to control too many things (or people), because the unpredictable is precisely the thing that will happen and crush your plans.

Sometimes it's just a reminder of the impermanence of everything, in the sense of "this, too, shall pass" and/or "getting attached to mutable things generates karma."

The Last Question is unlikely to be answered in our lifetime. We can make progress on it, but until it's done, there will always be something that is out of reach, something that feels like fate or destiny. Those, too, are The Breaks.

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Silver Adept
[This is part of a series exploring the Baseball Tarot.]

The Suit of Bases is fixed and immovable, breakaway bases to help avoid serious injuries at the learning levels notwithstanding. They are the anchor points, used both as safe havens for the offense and touchpoints for the defense to collect outs. They define the basepaths, the line between the infield and outfield, and the division between fair and foul territory. Without bases, there cannot be baseball. Cricket, maybe, but not baseball.

One would think that such a well-defined suit would not need a coach to help players with them. They seem straightforward, and they supposedly work according to rules that are easy to remember.

As with all things baseball, apparent simplicity conceals incredible complexity. How one interacts with the bases is a strong determiner as to how successful an offense or defense will be in the game. And thus, there is a need for a baserunning coach to explain the proper way to interact with the bases.

At the learning leagues, for example, batters are first taught that if they hit the ball and have to run to first base, they are to run through the base. In this case, that means running full tilt, making sure to touch the base, but not trying to stop on the base. Running through the base prevents injury to both batter and fielder alike, as the batter is not trying to stop and occupy the same space as the fielder, but only passing through. To that end, several stadia of the learning level use a double base for first, so that the batter doesn't have to try and get entangled with the first base fielder at all.

Beyond learning to run through the base, though, and that one should always turn back into foul territory when coming back to the base, the next thing to learn is that if one hits a base hit into the outfield, one should turn a bit toward the next base, in case there is a fielding mishap or a badly thrown ball coming back into the infield and one should attempt to collect the next base. Turn too far and you get picked off by an enterprising fielder. Turn too shallowly and you miss opportunities.

Some of the other cards in the suit of Bases reflect things that require coaching - Hugging the Base, for example. In other places as well - when to Steal, how to spot a Pickoff, how to try and get the pitcher to Balk. All of these things are elements that require the touch of a baserunning coach.

What might be one of the hardest things to teach on the basepaths is how to tag up and when to tag up. The rules of the game say that in any ball that is caught on the fly, baserunners may attempt to advance to the next base at their own peril, provided they have first made contact with the base they last legally obtained after the catch. For most fly balls, a baserunner is advised to position themselves sufficiently far away from the base that they can get back to it safely if the ball is caught, but can also take the next base or two if the ball isn't caught. For particular situations, especially for fly balls hit a bit more shallowly, the baserunner holds on the base, creating a constant tag-up situation so that they can take off for the next base as soon as the catch is made and hopefully beat out the throw arriving from the outfield intent on making another out. If the ball is hit behind the baserunner, the coach can serve as their eyes to tell them when to start for the next base. Thus, even when the player knows all the right things to do, they can still use a coach to help them.

The Coach of Bases is in the domain of Learning New Ways of the World. For most people, learning the ways of the world are characterized as figuring out that the world is cruel and doesn't give a damn about you and that other people will screw you when they get the chance. This is not true - it also entails learning how to hit the Goldilocks standard of confidence in hostile environments, how to trust that someone else is looking out for your interests (and when to ignore their advice), being able to juggle more complex interactions and decisions, and knowing when to retreat to the base and tag up so that you can advance.

As with all the coaches, a happy result is from being able to incorporate their lessons. And the possibility of you being the coach or mentor that someone else needs to have. The bad side is being unable to learn those new ways and getting stuck in old ways, or worse, refusing to learn the new ways because of bad reasons. The Coaches are powerful forces in shaping and reminding players, and they should not be taken for granted. That, too, is a way of the world that has to be learned.

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Silver Adept
[This is part of a series exploring the Baseball Tarot.]

Baseball games do not normally end in ties, certain exhibition games that are roundly booed by fans and pointed to as catalysts for making that exhibition game Count notwithstanding. Unlike other sports of the world that routinely end in draws, baseball must have victors and losers. What happens, then, when twenty-seven outs are recorded on both sides and neither team has more runs than the other? Extra Innings.

Each extra inning is a full and complete inning - the visiting team gets to bat for three outs, and the home team gets to bat for three outs. As in the bottom of the ninth inning, if at any point the home team scores more runs than the visitors, the game stops and victory is declared. If both sides bat and the score is still the same at the end of the inning, another one is played. This can mean some late night games go well on into the morning until someone breaks the type and keeps it broken to the end of the inning. One minor league game made it all the way into the twenties of innings before the tie was finally beaten and everyone could go home. Many of the fans had already left by that time, of course, but those that stayed got more than two games worth of baseball. Not bad for a minor league ticket's price, yeah?

So the visiting team has the harder task of winning in extras - they have to score runs and then go out and field well enough to stop the home team from scoring more. The pressure, such that it is, sits mostly on the visiting team to try and win. At least until they do break the tie - then it's the home team's turn to feel the scrutiny of the fanatics. One way or another, this game will end, and hopefully, all the fans will be happy that they got to see a little more baseball than the nine innings promised, whether or not their team won. (And if they didn't, it's a shame.)

The presence of Extra Innings in your reading is about delay. Whatever it was that you were doing or hoping to achieve, it's going to take longer than you were hoping for. There's a thing in the way, and extra time and effort will have to go into it to make it a victorious affair. Nobody knows how long the delay is going to last, so you just have to keep playing the game to win in this inning and hope the other team doesn't do you one better. Or worse, match your increased effort with just enough of their own to keep everything locked up without anyone getting any sort of win. The fanatics on both sides of the baseball are both happy that they haven't lost and very irritated they haven't won yet. Because baseball is supposed to be done in nine innings and their team is supposed to have won. This indecision is grating, and yet enjoyable at the same time, because if you enjoy watching baseball, or if baseball is a social event for you as much as a sporting event, then getting to spend more time at the ball park is a good thing. Too much of a good thing, of course, but a little bit isn't bad.

The good part of this card is when the delay is put to use making things better and that everyone is still playing the game at their highest ability. It produces a better end and makes everyone feel better about it, as well. It can also be used to evaluate things like accessibility or diversity or better design, make revisions, and ensure that the finished product is even better in the end.

The downside of this card is useless delay or unproductive delay. If there's reason to hold things up, or the delay is there just for someone to assert their power over you, then it's stupid delay and you might need to engage in yelling as a service and/or other methods including voice or exit. Because stupid delay is one of the things that saps energy and morale. And eventually people. Unproductive delay is often endless meetings rehashing things that are commonly agreed upon, requiring forms to be filled out that have nothing to do with the project but are yet required by someone's bureaucratic rule (that do not, when poked, have any sort of good reason why they exist), or letting one's own personal politics interfere with the process for the sake of grandstanding, showboating, or because of inane or asinine promises made to not do work because someone else has a different view than you do. (Principled objections don't count here.)

Extra Innings doesn't always happen, but when it does, be prepared to take advantage of the extra time so that your end results will be better. Someone else will if you don't.

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Silver Adept
11 July 2016 @ 09:01 pm
[This is part of a series exploring the Baseball Tarot.]

Outs come in many forms. Strike outs, ground outs, fly outs, pop outs, foul outs, outs on appeal, double and triple plays, and more. Outs are the way of the baseball game - without them, it can't end, as there's no clock or timer or other pressure to move the game along. Outs are a fundamental structure of the game of baseball.

Of course, they're also in a limited supply. Each team gets only twenty-seven of them guaranteed, and their management is crucial to whether or not a team will win their games. Standing in contradiction to this is the reality that even the very best baseball players are still more likely to make an out going up to the plate than they are going to make a hit. If one simulated baseball solely on the long term results of every player, it wouldn't look like anyone scored any runs out for any hits or was a standout everything - all of them all got out more than half the time. That's kind of depressing - what other game celebrates such futility by putting players who do poorly, but slightly better than all the others, in their Hall of Fame?

To any fanatic of baseball, though, what happens for things that aren't outs when your side is up to bat combine with the outs your team creates while on defense to have a complete baseball partisan experience. The highlight reels provide airtime for both displays of offensive power and excellence in defensive fielding, and the fanatics will cheer both of them equally, because they understand that both are important to winning the game. So outs are both beneficial and harmful, depending on which side of the bat you are on.

Umpires have two basic signals that they use to communicate their calls visually - the indicators of out and safe. Because appeals and other requests of the umpire are always framed so as to give yes or no answers, they are also easily communicable with the out or safe signals.

To indicate an out, the umpire makes what is classically called "the hammer" - a closed fist, with their arm bent at a right angle, with the sign given in a motion reminiscent of a hammer being swung. If one is watching televised baseball, the home plate umpire in the Major League division may use an alternate hand gesture to indicate strikes or strikeouts such as the "punchout". This is technically not in the rules, and the hammer gesture is to be used preferably, but good television and all that. At the lower levels and the learning leagues, the hammer gesture is much more prevalent for strike calls. As one might guess, the hammer is also widely visible to anyone watching the game, so that even if one does not hear the umpire boom out the call because of the background noise of the fanatics, one can see what the call was.

The out gesture is also used as the affirmative in appeal questions such as "Did the batter swing at the pitch?" or "Did the runner fail to legally touch second base?" because many appeal questions will result in outs if they are upheld. This makes the gesture practical as well as visible.

The presence of an out in your reading can mean a temporarily setback, if you are hitting. It is an incremental step toward the end result of your plan and process. Spectacular and flashy outs are more visible, but most of the outs collected in any given game are "routine", indistinguishable from any other out hit that way. This is encouraging to the hitter, actually - most of us will encounter mistakes and failures and commit mistakes and failures, and even though the majority of times will involve mistakes and failures, they provide experience and learning that can be put to use later on. Yes, sometimes those outs are the ones that end the game in a loss, but most of them just mean taking another walk to the dugout. Plus, it's still possible for you to be put out through no failure of your own - you happen to be the lead runner and the batter hit the ball right at the base you have to get to. And sometimes, type being asked to sacrifice yourself to help your team out. Those are also outs all the same, but they're outs according to the plan. Execute them well, and hopefully you will be rewarded. Forgive yourself your mistakes, learn from them, and then understand that the next time, it's another chance - everyone has more experience now, but it's still a chance. One percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration. And every now and then, you will succeed and have a reason to celebrate.

If you are fielding, an out represents another step of progress toward your goal. Every time you get three, you can come in and pick up the bats to hit with. Skill in fielding leads to chances for hitting. Aligning the Mitts, Balls, and Bases means that the Bats will follow. Outs for fielders are rewards of practice, mental acuity, and determination, and occasionally good luck, reflexes, and sheer physical ability.

The thing to remember about an out is that it's small, it's temporary, and you need more of them to create a change in situation. Trying to resist getting out is trying to engage in perfectionism. And no team or individual can sustain perfectionism forever. The game must go on.

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Silver Adept
[This is part of a series exploring the Baseball Tarot.]

The Suit of Mitts is the suit of the Heart and Spirit, associated that way because of all the tools on the baseball field, Mitts are the receptive ones. They hold Balls, touch Bases and interfere with Bats. In fact, they're the only equipment that can contain an entire suit within themselves.

Mitts also come with different varieties to suit their intended purpose - the first base mitt has some extra length and width so as to catch less well-thrown balls in the stretch to make outs. The catcher's mitt has a significant amount of extra padding to compensate for having to collect regular offerings at high speeds. Each person's glove is unique to their hand and their playing style.

The domain of the Coach of Mitts is fielding, a staple of defensive power. Fielding is the power to be able to get a glove on a batted ball in a hurry and deliver that ball to the right place to collect outs and prevent runs from scoring. Considering, however, there are nine distinct positions on the field that each have different responsibilities, the fielding coach has to be able to understand every place and how it interacts worth all of the other places, and give both individual and group instruction on how to do the necessary parts of the defense. And how to support each other - one of the things you don't see unless a fielder mistimes a dive or takes a bad path to the ball is that there are other fielders also covering the same area the ball is at or going to. The catcher, for example, has to hustle themselves down on a ground ball to back up first base in case the throw is off-target, so as to prevent the batter from taking an extra base on the throw. Outfielders regularly back each other up so that one drive didn't get extra bases because the player missed their dive. The shortstop and second base have to learn which of them will be the one to go out and be the cutoff person for throws coming in from the outfield and which will cover the base for any plays that might happen there, and whether that assignment changes based in which part of the field the ball is headed out to. (It usually does.) Players need to know their coverage assignments on balls hit to their side of the field, the other side of the field, steal attempts, pickoffs, and all the other things that might involve the application of mitts (often with balls inside them, or transitioning through them).

All of this requires a group working in concert to learn and support each other. One must have a team to be able to field effectively, even if the personnel on that team shift around through trades and injury. If you cannot work well with others and know when to pass off the ball to someone else, you will not go very far at all. These are matters of heart and spirit because even if your head knows what to do, if your heart isn't in it, you can't give it full effort. If you aren't fully present in the moment of a game, with your spirit fully attuned to the field, you will be too slow, think too long, or deliver the ball too late. Things off the field can distract, things that happened earlier in the game can interfere, and then you are no longer present, and the team's power is not quite all there.

Communication is also a prerequisite to good fielding. Chatter is communication. The Signs are communication. Even rhubarb is communication, albeit not very productive or positive communication between teams. There is an established process for appealing to the umpires about the rules, and rules that govern that communication so that nobody gets thrown out for asking questions. A field that is silent is a field that cannot do its job.

The Coach of Mitts is the coach of receptivity, protection, and communication, all of which are needed to effectively build and maintain a team. Being able to work and talk with each other and stick up for each other when the time comes is the way to create a group of players that will be able to reach their full potentials. The Coach's positive aspects are in team-building and communication. The negative aspects of the card are in selfishness and praising the individual above the team, because that sows discord in the team's dynamics. If dysfunction is your goal, don't do what the fielding coach tells you to do. Just don't be surprised when you end up being responsible for the error that costs the team a run of two, or the game.

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Silver Adept
[This is part of a series exploring the Baseball Tarot.]

The grand slam is the only play in baseball that scores four runs, the maximum possible in any one play, without an error. To be even able to potentially collect a slam, the bases must be loaded, already generating tension and pressure for everyone on the field and, generally speaking, reducing the number of pitches that can be hit well to near nil, as the pitcher consciously avoids trying to put the ball anywhere but the absolute edges of the strike zone. Out of that situation, the hitter must make contact, and so do well enough to put the ball sufficiently out of reach of the fielders that all four players will score.

In short, one must jack a junk ball with the bases juiced.

A grand slam brings the fanatics to their feet in applause and generally allows for a bit of soaking it in while the batter makes the home run trot. This is the singular offensive achievement, the Holy Grail of the hitter, and the feather in the cap of the Power hitter, who hopes to collect many, many more of them over the course of their career. To hit one will be immensely fulfilling and may very well get you a round or two of drinks at the bar after the game. The record books will put you in a good category, even if your career is otherwise unremarkable. Short of hitting a walk-off, where the winning runs get scored without the defense being able to stop it, this is going to be the place where hitters find a hero. This is a happy, happy event for the hitter and should be celebrated.

There's one tiny thing to remember, though, about a grand slam. Much like finding the Golden Snitch, a slam by itself does not guarantee victory. It helps, a lot, certainly, but unless those four runs are exactly what you need to win in the bottom of the ninth, there's still the rest of the game to be played. getting a slam when down eight is great - you've cut the deficit in half. But if your defense gives up another three in the next half-inning, then you're basically back to where you started. You have experienced a local maximum - the point on the curve that is currently the highest at that point, but is not the actual highest point on the curve - that happened sooner or will happen later.

For the pitcher, this is an unmitigated disaster, to give up four runs on one swing, and a swing that the defense could not even make an effective play on. There's some small consolation in the fact that being the pitcher that gave up the grand slam doesn't mean you, too, will end up in the record books unless you continue to distinguish yourself by giving up more of them. It's frustrating to give up a home run, and even more so this kind of home run. But now you have another batter to face and the game continues.

This is a generally positive card, representing great success in your affairs, sometimes even the very best success that is possible, unless you really feel that you're the pitcher in this affair and you've just had something blown up in your face. Just keep in mind that showboating is still frowned upon, and that there's still game to be played.

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Silver Adept
[This is part of a series exploring the Baseball Tarot.]

"Bases Loaded", in baseball or softball, signifies that each of first, second, and third bases are occupied by baserunners with outs still to go on the half-inning. The batter currently coming to the plate must be dealt with - a walk will advance all the runners one base, including the one on third, who will score a run without having to put in effort to avoid being put out. Most scenarios that have batted balls will result in a run scoring unless the defense can make enough outs off force plays to prevent that run from counting or make an out and be close enough to the next pay for the runner on third not to chance being thrown out at the plate.

For both pitcher and hitter, the bases loaded scenario is very high pressure baseball. For the hitter, they gave am opportunity to do some very serious damage with a base hit, or even keep the pressure on by walking in a run and continuing the bases loaded situation for the next batter in the lineup. That is countered by the possibility of striking out, hitting into a double play, or flying out shallowly, and only contributing an out instead of something better. For the pitcher, it's the prospect of giving up the big hit or home run that's the worry, and getting the K, the ground ball, or the short fly that's the benefit. Diametrically opposed goals with runs at stake in a showdown situation where someone is going to come away with a victory? Yeah, that's a pressure situation. Notice the fanatics are paying a lot more attention to the game at this point.

Because of the higher stress of these moments, mistakes are much more likely to happen and be consequential for the team that commits them. If you're looking for the players that are going to be The Hero and The Goat in any given game, barring last-inning heroics, what happens during the bases loaded scenarios are likely candidates. What constitutes a mistake in these scenarios have a much tougher standard. Even a pitch that is called a ball or a strike can have huge implications in the at-bat, in the way that it influences the pitch selection for the rest of the time. The more balls that have been accumulated, the more likely the pitcher is going to throw something that cannot be mistaken for anything but a strike, which means the batter can look for that pitch and take it for a ride. More strikes means the pitcher can dip into their arsenal of breaking and off-speed pitches to see if they can get a batter to chase something outside the strike zone. The ease with which both pitcher and hitter can mentally psych themselves out or overthink can make a situation like a Choke much more likely.

The best advice in this situation is usually the ones that are dispensed by the coaches to each of the players. "Just make contact." (i.e. "Don't try to swing for a home run and muscle the ball out. A normal, natural contact swing will do the job just fine.") "Throw strikes." (i.e. "Pitch balls the hitter will swing at and trust that the eight other positions defensively will be able to assist you in getting outs.") These are well-worn mantras of the coaching path, and players will hear them in just about every league and situation, but they are still the most relevant and sage words for the task at hand, because there's one thing more to remember about a bases loaded situation, even with all the pressure raining down on you to perform and execute: it's all potential. Nothing has happened yet. Breathe.

This card, in your reading, represents great potential. It can go well, poorly, spectacularly, disastrously, or remain mostly unchanged but for some movement in one direction or other. It's okay to feel the pressure of the situation. It's okay to panic and feel nervous and worried about it. Ultimately, though, trusting your training, assuming that the training and practice you've gone through is germane to the situation, is going to be the way to get through it.

The down side of this card is cracking under the pressure. Trying too hard to get through the situation is going to make it more likely that things will explode in your face. Running away from the situation isn't going to help, either - there are no bases to give, and going up hoping to walk will probably result in striking out, instead. (If it happens, try not to be too hard on yourself, okay?)

Throw strikes. Just make contact. The rest will follow, whether as in a Zen experience or a big ball of chaos.

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Silver Adept
[This is part of a series exploring the Baseball Tarot.]

...control. Where Power is generally brute force gathered and moving at high velocity, not easily resisted or dissipated (but often easily redirected), Control does not usually gather enough force to have someone standing in direct opposition to them. That makes it harder to spot the use of Control until it's too late. Control is patient and waits for an opportunity to attack, having spent a lot of time setting up the right scenario beforehand.

Hitters that exercise Control are generally considered hitters for average - they may lack the showstopping power of hitting home runs, but when they get up to bat, there's a good chance they will get on base, through patience at the plate and an uncanny knack for hitting balls where the fielders just can't get to them. Singles, bunts, and the occasional steal, along with speed on the bases, make the Control player manipulate the game to their own speed and desired ability. Enough Control players near each other in the lineup can manufacture a run of two by themselves or help begin or extend a rally that could become a high-scoring affair. The snowball effect is the way Control hitters work - little things strung together that suddenly create big things. Apparent coincidences or seemingly weird behaviors turn out to have had a plan behind them the whole time.

Control is usually applied to pitchers more than hitters, in the same way Power is usually applied more to hitters than pitchers, helping to set them up as opposite powers of the game. A pitcher must have command and control of their pitches to deliver them to the spots requested by the catcher in the manner requested, or they will have to deal with the consequences of wild pitches, hitting batters, or having those batters hit their pitches to the farthest reaches of the ball park. Usually, though, when taking about Control and pitchers, the archetypal one is a pitcher that lacks velocity as their singular effective characteristic, and instead has a variety of pitches to select from, most of which have some form of break to them, so that it is incredibly difficult to predict what pitch will be coming next, where it will originate, and what kind of movement it will have. In this situation, hitters are often reduced to reacting to the pitch and hoping to foul off enough wrong guesses until they collect a right one and do something with it. Control pitchers are starters and middle relievers, whose game has gone beyond sheer velocity into finesse and manipulation. They know when to take heat off the ball as much as when to put it on.

Control's weaknesses, though, are just as present than those who rely on Power. Applied Power is often able to withstand or break schemes involving Control, by taking advantage of the ease in which a single mistake or out-of-place support or action can bring down the entire affair. A power hitter only needs one lapse of control to hit a home run or an extra base hit and drive in several runs. A power pitcher can often overwhelm a control hitter and prevent them from getting the placement they want by keeping them trying desperately to just catch up to the pitch enough to put it in play.

And, sometimes more so than with power pitching, control pitchers get tired more quickly and have their time on the mound shortened by every batter who takes more than the plan's allotment of pitches to them. Control pitchers are also usually away from their intended game and style when there are runners on base, providing pressure that might rush the mechanics or pull the defenders out of alignment. It is quite possible for a Control pitcher to snowball themselves in the same way a spinning top eventually develops a wobble and then comes to a halt, no matter how well-spun the top was at its beginning. The chaos that develops when things come crashing down is the risk of trying to impose your control on others.

Ideally, Power and Control are in harmony with each other in a player, equally able to harness either as the situation demands it. This doesn't produce quite the extremes of good associated with either, but it also doesn't produce the excesses of bad associated as well. The best players can do both consistently, and usually that requires coaching to develop the part that the player naturally lacks.

The Tarot equivalent of this card is The Chariot, which requires a driver of multiple horses to be in control of them so that they will work together. Classically, the chariot races were matters of big money and prestige as well as entertaining spectacles for the watching audience as the chariots would jostle each other for position in the track - not unlike race car driving in our own times. The card represents the influence of control on the situation, and it can be self-control or other control. It's not necessarily a universal good, either - the card may be signifying control exerted that needs to be broken or adjusted to produce good results. It depends on where you are and what sort of forces are arrayed against you. Fighting Control with Control can work, and it can just as easily become a very tangled mess. Handle with care.

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Silver Adept
[This is part of a series exploring the Baseball Tarot.]

There are two supposedly-contrasting forces for offensive players to maneuver toward - hitting for average, and hitting for power. Hitters for average are stereotypically smaller of build and fleeter of foot than others, with incredible bat speed that allows them to get the bat around on any pitches coming their way, no matter how poor the offering is, and punch it through the holes in the defense to get on base. Hitters for average are supposed to be the artists of the batted ball, specialists in placement and sneaking hits into places that don't seem like they could be responsible for a base hit. Those are the hitters...for the next post.

Instead, we're going to talk about those who use Power as their main method of baseball operations. For most power hitters, the key statistics are Home Runs, Runs Batted In, and the On-Base and Slugging percentages. These are all measures of offensive prowess and the likelihood that this hitter will produce multiple runs with a single swing of their bat. A power hitter lives for big plays and single moments, the bases-clearing hits and extra bases that end up on the highlight reels, the sports programs, and the newspaper columns written about the game. They are dangerous because they will hit anything that's not perfectly thrown and drive it very, very far.

On the other side of the plate are the power pitchers. Power pitchers might have two or three pitches in their repertoire, but their danger comes from sheer velocity. Pitchers that regularly throw in the high 90s and beginning 100s of velocity basically require hitters to decide whether the pitch is worthwhile almost as soon as it leaves the pitcher's hand. If the reflexes are too slow, it doesn't matter whether or not the player wants to swing, they won't have the opportunity to make contact before the ball is already in the catcher's mitt and the umpire is making a call.

Power is intimidating, and its skillful use can create an aura around the player that is very difficult to break. Some players exude that aura so well that they will be intentionally walked, just so they don't have to be pitched to. Others, especially pitchers in the closer role, rely on that intimidation aura and the sudden change in velocity to put players away with their fireballs in short order, bats still on their shoulders and mystified by what they have just seen.

The confrontation between power hitters and power pitchers is often a salivating affair for the observers, and the fanatics of both sides will sing the praises of their chosen partisan in an attempt to intimidate the opposition's fans. Power is intoxicating, even to those who are marginally proximal to it. Once the question is resolved in the rivalry at that point, power has been demonstrated. But the other person is only waiting for their opportunity to demonstrate their own power.

Power players have weaknesses, however. Power hitters, in their quest for extra base hits, will often take pitches they should be swinging at and will often swing at pitches they should be taking. Hitting for power often increases strikeouts, decreases walks, and hurts the batting average as well. Power pitching relies on a small set of pitches to be effective. Against a batter with good eyesight and high bat speed, sitting back and waiting to see what a pitch does for as long as possible, and with a remarkable talent for fouling off pitches that aren't just right, a power pitcher will eventually repeat themselves, have to go to one of their less effective pitches, or tire a bit and lose some of those velocities, and then a hitter can take advantage of these lapses for their own power hitting. Relying solely on your own power to get you through the game might work here and there, but it's not going to be the prefect solution for all situations.

This is usually the card of Strength in a more traditional Tarot deck, and much like its counterpart, Strength is useful in several situations, it is very flashy when put on display, but there are times where applying too much strength to a situation only results in things getting broken. For that kind of situation, you're going to need...

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Silver Adept
[This is part of a series exploring the Baseball Tarot.]

While television broadcasts, fantasy sports, and commentators focus on individual players and their progression through the game and the season, baseball is a team sport. The offense has to work together to score runs. The defense has to work together to collect outs. While one or another player may be having a hot streak, or may be the marquee player for any given squad, it's very easy to make one player utterly ineffective by hitting away from them or pitching around them. Two, close in the lineup, are much more dangerous, and the more that the team itself is able to do things from any position, the better the team itself does.

Sometimes, however, the needs of the team override the desires for individual glory. Runners on the bases need to be advanced and scored, even if that means trading an out to make this possible.

This is the essence of the sacrifice. A team trades an out from their stock to advance or score runners and create a better situation for the remaining runners to also score. Official Sacrifices generally come in two varieties, the sacrifice fly ball (sac fly) and the sacrifice bunt (sac bunt).

A sacrifice bunt is a deliberate attempt by a batter to advance runners on base by bunting the ball. So long as a runner advances at least one base and isn't put out in the attempt, the bint is classed as a sacrifice. These bunts don't count as at-bats, since penalizing a hitter for giving themselves up in a tactical exchange doesn't make sense.

Sacrifice bunts require a certain amount of finesse to complete well, mostly sharing the same kind of skill needed to bunt yourself on to base. A bunt that drops almost immediately, gets nice and close to the foul line without crossing it and that forces the player fielding it to have to turn around to throw to get the lead runner will generally do quite well as a sacrifice bunt. The main point is to put the ball in such a place and way that the only out the defense really has its to throw to first and get the batter. Before the general overall increase in fitness and strength among baseball players characterized by an era of steroid scandals and other performance enhancing substances, it was almost a staple of a National League baseball game that the pitcher, so as to save their energy for throwing, would generally attempt to lay down a sacrifice bunt if they were in a position to be able to do so, so that other batters would be able to drive in runners from there. At the time of these posts, interleague play and continuous improvement in training and strength had pitchers taking swings seemingly more frequently than they were before, including hits that can travel far enough for home runs. The increase in pitcher hitting has helped spread the duties of sacrificial bunter to many other spots in the lineup, making the bunt possible at any point in the game.

Sacrifice bunts are also a characteristic of a team that plays "small ball", whose game plan involves manufacturing runs in small batches and using stellar defense and pitching to keep the score low. A small ball team is geared toward winning a game 1-0, rather than 13-12, and their willingness to trade an out to advance runners into scoring positions is attempting to provide a high percentage chance of making the few hits of the game productive ones. Small ball is an interesting game to study and use, and it can make teams with limited payrolls competitive against titans that throw money at players to build a lineup of power hitters.

The other official sacrifice is the sacrifice fly ball, which can be a little trickier to recognize, as it is generally not a deliberate action like the sacrifice bunt, but instead a decision made by the scorer on fly balls hit to the outfield. The criteria are that there have to be less than two outs, the ball must be hit out of the infield on the fly, the ball has to be caught on the fly, and, most crucially, a runner has to score on the play without a defensive error allowing them to. Most sacrifice flies, then, have the characteristic of being a sufficiently deep-hit fly ball to the outfield that the runner on third base is able to advance and score before the throw from the outfield arrives and a tag is applied to them.

As with sacrifice bunts, a sacrifice fly is not counted as an official at-bat, but the run that scores is added to their total of runs batted in, resulting in a net positive to the offensive statistics of the batter that flies out. So even the individual metrics go up when a player helps the team score runs. Which is the idea for helping remind us of the team nature of the sport.

There is one other notable sacrifice that happens infrequently in baseball, but it is generally recorded HBP (hit by pitch) rather than as a sacrifice - at certain levels of the game, when the fundamentals of the game regarding throwing strikes should be firmly established, pitchers start being taught how to locate their pitches to be the least hittable, and to generally move from attempting to get all their pitches in the strike zone to starting to get their pitches to the edges of the strike zone. In three directions, this doesn't mean much, but the migration of pitches toward the batter's edge of the strike zone means there's a greater opportunity that a pitch will slip too far inside and strike the hitter. Hitters, at this same level, are being taught to "crowd" the strike zone and present themselves in such a way that any mistake too close to them will result in the batter being awarded first base for being hit by a pitch. As velocities increase, so does the likelihood that being hit by a pitch will hurt. And that's before things get to the point where a pitcher is "accidentally" throwing at hitters that have displeased them. (The umpires frown heavily on such actions and have been instructed to eject anyone they perceive as deliberately throwing at a batter and several other personnel along with them.)

In any case, being hit by a pitch is sometimes euphemistically referred to as "taking one for the team", with the expectation that the personal physical sacrifice of the player will be appreciated by their teammates, and possibly rewarded by being a run that eventually scores. Even if they have bruises and soreness afterward.

The presence of this card in the reading is fairly simple - there's a sacrifice being asked of you. Someone else might need what it is you are looking at more than you do. You might be asked to mentor someone else's big project, reducing your own glory but increasing goodwill and possibly giving the other person the confidence they need to succeed at full potential. Sometimes, that may even mean having someone else take your place on the team. You could sacrifice your own privileges to help others get a leg up. Sacrifices in baseball aren't easy, but they're not the same as sacrifices asked in life. But the sacrifices asked of in life often come with benefits to those who can make them.

That said, constantly being asked to make sacrifices (unless you're the pitcher) is probably an indication of team dysfunction - make sure you're not being taken advantage of by your team. If you're a person that likes to help by nature, this is a difficult thing, sticking up for yourself.

The downside of the card is the person who won't make sacrifices at all. The person that cannot give way, accept help, or do anything other than stand in the spotlight and try to draw all of the attention to themselves. As with everything, a little bit of self-aggrandizement is okay, but putting yourself in front of everyone else constantly is going to end up with the team not supporting you when it would otherwise. Bad Ends often catch up with time.

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Silver Adept
[This is part of a series exploring the Baseball Tarot.]

With its bevy of statistics and numbers tracked, it would surprise very few people that baseball is a game that seems good for simulation purposes. Statistical models are usually in play for more than just fantasy league players trying to make decisions about who to draft and trade - the teams themselves are running similar models to try and determine which if their players is going to be helpful, which need to be gotten rid of, and what kinds of roles need to be fulfilled if the team wants to compete for a playoff spot. Mathematics is the underpinning of baseball, and computers are really good at doing all sorts of complex mathematics to see whether or not a player is going to be valuable.

That's all very off-field material. On the field, maths and logic are just as important in determining defensive placement (and whether to use the shift or not), pitch selection, how big a lead to take, whether to steal, and whether to take, swing, or bunt. All of these factors interact with each other in myriad ways. A slow pitcher with a catcher that can get rid of a ball quickly is a different scenario than a fast pitcher with a slower catcher. A hitter with a tendency and a pitcher with a likelihood adjust their choices accordingly.

Prioritization is a huge part of the defensive decision tree. With runners on base, opportunities to get the lead runner out are a priority - except when the batted ball would result in two outs instead. Then you can give up a base, and sometimes even a run, in exchange for two outs. Except if the infield really needs to make sure that lead runner doesn't score the winning run - then you might only get one out, or none, so as to avoid losing the game. The outfield always attempts to deliver the ball back to the infield one base ahead of the lead runner any time they have to handle retrieving it, fly out or not. Force outs are preferable to tag outs, ground ball outs to fly ball outs (and strikeouts over all), and before every pitch is thrown, every defender knows what to do with the ball should it be batted their way, in the case of runners trying to take the next base and in the case of runners not trying to take the next base. They also know what to do if the ball is batted to a different defender - pitchers are often required to cover first base on balls batted to the defender normally covering first base. This can mean for a very interesting 3-6-1 (first base-shortstop-pitcher) double play if the defense can hustle fast enough to get everyone in place. Shortstop and second base trade off as to whom is covering second base on balls batted to the left or right side of the field, and whom is covering second base in case of a throw down to prevent a steal or attempt to pick off the runner, based on the situation and the batter at the plate.

The foundations of these heuristics are taught at the learning level, with practice scenarios repeated until the fielders are making correct decisions, even if their arm strength can't quite deliver the ball to the correct destination in a reasonable amount of time. It's why some of the chatter between defenders are reminders to themselves and others as to which decision tree to use for the upcoming batter. And then those decision trees end up having to account for the rare scenario, usually accompanied by a field-level below of "BUNT!"

A computer could very well simulate the entire decision tree that every player goes through on every pitch and accurately replicate most of the mental game as thoroughly as possible. The physical game, not as easily, but they're trying all the same, through increasingly sophisticated dice rolls and random number generation. The mental game is present for those that can read the signs, and if you're tapped in to that part of the game, even the mundane experiences give clues to the unfolding shape of the contest.

All of that goes into this card - Fielder's Choice. Officially, a Fielder's Choice is defined in Rule 2 as "the act of a fielder who handles a fair grounder and, instead of throwing to first base to put out the batter-runner, throws to another base in an attempt to put out a preceding runner." It's a way of statistically accounting for the presence of a batter on the bases on the scorecard without the official scorer having to credit them with a hit (which would raise their batting average). A Fielder's Choice is considered an official at-bat, so statistically, the batter is punished correctly for not hitting safely, even if they subsequently manage to get on base due to how the play unfolds.

For example, a batter who starts what would be a 6-4-3 double play but manages to beat the relay throw to first thanks to their speed on the basepaths or their teammate's work at disrupting the rhythm of the play (actual disruption of the play itself that doesn't give the defense a fair shot at making the play in the eyes of the umpire is interference, and will get the batter declared out) will be scored as a Fielder's Choice - the defensive player could have decided to put the batter out, and probably would have, but they chose to go after a higher-priority runner already on the base paths. In the cases of double plays, the batter might still end up getting out anyway based on further decisions, but the initial decision was to focus on something else.

As you might expect, the presence of this card is about making decisions. The artwork of the card itself depicts a fielder with the ball and in the motion of making a throw, with other fielders ready to receive that throw. The throwing fielder, however, is giving no body language as to which fielder they are going to throw to, and may, in fact, be hesitating just a little bit before delivering the ball, a hesitation that could be costly.

The upside of the card indicates choosing a course of action based on your understanding of the situation and following through on it. Even if you're not sure that the option you picked is the optimal one, you should at least be able to get an out from the decision or otherwise help your team. The option you choose may be different based on the scenarios that you choose, but at this point in the game, you hopefully have enough information about the state of play that you can confidently make a choice that will be helpful.

Which makes the downside of the card about indecision. Paralyzing indecision, of trying to choose between options where there is no clear indication as to where to go, or between competing options that are both loud and mutually exclusive. If you can't choose, try to determine why not. A lack of information can hopefully be remedied with research or questioning. Or applying what you already know to the situation at hand. Sometimes the decision is there, you just need to actually notice it.

Baseball is a game of choices, from the front office to the field of play. Even if only one specific thing actually gets recorded as something in the scorer's book. Seeing the decisions that lead to the current situation helps makes later decisions easier to make.

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