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March 28, 2004

Open thread 6. It’s been two months since the last one. If people are starting to comment on sidebar links in the regular threads, we probably need one.

Alternate questions: Acoustic or electric? Bagel or bialy? Homousion or homoiusion? Mingus or Coltrane? Dante or Chaucer? Trackball or mouse? Sherman or Grant? Shaken or stirred? Show your work. [10:36 AM]

Welcome to Electrolite's comments section.
Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Open thread 6.:

TomB ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 11:47 AM:

Mingus or Coltrane? Yes! Of course, that's a Boolean or. Mingus and Coltrane would be cacaphonic. Although maybe it could be like that Gray Album I've been hearing about.

Mingus or Coltrane or Monk. I love the way that Monk could play all the keys on the piano, not just the 88 you could see.

DonBoy ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 01:11 PM:

OK, question for PNH, as a member of the publishing industry: one anti-Richard-Clarke argument is that Clarke is just trying to goose book sales. For the kind of book we're talking about, what is the realistic amount of money that a realistic difference in sales could make to him? (I suspect the real money in this kind of thing is in speaking fees, anyway.)

Seth Ellis ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 01:37 PM:

Has The Passion of the Christ reduced your volume to a superdense cubic inch? Did God use the movie to introduce large-scale gravitational effects that altered your surface shape? Here are some shapes you may have assumed that we might be interested in: a blob with a beard that may or may not be a miraculous depiction of Our Savior; a three-dimensional representation of a spontaneous subdivision of one fish into many; or a doughnut, because doughnuts are always good. If you still can speak and have access to a video camera, you too can be on television!

Following Avram's radically impacted comment, of course.

Simon ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 01:40 PM:

All right, here's my comment on a sidebar item:

"The last thing I want people to believe is that I don't care about the shareholder," says Jim Sinegal, Costco's president and chief executive ... "But I happen to believe that in order to reward the shareholder in the long term, you have to please your customers and workers."

Holy mackerel, a public CEO who gets it!

(acoustic, bagel, Chaucer, trackball. No opinion on the others)

Seth Ellis ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 01:49 PM:

I almost forgot: my electric bagel is not of the same substance as Coltrane. Also: Ariosto, Wacom tablet, beer. I have no preference in Civil War generals.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 01:58 PM:

"I love the way that Monk could play all the keys on the piano, not just the 88 you could see."

He also wore the best hats of the 20th century, including several that were clearly imported from centuries after that one.

Indeed, we are big, big Monk fans here at Electrolite. Get Avedon Carol to tell the story of the day her boarding-school classmate's weird dad showed up at the school to play piano for the kids. If I recall correctly, the school was called Green Chimneys...

bob mcmanus ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 02:09 PM:

Having just picked up the 16 CD Complete Prestige collection, gotta say Trane. Coltrane spent half or more of his career as a typical hardbop sideman or session player, was able to adapt to anyone's style(Milt Jackson?), and yet inspire his colleagues to new heights. And seemed to get along with everybody. If you don't want to go as far as 16 cd's, try the two albums he did with guitarist Kenny Burrell.

Get back with ya on Dante or Chaucer, but Sonny Stitt was the only guy who was good on electric saxophone, so gotta go acoustic.

Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 02:18 PM:

Electric for most guitars, acoustic for all else. Bagel. Homoousion. Edging towards Mingus, but blink and I'll change my mind. Chaucer. Mouse. Sherman Firefly. Shaken only ever really for fruit cocktails, but give me a real ale any day.
(Working shown in the supplementary booklet.)

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 02:18 PM:

"One anti-Richard-Clarke argument is that Clarke is just trying to goose book sales. For the kind of book we're talking about, what is the realistic amount of money that a realistic difference in sales could make to him?"

I don't have any privileged knowledge of Clarke's book sales, but let's be wildly speculative and assume that Free Press went out with an initial hardcover laydown of 50,000 copies and that the furor gets an additional 100,000 out the door. (Which seems like a conservative estimate, given that we do know from news reports that the book is now in its "fifth printing.") Let's be similarly generous (i.e., let's make the math easy) and assume about 2/3 of all those copies actually sell, instead of winding up as returns. At a cover price of $27 and assuming a standard hardcover royalty of 15% of cover price for all copies sold after the first 10,000, that extra 100,000 copies out will ultimately net the author an additional $260,000 and change, on top of the roughly $130,000 he would have earned from the initial 50,000 copy putout.

In other words, good money, but probably not enough to turn the head of a well-paid 30-year Washington insider.

Of course, my guesses could be off by quite a bit. There may be over a quarter of a million copies in print by now, or more. The thing to remember about trade hardcover sales, though, is that the royalty rate is almost always 10% of cover on the first 5,000 net sales, 12.5% of cover on the next 5,000 net, and 15% after that. And, importantly, royalties for regular domestic sales are pegged to the cover price even if the book was discounted by the retailer. Amazon is currently discounting Clarke's book from $27 to $18.90, but Clarke is getting a full $4.05 on every one of those sales. (Royalties on foreign sales and "special" super-deep discounts are often pegged to the publisher's gross receipts, but that's a different issue from standard store discounts.)

Sorry, you can all come back now. Wakey wakey! Fresh coffee!

Ulrika O'Brien ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 02:21 PM:

Further proof that I'm becoming a tedious weenie: my first and persistent thought about the painted iceberg: Yes, but is the dye eco-friendly?

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 02:25 PM:

Actually, I understand that the dye was compounded from the blood of kidnapped Green Party organizers.

cd ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 03:02 PM:

Yes. No idea, but leaning towards bagel. Neither, being a filthy state-church atheist. Alas, no idea, as my musical tastes runs elsewhere. Dante. Mouse. Sherman. Stirred.

DonBoy ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 04:41 PM:

Patrick: thanks for taking the time to write all that up on the Clarke book. I was hoping the answer was "peanuts", but I guess we'll have to go with "significant but not overwhelming".

Rick Heller ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 05:13 PM:

$260K is enough to spin a negative story about his motives to those with the will to believe it.

But realistically, if he was hoping to get rich, writing a book was not the way to go. As a senior executive with an entree into the Bush Administration, Clarke could rake in six figure sums from defense contractors, and maybe collect stock options, like Dick Cheney after he left government. Now, he has one book, a one-time payout, but his name is dirt to those with budget authority in Washington.

Chuck Nolan ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 05:53 PM:

Electric. Kenny Burrell, Joe Pass, the incomparable Tal Farlow. Thousand others. (I had a chance to obtain a Gibson Tal Farlow once, for $1000. I didn't have the grand, and I've cried about it since).

chujoe ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 08:41 PM:

Electric: Dylan's brilliant plugging in of the folk scene without erasing the tradition.

Bagel: Chewy bread, NYC streets, a million conversations.

Homoiusion: Anything to mix things up, anything to subvert doctrine.

Trane: Well, shit, Mingus too.

Dante: Well, shit, Chaucer too. But I cut my interpretive teeth on Dante.

Mouse: My Jack Russells are crazy about them, but they like chipmunks even better.

Grant: God loves a drunk.

Mr Ripley ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 08:51 PM:

. . . come raise up your glasses, amen . . .

bobcox ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 09:03 PM:

The modern "homousion or homoiusion" -- we define civil unions as "marriiage", and then can debate the iota endlessly and vituperatively.

Melanie ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 10:36 PM:


Make own bagels.


CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 10:51 PM:

Mouse -- but mechanical or light? (I've got one of each, in the wrong places; the mechanical is at the office I eat 7-9 meals/week in....)

And I'm fascinated by all those analysts who think they should be telling successful managers how to run their companies. "A bunch of mindless jerks who'll be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes." Can we bring back the 90% marginal income tax rate and cut some of these bozos down to size?

Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 11:38 PM:

Costco not good to its shareholders? BUAHAHAHAHA!

I'm hard-put to see how a successful company whose board of directors includes Charlie Munger (Warren Buffett's right-hand man) wouldn't have a strong ethic of responsibility to shareholders.

And get this:

Costco appears to pay a penalty for its largesse to workers. The company's shares trade at about 20 times projected per-share earnings for 2004, compared with about 24 for Wal-Mart. Mr. Dreher says the unusually high wages and benefits contribute to investor concerns that profit margins at Costco aren't as high as they should be.

Let's see if I get this straight: Costco's earnings represent a 5% return on the market price of its shares, whereas Wal-Mart's represents 4.2%. Would someone be so kind as to tell me again how Wal-Mart is supposed to be a better deal for shareholders than Costco?

We're happy to own Costco stock. I wouldn't touch Wal-Mart shares with a ten-foot pole.

Scott ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2004, 11:45 PM:

As far as the Clarke book goes, apparently it was supposed to come out in December but the White House didn't clear it until February 4th. I think it was just a happy coincidence for Clarke that it came out at just the right time to boost his sales.

Also apparently the book is also now in its sixth printing with 555,000 printed so far. Forbes article.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 12:13 AM:

See, I was way too conservative. Assuming two-thirds of those 555,000 copies sell, and rounding down for foreign sales and bulk "special sales" discounts (for which he'll be paid a percentage of gross), he'll earn at least $1.3 to $1.4 million.

Looks like he deserves to. We've never seen anyone stand up so well to the full Bush Administration shitfling. Also, and I persist in thinking this matters, I gather the book is quite well-written and genuinely gripping in parts.

Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 01:31 AM:

Acoustic or electric?--a tough one. I'd have to say electric, but I'm a big fan of acoustic guitars, too. Especially classical guitars. Acoustic piano definitely beats the hell out of electric.

Bagel or bialy? Bagel, definitely. Even though I live just a few block's from Kossar's (the all-night bialy bakery, for you non-Nyers). I'm just not that much of a fan of the onions.

Homousion or homoiusion?--Confession: I did have to look that up, though I was familiar with the concept. Probably just a proofreading error. And since it's generally the more unusual word that gets mistakenly written as the more commn one, I'd have to go with homoiusion.

Mingus or Coltrane?--Wow, love 'em both. Trane more as a player than as a composer, and Mingus vice versa. Monk as both. And Kenny Burrell as...well, the best damn jazz guitarist ever. There are many other greats: Django, of course, Wes Montgomery, Pass certainly (not to mention Freddie King, Danny Gatton, Jimmy Bryant, but they're kind of in a different bag)...I like Farlow OK, but love those chords of Kenny's. Did you know he played on a few early James Brown albums? I saw him live once, one of the most incredible evenings...And then there's Duke, Sun Ra, Rahsaan, Johnny Griffin, Cedar Walton...

Dante or Chaucer? Guess I'd take Dante. I haven't read as much of either as I'd like. But it's fun to figure out where in hell you'd end up, as well as your friends and enemies.

Trackball or mouse? --Mouse. just more used to it.

Sherman or Grant? Shaken or stirred?--Since I don't smoke but do drink, I'll take a Grant's over a Sherman's. Shaken--a better blend.

TomB ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 03:36 AM:

Searching for homoiusion, I found this:

Modern parish experience using the "Nicene" Creed suggests that its sectarian sense is intrinsic, and for most people quite conscious. I advise ordinands that if they must use the "Nicene" Creed in their parishes, they might march about waving American and Episcopal Church flags, while their church wardens tear up photographs of the Mormon Tabernacle: these gestures would express the custom's fundamental spirit, and employ beloved Episcopalian paraphernalia lately fallen into disuse.

Having recited the creed several hundred times, I welcome this modern perspective, although I don't think he meant it seriously. I saw a comment that the Nicene creed is strangely popular in the California Episcopal church, without explaining why. My guess is that it helps to have one bit of orthodoxy, pure beyond all possible comprehension, so as to balance out all the liberties taken elsewhere.

How about heterousion? Is it a term? If so, I'm for it.

Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 06:48 AM:

Yah, Clarke deserves the money. He way deserves it.

I'm just finishing the book. I think people ought to carve out some time next weekend and read it, if they can. Especially if you live in one of America's great cities. We already know they are coming for you. If your hair isn't already on fire, you better get it on fire. I think reading the book will help you get the match lit.

The first chapter is certainly gripping. The rest is merely fascinating and (when you take a moment, put the book down, and gaze dreamily into your future) really frightening.

The book is so not about what the Bush Administration wants you to think it is. It's hard on them. It's hard on a lot of people. But that is so not the point of the book. But you gotta read the book to know that.

The point of the book is that, yeah, America had better get her hair on fire over this, and it better do it right quick. For a start, and this is my opinion here... we've got to get these people who think attacking Iraq was A Fine Idea out of there. When you look at Clarke's list of Things We Need To Do, and then look at the nearly $200 billion we've already thrown away at that useless war... it makes you sick with a party mix of Terror and Disgust.

It really does. And that's the effing point of the book. Not Condi "Mums the Woid" Rice. Not the famous Bush "pull-aside". Like Clarke, I can't understand, except in the Politically Scared sense, why Bush and the media are framing it in those terms.

"We have so much to do, and it's going to cost so much money... Why the HELL did you start this war in Iraq??!!"

If the Clarke book helps this country begin to get over these twin foolish notions it has that (a) The War Was A Good Idea, and that (b) We Are Safer Because Of It, then, yeah, I'd say Clarke deserves every penny he gets for it.

Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 07:35 AM:

Had your morning guffaw, yet? Maybe this will help.

From an article at the Detroit Free Press site (www.freep.com), under the headline "Kerry quotes Bible, irks Bush camp":

'Sen. John Kerry cited a Bible verse Sunday to criticize leaders who have "faith but has no deeds," prompting President George W. Bush's spokesman to accuse Kerry of exploiting scripture for political gain.'

Excuse me, briefly, while I roll around on the floor and fumble for my missing ass.

Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 09:23 AM:

Have you seen David Mamet's _Spartan_? Because while it's a movie and not a novel, I think it meets the "political thriller for liberals" thing you two were saying was a hole in the market. Mamet, who is the person who directed _Wag the Dog_, has dealt with the weakness of thrillers since the fall of the USSR by using the Republicans as they do increasingly appear to be, as the villains. They're like people though, not like caricatures.

It'll be a long time before I forget William H. Macy's character's justification of what he's doing.

Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 09:44 AM:

Interesting article on Costco. I go there almost every week, and I do like shopping there. Nice hearing about Fed-Mart. This was one of the major retailers in the southwest -- until it was sold, when it went down the tubes and finally went out of business.

BSD ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 11:17 AM:

Acoustic or electric?
Where possible, retain benefits while improving. Hence, internal-amped acoustic.

Bagel or bialy?
With fish, I prefer a bagel. Without fish, that is to say, simply for noshing or with a spread, vegetables or no, I prefer a bialy, as a bialy is capable of being the star of the show, whereas a bagel is better as foundation for fish.

Homousion or homoiusion?
I decline to answer on the grounds that the questions begs a larger question.

Mingus or Coltrane?
Hmm. Coltrane. But I suspect that is due to my being, jazzwise, an ignorant phillistine.

Dante or Chaucer?

Trackball or mouse?
Hah. I wish. Stupid touchpad thing.

Sherman or Grant?
Sherman. But that is more likely due to his firmer hand with the south, and the latter's dereliction once he reached elected office.

Shaken or stirred
Neither, please -- the mixed drinks I prefer are sufficiently mixed merely by the act of pouring.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 11:29 AM:

Acoustic. At least until I can get an electric voice to try out.

Bagel. Can't eat them now, but used to love to slice a salt bagel in half and fill the middle with cream cheese, a slice of red onion, a slice of tomato, and maybe some cheddar too. Yum. Ah, memories. Never liked bialys.

Homo-whatever. I take the Pagan exemption to having an opinion on this. But I am startled to find a couple of words beginning with 'homo-' that I didn't already know from my desperately primitive adolescent research attempts.

Coltrane. My musical tastes are otherwise also, but I've heard some Coltrane on Schikele Mix, and liked it. (Yes, I'm awake at 7:00 on Sunday mornings, which is when it's on WNYC.)

Chaucer. "Smote him in the middle of the rump." Can't beat that for the money.

Mouse. Tried a trackball. Ow.

Grant. No reason, except maybe the burning of Atlanta. Maybe.

Stirred. With a wire whisk, while adding the heavy cream in droplets. Heat but do not boil; serve immediately over steamed broccoli, and garnish with paprika.

What work?

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 11:52 AM:

And yes, things damn well are different if you're gay. I remember (late 80's?) a little magazine store run by a gay couple, here in Hoboken. One of them died, and the other sold it to a straight couple. The straight couple went right on selling the straight porn mags, but immediately removed all the gay porn mags from their racks.

The thing that really struck me about it is that they left those rack spaces empty for weeks (perhaps longer, I stopped ever going there). So it wasn't like they were making room for something that sold better.

And no, I would have had no objection if they'd taken away all of the porn (which I never bought any of, gay or straight). It was the fact that they considered gay porn automatically more obscene that pissed me off.

I'm continually annoyed by this talk of "the homosexual agenda." (A cartoon not too many years ago showed the agenda, with "take over the world" between "brunch" and "shopping.") Telling the truth when asked Yes/No questions is "pushing an agenda." If I had a lover or husband, putting his framed picture on my desk would be "pushing an agenda." Gee, I guess we'd better not get above our stations, right? I better go to hairdressing school right away.

But I love the response of the kids. I don't know whether they were congratulating his marriage or applauding his honesty (kids often have very high standards for personal integrity, I find). I suspect it was some of each. Well, good on them. That generation gives me hope sometimes. I keep running into them being more tolerant, open, and honest than my peers were at the same age. (Yeah, time and place were different, but still.)

Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 12:14 PM:

As Alan Bostick once said, "Your distinction between 'electric' and 'hand-cranked' doesn't hold water, I'm afraid." I dare say I don't have the quotes exact, but it'll amuse me and maybe two other people, so I can go to lunch with a clear conscience and fifty cents.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 12:51 PM:

Actually, you left out a large number of nested quotation marks. I believe Matthew Tepper and Fred Not Yet Levy Haskell were in the vicinity as well.

Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 01:21 PM:

Acoustic, at least until I figure out how to make proper noise on an electric. One of nature's strummers, me. (Electric for violins, though. I want to be Carla Kihlstedt when I grow up.)

The answer to all questions of breakfast is "bagel," of course. And many of lunch and dinner.

Homoiusion. More syllables = more better theology.

I'm not allowed opinions on jazz, what with my tastes falling solidly in the Keith Jarrett camp and all.

Chaucer, but only by a pretty narrow margin. On account of the fart jokes.

Mouse. Trackball is the work of the Adversary.

Sherman, if only because he pisses off Confederate sympathizers worse.

Stirred, out of sympathy; I'd much rather be stirred than shaken, myself.

(Extra credit: Tolkien over Lewis. Dark over milk. Canterbury over symphonic. Skill-based over class-based. Stratfordian over Oxfordian. Am I missing any?)

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 01:51 PM:

Dan, your argument in favor of Sherman is persuasive...I shall think on it more.

I also agree with you on Tolkien and Dark (milk "chocolate" is for kids, IMV). I'm not sure what class of things comes in Canterbury and Symphonic, though.

Really great art leaves me very stirred and slightly shaken. But the argument from sympathy has its limits; I remember being told by a healthfood-store flake that the reason they had small paper bags for the bulk grains instead of plastic ones was so that the grains could "breathe" -- "You wouldn't like to be closed up in a plastic bag, would you?" she inquired. "No," I replied, "but then I wouldn't like to be boiled in lightly salted water and served with butter and onions, either, and that's what I'm gonna do to this bulgur wheat."

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 02:31 PM:

On McCarthy: "He ran on issues like the elimination of the Vice-Presidency and the direct popular election of the President, reforms whose relevance was decidedly obscure."

Hmm, at least one of those doesn't seem so obscure today, does it?

Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 02:47 PM:

Canterbury over symphonic.

Yes, but: RIO over Canterbury.

Ron in Portland ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 03:06 PM:

Trackball, the thumb controled kind. If I use a mouse I have to keep a clean area on my desk; the trackball just sits there.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 03:31 PM:

Ah, I've had several laugh out loud moments while reading this comment conglomeration this morning. I thank you all, especially Patrick and Xopher.

Jordin is currently re-reading Star Beast in honor of Richard Clarke as it has as its hero a bureaucrat. I'm buying the book next time I'm in a bookstore.

Acoustic or electric?
False dichotomy. I'm a rock'n'roll baby for which electric guitars are the ne plus ultra, but nothing makes a prettier sound than a mellow, full-bodied, well-played 12 string.

Bagel or bialy?
Either makes me happy thank you very much.

Homousion or homoiusion?
I can't answer this without reference to Google so I decline.

Mingus or Coltrane?
I'm stone ignorant about jazz. Ask me a rock'n'roll question.

Dante or Chaucer?
Chaucer -- he had a sense of humor. Dante wouldn't know humor if it bit him. I'm more and more inclined to think people without a sense of humor are endangering the world.

Trackball or mouse?
Neither, iBook so trackpad. Took some getting used to but I'm a convert.

Sherman or Grant?
No one with any claims to being even a fringe Southerner could pick Sherman.

Shaken or stirred?
Shaken -- I really like my martinis smooth and I think shaken ones are smoother than stirred ones. But I'm willing to research the question further next time any of us meet in a bar.


Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 04:01 PM:

Xopher - Canterbury and Symphonic are subgenres of progressive rock.

I think Tim gave me a more-marginal-than-thou bitchslap, though. Well done, sir!

Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 04:32 PM:

Thanks for the pointer, Dan. I thought I knew something about progressive rock. Silly me.

Still, what I've heard of Canterbury puts me to sleep.

Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 05:21 PM:

No bitchslap intended--it just so happens that RIO-style prog is one of my favorite things in life. I've even done a little myself.

My more-marginal-than-thou-or-even-me response would have been "zeuhl" or "brutal."

Pratt or DeCamp? Sterling or Gibson? Pohl or Kornbluth?

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 05:53 PM:

Reich or Glass? Splenda or Equal? Blood or Dust? Lemon or Lime?

Also (and this one is non-trivial): Fish or Egg?

Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 06:08 PM:

Reich or Glass?

At one time, my company was considering differentiating its flagship into several price points, and the marketing department was taking suggestions for better nomenclature than the usual Platinum, Gold, Silver, etc.

My co-worker David cheekily suggested Reich, Riley, Glass, Adams. Which happens to be my ranking as well.

Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 06:12 PM:

Fish or egg? Caviar!

Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 07:40 PM:

An interesting musing on the idea of "how much makes who sell out?" can be found over at slacktivist's "Haggling Over Price". He doesn't address the Clarke situation (he's more into the Scalia/Cheney duck-hunt hoopla), but the logic is still pretty damning to the Bushies.

And MKK said it all for me much better than I could - even down to the iBook.

Except Coltrane. Definitely Coltrane.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 09:31 PM:

Tim, that's great...though I wouldn't rank Riley quite so high, in fact I might swap him with Adams. But Adams has sort of left the fold as it were, so I don't know if he belongs in the rankings at all.

Janet, that's great. Do you know the reference, though?

Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 09:57 PM:

IIRC, all four of them reject the "minimalist" label.

And what about LaMonte Young? I'm still trying to figure out how I feel about him.

CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 10:49 PM:

MKK: but nothing makes a prettier sound than a mellow, full-bodied, well-played 12 string.

Which is all on the same side of another dichotomy: metal strings or gut? I'm a fan of classical guitar, and never practiced enough to build up the callouses for metal strings.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 11:39 PM:

Does anyone actually play on gut strings any more? I'm not even sure they're still manufactured. (Oh, surely some specialist somewhere is catering to a niche market. But where are they getting the cats?)

Anyway, I think a nice 12-string guitar makes a fine sound; so does a Les Paul quilt-top played through a distortion pedal and a Marshall stack. Or a battered Silvertone, in the right hands. Musical beauty is many things.

Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2004, 11:58 PM:

Secrets of the Man-Ape Revealed! Steven Berg has reviewed a comic with one of the most glorious covers ever. (It's an entry down from that.) The review does not disappoint.

Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 02:41 AM:

Patrick--Don't know about guitars, but I'm pretty sure gut strings (which are not, of course, made from cats, but from wombats) are still made for violins, cellos, etc. Apparently some favor them for their irregularity. (If you have to ask what that means [I doubt you do, but if you do...], better not to mess with it.)

Jo wrote: "Mamet, who is the person who directed _Wag the Dog_," Not so. Mamet was one of the writers, but Barry Levinson directed.

Dan: Jarrett's nothing to be ashamed of. True, he has at times been a sort of Wretched Excess in terms of both his recording career and his public persona, but he's written and recorded a lot of solid stuff. I've seen him live twice, once when he was backing Miles on very distorted organ at Fillmore East, another time years later, solo in Seattle. He was excellent both times. Now if I can just find a copy of "Sunbear Concerts" at the thrift shop...

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 02:51 AM:

Anyway, I think a nice 12-string guitar makes a fine sound; so does a Les Paul quilt-top played through a distortion pedal and a Marshall stack. Or a battered Silvertone, in the right hands. Musical beauty is many things.

Indeed, but you started it. I *said* it was a false dichotomy.

Mooommmmm, Patrick's not playing fair!

MKK ;-)

Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 07:31 AM:

A couple of NPR commentators said that Clarke's apology didn't quite look good because he might have done it to improve his book sales. I found that outrageous--aside from the detail that his book is of enough interest that it should sell well enough on its own, I hate the suggestion that people should refrain from doing the right thing just because they have a book out, or alternatively that people who want to do the right thing shouldn't publish books.

Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 07:45 AM:

Hey, Nancy. I agree with your outrage, and will add this: it seems to me that as soon as others actually make their apologies, they will be in a position to criticize Clarke's. The fact is, he made his. Spending your time criticizing it as "insincere" or "cynical" is a pretty good way to avoid having to make your own.

And with regard to its sincerity, or whether he made it to Sell Books, here's the first paragraph of his Epilogue, obviously written well before The Publicity Campaign started:

"This book is, as I said in the Preface, my story, from my memory. It has helped me to tell it. I needed to tell you that we tried, tried hard to stop the big al Qaeda attack, that the professionals who sat at the Counterterrorism Security Group table cared, and would have given our own lives if that could have stopped the attacks. I had to admit that, strident as I was about the al Qaeda threat, I did not resign in protest when my recommendations to bomb the al Qaeda infrastructure were deferred by the Clinton administration or my appeals for "urgent" action were ignored by the Bush administration. Perhaps I should have. I needed to tell you why I think we failed and why I think America is still failing to deal with the threat posed by terrorists distorting Islam."

You can hear echoes of his ultimate apology in there. It's laced with regret. It don't smell like teen spirit to me; it smells like an adult's genuine contrition.

Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 08:11 AM:

Quoth Jimcat:
I thought I knew something about progressive rock. Silly me.

Yeah, that was pretty much my reaction when I saw that page. Somehow owning three different versions of "Larks' Tongues in Aspic Part 2" doesn't seem so impressive anymore.

Tim, I didn't really think you were one-upping me. I'm so used to people's eyes glazing over when I talk about my taste in music that I'm delighted for the reminder that there are places even farther afield. (I'll most definitely have to give your stuff a listen next time I'm on a computer with sound.)

Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 08:46 AM:

From the Sad But True File: casting aspersions on Clarke's apology says far more about the venal little souls of those doing the casting than anything else. If they're ever promoting a book (whomever they are), it might be wise to question the motives for anything they say.

Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 11:04 AM:

Xopher, I abase myself -- I do not get the reference. I just like caviar! But Splenda and Lime, definitely. And Tolkien and Dark, too.

David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 11:38 AM:

Anybody who has trouble distinguishing hand-cranked from electric hasn't done a 500-copy run. (And I was there, and involved.)

All guitars are very fine things, except the ones that aren't, and sometimes the ones in the wrong hands. Don't blame the instruments.

There's a name for those never-to-be-sufficiently-damned bread donuts? Heresy! It's the first step in trying to legitemize the damned things.

Definitely not trackball. Mouse, or tablet. Can't use arm movements with a trackball (which, I know, makes them useful for fighting various disabilities; luckily I don't yet have them).

Shaken. Stirring takes too long to dissolve the powdered sugar in the bourbon sour. If you've got simple syrup, then stirring is okay. But using an actual shaker for its actual purpose is kind of a kick.

And several issues I have no position or a radically off-center position on.

Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 11:44 AM:

Chaucer, Mingus (rah! rah!)
Monk, elec/stic (rah! rah!)
[and speaking of weird personal tastes, is anyone else out there crazy about coffee yogurt? or old *and* West Coasty enough to remember Quicksilver Messenger Service (so much better than the Dead)?]

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 01:09 PM:

Janet, I was just so startled by the perfection of your response that I automatically asked that, only later realizing that a vanishingly small circle of people have seen that particular bit of mystical writing by, well, me. I apologize.

In case you're interested, the Egg represents Life Renewed Through Life, while the Fish represents Life Renewed Through Death. The correct choice between them is always "both." Thus your response of "Caviar!" makes you the Hero Enlightened, because it not only chooses both, but unites them in one.

I have some excuse, because some of my stuff has found its way to far-flung corners, often in distorted form; but not that piece.

Keith ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 04:20 PM:

My optical mouse is the second greatest peripheral device yet devised, the first being my iPod (though I'm a huge fan of the usb memmory stick. Whomever devised thta little baby deserves some sort fo award. Seriously, a device that is cross platform, holds up to half a gig of anything in the world and is the size of a highlighter. it's genius).

The only thinkg better than my optical mouse would be one of the snazy new bluetooth wireless optical models.

Michael ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 04:47 PM:

I have a snazzy new wireless optical mouse (dunno if it's Bluetooth; I'm a programmer, Jim, not a bricklayer). I fricking love it, nearly as much as I love my laptop. But the optical mouse and the laptop, together, just blow me away.

Um. Bagel. Tolkien. Dark (with cognac.) Gibson. DeCamp. Pohl. Chaucer. Shaken (the chocolate powder goes into a much better suspension that way). Acoustic, when playing; electric, when listening.

Tomayto or tomahto?

Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 04:49 PM:

I've been thinking lately that Disney's next feature film ought to be "The Passion of Mice" with Mickey playing our savior.

Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 05:40 PM:

Zopher said "In case you're interested, the Egg represents Life Renewed Through Life, while the Fish represents Life Renewed Through Death. The correct choice between them is always "both." Thus your response of "Caviar!" makes you the Hero Enlightened, because it not only chooses both, but unites them in one."

Well, now I feel all sort of zen and mystical! And I was just discussing Joseph Campbell today, too. "Caviar" seems the sort of response Roger Zelazny's Sam would have given to that question in "Lord of Light", though it's been a long time since I read it. (And since today is the official release date for my very first book, knowing I am also an Enlightened Hero is just icing on the cake!)

Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 05:49 PM:

Shaken, Sherman, mouse, Chaucer, Coltrane, bagel, electric.

Dead over QMS.

Funkadelic or Parliament?

Doc Boggs or Doc Watson?

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 06:00 PM:

Janet - Glad I was able to enhance your day. And congratulations.

BSD ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 07:07 PM:

Because I can't get my brain out of gear right now:
Civil or Common?*
Lexis or Westlaw?
Statute or Regulation?*


Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 07:33 PM:

Hey BSD -

I'll bite:

Common - because it's evolutionary: just the way god intended.

Don't have any opinion on Lexis or Westlaw, as I'm a recovering attorney and am not supposed to go near such things. If I fall off the wagon again, I might have to admit my powerlessness again - even though that's only proven every time I pay a student loan bill.

Statute - because regulations tend to be more restrictive and insidious and less prone to review by those answerable to the Fourth Estate.

Temperance ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 08:22 PM:

Sherman. A man whose aides, one and all, not only respected but loved him. A general who, like General Eric Shinseki over Bushwah II, [almost] ended his career when he told the political authorities the truth about what it was going to take to defeat the Confederacy ... and came back to do it. My only complaint is that Atlanta didn't stay burned to the ground.

John ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 08:52 PM:

Electric (unless Joni Mitchell)
Garlic Bagel, cream cheese.
Mingus? Coltrane?
Dante or Chaucer -- a toughie. I think I'll choose Chaucer.

CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 09:37 PM:

MKK: I'll second your complaint on Patrick; the last time I bought them, ]plastic[ strings were referred to as "gut" even though real gut would probably have cost more than my bargain-basement instrument.

Xopher, Janet: feathers or lead?

CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 09:41 PM:

And on a different note: is anyone else having trouble seeing the difference between visited and unvisited comments in this blog? On Making Light there's a very clear color change when I come back after clicking on one of the recent-comment links; here it stays slate-blue (browsing with IE6). I'm still stuck in UNIX-land....

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2004, 10:36 PM:

Either a several times rebuilt brown 60's Strat in the hands of Bonnie Raitt (with bottle, of course) or a twelve-string played by Leo Kottke before he screwed up his hands.
Onion bagel, toasted, with too much lowfat cream cheese and a cup of Earl Grey tea.
Homousion, of course.
Shit oh dear -- how about both Mingus and Coltrane?
An original right-handed asymmetric FX Marble plugged into the PS/2 port as God intended.
I love Grant but I have to go with Sherman who knew when to walk away: "If nominated I will not accept. If elected I will not serve."
Shaken -- 5 to 1 Tanqueray (kept in the freezer) and Noilly Prat (kept in the fridge) with two olives. It doesn't pay to be stingy and it counts as a vegetable.

David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 12:08 AM:

CHip: Isn't that supposed to be "feathers or gold"? And the answer is feathers of course.

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 12:59 AM:

I assume, CHip, that you are referring to This Immortal . . .

Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 01:08 AM:

OK, some real dichotomies. I like QMS (especially pre-Dino Valente), but they're inconsistent. Saw them live once ca. Happy Trails, which is of course a classic of Bay Area psychedelia. I have a feeling, from what I've read, that their real peak was prior to the release of their commerical recordings. Maybe some of that stuff was recorded and has been released now, not sure. As for the Dead, that's too complex a subject to go into right now. Let's say that i like some of their stuff a lot, other stuff like pretty well...For my money, the best San Francisco stuff was by Big Brother & the Holding Co. + the first Country Joe & the Fish LP (their later stuff was a lot worse). and some obscurities like the Frumious Bandersnatch, discovered much later.

Funkadelic or Parliament? "Flashlight" is tha bomb, and one of the coolest basslines (actually Bernie Worrell on synth) ever put to vinyl. "Maggot Brain" is equally awesome. Parliament has more elaborate mythology, but that sometimes gets in the way of just gettin' down to the funk. So I guess I'd choose Funkadelic.

Doc Boggs or Doc Watson?

Another tough one. Dock Boggs is creepier but more haunting. Doc Watson was no doubt a hell of a nicer guy. What i really would have liked to hear was Doc Watson's pre-fame rock'n'roll band, in which he played electric guitar, alas never recorded.

Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 01:17 AM:

BSD, for some reason one of yours made me think of:

Labor, or trade?

and another brought to mind:

Statute, or nautical?

which led me to:

cgs or mks?

and then I wandered off in another direction with:

clinker or lapstrake?

fore-and-aft or square?

displacement or planing?

Oh, how about Hornblower or Aubrey?

Mark ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 05:49 AM:


Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 06:15 AM:

Aubrey, on the page or screen.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 07:31 AM:

Yeah, that one's easy.

CHip, links on Electrolite are #000066; visited links are #444464. The distinction is quite visible on the four different monitors I'm immediately able to check it on, so I dunno what to tell you.

Claude, what happened to Leo Kottke's hands?

Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 07:54 AM:

mks beats any other system hands down. (Unless, for whatever kinky reasons you may have, you want a force- rather than a mass-based setup).

Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 09:35 AM:

Feathers or lead? Because the earth sucks, a ton of each acts the same way.

But in a nice serving of wild turkey, I'd prefer to find neither.

Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 09:41 AM:

Doc Watson's still alive, no? And yes, a sweet guy for sure although I wish he'd leave his grandson at home when he plays out.

Tanqueray is a go-to standard, but try Hendricks sometime... an excellent alternative.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 11:15 AM:

Feathers. A ton of them is worth much more, besides being much more fun.

Hausa or Yoruba? :-)

Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 11:19 AM:

I saw Doc Watson perform in 1990 and was amazed then to find that he was still alive. This gives new meaning to the concept of "immortal artists".

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 12:03 PM:

Fritz: Thank you! I've been trying to remember the name of that gin. At a recent rioutous dinner a friend ordered a flight of martinis made with 3 different gins and that was the one I liked the best and I had forgotten the name. It reminds me of Plymouth gin. Do you know, is it, in fact, Plymouth style rather than London style?


Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 12:09 PM:

Lexis over Westlaw, even when I had free access to both, because Westlaw's multitude of frames drove me nuts.

Re: font colors: I get a dark blue for non-visited and a dark gray for visited, but I say this with authority only after putting those codes into a document with a white background. I think the slightly darker background of Electrolite makes them stand out a little less. FWIW, I am not a web designer or a color expert, etc. etc.

Milk or dark?

Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 12:20 PM:

Mary Kay: It's made in Scotland of all places, so I'd imagine it doesn't qualify as Plymouth but it shares some of the "wetness" qualities imo. Also I'm a sucker for good package design and I love the bottle it comes in-- very medicinal.

I've been very lucky to see Doc a few times at the Old Town School here in Chicago which is very small, and very well designed for music, and he's really a marvelous performer; catch him while you can!

Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 01:13 PM:

Kate: Dark.

Jeremy: Aubrey or Hornblower? Feh. Maturin. ;-)

Kibbles or Bits?

Sweet Potatoes or Yams?

Soda or Pop? (or bonus choice for Bostonians: Tonic)

Sneakers or tennis shoes?

Ray Radlein ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 03:23 PM:

Bob Barr, Gay Rights Activist!

Well, not really, but...

"I don't think it's the function of Congress to monkey around with state court jurisdiction," said Barr, testifying before Congress in opposition to efforts to amend the Constitution to prevent same-sex marriages.

"I think the role of Congress is nil."

Oh, by the way: Funkadelic, definitely. For a follow-up: One Nation Under a Groove, or The Electric Spanking of War Babies?

Brennen Bearnes ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 03:44 PM:

Doc Watson was amazing when I saw him last year - a few days after catching Tommy Emmanuelle and Pete Hutlinger at Winfield. Sedate, by comparison to someone like Emmannuelle, and certainly showing his age, but still a remarkable player.

I second the Kottke question. The last show he played here was a beautiful thing - did a lot to spark my interest in acoustic music.

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 03:56 PM:

I fell in love with Leo Kottke's music in the mid-70's when I was at UC Davis. The problem was that he seemed to dissapear about ten years later.

My understanding, after reading autobiographical notes on the Web, including on his own site, was that Leo started to have pain in his hands in the mid 80's both from his go-to-hell 12-string technique and a lot of touring and recording. He already was well on his way to being deaf. ("Screwing up" may be on overstatement -- blame me on that.) At that time, he cut his performances back and reportedly changed his style closer to classical.

Leo Kottke is still one of the most amazing musicians as far as I am concerned, but I do miss the kind of crazy, one foot over the edge power that he showed on songs like Eggtooth and Jack Fig back in the early 70's. You were never sure if he and the guitar were going to make it all the way to the end intact.

Just my opinon . . .

Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 03:57 PM:

I haven't heard Leo in a while - has his tendonitis come back?

Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 06:08 PM:

On Aubrey vs. Hornblower, I'm impaired by having read the latter during the Golden Age of Napoleanic-era British Naval stories (hint, it's the same as the Golden Age of Science Fiction), while I haven't finished the Aubrey/Maturin books yet.

I don't have any trouble distinguishing visited vs. unvisited links, except on my laptop screen, where Making Light's require much trial and error with viewing angles to detect the difference. ElectroLight's don't pose as much trouble. But then, I'm very slightly red-green colorblind, in such a way that on a few of those "find the number in the colored dots" tests, I see numbers that aren't in the answer key. I also sometimes have family members disagree with my choice of "red" or "orange" to describe a long-wavelength color.

CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 10:21 PM:

David: I don't know your reference; Claude (immediate following) points to mine.

Claude: This Immortal or ...And Call Me Conrad?

Janet: tons of feathers and lead act the same way?? (Aside from the subtle difference noted by my chemistry teacher, that the ton of feathers had more mass.) Wile E. Coyote would beg to disagree.

Kate: Dark. Milk isn't chocolate.

Everyone who bit: Do post again, just to prove there aren't any kallikanzaroi on this list.

CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 10:25 PM:

And Patrick: I see the color difference in other links (e.g. Sidelights) but not in comments, all of which show up as visited. Possibly I need to flush visiteds more frequently, although I'm not seeing the same lossage on Making Light.

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 10:41 PM:

CHip, I encountered it in paperback (my first copy of which is now rapidly becoming dust) as This Immortal, but would love to read the original F&SF serial. Note in reference to the current bookstore thread over on Teresa's side, I bought my current reading copy at Another Change of Hobbit in Berkeley.

PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2004, 11:05 PM:

I have no compelling reason for most of these. Except the tablet pen.

Acoustic or electric?

Bagel or bialy?

Homousion or homoiusion?
*blink* I guess I need to study more.

Mingus or Coltrane?
Coltrane. I think.

Dante or Chaucer?

Trackball or mouse?
Wacom tablet pen.

Sherman or Grant?

Shaken or stirred
All the drinks I like say "Shake well before opening".

David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2004, 04:40 AM:

CHip: The question is, "Which weighs more, a pound of feathers or a pound of gold?". Zelazny may or may not have been riffing on this.

Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2004, 05:19 AM:

Kate Nepveu: Lexis over Westlaw, even when I had free access to both, because Westlaw's multitude of frames drove me nuts.

Interesting. In one part of my so-called life, I'm a guard molecule within the cubefarm reticulum in a distant, unregarded, pseudopod of the giant metanational virtual Virek-body that also includes Westlaw. In fact, I often need to compare the information from Westlaw to both our Antipodean (or Pseudopodean) version and the Podean one off the coast of Europe and bring them into consistency. (One justification for living off this instead of struggling on in my earlier biological/medical research career is that it is also a form of pursuing Truth.)

I could pass on any extra (family-safe (work-safe?)) comments, if anyone wished to add them.

Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2004, 07:04 AM:

Jeremy Leader wrote:
cgs or mks??

Okay, this is a question near and dear to my heart, mainly because I'm a physics major in college.

I have to go with both, because homework done for one professor has to be cgs... and for the others, mks.

( And each professor has their own preference as to the number of significant digits you use, in those rare cases where you're actually using numbers. )

Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2004, 09:38 AM:

CHip, unless I've totally forgotten my physics, which is entirely possible, a ton of feathers and a ton of lead would fall at the same rate, IF there was no air resistance. I suppose if you compressed the feathers into an object of the same size and smoothness of a lead ball, or conversely made feathers out of the lead, the air resistance would be moot.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2004, 11:05 AM:

Ah, but "Which weighs more, an OUNCE of gold or an OUNCE of lead?" has a different answer...

Oliver Morton ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2004, 12:15 PM:

On the particles front, I wouldn't be so sure about Google mail: John Battelle knows a lot about this stuff, and the date too, so I tend to trust him...
(and he can put together a good joke himself, too)

Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2004, 12:29 PM:


I'll be darned, you're right. All these years I knew that the avoirdupois pound and the troy pound contained different numbers of ounces, but I never realized that the ounces themselves were of different sizes.

This is why I'll take cgs or mks, thank you very much, over these brain-damaged systems.

But hey, so far I've learned at least three new and marginally useful facts just by reading this thread.

Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2004, 12:58 PM:

Does that mean my avoirdupois would weigh more if I were really worth my weight in gold?

Oh, woe.

Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2004, 01:44 PM:

"The last thing I want people to believe is that I don't care about the shareholder," says Jim Sinegal, Costco's president and chief executive ... "But I happen to believe that in order to reward the shareholder in the long term, you have to please your customers and workers."

I buy my tires from (shameless plug) America's Tire Co.. I've been doing so ever since Parnelli Jones told they didn't want my business (I mean they actually told me, when I wanted to spend money that they were getting ready to close and would rather not repair my tire) and directed me to one.

Said shop cheerfully (yes, with energy, and smiles and letting me walk in the back and see them sipe someone elses's tires and then patch mine) repaired my tire.

They also did it for free, even though I told them I'd purchased it elsewhere, "If a tire needs to be fixed we don't charge for it."

It plum stonkered me.

They no longer repair tires for free, but what they charge for tires purchased elsewhere is less than those places charge. They also have a board which shows many tires they've replaced, free; under road hazard conditions (which comes with the tires, no extra fee). At the one near my house it averages about 50 a month.

What astounds me (almost as much as them having great service, cheerful, and fast) is that all of this costs less than any other tire store in the area.

Makes me feel the other guys are robbing thier customers, twice.


Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2004, 02:43 PM:

Re: Google Mail: I think when they do April Fool's Jokes they're a little more blatant about it than they're being with the mail beta.

I could be wrong, of course.

Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2004, 03:22 PM:

re mks vs. cgs: I'll take just about any system of units over the stuff some American engineers still have to endure. My wife recently brought to my attention the "second-day foot", sometimes also called the "second-foot day", "day-second foot", or "cfs-day", a hydrological unit of volume equal to one cubic foot per second for a day, or 86,400 cubic feet, and approximately equal to 2 acre-feet (which is 87,120 cubic feet).

Oliver Morton ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2004, 04:13 PM:

I think Kate's right and I , chanelling for the man Battelle, was wrong. I guess the "heck, yeah" in the press release got to me -- and the idea that a gigabyte was something you give away free these days...

CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2004, 07:13 PM:

Kate: I think you're right about fall rates, but you didn't specify your initial condition (vacuum); as a chemist rather than a physicist, I tend to assume STP -- not to mention that you can't hear arguments in vacuum....

David: it's certainly possible Zelazny was riffing -- but it's also possible that everything about the kallikanzaroi was taken from ]established legend[ (which he became known for doing) rather than made up. We could go over to the other thread and ask Jane Lindskold....

Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2004, 07:26 PM:

Janet Croft writes:

CHip, unless I've totally forgotten my physics, which is entirely possible, a ton of feathers and a ton of lead would fall at the same rate, IF there was no air resistance. I suppose if you compressed the feathers into an object of the same size and smoothness of a lead ball, or conversely made feathers out of the lead, the air resistance would be moot.

You could have put his more strongly. A ton of feathers and an ounce (either sort) of lead would fall at the same rate, if there were no air resistance.

Physics buffs will enjoy this demonstration.

But CHip's point, that feathers and lead behave differently in the Coyoteverse of our flawed intuition, remains valid.

Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2004, 12:35 PM:

THAT's what I forgot about my physics -- specifying my parameters! (Bad Janet, no biscuit.) Cool demo, btw -- an excellent use of my tax dollars. And just the sort of corrective "coyoteverse" thinking needs!

Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2004, 06:02 PM:

For measurements how about Miner's Inch or Bernoulli may have cheated on his water bill in vain (pun with vein?).

Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2004, 02:03 PM:

I enjoyed "The Man Who Melted Jack Dann" and other title-author re-parsing humor elswhere on this site.

In fact the bug was somewhat infectious, so I submit a few of my own:

Rollo May Love and Will

Fear of Flying Erica Jong

Surfacing Margaret Atwood

Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand

Dying Inside Robert Silverberg

The Last Days of Publishing a Novel by Tom Engelhardt

How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler

Eight Men Out Eliot Asinof

Name All The Animals Alison Smith

The Dharma Bums Jack Kerouac

Love's Labors Lost William Shakespeare

(I had already noticed "Rollo May Love and Will" before seeing your site. Great minds think alike)

Bill Humphries ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2004, 08:34 PM:

Mingus or Coltrane?

I'm a sucker for the big band sound, so I'm going to marginally favor Mingus ('specially 'Better Get It In Your Soul' and 'The Shoes of the Fisherman...')

Bagel or Bialy?

It's not like I'm going to find either that passes muster out here.

Sherman or Grant?

I liked the cartoon better than the spin-off about MTM's boss. Though when I was young, I thought the photographer character was cool, and the publisher was one bad-ass Lady.

hypochrismutreefuzz ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2004, 05:22 AM:

Grant or Sherman? I thought this one was about Grant Tinker over Sherman Helmsley.

Chaucer or Dante: Frank O'Hara.

Acoustic or Electric: yes.

Mingus or Coltrane: how can I compare a bassist to a tenor saxophone? The only real answer is both. Along with Thelonious and Art Blakey and Grant Green and Tina Brooks and Kenny Burrell and Dave Brubeck and Ornette.

Shelly Rae Clift ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2004, 11:46 PM:

Atwood and Simpsons
That there personal ad (0ver there-to the left) bothers me for some reason. I'm not surprised that her professor likes Atwood and Simpsons--heck--I like Atwood and the Simpsons. I like Chaucer and Sandman, too. But no one ever got a crush on me for it, did they?
Definitely acoustic bagels. Electric ones are hard to eat.

Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2004, 11:56 AM:

Do Hungry Androids Dream of Electric Bagels?

Shelly Rae: Though I personally would get turned off if he insisted on not using capital letters for Simpsons and Atwood. If it's her, well, ditto unless there's some special reason - failed keyboard, etc. Without further data, it skews me towards the 'pooncy' diagnosis.

Apropos: Have read e.e. cummings' "The Enormous Room" - throws some interesting light on his background, along with being a good book & true story of unfamiliar wartime imprisonment (1914-1918 war). It was quite normally capitalized. Maybe is early work. Maybe he kept such innovation for poetic publications.

D'you think she's named after what brought her parents together :) <sorry, I know I should resist that sort of thing; I'll go away now>

Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2004, 01:18 PM:
Have read e.e. cummings' "The Enormous Room" - throws some interesting light on his background, along with being a good book & true story of unfamiliar wartime imprisonment (1914-1918 war). It was quite normally capitalized. Maybe is early work. Maybe he kept such innovation for poetic publications.

I have an extremely vague recollection of reading somewhere that writing your name in lower case was supposed to indicate that you were a descendant of the British royal family through an illegitimate line.

What it's supposed to mean when you write everything that way, except that your Shift key is broken, I have no idea.

Zack Weinberg ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2004, 02:11 PM:

Ooh, Jack Dannisms! I wrote down a fabulous one the other week intending to email it to pnh, but I may as well just post it here:-

The powers of the word René Daumal
Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2004, 05:31 PM:

Rollo May Love and Will is first-rate, almost as good as Two Sisters Gore Vidal.

Glad to see someone choose Mingus. Not that I don't love Coltrane (and we've already discussed Monk), but Mingus Ah Um is the album that finally made me start investigating jazz more seriously.

Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2004, 09:11 PM:

The only one I could ever come up with was Moby Dick Herman Melville but that really does require adding a comma, and perhaps an exclamation point. And a dirty mind, of course, but that is standard equipment around here, isn't it . . .

Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2004, 10:46 PM:

How about Nine Princes In Amber Roger Zelazny?

Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2004, 04:03 AM:

Patrick--That's certainly a good one; in fact all the stuff he (and Coltrane, for that matter) did for Atlantic is great. My favorites would probably be The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady (which I love, but it's so intense I don't listen to it so often), Let My Children Hear Music, Tijuana Moods (I have original, but I also have a later reissue that has a complete alternate take of the entire album), and Mingus Dynasty. I also very much like his autobiography, Beneath the Underdog, a very interesting piece of writing.

It would be harder to pick out fave Coltrane records, but Coltrane Plays the Blues, A Love Supreme, and Africa/Brass would certainly be amng them.

Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2004, 08:14 PM:

Dan: never heard that one about the illegitimate royalty. Must look around. Mr Scott Card (or is it just Mr Card?) used the his 'Fitzroy' knowledge in one of his Alvin books -- if we're still allowed to use his name or books -- as denoting the same.

I do know that surnames like fforbes or ffolkes, etc. shouldn't be capitalized, because that's what the doubling meant backe beforre Englyshe orthography was standardized (or standardised)(ish).

Alas, I wasn't able to get this followed in our reference books, the "Proper Names MUST start with Capital Letters" push was too strong once everything was going onto computers and we had to set standards for them. The galling thing was that you could get away with company names like NeXt and that whole lot of oddbods seen as funky or hot or whatever. <mutter, mutter, grumble>

Re jazz (or Jazz): don't know enough to give opinion. I don't mind what other people want to listen to, but the "free" unrhythmic & discordant style literally gives me pains in my head & chest problems after several minutes. Some theorize this is 'cos I'm a Virgo.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2004, 12:10 PM:

I REALLY like the technobluegrass. I'm gonna look for that next time I'm in the record store.

Epacris, I didn't know that, but careful not to overapply it. Lloyd, for example, is not such a case; the double-ell is a different sound in Welsh than the single. Floyd is the same Welsh name.

Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: April 10, 2004, 11:34 PM:

Xopher: yes, like most rules, there are exceptions (I did mention my training was in biology, where this is one of the aphorisms). The initial-double-letter equals capital is a rare specialised survival, not for general application.

In Henry V, I think it was, there's a Welsh character whose name is spelt, IIRC something like "Fluelen" - which is obviously the phonetic version of what we have standardi(s/z)ed differently.

There are lovely variations you can get going from another alphabet to ours, like Russian, Arabic or Chinese names. I'm a devotee of cross-references - still useful in computeri(s/z)ed times - to help people with these.

Then there's how people have rendered unwritten languages, such as the various Australian aboriginal ones, into writing. The variants can tell you a fair bit about how it was actually pronounced.

Meanwhile there is the 'chinese whispers' effect of transferring words across languages. Am not sure if it was OSC, again, where I read that "Illinois" was the way that French explorers wrote what the American aboriginals called it, pronouncing it, like the indigenes, "ee-en-wah", because that's how you'd write that in French, but that English-speakers looked at the written word and pronounced it "ill-en-oy", as they would say that written word.

Paul ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2004, 11:37 PM:

Electric (by a hair). Bagel. Homousion or homoiusion? Toughie. I never can decide if I'm an Augustinian or a Gnostic at heart. Today I'll choose homoiusion. Mingus or Coltrane? Well, Miles, really. Mingus if I must choose, because I've heard less. Dante or Chaucer? Chaucer, my dere mayster, in a heartbeat. Trackball or mouse? Fafhrd. Sherman or Grant? Grant. He has the whole alcoholic thing going on plus I'm southern. I can't choose Sherman. Shaken or stirred? A silver deco shaker and to hell with brusing the liquor!

Dark over milk chocolate. QMS over the Dead. Fahey over Kottke (Um, Jason or Leo.) Lexis over Westlaw ('cause I only have access to Lexis.) Yams over Sweet potatoes. Freud over Jung. Soda over Pop. Flip-flops over either Sneakers or Tennis shoes.

Ok, really I just wanted to post this link: Sergey Brin in drag (inspired by the recent Google Sidelights. Via Google Weblog.)

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2004, 12:18 PM:

Epacris, I met someone once who insisted that 'Chicago' should be pronounced chick-AWE-go, because "that's how it's spelled." I asked if he said ill-an-NOYZ too...he was too stupid to get it.

David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 01:13 AM:

A few years back I posted some Jack Dannisms that Katie Schwarz and I thunk up to Usenet.

The Cosmic Rape Theodore Sturgeon
The First Wives Club Olivia Goldsmith
The Stricken Field Dave Duncan
Clouds End Sean Stewart
The Subtle Knife Philip Pullman
The Time of the Dark Barbara Hambly
The Gilded Chain Dave Duncan
Lord of the Fire Lands Dave Duncan
The Call of the Wild Jack London

John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 12:59 PM:


I was hoping for a "Boodles or Beefeater",
a "Beam or Daniels" in the mix.

Anyway. Shaken. Until it's so cold your fingers feel like they're going to freeze to the shaker.

Still have yet to get off my butt and get around to making a Sherman....

Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 03:03 PM:

Regarding "SF Novel", what amazes me is that they know exactly how many pages long it will be, but they can't provide a one paragraph synopsis.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 04:02 PM:

All books are 320 pages long. Everybody knows that.

Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 04:23 PM:

Just vary the type size and the margins. Easy as that.

Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 05:37 PM:

Actually, Amazon claims that this distinguished SF Novel is 368 pages long. The "reviews" are hysterically funny.

In what can only be described as a book. Banks returns to his, by now familiar, trick of using the glyphs known as letters and punctation to describe scenes, events and characters. With words, scentences, paragraphs and even, on occasions, chapters Iain tells what one might call a story.
Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2004, 06:15 PM:

The Artificial Kid Bruce Sterling

Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2004, 05:04 PM:

Hey, Patrick, is the text of your Iain Banks link a reference to a D-Squared Digest discussion of a while back?

If so, does that make Iain Banks an example of homo economicus?

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 16, 2004, 12:05 AM:

Actually, it's a reference to a physics joke cited in Kathryn Cramer's essay in (IIRC) the first issue of The New York Review of Science Fiction (a magazine I had the honor to help found; indeed, they're still using my design) -- "Science Fiction and the Spherical Cow." The joke involves a professor urging us to postulate a "spherical cow of uniform density."

Dvd Avins ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2004, 03:46 AM:

In the 1935 plans for invasion of Canada sidebar, the contingency being planned for is a possible war against "Red", where Canada ("Crimson") is assumed to be on Red's side. It seems farily obvious that Red is the UK, but I didn't see any confirmation. Does anyone know for sure?

Also, why are comments here not threaded/nested?

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2004, 10:22 AM:

I also assumed "Red" was meant to be the UK.

Comments here aren't threaded because Movable Type doesn't provide that feature, and because the one MT add-on I've seen that does implement threads does so in a way that seems to me ungainly.

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2004, 11:11 AM:

About the "Amazing Music," it's really wonderful -- once you can get over the Windows associations of the sounds, which for me was fairly quick.

It's also classic Minimalism...some of the early Minimalist pieces were based on samples, though usually of speech (and the term 'sample' has to be extended to include the crude technologies available in the early 60s).

Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2004, 11:11 AM:

I think that Daily Kos' comments & stuff in there is threaded. You can pick how you want it displayed.

Unfortunately, despite the excellent comment, I have never been able to follow the thing, in whatever format it's displayed. Maybe I'm too tired when I look at it. Maybe I'm too old, or perhaps I can blame the chemotherapy again. Whatever.

So please don't overcomplicate comments/blog.

[Note: I had to invent my own shoelace knot, since I could never get the hang of the "official" one. I'm going to print out those (sidebar) shoelace knots & practice a few. They may be the same as mine.]

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 19, 2004, 01:01 PM:

Kos uses Scoop, not Movable Type; thus the threading.

Scoop has plenty to recommend it, but it's definitely beyond the technical capacities of this household.

Dvd Avins ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2004, 12:15 AM:

I use "nested" at dKos. Having got my techie start managing Lotus Notes discussion databases (and lots o' other Notes stuff) and then having read Usenet groups, it seems to me that any system that doesn't support response hierarchies just doesn't consider detailed, reasoned discussion a high priority.

Not that users of such technology, such as the Nielson Haydens, don't so prioritize; you take what tools are available and come closest to meeting all your needs. But the inability to have the discusion organize itself ("self-outline" would be an ungainly but accurate way to put it) seems to me a big drawback.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2004, 12:43 AM:

"Having got my techie start managing Lotus Notes discussion databases (and lots o' other Notes stuff) and then having read Usenet groups, it seems to me that any system that doesn't support response hierarchies just doesn't consider detailed, reasoned discussion a high priority."

Really now.

"Not that users of such technology, such as the Nielson Haydens, don't so prioritize; you take what tools are available and come closest to meeting all your needs. But the inability to have the discusion organize itself ("self-outline" would be an ungainly but accurate way to put it) seems to me a big drawback."

I dunno. It seems to this particular Nielsen Hayden (cough, spelling, cough) that there are a lot of different ways in which discussions "organize themselves," and that many people in these discussions really, really, really don't like threading.

I personally do. But I'm not quite as willing to grant that it's so obvious and indisputable that threading is the True Will of the Masses as you seem to be implying.

There's something to be said for the drilling-down, get-rid-of-the-chaff I-know-what-I-want specificity of threading. And there's something to be said for the One Big Conversation, ready-for-serendipity openness of not-threading. Does preferring one over the other really mean we "just don't consider detailed, reasoned discussion a high priority"? I rather think not. Indeed, I rather think the assertion to the contrary is pretty fucking offensive. And I speak as someone who personally, on balance, prefers threading. So put that in your pipe and smoke it for a while.

Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2004, 02:42 AM:

Has there been much news in the USA about the imminent release, into not the safest of current situations in Israel, of Mordecai Vanunu, the man who leaked pictures and insider information on the Israeli nuclear programme at Dimona?

This address is the web site of the priest who helped him come to his decision, and who's kept in touch. The page has links to other material, like copies of his letters from prison, newspaper articles, etc.

We tend to keep slightly extra tabs on the story because he originally converted and decided to reveal the information in Australia. Alas, he then headed off to Europe to spread the news, fell into a "honeypot", was kidnapped, tried & imprisoned. In the 18th year he's released, and will come again into the world. Lord knows what'll happen then

Not sure if this might be relevant on another thread, but I guess this is the "lowest and worst" alternative.

Dvd Avins ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2004, 03:26 AM:

First, I apologize for misspelling your name.

Do you not find that frequently it's either time-consuming or just impossible to tell who someone's responding to? And, assuming you use what nowadays I see called "nested", rather than "threaded", every post is visible. So I don't see how there's any "ignoring the chaff" implied by hierarchical organization of information. Personally, I think the amount of chaff is miniscule. In most threads, I read every comment if I read any at all. That applies even the long threads at dKos.

Obviously I got your hackles up. My phrase "reasoned and detailed" was unfortunate. The conversation here is both. What I often find missing here and at other flat-comment sites is the 'talmudic' discussion which refines particular points so that an entire position arises that is wiser and more informed than any of the individual participants. That does happen here. But I believe the formatting discourages it and makes it happen less than it otherwise would.

In other words, while people post things which are both reasoned and detailed, we are discouraged (but not prevented) from reasoning about the details. That's what I meant to convey.

And no, preferring something as a user doesn't necessarily mean you want all the consequences. A lot of the time one has no good reason to even think about what all those consequences might be. But people who build tools have a greater responsibility to consider the effects of those tools. And having both experienced for myself and seen corporate-culture studies confirming the strong benefits of retrievable conversations with response hierarchies, I've got strong and, I think, well-founded opinions on the matter.

Now, if Epacris's experience is common and comes from using "nested" style, I'll have to re-think my position. I'm already aware that formats which display some comments in full, while only providing titles and links to other comments, are often found confusing. And I have occasionally heard that even about formats which only display titles and links for all comments, with a separate page for each comment. But the only common complaint I'm aware of pertaining to what I'm referring to as "nested" is that pages can take too long to load. However that complaint only makes sense in comparison to formats which collapse at lest some comments into linked titles. That doesn't apply here or at the other blogs I read.

So what are the drawbacks to a "nested" format? It can take a minute or two to get used to, the first time you see it. That can be a biggie for a site that doesn’t want to scare new users away. What else?

Is that still fucking offensive? Have I so pissed you off that I shouldn’t introduce myself when I come to see Whisperado on Thursday?

David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2004, 06:46 AM:

"Rollo May Love and Will"? OK, then, "Tim Powers the Anubis Gates".

Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2004, 11:19 AM:

I open nested comment pages and find the display of the post links so bewildering that I generally don't read any of them. Ugly (IMO) and confusing (IME).

Also, I like the fact that the many subthreads in these discussions cross, twist, and braid. And there are many things I wouldn't have seen had the discussion been separated out into nested/threaded subtopics, and I enjoyed them.

I'm more than certain threading or nesting or whatever has its advantages, and I'm not going to tell anyone they're "wrong" to prefer it; but I'm an example of someone who personally prefers things the way they are.

Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2004, 12:09 PM:

A pleasant surprise this morning: the featured birthday boy on today's NPR "Writer's Almanac" was Ian Watson. For some reason Keillor's summary didn't mention either of what I could consider Watson's greatest hits--"The Very Slow Time Machine" and The Embedding--but it did remind me of this:

The Book of Being Ian Watson.

Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2004, 09:09 PM:

Xopher - yet again, I have to say I agree with you. I like the way the nielsenhayden.com comments "cross, twist and braid."

Also, even using "threaded" formats, people don't necessarily stick closely to the thread. Their initial point may be "on topic" for the thread they have chosen, but if they wish to address other eddies or currents in the general conversation within the same text, it is more difficult to follow (especially if there are those who are religiously following The One Thread).

TomB ::: (view all by) ::: April 20, 2004, 10:42 PM:

Scoop has plenty to recommend it, but it's definitely beyond the technical capacities of this household.

As a software developer, I've worked in many places where they didn't know how not to get in over their heads. Don't sell yourself short. Electrolite is well designed, works smoothly, and has spiffy features like (view all by). The technology isn't trivial, and you deserve some geek cred for making such effective use of it.

David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2004, 02:31 AM:

Here's one more Jack Dannism, and it's sort of cheating, but I just couldn't resist it:

Rogue, Moon Algis Budrys.

Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2004, 03:39 AM:

Dvd, I'd be very dissatisfied if ElectroLite (or MakingLight) switched to a non-chronological order, because I come back several times to read the new comments as people post them. Unless the interface you're proposing were enhanced to flag individual comments as seen by me or not (which requires a LOT more per-user state to be stored and updated), I'd be lost trying to figure out where the new parts were.

The "last 300 comments" page, in conjunction with using different colors for visited and unvisited links, lets me see where I left off last time when I come back to check for fresh comments. It's very elegant in a way, using existing mechanisms in my browser to store the state locally, rather than requiring Patrick's server to perform an update to its centralized state every time I visit a comment page.

Also, as other people have said, the local style here is more braided than hierarchical.

Dvd Avins ::: (view all by) ::: April 21, 2004, 04:14 AM:

Yes, not having things marked as [new] would be bad. dKos (and I imagine other scoop sites, but I've not seen any I'm aware of) do flag them, but it requires hitting the FIND NEXT button to get from one unread comment to another. Notes has a variety of ways to make use of what it calls "unread marks", and the Domino (that's the name of the Notes server) is also a web server, but I don't know if there's a way for the a web browser to make use of unread marks. I suspect there is, but it would require the page to be read with an applet, which a lot of people wouldn't want.

The last 300 comments page, however, could still work exactly the same way it does now. It's organization of the comments within a particular main post that I've been talking about.

Varia ::: (view all by) ::: April 23, 2004, 03:30 PM:

Patrick, this didn't fit in with my other post at all, so I'll stick it over here. It has nothing, zippo, nada, zilch, precisely zero to do with Electrolite. It's sheer fannish sucking-up, with extra cherries on top.

So I checked out Starlight 2 from the library yesterday. Short story anthologies are my favorite form of literature anyway, but that one...glowed. Best word I can find for it. Incredible.

Made *my* week, I tell you what. Thanks.

Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2004, 07:49 AM:

Searched for the most recent mentions of problems with electronic voting machines. Could only find ones from October 2003 ("Hold it right there" and "General Protection Fault"), so obeying instructions to put comment in most recent Open thread.

I was somewhat incensed to read this recent (22nd April, 2004) story from the Howard County Times about paper ballots being discarded, uncounted, in primary elections (!). I guess the biggest worry would be the same system in "full" elections.

Discarded paper ballot draws ire of voter

by Pete Pichaske

The foolishest thing we've done recently in voting systems is for the Local Government elections to make sure that each preferential vote is entered into a computer system and then legislate that beyond the first round, only a random sample be taken. [!?!] Thus guaranteeing a "true" recount is impossible. See www.crikey.com.au/politics/2004/04/06-0004.html

On a completely different subject, our Prime Minister has just made a secret suprise visit to our troops in Iraq to share Anzac Day services with them. Wonder where he got that idea from?
Actually, ever since GWB did his, I've been expecting something similar, and this day is the most likely one, though I'd been thinking it would be more probably closer to the expected election date, August or after.

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: April 25, 2004, 07:19 PM:

About the diabetes thing. Have you seen Avedon's link to Alison's discovery of a story about regular coffee consumption as much as halving your chances of diabetes 2? The article about the research is here. I can't help wondering if tea helps the same way or if I should learn to drink that icky bitter stuff.


Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2004, 07:08 AM:

Teresa's mot
    'Administering The 2" x 4" of Clueful Illumination helps at moments like that.'
in her cogently-argued comment under "This Guy Wants Me Dead" at Citizen Smash has certainly helped me in a moment like this. The kid does get to run around, just a bit, betimes.

Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2004, 07:30 AM:

TNH (from post on Citizen Smash): " You can't convince an audience of anything if you don't get the details right."

Oh, if that were only true.

Unfortunately BushCo seems very capable of making up or ignoring the details and convincing plenty of people - including people who vote (Cf: 9/11 -> Invasion of Iraq - or - Nonexistent WMD -> Invasion of Iraq - or - Tax Cuts -> Economic Growth, etc.).

Can I sign up for that species transplant Xopher was talking about?

Ronit ::: (view all by) ::: May 05, 2004, 11:40 AM:

TNH's fantabulously effective outreach on Citizen Smash has reignited this warm and fuzzy idea:

what we need here is a bust-the-torturers blog composed of both prowar and antiwar folks alike.
(Kinda like http://www.nowarblog.org/ combined folks from both sides of the aisle.)
Kevin Drum is already lining up behind Tacitus' suggestions.

Jeremy Leader finds comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 10, 2004, 12:56 PM:

Two instances, identical, nothing but a link. The site they link to is some sort of sleazy paid-links search site, where *everything* is treated as a search for paid links. Even the "contact us" link leads to a search for "contact", yielding a bunch of ads for mail-order contact lenses.

As expected, their domain is registered to the same PO box in the city of Paphos, country code CY (is that Cyprus?) as the spam for a different domain that Xopher found in other threads.

Oh, and when I checked out their link, I did it by typing the URL into a new browser window, to avoid giving them referrer information, as I don't want them thinking that their spam here actually brought them any traffic.

Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2004, 07:46 AM:

Looking back here because of the comments about comment spam.
Strange thing.
My link to the Citizen Smash site ( www.lt-smash.us/archives/002848.html ) where TNH's comment that I was commenting upon resides, now links to a page on the www.msnbc.msn.com site called: "MSNBC - Intelligence: A Double Game"

Am heading back to the swamp now. This upper world can get to you.