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May 8, 2004

Open thread 22
Posted by Teresa at 12:53 PM *

There’s no light wit in me just now. Other matter will serve:

…within the hollow crown That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
To monarchize, be fear’d and kill with looks,
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
As if this flesh which walls about our life
Were brass impregnable…
Comments on Open thread 22:
#1 ::: Phill ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2004, 01:40 PM:

This news just in... ABC will pre-empt the GOP convention this year to show instead Triumph of the Will

An ABC spokesperson said, "We thought of doing the usual thing but then we thought how much better to show the original?"

#2 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2004, 01:46 PM:

Point taken . . . but given the gaggle of clowns involved, maybe a third-rate Romanian propaganda film on faded Ektachrome stock praising the accomplishments of the 24th Party Congress would be a more appropriate substitute.

#3 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2004, 01:50 PM:

Such a great passage. It was used as the basis for these book titles:

A Hollow Crown: The Story of Emma, Queen of Saxon England
By Helen Hollick
Heinemann, August 2004, Hardcover 043400491X

Hollow Crown
By David Roberts
Constable & Robinson, October 2003,
Paperback 1841197742

Hollow Crown
By John Barton
Harrap, 1962???, Hardcover 0245564934
[I think the full title is
The Hollow Crown: The Follies, Foibles and Faces of the Kings and Queens of England]

The Hollow Crown: Countervailing Trends in Core Executives
By Patrick Weller
Palgrave Macmillan, August 1997
Paperback 0333681959

Within the Hollow Crown
By Margaret [Campbell] Barnes
Berkley Pub Group (Mm), May 1981
Paperback 0441894577

and also (incomplete data):

Harold Hutchinson: The Hollow Crown

Nicholas B. Dirks: The Hollow Crown

David McDaniel: The Hollow Crown Affair

Nicholas B. Dirks: The Hollow Crown: Ethnohistory of an Indian Kingdom

Harold Frederick Hutchison: The Hollow Crown: A Life of Richard II

Geoffrey Richardson: The Hollow Crowns: A History of the Battles of the Wars of the Roses

That's what happens when you can't copyright a title. And think of how Shakespeare appreciates all those hotlinks...

I've always wondered, though:

Is "brass impregnable" even if you have brass balls?

More nice bits from the quotation:

Of comfort let no man speak:
Let's talk of graves, of worms and epitaphs;
Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth,
Let's choose executors and talk of wills:
. . .
For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings.
. . .
All murder'd: for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits. (Richard II; III,ii)

Also interesting in the context of
Emperor Bush II:

"Say, is my kingdom lost? why,'twas my care;
And what loss is it to be rid of care?"

#4 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2004, 02:18 PM:

On the impregnability of brass: Brass is susceptible to a condition called red rot, which happens (I believe) when the zinc within the alloy oxidizes. When red rot sets in, it's irreversible. Eventually, the brass becomes thin, brittle, and crumbly. This is why, when you go to one of those cheesy theme restaurants with musical instruments nailed to the walls, that old alto horn has a bell that looks like wet tissue paper.

Red rot seems like an apt metaphor for something or other.

NB: I'm not a metallurgist; I'm a trumpeter.

#5 ::: Calimac ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2004, 02:30 PM:

Atomic Tourist missed the museum in the third "atomic city," Richland. I suppose I should dig up its URL and send it to them.

#6 ::: John M> Ford ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2004, 03:44 PM:

Anybody got a little pin?

Teresa, if it would make you feel any better, I will send you my South Side version of the Archbishop's explanation to Harry Five of why no broad shall get no goods in Salic land. It hardly mentions WMDs at all.

#7 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2004, 04:12 PM:

John M. Ford offered "my South Side version of the Archbishop's explanation to Harry Five of why no broad shall get no goods in Salic land." It can only help.

If you can manage it, laughing helps. We discovered this at my house Thursday evening, when, browsing through Our Hostess's Archives, I discovered the account of Dogs in Elk , as well as Gus Pong's owner's verification of the story . We laughed until we wept, until we could not talk, until we could only gasp for air. When we recovered, many things about the world still reeked, but we had the strength to fix dinner, and write stern letters to our senators and congressman. The laughter had stretched our limbs and forced more oxygen into our systems.

Of course, given that Frist has been seduced to the Dark Side (like it was a long trip in the first place), and that Lamar Alexander was around to notice the Party Machinery turned on Fred Thompson for believing that "honesty" meant being honest, we aren't optimistic about the reception of these letters, but they have been written.

Laugh, somehow, at something. It helps keep up one's strength, no matter how black the humor. Last weekend, my mother told me Richard Nixon was beginning to look good in comparison to what we have now. She followed that up with "God forgive me for saying that," but it does give some idea of where we stand these days.

#8 ::: Anne ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2004, 04:44 PM:

If it makes you feel any better, Teresa, that last "geek knitting" thread seduced me into the wonderful world of turning string into cloth. I don't know why, but the idea of knitting two socks at once grabbed me, and now I won't be happy until I've done it! It's also a great excuse to go buy more books. (That reminds me, I'd like to thank Eloise (?) for recommending _Knitting for Anarchists_.)

What other knitting books should I add to my stash?

#9 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2004, 05:26 PM:

Oh. My. Dear. Lord.

I had never seen "Dogs in Elk" before. I just it out loud to my husband. I have not laughed that hard reading something out loud since I was a kid and did my turn at our family's serialized reading of "A Fine and Pleasant Misery."

#10 ::: Randall P. ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2004, 05:37 PM:

Never before have I been so happy to be an American expatriate living in Canada. Honestly, if Bush gets elected again, the world has every right to be scared and they should probably do something about it. Revolution anyone?

#11 ::: Randall P. ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2004, 05:55 PM:

Oh, and if you really think that there is no hope left in the world, then you haven't watched this movie...
It's not worksafe and it comes from warren ellis' site, but it certainly made me happy...

#12 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: May 08, 2004, 10:03 PM:

Randall P, you should read Orcinus -- there is a long and chilling piece on the media, terror, and other topics that unfortunately locks into recent nightmares of mine. I expect that some of our territory will glow in the dark if he takes oath again.


#13 ::: Hands Open and Alive ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 01:06 AM:

Nixon, huh? Funny that I should have just picked up The Poetry of Pablo Naruda (published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux) at the bookstore tonight. Opened at nearly random to A Call for the Destruction of Nixon and Praise for the Chilean Revolution:

to set down the name of this villain
who practices genocide from the White House.
#14 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 01:28 AM:

A heartening note (unlike the other gloom I've been spreading here):

My conservative but intelligent uncle (ex Diplomatic Corps, ex CIA, usually votes Republican) was absolutely vitriolic about the excesses of the current administration when I talked with him today.

Bush is indeed eroding his base. Those of us who love our country and hate our administration have some hope.

#15 ::: Heather ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 04:25 AM:

Tom, your comment about your uncle made me feel a ton better. I've been waiting for *days* to hear about reactions from real vets.
Particularly intel-type vets.
What I hear of John McCain's comments helped, too.

#16 ::: Sylvia ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 06:20 AM:

Please all of you Americans despairing at your current administration's war crimes: you must mobilise those people who normally don't vote. Surely it has to be "anyone but Bush" now and Kerry doesn't seem too bad a guy. The future of the world may well depend on you. Frankly here in Australia I'm a bit scared.....

#17 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 08:01 AM:

The folks at Lion Brand yarn have posted all the crochet patterns from the current issue of Knit-It magazine on their website, which was pretty good for crochet patterns already (and of course, I'm a hopeless Homespun junkie).

The Berroco site is great for patterns and yarn porn too (and they have a good newsletter and links page).

#18 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 08:06 AM:

Oh, and as long as I'm geeking out, the shade names of the new Candy FX yarn fill me with glee.

#19 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 09:54 AM:

Julia, what do you like about Homespun? I'm making things for the local shelter out of decades of leftover yarn and every now and then I need a skein of something new to coordinate yarns into a piece. I went to Hancock fabrics for two skeins of that kind of yarn and then was caught by the half-price bin. Among other things, I bought some Homespun, now a baby sweater, but the texture bothered me. I think it's what they call "silky" -- it feels *wrong* to me somehow. I kept setting the sweater aside because it bothered me to use the yarn.

#20 ::: Elric ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 10:56 AM:

Randall, what scares me is the idea of the Shrub being elected for the first time, with a real majority of the votes cast. If that happens, we might just need to join you north of the border....

In a different vein, thank you for the disconnect provided by the video link. I'm still trying to decide whether it was a finely crafted metaphor for...something or other, or if it was just a whimsical moment with no importance at all.

#21 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 11:35 AM:

I am not a Bushite, I don't believe that malice and vileness should be ignored and promoted by averting attention....

Some unmitigated piece of excrement appears to have harvested my name off Teresa's blog and is maligning Teresa in sending [headers and lines of piece of excrement message down to the first several lines of an alleged .gif file below] what's below:


Received: from ([]) by; Sun, 09 May 2004 06:40:35 -0400
Received: from ([]) by; Sun, 09 May 2004 06:41:27 -0400
From: "ckd-makinglight"
Subject: [SPAM?] FW: (-Sucking-)
Date: 09 May 2004 14:40:52 +0000
MIME-Version: 1.0
X-Mailer: OstroSoft SMTP Component (5.1.1)
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="--NextMimePart"
X-Spam-Flag: YES
X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 2.63 (2004-01-11) on
* 0.8 HTML_30_40 BODY: Message is 30% to 40% HTML
* 0.0 HTML_MESSAGE BODY: HTML included in message
* 2.8 DATE_IN_FUTURE_03_06 Date: is 3 to 6 hours after Received: date
* 0.1 RCVD_IN_SORBS RBL: SORBS: sender is listed in SORBS
* [ listed in]
* 2.5 RCVD_IN_DYNABLOCK RBL: Sent directly from dynamic IP address
* [ listed in]
X-Spam-Status: Yes, hits=6.3 required=5.0 tests=DATE_IN_FUTURE_03_06,
X-Spam-Level: ******
X-DPOP: Version number supressed
X-UIDL: 1084115438.746416
Status: U

Content-Type: multipart/alternative; boundary="--NextMimePartHTML"

Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit

Content-Type: text/html; charset="us-ascii"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

Babe sucking black Dog MPEG
funny movie servers automatically scanned for viruses using Norton AntiVirus-2004


Content-Type: image/gif; Name = "Nav2004.gif"
Content-Transfer-Encoding: Base64
Content-Disposition: attachment; FileName = "Nav2004.gif"



I forwarded it to with the note:

"The material below appears to be -harassment- of either or both the owner of the weblog and/or me. The owner of the weblog I have known for many years, and she neither sends nor approves of spam, especially not this type of spam!"

#22 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 11:35 AM:

And then sometimes there's just the unexpected in a commercial: Carling

#23 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 11:48 AM:

After seeing Paula's post, I checked my yahoo email (the address that I give when logging in to Making Light."

There was:

FW: Lesbian & gays Mpeg
Sun 05/09 4k

I'd rather not open that, in light of Paula's warning. I have nothing against Lesbians & Gays, but am not inclined to see an MPEG on the subject.

I also suspect a security breach of your system, especially because of the alleged name of the alleged forwarder, although I'll let someone with expertise daignose and cure the ill.

Thank you.

#24 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 12:32 PM:

Hm. I checked the spam mailbox for the account I use here and found a e-mail that promised, "Watch the Paris Hilton Sex Tape for Free!"

groan..... grumble.... Xopher, where do I sign up for that species transplant?

#25 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 12:55 PM:

Ashcroft also says you can exchange your freedom for watching the Paris Hilton Sex Tape.

just suggesting possible culprits.

#26 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 12:58 PM:

This is breathtakingly big science news, within the past 3 days! Breakthrough in our understanding of memory:

Scientists Uncover How Brain Retrieves And Stores Older Memories

As T. S. Eliot says: "Memory, you have the key"

Vladimir Nabokov: "Speak, Memory"

Rumsfield: "Those who forget History, are doomed to repeat it. I'm sorry that we got caught... I forgot how badly my government handles cover-ups..."

#27 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 12:59 PM:

A number of people have been referring to the persons & events in Trollope's Barchester Towers series when discussing events in the City of Sydney diocese of the Anglican (formerly Church of England, US version Episcopalian apparently).

The names Proudie, Slope and Obediah have been heard in the land.

Have just read about another development:
Parents in tears as choir's 130 years of tradition wiped out
. Apparently they sang "Abide With Me" in protest.
In a related <g> story a little while back, the chief of the Jensen family group so prominent here literally didn't know the meaning of the word "nepotism", when accused of it.

#28 ::: Steve ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 01:03 PM:

Quick particles question - Teresa, did you ever see American Psycho? Obviously, you weren't a fan of the book, but I thought the movie rather perfectly captured the replacement of any sort of interior life with a GQ "What to Buy" spread (although not the deadness of affect). The business card scene and the Huey Lewis rant (which was moved rather effectively) were quite well done, I thought.

#29 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 01:18 PM:

Epacris -- I had a relative named Obediah, who served in the revolutionary war. Reading his diary was a great deal of fun.

It's now in the Huntington Hartford Museum. Obediah Wetherall. Check it out. Oh wait, it's non-circulating....

(Dec. 25th, 1776, Valley Forge. Cold today)

#30 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 01:19 PM:

Here is an interesting NYTimes Magazine article about a man's attempt to help his sister escape polygamy.

(And should it really be NYTimes's Magazine, ignoring the fact that the Times doesn't punctuate it that way, and we-must-respect-that? Lynne Truss, you are messing with my head.)

#31 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 02:17 PM:

Tom Whitmore:

would that be the Huntington Library, Museum, and Gardens in San Marino, California? That's only about 6 miles from my residence...

Then there's:

Obediah's Okefenok is the 1800's Restored Homestead
of Obediah Barber (1825-1909), Legendary "King-of-the-Okefenokee"

Also, I don't usually quote the bible (here from the Darby Bible version), but this relates to the morality that the USA has NOT followed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Note usage of ambassador, battle, small versus large nations, mountain strongholds, robbers, hidden things [WMD?], confederacy, borders, destruction of the wise, slaughter, foreiners, captives, rejoicing in enemy's destruction, affliction, calamity, distress, recompence, and so forth:

Obediah 1

1. The vision of Obadiah. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah concerning Edom: We have heard a report from Jehovah, and an ambassador is sent among the nations. Arise ye, and let us rise up against her in battle.

2. Behold, I have made thee small among the nations; thou art greatly despised.

3. The pride of thy heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; -- he that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground?

4. Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith Jehovah.

5. If thieves had come to thee, if robbers by night, (how art thou cut off!) would they not have stolen [till] they had had enough? If grape-gatherers had come to thee, would they not have left some gleanings?

6. How is Esau searched! his hidden things sought out!

7. All the men of thy confederacy have pushed thee to the border; the men that were at peace with thee have deceived thee, they have prevailed against thee; [they that eat] thy bread have laid a snare under thee. There is no understanding in him.

8. Shall I not in that day, saith Jehovah, destroy the wise men out of Edom, and understanding out of the mount of Esau?

9. And thy mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that every one may be cut off from the mount of Esau by slaughter.

10. Because of violence against thy brother Jacob, shame shall cover thee, and thou shalt be cut off for ever.

11. In the day that thou stoodest on the other side, in the day that strangers carried away captive his substance, and foreigners entered into his gates, and cast lots upon Jerusalem, even thou wast as one of them.

12. But thou shouldest not have looked on the day of thy brother in the day of his disaster; neither shouldest thou have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; nor have opened wide thy mouth in the day of distress.

13. Thou shouldest not have entered into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity, nor have looked, even thou, on their affliction in the day of their calamity, neither shouldest thou have laid [hands] on their substance in the day of their calamity;

14. and thou shouldest not have stood on the crossway, to cut off those of his that did escape, nor have delivered up those remaining of him in the day of distress.

15. For the day of Jehovah is near upon all the nations: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy recompence shall return upon thine own head.

16. For as ye have drunk upon my holy mountain, so shall all the nations drink continually; yea, they shall drink, and shall swallow down, and they shall be as though they had not been.

17. But upon mount Zion shall there be deliverance, and it shall be holy; and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

18. And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble; and they shall kindle in them and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau: for Jehovah hath spoken [it].

19. And [they of] the south shall possess the mount of Esau; and they of the lowland the Philistines; yea, they shall possess the field of Ephraim and the field of Samaria; and Benjamin [shall possess] Gilead;

20. and the captives of this host of the children of Israel [shall possess] what belonged to the Canaanites, unto Zarephath; and the captives of Jerusalem, who [were] in Sepharad, shall possess the cities of the south.

21. And saviours shall come up on mount Zion, to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be Jehovah`s.

How about some Bush administration faith-based prison guards?


#32 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 04:09 PM:

The Hollow Crown Affair was a Man from UNCLE book.

#33 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 04:27 PM:

JVP, Paula, and others:

The headers make me think that someone turned an email address harvester loose and aimed it at Making Light, among other blogs.

Site traffic logs would be interesting to look at, in this case....

For your reference, my fall quarter classes have been selected: EE521 Linear Systems, and PHYS650 Electricity and Magnetism.

#34 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 06:37 PM:

The harvester appears, from what I've seen, to have managed to get at the web logs. (There are telltale signs of URL fragments in the bounces I'm being afflicted with, sigh.)

And, yes, the supposed source for the emails is an address that I've only ever used here, and since I also set a web page URL, that shouldn't appear anywhere but inside the Movable Type system or the web access logs...grump, grump.

#35 ::: Tiger Spot ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 08:21 PM:

So I visited the site from which the "Nine Naked Men" came, and found the following, which made me laugh so hard I cried:

#36 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 08:36 PM:

Tiger Spot - dear goddess! Oh, my, yikes! Those essays were precious. Thanks!!!!!!

#37 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 10:07 PM:

Syr Agricoli

O Mary Quene ond Nicholas seinte
Patron lord of clerkes quente
Mercy to us sende.
Ther was to once a noble knight
That Lancelot du Lak was hight
Yet was there ane mo hende.
His nam was Syr Agri Colie
I sey the sooth and wol nat lie
Also may God him spede.
He was a wight of muckle lor
And lik to ben a professour
In romance as we rede.
He was as doughty as Horn Childe,
As mighty as Gawain the mild
Or Havelok the Dane.
Of Orfeo or Syr Launfal
Sir Ageri he bet hem al
As paynims wot wtih payne.

Now to the tale I wol begin--
Ance on a day as did Turpin
He fought the Saracen.
And bolder than Octavian
He rode into the press again
And slaugh x thousand men.
And as he rode as the Sowdan
Sir Agre, bold and doughty man,
Was smote down from behind.
The swerd cut down unto his brain,
"Alas," quod he, "An hedious peyn!
That was a stroke unkind."
And from his steed he tumbled off
That made the Sowdan for to loff
That Sir Agre was lorn.
Than said the Sowdan with great gle,
"Bring him bounden unto me
He'll wish he ne was born.
We'll make him read of Gamelyn
And Parceval and al his kin
Until his teres shal run
Ond he shal rede of Geofferey
That with his quil pen maked fre,
Thus shal we have our fun.
If of al this he may not choke
We will bring ut another boke
Ywritten by Iohn Gower,
And he shall red the Pearl-rime
Ond therewith shall he spend his tyme,
Thus shal he know oor power.
If from al this he be nat ded
We'll feed the bugges on his hed
Until he be ner wode.
And then tak yow a broad-swerd blak
And stik him swiftly in the bak
That shal be for the gode."
Sir Agre, when he herd al this,
He was wonder sad, iwiss,
And wished he had ben slo.
And lik Cressid he wept ful fast
As if his hert had ben tobrast
And thus he mad his wo.
Then said Syr Agre unto him,
The saracen that was so grim,
"How kan I win me fre?"
Then spoke the wicked saracin
That was come of Caines kin,
"Ye must pass ordels thre.
First ye must go into a tent,
I sey yow soothe, for verrament,
There is a noble grail,
And iv gallons of clary win
There is that god cuppe within
Exactly like a pail.
And ye maun drink it from the top
And drain it to the lastest drop
And never lose a bit
And aye may never take a breath
To do so it would mean your death
There is no help for it.
Then you maun go without delay
And nowhere may you stop nor stay
Unto another tent.
Within that tent, enchained ther,
Stands a grisly groaning ber,
Our hunters have him hent.
His fangs are long, his look is fell,
There is one thing, the sooth to tell
And maken no mistake;
You maun go unto him there
And with both your handes bare
Cure him of tooth-ake.
Ye maun pull out his aching tooth;
When this is done, I sey you sooth,
A thrid task ye maun do.
There is another tent here madye,
And therein is a lusty ladye
Ye maun go her to.
Ther never was a lusty knight
Could satisfy her in a night
Had he the strength of x,
For when she swyves, she swyves for keeps
And layes the bodies up in heaps
She hath slain xc men.
If yoe can satisfy her lust
I wol do what thing is just
I wol give you a steed
Ond I wol sent you back again
To your lord and to his men
Dressd in your battle weeed.
"Alas then," said Syr Agaree
What a thing to fall to mee
That I must needs me do.
Had he offred to play Slap right
Or 'What's the Colour of My Knight?'
I would have end to wo.
But I maun rede on Athelstan
Until I be a dede man
Or do his ordels well:
To drink his win and ese his ber,
And also ese his dame, I swer,
Though she look ilk Dame Ragnel."

They went unto the firstest tent
And ther the cupp of win he hent
His hert it did nat quaile.
He set it up al to his lip
And backwards then his hed gone tip,
So seys the Ffrensch Tale.
Then from the tent he gan to go
And wild he shouted as wodwo,
"Now bring me to the ber!"
He saw the ber so ferse and grim
The sight did nat now trouble him
His brains so turned wer.
He went the foul ber there into
And whispered softly, "Sleepest thou,
Min leeve brother dare?"
"I wot we've seen the last of him,"
Then upspoke the Sowdan grim.
Said the others, "Right yow are."
They saw the tent shak to and fro
For ii hours and some mo
Almest unto the night.
The fur flew fast frae ut the tent
And clothes too, par verrament,
That was a frightful fight.
At last there cam a dreadful still
The Sowdan's blud al for to chill
And ther was Syr Agri.
Clothes al to-rent
Iccumen ut of the tent
Covered in blude-wrack.
Then saide the knight with steven slurrd,
He spake nat pleynly ony word,
"Wheresh th' dam wi th' tooth-ack?"

The tale is done, par charitay,
O lord, graunt to him an 'A'
That hath these wordes wrot.
Or if nat that, then graunt a 'B'
Or even graunt a ii-point 'C'
So that yow fail him nat.

© 1975 by James D. Macdonald

#38 ::: Tiger Spot ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 10:25 PM:

Holy crow. James, what's the story behind that... poem? (This seems an inadequate noun, but I can't think what else to call it.)

#39 ::: Ellen ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 11:39 PM:

James, that poem just made me spit water all over my keyboard. Brilliant.

(I translated a Star Trek episode into fragments of OE verse for a term-paper, once upon a time...)

#40 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: May 09, 2004, 11:56 PM:

first, Marilee, are you in the New York area? Because I have about two garbage bags of yarn downstairs that I probably won't ever get up the momentum to make a project out of, since I'd have to finish up with the two or so garbage bags of yarn upstairs first, and if I can get it to you you're completely welcome to it.

Most of it's white sportsweight Orlon, so good for baby clothes and blankets.

What I love about homespun is that you can crochet it with a needle the size of a drumstick (wood, not poultry) and make a loose soft baby blanket in about two hours.

Conversely, you can spend three weeks with a smaller needle and you've got my daughter's floor-length winter bathrobe, which makes her feels as if someone's hugging her, and which I can toss in the washing machine, or even the dreaded dryer.

Also the colors are pretty, and it gets softer every time you use is.

Right now, I'm using up the cream colored Homespun I bought for my niece's patchwork afghan wedding present (showing off)

#41 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 12:06 AM:

Paula, I got one of those too. The GIF is a Norton AntiVirus logo, intended to support the claim that the message was scanned for viruses. Such a claim is generally a tip-off that the payload is likely to be up to no good. In my case, the description was somewhat less repulsive (just good old heterosexual porn), with the main payload a file named "April_FromTexas.MPEG_.scr".

Note the .scr, which I believe designates some sort of active script, though you're supposed to think it's an mpeg movie. I suspect if you looked at the next MIME part of your message, you'd find a similar script disguised as a movie.

I think the result of clicking on it would be more unpleasant than watching assorted mammals stimulate each others' genitalia. My guess is it would either infect your PC with a virus, or install some sort of back door, perhaps to allow your PC to be hijacked and used for nefarious purposes (most likely sending spam, or perhaps participating in distributed denial-of-service attacks, or maybe installation of a keystroke logger, in an attempt to steal your online identity for financial fraud).

#42 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 12:41 AM:

Mike, are you kidding would I like to hear your South Side version? Because I would like to hear it.

Anne, congratulations on catching the bug. May all your tension wind up in the right places.

Dogs in Elk, Dogs in Elk! It causes people to involuntarily emit bodily fluids, and what higher praise can humor aspire to?

There is a pun about humors lurking in this neighborhood, but I can't spot its exact location.

Randall, that movie's been going around. It's providential to have that turn up just now.

Thomas, Heather, the vets I know have been incandescently angry about this, and the ones with a background in intel have been damningly articulate on the subject. ... You do know that if you've been following the discussion threads here, some of the people you've been hearing from are vets, yes?

Paula, it wasn't necessarily harvested from here. I've been getting evil spam that claims to be from various fannish names, most often Richard Brandt.

More anon. Must go do things.

#43 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 01:53 AM:

Oh yes, I know there are vets here -- some liberal, some conservative -- but the bellwether of my nuncle Tony is one where I have just a bit more experience. If he's seriously upset, there's real change happening.

#44 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 03:45 AM:

T -- the Harry V: The Plantagenets Strike Back thing is over with Jim's verse (what I get for posting before reading all The New Stuff).

#45 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 07:11 AM:


I left tech support primarily because of dealing with people like this:

Witless User (Luser): "Uhhh, my computer's infected with a virus, I think."

Me: "Okay, did you run the antivirus software?"

Luser: "I did, it crashed and wouldn't start."

Me: "What happened? When did this occur?"

Luser: "Someone sent me a movie, and I clicked on it to watch it..."

Me: "Who was it?" (I'm thinking not only did our antivirus not catch a virus, but someone else has an infected PC in the building...)

Luser: "I don't know, but if they sent it to me, it must be funny, right?"

Me: *Head explodes.*

Don't even get me started on providing family tech support... they got tired of asking "How do I fix my problem with $X", and getting "Get a Mac" as a reply.

#46 ::: Randall P. ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 08:50 AM:

What? You mean that movie has been doing the rounds? I'm so not hip. That's the last time I try to be hip ever again.

#47 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 10:30 AM:

Today (Monday, 2-5pm) is Free Shrimp Day at
Long John Silver's.

Carry on.

#49 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 10:50 AM:

Bob, are you channeling Anya here? Or perhaps LJS is just conducting an anti-God campaign...

#50 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 12:29 PM:

Jill Smith:

Sorry for the cryptic post, I assumed everyone here would remember THIS:

LJS promised free shrimp for everybody if NASA found proof of oceans on Mars.
Today is the day they make good.

#51 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 01:12 PM:

I did remember, actually - It's just that I kept free-associating on shrimp....


#52 ::: chris bond ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 01:58 PM:

Via Arthur Silber the unearthing of the University of Alexandria.

"A Polish-Egyptian team has unearthed the site of the fabled University of Alexandria, home of Archimedes, Euclid and a host of other scholars from the era when Alexandria dominated the Mediterranean.

The team has found 13 individual lecture halls, or auditoria, that could have accommodated as many as 5,000 students, according to archeologist Zahi Hawass, president of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities."

#53 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 02:23 PM:

Begad, I had forgotten that's today. I'll put up an announcement.

#54 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 03:02 PM:

Teresa asks: Dogs in Elk, Dogs in Elk! It causes people to involuntarily emit bodily fluids, and what higher praise can humor aspire to?

Making someone pass an entire cheese sandwich through their nose? (cf. George Carlin.) Or is that in the same category as crying in a hot fudge sundae?

#55 ::: bellatrys ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 03:08 PM:

The Logos Fish thing with Cafe Press is put together finally. It no doubt has glitches and inconsistencies, but at least there is one of everything in each one. (And Claude, I did find that file of the MS, that's what I worked from - isnt the internet great? In the old days I would have had to go to a library to find a bad b/w version, if they even had the book there and not having to send out for it.)

I also was inspired to comment on Rumsfeld's obliviousness to it all. If only he looked at something besides Fox News.

Of course, it doesn't say explicitly that gun camera videos can be downloaded and uploaded and the message system doesn't say anything about the possibility of email attachments and given Condi's need to have everything spelled out in large simple words before taking action, I guess we shouldn't expect it of the Secretary of Defense either.

#56 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 04:23 PM:

Oh, Teresa, Patron Saint of Punctuation, why are so many people in my comment threads using ellipses in place periods? I don't understand.

#57 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 04:35 PM:

Jonathan Vos Post:

Also, I don't usually quote the bible...
Obediah 1

As opposed to the book of Obadiah which no one can find.

"...and mightily shall he smite his nephew, and his donkey and his nephew's donkey and anyone in the vicinity of either himself, his donkey or his nephew's donkey that shall grieve him at this time."

#58 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 04:44 PM:

chris bond,

Then they kicked Euclid out of the university for sexual harassment of students. The testimony was conclusive when a witness stated:

"Euclid alone has looked on beauty bare."

Next on the agenda: the Archimedes Screw...

#59 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 05:32 PM:

Kathryn, perhaps their trains of thought travel thusly: if one little dot is good, then three little dots must be gooder.

#60 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 05:34 PM:

Julia, I'm in Manassas, VA (about 45 minutes SW of DC). I'm currently making a baby blanket in Jamie Pompadour (the Bonus bundle) in pink.

I think it's the similarity to polyester in feel that gets to me. The bulkyness of it is nice, though, I can see using a K needle with it.

The afghan is very nice, and if you're going to do granny squares, that's a good way to do them! (I don't mind finishing, it's just that there's a *lot* of finishing in traditional granny squares.)

Next project is beading -- I got a v-neck tshirt tie-dyed in lavender and robin's egg blue and I'm going to make a necklace to go with that.

#61 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 06:04 PM:

Marilee, I'm over the border in Maryland and have a boatload of fine cotton that my grandmother gave me. I truly hate knitting in cotton (too unyielding for my taste), but if you would like to have it, I would love to give it to you (or anyone else here if Marilee passes).

I was about to do a little ellipsis-dot thingy there, but didn't want to commit another faux pas. My use of them is tonal - it indicates that whatever I just said is not the final word... alternatives, anyone? (Like that).

#62 ::: liz ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 06:28 PM:

It turns out:
Brooklyn Academy of Music when was forced to stuff 10,000 postcards - featuring a rear view of a line of naked men - into envelopes after a Staten Island postal employee ruled that they were offensive, The Brooklyn Papers has learned.

Origin of the film:
SCREEN GEMS is an exciting short film scheme to make 10 x 3min shorts. The scheme is run by Sgrîn, and co-funded by Channel 4 Nations and Regions and British Screen. The Arts Council of Wales are also co-financers. Those films produced in 2000 are:

#63 ::: novalis ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 07:03 PM:

Jill Smith, I do that too. It works fine in chat rooms, I find, but I'm not sure how it translates to non-live mediums. I'm almost sure I was inspired by its use in the earlier Final Fantasy series of games (of which I've only played three or so) to indicate a pause.

Here are a few examples of this from my IRC log:

"This discussion is very... interesting"
(indicating that he thought it was crazy, which it was)

"*UserName ponders again exactly why he's subscribed to this list..." (the * indicates an "emote", which allows someone to talk about themselves in the 3rd person. It's useful for instance when roleplaying to indicate actions).

"It's frustrating when i have to look up some of the vocabulary he uses.... jerk." (the last bit there is in her next line)

"It's Sunday and I should be doing homework for class tomorrow..." (she then proceeds to have a long conversation)

(these are from four different people)

I think it can be used at the end of an utterance like "um", indicating that one wants to hold the floor while one composes one's next sentence. This doesn't have much relevance on IRC, because people can interrupt without actually causing any harm. But it does let one add qualifiers:

"I think we should kill everyone..."
"... who tries to kill us"
(made-up example)

#64 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 07:24 PM:

cotton? (slavers politely behind my napkin).

Marilee, if you send me an e-mail, I'll e-mail you when we get to DC later this spring and pass over the yarn.

#65 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 09:26 PM:

The ellipsis thing as pause is very prevalent in translated-from-japanese text-based entertainments: Manga and RPG video games, to be precise.
[Pause while I rifle through some untranslated manga I have lying about]
Looking at Flame of Recca V5, I see that not only is "..." frequently used for what seems to be voice trailing off, but frequently in an extended form ("......") as the initial or sole characters of a line or even bubble when someone is struck speechless (Kage Houshi on page 24, for instance). This latter use is nigh-constant in FF8, as it's about 75% of the main character's lines. (Of the remaining 25%, 20% is "Whatever". About 5% of his lines are actual speech. Stupid Squall.)

It's certainly influenced my use of the ignoble ellipsis. Just as reading Brust/Paarfi has made me engage in extensive clause-piling.

#66 ::: Anne ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 09:32 PM:

Ooh! And speaking of Brust, this afternoon I went to soothe my end-of-semester awful mood with new books, and lo and behold! _Sethra Lavode_! Only...who is that sword, and what has it done with Iceflame?

#67 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 10:06 PM:

Jonathon (Biblical name) VP: In your Obediah quotation above, there was this little verse:

4 "Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith J*h*v*h"

Which considering the symbol of the USA, also helps it feel kinda pertinent (tho' IIRC, eagles were the top of the "chain of being" for birds, like lions for four-footed animals, and being admired were often used for national symbols, like Austria's) as well as the space program reference.

#68 ::: abby ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 11:40 PM:

Jill, bsd,
I see (and use) ellipses in chatrooms a lot, both to indicate pausing/trailing off and to indicate speechlessness. I'm mostly talking to people with anime/manga backgrounds, so that may be an influence, because I certainly see exchanges like:
person1: my girlfriend just beat me with a wet trout
person2: ...
(The above is a made-up conversation, but similar in tone to many I have seen.)

I also often see ellipses used instead of periods in teenage blogs. I think that this is because ellipses lend themselves well to the free-flow train-of-thought style that is common in this circle.

My third quick thought on the matter is that really understanding how different punctuations "sound" (not just the grammatical "this is where you use commas, this is where you use semi-colons", but how they feel to the reader) requires a fair bit of literacy and experience with writing. When one is young and inexperienced in "formal" literacy, ellipses are quick, easy, and tolerable almost anywhere.

#69 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 11:57 PM:

Well, if Julia likes cotton and is coming to DC, maybe she should have Jill's cotton and I'll take Julia's orlon. To make it circular, I should give Jill something. Other than lots of leftover yarn, I have tons of beads in all sizes and types, any interest?

#70 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: May 10, 2004, 11:58 PM:

Abby, I think Kathryn is talking about is the second one you describe: the wholesale exchange of ellipses for periods. Thusly:

Here's a's another sentence...if you wait long enough, I'll put a third after the first now this reads like the transcribed utterances of some smoke-addled oracle...gosh, look, here's another sentence...somebody slap me...

And yes, it does seem like the mark of somebody who's still figuring out the music inherent in good punctuation. I think it's also indicative of somebody who's trying not to sound too pushy, or even particularly authoritative: Don't...don't, y'know, think I'm trying to be all high and mighty...I'm just kind of thinking aloud here... Which is also something I'd attribute to younger or inexperienced writers. Y'know?

#71 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 12:32 AM:

Since this is an open thread and I don't want to get into knitting right now (I HATE knitting cotton) -- I got to see Troy tonight (thank Saint Vince Koehler for his KC freebies)! I'm still thinking about it though. It was not a total hash though there was lots of bloody fighting, which there would be hand-to-hand with spears and swords. It told the story okay enough... I have to cogitate on it more before more reporting. Hmm, need to find my BIG lit book (the one on bible-type thin paper, I think it has the parts.)

#72 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 08:21 AM:

Julia - 26 1 3/4 oz "pull pouches" of vintage Bernat Cassino, white 4542, 100% mercerized cotton. All yours. I don't know how long my grandmother had them, but she gave them to me... (ellipsis dots to indicate that I'm trying hard to think about how long ago she must have given them to me) five, six years ago?

Marilee, you are too kind to offer something round-robinish. But I am currently working on a baby blanket for a friend (little sheep, knitted 3-D in raspberry stitch and stockinette on reverse stockinette: SO cute), a cable-knit cardigan for my husband (it's only been 3 years since I bought the materials and pattern), and a scarf for myself of that fuzzy, silly novelty yarn which looks as if I skinned a muppet (never again - the stuff is hell to work with. Fuzzy, feathery fronds obscuring a central core make stitch counting damn near impossible).

I'm not sure what else I could use! I understand that my own little hoard of unfinished projects is woefully small compared with other folks', but I used to be a "never start one thing until you've finished the last" type of person and this feels out of control.

Okay, I'm babbling like an idiot now. Let it simply be said that I would love for any materials I am not using to go to someone who can and will use them. Julia - when are you coming to DC?

#73 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 09:43 AM:

(cue 'Ride of the Valkyries')

There were a few cicada nymphs that apparently emerged from my backyard sometime last evening...

Poor things chose to emerge right below my bird feeder, too. :)

#74 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 10:22 AM:

Referring to an old thread, the one about the girls named Fawn who ran away from their polygamous families/town . . . .

This past Sunday, the NYTimes Magazine's "Lives" column was written by the brother of one of the Fawns.

Here's the URL, for those who have Times access:

And excerpts, for those who do not:

Runaway Bride

I got a call from my mother one Sunday evening in January, which was odd, because she never calls. There was panic in her voice. She said: ''Fawn has run away. If she shows up on your doorstep, please take her in.'' Fawn is 16 and my youngest sister. I said, ''You bet I will.''

I hardly know Fawn. I'm 40 and happily married with four daughters. The moment I heard she'd run away, I felt a twang in my gut, because two decades ago I left my family, too, and never looked back.

The first time I knew my family was different was when I woke up one morning and saw a strange purse on our kitchen table. That's when my mother told me I had another mother who was going to live with us, too. I was 7.

My father believed that the things kids enjoy, like roller skating and baseball, were a waste of time -- I should have been home reading Scripture or doing chores. By the time I was 13, I had started drinking and taking drugs . . . to rebel against my father, who would inevitably find out and then beat me. A year earlier, I begged the Division of Child and Family Services to help me get away. Instead I was put in a foster home for about three weeks while my father and I attended counseling together. When D.C.F.S. told me I had to return home, I was devastated.

Flora Jessop had arranged for Fawn to stay at a safe house in Phoenix. The first few times we spoke, she was very cautious. All she knew about me was what my family told her -- that I was supposedly covered in tattoos and consumed with self-loathing.

In mid-January, I went to Arizona to accompany Fawn to her first assessment meeting with representatives from Child Protective Services and other agencies. She told them that she didn't want to return home. (By then, my family had moved to Arizona.) Fawn said she wanted to go back to school; she hadn't been since fifth grade. I had to hold myself back from taking Fawn home with me right then and there.

In late January, my mom called again, and I asked her point-blank to give me custody of Fawn. She refused. The next time I saw my parents was a few days later at a dependency pretrial hearing. I knew they would be angry. They came expecting to take Fawn home, not to see me. I'll have to face my parents in court again in July, which I'm not looking forward to. But it's worth it if the state places Fawn with me. My sister wants to live with me, but she doesn't realize what this means -- that her family will ostracize her, or how terribly painful that is. At least I can offer her a touchstone. I can say, I know what it feels like.

#75 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 10:35 AM:

Maybe the weekend after Memorial Day? I wanted to go on Memorial Day again, but HM is booked up with her grandmother and besides, the Rolling Thunder guys will be in town that day and I'll just end up crying again.

#76 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 10:43 AM:

I should be around - feel free to e-mail me: perhaps we can have a mini-swap and support group (had to pull out about five rows of sheepy baby blanket the other night - non-knitter husband was sympathetic, but could never completely grok the frustration).

Also, for folks who have funky bits and pieces, small, unusable remnants, whatever, my husband is a fly-fisherman and can make use of small bits of fiber to tie flies.

#77 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 11:12 AM:

Bellatrys -- love the stuff and am starting to scheme how to get some without alerting the wife. Of course if I show her the site she will want some for herself.

Speaking of P66, I was wondering if you had stumbled on this site, which seems rather well stocked with this kind of stuff, especially considering who is maintaining it. Lovely irony.

#78 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 12:05 PM:

The brief mention of eagles as our national symbol up-thread reminded me of something I found yesterday while looking through WATCHABLE BIRDS OF THE SOUTHWEST. The wild turkey "fed the Pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving and was nominated by Ben Franklin to be our nation's symbol because, though 'vain and silly,' it was courageous (by contrast, he considered the bald eagle a bird of bad moral character)."

Today, our symbol (or the government's) should be a hybrid of the two -- vain, silly, *and* of bad moral character.

#79 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 12:47 PM:

Yes, it would be cool to meet up. Jill, how about some jewelry? I do straight stringing, too, but my normal work is more like this:

#80 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 01:48 PM:

Bush quote of the day:

"You've got to get out there and turn out the vote," Mr. Bush told them. "That's what we call the grass roots. I've come to fertilize the grass roots."

Apologies to the non-scatologically minded.

#81 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 01:54 PM:

The week after they told Soros off for donating to anti-Bush GOTV, the Washington Post wrote a front page story in which they described the multi-gazillion dollar GOTV/voter registration project the White House was starting and referred to it as "grass-roots organizing"

I enjoyed that.

#82 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 01:56 PM:

Marilee - that's just GORGEOUS. I would feel like I was robbing you to give up cotton that I don't want in exchange for something that obviously takes so much work!

I would be very happy to meet up, swap stories, etc. I would also be very interested to see more of your work, Marilee - it appears to be very precise and fine. You must have a tremendous amount of patience.

#83 ::: Yoon Ha Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 01:59 PM:

Marilee, hope you don't mind, but I just had to tell you that the teal/purple jewellery is sooooo pretty.

Someday I will finish the dirt-simple square-stitch beaded bracelet, and work on learning more difficult things. In the meantime, I can always admire others' work. =)

#84 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 04:43 PM:

Jill, I'm disabled and home most of the time. I find handwork meditative and a help with the pain. I think you should let me decide how much of my time yarn is worth! How about you give me some colors and a necklace length and we'll see what I come up with?

Yoon Ha, thanks! I really do have plans to upload lots more jewelry pictures to my domain. When I sold beads, the pictures were on that site, and I want to order them differently on the new site, and am procrastinating about making uploading lists. I have a couple of tutorials using square stitch so I'll let you know via email when I get them up.

#85 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 05:02 PM:

Fair enough: but I'm giving away something I don't want (and was donated to me). You're offering me something you bought plus your handwork.

If that seems fair to you, I'm not going to gainsay your decision. But you might have to put up with me giving you something in the future, just because I want to!

#86 ::: redfox ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 09:28 PM:

Maybe someone here can help me identify a short story or novella I remember -- it has a relatively classic set up in which there is a planet or planetoid with a sketchy, dangerous, and reclusive leader who refuses to communicate with the powers that be. Our protagonist takes a contract to go there and look him up; everyone else who's gone has never come back. He goes and finds the recluse's daughter, who turns out to be really, really old and part turtle or tortoise. She tends the recluse, who only wakes up every once in a long while. Eventually the protagonist absorbs the mystical powers of the recluse's dead (?) wife and enters into an extended and weird battle of wills with the recluse.

Ring any bells? I imagine that if it does, the tortoise girl would be why; the rest is awfully hazy in my memory, so I expect I've left out lots of important elements. I hope someone can help, though -- it's driving me batty.

#87 ::: abby ::: (view all by) ::: May 11, 2004, 09:54 PM:

Andrew, I definitely think you're right about it being a sign of younger inexperienced writers. Also, of kids who are writing primarily for their peer group and aren't sure what that peer group will think, and so want to avoid being downright declarative.

#88 ::: Yoon Ha Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2004, 12:06 AM:

redfox, was this a story by Cordwainer Smith? I could swear I've read it, too, but my memory is sufficiently hazy that I'm not convinced it is a Cordwainer Smith story, only that I've read it somewhere, somewhere.

#89 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2004, 12:12 AM:

no mention of Nic Berg's decapitation? I'm surprised.

It's the most shocking thing I've seen . . . ever. Yeah, ever. I can confidently say that.

I never saw any of the Face of Death videos - was a bit too young for that.

I don't think I can say anything that can encompass this event, so I'll just stop here.

#90 ::: Ellen ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2004, 12:16 AM:

Redfox, I believe the story is Cordwainer Smith's "On the Storm Planet." The turtle girl is an underperson named T'ruth.

#91 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2004, 12:57 AM:

The discussion of the decapitation is happening in another thread, "Hugged it like a Brother," up screen a ways.

#92 ::: redfox ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2004, 07:21 AM:

Hurrah! Thank you.

#93 ::: bellatrys ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2004, 12:34 PM:

Since there wasn't any negative feedback, unless my email is not working again, I went ahead and made a sticker version of Graydon's motto. It's at cafepress available for cost.

Torture *Is* Terror Bumper Sticker

#94 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2004, 04:45 PM:

OMFG. "Night Travels of the Elven Vampire"? How can even this author's personal friends and family not laugh in hir face just at the title, never mind the book? One of the reviewers is clearly a sock puppet, too. Guess which.

#95 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2004, 06:00 PM:

Hey, the thirty-second bunnies are back! This time: The Shining, in 30 seconds (re-enacted by bunnies)

Fun, if not on the same order of genius as the previous production (The Exorcist, in 30 seconds (re-enacted by bunnies)).

#96 ::: teep ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2004, 06:56 PM:

The author of Night Travels -- Elven Vampire has a website wherein she demonstrates her writing style for free so that you do not have to spend good money on her book in order to get a taste of her prose.

Enter, if you dare...

#97 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2004, 07:47 PM:

Somehow, reading Mr. Lang has put me in mind of this --

That which has been is what will be,
That which is done is what will be done,
And there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which it may be said,
"See, this is new"?
It has already been in ancient times before us.

Perversely, this is very cheering.

#98 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2004, 09:42 PM:

This just in:

Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver won the Arthur C. Clarke Award, as announced today in London, and I just saw on

"New Scientist" has a review of the Arthur C. Clarke Award short list, saying that most are not Science Fiction. To paraphrase, Quicksilver is the first novel in a trilogy ABOUT scientists, but that doesn't make it science fiction.


#99 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: May 12, 2004, 09:49 PM:

It's a Wednesday night, and I don't have any homework. It's a weird feeling....

Except for a three week extension (and the 'incomplete' to be resolved), I am *DONE*.

I get a nice diploma cover on Saturday... once I fix the incomplete, I get the diploma.

The only thing that bothers me more than getting the incomplete, is the remarks of some of the "traditional" students, upon hearing of my predicament...

"You mean if you just take the F, you'll graduate anyways? Run with it. Screw that professor."

#100 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2004, 02:04 AM:

Passport to the Pub - anthropologists study British pub etiquette. SIRC, the Social Issues Research Center, also has a guide to flirting - "what Social Science can tell you about flirting and how to do it", and some other quite, quite fascinating stuff.

#101 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2004, 02:30 AM:

Thanks for the giant cockroach link - gave me a great laugh when I really, really needed it. :-)

#102 ::: Elric ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2004, 09:04 AM:

Ah, the efect of fatigue. I was looking at the link "Behold the Powers of Self-publishing" and lost a comma. One of the author's interests became paranormal horseback-riding, and my mind boggled.

OTOH, I think there might be a better story in that failed visualization than this book sounds to be.

#103 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2004, 09:59 AM:


If you liked that link, check out

How to Good-bye Depression : If You Constrict Anus 100 Times Everyday. Malarkey? or Effective Way?
by Hiroyuki Nishigaki

(This is a repost from the archives; J.D. Macdonald posted it the first time.)

Congrats on (nearly) finishing! At Penn, my diploma came three months after I actually graduated. At the ceremony, they hand you an envelope with a slip of heavy paper inside that you think is your diploma, but when you actually open it up, you find an elaborate, "We owe you a diploma, and thanks for participating in the ceremony." (I paraphrase.)

#104 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2004, 11:14 AM:

ooo .... synchronicity, man.

Looked in here this evening after checking my email and saw the sidebar link headed "Department of Atomic Tourism". This morning's Sydney Morning Herald had an article headed
Perfect for the nuclear family: Lucas Heights may be next tourist hotspot
By Richard Macey
May 12, 2004

... The Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, better known as the home of the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, wants tour operators to include it on their routes, along with the Opera House and the Bridge ... From July 3 ANSTO will open on the first Saturday of every month to test public interest. If the public comes, the next step would be opening the doors each Saturday ... [A large local tour operator] said "We'd need to think about it. It would be a niche market".

#105 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2004, 11:16 AM:

Bill Blum:

I empathize with your situation.

For my M.S. degree in Computer & Information Science at UMass/Amherst, I had completed all course requirements in the first year (having had a head start with a double B.S. at Caltech). I completed my Master's Dissertation, expanding an existence proof in my thesis advisor's Ph.D. dissertation by constructing an algorithm and data structure to do Automated Theorem Proving in parallel (unfortunately before there were massively parallel processors). But I did not get the Diploma itself that month, but, rather, about 6 months later.

Annoyingly, the month listed on my transcript was not the month I earned it, but the month that they awarded it. I complained, and they said that it didn't matter.

Years went by. Decades.... [ellipsis to indicate passage of time, simulating clock hands whirling and pages leaping from wall calendar].

As I dealt with the paperwork for being part-time Professor of Astronomy at Cypress College (3 classes, two lectures + 1 lab), there was a page about how many credits I'd earned AFTER my M.S.

Since I'd gone and gotten All But Degree for my PhD [long story, not now] I had vast numbers of further credits [also almost a full MFA in Poetry]. So I listed the number, attached transcripts, and was eligible for the middle of the 3 pay ranks. Bottom was for just M.S., top was for Ph.D., and the clerk agreed that I'd get the middle salary.

After I taught for a couple of weeks, I got a call. I fell a credit or two short of the amount for the salary, as my MS was awarded a few months later than I'd said. They were correcting my paycheck downwards. I told them to correct the correction, and expalined as I've done here.

"We can't do that on your sayso."

I had to write and phone the Registrar at UMass in Amherst, have them retrieve my data from deep archives. They determined that I was correct, and sent a letter to that effect. My paycheck adjusted up to where it should have been, plus a lump sum payment for the diminished paychecks in the meantime.

How I tried to adjust the record to get the Ph.D. that I'd earned, with the world's first dissertation on Nanotechnology and Artificial Life in 1975-1977 is another, and more tragic story. Not now,

Finally, I did have one incomplete for the B.S., and owed a paper on Shakespeare to a jovial Dean Eaton, formerly Dean of Students, but still teaching Enlish Lit. I promised him I'd get it to him during the summer. He trusted me. I got my B.S. diploma [Math & English Lit]. And, early in the summer, I went to his home and gave him the late final paper.

Anyway, congratulations!

#106 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2004, 11:50 AM:

Vladimir Nabokov and the Academic Novel:

speaking of college campus life, see:

Exiles in a small world

An early campus novel, Vladimir Nabokov's Pnin, published while Lolita was banned, first established his credentials as a writer of rare ability, writes David Lodge

Saturday May 8, 2004
The Guardian

Here's a wonderful passage that I remeber reading out loud to a friend when first I read it:

take the more elaborated account of Pnin's reaction to the extraction of his teeth:

"It surprised him to realize how fond he had been of his teeth. His tongue, a fat sleek seal, used to flop and slide so happily among the familiar rocks, checking the contours of a battered but still secure kingdom, plunging from cave to cove, climbing this jag, nuzzling that notch, finding a shred of sweet seaweed in the same old cleft but now not a landmark remained, and all there existed was a great dark wound, a terra incognita of gums which dread and disgust forbade one to investigate."

#107 ::: Sara ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2004, 06:34 PM:

"Behold the Powers of Self-publishing"

If I owned a red pen, I'd have written on my screen. I suspect that one reviewer is actually the author; the commas tipped me off.


#108 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2004, 08:01 PM:

Knitters and Macintosh lovers:

Does anyone know of a stitch pattern design software for OS X? I think I am SOL on this one, but wanted to ask.

I want to design an aran-style, unique baby blanket for a dear friend who has had a hard time conceiving and is spending most of her pregnancy on her back.

I have a vision of a knitting program with an extensive stitch dictionary which would allow me to drag and drop various stitches into place, decide that looks terrible, pull it out and try again. I think such exists for PCs (AranPaint), but Macs? Maybe not.

If nothing else emerges, I do have graph paper.

#109 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: May 13, 2004, 09:28 PM:

Andy: Wittenberg Univ. is a small enough school that it's possible for them to have the diplomas ready at graduation. Nice little school. We'll have 6 physics majors walk for graduation Saturday: 2 B.S., 4 B.A. recipients.

#110 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2004, 10:36 AM:

We bring the discussion to a screeching halt once again to announce: free patterns!

About the software: I use my husband's PC - there are tons of shareware programs to chart patterns with for Windows, proving that life is not fair (and then I have to translate them to crochet, which is suspected to be a major contributing reason that the lady is a tramp) - but there might be something here you can use.

Wool Works: computer programs for knitters
Software Directory for Fibre Artists-weaving, knitting, quilting, sewing, needlework
Free/shareware Image Manipulation programmes for the Apple Macintosh.
Software at

#111 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2004, 11:06 AM:

Sigh. Those frocks! And those rocks! Not to mention all the sharp young men in snappy uniforms -- and the older men in uniforms weighed down by almost as many medals as the ladies' jewels. "All the crowned (& tiara'd & feather-hatted) heads of Europe" (including the ones in exile) are sitting in a batch of wooden chairs up the front that don't look very comfortable. Prince William (Earl of Wessex) is getting quite a high forehead these days. Seems to run in the English Royal Family.

Queen Margrethe is looking very stylish in the national colours, and comfortable for the slightly cool-looking day. (Several of the younger princess/duchess/whatevers are in scantier versions of formal.) She has a white & pale long spring-floral gown and lightweight coat in a dark pink/light red silk(?) which matches the bridesmaids, with an equally tasteful necklace, tiara & coat-clasp entirely of diamonds. Many of them quite large diamonds. Her husband, the Prince Consort, was called Henri de Maussepant(sp?). Don't know if he's related to the writer.

Nice music -- at least they still have a choir. And the brass players are keeping their tone well. It's so embarrassing when they go wrong on one of these big occasions. Thousands & thousands of red & white flowers, almost as many Swedish flags & Australian ones waved by the crowd. Security looks pretty strong, even tho' some of them at a loose end are taking their own photos of the event. Our Lady's Church I believe it's called, is one of those fairly plain, airy Northern types, built of white stone in a classic Greco-Roman look.

Now the bride has arrived at the cathedral, her father in his dress Donaldson kilt, herself a vision in a clean-lined traditional oyster silk gown with a lovely wispy sort of bouquet & off-the-face embroidered lace veil with elegant little tiara-headpiece. Nice teardrop earrings, but no necklace to spoil the pure line of the off-the shoulder dress. Now she & the groom are holding hands, and one of her sister-bridesmaids has just borrowed a hankie to dab at her tears. He is looking incredibly young

The Bishop of Copenhagen is also gorgeous in his finery, with white ruff and gown, and a cope (?) in greenery-yallery spring colours, with the symbols of the four evangelists on the back and formal floral edging at the front.

Uh-oh. SOMEONE'S mobile just rang. They stopped it quickly, though.

There go the rings! One hopes this royal marriage will go better than some of the high-profile ones have. Harp & children's voices. This is very nice, happy, gentle & hopeful music. Even the republican (i.e. not monarchist) Tasmanian Green Party senator Bob Brown said "everyone needs a bit of magic in their lives" when asked to comment.

I hear there's going to be another European royal wedding sometime soon. Spanish? Anyway, is any of this being covered in the UK or USA? It's been quite intense just over the last few days here (e.g. live broadcast), because of Mary being a Tasmanian who met Prince Fredericke during the Olympics in Sydney. [Note that I have refrained from any Apple Danish jokes or mention of the Prince of Denmark.]

#112 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2004, 11:22 AM:

Re Troy. I've always found Achille's treatment of Hector's body & the ransoming of it back to his grieving family & people a particularly nasty, brutish part of a rather brutal epic. I wonder whether it will make it to the film. Not a lot of the characters in it come off very well to our eyes today, and from memory the nicer ones tend to end badly.

It will be interesting to see how they treat one of the absolute foundations of Western literature, however. I went to the Lord of the Rings movies with reasonably modest expectations (one of its great lessons, which eventually sinks in after some years, was completely missing), will do the same with this, only rather more so.

#113 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2004, 11:34 AM:

Epacris, it's so not being covered that I don't have the faintest idea what you're even talking about.

#114 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2004, 11:38 AM:

Wedding Update: The wedding party has left the church & is travelling by barouche through Copenhagen in rather weak spring sunshine. Lots of happy cheering crowds. They reckon there's about a million.

There is a large mounted escort wearing classic operetta-style uniforms in bright colours with feathered hats or shiny helmets with horsetail plumes in red or white (do they still frighten the children?), masses & masses of braid, brass buttons, swords, polished boots (& tight breeches over muscular thighs, mmm); some even have those short capes slung over one shoulder. Even the horses & musical instruments have been decorated.

Along with all this, jogging along next to the coach are the security men in dark lounge suits, bare-headed & wearing oblong ID badges. Cognitive dissonance, man.

One of the strange sights earlier on was a very high-tech looking glossy black security bus with tinted windows disgorging a bunch of the guests in precisely this type of comedy uniform & other formal dress around the side of the cathedral, before they walked around the corner onto the red carpet for the cheering crowd & photographers.

#115 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2004, 12:15 PM:

Apologies. I meant to put a heading on, like: Danish Royal Wedding: Crown Prince Fred of Denmark marries Australian real estate agent Mary Donaldson.

I do hope you get a few clips in the cute & fuzzy part of the news. There are some very colourful spectacular moments that could be anywhere from mid-nineteenth century onwards, plus the red carpet fashion parade.

At the moment a crowd is gathered at the palace waiting for the couple to appear in the traditional balcony waving scene, all agog for their first official kiss.

The wedding itself started at midnight Australian Eastern Standard Time, but there are a lot of people dressing up, having herring & other Danish dishes & gathering around their televisions with friends. Almost everything important overseas - especially sports - happens at weird hours here, so it's become part of the culture. It felt so strange having the Olympic events at "normal" times in Sydney. Strange, but nice.

#116 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2004, 12:43 PM:

Jill, these folks have Mac pattern software for knitters.

The people I know who have Macs and used the bead software (which is pretty similar) liked it. I've seen the PC versions, though, and they just ported to PC instead of rewriting, so their PC software is very annoying.

#117 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2004, 12:52 PM:

Marilee: I found that one last night, but it's only for Mac "Classic" - not OS X. Unfortunate.

Oh, well. As I said, I have graph paper... It's probably preferable to running anything in "classic" these days.

#118 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2004, 02:18 PM:

Epacris: has photos on the main page as I type. I've just been looking--gorgeous dress (though the train must've weighed a ton, and the pictures make it look like the bodice wasn't sufficiently lined to keep the fabric of the bride's bra or equivalent from showing through).

#119 ::: Yoon Ha Lee ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2004, 03:18 PM:

JVP: Here's a wonderful passage that I remeber reading out loud to a friend when first I read it:

take the more elaborated account of Pnin's reaction to the extraction of his teeth: [...]

Sadly, I have never gotten around to reading Nabokov. (Don't shoot me! If you shoot me I really will never get around to it!) But I am reminded of William Dickey's "A Poet's Farewell to His Teeth," which amused me tremendously when I met it in 9th grade. It appears to be in this poetry anthology. It's a little terrifying when googling for it (in the hopes of finding it online somewhere) turns up one's own brief mention of it on one's own webpage as the top hit. That's just not right. Someday I should find a copy of the anthology and schlep it to my aunt the dentist...

#120 ::: LNHammer ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2004, 04:44 PM:

Re: The Child Book of Ettiquette — Oh. My.

The ransoming of Hector's body is, apparently, in Troy. Some reviews have cited it as one of the scenes that work.


#121 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2004, 11:24 PM:

I use ellipses,not only in print, but when I'm speaking, too... They merely are not -visible- when I'm talking, but they are -definitely- present, when thinking, editing, and talking at the same time, and then going back to something I had started out on, having gone eliptically off on various excursions, and typically annoyed several people by failing to "stick to the topic" of the conversation, having gone on in several different directions before getting back to to the original point.


Meanwhile, Monday same sex couples start getting legally married in Massachusetts. I hope Cheney and Bush get really really REALLY bad cases of apoplexy. Federal judges have rules that federal judges do -not- have jurisdiction to interfere/stop it/prevent it.

#122 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: May 14, 2004, 11:58 PM:

I was just going to post that, Paula.

I might point out, the Massachusetts governor has invoked a blue law which states that non-Massachusetts residents may not get married in the state of Massachusetts. This is to prevent the tide of people coming in just to get married in the name of getting them to move there. Or at least buy a second home.

Still, this is rather progressive of them. I'm surprised.

I think someone on said it best, though (and I paraphrase): "We mustn't let this happen! We must protect the pride of bigots who will be proven wrong when none of their dire predictions come true!"

#123 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2004, 03:38 PM:

Someone at my job handed around copies of an article about Eats, Shoots and Leaves. The article includes the rhetorical question "How can you resist a book dedicated to 'the memory of the striking Bolshevik printers of St Petersburg who, in 1905, demanded to be paid the same for punctuation marks as for letters, and thereby directly precipitated the first Russian Revolution'?"

Well, it's a good thing the author claims to be a punctuation expert, not a copyeditor or historian, because I answerd that one immediately: there were no Bolsheviks in 1905. That factional split (and wonderful example of propagandistic naming, right up there with "Moral Majority") hadn't yet happened. Socialist printers, sure. Communists, quite possibly. Not Bolsheviks.

And this on a book that's supposedly about the value of accuracy and precision.

#124 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2004, 08:29 PM:

All the same, Vicki, Eats, Shoots and Leaves is a wonderful rant. Have you read it yet, or just an article about it?

#125 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: May 15, 2004, 09:53 PM:

IIRC, the nice folks in Massachusetts are only asking if the happy out-of-state couples intend, someday, to move to Massachusetts.

#126 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2004, 11:26 AM:

Alice: I might point out, the Massachusetts governor has invoked a blue law which states that non-Massachusetts residents may not get married in the state of Massachusetts.

You're stating it inaccurately and it's not a blue law. The law states that non-residents who couldn't marry in their own state can't marry in Massachusetts even if MA has no law against the marriage per se. The blue laws have an honorable history compared to this piece of filth, which was passed specifically as a consent to other states' ban against interracial marriage.

Yes, that's strong; I'm getting really irritable over the number of people saying "We're just enforcing the law," and some of that irritation spills over. I am very mildly consoled that House leader I'll-just-ignore-the-laws-I-don't-like Finneran doesn't have enough gall to present this excuse.

For anyone who hasn't been following behind the headlines about last-ditch court suits, this law has been the real story in MA for the last few weeks; Governor Romney's pets have been threatening legal action against town clerks who don't demand that couples seeking licenses swear they wouldn't be barred by this law, and getting strong counter-reactions from the ]association of town clerks[ that the law hasn't been invoked for decades and they'll be damned if they'll help Romney's presidential ambitions now. Romney has been playing to the national audience more than the state for some time now, putting forward an "infallible" death penalty proposal and demanding more tax cuts now that revenues are starting to catch up with what's left of the state budget. The rap on Romney has been that he'll never learn the difference between private management (especially venture capitalism) and politics, but he's certainly picked up the LCD part of political campaigning.

#127 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2004, 01:38 PM:

Ah. Good to know.

I've been getting it all thirdhand, you see. This is what happens when one moves 1000 miles away from one's home state, only to discover that's when all the interesting stuff happens back home.

I left just after the vote about whether to pass a referendum to ban gay marriages was overturned.

#128 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2004, 01:41 PM:

addendum: Wait, Massachusetts has money left in its budget now? When did THAT happen?

#129 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: May 16, 2004, 07:49 PM:

LDS "Interactive Church Music Player":,17631,4996-1,00.html#


#130 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2004, 12:59 AM:

A couple more notes on the Romney/marriage law stuff:

Romney's son, not a Mass resident, recently got married in Massachusetts, to another non-Mass resident. Want to bet that the city clerk involved was not told to check that they weren't within a forbidden degree of consanginuity for their actual state of residence?

Lying on the marriage form is technically perjury, but a particularly cheap form. Romney's predecessor lied on her form--her husband had had three previous marriages, not one. When this was made public (years after the wedding), she paid the $100 fine despite it being past the statute of limitations.

#131 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: May 17, 2004, 01:00 AM:

Oh, and the spam-target (and in my case, spam-false-source) email addresses are coming from the "view all by" links. Spamming bastards. I don't have a good suggestion for fixing the problem (using a hash, perhaps?).

#132 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: May 18, 2004, 04:18 PM:

Jonathan: ...To paraphrase [New Scientist], Quicksilver is the first novel in a trilogy ABOUT scientists, but that doesn't make it science fiction.

My favorite non-SF science fiction is Andrea Barrett's wonderful collection Ship Fever. I haven't read her other stuff to see if it's a specialty of hers. Reccos, anyone?

#133 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: May 19, 2004, 07:35 PM:

Alice -- the MA economy actually is starting to come back (at least for the moment); withheld taxes were up enough last month for Romney to demand a cut in the rate. I don't recall whether we're actually looking at a surplus if expenditures stay level, but in his view there hasn't been enough cut yet.

#134 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2004, 02:24 AM:

Not a true con report, just a note. Am halfway through 5th International Conference on Complex Systems in Boston (well, technically in Quincy). Google "ICCS 2004" for details. Big name Guests of Honor including Nobel laureates Brian Josephson and others, and Keith Campbell, who cloned Dolly and mentioned Science Fiction in his plenary talk. I don't mean that he cloned Dolly IN his talk, gammer mavens.

Conference Chair, and founder of NECSI, declined to go to Worldcon in Boston, but wants me or some other volunteer to set up a panel or somesuch about Science Fiction and Complexity at next year's ICCS. I suggested he contact Joe Haldeman, but he really prefers to delegate this. Any ideas? It's a very fun super-interdisciplinary science sercon, IMHO the best interdisciplinary conference in the world right now, as early Cybernetics cons were, then AI cons, then Artificial Life Cons.

Gave my "Imaginary Mass" physics item. Co-presented a paper on "The Nash Equilibrium Revistited" with Professor Philip Vos Fellman. I'm not a co-author, but it's a chapter of a book we're coauthoring. Tomorrow, wil co-present our co-authored mathematical economics paper in afternoon, then my mathematical biology paper in evening.

Then maybe sleep.

Hope my university reimburses me upon return. Was careful to put university contact data on every paper...

It's very international here, really an international con. But still small, well under 1,000 people. May grow to that size in 1-2 years.

No green room. Good bar. Free computers for email, etc.; ubiquitous use of digital projectors at talks, use of slides from CDs in laptops for projectors.

Lots of fun, too tired to say more. But would like help with Science Fiction event here next year.

Bye for now...

#135 ::: Therese ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2004, 04:45 AM:

I clicked the link where you wrote "I have no idea what's going on here" in the Particles.

I'm happy to be of service!

The song, except maybe for the first parts in German, is from a Swedish TV program for children.

Lasse Åberg, a prominent artist and B actor with a Mickey Mouse fixation, was asked to do a winter holiday morning show 1976. It featured him as Trazan ("trasa" in Swedish means rag) and Klasse Möllberg as Banarne, a monkey. It got immensely popular, and even had 100% coverage, something that has never happened before or again.

When the show was up for reruns, it was discovered that the tapes had been overwritten. New episodes were recorded, and the Electric Banana Band was added to the cast.

I'm a few years too young for the mass hysteria, but can still sing their song about how the Phantom should be very warm in his pyjama, and that he should do better in a skirt...

#136 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: May 20, 2004, 07:10 AM:

In the "Kikko-man" animation, the chorus "Show you -- Show me" is a pun on the Japanese word for soy sauce, which is "shoyu".

(Reading through one of those Greek-derived lists of types of divination -- "oneiromancy, divination from dreams; tyromancy, divination using cheese, etc." -- I once came up with divination via soy sauce, which is of course kikkomancy.)

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