Back to previous post: Burrowing owls of Yuma, Arizona

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: BOFH and the Nigerian 419

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

November 19, 2002

Posted by Teresa at 07:05 PM *

Steven, Zizka, is the Internet Explorer scrolling problem fixed?

Comments on Housekeeping:
#1 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 01:17 AM:

If you mean the bug whereby your web log wouldn't scroll down below the bottom entry in the left-hand column, yes, it's fixed.

What was the problem?

#2 ::: Michael ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 11:00 AM:

I've had that problem with many sites, not just yours. Now that yours is fixed, I'll see if I can remember who else I had trouble with. So many blogs, so little time.

#3 ::: Derryl Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 12:19 PM:

Working fine for me now. I can scroll all the way down. Now the only problem is that when I tick the "Remember info?" box in the comments window, it doesn't. But that isn't the end of the world.

#4 ::: Philip Shropshire ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 03:07 PM:

Hy, cn cmmnt vr hr? r d y gys cnsr s cpl? Hw chrmng.

#5 ::: Philip Shropshire ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 03:12 PM:

h gd. Jst cpl f qck pnts. jst wntd t shw tht cnsrshp, vn ttmptd cnsrshp, s slly n th ntrnt. Tht's spclly tr f y'r dlng wth smbdy wh pblshs tw wbsts (whr 'll b cmmntng n ths n fll)nd cntrbts t tw thrs nd wh knws mr tch thn y d.

Scnd, 'll b hppy t vlntrly wthdrw frm th cmmnts sctns bth hr nd lctrlt. mn, t's stpd t pnsh th whl ntrnt cmmnty fr smthng tht 'v dn. nd tht wll b fnl wrd hr, nlss 'm sn t b dltd...!

Phlp Shrpshr

#6 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 03:25 PM:

Philip Shropshire? Are you the guy who's been acting like a jerk over on Patrick's weblog? Why are you posting about it here?

#7 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 03:27 PM:

Darryl, the "remember info" box has never worked for me either.

#8 ::: Philip Shropshire ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 03:40 PM:

Why, ys Trs, hppn t b tht vry sm jrk! Pls rd wht wrt nd yr hsbnd shld gv t try t!

Phlp Shrpshr

PS: 'm ffrng t nvr cmmnt n thr f yr sts gn f y brng bck th cmmnts sctn vr t lctrlt! Dn't pnsh th wrld bcs f m...!

#9 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 04:30 PM:

Fck ff nd d, boyo. You can give yourself all the points you want for your technical expertise -- go ahead, knock yourself out; nobody else cares -- but you're a dead loss on all other counts.

Before you make a bigger fool of yourself, you might want to look up "censorship" and find out what it really means.


Everyone else: This idiot, Philip Shropshire, is the reason Patrick's completely shut down the "post comments" option in Electrolite. Patrick has written about it here.

Until I decide what to do with Mr. Shropshire, you may consider him fair game, and this comment section a free-fire zone.

#10 ::: Philip Shropshire ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 04:50 PM:

h! Y trn m n whn y tlk drty lk tht Trs bby!

Bt, srsly flks, nd t tk th hgh rd (rmmbr ths nw: gt bnnd fr llgdly cllng smbdy stpd (whch knd ddn't sy ths mkng m qstn hs llgd dtng prwss...)pls cntrst nd cmpr wht sd, sn t b pstd vr t nn Rmblngs whn gt spr mnt, t Ms. Trshy Mth vr hr. Jss.

nd yh. 'll tk n ll thr r fr f yr rdrs. fr llsn Wbdrlnd nd Wrblggr Wtch ths wll b n msng Dy t th Bch...

#11 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 05:00 PM:

Re: remember me: It's apparently trying to set an illegal cookie. If I get the error message on submitting this, I will post it.

#12 ::: Kate ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 05:04 PM:

Okay, we have Opera's canned language on illegal cookies: "The server tried to set an illegal cookie. The combination of the server92s hostname and the domain attribute for this cookie is not acceptable, and the cookie has therefore been rejected."

Then the details:

(Apparently the cookies:)
mtcmthome=http%3A//; expires=Thursday, 20 November 2003 22:03:07 GMT;; expires=Thursday, 20 November 2003 22:03:07 GMT;

mtcmtauth=Kate%20Nepveu; expires=Thursday, 20 November 2003 22:03:07 GMT;

For whatever that's worth. Maybe some Moveable Type users can help.

And I'm sorry that what's-his-face is making himself an idiot on your blogs.

#13 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 05:26 PM:

Thanks, Kate. That solves one mystery. Thanks for the sympathy, too. Isn't he a prize?

#14 ::: Philip Shropshire ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 05:35 PM:

Lk, f ths s th bst y n nw. vr t llsn Wbdrlnd thy thrtnd t brbc m lv nd t Wrblggr Wtch ws tld tht wld b nc bg trgt fr snpr sht...nd hr gt "wht's-hs-fc". ch. 'm wndd hr...

Nw, t jst mk fbl ttmpt t styng n pnt, hr's th dl: 'll prms t sty ff bth yr mssg brds, sy, fr yr, f y brng bck th cmmnts sctn vr t lctrlt. Snds fr t m. Trst m hv vry lttl dsr t wst my tm tlkng t y dts r vn rdng yr sts ftr ths stff... mn, t snds fr t m. pprntly, 'm jst t "dngrs" t pst...Wll, fn. ny rspns hr n ths pnts?

#15 ::: Scott Janssens ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 05:41 PM:

Prize? Not the word I would use. Here's a whole list to choose from

#16 ::: Alison Scott ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 06:07 PM:

Not only an addlepated numbskull, but one of those charming people who's bent on making the world a little less pleasant for the rest of us. Fair warms the cockles of my heart, it does.

#17 ::: Lydia Nickerson ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 07:05 PM:

Dear Philip,

As my mother would say, Dear heavenly day in the morning. It's been a while since I've seen someone not get it in such a vast and comprehensive fashion. The sad thing about this is that I think that, within your value system, your offer to stay off of the Nielsen Haydens' comments for a year in exchange for letting other people post comments is noble. Unfortunately, it just won't work.

How did you come to think that posting via sock puppets was a good idea, or a reasonable revenge? Patrick has made any number of comments in his blog about disliking, but permitting anonymity -- as long as people behaved themselves. The very act of posting as a sock puppet violates that rule.

Misconceptions, so many misconceptions. Patrick can't possibly have censored you because his blog is not public property. It is no more censorship to remove one of your posts than it is to reject a submission. It's just editing, that's all. Since it's his, he can decide what to allow on it. The line becomes fuzzier when we start talking about the news media, which have as a role the dispassionate informer of the people. It is reasonable to argue that news organizations have an obligation to the public, not just to their owners. However, Patrick isn't setting himself up as a news source, either.

Mistaking a wife for her husband is an old mistake, and a foolish one. Mistaking Teresa for Patrick is not merely a mistake, it is ... unwise. You write

"That's especially true if you're dealing with somebody who publishes two websites (where I'll be commenting on this in full) "

The phrase "publishes two websites" suggests that you mistakenly think that Teresa's blog is somehow dependent upon Patrick. That's a silly mistake. They're married, they live together, they share a domain, sure. None of this, however, suggests that one of them might be in control of the other's blog.

The thing you've missed that I think is most basic is: they don't need you. Patrick can stop comments on his website. Teresa can, too, if she wants. There are various ways (some labor-intensive) to make sure that you don't post, even if they leave comments functional. Your offer to refrain from posting, while sincerely meant, isn't worth anything because you're not offering them anything that they don't already have.

You could try apologizing for having been rude, though. I've no idea if the apology would be accepted, but it's the one thing I can see that you have to offer that P & T don't already have. Teresa is notably merciful (and just -- scary combination). By all the standards I know, both Usenet etiquette and just plain etiquette, you've behaved quite rudely.

As for the way they roast people over on Ellison Webderland and Warblogger Watch, I've personally don't find impotent threats all that impressive. I know, and you know, that none of those people is ever going to hunt you down with a rifle. Flame wars which revolve around making futile threats are interesting to read, but I often wonder why these people don't just take a pill and lie down for a while. Or smoked some some pot. Do something constructive.

Me, the thing I dread are responses like this.

#18 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 07:05 PM: maps to

Opera is noticing that this is different from and complaining about it; I have no idea if the cookies spec is that specific about it, but from the use of 'illegal' I would think so.

There are people who don't realize that they are not persons of countenance, and are untroubled in their days and doings; there are persons who are indeed persons of countenance, and if they are not untroubled in thought or deed, they are at the least provided with the knowledge of where they must go and what they must do for the sake of the pride of their names.

It is the folk who are able to be aware that they are not, and cannot understand why they are not, persons of countenance who grow uselessly furious.

#19 ::: Paul Riddell ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 07:26 PM:

Damned if you do (you cut the twit's access, he'll just find other ISPs in which to throw his tantrums) and damned if you don't (ignore him, and he'll keep dumping crap in the ballroom until someone jumps to the bait, and everyone would have left the party by that time). I had the same problem at my old Delphi Forum ('course, it was my ex-wife who was doing about half of the tantrums), and I finally just shut the puppy down because I was tired of the aggravation.

The sad fact here is that the twit sems to think himself witty, or at least moderately entertaining. I'm sure that Usenet "legends" Bill Palmer and Andrea Chen thought themselves the same way. Once again, though, even telling them to pipe down until they had something interesting to say ends up being interpreted as endorsement for being an ass.

I don't know what to tell you about cutting this dweeb out until he decides to cut the sociopathic tendencies, but I'd almost favor violence. If more online loudmouths had to worry about Ellisonian vengeance coming their way, they might think a bit before spouting whatever comes to their typing fingers. (He said, desperately looking over his shoulder.)

#20 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 07:27 PM:

Lydia: I thought the same as you that he was talking about their websites in the sentence, but I think he may have been talking abou this own I.e., he runs 2 websites where he'll be taking this up. Sloppy but not surprise there. ICOCBW.

What I find amusing, FSVO amusing, is his contention he's too dangerous to let post. Dangerous. Yeah, well, a dish full of smallpox bugs it dangerous too. (I originally had something more colorful in there, but I censored, I mean edited, myself.)


#21 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 08:32 PM:

"O I am sick to see you, will you never let me be?
You may be good for something but you are not good for me.
O go where you are wanted, for you are not wanted here."
And that was all my farewell when I parted from my dear.

-- A Shropshire Lad
A. E. Houseman

#22 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 10:12 PM:

Teresa: "Isn't he a prize?"

There is a quote in Lemony Snicket's _The Reptile Room_ about how, when someone is just a little bit wrong, like a waiter bringing you ranch dressing when you wanted blue cheese, it is easy to explain to them how they are wrong; but when they are very wrong, like biting your nose instead of taking your order, it's so hard to know how to start explaining that you just sit there, boggled. (This is a very bad paraphrase, since the book went back to the library.)

Somehow, I am reminded of that.

In cheerier news, I think I sold two co-workers (former Catholics both) on _The Apocalypse Door_ in conversation tonight. Go me.

#23 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 11:49 PM:

One grain of sand, so many pearls.

Lydy, I can't see why you should dread such a helpful and tolerant response. Me, I try to live my life so as to never incur one of Graydon's pronouncements -- though I'm sure I'd learn a great deal from it if I were ever on the receiving end of one.

Paul, Mary Kay, I don't fear Chihuahuas, either. The inevitable fact about flamewar enthusiasts who affect an Ellisonian persona is that they're not Harlan.

Exactly, Kate. As Wolfgang Pauli once put it, "That isn't right; that isn't even wrong."

Lemony Snicket is a joy. Do you ever wonder how long it's going to take for all those huffy parents' groups that protest Harry Potter to notice the wonderfully subversive things Lemony Snicket explains along the way?

Apocalypse Door, go you! We're allowing ourselves to hope that sometime soon, Amazon will decide it's been published, and allow readers to post reviews.

I sold it to a couple of lapsed Catholics the other day. I think it was when I said, "...and his sidekick, Sister Mary Magdalen of the Special Action Executive of the Poor Clares."

#24 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2002, 11:53 PM:

His spots are the joy of the Leopard:
His horns are the Buffalo92s pride.
Be clean, for the strength of the hunter
Is known by the gloss of his hide.

If ye find that the bullock can toss you,
Or the heavy-browed Sambhur can gore;
Ye need not stop work to inform us:
We knew it ten seasons before.

Oppress not the cubs of the stranger,
But hail them as Sister and Brother,
For though they are little and fubsy,
It may be the Bear is their mother.

93There is none like to me!94 says the Cub
In the pride of his earliest kill;
But the Jungle is large and the Cub he is small.
Let him think and be still.

--Maxims of Baloo, from "Kaa's Hunting," The Jungle Book

#25 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 12:08 AM:

Amazon does know that James D. Macdonald's The Apocalypse Door has been published. However, until a few days ago they thought that the title was Theapocalypse Door and that the author was J. D. Macdonald, so it wouldn't show up in searches for "apocalypse" or "james macdonald".

It's correctly listed now.

#26 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 12:10 AM:

I see I misread Teresa--she was not complaining about the mislisting (which she knew about) but about the fact that Amazon continues to list it as "will be published on November 1, 2002".

#27 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 12:19 AM:

It may explain more than I really want to about my character if I note that such pronouncements are how I think about my own conduct as a reflexive and habitual thing.

#28 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 02:02 AM:

Teresa and Kate: Kate sold us on APOCALYPSE DOOR as well. Jordin has read and enjoyed it. I haven't been up to much reading lately but I expect to get to it Real Soon Now. Of course, I've been going to read the last chapter of THE DRAGON WAITING Real Soon Now for over a week. It's been a very interesting (for Chinese values of interesting) couple of weeks.


#29 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 06:13 AM:

Kate: You sold me on the book too, although I haven't actually bought it yet. (In fact I am probably not going to buy it at all, but cause it to be bought for me. Which is still a sale....)

Mary Kay: How on Earth could you read The Dragon Waiting and NOT read the last chapter??

#30 ::: Philip Shropshire ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 08:47 AM:

Frst prld:

Wll bfr w spclt n th vl thngs hv bn ccsd f syng, t mght b hlpfl f w dd bt f bckgrnd. Nw, hr's wht frst sd:

"Yp, tht crtn jst bt hts t n th hd. t ls pnts t tht smthng tht Rchrd Hfstdtr (wh cnd th trm th "Prnd Styl" nd dscrbs th Rpblcn Prty qt wll...)s stll tr: Bcs th Rpblcns r jst th bltnt srvrs f Cptl thy cm ff s hnst, pln spkng flk, jst lk th ln bby tng prty. Whr Dms, trn btwn thr bs whch hs nwhr t g (lthgh th Grns my gt scnd lk frm m) nd th GP-lt fctn DLC, lwys cms ff lkng mbgs nd trn, whch cms ff s slzy pltcn vb. Whn, n fct, th dms hv t t lst wrstl wth thr bs nd thr cnscnc bfr sllng t vr Scl Scrty r txs, whch th DLC lrdy wnts t d...N wndr th bby tng prty lwys sms t wn. Ds th bby tng prty bnft frm th frtnt dths f sntrl cnddts jst dys bfr th lctn...?! Jst skn'...
S, wh y gnn chs mrc: th strght shtng GP nt Chrst wh wnts t strt WW3 r sm Wshy Wshy Dm wth thr bg wrds (Hfstdtr ls wrt th fnt wrk "nt-ntllctlsm n mrcn Lf", mst rdng ths dys) nd thr "lckbxs"...t's ln bby tng prty ll th wy.
Phlp Shrpshr
PS: Whn wll y cmmnt n th Bsh dmnstrtn flng st t stp lctrc cr rqrmnts n Clfrn... mn, gss, t's nt nly jst wr bt l, whch mst b fls gsh hlp s prsh th thght, bt t pprntly ls sn't bt sqlchng ltrntv fl srcs s wll t nsr my cnqst f th mdstrn l rmns prftbl... fl lk 'm n bd ltrntv nvrs nd cn't gt t, cn't gt t, cn't gt t, cn't gt t...

Thn ths gy sd ths:

Frm rch Schwrz,
pstd n Nvmbr 17, 2002 11:50 PM:
"S, wh y gnn chs mrc: th strght shtng GP nt Chrst wh wnts t strt WW3 r sm Wshy Wshy Dm wth thr bg wrds (Hfstdtr ls wrt th fnt wrk 'nt-ntllctlsm n mrcn Lf', mst rdng ths dys) nd thr 'lckbxs'..."
Gsh! nd hr thght tht hvng n .B. frm th vy Lg nd Ph.D. n hrd scnc frm Cltch md m ll ntl-k-shl.
Bt vtd Rpblcn, s clrly s stpd. Mchs thnks pr clrt pp tht.
--rch Schwrz (wrtng n spnl Bshst"

Nw, ths s whr t gts trcky, bcs rspndd t ths rgmnt, whch hs nw bn flshd dwn th Mmry Hl. mght pnt t tht fr y t mk n ccrt jdgmnt bt th mrts f wht wrt r th jstfctn f th cnsrshp, thn y wld hv t hv rd xctly wht sd. Bt f rcll, sd smthng lk:

"Bt Bzrr lngg sd, why dd y vt Rpblcn?" nd thn mntnd thr rs whr thght th Rpblcns wr ctlly n th wy f scnc rsrch, mst ntbly stm cll rsrch. thn pntd t, bcs nlk DLC dmcrts, 'm nt bght ff nd cn vgrsly dfnd myslf gnst th ppstn, tht wld wt fr nswr nd thn dtrmn f h ws stpd. Ths s, nd ths nds t b pntd t t llgdly shrp dtrs, nt th sm s cllng thr cnsrvtv pltcs stpd r hm stpd, r s h clls t "stpd".

S thn wrt ths:

"Wll, frst, my plgs. ddn't knw tht ws cmmntng t chrch. Pr rch. Hw mst hv wndd hm.

Scnd, ddn't cll hm stpd. Wht sd, nd 'm gng frm mmry hr bcs dn't xpct my mssgs t g dwn th mmry hl t sclld "lbrl sts" (gss tht xplns tht nn CL lnk), s tht wld dtrmn f h ws stpd bsd n hs nswr. Nw, h mght hv sm vry ntllgnt nswrs s t why h vts Rpblcn. Fr xmpl, tdy, th Snt pssd bll tht wld hv prvntd th whny lwst fln' pblc frm tkng thr grvncs t crtrm gnst Bg Phrm. 'm sr tht's ntllgnt. f y'r mmd by sprn, thn f crs y shldn't b bl t s n crt f lw. Hw dmcrtc. r, prhps h's frm th ftr, nd h knws tht nly fscst rth cn dfnd s frm ln nvsn n 2021. Wll, fn. t tks th Klngns r th Crdssns t bt th Shdws. gt t. thnk tht, s wll, wld b n ntllgnt rsn t g Rpblcn. Y jst nvr knw."

gn, fnd ll f ths stff mld. Bt thr's th hstry f r lttl fd. h, n mr thng Ptrck, my nt hv md thm ll bvs. hv mltpl P ddrsss. Hpp hntng.

#31 ::: Philip Shropshire ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 08:53 AM:

Sctt nd llsn Sctt: Y r nt ttckng th rgmnt whn y ttck m prsnlly. thrws, hv t ssm tht y whlhrtdly gr wth my ffr t sty ff th mssg brds hr nd t lctrlt ntrly n xchng fr th mssg brds bng brght bck n ln. thnk ths s rsnbl sltn.

s lst Lnd mks fw rgmnts. Lt's tk lk t thm grph by grph85

's my mthr wld sy, Dr hvnly dy n th mrnng. t's bn whl snc 'v sn smn nt gt t n sch vst nd cmprhnsv fshn. Th sd thng bt ths s tht thnk tht, wthn yr vl systm, yr ffr t sty ff f th Nlsn Hydns' cmmnts fr yr n xchng fr lttng thr ppl pst cmmnts s nbl. nfrtntly, t jst wn't wrk.

s yr mm Brtsh myhp? Yr whl prtnts styl s rdlnt f bttrd scns nd t. Hwvr, d pprct y rcgnzng tht my ffr s nbl. mn, ftrll, y'r n rtclt pstr. Shldn't y b llwd t pst t lctrlt? Wldn't t b stpd t pnsh y nd thr wrtrs nd sckps bcs f smthng tht dd. nd why wldn't t wrk? f 'm th ffnsv prty, thn 'll smply rmv myslf. Snds smpl ngh. 'll mk sr tht pst my dfnss n my wn st s tht whn Ggld n th ftr ppl cn mk thr wn dtrmntns s t hw snd my jdgmnts r.

"Hw dd y cm t thnk tht pstng v sck pppts ws gd d, r rsnbl rvng? Ptrck hs md ny nmbr f cmmnts n hs blg bt dslkng, bt prmttng nnymty -- s lng s ppl bhvd thmslvs. Th vry ct f pstng s sck pppt vlts tht rl. Mscncptns, s mny mscncptns. Ptrck cn't pssbly hv cnsrd y bcs hs blg s nt pblc prprty. t s n mr cnsrshp t rmv n f yr psts thn t s t rjct sbmssn. t's jst dtng, tht's ll. Snc t's hs, h cn dcd wht t llw n t. Th ln bcms fzzr whn w strt tlkng bt th nws md, whch hv s rl th dspssnt nfrmr f th ppl. t s rsnbl t rg tht nws rgnztns hv n blgtn t th pblc, nt jst t thr wnrs. Hwvr, Ptrck sn't sttng hmslf p s nws src, thr.

Thr's s mch wrng wth ths brly knw whr t bgn. Lt's strt t th tp. Frst, t's knd f bvs tht wsn't dsgsng myslf, nlss vrm nd sc hv cm bck frm thr rspctv grvs. s fr s th cnsrshp ss, ths gs t th vry cr f wht dstngshs th lft frm th rght. Th lft, t m, stnds fr frdm f spch, nd t th vry lst, frdm t dfnd n's pstn n mssg brd. 'v nvr cnsrd nybdy t my wn mssg brd nd 'v rgd tht w dn't cnsr ppl vr t Wrblggr Wtch. T m, ths s wht dstngshs th lft frm th rght. W wnt t hr wht th thr sd hs t sy. wld'v lkd t hv hrd why smn n th scncs thnks th rpblcns, wrkng t trn th ntd Stts nt scnd rt gntcs pwr, s gd fr scnc. Nw, w my nvr knw. nd qt frnkly, f y pn p yr cmmnts sctn t th pblc, thn thr shld b sm frdm f xprssn llwd. thrws, whn y crtcz Fx Nws, s Ptrck hs dn, t ndrmns yr vry rgmnt. Fr xmpl, hr Ptrck s qtd crtczng Fx Nws:" f crs, thnkng lng ths lns, n s nscpbly rmndd f th ndlss rtl nvctns f frdm nd dmcrcy frm th chttrbxs f Fx Nws, cmpny rn by wznd grgyl whs wllngnss t ccmmdt Bjng's vry dsr pprchs lvls nrmlly sn nly mng prfssnl sbmssvs. Bt rmmbr, t's lbrls wh r th nms f frdm. f crs". Tht ws n gst 7th f ths yr. Nw, nytm h crtczs thm gn, smn wth mmry wll pnt t tht h's hypcrt nd tht h smply fllws hs wn gnd, s ds Fx Nws. Wht's wrs, h's cnsrng smbdy wh grs wth mst f hs plcy pnts. t's bynd jst pln stpd. t's bsrd. mn, f ws rght wngr 'd b lghng n my bts. S, ths s hw cls dwn ll dscssn t lbrl st bhhhhh tc85t's bzrr85

"Th phrs "pblshs tw wbsts" sggsts tht y mstknly thnk tht Trs's blg s smhw dpndnt pn Ptrck. Tht's slly mstk. Thy'r mrrd, thy lv tgthr, thy shr dmn, sr. Nn f ths, hwvr, sggsts tht n f thm mght b n cntrl f th thr's blg. Th thng y'v mssd tht thnk s mst bsc s: thy dn't nd y. Ptrck cn stp cmmnts n hs wbst. Trs cn, t, f sh wnts. Thr r vrs wys (sm lbr-ntnsv) t mk sr tht y dn't pst, vn f thy lv cmmnts fnctnl. Yr ffr t rfrn frm pstng, whl sncrly mnt, sn't wrth nythng bcs y'r nt ffrng thm nythng tht thy dn't lrdy hv. "

Lk, dr, y gt t wrng. Th phrs "pblshs tw wbsts" rfrs t th wbsts tht pblsh. Gt t? Jz. nd 'm pstng vr hr bcs cn dfnd myslf nd my pstn whch shld hv th rght t d. t ls shws, yt gn, th sllnss nd mptnc f cnsrshp. s fr thy dn't nd y wll tht's nt th rgmnt. Bcs f smthng tht 'm ccsd f dng ,whch sn't tr nd whch fnd spclly gllng, y'r n lngr llwd t pst vr t lctrlt! Hw stpd s tht? gss thy d nd m r smthng. stll cn't wrp my hd rnd t. Frthrmr, 'v ffrd nt t pst! t's bscn wht's bng dn hr. S y nd Jn Yln r n lngr llwd t pst bcs f smthng 'v dn85?

"Y cld try plgzng fr hvng bn rd, thgh. 'v n d f th plgy wld b ccptd, bt t's th n thng cn s tht y hv t ffr tht P & T dn't lrdy hv. Trs s ntbly mrcfl (nd jst -- scry cmbntn). By ll th stndrds knw, bth snt tqtt nd jst pln tqtt, y'v bhvd qt rdly."

Sgh. gn, f my cmmnts hdn't bn cnsrd, y wld hv knwn tht dd ffr my plgs. nd hw d pply yr stndrds t thngs tht y hvn't rd nd tht hv dspprd dwn th mmry hl85? r y psychc fx Brtsh prsn s wll?

Phlp Shrpshr
(Ths r my tw sts, gt t? Gd.)

PS: Jst fr th rcrd, thnk th ppl t llsn Wndrlnd wr kddng nd smply tryng t mlt thr hr. Th frndly flks t Wrblggr Wtch, wh chrtl vr Pl Wllstn's dth, wll, tk thr thrts srsly.

#32 ::: Philip Shropshire ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 08:55 AM:

Qck Rbts:

Mr. McDnld: Nc ltrry ptdwn. t's lwys gd t mt n ppstn tht's ltrt. n bg prblm: y'r qtng pm tht s wdly thght t b pr wr nd ws vry pplr n WW whn lts f Shrpshr lds wr dyng. Ths Shrpshr wrts fr Wrblggr Wtch nd ppss nt nly nvdng rq, bt th whl mthdlgy f th Wr n Trrr. mght b nnyng bt 'm nt tht gy. 'm ls nt Brtsh.

T Kt: Hw cn y cmmnt n smthng tht y hvn't rd? r y fx Brtsh psychc s wll? Rd wht ctlly wrt frst, nd thn dclr yr lylty nd llgnc t th Hydn mntr f th hr. Tht wld b mch mr ffctv f y sk m.

#33 ::: Philip Shropshire ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 08:58 AM:

s tht t? Shmfl. Lt m rtrt my ffr: 'll b hppy t wthdrw frm cmmntng hr r t lctrlt n th frsbl ftr. f y hv prblm wth m, thn y shld dl wth m, Ptrck. Dn't pnsh yr rdrs.

Phlp Shrpshr

#34 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 09:43 AM:

David: I want to read it; I intend to read it. But the stress level around here has been off the charts. I assume you saw Jordin's post in RASFF about the withdrawn job offer--just when we thought we were days away from signing the contract. And well, other stuff has been happening to. I just can't concentrate for more than a couple of paragraphs at a time.


#35 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 12:40 PM:


I have a suggestion. Why not fulfill your part of the bargain unilaterally? This might very well result in the fulfillment of your goal of not punishing Patrick's readers. Also, you've said you have no interest in either of these two blogs; why continue to torment those of us who do?

I have to say that calling on Patrick to cease punishing his readers for your actions, while it seems reasonable on the surface, is actually very odd. You are willing to punish TERESA'S readers for PATRICK'S actions. (By "punish" I mean continuing to post nastily in e.g. this thread; I find such things upsetting to read -- and I, for one, have never done ANYTHING to you, not so much as a harsh word.)

At least as long as you keep doing this, Patrick will continue to have reason to fear that you will attack his comment section a second time. Since you did attack it the first time, it falls to you to make the first trust-building move. I would respecfully submit that vanishing from Teresa's comment threads would be the logical choice.

#36 ::: Philip Shropshire ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 12:54 PM:

Wllll, tht snds rsnbl. cld mk ths my lst pst, bt d blv n dfndng my pstn...s fr why hr, whr ls cld dfnd myslf frm hs, qt frnkly, nccrt rdngs f my wrds... ssm th gy rds hs wn wf's blg smtms...

#37 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 01:59 PM:

I do believe in defending my position...

I think you have done as much of that as is useful. Teresa hasn't deleted any of your posts; any of her or Patrick's readers who wish to can find your original comments and weblog urls, and read your point of view.

As for why here, where else could I defend myself from his, quite frankly, inaccurate readings of my words...

As above. Everyone knows about it. Also, if you wanted to correct Patrick's misreadings of your text, you could still send him email.

I assume the guy reads his own wife's blog sometimes...

I'm almost certain he does, though he might be sufficiently annoyed with you to skip your posts completely. In addition, you're trying to get him to do something: annoying him further (by bothering his wife!) is not likely to be persuasive.

Do you know the fable of the sun and wind? They each were trying to get a man to remove his coat. No matter how hard the wind blew, the man wrapped his coat tighter and tighter. The sun, however, warmed the man to the point where the coat was no longer needed, and won the bet.

I would suggest that wind has failed here, and it's time to try gentler means.

#38 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 02:10 PM:

Gripping-beasts in words, Graydon. The Blessed Novel continues to haunt my bouts of 0300 brooding.

Mary Kay, sorry to hear things are being that kind of interesting. I can understand putting off the last chapter of The Dragon Waiting if you felt like your concentration was temporarily below par. You wouldn't want to waste that, and if you did you wouldn't be able to find another one like it.

David, why didn't you mention you wanted a copy when you were in the office?

Christopher, that was well done, but I don't hope for much from someone who's simultaneously (1.) complaining--at length, in my weblog, amongst people he doesn't know, and in the comments section of an entirely unrelated post--that it was unfair of Patrick to have shut down the "post comments" function in Electrolite, merely because Ph*l*p Shr*psh*r* was using it to harass him; and (2.) trying to get even with Patrick by harassing me.

Yesterday I ran across an apposite quote from Talleyrand:

It is easy to quarrel; I can do it as well as the next man, but why should I? 85 One should not put others at ease by arguing with them, or permit oneself to be quarreled with at will.

#39 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 02:27 PM:

The quote I've got bouncing through my brain about this fellow's persistent fit of imbrogliation is:

"When you win you boast of it
and when you lose you rail
Army of Eastland yokels,
Not strong enough to fail."

(and *blush*.)

#40 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 02:53 PM:

There's your man for narrative compression.

Speaking of which, I decided that since nobody was paying attention to PS's arguments anyway, and it's dreary having to scroll up and down past them, they'd be better shortened.

So I took out the vowels.

#42 ::: Claire Eddy ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 03:49 PM:

I am very happy to tell you guys that the Amazon problem on _Apocalypse Door_ has been fixed. Books can now be had.

And you go, Ms. T! I love people who deal with those who offend them with dignity and justice. The moral high road is lovely place to stroll...

#43 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 04:30 PM:

Thanks for the lossy compression, Teresa. I must confess that the slight increase in complexity to read it did push the postings over my limit of effort for reading the writing of this particular author. Bt dn't thnk 'm mssng mch nd lk t sv n scrllng.

#44 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 04:36 PM:


Nice touch removing the guy's bowels--er, excuse me, vowels. I must after all these posts look into the Apocalypse Door.

Christopher: Do you know the fable of the sun and wind? They each were trying to get a man to remove his coat.

Hot damn! I haven't thought of that story since 2nd grade at Saint Agatha's and the "More Streets and Roads" reader from Laidlaw Brothers.

Thanks for bringing about that pavlovian flashback for me. Seriously, it remains one of my more pleasant early reading memories.

#45 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 04:49 PM:

Okay, I'm confused. It looks to me like Mr. McDonald published the book twice--once with 1stbooks under a pseudonym (William Todd) and then the Tor version.

Of course, I'll go for the Tor version. (I'm a not lapsed Papist--but the recent scandals have seriously demoralized me....)

#46 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 05:12 PM:

Gevalt! Is there no end to this? Amazon has stuck Harriet Klausner's review of Jim's book under the listing for that other book that's also called Apocalypse Door. This means that readers who've heard about it will search on the title and pull up both editions. Having HK's review there will make them think the other one is the book they're looking for.

#47 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 06:07 PM:

Teresa: Thanks for the good wishes. I detail some of the excitements in an email I *think* I sent to both you and P which is Jordin's post to RASFF about his job situation, slightly edited. I think I titled it Seattle? And yes, DRAGON WAITING is good enough, and requires enough concentration, that I 'm holding off. I can't even get through more than a couple of pages of the new Pratchett. This too shall pass.


#48 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 07:07 PM:

This is the first time I've seen a disemvoweling.

#49 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 07:44 PM:

Oh, that's what all that's about. I've just started reading this today, and I thought he was doing the no-vowel thing himself, to be cute.

#50 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 09:15 PM:

Avram, I've just mailed you the text of all his comments here. I've sent it to you too, Lydy. Anyone else who wants a copy, just let me know.

#51 ::: FranW ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 09:57 PM:

FWIW, my Internet Explorer is no longer hiccuping over your blog page. But all the links on the left hand side are no longer there (at least not on my browser!).

And thanks for explaining about your hatchet work on the posts above. I thought that either my two poor, overworked neurons had seized up, or you had a vowelly-impaired troll.

#52 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 10:44 PM:

I did't tell you about that variety of editing?

Left-hand links gone, bah bah bah bah bah. Anyone else getting that effect?

#53 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: November 21, 2002, 10:46 PM:

Yes, occasionally, on all MT blogs, on IE6 only. I smell bug -- in IE, not you or MT. (having dealt with XHTML and IE6 recently....)

#54 ::: Andrew Brown ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 03:44 AM:

Perhaps the disemvowelling script should be published? It is the most exquisite punishment.

#55 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 07:11 AM:

Teresa posts:
>David, why didn't you mention you wanted a copy when you were in the office?

As I am the only David who has posted here, surely this is directed towards me. Which is slightly bemusing. I mean, when Teresa says "the office", I'd think she's talking about her workplace, Tor Books...except that I haven't been in New York City anytime in the last 10 years, let alone to the Tor offices. Teresa, is there any chance you're confusing me with someone else?

Plus, even if I had been in the Tor offices, it probably wouldn't have occurred to me to presume to ask for free books! Although I am warmed that you consider me enough of a friend that I might have them for the asking. (Er, unless of course you actually were confusing me with someone else, in which case I can only aspire to this status.)

PS to Mary Kay: Yes, I saw Jordin's post to rasseff, and I can certainly understand that things are stressful right now. I wasn't intending to pressure you....

#56 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 07:52 AM:

No script, Andrew; I just dragged them off to BBEdit and clubbed them to death with search-and-replace.

David, you're right; I was thinking of someone else. I'm sorry. I was momentarily attacked by invisible brain weasels. Duh. But if you ever do come to NYC, and you have time, and I have time, you should come by the offices. Not that they're all that remarkable. If this were the Harry Potter universe, they'd be far more interesting; but mostly what you'd see are stacks of paper, books, more stacks of paper, desktop computers, recycling bins full of paper, and the incoming mail, which largely consists of stacks of paper.

#57 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 10:17 AM:

David: You don't have to ask. When Jordin and I made the pilgramge to Tor last spring, Patrick practically forced books on us. And then offered to have them mailed back to California. And Teresa understates the piles of paper.


#58 ::: Kevin J. Maroney ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 12:31 PM:

She forgot to mention the stacks of paper which are covering the stacks of paper. With a light dusting of paper to taste.

#59 ::: Derryl Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 12:38 PM:

The first couple of times I tried reading Shropshire's comments, thinking that he was trying to be clever. And then I saw other people quoting him in full, and thought there was something wrong with my computer. Teresa, your explanation (and hence, solution) was much more sublime.

And his posts are all the more enjoyable for it.

#60 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 12:41 PM:

Teresa, in case you decide to do this again:

cat postingfile | tr -d aeiouAEIOU > replacementfile

Works everwhere UNIX is accepted.

#61 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 12:46 PM:

Oh, and iCab has never correctly rendered the "sidebar" objects MT uses, is known to not do CSS properly. I'd agree with Erik that failure to render the links on the left is a browser bug, nothing wrong with MT or your particular pages.

#62 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 02:24 PM:

And in BBEdit's Find... dialog, you can just stick:


...into the Search For field, leave the Replace With field empty, check the Use Grep box, and that'll do the trick.

#63 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 03:03 PM:


Thank you, Bob. Thank you, Avram. I'm passionately fond of search-and-replace functions.

#64 ::: FranW ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 03:09 PM:

Well, whatever you did (or didn't do), the links are back. And your troll seems to have disappeared instead--perhaps he went off buy some vowels from Vanna?


#65 ::: Phlp Shrpshr ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 04:15 PM:

Wll, dcdd t rpblsh n my wn sts, ncnsrd nd wth vwls f crs. Bt my ffr stll stnds...

Y cn rd my sttmnts wth vwls hr:

#66 ::: Jeff Youngstrom ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 05:00 PM:

perl -i.orig -npe 's/[aeiou]//ig' foo

edits file foo in place, puts original version in foo.orig

then there's always
% vi foo
:se ic


#67 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 05:35 PM:

Those disemvowelled postings are better off without the vowels.

I particularly liked the "transcript" with approximate sort-of reproductions of something like what the author originally wrote. And his rapid descent into schoolyard name calling in the new material written for the "transcript."

Teresa, you probably won't be surprised to learn that Shropshire's a media SF and comics fan -- actually, he reminds me a lot of Odious and his own stinky set of sock puppets, though that might be just because they both like to pee in a pond.

#68 ::: Robert L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 07:19 PM:

Teresa--Just tuned in after a little work blitzkrieg to discover this whole uncomfortable situation with this ShrXpshXrX guy. and Irritable Vowel Syndrome. As you may know, T.D., one of my childhood friends, suffers from chronic mental illness. One of its chief manifestations, which he's somewhat toned down over the years, but still occasionally falls prey to, is writing poison pen letters to all and sundry: everyone from (of course) ex-girlfriends to presidents. Actually this fellow is quite mild by comparison to T.D., who is prefectly capable of expounding at length on, say, the odors of the recipient's various orifices, at great lenghth. In his case, it of course comes from feeling hurt and left out. Rejected. Put down. But instead of trying to inquire into the situation, he is compeeled to reenact it in an Sisyphean re-creation of the very thing that hurt him in the first place. Why? Because he doesn't have the courage to actually share his real feelings. Instead of saying, "You hurt my feelings deeply," he says, "Your pussy stinks. [etc.]" Instead of "Mr President, I'm deeply shocked and hurt that you could sign such a bill," he says some idiocy about Monica Lewinsky. He gets a certain giggly schoolboy thrill out of it, but he's never able to express his real feelings, and is trapped in a cycle of further rejection, because the recipients of his letters put further distance between him and them, and spread the word that he's a crank.
It's totally typical that he would pick on you, Teresa, who have done nothing to him.
I suspect that Mr. S. has a series of similar incidents scattered through his life. I urge him to take a good long look at how he relates to people, and to have the courage to take responsibility for his own feelings of anger and pain. I think that if he really said what he thinks in a =responsible= manner, i.e., "I think" and "I feel" he would find a lot more acceptance for whatever he has to say. Of sourse, then he might actually have to say something besides [in so many words] "you guys are assholes."

#69 ::: Beth ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 08:11 PM:

Teresa: Lovely technique with removing the vowels. I laughed myself silly. For some reason, I'm reminded of Yossarian in Catch-22, trying to glean pleasure from the tedious chore of editing the enlisted men's letters.

#70 ::: Jena Snyder ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 08:56 PM:

Re your Shropshire Solution: elegant and effective. :)

And a pox on all nits with nothing better to do than make a nuisance of themselves.

#71 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 10:35 PM:

Bob, it doesn't bother me that he's a comics fan. It couldn't, all things considered. Or are you suggesting that that's why he's fastened on to me, as opposed to some other hapless blogger? You may be right; but my assumption has been that he's never given me that much thought. He's only going after me because he can't get at Patrick.

Basically, he made himself odious in Electrolite, had a post deleted, escalated the fight, had another post deleted and was barred from further posting, and then exploded in a flurry of harassing messages in all of Electrolite's comment threads, which he sent from junk accounts. That was the point at which Patrick shut down the "post comments" option entirely.

Being thus balked, PS immediately showed up over here and started harassing me; and thus my belief that it doesn't really have anything to do with me. It sure as hell doesn't have anything to do with censorship, or with PS getting his ideas heard. It's all about the triffic importance of Phlp Shrpshr: "You can't do this to me -- I'll show you!"

He's shown everyone why Patrick felt obliged to react as he did; but that's about all.

Shrpshr's own representation of his campaign -- and it's a good thing I'm typing, because I'd never be able to say this with a straight face -- is that mistreating me will make Patrick more inclined to do what he wants. What this implies about Shrpshr's mental processes is something I wouldn't have had to explain to you any time in the last quarter-century.

#72 ::: Nancy Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 11:23 PM:

I'd wondered what had been going on here, and finally started reading the thread of comments tonight. Oh =my=. What a handful you've had with the vowelless lad, O Teresa.

If only I'd been able to handle some of my wild childs in this manner in my old online community management days. Alas. It's so very wickedly effective, m'dear. And entertaining to the rest of the guests.

#73 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 22, 2002, 11:35 PM:

Got it in one, Robert, on the "similar incidents". Among other things, Matt Welch has reported the existence of an online fundraising project bent on sending him to Baghdad.

Doesn't remind me of anyone we know, no sir. Especially not the part where I'm stuck with him until he battens onto someone else.

#74 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2002, 12:01 AM:

Thank you, Jeff; that's pretty. One of the nicest features of this thread has been the periodic appearance of recipes for removing vowels. So far the only one I've tested has been Avram's, which worked so well that I ran it on some other irritating texts, just for fun.

"To shrpshrize". I like it.

Nancy, I'm not sure I'm due any credit. It was one of those perfectly intoxicating ideas that just materializes, with no antecedent thought processes. You know--the kind that Patrick usually talks me out of, either for my own good, or from some qualm involving legal codes or the local infrastructure. But not this time. I'm not sure I've ever made him laugh harder than he did when I told him what I'd done.

#75 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2002, 11:18 AM:

The astonishing part is that the voweldlerized posts are completely readable. Just goes to show how redundant most languages really are. You just couldn't do that in Babel-17, for example, or the language the superhumans use in Heinlein's "Gulf."

#76 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2002, 12:57 PM:

Well, it shows how redundant ALL languages are...since only fictional languages lack that property. Babel-17 is a perpetual motion machine (i.e. it makes as much scientific sense).

Funny you should mention Delany, though (um, not that you actually did, but you know what I mean). One of his essays talks about that very fact: how you can read English without vowels OR without the bottom half of each letter OR with every fourth word missing, but not when ALL of those things are true.

This is kind of a fractal space between linear and holographic information, IMO. As I get more and more hard of hearing, I appreciate it more and more.

Also, in writing it's closely connected to the reason that fonts with seraphs are intrinsically easier to read than ones without, and why all caps is so annoying (also harder to read - in fact any majuscule, whether techinically "capital" or not, is harder to read than an otherwise-similar minuscule).

#77 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2002, 01:09 PM:

"Mostly decipherable, with some effort" is how I'd describe them; not so much like reading as it is like filling in bits of a partly-worked crossword puzzle. Absent other context, how can you know that "Pl Shrpshr" doesn't mean "Paul Shearpusher"? Or decide whether "ffr" means offer, affair, fifer, or affray? Or, worse, figure out whether "nt" signifies ant, aunt, auntie, ante, into, unto, onto, neat, note, nota, not, nut, nit, nite, unite, untie, unity, inuit...?

#78 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2002, 01:21 PM:


Thanks for that image, Christopher... I can see it now: Helvetica with seraphs and other angelic beings attached to each letter at appropriate places.

(One presumes that sans seraph typefaces are in some way blasphemous, as well as being somewhat harder to read.)

#79 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2002, 01:49 PM:

Christopher, again, you can mostly decipher text that's had those bits subtracted. There will be some deterioration.

It's easier to compensate for the first two methods; and the larger the sample text, the more certainly you can fill in the missing parts.

I've seen something like it happen in real life, where almost every word in half a page of text had suffered the substitution, for one of its letters, of another letter four places away in the ASCII collation sequence. You could figure out what it was supposed to say, but reading it was like a mile-long stretch of bad dirt road in the middle of an interstate.

The third lossy compression is more of a problem. Sooner or later, the fourth word is going to be something you can't afford to lose: else, not, eastward, former, optional, a.m., p.m., soi-disant, et cetera. You'd want to pencil in a mark after every third word, just to remind yourself where the elision occurs.

Deciphering isn't reading. Redundancy is a constant flow of reminders and emphases and demarcations that make it easier for us to recognize the bits we don't have to pay attention to. This frees us up to focus our attention where it's most needed.

#80 ::: Jordin Kare ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2002, 03:03 PM:

Just a quick (and, I hope, nonredundant) comment on redundancy: My recollection from long-ago readings about cryptography is that English is approximately 4:1 redundant. If you do a simple substitution cypher with two streams of English text (one as the text, the other as the key, i.e., "hello" + "abcde" becomes "igopt") it's trivial to decrypt, given a reasonable amount of cyphertext, so the old trick of using text from a book ("start with the 4th word on page 23") as a cypher key is only secure for short messages. If you do a cypher combining three text streams, it's still breakable. You need to combine at least four text streams to get a secure cypher.

BTW, I also think disemvowellment is a delightful punishment for trolls.

#81 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2002, 10:02 PM:

  cur        f       w         d      dis     and  p    

A    ssed   iend  rought   eath     ease      ain.

  ble       fr       b         br     and         ag    

#82 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 23, 2002, 11:41 PM:


#83 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2002, 04:16 AM:

Right, decipherment isn't reading, nor is sitting down and composing sentences with multiple center imbeddings writing, in any normal sense. (I mention this because it debunks some of Chomsky's more asinine theories...affix hopping, my foot!)

The thing is, if a font is bad enough, you have to decipher it instead of reading it. That usually happens when the font is too ornate, rather than when it's too simple, some font's there's no difference at all between capital eye and lowercase ell, which makes words like Illinois unreadable if, as we admit, still decipherable.

#84 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2002, 06:36 PM:

Teresa said:
I'm not sure I'm due any credit. It was one of those perfectly intoxicating ideas that just materializes, with no antecedent thought processes. You know--the kind that Patrick usually talks me out of, either for my own good, or from some qualm involving legal codes or the local infrastructure. But not this time. I'm not sure I've ever made him laugh harder than he did when I told him what I'd done."

And I laughed pretty hard at this paragraph. I'm posting from Orycon which has been a good stress reliever, but good laughs always appreciated.

For instance. Jordin was talking about the problem you're having with the printer and since he'll be in Conn. soon I suggested he drop in for a service call. (By Calif. standards it's close.)
And started trying to figure out an excuse for me to come along. I was suddenly struck by a vision of you, Jordin, and Patrick crouched over the printer poking at things while I run out to the Jamaican market for a black cockerel to sacrifice to the god in the machine. This picture has been good for giggles all weekend, and I make you a present of it.


#85 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: November 24, 2002, 09:01 PM:

Bob Webber offers:

"cat postingfile | tr -d aeiouAEIOU > replacementfile"

But this is (Bing!) A Useless Use Of Cat. *Any* unix shell line of the form...

cat foo | bar > baz

can be, and should be, rewritten as

bar baz

and can often be written simply as

bar foo > baz

if the command is expecting a file to operate on.


tr -d aeiouAEIOU outputfile


#86 ::: Zack Weinberg ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2002, 01:43 AM:

Way, way up, Teresa said:

Gripping-beasts in words, Graydon. The Blessed Novel continues to haunt my bouts of 0300 brooding.

Dare I hope that the Blessed Novel might be published in the near future?

#87 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2002, 01:46 PM:


You know that catch about 'write what you want to read?' I did, Saxon literary conventions, expectation of at least my own level of reading skill, disjunction from Enlightenment moral systems, never explained highly peculiar setting, and all.

It is, in short, the sort of book that expects a reader to trust the author utterly, and for a short first novel by an entire unknown this is not a good thing.

It _is_ my first novel and has some real problems, too, ones I could probably now ameliorate at least somewhat.

I didn't expect to have brain chemistry trouble, get my heart broken, or move three time zones west, and all of these things have slowed the Doorstop -- which is a bit less a creature of the literary conventions of the Northern World -- down by a count of years, but I'm about done the full draft of that, just as soon as I get the gods-be-feathered wedding scene written, and hopefully it will be adjudged to have greater market appeal, and get out into the wider world where you can form your own opinions.

I do thank you for the interest, though; that's very cheering.

#88 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2002, 03:02 PM:

I do thank you for the interest, though; that's very cheering.
Here's my best wishes, hoping you not only get it done but get it published soon.

I think we've sparred in the past on political subjects, but when it comes to writing and creative projects—that all falls by the wayside as far as I'm concerned.

Just my vote, for what it's worth....
(I just sold a very unconventional short story that I wrote twelve years ago, and could never find the right home for. Sometimes I'd take it out, look at it, thinking the time and life experience gone by would point out the reason it "didn't work," the reason why it never got any takers. But that didn't happen. I just kept getting older and kept reading it and thinking, that it did work—and a little voice told me to just leave it alone. Now that it actually found a home, it cheers me exceedingly that the writing thing ain't for naught.)

Keep going.

#89 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2002, 03:49 PM:


Your description of the first novel sounds very much like something I'd like to read. I love it when the author makes me work! I'm so tired of novels where the setting is boringly conventional (vaguely medieval, magic works, knights and monks and maidens and dragons, hohum) or where the first third of the book devoted to explaining the setting ("Remember," said the Shaman, "we live deep in this forgotten valley here, with impassable mountains on all sides, so no outsiders ever come here.").

And your use of gods-be-feathered indicates we share another liking...I wish she'd go back to writing science fiction! I find her fantasy at best dull, and at worst depressing.

#90 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2002, 04:15 PM:


Thank you, and no fear but that I'll keep going; this particular bunch of characters have been very patient with me, but they're quite clear on the necessity of finishing the great lumpy thing.


I like the Fortress books quite a bit, and :The Tree of Swords and Jewels:, but then again I like dark.

I hope you get a chance to find out if you like the Blessed Novel someday; I should probably note that it is both dark and cold, and structurally peculiar, told in multiple first person present viewpoints.

I got better; the Doorstop is present omniscient. :)

#91 ::: Chip Hitchcock ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2002, 04:54 PM:

For those of us who've been in this field way too long, "sed" is the obvious program for disembowellment on UNIX (or Windows with a Hamilton shell, which allegedly is so useful (having more room than either DOS or GUI) that Microsoft developers use it):

sed 's/[aeiouAEIOU]//g' postingfile > outputfile

Anybody want to remember TECO?

#92 ::: Zack ::: (view all by) ::: November 25, 2002, 09:55 PM:

Graydon: I, also, would be delighted to read a dark, cold, structurally peculiar, disjoint from Enlightenment moral systems, etc. novel.

But then, I've read enough of your Usenet posts that you're hardly an entire unknown from my point of view.

#93 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2002, 01:11 AM:

The very best thing about using a Unix command-line to do the diemvowelling would be that you could assign the command an alias, or write it up as a shell script, and literally have a "disemvowel" command.

Aside from that, it's probably just easier to keep using BBEdit. Teresa, you do know that you can save search-and-replace patterns in BBEdit's Find dialog, right? Just use the Patterns pull-down (near the top right of the dialog box) when you've got the patterns entered into the Find and Replace fields, and pick "Add".

#94 ::: Bryant ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2002, 11:29 AM:

I couldn't resist; I wrote a little Movable Type filter to do this automatically. has details.

#95 ::: Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2002, 02:45 PM:

Incidentally, I think I know what the problem is with the "Remember Info" box.

The short version of it is that the javascript to load the popup window specifies the host as "", but the cookie that the "remember info" checkbox tries to set specifies the domain "".

The easiest way to fix it is to adjust the call in the header of the main page from a reference to
to a reference to

The long version is left as an exercise to the reader.

#96 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 26, 2002, 03:59 PM:

What a clever lot you are!

#97 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2002, 12:20 AM:

Erik, I disagree that every such command line "should" be so rewritten. The form using cat can sometimes offer advantages in readability, and as we don't generally get to choose how intelligent or skilled those who maintain our code, readability can be important. The difference in performance is negligible, and it's sometimes best to err on the side of "needless" clarity.

#98 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2002, 10:12 AM:

Difference in readability? Performance negligible? I think not.


What does cat do? Send files into pipes? That makes no sense. Why call it cat then?

No. cat *concatenates* files. when you use it for that, it's understandable. Using cat to blast a file into a pipe is using an degenerate case to do your work. If you can teach someonethat > means "out to this file", then the less of


works exactly the same as

tr -d aeiouAEIOU >bar


When you call cat, it starts a seperate process. Starting a process when you need to is correct. Starting one when you don't isn't -- and, on a complex, looping script, you can end up creating thousands of extra processes, with a real effect on performance. Then, you have the pipe. Pipes are less efficent than simply redirecting STDIN and STDOUT -- each pipe redirects both. cat foo | bar > baz is three redirections (two for the pipe, one for the write) while bar baz is only two.

#99 ::: Vicki Rosenzweig ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2002, 10:14 AM:

Disemvowelment is nice, but now I'm thinking--disconsonance? Removal of every prime-numbered letter of the alphabet?

#100 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: November 27, 2002, 01:28 PM:

I think the readability partially depends on how linear your thought processes are. I'm pretty nonlinear, and I find

bar baz

easier to understand than

cat foo | bar > baz

I'm no Unix guru, though. And I think most people are more linear. And I think it would be clearer still if you could write

bar baz

making the meaning more obvious, and to keep people from thinking it means

bar baz

but I'm not sure either is even legal. I told you I wasn't a Unix guru!

#101 ::: Dorothy Rothschild ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2002, 11:21 AM:

Of all the entries in this blog to net 100+ comments (this is #101 unless someone has just pipped me at the post), a one-line query about whether a scrolling problem has been fixed seems about the least likely candidate....

#102 ::: Christopher Hatton ::: (view all by) ::: November 28, 2002, 11:39 AM:

Arrrggggh. That was supposed to have foos in it, with greater-thans and less thans and...oh, hell. Tested a couple of things, and there's no way I can find to make it appear correctly. I meant if you could write the LT and GT signs flush with their respective operands (foo and baz) it would be clearer, and prevent the misreading of

bar baz

as having a foo in brokets, with spaces around it, in the middle.

Shoulda previewed. Sorry. I bet you can write it that way on a command line, but the spaces have to be there in the comment window.

Sigh. I'm extremely, extremely not a UNIX guru.

#103 ::: Kip ::: (view all by) ::: November 29, 2002, 05:32 PM:

Vicki, you're heading towards the simple substitution cipher I created, years ago, where one calculates with letters, adding 25 letters to "a," 24 to "b," and so on. It turns the message into a commentary on itself.

#104 ::: Bob Webber ::: (view all by) ::: December 01, 2002, 03:27 PM:

Erik, after running both versions of the pipeline 10,000 times on my TiBook, I take your point. It is, in fact, about 100% worse to use cat instead of simple redirection. For 10,000 iterations this made the difference between half an hour for straight redirection and an hour for using cat.

If Teresa ever has to shrpshrize 10,000 files, she definitely should not use the formulation with cat unless she's willing to just walk away and leave it running. If she just has to do a few hundred, she'll be done in under a second either way, which is what I would call a negligible cost, even if it's double the tr-only cost. So in the context of writing code to take the place of searching and replacing vowel-by-vowel in BBEdit, use of cat vs. redirecting tr input seems like a wash to me.

That it doesn't scale up well isn't really all that relevant either. If I had to do this on more than a couple of hundred files and cared about performance, I'd probably do it in awk instead of the shell to start with. And for this simple a task, if I really cared about performance, I'd code it in less than a page of C.

As for readability, I have in fact had the experience of rewriting my own scripts from using redirection and command line filenames to an explicit cat driver and hearing that they were now clearer. This is most notable where filenames are generated by variable substitution and the filter arguments are long or particularly complex. My choice to use a leading cat was based on looking at the kinds of errors I was finding when (e.g.) new sed expressions were added in a continuation line.

I didn't try using a redirect leading the command. It would probably have similarly improved readability, though it does suffer from being syntactically odd-looking by the norms of shell scripts as they are usually written. Since these scripts were running on unloaded Sun Ultra 1 and Ultra 2 systems and only a small number of times, I don't think that the performance difference would have been noticeable.

However, I have to say that while this whole thread has been A Trip Down Memory Lane, I think I'll stop posting opinions on it. I might have one more factual posting to make, but I'm pretty much done writing on this subject for the moment.

#105 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 03, 2002, 12:48 PM:

Dorothy: At least we weren't discussing Ridiculous Movie Geography.

#106 ::: wlfldy ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2002, 07:41 AM:

Don't worry about him too much. You can probably ignore him and eventually he'll go away. I didn't read his comments anyway. Takes too long to figure out what he is saying. His comments aren't worth the effort of trying to decipher the garbage anyway. Now if he had something intelligent or even, slightly worthwhile, it may be worth it, but see no evidence of that yet.

#107 ::: wlfldy ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2002, 08:10 AM:

Sorry, about the post earlier. Didn't read the whole story before, then saw where you had removed the vowels. That's good work! Makes him not worthy of reading. So, one just skips his posts. Is it like butting in on a conversation when a stranger posts among a troop of friends? I feel like a voyeur with a captive audience.

#108 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 04, 2002, 09:48 AM:

Wlfldy, some of the people posting here have known each other for decades; others have no previous acquaintance.

I think the readers' comments are the best part of my weblog. Good conversation is one of my joys. Its prerequisite, maintaining a reasonably civil conversation, is the reason I sometimes edit things that get posted here.

What I'm about to say will make more sense to you when you're better acquainted with some of the locals, but: Imagining yourself a voyeur with a captive audience is perhaps not the most prudent of attitudes. Far better to think of yourself as just another guest at the party, and settle down to having a good time.

Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.