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February 26, 2006

Open thread 60
Posted by Teresa at 03:50 PM *

You tell me this is God?
I tell you this is a printed list,
A burning candle and an ass.

—Stephen Crane

Comments on Open thread 60:
#1 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 04:04 PM:

I read in Teresa's particless over on the left, the poem about "The Day THe Saucers Came" (now aged off the column and in the MORE... area). Does it seem to anyone else that the narrator of the poem is stuck in the dark ages? Any reasonable woman would clip on her cellphone and go out to see what's interesting. Sitting and mooning at the phone for someone to call is a last century notion.

And I get the definite impression that the waiting person is a she ... is that just sexism on my part?

#2 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 04:19 PM:

I just learned, via Patrick's Sidelight, about Octavia Butler's death. We had met a few times. I love her work, and was looking forward to much more of it. I was so happy when she won the MacArthur award. Damn. This hurts.

#3 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 04:20 PM:

has it been confirmed then?

#4 ::: Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 04:21 PM:

Scorpio: cellphones aren't romantic ;) They don't FIT into poetry. Unless the poet wants to make the point that he's NOT romantic. And since I read the poem when it was linked to from Neil Gaiman's blog and I knew he had written it, N was clearly male to me.

#5 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 04:28 PM:

Waiting for the phone to ring isn't romantic, either. Then you hear the poem as Neil upbraiding some brain dead chick for waiting for him to call??

I'm aghast, meanwhile, to hear about Octavia Butler. She has been one of my very favorite writers for years.

#6 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 04:37 PM:

The post linked to in the second half of the Sidelights link, here, certainly appears to be confirmation.

#7 ::: Marna ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 06:12 PM:

Octavia Butler: Hell. Damn. Spit. I got nothin' to the point.

Any reasonable woman would clip on her cellphone and go out to see what's interesting.

I'm sitting here now thinking about how many truly worldshaking events have happened since I was born that made no real impression on me at the time because I was preoccupied with something that was shaking my own world too hard for my eyes to focus on anything outside myself.

#8 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 06:51 PM:

Not mine, but I've liked it for years:

I am the one who said:

"Don't you see the acacias have blossomed
and within us is the springtime of souls?"

That's not mine any longer,
I smoke my cigarette
and think of something else.

I can't remember the author's name, though I have the original by heart:

Son eu aquel que dixo:

"¿No vés? ya florecieron las acacias
y hay en nosotros primavera de almas."

Iste xa non é meu.
Eu fumo meu cigarro
e penso noutra cousa.

Does anybody know who wrote it?

#9 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 06:51 PM:

I should add that I'm saddened by the death of Octavia Butler, a writer whose work I admire.

#10 ::: Rachael de Vienne ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 07:49 PM:

I kissed my love.
He wasn't there.

Tears filled my eyes,
and a little fear.

I need him so;
My heart is prone.

My only contact is by cell phone.
-- An Insta Poem by Rachael

Who says there's no romance in a cell phone?

#11 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 08:00 PM:

Oh dear, that is sad news. We need her imagination and depth.

#12 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 08:09 PM:

Butler will be missed. I wish I could articulate why, and what an important person she was, but words are failing me now.

#13 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 08:11 PM:

RIP, Ms. Butler. Thanks for the wonderful stories.

#14 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 08:12 PM:

I'm looking for some recommendations: Would folks mind passing on some titles of first novels published in the sf/f/mys genres in 2005-06?


#15 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 08:40 PM:

Then you hear the poem as Neil upbraiding some brain dead chick for waiting for him to call??

On my first read, since I knew it was by Gaiman, I imagined the narrator was male. However, I can imagine it being a female narrator criticizing a rather brain-dead guy like, say, me. It's a pretty gender-neutral poem, in my humble.

#16 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 08:50 PM:

First novel - _Counting Heads_ by David Marusek.

_Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell_ by Susanna Clarke.

And here is a whole web site full of others:

#17 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 08:54 PM:

Nah -- it's a he addressing a she. If it were the other way, well instead of:

You didn't notice any of this because
you were sitting in your room, not doing anything
not even reading, not really, just
looking at your telephone,
wondering if I was going to call.

we might have seen:

You didn't notice any of this because
you were sitting in your oldest undershirt with holes
drinking beer, can after can and
watching the Super Bowl
staring and waiting to see Janet's boob.

OK, maybe that is extreme, but it would at least explain why the person was sitting in one place. A phone call just doesn't cut it anymore :)

#18 ::: Shawn M Bilodeau ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 09:28 PM:

Harry Connolly asked: Would folks mind passing on some titles of first novels published in the sf/f/mys genres in 2005-06?

I don't know if this quite counts, as the actual publication date was October 2004 (I didn't read it until 2005), but I really enjoyed Tamara Siler Jones' first novel Ghosts in the Snow. And it qualifies for at least two out of the three generes you specified.

Which two, I'm not exactly sure. Definitely mystery, but I haven't decided if the other genre is fantasy (because the world of the novel still has traces of magic in it) or science fiction, because there are hints that this might be a future world in which magic came, and then (nearly) went.

In any event, it's a good read. As is its sequel, Threads of Malice, which was published in late 2005.

#19 ::: nina armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 11:06 PM:

First novels in 2005
Fantasy-Poison Study by Maria Snyder,
and Vellum by Hal Duncan..
both good reads.
Rest well Ms. Butler..

#20 ::: Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: February 26, 2006, 11:30 PM:

This, this is not a woman speaking to a man?

You didn't notice any of this because
you were sitting in your room, not doing anything
not even reading, not really, just
looking at your telephone,
wondering if I was going to call.

Oh, we've waited for her to call. Look up. Say something. Notice. "I stood under the window with my open arms," said Zadie Smith;

I did all the old boy tricks. These tricks are not as difficult as some boys will have you believe, but they are indeed slow, and work only by a very gradual process of accumulation.

thereby proving obliquely enough there's nothing peculiarly boyish about them at all.

(Is it the phone that puts one off? Do boys not wait for it to ring? Do girls not call? They did my God twenty years ago, when I'd get the machine and do my best to say it just so, nary a hint of the deeps I was trying blithely to skate over, but still it was there if she chose to hear it, if and only if she felt the same way, and then I waited to see what—)

#21 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 12:00 AM:

I just read on DailyKos that the death toll from Katrina is now 1420. (Apparently they find one or two bodies every day...) In the best managed situation some of those folks would have died, no doubt, but as far as I'm concerned, the Bush administration's do-nothing version of FEMA is probably responsible for at least 1000 of them.


#22 ::: M.E. Henaghen ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 12:39 AM:

Regarding the Gaiman poem:

When I read it I liked it, didn't concentrate too much on the narrator's voice.

If you really want to analyze it though, (especially if you concede the lack of cell phone argument as indicating it is either "old fashioned" or set in the past) one might argue that someone "waiting" for a call would (traditionally) be female, while someone "wondering" would be male ...

Bottom line though is that Marna's analysis for meaning is outstanding. I wish I'd gotten that first time around; I was laughing to hard st the repetitive tropes.

Re: Octavia Butler:

Damn! Too many people dyin' lately. May she rest well, and be remebered in her works.

#23 ::: Darkrose ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 01:07 AM:

I'm so shocked at the news about Octavia Butler that I don't know what to say. She will be greatly missed.

#24 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 02:14 AM:

Any reasonable woman would clip on her cellphone and go out to see what's interesting.

The point of the poem is that the addressee (which, being female, I read as female) doesn't find any of that interesting in comparison to waiting for the poet to call.

Speaking personally, I might very well find myself at home mooning at two phones, mobile and landline, under those circumstances. It's not the technology, kids, it's the heart.

#25 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 03:18 AM:

Yes, Octavia Butler's death has been confirmed... Here's her obituary...

#26 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 03:24 AM:

I am a gentleman in a dustcoat, trying
To make you hear. Your ears are soft and small
And listen to an old man not at all.
They want the young men's whispering and sighing.
But see the roses on your trellis dying
And hear the spectral singing of the moon,
For I must have my lovely lady soon.
I am a gentleman in a dustcoat, trying.

I am a lady, young, in beauty waiting,
Until my lover comes, and then we kiss.
But wait! For what old man is this
Whose words are dry and faint, as from a dream?
Back from my trellis, sir, before I scream!
I am a lady, young, in beauty waiting.

John Crowe Ransom.

He did it without a cellphone.

#27 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 06:46 AM:

That Seattle Post-Intelligencer obituary for Octavia Butler is definitely better than the usual local-media coverage of the death of an SF notable. Good for them.

SF and fantasy debut novels from Tor in 2005-6:

Old Man's War by John Scalzi (January 2005)
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson (May 2005)
Singer of Souls by Adam Stemple (August 2005) (1)
Counting Heads by David Marusek (November 2005)
Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell (February 2006)
A Shadow in Summer by Daniel Abraham (March 2006)
In the Eye of Heaven by David Keck (April 2006)
Grease Monkey by Tim Eldred (June 2006) (2)
Reiffen's Choice by S. C. Butler (September 2006)


(1) First solo novel. The same season saw his collaboration with Jane Yolen, the middle-grade YA novel Pay the Piper.

(2) Graphic novel.

#28 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 08:15 AM:

I'm really upset about Octavia Butler too. I didn't know her at all, but I've always loved her work. She wrote so brilliantly about coping with the alien. I was re-reading Dawn just on Friday. Damn.

My favourite first novels of 2005 were John Scalzi's Old Man's War as just mentioned by Patrick, and Sarah Monette's unusual fantasy Melusine.

My best new discovery of 2005 was the brilliant Kurt Schroeder. He had been published in previous years, I'd just not been paying the right kind of attention.

#30 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 09:09 AM:

Karl. Or course Karl. I have no brain.

#31 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 09:10 AM:

Thanks for all the suggestions. My reading list is filling up nicely.

#32 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 09:21 AM:

So sorry to read about Ms. Butler passing. Way too soon.

#33 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 09:22 AM:

They're pstng wtht vwls on Barbelith Underground. (Link from bOINGbOING; disemvowelling credit given where due.)

#34 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 10:01 AM:

Octavia Butler: oh no!

A friend of mine who was never into sci-fi recently discovered her work and loves it. She's going to be so disappointed. Along with all the rest of us.

#35 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 11:22 AM:

I already posted on Steve Barnes' blog about Octavia's far-too-premature death, but the sentiment all of us seem to share is "Damn!"

As to first novels, I only just read Hal Duncan's Vellum for the US edition -- it will be my top review for March -- but can join the chorus of praise, even if it's not an "easy read." My year-end column in the Feb. Locus also mentions Berman's Bear Daughter, Marusek's Counting Heads (though it was a bit too grim for me to love it), Monette's Mélusine, Zahrah the Windseeker, and Elantris (didn't make the official list, but no it's not just one of those fantasies with a map in front), as well as Tim Pratt's Strange Adventures of Rangergirl and Anna Tambour's witty Spotted Lily. Just wish I'd had the chance -- and the time -- to see the others!

#36 ::: M.E. Henaghen ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 11:31 AM:

OK, it's an open thread, so I trust this is alright.

I'm trying to find a book I remember reading when I was a kid. But I can't remember the title.

It was a fantasy about a family competing with a giant who had (IIRC) dammed up their stream.

There is a clever interplay about a "Giants' Law" where as each member of the family comes to duel they say
"But I know the Giants' Law: 'If I can perform a giant's task, then he must do wahtever I ask.' "

And the giant responds "But do you know the rest of the law? 'If that task you cannot do, it's seven years of work for you!' "

Mom and Dad think the giant looks dumb, and take on the giant, and lose. Then the kid comes and wins through general cleverness and kid-qualities.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?
Can anyone tell me the title and or author?

Many thanks in advance for any help you can provide.

#37 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 12:20 PM:

I was chatting with a friend a little while ago about various mythologies, when something occurred to me that seemed a bit odd. The Judeo-Christian mythos, as I know it, is distinctly lacking in a representation of the nature of the Sun and the Moon. That may be unique in my experience...almost every other mythology I've heard of has a prominent explanation of some sort for what the Sun and Moon are, or once were or represent, or whatever. All the stories that I heard when I was a child seemed to have been borrowed (usually with attribution) from other cultures.

Were there traditional Judeo-Christian sun/moon stories to which I've just never been exposed, or did something happen to supress them, or what?

#38 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 12:41 PM:

Skwid - I think the story is that God made 'em in the first couple of days, and that's all you need to know. Now get back to supportin' the troops.

#39 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 12:44 PM:

ZOMG! Picture and link to article called "Dungeon Masters With Mice" on the front of!


ahem sorry.


#40 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 01:07 PM:

It's just hit the wires that Dennis Weaver has also left the area.

#41 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 02:17 PM:


The creation story in Genesis 1 essentially displaces the type of stories about cosmological struggle or identification of gods/goddesses with the heavenly bodies which give us the sun/moon stories of other traditions. The sun and moon are created things entirely owing their existence to Elohim (Genesis 1 is an E-text) and their courses are entirely subordinate to his command. In many ways it is not only un-mythological in character but anti-mythological in character. (For more of this, see von Rad on the Old Testament).

#42 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 03:05 PM:

Just about right now, sometime b/w 3pm & 4pm Eastern Standard Time, Monday, 27-Feb, NPR's "Talk of the Nation" will have a segment on Octavia Butler, featuring Greg Bear.

#43 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 03:23 PM:

Sorry to hear about Ms. Butler.

In totally other news, I happened to see Our Host at the comicon on Saturday.

I may have gone "Squee!" .

#44 ::: Jakob ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 03:24 PM:

This might be pertinent to the copyright discussion as well:

Much as I find the idea of Dan Brown getting into trouble for lifting his 'scholarship' from elsewhere, I doubt that his taking a historical theory and turning into a pile of schlock is really actionable. Although if the judge issues an injunction, we might be spared the film of the Da Vinci code...

#45 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 03:48 PM:

This lawsuit is going to boil down to free publicity for Dan Brown and that movie.

#46 ::: Ian Myles Slater ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 04:30 PM:

Interesting question on Solar and Lunar mythology. If you count angels of the heavenly bodies, the answer might be a qualified yes, for both Judaism and Christianity; but there isn't much to be said about such personifications; and the whole idea tends to merge into the Intelligences of the medieval world-view, somewhere between physics and theology, once Aristotle had come into the picture.

Rabbinic lore does include some narrative material on the Sun and Moon. much of which probably can be traced most easily in Louis Ginzberg's old "Legends of the Jews" (now closing in on its centennial, and available in paperback and CD-ROM), I don't have my copy at hand, but, working strictly from memory, I can point to a little tale of sibling rivalry:

The Sun and Moon were created equal, and the Moon complained that they were too much alike, asking that some distinction be made between them. God obliged, by transferring much of the jealous Moon's radiance to the innocent Sun.

There are other midrashic (homiletical exegesis) treatments of the theme of "be careful what you ask for," generally with ironic endings; in some, Abraham makes open-ended requests with unexpected results, like Pain and Old Age. This is the only one I recall with a cosmological, rather than terrestrial or heavenly, setting.

In pre-Rabbinic literature, the astronomical sections of the "Book of Enoch" (now found in the Ethiopic translation; fragments from Qumran reveal an older, fuller text) have a good deal to say about the sun, moon, and stars -- but mainly as personifications, and related to a theory of a "perfect" Solar Calendar of *exactly* 364 days. (Apparent deviations being due entirely to someone's misbehavior; so pay no attention to the evidence of your eyes!) Whether one wishes to consider this mythology is a matter of definitions -- it is perhaps rather more interesting as cult astronomy (in several senses of cult) and mathematics than as narrative.

Finally, there is an early Muslim account of a Jewish apocalyptic tradition -- not, I think, clearly attested elsewhere, but much has been lost -- in which, at the End of Days, God casts down the Sun in order to refute, with visible evidence of its subordinate status, all the sun-worshipping idolaters. The Muslim reporter waxes indignant at the idea of God punishing the Sun for the sins of mortals. However, there is a Rabbinic doctrine that those in high positions are held responsible for leading others astray by example, *even through actions which are, technically, legal*; which may have been the immediate point of the tale, or at least as important as the colorful eschatology.

#47 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 05:01 PM:

My contribution to the Gaiman poem stream. This is by Robert Graves and is quoted from memory (all errors in spelling and accentuation are mine):

Entre deux belles femmes dans un seul lit
Un homme se sentant interdit.
Des convenances n'ose pas faire foin
Mais opte pour elle qu'il aime le moins.

Entre deux beaux hommes en pareil cas,
Une femme sans mœurs si délicat,
Mais sans s'exprimer en termes crus
Se penche vers lui qu'elle aime le plus.

#48 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 05:27 PM:

Fragano, it may amaze you to learn that not everyone here reads French that easily. Could you give us a gisty translation?

#49 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 05:36 PM:


Between two beautiful women in one bed
A man, speechless,
Does not dare cause a scandal
But opts for the one he loves the least.

Between two handsome men in such a case,
A woman without such delicate morals,
But without expressing herself crudely
Leans toward the one she loves the most.

[Translators' note: Hrmph.]

#50 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 05:37 PM:



#51 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 05:45 PM:

Good translation, TexAnne. Thanks.

#52 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 05:46 PM:

To M.E. and anyone else trying to find title/author of a book of which they have only vague recollections:

This is an excellent resource. Warning: can be addictive.

#53 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 05:50 PM:

We believe in the Father, the Sun, and the Holy Spirit...

#54 ::: Emily ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 06:41 PM:

What a shame about Octavia Butler! I really enjoy her work, and enjoyed speaking to her the one time I attended a reading.

#55 ::: novalis ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 07:33 PM:

I just read "Counting Heads", and I can't see what all the fuss is about. OK, spoiler warning -- the problem with the novel is that nothing is resolved, so I'll have to give away plot and ending details to explain what's going on:

---- SPOILERS ----

The first segment introduces Eleanor, whose sole function is to die and Samson, who does nothing but whine. I could forgive this if the rest of the book were complete -- but it's not. The only worthwhile characters are Fred and Mary -- and their story arcs are left dangling. What happened to the whole idea of clone fatigue? Evangelines turn out to make fantastic secret agents -- so Mary ends up as ... a model. Meanwhile, Fred and Mary's marriage is on the rocks because Fred likes little girls, but this, too is dropped. Meewee is certainly convincing as a fanatic -- but we never learn why he cares about the Project. Most annoyingly, the whole probate problem isn't resolved. HomSec's manipulation of mentars, and arbitrary detention policies, drive the whole plot of the novel. But since they're never explained, they function as a deus ex machina.

And now I'm off to go catch up on the Octavia Butler that I should have read years ago.

#56 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 07:49 PM:

For those looking for some good news: Dub(ai)ya's approval is down to 34 percent.

#57 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 07:53 PM:

Yep, a smart young feller could make himself good money selling something that could remove Bush / Cheney bumper stickers.

Hmmmm, BadThought: When Bush's positive rating hits 33%, Karl Rove gently suggests that it is time to nuke Iran.

#58 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 08:20 PM:

I just got around to taking out renter's insurance on my place (having let it lapse while I was Very Poor in school), and I'm pondering how to estimate my book collection. It's not as big as some -- around 1500 sf paperbacks (mostly from the 60s through now), maybe 300 or so sf hardbacks, and maybe 500 other books, reference etc.

Nothing terribly valuable; an ex libris copy of the first American edition of Solaris is about as big as it gets, but there's certainly things that would be difficult to replace, like my copy of Butler's (and wah, dammit, for such an early death) Survivor.

So anyone got any advice as to how to estimate how much it is worth/would cost to replace? And what sort of information should I give the insurance company/document to make sure it's fully covered and that they won't refuse a claim? I plan to eventually catalogue the books, but that's well in the future, and I did a back of hand calculation and realized that it would quite possibly take more to replace my books than all my clothes, computers, furniture, and jewelry.

Plus, does anyone have advice on good, free (or at least inexpensive) book cataloging software? Particularly one that reads bar codes and translates them to titles? I have an old CueCat that I could use, and I'd like to minimize my data entry time.

#59 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 08:38 PM:

You might check to see how far along Tim at Library Thing has gotten with barcoding. I know he's mentioned (on the official blog) that he hopes to do that. There's also a LibraryThing Group at Google (linkable from LT) which discusses all manner of features, both desired and completed.

#60 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 08:44 PM:

Fragano: Thanks, though there was little actual poetry in there. Troubadour lyric, now there's something you can sink your teeth in (and tear your hair out over).

#61 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 09:05 PM:

I played around with Library Thing, and found it easy to use, even without a barcode scanner.

I only indexed my small living room bookcase, though. For the curious, here's that subset:

#62 ::: Mike Booth ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 09:14 PM:


I still have a plan to catalogue my books, along with my CDs and movies. A friend of mine recommended Readerware. You can buy their software for books, CDs, or videos for $40 each, or get all three for $75, which is what I did. The software works with the CueCat, although it takes some practice to master the art of swiping the Cuecat - be patient. I've only tried the CD catalog, but it has worked well so far.

Meanwhile, there's online software that not only catalogs your books, but shares your catalog information with others. I have yet to make up my mind whether this is a bug or a feature. I see that folks have already mentioned LibraryThing, which appears to cost $25 for a lifetime membership. (Whose lifetime? This is an important question to ask. Unless you really enjoy cataloging books over and over, you should make sure you can download a copy of your catalog as a backup. )

I've seen someone online - I wish I remember who - raving about the latest thing in social book cataloging software: Delicious Library. But it turns out to be for the Mac, and I'm between Macs at the moment, so I have no idea how good it is.

#63 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 09:21 PM:

Mike Booth - You can download your library data from Library Thing in CSV and dump it into Excel, Access or pretty much any other data management tool.

#64 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 09:25 PM:

Mike Booth, under the "extras" tab in Library Thing is an item which when clicked will export your data into .csv format for Excel. I haven't done it yet, but then I've got just over 1200 books and they're mostly in one place, so I could always start over. (Hmm. I think I'll do that export thing this evening.)

#65 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 09:43 PM:

Literal translation makes figurative translation possible, however crudely:

When three ways simmer down to two
A man who knows not what to do
Will not just laugh and stay between
But coldly sacrifice his queen.

A lady at the same divide
Who's as resigned to take a side
Won't curse the game, or snarl and fight,
But lose the pawn, and play the knight.

(Don't expect an alternate version of Saucers.)

#66 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 10:07 PM:

TexAnne: My knowledge of troubador lyric is primarily 12th and 13th century Galician-Portuguese

(Waves of the sea at Vigo
Have you seen my beloved?
Oh, God, may he return soon!

Waves of the risen see
Have you seen my beloved?
Oh, God, may he return soon!

I grant you this loses something from the original

Ondas do mar de Vigo
Se vistes meu amigo?
E, ai Deus! que verrá cedo!

Ondas do mar levado
Se vistes meu amade?
E, ai Deus! que verrá cedo!)

John M Ford: That's brilliant!!

#67 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 10:08 PM:

Dirty pool!

I just borrowed 'The Wizard of Karres' from my local library, and I noticed in the blurbs section on the back there's a section of "Praise for the prequel".

No mention is made of the "prequel" being written by a different author 30 years ago (well - 57 years ago for the first couple of chapters).

As for the book - maybe I've grown too old, maybe I'm grumpy from working till 2am most nights for the last few weeks, but the writing seems extraordinarily dull and lustreless. I didn't expect better, but I did hope for it.

#68 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 10:08 PM:

Would folks mind passing on some titles of first novels published in the sf/f/mys genres in 2005-06?

Elizabeth Bear, Hammered

#69 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 10:10 PM:

That's 'sea' not 'see'.

#70 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 10:32 PM:

Steve Taylor, you want the original Witches of Karres. Not the edited version by Baen.

Tavella, for regular SF/F hardcover, I usually get about $5 each. For regular paperback, $2 each. For unusual items, you'd have to trawl the booksellers to see what they're worth.

#71 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 10:53 PM:

Jim Baen edited The Witches of Karres? No, no, Lizzy, you can't say those things here... *hand over mouth*

#72 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 11:24 PM:

Marilee wrote:

> Steve Taylor, you want the original Witches of Karres. Not the edited version by Baen.

And I've got it, albeit in a rather battered edition. I'm not talking about the Baen re-edit though - I'm talking about the entirely new sequel by Eric Flint, Mercedes Lackey, and Dave Freer.

I love the original, but for me the sequel didn't work a bit - much as I'd feared. I'd be interested to hear other people's impressions though.

#73 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 11:30 PM:

Harry: Karen Traviss, City of Pearl. (I have no comment about the other books listed; I just grabbed this one recently, in contrast to being 1-2 years behind in my reading of novels.) Not perfect, but a very good first effort.

#74 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 11:47 PM:

Mike, that's gorgeous.

#75 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: February 27, 2006, 11:57 PM:

Stefan, re: removing bumper stickers. Mayonnaise or something similarly oily will jar the adhesive off a bumper or other such metallic element. You may have to apply and then let it soak in for a bit, but it won't hurt the finish and you will be able to roll any left over adhesive off the car.*

* This is what I've been told from reliable sources, I've never owned a car that I've applied a bumper sticker to that hasn't gone away with bumper ticker still intact. I'm still holding off on putting the cuthulu antenna doohickie on my car because I'm driving the oldest car i the house and don't want to have to get rid of the cuthulu thingie. (secure application involves Crazy Glue....)

#76 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 12:08 AM:

Ooh, LibraryThing looks pretty sweet, thanks Linkmeister. It'd be nice to have everything online, too. And thanks for the estimate, Marilee. That sounds about right for rough order estimate, and I should probably break out things that I know are distinctly out of like, like Solaris and Survivor.

#77 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 12:09 AM:

Awwww, I was being silly about the bumper sticker removeal business, Paula. But that technique IS good to know.

I won't share it with any Republicans, though. If they're going to get rid of their "W" stickers, I'd rather see them scrape the things off the hard way and scratch up their bumpers and tailgates. Right penance, that.

#78 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 02:07 AM:

Wow. Mayonnaise? Really? I've got a stereo turntable platter I'm trying to restore, and its pedestal has residue from the old belt which decomposed in place. So far I've tried #0000 superfine steel wool, nail polish remover, and I'm about to try (on the recommendation from a turntable repair guy in NC) lacquer thinner.

Hmmm. Mayonnaise. I need to think about this.

#79 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 03:56 AM:

The fall of 2000 the sticker went on
A diehard Republican family car
With two-point-five children and wife stayed at home,
The husband a hardworking man.

Fast forward fast forward,
The children grow up
The husband he loses his job,

Fast forward fast forward
Their medical bills,
Go soaring to orbit so high.

The fall of 2004 the sticker still there,
They still the party line vote,
Supportive are they of Executive Branch,
Their family values intact.

Fast forward fast forward
The bills and their lives
Behind on the payments they fall,

Fast forward fast forward
Corruption takes toll
They're starting to notice at last.

#80 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 05:25 AM:

Linkmeister, do you know the composition of the old belt? Was it mostly rubber, or something based on fossil fuel derivatives?

#81 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 08:57 AM:

Paula, I am sad to report that super glue only works so long as there are no determined human hands involved, and that all that is left of my Cthulhu antenna ball is greenish super glue residue on the antenna. Thieving bastards. I'm surprised they didn't take my WWCD license-plate frame while they were at it.

#82 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 09:00 AM:

Oh, while we're dispensing advice: You can likely leave off the use of solvents to remove bumper stickers altogether with cautious application of a heat gun, or (should you not wish to concern yourself with the possibility of stripping the paint off your car) just a hairdryer will probably do.

#83 ::: Rachael de Vienne ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 09:03 AM:

Many booksellers use a program called HomeBase. It’s a listing program for Internet sales. However, it works well as a personal library catalogue. You can download it for free from Try it.

#84 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 09:41 AM:

Peanut butter is supposed to have similar properties to mayonaise. (For stickyness removal.)


#85 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 10:03 AM:

Mike: Wow. Can I translate anything else for you?

Fragano: I also like "Mia hermana fremosa", are they both by Martin Codax? But my all-time absolute favorite poet is Raimbaut d'Aurenga, aka Raimbaut d'Orange, he who wrote "Ar resplan la flors enversa" (Now shines the inverted flower).

#86 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 10:15 AM:

about LibraryThing,

There is an excellent tutorial on the hows and whys of using cuecat with librarything. Unfortunately it is stored in the librarything yahoo group, so you have to sign up for it. Just go to yahoo groups and search for it.

(Firefox chose this post to stop responding correctly to the control and quotation mark keys, so I effectively can not do a darn thing to be directly helpful. Hopefully this is nothing serious.)


#87 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 10:28 AM:

TexAnne: Yes they're both by Martín Códax.

I should read more Occitan verse, I suppose, slogging my way through the originals and cursing Ezra Pound the while.

#88 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 10:40 AM:

I love the original, but for me the sequel didn't work a bit

I thought the sequel was a bit too far towards (a) trendy science and (b) slapstick. I keep wondering what Schmitz might have done if he'd written the sequel.

#89 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 10:51 AM:

Fragano: thanks for the accents. I forgot about those. Furthermore: Ezra Pound? Ick. As for slogging, may I suggest William Paden's An Introduction to Old Occitan? Published by the MLA, I believe. It comes with a pronunciation guide and musical examples on CD.

#90 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 11:58 AM:

I'll just note that the major edits, more than an occasional word substitution, in some of Schmitz's other stories don't mean the originals have vanished. They're now available in the Baen Free Library.

#91 ::: Renee ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 11:59 AM:

Re: bumper sticker (or gunky sticker) removals

Yes, mayo, peanut butter, olive oil, Crisco, etc. all work for removing gummed labels from just about anything. The secret is the oil. Using mayo or peanut butter is good 'cause they don't run off slanted surfaces before the oil has the chance to do its thing with the glue.

I've tried this several times; it's worked every time. Don't forget to wash with a mild soap and water afterward to clean up the leftover oil.

#92 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 01:08 PM:

TexAnne: In writing Spanish, Galician, or Portuguese words inserting the accented characters has become second nature to me (much less so in French, a language which I speak badly).

By slogging, I mean I can work my way slowly through texts in Catalan and Occitan generally by referring back to French and Spanish. I do the same for Italian (helped by the fact that I have a digloss Machiavelli), even though I can make no claim to speak the language.

An Introduction to Old Occitan does sound like something I'd want to have.

#93 ::: Nathan E. Rasmussen ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 01:10 PM:

Andrew Plotkin describes his own book-scanning project on his site.

Be warned, it's rather techie/hackish, and took place a few years ago, so some of the web pages it queries may be out of date. Highlights: Use of free web resources to gather book information; clever matching of publisher numbers between the EAN and the UPC barcodes, by taking advantage of the books that have both; flat-text processing and output (using Python). And it has references to a Radio Shack CueCat giveaway program from several years ago (links now broken).

#94 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 01:10 PM:

TexAnne: The Ezra Pound reference was to his, ahem, translations of Occitan verse. As Gilbert Highet put it, 'It took old Ezry/To ruin Provençal poetry for us.'

#95 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 01:32 PM:

mez, I'm pretty sure it was rubber alone, but I can't be entirely positive. One of the issues is that whatever gets used must not leave a residue behind which might harm the replacement belt I just acquired.

#96 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 01:38 PM:

One of the reasons I'm restoring this turntable is that the newer ones being made all have plastic bases and look like they're only two degrees of evolution up from something Fisher-Price or Hasbro might have come up with -- plastic bases for a unit which might weigh about 3 pounds. The old one looks like a solid piece of electronics combined with attractive design.

#97 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 01:39 PM:

Mike: wow. You're bloody fucking brilliant.

Can't wait to meet you!

#98 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 01:49 PM:

Fragano: Yes, that's what my "ick" was for, the overdramatic churl. In happier news, I'm joining a Dante reading group. Getting together monthly with friends, bilingual editions, and good wine ought to teach me Italian in nothing flat.

#99 ::: J. Cheney ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 02:15 PM:

Given the number of translators on this page, I thought I could dare the question...

Anyone know a good source for used books in French? I've already tried

I'm looking for Ansen Dibell's 4th and 5th books in the Kantmorie series, and know they're only available in French and Dutch. Any thoughts?

#100 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 02:42 PM:

The thing to do with a Bush bumper sticker is place a bold IMPEACH above it. Penance is expensive.

#101 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 02:47 PM:

Nathan: clever matching of publisher numbers between the EAN and the UPC barcodes, by taking advantage of the books that have both

"Scan both and build a table of cached lookups" may not be perfect, but it's free. Free is good.

#102 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 03:35 PM:

Personally, I would love a pack of little, font-matched stickers reading "an idiot" to place where appropriate on those obnoxious huge W stickers captioned with "Still the President."

Those make me want to rear-end someone at least once a day.

Linkmeister, the heat gun would probably be useful in your circumstance, particularly as the residue you're dealing with may not be oil soluble.

#103 ::: Marna ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 05:48 PM:

I would never put a bumper sticker on someone else's car. That would be WRONG.

But now that the fine for parking in a marked handicapped spot has gone up enough to be a very serious and effective deterrent around here, I ... MAY have a small stock of "I don't give a flying fuck about the crippled and the elderly" stickers sitting around eating their heads off.

Variations are possible...

#104 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 07:51 PM:

TexAnne: I've not learned Italian from my digloss Machiavelli. It's come in handy for nice quotes in the original...

Pound was a decent poet who thought he was better than he actually was.

#105 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 08:07 PM:

Surely you've seen Jeffrey Rowland's answer to the "W" sticker.

I'd buy one, but I suspect it'd be misunderstood.

#106 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 08:12 PM:

"I suspect it'd be misunderstood"

Gee, ya think?

#107 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 09:26 PM:

Lizzy L, I've just started on the new antidepressant and don't have my sarcasm-alert back, so, not Jim himself, Eric Flint edited it on behalf of Baen. Eric has been editing some of their republished books to bring them "up-to-date."

Steve, of course the sequel is crap. Look who wrote it. (My opinion, almost certainly not that of our hosts.)

#108 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 09:38 PM:


(PRLEAP.COM) "We’ve tested a lot of e-book waters, including various cockamamie schemes involving overpriced e-books laden with DRM," says TOR Books Executive Editor Patrick Nielsen Hayden.

"Oddly enough," Hayden continues, "a lot of those ‘books’ didn’t even sell enough copies to pay for their file-conversion costs. Meanwhile, it hasn’t escaped our notice that Jim Baen has been doing something that works, that people like, and that makes money. I’m delighted to be doing this pilot program; I think Jim has been clueful on this issue for a long time, while almost everyone else in publishing has been staggering around on stage hitting one another over the head with inflated pig bladders."

Jim Baen’s Universe is published as a bimonthly online magazine, beginning June 2006, with over 150,000 words per issue, making it far larger than a typical magazine. The magazine can be read online, or in a variety of downloadable formats, including Acrobat PDF, Mobipocket, Microsoft Reader, RTF, and others.
As with all of Baen Publishing’s electronic offerings, Jim Baen’s Universe is published completely unencrypted and without any Digital Rights Management schemes or copy protection.

Hey, Patrick, I liked the Guiilvers Travels reference.

#109 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 10:10 PM:

The Witches of Karres did not need to be brought up-to-date the last time I read it...

Are they doing that a lot? Never mind, I don't really want to know.

#110 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: February 28, 2006, 10:20 PM:

Jeffrey Rowland's answer to the "W" sticker

I made a version a month or so back that turned it into "Wiretap", flying the skull and crossbones. It's more a standard bumper-sticker design.

#111 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2006, 04:23 AM:

Ad seen in main city newpaper today:

Writer's wanted

Your book published!

Call this number....

Ay de mi.

#112 ::: Marna ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2006, 05:14 AM:

M.E.: I win at poem? Oh good, I was starting to think I'd missed the point completely.

TexAnne: That was a stunning translation. Not the flavour of the original, exactly, but its own thing, and I adore it.

I will NOT post limericks. I will NOT lower the tone. Oh, heck:

*folds hands primly and recites*

King Richard in one of his rages
Forsoook his good lady for ages
And rested in bed
With a good book instead
Or preferably, one of the pages.

#113 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2006, 07:13 AM:

The Witches of Karres did not need to be brought up-to-date the last time I read it...

Yep. Goth girls in 1950 :-)

#114 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2006, 09:32 AM:

Marna: no, mine was pedestrian and boring. The stunning one belongs to John M. Ford and posterity.

#115 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2006, 09:38 AM:

J. Cheney, the best way I know of to locate used books in French is through, which gives you, in the advanced search mode, the option of searching for books from bealers in specific countries. Of course, the basic search mode allows for author and title searches, so locating works by a specific author in any location is not a problem.

A quick search by author alone ahows 298 titles in various locations; a search for author and dealers in France 24 titles.

There are probably other and better ways to do this, including sites that handle French dealers alone, which may well have more French used book dealers than abebooks does; but this does produce some titles, even if they aren't the ones you're looking for.

#116 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2006, 10:50 AM:

rhandir: thanks for the pointer to the LibraryThing tutorial on CueCats--I hadn't thought to check eBay for cheap ones, and this will make my life much, much easier.

(Question: is there any reason you can't just output the CueCat's "typing" into a text file and then use the Universal Import feature?)

#117 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2006, 01:15 PM:

Apparently this Witches book is a gap in my SF education- both the book and its history. I can piece together some of the story from looking at the Amazon "Edited by Eric Flint" cover. . . is there more to the story than "colorizing the Maltese Falcon"?

#118 ::: Dave Kuzminski ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2006, 02:06 PM:

Regarding the link about Paul: Every time I listen to a Beatles' tune and compare it with solo work from them, my mind consciously picks out elements that belong to one Beatle and only one because each had not only a distinctive musical voice, but a unique compositional one. I believe Paul tried to claim too much credit over the years.

#119 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2006, 02:55 PM:

Kate Nepveu,
thank you! You wrote:
(Question: is there any reason you can't just output the CueCat's "typing" into a text file and then use the Universal Import feature?)
I don't have the foggiest. There's two ways to use a cue cat - to have a program or driver that recognizes it and pulls out the "magic scrambling*" OR to neuter the thing. (Instructions here. Allows you to save 5$ over ebay.) Anyway, people have used it in the way you describe before the existance of Librarything. On the other hand, I have yet to fiddle with one or with library thing. So much for being helpful eh?

*Why magic scrambling? It was an early "give us your shopping habits and we'll give you otherwise inconvenient but free information" You'd scan a barcode, and pipe it through their website to decode it. It was cracked very quickly.

#120 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2006, 03:04 PM:

Witches of Karres is known as the one book about which The Other Change of Hobbit bookstore never had a complaint from a custmoer it was recommended to.

#121 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2006, 03:26 PM:

Kate, IIRC CueCats have a hardware UUEncoder built into them, so scanning the barcode results in a long string of what appears to be nonsense characters. Some CueCats can be physically hacked with a soldering iron to bypass this encoding and output unencoded data, but some can't.

I haven't read the tutorial, of course, this is all from vague memories of research I did years ago when I was first exploring creating my own library DB. I've still got my CueCat, actually, and am thinking about starting up a LibraryThing project...

#122 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2006, 03:57 PM:

I've just bought a "modified" CueCat, and the tutorial for LibraryThing, written for the modified versions, describes scanning the bar code while your web browser is open to LibraryThing's "import" page, where it will write the data into the search field, as though you'd typed in the numbers.

Which suggests to me there's no reason you couldn't dump a bunch of scanned numbers into a text file at a time and do the Universal Import, rather than wait for LibraryThing to do the lookup before scanning the next one--but when my scanner arrives, I will look into it and see!

(I'm very excited about this, and kicking myself for not thinking to check for cheap CueCats before--I'd priced regular scanners and decided they were a bit too much.)

#123 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2006, 05:02 PM:

If you want even cheaper cue cats, look at MCM, mouser, or digikey catalogs. They sometimes have large lots on surplus, for 5$/pc +s/h. On the other hand, you'd have to modify them.


#124 ::: Marna ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2006, 06:05 PM:

TexAnne: His was very good. I didn't like it as much, though I did like it, because it didn't have that concreteness, that sense of a moment.

I liked the simplicity of yours, and didn't find it pedestrian. It has *flails for nonexistent critical vocab* balance and rhythm and the emphasis in all the right places and images that stuck.

Take the nice compliment, it's got chocolate icing on it and those little candy sprinkles and everything.

#125 ::: Lea ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2006, 06:12 PM:

In reply to Marna's limerick:

*places hands behind back and recites in prim schoolgirl voice*

Said the Queen to the King: "I don't frown on
The fact that you choose to go down on
Your page on the stairs,
But you'll give the lad airs
If you will do the job with your crown on!"

(Lowering the tone? Us? Never. That was Auden! It's culture!)

#126 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 01, 2006, 10:13 PM:

...continuing the royal theme, alas with work of a lesser poet:

Our Sovereign Lady, the Queen
Is a woman of most demure mien,
Except when she's dating
A young lord-in-waiting
Her behaviour then is obscene.

#127 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2006, 12:11 AM:

For cataloging on Macs I've heard interesting things about a commercial program called (I think) Delicious Library. Does books, CDs, and DVDs, scans stuff if you simply hold the barcode on the book/CD/DVD up to a webcam (if you have one) and then indexes it various ways as well as giving you a picture presentation of the cover. Apparently has a bunch of cute Easter eggs and clever little thingies in it too (e.g. if you catalog a copy of The Empire Strikes Back, it mutters "I am your father, Luke.") I don't have a Mac so I have no direct experience of it, just reporting hearsay.

#128 ::: Anarch ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2006, 12:22 AM:

By purest serendipity, there happens to be i) an Auden poem ii) that I know iii) mentioning telephones (ok, not cells, but I'm sure he'd've written it that way if he'd been familiar with the things) that's iv) somewhat suitable (modulo gender) for the passing of Ms Butler. Forthwith:

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever; I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood,
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

I'll add as a footnote that a composition student at my university has just written a choral arrangement of this poem that is, in a word, stunning. I doubt it's available yet but if you ever get a chance to hear it -- and it won't be too hard to identify, seeing as how it was written just last year -- don't pass it up.

[And I'd be happy to give you the composer's name except that I, uh, don't remember it.]

#129 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2006, 12:32 AM:

Thank you Clifton, gonna have to look into that (I've used both platforms but love my Mac much better.There was discussion of this at Boskone, and i'd just rather use my computer than know the details/progamming of how or why it works. I do fairly complex data manipulations for work, but they have to be compatible/given to a layout artist on a Mad. And it does the job, with filemaker's help.)

#130 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2006, 01:05 AM:
Lizzy L, I've just started on the new antidepressant and don't have my sarcasm-alert back, so, not Jim himself, Eric Flint edited it on behalf of Baen. Eric has been editing some of their republished books to bring them "up-to-date."
Did Flint really change much of anything in The Witches of Karres? Last time this was discussed here (in Open Thread 26), the conclusion seemed to be he hadn't changed anything, or maybe fixed typoes.
#131 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2006, 01:24 AM:

I'm so glad The Witches of Karres is back in print especially if it has not been re-edited. I have long loved that book; I was very pleased to score a used copy when passing through a small town near Taos some 12 years ago. Schmitz's other writing I've read is OK, but Witches is pure gold from start to finish.

#132 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2006, 07:54 AM:

How pleasant it is to arrive
On Karres, by the Sheewash Drive.

#133 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2006, 08:48 AM:

Avram: Tolkien's dead.

While the author is alive, if someone wants to do something with their work, from republishing it in an anthology to quoting it or making a film out of it, the author can, and ought to be able to, say "Sure, that's nifty" or "No" or "I want more money than that". I think this level of control benefits the author and doesn't unduly harm the soup of story, which is what matters, because people really don't live all that long in those terms. If people were immortal, I'd be in favour of fixed term copyrights. But people hardly live a hundred years, and not as much as that after they publish. And really, most authors are pretty generous people. They care about their work, but they don't always say no.

I have several times contacted actual authors over wanting to quote them, and a couple of times over wanting to create a derivative work (my play "Tam Lin"). Every time, these living authors have graciously given permission, even when it was for a translation of a medieval Welsh poem to be published in a roleplaying game and the poor author had never even heard of RPGs and I had to explain at length.

I've also several times had to contact literary estates over quotes. This is a totally different experience. They don't get back to you for months, if they get back to you at all. Then all they tend to care about is money.

#134 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2006, 08:58 AM:

Jo Walton,
I think you crossposted by accident.

#135 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2006, 09:03 AM:

Clifton Royston
mentioned the "Delicious Monster" a (currently) mac-only librarything like program that uses a webcam to see the barcode.

People often say, "well that does me no good, I don't have a webcam". Note well that if you own a digial video camera or a digital camera that uses usb or firewire, you have a webcam. (Usually) Often you can see video in real time if you have it in record mode while it is hooked up to your computer, even in windows. Give it a try.


#136 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2006, 09:07 AM:

Clive Thompson blogged about Margaret Atwood's telerobotic booksigning device over on Collision Detection, and the posting contains these immortal lines:

First of all, this confirms my growing sense that Atwood is among the biggest secret geeks on the planet. After all, she's basically a sci-fi author masquerading as a writer of "serious" adult nonfiction. Her "what if" novels are so superb -- and so manifestly superior to her other books -- that I sometimes wish she'd just give up writing about the usual maundering-around-the-kitchen-moaning-about-your-children/divorce/boring-ass-upper-middle-class-life crap that comprises 99% of all of today's dinosaur literary fiction, and just throw it down old-skool in sci-fi and fantasy, and crank out a bunch of 4,000-page novels with, y'know, dragons and instellar spacecraft and shit on the covers. I would so pay for that.

#137 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2006, 10:33 AM:

If I could write a publishaable novel, I expect I'd feel differently about some things, like whether another 4000-page dragon/starship novel would sell, and if Margaret Atwood turns out to have been writing for decades as "Anne McCaffrey", I can't see anything I could complain about.

There's certainly cases of authors adopting more-or-less transparent pen-names to sell different sorts of work, but I think I could distinguish a romance from a crime thriller by more than the author's name on the cover.

#138 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 02, 2006, 09:16 PM:

Dan, if all he did was to change typos, I don't think anybody would complain.

#139 ::: Suzanne ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2006, 11:04 AM:

Random interjection of link to funny cartoon:

#140 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: March 03, 2006, 01:41 PM:

Terry Gross is repeating an earlier talk with Octavia Butler today - Fresh Air is available streamed from various stations and today's episode will be available from in a little while.

#141 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2006, 01:56 PM:

The current particle "Red-hot gay cowboys on ice" really needs to have "with Elvis" added at the end, just to complete the ambience.

#142 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 04, 2006, 11:11 PM:

Back to Kate Bush and Aerial... Does anybody else think it sounds in Aerial Tal as if she is teaching a bird to sing morse code? She is definitely singing "di-dah-dit dit-dit" and the like to the bird. (I mean notionally "singing to" in terms of the piece's "story line", they may well have been recorded at different times.) I'm not good enough at Morse transcription to make out if it spells anything, though.

#143 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 05, 2006, 09:29 PM:

Open thread point: The US is sending C-130 "Spooky" gunships to Iraq according to this.

The article says that they can be used for surveilence to look for insurgents planting IED's and whatnot, but personally, I think the fact that the country is about to tear itself in half and ol' spooky can kill every person in a full football stadium in less than a minute may be more than coincidence.

But, I am a pessimist.

#144 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2006, 08:43 AM:

Seen the Oscars last night? If not for Jon Stewart being the host, I'd have skipped, but I'm glad I did. Got quite a kick out of the Brokeback Mountain 'homage' where clips from old westerns acquired a whole new meaning, to say the least, especially the ones from The Big Country when Gregory Peck says:

"Ramon, what's about to happen must remain between you and me... and the horse."

#145 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2006, 10:22 AM:

Yup, I watched the Oscars and enjoyed Stewart and that great Western montage. (Also liked his ad libs.) In girly mode, I checked out the fashions and the face lifts, while in reviewer mode I noticed the desperation behind those salutes to great old film genres ("you can't get that fabulous experience just watching it on DVD," or some such)and even Larry McMurtry's praise for books. The now-ancient Lauren Bacall seemed like an emblem for the movie industry itself: enduring, and with some of her old power, but sadly far from her prime.

Maybe that's part of the reason for my not having seen anything new on screen since the last LOTR.

#146 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2006, 11:01 AM:

Ah yes, Faren, that comment about how "you can't get that fabulous experience just watching it on DVD"... My reaction to that was, sure, but nobody is showing those movies on the big screen, not even in rep theatres. If Ben-Hur or Journey to the Center of the Earth were playing anywhere near, I'd go. Right away.

#147 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2006, 11:11 AM:

From Sally Byers, via Pyracantha: Lava Shawl.

#148 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2006, 11:36 AM:
Dan, if all he did was to change typos, I don't think anybody would complain.
Agreed, but I haven't seen anyone complain about anything specific yet. (I may well have just missed this, of course.) I'm curious as to what besides typoes got changed.
#149 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2006, 11:39 AM:

From Sally Byers, via Pyracantha: Lava Shawl.

I hate "fun fur" - but that's spectacular!

And for those who might be interested: my "Snowdrop" is pinned out. Two skeins (but only barely) of laceweight alpaca. It's 'fluff'!

#150 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2006, 03:45 PM:

I went and bought the new Witches of Karres at lunchtime.

I'd tell you how they compare, but. . having never read the old one, I can only hope.

#151 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2006, 07:49 PM:

Dan, Flint describes them as "cuts and changes" and they're chronicled here.

#152 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2006, 09:34 PM:

I know you guys use the same host I do - or did at one time - so you might find this interesting.

Are you experiencing a similar problem since yesterday (Sunday 3/5)?

#153 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2006, 09:38 PM:


No, they aren't. That's Flint asking people to ask their bookstores to order books.

#154 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 06, 2006, 11:11 PM:

Plan a vacation on New Ephemera island!

#155 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2006, 02:28 AM:

TNH, pretty yarn, but...why would someone add nylon to such beautiful wool blends??

#156 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2006, 11:48 AM:

It's not disputed that edits were made to the Telzey Amberdon books. I thought I heard that there weren't changes to _Witches of Karres_, but I can't find the Usenet threads where it was discussed because the rancor about the Telzey Amberdon books drowns everything else out on a search.

#157 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2006, 12:24 PM:

Myself I'll always wonder why The Karres Ventures failed to sell?

The seven-volume reissue of James H. Schmitz recently completed by Baen Books puts back into print all of his work except his one and only collaborative story, the novella "Project Alpha," written with A.E. Van Vogt. I was the editor of the project, and in the course of it I wound up doing significant editing on four of the stories:

"The Star Hyacinths"

The first three stories, in their edited version, were included in the first volume of the reissue, Telzey Amberdon. The edited version of the novel Legacy was included in the third volume, Trigger & Friends.

In addition, my co-editor Guy Gordon and I decided to slightly modify a fifth story, "Planet of Forgetting," to make it fit into the Hub series. We retitled the story "Forget It," and that the name it's published under. (Also in Trigger & Friends.)

Since a number of people have expressed a desire to see the original editions of those works, we are putting them up here in the Baen Free Library, where they will be available to the public free of charge.

If anyone is wondering what I mean by "significant" editing, that refers to any editing that resulted in changing more than a few words of the text. There were a number of stories where I either cut or slightly changed words or—in a few cases—complete sentences which unnecessarily dated the story. I am not placing those here, because it would be very time-consuming for me and not worth the effort. Reissuing the entire story "Aura of Immortality," to give one example, because in two places I substituted the term "newscaster" for "newshen" is just pointless.

"Significant" means what I did with the five stories we are placing here. I cut three thousand words from the novel Legacy, which shrank the length from 76,000 words to 73,000. I cut about 15-20% of the total length of "Poltergeist." The cuts in "Undercurrents" were considerably smaller, but still added up to a number of paragraphs. While very little was actually cut from "The Star Hyacinths," I re-arranged the story by cutting the prologue and reinserting it in the form of dialogue about halfway through the story. In "Planet of Forgetting" (which we retitled "Forget It"), we changed the name of the hero, did some rearranging of paragraphs in the early sections of the story, somewhat modified a few paragraphs of background material to make it fit the Hub setting, and cut a short "trick ending" that wasn't really part of the story itself and wouldn't fit the Hub setting.

Eric Flint
June 2005

#158 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2006, 02:32 PM:

First, the book was much too long for the price point we had in mind. Several of our interns agreed that whaling was nasty anyway, so removing that material was an obvious choice. The character "Queequeg" had a funny name, indicative of stereotyping, and was renamed "Q-Loc." Nobody could figure out what the heck was going on in the chapter called "Forecastle, Midnight," so we replaced it with an attack by Pel-Troon battlecruisers, part of trying to fit the yarn into the Tough Guys in Bad Boats metaverse. The Captain's bionic limbs reinforce this unity, and allowed us to include a guest appearance by Skunky Fazool, the lovably shady cross-time trader who is one of the most beloved characters in TGiBB. (I'm finishing up Skunky's next full-length adventure, and should have it posted in a week.) We believe, however, that this splendid novel is still Emily Brontë's Moby-Dick, or, Rage of the Krill, and under that title we have proudly reissued it.

#159 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2006, 02:57 PM:

John M. Ford: Fortunately, I'd put down my cup when I read that! Wonderful.

#160 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2006, 02:58 PM:

I saw Ultraviolet Saturday, and I was going to give a thumbnail review and warning (yes, it's that bad) here, but it just kept going...and going. So it's up on The Humblest Blog, now, if you're curious.

#161 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2006, 03:19 PM:

Apparently the New York Center air traffic control facility has experienced radar failure, causing delays into and out of all NYC airports. See also FAA delay information.

#162 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2006, 03:24 PM:

Skwid... Would you say that Ultraviolet is worse than van Helsing or last year's Fantastic Four, or even... I shudder to bring that up... Highlander 2?

#163 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2006, 03:40 PM:

My definition of a good bad movie is one where you're sitting there, stunned, but you don't reach for the remote control because you want to know what happens next. The best bad movies are where NOBODY WITH AN OUNCE OF SANITY could predict what happens next. [Everyone likes to point to "Plan 9 from Outer Space"; I prefer "Fantasy Mission Force", an early Jackie Chan movie.]

I think "Ultraviolet" is an OK bad movie. The director . . .umm. . .had a vision.

#164 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2006, 03:54 PM:

Sandy, I like your definition. What other such films -- hopefully available at the average neighborhood video store -- might you recommend?

#165 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2006, 03:56 PM:

Ultraviolet is worse than Van Helsing. I haven't seen the new Fantastic Four film, but Ultraviolet is on about the same level (with a much better effects budget but even worse dialogue) as the "unreleased" F4 made in the early nineties.

The only two things I can think of that might have made Ultraviolet worse would have been casting someone less awesome as the protagonist, or if it had been the sequel to a truly brilliant, original film. Had anyone been so incomprehensibly foolish as to make a terrible sequel to Highlander's greatness, then that might be an apt comparison, but of course, no such movie exists, and you'll never convince me otherwise.

#166 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2006, 04:59 PM:

Note to self: if Baen wants to buy the book,* but they want Eric Flint to edit it, tell them thanks, but you'll self-publish...or burn the manuscript.

*assuming, of course, that Tor has already passed on it.

#167 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2006, 05:01 PM:

Worse than van Helsing, Skwid? I'll pass then. As for the sequel to Highlander, well, I won't try to shatter your illusions. That non-existent sequel of course was nowhere near as bad as Ishtar...

#168 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2006, 05:03 PM:

Worse than van Helsing, Skwid? I'll pass then. As for the sequel to Highlander, well, I won't try to shatter your illusions. That non-existent sequel of course was nowhere near as bad as Ishtar...

#169 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2006, 05:27 PM:


For a moment, I wondered if it had any connection with the British TV series from 1998.

#170 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2006, 05:54 PM:

I saw that, Dave! It was great, until the end, when they tried to make it unambiguous.

I remember at one point my friend said "They're going to kill him now," and I responded "Do you mean the bad guys, or the vampires?"

#171 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2006, 08:23 PM:

Update: modified CueCat from eBay has arrived, a whole bunch of ISBN barcodes have been scanned [*] into a text file and uploaded to LibraryThing's universal import, where they were all processed without a hitch. So thanks, guys, for saving me a lot of time by mentioning eBay for cheap scanners!

[*] Once I realized that mostly paperbacks put the ISBN barcodes on the inside cover.

#172 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2006, 08:48 PM:

Julie, you're right. I just went after it again and Google did the same thing. I clicked on the fourth message, Eric Flint's, clicked on Show Options, and the screen bounced back to the first message, which is the one I clicked Individual Message on. This time I scrolled back down to Flint's message before I clicked Individual Message.

#173 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: March 07, 2006, 10:11 PM:


Thanks! Sorry to send you back into that, but I had a hard time figuring it out.

#174 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 10:10 AM:

This didn't get any response on the "Spin" thread, so I'm trying again here:

Does anyone have any thoughts on the predicted
extra-strong solar storms?

#175 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 11:06 AM:

Faren... That's par for the course so far for the 21st Century.

#176 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 11:07 AM:

This is an example of marine life almost as weird as anything that the Seaview ever encountered.

#177 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 11:11 AM:

Well, except for the long, hairy pincers, kiwa hirsuta looks remarkably like a scarab beetle.

Which, by an interesting coincidence, is also how you write the Middle Egyptian word for 'evolve'.

#178 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 11:46 AM:

Puppy naming help needed:
This super cute lab/shar pei mix was just adopted by a friend. He's a real cutie, but still needs a name. He's about 12 weeks old and is super affectionate, but seems to prefer women to men (smart doggie). In fact, when his new mommy got out of my car to drive hers home, leaving the little guy with me, he jumped into the recently-vacated passenger seat, whined a bit and plopped down with a heavy sigh.

Suggestions wanted. EM or posts to the flickr photo welcome.

#179 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 11:47 AM:

Still, Xopher, that hair sure would look silly and weird even in an episode of Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.

Speaking of strange animal life... Maybe you or someone else can tell me if this is something that my wife dreamed so vividly that she can't tell whether she really read about it years ago. Or maybe that was in a SF story.

Have you ever heard of a mammal whose young, while still in the womb, have a tooth or maybe a claw that they use to kill the other foetuses?

Sounds like a Klingon bunny, I know...

#180 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 12:32 PM:

Trader Joe in NYC ... it will be interesting. The slab apricots are worth meeting (they're sticky but the flavor is incredible); I don't think you can find them anywhere else.

#181 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 01:38 PM:

Serge: could your wife perhaps have been thinking of the spotted hyena?

#182 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 01:49 PM:

I'm king of boggled that Trader Joe's didn't open a store in Manhattan long ago.

FYIage: There's at least one TJ on Long Island. Route 25, somewhere near Greenlawn.

#183 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 02:00 PM:

There's at least one TJ on Long Island. Route 25, somewhere near Greenlawn.

There's lots of them on Long Island, starting about 10 years ago.

--Mary Aileen

#184 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 02:12 PM:

That might be it, Julie L... The article says the babies try to kill each other AFTER birth, not before, but that's probably us not remembering things correctly. I was rather amused by this article taking Disney to task for its portrayal of hyenas in The Lion King. That reminds me of a Science News article about clown fish that referred to the movie finding Nemo and pointing its inaccuracies. In real life, upon the death of Nemo's mother and of the rest of the clutch, Nemo would have become a female and started mating with dad.

Yeah... THAT would have gone over well.

#185 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 02:14 PM:

Tonight the Mythbusters turn to Ben Franklin and his kite...

"Testing the model of Ben Franklin for electricity and whether it can survive a manmade lightning strike of a million volts. Investigating the 2 top requested facts about flatulence."

It's the Benny Hill Show...

#186 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 02:19 PM:

FYIage: There's at least one TJ on Long Island. Route 25, somewhere near Greenlawn.

Is that near the radioactive crater where that bar used to be?

#187 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 07:35 PM:

I've been walking by the Soon To Be Opened Trader Joe's on 14th for a couple of weeks now. It's in the storefront level of an NYU dorm just east of Union Square. It may be the building that they put up on the site of the old Palladium, but I'm not sure at the moment. Actually, there are two stores, a regular TJ's and right next to it a TJ's wine store. That should be an interesting visit.

Every time I walk by the regular TJ's, there seems to be a Team Meeting going on with all the employees sitting in a circle, laughing it up. I infer from this they are in good spirits which may or may not, I suppose, have something to do with the crates of wine next door.

#188 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 07:57 PM:

Hmmm . . . how much will "Two Buck Chuck" be in NYC?

It's three bucks in Oregon.

#189 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 08:01 PM:

My question: Why is there no TJ in Atlanta? There's one in bloody Columbus, OH.

#190 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 08:29 PM:

Stefan: it's $3 in Massachusetts, too.

#191 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 09:03 PM:

Woot, there's a new TJ in Creve Coeur (across the state suburb of St. Louis) that's easier to get to in St. Louie than the other two -- it's closer to I70.

We first learned aboutTJ when we started the Worldcon 2006 bid, and have visited them all across the country. Including buying party ytreats on our way to Toronto.

Although, always before when we asked when one would be coming to Kansas City we'd get "well, there are specific markets we're going in to' from the clerks. When we said that when we shopped there in Boston during Boskone, the clerk told us he wouldn't be surprised if we had one soon. ish.

#192 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 10:21 PM:

Random textile question, as a tangent to the silk geekage in the veggie thread-- can anyone here explain the difference between samite and damask? Both of them seem to be patterned weaves of some sort, but beyond that I can't figure out whether the distinction depends on weight, surface texture (satin/twill), materials (precious-metal threads), reversibility, or...?

#193 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 10:39 PM:

Faren Miller: re: the 'sunspot cycles' news story - - I don't think we're ignoring you, we just have nothing much to say on the subject.

I'm a radio geek AND an astronomy geek, and I don't have much to add to the news story - - yep, the science looks good: according to the prediction, the next solar max is likely to be a strong one.

My only contribution is
a) that international shortwave broadcasting is dying back quickly enough that the next solar max may be moot in so far as it affects SW; and
b) it'll be nice to see the northern lights again.

In other news, I just read the NY Times story about Trader Joe's finally coming to NYC, and was irritated that the newspaper story didn't actually mention the location. To learn the location, I had to turn to the modern world's preeminent news source: an open thread on Making Light.

#194 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 10:52 PM:

In other news, I just read the NY Times story about Trader Joe's finally coming to NYC, and was irritated that the newspaper story didn't actually mention the location. To learn the location, I had to turn to the modern world's preeminent news source: an open thread on Making Light.

I know, I wasn't even going to post the location until I went back and checked the story again. I couldn't believe the info wasn't in there, so I thought, well, jeez, maybe there is more than one coming into the city. Maybe the one I know about isn't the only one. Maybe somebody else knows of one. So, I mentioned it.

Am I Times staff reporter now? Can I go to jail now too and pretend it's in the name of the First Amendment?

#195 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 08, 2006, 11:09 PM:

We have a new Trader Joe's that is on the route to about a third of my specialists, so I stopped there for the first time a month ago and enjoyed most of what I bought. I'm going to stop again tomorrow on the way home from the rheumatologist.

#196 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 03:22 AM:

I've just returned from Cargolaw's three amazing pages on the stranding of the MV APL Panama outside Ensenada, via your particle. It's hard to type with my jaw in this position.

They say they are taking the photos off because they are slowing down the links, and they are large photos & slow-loading so GET THERE NOW!

Maybe someone can volunteer to set up some separate photo pages for them so the big ones are off the main page. In fact, will someone please volunteer to give the site a bit of a go-over. Unless they're deliberately doing in that style for some kind of post-modern ironic grunge credibility — "we're so serious about our work that we can't pay attention to style or design, and sometimes spelling". Yes, it's a fascinating place, but gee, I 'have issues' trying to read it.

#197 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 04:26 AM:

Larry Brennan is looking for a puppy name:

How about "Annihilus the Death That Walks"?

#198 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 07:06 AM:

Puppy names... Go for mythology. Or comic-books. Either way, you can't fail, Larry.

Fenris... Cerberus... Lockjaw...

#199 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 07:14 AM:

I'll second David Goldfarb's suggestion... "Annihilus the Death That Walks" does have a ring to it. And one could always shorten it to "Annie".

#200 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 10:21 AM:

Sandy, I like your definition. What other such films -- hopefully available at the average neighborhood video store -- might you recommend?

It's not a small question. I was doing "movie of the week" for a while- pre-MST3K I think- but I think I only sent those out to friends in email. And it was, maybe, 1995. And the neighborhood video store probably got rid of these a long time ago.

I'm trying to remember, and my brain is coming up with things like "That one where the Beastmaster guy got 'killed' by a german shepherd. . .and you can see it licking his face."[Sweet Justice.] And "That one where Traci Lords tries to drown herself in the bathtub and is really sorry that she can't. Or something." [Desparate Crimes aka Mafia Docks.] Or the Italian one where the Antichrist's mother is dying and he gives a long weepy "Don't leave me, I can't do it without you!" speech. [No idea. But the authentic castle they used for filming had been turned into a hotel. It had big windows cut in the walls at ground level.]

I was going to give a "top 3" but I got into a "barbarian bimbo" rut and couldn't get out.

1. "Roller Blade" Dubbed, filmed in Southern California, didn't have enough budget for a real harmonica. Featured nuns-inna-hot-tub, and smiley-face theology, and. . . you had to be there.
2. "Dark Angel." (with Angela Featherstone) Typical nice-girl-from-hell-meets-doctor movie. There's one point where he puts a stethescope on her chest and hears the screams of the damned.
3. Any of Barbarian Princess, Hundra, Sorceress *, and "She" **. Don't go for the "four movie marathon"; your brain may shut down.

* May not contain actual sorceresses.
** I think this is the right one. "The movie where Sandahl Bergman digs up a land mine."

Final note: Amazingly, Desperate Crimes and Sweet Justice are actually available on Netflix. I'm 0 for 6 on my other choices, though.

#201 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 10:23 AM:

Dog name? Nemesis, aka Sissy.

#202 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 10:25 AM:

Info of an entirely different sort from SFGate:

Mario Savio's oration inspiring the Free Speech Movement's campus revolt is the basis of a talk given in a "Battlestar Galactica'' episode to be broadcast Friday by the Sci-Fi Channel. Lynne Savio gave permission for use of her late husband's words.

Um ... far out?!

#203 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 10:43 AM:

Xopher: The TJ's in Lawn Guy Land is rather far from the crater. (Which is on 25A in Suffolk County, not 25 aka Jericho Turnpike in Nassau County, where TJ's is. They're two very different roads.)

Until the hubbub at the NYC TJ's dies down -- which is likely measured in months -- I think it will be just as easy to keep going out to the Island to patronize them.

#204 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 11:01 AM:

Since you mentionned Galactica, Faren... Was anybody else bothered by the episode where Roslin makes it illegal to have or perform an abortion? I suppose the show's creators came up with that stupid solution to humanity's low numbers just to have a plot where someone will later say screw-you and have an abortion. I'm sure that Starbuck would appreciate being told she's got to stay in the family way all the way. Oh, and forget about contraceptives, dear...

#205 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 12:48 PM:

Julie L.: According to my Petit Larousse illustré, samite is a rich fabric with a silk woof and a "thread" warp (probably linen). Damask is monochrome, silk or wool, satiny background, matte pattern.

#206 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 12:55 PM:

Sandy B.: The best bad movies are where NOBODY WITH AN OUNCE OF SANITY could predict what happens next.

Hmm. I'm not sure I entirely agree. The WORST bad movie, ever, is "Stranded" and you certainly can't predict what's going to happen next in it. This is primarily because the behavior of the characters is so entirely unrelated to anything that human beings, even the most peculiar, might actually do. This is not entertaining unpredictability; this is like watching a screen dump of genuinely random alphanumerics.

I have very broad tastes in movies and can be entertained or intrigued by stuff that drives other people nuts, but this thing infuriated me. The guy apparently responsible for it, Vincent Gallo is my candidate for the one person, after myself of course, I'd most hate to ever spend any time with.

#207 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 01:29 PM:

Fragrano Ledgister:

There are TWO Trader Joe's in Central Ohio:

The first one in Dublin (Columbus suburb) and the second (larger) one at Easton...

#208 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 02:07 PM:

Sandy: Yes, that's the umpty-ninth version of "She," with Sandahl, dancing killer mutants, and gay werewolves.

It's not actually an adaptation of "She" -- more like a gang of fourteen-year-olds with access to a large pile of crap genre DVDs and a costume trunk went out into the desert carrying a camcorder and several cases of Whizzo Beer as sustenance and inspiration. (Haggard's novel has been more-or-less adapted at least ten times, several times in the silent era. The most fun is probably the 1935 Irving Pichel version, with great Art Deco Lost World sets, Helen Gahagan as She Who Must Slap Nixon Upside His Stoopid Head, Nigel Bruce as Hunter Holly, and Randolph Scott looking confused.)

#209 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 02:16 PM:

Re: samite -- I once read a fantasy novel in which there was a fabric called "samnite."[*] I had a vague idea that this was wrong, so I looked it up and found the following for "samite" -- "from Greek hexamitos, of six threads." Apparently every sixth thread was supposed to be silver or gold.

[*] No, there wasn't a scene in which it was explained that samnite was this terrific fantasy-world fabric. And yes, I'm cranky about mistakes like this in fantasy novels.

#210 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 02:17 PM:

Lori: I've only been to the one at Easton. Still, the fact that there are two in Columbus and *none* in Atlanta rankles.

#211 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 02:20 PM:

Lisa Goldstein: Samnite will not be torn at the Caudine Forks.

#212 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 02:40 PM:

Serge -

I was really pissed at that move on Galactica. It made me side with Baltar, causing a rift in my household. (my roommate is willing to ignore the pres' godbothering anti-choice stuff in sci-fi, but not in real life.)

Since the new BSG is pretty well-plotted, I'm assuming (hoping?) that the anti-choice decision will come back to bite them on the ass, and not just politically; for example, with a population that begins to outstrip the fleet's very limited resources, and the effects on a military force that appears to be half female.

Ron Moore says he prefers ambiguity to straightforward black-and-white / good vs. evil, so I guess our discomfort is by design.

Intellectualized that way, I am a little less uncomfortable, although the reaction shot on Adama smiling beatifically after the Pres decides to outlaw abortion made me almost as uncomfortable, as it seems that whoever directed that ep felt that the abortion ban was a Good Thing.

Or maybe it's just way too subtle for me. I kind of hope so, because sympathizing with Baltar is starting to make me feel dirty.

#213 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 02:48 PM:

I was pissed too. But the abortion decision didn't bother me nearly as much as taking Sharon's baby away from her. Roslin has become increasingly ruthless, and less and less sympathetic, since she got the Cylon blood.


#214 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 03:01 PM:

I think we're supposed to be pissed.

If the writers of the new Battlestar Galactica had a motto, it might be "no comfortable bullshit."

#215 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 03:35 PM:

...sympathizing with Baltar is starting to make me feel dirty...

No kidding, nerdycellist. And, when Baltar and Roslin were butting heads over settling down on that new-found planet, it felt very weird having Baltar accuse Roslin of fear-mongering so that she can maintain her own power.

Back to the abortion situation...

Yes, they do have to address the issue that they will become extinct if they don't do something about their stagnant numbers. But their solution is stupid and, yes, it probably was put there so that, yes, they will be sorry they went down that route. But... The solution feels like it was imposed by the show's creators upon the character of Roslin. She's not stupid and yet she doesn't see what we can see will be the consequences. That really annoyed me. Even if Xopher is right about that Cylon blood's transfusion...

As for taking Sharon's kid away... That too is extremely stupid. Nobody knows what that baby can do and yet they just send it off where it will be under the protection of people ignorant of its background and unprepared to be on the lookout for strange things, like that glowing spinal cord.

#216 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 03:37 PM:

I saw the excellent Night Watch last night, which also has a note of what seems at a glance to be anti-abortion moralizing. But the world it presents, which seems at first like another highly-polarized Light/Dark cosmology, turns out to be more like the matter or Czernobog and Bielebog writ large: seemingly in sharp contrast, but more strange and unsettling and ambiguous the longer you look at it.

Go see it if you can.

#217 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 03:51 PM:

I saw Nightwatch last year in the perfect venue -an outdoor amphitheatre at night (yay for living in LA) and I second Dan's recommendation. I'm looking forward to the sequels, but unless it starts doing better at the box office, I despair that they might never get US distribution. I'd settle for a good English translation of the books they were based on, though.

I'm continuing to watch BSG - never considered the side-effects of Cylon blood. Thanks, Xopher!

(oh, and how awesome are Czernobog and Bielebog for dog names?)

#218 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 03:53 PM:

Michael Weholt: Did you want to know what happened next? If not, I have weasel room, which I will use.

John M. Ford: I probably should have put "Bears no visible relationship to any H. Rider Haggard anything" as a warning on that. But I was already going on at too much length.

#219 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 04:11 PM:

So, you're still watching BSG, nerdycellist? Me too because I figure this is a setup for future you'll-be-sorry-you-did-that plots. But my wife refuses to watch so I tape it and go thru it before she gets up. When I told her of the episode where Caprica's original Six is resurrected and finds herself haunted by Baltar, Sue went yecch...

#220 ::: Michael Weholt ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 06:01 PM:

Sandy B.: Michael Weholt: Did you want to know what happened next? If not, I have weasel room, which I will use.

Well, I'm always happy to grant people their weasel room since I know how much I treasure mine. I don't know where I'd keep my weasel without it. So. No problem there.

Did I want to know what happened next? Hmm. I guess I would have settled for something happening next that was somehow connected to an imaginative act, no matter if I could puzzle out its meaning, or recognize its absurdity, or laugh at its pomposity, or marvel at its lack of taste, or anything.

Really, this movie was like a random-number-generator with behavior, purporting to be human, standing in for the meaningless, unorganized product.

#221 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 06:20 PM:

Jon Carroll has a novel suggestion for overturning the South Dakota legislature's vote on abortion: vacation there in an RV. If you're there even as little as a couple of weeks you can legally establish residency for voting purposes.

If you're in a decidedly blue precinct, it might make sense.

#222 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 06:42 PM:

Re samite, thanks to TexAnne and Lisa for the info. I guess someone had better rewrite the Wikipedia article on "damask" at some point, though perhaps it's not so much the text that needs correction as the image. Just when I thought all the permutations of "damascene" had settled down over there, too.

#223 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 06:46 PM:

Serge, that event was what let ME figure out why Six is in Baltar's head.

God malfunctioned.

God is Cylon technology that copies a set of memories whenever a Cylon dies. But Caprica died too fast in the nuclear blast (hey, hey). God, in grabbing her memories, grabbed Baltar's too, and began downloading them into a new body. But it used a brain-identity that was mixed up with Baltar's, so it downloaded into Baltar as well.

Actually, someone else theorized that Baltar is a Cylon. How could he have survived the nuclear blast, even by taking cover? But then why would they need Six to seduce him to get the access codes? Anyway, I'm sure we won't find this out until at least next season.

Best show on TV (not counting ones I've never watched, which could be even better (but I doubt it)).

#224 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 07:16 PM:

I'm still watching. Actually, after the pilot (mini-series - whatever!) I refused to watch. Some of it was good, but damn, am I ever tired of the "sexy woman leads to the downfall of human race" trope. That and Starbuck's characterization as hawtt sexy crotch-grabbing fake tomboy made me think it was going to head into creepy fanboy territory.

Now re-watching season 1 on DVD I appreciate that a lot of character stuff had to be truncated in the pilot, and not only has Starbuck become much more complex (both the writing for her and the acting have improved phenomenally) but the context of the fleet (and show) seems much more balanced. Still not crazy about Baltar's Imaginary Underpants Model Girlfriend, but I do like her other versions. All Sharon/Boomers kick ass as well. I'm also fascinated by the weird Roslin/Baltar/Zarek dynamic. Apollo's no slouch either, but I can't look at him without seeing cute little Archie from the "Hornblower" series.

I'm no good at speculating on plot points, so I'm always surprised at what Moore throws at us every week. I'm in it as much for the plot as the characters.

#225 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 07:18 PM:

"God malfunctioned."

Maybe. Hadn't thought of that possibility.

Me, I don't think the Cylons equate their resurrection gizmonics with God. I think that:

i) They genuinely believe in God,

ii) Being able to effectively deal with humans means internally modeling human behavior. That's what we do, and unless they want to come off as high-functioning autists then the human-appearing Cylons will have to do it too. The resurrected Six and Sharon have become too good at this. They've developed empathy. As a result, Sharon is wracked with guilt and Six has gone crackers.

The Cylons aren't really robots . . . not any more. They're transhumans. Screwed up transhumans who achieved great powers but who have found themselves wondering what the hell its all the about and embarked on a perverted quest for meaning. They wouldn't be out of place in Olaf Stapledon's Last and First Men.

#226 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 07:31 PM:

Oh, also, an English translation of Nightwatch is already scheduled for publication later this year and may already have advance galleys floating about somewhere.

#227 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 08:27 PM:

Thanks for the tips, Sandy. I managed to dig up Sorceress and Sweet Justice at the local video store. Looking forward to a night of insanely trashy cinema.

#228 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: March 09, 2006, 10:17 PM:

Internet horror host Count Gore DeVol has just posted his 2000 interview with Octavia Butler at Balticon. Gore is of course wearing white greasepaint and a Dracula cape and using a fake accent and asking her very sincere but not terribly well-informed questions about science fiction and religion. I think it's surreal and beautiful, but YMMV. You can access the interview in RealAudio format here, or subscribe to his podcast here.

#229 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 12:53 AM:

Serge, it looked to me like Roslin made the anti-abortion choice because she knew it was the only way she had a chance to win. I've certainly known of other politicians who made similar choices.

#230 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 08:23 AM:

nerdycellist, in re. dog names: That's frighteningly tempting. But not, perhaps, worth the amount of explaining necessary, much like when I had a sprained ankle a couple of years ago and labeled my crutches Tanngnost and Tanngrisni.

Julie L.: Huzzah and whoo hoo! I've been wishing for that since word of the films hit the wires. On the Wish List it goes.

#231 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 10:09 AM:

Marilee suggests that Roslin made the anti-abortion choice because she knew it was the only way she had a chance to win. I've certainly known of other politicians who made similar choices.

I am shocked, shocked, that someone would suggest such a thing.

Yes, that was one motivation. And yet, and yet, when she was alone with Adama, she still maintained the facade of the official reason for her decree. Which, considering how cramped things would soon get, had me wonder where they'd put the litle tykes after birth. In the torpedo tubes? No, I will not stoop to making Galactica's equivalent of baby-in-the-blender jokes. Besides, that's me digressing...

It still feels like they bent Roslin out of character. No, I wouldn't buy the argument that her character is complex. Sure, she is, but this doesn't ring true. Not to me, at least.

By the way... Why, why, why, did the fanatical anti-abortion politician have to be a black woman? Come to think of it, why did the priestess that walked Roslin thru her visions have to be black? Is this a trend or something? Me, I'm lilly-white except when I do situps at the gym, whereupon I become beet-red. Oops. Digressing again.

God malfunctionned, Xopher? That'd be a possibility except that, as was pointed out, if the Cylons could have grabbed Baltar's memories, they wouldn't have needed to have Six seduce him. Unless they chose that approach to prove once more that humans are imperfect, which is why the Cylons are trying to wipe us out.

As for their equating God with their own technology, I don't think so. I'm with Stefan there.

Apollo reminds you of Hornblower's Archie, nerdycellist? Who's the actor playing Archie? Oh, and you knew that Bamber is British, didn't you? I don't know how common his family name is, but I did see that name in the credits of 1995's mini-series Pride & Prejudice. As for Starbuck... Did you see the making-of-BSG that ran on the Skiffy Channel when the show was about to premiere? There had been some fannish outcry about making Starbuck into a woman. So what did they do? The documentary had the new Starbuck meet the old Starbuck in... where else?... a Starbuck's.

One last thing... What's missing from BSG is humor, of the gallows kind.

#232 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 10:23 AM:

Gee, all these BSG watchers! I haven't seen it for eons and don't get the Sci-Fi Channel (we have to pay cable rates just for the big networks, so no extras for us), but my husband somehow caught one a while back and said it was so awful he has no intention of ever watching it again (even if we could).

The SFGate "Datebook" section for Friday has an article on what constitutes classic bad movies, but I'm in too much of a hurry to post a link. Maybe later.

#233 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 10:48 AM:

I suppose the following recipe from simple & delicious's March/April issue could be considered an example of Fusion Cuisine. You be the judge. By the way, there was no indication in the magazine that this is not for real. That makes the recipe all the more... ah... interesting.

Fry 2 flour tortillas in butter in a skillet until crispy. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Mash 2 Twinkies and spread half on each tortilla. Top with warmed Marshmallow creme, and garnish with maraschino cherries.

The reactions of friends and relatives so far have run the gamut from 'horrid' to 'horrible'.

#234 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 11:30 AM:

I'm not saying the Cylon equate God with their technology. I'm saying that what the Cylons call God is not any kind of mystical abstraction, but a mainframe or supercomputer of some kind, the ultimate (imperious?) leader of the Cylon.

If their God turns out to be YHVH, they're going to have to turn into the good guys in some fashion, or the show will be in BIG TROUBLE in America. Pity, though, because one of the things I really like about this show is that the villains are the monotheists /j/u/s/t/ /l/i/k/e/ /i/n/ /r/e/a/l/ /l/i/f/e/.

#235 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 11:31 AM:

Here's the link Faren wanted to post.

Viewed Sorceress last night. A truly incomprehensible plot and darn poor acting. Aside from the camp/trash factors, the only reason to keep watching was to find out when Linda Blair would take her clothes off -- almost all the other women got nekkid within a minute or two of their introduction on-screen.

#236 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 11:36 AM:

Serge, I don't thing the Cylon know that they can grab memories from a human head, or even that the imagic Six and Baltar exist. I think God (the conventional Cylon who made the humanoid Cylons) intended the technology to work on Cylon brains, but made the Cylon brains too close to human for that to work without getting some humanity too.

Woe to the humans if they find out! They could download Six copies into, say, Starbuck. Or anyone. Or everyone.

Wow, I hope I'm wrong.

#237 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 11:49 AM:


The idea of MY going round with a copy of someone looking Six in my head doesn't thrill me. She's icky. Could I have Claudia Black instead?

Meanwhile, BSG's deck Chief is worried that he himself is a Cylon. Interesting how, when he went to see a priest, the latter told him that humans are on their own, that the gods just set things in motion then went away, and that response has the Chief ask the priest if he's sure he IS a priest.

Heck, what does he expect from Dean Stockwell?

#238 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 11:50 AM:

Serge, I heard a radio food program once giving a recipe (described as 'worst recipe they'd ever seen') for tuna-Twinkie casserole. (It also involved chicken-fat.) You took the cream filling out of the Twinkies first, but I didn't hear what got done with it; I found Something Else To Do. (My guess was that someone had to come up with an entree in a hurry, and all they had for main ingredients were tuna and Twinkies.)

#239 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 12:01 PM:

Tuna and twinkies... Would saying 'barf' be an appropriate response, P J?

#240 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 12:03 PM:

That was about what the program host was saying. I certainly don't want to try it.

#241 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 12:06 PM:

You can find it on the web here (among other places):

It's supposed to be from The Worst Cookbook in America. I'm not sure that souffle is an improvement over casserole ...

#242 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 12:23 PM:

I've heard of worse, today on Slashfood (it's a module in "My Yahoo").

Luther Burgers

Bacon cheeseburger on a Krispy Kreme glazed doughnut for a bun.

Blerg. As Blergy as the twinkie recipes.

#243 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 12:44 PM:

Mash two twinkies?! As someone who has been known to eat canned frosting on nilla wafers, may I say that's appalling?

Back to BSG - the lack of humor is probably the main reason BSG is one of my favorite SF shows, but not in my top three. (Firefly, Farscape and B5) And yes, the Magical Black Woman makes me cringe every time I see her.

I was present at the BSG 25th anniversary con, filled with die-hard Original Show partisans. The update had been announced but the pilot had not yet aired. Everyone was aware that not only was this a new overhaul, but it wasn't a continuance of the original (nor was it Hatch's proposal, a fan favorite). They brought poor Ron Moore in front of the fans, and after watching a short scene from the update opened up the floor to Q & A.

Now I was in the old school BSG nostalgia camp, but even I was pretty disgusted by the whingeing and naked hostility of the average fanboy. Every question was the same - just variations on "but why didn't you do it like the original?". Moore's answers were all variations of "this is what Sci-fi is paying me to do." When asked by Richard Hatch (a good sport, all things considered) if he was worried about negative fan reaction, Moore chuckled and replied, "I killed Captain Kirk; I'm not afraid of anyone!" Honestly, I got the feeling that some of the fans in the room would have spit on Moore if they weren't afraid of Security.

And speaking of Starbucks of all genders, Dirk Benedict was also a guest at the con, and he was so breathtakingly misogynist, I went straight past "offended", through "pissed off" and "flabbergasted", and arrived at last at "vastly amused". I'd much rather see Katee Sackhoff at a con, but as the main cast seem to be all tied up with Creation, I don't think I'll get that opportunity. (oh, and Jamie Bamber? He was Midshipman-through-4th-Lt. Archie Kennedy in the Hornblower series. Cute as a button, that one!)

As far as dog names are concerned, we'll be adopting a used dog and need variety of possible names. Bielebog is running a close second to Mumakil. Naming a pet Czernobog is just tempting fate. I also favor Hrothgar and Wiglaf, but my roommate has reservations as we will be getting a girl dog. Sackbut is another favorite, but I've taken to calling one of the feral cats in the apartment complex Sackbut, which confuses things. All of these names are appropriate for the small-to-medium sized mutts we've been looking at.

#244 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 01:15 PM:

About BSG's lack of humor, nerdycellist... One thing I liked in Law & Order's Jerry Orbach episodes was the gallows humor, the things he'd say in the face of the worst possible things. But that's just me.

As for Dirk Benedict... Well, he got his just desserts in the Seventies's movie Sssssnake. By the end, he is turned into a you-know-what then is promptly killed by a mongoose. Say, does it qualify as a bad movie? Probably as much so as The Sword and the Sorcerer although Lee Horsley gets crucified in that one.

Pet names... Those are good ones, nerdycellist. Unfortunately, aside from 'Sackbut', they'll require being spelled every time you go to the vet. Say, how about Anubis? I just remembered that one this morning while reading Lisa Goldstein's Dark Cities Underground.

#245 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 01:21 PM:

How about goddesses for whom the dog is sacred? Hekate, frex. If it's a black dog.

#246 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 01:24 PM:

I never watched the old BSG. I saw maybe one ep at the time, and it was so terrible that I couldn't stand it.

I'd put it second only to FarScape. (I have Firefly on DVD but haven't watched it yet; my new computer doesn't play them so well.)

#247 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 01:32 PM:

Eh, I have to spell my last name anytime I go anywhere - why should the dog be any different? Although if the vet combines the dog's first name with my last name, "Czernobog Jakubowski" does sound rather majestic. Hmmm. Still not willing to tempt fate.

Anubis is far too elegant a name for the absurd dogs we've been drawn to.

Oh, thanks to all who recommended Fraser's "Pyrates!". I'm on the third chapter of a library copy and I know I will need one for my personal library now.

#248 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 01:36 PM:

Could I have Claudia Black instead?
Hands off! She's mine.

#249 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 01:39 PM:

mayakda... Can I have dibs on the Virginia Hey implant then?

#250 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 01:44 PM:

Never watched the old BSG, Xopher? You didn't miss much although it worked quite well as a comedy. I loved it when John Colicos's Baltar would tell his Cylon buddies that he had a plan to catch the good guys who of course escaped thru their wits and bad writing. And that's why I smile at the new BSG's credits where we're told what the Cylons are about, ending with "...and they have a plan..."

I seem to remember reading in early 2001 that, one of Bryan Singer's projects was a revamping of BSG. I wonder what his take on it would have been like.

#251 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 01:45 PM:

As for Dirk Benedict... Well, he got his just desserts

The Copyeditor Within always rises up, pencil sharpened and ready to impale, at this one. The phrase is "just deserts," though the word is pronounced as if it were the postprandial sweet and not the big dry place. The root word is the same as "deserve," which should make the origin and meaning obvious.

#252 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 01:52 PM:

'Jakubowski', nerdycellist? People have problems with that name? Then again, when I was living near SF, I was having a conversation with my dental hygienist, a Japanese-American, about how people often mispronounced her first name. This was the Bay Area, which does have a good-sized Japanese population. Her name? Ayako, which got turned into 'A-Yay-ko'.

My own family name is 'Mailloux' and has been mangled from the correct 'ma-yoo' into 'malloo', 'mailbox' and my favorite, 'Maalox'...

#253 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 02:00 PM:

I stand corrected, Mike. That's one I always have problems with, but, hey, English isn't my native language. Besides, there are people out there (Dubya?) who should get their just desserts, such as tuna with twinkies and chicken fat. I'd then step back and watch.

#254 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 02:02 PM:

One more thing, Mike... Unlike certain people, I do know that one doesn't tow a line but that one toes it.

#255 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 02:05 PM:

If there's a cat named Sackbut around, you obviously need a dog named Crumhorn. Or possibly Hautboy.

And the more I think about it, the more I feel Czernobog is a really excellent name for, say, a chihuahua.

#256 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 02:36 PM:

Oh my god.

There are two movies named Sorceress, and they've both got Jim Wynorski associated with them.

I was talking about the one with the telepathic identical twin barbarians in bikinis from 1982. And no sorceresses. And, if I recall, a bad space battle, lifted entirely from another movie, at the end for no reason.

I'm terribly sorry for the confusion.

#257 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 02:42 PM:

I was going to take the terrible movie discussion to email, but I can't find an email address to go with the calflyfisher website. Email me if you want more brain-melting badness. It's starting to come back to me.

#258 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 02:47 PM:

Dang, Sandy B, your other Sorceress sounds much better than the one I watched last night! No prob about the confusion, though: it was a hoot anyway. And apparently Wynorski can no longer afford to buy bikinis for his actresses.

#259 ::: Richard Anderson ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 02:54 PM:

And hey, the e-mail is on its way.

#260 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 03:03 PM:

Just to make sure nobody is confused, Lee Horsley's The Sword and the Sorcerer has nothing to do with William Friedkin's Sorcerer.

#261 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 04:57 PM:

On dog names: My theory has always been that you can name a dog "Sanford Estebrook Warren" and call it "Sluggy", but not the other way around.

So Anubis is fine in my book. "Noobie" is a great name for a dog.

#262 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 05:24 PM:

Sandy B... I was wondering how to shorten Anubis. (No, I won't talk about shortening him and then go on to make jokes about Osiris being such a cutup guy.)

My girl dogs... They're all mutts. One is named Freya, after the Viking's Goddess of Love. Her favorite mode of transportation was, I think, a cart pulled by cats. That doesn't explain why she usually try to kill our cat Jefferson when supper is about to be served... Our youngest doguette is named Nahla, which is the Arabic for 'a drink of water'. Sue chose that one because our girl had been found inside a bag in the desert along with her sisters & brothers, all of them with their tails and ears chopped off.

#263 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 05:36 PM:

If there's a cat named Sackbut around, you obviously need a dog named Crumhorn. Or possibly Hautboy.

Or Psaltery, though the dog might get rude comments from his friends.

"'Arf?' This canis goofus's named Psaltery, and all you can say is 'Arf'? Who was chasing sticks during obedience school, then?"

#264 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 05:49 PM:

My dog came pre-named. "Kira" was nice and short and I didn't see any reason to change it.

Someone at a dog park told me that it is Celtic for "dark lady." I have no idea how accurate that is, but it fits:

I've since run into three or four other dog-Kiras, and two girl-Kiras.

#265 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 06:28 PM:

Mike, that one's really difficult for people. Especially since dry deserts become deserts by being deserted, but just deserts become deserts by being deserved.

Just try talking about how the guy deserted the dessert which was his just desert after a day in the desert, or how dates are a popular desert dessert, and everyone gets very confused.

And I'm sure that somewhere there's a pastry-and-cake shop called Just Desserts. If not, entrepreneurs take note.

#266 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 07:15 PM:

Oh my.

This is too rich.

Claude Allen, until last month Bush's principal domestic policy advisor, and the prime mover behind the push to realize administration's obnoxious conservative social agenda with schemes like abstinence-only sex ed programs . . .

. . . was arrested for felony fraud:

For several months, Target was observing him returning products he'd just plucked off of the shelf, using old reciepts.

He was still working for Bush when he was arrested.

#267 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 07:52 PM:

My dog was named Cocoa (!) when we got her, but within the first hour of her arrival we'd renamed her Tigger. She bounces. (Still. Even at 13.)

#268 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 08:32 PM:

I've gotten to the point where I would be surprised at any Schmuck political crony appointee being anything EXCEPT un-or-under-qualified for the position scum... there was the veterinarian for the women's health position, as one example, there's the Surgeon General I think it is who's a quack prescribing PRAYER for relief from menstrual cramps, there are Bolton, Gonzales, Samuel Alito, the mining industry lobbyists appointed to the mine safety agency... slime, slime, corrupt slime....

#269 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 08:43 PM:

My friend has named her puppy. He arrived with the name "Toby" but now he's officially Zeke.

He also had his first vet appointment today - I'm eager to find out how that went, and how he's getting along with his feline housemates, including the sweet (but evil in shapshots) Gracie and the somewhat camera shy Simi.

#270 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 09:34 PM:

Most repellant food I have ever seen someone eat:

Pizza frappes [frappe in New England is what other parts of the country call "milkshake]

ingredients and production:
put the following into a blender and puree:

standard slices of cheese pizza from somewhere
vanilla ice cream

TWO of my college dormmates ingested this vile and disgusting entree, the first was the person who said if one were made he'd eat it, the second person saw the entree and decided he'd have one, too. His digestive system, however, did not revolt subsequently.

#271 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 09:41 PM:

And I'm sure that somewhere there's a pastry-and-cake shop called Just Desserts.

Actually, Xopher, there is such a place, somewhere in Oakland, I think, if not in many locations around the Bay Area.

#272 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 09:42 PM:

So, Larry, have we come up with good names for your puppy?

#273 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 09:43 PM:

Stefan: He was still working for Bush when he was arrested.

Huh? Today's story said he was arrested "yesterday" but quit 9 Feb.

But Rosten's Maxim does strike again.

#274 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 10, 2006, 10:51 PM:

You're quite right; Jan. 2 was the date on which he "apprehended" by store security. I guess it took a couple of months to put things together.

#275 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2006, 12:11 AM:

Or the suspicious might suspect that the leisurely pace of the police work (two months from a shoplifting apprehension to actual arrest?) might have something to do with allowing his resignation to take effect, so the Bush administration could straight-facedly claim that he was no longer working for them "at the time of his arrest."

To quote Bill Burroughs, in Roosevelt after Inauguration "The Space Age is here. We are here to go. We can float out of here on a foamed runway of sheer depravity."

#276 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2006, 01:59 PM:

Serge wrote:

Ah yes, Faren, that comment about how "you can't get that fabulous experience just watching it on DVD"... My reaction to that was, sure, but nobody is showing those movies on the big screen, not even in rep theatres. If Ben-Hur or Journey to the Center of the Earth were playing anywhere near, I'd go. Right away.

One of the points of pride of Rochester, NY
is the George Eastman House, site of the International Museum of Photography and Film.
They have an ongoing film program hosted at the Dryden Auditorium (part of the museum complex).

They are currently running a classic science fiction film program on Thursday nights:
    3/02/06 - The Day the Earth Stood Still
    3/09/06 - Forbidden Planet
    3/16/06 - The Incredible Shrinking Man
    3/23/06 - Invaders From Mars
    3/30/06 - Invasion of the Body Snatchers
    4/06/06 - Them!
    4/13/06 - The Thing (From Another World)
    4/20/06 - This Island Earth
    4/27/06 - Earth vs. The Flying Saucers

I've gotten to the first two of these.
The Day the Earth Stood Still was playing at some theaters a few years ago,
but I missed the chance to see it then.

This is just the one program;
they typically show films every night except Monday,
and sometimes show films in the afternoon too
for children and senior citizens.

When they show silent films, they have a live piano accompanyist
(who almost always gets a standing ovation at the end of the film/performance).

I'm sure at some point they have shown Ben Hur and Journey to the Center of the Earth
(although not together, and probably not even in the same month).

Ticket prices for films at the Dryden are $6, $5 for students, $4 for members.
You can save more with a '10 pass'.

#277 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2006, 05:57 PM:

To Rob Rusick... A big sigh of envy as New Mexico is way too far from Rochester, NY.

#278 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2006, 05:57 PM:

Paula: but David Hager's been praying all his life and never had menstrual's just like keeping a banana in your ear to protect you from polar bears, when you live in Phoenix.

#279 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2006, 07:38 PM:

If there's a cat named Sackbut around, you obviously need a dog named Crumhorn. Or possibly Hautboy.

Then all you would need is a mynah bird named Racket.

#280 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2006, 09:59 PM:

Serge - Not my puppy. See above, he's a Zeke now.

#281 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2006, 10:27 PM:

I thought liquid nitrogen ice cream looked like open thread material anyway, but the nitrogen cylinder particle made it inevitable.

#282 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2006, 10:30 PM:

These are much better dog names than the ones I hear at the dog park, where the most popular seem to be Annie and Maggie for females and Cody and Max for males. My dog is named Spark, after a dog who makes a brief appearance in Little, Big -- I always thought that if I got another one I'd give it another literary name, but I can't think of anything good. (Argus? Krypto? Tray, Blanche, and Sweetheart from King Lear?)

#283 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 11, 2006, 11:08 PM:

Xopher - Just Desserts is nice for a large-scale bakery, but the best name (and much better product) belongs to Citizen Cake, in SF's Hayes Valley.

#284 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 12:07 AM:

Ooooh, what a great segue!

I'm making a layer cake to bring to work.

I have two 8" rounds baked and cooling. I have a tub of frosting and some cherry pie filling to spread between the layers.

My question is . . . now what? Specifically, how do the halves go together?

Do I slice off the rounded top of one of the layers? Do I put one rounded side down so there's a nice flat surface up above?

#285 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 12:28 AM:


My dad (and so I do this too) always puts one rounded side down, and layer of icing, then the flat side of the upper layer ontop of that icing.

The two flat layers are together with icing/filling in the center of the cake when viewed along the longitudinal axis.

#286 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 12:39 AM:

Thanks Nancy, that makes sense. I guess the rounded bottom flattens out.

I found a reference that suggests freezing the layers overnight, so they're nice and stiff when the frosting goes on. In they go!

#287 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 01:39 AM:

The Naming of Dogs is a hard algorithm,
It isn't the sport one pretends it to be;
For canine cognomens and all that go with ‘em
Do not come as singletons; there must be three.

First of all, there's the name that’s inscribed on the collar,
Such as Bruno, or Asta, or Rinty, or Spike,
Such as Toto, or Spot -- look, I’m sure that you foller,
All of them names that are very dog-like.

There are fancier things to engrave on the pendant,
The Terhunish monickers, raffish and gay:
Such as Darbyshire, Fardels, perhaps Co-defendant --
The stuff that your dog will be glad he can’t say.

But I tell you, a dog needs a name that's generic,
A name that is shared across doggiedom’s lines,
For the discourse of dogs falls quite short of etheric,
It’s yelping, and snarling, and sniffing behinds.

Of names of this kind, I can ladle a bowlful,
Such as Barker, Droolbucket, and Bumponnalog,
Such as Fleabitten, Mangy, and Stop Looking Soulful,
Names that all know mean the subject’s a dog.

But there’s one name more, for why should we be frugal?
For words, as all writers will tell you, are cheap;
The name you can’t ask for, or wiretap, or Google,
Because the dog knows it,, and boy, is it deep.

When you notice your puppy has eaten your wallet,
You must be aware of the root of the plot:
He’s thinking quite hard of his whatchamacallit,
Of the bark that is worse than the bite he has got:
His ceteris paribus
Name all his own, that he’s long since forgot.

{Max Bialystock wants to take this to Broadway, as soon as we can work out a few quality considerations.]

#288 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 08:58 AM:

Zeke it is. Duly noted, Larry. If I got another dog, and if it were a male, I'd probably go for Lockjaw, the big teleporter canine of the Inhumans. Or Krypto. (Thanks to Lisa for reminding me of the obvious.) For a girl dog, I'd probably go for Theora, which was the name of Amanda Pays's character in Max headroom. On the feline side, I have a doctor friend in Quebec who liked to name her kitties after various cancers.

#289 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 09:30 AM:

cmk: LN2 ice cream was demonstrated in the keep the-kids-in-one-place section of Interaction's programming last summer. Very impressive -- they didn't even use a mixer (which the recipe calls for but which strikes me as chancy -- what happens if the motor lubricant starts to stiffen?). I foolishly didn't stay around to try it.

Rob: the ~4000-seat Wang Center in Boston also does large-screen films, though not nearly as frequently as your theater -- they're used for many large-scale productions. They started after the closing of the last monster commercial theater (where I saw all three original Star Wars movies and Lawrence of Arabia). Yes, Serge, I know this doesn't help you another.

#290 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 09:42 AM:

CHip, you are cruel. Meanwhile, San Francisco's Castro Theater is having a premiere for the colorized version of Plan Nine from Outer Space.

Yes, the world is a cruel place,

#291 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 09:47 AM:

It's snowing outside. This is the first snow, and in fact the first precipitation, we've had here in Albuquerque for the whole winter.

Reminds me that TCM showed Truffaud's Fahrenheit 451 yesterday and, while it's not my favorite movie, I still watched the final scene, when people walking thru the snow are memorizing stories for when the world will want them again.

#292 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 12:28 PM:

Over ten inches of snow in Prescott AZ -- ten just to 6 p.m. yesterday, and it snowed for most of the night, so we had over a foot on our side porch's rail. I'm so glad my husband has today and tomorrow off!

On pet names: I have a good view of the street (and far beyond, when it isn't snowing) from the window by my computer and often see folks walking their dogs. One 60ish guy has a little black and white dog with very stumpy legs that galumphs along; I think of them as Mr. Brown (or Braun or O'Brien) and Sparky. One woman I actually know has a tiny little fuzzy dog -- ancient, deaf, nearly blind and dressed in wool doggie sweaters in cold weather -- named Precious, but it's really her late husband's dog, not hers, and no he wasn't a Tolkien fan.

Mike, brilliant poem as always! The multi-names thing works for cats too. Emperor Horton can be Horton (spoken in menacing tones when he's being naughty), Fuzzbundle (20 pounds but a whole lot of fluff), or Noisebox (when he wants food or attention), plus the occasional endearments I won't repeat in polite society. Though his full name is a San Francisco pun with elements of Dr. Seuss, his coloring also resembles those emperor penguins who march. Yesterday's weather even made the outdoors look antarctic -- sideways-blowing snow -- but he's lucky enough to be an indoor cat these days.

The above may still sound too cutesy, but I really like those snarly, difficult dog names too!

#293 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 12:30 PM:

An admittedly dumb question: I understand that cobalt blue mirrors are no longer made for safety reasons, but I can't seem to find a decent description of the methods that were used to figure out if it would be possible to make the process safe. (Technicolor is doing research to see if it would be profitable to come out with Tech prints again assuming that it didn't take multiple workers for each of the 11 steps involved making a print. That's what brought this to mind.) Does anyone know of a website describing the process? I just keep hitting ones that are selling non-cobalt blue mirrors..

#294 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 12:47 PM:

Mr. Ford, there's some guy who claims to represent three people named Eliot, Webber and Rice on line one, and he's not happy.

I, on the other hand, am amused and amazed, as always.

#295 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 01:20 PM:

I had a female kitty called Murphy. Sue went ahead with my suggestion because that was RoboCop's real name. A for where that name had really originated, that was from my reading Gaiman's Sandman. There was a story that was a bit like a film noir, with a short squat creature dressed in a trenchcoat & hat, and acting like it was Bogart. There was this mysterious character it referred to as Murphy, who really was Morpheus.

#296 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 01:50 PM:

Serge - I had a male cat named Molly. My brother named him, and it stuck. We tried calling him Melvin, but it just wasn't satisfactory, so Molly it was. Dang I miss that cat.

#297 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 02:53 PM:

Molly, Larry? What did the little guy die of? My Murphy had to be put to sleep last year because he liver was shot. I had a female cat named Sissy, after the actress Sissy Spacek and she also had to be put to sleep, because of cancer.

Meanwhile Jefferson the male cat is still around and quite healthy. We named him after Thomas Jefferson because we rescued him on July 4th, 1998, and he was this scrawny thing. Like his namesake, he showed a lot of curiosity. He loved exploring all closets & cupboards. Oh, and he does respond to his alternate name, Bad Cat.

#298 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 03:01 PM:

"What is your name?"
"No, Jon. What is your real name?"

Well, there is power in names.

Speaking of which, what is the trend for naming kids these days? The fashion around the year 2000 appeared to have been to go for biblical names, at least for boys. What is it, these ago, a bunch of 12-year-olds got onto my bus, boys and girls. One of the girls gave her name to some other kid as being Promethea, I think. I've never heard that name in the real world before, and she's too old to have been named after Alan Moore's own take on Wonder Woman. Maybe I heard wrong. But it IS a neat name.

#299 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 03:06 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II wrote:

I understand that cobalt blue mirrors are no longer made for safety reasons, but I can't seem to find a decent description of the methods that were used to figure out if it would be possible to make the process safe. [..] Does anyone know of a website describing the process? I just keep hitting ones that are selling non-cobalt blue mirrors..

I did a google-search on "making cobalt blue"
and found a link for Cobalt blue - manufacture recipes

There were about 30 hits on the phrase, but that link looked the most promising.

#300 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 03:16 PM:

I guess making cobalt blue itself probably doesn't answer your question.

Google-searching: making old mirrors cobalt
turns up quite a few links (338,000).

I don't see one which leads me to the cobalt blue mirroring technique,
but I don't see 'non-cobalt blue' mirrors at the top of the list.

#301 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 04:20 PM:

Re: cobalt blue mirror

I'm not having much luck with further searches either.
I've found some recipes for silvering mirrors,
but cobalt doesn't appear to be part of any.

A synonym of 'cobalt blue' appears to be 'Thenard blue'.
Finding that still didn't lead anywhere useful.

Is the cobalt blue a component of the glass getting silvered?
One of the silvering recipes described a tendancy toward yellowing;
blue in the glass would neutralize this somewhat.

#302 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 05:06 PM:

Apparently, another synonym for cobalt-blue wrt mirrors is "Galena blue", which leads to this company which may have pioneered the technology and may still be able to provide supplies/info.

Cobalt-blue mirrors *do* seem to be still available in some contexts; a product with a rippled surface is shown on this page of a stained-glass supply catalogue (there may also be smooth versions elsewhere in their main catalog; haven't had time to check), someone else is making concave cobalt-blue mirrors by hand, and so on.

#303 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 07:29 PM:

Serge: Speaking of which, what is the trend for naming kids these days?

The Social Security Administration keeps track of the most popular names, by year. It's fascinating to watch the trends come and go over time.

The boys' list is currently very biblical (Jacob, Michael, Joshua, Matthew, etc.); the girls' list is now mostly Regency-Victorian (Emily, Emma, Madison, Olivia, etc.).

#304 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 07:36 PM:

Thanks, Bob... I guess the Bible just doesn't have that many good names for girls. (I mean, Jezebel?) My neighbors went the sort-of Victorian route too, what with one daughter being Emma and the other Hannah. Meanwhile, my sister-in-law and her hubby are planning to go a different source than usual for their daughter: one of the top names on their list is Aria, what with dad being such an opera fan.

#305 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 08:38 PM:

I've been looking up Biblical names for a story, and there are more male, positive ones. There are some good female ones, though. Here's the main site I've been using:

#306 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 08:45 PM:

Looking at an MSDS for cobalt oxide, it seems the problems are with the coating itself being horribly toxic, rather than the process - they quote 202 mg/kg, which is quite nasty for a small child who's ignored his parents' injunctions never, ever to lick the backs of mirrors. (Or was I the only one who got that warning?)

In order to fix it, my best guess is that you'd want to find a really good and relatively permanent encapsulation for it - which should be a lot more possible than the last time cobalt blue mirrors were produced. I remember experimenting with really watertight plastic encapsulation some years back, at the Rose Theatre exhibition in London, but it leaked and the electroluminescent panels got Wet. They'd still not be at all ideal for domestic use, but in controlled environments, I know I'd be happy using them.

#307 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 11:00 PM:

Serge - Molly's been gone a long, long time. He developed debilitating kidney problems, slush, stones and eventually infections.

Since then I really haven't been set up to have pets. Although I think that next time I move, I'll find somewhere pet friendly.

#308 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 11:28 PM:

today's been an interesting day weatherwise. It's even made national news. (O-sag-eee for o-sage?) That would be Osage Couny....

look at the "We;re still here" entry.

#309 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 11:48 PM:

a small child who's ignored his parents' injunctions never, ever to lick the backs of mirrors. (Or was I the only one who got that warning?)

My mother used to quote a 'Little Willie':
Little Willie from the mirror drank the mercury all off,
thinking in his childish error it would cure the whooping cough.
At the funeral Willie's mother, weeping, said to Mrs Brown,
"'Twas a chilly day for Willie when the mercury went down."

#310 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: March 12, 2006, 11:50 PM:

March 10 2006: SHE FLOATS !!!!!

M/V APL Panama — aground near Ensenada, Mexico since Christmas Day 2005 — was floated away from the beach at 4:41 a.m. March 10!!!

#311 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 08:09 AM:

I don't know how many users of LiveJournal are around here, but I thought I'd ask. They had upgrade problems on Friday, but I was under the impression that the situation was now back to normal. Hmm... 'Normal' doesn't include Internet Explorer telling me that the requested URL could not be retrieved, with a list of possible reasons, the only one applying to me being that my hostname has an underscore in it. That, to quote Colonel Potter, is horsepuckey because I can log in to my LiveJournal without any problem. Grumblegrumblegrumble...

#312 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 08:40 AM:

I hate it when a problem comes up, goes away. comes up again... The information superhighway (if I may use a quaint name for the internet) is filled with pot-holes. Oh well... It looks like, if it happens again, all I have to do is to replace the underscore in my blog's name with a dash.

#313 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 09:58 AM:

The Skiffy Channel has been heavily advertising the American premiere of the new Doctor Who show. I understand that it's already been going on for some time in Europe. It looks like it's fun, but looks can be deceiving. So, is it any good? Keep in mind that I'm one of the few SF people on the planet who never watched the old show, for some reason or other. I did watch the 1996 movie and I liked it well enough, but I think that fans of the original were less enthused. I understand that the movie had one thing right, which is that the Doctor has a tendency to step outside of the TARDIS without first making sure that he won't be attacked, shot, mugged, assaulted.

#314 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 01:10 PM:


I thought the new WHO rocked. (I saw the whole season, minus the Christmas special, via smuggled DiVX files.)

It's dark and gritty and grown-up compared to the original. The Doctor has a love interest.

The quality of the episodes is uneven, but then so was the original. I'd say this first season of New Who is overall consistently better than the old.

Some of the episodes are wonderfully creepy and tense. There's a two-parter toward the end of the run set in the London Blitz that's a real hoot.

You probably won't be at a disadvantage having not seen the earlier shows. They do a good job of reintroducing the bad guys of the past.

Remember: Bad wolf.

#315 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 01:16 PM:

Bad wolf, Stefan? I am intrigued. By the way, has the show ever dealt with paradoxes, or is the TARDIS mostly a convenient way to go to interesting parts of History?

#316 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 01:45 PM:

I can only speak to the new Who; more often than not the TARDIS is just a convenient way to go to interesting parts of history (or the future), but there's two episodes--by my count--of the 13 that deal at least a little with paradoxes.

(Or refuse to deal at all and thereby leave a plot hole. But thinking too hard about time travel makes my brain hurt, so I try not to).

By the way, the new Who rocked my socks off and Christopher Ecclestone is my pretend boyfriend. I like it better than Firefly or BSG, actually.

#317 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 01:45 PM:

You can't take the time-travel aspect of WHO too seriously. The TARDIS is almost always a way to go interesting places, although, if the plot calls for it, paradoxes and associated muckery are possible.

(One of the new episodes deals with a messy blowback over what, in historical terms, would be a trivial change. But at other times the Doctor's crew, and the Doctor's enemies, make enormous changes that don't create similar blowback.)

#318 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 01:48 PM:

One of the most interesting things about the new Who is its . . . left-wingyness. It's not blatant, mind you, but I could see right-wingy SF fans left occasionally blinking in confusion over a Doctory quip.

#319 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 02:43 PM:

The Doctor is a leftie, Stefan? Should have known. Although, since he is a Time Lord, that makes him an enemy of his Social Class. Anyway, based on your comments and Emily's, it sounds like Friday night will be marked on our calendar as pure fun. By the way, do they ever explain how the Daleks expect to conquer the universe since stairways can keep those tincans-on-wheels from going upstairs. Or downstairs. (And I refuse to make jokes about upstairs downstairs. That'd be too lame, even by my standards.)

#320 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 03:21 PM:

The Doctor was a renegade Time Lord right from the start. I always thought he was left-leaning. At least, the first time I ever heard the joke "Military Intelligence is a contradiction in terms" was when Jon Pertwee said it (no doubt to the hapless Brigadier.)

#321 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 03:44 PM:

Who's playing the Master in this version? I liked Eric Roberts in the 1996 movie. He had such good lines.

"Life! It's wasted on the living."

#322 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 04:06 PM:

No "Master" so far.

I'm hoping they don't over-use the old baddies.

* * *

The chocolate layer cakes came out fine, MOD the fact that I was using commercial frosting and commercial mixes, which simply aren't super-tasty. They're in the empty cubicle next to me. I told my co-workers that I brought them in to celebrate Purim.

My paternal grandmother made awesome cakes from scratch. The frosting was just stunning. Probably made from pure lard, mind you. She didn't pass her bake-fu on to anyone, alas.

#323 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 04:26 PM:

I've got an issue of Foundation from 1984*, a "Special Issue on SF and Socialism," that has a short essay by Alexei Sayle on "Why I Should Have Been the New Doctor Who: The Case for a Marxist in the TARDIS."

It isn't as funny as one might expect from Sayle, though it's not exactly a straightforward political tract. (He refers to K-9 as "the show's most perceptive Marxist theoretician.") He spends a good deal of time complaining about Peter Davison, and then about Davison's successor, who he (or the magazine's copyeditor) calls "Colin Blake."

A year later, of course, Sayle was fighting killer dustbins alongside Colin, er, Baker in "Revelation of the Daleks." What television cannot kill, it eats.

*The year, not the mindset.

#324 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 04:35 PM:

The Case for a Marxist in the TARDIS.

Sounds like that scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail where King Arthur runs into communard peasants.

#325 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 04:59 PM:

One of the girls gave her name to some other kid as being Promethea, I think.

Years ago I was working check-in at the GMHC AIDS Walk, and up came a young woman whose name was Melpomene. She was astonished that I pronounced it (Anglo-)correctly, and had some idea who the original Melpomene was (well, is, but I wasn't about to get into that with her), even if I didn't quite know which of the Mnemosynides she was. She walked up thinking she was going to have some ignorant person butcher, or worse, make fun of her name, and walked away quite happy.

I felt good.

See, kids, that's why you learn all this stuff. It does come up now and then, in the course of your regular life!

#326 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 05:47 PM:

Melpomene, Xopher? I like it. Up in Quebec, my friend Nicole and her hubby Pierre have two daughters, the elder named Ariane, the younger one Daphne. I betcha those two kids know where those names come from and what they mean. The parents are smart, and so are the kids, and the 9-year-old was heard casually using ther word 'lugubrious'.

My top vote though remains with Theora. I never could find what it meant after that one time, years ago. I think it meant 'one who opens doors', which was appropriate for Amanda Pays's character in Max Headroom.

#327 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 07:29 PM:

Nooooo, not Chef!

Isaac Hayes is leaving "South Park" because of the show's depiction of Scientology.

#328 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 08:41 PM:

The new Dr. Who is excellent.

"One of the most interesting things about the new Who is its . . . left-wingyness. It's not blatant, mind you,"

Actually, there's a QUITE blatant comment at one point about the President of the US telling other countries what to do.

I was skeptical at first, but the new show has me thoroughly won over. It's both thought-provoking and fun.

#329 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 09:21 PM:

Rob Rusick: thanks for all the effort! I'd wandered across one of the links you found, but the rest were new to me. From what little I've been able to find I gather that the cobalt was part of the coating rather than part of the glass. The most famous examples that I've seen pictures of were the legendary Sparton Bluebird (which someone was making clones of until recently, none of which I can afford) and the even more legendary Sparton Nocturne which at 4' diameter and $50,000 to $70,000 a copy isn't likely to show up in my living room unless someone starts making Cobalt Blue mirrors again and I make my own.

Julie L.: It looks as if you're right about Peacock, although I suspect both Peacock and Ed Hoy are in the "If you have to ask you can't afford it" range. The Scrying Mirror appears to be a mirror based on what liquid you put into it rather than any reflective coating, which is a shame.

Sam Kelly: I'm sure you're right about the encapsulation needs--the mental picture of a kid sucking the coating off a recreated Nocturne would have the Darwin Awards jury dancing in the streets. I've seen stills of mirrors that included a peach coating as well--wonder if there were problems with blending at the boundaries of each color...

#330 ::: Jonathan Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 10:14 PM:

Melissa Mead: I have the impression that in Britain you don't have to be left-wing to be anti-American -- in fact a certain disdain or even intense dislike for the US seems to be assumed in some reactionary circles on that island. I do live on the other side of the globe, in Australia, so my impression may be completely false.

#331 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 10:24 PM:

another for your "man who melted jack dann" collection elsewhere on this site:

Un-Man Poul Anderson

#332 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: March 13, 2006, 10:25 PM:

As noted by Stefan Jones, the AP story covering Isaac Hayes leaving South Park.

"South Park" co-creator Matt Stone responded sharply in an interview with The Associated Press Monday, saying, "This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology... He has no problem — and he's cashed plenty of checks — with our show making fun of Christians."
#333 ::: petra ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2006, 03:41 AM:

The new doctor Who is indeed excellent;
the Doctor has retained his eternal optimism in the face of all dangers(that's what had me hooked on the earlier series); and this time around they've spent enough money on effects to make the dangers look dangerous!

Oh, and yes, Serge, the Daleks have overcome the problem of stairs. I won't spoil it by telling you how, but I went "Ooh! Nifty!" when it was revealed... But then I have a soft spot for Daleks...

#334 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2006, 06:11 AM:

Thanks, Melissa, And you have me intrigued, petra. I guess I'll have to wait.

While on the subject of time travellers...

I've been going thru the first DVD set of The Time Tunnel and enjoying it. True, one does have to put oneself in a certain frame of mind whenever an Irwin Allen show is involved, but if that can be achieved, then this series is a pleasant diversion, especially if one likes stories about time travel. Not only does the show have a neat musical theme by John Williams, but science is mildly weird so far, and, if I remember my youth correctly, nobody is ever turned into a werewolf, nor are ghosts and evil clowns encountered. But thre are aliens on Earth to abduct cows. That being said... The last episode I've seen so far was about Trojan War sans the gods, and was kind of a dud, as it relies way too much on footage from cheesy Italian epics. No, I don't know if we're supposed to notice that some warriors are wearing Roman outfits, or that the guys over in that corner are Persians from the Battle of Thermopylae. Picky, picky.

The episode before that was crack of doom and has nothing to do with Tolkien's Mount Doom. It does have to do with a volcano though, specifically Krakatoa, where Torin Thatcher plays a crotchety old scientist who just won't leave, no matter what Our Heroes tell him. Of course, the scientist, being old and crotchety, must have a beautiful young daughter who assists him in his work. Sue and I thought she looked very familiar, but the name Ellen McRae didn't ring a bell. Eventually, my wife Sue figured out who she was and a bit of research on my part confirmed it: she was born in 1932 under the name Edna Rae Gilhooley, but most people know her today as Ellen Burstyn, last seen earlier this year playing an Episcopalian Bishop in short-lived show The Book of Daniel.

Funny where some people worked before becoming well known.

#335 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2006, 07:21 AM:


Cakes from scratch aren't that hard. The trick is to take them out of the oven at the right time - just when a toothpick poked into the center comes out moist, but with no batter adhering. Treat it gently when baking and cooling and it won't fall.

Frosting from scratch is even easy I never do get round to measuring. It goes something like this. Take some butter (an American stick of butter per cake), softened by a few hours at room temperature. Add about a teaspoon of vanilla and maybe a quarter of a cup of milk. Then keep adding powdered sugar until the texture is right. For chocolate frosting, add cocoa powder or drinking chocolate (Ghiradelli by preference, where available).

On the subject of interesting names, I had to explain to my four year old who Alexander the Great and Beowulf were, because his first and middle names are Alexander Beowulf. He has the small child's grim delight in gore and violence, and wrinkled his nose appreciatively at the description of tearing Grendel's arm off. I may have to expose him to some uncensored Brothers Grimm soon.

(And yes, he has a very strong reality/fantasy distinction.)

#336 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2006, 08:12 AM:

There seems to be a plain 3'-diameter cobalt mirror here, which judging by its context also falls into the "if you have to ask" category. Yowch.

#337 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2006, 08:22 AM:

...though OTOH, someone is still selling baby Bluebird replicas here for ~$100 (depending on shipping charges); it's way toward the bottom of the page and blurbs in part, "The glass is the true 'Cobalt' blue mirror glass, not the grey looking stuff that some are made of."

#338 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2006, 08:32 AM:

Thus far Petra - the Daleks have overcome the problem of stairs. I won't spoil it by telling you how, but I went "Ooh! Nifty!" when it was revealed...

That episode rocked like Gibraltar - first time we've really seen Daleks doing their thing properly.

Bruce, as I understand it (which may not be accurate, I'm going off my experience of similar things rather than any mirror-specific knowledge) the coating process works by vacuum sputtering, which is basically a really complicated form of airbrushing. Well, without using any actual air, or an actual brush, but it's similar, really - so with the right setup, there shouldn't be a problem with blending tones.

#339 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2006, 08:56 AM:

Alexander Beowulf, abi? Hats off.

#340 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2006, 10:53 AM:

On chocolate cakes: the March issue of Cooks Illustrated (the one with leeks on the front cover and pickles on the back) has an article on making a chocolate cake from scratch, with frosting.

#341 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2006, 12:28 PM:

Erik, is that a noun phrase or a bumper-sticker imperative? Not that I necessarily disagree with the one or disapprove of the other.

#342 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2006, 01:37 PM:

As far as I remember it's a reference to a discussion of book titles and authors ( that, read together, make a weird sort of sense: thus "The Man Who Melted" by Jack Dann = The man who melted Jack Dann.

"The Sheep Look Up John Brunner"
(hint: try under B)

"Dying Inside Robert Silverberg"
The Rising Bruce Springsteen
The Mirror Cracked Agatha Christie (or vice versa)
Who Killed Roger Ackroyd? Agatha Christie

#343 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2006, 01:47 PM:


Bush launched his latest effort to shore up support for the war Monday, accusing Iran of providing explosives used to attack American troops and telling an audience at George Washington University that U.S. forces were "making progress" against insurgents.

He also praised Iraqis for averting civil war despite the sectarian violence that came after February's bombing of the al-Askariya mosque in Samarra, a revered Shiite Muslim shrine.

"The situation in Iraq is still tense, and we're still seeing acts of sectarian violence and reprisal," Bush said. "Yet out of this crisis, we've also seen signs of a hopeful future."


Authorities said at least 86 bodies were found in the Iraqi capital during a 30-hour period ending midday Tuesday, sparking fears that sectarian reprisal killings are continuing at a grisly pace.

We were right. We were right three years ago, when we were being called unpatriotic for pointing out that the future held exactly what we're seeing now. We're still right.

#344 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2006, 02:18 PM:

The Man Who Melted" by Jack Dann = The man who melted Jack Dann.

I remember having to stop and work out where title ended and author began when I saw a poster in college reading:
"Mary Queen of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off by Liz Lochhead".

#345 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2006, 04:01 PM:

About Claude Allen's shoplifting defense that involves a twin... You might want to see this on Tom Tomorrow's site. It involves Star Trek's Evil Universe.

#346 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2006, 05:02 PM:

Or if chocolate cupcakes would suffice instead of full-size cakes, one of the best recipes-from-scratch (with frosting) I've found for them is here. The crucial floofiness step is beating the butter/sugar mixture until it's as aerated as your arm can stand (or if you have an electric mixer, your eardrums); also, it's possible to substitute nonfat yogurt for the sour cream, but the frosting recipe linked from there makers a ridiculously excessive quantity of frosting imho (even if you cut it to one-third, to use only the half-stick of butter left over from the cupcake recipes, that still makes enough to cover all of them).

#347 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2006, 06:27 PM:

"Ridiculously excessive quantity of frosting"? In my world, that phrase makes no sense at all. (And thanks for the pointer. I believe there are cupcakes in my future.)

#348 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2006, 06:53 PM:

My favorite cupcake is the yellow cupcake with chocolate ganache frosting from Cook's Illustrated. Conveniently enough*, someone has reposted the recipe online, so folks who aren't members of the CI website can still try them.

*Um, I mean, "Tsk! Tsk! Reposting a recipe word-for-word is a violation of copyright."

#349 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2006, 07:22 PM:

I have a recipe for the richest chocolate cupcakes I've ever had. They're filled with a cream cheese/chocolate chip mixture and most people just manage to finish one. The recipe is friend-of-a-friend-of-a etc. type so I'll post it if people want it.

#350 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: March 14, 2006, 09:23 PM:

Marilee, that sounds like the cupcakes my mom makes for Christmas! Do they have a kind of marbled chocolate swirl look?

#351 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 12:22 AM:

Okay, the 'my eyeball just fell out of its socket' particle?


Eew, eew, eew, eew. Gaack.


#352 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 12:28 AM:

I'd have to agree that the eyeball thing is making my skin crawl in several directions at once. yikes.

#353 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 12:45 AM:

Re: eyballs, two words: Marty Feldman

#354 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 02:11 AM:

The pulpy Weird Tales has resurfaced.

#355 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 02:17 AM:

Oh, about the eyeball injury to Allan Ray, the basketball player?

The guy's cleared to play in the opening game of the tournament, and he (at the moment) doesn't expect to wear protective goggles.

#356 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 03:05 AM:

I haven't seen any of the new Doctor Who, but Daleks were climbing stairs back in 1988's "Remembrance of the Daleks". (I re-watched that doesn't hold up all that well.)

The best JackDannism I've been able to come up with is "The First Wives Club Olivia Goldsmith". And yes, I checked that it doesn't have an apostrophe.

#357 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 05:59 AM:

How were the Daleks climbing stairs back then, David? Anti-gravity devices that involve wires that disappear somewhere above the top of the TV screen? Well, that was 1988, and computer animation wasn't quite so cheap that anybody with a non-astronomical budget could afford it. And I understand that the old show's budget was not exactly astronomical.

#358 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 07:49 AM:

Marty Feldman's eyes falling out of their sockets.


#359 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 07:58 AM:

Eyes, eyes... How long before someone mentions that Michael Whelan painting where the artist is shown poking one of his own eyes out from behind, thru the other eye socket?

#360 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 08:52 AM:

I'm a little squicked at how white the 'Easy White Icing' is in the picture - that's pretty much my icing recipe and it normally comes out closer to the colour of the butter than to that of the milk. I associate pure white icing with the gross partially-hydrogenated-vegetable-shortening icing at the supermarket. And yeah, it looks like it makes about a third of a cup of icing per cupcake, which is probably more than half an inch high on a standard cupcake. I love frosting, but it's like Oreos vs Double-Stuf Oreos - there's an optimal proportion of filling-to-cake, and it's not 1:3 (YMMV). I'm definitely going to try the cupcakes, though - thanks, Julie L!

#361 ::: Dan Hoey ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 08:54 AM:

On the JackDannism topic, has it been suggested that Patrick's recent electioneering was an attempt to Spin Robert Charles Wilson?

#362 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 09:18 AM:

In today's column, Jon Carroll talks about Matisse and why "The Dinner Table" caused such a scandal back in 1897.

"...There are no disemboweled rabbits, watches floating in space, great smeary bits of color, glued-on bits of hair and fingernails -- nothing like that... So what was so shocking? According to the book, the color. The wine is red, the tablecloth is white, the pears are light green, and nothing is vibrating like a plucked violin string with super-saturated paint -- where is the shock? Why were people fainting when they saw it? Why did old friends break with Matisse over his experiments in 1897? Why were insults hurled in the corridors of prominent art schools?... Part of it was economic. The academy had an iron grip on the national notions of taste, and it determined what was good art and how good art should be made. Conformity was prized, and its absence considered a breach of decency, punishable by poverty..."

#363 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 09:38 AM:

And then there are the silicone cupcake liners which have started appearing in various housewares venues (or should it be "houseware venues"? neither way feels right)-- I like the fact that they can be washed and reused, but in practice they're a bit trickier to wash than one might expect. They tend to flip over in the dishwasher rack; even when weighted to remain upside-down they don't wash clean in there. Hand-washing them requires a fairly vigorous sponge even after a pre-soak. The little concave gullies are especially difficult to clean out, though happily the cups are flexible enough to invert and pop those into convexity.

#364 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 09:53 AM:

I've seen the all-silicon cupcake dozen pans. Does anyone know how well those work? (Y'all have me yearning for cupcakes... though it will likely be creme brulee after my birthday dinner.)

#365 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 10:24 AM:

Paula - Cooks Illustrated has reviewed quite a bit of silicon bakeware with lackluster results.

Basically, poor heat capacity makes for a completely unbrowned cake, and you need to put a cookie sheet under the pan to support it.

The winner is usually a heavy, single layer (not of this double-layer insulated stuff) dark-colored non-stick pan. YMMV, of course.

As far as silicon liners go, it's my guess that they have a higher environmental footprint than a prodigious stack of paper lines. Besides, peeling off the paper liners is fun.

#366 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 10:58 AM:

I haven't had any luck using silicon baking sheets, either. It seems to take much longer for anything to cook on them -- cookies and things are undercooked or even uncooked on the bottom. And it is nearly impossible to get the greasy feeling off afterwards. I find that if you want something not to stick to your baking sheet, a sheet of parchment paper works so much better. It may take just slightly longer to cook than a bare dark-metal pan, but it's not nearly as bad as the silicon sheets. I do like the silicon "hot spot" type potholders, though.

#367 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 11:12 AM:

Bakeware: the March CI has recommendations. (For some things, like pies, Pyrex is their favorite. The silicon bakeware isn't high on any of their lists.)

#368 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 11:51 AM:

Thanks for the advice. probably should just stay with my tried and true pans (I have Wilton aluminum cake pans, and an assortment of Very Reliable bakeware that I've used over and over).

The silicon mini-bundt pan makes for interesting individual meat loaves (not rings, more bundt-angled oblong loaves), though they don't come out as nicely crunchy as my muffin-tin meat loaf recipe. (It was a dollar at the salvage store.) I haven't tried to make any cakes in it and may not after above prior comments here.

#369 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 12:21 PM:

I've actually had great results with my silicone baking mats. But the cookies I make tend to be either chocolate chip variations or snickerdoodles, neither of which are meant to be crispy. I haven't noticed any problems with browning.

I've been experimenting with ganache, but the chocolate buttercream frosting recipe abi posted is still a crowd favorite among co-workers, who get to reap the benefits of my meager two-person household's inability to polish off more than a quarter of a cake. I'm not sure why such a simple recipe is so impressive, but I suspect people around here don't cook and are used to the awful crap on grocery store cakes.

Unfortunately, a box cake tastes better than every attempt I've made at a homemade cake. Which I suppose is fine if you feel, as I do, that cake is just a utensil for serving frosting.

#370 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 12:55 PM:

Frosting junkie, eh? Well, if you do make the Easy White Icing recipe, I recommend playing around with substitutions for the small quantity of milk mentioned for spreadability. A teaspoon of vanilla and a dollop of sour cream, frex, or perhaps a bit of lemon (lime, orange, whatever) juice with corresponding zest and the liqueur of your choice (blue curacao, anyone?). Dunno if jam would be compatible. Presumably cocoa powder could also be subbed in for a small portion of the powdered sugar, etc. etc.

#371 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 01:12 PM:

I'm trying the Easy White recipe next, as my roommate stubbornly refuses to enjoy chocolate quite as much as the rest of the world. If a cake is frosted in chocolate, she picks most of the frosting off!

TJ's had a great vanilla paste around xmas that made the best vanilla frosting, but even so, buttercream frosting unadulterated by cocoa is sometimes a bit much.

#372 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 07:28 PM:

Melissa, no, the cupcake batter makes rich dark chocolate and you spoon the cream cheese mixture into the batter and the batter cooks up around the sides. No marbling, distinct parts.

Andrew, I was trained to take people's eyes out. It was the Cold War way back when I worked, we were on alert against the Soviets, and those of us with particular clearances got anti-terrorist training. I've never had to do it with a real person, but now that I'm disabled I think it would be my first response to any kind of personal attack.

Nerdycellist, never try the Pepperidge Farm snickerdoodles, then. They're crisp. I was very disappointed.

#373 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 09:17 PM:

Sounds delicious however it looks.

#374 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 10:58 PM:

I'm glad someone besides me remembered that Daleks had, by the Seventh doctor, already demonstrated that they can handle stairs (It seems to be a little seen and/or little recollected season. I know personally I saw any seventh doctor eps once or nonce, and our old collection stops at the end of Peter Davison.)

That said, as a Canuck I got to see the new Doctor Who some time ago, and yes, generally very good. And yes, the TARDIS was/is almost always just a conventient way to get from place to place. (At least one episode completely ignores the fact that time travel means you can go places other than where and when you are. Since the resultant emotional collision courses are interesting, I noted it but let it go, even though they could have fixed it and still kept the main storyline intact.) And yes, it is left wing in a low-key but definite way, and for more reasons than a grumble about the POTUS. (Of course, the Doctor's attitudes about megalomania and religious superstition ahve always been such to put him in opposition to the current US administration, but I'm not sure it was always left wing. And I'm overusing brackets again.)

It wasn't that long ago in my LJ I was talking about why I don't feel inclined to taunt the bad special effects of the original Doctor Who unless the story fails. In essence, they're only as good as they have to be to tell you what things are *supposed* to look like, (a la theatre), and let your memory or your imagination fill int he empty space. They are not meant to act like super-special-effects, which attempt to assert that, no really, this is the real thing. (I'd link, but it's at the bottom of a rambling general update.)

#375 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 11:23 PM:

Julie L.: Yes, that mirror is probably in "pretty good used car" country. I admit to being curious about the baby Bluebird being listed as Cobalt Blue instead of "grey looking stuff;" if that's the case, what are the full-sized replicas--grey or blue? They were supposed to have been made by the same company...

Sam Kelly: my CD of "The Amateur Scientist" columns would agree with you as far as the methods we'd use today, but I'm not clear if vacuum sputtering would have been available then. If not I'd suspect bleeding would have been a problem, but using modern techniques should have that licked. I think...

#376 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 11:38 PM:

Stefan Jones wrote:
"The chocolate layer cakes came out fine, MOD the fact that I was using commercial frosting and commercial mixes, which simply aren't super-tasty. They're in the empty cubicle next to me. I told my co-workers that I brought them in to celebrate Purim."

I was delivering a local synagogue's newsletter to one of my customers today, and noted that the front page included a list of scheduled Purim events.

One of the listings included the information that "a live mariachi band" would be featured.

Just a hunch, but I think that must be a Reform synagogue.

#377 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 15, 2006, 11:51 PM:

Thinking of Purim, my totally non-Jewish mom used to make killer hamentaschen using a recipe she learned from my babysitter when we lived in Jamaica, Queens. I don't have the recipe, but one of the things I remember about it was that the apricot filling was based on baby food.

Now that I'm grown up, I've come to appreciate the poppy seed variety too. Mmmm hamentaschen. I think I need to get some airlifted in.

#378 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 01:42 AM:

Hmm. The Ha'aretz restaurant and wine critic has a recipe for hamentaschen, but no apricots. Prunes, dates raisins and nuts.

#379 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 03:32 AM:

Serge: The Dalek had flickering lights around its base as it rose into the air. I didn't notice any wires, but I wasn't really looking all that hard. I mean, yes, presumably wires were involved somehow, but at least they weren't obtrusively visible.

One thing about time travel paradoxes in Doctor Who was that the Doctor never had really good control of where he was going. In the early years of the show, he had basically no control -- the TARDIS was a way of entering the story and leaving the story, and that was it. When Ian and Barbara had a chance to get a ride back to 1960s England in somebody else's time machine, they jumped at it.

#380 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 03:46 AM:

New Zealand's Prime channel re-ran all the Dr. Whos a few years back, at the rate of one a night. Aside from the fact that it made the (longish) intro's to each episode annoying, it really helped make the various stages that the series went through stand out.

Also, the arc of the Doctor's character, from archetypal mad scientist, through to slighty eccentric bachelor, was very clear.

Quite interesting. Especially the occasional obsessions with certain times, especially Victorian times, for some reason I don't quite get.

Re: The `leftness' of Dr. Who.

There is one very direct crack at Blair in the new Who, if I remember correctly.

(*slightly* spoilerish)

The bad guys are trying to convince the public to let them do something outrageous; therefore, they try and convince everyone that there is an existential threat to the world, that could destory them within some very small time. The line they use is `45 seconds', which is a pretty direct quote of `45 minutes'.

The point is very obvious.

The other thing that I enjoyed about it was that it was quite self-aware; they used the plot conventions of the SF as plot devices, if that makes sense...

#381 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 03:52 AM:

Arggh! Safari ate my insightfulish comment on the politics of Dr. Who.

I really wish that the `open in tabs' bookmark option's default behaviour didn't kill the set of tabs that you already had opened.

Suffice to say, Dr. Who takes a lot of pot shots at Blair. Which isn't really lefty, as Blair is Labour, but still...

Although, given the Education Bill's debates, he seems to rely on Tory votes a fair bit.

#382 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 04:22 AM:

Whoops. Sorry for the double post.

Worst of all, now you can all see my so-called `insightfulish' post is nothing of the sort. Oh well.

#383 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 06:30 AM:

Thanks, everybody, for the Who (*) comments... Now I'm really looking forward to the show.

(*) Hmmm... Too bad they couldn't get Roger Daltrey to play the Doctor.

#384 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 07:18 AM:

Not Roger. Pete!!

#385 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 07:34 AM:

Pete, Jon? Oh, you mean Pete Townsend. As for Roger, I brought him up because I'm more familiar with his own acting abilities. He was so good playing the Devil in the first season of WitchBlade. If anybody remembers that show.

By the way, who IS the Brigadier? And did the old show have a character called Sgt. Benton? Mike did a pastiche a couple months ago that involved such a character who wouldn't let someone use one of the giant robots in the warehouse that was in his safekeeping, and the whole thing seemed to me like it was related to Doctor Who.

#386 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 08:41 AM:

Brigadier Lethbridge-Stuart is a recurriung character who, I gather, has appeared with every incarnation of the Doctor up to the interregnum.

For most of that time, he commanded UNIT, which was a British Army unit that, in theory, reported to the UN and was involved in all the weird stuff which happened.

UNIT was most prominent in the Jon Pertwee era, when the Doctor was mostly marooned on Earth.

The Brigadier last appeared in a story involving the Doctor and Ace with Arthurian legend. By then he had retired, and UNIT was a multi-national force commanded by a Brigadier Bambera. He was dragged back because of the Doctor, and the character had the opportunity to act a little more in the role of an Arthurian Knight than as a modern soldier.

Sgt. Benton was one of the UNIT regulars.

The Pertwee stories were set in what was, at the time, the near future. So most people dressed pretty much as they did in the real world. The Brigadier and Sgt. Benton, and a few other UNIT personnel, were sometimes seen in an attempt at near-future military fashion fashion, but eventually were wearing normal British uniforms.

In the last UNIT story, several characters were clearly from non-British armies. And not the US Army.

#387 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 09:02 AM:

Sgt. Benton was one of the UNIT regulars.

Thanks, Dave.

No giant robot though?

#388 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 09:58 AM:

The giant robot was probably from the first Tom Baker episode. Baker was Pertwee's successor, so his first epsodes contained some UNIT stuff. I don't remember if Benton showed up at all. And I'm resisting the temptation to take my old Doctor Who book and look it up.

#389 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 10:13 AM:

Only one giant robot, Laura? Duly noted. By the way, Doctor Who is a Time Lord, but are there Time Ladies zipping around? I have this vision of Judi Densch stepping out of a TARDIS...

#390 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 10:32 AM:

Serge: There are Time Ladies. Judi Dench would make a great one (but I think she'd make a great anything.)

Slight tangent: Doctor Who is what one might call transphobic, in the sense that the Doctor's species "regenerates" from one body to another, but is never allowed to switch genders. The idea of the Doctor being played by a woman has been suggested, but never taken seriously, AFAIK.

#391 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 11:03 AM:

We're still months away from September 19's Talk-like-a-Pirate Day. But, should you feel the need to brush up on the language, you might want to know that, at 3amPST this coming Sunday, Turner Classic Movies will be showing 1952's Blackbeard the Pirate, with Robert Newton in the title role.

Shiver me timbers! Yarrrr...

#392 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 11:16 AM:

Oooh, thanks for the reminder! Having spent the weekend on a mock battle sail with my favorite pirates and then being mildly disappointed with the National Geographic Blackbeard special, this should be just the thing.

#393 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 11:28 AM:

The stuffed Kiwa hirstua is as interesting (I don't think 'cute' is quite the right word) as the original. Thank, Teresa!

#394 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 12:04 PM:

Julie L.: [smacks forehead] Of course! I always put vanilla into my plain white frosting, which is probably contributes to the nice creamy colour (creamy as in, 'like cream,' not in a synaesthetic sense). And yeah, if I want chocolate icing, I just dump a few heaped tablespoons of cocoa into a strainer and sift it in to the icing sugar.

I live in the States, so I haven't had much chance to see the new Who episodes. I'm embarrassed to say that I spent part of my limited time in Dublin last spring sitting in my hotel room, watching my first and only episode of the new Who, on a Saturday night yet (in my defense, it was right before going out for the evening).

I think female Time Lords are still Time Lords, not Ladies - my favourite companion was Romana, who regenerated into a different (female) body while she was on the show (the second was a little too blonde and dippy for my nascent feminist tastes...)

#395 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 12:10 PM:

Claudia Black as a Time Lord/Lady... She's got my vote.

#396 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 12:15 PM:

There've been quite a few female Time Lords over the years, though they've appeared more in the New Adventures and following books than in the TV series. The only two I can think of offhand are Romana - the second Romana was Lalla Ward - and the Rani, an antagonist for a few stories.

Here, Marc Platt talks about Time Ladies in his notes to Lungbarrow, one of the later books, noting that they really did only appear later on.

In particular, Paul Magrs created Iris Wildthyme for the books.

We can only hope...

#397 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 01:42 PM:

Slight tangent: Doctor Who is what one might call transphobic, in the sense that the Doctor's species "regenerates" from one body to another, but is never allowed to switch genders. The idea of the Doctor being played by a woman has been suggested, but never taken seriously, AFAIK.

I wonder if that explains why the rumors a couple of years ago that the new Doctor would be played by Eddie Izzard didn't come to pass. (Now that would've been more than worth giving up Friday nights for.)

#398 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 02:03 PM:

Random Who factoids:

1.) Actorishly speaking, Ian Chesterton is the father of Dean Thomas.

2.) Doctor Who actually has been played by a woman; The Curse of Fatal Death culminated in his(?) apotheosis as Joanna Lumley, following Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Grant, Richard E. Grant, and Jim Broadbent. Jonathan Pryce was also very fine as The Master. IIRC it's still available from Amazon on VHS, but I don't know whether it's been re-released on DVD.

#399 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 02:06 PM:

Serge - from your lips to the gods' ears.

Or maybe...from your keyboard to the gods' monitors!

#400 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 02:12 PM:

his(?) apotheosis as Joanna Lumley, following Rowan Atkinson, Hugh Grant, Richard E. Grant, and Jim Broadbent.

I'm sorry. For a second there, I thought you said that Hugh Grant played the Doctor.

huh what??

#401 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 02:24 PM:

You heard me. Hugh Grant as Doctor Who. Pix and exegesis here, frex.

#402 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 02:37 PM:

Another fan of Claudia, Xopher?

More silly Who casting... Hugh Laurie as the Doctor?

#403 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 03:09 PM:

How could I not be, Serge? She's the best thing since...well, ever.

I just wanna see her work with Ben Browder again. Directly, I mean, not just on the same show. Perhaps...a series of romantic comedies, like Tracy & Hepburn?

And while I'm wishing, I'd like a pony. With wings.

#404 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 03:55 PM:

How could one not be indeed, Xopher... AND she's funny as Hell.

#405 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 16, 2006, 03:57 PM:

Actually, Hell is not funny, if I correctly remember the catechism of my altar-boy youth. But Claudia is.

#406 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 10:40 AM:

A question about another British TV series...

The last episode of Blake's 7 that I ever saw ended with Blake resurfacing and pointing a gun at Avon, who only smiles that trademark smile of his even as we hear a blaster go off.

I think that was the end of the series. But I'm curious to know whether or not they ever resolved the cliffhanger in some manner.

#407 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 10:55 AM:

Non sequitur (but that is what Open Threads are for, no?):

I saw the Dropkick Murphys play live last night - they're a Boston-based, Irish-influenced punk band. I first heard The Fields of Athenry in their version, not a sad, traditional version. I like the punk version better - if this is the story you're telling, you should be angry. And there is something to be said for hearing a thousand people yell, "I rebelled, they cut me down" from a sweaty moshpit, backed by Irish pipes and feedback-y electric guitars.

#408 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 11:28 AM:

Serge: to the best of my knowledge, no. A friend of mine in college came up with her answer, though....

"Then the holodeck doors opened, and Avon went to change back into his uniform. He was spending more time in the holodeck these days, since becoming the new Chief of Security after Tasha's death."

#409 ::: Mary R ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 11:35 AM:

Interesting point about medicines and side effects on Malcolm Gladwells' blog -

"For instance, for years people in the pharmaceutical business have been aware of the fact that a large number of reported adverse reactions to a particular drug can mean one of two things. The obvious meaning is that a drug is dangerous. The other meaning is that a drug is SO much better and safer and more effective than any other drug in its class that it tends to be given to the sickest and most troubled patients."

#410 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 11:43 AM:

Nah, Christopher... Avon belongs in Starfleet even less than NextGen's Barclay ever did.

#411 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 02:24 PM:

"Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog."

Am I the only person who hears "EI-EI-O" after that?

#412 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 02:29 PM:

Does anyone know if Sci-fi's cutting Dr. Who for time and/or content? I kind of assume they are, but on the outside chance they're going to be decent human beings about it, I'd like to know. Otherwise, I'll just Netflix them.

#413 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 02:47 PM:

Good question, nerdycellist... The Skiffy Channel is rather funny about language and nudity as I was reminded last weekend when they showed The Abyss. Having Ed Harris's blue-collar guy exclaim "Son of a butch!" sounds rather silly. And when Elizabeth Mastrantonio drowns and they rip her shirt off to use the ressucitator's paddles on her, the network blurred that out. Which only draws more attention to what they don't want us to notice. Maybe they're afraid of Michael Powell and of the FCC (*) coming down on them like a ton of bricks.

(*) That reminds me how, after the FCC's reaction to the Janet Jackson brouhaha, Monty Python's Eric Idle responded with a little ditty whose refrain went "F*CK you very much", but said in oh-so-polite a manner.

#414 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 02:48 PM:


My straight-from-the-BBC, uninterrupted episodes ran about 35 / 40 minutes. I don't think Sci-Fi would have to cut anything to make room for commercials.

#415 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 02:52 PM:


The SF/adventure aspect of the first New Who episode is only OK. The monster of the week isn't very interesting, and of course there's a fair amount of what's-going-on to go through.

Next week's episode, however, is really neat. If Jack Vance and Douglas Adams collaborated, they might come up with something like it.

#416 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 03:14 PM:

Isn't the first WHO episode about someone who makes plastic dummies come alive, Stefan?

#417 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 03:17 PM:

That's the one.

#418 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 03:20 PM:

Heck, Stefan, I see those all the time on the plastic-surgery specials of Discovery's Health Channel. (My wife prefer calling it the Blood&Guts Channel or, when they show non-ER stuff, it becomes the Baby&B**by Channel.)

#419 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 03:22 PM:

Oops. I meant to write " wife and I prefer calling it the Blood&Guts Channel..."

#420 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 03:48 PM:

Eric Idle's "The FCC Song" is available for download from

#421 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 03:54 PM:

I realized when watching MI:5 (which was originally called "Spooks") that those edits for time were just as annoying as the edits for content.

I've never watched Dr. Who before - when I first became aware of it, all that was available was the hokey early-ish stuff which put me off, rather like ST:TOS must have done for people not raised with it. I've heard such good things about this new series and am hoping I can just hop right into it and enjoy it enough that it can be an entertaining substitute for BSG for awhile. If they blur out a booby, I'll roll my eyes but eventually be OK. If they excise the character who is reportedly openly bi-sexual, I'll be cranky.

The worst example of Sci-Fi's scardey cat bleeping policy was on an episode of Firefly when Jayne's offhand comment about the quality of his lunch - "This tastes like crotch!" became "This tastes like ****." Which actually made it sound much dirtier than it was.

#422 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 04:22 PM:

"This tastes like ****."

Either way sounds like Jayne.

Did you ever watch X-files, nerdycellist? Their first episode that went for humor was Jose Cheung's 'From Outer Space'. One of the characters was a foul-mouthed cop, but they never had his words blanked or bleeped out. They had him literally saying "What the bleep!" and "You blank-hole!"

#423 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 04:51 PM:

Jumping in late, oooh, Claudia Black as a Time Lord. Heck, I'd like to see her in a villain role, which might be a nice change-up.

#424 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 05:03 PM:

Wasn't there some kind of Cameron/Mastrantonio spat over the filming of that scene, because she felt he didn't yell "cut" fast enough on a botched take or something?

#425 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 06:28 PM:

A Cameron/Mastrantonio spat, Christopher? Possible. I don't suppose she was too crazy about being on display more than she had to. I wouldn't be.

#426 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 06:30 PM:

Larry, it's never too late for Claudia Black. Goodness, I'd love to see her play Wonder Woman in Joss Whedon's upcoming film, but she's probably considered too old. How ridiculous.

#427 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 06:39 PM:

"If they excise the character who is reportedly openly bi-sexual, I'll be cranky."

They can't. He has too major of a role.

#428 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 07:33 PM:

I must say there's something decidedly odd (in a good way) of hearing Eric Idle sing a song that mentions Dick Cheney, George Bush, Haliburton, Condileza Rice, the FCC, the EPA, and Arnold.

Thanks for posting the link.

#429 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: March 17, 2006, 11:48 PM:

Laura Roberts: "Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog."
   Am I the only person who hears "EI-EI-O" after that?

I was getting more of a doo-daah, doo-daaaah. Yours scans better, though.

#430 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2006, 07:04 AM:

I saw my first-ever episode of the new Doctor Who last night, although I should use the plural since it looks like the Skiffy Channel intends to show two of them every Friday. I rather liked the mixture of silliness and weirdness, what with the first hour's alien plastic lump who takes over the Earth's manikins and then proceeds to have them shoot people (1). It's too bad though that the boyfriend of human girl Rose cowered so much because that made it rather too easy for her to decide to join the Doctor in his adventures thru Time and Space.

The second hour though... Now that was better. They wind up more than 5 billion years into the future, in a space station orbiting the Earth, except that it looks like today's planet because it's now a museum piece. Representatives of many species descended from Humanity and even from a Rain Forest are here, to pay homage and say goodbye to Earth as the Sun is about to go nova. Rose comes back to Today and to its bustling crowds, understandably sad at the fate awaiting them, but the Doctor's attitude is more philosophical because there is a time for everything to die, and he knows about losing one's homeworld.


(1) Reminds me of the Monty Python sketch where a giant alien blanc-mange shoots a ray that turns people them into Scotsmen because it wants to win at Wimbledon and Scots are known to be lousy tennis players.

#431 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2006, 10:06 AM:

Serge - Y'know, sometimes I wonder if the reason I find Claudia Black so fascinating (careful choice of words there) is because she played Aeryn Sun so well, because of her captivating voice and accent, or simply because she's stunningly attractive, or, as the kids would say, "hott".

Thankfully for her (and for us), Farscape was a cultish series, so she hasn't been typecast. We'll probably see her in a lot of other contexts, many not at all skiffy. (Did I use that correctly?)

Re: Dr. Who, I somehow neglected to record it when the CBC ran it several months ago. I'm setting my DVR right now to catch it on that rather dicey cable channel that hasn't shown much that was any good since they canned Farscape.

#432 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2006, 10:16 AM:

Larry... Maybe the answer re your attraction toward Claudia Black is 'All of the above'.

#433 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2006, 10:53 AM:

One more thing, Larry... At the end of the two 'Who' episodes, the Skiffy Channel ran an ad for the DVD release of the first season. Isn't that like pulling the carpet from under their own feet, Three-Stogges style?

#434 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2006, 01:10 PM:

"a giant alien blanc-mange"

That was the very first episode of Monty Python I ever saw.

February 23, 1975.

I remember because it was a "Come to Jesus" moment. Or maybe a "Jesus thows a cream pie" moment.

Nothing was the same after that.

#435 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2006, 01:16 PM: too, I think. I didn't even know what a blancmange was (and wish I didn't, yuck), but it was a very silly-sounding word...and laughtracks do have a use, it transpires.

#436 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2006, 05:54 PM:

I think the first MPFC I ever saw was the one with The Penugin on the Telly and The Death of Mary Queen of Scots. Mr. Neutron was somewhat later for me.

Interestingly, I watched it with my grandmother, who nearly peed her pants laughing and then felt somewhat ashamed of the whole incident and wouldn't watch the show again.

#437 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2006, 09:52 PM:

Serge, I'm willing to watch the next two eps of Dr. Who, but I dunno after that. There were obvious tech weirdnesses, for example, the Dr. has a cool gadget that does just about anything, but he has to run the spaceship engine like a pipe organ. And why would the plastic guy change mannekins first? Why not cellphones or keyboards? More people use those at any given time. I did like the costuming in the second show.

Larry, I take it you haven't been watching Claudia Black in her recurring role on SG-1?

I know what blancmange is, but I've never seen all of a MP. Someone insisted I rent one once and I got about 15 minutes in and took it out of the VCR.

#438 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2006, 10:03 PM:

Marilee - File it under "tastes vary" but I never liked Stargate, so I don't watch it. Claudia Black's presence is news to me. I also never liked Babylon 5 or any of the new Star Trek series except for a handful of TNGs, which I watched sporadically.

#439 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2006, 10:38 PM:

Larry: Claudia Black AND Ben Browder.

#440 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: March 18, 2006, 11:05 PM:

Thanks Melissa. *Head explodes from cognitive dissonance*

#441 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 08:31 AM:

And you should see the outfit that Claudia Black used to wear on StarGate. Va-va-voom...

#442 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 08:33 AM:

True, Marilee, the Doctor has a cool gadget that does just about anything, but he has to run the spaceship engine like a pipe organ. But, in a way, that's what makes the charm of the whole setup for me. I did think that the TARDIS, when taking off for another era, always sounds like it needs someone to check the oil level in its transmission shaft.

#443 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 12:13 PM:

I keep referring to Ben Browder's SG-1 character as "John."

Not having his character directly paired with Claudia's makes MY head explode.

Re: Dr. Who-Well, the TARDIS has been an outdated model from the get-go, "borrowed" from a repair shop. I think the Sonic Screwdriver is newer.

#444 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: March 19, 2006, 08:36 PM:

Larry, Black (or at least her character) is pregnant now, which is why her older outfit on Stargate is more impressive.

I think SciFi wanted to find good places for their stars, and since Anderson was leaving Stargate, there they were.

#445 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 12:51 PM:

Christopher Davis asked:

Wasn't there some kind of Cameron/Mastrantonio spat over the filming of that scene, because she felt he didn't yell "cut" fast enough on a botched take or something?

I don't know if it was a spat, exactly. According to the documentary on the DVD, they were working long hard nights - because the giant filming tank had no roof - and the film ran out in the middle of a take. She got upset and left the set.

I am such a nerrrrd.

#446 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2006, 09:10 PM:

Patrick: that sounds like what I was thinking of. I remember noticing that she was a conspicuous omission from the participants in the laserdisc/DVD extras and hearing that her disagreement with Cameron over that was a likely reason.

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