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June 29, 2005

Open thread 44
Posted by Teresa at 08:20 AM *

44, 44, 44, 44, and 44.

Comments on Open thread 44:
#1 ::: Steingrim ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 08:49 AM:

OK couldn't resist the temptation of the first post.
The name of a mysterious saviour of Poland prophesied in Adam Mickiewicz's drama Dziady?

#2 ::: Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 08:50 AM:

Is this to celebrate the start of Empire? I've gotta say that it's interesting to see a miniseries that starts on the day before the Ides of March, 44BC... and I liked Colm Feore in the role.

As far as the rest goes... it remains to be seen, as it doesn't really draw me in (damn, Octavius is an annoying whiner) but it looks to have potential if they can avoid getting too "formula".

#3 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 09:01 AM:

I was thinking yesterday about a reference book that I wish existed.

Does anyone know of a good history general reference book or series of books that is sorted by timeline? All my history reference books that include timelines are segregated by topic or continent. I'd love to have a book that would let me put roman emperors in the context of chinese art movements, and inventions in the context of political movements. The actual history described in the book wouldn't have to be extensive, just notes to important names, wars, inventions arranged solely by time, as an aid to reference.

I have no idea if this book exists, but I figured if it did someone here would know about it.

#4 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 09:07 AM:

This is sad news:

Harvard's Oak Ridge Observatory is going to be shut down. (You'll never guess why.)

#5 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 09:13 AM:

About "Empire"... Is it my imagination or was the gladiator fight held in a rather dinky arena? I mean, it looked the size of my living-room. Sure, it's a TV production, but they did use computer models elsewhere in the show.

And did anybody recognize the actor playing Tyrannus, bodyguard of the really annoying Octavius?

#6 ::: Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 09:17 AM:

As it hasn't been mentioned here yet, there's an interesting development in the "eminent domain" decision from the US Supreme Court: a real estate developer has set forward a proposal to expropriate Justice Souter's home and build a hotel on the property.

Here's an interview with the developer, Logan Darrow Clements, aired last night on CBC Radio One. (RealAudio needed to hear it, it's 8:48 into the "part 2" link.)

Listener discretion advised: some scenes contain references to Ayn Rand.

(Oh, and another item on that half is a tribute to the fall of the Ashcroft Curtain in the DoJ building. Lovely music. *gag*)

#7 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 09:34 AM:

Other sad news: Shelby Foote, Civil War historian, has passed away.

#8 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 09:38 AM:

I'm now using exciting Firefox in Debian 9, this entire upgrade done exclusively so that Making Light will work right.

It works much better.

However, when I want to go to the end of a thread to see new posts, if I press page-down a lot or if I use the mouse on the bar, it still takes me to a page of ads instead of to where I want to be. It no longer crashes the computer when it does it, which is an improvement, but is there some way of avoiding this?

#9 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 09:46 AM:


That's the number on Buckaroo Banzai's Jet Car.

#10 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 10:03 AM:

Leah: When I asked the same question, the recommendations I got were:

The current popular favorite is probably The Timetables of History: A Horizontal Linkage of Peoples and Events by Bernard Grun, 1975. Timelines of World History gets cited occasionally, it's even thinner on detail, but more visual, centering around pretty pictures and some maps. The old standard is An Encyclopedia of World History by William Langer 1940, this is itself an update of Epitome of History by Karl Ploetz, translated by William Tillinghast 1883, and it got an update in 2001 (by Peter Stearns), though I haven't seen that version.
I recommend James Trager's The People's Chronology, which is showing its age, but is remarkably complete and more up on social and artistic history than the standard "kings, battles, inventors" model in Grun or Langer.

#11 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 10:05 AM:

Leah Miller -- the only book I know organized like you want, is Larry Gonick's "The Cartoon History of the Universe" -- it is however not exactly a reference book, and I don't believe it is indexed either. Good tho.

#12 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 10:10 AM:

Does anybody know when the trade paperback of Stephenson's "The System of the World" will be out? I've already got the trade of "Quicksilver" and "The Confusion" on my shelves, but I want the whole thing before I start reading it. And no, I won't get the hardcover, not being too keen on getting a hernia lugging it around.

#13 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 10:13 AM:

Because this is an open thread, a question of pronunciation . . . .

Last night, I went to the ballet and saw a very strong performance by a woman named

Xiomara Reyes

Reyes I can pronounce, but Xiomara? I want to use the Chinese "X" sound, like in Xian, but I'm not sure that's right.


#14 ::: Steve Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 10:30 AM:

We also have the People's Chronology (mentioned above), which is pretty good, as well as the New York Public Library Book of Chronologies. The latter isn't quite side by side -- making one wish for a good relational database file of the info... sigh.

#15 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 10:30 AM:

I would go either with a scottish-style "ch" sound, or a sound slightly harsher than the usual English "h". No idea if either's right, but at least it's actually pronounceable, unlike most of the alternatives.

#16 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 10:35 AM:

Regarding "Destroying workplace productivity in even cooler ways," I can actually see where I parked my van.

#17 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 10:37 AM:

Xiomara Reyes

Assuming from the last name that she's Hispanic, it should be an 'h' sound, as in 'Mexico.'

--Mary Aileen

#18 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 10:42 AM:

In response to the "problem with google ads" sidelight, I'll point people at this, which I found on a site previously linked here.

I've also frequently seen adverts for vanity presses on pages discussing how authors can avoid vanity presses.

#19 ::: Maureen Kincaid Speller ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 10:44 AM:

Re: Shelby Foote's death, the Kincaid-Speller household is not surprisingly in mourning. The first books on the American Civil War that Paul Kincaid ever owned were the component parts of Shelby Foote's Civil War Trilogy, after seeing Foote on Ken Burns' series on the war. He totally stole that series. He will be much missed.

#20 ::: Andrew Gray ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 11:02 AM:

Serge: Amazon gives the US release of the paperback as September 1, and the UK one a month or so later (with a nicer cover). So if you're not too fast a reader, start now - you've a month a book before #3 turns up!

(I acquired a proof copy of the book in a charity shop, which I really must offload and replace - all the downsides of a paperback combined with the sheer bulk of a hardback...)

#21 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 11:17 AM:

Thanks, Andrew, about "The System of the World". I had looked for that info on Amazon but couldn't find anything. Must have been updated recently.

I guess I could start "Quicksilver" now, but first I have to read Lindsey Davis's "Scandal Takes a Holiday". My wife picked it up in London on a recent trip. (I'd have waited for its paperback American edition, but I understand that the publisher on this side of the pond dropped Davis.)

#22 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 11:36 AM:

Melissa: A rough "h" sound like the Spanish J is probably most appropriate, but the "sh"-like of the Chinese X is not out of place, and is certainly easier to pronounce. It's what I'd be likely to use.

#23 ::: Avery ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 11:38 AM:

Harvard's Oak Ridge Observatory is going to be shut down. (You'll never guess why.)

Got it in one.

And speaking of Ayn Rand and property: in her dream universe, if I bought one square inch in the center every block surrounding a city, count I then demand millions whenever the city wanted to grow and needed to put something in that block?

#24 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 11:39 AM:

this guy makes Philip Larkin look like Pollyanna

Men we once honored share a crooked eye.
We can do nothing more than mourn.
The girls we loved will marry them, and die. —“Five Villanelles.”

“—Your face is never clear. You always stand
In charcoal doorways in the dark. Part ofyour face
Is gone. You say, ‘Just to be through with this damned world.
Contagious fogs blow in. Christ, we could die
The way deer sometimes do, their antlers locked,
Rotting in snow.’ —“Girl at Midnight.”

Only a suburban house with the front door open
And a dog barking at a squirrel, and the cars
Passing. The corpse quite dead. The wife in Florida. —“Crime Club.”

Robinson afraid, drunk, sobbing Robinson
In bed with a Mrs. Morse. Robinson at home;
Decisions: Toynbee or luminol? Where the sun
Shines, Robinson in flowered trunks, eyes toward
The breakers. Where the night ends, Robinson in East Side bars.
Robinson in Glen plaid jacket, Scotch-grain shoes,
Black four-in-hand and oxford button-down,
The jeweled and silent watch that winds itself, the brief-
Case, covert topcoat, clothes for spring, all covering
His sad and usual heart, dry as a winter leaf.

The pages in the books are blank,
The books that Robinson has read.
That is his favorite chair,
Or where the chair would be if Robinson were here.
All day the phone rings. It could be Robinson
Calling. It never rings when he is here.

#25 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 12:08 PM:

Woe, Shelby Foote is dead: not an impartial historian, but a great storyteller, with a voice like very well educated sorghum poured out upon grits. I own the unabridged audio version of him reading The Stars in Their Courses, and would happily have listened to him read the complete trilogy on tape, if he'd ever recorded it.

Leah, The Timetables of History is the one I'd go for.

Jo, there's something buggy about the ads. I'm getting a different set of odd behaviors out of Firefox. It seems to correlate with having a message turn up about the browser having reached the bottom of the page and gone back up to the top.

If you get an otherwise blank page with ad info, hit the "stop loading" icon, then the back arrow.

Melissa, re Xiomara Reyes: Is that a Mexican initial "X", as in "Xochimilco"? I can pronounce it, but not spell how it's pronounced. The initial sound is kind of throaty or glottal-stopped, like the "ch" in "Chanukah", only it's an "s" with "z" tendencies instead of a "ch". In a pinch, treating it as an "s" will do, as in Taxco, pronounced (approximately) "Tahsco."

Suddenly, the answer occurs to me: I walk down the hall to Melissa's office and demonstrate that sound, or anyway the best version of it I can manage.

The rest of you are on your own.

Next week on It's the Consonants, we'll be discussing Spanish pronunciation in general. Our guests will include a Mexican, a Dominicano, a Castilian, a couple of Argentines, and a Loisaida loca, all of whom will be armed with potato guns. Victors will go on to the semifinals, where they'll be issued super-soaker water guns for their discussion of singular and plural second-person pronouns.

#26 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 12:09 PM:

Re: the Disney/Narnia particle, I share Morford's trepidation, but it would be nice if he could have gotten his facts straight. Many of the children's books he thinks are yet untouched by the corrupting influence of Hollywood aren't: Wrinkle in Time was made into a movie by Disney a year or so ago; Charlotte's Web was an animated musical in the 70s; The Phantom Tollbooth was also animated in the 70s (Rankin-Bass, I think). And for my money, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, while it has the eternally lovable Gene WIlder, bears very little resemblance to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starting with the title.

Meanwhile, I'm reeling at the notion of Hilary Duff as the White Witch. Yoicks.

#27 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 12:11 PM:

Xiomara Reyes

If she's from farther down in Central America it's an 'sh' sound. Juan Xaxo is Juan Shaysho.

(Which is why we used to refer to the copy machine as the "Sherosh.")

#28 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 12:12 PM:

Julia, that's stunning.

#29 ::: Steve Thorn ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 12:18 PM:

It's probably just me but when I saw the post title, in my head was Ben Stein's voice repeating 44, ala Bueller, Bueller, Bueller...

#30 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 12:19 PM:


#31 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 12:20 PM:

cd, Leah Miller, Teresa:

Because I wanted such a book, I wrote my own, vaster in content than any of the citations above. It is biased towards my interests: history of science fiction, history of science, history of math. But it tries to be very international. In any given century, what were the things worth reading? Who were the people that made the biggest difference? It starts as a year-by-year Science Fiction history (forwards to 2010-2020), and backwards. It eventually morphs from ancient history to prehistory, to archaeology, to geological history, to cosmological history. Printed out, it far exceeds 1,000 pages.

#32 ::: theophylact ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 12:23 PM:

I'd guess that "Xiomara" is Brazilian, and that you should use Portuguese pronunciation rules. Whatever they may be...

#33 ::: Marie Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 12:29 PM:


I have trepidation, too, but that article irritated me in several places. There was a lot more going on in the Shrek movies than "boogers and fart jokes and burping and smart-assed talking animals;" now, the other stuff that was going on doesn't necessarily adapt well to Narnia, either, but they weren't just stupid gross-out comedy.

I also had to roll my eyes at the comment about "annoying Aslan-as-Jesus insinuations." Okay, yes, if you read the books when you were young enough your conscious mind probably managed to dodge the Allegory Hammer, but it isn't a matter of "claims that C.S. Lewis somehow wove his beloved Christian themes into the narrative" -- it's pretty well-established critical fact, and hard to miss once you start looking for it. Aslan-as-Jesus is not something the filmmakers have decided to shoehorn in to attract right-winger Christian audiences.

But I tend, despite having been burned more than once, to take a cautiously optimistic stance toward these sorts of things, and try not to judge them in advance.

I mean, after all, they DIDN'T cast Hilary Duff. That's a good start. :-)

#34 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 12:31 PM:

My father told me the joke for 44.

It was 4 April 1944. A man noticed that it was 4/4/44 on this day -- which happened to be his 44th birthday. Feeling lucky, he went to the track, and saw a horse named "Old 44." The odds were 44 to 1.

He put $44.44 on "Old 44" to win.
[beat. beat. wait for it]...

It came in 4th.

#35 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 12:34 PM:

I don't know how to pronounce Xiomara, but I bet Leigh Witchel does.

#36 ::: Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 12:37 PM:

Serge: the actor playing Tyrranus, Johnathan Cake, has done a lot of TV movies and miniseries over the past decade... it's entirely possible you've seen him before. Interestingly he played Nero in the made-for-TV "Riverworld".

Madeleine: the Dahl family agrees with you on the Gene Wilder version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but is quite happy with the Johnny Depp version. (Read it in an interview, but can't remember where dammit. Need to take more notes.) This could be interesting.

And Bill: I subscribed to "Keyhole" earlier this year and used it as a trip planner for my Chicago expedition. This means I get Google Earth for free until my Keyhole subscription lapses, and I've got to say that the trip planning would've been easier with this version. *Much* better address finding that extends outside the US, and the integration with Google search is *very* handy. It's kinda surreal, though, to take a pseudo-3D trip down the streets of DC with the "buildings" tab clicked.

#37 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 12:41 PM:

"He totally stole that series"


I was wondering where my videotapes had gotten too.

#38 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 12:41 PM:

Re: Off Aslan

Though hilarious, I think the article forgot about the last forty years of animated flicks besides disney. Even Narnia has been butchard both live action and animation.

Disney is sequel happy...but you can find a good one every once in awhile. I agree Hollywood has a problem with turning childhood memories to crap, but sometimes they do well.

#39 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 12:41 PM:

Re the Disney/Narnia article: What was wrong with The Princess Diaries II? (I saw that while playing The Movie Game -- you go to a multi-banger theatre without looking at the listings in advance and see The Next Movie Showing that you haven't already seen.)

I saw it the same afternoon as I saw Resident Evil II.

This gave me a wonderful idea for a crossover: Resident Princess in which Anne Hathaway wakes up, takes a shower for reasons not related to the plot, then discovers that all of her happy subjects have become flesh-eating zombies. She must rescue Julie Andrews and shoot her way out of the palace while wearing nothing but a bath towel before the United States (in order to cauterize the zombie plague) nukes the entire country. The end.

A much better movie than either of the originals.

#40 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 12:50 PM:

Of course, there's always the old Tombstone epitaph:

Here lies Lester Moore
Four slugs from a 44
No Les
No More.


By the way, I note that both TNH & PNH have called our attention to the always entertaining Mark Morford. Should we call such a double-barreled link a Sidicle, or a Partilite?

#41 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 12:54 PM:

Ah, Anton, you too recognized Empire's Jonathan Cake from the Riverworld movie. You know what? I actually liked that movie. And yes, I did read all Riverworld books. "To Your Scattered Bodies Go" and "The Fabulous Riverboat" were great, but after that, Farmer stretched things on and on longer that the River was. As for the movie, I'd have liked them to stick closer to the books, but I understand and can accept the changes because this WAS a 2-hour TV movie. My only problem with Cake was his supposedly being Nero. Why did they choose Nero? Why not Domitian since Commodus had already been taken up by "Gladiator"?

#42 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 01:15 PM:

If anyone would like to neep about locally-hosted blogging systems, I'd love to hear about it. I hate to ask people to go to an outside link, but dumping a long-ish list of requirements here seemed marginally ruder, so my list is over at my LiveJournal (it's the non-LJ blogs I'm looking to upgrade).

#43 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 01:21 PM:

Here in Ohio, the initial X is pronounced "eggs," as in University or Cugat.

So, Xiomara is pronounced "Eggsy O'Mara."

#44 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 01:24 PM:

Larry--you got me stuck on the idea of side-spinning particles. Thanks a lot--now I want to call them all bosons or mesons or muons.

(I have a scattershot knowledge of particle physics, brought on by too much Star Trek and random readings of physicists.)

Oh, and unless someone beat me to it, would this be comment #44?

#45 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 01:31 PM:

"side-spinning particles."

At the SFRA's panel on bibliography, libraries, and on-line Science Fiction databases, there was universal fond recall of "ms. found in a library" with its planet entirely covered by indices, indices to the indices, etcetera, all linking to the complete literature of the planet, which has been nanominiaturized to the size of a shoebox by successively storing bits on molecules, atoms, electrons, notched electrons, and nudged quanta... But the shoebox has been lost, so civilization collapsed.

#46 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 01:34 PM:

Larry, Patrick and I call that an error. His had priority, so I took mine down.

#47 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 02:00 PM:

Jim, a conflation of Princess Diaries and Resident Evil makes my head hurt. Not least, because I can imagine it. Now I'm going to have to scrub my brain out again.

Melissa: the Xiomara I knew pronounced it with a kind of soft z-h sound: zhiomara; but just the other day I saw an article in which the name was spelled (by its owner) Siomara; in any case, I don't think you can go too far wrong with a soft S.

Anton P. Steve: I think I read the same article (and can't remember where either, dammit). I have great hope for the new Charlie, which from the previews appears to be working from the book itself. I don't always trust Tim Burton, but I've got a cautiously good feeling about this one. (No Anthony Newley, for starters...) I always wanted to see Joel Grey play Wonka, since he looked so much like the illustrations in the book. But I'm curious to see what Johnny Depp does with it.

#48 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 02:09 PM:


The problem with those movies is that there is no real conflict. Leaves you with the feeling you have after wating most of Sixth Sense without watching the last few minutes..

"Well, that's nice but what's the point again?

Only there's no twist.

#49 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 02:12 PM:

Must be a long day...that should be:

"...after watching most of Sixth Sense..."

Over at Hatrack I read OSC's review of Chocolate Factory...he complain's that Johnny Depp modeled the character after Micheal Jackson.

I'm still waiting to see it but I have noted in the past that OSC's perception seems a skewed to me.

Or maybe I'm Skewed.

#50 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 02:15 PM:
Leah Miller -- the only book I know organized like you want, is Larry Gonick's "The Cartoon History of the Universe" -- it is however not exactly a reference book, and I don't believe it is indexed either. Good tho.

It's not really organized like that, though. Gonick does sometimes insert asides on what is going on elsewhere at the same time as his current narrative, but that's about it, as I recall. Most chapters cover a given geographical area for a certain period, and the periods tend to get longer (or there are just more chapters on the same area in a row, I forget which) in the later volumes.

Which is not at all to say I wouldn't recommend the books, but I don't think they're what Leah is looking for.

#51 ::: Lloyd Burchill ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 02:15 PM:


My favorite chronological history is the Times Atlas of World History, on the strength of its concision, ice-age-to-yesterday scope, and cheery maps a-tangle with warring arrows.

#52 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 02:20 PM:

Johnny Depp is a genius actor, perhaps the greatest of his generation. I'll watch him do anything. I've spoken at length with him about his craft. He is deeply polite, articulate, and committed to acting, and has profound ontological depressive withdrawal between films. Today is the 50th anniversary of some key Brando events, and the release of "Rock Around the Clock." Dang, that makes me feel old.

The eponymous Xiomara of the Pasadena fine restaurant of the same name is from Cuba, and pronounces it "SHEE-o-mahra." She served the best French cuisine in Pasadena (among over 700 restaurants) but the Cuban food gradually displaced the French, as driven by the customers, and by Jennifer Lopez' stylish restaurant in Pasadena serving Cuban/Puerto Rican cuisine.

#53 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 02:25 PM:

Michelle--I thought the consensus was that he based his portrayal on Marilyn Manson?

(After seeing the trailer, by the way, I'm convinced that he based his voice on Gene Wilder.)

#54 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 02:29 PM:

whoah, that google maps thing is phreaking cool. I tilt the view so I'm looking at the horizon, set the altitude so I'm around 500 feet, turn on the buildings, and then "fly" around major cities. Hey, it's WAY cheaper than renting a helicopter. And you never get bad weather....

#55 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 02:29 PM:

Ever thought of Michael Jackson being cast as Elric of Melnibone?

#56 ::: TH ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 02:34 PM:

because it's an open thread: When you linked to M. Bérubé's retcon, I remmebered this cute retcon:

My Porridge was Cold this Morning

And of course metamorphosism is worth reading anyway.

#57 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 02:38 PM:

Leah et al.,

Oh, and as to the continuation of the encyclopedia into the deeper future: Cosmic Future combines the latest scientific theories of geological and astronomical evolution of the Earth, Sun, and Milky Way Galaxy. Just for fun, it interleaves a few pieces of the chronology of the amazing novel by William Olaf Stapledon [Star Maker, 1937], which inspired young Arthur C. Clarke. The astronomical predictions cited here assume that human beings (or our descendants) do NOT move the Earth further from the Sun, or slow down the Sun's evolution by "lifting" hydrogen from the sun, and banking it in artificial Jupiters, or otherwise engaging in major Planetary Engineering. These are a kind of "default" predictions about the very distant future.

#58 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 02:39 PM:

Xiomara Reyes's bio on the ABT website says she's from Cuba.

#59 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 02:43 PM:

Re: Will
I didn't say OSC was right. lol Besides he might not know...he does live in a state where MM was banned for quite a while.

As for Johnny's acting ability...cute and talented. Num.

Re: Dave
cept for the fact that I couldn't imagine MJ lifting stormbringer..he does have the facial build simular to the art depicitng the white wolf.

However now I must smite you, how dare you sully the enternal hero as such.

Still maybe he'd do okay as Dancers...yes that would fit. Just dye his hair white and put him in a black victorian dress.

Then he just has to sit there and look pretty while the scenery changed and made the story.

Perhaps we should start a thread: 101 evil things to do with micheal jackson.

#60 ::: Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 02:43 PM:

Will: The same interview that neither I nor Madeleine can recall (dammit) stated that Depp said he modeled part of his Wonka on the man-child aspects of MJ.

As far as OSC's opinions on the matter, well, his rarely agree with mine... I'll just take the movie as it comes.

Serge: I was surprised that there was a movie version of Riverworld... I may now have to poke around to see if it's a rental anywhere. "Empire" is the first I've seen of Cake. (Note, class, the capital "C." Alas I'm far too familiar with "lower-c" cake. *glances at waistline*)

Greg: I'm looking forward to their implementing the "buildings" option on major tourist traps like the Pyramids and Notre Damme Cathedral. If they haven't already... gotta check that sometime. Keyhole had some great coverage of Kennedy Space Center, too, which would make for a great conversion. (And some parts of Las Vegas were mapped down to a three inch resolution, which is just scary really.)

#61 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 02:45 PM:

Not being raised with anything more remotely Christian than a Christmas tree, and some annoying Christian classmates (who taught me to despise proselytizers in 1st grade), I managed to avoid C.S. Lewis's Allegory Hammer until the end of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, where he exchanges the Allegory Hammer for the Allegory IED. The scene as I remember it:

Lucy, Edmund and Eustace come upon an island with a talking lamb. A remarkably annoying and preachy talking lamb, which should have been a tip off, but then it turns into the lion, Aslan, and the Christian symbolism explodes. "Oh Aslan!" cry Lucy and Edmund, while Eustace just stares at the lion who undragonified him by peeling his skin off chapters earlier, but now has for himself done a transformation without leaving a painful bloody mutton-skin behind. Nice trick, thinks Eustace. Didn't you think of sharing, or did you get off on peeling me like a grape, you selfish prat?

"Oh Aslan, will we never see you again?" ask Edmund and Lucy.

"No," says Aslan, "you won't. But I have a name in your world too."

"Oh Aslan, tell us!" cry Edmund and Lucy, still clueless.

"I cannot say," says Aslan, while Eustace thinks, Why not? Because you're making up the rules as you go along? Or because you can't believe how stupid my cousins are? It's Jesus, J-E-S-U-S, do I have to spell it out for them?

Then Aslan leaves, sending the kids back to England, and Edmund and Lucy realize--no, not that Aslan is a Jesus allegory--but that Eustace wasn't mentioned in the Narnia-ban, so he can go back for a sequel.

Great, thinks Eustace, and while the events in The Silver Chair are pretty fun, because it's mostly Aslan-free, Aslan is exceedingly annoying in The Last Battle, and also breaks his own rule about Lucy and Edmund coming back to Narnia via the expedient of killing them in a railway accident so they can be there for Narniageddon.

#62 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 02:48 PM:

The Telltale Signs

I think Poe would approve.

#63 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 02:51 PM:

And yet...

I still cried when I realized they were dead.

#64 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 02:52 PM:

"Riverworld" is actually available on DVD.

About Aslan... Didn't he appear as the King of the Island of Misfit Toys? Or maybe that was his brother.

#65 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 03:01 PM:

Teresa, I love The Stars In Their Courses on tape as well -- it sustained me on many a long commute. I was already preparing for my annual reading of those chapters over the coming weekend when I heard the news about Foote.

Blackstone has an unabridged audio version of the trilogy (read by the seemingly ubiquitous Grover Gardner) available either as cassettes or as MP3 CD's -- and you can rent the cassetes from Blackstone as well. However, Foote did record his other except from the trilogy, The Beleaguered City, about Vicksburg. He also recorded his novel Shiloh, but nobody seems to have it available currently.

#66 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 03:08 PM:

Regarding OSC:
Seems to me I just posted this elsewhere, but to'm very glad that I'm a Milhollandist ( and not an Aerieist ( when it comes to OSC, because it's just easier to deal with.

Kevin: Being completely Jewish, and having last read a Narnia book when I was maybe ten years old, and then only maybe reading the first two (though I know I listened to Voyage and Silver Chair on audiobook, I only really remember Chair) I never--and I do mean never--got it, until I looked back from many years later with explanation from my friends.

#67 ::: Ariella ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 03:15 PM:

The Narnia news makes me a little nervous, but this fills me with abject terror. The Passion of the Merriman Lyon? Noooo, make the bad men stop!

#68 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 03:30 PM:

Michelle, I think I'll take this guy's call over OSC's.

And I'm definitely not Skewed...I'm Skwid.

Kate, I've been more or less happily using GM for a couple of years now, and it *is* still being developed and supported over at its forums, just not with a great deal of vigor. I can't really recommend it to you, though, because it only meets the last three of your requirements, which seemed like the lesser of them in importance. It's ideal if you need a non-database blogging solution, but that's pretty much its primary selling point.

#69 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 03:31 PM:

Having been raised in a family as a-religious as any I know, I completely didn't get the religious allegory in the Narnia books until after I read Lewis's Perelandra trilogy. Then went back, smacked forehead with heel of hand, and cried, "Aha! Now I get it!" It certainly never got in the way of my loving the books.

And yeah, I cried at the end of the last book--partly because they were dead, but as much because I'd run out of Narnia books to read (and this was in the days before they farmed out universes for endless sequels). No more of that particular world to conquer.

#70 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 03:35 PM:

OMG Mr. Rodgers...that's perfect.

He definetly scared me as a child.

#71 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 03:35 PM:

Skwid, thank you, if it only does the last three I will take GreyMatter off my list.

MT is leading in early discussions, which deserves further investigation.

#72 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 03:53 PM:

But, wasn't Octavius when young an annoying whiner of whom no one expected Great Things or Complex Plotting and machinations, or the talent mixed with the ambition to become monarch over the Roman Empire, of, originally? IIRC from reading whatever stuff that I could consider reasonably reliably as historical data, everyone way underestimated him and left out out of their calculations as an operator.

I wish that some competent and interested in fidelity well-funded etc. production/distribution entity would pick up the Judith Tarr novel about Cleopatra which had Octavian in it, which shows Octavian managing to outmaneuver and outscheme nearly everyone else in the Roman-influenced world. (But in the end his Livia did him in... hmm, how many books are there out there that are reasonable as reading matter and such, focusing on her, as opposed to her blood relatives such as Claudis, and her relatives by marriage such as Julius (though she wasn't married to his foster son at the time) and Octavian/Augustus?

Ever thought of Michael Jackson being cast as Elric of Melnibone?

Euuwww, now I have to wash my brain out! Elric relied upon drugs and then Stormbringer to overcome his debilitating probably-from-too-much-inbreeding chronic ailments. He wasn't malformed, he wacking in pigmentation and good health, but he hadn't had surgery reshaping his face and hadn't undergone whatever cosmetic otherwise medicine that had been practiced on Jackson. Michael Jackson's appearance is the result of intentional self-mutiltation vis modern cosmetic surgery and Lifestyle Cosmetic Other Treatments, the mental outlook that paid for all that modification is subject to discussion regarding "mental health" and outlook, but physically, Michael Jackson's issues are of his own making. Elric was born with physiological issues.

Something that always bothered me about the view of Elric--in the culture he was born in, the entire Melnibonean Empire was his legacy, and his do to with as he wished by Melnibonean law on the death of his father the Emperor--the law was quite clear about that, he has inherited an absolute rulership and the responsibility of all Melniboneans was to do whatever the Emperor told them to/wanted them to do. On that basis nothing he could do to any Melnibonean citizen was wrong, since by definition whatever he wanted or decreed was law, in that absolute monarchy. The court existed to follow his whims, etc.

His absolute rule didn't extend over to the world beyond the Empire. But within in the Empire, if he went and did things like wreck Imyrr and slaughter his subjects, that was completely within his authority and not subject to recriminations from any Melnibonean. There was no way he could be a traitor to Melnibone, since he was the absolute ruler of the place and his whim the law.

Something else that bothered me--he was supposed to be this great sorcerer, yet it seemed that his personal power was really only that of reuesting assistance from elementals, using the power of Stormbringer, and telling other people what to do, as opposed to exerting his own will directly and having magic happened that he ordered, rather than elementals and such impose.

#73 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 03:55 PM:

Another amusing note on the Morford article, the Chon slightly modified the title on the homepage to omit the "and dump" that appears on the article headline.

There are times I get the sense that the Cron is really uncomfortable with Morford, but he has a following that draws people to the site so they can't just shuffle him off to Buffalo.

#74 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 04:02 PM:

This just in:

England has apparently it's first Jedi to Parliament.

No word yet on his position on the Sith reign across the pond...

#75 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 04:06 PM:

"Lorem ipsum" in the news:
The official White House "Renewal in Iraq" page

Found in yesterday's
No More Mister Nice Blog

The 18 Minute Gap

#76 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 04:08 PM:

About the real Octavius... True, he may have been the way he was depicted in "Empire". I am NOT an expert on Ancient Rome. I guess I simply have problems seeing that kid turn into Brian Blessed's Augustus in "I, Claudius".

#77 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 04:11 PM:

Having been raised secular Jewish, I didn't get that Narnia was Christian allegory _at all_ and even now have to stop and think to see it that way. I mean, I understand that that's what it's meant to be, but it's always just been a really good fantasy story to me (since I started reading fantasy & SF at about 8 and didn't hit Narnia until a couple of years later).

DD and I are reading our way through now and I've made no mention to Christianity or Christian influences to her. She thinks it's cool fantasy. We're about half a chapter from the end of Dawn Treader, and we're reading in the old order, the order I grew up with. We have a boxed set of the British mass markets, courtesy of Brian Lumley. The interior art's muddy thanks to multiple reproductions but the story still works. DD was quite excited when Eustace became a dragon, and like many small children, is enthralled with Reepicheep.

#78 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 04:12 PM:

Interesting to see OSC's take on the Wonka film. I've just come over from Slashdot, where Wil Wheaton was suggesting that he thought Depp was one of the few modern actors who could carry the role.

Oh, and having been raised atheist, I didn't get the religion in Narnia either. :)

#79 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 04:21 PM:

How about the aforementionned Johnny Depp as Elric?

By the way, after "Lord of the Rings" started making it to the big screen, I read that Moorcock was working with some movie people on a trilogy based on "Elric". Has anybody heard anything else about that? Or did it go belly-up like 1976's adaptation of "Caves of Steel", which would have starred Paul Newman.

#80 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 04:25 PM:

Re: Serge

I don't know if they could make Depp white enough.

#81 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 04:35 PM:

Agreed. If they tried to make Depp's skin albino-like, it probably would look like pancake make-up. They could simply change the character so that his skin would be paler, as long as his hair is white. Heck, Peter Jackson's version of the hobbits didn't have particularly furry feet and I didn't hear anybody complain.

#82 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 04:36 PM:

Melissa: Reepicheep is my boyfriend. :-)

I was raised Episcopalian and didn't get the allegory until I was in high school. (I may have mentioned that I wasn't the most critical reader ever.)

Ariella: Aaargh! Nooooo!

When the Dark is rising
None shall turn it back.
Hollywood shall always
Make the magic crack.
Would the ironists
Want to throw a stone?
Five movies filmed
And fans go alone.

#83 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 04:37 PM:

Madeleine, the original book was called Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. When the movie with Wilder came out, there had just been a movie called Charly based on the novel version of Flowers for Algernon, and they didn't want to court that confusion. I kid you not.

Johnny Depp could play Elric and get him right. He'd look like Edward Scissorhands and act like...I don't want to think about it.

In fact, the idea of any Moorcock novel being made into a movie sort of turns my stomach. And for such a trashy project to get a real actor like Johnny Depp strikes me as unlikely in the extreme.

#84 ::: Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 04:41 PM:

Just another data point: I was raised in a Catholic family, read the Narnia books as fantasy, and loved them... the Christian allegory escaped me entirely. Of the few other kids I knew who'd read them, none of them mentioned the allegory if they knew of it.

When I got into high school, I had an English teacher who taught me to see allegories and symbolism under every literary bed. Even after that, the Christian allegory in Narnia didn't exactly leap out at me, other than the realization that C.S. Lewis was being quite hostile to non-Christian religions in "The Last Battle".

I guess I just didn't want to see the allegory. They're more fun as pure fantasy.

#85 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 04:43 PM:

Something else that bothered me--he was supposed to be this great sorcerer, yet it seemed that his personal power was really only that of reuesting assistance from elementals, using the power of Stormbringer, and telling other people what to do, as opposed to exerting his own will directly and having magic happened that he ordered, rather than elementals and such impose.

That's the difference between a Magician (or Mage, or Magus) and a Sorcerer. Magicians wield magic directly; Sorcerers compel demons and spirits to do their bidding, usually by knowing their True Names. This has gotten muddled these days, but I have to admit Moorcock got that one right.

In my own fantasy universe, which I devised for a roleplaying game, the characters would have met a highly ethical Sorcerer (almost a contradiction in terms, if you think about it), had the whole thing not collapsed after a mere 18 years of play. He was putting together a set of rules for ethical Sorcerers to follow, involving making deals with the summoned beings rather than forcing them, etc.

"I'm compiling the Sorcerer's Code," he said.

#86 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 04:50 PM:

Re: X

I thought about it...he'd look like edward and act like bowie.

#87 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 04:56 PM:

Watching Depp in a short trailer last night, both my husband and I instantly thought of Michael Jackson.

And now, for something completely different:

#88 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 05:12 PM:

Xopher: Ow. Ow ow ow.

#89 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 05:34 PM:

Xopher and Michelle:

regarding I thought about it...he'd look like edward and act like bowie.

I do not at all mean this as any endorsement whatsoever of a movie-fied Elric, but, um, yum. Just yum. In fact, it's more than yum. Might even be a squeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!

Well, it might be, if I ever made that noise. Which I do not, and I certainly did not, just now. So you know.

#90 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 05:40 PM:

Re: Punkrock

This is the point where men should start taking notes.

I'd make a squee nose for that too. An I could imagine bowie with stormbringer. Thank you Yoshitaka Amano.

#91 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 06:16 PM:

For those who object to Depp as Elric, how about Tilda Swinton?

#92 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 06:23 PM:

Re: Serge.

Now that's just wrong.

Kind of like Madagascar just's wrong.

She would look better in the black victorian dress though.

#93 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 06:36 PM:

Tilda wrong as Elric, Michelle? I don't know. It wouldn't be the first time she played someone androgynous, when not a guy outright.

#94 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 06:43 PM:

Xopher: I had read (somewhere. I used to have a memory, honest I did) that the first movie was named Willy Wonka because a major backer was the candy company which had bought the name, and they wanted to use the movie to launch the Wonka candy line--and of course, naming the candy after Charlie wouldn't have made much sense.

Could be true. Could be false. Makes as much sense as anything, I spose.

#95 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 06:53 PM:

The story Madeleine recounts was also mentioned on a documentary attached to a cable TV showing of the movie.

Twist: The initial run of the tie-in candy was a bit of a bust, because the stuff melted at just a touch above room temperature.

There still is Wonka candy, featuring a perky Willy who doesn't look anything like Michael Jackson.

The "where are they now" segment of the documentary was interesting. The kid who played Augustus Gloop was German (it was essentially a German movie) and didn't understand a lick of English. He, and at least two other of the Bad Kid actors, landed careers as accountants.

The blonde kid who plays Charlie became a vetrinarian and lives in upstate NY.

#96 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 06:53 PM:

Okay let me put it another way:

Fight Club / Being John Malkovich wrong.

It's like being one level below the art flick (Pi/Devil's Advocate) but above things the fall into stupid.

Kind of like the big screen version of Joan of Arc, several years ago. I go excepting drama/epic and get psycho. Not a bad movie just wrong.

I could not get over Elric being a her (now she'd be great for the novels of the Rose or other Female EC's) However I know there are those that would thrill to that.

#97 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 07:03 PM:

Oh, THAT kind of wrong. It's just that I liked Tilda in the otherwise-blah "Constantine". Of course, I like my angels nasty. See Christopher Walken in "The Prophecy". Or theone in Neil Gaiman's "Neverwhere".

As for "Being John Malkovich"... I usually stay away from anything he's in. One exception was "Man in the Iron Mask", but because it had Gabriel Byrne and Jeremy Irons. Every time Malkovich opened his mouth and mispronounced d'Artagnan's name, I'd grind my teeth.

#98 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 08:45 PM:

Would Paul Newman have played Lije Bailey or R. Daneel Olivaw? Not quite right for either, I'd have thought: too handsome to be Bailey, and too emotional to be Olivaw.

Produced today, I'd like to see Steve Buscemi as Bailey. I may be misremembering, but aren't all Earthmen supposed to be mongrel runts, while the off-worlders are genetically pure? I recall Bailey swooning a few times.

For some reason, Samuel L Jackson as Olivaw strikes me as an interesting dig on the book's eugenics, but the role really needs a good-looking actor who can act without emoting, which probably isn't as easy as it sounds.

#99 ::: Jackie ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 08:46 PM:

Does anybody know which Pleiad is supposed to be the missing one? (And can you back up your claim?) I'm getting a variety of answers off of google.

#100 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 09:02 PM:

It's about damn time the protest songs started showing up. This is a particularly good one.

#101 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 09:50 PM:

Faren - I completely disbelieve in the whole maggot art concept. They lost me when they proactively addressed the issue of whether or not the maggots were harmed.

#102 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 10:20 PM:

It feels very very weird, given the conversation, to never have known the Narnia books except as allegory. You see, I never read them until I was in my 20s. Didn't much enjoy them. This is true of a number of classic children's books -- that I never read them until an adult. Wind in the Willows, Charlottes Web, Velveteen Rabbit. I can't remember what I was reading as a kid -- Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn of course. I memorized the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. Lots of fairy tale books and Mary Poppins. Whatever I could get my hands on really. Oh, and along of another thread, lots and lots of Louisa May Alcott. Rose in Bloom was probably my favorite.


#103 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 11:02 PM:

Peter Jackson's version of the hobbits didn't have particularly furry feet and I didn't hear anybody complain.

I complained.

#104 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 11:04 PM:

Will: Xopher: Ow. Ow ow ow.

Well, thank you! I was wondering if anybody actually got that.

#105 ::: cafl ::: (view all by) ::: June 29, 2005, 11:13 PM:

Re: timelines. Have you seen this project? (Historical Event Markup and Linking Project). Requires a browser with an svg plugin for full effect.

#106 ::: Melanie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 01:00 AM:

Well, as far as my astronomy books can tell me, nobody knows which is the missing Pleiad. All the legends we have concerning them discuss seven Pleiades, but pretty much everyone nowadays can see six. There are nine named stars in the cluster; one of the stars is a known variable, which could be an explanation, but it's the one named after Pleione, the Pleiades' mother. That's not a sister, obviously, so who knows?

You can find mythological explanations for several of the sisters being the 'missing' one; the lone book I have that addresses the problem in detail has a couple of quotes from Roman authors pointing to Merope, but as you can see on this page, Merope is far from the dimmest star in the cluster.

The cluster is very young, though--estimates I've seen say around 100 million years, so it's possible there are other effects going on that have obscured one of the sisters since the time of the Greeks. But back to the original question--no one's really sure, as far as I can tell, but I'm really more of a theorist so I could be quite wrong.

Also, I'm curious how they're going to make the Dark is Rising into a movie series that's true to the books (if they're going to try). Part of what made the books so great, for me, was how weird Will was, even discounting his calling. You can sympathize with him, because he's the POV character when you meet him, but he is a little cold. And will they be able to find child/teen actors who can carry off the necessary adult-in-a-child's-body thing?

#107 ::: Melanie S. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 02:05 AM:

Just realized the second sentence sounds a little weird--I was pointing out that more than one myth points to seven Pleiades, not attempting to restate the obvious. :)

#108 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 02:52 AM:

Alright, I can picture it now: Elric the Animation. Character design by Yoshitaka Amano. Director: Mamoru Oshii. Music by Rachel's, Keiran Ebner and David Bowie (also used as main charactre model).

About sorcerer/mage given the etymologies (especially of the first one to be honest), I always assumed the mage was the one working his powers through will via tools/methods, while the sorcerer was somehow bound to chance and/or fate... which fits well with Elric also.

#109 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 03:01 AM:

On the "chronological history" subthread, I have the three volumes of "The Nineteenth Century Year by Year, which is self-explanatory. It's by Edwin Emerson, Jr. and was published by Collier in 1900. There are a number of full-page illos, some in color; while the text is narrative, the date being covered is in the page head, and Key Events are picked out in the margin. Mine came used and cheap, and unless you're absolutely obsessed with the 1800s it's probably not worth it otherwise (haven't checked availability), but a pretty exact example of the form.

As for "could they make Johnny Depp white enough for Elric" -- they did it to Michael Jackson, didn't they?

#110 ::: Jackie ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 04:52 AM:

There's a road near here that has several switchbacks, each one named for one of the Pleiades. They even included Atlas and Pleione.

- but not Alcyone, apparently. Alcyone has a different sign from the rest, brown instead of green, and smaller. She's tucked up under some trees by the last curve in the road. It's not even a switchback really. I was wondering if that was intentional, leaving one Pleiad out like that.

Because the cluster is young, one of the stars could have gone supernova in recent history. I saw a few references to that on google. There doesn't seem to be much evidence for a supernova, though.

#111 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 07:37 AM:

Should "Melnibone" be pronounced with the accent on the first syllable and the last bit rhyming with "phone", or the accent on the second syllable and the last bit rhyming with "pawnee"?

#112 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 07:48 AM:

I've generally heard it pronounced Mel-nih-bo-nay, with a slight stress on the last syllable (and it's sometimes written with an accent over the terminal e), though I haven't heard Moorcock himself say that. (Nor, I think, would I be likely to ask.) Having the last syllable be "bone," however, has the faint ring of fauceted emeralds about it.

As to how one pronounces "Pan Tang," country of . . . oh, right, wizards and . . . like that, I have no idea.

Next up: Dunsanin, the retirement community for fevered fantasy enpurplerizers.

#113 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 08:40 AM:

Hey if any of you are in the vicinity of midtown Manhattan (or will be on the evening of next Tuesday the 5th) and would like to meet up for a drink, I will be at Kavehaz (37 W. 26th), listening to my friend and former guitar teacher Ed Russell lead his eponymous jazz combo The Ed Russell Group, starting at 8 pm. Ed is a student of Pat Martino and quite an accomplished jazz guitarist in his own right; and his combo is groovy too. Drop me a line (jeremy at readin dot com) if you can make it, and I'll keep an eye out for you. Or, you can look at this relatively recent photo of me for reference. (I am the tall one.)

#114 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 08:42 AM:

To be clear(er): Ed is playing on Tuesday the 5th, starting at 8pm.

#115 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 09:14 AM:

Elric of Mel-bon-aye
He had a sword they say
That caused his soul's decay.

He angsted every day
But slew folk anyway
It made him waste away

#116 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 09:21 AM:

Jim, I'm teaching that to Puppy as soon as I get home.

#117 ::: Stephanie ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 09:25 AM:

Patrick, Teresa -- can we have full-text feeds back, please? Here's the latest entry: "Yo, Wocky Jivvy, Wergle Flomp--
I can’t believe I keep forgetting to mention this, but some months ago I actually managed to come up with..."

Me: "With WHAT?" *click* *click* *waits for server*

#118 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 09:36 AM:

James, you are sick with your Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay take on Elric. When I hear that song, I keep thinking of the two 6-year-old girls who kept singing it thru the "Banana Split" TV show. Which probably dates me.

As for the pronunciation of "Melnibone", I always pronounced the last syllable 'nay' because of that accent. Of course Moorcock have have stuck that accent on the 'e' not knowing how that would really sound but thinking it looked cool.

Elric might work best as animation indeed. I still have the book that Wendy Pini published in the mid-Eighties on that very subject. In her foolosih youth, she had determined that she would do such an adaptation on her own. She eventually came to her senses. But the illustrations sure were nice.

#119 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 09:40 AM:

To NelC... As far as I know, Paul Newman would have played Lije Bailey in "Caves of Steel". Yes, he would have been wrong for the part. Steve Buscemi? Sure, but who's going to risk a big-budget movie with someone who looks like that, no matter how talented he is? Hey, let's bring up Johnny Depp again.

#120 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 10:15 AM:

That was Wendy Pini's foolish youth. Not her foolosih one, whatever that is.

#121 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 11:05 AM:

"The Plieades are six and the planets are eight
But one little star is the pole of my fate"
Arthur Guiterman, _The Laughing Muse_ , 1920's

#122 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 11:10 AM:

As far as Narnia goes, I just thought Aslan was Arthur (well, I knew the books were British, and they are alliterative, and I knew, at the time I was reading them, far more about Arthur then I did about Jesus), but for whatever reason I never got beyond Dawn Treader: I had the entire boxed set(nice copies, too), but just sort of gave up between there and the first few pages of the following (Silver Chair?)

Ah. I know why I stopped. I found Over Sea, Under Stone at that point. Also, The Book of Three. Makes sense, now.

#123 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 11:47 AM:

I am looking forward to interesting Sylvia in the Chronicles of Narnia but am giving her another year and a half or so before I attempt it.

#124 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 12:24 PM:

Having forgotten anything but a few names of the Nine Muses, I checked recently and discovered that most are muses for one kind of writing or another (music and dance associated with some of these), and there are two that seem offbeat these days -- for astronomy and history, though these may have been a part of any good Greek's education back then -- but there's no one at all for the visual arts. The "missing Pleiade" topic reminded me of this "missing Muse" thing. Does anyone out there have further info or comments on the subject?

#125 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 12:27 PM:

I dunno, Serge, I was going to go on vacation and send people foolosih poctsards. But I also value correct spelling; it's quite a quandry.

#126 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 12:28 PM:

The White House has got some interesting news about Iraq up right now though it will probably be taken down in short order. Something to do with praising pain and damning pleasure...

#127 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 12:50 PM:

Faren Miller:

Euterpe Opera Theatre with link to Muses home page.

The muses are all the daughters of Mnemosyne, goddess of memory.

#128 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 01:49 PM:

And therefore are sometimes called the mnemosynides, or Children of Memory.

#129 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 01:59 PM:

I think Depp is wrong about Mr. Rogers, though, when he includes him in the group of people about whom he thought "My God, they can't be like that at home, you know?" Captain Kangaroo, sure; I've never seen Uncle Al and so can't comment about him. But Mr. Rogers was someone whose outside presentation seems to have been remarkably congruent with the inside person.

I didn't actually watch his show much when I was growing up, but after reading the profile of Mr. Rogers published in Esquire in 1998, I've had a deep-seated respect and affection for the man.

That section of the Depp interview seems a little muddled to me, so he may not actually have been including Mr. Rogers in that group of game-show hosts. I hope that's the case. If not, Depp isn't as good at observing a person's character as I thought he was.

#130 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 02:56 PM:

If you can find it, Jamie Rothbart's interview with and profile of Fred Rogers is just wonderful.

It appeared on This American Life about four years back, and is collected on Rothbart's own CD.

#131 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 03:48 PM:

I'm not surprised, Jeremy. Somehow I can believe that if you actually got past the first page of most of this adminstration's plans and policies for Iraq, you find it was just greeked in anyway . . .

#132 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 05:09 PM:

Completely off-topic, but...have you heard the The Naked Mole Rap? This is a dreadful earworm, almost as bad as its close cousin, the Hamster Dance.

#133 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 05:17 PM:

Oh, well, if we're talking big budget movies, Serge, then there's no question but Tom Cruise would have to play Bailey. He's the only actor who could handle that kind of money at present. I don't know which esteemed actress should play R Danyel Olivya, though*. Lucy Liu?

*You specified big budget, right? So you realise that the script will... mutate, just a little, from the original story.

#134 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 05:30 PM:

Tom Cruise as Lije Bailey? I'm going to be sick.

#135 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 05:34 PM:

Re: What? The? Hell?:

Well, why didn't they say so in the first place?

#136 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 05:48 PM:

Teresa, can I pick your brains?

I woke up a few weeks ago with a strong image in my mind of a Japanese print from around the Russo-Japanese war, of a destroyer or torpedo-boat cutting through the waves with searchlights cutting through the night sky above.

I thought this was a memory at the time, but dreams have fooled me that way before; I can't find the image in my books, and my google-fu is failing me. I know you're interested in Japanese prints, does this ring any bells with you, or anyone else? I was guessing Battle of Tsushima, though that doesn't fit with the searchlights, I think.

#137 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 06:36 PM:

Dunno if that particular print's in any of the ten pages of senso-e that start here, but personally I'm very impressed by the last one on the first page, wherein both armies are being et by tigers.

#138 ::: Luthe ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 07:29 PM:

On a completely random and somewhat related note:

The resident Aslan of Millways Bar is commonly referred to as the 'Esus Puppy. He was named by a two year old.

Also, the interactions between Alsan and Crowley are priceless.

#139 ::: theresa ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 08:08 PM:

Back to the Dark is Rising movie proposal, I think Haley Joel Osment would be a good choice to play Will.. now, of course, he's a bit too old.

I'm completely blanking on any other child stars, other than Dakota Fanning, who I can't really picture being anything other than slightly creepy and/or completely darling.

#140 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 09:17 PM:

On the 100th Anniversary of Albert Eintein's publication of the third of his four Annus Mirabilis Papers entitled "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies;" the seminal work that introduced the concepts which would come to be known as Special Relativity, I wondered about Sturgeon's Law.

I kept thinking how cool it would be to have the equivalent, in Science Fiction, of "Citation Statistics from 110 Years of Physical Review," Sidney Redner, Physics Today, June 2005, pp.49-54.

On the one hand, this is "scientometrics" -- using the statistical methodology of science to study science itself. To some, this is drier than dust. On the other hand, this is a deep attempt to understand why some publications continue to be important 70 years after publication, while most are ignored. It is also related to Social Network Theory: 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon, Erdos number, Asimov Number. Even here, it is admitted that publications can be very popular, but still trash, or, more carefully: "papers can be highly cited for many reasons -- some substantive and some dubious. Thus the number of citations is merely an approximate proxy for Scientific quality."

The PR citation data covers 353,268 papers and 3,110,839 citations from July 1893 through June 2003. "A somewhat depressing observation is that nealy 70% of all PR articles have been cited fewer than 10 times." The author gives tables of the greatest hits, in various categories, and lots of graphs to try to Explain It All.

Relevant to Science Fiction again, he classifies the winners. "The citation histories of well-cited publications are diverse and quite different from the collective citation history of all PR articles. The varied histories fall roughly into classes that include:
(1) revived classic works, or "sleeping beauties,"
(2) major discoveries, and
(3) hot publications.
It's fun to review examples of each class."

Yes, I know that Science Fiction literature does not "cite" itself, but our genre is one which includes an ongoing conversation of writers, readers, and editors. Manifesti are written. Subgenres get hot, and then peter out. Why, in this very thread someone recently praised John Varley for rewriting Heinlein juveniles well. And Infernokrusher is compared to Mundane SF, with explosive results. Are there really SF equivalens of these 3 categories? I wonder...

#141 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 09:42 PM:

I think the "Lorem ipsum" news section is the equivalent of the infamous "Step 3" in that Slashdot-style, dot-com era business model. You know:

Step 1: Invade Iraq.

Step 2: Quagmire.

Step 3: ???

Step 4: Profit!!

#142 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 10:19 PM:

This is really for the MTV generation readers, but aeon flux is being made into a live action movie.

#143 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 11:35 PM:

Greg, OMG! I am so far away from the demographic of Aeon Flux but I Love It Very Much. I don't know why (I'm allegedly way too old to like it...).

Thanks for sharing the trailer. I enjoyed it a lot and am looking for the movie or whatever.

#144 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 11:40 PM:

Greg, OMG! It's Charlize Theron! When I first heard about it, I pretty much dismissed it. But, Charlize Theron!

#145 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: June 30, 2005, 11:45 PM:

Um, I know we've seen this kind of thing before, but I can't resist.

When I finish my book, I'm selling it like this.

#146 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 12:04 AM:


You mean making a quick $2,500,000 from an anonymized rich dude, and then turning up dead in a Damascus alley?

#147 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 12:26 AM:

JVP: My book isn't that exciting. Never been to Damascus, though.

I was just browsing for collectible books, and I sorted by price--I can't believe how many people are trying to sell their manuscripts on ebay. One of them is science fiction! And at only $500K, it is a bargain compared to the last.
There is a link to the website, so you can read the screenplay before you buy it.

#148 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 03:51 AM:

Err, that's 2.5e6 GBP, not USD - more like 4e6 USD. I've heard rumours of a few books that have fetched advances that high. Usually they're autobiographies of exteremely famous and interesting people.

And it doesn't even say how many words there are! Might just be a few thousand (you'd need that many to introduce all the "personages" mentioned in the auction).

#149 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 04:12 AM:

Okay, I looked at the half-million-dollar synopsis. Made me nostalgic for Giant Demons Attack Earth, and that's a book packing plenty of algia, noster and meus.

I mean, look at the definitive Smarter Alien. Klaatu was polite. A little naive, occasionally impatient, but still polite. Understands that when technologically advanced (if not very sophisticated) people break stuff, nanocrap isn't going to make it all better right now. (This may or may not be true of Klaatu hisownself.) Speaks softly, carries a big robot.

"Gort, hungadunga! Put Mr. Bolton down. In one piece."

Maybe there should be a form rejection that reads,

This is a story about an incredibly smart and powerful alien intelligence that fixes all of Earth's problems.
That's why it's in your lap now.

#150 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 06:50 AM:

Ooh, nice page, Julie. That's the kind of thing in my mind's eye, though none of them are the actual picture.

My google-fu sputtered briefly this morning, and I found this picture, which is almost exactly the composition of my picture, though in my mind it's in the Japanese print style, with a solid black sky, white piercing searchlights, and the bows (inverse rake?) of the ship piercing Hokusai waves.

It's more than possible my dream-mind invented it from bits and pieces of other stuff. I may end up drawing the thing myself, just to quiet the nagging....

#151 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 08:16 AM:

Lorem ipsum, quia dolor sit, miserere nobis.

#152 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 09:31 AM:

Et lorus perpetuus luceat eis.

#153 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 10:02 AM:

I'm gonna write a 100,000 word book tonight, and sell it on ebay in the morning.

#154 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 10:26 AM:

Greg - any word on how many times Aeon dies in the movie?

#155 ::: Carrie ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 10:48 AM:

I have exactly one thing to say about a prospective Dark Is Rising movie:

Thank heaven Macauley Culkin's too old.

#156 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 11:23 AM:

John Bolton versus Gort? I'd pay to see that.

"No, Gort, you MAY not open your visor."

This reminds me of something I read in CineFantastique circa 1980. There was an article about Bradbury writing (or having written) the script for a sequel to "The Day the Earth Stood Still". Now, if they could just get Ringo to give Klaatu his spacesuit back...

#157 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 11:43 AM:

Oh why can't they see how the neocons lie
Who so pridefully claim they're the soul of the nation,
Whose broad lies and deceit took the country to war,
In a far foreign land with the deathtoll a-rising
Where the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Bring more shame each night that the US flag's there.
See the star-spangled banner in Iraq in shame,
It's a land that's full of oil, and George Bush filthy games.

Now the the truth is obscured by the lies gone so deep.
Neocons' stinking plott casts their silent reposes,
What is that which the breeze, down the blackhole so steep,
Now covered in slime by the theocrats' crimes,
In full glory tarnished and covered with grime.
'Tis the star-spangled banner! No longer it was waves
O'er a land of the free and a home of the brave.

And here is that band who so oathbreaking swore
To bring havoc of war and their battle's confusion
Elections and and countries they've stolen much more more,
Our blood being poured for their foul greed's pollution.
Former refuge unsaved now made hireling and slave
Doomed to misery and flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner corrupted doth wave
O'er lands that are unfree free run by the depraved.

Oh please may it change, to be freemen again,
No more unjust wars neocon hubris stations
Throw the vermin in jail bring true righteous home,
Raise the Power to remake to preserve us a nation.
End the conquests they lust in their cause so unjust,
Remove them from power prevent nuclear dust,
May the star-spangled banner then once again wavie
O'er a land where Truth can reign and a home freed of knaves!

#158 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 01:18 PM:

Lorem ipsum, quia dolor sit, miserere nobis.

MR. McCLELLAN. No further questions, please.

#159 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 01:33 PM:

I've met Mr. Rogers, briefly. He's like that in real life, as far as I could tell.

#160 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 02:57 PM:

I thought the young actors in Finding Neverland were quite good. And they've even got the right accents. (Please, please, nobody tell me that they're remaking it set in America and hence want American actors. I have my fingers poised by my ears and am ready to chant "LA LA LA" at the top of my lungs if you try.)

#161 ::: Michelle K ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 03:13 PM:

I could use some recommendations.

That man (W) will be here (Morgantown, West by God Virginia) for the 4th of July. My house is on a main road, and I'd like to put up some signs on our fence. (Which isn't that far from where that man will be talking.)

Aside from the W with a circle around it and slash through it, does anyone have any recommendations that won't get me arrested or upset the nice old ladies who live near me?

#162 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 03:18 PM:

I saw on somebody's blog today, an injunction to "Support the troops: Impeach the bloodthirsty bastards who sent the to die in vain" -- approximately. I think if you removed the profanity, that would make a good welcome sign for the president's visit.

#163 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 03:45 PM:

too bad you didn't have some advance warning, you could have worn this t-shirt

#164 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 03:46 PM:

jeeker's crow, O'Connor announced her retirement from the Supreme Court and Barney Fife is in charge.

#165 ::: Anton P. Nym (aka Steve) ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 03:56 PM:

re: Casa de Libri

Finally, enough shelf space. When can I move in?

#166 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 03:57 PM:

jeeker's crow, O'Connor announced her retirement from the Supreme Court and Barney Fife is in charge.

Yes, this has got me in quite a dither.

#167 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 04:01 PM:

Is there a term for the unwilling removal of office of federal elected officials and federal appointed officials, by angry US citizens on the basis of violating the US Constitution and Bill of Rights? "impeachment" is merely the charging of the person with crimes or dereliction of duty and putting them to formal hearings and investigation. Nixon was impeached, but resigned voluntarily with the handwriting on the wall. Andrew Johnson, was it, was impeached but one vote prevented him from being removed from office.

There doesn't seem to be a method for a recall election to strip someone of office to be held, or for the people of the country to formally demand the removal of skuz like Cheney, Poindexter whom the Schmuck and the Schmuck's schmuck associations briefly "rehabilitated" or whatever the term the CCCP used for people booted in apparently disgrace and then brought back [such as Chou En Lai, was it?] into power with all their prior offenses nullified and voided out before the screams from a sufficiency of throats caused Hubris Boy's barfish bunch of bullies somehow to deappoint the appointment.

#168 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 04:24 PM:

Is there a term for the unwilling removal of office of federal elected officials and federal appointed officials, by angry US citizens on the basis of violating the US Constitution and Bill of Rights? "impeachment" is merely the charging of the person with crimes or dereliction of duty and putting them to formal hearings and investigation.

I believe the word is "convicted". As in convicted of the high crimes and misdemeanors which the bill of impeachment details.

And I believe that upon conviction, the perp is automatically removed from office.

#169 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 04:40 PM:

The Narnia sidelight link has changed with the new day to link to a story about legalization of gay marriage in Canada & Spain. I was confused because I figured Patrick would be in favor, but the sidelight indicates a bad feeling. Maybe the sidelight can be amended to point directly to the Narnia story instead of to the essay-o-the-day? Here's the link.

#170 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 04:46 PM:

Daily Kos has suggestions on responses to O'Connor's resignation.

#171 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 10:23 PM:

Michelle: How about a great big "Impeach Bush"?

#172 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: July 01, 2005, 10:52 PM:

To see someone who is serious about knitting, check out what's happening at Massachusetts MoCA this weekend (2nd item on this page). And I thought Penn & Teller and their 3'x5' cards shuffled with a forklift were excessive....

#173 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 01:56 AM:

So many exciting things in science nonfiction.

The Deep Impact mission will help us celebrate the 4th of July. I'm pretending to be too modest here to explain how (really!) I invented the key technology of Artificial Meteorite Strike Spectroscopy and published first, over a decade ago.

Plunge into our ignorance in:
A special, free news feature in Science explores 125 big questions that face scientific inquiry over the next quarter-century.

Pour yourself a cool one and contemplate:
How Ice Melts: Longstanding Mystery Solved
By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Writer
Live Science
posted: 30 June 2005
02:00 pm ET

"Until now, scientists could not explain why ice cubes in your drink melt. They've known the basics, but the details remained elusive."

"A breakthrough new study, announced today, supports a leading theory that melting starts when the fundamental structure of matter begins to crack...."

and tickle your fancy with:

Why You Can't Tickle Yourself

By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Writer
Live Science
posted: 28 June 2005
03:23 pm ET

"The human brain anticipates unimportant sensations, such as your own touch, so it can focus on important input like, say, a tarantula crawling up your neck. The results might explain why it's hard to tickle yourself, scientists said today...."

#174 ::: Aconite ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 06:50 AM:

Michelle K: Aside from the W with a circle around it and slash through it, does anyone have any recommendations that won't get me arrested or upset the nice old ladies who live near me?

When you find the right sign, how about inviting some reporters to hang with you around the time of his visit, to capture for posterity how his security people treat you? I can't imagine DP reporters would be allowed to print something critical of W, but you might have luck with someone from Pittsburgh.

#175 ::: Michelle K ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 11:06 AM:


I don't think I'm close enough to the Lair to get harassed too much, but am close enough, and on University Ave, so that a lot of traffic should see the signs. (We sit on our porch and watch football traffic in the fall)

And I can't begin imagine how laudatory the Diminishing Pest write-up will be. (gag)

And I've got the posterboard and the big markers. Weather looks to be clear for the next couple of days, so I'll probably make the signs tonight and put them up tomorrow.

#176 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 02:33 PM:

The "Yo, Wocky etc." thread is allowing preview comments, but not posting. Had some bizarre error code, but now just acts like it's posting, but doesn't.

Trying a post here to see if it's the whole blog or just that thread.

#177 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 02:57 PM:

WTF is going on in the world, anyway?

KARL ROVE is the leak source? Reporters all knew about it? Tricky Dick was clean and honest and noble compared to the crowd of lying schmucks occupying DC and imposing their tyranny. Tammany Hall was clean and honest. WHITEY BULGER is a decent and honorable and lawabiding fellow in comparison--second thought, Hubris Boy wrote a President Edict which blocked anyone from looking into FBI records about Bulger, sounds like Hubris Boy and Bulger the murderer who made the entire FBI a chump are cozy in with one another. Note that despite tenure on the Ten Most Wanted List somehow the FBI hasn't managed to collect him. Hmm, maybe he and Osama are enjoying life with their harems in some nice cosy hideaway....

Meanwhile, I was looking at the Physicians for Human Rights website. Schmuck and his associates are war criminals [surprise, not...] and there's evidence of just one parameter of it including pictures at

Preliminary Assessment of Alleged Mass Gravesites in the Area of Mazar-I-Sharif, Afghanistan: January 16-21 and February 7-14


"In January 2002, PHR sent a three person fact-finding delegation to Afghanistan. Preliminary information regarding gravesites was compiled by PHR board member Dr. Jennifer Leaning and consultant John Heffernan on a visit to the Northern Afghanistan area on January 16-21, 2002. The team spent five days in Mazar-I-Sharif collecting information on several alleged mass grave sites. As a follow-up to the January trip, in February PHR sent two forensic anthropologists to conduct an independent forensic assessment that took place from February 7-14, 2002.

"Both teams investigated sites that are related to recently alleged atrocities as well as sites that date back four to five years. The two
gravesites, which are believed to contain recently disposed human remains, (within the last few months) are located at a site near Mazar-I-Sharif and at another site near the town of Shebarghan.

"It is alleged that the site near Shebarghan could have been the disposal ground of some of the Taliban fighters who had surrendered to the Northern Alliance in November and December 2001...

"Site #9:
"Visited on: February 13, 2002 (near Mazar-I-Sharif)
"General Information: The expansive area is littered with both exploded, and unexploded ordinances consisting of large artillery-type projectiles and empty cartridge casings. PHR was led to this site by two witnesses. The site was identified as the place where they had taken their dead after the Taliban captured their village.
"Observations and Findings: There are a cluster of several approximately 30 to 50m long and 3m deep excavated trenches. In one of these trenches, the PHR scientists observed scattered skeletal remains of several individuals. Other bodies protrude from shallow burials within the trench....[descriptions of remains, those writing descriptions of relatively recent mass graves without quality control take note...]

"Summary of Witness Statements: According to witnesses interviewed by PHR, villagers were killed by the Taliban after the capture of Mazar-I-Sharif. Bodies were deposited/buried in the trench that now holds the remains of more recent and decomposing human remains. The latter remains were deposited there after the fall of Mazar-I-Sharif to the Northern Alliance in November 2001 and are alleged to belong to "Pakistani Taliban...."

I've read descriptions on-line where US military and contractors are alleged to have committed mass murder of prisoners in Afghanistan by gunfire.

It's beyond disgusting and appalling that the US Government--Congress, the Justice Department, the Department of Defense...-- have turned blind eyes to such levels of atrocities. DoD was involved. The Executive Branch presided, its eyes weren't blind, it facilitated the situation, and willfully chose and continues to choose evil as tools to remake the USA and the world to its vision--a vision which I also find as -evil-.

I didn't used to use the word "evil" much: is it evil to whip someone? Not necessarily, I have friends for whom a whip is a sex toy in a loving relationship.... for other people a whip can be a symbol of torture and abuse and injustice, context makes for enormous differences, and things gets really complicated. But, the regime in DC is not one there's consensual sex play going on in Afghanistan, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, etc.. There are those mass graves in Afghanistan. There are the ghost planes and the disappearing people. There has been torture. There is negative transparency--gag orders, secrecy to block information access to the public, lies, deceit, vicious personal attacks and defamation of character and slander, and above all Executive Privilege and money to corrupt and intimidate and bribe... baksheesh and circuses, with Faux TV and O'Reilly the sexual harasser as bigotville infotainment, rightwing screed talk radio, Viacom and Disney and Microsoft/General Electric and Comcast and such as hydras controlling commercial airwaves and mass communications distribution systems, getting mindshare and lining the pockets of politicians and politicians tied to them by money and favors....

The emperor is VERY well-dressed, that the cloth came from blood money are the words that the syncophants and business associates and religious fanatics embedded in the plutocracy holding the citizens of the USA and the rest of the world in thrall, won't allow to be said and heard.

#178 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 04:38 PM:

Paula Lieberman:

Bulger. Yeah. One brother is the president of a major state university, the other is a mob hitman. Together, they fight crime, pictures at 11.

After seeing an Honor System work at Caltech, it was a shock to be at grad school at UMass/Amherst, where the much-touted School of Hotel Management (the Cornell of the East) almost openly ran a prostitition ring in the campus hotel. Got away with it for years, until a state legislator died in bed with one of the teenaged girls.

Where the world's tallest library kept popping bricks onto the quad, because the architect "forgot" to take the weight of books into account, structurally. Where a million bucks of linen were said to have burned in a fire, and the insurance claim filed, except for the eyewitnesses who saw the linen trucks drive away before the fire. Where the student center leaked in every rain, after a $22,000,000 over-run, allegedly contracted by the brother-in-law of the Chancellor, or something. How high up do the Bulger bribes go? Oh, you already answered that one. Is the Boston Mob involved in UMass? Are there penguins in Antarctica?

#179 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 06:04 PM:

A while back I said to Patrick, "Karl Rove wants to be J. J. Hunsecker when he grows up."

Turns out he wants to be Sidney Falco.

#180 ::: Kevin Andrew Murphy ::: (view all by) ::: July 02, 2005, 07:01 PM:

On the "Where to get your own E-meter" particle, I got to try out the deluxe model yesterday at my local mall. After twenty-something years of avoiding Scientologists, I decided I needed to cross playing with an E-meter off my been there/done that list.

Not that impressed, but mostly because the guy doing the testing kept bumping the knob with his thumb to make the needle spike higher when he got to some question he thought would be incredibly stressful, as opposed to mildly stressful. The books also need better illustrators, though they're at least better than what you see in the Jehovah's Witness pamphlets. Not that this is a stellar recommendation, and they're not much better.

And the charts. The neverending charts. It made me feel I was looking at a Rolemaster gaming supplement, and not a very entertaining one either.

#181 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 01:48 AM:

Jonathan: Billy Bulger got himself bought out of the Presidency of University of Massachusetts many months ago, which was the position he deigned to take to clear out of the position of President of the Massachusetts Senate. Unfortunately he hadn't turned out to have been interested in being head of Boston College, as opposed to the University of Massachusetts system--the former doesn't involve salary paid by taxpayers, BC is a Catholic college, Jesuit primarily I think. Fr. Robert F. Drinan was a professor there before being one of the most honest Congresscritters of the second half of the twentieth century. He left Congress because the Pope essentially told him to get out of Congress. He'd been a popular legislator with his district.

#182 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 02:24 AM:

Tonight on Mythbusters, we're going to test the legend that if you hook folks up to a Wheatstone bridge and a cheap voltmeter, money will fall out of their pockets.

#183 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 03:10 AM:

Tonight on Mythbusters, we're going to test the legend that if you hook folks up to a Wheatstone bridge and a cheap voltmeter, money will fall out of their pockets.


Wet chess games of chance and money on houses of card tables:

Pawnzee, pawnzee, pawnzee....

(as opposed to flocking birds of large white feathers reserved for the monarch of England: Swansea, Swansea, Swansea....)

#184 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 11:22 AM:

Double Feature of the Week

Turner Classic Movies, Monday 4 July at 12:45 AM EDT:
Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc
Followed at 2:15 by:
Bell, Book, and Candle

#185 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 12:05 PM:

John M. Ford: Watch witch?

#186 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 12:05 PM:

There's a really excellent museum show in town right now; at the Metropolitan's American Wing is a retrospective of the work of John Townsend, Newport cabinetmaker 1733-1809. You can look at a description of the show and some images on the Met's web site. I wrote up some of my reactions at READIN. The show is going on until the end of September.

#187 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 12:25 PM:

Thank you for the notice, Jeremy! Newport furniture is one of my passions, and this is a good reason to try and get to NYC before Sept. 25. Now if they had only held The Gates over...

#188 ::: Emil ::: (view all by) ::: July 03, 2005, 06:16 PM:

Re Lorem Ipsum...

"But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born."

Please do,, it'll explain a lot about the Bush administration...

#189 ::: Metal Fatigue ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 02:35 AM:

While chasing old threads, I discovered that none of the links to Elmore Leonard's Ten Rules of Writing worked any more. I herewith offer this substitute.

Sorry if this has already been reported....

#190 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 12:43 PM:

Stephanie, are you still having trouble getting a full feed? It's working for me. The full-feed URL is

#191 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 03:33 PM:

Patrick: Re the potato chips. As you may know, come worldcon we're sharing a flat with one of your writers and some other people you know. I expect an expedition to a grocery store will be on the schedule at some early point (we're arriving on the 2nd). If a guy was to point out which ones he'd esp. like to try some guy might look for them at the grocery.


#192 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 03:42 PM:

The article on potato crisps (chips to the Americans) is the first "funny flavours of crisps" article I've read that does not include a reference to the infamous hedgehog-flavoured crisps.

These, my British sources tell me, were sold in the 1980's by St Tiggywinkles's Hedgehog Hospital, and the recipe was based on the recollections of gypsies who had eaten hedgehog. It did not contain real hedgehogs.

I am not making any of this up.

#193 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 05:34 PM:

Re: The link on 1881 copyediting
Thank you for posting that! I'm having tremendous fun with it. There's all kinds of useful/fascinating information in there. Even homemade firework "snakes"...hmm...;>

Happy 4th of July, everyone.

#194 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 05:52 PM:

Melissa Mead:

Back in my magic show and pyrotechnic youth, I often wondered if this was essentially the same as the Snake magic by Moses:

God teaches Moses some cool magic tricks. Ex.4:2-6
God shows Moses how to turn his rod into a serpent (and back again). Ex.4:4-5
God shows Moses how to make his hand leprous and then cure it. Ex.4:6-7
Moses does the rod to serpent trick that God taught him Ex.7:9-10
The Egyptian magicians knew the rod to snake trick that God taught Moses. Ex.7:11
The magicians know the water-to-blood trick, too. Ex.7:22
The magicians knew the frog trick, too. Ex.8:7
The magicians couldn't do the the lice trick. Ex.8:18
Aaron's rod buds, blooms, and bears almonds Num.17:8
Urim and Thummim Ex.28:30, Lev.8:8, Num.27:21, Dt.33:8, 1 Sam.28:6, Ezra 2:63, Neh.7:65

Magicians, Egyptian
knew the rod to snake trick that God taught Moses. Ex.7:11
knew the water-to-blood trick, too. Ex.7:22
knew the frog trick, too. Ex.8:7
The third plague: lice Ex.8:17-19 (This is the first trick that the Egyptian magicians couldn't do)
couldn't do the the lice trick. Ex.8:18
conclude that the lice trick was done by "the finger of God" Ex.8:19

{above from

#195 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 08:24 PM:

I just had this mental picture of the magicians staring up at the parted Red Sea and saying "Whoa, dude! He must've taken the Advanced class!"

I've tried to learn magic, but all I can do is pull dimes from my niece's ears. 2+1/2 year olds look so gratifyingly awed...

#196 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 09:00 PM:

Melissa, it has been observed many times that the Miser's Dream (grabbing coins out of the air) has an effect on audiences that much more difficult effects never reach -- after all, if you actually had the power, you probably would yank silver dollars out of the ether. There ain't a bunny shortage.

In an (unfinished) story, I had a stage magician try to explain this: "Oh, they say they want to know how you float the woman, and how the boxes move around, and why the doves don't crap in your pants. But it's just curiosity, you could tell 'em anything and they'd nod and say it was swell. But they really, really, want to know how you do the Dream. And if you do get cash down and tell them -- show them every last move, not that there are many to show -- they think you're spoofin'. It can't be a trick. Catchin' bullets, yeah, that's a trick, even when you get killed. But catchin' money -- there's got to be somethin' to that."

#197 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 09:37 PM:

I didn't even know that trick had a name. Thanks!

I did put it in a book though-the hero, who was raised with a traveling circus, is envious of a friend who knows "real" magic-but all the awed friend wants to know is where he got those pennies.

(I've had a ton of fun trying to learn all the tricks in the book. My brother-in-law taught me a few, but he didn't mention the names.)

#198 ::: Sundre ::: (view all by) ::: July 04, 2005, 11:47 PM:

At the bottom of an open thread is as good a place as any to ask: are any other readers are going to Toronto Trek this year? There's a couple obstacles I'm knocking down at the moment, but I still hope to attend.

#199 ::: Valerie Emanuel ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 07:23 AM:

Why Spielberg Makes Bad SF--As reported in 'Ansible'

STEVEN SPIELBERG knows how to have fun: `Science
fiction for me is a vacation, a vacation away from all the rules of
narrative logic, a
vacation away from physics and physical science.
/ It just lets you leave
all the rules behind and just kind of fly.'
(Reuters interview) [LR]

#200 ::: Jill Smith ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 09:48 AM:

Small fans in the making - a part of an e-mail from a friend of mine (reprinted with permission). His son Max is about nine years old:

Speaking of drawing attention to oneself, I took my son and his friend to see the original Star Wars movie at AFI in Silver Spring. All of the first 5 Star Wars movies are playing at AFI over the long weekend – Max and I saw The Phantom Menace on Friday. That was fun. My son’s friend is almost as into Star Wars lore and paraphernalia as my son. They both wore Darth Vader masks and carried toy light sabers into the theatre, which naturally caused a buzz in the crowd. Very cute. There were two people dressed as Storm Troopers at the entrance to the theatre, and one of them gave the kids a thumbs up sign as they entered. On the way out, I heard my favorite comment. One woman said to her friend: “Look, younglings; turned to the dark side they have.” It made my day.
#201 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 04:45 PM:

Re: the snacks link.

It's the chili-con-carne and sour cream flavour "snack-a-jacks" that I love. I mean, they might have the texture of expanded polysterene, but they taste *great*! :)

#202 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 06:05 PM:

I don't much like Safari but it's working better with NewsNetWire than Mozilla. So why out of all the blogs I read does yours refuse to render in Safari in my preferred size? Your type is too damn small. I need 14 or larger to read comfortably and that's what I have set in preferences. But it isn't working here...


#203 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 06:51 PM:

Jules - My company has these huge bins marked "Re-Use" for our EPS waste. I think you've just revealed the secret of where it all goes.


#204 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 09:01 PM:

I have a grammar question. If a sentence has two subjects separated by "or," with which subject should the verb agree? To give an example, is it "The cats or the dog are hungry" or "The cats or the dog is hungry?"

#205 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 09:05 PM:

arrrgh. Never mind. Emptying cache fixed it. Though I haven't had to do that for anyone else.


#206 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: July 05, 2005, 11:38 PM:

Mary Dell, I seem to remember from some old English class (not some Old English class) that such a verb should agree with the noun which is closer to it. But take my seeming memory for what it's worth.

#207 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 08:06 AM:

London just got the Olympics in 2012, in case you haven't heard. I was rooting for Paris, but I don't really care as long as it isn't New York.

Mary Dell, I agree with Jeremy, but I also think it would be better to avoid the construction.

#208 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 08:19 AM:

"better to avoid the construction"

-- Ah! That's the phrase I was looking for!

#209 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 11:21 AM:

...And I am going to go out on a limb here (from having potential examples of this construction bouncin' 'round my brain this morning) and say,

In the event that you need to use such a construction, it will almost always sound more natural if you put the plural subject after the "or" and use the plural form of the verb. And, I think you would usually want "Either" before the singular subject.

The only examples I could think of that really sound at all natural to my ear are history-textbooky kind of things. Like say, "Historians in the field generally agree that either Blickmund or the Fobanists were primarily responsible for the ultimate collapse of the Stenheim regime." Okay, so that's not precisely natural and there are more natural ways of phrasing the same data. But I think somewhere along these lines exists a statement that demands Ms. Dell's construction.

#210 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 12:03 PM:

Thanks for the answer. I understand that it's a hideous construction, stylistically, and I wouldn't use it myself. But I received a policy document containing this sentence:

Appliances or other network-attached hardware for which no antivirus software is available is also outside of the scope of this requirement, including Lights-Out Boards, printers, and a variety of other devices.

It squicked me, and I couldn't figure out if that was because it was wrong, or merely ugly.

#211 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 12:12 PM:

Mary Dell, that sentence could be fixed by adding "A discussion of" at the beginning. But the clause beginning with 'including' is also misplaced. I would render the sentence as

A discussion of appliances (or other network-attached hardware) for which no antivirus software is available is also outside the scope of this requirement; examples of such hardware include Lights-Out Boards, printers, and a variety of other devices.
Thus making the verb agree with the singular 'discussion', which is really what is meant here anyway.

#212 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 01:45 PM:

Not quite as extinct as thought....

"Date palm buds after 2,000 years

"Dates have symbolic importance in the Middle East Israeli researchers say they have succeeded in growing a date palm from a 2,000-year-old seed...."

#213 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 02:37 PM:

That sentence isn't just badly constructed, it means something entirely different to what the author intended, which was almost certainly "Appliances and other network-attached hardware for which no antivirus software is available are also outside of the scope of this requirement." Although that's still ambiguous -- does the clause "for which no antivirus software is available" include appliances, or does it only apply to "other network-attached hardware"?

As originally phrased, it begs to be followed by: "But I'm not sure which. I'll get back to you later on that one."

#214 ::: repinewoman ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 05:35 PM:

I am looking for
1.) Pet co....
2.) Ric
3.) 106194, 689805, 813236, 742820, 005902,190892-D, 939073-E, and or 12-26-04
Publisher 2002

#215 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 05:39 PM:

Aren't we all?

#216 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 06:03 PM:

Speak for yourself, Mr. Ford.

I have never looked for 813236.

Good day to you sir!

#217 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: July 06, 2005, 06:07 PM:

Jules - ah, yes, that's why it was bugging me so much! Of course, inelegant and wrong phrasing is our stock in trade, in the IT business.

Xopher, yours sounds better but it changes the meaning of the sentence -- the appliances and hardware, themselves, are outside the scope of the requirement.

Really, since "appliances" is a subset of "network-attached hardware" the word isn't even needed. That would fix it up a bit. Not that I'm going to go tell our network security manager that.

#218 ::: Mary Aileen Buss spots comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 04, 2005, 10:38 AM:

The spammers are out in force.

#219 ::: Michelle K sees comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 06, 2005, 08:41 PM:

I don't want to imagine what a very addicted hand anything is.

#220 ::: Stefan Jones sees commmment spamm ::: (view all by) ::: August 07, 2005, 10:30 PM:

By "more"

#221 ::: Lenora Rose sees more comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 10, 2005, 11:52 PM:

and under such a reassuring name.

#222 ::: Alexis Duncan points at comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2005, 07:56 AM:

...Why yes, I _am_ up too late.

#223 ::: abi finds commment spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2005, 07:56 AM:

...though some clothing games probably are sickening.

#224 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2005, 07:58 AM:

Pipped at the post. Ach, well.

#225 ::: Connee Therieau ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2005, 12:14 AM:

Jonny Depp is the greatest actor of all time. I am like his vertual stalker every movie he was in I have seen from his music to his time on the big screen. I think my only expectation in life is to actually meet Jonny Depp before age 16 because I want to actually show him how good of an actress I am and to actually act with him someday if I ever have the opportunity even if Jonny Depp was reading this I don't care...I LOVE THE GUY he has so far helped me boost my grade because I have listened to his music and watching his movies even if I am 13 and he is what 30 or 29 or even 28 I have had a crush on him. You challenge me to do a movie with me as him I would know it front and back in a matter of minutes. I AM JONNY DEPPS number 1 fan and nobody would change that even if later on he would turn out to be something to personal I can't say I would still love him. Never would I change my mind EVER not even Jonny Depp himself.

#226 ::: Betsey Langan sees an out-of-place comment ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2005, 01:51 PM:

I don't know if it's spam, exactly, but the young lady above me and her extraordinary adoration for Mr. Depp seem... out of place for Making Light.

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