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September 26, 2003

Open thread 6
Posted by Teresa at 09:37 PM *

Sorry about my quiescence. I’ve fallen ill, and am about to go teach at a workshop. I’ll still be around, but it won’t be a broadband connection and I’ll be sharing both connection and computer with Patrick.

Comments on Open thread 6:
#1 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2003, 11:55 PM:

Hope you feel better soon.

#3 ::: Scott ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2003, 01:32 AM:

Hello to all (and quick recovery to TNH!),

Just thought that the readership might enjoy getting the straight skinny on the next great threat to American Democracy - librarians (according to Rich Lowery at the National Review)

http://www.townhall.com/columnists/richlowry/welcome.shtml

And you thought we just ran around in our Birkenstocks saying "SHHHH!" and providing access to literature and information. Little did you know that we are all highly deluded and dangerous threats to the Reich - er, republic...

#4 ::: Yonmei ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2003, 03:39 AM:

Speaking of librarians, some other points of view on the OCLC sueing the Library Hotel.

#5 ::: Lis Carey ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2003, 06:15 AM:

Teresa, take care of yourself, and get well.

I'm horrified and cringing in terror now that Rich Lowry has out us librarians as the wicked people we are. However, I still have the terrible daring to point out that the OCLC's complaint is available online
and Hotelinteractive.com has an interview with Henry Kallan, the owner of the Library Hotel, available at in which he says a few things that might be regarded as having a bearing on how much he was or was not violating OCLC's trademark in a way that mattered and which OCLC, in order to maintain its mark, had to respond to.

#6 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2003, 06:43 AM:

I'm 99% certain we've had the Alkulukuja Paskova Karhu before. As a full blog entry, in fact, rather than a particle (I think it predated particles). Not that it doesn't bear repeating, of course.

#7 ::: spacewaitress ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2003, 07:54 AM:

http://humandescent.com/index2.shtml

Especially the penguin one.

Wow. I don't know what to say about that. I never realized dogs and cats looked so much alike; the first picture didn't look weird to me until I really looked at it.

The penguin one is something. I don't know what to think about it, yet.

#8 ::: Anon ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2003, 10:07 AM:

Take care of yourself, Teresa.

I can't come close to the penguin picture, but here is a small dose of silliness. Click on link for "Cat Bowling."

(Warning: this site requires flash and is somewhat noisy.)

#9 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2003, 02:52 AM:

Those of you who have indie theaters might want to keep an eye out for "Bubba Ho-Tep."

#10 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2003, 08:44 AM:

Add my wishes for best health soon!

Re: a great short essay on Eng Comp: To avoid Engfish, try reading Howard S. Becker's WRITING FOR SOCIAL SCIENTISTS. He's one of the few academics who's actively been fighting that kind of writing. I've also been pushing his ART WORLDS for years....

Cheers,
Tom

#11 ::: language hat ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2003, 09:09 AM:

Get well soon.

#12 ::: sennoma ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2003, 09:13 PM:

My best wishes also for a speedy recovery.

#13 ::: Greg van Eekhout ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2003, 10:52 PM:

Feel better, and have fun on the island.

#14 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2003, 10:26 AM:

Feel better soon.

Interesting thing found:

Pamela Dean musing about Anne Rice and methods of writing (livejournal).

#15 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2003, 01:14 PM:

Ahh! "Zie!" Ahhhhh!

Make it stop!

#16 ::: Jame Scholl ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2003, 01:23 PM:

Get well soon!

#17 ::: Laura G ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2003, 01:51 PM:

Get better soon. We miss you.

#18 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2003, 02:52 PM:

You object to "zie," Skwid? Do explain.

Should we not have a useful gender-neutral pronoun, or what?

#19 ::: Anne ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2003, 02:56 PM:

Dan, we should indeed. Just not an ugly one.

#20 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2003, 03:17 PM:

Woo-woo! We have a winner!

"Zie" is a wholly unnatural graft onto English. I can't imagine it being used by anyone and that person not seeming painfully pretentious.

AFAIC, "they" might as well be formalized for this usage, despite any resultant potential problems with pluralization.

#21 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2003, 03:35 PM:

http://humandescent.com/index2.shtml

Especially the penguin one.

Avram,

Please, please, please tell me you saved the penguin picture somewhere. It's gone and I can't find it anywhere on the site, and my co-worker probably thinks I've made the entire thing up. Well, except for the fact of the other pictures, but still....

Thanks

#22 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2003, 03:45 PM:

Yeah, it doesn't really roll well off the tongue, does it?

I just don't have a very good alternative. I'm a big proponent of "they," but it doesn't work well for a personal pronoun when you're talking about a specific individual.

I'm okay with it being an unnatural graft. The dodgy aesthetic of it was something I figured I could learn to live with.(But I have to admit I haven't been able to bring myself to use it... pretentious though I am.)

#23 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2003, 03:55 PM:

Here you are, Michelle.

Enjoy.

#24 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2003, 06:58 PM:

> I'm okay with it being an unnatural graft. The
> dodgy aesthetic of it was something I figured I
> could learn to live with.

I find 'zie' pretty hard to take too, but I suppose many neologisms sound stupid at the start. 'Ms' sounds perfectly natural to me because I grew up with it, but I can imagine it might have sounded pretty stupid to someone who encountered it as an adult.

Most doomed attempted neologism I've seen recently: Richard Dawkins trying to push 'bright' as the opposite of creationist. It'll never fly...

#25 ::: Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2003, 07:53 PM:

*Most doomed attempted neologism I've seen recently: Richard Dawkins trying to push 'bright' as the opposite of creationist. It'll never fly...*

Dammit, I had finally succeeded in convincing myself that I dreamed that entire silly "bright" episode. Thank you for forcefully removing my warm and comforting illusion. ;)

That reminds me of the old joke about Mensa... "the organization for people who are intelligent enough to join yet stupid enough to flaunt having done so."

#26 ::: Anne ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2003, 08:03 PM:

I did grow up with "Ms.", but I was in my teens before I figured out it wasn't just the usual Southern pronunciation of "Mrs."

And would the natural copyeditors around here be so kind as to tell me how to make the punctuation in my first line look less funny? Thank you.

#27 ::: language hat ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2003, 08:46 PM:

I did grow up with "Ms," but...

#28 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2003, 11:57 PM:

Whoa, really? I thought Ms. used a period...in fact I can't stand to post that without one. Makes me twitchy.

The comma definitely should have gone within the quotes, but I would have used "I did grow up with 'Ms.,' but..."

The rapid proliferation of commas-outside-quotes is another thing I think could be attributed at least partially to the influence of computer use on our language, actually. Quotes being a delimiter of a literal string, including the comma within the string in many common computer language usages removes the function of the comma as an item separator, and literally changes the "meaning" of the string. You get to where it's hard to think of doing it another way...

#29 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2003, 07:23 AM:

The Dawkins et al thing really pisses me off--I had a related but differing use of the word 'bright' that is now toast for ten years, minimum, while people forget this one.

I like the connotations of bright for ideological description, but it can't be used as a brag.

#30 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2003, 08:17 AM:

"Ms." does take a period (except perhaps in the British part of the world, like their "Mr," Dr," etc.), so it would be:
I grew up with "Ms.," so...
It looks a bit funy, perhaps, but that's what it should be...

#31 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2003, 08:18 AM:

Make that: funny

#32 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2003, 08:35 AM:

Skwid:

Thank you!

#33 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2003, 08:36 AM:

Another personal note: having survived the hurricane, we have now outlasted the power outage that followed it. Last night, the lights came back on. Woo, not to mention hoo. Eleven days of muggy dimness and ever-colder 'hot' water is too many. Sarah gets a hot bath tonight (for her, the biggest impact of the storm was not being able to go outside, and the biggest aftereffect was not being able to play my electronic piano). Still no internet access, so I pore anxiously over selected blogs during breaks and long print jobs at work.

Oh, and I think we should just use "they" (and "them" and so forth) for non-count neuter pronoun duty. Nobody seems to mind being pluralized the way folks mind being misgendered. If someone has a better pronoun, let them offer it up or hold their peace. In print, I tend to go for the gooniest fake pronoun I can think of, like "s/him" because that way it looks like I'm sounding awkward on purpose instead of being unable to do better. I hope.

#34 ::: Anne ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2003, 10:07 AM:

Robert, Skwid, LH: Thank you. And also: Urg! I knew that. Really, I did.

#35 ::: Barry ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2003, 10:16 AM:

Kim, my condolences. I Michigan, we had a little over 24 hours last August, and that was irritating. A MI August night without power is tolerable (esp. this summer, where I used a heater in my bedroom through mid-June, and a comforter the rest of the summer).

#36 ::: Barry ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2003, 10:51 AM:

"And you thought we just ran around in our Birkenstocks ..."

Posted by: Scott on September 27, 2003 01:32 AM

Scott, that confession right there, of objectively pro-subversive commie/mutant/hippie/traitor sandal wearing, is good to indefinite detention at Gitmo.

Not to mention that other confession, of p*r*o*v*i*s*i*o*n of a*c*c*e*s*s to k*n*o*w*l*e*d*g*e which strikes at the very foundations of our current system of government.

#37 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2003, 01:36 PM:

Teresa isn't really sick. She started watching the Badger cartoon and couldn't stop.

#38 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2003, 03:12 PM:

Aaaagh! A snaaake!

(That thing is disturbingly addictive...)

#39 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2003, 03:12 PM:

Explain where that deviates from "sick."

#40 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2003, 04:34 PM:

Tension, apprehension and dissension have begun?

(and it does seem that that little mindworm from A. Bester would make a great flash animation, if one had any competence at visual design....)

Cheers,
Tom
suffering at least two of those from a major hard-drive crash [head-banging dead] of the drive he recently moved almost all his data to, no current backups, and losing his Palm Pilot -- is this what they mean by an identity crisis?)

#41 ::: language hat ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2003, 05:04 PM:

Well, where I work we don't use periods after abbreviations, which makes for an elegant solution to Anne's conundrum. If you insist on the period, then yeah, it has to be "I did grow up with 'Ms.,' but..." Awkward, but there it is.

#42 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2003, 06:18 PM:

'They' is the natural English gender-neutral (and number-neutral) 3rd person pronoun. And it has been for centuries.

In formal writing where 'they' will not be accepted, I use 's/he' in the nominative. I confess to using 'hir' in the objective and possessive cases (the latter, when predicative, appears as 'hirs'). I like it because people don't appear to notice it. They just read right over it, apparently taking it for 'her' or 'him' as their own mental predilictions dictate.

There is no excuse for 'zie'. It doesn't resemble ANY English pronoun at all. It ends in 'e', that's about it.

#43 ::: Larry Lurex ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2003, 07:29 AM:

Apart from anything else, how can you take a word seriously from a language that thinks that little girls are gender neutral (das Maedchen)?

#44 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2003, 08:36 AM:

Ignoring all the other posts for now, I hope you feel better soon, Teresa.

#45 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2003, 12:39 PM:

I92ve fallen ill, and am about to go teach at a workshop.

Some people get symptoms like sniffles, rashes, and a high temperature. Or is she describing a fever dream? When I have a fever, I always have these discomforting recurring dreams that seem to revolve around work. While working on the assembly line, I dreamt I was 'stretched out on a long white table' with people standing around it. When I worked for the answering service, my dream had me as some sort of cell in a phone system. I'd wake up and return to the same semi-dreams.

Anyway, feel better soon.

#46 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2003, 03:18 PM:

I stand by my assertion that long exposure to the Badger Song (and visuals) will produce distinctly similar results.

#47 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2003, 03:22 PM:

Mushroom, MUSHROOM!

#48 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2003, 04:05 PM:

It's a snaaake! Snaaaaake!

#49 ::: jane ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2003, 09:56 PM:

T--tea for what ails you.
Hugs to help.
Money raining from the skies.
A new president.
And friends in high places. (I'm thinking Denver?)

Jane

#50 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2003, 10:48 PM:

Larry, I know you're joking, but in case others don't: grammatical gender doth not physical gender make. Or whatever. The diminutive suffixes '-chen' and '-lein' are grammatically neuter in German...but my German host family's mom didn't think she was neutering her son when she called him "Markoleinchen," any more than she thought chairs were male and tables female.

And if you're saying they got the 'zie' from German, they could have at least spelled it right. And it means 'she' or 'they' -- why not just use 'they' and be done?

Silly people, like the ones who invented Esperanto. No, like the ones who invented Loglan.

#51 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2003, 01:44 AM:

I really wanted a scene in HARSH MISTRESS where someone tried to communicate with Mycroft in Loglan, and he broke up laughing behind his metaphorical hand. (I also remember the early article on it in Scientific American, which was sort of charming in its earnestness. Finally, we would be able to positively say that the pen was on the table of my aunt! c1 be2s les idiotes invisibles!)

#52 ::: foo ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2003, 10:19 AM:

I hate "zie" as much as the others, but I've used "hir" and not hated it. It's good because it's one letter away from both "his" and "her" and might be a typo, but for which?

I envy the Spanish herman@ option.

#53 ::: Berni ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2003, 11:43 AM:

And how would you pronounce "zie" anyway? Is it a long "I" or a long "E?" I always think of it with the long "E," then I lapse into Pepe le Pew-speak.

#54 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2003, 02:07 PM:

Yes, foo, me too. (Interesting vowel letter pattern in that sentence. Wholly unintentional.)

Once again, ambiguity stands in for universality.

Up ambiguity!

#55 ::: Anne ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2003, 03:23 PM:

I admire foo's stylish way of avoiding "hermana/o."

#56 ::: foo ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2003, 09:42 PM:

Wish I could take credit for it, but it came in some lefty mass email I got a while ago.

I just realized that hir works for him/her as well as his/her. Hm.

#57 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2003, 03:52 PM:

I just want to say thanks to T for the pub etiquette link. I knew a lot of that stuff already as I read lots of English novels, but some of it was quite useful. Particularly the part on female bonding. I seem to be tempermentally male in this regard. As several quizzes on LJ have recently asserted. Perhaps consciousness of them will give me more patience with the female bonding rituals.

MKK

#58 ::: No. 2 Pencils ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2003, 02:39 AM:

A poem to cheer you up by, oddly enough, our President:

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Oh my, lump in the bed
How I've missed you.
Roses are redder
Bluer am I
Seeing you kissed by that charming French guy.
The dogs and the cat, they missed you too
Barney's still mad you dropped him, he ate your shoe
The distance, my dear, has been such a barrier
Next time you want an adventure, just land on a carrier.

#59 ::: janeyolen ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2003, 12:35 PM:

I was actually in the audience where Mrs. B read that poem from her husband. Not a one of us actually thought he had anything to do with the writing of it. Some intern with much too much time on his/her hands.

Jane

#60 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2003, 01:34 PM:

And no sense of meter AT ALL.

#61 ::: Anne ::: (view all by) ::: October 05, 2003, 10:41 PM:

I dunno, "no sense of meter" might be a sign he was involved. Oh wait, I'm confusing it with "measure."

#62 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 06, 2003, 08:45 AM:

Note how it blames someone else for dropping Barney? Sounds like Bush to me. If someone else wrote it for him, even more so. And if he made a half-hearted effort at writing it, gave up, and was bailed out by a friend of his dad's, well... That's My Bush!

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