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August 19, 2006

Open thread 69
Posted by Teresa at 04:24 PM *

“Whenever a social mass phenomenon is ascribed to a mere stupidity of the men participating, this apparent stupidity in reality is merely the stupidity of the observer and critic.” —Karl Kautsky, Foundations of Christianity, trans. Henry F. Mins*
Comments on Open thread 69:
#1 ::: Fran ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 04:33 PM:

There may be some good reason for this open thread to be empty 12 hours after it was created, but I'm sure I'm too dim to recognize it.

#2 ::: Fran ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 04:35 PM:

.. 12 MINUTES by my watch, 9 minutes by your server clock, that is.

*slinks away*

#3 ::: Andrew Vestal ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 04:39 PM:

That quotation reminds me of the whole Snakes on a Plane phenomenon. I'm not sure if that was its intent.

I saw Snakes on a Plane last night with a group of friends, and we all had a great time. Moreover, most of us agreed that Snakes on a Plane was a legitimately better and more enjoyable film than the leaden tentpole "blockbusters" Hollywood has been subjecting us to this summer. It was incredibly silly, but it wasn't insultingly stupid.

But I've noticed a lot of negative reviews of SoaP focusing not on the movie, but on the pre-release hype and the "bloggers" who hyped it up; as if they should be held responsible for the movie that came out yesterday evening. Casuality between silly hype and silly movie seemed all messed up.

The kicker is: the theater was 2/3 empty on opening night. Anecdotal evidence and Friday returns suggest that SoaP is a big financial bust, despite stratospheric Internet buzz. Last movie this happened to was Serenity: Internet approved, box office failure.

Have there been any cases of "Internet hype" turning into tangible, real-world returns? If not, is there a way to use the Internet "correctly" so that huge online buzz will produce actual results, and not just a bunch of starry-eyed MySpacers?

#4 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 04:47 PM:

Have there been any cases of "Internet hype" turning into tangible, real-world returns?

The Blair Witch Project.

#5 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 05:05 PM:

W00t! Thank you, Teresa!

#6 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 05:08 PM:

Surely, this should be the yin-yang thread?

#7 ::: Andrew Vestal ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 05:18 PM:

I don't think the Blair Witch Project's success was due to anything Net-related, though. I think it was due to people seeing it and telling other people about it. It also had a very good real-world marketing campaign which was probably more directly responsible for its success than anything on the Net. It was the constant creepy footage of the kids lost in the woods that sold the public on it--not the website. It may have been one of the first movies to use the Net as a marketing tool, but it was traditional hype that sold most of the tickets.

Speaking of huge-Net successes that fail to generate real-world returns, does anyone remember the A.I. webgame?

#8 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 05:20 PM:

Tangentially related to "Blair Witch," and at the possible risk of exposing stunning ignorance:

So, I recently read H.P. Lovecraft's The Shunned House, and I thought that the first 3/5ths of the story -- basically an extended exposition -- was quite possibly the greatest vampire story ever told. But then, when H.P. got down to the plot, and settled into stereotypical Lovecraft, I lost all interest. Similarly, I really like the 19th c. journalistic hoaxes of writers like Poe, Twain, Bierce, et al -- moreso than their straight narrative fiction. Basically, rather than being hit over the head with a structured plot, I'm looking for something in which events unfold strictly through anecdotal accounts.

My question is: Is anyone today writing something like the literary equivalent of a mockumentary film? Imagine a nonfiction book like The Devil in the White City, but entirely invented. Does such a subgenre exist, and does it have a name?

If there are any extended works in this style, are there any you would recommend? Particularly in the horror/fantasy realm.

#9 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 05:32 PM:

If there are any extended works in this style, are there any you would recommend? Particularly in the horror/fantasy realm.

Howard -- these aren't extended works, and they're not contemporary, but some of Jorge Luis Borges' works (which are often fake essays complete with footnotes) might fall into that category. They're more a kind of "philosophy fiction" than fantasy, though I think there's definitely something metaphysically spooky about "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbits Tertius."

How about epistolary novels? I can strongly recommend Steven Brust & Emma Bull's Freedom and Necessity, which is recent (though set in the 19th Century) and has hints of fantasy.

#10 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 05:34 PM:

"Tlön, Uqbar, Orbits Tertius" --> "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius"

Clearly I've been spending too much time reading planet-related threads...

#11 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 05:54 PM:

Aren't there still some states where this thread is illegal?

#12 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 05:58 PM:

for the Knitters among us:

Normal Life

A bittersweet tale, told in pictures.

-r.

#13 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 06:01 PM:

Hello there, AI Charlie Stross. Though that's a fairly good "plausibly usable in all ML threads" line, it's a little too early in this thread to deploy it to full effect.

#14 ::: Kathryn from Sunnvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 06:01 PM:

A question on Worldcon parties, about which I'm not sure of the best place to ask it, but there may be experts here, so...

If anyone here has served fruit at a Worldcon bid party- well, any sort of Worldcon party- could you email me? I need to better estimate some volumes. Thanks! (announcement to come once the website is up)

#15 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 06:05 PM:

Charlie, how long have you been field-testing that thing?

#16 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 06:09 PM:

I have served fruit at Worldcon. Do we have to do this in email? Let's contribute to the general education.

Don't serve anything with pits, seeds, or inedible skin. Think twice before serving anything that requires little skewers.

#17 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 06:32 PM:
I don't think the Blair Witch Project's success was due to anything Net-related, though.

My memory is that the net word-of-mouth was huge, before it was released generally. It had been in a a couple film festivals, but I had heard all about it months before it was released generally; the first couple weeks it was in New York, it was literally impossible to get a walkup ticket. I tried on the first day and for days after that, but the goddamned Angelika had sold all their tickets via credit card purchase. Anyway, I think it never would have generated such widespread hype pre-internet.

#18 ::: Kathryn from Sunnvyale ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 06:59 PM:

Teresa,

There's one fruit-related idea I'm keeping hidden, for the sake of a small (yet amusing to me) joke relating to the bid party. emailed.

Otherwise, yes, Name That Fruit!
Obviously no Durian, sadly no mangosteen, too expensively no cherimoya (mmmm, cherimoya).

Parties tend to have too much food anyways. Those dreadful dry cheese squares. I'm thinking that what food we have at our party should be tasty, and California has good fruit.

The question is how much to get per person. While I could eat a pound of fresh, ripe strawberries in a siting (mmm, giant mound of strawberries), that's me. There's also the question of Thursday vs. Friday volumes- post masq gets a good crowd, but will they be more snack-hungry?

Then again, scientific studies show that the more choices of food people see, the more -in absolute calories- they'll eat.

#19 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 07:07 PM:

If you want fruit that just looks interesting, try dragon fruit. I saw some at Safeway an hour or so ago. I haven't a clue what it tastes like, but I'd like to see a display of it.

#20 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 07:15 PM:

Those dreadful dry cheese squares.

How long before someone brings up Wallace and Gromit? Anyway, Thursday night might be better, Kathryn, due to how long masquerades can run. Of course I'm not sure that worldcon masquerades still last into the wee hours of morning like the LAcon did in 1984.

#21 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 07:24 PM:

Aren't there still some states where this thread is illegal?

Yes, indeedy. I used to live in one.

Now I live in Georgia where, thanks to decisions of the state supreme court, gay sex was legal for several years while unmarried heterosexual intercourse was illegal (since fixed by the court, which struck down the anti-fornication law).

#22 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 07:30 PM:

Based on my one experience of eating one, dragon fruit sadly doesn't taste much of anything at all. It's not unpleasant, but very subtle and rather insubstantial. For something exotic-looking, I much prefer horned melon, but YMMV (plus it's been years since I've seen one, and I can't remember the taste in any detail).

#23 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 07:32 PM:

try dragon fruit. I saw some at Safeway an hour or so ago. I haven't a clue what it tastes like

Dragon. Only with more Vitamin C.

Compared to the disastrous launch of Cadbury's Chocolate Marshmallow Caerbannog Bunnies a few years ago, it's been a considerable success.

#24 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 07:45 PM:

Horned melon is in my produce department as Kiwano. I don't know what it tastes like either. (This morning all the bananas were 'organic', at twice the price of regular bananas. Why, I don't know.)

Raspberries and blackberries are in this month.

#25 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 07:46 PM:

Orbis Tertius, not "orbius".

#26 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 08:00 PM:

This may be the place to mention this little oddity...

Some of the bulbs in one of the electronic signs over I-85 in Atlanta are blown. This resulted yesterday in a message informing travellers that there was a 'smog ale'. I'm now wondering what that would taste like, and how it would be made.

#27 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 08:02 PM:

When I'm working in Program Ops, I'm going to use the AUMF to throw people I don't like off of panels.

I mean, Bush is the commander in chief, and we are at war.

#28 ::: Shannon ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 08:05 PM:

Speaking of huge-Net successes that fail to generate real-world returns, does anyone remember the A.I. webgame?

I do! I was really into it for a while, although I came in way too late to really understand what was going on. It did make the movie more interesting to me though, since I was already involved in the world. My boyfriend (now husband) didn't like the movie of AI nearly so much as I did, partly because I had so much backstory.

There were a lot of problems with that movie that no Net-hype could make up for though. I personally thought it should have ended with him dying.

#29 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 08:07 PM:

"AUMF"? Does that stand for "alternate-universe mthrfckr"?

#30 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 08:07 PM:

About fruit: would like to note that the Washington Cherry crop was particularly good this year, and there's still a lot of the late season fruit available. Cherries are good for large parties as most people secretly prefer them clean, stem on, and with a cup to spit the seeds into. Much less fuss than other ways of presenting them.

Now: can anyone tell me sights not to miss in and around Missoula?

#31 ::: elise ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 08:11 PM:

"Smog ale" is no doubt a murky brew.

The missing letters on signage remind me of the time at a convention when Juan and our friend Jennie came to fetch me, laughing so hard they almost couldn't talk, and took me to a stairwell with a window through which the sign for a nearby movie theatre was visible. There was a T missing from the sign, so the movie now playing was "LORD OF HE RINGS." They pointed to this, crowed "LORD OF HERRINGS!" in unison, and promptly fell apart in giggles again.

#32 ::: Harriet ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 08:26 PM:

On a recent visit to friends who live near the Willowbrook Mall in NJ, we drove past an "ELF STORAGE" facility....

#33 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 08:37 PM:

"Lord of Herrings?" Isn't that Michael Flatley?

#34 ::: risa ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 08:39 PM:

Howard, have you seen the movie "Forgotten Silver?" it's not quite the same thing, but it is a mockumentary, and a very convincing one at first. it's done by Peter Jackson (yes, that Peter Jackson) and Costa Botes. i watched it right after Heavenly Creatures came out and it made me fall in love with Peter Jackson's sense of humor ;)

#35 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 08:46 PM:

*Sigh* ... bananas ... Due, it is said, to Cyclone Larry, which wiped out our main Queensland banana plantations in March, bananas in Sydney have been around the $12-$15/kilo mark for months. Envelocalculations very roughly $4-$5/lb. How much were those organic bananas, PJ Evans?

#36 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 08:51 PM:

Does anybody remember when Ed Bryant hosted the Hugos at 1981's worldcon in Denver? After a grand entrance on rollerskates, he told us about strange movie double features. There are probably many people posting here who're too young to have experienced those, but I digress. One of Bryant's favorites was Someone Is Killing The Great Chefs of Europe teamed up with Soylent Green. Anyway, two or three years ago, my wife and I drove thru a very small town in southern Arizona, but not so small that it didn't have a movie theater, where the marquee proudly advertised The Passion of the Christ and HellBoy.

#37 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 09:13 PM:

When you're dealing with non-fans, the purpose of fancy exotic fruits is to decorate fruit-and-cheese platters so people can feel swankier while eating the same seedless green grapes they always eat. If you're laying on a spread for fans, someone will infallibly eat the weird stuff. If Jon Singer is coming, he'll be the one eating the weird stuff, but he'll be getting everyone else around him to taste it too, and he'll have brought additional weird food with him.

(Okay, I'm the other one who'll do that. Get the two of us together and the same things will happen, but the conversation will be full of botanical Latin.)

Important principle: at successful parties, people don't tend to move a lot. If it's crowded, they can't move. If it isn't crowded, they'll get into absorbing conversations, and they still won't move. It is thus important to not feed them stuff that requires them to dispose of the remains. Only an exceptionally tidy fan will step away from an intense conversation to dispose of cherry stones, citrus peels, apple cores, cheese rinds, candy wrappers, or other detritus. It is likewise important to locate dips or salsas immediately adjacent to the snacky bits that are meant to be dipped in them.

A little nourishing food is good for the partygoers who missed dinner, but for the rest of them, it's an amusement.

Specific fruit functions:

Star fruit cut cool-looking ornamental cross-sections.

Watermelon and other melons add bulk, but they're messy.

Fresh figs are so that people who know how to eat them can show off to people who don't. Same goes for pomgranates, kumquats, fresh lichis, and fresh dates.

Kiwis take too much prep time for their value.

A crate of clementines is a great thing to have at a party, but they're out of season during most of the major conventions.

A few strawberries will look nice on a cheese platter, and will last a while, because they'll be perceived as ornamental. Strawberries on a fruit platter will evaporate.

Apple slices tend to languish. They do a little better if put next to the cheese.

Blackberries and raspberries are fragile, expensive, and messy. A few raspberries floated in a glass of champagne can be very pretty.

Sectioned whole pineapple makes a fine show, but don't even think of trying it unless you've got an experienced pineapple-prepper and a large sharp knife.

Seedless grapes are the backbone of any fruit presentation.

All of the above is subject to change if you have chocolate dip.

#38 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 09:15 PM:

On the "pseudohistorical novel" track, there's The Glory of the Empire by Jean d'Ormesson. It came out in French in '71 and in English (from Knopf) in '74. It's exactly what was requested: a long work (350 pages in hardcover), written as a history, of an entirely imaginary Empire existing parallel to historical ones (such as Byzantium). There are geneological charts, illustrations of coins, footnotes, a bibliography (which contains many real works, and may be entirely real) and an index.

It's a fascinating book, that almost nobody seems to have heard of. I suspect that it fell too sharply between the stools; most historians of thirty years ago wouldn't have looked twice at it,* it's not a conventional novel, and just explaining what it is was probably difficult. I don't think it's in print, but abebooks has a bunch of cheap hardcovers.

It seems to me that there must have been some "extraordinary voyages," particularly in the Victorian period, that were written as if they were actual accounts, though I'm not sure that quite fits the prescription. When that's done now, it's usually an obvious parody.

*cf. the response to "counterfactuals," or to Richard Snow's doing an issue of American Heritage on historical fiction.

#39 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 09:20 PM:

Fruit -- if neither much too ripe nor much too unripe -- sounds good. I didn't do much of it at the Fan(Zine)Lounge I helped-out on at the previous LArea WorldCon, and can't help with an estimate. Or even a guess -- both the number of people attending an open party, and their voracity, seem to me to be unpredictable. If you run out, the world won't end, while left-overs (kept with a bit of ice in sealed bags) in a tote-box can be passed on to some other party. (Mind you, I remember the days when at least 90% of the things now commonly set out at convention room-parties would have been awesomely remarkable.)

#40 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 09:23 PM:

Want me to go on with rules of thumb for worldcon parties?

#41 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 09:25 PM:

Erik, what is the AUMF? I've been waiting for my memory to toss it up, but it isn't happening.

Is the Fckrobe of Power still part of the general armament?

#42 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 09:29 PM:

Forgot one: There's a so-far-unstudied substance or active principle in pomegranates and mulberries that makes them stain like nothing else on the planet. Mulberries have about four times as much of it. They should be eaten outside while you're wearing rain gear.

#43 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 09:31 PM:

(Smacks head.) Pseudohistorical novel: Islandia, by Tappan King's grandfather.

#44 ::: ctate ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 09:32 PM:

Fresh figs are so that people who know how to eat them can show off to people who don't.

Hm. I love fresh figs, but haven't tried to tackle them as handfruit. Do tell!

(An altogether impractical contribution to the subject: take a leaf of Belgian endive, place a goodly dollop of Cypress Grove "Humboldt Fog" chevre near the wide end, and nestle therein a quarter of a ripe Mission fig.)

#45 ::: ctate ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 09:32 PM:

(AUMF = Authorization for the Use of Military Force, no?)

#46 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 09:34 PM:

Teresa, ma'am? My local grocer, and Trader Joes, both have had Chilean clementines within the past week.

I've got an orchard full of fruit, so buying southern hemisphere citrus offends everything I am, but... daum, I was tempted.

#47 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 09:51 PM:

Teresa, I dunno how I forgot Islandia, either.

When I get some more words on paper, I prob'ly need to go back there. Maybe take Elise.

#48 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 10:00 PM:

Our Trader Joe's has clementines right now, too, but they're not worth the bother. Teresa is right, assuming you constrain her observation to "clementines worth eating."

#49 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 10:02 PM:

Kiwis take too much prep time for their value.

At this point, I had an image of a group of chefs running around a man in shorts, gumboots, and a black singlet with a small fern on it.

#50 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 10:06 PM:

Teresa,
Thanks- do go on. Our bid party has at least one person who's thrown Worldcon parties before. The previous experience doesn't include fruit, though.

We're 90% going with Thursday. (perhaps offering up the room space for another night, although it's an ordinary party floor room, not a suite.)

Fruit isn't related to the party theme, but I like the idea of late-summer fruits in decadent yet healthy heaps. Nothing too messy or staining, but then I've got ideas for making sampling easy for what fruits and foods we do have.

We have a party floor room: how many people can we expect? I know there is no good estimation, in that the better the party, the more people, and the more people the better the party.

But even for a barely shiny party, there'll be some minimum number range.

#51 ::: Erik V. Olson ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 10:23 PM:

AUMF = Authorization for the Use of Military Force, no?

Yes. It's the Magical Talisman that makes Shrub King, ya know.

#52 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 10:25 PM:

"Teresa is right, assuming you constrain her observation to "clementines worth eating."

Ah, good; I can ignore the temptation and go back to trying to figure out how to get the Gravensteins out of the top of trees planted in 1895 or so.


#53 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 10:25 PM:

Okay, I can understand how pomegranates and lychees and fresh dates require some advance planning, but I pretty much just inhale fresh figs in their entirety (well, probably minus the little hard bit at the end of the stem). Am I missing some arcane knowledge of fig-eating etiquette?

ctate: I bought some Humboldt Fog for the first time a day or two ago, and I think it's time to transfer some of it from my fridge to a water cracker.

#54 ::: Fred A Levy Haskell ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 10:34 PM:

Teresa: "A crate of clementines is a great thing to have at a party…" Erm… doesn't this violate your "no citrus peels" rule?

#55 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 10:45 PM:

Apple slices with peanut butter!

#56 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 10:46 PM:

Don't forget the several crates of napkins and more wastebaskets with plastic liners than you think you really need.

Worldcon parties. I remember watching the sun come up after a long, long night at MidAmericon, and riding the elevators at the Fountainbleau in Miami Beach....

#57 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 10:47 PM:

It's the Magical Talisman that makes Shrub King, ya know.

The version I heard was that Karl Rove pulled his organ out of a cement block where it had been stuck since a Skull & Bones party, and then a watery tart threw Tony Blair at him.

#58 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 10:53 PM:

MidAmericon. Thirty years ago. My first Worldcon.

Excuse me while I feel really, really, really old.

#59 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 10:54 PM:

ObSF: Fruit in SF, II:

"Every assignment," Gregor went on, "may be totally unrelated to any other. Unpredictable. You'll be tossed in to sink or swim."

"Not entirely unsupported," objected Vorthys. "The rest of us will be willing to call advice from shore, now and then."

For some reason Miles had a mental flash of the whole lot of them sitting in beach chairs holding drinks with fruit on little sticks, awarding him judiciously discussed points for style as he went under...

#60 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 11:05 PM:

MidAmericon. Thirty years ago. My first Worldcon.
Excuse me while I feel really, really, really old.

You wanna pass that bottle of Old Ken Keller?

#61 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 11:17 PM:

Instantaneous Open Thread Topic Shift:

A remastered version of Forbidden Planet is coming out in November, in a tin box with the usual price-increasing stuff, and some of the exciting extras are not very exciting (The Invisible Boy is . . . not a great film), but there's some "lost" preliminary footage and a Dolby remastering of the Barrons' score.

The movie was out on DVD a number of years ago, but it was a cheap disc, and I'm not sure it was even widescreen. (You miss a lot in pan/scan.) Anyway, you probably already know if you want this.

#62 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 11:29 PM:

On messiness...

Along with ordinary plates, Costco has hand-sized paper 'food trays' with one inch high sides. Perfect, I think, for holding fruit, taking peels, allowing discreet pit spits...

We will not be having fondues. We will have cinnamon sugar. Apple slices in peanut butter... dipped in cinnamon sugar? Strawberries in cinnamon sugar is heaven, that I know.

What else? I've found a local wholesale / retail produce stand, so anything can be on the table, *if* I know people will eat them and I'm not overbuying.

Of course, my food planning is based on what I'd like to see at parties. A worldcon variation of the dot com era's giant heaps of peeled shrimp. (Although now in Web2.0, it's now giant heaps of olive-oil and herb roasted shell-on shrimp. I'm calling it decadence2.0)

But does reality make such food dreams impossible? Does harsh reality drive away the glowingly fresh and tasty items and bring instead the stale cheese and 10lb boxen of good-for-2-years cookies?

#63 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 11:42 PM:

You can lemonjuice (or citric acid) the apple slices.

#64 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 11:50 PM:

"It says these cookies are good for two years."

"You mean, in two years they won't be significantly worse than they are now."

Now (and yes, I know this is in imperfect taste) I'm imagining a flourless triple-chocolate cake with a tiny LED display reading TIME TO DETONATION.

#65 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 11:53 PM:

I believe it was at MidameriCon that Charles Grant, Tom Monteleone and I invented a truly disgusting drink called the Spayed Gerbil. I think it was at MidAmericon. But perhaps not. Those were good times.

#66 ::: hrc ::: (view all by) ::: August 19, 2006, 11:54 PM:

Advice please. I have a first edition Wizard of Oz w/ the Densmore illustrations that was much loved by my mother and then by me both a very long time ago. A friend last night told me that I should have it rebound. Won't that destroy part of the value? The binding cover on the spine has split off halfway but there are no pages falling out.

Thanks for your thoughts.

#67 ::: Darkhawk ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 12:03 AM:

Oooh, an open thread!

I had a question, and it was suggested that I post it to an open thread in Making Light, you see.

Specifically: does anyone have any thoughts or advice for starting up work as a freelance proofreader or other sort of editing task? (I have some very dated editing experience and some rather more recent proofreading experience, which is not the world's broadest resume.)

#68 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 12:12 AM:

Islandia! Doh! Yes, excellent.

I'm not really clear if it's the style of storytelling you're looking for - epistolary novel, etc. - or the careful creation of a fictitious history within the context of our universe, or the combination of the two. Eco's Foucault's Pendulum fits the latter model pretty well, if ambiguously. So do some of Colin Wilson's novels - The God of the Labyrinth, for one, and is also told in the manner of a diary, and incorporating bits from historical characters' letters and journals.

Dracula is of course a too-obvious example of the manner of storytelling in the horror vein. I think all of the Flashman books also fit the told-as-series-of-anecdotes model quite well, if you're willing to settle for something a bit more genuinely historical in vein.

To take a different approach, all the Prieury of Sion and Merovingian hogwash would work simply by dint of reading it as the complete fiction that it is. So do the von Daniken "Ancient Astronauts" genre from the late '70s - elaborately plausible sounding complete b.s. Lots of occult conspiracy books fit there too, the more so as one starts to wonder after a while given that some parts of them are clearly true...

To bring this discussion full-circle, does anyone remember a French supposedly-non-fiction book in the "Ancient Astronauts" genre, issued in translation in the US in a cheap paperback, mid '70s? I was utterly flabbergasted when I read it; it was distinguished by the author apparently having taken Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness in all seriousness as a scientific record. He very solemnly cited the discoveries made by Miskatonic University scientists in the Antarctic as more solid proof of extraterrestrial contacts with earth. I wish I'd kept my copy of that treasure.

#69 ::: Kathryn in Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 12:14 AM:

Xopher,

This is the 21st Century, not the 19th. The fruit Singularity means apples come ready-to-eat, pre-sliced, crunchy and undiscolored, with a choice or a mix in cultivars, in packages with near-nanotech accuracy in permeability levels.

We will not be peeling apples during the Fruit in SF panel Thursday, no.

#70 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 12:27 AM:

it was distinguished by the author apparently having taken Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness in all seriousness as a scientific record. He very solemnly cited the discoveries made by Miskatonic University scientists in the Antarctic as more solid proof of extraterrestrial contacts with earth.

This is ringing a faint bell... I think I ran across this wonder at some point or other, and no, I didn't keep my copy either. Or maybe I just dreamed it...?

#71 ::: bka ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 12:28 AM:

Howard Peirce: You might like Ursula Le Guin's Changing Planes, a collection of linked fictional travelogues. I haven't read her translation of Angelica Gorodischer's Kalpa Imperial yet, so I'm not clear on whether it's something along the lines of Islandia, or pure secondary world fantasy. I also haven't read Jan Morris' Last Letters From Hav, but the recommendations I've seen suggest it also belongs in the subgenre of fantastic travelogues and ethnographic accounts.

Inexplicably, the jacket of Kalpa Imperial seems to have confused Le Guin with Jonathan Stroud.

#72 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 12:33 AM:

Wolcott:

Unlike other two-term presidents, Bush hasn't grown in office, become an old familiar whose irritating traits and lapses could be accepted almost affectionately, like Reagan's dottiness. He's demonstrably diminished, dwarfed by the reality that he continues to deny and repeating himself in press conferences like a robot whose wiring is on the fritz, for whom words and phrases are nothing more than pre-programmed units of sound. He's more irritating and dangerous than ever before, because he doesn't know anything, doesn't know or care that he doesn't know anything, and yet persists in a path of destruction as if it were the road to salvation. It's finally dawned on responsible minds that Bush could take all of us down with him before he and the neocons are through.

Sorry, but he's so good.

#73 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 12:39 AM:

Slices of kiwi fruit are a pain to prep, but...

...if you just halve a batch of kiwis and arrange them on a platter, with a stack of plastic spoons next to it, people can just scoop out the insides. (Yes, you have to have lots of wastebaskets handy for the scooped peels.)

For citrus, I'd go with tangelos. Easily and quickly peeled; pre-peeled sections can be set out to avoid having partyfen leave their own peels around. (A length of plastic wrap over the tangelo sections will help keep them from drying out too quickly.)

#74 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 01:11 AM:

Ursula K. LeGuin has done both a mockumentary (Always Coming Home) and a pseudohistorical novel (Malafrena).

#75 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 01:13 AM:

I know not of kiwis; I'm allergic to them.

I did, however, publish the first of Le Guin's translations of the Argentine writer Angelica Gorodischer's Kalpa Imperial sequence, in Starlight 2. It's further along the fantasy Main Sequence than Islandia.

James Wolcott certainly is good. Almost as good as Charles Pierce.

But: Lizzy! You were present at the creation of the Spayed Gerbil? How did I manage to not know this, for all these years?

(This has been one of those comments that's so insider-y that onlookers feel the irresistable urge to kill everyone involved. Roll the tumbrils. I'll go quietly.)

#76 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 01:16 AM:

I think any prep is too much for kiwis. Or at least any kiwi available in the US since about two years after they first showed up. Now they all taste like styrofoam with seeds, not like the curious, ester filled banana-ey, grapey, something-elsey kiwis of yesteryear.

One thing to consider adding, perhaps separately despite the fact that they're fruit, is a spread of local cherry (or grape) tomatoes. They're still in season, and are excellent finger food.

#77 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 01:29 AM:

Hey, all: Thanks for the suggestions. I shall follow up on them when I've sobered up. (Just finished a jazz gig tonight which ended in a rather lengthy decompression session immediatetely following.) I almost mentioned Borges and Dracula in the original query, but it was running long. Right now I'm looking more for entertainment than a challenge, which is what I get from Borges. Dracula is good, but I could do with less diaries and more newspaper clippings. Also, I'm sadly lacking in much contemporary literature, having been waylaid some time ago by 1830-1940 fiction, and realizing there's a helluva lot of it. I'm really wondering whatever happened to the serious hoaxes of the past.

An example: Some months ago, while looking for interesting "true" ghost stories on the 'net (a distressing chore, by the way), I stumbled on an account (linked to by multiple sources as true) of the history of a home for wayward girls in rural northern Iowa. It involved sex, ghosts, murder, arson, rumors of Satanism, etc. Fascinated, I tried to track it down, only to determine that the entire thing was a fabrication. (I got to the point where I was checking cemetery records on geneology sites.) Rather than being disappointed, I was incredibly impressed. I wish I could remember enough details to google it for you now.

To be honest, as much as I'd like to find other writers working in this medium, I'm thinking of starting a hoax blog. (Of course, it can't be much of a hoax if I'm admitting it now.) The point being not to fool people, but to create something really entertaining. Kind of like the 1947 Project, but with entirely invented details. I imagine a series of entries focused on a house in a small town in western Ohio or southeastern Indiana.

Is there an audience for something like that?

Unrelated: John M. Ford, thanks for the head's up on Forbidden Planet. I have a series of Robbie the Robot quotes on regular rotation on my iPod ("Welcome to Altair IV, gentlemen"). risa, I shall keep an eye open for Forgotten Silver. My introduction to Jackson was Dead Alive, followed by Bad Taste. As much as I liked LOTR and King Kong, I think I prefer Jackson as an outlaw director. Have you seen Meet the Feebles?

(Ack. I cannot spell or punctuate when drunk. I think I caught everything. Apologies if I didn't. Nor can I self-edit. Apologies for the length.)

#78 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 01:38 AM:

(A longer and altogether better version of this comment can now be found on Making Light's front page, right about here Please adjust links accordingly.)

#79 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 01:43 AM:

Howard: Curiously enough, when my computer launches, it says "Good morning, Dr. Chandra. I'm ready for my lesson." (Though I rarely have the sound on unless there is an actual need for it, and indeed, any sound effect that happens every time an event takes place must have an off switch, the only exceptions being fire alarms and the like.)

And Amazon says the Ultimate Collector's Edition (that's not me being snarky, that's really its name) will be sixty bucks, but the two discs alone, which should contain all the extra film, will be a fairly reasonable $27.

If I want a plastic Robby -- and I'm not saying I don't -- Dreamhaven is just down the street. He'd look nice between Cthulhu and the Pioneer Zephyr.

#80 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 01:50 AM:

You don't have to serve lox to the teeming hordes.

This goes for any variety of LOX.

#81 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 02:19 AM:

Howard:

I think Stephen King did something rather like what you describe for a fictional haunted house called "Rose Red", as a tie-in for a TV series; some people were apparently very annoyed when they found it wasn't for real. (It's not something I've read, so I can't comment on the quality.) This gets back to the James Frey discussion thread and Blair Witch; if you put a notional "this is all true!" label on a book, some people are completely unable to cope with the idea that in fact it might not be. Also, David Lynch's daughter (IIRC) put out a fictional 'Diary of Laura Palmer' during the Twin Peaks mania, which vaguely fits what with the molestation by malevolent spirits and all.

Your description of what you're looking for is kind of vaguely ringing a bell, but nothing has quite surfaced as yet.

I loved Meet the Feebles, especially the 'Nam flashbacks.

I will also defend Foucault's Pendulum as capable of being read as purely a laugh-riot, regardless of any Deep Themes or literary effort. The drunken discussion near the beginning on how prohibitions (as seen in the Templar rules of conduct) represent what people normally do, or are afraid they might do if unrestrained is both a Deep Truth and comedy gold.

#82 ::: Nina Armstrong ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 02:34 AM:

As for alternate novels..
How about the Dictionary of the Khazars by
Pavlac-it was interesting in that there were both male and female editions-only 4 lines were changed,but it did make a difference.

#83 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 03:37 AM:

Con Party-Givers:

Print-out everything Teresa has posted here on the subject. Read it again as it comes from the printer. Re-read it at least three times, preferably in as many days, finishing this Rite at least a day before you start buying supplies.

Some of her advice isn't applicable to the immediate situation -- an open bidding party, as I recall -- but much is and it's all good stuff to store in your mind.

If memory serves, these reguar rooms on the Party/Lanai floor aren't remarkably large, but some have wide sliding glass doors opening onto the large patio. So do many other rooms, some of which will also be sources of Parties. People -- many of them -- will be coming in and going out through both openings. It would probably be wise to accept this, and operate accordingly. Another set of the Party Floor rooms, I think, open onto (rather narrow) balconies. I disremember if the latter are connected, but if they are you might want to check with the inhabitants of the adjacent rooms and see if they want to trade overflow hosting for their party on some other night. Or you might not. (If I happen to be one of your immediate neighbors, consider your space doubled.)

I had to visit the hotel a couple of weeks ago (after procrastinating in getting a Reservation), at which time several signs in the lobby ... ummm... might've been the result of the Convention of The American Pentacostal Association, Inc. (so help me, the "Inc." is [sic]) then being held, but also might suggest that the hotel has been having a Problem with the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, so you'd best check with the right people on the ConCom if you're planning on beer or anything stronger.

#84 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 03:57 AM:

I'm still curious aboout the proper fresh-fig-eating method. All I do is hold the stem, and apply as many bites as necessary to consume the rest (1-3 depending on size).

Now, I do grant that somehow there are many people whose conception of figs only includes the seedy mess in a fig newton. These folks may well be scared by fresh figs...but that just leaves more for the rest of us.

#85 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 04:12 AM:

Lizzy L : " Worldcon parties. I remember watching the sun come up after a long, long night at MidAmericon..."

Ah, so do I. Happened to be alone, on some observation deck, and just inebriated enough to venture singing (kinda) a few lines of Ecco Ridente in Cielo (or however it's spelled). Probably sounded terrible, but I was hearing Gigli. And yes, it had been a remarkably long night -- I'd been hanging out mostly with some younger APA-50 people who were on a remarkably heavy adolescent Emotional Drama Trip.

I think the highest point of my Convention Sunrises so far, though was at IguanaCon (which P&T might remember). I'd gone up to the glassed-in observation room at the top of the hotel, hoping to watch the sun rise over the desert, in solitude. But as the sky turned pink, the elevator disgorged a gaggle of teen-age girls. And a bit later another, similar but unconnected, group. As the rim of the sun appeared, one of the girls began to sing a Mozart Alleluja -- and many or most of the others joined her, swelling to a magnificent chorus. (I suppose it's a standard for highschool a capella classes, but I was Mightily Impressed.)

#86 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 04:13 AM:

Teresa: Excellent advice, thanks. I've linked the general and fruit guideline comments, which I'm a bit surprised didn't rate a new post of their own.

One note on chilling beverages: If for some reason it's necessary to get them cold fast, adding water to the ice helps. Adding salt to that helps even more, although salt water is less pleasant to fish around in (and colder!) than pure water.

#87 ::: Kathryn in Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 04:31 AM:

Teresa,

Thanks- much thanks, so much thanks that I'm posting it here *and* in an entirely unrelated thread by mistake

Don Fitch and All
Does the lanai / balcony format increase the number of folks dropping by, everything else being equal? Seems like it would, although it would just as strongly reduce stay-time, as it's easier to escape any one room.

Do you recall if the wallpaper is the standard hotel 'slightly plastic smooth' kind? Upon which one can low-tack-tape posters?

ObSF Fruit in SF III, The Convention:

"The big doorway opened into a proportionately great hall hung with brown. The roof was in shadow, and the windows, partially glazed with coloured glass and partially unglazed, admitted a tempered light. The floor was made up of huge blocks of some very hard white metal, not plates nor slabs - blocks, and it was so much worn, as I judged by the going to and fro of past generations, as to be deeply channelled along the more frequented ways. Transverse to the length were innumerable tables made of slabs of polished stone, raised perhaps a foot from the floor, and upon these were heaps of fruits. Some I recognized as a kind of hypertrophied raspberry and orange, but for the most part they were strange.

Between the tables was scattered a great number of cushions. Upon these my conductors seated themselves, signing for me to do likewise. With a pretty absence of ceremony they began to eat the fruit with their hands, flinging peel and stalks, and so forth, into the round openings in the sides of the tables. I was not loath to follow their example, for I felt thirsty and hungry. As I did so I surveyed the hall at my leisure."

#88 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 05:04 AM:

By the way, Kathy in Sunnyvale, what worldcon bid are you with?

#89 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 05:11 AM:

Thanks for the warning about the re-release of Forbidden Planet, Mike. The movie has a special place on my heart, and not just because it's what we watched during our wedding party back in January 1986. (Yes, it was a fannish bunch - how did you guess?) Anyway, I'll stick witht the 'cheap' DVD. It's already in the wide-screen format. And who in Hell (literally) would want to watch The Invisible Boy?

#90 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 05:25 AM:

"Does the lanai / balcony format increase the number of folks dropping by, everything else being equal?"

The lanai one does (probably at least twice as many will enter that way than by the hall door... I think there are hall doors), the balconies not so much, if at all. The lanai also encourages wandering out, and back again (I'm a wanderer by nature, and like this feature.) I don't know if smoking is allowed on the patio, any more. I think maybe there were, and possibly stil are, chairs and tables on the patio/deck, so maybe you could bring some close, just before the party opens.

I'm drawing a total blank on the wall-covering -- it might be a good idea to bring easy-peel/no-residue tape and some of those plastic static-cling sheets that ...errr... kinda hold some posters & suchlike.

#91 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 06:22 AM:

Parties:

Mixing beer & sodas in the same tub makes sense, and if there's only one tub it's necessary. For better hotel relations (the room's on your credit-card) you might consider lining the tub with a shower-curtain, to help prevent scratches or other damage. For juices &cet., and even for everything, big 16- or 18-gallon plastic tote-boxes/tubs work reasonably well. Under many conditions water will condense on the outside, so unless they're in the bathtub it's a good idea to place a towel under each.

I like to restock the bathtub frequently, moving everything cold to one end and adding the warmer drinks at the other, with signs indicating this. Of course, some people will take something from the "Warm" end, decide that it's warm, look surprised or disgusted, and put it back at the "Cold" end. *sigh* Keeping future stock in tote-boxes with a little ice, to semi-precool it, can be helpful, but generally requires an additional prep-room (or a friendly neighbor) for storage.

The local weather forecast indicates that we can expect highs of about 95 & night lows c. 65, with the current pattern bringing considerable coolth at sunset. With the lanai door open (as it will be most or all of the time), the room's air-conditioner probably won't do much to combat all the calories all those people will be burning, so a couple of electric fans would probably be helpful, as Teresa indicated.

#92 ::: windypoint ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 06:49 AM:

If you include on your fruit platter some cherry tomatoes and some slices or sticks of cucumber of the sort that has edible rind, then the conversation will eventually turn to heated debate about the difference between a fruit and a vegetable. That debate tends to become as heated as the debate about whether Pluto is a planet.

#93 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 07:19 AM:

Whence the assumption that I'm an AI?

Tell me about your parents.

#94 ::: Steven Brust ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 07:27 AM:

Hey, Teresa, concerning the quote that opens this thread: did you notice that from where I used it on my LJ a couple of weeks ago, or was it coincidental? I ask because when I had the temerity to quote it, it set off a massive explosion of outrage from those who, it seems, take "People are stupid," as a vital article of their personal faith. Here it sort of fell without a whimper. Makes me curious.

In any case, yeah, love that quote.

#95 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 07:35 AM:

I prefer to split the difference between quotes -- "people are stupid: you and me are both people: therefore ..."

#96 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 09:02 AM:

"Of course I'm not sure that worldcon masquerades still last into the wee hours of morning like the LAcon did in 1984."

The one at Noreascon 4 did.

#97 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 09:16 AM:

I've read both The Glory of the Empire and Islandia (and one sequel to it written by a friend of Sylvia Wright's), and I'm surprised, Mr Ford and Ms Nielsen Hayden, that you've forgotten Jan Morris's Last Letters from Hav.

#98 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 09:33 AM:

Kathryn in Sunnyvale, I think the idea of peeling apples is blasphemous. Peels on, thank you. Especially if they're Granny Smith's, the best apples in the universe.

I was assuming they'd have to cut their own apples. Use volunteers for the scutwork; saves lots of money. Did you know there are people who LOVE slicing apples? (No, I'm not one).

Patrick, I'm picturing you scanning nametags for ones that say New Zealand, and fleeing the room when you spot one. Bet this never happens.

Teresa, an alternative to disabling the piano is having someone whose job it is to play it quietly. For a crowded party this won't do, of course, not to mention being inaudible over the hubbub.

And I can't say "Hear! Hear!" loudly enough to Circulate, tidy up, refresh, refill, consolidate. Then do it again. If you wanted to sit and have a good time, you should have gone to someone else's party. I used to have a donut-shaped apartment. The perfect place for a party; I could circulate in hostly fashion, and really participate, yet still continuously do cleanup. And by the time I got back around to the kitchen, the short cycle on the dishwasher was done and I could reload it and put out clean glasses.

But then I almost never sit "sit and have a good time" even at someone else's party. Generally at cons I go to the top of the hotel on the elevator, hit all the parties on that floor, and work my way down the stairs. Then I do it again. So I don't give a lot of con parties, because I can't even pick just one to attend.

Yes, I have ADHD. How'd you know? :-)

And I forget who it was when I was helping set up a party, who simply took a few snapshots of the suite before setup began. I thought that was brilliant; it enables a tired cleanup crew to easily remember where everything goes—or even not have to be the same people who set up.

#99 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 09:34 AM:

Oh, I remember why I wanted to lemonjuice the apple slices: apple slices dipped in lemon juice are YUMMY.

#100 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 11:04 AM:

Jan Morris's travel book about an imaginary city, Last Letters From Hav has been reprinted and is in print right now in Britain, and not only that but it's now called Hav and contains a 100 page addition about Hav today.

It's always an odd experience reading a sequel to something you've real a million times and love unreasonably, and this somehow applied even more in this case than normally, because Last Letters From Hav has a level of reality that is different from the way it is in fiction.

I don't know if I liked the addition or not -- I didn't want the things that had happened to Hav since 1985 to have happened, but I didn't want a lot of things that have happened in the real world to have happened either. It was a bit like going back to a place that used to be on the wild edge of civilization and is now full of skyscrapers.

Last Letters From Hav is about history, ambiguity, continuity, sense of place, connections and belonging. I recommend it wholeheartedly.

#101 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 11:25 AM:

Thanks for the School Library Journal particle. Reed Elsevier is the publisher of about half my physical therapy textbooks. Now I have a subject for my first piece of member correspondence when I join the APTA.

Re LeGuin pseudohistoricals, don't omit Orsinian Tales

#102 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 11:49 AM:

Serge -- Somebody was listening to Bryant; 3 years later, the theater across from LAcon 2 was showing Red Dawn, Oxford Blues, and Purple Rain. Of course, nothing beats Alien Meatballs Escape from Alcatraz, but I thought it was a nice gesture.

PNH: I'm surprised that Chilean clementines aren't worthwhile; Chile seems to understand agriculture. Maybe these die in shipping (and might be better in CA)? I'll be advised and pass them over if I see them (there's a TJ on my regular circuit of places-for-office-food).

JESR: sounds like a case for an apple-picker's ladder. Or did your tree grow \way/ up? I got the impression that when not trimmed they throw suckers all over instead of gaining lots of height. You \could/ just sacrifice them to the birds (as a friend has done with her cooking-cherry tree), but that may be too much sacrifice for a good apple.

any: MidAmericon was your first convention and you're feeling old? grumble. snarl. Discon II (via overnight train, sitting up, because I was low on both money and time), and I only missed Torcon because nobody in the MITSFS said anything about it. (After driving an elderly Corona from DC to Boston solo in high summer, driving a carload of fans to Toronto would have been a snap.) Well, I'll have to wave my shiny new scuba certificate at y'all at WFC (by which time I'll have it) just to prove that I haven't gotten any more sensible....

Tony Lewis asked someone pushing KC-in-06 literature at Millennium Philcon why it didn't mention MAC; he says he was told, "Everyone who was there is dead." (It could even be true; Worldcon bids are like villages, every one of them has to have an idiot somewhere.)

One addendum to Teresa's massively sane comments: there's no excuse for having trouble with stickies given current tech. Among the offerings are 3M (aka Post-It), "static cling" (some sort of soft plastic sheet that holds by simple persistence, that you can tape anything light to -- comes in packs of sheets like easel pads, try any office-supply chain), and even some completely removable two-sided tape. None of these are safe on grass-cloth wallpaper (although IMO the caliber of room that has such is not suited for parties where signs are necessary), but all of them are better choices than traditional stickies (e.g. Scotch or masking tape) even on resistant surfaces (mirrors, doors).

Kathryn: Don Fitch's recollections mostly match mine; the rooms have both hallway and patio access, with the patio somewhat common among rooms. (Not wide open, and I'm not sure that it isn't sectored, but it certainly supports some traffic.) You should put signs (or even lights if you have them as the deck was minimally lit) on the deck-side door(s), not just on the hall door(s). The deck will act as additional free space, especially if the weather is desert standard as Don's report suggests it will be; this doesn't mean to ignore T's advice about AC, but can reduce overcrowding and hence overheating.

#103 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 11:52 AM:

Don't mix haploid and diploid M&Ms. Peanut allergies are nontrivial.

I thought all M&Ms had ground peanut mixed with chocolate.

The link is to an entry in The NonVerbal Dictionary, where I remember reading that claim. I have no reason to doubt it, and don't have a bag of M&Ms at hand to check.

#104 ::: Dave Langford ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 11:58 AM:

Gosh, lots of things have happened on Making Light since I last posted. Hello, everyone.... The latest unexciting news from Ansible HQ is that -- having recently discovered that something called the Tower Hamlets Opportunity Group had registered Thog.org.uk -- I have determinedly seized the moral high ground by giving Thog's Masterclass its very own website at Thog.org. Now what did I do with that V*nna B*nta link ...?

#105 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 11:59 AM:

CHip... Red Dawn and Purple Rain? Oooookay. Meanwhile in 1981, some theater in Montreal thought it'd be a good idea to team up Boorman's Excalibur with Dudley Moore's Arthur.

#106 ::: Vassilissa ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 12:02 PM:

I love imaginary histories, etc. One of my favourite moments in Stars in My Pocket Like Grains of Sand is the bit with the books.

I keep writing imaginary book and movie reviews in my head. I have no idea what to do with them.

Tangent, since this is an open thread: toilet roll Jesus. My father showed me this (it's from a page of related toilet roll crafts and other crafts for kids) and I immediately thought "Making Light open thread!" So here it is.

#107 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 12:10 PM:

Don't mix haploid and diploid M&Ms. Peanut allergies are nontrivial.

All M&Ms contain peanut ingredients in the chocolate.

#108 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 12:15 PM:

Another travelogue of an imaginary country is G. Garfield Crimmins' The Republic of Dreams, an excerpt of which can be seen here. (I have the book but haven't read it yet.)

While the book was published in 1998, Crimmins invented his République de Rêves (as the natives call it) years before that - I saw an article about him in Games magazine in the early 1980s, at which time he was making and selling Rêves postage stamps, passports, and other such items, plus "dream boxes," which were wooden cases containing arrangements of unusual objects. Sadly, when I saw this I was around 13 and did not feel in a position to buy any of these. I was most pleased to see he had published a book years later.

#109 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 12:23 PM:

Clifton Royston: does anyone remember a French supposedly-non-fiction book in the "Ancient Astronauts" genre, issued in translation in the US in a cheap paperback, mid '70s? I was utterly flabbergasted when I read it; it was distinguished by the author apparently having taken Lovecraft's At the Mountains of Madness in all seriousness as a scientific record. He very solemnly cited the discoveries made by Miskatonic University scientists in the Antarctic as more solid proof of extraterrestrial contacts with earth. I wish I'd kept my copy of that treasure.

Could that have been Morning of the Magicians, by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier? The paperback cover art, wonderfully surreal, had been done by the same artist who did some album cover art for Santana, Mati Klarwein.

The major theme of the book was that there had been ancient technologies based on alchemy, and that much of what passed for magic was the misremembered details of that lost science. About a quarter of the book got into the occult theories of Nazi Germany. I think there had been a chapter on Charles Fort. I don't recall the Miskatonic University angle, but I wouldn't be suprised.

Years back, it seemed I could always find a second hand copy in any Salvation Army store I visited, but the supply seems to have dried up since.

#110 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 12:29 PM:

Aren't there still some states where this thread is illegal?... Hello there, AI Charlie Stross. Though that's a fairly good "plausibly usable in all ML threads" line, it's a little too early in this thread to deploy it to full effect.

Y'know, for someone who edited (and rewrote for local consumption) as much porn as you did, you should have caught this reference, Teresa.

Now (and yes, I know this is in imperfect taste) I'm imagining a flourless triple-chocolate cake with a tiny LED display reading TIME TO DETONATION.

Leave it to Mr. Ford to come up with the obvious sequel: CAKES ON A PLANE.

#111 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 12:30 PM:

A tasty dip with veggies (don't forget things like cauliflower and broccoli, and at least some markets have big mixed veggie plates ready to go) is yogurt or sour cream with curry powder. Best avoid the ones with dehydrated onion or garlic, if you can.

My first worldcon was Iggy. For some reason the people I work with seem to get younger every year ...

#112 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 12:37 PM:

I should add, the authors might have been having a little fun with the readers if they had been describing work done at Miskatonic University. They seemed to have regarded Charles Fort as playing the part of a provocateur.

I thought the quality of their writing was a cut above the Von Daniken book (which I could not take seriously enough to finish).

#113 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 12:46 PM:

All your snake are belong to us.

#114 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 12:53 PM:

Nina Armstrong said:
As for alternate novels..
How about the Dictionary of the Khazars by
Pavlac-it was interesting in that there were both male and female editions-only 4 lines were changed,but it did make a difference.

For help in searching -- the author's name is Milorad Pavic.
It's a fascinating book (structured as three "dictionaries" or encyclopedias, corresponding to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, with different events and stories retold from different perspectives). It doesn't tell a single, coherent story, so it might not be quite what Howard Peirce is looking for.

I don't think it's really necessary to get both the "male" and "female" editions, though ;-)

#115 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 01:01 PM:

Chiming in late on Party Throwing 101 with a few notes (I ran Tor's Worldcon parties for a few years, and lived to tell the tale):

Black trash bags are the Universal Solution to a multitude of problems: line the tub with them; collect trash with them; if the suite has a kitchen/bar area, make sure you have several containers (cardboard wine cases, garbage cans, whatever) pre-lined before the party begins, into which recycleables/trash, whatever can be tossed. If there's a closet free (meaning, a closet in which you haven't put all the fragile and easily pilfered stuff you don't want disappearing) put down another trash bag on the floor and stow your during-the-party trash there.

I generally stack all the soda/beer/cider under the sink in the bathroom, so that restocking the tub with drinks is not a major commute from a closet.

In my experience, hard cider goes faster than beer these days. I'm not certain what the exact proportions are, but I always had to hide a couple of bottles of cider for my own use, because we always ran out, whereas there was always some beer left over.

Costco et al. not only sells cut up veggie platters; they also sell fruit platters (which obviate the need for a Master Pineapple Cutter with a big knife).

If you have a multi-roomed suite, leave smaller bowls of munchies--chips, candy, popcorn, etc.--in the outlying rooms, so no one absolutely has to leave their seat on the bed in search of sustenance.

These days most hotels have strict smoking policies; if the party is on a non-smoking floor, they'll have signs posted. If it's not a hotel-mandated policy but you don't want smoking, put up signs to that effect (so that when someone starts to light up you can, as Teresa says, politely say "Not here," and point to the sign). If you feel you must have a smoking area, designate one satellite room for it, and make sure that you have at least one minion who won't be thrown into a full asthma attack when he/she has to go in to restock or clean up.

In so far as possible, bus the party as you go. This can save you hours and blood.

Agree beforehand about when you're going to close up shop, bearing in mind that when 3am comes and you're fast in a discussion of Kirkegaard's recipe for chocolate chip banana bread, you and the minions might want to renegotiate.

If party guests offer to help clean up, smile and say, "Why, thank you!" and give them a task. There is no such thing as too many helpers.

Otherwise, What Teresa said. Bigtime.

#116 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 01:01 PM:

Fruit and vegetables at parties... I think I must be blocking that out, I worked on way too many bid parties.... I do remember a few things, such as:

1. do NOT put everything out at the start of the party, pace what gets put out. The more stuff is out on display, the more attractive taking large amounts of the food is per person. Staging out the food over the course of the party, means that the people who get there later don't show up with nothing left to nibble on.

2. Hotel towels can be used for dishcloths to dry off utensils

3. Have a signup list for people who will help close up and clean up at the end of the party. Some amount of that done at 2 AM or 3 AM by the late night types, makes dealing with the situation the next day MUCH easier, and a lot less nasty smelling...

4. Have people go around during the party picking up left behind empties and part empties--they breed rapidly and it gets repulsive rapidly from them.

5. Beware odiferous foods. Also be aware that there are people with all sorts of allergies and sensitivities--some parties put out marked salt-free snacks, as one example. Also, the more mixing in of things in the same bowl, the bigger the chance that something is in there that makes everything in the bowl, due to the mixing in, inedibly by various people. E.g. tomato allergics include Spencer Love and Lawrence Wyarr-Evans. A certain former Worldcon chair is very allergic to melons. Separate bowls can be a PITA but mean that you're less likely to inadvertently risk poisoning people who can eat A but not B.

Cutting up the vining in the grape cluster into little tiny clusters of a few grapes, means less mess and people taking a little tiny group instead of trying to pluck a handful of grapes off a pound and a half cluster...

#117 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 01:08 PM:

Oh, I almost forgot. If your suite features some attractive nuisance (like a jacuzzi that will hold six, easy access to the swimming pool, etc.) do your best to defeat it in some way. Believe me, this is a bug, not a feature: you will spend the entire night trying to keep people with a higher blood-alcohol ratio than sense quotient from drowning or annoying other party-goers. Avert.

#118 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 01:16 PM:

I ran Tor's Worldcon parties for a few years, and lived to tell the tale

That sounds ominous, Madeleine.

#119 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 01:45 PM:

I really enjoyed it. Liked the prep, liked the throwing, even, on occasion, liked the cleanup (when I had sufficient willing hands). There's a great sense of accomplishment in throwing a good Worldcon party. On the other hand, it is decidedly not for the faint of heart. I learned almost everything I know about it from other Tor hands: Beth Meacham, Teresa, Claire Eddy, any of whom could part the Red Sea if necessary. I mainly work with small brooklets and the occasional Managing Editor.

#120 ::: Scraps ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 02:09 PM:

I have been forgetting to mention to y'all, if you haven't heard it already from the usual sources: the complete first season of Animaniacs -- twenty-five episodes on five discs -- is available on DVD. Yes, yes it is.

#121 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 02:22 PM:

In fact, I just now read about that on your LJ. It goes straight onto my Amazon wish list.

#122 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 02:49 PM:

Grabbed on sight (while on vacation in Australia, recently): a multi-DVD pack of the first season of "Ren and Stimpy", complete with some of the censored/deleted stuff. From back before Warner Bros. neutered the chihuahua and screwed the cat. Highly recommended.

#123 ::: Kathryn insane Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 02:53 PM:

Don et al.,

Anyone who's been to the Hilton know if the TVs are easily accessed for plugging devices- a VCR, say- in? We've got the connectors to link anything together, but I don't feel like wrestling with 50 lb TVs.

And anyone who knows grammar, what's the best way to throw a paranthetical comment- the first sentence in this comment, say- in? What I just wrote looks odd, but I'm not sure why.

Ob Fruit in SF: Hard v. Soft Fruit

"Sorya herself isn't present, and neither is her panther. Breakfast had been served by a silent Jaspeeri, a stranger. There had been a huge bowl of fruit, presumably grown in the conservatory or someplace like it, and Aiah had never seen or tasted anything as mouth-watering: fruit with skins bright as if they'd been polished, the flesh filled with juice, flavors alive and sparkling on the tongue... the pathetic bruised stuff for which she pays fortunes in stores are nothing by comparison. She'd had to restrain herself from gorging.

#124 ::: Brad DeLong ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 02:56 PM:

I presume that's Walter Jon Williams, _Metropolitan_, the first book a series that suffers from the anti-Robert-Jordan problem--WJW's only written two books, and yet a huge amount happens in those two?

#125 ::: Kathryn in Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 03:33 PM:

Brad,

Yes.

But don't you want your books to be dense-like-chocolate, not fluffy like cotton-candy? Books that upload an entire society into your brain, such that you're spending the next few weeks building maps and guidebooks for yourself, rather than simply needing to view the helpful map printed on page 0?

The Metropolitan series is also one of the sadly unfinished series. Would sit right next to Tony Daniel's and a few others. Unfinished series are painful. I build an entire wetware virtual reality version of the world and characters, and now they wait to be refreshed, fading away, like a statue's face blurred by snow.

I read why TD's isn't done. If I could, I'd devote a significant stretch of time to learning how to program and then programming a micropayment escrow system just so that he could know exactly what the series' fans are willing to pay to get book three, if that could help.

#126 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 03:36 PM:

"That sounds ominous, Madeleine"

Yes, kinda, but also like modest (deserved) pride. The three Tor Parties I (not good at keeping track of such things) recall were all so excellent as to be intolerable -- given my low tolerance of crowds -- for long. But survival (defined partly as "enjoying it at the time, and even after it's all over") is important, and depends largely on Organization and Pacing Yourself.

Other points: Charles Burbee opined that -"fans who are going to drink six cans of beer at a party are going to drink six cans of beer. If you stock giant-size cans of beer, the party will cost you more, and some people will get drunker than either of you want them to be."- I suppose something similar, price-wise, applies to plate size and cutting chunks of cheese. (Contrary to some opinion, most fans can be trusted with fairly-sharp knives, though a few may take distressingly large chunks of your most expensive cheese to make a sandwich if you do the cut-it-yourself cheeseboard thing.) OTOH, too-small serving sizes may result in people abstractly taking many servings and consuming more than they otherwise would. In the context of Open Parties at Conventions, "Parties are to entertain people, not feed them" is a good thing to keep in mind.

I can't think of any tactful way to say this (fans are supposed to be Above mere money) but "an abundance of Very Cheap Stuff" is probably not a good way to go (even in the ConSuite, though it's often done there *sigh*). Shasta cola/sodas -- a cheap & common brand in SoCal -- are, IMHO, an abomnation on the face of the earth. I think (YMMV) it's better to run out early than to cut too many cost corners ... and that ridiculously-expensive things tend to be wasted on a big Open Party. Having some moral scruples, I don't attend the Scientology parties at Cons, but I gather that they try to impress fans with lavish amounts of Fancy Expensive Stuff, to show that they're a High Class Operation ... and that this is successful with hardly any of us. Mind you, as the WorldCon advances, night by night, people get more and more jaded with Party Food -- even those of us who can remember back when the ConSuite was just about the only Open Party and we were lucky to get a couple of softdrinks (or possibly *ghasp* cheapest bheer known to man) and a peanut-butter & jelly sandwich. Welll... and maybe some Velveeta "cheese" or even Spam.

#127 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 04:02 PM:

Are the Scientologists still trying to bribe fandom with food and drink?

I remember it happening when one of Mr. Hubbard's books was up for a Hugo Award. There are, alas, certain unscrupulous fans who will enjoy the refreshments they provide, but who might have to be returned to their room by wheelbarrow.

All I remember is Mexican Daleks.

#128 ::: Kathryn in Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 04:09 PM:

more on the pain of unfinished series [evoke 'Forever, Said the Duck' while reading this comment]:

The 'snow falling on statues' image is from CS Lewis, on how when a person dies our memory- our representation- of that person starts its slow fade. When we can't maintain our version of another person, it hurts.

We great apes have 20 million years of mirror neurons, the (seems to be) uniquely ours neurons+ability to build virtual versions of other people in our wetware. We want to build homunculus, we need to build them: it's a survival skill in our 20 million year old social circles.

And very good writers know how to hook their characters into our mirror neurons. So if a mirrored-by-us character is in an unfinished series, 20 million years of evolution makes us need to get the next book. It isn't just *me* who needs the next book in the series, it's my fading Aiah and Danis who also need the next book.

#129 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 04:30 PM:

hrc,

Advice please. I have a first edition Wizard of Oz w/ the Densmore illustrations that was much loved by my mother and then by me both a very long time ago. A friend last night told me that I should have it rebound. Won't that destroy part of the value? The binding cover on the spine has split off halfway but there are no pages falling out.

Part of the answer depends on whether you want the book for its monetary value or its associations and content. If you want it for monetary value, put it in storage and buy a modern edition - any repair will diminsh it more than stopping further wear would. But I suspect you value it for itself, in which case I would suggest making it stronger and still useable.

A rebind would indeed diminish the value, and would probably cost more than a repair. If the spine has split off halfway - I presume you mean an entire split on one side, either joining the front cover or the back cover? - that's easily reparable by a bookbinder. If there's a piece of the spine missing, you could easily get a binder to patch a suitable piece of material in.

However, the big question is the state of the book block. It's unlikely that pages will fall out, because (judging from the age of the book as described ) they're sewn in rather that glued in, but if the entire structure is loose and wobbly then it may benefit from resewing.

Take it to a bookbinder for a quote, but consider a repair more than a rebind.

#130 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 05:21 PM:

"Odiferous" should be "odoriferous."

I used the wrong word almost 30 years ago, and was corrected. Ever since then, I have restlessly wandered the halls of the Earth, waiting for someone else to make the error, so that I could pass the favor along. To be polite.

My burden is lifted.

#131 ::: ctate ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 05:33 PM:

Print-out everything Teresa has posted here on the subject. Read it again as it comes from the printer. Re-read it at least three times, preferably in as many days, finishing this Rite at least a day before you start buying supplies.

Ora, lege, lege, lege, relege, labora, et invenies!

#132 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 06:28 PM:

I'm going to my first Worldcon next weekend, and (being slow to catch up, as I am), I realized this week that means I will also likely be attending my first Hugo Awards ceremony.

Now, I seem to recall that Nebula Awards are given out at a function where people wear formal or semi-formal clothes. Is the Hugo Awards ceremony the same?

In other words: Should I pack my suit?

If this blog permitted subject lines on comments, the subject line on this one would be, "Your chance to play a practical joke on the noob."

#133 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 06:29 PM:

(Several hours have elapsed between starting and finishing this comment.)

Steve, that is indeed where I found the quote, so thank you. I'm not sure it fell here without a whimper. I'd have said it hit without generating any disagreement. "People are stupid" is a counsel of despair.

Kathryn, if you've got a lanai setup and the hotel will allow it, make up a cloth or paper banner identifying your bid, and hang it along the railing of the balcony.

Charlie, you seem to be interested in parents. Would you like to talk about it?

Don, thanks for the egoboo, but thanks even more for the heads-up about possible liquor problems. I'll pass that on.

Debcha, Oliviacw, you know the same method I do: wash the outside of the fig, break off the little hard bit of stem, eat luxuriantly. (Growing up, we had massive amounts of figs twice each summer. I miss that.) People who don't know from fresh figs imagine all sorts of complication. It's fun to bite off the upper cone, then turn the flat side of the remaining hemisphere toward them, and gently and rhythmically squeeze it so it looks like some kind of weird alien lamprey mouth. Sound effects help.

I'm still doing penance for telling Jim Macdonald that rose hips are edible (there are very nice ones all over the place on Martha's Vineyard when we're there for our annual workshop) but forgetting to tell him about the little hair-filled hollow in the middle. I don't think he's forgiven me for that one.

Don again: Do you think there's the least chance I'll ever forget IguanaCon? The trauma alone would ensure that; but there's more to the story.

The first time our group ran Minicon, not that many years ago, I was down at the hotel the night before the convention started, helping mimeograph and collate convention publications. I looked around the room where my very good friends Ben Yalow, Tom Whitmore, Jon Singer, and Fred Levy Haskell were helping run stuff off, and suddenly realized I'd met all four of them at Iggy.

Also: among the five or six hats I was wearing at that convention was Assistant to the Head of Programming, who was Patrick Hayden. I'd known Patrick before that, but putting on Iguanacon was where I really got to know him. I wouldn't call those combat conditions, but there was enough stress for character to become apparent on a pretty constant basis. Patrick and I have been together ever since.

It was only looking back years later that I could see how many of the forms my life has taken first snapped into place while working on IguanaCon. At one point I had to ask Ben Yalow whether it had been as much of a historical watershed in worldconrunning as it seemed, because it was such a watershed in my own life that I knew I'd never be able to judge it objectively. (Ben said yes, it was.)

Bruce Adelsohn: Duh. It never occurred to me to make that a separate post. You're right; it should be.

If you don't have a plastic shower curtain to line the bathtub, you can make do with black plastic garbage bags. It's not easy, it's just possible.

Cherry tomatoes are as much of a default as seedless grapes, but I didn't want to get that argument going again.

When Geri Sullivan ran the Hugo Losers' party at Philly, she had a good budget, and laid on some interesting items, including little branches of red currant tomatoes. This led to what I regard as a nearly perfect specimen of fannish conversation. It begins with me walking up to Jo, Emmett, and Singer with a dish of micro-tomatoes:

TNH: Lycopersicon pimpinellifolium!

Singer: Ah!

Jo: Mmmm?

Emmett: Mmmm?

(All sample them.)

TNH: They're a separate species.

Jo: Mmm?

Emmett: Huh.

Singer: Yiss! ... Here, let me have another. Distinctly different flavor.

Jo: I think you're right.

Emmett: For no reason whatsoever, that reminds me: I think I've found a practical use for antimatter.

TNH: Practical?

Singer: Ooh!

Jo: Oh yes, that one.


Madeleine: You know your party-throwing stuff. Of course.

I think my favorite party memory was the time you, Robert Legault and I had just finished doing first-round production on a season's worth of hardcovers, and were so tired that we all fell asleep in a little three-point cluster at the Tor party. I forget where the sign came from that said:

TOR PRODUCTION
We died for your sins.
Time to post this comment and move on.

#134 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 06:30 PM:

Mitch, I could do an hour, easy, on what people wear to the Hugo Awards.

A suit is good.

#135 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 06:41 PM:

Howard, you speak a strange variety of Middle English.

#136 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 06:54 PM:

I forgot to mention that that fannish conversation I quoted first appeared in a comment thread of Brad DeLong's, following his post about When Economists Convene.

#137 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 06:56 PM:

Oh, and ctate? That was cool.

#138 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 06:57 PM:

I'm still doing penance for telling Jim Macdonald that rose hips are edible (there are very nice ones all over the place on Martha's Vineyard when we're there for our annual workshop) but forgetting to tell him about the little hair-filled hollow in the middle. I don't think he's forgiven me for that one.

"Just because something is edible doesn't mean it's good to eat. If it were good to eat people would be selling it in the grocery store for three dollars a pound."

#139 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 07:07 PM:

Mitch, the Hugos are an auditorium event, not a banquet like the Nebula Awards. People wear all kinds of stuff. Nominees and acceptors tend to dress up a bit.

#140 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 08:16 PM:

TOR PRODUCTION
We died for your sins.

God, I'd forgotten that. Well, we very nearly did.

#141 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 08:27 PM:

Thanks, T and PNH. I'll probably just wear regular clothes them.

I was kind of looking forward to all the helpful advice I expected to get: Suit of armor, wetsuit, clown costume (complete with big shoes and big red nose), men wear women's clothes and women wear men's clothing, and, of course, sombrero and flippers.

#142 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 08:31 PM:

That's Sombrero and Flippers® to you, buster.

#143 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 08:32 PM:

You could.

If Michael Whelan could wear a canary-yellow tux, with a bowtie that had little LEDs embedded in it, you could wear a sombrero and flippers. And lederhosen.

You should have seen me the year I wore the top hat.

#144 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 08:56 PM:

Sombrero and Flippers (1953)

Television series on the short-lived Farmisht Network, produced following the success of The Cisco Kid. Featured Sombrero (Dougie Royce Landis), righter of wrongs down Mexico way in a big hat, and Flippers (operated and voiced by Hamish Klemp), a puppet penguin (though some claim he is a seal in formal dress). Ran for eight episodes, nobody knows how. Recalled in a 2001 song by Roth and the Norse Dogs, "Penguin with a Six-Gun."

#145 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 09:06 PM:

There's no intentional peanuts in plain M&Ms, but the plain and peanut (almond, peanut butter) varieties are all made on the same production line. They do batches of one type at a time. At the bottom of that product information page, see the Hackettstown address? I consulted there for six months years ago.

#146 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 09:07 PM:

Mr. Ford, would you please not do that when I'm eating pistachio nuts? My dog doesn't know how to do the Heimlich maneuver...

#147 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 09:10 PM:

Teresa, the figs-as-lampreys thing made me laugh out loud. And I am jealous of your past-self and her 'massive amounts of figs' - I usually can only rationalize buying a couple as they are typically a dollar or two each, here in New England.

ctate, the Humboldt Fog was indeed delicious. The piece I had still had a bit of chalky-white core, surrounded by tasty gooey fully-ripened cheesy goodness. Next time I am going to hold out longer - well, assuming I can resist.

#148 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 09:46 PM:

Two blog-admin notes:

1) The "even larger type, with serifs" only creates even larger etc. for the body of the post, not the comments. I don't know if this is intentional.

2) Might I suggest adding <$MTCommentOrderNumber$> to the individual archive template, perhaps as something like:

[comment number] :: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 09:10 PM:

It might be easier in long threads to refer to comments by number rather than permalink.

(I meant to do this *early* in the next open thread, so it might get noticed, and then I mucked up our DSL without noticing and was in datastarve for over 24 hours. Ack.)

#149 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 10:19 PM:

Kate Nepveu's wish is our command. Be sure to use this power only for good.

#150 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 10:21 PM:

Numbers! Cool.

#151 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 10:23 PM:

Are the Scientologists still trying to bribe fandom with food and drink?

There was some convention somewhere* where a Scientology minion got very drunk at his own party, and the next day we started teasing him (gently at first, then wilder and wilder), telling him about all the horrible things he'd done -- "And then when you took off your pants and started waving them around..." He took it very well, laughed politely, right up until the time I said, "And then the stories you told us about L. Ron Hubbard..." And he stopped laughing and wouldn't say another word.

* And the fact that I don't remember where it was might say a bit about me and what I did that convention.

#152 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 10:28 PM:

#149 -- I knew there was something different about these comments, but I couldn't figure out what. The closest I could come was to the number of colons used as separators between number and name. Please tell me that changed too, or I'll feel even more foolish than I already do.

#153 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 10:41 PM:

Xopher: "[...] I go to the top of the hotel on the elevator, hit all the parties on that floor, and work my way down the stairs. Then I do it again. "

This is, I'm convinced, the most Ancient and Fannish system of party-hopping. Or close to it -- if you just open the stairwell door and listen for party sounds, you're following a degenerate modernized Rite. Back in the Great Old Days (defined here as "when I was a Neo -- c. 1960") you generally had your choice, each night of the Con, of one or two Open Parties -- the ConSuite (if there was one), and The Bidding Party. Possibly there'd be a third, or even a fourth, but you couldn't count on this. The vast majority of the Room Parties were either Closed or Semi-Closed (definitions variable, but largely dependent on how well the host or person nearest the door needed to know and like you in order to invite you in when you tapped on the door for entrance). Under these conditions, you needed to walk all the corridors of the hotel in order to catch the muted sounds (or, in the case of BArea Cons, towards the end of that era, smoke odor) of a Party.

A major variant of this was explained to me, early-on, by Rick Sneary. -"Figure out the hotel's room-numbering system, take a stroll outside, note the probable numbers of the rooms with lights on and people moving about, then take the elevator up and work your way down, checking these out systematically."- In those days, of course, most fans read many Fanzines, and most Fanzines had LetterColumns. Rick Sneary would, I think, have been instantly welcomed into any Fan Party in the Known Fan Convention Universe (which, for all practical purposes, consisted of the U.S. and the U.K.). Unfortunately, his health and finances prevented him from attending many non-local Cons.

The major apparent draw-back of this emphasis on "closed" parties is probably misleading. A reasonably-intelligent Neo -- the kind almost all of us wanted to encourage -- would quickly figure out that there was little chance of being invited in if one were a solitary unknown Neo & even less if with a bunch of other Neos, so that attaching oneself to a small group of amiable established fans (or following so closely as to appear to be attached to them), preferably while carrying a few Party Supplies, increased one's chances enormously. And the entrance of a small group of new people -- say up to six -- usually didn't change the Tone of a party annoyingly. The whole situation was so filled with variables that I don't think being turned-away from a closed party often engendered any lasting hard feelings, just a brief tinge of disappointment -- after all, there were many other excitingly enticing places to try, and it was understood that a host might well want to keep a room party down to a single conversation group, or three at the most.

Nowadays, there are still a few such closed parties -- certainly far more than the two or three I'm usually informed about at WorldCons -- but there are so many big tents in our campground, now, that the vast majority of fans (possibly except filkers & gamers) spend most of their evenings at the Big Open Parties. I suppose this encourages even more Changes in The Nature Of Fandom, and perhaps not for the better, but that's the way the world goes.

Gee, this thread has put me more completely in the mood for an upcoming convention than I have been in decades. Thanks, all. (But don't expect me to stay at any Party, even a most-delightful one, for more than about half an hour. If I don't walk a bit I'm likely to collapse, and, after all, The Perfect Party might be happening right now somewhere in the hotel.)

#154 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 10:47 PM:

Another Amazon wishlist item, the (almost) complete season 1 of The Tick. The real (animated) Tick. (Well, it would be a wishlist item, but I went and pre-ordered it.)

SPOON!

#155 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 11:08 PM:

Larry: There is no spoon.

#156 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 11:28 PM:

Xoper: Only Zuul? :-)

#157 ::: Bruce Adelsohn ::: (view all by) ::: August 20, 2006, 11:28 PM:

Nuts. Sorry; that should be "Xopher", of course

#158 ::: Fred A Levy Haskell ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 12:36 AM:

Larry: Darn you. It's not as if I didn't already spend too much of my money at Amazon. "I'm doing the laundry!"

#159 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 01:28 AM:

Greg Costikyan rants enthusiastically and entertainingly about salad spinners and Caesar salad.

#160 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 02:44 AM:

Marilee: There's no intentional peanuts in plain M&Ms, but the plain and peanut (almond, peanut butter) varieties are all made on the same production line. They do batches of one type at a time.

I did a little more searching on Google (this is an approved formulation of 'googling', I believe) and found this 1995 posting on rec.food.chocolate confirming this.

To quote:

I should have realized that there would be an 800 number available [..] [a]nd here is what the rep. said when I called a few minutes ago:

For 35 years, there was a trace amount of ground peanuts added to the chocolate for flavoring purposes. It was a small enough amount that government regulations did not require M&M/Mars to list peanuts in the ingredients, but they did so as a service to their consumers. However, as they became aware of the number of people allergic to peanuts, they went to the expense of removing the ground peanuts from the chocolate. Thus, peanuts are no longer listed in the ingredients.

[..] These days, the same factory produces both the chocolate and the peanut M&M's, and the same machine is used to package both variaties, although at different times. After producing a run of peanut M&M's, the packing machine is thoroughly cleaned before the plain M&M's are produced. It is possible, though, that some peanut M&M's might be left behind after the cleaning, and thus packed in with the plain M&M's. Hence the warning.

I guess if you're an adult with an allergy to peanuts, you already know what you can eat.

#161 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 05:25 AM:

I believe I may soon be able to lay my hands on some images from Sombrero and Flippers.

What isn't appreciated is the inspiration it provided for El Mariachi. Fortunately, penbuins were outside the limits of the budget Robert Rodriguez had allowed himself, and he felt that another session of being a paid experimental subject for the pharmaceutical industry was too high a price.


#162 ::: Eve ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 06:47 AM:

If you include on your fruit platter some cherry tomatoes and some slices or sticks of cucumber of the sort that has edible rind, then the conversation will eventually turn to heated debate about the difference between a fruit and a vegetable. That debate tends to become as heated as the debate about whether Pluto is a planet.

I've found that the really good produce question like that is "So, cucumbers and tomatoes are fruit that people eat as vegetables, are there any vegetables that people eat as fruit?"

Rhubarb is the only one that I've found, with carrots and sweet potatoes getting honourable mentions for services to cake and pie respectively.

#163 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 07:10 AM:

Mr Langford, are you aware that on Thog.org you have refered to a certain author as 'Alan Dead Foster'? This might be an obscure joke, of course, but it seems unlikely.

#165 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 08:57 AM:

Eve: Sugarcane.

#166 ::: Steven Brust ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 09:29 AM:

Teresa: I'm not sure it fell here without a whimper. I'd have said it hit without generating any disagreement. "People are stupid" is a counsel of despair.

Yes, that's how I should have put it. I find it reassuring that your blog is populated by people who don't feel the need to fall back on that.


#167 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 09:51 AM:

Teresa: That's Emmet with one "t", and he's really sensitive about it because he nearly didn't get to go to Trinity because it was mis-spelt on a transcript.

And I didn't actually eat the tomato, I wasn't eating anything. I remember, because that was also the party in which I was poisoned by sushi.

Additional hint for party givers -- do not buy sushi that looks like a normal nigiri, (rice bullet, with a flap of raw fish on top) but that has cunningly hidden between the rice and the hamachi instead of a glob of wasabi, a slice of red pepper. Or, for that matter, a peanut, or a slice of kiwi fruit or...

TMI alert -- I'm not actually allergic to peppers, just sensitive in such a way that having any in my system distresses my digestion severely for up to a couple of weeks. If I throw up fast enough, this doesn't happen. That's what I did in that Hugo losers party in Philly. I then got terribly drunk on a relatively small quantity of white wine, because hello, empty stomach.

#168 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 10:02 AM:

Linkmeister in #152: yes, the number of colons changed; in #148 I just copied the attribution line of the then-last comment, and you can see there's only two of them.

PNH: I do so affirm.

#169 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 10:41 AM:

Rob in #160 (and Marilee earlier): Your info is more recent than mine. I just remember that I looked at the ingredients of plain M&Ms years ago and saw that "peanuts" were part of the line-up. Never occurred to me that they might change things. Buncha engineers.

Tip for people who are allergic to the letter "m" -- just turn them upside down before eating. (Provided you don't have a problem with invert sugar.)

#170 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 10:54 AM:

Linkmeister in #152 and Kate in 168: Perhaps the comments section needs a colonic.

#171 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 11:07 AM:

"On a recent visit to friends who live near the Willowbrook Mall in NJ, we drove past an "ELF STORAGE" facility...."

We don't have those in the UK - ours are looked after by the National Elf Service. (Sorry.)

And as for double bills, I've mentioned the weird bootleg DVDs that include double bills picked solely by shared lead actor or similar title. (The equivalent of Ace Doubles). Doesn't sound too bad? Well, "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part II" are fine; so's "Total Recall" and "The Terminator".
But they also had "Captain Corelli's Mandolin/Con Air" and "Before Sunrise/From Dusk Till Dawn".

I was hoping for "Bambi/The Deer Hunter"...

#172 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 11:43 AM:

Brue: no harm no foul. And I have a coworker named Dana who's frequently missing from his office when you go look for him...guess what we say?

#173 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 11:59 AM:

Who's got Latin? Teresa, I'm pretty sure you've got some. I'm trying to come up with a good Latin motto for myself. I'm thinking of Verbus meus me tenet, if that means what I think it means (I'll be using these words a lot). I think it means "My word binds me." Is the grammar correct?

#174 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 12:16 PM:

Gak! The containment grid on my project is --||-- this close to collapsing (and the project imploding), and I appear to be several hundred posts behind. No way I can catch up, but I just wanted to say:

Oooohhh, numbered comments.

back to work.

#175 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 12:22 PM:

Teresa wrote (#133):
"Also: among the five or six hats I was wearing at [Iggy] was Assistant to the Head of Programming, who was Patrick Hayden. I'd known Patrick before that, but putting on Iguanacon was where I really got to know him. I wouldn't call those combat conditions, but there was enough stress for character to become apparent on a pretty constant basis. Patrick and I have been together ever since."

Dare I mention that, from the outside, you and Patrick seemed like a slow-motion train wreck that summer? But then, I was pretty much getting only the "bad parts" version of your relationship. Some of which I observed myself, but more that I heard about from people I thought were reliable sources. (It explains a lot about Iggy if one thinks of it as a giant game of Thing, with multiple Things.)

Teresa (cont'd):
It was only looking back years later that I could see how many of the forms my life has taken first snapped into place while working on IguanaCon. At one point I had to ask Ben Yalow whether it had been as much of a historical watershed in worldconrunning as it seemed, because it was such a watershed in my own life that I knew I'd never be able to judge it objectively."

After nearly thirty years, I think I'm starting to get an objective view of Iggy. But I may be wrong.

(Watershed: It was dealing with the emotional aftermath of Iggy that got me started writing fiction. In fiction, I could actually make the characters do and say what I wanted them to, what they ought to do.) (In real life, I'd have a mental script in my head for what people ought to be doing and saying... and the bastards and bitches kept adlibbing! Drove me nuts.) (And there are some people who would say that last sentence isn't just a figure of speech. And since it was pretty much a tossup at that point between starting to write fiction and committing suicide, they're probably right.)

Things I learned from Iguanacon ( a very partial list):

1) Don't support a bid that started out as a joke.

2) Don't support a bid whose committee is almost totally inexperienced, and who have no idea what they're getting into.

3) Don't support a bid committee whose egos are their top priority.

4) Don't support a bid committee whose chairman wants to be a Worldcon Chairman because it'll make it easier to get laid.

(That last is snarky. But I think it's true.)

#176 ::: Velma deSelby Bowen ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 12:54 PM:

Things I learned from Iguanacon ( a very partial list):

1) Don't support a bid that started out as a joke.

2) Don't support a bid whose committee is almost totally inexperienced, and who have no idea what they're getting into.

3) Don't support a bid committee whose egos are their top priority.

4) Don't support a bid committee whose chairman wants to be a Worldcon Chairman because it'll make it easier to get laid.

(That last is snarky. But I think it's true.)

Oh, how true, particularly #2. My only involvement on a Worldcon bid was the NYC in 89 bid, a.k.a. The Children's Crusade, as many of the people working on it were 18-21-year-old neos, with one or two years in fandom under their belts (at most) when they were recruited. Some of us still cringe at the memory.

As long as it's an open thread, I can ask a question that's come up in several fountain pen geek communities: is it true -- or just a Japanese urban legend -- that an American child lost his/her eye sight because of an "unfortunate Sheaffer Snorkel accident"? It's claimed that that's the reason that the Snorkel model of pen was discontinued.

#177 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 01:00 PM:

Polka mazurka is the new black.

#178 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 01:25 PM:

Howard,

If you're looking for a good online hoax/story in semi-epistolary form, try Dionaea House.

#179 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 01:38 PM:

I LURVE the numbers! Back to #129 and the question about rebinding the Oz book -- you might consider instead boxing it. Your original won't be altered, but it will be protected. You can make one yourself or a good bookbinder could make a custom one for you. A simple custom four-flap enclosure opens out flat http://www.archival.com/productcatalog/customfourflapenc.shtml or if one of these boxes is the right size, they are very nice http://www.archival.com/productcatalog/archivalboxes.shtml.

#180 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 01:50 PM:

Things I learned from Iguanacon ( a very partial list):

If your convention is in Arizona, don't invite a Guest of Honor who's boycotting states that haven't passed the Equal Rights Amendment. Though I suppose this is very outdated advice.

#181 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 02:07 PM:

Xopher, your grammar's fine, but if I can polish the vocabulary a bit: 'fides' is a good translation for 'bond' in the sense of 'promise'.

And a lot of mottoes seem to drop words like 'est'. See Oxford, "Dominus illuminatio mea" - the Lord [is] my light. On the coat of arms it's written across the opened pages of a book, thus:
DOMI MINA
NUS TIO
ILLU MEA

which incidentally can also be read as DOMIMINA NUSTIO ILLUMEA, which translated, with a bit of a shove, means THE LITTLE LADY IS OFF HER FLAMING NUT.

Anyway. Try "Verbum fidem mihi". '[My] word [is] my bond.'

Nescis, me filie, quot parvo sapientia mundus regnatur is mine.

"Little do you know, my son, with what a small store of wisdom the world is governed."

#182 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 02:16 PM:

#180: The boycott hadn't yet been called when we selected Harlan Ellison as our Guest of Honor.

#183 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 02:36 PM:

ajay@181: Thanks! That's terrific. One question: I want it to convey almost the idea of being physically constrained, as if I couldn't break my word if I wanted to (it's close to the truth; when I have to break my word, it hurts). It's the whole "I won't swear a false oath" thing, and the whole ironclad ethics thing.

Given that, would you still prefer the fides version?

#184 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 02:59 PM:

CHip: Howdy -- Discon II was my first Worldcon as well. (I was part of the Columbus in *mumble* bid.)

We came in early and spent part of Thursday at the National Zoo, where I saw my first real live Panda.

It was a fun con...the first time filkers took over a ballroom.

#185 ::: Lisa Goldstein ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 03:34 PM:

Patrick -- Wow, all these years and I never knew that. I just remember Harlan Ellison staying in a trailer so as not to give money to Arizona, and then (or did I imagine this?) falling asleep in some hotel room during a party.

And Discon II was my first Worldcon too. Are we old or what?

#186 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 03:57 PM:

Kate in #168,

Thank you.

Larry in #170,

Better that than the full tubal procedure.

#187 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 04:05 PM:

Here's yet another personality quiz meme:

If you were a Comic Book Publisher, which one would you be?

Sample entry:
Publisher: DC
Symptoms:
- Is it Monday? Time for a new creative team and/or reboot/relaunch of our entire superhero universe!
- We just know this beloved character who has never been able to attract an audience will finally succeed this time

Personality:
(bipolar / manic-depressive?) Compartmentalizes.

Etc.

Your challenge: what SF publisher are you?

#188 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 04:05 PM:

the person who walks past you frowning might be trying to remember where they left their cellphone/purse/manuscript/disintegrator ray.

Yup. I still remember the time I encountered a Big Name Science Fiction Writer in a back corridor of a con. We were both heading out of the building to the parking lot. I recognized his name, introduced myself, and said (truthfully) that I was a fan of his work, especially his Famous Award-Winning Story.

And he looked at me without actually focusing his eyes on me, and said, Yeah, uh-huh, whatever.

And part of me now thinks that the Big name Award-Winning Writer is a jerk, even though my rational mind knows that there are 10 other explanations for his behavior, any one of them equally likely.

Also: Just because you participate in the same online forum (like this one) as a Big-Name Famous Science-Fiction Celebrity, and you read his posts eagerly, and he's even responded to one or two of yours, doesn't mean that he actually knows who the hell you are. And there's no reason for him to know who you are either. You remember his name because he's a celebrity within our little community, but to him, you might well be just another face in the crowd. And there's nothing wrong with that. After all, do you know the name of every single person who regularly posts on every blog you visit? Of course you don't.

So, when you meet the Big-Name Famous Science-Fiction Celebrity at a con, approach him or her warmly but politely, introduce yourself, and say, "We're both very active on the comments section of Eddie Jablonski's Spectacular Groovy Sci-Fi Blog." And be prepared for a reaction that could go either way, either: "Ah, yes, how nice. Excuse me, but I must adjust my cufflinks," or "Wow! I'm so glad to finally meet you at least! Please come to the house for the weekend, and here's a basket with some stuff!"

#189 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 04:49 PM:

In a complete departure from all else that came before, I hereby claim this thread for the Cancers!

Don't worry...I'm benign.

#190 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 05:10 PM:

Susan: Polka mazurka is the new black.

And here's me, having filled my dance card with cross-step, just a season or two ago, when that was the new black.

Still, I'm excited about the resurgence of polka mazurka. More bouncy 3/4 dances! Squee!

#191 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 05:13 PM:

MidAmericon. Thirty years ago. My first Worldcon.
Excuse me while I feel really, really, really old

NyCon 3, damn near 40 years ago. My first Worldcon. Feeling positively creaky. Non-functional elevators, Catholic high school journalists, the Armenian-American Federation and their drums drums drums, and Scientologists trying to bribe fandom with food and drink. (They'd rented a ballroom that you had to cross to get between sections of the con and stocked it with food and booze, which we young fen consumed with gleeful alacrity.)

I would never dream of allowing a bunch of unchaperoned teenagers attend a con today, but times were different way back when.

#192 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 05:15 PM:

Still, I'm excited about the resurgence of polka mazurka. More bouncy 3/4 dances! Squee!

When polka mazurka becomes common we shall make the Gitana the new black. Meanwhile, the cognoscenti will smile mysteriously and mutter "Roska!" at each other.

#193 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 05:21 PM:

Which SF publisher are you?

The Minderbindery. You've never heard of them, and the last fan letter they got read, "Jorge Luis Borges would throw up all over you."

#194 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 05:33 PM:

Mitch, alternately, the BNFSFC may say "Oh, HI! Wow, you look nothing like I imagined," give you a hug, and spend 15 minutes chatting. The odds of this occuring when the BNFSFC is TNH are somewhat higher, in my anecdotal experience.

#195 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 05:59 PM:

Skwid...when I ran into TNH at The Millenium Philcon, she screamed in horror and said "WHAT DID YOU DO?"

OK, we weren't strangers at that point, but I hadn't seen her face to face in twelve years. She was commenting on my shaved head, or rather on the lack of the gorgeous golden blond curls I'd had when she'd last seen me.

My esprit d'escalier on that one was "I aged." The pretty blond curls were long gone by the time I shaved my head, replaced by a mix of mudbrown and gray, in an ever-diminishing distribution on my head. She's used to it now.

#196 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 06:24 PM:

It's at least as weird to walk up to someone who is, say, signing books at a con, ask him to do so, and have him say "Oh, you're Vicki!" and launch into cheerful conversation because he remembers online interactions and you thought he wouldn't. Pleasantly weird, but weird. (That was Will Shetterly, who remembered me from GEnie.)

#197 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 06:48 PM:

Xopher still looking for a motto at 183: Hmm. The trouble is that Latin has lots of words for bond, some of which just mean bond in the very literal sense (catena, which means chain) or financial (obligatio) or honourable (fides). There isn't one that straddles 'physical constraint' and 'promise'.
If it's any consolation, fides to a Roman was much more serious concept than "trust" or "keeping your word" is to a modern; exactly because we would talk about "trusting" a rickety footbridge, its meaning is diluted compared to fides. Fides was a virtue - possibly the defining virtue - of the Republic; even words like 'honour' don't quite capture it. Think about Binyon (is it Binyon?) "If you break faith with we who died/ We shall not sleep". Or Tolkien's Army of the Dead - in a world where fides was so strong that it could keep men from resting for thousands of years.
But if you want more of a sense of constraint, try rephrasing it to "Verbum meum regnat" - my word governs [me] - or even "verbum meum imperat". Depends - regnat comes from rex, and is close to 'reign' for a modern American, perhaps with overtones of a high-handed, overseeing sort of rule; 'imperat' means literally 'orders' in a military sense, and derives from the same root as 'imperator' - "commander in chief" to a Republican citizen and "emperor" later.
Thinking about it "verbum meum imperat" is better, and has a better rhythm.
A Roman might consider going against a "regnator" - after all, the founding myth of the Republic was the expulsion of Tarquinius Superbus - but in a society where the legions represented civic morality, to go against an "imperator" would be painful, immoral, unethical, ignominious, impious and probably tactically disastrous all at once.

#198 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 06:49 PM:

Should I know who Mssscribe is? (sidelight/particle)

#199 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 07:06 PM:

OK, that sounds good, ajay. Why the case change, just out of curiosity? That is, why is it verbum meum imperat and not verbus meus imperat? Oh, and...doesn't that mean "My word rules" as in "my word is law"? Perhaps the me should go back in to disambiguate? (Not if the Latin grammar dictates it as applying to the speaker, of course, which is why I'm asking you.)

I like imperat. It reminds me of the line from the Carmina Burana:

Quicquid Venus imperat
Labor est suavis;
Que nunquam in cordibus
Habitat ignavis.
(From memory; I might have mispelled a word or two there.)

#200 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 07:07 PM:

misspelled.

*bangs face on floor*

#201 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 07:31 PM:

Xopher: I racked my memory all day and came up with 'Dictum meum pactum' (Mmy word is my bond).

Misspelling can become a problem if it causes your spells to go awry.

#202 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 07:46 PM:

Misspelling can become a problem if it causes your spells to go awry.

This an Open Thread? Okay.

Back in the Roleplaying Paleolithic, a number of people (including me) experimented with "spell failure" rules, in an attempt to add a little variety to Things Always Working Right. ("Fizzle" and "crock" were among the actual terms used.) One of the multiply-achieved ideas was the Mis-spell, in which one might cast Wireballs, Blasts of Freezing Cod, and (quite unfortunately) Heat Minor Wounds. It was most applicable in games with a fakey-Renaissancey background rather than a fakey-Middly-Agey, as one could assume that wizards were members of a literate artisan/professional class, working from Gramarye for ye Dicke-heddes, rather than just crotchety old men who knew how to blow things up by cussing at them.

#203 ::: Debra Doyle ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 08:04 PM:

#199That is, why is it verbum meum imperat and not verbus meus imperat?

Because verbum is a neuter noun ("In principio erat verbum," and all that) and takes a neuter adjective.

#204 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 08:27 PM:

in #193 John M. Ford wrote:

Which SF publisher are you?

The Minderbindery. You've never heard of them, and the last fan letter they got read, "Jorge Luis Borges would throw up all over you."

Yay! Thank you for playing.

#205 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 09:03 PM:

Ajay re: #197: Think about Binyon (is it Binyon?) "If you break faith with we who died/ We shall not sleep"

I believe you are thinking of In Flander's Fields by John McCrae.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Read this, recited this or heard this spoken November after November when I was a child. Despite that - perhaps because of that - I still find it deeply moving.

#206 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 09:58 PM:

Debra Doyle: OK, that makes sense. And verbum doesn't change in whatever case follows secundum? Because I know secundum verbum tuum from the Nunc Dimittis text.

#207 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 09:59 PM:

Argh. Should be secundum verbum tuum.

#208 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 10:59 PM:

Serge: the point was all 3 together, for the titles rather than the subjects.

Mitch: Heinlein made a big fuss before MAC about people should wear formal at the Hugos. Some took this as an invitation, but not the way he intended it; I didn't check the bagged hanger I grabbed out of my closet, and as a result showed up in a tailcoat and shorts, while my roommate wore a Gilligan hat and a shirt with large red-and-white vertical stripes.

Xopher: my Latin is mostly gone, but I'd point to any of the offerings over "tenet", which is usually rendered "hold" (as in a hammer or a cup of coffee, not "Hold!" as in stop \now/ or you're disqualified); cf also "Teneo et teneor", the motto on Holden Chapel (center of choral activities at Harvard). Fragano's cite of the motto of the London stock exchange is apt, but doesn't sound like the form you're looking for; because of it I'd prefer "dictum" to "verbum", but I don't have enough examples to ground that decision. And yes, IIRC neuter 2nd declines conjugates much like masculine 2nd once you leave the nominative (which is always untrustworthy), and forms of "to be" are often dropped (for compactness?), cf "Vita brevis, ars longa". (And my Schott edition of Carmina says you're quoting exactly right even though I didn't remember the text at all -- I know little of the solo text even after three sets of performances.)

JMF: were your misfires die rolls, or affected? Glenn Blacow scattered innocuous-looking beasts called typos around his dungeon, but that wasn't nearly the weirdest thing he did; there were the Little Old Ladies in Tennis Shoes....

#209 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 11:19 PM:

CHIp: it was random, with situational adjustments to the chance for the skill (i.e., level) of the caster, and anything that might have made it easier and harder (e.g., distractions or careful prep). And they applied to NPCs as well.

There was a considerable discussion in Alarums & Excursions about methods of spell-crocking, but I think almost everybody used a random element, unless there was a good reason to be deterministic (as, a booby-trapped scroll).

And, of course, the mis-spells were supposed to be silly. There were plenty of other effect variations for other situations or philosophies. After all, there's only one way a spell can go as intended, and an infinite number of ways it can Do Something Else.

Yeah, we messed around a lot with systems of spellcasting that had a little more style and flavor to them . . . that is to say, that had any style and flavor at all. Not that we didn't do the same thing with every other subsystem.

#210 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 21, 2006, 11:29 PM:

CHip: When the Nunc Dimittis says "Now do what you said you'd do" ("according to Thy word"), the word for 'word' used there is verbum. I think that's exactly the sense I want; my given word. But maybe the text isn't so great.

CHip and Mike: We had fire-breathing hobbits. Also White Punks, which were little clouds of smoke. They were pretty harmless.

#211 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 12:25 AM:

The WashPost Bookworld has an occasional section called Book Notes which talks about the publishing business. Yesterday, one was about a self-publishing conference call the writer sat in on. One bit:

The great enemy of Internet marketeers is spam filters. And for $3,095, Gilbert and McColl will gladly teach you how to use "fr.ee" instead of "free" and other such filter-dodging tricks. For another small fee, they'll probably send out an "endorsed announcement" of your book, too.

#212 ::: Mina W ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 12:54 AM:

to Susan & others who had 'Bats in the Bedroom' adventures in the last Open Thread, which I just finally caught up on in the last week, after finals:

This is one of my final projects for the Photoshop class I was taking this summer. It is a composite, but all the bat pictures were taken in the bedroom next to this one, on the same night. At 2:00 in the morning, standing out on the porch roof where I had gone to open an escape window without ducking through a hallway full of a swooping bat. Unfortunately this brilliant idea meant that the light inside was still on, so then I had several bats.

Bats in the Bedroom

#213 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 01:02 AM:

Debcha, I was made to memorize In Flanders Fields when I was a child -- grade school, not high school. I can still recite it from memory.

In high school I was introduced to Wilfred Owen, and got quite a different take on war.

#214 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 01:32 AM:

in #193 John M. Ford wrote:

Which SF publisher are you?

The Minderbindery.

A Major publishing house, to be sure.

#215 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 02:21 AM:

#214 "A Major publishing house, to be sure."

With Milos to go before it sleeps.

#216 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 05:07 AM:

Blasts of Freezing Cod
chuckle. Summon Greater Lemon?

On the Latin thing: secundum takes the accusative (as in secundum scripturas) so the correct form of verbum is indeed verbum.

You're right, I suppose it could mean 'my word is law'. Verbum me imperat meum - one could probably drop the meum if one wanted. (Word order's not always important in Latin).

#217 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 09:01 AM:

to Susan & others who had 'Bats in the Bedroom' adventures in the last Open Thread, which I just finally caught up on in the last week

Followup on my bat-saga:

The bat tested negative for rabies. Now I feel guilty for killing the bat, especially after how cute it looked trying to crawl up my bookstack/curtain: a small brown winged mouse completely defeated by The Past Through Tomorrow.

I had the opportunity for karmic repair last night, however, when I arrived at my dance practice to find the room occupied by yet another bat. Trying to dance tango, maxixe, and L'Alliance with a bat swooping around our heads proved difficult, so we spent a good half-hour chasing it around the room and trying to guide it out a window. Eventually we trapped it behind the curtains in a window enclosure and we think it made its way out. I need to go call the church right now to alert them as to why one of their window enclosures is sealed up.

#218 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 09:29 AM:

ajay 216: I like it! Are there any orders of those words that aren't correct? Can I juggle them every which way until I like the sound? (I'm trying to decide whether to keep the meum, because it looks like it could be mistaken for a Christian sentiment ("The Word is my emperor" or some such) without it, but it sounds better.

#219 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 09:38 AM:

okay, in the annals of truly disturbing things probably linked to global warming* - not snakes on a plane, but bugs in a car. Lots of them in a huuuuge yellowjacket nest. *sudder*

The article mentions quite a few large infestations like this. *shudder*

*or at least linked to an unusually warm winter...

#220 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 09:39 AM:

Oh, and CHip 208: I used to have almost all of Carmina Burana (the subset of the poems that Orff set) memorized. "Estuans Interius" particularly I used to sing while walking or waiting for a ride in the cold, back when I was a teenager.

Now, of course, I can remember all the words, but not the order they come in...and I've heard and sung them more than read them, so I'm a little shaky on some of the spelling.

#221 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 09:42 AM:

Ajay, a Greater Lemon could still be quite useful, I think. You could squirt citric acid in your enemies eyes, or you could try the spell again and hope for a Grater Demon. Mmmm...zest!

#222 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 09:58 AM:

As long as we're discussing Latin...

If one construes the phrase "Lorem ipsum" as the accusative of "the Lorax itself," Much Becomes Clear.

#223 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 10:07 AM:

Lizzy L (213): In high school I was introduced to Wilfred Owen, and got quite a different take on war.

I think Eric Bogle is the poet most responsible for my 'different take on war.'

Although I think you could do a lot worse than In Flander's Fields for children to read on Remembrance Day - it's certainly about loss and sacrifice, and not in the dulce et decorum est vein.

#224 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 10:32 AM:
I had the opportunity for karmic repair last night, however, when I arrived at my dance practice to find the room occupied by yet another bat. Trying to dance tango, maxixe, and L'Alliance with a bat swooping around our heads proved difficult, so we spent a good half-hour chasing it around the room and trying to guide it out a window. Eventually we trapped it behind the curtains in a window enclosure and we think it made its way out. I need to go call the church right now to alert them as to why one of their window enclosures is sealed up.

For your bat-catching needs, I highly recommend using a medium-sized pasta or soup pot. You may need a large piece of cardboard instead of the lid in some circumstances.

#225 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 10:41 AM:

For your bat-catching needs, I highly recommend using a medium-sized pasta or soup pot. You may need a large piece of cardboard instead of the lid in some circumstances.

In this case the ceiling was so high that the bat was out of reach even when using a mop.

I'm hoping to return to my sedate bat-free existence now.

#226 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 10:48 AM:

debcha: Every time I read _In Flander's Fields_,or hear it recited, the hair rises on the back of my neck. (And my mind echoes in reply, "Let the word go forth from this place and time that the torch is passed to a new generation...")

When I read/hear _High Flight_, I cry. (But maybe that's because I'm an Air Force brat.)

#227 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 11:05 AM:

Susan, when I was working at a nursery, we occasionally had birds come into our building (doors usually open). We kept a net on a long pole around to catch them. (In the case of young hummingbirds, you had to wait until they got tired and perched, which could take quite a while.)

#228 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 11:07 AM:

debcha #223: what a difference punctuation makes! 'Not in the dulce et decorum sense' is a quite different phrase from 'Not in the "Dulce et Decorum" sense', isn't it? Of course..."IFF" isn't about either of those senses, but is somewhere between them.

#229 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 11:30 AM:

I was thinking of summoning a Greater Lemon as just what you might need to go with the cod, but now I think about it, casting too many evil spells like "Blast of Freezing Cod" would probably put you in peril of your immortal sole.

A friend of mine got married in a candlelit mediaeval church in midwinter, and the first hymn woke up a bat in the rafters, which spent the rest of the service zooming around trying to get out. Poor thing gave the place quite a Bride of Dracula feel.

Lori - have you read Yeats' "An Irish Airman Foresees His Death"?

Xopher - sorry, I've been being stupid. Yes, you can put those words in pretty well any order you like, but a shorter motto would be simply "fidem servo" - I keep my word. How's that?

#230 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 11:44 AM:

ajay, that's pretty good. Hmm. Not sure I don't like Verbum meum me imperat better though...it has such a good rhythm and stuff. (I'm presuming that's Verbum meum me imperat, right? A really nice 5/8: ONE and TWO and and | ONE and and... And you can repeat it, swapping the long and short beat in each measure.

Can I have TWO mottos?

#231 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 11:52 AM:

Xopher (228): Hmm. I keep reading it and my brain isn't really doing a good job of parsing the two meanings, and I can't tell if I got it right. I guess I thought the quotation was implied by the 'est' at the end and the italics - maybe the punctuation I'm missing is the ellipsis after that. But I agree that IFF is not really about either a literal or sarcastic interpretation of the Horace quote, which is why I think it's not a bad choice for schools on Remembrance Day - it doesn't glorify war, and it does put the emphasis on sacrifice and the responsibility of the survivors.

#232 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 12:10 PM:

Xopher, if I were looking for a motto which means what you seem to wish your motto to mean, I would take Fidem Servo in less than a heartbeat. I think it's gorgeous. Short, sweet, clear. Kind of like Semper Fi -- and that's a compliment; at least, I hope you find it so. (I am not a military brat but I have two good friends who are Marines and have come late to an appreciation of the Corps.)

#233 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 12:12 PM:

Lizzy, to my non-Latin trained ears, Fidem Servo sounds like the motto for service dogs or a manufacturer of remotely-controlled devices.

#234 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 12:14 PM:

Lizzy L, I do like Semper Fidelis, though I think the shortened version is a bit brusque. I do feel the attraction of Fidem Servo, believe you me. I like it a lot. Verbum Meum Me Imperat isn't going down without a fight, though.

#235 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 12:20 PM:

Speaking of the military, I've been having a running dispute with the wife about alternate histories. I'm of the opinion they should be histories which could have happened but didn't; she's of the opinion that giving Leonidas a nuke is fair game.

Obviously, neither of us is right (except that I am right), but can someone point me to an informed discussion, scholarly or otherwise, of this genre and the divisions and subdivisions (or would that be regiments?) thereof?

#236 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 12:24 PM:

Larry, or like a command to a dog trained as a waiter: "Fido, serve 'em!"

I must, however, say :-P~~~~ to you. No offense meant, but I like Fidem Servo a lot. ajay is good.

#237 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 12:33 PM:

Larry, that's exactly where "servomechanism" comes from.

"For I am a man under an operating system, having a comfy cushion under me: and I press this button marked Go, and something goeth somewhere; and yonder key saying, Page Down, and down it verily goeth; and say unto my system, Execute, and it beepeth mightily and doeth no thing under the sun."

#238 ::: Laina ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 12:36 PM:

#219 but bugs in a car. Lots of them in a huuuuge yellowjacket nest

Rhandir - At least a double shudder. Yellow jackets are nasty, because if a couple of them start to sting a person, most of the group may try to join in.

I was never stung, but I've had them build nests in my compost heaps if the summer was too hot/dry in Leavenworth, KS. The heavy clay soil meant the ground would get hard and crack - and my compost heap was just too soft and loose. (I've never managed to get a "hot" compost heap going. that might make it less tempting.)

Since insect spray would seem to defeat the purpose of a compost heap, I tried to avoid the yellow jackets until we had a freeze. They never seemed to survive the winter (thank goodness). The guy who cut my grass did get stung once, and we agreed that the grass in that corner of the yard wouldn't be cut until late fall.

#239 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 12:49 PM:

admasj, I don't have any references to provide, but fwiw I agree with you. I think there certainly should be a genre name for what your wife describes, just not "Alternate History."

I propose "Gonzo Wacko Historical What-If" as a term that captures the essense. It can go under Humor in the bookstore. Leonidas with nukes has to be played for laughs or be worthless IMO.

#240 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 01:29 PM:

Xopher, you can have as many damn mottoes as you like. My own family has two that I know of and the Royal Family has lots. Use one on your coat of arms and the other as your battle cry or on your business card or tattooed on your arm or something. Or as a drunken toast - 'fidem servo, dude' works well for me.

Incidentally, it's servo -are, "to save" rather than servo -ire "to serve" - the two are the same in the fp singular, hence the confusion. It's been a very strange sensation feeling all the Latin I learned lo these many years ago coming back to the surface...

#241 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 01:38 PM:

Xopher,

I'm not against "Gonzo Wacko Historical What-If" stories. A great book like The Big Time is in the GWHW-I mold. (I forget exactly where/when the nuke was used.) They just aren't generally as interesting as alternate history stories.

But then, I like science fiction better than fantasy, too.

(Interestingly, she disliked The Big Time--in fact, I'm not sure she's ever finished a Leiber book--which I loved.)

What's the quote from Everything You Know Is Wrong? "An alternate history for an alternate culture"?

#242 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 02:24 PM:

she's of the opinion that giving Leonidas a nuke is fair game.

If anything is possible, nothing is interesting.

Though I think that had the Roman Republic remained a Republic and not entertained emporers who thought themselves Gods, then you might very well have seen the industrial revolution occur during the peak of the Roman Republic and bypassed that whole dark ages thingy.

#243 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 02:25 PM:

see also, "Ceasar's Palmtop".

#244 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 02:31 PM:

industrial revolution occur during the peak of the Roman Republic

Hm, and then the romans would be known not for building roads that connected the entire republic, but railroads.

#245 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 02:40 PM:

So, Greg, you're suggesting that I might today be studying Rubicon on Rails?

#246 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 02:56 PM:

It's blackberry season!

I bought a few frozen pie shells in anticipation. I hope to make two tonight, with as-yet-unpicked wild blackberries.

I have "The Joy of Cooking." Can anyone top the recipe in there?

Any opinion of tapioca versus corn starch?

#247 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 03:01 PM:

Does anyone know where someone would take an absolutely brilliant greeting card design? Not a drawing or a slogan, but a radically different card. It may be better for a marketing piece than a greeting card, but my wife has created a brilliant design.

#248 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 03:14 PM:

Oooohh. New particle. lemme click on that...

Er, no, never mind.

I seem to remember that the survival rate of catch-and-release fish is surprisingly low, which would seem to say that catch and release fishing is a lot more impactful on the stock than some might have thought.

But that PETA poster is gonzo.

#249 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 03:55 PM:

Now, I don't know what Tesco is exactly. From context I'm guessing that it's an arrogant and encroaching retail chain ala Wal-Mart. But in any case, this is utterly brilliant:

Tesco versus Denmark

#250 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 04:09 PM:

Stefan: it depends on how people feel about blackberry-flavored tapioca spheres. (It will do that. My mother used it; I don't have a problem with it myself.)

#251 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 04:21 PM:

If PETA really sees no difference between themselves and fish, I say fry them and serve them with tartar sauce.

What loathsome scumbags these people are.

#252 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 04:53 PM:

Actually, Tesco's is a relatively innocuous supermarket chain, albeit with a growing non-food range. It's true they took over Willie Low's, the beloved Scottish supermarket chain, but in comparison to Asda (Wal-Mart) and Sainsbury's, they're pretty low-key.

They do sell Terry's Chocolate Oranges, if that's of any interest.

#253 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 05:03 PM:

John Ford at 202: we had a similar roleplaying invention built around the bad handwriting of one of the group. Thus the spell "Deafness" became "Neatness" (your charisma goes up by 2 points but you can't find anything).

Lizzy L at 213: I thought I loved Wilfrid Owen's "Dulce Et Decorum Est" when I read it as a teenager. But now that I'm 45 and studying for a career in health care, I REALLY love it (and recently had an opportunity to speak it in a staged reading--awesome).

Rhandir (219) and Laina (238): I got stung by one (1) yellowjacket yesterday. This morning the welt on my thigh was the size of a penny. Currently it is larger than a Sacagawea dollar. The last one I had eventually got to be the size of a drink coaster.

Re alternate history: my personal entry in the sweepstakes involves a Victorian naturalist discovering polyester bees and working out how they make that shiny waterproof stuff.

#254 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 05:11 PM:

"Actually, Tesco's is a relatively innocuous supermarket chain"

That actually makes it a bit funnier. Like Shop n' Save fielding powered armor.

#255 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 05:32 PM:

No one would have believed in the last years of the twentieth century that Denmark was being watched keenly and closely by a greed greater than the Vikings' and yet as mortal as their own; that as Scandinavians busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a marketing executive might scrutinise the transient fads that swarm and multiply in a schoolyard. With infinite complacency Danes went to and fro about their nation engaged in their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their control over their finances. It is possible that the children in the playground do the same. No one gave a thought to the more economically flexible businesses of Britain as sources of fiscal danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of working within them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most Danes fancied there might be other supermarkets in the UK, perhaps lacking in social benefits and ready to welcome a unionising enterprise. Yet across the gulf of the North Sea, capitalists that are to Continental minds as Danish ones are to those of the Third World that suffer economic inefficiency, greeds vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded the nation with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against it. And early in the twenty-first century came the great disillusionment.

I'm sorry, I can't go on.

#256 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 05:37 PM:

Like Shop n' Save fielding powered armor.

"We live for the Seven-One-One. We die for the Seven-One-One."

#257 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 05:40 PM:

You can't make up shift like this:

Armor of God Pajamas.

John Rogers of Kung Fu Monkey provides appropriate snarkery.

#258 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 05:52 PM:

One of these days, the mommy who created the Armor of He Who Doesn't Exactly Need Armoring PJs will see the labels "Armour of God" and "Armour of God II" in a video store and rush home, speaking in tongues and stuff.

And worst of all, her daughter may decide that Jackie Chan is a kewl d00d, and she wants to be like Rosamund Kwan when she grows up. (Now there is a lady who doesn't get scared in the night.)

#259 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 06:12 PM:

Xopher (#230):
ajay, that's pretty good. Hmm. Not sure I don't like Verbum meum me imperat better though...it has such a good rhythm and stuff. (I'm presuming that's Verbum meum me imperat. right? A really nice 5/8: ONE and TWO and and | ONE and and... And you can repeat it, swapping the long and short beat in each measure.

I think the pronunciation is more like Verbum meum me imperat. But I could be wrong...

Also, for what it's worth, I like the ordering you have because it's a) slightly easier for those of us with rusty Latin to parse; and b) possibly closer to standard Latin word order. (Since Latin is fully inflected, as it were, you can shift the words around and retain the meaning, and that's what poets often did. But my hazy memories of Latin class include the idea that in prose there tended to be certain syntaxes that were more common.)

#260 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 06:15 PM:

Lila #253: One day when I was four I was stung 59 times by a swarm of yellowjackets. I've avoided it since. I'm convinced I would die.

(People are always telling me "that explains a lot" when I relate this, but they'll never explain what they mean.)

#261 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 06:28 PM:

Armor of God Pajamas.

Good grief, I didn't need to see that.

Not only is my project melting before my eyes, but old projects long forgotten are being laid on my desk to melt on top of it. I'd appreciate it if folks would post more benign, uninteresting, and un-disturbing links until I've gotten at least one of these molten blobs back into something recognizable.

Oh, my regression run is finished, gotta go.

#262 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 07:29 PM:

Re: Stefan Jones in 249: Does anyone have any idea where that's from? It's one of the funniest things I've seen in quite a while.

One could easily substitute Starbuck's for Tesco and it would still work, except that Starbuck's has already conquered the world.

#263 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 07:36 PM:

Sorry, YouTube isn't great at citations.

Starbucks is more like the Puppet Masters, or the Body Snatchers.

#264 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 08:18 PM:

There is another damned BAT in here. This is getting ridiculous. On the bright side, repeated exposure is decreasing the flapping-bat panic effect - it's orbiting only a foot or so over my head as I sit here typing and I'm only ducking occasionally.

I have to pack for worldcon. I do not have time to deal with bats. Sheesh.

#265 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 08:23 PM:

On the Armour of God: What happens when the waistband of Truth gets hit with the stain of cr*p?

#266 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 08:34 PM:

Holy -- oh, never mind.

#267 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 08:46 PM:

Susan - Sounds like you need to find a belfry and install it on your property away from any frequently opened doors or windows.

Strangely, friends of mine in the Hudson Valley have recently sent me pictures of the bats that have invited themselves into their home in the past few days. Or, as they put it, "Danged mice with wings!"

#268 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 08:49 PM:

Bat #3 (#2 for the house plus the one in the church last night) is now hanging sedately over my window. Naturally, that's too high for me to reach easily. I am waiting for my catsitters to come over in hopes that they have both the knowledge and the confidence to capture the bat.

#269 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 08:57 PM:

Holy -- oh, never mind.

Y'know, my first big masquerade-winning costume was Catwoman (TV series version) as part of a Batman-Robin-Catwoman group. But that was twenty years ago.

#270 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 09:19 PM:

You know, if the show had had a few more instances of:

Our heroes are trapped inside a giant lime-squeezer, about to be made into a real big pitcher of margaritas.

"Holy crap, Batman, the Joker's really got us screwed this time!"
"An astute literalism, old chum."

. . . it might still be on the air.

#271 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 09:25 PM:

Xopher (260): OW! DAMN!!

(I refuse to say anything about the pajamas.)

#272 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: August 22, 2006, 09:46 PM:

Bat #3 has now been captured and removed by my catsitter, who can reach over a foot higher than me and has a manly way with a towel. The bat has flown off into the neighborhood where it will catch insects and hopefully find someone else's house next time it has an urge to be an indoor bat.

Let's just hope I don't come home from L.A. to find either a house full of live bats or a little pile of dead bats and two triumphant cats.

#273 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 01:19 AM:

Okay, now that we have comment numbers, here's another suggestion:

Over at Joey DeVilla's Accordion Guy blog, I just noticed that if you roll your mouse slowly over the blognames on his blogroll, a little popup box will unfold by most (not all) and state "last updated at [date/time]".

This is really useful for seeing which of the listed blogs have made new posts recently, not-so-recently, and which are stagnant and haven't had new posts for months.

Seems accurate and very up-to-date, too; the popup that unfolded by my own blog's title reflected a post I'd made about ten minutes before.

Be handy to have that feature on Patrick & Teresa's blogroll too.

#274 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 01:41 AM:

Xopher 260

(People are always telling me "that explains a lot" when I relate this, but they'll never explain what they mean.)

They say that when I mention the prenatal tear gas, too. (I'm the youngest People's Park rioter and was born not keen on Reagan.)

#275 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 05:00 AM:

abi - good grief, you're a sort of mild Reaganomics version of Miles Vorkosigan.

It's imperat, stress on the first syllable.

Like Shop n' Save fielding powered armor.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: If you walked into a nuclear missile showroom you would buy Trident - it's lovely, it's elegant, it's beautiful. It is quite simply the best. And Britain should have the best. In the world of the nuclear missile it is the Savile Row suit, the Rolls-Royce Corniche, the Château Lafite 1945. It is the nuclear missile Harrods would sell you. What more can I say?

Jim Hacker: Only that it costs £15 billion and we don't need it.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Well, you can say that about anything at Harrods.

my catsitter, who can reach over a foot higher than me and has a manly way with a towel

*flourish*
"Back, spawn of night! Return to the darkness from whence you came!"
Susan: *swoon*

#276 ::: Tim May ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 06:49 AM:

#262 ::: Larry Brennan


Re: Stefan Jones in 249: Does anyone have any idea where that's from? It's one of the funniest things I've seen in quite a while.

It's from Time Trumpet, currently running on BBC2.

I wouldn't have said Tesco were any more innocuous than Sainsbury's, myself, though that's not based on any detailed knowledge of their practices. Wikipedia says they have the larger market share, anyway.

#277 ::: Jen Birren ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 07:17 AM:

Time Trumpet's own website has some more clips. They seem to be putting up some from each episode as it airs. (The Wikipedia article links to it, but, y'know, one-click access.)
Armando Iannucci does excellent satire-with-silliness.

#278 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 12:06 PM:

Susan, have these bats come in through an open window, or are they just "appearing" in the house?

If it's the latter, you may have a colony in your attic, basement, chimney or crawl space.

If you do have a colony, you're going to need professional help in getting them to move elsewhere.

#279 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 12:09 PM:

I wonder if a bat house under the eaves would help. (Yes, you can build one, probably more easily than building a bird house. Check with the bat conservation people.)

#280 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 12:39 PM:

If you do have a colony, you're going to need professional help in getting them to move elsewhere.

"I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."

#281 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 01:02 PM:

I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Fuckin' A...

Ho-ho-hold on one second. This installation has a substantial dollar value attached to it.

They can *bill* me.

#282 ::: apone ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 01:03 PM:

All right, sweethearts, what are you waiting for? Breakfast in bed? Another glorious day in the corps! A day in the Marine Corps is like a day on the farm. Every meal's a banquet! Every paycheck a fortune! Every formation a parade! I LOVE the corps!

#283 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 01:44 PM:

Anyone run across this review (John Fracisco's).

Well, I liked it.

#284 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 02:19 PM:

The prank reviewer is becoming quite the trend, and I'm not entirely sure how to feel about that. On the one hand, sometimes (as in this instance) it's really well done and quite funny. On the other hand, it is more likely to confuse and mislead someone genuinely interested in the product being reviewed. On the gripping hand...really, what else could you do with a review slot for web-purchased milk?

Mostly, I think Amazon reviews should be actual reviews of the product. If you want to do a satirical review, get yourself a blog and do nothing but satirical reviews.

#285 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 03:40 PM:

Skwid #284: Why would anyone want to buy milk over the web?

#286 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 04:17 PM:

Headlines not to read after you've taken a gulp of soda:

"Polar bear genitals shrinking due to pollution"

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/14485634/

(Yeah, right. The things spend hours a day paddling around in frigid water and they blame pollution.)

#287 ::: jennie ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 04:54 PM:

Patrick, thanks ever so for the Reed Elsevier weapons trade link. As You Know Bob, ReedExpo also organizes BookExpo. I feel kinda gross about my company's and my professional association's participation in BEC, now; however, the site is strong enough that I'm quite comfortable passing the link around and exhorting my employer and my professional association to reconsider our involvement, and to write letters to Reed explaining why we are pulling out (assuming that the relevant bodies do indeed pull out.)

#288 ::: Ailsa Ek ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 05:21 PM:

#272 Susan:

A pile of bats isn't too bad (unless they've gone bad in the time it took you to get home). Bat parts underfoot when you're not expecting them is bad.

If I could convince Tigger and Roshi to pile up their trophies neatly I would consider giving up the anti-bare-feet crusade. (Well, OK, that and if I could convince David not to leave Legos and Matchbox cars around.)

#289 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 05:47 PM:

Fragano #284 - I buy milk over the web once a month. I get all my heavy and bulky groceries delivered once a month. From the delivery subsidiary of my regular grocery store, not Amazon, though.

#290 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 06:07 PM:

#288 Ailsa, you too have a pet named Tigger? Mine's a 13-year-old German Short-Haired pointer who got the name because she bounces (or did; not so much anymore).

#291 ::: Sugar ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 06:23 PM:

Tim May #276: Innocuous is the last word I'd use to describe Tesco. They're more of the local Wal-Mart; the statistic I've seen about them is that they take one pound in eight spent in the high street. A while back a journalist lived for a month solely on things bought from them (even including insurance and books) for a stunt. In short, a Tesco in every square mile is not just a likelihood - by 2012 it's a probability.

Stefan Jones #276: Alas, the Telegraph does not seem the web-archive the article headlined:

"Paramedics lasso pigs on motorway"

#292 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 06:47 PM:

Given the Telegraph, I would have expected:

Paramedics Lasso Pigs on Motorway
EU Leaders Deny Responsibility

Inside: The Cochon de Chemin Crisis

#293 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 07:30 PM:

Odd question: Is there such a thing as salt-water amphibians? I must have slept through biology.

#294 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 23, 2006, 11:23 PM:

ajay: Reagan? Vorkosigan??

#295 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 03:26 AM:

Susan, have these bats come in through an open window, or are they just "appearing" in the house?

Just appearing. All open windows have screens.

If it's the latter, you may have a colony in your attic, basement, chimney or crawl space.

What an utterly terrifying thought. I've already had the crawl space desquirrelled once.

No bats here in L.A. so far. I'm looking for Serge and failing to find him.

#296 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 05:06 AM:

CHip: Miles Vorkosigan - SF character created by Lois McMaster Bujold - his mother was attacked with poison gas while pregnant, meaning he was born dwarfish and brittle-boned. Have a read - they're good fun.

Greg: saltwater amphibians? No, not in a strictly biological sense - ie there are no members of the class Amphibia (frogs, toads, salamanders) which live in salt water. Of course, there are creatures which can operate in salt water and on land - such as the estuarine crocodile - but they aren't amphibians.

No bats here in L.A. so far. I'm looking for Serge and failing to find him.
Because Serge is generally accompanied by bats? ("You've met my little pets, Mr Bond...")

#297 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 06:00 AM:

"Children uff de night . . . vatch it, dey crap on everyt'ing."

#298 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 08:32 AM:

Horses, dead, pedantic beating of:

Finally located my Latin dictionary. It appears that "imperare" is one of those odd verbs that takes the dative for its direct object rather than the accusative, so Xopher's motto should be:

Verbum meum mihi imperat
rather than "Verbum meum me imperat."

Curiously, the Wikipedia page for The London Stock Exchange notes that the LSE's motto is "dictum meum pactum" = "my word [is] my bond," apparently an old Roman saying. There's a footnote to this, claiming that the seemingly identical phrase "verbum meum pactum," which some financial companies try to use, actually has the meaning "My written words are my bond." ("... as a consequence, they are warning their customers that 'Nothing that I say can be trusted.'")

I'm not sure I believe that last bit -- a little googling suggests "verbum" usually meant spoken word, as in this bit from the Vulgate: "omnis qui audit verbum regni..." ("All who hear the word of the kingdom..." -- Matthew 13:19).


("It -- it says, 'Romans, go home'." "No, it doesn't. What's Latin for 'Roman'? Come on!")

#299 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 09:42 AM:

Bruce Arthurs @ 273: the recently-updated blogroll you reference requires having the blogroll remotely hosted at blogrolling dot com; our hosts may or may not be willing to (1) put their blogroll in someone else's hands and (2) rely on something from another site loading on their page.

(In contrast, the comment numbers were a one-word addition to the Movable Type templates.)

#300 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 10:40 AM:
Because Serge is generally accompanied by bats?

Must be a wumpus.

#301 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 11:12 AM:

re: bat removal

Best left to the professionals. Some sources suggest that dried bat guano is an excellent environment for histoplasmosis.

You could, of course, try a specially modified spotlight from Gotham Homeland Security Supply Co.*

-r.
*You can catch their latest products at an industry show put on by Reed Exhibitions, such as DSEi.

#302 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 11:26 AM:

296. ajay, thanks. I thought so, but I couldn't find anything that definitively said no salt water.

298. this(1) site of latin phrases says "Meum pactum dictum" for "My word is my bond". But I believe latin is position independent?

Also, did I mention: Ooohh! Numbered comments!


#303 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 11:27 AM:

(1) where this site is

http www angelfire com (slash) empire (slash) martiana (slash) gens (slash) LatinPhrases.html

#304 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 11:28 AM:

that was weird, put that URL in normal format, and the post is denied for questionable content. No clue why.

#305 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 11:29 AM:

Testing....

http://www.greglondon.com

#306 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 11:30 AM:

Testing...

wow. anythign to angelfire dot com is listed as questionable....

#307 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 11:41 AM:

Susan: Bats are little Houdinis -- can get into and out of very tight spaces.

And if you've had to have squirrels removed, that suggests that there may be a hole too small for the squirrels, but just perfect for Ms. and Mr. Bat.

I'm hoping you don't come home to a pile of dead bats. At least your catsitters are aware of the flying wildlife problem.

#308 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 11:52 AM:

Peter Erwin @298: I used to have a sign over my desk that said "Non Scriptum, Non Est." That wasn't to say "my word can't be trusted," but "document everything!"

Thanks for the me/mihi info. Right now I'm leaning toward Fidem Servo.

#309 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 11:58 AM:

wow. anythign to angelfire dot com is listed as questionable....

Fixed.

#310 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 12:07 PM:

Look at this economy bat house for an idea of how small a hole bats can go through. This house has an interior space, front to back, of 3/4 inch. The bats apparently like it just fine. (And if you have bats, and they want to live in your building, you probably do need a bat house. this site has bigger, fancier house plans also.)

#311 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 12:32 PM:

Greg London,
298. this(1) site of latin phrases says "Meum pactum dictum" for "My word is my bond". But I believe latin is position independent?

Yes, Latin is sufficiently inflected that you can work out the meaning from the form of the words, rather than requiring word order the way English does ("vir canem mordet" = "canem vir mordet" = "mordet canem vir", all of which means "man bites dog"). But ordinary Latin speech and prose tends to have standard word ordering anyway (e.g., subject-object-verb for simple declarative sentences; most adjectives immedatiately after the nouns they modify; etc.). Poetry tends to shift words around more, to make the meter work or for other effects.

#312 ::: Jeremy ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 01:32 PM:

Since we're doing Latin mottos, may I submit mine for inspection? It's going to be a tattoo, so I'd like to be damned sure of it.

"Quod me vincit deligi mihi"

...which I'm actually pulling from memory rather than the text file somewhere on my home computer, but the intent is "That which binds me I chose for myself" Thoughts, corrections, etc. gratefully accepted.

#313 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 02:23 PM:

Jeremy...that motto makes me think you might have joined in on the bondage-gear discussion in the party thread...

#314 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 02:35 PM:

Jeremy (#312):
"Quod me vincit deligi mihi"

I think "deligi" should actually be "delegi"; you could also use "elegi" (same meaning, more or less).

There's a potential pun there, in that "vincit" can mean "binds" and it can also mean "conquers" (different verbs, but same 3rd person singular present tense form). So it could also translate as "That which conquers me I chose for myself" -- this may or may not be an interesting additional meaning.

If you don't want the possible ambiguity, then the following ought to work:

Quod me ligat delegi mihi

#315 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 02:44 PM:

Testing...

Latin phrases here

looks like it works...

#316 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 03:01 PM:

Jeremy (#312):

I wouldn't be comfortable getting a tattoo of text that I wasn't entirely sure of the meaning of. Too many stories of people getting it more than slightly wrong--people who neither read nor speak Japanese or Chinese getting tattoos in those languages because they like the way it looks.

Then again, I have four tattoos, containing no text in in any language.

#317 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 03:35 PM:

Some generally good advice:
Cave ne ante ullas catapultas ambules. If I were you, I wouldn't walk in front of any catapults.

Here's one for me:
Cacoethes scribendi Bad habit of writing — i.e., an insatiable urge to write. From Juvenal.

Here's one for Patrick:
Caterva carissima mea est Cimictus My favorite group is the Beatles

One for the next convention party:
Da mihi sis crustum Etruscum cum omnibus in eo. I'll have a pizza with everything on it.

#318 ::: Glenda P ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 04:04 PM:

[Lurker de-cloaking]

While reading about Pluto, I spotted this on the sidebar: Evolution Major Vanishes From Approved Federal List.

Sure it's just a clerical error.

#319 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 04:14 PM:

Greg (re #315 and #317),
I think a number of those are taken from some of Henry Beard's books. The one I have is X-Treme Latin: Unleash Your Inner Gladiator; recommended even if you don't know any Latin, or if you just want to know how to say "Talk to the hand!" in Latin.[*] Or "SpongeBob SquarePants."[**]

[*] Adloquere manum!
[**] SpongoRobertum QuadratoBracatum

#320 ::: Jeffrey Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 05:44 PM:

So I checked out the Baltimore Sun online to see what the day's news was and saw:

Astronomers: Pluto no longer a planet
New guidelines reduce size of solar system from nine planets to eight (11:14 AM)
• Pluto responds: 'Planets have feelings, too' (5:34 PM)

#321 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 10:34 PM:

As I understood it in Latin class years ago, the standard word order was:
(Subject) (Object) (Verb)
and deviations emphasised various things.

So normal word order:
Agricola puellam amat.
The farmer loves the girl.

While other variations give:
Puellam agricola amat.
The farmer loves the girl.

or:
Amat puellam agricola.
The farmer loves the girl.

#322 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 24, 2006, 10:39 PM:

ajay: I know too well who Vorkosigan is; I got tangled in comments and thought you were answering abi's Wells pastiche.

#323 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2006, 04:44 AM:

Re Pluto - BoingBoing has a link to a photoshopped poster by the Friends of Pluto. Picture of a huge bolide impact on Earth, seen from space, and the caption "Start calling Pluto an asteroid... and it starts acting like one".

http://www.worth1000.com/emailthis.asp?entry=312604

#324 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2006, 08:01 AM:

The Bats in Buildings page of Bat Conservation International.

#325 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2006, 11:38 AM:

Greg @ 317: My favorite was Sic biscuitus disintegratum.

#326 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2006, 12:57 PM:

Because Serge is generally accompanied by bats? ("You've met my little pets, Mr Bond...")

Might make him easier to spot.

I am now accompanied by a pair of lavender maribou deely-boppers. I am not sure how well they will go with my evening gown for the Hugos.

#327 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2006, 01:15 PM:

Shrub's motto?

Vis consili expers mole ruit sua

Brute force bereft of wisdom falls to ruin by its own weight.

#328 ::: tavella ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2006, 02:59 PM:

One of those stories so retro and bizarre that first you think it sounds like an Onion story, and then you wish it _was_ an Onion story, because it's so awful and petty and banally evil: Church kicks out 12-year-old boy because he's biracial.

#329 ::: Dan R. ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2006, 03:04 PM:

I'm posting here as the nearest open thread, to report a bug with the otherwise splendid incremental improvements to the blog.

numbered comments: yea!
adjustable text : yea!

But: when I have selected the larger text size and select a comment from the Recent Comments sidebar, I am taken to a point much further up the comment thread, presumably to the place I would have been with the smaller text.

This is a gripe on the same level as "the sky is not quite the right shade of blue", but I'm just sayin'...

#330 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2006, 03:35 PM:

#328: Add the Fellowship Baptist Church in Saltillo MS to the list of Persons To Be Scorned and Derided.

I'm tempted to write to them and say "Do you think your behavior is a good example of Christian living? If so, I'm glad I'm not a Christian; I'd have to be a heartless racist like all of you."

And yeah, I mean all of them. If the 20% who voted against it don't quit, they're racists too. You cannot accommodate prejudice without becoming part of it.

Or maybe I'll just write to them and say, "Are you really ignorant enough to believe Jesus was white? I expect you are. It's not the case, though," and then point to the places in the Bible where His hair is described (NOT a white person's hair).

#331 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2006, 03:51 PM:

For those who missed the Saltillo Baptist Church story (encouraging part: the pastor resigned in protest!), here it is courtesy of Google's cache:

Pastor leaves after church turns away biracial boy
8/19/2006 8:03:01 AM
Daily Journal

BY CHARITY GORDON
Daily Journal
SALTILLO - Twelve-year-old Joe recently asked Jesus to live in his heart.

Yet the church where Joe accepted his Savior not even two weeks before will no longer allow the biracial boy to enter.

On Aug. 6, during its scheduled Sunday night business meeting, Fellowship Baptist Church in Saltillo voted not to accept blacks within the church. More specifically, the congregation also voted Joe out and said he could not return.

That evening Fellowship Baptist did not just say goodbye to Joe and an entire race of humans. With that decision the church's pastor, the Rev. John Stevens, resigned, and at least one other family decided not to return to the Baptist Missionary Alliance congregation that averages 30 people.

The church was "afraid Joe might come with his people and have blacks in the church," Stevens said. "I could not go along with that. There would always be a wall between us, so I resigned that night."

Cliff Hardy, an officer with the Tupelo Police Department, left the church, too. He and his family had been going to Fellowship Baptist for about a year and had been praying about becoming members there.

"I was asking the Lord to lead us," Hardy said.

The police officer says there are good people at Fellowship Baptist, and the Bible was preached there.

However, "You see, my best friend is a black man," he said. "I wouldn't be comfortable going to a place where I couldn't ask my best friend to go to church with me."

Hardy says he knows there are still a lot of folks who are not comfortable with people from other races, there is still a lot of holdover from the past, there is still a lot of fear.

"But that's not what Christ died for," he said. Jesus' death and resurrection "is supposed to be a uniting force, not a separating thing."

We're all God's children'

In July Joe moved in with his uncle and aunt, Saltillo residents Jason and Melinda Kirk. The Kirks, who had been attending Fellowship Baptist for almost five months, were Joe's temporary guardians until recently, when his stepmother moved here from Ohio.

During the week of July 23-26, Fellowship Baptist held revival services, and on July 26, Joe became a Christian.

The following Sunday, people at the church asked the Kirks if they would become members, and the family started praying about it.

The next Sunday morning, Aug. 6, the Kirks went to church. When company arrived at their house that afternoon, they decided not to go to the 143-year-old church that night.

Later that evening, the Kirks received a phone call from their pastor, Stevens, who said Joe had been voted out of the church and could not come back. The minister, 72, who has now retired, said he had resigned from the church over the decision.

Joe overheard the telephone conversation.

"We explained to him that everybody didn't feel like that," Melinda Kirk said. "But it really bothered him. He felt like our pastor had to quit his job because of him."

The Kirks reassured their nephew that Stevens was just standing up for what is right.

"People have got to realize we're all God's children," Jason Kirk said. "It's not God so loved the white people; it's God so loved the world."

Since Stevens' resignation, one church member who was not at the Aug. 6 meeting has called the former pastor and told him he was in favor of what he did. Stevens estimates 80 percent of the church is against having blacks in the congregation.

"It's between them and God," police officer Hardy said. "I love those folks, but I can't agree with them."

Fellowship Baptist Church members were contacted for this article but declined to comment.

Contact Daily Journal religion editor Charity Gordon at 678-1586 or charity.gordon@djournal.com

Appeared originally in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 8/19/2006 8:00:00 AM, section C , page 1

#332 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2006, 03:58 PM:

link to story gives error.

#333 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2006, 05:51 PM:

As a biracial person, I am simply appalled. As an atheist I am not at all surprised. As a resident of the South my first thought was 'What else would you expect from white Baptists?'

#334 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2006, 06:20 PM:

Guess what Bush wanted to do? Close down the I-95 HOV lanes during rush hour so he could use an unblocked road to a George Allen event. Virginia said no.

#335 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2006, 06:32 PM:

And he had the General Lee all tuned up and ready to show Enos what fer, too.

After the event, President Bush and Senator Allen plan to discuss Camus and attend a screening of Pontecorvo's The Battle of Algiers.

#336 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2006, 10:51 PM:

Greg@327: I think you are confusing a motto with an epitaph; the latter may be frank, but the former is laudatory. Some texts can be both in the right hands, cf Si monumentum requiris, circumspice, but those are rare.

#337 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 25, 2006, 11:43 PM:

CHip, that (epitath) works for me.

#338 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2006, 08:19 AM:

#335: I understand it was a double feature topped off with Birth of a Nation.

#339 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2006, 08:21 AM:

I've long thought "consumed by that which he was nourished by" would make a good one for me, motto or epitaph.

#340 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2006, 12:00 PM:

Advice wanted for cool high school senior!

I have a daughter (age 17, openly bisexual--boy, did I love telling THAT to the Army recruiter who called!--intelligent, witty and creative, plays double bass, 1st degree black belt in taekwondo, plays well with others) who is becoming progressively more depressed at the idea of going to college, and even more depressed at the idea of getting a crap job in retail etc. instead of going to college.

Her passions include social justice (she thought for a while about law school), music, visual arts, writing, animals and the environment. She genuinely likes all kinds of people; likes chemistry but not math; is squeamish about health care/veterinary sorts of things, and not at all into business/finance. She's a vegetarian, a sort of freelance Christian, and the designated "person to come out to" in her (Southern, small-city) high school.

I, as her mother, have been unable to discuss post-graduation plans with her at all without triggering immediate, unhappy, stony silence.

Does this trigger any "ooh! She needs to know about THIS!" reactions in anyone?

#341 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2006, 12:19 PM:

Does this trigger any "ooh! She needs to know about THIS!" reactions in anyone?

Yeah, it triggers a "she needs a coach" reaction.

;)

#342 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2006, 12:41 PM:

If you work long distance, that might be an option.

#343 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2006, 02:01 PM:

I usually work via phone, one hour calls (evenings/weeknight), a call every week or so. The main thing is that she has to want to do it. I've had parents get some coaching time for their college/high school aged kids, only to have the first call with the kid and find out they have no interest in doing it at all.

Have her email me directly if she'd like more info. If she won't email, then she probably isn't interested.

#344 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2006, 02:37 PM:

FYI, NPR's Weekend America just aired a brief segment on WorldCon. This week's show isn't yet on the website yet, but it was about the 1h20m mark.

#345 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2006, 05:11 PM:

Lila, by happy coincidence, this week's issue of US NEWS & WORLD REPORT (their annual "America's Best Colleges" issue) also includes an article on young people who take a "gap year" between high school and college.

The print article (not yet available online) includes a sidebar with URLs for sites that give possibilities for gap year activities:

A Gapster's Guide

Employment/internships. CoolWorks (coolworks.com) lists domestic jobs. Working Abroad (workingabroad.org) connects overseas.

Study. Global Routes (globalroutes.org) runs semester-long courses. Sea-mester Programs (seamester.com) offers oceanography.

Volunteer work. Try AmeriCorps (americorps.org or Projects Abroad (projects-abroad.org).

Need help? The Center for Interim Programs (interimprograms.com) and Time Out Associates (whereyouheaded.com) offer personalized planning.

Online, US NEWS has a page with other suggestions for what to do during a gap year.

Hope this helps.

#346 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2006, 06:14 PM:

THANK YOU, Bruce. (And Greg, I'll get with you via email. Thank you as well.)

#347 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2006, 08:20 PM:

Lila:

Your daughter sounds wonderful! However, it's really too bad that she gets depressed or at least stressed out on thinking about college. Is it possible that there is something specific she wants to either study or do, but doesn't think she's "good enough" for? Or is it possible she's worried about having to meet your expectations, or the expectations she expects you to have of her?

#348 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 26, 2006, 11:51 PM:

Clifton: she is wonderful. And she doesn't know what she wants to do, which is part of the problem. I think part of her resistance to college is that pretty much everyone she knows either has been to college or is planning to go to college, and she doesn't want to be in lockstep. *sigh*

I have a big folder full of alternative program bookmarks, if she's ever calm enough to look at them.

#349 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2006, 12:48 AM:

who is becoming progressively more depressed at the idea of going to college, and even more depressed at the idea of getting a crap job in retail etc. instead of going to college.

when confronted with what amounts to practically an infinite amount of choices, one response is to view choosing as a loss of freedom, going from really a loss of freedom, but that can be what it feels like. The deal breaker is whether the person is making a choice true for them or deciding on something that someone else is pushing.

And she doesn't know what she wants to do, which is part of the problem.

That isn't a problem by itself. Not knowing may be an honest reveal, especially when everyone else knows, or at least appears to know what they want to do. It may also be an avoidance of choosing, but usually self-sabotage like that is more specific than "I don't know".

I, as her mother, have been unable to discuss post-graduation plans with her at all without triggering immediate, unhappy, stony silence.

That response would fit the "I don't know" profile. What do you say if you don't know, other than nothing?

Unhappy, though, isn't good, for her, I mean. It might however be a thread that could coax out some understanding of the situation, or might be a dead end. Why unhappy? If you are completely willing to accept any possible answer to this question as perfect for her (no matter what her answer is), then ask her. If you want to hear a certain answer, or don't want to hear some particular answer, then don't ask, cause it won't help.

she doesn't want to be in lockstep.

That's fine. She may just want to make sure she's choosing college because she's choosing it, not because everyone else is doing it. If she can clear her mind of what everyone else is doing and ask herself what she wants for herself, then she'll at least be asking the right question in the right context.

I have a big folder full of alternative program bookmarks, if she's ever calm enough to look at them.

It doesn't sound like the problem is a lack of information, or a lack of alternatives. Why isn't she calm?

It doesn't sound like she is the sort of person to get lazy. So, if she isn't making a decision, that might actually be the best thing for her at the moment. How are you relating to her lack of decision? If you want what's best for her, and right now what's best is not choosing, can you be alright with that?

Do you have any "shoulds" that you're bringing to her? She should do this or she shouldn't do that?

I'm not saying you do, but these are first level questions to try and find out what's going on.

#350 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2006, 12:13 PM:

Here's what I've told her:

1. You need, in the next 4 to 5 years, to get from where you are now to where you can support yourself financially, and we will fund that to the extent that we have the funds (college or tech school would be easier to fund because some of it would be funded with other people's money; Americorps and similar pay for themselves; we don't have the scratch to pay out-of-pocket for a grand European tour).

2. Whatever decision you make about where to go next doesn't need to cover the entire rest of your life, just the next year or two.

3. Colleges and many other programs require application well in advance, so waiting until after graduation day to decide what to do next will postpone a lot of your options for up to a year.

"Too many alternatives" is likely part of the problem; she does have a LOT of interests. The financial angle is slightly complicated by the 3-years-younger sibling whose education must also be funded.

#351 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2006, 01:35 PM:

Lila: for possible answers, you might consider Johnson O'Connor. I dealt with them 30 and 36 years ago, but from the occasional news I see they're still following much the same line: finding the fundamental aptitudes that people have and suggesting (from a large database of successful, successful-in-spite-of, and unsuccessful jobs/careers of past testees) what those aptitudes are good for. They do need active cooperation; when I was dealing with them they had 2-3 3-hour test sessions (big chunks of which were done from tape) which doesn't work for someone who isn't willing to try the process. They can be confirming or correcting; one of the things they told me was that I wasn't \really/ a solo (a common fannish theory), which I finally acknowledged some years later. (That's expressed too psychologically; a differently-clumsy explanation is that they've found a correlation between some tests and people who successfully work largely from their own ~impetus, e.g. surgeons or salesmen.) They have offices in several cities; depending on what "Southern" means, you might go to Atlanta, DC, Chicago, or Dallas. (AFAIK you do have to go to one of their offices.) Read about them and see what you think.

#352 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2006, 05:19 PM:

Thanks, CHip. Bookmarked.

#353 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2006, 10:57 PM:

For the bibliophiles (or bibliotechnophiles?):
Hot Library Smut (entirely worksafe)

#354 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2006, 11:50 PM:

#350, It sounds like you're doing about the best a parent can do given your circumstances. What you describe sounds like you would support whatever decision she'd make, which is the best you can do. (As opposed to having expectations about what she decides and what not.) Of course, email and such is a major handicap to coaching, so, you're results may vary.

Basically, what coaching is is having the client figure out what principles are most important to who they are, to the point where the choice of action becomes a non-issue. There are some specific exercises that can help direct this, but it really comes down to questioning the person's principles with complete neutrality to the answers, having them figure out what's most important to them, to the point where there is no turmoil around what they end up choosing. The best calls I have start with the client saying "i have no clue" and ending with "but of course". A lot of coaching is simply getting the person to look inside and figure out what's best for them by seeing who they are.

Basically, you might want to try asking her questions about what is important to her as a person, and let her figure out the specifics. Rather than try to solve the specific problem by finding more information about different schools and programs, ask her introspective questions that remind her who she is, and let her figure out the details. Know what I mean?

So, you're getting to know your daughter, and leave the details to her.

If she asks for help with details and logistics, then you can help, but it sort of shifts your role, and takes any pressure off you trying to fix the problem. Everything you've said about your daughter would indicate she's fine, she'll find an answer, and it'll be right for her.

#355 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2006, 11:52 PM:

I was in my friendly local Michael's yesterday and they have 'Knit Lights'. The batteries are actually fairly small; it looks like the lightbulb is the major reason for the big ends.

#356 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 27, 2006, 11:58 PM:

Gore's take on Bush.

Questioned as to whether he thought US President George W. Bush, who defeated him in the 2000 presidential elections, was stupid, Gore replied: "I don't think he's unintelligent at all. He's incurious ... there's a puzzling lack of curiosity."

woot

#357 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 12:30 AM:

Re Gore's take on Bush: To have lost the office as he did must have been damnably galling. To have lost it as he did to a stupid man must be -- I don't have the word for it. I honor Gore for his restraint.

#358 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 01:43 AM:

It occurs to me that Gore's description of Bush is quite consistent with a view of Bush being the tool of a political machine.

#359 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 02:51 AM:

Late to the party I know - I've just read the Particle entitled "Anyanka has a blog".

Oh my oh my...

Good looks and a nice personality will get you further than good looks, towering egotism, and a personality like paint stripper.

Or is that just wishful thinking on my part?

#360 ::: Dori ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 03:49 AM:

Lila @ 340: What you wrote made me laugh. Not because it was particularly funny, but because my son's school (which he moves into in 18 days) has a reputation for being a great place for a certain type of student: outgoing bisexual vegetarian young women with strong interests in the environment, social justice, art, and music.

Our kid hits zero of all the above, but we've been told it has a world-class bioinf department and that's what he wants, so that's where he's going.

Your daughter, otoh, sounds like someone who would hit the ground running at UC Santa Cruz. OTOH, it could be a financial problem given that you don't live in-state. Drat.

Well, do tell her that most kids don't end up graduating in the major they start out with, so she shouldn't feel like choosing one locks her into anything whatsoever (as we keep reminding our son). And if you want any UCSC info, just let me know.

#361 ::: Mina W ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 04:16 AM:

Howard Pierce #77 a hoax blog

Way too late, I know, but I was just rereading. Don't perpetrate any ideas that you really don't want to see become commonly believed as true. The most obvious and funny ideas can be taken all too seriously by someone - and once they spread it as true…

#362 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 04:41 AM:

On a wholly different note: lime and chocolate cake. Very nice.

#363 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 05:10 AM:

Lila, one snippet from my own experience:

Hindsight, that powerful and pretty useless tool, tells me that the unbroken dash from school to college (is that the right term for the US) was a mistake. I was picking my degree course long before my final school results, and there were already some signs of the weakness in maths that stopped me. By the time I had the exam results, I was committed, and with them I might just have headed in a different direction.

A gap year of some sort isn't a bad idea. Have some plans. Use the time to earn some money. Break that potentially misleading habit of being just a student.

But the label "gap year" and all the stuff about worthwhile projects and mind-broadening travel: that's something that can be a bit misleading for most of us. It can be the sort of thing that only a certain sort of people do: an us and them definition.


#364 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 06:31 AM:

Steve Taylor (359): The irony of "Anyanka's" blog post: Her top three reasons why she's such great girlfriend material are that she's slim, attractive, and relatively young. If she deserves to be punished for her cluelesness, time will do the job.

The post is so clueless that it could be a troll. Some choice bits:

I’m relatively young (whereas 82% of American adult women are over 30 years old)

Over 30 years old! Heavens! I mean, how could a man ever want to get involved with a relic who was born in 1975, she'd probably want to bring her great-grandchildren along on dates or something!

I have a strong libido and love having sex (my lover *never* has to beg, unless it’s for me to let him get some sleep!)

I simply don't believe it. Any woman who looks like that picture is a woman who just lies there and doesn't move.

And, why would I want to get involved with a woman who lets me have sex without begging? I'm a Jewish male; begging, for us, is foreplay.

I realize that some of you will find this post depressing because you’ll realize that you don’t qualify as a high quality man and thus won’t be able to get a high quality woman. You have a few options:

1. Lower your standards and stop pursuing women who are out of your league. There are lots of fat single mothers out there who can’t find dates either.

I love the preceding two paragraphs. I just want to hold them in my arms and hug them.

Look in the developing world. If you’re literate with a home computer and an internet connection you are very wealthy compared to the rest of the world. Citizenship or legal permanent residency in a rich country makes you more attractive to women in poorer countries. Your value on the dating market is thus much higher there.

Has this woman never watched Law & Order? This option always ends badly. One minute you're happily married to your mail-order Russian bride, and the next Jerry Orbach is making a dry remark over your prone, dead body.

I'm despondent that I can't meet Anyanka's standards for dating, on account of my being fat, kind of homely, and not a libertarian. I must gorge on Mallomars to cheer myself up.

#365 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 06:41 AM:

Jon Swift responds to "Anyanka:"

Dear Jackie:
I don't know how to say this in a delicate way so let me just be blunt: I'm just not that into you. I will say, however, I was very flattered by your recent blog post outlining why you are such a good catch. Naturally, I interpreted this as your way of trying to get my attention. Even though I do not meet every one of the "long list of requirements" you seek in a companion, you and I both know that some of the "requirements" on your list were only there to give you a modicum of deniability that it was me you were looking for. But if that's what you need to preserve some shred of dignity after I have rejected you, then I am willing to play along.

Even if I were not unavailable, considering that I'm married and not French, I can't think of any circumstances under which I would even consider a relationship with you no matter how much you begged me. In fact, if we were the last two people on Earth I would prefer that we just be friends, if that. I'm sorry if you think it's arrogant of me to say this, but I think it's better for you that I let you know this now and nip your infatuation in the bud because I think the longer your obsession with me goes on the more difficult it's going to be for you, and I want to save you from as much pain and embarrassment as possible. Consider this post the virtual equivalent of ripping off a Band-Aid really fast. But having said all that, I hope you don't take any of this personally because it's really not you, Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey, it's me.
#366 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 07:50 AM:

Lila: Has she read Pamela Dean's Tam Lin? (Now, or shortly, back in print from Firebird!) If not, lend it to her. If so, or afterwards, mention to her that Blackstock is actually Carleton College in Minnesota.

#367 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 08:21 AM:

And if you've had to have squirrels removed, that suggests that there may be a hole too small for the squirrels, but just perfect for Ms. and Mr. Bat.

Well, the desquirrelings happened six years ago before and immediately after I bought the house, and the hole was repaired. I've had no problems since.

I'm hoping you don't come home to a pile of dead bats. At least your catsitters are aware of the flying wildlife problem.

I'm home briefly before heading out to Canada in a couple of hours (anyone in Toronto besides Power Twin want to meet up?) and there appear to be no bats, dead or otherwise, here, nor do the cats appear more than usually smug or well-fed. I'm gratified that they appear to have missed me.

I did check around very carefully before going to sleep and before getting into the shower.

#368 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 09:03 AM:

Mitch Wagner wrote in (#364)

(on "Anyanka's" blog)

> The post is so clueless that it could be a troll.

You'd wonder, wouldn't you? However, I now realise I've been to her blog once before, for some entirely different reason, and I thought "what a ghastly human being" on that occasion too. So either it's real, or an extended piece of performance art. Or a power fantasy, I guess.

My guess is she's a genuine monster.

> And, why would I want to get involved with a woman who lets me have sex without begging? I'm a Jewish male; begging, for us, is foreplay.

I'll have to refer that to a friend for comment.

---

I think the creepiest thing underlying her post is the assumption that humans beings are fungible. (Any day I get to use the word 'fungible' is a good day.) If I'm interested in an intelligent woman with long black hair and I can't have her, my "next best choice" is another intelligent woman with long black hair. Except in the real world it isn't, of course.

I'm pretty sure my first encounter with her page was via an economics blog I sometimes read with a mixture of horror and amusement as they try to interpret every single feature of the world as a nail just waiting for the hammer of economics to happen by. She's on the same trip.


#369 ::: Laurence ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 09:59 AM:

Re: Lila's daughter, who "is becoming progressively more depressed at the idea of going to college, and even more depressed at the idea of getting a crap job in retail etc. instead of going to college."

This is going to sound harsh, but if she's never had any crap jobs, then she needs to get one. Crap jobs are pretty much unavoidable, at least for a few years (before, during, and/or after college), unless your family is rich enough to support you, or you go into a field that is guaranteed to make lots of money.

Also, if she is genuinely depressed, then she needs help with that, separate from any discussion of college or alternatives. It might be hard to accept that one's bright, intelligent, wonderful child is seriously unhappy about something. But it sounds like she is.

#370 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 10:41 AM:

begging, for us, is foreplay.

for various definitions of "us".

;)

Oh man, I've been chuckling ever since I read that. That was better than coffee as a wakeup call.


#371 ::: debcha ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 11:22 AM:

Steve Taylor wrote (#367), re Anyanka's blog: I think the creepiest thing underlying her post is the assumption that humans beings are fungible.

I was wondering why her post engendered such strong reactions (in myself as well as others). I had gotten as far as realizing that most of us think things like compassion, loyalty, a sense of humour, and, oh yeah, humility - all things that can't be quantified with a percentile - are important. But Steve, you absolutely nailed it.

On the plus side, she's pretty much established the terms on which she can be replaced.

In a way, Anyanka is the exemplar of the type of behaviour that is feared by (some) men, as described in the retrogressive Forbes article. Pretty much all of the differences to a man that result from marrying a 'career girl' [sic] can be explained from the simple fact that, when women have resources and options, they fail to act like slaves (which is pretty rational economic decisionmaking). Anyanka seems to have taken that to its logical conclusion - acting only as a rational economic actor and not as, say, a human being.

#372 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 11:36 AM:

This is going to sound harsh, but if she's never had any crap jobs, then she needs to get one.

I would disagree that anyone needs to have experienced a crap job to make a good choice about their future career path that they would be satisfied with.

I have no hard data, but what I've found anecdotally as a coach is that a person simply needs to figure out their internal character, what traits best define who they are and want to be, and the choice comes without struggle.

Having a crap job might reveal to themselves who they are and what is important to them, but it might also simply result in a "no, not that" piece of information. And it doesn't sound like the problem is a lack of information, but an internal struggle.

#373 ::: Laurence ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 11:48 AM:

Greg: I didn't mean that she needs to get a crap job in order to figure out what she wants to do. I meant that crap jobs are something she's very likely to experience, even after she finds out what she wants to do.

And it doesn't sound like the problem is a lack of information, but an internal struggle.

I completely agree, and resolving that struggle is her highest priority. Getting a crap job is low priority. But to decide that you can't possibly get a crap job, because you're too intelligent or sensitive or artistic or valuable or whatever - that's a fallacy.

#374 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 11:50 AM:

Greg: I would disagree that anyone needs to have experienced a crap job to make a good choice about their future career path that they would be satisfied with.

Amen. Lots of people think that you need to have slung burgers to understand that (unless you have a passion for it) burger slinging probably not a carreer job.

There are also different levels of crap job. For instance, I skipped the wonderful world of fast food and went straight to office work. This eventually developed into a career in IT, since abandoned for tech marketing.

I had to get the crap job because I was pushed into college with absolutely no idea what I wanted to do, and therefore foundered. I could have used a gap year, but we were (relatively) poor and had a family history of not even finishing high school so the idea of my not going straight to college, at 16, was too frightening for my mother to consider, even for a moment.

There are lots of roads we can take to get to someplace worth being. The trick is figuring where you want to go before you start worrying about how to get there, and being open to better choices along the way.

#375 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 11:59 AM:

outgoing bisexual vegetarian young women with strong interests in the environment, social justice, art, and music...Our kid hits zero of all the above

I bet he's young.

I think the creepiest thing underlying her post is the assumption that humans beings are fungible.

They are! Very fungible. At least I know I am; that's why I spend so much money on Lotrimin AF.

What? It doesn't?!?

Never mind.

#376 ::: Mina W ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 12:04 PM:

The comment thread over on A Dress A Day had a reference to The Uncanny Valley which is about people's responses to robots and horror films. Do all you guys already know about it?

The dress (and model) which inspired the reference are interesting too.

#377 ::: Mina W ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 12:13 PM:

#370 debcha Anyanka seems to have taken that to its logical conclusion - acting only as a rational economic actor and not as, say, a human being.

It just occurred to me that The Uncanny Valley is relevant to our reactions to Anyanka. The idea is that something very close to human, but not quite, is the creepiest of all.

#378 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 12:21 PM:

Thanks to an article in American Scientist, I discovered Six Months in Ascension, a marvelous Victorian saga of scientific discovery by one Mrs. Gill, wife of the man who calculated the distance to Mars by trekking off to a very distant place. I can't find a hard copy of the book online (maybe not reprinted since 1878?), but it's available for free on the Net at this site. Highly recommended! (I stayed online for a couple of hours and read the whole thing.) All the knitters out there should be sure to check out Chapter One, which uses knitting needles as a simile for celestial angles.

#379 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 12:34 PM:

But to decide that you can't possibly get a crap job, because you're too intelligent or sensitive or artistic or valuable or whatever - that's a fallacy.

I didn't read her as saying that she's too good for a crap job, just that she doesn't want one, which I'd agree with.

Now, there is a major difference between "crap" job and simply "low paying" job. And I didn't hear her say she was trying to avoid a low paying job. She might find the perfect field to go into and start with a low paying job, but if it's what she loves to do, and assuming there's some sort of room for promotion, then that's not what I would call a "crap" job.

There's a difference betweening interning in an area that you love for minimum wage to get a taste for the field and flipping burgers for minimum wage because someone told you it'll put hairs on your chest.

#380 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 04:48 PM:

Open thread tangent:

Not that I was watching the Emmy's last night, but I was flipping through them en route from one channel to another. Anyway, there was this bit about best comedy or something. And I can't remember who won, but they showed a clip of their show, and a guy was interviewing Condaleeza Bush. It went something to the effect of:

interviewer: "Does Bush have a plan in case Iraq implodes in a civil war?"
Mrs Bush: "We're not going to entertain those kinds of hypothetical situations."
interviewer: "But wasn't it a hypothetical situation that got us into Iraq in the first place?"

At which point I shouted "SCORE!".

#381 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 05:27 PM:

Greg - I didn't see the show, but perhaps it was The Daily Show? I understand they one an Emmy as best something or other.

It sounds like a Jon Stewart kind of interview.

#382 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 05:34 PM:

I can't imagine anyone in the misadministration's inner circle being stupid enough to appear on The Daily Show.

Um, then again . . .

#383 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 05:49 PM:

a guy was interviewing Condaleeza Bush.

Was that --
a. the humorously hyperbolic setup for the sketch
b. a Freudian camisole
c. one more odd event the MSM hasn't picked up on?

#384 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 05:52 PM:

Stefan - It could have been edited together or taken from another source and rebroadcast on TDS.

Ugh. Above, "one" s/b "won".

I think my brain is finally turning into mush. (I also misspelled "career" in another thread today.)

#385 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 06:17 PM:

#382 The clip didn't say Condaleeza Bush.
I added it for my own bit of flair.
If you were googling on that phrase, sorry.

#386 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 06:23 PM:

John: a couple of years ago, Condoleeza Rice reportedly slipped at a dinner party and started to refer to George Bush as her husband.

#387 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 06:45 PM:

er, just to be clear, (1) no, the clip did not refer to Condaleeza Bush or Mrs Bush or anything. The clip was extremely short, being played while the winners walked up to the stage. No names, just a great quip about "hypothetical situations". and (2) I added it in reference to the slip up that Jen references.

While we're on the subject of titles-given-to-people-by-me, I don't know if anyone has ever refered to Bush this way, but my favorite title for him is

King George the Mad.

#388 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 06:49 PM:

Hey! I just noticed the link in the upper right corner that says:

Choose:
Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

I know of the recent attempts to improve font and the Rockwell painting was perfect, but somehow, I missed those links. Sorry for the delayed response, but:

My eyes thank you.

#389 ::: Ailsa Ek ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 07:09 PM:

#340: One college she might like is Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. Major social justice emphasis and service to the community and getting your hands dirty and such. If we win the lottery, I'm applying there myself. Haven't been there, dying to check it out.

#390 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 07:11 PM:

If Bush were mad, he'd at least be interesting, in a cringe-inducing Tardblog sort of way.

George the Mad might declare Silly Hat Day, or bottle his urine, or personally visit Gitmo dressed as Jesus to preach to the inmates about the End Times, or wear a stovepipe hat while clearing brush. He might speak to the nation through a ventriloquist dummy made from a dead coyote, and beat the White House cook for putting lima beans next to mashed potatoes.

My call:

King George the Tediously but Dangerously Mediocre.

#391 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 07:39 PM:

Silly Hat Day

I was thinking more along the lines of him ordering the military to collect seashells as proof of victory against, Katrina?

#392 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 07:48 PM:

He's already made every horse's hindparts he knows a consul.

#393 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 07:55 PM:

Some horses might be insulted by that comment...

#394 ::: A horse with no name ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 07:57 PM:

(whinney)

*snort*

#395 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 08:12 PM:

#393: At last! Can you confirm: was it good to get out of the rain?

#396 ::: A horse with no name ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 08:18 PM:

(clop)

(clop)

#397 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 09:36 PM:

Since there was an eleven-year gap between my freshman year of college and my graduation with a Bachelor's degree, I feel comfortable saying that if you don't really know what you want to do, colleges aren't necessarily the best place to find out unless you or your parents have unlimited funds or can run the kind of scam Zonker has going.

Unfortunately, these days the alternative route I took (US Navy for a couple of years and three more as a DOD contract employee on Kwajalein) probably isn't too attractive to anybody, nor would I suggest it.

#398 ::: rhandir ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 09:39 PM:

fyi, Privacy International is taking nominations for their Stupid Security Awards. Link via Schneier, since the direct link is all wonky with brackets and % characters and whatnot. They are taking stories in the following categories:
* Most Egregiously Stupid Award
* Most Inexplicably Stupid Award
* Most Annoyingly Stupid Award
* Most Flagrantly Intrusive Award
* Most Stupidly Counter Productive Award

Any takers?
-r.

#399 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 09:41 PM:

Dori #360: Go slugs! Go, you sluggos! (I don't know much about UC Santa Cruz, but I know they have The Coolest Mascot EVER)

Jo #365: She just bought "Tam Lin" last night after I saw it at B&N and recommended it to her!

Laurence #372: I used "depressed" in the vernacular, not clinical, sense. Mea culpa. She is unhappy from time to time, but not for long at a time.

Ailsa #388: Thanks, bookmarked!

#400 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 09:48 PM:

if you don't really know what you want to do, colleges aren't necessarily the best place to find out unless you or your parents have unlimited funds or can run the kind of scam Zonker has going.

But if you want to try this, I would recommend a local community/junior college. You can at least take the classes that every college is going to expect, and avoid the 900-seat lecture halls. They also frequently have a variety of vocational and, um, less traditional classes. (My brother discovered ornamental horticulture that way, and ended up with a PhD in it.) They are also good places to take whatever class sounds most interesting that term.

#401 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 28, 2006, 10:01 PM:

Ooo, Comment #400!!!!

#402 ::: Mina W ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 12:06 AM:

Lila, and P J Evans #399 - I can enthusiastically recommend community colleges for the reasons PJ states, and a few more.

If your local college is getting money for adult retraining, it might have, for instance, Macs and excellent computer graphics courses. In many cases more hands-on than at most 4 year colleges. It's a good place to begin & explore. Of course, half your fellow students may be 50-somethings. (I consider that a bonus. Cultural diversity.) And yes, Environmental Horticulture.

Because of an annoying policy, there are almost no full time teachers with benefits. Instead, teachers are allowed to teach 2 classes at most. In urban areas, that can mean peripatetic community college teachers, who commute all over the place, and get no benefits anywhere. As a perhaps unintended consequence, in more outlying areas, like where I am, this means that all the computer graphics & publication design teachers are professional designers, since no one can live on teaching one or two classes. They have all been excellent, with good real-world skills to pass on to their students.

#403 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 01:47 AM:

Greg London writes:

Hey! I just noticed the link in the upper right corner that says:

Choose:
Smaller type (our default)
Larger type
Even larger type, with serifs

(and when Greg quoted that, it was in italics, bereft of serifs)

If I had switched on "even larger type, with serifs," I might not have misread that as

Even larger type, with serfs.

No more disturbing than some of the other political news we see around here...

#404 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 02:11 AM:

debcha wrote in (#371)

(I wrote 'fungible')

> On the plus side, she's pretty much established the terms on which she can be replaced.

Direct hit! 10 points.

Xopher wrote in (#375)

> They are! Very fungible. At least I know I am; that's why I spend so much money on Lotrimin AF.

Shame! Shame!

And if I could think of a decent pun on Yuggoth I'd make it now.


and Mina W wrote in (#377)

> It just occurred to me that The Uncanny Valley is relevant to our reactions to Anyanka. The idea is that something very close to human, but not quite, is the creepiest of all.

They walk among us!

One of most minor of my peeves is that she's a self confessed ugly duckling->swan. I thought that was supposed to induce humility? More fairy tale thinking I guess...

#405 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 02:31 AM:

I agree that community colleges can be excellent places to explore one's interests. Just don't grow up and want to teach at one, because as stated above the benefits are zilch.

Since most if not all of them are state- or city-run, I wonder why none of the government unions have tried to organize the adjunct faculty? (I can speak only for the Hawai'i ones; maybe it's happened elsewhere.)

#406 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 05:20 AM:

Re the dreadful Passey: "Johnny's not human, you know," one of John von Neumann's Los Alamos colleagues said once, "but he has studied humans in depth and can imitate their behaviour perfectly."

#407 ::: Dori ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 05:35 AM:

Xopher @ 375: I bet he's young.

And you win. My first draft of that graf had "girls," which I later replaced by "young women" -- and didn't realize that I'd blown my own point. I hate it when that happens.

Lila @ 399: Go slugs! Go, you sluggos! (I don't know much about UC Santa Cruz, but I know they have The Coolest Mascot EVER)

As someone who went to UC Irvine, I'm partial to the anteater, myself. But banana slugs are darn cool too.

#408 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 05:40 AM:

Community Colleges seem totally unlike anything we have in the UK. Is there a possibility of transferring course credits to a more conventional college?

It probably varies by State anyway.

Incidentally, a place to check on the net:

www.daz3d.com

Currently running a free giveaway of Bryce 5.0, and there's also their Studio program, and some free CGI models.

If anyone is interested in trying CGI stuff, it's worth a look.

Trying stuff out doesn't have to be expensive.

#409 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 07:26 AM:

Dave,

For community colleges read polytechnics or further education colleges, ish. I think. Low entry criteria, reasonable fees, variable educational standards. Many underrated gems of educational practice.

One thing about them is that you can do a 2 year Associate of Arts degree. In some contexts (e.g. the University of California system, at least when I was there), you can then take that AA and enter a 4-year university as a junior (third year student), then end up as a BA at the same time as your contemporaries who went straight in. This all depends on some very good grades and suchlike, but one of the most brilliant Latinists of my undergraduate acquaintance did that.

(Her mother died partway through her time at high school, and with grief and running the household and all, she didn't get the SAT scores or grades that she needed for straight entry into university. But the community colleges in California take anyone with a high school diploma.)

Dori, Lila, all I can say is Go Bears, grrr'ah. Not that we mind banana slugs or anteaters - both are intensely cool mascot choices. Anything but watching a UCLA grad try to explain the difference between a bruin and a bear.

#410 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 07:32 AM:

Dori #407: Ooo, my heartfelt empathy! I hate that too. To be fair, being young isn't exactly something in common, is it? At that age, youth divides agemates more than unites them.

#411 ::: Ailsa Ek ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 08:11 AM:

Duh, community college. That's what my daughter's doing. Forgot to mention it as a possibility because of my extreme infatuation with Warren Wilson. A year off after high school isn't a bad idea either. It's enirely possible to be all schooled out for a while and need a break.

I see the getting of what would usually be considered a crap job not as penance but as a good thing to do in the circumstances. On the one hand, it's nice to have an income and not have to ask your parents to pay for everything, and on the other hand, the job shouldn't ask for a lot of brain, and when you're tired from twelve straight years of schooling, that's a very good thing.

#412 ::: Jeffrey Smith ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 10:09 AM:

I work at a community college, and what we see a lot of is people who had just moved on to college (either with us or a university) after high school -- taking that first year as if it were grade 13 -- and flunking out, and then coming back a year or two (or twenty) later when they were really ready for it.

Another thing we see is a summer thing (I didn't see any of these myself this particular summer, which was rare) of people who have gone away to university, are home with the parents for the summer, and decide to take a class with us because of course we're "easier" than their university -- and getting furious with us because their coasting only earns them a C. It's summertime, they're at a community college, they aren't supposed to have to work!

#413 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 10:31 AM:

On the topic of community colleges and high school seniors, I'm collecting sample student essays for the tenth edition of my writing textbook.

Proud parents, smart college and HS students, and writing instructors, please feel free to send me an email for further info.

There's no pay, but there is publication, honor and glory. And a free copy of the blessed book, which is here:

http://www.newtexts.com/newtexts/book.cfm?book_id=1906

(TNH and PNH, I hope this isn't a completely inappropriate thing to have posted, if it is, please remove forthwith and accept my apologies.)

#414 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 10:35 AM:

Gap year options -

A young friend of mine is considering a plan for a year of short apprenticeships. The idea is that she will travel around the country spending a week or two with various friends of the family and learning a little of what there is to be learned from them in whatever their specialty is. For example, she may spend a week or two with me working on 16th century Italian dance research.

This sort of plan needs a large pool of friends or connections to make it work, but for a young woman who doesn't know what she wants to do it could be an interesting option, perhaps fitted in between other short-term things - classes, a seasonal job, etc.

The other thing that occurred to me was that this would be an interesting year to be a volunteer on a political campaign.

#415 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 10:39 AM:

abi at #409: UCSB has 'Gauchos'. I don't think I want to know why.

My junior college (AA in engineering, thank you) had AJs (administration of justice, read police wannabes) who smoked, even in classroms clearly posted 'No Smoking'. Grr.

#416 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 11:16 AM:

No bats here in L.A. so far. I'm looking for Serge and failing to find him.

Thanks, Susan. From now on, people will think of me when they read about bats. Could be worse, I guess. That being said, it was nice meeting you at the worldcon. You and others who post here. It was nice finally putting a face on some of the names. As for that... I was quite amused when I went to Lisa Goldstein's autograph session and the first thing she said was:

"So THAT's what you look like."

Apparently , Lisa had this image of my being younger and with darker hair. It is true that I am young at heart. As for my hair... What there still is of it has been grey for a long time.

#417 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 12:07 PM:

Serge: I had the reverse once - at the age of 25 I interviewed in person someone to whom I had previously only spoken on the phone, and her first words were "You're ajay! I was expecting someone a lot older. With grey hair."

Wasn't quite sure how to take that. Like Flashman, if there's one thing I don't mind it's a ravishing beauty who expected me to be older (Flashman and the Great Game), but it's a little unnerving to find that my voice is a good thirty years older than the body producing it.

#418 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 12:24 PM:

Steve Taylor #404 One of most minor of my peeves is that she's a self confessed ugly duckling->swan. I thought that was supposed to induce humility?

Read up on the behavior of the nouveau riche of any era. Same sort of thing.

#419 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 01:07 PM:

(chuckle)

disapproving rabbits.

(grins)

#420 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 01:46 PM:

I have no time to do it (not that anyone here would believe that) but the Disapproving Rabbits would seem to call for a remix of the late-night TV classic Night of the Lepus:

"Dr. McCoy, I am extremely disappointed."

#421 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 01:54 PM:

OK, not on any previous topic, and this may have been covered somewhere, but I found this story heartwarming.

A particularly egregious spammer gets his.

#422 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 02:18 PM:

Note: What Right-Wingers See When They Read the New York Times.

Not entirely work safe. The "Arts" section in particular.

Also, the headline that engineers build sodomite robot, well, that just made me chuckle quite some time.

#423 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 02:20 PM:

I see your disapproving rabbits, and raise you Cute Overload's Disapproving Kittens.

Of course, CO seems to think they're less disapproving than the rabbits, but the kittens actually make me wonder what I'm doing wrong, whereas the bunnies just make me want to say "Silly Wabbit!"

#424 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 02:51 PM:

The archives for the newest thread (the one with the Hugo photos) seem to have gone bye-bye. All I get is a white page....

#425 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 03:01 PM:

Same here.

#426 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 03:04 PM:

Re #424, also a white page for me. Came here to see if it was a problem for anyone else (thereby giving P J Evans the same security as when someone comes to stand behind you in an unmoving line).

#427 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 04:33 PM:

Skwid @ 423 - I somehow read that as "Cute Overlord," which I like much better.

#428 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 05:07 PM:

ObSlashdot: I, for one, would like to welcome our Cute Overlords...

#429 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 05:57 PM:

The following panel is going to take place at the Northeastern Political Science Association this November. I'm not on it, alas, but I think folks here might be interested:


The Doctor is in the House: Science Fiction and International Relations

Chair: Priya Dixit, American University

Universal Bio-Politics: Interspecies Contact, Biological Threat, Politics of Identity

Elizabeth Breier-Sharlow, American University

Poli Sci-Fi 101: Popular Culture, Science Fiction, and "Real World" IR

Mark Hamilton, American University

Rats in the Sewers: Dr. Who and the Underbelly of the Nation-State

Ben Hoh, University of Technology- Sydney

The Daleks Then and Now: Enemy, Perception, and the Breakdown of Bipolarity

Katherine Rye Jewell, Boston University

Discussant: Mike Kiselewski, AAAS

#430 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 07:21 PM:

Susan #414: cool idea; noted. I do have quite a few friends and relatives with unusual skills.

Various folks: Yes, I too am a fan of community colleges, as I am currently getting an associate degree at one (this time next year I should be a physical therapist assistant). I've also done the liberal arts thing. I've enjoyed both.

#431 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 07:22 PM:

Returning from this evening's walk with the dog at 21:34:30, I saw a Strange Light in the Sky, rising in the West and heading East in the manner of an exceptionally bright satellite.

Sure enough, heavens-above.com confirms that it was the ISS. Cool. It'll be back tomorrow at 22:00, so maybe I can show someone else.

#432 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: August 29, 2006, 07:52 PM:

Niall -- Thanks for the reference. NASA used to run a site that would give steppable paths of every ISS pass in the neighborhood (and email in advance), but they shut it down for no obvious reason and I haven't had my fix in months. This one doesn't seem to do steps but it has decent-sized track maps.

#434 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2006, 12:45 AM:

I liked this sentence:

No weapons were found, but the 2007 red Cadillac Escalade he was riding in was filled with items including three wigs, 15 cell phones, $54,000 in cash and $10,000 in gift cards, authorities said.

Although I would personally have preferred a vintage Cadillac. Maybe a '59.

#435 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2006, 03:14 AM:

Larry @427: This being the internet, it will probably come as little suprise that there is actually a Cute Overlord page.

#436 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2006, 03:49 AM:

I'm not sure if I'm taking this out of context, but when I heard the phrase, my jaw dropped. This is why some people should not be turned loose without their handlers.

From the 29 Aug 2006 NBC Nightly News

Bush: "The key for me is to keep expectations low."

Well, gosh and golly. That's comforting. I guess the last 6 years have been some sort of attempt at under-promise/over-perform?

Maybe part of a long-term strategy - the public will be able to endure any half-wit who ends up president after 2008?

#437 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2006, 02:11 PM:

Lila (340), tell your daughter that the world is full of amazing options, few of which are visible from where she's standing. College isn't four more years of high school. "What you can major in" and "What you can work at" are two wildly different things.

Pick a college in a lively urban area. While getting through the first semester or two, get a look at interesting employment tracks in that city that don't exist elsewhere. (I'm talking LA, New York, D.C., and possibly the Bay Area.) Find out what you have to study in order to do that.

I know for sure that there are jobs in NYC that simply don't exist anywhere else. For instance: science fiction editor. There aren't a whole lot of jobs in that specific area, but there are some; and when you add up all the jobs in all the different specialized areas, there are actually a great many of them. LA's the same way -- you should see some of the weird jobs in the entertainment industry. Ditto for D.C., only they're in government and administration.

If she's spent her life in a small town, there's no way she can decide what to do. I remember being a kid from a small town. I was depressed by the available options. I had no idea what was actually out there in the world.

There are zillions of kids attending college right now who are plodding through their majors in mass communications or business administration or computer engineering. At the end of four years, they'll wonder all over again what the heck they're going to do with themselves. They may belatedly do a little exploring, but mostly they'll be looking to get whatever jobs they can find. Believe me, exploration will pay off now. Also, it's much more interesting than picking a major, decorating your dorm room, and settling down for four years of predictable studies.

#438 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2006, 02:28 PM:

This is why some people should not be turned loose without their handlers.

I'd agree, except that I'd've said "let off their leashes."

Except at a crowded room party, of course. (But then, they should be kept in their cage during those, not brought along to soil the carpet.)

#439 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2006, 04:35 PM:

Anyone have suggestions on optimal methods of disposing of library card catalogs?

My new employer's going to be discarding theirs shortly... nicest ones I've seen in a while.

#440 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2006, 04:46 PM:

nicest ones I've seen in a while

The catalogs or the cabinets?

#441 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2006, 05:12 PM:

Hang on to them. The NSA will need them for record keeping after . . .

[ ] every computer-literate person leaves the country.

[ ] EMP destroys the computing infrastructure.

[ ] they go back to paper records by presidential decree, because they need a place to employ Young Republicans who didn't manage to avoid the draft.

#442 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: August 30, 2006, 05:45 PM:

If there's a vote for best poster,
put me down for the 'y' on Old American Century.
(particle/sidelight)

#443 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 10:43 AM:

#439 Bill Blum
Anyone have suggestions on optimal methods of disposing of library card catalogs?

Yes: MY suggestion for the optimal method for disposal would be for your employer to give them to ME.

Slightly sub-optimal would be for your employer to sell them to me. (Would these happen to be in the Northeast?)

More seriously, I do see card catalogs on Ebay from time to time; SUNY-Binghampton's library sold some there about six months ago.

#444 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 10:56 AM:

Does anybody know where one can purchase back-issues of Asimov's, Analog and/or F&SF? I went to their sites and saw nothing about that - nothing obvious to me anyway. I keep coming across some really interesting reviews in Locus, only to find that the darn issues aren't out there anymore.

#445 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 11:00 AM:

Serge, there are a lot of dealers in magazines. I like these people:
Jim and Melody Rondeau

#446 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 11:47 AM:

The Cute Overlord blog ("putting the evil back into cute")(link at post #435) is well worth a look. I chuckled much and laughed out loud severally.

#447 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 11:50 AM:

*writhing in agony over the Beowulf particle*

What Bob said about the card catalogues. I'll buy 'em if they're in the midwest.

Ikea and Levenger both sell repro card catalogues, so there's got to be a market for the real thing.

#448 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 12:17 PM:

Thanks, PJ.

#449 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 12:39 PM:

Since it's blackberry season here (outside seattle) and I've got access to acres of blackberries, I've been looking at this post and inventorying. I have a few questions though:

  1. Overproof or not? If we start with 100 proof, what might we have left at the end? 1/2? 1/4? Does the overproof enhance flavor extraction, or minimize competing flavors?
  2. Frozen Berries? We've probably got enough of a supply compared to the amount that we'll put down that we could do it in one picking batch. Is the freezing important? Does it break down the berry for betterflavor distribution, or is it a logistical thing?
  3. Glassware -- We've got a supply of smaller mason jars, and they seem to be appropriately sized for sterilizing and handling. I'm assuming that they'll work for the steeping and bottling stage, however unromantic they may look without a cork stopper and wax on the neck. Am I missing something?
  4. Does the oxygen in the system affect anything in the steeping phase? Is it better to keep it sealed and filled almost all the way up?
  5. Am I just overthinking this?
#450 ::: Janet Brennan Croft ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 12:44 PM:

#439--Didn't we just talk about uses for old card catalogs? I remember waxing effusive...Yes, Open Thread 67 on July 21. Plus other people have commented from time to time. Don't let them get away! They are wonderful for so many things! You're not somewhere near Oklahoma, are you?...

#451 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 01:25 PM:

Wait, Beowulf is non-fiction?

Man, that explains soooo much.

Seriously, and I'm not even being harshly snotty here, are these fundie homeschoolers completely mentally deficient? Their entire claim that Beowulf really happened is that there are real people in it? I can't imagine anyone with the mental capacity to read that page being stupid enough to believe it.

Wonder what would happen if they ran into political RPS? After all, that's got real people in it too.

#452 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 01:48 PM:
Their entire claim that Beowulf really happened is that there are real people in it?

There is a line in the particle that asserts that evolutionists believe Beowulf is fiction because there are dinosaurs in it.

No mention of sodomy. Pity that.

#453 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 02:14 PM:

Re the Beowulf particle: I wonder what these folks have to say about the historicity of Paradise Lost?

#454 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 02:55 PM:

Tragic story here: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/issues/2005-12-29/news/feature_full.html
about the result of several generations of close relative marriages within one of the Mormon polygamist groups. Beyond the visible personal tragedies, a crippling and untreatable recessive genetic disease called 'fumarase deficieny' is now prevalent in Colorado City, affecting at least 20 kids, with thousands of carriers. The church is doing its best to keep the members from even knowing about it.

"If you look in the literature, you won't find another dozen cases in the world that have been reported," says Tarby.

#455 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 03:03 PM:

If the dinos were on the Ark, at least we know what happened to the unicorns.

"Wow, they come with toothpicks!"

One also imagines a Gary Larson cartoon of a couple of carnosaurs jammed into coach-class seats, complaining that the movie is The Ten Commandments again.

And, nerdycellist, these are people for whom the entire point of homeschooling is to provide an extremely selective education (inverted commas optional), and the blacklist is not confined to biology (and political history -- religious history goes without saying) -- it's been observed various places, including Good Math, Bad Math, that the Biblical pi=3 routine* has been making the rounds again, sometimes as part of a broader "Christian mathematics" festival of irreality. (Though urban legend parodies of this sort of thing also show up, some deadpan, some not, so one needs to be careful.)

*I Kings 7:23. Of course, it's possible that they were using the metric cubit, and this is a conversion error.

#456 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 03:09 PM:

Did anyone notice the footnote in that Beowulf article?

"A remarkable book, After the Flood by Bill Cooper, gives the history of Beowulf and of other European genealogy, tracing king lines all the way back to Noah."

Um, yes. Remarkable indeed, but perhaps not in the way the author thinks.

#457 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 03:17 PM:

Jeez, and I was going to switch to Comcast, too. Now I'm glad I procrastinate so much.

#458 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 03:23 PM:

#451 Wonder what would happen if they ran into political RPS? After all, that's got real people in it too.

Well, they've run into political FRPGs, and look! they voted for Bush....

#459 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 03:27 PM:

So what would the Beowulf-for-fundies people do with Homer and/or Ovid?

#460 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 03:47 PM:

And it came to pass after a decent interval of shoveling much dung, and the creatures that did eat of the fishes of the sea departing with rejoicing to do the same for the first time in an month, that they piled out of the boat, and smelt air that did not smell.

Whereupon the mighty lizards, those that had not already been skinned to maketh luggage and upholsterings, and who had early in the voyage eaten all the creepy-looking Precambrian thingies, went forth to find them places zoned for extinction.

And Noah looked about at the world, which was vast and empty and damp, and thought, well, we hadst best get around to it. An good thing the world is the Tigris and the Euphrates and the land between and that is it, or I would be one tired patriarch.

And he looked upon his wife, who went off in haste to gather something or other.

And he looked upon his daughters, and up at the heaven, and it did not darken.

Okay, he did say, and unto the maidens, Yoo Hoo.

And as he approached them, there came an hurtling stone, that struck him on the head, and he looked up again, wondering.

And there came a voice behind him, saying, "Sorry, friend. I wasn't looking. Name's Deukalion. This is the marina, right?"

Noah looked in the direction of the voice, and saw another boat, and it was big, and it had a promenade deck and a lapstrake hull.

And Noah's spirit was troubled.

But before he could cry unto the Lord something about bad jests, there came another voice, and he turned to see a modest multitude.

And they had no beards, and did carry their young upon their backs, and had their goods on wooden draggy things.

One of them raised his hand, saying, "Hi. Boy howdy, that was an long landbridge."

And as if there were not enough weirdness thereof, a great beast, with as it were an hangover, came up from the sea, and said, "Have you seen my mom?"

But another man, mighty in thews and all that, came up from yet another way, and did tear off the beast's arm and did beat him silly with it. And the warrior said his name was Bee-Wulf, which is being translated, Lupus and Wild Honey.

And Noah went unto his sons, Ham, Spam, and Jay-Z, and he rent their garments, because his own was the only warm thing on the boat.

II Crossovers, 1:1-16

#461 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 03:55 PM:

#380 and on: the Condi Rice "To be fair, the last time the administration acted on a hypothetical, they invaded Iraq" line was indeed from The Daily Show. The first two bits were a clip from a press conference, with the punchline from Jon Stewart

#462 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 03:56 PM:

There actually was a Far Side joke about Noah and unicorns. It showed the old fart looking disapprovingly at lions caught in the act of eating the unicorns and he says something about keeping herbivores and carnivores separated from now on.

#463 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 04:08 PM:

Heck, there was a Chas Addams cartoon about unicorns on the ark. Or not on the ark. It shows a couple of them standing on a rock, looking wistfully at the departing ship as the water rises around them.

#464 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 04:17 PM:

Threadless offers an alternative explanation of the demise of the unicorn, in T-shirt form. (Alas, sold out, but I own one.)

They also have this to say about why unicorns shouldn't be allowed near children.

#465 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 04:19 PM:

I'd like more information before I conclude that Comcast are the bad guys in that story (boo-hiss!) and the WELL was the good guys (hooray!).

Why was the WELL blacklisted?

Were they, in fact, sending spam?

Re: the lede of the article:

A decade before Microsoft released the first version of its Internet Explorer browser and nearly a generation before MySpace, The Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link, otherwise known as The WELL, was the place to be on the Internet.

It was ``the Park Place of e-mail addresses,'' according to John Perry Barlow, former lyricist for the Grateful Dead and a WELL user.

I'm really tired of WELL users and alumni declaring themselves to be the center of the Internet.

Far as I'm concerned, the WELL is the place where we exiled all the obnoxious kids who wore black all the time and never smiled and read Beaudelaire in public, so the rest of us could enjoy the proto-Internet and online communities and have a good time without the WELL users coming around and stinkin the place up with their smelly French cigarettes.

Remember: The cool kids never talk about how cool they are. They're just cool. If someone talks about how cool they are, they're not cool.

#466 ::: eric ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 04:33 PM:

Mitch,

Last week comcast was blocking the alumni.mit.edu forwarding to @comcast email addresses for spam reasons.

Generally, if there's an issue with comcast and spam blocking, generally comcast is at fault.

#467 ::: DaveL ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 04:58 PM:

I have a domain of my own that until last week I used to forward my mail to my "real" Comcast address. They blocked the domain host for spam. After fruitlessly trying to get them to fix the problem, I just switched my mail hosting.

What Comcast apparently is trying to enforce is the idea that when mail is auto-forwarded from one host to another, the originating host must apply spam filtering to it. What is wrong about this belief is that if the forwarding host filters spam, there is no way for the receiver of the mail to recover messages erroneously classed as spam. This can only be done at the ultimate destination. I can somewhat sympathize with Comcast's problem (I've read that 75-90% of the mail load these days is spam), but in fact they would get exactly the same amount of spam to deal with if I changed my public email address to point to them as they got before from mail forwarded to them.

All they are managing to do is annoy a great many of their customers without improving their spam load more than fractionally.

#468 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 05:12 PM:

Bravo, John M. Ford! If I had a bible, I would add this right after Leviticus, and also tuck it into Revelations.

Now I have to decide if I want to change my LJ title from "Box of Apostrophes" to "Precambrian Thingies".

#469 ::: sara_k ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 06:36 PM:

A book in German for children on how babies are made.

http://www.planetdan.net/pics/babies/index.htm

My German is not that great; I can order from a menu but that is about it. This book opens a whole new realm of conversation.

#470 ::: Todd Larason ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 07:30 PM:

My home Comcast connection was _turned off_ a few weeks ago with the claim that I was sending spam. I wasn't, of course, and it took more than a week to get someone with the power to do anything about it to return my calls to discuss the problem.

My best guess now is that, due to a massive increase in the amount of spam I was _receiving_, my spam blocking system made enough DNS lookups to catch someone's attention, at which point they noticed I was running my own mail server and used the "DNS denial of service attack" as an excuse to mess with me.

I'm trying desperately to get DSL now, but it's not looking promising.

#471 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 08:28 PM:

Teresa: great advice, thanks. I have noticed that high school kids are only able to name about 50 different careers, even when they personally know people doing more than 50 different kinds of jobs.

The latest wrinkle is that the high school in which both my younger daughters are currently enrolled is now requiring the kids, by the end of freshman year, to commit to one of five "academies" that will determine which classes they take in the sophomore, junior and senior years. Arrgh.

#472 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: August 31, 2006, 09:55 PM:

My webhost informed us today that all forwards to Comcast were being stopped because Comcast wouldn't talk to them about what the problem was.

#473 ::: cd ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 04:44 AM:

Mike Ford: in #455, you mention "the metric cubit", and I was irresistable reminded of Chad Orzel's observation (on the "1 Kings 7 proving that π=3" canard):

Which is really accurate, of course, because in those days the standard length of a cubit was fixed by comparion to a platinum-irridium human arm kept in a climate-controlled vault in Samaria....

#474 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 08:32 AM:

That Beowulf particle makes for mad reading. And I made the mistake of reading some of the other articles on the Crosswalk site. I found this one particularly alarming. I thought it was satire, from the opening paragraphs:

It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was time to pull Kristin out of school. The year before, after being homeschooled for three years, Kristin had begged C. J. and me to let her attend a local private Christian school. We agreed, under one condition: She was to be a difference-maker. But Kristin had not kept up her end of the deal.

Outwardly she was a "good" kid, even an exemplary one. She wasn’t deceptive or openly rebellious. She worked hard at school and didn’t hang out with the wrong crowd. She did all the "right" things. Yet she remained silent when she should have graciously confronted the ungodliness of her classmates. She was tolerant of sin in her own life and the lives of others. We didn’t observe a passion for God. She also failed to show consistent love for home and family, one of the foremost characteristics of biblical womanhood. Though subtle, these were serious concerns.

But I was wrong.

#475 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 09:25 AM:

Can someone give me a quick summary of the "I played WoW and became a terrorist" particle? I can't read pretty much anything on LJ from here, and I want to know how I, a confirmed WoW player, can become a terrorist too!

(Note to the NSA: Joke, OK? If for some reason I decided to become a terrorist, I have a pretty good idea of how to go about it and it doesn't involve Lightforge armor or a [Mighty Hunting Bow of the Eagle].)

#476 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 10:45 AM:

Madeline Kelly #474: There's a Christian requirement to consistently love home and family? And to force children to do so?

#477 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 11:01 AM:

Comcast blocked Panix for a while, a few months ago. Truth of the matter, of course, is that Comcast only cares about traffic from paying customers and they have no obligation to carry traffic from outside of their network at all; common carrier law unfortunately does not extend to carrying e-mail.

#478 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 11:03 AM:

Chap flying to meet fellow WoW guild member dropped his iPod down the onboard khazi (accidentally) - immense Heimatschutzamt over-reaction ensues. (Only a peripheral link to WoW. Pity. I was hoping for Strossian "online coup" shenanigans.)

#479 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 11:05 AM:

Fragano--

Apparently, the requirement is only for *women*...and children who will become them.

Biblical Womanhood and all, you know.

http://www.fbbc.com/messages/NTCWFeminine.htm

#480 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 11:14 AM:

Sarah S #79: Is that a description of the role of a woman or that of a slave?

#481 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 11:15 AM:

Ajay #478: I was hoping for Strossian stoner weapons...

#482 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 11:16 AM:

Fragano

As Jeeves would have it, "Rem acu tetigisti, Sir."

#483 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 11:17 AM:

Fragano #480: You ask as if, for those who wrote the Bible, there was a difference.

#484 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 11:21 AM:

Agh!

"as if there WERE a difference."

Er, I think.

In my own defense, I point out that I use the subjunctive quite regularly in phrases such as "If I were going to do that".

*goes to seek an online grammar aid*

#485 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 11:31 AM:

Ajay #478: Thank you. I must say I was rather hoping for a bunch of kids planning a Dire Maul raid that was taken as a real plot, or the like. But no...

#486 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 12:03 PM:

#474 Madeleine Kelly --

I read that article too and it creeped me out, especially after having followed the Babyland/FLDS related links from Particles yesterday. Creeped me WAY out.

There seems to be a really unpleasant oder of mind control and brainwashing in that article. I suspect "tolerant of sin" means that she did not sufficiently harass classmates who did not conform to what her parents thought was "biblical."

And the coda, that Kristin is now a properly self-sacrificing wife and mother, further creeped me. I mean, my mother certainly sacrificed to give us a better life, but the implication that Kristin should have no self outside home and family....that's frightening to me.

It's so easy for me to read that as an abusive family. I know I'm probably totally wrong. (I sure hope so!)

#487 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 12:16 PM:

Can someone give me a quick summary of the "I played WoW and became a terrorist" particle? I can't read pretty much anything on LJ from here, and I want to know how I, a confirmed WoW player, can become a terrorist too!

Person going to meet someone he met through WoW accidentally drops his iPod into an airplane toilet. Despite his reporting it, and explaining it to anyone who will listen, aircraft personnel and police panic.

News story is here.

#488 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 12:30 PM:

I must say I was rather hoping for a bunch of kids planning a Dire Maul raid that was taken as a real plot, or the like. But no...

I think even the Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Department of Homeland Security - but it sounds better in the original German) would be able to tell that a plot involving magic swords, dragons, etc, was not a real risk.
Now, is there some game similar to WoW set in the present day? Either a sort of online version of Grand Theft Auto, or of one of the squad tactics FPS games like Counterstrike? I can imagine that planning an operation in such a universe might easily be mistaken for planning an actual bank raid or terrorist attack in the real world.

#489 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 12:35 PM:

Hmmm. I dunno if there are many set in the present day, but there are lots in the future and near-future, in which "guns" and "planes" might be expected to figure.

Also, the misapprehension has been known to happen with people who play tabletop RPGs. Not always ones with modern-day settings, either; D&D players can get very enthusiastic about breaking in and killing things without specifying "with my sword".

#490 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 12:40 PM:

&D players can get very enthusiastic about breaking in and killing things without specifying "with my sword".

I heard Bjo telling one time about being in a coffeeshop after a SCA affair one time, talking about 'people were killed in the melee', and having to explain to the (probably startled) highway patrol officers in the next booth what was going on. No arrests, just conversation. Today - big fuss!

#491 ::: Laurence ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 01:11 PM:

There seems to be a really unpleasant odor of mind control and brainwashing in that article.

I'm envisioning all the fundies arriving in the afterlife, and discovering that the Supreme Deity is actually really pissed at them for the way they behaved.

"I never told you to do that!"

#492 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 01:24 PM:

Bjo also had a great story about trying to get a Star Trek phaser given to her by a fan through airport security; naturally, airport security didn't recognize it (although every other person in line identified it as a Star Trek prop) and it wouldn't have been such an issue, except the fan built it using parts of a real gun for the inside of the phaser and didn't tell them.

#493 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 01:25 PM:

"I'm envisioning all the fundies arriving in the afterlife, and discovering that the Supreme Deity is actually really pissed at them for the way they behaved."

"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

#494 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 01:39 PM:

trying to get a Star Trek phaser given to her by a fan through airport security

Frisbie has a story about taking Hugo statuettes through airport security back in 1972 (the Good Old Days of airport security). The security guy unwrapped one, looked at it, asked "Are they all like this?", and on being assured that they were, let him take them through. Meanwhile, people were disappearing behind pillars and down the concourse....

#495 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 02:04 PM:

Fragano Ledgister #476: I can't imagine teenagers showing consistent love for ANYONE. To expect them to, and to withdraw them from state education because they don't, seems a bit over the top.

And Caroline and Sarah S have highlighted the "biblical womanhood" issue.

#496 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 02:29 PM:

I share Mitch Wagner's weariness with the Well's endless self-congratulation, but it still looks to me like Comcast are being dicks.

#497 ::: "Charles Dodgson" ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 02:35 PM:
I'm envisioning all the fundies arriving in the afterlife, and discovering that the Supreme Deity is actually really pissed at them for the way they behaved.

"I never told you to do that!"

cf. "I Never Said" from here. Regrettably missing from that site, "Line Up", which is the best protest song I've heard in quite some time (though "Homeland Security" isn't bad either).

#498 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 03:17 PM:

The Well has been populated by good guys & gals, and chunky nutritious conferences in its long history. It's not all G*** W*******. I know that P&T are aware of this; I'm just rankling a bit after Mitch's characterization. I'd argue (as a self-appointed, blowhard pop historian) that The Well and GEnie SFRT are/were cut from the same mold.

Also, the Well has been a spam-magnet for years. Many members do automatic bulk deletes on mail sent to their @well addresses. I don't know how how this correlates with the Well as a spam generator.

#499 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 04:21 PM:

Lenny, I was aiming more for humorous gruffness rather than intending to actually tick people off.

Still, I do, seriously, roll my eyes at articles that start out the way that Chronicle article did -- simply because every article about the WELL seems to start out that way. The flip side of that kind of self-congratulatory hoo-hah is the implication that if you were not on the well (which I was not), well, then, you were a little less worthy than the people who were.

It's an annoyance on the order of the things that get written up in the "As Others See Us" section of Ansible.

#500 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 07:07 PM:

OK, I wrote my "tar pit" suggestion up as a blog post here. I'm posting this because I'm hoping the idea will take the reality-based community by storm, and that it will become part of the campaign language this fall.

And I want a pony too. Blah, blah biddy blah.

#501 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 07:15 PM:

Mitch: understood. But I'm still fighting the didactic urge to say "Hey! In its early days, the Well was populated by USEnet geeks and *Deadheads* -- fans of colorful clothing and command lines. Black-wearing Goths came later on--and the ones I met at Well parties were pretty interesting." There's a gap between the Well, as its marketing agents see it, and the general Well user community. (Patrick may remember the "Planet of the Apes" user revolution that once occurred in response to this dynamic.)

BTW, I'm sorry I missed seeing you at Worldcon. You should come up north for a Potlatch one of these years.

#502 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 07:29 PM:

Sarah S #482: Mercy buckets!

#503 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 07:31 PM:

Carrie S #483: The Tenth Commandments lumps wives in with oxen, asses, and male and female slaves. I've long found that a less-than-morally-acceptable categorisation.

#504 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 07:41 PM:

Madeline Kelly #495: Calling such behaviour 'a bit over the top' shows considerable restraint. I found that article thoroughly frightening. As a parent, and as a teenager myself back in the Palæolithic, I recognise that love is never a consistent thing, that people can be moody (and teenagers particularly so) but this has not all that much bearing on the long-term development of the person. To demand consistent love of home and family, to insist that a child grow up to be a robot with no sense of self, this is truly alien. If there is a heaven, and if it as such people believe -- that they will be eternally rewarded while secular humanist 'sinners' like myself will be eternally punishment -- then the eternal punishment would seem pleasant compared to spending eternity with such truly vile people.

#505 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 08:00 PM:

It doesn't appear to be around any more, but there was a site, www.patriarchy.org, that presented handy tips and guides for Christian men to be, ah, patriarchs. The essay I recall reading was about what was and wasn't appropriate to teach girls. The author seemed to think the highest profession they should aspire to is midwife. Waaaaay creepy, in an earnest, pious sort of way.

#506 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 08:03 PM:

Conjecture: creepiness, once established, increases in proportion to the degree of earnest piety accompanying it.

#507 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 08:17 PM:

Lenny Bailes (#501): Yes, as an expatriate New Yorker -- one who spent his early childhood in Brooklyn in particular -- I am familiar with the phenomenon of excessive boosterism giving a bad rep to a good community.

I love New York, but am quite willing to concede that you can get good pizza, bagels, and Chinese food elsewhere. And it's hard to find good Mexican food in New York, so it all evens out.

The other day, I was sharing a childhood memory with my wife, which involved egg creams, and I felt the need to express how this wasn't going to be one of those incidents, where expatriate Brooklynites wax euphoric over egg creams. Those people can make egg creams into a positively sexual-religious fetish. But, despite that, egg creams are tasty, involving, as they do, milk, chocolate syrup, and seltzer. And my Mom used to take me in to get them every Saturday, when I was six years old, at a luncheonette in Brooklyn, where I would also have a cream-cheese-and-jelly-sandwich on Wonder bread. A lunch which, these days, would be categorized as child abuse.

And I'm sorry to have missed seeing you at Worldcon as well, it would have been splendid to meet you after all these years.

I'd heard of Potlatch before -- but didn't realize it was in Portland. We just visited Portland about a month ago, for the first time ever, and fell in love with it.

And going to Worldcon reminded me how much I really enjoy going to cons, and how I've never really spent a lot of time at any except for the 18 months or so that I lived in the Boston area.

Hmmm....

And hmmmmm....

Fragano Ledgister (#504) - Yeah, the girl in that essay sounded to me like a typical pre-teen -- and I mean that in a good way: Smart, well-behaved, not inclined to scold her peers, but also a tad sullen and maybe somewhat resentful of her parents and sibs. Which resentment is a natural part of growing up and establishing an identity separate from one's parents'.

#508 ::: Mitch Wagner ::: (view all by) ::: September 01, 2006, 08:20 PM:

By the way, Jon Swift, whom I referenced above, is doing the best political satire on the Internet. Check him out.

#509 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2006, 10:41 AM:

Mitch Wagner #507: And something like that simply could not be allowed! That's really frightening.

#510 ::: Madeline Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2006, 12:40 PM:

Fragano Ledgister #504: Sorry. I totally misunderstood your first response. I thought you were telling me that there was nothing unusual in demanding that someone consistently love their home and family.

My use of "a bit over the top" was deliberately restrained -- I thought I was contradicting you and didn't want to say anything too inflammatory. Please feel free to replace my original "a bit over the top" with "creepy, wrong, and absolutely bloody awful."

#511 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: September 02, 2006, 01:32 PM:

Madeline Kelly #510: I'm glad to see that we're in agreement. A family may be many things, but one thing it should never be is a prison. These people seem to think that there is no difference between the family and the gaol. That's frightening.

#512 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: September 03, 2006, 05:00 PM:

Steve Taylor (359):

The irony of "Anyanka's" blog post: Her top three reasons why she's such great girlfriend material are that she's slim, attractive, and relatively young. If she deserves to be punished for her cluelesness, time will do the job.

Or we could speed up the process and introduce her to Randy Milholland. He's got a character in Something*Positive named Kharisma who...well, let the man explain it in his own words:

When I first "met" Kharisma (not her real name), it was the weekend before Valentine's, 2002. We'd been chatting for a while, and she asked if I wanted to see her picture. Then she asked for mine. THEN she told me she couldn't really be friends with unattractive people, she was sorry, but it was a cross she had to bear and she knew she was missing out on so much in life, etc.

Suddenly, I had a storyline for Valentine's Day and an unwitting model. Every once in a while, I go back to her webpage, look, and roll my eyes. Or read her LiveJournal for inspiration. One day, she's going to find out there's a comic strip character that was created to make fun of her, but was changed enough to avoid lawsuit. I wonder how she'll react.

And let's have a quote from that inspirational LiveJournal: "I am finding that lately there is a new phenomena accuring inside me. If I go to something where I think there may be guy meeting potential and then there isnt.. my hopeless black Ill never meet anyone feeling comes along. Its like I then meed to slay the evil self defeating negative cognition breathing dragon so it will die and become a beautiful hopeful positive unicorn."

Anyanka and Kharisma: what a fun double date that'd be...

#513 ::: Elise Matthesen ::: (view all by) ::: September 09, 2006, 01:33 AM:

Ah, yes, the WELL. I had a bunch of fun there, even if I did get cranky every now and then when various newly-on-the-net WELLbeans talked about how much more civil the WELL was than big ol' wide-open USENET. (As somebody who came to the WELL after a couple years with a FidoNet point gatewayed newsgroups blah blah blahdy blah, I'd get grumpy about that and tell them the main difference I noticed was that there were more flamewars on the WELL. (No longer true, I believe. Oh, Ghod*, help me: I suddenly feel nostalgic for the posts reading "Getcher lawnchairs! Popcorn!" AIIIEEE!) But anyway, on the occasions that somebody puffing the WELL annoyed me, I'd just take to referring to it as "that nice little BBS out of Sausalito" for a month or so, until I mellowed out. Most every place's boosterism is annoying, though; seems to be a common thing about boosterism. Evangelists can be pretty darn tedious, but it's the pious and smug churchgoers I find most trying, because they're usually repeating the boosterism without having actually ever compared things or thought hard about it. (And the fights between rival boosters are self-reinforcing, alas.)

Eh, now I miss the WELL. I should log in again soon; haven't been on in ages. There have probably been epochs of fun come and gone that I missed.

sincerely,
lioness@well.com

*Gopod, if you're a fellow WELLbean. Beamz!!!

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