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March 23, 2005

Open thread 38
Posted by Teresa at 04:52 PM *

“When I walked in there, it wasn’t our world anymore. They made it theirs. And they had fun.”

Comments on Open thread 38:
#1 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 05:04 PM:

Do I actually get to bust...um, initiate this OT! W00t, as the cool kids say.

#2 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 05:16 PM:

I guess it's silly seconds for me.

#3 ::: bill blum ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 05:19 PM:

Got a phone call from a company today... regarding a resume I submitted in 2003. Adding more fun to the phone call??? The HR droid was asking if there was a medical reason for me being "out of work since 2003".

Took about five minutes of conversation before he finally accepted that I submitted the resume back in 2003, and that it's languished this long in someone's queue.

#4 ::: Rod ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 05:20 PM:

Um, hi. Does anyone who may happen to read this know a word that specifically means "someone who preeningly cultivates a demeanor of equanimity"? Or have a neologism to suggest?

#5 ::: Rod ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 05:24 PM:

In case anyone wonders "in what context?" about my previous post: a desire to privately calumniate Thomas Friedman in the most concise fashion possible.

#6 ::: Holly Messinger ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 05:27 PM:

>a word that specifically means "someone who >preeningly cultivates a demeanor of equanimity"?

Ooh, neat! If someone provides such a word, may I use it?

If I were French I'd say, "un nonchalant."

#7 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 05:27 PM:

Someone who's aggressively unflappable, in other words? Or just smug and superior about being unfazed? Unfortunately, I don't.

Anyone have an antonym for 'hubris'? I'm not talking about the virtue of NOT being hubristic; I'm talking about holding yourself in unreasonably low regard, to the point where it harms you or even offends others.

#8 ::: Rod ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 05:33 PM:

Christopher,

More the second one.

The only antonyms for hubris that come to mind are "self-contempt" and other formulations with "self-". Not quite aesthetically satisfying, maybe.

#9 ::: Sarah Prince ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 05:35 PM:

Belated birthday greetings and glad you have more energy again. Cylert had a more obvious effect for me than most drugs; I busted up a number of computer keyboards in activated rage.

#10 ::: Rod ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 05:39 PM:

Holly,

Is "nonchalant" expressly pejorative in French? If so, I never knew that!

#11 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 05:57 PM:

Ah, the haunted stuffed Stitch.

Notice, if you will, this bit:

On 21-Mar-05 at 19:41:54 EST, seller added the following information:
UPDATE
After checking www.warrens.net (VERY informative site), I have learned a few things.

The www.warrens.net?

I know that name! That's Ed and Lorraine Warren -- see my review of a book about an earlier case they were involved in: Satan's Harvest.

#12 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 06:23 PM:

A hastily-moved-out neighbor left a perfectly nice and fairly clean Weber grill out by the dumpsters.

I'm going to give it a good scrubbing and put it back into service.

I'm thinking about breaking it in this coming Sunday, by grilling some rabbit.

Anyone have any idea what type of store might carry bunny parts?

I know there's an outfit that sells packaged bunny, but I forget the name and last I checked their website it didn't list retailers.

#13 ::: Jon Sobel ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 06:26 PM:

My grandfather coined sort of an opposite for hubris: downmanship. Didn't catch on, though.

#14 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 06:33 PM:

Ah, found it!

http://www.pelfreez-foods.com/index.ihtml

And there's even a review!

http://thingsihate.org/view/329/i_am_curious_rabbit

No sign of a distributor list, though.

#15 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 06:38 PM:

Stefan Jones - I used to visit an Italian deli on Long Island that had dressed rabbit parts in their freezer case.

That was when I was dating a vegetarian (me? dating a vegetarian? it seemed like a good idea at the time) who was morally opposed to the eating of meat, or even animal experiments. I took her to the Italian deli, because I couldn't really cook but I could at least impress her by being a guy who knew where to find a gourmet Italian deli. I kept her away from the freezer case. She had a pet rabbit, too.

#16 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 06:40 PM:

Italian deli, good idea. Last time I had rabbit was my Grandmother's 90th birthday.

But I wonder if there are any Deli west of Portland?

#17 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 07:01 PM:

Xopher: Anyone have an antonym for 'hubris'? I'm not talking about the virtue of NOT being hubristic; I'm talking about holding yourself in unreasonably low regard, to the point where it harms you or even offends others.

'Overly modest'? Or is that too weak for what you had in mind?

--Mary Aileen

#18 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 07:27 PM:

Stefan - for frozen bunny just check either the most upscale market in your area, or the most ethnic. The ethnic one will probably be cheaper and have higher turnover. Try calling. Also consider looking for an old-fashioned butcher who might be able to tell you where to find it even if he doesn't stock it.

FWIW, I believe I saw some at Whole Foods, but I might be mistaken.

#19 ::: dolloch ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 07:40 PM:

Xopher - Codependent comes to mind.

#20 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 08:16 PM:

I know that name! That's Ed and Lorraine Warren -- see my review of a book about an earlier case they were involved in: Satan's Harvest.

Jim, you had me gargling with laughter at one point in that review. Gargling with laughter is one possible result of laughing and swallowing in close succession. It requires precise timing to avoid decorating one's monitor with spittle.

#21 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 09:12 PM:

This part of the "Away Team" has been away rather a lot of late, but I'm going to try to update YAWL (www.yawl.org or www.redbird.org/yawl.html or even www.panix.com/~vr/yawl.html) a bit more regularly.

#22 ::: Floatingtide ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 09:19 PM:

Hello,
(shy wave)

Could the opposite of hubris be simpering?

#23 ::: gracelandwest ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 10:41 PM:

Hmmm...That Stitch story is a bit freaky, and not in a "Cool, that's scary!" way. It's more of a "Why would somebody take the time to write all that crap?" I applaud the fact that they're actually getting $140 bucks for a Stitch stuffed-animal, however.

My carpet is haunted, if anybody wants that.

#24 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2005, 10:50 PM:

Xopher wrote:

"Anyone have an antonym for 'hubris'? I'm not talking about the virtue of NOT being hubristic; I'm talking about holding yourself in unreasonably low regard, to the point where it harms you or even offends others."

isuckopathic

#25 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 12:08 AM:

WOOOT. I'm back into the 21st Century, having spent the evening teaching my new G4 Cube (well, new to me) OSX, 10.2.

Now to find all my bookmarks back.

#26 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 01:06 AM:

Some people at George Mason University have gone to the trouble of collecting and digitizing samples of 415 different accents. If you've always wanted to know how a Tibetan speaker from Lhasa would say, "Please call Stella.  Ask her to bring these things with her from the store:  Six spoons of fresh snow peas, five thick slabs of blue cheese, and maybe a snack for her brother Bob," now you can find out.

The Speech Accent Archive

(via Cleolinda's blog over on LJ)

#27 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 01:16 AM:

"someone who preeningly cultivates a demeanor of equanimity"

Phlegmsniff.

#28 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 01:41 AM:

Minor personal news, nothing to see here:
http://eley.smugmug.com/Births

#29 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 01:54 AM:

Oh, and the haunted Stitch doll isn't nearly as cool as the legendary Ebay Haunted Painting.

A Disney doll's just a doll. But even without the story behind it, looking at that painting gives me the willies. I might just have to buy a print.

#30 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 02:07 AM:

Stefan Jones wondered:

But I wonder if there are any Deli west of Portland?

Well, my Italian inlaws like Claro's Italian Deli in San Gabriel, California.

#31 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 04:59 AM:

So, Teresa, I'm curious: Why that particular quote?

(I recently bought Buffy season 2, and am into the really good part of it -- which to my mind is the best stuff in the whole series.)

#32 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 05:25 AM:

I recently watched the movie Musketeer http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0246544/ the only interest I can see in this movie is as an example of pure Mary Sueism. Now one might argue that D'Artagnon in the original novel was already something of a Mary Sue, although given the strong roles of the other characters this is probably not so (although this makes me wonder, would we be able to recognize a Mary Sue of a culture different than ours as being a Mary Sue?)
But this D'Artagnon is someone who after seeing his parents killed before his eyes devotes his life to being the greatest swordsman/musketeer, which he achieves and as a consequence can say such things as "If I fight you Aramis, I will kill you" without consequence. Is there gradation of Mary Sueness?

Also for some reason I was reminded of Kyle Baker's The Cowboy Wally show when Cowboy Wally wants to remake Hamlet when he says "we're not killing shakespeare, we're improving him" and "we know alot more about entertainment than they did back then"

--all quotes paraphrases as I am too lazy to go look it up.

#33 ::: Thurls ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 05:30 AM:

Xopher,

Uriah Heep from Dicken's David Copperfield springs to mind. I should think any number of words could be spun out from that character's name, and you would get your point across very succinctly.

Teresa, Happy belated birthday.

#34 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 08:43 AM:

Rod --

When one does that in a Renaissance court, it's called sprezzatura. (Unfortunately for Mr. Friedman, the concept requires underlying competence and only the appearance of "reckelessness".)

Xopher --

Humilitated?

There is a formally named rhetorical device that involves putting yourself down in a way that encourages the listener to internally contradict you -- think Cato saying "I know little of rhetoric", or Brennu Njal saying "Weak is my knowledge of the law" -- but swelp me if I can remember what the name is.

#35 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 08:59 AM:

Thurls: Surely the point about Uriah Heep is that he *isn't* ever so 'umble, but a horrible ingratiating character who just acts that way?

#36 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 09:57 AM:

In response to "Crocheting the Hypperbolic Plane":

isn't there a poem with the line,
"Children, leave that string alone" ?

#37 ::: Holly Messinger ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 10:21 AM:

Rod asked: Is "nonchalant" expressly pejorative in French? If so, I never knew that!

Not that I'm aware of. But you can make a lot of things sound pejorative in French, if you say them with the right nasal tone.

#38 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 10:25 AM:

Steve - lovely photos, congratulations to you and yours.

#39 ::: Thurls ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 10:33 AM:

Jakob,

I would disagree. I think even at the end, Uriah Heep believed himself to be a humble man from humble origins. He was very bitter about it and tried to get his revenge. But humble, just the same.

I suppose that's what can happen when a literary character is used as shorthand for a personality trait. Poor old Scrooge - there he is in every Christmas TV ad, covered in dust and cobwebs and exclaiming 'bah! humbug!' to the happy shoppers, when of course he was the one man who knew how to celebrate Christmas well.

#40 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 10:35 AM:

Down on oneself? How about "pathologically diffident"? (That has a little more snap to it than just "depressive".)

#41 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 10:43 AM:

"someone who preeningly cultivates a demeanor of equanimity"?

I've seen "insouciant" used to imply smug nonchalance, as opposed to ordinary nonchalance. Possibly incorrectly.

#42 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 10:45 AM:

Xopher, how about "autodeprecative."

Neologism, but it scans well.

#43 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 10:46 AM:

Er...sorry, Xopher. I meant to address that to Rod. Not sure what happened, there.

#44 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 12:11 PM:

Perhaps the word Xopher is looking for might be "humbris"

#45 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 12:25 PM:

Many years ago on 7th Avenue a bit north of 14th, there was a deli that sold, and I quote, "WABBITS."

#46 ::: Rod ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 02:01 PM:

"Pusillanimity" occurs to me as a possible antonym for "hubris". What's hard to pin down, though, is that note of self-destructiveness Xopher was looking for.

To adjust the goalposts on my own request -- you know the guy? Who when you're having a political discussion just has to get in his benign formulations about seeing both sides of the issue and putting aside our differences to make the best of things etc. etc.? And he doesn't even have to have an actual opinion about what you're discussing, because it's just another nail for the hammer of his chosen means to preen his self-image?

I mean sure, we've all been guilty of this, but the guy who makes a lifestyle and/or career out of it. Like horrid horrid Thomas Friedman.

#47 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 02:02 PM:

Hmm. I'll have to read a little more Dickens and see what I think. I like 'humbris' though.

I'm not talking about an attitude or presentation. I'm talking about a delusion of inferiority, of self-misprising. Self-misprision? Whatever. Maybe I'll just use that.

My point is that I believe that pride and humility are the same thing: an accurate assessment of one's own worth and abilities, and the desire to use them appropriately. (The Christian sin of "Pride" I would call 'hubris' instead.) This one virtue of pride/humility is called humility when you're recommending it to someone guilty of hubris, and pride when you're recommending it to someone who suffers from...see what I mean? Self-misprizing?

It's interesting that we don't have a common word for that, while we have words upon words for hubris. Is this because our culture assumes that people who think they're worthless probably are? Or perhaps that self-misprision is simply water to fish?

#48 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 02:59 PM:

So, you think that Science Fiction writers are a suspect group? Better watch out for those poets. To say nothing of Science Fiction Poets:

Escaped Killer Hid as Poet in Chicago

Thu Mar 24, 7:55 AM ET Top Stories - Los Angeles Times

By John Beckham and Elizabeth Mehren
Times Staff Writers

CHICAGO — As J.J. Jameson, he was a popular poet. As Norman A. Porter Jr., he was a convicted murderer who had escaped 20 years ago from a Massachusetts prison.

On Wednesday, the two personas merged....

#49 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 03:20 PM:

Xopher: How about "underweening"? It's a bit of a gerund adjective, but I don't see why you couldn't noun it.

#50 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 03:26 PM:

David Goldfarb: "I recently bought Buffy season 2, and am into the really good part of it -- which to my mind is the best stuff in the whole series."

Which part is that?

Thurls: "Poor old Scrooge - there he is in every Christmas TV ad, covered in dust and cobwebs and exclaiming 'bah! humbug!' to the happy shoppers, when of course he was the one man who knew how to celebrate Christmas well."

You mean at the end of the story, right?

#51 ::: Ted Kocot ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 03:54 PM:

While I think it's just somebody's performance art piece, it occurs to me that the haunted stuffed Stitch would make a great rabbit hole for an alternate reality game. Is one of Disney's subsidiaries putting out a horror film any time soon?

#52 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 04:21 PM:

Disemvowelling spotted in the wild:

Check out this headline on a Fark story regarding the Kyrgyzstan revolution in progress...

#53 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 04:23 PM:

Rod: Complacent? Smarmy? 'fraid I don't know who horrid horrid Thomas Friedman is...

Xopher - there's a bunch of words that convey this quality, but pretty much all in the sense of one person abasing himself before another; not so much as a general quality. Cringing, toadying, abject, etc. "Self-abasing" is probably what I'd choose. Nothing that's as cool a word as "hubris," but I suppose the gods never went out of their way to punish the opposite of hubris, so it never made it into the literature. (I do not yet count Waugh among the gods.)

#54 ::: Ruth Temple ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 04:39 PM:

Rabbits, fresh:
There's a great mostly poultry & seafood butcher in the Mission Street Market (mercado inside the block) at 22d Street between Mission and Bertlett Streets in San Francisco who carries fresh rabbit in a roaster and fryer sizes, from a local farmer who raises them for meat.

Years back in Minneapolis, for fresh rabbit, the first place I'd think of heading for fresh rabbit for the dinner paella would be that butcher on 19th and Nicollet whose name I've forgotten and after 12 years are they still even there - Johnson's perhaps? One of those second or third generation places with nondescript signage, you'd just about have to know it was there to find it.
Barbary Fig on Grand in St. Paul has rabbit specials on their menu on weekends; tasty Northern African cuisine.

Check around at your local farmer's market, or any good butcher shop or deli of the sort that sells "ingredients. for cooking" as the proprietor of the lovely SF institution, Lucca Ravioli Company on 22d and Valencia once told a stunned yuppie who thought it was the kind of deli where he could bop in and get a pre-made sammich and a soda. Handmade raviolis, yes; tiramisu to make the gods weep, yes, fresh meats and cheeses and Italian imported foods and wines, oh my yes. but not cheap-n-cheezy takeout.

Rob - self-misprisiation sounds like a good word for the person who holds themself in an unreasonably low esteem to the point of damaging themselves and others by it. yup.

#55 ::: Ian Myles Slater ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 05:23 PM:

"There is a formally named rhetorical device that involves putting yourself down in a way that encourages the listener to internally contradict you"

I'm sure Graydon is correct, although I can't remember it either. The closest I've come in Lanham's "A Handlist of Rhetorical Terms" (second edition), my usually reliable standby, would be the much-too-general *Apophasis,* in sense 1. "*Negatio.* Pretending to deny what is really affirmed. A type of *Irony* or *Occultatio*."

Which fits the examples offered, but not the original question. Unless indulged in a regular habit of speech. (In which case "annoying self-deprecation" might be the simplest description.)

#56 ::: Northland ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 05:23 PM:

Rod, "aggressively unperturbed"?

Steve, your baby is beautiful. And lord, do I remember feeling that transcendent exhaustion you can see on his mother's face.

#57 ::: dolloch ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 05:41 PM:

Ted Kocot - I've been living in CA too long, so I can't tell if you're asking a rhetorical question. The non-rhetorical answer would be "Dark Water"

#58 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 05:50 PM:

Mitch: The introduction of Angelus -- from the "Surprise"-"Innocence" 2-parter through the season finale. ("Innocence" is my choice for best single episode of the whole series.) No other story arc comes close to that one for sheer emotion.

#59 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 06:07 PM:

There is a formally named rhetorical device that involves putting yourself down in a way that encourages the listener to internally contradict you

The Silva Rhetoricae suggests that that's an application of litotes:

Deliberate understatement, especially when expressing a thought by denying its opposite.
The Ad Herennium author suggests litotes as a means of expressing modesty (downplaying one's accomplishments) in order to gain the audience's favor (establishing ethos).

I can't seem to find a more particular name for that application.

#60 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 06:20 PM:

Steve Eley: I'm a bit late, but congratulations to you both :)

Now you can start relating real-life mothering drive-bys...

#61 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 06:23 PM:

Graydon wrote: There is a formally named rhetorical device that involves putting yourself down in a way that encourages the listener to internally contradict you -- think Cato saying "I know little of rhetoric", or Brennu Njal saying "Weak is my knowledge of the law" -- but swelp me if I can remember what the name is.

I believe it's part of the Socratic method. At least, Socrates did it quite a lot.

#62 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 06:49 PM:

David Goldfarb: I assume the non-arc episodes slipped in about then are not included in your "best of the series"? At least, I hope not. Killed by Death and Go Fish are not exactly stellar lights in the Buffyverse.

#63 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 06:53 PM:

Stefan -- you may be out of luck. Some years ago my wife was enthusing about our drive down the Pacific coast when someone who'd been there interrupted "But there's \no/ \deli/ between Portland and San Francisco!"

OTOH, this was at a Jewish wedding, so the speaker may have been using a restricted sense of "deli". I understand that Eugene (2hrs south?) is a seriously multiethnic town and would expect a wide variety of food there, but it's a ways to go for rabbit. I've never cooked rabbit, but I understand it's very lean; it may need a light touch on a grill.

#64 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 07:36 PM:

There are some butchers in Portland proper, and some fancy grocers in the westerb Burbs that might be able to help.

Is rabbit Halal?

#65 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 08:01 PM:

David Goldfarb - The third season was my introduction to "Buffy," and I've always been particularly fond of it. That was the season where the mayor was the Big Bad. A wonderful character actor who doesn't get enough work -- I certainly have never seen him in a role anywhere near as good as the mayor.

I'm also fond of the story arc where Spike was introduced, and the ep where the still-evil Spike allies with Buffy and Angel -- actually, now that I think of it, that was the very first Buffy episode I ever saw. Like a lot of people, I'd been hearing great things about it but was stopped by the name. Then I saw this one wonderful episode, culminating with Spike driving out of town in a beat-up car with the windows painted black, and a punk-rock version of "My Way" playing on the stereo. And I said, okay, this is the coolest thing I have ever seen on TV.

"I'm gonna do what I should have done in the first place. I'll find her, wherever she is, and tie her up and torture her until she likes me again. Love's a funny thing."

#66 ::: Brenda Kalt ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 08:24 PM:

"Someone who preeningly cultivates a demeanor of equanimity"--No word, but an embodiment: George Costanza's father in the "Serenity Now" episode of Seinfeld.

"The opposite of hubris"--"fear and trembling?"

On further thought, "abjection." But it would be hard to find any good abjectives to modify it...

#67 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 08:51 PM:

All I gotta say is, "Soft T Rex Tissue!!!!"

PZ Meyers says: "Looking more closely with a scanning electron microscope, here's a similar piece of T. rex blood vessel that has ruptured, spilling out its contents. Maybe those cells don't look perfectly preserved, but they're darned close."

#68 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 09:57 PM:

Stefan Jones: Is rabbit Halal?
That is, like, so four posts ago, what I want to know -- is T. Rex Halal?

#69 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 10:18 PM:

Mmmm. Vat-grown dinosaur steaks.

They apparently also obtained some hadrosaur tissue.

IF they could get DNA from the tissue, it might be feasible to set up a business producing "hadrosaur steaks" by splicing hadrosaur DNA into ostrich eggs, and growing the meat somehow.

That might be easier than a Jurassic Park scenario. They wouldn't need to grow functional dinosaurs, they'd just need enough dinosaur DNA in the meat to justify selling it as such.

#70 ::: sundre ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 10:21 PM:

As long as people are tossing words about: has anyone got a pick for the opposite of nostalgia?

#71 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 11:18 PM:

Q: So, how's that grilled rabbit?
A: Eh. Tastes like T-Rex.

#72 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2005, 11:37 PM:

Coming soon to the Outback Steakhouse Wayback Steak menu.

Are birds halal? Probably. Reptiles? If so, I'd guess dinosaur would probably be halal.

If properly slaughtered.

#73 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 01:20 AM:

Pipped at the post again with the vat-cultured Dino-burger news - oh well, my phone-line did fall over for a few days, so I'm bound to be behind. Here is the official bumph (or is that bumf?) How many years to the decorated Hadrosaur egg for Easter?
www.ncsu.edu/news/press_releases/05_03/075.htm - "NC State Paleontologist Discovers Soft Tissue in Dinosaur Bones"
“Soft-Tissue Vessels and Cellular Preservation in Tyrannosaurus rex”
Authors: Mary H. Schweitzer and Jennifer L. Wittmeyer, North Carolina State University; John R. Horner, Montana State University; Jan B. Toporski, Carnegie Institution of Washington Geophysical Laboratory
Published: March 25, 2005, in Science

#74 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 02:37 AM:

Stefan: Have you tried German butchers, if there are any there? (In a largely German neighborhood, for example.) I would think they'd supply the meat or have a good reference for ingredients for hasenpfeffer.

#75 ::: Mikael Johansson ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 03:48 AM:

A question to the assembly. After watching Constantine and remembering the God's Army trilogy, I started wondering why plots using a proud and envious Gabriel messing up the human world is so relatively popular? Anyone have any good ideas?

#76 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 03:56 AM:

Lenora Rose: Yes, of course. (Although "Killed by Death" and "Go Fish" are quite far from the worst episodes the series has done.)

#77 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 05:19 AM:

'As long as people are tossing words about: has anyone got a pick for the opposite of nostalgia?'
futurephilia?

#78 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 06:15 AM:

Actually, wouldn't the opposite of nostalgia be a person's utter loathing for his/her past?

#79 ::: Michelle K ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 07:39 AM:

Xopher: I'm not talking about an attitude or presentation. I'm talking about a delusion of inferiority, of self-misprising. Self-misprision?

Chronic depression.

#80 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 08:01 AM:

I was more than a little interested in Deliberately Abusive Political Language, but what's the next step? Is there any useful way of talking to people who are speaking for the echo chamber?

And as for the non-rabbit current topic, I vote for "underweening".

#81 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 09:24 AM:

has anyone got a pick for the opposite of nostalgia?

History.

#82 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 10:40 AM:

Xopher, I have a friend who used the word "self-effacing" to describe that situation.

#83 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 10:58 AM:

Would not "the opposite of nostalgia" be nostanalgesia?

#84 ::: sean bosker ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 11:26 AM:

Rod, I can only come up with false modesty, and obsequious, neither of which are exactly what you describe, but may come close.

#85 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 11:43 AM:

Xopher: I'm not talking about an attitude or presentation. I'm talking about a delusion of inferiority, of self-misprising. Self-misprision?

Chronic depression.

Actually recent studies have shown that depressives make more accurate assessments of their abilities and prospects than do non-depressives. This is because normal people are optimistic. As Lois McMaster Bujold has put it, "Aim high. You may miss the mark, but at least you won't blow your foot off."

I thank everyone who gave me ideas. I think I'll go with self-misprising for now. It is, as Twain put it, a lightning bug, but it will have to do.

#86 ::: Dru ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 12:10 PM:

How about "futurist"? :>
===
I'm with Lucy's friend on this one, "self-effacing" works the best for me. Though the lizard response was "target".
===
On the rabbbit side, remember to cook that rabbit very well. Rabbit meat is another "no pink" rule meat, IIRC. Mmmmm, hasenpfeffer.

#87 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 12:18 PM:

Teresa, this seems to have "Particulate matter" written all over it.

#88 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 12:31 PM:

sundre: has anyone got a pick for the opposite of nostalgia?

The answers you get illustrate the problem with the "opposites" game: there are many different criteria to be opposite in. Opposition to a longing for features of the past could be, for example

  • A longing for the future, for the present, or for any time that is not the past
  • A sense of revulsion for the past, or to ephemera
  • A lack of emotional response to the past, or more generally to time linkage
  • I suspect I've only scratched the surface. If you really want a word for something, what do you want that word to mean?


    #89 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 01:16 PM:

    Related to nostalgia is the longing for retro-futures: the current fad of interest in futuristic designs from the 1960s and earlier, and devotion to old science fiction.

    #90 ::: dolloch ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 01:29 PM:

    A friend of mine just linked to this bill going through Congress. Am I missing something or is there a particular reason why a bill which appears to be about censorship passed so completely (389 to 38)in the House? I like Bernard Sanders (I-VT) statement.

    #91 ::: Alison ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 01:42 PM:

    Stefan:

    If it has to be fresh, I get my bunny meat at a butcher out in the country that caters to hunters, but they stock it frozen at Whole Foods. Also, almost any competant grocery store butcher can order it for you frozen, but they usually need 2-4 days advance notice and some sort of interest in customer service.

    If you can't find bunny meat near you though, email me and I'll tell you a story that will make you not want it.

    #92 ::: Michelle K ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 02:05 PM:

    Actually recent studies have shown that depressives make more accurate assessments of their abilities and prospects than do non-depressives. This is because normal people are optimistic.

    I know. I was trying to be funny.

    But seriously, the studies are both fascinating and frightening. And they also explain an awful lot.

    #93 ::: Elese ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 02:06 PM:

    Xopher: How about self-deprecating? Or, if you want something stronger, self-loathing.

    I suffer from chronic self-loathing (my doctor refers to it as severe depressive illness). I tend to think of it as having a treacherous mind.

    #94 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 02:51 PM:

    Hey all, moveon.org has a letter-to-the-editor campaign going on to stop Cheney's "nuclear option". you fill a form on a webpage and they send the letter to whatever newspaper you choose. Below is the URL and the letter I sent. Feel free to use the letter for your own purposes. I dedicate it to the public domain. My stab at "reframing" the debate from 'obstructionism' to 'extremism'.

    http://www.moveonpac.org/lte/

    Subject: Supreme Court or Extreme Court?

    Supreme Court Judges are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Current filibuster rules require that at least 60 of the 100 senators support the nominee to break the filibuster and confirm the nominee. This means Judges must be moderate enough to satisfy both parties in the Senate to get confirmation or be stopped by filibuster.

    Republican leadership is now trying to rewrite Senate rules to prevent filibusters, meaning that Judges could be nominated with only 51 percent of the Senate supporting them.

    Rather than nominate moderate Judges who get confirmed by broad support from both parties in the Senate, Republican leaders want to change the rules so they can nominate extreme Judges who can only get support from Republican Senators.

    This is Dick Cheney's "nuclear option". And while Republican leaders say it is needed to overcome "obstructionism", what it will actually do is allow the President to nominate Judges who cannot muster wide support in the Senate because of their extreme views.

    The "nuclear option" will turn the Supreme Court into the Extreme Court.

    #95 ::: Sundre ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 03:37 PM:

    Alex Cohen and others: Lovely.

    Dan Hoey: I don't need the anti-nostalgia for anything specific, mostly curiosity and sheer stubbornness. A while back my sister asked me for one, as it had come up in her high-school English class. It stumped me, as I needed more than one word to explain what the heck I was talking about. When I started to yammer about Greek mythology I decided to shut up and let it sit for a while. I think it's been sitting for about a year now.

    #96 ::: Daniel Dern ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 03:44 PM:

    Looking for bunnies?

    wickedcoolstuff.com/mopykirasl.html
    and
    paizo.com/image/product/catalog/IMPTYV/IMPTYVMP015_360.jpeg
    or
    www.toynk.com/catalog/monty_python_s_holy_grail_-_giant_killer_rabbit_3314848.htm

    (do some price-shopping, you should be able to get the big guy for ~$50; slippers $30-$35. Be the first in your neighborhood!)

    #97 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 04:41 PM:

    OK, important safety tip.

    THERE ISN'T A STANDALONE WORD FOR EVERYTHING.

    Don't get cute; I mean there will be things for which there is no standalone word.

    For example, your mother and your father are your parents. Your sisters and your brothers are your siblings. Your aunts and your uncles are your...what? There is no word. Their KIDS, however, are your cousins, and in English there are no words that DO distinguish them by gender. But again, for your parents they're nieces and nephews, and there's no genderless word.

    It can be an important cultural insight when you find lexical negative space like that. For example, I think our society is not terribly concerned with people who undervalue themselves. This is a terrible thing in my opinion, and the essay I intend to write (and for which I wanted the word) will be an attack on the problem.

    Sometimes it's less emotionally significant than that. Aunts and uncles are considered reasonably important, they just aren't considered collectively very often. They're treated as individual cases, even though if you count by-marriage ones they come in pairs nearly as often as parents do.

    So there may not be a good word for the exact opposite of nostalgia. That's because we just don't talk that much about a loathing for the past (or any of the other opposites the word can have). For 'loathing for the past' I'd just say anti-nostalgia (a word I've seen in print, btw), and leave it at that.

    OTOH, I know I certainly wouldn't be satisfied with 'anti-hubris'.

    #98 ::: PinkDreamPoppies ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 05:07 PM:

    This is unrelated (ah, the wonders of an open thread). Perhaps someone could help me out here...

    I'm looking for a story [fiction] that was published in the New Yorker, I think, about two years ago. The story's protagonist was a woman who was blind and deaf who was in love with her teacher. I'm looking for the story's title and author.

    #99 ::: JM Kagan ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 05:13 PM:

    Gentlefolk,
    May I beg you for a reading list?
    I can recognize noir when I see it but that's only from reading secondary sources within the sf canon (and the occasional parody or pastiche).
    Teresa, your game was so much fun in the reading that next time I'd like to play....
    Which means, of course, I need a reading list of primary sources to bring myself up to speed. Oh, and, Mike Ford? ---A film noir list too, if you've got the time?
    Yes, I have very strange holes in my reading but I've also got a very good second-hand bookstore nearby. Give me a list and let me set to work to spackle this one.
    Janet K

    #100 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 05:58 PM:

    Hyperhumble?

    From:
    MYSTERY/DETECTIVE/THRILLER/ESPIONAGE DEFINITIONS

    Noir: see Hard-boiled

    The Hard-boiled Mystery: "Occasionally a puzzle, usually a whodunnit, but primarily an adventure story of the violent exploits of a vigorous super-hero, generally a private detective. [Boucher listed several authors]
    Boucher noted that he hard puposely left out Dashiell Hammett, who stood alone in his craft. More than two decades have treated the 'hard-boiled' novel rather unkindly. The tough, disillusioned hero found just as much to be disillusioned about after World War II as he did in the [1930s].
    It now features a detective, insurance investigator, skip-tracer, or whatever as the protagonist, and tends to use harsher, tougher prose than the ordinary private eye novel."
    [Bruce Cassiday, "Into Something Rich and Strange", Mystery Writer's Handbook,
    Cincinnati, Ohio: Writers Digest, 1975] revised edition
    Characteristic Hard-boiled Mystery Authors:
    * Raymond Chandler
    * Michael Collins
    * Joe Gores
    * Brett Halliday
    * John D. MacDonald
    * Ross Macdonald
    * Mickey Spillane
    * Ross Thomas
    Hard Boiled: The opposite of cozies, these are gritty "noir" novels involving grim details and tough, hard-bitten detectives.
    * Dashiell Hammett (Continental Op, Sam Spade)
    * Raymond Chandler (Philip Marlowe)
    * Bill Pronzini (Nameless Detective)
    * Mickey Spillane (Mike Hammer).
    [formerly on now-abandoned site
    http://staff.queens.lib.ny.us/central/my_html/Mystery.htm]
    Hard-boiled: Murder taken out of the drawing room and into the streets. Realism. Chandler wrote about authors who "gave murder back to the kind of people that commit it for reason, not just to provide a corpse." "Generally, but not always, featuring a private detective; usually, but not always, pervaded by pessimism. The humor, if any, will be dark. Lawrence Block's Matt Scudder novels are excellent examples. This style has been made into movies for decades (The Big Sleep, The Maltese Falcon, Out of the Past) and can also be characterized by the same term, noir. Like crime novels, hardboiled stories tend to be urban."
    [Seattle Mystery Bookshop]


    #101 ::: Stephan Zielinski ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 06:23 PM:

    More recently, Andrew Vachss has taken on the hard-boiled mantle. His first six or so Burke books are really, really good... the latter ones, eh, he writes himself into a bit of a corner every now and then. But those first half-dozen or so are amazing.

    #102 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 09:23 PM:

    As long as people are tossing words about: has anyone got a pick for the opposite of nostalgia?

    Post traumatic stress disorder?

    But seriously, nostalgia, to me, is a subset of sentiment. So "unsentimental" would work in many contexts.

    #103 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 09:33 PM:

    Film noir...I don't have a real list, but "Double Indemnity" would be a great place to start. "The Big Sleep" is another good one. Both feature tarnished knights stumbling through an impure world, and both have the gorgeous black and white cinematography that gives the genre its name. "Double Indemnity" is all-around great. "The Big Sleep" has a plot that's so twisty, you'll need to take notes and then read the book and take some more notes, just to figure out who did what. But it's a lot of fun to try to follow and has wonderful characters and classic lines, etc. And, you know, Bogart.

    Anyway, those two are a good place to start and I'm sure someone else can list a bunch more.

    #104 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2005, 10:27 PM:

    Janet -- IMO, The Maltese Falcon is the type specimen. Note that not all Hammett is noir; The Thin Man features a socialite couple as detectives. I would also argue that "noir" is a step beyond merely "hard-boiled"; I'd call John D. MacDonald the latter but not the former.

    wrt tangled film plots: Houseman's memoir reports that Chandler hit writer's block about two thirds of the way through The Blue Dahlia, which was being filmed almost as fast as it was being written in order to get a last film out of Alan Ladd (who was being drafted). The solution Chandler came up with was to spend some weeks drunk, giving himself the ]confidence[ to finish the script -- including identifying the murderer, who was one of the many bits of plot not even outlined when shooting started. Is tBD tangled as badly as The Big Sleep? I haven't seen it; maybe someone who has can comment.

    #105 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2005, 12:01 AM:

    Worth seeing for the inimitable Veronica Lake as well as the impenetrable Raymond Chandler plot and dialogue.

    The Blue Dahlia
    "Johnny Morrison returns home from the war to find out his wife is having an affair with Eddie Harwood. The Morrisons argue and Johnny leaves, only to be picked up by an attractive mysterious woman. Mrs. Morrison asks Johnny's soldier friends Buzz and George to bring him home. Buzz's war wound have made him short-tempered and violent, but he goes to Mrs. Morrison's hotel home. She's also visited by her lover and nightclub owner Eddie Harwood, who tries to end the affair but whom she threatens. Keeping a watchful eye is the house detective. When Mrs. Morrison is murdered, Johnny is the prime suspect. Johnny eludes the police manhunt and confronts Eddie, who has just bribed the house detective to keep quiet about Eddie's visit to the Morrison residence the night of the murder. Johnny learns that the mysterious woman who picked him up is Eddie's estranged wife..."

    #106 ::: Kate Yule ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2005, 12:46 AM:

    Stefan: go see the nice butchers at Pastaworks, on Hawthorne, aka "that damn pasta shop" (so called by someone we know who was sent to pick up bread for dinner and came out $350 lighter. Some people have no self-restraint). They can surely get you bunny.

    #107 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2005, 02:02 AM:

    I checked two of the three local high-end groceries for rabbit yesterday, and Whole Foods today. No luck, but it's possble they keep bunny meat behind the counter.

    I'll look into the place on Hawthorne. Wish'ed I'd checked for butchers before I went downtown today...

    #108 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2005, 03:45 AM:

    The opposite-of-hubris thread has given me a serious earworm.

    There are probably other songs that use the word "self-effacing," but if so, they haven't invaded my brain yet.

    #109 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2005, 12:29 PM:

    opposite-of-hubris: Uriah Heepish? Or Heepish, rhymes with Sheepish?

    #110 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2005, 12:41 PM:

    Andrew Carmichael Post suggests that one google "time cube" to find the esoteric theories of an outre tenured prof who DOES believe that "everything -- absolutely everything -- has an opposite."

    Soon you will learn that the Southern hemisphere counterrotates, and the equator has a barrier of deadly lava... Makes Discworld seem Copernican by comparison.

    I had a strange dream last night, that started with the observation that there seemed to be no Jews in the Harry Potter universe, which suggests that it's in an alternate history that diverged from ours at least 3,000 years ago. In my dream, I was one of the Defense Against the Dark Arts faculty. We were starting to realize that we were, with Magic, about where Physics was in 1900, with the anomalies overwhelming the tidy theories. I objected to the statement that we were fighting a "satanic incursion" as my background does not accept Satan (except as a Miltonian character). Only I could see the Tarot-like naked woman riding the horse. One professor couldn't make it to this meeting, but sent a page of notes. A furry animal grabbed the notes away from me, and I chased it. Then the 4-D incursion of evil manifested a sphere that was painfully in my right biceps (like the scarab in The Mummy) and they removed it by psychic surgery, not breaking the skin. Then things got weird...

    #111 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2005, 12:48 PM:

    I'm giving up on Bunny Quest. The weather is miserable today, and I need the time to watch KING KONG and GORGO for a writing project. I don't want to be out driving more than necessary.

    I'm going to keep an eye out for rabbit meat for summer grilling, though.

    #112 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2005, 12:49 PM:

    Stefan - you could always set a trap for the Easter Bunny. I hear he'll be on the prowl this evening.

    #113 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2005, 01:22 PM:

    I don't have great personal objections to hunting, and my dog would be happy to help, but I wouldn't feel competent when it came slaughtering and dressing a wild critter.

    Especially a four-foot tall anthropomorphic one wearing green coveralls. Man, that would be disturbing.

    Like, what would you do with his clothing? Bury them? Give them to Goodwill?

    ("Francine, lookit this underwear in the donation pile! It has a little elastic tail-hole! And this basket . . . there's blood on it!" Later: "Honestly officer, it wasn't me! It was the Big Bad Wolf! Look, I admit taking *candy* from the basket. It was just lying there . . . wouldn't you?")

    #114 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2005, 02:04 PM:

    Stefan Jones mused:

    I don't have great personal objections to hunting, and my dog would be happy to help, but I wouldn't feel competent when it came slaughtering and dressing a wild critter.

    Especially a four-foot tall anthropomorphic one wearing green coveralls. Man, that would be disturbing.

    I definitely recommend the spectacularly practical Basic Butchering of Livestock & Game. I'd also note that many urban workplaces will look at you askance if you happen to bring it to work for lunchtime reading, especially if you've been having a bad time with your vendors/coworkers.

    #115 ::: Norvin ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2005, 02:34 PM:

    Xopher, don't know if it would be useful for your essay, but my father (whose name is also Norvin Richards) wrote a book called 'Humility' in which he was claiming that humility involves accurate understanding of your own worth, and that arrogance and excessive self-deprecation were mistakes of the same kind.

    Feels odd to be proud of my dad for writing this particular book, but anyway, there it is, for what it's worth.

    #116 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2005, 02:34 PM:

    > I had a strange dream last night

    Sounds like a bit of undigested beef was talking to you...

    ;)

    #117 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2005, 02:43 PM:

    Norvin! Thank you! I'll look for it. You may have saved me from wasting my time writing something that's already been covered. If not, it certainly will be a valuable resource, since that's exactly my thesis.

    I may take it in a different direction; I think people should be brought out of excessive self-deprecation by force if necessary -- boost them up a peg, as it were. :-) Also I think there are many people who appear to suffer from hubris, but who actually are overcompensating for self-misprizing.

    #118 ::: Elese ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2005, 03:14 PM:

    Xopher - so do you boost people up by giving them booster shots?

    sign me up!!!

    #119 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2005, 08:37 PM:

    I recommend the discussion of humility found in C S Lewis's 'The Screwtape Letters' at letter 14. It demonstrates that true humility has nothing to do with self-denigration. Rather, the latter has elements of real spiritual pride about it. I can't think of a single expression, even hyphenated, that fills the bill, but the quality is a real one. Everyone knows the behaviour pattern. It's not quite the same as 'fishing for compliments', though I suspect that that forms part of the motivation. Interesting hole in the language, though.

    #120 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2005, 08:40 PM:

    Well - it's not exactly about knitting, but there was an interesting article in today's SF Chron about a ranch that caters to home-spinners. The thing I found most interesting was the coats that they make the sheep wear between shearings. I don't think it quite counts as cruelty, but they the sheep do get itchy...

    #121 ::: clark e myers ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2005, 09:27 PM:

    Self deprecation is widely discussed in 12 step literature in connection with step 4 - searching and fearless moral inventory - and later humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings - there is strong emphasis that moral inventory go beyond a list of failings. Step 4 differs across groups more than any other step.

    There is also a suggestion that most people are more inclined to take putdowns seriously than they are to accept compliments or to believe affirmations.

    #122 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2005, 03:01 AM:

    Noir is definitely different from hard-boiled! The film of The Maltese Falcon is definitely noir, but I'm not sure I'd call the novel that -- probably, but not sure. The quintessential noir writer, though, was William Irish/Cornell Woolrich (quirky stories with very odd twists), with James M. Cain and the almost-forgotten John Franklin Bardin right up there. But don't go as far as Harry Stephen Keeler, okay? To me, noir implies a quality of nightmare, a sense that there's no way this can get worse and then it does. Fredric Brown captured it in a few of his mysteries (Night of the Jabberwock, Here Comes a Candle).

    On another note, I just looked at "13 things that don't make sense" and was just stunned! The implication of nalaxone stopping the placebo effect is that what happens is the body actually manufactures a morphine analog when injected with a placebo after appropriate training -- one that is blocked by the nalaxone. I can't come up with another explanation (and I'd really love to see the original research reports on that, to see just how well the double-blind test was arranged -- because that being done badly is a much simpler explanation).

    #123 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2005, 10:07 AM:

    I would add Jim Thompson to Tom's list of noir writers.

    And SIN CITY opens in theaters April 1st! And I have a free pass!

    (For making a blood donation a few days ago. Giving blood is one of those good habits I just can't seem to break. Though it helps a lot that the local blood bank calls incessantly whenever I'm re-eligible to give.)

    #124 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2005, 12:08 PM:
    On another note, I just looked at "13 things that don't make sense" and was just stunned! The implication of nalaxone stopping the placebo effect is that what happens is the body actually manufactures a morphine analog when injected with a placebo after appropriate training -- one that is blocked by the nalaxone. I can't come up with another explanation (and I'd really love to see the original research reports on that, to see just how well the double-blind test was arranged -- because that being done badly is a much simpler explanation).

    I can think of at least one other explanation, but it depends on exactly how nalaxone prevents morphine from working. If it does so by making it impossible for one's brain to ignore pain signals, then it should have the same effect on any means of ignoring those signals, whether a placebo, intense meditation, etc. (the same for morphine's effect on pain reaction, it wasn't clear whether nalaxone blocks this as well).

    #125 ::: Sue ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2005, 05:01 PM:

    Axe in head link ...

    Many years ago I read a linguistics book which pointed to the uselessness of many Berlitz-for-traveller type books. It referenced an old Dutch into English book that contained the phrase: Quick! Call the constable, my postillion has just been struck by lightning.

    Had to look up postillion (far left horse in foursome of horses drawing carriage). Of course, I showed it around and all my friends laughed, but it wasn't until months later that we really appreciated the phrase. While watching Ben Hur (a birthday treat for a friend who had never seen it), a shout went out from the crowd during the chariot races: Quick! Call the constable, my postillion has just been struck by lightning.

    #126 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2005, 05:25 PM:

    A Postillion Struck by Lightning was the title of one of Dirk Bogarde's autobiographical books. The phrase presumably has a history beyond that as well.

    #127 ::: Amy H. ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2005, 06:41 PM:

    The Axe in My Head page reminds me of the I Can Eat Glass Project.

    #128 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2005, 07:48 PM:

    I know what you guys mostly think of the mob over at Power Line, and you're mostly correct, I guess. But have a gander at the poetry they quote - without comment, except to say that it's beautiful - and tell me that they're wrong about that.

    #129 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2005, 11:23 PM:

    Dave Luckett: I recommend the discussion of humility found in C S Lewis's 'The Screwtape Letters' at letter 14. It demonstrates that true humility has nothing to do with self-denigration.

    Your comment here reminded me of a bit from Christian proto-existentialist Soren Kierkegaard, where he described what a truly pious man looks like. The truly pious man (he said) is not distinguished by flashy shows of religion. People who know this man, but don't know him well, might not know that he is religious at all. But they will know that he is very decent, and that he really seems to take a lot of pleasure in the simple pleasures of life; for example, a good day's work, a pleasant walk home, and going home to a hearty meal with family.

    #130 ::: LizardBreath ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 10:21 AM:

    In response to "Crocheting the Hypperbolic Plane": isn't there a poem with the line,
    "Children, leave that string alone" ?

    Erik Nelson-

    From way, way back in this thread, you're thinking of Robert Graves' Warning to Children.

    Children, if you dare to think
    Of the greatness, rareness, muchness
    Fewness of this precious only
    Endless world in which you say
    You live, you think of things like this:
    Blocks of slate enclosing dappled
    Red and green, enclosing tawny
    Yellow nets, enclosing white
    And black acres of dominoes,
    Where a neat brown paper parcel
    Tempts you to untie the string....

    #131 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 10:39 AM:

    Saw "Robots" this weekend. Nice.
    I needed a laugh.

    The theater had a poster for
    "Hitchhikers Guide"
    John Malcovitch was on the list,
    possible Authur Dent part?

    I must lower my expectations for Hitchikers though.
    I think up until yesterday I had this expectation
    that it will naturally be as funny as the books.
    Then it occured to me just how hard that will be.

    #132 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 12:41 PM:

    Greg London: I must lower my expectations for Hitchikers though. I think up until yesterday I had this expectation that it will naturally be as funny as the books.

    And nothing will be as funny as the radio series. I always wonder why the Lentillas and the Allitnulls never reappeared...

    #133 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 01:15 PM:

    Just back from wonderful small convention (just uner 400 paid attendance) Con-Dor, San Diego, where my wife and I did 6 panels, with luminaries including Vernor Vinge (proud of his Tor contract!) and GOH John Varley. Joke heard, missed punchline, any ideas? "So a Lion, a Witch, and a Wardrobe go into a bar..."

    New Hope for Cat Allergy Sufferers

    #134 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 01:56 PM:

    season finale for Carnivale last night.
    I'm an idiot for watching it this long.
    What in the heck happened?
    It started out so good.

    Somewhere along the line it turned into
    Gilligan's Island, where it didn't matter
    what the characters did, they were not
    getting off the island.

    ah well. maybe "Romans" will be interesting.
    otherwise it's back to the computer.

    #135 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 02:18 PM:

    Grammatical trivia question:

    "I'm not doing anything." == "I'm not doing a single thing."

    "I'm not going anywhere." == "I'm not going a single where."

    How come we don't say that?

    #136 ::: Dave ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 02:19 PM:

    On the topic of the tangledness of various noir plots, a possibly apocryphal story says that the screenwriters for "The Big Sleep" (who included Leigh Brackett and William Faulkner) finally gave up on trying to figure out what was going on vis a vis a particular plot point (who killed a taxi driver, IIRC) and called up Chandler to ask him. Chandler had no idea either.

    #137 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 02:20 PM:

    Laura Roberts: I'm not answering anywhen.

    #138 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 02:53 PM:

    Laura: 'thing' is a noun. 'Where' is a pronoun. You can say "I don't see a single person" but not "I don't see a single he."

    Same thing.

    "I'm not going a single place" would seem to correspond.

    #139 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 03:03 PM:

    "I'm not going a single place" would seem to correspond.

    That's true, you can say "I'm not going anyplace," although that doesn't seem quite correct somehow.

    Having a little trouble understanding how "where" is a pronoun though.

    (a one-sentence answer from JVP - didn't know such a thing was possible : )

    I'd like to recommend Walter Mosley as a noir author (literally, in fact.)

    #140 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 03:18 PM:

    Speaking of reading lists (OK, so nobody's been speaking of them since Janet, way-upthread, but hey...), the reading list of the President's Bioethics Committee sure has some...interesting bits. Shame they screwed up their licensing so badly that none of us can find out exactly what their comments on the various works are without buying their apparently difficult to acquire book...

    Of course, elsewhere in the blogosphere, people are mocking one of the panel members for the sin of finding Star Trek philosophically inspiring...

    #141 ::: Alaya Johnson ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 03:32 PM:

    http://www.kingsfieldpublications.co.uk/rats.PDF

    What do you guys make of this guy's particularly depressing take on the chances of having a successful career as a published novelist? Some of it seems interesting, but there's a discussion of the merits of fee charging (around pages 52-55) that I find pretty gag-worthy. Also, there's a lot of positive stuff about POD and the internet publishing towards the end ... not sure what I think about that.

    #142 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 03:56 PM:

    'Where' is a relative pronoun. "We have to go to the Whitehouse, where the president lives" parallels "We have to meet with the president, who lives in the Whitehouse."

    It's also a member of the special class of pronouns known as "question words," which indicate that the referent of the pronoun is unknown, and thus make the whole sentence a question. Note the similarity in both structure and meaning between "He went to the store" and "Who went to the store?" More relevantly to the current case: "Where is it?" and "Here it is!"

    #143 ::: abby noyce ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 04:39 PM:

    'thing' is a noun. 'Where' is a pronoun. You can say "I don't see a single person" but not "I don't see a single he."

    What about 'one'?

    #144 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 05:16 PM:

    Muddying the water a bit...

    "I ain't seen nobody."

    "Not nobody, not nohow."

    "Anywho..."

    Ebonics: "Where you at?"
    "where he at?"
    "What up?"

    See also:
    "deictic"
    "deictic ambiguity"
    "pre-deictic elements"

    #145 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 05:17 PM:

    One is both a noun and a pronoun. Also, even as a pronoun it doesn't act like other English pronouns, which is very annoying (frex it's the only one whose possessive contains an apostrophe, which is really quite vexing).

    You can say "One has to..." (pronoun) but also "Which one? That one" (noun).

    #146 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 05:20 PM:

    JvP: we were speaking of Standard English (American version, in my case). None of your examples are from that dialect. Of course other languages (a language is just a dialect with an army) have different rules.

    And while some of my examples contain deixis, it's not terribly relevant to this particular topic.

    #147 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 06:42 PM:

    Hoo boy... "The Old Negro Space Program" is...

    Well, first let me say, I hate the way the word "hilarious" is overused in recommending links. I sometimes think, no, not hilarious, "delightful" maybe, or "very amusing".

    But like I was saying, for me, "The Old Negro Space Program" is hilarious. The not-Ken-Burness of it is spot on, right down to the honky African Studies historian wearing the Heritage Hat. But the "letter home" bit, with appropiate violin underneath, is the laugh-out-louder.

    Oh, man, hee-hee, thank you for that...

    #148 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 07:26 PM:

    Deixis sounds like a spray used to ward away unwanted deities.

    Are old Norse gods treating your rec room as if it was Valhalla? Is Baal hogging your bathroom? Is Bast picking on your Basset? Try new, improved Deixis, guaranteed to drive off unwanted gods, goddesses, demi-gods, urges and titans while leaving prosperity gods and the overall flow of chi unaffected.

    Deixis should only be used as part of an overall home exorcism program. Consult your spiritual advisor if used in combination with wards, holy water or potions.

    Deixis gets the gods out!™

    FWIW, the only way I ever learned that words like "where" were relative pronouns is when I took German. German is also very nice inasmuch as you are required to put a comma before and after all subordinate clauses. Makes 'em easy to spot - and hoo-boy do those Germans love their subordinate clauses.

    I don't know if Latin teaches you English grammar, but German sure does.

    #149 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2005, 09:24 PM:

    Bruce: Though it helps a lot that the local blood bank calls incessantly whenever I'm re-eligible to give.

    You have an organized blood bank. Mine (Red Cross) used to wait some weeks beyond re-eligibility and not track that I'd given again; now they don't call even when I'm way late.

    Way too many of the rest of you have imaginations in violation of the leash laws. Thank you -- after a day fighting with code left behind by a programmer long since returned to his home planet, I \needed/ Deixis marketing, a definition of language, and other strangeness.

    #150 ::: Sue ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2005, 10:17 AM:

    About the Kingsfield Publication's PDF thing ... interesting stuff, though something inside of me keeps screaming: erroneous premises.

    At first it almost sounded like he believed what so many authors who publish at say, PA, believe: the best don't get published, the deck is stacked against them. Then he did hit upon the slush pile realities: a lot of it is bad, though he never did SAY that as such (and how much of it is bad is never addressed the way it is addressed in other arenas.)

    Assuming he is only talking about that thin percentage of well-enough written work, then perhaps there is truth -- randomness plays a bigger role than we want to admit.

    I am not sure this is true. Editors are not interested in letting the good ones get away, but they are constrained by economics of their house, by what the public wants to read and by their own preferences as to what works. None of those things are bad, and yes, every now and again, the best get away (and maybe even disappear.) Of course, I would bet, that those that got away are as rare as the examples he cited.

    As for reading fees -- the man is in the business himself and I wonder at his own motives. If a person wants a reader who supplies commentary of worth -- he should be pointing them to a critique group and perhaps that is what he really should be saying: we won't bother with reading your slush unless you demonstrate to us that you've gone the extra mile to have others review it and that they have found it worthy.

    #151 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2005, 10:45 AM:

    Bryan: the director of that particular mutation of "The Three Musketeers" is an ex-cinematographer, and the composition is beautiful. Unfortunately, as you have noticed, the script is strictly from hunger and he can't edit action to save his life: each shot was perfectly framed and exposed, but no physical action was ever completed in entirety without some damn camera cut from a different angle intruding. I left the theater wanting to punch one of the walls...

    Jonathan: I have to argue with that entry on Film Noir. In most examples of Noir there are strong "Hard-boiled" elements, but the key is the feeling that the hero has gotten himself/herself in well over his/her head and is being swept along by events no matter how much he/she struggles. (I lead with the male because there are precious few female Noir leads.) That entry would pretty well exclude Nightmare Alley, which from what little I've seen of it is firmly in the noir (as opposed to horror) camp.

    #152 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2005, 10:53 AM:

    Bruce E. Durocher II:

    You are probably correct about distinguishing Noir from Harboiled, though there may be no bright line between them, as with Science Fiction and Fantasy.

    Bloodbanks:

    It is wonderful that the Heinlein Society helps with blood drives at Science Fiction conventions.

    There's a great bloodbank usage in The Nightmare Factor, by Frank Robinson and Thomas Scortia. That was a medical thriller WAY ahead of its time.

    #153 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2005, 11:11 AM:

    Deixis is a pointing phenomenon in languages; for example, when a speaker walks up to the podium, is he in front of it or behind it? When a questioner walks up, is he in front? Deixis is the name given to how languages deal with these issues.

    The old Journal of Irreproduceable Results, I think it was, had a linguistic paper on pointing phenomena in the Greek spoken in the islands Michael Dukakis' people come from; it was called "Deixis in the Lesbian Dialects."

    #154 ::: Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2005, 11:30 AM:

    Apropos of nothing much:

    By now many people have heard the buzz about Burger King's Enormous Omelet Sandwich.

    Is it just me, or does this look an awful lot like an April-Fools publicity stunt? Especially when news reports say that Burger King is testing the sandwich in "undisclosed markets".

    If I'm right, you heard it here first. If I'm wrong, I've embarrassed myself here first and it's curtains for American nutrition.

    #155 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2005, 11:30 AM:

    When Parson joined the D.C. police in 1994 as an openly gay officer, someone taped heterosexual pornography to his locker. He responded by taping gay porn photos on all 375 lockers in the 4th District squad house.

    Now that is a Sam Vimes moment.

    (From The Stewards of Gay Washington.)

    #156 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2005, 12:17 PM:

    After seeing straight commercials for TV dinners suggesting that they can put enough pounds on you to keep you from blowing away in a windstorm, the Enormous Omelet Sandwich doesn't surprise me in the least.

    I suspect this entree, and the Hardees' gigantic burger, are targeted to blue collar guys who think the whole healthy eating thing is effete bullshit, and that being able to buy enough food to gag a hyeana for five bucks is way cool.

    #157 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2005, 12:44 PM:

    For the curious, the announced nutritional info on the Enormous Omelet Sandwich:

    Calories: 730
    Calories from fat: 420
    Fat: 47 grams (!)
    Saturated Fat: 17 grams
    Trans-Fats: 1 gram
    Cholesterol: 415 mg
    Sodium: 1860 mg (!)
    Carbohydrates: 43 g
    Dietary Fiber: 3 g
    Total sugars: 9 g
    Protein: 32 g

    Would you like hash browns and orange juice with that?

    #158 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2005, 12:47 PM:

    David Moles - there's video of him talking about that incident, too. He says 5 days later some of it was still up.

    #159 ::: Heatherly ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2005, 04:20 PM:

    David Moles: in 2001, I had the opportunity of meeting Parson (I believe) and another officer from the unit (whose name or even face is long since lost) at a taskforce meeting addressing gay/lesbian domestic violence in Baltimore.

    I remember him as definitely having a Sam Vimes aura, but also in the leadership sense, not just the gruffly-tough. He had so much sincere passion and determination to make the GLLU unit work he invigorated the entire taskforce discussion.

    And obviously he has made it work. :)

    #160 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2005, 06:31 PM:

    I want one of those sandwiches. Once. Maybe it'll be like New Coke; swiftly withdrawn from the market after customer outrage overwhelms the company.

    When New Coke came out it distressed a nice lady I worked with so much she went out and bought a six-pack of the old blend and gave each one of us a can. I'm not sure whether she thought it would become an antique or a collector's object of desire, or what. It was kinda sweet, though.

    #161 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2005, 06:38 PM:

    Linkmeister: It was kinda sweet, though.

    The gesture or the Coke? ;)

    --Mary Aileen

    #162 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2005, 07:03 PM:

    When I saw the Oh my ghod! I've got an axe in my head! heading, the first thing I thought of was that story Laurie Anderson tells about solo hitchhiking into the Canadian Arctic in the 1970s, heading for the North Pole, where she finally decides to turn back because she accidentally lets her axe slip while chopping wood in the middle of nowhere and narrowly misses getting, yes, an axe in her head. Is there already a transcript of that bit somewhere, or will I have to go listen to the whole thing again with notepad in hand?

    #163 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2005, 07:10 PM:

    Ouch, Mary Aileen! ;)

    #164 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2005, 10:29 PM:

    Opposite of hubris: humblemouthed? [It's hard to top "humbris," but it seems like it would have to be explained.]

    Opposite of nostalgia: dystalgia? stalgia? realism? [Best book on the topic: The Good Old Days: They Were Terrible, by Otto L. Bettmann, of archive fame.]

    Confused plot of The Big Sleep: this came about because Chandler cannibalized the novel from two and a half short stories. The chauffeur was therefore killed by a nonexistent young psychopath.

    Something new: via Arthur H's LJ, the ongoing story of a would-be plagiarist looking to buy a paper online. Karma and dregs.

    #165 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2005, 10:47 PM:

    Has everyone already read this livejournal entry?

    http://www.livejournal.com/users/publius_ovidius/111672.html#cutid1

    #166 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 03:57 AM:

    Deixis is a pointing phenomenon in languages; for example, when a speaker walks up to the podium, is he in front of it or behind it? When a questioner walks up, is he in front?

    A podium is an elevated platform; the speaker is standing on top of it. "Front" and "back" are usually defined in terms of a stage, so the questioner's position would be defined w.r.t. the speaker -- in front if they were face to face, behind if he was coming up from the rear clutching an Oxford Club Slugger. The vertical object that gives the speaker something solid to clutch is a lectern, and there the question of relative position can apply.

    #167 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 09:37 AM:

    I just find it interesting that patterns in the use of prepositions indicating position can be found at all. I've always viewed them as arbitrary and set by convention.

    A small example:
    English: We talked about many things.
    German: Wir haben ueber viele Sache geredet.
    Literally: We talked over many things.

    OK, no actual physical position, but still sentences using prepositions of position, and are quite arbitrary. German also does fun things with hin (towards, sort of) and her (away from, sort of) which are about relative position. I found it necessary to memorize stock phrases and still haven't quite internalized how they work.

    #168 ::: Beth ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 09:52 AM:

    German also does fun things with hin (towards, sort of) and her (away from, sort of) which are about relative position.

    Verb prefixes! I love those. And yes, they indicate motion relative to the speaker.

    Hin means going away from the speaker, as in "Er ist hingegangen" or "Er ist dahingegangen." These translate to "He is going (away)" and "He is going (away) (over yonder)."

    Her means coming toward the speaker from a more distant point, as in "Er kommt her" (He comes here). Usually you'll hear someone add "hier" to the mix, as in "Er ist hier hergekommen."

    (All much more than anyone wanted to know. I'll go back into hiding now.)

    #169 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 10:39 AM:

    Beth,

    Hardly more than we wanted to know.

    Speaking of "here": Spanish distinguishes between "aqui", which is here in the sense of "She is here," and "aca'", which is here in the sense of "She is coming here." The distinction is available in English--my convenient pocket dictionary, which I got out to check spelling, says that "aca" means "here; hither"--but "hither" is archaic in English, and "aca" is current Spanish. (There's an acute accent over the final a in "aca", but your system is printing it as ac´ when I try to enter it.)

    The same distinction is made between alli ("there" as in "it's over there") and "alla" ("thither", "there" as in "I'm going there"). "There is/there are" is (reasonably) an unrelated verb: "There is a cat here" would be "Hay un gato aqui."

    I believe this counts as cat-vacuuming, and I should go do something remunerative.

    #171 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 11:23 AM:

    More cat-vacuuming:

    In French, they have the words ici, meaning here; and la, meaning there. (There is an accent on the a, but I'm too lazy to look up how to display that.)

    The familiar word Voila! literally means "See there!" The French also say Voici, with the literal meaning of "see here," but that didn't make it into English-speaking usage for whatever reason.

    But the use of "here" and "there" gets a little uncertain sometimes. I recently saw on a Francophone's blog, the announcement Le printemps est la!. Literally, "Spring is there!" but I think we would all agree that spring is, in fact, "here."

    #172 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 12:01 PM:

    Alex,

    I nearly had a heart attack just reading the information for that sandwich.

    Any one else creeped out by the plastic-headed Burger King? He's enormously glad to be clogging your arteries. It's like some dastardly plot concieved by a malicious royal family. They all have to wear big plastic smiling heads to cover their grotesque bloated true faces.

    #173 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 12:23 PM:

    "Any one else creeped out by the plastic-headed Burger King?"

    I half-watched that commercial about a dozen times before I paid enought attention to see that the King wasn't a guy in heavy makeup. When I realized it was a mask, I was indeed thoroughly creeped out.

    * * *

    There are probably times and places where the BK Aorta Plugger is an appropriate meal choice. It might be just the thing for a lumberjack about to spend a day swinging an axe in ten-degree-below-zero weather, or a farmer starting a day of backbreaking labor.

    But for anyone who doesn't burn off 4,000 calories a day . . . don't bother.

    The only reason I allow myself a bagel and shmear in the morning is the 4-plus miles a day I put in walking the dog.

    #174 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 01:03 PM:

    One, two, three, four, five
    Six, seven... how many now?
    Seventeen? Haiku!

    I laughed when an angry dolphin on "The Tick" said, "Stupid idiot! That isn't haiku! He's just counting syllables!"

    #175 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 01:46 PM:

    Kip W.:

    True... *sigh* ... so true.

    But see also:
    SciFiKu

    Example closest to a recent Makinglight thread:

    "where have my shelves gone?
    con season has just begun
    stacked two-deep with books"

    (Gandalara)

    Also see:
    EIGHT HAIKU for CHALLENGER

    #176 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 01:51 PM:

    A podium is an elevated platform; the speaker is standing on top of it. "Front" and "back" are usually defined in terms of a stage, so the questioner's position would be defined w.r.t. the speaker -- in front if they were face to face, behind if he was coming up from the rear clutching an Oxford Club Slugger. The vertical object that gives the speaker something solid to clutch is a lectern, and there the question of relative position can apply.

    OK, fine. I meant a lectern. Whatevah. Um...you do know that the word 'podium' is sometimes used to mean 'lectern', right? (Especially since actual podia are comparatively rare these days.) And saying "But that's incorrect!" won't cut any mustard; in this particular context we're discussing observed usage (i.e. language as an object of scientific study) rather than preferred usage (i.e. language as art).

    #177 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 01:52 PM:

    Beth - and there's an expression 'hin und her' that means 'hither and yon' or 'back and forth'.

    #178 ::: Sarah G. ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 02:10 PM:

    Going along with the general "fun with words" thread, I caught a lovely sentence from this CNN.com story:

    Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist did not participate in the decision, which was heard in November when he was being treated to thyroid cancer.

    He must have been very good indeed to get such a treat.

    #179 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 02:28 PM:

    Sarah G.: "Cake or death?"

    #180 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 02:35 PM:

    Xopher: Of course I know that "podium" is common misusage for "lectern;" there wouldn't have been any point in mentioning it otherwise. (And it wasn't meant to be unkind, just pedantic.) But it does seem to me that, if the subject is semantic distinctions, the words ought to be right -- as in discussions of where one buries the survivors of a disaster. Or something. or other.

    #181 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 03:00 PM:

    Mike - Oh, I'm not denying that *I* blew it! This is "language as art" - not at a high level, except your posts, but not quite in the realm of natural phenomena either...

    But then, I was just trying to explain what deixis was, really. So I probably didn't pay as much attention as I ought to have to the words I was using.

    #182 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 03:01 PM:

    Sarah G: He must have been very good indeed to get such a treat.

    I don't know if I agree with that. Certainly it's consistent with his karma, if that's what you meant!

    #183 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 03:15 PM:

    Riverrun to Your Scattered Bodies Go Dept.:

    In the early 1960’s, I remember a TV series where some kids rode a raft down a river, and in doing so went back in time millions of years. They could witness the changes along the river bank as they continued. One particular episode involved an eight foot tall carnivorous, non-flying bird chasing one boy back to the river of time, and the raft. Does this ring a bell with anyone?

    Regards,

    Ernest Avila

    #184 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 03:31 PM:

    Treated to vs. treated for makes me think of more things German. In German, bringen means "to bring" and has a lot of possible meanings depending on prefixes that can be attached to it.

    For instance mit means "with", mitbringen means to bring with or along, as in Ich bringe den Hund mit. which means "I am bringing the dog along." (Yeah, mit went off on its own to the end of the sentence - German verbs seem to enjoy being separated this way.)

    Zurück means "back" in the directional sense so zurückbringen means "to bring back". There are quite a few more that follow this pattern.

    But there's one that's quite different. Um means around, but umbringen doesn't mean "to bring around". Instead, it means "to bump off" as in kill in a colloquial kind of way. As in Ich bringe den Hund um! which more or less means "I'm gonna kill that dog!" which is probably said after it's eaten one of your shoes.

    #185 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 03:35 PM:

    JvP: dim and hidden bells, buried under layers of vines and covered with bat guano, yet still so pure that their actual location cannot be ascertained.

    IOW that sounds familiar but I can't place it.

    #186 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 03:38 PM:

    JVP - that sounds kinda like the abysmal Land of the Lost only it's the wrong decade.

    #187 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 03:45 PM:

    Larry - compare English 'do on' (don), 'do off' (doff) and 'do in'!

    And "bring around" also means "restore to consciousness" in English. Idiom and metaphor make our lives rich.

    #188 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 03:46 PM:

    Larry again - no, in LOTL they were trapped in one time, trying to avoid being eaten by giant lizardmen called Sleestaks. I remember that.

    Abysmal hardly touches the sheer badness of that series.

    #189 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 03:47 PM:

    Oh, now I remember: LOTL was a "land time forgot" thing -- not even ANY time travel.

    #190 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 03:56 PM:

    Jon quotes Ernest Avila's question:
    In the early 1960’s, I remember a TV series where some kids rode a raft down a river, and in doing so went back in time millions of years. They could witness the changes along the river bank as they continued. One particular episode involved an eight foot tall carnivorous, non-flying bird chasing one boy back to the river of time, and the raft. Does this ring a bell with anyone?

    This is known in the U.S. as Journey to the Beginning of Time. It's one of many films Fred Ladd acquired and modified for the American TV syndication market.

    A similar edutainment product is The Space Explorers, stitched together by Ladd's group from a fragment of a failed German feature and a Czech astronomy cartoon. I wrote about this three years ago.

    #191 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 05:04 PM:

    Some time ago, Teresa talked about buying several salwar kameez(i? en?)...whatever the plural is. I just spoke with some very kind Indian students, who told me that there isn't a plural--if you have "two beautiful salwar kameez," that's what you say. (Alas, I just realized that I forgot to ask about the partitive form. Rats.) Also, the first part is pronounced "SHULL-vahr" in Hindi.

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled tangent.

    #192 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 05:31 PM:

    Of course I know that "podium" is common misusage for "lectern;" there wouldn't have been any point in mentioning it otherwise.

    When I was in high school, Richard Lederer (author of Anguished English: An Anthology of Accidental Assaults Upon Our Language) came to speak to us. The first thing he did was ask the audience what he was standing behind. All the students thought it was a podium, but the teachers called it a lectern. Lederer said there's a sharp age divide in the response he gets to that question. I don't remember if he said when the transition occurred, but it was apparently quite distinct. Sometimes usage changes very quickly.

    #193 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 06:47 PM:

    Death of SF predicted

    Matthew Cheney says in Strange Horizons that the audience for genre sf is shrinking and aging, and the genre is becoming more conservative, more reluctant to explore new ideas and techniques.

    Meanwhle, the mainstream and literary fiction is becoming more accepting to sf themes.

    Comments? I'm particularly interested in what our Blog Hosts think about this proposal, given their prviliged professional status.

    #194 ::: Sarah G. ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 07:16 PM:

    JVP: Uh, death please. No, cake! Cake!

    Xopher: I was going for gentle sarcasm at the expense of the poor copyeditor, but I’d be happy to imply karmic retribution instead. I have more sympathy for copyeditors than Chief Justices anyway.

    #195 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 07:18 PM:

    .45 Colt vs. 9mm 9x19.

    Pfui. The debate is pointless, with no small amount (mostly on the part of the .45 ACP guys) of religious fervor, bordering on idolatry.

    One of the more common bits of mis-information has to do with the reference to the .38 and the Moro. It was not the round people today think of as ".38" which is the .38 special (the .357 of its day), but a much weaker round.

    The guy singing the praises of the M-3 greasegun, well it was probably the single most useless weapon the US Army ever fielded (and I'm including the use of the French Chauchaut in WW1).

    For reasons unknown the myth of the .45 being able to "knockdown" people by sheer physical transfer of energy exists. Looking at Newton I know it ain't so, because I hear of 250 lb men being put on their but, but I, at 125 lbs, when I've been working at it, can fire it, and not land on my butt, nor need to fetch it from where it landed.

    I don't like the M9 (Beretta) but the round is sound (it has about the same energy as the .45 ACP), does better against armor (higher speed, narrower cross-section) and one can carry more ammo.

    Nothing in the realm of weapons is a panacea. Most weapons work well enough, and few get the sort of demands made on them (to be all around useful) as pistols.

    If I have to choose one, and only one, I'll take a Glock 19, and beg to be allowed to select my own ammo, because FMJ is useful for some things, but not all.

    TK

    #196 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 07:29 PM:

    Are the individual links in the "It all comes round again" sidebar all intended to point to the same URL? Coz at the moment, they seem to.

    #197 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 07:52 PM:

    Are the individual links in the "It all comes round again" sidebar all intended to point to the same URL? Coz at the moment, they seem to.

    Read between the lines.

    #198 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 08:06 PM:

    Julie, sometimes our hostess is trickier than others, and sometimes you have to reevaluate what "space" means in a hyperlinking format...

    Now why am I suddenly hearing Tchaikofsky?

    #199 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 09:58 PM:

    If it were people's choice I'd vote for the 9x23 in a 1911 style pistol.

    #200 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: March 30, 2005, 10:31 PM:

    It's the eternal conflict between the individual infanteer, who wants whomever they shoot at to die instantly, beyond any possibility of last heroic actions, and the logistics support of the army, that needs to be able to move enough ammo around. (well, and the infanteer aforesaid's ability to carry it.)

    But, hey, put people through combat and they wind up crazy; ammunition fixations aren't particularly harmful as such things go.

    #201 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 01:07 AM:

    Julie: There are links in "It all comes round again" on the positive or negative side.

    As someone who might be seen as living off the kindness of others in some important ways, I'm a touch conflicted here, but am speaking, of course, without any personal experience, acquaintance, or connexion to any of the people involved.

    #202 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 02:28 AM:

    Epacris & Julie:

    From time to time I do paralegal work for an attorney with a landlord & tenant practice. There are horror stories on both sides. There was the home for the blind that evicted a blind woman nominally because she'd spilled something that made a stain on a rug -- that she couldn't see. There are the tenants from hell who move in their entire family, including deadly ex-con relatives. There are the tenants who run crack operations, and prostitution. I serve the eviction notices, sometimes at some physical risk to myself, and work on the complaints, answers, appeal briefs, and state supreme court briefs. There is no limit to the awfulness that people will do to each other, regardless of interests in common, or DNA kinship. It sounds Dickensian, but I remember the landlord in Brooklyn throwing some childhood friends of mine, and their mother, literally out into the snow, and throwing their belongings into the snowdrifts and laughing maniacally. What goes around comes around? By all means, sentence slumlords to be gnawed upon by rats and roaches. And may leeching tenants be leeched upon themselves. Small fleas have smaller, etcetera...

    #203 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 02:44 AM:

    Journey to the Beginning of Time was one of the things that was rerun often (once a year, I'd guess) on WGN in Chicago -- I leave the task of remembering On What Kids' Show to everybody else who grew up there and then. The kids actually don't go "up a river" -- after a visit to the NY Museum of Natural History, they're sailing a canoe in Central Park, and enter a cave with the Native American symbol for "Warning! Temporal Discontinuity!" on it.

    I remember it as being quite good, for the paleontology of the day -- the kids (all boys, natch) are presented as science-minded, taking notes on the stuff they see, measuring a dead stegosaurus in handsbreadths, and so on. It cops out a bit at the end -- er, beginning -- with an animated sequence and a VO of Genesis 1. (This was, however, before the Big Bang idea.) After that, the boys wake up in the Museum -- but they have the notebook.

    It was directed, and co-written, by Karel Zeman, the great Czech movie fantasist who did The Fantastic World of Jules Verne, the picture that's looks like a living steel engraving, with every sort of animation involved. (Howard Waldrop reviewed it for LOCUS a while back, and What He Said.)

    #204 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 02:53 AM:

    There's a center for the blind here in San Diego next to a coffeehouse I visit occasionally. The coffeehouse has inadequate parking, the center for the blind has a nice-sized parking lot, and the center for the blind's parking lot is festooned with signs warning that the parking lot is ONLY for clients.

    I know why the center for the blind has a parking lot, but it always strikes me as weird, anyway. A center for the blind? With a parking lot?

    #205 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 03:01 AM:

    Mitch - The real question is do they have a drive-up ATM with braille on the buttons in the parking lot?

    Actually, that's the basis for a fair number of puzzle-type interview questions. Why do drive-up ATMs have braille on them? There are many sensible answers...

    #206 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 03:25 AM:

    Blind guy walks up to the ATM.

    Blind guy sits in the passenger side, sighted guy pulls the car up so the blind guy can get at the ATM.

    - or -

    Blind guy was driving because the sighted guy didn't want to drive drunk.

    #207 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 07:25 AM:

    Terry Karney: What were the problems with the M3? Given its long period of service, I'd have thought it wouldn't be entirely useless...

    #208 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 08:17 AM:

    To be dully practical, the parking lot is for the people who drive their friends/family to the center -- obviously because the passengers are blind, but in some cases also because they're children, and in others because they're newly blind and haven't yet mastered using public transit (if there is any).

    Some time back, my bank added labels to its ATMs explaining that the bumpy plate was Braille instructions. Now, who was that for? People who thought it was a frozen keyboard? Wingnuts who assumed that terrorists were getting their Secret Messages from major banks? I was a bit startled to see the plate on the touchscreen terminals they're installing, but then realized that the instructions were for accessing the audio assist and keyboard selections (the touchscreen units still have a numeric keypad, which is a much better idea from the viewpoint of hiding your PIN entry from someone standing behind you).

    #209 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 09:15 AM:

    I second Jakob's curiosity.

    The answer to the Braille on Drive-up ATM question is, I'm sure, one of economies of scale. The manufacturer of ATMs will find it more convenient and cost-effective to just use one die stamp to produce all their keypads, for stand-alone or drive-up models.

    #210 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 10:28 AM:

    As far as I can tell, no one has mentioned this NY Times Op-Ed piece on knitting (it made the Most Popular/forwarded list): http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/30/opinion/30wed3.html?incamp=article_popular_3

    Well, consider it done!

    #211 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 10:42 AM:

    Hey what are the architectural details called, which are shaped roughly like an inverted "L" and support a ledge midway up the side of the building which I vaguely believe to be called a "capital" or a "pediment"? And do these items provide any actual structural support or only the appearance of it?

    #212 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 11:10 AM:

    Okay it's neither "pediment" nor "capital". Based on this page, I think it might be called a "cornice". But I still don't know what the darn things under it are called.

    #213 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 11:12 AM:

    This page suggests "corbel"?

    #214 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 11:20 AM:

    Nein, here is a picture of a corbel; the thing I am wondering about looks more like one of these.

    #215 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 11:24 AM:

    And now that I'm looking at it a little more closely, it looks like in the picture I just posted, the thing I am wondering about is itself supported by a corbel; but I believe the ones I looked at on my way to work this morning, which inspired the question, were not.

    #216 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 11:28 AM:

    (My brain cell keeps insisting on "plinth", but there doesn't seem to be a good reason for that...)

    As uneasy disclosure, I must confess to having given money to Gary Farber in the past. Twice. Even though I'd already seen Teresa's post to Usenet. Mostly it was out of a sense of "There but for the grace of God (and my spouse) go I", which is not to say that I'm about to spring for the trifecta, what with now being a year of unemployment farther down the subjunctive journey thataway.

    #217 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 11:30 AM:

    These would probably be brackets, Jeremy, and they might or might not provide actual support, depending on the internal support structure of the building. In older masonry and wood contruction, they typically did; in modern steel-skeleton structures, they're often more ornamental than purely structural.

    The ledges on the sides of buildings are, if I understand this correctly [there's an architect in the family, but I'm not one, so this is groping from my old art history classes], often called string courses, or belt courses. A capital is the top of a column, and a pediment is the little gable above either a row of columns or a doorwa, usually one with flanking columns.
    More correct and well-expressed information might be found in an arichtectural glossary
    See these useful sites:

    http://www.archiseek.com/guides/glossary/

    http://www.heritage.nf.ca/society/rhs/terms.html

    http://www.artemisillustration.com/assets/text/Ornamental%20%20Terms_Glossary.htm

    http://www.glossarist.com/glossaries/arts-culture/architecture.asp

    http://www.geocities.com/Axiom43/architecture.html

    #218 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 11:31 AM:

    Keith, you're far from the only one creeped out by the Burger King.

    (I'd wanted to post that yesterday, dammit, but Fark was down all day, and that was where I'd found it originally.)

    #219 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 11:37 AM:

    Thanks, fidelio, for the info and useful links. And thanks, Julie, for racking your brain on my account.

    #220 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 12:00 PM:

    Science Fiction and Science Fact
    What the students of Caltech are reading could have an impact on us all.

    This article explains why Brin and Card are canonical, among a coterie of hard-core nerds.

    #221 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 12:17 PM:

    Jeremy, it was no trouble--architectural gimcracks are among the more savory flotsam in my brain. Hooking onto a bit and dragging it out was as easy to do as say.

    #222 ::: Ted Kocot ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 12:35 PM:

    "The audience for genre sf is shrinking and ... more reluctant to explore new ideas and techniques."

    I think we're running out of comprehensible future. In ST:TNG there wasn't really any new technology, just new superlatives on their old technology. (And they’d done away with handles, which, I guess, means in the future they can easily cure carpel tunnel syndrome.)

    I can think of a few stories that playing very close to the wall of a Vingian singularity. The good ones required the author to adapt English so that it could be used to describe the incomprehensible, and then educate us in that revised English, then tell the story. That's a lot of work to do in two or three hundred pages.

    And since when has mainstream literature been reluctant to accept science fiction themes? They’re just reluctant to call it science fiction. “Magister Ludi" was wrapped around a technology of philosophy - there are not a lot of places you can go after that and that was in the 40's.

    #223 ::: Ted Kocot ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 12:41 PM:

    Jeremy, I've heard those sorts of things refered to as knee braces in the "Arts and Crafts" crowd. Check out this.

    #224 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 01:20 PM:

    Ted Kocot:

    "I think we're running out of comprehensible future." That is a fascinating, and probably correct hypothesis.

    The Victorian and early 20th century notion of technological progress was highly comprehensible. Things that had been done throughout the Industrial Revolution, and before, could now be done by new industrial, commercial, and household devices.

    These devices depended on mechanical concepts that had been long understood, newly perfected Thermodynamics (heat engines leading to automobiles), aerodynamics, and on electromagnetism, which Maxwell had codified, and Hertz et al had demonstrated.

    Thomas Edison was utterly comprehensible to the masses, and the "Edisoniad" was a style of Science Fiction that spawned "Tom Swift" and a niche quickly seized by Hugo Gernsback, radio hacker, for Amazing years. He wrote about, for instance, television, using a word that predated the actual gadget, as the public understood the concept at once.

    However -- the technology of today is NOT understood by the masses. Half the folks in the developed world use personal computers, but do NOT understand either the quantum mechnics of semiconductors, nor Computer Science as such. And, as we arguably approach The Singularity, the public AND most scientists are baffled by Nanotechnology, Quantum Computing, General Relativity, String Theory, and a plethora of fields that the experts themselves find confusing. Attempts to use familar terms do not help at all: i.e. Quantum Teleportation is grotesquely unlike the "beam me down" fantasy.

    The public at large seems not to understand Evolution by Natural Selection, so how can they understand RNAi, Stuart Kauffman's "Antichaos," or a million other things hot in the biological, ecological, molecular biology, neurology cosmos?

    Science Fiction has a challenge. Some very smart people have accepted the challenge, and prevail -- Vernor Vinge, Cory Doctorow, Charles Stross --let me not get started on the list. But it is hard telling stories from the other side of the paradigm shift.

    In My Humble Opinion.

    #225 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 01:38 PM:

    Epacris, many of us have lived off the kindness of others at one time or another. And some of us have been fortunate enough to be able to pass along the favor, as well.

    There's nothing whatsoever wrong with that, nor with the general human impulse to help one's fellow beings through a bad patch.

    #226 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 02:40 PM:

    As is often the case, Yiddish has the perfect word: schnorrer. Or maybe it's spelt 'shnorrer'; I have a tendency to use the German spelling for Yiddish words.

    I have been, in the past, a recipient of grande largesse on the part of friends. If not for the generosity of my friend Laura K., for example, I feel certain I would be dead now. But I did eventually get a job, move out of her house, and pay her back the money she'd lent me (though not for the food I ate or rent for the time I'd spent there -- but that was our arrangement). I can never pay her back for her actual rescue. Not though I babysat her kids when they were little, and before that worked my ass off to make her wedding the best it could possibly be. (OK, I made too many stuffed grape leaves. They gave me the supplies, and I used them up. Besides, the giant mound of them was an impressive symbol of abundance, entirely appropriate for a wedding feast IMO.)

    I am not a schnorrer. I work hard to keep my favor balances green whenever possible.

    The trouble with schnorrers is that they wear out the generosity of person after person. If Laura had had that experience just before my need came around, she might have been reluctant to take such a chance again (except that she knew from past experience that I was willing to work). "Cheaters hurt those in genuine need" isn't just a right-wing slogan; they overblow the number of cheaters, but the principle is sound.

    #227 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 03:59 PM:

    Thanks for posting that "911 Cheeseburger call". ROFL. I know I read the transcript somewhere -- lj? But listening to it is even funnier.

    It's so funny I had to wonder if it's fake so I even checked if snopes had something on it: "undetermined" they say.
    http://www.snopes.com/crime/cops/burger.asp

    #228 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 05:58 PM:

    JvP: I think you exaggerate how understandable Edison was. I very much doubt that many people understood why a light bulb works, let alone some of his more remote inventions (or others of the period, e.g. alternating current as a practical power source); what they understood was what the technology \did/ -- just as people understand today that they can do everything from research to exposing themselves with the box that they bought mailorder and plugged in on their desk, without (as you observe) having the foggiest understanding of the underlying hardware or software.

    What would make the Singularity singular if it happened (which I very much doubt), and what has been making the future different from the past for some time now, is the differences in \use/ -- not the bleeding edge of science, but where the technology has spread out such that people can use it. To some extent the results are broadening -- people are more likely to see beyond their little villages than they were -- and in some cases narrowing -- people's experiences are more homogenized. Consider the difference between a child begging for a doll and a child begging to be flown halfway across the country to a modern Cockaigne he's seen thousands of images of. The lives of our ordinary descendants are no more incomprehensible to us than we are to our ancestors.

    And SF, of course, has no better record at predicting ordinary future lives than it has at predicting future technology -- but the difference goes in the opposite direction: where too many writers assumed that Saturday Evening Post-style stories would still be happening only with rockets in the background, I don't think anybody foresaw (e.g.) flash crowds generated \by/ \individuals/ (i.e., not by a public endorsement as in Niven's story) -- or the related but darker effect of someone whose parents are away phone-treeing everyone and having a spontaneous rave.

    #229 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 06:22 PM:

    What would have been the 111th issue of Whole Earth [Magazine | Quarterly | Review] was to be devoted to the Singularity.

    It was guest edited by Alex Steffan, and had articles by Sterling, Doctorow, Vinge, Jaron Lanier, and others.

    Most of the major pieces are available as PDFs from the site:

    http://www.wholeearthmag.com/

    I wrote a short survey of Singularity-related SF. It didn't make it to the archives, unfortunately. I suggested that the first SF story to hint at the Singularity was Pohl's "Day Million," which is about a virtual reality love affair between a cyborg space traveller and a transgendered otter woman. It takes place beyond what might be called a soft singularity: There's been no technorapture, but things have changed so drastically that the lives and thoughts of Day Million people are essentially inexplicable to us Day 731,825 types.

    #230 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 06:41 PM:

    Recent posts in this thread play into my point, actually: I just read the 2004 Year's Best anthology, the one edited by Karen Haber and, um, a person or persons who are not Karen Haber. It seemed like half the stories were related to the Singularity in particular, or post-humanism in general. God-like AIs are infesting sf these days, like vampires in dark fantasy, and, unlike vampires, literature about godlike AIs do not result in spiffy hall costumes.

    Vinge published his essay on the Singularity about 13 years ago.

    New ideas, anyone?

    #231 ::: liz ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2005, 06:46 PM:

    I confess a fascination with the mindset wherein parents decide the best thing to do with their troubled teens is to ship them off to various sorts of reprogramming or reparenting venues. In 1995, Outside Magazine published a long article by Jon Krackauer on the bootcamp phenonomon and wilderness therapy. WWASPS , the Straight program, and CEDU really do/did sound like gulags.

    This is setting the stage to introduce Allison, who is is writing her memoirs of one particularly heinous bootcamp, Challenger. I am finding it fascinating.

    #232 ::: Ayse ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2005, 11:03 AM:

    I've been enjoying the first poem on this page the last couple of days:

    The Book of my Enemy Has Been Remaindered

    #233 ::: Mac ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2005, 12:55 PM:

    Toddlerpedes

    This is just sick and wrong. Heh, heh.

    #234 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2005, 03:48 PM:

    Having a mild OCD means never having to say "I'm bored!"

    http://home.comcast.net/~stefan_jones/ocd_lunch.JPG

    #235 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2005, 04:31 PM:

    I've heard that the Pope just died. Has anyone else?

    #236 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2005, 04:42 PM:

    No, but then I'm on the West Coast. It takes a few extra milliseconds for news to reach here.

    #237 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2005, 09:02 PM:

    Stefan, I can get rabbit frozen off the shelves at the local Giant (largest local chain) and they will order it fresh for me.

    I spent a week at Minicon and I think everybody should see the program cover/tshirt design that Fastner & Larson did:

    http://fandom.mjlayman.com/mini40.jpg

    It strikingly combines Discworld and Fortean phenomena. Note the Death of Cheese -- Lisa Freitag had little stickers made up of him.

    I put the large musical notes up for the acoustic music area, and so far, nobody has said anything to me about one side having the notes backward. I suppose it could have been mentioned and not gotten back to me. I wanted to see how many people would notice, besides, who knows what direction music goes on Discworld?

    #238 ::: Lenore Jean Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2005, 09:53 PM:

    Xopher, I don't think he's dead yet. I just checked CNN.com, and they have an article up saying he's "near death". It's dated April 1 after 8pm.

    #239 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2005, 10:27 PM:

    Xopher: I've heard that the Pope just died.

    I've heard it twice, and both times I have heard later that his health has deteriorated. I believe we would do better to listen to news reports than to rumors. I don't know of anyone reading Making Light who lacks access to cnn.com, Google news, or the rest of the gaggle who will report within thirty seconds of his last breath, so perhaps reporting the news or rumors here is not particularly useful, either.

    #240 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2005, 11:44 PM:

    Stefan Jones:

    Is your Singularity article on the Web? I'd love to read it. I remember the visceral impact of "Day Million" when I read it, for its palpable sense of the future being very human and yet very different.

    CHip:

    I see merit in your comment, yet think that most people THINK they understand how electrical and mechanical things work. Whether they do or not is more complex. Yankee Ingenuity is genuine, and I don't have much of it compared to my wife, an Experimental Physicist, or even the El Salvadorean cleaning lady and her husband, who spontaneously fix broken things in the house in ways that hadn't occurred to me.

    In the panel discussion I did with Vernor Vinge and John Varley at Con-Dor XII (unfortunately not recorded) there was some thoughful discussion on whether, if the smartest transhumans IQs rose faster than things externally changed, that what would look like The Singularity or Spike to ordinary humans might be a nonsingular gentle continuous change to those who surfed that particular wave.

    At the previous Glasgow worldcon I had a dream a few hours before conversing with Ken MacLeod, said dream exploring his wonderful phrase "fractal balkanization." In my dream, we were close to the Singularity. Nanotech had brought universal assemblers of food and consumer objects to the individual household, so there was no need for import/export in the current sense. Countries split into states into counties into towns into neighborhoods, all essentially autonomous. I was at a meeting of my neighborhood council. I said: "My IQ is about 240 right now, I'm really flying, but the meeting should be presided over by whomever is smartest right now, by cyberaugmentation or genetic engineering or pharmaceuticals or whatever." Then some really weird, yet familar, neighbors began to speak, and I struggled to follow their arguments...

    One reason why it fels so weird when my dreaming equations turn out true, unlike my uncapturable dream music, is that, when awake, in Mathematics, sometimes I seem to see for a moment through crystal clear water at beautiful coral reefs and colorful multidimensional Platonic fish, and sometimes I feel like a stupid squid blinded by my own opaque ink.

    #241 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2005, 01:22 PM:

    "Is your Singularity article on the Web?"

    It is now! Rich text format. Not the final version:

    http://home.comcast.net/~stefan_jones/singularity_resources.rtf

    #242 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2005, 04:04 PM:

    Stefan Jones:

    What does Fred Pohl know about the story? He's just the writer! I think that you, as perceptive critic, nailed it to the pole of singularity definitively with the quotation:

    "If she thinks of you at all, her thirty-times-great-great grandfather, she thinks you're a pretty primordial sort of brute. You are. Why, Dora is farther removed from you than you are from the australopithecines of five thousand centuries ago. You could not swim a second in the strong currents of her life. You don't think progress goes in a straight line, do you? Do you recognize that it is an ascending, accelerating, maybe even exponential curve? It takes hell's own time to get started, but when it goes it goes like a bomb. And you, you Scotch-drinking, steak-eater in your Relaxicizer chair, you've just barely lighted the primacord of the fuse."

    As to "Stones of Significance" by David Brin [Analog Science Fiction and Fact, January 2000, p. 159 ff] I don't mean to cast aspersions on my friend and Caltech classmate, but I don't think it's entirely a coincidence that he wrote this after I explained at great length, while in his hot tub, the dream I'd had of a nearly infinite regress of people who are only simulations in software by people who are only simulations in software by people who are only simulations in software...

    Anyway, good essay. Should be expanded!

    #243 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2005, 04:08 PM:

    "Futile Attraction: Michel Houellebecq's Lovecraft" by John Banville, Bookforum, April-May 2005

    The imagination that produced these fictions—"ritual literature," Houellebecq calls them—is at once diseased and fastidious, puritanical and malign, dandyish and uncouth. Houellebecq defines Lovecraft's general attitude with approving succinctness: "Absolute hatred of the world in general, aggravated by an aversion for the modern world in particular." The same definition might be applied to Houellebecq's own literary, or antiliterary, stance. In describing Lovecraft, the young Houellebecq draws a strikingly prescient portrait of the writer he was himself to become:

    Few beings have ever been so impregnated, pierced to the core, by the conviction of the absolute futility of human aspiration. The universe is nothing but a furtive arrangement of elementary particles [particules élémentaires]. A figure in transition toward chaos. That is what will finally prevail. The human race will disappear. Other races in turn will appear and disappear. The skies will be glacial and empty, traversed by the feeble light of half-dead stars. These too will disappear. Everything will disappear. All human actions are as free and as stripped of meaning as the unfettered movement of the elementary particles. Good, evil, morality, sentiments? Pure "Victorian fictions." All that exists is egotism. Cold, intact and radiant.

    #244 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2005, 05:30 PM:

    Hating to take up bandwidth here with personal announcements, but --

    both my primary and backup hard drives died really badly recently. If I owe you e-mail and you haven't heard from me in about 2 weeks, I've probably lost your address in this mess. So ping me and I'll get back to you.

    We now return you to the papal deliberations.

    #245 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2005, 10:28 PM:

    If you climb up from the bunny suicides page you end up at a site about weirs on a French island. It's very big, considering the subject, with maps and photos and exhortations. In French. Which I can no longer read comfortably.

    #246 ::: Rivka ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2005, 09:19 AM:

    Okay, that "small-minded indignation" site just broke my brain. Not with the outrage about the Pope serving Communion to "bare-breasted natives." Not with the horror at the very idea that Judaism is a legitimate religion.

    With the phrase "Progressivist Cardinal Ratzinger."

    What. The. Hell.

    #247 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2005, 10:03 AM:

    Rivka --

    Consider that this is apparently someone who has been angry for forty years that the Church would dare to suggest that they should examine their prejudices. Puts a different spin on things, at least to my mind.

    #248 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2005, 02:56 PM:

    Wow, Rivka, I hadn't noticed that. The Grand Inquisitor himself, a progressive? That alone, never mind the other lunacy, is enough to tag this person as a nutbar.

    #249 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2005, 03:10 PM:

    I quit reading when I got to the part about the "interfaith baptism at the Episcopal temple."

    #250 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2005, 03:37 PM:

    Apropos of nothing, but it was a lovely day for a trip to the park.

    #251 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2005, 03:40 PM:

    CAPTURING THE UNICORN
    by RICHARD PRESTON

    How two mathematicians came to the aid of the Met.
    The New Yorker
    Issue of 2005-04-11
    Posted 2005-04-04

    I have deep yet ambivalent nostalgia for the Cloisters. On the one hand, it is a marvel of architectural quasi-medieval atmosphere. Also, the Unicorn Tapestry was my favorite work of art therein, perhaps contributing to my profession as Science Fiction and Fantasy author. On the other hand, there was what I took to be an elaborate hoax by my father, who always, to my embarassment, conversed with a particular security guard whom the two of them pretended was a great-uncle of mine. That could not be so, I reasoned, as he never once came to our apartment, or any of the family holiday dinners. Of course, it turns out that he really was a blood relative, and for some combination that I still don't understand of eccentricity and family dynamics never came to events hosted by my maternal branch. The late great-uncle was said to have carefully placed an enormous number of peach pits on the windowsill of his Manhattan apartment. As eccentric as I may seem to Making Light folks, I am fairly normal by family standards.

    But never mind that. The New Yorker article is delightful, and the Unicorn Tapestry timeless.

    #252 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2005, 04:13 PM:

    Jonathan, please tell me you've been engaged in self-parody, with respect to David Brin's hot tub, Vernor Vinge's panel, Ken McLeod's conversation, etc.

    I have no trouble believing that you have indeed been these places with these people. I have a more difficult time believing that you don't realise when you're overtly name-and-place-dropping, despite having been called on it repeatedly in this very forum.

    So please reassure me. Tell me you're doing it on purpose, in response to the various parodies. Go ahead. I promise to believe you.

    #253 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 04, 2005, 05:06 PM:

    jennie:

    I am a rather foolish man in many respects, but not so foolish that I am unaware of other people's moods. Sometimes I've been wildly wrong. Con men send disinformation with their moods, for instance. I am basically an optimist, hence generally assume that people think nice thoughts about things in in general, and myself in particular, unless and until I'm proven wrong. I preemptively turn the other cheek. Once, in a employment / financial crisis I asked a psychologist if I was being paranoid. "Oh, no," she said. "The problem is, you haven't been paranoid enough."

    My lack of guile, and general enthusiasm, and some sort of chutzpah inherited with one's mother's mitochondria, has led me to numerous interactions with celebrities of the scientific and literary sort, some of whom have generously become coauthors or coeditors. Once or twice I reported these on Making Light in a sufficient unconscious way that I didn't realize that I was name dropping, although, of course, I really was.

    The response on Making Light baffled me at first, and made me defensive, until I returned to an awareness of how sweet and decent this community is, and how tolerant of me that they had been. The criticism that I received was genuinely constructive.

    Hence, at the same time that I celebrate the supportiveness of the Making Light Nation, I cannot resist an occasional impish self-parodic re-enactment, although others parody my voice far better than I can do myself.

    Of course, I could be completely kidding myself. Or I could be in need of a better psychologist. Thank you for your pre-emptive belief, which I hope I have not abused.

    #254 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2005, 02:27 AM:

    What's wrong with the M3 Greasegun...?

    It fired a .45 ACP slug, out of a 16 inch barrel. In and of itself that's not a real problem, but it was made of stamped steel, weighed in at about 6 lbs, loaded and was only able to fire fully auto.

    Add that, as any other sub-machine gun it worked from the open bolt, so the balance moved from when the trigger (a slab of folded metal, with a very stiff release) was pulled, and then ripped right to a rate of fire around 350 rounds per minute, off its 30 rd clip, so the reciprocating balance was working on a pendulum which was lighter every time it toggled.

    At 30 feet it had a patter of, roughly, 6 feet in diameter, for some one who was strong, and practiced.

    On the other hand, it was loud, did a lot of visible (even if ineffective) damage and might keep someone's head down long enough to creep up on them and club them with it (which would bend the stampings, but one could take the other guys weapon at that point).

    I have a vested interest in having decent weapons, but, all in all, what I care about is that they do a specific job; wound or kill the people I use them against. The M3 didn't do that.

    Both the .45 and the 9x19 do that. For supply reasons (our allies use the 9x19) the latter caliber is more practical. For field applications they are about equivalent. Sadly the 1911 is a better pistol than the M9, and on that basis, I would prefer the former, but it doesn't have anything to do with the round, but rather the platform.

    TK

    #255 ::: Elusis ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2005, 02:43 AM:

    Teresa, ISTR that you're very, very attached to unusual citrus fruits. With that in mind, I thought I might mention that Hangar One has a Buddha's Hand vodka, which I can personally attest is superb when served with just plain soda as a mixer. Perhaps you already know about it, but I couldn't possibly take the chance that you didn't.

    #256 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2005, 09:10 AM:

    Jonathan, I think I'm reassured. Thank you.

    #257 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2005, 01:59 PM:

    Slightly cheery news for spam-haters, and those dreading its infestation of mobile (cell) phones. (Also posted on Electrolite) From the Sydney Morning Herald:
    SMS campaign backfires as car firm is fined for sending spam
    By Kirsty Needham, Consumer Reporter
    April 6, 2005

    A car company that sent text messages to people after copying their mobile phone numbers from classified advertisements has been fined under the Spam Act.

    It is the first time that text message advertising has been caught under the new law, which came into effect last year and is designed to cut the torrent of junk email.

    Carsales.com.au was fined $6600 after members of the public complained to the Australian Communications Authority about the unwanted marketing messages.

    The chief executive of the automotive website, Greg Roebuck, said his staff sent out several hundred of the text messages each week because he believed it was "less intrusive" than calling.

    But the authority ruled that the recipients of the messages had no relationship with the car website and did not give their consent to receiving the text messages ... (more)

    #258 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: April 05, 2005, 04:42 PM:

    This seemed right up the Making Light crowd's collective alley:

    The Medieval Music Drum Machine!

    #259 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2005, 03:19 AM:

    Something weird just happened to my comment between Preview and Post.
    If my next comment shows up a half-dozen times, I apologize in advance. (Or maybe retroactively: but it doesn't seem to be here yet. I guess this is how time-travel stories wind up with troubles with verb tenses....)

    #260 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2005, 03:22 AM:

    (Ah. Here we are.)

    I checked out the Particles link to "Fruitless and small-minded indignation", looked around briefly, was wanly amused at posts like

    April 7, 2003
    Scantily dressed women acrobats perform at the Vatican before John Paul II.

    Ok.
    It never for a moment occured to me that when they said "Each week TIA will feature a photo that illustrates Progressivism in the Church" that they were talking about "Progressivism" as if that was a bad thing.
    Wow.

    #261 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2005, 04:36 PM:

    Bob, me neither. I thought it was nice to see the progressive side of the Church brought to attention...

    #262 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2005, 04:43 PM:

    Attention all science types -

    My friends Marie and Mark just gave birth to their second child, a boy named Andreas. Since they have now given the kid a saint's name (and are, in fact, atheists), they are keen to balance this ecclesiastical trend with a middle name from the ranks of major scientific innovators. (E.g., if "Linneaus" was not a rhyme with "Andreas," it would have been a contender).

    So, any ideas on something that would honor someone who could indeed "hack" the physics/genetics/chemistry/astronomy/etc?

    ::ducks to avoid Electroliters' brickbats::

    #264 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2005, 05:11 PM:

    Skwid: cool! But not especially medieval. The songs may be, but the instrumentation and performance...not so much. (I don't mean it as a slam, just a comment that they didn't have clarinets in the Middle Ages...)

    #265 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2005, 05:19 PM:

    Today's WashPost Food section says that "Nibby Bars" -- coarsely ground cacao beans in semi-sweet chocolate -- are hard to get and supplies this recipe:

    Chocolate Nibby Cookies

    Makes 2 to 3 dozen cookies

    A version of these fabulously fudgy cookies is sold at Grace Baking, a San Francisco Bay area bakery owned by Cindy Mitchell and her husband, Glenn Mitchell. For the best flavor, be sure to use the best-quality chocolate you can. Scharffen Berger's would be good, but Ghirardelli bittersweet, found in many supermarkets, is also an excellent choice.

    4 tablespoons unsalted butter

    12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

    3 large eggs, at room temperature

    3/4 cup sugar

    2 teaspoons vanilla extract

    1/3 cup all-purpose flour

    1/4 teaspoon baking powder

    1/4 teaspoon salt

    1/2 cup coarsely ground chocolate-covered espresso beans

    Position the oven rack in the center. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

    In a double boiler over simmering water or in the microwave on low heat (watching carefully so the chocolate doesn't overheat), melt the butter and chocolate. Stir to combine; remove from the heat and set aside until cool.

    Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat the eggs and sugar until the beaters leave a ribbon trail, 3 to 4 minutes. Take the bowl off the mixer. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and the vanilla and, using a spoon, stir to combine.

    In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir the flour mixture and the espresso beans into the batter; set aside for 5 minutes.

    Spoon the batter into a pastry bag fitted with a No. 4 tip or into a heavy-duty resealable bag with one bottom corner snipped to create a 2/3-inch diagonal opening. For each cookie, squeeze out about 1 to 2 tablespoons of batter onto the lined baking sheet. The cookies can be fairly close together; they won't spread much during baking. While you pipe the second tray, bake the first until the cookies are puffed and cracked and the tops barely spring back when lightly pressed, about 8 to 10 minutes. The cracks should be moist but not wet. Cool the cookies on a wire rack.

    Recipe tested by Candy Sagon; e-mail questions to food@washpost.com Per cookie (based on 36): 86 calories, 1 gm protein, 11 gm carbohydrates, 5 gm fat, 21 mg cholesterol, 3 gm saturated fat, 23 mg sodium, 1 gm dietary fiber

    #266 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2005, 05:38 PM:

    Hmm, you say cacao beans, but the recipe calls for coffee beans. I assume it's the recipe's version, but then I wouldn't know where to get coarse-ground cacao beans.

    #267 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2005, 05:43 PM:

    Jill Smith: has to be hard science? My current favorite science type is Jean-François Champollion. I don't know their last initial, but you could use either 'François' or 'Champollion' as the middle name, whichever didn't make the initials spell something dumb.

    #268 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2005, 05:50 PM:

    Xopher: I think it's probably less "hard science" and more "rationalist," but I know Mark will be checking in occasionally to see what sort of suggestions this turns up - perhaps he will provide greater enlightenment at that point...

    Your suggestion would probably find favor with them in terms of M. Champollion's accomplishments.

    #269 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2005, 07:27 PM:

    So Michael Jackson, O. J. Simpson, and Robert Blake go into a bar on the way home from Johnnie Cochran's funeral.

    "I'll have a chardonnay in a coke can," says the King of Pop.

    "Make mine a screwdriver," says the cinematic footballer, "then lose the blade."

    "I'll have Colt 45 Malt Liquor," says the ex-child actor.

    "I'll miss Johnnie Cochran," says OJ. "He was the greatest attorney is history. Except he never helped me catch the real killer."

    "Right on," says Robert Blake. "Do you suppose we have the same real killer?"

    Michael Jackson sighs deeply. "With Johnnie Cochran gone," he says, "I'll never find out who hurt those poor sweet boys..."

    #270 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2005, 07:53 PM:

    Vesalius is a wonderful choice, JVP -- his drawings of human anatomy are unparalleled.

    #271 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2005, 08:09 PM:

    For those who have not found it before is this list of words and phrases that sound gross but aren't. Of course I'm sure this bunch could come up with more.

    Personal favorites: canonical erection, fornical, trophoblast.

    #272 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2005, 09:23 PM:

    Some of those are pretty funny, but I'm skeptical that "windfucker" is really an archaic name for a kestral. Googling it just turns up lots of copies of that same list of words.

    Anyone with an OED want to comment?

    #273 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2005, 09:44 PM:

    Ok, apologies for looping back to the Tradition in Action "Particles" link, but I'm horribly fascinated by it.

    Rivka: This has also led me to more than I wanted to know about Cardinal Ratzinger, too (I’m not entirely sure whether this site is a parody or not):

    The Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club

    Don’t miss their merchandising efforts:

    "Putting the smackdown on heresy since 1981"

    #274 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2005, 09:48 PM:

    And with real links:

    http://www.ratzingerfanclub.com/index.html

    http://www.cafepress.com/ratzfanclub

    (Eventually, I'll get the hang of this 'mark-up' stuff...)

    #275 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2005, 09:53 PM:

    Alex: You asked for it. You got it.

    windfucker
    Obs.

    1. A name for the kestrel: cf. WINDHOVER.

    1599 NASHE Lenten Stuffe 49 The kistrilles or windfuckers that filling themselues with winde, fly against the winde euermore.

    2. fig. as a term of opprobrium.

    1602 Narcissus MS. Rawl. Poet. 212, lf. 80, I tell you, my little windfuckers, had not a certaine melancholye ingendred with a nippinge dolour overshadowed the sunne shine of my mirthe, I had beene I pre, sequor, one of your consorte. 1609 B. JONSON Silent Wom. I. iv. (1620) C3b, Did you euer heare such a Wind-fucker, as this? c1611 CHAPMAN Iliad Pref. A4, There is a certaine enuious Windfucker, that houers vp and downe, laboriously ingrossing al the air with his luxurious ambition. a1616 BEAUM. & FL. Wit without M. IV. i, Husbands for Whores and Bawdes, away you wind-suckers [sic ed. 1639].
    ---

    The dates make it clear that it became a "term of opprobrium" very quickly. I'm going to have to remember this one for future flamewars.

    #276 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2005, 10:05 PM:

    Andy Perrin:

    I'd comment, but that would be just pissing into the wind.

    #277 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2005, 10:24 PM:

    JvP: *snicker*

    Here is a simple demonstration of poetry's sensitivity to word choice. Take Susan Cooper's lines,

    On Cadfan's way where the kestrels call;
    Though grim from the Grey King shadows fall.

    and replace the word 'kestrels,' for an entirely different effect:

    On Cadfan's way where the windfuckers call;
    Though grim from the Grey King shadows fall.

    Compare and contrast.

    #278 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2005, 11:10 PM:

    Jill Smith:
    Here are a few names I can think of, with what they're known for...

    James Maxwell -- Maxwell's Equations. Enough said
    Alan Turing -- Computing
    Michael Faraday -- possibly the greatest experimentalist in the history of science
    Ernest O. Lawrence -- Cyclotrons are your friends
    Lee De Forest -- Triode in a vacuum tube

    I'll think of more by morning, I'm sure.

    #279 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2005, 09:42 AM:

    Um...um...knitting related?

    Forgive me.

    Oh, and TexAnne, I just called it like the artists had named it...you don't spend as much time in the SCA as I have and mistake clarinet for a medieval instrument.

    #280 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2005, 10:09 AM:

    Jill Smith:

    A few fairly obvious ones:

    Galileo
    Nicholas Copernicus
    Tycho Brahe

    #281 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2005, 10:15 AM:

    If they don't mind repetitive initials, how about "Andreas Audubon"?

    #282 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2005, 10:16 AM:

    Pop culture meets experimental science: Queen Faraday. (Sorry, this geezer couldn't resist!)

    #283 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2005, 11:12 AM:

    Oh DUH on me! How about Leonardo Pisano Fibonacci?

    What IS their surname initial? 'Leonardo' works with most things, though some of the initials are silly, like ALF and ALC. S would be bad.

    Of course they could always name him Andreas Fibonacci Whatever.

    #284 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2005, 12:16 PM:

    I always thought the ultimate stick-in-the-eye for the irrationalists is to name a kid Darwin.

    How about "Volt"? I think it would be pretty funny to have a kid named Andreas Volt.

    #285 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2005, 12:21 PM:

    It'd be funnier if the first name were Amadeus.

    #286 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2005, 01:06 PM:

    Alex, for some reason I have always wanted to say "Deus lo volt!" to an electrician to see what would happen.

    In other news, here's a resource that every wannabe disaster novel author needs: the Earth Impact Effects Program, courtesy of the Lunar and Planetary Lab of the University of Arizona. Be the first kid on your block to drop a dinosaur killer on Detroit!

    #287 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2005, 01:45 PM:

    Claude, similarly, everytime I go to a convention, I want to find the guy running the video room and ask him "Tu es rex videoroom?"

    I think they don't have video rooms as such anymore. Which is too bad.

    #288 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2005, 02:00 PM:

    He is Andreas Pascal. Thank you all. (They loved Audubon and Fibonacci, by the way).

    #289 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2005, 02:01 PM:

    Huh. I was going for a completely different pun. (Hint: it would be funnier if his full name was Sam Andreas Volt.) Having said that, I am in love with the name Amadeus Volt and will try to put him in a story soon.

    The story my parents tell me is that they considered naming me Isaac Green Cohen. Say it fast.

    #290 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2005, 02:48 PM:

    They still get a vague Fibonacci reference in with Pascal...his triangle and like that.

    Hope they plan to call him Andy.

    #291 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2005, 03:11 PM:

    Xopher - I doubt it! It is far more likely that he will insist to his kindergarten teacher that he be called "Andreas."

    #292 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2005, 03:21 PM:

    But Pascal was deeply religious: "Le silence eternel des espaces infinis m'effraie."

    #293 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2005, 04:02 PM:

    Hey guess who's in the news again?

    That adorable gang from Short Creek, that's who!

    #294 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2005, 06:30 PM:

    Xopher, there was a long article about the Nibby bars and right before the recipe, she said it was hard to find cacao beans so she used the chocolate-covered espresso beans instead.

    #295 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: April 07, 2005, 07:01 PM:

    Xopher: conventions don't have video rooms? Is that something strange about the mid-Atlantic?

    Or are you speaking of rooms showing only things that were never on film? (I recall those always being rare.) Boskone has been video-only since it downsized (and the film king gafiated); Arisia has both film and video.

    #296 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2005, 10:32 AM:

    Marilee: ah. Well, that seems a bizarre substitution, both from a flavor (chocolate: yum! coffee: yuck!) standpoint and in terms of caffeine (chocolate doesn't have enough to make a difference, while espresso beans...).

    Sort of like the restaurant I was at once years ago. They ran out of basil for the pesto, so they used SPINACH instead! Not only that, they didn't wash it enough (sandy spinach pesto was NOT what I expected). I was one of several people in a relatively small group of tables who sent it back.

    CHip: Or maybe I'm just wrong. I meant things that were never on film, yes. The first guy I used the tu es rex line on was a BNF in Starblazers fandom (no, he didn't get it).

    #297 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: April 08, 2005, 11:34 AM:

    I think I have seen a recipe for pesto using dried basil and fresh spinach. It was called "winter pesto" - ie, what you do when you don't have large amounts of fresh basil available.

    Dirt was definitely not included, though.

    #298 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 09, 2005, 01:02 AM:

    Feeling Safer Yet? Department:

    Man Arrested for Using $2 Bills at Best Buy

    "Mike Bolesta of Baltimore, MD, knew that paying his $114 installation charge to Best Buy in only $2 bills would cause a small stir, but he didn't think it would cause him to be arrested.... After buying a stereo, finding that it would not work, having a new stereo model installed, and being told that he did not have to pay an installation fee, Bolesta was contacted by the store, and was threated with police action if he did not pay the fee he was told before did not exist. As a sign of protest, Bolesta decided to pay using only $2 bills, which he has an abundance of because he asks his bank for them specifically. Unfortunately for him, the cashier did not seem to understand that the $2 bill is indeed legal US tender..."

    "... the rationale used to explain the incident away, as stated by Baltimore County police spokesman Bill Toohey: 'It's a sign that we're all a little nervous in the post-9/11 world.' The "post-9/11 world" hardly excuses shackling a citizen to a pole or placing him in leg irons merely on one person's ignorant suspicions...."

    #299 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2005, 12:18 PM:

    JVP, the Taco Bell story is better.

    On a different note, here's another nutjob who thinks Harry Potter books are subliminal occult manuals, with the interesting spin that the author's an occultist, not a fundie.

    #300 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2005, 06:32 PM:

    This email to me today belongs on a certain older and longer thread (ISBN Number!), unless it's a really sick joke from someone who Just Didn't Get Atlanta Nights:

    Hi I'm just following up on an e-mail I sent to you about a book called the Legend of Jacquez is Born. It is a science fiction and fantasy book on the market it was published by Aurthor House you can find them at authorhouse.com. The book's ISBN Number is 141-84-85-888. If you can tell people about it that would be great. Bellow is a weblink just in case you'd like to see or buy the book.

    http://www.authorhouse.com/BookStore/ItemDetail.aspx?bookid=26245

    #301 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2005, 06:43 PM:

    Maybe I was stupid do do so, but I did a "reply all" with the following:

    With all due respect, eduardo206@juno.com, why are you trying so hard to damage this book's reputation with an illiterate email?

    Corrections include:
    (1) Comma after "hi"
    (2) Capitalize "the" in book title
    (3) Comma after "market"
    (4) "Author" rather than "Aurthor"
    (5) Period or semicolon after "House"
    (6) "find it" rather than "find them"
    (7) "ISBN Number" is redundant; the "N" means Number
    (8) "Below" rather than "Bellow" -- although such bad grammar is like bellowing to this audience
    (9) "web link" preferred to "weblink"

    This makes me very much NOT want to "see the book."

    I'm not trying to be cruel. As a professional author, editor, and publisher, I thought I'd hint at why this email was horribly counterproductive.

    Sincerely,

    Professor Jonathan Vos Post
    co-webmaster
    http://magicdragon.com
    Over 15,000,000 hits per year

    #302 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2005, 06:59 PM:

    "Winter Pesto"?
    I thought that making pesto to put in jars was a way of keeping formerly fresh green stuff to use in winter. Something to do with scurvy prevention, and general health (as well as flavour of course).

    #303 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2005, 08:06 PM:

    On a total tangent, apparently the Cooper Hewitt is exhibiting Extreme Textiles, showcasing some very cool uses for fibers. Some of them are even knitted.

    Here's an article from today's NY Times. (reg req'd, expires...)

    Unlike Christo's Gates this one will be around long enough that I'll be able to see it when I'm next in NYC.

    #304 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: April 11, 2005, 10:42 PM:

    Flattery for our hostess right here.

    Of course, the same guy had just quoted Rush Limbaugh, so... well... you know.

    #305 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 01:35 AM:

    I've been googling on the topic of insulting bird names, and it seems there are a lot to choose from.

    One day, I'll have to call someone a Buffle-head, or maybe a Limpkin, a European Coot, a Common Snipe, a Wandering Tattler, a Lesser Yellowlegs, a Red-necked Stint, a Buff-breasted Sandpiper, a Parasitic Jaeger, a Scaly-naped Pigeon, a Ruddy Quail-Dove, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, a Green-breasted Mango, a Red-breasted Flycatcher, a California Gnatcatcher, a Worm-eating Warbler, a Wedge-rumped Storm-Petrel, a Brown-headed Cowbird, a White-collared Seedeater, a Dickcissel, a Brown Booby, or a Goatsucker.

    #306 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 02:24 AM:

    In Australia, you can call someone a galah, (if given to exhibitionistic and noisy behaviour) or a gannet (if something of a glutton) or even a mopoke (if tending to stare solemnly while making apparently profound, but meaningless remarks).

    #307 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 02:52 AM:

    So which kind of endangered species of bird produces droppings grammatically akin to this newspaper opinion? The Bluepencilled Crapcatcher?

    Let it's deadwood help fund Angeles

    By the time all the paperwork had been produced and parsed, the trees had rotted. According to a forest consultant, trees that have died must be used within six months to get the best value.

    Too, logging companies weren't interested because the job was too small and not worth the hauling cost, let alone the meager return for the product.
    Much of the wood will go to a Northern California sawmill, you know, that section of the state that's familiar with felling, hauling and milling trees.

    [send editorial comments on this editorial comment to]:

    Letters to the Editor, Pasadena Star-News

    #308 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 03:06 AM:

    I believe that in Italian you can call someone by just about any bird's name and it will mean "penis". One of my fondest memories of Rome was when my voluptuous friend Judith, unaware of this linguistic oddity, asked at a bar for a drink consisting of a twist of lemon peel in boiling water, calling it by its name: a canarino. Apparently, her request for a little canary was an unmistakable double entendre to the two young men behind the counter, who almost fell to the floor laughing.

    Well, it is an open thread, and someone did mention birds.

    #309 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 05:32 AM:

    But Pascal was deeply religious [...]

    Knew Niklaus Wirth personally, did you then?

    #310 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 06:45 AM:

    New link from LJ: this one shows what pictures are being uploaded to LJ. (Thanks to Minnehaha "K" for passing it along.)

    Moreover, Steve Stiles has a page now.

    Sorry to dip and run without reading. Later, I'm sure I'll have lots of time for stuff and all.

    #311 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 06:57 AM:

    Ooh, that Pascal!

    #312 ::: Gigi Rose ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 09:42 AM:

    The best bird insult in my opinion is a yellow-bellied sapsucker. It just fits so well.

    #313 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 10:24 AM:

    Gigi Rose, are you an Elizabeth Peters fan too?

    #314 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 10:55 AM:

    sigh.

    I have just had my first encounter with the musical equivalent of vanity publishing - the "Showcase". I took a cabaret performance class at the local continuing-ed place and really enjoyed it. It's been awhile since I performed in front of people (singing - I got back into the cello thing last year) and I wanted to know if I could still do it.

    After a few weeks, I learned the answer was "yes". Yay me. The instructor and pianist of the class were phenomenal, and really helped everyone. I learned some new stuff, and I decided that the instructor's impending NYC cabaret debut would be the perfect excuse for me to make a visit, since between the planetarium which was not operational when I lived there, and Spamalot, I was in the mood to visit anyway.

    Well, on the last day of class she invited me to these workshops that she runs. I am very excited, since I think I could benefit from more intense instruction. But it is not the price of the workshops that I'm balking at, because it's not that much more than my cello lessons - it's the end performance, wherein I will perform 3 or 4 songs in an honest-to-god cabaret setting. Not the stage fright, but because I am supposed to come up with 20 people to come to the cabaret (at 15 bucks a pop and a two-drink minimum.) I could maybe come up with 10, but a social hermit like me doesn't have the social capital to get 20 people in the door.

    Since it feels to me so much like selling copies of a self-published book out of the trunk of my car, I think I may have already made up my mind not to do it. But now I have to figure out how to continue taking the continuing ed classes without feeling awkward.

    #315 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 11:56 AM:

    John M. Ford:

    "'But Pascal was deeply religious [...]'
    Knew Niklaus Wirth personally, did you then?"

    Once I was at a conference presentation on a new database package. The presentation was slick, with a strong demo. After applause, the presenter took questions. The first questioner asked several techie questions. The speaker finally cut him off.

    "I don't see why you're making so many arbitrary challenges. Of course this package is a relational database. Who are you to attack it, without even using it?

    "I am," said the questioner calmly, "Dr. E. F. Codd, an IBM researcher. I am the one who first developed the relational data model in 1970."

    Story of how I watched Ada Augusta Lovelace snort coke with George W. Bush omitted here by orders of Homeland Security.

    #316 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 12:43 PM:

    Australians also call someone a drongo. There is some debate as to how this came to be applied in its current manner, but it's definitely also a type of bird - comes in Ashy, Bronzed, Crested, Fork-tailed, Racket-tailed (?!) & the most well-known, the Spangled Drongo.

    Oddly, none are found in Australia - they're places like India, Indonesia, parts of Africa near the Indian Ocean.

    #317 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 12:44 PM:

    (8) "Below" rather than "Bellow" -- although such bad grammar is like bellowing to this audience

    Saul Above, and Saul Below...Saul Bellow. RIP.

    #318 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 01:24 PM:

    A story on PublishAmerica, with Atlanta Nights, will be on Channel Six (ABC affiliate) in Philadelphia tonight, 12 April, on the Five O'clock new show. The consumer reports usually run around 5:30 pm.

    #319 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 01:33 PM:

    In other news, Rivka had her baby. For those who know Rivka. (I was going to say "know and love" but that's redundant in her case.)

    #320 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 02:35 PM:

    Mazel Tov to Rivka!

    #321 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 02:47 PM:

    But now I have to figure out how to continue taking the continuing ed classes without feeling awkward.

    Just pretend that cabaret singing is considered shocking in your social circle:

    "Oh, none of my friends and family know about THIS side of my life; I couldn't possibly tell them that I've become a cabaret singer! Why, it would break my mother's heart! [etc]"

    #322 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 03:32 PM:

    Mary Dell, sounds like you'd be leading a double life, like something out of Shall We Dance?

    Yesterday's A Word A Day word was colporteur, "a peddler of religious books". At first glance, though, I was sure it had something to do with American songwriters.

    #323 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 03:33 PM:

    Oops, I meant nerdycellist. Not enough coffee, sorry.

    #324 ::: Connie ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 03:45 PM:

    I checked back for the lists of insulting bird names, and nobody seems to have mentioned "coot", which is an awkwardly waddling bird that looks like a pigeon decided to turn into a duck and got distracted halfway through.

    #325 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 04:41 PM:

    The latest challenge in culinary sculpture:

    Please Eat iPod Shuffle

    #326 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 04:41 PM:

    Hey, in Minnesota the loon -- indeed, the common loon -- is our Statfugl. It's on lottery tickets, where many people think it is a duck, not that that makes any sense either, and the upscaleish mall in downtown Minneapolis is named "Gaviidae Common," Gaviidae being the genus of said Fuglen. Almost nobody in Minnesota knows this, of course (I suspect most think "Gaviidae" was an early Scandinavian settler who saw an empty plain and dreamed that someday Saks and Neiman's would rise there), and even their own advertising people don't know how to pronounce it correctly (omitting the second -i- sound).

    Up here, of course, "loon" can be a term of endearment, though determining whether it is or not can be an interesting exercise.

    #327 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 04:45 PM:

    This sounds like an interesting item: Rob Sawyer's new book "Mindscan":

    With Mindscan, Sawyer set out to make a statement about the growing power of the religious right in the U.S., among other things, and ended up making more of a comment on current events than he'd planned. The book was released the same week that the case of Terri Schiavo. . .
    hit the airwaves.

    #328 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 06:33 PM:

    Nerdycellist - My $0.02: It's only vanity publishing if there's deceit involved. If there's no deceit, it's self-publishing and it's as honorable a business as any other.

    What is cabaret singing, anway? Is that like singing the old standards: Frank Sinatra, Cole Porter, swing music, etc.? If so, your cabaret singing classes are definitely making me go, "Hmmmmm..... " I find myself increasingly drawn to that music.

    #329 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 07:34 PM:

    Mitch -

    That's almost exactly what cabaret performance is; a singer, a piano (sometimes a very small band) and Standards, maybe with a few surprises thrown in (I'm working on a piece in Tahitian). I evaluated it the way you have evaluated vanity publishing, and it's also true that it's not really a scam as there's no deceit involved; a few local bands I really enjoy regularly play in venues on the Sunset Strip (such as the Whisky a-go-go) which are "pay for play" and they have to guarantee a certain audience (or pay up for the unsold tickets.) I think my discomfort is similar to having to sell candy bars for a HS choir thing, or the Reader's Advantage card when I worked at the bookstore.

    The funny thing is, I was ranting to a couple of co-workers about it, and before I got to the "and I'm not going to do it", they got excited and wanted to know when they could buy tickets. I've decided that it's all up to my parents - if they can get out here to see it, I'll do it, if not, then I'll try it next time around. Since the musical director is a well-respected professional in LA, I don't imagine she'll think any less of me if I'm not comfortable with the situation.

    Mary -

    That's a wonderful excuse, but since the musical director is aware that my grandpa made his living on stage with vaudeville/polynesian/cabaret acts, I think she might see through my ruse.

    #330 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 08:32 PM:

    nerdycellist, if he made his living that way, I imagine he knows the name Arthur Lyman. Mr. Lyman passed away in Honolulu a few months ago. He'd lived here for years.

    #331 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 09:02 PM:

    Thanks for the link, er, Linkmeister.

    It sounds like Mr. Lyman and my grandpa travelled in the same circles. Unfortunately, he died when I was about 7, so I can't ask him. Despite his constant work, the only recording of grandpa that exists (besides the reel-to-reels he made when he and grandma were on their mission in Samoa and I was a baby) is a Betty Boop cartoon, which includes one of his bands in a brief live-action sequence, and his voice as the voice of Bimbo the Dog. It's pretty cool, if somewhat politically incorrect.

    And on the topic of birds, apropros of nothing, my mother has begun collecting loons. She especially likes the stuffed ones that make Loon noises. I suppose the call of the loon might be relaxing. But that doesn't excuse her growing collection of anthropomorphic eggs. Very odd.

    #332 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: April 12, 2005, 09:14 PM:

    Nerdycellist - I definitely need to think about cabaret singing lessons.

    You ever hear the song "Mr. Tanner," by Harry Chapin? It's about a cleaner in Dayton, Ohio, who sings while he works. All of his friends and neighbors love his voice, and urge him to go pro. He sinks most of his savings into renting out a concert hall for one night. But he finds singing in public to be a miserable experience, made worse when he gets a terrible review in the newspaper.

    And he never sings again, except when he's working late at night, and no one can hear him.

    It's a really stupid song. The way *I* would end the song is that all the friends and neighbors come to hear the concert, they give him a standing ovation (including Arsenio-style fist-pumping-in-the-air and going "WOOT! WOOT!"), and then the go home and party late into the night.

    And he goes back home and keeps working as a cleaner (although he comes in late the next day, what with all the singing and partying late into the night at all, he's kind of nursing a hangover). He keeps singing, and his friends and neighbors continue to listen to his singing and enjoy it.

    The bad newspaper review exists in my version of the song, too, but nobody cares about it. Because that wasn't the point of why Mr. Tanner sang.

    #333 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2005, 12:06 PM:

    I think the song would be better if the audience had shown up and then a frog came out and sang "The Michigan Rag." But then, I'm on the lookout for any chance to hear "The Michigan Rag." (That lovin' rag! Mike Maltese could write 'em.)

    #334 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2005, 12:09 PM:

    ps: The Michigan Rag. I haven't looked to verify some Google snippets that think there's a Michigan Rag by Scott Joplin, but maybe if my life unexpectedly lengthens, I'll do so.

    #335 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2005, 12:26 PM:

    I have a small favour to ask of the knitting people here, I'm afraid. :-)

    A friend of mine's decided that it might be fun to knit some dolls clothes (since her daughter will probably start playing with them at some point). However, she couldn't find a pattern. She hasn't actually knitted for ages, so making it up as she goes isn't a perfect option. If people could point out a site with some knitting patterns on, it'd be much appreciated - thanks!

    #336 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2005, 12:45 PM:

    The way *I* would end the song

    I like your version. You should write it! If not as a song, as a story. I'm completely serious. The world needs more stories like that.

    #337 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2005, 12:49 PM:

    Hey, in Minnesota the loon...[is] on lottery tickets, where many people think it is a duck, not that that makes any sense either...

    Oh, I think having a loon on lottery tickets makes sense. People who play the lottery believing they'll actually WIN...

    #338 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2005, 12:49 PM:

    Kip, a quick look at a couple of those sites which list Scott Joplin as having composed a "Michigan Rag" suggests that they've become confused by the rag Maltese et al. wrote, and have attributed some or all of Michigan J. Frog's repertoire to Joplin's credit. Since "Hello, My Baby" [also known as "The Telephone Rag", and written by Emerson and Howard, or Howard and Emerson] is listed as "The Michigan Rag" by Scott Joplin at this site:
    http://www2.bonet.co.id/cpr/midi/CLASSIC/00index.txt

    I wonder if these people aren't just assuming that since Scott Joplin wrote ragtime music, all rags must be by Scott Joplin.

    BTW, Kip's link also provides access to information about the other songs in One Froggy Evening, including "Hello Ma Baby". The little frog had quite a range.

    #339 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2005, 12:51 PM:

    Another tangent...

    Talented British stencil artist Banksy has self-installed some of his fine-art pieces in four New York museums.

    This is something I've always dreamed of doing, although I don't have the nerve or the raw talent.

    #340 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2005, 01:02 PM:

    Paul: if she googles "knitted doll clothes" she'll come up with a bucket of sites. Some are for Barbies, some are for American Girls.

    #341 ::: dolloch ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2005, 02:24 PM:

    fidelio -

    I wonder if these people aren't just assuming that since Scott Joplin wrote ragtime music, all rags must be by Scott Joplin.

    If "Michigan Rag is the song I'm thinking of (all I can remember are the words "Everybody loves the Michigan Raaaaag"), it may be because the frog sings both "Telephone Rag" and "Michigan Rag" in the same cartoon. I think "Michigan" comes second, at the music hall when the guy is trying to raise the curtain.

    #342 ::: dolloch ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2005, 02:26 PM:

    Oh, duhr. Just followed the link on Kip's. Please ignore my premature posting.

    #343 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2005, 04:48 PM:

    Somebody's probably mentioned this already, but I think it's worthy of repetition.

    The Red Sweater Project is an art installation of GI-Joe size sweaters, one per dead American soldier, hung on a tree. (I think the neatest part is they have to be made of Red Heart, or they don't count.) She'll take hand-knit, machine-knit, crochet, whatever...

    #344 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2005, 05:00 PM:

    Mitch -

    I love your improvement on Harry Chapin! As a kid, I had dreams of becoming a professional cellist. Even at my mediocre level, I knew that the teachers I had were needed to be cruel. After all, how else do you know you can stand the competion for the CSO, or the LA Phil? Stupid, stupid, stupid! When she was a teen, my current teacher was interrupted mid-lesson by her teacher, who, between cigarette puffs, asked if she really wanted to be a cellist, since she wasn't very good. Another of my teacher's teachers (!) was lucky enough to participate in a master class led by the great Janos Starker. Nervous, he didn't play as perfectly as he could have, and Mr. Starker exclaimed, "you play like a pig!"

    When I was a kid, I knew I was mediocre because my teacher didn't care enough to browbeat me. It took a decade away from the instrument to realize what a joy it is to play - what a gift music is. I am learning much more quickly than ever, and am starting to make a few bucks here and there for my efforts. And while my ultimate goal is to derive at least half my income from music, I have not lost sight of the fact that playing music is FUN, and if it stops being fun, I am doing it wrong. I am also quite happy that I convinced my roommate, who has always claimed tone-deafness, to learn the guitar; she is having almost as much fun as I am.

    I emailed the cabaret teacher, and she's happy enough to have me in the continuing ed class, and says "there's always time" for the workshops. So no bridges burnt, no drama.

    #345 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: April 13, 2005, 06:17 PM:

    Larry: that's good to see, thanks for that. Banksy comes from around here (Bristol); it's quite neat to turn a corner or something and find one of his drawings unexpectedly facing you on a wall. :-)

    TexAnne: cheers for that. One of those things where it makes a big difference if you Google it with the quotes or without. :-) Most places still seem to want to sell you patterns, which wasn't the idea at all, but I think I found a usable free one - thanks!

    #346 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 10:40 AM:

    Alternative Business Model for Academic Publishing Dept.:

    Open-Access Journals Flourish

    By Randy Dotinga
    Wired News
    02:00 AM Apr. 11, 2005 PT

    "Despite concerns about the ethics of pay-for-play publishing, the number of open-access academic and medical journals is growing at a fast clip."

    "In January, an open-access pioneer announced it would more than double the number of journals it offers. Meanwhile, Blackwell Publishing, the world's largest publisher of academic society journals, is dipping its toes into open access, and the number of free journals has grown by about 300 over the last few months....

    #347 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: April 14, 2005, 12:41 PM:

    fidelio, yeah, I finally went and clicked on one of the "Joplin Michigan Rag" links and they certainly were confused people. Foreigners, possibly, with ways different from our own.

    Still, I can remember briefly wondering if Scott Joplin was any relation to Janis Joplin, so maybe I should cut them some slack.

    I used to play part of The Michigan Rag on the piano. Could be time to give it another whacking.

    #348 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2005, 11:21 AM:

    Roger Elwood's honesty: He "edited" a book called A Modern Magdalene, supposedly the true confession of a woman who'd been a prostitute but found Jesus and repented. He eventually admitted that he'd made up the whole thing.

    #349 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: April 15, 2005, 02:50 PM:

    Arthur D. Hlavaty:

    Wonderful cross-examination of Roger Elwood on the stand! I, Judge Jonathan, sustain the demurrer, without leave to amend, on the basis that the witness has lost all credibility, thanks to the successful impeachment of same by Counsel Hlavaty. Do I hear a Motion to Dismiss? Very well, case dismissed. Have the order on my desk by tomorrow at noon for my signature. Court is adjourned. Oh, and Magdalene, see me in Chambers...

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