Bush Said it All in Three Short Sentences

Bush Said it All in Three Short Sentences

“Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization. Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions.”

Former President George W. Bush, at the memorial service for the slain policemen at Dallas, Texas.

Music to read this by (I can’t get it out of my head, and it bears on this column):

“There’s been some hard feelings here                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      About some words that were said                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Been some hard feelings here and what is more

There’s been a bloody purple nose                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           And some bloody purple clothes                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              That were messing up the lobby floor

It’s just apartment house rules so all you ‘partment house fools                                                                                                                                                                                 Remember one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor                                                                                                                                                                                                 One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor…”

One Man’s Ceiling is Another Man’s Floor, Paul Simon

It’s time to break up the circular firing squad we have going, and discover what unity we can as a nation, and as a world.  I’ve found very few occasions when there’s been anyone in Second Life who didn’t come here to make friends and have fun – without hurting others.

That said, a political argument I had with someone from another country got out of hand last weekend.  Doesn’t really matter over what.  Nothing about this issue would have changed, had one of us been converted to the other’s viewpoint.

As the argument escalated and became more personal, I pleaded for us to stop, just stop conversing at all for a while, and give each other a day to relax and view it all in perspective. That wasn’t happening, so I blocked her for a day.

Suddenly, all the complex science-fiction related role play infrastructure, world creation, everything we’d been developing fell apart. I was kicked out of one RP-related group we’d worked together on.  She left me on another such group, but I was also angry now, and resigned from it.

Months of work on what might have been great Second Life gaming fell apart, just like that.  I can’t control what she did, but I ought to have had better control over what I did.

I ought to have explained why I was blocking her and that it wasn’t hostile; exactly the opposite, I was trying to preserve a friendship and a good working relationship. I suppose just dropping out of world was an option, but that seemed cowardly to me.

So it went.

RL Politics will kill Second Life if we let it. It’s not uncommon, unfortunately, to read comments in Nearby Chat criticizing one of the candidates in this year’s Presidential elections.  I don’t like either of them, to be honest. My decision will turn on who’s the lesser evil.  Who I think that might be is my business, and I don’t go to dances to hear who someone else thinks should be President.  I’m holding out for Elon Musk in 2020.

Anyone reading this, I don’t care what you think on RL political issues. I hope you don’t hate anyone for their religion or their heritage or their politics. If you do, let me know so we can part without rancor, or keep it to yourself and consider working to overcome it.

“Seven Facts About My SL”

This is in response to another blog challenge by Strawberry Singh, “My Seven SL Facts”

Not that you’re getting anything like sensitive info, my RL weight and age, my banking info, any of that. We should both live so long.

Nope, these are facts that may heighten your appreciation of my Second Life presence around you.

  1. My username “angelpatty” is from my persona in Utherverse when I came to SL over five years ago.  My avatar in Utherverse is a Fallen Angel.  Not a woman who sells sex, but an angel cast out of heaven. I was the angel Vepar, patroness of warships, munitions and things too gross to full_on melusinemention here.  Vepar’s one of the few fallen angels who appears as a woman – but unlike those Botticelli angels who made me melt inside at church, she’s… edgy. Vepar shows up as a mermaid, like my persona in Second Life, Patricia, the Melusine Comtesse de Chenier.    Like Vepar, Patricia’s also fond of implements of war and manifests as a mermaid now and then – though not usually with a thunderstorm and fleet of warships at her back. Patricia’s the “kinder, gentler” version of Elder Archangel Patty.
  2.  While I have a Facebook page, I don’t visit it often. My Second Life takes up a great deal of time, as does my RL, so Facebook tends to lose out. Nothing personal, Facebook friends
  3. About the Estate of Chenier – it largely depends on the amount of disposable income I happen to have at the moment.  chenier aerialA lovely lady hosted Chenier Island in Ile de Femme for a glorious year, but like me, she also had a need in RL for the money that kept Ile de Femme‘s 42 sims afloat – so Chenier Island and all but two of the others sank.               I’m optimistic I can improve my finances enough to give us a pied à terre  apart from my landscaped Linden Home.  Snapshot _ Chenier Embassy Patio Park stairs
    Ideally, it’ll be a little island on navigable water, with flyable air over it because we don’t just have beach bunnies in Chenier, we have our share of pilots and sailors. We’ll see what I can do.
  4. While I blog, it’s not about “this is what I’m wearing” unless I really like what I’m wearing for a photo shoot and want to let my friends know about the goodness. I mostly do photo shoots for my Flickr feed. Even that’s not so much a reliable document of my Second Life as a venue for artistic expression.Drow Countess Patricia
    Pulp fiction creeps in now and then…
    cary and patty going all fantasypunk…between shots of the lovely Princesse Fee Cary and me ballroom dancing.
  5. I’m disgusted with everyone in the current US Presidential race, and won’t support any of them – but I’ll denounce the worst of the three evils I see, just as others do. Don’t criticize where I live in RL because “all right-thinking people” do. It’s rude. As Lynyrd Skynrd sang in Sweet Home Alabama, “we all did what we could do….” (and the press ignores massive Federal corruption while concentrating on the weird laws they pass up in Jackson).
  6. While I collect everything from home builds to ballroom dresses and smart couture to boats, planes and the munitions I am patroness of in Utherverse, I’m not such a hot combat RPer. Three gunfights – two draws and one where I went to the pavement full of holes. SL medicine and Firefly/Serenity RP are more my speed.
  7. Once you and I get to know each other, we’ll share stuff like why I’m not in-world more than I am but in general, it’s to do with my health.  I’m working on that, too.

“This bloody road remains a mystery…” Invincible, Pat Benatar

This is a link to Pat Benatar’s “Invincible”, a somber song to read a somber article by.

Contemplating the shootings at the Pulse club (when are we going to dtop the “gay” modifier for clubs that admit the whole LGBT community and straights?) in Orlando, Florida by Omar Siddiqui Mateen, there are more unanswered questions than answers.

  • There’s nothing good about tragedies like this, but one of the worst things is how discussions on how to keep stuff like this from happening in the future degenerate into fights over gun control, immigration, religion – all sorts of things. I got into a row in a lesbian bar’s Group Chat because I suggested Omar Siddiqui Mateen might have been shot down before he killed 49 people if more people in that bar had been armed. I expected an argument. I didn’t expect my sanity and intelligence to be questioned. People were so nasty to me, I quit the group. Disagreeing with someone’s politics is no excuse for intolerant and discourteous speech.  Wonder why we have a polarized society?  That’s why.
  • It’s also why I now won’t speak about politics to people I don’t know and trust in Second Life, and why if I’m in a new club and people start in on the state I live in, or on gun rights (“gun control” is un-Constitutional, I prefer to focus on the civil right to keep and bear arms), then I very quietly leave. You can’t fix intolerant and that’s not why I’m here in SL.
  • Why politicize this tragedy at all?  When the New York Times made this incident all about the Republican party it was they, not the Republicans, who shattered the national unity we so badly need to confront this menace and to mend our nation.  The inevitable pushback to this remark by the New York Times is that Omar Mateen was a registered Democrat, which fails by the same logic as that idiotic New York Times editorial – you can’t judge most of us by the worst of us. If we say all Republicans are like Trump, we shouldn’t be shocked when someone says all gays and lesbians are like Jeffrey Dahmer and Aileen Wuornos.  If you must play politics, please remember you – and the rest of us – may get what you dish out.
  • Second Life itself might take the chance here to pay more attention to when someone commits acts (as opposed to using slurs) against lesbians, gays, the transgendered, or the several other gender varieties one meets in Second Life.  My avatar’s been raped at least twice in Second Life, and my then-wife in Second Life and I confined against our wills in in a shootable cage in a supposedly women-only sim by someone wearing an avatar unmistakably male by its bulging erect penis and Schwarzenegger-like build. I filed Abuse Reports in each case.  Nothing happened to the offending player at any time.  SL’s got to recognize that ignoring involuntary violence against anyone (when we aren’t inviting it on ourselves in combat sims, as I’ve done a few times) may be the “taste” that gets a potentially violent person hooked on the idea of hurting or killing other people for truly inadequate reasons (“I’m horny. I’m bored“).
  • Expanding on the prior thought, when, in Second Life, a female avatar invites another female avatar for sex, disappear, then apparently re-appears as a male and rapes – has sex with the unsuspecting woman as a male, it’s not consensual role play. I’ve filed two Abuse Reports on incidents like that, and one on when a player in a male avatar trapped my then-wife and me in a women-only sim, whipped out his engorged penis, and in broken English told us to service him. I filed an Abuse Report on that, too, and again, the Lindens didn’t do a thing. The avatars/accounts concerned remained on line and for all I know are still with us. I’ve become much more careful about where I go and whom I’m with, which I ought to have been in the beginning. The question remains, “Why are the Lindens complaisant about the rape of lesbians in Second Life?”

Thinking about these and other questions percolated down through my artistic, right brain, and I did a photo shoot incorporating this character:

Drow Countess Patricia

I’ll save you the trouble of pointing out what massive pecs and arm muscles I’d need to wield a double-handed broadsword with single hand as a mere mortal.

In case you missed the point, this is a Second Life blog, and this character of mine is a Melusine, a merwoman with amazing abilities (like the ability to shift from mortal to mer-shape at will, just like Daryl Hannah’s character “Madison” in Splash!). That they include unearthly strength is no odder than that I can shift into the medieval mermaid form where my legs merge to become a tail, or sprout wings as Melusines have done to defend their families against siege by flying around the battlements of the castles sheltering their kids and ex-husbands.  (Melusines could serve as the tutelary spirits for first wives.)

Getting back to my main point, it’s time for gays, lesbians and other marginalized groups to take some responsibility for their own defense.  The police are far outnumbered by criminals, and it’s not their responsibility to protect people in advance of an armed attack – except for that off-duty cop at that bar in Orlando who, on seeing that the attacker had major firepower, ran off to get help.  I wasn’t where he was, but I’d like to think I’d have done my very best to put a few holes in Omar Saddiqui Mateen the minute he appeared in the place I was being paid to guard with an assault rifle in his hands.

The idea that defending one’s self with effective weapons is “escalating the chain of force” is garbage.  Nobody tries this stunt in Georgia, where bar patrons can and do carry firearms. Deterrence works with firearms just as well as with nuclear weapons.

“Patricia the Drow Countess” (probably I’ll be getting angry Email from other Countesses and real Drow Elven and Faeries now, accusing me of “misappropriating” their cultures) is a statement that there are alternatives to passively being hurt and killed, and if enough of us use them, the people who see us as easy targets won’t, any more.

 

Visit to an Airfield Hangar (where a 5/16″spanner was dropped)

Frank Jack Fletcher Airfield just opened recently, and invites went out over SL Aviation Chat to come see it, so I did.  I’m still exploring,so this isn’t a definitive report on what I think is a well-done sim, with period music streaming and nice Pacific island landscapes.

So, Debi Dastardly and Aeon Voom of THI Aviation, please don’t be offended if I laugh a little at one tiny thing:

First, the poster “No Cussing” which forbids the use of those filthy US and British customary units of measurement, including the dreaded inch.

fletcher Airfield_001

Now, stepping inside the airport, let’s take a long, admiring look at two of Aeon’s Bell Airacobras… one in US Army Air Corps livery, one in RAF colors:

fletcher Airfield airacobras

Now, I’m just a girl, but even I know that Bell airframes in World War II used “AN” fittings – all of which were measured in fractions of that naughty inch.

I guess that mechanics in this hangar are supposed to say “Hey, Bud, hand me that socket – the, you know… (voice dropping to a whisper) five-sixteenths.”

Just sayin’

The Hunt of the Unicorn Tapestries – My Interpretation

I have had the Hunt of the Unicorn Tapestries in various Estate of Chenier properties for years.  In that time, I have contemplated each tapestry, and the circumstances under which they were commissioned and made.

They are now on display at the Chenier Embassy to the Second Life Mainlands, as shown below: The four tapestries from center to left show vain attempts of men to capture the noble, magical Unicorn, who escapes with a few wounds, but free.

The tapestry directly behind me, “The Hunters Enter the Forest” is (along with “The Unicorn in Captivity” seen later in this post) one of the two tapestries considered to probably have been designed and woven later than the five others in the collection. Those two share major stylistic differences I’ll discuss later.

tapestries at the Embassy_001

For now, consider the ornate border around the tapestry and the lush green background. Compared to the next tapestry in the narrative (if not in time of creation), “The Unicorn is Found” which you see at far left, “The Hunters Enter the Forest” is also much less “busy”. It’s almost as though the designer of “The Hunters Enter the Forest” thought better of the earlier works and resolved to do better – a more mature hand at work, or perhaps even a sharp rebuke from whoever paid for the tapestries?

To fully understand what makes these tapestries important to me, you must get to know the person generally credited as having had the tapestries made – Anne of Brittany.

Brittany is now the northernmost part of France, but before these tapestries were commissioned it was politically independent of France. The Duke of Brittany lost the “Mad War” between Brittany and France – resulting in a peace treaty that required him to get permission from the King of France before permitting his daughters to marry.

As he lay dying from injuries from a fall from a horse, the Duke made his oldest daughter Anne swear never to allow Brittany to be subjugated to France, then made her his heiress and political successor.  When he died, the young teenager Anne of Montfort became the sovereign Duchess of Brittany, Countess of Nantes, Montfort and Richmond, and Viscountess of Limoges.

To fulfill her father’s dying wishes, Anne contracted a marriage to Maximillian I of Austria, head of the Habsburg dynasty controlling Austria and Castile (part of modern-day Spain). However, Maximillian was busy in a war with Hungary at the time – when the French declared war on Brittany because Anne broke the peace treaty by marrying without the French King’s permission, the might of Habsburg could not protect her.

After a two-month siege of Rennes, the city where she and her forces had retreated, Anne agreed to marry Charles VIII of France if he were eligible to do so. She may have considered the fact that she and Charles were too closely related to be married under Canon law, her current marriage to the King of Austria and Charles’ betrothal to Margaret of Austria to be impediments which could not easily be overcome.  She was wrong.

Charles compelled fourteen year-old Anne to marry him, and Pope Innocent VIII annulled her marriage to Maximillian of Austria and dispensed Charles to marry her despite the remaining impediments to their marriage in exchange for important concessions from France to the Papacy.

This is where “The Mystic Capture of the Unicorn” comes in.  Anne and the Duchy of Brittany ought to have been safe from French interference, by the laws of Europe and the Roman Catholic Church.  Trickery and corruption made those things meaningless – just as, in the Mystic Capture of the Unicorn, the maidens shown in the fragments of that tapestry take the Unicorn by the mystic power of their virginity when strong men could not.

Mystic Capture at the Embassy_001

It’s almost a wicked parody of the folk tale, the similarity between the fate of Anne and her homeland and the capture of the Unicorn through subterfuge.  I don’t know this was the message behind “The Mystic Capture of the Unicorn,” but the parallels are strong, aren’t they?

The same thing happened seven years later –  Charles VIII hit his head on a door lintel and died not long afterward (probably from a subdural hematoma), but not before Anne became pregnant at least six times. Anne bore Charles four male heirs, most of whom died after having been born prematurely. The oldest died at the age of three from measles.

The marriage contract imposed on her at her first wedding obliged her on Charles’s death to marry the next King of France, Charles’s second cousin Louis, Duke of Orleans, who was already married to the King’s sister. Again trusting to the Church to obey her own laws, she agreed to the marriage if Louis were legally eligible to marry within a year.

Pope Alexander VI, also known as Roderic Borgia, issued another dispensation annulling Louis’ existing marriage and allowing him to marry the Queen Dowager Anne of France. This time, Anne was 21 years old, and more self-confident – her new marriage contract allowed her to style herself Duchess of Brittany, which Charles earlier forbade her to do.

Anne seized the chance to go back to Brittany, rule in her own name (even after her marriage to Louis XII, his orders in Brittany were issued in her name), strike coinage with her image on it (the prerogative of rulers), assemble the Estates of Brittany, earn a reputation as an able administrator, and become a renowned patroness of the arts and letters, which no other Queen of France had done.

Life as Queen of France, however, was still a trial for Anne.  She became pregnant at least nine more times by Louis, miscarrying five times and bearing two stillborn sons and two daughters who lived to perpetuate the Montfort bloodline.

It was during Anne’s marriage to Charles what are regarded as the earliest five tapestries were woven, ending with “The Unicorn is Killed”.

Death_001

The Unicorn’s death in this tapestry is almost hidden away in the top left corner of the tapestry – I focused in on it because otherwise, the eye is drawn to everything else happening in the courtyard where the Unicorn dies. All of Anne’s children by Charles died largely unheralded by history. Anne traveled where Charles did, trying to bear children while a child herself.

Scholars think that the first tapestry in the narrative, “The Hunters Enter the Forest,” and the last in the sequence, “The Unicorn in Captivity” were done much later, designed by different hands, and may be part of a different set of tapestries.  Their backgrounds are a lusher green, and both feature the “millefleurs” or “thousand flowers” background with detailed representations of over a hundred different kinds of plant, some which may now be extinct. Compared to the other, earlier tapestries, these two are much less cluttered.

As dismal as Anne’s life was in the French court, “The Unicorn in Captivity” may show acceptance of Anne’s fate – a political captive, Duchess of a realm about to lose its independence to the whim of French kings, but not without hope, and still able to fight for herself and her people.  The red spot on the Unicorn in this tapestry may be blood; perhaps the blood under Anne on her wedding bed, and on the beds where she gave birth so often, losing all but two children either at birth or early in life?

captivity_001

Anne Montfort of Brittany, Queen of France, who never gave up trying to keep the Bretons free and proud, died in 1514 of a kidney stone.  She was 37 years old.

I may be the only person who thinks the Hunt of the Unicorn has any special connection to Anne of Brittany’s life.  I like to think that though she could not even whisper her resentment of her captive status, these tapestries shrieked it out for anyone with eyes to see.  That they were presented to Louis XII as Anne’s wedding gift is, to me, a sublime statement of her true feelings.

The Chenier Embassy Renovation – Work in Progress

While (as some of you readers know) Chenier lost its island when the 42-sim Ile de Femme complex of which it was a part closed (we’ll always have fond memories of it), we still have an Embassy to the Second Life Mainlands, a Linden Home at 153 Ugle Point.

While I’ve had a rooftop park on the building for years (yes, years), and the Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries (a nuptial gift from Anne of Brittany to Louis XII of France, around 1500 AD/CE), I’ve been remiss on improvements or showing the tapestries off to best advantage.

Oblique Shot of Chenier Embassy

I’m in the middle of correcting that, for my own satisfaction and hopefully that of my friends in The Estate of Chenier.

First, I decided to tackle the lack of demarcation between dining space, dance space, and cramped area for viewing the Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries, and the somewhat idiosyncratic sign on the entrance to the building:

New Chenier Embassy Entry Sign and Foyer

Authorized entrants (The Chenier Embassy is a highly secured area with entrance only to those with prior authorization) now arrive at the front doorstep and see a new sign welcoming them to the Embassy in both of Chenier’s official languages, English and French. Opening the door, they immediately see the first tapestry in the Hunt of the Unicorn series, “The Hunters Enter the Woods” on a new partition separating the bar and foyer from the dining area.

The dining area can be reached easily, but those at the table aren’t distracted by traffic at the building entry.  Casual visitors or diners can now see the second tapestry in the series without standing in the stairwell to the second story of the building, and visitors and diners still enjoy views out of the floor-to-ceiling windows surrounding the dining and dance spaces.

New Chenier Embassy Tapestry Wall

The embassy roof park is made on a square plot, not precisely conforming to the layout of the building under it.  It hosts the symbolic oak common to most prior Chenier sims (the term “chenier” means “place of the oak” in French), a breakfast nook near the Chenier national flag, a secluded picnic spot, a park bench and a swimming pool.

Chenier Rmbassy Flag and Park

This layout results in a wide walkway along one side of the part being part of Ugle Point’s Protected Area surrounding the Embassy and other Linden Homes in the area.

Those on this part of the park cannot see those in the rest of the Park and cannot read Nearby Chat messages or hear music, voice or other sounds from inside the bounds of the building. Those of us in the Estate of Chenier part of the park can’t see those people in the walkway or see/hear their conversations, either. This is to allow Chenieriennes and our guests privacy within the Embassy, even on the rooftops (still protected by Land Privacy Options).

Chenier Embassy Ugle Point Park Walkway

To protect Chenieriennes and our neighbors from any awkward situations involving undress in a Moderate sim (since we can and do indulge in nudity within the protected bounds of our building as is allowed in Moderate sims), the walkway is now fenced off from the rest of the park with warning signage on the entrance to the walkway on either side, indicating which parts of the park are Estate of Chenier property and which are part of Ugle Point Protected Land, and warning our members and guests not to venture outside the Estate while nude.

All rooftop space in the Embassy is usable to guests and members and accessible by teleport, but the ‘patio’ on the roof of the ground floor was isolated from the rooftop park except by TP.

Snapshot _ Chenier Embassy Patio Park stairs

A single-prim stair now connects these two areas, so that dances can be held out on the patio (note the Intan dance ball in the skylight) while guests move freely to and from the swimming pool and other amenities in the rooftop park.

While dance space is nice, we’ve got an awful lot of it at the Embassy. Any members of the Estate of Chenier or friends reading this, I’m open to suggestions for how best to use the patio space in the picture. Be nice….

UPDATE: I’ve made extensive changes to the Chenier Embassy since Linden Labs gave Linden Home owners eighty or so more prims.  I’ll write a new entry in this blog about it soon.  Stay tuned!

“No Marigolds in the Promised Land” – A Poster for Strawberry Singh’s Second Life Movie Poster Challenge!

Die-hard fans of my Flickr feed may remember a series of photos I posted there in February 2014 entitled “No Marigolds in the Promised Land,” an homage to Steely Dan’s post-apocalyptic, after-a-nuclear-war ballad “King of the World,” from their album Countdown to Ecstasy.

Fast-forward to now.  The ever-so-inventive Strawberry Singh has given us a new meme to post about in our Flickr feeds and other social media venues (like this one) – Second Life Movie Poster Challenge 2016! in which readers from Second Life are challenged to concoct their own homages to the art of the Hollywood movie poster (a branch of art with long and deep roots).

Now that the cutting room floor is increasingly being replaced by a high-end enterprise imaging computer (or a high-end Macintosh desktop for those artists who, like the creators of The Blair Witch Project or Shane Carruth, creator of the critically-acclaimed time-travel epic Primermust do their magic on a budget of less than US$10,000), movie posters are increasingly also done away from compositing tables and on desktop computers (albeit expensive ones with expensive Pantone® software packages to get that all-important color registration just right before the posters go to press).

That doesn’t mean we can’t take a hard crack at faking it.  So, herewith, my entry in Berry’s contest:

No Marigolds in the Promised Land poster.png

I didn’t pay homage to an existing film, but decided to play to the intelligent folks who usually see this blog, can recognize a Geiger counter when they see it (in my right hand), and realize I’m doing a movie poster about a “after something dreadfully nuclear happened” movie.

Not that I’m anti-nuclear myself, although I am aware that the nuclear industry’s safety record, like the chemical industry’s record, farming’s record and every other human activity’s safety record, isn’t what it could be.  We’ll still need to either use nuclear more than we do now, keep burning coal, oil and natural gas and live with global warming, or get used to life before Second Life, which basically depends on cheap power to make and operate cheap computers.  Put me down for a nuclear power plant in my back yard, please, if those are my choices (I’m not just blowing smoke, I grew up 14 miles as the crow flies from one).

But Hollywood’s had a seventy-year solid run scaring people with radiation, so I grabbed for that low-hanging fruit.

Only Reasonable Desires, who made the Geiger Counter, part of their “Boiling Point (Sexy Nerdy Scientist Costume, L$99)”,

Valentine Hair Basics, who made the “Hair Blonds Lucy Loose Bun and Side Bang w. Resizer,” L$5 and

REDGRAVE Skins & Fashion, who made the “Kiara pale skin” bundle,L$690 are still selling things I wore for this shoot in Second Life Marketplace.

I had to track one of the retired designers down to negotiate private rights to the outfit which contains part of this ensemble (the camouflage “flak vest”), for which the price was surprisingly affordable.

If she ever goes back into business, I’ll happily promote her work, but I assume she pulled out of MP because she prefers to spend her Second Life doing other things.

Anyway, as always, I treasure your thoughts.