Semi-Open Thread for Happy Things. No Trolls.

Well, the box is correctly labeled, at least.

Well, the box is correctly labeled, at least.

An open thread — well, a semi-open thread — for all of those needing a respite from the news. No trolls, no arguments, no discussion of depressing stuff. Adorable animal pics encouraged.

If you have personal stuff to discuss that is more serious, there’s a separate thread for that here.

Email me if someone misbehaves here.


About David Futrelle

I run the blog We Hunted the Mammoth, which tracks (and mocks) online misogyny. My writing has appeared in a wide variety of places, including Salon,, the Washington Post, the New York Times Book Review and Money magazine. I like cats.

Posted on May 26, 2014, in off topic, open thread. Bookmark the permalink. 150 Comments.

  1. I’m on a roll (a spam roll?) – this is armour of Louis’s, from the Musee de l’Armee in Paris. It weighs some 26.7 kg – 58.8 lb. For all its decoration (I love the look of it), it was working armour: it has a dent from a bullet near the left shoulder. Armour that probably saved his life …

    This armour belonging to Cardinal Richelieu is even heavier, at 47.7 kg (105.6 lb).

  2. Happy Father’s Day to the dads at WHTM!
    I hope it’s a good one for everybody.

  3. I’ve been so happy finding those pics. It was like early days on the internet, finding pictures I’d never seen before, and seeing shots of armour he wore – the very armour in my favourite portrait, the one that had me burst into tears the first time I saw it at the Louvre – was so exciting. So I’ve done a new (yes, yet another) new pic. Not armoured, in this case!

    The original is another famously handsome person whose name has become a verb. Prizes will be handed out for the first person to guess. Well, virtual prizes, anyway.

    I know I’m spamming a bit but this is one of those cycles when I need to tell it or burst – and, damn, it’s good to have something joyous to say. I can’t go screaming it from the rooftops, so the interwebs will have to do!

  4. A little political story with a happy ending:
    When I was a kid, the norm in Sweden was that people were employed under conditions where they a) had a steady salary that they could rely on from month to month, and b) it took reasons to fire them. Reasons could be “we don’t need as much staff anymore”, but that’s still a real reason.
    As we’ve had a right-wing government for the past eight years, they’ve gradually made it easier and easier, legal-wise, to hire and fire people as you see fit.

    Now the company running the commuter trains in the southernmost parts of Sweden, Veolia, wanted to fire loads of people from their proper employments, and then let them work on a day-to-day basis, an arrangement that lots of employers understandably like. They have a skeleton crew of people with real employment, and then make calls to more people day by day as they need them, paying them for the precise amount of work that needs to be done each month. Saves money for the employers. For the employées this kind of arrangement means that they don’t know from month to month what they’re gonna earn, they can’t make plans, can’t get loans and they can never really have a day off in the normal way because they always have to wait for that mobile phone call asking them to dart in and do another day’s work.
    So the commuter train staff in southern Sweden went on strike. Didn’t move the employers, so the rest of the commuter train staff in other parts of Sweden (including Husband) threatened with strike as well, a strike that would have begun today. And then other groups of workers announced that they, too, would go on sympathy strikes unless Veolia caved in. I don’t even remember all of them, but among others it was truck drivers, electricians, construction workers, restaurant workers, metal factory workers, painters, and grocery store workers. Eventually, with only hours left to the beginning of this huge announced strike, Veolia agreed to a deal where the most important parts were a) having a much bigger crew, not just a minimal skeleton crew, with real employment, and also b) paying really high wages to people who are hired-by-the-hour rather than having proper employments, making it unprofitable for Veolia to largely rely on this kind of system.

    Husband was a bit miffed, almost, since he’d been so pepped for this huge strike. But yeah, this was cool, feels like a mile-stone. For so many years now, employers have been shitting more and more on employées, with full support from our right-wing government. Maybe that’s about to change. (Some of you might remember previous fights between employers and employées in the commuter train business that I’ve told you about, but it’s never been this big before.)

  5. Yay!!!

    Altogether now … Sooooolidarity foreeeever, …

    (I’ll forgive lots of people who don’t know any more than that. Sing along with Pete Seeger in that case. )

  6. I should have put this one up with the better visuals.

    I’ve always liked that sign someone’s carrying towards the end.

    “A bayonet is a weapon with a worker at both ends.”

  7. Dvarg, yay!

    Our workplaces have been going more and more to casualisation since the 1980s. Sweden’s situation sounds all too familiar.

  8. Thanks for the cheers! :-D
    Casualisation – is that the word for hiring-by-the-hour, rather than giving people proper employment?

  9. Yup. It’s supposedly at higher rates than whatever the award rate is for the work, to *cough* compensate *cough* people for having no paid sick leave, annual leave, long service leave – not even a paid bloody lunch-break. Not that a slightly higher rate helps when one’s in such a freaking insecure position in jobs that are low-paid anyway, like retail.

    The other thing is that it’s supposed to be casual – not fixed days, let alone working full time – but try telling so many employers that it’s illegal to hire people that way.

  10. Whoops. Sorry I managed to miss this earlier.

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