Word of the Day

Your new word of the day is "retrobate," a person who engages in old-fashioned antisocial behavior, such as robbing stagecoaches, or being a Grateful Dead roadie.

A Better Day

As New Years draws near, so does the birth of my first child. The wild dancing of earlier months has been replaced with the squirms and short kicks of a baby who has no more room to move. The world that waits for him is the world of 2014. What does it look like?

To my eyes, it looks better than any day the human race has ever seen.

Since 1980, the year of my own birth, infant and young child mortality have fallen by over 50%, both worldwide and in the United States. (In India and China, it's dropped 75%. It's even dropped substantially across most of Africa, despite the terrible toll of AIDS.) A child born in the USA today who is in reasonable health at the end of his first day has a 99% chance of living to the age of 25, and a 97% chance of living to 45.

Part of the reason is good medical care, but part of it also is a change in behavior. The US teen pregnancy rate and the murder rate have both dropped by half since 1980. (Both were at historic highs in 1980, the murder rate has returned to that of the 1950s while the teen pregnancy rate has dropped to a genuine record low.) Despite the moaning of their elders, young people today are more likely to graduate high school and less likely to use drugs.

Northern and Western Europe has been at peace for almost 70 years, a record unmatched through all of human history. At Berlin's Checkpoint Charlie, the symbolic border of the Cold War, where East and West played at brinkmanship for forty years, the wall is gone, and a dozen tawdry shops sell absurd souvenirs. It's a victory--a victory of simple ordinary human beings over the chance of annihilation.

I remember when the Berlin Wall fell, I remember the world before. To my child, it'll be no more real than the invasion of Normandy was to me. In Manhattan, the first Freedom Tower is essentially finished, the second is going up fast. My child will never see the hole in the skyline.

There is so much work left to do. There is still so much pain and injustice, so many ways our glorious accomplishments could be shattered, but clearly we've done something right.

And in the great iron fortresses of the Baltic, baby ducks nest between the wildflowers.
Merlin Paperlegends

What the Dragon Dreamt

Some things were always meant to be. Others required careful planning.

The Great Dragon Kilgharrah lay alone in his prison for twenty years. In that time, he slept and saw many possible futures, some dreadful, some joyful, but all centered around the last dragonlord's heir. Multiple AUs, and the story of what might have been.

Rating: R
Word Count: 30K
Warnings: War, combat injuries, angst. Also, hypothetical major character death in some of the several AUs. No sex scenes, sorry. Spoilers for all seasons, major spoilers for 1-4.

Story on AO3
Art link: Art Post
Disclaimer: Do not own the characters or story. Brief sections of dialogue taken directly from various episodes.

Whew! Finally finished my Epic Merlic Fic of Doom! Since I wanted to do a single-page, I made an account on AO3 and posted it there. It'd be at least 4 parts here, so I'm just going to leave it up there and use this as an organizational link.

Beautiful colored-pencil art is embedded in the fic or available at the art post, be aware that it contains major spoilers for the fic.

Off topic: Developmental education

Posted just a few minutes ago, on my favorite work-related blog: Developmental Education

This is the most eloquent thing I've read in days. I'm a community college math teacher (hence the pi user icon) and if this doesn't explain EXACTLY what we try to do there, I don't know what does.

Yes, we have low graduation rates. But you know, some days it seems like none of my students should succeed. They're disabled veterans, they live in halfway houses, dropped out of high school years ago, are raising children alone, they have no family support for their education, they are terrified of math and have had terrible experiences with it in the past. When we manage to help half of them get through? Sometimes that's a victory. Of course we want to do better than half, of course we should keep trying, but the fact is, some people really are succeeding despite all odds.

Public service announcement

All you fans of Sam H/C AND Dean H/C? Especially assorted meme ladies? You need to watch last night's episode. I do not care if you think S8 sucks, get over there and watch it, it's streaming free on the CW website.

(OK, it wasn't THAT amazing, but I still can't believe it actually happened.)

End Announcement.
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