A Nerd Girl's Perspective

My Thoughts on News, Politics, Food, Crafting, Geek Culture, Sociology, and Much More —— Courtney C Horne

A Quick Thought on the Louisiana Senate Runoff Ads

If you live in Louisiana, you are currently swimming in a sea of campaign ads related to the upcoming Senate runoff. They are pretty attack ad heavy and the ones from the conservative super pacs are especially nasty.

Obviously they try and draw parallels between Mary Landrieu (probably the most conservative democrat in the Senate) and Obama. They also try to paint her as being far left which from the perspective of someone actually on the left seems pretty laughable. But it isn’t the words of the ads that I find weirdly troubling. It’s the photos.

They – not just one or two of the ads either, a bunch of them- seem to have spent a tremendous amount of effort and time to find pictures to make Mary look ugly or older. Some of the ads use photos with obvious filters that give that same impression. I know one generally isn’t going to pick a flattering photo of their opponents. Goodness knows the Obama photos in those ads aren’t super flattering either. Thing is, the photos of Mary seem to take this choosing unattractive photos thing to a new level.

I can’t help but think this is gender related- maybe not consciously, but maybe so. We pay far more attention to the appearance and age of female politicians than we do to males. Hillary Clinton’s previous presidential campaign lead to an insane amount of public discourse on her appearance. One article I saw about what Hillary planned to do after quitting the state department mentioned she was looking forward to being able to just wear her hair in a pony tail and wear glasses instead of her contact lenses. In a related theme, Nancy Pelosi seems to get more comments about her age than her male colleagues- many of which are older than her. So would it really be surprising if the ads focus on making Mary Landrieu look less attractive had something to do with that same bias?


Future Concern…

I don’t have a kid, but I plan to one day. And I am a seriously excessive planner so I was thinking about it and something occurred to me. One is “supposed to” tell their child that if they are in trouble a police officer will help them. Thing is, I am uncomfortable suggesting that because someone obtained a badge they are actually a good person.

I have had overwhelmingly bad experiences with the police. Growing up my uncle was harassed constantly because of his oddly colored hair. The police in the parish I grew up in made dateline for their horrible civil forfeiture behaviors. (I included a video on that process below. It’s horrifying) As a result, my instinct has never really been “oh this cop must want to help” but rather “what is this cop hoping to gain.”

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A Knight in Arkansas

This is a brief short story I wrote recently. It is about a small town in Arkansas in a world slightly more magical and dangerous than our own. I have done a little editing on it but it is not the most tidy piece in the world. Regardless. Here it is.

A Knight in Arkansas

Not all knights wear shining armor; some of them prefer a less obtrusive style. Carl wasn’t one to want to stand out in a crowd. He wore jeans, a T shirt, and a backpack most nights, maybe a light jacket if there was a breeze. No one looking at this slightly doughy man with a deeply receding hairline would have guessed that he spent his evenings keeping their little town safe. Heck, most of the people in the town didn’t even realize there was something to keep it safe from.

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Writing Exercise – Brain 1.0

At writing group, we did an exercise where we had to write “instructions for use” for something that doesn’t generally have them. This is what I wrote, presented as I wrote it at the time without edits.

The Brain

Caution- Improper use of The Brain may lead to depression, anxiety, delirium, delusion, anger, or desperation. Exercise care until you know how use of the brain may impact you.

Directions for use-

In order to best use the Brain, repetition will likely be necessary. If your initial attempts fail, do not attempt to return The Brain as the problem will likely resolve itself over time. Also returns are not possible with the Brain in the unlikely event that these problems do not resolve.

Do not attempt to “think from the gut” as such may interfere with proper use of The Brain.

In order to use the brain for creative work, it is best to have a tremendous number of important tasks that need to be done to put off while doing the creative work. If you are full of free time, you may find any efforts to use the brain for such work thwarted.

Using the brain for memory is generally reliable but some blanks may occur. These most often occur during game shows or prepared presentations. In order to avoid such blanks, it may be best to avoid situations in which they are triggered. This is a feature of the brain that allows for things to remain interesting. It is not a bug- and will not be repaired in future versions of the Brain. Do not wait for Brain 2.0 for this to be addressed.

When using the brain to make important decisions, it is best to avoid any use of alcohol or other mind altering substances. Ignoring this warning may lead to regret, unplanned pregnancies, or loss of job, property or health. Always exercise extreme caution in use of brain for making choices to avoid undesirable outcomes.

Please be aware that future bulletins may revise, alter, or completely scrap all the currently guidelines for brain use.

Your experience with The Brain may vary.

***Ingredients (which will vary from brain to brain) include: memories, dreams, logic, hope, despair, delusions, joy, ideas, visions, impulses, mathematics, words, useless trivia, important data, incorrect song lyrics, and grey gloop

A Writing Experiment- A Strange New City

I went to a writing group meetup tonight. It was a bit unnerving as I had never really read aloud things I had written other than for school.. As part of the meetup we did a writing exercise. The exercise’s premise was you crash in a plane in the Mississippi river and surface 11 minutes later. The city is completely different than it was before. Write about that changed city. Here is what I wrote, presented without editing from the quick writing exercise.


As I emerged from the river, it was rapidly apparent that in my short time under water something unusual and surprising had occurred. The ever present towers of the chemical plants were gone and the noise of cars was missing. The buildings of downtown maintained much of their original structure but there were subtle differences once one looked closer. Perhaps I had been under far longer than seemed possible and had surfaced in some new Baton Rouge years into the future.


Where once chemical plants and oil refineries dotted the river shore with industrial structures and intimidating smoke stacks and tanks, there were instead young trees and swamp plants. The beginning of a new ecosystem was growing along the banks of the ancient river. The air felt somehow more pure and my body so used to the air of my city reacted with confusion to this strange new place I had found myself transported to.


As I ventured up from the river banks, I noticed that while the car noise was missing, the city itself was not abandoned. It buzzed with life but the previous vehicles had replaced with silent and sleek machines that evoked memories of a science fiction book in my mind. The new vehicles moved with an efficiency that I could not have imagined before my unfortunate time in the river.


I wandered through downtown seeing the changes and realizing just how much was different. Buildings had subtle changes that reminded me of the house of the future cartoons of my childhood. Just how long had I really been under and what would the inhabitants of this strange new version of home think of me.



A Plea To Mitch Landrieu (and a little bit of strategy)

Please run for Governor.


I know right now you are trying to figure out if you can win because running if you can’t is unappealing. (And some polls do look like you have a healthy shot)

But I am pleading with you to run even if you don’t think winning is likely- for the sake of the Louisiana Democratic Party. The party in the state is a hopeless mess.  Running a viable candidate for governor (Sorry, John Bel Edwards, you aren’t viable) would give the party something to galvanize around and something to fund raise around. Even if you lose to Vitter, you would have done a lot to help restore the functioning in our state of a party which has been good to your family over the years.

Plus, losing to Vitter is far from being an inevitable conclusion. Where there is one prostitute, there are probably more. Maybe there are some since Vitter’s act of public contrition. Or maybe there are pictures out there.. The most important thing to do in a race against him is to hire yourself about twenty-five private investigators. The best part of this strategic effort? You don’t have to publish anything you find, you just have to tip off the right publication. Goodness knows Larry Flynt loves to publish that sort of thing and he is far from alone.

So please Mitch, Run. Run for your state and for your party.

New Bethany, Abuse, and the Far Right

Recently, the Times Picayune has been running a long read series on the New Bethany Home for Girls.  I read it, knowing full well the feeling in the pit of my stomach that would result. New Bethany was for decades a horrifying prison masquerading as a school. The survivors of the abuse at the school have found each other thanks to the internet and through their sharing many have gained the courage to come forward about the physical abuse, neglect, mental abuse, and sexual abuse they endured during their time there. Many girls ran away and were returned to the school by local authorities. One survivor attempted to kill herself with a piece of glass while at the school and they simply bandaged her up. No visit to a doctor or hospital.


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Carrot Cake Macarons

I have been working on making macaron’s recently. I had bought an entire cookbook on the topic some time back but was so daunted by it that it just hadn’t happened. Then, I found this amazing website.   She really breaks down the cookie and busts numerous myths surrounding macaron making.

Even with her amazing instructions, my first batch was a flop. I over-mixed and the cookies stayed really flat during baking. The second batch though.. adorable and delicious!

Carrot cake macarons

A post shared by Courtney Price (@courtneycprice) on


I took some dried carrots and ground them up and put them in with the almond flour and powdered sugar- plus a tiny touch of cinnamon. For the filling, I made a simple cream cheese frosting with a dash of ginger. Voila! Carrot cake macarons.

Louisiana 2014 Legislative Session: Items to Watch Part XVIII

This is part of my ongoing effort to highlight and provide brief summaries of legislative items in the 2014 session. If you have an item you would suggest I keep an eye on, drop me a line through the contact form. 

This entry covers: HB1054, HB1059, HB1066 and SB571


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Corresponding With An Anti-Choice Representative, Part 1: Katrina Jackson

So Louisiana is considering draconian anti-choice legislation similar to that which is massively damaging women’s access to reproductive care in Texas currently. Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast set up an email the representatives site and I decided to participate in it. The results so far follow.


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Louisiana 2014 Legislative Session: Items to Watch Part XVII

This is part of my ongoing effort to highlight and provide brief summaries of legislative items in the 2014 session. If you have an item you would suggest I keep an eye on, drop me a line through the contact form. 

This entry covers: HB1008, HB1024, HB1038, and HB1041

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Louisiana 2014 Legislative Session: Items to Watch Part XVI

This is part of my ongoing effort to highlight and provide brief summaries of legislative items in the 2014 session. If you have an item you would suggest I keep an eye on, drop me a line through the contact form. 

This entry covers: HB906, HB907, HB908, HB910, HB922, HB937, HB938, HB939, HB952, HB961, HB962, HB969, HB976, and HB999

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Moral Mondays Louisiana

Interested in bringing the Moral Monday projects of North Carolina and Georgia to Louisiana?

Come to this page and suggest ideas!


Want to know the motivations behind the bills?

This website has a handy list of Louisiana politicians known to be associated with ALEC- which is well known for pushing controversial legislation in the states. (such as stand your ground laws, anti-choice laws, anti-public worker laws)

Representative Shaming – Anti-Choice Edition

Not one of the 19 members of the House Committee on Health and Welfare had the courage to vote against the Anti-Choice House Bill 388 (HB388) leaving Committee. There is not a single “nay” on sending the measure to the full house.

The bill has similar measures to the Texas bill which was filibustered by Wendy Davis and later passed through in a special session and is currently causing clinics across that state to close at a rapid rate.

It appears two members did not vote on the measure but from the record here  it is unclear if they abstained from the vote intentionally or if they were not there at the time of the vote.

Voting to severely jeopardize full reproductive health care access for women in the state were the following representatives:

Scott Simon Republican District 74

Regina Barrow  Democrat District 29

Richard Burford  Republican District 7

Kenny Cox  Democrat District 23

Lance Harris Republican District 25

Kenneth Havard  Republican District 62

Bob Hensgens  Republican District 47

Dorthy Sue Hill  Democrat District 32

Frank Hoffman Republican District 15

Katrina Jackson Democrat District 16

Bernard LeBas Democrat District 38

John Morris Republican District 1

J. Rogers Pope Republican District 71

Julie Stokes Republican District 79

Lenar Whitney  Republican District 53

Patrick Williams  Democrat District 4

Thomas Willmott  Republican District 92

Not voting on the measure:

John Anders  Democrat District 21

A B Franklin Democrat District 34

If you are concerned about women’s access to reproductive freedom in the state, I would strongly recommend you get in touch with your representative about this issue. I will update once the floor debate date is scheduled for this bill.