2:00PM Water Cooler 3/6/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

I’m afraid I am derelict in my duties once again, and this is a travel day for me (although at least my computer is working. Or will up until the moment I pack it). So once again I must ask you to talk amongst yourselves.

I can think of two topics:

1) I was amazed when readers described all the different and varied projects they had undertaken, when I asked them to describe their “kit.” Perhaps readers could tell us more about their projects: How they came to undertake them, what they learned, how projects reshaped their lives?

2) I’m not that comfortable leaving the house in the winter time, just in case something bad happens. But in the summer, I might do some New England meetups, rather like a rock tour, though I doubt we’ll go so far as to have T-shirts and roadies. Thoughts on this? It’s never too soon to make plans we’ll later change!

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, and (c) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. And here’s today’s plant:

It’s a Prunus mume…

Readers, Water Cooler is a standalone entity, not supported by the very successful Naked Capitalism fundraiser just past. Now, I understand you may feel tapped out, but when and if you are able, please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Water Cooler on by .

About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. cocomaan

    My wife has been asking me to make more beeswax lip balm. I used wax from our hives, the really pure stuff harvested before the bees got their filthy feet all over it. Old wax is darker and dirtier. You’re liable to put a discarded limb onto your lips. Melted on my makeshift double boiler with coconut oil and some essential oils for flavoring, it’s great on chapped lips, working better than the chapstick stuff you get at the store.

    It’s nice being able to make consumer products like lip balm. You certainly don’t save money, but you feel great knowing you can. Next, I am going to try my hand at soap using wood ash and fat. Soapmaking is a real skill, because you can go from making soft handsoap to hard laundry soap fairly easily.

    Speaking of soap, we already mix most of our own cleaning products using borax, washing soda, citrus acid, and grated bars of Fels Naptha soap. You find them at the end of the cleaning aisle, the old school stuff. With a combination of these ingredients, you can create dish soap for the sink, laundry soap, and dishwasher soap. The dishwasher stuff works just as well as the store bought kind. We save a ton of money that way and know what the ingredients are.

    1. marieann

      I just love reading about other people making it themselves…..then I don’t look like such a freak. I usually get the rolled eyes whenever my homemade endeavors come up.
      I don’t have my own bees but I do use their wax product. Last year I started making my own toothpaste, works great, my dental checkups are fine. It is so easier and much cheaper than what I was using.
      I’m working on a hairspray just now, it contains water,sugar and vodka…..I figure if it doesn’t work I can drink it.
      Do you have a recipe for the dishwasher powder?

      1. freedeomny

        Marieann- re hairspray – I make a salt spray for hair using pink Himalayan sea salt – you may want to investigate that instead of sugar. You would think of it as being drying, but it is not.

      2. freedeomny

        Marieann- also – here are two great blogs if you are into dyi stuff – Humblebeeandme and Swift Crafty Monkey. Swift Crafty is a bit wonky as she really gets into the chemistry side of things (which I happen to like). Humblebee uses a more natural approach and she has great recipes from cleaning products to healing salves to winter wax for dog paws! I personally use one of her formulas for – yuck – toilet bowl cleaner. Because it actually makes cleaning the toilet fun…really….

    2. Dead Dog

      That must save you a lot of money. We done. Yes to dishwasher powder.

      The few friends that I have with a dishwasher have been taken in by the ‘powerballs’, those ‘5 in 1’ products which can cost 20 to 50 cents a wash.

      I buy the Black and Gold powder for about 3 bucks. It literally lasts me six months, just using a teaspoon. Sure, you need to add the rinse aid, but this is like 2 bucks for a bottle.

      But I do like the idea of making it myself.

    3. Buttinsky

      I used wax from our hives, the really pure stuff harvested before the bees got their filthy feet all over it.

      Free association, since this is sort of an “open thread” discussion…

      Peter Marshall on original Hollywood Squares: “How can bees tell when a stranger bee has sneaked into the hive?”
      Paul Lynde: “They can see their tiny feet under the curtains.”

      1. polecat

        Darker comb is either ‘older’ comb, or comb in which drone brood have been raised … I raise my bees using bars rather than frames, and thus new comb is produced (by the bees) each year, or every other year ( I cut the comb off the bars to crush, rather than through an extractor. new comb = less toxins in the wax, as well as reducing Varroa mite populations some what.

        1. cocomaan

          I’ve managed to start going foundation-less after using foundation my first year of frames. I run 8 frame hives, so now if I put a filled-out frame every other slot, they’ll build their own wax no problem. I think I am at about 95% without foundation now, which feels great. Drawn comb is the best.

    4. freedeomny

      Hi Cocomaan- I make all my own soaps, shampoos, lotions, cleansers, lip balms and home cleaning products. I’ve been doing it for years and I can pretty much recreate most beauty-bathing-skincare, etc products. Its became a side hustle for me (via word of mouth) as people were constantly asking me to re-create their favorite products because it was so much cheaper for them….and without all the nasty chemicals.

      FYI re laundry detergent. I used to make my own but now use soap nuts/berries as they are all natural and I find they clean just as well while being very inexpensive. 5 or 6 soap nuts/berries can last for 5 loads and a whole bag of them costs around $10. You can then dry your clothes with sheep wool drying balls – it will cut down on the drying time and soften clothes naturally. If you put a couple of drops of essential oil on each ball you will scent the laundry naturally.

        1. freedeomny

          Hi DIY – if you are looking to make more natural products I would check out Humblebeeandme site – she has some great recipes/formulas. And is great for instructions. I think she also has a youtube channel.

      1. cocomaan

        I had never heard of soap nuts! That sounds amazing. I wish I could grow the tree here but the frost would obliterate it.

  2. Jim Haygood

    The NYT’s Nicholas Kristof publicly suborns a felony:

    But if you’re in IRS and have a certain president’s tax return you’d like to leak, my address is NYT, 620 Eighth Ave, NY NY 10018.


    How desperate is the MSM/intel axis, that intrepid stenos like Kristof are willing to risk prison to take down their Orange Nemesis?

    I’d be okay with Kristof getting immunity, if his testimony were used to RICO Sulzberger.

    Smash the MSM.

  3. mothy

    I’m down with a New England-centric meetup. But try to make sure you choose a site that’s within twenty-minutes or so of everybody. We New Englanders are a provincial lot and hate to travel that far if we don’t have to! “)

    1. NYPaul

      Also keep in mind, all the major highways (interstates) in N.E. run North/South only. To keep within a 20 mins. radius, by process of elimination, Boston (area,) I think, would be the only choice.

        1. Larry

          I second the Woostah nomination, kid. Failing that, I would go for Portsmouth NH. Capture the North Shore of MA and make the drive not as bad for Lambert.

  4. L

    Actually if I can suggest another topic I want to bring up one about assumptions. I’ve noticed that there are a number of Very Serious Assumptions about governance that keep getting put on the chopping block by Trump. One of the ones that I realized I myself have been making is about Tillerson.

    Much of the reporting on the Trump administration has implicitly assumed that Rex Tillerson is not a deconstructor. Unlike DeVos, Pruitt, and Perry it is assumed that he actually values the State Department or at least has no interest in decimating it because State is, well State. But is that really a safe bet?

    It is the State Department who must approve all oil lines that flow across borders, and controls on exporting U.S. oil. It is also State that monitors the Foreign & Corrupt Practices Act, and the Logan Act. It is State that monitors compliance with international treaties on Climate Change, and it is State who designates countries as Human Rights Abusers. That’s bad for business.

    For someone at Tillerson’s level, who runs a nominally American but really multinational corporation with its’ own agenda, it is the Department of State and not the EPA who would be the true thorn in your side. The EPA only has jurisdiction over the United States. The State department can be a killjoy all around the world. The EPA can be farmed out to a flunky like Pruitt any day.

    If you think about it in that context there is every reason to believe that Tillerson the CEO would prefer a foreign policy that is based in the DHS and DOD. The former only cares about the movement of poor people in which does nothing to harm the bottom line. The latter is only concerned with projecting kinetic force, which protects expensive oil fields, and not with whom you pay off. A (more) militarized foreign policy would likely free up companies like Exxon to go their own way more often and make the kinds of deals in Burma, Russia, Iran, or South Africa, or Zimbabwe without fear of interference.

    I realized belatedly that in this instance we may be making the same old assumption and missing the fact that a Lanny Breuer doesn’t change his spots.

    If that is in fact the case it suggests that Trump’s deconstruction may not be as nationalist as many think. And, if true, that he has more support in the “very serious businesspersons” than we may expect. If his view of Foreign policy puts the actual diplomacy in the hands of multinationals (or at least deemphasizes it for the government) then that would actually enhance their ability to set the “norms” and thus enhance their own control over trade.

    This may all just be pure speculation but it did get me thinking about what we do know about the extent of this deconstruction and who its willing handmaidens (meisters) really are. What other assumptions have we made?

    1. DanB

      You raise a good question. To me, Tillerson’s appointment revolves around peak oil, something else Exxon decided to deny publicly some years ago (according to Ken Deffeyes, retired Princeton prof of geology). I do not think Trump/Tillerson, et al. really grasp peak oil’s deeper consequences beyond realizing that oil and other natural resources are becoming harder to access cheaply. There is only one strategy they perceive: acquire resources for the 1% anyway you can while denying or lowering consumption in other nations. Creating chaos and failed states with million s of refugees lowers demand. Impoverishing people at home does the same thing.

        1. Tvc15

          I’ll throw in a vote for Portland. Maybe Lambert would be kind enough to do a NE road show.

    1. millicent

      Would you consider a stop in the Adirondacks? Saranac Lake/Lake Placid? Be glad to try to host something.

      1. NYPaul

        Of course, that would, necessarily, entail a romantic ferry “cruise” across beautiful Lake Champlain.

  5. Altandmain

    Apparently the Democrats now attack Trump for the same policies that Obama championed:

    This attempt to equate Trump’s opposition to arming Ukraine with some sort of treasonous allegiance to Putin masks a rather critical fact: namely, that the refusal to arm Ukraine with lethal weapons was one of Barack Obama’s most steadfastly held policies.

    Indeed, the GOP ultimately joined with the hawkish wing of the Democratic Party to demand that Obama provide Ukraine with lethal weapons to fight Russia, but Obama steadfastly refused. As the New York Times reported in March, 2015, “President Obama is coming under increasing pressure from both parties and more officials inside his own government to send arms to the country. But he remains unconvinced that they would help.” When Obama kept refusing, leaders of the two parties threatened to enact legislation forcing Obama to arm Ukraine.

    The general Russia approach that Democrats now routinely depict as treasonous – avoiding confrontation with and even accommodating Russian interests, not just in Ukraine but also in Syria – was one of the defining traits of Obama’s foreign policy.

    Glenn Greenwald seems to be one of the few people that gets it. He joins one of the few, Thomas Frank, Patrick Cockburn, and a few others on “getting it”.

    1. L

      From the reporting it seems to me that the key question is: Which democrats? It was clear during Obama’s tenure that he and Clinton disagreed strongly on foreign policy, even moreso once Libya turned into the obvious debacle. Most of what I have read on this suggests that it is the strong Clintonite wing that never liked those to begin with much like the fact that many of the Republicans who criticize the ACA came in part from the wings that hated Romneycare.

    2. tgs

      Not sure I would describe Obama as particularly accommodating. He probably didn’t think it worth the while to drum up a war with Russia. Wars, especially ones that risk going nuclear are not necessarily legacy enhancing. And we know how Obama feels about his legacy.

      Frankly, it is hilarious that the party of identity politics would be championing the cause of a Ukrainian government that is loaded with people who are right wing, white nationalists.

    3. VietnamVet

      This is all mixed up. The media can’t help itself. It keeps portraying Barrack Obama as the good guy. My old unit from Vietnam, the 173rd Airborne Brigade, was assigned a training mission in Lviv, West Ukraine by the Obama Administration. They are in reality a trip wire that starts World War III if Russian Tank Armies actually do invade Ukraine due to neo-Nazi provocations against ethnic Russians on their border. Image the uproar if Erik Prince’s private army moves into Mexico to protect China’s interests there due to the turmoil in North America from the globalists’ soft coup against Donald Trump who refuses resign the Presidency.

  6. Uahsenaa

    Not sure if this qualifies, but I’m currently working on a translation of a Japanese novel from 1920 about two teenage girls who form a lesbian-ish relationship while living together at a Christian boarding school. The novel is interesting for a number of reasons: its play on kindai sexual mores, the Dickinsonian use of punctuation as a form of rhythmic pacing, and a view into Japan at a time when its striving toward “modernity” looked very different from how it does now. I like the novel a lot and have enjoyed the challenges it presents.

    I recently discovered, though, that the author’s estate has resisted having her early work translated precisely because of its (rather tame) lesbian overtones. I wrote them to ask why this was, given she lived as an out lesbian for her entire adult life. They wrote back politely requesting me not to continue with this project, so I politely wrote back telling them to [family blog]. First off, the work is in the public domain, so I don’t have to do anything they tell me to; second, it strikes me as highly unethical to conceal from broader knowledge what the author herself made no attempt whatsoever to hide. In fact, she seemed perfectly okay with people knowing, and the knowledge of her sexual orientation in Japanese can even be found in that most secretive of sources, her wikipedia page.

    Then, to make matters even weirder, I was speaking with a friend of mine and fellow translator, who insisted that my not respecting the wishes of her estate was fundamentally wrong. I noted to her all the points made in my previous paragraph, but she just wasn’t having it. Setting aside the fact that I’m perfectly within my legal rights, is there something about the ethics of this that I’m missing? Because it seems to me that this novel is precisely how the author should be presented to the wider world.

    1. Dan

      I agree with your interpretation completely. The author wrote the work so that people would read it. The work does not belong to the family but to all of humanity, and if you find it worth translating, I’m sure some who otherwise could not read it will find it worth reading. Their monetary claims on the work are at an end and they have no other legitimate claim on it to keep others from knowing the work.

    2. Benedict@Large

      If there is a moral issue here (and I’m not sure there is), it would be how would the author herself wish this to be handled. On the surface, this seems simple; she would wish it be translated according to how she lived her life. But there is another possibility, and that’s that to a Japanese person, respect for the family might be the greater good. Though she herself was a lesbian, that gave her no right to impose this history on the family from which she is now departed.

      Not being very familiar with the Japanese culture, I can’t offer any insight as to which is the case. But as a translator of the language, you probably can. Is there anything in the culture or in the writing itself that would suggest the family’s wishes are supreme? Did the characters in this book hide their orientation from their families, for example?

      [If you do end up with the translation you’re speaking about here, I’d suggest a “translator’s note” describing how and why you came to that decision.]

      1. Uahsenaa

        Is there anything in the culture or in the writing itself that would suggest the family’s wishes are supreme? Did the characters in this book hide their orientation from their families, for example?

        One of the more peculiar aspects of the story is that it’s almost as if these teenage girls have no family at all. In fact, the idea of school as a kind of surrogate parentage is quite common in this period. What’s more, and this is still true to this day, historically when a women got married, she would be removed from her parents’ family register and entered into her husband’s, meaning she would technically become part of his family. Nowadays, women either stay in touch with their parents or not as they see fit, but traditionally it was seen as normal to leave your family behind at marriage. One of the more interesting things about Yoshiya’s life is that she actually adopted her partner, so that she would be included in the family registry and thereby have legal rights to their mutual property.

        [SPOILERS] At the end of the novel, the two girls, Akiko and Akitsu leave school together in a kind of Casablanca moment, “the start of a beautiful friendship,” though with more conspicuously homoerotic overtones. It’s also worth noting that flirtatious relationships between teenage girls were seen as perfectly normal, as part of growing up. Only when this continued on into adulthood was it considered untoward.

        1. Jessica

          Stieg Larsson の件みたい。

          1. Uahsenaa

            西洋作家ならば、吉屋さんを誰とも比較できないと思います。 19世紀の英文学のセンスでメロドラマ的な小説のようです。 でも、すこし近代のエログロのセンスもあるでしょう。 吉屋さんのノベルはSジャンルのはじめて、それから現代のユリ漫画の母だから。

            1. Jessica


        2. UserFriendly

          I think she has a very interesting story to tell however, maybe it’s the gay in me, but my first thoughts were: 1. What about her wife’s family / extended family do they have some reason that they would prefer this not get out everywhere? 2. I almost hate to say this, but two young Lesbians traveling the world together at that time… I wouldn’t be the least bit shocked to hear of some jack ass rapingng one of them to ‘turn her straight’. Have you looked into the possibility that either of them had children who may not know they are children of these women? Did either have a much younger sibling? Or a similarly aged sibling that had a child unexpectedly? Or possibly even an abortion that the family still resents. They might just be worried you would dig up something they would rather not have to go through. They visited the states, if there was an attack here, maybe that’s why they are uneasy about the english translation.

    3. Judith

      The book sounds charming. I do not know what to think about your dilemma. Perhaps the controversy about the recent (2006) publication of Elizabeth Bishop’s uncollected poems may spur your thinking.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is it the Japanese version that is available in the public domain?

      Are rights to various language versions an issue here? Are they saying, for example, ‘we have to approve who is authorized to translate into English?’

      1. Uahsenaa

        It’s 100% in the public domain, due to being published before 1922. They have no legal claim on it.

        My concern is more with the ethical issues it seems to raise for others but not for me. It’s entirely possible that I’m just being an ***hole about this.

    5. Clive

      That is such a great project. I am so envious. From native-speaker level Japanese, I manage two to three pages of A4 per hour when translating (and that is if the material is on a subject matter which is my specialty; anything else and I might drop to half that) so while I’ve always wished to do something like that, it would be a lifetime undertaking. At least while I have to work.

      As for the reactions it has garnered, I put that down to maybe Japanese deference to authority? Or insisting on showing respect to outgroup members (here as in the deceased author’s family) perhaps? I find this all the time with native Japanese. I was talking with a good friend last week and we were looking at an article in a magazine about health. The article contained the usual (for Japanese) experts experting and a lot of correlation being treated as causation. Not, it must be said, that western media is any better.

      I was chortling away at this, having read far too much Naked Capitalism to be able to drop my critical faculties. My friend struggled to conceal her horror at my glib, mocking derision at the author of piece. Because it was in a reasonably well-regarded publication, to my Japanese native friend, it seemed like I was casting aspersions on the whole edifice of Japanese research, publishing standards and probably everything back to Izanagi and Izanami. Question, I thought, Japanese credentialed classes at your peril!

      Good luck! Do please tell us when you’re done.

      1. Uahsenaa

        One of the reasons I don’t work with living authors or translate much that isn’t in the public domain, is that I hate precisely this insularity. The “let’s just not talk about it” attitude that pervades public discourse in Japan is so toxic, and it’s one of the reasons that their East Asian neighbors get so up in arms all the time. I mean, the government can’t even be bothered to admit to things that happened in the first half of the 20th century which are a matter of public record, much less apologize for them. Yet, every other day there’s some apparatchik on NHK shikata ga nai-ing his way through some minor kerfuffle. Meanwhile, the things that actually matter–ongoing meltdown in Fukushima, for instance–just get swept under the rug or, worse, actively ignored.

        Thanks for the encouragement, and don’t be too hard on yourself. Translation is slow going for me as well, especially in this case, because the prose is so florid and the syntax often quite strained.

      2. clinical wasteman

        Clive, in my experience of translating anything worthy of the effort, three or four pages an hour seems fairly fast. Any faster would be likely to add to the welter of bad translation in the world, which is something I know neither you, nor you Uahsenaa, would ever contemplate doing, because I know how well you both write. (Thin gruel like the MSM articles I translate by the dumpsterload as a part-time day job is another matter, but I only take on literary or related work when the publisher understands that the book, essay or whatever it is must essentially be written all over again and that this takes time. I’m often shocked at the combination of very high hourly rates and unrealistically short turnover time quoted by some freelancers, and also by their omnivorous approach to form and subject matter, as if translation were merely a technical procedure, something to be “done” the same way “to” every kind of text. If that were true, Google Translate would actually work and we would all be redundant, but it doesn’t and we’re not. Note, not “not yet”.)
        Anyway, my utmost respect and admiration, fellow translators.
        Uahsenaa, please let us know when the work appears.

      3. Tom_Doak

        “Question … Japanese credentialed classes at your peril”

        Sounds like the Democratic Party! If the Japanese economy is where they intend to lead us, then it’s a good thing they can’t figure out how to win an election.

    6. L

      I don’t have a simple answer and this is just my $0.02 but, while I would say you are legally right I think the matter should also be seen in the light of artistic morality. Creators of works do have a vested interest, and I would argue special right to, their contents. While we can legally rip up a Rembrandt there are a number of moral reasons why that would be damaging to what the artist intended. When viewed from that perspective I think that it is important to ask what the author intended for the work.

      If, for example, the author asked it not to be published in another language so as to keep the work pure or consistent with their writing, then that may be something to consider at least out of respect. Twain, for example, asked to keep his correspondence secret for a fixed time.

      If, on the other hand, the estate is acting out of their own interests then it might be different. Some estates act to protect their own feelings about a work (e.g. Twain’s wife and the Tolkein family) while others do so for commercial reasons (e.g. Margaret Mitchell(TM)).

      It seems that you feel that translating it would add to the appreciation of the work and would add meaningful scholarship beyond the titillation of 1920’s occidental lesbianism. If you also feel that this does not run counter to the author’s actual wishes then I think you have a point. If, however they may have reasons for opposing it, then it may be a different story.

      1. Uahsenaa

        My frustration stems from the fact that I can’t get a clear answer one way or the other. When I asked why they prefer it not to be translated, I didn’t actually get an answer to that question. They simply presumed that I was asking for permission (I wasn’t). I’d be more than happy to consider Yoshiya’s opinions on the matter, though nothing I have read about her or in the scholarship indicates that she objected to her work being translated/adapted/whatever.

        My suspicion is that it’s the family that’s queasy about her sexuality being more widely known, in which case I couldn’t care less about their feelings. The public domain exists for a reason, and I’m a strong advocate of increasing and not decreasing access to literary works, especially ones that might help reshape our conception of what modern Japanese literature is.

        1. L

          Well I can understand being frustrated under those circumstances. Given the age of the book, how close would the family members in question be to the original author? Are we talking about the authors’ children, in which case they would probably have a decent idea of her views, or grandchildren, who may not have much to go on.

          In the absence of queasiness they could also be concerned about bad translations. I know one translator who has commented about works which suffered greatly from bad translations ruining the reputation of the original. Perhaps they are just being gun-shy in general.

          If it is in fact queasiness then there are still feelings to go on but it would seem that you are legally sound.

    7. PlutoniumKun

      Sounds very interesting, I love Japanese novels/films from that period (in translation) – something to do with it being so transitional between a feudal and modern world, with all sorts of external influences thrown in to society.

      I don’t really see why you would be under any obligation to the estate, unless they are clearly channelling the authors original wish. I’ve heard of some Japanese writers (most famously Haruki Murakami) who don’t want translations of some of their works for various personal reasons. The estate, after all, are just some relatives with the good fortune to have been in line to inherit some money/influence. Its the artist who matters.

    8. Lee

      From the Wiki:

      Unlike many Japanese public persona, she was not reticent about revealing details of her personal life through photographs, personal essays and magazine interviews.

      Go with the author’s spirit not the deadening and possibly homophobic hand of her living kin.

      1. Lee

        Another thought: maybe there is a competing project in the works controlled by and would financially benefit her heirs.

    9. schultzzz

      Nice project and interesting question! From my limited experience in Japan, people who “manage” artists tend to prioritize CONTROL over the artists over more American goals (publicity, money). This is as true in the minor leagues as it is in the mainstream.

      Also, values such as ‘contracts’ and ‘my rights!’ are less important than values like ‘slowly but smoothly’ and ‘when in doubt, hesitate’.

      Western mechanisms like contracts and rights, which represent ‘equality’ to us. . .. they might seem more like ‘treating people as interchangeable parts’ to a traditional Japanese person, and here’s why:

      “It’s better to spend 3 years and 100 meetings getting to really know someone before you get down to even a little bit of business. Why? Because, only now that you know that person well, you can finally deal with them as an individual and not an interchangeable part. ”

      Of course, that’s only half the story! A more cynical explanation would be,

      “Make the ‘sunk costs’ of friendship so immense (in terms of time, effort, liver damage, etc) that the other person CAN’T pull away”.

      It’s kind of ingenious – rather than centralized authority or a million rules, the sunk costs themselves ensure loyalty. But the KIND of loyalty that results is often just as one-dimensional, paranoid, and manipulative as you’d expect.

      So in music, for example, the ‘managers’ will ‘request’ that magazines don’t print photos of artists unless the magazines buy the photos from the managers’ ‘associates’. And the magazines will go along with this.

      (if this seems kind of Yakuza-like, I’d venture that’s because the Yakuza took their values from traditional culture rather than the other way ’round)
      (at least in this instance)
      (because this attitude has wide support beyond mob-linked managers!)

      Counterpoint: Japanese culture is as dumb as any other country, and learning a new cultural rule doesn’t make it a good rule! My thoughts are, [family blog] the author’s family, and let us know when you’re done translating!

    10. Marina Bart

      It’s quite common for family to try to punish their non-gender normative relatives for their embarrassingly transgressive sexuality. How is this attempt at suppression of her work more morally virtuous than blocking a dying gay man’s romantic partner from attending his death bed?

      Her work is a reflection of her. Her sexual orientation is publicly known; you’re not outing her. Frankly, this work is almost 100 years old. It should be treated as community property at this point. That’s why copyright law, even in its horribly debased current state, has a sunset provision. Artists’ works are blossoms in the communal garden. They don’t emerge isolated from and untouched by the world; they are a product of it. They arise from its soil; they flourish in its light and water.

      Why should this artists’ descendants (who may never have met her) or hired managers have a right to withhold her work from circulation among and contemplation by a newer, broader audience for any reason at all? How is this different from using brute force to fence in land, claim ownership of it, demand rents from anyone who wants to graze sheep or hunt deer on it, and inflict violence against anyone who uses the land without permission and payment? In some ways, this is worse. No human made the land, but a human who sprang forth from the human community made the novel. Her family should be satisfied to have been granted a period of time to control her legacy and economically benefit from it.

      I don’t see why you should be constrained by Japanese mores in this situation. If you saw a young girl about to be forced to undergo a clitoridectomy, would you put your hands in your pockets, avert your eyes and walk by because her culture believes mutilating women and depriving them of sexual agency and pleasure is a good thing?

      Writers write to communicate. You are honoring her legacy. Her estate wants to lock her in the attic. They have no power to stop you, nor, it seems to me, any moral right to do so.

      The book sounds cool.

      1. Uahsenaa

        I, of course, already agree with you. I’m just trying to understand what the possible objections might be. Either way, I’m going to publish the thing when I’m done.

        This made me chuckle:

        Her estate wants to lock her in the attic.

        The title of the novel, Yaneura no nishojo, translates to “two virgins in the attic,” though I prefer The Attic Virgins.

        1. Marina Bart

          Given that she is explicitly referencing the pre-existing literary trope of locking disobedient women in attics, I think you have an actual responsibility to unlock the door and get her characters out of there.

        2. efschumacher

          Yaneura? – that’s literally “under the roof”: “Two Virgins under the Roof” sounds much more atmospheric.

          1. Uahsenaa

            Yeah, but it means “under roof” in much the same way daitokoro means “pedestal place.” It’s much easier, and less confusing for the reader, to say “attic” and “kitchen,” respectively.

    11. Synapsid


      You’re doing the right thing and need have no qualms about it.

      It sounds a book I’d like to read, too.

    12. craazyman

      I’d let it rip. Maybe the actress who played the wife in Roshomon can be one of the girls in the movie version. She really was a wacko, if that’s not redundant for actresses.

      Frankly the girls don’t look very Japanese in the picture in the link. They look like Parisians. Does this family understand that the author may have just made this up? It may not have happened at all in reality, so the family may be worrying about nothing. The hard part is translating pictures into words, whether this is aboout lesbians or about samurai warriors. What difference does is make if it’s lesbians or baseball? The family seems confused to me anyway.

      I’d ignore them completely. They probably don’t read English and would never know anyway — unless it becomes a Hollywood blockbuster with Toshiro Mifune as the headmaster. That would be pretty amazing. But it coould happen! Then you’d have to tell them you did it, but by that point they’ll be so flattered they’ll forget they were ever pissed.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        It could happen, Machiko Kyo is still alive! She is well into her 90’s now. Amazing actress, you know the producers insisted on bikini shots for her for the publicity for Rashomon (just to clarify, no bikini scenes in the movie). She was hired by the studio as a sexy bimbo, but Kurosawa and Ozu both saw she was much more than that, a fine actress. I couldn’t imagine Rashomon without her (and Mifune of course).

    13. Vatch

      Franz Kafka gave explicit instructions to his literary executor, Max Brod, to destroy Kafka’s writings after his death. We are indeed fortunate that Brod chose to ignore those instructions, for Kafka wrote some of the most important novels of the 20th century, even though they are unfinished.

      If the book is already available in the Japanese language, I have difficulty seeing why it would be wrong to make it available in English. The cat is out of the bag.

  7. Stormcrow

    On spying and leaking in high places.

    Apparently this is the best our system can do:

    1. Judicial Watch Sues CIA, DOJ For Intel Leak Records: “President Trump Is On To Something”

    2. Schumer Demands “Immediate” Probe Of Political Interference Into Trump-Russia Investigation

    Angels and ministers of grace defend us.

    1. L

      Actually the former might not be so bad. I’ve been thinking about this and, avatar aside, having some actual challenge to the broad secrecy on these orders is a good thing. Trump tweeting about the bad spymen is infantile. But, if an actual lawsuit can force some real meaningful transparency on the process after the Most Transparent Administration EVAH!(TM), then I am all for it, even if it is Judicial Watch.

      1. Code Name D

        Well, its big enough that it pushed Russia-Russia-Russia off the front page. The MSM is not treating us to 24/7 endless preemptive denials and indignant kvetching. The Democrats are clearly circling the wagons.

        Just in this news cycle, a ton of evidence has come forward conclusively proving that Obama did indeed order and receive at least one FOIA Warrant specifically targeting Trump’s campaign associates. They even publicized the FOIA as an attempt to smear Trump during the campaign. So I suspect the spin will shift to defending Obama’s FOIA request.

        But this has derailed the Dem’s impeachment plans. You can only kick the bear so many times.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Yes, ingenious. Looks a bit like wheeled seeders, but with the wheel used as a fulcrum.

        I was going to say it’s superfluous here, then remembered that we woke up to our FOURTH snowfall. This is, in my now considerable experience, unprecedented. It’s unusual to get even one substantial snowfall. It isn’t that cold today, so it turned to rain and melted, but still shocking to see.

        Unfortunately, this will be used by global heating deniers, but it’s part of the package: the weather becomes more unstable, with more extremes. Trouble is, at this rate we won’t be able to grow oranges any time soon. I have a hardy citrus (Yuzu Ichandrin) planted, demonstrating perpetual optimism, but it was damaged by the freeze we had a month ago.

        On the bright side, one huge project is almost done: sawing up the huge log that was stretched across our back yard. It was a large (60+ yrs old, 40″ across) Douglas Fir that was growing at the corner of the garden, right next to the power lines. It was nearly dead, so the electric company was nice enough to cut it down for us. We cut up the branches and top for firewood, but couldn’t even move the log! Found a system D guy who makes this his business – calls it “city logging.” He prepped the ground and the log, brought in a portable mill, and sold the lumber to a farmer. My son and I sorted the leftovers into usable lumber and a pile of firewood. Now it looks like an industrial zone, with a lot of gravel – they did all this in the rainy season. So I’ll spread clover seed on the bare ground and gravel, cover the seed with some of the sawdust. (I’ve found that planting clover is the best way to grow healthy grass around here – you’ll get grass in a year or two regardless.)

        And I used the bark, which came off in huge pieces, to cover the paths in the adjacent garden. Not the easiest footing, but very attractive; looks a bit like a bark stream running through the garden. I’ll try to send a picture.

  8. dbk

    (1) Commenters – you do such fascinating and worthwhile things, I’m endlessly impressed by NC’s readers, feel humbled to be in such company.

    (2) Summer meet-up: if it’s before the end of June, I would delay my return to Europe and make a special effort to come. Wow!

    (3) I’m not creative in the way many of my fellow-readers are, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I find myself perforce unemployed (scholarly translator). So … I’ve decided to start a one-person blog on politics and society. The focus will be on education (my career field; also, I’ve become somewhat obsessed by the new Sec of Education and her agenda) including Native American education, health care, and incarceration/ solitary confinement.

    I chose health care largely due to Lambert’s posts on the ACA over the past few years, and I chose incarceration/solitary confinement because I’ve been following the topic and because one of my senators is on the Judiciary Committee and has introduced legislation to limit solitary confinement for minors in federal prisons. I need a good reason to stay in regular touch with him.

    There will also be occasional book- and film-essays — not reviews, but discussions from the perspective of society and social class.

    As a not-very-creative-person, I’m struggling for a name right now. Help!

    Anyway, my blogroll will award NC pride of place, because this is the blog that taught me what it means to write seriously, day after day, about issues that matter.

    1. Dead Dog

      Good on you.

      After two unread novels, I too am thinking about a blog.

      Even NC had humble beginnings, and the more voices of reason out there the better.

      Mind you, I am sure that NC could capture some of the MSM readers if it did some celebrity stuff, a bit of sport and so on /s

  9. Massinissa

    ” I’m not that comfortable leaving the house in the winter time, just in case something bad happens”

    Something bad as in like personal bad, or something bad like civil unrest bad? Just curious.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Those of us who have experienced the results of tree branches through roofs, frozen water pipes, heating failures, broken windows and so forth might have a mental picture of what he is concerned about. Also with the snows that sometimes fall in Maine, and obliterates houses and landmarks, maybe finding the home on returning?

  10. stefan

    I do a lot of carved sculpture in wood, so adding an undervalued old chisel to my kit from eBay is what passes for big excitement in my world.

    This Saturday (March 11) I am opening an exhibition of new sculpture at Pisticci’s, at 125 LaSalle Street in Manhattan. The reception is from 1-4. All are welcome.

    Pisticci’s is a popular neighborhood restaurant near Columbia University, the Manhattan School of Music, and next door to my old studio, “Grotto.” This is my fourth show of carved relief at Pisticci’s; other shows were “The Italian Comedy” (2003), “The Magic Circus” (2007), and “Nine Muses” (2010). The restaurant is open seven days a week. My show continues until Saturday, June 10, 2017.

    1. subgenius

      Decent chisels are getting somewhat difficult to find, I find – but my favorite hand tool is definitely a real high quality Japanese pull saw.

      1. stefan

        Yes, my website is http://www.stefansaal.com.

        It is a fun site and has many photos of some of my work.

        Actually, I studied wood sculpture in Japan for a number of years, and have many Japanese tools. As the years have gone by, however, I find that I have gravitated towards pattern maker’s chisels, many of them paring tools, manufactured in the 19th~early 20th centuries in Rochester, NY. As I’ve gotten older I have also gravitated back towards hand tools, as they are quieter and more peaceful to use. In all events, let there be no doubt, the Japanese are superlative toolmakers.

  11. Maturin

    As for kit: I recently purchased an iPad Pro 9.7″ and Pencil and it has entirely replaced my MacBook Pro as my primary development machine with the added bonus of providing a fantastic digital art platform. If I could simply have bought an updated MBP with an ESC button, I would not have considered the iPad a viable substitute or bothered trying it out. But the changes to the MBP line were enough to drive me away to consider the iPad and MS Surface. After using the iPad Pro + Pencil a few months I am entirely sold. My productivity has skyrocketed since switching! I was expecting the opposite.

    This got me thinking: I now believe the subpar recent MBP generation is actually strategic, and a clever way to trick old coders like me who have been using the MBP line for a decade in to consider something new that is actually better for many of us while giving them a way to end of life a line they no longer consider a future area of growth.

    In any event I found out my expectations and assumptions were suboptimal. The experience has led me to re-classify many of their recent moves from “obviously stupid” to “subtly clever”.

    I am curious if anyone else has had similar experiences, and any commentary or critique of my “strategically broken” thesis.

    1. subgenius

      Show me the iPad that can handle the 6.5k video we have 2 cameras shooting right now….Or even professional audio (as in multiple high quality tracks, virtual instruments and effects)…

      Spent years (decades) coding (mini computers, micro computers – from a zx80, natch – and even built the odd Beowulf cluster) and the only Macs I ever bought were for audio and/or video production…a market they seem to have abandoned.

  12. Merd

    My “kit” comment was about the boat that fits on my bike that fits on my boat. I tried it out yesterday to great success! There are some photos here for anyone interested.

    This is completely changing my worldview for what is possible without a car, really moving past ‘how to make up for the deficit of not having the power of fossil fuel automotion under my butt’ into ‘what are the wild spots I can see and explore that someone bound to a car can’t get to.’ Beyond that, it is personally satisfying and liberating as my sense of place deepens and becomes grounded in an awareness of the lay of the land in detail and in the big picture.

    This has grown out of cycling for emotional stability, mixed with a naturally high curiosity. Riding around, I learned all the subtle, and not-so-subtle, contours of the land around my town, and found myself occasionally confused about what creek watershed I was in where. I explored maps online, learned a little GIS, obtained some overlays, and figured out that I live just a few miles from the line between the Kentucky River and Cumberland River watersheds, and at the nexus of several smaller tributaries’ watersheds of those main River watersheds. That began to shape where I decided to ride. It also lead me to explore maps of the entire Commonwealth of Kentucky through the lens of watersheds, which has caused it to seem much smaller than it has before. The more I learned about the waterways, the more I wanted a boat to explore them.

    Now I’m looking at maps seeing how those waterways could actually serve me as shortcuts or alternatives to following roads, and imagining traveling the country on my bike/boat combo which I lovingly call Shirley, the Surly Sea Eagle. :)

    Thanks for giving us space to share about ourselves, and for all the great links and analysis!

    1. charles leseau

      LHT rider! Excellent. I love that frame design and recommended one to my dad when he wanted an all-rounder/tourer. I’m buying a new house and moving across country this year, and depending on what I have left over I’ll hopefully be building up an LHT for myself as a utility bike (already have a custom Mercian KoM heavy camper tourer w/Rohloff and a Bike Friday folder for international travel).

      You are doing something that I also got heavily into around 2003 and beyond. I became a bicycle touring/camping madman. It’s truly one of the most wonderful pleasures I’ve ever found, and the benefits – physical, naturalist, and mental/spiritual – are amazing. The boat-bike-boat idea is one that I’ve long wanted to do with my Friday, since the Friday can fold up into a Samsonite suitcase that trails behind it, so I could hypothetically do something very similar to your setup with the Xtracycle (is that an Xtracycle?).

      Appalachia is a wonderful place to do it too. Best of luck and happy voyages to you.

      1. Merd


        Wow, that Bike Friday is new to me. Just read the founder’s back story, he designed the Burley trailers I had (and loved) before I got my Xtracycle. It looks quite nice, but I’m not sure if an Xtracycle would fit? The picture I’m looking at looks like the kickstand plate between the chainstays that the Xtracycle would sit on top of is too close to the dropouts. However, Xtracycle’s new LEAP seems like it looked more adjustable than my FreeRadical.

        Then I saw the Bike Friday Haul-A-Day!?? “A disassemblable, small-wheeled, long-tail cargo bike, with a supplementary frame-mounted front platform.” Don’t tell Shirley I’ve been looking at pictures on the web. However, load capacity of 200-250 lbs doesn’t work for a guy who hovers at 200 and wants to bring a boat+etc, so I’m really just looking. LHT+Xtracycle is 400lb max, Sea Eagle 370 Kayak is 650lb max, my legs TBD.

        Happy riding and good luck with the move, may you one day fold up your bike as you unfold your boat. :)

        1. RMO

          Mention of carrying a boat on a bike reminds me of folding kayaks. I have owned a Folbot Yukon for years. Decent paddling, easy to put together and take apart and well designed and built – for the price. It’s not up there with Feathercraft or Long Haul but good for what it cost and what I use it for. Unfortunately this brings me to the “ongoing crapification” of everything. A while back Folbot was bought out, and now they’re out of business after decades of manufacture in the U.S. (originally the company was British). The German Klepper company seems to have shut down some (all?) of it’s German factories and now sources things from Poland’s Wayland company. At least if you want a Klepper typ folding Kayak you can still get an improved, U.S. made version from Long Haul and Feathercraft boats are still made her in Vancouver.

        2. charles leseau

          Oh, no, the Xtracycle wouldn’t work with the Friday. That sentence could have been smithed better to avoid confusion. I was talking about your Xtracycle there.

          With the Bike Friday I’d put the folding kayak in or on the suitcase when I’m riding and then fold the bike in the suitcase when I’m kayaking. The load capacity is fine for the folder when the weight isn’t actually on the bike but rather dragged behind it on the suitcase carriage wheels. There’s a South American fellow who tours the Amazon that way, but I haven’t spoken to him in ages.

          The Bike Friday can actually be a bit more abused than the given weight limit too, or at least mine can. When I was in California, I used to load it up with full touring/camping gear without any problems (on the racks, not the suitcase) and even off-roaded quite a bit with that setup.

          Your LHT setup is fine though. Shirley should have nothing to fear. It’s a much better bike for full throttle touring purposes than a Friday. The Friday really should only be used for its intended role. Happy riding to you too!

  13. Darius

    I watched “Hell or High Water” over the weekend. It came out before the election and had nothing to do with it, but it presages a Trump victory. It paints a bleak picture of West Texas, with its tale of foreclosure and images of for sale, going out of business, and payday loan signs all over the place. Since it portrays deplorables, I’m surprised it was nominated for Academy Awards, but not surprised it didn’t get any. These are the people today’s Democrats want to airbrush away and pretend they don’t exist or don’t matter, or tell them they all need to learn to code.

    1. Edward E

      Something Important that the Dems neglect: Trump wants a weaker dollar to reduce the trade deficit, make US goods more competitive and bring jobs home.

      I just planted about three plus acres of oats, triticale, peas, chicory, clover mix, ryegrass, forage radish and brassicas ahead of the rain. Wild critters love my place. It’s about to storm hard, hope the power doesn’t go off for 34 hours like last week, everybody stay safe.

  14. Altandmain

    Has anyone read Jacobin’s article on West Virgina and the Democrats?


    The recent history of the West Virginia Democratic Party underscores the desperate need for an economic vision in West Virginia, and in the rest of the country, that actually works for working people.

    Bernie Sanders began to provide an outline of what this vision could look like in West Virginia. Campaigning in the state he challenged the Democratic establishment’s ties to Wall Street — and also to the pharmaceutical industry that has flooded the state with prescription painkillers over the last decade. He spoke directly about climate change, a problem that West Virginia Democrats prefer to pretend does not exist. And he addressed the reality that the Democratic Party has abandoned the working class in West Virginia.

    Sanders won all fifty-five counties in the state’s Democratic primary. His victory suggests that the challenge of winning back a state that voted 68 percent Trump may be less impossible than it appears.

    1. dbk

      Thanks, the Jacobin piece is excellent. The Democrats’ inability to articulate any vision for the state’s working-class population that would provide jobs + take into consideration environmental degradation really did it.

      The interesting thing about this piece, and it’s no different in this regard than others I’ve read about regions/locales that have been destroyed by extractive industries and/or the migration of production jobs out of state/ out of country is that this author too stops short of even so much as hinting at a way forward. Sanders identified the problems and was incredibly successful in doing so, but what, realistically, are the solutions?

      If there are people working on this, I’d be really interested in reading them.

  15. allan

    House Republicans just introduced their bill to repeal and replace Obamacare [Vox]

    House Republicans introduced their plan to repeal and replace Obamacare Monday evening. Here are the most important points about the plan:

    •It will allow Medicaid expansion to continue. This plan says that states can continue to enroll people under the Medicaid expansion through January 1, 2020. At that point, enrollment would “freeze,” and states could no longer add to the rolls. Legislators expect that enrollment would shrink as enrollees’ incomes change [Dow 36,000!!!] and people fall off the rolls dead.
    •It will include age-based tax credits for those who earn less than $75,000 (or $150,000 for joint filers). The tax credits are the same size as they were in a draft that leaked in February. The tax credits would start to phase down for high earners above the income threshold.
    •It does not cap the tax on employer-sponsored coverage. Previous drafts of the plan would have taxed especially high-cost insurance provided at work. This new plan does not include that provision, and instead continues the taxes in Obamacare for an additional year kicking-the-can-down-the-road-period to pay for the continued Medicaid expansion and individual market tax credits. …

    Caught between a Koch and a hard place.

    1. katiebird

      I don’t understand how tax credits work. Say I pay $6,000 a year for insurance … do I really get $4,000 credit toward my taxes owed? Or is there some complicated formula and I really get some tiny credit. …. I have never qualified for any tax credit so I don’t know how it works.

      Also, I assume that Medicae Supplemental plans don’t qualify????

  16. allan

    Father of slain soldier who criticized Trump says travel rights reviewed [Reuters]

    The father of an American soldier killed in Iraq who came under criticism last year from then-candidate Donald Trump said he has canceled a speaking engagement in Toronto after being notified that his U.S. travel privileges were under review.

    Khizr Khan, an American citizen born in Pakistan, said he had not been given a reason as to why his travel privileges were being reviewed. He did not say what kind of review he was subject to, which U.S. agency ordered it or who told him of the change. …

    Khan had planned to speak at a luncheon in Toronto on Tuesday in a discussion about President Trump’s administration, according to Ramsay Talks, a Toronto-based speaker series hosted by Bob Ramsay.

    Khan declined to comment further in an email exchange with Reuters.

    The organization said in the same statement that Khan, a U.S. citizen for over 30 years, was notified Sunday evening that his travel privileges were being reviewed. …

    Surely the DOJ Civil Rights Division under Jeff Sessions will never allow this. Y’all show me yawr papers.

    1. wilroncanada

      A young Canadian woman, born in Canada, citizen of Canada, Canadian passport, was just turned back at the Quebec-Vermont border on the weekend. She was told she needed a visa. Her name is Manpreet Kooner. Her parents were from India. Apparently, like many Canadians who live close to the border, she frequently hops across to shop. Maybe going to a spa on the Vermont side was a dangerous anti-American activity. Perhaps she was just too olive-skinned for the border agent. Who knows?

  17. Code Name D

    For anyone following the fake news phenomena, this might interest you.
    Its a video just posted by a Logiced, a guy who usually likes to debunk religious videos. And here he came across a Ted-talk segment talking about a new Feminist rating system. Now before you get your panties in a bunch, he is just examining and verifying the claims made in the lecture. He finds that even though the claims themselves are fairly low key, they are still largely exaggerated with none of the media companies that reported on the event doing any independent investigation and almost exclusively plagiarizing the original article. Even Brighbart, which have a notorious anti-feminist agenda simply copy and pasted the original article.

  18. Keith Newman

    Re the meet-up,
    I live near Ottawa, Canada. How about a meet-up close to the border, say in Burlington, Vermont?

  19. Kokuanani

    Oh boy, Open Thread!!!! I’ve been wanting for some time to post on this, and here + now seems the perfect opportunity.

    Long, long ago I used to teach 7th & 8th grade English. I try very hard not to be a “grammar Nazi,” but I find that so many of the errors I see in writing were covered in those classes. [My kids: “yeah, Mom, if they’d only had YOU for a teacher.”]

    Anyway, today’s lesson is on “its” and “it’s.” If you’ve ever been confused about this, read on.

    First, a rule: personal pronouns do NOT use an apostrophe to show possession. Think about it: you write “his,”
    not “hi’s” or “his’ “, and “yours” not “your’s.” So to refer to something belonging to “it,” you say “its.” [No apostrophe.]

    The cat chased its tail. [Okay, an animal, not a person, but bear with me.]

    “It’s” is a contraction — you’ve left a letter out. “It’s” = “it is,” minus the second “i”.

    It’s fun to watch the cat chase its tail.

    Simple, right? Easy to remember. Now you’ll never have to be confused again.

    You’re welcome.

Comments are closed.