How historical revisionists control Japanese Wikipedia

Yumiko Sato writes in Slate about how the Japanese Wikipedia is being whitewashed. https://slate.com/technology/2021/03/japanese-wikipedia-misinformation-non-english-editions.html

“The talk pages on Japanese Wikipedia show how a group of editors often silence those with opposing views. Users who challenge them risk being accused of “political activism” or violating rules and have their accounts blocked.”

  • Unit 731, a biological and chemical warfare unit that carried out lethal human experimentation under Imperial Japan, is referred to as “a theory” . [ja.wiki]

  • Nanjing Massacre is referred to as 南京事件 “Nanjing incident” [ja.wiki]
    [“… soldiers of the Imperial Japanese Army murdered disarmed combatants and Chinese civilians numbering an estimated 40,000 to over 300,000 …”]

  • Comfort women – “women and girls forced into being sex slaves by the Imperial Japanese Army” are referred to as baishun (売春) “prostitutes”, implying that they were not forced. [ja.wiki]

Why would the current government go to so much effort to protect the imperial wartime government? Are they trying to avoid the possibility of restitution (which, afaik, no one is really interested in)?

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Aimee Challenor’s father convicted of animal cruelty in 2013

The fallout over the Aimee Challenor / Reddit scandal continues.

The story has gone mainstream as it has now been picked up by The Spectator and Newsweek.

  • “Reddit, Aimee Challenor and a disturbing insight into the trans debate: Why were users banned for posting one of my articles?”, by Julie Bindel, March 26, 2021. https://spectator.us/topic/reddit-aimee-%ef%bb%bfchallenor-disturbing-insight-trans-debate/

    Seems like a nice person.

    “These various stories might make it hard to see why a series of prominent political parties — and now Reddit — have indulged Challenor over the years. Yet so-called ‘trans allies’ have bent over backwards to defend Challenor, despite evidence of Challenor’s behavior. Take what happened to Sheffield Green activist Andy Healey. When he tried to highlight posts by an account with the name Aimee Challenor, in which he was labelled a ‘vile Terf’, Sian Berry, currently co-leader of the British Greens, responded: ‘I have blocked this individual previously. Sounds like it was a wise decision’.

    “Challenor’s emergence once again in the headlines is a chance for those who have defended Challoner to reflect on their actions. Sadly, it seems, that is unlikely to happen.”

  • “Reddit Fires Aimee Knight As Controversial Hire Sees Hundreds of Subreddits Go Private” https://www.newsweek.com/reddit-aimee-knight-challenor-fired-hundreds-subreddits-private-protest-1578657

But what about the dogs?

So, Aimee’s father, David Challenor dressed in a diaper while he strung a 10-year-old girl from a beam, electrocuted and raped her in the small Coventry home in which Aimee also lived. This was first reported to police in 2015 and in 2018 he was sent to prison for 22 years.

I know this may seem petty, after all the stuff about the children, but I keep going back to David Challenor’s suspended conviction for animal cruelty.  Here it is:

Challenor was also convicted in 2013 of “failing to provide suitable environments for two corn snakes, a bearded dragon, two cats, three dogs, a hamster, two hedgehogs and two rabbits.” He was jailed for 12 weeks, suspended for 12 months, with 200 hours’ unpaid work, and told to pay an £80 victim surcharge and £500 costs.

Oh dear.

The Sunday Times article also reports that David Challenor worked as an assistant Scout leader and volunteer with a children’s gymnastics group which raises further grave questions …

A Scout leader. A volunteer with children.

And while his father was raping a 10-year-old in the family home…

Aimee Challenor has advocated for the controversial policy adopted by the Girl Guides to allow boys to self-identify as girls and therefore access female showering and sleeping facilities at camp without informing parents that their daughters will effectively be staying in mixed-sex accommodation.

Source: https://transcrimeuk.com/2018/08/22/david-challenor/

Okay, back to the dogs.

The result of the conviction for animal cruelty was a lifetime ban on any pets being kept in the house. Yet, the Family Court was unable to keep the children out of the same conditions that disqualified the adults from keeping pets.

A terraced house in Coventry.

They lived in Coventry in something which in England is called a row house, or terraced house.

Given that the house was so overcrowded that Council had been offering housing to alleviate the issue for *years*, it may surprise you to learn that 1 (of 2) downstairs room(s) was entirely full of stored items. In a 2-up, 2-down. There was no privacy in that house.

In an overcrowded house, a hoarders’ house, every single thing that happens, is known. No way could David be taking children up into ‘Dad’s Space’ in the attic, without the other family members being aware.

Source: http://www.butterfliesandwheels.org/2018/there-was-no-privacy-in-that-house/

A “2-up, 2-down” is a thing.  From the late 17th century until WW1, they were built the same, scaled up for wealthy neighborhoods, or down for the working class.

This is the space that contained “two corn snakes, a bearded dragon, two cats, three dogs, a hamster, two hedgehogs and two rabbits”. Plus three children and two adults. And a torture chamber for sexually assaulting children.

If you want to know about someone, look at their dogs. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

UCoC is up again

The last phase of UCoc was a bit confusing; it was finished early in one area, and still ongoing in another area, but this time it must be finished for sure because according to the mailing list, it’s time for “Call for Applications – UCoC Phase 2 Drafting Committee”. https://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/wikimedia-l/2021-March/096369.html

We are looking for volunteers to join the Drafting Committee for the guidelines of enforcement for the Universal Code of Conduct.

Enforcement, yeah, that should be tricky.

There is also a short essay by Christel Steigenberger (User:CSteigenberger (WMF)), which really isn’t that bad, considering that she speaks German: https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Universal_Code_of_Conduct/Drafting_committee#The_ideal_drafting_committee_paradox_-_a_short_essay

I’m not sure quite how to phrase this, but she seems… a bit straightforward?… considering the layers of baloney and machinations that encase so much of wiki process.  But maybe that’s a good thing.  And she might be one of the least unpalatable and power-trippy members of SuSa or Trust & Safety, or whatever they’re calling themselves this week, and I mean that most sincerely.

A video, in English to get an idea of her style, there are probably more. ( I haven’t watched it all, let me know if I should. 😀 )

 

Reddit communities go dark in protest


* from https://twitter.com/puffnstuff14/status/1374431041230794761

~~~~

Also noted:

All three major “TERF blocker” extensions were made by male sex offenders.

~~~~

Article locked.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aimee_Challenor

Wikipedia user https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:AimeeSunflower formerly User:Aimeec110  

Photo on Commons nominated for deletion: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Aimee_Challenor,_2016_(cropped).jpg https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Deletion_requests/File:Aimee_Challenor,_2016_(cropped).jpg

The file was originally uploaded by the subject, see https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Talk:Aimee_Challenor&diff=894763604&oldid=881285929

Might as well post the Lineham discussion, some people prefer a video version. You might have to open it in Chrome. https://grahamlinehan.substack.com/p/breaking-reddit-goes-on-strike

TLDR: This Aimee Challenor/Aimee Knight person is MtF trans, autistic, and has been a central advisor to Stonewall in formulating recommendations about trans policies, which in turn has been used to train police. Challenor was also responsible for the 2020 Reddit purge. It looks like Aimee has been groomed by a pedophile ring with diaper fetish for years. His father is in prison for sexually assaulting a 10-year old girl in his home torture chamber while wearing a diaper. Aimee was advised to transition by Mermaids. Aimee is currently in a 3-way relationship with two of his father’s friends who are 14 years older.

St. Frances of Rome

Saint Françoise Romaine and the demon - Fresco from the Oblate Monastery of Mont-Olivet - Rome
Sainte Françoise Romaine et le démon.

St. Frances of Rome (1384-1440) was the usual female saint who discovered a vocation for religion when her parents tried to marry her off. In this case though, the parents prevailed, and she was married to the son of a wealthy family at the age of twelve.

The times were difficult, wolves roamed the streets, and two of their children died of plague. When her mother-in-law died, the management of the household fell on St. Frances — she received the keys, which was a huge thing for women in medieval times — and she turned her in-laws’ estate into a hospital. Eventually she founded a monastery for secular nuns, who could belong even if they were married. This was also a thing in Europe: semi-religious houses where vows were not required, for instance the beguines (although for some reason Wikipedia thinks they need to be lumped in with male beghards), and for a while at least they had the papal blessing. A good thing too, because she retired there, along with some other wealthy women, and didn’t have to move in with her children, assuming any of them were still surviving by then.

Here is a painting by Poussin from the Louvre of Saint Frances announcing the end of the plague in Rome.

“The painting refers to the end of an outbreak of plague that struck a number of Italian cities, including Rome, in 1656. The terrified population called on Saint Frances, reputed as a miracle worker. Cardinal Rospigliosi must have commissioned Poussin to paint this homage to the saint after 1657, when the outbreak showed signs of coming to an end.”

Unfortunately the Wikipedia article for St. Frances has a few glitches.

The Wikipedia article is, as usual, long on the hagiography – lengthy descriptions of miracles and visions etc – and short on facts, like money. But this link has a fascinating glimpse into the relationship between the women in wealthy families and the religious establishment of the day. For instance, we find out that

The Ponziani palace was in the Trastevere section of Rome, and just around the corner was the little church of San Francesco a Ripa. This church had been given in 1212 to St. Francis by the Roman lady Giacoma di Settesoli (Brother Jacoba), who in 1226 was present at the death of the Poverello. …It was at San Francesco a Ripa that Frances Ponziani was received into the Third Order of St. Francis; and one of the priests there, Father Bartholomew Bondi, became her spiritual director.

So “the Poverello” is St. Francis of Assisi, and the church San Francesco a Ripa was dedicated to him.   Giacoma di Settesoli (“Jacoba of Settesoli“) was a wealthy widow who Francis of Assisi stayed with whenever he was in town, and who gave him some property for a leper hospital and paid for its running expenses. When Francis of Assisi was on his deathbed in the friary, he expressed a wish for her almond pastries, however the friary was off-limits to women.  But Jacoba of Settesoli had already arrived with the pastries, her two sons, and an entire retinue. Francis of Assisi named her “Brother Jacoba”, she was allowed to enter with her entourage.  She stayed at his bedside until his death.

The Franciscans seem quite eager to claim her as their own:

In 1425, she and a half dozen other Roman ladies, her companions, were clothed as oblates of St. Benedict. This apparently did not cancel her membership in the Third Order; for, at this time she and Vanozza made a pilgrimage to Assisi, walking the one hundred miles from Rome to the city of St. Francis.

There is more in the link about the history of Rome, the Ponziani family and their religious patronage, also it states “John Baptist, the oldest son, was taken hostage“, while Wikipedia has a story about some miracle that prevented the son from being taken hostage.  It’s a shame really  – a nice link that can send you down several rabbit holes if you aren’t careful – but the group’s more recent websites seem to have been dumbed down.

RexxS, Lamona, and A.T.M. Wilson (and a bonus question about who is Lourdes)

Bonus question ‘who is Lourdes’, scroll to bottom.

RexxS with his mouth open and his arm around Eric Corbett. Boing Said Zebedee is behind his head, in the striped shirt.

When editors quit Wikipedia in the midst of a disagreement, they sometimes return later. Not LaMona. After her ordeal with RexxS, she never came back.

LaMona’s identity is not that hard to find, she is a widely known metadata expert, exactly the kind that Wikimedia should be courting as they venture into WikiData and the library technologies that dovetail with it. Her real name was not known on Wikipedia until RexxS stumbled on her ORCID number,  figured out how to use it to identify her, and made a big issue of it on her SlimVirgin’s talk page. It was eventually oversighted, but not before everyone got a good look at it. And figured out where to go to harass her IRL.

LaMona was working in Articles for Creation, reviewing articles. Why she was wasting her talents on that is anyone’s guess, but that’s what she was doing when she had the misfortune to review an article submission by RexxS that RexxS decided to take a personal interest in.  The article was A.T.M. Wilson.

Now if the article was about a woman who discovered a new chemical element, or how to photograph a black hole, you can bet there would be opposition to the article. But this was a dude, with an article that was little more than a fairly humdrum resume, so maybe RexxS figured that male privilege should have carried the day.  So what RexxS did was to sashay over to her talk page and bellow:

“On 28 June 2016, you rejected this version of A.T.M. Wilson, giving lack of notability as a reason. I am very concerned that you have made such a glaring mistake, considering the number of AfC submissions that you are reviewing.”

Dude, she is the one reviewing YOUR submission, not the other way around.

Then he adds condescendingly,

“It’s a great help to the encyclopedia that you’re doing so much work at AfC, and I don’t want to discourage you, but it would be a shame if you end up rejecting notable subjects when they could become perfectly reasonable articles.”

This has got to be the very definition of mansplaining. She is an internationally known expert, and he is some kind of schoolteacher.

Or maybe she is supposed to know he is a Manchester regular, and the real message is “nice place you got here, be a shame if anything happened to it.”

RexxS (Doug Taylor) in red, Ritchie333 in Black, Thryduulf in brown on the far left

If it could become a perfectly reasonable article, then he ought to show the notability in the article. That’s what articles about women have to do. And preferably put it in the article before submitting it for review, not just claim that it could be done.

But there are so many questions here. Why is the guy using AfC to begin with? No one uses it, unless they are completely out of the loop. Why does he not just write the article, as most people will do unless they have a COI? Maybe he knows this A.T.M. Wilson person, maybe they are related, or … something.

At this point RexxS has several options.  He could actually put the reason for notability in the article, assuming there is one, he could resubmit it to a different reviewer, or he could just go ahead and create the article, like most people do, and take a chance on a deletion discussion. Even with borderline notability, a “no consensus” would mean “keep”. But instead, he claims

“he was notable by multiple criteria, and you should be familiar with WP:NACADEMIC, where he passes criteria 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7, at least.”

Nice try, but NOPE.


It becomes even more clear in the discussion that he is just blowing smoke. And that he really doesn’t care if he alienates women.

Why is he so desperate for this particular article?  Or is it really about something else. And is he capable of some kind of premeditated disruption?

Since LaMona has been doing this for a while, there is a pretty good chance she is “familiar with” the criteria, especially since her status in academia is way higher than his, but this is just more condescension.

Next, he files a complaint against her, and proposes to the dramah board that ”

I am now seriously concerned by the damage being done by LaMona to new editors who are producing acceptable articles that are being rejected on such unreasonable grounds. … I believe that administrative action is needed to insist on her adhering to the purpose of AFC; or failing that, to topic ban her from the area of AFC altogether. —RexxS (talk) 14:43, 10 August 2016 (UTC)

The discussion goes on and on, AfC is not compulsory, AfC is supposed to be a service for newbies, RexxS did not take his submission to the AfC help desk first, etc.etc.

Plus, even though LaMona is not the only one declining his drafts, she is the only one being dragged off to drama boards and harassed off-site:

Three other experienced editors declined the draft when it had 24, 31, and 29 references, either for failing to demonstrate notability or for sounding like an advertisement, so LaMona is not alone in being concerned that the topic would more likely than not be deleted at AfD. The fact that after being accepted, it was promptly marked for speedy deletion as unambiguous advertising by yet another experienced editor suggests that LaMona’s concerns were reasonable. RexxS is welcome to encourage AfC reviewers to decline fewer drafts. Administrative action is not needed….

So yeah, it’s not about the article, is it. It’s about LaMona.

But he has got a lynch mob stirred up – they are not called “drama boards” for nothing – and somehow, the article still survives today. Accident? Or did he play a cynical game, at the expense of other editors — and Wikipedia — to get “his” articles to stick and boost his edit count.
~~~~

Addendum

Bonus question: Who is Lourdes?  And what does she have to do with Vaginal Steaming? And with the F*ck-off Festival?

First of all, if you thought the repetitive discussions of the “c-word” by the Manchester crowd on Jimbo’s talk page were weird, Lourdes was the one who started the locker-room spectacle Request for comment on the specific term “fuck off” – sanctionable or not!” The discussion is now in Archive 20 of the Civility talk page. And yes, it was burning up my email inbox.

So, here is the rest of her wiki resume, including the vaginal steaming bit.

Boho

If you binge-watch decluttering videos long enough, sooner or later the auto-play will start showing you decorating videos.  And why not, the average human attention span does not last that long with kondoing type videos.

Soon you will find out the first step of decorating is to make a “mood board” which is a collection of pictures, often taken from pinterest, of the “feel” you want the room to have when you are done with it. From there is it a quick hop to identifying the current names for different styles: glam (gilding, velvet, and glittery stuff), farmhouse (unlike a real farmhouse, you paint it white then scuff it up), industrial (shelving made out of reclaimed boards and plumbing fixtures painted black), coastal (beach vibe with blue colors, rope, and rattan), and mid-century modern (the old “Danish modern” spray-painted gray with small gold knobs).

Then there is something called “Boho”, a combination of bohemian and hippie, that features two of my current fascinations, ethnic textiles and big round wooden things suitable for holding up a coffee cup. Every culture has a restaurant that looks like this, usually close to the banana-pancake circuit. It is for people with no job and no money, who want to spend their time drinking coffee in exotic surroundings.

After the “mood board”, you are supposed to start looking for stuff representing the “vibe” on Craigslist and eBay and Anthropologie, but with any luck, the mood board will be enough and you can stop before you have spent any money.

So here is the boho vibe. I would totally eat banana pancakes here.

Scorpions for removing obstacles

“…Nubchen replied, ‘Well, I have this slight power of reciting mantra,’ whereupon he displayed a threatening mudra in space and nine scorpions appeared, stacked one above the other and each the size of a yak.”  [Source]

Here are some more fried khapse scorpions for Losar, the Sherpa new year.

Today may or may not be the third day of the festival, see yesterday: “Spring hopes eternal”.  The scorpion pastry is not eaten, it is fried first and kept by the stove until at least the 15th day of the new year, which I suppose would be the full moon, since the holiday begins on a new moon.

The scorpion removes obstacles for the coming year.  It may also be kept in the traditional Tibetan kitchen year round as a chalk or soot drawing.

Here are a couple of scorpion designs taken from old Tibetan iron scorpions, just for inspiration.

The search term has now been discovered as “step by step khapse designs”.

From YouTube:


Here it is after cooking:

Here is another one from YouTube.  The cross-hatching is made with a knife. The eyes look like they are made with the heads of wooden kitchen matches.  The tail is also held up by a piece of kitchen match.

The video also shows half a dozen ways to braid designs.


The scorpion has been given a place beside the wok.


This reminds me of the chemistry professor who used to tell us “hot things don’t look hot” as we removed our crucibles from the lab oven, trying to discover Avogadro’s number, or moles, or whatever it was.

Here is a shop that makes pastry for Tibetans in India, the daughter is advertising her parents’ shop. The scorpion, or “ranya”, has a faint cross-hatch pattern across its body.

 

So how about some coloring?

On the left is Vajra Mamo Tsogyel Tröllö. Tsogyel Tröllö is Yeshé Tsogyel manifesting as the female Dorje Tröllö, one of the eight manifestations of Yeshé Tsogyel. “From each phurba (ceremonial triple dagger), black inferno scorpions fracture forth to exterminate the four devils of dualism.” (Full description here.)

On the right is Dorje Tröllö in his primary wisdom appearance. There are nine forms of Dorje Tröllö including Tsogyel Tröllö. Dorje Tröllö rides an upward leaping tigress which is a manifestation of the powerful spiritual consort Tashi Chhi’drèn.  The tigress has a wisdom eye on her forehead indicating Buddhahood. This manifestation of Dorje Tröllö “carries four phurbas—two in his waist sash and one in each hand—which destroy the four philosophical extremes of monism, dualism, nihilism, and eternalism.” (Description.) And once again, there are plenty of scorpions to go around.

“Each of the scorpions’ legs contain five segments, representing the five distorted tendencies and their corresponding wisdom qualities. The scorpions’ tails are made up of nine segments, representing the nine yanas or vehicles; this displays the availability of all the vehicles from Sutra through outer and inner Tantra as methods of transformation. Each scorpion displays a wisdom eye.”

“Ngak’chang Rinpoche says of the scorpion:
The wrathful symbolism of Vajrayana is often misunderstood in the West because of our cultural predisposition to polarise ‘good’ and ‘evil’. The polarity of ‘good and evil’ does not exist in Buddhism – there is only the ‘good’ of the enlightened state, and the distortion of that ‘good’. This means that no matter how negative a situation or person may have become through dualistic obsession—that situation or person can be transformed. The power of transformation is thus depicted in Vajrayana through the scorpion. The statement being made here is that: ‘If the scorpion can be transformed then anyone, and anything can be transformed.’ Everyone and everything is nothing other than the energy of the non-dual state – and therefore the power of every facet of existence can be harnessed through pure vision as a means of attainment and compassionate activity.”

So there you have it.

 

Spring hopes eternal

Let it be observed, that slovenliness is no part of religion; that neither this, nor any text of Scripture, condemns neatness of apparel. Certainly this is a duty, not a sin. “Cleanliness is, indeed, next to godliness.”
-John Wesley, “On Dress”, 1791

Lady Lent 2020

Searching for some spiritual inspiration for mid-March, it is difficult to come up with much.

In the Orthodox Christian tradition, Lent starts Monday with “clean Monday”.  If you’re into that, there are Kyra Sarakosti or Lady Lent cookies, plus you can eat a lot of shrimp and octopus and fly kites.

In the Roman Catholic tradition, Lent is already well underway, and this Sunday is the “Fourth Sunday of Lent”, or “Laertare Sunday” which is celebrated with pink priest vestments, and a relaxing of some Lenten prohibitions, like flowers on the altar. Laertare means “rejoice” in Latin, after the reading for the day, “Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her.” (Isaiah 66:10-11)  I can’t say I really like Jerusalem; for one thing, it’s expensive, but I suppose everyone should see it at least once.

Daylight time starts tomorrow in the U.S. and Canada. Since “sunlight is the best disinfectant“, and “cleanliness is next to godliness” (red link), you can hardly go wrong there.

Nothing in particular going on in Judaism. In Islam, Lailat al Miraj was two days ago. In the pagan tradition, spring equinox is not until March 20.

Which brings us around to the Asian traditions, in particular, Losar, the Tibetan New Year observed in Nepal and elsewhere. This looks promising.

There are at least three types of Losar: Sonam Lhosar, observed in Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, and India, which began on February 12; Tamu Losar, of the Tamu, or Gurung, people of central Nepal, which is December 30 of each year; and Ghyalpo Losar, a Tibetan New Year observed in Nepal mostly by the Sherpa, Tibetan, Tamang, Bhutia and Yolmo people, beginning on March 13 in 2021, and lasting two weeks. Ah yes, the Sherpa guides are the ones who know the way up Mount Everest  — spring must come late at that high elevation. Ghyalpo Losar it is.

According to ancient lore, Losar was first celebrated when an old woman named Belma who introduced the measurement of time based on the phases of the moon. In ancient times, people went to the local spring to perform rituals of gratitude. Offerings were made to the Nagas, or water spirits, who activated the water element in the area, and smoke offerings were made to the local spirits associated with the natural world. These rituals took place for an entire month leading up to new year’s day.

Good for Belma, inventing time, and thus an excuse for a feast.  I also understand that in the Nepali ethnic groups, it is the women who have control over the brewing. The naga of course is a snake, and is absolutely huge in Buddhism, frequently adorning stairs leading up to the temple entrance.

Stupa with prayer flags

The basic new year ritual consists of first, getting rid of the old year… taking this from the Nepali Wikipedia…  2-3 days before Losar the house and fire are cleaned, the garbage buried at a crossroads to get rid of bad energy, broken things discarded and the leftover food thrown away. Then on the 29th day of the outgoing (lunar) year, two days before Losar the family eats guthuka (or guthuk) soup (after offering a libation to the gods) with nine kinds of beans, and objects hidden in it according to the number of family members – the objects predict their disposition for the coming year (for example, wood means heartless). There is much “chhaang,” a heated beer. Then at midnight the new year comes in, and they go to the local well, perform ablutions, and bring water back as an offering, then do some purifications with incense. The second day is the main celebration, special dances, putting up new prayer flags on the stupas. The third day is party.

But wait, what is this?  “Gyalpo Losar does not occur in 2021″? Who decides — a COVID committee? And what is this: “The second day of Losar is known as King’s Losar (gyalpo losar).” This is so confusing? But if you ask google what day is Gyalpo Losar, it will tell you Sunday, March 14. And there is a new moon on Mar 13, 2021 at 5:21 am.

So it appears the information we have is either incorrect or incomplete. Yet, I feel we must press on. Spiritual enlightenment is so hard to come by in March, and with COVID we need it more than ever. Also, religious traditions have always been borrowed and repurposed, since the beginning of time. We could do a lot worse than to emulate the Sherpa woman Belma, who invented time itself, and thus a feast. We must look at these traditions and see if they promise any goodies for us. Perhaps for the switch to daylight savings time.

So here are the accouterments for the Sherpa new year: “…Of all the new year purchases, green barley shoots, auspicious sheep head, colorful butter sculptures, Chemar box and fried Khapse pastry” are the must-have…”

So let’s break this down.  Here are the Chemar box and butter sculptures. These are made by Tibetan nuns in India. (You remember the Dalai Lama and his entourage was exiled to India? Those nuns.)


On the left is barley, on the right is barley flour.

The “auspicious sheep head” I think we can forget, in sheep communities they have a little sheep statue, in pig farming communities it’s a small pig statue. We would probably need a burger-and-fries statue, which would probably not be all that inspirational, even if it was practical for generating an abundance of junk food for the coming year.

The “green barley shoots” are very nice and I thought at first they were chives. Unfortunately it looks like you have to either grow them ahead of time or buy them in a Tibetan market, which might be difficult, depending on your neighborhood.


They do seem to have a thing about barley.

Finally here is something useful: khapse, which is basically deep fried cookies, lots and lots of cookies. They make so many of these cookies that they are still eating them when July rolls around. Here are some screenshots of Tibetan nuns making cookies for their monastery.

There are all kinds, they put some on the family altar, the smaller ones are for snacking.

The recipes look simple, you can find them here:

Or you can just imagine making them, it’s probably easier.

From the comments:

Steve

We sponsored a small group of monks during a tour they were doing in the US. They made Kapse for our shrine as they were here during Losar. Before they started frying the cook made a scorpion out of dough and fried it first as an “offering”. Then fried the mountain of kapse!

yowangdu

Scorpion?

As it turns out, making the cookies is somewhat dangerous, and is done outside because of the hazard of the hot oil. You make the scorpion first, for protection, in the same way you deep fry one donut first, because adding a donut to the hot oil makes it sputter and changes the temperature of the oil, and the first donut never comes out quite right.

From Atlas Obscura:

Each cook molds a symbolic, scorpion-shaped cookie first. This initial offering is not made for snacking, but to ward off bad luck, including kitchen mishaps. Families hang the auspicious animal in their kitchen for the duration of Losar.

Scorpions again.

We must have these scorpions.

As it turns out, everyone seems to know about these scorpions, but they are not that easy to find. Here is one picture, but you can’t see the head.  Or maybe they have pincers up front. It looks like it was pressed on a patterned board, which is a thing.


This is another scorpion mention from How to Make a Life:A Tibetan Refugee Family and the Midwestern Woman They Adopted, By Madeline Uraneck · 2018:


Scorpion drawn with soot, on the wall behind the stove.

Here is another.


Another scorpion drawn on the kitchen wall to ward off bad luck. We are onto something here, with these scorpions.

Vajrayogini flying naked above Katmandu

Tibet and Nepal are old, older than Buddhism, and have pockets where the pre-Buddhist Bon religion, as well as unusual forms of Buddhism like Tantrism, and Vajrayana (“Buddhist Yogini, following the non-celibate path”, lol) have flourished. See here.

Here is a scorpion story, from an earlier era:

“…within Buddhist Vajrayana the scorpion (Tib. sdig-pa) symbol is a transformative one, and Ngak’chang Rinpoche writes:

“‘The seal stamped in black is the scorpion which is used as the symbol of the Tantrika. The scorpion is symbolic of the power of transformation as the scorpion is known as the most dangerous and destructive creature. Because every aspect of duality—no matter how viciously deranged—remains undivided from the nondual state, even the most horrific states of mind can be transformed.’

“In fact, the Tantric community of ngakpas and ngakmas, naljorpas and naljormas (collectively called the go-kar-chang-lo’i-de), owe the continuity of their tradition to the power of the scorpion, as this famous tale reveals:

“‘When in the ninth century, King Langdarma and his hostile ministers set about to suppress the Indian Buddhist teachings and to close the Buddhist monasteries such as Samye, he summoned the Tantric master Nubchen Sangye Yeshe and his disciples into his presence, although all of them were not Buddhist monks but rather Tantrikas (sngags-pa). The arrogant king challenged Nubchen, inquiring, “And what power do you have?”  “Just observe the power I can manifest merely from the reciting of mantras!” Nubchen replied and raised his right hand in the threatening gesture of tarjini-mudra.

“Instantly, in the sky above the Tantric sorcerer, the king saw nine giant scorpions appear, each the size of a wild yak. The king was terrified at this vision. So he promptly promised not to harm the white-robbed Buddhist Tantrikas and to refrain from disrobing and exiling them as he had done with the maroon-robbed Buddhist monks….”

Hmm, here’s some healing amulets with scorpions: “Guru Tragphur (Dragphur) is a very powerful and wrathful form combining Garuda with Hayagriva, Vajrapani, Vajrakilaya and Yangdag Heruka.  It is especially useful for extreme negative harm from the Gyalpo class.”

The Gyanlpo, which means “king”, is one of the eight types of spirits – haughty gods and spirits – “the spirits of evil kings or of high lamas who have failed their vows.” Wikipedia is full of these, and one can never have too many amulets for protection against them.

So this pretty much rounds up the March spiritual exercises – first, cleanliness as a pathway to godliness – and even now my fuzzy cotton flannel internet jammies are finishing up in the laundry – and second, scorpion visions for protection. Do display them behind your stove, or screensaver, or whereever. We never did find that scorpion cookie pattern that everyone seems to know how to make, so just for good measure, here’s some more Tibetan scorpion designs.

Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force: a stub with zero sources

So, one of the biggest questions about the Nathan Larson case is how he was able to get away with it for so long. Wikipedia is so far not very useful in helping us figure this out.

Take, for instance, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, which is “a national network ​of 61 coordinated task forces representing over 4,500 federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies.”

This is the organization that finally brought down Nathan Larson.

Recent work by the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is what put Tammy Schreiner, Brent Cox, and Jill Cox behind bars.

That’s a married couple accused of assaulting their girlfriend’s child.

ICAC detectives also caught Nathan Larson, a man accused of flying from Virginia to Fresno to kidnap a 12-year-old girl he’d met online.

What does Wikipedia say about this?

First of all, the article is called “Internet Crimes Against Children“, which would lead you to believe the article was about, well, internet crimes against children, and not a law enforcement entity for stopping those crimes.

Second, no sources. There are plenty of sources out there, like the above source that mentions Nathan Larson, but for some reason, no one has added them. For instance, last summer there was Operation “COVID Chat Down” in California, that ended with the arrest of 34 men.

“This is a fraction of what’s out there. 190 online contacts continued chatting even after they knew they were talking with a minor.”

Why is the task force’s main website for public contact not in the article?

And what about all those acronyms? The photo in the Wikipedia article shows someone from ICE (immigration), with an HSI (homeland security) t-shirt.


And it mentions the “Adam Walsh act” without linking to it, here is the link, and something called SORNA, which is not explained, but seems to be the national sex offender registration system called the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, rather than the Iranian woodwind, the sornā, sarnā, or zurna, which seems to have two articles. (Oh dear, check out the sound file, it sounds like a kazoo on steroids.)

[Crossposted to Reddit]