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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
 A squirrel is on the hopper feeder.  :D  I haven't seen one since autumn.

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ysabetwordsmith
In a fascinating turn of events, scientists have documented purposeful sexual activity between Japanese macaques and Sika deer.  The video is particularly hilarious.  I am intrigued for a number of reasons ...

1) Japanese macaques are known to throw super-intellects.  Imo's invention of the sand-free sweet potato and the floating rice trick have been documented.  Scientists gave the monkeys pieces of sweet potato to attract them; Imo thought of washing hers.  It made the process faster, so the scientists switched to rice.  Imo again put hers in water, skimmed off the floating rice, and had a quick snack.  

2) They have different traditions in different places.  This implies that brilliant monkeys occur repeatedly.  This is a big deal.  People tend to overlook how big a deal it is, but Homo ergaster  or African Homo erectus  had one inventor, ever.  They kept his or her brilliantly made hand-axe for about a million years ... and basically never changed it  or added any other tools based on the same principles.

3) Domestication is extremely rare outside of humans.  Social insects do it -- there are ants that farm fungi and others that herd aphids.  But what the Japanese macaques are doing is much more sophisticated.  They're selecting deer with a tolerance for monkey behavior.  Some of those deer are so phlegmatic they put up with being pulled, chewed on, and dry-humped.  Seriously, we have horses that won't put up with that much hassle.  The deer definitely get something out of the exchange: grooming and food scraps.  The monkeys are making very deliberate choices about which deer to approach.  Which means if this sticks, those tamer deer are going to get better health and better food, which boosts their reproduction, which will pass on those traits.  That means monkey sex is influencing deer sex.  You might not see the effects for a while, because this seems to be a new thing, but somewhere out there is a super-intellect who thought a deer would make a dandy fucktoy and paid for it.  Yes, the deer are effectively prostitutes.  They do make a choice -- some will walk away, others will tolerate the riding and humping for the perks.  Judging from the way one monkey was pulling on fur and antlers, it probably won't take long to figure out that you can steer  a mount that way.

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ysabetwordsmith
This study shows that frequent use of cleaning products impairs lung function over time in a way similar to that of smoking cigarettes. 

However, I dispute the claim that "microfiber cloths and water" do as good a job as cleaners.  No the fuck they don't.  Dude, have you tried to get fingerprints off glass with water?  That ain't happening.  Most glass cleaners use ammonia because it works.  Neither will you get rid of any dried gunk with water and a soft cloth. If I want the table free of crumbs I can wipe it with a dry napkin.  If I want the sticky spots off, I need furniture cleaner -- and the green version I bought doesn't work near as well as the chemical kind, alas.  Although I will say my favorite goo remover is based on orange oil.  The most you can do with a soft cloth is wipe up spills immediately.  Water, well, it'll remove some things if you're willing to stand over it and scrub with a scrungie for five minutes.  You got time for that?  I don't.  I doubt many people do.

I don't clean frequently, though.  I clean grudgingly when I have to.  I am darkly amused by the fact that this is good for my lung health.  :D

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ysabetwordsmith
This is the freebie for the February [community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam. It was inspired by a prompt from [personal profile] freshbakedlady. It also fills the "yummy" square in my 1-31-18 You Are card for the Valentines Bingo fest.

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ysabetwordsmith
The [community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam is now open with a theme of "trust and vulnerability."  Come give us prompts, or watch the conversations! 


What I Have Written

"Interspecies Relationships" is the freebie for this session.


From My Prompts


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ysabetwordsmith
Thanks to a donation from [personal profile] mama_kestrel, "Always Repay the Cost" has 12 new verses.  Dr. Infanta describes her credentials, and Stan finds an errand elsewhere.

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ysabetwordsmith
This poem came out of the January 2, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] rix_scaedu. It also fills the "xenophobic stupidity" square in my 1-1-18 card for the Apocalypse Bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Polychrome Heroics series.

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ysabetwordsmith
I got woke up at 9 AM today, which is basically the middle of my sleep shift.  >_<  Recent minor plumbing issues have turned into major ones.   Professionals have been called, and cleanup efforts have been attempted.  I do not know if I will be needed for more cleanup later.  I know better than to try fixing anything -- this writer has been told, in no uncertain terms, NOT to be a plumber.  Positive thoughts, prayers, etc. for quick and reasonable repairs are welcome.

This is likely to cause delays in my posting speed and other poetry activities, as well as undermining other online activities.  Sorry for the hassle.

EDIT 5/15/18 -- The plumber has come and gone.  The urgent stuff is fixed.  There will be more later that requires additional parts, but for now we're ahead of the game.  \o/  Thank you for your help.

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ysabetwordsmith
Folks have mentioned an interest in questions and conversations that make them think. So I've decided to offer more of those. I'm starting with this list.

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

It's hard for me to narrow it down to one, so I won't insist on that rule.  Leaving out people I might genuinely have a chance at, such as famous writers, brings me to:

Stephen Hawking -- because I love quantum physics and would greatly enjoy listening to someone I feel confident is smarter than me.

The Dalai Lama -- again, his existential intelligence outstrips mine.  I think I would ask him, "What do you do when you know how to adapt to the culture you land in each life ... but you don't like  the one you're in?"

EDIT 5/15/18 -- Today, we're focusing on live people.  Someone else reminded me of a historic version that I've penciled in for next week.

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ysabetwordsmith
 ... will probably get worse.

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ysabetwordsmith
A friend tipped me to this awesome list of native video games and comics.  Look closely at the themes.  They are very different from what appears in most mainstream examples.  So if you're tired of the usual crap, try some of these.  I've added notes about them for those of my characters into such things; feel free to prompt if that appeals to you.

You can watch the first episode of Kagagi online; it's in a mix of Anishinaabemowin and English.  If you know even a few words, it's really fun to pick them out of the flow.  Listen to the music, especially.  It's easy to forget, listening to mostly mainstream stuff, how thrilling it can be to hear ethnic music as the background track of a show.  It puts you in a whole different world.  For me, I relate to it in ways that I just don't feel with most entertainment.

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ysabetwordsmith
I hope you're all having a happy Valentines Day.  Remember that the Valentines Bingo Fest is running on  [community profile] allbingo if you want inspiration for writing or other creativity.

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ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the December 6, 2016 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by a prompt from DW user Curiosity. It also fills the "surgery" square in my 7-16-16 card for the Hurt/Comfort Bingo fest and the "WILD CARD: Come Healing" square in my 12-1-16 card for the iPod Shuffle Music fest.  This poem belongs to the Dr. Infanta and Antimatter & Stalwart Stan threads of the Polychrome Heroics series.  It follows the poems "More Anxious to Agree" and "Never Carry Them Forward," so read those first.

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them.  The rate is $.50/line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.
So far sponsors include: DW user Librarygeek

650 lines, Buy It Now = $325
Amount donated = $120
Verses posted = 66 of 197

Amount remaining to fund fully = $205
Amount needed to fund next verse = $.50
Amount needed to fund the verse after that = $1.50


Warning: This poem contains some touchy topics. Highlight to read the warnings, some of which are spoilers.  It features an expected death (which does not actually occur), a hospital visit, anticipatory grief, superhero/supervillain relationship challenges, bioethical issues, requesting help from a supervillain, messy medical details, several people donating lifeyears to save a friend, expected memory loss of the accident as a side effect of treatment, sharing secrets, negotiating secrecy, and other angst. If these are sensitive issues for you, please consider your tastes and headspace before reading onward.

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ysabetwordsmith
A friend asked me about ways to support tribal people. Here are some thoughts ...

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ysabetwordsmith
 ... now in America.

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ysabetwordsmith
Look at that "food box."  That's what tribal folks call "commodity food."  It's what the government gives the Native American tribes as part of treaty agreements, and it KILLS PEOPLE.  Remember how I keep saying that the way people in power treat people without power is how they'd treat everyone if they thought they could get away with it?  Well, now it's not just tribal folks. They want to do it to all poor Americans receiving food assistance.  It's murder.  >_<

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ysabetwordsmith
There's another soup in Omaha, Nebraska and she's crossing paths with the folks at Blues Moon.  Only catch is, she's not on their side of the cape.  Find out what happens in "Silk and Steel."

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ysabetwordsmith
A friend tipped me to this project seeking a two-spirit artist to put artwork on a wool blanket. Blankets are an important part of tribal culture, and in most tribes, made by women. Inspired Natives is aiming to promote the work of tribal artists rather than cheap knockoffs.

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ysabetwordsmith
This poem is from the February 6, 2018 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette.

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ysabetwordsmith
[personal profile] technoshaman sponsored the second half of "Where You Begin to Heal."  Riley gets some big news about thon's body.

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