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September 15, 2005

Open thread 49
Posted by Patrick at 08:18 AM *

There�s crazy people running all over town
There�s a silver band just marching up and down
And the wide boys are all spoiling for a fight
I want to see the bright lights tonight

Comments on Open thread 49:
#1 ::: Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 09:04 AM:

Okay, I've been wondering this ever since I heard Marillion's "Misplaced Childhood" years ago. Can someone explain wide boys to me? In what sense are they wide? How did they get that way? What is, in a word, up with that?

#2 ::: Jean Rogers ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 09:22 AM:

See the boys out walking
The boys who look so fine
Dressed up in green velvet
Their silver buckles shine...

#3 ::: Simstim ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 09:23 AM:

Oddly enough, the UK's premier Socialist Worker blog, Lenin's Tomb mentions the phrase in a discussion of the Hitchens/Galloway kerfuffle. OK, so that doesn't actually answer your question, but I believe a wide boy is a bit of a chancer, a ruffian on the make, a used-car salesman, etc.

#4 ::: Styx ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 09:41 AM:

Ahem! The lyric is "And the big boys are all spoiling for a fight." That being said, wide boys were black marketers after WWII.

#5 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 09:42 AM:

The first Autumn flowering bulbs have started to appear in the garden: the purple colchicums.

#6 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 10:01 AM:

Many of you may already know this, but I can imagine few Making Light readers who wouldn't appreciate that Elements of Style is available online.

#7 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 10:08 AM:

For extra fun, plant other bulbs near them and watch for mutations. Colchicine is a mutagen often used in the plant industry to induce polyploidy. Handle with care; the entire plant is toxic and possibly carcinogenic.

http://www.angelfire.com/ab3/chrysanthemum/growingmethods/colchicine.htm

Sorry, I've been rereading Cats Are Not Peas and everything suggests genetic weirdness to me....

#8 ::: Reinder ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 10:26 AM:

He was a species on the verge of extinction
She was an Air New Zealand Hostess
They were mystically joined like Ravitz and Landauer
Like Pinky and Perky, like Porgy and Bess

He loved the pursuit and the romance
But the details were more of a chore-
When the bride's veil lifted, his mind soon lifted
At least that's what happened before.

Let it blow, let it snow
Let the mercury bubble and dive
Life's little traumas and courtroom dramas
Remind me I'm glad I'm alive....

(warning: contains banana-on-kiwi sex)

#9 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 10:40 AM:

I read Making Light at work, but typically wait until I get home to click on the Particles links, since I never know whether they'll be worksafe. So I looked at that "Mosque Clock" link for a couple of days before I finally tried it.

From the name alone I'd imagined some clever geographic distribution of mosques aligned with the sun, or perhaps a mosque with architecture such that the sun would shine off of different domes and minarets at different times. A sort of religious flower clock. The disappointment was...well, not "crushing," but I felt a slight squeezing in my head.

Ah well. At least there was the "Paper without a city" link, and the "Hovercraft full of eels" one to try next.

#10 ::: Henry ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 10:42 AM:

"Wide boy" now means something more like what us Irish folk would call a chancer, someone who's a little dodgy or untrustworthy. There's a bad Nik Kershaw song from the 1980's, Wide Boy, which helps provide the context.

#11 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 10:45 AM:

Hey wow, who knew there was a Moominmovie?! I found out about it yesterday. According to one of the reviews, Tove Jansson even consulted on the screeenplay! Not available in the US but I was so excited, I cast caution to the winds and ordered it from British Amazon -- hopefully if my DVD player gives me any grief about being in the Wrong Region, I will be able to play it on my computer.

#12 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 10:49 AM:

Oh and btw -- Sylvia is just loving the Moomin books. It is the first series of chapter books we have read; and she has wanted to read nothing else since August. We are now reading "Moominpappa at Sea" which I thought might be a little too slow-moving and atmospheric for her, but no. You can filter my blog entries for stuff specifically about reading these books if you are interested. (Server is down right now but should be working later on.)

#13 ::: Vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 10:53 AM:

I just saw some scans from All-Star Batman and Robin #2. Can somebody please tell me what is the matter with Frank Miller, and if it's contagious? I'm very concerned on this point.

#14 ::: Aaron Pogue ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 10:56 AM:

On the subject of Particles, I particularly enjoyed the tooltip that pops up on hover over: "Welcome to the Community of Dildo."

Not for its own merit (the tooltip says, "Via Patrick, who got it from Sharyn November"), but because, spoken aloud, the actual text would be indistinguishable from, "Via Patrick, who 'got it' from Cher in November."

#15 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 11:19 AM:

At Cascadia, I got to see the first episode of "Charly Jade". I want to see the rest of it, but I'm not holding my breath, based on what the show's creator told us. It's Canadian-made, has been shown only on Canada's counterpart to the SciFi Channel, and the said SciFi Channel would air the show only if it didn't have to pay for it. That might explain why it prefers inflicting things like "Mansquito" upon us.

#16 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 11:25 AM:

Skwid writes:

Many of you may already know this, but I can imagine few Making Light readers who wouldn't appreciate that Elements of Style is available online.

Orwell.ru? Spooky.

Why does the page refer to the senior author as "Oliver Strunk" when I have always known him as "William Strunk, Jr.?"

Let's see-- here in my office I have the 1959 hardcover edition.

Aha. The copyright page says "[Copyright symbol] The Macmillan Company 1959 [...]The Elements of Style, Revised Edition, by William Strunk, Jr. , and Edward A. Tenney, copyright 1935 by Oliver Strunk."

In the Introduction, E.B. White writes that "the little book" was privately printed with a copyright date of 1918. Apparently Oliver Strunk renewed the copyright seventeen years later, in 1935. Possibly he was Prof. W. Oliver Strunk of Princeton, author of Essays on Music in the Byzantine World, who was born the year after William Strunk, Jr. was married.

Wikipedia points me to a version of the text at Bartleby.com, which correctly attributes the little book to the elder Strunk.

#17 ::: Peter Flint ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 11:48 AM:

The 'wide boys' were, I believe, so called because of the width of their lapels. Think a kind of 1940's brit take on the zoot suit.

#18 ::: Fran ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 12:38 PM:

Wow -- that *was* a great beer ad PNH linked in Particles. But now I'm trying to figure out the connection between that British brand and Rickard's (Molson) here in Canada as they've been filking Orff as well using a choir in burgundy robes. Much smaller scale than the Brit ad, of course, but there's an alarming family resemblance.

I can't find a copy of it online, but there's an interesting blog post about it here.

#19 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 12:47 PM:

Jimcat: Can someone explain wide boys to me?

Everybody has already answered this one, but I was under the impression that the description "wide boy" implies some physical bulk, enough to give some presence/menace. And, as has been pointed out, I think that zoot suits -- the padded shoulders, the wide lapels, the wide stripes -- also enter into it somehow, at least originally.

#20 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 12:50 PM:

OK, that's it. Three* out-of-the-blue Marillion references in a week. Time for me to haul out ye olde box of audio cassettes and work my way through the discography all over again.

*The other two being,

1. Last track on Brian Vander Ark's "Resurrection" CD sounds a lot like something off of Clutching at Straws

and

2. Rearranging the living room revealed the Season's End picture disk in my record collection

...for whatever those are worth.

#21 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 12:53 PM:

Can I claim points for identifying Richard Thompson, or is the quote just too obvious for points to be awarded?

Come to think of it, I'm still waiting for someone to reference redheads and Vincent motorcycles over in the "Folksongs Are Your Friends" thread.

#22 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 01:03 PM:

Bob: I think we're all supposed to know, love, and follow RT. I certainly do.

While we're on the subject, if Richard Thompson ever happens to bring his '1000 Years of Popular Music' performance to your town, don't miss it! I gather the tickets have been extortionately priced in some cities, but when he came to Honolulu last year as he does every few years, they were quite reasonable. The CD is fun, but can't capture the feel of the live performance (and it appears he always does slightly different material in each show.)

#23 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 01:04 PM:

One definition suggests "wide boy" is a replacement for "spiv".

And if the term is getting into dictionaries it's likely obsolescent as slang.

Bit of a flash dresser, it seems, but possibly missing the mark a bit as far as fashion goes.

Intriguingly, the 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue does give "whide" as cant for "words".

#24 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 01:16 PM:

Fran: I love the Molson's ads. Their I Am Canadian ads from about four years back filled my heart with much joy. (And I am not even Canadian, just a wanna-be.) The Carlton Draught ad was pretty good too, although it reminded me of the British Airways campaign the early 90s, and the spoofs that ad spun off. If I recall correctly, the British Airways ad had a bunch of men and women in colourful hoodies and jumpsuits, running down city streets in colourful shapes. You can find the Xmas version here:

http://www.absolutelyandy.com/tvadverts/

There was a spoof of this ad for some washing machine that had people running down the street, making the shape of a giant sock and underwear and so on. While that was my favourite, alas, I can not find a link for it.

#25 ::: Kayjay ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 01:17 PM:

Come to think of it, I'm still waiting for someone to reference redheads and Vincent motorcycles over in the "Folksongs Are Your Friends" thread.

Someone did mention something about that:

Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2005, 08:59 AM:

Speaking of biker boyfriends: If yours has fought with the law, and he says he don't mind dyin', take it as a sign.

On the other hand, you'll get a good bike out of it, if it's any consolation.

#26 ::: Kate ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 01:33 PM:

Also on the subject of particles, I'd like to note that I had great fun misreading one as "10 Plagues of Egypt Finger Puppets", rather than "10-Plagues-of-Egypt Finger Puppets."

Now that was an interesting visual...

#27 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 01:43 PM:

It's been a while, so with the Summer fading and Fall coming, I thought I'd ask what are people drinking these days?

I just dicovered Boru, an awesome Irish vodka (hey, if the French can make vodka, why not the Irish?).

#28 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 01:45 PM:

If anybody actually does want blog posts about the Roberts hearings, SCOTUSBlog has some that are a little more substantive.

#29 ::: squeech ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 02:08 PM:

Isn't Irish vodka properly called "poteen"?

#30 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 02:14 PM:

what are people drinking these days?

Myers and club soda. About 1 part Myers to 3 parts club soda. Lots of ice. Lemon or lime optional.

And my stand-by, Old Grand-Dad.

Also -- my new (since November; ok it's not so new any more) favorite beer, is Jersey Ale from Hunterdon Brewing Co. in Philipsburg, NJ. It is great, mostly robs me of will to buy any other domestic beer. (Although Magic Hat #9 Ale will do in a pinch.) I don't know how widely HBC distributes its ale, I have only bought it in Summit, NJ. My friend who lives in Bethlehem, PA told me he had seen it there.

#31 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 02:17 PM:

(Myers is also very good with ginger beer.)

#32 ::: Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 02:27 PM:

I thought that "poteen" was Irish for "moonshine", rather than "vodka".

During the summer, Saranac Brewing (which is actually made at F.X. Matt's in Utica, NY) put out a mixed case of beers with a golden lager, raspberry wheat, hefeweizen, and a few others that slip my mind, but all were excellent. Unfortunately only a limited supply was shipped to my part of New Jersey, and I couldn't get it after July. Their Adirondack Amber is available year-round, though, and well worth drinking.

Of course it's time now to start thinking about Oktoberfest. Hacker-Pschorr made one of the best 'fest brews I've tasted about a decade ago; I think it was strong enough to be labeled as malt liquor. Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest is still available today, but seems to be watered down a bit. The best tasting domestic festbier I've found so far is Stoudt's. For beers with a little more kick, the imported doppelbocks like Schneider Aventinus or Erdinger Pikantus go down smooth and set your head sailing gently down the river. And lately I've discovered a set of Russian brews called Baltika that come in several varieties (lager, wheat ale, porter, and strong ale) -- not quite as tasty as the Germans but still satisfying.

Oh, and that reminded me that I've still got half a case of Thomas Jefferson Tavern Ale stashed away in the basement, awaiting cooler drinking weather. This is one of the most expensive domestic beers I've encountered ($48 per case in New Jersey) but I'll happily shell out for it because of the wonderful taste. Just the right blend of hops and a hint of fruit and spices. Excellent accompaniment to a chicken or pork meal on a fall evening.

Mmm... beer.

#33 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 02:28 PM:

. . . Prof. W. Oliver Strunk of Princeton, author of Essays on Music in the Byzantine World, who was born the year after William Strunk, Jr. was married.

Well, thank god for that. English style and Byzantine music have poor enough reputations as it is.

#34 ::: hrc ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 02:43 PM:

Mac 'N Jack's is an amber ale that you can only buy as a draft in the Pacific NW. I don't know if it has moved east much yet, but there is nothing finer that is domestically produced.

#35 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 02:43 PM:

NASA to unveil moon plan: Agency plans to send 4 astronauts to the moon in 2018

(snip)

The expedition would begin, these charts show, by launching the lunar lander and Earth departure stage (essentially a giant propulsion module) on a heavy-lift launch vehicle that would be lifted into orbit by five space shuttle main engines and a pair of five-segment shuttle solid rocket boosters.

(snip)

So they're basically going to reinvent the Saturn V using a design based on, I think, an Atlas-Centaur? "Proven technology" strikes again.

Check the temperature outside and the specs on those SRB O-rings before launching, please.

#36 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 02:47 PM:

If you make moonshine out of potatoes, then I think potato vodka is more or less what you get. An Irish friend of mine once said, "Poteen is vodka that died and went to heaven", and he had a bottle of the stuff to prove it. It was phenomenally good. He also said something about how the laws still bar you from buying the stuff (legally) within Ireland; if you want a legal bottle you have to pick it up at the airport Duty-Free on your way out. That was 10 years back, so it may have changed.

I am drinking very little at the moment, due to the damn ulcer, but I have a bottle of Remy cognac and a bottle of Jamesons (Irish whiskey) in the cupboard for the occasional sip or two as a nightcap. At other times I drink mostly IPA type ales; I like the rich hops bite.

#37 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 02:57 PM:

Myers and Club soda. I'll have to try that, Jeremy. On the rum front, lately I've been having Bacardi Limon on the rocks, which is nice for sipping.

I'm pretty sure there is some brand of Poteen available in the U.S. I haven't tried it yet, because my brother in law from Drogheda says it's lethal.

#38 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 02:59 PM:

No alcohol here, alas. I don't particularly miss it, but it annoys me when people assume I must be a "bad sport" or disapprove of their habits.

Just discovered Kefir, which is sort of like a weird carbonated yogurt smoothie. I believe the genuine article is alcoholic, but the stuff in the grocery store isn't.

#39 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 02:59 PM:

(Myers is also very good with ginger beer.)

A combination I learned was called a "Dark and Stormy."

#40 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 03:05 PM:

LibraryThing could be the Best. Cat-Vacuuming. Ever.

I just have to decide if I really *need* my books catalogued . . .

#41 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 03:16 PM:

Ooooh. LibraryThing - I want.

Are Mac users already aware of Delicious Library? It sounds really cool - if you have a webcam, you just hold your book/CD/DVD in front of it and it snarfs the UPC off the back and catalogs it for you, complete with cover picture. Apparently it even makes sotto voce snarky comments on certain movies/etc. But I don't have either a Mac or a webcam.

#42 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 03:19 PM:

No alcohol here, alas. I don't particularly miss it, but it annoys me when people assume I must be a "bad sport" or disapprove of their habits.

No such assumptions from this corner.

Just discovered Kefir, which is sort of like a weird carbonated yogurt smoothie. I believe the genuine article is alcoholic, but the stuff in the grocery store isn't.

Kefir is only slightly alchoholic but is fermented, and should be quite sour. Some health-food stores sell Kefir starters that will let you make your own, which will be far tastier than the stuff you get at the A & P; and you can control the acidity and degree of alchohol by not fermenting it as long. (Indeed it tastes quite good after about 24-36 hrs and has no perceptible alchoholic content, is my memory; but I have not made it in about 15 years so caveat listener.)

#43 ::: twitch124 ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 03:19 PM:

Poteen was legalized for sale within Ireland in 1997 or 1998. I bought some in a regular liquor shop in Dublin in 1998.

#44 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 03:29 PM:

Kate Nepveu, sometimes the cat really *needs* to be vacuumed. I catalogued my books once, but never kept it up to date, i.e. the data sits on an Atari 5.25" floppy. (Still have machine & drives, don't know if it all works since it hasn't been plugged in since about 1991.

***

Mmmm, Beer.

Too bad I can't have any right now. I'm on a diet and exercise program (medically supervised) that claims that alcohol blocks the pathway used to metabolize fat, so it's banned. I don't know how true this is or isn't, but the program is otherwise reasonable, so I'm in it for the duration.

That said, I'd love a Schneider Hefeweitzen right about now. Or a Paulaner. Schneider is harder to find, which makes it more the prize.

Right before I started the diet, I discovered that Hale's Ales (right here in Seattle) actually makes an excellent Klsch - first I've ever had that wasn't served in line of sight of the Cologne cathedral. The bar didn't have the little cylindrical glasses, though.

#45 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 03:53 PM:

Larry, I wonder if it depends on what kind of beverage? When I started my diet, I laid off cocktails but still had red and white wine regularly, and that didn't interfere with losing 1 to 2lbs per week.

#46 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 04:01 PM:

Whatever single malt happens to catch my roving eye; usually Glenfiddich or Glenmorangie.

#47 ::: Keith Kisser ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 04:02 PM:

Ginger beer and spiced rum; it's a little sweet but fine for summer heat down Georgia way.

Lately, I've been making some very simple margaritas: 1 shot tequila, 1 shot tripplsec with limeaide from frozen concentrate.

Cider is always good, as well.

#48 ::: Glen Blankenship ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 04:08 PM:

wide boys is a C. 20 generic term for those who live by their wits, esp. gamblers, petty swindlers, race-gangsters, the lesser 'con men', dishonest motor-car salesmen, and the like, as in Robert Westerby's Wide Boys Never Work, 1937. See wide ; cf. spiv.

--Eric Partridge, A Dictionary of the Underworld

#49 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 04:11 PM:

John: Mostly I've had too many colds and other inconveniences to drink much this year. Alcohol and cold medicine not a good mix. (And if you don't believe me, try some Nyquil.) When I do it tends to be single malt; my bottle of Lagavulin is getting distressingly low.

MKK

#50 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 04:18 PM:

(And if you don't believe me, try some Nyquil.)

You mean as a mixer? Or shots? :0)

Cider is always good, as well.

If you get a chance try Farnum Hill cider, especially their semi-dry still cider. As rich and complex in flavor as a lambic ale. The extra-dry still cider is very good too but only about a year after you buy it. (IMHO -- their brewmaster told me everything they sell has been aged to proper maturity.)

#51 ::: Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 04:19 PM:

Okay, that Moomin movie explains why it is I can buy giant stuffed Moomintrolls and Snork Maidens at the local Japanse bubble-tea shoppe and kawai emporium, had I only the wherewithal.

Just checking, since the trailer for no. 4's just been released: have we all seen "Potter Puppet Pals," or have we not?

#52 ::: Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 04:21 PM:

Larry: everyone's mileage will vary with regards to diet. I lost a good deal of weight while still allowing myself one beer per day.

I've found imported Koelsch in New Jersey, and it was also one of the brews in the Saranac summer pack. That's the wonderful thing about the USA with regards to beer: for any recipie or tradition, there's probably a brewer in this country who does it, and is passionate enough to do it well.

Of course, there are also some lousy brewers trying to cash in on the microbrew fanciers. That's why I do a lot of taste testing.

#53 ::: Hobnob ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 04:23 PM:

If you've ever seen the (UK) show Only Fools and Horses, the main character Del Trotter (Del Boy) is an archetypical "wide boy"..

#54 ::: Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 04:25 PM:

Also, um, just spotted: Katrina: the Gathering.

(Hmm. Maybe I ought to get me one of these weblog things...)

#55 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 04:33 PM:

Am I the only one who thinks "You're doing a heckuva job" is going to become the next joke way of saying "Guess who gets to be the fall guy for this mess?"?

#56 ::: Mary R ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 05:08 PM:

Am I the only person who didn't know that Anderson Cooper of CNN is Gloria Vanderbilt's son?

Also, I mentioned this on the dying end of a previous open thread, but thought it worth repeating. Harvard is offering ENGLISH E-101 The History and Structure of the English Language as an Extension course that can be taken entirely online. A semester spent studying vowel shifts, phonology and world English. The course website is currently available for preview. If anyone else here is taking it, let's get in touch.

#57 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 05:19 PM:

Jeremy, you tempt me with the Farnum Hill--the Farmhouse seems about my style, I'd rather have a cider that aims for pub flavor than one that's trying to be wine. If I liked wine, I'd drink wine.

Hmm. I wonder if anyone around here (NYC) stocks Quebec ice cider.

#58 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 05:28 PM:

Jimcat - I've never found an imported Klsch that didn't taste old. FWIW, the few canned/bottled Klsches I tried in Germany weren't so great either, which is why the Hale's was such a pleasant surprise. I'll look for the Saranac version once I can have beer again.

---

Jimcat & John Farrell - I suspect that I could fit the occasional beer or glass of wine into my diet without detriment, but I'm disinclined to do so. This really for two reasons, first that the program has a good success rate (almost 50% retention after 1 year off program) and has a good sample size. ReallyBigCorp pays for the lion's share of the program, but I'm kicking in a substantial chunk of change as well (it's a great benefit), so I figure I should follow the program as written.

It's kind of like having a part-time job. 5 days a week in the gym (3 with trainers), meetings with dietitians, MDs, psychologists, and a group session. Since I'm making all this effort, not having a beer seems like the least bit of additional burden.

I do think that some of their scientific claims are a bit dodgy though. In addition to the ban on alcohol, they're down on artificial sweeteners and caffeine too. I wonder where the science ends and the moralism begins.

#59 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 05:31 PM:

Hey Vicki -- Chelsea Wine Vault on 8th Ave and 16th has got Farnum Hill. (And yes, they have the Farmhouse too.0

#60 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 05:45 PM:

Ahem yourself, Styx; Richard Thompson has frequently sung it as "wide boys" rather than "big boys." For an example, I refer you to his recent live album The Chrono Show.

#61 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 05:52 PM:

(And I certainly second the rec for Thompson's occasional "1000 Years of Popular Music" show. We saw it a couple of years ago at Joe's Pub in NYC.)

#62 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 06:21 PM:

Mary Kay,
I'm sorry to hear that! I hope you get better soon and can replenish that bottle of Lagavulin...

#63 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 06:31 PM:

IN: Intelligent Numbers. It's not your father's non-standard analysis.

#64 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 06:38 PM:

Baileys over ice :D.

I went to visit Tor UK
But alas it's gone away
Can anyone say why this is so?
Macmillan act like they don't know

Okay, lousy poetry, but http://www.toruk.com is deader even than my poem :(.

#65 ::: Lizzy Lynn ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 07:00 PM:

For years I drank pale ales and single malt scotch, but lately have turned (don't laugh) to sherry. I know it's weird. My local wine merchant came up with this incredible stuff. It says Cardenal Cisneros on the bottle; also says that it is made with Pedro Ximenez grapes. It's sweet and very dark, a kind of purple brown: mahogany color. Not cheap.

I drink water too, not enough of it. And if someone were to offer me Cognac I wouldn't turn it down.

#66 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 07:32 PM:

I take colchicine every other day and so far, my genes are fine. If my joints don't get better by morning (I swear my right index finger is starting to point in), I'm increasing to every day.

Drinking: the required cranberry juice and gatorade, plus skim milk and iced tea. Boring, ain't I?

#67 ::: bob mcmanus ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 07:37 PM:

Re:RT

I first heard Bright Lights about 5 years ago, looked it up at AMG, and was amazed at how seldom such a perfect song had been covered. At the time, I thought perhaps it was deference to the couple, but now I wonder if Thompson just won't give permission. I suppose that is his business, and I shouldn't wonder.

Another song with inadequate cover is Melanie Safka's Steppin.

#68 ::: Styx ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 07:52 PM:

Patrick, my bad! That'll teach me to pay more attention next time I see him perform.

#69 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 08:03 PM:

What am I drinking? Gritty McDuff's Best Bitter (bottling of a Portland ME brewpub) when I can find it; the good local liquor store was out last time, so I settled for Old Thumper, over Tremont (very local) or Fuller's ESB. (I like real hops -- just not the grapefruit-rind--flavored ones used in too many U.S. beers.) Commandaria St. John for late evenings with a book -- it's a Greek sweet red wine that comes out oxidized like sherry. The bottle of Highland Park Capella will wait for a propitious moment.

#70 ::: Bez Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 08:07 PM:

The OED usage citations for this particular sense of wide shows an interesting transition in slang use. It seems to mean "clever, sharp-witted" before WWII, and then acquires the connotation of shifty criminality, probably because it was being used by the black marketeers themselves. Compare it to the American "wise guy".

#71 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 08:38 PM:

I just got myself a seltzer/soda machine. It came with a bunch of syrups, which I assume are commercial crap. I'll be brewing my own ginger syrup, vanilla syrup, cinamon syrup, cardamom syrup, celery syrup.

I can make home-brew Cel-Ray! Muahahaha!

#72 ::: Iain Coleman ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 08:41 PM:

I'm not wholly convinced by the previous atempts at a definition of "wide boy". The idea of being a bit of a chancer, a bit of a spiv, is certainly in there, but in the context of Scotland in the 1980s there's a bit more to it. A wide boy might be a bit of a poser, he might be better dressed than his income would allow, but he will also have a propensity to violence. "Going wide" refers to the kind of behaviour that invites physical confrontation, and the expression "wide boy" has more recently been contracted to "wide-o", a noun which refers to the kind of person who goes out spoiling for a fight.

#73 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 08:51 PM:

. . . Prof. W. Oliver Strunk of Princeton, author of Essays on Music in the Byzantine World, who was born the year after William Strunk, Jr. was married.

Well, thank god for that. English style and Byzantine music have poor enough reputations as it is.

Yes, but do they mean he was born 12 months after, or within the following year? Because the latter seems to me to give him a three in four chance of being illegitimate.

On the Moomin books, anyway: is Moominpappa at Sea the book published in the UK as The Exploits of Moominpappa? Actually, a look at Jeremy's site suggests that the corresponding book is Moominpappa's Memoirs. Whichever it is, I think it's the best book, and that Moominpappa actually emerges as the most interesting character. But that may be just because the circumstances in the book remind me of episodes in the lives of both my parents.

[People are now visualising my parents as Moomins. Result!]

#74 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 09:08 PM:

I'll have to reread "Moominpappa's Memoirs" -- my impression last time thru was that it was the least interesting of the series. "Moominpappa at sea" is the one where the family sails away to a distant island to live in a lighthouse, and Moomintroll falls in love with a sea horse among other things. It and its companion volume "Moominvalley in November" (about their friends waiting for them in the moominhouse) are very weird and cerebral, much more so than the rest of the series. (Also the short stories compiled in the US as "Tales from Moominvalley" are pretty weird.)

#75 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 09:25 PM:

If anyone's linked this one yet, I've missed it:
Katrina: The Gathering

(This is not cutting satire. This is satire carefully crafted from obsidian.)

#76 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 09:48 PM:

Rancid Comments Department, again,

[Live! on TV, the asshole from Texas whose wealthy fellow scum arranged for his installation in the Oval Orifice... ]

The words of the two footed sack of shit blowing taxpayer dollars to playing stinking lying grandstander in New Orleans -- tax dollars squandered on the sack of shit to stand in New Orleans and give a speech--wasting oil and gas to transport his entourage and probably stop dead in its tracks on-going disaster cleanup work...

Stinking piece of shit is pushing handing money over to religious organizations now. He keeps talking about faith, and pouring taxpayer dollars into what probably are going to be hole lots of sucking maws of the likes of Halliburton fatcats. And he's going to spend taxpayers dollars on expanding buildings in places that probably shouldn't have been built in the first place--shithead desn't seem to comprehend the concept that if something was been built in a floodplain and then drowned, it shouldn't be rebuilt LARGER in the floodplain.

Sack of shit of course has got neither the brains of one of those male fish which attach themselves to the giant female and devolve into a tail releasing sperm that's become a male appendages sticking out of the female's hide, nor the integrity of the Scottish Regiment's used condom.

He doubtless was using a teleprompter for the speech...

Perhaps it's time to leave Biloxi the way that the Cape Cod National Seashore is--why should ever other taxpayer in the country get charged to rebuild that place when it gets flattened again and again and again? Camille flattened in three decades ago, and it was flattened from a hurricane before that one, too. New Orleans at least isn't ON the coastline...

New Orleans wouldn't have been hit so hard if so much of the marshes in the area weren't destroyed. Stinking sack of shit seems to go out of his way to remain willfully ignorant of that. Stinking sacks of shit pronounced building LARGER than before, which to me says stinking sack of shit will destroy even more marshes, meaning that the places rebuilt will be just that much more expensive the next time they get hit by a hurricane. Stinking sack of shit doesn't believe in global warming and the increasing viciousness of hurricanes, he has faith....

And where the hell is MY job? I've been without work that provided health benefits for three and a half years now. I haven't even had substantiative contract work in two and a half years. Nobody's giving -me- a $5000 grant and making a job for me! Want tax money from me, get me a job! I apply for them and there's no responses from the vast majority of the resumes I send out. The others, most of them don't even bother after responding to the initial contact, to even send email with a rejection. Occasionally I have an interview, and never hear back. Calling up to be told you're rejected stinks, and who the hell wants to do that again and again and again after -years-?

The people from the Gulf are going to get jobs from federal programs and are getting money from the federal government. Some of them have lost all their possessions, but what about everyone ELSE who's suffered from bad weather and losses, who weren't on the Gulf Coast, whose houses and jobs are gone from floods, fires, etc.? Bush is promising money from -those- people who've lost everything, to give huge largesse to the victims of Katrina.

Meanwhile, again, nobody's hiring -me-. I hear the words of the sack of shit, saying that those victims are more important and Worthy than any other victims. They get jobs, but what about those of us who have been unemployed for years, what about those whose lives and livelihoods went away in smaller disaster, what about the people who went bankrupt in the wake of 9/11, what about the change in the federal bankruptcy law which denies people who for loss of job, or illness, disaster, etc., are stuck with bills they can't pay and aren't going to get any debtor relief come October? Bush is advocating huge spending for Katrina victims, but again, what about everyone else?

Stinking lying sack of shit...

#77 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 10:27 PM:

Article about Richard Thompson in the "Talk of the Town" section of the New Yorker:

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/content/articles/050829ta_talk_paumgarten

#78 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 10:38 PM:

bob mcmanus writes:

"I first heard Bright Lights about 5 years ago, looked it up at AMG, and was amazed at how seldom such a perfect song had been covered. At the time, I thought perhaps it was deference to the couple, but now I wonder if Thompson just won't give permission."
What are you talking about? You don't need permission to cover someone's song; you just need to follow certain procedures and make sure you pay them the appropriate royalties. More here, here, and here.

I'm frankly appalled that intelligent people have been so bamboozled by the firehoses of bullshit wielded by the copyright maximalists that you literally don't know about the venerable and extremely effective "compulsory license" model under which song-performance rights are handled, with creators quite decently compensated thank you very much.

Signed, Member, ASCAP (with the wallet card to prove it!)

#79 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 10:39 PM:

(Home-brew Cel-Ray, mmm.)

#80 ::: Jim Meadows ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 11:09 PM:

Pleasant surprise to see someone writing about Tove Jansson's Moomin books. The Japanese anime films is news to me, but I was under the impression the characters had been animated before, perhaps back when the Moomin comic strip was still running. I've long thought of Jansson's later Moomin books as sort of Ingmar Bergman for children, so a film version seems fitting.

#81 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 11:35 PM:

Bob, you okay? Here, have a glass of water. Patrick has Firm Opinions on this subject.

#82 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 11:40 PM:

Meh. Came back to report on Katrina: The Gathering, but of course y'all had already particled it. Well done.

#83 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 11:46 PM:

Keith: I'm also in GA. Love ginger beer.

Kip: Potter Puppet Pals, absolutely. (aaaaaaAAAAAA.........bother!)

#84 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 11:47 PM:

I don't know who first put a copy of Moominsummer Madness into my hands, many years ago, but I thank them forever. For one thing, there are lovely haunting images in it that have stayed with me ever since; and for another, it taught me the word "luminous."

#85 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: September 15, 2005, 11:54 PM:

IMDB lists a string of animated Moomins -- two TV series (the first in 1969), some shorts, and a feature in 1993. (Search on "Tove Jansson" to find the list.)

A little more looking indicates that, surprise, the imdb list is incomplete and not terribly accurate, but hey, these Internets, she are the great quest adventure of the armcharious, yes?

themoomins.com lists a boxed set of a 1980s TV series (unmentioned by imdb) with English narration.

Remember, the value of a liberal education is knowing where to Look Stuff Up, which has always included not quitting easily and following somewhat erratic chains of logic.

#86 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 12:26 AM:

I fell for the Moomins as a small child, thanks to an aunt in England who sent us pretty much the whole series of books. Then when we were living in Japan in '69 we got the TV series - the Moomins were already big in Japan then, and still are. My 9 year old self remembers the TV shows as being pretty darn good - but the books are truly wonderful.

I'm reading E. Nesbit's The Magic City to my almost-four-year-old these days. He got bored for a while and didn't want to hear more installments, but then he asked for it again just the other night. That was always one of my favorite Nesbits.

#87 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 12:39 AM:

"Moominsummer Madness" is the one with the Hobgoblin's hat, right?

The incident with the dictionary falling into the hat is, I think, the thing that stuck with me more than anything else in the whole series.

#88 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 01:00 AM:

The world is a vast and amazing place. I guess I should admit first of all how spotty my knowledge of music is. I know what I've been reared with, what I've bumped into, or what my kids have played for me.

Tonight for the first time I heard that song about the '52 Vincent and the girl with the red hair (whose name I kept hearing as "Radmullah" for the first three verses or so, wondering if the song was going to turn into some kind of political or cultural manifesto, before I realized it was "Red Molly"). I thought "Who is this guy? What kind of accent is that? Dang, that's pretty picking. Oy, it's another one of those songs. Dang, that's pretty picking. What kind of accent is that? Who is this guy?"

So I finally get home and get up to checking out the net, and here it is -- the name of the guy, and a context for the '52 Vincent song, and . . . what kind of accent is that?

I was really quite annoyed with Robert Earl Keen for "The Road Goes On Forever And The Party Never Ends,(or whatever its proper title is)" for example, but I forgave him completely once I heard "Merry Christmas from the Family" (Or whatever its proper name is).

#89 ::: bad Jim ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 01:03 AM:

I have a glass of Moulin Vert absinthe in front of me. This brand is supposed to have a substantial thujone content, and things like a tile floor do become rather interesting after a few glasses. (That said, I'm actually just drinking zinfandel; the absinthe is left over from last night.)

Thompson wrote and performed the music for Werner Herzog's new film Grizzly Man, which I'd recommend to all lovers of bears and foxes.

#90 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 01:37 AM:

I have a bottle of Widmer Brothers Oktoberfest Festival Ale beside me. It's empty. I guess that means I'm not drinking anything. I'm just getting ready for bed.

I do have a question I've been meaning to ask here: A couple months back, I went to one of those things where published writers sit at little tables in small rooms full of unpublished writers and talk about, well, writing.

Most everything I heard there was stuff I'd already read on the web, but one writer said something that didn't sound right. He said that every publisher keeps one or two slots in their schedule open specifically for new writers. He also said that manuscripts in the slush piles weren't competing with the works of the "oft-published elite" but with the rest of the slush.

It didn't sound right to me, but I'm not in a position to know. Was he right?

Thanks.

#91 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 02:17 AM:

John Farrell writes: what are people drinking these days?

I have a few bottles of my Jack Of The Green pale ale left, the Too Many Secrets porter is waiting for the Halloween feast, and I'm expecting the next batch of Six Dmon spice ale to be ready for the solstice. There's still a couple bottles of Tumultuous Uproar imperial stout and exactly one bottle of Revolution! strong ale, but those will probably be gone by the end of the week.

#92 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 02:37 AM:

Do not worry, Lucy;* your condition would at least imply that you have only just encountered Richard Thompson. There are worse things.

I've been going through my enormous stack of Cropredy Festival photos, with the intent of posting a set on Flickr (don't run over there now, there's almost nothing up yet). I should probably check the shots of Thompson playing cricket, though I think they're all from a safe enough distance that nobody's really recognizable without a scorecard.

*which of course sounds like the first line of a folk song, in which Worry is only a stanza or six away from descending, followed after several more stanzas, a couple of choruses, a rickety bridge, and a catastrophic loss of string geometry by the arrival of Fell J. Death (as Jay Ward and Bill Scott would have called him) with his long black coat and his red incarnation, his Midnight Special on a .44 frame, and his invitation to come dance (nothing too Fosse, all Arlen in the night) under the pale white moon.

She likes the promise they dont quite define
She stops the taxi at Greenwood & Vine,
Of course her Blahniks are size number 9,
That's why the lady's lyric's Trad.
Shell leave her bedroom at any old noise
Won't marry fops who are Daddys first choice
Walks into graveyards and raises her voice
That's why the lady's lyric's Trad.
She's got a beau whos dead, truth to tell
But his boats swell
What's worse? Next verse!
Short but eventful, is that life so bad?
That's why the lady's lyric's trad.

Shell follow crooks for the whole crooked way,
Won't stay indoors for the whole month of May,
Ignores old wives' tales on her wedding day,
That's why the lady's lyric's Trad.
She wont get fooled by the High or the Low
Enchants a token and buttons her beau,
Knows seven hundred expressions for No,
That's why the lady's lyric's Trad.
At some oh-dire-oh ccasion of sin
Shell get done in
Stone dead, nuff said
Shell come back Doleful and spook out the cad
Thats why the ladys lyrics Trad.

Can't turn away from a guy on a horse,
She falls for riddles, though rarely to force,
And he'll be gone in the morning, of course
That's why the lady's lyric's Trad.
She likes the Army, their triggers are set
But then the Navy gets so friggin wet
Theres not a service she hasnt served yet
Thats why the ladys lyrics Trad.
She's got the [Your Shade Here] sort of eyes
Sees through disguise
Nice dogs, cute frogs;
True Love will be the unlikeliest lad,
That's why the lady's lyric's Trad.

#93 ::: Mina W ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 04:41 AM:

re kefir "weird carbonated yogurt smoothie"

After noticing in the grocery a container of pina colada yogurt with the top all puffed up, I went and looked it up in the microbiology text. Lactobacillus come in 2 varieties, 'homofermenters' and 'heterofermenters'. The first just turn the lactose in milk into lactic acid. The second do half that, and half the other pathway, which leads to CO2 and ethanol. So that was alcoholic carbonated pina colada yogurt.

Probably those are the bugs responsible for the original kefir?

#94 ::: Simstim ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 05:32 AM:

Agree with Iain Coleman that "wide boy" is more than just a re-badged spiv, there's an element of chav/townie there too.

#95 ::: Paul Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 05:50 AM:

If you've ever seen the (UK) show Only Fools and Horses, the main character Del Trotter (Del Boy) is an archetypical "wide boy"..

Also Arthur Daley in Minder.

Do not worry, Lucy;* your condition would at least imply that you have only just encountered Richard Thompson

Or possibly Dick Gaughan, who has covered the song. Though his pronounciation of "Red Molly" doesn't sound like "Radmullah", at least to my ear.

#96 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 05:53 AM:

I knew that Colchicums were poisonous, but I didn't realize they were mutagenic.

I wonder what superpower I'll develop.

#97 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 06:05 AM:

"Moominsummer Madness" is the one with the Hobgoblin's hat, right?

No, that is "Finn Family Moomintroll". "Moominsummer Madness" is the one with the flood and the (mostly) abandoned theater. And Snufkin exacting revenge upon the tormentors of his youth, which is where "luminous" comes in.

#98 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 06:08 AM:

On poitn: the stuff legally on sale is not poitn, it's just labelled that way for tourists. It's as if Jim Beam, say, made stuff and labelled it "Moonshine" for marketting reasons.

Real poitn is illegal and dangerous stuff that makes you go blind or even die, and is made from god knows what by who knows who.

Meanwhile, vodka has been made in Ireland for many years. Irish Distillers, the 500 lb gorilla in spirits here have made "Huzzar" for as long as I can remember, which is a reliable second in the market behing Smirnoff. It's just alcohol in water though, without the interesting petrol flavours of, say, Stolichnaya.

I have a few bottles of Erdinger Weissbier in the fridge, along with a bottle of Jacobs Creek Sparkling Pinot Noir, which is very good indeed for the money.

#99 ::: marrije ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 06:43 AM:

Kip Manley, thank you for the link to the potter puppets. Harry looks endearingly like Scott McCloud, in my opnion, and I love the flappy arms.

And Jeremy Osner, thank you for mentioning kefir. My mother used to make that during on of her seventies DIY phases (that included spinning (both wheel and that-twirly-stick-like-thing I don't know the name of in English), dying, macrame, embroidery and lots of sewing of clothes), and my sister and I were fascinated by the process. We also drank lots of it, so I don't expect ours contained alcohol in any significant way, because otherwise my mother would certainly not have let us drink it.

#100 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 06:53 AM:

Did nobody notice yet another frighteningly brilliant parody from John M Ford above?

Or are events like these so habitual with those who associate with Mr Ford that one hardly notices after a while?

#101 ::: Eimear N Mhalid ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 07:03 AM:

Real poitn is illegal and dangerous stuff that makes you go blind or even die, and is made from god knows what by who knows who.

Many small Irish farmers keep a bottle of poitn handy as animal medicine.

I have a few Czech beers in the fridge, and a couple of bottles of red wine around. I think though since it's Friday I might go and buy some Belgian beer tonight.

#102 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 07:52 AM:

Dave, I think time-zones might have something to do with it. Though if I'd looked a bit earlier...

Meanwhile, America is slowly awaking to a new day, unfolding its newspaper, looking at the front page photo, and saying "Oh [deleted]!"

Perhaps they can be forgiven for not noticing one of the good things of life.

"That which does not kill me makes me stranger." -- Llewellyn

#103 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 08:05 AM:

The spiv is a slightly romantic character, sixty years after the war, as is the black market, but those who lived through that time can tell a few tales.

Like the two local farmers, who I shall call B1 and B2 since their sons know me. B1 was a butcher as well as a farmer, and, like the modern chicken nugget seller, is in not reassuring to learn what went into his sausages, stretching the meat ration beyond all carnivorous sanity.

B2 was the bigger farmer, and did a lot of darkish-grey trading in livestock. So did his son, I suspect, until the post-FMD clampdown on the sheep trade. Certainly, the apparently thriving sheep flock seemed to stop thriving.

B2 Jr. spent a lot of money on shooting, and was good enough at hitting clay pigeons to shoot competitively for his country. The last time I saw him, he was stroking his shotgun the way some men stroke their women.

I'm glad I moved to a different village.

#104 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 08:11 AM:

John M. Ford: I think you may owe me a keyboard. Fortunately, only a very little liquid was nasally filtered on its way there :-)

Thank you; the song is fun!

#105 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 08:47 AM:

There's a fun Flash toy that produces vaguely horticultural results when given a "seed" URL and 5-10 seconds to think about it, though the only part of the algorithm I'm semi-sure about is that little flying insects represent other Flashlets. The premises of our esteemed hosts create the most alarmingly Audrey-like monster I've seen so far, though sadly monochrome.

#106 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 08:56 AM:

Lucy,

What dont' you like about "The Road Goes On Forever and the Party Never Ends"? I found it a surprisingly affective song. Not like "'52 Vincent Black Lightning", one of the few that consistenly makes me cry any time I hear it (the "For Whom the Bell Tolls" of song), but pretty strong stuff anyway. (The Del McCoury version of "5VBL" is maybe not his best work.)

#107 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 10:05 AM:

Lucy: not only do you now get to explore the score or so Richard Thompson albums - but make sure you track down the bluegrass version of '52 Vincent Black Lightning, by the Del McCoury Band.

#108 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 10:13 AM:

If you can still get the music issue of the Oxford American for 2003, it's got the Del McCoury version on the accompanying CD. It's one of the weaker songs, and it's pretty good.

By the way, is it acronymized as '5VBL or just plain 5VBL?

#109 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 10:20 AM:

Wow, can you acronymize numbers like that??? I had not idea. My impulse would be 52VBL.

#110 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 10:45 AM:

While I can see the appeal of a '52 Vincent and a red-headed girl, I'm not that fussy about hair-colouring, and no way are you going to get me on a motor-cycle.

Would a Series III air-portable Land Rover be sufficient, ladies? The roof doesn't leak. Much.

Mine is green, and doesn't have side windows.

#111 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 10:53 AM:

Here's a new wrinkle: Crickets can tell you the temperature.

:)

#112 ::: amysue ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 11:03 AM:

Noticed the link to the 10 Plague hand puppets. We love the puppets, fights ensue over who gets the Boils puppet. We also pelt each other with mini marshmallows during the seder.

Back to RT though. My poor kids have grown up learning all the lyrics to most of Thompson's oevre (as well as SES and a sea chanty or two) and have suffered through my butchering them in an attempt to sing to the kiddoes. This morning I got my son out of bed by belting Hard On Me as loud as I could. He retaliated with Matty Groves...he's 7 (he'll be in therapy soon I'm sure...).

#113 ::: Gluon ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 11:10 AM:

via lifehack:

"The first rule of getting a book published is to avoid writing a book."

Added bonus: the graphic at the top is a... crescent! oh nooooo!

#114 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 11:20 AM:

What dont' you like about "The Road Goes On Forever and the Party Never Ends"?

I actually don't like the '52 Vncent song either, except for the pretty picking.

Maybe it's because I don't glamorize dead teenage boys? I want them to live and prosper, instead? -- continuation school teaching will do that to you, I think.

#115 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 11:44 AM:

Poteen? Another word to get confused with poutine?

#116 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 11:46 AM:

Lucy, a minor nit-pick - James of "Vincent" isn't a teenager: "I'm twenty-one years, I may make twenty-two." But I suspect your point still holds.

(Really wishing my cover of '52 VBL this summer had been recorded; after six years, I can just about get through performing it without choking up now. Must find the chord progressions and start working on "Pavane" next.)

#117 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 11:56 AM:

I'm about to rush off to do errands, but just had to make a quick comment about Richard Thompson (my hero!!). He has a fine website too: http://www.richardthompson-music.com/Catch.asp
(Queck out the amusing bits of fictitious diary entry.)

#118 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 12:15 PM:

Jumping into the "What are you drinking" conversation, perhaps a bit late, I'm mostly drinking ginger brandy these days. I've never before enjoyed brandy, but I enjoy ginger brandy.

My new favorite beer is the Weeping Radish Black Radish, which is described on the Weeping Radish website thusly: "This dark larger in the Munich Dunkles style is brewed with a high portion of dark roasted malts for a rich, toasted flavor."

Since North Carolina recently lifted its 6% cap on alcohol content in beer, I look forward to trying many interesting imported brews and microbrews.

#119 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 12:16 PM:

PiscusFiche:

How come you know what "poutine" is? Are you from Quebec? Or is that staple of culinary arts known beyond my native land's borders?

#120 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 12:22 PM:

All those comments about beer remind me of an X-men badge I once had...

The background showed Wolverine running past a sign pointing to Canada while, in the foreground, a perplexed Nightcrawler tells Cyclops that Wolverine went out to get some "...real beer..."

#121 ::: Eimear N Mhalid ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 12:52 PM:

I knew I'd seen the Hamlet text adventure here before.

Also, did anyone else look at the Library Thing and think, 200 books registered free, that'd hardly make a dent in them? (Not saying the $10 for permanent membership isn't reasonable.)

#122 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 01:29 PM:

Lucy - As it happens, hearing '52 Vincent Black Lightning' was exactly what first hooked me on Richard Thompson, probably 15-20 years back. I like the song precisely because it is amoral, pointlessly romantic, melodramatic, and silly in a highly serious way, just like the traditional ballads of highwaymen, bandits, and such folk.

That song is on Rumor and Sigh, which is a great album to pick up as an intro, as it has a huge range of styles and tones on it, including some of his most "pop" and accessible. Another good choice to pick up for an overview of his earlier work would be The Best of Richard and Linda Thompson - The Island Years, which has what surely must be several of the most depressing (but beautiful) songs ever composed. Of course, if you end up buying all his earlier CDs, then that compilation will end up being a duplicate... Finally, working backwards in time, you should really check out some Fairport Convention albums, such as Liege and Leaf which includes versions of several traditional ballads alluded to on the folksongs thread. If you just want to buy one CD set, Watching the Dark is supposed to be a great career-spanning compilation but I don't have it and so can't offer a review.

#123 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 01:33 PM:

Serge's X-Men Badge: The background showed Wolverine running past a sign pointing to Canada while, in the foreground, a perplexed Nightcrawler tells Cyclops that Wolverine went out to get some "...real beer..."

This is probably correct for mass-market beer (Molson or Labatt's is far better than Bud or Coors) but I'd take issue on the microbrew front. On the small scale, the US has gotten pretty good at making excellent beer in virtually all styles. (Still haven't had a decent US-made Lambic, though.)

Even our mass-microbrews (think Sam Adams, Sierra Nevada, Pyramid, etc.) are world class. It's just the $6.99 for a 12-pack of cans stuff that reeks.

FWIW, even the Belgians, who are otherwise the great masters of beer-making, make Stella Artois, which IMHO tastes like fermented armpits. Unshaven armpits at that.

#124 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 01:46 PM:

True, Larry, but I had that badge a long time ago, before microbreweries had gone mainstream. I myself couldn't tell mass-market beer from a microbrew - unless Belgium's stuff is as vile as you make it sound.

#125 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 02:01 PM:

John M. Ford wrote: "Remember, the value of a liberal education is knowing where to Look Stuff Up, which has always included not quitting easily and following somewhat erratic chains of logic."

As I discovered 4 years ago, it is also the ideal preparation for abruptly having to homeschool a child for a year from a flat-footed standing start. Long story, with which I won't tie up bandwidth, but it ended well.

Clifton, I love Nesbit but have missed The Magic City. I'll look for it.

Marrije, the twirly stick looking thing is called a drop spindle.

Bob Oldendorf, I heartily second your rec of the bluegrass "Vincent Black Lightning". It was the first version of the song I heard and I love it dearly.

#126 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 02:10 PM:

what are people drinking these days?

At the bar, Bacardi Silver Raz (raspberry-flavored malt beverage, not to be confused with their raspberry rum). At home, where I can mix it myself so it's appropriately weak, Diet Coke & Vanilla Absolut, or Diet Coke and Rhum Barbancourt. The grown-ups in the family* sip the Barbancourt rather than mixing it.

*that is, those who can hold their liquor

#127 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 02:10 PM:

Larry Brennan writes: Still haven't had a decent US-made Lambic, though.

That's because nobody outside Payottenland and the Senne valley makes a decent Lambic. It's made with a wild yeast culturea very weird one, apparently that only lives there.

I've got a cultured sample of lambic yeast in the refrigerator, and I'm going to try my hand at brewing one next month. The fscking Belgians don't have marionberries, so they don't make a marionberry lambic ale. If I want one, I have to try to make it myself.

People I know who have tried to make homebrew lambic say it's ridiculously difficult and takes forever to get it right. Plus the lambic yeast makes a nasty smelly mess.

I really want to try a marionberry lambic ale. Most homebrewers wouldn't bother. And they're probably right not to.

#128 ::: hrc ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 02:16 PM:

Larry, I second your disdain of Stella Artois. I spent a year in Brussels as a student and I refused, as did my classmates, to buy the crap. We may have been poor, but we knew bad beer.

#129 ::: Steve ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 02:28 PM:

Came here as a result of a link for a G+S version of a Nigerian 409 Spam email only to find the opening comment contains Lyrics of a Richard Thompson song I have just finished listening to, weird or what ?

Great site, what's it all about ?

Steve

#130 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 02:43 PM:

Steve:

Just about everything.

#131 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 02:46 PM:

Unbelievable:

The Department of Justice is trolling for evidence that environmentalists held back levee repairs:

http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050916/NEWS0110/509160369/1260

Sorry, what was thinking? This is not unbelievable at all. It's par for the course.

#132 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 02:47 PM:

Lila: Bob Oldendorf, I heartily second your rec of the bluegrass "Vincent Black Lightning". It was the first version of the song I heard and I love it dearly.

Del McCoury Band was on some PBS bluegrass special, and I heard it playing in the background, until it grabbed hold of my attention - - " I know this song. . . Hey! it's Richard F. Thompson! Played as bluegrass!!"

And in the DMcCB version, it sounded like some centuries-old folk song, and not something brand new.

Which is also a step toward an explanation of why I didn't catch Dan Layman-Kennedy's reference to it over in the "Folksongs Are Your Friends" thread. I just thought he was alluding to some general case, that there must be reams of traditional folk songs involving motorcycles and tragic deaths, and not just the specific case of RT's 52VBL...

#133 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 03:00 PM:

I am missing my beer, but I'm enjoying talking about it.

FWIW, the only home-movie footage of my childhood that exists is a short sequence as follows:

1 - My grandfather is in our above ground swimming pool.

2 - I (at approx 3 years of age) run up to the outside pool wall and reach up towards my grandfather.

3 - He reaches down and hands me his can of Bud (old-style can with churchkey holes).

4 - I take a sip of the beer.

5 - He reaches down to reclaim the can.

6 - I run away, drinking his beer.

#134 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 03:00 PM:

I've been drinking mostly Pimm's Cups and Brooklyn Brewery's weissbier this summer (I'm a Canadian living in the US - lots of good micros on both sides of the border, mainstream beer sucks on both sides). I'm a highly context-dependent drinker, so I'm soon to switch over to cool-weather drinks. Did just finish up a bottle of Laphroaig 18-yr, which I love.

Of course, right now I'm drinking black coffee (at work, and should be writing a paper).

Non sequitur: According to the sample test questions for US naturalization, the correct answer to the the question, "Whose rights are guaranteed by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?" is "Everyone (citizens and non-citizens living in the US." News to me - I have a copy of the Constitution sitting on my desk and I am looking at the 14th Amendment.

#135 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 03:04 PM:

Sorry - that should be the Laphroaig 15 year. Don't think an 18 is widely available.

#136 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 03:23 PM:

. . . there must be reams of traditional folk songs involving motorcycles and tragic deaths . . .

He coughed up his spleen and he tossed her the horse
He said, "It has right-hand drive, of course"
He gestured theatrically and died
And she ran down the constable outside.

Something like that?

#137 ::: steve ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 03:31 PM:

The Constable is a modern invention surely ? Shouldn't be in a trad song ! Sheriff perhaps ?

Haven't seen this much good stuff since I found the Archers parody site on bbc.co.uk

#138 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 03:33 PM:

Lucy,

Fair enough--I've got my own grudge against the Romantics who died young through stupidity.

I thought the point of "The Road Goes On Forever and The Party Never Ends" was the the woman was a bitch, myself, and that the guy who died was an idiot.

#139 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 03:41 PM:

The Constable is a modern invention surely?

The word is Middle English. It's been around with a generic meaning of "officer" for a long time, and has meant an underofficer to a shire-reeve (a "deputy sheriff," if you like) at least since the shire-reeve was dashing after Robin Hood. (The Constable of France -- the fellow with the stars on his armor in Henry V -- is a rather grander office, but it gives you an idea of the age of the word.)

#140 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 03:54 PM:

I'm a highly context-dependent drinker, so I'm soon to switch over to cool-weather drinks.

It has generally been my way to drink mostly pale ale in the summer, darker ale and stout in the winter, for the past few years anyway. But then last Autumn I ran up against Jersey Ale and that threw me off stride -- I've been drinking practically no other beer since.

#141 ::: Jerol J ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 04:11 PM:

What are people drinking these days?

Microbrews ala Midwest, which means a steady diet of Bells Two-Hearted Ale, Schell's Oktoberfest, Capital's Fest, and whatever Summit I can get my hands on.

Richard Thompson: I Feel So Good might be one of the greatest songs of reckless intent ever written.

#142 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 04:12 PM:

My tastebuds are not fussy, but I like Anchor Steam. (I'll also drink Bohemia, Superior, and Sam Adams.) I think that Anchor uses bottles only because the customers would be scared off by finding it can stand up without the glass. (It also is good at cellar temperature instead of fridge temperature.)

#143 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 04:16 PM:

John M. Ford: Something like that?

Pretty much. I was thinking of traditionalists sneering at the kids with their new-fangled electric starters, too.

#144 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 04:28 PM:

Faren Miller is correct that Richard Thompson has an excellent website, but she slightly mis-states its URL. The front page is actually here. The audio downloads section has quite a bit for newcomers to listen to.

He's also about to do a solo tour; we'll be seeing him at Town Hall in NYC on October 27. I enjoy Thompson with a full band, but I will walk over broken glass to see him solo. The effect of just him and one (1) acoustic guitar is overwhelming. You literally cannot believe a human being can get that much sound out of a single guitar.

#145 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 04:40 PM:

Boulevard Wheat most o'the time - locally brewed less than a mile from my home, and on tap just about everywhere in Missouri and Kansas. Smithwick's Irish Ale when I can get it - I had not tasted that until we went to Dublin and it is now my favorite beer (local liquor stores carry it IF they carry a good selection of beer); and Old Speckled Hen Ale - which was on tap in our favorite pub in London and we can get here bottled (this has only recently become available in our area).

#146 ::: Steve ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 04:42 PM:

Mr T is truly excellent and I have travelled back to the UK to see him a few times but I would suggest that Martin Simpson is as competent, if not a better, acoustic box player. (Have never seen him play electric)

Both have similar senses of humour which make the concerts even more enjoyable.

Steve
(Listening to a bootleg of RT in Denmark as I type)

#147 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 04:54 PM:

PNH: You literally cannot believe a human being can get that much sound out of a single guitar.

The only downside to a RT concert is that box by the door, the one labelled GUITARISTS: LEAVE YOUR HANDS HERE.

#148 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 05:09 PM:

Bob Oldendorf: you are so right.

#149 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 05:23 PM:

Jerol,

It was hearing Thompson perform "I Feel So Good" live on "Fresh Air" that made me a fan. (Why, yes, I did have a lot of friends in the SCA who drove me crazy with their music--why do you ask?)

Here's a fun trick:

Put on Richard and Linda Thompson's Sunnydale (or is is Sunnyvale? Sigh. I'm old). Ask an appropriate mark which X album it is. Wait. Snicker.

#150 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 05:27 PM:

I like the story about Brian Jones and Keith Relf at an early London Hendrix performance:

Jones: Be careful--it's wet up front.
Relf: How come?
Jones: All the guitar players are crying.

Or words to that effect.

#151 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 06:01 PM:

You literally cannot believe a human being can get that much sound out of a single guitar.

Well, without the use of a Lunar Module, anyway. (Not that he needs one to create that effect, either.)

Distressingly, there's a lot of turn-in-your-hands-at-the-door around. These guys are another fine example.

#152 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 06:05 PM:

The wiessbier is all gone, so I'm having a Remy Martin. If Eimear's red wine "around" counts, I've a hundred bottles under the stairs that I brought back from our holiday in France, most of it robust red stuff: Morgon, Paulliac, Chateau Neuf du Pape, Coteaux de Languedoc, it's gallon after gallon of the best of France in a very small storage space!

But I'm not actually drinking it at the moment, just the cognac.

#153 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 07:05 PM:

You can only hear a song for the first time once.

I just listened to '52 Vincent Black Lightning' for the first time.

And wept.

Question - his bio says that he and Linda divorced in 1982. But didn't they appear on Prairie Home Companion after that date? Because I *thought* I remembered hearing them there....

#154 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 07:30 PM:

Mark,

Isn't there another couple with a similar name that appears there frequently? Williams, I think.

#155 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 07:40 PM:

Clifton Royston: If you just want to buy one CD set, Watching the Dark is supposed to be a great career-spanning compilation but I don't have it and so can't offer a review.

It's excellent. It's three discs with material up through, I think, the eighties. That doesn't include "52 Vincent Black Lightning," but does include a lot of other great songs, including some rarities and live performances (and most of the songs from "Shoot Out the Lights").

PNH: You literally cannot believe a human being can get that much sound out of a single guitar.

I live in Iowa City, IA, and our local arts festival somehow managed to get him for their free concert this past June. It was just him and his guitar, but he sounded like an entire band.

#156 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 07:45 PM:

I thought the point of "The Road Goes On Forever and The Party Never Ends" was the the woman was a bitch, myself, and that the guy who died was an idiot

Yeah, well, I can't help but resent that too. The girl is always a manipulative, cold bitch, and the guy is always a doomed sociopath. I understand that without personality flaws there are no songs, but just . . . well, some of these stories are appealing to me and some are not. It doesn't help growing up with a number of boys who didn't make it, and it doesn't help that when I have work, I'm teaching girls who dress immodestly and go for rides with boys who take risks. But that's not it. What it really is, is that I don't care for that particular type of song, and there are plenty of songs of types which are quite close to them that I do like and there's no consistency there at all. No principle to defend, no asthetic to reject. I just don't like em.

#157 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 08:04 PM:

adamsj - yes, Williams is the name, not Thompson. Thanks.

#158 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 08:29 PM:

I'm still recovering from my first Dragon*con.

While I was there, I caught all but one of Peter S. Beagle's panels, and I went to his table in the Walk of Fame. Spoke pretty extensively with Connor, his publisher. Really friendly and enthusiastic guy.

He's been trying to rustle up publicity to 1) get Beagle the royalties for the Last Unicorn DVD and 2) get back the rights to the live-action.

And "Two Hearts" is coming out soon, really! It was a very amusing story he shared, about how it wasn't supposed to be a sequel.

I'll refrain from posting the link, lest this gets too spammy. But since I initially heard about Conlan Press here, I didn't think anyone would mind.

#159 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 09:09 PM:

Re: PHC - Butch Thompson. Robin and Linda Williams.

Brain....failing....need....lambic....

#160 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 09:28 PM:

It's been years since I could drink beer, and I'm told Montreal's Unibrew has been sold to some horrible, cheese-paring conglomerate, which same has made it clear that the brewmaster won't be staying, but both "Maudite" and "La Fin du Monde" were very good. (And strong; this is the kind of beer that comes in bottles with champagne corks.)

The Wellington County brewery's "Iron Duke" has been described as being like liquid chocolate; I don't think that's accurate (if it had been, I should have liked it less) but it certainly had heft, as a porter ought.

These days, it's vodka lemonade and single malt, both of which my innards will still tolerate.

#161 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 10:00 PM:

FYI: I asked Andy to go to Chelsea Wine Vault for me, and it wasn't there.

We just checked on the Web, and according to the store's Web site, it's actually at Ninth Avenue and 15th Street.

#162 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 10:04 PM:

Lucy,

Again, fair enough. In fact, the stereotypes are in my head to the extent that I originally said the woman was a manipulative bitch. I took it out, because she wasn't manipulative.

Even calling her a bitch is probably unfair.

She's just the other idiot, the one who got lucky and didn't look back.

I took that song as a warning, but Lyle Lovett's You've Been So Good Up To Now is probably a better one.

#163 ::: JennR ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 10:10 PM:

adamsj: ... one of the few that consistently makes me cry any time I hear it (the "For Whom the Bell Tolls" of song)....

You do know that "No Man is an Island" has been arranged for male choir? (George Mead) It's gorgeous. Deep bass voices on "never send to know for", oddly modulating chords in the baritone and lead tenor on "it tolls". My google-fu is weak, and I can't find it online.

As to what I'm drinking...nothing. I've been on either strong nsaids or narcotics for most of the year. (Ruptured disk and then surgery.) I had some raspberry lambic in February, and a swig of a friend's stout in July; but I've mostly been drinking ginger beer (of the non-alcoholic variety -- Stewart's is acceptable, Old Tyme is better) with a squirt of fresh lime juice.

#164 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 10:32 PM:

Backing up a few posts:

How many folk musicians does it take to change a light bulb?

One to change the bulb, and eight to complain that it's electric.

Of course, that joke is now sufficiently part of the folk tradition to have at a minimum ska, hip-hop, and techno covers.

#165 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 10:39 PM:

The remarks of those whose afflictions include an inability to enjoy a moderate amount of good drink - as opposed to those who, for good and sufficient personal reasons, eschew the same - have caused me to take down my sole remaining bottle of The MacAllan 15 yo, dust-covered as it is, and alter the ancient Scots grace thus:

"Some hae drink that cannae drink
And some hae nane that want it
But we hae drink, and we can drink
Sae let the Lord be thankit."

#166 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 10:45 PM:

Isn't Watching the Dark the only collection with "Galway to Graceland?" That alone should be worth the price of admission.

(First exposed to that song on Sound & Spirit, and had to rewind the webcast to hear it again immediately. Wooch.)

Other folkish stuff now in heavy rotation in my Winamp: Nick Castro, especially "Guilford," which is currently vying for a nomination for Second Most Lovely Song I Know. Sadly, it's not among the downloads here, though some other excellent stuff is, including "Sun Song" from the same album. Go thou and listen.

#167 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 10:47 PM:

Vicki -- Ack! Sorry about the misinformation! I knew I should have checked that before posting it. But I had just been there not 5 days before. I'll try to make it up by posting especially informative information next time around.

#168 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 16, 2005, 11:01 PM:

JennR,

I was thinking of the Hemingway novel--the man is such a sentimentalist!

Oddly, I've never been a John Donne fan. I recognize the greatness of his poetry, but it just don't move me the way that it should. Maybe I'm reading it wrong. (Oh, sorry--I'm getting cross-chatter, what with all my bridgework and my brand new leopard-skin tin-foil hat.)

#169 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2005, 12:23 AM:

Oh, well, adamsj, Randy Newman only got it wrong once ("Short People," which is funny and all that, but just isn't true which I can vouch for as a short person, though I'm tall in Yucatan).

It's always appropriate to quote Randy Newman. Always.

#170 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2005, 01:07 AM:

Oh, and this is an open thread, so I want to bleed all over about how I'm taking my baby boy to the airport at three o'clock in the morning (because we live so far from the damned airport) Sunday because the Red Cross finally gave him his flight papers today. They're sending him to Montgomery, Alabama, and he knows what the signifigance of Montgomery is, and he's excited and nervous and I'm weeping because I'm his dogdamned mother. He'll be gone for "ten days to three weeks" and since he doesn't have to be anywhere for a while I suppose he probably actually won't come back for a while.

The local Red Cross got so many volunteers it took them a week to get them oriented. Red Cross Central shut them down for a while, saying they had all the volunteers they could handle, then started them up again.

This should probably be in the Leviticus thread, with some connection to the fact that there's localities all over the country that asked for more New Orleans refugees than they're going to get.

But this is just me personally all kind of proud and scared and crap, and you know how it is.

#171 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2005, 01:34 AM:

I saw something called "Pumpkin Beer" at Busa Liquors (a mile or so north of the Readercon hotel, on Cambridge Street/3A--the street that Mall Road, which the hotel is tees into just east of the hotel), made by "Post Road" brewery somewhere in New York State. I wonder what it tastes like.

(Busa has been holding wine tastings every Friday afternoon/early evening, and I went there for that.)

#172 ::: Adrian Bedford ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2005, 03:42 AM:

I can't consume alcohol because of various medications I need to take, and this makes for plenty of awkward situations in Australian society, including encounters with a certain kind of crusty Australian bloke who will tell you he just won't trust you if you don't have a drink with him.

I did once inadvertently drink a quantity of this very nice rum one Australia Day--and paid for it mightily the following day with an horrific medication-related reaction of such intensity everyone who saw me thought I must be deathly ill.

In recent years I've discovered the joys of espresso-based coffee, and then had to face the prospect of going decaf (to help the blood-pressure, but there was also the possibility that coffee had a role in the hellish, near-constant headaches I get). Since going the decaf route, I've been very pleasantly surprised that the good stuff tastes no different (though sometimes lacking that "bite" I used to really like). I personally like the long macchiato (two shots of espresso with a splash of steamed milk to "stain" the coffee), and, when celebrating, the affogato (a shot or two of espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla icecream). Both are dreamy, even without caffeine.

#173 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2005, 06:55 AM:

Paula -- pumpkin beer can be very good depending (of course) on the brewery. Tastes about like you would expect something called "pumpkin beer" to taste; if you like pumpkins and you like beer I would recommend you try it, otherwise no.

Adrian -- I drank a lot of espresso last month when I was in Italy and since I got back, have been drinking a lot of espresso. When my parents were in town last week, we were walking around in the (NY) city and stopped at a gelato stand, where I asked for a scoop of vanilla (well "white gelato" -- the actual flavor was crema which does not have vanilla in) and a cup of espresso, and the man at the counter asked if I would like affogato. I asked "what?" and was subsequently flabbergasted to know you could mix the two together! I am happy, happy, happy about this particular bit of information.

#174 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2005, 05:09 PM:

I'm watching a BBC documentary on Arthur Ransome's experiences in Russia. They're talking to Evgenia's niece. And she discovered the family history when her son found out about Ransome on the Internet...

#175 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2005, 06:08 PM:

Lucy - Bravo to your son, and to you for raising someone with a conscience.

#176 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2005, 08:39 PM:

I remember the tv version of the Moomins. Even scarier than the books.

#177 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2005, 09:11 PM:

Cranapple juice at the moment.

Listening to Mountain Stage tonight on the radio. Richard Thompson will be doing a set soon.

#178 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2005, 09:25 PM:

Debbie -- what sense are you using "scarier" in there? Because the books don't seem at all scary to me. Did you find them frightening, or something else?

#179 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2005, 09:26 PM:

This is rich. Senator Sessions is trying to find dead Katrina victims who will be subject to the estate tax, in order to revive its chances.

As I said at my place, Burke & Hare on line 1 for the Senator.

#180 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 17, 2005, 09:28 PM:

And speaking of the Red Cross, John Houghton posted to natter that he's back and exhausted.

#181 ::: Josh ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2005, 12:12 AM:

I just don't see the Robert Earl Keen connection. "The Road Goes on Forever and the Party Never Ends" is a highly ironized misogynist anthem in the tradition of "Betty and Dupree." "Vincent" is, like "I Feel So Good", "Read About Love", "Gethsemane", "Killing Jar", and several other RT songs, going back to the Sixties, about how masculine ideals destroy men who take them seriously. Thompson's having been a liberal hippiesque son of a cop is probably relevant here. It's like another Thompson, Jim, whose novels say "You don't get it, Chandler: it's not the women who are doing us in, it's our own illusions." The focus on male psyches may leave the women little more than cyphers, but they're usually not stigmatized.

Butch Thompson's first name is indeed Richard: that confused me for years.

#182 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2005, 01:58 AM:

Debbie -- what sense are you using "scarier" in there? Because the books don't seem at all scary to me. Did you find them frightening, or something else?

I'm not Debbie, obviously, but I can see how the Moomins on TV were perhaps a bit offputting. If it's the same TV series I saw, then the show is even *quieter* than the books; and I want to say 'inscrutable' here, but that may just be interference from the fact that they were animated in Japan. Finns can be pretty inscrutable too, I suspect, and there is certainly something hermetic about the Moomins which might make them a little forbidding.

Hattifatteners can be scary, too. I think I liked 'Moominpappa's Memoirs', to go back to that, in part because the whole thing seemed more precarious than the other Moomin books. Some of the comforts were there, but there wasn't the overriding domesticity of the other books (which is charming, but sometimes a little suffocating).

Again, though, this may just be me. I have friends who swear that their lives were changed as children by 'The Phantom Tollbooth', which I therefore read as an adult and found clever but hopelessly didactic.

But that's only to say I'm not reading it as a child would.

#183 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2005, 02:17 AM:

Lucy:

Congratulations and condolences. One of the greatest pleasures in life is seeing one's children grow and fly even beyond what one has expected of them. You've done well, and so has your son. (And alas, one of the great terrors in life is knowing one's children have moved beyond even what imagined protection one could offer them.)

#184 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2005, 03:43 AM:

How many folk musicians does it take to change a light bulb?

Reckon it's a lot.

One to take out the old one and stomp upon it in the folk tradition of the mushkanites, doing his naughty mushkanitic dance shouting hey nanny nanny, light up my flannel fanny and waving a polka dotted hankerchief.
10 to stand in a circle and clap and stomp while he does this.
Three to play a fiddle, mandolin, and old jug while singing about capturing a faerie and placing it in a jar, bringing light for twenty nine years and no more bills, no more bills for you sweet jesus, no more bills.
18 to take part in a PBS special about how this really affected their artistic development.

#185 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2005, 03:45 AM:

it would be a finer better world to be a folkie in.

#187 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 18, 2005, 08:43 PM:

John Farrell: telling temperature from insects is hardly news; I ran into it 45 years ago. Applying fundamental formulae and admitting they may have a limited applicability -- that's news.

Steve/Larry: something over 20 years ago, a local with Saskatchewan license plates opined that even the major Canadian companies export only the moose piss (her words) they can't sell locally. But I agree that honors are similar once out of the massiest of mass markets.

Mark D: divorce doesn't necessarily break up a professional relationship. (It might be the saving of it.) cf the Berrymans, who are performing together long after divorce.

#188 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2005, 01:19 AM:

Hot-gluing googly-eyes on erotic multi-species sock puppets: priceless.

Oh . . . sorry. That was in reaction to a post that won't be made for fifteen minutes. The clock on this computer keeps running fast.

Arrr.

#189 ::: Michelle K ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2005, 01:35 PM:

Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day!

#190 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 19, 2005, 04:09 PM:

Thanks for the Library Thing particle! So great. Browsing LanguageHat's library is a particular treat.

#192 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 03:40 AM:

Looking at the SingerTecnu experiment, I wonder at the effect using one of the prophylactic treatments for Poison Oak/Ivy/Sumac might do against pepper spray.

In some ways nothing, since the area the spray effects immdediately is the exposed mucous membranes, but if one could close the eyes, or otherwise shield them for a moment, would it prevent them from being affected from run-off?

#193 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 04:25 AM:

Hasn't been much activity on this thread recently, so here's a thought I recently had.

It's pretty commonplace to point out the disreputability of plays in the Elizabethan era by saying that if Shakespeare were alive today he wouldn't be writing poetry, he'd be working in movies and TV.

Now, it seems to me that if Shakespeare were alive today and writing movies and TV, his output might well look a lot like that of Joss Whedon. Whedon has Shakespeare's virtues: complex characters and sparkling dialogue with wordplay. And Shakespeare's faults: little talent for plot and less for thought-out worldbuilding.

#194 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 04:40 AM:

It's bluejay season, and the crow-relatives are making crow-types noises and exhibiting crwo-type behavior. But, at least, they're quieter than that blasted rooster two house lots behind was! (I haven't heard roostering crowing in several weeks, and am grateful for that. It was not only loud, it was incessant. It wasn't waiting for sunrise or any time near it, to sound off and keep sounding off).

#195 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 05:34 AM:

Some of Shakespeare's work were comedies, where there were happy endings, happy (or at least they were portended) marriages, happy people, whereas Whedon stories are more downbeat than Shakespearian tragedies. Yes, MacBeth dies, but someone else takes over who's not got a disintegrating marriage to psychotic wife, Julius Caesar dies but he get avenged, Ophelia goes mad and IIRC suicides (hmm, might be time for me to get some recaps on Shakespeare...) and Hamltet dies, but someone else takes over--there's continuity. They're not like the British SF disaster novels with the humanity dies off, the world ends, the universe ends (even drearier stuff than Russian Novels!): Hamlet's dead, MacBeth's dead, Othello dies, Lear's family has madness and death visit, Romeo and Juliet die, but again, there are all those survivors who survive the tragedy and go one one presumes to happied lives, sad for the loss of their departed friends/comrades/associates, but going forward with their own lives.

Whedon I think was quoted as saying that no main character was going to be left in a state of happiness, indicating that happiness in a Whedon universe is a transient affair, and loving marriage-type partnerships are all doomed to destruction and/or death. Anya was left at the altar, Tara died, Buffy's relationships come to unpleasant terminations (and the one with Spike wasn't exactly based on mutual respect and affection and other such positive things, there were a number of very unhealthy resonances going on i there), etc. It's like soap operas, there's not such thing as a happy long-term stable relationship, and no prospects for polyamorist accommodations, either. I look at some shows and wonder, "real world there are people who are in permanent negotiated poly situation, why oh why are there -never- any such on TV shows that I've noticed?! Even Babylon 5, wherein at the state of the show Londo was a polynisti, he divested himself of two of them eventually!

It seems to me that sexual jealousy is much more a driver in film and TV, than it is in real life. I am not saying that it doesn't exist in real life, or that it can't be an extremely powerful driver, but rather, that it is not a driver for everyone and not a driver all the time. The soap opera model of the universe never has a reachout to a third party with the reaching out person saying "my partner is interested in you and here's my approval," or a couple reaching out saying, "how about coming over for a visit and the three of us can have some fun together?' sorts of things. Boggle, boggle, considering the amount of secretive guilty bedhopping and coercion and gratuitous nastiness etc. etc. etc. go on on TV commercial fiction entertainment programs.

There's nothing like the three-way marriage that occurs in Five-Twelths of Heaven, or complex marriage arrangements in various Ann Maxwell novels, or Heinlein's line marriages, or the two wives in A Specter is Haunting Texas, etc. It's all social official monogamy and sneaking around "cheating" and rapes and much other ugliness.

Shakespeare having Titania fall in love with Bottom was about as untoward as Shakespeare got that I recall in such matters. There is the issue of the cultural matrix he was in, where divorce was a rarity, but still, Henry VIII had not been a sexual exclusivist, he had had a variety of mistresses, and there were rumors that Elizabeth may even have had borne a[n out of wedlock] child.

#196 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 09:21 AM:

I would very much like to know the thoughts of the Making Light community on this little number:

The Authors Guild has filed a class action lawsuit against Google. The lawsuit claims that Google's scanning and digitizing of library books as a part of the Google Print Project constitutes "massive copyright infringement". In addition to the lawsuit The Authors Guild has also issued a press release to explain its actions.

#197 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 10:30 AM:

Whedon has Shakespeare's virtues: complex characters and sparkling dialogue with wordplay. And Shakespeare's faults: little talent for plot and less for thought-out worldbuilding.

Hmmm.

I think I might amend that to "lack of concern for worldbuilding," or maybe "a tendency to to use worldbuilding as a blatant plot device." In either light, I'm not sure that's a fault.

(Which makes me wonder: Just how old is the idea of "thought-out" worldbuilding? It seems fairly modern - maybe a century or so. I don't really think the Alice books count, though I'm not sure I could say why.)

As far as plot goes, I'm not sure I completely agree - that is, I can see that strong plots aren't a great strength for either Will or Joss, but I'm not sure it's a weakness. I'm pretty sure it's not what I show up for in either case. To make a distinction that's been drawn here before, Shakespeare and Whedon are more interested in story than plot, and more interested in people than either. Which is probably what makes them both so fascinating, and also subject to revisitation when more carefully-plotted works are (maybe) not.

It might be an interesting excercise to see if works with enormous popular followings/rabid fandoms tend to be more plot-driven or character-driven. My suspicions lean towards the latter, but I could be wrong.

#198 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 10:45 AM:

And, via Boing-Boing, here's Google's response to the lawsuit.
Any thoughts from Making Light readers who are/have been members of the Author's Guild?

#199 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 11:42 AM:

Was anyone else here foolish enough to watch "Threshhold" after seeing good reviews by TV critics? TV critics watch way too much of that stuff to have much judgement left, and this show was flagrant pulp under a paper-thin veneer of respectability. The heroine running around in her nightdress, chased by the quasi-zombie who looked like Lurch, was a particularly absurd bit in a very silly show. I think I'll avoid "Invasion" altogether.

#200 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 12:41 PM:

Paula, we used to have chickens in this neighborhood, and they used to wander freely (there's a law against roosters, but there was a rooster among them). I was never bothered by the clucking and crowing. There were two groups of chickens, though the group that ran around freely diminished in cycles as the wild dog pack took them out. The wild dogs worried me a little. Eventually the feckless young man who nominally owned them was convinced to move them to his uncle's place in the country.

No more wild dogs. No more chickens. I miss the chickens.

After the crows moved in a few years ago we've had fewer jays -- we used to have both Stellar and scrub jays, now we seem to have only scrub jays. And after they built the housing coop and the condos in the lagoon, we have no more meadowlarks (but they're not endangered over all: I'm told they like disturbed earth at the edge of town).

Oh, yeah, I live downtown in what is sometimes called the "inner city." I do miss the chickens and the meadowlarks. And the salamanders, which might be my fault.

#201 ::: Mina W ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 12:49 PM:

Today in California, the new "Threatened & Endangered Species Recovery Act", [colloquially known as the Extinction Act], is being announced.

My reason for bringing this up here is I want a simple, memorable, clearly-true phrase for the way this administration names things the exact opposite of what they are, lying by implication about what they will do. The Healthy Forests Initiative and the Clean Air Act were two prime examples.

Bush-speak has other connotations, like incoherence. 1984-speak will be confusing to a lot of people, Stalin-speak will just make them anti, and using The Big Lie in a context where it remains to be proven that it's a lie will not work, I think.

So please help. Let's brainstorm a phrase that clearly and truthfully describes this tactic of the name that lies by implication. Because they use it so that all-too-many people will take the name at face value, and not worry about the details. And it works.

#202 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 12:52 PM:

Speaking of Whedon, folks here might appreciate this article by Will McCarthy, Worlds of Serenity which tries to work out scientific conditions that might account for the planetary system in Firefly/Serenity

[Nine more days til the movie!!! <bounce><bounce><bounce>]

#203 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 12:59 PM:

Lucy:
Steller's jays like forests, so they'd probably move out anyway. Scrub jays are more tolerant of people, to the point where they'll sit on your hand (memorable picture: my mother in the rows of bush beans, the jay on her shoulder waiting for her to find caterpillars).

Good places to find birds, even in cities: airports (especially the overrun areas), railroads, streams, parks, golf courses. Peregrines like high-rises; you're more likely to find them downtown. (Seeing them is another matter: look for something the size of a red-tailed hawk, but with long tail and pointed wings. They soar quite well.)

A lot of cities will tolerate chickens as long as the neighbors don't complain (same goes for beehives). I didn't mind the guy across the back fence having both, but he didn't pay enough attention to his bees, and let the grass get too high around the hives (it encourages ants).

#204 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 01:28 PM:

The resurgence of raptors that got going after DDT usage in the USA had tailed off and been mostly gone for long enough for raptors, with some help from repopulation programs, brought their numbers up in Massachusetts. In the eastern part of the state it's not uncommon to see raptors perched on branches over looking the intersection of route 128 and US 3 in Burlington, and 128 and 3A/3 in Burlington, which Readercon's current hotel at at the northwest corner of. Raptors also go soaring along I-495. In both cases part of the attraction is roadkill critters.

Meanwhile, there is a pre-existent term that applied perfectly to the techniques used by Gag Order Jackal Jackass George's regime, it's called "The Big Lie." The bigger the lie, the more appealing those carajous find it, and the more often then repeat is.

In a different on-line conversation this week I came with the description, placing a "wolverine in the henhouse" regarding Bolton....

#205 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 01:43 PM:

Mina W: ...I want a simple, memorable, clearly-true phrase for the way this administration names things the exact opposite of what they are, lying by implication about what they will do.

I usually describe it as "Bush's Bizarro-World (policy)", as in "the Bizarro-World Clean Air Act".

#206 ::: Zoe ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 03:12 PM:

Since I'm posting like crazy today, I've been meaning to say thanks to everyone who gave me recommendations for an SF reading list for a secondary school library a bazillion years ago. I'm really sorry I didn't acknowledge any of your posts at the time - I left the country for a couple of weeks and the thread had gone cold when I got back. Admittedly, it's a lot colder now... but what the heck. Better late than never, I hope.

One post that I was very happy to see was CHip's recommendation of "Spares" (Michael Marshall Smith). Good call - but I should have explained when I cautioned against sex&swearing. The librarian's a right dragon, and "Spares" is full of drugs, mutilation and rape of clones so although I reckon it should be in every school library I doubt she'd be persuaded. I'm going for "Only Forward" as a more acceptable way of getting them hooked.

The list is still ongoing due to funding issues and the librarian being less keen on buying in SF than is my physics teacher friend. This is frustrating. Should the librarian decide to act on her entreaties, that thread will be a great resource. Thanks again.

#207 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 03:43 PM:

Since this is an open thread, I have a question:

Several times we have talked about emergency preparedness, jump kits and the like. My question is about water. I mentioned to a friend that I was putting aside some water, and she told me that I would have to add bleach to it or it would grow nasties and get undrinkable pretty fast. Even if I did add bleach, I should replace it with fresh water fairly frequently.

After that, I noticed that water for sale at the grocery store comes in sealed containers. (Both the bottles that come in 12 packs and the gallon size containers are sealed, albeit differently.) Does this seal mean the water will keep? How often do I have to replace stockpiled water?

I have a feeling that someone here knows this.

#208 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 03:59 PM:

Bottled water has a date stamped on the bottle. It's usually good for about 18 months ('store in a cool place'). You can get 'retort' water in pouches that lasts longer. (It will say something about Coast Guard qualifications.)

#209 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 04:04 PM:

Back when I was doing the right thing and keeping bottles of water around, the rules were: take your gallon milk jugs and wash the ghell out of them. Then put two or three drops of bleach in them, replace the lid, seal it with tape, and store them someplace cool, dark, and accessible.

The cheap and easy water decontamination program for third world countries is a jug, some bleach, and sunshine, though.

#210 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 04:11 PM:

Lis, from where I sit that Firefly article has a Major Problem. The whole thing attempts to explain how all the planets seen in the show plus 100-odd others, also inhabitable, could fit inside a single solar system. When was it ever asserted that the whole show orbited a single star? The author's right, it's a bizarre idea; but I've never seen the idea suggested in any other context. Furthermore, he describes the show's tech level as "barely out of the 1800s." What program was he watching, exactly?

That being said, I'm blurry 'round the edges with movie excitement.

#211 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 04:20 PM:

Oh, well, this neighborhood when we moved into it was already more or less an urban neighborhood, though it had had a farm or three in it within living memory (well, within the memory of people living at the time: but they were old and are livcing no longer, and the little white house has been painted raspberry pink and now tangerine since then). At the end of the block there is a very big pine (I don't know what kind. It's not a Ponderosa, and it's not a Monterey Pine, and as far as I'm concerned all the others are just pines) and what was a baby oak tree overshadowed by a prolifically fertile grapefruit tree and is now a middling-large oak which is casually killing the no-longer prolifically fruitful grapefruit tree. The jays, both kinds, lived in the pine tree. Now it's the scrub jays and the crows in that tree, sometimes over a hundred crows on a summer's evening, wheeling and flocking all over the neighborhood. So I think people are less of an issue for the Stellar jays than the crows are. The crows have been here ten years or less. They are so large that you have to recite the birder's charm to be sure of what you're looking at:

"A raven in a crowd is a crow. A crow all alone is a raven."

The neighborhood is more grown up with trees than it was before. What there's less of is open grassland and seasonal wetland, where the vacant lots were built.

#212 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 05:05 PM:

Thanks! I think I'll go with the water from the store, and check the dates. (Since I have a fast-growing child, I need to check the supplies every few months anyway, to make sure that the clothes will fit and be seasonally appropriate.)

#213 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 05:14 PM:

Juli - What I do is keep at least one full case of 24-oz water bottles in my trunk, and rotate them. It also makes the supply more modular - I can carry it more easily than gallon bottles if I need to be on foot.

Not ideal, but it's a good compromise and probably the best that someone as forgetful as I am can do.

#214 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 07:33 PM:

Faren, the Lurch-like guy in "Threshold" also plays Mal in "Firefly" and Serenity. The SF discussion group is going on 10/1 to miss the kids Friday night.

As to "Threshold," I thought it was better than "Surface" (which I watched only for 20 minutes) and I suspect I'll find out tonight about "Invasion." If they're going to make lots of SF shows, you'd think one of them wouldn't be crap.

#215 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 07:36 PM:

Teresa, thanks for the "get a human" database! There's an additional way to get a human for T-mobile, press 0 (zero). I found this out when I couldn't get their voice recognition system to recognize anything I said and ended up sending email via the website. The guy who replied changed what I wanted and told me about the 0.

#216 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 21, 2005, 11:11 PM:

And nominated for flight crew of the year is the Jet Blue crew that made a beautiful, safe emergency landing this evening with a nosewheel that was crossways to the flight path. It didn't collapse, the plane stayed on the centerline of the runway, and the passengers walked down the stairs to the buses.

#217 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2005, 03:13 AM:

Following Dave Bell's comment on the Colorado Coalfields Wars in "I'm running out of expressions of amazement", I was looking up some of the details, such as the Ludlow massacre ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludlow_Massacre ), and found a reference not only to the Columbine Mine Massacre (hmmm), but also to the town of Serene (!?!).

My mind flew to Joss Whedon's latest work. Have I stumbled on another layer apart from the obvious "restless US Civil War veteran going to the Western frontier" theme? Or is this one of those well-known fannish bijous?

Serene, Colorado
Serene was once a company town owned by the Rocky Mountain Fuel Company.
Serene had company housing, a post office, a tipple [*], and was the site of the Columbine Mine. [During the 1927 strike] some 500 protestors showed up at the mine on the morning of November 21.
The confrontation between strikers and the militia unit resulted in the Columbine Mine Massacre, in which six miners were killed by machine gun fire.
Serene was located ... west of Interstate 25 on Colorado Highway Seven, north of the ... Historical Marker that commemorates the Columbine Mine Massacre. The area that once was the company town of Serene is now a public landfill.

#218 ::: Paul Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2005, 07:40 AM:

I'm going for "Only Forward" as a more acceptable way of getting them hooked.

You think you'll be able to get the violence, death and madness past the librarian? If you're lucky she'll just read the first few chapters - those look mostly harmless.

Firefly:
When was it ever asserted that the whole show orbited a single star?

I've only seen the series on DVD, so I'm going on second-hand information here, but the transmitted episodes apparently had an introduction that originally said:

"After the Earth was used up, we found a new solar system and hundreds of new Earths were terraformed and colonized"

Later, this was changed to:

"Here's how it is - Earth got used up, so we terraformed a whole new galaxy of earths"

(Quotes taken from here).

#219 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2005, 08:53 AM:

Paula says:

Some of Shakespeare's work were comedies, where there were happy endings, happy (or at least they were portended) marriages, happy people, whereas Whedon stories are more downbeat than Shakespearian tragedies. Yes, MacBeth dies, but someone else takes over who's not got a disintegrating marriage to psychotic wife, Julius Caesar dies but he get avenged, Ophelia goes mad and IIRC suicides (hmm, might be time for me to get some recaps on Shakespeare...) and Hamltet dies, but someone else takes over--there's continuity. They're not like the British SF disaster novels with the humanity dies off, the world ends, the universe ends (even drearier stuff than Russian Novels!): Hamlet's dead, MacBeth's dead, Othello dies, Lear's family has madness and death visit, Romeo and Juliet die, but again, there are all those survivors who survive the tragedy and go one one presumes to happied lives, sad for the loss of their departed friends/comrades/associates, but going forward with their own lives.

Exactly the opposite point was made in Gore Vidal's Kalki, a darn good book (someday, I'll read another of his--any suggestions? Or am I, as usual, at the mercy of the junk shop and the garage sale?).


SPOILER, I suppose, below

It might be a good place, while you're waiting for the spoiler, to mention that I've never watched any of Whedon's shows, that I'm aware of. I saw a couple of episodes of Buffy, and whatever the currently running series is, and I sure know a lot about it from reading what everyone else says, but while I saw the point, I missed the attraction.

Oh, yeah...there's a spoiler of sorts coming:


The lead character wonders at her emotional deadness at the loss of her husband and two children when the entire human race, except for her and four others, is wiped out. The conclusion she reaches is that the magnitude of the loss mitgated her reaction, that had (now paraphrasing from memory), say, half the human race died, the grief of the other half would be extreme, but if the whole thing is gone, well, who's left to mourn?

That was it.

#220 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2005, 09:25 AM:

Re: Firefly: It's explicitly established in the movie that it's a solar system.

#221 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2005, 10:20 AM:

Fong luh.

One system? That's focktarded...

#222 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2005, 10:24 AM:

Larry,

Thanks! That is a good idea. Right now, I'm putting the main emergency cache together in the spare closet. Then I'll put together a smaller kit for the car. If I ever get a real job with an office, I'll put together something yet smaller for that.

Even with the little I have done, I can see that portability is an issue. Best case scenario (in the midst of a worst case scenario) is that my daughter and I would be at home, or able to get there, and could load everything in the car and go. I'm trying not to obsess about how unlikely that is.

#223 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2005, 11:43 AM:

Skwid: Yes, but this is a show that doesn't understand *inertia* (see "Out of Gas"), despite getting the no-sound-in-space thing, so I'm not surprised.

#224 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2005, 07:41 PM:

I don't know why, but sometimes, when I click on an entry in the "recent comments" section, I go directly to that comment. Other times, I go to the top of the page, the original post itself, rather than the comments. Am I the only one this happens to?

As a secondary note, it isn't always easy to find the comment by scrolling, because distinguishing the lighter blue from the darker blue is difficult unless the screen is moving slowly and the angle is just right. A different color altogether would be easier.

#225 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2005, 08:03 PM:

So I wrote that note up there this morning, and this afternoon watched Toy Story for the jillionth with my daughter, and discovered while watching the credits that, not only had I seen some of Joss Whedon's work but that he'd been a writer--the top credit means he did a lot of it, true?--on one of the few recent movies that I really, really liked.

Silly me.

#226 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2005, 08:29 PM:

adamsj asks for Gore Vidal suggestions: someday, I'll read another of his--any suggestions?

Creation is the one most like Kalki, if you like the one, you'll probably like the other.

For sf/f/alternate history fans, Messiah is his must-read. It's certainly entertaining, and gets more pertinent every day.


His history novels: Burr, Lincoln, 1876 , and several lesser works -- are extremely fun if you like that sort of thing. He has a nice angle on American history, one worth reading. (For me, the series ran out of steam after the three named.)

But Vidal's best work might be his recent essays on American politics.

#227 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2005, 10:39 PM:

Small world: I was gratified to see an ad for "Escape Pod" on the main page. Check out Jennifer Pelland's "Burning Bush" if you have a high blasphemy tolerance. I knew her when she was but a lowly fanfic writer.

**waving madly to Jennifer**

#228 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 22, 2005, 11:18 PM:

Paging Bruce Adelsohn and Dave Weingart:

I have some extremely bad news RE a Forumite to pass on. Write when you can.

#229 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2005, 10:52 AM:

adamsj wrote,

Oh, yeah...there's a spoiler of sorts coming:

The lead character wonders at her emotional deadness at the loss of her husband and two children when the entire human race, except for her and four others, is wiped out. The conclusion she reaches is that the magnitude of the loss mitgated her reaction, that had (now paraphrasing from memory), say, half the human race died, the grief of the other half would be extreme, but if the whole thing is gone, well, who's left to mourn?

That sounds like a work I am massively uninterested in reading. I burned out on Disaster Novels for the most part with the likes of Cryptozoic, The Drowning World, The Crystal World, etc. etc. etc. during the deluge of such things from British writers published in the USA by Doubleday at the end of the 1960s. I've never gone and reread any of those things since. My "adult" perspective might be different, but coming across and reading those things as a socially ostracized teenager, about people I didn't identify with (particularly not I think it was Cryptozoic) in gloom and doom and then the universe dies settings, imbued me with not wanting to read more of that sort of stuff. I had read them because that was what the local library had available(I think everyone here can comprehend "that is the SF that's available and one is a teenager so that's what one reads... these days there is a huge body of material available and rereading works that 30+ years ago didn't enthuse me, isn't an attractive concept to me.)

That book also sounds like it has a domestic home-centered female character focus, which is another extreme turnoff as regarding reading enjoyment for me. Housewives going mad etc. is a subject area I am highly averse to. The more domestic and traditional-family-centric and "homey" the setting, the more allergic I am to it as discretionary "pleasure" reading; it's not pleasurble or uplifting or interesting etc. to me generally.

That was it.

Sounds like a philosophical viewpoint along with setting and lead character that far from being attractive to me, is repellant for me. It's very anti e.g. Donne.

I bounced out of Gore Vidal books in the past
and stopped bothering to try to read them eventually.

#230 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2005, 10:53 AM:

I read that a court has ruled in the Jose Padilla case that a citizen has no protection under the Constitution if the executive declares him an enemy combatant. Even if he wasn't in any kind of combat.

Basically, we no longer have a bill of rights. It was good while it lasted. You can be declared an enemy combatant, and then you have no lawyer, no appeal, no nothing. The gov't doesn't have to tell anyone where you are, they can deny they have you, they can ship you off to Egypt to be tortured, they can kill you and there's nothing anyone can do about it.

This is the biggest story we have right now, in my opinion, and it's getting no attention.

#231 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2005, 11:25 AM:

Paula,

Actually, the woman in question is a commercial pilot--she's ostensibly (I'll dodge another spoiler here) recruited for that reason--and the passage mentioned is the only (I think) mention of her husband, children, or home life. It's a surprisingly positive and uplifting book, as end-of-the-human-race (dodging another spoiler here) stories go.

I don't know that you'd like the book, but if you didn't, it'd be for other reasons.

(I suspect the sub-plot which comes to dominate the end of the book would tickle you. That's not a recommendation--just an observation and another spoiler dodge.)

One philosophical position of the book, I'd say, is that, in the bigger scheme of things, the human race isn't all that important, but that at scale, human suffering is terribly important.

I guess what I'm saying is that Gore Vidal wasn't really writing an end-of-the-human-race novel, but a novel mostly about other things in which the end of the human race happens.

P. S. I like Donne's thought, but I find him an annoying poet. Too compact.

#232 ::: Michelle K ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2005, 12:03 PM:

Sean, the ruling was 10 Setpember, and the only thing on the news as Katrina.

Now it's old news and no one wants to cover it.

The important bit I got from the Washington Post article was "The ruling limits the president's power to detain Padilla to the duration of hostilities against al Qaeda, but the Bush administration has said that war could go on indefinitely."

#233 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2005, 12:51 PM:

If the title of this (surprisingly insightful) article doesn't hook you, you are officially Not Like Me:

The Attempted Militarization of the Jetsons.

I even remember this episode, and although I was too young to realize it, it probably shaped my views on military service in subtle ways.

#234 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2005, 01:01 PM:

I find it difficult to take Kurzweil all that seriously--someone who founded multiple companies which tended to play shell games regarding cash flow and profitability, to the dismay of the companies which purchased them, is not my idea of one of the Great Thinkers of contemporary times. Great conmen regarding getting investment funding and someone with foreward thinking ideas and concepts and endeavors which have commercial applications and which gets sort-of commercialized, yes, but "Great," no, not when in multiple tries the businesses he started used dubious accounting practices and stiffed the buyers. Kurzweil made out quite nicely, however.

Risk capital is one thing, most of it -is- risk, and investors in that market ought to understand that their investment may go totally out the door and never return a cent. But misleading investors and buyers over time, is a different issue.

Perhaps the buying companies didn't exercise "due diligence," or perhaps the information they were looking at, wasn't as accurate and impartial as it should have been....

http://www.legalcasedocs.com/120/243/500.html#item1

#235 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2005, 02:30 PM:

David Brin notes on his blog:

Finally, this quote from a guy who wrote in from Britain:

'Sucked into an interminable guerilla war in Asia, just promised to send men to the moon: is Mr Bush planning a visit to Dallas this November?'

#236 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2005, 02:41 PM:

Re Kurzweil vs D-squared:

We've been doing the "and a pony!" thing here (in my company & circle of friends) for at least 10 years now. Helps tug inflated expectations back down to earth.

Last company we started, a couple years ago, I wrote in "Pony" a little bit after "shipping" on our initial scribbled product time-line. The proper sequence, if you're wondering, is that "Pony" comes shortly after "Jacuzzi", but before "Jet-packs" and "Zamboni"! Zambonis are on the list because they are big and weird and the name sounds cool.

#237 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2005, 04:52 PM:

So my kid writes from Gulfport that he admitted to having math and computer skills and so is doing paperwork stuff in a warehouse belonging to Dole. Or maybe somebody else. Anyway, it appears to be the only functional warehouse with direct access to rail and interstate and so Dole is taking it back and the Red Cross has to move, but they don't know where to go since the owners of the other warehouses have to give permission before they can even look at them to see whether they will serve the purpose.

So bananas trump relief workers.

#238 ::: Kate Yule ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2005, 07:49 PM:

no no no, the lurching zombie guy in Threshold wasn't Mal (Nathan Fillian), he was Ethan from Lost (William Mapother). There is a resemblance, especially in Googled-for images where he's, like, smiling instead of crazed & eeeevil.

Mina, re. the administration's inability to keep from lying even when they name legislation: well said. I don't know a pithy way to express that, but I agree that we need one.

#239 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2005, 08:00 PM:

Huh. You're right. I was thinking he had gained some weight for the show, but it's another guy entirely.

SciFi is advertising an about-Serenity show on Tuesday.

#240 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2005, 08:06 PM:

Psemaphilia? Of course, with the intensity the lying is executed, it should probably be psemagapos, unless it's psemerotica. (For O'Reilly, definitely the last.)

#241 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 23, 2005, 08:42 PM:

Seen on a mailing list which I'm pretty sure no more than one other reader here is on:

Verisimilitude ain't what it used to be

#242 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2005, 12:04 AM:

We missed it.
Over at Talking Points Memo (of all places), last night they were offering free tickets to Serenity. They were gone by noon or so.

How the heck does Josh Marshall come to have that sort of Hollywood connection? I gotta start me a big-name blog.

#243 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2005, 12:17 AM:

Paula: Lear's family has madness and death visit, Romeo and Juliet die, but again, there are all those survivors who survive the tragedy and go one one presumes to happied lives, sad for the loss of their departed friends/comrades/associates, but going forward with their own lives.

That's an ... interesting ... reading of Lear. Four corpses onstage at the end and another two just off (and one of the best men left standing likely to be badly wounded, per one reading), and Albany stuck with trying to pull the mess together after his wife topped her misdeeds by killing herself? IMO, it's no wonder the stage direction at the end is for a death march. (I played Albany last year, so some of this is interpretation, but not much.)

Re raptors: I used to work at the big office building on the 128 side of Prospect Hill; I'd see a raptor rising near my window (taking advantage of thermals from the garage roof) multiple times on sunny days. And there was a red-tail, on a parking bollard near my new office, who I watched trying for a squirrel.

#244 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2005, 03:12 PM:

My kid has said it's okay for me to share his mail from the Red Cross relief center in Gulfport.

#245 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2005, 04:42 PM:

Lucy, it sounds like he's doing a good job, even if it wasn't the one he'd planned for.

#246 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2005, 06:35 PM:

Compared to e.g. Nenia, is it, that ends something like (trying to remember the words)

"Und schultert das Haupt"

it's a cheerful ending....

Lear is less downbeat that all those blasted British end of the 1960s everyone dies off/planet dies/universe dies novels!

#247 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2005, 07:02 PM:

Frank has some interesting things to say about the USDA food distribution.

#248 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2005, 07:15 PM:

Frank has some interesting things to say about the USDA food distribution.

Ah, more competence in government. Just what they really needed more of this month. (That might explain the story I heard the other day, of people sheltered in a high school after the Northridge earthquake, who were asking for something other than peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches. The person telling it seemed to think they should have been grateful for peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, even if that might have been all they'd had for three or four days. The thought that they might simply have wanted something different didn't get through. IMHO, probably a Republican: it's that basic meanness.)

#249 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 24, 2005, 11:38 PM:

PJ, probably the person who was giving them crap about asking for something different knew damned well that their boss was not going to get stuff for them to really cook with, for various reasons, and really was at a loss. Stupid policies drain the comptence and social skills out of hard-working people sometimes.

#250 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2005, 02:02 AM:

My father's latest compilation, guaranteed to make you cry.
And after he gets back to town in October, he's willing to send copies to friends who want to, as he says, "send resources to musicians, AIDS_HIV groups, or Houma Indians. No trouble with copyright, I'm giving them to my friends,
and anybody can be my friend by contributing to relief."

He has a War compilation he sends to friends who contribute to The War Resisters League, too.

Let me know if you want one, and I'll put you in touch.

Here's the list:

1. Fats Domino: Walking to New Orleans
2. Champion Jack Dupree: Hometown New Orleans
3. Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby, from the soundtrack of "New Orleans"(1947): Way Down Yonder in New Orleans
4.Memphis Minnie and Tennessee Slim: New Orleans Stop Time
5. Al Wynn's Gutbucket Five (1926): That Creole Band
6. King Oliver's Creole Jazz Band (1923): Canal Street Blues
7. Sam Morgan (1927):Bogalusa Strut
8. Louis Armstorng, Billie Holiday, from the soundtrack of "New Orleans (1947): Farewell to Storyville
9. Louis Dumaine's Jazzola Eight: Franklin Street Blues
10. Bunk Johnson (1942): New Iberia Blues (New Orleans Revival)
11. Randy Newman (1974): Louisiana 1927 (a little history)
12. Ida Cox, Lovie Austins's Blues Serenaders (1923-24): I've got the Blues for Rampart Street
13. New Orleans Wanderers (1926): Perdido Street Blues
14. Kid Thomas' Algerian Stompers (1960's): Algiers Waltz
15. Muggys Spanier's Ragtime Band (1939):Relaxin' at the Touro (local mental hospital)
16. Jelly Roll Morton's Red Hot Peppers (1930): Ponchartrain Blues
17. Jelly Roll Morton (1923): New Olreans Joys
18. New Orleans Rhythm Kings (1923): Milneberg Joys
19: Piron's New Orleans Orchestra (1924): New Orleans Wiggle
20: C J Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band (1994):Jambalaya (On the Bayou).
21. Steve Riley and the Grand Mamou Playboys (1999): La Danse de Mardi Gras
22. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band (2000): Li'L Liza Jane
23. The Tragically Hip (1989: they're Canadian): New Orleans is Sinking
24. Billy Holiday, from the soundtrack of "New Orleans:" Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?

#251 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2005, 04:24 AM:

Re the Beer Ad particle:

In yesterday's Icon supplement to the Sydney Morning Herald there's an article headed "Think Big" with a lead-in about viral marketing. According to this article the ad was initially launched as a link in an email sent to 4000 Foster's employees in July, and now "more than 2 million people around the world have used their Internet browsers and email to view [it] and pass [it] on".

'"If we come up with an engaging proposition that is creative and funny, consumers are happy to share it with their friends," [director of the ad agency] says. "It's a lot cheaper to get them to spread the message than to pay for TV ... Marketers are not in control of their brand any more, the consumer is."

#252 ::: Barry Ragin ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2005, 12:06 PM:

if anybody is interested, i've posted a few photos from yesterday's little get-together in DC over here:

Photos.

#253 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2005, 09:39 PM:

I never got into "Buffy," and was only modestly engrossed by "Firefly," but I really liked what Joss Whedon has to say in this interview:

http://www.oregonlive.com/search/index.ssf?/base/entertainment/112738701236470.xml?oregonian?alfssf&coll=7&thispage=2

Warning: Fonts in online version doesn't differentiate between question and answer.

#254 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 25, 2005, 11:42 PM:

Unbelievable!

There's more to Pat Tillman's death than friendly fire and shameless exploitation:

http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2005/09/25/MNGD7ETMNM1.DTL

Noam Chomsky?!?!?!

#255 ::: mark shier ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2005, 12:09 AM:

A more readable and complete version of the Whedon interview can be found at http://culturepulp.com/
mark

#256 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2005, 07:13 AM:

This just in:

This message is to inform you that due to recently fraud attempts that targeted our costumers, we have upgraded our internet banking system.

When you think about it, a concerted attack on cosplay could upset the global balance of payments in unforeseen ways. Imagine seeing an investor reduced to nothing but the Hello Kitty outfit s/he is wearing. A frightening thought, I know, but it gets worse if the Final Fantasy characters get involved. (The Dirty Pair, on the other hand, would probably track these people back to their secret base -- according to the non-fake URL, their secret base is in Poland -- and beat their ASCII bad.)

Recently fraud must be stopped at all costs!

#257 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2005, 08:43 AM:

"virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male could be"????

What the hell kind of crack is Ann Coulter on?

#258 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2005, 10:53 AM:

The Dirty Pair hunting in Poland feels a little too close.

I'm on the same continent.

Heck, I'm on the same planet!

Oh, you're not talking about Bush/Cheney. That's OK, then.

#259 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2005, 11:07 AM:

It's a red letter day in the Irish peace process (or at least a blue linked text day). Sample quote:

"The decommissioning of the arms of the IRA is now an accomplished fact," said John de Chastelain, the retired Canadian general who has been responsible for overseeing the decommissioning process since 1997.

#260 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2005, 02:27 PM:

hey, whither Jonathan Vos Post?

#261 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2005, 03:34 PM:

yeah I was wondering that myself

#262 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2005, 03:39 PM:

Re: the dolphin story, All I can hear is Dr. Evil complaining about how he wants sharks with frickin' laser beams when all he can get is irritated, mutated sea bass.

Seriously, I just can't believe this one. Unless it's connected with all the news stories about the "lost dolphins." Hmmm. [scratches chin]

#263 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2005, 04:10 PM:

I thought this was cool: giant kites attached to ships (in place of sails), to cut down on fuel usage.

Plus, I've been wondering where Jonathan Vos Post is too.

#264 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2005, 05:01 PM:

In a completely unsurprising turn of events, the Penny Arcade guys have apparently pissed off Harlan Ellison.

This could be fun, if it weren't rather like watching any given episode of Star Trek Voyager for the 5th time...

#265 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2005, 05:37 PM:

pissed off Harlan Ellison.

For some of us, this is never news. It's merely a notice of change of venue.

#266 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2005, 06:04 PM:

Hey, so far the listings for Serenity here in Chicago say it's only playing at one theater, up in Evanston...are they serious? I figured from all the ads it must be getting a wider release than that. Any Chicagoans in the know who can point me to a downtown venue for Friday?

#267 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2005, 06:31 PM:

Mina, re. the administration's inability to keep from lying even when they name legislation: well said. I don't know a pithy way to express that, but I agree that we need one.

"Doublespeak."

#268 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 26, 2005, 07:16 PM:

I assumed JVP's absence was due to Teresa's eventual lack of patience.

#269 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2005, 12:15 AM:

Lin, I'm familiar with the rep if not the man, thus the wording of the rest of my comment. I just, as usual, find PA's take on this fandom must-discover issue to be particularly humorous and relevant. I wish they'd tackled it in a comic instead of today's (rather phoned in, for them) Photoshop piece.

#270 ::: Rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2005, 10:30 AM:

Skwid, I am absolutely facinated by the whole PA thing. As I read their post, I struggled to remember who this fellow was. The thought bubbled to the surface: "didn't he hate star wars was, or something?", which made Gabe's retort sing in my mind. I was hoping that you and others here would go on in some more detail.

My reaction? Well, after being amused, I began to wonder what he had actually written, and did some digging. I had blanked on his name for a reason.

He was the perpetrator of "I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream". Ah, yes. The story that put me off of reading science fiction for about a decade. Right. That guy.

I'm going a bit biographical here: when I was in 9th grade, I liked sf. A lot. After running out of the ususal suspects, I stumbed upon a bunch of Hugo Award anthologies. So I proceeded to read them all, in order from oldest to newest.

Ugh. I guess I don't need to draw a picture of what happened, huh? Reading things like that as a 14 year old was...
...
I still remember which part of the route the bus was on as I read the ending.
...

Conclusion?
Well, lets just say its no accident that I like skiffy, fantasy, manga, and webcomics.
-R

#271 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2005, 12:37 PM:

Well, Rhandir, these experiences vary. When I was twelve and thirteen, I rode the Philadelphia subway to school and I got this little allowance to buy tokens and lunch with. I'd spend my lunch money on sf magazines and I thouhgt that Harlan Ellison and Sheckley and those guys were just as interesting as the old stuff I was finding in the library and used books stores. I've decided since that Ellison put too much of his weight on too small a part of his abilities, but far from putting me off sf, it made me realize there was room in sf for all sorts of different writing, and it made me interested in sniffing out those different things.

#272 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2005, 12:53 PM:

Ellison remains one of my favorite storytellers, and really like Ellison's writing - including his non-fictional screeds - but when I've seen him at cons, it's as much to marvel at his insufferable hubris as it is to hear interesting tidbits about his life, and that's kind of a shame. He did a great job moderating a panel with JM Straczynski, Ron Moore and, er, someone really big in the gaming industry, at the last con I saw him at, but his own Q&A was less impressive, the highlight being when he called Forrey Ackermann an "ambulatory sack of running monkey nuts."

#273 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2005, 03:47 PM:

Truth is stranger than fiction.

According to ThinkProgress, tomorrow, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hold a hearing to "discuss the role of science in environmental policy making."

Their featured witness? Michael Crichton

#274 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2005, 04:34 PM:

So my kid writes from Gulfport about the strange intersection of public and private agencies in the wake of the disaster. The Red Cross is pulling out of mass distributions because the situation is no longer an emergency: but not everybody was served the first time around, and you can bet there's no other agency which is slated to take up "urgent" mass distribution, now that the situation has been downgraded.

He has an explanation of BSE as well, so you can read that.

The things that weigh heaviest on his mind is people not getting bleach to clean the mold out of their houses, not having rooves, and the piles of food that stay in the warehouse because they can only be distributed to emergency shelters and the emergency shelter want to clear people out right away and don't want to cook. So there are all these people who are sort of back in their (roofless, moldy) homes, but without jobs, money, food, or any place to turn to. And the food just has to get moved around from one warehouse to another.

#275 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2005, 05:00 PM:

What was I thinking?!?

There was a question on CNN on whether America is ready for a woman president. There was a reference or two to Condi Rice's shopping right after Katrina struck (and whether or not the voting public would believe a woman as prez would be able to handle a crisis). And I realized, Rice was following the oft seen bumper sticker:

When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping.


#276 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2005, 06:27 PM:

The "can a [insert descriptor here] cope in a crisis" taradiddle is, like all such forms of NotThemIsm, absolutely fraudulent. There are people with Y chromosomes who have shown by example that they can do useful and important things in times of crisis; there is also G. W. Bush (and Herbert Hoover, not to pick too much on one guy). When was the last time you saw the question "Can a man handle a crisis situation?" (Not that it hasn't been said.)

In warfare, which is on the Approved Short List of Calibrations for Human Okayness, there are people who do things that are both fiercely brave and intensely thoughtful (the first without the second sometimes works and sometimes really, horribly doesn't), and there are people who lose all ability to act independently and much of the ability to act under direct command. While there are a few broad indicators of where on the scale a single individual will land, there's no infallible predictor, and every predictor based on a general classification -- race, gender, gender preference, political leanings, fondness for John Wayne movies -- has been conclusively proven worthless in practice. (Of course people still lie about all these bogus determinants. People lie about everything, especially their agendas.)

Every single human being old/competent enough to think about it wants to believe that he or she would rise to a crisis if it happened. Lots of them run through mental scenarios of what they would do if, to pick a typical example, giant Communist mud turtles crawled out of flying saucers and began eating . . . hmm, it's hard to think of a group everybody would protect, but you get the idea. Popular entertainment makes a rule of providing a character the audience can "identify with," who may be fallible and frightened but never fails in the clinch. We have all observed the recent attempts to blame absolutely anybody and anything within reach for the failure of persons who have had nothing to sell except their skill as autoharuspices, relying on their Guts O' Wisdom for infallible judgement, to do anything that did not worsen the situation.

One other point: there is a difference between failing some kind of emotional standard for a job -- falling apart under stress -- and knowing damn-all about what the job is. I think Condoleezza Rice would be a bad POTUS for the same reason I believe she is an inferior Secretary of State: she has no diplomatic background (arguably in any sense of the word), and just in case anybody forgot, the Secretary of State is the nation's highest-ranking diplomat. Her chromosome count is irrelevant. The fact that she buys shoes is irrelevant; it was the fact that she was conspicuously buying conspicuously consumptive shoes at a moment of national emergency, when anybody a sense of public presence -- Dolly the sheep, for god's sake -- would have been aware that she would be under public scrutiny, that was, to use the term, undiplomatic.

We now return you to your thread, already in progress.

#277 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2005, 08:16 PM:

Now for something completely different = plushy microbes, WEEEEE . i love my mono-bug, purple with lovely eyelashes. The others are just as cute, click on the link in Particles.

#278 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2005, 11:05 PM:

And then there's Live! Nude! Giant! Squid!

#279 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 27, 2005, 11:17 PM:

And then there's Live! Nude! Giant! Squid!

Some years back - about 1990, give or take a year or so - the LA Times had a story on the giant squit of the Sea of Cortez (aka the Gulf of California). These are relatively small squid, in the 5 to 8 foot range. One of the divers was mugged by one of the squid, losing his diving watch and a neckchain to the cephalopod. (They didn't speculate on what the squid would be doing with its prizes.)

#280 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2005, 12:37 AM:

Via William Gibson's blog (of course, via somewhere else...)

A 1946 Encyclopaedia Britannica film on how to tell if a society is tending towards despotism. Still works today.

#281 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2005, 01:18 AM:

That was FASCINATING, Larry. Dang. A straightforward and clear cut presentation, totally free of jingoistic bullshit.

#282 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2005, 06:53 AM:

Thank you for the link to "Operation Eden" -- not just the entry you directly linked, but the whole story and extraordinary photos. (Don't let anyone know I'm connecting from the fat pipe at work; that place would take an hour to download through my home connection.)

#283 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2005, 10:43 AM:

I was thinking recently that female presidential candidates have a big problem:

Currently in the US it seems like all candidates have to go hunting in order to demonstrate that they love guns and would never ban them. (Such a photo-op would, of course, be a "shoot.")

Now, obviously, if a woman goes hunting it makes her "unfeminine" and unnatural, so no right-thinking person could ever vote for her. But if she doesn't go out and kill something, it proves that she has no cojones and could not possibly defend the US in these dangerous times.

Also, neither Hilary nor Condi would look good in knee-high wading boots, ammo vest and an orange hat.

#284 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2005, 12:42 PM:

Maybe going fishing could be substituted.

#285 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2005, 12:45 PM:

DeLAY JUST GOT INDICTED!!!!!!!!!!

(Yes, I am shouting. I cheered hearing that just announced on the TV mid-day news. DeLay has been indicted on two accounts for election law violations by a Texas grand jury.)

#286 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2005, 12:58 PM:

"DeLAY JUST GOT INDICTED!!!!!!!!!!"

Oh, yes.

#287 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2005, 01:03 PM:

Texas grand jury indicts Tom DeLay
House majority leader, 2 associates charged with conspiracy

It looks like one count, two associates. Now the questions is, will he get off?

#288 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2005, 01:18 PM:

Tom in handcuffs. My God. The Rapture is here.

#289 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2005, 01:20 PM:

Paula:

Fishing does seem more ladylike.

I also said "Woo-hoo!" on the DeLay thing.

#290 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2005, 05:08 PM:

Paula,

Problem is, it's not altogether acceptable in most parts of the United States to fish with guns. On the other hand, where it is, it'd probably do Hillary some good. Hmm...

#291 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2005, 05:21 PM:

Would it help if she took up something like skeet shooting? Women do it and it involves firearms.It might even be useful for hunting.

#292 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2005, 05:40 PM:

I have, on more than one occasion, seen the phrase "tackle box gun" in sporting publications.

I'm sure it has some perfectly simurational explanation, involving defense against escaped criminals, rogue game wardens, or International Piscine Terrorists who have constructed their Secret Rebel Base* near your favorite bluegill spot. Though one also imagines an attack by a bear convinced he has eminent domain over the salmon,** or a puissant northern pike.

The principle of "with your dry flies, or on them" may also apply in certain situations. One can certainly imagine an Arthur Miller play ending with the curtain falling quickly, followed by a boom, a splash, and a Greek chorus of raucous ducks.


*This phrase loses much of its potency without Peter Cushing's rs.

**"Don' be silly, Boo-Boo! That's a Smith & Wesson, and he's, like, had his six!"

#293 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2005, 05:46 PM:

Mike: LOL. Nearly ROFL.

Use: Possibly putting oversized fish out of your misery? "Caution: May Not Be Effective on Giant Maneating Sharks."

#294 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2005, 06:30 PM:

Your basic tacklebox gun is used to slow down water moccasins who want to get in your canoe with you. See, for example, here: http://www.bondarms.com/

#295 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2005, 06:42 PM:

Rahm Emmanuel said of Bill Frist: "He thought Terri Schiavo could see and his trust was blind."

#296 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 28, 2005, 06:42 PM:

That's an effective looking weapon, if you want your water moccasin to be puree rather than suitable for framing. (I can't complain much: my father inherited a .410 shot pistol, which is considered a sawed-off shotgun for licensing purposes. It would have fit in a tackle box - it was maybe twelve inches long. He called it a horse pistol.)

#297 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 07:47 AM:

Around here, the tackle box gun would be used not only on snakes, but also, from time to time, on really big catfish, as well as occasional irruptions of the sturgeon's less attractive cousin, the paddlefish (local name: spoonbill). A friend hooked one of the latter once; he nearly lost not only his rod, but also his boat to the critter.

#298 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 09:11 AM:

Fidelio: I have a hard time believing any fish is less attractive than sturgeon, which is a seriously ugly fish.

I can see you might want a tackle box gun if your catfish is like the 90-pound jobs that show up occasionally in California (see Lake Irvine fishing records). The gun would probably be really useful if you hook a snapping turtle.

#299 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 09:19 AM:

Take a sturgeon, and change the beaky part to something more spatulate. Wikipedia has a picture:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paddlefish

It does not give an idea of the length they can attain.

#300 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 09:21 AM:

fidelio -- I seem to remember reading a while back about an effort to market spoonbill roe as the American answer to caviar. Ah, here's a link: Oceans Alive Paddlefish Caviar. Ever eat it? Any good?

#301 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 09:36 AM:

No, I haven't had a chance to sample paddlefish roe; a friend from Minnesota has had it, and says it's good, if you like fish roe--he has limited enthusiasm for the stuff. I wasn't aware there was a commercial effort involved; here in Tennessee, the spoonbill is something fishermen tell stories about, partly because people don't believe in it until they've experienced one, just like they don't believe in the Really Big Catfish until they've seen/dealt with one. I've seen a small one (about as long as my arm) in a local fresh-water acquarium, and it is not an attractive fish; I hate to think what an increase in size would do to the ugly factor.

The American lake sturgeon has been harvested commercially, both for the fish itself and for its roe, and is supposed to be very closely comparable to the Caspian/European product, but again, that's hearsay on my part.

#302 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 10:35 AM:

The black snakefish is an ugly nasty thing, and they are infesting some US waterways and bodies of water now. The things are so noxious and lethal to other fauna that if one is found in a pond, wildlife officials have been known to drain and/or poison the pond to try to get rid of them. However, like that infamous walking Asian catfish, the snakefish (or is it snakehead fish..) can wriggle its way onto dry land and go for a very long walk to another pond or stream or river or lake.

Eels are ugly.

Monkfish are really ugly.

And there was something really really really disgusting I saw in a fish refrigerated fresh fish section of a supermarket, on a wooden plank, called something like a black slimefish. Ick!

#303 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 10:50 AM:

PJ, you have a hard time imagining that any fish could be uglier than a sturgeon? You can't have seen whole monkfish -- which, as I've remarked before, look like they were designed by Hieronymus Bosch.

#304 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 11:14 AM:

I believe I've seen a drawing of monkfish, but it wasn't by Bosch. Obviously it didn't capture the thing well. OTOH, I have seen live sturgeon - not just in an aquarium; I saw a very small one (about 2 to 2 1/2 feet) in a creek in Concord once. Even from a bridge, it was, well, ugly. Maybe I need to do more aquarium trips.

#305 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 11:29 AM:

Paula, I googled around. Slimefish are a variety of Hagfish, which have two remarkable abilities: (1.) literally tying themselves in knots, and (2.) generating huge quantities of slime.

Are there a lot of Koreans in your area? They're big with the hagfish.

#306 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 12:04 PM:

"Said the hagfish to the lamprey..." -- Dr James (formerly Dr Jane) Robinson.

The area I live in has an increasingly large population of people from Asia, particularly India. I haven't noticed that many who are easily identifiable as Korean, though there is a Korean restaurant on Cambridge Street in Burlington (it's a couple miles north of the Readercon hotel, years ago there had been a Korean restaurant a mile from me but it closed or moved, perhaps the one in Burlington was its successor, but I've never really gone in there, something about income crashes and not eating our in restaurants except when at conventions....).

China Merchandise in Burlington carries Asian foods, including Korean, Thai, Japanese, Chinese, and Indian. There's a halal grocery store in the same strip mall, and an Indian one, and I think the Christian bookstore may still be there.

=============

The slimefish I saw was in a Stop & Shop that had been in Newton on Route 9, east of route 128.

#308 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 12:09 PM:

Disgusting thought that has nothing to do with politics: there was a Readercon at which Jim Macdonald was demonstrating knotting to Teresa, using a rope. The thought of replacing the rope with a hagfish, is really disgusting!!!

#309 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 12:13 PM:

I have never demonstrated knotting to Miss Teresa using rope. I have, however, used line.

#310 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 12:43 PM:

For shame, Teresa, for neglecting the Hagfish's most commonly appreciated remarkable ability: being made into Eelskin Wallets!

#311 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 12:54 PM:

Completely offtopic:
A treatise on technical writing and the pronoun problem:
http://www.herodios.com/pronouns.html
Pretty darn clear, that.
-R.

#312 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 01:20 PM:

BTW, thanks for the links re:penguin prostitution. Gave me a good laugh and reminds me of other penguin news I've been reading recently.

After six years together, the gay penguins in New York's Central Park Zoo have split up after a new penguin moved into the exhibit and moved in with one of the boys. [Source: New York Times]

Brokeback Penguins, anyone?

And of course, last month Nils Olav an Edinborough penguin who has been in the Norwegian military for the last thirty-some years just received his fourth promotion. He's now Colonel in Chief of the Royal Norwegian Guard and a statue has been erected in his honor. [Further links, quotes and photos @ my blog]

#313 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 01:20 PM:

Teresa, there are going to be some folks on the Christian right who are going to have total fidgets over those penguin prostitution links. See, a few weeks ago, I was looking for reviews on March of the Penguins, and quite a number of pastors and Christian Right groups were prating about about the movie being an exemplary family film since it touts the value of families and monogamy. I wonder what they'll think about the penguins of the evening.

#314 ::: hrc ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 01:37 PM:

what is wrong with water that has an expired date on the bottle? Is it poisonous? Does it stop being water and becomes something else? Enquiring minds want to know.

#315 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 02:03 PM:

I think the problem with "expired water bottles" isn't so much the water as the bottles, since most of them are made of plastic which may degrade over time and leach out various oogy stuff. Glass bottles would probably be fine, with caveats about whatever their caps are made of.

Meanwhile, on Serenity eve, I am finally remembering to alert y'all of the convergence of Captain Tight-Pants and the Arrogant Worms, kind of. I don't know why the Worms haven't publicized this more, but at the end of their concert DVD, their guest cameos include a lengthy spoof in which Nathan Fillion attempts to sing with them but keeps getting rebuffed by office flunkies, culminating in bluescreen karaoke.

#316 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 02:12 PM:

(I don't remember if I mentioned it here before...)

An examination of the two swans which spend the summer at the Public Gardens in Boston, in the pond that the swan boats are on, found the reason why the eggs of "Romeo and Juliet" didn't hatch: it would be been more accurate to refer to the mated swan pair as e.g. Ramona and Juliet!

I think Mayor of Boston pointed out that Massachusetts has legal same-gender marriage, and that the swans fit in there.

#317 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 02:58 PM:

Whoa!

Judge Orders Release of Abu Ghraib Photos

By Greg Mitchell

Published: September 29, 2005 12:45 PM ET

NEW YORK A federal judge ruled today that graphic pictures of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison must be released over government claims that they could damage America's image. Last year a Republican senator conceded that they contained scenes of "rape and murder" and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said they included acts that were "blatantly sadistic."

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1001218842

Wow.

I've got this vision of Rove and Cheney on the White House lawn, swinging ineffectual punches and eye-jabs at each other to see who catches the Last Copter Out of Washington.

#318 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 03:06 PM:

Paula, dunno if it's been mentioned here either, but it's a fun story.

Apparently, when they chose the current pair of swans for the Boston Public Garden, somebody decided to get a pair of females because male swans were considered too aggressive for a public park. [I've dealt with a male swan up close -- they're vicious!]

Then the two set up a nest and laid eggs, and folks thought maybe they did get a breeding couple. After the eggs didn't hatch, the birds were tested and it was proven both are female.

Even more relevant than Massachusetts' recent openness to same-sex marriage, are you familiar with the term Boston marriage?

#319 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 04:34 PM:

Oh, the hagfish, she is a multifarious beast. They have four hearts, for instance, and so would make lovely Valentine's Day gifts, if you happen to be dating a Charles Addams character. But the distinguishing feature I always thought was most famous is that hagfish were (and may still be) the principal source of medical heparin, the Wonder Anticoagulant.

In the opera The Swan Sexer,* the eponymous Hrnstrgl** is banished from the Emperor's court for refusing to splander die Bhnen aus about the supposed mating pair in the palace's Schniegelgarten, and wanders the earth until he finds the Parliament of Curiously Designed Birds, and Lucille the Swan Babe leads all in the rousing choral "Alle Schwanen Tango tanzen, wo die heie Sax klagt Weh" and gives him the Magic Bunny Slippers with which to return in triumph.

*"Who? What? Go away, I have a baritone pistol, and this time signature makes me unafraid to use it." -- Howard Goodall
**Popular with Vowelentferner since 1743.

#320 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 04:50 PM:

I've heard that some of the swans in these unnatural unions are actually geese who have submitted to species-change operations in Bolivia.

When will the horrors end?

#321 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 05:11 PM:

Murpf.... I should NOT read this at work....

Mr. Ford, you are too funny..(but don't stop! Ever!)

#322 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 05:43 PM:

Some en-penguined evening...

#323 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 11:15 PM:

And Marilee, you're not helping (tho I'm reading this at home now). Ghoddess I love this place and the people who inhabit it. thank you, Teresa!

#324 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 29, 2005, 11:54 PM:

Let me get this straight: a snake swims up and tries to get into your canoe, so you shoot it with a gun that you rapidly scrabble out of your bait box, aiming in the general direction of said reptile, fumbling meanwhile with rod, tackle, paddle, and God knows what, while also considering the location and likely movements of any other person who might be in the canoe. These movements will cause the canoe to roll and lurch madly, of course.

What do you do for an encore? Swim home? Accompanied, no doubt, by the water moccassin, who might be, who knows, peeved and intrigued by these goings-on?

You wooden read about it, as we say in these parts.

#325 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2005, 12:32 AM:

"I'm sorry, Ollie, I thought it was a water slingback."

"Moccasin."

"If you wanted Chinese food, why are we here looking for pirate treasure?"

"Stanley, we are fishing."

"Arr, fishing. I'm glad it's Talk Like an Astronaut day again."

#326 ::: Lisa Spadafora ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2005, 01:45 PM:

I mostly lurk here, but I hope it's okay if I take a moment to express my appreciation to all the folks who posted back when Teresa first put up the "Serenity" trailer. On the strength of the collective enthusiasm, I spent the last month getting the DVDs from Netflix, and am now happily counting down til the 6:30 show. I haven't had a Friday this fun in quite a while--so, thanks!!

#327 ::: Eric Sadoyama ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2005, 02:08 PM:

Speaking of Serenity (saw the sneak preview last night), I was thinking that the Alliance seems a lot in spirit, though not in scope and tech level, like Iain Banks' Culture, except seen from the other side.

#328 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2005, 02:13 PM:

I take it that the good folks at the Nelson Rocks Preserve don't actually want people coming there.

#329 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2005, 02:26 PM:

Or "don't actually want people coming there who are not prepared to comport themselves safely and responsibly."

#330 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2005, 02:52 PM:

Well, statements like "you could get killed out here no matter how well trained you are" and "even if we knew where the dangerous spots were we might not tell you" aren't exactly welcoming.

But they do say "have fun!"

#331 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2005, 04:07 PM:

Dave, I see it going more like this:
1. Snake slithers out of snake-infested waters and into canoe.
2. Canoeist (?) pulls out BFG, creates radical discontinuity in body of snake.
3. Body of snake is found to lack sufficient density to stop BFG projectile. Projectile continues along its trajectory, creating a second radical discontinuity in bottom of canoe.
4. Hull of canoe is now permeable to water. Contents of snake-infested waters rush into canoe.
5. Canoe rapidly descends to bottom of snake-infested waters. Canoeist is left to swim back to wherever he came from.
6. Canoeist bitten by snake halfway to destination.
7. Soon, all is silent, save for the droning of insects and the happy, sibilant snoring of a well-fed water moccasin community.

#332 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2005, 04:23 PM:

Laura: For a nature preserve including mountainous terrain, that actually looks qute a reasonable warning.

I'm a city folk who knows just enough about wilderness survival to know I don't know enough to survive long in totally wild terrain, and that's before you throw in large rocky cliffs that look like ideal territory for a puma to jump on your head. A surprising number of city folk don't even realise they don't know anything -- until someone who does know what they're doing in the wilderness emphasises it *this* clearly.

Then again, there are people for whom the words "Nobody is coming." are just the ticket. They don't want to have a park ranger, or indeed, any other human being, in shouting distance, even if it means that they're in *really* deep trouble if they break a bone. They consider that even the park owners not knowign the location of all the dangerous bits means it's wild, and that's perfect. To them, that disclaimer is sauce on the pudding.

#333 ::: Kate Yule ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2005, 07:07 PM:

Also, neither Hilary nor Condi would look good in knee-high wading boots, ammo vest and an orange hat.

What, and men do? Not on my planet.

The plushy microbes (see particle) have multiplied since last I saw them. Who knew syphilis was so cute?! I don't understand why HIV, hepatitis & TB are flagged as "professional", though. E. coli and salmonella are guarding their amateur status?

#334 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2005, 09:28 PM:

Ah. There was the case of the two gentlemen in the Northern Territory who took a tinny (a small aluminium boat) up an inlet and thought they'd use the .22 rifle to have a pot at what looked like a snake swimming, head above but body below the somewhat-opaque water.

The chain of events you describe then occurred, substituting 4.5 metre saltwater croc for snake and observing that a .22 was just about enough to obtain his undivided attention.

#335 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2005, 10:45 PM:

Kate, I'm with you. Last time I went to look, my Mono cutie was one of the few plushy microbes. they're fabulous!

#336 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 30, 2005, 11:02 PM:

The King Kong trailer!

http://www.kingkongmovie.com

OK. I'll be blunt: The leading man looks like a Hollywood pretty-boy wuss. He's supposed to be a hard-boiled sailor, damnit! Carl Denham isn't much better.

But . . . 1930s New York.

Oh. My. GOD.

#337 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2005, 12:13 AM:

OK. I'll be blunt: The leading man looks like a Hollywood pretty-boy wuss. He's supposed to be a hard-boiled sailor, damnit!

Maybe his name is really Billy Budd?

#338 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2005, 08:53 AM:

For a different presentation of all things small and germy, Infectious Awareables has micrograph images patterned onto various garments, including cotton scrubs.

#339 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2005, 12:54 PM:

Julie L - I so do not want an STD printed on my underoos. Just seems inauspicious, is all.

#340 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2005, 01:07 PM:

I saw the recent fundraising appeal for Peter Beagle, to raise money for legal costs to get back some of the money owed him for his movie rights.

I've found his writing an immense source of richness in my life over the years, and would like to do something to contribute. However, I'm slightly worried that this could be another scam; does anyone here have the contacts to confirm that his business manager is legitimate/aboveboard?

#341 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2005, 04:57 PM:

Clifton, I've known Connor Cochran (or, as he's sometimes known, Connor Freff Cochran) for a long time -- like, twenty-five years plus. So have a number of other folks around here. He's not a swindler.

#342 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2005, 05:16 PM:

Mike:
Thanks, that's exactly what I needed to hear. I figured folks here would know if anyone did.

#343 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2005, 07:56 PM:

And speaking of someone here knowing things I don't:

Near the end of The Incredibles, there are two old gents talking to each other about the ending of the big battle against the robot, saying it was "old school".

Are these guys based on particular people?

I didn't recognize them, but I can think of several possibilities, the most likely being Kirby and Lee (though Simon and Siegel would also be candidates).

#344 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2005, 08:07 PM:

IMDB's trivia section for The Incredibles contains the following:

Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, two of Walt Disney's "Nine Old Men" (his master team of nine supervising animators from the "classic" era of animation), provide voices for their own caricatures near the end of the film. They also appeared in and provided the voices for the train engineers in The Iron Giant (1999) (also directed by Brad Bird. This is not the first time Pixar Animation Studios have included references to famous animators in their films (see the trivia for Monsters, Inc. (2001)).

#345 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2005, 08:26 PM:

. . . though Simon and Siegel would also be candidates.

Siegel and Shuster. Not to be confused with Simon and Schuster, the publishers, or Simony and Schuster, the religious vanity press.

#346 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2005, 08:58 PM:

For those who have no idea what I was just talking about, the basic story is here:
"You can help"
Mr. Beagle is being cheated out of the royalties that he is due on the movie version of The Last Unicorn, but doesn't have the money to even file suit against the media company that's withholding them, due to other disasters in his life.

I just sent some money in, and may send more later when I can afford it. It seemed like the least I can do after the magic he's brought to my life.

#347 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2005, 11:19 PM:

Back on the subject of ugly fish - the first time I saw a whole monkfish in the fishmonger's window, I stood and boggled for a couple of minutes. I knew that there were fish that ugly, that in fact the monkfish is a truly attractive creature compared to some deepwater fish, but it was the first time I'd ever been eyeball to eyeball with a fish that ugly. It's just not the same in photos.

Apparently it was ugly enough to put customers off coming into the shop. They were seriously thinking of moving it to the inside display counter.

#348 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2005, 11:27 PM:

Lis Riba: somebody decided to get a pair of females because male swans were considered too aggressive for a public park. [I've dealt with a male swan up close -- they're vicious!]

I wonder about that; Canada geese are also vicious, and they infest the Boston Common. Last year I watched a tourist's little yappy dog threaten a goose with goslings nearby; we might have had yappy-dog wing-kabob if a local hadn't taken pity on the tourist and pointed out that the goose not only out-meaned but out-weighed the dog.

We were very amused to learn that Kew Gardens had imported Canada geese because they were considered ornamental. We knew geese were around long before seeing them; the dried goose poop on the walkways was a dead giveaway.

#349 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2005, 11:51 PM:

Saw the Roman Polanski adaptation of _Oliver Twist_ today.

Not bad. Pretty much everything hung together. They cut out great wads of the story* without too much ill effect. This made the ending somewhat downbeat and abrupt, though.

Minor casting quibble: The guy who plays Bill Sykes was a good actor, but just not nasty enough. Sykes was a scary, scary guy. The actor was a trifle young and baby-faced. More a gangster than a sociopathic villain.


* Briefly: Everything about the hunt for Oliver' background went out the door. He was an orphan, nothing more. No further adventures of the Beadle.

#350 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 01, 2005, 11:55 PM:

Also caught a "dusk special" showing of _Serenity_.

I didn't go in with huge expectations. I liked the show well enough (after seeing the early episodes, broadcast late) but I'm not a fanboy.

I was _very_ pleased. They did a great job of making a stand-alone movie out of a complex TV show.

But . . . oh, man, why did the body count include familiar faces? I'm feeling bummed.

#351 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2005, 06:12 AM:

That EB film on despotism upthread was really excellent, and passed here without too much comment. Did anyone else note that they omitted "under God" from the Pledge of Allegience - or wasn't it in there in 1946?

In other news, you purchase The Complete New Yorker at your peril.

#352 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2005, 08:04 AM:

If you're willing to listen to someone who doesn't know his Schwartz from his Schuster, I can tell you that "under God" was added in the fifties, 1954 being the year that comes to mind.

#353 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2005, 11:08 AM:

Stefan, I also saw Serenity last night, (though I had never seen a single episode of the series.) I thought it was really good. (Not my usual response to movies!) Ebert's review of it was quite accurate, and to me (a not-yet-a-fan) pretty informative.

And, yeah, that death was quite...unexpected. Yet another thing that separates it from the generic "action" movie.

Haven't seen Mirrormask yet. (Closest theater showing it is 50 minutes away w/o traffic.) Hopefully it will still be in theaters by the time I can get to it.

-R

#354 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2005, 11:16 AM:

*carson voice* I Did Not Know That. Thanks.

#355 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2005, 04:31 PM:

The SF book discussion group and sundry relatives went to Chinese dinner and then Serenity last night. The theater was full except for the first two rows. I really enjoyed it. I think it should get the Hugo. Which means I need at least a supporting membership to nominate.

#356 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2005, 09:51 PM:

rhandir,

I saw Mirrormask and can attest that it's well worth an hour's drive to see it in the theater. And in SF, at least, it's only playing for a week.

#357 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2005, 10:14 PM:

Tim,
...hmm...well, if I still have $$ left in the petty cash fund on Tuesday...
-R.

#358 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 02, 2005, 11:42 PM:

As usuual, it appears that it is playiing NOWHERE near my home, I'd go miles or so for it, but not as far as St Louis or wherever else it is playing. Sigh.

On the bright side, our Sean came with a widescreen TV. (houseboy, long story, if you NEED to know email me at dragonet@kc.rr.com). So when it comes out on DVD we can play it well in our living room.

#359 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 01:04 AM:

Randolph Fritz provides:

A natural history of the at sign.

Reminds me of the story of the Octothorpe. (I read the origninal in Telecom Digest years ago.)

#360 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 10:45 AM:

(houseboy, long story, if you NEED to know email me at dragonet@kc.rr.com)

"Need to know"? One has to have a need-to-know in order to get the lowdown on the acquisition of an accessorized houseboy? Whatever is the world coming to?

#361 ::: Michelle K ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 11:03 AM:

Stefan Jones:
I'm feeling bummed.

Bummed didn't really begin to cover it. I actually whimpered "No!" at a couple of points during the movie.

And Mirrormask isn't even coming to my state. Hurray for DVD?

#362 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 11:43 AM:

? it's a long story and it's Teresa's blog. Houseboy is a real sweetie, comes with stuff (the ginormous TV for one thing), and is ORGANIZING us, which is a miracle. How's that for a topline. He came to cat sit while we were in the UK and stayed.

#363 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 12:28 PM:

RE: Pledge in 1946, was the original. The extra phrase was foisted on us by Congress.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisable, with liberty and justice for all."

The 'under God' was added during the McCarthy era. Just to show those godless communists what a righteous country we were...

BTW, the pledge as originally written was meant for any country that wanted to use it. Wish I could remember the story behind that, but it really was generic when it started!

Lori

#364 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 02:08 PM:

The FCC is a police state arm, which is cheerily collaborating in the abrogation of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights....

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-05-151A1.pdf


=========================================


Because the thing is a Nasty PDF (I -hate- PDF....), I've copied and reformatted it some of it . The key paragraphs are,

" To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice."

and

" To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement."

The former paragraph is imposing censorship by the US Government concerning what it considered to be "lawful Internet content." Who gets to decide what is and is not "lawful" there?

The latter paragraph has that undefined open-ended provision, "subject to the needs of law enforcement." Whatever happened to the Bill of Rights and freedom from searches without duly executed warrants for search and seizure?

==========================

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-05-151A1.pdf

==============================

Federal Communications Commission FCC 05-151
Before the Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554

[snip docket numbers]

POLICY STATEMENT

Adopted: August 5, 2005 Released: September 23, 2005

By the Commission:

I. INTRODUCTION

1. The availability of the Internet has had a profound impact on American life. This network of networks has fundamentally changed the way we communicate.1 It has increased the speed of communication, the range of communicating devices and the variety of platforms over which we can send and receive information.2 As Congress has noted, [t]he rapidly developing array of Internet . . . services available to individual Americans represent an extraordinary advance in the availability of educational and informational resources to our citizens.3 The Internet also represents a forum for a true diversity of political discourse, unique opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual activity.4 In addition, the Internet plays an important role in the economy, as an engine for productivity growth and cost savings.5

2. In section 230(b) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (Communications Act or Act), Congress describes its national Internet policy. Specifically, Congress states that it is the policy of the United States to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet6 and to promote the continued development of the Internet.7 In section 706(a) of the Act, Congress charges the Commission with encourag[ing] the deployment on a reasonable and timely basis of advanced telecommunications capability broadband to all Americans.8

3. In this Policy Statement, the Commission offers guidance and insight into its approach to the Internet and broadband that is consistent with these Congressional directives.

II. DISCUSSION

4. The Communications Act charges the Commission with regulating interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio.9 The Communications Act regulates telecommunications carriers, as common carriers, under Title II.10 Information service providers, by contrast, are not subject to mandatory common-carrier regulation under Title II.11 The Commission, however, has jurisdiction to impose additional regulatory obligations under its Title I ancillary jurisdiction to regulate interstate and foreign communications.12 As a result, the Commission has jurisdiction necessary to ensure that providers of telecommunications for Internet access or Internet Protocol-enabled (IP-enabled) services are operated in a neutral manner. Moreover, to ensure that broadband networks are widely deployed, open, affordable, and accessible to all consumers, the Commission adopts the following principles:

To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice.

To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement.

To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to connect their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network.13

To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers.14

III. CONCLUSION

5. The Commission has a duty to preserve and promote the vibrant and open character of the Internet as the telecommunications marketplace enters the broadband age. To foster creation, adoption and use of Internet broadband content, applications, services and attachments, and to ensure consumers benefit from the innovation that comes from competition, the Commission will incorporate the above principles into its ongoing policymaking activities.15

FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION
Marlene H. Dortch
Secretary


1 The Internet is the international computer network of both Federal and non-Federal interoperable packet switched data networks. 47 U.S.C. 230(f)(1). The Internet is also described as the combination of computer facilities and electromagnetic transmission media, and related equipment and software, comprising the interconnected worldwide network of computer networks that employ the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol or any successor protocol to transmit information. 47 U.S.C. 231(e)(3). The Supreme Court has described the Internet as a network of interconnected computers. National Cable & Telecommunications Assn v. Brand X Internet Services, 125 S. Ct. 2688, slip op. at 2 (2005) (NCTA v. Brand X); see also Reno v. ACLU, 521 U.S. 844, 849-50 (1997). No single entity controls the Internet; rather it is a worldwide mesh or matrix of hundreds of thousands of networks, owned and operated by hundreds of thousands of people. John S. Quarterman & Peter H. Salus, How the Internet works http://www.mids.org/works.html (visited Dec. 17, 2003) (quoted at IP-Enabled Services, WC Docket No. 04-36, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 19 FCC Rcd 4863, 4869 n.23 (2004) (IP-Enabled Services NPRM)).

[snip various Notes]

12 Id. at 3-4. We also note that the Enforcement Bureau recently entered into a consent decree to resolve an investigation with respect to the blocking of ports used for voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). See Madison River LLC and Affiliated Companies, File No. EB-05-IH-0110, Order, 20 FCC Rcd 4295 (Enf. Bur. 2005).

13 See Hush-A-Phone Corp. v. United States, 238 F.2d 266, 269 (D.C. Cir. 1956); Use of the Carterfone Device in Message Toll Telephone Service, 13 FCC 2d 420 (1968).

[snip Note]

15 Accordingly, we are not adopting rules in this policy statement. The principles we adopt are subject to reasonable network management.

#365 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 02:37 PM:

The pledge of allegience: One more good idea, courtesy of the American left--no, no, no thanks are needed.

#366 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 04:44 PM:

I said:

Also, neither Hilary nor Condi would look good in knee-high wading boots, ammo vest and an orange hat.

Kate Yule said:

What, and men do? Not on my planet.

Yes, but men are not required to look good while hunting.

CHip said:

Canada geese are also vicious

Hmm. I'm sure they can be, but I have yet to see one behaving badly, and they've infested my neighborhood too. (I still like seeing them though.)

#367 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 05:40 PM:

Laura Roberts wrote:

Also, neither Hilary nor Condi would look good in knee-high wading boots, ammo vest and an orange hat.

Kate Yule said:

What, and men do? Not on my planet.

Yes, but men are not required to look good while hunting.

So why should it be required for women? [FCC-disapproved language]

CHip said:

Canada geese are also vicious

Hmm. I'm sure they can be, but I have yet to see one behaving badly, and they've infested my neighborhood too. (I still like seeing them though.)

My mother remembered being terrorized by a goose on a relative's farm decades and decades later.

Canada geese, however, was swim off when pecked at by a swan.

#368 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 06:22 PM:

YAHHHHH! IT GETS BETTER AND BETTER!

[Stimpy Voice]
Joy!
[/Stimpy Voice]

From:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/03/AR2005100300190.html

"Texas Grand Jury Indicts DeLay for Money Laundering

The Associated Press
Monday, October 3, 2005; 5:59 PM

AUSTIN, Texas -- A Texas grand jury indicted Rep. Tom DeLay on a new charge of money laundering Monday, less than a week after another grand jury leveled a conspiracy charge that forced DeLay to temporarily step down as House majority leader."

(This is a NEW charge . . . in ADDITION to last week's conspiracy rap! Like I said . . . Joy!)

#369 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 08:04 PM:

I used to think it was neat having Canada geese around until I moved to a town where you get egrets and herons.

#370 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 09:30 PM:

I WISH I could see egrets and herons (my totem bird) every day.... I do occasionally see them, hunting at the edge of a pond, or, especially in the morning, moving from their roost to a likely hunting spot. I did learn that the don't totally leave our area (Kansas City, MO) in the winter, they just move to parts of the rivers and creeks where water still runs and they can find the odd fish or two to eat. And roost in big winter roosts (lots o'birds). Deep in the Missouri woods.

Our office moved, the new building is beautiful but has a goose-infested lake. Who waddle across the sidewalks to get to the grass. EEEEUUW. Yikes. We did have to have a goose massacre at our zoo a couple off years ago because they were carrying diseases to the captive fowl. And bullying the guests.

#371 ::: pericat ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 11:01 PM:

He came to cat sit while we were in the UK and stayed.

Ah, so it's the cat's doing. Got it.

#372 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 03, 2005, 11:24 PM:

The Bay Area is rotten with what to me looked like exotic birds: Egrets, herons, cormorants, spunky little blue-jay like fellers, and more.

I used to take walks around an abandoned salt evaporator east of Redwood City. Loads of birds in the wetlands surrounding the place. The Canadian Geese stayed away from the place, which was a relief.

#373 ::: Lizzy Lynn ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 12:35 AM:

Why would a snake want to get into your canoe? No, don't answer that.

I have heard of geese being kept as watch-er-critters, instead of dogs.

How come we stopped talking about Tom DeLay and started talking about livestock?

Better not answer that one either.

Mr. Holmes, they were the tentacles of a Giant Squid!! (Gasp. All faw down.)


#374 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 04:00 AM:

The "spunky little blue-jay like fellers" are probably Steller's jays, which are related to blue jays but have darker coloring.

#375 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 04:40 AM:

Lizzy, the DeLay thread is over there. This is the miscellaneous threead.

David: I never heard of jay nomenclature being blue vs. Stellar's. We always called them all blue jays and specified "California" or "Scrub" vs. "Stellar's." But we all know how it is with names.

And I can't get anybody to agree with me that the Stellar's jays (pointy heads, for those without a program to consult) seem to come in different-colored demographics. Populations, or sexes, or something. The bird books seem to think I am hallucinating. But it does seem there are some who are nearly black, and some who are much bluer, and it also seems as if the angle of the light does not account for everything.

I know they're supposed to not live in the same spots exactly, but in Santa Cruz they seem to overlap a great deal. I mean down to the same tree, though I can't swear they're making the same use of the tree.

Hey, did I say I have seen hummingbirds harried by insects twice in the last few weeks? Once by a butterfly, and once by a yellowjacket. Just like the blackbirds harry the crows, and the kestrels harry the hawks. The butterfly was chasing the hummingbird away from a patch of . . . I think it was valerian, but I'm not sure I remember what flower it was. The yellowjacket was chasing the other hummingbird away from a hummingbird feeder (not mine, I have no need of one since I have many fuschias and salvias and the neighbor planted bottlebrush, passion flowers, princess flowers, and honeysuckle. Hummingbird paradise all year round).

#376 ::: Lizzy Lynn ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 08:23 AM:

Lucy: it is my fond hope that Tom DeLay will soon be miscellaneous. But you are right, I apologize for mingling threads; a serious offense, according to Leviticus.

Happy New Year.

#377 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 10:03 AM:

The Bay Area is rotten with what to me looked like exotic birds: Egrets, herons, cormorants, spunky little blue-jay like fellers, and more.

Lake Merritt is rife with egrets (large and small), herons, cormorants, gulls, scaups, ducks, and pelicans - so neat to see those pterodactyl-like silhouettes circling above the lake during their hunting times.

Oh, and Canada geese. Bunches and bunches of Canada geese, many of them year-round. They don't seem terribly aggressive, though, although they do leave droppings EVERYWHERE. This spring, one of the domestic geese seemed to have adopted a small group of Canada geese. I could almost hear it saying, "Yeah, these are my country cousins, visiting from out of town. I'm looking after them to keep them out of trouble."

#378 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 10:57 AM:

and the kestrels harry the hawks

Memorable bird-watching moment: in Sepulveda Basin, in a eucalyptus, red-tailed hawk being harassed by a kestrel; the kestrel is flying oddly, and through binoculars, it's seen to have a hummer harassing it. The kestrel left first.

(Sepulveda Basin has a wildlife area which has a nice variety of birds due to creek, meadow, trees, and lake: the white pelicans are showing up for the winter at this time. The geese will mostly come next month.)

#379 ::: epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 04, 2005, 11:16 AM:
"the kestrel is .. seen to have a hummer harassing it"
A Hummer that flies? The horror! The horror!

With petrol the way it's going, one hopes they'll be extinguished rapidly; otherwise I can imagine them mutating into a Mad Max (Road Warrior) style of vehicle, and harrassing a lot more than kestrels.

#380 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 09, 2006, 11:29 PM:

Incidentally, from the evidence of the new boxed set, the variant lyric "the wide boys are all looking for a fight" was in use by Richard and Linda as long ago as 1979.

#381 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: February 10, 2006, 01:03 AM:

Grrrr. (Arrrgh.) Now I have to add that to my wish list.

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

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