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January 7, 2006

Open thread 57
Posted by Teresa at 11:47 AM *

* Agnus Dei, Lamb of God.
* Crus de Agnus Dei con quilon menthae, Leg of Lamb of God with mint jelly.

Comments on Open thread 57:
#1 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 12:28 PM:

A Seuss-o-gram from me to Virgin Records, who put an obnoxious warning in their latest Coldplay release:

That Virgin Sam! That Virgin Sam!
I do not like that Virgin Sam!

He thinks some kind of crook I am.
His dippy disk's not worth a dram.

I would not play it on a Mac!
I would not mp3 a track.

I'd not my hand-held player risk
Or burn the bleeper to a disk.

I'd not put it on my LD
Or play it on a DVD.

I'd not use CD-R, by heck,
Or play it on my Windows deck.

I'll leave it off my game machine
And likewise keep my hard drive clean.

So keep your dumb DRM kit,
I do not want it, not a bit.

You think your music's so darn hot.
Is it worth all that? No it's not.

I'm not the sheep you think I am,
So shove it sideways, Virgin Sam!

#2 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 12:42 PM:

"Aslan! Put down that mint jelly!"

"Uh, I was just going to, you know, lie down with it."

#3 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 12:45 PM:

actually I don't believe you're allowed to do most of that with the new Coldplay cd.

since Aslan is really a sort of God dress-up can't he do what he wants with the lamb, and the mint jelly.

#4 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 12:46 PM:

Pair that with a glass of Christ's Blood, vintage 0 (though that's likely a mislabel).

#5 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 12:50 PM:

There's actually 57 varieties of mint jelly.

#6 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 12:51 PM:

Actually, this provokes an interesting question. What does Aslan eat? Lions are carnivores, but I don't think it's quite kosher--pun intended--for a religious leader to chow down on his flock.

#7 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 12:52 PM:

We're not so far apart, really.

They say, "don't do,"
I say, "won't do."
They say, "could not,"
I say, "would not."
Shall not! Will not!
Tomayto! Tomahto!
Let's throw the dumb thing out.

#8 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 12:56 PM:

Anybody watching Battlestar Galactica? The plot is definitely thickening with last night's season premiere, with President Roslin basically telling Adama that he has to get Admiral Caine killed one way or the other, or else all of humanity will die.

Meanwhile, for those who wonder what Edward James Olmos's politics are, there was an interview in a recent issue of the TV Guide where they asked him if the show will end some day. His response?

"They should find Earth. When they land, they'll be happy they found it. They'll walk off the ship and they'll get nuked. One of the commandos will turn to President Bush and say, 'The aliens have been defeated.'..."

#9 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 12:58 PM:

Serge: Hey, Edward James Olmos still means "Justice Mendoza" to me, so I'm not surprised.

#10 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 01:06 PM:

As I've said elsewhere: If this whole DRM thing means I hear less of Coldplay's so-called music, I'm all for it.

#11 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 01:10 PM:

"Justice Mendoza", Will? Was that the name of his character in the TV courtroom drama of a few years ago, with Chris Noth?

Of course, Olmos played the main character in "Stand and Deliver". Especially with that movie, his politics should have been obvious, but I didn't want to make assumptions. (That tendency of mine even in the face of the obvious why I'm no good at finding whodunit in mysteries.)

#12 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 01:13 PM:

*grin* It's the character he played on The West Wing.

#13 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 01:15 PM:

"but I don't think it's quite kosher--pun intended--for a religious leader to chow down on his flock."
he's not a tame lion you know.

#14 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 01:29 PM:

Olmos was on West Wing, Will? I should have known, even though I've very seldom watched the show. If I remember correctly, it premiered when Bill Clinton's troubles with Whitewater and with Monica Lewinski were going on at full throttle. It'd have been too depressing to watch the fiction with such a what-should-have-been resonance.

#15 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 01:29 PM:

Will "scifantasy" Frank: What does Aslan eat? Lions are carnivores, but I don't think it's quite kosher--pun intended--for a religious leader to chow down on his flock.

Makes me think of the sickly tofu-fed lion from Futurama.

#16 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 01:34 PM:

"but I don't think it's quite kosher--pun intended--for a religious leader to chow down on his flock."

Actually, some might argue that there's a long (if not quite honorable... perhaps venerable by virtue of age alone) tradition of the clergy feasting upon the laity. I'm thinkin' Pharisees, the Aztecs & Mayans (quite literally, in their cases, eh?), the excesses of various and sundry European monks, the excesses of various and sundry Buddhist monks, Bishops during the Crusades, and so on... And then there're the sex scandals of the contemporary Roman Catholic Church.

Admittedly, many (but far from all) of these accounts have been intended as pure propaganda, but still - not a tame lion, indeed. It would appear that the lion requires a fair helping of the blood of the lamb every now and again, regardless of culture.

But then, perhaps I haven't had enough coffee this morning.

(Also, is the site experiencing database problems today? There's an anchor tag for seds.org showing up in the title bar of my browser (IE6).)

#17 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 01:35 PM:

Will "scifantasy" Frank: Pair that with a glass of Christ's Blood, vintage 0 (though that's likely a mislabel).

Is that Rh positive or negative?

#18 ::: Will "scifantasy" Frank ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 01:41 PM:

Serge: Yeah, in the first season (which would have been fall of 1999-spring of 2000). He was a very left-wing judge who the President and his staff put on the shortlist for S.C. nominee, but people accused them of doing it so they could say they had a (an?) Hispanic man on the shortlist.

They decided to make him their nominee after their original choice, also a liberal judge but one who would have sailed through the confirmation, turned out to not believe in a Constitutional right to privacy.

Of course, he was both extremely outspoken (even when he should have been quiet and let the White House speak for him) and caused no end of problems to the White House before he was confirmed. The Communications Director, who had been put in charge of the nominations, almost had an ulcer--then again, he always felt like that.

#19 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 01:51 PM:

Tanks for the clarifications about Olmos, Will.

On the subject of what big creatures eat... I notice that the Skiffy Channel's first 'original' movie of the year is about - believe it or not - an oversized creature trying to eat humans although this time it's a giant rhino beetle. What will they think of next? Too bad I have to wait until March to see Dark Kingdom, but at least it'll be the full-length version. I understand from going to Diane Duane's site that the British were treated to a 2-hour version.

#20 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 02:02 PM:

Makes me think of the sickly tofu-fed lion from Futurama.

Speaking of Futurama, did you guys hear that Fox is thinking about bringing it back from zee dead? Possibly to play episodes on Fox or on Comedy Central?

See, I read that, and immediately, I think, "Hey, maybe that means they might bring Firefly back." (Which I ONLY JUST finished watching for the first time a few days ago. My fandom was instant, loyal, and assured.)

Maybe.

One can always hope anyway.

#21 ::: Paula Kate ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 02:02 PM:

And for me, Olmos will always be Lt. Castillo on Miami Vice, with his strange past in Cambodia and his secrets...

#22 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 02:15 PM:

At the movies, when I think of Olmos, I think of Bladerunner. And of the musical Zoot Suit, where he played the Devil.

#23 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 02:17 PM:

Another vote for Bladerunner. And those tiny, perfect bits of origami.

#24 ::: Meredith ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 03:06 PM:

Kip W, I'm still ROTFL laughing several minutes later.

Permission to forward to some very anti-DRM friends?

#25 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 03:08 PM:

I reckon as long as Aslan didn't eat talking animals, it would be OK. Carnivorousness is part of nature, after all.

But I wonder if he sometimes looked out across Narnia and saw everyone as little steaks, like Alex the lion does in Madagascar.

My vote is for Stand and Deliver, though mostly because any film that includes the line (not by Olmos), "The postman. I killed him. His body's decomposing in my locker." gets my vote most of the time.

#26 ::: jhlipton ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 03:16 PM:

As I recall, lions of the Mayans, and possibly the Aztecs, ate (or at least killed) the lambs of the other flock; ie. prisoners captured in war.

I hope that Jobs kicks Coldplay, and any band that employs simular measures, off iTunes (where the future lies). But I doubt he will.

#27 ::: jhlipton ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 03:30 PM:

From Open Thread 56:
ElizabethVomMarlowe:

Speaking of common/uncommon words in English, can anyone help me decide on a new recall command word? (For dog obedience.) I want something: easy to remember, one or two syllables, distinctive sound, never or extremely rarely used in everyday dialogue. It'd be nice if it somehow related to "come", but that part is more optional.

A one or two syllable word, related to "come"? I can think of two words, ROT-13ed to protect innocent eyes (since they ares a weeee bit naughty):

"Fcrez" or "Betnfz"

#28 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 03:48 PM:

Apropos of nothing, I Just Want To Say that there are some people in the world for whom no description suffices except that excellent British adjective, "barking".

Ladies and gentleman, I give you Alec Rawls.

#29 ::: Don Simpson ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 03:50 PM:

From my review of the Narnia movie:
This is a children's story, and contains unreasonable things. There is a Christmas, and a Father Christmas (sleigh, reindeer, bag of gifts), but no Christ. Everyone speaks and writes in English. There is a working lamp-post in the middle of the forest (yes, Lewis explains that in a later book, but it's an afterthought about a beautiful and mysterious image). Everything thinks and speaks, even the trees, but though there are obligate carnivores on both sides of the war, and eggs on the breakfast table in Aslan's camp, there's not much said about the ethics of hunting and eating.

#30 ::: Alex LM ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 03:50 PM:

jhlipton, I think you're thinking of jaguars, since there aren't very many Central American lions.

Or maybe you're thinking of the Romans, who are, possibly apocryphally, infamous for feeding folks to felines.

#31 ::: older ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 04:17 PM:

Actually, there's a long history of gods chowing down on their followers too.

#32 ::: Randall P. ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 04:32 PM:

Nice, Patrick. Is this guy part of that group that wants to name everything after Reagan?

Speaking of cancelled-before-their-time TV shows, I'd love to hear people's thoughts of "Freaks and Geeks" or it's less known sibling, "Undeclared"? Two television classics that, unfortunately, can never be brought back.

BTW, my daughter just said, "Daddy, can I watch TV after I finish playing Hungry Hungry Hippopatamuses."

#33 ::: C.E. Petit ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 04:35 PM:

For a moment, I thought I might be walking into a PDQ Bach celebration, with the soundtrack from his oratorio Angus Dei. But mint jelly doesn't usually go along with beef.

One comment above reminds me of a remark in one of Orwell's essays on his time in Burma, in which he says that the haunches of the local antelope variant as they sprang away fairly whispered "mint sauce" to him.

#34 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 04:46 PM:

Patrick: John Rawls was a genius, Alec is precisely the opposite.

#35 ::: Aquila ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 04:48 PM:

Central America also has mountain lion/puma/cougar/mexican lion/catamount/deer tiger/panther/pantera/cabcoh/red tiger.

#36 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 04:54 PM:

Does Heinz do onion rings?

#37 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 05:15 PM:

Protected Static:
Not a database error -- a side effect that is perhaps a bit messier than Teresa would like.

Elise:
... he did not adulterate his sauce with turnips or other false vegetables, as his competitors did.

Was Henry Heinz involved in a Vegetology heresy?

#38 ::: Cassie ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 05:28 PM:

I figured there were animals and talking animals, sort of like the big mice and whatever mice may have not been around for the gnaw-off. So Aslan could eat whatever he wanted, as long as it didn't curse at him when he tried.

My own question: I made the blackberry liqueur stuff, generally from recipes posted here over the summer. Is it meant to taste quite so perfectly like cough syrup? I don't mind it, but I'd like to know whether to say, "Yes, it's quite good," or, "Sorry, mix it with whatever you want," when people make a face.

#39 ::: Mikael Johansson ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 05:37 PM:

The rest of it looks latin. Thus, shouldn't it be "cum" and not "con"?

#40 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 06:01 PM:

Patrick -

I had heard rumors of the Flight 93 Memorial 'controversy' going on over in Wingnutistan, but hadn't seen it in detail. But to sit down and read it, that's just hilarious. Thanks for the link, that cheered me up.

The insidious Islamo-Fascist Great Circle that Rawls warns us of also points just as accurately to Halifax (Canadians!), Barcelona (Spanish surrender-monkeys!), and Palermo (make up some wingnut anti-Sicilian slur!). And the best part: it misses Mecca by a couple hundred miles. Rawls says that this error shows how cunning this encoded meaning is: he's made his conspiracy theory genuinely irrefutable.
And Rawls has gone public with it, so now he's committed himself to defending it. It just gets better and better.

Not to get sucked too deeply into Rawls' worldview, but a moment's Googling shows that Moslems don't agree among themselves how to determine the direction of Mecca. I'm a couple decades away from spherical geometry, but off the top of my head, I can think of at least three defensible headings to pick from. Plus-or-minus a couple degrees from three headings means that lots of easterly orientations will point "toward" Mecca.

Just batshit crazy.

#41 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 06:04 PM:

Thus far C.E. Petit - For a moment, I thought I might be walking into a PDQ Bach celebration, with the soundtrack from his oratorio Angus Dei.

You'd want horseradish with Angus Dei, though, not mint sauce.

#42 ::: KristianB ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 06:14 PM:

Completely unrelated to everything said above, and possibly you've seen it ages ago, but I thought it funny enough to risk it. The War of 1812-song: http://www.deadtroll.com/index2.html?/1812/~content
(I know not HTML. Forgive me.)

#43 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 06:18 PM:

Does Heinz do onion rings?

Through their Ore-Ida division.

#44 ::: Luthe ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 06:23 PM:

Does God offer other menu choices for those of us who don't like lamb?

#45 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 06:27 PM:

Meredith, permission granted. Only you can't view it on anything that can print or make identical copies... ha ha! me such kidder! Seriously, permission granted. Only if you don't mind, I'd rather call it a "Sam-o-gram" than a "Seuss-o-gram," having thought about it.

#46 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 06:30 PM:

Onion Ring to bring them all,
Onion Ring to bind them,
Onion Ring to drool them all,
And in the darkness blind them.

(Or at least I think that's why Sauron was playing with cyclotrons, in the course of pursing in own startup after the dissolution of Thangorodrim Inc.; he'd had a good gig there as CTO and chief spokeswerewolf, the latter position which also carried the alternate title of Cosmic Metatron. Either that, or it's time for another dose of cough syrup.)

#47 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 06:45 PM:

Does Heinz do onion rings?
Through their Ore-Ida division.

And all I'd done was look at the links in the thread title....
Seriously, I didn't know Ore-Ida was part of Heinz. For that matter, I didn't know Ore-Ida did anything but various kinds of potato product.

#48 ::: jhlipton ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 07:06 PM:

I guess in South America, the Jaguarm God lies down with the lambah...

On the other paw, what if the lamb gives itself up to Aslan? St Shank? St Chop? St Goes Good with Mint Jelly?

#49 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 07:13 PM:

jhlipton: I seem to remember seeing or reading something recently about newer evidence that has come to light about the Mayans and their rituals - IIRC, some ceremonies required steeper sacrifices: some of your own people, and not just captives.

John H: So I see; I always thought HTML was messier, anyway...

#50 ::: Luthe ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 07:42 PM:

jhlipton: St Goes Good with Mint Jelly?

I hear that's Aziraphael and Crowley's favorite saint. Very tasty.

#51 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 07:47 PM:

The links on the title words aren't just messy, they make it impossible to use the Next link from the previous thread. You have to come out to the main page and then into this thread.

Randall P, my review of Freaks and Geeks is here.

#52 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 08:03 PM:

I'd love to hear people's thoughts of "Freaks and Geeks" or it's less known sibling, "Undeclared"?

F&G was wonderful, and was brought to a reasonable conclusion.

SPOILERY

I had mixed feelings about the last scene, in which two teens drive off to follow the Dead, to the accompaniment of "Ripple."

For the "freak" girl from the struggling dysfunctional family, this was probably a good thing; a chance to get away from a really bad situation, travel, and hang with relatively bright (if a bit dope addled) people. I could picture her growing up and widening her horizons.

For the co-protagonist bright-girl- finding-herself, it strikes me as a bad thing. She blew off a chance to go to a intellectually enriching summer program. Instead she decides to extend her angsty rebellion. "Eh."

I wasn't as fond of "Undeclared." F&G showed teens doing a wide variety of stuff; "Undeclared" boiled down to being a romance-and-relationships in-the-dorm-kind of thing. Predictable stuff.

(I had high hopes when I saw one character reading and enthusing Ayn Rand novel. Wouldn't it have been cool to have him spiral off into delusional Objectivism? And have other characters discover all the weird subcultures you find on campus? Have some discover love for an academic subject, and others screw up and drop out?)

#53 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 08:18 PM:

It has been a f*****g miserably rainy week in Portland. Not quite non-stop, and once in a great while the sun shines (for, like, a half an hour at a time), but for the most part damp, dark, and dreary.

Worse, I can't just stay hole up inside all day, because I have a big dog who needs exercise. (And, well, so do I.)

The drenching has pointed out a serious problem with both of my rain coats:

The pockets collect water. The openings actively sluice rain inside.

This makes carrying dog treats, mail, tissues (I have a cold) problematical. There's only so much you can shove in pants pockets, and it seems silly to carry a belt pack.

If anyone knows a design of rain coat that is relatively light (it is warm out here), give a holler!

#54 ::: Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 08:38 PM:

Randomness:

Reagrding large felines: It's well known among pedants that "there are no tigers in Africa". But when I first met a native African (born in Ghana), he was quite insistent that there were tigers in the jungles of the East African interior.

The solution comes from the linguistic interpretation of "tiger". In 18th/early 19th century English, "tiger" was used to refer to any large cat, including the leopards and cheetahs of Africa. The English-speaking former colonial nations of Africa have retained this usage. So if an African tells you he's seen tigers in his native land, he's probably not just blowing smoke.

From the Smothers Brothers:

"There were vicious pumas in the crevasses."

"There are no pumas in the United States, Tom. No pumas in North America."

"Well, there were these vicious beasts in the crevasses. And they sure looked like pumas."

On divers and sundry Rings:

This Ring, and no Other, was made by the Elves,
Who'd pawn their own Mother to get it themselves.
Sought after by Mortal, Creeper, and Scallop,
This Ring is a Sleeper that packs quite a Wallop.
The Power Almighty is stored in this Lone Ring:
The Power, alrighty, for doing your Own Thing.
If busted or broken, it cannot be remade;
If found, send to Sorhed (the postage is prepaid).

#55 ::: Jimcat Kasprzak ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 08:48 PM:

Also a bit of subtlety:

The "Straight Dope" article mentions that one of the enormous billboards that Heinz erected to promote its "57 varieties" slogan was at 23rd Street and Fifth Avenue in New York. This would have been either on, or just across the street from, the location of the Flatiron Building.

Insert your conspiracy theory here.

#56 ::: jhlipton ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 09:03 PM:

How did questionaires get the name "meme"? As I understand meme, it's not just an "idea" or "questionaire". It's a thought, phrase, bit of whatever that has become embued in the social unconscious. "All our base" is a true meme, as I understand the word. "Flying Spagetti Monster" is another. A random qustionaire doesn't fit, as I see it.

Unless I'm missing something (which is quite probable).

#57 ::: Alice Bentley ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 09:46 PM:

Stephan Jones asked:
If anyone knows a design of rain coat that is relatively light (it is warm out here), give a holler!

I've been very pleased with my Pac Tech Performance. Light enough for those warm rainy days, cuts the wind when it's blowing and has kept me dry through some amazing downpours. I don't usually carry more than my keys in the pockets, so I don't remember if there's a water problem with bulier, more absorbant items.

#58 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 10:33 PM:

Bob:

"Wingnutistan"!!!

*shaking head in stunned admiration*

#59 ::: protected static ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 10:38 PM:

I like my Red Ledge raincoat... (I'm in Seattle, Stefan - it's been pretty grotty here as well)

The jacket's a simple waterproof hooded shell; it has good vents, and the well-protected pockets zip closed. The jacket compresses down into either of its own front pockets or into a small (approx. 2" x 8") stuff sack that they are sold in. My only gripe is that the zippers are somewhat prone to getting caught in their protective flaps, but they've been pretty easy to unstick.

If you want to check them out in person, G.I. Joe's carries them, along with matching rain pants.

#60 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 11:36 PM:

There's a new Tim Powers on the horizon.

More and more like a James Burke and William S. Burroughs mind-meld with every book.

#61 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 11:51 PM:

Someone needs to run Baen's advertising people through a French lesson. Their ad on p22 of the January Locus has 'his' and 'fiance' in the same phrase. Given that the book in question is by Ringo, I don't think so.

#62 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: January 07, 2006, 11:57 PM:

How did questionaires get the name "meme"?

First of all: you're quite correct, it's a rather inappropriate use of the word.

I believe the connection is that memes--real ones--are passed along from person to person based on the strength of their appeal or interest. A Livejournal/blog "meme," from "What kind of cheese are you?" to "15 things about books," is something that you see pop up on your blog list or your friendslist, and you do it, and then you pass it on to the people on your friendslist or reading list. From one person to another until it seems that everyone is doing them.

#63 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 12:19 AM:

Lila: "Wingnutistan"!!!

*shaking head in stunned admiration*

Thanks. While I'm delighted that you like it, I doubt that it's original to me. A quick Google shows that both Daily Kos and The Poorman have priority.

It sure does name a well-defined place on the virtual map, though, doesn't it?


#64 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 12:39 AM:

did you but know, our gracious hostess has been called out as an archetypical rationality-challenged lefty in the hot new wingnut happening of the moment

NielsenHayden seems to speak for about a third of the commentators in thinking that any interest in the actual facts is a sign of dementia. Others stroke their chins as if they can't figure out in what sense it placing the central construct of a mosque on the crash site would be inappropriate (it violates the establishment clause for one). Some of you think that objecting to a Mecca oriented crescent on the crash site is interpretting ALL crescents as Islamic (Neilsen thinks it is interpretting east as Islamic). Not a one of you makes the slightest bit of sense.

Everyone here is self-lobotomized. You will find SOME excuse not to be interested in the truth, some reason to dismiss what you take to be an opposing viewpoint rather than let yourself look into it.

Of course, I was outed as a leader of the online stalinist monolith today, so I think may be ahead on points.

#65 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 02:19 AM:

I was thinking about jumping in over there at Tbogg, but, after I read through the comments - and after taking a quick look over at Alec Rawls' own site - I think prudence may be in order: this Rawls really does seem somewhat unhinged by his Discovery.

It's like reading the LiveJournal version of some unknown Lovecraft story, watching Rawls disintegrate under the strain of convincing the fools of the importance of his theory.

#66 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 03:06 AM:

Re: Alec Rawls

These days, I'm probably not in the healthiest of mental spaces. You've, no doubt, heard the perennial question rephrased and reapplied on an as-needed basis: Idiot or Asshole? It happens when you're faced with behavior so perplexingly wrong that finding an explanation of its motivation devolves into trying to decide whether the person exhibiting the behavior is either 1) really that dumb and doesn't realize the asshole quality of their actions, or 2) really such an asshole that pretending to be dumb is just a way to cause additional aggravation.

I swing back and forth. These days, I'm in the space where I'm generally inclined to be charitable toward the intelligence of my philosophical opponents at the expense of my appreciation for their benevolence. It won't last. Maybe by Tuesday or Wednesday, I won't be able to maintain a lid on it any longer, and I'll swing back to deciding that they're all idiots again.

Over at The Evangelical Outpost, I've been having a bit of a tiff with the proprietor. (It's over a pointless ideological battle, as far as most of you are concerned.) Since my switch is currently in the 'B' position, I've gotten the hackles of some of his regular supporters up for being insufficiently charitable.

Apparently, the problem is that when you're faced with behavior that seems so perplexingly wrong to you, the principle of charity demands that you embrace the high likelihood that it's your problem for not understanding why it's really the right behavior, after all.

My friend Drieux may actually have the appropriate response to this. Q: Idiot or Asshole? A: Dorglezark! I wish that worked for me as well as it seems to work for him.

#67 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 03:15 AM:

Ack. That link on the word "hackles" in my post above should go to this thread, where I am posting under the pseudo s9, which is also the pseudo I use elsewhere, including the blog I accidentally whored. Sorry about that.

#68 ::: bad Jim ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 03:21 AM:

Poor Rawls is convinced that the autumnally red crescent turns the memorial into a mosque, FNORD when the dark truth is that the grove is merely one part of a non-Euclidean structure, the contemplation of which will overwhelm the minds of its visitors. He dimly discerns the evil, but has no idea of its ancient and unearthly origins.

#69 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 03:29 AM:

A Cthulhu-cultist architect rigging a memorial on the site of a mass death so as to summon something not convenient to describe does sound plausible.

I'm not sure that such sinister cultists are any better as fictional enemies than those evull ayrabs, but they weren't all sinister foreigners in New York slums.

(Cue the KKK in Oh Brother, Where Art Though)

But, looking at all the craziness in that part of the world, couldn't some time traveller just go back and give Jesus Christ a map and a compass? Or maybe just scuttled Joseph of Arimathea's boat while it was off the Somerset coast.

(How about doing the Holy Blood schtick with Boudicca?)

#70 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 08:54 AM:

According to The Lion King, it's really important to the prey animals to be eaten by a good lion.

#71 ::: Randall P. ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 10:16 AM:

Hey Stefan,
You're absolutely right about the last episode. My wife and I never bought it that Lindsey would go off to follow the Dead. It just wasn't in her personality to do such a thing (at least in our opinion).

That, coupled with the fact that I loathe the Dead, left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

You're right about Undeclared. It didn't really have focus, although it was a pretty good show. There were some classics there, but some were terrible. Speaking of weird subcultures, did you see the unaired episode where one of the characters finds God? It was good.

#72 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 10:18 AM:

the central construct of a mosque

My understanding: a mihrab can be anything from a niche (not neccesarily large) to a wall hanging. Its only purpose is to show the general direction of Mecca. Kind of like in a Catholic church, where the altar is supposed to be at the end toward Jerusalem (traditionally the east end in Europe, and the Vatican is fussed because a lot of the newer churches don't fit this pattern). It's religious only if you want it to be.

Personally, I think that the Flight 93 memorial looks nice, and given thirty or forty years for the trees to get some size, may be spectacular in the fall. The idea of a living memorial is pretty neat.

#73 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 12:14 PM:

Perhaps there are Mice and mice, Cows and cows, Antelopes and antelopes, Lions and lions in Narnia as there are in Gregory MacGuire's version of Oz?

(Capitalization indicates ability to talk.)

#74 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 12:32 PM:

I haven't got the Narnia books handy, and it's been ages since I read through them all last - but from my recollection, in the beginning all of the animals were Talking ones, and some lost the ability with their reason and general Narnian-ness (Narnianity?). So, presumably roasting and eating the descendants of rational, talking beings is just fine, since it's their own fault they're not still Talking Squirrels.

#75 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 12:36 PM:

On a completely different note, I got totally obsessive and documented the preparation of a batch of chili. Yankee chili. With tomatoes and beans. And ground meat.

You can see the process here on flickr, including the recipe, adapted from America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated.

Guaranteed Turkey and Cow (as opposed to turkey and cow) free. No leg-of-lamb-of-god or bits of Aslan in there either.

#76 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 01:05 PM:

I always thought the non-talking beasts had migrated in from neighbouring countries - Calormen in particular. But my memory is hazy.

#77 ::: jhlipton ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 01:37 PM:

Josh Jasper:
There's a new Tim Powers on the horizon.

Whooooo and also hoooooo!!! Good news, indeed.

j h woodyatt:
You've, no doubt, heard the perennial question rephrased and reapplied on an as-needed basis: Idiot or Asshole?

I think that's a false dichotomy. That's like Liberal or Left-handed? And from what I've seen of the LGF/Instapudding/OSM crowd, they certainly are both Idiots and Assholes.

#78 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 02:01 PM:

"The gods are selfish beings who fly around in little red capes and don't share their power with mankind."

Lex Luthor, as played by Kevin Spacey.

Well, well, well... It does sound like Bryan Singer's Superman movie isn't going to make me wince. Too bad they couldn't get better people for last summer's Fantastic Four

#79 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 02:50 PM:

jhlipton: I hope that Jobs kicks Coldplay, and any band that employs simular measures, off iTunes (where the future lies). But I doubt he will.

Given how thoroughly DRM is implemented in iTunes, somehow I doubt it. Or have you never tried to burn a song you bought off iTunes onto an mp3 CD, or tried to play said song on another computer?

#80 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 02:52 PM:

As I recall, in The Magician's Nephew, Aslan calls (sings? it's been a while) all of the land, plants, and animals out of the nothing. At this point, all of the animals are ordinary dumb beasts. Then Aslan goes around speaking to specific animals, and while the rest run off to be wild animals, the ones he's spoken to change a bit in size--the really big animals get smaller, the tiny animals get bigger--and get the power of speech and thought. So from the very beginning, the default type of animal is ordinary and dumb, but there are special talking ones as well.

It is also implied/stated in other books of the series that a talking animal can become an ordinary one, mostly by repeatedly acting/thinking like a wild beast rather than a person, but the author doesn't really go into much detail on the mechanics of this.

#81 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 02:56 PM:

Nobody seems to have considered the possibility that Aslan is a vegan.

About talking animals... I am reminded of a question some once wrote in the Comics Journal. It went something like this...

Mickey is a mouse, Donald is a dick, Goofy is a dog. What is Pluto?

#82 ::: JohnD ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 03:15 PM:

Rawls', um, theory appears to be a classic example of bad assumptions and paranoia misdirecting pattern recognition. I wouldn't be surprised if he finds hidden subversive insults to his worldview in bowls of Alpha-Bits.

#83 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 03:18 PM:

Well, at least in the case of the mice, they became talking beasts as a reward for gnawing the ropes off Aslan on the stone table.

#84 ::: jhlipton ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 03:37 PM:

What we do without the Internets?
It's a Wonderful Internet

Heresiarch:
Given how thoroughly DRM is implemented in iTunes, somehow I doubt it. Or have you never tried to burn a song you bought off iTunes onto an mp3 CD, or tried to play said song on another computer?

I've never used iTunes, but my understanding is that iTunes is the anti-DRM. And so says there home-page. What's the experience of others here?

#85 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 03:45 PM:

Fade's got it right.

In one of the books (I think it's Prince Caspian) the humans shoot and eat a bear. Susan says she missed her shot because she was afraid it might have been a Talking Bear.

And there's that chilling moment in The Silver Chair with the Stag...

#86 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 03:56 PM:

(Open thread...)

This hits several categories:

Penguin sweaters

#87 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 04:10 PM:

Stefan, a high-quality trenchcoat with a removable lining would fit your need. At a lesser price, a good outdoors coat with flaps over the pocket, and a pair of rain pants will also do it.

#88 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 04:13 PM:

Songs bought from the iTunes Music Store are encoded with DRM, just as Heresiarch said.

iTunes (the application) handles and creates DRM-free mp3s. Maybe that's the source of confusion.

#89 ::: Wim ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 04:13 PM:

iTunes (and the iTunes Music Store, iTMS) has much less paranoid DRM than its commercial competitors, but it does still have DRM. A purchased song can be enabled to play on no more than three computers (though you can add and remove computers from that set), can only be burned to a CD a limited number of times, can't be converted directly to an MP3, and so forth. iTunes is also happy to play plain old unrestricted music, which some DRM-ified applications refuse to do.

#90 ::: Red ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 04:57 PM:

I should take this open thread opportunity to thank Mr. Macdonald for his series of medical entries. During a recent bit of trouble, reading September’s Affairs of the Heart and its comments helped me get past “I’m sure it’s nothing,” to “Maybe I ought to check” and bring to light a problem that more normally stays hidden ‘til it kills. I owe quite a debt to him and to everyone who participated in that conversation.

I hope it’s appropriate to add a bit of my own recent learning to the knowledge that came out there. Apparently, exercising your heart muscle is not quite the same as exercising your lats or your quads. It seems that soreness and aches are not an expected part of making it stronger, and if you feel them in your chest during or after a workout it could be wise to check with a doctor and confirm that all is well. I’m certainly thankful that I did.

I wish in return I could give some assistance to those here who are facing medical challenges. I don’t seem to have much to contribute beyond prayers and best wishes, but those, of course, I offer in abundance.

#91 ::: novalis ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 05:24 PM:

Philip K. Dick wrote a story called Rautavaara's Case addressing what Aslan eats (well, sort of).

#92 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 05:32 PM:

novalis, I dread to think what Dick's ideas would be about Aslan's dietary habits.

#93 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 05:42 PM:

Mickey is a mouse, Donald is a dick, Goofy is a dog. What is Pluto?

I've always thought of Donald as a dick. Thank you.

Dorglezark!

#94 ::: Scott Lemieux ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 05:43 PM:

Teresa--are you planning to put some of your comments at TBogg's place into a post? That stuff is pure gold...

#95 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 05:45 PM:

So, is Philip Dick the brother of Donald?

#96 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 05:54 PM:

Teresa, having read the stuff at TBogg's, why did your mother end up on the list?

I know why we could add my mother: She makes quilts, some patterns of which include crescents.

#97 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 06:09 PM:

Wim: it's five computers now. Also, the limit on number of burns is number of burns of a specific playlist IIRC rather than by track; besides, once you've burned one CD you can duplicate it anyway!

#98 ::: j h woodyatt ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 06:39 PM:

I'm sorry. I just have to give props to our host for cracking off this masterful flame at our friend Alec Rawls.

When she finally concluded with the following paragraph...

If any of the corrected methods for more accurately identifying and bisecting the tips of the crescent show that the memorial is in fact pointing toward Istanbul, I'm willing to entertain the notion that what we have here is an actual Byzantine conspiracy; but that's as far as I'm willing to take it.
...I laughed so hard, I scared the cats. (The cats are usually pretty blasé about my belly-laughs, so that's saying something.)

#99 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 06:57 PM:

I've always thought of Donald as a dick...

Hmmm... As for myself, Lin, I always prefered Donald to Pukey Mickey. I hope that doesn't make me into a relative of Donald. Or of Philip.

#100 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 07:28 PM:

Actually Serge, I like Donald, too. I just couldn't let that go past without sticking a few toothpicks in it.

My favorite comment about Donald Di..Duck is from Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and Daffy says something about this is the last time he'll work with someone with a speech impediment. Or more like, thith ith the latht time he'll work with thomeone with a thpeech impdediment.

#101 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 07:29 PM:

impediment

#102 ::: James ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 07:42 PM:

Although Aslan warns the Talking Beasts that they can return to a dumb beast status, it occurs only once as far as I know in the entire history of Narnia (Ginger in The Last Battle). The mechanics seem to be straightforward: he justs "forgets how to talk" (immediately after a confrontation with Tash, but that is presumably not so much a cause as an accompanying factor).

The only time we see Aslan actually associated with a meal, it is broiled fish (shades again of Madagascar). Since he's a supernatural power in any case, he presumably doesn't need to eat (for the Lewisian view on this, there's the discussion with McPhee on eating in the World to Come referenced towards the beginning of Perelandra).

#103 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 07:44 PM:

Just couldn't, eh, Lin?

I wish Disney would release some of those Donald shorts on DVD, especially the one where Donald wanders into the Land of Mathematics. But I'm not holding my breath, not after they announed in 2004 that the Scarecrow mini-series would be released in time for Halloween then they changed their minds, no explanation given.

#104 ::: Tapetum ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 08:47 PM:

Re: the recall command. I use "veni" (Veh-NEE) with my dog. It's Latin for come, and you certainly don't hear it in normal conversation.

#105 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 09:29 PM:

Serge: You had to toss out "Donald shorts" to add to my intermittant chronic silliness. (sigh)

#106 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 09:52 PM:

In The Silver Chair, the heroes (Eustace, Jill, and Puddleglum -- my favorites of the kids and least favorite magic helper) have a cannibal feast moment. The giants feed them meat (a stag, as Melissa pointed out) which they eagerly eat. Then they overhear the giants joking about what the stag said to them just before they shot him. It's as if they suddenly learned it was human meat. (Or actually, Puddleglum reacts this way and as-you-know-bobs the info to the kids). Then they figure out what the "To Serve Man" book is really about.

Anyway, that tells you that non-talking animals are okay to eat. Good thing it doesn't apply to non-talking people.

#107 ::: Wolfgang G. Wettach ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 10:34 PM:

As this is random: Can anyone tell me why I'm still here, reading all this instead of finishing my OOo Impress (tm?) presentation on the wonders of ProjectMyra for the soon dawning morning?

And will anyone ever translate projektmyra.de into Suaheli and Esperanto when I'm done translating the "best of" from 13,000 printed pages into English?

And would someone make me another tea now at 4:40 am? Btw, most of your conversation and writing is entertaining, which is my explanation, though not my excuse, for the first questions as stated above.

#108 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 11:21 PM:

Oops, Lin... So we have Donald who goes around without pants, and Daisy whose panties are there to be seen by all... Uncle Walt, uncle Walt...

#109 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 08, 2006, 11:24 PM:

My problem with Donald is the same as my problem with Barney Bear and with Tom Cat. LOSERS! Darn those losers! You want to like them, but you get so tired of seeing them being patsies for ever-lower life forms. Donald is a case in point. He's outwitted by some small animal. To top that, he's outwitted by an insect. If the series had kept up, he'd be outwitted by a frolicsome amoeba. How can I give a flip for somebody who's that easy to take advantage of?

Tom Cat is a gifted individual. He's a talented craftsman, athlete, acrobat, singer, musician, and several other disciplines that take years to master! But put him up against an arrogant mouse, and he's the Patron Saint of Patsies. You just want to give up on him after a while!

Barney Bear -- ah, just let him lie there. He never showed a glimmer of being anything but a loser, unlike Donald, who had a brilliant career start as an unstoppable nuisance.

#110 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 12:21 AM:

Others stroke their chins as if they can't figure out in what sense it placing the central construct of a mosque on the crash site would be inappropriate (it violates the establishment clause for one).

what about all those traffic intersections, insidiously laid out like crosses? (apologies if someone mentioned this, i don't really want to go over & read the wingnut blog).

#111 ::: Brooke C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 03:40 AM:

Susan always was kind of intolerant, of course, though I find myself wondering what the problem is with Narnia's clothing sector. Is someone stopping the dwarfs from unionizing their armour-making services?

What I find really intriguing is the fact that her last name is given as Aslan. It seems odd that whoever went to the trouble of doing that hoax wouldn't know the books well enough to put "Pevensie." It's not like that'd be more of a tipoff.

Or are we supposed to deduce some very...unorthodox happenings after the events of The Last Battle? The Gnostic Gospel of Susan?

#113 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 05:00 AM:

"Good thing it doesn't apply to non-talking people."
it doesn't?

#114 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 05:11 AM:

'Mickey is a mouse, Donald is a dick, Goofy is a dog. What is Pluto?'
I'm sorry but this is supposed to be
Mickey is a mouse, Donald is a dick, Pluto is a dog. What is Goofy?

The explanation of course is that Goofy is a dog as well, a dog breathed upon by Aslan.


#115 ::: Matt ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 07:39 AM:

Just to note-- if there is anyone out there who is unfamiliar with Hammett's 'Parable of the Falling Beam' that's at the top of TNH's particle list, you should go read it. Now.

#116 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 07:45 AM:

Actually, Bryan, my solution to the Goofy/Pluto situation is that they're all living on the Islan of Doctor Moreau.

Kip, what about Droopy Dog?

#117 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 09:20 AM:

From today's column by Jonathan Carroll...

...I personally would discourage children from watching children's television. I think their time could be better spent watching various cinematic iterations of "Imitation of Life" -- you can learn a lot of very interesting stuff from "Imitation of Life" -- or reruns of "Law & Order: CI" (Bobby Goren! How can a kid go wrong with Bobby Goren?). And there's always "The Tempest" in its more familiar guise of "Forbidden Planet"...

#118 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 09:37 AM:

Quoth Serge: I wish Disney would release some of those Donald shorts on DVD, especially the one where Donald wanders into the Land of Mathematics.

Check Amazon et al. for "The Chronological Donald"; I didn't spot "Donald in Mathmagic Land" in the individual listings for Volume One (1934-1941) and Volume Two (1942-1946), but Disney's own website does list a (rather expensive) enhanced classroom DVD dedicated entirely to that title, hereish. I did have the luck of finding "Mathmagic" on VHS some years ago at a library sale. Hee hee.

#119 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 09:45 AM:

I thought Aslan ate the White Witch. I wonder if he got brain freeze.

#120 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 10:01 AM:

Thanks, Julie! Maybe I'll subtly suggest that to my Sue for my birthday.

#121 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 11:05 AM:

Aslan and broiled fish is, of course, a reference to/crib from the Gospel of John.

BTW, I got enjoyably stuck on TBogg last night. Alec Rawls is, as someone concisely remarked on the thread, a froot loop. I can't help sympathizing with his frustration while laughing.

#122 ::: Seth Gordon ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 11:16 AM:

Perhaps Aslan asked animals if they wanted to be eaten, and was never short of volunteers. Cf. Angel, season 4.

My pet name for Criminal Intent is Law & Order: Bad Acting Unit. Let us shield tender minds from seeing this kind of thing.

#123 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 11:19 AM:

Alec Rawls is, as someone concisely remarked on the thread, a froot loop.

And if he thinks MSPaint is precise enough for this kind of work, I can probably sell him a used bridge. What he needs in the way of software will cost him somewhere around $20,000: it's GIS and also CAD. He'd need, oh, DOQQs (accurately referenced aerial photos) for both the monument site and Mecca, a CAD program to get the monument drawn precisely, the GIS program to put them together.... I work with this sort of thing. It ain't that easy. MSPaint is like using fat crayons for architectural and engineering drawings.

#124 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 11:29 AM:

My pet name for Criminal Intent is Law & Order: Bad Acting Unit.

Huh?

#125 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 11:31 AM:

The stupidity of the "crescent pointing to Mecca" thing is redoubled by the fact that CHURCHES face East. This is because Christians are supposed to worship facing Jerusalem. That's just SO Islamic.

#126 ::: Mikael Johansson ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 11:37 AM:

Speaking of the Silver Chair (I'm conveniently rereading all of it, and currently in the middle of this one), I choked quite a bit when reading about the "gay" behaviour of Jill:

She made love to everyone - the grooms, the porters, the housemaids, the ladies-in-waiting, and the elderly giant lords whose hunting days were past. She submitted to being kissed and pawed about ...

#127 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 11:48 AM:

January 08,2006 | FORT SUMNER, N.M. -- A mouse got its revenge against a homeowner who tried to dispose of it in a pile of burning leaves. The blazing creature ran back to the man's house and set it on fire.

Luciano Mares, 81, of Fort Sumner said he caught the mouse inside his house and wanted to get rid of it.

"I had some leaves burning outside, so I threw it in the fire, and the mouse was on fire and ran back at the house," Mares said from a motel room Saturday.

Village Fire Chief Juan Chavez said the burning mouse ran to just beneath a window, and the flames spread up from there and throughout the house.

#128 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 12:22 PM:

Apparently, exercising your heart muscle is not quite the same as exercising your lats or your quads. It seems that soreness and aches are not an expected part of making it stronger, and if you feel them in your chest during or after a workout it could be wise to check with a doctor and confirm that all is well. I’m certainly thankful that I did.

Good heavens. I did not know this. I used to drive myself until my chest started to hurt and then back off a little. I exercise harder now, by the numbers, but have no chest pain (I lost a lot of weight and my blood pressure is REALLY low). If I do, I'll certainly go to the doctor. Wow. Thanks.

#130 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 12:30 PM:

Sic semper, Xopher? About the Flaming Mouse of death, or about Mickey in Moreau's House of Pain?

About blood pressure, Sue read something the other day that very much surprised me. Maybe I heard wrong, but, apparently, drinking one cup of coffee a day increases blood pressure while five or more actually decrease it. I guess that 3-times-a-week workout at the gym plus one bucket of coffee per day might explain why my blood pressure has gone done and is staying there.

#131 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 12:50 PM:

The FMD, Serge. A guy who would burn an animal alive (even one as dangerous as a mouse) deserves to take some pain from it.

I work out more like six times a week, and that includes both 20-30 minutes of "hard card" and weight resistance work. It was the hard card that used to give me the chest pains, and no longer does. But I attribute my low blood pressure (as in, I stand up too fast, I get the White Fog) primarily to the medication I take to slow my heart...it's mostly used as a BP med, but for me that's a side-effect, since my BP was never high in the first place.

#132 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 12:57 PM:

It used to happen that I'd get dizzy if I got up too fast. Something to do with my not being vertically challenged. But the dizziness isn't an issue much anymore.

As for the Flaming Mouse of Death, yes, burning an animal alive does deserve some pain. If you're going to catch one, just throw it out, or be quick with killing it. (And no, I haven't had the guts to finish off a mouse caught in a trap.)

#133 ::: CaseyL ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 01:01 PM:

Serge, I know that mouse-strikes-back story appears on real news sites and all, but I'm suspicious of it anyway, because it's identical to another one I heard years ago in which a porcupine plays the starring role.

Still: mice or porcupines, I quite like the idea of Revenge of the Animals.

#134 ::: Tracie Brown ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 01:11 PM:

Elizabeth -- My friend Anne trains her dogs to "front!", which means "Come over and sit down in front of me, right now!" Also to "hurry!", which means "Hurry up and poop right now, [it's raining, I'm cold and] I want to go back into the house. Now."

I have failed at training my dog to do either of these things on command, but she has trained me to take her out when she barks at me, as long as she doesn't abuse the privilege. Barking, that is; being taken out, at reasonable intervals, is a right, not a privilege. At least until she learns to use the toilet, which is unlikely because, although she is a very smart dog, she's half corgi, and somewhat height challenged.

#135 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 01:17 PM:

I caught a snippet about the Flaming Mouse on TV yesterday, CaseyL, or at least I think that's what the shots of that house were about.

#136 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 01:19 PM:

Lookout, folks who post anon/pseudonymously:

If you annoy someone, they could send you to FPMITA Prison

#137 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 01:31 PM:

Crap, Skwid, don't they have anything better to do than pass stupid laws like that?

#138 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 02:06 PM:

Apparently, Serge, they were able to take a break from the usual corruption and dirty dealing to do something merely monumentally ignorant.

Oh, and Heresiarch...if only there were some way to strip iTunes DRM...or even just a workaround to most DRM.

Well, we can only dream, right?

#139 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 02:18 PM:

A sad story that reminded me of the Collecting Bug post. No animals, but plenty of hoarding.

#140 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 04:03 PM:

Have people talked about this already and I missed it? (I know I've missed a lot and I will miss a lot more too)

If you click on "open" or "thread" you get one of two pages about ring nebulae. If you click "57" you get the Straight Dope page on the "Heinz 57 thing. I get that one. But how does "open thread" translate to "ring neblua" Oh, antonyms. I'm slow.

Is this going to happen to all the open thread navigation from now on?

#141 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 04:05 PM:

I too was wondering about that, Lucy.

#142 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 04:15 PM:

Lucy: I think it's because the ring nebula is M57. Also, playing with HTML is just something Teresa does. You shoulda seen the Particle where every letter linked to something different, but the spaces all linked to the same thing. (Boy those were the days, I tell you what.)

#143 ::: rams ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 05:32 PM:

Late to the party, but didn't the "what is Goofy" question originate in King's "Stand by Me?"

(Oh, how we adored "Donald in Mathmagic Land" -- sucker was loooooong, and it meant no class for two days. Don't remember one thing about it, but am fond of it yet.)

#144 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 05:57 PM:

Another bit of Disney Strangeness:

I recieved a copy of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" DVD for Christmas last year.

The "extras" included some coming attraction / plugs for the Pirates Disneyland ride that aired on the "Wonderful World of Color" TV show.

The weirdness: The on-site spokesladies that Walt (maybe Ray?) bounced his talking points off of were . . . really strange.

One wore a preppy riding outfit, complete with little black felt-covered helmet. Both were bland and softspoken and non-threatening to the point of appearing deeply drugged, or perhaps laboring under the effects of a halfheatedly performed prefontal lobotomy.

I'm really puzzled by this. Was the 1960s Disneyland patrolled by thorazine-addled courtesy ladies? Did Walt feel threatened by employees who didn' speak in stage whispers?

#145 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 06:08 PM:

jhlipton - I have only gotten as far down the thread as your post on the word "meme" & its inappropriateness re: internet questionnaires, and I just wanted to stop and say I love you dearly for it. Thank you, thank you, Gods bless.

[Category: Pet Peeves.]
[Subcat: The rubbing-the-wrong-way of & avoidance of same.]

#146 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 06:18 PM:

Is it a sign of the End Times when your gym's TV monitors play the video of a song you haven't heard in 20 years, then later that day you hear that same song on someone's radio set at the post office?

The song? The Bangles's Walking Like an Egyptian...

#147 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 06:27 PM:

Was the 1960s Disneyland patrolled by thorazine-addled courtesy ladies?

Stefan, in Ira Levin's The Stepford Wives, we're told that the man who built the robotic wives used to work at DisneyLand.

#148 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 06:33 PM:
Speaking of the Silver Chair (I'm conveniently rereading all of it, and currently in the middle of this one), I choked quite a bit when reading about the "gay" behaviour of Jill...
Probably not news to anyone reading this, but as it hasn't been said yet... I think it must be all down to the difference between the range of meanings the phrase "to make love" had in the 1950s, and what it means now. The explicitly sexual meaning is relatively new. Also the difference between how much touching of a child by unrelated adults was considered appropriate then, and how very little is considered appropriate now.

I'm afraid I have many eye-rolling memories having to submit to similar hands-on "oh she's so cute!" treatment at Jill's age and younger. Y'know, the pinching of the cheeks, the tugging of the hair, all that. (And the "she's so antisocial" comments, mostly from my grandmother, if I showed that I disliked it.) ...Of course, in Jill's case, some of the Giants may have been handling her more the way we would a choice cut of meat or a healthy soon-to-be-veal calf than we (either for 2000s or 1950s values of "we") would an extremely cute child.

#149 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 06:38 PM:

True, Nicole, 'making love' meant something different in the Fifties than it does today, but the censors still had Eva Marie Saint's line I never make love on an empty stomach become I never discuss love on an empty stomach in Hitchcock's North by Northwest. And the movie did end with the train rushing into a tunnel.

#150 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 06:40 PM:

rams says:

didn't the "what is Goofy" question originate in King's "Stand by Me?"

Yup. Also, there's no way anyone could know that much about opera.

To Patrick: thanks for that link about Howard Dean. Now I've got to track down My First College Friend and squee at him.

re: iTunes - I am not understanding your crazy moon DRM language. I thought the only workable fix (for those of us who ain't all het up on that thar computer-larnin', anyway) is to burn the song onto a CD and rip it back onto your machine as a DRM-free MP3. Oui, non?

(Am slightly worried about this, as am facing the prospect of getting all my music off my sister's computer, from when we used to live together and she had the only working computer in the house, to my shiny new computer. May be up late, burning loooooots of CDs...)

#151 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 06:56 PM:

"...the man who built the robotic wives used to work at DisneyLand."

I seem to remember much merriment (early days of Watergate) at Ron Ziegler's former employment there, although Wikipedia and an obit don't reflect it. Nonetheless, there was something so right about Nixon's press secretary being an alum of The Happiest Place on Earth.

#152 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 07:11 PM:

Blast it. Robert Newton's 1952 movie Blackbeard the Pirate was on Turner Classic Movies today and I missed it. Argh. Now I'll have to wait until March 19.

#153 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 07:17 PM:

Serge, that's Walk Like An Egyptian and I always think of Jim Kelly's Think Like a Dinosaur to that tune.

#154 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 08:44 PM:

Right, Marilee, but I still think it's a sign of the End Times.

#155 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 10:04 PM:

Serge, Droopy is certainly no loser. He's of the class of animated characters we call The Ubiquitous Unstoppable. These are the slow-moving ones who always arrive ahead of the speedy ones. If Droopy had only been the protagonist in the Road Runner cartoons instead of Wile E. Coyote, the Road Runner would have entered therapy years ago and had himself mailed to the Antarctic, and Chuck Jones could have gone back to making Ralph Wolf cartoons, and we'd all be better off. (The Church of the SuperGenius would still exist, only with a slightly different godhead and a more entertaining base for its theology.)

For that matter, Droopy should have taken Tom's place in a couple of cartoons and given Jerry a nice complex to think about, although I certainly wouldn't want to do without Blue Cat Blues, the cartoon that starts out with Jerry sadly watching Tom waiting on the railroad tracks and ends with both of them sitting hopelessly on the tracks, waiting for the train to come. (Jerry narrates in a tragic Joseph Cotten voice.)

To help Barney Bear or Donald Duck, it would have taken Bugs Bunny in his Third Phase as Social Avenger, which follows the first two phases (Dangerous Screwball, Helpless Patsy) and precedes the Final Phase, Suburban Homeowner. I don't know why Donald and Barney never managed to free themselves from Phase Two, even as they entered Phase Four, but a few lessons from Bugs might have straightened them out.

#156 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 09, 2006, 10:29 PM:

Nonetheless, there was something so right about Nixon's press secretary being an alum of The Happiest Place on Earth.

The way I heard it, he wasn't just a Disney alum -- his job had been narrating the Jungle Cruise, the most dimwitted pre-packaged spiel any human being was called on to repeat.

#157 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 12:53 AM:

CHip, you may be right. I was out of the country when Watergate occurred, so I may have missed some of the details. My sole sources of English-language news were AFRTS and the Pacific edition of Stars and Stripes.

#158 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 03:16 AM:

....One wore a preppy riding outfit, complete with little black felt-covered helmet. Both were bland and softspoken and non-threatening to the point of appearing deeply drugged, or perhaps laboring under the effects of a halfheatedly performed prefontal lobotomy.
I'm really puzzled by this. Was the 1960s Disneyland patrolled by thorazine-addled courtesy ladies?

Believe it or not, that is still the official outfit of official Disneyland tour guides (the women, at least). See this report on a new tour for a couple of snapshots - alas, they only capture the hat and top, but trust me, there's a short pleated skirt, too. Male tour guides are lucky - black pants, white shirt, and a plaid vest, no hat.

As to thorazine-addlement, I'm sure they've moved on to more interesting drugs these days, but none of that is an official component of the appearance and behavior guide for tour guides.

#159 ::: Greg ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 05:15 AM:

A late, late response to the Da Vinci Code thread (ahve'nt neeb ot sith be-w-ties ni a hilew), and I apologize if someone already mentioned this--

Personal experience: read first 100 pages one late night while staying at my grandfather's house ("Former United Technologies Vice President John Sterling frowned as he opened the door...") Never had a desire to go back. And I almost always like to finish books.

Still, there's that partisan liberal part of my brain that keeps thinking "Anything that gets the religious right riled up must *de facto* be good in *some* way..."

#160 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 06:08 AM:

Bugs Bunny in his Third Phase as Social Avenger, which follows the first two phases (Dangerous Screwball, Helpless Patsy) and precedes the Final Phase, Suburban Homeowner.

This, Kip, reminds me of something someone once pointed out about Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Wiley Coyote, and how they are each are different aspects of the Trickster. Bugs is the Trickster who always succeeds, Daffy is the one whose tricks sometimes blow back into his face, and as for Wiley, well, we know his track record.

#161 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 06:21 AM:

Who is parsing the front page links to these comments (putting in links to nebulas and the Straight Dope?) Weird....

#162 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 08:32 AM:

1990/91's TV adaptation of The Flash is out in one big DVD set today.

Yes, that young lady who sings the blues is indeed Angela Bassett. And that slimy TV anchor is definitely Richard Belzer.

#163 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 09:11 AM:

Meanwhile, do not taunt happy fun penguins. From the abstract:

[W]e calculated that fully grown penguins generate pressures of around 10 kPa (77 mm Hg) to expel watery material and 60 kPa (450 mm Hg) to expel material of higher viscosity similar to that of olive oil. The forces involved, lying well above those known for humans, are high, but do not lead to an energetically wasteful turbulent flow. Whether a bird chooses the direction into which it decides to expel its faeces, and what role the wind plays in this, remain unknown.
#164 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 09:41 AM:

Leigh, I highly recommend you go back to review my last post to this thread.

#165 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 10:46 AM:

Those cat-sushi things seem to be Nyanko Burger spinoffs.

Yes, there's a whole line of cute merchandise featuring cats stuffed into food.

#166 ::: Bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 12:22 PM:

Daffy pretty mucb always fails when matched against bugs though.

actually you could say the roadrunner is also a trickster.

#167 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 12:27 PM:

The Roadrunner as a trickster, Bryan? I don't know. It's not like that damned bird actually does anything active against others.

#168 ::: Bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 12:33 PM:

she does against Wiley. comes up behind him and goes beep beep, and Wiley goes up in the air and hits his head. The roadrunner just exist to trick Wiley. Although I think there was a cartoon in which the roadrunner did get the better of one of the others in the canon, I think the only one in which it was paired outside of Wiley - other than I think there was a matchup with Speedy Gonzales one time maybe?

#169 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 12:43 PM:

True, Bryan. Still, I get the feeling that we're expanding the definition to the point where even Elmer Fudd and Foghorn Leghorn could be called tricksters. Oh well...

#170 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 12:47 PM:

Back in December, our Hosts posted a thread about Manhattan's Flatiron Building. If I remember correctly, there was a link to a site that shows historical photos of Manhattan's various landmarks. Unfortunately, the thread doesn't seem to be accessible anymore. Would anybody mind passing the site's URL on to me? Thanks.

#171 ::: Bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 12:48 PM:

Foghorn Leghorn is a trickster.

#172 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 12:54 PM:

I thought Foghorn was just a blowhard. Say, would you consider Droopy Dog and Atom Ant to be tricksters?

#173 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 01:08 PM:

"Believe it or not, that is still the official outfit of official Disneyland tour guides (the women, at least)."

Thanks! The ladies in linked to page look as though they're capable of expressing human emotion, so somewhere along the way they must have figured out the correct dosage of LaidBackium Hydrate.

#174 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 01:26 PM:

Foghorn Leghorn certainly believes himself to be a trickster. I say a trickster! That's a joke, son! Point your face at me when I'm talkin' to you. I keep pitchin' 'em and you keep missin' em.

What, I say, what's everybody starin' at? Haven't you ever seen a grown man channelin' a giant chicken before?

#175 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 01:30 PM:

Point taken. Foghorn Leghorn IS a trickster. What about Secret Agent Squirrel?

#176 ::: Bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 01:30 PM:

most tricksters are blowhards.

#177 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 01:34 PM:

Stefan, you're being silly. They use Laidbackium Chloride now. Laidbackium Hydrate is OTC and used primarily for calming barking dogs.

#178 ::: Brooke C. ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 01:35 PM:

Still, there's that partisan liberal part of my brain that keeps thinking "Anything that gets the religious right riled up must *de facto* be good in *some* way..."

I know what you mean, Greg; the problem, I think, is that "gets the religious right riled up" is such an enormous category. I suppose you can use the truism that nearly everything is good in *some* way: the Da Vinci code is...book-shaped, which I always think of as good. I'm sure many bookstores were grateful to have the money from its sale. I was working in one at the time of its release, so it was soothing to be able to answer a lot of the dumber questions I got ("Where's The Da Vinci Code?" "I want to read whatever's number one on bestsellers..." "What's that one book, I think it's burgundy?") by just pointing at the giant displays at the entrance.

#179 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 02:47 PM:

CNN has the Disneyland bit in their obit.

(note that I am disambiguating: previously I was just "Sandy", until another "sandy" posted. It's not uncommon enough a name. )

#180 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 03:14 PM:

Tapetum :
Re: the recall command. I use "veni" (Veh-NEE) with my dog. It's Latin for come, and you certainly don't hear it in normal conversation.

Did that cause problems around Christmas, wherein your dog periodically turned and ran to the stereo?
:)


I'm personally amazed how many people started speculating on Aslan's eating habits without bothering to check the books for references to non-talking animals. And those who kept going after other posters had quoted what's in the text.

(Some of the *joke* comments that came out of this were damn good. I'm just noting that those dissing careless readers and non-fact-checkers like Alec Rawls risk becoming careless readers and non-fact-checkers. And yes, I'm being curmudgeonly today.)

Re: Tricksters. Foghorn Leghorn isn't a trickster. Winning through by being too stupid to get what's going on isn't trickster.

I have my own theory as to what the Roadrunner is, and why such a superb trickster as Wiley can't win, but I need to finish a proper draft of *that* story and send it out first. (For those in the last VP, that would be my Titanic story. "Steal from the best" the teacher said...)

#181 ::: jhlipton ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 03:16 PM:

Greg:
You have an extra hyphen (or is that a dash?) in your ahve'nt neeb ot sith be-w-ties ni a hilew). I've highlighted it so it might be easier for others to see.

#182 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 07:19 PM:

"Nonetheless, there was something so right about Nixon's press secretary being an alum of The Happiest Place on Earth."

So it's a case of art imitates life imitates art with the mechanical president ride on "I think we're all bozos on this bus"

#183 ::: jhlipton ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 08:48 PM:

Plug for AccuRadio:
For every new listener they get this week, they'll donate a corresponding percent of revenue to charity: Habitat for Humanity, American Red Cross and Save the Children. If every listener convinces just one new person to try AccuRadio, they'll donate 100% of our revenue. (Emphasis mine)

It's free, requires no registration, has fairly innocuous ads, and lots of fun channels. If you listen to Internet Radio, try AccuRadio! And pass it on!

#184 ::: RiceVermicelli ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 09:24 PM:

A propos of nothing, but for some reason, I suspect this is a right place.

I had grappa for the first time tonight - specifically this grappa.

Why did no one tell me about this before? My husband has been urging scotch on me for years, insisting that I will eventually start to like it and it will taste less like paint thinner, and I don't see why anyone bothers when there is grappa in the world and it is so good!

#185 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 10:03 PM:

Xopher and Stefan: Not Laidbackium--it's Perkium. Looks like yellow Skittles. (/obscure fanfic reference)

Greg, re the theory that there must be something good about The Davinci Code: I believe the traditional fallback position is, "Well, at least they're READING!"

#186 ::: mary ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 10:19 PM:

Since this is an open thread...I read “Making Book” over the weekend, and I was going to post a comment about it, but the post got longer and longer… and longer. So I posted it on my own blog instead. Not to draw attention to my blog—quite the contrary: I’m anonymous on my blog (it’s my job, okay? I’m overdue for a periodic SBI—Special Background Investigation), and this post is a bit too revealing. I’ve buried the post in the archives by back-dating it to 2004. It’s here.

#187 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 11:31 PM:

Random thoughts:

RickVermicelli? Cool.

"If you were a cartoon character, who would you be?"

Besides the Cookie Monster, who's a Muppet so doesn't count? Dibs on the Roadrunner. Being able to come up behind someone, go beep, beep, and watch them fly straight up and crash into a cloud is my inner child's idea of -- Disneyland.

"If you were a road sign, what would it say?"

Falling Rock.

#188 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 11:44 PM:

BTW, Patrick, I want to thank you -- I think it was yours, not Teresa's -- for the link to the Hammett parable. That one line "gone...like a fist when you open your hand" stopped me dead, and then when I got to the end I got stopped again. Whoo.

#189 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 10, 2006, 11:46 PM:

Oops, sorry -- the thanks go to Teresa.

#190 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 01:16 AM:

Gaaaahhhhh!

When the entire blog post title is nothing but links, it makes "Previous/Next" style navigation Utterly Impossible!

Go ahead. Try it. Click on the "Forward to next post " link ("Ain't Misbehaving") and then try getting back to this page from there. You can't! Gaaahhhh!

...anyway. Er. How's the weather?

#191 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 01:56 AM:

In honor of De-Lurking week I de-lurk to thank the hosts and all the regulars for the information and entertainment I find here daily.

#192 ::: jhlipton ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 02:59 AM:

"Oh my god, it's full of links."

Sometimes ya gotta go with the obvious.

#193 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 03:57 AM:

I remember watching Road Runner cartoons as a kid. I loved them, loved the cleverness involved in how the situations would be set up and then play out like clockwork towards the inevitable long-fall-with-little-puff-of-smoke. I didn't think of the Coyote as a sentient being. He was merely an object to be inventively mangled.

When I happened to see a few as an adult they were painful. I found myself identifying with Wile E....taking the mental role of someone who lives in a lawless Universe that bends itself awry specifically to frustrate his desires and bring him pain...and who knows it. H.P. Lovecraft would have eaten his heart out to make his readers feel like that.

#194 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 04:35 AM:

Particles: all I get from the "George Bush by Alec Ross" link is a routine "hosted by Tripod" graphic. Is this meant to go to the "GB sucking democracy dry" image I've seen elsewhere?

#195 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 04:51 AM:

Particles follow-up: Ross/Bush Sucker link now working as expected. Did something change or was Firefox being silly? Never mind. Mysteries of the web....

#196 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 05:01 AM:

"Re: Tricksters. Foghorn Leghorn isn't a trickster. Winning through by being too stupid to get what's going on isn't trickster."

Really, that Coyote (American Indian trickster) fellow is always so damn smart.
The Looney Tunes Coyote fails all the time.
Daffy often is too stupid to know what's going on.
And Foghorn Leghorn tends to know exactly what's going on in the Chickenhawk cartoons.
The looney tunes universe is almost 50% trickster, 30% patsies, and 20% plot mechanisms. With different characters assuming different roles dependent on necessity. Even Bugs has been the patsy in some cartoons.


#197 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 05:25 AM:

Um, this being an open thread and all, may I ask if it is considered proper to submit a question about an item of historical esoterica here, one that I've googled and sought reference without success? I know of no place where I'd be more likely to get an informed answer.

#198 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 05:59 AM:

Further Particle follow-ups (follows-up? Nah.): Echoing the "thanks" for the falling beam parable, and ROTFL with the inventive cleaning method.

In respect of the Guardian's Gulf Cycle story, I'd also echo elizabeth bear's comment back at the last solstice.
I put some links to scientific discussion of this on a blog in May 2003 & March 2004, the post is mostly about why 'climate change' is a better description than 'global warming', which can be deceptive

The Highs get higher,
The Lows get lower,
The Drys get drier,
The Winds get blowier,
Whole systems that are balanced get tipped, and
Who knows which way they'll go?
www.pnas.org/misc/special.shtml#climate
www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/03/10/1078594434768.html
www.whoi.edu/institutes/occi/currenttopics/ct_abruptclimate.htm
www.newscientist.com/hottopics/climate/climatefaq.jsp
www.newscientist.com/channel/earth/climate-change/mg18524861.400
Also, I wasn't able to get to the Alex Ross picture of Bush & Liberty from the Village Voice cover (which I think is what that Particle is supposed to be). But I did find another version stored at flickr. If I'm right, there are quite a few copies across the net.

#199 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 06:20 AM:

"If you were a cartoon character, who would you be?"

The Mighty Mightor.

(Not really, but I'm curious to see if anybody remembers him.)

#200 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 06:23 AM:

Dave... Are you sure the Bush/Ross link IS working? I wanna see what Bush looks like under the brush of Alex Ross. I wanna. Waugh!!!

#201 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 07:27 AM:

Serge: Dave... Are you sure the Bush/Ross link IS working?

It works for me now, but mysteriously didn't start working until I copied and pasted the full URL from the link to the Firefox address box:

http://tonylagarto.tripod.com/rantblog/alex-ross_bush-liberty.jpg

Before then, I just got the "hosted by Tripod" image even though the above link URL showed in the status bar. Mez's link above, to a copy at Flickr, also works....

#202 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 07:31 AM:

Dave Luckett: crack on. What's on your mind?

#203 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 08:19 AM:

They use Laidbackium Chloride now. Laidbackium Hydrate is OTC and used primarily for calming barking dogs.

Is Laidbackium part of the Handwavinide series, or is it a compound of some sort?

#204 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 08:45 AM:

Thanks, Dave. That did the trick. I was able to get to Alex Ross's depiction of Bush on a date with Lady Liberty.

Did you ever see the 9/11 painting that Ross did? It shows Uncle Sam from the chest up, screaming in pain because, where his heart should be, you see the World Trade Center being destroyed.

#205 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 09:26 AM:

This: in Central Asia, at what is now the southern borders of Turkmenia or the northernmost part of Iran, would it be likely that people would be drinking tea in brick form in the first century BCE?

I need to know for a bo*coff*ok I'm sort of writing, and lo! google saith not.

#206 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 09:31 AM:

The question that occurred to me, this morning over breakfast, was "Are the Chuck Norris Facts infernokrusher??"

I would have pondered it longer, but then I was roundhouse kicked in the face, and am communicating now from beyond the grave.

#207 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 09:57 AM:


in Central Asia, at what is now the southern borders of Turkmenia or the northernmost part of Iran, would it be likely that people would be drinking tea in brick form in the first century BCE?

Right. Well:
1. There were trade routes established between China and Europe well before the first century BC. These went through northern Persia.
2. There was brick tea in China in the first century BC.
3. Tea was not traded along the caravan routes until centuries later. (Brick tea in Russia is still known as 'caravan tea'). There wasn't a market for it in Europe or the Middle East.

If you want to have an expatriate Chinese character in northern Persia who has his own personal stock of brick tea, go for it. If you want to have everyone in town drinking it and camels coming in every week with fresh supplies, there isn't much history to support that.

On another point, around that time tea was more often drunk as a medicine than recreationally. Your Chinese expat might be a bit eccentric if he drank it all the time. (Or a hypochondriac). But if he's living in northern Persia, he's probably a bit eccentric anyway...

#208 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 09:58 AM:

I don't know the tea answer.

I might know someone who knows the tea answer. . .

#209 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 09:58 AM:

Patrick or Teresa, a possible fix for the navigation bug caused by there being links in the post title:

Go into your individual archive template in MT. Look for the code that says "Back to previous post" and "forward to next post." They are very likely to have [MTEntryPrevious] and [MTEntryNext] tags around them.

Where it says something like, [a href="[$MTEntryPermalink$]"][$MTEntryTitle$][/a] ,

add this

remove_html=1

to [$MTEntryTitle].

#210 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 09:58 AM:

Tonight, on the first first-run episode of MythBusters, "...Adam and Jamie unleash a deadly myth from a supermax prison, attempting to make a deadly weapon out of newspaper and underwear. Grant, Kari and Tory unscrew the cap on some more vodka myths, such as removing cigarette smell from clothing.."

#211 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 10:19 AM:

An alternative source for the Alex Ross image of Bush--and yes, it is "Sucking Democracy Dry"--is here. It's an e-vendor's item page, so click the thumbnail for a larger version.

(Love that Alex Ross. I remember the first time I saw his version of the Silver Surfer. What a revelation--he was shiny! Reflective! I suddenly realized that prior to that point, my mental image of him had always depicted the Pale Blue Surfer.)

#212 ::: OG ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 10:28 AM:

That Tripod graphic is part of their anti-hotlinking system. A lot of the free hosts no longer allow direct links to graphics from outside web sites.

Just for fun, a link I don't think I've seen come through here: Kong vs certain celebs. Flash, probably NSFW.

#213 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 10:32 AM:

Andrew... The work by Ross & Busiek on Marvels was ground-breaking, wasn't it? After that, I never could look at comics the same way. And every time I go back to that story of Galactus and the Silver Surfer coming to Earth, I get shivers seeing the reaction of normal humans to the fact that this is IT, this is the end of the world.

#214 ::: Benedict Leigh ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 10:35 AM:

As it's delurking week I thought I delurk and say how much I enjoy the interesting writing and comments on Making Light.

I also thought that this was an appropriate place to draw peoples attention to this - Marginalia and other crimes

#215 ::: jhlipton ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 11:53 AM:

If I could be a comic book character, I'd be 'Mazing Man. Totally cool.

For cartoon character, I'd be Daffy (and frequently am). I may be a coward, but I'm a greeeeeeeeeedy little coward!

#216 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 12:31 PM:

I like the Pagan Hierarchy, but there's a lot more mutual-lookdownage than it depicts. In fact just about everyone looks down on just about everyone else. The ones at the very top are the exceptions; I've never heard of anyone looking down on a real native tribal shaman, for example.

Btw, easy to make a similar one for Christians, so neener. :-)

#217 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 11:20 PM:

xopher-- Btw, easy to make a similar one for Christians, so neener. :-)

that chart is based on the idea of lore fitzgerald sjoberg's "nerd hierarchy" (too lazy to find it. not even sure whether it's nerd or geek). i know there was at least one other based on it, called the japan hierarchy (meaning mostly western fanciers of japanese culture). so it would seem to lend itself to almost any loose grouping of people/beliefs.....

#218 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 11, 2006, 11:34 PM:

Lore's Geek Hierarchy:

http://www.brunching.com/geekhierarchy.html

#219 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2006, 03:39 AM:

This story, about the problems of changing one's abode, struck a personal chord with someone struggling with the Collecting Bug (to link to christoper's earlier note), but also reminded me of the discussion of Moving House, now (gasp) 18 months old. Of course, in each case details differ.
Also; the sentence: "The analogy of an archeological site that has been covered with mud for 2,000 years is sort of exact" is one to savour.

#220 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2006, 12:43 PM:

For the cartoon character that I'm most like, I'll stick with the answer I gave a couple decades ago in Apatoons: Sid Boop, Betty's brother. Very earnest, but things always go out of control.

#221 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2006, 02:31 PM:

Random find: Overcompensating speculates on where dragons are, who can see them, and the dire consequences of waving weapons around.

#222 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2006, 02:42 PM:

Oooh, now I want to go do one for christians. But I'd forget too many of the sub sects.

j h woodyatt--I was reading your post over on the alex rawls thread...Caidan, are we? I was laughing so hard about the crash site being within driving distance from Pennsic...even for Caidans.

#223 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2006, 05:51 PM:

Real soon now I'm going to write an essay on the art of comment section interrogartion, but I can't really do that until the specimen currently in the jar stops coming back for what I'm sure he thinks is trolling. In the meanwhile, I'd like to offer him as a delightful example of a wingnut in deep denial of the possiblity that the NSA's spying powers could be, and may in fact be at the moment, used on him personally.

#224 ::: jhlipton ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2006, 07:44 PM:

An unabridged geek hierarchy here:
The Geek Hierarchy

via Nerds, geeks and Dorks

One might fall into several boxes of the Geek Hierarchy (I am a SF&F fan, a sporadic fanfic writer -- many erotic, and have been in the SCA -- met my wife there -- and have been a RPGer). Can one be, at any single point in time, more than one type of Pagan (or Christian)?

#225 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2006, 08:51 PM:

Ms. Cramer, if that's supposed to be a link, it didn't take.

Since this is an open thread, I'll advise that the Borders G.C. I was given for Christmas has been used to purchase The Handmaid's Tale and Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, based entirely on the encomiums each has received from the hosts and commenters here.

#226 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: January 12, 2006, 10:07 PM:

The Christian one would be fairly simple. Every group, no matter how defined, looks down on every other. This is not confined to each denomination looking down on all the rest. Subsets of denominations, cliques within single congregations, factions formed over the teacups in the Church decoration committee, all look down on each other.

Trust me (shudder), I know.

#227 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 12:13 AM:

David, you're right. It's just...how would you draw that?

jhlipton- Yes, you can be more than one type of pagan at a time. I've seen it...

#228 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 05:08 AM:

Out of pure randomness: Gothic Charm School. Formerly known as "Gothic Miss Manners", but there was apparently correspondence of the legal kind from representatives of the original Miss Manners, and thus a name change.

#229 ::: Kate Yule ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 01:05 PM:

I baked that buttermilk pie (recipe in Open Thread 55). Good stuff, Maynard! It tastes like a giant cheese danish, with a minimum of that distracting pastry stuff.

Oh man, if this had a bit of cherry pie filling drizzed on top...!

#230 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 02:27 PM:

That "Victorian etiquette" game has a French version too (on account of being Canadian.)

#231 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 03:38 PM:

Babelsheep is fun for plain, simple pieces of text, but even more entertaining when you put something with a fair number of technical terms into it. Here's the results from cumbrianating part of Macdonald's influenza post:

"The flu is a virus, like eh. Viruses ist interestin' larl thingies … no' really alive, no' really not-alive, like eh. They’re a piece ov genetic material (RNA or DNA) inside ov a protein capsid, like eh. Some viruses 'ave a lipid envelope abou' tha'.

Withou' a livin' cell, tha' genetic material can’t dee diddly, like eh. See this larl protein capsid jus' 'angs abou' being iner'. Wha' the virus needs is a livin' cell. We, unfortunately, ist jus' quiverin' masses ov livin' cells, like eh.

Livin' cells 'ave mechanisms fur bringin' stuff fre outside ter inside, like eh. Think ov the outside ov a cell as being covered wid larl bitty keyholes (receptors). 'ormones an' scran an' sech ist covered wid larl bitty keys, like eh. When the righ' key 'its the righ' keyhole, the substance can enter a cell or instruc' i' ter dee summa'.

Thoo can fool those larl bitty keyholes wid a chemical tha' has the same shape as the chemical they’re lookin' fur, like. Fur example: Some cells 'ave receptors tha' ist shaped ter tek endorphins, molecules made by other cells tha' say “Stop 'urtin',” or words ter tha' effec'. Morphine an' the opiates 'ave keys on them tha' 'appen ter fi' the endorphin receptors, like eh. We whack someone up wid morphine an' the cells tha' ist expectin' endorphins 'ave morphine latch onto them instead, an' they say “Okay, we’ll stop 'urtin' noo.”

Viruses 'ave proteins on thur capsids tha' will latch onto the receptors on some cells an' tell them “Tek me inside noo.” There ist a wide variety ov cells in the world, like eh. Each ov them 'ave particular protein receptor shapes, like eh. A virus wid the protein tha' tells tobacco leaf cells ter tek i' inside won’t be able ter fool cells in yoower lungs, like eh. Differen' shaped keys, differen' shaped keyholes, like eh.

As i' 'appens, flu viruses can latch on ter some bird cells an' some 'uman cells (an' some pig cells ower). That’s wha' allows the flu ter spread fre birds or pigs ter 'umans, like eh. No' all 'umans ist susceptible ter viruses tha' fi' bird receptors, like eh. Bu' it’s possible tha' the virus can mutate see tha' will be better fitted ter 'umans, like eh. When tha' 'appens, watch ou'.

Once inside a cell, the virus capsid opens an' the DNA or RNA gans ter wuk, like. The cell’s mechanisms fur mekkin' more cells or deein' whatever other useful cowie ist pu' ter wuk creatin' more virus parts, like eh. Those virus parts ist assembled inter completed viruses, which either ge' pumped ou' through the cell membrane yan a' a time (buddin') or all as a group when the cell explodes (lysis).

Sometimes the viruses mutate while all this is gan on, like eh. Flu is famous fur mutatin' … 'ence many strains, like eh. If thoo 'ave antibodies fur a previous strain ov flu, those antibodies don’t wuk (antibodies 'ave larl keys an'all, lookin' fur locks on the flu capsid) since they’ve nivver sin the particular shape fur this particular strain before, like eh.

The body gets sick — fre all the cells tha' ist no longer performin' thur assigned function cuz they’re mekkin' virus instead, or fre bacterial infections tha' tek the opportunity ter nail thoo while yoower resistance is lowered, or fre the immune reaction as the body tries ter pagger off the viral infection, like eh. Yoower body meks cytokines, which limi' the damage under mos' circumstances, like eh. Ge' ower much virus activity in the body, though, an' the cytokines overwhelm yoower organs an' thoo’ve go' organ failure, an' death."

#232 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 04:17 PM:

I imagine that the keepers of the Tor Wishlist, and others, will want to know about these groovy-yet-unsettling fluorescent pigs. I mean, once you've got a pygmy mammoth and a Van de Graaff generator, this is the obvious next item, right?

#233 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 04:23 PM:

Turner Classic Movies has been showing the movies of Hayao Miyazaki this month and it's quite interesting, to say the least. There are a few elements that seem to show up in most of them so far - creepy oversized granny types for example. Another recurring theme appears to be people or non-human beings who melt, like in Howl's Moving Castle and in Spirited Away. The latter also registers high on the barf-o-meter, but that's another story. Take note that I'm not making fun of him. On the contrary.

Another constant that I noticed is the self-reliant young woman, except in Castle in the Sky. I don't know much about Japanese Culture so maybe someone can tell me if that's just Miyazaki. Or does Japan like that kind of character in stories, provided it doesn't intrude in real life?

#234 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 04:51 PM:

Serge,

Add to the Miyazaki-trope list, "threatening formless dark blobs." This bodes well for the rumored upcoming Miyazaki treatment of LeGuin's "Earthsea" series.

#235 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 04:53 PM:

Interesting... Diane Duane's site has a link to a British publication with an article on Kipling's science-fiction.

#236 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 04:58 PM:

That one too, Lila, although it overlapped with the abundant vomiting and with the melting people in Spirited Away. That being said, his adaptation of Earthsea would be an imporvement over the Skiffy Channel's intensely boring attempt.

#237 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 05:24 PM:

jhlipton - sisuile is right. You can not only be more than one kind of Pagan at a time, you can be Pagan and Christian at the same time! We call them "dual path." I'm not sure what the Christians call them (he said demurely).

fidelio, I should write a "Pre-Cambrian English" generator. Anything you type in would be translated to "RAAAAAAAAWWWR!!! (hiss)"

Andrew Willett - did they actually get the Van De Graaf generator? I'm pretty sure they didn't get the pygmy mammoth, because Teresa would have a sweater made of its wool by now.

#238 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 05:35 PM:

Pre-Cambrian English... Is that what they spoke in When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, Xopher? Great movie if you're into the usual mixbag of dinosaurs and humans, especially in those scenes where a dino mom thinks the blond lady really is its newly hatched baby and so tries to feed her with a deer's carcass. Oh, and I almost forgot the giant crabs. The movie's, I mean, not the carcass's.

#239 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 05:36 PM:

Oh damn oh damn oh damn oh damn . . .

I made the mistake of going to the new Costco down the street.

The biggest Costco in the world, I'm told.

A polite person could get a substantial (if nutritionally imbalanced) lunch by wandering around eating samples.

I figure I could pay for the membership by buying their premium dog food.

Please, help me think otherwise.

#240 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 05:46 PM:

Stefan,

Only if, and this is KEY, you don't buy anything there you wouldn't have bought in your previous shopping venue.

That's how we nearly went broke at Sam's Club.

#241 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 05:50 PM:
Patrick or Teresa, a possible fix for the navigation bug caused by there being links in the post title:
Links in the post title also cause the Recent Comments links to act funny - instead of each line being a single link, the commenter's name and "on" forms a link to the comment, but the post title still consists of its original links. How to fix this, I couldn't say, but fortunately it's a minor issue.
#242 ::: Michelle K ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 05:59 PM:

Stefan Jones,

Does this mean I shouldn't tell you that Costco treats it's employees really well, and has been held up as the good business alternative to Wal Mart?

If we had a Costco anywhere NEAR here I'd join in a minute. And that's just because I like to support good businesses. The savings would just be a bonus.

#243 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 06:02 PM:

Stefan - Lila has it exactly right. Costco is a place you go with a list, not with an urge to impulse shop or you'll wind up with 24 cans of tuna, a double-pack of space heaters, a two gallon vat of relish, three pounds of dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, new luggage and more corn flakes than you can consume in a year when all you needed was dog food.

FWIW, I buy bottled water, chicken and some other meats, razor blades and a handful of other things that are about 1/2 of what I'd pay elsewhere at Costco and severely limit my off-list shopping.

That said, I love the shopping experience there.

#244 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 06:13 PM:

Costco is good for stuff you use a lot of. (Teabags in my case; they also have 5-packs of those tuna-pouch and cracker kits, which are cheaper than just the tuna-pouches even in the supermarkets.) Good thing I have a budget: last time I was in Costco they had Oriental rugs, some of which were quite large as well as nice looking.

#245 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 06:18 PM:

I know these things already.

I'm specifically worried about the "Oh, man, that's a great price for ten pounds of nutmeg!" syndrome.

I want you'all to tell me I'm condemining my soul to some kind of consumerist limbo or something.

One solution might be to join but NOT get the credit card. Then I'd have to bring a specific amount of cash.

And, hey, I could WALK there. It is a four mile round trip, something I used to do every day. Limiting myself to what I could haul four miles would be a disincentive to overshopping.

Would it be fair to make the dog haul back stuff in her panniers?

(Interestingly, the OTHER local Wal-Mart alternative is employee owned. A bare-bones to the point of dreary discount chain called Bi-Mart. You could fit an entire Bi-Mart in the section of Wal-Mart where they stock Little Debbie snack cakes and Hot Pockets, but I still check the place out when I'm shopping for something. Good prices, and all over the place.

And for some reason their discount VHS tape section has yielded some unbelievable finds.)

#246 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 06:21 PM:

Xopher--surely not; if they had gotten a Van de Graaff generator, it would have been mentioned, and our Gracious Hosts would have thrown a party where we could all come and play with it. Don't you think?

#247 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 06:24 PM:

Do not buy Diamond Dog Food there. (For recall reasons, not due to any unfortunate experience Tigger had.)

#248 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 06:33 PM:

Stefan -

Consumerism is.
We exist in its context.
Costco has more merit than most alternatives.
Using canines as shopping carts tarnishes your karma.
Debit cards conform to the Tao of Costco.
Choose your path wisely.

#249 ::: jhlipton ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 07:20 PM:

Stefan:
And for some reason their discount VHS tape section has yielded some unbelievable finds.

Why do I think that Bi-Mart has a yooge LGBT section? (But do they have Blood and Doughnuts? And why isn't B&D out on DVD???????)

#250 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 07:48 PM:

Re Shopping Control: The way I use to make sure I'll be able to carry home what I get, even if I'm getting the bus instead of walking, is to take around one of their supplied shopping baskets instead of a shopping trolley (=cart).
They disappeared for quite a few years - I assume management were trying to encourage shoppers to buy more by forcing them to use a larger container. I took my own bag to schlep around, and always worried that it looked like I was shoplifting. Luckily there was a change of mind. I hope you have some equivalent.

Another thing that disappeared & hasn't yet returned is the benchspace outside the cashiers with cardboard boxes nearby where you could (re)pack your stuff into your bags or their boxes. It's far too rude to rebalance the load while you're blocking the queue, and quite hard to find a high flat secure spot around most shops in Australia, even if there is room for one.

#251 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 08:02 PM:

Heh-heh-heh . . .

This is probably a gag/hoax, but it is a really funny one:

http://xboxfor100.ytmnd.com/

#252 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 08:33 PM:

Because I assume this is the best place to post this:

Thanks to our hostess for the 19th century manners game link!

#253 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2006, 10:28 PM:

Stefan:

As others have noted, have a list when you go to Costco. Also, for the things you want to buy, shop elsewhere first to get a unit price comparison, since Costco's units tend to be significantly larger than most retail venues. But, unlike other folks, I'll suggest that you allow yourself a little margin for impulse spending -- finding something like a Huge Jar'o'Chocolate-Covered Raisins or a book that's half the price elsewhere is plenty of fun in itself.

(I actually have let the Costco membership lapse -- bad me! -- because BJ's, which is also an acceptable place to shop, is next to the local Tar-jay, while Costco is way to heck and gone the other direction, by its lonesome.)

I'll echo the fact that Costco is a significantly better place to spend your money if you care about how a place treats its employees and its suppliers.

#254 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 12:52 AM:

It's the Batgirl Meme with apologies to all who object to the nettish usage of "meme".

But seriously, lots and lots of Batgirl studies. What's not to like? Even I like it, and I'm not a big comic guy. (OK, some people find me comic, but that's just their opinion...)

#255 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 01:02 AM:

Wow . . . I'd almost forgotten about BJ's. That was the first warehouse outlet on Long Island. I joined back in 1987 or so.

My afternoon's research into Costco ("Kirkland") dog food has convinced me to rejoin. High-quality stuff for less than what I'm paying now.

(I dropped my Costco membership when I lived in the Bay Area, had outfitted my apartment, upgraded my computer, and was buying FAR TOO MUCH convenience food. I'm afraid of getting back into that rut. Give me strength.)

#256 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 05:32 AM:

Costco is good when you're feeding:
(a) Lots of people, or
(b) People who don't have a lot of variety of taste

My mom's friends in monastic communities love it for reason (a). I love it for reason (b), because if my neophobic toddler is going to demand tuna pasta twice a week, it might as well be affordable tuna pasta. Ditto apple juice. Most young families at my work also go there for the diapers.

Our current surprise favourite is Lidl, a German supermarket chain pretty much taking over the bottom end of the British market. They replaced a Kwik Save at our local crossroads, and the prices went down while the staff morale and produce quality both went up.

(As an added bonus, they are introducing a taste for Continental foods to a section of the British public who don't usually go in for that sort of thing. It's a small step toward European unity, but every little helps.)

#257 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 05:40 AM:

In the Department of Making Your Skin Crawl with Commercialism, though, very little beats Edinburgh's out of town big shop configuration. Costco is side by side with IKEA, with a road between them named (heaven help us) Costkea Way.

#258 ::: JennR ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 09:45 AM:

Linkmeister:
I think that if you check the date on the bag and make sure that it's not from the one affected plant during that time period, it will be fine. We called our feed store, and the dog food we have was not made at the affected plant. And I would hope that any possibly affected food was pulled off the floor ASAP. (Costco seems pretty good about that.)

#259 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 10:18 AM:

Have people caught up on the latest archaeological news about the notorious Donner party?
I had, until seeing the story discussed nearby, just vaguely been aware of things like that having happened in US pioneering days. There's similar gruesome stories from early Australian convict settlement, Alexander Pearce being best known.

#260 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 12:45 PM:

abi - So, when IKEA and Costco (which are both pretty good corporate citizens BTW) merge, the result will be called Costkea? I boggle at the size of the store. And the solar/electric powered shopping carts designed to carry the kitchen cabinets and the groceries to go in them.

#261 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 12:59 PM:

Hmm... Tonight's 2nd original movie of the year on the Skiffy Channel is NOT about oversized Earth creatures using humans as a walking deli.

No, it's C.Thomas Howell vs H.G.Wells's Martians.

But I am rather disquieted by their having advertised this movie only once, as opposed to 10 times an hour for Caved In's rhino beetles.

#262 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 01:24 PM:

JennR, you're right. I mentioned that more as a public service than because it affects my pooch. She's a big Science Diet fan herself.

#263 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 02:15 PM:

Open thread, open question -- we're looking for songs that can be fit into a "gratitude" themed compilation. We've already got "What a wonderful world," "Me and my righteous man" ("when I look the world over . . . thinking aboutgood things, me and my righteous man") "Dirt made my lunch"("thank you dirt, thanks a bunch, thank you dirt, because dirt made my lunch") -- looking for others. Genre, style, provenance do not matter. We are eclectic.

("We" means my father's compiling and I'm asking. Some of you know why this is a bigger deal even than his other compilations)

#264 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 02:48 PM:

Serge - It shows up a lot more in other anime than you'd think fom japanese culture, but it is Miyazaki himself who has a particular thing of his own for strong but young heroines. (A "thing" that seems less a sexual thing than you get from Japanese culture and specifically other makers of anime and manga.)

There's also a high use of flying machines (Even Totoro has his spinning top), with occasional forays into flying without just for variety.

And a lot of both explicit and implicit environmentalism.

And of course, there's the sheer gorgeous art.

And since this is an open thread, I'll natter soem more:

Since you're watching them on TV (Please tell me uncut. Bad enough you're probably stuck with the dubbed tracks. The Disney dubs are inadequate - even compared to the okay subtitling on the same disc. I've seen them both run together -- the difference is painful.) you don't get to peek at stuff like this:

My personal favourite bit in the Spirited Away extras was Miyazaki trying to describe (Minor spoiler) Chihiro feeding the dragon the river-spirit's gift. He tried to tell them it was like giving a large dog a pill... and not a single one of the (much younger generation) animation team had ever had a dog (That would take hours away from work!), much less seen it take a pill. Miyazaki seemed highly frustrated, if in a polite, slightly amused way, and told them several times to get out and *do other things*. (They also ended up doing a field trip to a veterinary hospital for that particular bit.) But I kind of liked what that said about him.

#265 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 03:00 PM:

Lucy: Sincere only, I assume?

Jann Arden's Good Mother comes to mind.

Most of the others trying to poke at the edges of my memory seem to have religious implication.

#266 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 03:42 PM:

Lucy: Sly and the Family Stone's Thank you for lettin' me be mice elf is the first thing that comes to mind

#267 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 04:27 PM:

I've visited Cumbria enough to have the feeling that Babelsheep doesn't really get it. Just as with the Lincolnshire dialects, there's some serious linguistic reworking needed. You're not getting much more than a partial word-substitution and a few catchphrase-like intertions.

And the accent is missing altogether. Even with the same basic English vocabulary, it doesn't sound the same.

#268 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 04:58 PM:

Lucy: First one I thought of was "Thanks for the Memories," which probably says something awful about me.

It doesn't explicitly say "thank you," but "They Can't Take That Away From Me" is pretty clearly an expression of gratitude.

#269 ::: sharon ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 04:58 PM:

Lucy: try Happy, Grateful, Aware by Ephemera. (You can hear it at www.seethru.co.uk/music/ephemera/ if you aren't familiar with them.)

#270 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 05:06 PM:

Thanks, everybody, I'll forward the songs -- oh, and religious or not doesn't matter, either.

#271 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 05:31 PM:

Lucy: if songs with a religious theme are okay, just walk into almost any church (well, one where there's music) and pick up the book with hymns in it. You'll find zillions of gratitude-themed songs, some of them very beautiful. "Now thank we all our God, with hearts and hands and voices; Who wondrous things has done; in Whom His world rejoices..."

From another genre: "How Sweet It Is to Be Loved By You." (I've got to shout, thank you, baby...)
And to my ears, "Here Comes the Sun" simply bursts with gratitude.

I'm going to keep working on this.

#272 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 05:36 PM:

Also this url might be helpful:
http://humanityquest.com/topic/Music/index.asp?theme1=gratitude

#273 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 06:27 PM:

Lucy, here's what I can find: "I'll begin again," from Scrooge (also Thank You Very Much, but only the second verse is sincere.)
"Something Was Missing," from Annie.
"There But For you Go I" from Brigadoon
"Ain't It Good" from Children of Eden
"Candle In The Window" From Civil War:an American Musical
"Miracle of Miracles" and "Now I have Everything" from Fiddler on the Roof
"Bless the World" and "All Good Gifts" from Godspell
"It Takes Two" from Into The Woods."
"I'd Do Anything" from Oliver!
"You Are My Home" from The Scarlet Pimpernel
"Twist of Fate" by Olivia Newton-John
"Live Like You Were Dying" by Tim McGraw
"For Good" from Wicked

#274 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 06:30 PM:

Thanks for the comments about Miyazaki, Lenora. I was curious about whether his kind of characters are a reflection of who he truly is. He does seem like an interesting fellow. His movies as shown on TCM are introduced by Pixar's John Lasseter, who has repeatedly met the Master and seen how he works. Not only that but TCM is showing them uncut, and that includes Nausicaa, which now clocks at over 2 hours. On top of everything, each movie is first broadcast in a dubbed version, then in Japanese with subtitles.

#275 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 06:45 PM:

And over at DailyKos, there's a very moving post by SusanG:
Mr. Bush, You Can Stop Protecting Me Now

It's getting very positive responses from most of the commenters, with good reason: '... After years of soul-searching, I've decided to take my chances in a risky and unpredictable world - one from which your administration can't fully insulate me anyway, even with the best of intentions - than to live my life duct-taped and "safe" in a wire-tapped American closet where I'm not free to tell you I think you're a nincompoop and a danger to humankind. ...'

#276 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 08:31 PM:

Lennon/McCartney: "Thank You Girl"

#277 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 09:49 PM:

Epacris, the Donner Party engaged in quite a lot of selfish bad behavior from the very beginning of the trip. They abandoned their own, got into nasty fights, and generally acted like pioneers from long before they were snowed in. They were snowed in because they refused to take advice from those who knew the mountains (indians and whites) and they treated everyone who came into contact with them terribly.

I wouldn't be surprised if most of the cannibalism story was lies made up after the fact to embroider on their desperation, but given the sociopathic nature of the expedition, I wouldn't be surprised if some of the stories were eventually demonstrated to be true.

#278 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 14, 2006, 09:59 PM:

Lucy, I heard that part of the reason they got snowed in was that they took a 'shorter route' that had them chopping through some really nasty brush, which slowed them down just enough to get hit by an early winter storm. A combination of bad luck and ignorance, or something.

#279 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 01:28 AM:

Credit should also go to Lansford Hastings, a land promoter who wrote a guidebook designed to get people to come to California. Hastings was hoping that if enough settlers came to California from the United States, they could oust the weak Mexican government and set up on their own--as I understand it, with Hastings in some high position in the government.

It didn't work.

The Donner group lost several weeks' travel time to the "shortcut" to California promoted in Hastings' book. They hit the high passes just in time to become snowbound for most of what turned out to be an unusually severe winter. Trouble ensued.

#280 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 01:44 AM:

The Hastings Cut-off was key, as I recall. I have a copy of George Stewart's Ordeal by Hunger around. It's supposedly one of the best accounts of the events surrounding the expedition.

The most startling thing I remember about visiting Donner State Park was the height of the tree stumps which the party cut off at what was thought to be ground level. They're a good 12-15 feet above ground. That's a lot of snow.

#281 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 02:03 AM:

Geek note: That's George R. Stewart, author of Earth Abides. He was an exceptional writer on matters geographical; I have a copy of U.S. 40, a book that follows the road's route from East to West Coast, with about a hundred photographs Stewart took on the way, each accompanied by an essay. There are pointed comments on roadside advertising and the use of locally raised signs that indicate as a bypass what is actually the route through a town's business district. (The gummint did not trademark the US Route "shield" sign, meaning that anybody could put it on a sign to make it look "official.")

The book came out in '53. Thirty years later, there was an updated version by other authors, US 40 Today; someone was supposed to be working on a fiftieth-anniversary reissue, with additional photographs -- Stewart took about a thousand -- but it doesn't seem to have happened.

The roads must . . . oh, never mind.

#282 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 07:31 AM:

In today's San Francisco Chronicle, stunned scientists say Republican wives have no tear ducts!!!

#283 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 10:01 AM:

I thought I already posted this, but I may have stopped at previewing it, so here it is again:

Open thread, open question -- we're looking for songs that can be fit into a "gratitude" themed compilation. We've already got "What a wonderful world," "Me and my righteous man" ("when I look the world over . . . thinking aboutgood things, me and my righteous man") "Dirt made my lunch"("thank you dirt, thanks a bunch, thank you dirt, because dirt made my lunch") -- looking for others. Genre, style, provenance do not matter. We are eclectic.

People have already mentioned Marvin Gaye. Motown generally should be a pretty good source, as their hits were about equally split between "I'm so happy I'm in love" and "I'm in love, and I'm miserable."

Al Green is another place to good one-- I think "Belle" (in which he sings about Jesus, and makes it sound sexy) has some of what you're after.

If you want to expand the genre composition a little, there's "Hey Mama" by Kanye West. His "Family Business" has a very similar tune (built around a great sample), but isn't as explicitly grateful.

I've also got a song on iTunes called "Thank You for the Venom," but I suspect it might not be what you're after...

#284 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 10:10 AM:

Larry,

Yes, Costkea. The vision will haunt your nights and drag you waking into you LYYE flat-pack bed, your BAUMOLLE sheets twisted and soaked in cold sweat. Reach for the Kirkland Select tissues to mop your fevered brow and go back to sleep. It is not a dream, but Willam Morris cannot save you now.

Mr. Bush, You Can Stop Protecting Me Now

Apropos of that, the letter informing me that I've been accepted for British citizenship came through yesterday morning. I still have a ceremony to go through (with sundry swearings and affirmations), but I'm on my way to a firmer foothold here and right of abode throughout Europe.

#285 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 10:24 AM:

Question: If I'm launching something at the earth from the moon using a giant's arm as the propellant is there anything in the phases of the moon that would cause me problems? There are phases of the earth as well as phases of the moon right, if the giant is aiming by sight it would follow that the part aimed at should be visible. Anything else?

#286 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 10:31 AM:

Stefan: it's fair to make the dog haul stuff if it's stuff for her. Then you see how well-behaved your dog is. Can she walk four miles without gnawing the panniers open to get at the dog treats/squeaky toys?

#287 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 12:39 PM:

The most startling thing I remember about visiting Donner State Park was the height of the tree stumps which the party cut off at what was thought to be ground level. They're a good 12-15 feet above ground. That's a lot of snow.

I can't remember off the top of my head what the record is for snowfall in CA, but it's something like 30 feet, and set in the area of Donner Pass. So was the record low temperature (-55F). The Sierra is not a nice place in the winter. (Spectacularly beautiful, yes, but not nice.)

#288 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 12:53 PM:

abi - Have you been sneaking into my apartment? Actually the bed is MALM, but the broad sweep is pretty accurate!

#289 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 01:19 PM:

Stewart also wrote Storm, which prompted the Nat'l Weather Service to begin naming hurricanes.

#290 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 01:43 PM:

Stewart also wrote an incredible book about a forest fire, which may have just been called Fire, I forget. Equally good.

#291 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 02:35 PM:

The Donner Party was repeatedly warned that Hasting's Cut-Off was no good. They had lots of oppportunities at every step of the way to do better.

They weren't just stupid, either, they were selfish, greedy, dishonest, and in a couple of cases, murderous.

#292 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 02:37 PM:

"Can she walk four miles without gnawing the panniers open to get at the dog treats/squeaky toys?"

Kira's first long training walk with her panniers ended up at Fred Meyer, a local grocery / variety chain.

By amazing co-incidence, the discontinued shelf contained 31 "Greenies" (pricey dog chews) marked down 50%. They all got packed in her saddle bags.

She made it all the way home -- about 1.5 miles -- without showing any sign of desiring to sample. To be fair, they were all neatly sealed in plastic and may not have been smell-able.

#293 ::: Mikael Johansson ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 02:50 PM:

A question to the assembly.

Has anyone else here looked at Commander in Chief? I'd like someone with an insight into American politics and the role and impact of West Wing to comment on the series. Any takers?

#294 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 03:20 PM:

Larry,

I reckoned I had a sporting chance with that description, though I could not immediately recall an IKEA bed range. Since I too sleep in their cotton bedsheets and have rather a lot of Kirkland Select goods about the house, it could almost be my house too.

(Our bed predates IKEA's arrival in Embra, and is reclaimed timber. It has lots of metal studs in it, added to enhance the faintly American Southwestern/Mission feel. It was sold, God help us all, as the Stud Bed. A name like MALM would have been preferable.)

#295 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 04:09 PM:

Now I'm wondering if GROND came in a flat-pack and was assembled on-site. By industrious but budget-minded trolls.

#296 ::: Heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 04:13 PM:

On race in genre fiction:

"I know I didn't start reading it that day. But I was deep into it before the week was out. And because Le Guin snuck up on it, let us thrill with Sparrowhawk as he made his way, the Revelation came as a shock. I do remember bursting out into tears on the living room couch when I understood what was going on. And the tears flowed again when Mom came home from work and I showed her the book while trying to explain. Sparrowhawk is brown. I think he's like an Indian from India. And Vetch is black like from Africa. There's a bunch more and they have real power. Not the girls, though. But still they are also the good guys. It's the white people who are evil. And Sparrowhawk is also Ged, and he's going to be the most powerful one of them all, ever."

From an essay by Pam Noles. I thought people might be interested.

#297 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 04:15 PM:

Stefan:
Costco membership is actually a very good thing.
It's supporting responsible business - they are almost unique in this niche in that they pay living wages, avoid sweatshop manufacturers, work with small companies instead of choking them, etc. It can also save you a lot of money if you don't fall into the habit of random splurging.

Just be very selective about what you buy there. We keep a shopping list pad split into two columns, one for Costco, one for elsewhere. The Costco column currently has: milk, toothpaste, laundry detergent, eggs, cream cheese (for kid's school, need a lot of it), tissues, toilet paper, 33 gallon trashbags. All of these are either available in "normal" sizes there, or can be stored indefinitely. If we ate meat there would be a lot more on our regular shoppng list; unfortunately while they've had some great vegetarian stuff, most of it is transient.

#298 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 04:22 PM:

In that Particles New Partisan link, I'm not so sure the Kate Chopin story is in praise of tobacco. (Even allowing for literary conventions an' all that.)

#299 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 04:39 PM:

John,

Wish you hadn't said that about GROND. You got me thinking about this entry from the IKEA catalogue we never saw.

IPPOS
by designer Odi Seüs
When your raiding party needs that something extra to achieve its goal, IPPOS comes through. Either as an offering to the gods for a safe departure, or to permit that final incursion, IPPOS' graceful lines and impressive size will guarantee success. Holds up to forty soldiers. Untreated solid pine and laminate. 300x600, H500cm. 5 talents 253.851.00

#300 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 05:38 PM:

Abi: Congratulations on becoming a British object (being one myself, I hasten to add).

#301 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 05:46 PM:

Fragano,

Thank you. I am delighted. Technically, I've only got the entitlement to objectivity; I still have the citizenship ceremony (complete with light refreshments) to go.

I am intrigued to find out whether, in Scotland, I am supposed to be swearing to bear faithful and true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her Heirs and Successors, according to law, as the website says I will. Shouldn't do - there is no such person. (For the confused: Elizabeth Windsor is Queen Elizabeth I of Scotland, since Elizabeth Tudor never ruled here.)

#302 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 06:35 PM:

I am intrigued to find out whether, in Scotland, I am supposed to be swearing to bear faithful and true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her Heirs and Successors, according to law, as the website says I will. Shouldn't do - there is no such person. (For the confused: Elizabeth Windsor is Queen Elizabeth I of Scotland, since Elizabeth Tudor never ruled here.)

This brings up something I've wondered about off and on in idle moments: when Prince Charles becomes king, how is he going to be numbered? Isn't Charles III what Bonnie Prince Charlie claimed to be? Could get messy. But probably no one cares anymore. Or do they?

--Mary Aileen

#303 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 06:52 PM:

Lucy:

Don't miss 'Now Be Thankful', The Richard Thompson Band (on Two Letter Words. A beautiful song, beautifully sung. AMG tells me it was written by Dave Swarbrick.

#304 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 06:54 PM:

Mary Aileen:
Just before the holidays, there was a news report that Prince Charles had decided on the Official Name of "King George".

#305 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 07:06 PM:

Bob: I hadn't heard that, but it did always seem like the logical solution to the problem.

--Mary Aileen

#306 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 07:38 PM:

Question: If I'm launching something at the earth from the moon using a giant's arm as the propellant is there anything in the phases of the moon that would cause me problems? There are phases of the earth as well as phases of the moon right, if the giant is aiming by sight it would follow that the part aimed at should be visible. Anything else?

Things might be trickier near the time of full moon, since the Sun would be right next to the Earth in the sky, and you'd be looking at the nightside of the Earth (full moon seen from Earth means new Earth seen from moon, and vice versa). Best time is new moon, when you can see the entire daylight side of the Earth.

What's really tricky is figuring out the right angle so that you actually hit your target on the Earth, since you have to factor in the moon's orbital motion (as well as both lunar and terrestrial gravity's effects).

Unless your giant can throw things really, really fast, he or she is going to be annoyed by how they keep missing the target, no matter how carefully they aim...

#307 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 08:05 PM:

Bryan:

Should fairy-tale physics apply, I assume? My gut reaction is that trying to apply any element of real-world physics would give you jarring and uninteresting kinds of answers. (E.g. it would take days to get there, the acceleration would kill whatever was thrown, the reaction force would sink the giant into the ground, etc.

And is this in a universe with our physical arrangement of earth and moon (moon 240K miles away, rotating earth, earth-moon system goes around sun) or the pre-Copernicus universe where the sun and moon go around a stationary earth? Or some hybrid of the two, say where the moon is going around very high in the atmosphere but could be reached in a chariot drawn by swans?

I think you'd get somewhat different answers according to which you pick.

One part is simplified when throwing from the moon to the earth - the same side of the moon always faces earth at the same angle, so the giant doesn't need to adjust for the rotation of the moon. However, from the giant's standpoint, he'll see the earth either spinning as a round ball or moving past underneath the moon, so he'll need to "lead" the spot he's aiming for by an amount of time appropriate for the travel time from Moon to Earth, like a hunter leading his aim on a flight of ducks. If the travel time takes more than hours, on the order of a day or multiple days, he might need to aim either ahead or behind the intended target.

Because as seen from earth, the moon has moved to a different point in the sky after exactly 24 hours have elapsed, you can't just punt and say "it takes exactly a day to make the trip, therefore he can just take aim at the exact same spot." However, if the giant has done this enough, he may have a good sense of exactly how much he needs to aim ahead or behind the intended destination when throwing at a given speed.

Does this help?

#308 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 08:25 PM:

Heresiarch--thanks for the link!

#309 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: January 15, 2006, 10:01 PM:

Oh dear. I read Mr. Muschamp's essay, and I'm confused. My frame of reference is, in many real ways, Greenwich Village in the sixties and seventies, because that's when I lived there, and I don't think of myself as a dedicated post-modernist, an architecture snob, a homophobe, an abettor of disappearing the victims of AIDS, a defender of haute bourgeois taste or someone heedless of history.

I also think that Mr. Hartford's museum looks like a heap of cinderblocks with lollipops stuck in it at intervals, and I always have.

I'm sorry that a place Mr. Muschamp identified strongly with has gone the way of all things (although apparently it hasn't - the facade is just being remodelled). Lots of people and lots of places that I grew up with have disappeared. I figure it's because someone saw more profit in a change, and profit is the pagan god of Manhattan real estate.

I find it really difficult to believe that the resurfacing of a building across the street from both the Trump Unisphere and the equestrian statues Ivana had gilded is a fatal blow to camp.

#310 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 03:06 AM:

"Unless your giant can throw things really, really fast, he or she is going to be annoyed by how they keep missing the target, no matter how carefully they aim..."
I've already got the time calculated to three hours.

"Should fairy-tale physics apply, I assume? "
definitely.

"Does this help?

yes, both responses were very helpful.
The main thing is that my hero has to backtrack to where the giant threw from by where he hit, but I think I've got a nice absurdist explanation for this worked out now. involving earthshine and so forth.

#311 ::: Paul Clarke ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 07:40 AM:

when Prince Charles becomes king, how is he going to be numbered? Isn't Charles III what Bonnie Prince Charlie claimed to be?

There's been speculation that he'll be crowned as George VII, partly because of Bonnie Prince Charlie and partly because kings called Charles don't have the best of records.

I think we can at least be confident that he won't use one of his other middle names and have himself crowned as King Arthur.

#312 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 12:15 PM:

Meanwhile, green ham; green eggs presumably to follow. I particularly like the quote, "Others have bred partially fluorescent pigs before; but the researchers insist the three pigs they have produced are better." And the reporter's name.

#313 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 01:30 PM:

bryan,

If it takes only three hours for the giant's projecticle to reach the Earth (given that the moon is about 380,000 km away, that's about 35 km/second!), then the combination of (a) the Moon's motion around the Earth and (b) the Earth's rotation will conspire to make very simple aiming almost work (for certain values of "almost").

The moon's motion around the Earth will give a sideways drift of about 1 km/s to the projectile, so in 3 hours it ends up about 11,000 km to the East. In the same 3 hours, the Earth's rotation will carry the target point about 5,000 km to the East. So your giant needs to aim a few thousand kilometers to the West....

This, of course, is ignoring all sorts of fun details like the effect of gravity from the Earth and the moon, the Earth's curvature, the fact that the moon doesn't orbit exactly in the plane of the Earth's equator, etc. -- but then you are talking about giants on the moon.

#314 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 01:31 PM:

when Prince Charles becomes king, how is he going to be numbered? Isn't Charles III what Bonnie Prince Charlie claimed to be?

Bonnie Prince Charlie doesn't count, since he was a mere pretender to the throne rather than king (or, when he invaded in 1745, Prince of Wales). His father didn't count as James III, and Charlie's brother, who succeeded him as Stuart claimant to the throne, didn't count as Henry IX.

#315 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 01:35 PM:

Abi: As far as I know that's how you'll do it, even though some Scots do object to her being styled 'Elizabeth II' in Scotland. Back in the 50s and 60s postboxes with 'EIIR' on them got blown up.

#316 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 01:47 PM:

Fragano,

Oooo...I work with some of those Scots. Am I allowed to stir them up, or will that get me thrown out?

Further reports as events develop!

#317 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 02:01 PM:

abi: All true. We don't like it a bit, but have learned to deal with it.
So should you: as a British citizen living in Embra, you may well now be technically Scottish. If anyone questions this, just tell them that, in the words of the Texan bumper sticker, "I may not have been born here, but I came here as soon as I could".
Welcome aboard, by the way.

#318 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 02:04 PM:

Julie L, do you suppose the BBC editors deliberately selected that reporter to write that story? And wouldn't it be funny if his nickname was "Boss?"

#319 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 02:20 PM:

Abi: Welcome to the club. As for stirring up Scots, might I remind you of one verse of the national anthem, now rarely sung:

Lord grant that Marshal Wade
May by thy mighty aid
Victory bring.
May he sedition hush,
And like a torrent rush,
Rebellious Scots to crush.
God save the Queen!

Of course, since you're going to become a Scot yourself (by virtue of living there, rather than in England), you might object to that!

#320 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 03:42 PM:

Our power went out at 11:30 Saturday night. The evacuee lifestyle is getting old. We are currentley holed up at Geoff's, taking advantage of the fact that Geoff has heat. We may not get power until tomorrow.

#321 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 03:46 PM:

What happened, Kathryn? Snow storm around the Big Apple? (I especially do NOT miss that aspect of living on the East Coast.)

#322 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 04:27 PM:

Fragano --

Ronnie Brown has used that verse, complete with historical intro and sung with at least verve, and possibly gusto, followed by "the verse never really caught on in Scotland" as an intro to "Johnnie Cope".

So you might not get what you expect on the spoon, should you elect to do a bit of stirring.

#323 ::: Liz ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 04:46 PM:

(forgive me if this essay is well-known to you all.)

Thanks to BadgerBag

Pam Noles' essay on the whitewashing of Earthsea, Shame

Robert Halmi, Sr. said this: "Legend of Earthsea, the miniseries, was cast completely colorblind, as any of my productions have been. We searched for the right actors for the roles and brought in diversity to the cast as a result. There was no decision to make Ged blond and pale-skinned." — Interview on Scifi.com's Ask Robert Halmi, Sr. feature on its 'Legend of Earthsea' website, July 20, 2004.

Pam Noles writes:
Sometime in spring 2004 I saw the first casting notices about the SciFi Channel's "A Legend of Earthsea" miniseries blurbed in a film industry trade. What I read was hurtful to my heart. I wonder how many other FoPs (Fans of Pigment) lunged to their bookshelves and snatched down their copies to make sure they didn't imagine what they had read all those years ago. Did they also make character charts on a legal pad, three columns labeled "Character," "Original Color," "Hollywood Color"? And when they finished filling out the boxes, did they sit there staring at it, stunned at the truth? Those Hollywood People took all of the key heroic players and shifted them down into the paler end of the spectrum. And they were obvious about it. Yes, they knew enough about the rules to keep at least one Magical Negro around to help the newly blond haired, blue eyed surfer Ged through his Journey Of Transformation To Save The World, because lord knows white boys can't do something like that on their own.

[snip]
Le Guin isn't the one who should have raised the stink about what The Hollywood People did to the racial stance she deliberately made in her books. In her Dec. 16, 2004 commentary on Slate Magazine, she termed this "The Whitewashing of Earthsea."

The genre news outlets should have been out front on this story. Their silence during the months SciFi Channel's adaptation was in production was appalling.

We admit that Fan often equals Obsessive. So you are not surprised to hear that from the day I spotted that first blurb in a Hollywood trade, the one that said We Made Them All White, I began tracking the genre news outlets. I expected they would bring what Le Guin also hilariously called "Earthsea in Clorox" to the editorial pages. But I found only scatterings of comments from other fans on the occasional message board and blog. In the genre news outlets, there was nothing. Except for the ones that were running "A Legend of Earthsea" contests in collaboration with Scifi.com.

This is what it feels like to put your fingers in a gob of spit on your face so you can wipe it from your eyes: Eeewwww.

Do go read the whole thing...this is just a snippet.

#324 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 04:48 PM:

His father didn't count as James III, and Charlie's brother, who succeeded him as Stuart claimant to the throne, didn't count as Henry IX.

Although you will run into references to them by those titles, in some places. Most of them seem to be trying to figure out who should be next in line, assuming all of the royals since queen Anne have their descendants suddenly vanish (a very unlikely event).

#325 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 05:39 PM:

Graydon: I won't be doing any stirring (except of my baby brother who, since he lives near Aberdeen, delights in calling me a 'Sassenach').

PJ: So you will, mostly in 18th century texts. Currently, the Wittelsbachs of Bavaria are the Jacobite successors but they don't claim the throne.

#326 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 05:58 PM:

What I want to know is, upon hearing that he would one day be ruled by King George,* did Tony Blair swoon?

And the discussion of the Royal Family reminds me of an Avengers ep from the Cathy Gale era, "Esprit de Corps," in which a loony Scots colonel tries to use his regiment to restore the Stuarts. It's a pretty decent episode, though the coup isn't very plausibly presented (the man planning it is crazy, of course) and it has an excellent performance by Roy Kinnear, and a fairly interesting one by John Thaw.

*While acknowledging the problems with another Charles, the four Georges had their unfortunate moments, too.

#327 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 06:01 PM:

'The Stuart Kings in exile (James II 1689-1700, James III 1700-1766, Charles III 1766-1788 and Henry IX 1788-1807) were accorded many of the privileges of their royal rank by foreign sovereigns including recognition either explicitly or implicitly of the various titles of nobility, baronetcies and knighthoods conferred by all but the last, Henry IX, who declined the exercise of these prerogatives.' - The Jacobite Peerage & Baronetage in 1996

[I suspect they mean foreign Catholic sovereigns.]
This is an interesting website, for those interested in the European houses. They also cover the 'fantasy' royals: the impostors and the pretenders, like 'Prince Michael of Albany'.

#328 ::: Jeff Lipton ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 06:02 PM:

I'd like to get the opinion of my friends (if so I may claim) on a subject I fear is underdiscussed.

Whenever the death penalty is discussed and the issue of innocence is raised, the conversation tends to go to DNA evidence and stay there. It seems to me that if some percent of innocent persons are freed based on new DNA evidence, wouldn't we expect a simular percent of persons currently on Death Row to be innocent, even when there is no DNA evidence to test?

Say Person X robs a bank and in commission of said crime, shoots and kills a security guard. Person Y is arrested, tried and convicted. If Person X was injured and left a drop of blood, Person Y could be tested and released. But if Person X left no DNA evidence, the percentage chance that Person Y is Person X is exactly the same, save that now Person Y has less chance of recourse, because so many Innocence Projects are focusing on DNA.

Opinions?

#329 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 06:07 PM:

John, when was the Cathy Gale era of The Avengers? Would you be refering to the late-Seventies episodes with Joanna Lumley?

#330 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 06:08 PM:

abi/Fragano/...:

The oath in Scotland could adopt a mixed stance similar to that of the Edinburgh gallery I visited before Intersection, which titled some of the pieces "James VI and I", "James VII and II", and "James VIII and III"; who will notice if abi swears allegiance to "Elizabeth the First and Second"?

The captions specifically counter the statement that nobody recognizes a James III; there just hasn't been anybody since the Orange who had the gall to rule as James or Henry -- which a Germanic line of succession may have specifically disfavored as a French name. Or maybe \somebody/ in the retinue has a sense of diplomacy....

#331 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 06:26 PM:

Kathryn, here in the DC area we had 50mph gusts of wind Saturday night. Lots of power out here, although not in my development where the lines are underground.

Jeff Lipton, my opinion is pretty simple: I think the death penalty is always wrong. If people do bad things, let them stagnate in jail.

The ACLU had a fabulous ad in the WashPost today, comparing how MLKjr was spied on and what Bush is doing now.

#332 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 06:33 PM:

All this talk of the Scottish succession reminds me of the time I visited the Royal Museum in Endinburgh. It was a lovely museum, but the thing I remember most strongly were the individual sheets of crinkly tissue paper provided in the loo, each imprinted in green, "Property of Her Majesty's Government."

I stole a couple, but I don't think they ever made it into my photo album from that trip.

#333 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 06:37 PM:

As for myself, this talk of Succession reminds me of the Blackadder series set in the Regency, more specifically the episode where someone tries to throw a bomb at Prinnie during a play. Prinnie remains unconvinced that the bomb-thrower was after him until Blackadder points out that, as he hurled the bomb, the man could be heard saying:

"Death to the stupid Prince."

#334 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 06:52 PM:

John, when was the Cathy Gale era of The Avengers? Would you be refering to the late-Seventies episodes with Joanna Lumley?

NO.

Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman, who you'll remember from Goldfinger) appeared from '62 to '64. She was Steed's second partner, after Ian Hendry as Dr. David Keel (only a handful of his episodes survive). Mrs. Gale was much the same type of character as Mrs. Peel; she was broadly competent, had been a big-game hunter (and used a gun more often than Steed ever did).

The episodes were unavailable for a long time, but were aired by A&E some years back and are now out on video. They (mostly) hold up very well, though the low budget shows in wobbly sets and a certain lack of retakes. The show's a bit less fantastic than it would become later; there are several episodes with high-tech gadgets (some by Martin Woodhouse, who was writing "technothrillers" before they had a name) but we aren't yet to the era of extraterrestrial spores with mind-control powers.

#335 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 07:02 PM:

Oh, I had never seen those Honor Blackman episodes of The Avengers, which is why I didn't recognize the name. For various reasons, I was probably exposed to mostly Tara King episodes. She was not quite Emma Peel, but I remember the stories being loony. As for the Seventies stories, they were mostly straight spy stories, at least those I saw, the exception being "Forward Base": having the Soviets take advantage of really lousy weather in Canada to sneak a missile base disguised as an island up the Saint Lawrence River to Lake Ontario ranks way up there in pure silliness.

#336 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 07:53 PM:

What happened, Kathryn?

Saturday night there was lots of wind and not much snow. The power went out about the time David came to bed. There were strong winds and sleet all night with the occasional ominous cracking sound. We kept expecting that the power was going to come back on real soon now. Well, here we are 44 hours later . . . still no power.

I don't know the specs of the storm, since I've had only a tiny bit of borrowed Internet access since.

#337 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 09:04 PM:

Our location: Plesantville, NY. If the power isn't on within the next 2 hours, it's not coming back tonight. (The crew in our neighborhood is stopping at 11PM.)

#338 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 09:09 PM:

Kathryn (and David): Sorry to hear about the power blackout. They can be pretty maddening and of course in some cases dangerous, for some folks. Last year I made a larger donation to my local NPR station and received as thanks an Eton FR300 hand-cranked radio. Cranking it charges the internal battery, it has AM/FM and a built-in flashlight in case I can't find any of the other six flashlights strewn around the house. Of course, I still don't have that tent I keep promising I'll buy, or the water, or the canned goods, or even the medical kit -- I make the promise every April when the '06 anniversary comes around, and then ignore it, kind of like a New Year's resolution. Considering that this is 2006, maybe I'll make a special effort.

And then again, maybe not.

Hope your power returns soon!

#339 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 09:41 PM:

Goodness... This is the 21st Century and we're casually talking about using hand-cranked radios because of power failures. Gernsback and Campbell would have expected the century never to have power failures, at least not this close to New York City, and with less primitive remedies.

Well, I hope you and David recover soon, Kathryn.

#340 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: January 16, 2006, 11:43 PM:

Power came back around 10 PM. Heat is good. Light is good.

We did learn a couple of lessons from the big northeast blackout, and another local one in the summer a couple of years ago. (1) get a phone that is actually wired to the wall so you have phone service when you don't have electricity. (Check!) and (2) Get a woodstove so you have heat and some limited cooking capacity. (Check!)

These were helpful, but for complex reasons I won't go into, we could install only a tiny wood stove and we have a great big house. A tiny woodstove can do only so much for a great big Westchester house with cathedral ceilings and a glass wall in the livingroom when it's ten degrees Fahrenheit outside.

Anyway, I'm glad it's over.

My computer is screwed up for some blackout-realted reason (possibly the poor thing is just cold!). But after some fiddling, I've got our network talking to the cable modem again.

#341 ::: Jeff Lipton ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 12:04 AM:

Courtesy of me mum (a cool old broad!):
Wombat Ecology

I'm opposed to the death penalty in general, but think there are a few specific cases where it should apply: Anyone who breaks out of prison, or has someone killed on the outside, where there's non-controvertable evidence, should be subject to the death penalty. If they are too dangerous to keep locked up, the debt of safety we owe our neighbors is greater than any debt to the accused.

#342 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 12:42 AM:

Another exciting moment from the annals of Stupid Criminality:

Just got a phish from someone pretending to be "Credit Union" (no other ID) asking for an "update" to credit information lest dire events follow. (Of course, I neither belong to a credit union or have a card from them.) Anyway, this one included the datum:

Card Number On File: XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX (Not shown for security purposes)

Now, you all know how this is displayed by real companies, so I won't point it out here. The point being, what the hell would be the purpose of showing a number with all the digits suppressed?

The URL (the real one, not the displayed one) was pretty funny, too, but I won't mention that. For security reasons.

Q: Golly, Dr. Mike, how do I tell a real message from my credit card company from one of those fishburger things?
A: First, look at the URL. Chase Manhattan is not likely to have relocated its security operations to the Turks & Caicos Islands. Second, while one cannot always rule out a major financial institution hiring folks what can't not make theys pronounses suck up to thems object to do those web desing, misspelling the bank's name is a strong indication. Third, have you ever gotten a real e-mail from your bank about anything like this?

#343 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 02:24 AM:

"Chase Manhattan is not likely to have relocated its security operations to the Turks & Caicos Islands."

If you've watched enough Lou Dobbs, you might be persuaded otherwise.

#344 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 02:33 AM:

Linkmeister, you have a point. Indeed, Consolidated Large Financial Institution LLC* might well have moved its online security to "vladsboxodirt.ro," though I'd defer to Bruce Schneier for a definitive statement.

*"Liability Limited to Customers"

#345 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 02:41 AM:

Lucy Kemnitzer: While my tastes are beyond eclectic to absurd, I would be remiss in not recommending "Thankful Heart" from the Muppet Christmas Carol for the "gratitude" compilation. It is sung by Michael Caine, oddly enough, and while fairly choral in nature it isn't specifically holiday themed.

"With a thankful heart that is wide awake
I do make this promise, every breath I take
Will be used now to sing your praise
And to beg you to share my days
With a loving guarantee that even if we part
I will hold you close in a thankful heart"

#346 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 05:28 AM:

"If you've watched enough Lou Dobbs, you might be persuaded otherwise"

The ability to maintain ones financial security, given a reasonably good starting point, is one area where darwinian selection may indeed apply.

#347 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 05:50 AM:

"Anyone who breaks out of prison, or has someone killed on the outside, where there's non-controvertable evidence, should be subject to the death penalty."

If you're serious, and god I hope not, this is something of a wingnutty idea (wingnutty in the context of not having considered the matter much)
For the following reasons:

1. Having someone killed on the outside while you are in prison is something that one cannot have totally incontrovertable evidence of, if by incontrovertable we mean something like 'caught stabbing the guy to death'. Phone records and the like can be faked, people can lie in their testimony, and so forth.

2. Ever hear of Supermax? Having someone killed while in General population does not equate to the ability to having someone killed while in Supermax.

3. Should someone be executed for breaking out of prison if they were on a drug charge?

4. Most modern prison systems are built on a model of increasing privileges, yet even at the point of most privilege, which can sometimes include no gates depending on the system (often this is at the halfway house point but not always), one can still be considered as having escaped prison if one just walks away. Currently one expects this to be met with more charges, increasing time in prison, and increase of security - as such it functions as a way to determine who is actually ready to move to the even laxer model of parole.

5. Someone at a very low security institution escapes because they have poor impulse control, are worried about their girlfriend, whatever. They are now looking at a death penalty charge. I bet there wouldn't be any impulse on their point to kill anyone that got in their way.

6. IIRC some years back it was permissible to escape from a federal prison if one immediately went to the nearest federal court to turn oneself in with the purpose of reporting abuses of a certain class in that prison. Don't know that anyone has ever done this. And not sure what qualifies as abuses, I suppose guards murdering inmates qualifies. Anyway, if the court determined that ones reason to escape was solid then no further charges could be brought, under your plan if the court determined that ones reason to escape was not solid then you now have a death penalty case? This is however based on a poorly remembered bit of legal trivia so it may be incorrect.

7. The mix of these two very different things (escaping, having someone contract killed), suggests a poorly thought out, emotion-based approach to social control.

#348 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 05:53 AM:

Kathryn wrote Anyway, I'm glad it's over.

Yes, I can well imagine someone thinking that.

I remember
How it felt being without power,
Even for just a few hours
In the middle of winter.

Although it might not be as uncomfortable to be without a heater near Quebec City as it used to be. I talked to my mom a few days ago and she said it's been raining a lot and the snow is almost all gone. Now this is a place where six feet of snow around the house used to be the norm - I got the muscle strain to show for all the shoveling.

Of course there is no climate change going on.

#349 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 09:48 AM:

Fragano:
Bonnie Prince Charlie doesn't count, since he was a mere pretender to the throne rather than king (or, when he invaded in 1745, Prince of Wales). His father didn't count as James III, and Charlie's brother, who succeeded him as Stuart claimant to the throne, didn't count as Henry IX.

Without wanting to come across as a flaming Jacobite, because I'm not, I am reminded of John Byrom's 1773 lines on the subject:

God bless the King, I mean the Faith's Defender;
God bless - no harm in blessing - the Pretender;
But who Pretender is, or who is King,
God bless us all - that's quite another thing.

And when you mentioned the National Anthem, I'm afraind my mind leapt to another anthem, and another verse:

Those days are past now
And in the past they must remain
But we can still rise now
And be the nation again
That stood against him
Proud Edward's Army
And sent him homeward,
Tae think again.

And re Sassenachs, I have heard some translations that make all Lowlanders Sassenachs as well. My husband's family is from the Granite City, though, so there's some true Scots somewhere in my entitlement to citizenship.

Graydon:

My only regret in taking this citizenship is that I lose my snappy comeback to the Scots who complain about the "English occupation": We threw them out two centuries ago. What's taking you so long, if you feel like that?

CHip:

I think it depends if we swear en masse or one by one. Making A Scene while swearing alone might could be considered Un-British, unless one is an SSP MSP.

Larry:

My favourite Edinburgh museum fact is that, within the National Gallery on Princes Street hang two paintings entitled "Interior of the National Gallery". Recursion: see recursion.

#350 ::: cmk ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 10:28 AM:

Two not-unconnected points in haste re: DNA evidence and the death penalty.

First, as was suggested, the emphasis on DNA evidence gives a single point of focus, as if there were no other kinds of forensic evidence and no other approaches than questioning the forensics.

Second, and I think this also has been suggested, I see no a priori reason why the frequency of exoneration in cases where DNA evidence is available, should not be taken as a statistical implication of an equivalent frequency of errors in cases where DNA evidence doesn't apply.

#351 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 10:35 AM:

Abi: You generally can tell the pretenders from the kings by which one is on the coins, banknotes, and stamps. (And bang goes my claim to the Scottish throne, based entirely on the fact that James IV was called 'a grete legister'.)

As for sending 'Proud Edward's army' home to think again, I've always liked the stirring (not to say Stirling) words of the Declaration of Arbroath:

Quia quamdiu Centum vivi remanserint nuncquam Anglorum dominio aliquatenus volumus subiugari, Non enim propter gloriam, divicias aut honores pugnamus, set propter libertatem solummodo, quam Nemo bonus, nisi simul cum vita amittit.

Coincidentally, my baby brother's children's surname is the hyphenated Campbell-Ledgister, which sounds echt Schottische, even though the Campbell family in question originated in Guyana.

#352 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 11:09 AM:

though the Campbell family in question originated in Guyana.

And thus were probably descended from either a wandering Campbell or a slave freed by someone called Campbell (freed slaves tended to take the surname of their liberator, partly out of gratitude and partly just because they needed a surname, slaves being first-name-only). I had a Campbell relative who inherited a plantation (in Jamaica, if I remember correctly) around 1780 and did just that... maybe there's a connection.

#353 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 11:38 AM:

Ajay: A lot of Scots ended up in the West Indies (British, Danish and Dutch) as "bookeepers" (estate supervisors) or as planters in the 18th century. They certainly were busy men (in many respects). I lived in a house in Jamaica which was begun by a gentleman named Forbes in the 18th century (and which was to be expanded, inter alia, by a family named Clacken in the 20th).

As for Jamaican Campbells, there's this gentleman, who was, many moons ago my geography teacher.

#354 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 12:35 PM:

Xopher wrote: I should write a "Pre-Cambrian English" generator. Anything you type in would be translated to "RAAAAAAAAWWWR!!! (hiss)"

Now I know what language my cats are communicating in; there's a new cat in the house and this seems to be the dialect of choice, except for the Oldest Cat, who can't be arsed to get excited about much of anything except whether the food dish has been topped off. They have a broader range (multilingual cats--I never thought of it that way) although one communicates with the other cats (although not the dog, oddly enough) only in Pre-Cambrian English. She has her own room.

#355 ::: Moleman ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 12:48 PM:

Turning off the lurker shields for a moment- Does anyone know of a good SF bookstore in Philly, new, used or otherwise?

My Google technique is lacking, and hopefully there's someone from the area about (pardon if using open threads for late, lazyweb harnessing questions is out of bounds).

#356 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 01:04 PM:

Augh. I just now noticed that the asterisks at the head of the thread have funny signs attached. (Do I get a cookie for having "si hoc signum &c" on a t-shirt?)

#357 ::: Jeff Lipton ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 01:55 PM:

bryan:
"Anyone who breaks out of prison, or has someone killed on the outside, where there's non-controvertable evidence, should be subject to the death penalty."

If you're serious, and god I hope not, this is something of a wingnutty idea (wingnutty in the context of not having considered the matter much).

The mix of these two very different things (escaping, having someone contract killed), suggests a poorly thought out, emotion-based approach to social control.

I could crack wise about your debating skills (I was sore tempted to post a pre-disenvowelled message), but I'd rather, ya know, debate the issue.

Let me refine my statement to make clear that I am only considrering those prisoners who were incarcerated for murder.

There have been several escapes from maximum security prisons, often with the escapees killing one or more. If someone shows they cannot be safely held, and that they have a callous view of human lives, what are we to do with them?

I am 99% opposed to the death penalty, due to ethical as well as evidentiary reason, but I allow that 1% for extrordinary circumstances.

So now I must ask you (and I would like a serious answer): Is there no circumstances under which the State may put a person to death? (The use of deadly force by the police is a related question -- is there no circumstance under which the police may use deadly force, since, in essence, this amounts to an execution by the State?)

#358 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 02:36 PM:

Mwah-hah-hah!

http://z.about.com/d/politicalhumor/1/0/M/h/bush_bj.jpg

#359 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 02:44 PM:

Jeff Lipton - the police using deadly force does NOT amount, in essence or in any other way, to an execution by the State. The distinction is the same as the one between justifiable homicide (e.g. personal self-defense) and premeditated murder.

#360 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 03:22 PM:

"There have been several escapes from maximum security prisons, often with the escapees killing one or more. If someone shows they cannot be safely held, and that they have a callous view of human lives, what are we to do with them?"

so you are going to drop the contract killing part of your earlier statement?

Anyhow, several problems here:

1. How many people are involved in the escape, are you discussing killing of guards in the process of escaping or are you discussing killing people after they have escaped (it sounds like the first)?

If the first, well what about killing guards during a riot, or just killing a guard? I suppose if you're talking about guards then these offences should also merit the death penalty. So, well, you've stated that this would only apply to those already convicted of murder. What do you mean by 'murder'? First-Degree murder?

Well I dislike enhancements based on prior action, but anyway:

I suppose you would mean that a new capital case would be brought against someone in this case. In those areas that have capital punishment already I have a strong suspicion that escaping and killing a guard while doing so will get you the death penalty. But for those areas that do not have it... what are you suggesting? That they should have a death penalty for this situation? That they be forced to have one, a national one?

Your premise is based on
"There have been several escapes from maximum security prisons, often with the escapees killing one or more."

I'd like to see these statistics, furthermore I would like to see statistics of escape rates of people escaping from supermax, statistics of people escaping multiple times with killing / not with killing, is this actually that pressing a social problem that it needs to be dealt with in this way? Just wondering on this, because you argue that by these people have shown by escaping once that they cannot be safely held, but what if the statistics show a different situation. That someone who has escaped once is unlikely to manage it a second time because of heightened security?

So what if ones first murder conviction was a load of crap?

Does this also apply to murders of other convicts?

So if it isn't killing of another guard but killing of someone else when out, well that I would be a little bit more inclined to consider a capital offence, if shown premeditation etc, however I am still inclined to think that they could just as well be put in supermax and so on and so on, that statistics would probably bear out that this is basically a nonexistent phenomenon and so forth.

let's do a closer reading now:

"If someone shows they cannot be safely held,"

Is it your opinion that a single escape functions as an iron-clad proof somewhat of the nature of a mathematical certainty that the escapee is unholdable?
A single escape doesn't even follow as inductive proof of an escapee's capabilities, or the security/insecurity of the institution they escaped from. And given the serious problems of induction vis-a-vis causality I would suppose we should not act like it does.

"and that they have a callous view of human lives"

is the having been convicted of murder #1 and having killed again in the act of escaping (likely a very tense activity, with lots of adrenalin and whatnot) proof of this quality of having a callous view of human lives or is other proof required? Psychological testing? Probably not pertinent in cases where killing is done after escaping (excepting of course killing in the process of recapture).

"what are we to do with them?"
As suggested, maximum security is actually not as secure as the highest level of security yet devised. There is a well-known saying that any security can be broken, but I would say that for certain levels of security it can only be broken from outside the system - i.e. from someone unsecured.

"I am 99% opposed to the death penalty, due to ethical as well as evidentiary reason,"
for what ethical reasons? are these not tied to the evidentiary reasons? I have a hard time envisioning ethical reasons not tied to evidentiary reasons that would cease to hold in the cases you have described here.

"but I allow that 1% for extraordinary circumstances."

which would be: escapes from maximum security prisons (by people convicted of murder[first-degree?])...with the escapees killing one or more(at time of escape?), right? I'm betting this is a pretty exotic group.

"So now I must ask you (and I would like a serious answer): Is there no circumstances under which the State may put a person to death? (The use of deadly force by the police is a related question -- is there no circumstance under which the police may use deadly force, since, in essence, this amounts to an execution by the State?)"

The police using deadly force does not in essence amount to execution by the state in that
1. The police use deadly force to prevent an act
2. The state executes to punish an act.
3. The police must justify their use of deadly force via review of their actions after the fact, with possible negative consequences to the police, and to the police departments if deadly force is used incorrectly
4. The state by going through a trial receives permission to execute, which permission can be revoked, but if the execution is carried through cannot be reviewed with negative consequences for the state in any way commensurate with the negative consequences the police experience from improper use of deadly force (this is perhaps somewhat arguable, but I would say practically it doesn't happen)

As for "Is there no circumstances under which the State may put a person to death?"

I am not averse to violence, having found it highly efficient in my own life for dealing with certain types of people, or at least the threat of it. Nonetheless I do not like the idea of the state putting anyone to death, even if it were someone I would like to see die for the reasons that
1. execution becomes politicized
2. the people who derive political power from execution do not pay a price, seldomly even a political price for its misuse.

finally a quick sarcastic note: "I could crack wise about your debating skills" followed by "Let me refine my statement"

indicates to me that any cracking wise would not have been... wise, especially considering the number of things that were still rather imprecise in your comment. I apologize of course for my own rather imprecise rambling response, but I had to run over various points trying to clarify the possible meanings of what you had left vague. As a consequence there may very well have been a variation on the theme of
murderers in prison that kill again that I did not manage to cover.

#361 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 03:27 PM:

The statment "I dislike enhancements based on prior action" should have been I dislike enhancements based on prior conviction, examples of which are:

1. Three strikes you're out
2. Habitual criminal laws
3. Laws which raise misdemeanors to felonies based on prior conviction of the same sort of misdemeanor.

can't think of any others right now.

#362 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 04:10 PM:

John and Serge, re Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman):

A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to score a copy of Honor Blackman's Book of Self-Defense at a thrift store for 50 cents. It's not bad for the time (it belongs to what I call the "Mr. Ugly-Pants" school of self-defense books; the illustrations tend to show small miniskirted young women being attacked by large male thugs in ugly pants). Ms. Blackman at the time held a yellow belt in judo; I don't know what her 2 co-authors' credentials were. The book is (not surprisingly) out of print, but you can still find it at used bookstores.

#363 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 04:17 PM:

"Mr. Ugly-Pants"?

By the way, Lila, I once read why John Steed was more likely to use his bowler hat than a gun to subdue the bad guys. It seems like actor Patrick Macnee had had his fill of guns during the War.

#364 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 04:20 PM:

I don't know what to think. I just subjected the first chapter of something I wrote to the Cumrianator. I'm so confused:

The BabelSheep version seems like a real improvement.

#365 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 04:29 PM:

what comprises ugly pants/good looking pants.

Are males wearing ugly pants more macho?

Are males wearing ugly pants more likely to be perceived as potential attackers?

Do ugly pants make a man more susceptible to being thrown through sneaky judo methods by diminutive women?

I want to know because I fear that I, myself, wear ugly pants.

#366 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 05:08 PM:

Ugly pants are not in themselves a crime or a sign of criminality.

Also, ugly pants is a mutable thing. What are gorgeous golden brass-buttoned velveteen bellbottomed hip-hugger sailor pants one year are monstrosities five years later and an obbject of amusement twenty years later.

Also, ugly pants are often an artifact of drawing style.

#367 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 05:34 PM:

Ugly pants are not in themselves a crime

Well, except against fashion. As you know, Bob, such crimes are investigated by the Fashion Police: "Fashion Police! You have the right to remain tacky; if you choose to remain tacky the pants you're wearing can be taken down and used against you in a court of fashion..."

#368 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 05:39 PM:

Tonight, on Law and Order: Special Vestment Unit...

#369 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 05:39 PM:

Mike:

Chase Card Services, for one, actually sends out their VISA customer emails with URLs pointing to some random sounding domain like "customercardservices.com", or something along those lines. (I don't have the email with the actual domain handy.) I nearly nuked mine as a phish before I noticed it was genuine, not that I actually wanted it.

John Levine, a noted anti-spam authority and perpetrator of Internet for Dummies, ran a little test on a mailing list I know called "Phish or Phair?", where he showed a bunch of anti-spam professionals a series of emails and challenged them to tell which were really phishes and which were genuine bank/financial company mailings. Few people did much better than chance at figuring it out, even from an audience including some of the more experienced spam fighters in the US. (The first such is linked up above.)

The sad truth is that banks on the whole do such a poor job at making their mailings verifiably authentic that experts can't tell them from the better-done frauds. How is Joe Schmoe from Idaho supposed to do so?

#370 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 05:43 PM:

Serge: I owe you a drink.

#371 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 05:47 PM:

No need to, Xopher. But your comment is very much appreciated.

#372 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 05:50 PM:

As I know Bob...


but does anyone, in the end, truly know Bob?

#373 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 06:04 PM:

Pointing out the critical distinction between comma and not-comma! bryan, you evil wretch, you had me frantically scrolling up to see that I'd in fact punctuated correctly and unambiguously.

If we ever meet in person, as Bob is my witness I'll...

#374 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 07:03 PM:

Tonight, on Law and Order: Special Vestment Unit...

Which reminds me. The other night (Sunday?) on L&O: Criminal Intent, a victim's IBM Selectric typewriter was found "at a typewriter store in the Flatiron Building."

Just thought I'd mention it.

#375 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 07:08 PM:

There's a mimeograph store there too. Right next to the Adding Machine Outlet.

#376 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 07:08 PM:

>How is Joe Schmoe from Idaho supposed to do so?

Joe Schmoe doesn't have to. He just deletes anything that looks vaguely like spam. Not his problem.

#377 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 07:29 PM:

My credit union doesn't send me emails, but when I sign on to their website, I sometimes find messages (general messages, everybody gets them).

#378 ::: Jeff Lipton ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 08:21 PM:

bryan:
Not really interested exactly when the death penalty should be applied. I'm just saying that there are some cases (however rare) when it seems to me that it should be applied.

As to ethical reasons not associated with evidence, consider the case of the late Mr Williams. Here is a man, however guilty he may have been of the crimes he was convicted of, turned his life around and became a positive force in his neighborhood. He posed no threat to society, and actively contributed. If I had been Governor, I would have commuted his sentence to life without parole.

Please note that this is an "add-on" to the previous death penalty postings. This should apply to the 1% or fewer cases where I think the death penalty is appropriate; failing that we get near that point, I'd like to see this taken as consideration for current death penalty cases.

(I'm a rather casual poster; I don't have the time to do extensive research. As such, I'm afraid I'm going have to be a bit more abstract than what you're asking for.)

#379 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 08:43 PM:

Niall: My point is only that the stuff that "looks like spam" may include stuff Joe actually wants or needs to get like his bank statement, brokerage statement, utility bill, and who knows what all else.

Actually, I think my real point was that bank executives are bozos, but the consequence is that some real and important content "looks like spam".

#380 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: January 17, 2006, 09:12 PM:

I'm a rather casual poster; I don't have the time to do extensive research. As such, I'm afraid I'm going have to be a bit more abstract than what you're asking for.

It seems - odd? - to post an inflammatory suggestion and ask for responses, then announce that you don't have time for the discussion.

It's generally been my impression that the reason people here engage is because they're engaged with.

#381 ::: Jeff Lipton ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 02:33 AM:

Julie:
I'd like to get the opinion of my friends (if so I may claim) on a subject I fear is underdiscussed.

(Obviously I was wrong on that!)

Whenever the death penalty is discussed and the issue of innocence is raised, the conversation tends to go to DNA evidence and stay there. It seems to me that if some percent of innocent persons are freed based on new DNA evidence, wouldn't we expect a simular percent of persons currently on Death Row to be innocent, even when there is no DNA evidence to test?

Say Person X robs a bank and in commission of said crime, shoots and kills a security guard. Person Y is arrested, tried and convicted. If Person X was injured and left a drop of blood, Person Y could be tested and released. But if Person X left no DNA evidence, the percentage chance that Person Y is Person X is exactly the same, save that now Person Y has less chance of recourse, because so many Innocence Projects are focusing on DNA.

Opinions?

(posted on January 16, 2006 06:02 PM)

Does that sound like I'm "posting an inflammatory suggestion and asking for responses"?

Marilee is the one who started the discussion on if the death penalty is ever appropriate ("I think the death penalty is always wrong."), and when I said it could be, bryan called me a "wingnut". So who is being "inflamatory"? If I'm "odd" -- won't be the first time I've been called that!

#382 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 02:54 AM:

"and when I said it could be, bryan called me a 'wingnut'. "
I said your idea -> "Anyone who breaks out of prison, or has someone killed on the outside, where there's non-controvertable evidence, should be subject to the death penalty." sounded wingnutty, why? For the very reasons I proceeded to outline which broken down would amount to:

1. non-controvertable evidence of the second (killed on the outside) would be impossible by my understanding of non-controvertable, I gave a quick example of what I considered non-controvertable to illustrate this.

2. I noted a number of pertinent variables on the breaking out of prison thing that were not defined in your comment, given that your comment was very broad it seemed to me too broad and thus likely to either be
a. atrociously underspecified, which I think you confirmed by refining your original comment to say that you meant someone who broke out of prison, while incarcerated for murder, and who killed someone on the way out.
b. the firm belief of someone based on poor understanding/lack of research of the particular subject, partially grounded in fear, i.e. wingnutty. To be a true wingnut one needs to not only hold a couple ideas like this but to spend ones time trying to make them come true, argue about them constantly without providing any good evidence for claims made, and partially base ones life around the truth of this belief, if you do this then you are a right wingnut. If not I think you're person who has a bad idea that needs to be examined a bit closer (the idea.)


"As to ethical reasons not associated with evidence......however guilty he may have been of the crimes he was convicted of, turned his life around and became a positive force in his neighborhood."

this however is not an ethical reason why death penalties should not be applied but an ethical reason why the death penalty in this case should be abrogated, somewhat pedantic I know but that's how it goes around here I've heard.

#383 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 03:01 AM:

"Pointing out the critical distinction between comma and not-comma! "
I'm not actually much of a grammar pedant, as my posts here should demonstrate. In my belief overly focusing on correct grammar in a web forum is counter-productive, in some forms of communication the standard grammatical rules are relaxed (such as letters), I suppose anything posted in a small box sitiing in an uncomfortable position in front of a poor resolution screen with possible keyboard shortcomings unknown to the general readers of the post should not be held to any high standard of grammatical correctness.

Actually I only did the "as you know bob" thing because I think Bob may be starting to wear on me a bit, its a defense mechanism. Also because I like to play with grammatical constructions of that sort to see what kind of mini-stories come out the other end. The enigmatical Bob, does anyone really know him?

#384 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 03:57 AM:

I agree that anyone who sends business mails which look like spam is a bozo, but it's a similar situation to the bank snailmailing stuff to the wrong address: I don't get it, and it's their problem, not mine.

#385 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 04:03 AM:

bryan: of course you know Bob! He's your uncle, after all. Indeed, in a way, Bob is all our uncle.

#386 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 05:47 AM:

Spam... These days, pretty much the only non-spam email I get is the weekly cartoon from John Lustig's Last Kiss web site. The rest consists of emails with non-sensical titles where the English language is more creatively mangled than by Dubya. I suppose there ARE intellectually challenged people out there who'll look at anything even if it's clear the message is not about Brittney Spears having sex with barnyard animals.

#387 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 07:04 AM:

For those who might be interested, Tom Tomorrow has begun an experiment... He has opened his site up for comments, but on a limited basis.

#388 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 08:42 AM:

The enigmatical Bob, does anyone really know him?

The Bob that can be known is not the true Bob. The owls are not what they seem.

#389 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 08:58 AM:

How long before someone brings up the Three-fisted Tales of Bob?

#390 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 09:04 AM:

So, Lucrezia Mongfish isn't Agatha Heterodyne and that distinction belongs to someone called the Other? Was that mysterious person ever mentionned before and I somehow forgot, or is this a new coup de theatre sprung on us by the ever-surprising Foglio Family?

#391 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 09:18 AM:

Serge --

Repeatedly.

I would say that recent revelations in Girl Genius are more confirmation-to-the-character of things which have been foreshadowed to the readers with fireworks and a marching band.

#392 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 09:32 AM:

So, Graydon, it wasn't me having forgotten about something obvious that had happened to Agatha. I notice that, in today's strip, she has once again been strapped down to some operating table, one difference this time being that she is still fully dressed, the other one being that her disciples are looking onto her worshippingly while electrocuting her.

It IS tough, being a Girl Genius.

#393 ::: Jeff Lipton ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 10:07 AM:

bryan:
this however is not an ethical reason why death penalties should not be applied but an ethical reason why the death penalty in this case should be abrogated, somewhat pedantic I know.

Not so much a matter of pedantry as a matter of diifference of opinion. You believe the death penalty should be abolished; I think that there some cases, however few, where it might be appropriate. The concept that some few inmates might turn their lives around doesn't change what we should do with those who don't.

I wouldn't be upset if the death penalty were abrogated. I think it over-applied, under-commuted, and (by way of the first two) racist.

#394 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 10:30 AM:

Serge, if you have read the print comics I'm afraid it's you forgetting bunches of obvious things that have happened to Agatha.

If you haven't, no, you aren't.

#395 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 10:56 AM:

bryan - I thought you were joking, and I was playing along. My outrage was mock-. You were funny, and I wanted to jump on the cart.

cd - I hate to disagree with you, but Bob is seldom, if ever, my uncle...I hardly ever finish anything. If Bob were only my uncle more often!

#396 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 11:08 AM:

Oops. Graydon, I read your original Agatha comment backward. (Darn that lack of caffeine.) I have read the printed comics, but I guess it was too long ago because I really couldn't remember any reference to the Other. Well, I'm due for a re-reading of the whole thing soon anyway.

#397 ::: Thel ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 11:59 AM:

Defective Yeti, one of my favorite Seattle blogs, has posted "Iraq Invasion: a Text Misadventure". I do believe many here would enjoy it:

Oval Office

You are standing inside a White House, having just been elected to the presidency of the United States. You knew Scalia would pull through for you.

There is a large desk here, along with a few chairs and couches. The presidential seal is in the middle of the room and there is a full-length mirror upon the wall.

What do you want to do now?

#398 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 12:58 PM:

As a matter of fact, I do have an Uncle Bob. We even exchange e-mails. So there!

#399 ::: Francis Heaney ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 01:16 PM:

Lucy -- some suggestions for you.

Led Zeppelin: "Thank You" (also available in a cover version by Tori Amos)

Geggy Tah: "Whoever You Are" (All I want to do is to thank you / Even though I don't know who you are / You let me change lanes / While I was driving in my car)

Sam and Dave: "I Thank You"

William DeVaughn: "Be Thankful for What You Got" (also available in a cover version by Yo La Tengo)

#400 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 01:18 PM:

Thel, that's great!

#401 ::: sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 01:51 PM:

*grins* The Houpelandde pattern works really well.

A recent commission made in this method. The belt has slipped a bit downward, but otherwise, a good example:

#402 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 02:06 PM:

And now...it's time for...Neologism of the Day!

Ellipsilator: One who compulsively (and perhaps unnecessarily) inserts ellipsis marks into their written work.

Thank you...thank you!

#403 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 02:55 PM:

If ever there are days when you feel that your boss doesn't appreciate, remember this... And it looks great on a coffee mug.

#404 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 04:42 PM:

Bryan, re ugly pants: mostly large stripes or very large plaid. Sometimes both garish and badly fitting.

#405 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 04:43 PM:

Ellipsilator: One who compulsively (and perhaps unnecessarily) inserts ellipsis marks into their written work.

Hey...that sounds familiar! I wonder why...oh yeah! I do that! More frequently than I care to admit, really...

#406 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 05:55 PM:

Does anyone else find it really difficult to keep up with Making Light lately? I love the blog and the wonderful discussions, but by my rough calculations, active conversations can have 40 posts a day, and there are three to five active conversations going on concurrently.

I love it here, but I don't have the time to keep up. It's a shame.

#407 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 06:09 PM:

One who...compulsively and perhaps...unnecessarily...inserts ellipses...yes, that's the plural of 'ellipsis'...into their written...work.

That's...me.

#408 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 06:28 PM:

Xopher, you sound like Captain Kirk trying not to let some alien/gizmo control his mind.

Must... resist... must control...

#409 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 06:31 PM:

So then, is the editor who deletes the ellipses The Ellipsinator?

#410 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 06:35 PM:

Actually, Harry, I thought that today was a slow day. I know... You are shocked, shocked, to hear that. You shouldn't feel you have to post in every conversation otherwise this stops being a pleasurable activity.

#411 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 06:41 PM:

My goodness. A real, live Republican veteran calls out the Administration and its supporters for the attempted Swift-Boating of Rep. Murtha. In the NYT, no less.

(Must not read too much into this, must not...)

#412 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 06:50 PM:

Must... not!... read too... much into... this, must not...

#413 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 18, 2006, 08:30 PM:

Don't worry, Linkmeister, pretty soon we'll be told that Webb isn't a 'real Republican'. An assertion, btw, that's been uttered a time or two down here in Jawjuh about Bob Barr, since Barr rediscovered his principles after being defeated.

#414 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 09:50 AM:

**ADVERTISEMENT**

For reasons that seemed good to us, we've put out the first three Peter Crossman short stories as a chapbook.

The Confessions of Peter Crossman

**ADVERTISEMENT**

#415 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 10:24 AM:

Ugly pants again: Dave Hartwell should be the expert in this field. I hate to think what his closet of con-going clothes must look like! (PS: It is time for a new Open Thread. My crummy old machine has to creak for a while to let me into this one.)

#416 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 10:38 AM:

What's wrong with David Hartwell's pants, Faren? I've never noticed anything wrong. (And yes, by asking, I probably have betrayed my shortcomings where fashion is concerned, but I've been married for 20 years and so have no need to learn about what makes good fashion.)

#417 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 02:19 PM:

I have an Oz/Wicked question, since they were being discussed here in the last couple of days.

I bought the CDs of Wicked to listen to as I was road tripping the country over the holidays. I had heard that they were good and I was curious. At the point where Elphaba and Fero (?) were having an affair and she was in the anti-wizard underground, I turned it off.

I don't have an encyclopedic recall of the Oz books, but I read them as a child and loved them. Whatever else they had, they had a sense of wonder and fun. I don't mind trying to flesh out the world. I enjoyed "A Barnstormer in Oz," which had some of the same sense of fun to it, as well as sex and politics.

But Wicked just felt grim and depressing. No one was happy, everyone was downtrodden and sexually unsatisfied, not one character ever had fun, at least as far as I listened.

Is it worth finishing? Does it get better? Am I just missing the point?

#418 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 02:28 PM:

Juli - that's the impression I've been getting off the book, too. Not no fun at all, but definitely fun-deficient, and high on the drear factor.

Skwid - Is thewre a similar word for the person who inserts too many brackets into their posts (I do this all the time in posts {I've meant for some time to write a caveat that indeed, I do NOT do this in fiction [Or would that be necessary? people usually know posts are un- or barely edited.]})

#419 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 03:28 PM:

Drawn & Quarterly to publish Moomin comics in English. Publisher's Weekly article.

Beginning in September, Drawn & Quarterly will publish the initial book of a five-volume series of Moomin: the Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, the first North American English translation of the late Finnish cartoonist's internationally acclaimed comics strip.

#420 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 03:48 PM:

I just finished reading Leigh Brackett's collection Sea-Kings of Mars and I'd like to ask a question of the Knowledgeable Ones. (Sure, I could google it, but this is much more fun.)

Was Brackett's last Mars story The Road to Sinharat? It was published in 1963, and it feels very different from earlier stories that shared that by-then outdated setting, kind of like a farewell to her romantic version of Mars.

#421 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 04:27 PM:

"Wicked just felt grim and depressing."
I'm sorry but I would never have expected the life of a wicked witch to be otherwise. I would certainly have written it that way myself.

#422 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 04:38 PM:

Yep, that armor is baroque. Interesting to imagine what the Plains nations might have done after seeing it! (I do wonder how the tiger skin came in, though.)

#423 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 05:09 PM:

bryan,

But the wicked witch isn't the only one in the story. (And she doesn't start out wicked. At the risk of spoilers, the story seems to be about how the horrible, unjust society forces her to become wicked, because she is too good and pure to tolerate the shabby lies they tell each other.) Shouldn't what makes her wicked be set off in some way? Just for artistic contrast, the other characters (not-wicked) should be seen having fun and being not-grim and not-depressing. As it is, the wonder is the entire Land of Oz didn't commit mass suicide. There is simply no counterpoint to the witch, and that's no fun to read.

#424 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 05:22 PM:

Faren, my husband is James J. Murray. He dresses at least as.... urm.... decoratively as Mr. Hartwell.

http://www.midamericon.org/photoarchive/05worldb5.htm

That is acutally fairly tasteful for him. (you may have to copy/paste, I tried to make it a link and failed)

#425 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 05:22 PM:

Faren, my husband is James J. Murray. He dresses at least as.... urm.... decoratively as Mr. Hartwell.

http://www.midamericon.org/photoarchive/05worldb5.htm

That is actually fairly tasteful for him. (you may have to copy/paste, I tried to make it a link and failed)

#426 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 05:41 PM:

I had this comment all written and then Patrick closed the comments on the "Carry the Banner" thread. So I'll post it here anyway:

Whether for this issue -- and for now I'll be respecting Patrick's request to wait (though I will draft letters to be used if needed) -- or any other U.S. government topic, I'm adding my two cents as a librarian who works with Federal depository materials and other government stuff.

If anyone needs contact information for his or her Senators or Representative, the best place to start is http://www.senate.gov or http://www.house.gov -- at both there are pull-down menus to choose by name or by state to get to the person's website, which will have contact information. (One example: Senator Byrd's site has a fill-in-the-blank e-mail form.) They also list committee information and links to committee websites.

If you don't know your Representative's name -- and some districts are so gerrymandered that it can be hard to keep track -- enter your nine-digit ZIP code into the "Find your representative" boxes at the top left of the House site.

Another place to look is the Congressional Directory, online at
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/cdirectory/index.html
which lists information for each member of Congress by state (as well as a wealth of other info). The listing for each state starts with the Senators in order of seniority and then the Representatives by Congressional district number. The GPO Access search engine is a bit clunky, so try all the results until you find the one you want. Still, this will give you things like fax numbers. (My Representative doesn't do e-mail, apparently.)

Or try Google's Uncle Sam page, my favorite fast lookup for government information:
http://www.google.com/unclesam
It only links to certain kinds of domains (.gov, .mil, .us, .edu, etc.) so you don't get bogged down with a lot of the stuff you'd get in a regular Google search.

#427 ::: Glen Fisher ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 05:46 PM:

Juli Thompson opined:
Wicked just felt grim and depressing.

bryan responded:
I'm sorry but I would never have expected the life of a wicked witch to be otherwise. I would certainly have written it that way myself.

Why? What is there about the Witch of the West that requires her story to be grim and depressing? Just because her enemies conspired to slap the label "wicked" on her, and misrepresented her efforts to keep the fraudulent Wizard in check as an evil plot to seize power, doesn't mean her childhood wasn't interesting, exciting, or even (for her) fun. And any story told from her perspective (which I understand "Wicked" is supposed to be) should present her sympathetically, which seems incompatible with "grim and depressing".

Consider: Charles Addams shows his characters as interesting individuals, ones you might actually like to hang out with, despite their, um..., odd habits. The book "Hook" portrays Captain Hook's actions at Eton and after as reasonable and justified, even as it shows him utterly unconcerned with how his actions affect others. Both would reasonably be described as "dark", but neither as "grim".

#428 ::: Lois Fundis ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 05:49 PM:

A related but much happier comment:

Open Internet Explorer -- it doesn't work on Firefox. (Don't ask me why, and I haven't tried it on any other browsers. But a lot of government websites work best with Explorer.)

Now go to Ben's Guide to Government, which is the Government Printing Office's page for kids. You can watch Benjamin Franklin blow out the candles on his birthday cake in honor of his 300th birthday (which was the day before yesterday).

I don't know how long they will have this opening to the page. I also don't know if they did the blowing out of candles on cakes in Ben's day, but his father was a candlemaker, so it's kind of appropriate nonetheless.

#429 ::: Glen Fisher ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 05:51 PM:

Lenora Rose asked
Is there a similar word for the person who inserts too many brackets into their posts

A parenthesist, perhaps?

#431 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 06:27 PM:

Is there a similar word for the person who inserts too many brackets into their posts?

A bracketeer?

#432 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 06:27 PM:

braquettoi?

#433 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 06:27 PM:
Yep, that armor is baroque. Interesting to imagine what the Plains nations might have done after seeing it! (I do wonder how the tiger skin came in, though.)

Beats me, and I note the description doesn't mention it.

The leopard skin I thought I knew the reason for - somewhere in the misty recesses of my brain was the information that knights of the Order of the White Eagle wore leopard-skin pelisses. However, I can't confirm that (the Wikipedia page says the order was worn on a blue sash, although they may be referring to a later version).

The feathers I am totally at a loss to explain.

#434 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 06:32 PM:

Spoke too soon, here's something resembling an explanation (from a transcription of a tour narration from The Walters Art Gallery):

On either side of the tent are examples of armor worn by the Hussar cavalry. * * On the left, you see the winged plate armor that won the Polish cavalry the name "Winged Horsemen", and it has no parallel in the armor of any other European army. * Wings such as these, made of wood, fabric, and, ideally, eagle feathers, were mounted either to the backplate of the armor or to the hussar's saddle. * * Contemporary accounts mention the awe-inspiring sound of the wind roaring through thousands of pairs of these wings as the Polish cavalry galloped into battle. * Hussars would drape a tiger or leopard skin over their shoulders to enhance their ferocious appearance and to frighten the enemy's horses.

It strikes me as wildly impractical - if nothing else, they must have gone through a lot of eagle feathers. I had assumed the armor in the photographs was ceremonial.

#435 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 06:40 PM:

I've seen heraldry with wings like that: I assumed it was just so the wings would fit the shields/banners/whatever they were painted on. Obviously I was wrong.

Yes, if I were an infantryman looking (and hearing it, if it were making roaring noises) at that coming toward me, I'd seriously consider going elsewhere, fast.

#436 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 07:42 PM:

"Is there a similar word for the person who inserts too many brackets into their posts?"

Would that practice be described as bracing?

#437 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 08:35 PM:

Linkmeister: There's a difference between a bracket -- [ American ) British -- and a brace {.

#438 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 09:06 PM:

At a company I used to work for, there was [ square bracket and { curly bracket. If I said "brace" I'd get back "huh?"

#439 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 09:23 PM:

I know, but I used to get chastised by a boss for writing compound sentences; how was I to make a compound word of brace/bracket?

#440 ::: Lin Daniel ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 11:24 PM:

HarryC:Does anyone else find it really difficult to keep up with Making Light lately? I love the blog and the wonderful discussions, but by my rough calculations, active conversations can have 40 posts a day, and there are three to five active conversations going on concurrently.

I love it here, but I don't have the time to keep up. It's a shame.

Which is why I'm finally here commenting on Costco: I go once every couple of months and buy a freezer (big size out in garage) full of stuff. And toiletpaper and papertowels. I only go back when I run out of everything. I thought I did really well this year. I went just before I started my Christmas baking and did not get the 25 pound bag of flour. Which is good because I don't have anything to hold 25 pounds of flour, and I actually only went thru about 10 pounds for baked goods this year.

But it was hard.

#441 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 11:40 PM:

Something weird is happening, or else I did something to my computer and have no idea what it is. Earlier today (Jan 19) I logged on and was greeted by a post from Jim Macdonald asking us to do some political work on Teresa's behalf, okay cool. But now when I arrive online, like right now, the date on Making Light says January 17th, and the latest post is Jim's post about Al Gore. Does anyone know what I could have done to cause this, and what I can do to repair it? My computer clock knows that today is January 19th, and this glitch is not happening on any other blog I visit... (cue the Twilight Zone music.) All suggestions appreciated.

#442 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 11:43 PM:

I was wondering if I was having true problems with my Mac because the Carry the Banner post went missing between work and home today. And I've been having some oddnesses.

#443 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 11:43 PM:

Liz:

The post in question was removed, making the Gore speech entry the lastest item.

#444 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2006, 11:48 PM:

Okeee Dokee . . . I joined Costco, and didn't buy anything off-list on my first visit.

Well, OK, I picked up two dozen eggs . . . something which I had legitimately run out of. And they're not for me, they're for the dog.

I was extremely tempted to pick up a case of fancy boutique soda that they were handing out samples of. The sugar-sweetened Black Cherry was awesome.

#445 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 12:17 AM:

"And any story told from her perspective (which I understand 'Wicked' is supposed to be) should present her sympathetically"

well no, any story told from her perspective should present her story from her perspective. I suppose any story told from Hitler's perspective would be full of his attempts to show how his enemies had misrepresented him but would still in the end be grim and depressing. Furthermore, let us grant that the Wizard usurps power and is a tyrant, the fun Oz is set in a worldview in which the wizard is a good guy, the view that he is a tyrant is antagonistic to fun oz, it may be correct but anyone set out on that path would not be having marvelous fun.

I should note that I have not read Wicked, I am just of the opinion that to remain true to Oz the proper representation is that the wicked witch was wicked or at least very far removed from the opinions of normal Oz society, and any story from her perspective would be grim and depressing.

#446 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 12:29 AM:

Okay, no Twilight Zone, no computer malfunction -- thank you!

#447 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 12:36 AM:

"He dresses at least as.... urm.... decoratively as Mr. Hartwell."

hmm, that's the kind of outfit (with ugly pants instead of skirt) I used to wear when I was doing massive amounts of LSD.

#448 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 12:40 AM:

actually though, looking at those convention photos hit me with the depressing thought that sci-fi conventions look as boring as the average programming language con, references would be XML Europe/Xtech http://www.flickr.com/photos/tags/xtech/ have to ignore locale shots.

#449 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 12:51 AM:

(The.... {ellipsis bracket}..club)

Now (it's time) to ellipsinate...
a song of bracketing
E..L..L
I.P.S
I.S (bracket this)

Through the years...we'll all be friends
(parenthetically)
B..R..A
C...K...E...T

SuperEllipsicality.


--------------------------------


Actually screw that, Ellipsis Bracket is a great name for a female detective with minor magical powers. I hereby claim her. And I don't care what anybody says about how certain types of names drive them round the bend.

#450 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 12:58 AM:

"...a great name for a female detective"

Or the name of a new weekend of NCAA Basketball pre-March Madness.

I can't instantly think of any D-1 colleges or universities with ellipses in their names, but if ESPN came up with enough TV cash, I'm sure four or six or eight would convert.

#451 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 02:11 AM:

"That's Rock . . . Slippery Rock."

#452 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 03:27 AM:

you any relation to Slippery Jim DiGriz?

#453 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 06:34 AM:

"Ellipsis Bracket is a great name for a female detective ..."

Sounds like an assistant to Thursday Next.

#454 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 07:16 AM:

Interesting that Piers Anthony's version of his dealings with Laser Books is the accepted one at Wikipedia. As you know, Bob, Dave Langford has referred to the current But What of Earth? as "an inadvertent Pale Fire."

#455 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 07:48 AM:

"Sounds like an assistant to Thursday Next."
The man who was thursday's son?

#456 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 09:32 AM:

1988's movie Dragnet told us that Joe Friday has an aunt whose family name is Mundy. Maybe there's a Tuesday Weld somewhere in there.

#457 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 09:37 AM:

No, bryan, Thursday Next is the (female) detective in Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair and its sequels.

--Mary Aileen

#458 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 10:30 AM:

1) Dan, I want to go to Poland. Just to see that museum. WAAAA.

2) bryan, go to the index page of MidAmerican Fan Photo Archive and look up "Contraception." It's rather more fun. It's a relaxacon that started as a joke about 18 years ago, they said they'd give it up when they quit making money. We're on #18 this next fall. We have fun.

3) there's a Sandy Beach who is a PR professional somewhere in the midwest. She's from Kansas City (I've met her), and apparently her parents were as cruel to her other siblings.

#459 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 11:29 AM:

Stefan Jones: I was extremely tempted to pick up a case of fancy boutique soda that they were handing out samples of. The sugar-sweetened Black Cherry was awesome.

That's how I once wound up with a half-gallon each of guava and mango nectar. Which I eventually froze into cubes with the idea that I'd make it into smoothies. And eventually threw out because I don't really care much for sweet drinks in more than tiny (~2 oz) quantities.

Ahh, the perils of samples.

#460 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 11:40 AM:

Lin: Comes of being educated on the right bank of the Atlantic, I suppose.

#461 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 11:45 AM:

Paula: Years ago, I worked for a market research firm and came across the following names:

Bud Light

Lynn Merry Christmas

Currently, I have on my roll a student named

Kenyatta Clinkscales.

#462 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 11:49 AM:

I used to know a guy named Covert Beach. Which sounds like a place where some nefarious CIA operation takes place.

#463 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 11:59 AM:

Thanks to the person who posted a link to Kipling's two science fiction stories. His dirigible ads are quite amusing.

Remember

We shall always be pleased to see you.

We build and test and guarantee our dirigibles for all purposes. They go up when you please and they do not come down till you please.

You can please yourself, but -- you might as well choose a dirigible.

STANDARD DIRIGIBLE CONSTRUCTION CO.

Millwall and Buenos Ayres.

#464 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 01:16 PM:

You can please yourself, but -- you might as well choose a dirigible.

Sometimes a dirigible is JUST a dirigible.

#465 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 01:26 PM:

Laura, did you notice the real ad at the end of Kipling's "With the Night Mail"?

FAMILY DIRIGIBLE. A Competent, steady man wanted for slow speed, low level Tangye dirigible. No night work, no sea trips. Must be member of the Church of England, and make himself useful in the garden.
-- M. R., The Rectory, Gray's Barton, Wilts.

I felt like I had wandered into an issue of Alan Moore's The Leangue of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

#466 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 02:20 PM:

Someday I'm going to write a story about the sassy adventures of Helvetica Black, Soul Sister Typesetter.

#467 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 02:27 PM:

Don't forget her brother, Bodoni Black!

#468 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 02:35 PM:

Bryan - Not all sections of Wicked are from the future witch's point of view. There are numerous changes of point of view in the story - her parents. Friends of her parents. Schoolmates. Lovers. Children. Every single one seems dreary and fun-less, even the children. Even Glinda. Even people supposedly in the midst of having fun, off on a party on a sunny beach, seem weighed down by something fundamentally wrong in their world.

I've only read one other full-length Gregory Maguire novel, and I got the same impression then. Well written, and based on an idea that sounds as if it it *should* be fun. But there's no spark of joy or lightness offsetting the dark world.

I don't get the same cumulative dreariness feel (or the reluctance to read his work) from the handful of short fiction I've seen, but maybe it's just that the mood is more palatable in those smaller doses.

#469 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 02:35 PM:

And T.N. Roman Bold, the brave explorer. The latest book in the series is Roman Bold and the Slip-Sheet Cipher, in which our hero rescues the bespectacled Professor Jophan and his lovely daughter Mammaria from the Torrent of Overinking, and joins their search for...but that would be a spoiler.

#470 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 02:51 PM:

Serge - I didn't see that one. He seems to have put quite a few pages of ads, etc. at the end of the main story.

#471 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 03:12 PM:

I'd have to say that bracketeer is the most appealing fit for Lenora's bracketing compulsive, although I'm also rather partial to Parenthesist.

Meanwhile, I think "Ellipsis Bracket Racket" should be the name of a treewave style ambient/electronica band that uses a chorus of mechanical typewriters as percussion.

#472 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 03:13 PM:

"Every single one seems dreary and fun-less"
then I suppose he should explain his aesthetic choices, and forthwith, or face the lash!

#473 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 03:17 PM:

Should it be bracketeer or parenthesist, Skwid? The deciding factor is which neologism our President is more likely to spell correctly.

(Could he spell neologism?)

#474 ::: Glen Fisher ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 03:27 PM:

bryan wrote:
[A]ny story told from [the Witch of the West's] perspective should present her story from her perspective. I suppose any story told from Hitler's perspective would be full of his attempts to show how his enemies had misrepresented him but would still in the end be grim and depressing.

Which doesn't answer the question, why would it inevitably be grim and depressing? A story from Hitler's perspective would be one of triumph over great odds, followed by the defeat in spite of his best efforts. The defeat itself would induce sadness ("alas! despite everything, he was crushed, his grand plans thrown into disarray!"), but the moment of triumph before that would be exhilarating, not depressing. Wagner could have done great things with Hitler. (From a non-Hitlerian perspective, the triumph would be depressing, true, but that's a different story.)


Furthermore, let us grant that the Wizard usurps power and is a tyrant, the fun Oz is set in a worldview in which the wizard is a good guy, the view that he is a tyrant is antagonistic to fun oz, it may be correct but anyone set out on that path would not be having marvelous fun.

Anyone setting out? Even the Witch? And doesn't it all depend on what one considers "fun"? For the Witch, the "unfun" part would be getting defeated, which doesn't happen until the end of the story. Until that point, from her perspective, everything is great.

Besides, a tyrannical Wizard isn't necessarily "unfun". He might be just what the majority wanted. (Hitler came to power, after all, by popular vote.) The Witch might be opposed to him because she sees the hidden costs imposed by his tyranny, the grinding-down of the underclasses and the eventual stagnation caused by his rule.


I should note that I have not read Wicked,

Nor have I.


I am just of the opinion that to remain true to Oz the proper representation is that the wicked witch was wicked

And what is "the proper representation"? Assuming you mean "Oz as Baum presented it", you can't take the Witch's point of view without abandoning Baum's interpretation. To Baum, Dorothy and the rest are the "good guys", and the Witchs of the East and West are the "bad guys". But the Witch of the West isn't going to think of herself that way. To her, the "bad guys" are Dorothy and Co. The way Baum sees things and the way the Witch sees things are incompatible; to tell her story from her perspective, you have to give up Baum's perspective.


But once you adopt the Witch's point of view, or at least very far removed from the opinions of normal Oz society, and any story from her perspective would be grim and depressing.

One more time: why is it necessarily grim and depressing? You keep stating "it would be grim and depressing", but you haven't once explained what it is about the Witch's story that makes her story necessarily "grim and depressing", and prevents you from telling it as, perhaps, a Greek tragedy. From the Witch's perspective, the tale is one of ambition thwarted, of increasing power and eventual mastery undone by events she couldn't predict. That's grim and depressing only if you're one of the Witch's enemies. If you're one of her friends, that's just more and more good news right up to the end, when Dorothy appears out of nowhere and screws everything up.

#475 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 05:10 PM:

"A story from Hitler's perspective would be one of triumph over great odds, followed by the defeat in spite of his best efforts."

well, it seems that you are doing the same thing that I am, asserting a hard and fast rule for how a story from someone's perspective must be.

my basis for making the assertion that Hitler's story would be grim and depressing was that of all the various books told from the perspectives of nazis by those selfsame nazis that I have encountered (not a large number admittedly, I can only think of Speer's offhand, but I have read several of an amazingly similar depressing vein), well, all those books were depressing. Interviews on people's experiences of the war years all seem grim and depressing as well.

But I think the real reason is that I had the understanding that what was under discussion was the experience of the reader and not an existential nature of the story, therefore I suppose that if Hitler said something like
"Today I ordered all the jews killed, then we had cakes and balloons and I told that funny joke about the farmer's daughter" that the reader would not be moved to thinking how funny that joke was or how much they too would like cake or balloons but would rather be somewhat grimly depressed about the whole humanity/inhumanity thing that naziism seems to inspire in people nowadays, and that in fact the more Hitler tried to have his cake and balloons the more grimly depressed people would get, unless there were something seriously wrong with those people.

Hitler out of the way, I think I will move on to the rest of the wicked witch stuff.

First of all I think the wicked witch, if I wrote the story, would do a bunch of things that were wicked. I would think this is in keeping with OZ mythology. Focusing on it in the most cheerful tones possible(which could of course seem very cheerful but would only work manic in the context of wickedness), but not hiding it as often is done in children's literature would lead to a somewhat grim story, something on the order of the nightmare inducing Hansel and Gretel versions out there. So this reason is akin to my Hitler, cake, and balloons analogy.


"Wagner could have done great things with Hitler."
Wagner would probably have had his great hero kill a race of subhuman dwarves. If Hitler from his perspective deviated so far from the reality of his existence that it was in fact a Wagnerian opera, with dragon hoardes and the lot, yes, it would not be as grim and depressing as it could be otherwise. Nonetheless Wagner aimed for Tragedy, tragedy is as a general rule grim, although it transcends depression (for some qualities of the word transcends).

"you can't take the Witch's point of view without abandoning Baum's interpretation."

really? what do you base this particular absolutist statement on? (sidenote: As noted by someone earlier this is supposedly more the movie version, but I will refer to it as the baum version henceforth.)

Hey, you know who I hate and think is worthless scumbag? George Bush, that's who. And everyone that loves him. But I do think that if George Bush and I were to write a description of America there would be a great deal of similarity in our descriptions, compared to the descriptions say of people that have never lived there.

What I am trying to say is that, hmm, I'm thinking that if Baum mapped the world of OZ, and the witch lives in that world, then there will be a large number of things in which the Witch and Baum should be in agreement.

Now of course your theory is that the witch thinks the munchkins are evil and Baum thinks otherwise, but if the witch argues truthfully for the evil of munchkins then there might not be that big a difference between that which Baum described and that which she describes, if the reader sees the character as going after a bunch of basically harmless little things claiming they're evil the reader might find this, oh I don't know, cause for joy and gaiety.

If the witch and Baum share the same reality then I guess she spends a good deal of her time:

1. cackling and making threats at her enemies.
2. disciplining her flying monkey lackeys.
3. watching flying monkey lackeys perform military drills.
4. walking around a castle that edgar allen poe would have described as a damn cheerful place (ever notice how the descriptions of environments in a story can sometimes create a 'mood', the witch's living conditions, if not outright lied about might create such a 'mood')

this shit might lead to a little bit of depression at least.


"But the Witch of the West isn't going to think of herself that way. To her, the "bad guys" are Dorothy and Co"

I am aware of the common wisdom that nobody has ever thought of themself as the bad guy, however I would like something more than a bald statement of its truth for proof. As for me I have some reason to believe that sometimes people think of themselves as bad and do not come up with various rationalizations.

"One more time: why is it necessarily grim and depressing?"

to stress:
" or at least very far removed from the opinions of normal Oz society"
I don't know, just as my limited experiences with the memoirs of nazis have prepared me, falsely it would seem, to expect grim and depressing narratives from nazis I have likewise been prepared from reading case histories, stories, interviews with and about people in situations of extreme social isolation and antisociability to expect narratives about people in such situations to be grim and depressing. This expectation has unfortunately become so hardened in me that it is now basically a statement of belief that they will be of such a nature, I look forward to the many lovely stories of social outcasts to disprove my feeling on this matter.

"and prevents you from telling it as, perhaps, a Greek tragedy."

Sophocles, your name is silly good times for all!

"From the Witch's perspective, the tale is one of ambition thwarted, of increasing power and eventual mastery undone by events she couldn't predict."

359 pages of cake and ice cream, 20 pages of grim depression at the end. That's a good mix. Basically a book that is going to end on a note of grim depression needs to have at least a strong thread of grim depression running through a good deal of the narrative. Another one of these little prejudices I am somewhat confirmed in. So in essence I think your view is somewhat paradoxical, or at least leading to poor constructions of narratives. If the story is a happy fun time narrative and the last 20 pages is grim depression we need to spread that grim depression through the whole narrative to make it work and not be as jarring, at which point having achieved a more pleasing aesthetic context the story is no longer happy fun time, it is grim depression. My view however is not paradoxical because as a general rule even stories that end with the destruction of the characters that have created the feeling of grim depression do not experience an absurd change of character, only a relative lightening of the depression.

"ambition thwarted, of increasing power"
although it is certainly not true of all such histories a good number do lend themselves to feelings of grim depression a propos humanity; you seem to feel otherwise.

#476 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 06:16 PM:

If the story is a happy fun time narrative and the last 20 pages is grim depression we need to spread that grim depression through the whole narrative to make it work and not be as jarring, at which point having achieved a more pleasing aesthetic context the story is no longer happy fun time, it is grim depression

Not necessarily. You seem to think any grimness will immediately wipe out, not coutnerpoint, any lightness. This seems a very odd view to me, particularly since we aren't talking about the memoir of a Nazi, but a piece of fiction, where the rules of fiction should apply. Even if we were not, the insertion fo a grim thread in the course of the story does not sound to me like it will immediately turn it all dark. It sounds more like it should end up *Balanced*; many fun times (Or triumphs, or moments of hope) making you think it might work out, some grim bits to imply the possibility it won't.

One of the things that to me makes the Scottish Play weaker than Hamlet is that there are *fewer* moments of lightness on the way to the inevitable end, and mroe griimness (And even then, Shakespeare didn't go unrelentingly grim: the character of Macbeth, and his wife, have their clear triumphs, and the play has a few funny scenes between bloodshed.) Hamlet has several moments which are simultaneously funny to see or hear ("You are a fishmonger!" and "See yon cloud?"), and make a grim point about the person he's talking to and the world he lives in. And it balances scenes - moments of supernatural with moments of mundanity. Moments of giggling with moments of gasping. Longings for death with assertions of life. And all that with a depressive, occasionally suicidal, possibly mad and definitely self-destructive main character.

I'd think a writer who can sketch out ideas and situations, precise phrases and strange dialogue, the way that Gregory Maguire can, would also be able to balance tone.

But I really think that if you're going to speculate on the nature of the book and what the author means to accomplish, it is time to read at least the first couple of chapters. If you can survive Nazi diaries, you'll probably manage this oen fine. And a lot of people like it more than I have so far.

#477 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 06:31 PM:

Speaking of mammoths:

http://www.olduvaigeorge.com/ - the blog of an illustrator, including such extinct animals as mammoths.

#478 ::: Jeff Lipton ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 06:58 PM:

A story can be grim and depressing to its characters, without being grim and depressing to the reader. 1984 is a very good example. Winston Smith doesn't have many moments of joy, and the rest of his story is gray at best, but the novel is very readable (if not as good as Brave New World in my opinion).

Any book is itself grim and depressing makes me feel like it's not that well written.

#479 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 07:07 PM:

Oh.

Oh my.

"Rose Garden Holdings."

Why not just call it the "Lincoln Bedroom Sleepover Fund Association?"

#480 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: January 20, 2006, 08:10 PM:

Hey! thanks for adding Daniel Davies to your blogroll.

He's one of the best things on the internets. An unheralded genius.

#481 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2006, 01:34 AM:

From upthread, wrt brazen hussars: Yes, if I were an infantryman looking (and hearing it, if it were making roaring noises) at that coming toward me, I'd seriously consider going elsewhere, fast.

IIRC at least one of Jerzy Hoffman's movies of Henryk Sienkiewicz's "Trilogy" shows one of those cavalry charges; IMDB sez there was also a spaghetti epic with John Barrymore Jr.?

#482 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2006, 04:14 AM:

I think that I have a different opinion of what comprises grim and depressing than that of others. I have no problem finding something grim and depressing and yet enjoyable. I suppose that when I discuss grim and depressing in a story that I mean the vision it presents of existence. Other people seem to think that it can be grim and depressing with a happy vision of existence? I don't think I've ever experienced this, if it is my opinion that the writer is attempting to invoke happy sunshine and they are not succeeding I just find it, well I suppose boring and disgusting would be the two closest terms for the aesthetic feeling I would have in such a situation.

#483 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2006, 04:35 AM:

"This seems a very odd view to me, particularly since we aren't talking about the memoir of a Nazi, but a piece of fiction, where the rules of fiction should apply."

I believe someone brought up the subject of how Hitler's story would be on of triumph after triumph, etc. and would thus not be grim and depressing.

"the character of Macbeth, and his wife, have their clear triumphs"

what triumphs?
The only one I can think of is killing Duncan.
The honors heaped on Macbeth are not triumphs, given that they are planning on taken Duncan and taking the whole. The fact that they cannot accept these honors as enough is a negative.


#484 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2006, 05:50 AM:

On a very different subject... Here is, from The Book of Daniel, a typical exchange between Aidan Quinn, who's having trouble writing his next sermon, and Jesus:

"Can't you help me?"
"I'm more a one-liner kind of guy - 'turn the other cheek', that kind of stuff."
"What about the Sermon on the Mountain?"
"Would you beilieve I didn't write any of it? I adlibbed the whole thing."

#485 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2006, 09:02 AM:

"Underworld: Evolution" is a double-Diet Coke movie: If you need to step out for a minute, you might miss a random impaling or computer-generated human-to-werewolf transformation, but don't worry -- there'll be another one along shortly. And the plot is so convoluted that missing even five minutes at a stretch won't make any difference in your comprehension of the story.

Stephany Zacharek, movie reviewer at Salon.com. And she liked the original movie, which to say the least I disliked intensely. I guess I'll pass. Unfortunately, we're still 4 months away from X-men 3, and five from Superman returns.

#486 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2006, 10:41 AM:

One more thing about that Polish hussar armor: my husband, the military history buff, has a scale model of the breastplate, wings and helmet, about 7" not counting the stand. Don't know where he got it, but he's owned it for ages. (He had to go to work at 6:30 this morning -- argh! and boo hoo! -- so he's not around to ask about the source).

#487 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2006, 10:56 AM:

You think that getting up at 6:30am is too early, Faren? I wish I could oversleep that late.

#488 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2006, 02:33 PM:

I saw a model of hussar armor (including hussar) just now, over here-- seems a bit pricey to me, but then I have no idea what the usual cost of such things is anyway.

#489 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2006, 08:50 PM:

In the I-don't-know-what-THAT's-supposed-to-mean dept... Tonight I drove by a Jiffy Lube that had the following sign:

"King Kong gets lubed here."

#490 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2006, 09:23 PM:

Oh, my. Any old-time PC gamers here?

A twisty little maze, indeed. Found over at Brad DeLong's place.

#491 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2006, 09:45 PM:

Are the passages all alike?
Does the thief wander through the troll room while you're trying to use the sword? (I saw that one once. It was a very short game!)

#492 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: January 21, 2006, 10:20 PM:

Faren, there's a few places around that do either full-size or miniature display of various earlier types of metalwork, like this UK Armour Shop. I ran into it via search engine because the particle link wasn't working, though I eventually got that in order too :)

#493 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2006, 12:36 AM:

In re the Hamster and Hamster's Friend Particle: I know that Japanese is a language with many subtle nuances and words of multiple meaning (unlike, say, English), but "Gohan" is the name of one of the characters on Dragonball Z.

It probably isn't subtext, but I don't really want to know that badly.

#494 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2006, 01:36 AM:

P J, you might like this page, if you're familiar with the twisty passageways. I'd never heard of Zork, but I knew of Adventure. Interestingly, according to that site, "'Adventure' was distributed by DECUS, the Digital Equipment Corporation user group, and was included on the first IBM PC machines."

I bought the first PC (8086, 128mb, 10mb HD, $5K) for the company I worked for in 1983. If "Adventure" had been on there, I'd have thought I would have found it.

#495 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2006, 02:25 AM:

Would you rather read comics filled with mindless violence, or Blazing Chess Comics?

#496 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2006, 05:38 AM:

I forget, has this nursery been previously mentioned hereabouts? (I mean, medlar trees? Dang.)

#497 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2006, 05:42 AM:

Oh, and wrt "Gohan", no, the Dragonball character's name isn't a coincidence; practically all of that crowd was deliberately named after food.

#498 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2006, 10:05 AM:

Linkmeister: It was for RT-11 (that's what I was playing on) and the source code was in Fortran. You got it through DECUS (I know someone who may still have it available, and probably also the original Zork). Last year I found various versions via Wiki.

#499 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2006, 11:49 AM:

The George Bush Adventure does a remarkably good job of staying within the English parsing capabilities of the Zork parser. The author has done his homework!

P J Evans: first there was "Zork" written in MDL, then there was DECUS "Dungeon," a faithful translation of Zork into Fortran, then there was Infocom "Zork" (I, II, and III), an expansion in ZIL for the TRS-80 and ultimately everything else under the sun.

Linkmeister: there were several versions of Adventure available on the PC almost immediately upon its release. (True also of the Apple II and everything else under the sun.)

#500 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2006, 12:51 PM:

Serge:

Fans of Blazing Chess may also enjoy Action Philosophers comics.

#501 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2006, 01:16 PM:

Adventure downloads here.

#502 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: January 22, 2006, 05:01 PM:

A question for the collective wisdom --

There's enough travelling around near water (or swamp) in my expected future that I'm thinking that the general lug-about-with kit should include some sort of heaving line.

I'm thinking I'd want something with a weight that floats and provides good grip; that has not much less than 30m of line, of a strength to haul in more than one person; and which packs into not much more than a liter and not much more than a kilogram.

I've been noddling making this out of closed cell foam, PVC pipe, and parachute cord, but would welcome recommendations.

I would most especially welcome recommendations concerning how to pack the line so that it will reliably pay out without problems.

#503 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 06:02 AM:

Action Philosophers Comics, Bob? I like that.

#504 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 09:23 AM:

Serge (belatedly): no, not what you thought. Up at 5:25, leave around 6:10, at work by 6:30 a.m. -- warehouse day, so lots of heavy lifting. And Friday's his gaming night -- old-fashioned board strategy stuff, not online. And he still has a cold. See why I'm sympathetic, now?

#505 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 09:49 AM:

Of course, Faren.

#506 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 10:36 AM:

Yesterday night, one of my doguettes decided to chase our cat, who escaped her wrath by jumping on the dining room table, knocking over the porcelain doggie-bank proudly presiding up there. One ear is now broken, but it's a clean break so I could put it back together easily. But what kind of glue would people recommend for porcelain?

#507 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 10:40 AM:

Re: broken porcelain -- Elmers or any white tacky glue will work. And there's always Crazy Glue.

Most adhesives' packaging will give you a list what it will glue together.

#508 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 10:57 AM:

Broken porcelain (or other ceramics): "Household cement" (Duco or similar) used to be used for this. I seem to recall that you put a thin layer on both pieces, then stuck it together. I've used crazy glue also; it seems to work.

#509 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 11:14 AM:

Thanks, Lori & PJ.

While on the subject of broken things... Do people remember what this coming Saturday is the 20th anniversary of?

#510 ::: MLR ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 11:20 AM:

Serge, I would look specifically for a ceramic adhesive. A craft store would be a good place to start.

You want to be careful using white glue (water soluable) on ceramics if it is something you'd stick in the dishwasher (which this isn't, but I mention it anyway).

Just for fun:
Ferrofluid Sculptures by Sachiko Kodama via Diane Duane's weblog

#511 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 11:22 AM:

Serge, I've been using a glass and porcelain glue available at craft shops like Hobby Lobby. Look in the mosaic or glass crafts aisle. It'll stand up to 4-5 runs through the dishwasher, so it's pretty good. It doesn't "grab" as fast as Krazy Glue and its ilk, so you have more of a chance to re-position.

#512 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 11:28 AM:

Serge: yes. Maybe they should take winters off, even in Florida.

#513 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 11:29 AM:

The best glue for anything made of clay that has been high-fired, which your porcelain may have been, can be found in the glue/superglue family. I can't remember the brand name (it's something like B & J) but it comes in 2 separated tubes. The goop in them is harmless when they are apart but will create a substance that will bond with industrial strength when mixed together in relatively equal quantities. You can squeeze a half inch of the stuff from each tube onto a square of cardboard, use a Q-tip to apply, press, hold tightly for 30 seconds or whatever it says on the packaging, and you're done, that break is fixed, baby. Not very useful if what you are dealing with is a bunch of small pieces, but if you have a clean break, two pieces, this is the stuff. Don't get the glue that turns yellow when it dries, make sure you get the stuff that dries clear, and READ the directions. Don't get it on your skin, in your eyes, etc, and when you store put the stuff in a safe place, blah blah blah. Available at hardwear stores, craft stores, maybe at Target though I've never looked for it there.

#514 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 11:34 AM:

Thanks again for the porcelain-fixing tips. One thing I did was explain to my deranged doguette that there are times & places when it's NOT ok to try killing the putty-tat.

#515 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 11:38 AM:

Ah, PJ, you remember what happened 20 years ago. Yesterday, I caught an ad for a TV movie about what led to Challenger's destruction. I wonder if they'll incorporate the fact that the Commission looking into it had Richard Feynman.

#516 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 12:32 PM:

Is it really 20 years? Wow. I remember exactly where I was when I heard -- just came out of a craft instruction session I'd organized at the public library where I was working at the time. No internets or TV in the library -- I didn't see pictures till later that evening.

#517 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 12:41 PM:

Yes, Janet, it has indeed 20 years, and I don't think that space exploration has ever recovered, aside from the probes that safely made it to Mars. I remember exactly where I was when I heard, and I remember thinking "Oh crap!"

#518 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 12:44 PM:

Serge: Action Philosophers comics is a great premise, but from what I've seen, the execution is somewhat disappointing. The "X For Beginners" paperback comics did it better.

And now is time to point people to the
This to that (interactive) glue database.

(I love the internets.)

#519 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 12:51 PM:

Serge, I think I shocked some of my at-that-time co-workers (who were saying things like 'I hope they survive') when I said that I hoped they died quickly. The co-workers didn't know what happens when things hit water at high speeds (not science and engineering types). I still remember which map I was looking at when we heard: unavoidable association. (I also remember which one I was looking at when the Whittier Narrows quake hit.)

#520 ::: Xopher (Christopher Hatton) ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 01:07 PM:

Someone came running into the office with the news. I called him a liar to his face, in one of the most shameful moments of my life.

My understanding is that they didn't die quickly at all. Water in their lungs.

#521 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 01:39 PM:

Serge, that was about my reaction, too. My husband was watching live and called the library, and nobody else believed it until patrons started coming in who'd heard it on the radio.

Bob, that site got instantly bookmarked!

#522 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 02:12 PM:

As I mentionned earlier, Richard Feynman worked on the Commission that looked into Challenger. One of his memoirs recounts the whole thing. I think he turned the offer down at first because he was dying of cancer, but then his wife pointed out that, with him onboard, the truth would come out because he'd be poking into places that nobody else would think of.

I also saw a documentary about Feynman where Challenger comes up again. It turns out that some people already knew that the O-rings and the freezing weather were behind it, but nobody would listen to them and they didn't want to lose their jobs by going public. A friend of Feynman did listen to them and he fed Feynman some clues that sent him in the right direction. His expression as he talks about being led on is quite... interesting. Definitely embarassed.

#523 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 03:18 PM:

I was at work at a now-defunct veterinary manufacturer here in KC. I was between buildings and just heard the end of it with Paul Harvey announcing it (the guys in QA listened to that at lunch). Our head animal caretaker said, "good, maybe it will make them quit that foolish waste of money!"

I went out to my car and cried for half an hour. Sigh.

#524 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 05:17 PM:

I was working in the vault (no transmissions in or out) and went back to the office for lunch to find my secretary in tears. By the time she'd said a few words, I'd seen many more tearful people and headed to the conference room where a TV was on, with the constant coverage.

#525 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 05:48 PM:

I was home sick from school and turned the TV on, hoping for a soap opera or something else that my Nyquil-addled brain could deal with.

I don't think I'll ever forget that corkscrewy exhaust trail.

#526 ::: Anne Sheller ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 06:03 PM:

I had intended to watch the launch on TV, but was getting such lousy reception that I'd turned it off in frustration. Didn't hear about the explosion till about 5pm. I'd been home all day with the radio off. Headed out to run some errands, had the radio on in the car, heard about it while driving through what passes for rush hour traffic.

I was hours late getting the news about 9/11 too - turned off the radio about 5 minutes before the first plane hit. That day I didn't know what happened til I went to the library to use one of their computers.

Now that I have my own computer I'm not likely to be so long out of the loop. I'm not sure whether I've gained or lost.

#527 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 07:18 PM:

I was in morning rush hour traffic and heard the news on the car radio. When I finally got to work I ran across the parking lot to get to an office television.

That exhaust trail will haunt me too.

#528 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 10:33 PM:

One comment I saw about the story that's in the sidelights as "the Vatican gets stupid about copyright" suggested that this isn't actually about them wanting royalties, it's about wanting control.

It's still stupid: their job and purpose is to spread the word, and while John Paul I famously said that if he'd known he'd be pope he'd have studied harder, any pope who has trouble writing well and clearly on a given occasion has plenty of assistance available to him.

#529 ::: Glen Fisher ::: (view all by) ::: January 23, 2006, 11:21 PM:

bryan wrote (including occasional quotes from me):
"A story from Hitler's perspective would be one of triumph over great odds, followed by the defeat in spite of his best efforts."

well, it seems that you are doing the same thing that I am, asserting a hard and fast rule for how a story from someone's perspective must be.

Huh? What "hard and fast rule" are you talking about? I gave a one-sentence summary of Hitler's life. Unless your Hitler led a different life from the one I know about, there's not a whole lot of variation possible. And how else would you summarize the story of a failed painter who went on to rule his country, started a war, lost it, and died? Were the odds he initially triumphed over not particularly great, or was he quite the slacker in his final days?


my basis for making the assertion that Hitler's story would be grim and depressing was that of all the various books told from the perspectives of nazis by those selfsame nazis that I have encountered (not a large number admittedly, I can only think of Speer's offhand, but I have read several of an amazingly similar depressing vein), well, all those books were depressing.

And what made those books depressing? The sorry state of those Nazis now compared to what they were in their glory years? The glee they took in eating children raw? Or are Nazis just inherently depressing, so that merely sitting quietly next to one would make you suicidal? Since you don't say, I'm left to guess.


Interviews on people's experiences of the war years all seem grim and depressing as well.

Interviews are not stories. A good interview and a good story have very different purposes, and very different structures. They will emphasize different things, and create different moods, even if the same events are covered.


But I think the real reason is that I had the understanding that what was under discussion was the experience of the reader

That's certainly what I've been discussing. What else did you think was being discussed?


I suppose that if Hitler said something like "Today I ordered all the jews killed, then we had cakes and balloons and I told that funny joke about the farmer's daughter" that the reader would not be moved to thinking how funny that joke was or how much they too would like cake or balloons but would rather be somewhat grimly depressed about the whole humanity/inhumanity thing that naziism seems to inspire in people

What the reader would be moved to think on would depend very much on how the writer presented the event. A really good writer probably wouldn't put things so baldly. Far more likely, there would be many words spent on Hitler's thoughts leading up to that order, perhaps in the form of arguments between Hitler and his aides and advisors (or, in the hands of a lesser writer, in the form of an As-you-know-Bob). The writer's goal might well be to show that "it can happen here". The processes that brought Hitler to power aren't so very different from those that brought Bush to power. And in Bush, we have a president who mongers fear, who advocates torture, who regards himself as above the law. The reader might be more moved to think on "the whole humanity/inhumanity thing" by the writer managing to get the reader to accept, even if only for a second, that Hitler was justified in his actions.

Even if the event were to be written so bluntly, Hitler's goal wasn't killing Jews, it was eliminating the contamination of the Aryan race. What Hitler would said would have been more likely "Today, I took the first step in the restoration of Germany to Aryan purity, ...." which is a far more "happy fun" statement, and one far less likely to inspire loathing in the reader.

[I]he more Hitler tried to have his cake and balloons the more grimly depressed people would get, unless there were something seriously wrong with those people.

Why would they become ever more grim and depressed? You continue to simply assert that that's what would happen. For someone who professes a dislike of "absolutist" and "bald statements", you make a surprising number of them.


First of all I think the wicked witch, if I wrote the story, would do a bunch of things that were wicked.

Not if you're really writing from her point of view. She won't consider what she does to be "wicked".


I would think this is in keeping with OZ mythology.

In keeping with how Baum presented Oz, perhaps. But that's not the only way that Oz can be presented. Just as America looks different to different people, so would Oz.


Focusing on it in the most cheerful tones possible(which could of course seem very cheerful but would only work manic in the context of wickedness), but not hiding it as often is done in children's literature

In simplistic children's literature (the sort Disney is noted for), perhaps. But it's not the only choice possible, nor even the only one taken by authors of children's literature. (And I believe that "Wicked" is targeting adults anyway, so how children's literature is written doesn't seem particularly relevant.)

"you can't take the Witch's point of view without abandoning Baum's interpretation."

really? what do you base this particular absolutist statement on?

I explained that in the sentences following that claim. Since you're asking even so, it would seem you didn't bother to read them. Here they are again:

To Baum, Dorothy and the rest are the "good guys", and the Witchs of the East and West are the "bad guys". But the Witch of the West isn't going to think of herself that way. To her , the "bad guys" are Dorothy and Co. The way Baum sees things and the way the Witch sees things are incompatible

I, for one, can't see how to tell the Witch's story from her perspective (the one in which she's the "good guy") and still cast her as Baum does, as the "bad guy". Please enlighten me as to how to reconcile these seemingly contradictory requirements.


[I]f Baum mapped the world of OZ, and the witch lives in that world, then there will be a large number of things in which the Witch and Baum should be in agreement.

Trivially true, and irrelevant. It is precisely those things which Baum and the Witch are not in agreement about that make the stories differ.


Now of course your theory is that the witch thinks the munchkins are evil and Baum thinks otherwise,

I'd appreciate it if you responded to what I actually wrote, rather than putting words into my mouth just so you can object to them. Please reread my last post; nowhere will you find any mention of what the Witch thinks of munchkins (or any other characters), except that she would regard Dorothy and Co. as the "bad guys".


but if the witch argues truthfully for the evil of munchkins

Why would she make such arguments? The munchkins oppose her efforts, which makes them "enemies", not "evil". Being "enemies" is enough reason for her to do what she does toward them. I doubt very much whether she'd spend any time worrying about their morality.


then there might not be that big a difference between that which Baum described and that which she describes, if the reader sees the character as going after a bunch of basically harmless little things

To her, they wouldn't be "harmless little things". If they were, the Witch would have overwhelmed them before Dorothy even got to the Emerald City. She didn't. "Harmless little things" are unlikely to have had that sort of success.


If the witch and Baum share the same reality then I guess she spends a good deal of her time:

1. cackling and making threats at her enemies.
2. disciplining her flying monkey lackeys.
3. watching flying monkey lackeys perform military drills.
4. walking around a castle that edgar allen poe would have described as a damn cheerful place

You seem to be claiming that the Witch does nothing that Baum doesn't explicitly describe her as doing. I think it more likely that Baum was following ordinary authorial convention, and including only those things which actively advance the story or contribute to character development. The activities Baum leaves out might well take up the greater part of her time. (As to the castle, Baum doesn't appear to describe it at all. The place that "edgar allen poe would have described as ... damn cheerful" is the invention of the set designer. If you grant him the authority to determine what is "official Oz", then how can you deny Gregory Maguire the same authority?)

Moreover, these are exactly the sorts of things that the Witch would report differently from Baum.


(ever notice how the descriptions of environments in a story can sometimes create a 'mood', the witch's living conditions, if not outright lied about might create such a 'mood')

First putting words into my mouth, now being patronizing. You certainly know how to conduct an argument.


Do tell me where this shit might lead to a little bit of depression at least.

You're the one arguing that grimness and depression are inevitable, not me. Until I understand what it is about the story that makes grimness and depression overwhelming inevitable, I cannot in good faith say that the story would lead there.


"But the Witch of the West isn't going to think of herself that way. To her, the "bad guys" are Dorothy and Co"

I am aware of the common wisdom that nobody has ever thought of themself as the bad guy, however I would like something more than a bald statement of its truth for proof.

I fear you're in for a disappointment, then. I see no reason to provide that "proof"; it is common wisdom after all, and you've offered no reason to suspect it doesn't apply here. Moreover, you're wanting me to prove something I didn't claim: that no one has ever thought of himself as "the bad guy". I don't doubt in the slightest that some people so regard themselves. But what reason is there to believe the Witch is one of those people? If you take into account the slantedness of Baum's descriptions, the Witch's actions aren't even particularly irrational. (Arrogant, yes, but last I heard, arrogance wasn't considered a mental illness.) Lacking evidence of irrationality, why assume that the Witch is one of the minority who take pleasure from thinking themselves "bad"?

Can you name even one moderately prominent historical figure who did regard him- or herself as "evil"? (By any standard, the Witch would qualify as a prominent Oz-historical figure, so limiting consideration to real-world historical figures seems not unreasonable.)

Me, I'd like something more than bald statements that the story would inevitably lead to grimness and depression.


"One more time: why is it necessarily grim and depressing?"

to stress:
" or at least very far removed from the opinions of normal Oz society"
I don't know, just as my limited experiences with the memoirs of nazis have prepared me, falsely it would seem, to expect grim and depressing narratives from nazis

Can you make your case at all without misrepresenting what I'm saying? I see no other purpose possible in writing that "falsely it would seem"? Who has claimed that you expect "falsely"? Not you, certainly; to do so would undermine your whole argument. As it is my posts you're responding to, and you've named no other source for the claim, the obvious conclusion is therefore that I must have made it. Yet I did not, and cannot have made that claim: your last post--the one this is a response to--is the first time those memoirs, and your expectations about them, were not so much as mentioned.


I have likewise been prepared from reading case histories, stories, interviews with and about people in situations of extreme social isolation and antisociability to expect narratives about people in such situations to be grim and depressing.

And how does all that relate to the story of the Witch of the West? Even supposing that Nazi memoirs are the pit of sorrow you present them as (they may be, for all I know), how does that support the claim that the story of the Witch of the West would be as bad?


This expectation has unfortunately become so hardened in me that it is now basically a statement of belief that they will be of such a nature, I look forward to the many lovely stories of social outcasts to disprove my feeling on this matter.

Again, what does this have to do with the discussion? The only point I see here is "I see everything as grim and depressing because I expect everything to be grim and depressing". If that's not what you're trying to say, you might try making things more plain and less rhetorical, and so less prone to misinterpretation.


"and prevents you from telling it as, perhaps, a Greek tragedy."

Sophocles, your name is silly good times for all!

You lost me. Are you saying that the Witch's life couldn't be done as a Greek tragedy? Or what?


"From the Witch's perspective, the tale is one of ambition thwarted, of increasing power and eventual mastery undone by events she couldn't predict."

359 pages of cake and ice cream, 20 pages of grim depression at the end. That's a good mix. Basically a book that is going to end on a note of grim depression needs to have at least a strong thread of grim depression running through a good deal of the narrative.

Whence come these repeated claims of "grim depression"? I keep asking you to explain what makes things "grim and depressing", and you keep responding "because they're grim and depressing".

And can't a story be anything other than "cake and ice cream" or "grim and depressing"? The stories I read aren't nearly so patently one or the other.


Another one of these little prejudices I am somewhat confirmed in. So in essence I think your view is somewhat paradoxical, or at least leading to poor constructions of narratives. If the story is a happy fun time narrative and the last 20 pages is grim depression we need to spread that grim depression through the whole narrative to make it work and not be as jarring,

What prevents a story in which the last 20 pages are grim and depressing from working as a story? Even if those last twenty pages take the reader completely by surprise (that is, the author has done no foreshadowing at all), that surprise doesn't necessarily make the overall work a failure. Sometimes, "jarring" is exactly the effect the author intends.


at which point having achieved a more pleasing aesthetic context the story is no longer happy fun time, it is grim depression.

So in a 360-page book, 20 pages of "grim and depressing" material overwhelms the other 340 pages of "happy fun" material, even if spread evenly throughout the book? I find this hard to believe.


"ambition thwarted, of increasing power"
although it is certainly not true of all such histories a good number do lend themselves to feelings of grim depression a propos humanity; you seem to feel otherwise.

Again with the words in my mouth. I've said nothing at all about the relative proportions of "depressing" vs. "happy" stories, merely that "depressing" is not the inevitable result you claim it to be.


On the whole, I get only one thing out of all this: the words "grim and depressing" appear to have a special meaning for you that they don't have for other people. They seem to be the only words you have available to describe whatever it is you're describing, you seem to use them in contexts in which other people would use weaker words, and you don't seem to be able to explain what makes something "grim and depressing". Since those words are at the heart of this, further discussion is pointless unless agreement can be reached on what "grim and depressing" means.

#530 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2006, 01:19 AM:

URL for signing on to object to Alito:

http://www.johnkerry.com/action/alito/

Join John Kerry and add your name to the Congressional Record
An Open Letter to all Senators

Dear Senators,
I am writing to ask that you vote against Samuel Alito’s nomination to the Supreme Court and work hard to convince other Senators to join you.

Judge Alito does not represent my values. He does not represent mainstream American values. I think it’s time that the United States Senate confirms once and for all that extreme ideology has no place on the highest court in the land

This is a critical fight for the future of our country. It’s no time to sit on the sidelines. That’s why I’ve taken the time to sign this letter and pass it along to my friends and neighbors. And I hope that’s why you’ll step up to the plate and do the right thing for America: defeat Samuel Alito.

I am honored to join John Kerry by putting my name in the Congressional Record against Judge Alito. I call on you to do the same with your vote.

Sincerely,

Your name here

[there is a space for "Tell us what you think:" I put in, "More than half the people in the USA are female. The majority of the population is Protestant. Why is one of the TWO women on the Supreme Court being replaced by yet ANOTHER Christian rightwing male, particularly a white extremist forcing his particular sectarian practices on those not of his creed or gender?!" Alito does not respect "liberty and the pursuit of happiness." He does not respect the Bill of Rights. He does not respect separation of church and state. He does not respect self-determination of women for control over their own bodies and lives. He does not believe in that first sentence of the Constituation, "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." His actions and words do not promote unity, they institutionalize injustice and intolerance, they reduce the domestic tranquility, they harm the general welfare by making the rich richer and impoverishing everyone else, and they spite the very provisions of the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

The founders of the USA talked about "the consent of the governed." Judge Alito does NOT have my consent as a judge, nor does the Constitution-spiting traitor nominating him have my consent to govern."]

#531 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2006, 08:30 AM:

For those with an interest in copyright and intellectual property issues:

According to one of our local papers, Hank Williams' unreleased recordings belong to his heirs. The contending parties are his children, Polygram (a division of Universal Music Group), and Legacy Entertainment Group. The bone of contention is a set of acetate recordings made by Hank Williams and the Drifting Cowboys for the Mother's Best Flour radio show, once broadcast on WSM radio.

The last three paragraphs of the article refer to the court's ruling:

"The court disagreed, saying that when the recordings were made, they weren't intended to be released as records and, therefore, weren't subject to the exclusive record contract between Williams and MGM.

As for Legacy, the appeals court said even though the company owned the physical tapes, it did not own the intangible property rights to commercially exploit the performances.

In its opinion, the court ruled Legacy's claims could have been titled: 'I Found a Gold Mine in the Radio Station Trash.' But the court added that Legacy's title claims didn't measure up, and could be called, 'Your Bucket Has a Hole in It.'"

#532 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2006, 09:17 AM:

This is the world according to Bush supporters.

#533 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2006, 01:25 PM:

Laura Roberts, Serge,
Here's a note on Kipling's Dirigible advertisements from Airminded, a blog about "Airpower and British society, 1908-1939"

-r.

#534 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2006, 01:31 PM:

Harry Connolly wrote:

Does anyone else find it really difficult to keep up with Making Light lately?,

Lately? Always! Great fun though.

He continues:
I love the blog and the wonderful discussions, but by my rough calculations, active conversations can have 40 posts a day, and there are three to five active conversations going on concurrently.
I usually limit myself to one conversation at a time, and follow it steadily for 1d4 days, and then depart for a week or two. Reading a single thread from the bottom up, and quoting people in my responses to them seems an adequate way to keep current and to help others keep current.

Truthfully, I am quite delighted when someone replies to something I have written here. It's not that there is an unfavorable signal to noise ratio, its merely that there is a huge amount of signal! (How on earth did the Nielsen-Haydens|Haydents manage that?)

-r.

#535 ::: Ellen ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2006, 01:33 PM:

This is completely irrelevant to everything else in the thread, and I feel lame even asking. But I have to anyway.

On June 24, 2004, One of the Particles (entitled, "You're a young liberal MP in 1906 . . . ") linked to an interactive decision-making game. Is that game still available anywhere it can be accessed without paying for it?

#536 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2006, 02:12 PM:

Thanks for the Kipling/airship link, rhandir.

#537 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: January 24, 2006, 02:25 PM:

"Open Threads" don't have an off-topic... spam is a different issue, spam is pollution/contamination/vermin.

#538 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2006, 02:56 AM:

I keep up with Making Light, but I do have to read it (nearly) every day. Takes perhaps an hour a day.

#539 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: January 25, 2006, 11:41 AM:

For your particle-ing pleasure,

appropos of nothing much in particular,

and courtesy of my husband's mad link-finding skillz,

I give you...


http://homepage.mac.com/aklego/iMovieTheater23.html

...the Lego Knitting Machine.


(You're welcome.)

#540 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2006, 11:20 AM:

Regarding the citizenship ceremony thingie I mentioned above: I have just been through it, and we swore to "the second". This could, arguably, mean that I've sworn to someone who doesn't exist, and probably won't exist in my lifetime.

The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, who made the speech beforehand, managed to get through it without any mention of the Queen at all. The chief registrar was nearly as coy, bringing up the "sovereign" twice but not naming her.

The Lord Provost also had to gently remind the assembled crowd to applaud as we all got our certificates one by one. No one was doing so.

#541 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: February 13, 2006, 12:19 PM:

Congratulations, Abi! Now you get a burgundy passport and the right to vote SNP.

#542 ::: Sarah Jacobson ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 06:34 PM:

i don't like this

#543 ::: asdfg ::: (view all by) ::: November 04, 2006, 07:49 PM:

I googled the word Liberty and got a picture of Bush hurting the statue of liberty. What is that about. Without him thousands more people would be dead.

#544 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 12:38 AM:

Huh. Here I was sure that was going to be comment spam, and it turns out to be a drive-by instead.

#545 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 01:22 AM:

So David, did you mimic the same "multiple links in the name field" trick (so that "Recent Comments" link pointed to multiple locations, not just the recent comment)? Or was that something else? I couldn't see the point of it in asdfg's post.

#546 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 01:24 AM:

It's something else. My post has the same feature. I just it was a joke by our hosts, special for this thread.

#547 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 05, 2006, 07:27 AM:

I can't see asdfg's point. Without Bush tens of thousands less would be dead, and hundreds of millions more would be free.

Bush hunting the Statue of Liberty is a very apt picture.

Remember: A vote for a Republican, any Republican, is a vote for torture.

Vote this Tuesday.

#548 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: November 06, 2006, 02:43 AM:

asdfg said "hurting" not "hunting". I expect he was referring to this painting by Alex Ross.

The multiple-link thing was done by Teresa when she started up the thread; these latter posts have inherited it in the usual way.

#549 ::: Clifton Royston sees comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 09:58 PM:

Mind you the description sounds interesting, in a "driving past an road accident scene" kind of way.

#550 ::: Cadbury Moose sights spam ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2010, 06:14 AM:

Post 550 looks spamish to this moose, it's a boilerplate post and the poster name links to a website.

#551 ::: praisegod barebones SUCUK görüyor (SPAM olamaz) ::: (view all by) ::: January 13, 2011, 08:48 AM:

OK, this one seems to have done something interesting to the link on Recent Comments

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