Archive for January, 2018

2018/01/14

Wrong Side of the Blanket

I am totally a descendant of Henry I of England, aka Henry Beauclerc, who was born in like 1068, which was a very long time ago!

And King!

At least if we believe Family Search, which is the Mormons, who are making sure that everyone who converts has a full record of their family tree so that they can go back through it and do the appropriate ritual to make sure that all of their ancestors can (if they want to) get into the right Realm or whatever; but it has the nice side-effect of making this huge genealogy database thing that the rest of us can use, too.

It has two parts: a vast database of public records of various kinds, digitized and indexed by all sorts of things; and a sort of huge family-tree Wiki which anyone who signs up (for free!) can edit, which is both wonderful and horribly full of data-quality problems omg you wouldn’t believe it.

I wrote to one person, on the system, asking her why she’d removed one very correct-looking father-son relationship from the Family Tree part, and she replied asking who the heck I was, and why I was questioning edits that she’d made to her own family tree? She was rather surprised to be told that the family tree is actually shared between everyone, and that her pruning out of relationships that she wasn’t personally interested in had been messing up everyone else’s trees, too.

In another part of my family tree, someone has been busy for the last two months changing the name associated with one particular entry back and forth between two completely different names. I’m guessing this is because they don’t actually understand how the interface works. They have also completely merged the information of two as far as I can see entirely different couples; the information from the two husbands has been merged into one, as has the information from the two wives. The resulting horrible mess has so far discouraged me from going in and actually doing anything about it, other than adding an incredulous annotation to the page.

But anyway! Descended from Henry I! King of England!

Great great great etc gramps

Great great great etc gramps

Henry, it seems, had an illegitimate daughter named variously Aline or Alix or Alice Fitzroy and/or von England, by a woman whose name is unknown at least to me. This daughter cleverly married Matthieu (or Matthew) I of Montmorency, which led to a line of like a dozen more dudes of Montmorency, named Matthew and Charles and Jean and Phillipe and Joseph and Jacques and things, until we suddenly get to Christian Berent Van Horn, born in about 1570. Not immediately clear what happened to Montmorency.

We then have four or five generations of Van Horns, until Styntje Van Horn marries one David Cossart in New York, America, in 1696. There is then a bit of a mess, or to be frank a horrible mess, as various Cossarts and Cossats and Cassets, all named David and/or Francis, father each other for a few generations, until we get to the birth of the memorably-named Massillon Cassat in the more civilized year of 1840. He has a daughter, she has a son, and that son marries my mother, and they beget me.

Hurrah!

So there you can see my descent, in terms of both ancestry and social status, from Henry I of England, through all them Montmorencies and Van Horns and Cassats, to your humble weblogger, sitting here with tennis happening on the TV.

Isn’t nature wonderful!

(And since it’s all on a random Wiki that your Uncle Irving could randomly switch all of the relationships around in at any time, any or all of it, at least before the last Cassat daughter of whom I have memories of personal testimony, could be utterly made up! But we don’t let that worry us; the past is always uncertain, even moreso than the future.)

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2018/01/01

New Year list items!

  • Happy New Year!
  • This year we made 161 dumplings. This is more than last year. And exactly as delicious.
  • Nearly all of the old pre-WordPress log is now back online (at exactly the old URLs, too; yay, Panix!), so you can now follow the dumpling-count links ‘way back into the past if you are so inclined, and enjoy the old #996633 based color scheme (or the alternate CSS skins, haha I was so l33t back then!).
  • I go back to work tomorrow, after being on vacation for quite a long time due to having neglected to take very much vacation during the year.
  • Work is, as I have mentioned previously, in Manhattan! I am exceedingly fond of Manhattan, and these days regularly wish it were a bit closer to home, or that one had (and could afford) a nice little pied-à-terre down there to spend the night now and then.
  • The other day (while on vacation) I went down and had dinner with the little daughter, and then went out for a night of amazing jazz and blues at two prominent and wildly different Harlem clubs: Minton’s, and Paris Blues. Drank more than I had in years (bottle of beer, a screwdriver, and like four sangrias), walked a lot, and had a great time; the day deserves a weblog entry of its own, but may not get one given how much I’ve been writing weblog entries lately, so here we are.
  • While I haven’t been weblogging, I have been hanging out now and then on Quora (where I have apparently answered like 68 questions, although most not recently), and on Twitter (soooo much time on Twitter; it is among other things where I get most of my news).
  • Among other things on Quora, I answered a question with what turned out to be more or less that “How I Outgrew Libertarianism” post that I’ve been meaning to write here for years. Maybe I’ll eventually post it here, too, as-is or fleshed out.
  • I’m still in Second Life a few times most weeks, but not nearly as much as I used to be. Not sure why, exactly; probably the four hours a day of commuting every week day has something to do with it! (A SL client that worked on Metro North would be interesting.)
  • I was in WoW (rogue, demon hunter, priest, etc) pretty intensely for awhile after the expansion came out, but I got bored as usual at about the point where the main things left to do involve organized raiding parties.
  • After consulting the little boy about it randomly, I started playing SWTOR in early December, and rather quickly found myself with a max-level Jedi Shadow. (SWTOR doesn’t seem to have web-page character profiles, tsk!) The game is extremely WoW-like, except for being in space, and having a stronger notion of linear stories than WoW (and a whole lot more voice-acting and cut-scenes; a whole lot).
  • What else, what else? Just finished reading Single White Monk, and am vaguely thinking of writing a review and posting it somewhere. It’s an odd book; despite being about (parts of) the life of a Zen monk, there’s hardly any Zen at all in it, explicitly or otherwise.
  • Donald Trump and his odious administration continue to do awful things to the nation and the world, primarily out of a desire for wealth and power, and secondarily due to ignorance and incompetence; I hope that among other things 2018 sees the Republican Party’s role in the U.S. government significantly reduced.
  • I admit that I have not been going to protests or calling my (already anti-Trump) representatives as much as I did earlier in the year. If I made New Year’s Resolutions, one of them would be to get back to doing more of that in 2018.
  • Another one would be to have more compassion, and less snark, in my discussions with people that I disagree with on Twitter. (See our earlier discussions on how best to show compassion for, say, neo-Nazis, in a way that maintains compassion for everyone else.)
  • I’ve gotten pretty good, I think, over the years in noticing that, while it would probably be neat to own that thing, I would also be perfectly happy not owning it, and by not buying it I avoid increasing the number of unnecessary things I have. Another resolution would be to do a similar thing with food, and notice that, while it would be yummy to eat that thing, I would also be perfectly happy not eating it, and by not eating it I might be healthier in the long run.
  • One barrier to that is that eating (unlike owning objects) is in many cases helpful in staving off anxiety and depression, which while still well-controlled (yay, Rosuvastatin!), is also still always there in the wings.
  • I’m sure there were other things I was thinking of posting as list items here, but I can’t think of them at the moment, so perhaps I will post this soon.
  • Happy New Year Some More!