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October 23, 2005

Open Thread 52
Posted by John M. Ford at 06:58 PM * 229 comments

… of what is past, or passing, or to come.

Comments on Open Thread 52:
#1 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2005, 07:16 PM:

Saw "Good Night and Good Luck" this afternoon. George Clooney's labor of love about the CBS News gang, led by Murrow, taking on McCarthy.

Pretty good, very moody and flavorful*, but not as tense as it could be given that almost everyone who will go to see it knows roughly how things sorted out.

* One of the flavors has got to be nicotine.

#2 ::: Dori ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2005, 08:21 PM:

I don't know whether this should go here or in the previous post's comments, but some of y'all might enjoy my latest: Fitzmas Bingo. Reload the page to get a new card.

#4 ::: hrc ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2005, 10:22 PM:

So what do folks think? Assuming we get indictments this week, will there eventually be resignations or will Bush issue pardons and the present administration will continue its stumbling to oblivion (with a rejection for Miers thrown in for good measure)?

#5 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2005, 10:42 PM:

O.K., I've burned through too much of this afternoon in a useless attempt to find a DVD of a film I want to buy--bittorents and similar stuff are all over the place on this one but I'm trying to be good and legal. Does anyone know of a store in the U.S.A. that imports Czech DVD's so I can get a copy of Adéla jeste nevecerela A.K.A. Nick Carter in Prague? Miramax seems to have forgotten they ever released it over here...

And let's just not go into finding a sharp copy of Vynalez Zkazy A.K.A. The Fabulous Adventures of Jules Verne. I want to give it as a gift, but I'm told the DVD sold in the U.S.A. is from a tired print and I'm not going to spend a fortune on a Japanese DVD of the thing without any info about picture quality. Grumble.

#6 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2005, 10:50 PM:

If Bush pardons, watch for his teeny weeny base of delusional sycophants to plotz in ecstasy, the Usual Suspect pundits will nod sagely and gloat about justice being done, and the rest of the country to get really, really ticked.

A pardon means all gloves are off. Any dirt that can get dug up will; love children will surface; more formerly reticent ex-insiders will come forth to describe administration shenanigans.

If there isn't a permenant demonstration in front of the White House I'll be very disappointed.

If the Democrats don't get a clue and use outrage over the pardons in their campaigns, they're hopeless. Anyone ever photographed shaking hands with Bush should be made unelectable.

#7 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2005, 11:46 PM:

For what it's worth, Waldrop & Person reviewed the US DVD of "The Fabulous World (not "Adventures") of Jules Verne" in Locus, and described it as "eminently watchable," though certainly not pristine. It's also only $15. (You can find the review in the '04 archive.)

Having only seen the picture on television (several times -- I'm guessing that Howard's local station didn't have a copy and mine did), I would be happy to have it in watchable but imperfect form, though a Criterion-level disc would certainly be a fine thing

#8 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 12:34 AM:

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

Time, like an ever rolling stream,
Bears all its sons away;
They fly, forgotten, as a dream
Dies at the opening day.

A thousand ages in Thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.

#9 ::: Vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 02:17 AM:

Tenors to the right of him,
Tenors to the left of him,
Discords behind him,
Bellowed and thundered.
Oh, the wild howls they wrought:
Right to the end they fought!
Some tune they sang, but not,
Not the Old Hundred.
- Anon

#10 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 04:00 AM:

I must admit to a deep fondness, from the depths of my agnostic heart, for the Army's evening hymn:

"Lead, Kindly Light, amid th'encircling gloom
Lead Thou me on.
The night is dark, and I am far from home.
Lead Thou me on.
Guide Thou my feet; I do not wish to see
The distant scene. One step enough for me."

#11 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 06:35 AM:

I note that the discovery of a parrot with H5N1 in quarantine at Heathrow airport is leading EU officials to consider a ban on the import of live birds.

Which is, of course, the best way to ensure that all imported live birds go through an effective quarantine procedure.


#12 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 07:23 AM:

Jules, I look forward to seeing how they stop migrating birds from crossing country borders.

#13 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 08:32 AM:

What? The Fabulous World of Jules Verne is available on DVD. Wonderful. Now, if someone could release Master of the World, that would make me very happy. Vincent Price is in it, Charles Bronson. And the airship Albatross looks so damn neat. And Richard Matheson did a good job adapting Robur the Conqueror and Master of the World into one single movie for American International.

("How can it be American AND International?"
"Let's watch and find out."

#14 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 08:40 AM:

(Picked up from the earlier thread...)

In his listing of various Warner Bros cartoons where real actors appear, I think John M. Ford forgot one that pops up every once in a while on TCM:

To Have and Have Not and Have and Have Not and Have and Have Not and Have and Have Not and Have and Have Not and Have and Have Not and Have and Have Not...

Last year, at Boston's worldcon, the movie program listed a bunch of Marvin Martian cartoons that would be shown right after It Came from Outer Space. They did wind up showing some Warner cartoons, but none of them were about Marvin. Sylvester and Tweety just isn't the same.

#15 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 08:56 AM:

While we're quoting hymns, this seems like an appropriate time to give the nod to my late father's favorite:

Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide
In the strife of truth with falsehood,
For the good or evil side.
Some great cause, God's new Messiah,
Offering each the bloom or blight,
And the choice goes by forever
'Twixt that darkness and that light.

Then to side with truth is noble,
When we share her wretched crust,
Ere her cause bring fame and profit,
And 'tis prosperous to be just;
Then it is the brave man chooses,
While the coward stands aside
Till the multitude make virtue
Of the faith they had denied.

By the light of burning martyrs
Jesus' bleeding feet I track,
Toiling up new Calvaries ever
With the cross that turns not back;
New occasions teach new duties,
Time makes ancient good uncouth;
They must upward still and onward
Who would keep abreast of truth.

Though the cause of evil prosper,
Yet 'tis truth alone is strong;
Though her portion be the scaffold,
And upon the throne be wrong.
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow
Keeping watch above His own.

--James Russell Lowell

(Still gives me chills. Not surprisingly, this hymn was removed from the Episcopal Hymnal--it was #519 in the 1940 version if you can find one. It has a great tune too--the Welsh "Ton-y-Botel" or "tune in a bottle".)

#16 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 10:05 AM:

I note that the discovery of a parrot with H5N1 in quarantine at Heathrow airport is leading EU officials to consider a ban on the import of live birds.

The BBC radio news on Sunday reported this incident thus:

"And, with the discovery that a parrot in quarantine at Heathrow was carrying avian flu, we ask: is Britain at risk from an epidemic?"
At this point, the producer rolled a taped piece, thus:
"This parrot is deceased! It is no more! It's a stiff! Bereft of life, it rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed it to the perch it would be pushing up the daisies! It's shuffled off its mortal coil and gone to join the choir invisible! This is an ex-parrot!"

Based on this, it is, I feel, safe to say that BBC Radio 4 is still far from panic. But then I would expect nothing less from the station which still forms a key part of Britain's nuclear deterrent command chain.

#17 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 11:36 AM:

I can't find any details of the textual history, but the Lowell hymn (which has been quoted on Making Light before, BTW) seems to be a severely abridged and altered form of his poem "The Present Crisis", which is an eighteen-stanza poem with five, not four, fifteen-syllable lines per stanza. Of the lines which are retained for the hymn, some are significantly altered, e.g. "By the light of burning heretics Christ's bleeding feet I track". I have no inkling as to whether Lowell himself made the alterations or whether they were made later on; the hymn seems to have been in several hymnals.

"Lead, Kindly Light" is Newman; it's a bit of cognitive dissonance to see the two authors nearly juxtaposed.

Along similar lines of public criticism to Lowell's hymn, there's Chesterton:

O God of earth and altar,
Bow down and hear our cry,
Our earthly rulers falter,
Our people drift and die;
The walls of gold entomb us,
The swords of scorn divide,
Take not thy thunder from us,
But take away our pride.

From all that terror teaches,
From lies of tongue and pen,
From all the easy speeches
That comfort cruel men,
From sale and profanation
Of honour and the sword,
From sleep and from damnation,
Deliver us, good Lord.

Tie in a living tether
The prince and priest and thrall,
Bind all our lives together,
Smite us and save us all;
In ire and exultation
Aflame with faith, and free,
Lift up a living nation,
A single sword to thee.

#18 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 11:57 AM:

There's also Kipling's "Recessional" which makes a good hymn.

God of our fathers, known of old,
Lord of our far-flung battle line,
Beneath whose aweful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine:
Lord God of hosts, be with us yet,
Lest we forget, lest we forget.

It has several more stanzas, which I can't remember off the top of my head. (Being able to remember first stanza and tune on a lot of hymns is a possible benefit of years of church-going of the Methodist persuasion.)

#19 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 12:24 PM:

Do people sing 'Recessional' as a hymn? (Good for them) To what tune?

A couple of good ones from SF are 'Abide with Me' (Stephen Baxter's 'Voyage' uses it very movingly) and 'Jerusalem' (the hymn of the English Revolution in Ken MacLeod's 'The Star Fraction'). Blake would have hated the way that 'Jerusalem' became an anthem of English self-assurance; but I think he would have liked it as a revolutionary song...

#20 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 12:41 PM:

ajay writes:
A couple of good ones from SF are 'Abide with Me' (Stephen Baxter's 'Voyage' uses it very movingly) and 'Jerusalem' (the hymn of the English Revolution in Ken MacLeod's 'The Star Fraction'). Blake would have hated the way that 'Jerusalem' became an anthem of English self-assurance; but I think he would have liked it as a revolutionary song...

No hiding place, down here
No hiding place
There's no hiding place
Down here
No hiding place
And they went to the rock to hide their face
But the rock cried out
No hiding place
There's no hiding place
Down here

The gospel song 'And the rock cried out no hiding place' used in the B5 episode of the same name always moves me.

#21 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 12:45 PM:

Recessional is the Dorsai Hymn in Gordon Dickson's Childe Cycle.

The other Kipling one in this vein is his Hymn Before Action:

The earth is full of anger,
The seas are dark with wrath,
The Nations in their harness
Go up against our path:
Ere yet we loose the legions --
Ere yet we draw the blade,
Jehovah of the Thunders,
Lord God of Battles, aid!

High lust and froward bearing,
Proud heart, rebellious brow --
Deaf ear and soul uncaring,
We seek Thy mercy now!
The sinner that forswore Thee,
The fool that passed Thee by,
Our times are known before Thee --
Lord, grant us strength to die!

For those who kneel beside us
At altars not Thine own,
Who lack the lights that guide us,
Lord, let their faith atone.
If wrong we did to call them,
By honour bound they came;
Let not Thy Wrath befall them,
But deal to us the blame.

From panic, pride, and terror,
Revenge that knows no rein,
Light haste and lawless error,
Protect us yet again.
Cloak Thou our undeserving,
Make firm the shuddering breath,
In silence and unswerving
To taste Thy lesser death!

Ah, Mary pierced with sorrow,
Remember, reach and save
The soul that comes to-morrow
Before the God that gave!
Since each was born of woman,
For each at utter need --
True comrade and true foeman --
Madonna, intercede!

E'en now their vanguard gathers,
E'en now we face the fray --
As Thou didst help our fathers,
Help Thou our host to-day!
Fulfilled of signs and wonders,
In life, in death made clear --
Jehovah of the Thunders,
Lord God of Battles, hear!
#22 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 01:17 PM:

Not a hymn, just a brief squib by G.K. Chesterton which keeps coming to mind in times of war ...

Elegy in a Country Churchyard

The men that worked for England
They have their graves at home:
And bees and birds of England
About the cross can roam.

But they that fought for England,
Following a falling star,
Alas, alas for England
They have their graves afar.

And they that rule in England,
In stately conclave met,
Alas, alas for England
They have no graves as yet.


#23 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 01:20 PM:

Dave...I wonder if we could adapt that for America now.

In other news, I just signed up for NaNoWriMo. *screams in terror, faints*

#24 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 01:39 PM:


There are at least three tunes that I know of to which Recessional is sung. The best-known of them -- and the original one, I believe -- is Melita, the tune used for "Eternal Father strong to save"; the Canadian Anglican Hymn Book had a tune called Recessional, written for the text in the early 20th century. There is one other that I've heard of, but never heard.

#25 ::: Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 01:58 PM:

How about: (apologies, GKC)

The men that built America
They have their graves at home:
And bees and birds, America's
About their markers roam.

Some, told, "Defend America,"
Followed a ragged cheer
To fall, far from America
And then returnèd here

And they that rule America,
In stately conclave met,
Alas, alas, America
They have no graves as yet.

On another topic, I'll argue that birds being handled by people in importation are birds more likely to come into contact with people later on---I think all parrots scratch and bite, if given a chance, and their wastes are handled by humans---making a quarantine on them a good idea. Caged birds also spend a great deal of time near other caged birds.

Of course, that wouldn't be enough to protect one of our cats (the evil one), who this year was averaging a bird a week in August.

#26 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 03:05 PM:

Mr Langford - nice one. The verses I keep thinking of during this war are Macaulay's:

...Then up spoke brave Horatius,
The Captain of the Gate;
"To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late;
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds
For the ashes of his fathers
And the temples of his gods?"


"Horatius," said the Consul,
"As thou sayest so let it be."
And straight against that great array
Forth went the dauntless three.
For Romans in Rome's quarrel
Spared neither land nor gold,
Nor son, nor wife, nor limb nor life
In the brave days of old.

Then none was for a party;
Then all were for the state;
Then the great man helped the poor
And the poor man loved the great;
Then goods were fairly portioned,
And spoils were fairly sold;
The Romans were like brothers
In the brave days of old.

Now Roman is to Roman
More hateful than the foe,
And the Tribunes beard the high
As the Fathers grind the low;
As we wax hot in faction,
In battle we wax cold,
Wherefore men fight not as they fought
In the brave days of old.

#27 ::: Melissa Singer ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 03:16 PM:

Speaking of ex-parrots:

B&N (at least the one in my neighborhood) has that coffee table book, The Pythons (the Pythons on The Pythons) on the remainder tables for $10 (down from the original $60).

I've realized I must go back and buy a second copy for my brother . . . .

#28 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 03:29 PM:

Most of the hymns I favor are those of triumph and thanks...but this one seems apt both to the times and the discussion

1. The day is past and over,
all thanks, O Lord, to thee!
We pray thee that offenseless
the hours of dark may be.
O Jesus, keep us in thy sight,
and guard us through the coming night.

2. The joys of day are over;
we lift our hearts to thee,
and call on thee that sinless
the hours of dark may be.
O Jesus, make their darkness light,
and guard us through the coming night.

3. The toils of day are over;
we raise our hymn to thee,
and ask that free from peril
the hours of dark may be.
O Jesus, keep us in thy sight,
and guard us through the coming night.

4. Be thou our souls' preserver,
O God, for thou dost know
how many are the perils
through which we have to go.
Lord Jesus Christ, O hear our call,
and guard and save us from them all.

-John Mason Neale

#29 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 03:52 PM:

But - why limit it to Christian hymns? Here's Kipling's 'Hymn of the XXX Legion":

Mithras, God of the Morning, our trumpets waken the Wall!
‘Rome is above the Nations, but Thou art over all!’
Now as the names are answered, and the guards are marched away,
Mithras, also a soldier, give us strength for the day!

Mithras, God of the Noontide, the heather swims in the heat.
Our helmets scorch our foreheads, our sandals burn our feet.
Now in the ungirt hour—now ere we blink and drowse,
Mithras, also a soldier, keep us true to our vows!

Mithras, God of the Sunset, low on the Western main—
Thou descending immortal, immortal to rise again!
Now when the watch is ended, now when the wine is drawn,
Mithras, also a soldier, keep us pure till the dawn!

Mithras, God of the Midnight, here where the great bull dies,
Look on thy children in darkness. Oh take our sacrifice!
Many roads thou hast fashioned—all of them lead to the Light,
Mithras, also a soldier, teach us to die aright!

#30 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 04:04 PM:

ajay: I've heard that one set to Terry Tucker's Overture To The Sun. A combination that works quite well, actually.

#31 ::: Joanna ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 04:32 PM:

it's more the tunes than the words that usually get me - the rhythmic version "ein feste burg" is way more lively than most hymns have any right to be. and deo gracias (the agincourt hymn) is spine crawlingly gorgeous when sung acappella - all those open intervals.

when i heard "jerusalem" in a star trek: ds9 episode, i was certain i'd heard it before somewhere, but i still can't figure it out. maybe the tune was reused in some other hymn.

after singing john rutter's "gloria" in high school, i find i can recognize almost anything he's written. the gloria itself always makes me feel off balance - it was in 5/4 in several places, and we learned the rhythm by stomping on the accented beats.

#32 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 04:48 PM:

Xopher wrote:

In other news, I just signed up for NaNoWriMo. *screams in terror, faints*

Congratulations. I will be attempting it again this year, also. Hopefully in more style than last year, when I limped home on the last day. Anyone else?

#33 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 05:15 PM:

Very religious hymns you seem to have around here. Damn few secular humanist ones.

Under a sky wide open
Alone on an empty plain
With distant stars far from us
We find out what we remain.

When wrong and when right are choices
Enforced not with hell's hot pain
With no hope of heaven's rewarding
We choose, and we choose again.

Some lie, some kill, some plunder,
Some struggle with might and main,
Some go on each day regardless
Some crack underneath the strain.

Some pause here to help a stranger,
Some act with no thought of gain.
Some seek out mysterious nature
To learn and to see it plain.

Under a sky wide open
Alone on an empty plain,
We live, and we go on living
To choose, and to choose again.

#34 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 06:13 PM:

Apologies to GKC and, more importantly, to Michael Turyn - but I felt I wanted to write my own version of that squib. The sentiment seems to have changed in the process.

The people that built America:
they have their graves at home
and the bees and birds of America
about their markers roam.

And they that fought for America
and fell on a distant shore:
their graves are here in America
and are honoured all the more.

And they that rule America,
no American should forget:
alas for the good of America,
they have no graves as yet.

Apologies for seeming to speak on behalf of America, when even my spellings reveal me as a Briton.

#35 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 06:15 PM:

Jo - that's a great hymn. Where is it from? (Or is it original?)

#36 ::: Aquila ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 06:38 PM:

Australia and New Zealand use The Recessional sung to Melita on Anzac Day - Lest we forget

#37 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 06:56 PM:

Candle, if I quote, I attribute.

I made it up, feeling a need. I think it was all that Kipling.

#38 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 07:13 PM:

I'd be happy to see the Jules Verne film again. My triumph in finding "Lemonade Joe" has been documented some months back. I was just bemoaning, somewhere, my lifelong inability to find the crazed Czech "Cinderella" I watched with my sisters almost four decades ago. "Coo-kit-y Coo! There's blood on the shoe! This is not the girl for you." My favorite bit is where the bad puddingheads (the bumbling henchmen of the Evil broad) get their comeuppance at the end -- they have to eat sausages, while the crowd taunts them. "Eat them! Eat those sausages! Ha ha! Look at those pudding heads eat those sausages, I tell you!"

#39 ::: punkrockhockeymom ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 07:36 PM:

Xopher and Jules:

Okay, well, I've been thinking about it, mostly to get my mind off of, well, life in general, and to force me to practice Uncle Jim's "butt in chair" method. But I've been worried that I'll just take it on, not follow through, and hate myself in the morning.

I guess the worst that could happen is that I could get busy at the office, have to travel half way across the country for depositions and not make it.

On the other hand, I could feasibly create a pattern of writing every morning before work. That could be worth it whether I make it or not.

#40 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 07:51 PM:

Jules, Xopher:
OK, I'm with you. I've got to sign up as yet, but I'm decided. I just hope I can get enough contract programming and computer consulting work to pay the bills next month...

#41 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 09:31 PM:

Snakes, this really cool animation based on an Escher woodcut,

#42 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 10:08 PM:

Joanna, there's a version of "Jerusalem" on Emerson, Lake, and Palmer's Brain Salad Surgery, so you may have heard it there and just been unable to place it in that context when you heard it on Trek.

#43 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 10:11 PM:

If you are above a certain age, the most likely place to have run into Jerusalem would be in the movie Chariots of Fire.

As far as I know, there are no other words that have ever been set to Parry's tune, except in pastiche or parody. Some of his other pieces are similar in general style (e.g. the Coronation anthem I was glad) but are not so similar as to be confusing.

#44 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 10:33 PM:

I think it was all that Kipling

Yes. It's odd, that. I mean, look at this community. In all fairness, throwbacks like me aside, there's no real risk that anyone would mistake the mob here for a bunch of Godandmycountry rednecks. So why Kipling? I mean, Orwell more or less took him to the shredders sixty years ago. Bad good poet, he said. Jingoism and brutality, he said.

I don't say that, but remember, I'm a throwback.

#45 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 10:52 PM:

Why Kipling? Because he's facile with words, and he gets dialect pretty well, maybe? I remember reciting "Gunga Din" in full while delivering my Wednesday morning newspapers 40 years ago; it had an appeal for my 12-year-old self.

#46 ::: Paula Kate ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 11:04 PM:

I am partial to "Oak and Ash and Thorn" (Kipling's Tree Song) as performed by John Roberts and Tony Barrand on their album Dark Ships in the Forest, myself.

#47 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 11:18 PM:

"sing, Oak and Ash and Thorn"

I remember being taught this one in grade school because behind the school were some woods, left there for the nature trail. And it was a great joke, as cruel kids do, to dare people to sit between the pin oak and the ash, where the thorn bush had gotten pushed back. If you weren't english and sat there, so they said, it was unlucky and something would happen to you.

#48 ::: Sarah Avery ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 11:39 PM:

I'll be doing NaNoWriMo, too. I'm hoping the crazy pace will make it easier for me to write a short book this time.

#49 ::: amysue ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 11:39 PM:

On an other topic entirely, Rosa Parks has passed away at 92. She and so many others, known and unknown, had the courage to stand up for civil rights and to envision and create a future where my family and many others could exist in (relative) peace.

I'm just hoping we don't abandon those great strides forward and return to a world of bigotry and hatred to anyone different (read, not white or the "right" flavor of Christian).

#50 ::: Magenta Griffith ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 11:54 PM:

I seem to recall a version of "Jerusalem" at the end of the Monty Python sketch about buying a bed. If you mean the Blake poem set to music...

"And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?"

Not being CoE, I don't know the words very well.

Xopher, I too will be joining the madness that is Nanowrimo.

#51 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2005, 11:56 PM:

Sisuile wrote:
Most of the hymns I favor are those of triumph and thanks...but this one seems apt both to the times and the discussion

The 23rd psalm seems apt as well, although I always hear the rather lovely descant when I think of it.

"Yea though I walk through shadows vale
Yet will I fear no ill
For thou art with me
and thy rod and staff me comfort still"

As to why mostly christian hymns? In my case it's simply the music that comes to mind most immediately, doubtless because a great deal of secular music deals with - well - themes of an immediately personal nature.

#52 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 12:02 AM:

Magenta Griffith mused:

"And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?"

Being brought up CoE certainly made it easier to remember the lyrics - but we were put to memorizing Blake in grade school.

#53 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 12:05 AM:

'...the crazed Czech "Cinderella"...'

New York City's independant stations used to run stuff along these lines, usually on holiday mornings and afternoons. I seem to remember a Cinderella, but assumed it was an Italian production. There was a live-action Puss n' Boots for sure. Puss spent a lot of time fast-forwarding through the countryside.

#54 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 03:41 AM:

Kipling's Recessional has several tunes associated with it. Peter Bellamy recorded one version, and there's another on a recent Leslie Fish album. Peter Bellamy found plausible Kipling-contemporary tunes for a lot of the verse,and Kipling is known to have had tunes in mind when he wrote some of his verse.

I wonder if one of the reasons for its appeal is that the foundations are history, and it's a prayer to a not-very-specific deity that that we don't forget history.

#55 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 04:25 AM:

Orwell didn't exactly shred Kipling - as far as I remember his splendid essay (written, as I recall, as an introduction to a Kipling anthology) he said:

1. Kipling's not a great artist by any means.
2. But dammit, he writes memorable verse. Not poetry; verse.
3. A lot of the people who like - and dislike - him haven't really read him very closely if at all. (They misunderstand things like 'the White Man's Burden' and think they are pro-Empire. Idiots.)
4. Kipling wasn't perfect - he was terribly patronising towards the soldiers he wrote about - more than he was to the natives, in some ways.
5. And, of course, he refused to contemplate that the Empire might be morally wrong. Which it is.
6. But on an individual level he was a moral man and his heart was in the right place. And, again, damn him, he wrote well.

Why Kipling? Because he was basically a humanist. He believed in people, of whatever colour; he didn't believe they were all alike, or even similar, but he believed they were all capable of great good. (He was nominally a Christian as well, but in a rather hands-off British way; not sure he took the creed very seriously. The tradition, yes.) He believed that things could get better, even if they were run by flawed people - who else could they be run by? And he abhorred not war in itself, but dominance.

#56 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 04:53 AM:

Time that is intolerant
Of the brave and innocent
And indifferent in a week
To a beautiful physique,

Worships language and forgives
Everyone by whom it lives;
Pardons cowardice, conceit,
Lays its honours at their feet.

Time that with this strange excuse
Pardoned Kipling and his views,
And will pardon Paul Claudel,
Pardons him for writing well.

Auden, of course, "Elegy for W. B. Yeats," and yes, I know there are variants, and no, it is very late and I am not going to explain who Paul Claudel is just now. You have an Internet spread before you, like a vast cybernetic forebespready thing; gigapythonesses, no waiting.

#57 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 05:01 AM:

Remembering that there is a wide variety of faiths represented within the people here, it was an intriguing thought that perhaps some of them might like to suggest variations on
this iPod Mod, which I was pointed to from the estimable Mr Gaiman's journal

#58 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 05:58 AM:

Orwell also -- in the process of tying himself into the knots that "good bad poet" required -- noted that there was a sense of duty to Kipling's writing, even if it was duty in a bad cause.

Anyone who wants to claim Kipling's not actually a poet has to go read Mary Gloster and explain why it doesn't count. There's a lot else, too, but that one is probably the toughest.

I don't think it was all that simple, myself; Empires are disasters because they conflate the military and the economic -- use military power to force market access and maintain a particular social order, until the whole thing crashes hard -- but this is only really well understood as mechanism in the last, oh, thirty years, maybe. What else you do is still an open question.

Kipling didn't have an answer to that; he certainly wasn't blind to the costs of it or the certain eventual fate -- that is, after all, what Recessional is about, and not just Recessional, it's not an abberation in his writing -- of Empire. He was on the side of doing the job, and not stinting the work, and there are a lot of people on that side in any functioning technical culture.

Figuring out what the job is, well, I think that's there, too, as a question and a problem and a necessary duty, in Kipling's work; it's not an easy question and it doesn't get easy answers.

Which, after all, even Orwell acknowledged it didn't have.

#59 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 06:34 AM:

Absolutely right. The difference between Kipling and Orwell is that Kipling said 'whatever the morals, it is worse - to run an empire badly than well, so run it well' and Orwell said 'I refuse to associate myself with it at all'.
When I think of Kipling, I think of friends of mine who have gone off to the war (and returned) without believing in its purpose, or even in the possibility of eventual victory, but simply because you cannot leave a job to be badly done.

And the bitter side of his writing is missed - some of his postwar writing in particular would put him in with Sassoon, if he hadn't written anything before 1915.

#60 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 06:46 AM:

Kipling's Recessional is often used as a hymn in ANZAC Day services (This page, for example, lists it along with Abide with Me, O Valiant Hearts, and Lead Kindly Light.) The Australian War Memorial Encyclopaedia page on it says that it was "composed just in time for use in the commemoration of the dead from the South African War" (aka the Boer War) and used as a hymn "set to the tune Melita" (MIDI version played by a small brass ensemble, as often found in local suburban or country towns, via)
And I agree that his image is, as so often, only a shallow caricature of the depth of his writings.

#61 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 08:14 AM:

The tune Melita may be better known as the tune for the Navy Hymn.

Which surprised me a little, but it does seem to fit.

#62 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 09:07 AM:

Well, well, well... Jonathan Carroll's column in today's San Francisco Chronicle is about fantasy series and how they actually counteract modern dumbing-down trends.

#63 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 10:21 AM:

Uh, Serge, Jon Carroll's column was in yesterday's (Monday's) Chron, for those of us who still have it in our recycling bins. But thank you for the link....

#64 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 10:23 AM:

'Eternal Father, strong to save' was a hymn before it was the Navy Hymn, I think; I've heard it sung very seriously indeed by a Free Church congregation of fishermen on the edge of the world (Western Isles; very odd part of the country. Look at Ken MacLeod.)

#65 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 10:28 AM:

Oops. Sorry, Richard, about the mistake with when that Carroll column came out. I found it quite interesting that he wasn't talking about the more literary fantasy novels but about what's been denigrated as doorstop fantasies.

#66 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 11:20 AM:

Since this is an open post, and this is the day, and we seem to be on a poetry kick...

WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING. What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

#67 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 11:34 AM:

Ah, but my favorite lines of _Jerusalem_ are the ones Michener quotes in _Space_:

"...Bring me my bow of buring gold,
Bring me my arrows of desire,
Bring me my spear!
O, clouds unfold --
Bring me my chariot of fire..."

#68 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 11:42 AM:

Poetry, is it? On a different note, then, in case y'all haven't seen this yet:

Wha be tha carl wha ne wolden flee
Whan peril bene all aboughte?

#69 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 11:44 AM:

Serge, I'm relatively ignorant of the fantasy genre. What are examples of its literary side. And perhaps more important, what's worth reading? The snow's about to fly in my neck o' the woods, and I'm working on getting a cord or two of books laid in for the coming winter's evenings.

#70 ::: Michael Turyn ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 11:46 AM:

1.) Orwell also expressed a preference for Kipling over rich anti-imperialists who lived off Empire.

2.) I first heard Jerusalem in that Monty Python "buying a mattress sketch"---singing it whilst standing in a fish tank is the only way to get Mr Lambert to remove the bucket from his head after someone's said 'mattress' to him.

3.) Regardless of version or scanning variation, the Chesterton poem could be sung to (wait for it!) County Down, a.k.a. Hie Thee to Kolob.

#71 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 12:05 PM:

I'd recommend Patricia McKillip's Harpist in the Wind, which came out around 1980. There is Emma Bull's War for the Oaks, from 1987, I think. Both of them should be available somewhere, even if only in a used-book store.

As for the more modern stuff, I couldn't really tell because I focus mainly on SF these days. But Locus could point you in the right direction. Or maybe other visitors to this site have suggestions for you.

#72 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 12:07 PM:

I can see Macdonald hitting the ceiling....

"Confession allowed in alleged plot to kill Bush
"Federal judge rules prosecutors can use statement despite torture claim"

#73 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 12:23 PM:

I sure the Agincourt Hymn was "Non Nobis." Shows what happens when you listen to Kenneth Brannagh.

#74 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 12:27 PM:

There was a term rife in Massachusetts years ago, that got pinned onto Dukakis in his unsuccessful Presidential bi, "Tax and spend Democrats." But what is destroying the USA at the present is Spend and Borrow Republic/r/a/p/s/ans. Correction, make that Spend, Borrow, Spend More, Borrow More, Cut Taxes on the Rich, and Make the Rich the Lienholders.

#75 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 12:49 PM:

They don't give up, even when they're wrong:

White House Seeks Exception in Abuse Ban

WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 - Stepping up a confrontation with the Senate over the handling of detainees, the White House is insisting that the Central Intelligence Agency be exempted from a proposed ban on abusive treatment of suspected Qaeda militants and other terrorists.

So will they apologize when the suspected terrorists turn out to be innocent? Will they actually mean it if they do apologize?

#76 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 12:52 PM:

Serge, thanks for the tips. Any recommendations from the science-fiction side of things? (I've been dipping back into the genre over the last year or so, after having been away from it for several decades, but my luck so far has pretty much been hit-or-miss.) Even door-stoppers are welcome, as long as they're good stories well told....

#77 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 12:57 PM:

Arg. I meant to write "I was sure..."

#78 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 01:01 PM:

Anything by the late Clifford Simak, Richard. The first two Riverworld novels by Philip Jose Farmer, To Your Scattered Bodies Go and The Fabulous Riverboat. CJ Cherryh's Faded Sun trilogy and I'm not saying that just because it led to my wife and I meeting each other.

#79 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 01:11 PM:

Thanks, Serge. I read much of Simak's and Farmer's work back in the sixties, and very much enjoyed it. Guess it's time to revisit their books.

#80 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 01:14 PM:

CJ Cherryh's Faded Sun trilogy

Pretty near anything Cherryh has written will do for me (most of her fantasy doesn't work for me, though). The Foreigner series, for one. (I'm looking forward to finding out what the aiji-dowager and nand' Bren are going to do to fix the rebels permanently. I'm sure Cajeiri will figure into the solution.)

#81 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 01:27 PM:

Among more recent writers, I'd recommend Stephen Baxter. NOT Moonseed, which is one of the few books I've wanted to throw again a wall when I was done with it. But The Time Ships knocked my socks off.

#82 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 01:48 PM:

See, YMMV. I'm a Cherryh fan, but Foreigner left me cold. And bored. So I never picked up any of the others in that series. And the whole Fortress of X, Where X is Anything You Care to Name series was the clearest example of too-famous-to-edit I've ever seen. I just couldn't stand them after the first couple. They could have been shortened by a third and been better for it.

On the other hand, I loved Hammerfall. It's written with desert austerity, a very appropriate choice IMO, and there's an actual plot with actual events. Ate that up. Can't wait for more of the same from her!

#83 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 01:49 PM:

Meanwhile, as we draw closer toward winter solstice, I have been gobsmacked by some seasonal poetry discovered elseweb:

Incipit gestis Rudolphi rangifer tarandus

Hwæt, Hrodulf readnosa hrandeor --
Næfde þæt nieten unsciende næsðyrlas!

#84 ::: David Moles ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 02:28 PM:

I liked the first Foreigner, but somewhere around there -- also somewhere around the third or fourth Fortress book -- all of Cherryh's new stuff (Hammerfall included) started to run together for me.

I think it was a bad sign when she turned away from the tragic implications of the set-up she had with the early Fortress books to write yet another "our heroes resolve all misunderstandings and conflicts among themselves and go on to defeat some faceless bad guys we've never been introduced to" ending.

#85 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 02:46 PM:

Going back to an old thread, Short Creek/Colorado City is in the NY Times (reg. may be required, bugmenot, etc.)again. Sadly, things don't seem to be improving.

#86 ::: Harriet ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 02:49 PM:

David Moles opined:

I think it was a bad sign when [Cherryh] turned away from the tragic implications of the set-up she had with the early Fortress books to write yet another "our heroes resolve all misunderstandings and conflicts among themselves and go on to defeat some faceless bad guys we've never been introduced to" ending.

It ain't over til it's over, as they say: you do know she's written another Fortress book, and for all I could tell from speedreading her online journal, that might not be the last one (anyone have better knowledge?) I'm not sure if it has a pub date yet, but it will be on my buy-in-hardcover list when it appears.


#87 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 02:59 PM:


Here's my ever-growing list of favorites.

#88 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 03:16 PM:

Not sure where this belongs as a post, but there are people in DC I'd like to see Intent filed on.

I wonder where Bujold is going to take the Chalion series. Or maybe if: it's not at all clear if this is an ongoing set of books.

#89 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 03:23 PM:

Learn something every day. Mr. Walters, I had no idea that Ellen Kushner wrote anything other than her scripts for Sound and Spirit, which I enjoy every week.

#90 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 03:59 PM:

Could read Cherryh on Kipling.

Seems to me there is an argument that Kipling is to MakingLight as Heinlein is to RASFW - a perennial McGuffin at worst and something of weight at best but always good for both starting and ending conversation as half the comments repeat?

#91 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 05:05 PM:

P J Evans: Bujold has said there will be one book per deity. (And since she's obviously included the Bastard, that's five books, not the four the other side posits.) She hasn't specified otherwise how closely they'll be related.

Linkmeister: Kushner wrote Swordspoint, Thomas the Rhymer (A novel based on that and other ballads, not the ballad), several short stories, co-wrote The Fall of the Kings (Which is in the same world as Swordspoint, a generation and a bit later, but is not a sequel in traditional sense,) and has other stuff forthcoming.

#92 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 05:17 PM:

Lenora is right. I heard her say that at Gaylaxicon. Btw, she also made a point of saying that the reason she chose to GOH Gaylaxicon when she'd turned down so many others was that she made the decision right after the 2004 election, when the Bad Guys made a rallying cry out of being anti-Gay, and she wanted to make it absolutely clear where she stood!

I love that woman. Her books first, but she's just such a cool person.

#93 ::: jhlipton ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 08:36 PM:

Kipling: Recently watched The Man Who Would Be King again ("Danny and Peachy are alive and well and living in South Kafiristan!"). It made me a little uncomforatble with the deoiction of the "natives", but it's such a strong story and the actors so terrific, that I think most people can get past that.

Cherryh: I saw a "Faded Sun" entry at a WorldCon where Cherryh was a GOH. Absolutely stunning. BTW, I love her Russian Fantasy work as well.

I've a long list of favorite SF and F -- from Tanith Lee's wonderfully decandent fantasy to Sturgeon and Davidson's blend of SF and F to McKillip and **ANYTHING** by LeGuin (I just read a collection of "mainstream" stories... thud!)

#94 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 10:32 PM:

Ursula LeGuin, Patricia McKillip, Peter Beagle, Guy Gavriel Kay, Barbara Hambly, Philip Pullman, C. J. Cherryh, Peter Dickinson, Ellen Kushner, John Bellairs, Terri Windling, Jonathan Carroll, and some guy named Tolkien...

#95 ::: Luthe ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 10:43 PM:

I want to know what the Intelligent Design folks think of that Guiness ad (the one in the Particles).

I, personally, think that the FSM approves of it. Beer volcano, anyone?

#96 ::: Sarah Avery ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2005, 10:55 PM:

My favorite literary fantasy finds this year were Hope Mirrlees's Lud-in-the-Mist (yeah, it's from 1926, but I only discovered it once Cold Spring brought it back out), and Angelica Gorodischer's Kalpa Imperial.

#97 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 12:44 AM:

There's a moron in the White House,
He's brought us many things,
Big deficits a war or two,
What a warlord of the rings,
When the water hit New Orleans,
And the levees didn't hold,
His handpicked FEMA flunky,
Was too busy to be told.

Run, run, away
Run, run away,
There's a moron in the White House
And his friends have come to stay

There's a moron in the White House,
With a record full of wrecks,
With business fraud forgiven,
And Abramoff's pol-stacked decks,
There's the stench of greed, corruption,
And the holy hypocrites,
But the moron in the White House,
He sees nothing but his grits.

Run, run, away
Run, run away,
There's a moron in the White House
And his friends have come to stay

There's a moron in the White House,
Makes rich get richer still,
While the middle class goes under,
And the poor get bigger bills,
Out to China go the fact'ries,
With fact'ries go the jobs,
But the moron he gets richer,
With the robber barons' robs.

Run, run, away
Run, run away,
There's a moron in the White House
And his friends have come to stay

There's a moron in the White House,
When shall we be rid of him,
And his lying vicious buddies,
Drive the country to the rim,
Need a revolution brewing,
Get the rottens stinkers out,
And take and toss their asses,
In jail parole without!

Run, run away,
Run, run way,
There a moron in the White House,
Throw the Bush Gang out today!

#98 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 01:12 AM:

Here I was trying to think what to mention for good quality stack-em-up series SF, for someone who hasn't been reading the genre for a while, and somebody mentioned Bujold. Doh!

You want Lois Bujold's entire Miles Vorkosigan series of novels, natch. It's "military SF", but seriously repurposed and reimagined. Without spoiling too much, it is set up quite early on that the hero - instead of your archetypal 6'6" blonde steel-jawed man of action - is a midget with brittle-bone syndrome (due to fetal exposure to military-grade Nasty Stuff), manic-depressive tendencies, and some rather dissociative traits. They are fast-paced, funny, contain characters who act like actual human beings not cut-outs, deal with some deep and serious issues, and there are a lot of them. They should keep you busy for quite a while.

#99 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 02:01 AM:

[The verse daemon has been busy...]

Two thousand soldiers dead in Iraq,
Two thousand US soldiers that is.
There are so many others dead in Iraq,
The toll goes higher each day.

The British and others who went in there too,
Their lives cut short matter too,
Civilian Iraqis in unpatrolled streets,
The toll goes higher each day.

Saddam was a devil no holy man he,
But what has come after seems worse,
The Sunni, the Shi'ites, the Kurds ethnic strife,
The toll goes higher each day.

Dead are the barbers and bombed are the stores,
Where Christians once sold alcohol,
The women are covered in headscarves some veiled,
The toll grows higher each day.

Oh what is the reason and why is this toll,
Their GNP's dropped down to nought,
Most have no jobs and the streets are at war,
The toll grows higher each.

Creating a training ground of terrorists,
That was not there three years ago,
Extremists take over, life keeps getting worse,
The toll grows higher each day.

Two thousand USA soldiers are dead,
A foreign invasion force toll,
Iraqi youngsters made suicide bombs,
The toll grows higher each day.

The US invasion let libraries burn,
Left streets to the vandals who killed,
Let schools and the civil works all be ransacked,
The toll grows higher each day.

There once was a country with millions of books,
Some hundreds or thousand year old,
But gone is that culture and shattered their world,
The toll grows higher each day.

#100 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 03:10 AM:

It's National Crook Watch * Time!, waiting for Mr Fitzgerald to release the 2005 list of Executive Branch Crooks. Two decades ago, the Crook Watch wended its way up all the way to the top of the hit list, to catch Richard M. "Trick Dick" "I Am Not a Crook!" Nixon, then-President of the United States of America. He did not finish out the term in office. His Vice President, Spiro T. Agnew, had previously fallen afoul of certainly niggling little problems, and been removed from office as a crook.

Will history repeat itself? How much of Bush Misadministration won't be indicted, or will evade being corraled and fingered from "collateral damage"? Stayed tuned, as the Crook Watch continues.

* "I am not a crook!" Richard M. Nixon's infamous word.

#101 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 05:41 AM:

Apropos of nothing much, this was the result of a conversation that ended up being posted on; I'm sure some of the residents here can outdo my efforts. The theme was retelling the Gospels in other styles:

Raymond Chandler: ("I don't like guys who stone dames - wherever the dames have been running around - so I told them that he who was without sin was going to cast the first stone. I said it while I was holding a rock the size of a loaf of Wonder Bread. I think they got the message.")

Chuck Palahniuk: ("With spikes through both wrists you speak only in howls. In eighteen hours' time the sky over Jerusalem will darken. The veil of the Temple will be rent in twain. I know this because the Logos knows this.")

PG Wodehouse: (from "The Inimitable Judas": "The Earl of Gethsemane's garden was extremely pleasant, with all the fixings a man of taste could require, but I could not help feeling a lurking sense of what-you-may-call-it. Man was born to trouble as the sparks fly upward, as what's his name says, so it was without too much surprise that I heard Judas give a respectful cough behind me.
"Ah, Judas. More of the chaps arrived?"
"Not precisely, sir. The latest arrivals are a sizeable patrol of Roman legionaries, accompanied by His Reverence the High Priest."
"Egad, Judas! Caiaphas has turned up? That human gumboil?"
He didn't say anything but just raised a sort of sceptical eyebrow. Dashed superior-thinking fellow.")

#102 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 08:43 AM:

Raymond Chandler's take on the New Testament, ajay? I love it. You should mention that to Mel Gibson.

#103 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 08:49 AM:

If I may make one more recommendation for a book to read...

Donald Kingsbury's Psychohistorical Crisis

In spite of its title, it is not a prequel or a sequel or a spinoff from Asimov's Foundation. One could say it's Kingsbury's homage to Asimov's concepts, which he takes way further out that even the Good Doctor did.

#104 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 09:42 AM:

Last I heard about Bujold & the Five Gods-verse, she'd mused that it might be cool to have one book per God, but I don't believe she's committed herself, since she only talks about one book at a time and the next book is in an entirely different universe.

#105 ::: Bryan ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 10:03 AM:

I'm going to ask this here because I think a lot of people who would know the answer hang out here:

Where are some good discussion groups on higher education?
I especially need to discuss/access information on the following:
1. The ability to 'Challenge' courses and the effects on such ability on enrollment.
2. Pass/fail courses without the need for attendance (i.e. just showing up for tests) and the effect on enrollment of such courses.
3. The ability to earn life-credit and the effect on enrollment.
4. trustworthyness of degrees in the various situations outline above.

I need the information for some recommendations regarding european usage of opencourseware etc.


#106 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 10:53 AM:

Serge: Second that nomination. His other books are also good. (I heard that he's not a good speaker, but ....

#107 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 11:04 AM:

I suspect they're publishing enemy body counts to try to distract people from the body counts of US soldiers, Iraqi soldiers and police, and the many thousands of civilians.

Newsday's story today on the official number of US military deaths in Iraq hitting 2000 pointed out that this is a significant undercount, for two reasons. It's a count of US citizens who have died in Iraq while serving in the US military. It omits at least 80 deaths of US soldiers who weren't citizens. It also omits all the contractors, many of them ex-military, who died doing things in Iraq that, in any previous war, would have been done by the government.

I can see why they only count people who are in the military when they die, but why on earth is everyone pretending that the resident aliens who died fighting for their adopted land, even though they weren't citizens, never existed?

#108 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 11:36 AM:

Thanks, PJ. I'd also recommend Wil McCarthy's Collapsium for those who like stories of superscience. (If I may use such a quaint expression.)

#109 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 11:39 AM:

Richard Anderson wrote (October 25, 2005, 11:44 AM):

Serge, I'm relatively ignorant of the fantasy genre. What are examples of its literary side. And perhaps more important, what's worth reading?

Sarah Avery already mentioned Hope Mirrlees's Lud-in-the-Mist -- probably one of the best fantasy novels ever. Besides the recent paperback reprint, there's also an etext (on my website, ZIPped text). Other people have mentioned a lot of series and epics, so I'll keep my list to mostly stand-alone novels, since that's my preference anyway.

The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle

The Face in the Frost by John Bellairs (he also wrote some good children's fantasy and mysteries, but this adult novel is much the best)

Little, Big by John Crowley

Tim Powers' novels -- it's hard to pick out just one, but probably The Anubis Gates, On Stranger Tides, Last Call and Declare are among the best.

James P. Blaylock's novels, especially The Last Coin

Avram Davidson's The Phoenix and the Mirror (first of a trilogy, but stands alone well; the second and third (Vergil in Averno and The Scarlet Fig) are rare, and also somewhat less accessible than the first -- almost Joycean in spots)

#110 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 12:07 PM:

Yes, definitely those two books by Tim Powers. And I can't believe I forgot to recommend Charles de Lint's Moonheart.

#111 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 12:22 PM:

Vicki: regarding the 2000 "citizens" question:
yes, that what today's Newsday is reporting, but I'm scratching my head as to how that can be so. I'm thinking this is just bad reporting on their part.

I've heard that the US military is several per cent non-citizen (which, btw, is higher than the percentage of non-Iraqis in the insurgency...), but until this Newsday story, I had not heard that their deaths officially Don't Count. I'm dubious.

Attacks are reported, the Pentagon then confirms the casualties. The Iraq coalition Casualty Count doesn't seem to note a 4% discrepency. I don't see a step where 4% of the attacks would disappear from the casualty count.

Anyone want to dig up the Journal-Constitution article cited by Newsday and see what the original assertion was?

And yes, over 100 other Americans have been killed in Iraq. In a saner world, THAT would be a major story, but here in Bizarro World, that's beeb dwarfed by all the other disasters.

#112 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 12:28 PM:

["BEEN" dwarfed. "Beeb" is the "British Broadcasting Corporation", to its friends, at least.]

#113 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 12:39 PM:

"Correction, make that Spend, Borrow, Spend More, Borrow More, Cut Taxes on the Rich, and Make the Rich the Lienholders."

The phrase you want is Borrow-And-Squander Republicans. Rolls off the tongue really nicely. Make sure to sneer the word "squander" when you say it. I've used this verbally to fabulous effect.

#114 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 01:14 PM:

Thanks to everyone for their fantasy and SF recommendations. I'm in the process now of picking up a number of 'em, and am looking forward to cozy winter evenings with a hot toddy in one hand and a good read in the other....

#115 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 01:29 PM:

You're welcome, Richard. I was beginning to fear you'd cry "Uncle!"...

#116 ::: Jim Henry ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 01:36 PM:

I wrote:

Avram Davidson's The Phoenix and the Mirror (first of a trilogy, but stands alone well; the second and third (Vergil in Averno and The Scarlet Fig) are rare, and also somewhat less accessible than the first -- almost Joycean in spots)

I don't want to give an impression that the latter two are not as good -- Vergil in Averno is probably slightly better, and The Scarlet Fig (which I'm not quite finished reading yet) is also quite good -- but the second is out of print and hard to find, and the third is currently in print only in an expensive small-press edition -- so you would probably want to read them only after reading more of Davidson's easier-to-find books and deciding that you can't get enough of him. They're very enjoyable if you are willing to give them the close attention they require.

TNH & PNH: could Tor do an omnibus edition of the three Vergil Magus books? It's hard to recommend them when used copies of the second are $57+ and the limited edition of the third (50GBP) may already be sold out...

#117 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 02:09 PM:

On a slightly different subject but still related to SF/F... It looks like the movie adaptation of Burroughs's Barsoom stories has found yet a new home. Early last year, Robert Rodriguez was working on it. Then it was the man behind Sky Captain, which tanked. Now it's Jon Favreau, most famous for elf.

Who will be next?

#118 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 02:25 PM:

j h woodyatt:

It's not Borrow and Squander though, it's Squander and Borrow.

The "Tax and Spend" Democrats FIRST raised taxes, and then spent. They used the spending then as the basis for keeping the taxes high, keeping the tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike (long before The Big Dig the tolls were supposed to be abolish, the original bonds had all expired, but the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority found or invented all sorts of projects to continue spending money on, and continued the tolls, and issues more bonds of some such based their rationale on "see, we have these construction projects and highway beautification projects we will need money for."

The Republicraps in Washington, however, first issue blank checks for Iraq, throw money to Hallliburton, Bechtel, and Florida residents for "hurricane damage" in areas not suffering any, and then belatedly issue legislation increasing the federal debt ceiling and borrowing limits.

Or perhaps, it should be "Misappropriate and Borrow"--they're cutting the life support programs for the poor and the unwell, and lining the pockets more of government contractors and sectarion bigot organizations all of which claim to be Christian organzations--the non-Christian organizations which appled for Faith-based program programs, somehow all got turned down....

#119 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 02:51 PM:

Paula, you might have the order of operations correct, but "Borrow-and-Squander" is the phrase you want. It puts the listener/reader into the picture: you borrowed all that money in our names, and now look how little good for us you've been able to do with it.

#120 ::: Brooke C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 03:12 PM:

*is deeply disturbed by vision of Jeeves and Bertie as Judas and Christ*

Has anybody mentioned Lord Dunsany? The King of Elfland's Daughter is flat-out amazing. And, going with the Edwardian fantasy theme, I'd definitely recommend any of the short stories of Saki (H. H. Munro) and Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday.

I've never read The Face In the Frost, but Bellairs gave me some of my most fondly-remembered childhood trauma. That mummy-thing that makes you a mummy, and the blue-burning candles in The Mummy, the Will and the Crypt...god. *Shudder* Also, I'm firmly convinced that Tim Burton should get back in touch with his homey, creepifying roots and make a movie version of The House with a Clock in Its Walls. I don't care how many studio executives I have to kill to make it happen.

#121 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 03:38 PM:

I always thought The king of Elfland's daughter was the least of Dunsany's work, in that it was something that reading it I could have assumed someone else wrote it.

#122 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 03:52 PM:

On the subject of fantasy books worth reading, I'd add the recently released to the public domain The Garden of the Plynck to the list. (I'd also recommend downloading the PDF for the illustrations, but understand folks who just want the text.)

#123 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 05:12 PM:

There was a TV-movie version of House With a Clock in its Walls -- imdb says it was 1998, but has no useful details. I remember it going by, but haven't seen it.

Tim Burton's version would no doubt be better, though.

#124 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 05:23 PM:

Researcher: King Tut drank red wine

LONDON, England (AP) -- King Tutankhamen was a red wine drinker, according to a researcher who analyzed traces of the vintage found in his tomb.

Maria Rosa Guasch-Jane told reporters Wednesday at the British Museum that she made her discovery after inventing a process that gave archaeologists a tool to discover the color of ancient wine.

"This is the first time someone has found an ancient red wine," she said.

Wine bottles from King Tut's time were labeled with the name of the product, the year of harvest, the source and the vine grower, Guasch-Jane said, but did not include the color of the wine.

#125 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 05:25 PM:

Under Egypt fell under the influence of those belonging to a religion averse to alcohol, apparently it was a major producer of quality wines.

#126 ::: jhlipton ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 09:50 PM:

I love (can't use "Lessthan B" for heart here!) all of Tim Power's work, but must put in a special word for "Drawing of the Dark". From beer to zombie pirates to tarot poker, is there anything this guy can't write about?

It's been a while since I read it, but I recall "Cry Silver Bells" by Thomas Burnett Swann being a very good read.

#127 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2005, 11:30 PM:

Seriously, where is Jonathan Vos Post? Should we be worrying? If the reason for his absence has already been revealed and I've missed it, would someone email me?

#128 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 12:50 AM:

I notice that I typed "Under" rather than "Until." It's not the only time recently that I've typed a word other than the one I was -thinking- of when writing something. It's not a classic sort of typo, which for me invovles "fumble fingers," but rather correct typing of the -wrong- word, one that I wasn't thinking of... it's peculiar: after my mother had a stroke she had extreme difficulty with regards to what she was struggling to retrieve from the neurons to say; what she did say or try to say, was coming out scrambled/crossfired/aborted/stuck--things weren't firing correctly from the thoughts to the speech center to output. But, she had had a stroke, and has apparently has some degree of aphasia long before that for her entire life.

But aphasia or minor malapropisms typing things??

#129 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 01:01 AM:

Jim Henry:

Thank you for letting me know of the existence of The Purple Fig. But I've just discoverd that my admiration for the work of Avram Davidson does in fact have bounds: it's fifty bucks, and Amazon doesn't carry it.

I happily bought The Other 19th C and The A.D. Treasury AND Investigations... - - but fifty bucks for a book is Right Out. So I'll second your motion for a three-in-one omnibus edition of the "Vergil Magus" books. (A trade edition of PF would do the trick, too.)

I guess it's good to know that I DO l have limits.

#130 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 01:25 AM:

Jim Henry: Well, thanks for the tip, but Googling around I learned that Davidson's The Purple Fig for all practical purposes, does NOT exist. The publisher lists seven stockists: none of them actually seem to have it. So the fact that they're asking fifty bucks for it is moot.

The inability to buy books by Avram Davidson might be further evidence that I've crossed over to Bizarro World. Because on a rational-ordered planet, they should be readily available.

#131 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 04:30 AM:

Jo Walton is too modest to recommend her own fantasy books, so I'll do it. The King's Peace, The King's Name, The Prize in the Game. Tooth and Claw won the World Fantasy Award last year (which winning was almost immediately upstaged by the US election, alas).

#132 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 05:18 AM:

They're not counting non-citizens who are killed while serving in Iraq? My God, that's horrible. That makes me feel physically ill. I can't believe the brass are letting them get away with that.
For heaven's sake, I serve with non-citizens. There are men and women from six or seven nations in my unit. Damn anyone who tries to say they don't count.
I hope this is just poor reporting - do you have a URL for those of us who don't live in New Jersey? It's already bad enough that allied casualties apparently don't count...
(deep breath)

Tim Powers' Declare is a fine, fine book. Highly recommended.

Sorry for disturbing you, Brooke: I also have Poe, Damon Runyon, Anthony Burgess, Frank Miller and Arthur Conan Doyle if you scroll down the pharyngula thread...

#133 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 08:19 AM:

I realize that it might seem like something from a fantasy novel, but it appears that the spirit of Shoeless Joe Jackson can now rest easily.
The Red Sox last year, the White Sox this year--does this mean that soon Mr. Sianis and his goat, Murphy, will relent and let the Cubs win at least a pennant?

#134 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 09:55 AM:

ajay: re: non-citizen casualties -
I think it's bad reporting on Newsday's part. I haven't yet been able to find the Atlanta Journal-Constitution story that Newsday claims as a source for this.

I spot-checked some of the CentCom press releases looking for non-citizens - so far I've found one guy whose home is listed as "Saipan", but no explicit non-citizens. OTOH, the CentCom casualty releases don't say one way or another. So this is still a single unconfirmed news report.

In other news, Miers has withdrawn.

#135 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 10:26 AM:

The Army Times says non-citizen soldiers are signing up less than they had been. Two years ago, Common Dreams pointed out that Hispanic soldiers were dying in greater proportion to their numbers than others (updated here).

Citizenship is one of the carrots for enlisting, these days -- if you enlist, it's supposed to make the process of naturalization quicker.

I can't find the reference about not counting non-citizen deaths in the total, either, but I read something like it a while back -- a couple of years? And I know it wasn't in Newsday.

#136 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 11:04 AM:

Regarding phonetic etc. typos: Well, I recently came up with the "Reisling" Awards in transcribing an interview (so much nicer to drink than Rhysling!). The subconscious is a strange beast.

As to recommended books, I've been doing lists for somewhere around 2 decades now in Locus -- check old February issues for all reviewers' recs -- but won't try to boil them down here. The main point is, lots of people are still doing great books, and you've probably never heard of some of those folks since they just keep coming along.

If you can adjust to shorter works, genre mixing and occasionally-edgy topics, collections are another way to go. Margo Lanagan, Anna Tambour, Jeff VanderMeer.... Lots of great stuff out there.

#137 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 11:14 AM:

Harriet Miers withdraws. Charles Krauthammer called it exactly.

Second verse, same as the first... A little bit louder and a little bit worse.

#138 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 11:20 AM:

Bush said Miers was the "best qualified" candidate for the position.

Who's second-best?

#139 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 11:31 AM:

For "classic" fantasy (pre-WWII), I recommend Charles Williams.

#140 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 11:56 AM:

Second best is doubtless Karl Rove.

#141 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 12:15 PM:

In an intersection of yarncraft and my particular interests, here's a Crotcheted 25 ft. Giant Squid!

#142 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 12:32 PM:

Paula: I make that kind of mistake all the time. My mind is thinking about a later word in the sentence as I'm planning ahead, and I start to type the correct word, but it contains a letter that's also in the word I'm planning to use, leading me to finish it with the rest of that word.

I do it more frequently in handwriting, because I have longer to think about the rest of the sentence and forget what I'm actually writing at the time. I often just skip letters when handwriting. It makes anything I write by hand very hard to read.

#143 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 12:58 PM:

Skwid, that entire Monster Crochet site is worth a look. Current posts (covering about the last month) include a lot of Halloween-type stuff (crocheted Jack-O-Lanterns, skeletons, eyeballs) and a few things for Thanksgiving (a big, rather frightening, turkey-shaped shoulder bag, and a stuffed turkey carcass)(I had never noticed the resemblance between a plucked turkey and Godzilla before....)

#144 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 01:03 PM:

What do you mean, Bruce? You never noticed the shape of Godzilla's drumsticks?

#145 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 01:05 PM:

I think the crocheted giant squid is going to be Bush's nominee for the Supreme Court. It's better qualified than Harriet Miers.

#146 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 01:21 PM:

Peter Lorre, who was in Disney's 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, once said of the giant squid that attacked the Nautilus that it was playing the part HE usually played in movies. How about Peter Lorre for the Supreme Court? Oh, he's dead. How about his creation, the Furry Sneaker-wearing Monster, Rudolph?

#147 ::: Brooke C. ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 02:25 PM:

ajay: Don't worry. I was dying laughing at the Miller, Poe, Christie, and especially Runyon. I just happen to be hypersensitive to all things Jeeves and Wooster, as I've been on a Wodehouse bender for well over a month. My friends and family will be staging an intervention any day now.

(On the side of enablers, however, I've discovered the madness which is Wodehouse fandom, and am now the proud possessor of a "What Would Jeeves Do?" t-shirt, from here: It's very obviously Stephen Fry as Jeeves, which I'm happy about as a ravening Fry fangirl. But the shirt would be worth it if only for the text on the back, which has already garnered me several splutters and lots of puzzled looks.)

I have been convinced from about age 12 that Wodehouse should be properly counted as fantasy, since his world is so utterly removed from reality. And it's right up there with Narnia in worlds I want to visit, or at least live up to.

#148 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 03:19 PM:

From variously upthread:

JVP's LJ is still being updated, though his most recent activity is in his own reply threads rather than de novo posts.

At a library sale earlier this year, I picked up a biography of Teddy Roosevelt's youngest son, Quentin; it was written/compiled by another of TR's sons, Kermit. About half of the book is made up of letters of condolence received after Quentin's death in combat during WWI-- all three of Quentin's brothers also fought in WWI, and having survived that, re-upped with the military in WWII. I find it nearly impossible to comprehend that in itself, much less try to imagine a modern parallel.

But the connection to this from upthread is that one of the letters of condolence was from Lord Dunsany, who enclosed a sonnet. I'd been wondering whether it had been written expressly for that occasion, but apparently not; Quentin was shot down in mid-1918 and "A Dirge of Victory" was first published in 1916 with a number of other short pieces by Dunsany about the wreckage of France:

I saw a green door ajar in an upper room: the whole of the front wall of the house was gone: the door partly opened oddly on to a little staircase, whose steps one could just see, that one wondered whither it went. The door seemed to beckon and beckon to some lost room, but if one could ever have got there, up through that shattered house, and if the steps of that little staircase would bear, so that one came to, the room that is hidden away at the top, yet there could only be silence and spiders there, and broken plaster and the dust of calamity; it is only to memories that the green door beckons; nothing remains.
#149 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 05:48 PM:

I found this on Boing Boing, but I thought people who don't read that very often might still like to see this film about the President's Speechalist.

(Okay, so it's a joke video, but it's still amusing...)

#150 ::: Kate Yule ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 08:10 PM:

Bujold has said there will be one book per deity.... She hasn't specified otherwise how closely they'll be related.

We can only hope it's less closely than Chalion and Hallowed Hunt. As I have remarked on LJ, our protagonists in [insert title] are an intelligent, strong-willed young woman being buffeted by circumstance (and relatives), and the protective, world-weary, slightly-shady-but-loyal-in-a-pinch man with someone or something living in his gut. Oh, and the King is wasting away. Political hijinks ensue.

I liked it quite a lot, the first time.

#151 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2005, 10:54 PM:

Paula -- words become sets of finger-twitches when you've typed enough of them, just as they become unconscious clusters of vocal tract movements rather than separate sounds when you've spoken enough of them. (This usually happens early enough that you're not as aware of it as you are with typing.) This used to be considered desirable by the more sensible typing teachers; it wasn't as rhythmic as the old school prescribed but it was more efficient. I've noticed this (with the slips you describe) when I'm typing text, even code comments, but not when I'm typing code proper; if I were a real hacker, would constructs spring from my fingers without thought to the individual characters? (Maybe if I were younger; I've noticed my two outside right fingers doing less and less, which makes typing C very slow.)

#152 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 12:43 AM:

Chip muses:
if I were a real hacker, would constructs spring from my fingers without thought to the individual characters?

Yes - and it's really, profoundly and absolutely distressing when you realize you're using structures from the wrong language.

#153 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 01:22 AM:

If you're having trouble finding that Best Beer Ad Sidelight, go to and search the archives on "Made From Beer."

#154 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 05:34 AM:

Wodehouse as fantasy? Possibly: Evelyn Waugh said "For Mr. Wodehouse there has been no fall of Man; no "aboriginal calamity." His characters have never tasted the forbidden fruit. They are still in Eden. The gardens of Blandings Castle are that original garden from which we are all exiled."

And even when reality intrudes it is Wodehousified. The awful Oswald Mosely becomes the ridiculous Roderick Spode (secretly connected to the mysterious Eulalie... but I have said too much). Bertie Wooster sees an old Oxford chum on the Aldermaston CND march. The Russian novelist Vladimir Brusiloff arrives in England during the Russian Civil War to exchange merry stories about playing golf with Lenin (while inwardly rejoicing that three of his creditors have been purged to Siberia). The gangs of Prohibition New York are exemplified by Bat Jarvis, whose heart can be won through a shared interest in cats. A typical Wodehouse young man remarks, while waiting to burgle Blandings Castle yet again, that it reminds him of his time in the commandos in the war.

As you say, another world.

#155 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 05:49 AM:

I habitually terminate Python statements with semicolons.

#156 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 08:38 AM:

On the same site as the "Dawn of the Knitted Dead" is a link to a photo of:


An odd (also lovely and subtly disturbing) study in contrasts.

#157 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 09:23 AM:

Interesting. George Takei has come out of the closet. Good for him.

#158 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 09:39 AM:

I may be mistaken, and it may be a cultural bias/nationality difference, but aren't Clydesdales as portrayed in that beer ad reserved to AB? That's who I automatically thought of at that part.

#159 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 11:32 AM:

Interesting. George Takei has come out of the closet. Good for him.

I knew it!!!!!

(Well, no I didn't, but it had to be said.)
(And actually when I was a young teenager Walter Koenig was my main lust-object of the Trek crew.)

#160 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 11:38 AM:

Walter Koenig, Xopher?

Anyway, when I told my wife about Takei, she also said she knew it. Why? Because of the episode where Solu thinks he's d'Artagnan. I don't see it, but what do I know?

#161 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 11:43 AM:


And about the Particle "A manhole cover with his name on it," there is NO WAY that was the path of the manhole cover. An illustrator's fanciful embellishment, no doubt.

#162 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 11:48 AM:

re: Takei - I don't read fanfic, but I'm thinking that there must be a lot of slash writers patting themselves on their backs for their prescience.

#163 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 11:59 AM:

re Takei: I'm not surprised either, but I don't know why. It was just a feeling I've had from some years. (The downtown LA throwaway newspaper had an interview with him this week, because it's the first time in his years with this theater company that he's been onstage.)

re manhole cover: It probably flipped over only once on its trip; enthusiastic illustrator, as said. I do wonder about the size of the explosion, though.

#164 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 12:46 PM:

Most of you may have already figured this out, but there's more to the San Francisco in Jello link than one pic. A columnist in SFGate, the Chron online, gave this link: (Click on Portfolio, if you're not already there.) The Bridge is amazing, and even the climate's right! Looking at the slightly saggy City Hall, I was thinking this version might be safer in an earthquake.

#165 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 12:51 PM:

P J Evans: even if it flipped over, its overall trajectory couldn't loop like that. And if that's tracking one point on the edge...that's one giant FUCK of a manhole cover!

#166 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 01:12 PM:

Scooter Libby is indicted, five counts. Karl Rove is not, but "remains under investigation."

#167 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 01:19 PM:

I wonder if Cheney told Scooter he was doing a "heck of a job."

#168 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 01:24 PM:

Xopher: that was what McClellan said about Rove, wasn't it?

It's probably premature to start flipping manhole covers, with or without fancily improbable loops. (I've seen one rise off the hole and 'dance' in heavy rain; water was coming out of the manhole and lifted the lid at least two inches above paving level!)

#169 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 01:45 PM:

I used to help run a campus SF convention (I-Con, out in Stony Brook) that then and now invites lots of "media guests." I still keep in touch with the comittee. It's been an open secret for years that Takei was gay.

General feel about that: Big deal. "Tacky George" is a really nice guy and a great guest. Patient and friendly with fans (even the sad weirdos), hard working, understanding of the crap that a high-staff-turnover campus convention sometimes puts guests through.

At one convention -- 1985 as I recall -- Takei invited the audiance at one of his appearances to meet him at some ungodly early hour to go jogging around campus. What an uncommonly nice thing to do!

#170 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 01:54 PM:

Note to self: when famous (even among a select group), invite them for an early-morning jog.

Did anyone show up?

#171 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 02:06 PM:

"Did anyone show up?"

As I recall, a dozen or so.

#172 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 02:41 PM:

Stefan: George used to do that at lots of cons.

My new wife (mmm, that's nice to say) has a great story in which George shows up at her hotel room door at 6:00 one Sunday morning and asks if [her ex] could come out and play. Her ex, it seems, was the sole survivor of the previous morning's jog.

#173 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 02:52 PM:

Her ex, it seems, was the sole survivor of the previous morning's jog.

What kind of fan generation is this? Everybody knows, when you go jogging with an Enterprise officer, you don't wear a red shirt.

Your pocket handkerchief, however, is a matter of individual preference.

#174 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 03:01 PM:

Everybody knows, when you go jogging with an Enterprise officer, you don't wear a red shirt.

Is it safe if you're working in engineering rather than security?

(A couple of years ago, looking through the company org chart, I discovered I'm supposed to be a red shirt. Worse, my job title is suitably anonymous for a victim: 'technical specialist'. I think that means there's a target in UV on the back of my shirt.)

#175 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 03:54 PM:

Faren, I've been forwarding the San Francisco jello link to my friends in that city and to expats elsewhere. Everyone's been pretty amazed at the effort involved -- and at its results. (Although I'm bitterly disappointed that I wasn't able to spot any of the places where I once lived or worked. ) The site would be even cooler, though, if Hickock could figure out some way to show the buildings shaking. "Whoa! It's the big one!"

#176 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 04:23 PM:

Since someone asked: Newsday is at

I don't live in New Jersey, nor is Newsday published there: it's a Long Island and New York City paper (HQ on the Island).

#177 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 04:49 PM:

Richard, there is indeed video footage. It's not as dramatic as one might hope for, but the whole city shakes like a whole lot of... well, something; I dunno. Something jiggly. Click the video link on the Telegraph Hill page.

#178 ::: Barry Ragin ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 04:56 PM:

Stefan Jones:
I used to help run a campus SF convention (I-Con, out in Stony Brook) that then and now invites lots of "media guests." I still keep in touch with the comittee. It's been an open secret for years that Takei was gay.

Hey, Stefan, i was doing radio at WUSB when I-Con first started up. I interviewed Nic Yermakov and Michael Swanwick the first or second year of the convention. I've got the tape somewhere . . .

#179 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2005, 08:04 PM:

Good gosh, don't know how I missed the video button. But hey, the city shakes like...jello!

#180 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 04:42 AM:

Oddly enough, I also recently ran into Yet Another Best Beer Ad Ever -- at the same site as the one in the Sidelights. The real pity there is that I don't like the particular brew (Guinness) the ad's for. (In case you have trouble with this ad, too, its name is noitulovE and its id=634.)

#181 ::: Paula Kate ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 01:45 PM:

I found this delicious phrase in the Particles link, defining prosopography:

"Though it originated before the pre-electronic age..."

So when exactly is "before the pre-electronic age"?

#182 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2005, 07:38 PM:

"You Knit WHAT?!": ROFL. I have been wondering what all that 'fun fur' was for. It might make nice tribbles, for those who feel the need.

#183 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 10:11 AM:

"before the pre-electronic age?"
Let's see, you got Ultimate, PenUltimate, AntePenUltimate, and PreAntePenUltimate ... so ... hmmm are we back to the Mesozoic yet (Rhaetian, for instance) or still Phanerozoic (say, Rupelian)?

#184 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 12:13 PM:

PJ Evans wrote:

"You Knit WHAT?!": ROFL. I have been wondering what all that 'fun fur' was for. It might make nice tribbles, for those who feel the need.

Y'know... I've lately taken to threatening to send shiploads of tribbles to 'help' with our various technical issues...

#185 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 03:13 PM:

so, is there actually a novel-writing class?

#186 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 04:06 PM:

Open thread:

At the foot of the Flatiron Building (and various other shorts from the dawn of cinema) is now available in the real world, on DVD.

The National Film Preservation Foundation has issued More Treasures from American Film Archives 1894-1931 on 3 DVDs (573 minutes). The set comes with an audio commentary track, and with a "Program notes" paperback.

The Amazon link doesn't seem to provide a full listing of the 50 shorts in the set (they list 11), but "The Streets of New York" shorts ARE on it.

(Wonderful things, public libraries.)

#187 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2005, 10:31 PM:

About 100 years ago we were discussing Serenity the movie -- so I finally saw it, last night. Fun, though the plot was achingly predictable. (Reavers, look. See the Alliance! See the Alliance run. Run, Alliance, run!) But I liked most of the characters, and it made me think I might enjoy the TV episodes. I believe they're available on DVD. Firefly, right?

#188 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2005, 09:21 AM:

Lizzy L: yes, _Firefly_ is the TV series that the movie _Serenity_ follows.

#189 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2005, 09:57 AM:

Here's news about JVP.

#190 ::: Fiendish Writer ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2005, 12:22 PM:

A small offering to the friendly readers here.

(And my abject apologies if I have inadvertently duplicated an earlier link to the same. I did make an honest search, but my eyes are not what they once were.)

#191 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2005, 01:40 AM:

Miers is history, and something worse is the replacement nomination--another #(^@(#@!@(Y#@@@ white male rightwing ruthless Roman Catholic, to go along with that stinking fanatic Scalia (would've fit in with the Inquisition types 500 years ago I suspect)... more Christian Taliban Toxic Trash? [Note, it's not his Roman Catholicism, its the rightwing intolerant bigot attitudes... which a lot of people of other religions exhibit, such as Mr Feith and the other "court Jews" of Schmuck's associates, Mr Brock prior to his epiphany, and various extremist Muslim clerics such as al-Sadr, the current head of Iran, etc.--oh, they're not -here-? Their values appear much the same--attack civilians and rain bombs down on people who didn't attack them, torture "detainees" to get information, suppress women and lock them up because they exist for baby-bearing and don't belong in public life, etc. )

Too bad about that, Protestant women who have no representation on the Supreme Court, Roman Catholic women who have none, Hispanics who have none, people of east and southern Asian descent (one could argue that Ruth Bader Ginsburg is of west Asian ancestry, though not for a very long time....), those of non-Judaeo-Christian religions, Muslims.... Schmuck's court is made of Anton Scalias, who don't believe that other people's religiosiyt or lack thereof and values have any place being considered when sitting in judgment, only -his- religious values have merit and gravitas to apply...

#192 ::: Fiendish Writer ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2005, 11:28 AM:

Fiendish views Paula's fury and regrets its posting of the link. The offering was meant to cause laughter, not painful rage. (hides)

#193 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2005, 01:49 PM:

Scientists affiliated with NASA have invented a new "skin" that will cover robotic devices and "sense" things - actually, NASA explains it better than I can:


Sounds kind of boring, but watch this video supposedly demonstrating this new material - you tell me if it looks like a scientific demonstration, or - well, something else entirely.

Here is the video demonstration

Many thanks to gizmodo for bringing this to my attention.

#194 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2005, 05:22 PM:

Sidelights link: "What's eating George Bush?"

A Tyrannosaurus Rex? Please, let it be a T. Rex.

#195 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2005, 07:07 PM:

Study: Design flaws in New Orleans levees

The engineers who designed the floodwalls that collapsed during Hurricane Katrina did not fully consider the porousness of the Louisiana soil or make other calculations that would have pointed to the need for stronger levees with deeper pilings and wider bases, researchers say.

And if they'd been better designed, a dinosaur or two could have walked across them during a flood without making them collapse.

#196 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2005, 07:55 PM:

Calm down, Paula L., you're alarming Fiendish. It's a funny piece, and I appreciated getting to see it.

#197 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2005, 02:29 PM:

It's been a while since sacred undergarments were in the news...

#198 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2005, 02:49 PM:

And, in Utah, a polygamous judge has been removed from the bench....or maybe not.

#199 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2005, 12:46 PM:

Whee! It's all the tools you need for a political flameware photoshopped into Magic: The Gathering cards!

Collect them all!

#200 ::: Fiendish Writer ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2005, 12:56 PM:


Gracious Teresa: I am pleased the link did please.

#201 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2005, 05:03 PM:

Headline in LA Times:
Pentagon Sets Its Sights on Roadside Bombs

I don't think they intended it the way it reads. But I wouldn't put it past the Pentagon.

#202 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2005, 05:42 PM:

Is that supposed to be a picture of Baron Samedi in the voodoo ad? It doesn't look right to me.

The text says "You'll spot him wearing a top hat, black coattails and dark glasses," but there are none such in the picture. Also he looks kind of white-bread, really. Not spooky enough.

#203 ::: John McMullen ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2005, 09:32 AM:

So has anybody seen this, about the patent being granted provisionally for a fictional storyline?

And the actual patent is here:

While I would like to chant "prior art!" and make it go away, there have been enough bonehead software patents granted that I'm not at all certain that it will be dismissed.

I don't know the patent process well enough to know if this is something to be concerned about; I don't know who would step in to fight this. Wouldn't one of the automated fiction tools (plot builder or whatever) be sufficient evidence of prior art? I don't think Polti's 36 Dramatic Situations describes it in sufficient detail, but maybe something more recent does (such as Tobias' 20 Master Plots).

(Oh, hi--first time commenter here.)

#204 ::: John McMullen ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2005, 10:43 AM:

My apologies; the article I pointed to is a press release by the "inventor".

Still, the patent will be published as a matter of routine. What happens next?

#205 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2005, 12:18 PM:

The patent *application* will be published as a matter of routine. All applications are, now. That doesn't mean the patent will be granted.

There's lots of info in the /. commentary, if you don't mind sifting out the dross:

#206 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2005, 01:14 PM:

At a minimum, Teresa should attach software to the Evil Overlord Plot Generator that converts each scenario into a patent application! She'll become rich!!

#208 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2005, 05:56 PM:

Note To Self:

Take Leonard Cohen songs out of playlist on gloomy, rainy Friday afternoons when the weekend forecast is for more rain and wind, too.

#209 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2005, 02:22 PM:

Re the patent application, I'd suggest folks read my analysis of what the patent would cover if granted, which I posted to that slashdot discussion.

Specifically, the distributors of the film "13 Going On 30" would be infringing.

#210 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2005, 02:26 PM:

I don't think Polti's 36 Dramatic Situations describes it in sufficient detail, but maybe something more recent does (such as Tobias' 20 Master Plots).

The problem with this approach is that the patent application is substantially more specific than the general plots of this kind, and relates to a story element more than the plot itself: a character who makes a wish to remain asleep until something happens, the wish becomes true, but the character then discovers that he has had a life in the meantime that he doesn't remember.

#211 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2005, 02:56 PM:

I'm listening to Dolly Parton'w new CD Those Were the Days and really like her interpretative covers of these songs from the 70s. I'm on my third consecutive listen.

#212 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2005, 03:01 PM:

The Council for Excellence in Government wants us to vote for our favorite TV fed. I dunno, I like some of them as actors, but their characters are not always good Feds.

#213 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2005, 11:00 PM:

Since this is an open thread, I hope it's okay to change the subject. (What was the subject?) According to DailyKos, NYTimes tomorrow has a very interesting article about intelligence BushCo made use of in its march to war -- intelligence from an Al-Qaeda member which was at the time they used it strongly suspected to have been fabricated. Among other tidbits in the article is the suggestion that the guy was probably tortured by the Egyptians before being sent to Gitmo. Senator Carl Levin passed a newly unclassified document to a Times reporter.

The comments on Kos range from the totally skeptical ("Karl Rove is behind it") to the deliriously happy ("Impeachment Now!! Woo hoo!!")My guess is, the Times is trying to redeem itself after the Judith Miller fiasco, and with Bush's popularity numbers dropping it feels emboldened...

#214 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2005, 03:39 AM:

[tangent]"I like some of them as actors, but their characters are not always good Feds" It can be difficult sometimes to interpret answers that people give honestly when the question has a lot of laxity in it. Or to give an honest answer that won't be misinterpreted.
I can remember people in Israel got upset that a European survey showed a majority thought that a major conflict might be caused over it. The Israeli commentators seemed to assume that they were being blamed for starting a hypothetical conflict, but if someone asked me that question, it's an obvious place for a conflict to start over.

On a much more minor note, there's an ABC (Australia) survey about "Your favourite opera moment". But the trouble is that my top few "moments" don't have much music in them - it's when something happens in the plot or action, like the moment that the Countess forgives Count Almaviva in the Marriage of Figaro (where my favourite music in it is the letter-writing duet) - or in the case of Tales of Hoffman, one tiny phrase that appears just once as the "Muse" reveals herself.[/tangent]

#215 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2005, 07:02 AM:

Meanwhile, science is attempting to build the perfect bra. "In some cases, breasts can slap against the chest with enough force to break the clavicle."

#216 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2005, 02:27 PM:

Was anyone else here interested in today's NY Times article (Magazine section) on "Literary Darwinism"? Though I tend to distrust most "isms" -- which always seem to lead to dogma, infighting, etc. -- this one's emphasis on the science of fiction might have something or other in common with some SF. Or not? At any rate, it doesn't sound like the utterly insular drivel of bad academia.

Since this is Sunday and I've been online reading the "newspapers" for ages, I can't say anything more coherent at this point!

#217 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2005, 03:09 PM:

"Literary Darwinism" .....emphasis on the science of fiction might have something or other in common with some SF. Or not?

Niven's Phssthpok the Pak and the Brennan monster at least. Heinlein writes about Bonobo with bigger brains.

On the other hand if there is anything at all without "something or other in common with some SF" then once announced it will be the most popular story idea of the month.

I'd have thought PET scans superior to magnetic resonence imaging for the research but what do I know?

#219 ::: Sandy ::: (view all by) ::: November 07, 2005, 03:19 PM:

Any suggestions on how to handle the Monty Hall problem from a moderator's standpoint?

The last time it was brought up, the argument lasted six months or more; I still have the scars.

It is four years later, I'm now a mod on that board, and someone brought it up again.

#220 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 08, 2005, 11:47 PM:

Molded cup bras, PtuiPtuiPtuiPtuiPtui [misadventures in shopping, or Who the O#Y#$IH@@# are these supposed to be made for, anyway? Not me, fersure!) [Tried some of the @#!*@#^%#@ things on Monday night. PtuiPtuiPtuiPtui. Old-fashioned corsets are adjustable The Mouldered Monstrosities aren't.]

#221 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2005, 08:24 AM:

A knitted digestive system!

#222 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2005, 10:06 AM:

Molded cup bras? That's nasty. Although it does remind me of the cups two of my fellow fencing students used to wear.

On another subject, I believe there are some haggis fans around here. The Vermont Country Store is now selling tinned haggis. As a holiday treat, apparently.

#223 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2005, 12:35 PM:

In my experience, bras in general aren't terribly adjustable. If the cups don't fit, the bra won't fit, regardless of how much you adjust the straps or which hooks you use to fasten the band. Since I'm resigned to a lengthy search each time I need a new bra, I'm willing to search a little farther to find a bra that doesn't have seams in the cups.

You Might Be Surprised How Hard It Is To Find A 36A Bra And No, 34B Is Absolutely Not Equivalent No Matter What Anyone Says

#224 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2005, 12:43 PM:

Lexica: there are worse problems than that. The two, um, halves are not necessarily the same size, and can be noticeably different sizes. I'm considering going custom-made. My mother was surprised how much difference a properly-fitted bra made.

#225 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2005, 04:47 PM:

Lexica, I buy bras and underwear here:

They'll work with you to get the bra right.

#226 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2005, 05:13 PM:

Molded cup bras, Ptui[etc.]

That's odd, Barbie didn't complain once in the bench tests.

Next up: Nitinol Underwires -- It Knows When You Are(tm).* And for the gentlemen, Trojan Graphite and Durex DU.

BoingBoing can't get all the, er, scoops.

*Slogan tested 13.4% better than "Deploys for the Boys."

#227 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: November 09, 2005, 05:16 PM:

TV closed captions do interesting things sometimes.

There was just a clip on The Weather Channel that was captioned "Mission to Venus blasted off today for Europe."

Bloody metric/English confusion again, I suppose.

#228 ::: JennR ::: (view all by) ::: November 10, 2005, 07:33 AM:


Victoria's Secret has over 35 styles in 36A. I know, I used to wear that size. Then I had kids, and now I wear a 38B. They're not that much easier to find, as most bra-makers seem to think that anyone wearing a 38 band *must* be fluffy.

I also had good luck with Playtex Thank Goodness it Fits line.

#229 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 11, 2005, 03:49 AM:

I haven't been inside a Victoria's Secret in -years-. There are two main reasons, first one is "nothing in here to fit me," the second one was the chemical pollution that was apparent even -outside- the store. I don't go into most beauty parlors, either, given a choice--some years back when my parents were still in Florida and I was visiting them, my mother went every week to have her hair done. I walked in and it was Instant Migraine from the nasty chemicals in the air in the stuff like the hairspray. Ugh, ugh, ugh, ugh!

Victoria's Secret may or may not still use whatever it was to scent the place that sent my sinuses into revolt, I haven't had the inclination to make the experiment and go inside one in quite a long time.

Mike: Barbie had cones. Cones, melons, cannonballs, torpedoes... different shapes. Hmm, Barbie is like silicone pads? (artificial inflation...).

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