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December 8, 2006

Posted by Teresa at 01:54 PM *

quoi?

#2 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 02:11 PM:

Anybody seen The Fountain? If so, what'd ya think?

#3 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 02:16 PM:

The Fountain?

To me anyway... Clumsy storytelling. Great visuals. Still, like I said elsewhere, at times I had a feeling of having wandered into Jonathan Livingston Seagull. But it did have Ellen Burstyn, which makes up for some of it. Woohoo, Ellen!

testing sentiments
the calendar of feeling
announces winter

deeper the blue sky
blessing of snowfall

#5 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 02:29 PM:

In re Serge #3:

I was debating whether to go see it this weekend. But since you asked, I would recommend any of the following DVDs:

* Rome (HBO miniseries)
* Code 46 (smartish SF starring Tim Robbins & Samantha Morton)
* District B13 (forgettable dystopian story, AMAZING stunts. Can be safely turned off at the 20 minute mark)
* Subject Two (moody, Frankenstein-y)

#6 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 02:37 PM:

Does anyone know if Natura Ipsa Sufficit is good Latin for "Nature itself suffices" or "Nature alone is enough"? I want to use it as the motto for my Radical Pantheists' organization (yet unborn).

#7 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 02:38 PM:

Scott H @ 5...

It's not that I hated the movie. It simply was very flawed and could have been fixed by knocking out the director, fixing his script, then waking him up. Hell, even I could have improved the story, and I couldn't write my way out of a paper bag. (Well, maybe out of a small paper bag.)

As for your recommendations... Are they all HBO-type stories? The only one I've even heard of is Rome and I've never even seen it. That'll change since I got my wife the DVD of the first season for Christmas.

There's only a little over two hours left in TBoggs' Create your own Victor Davis "I Was A Teenaged Classicist" Hanson Blog Post contest. Prize: the swanky four-disc edition of Ben Hur.

#9 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 02:51 PM:

Prize: the swanky four-disc edition of Ben Hur.

Ah, there is somebody out there besides my wife and I who likes that movie.

#10 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 02:55 PM:

#6: It's certainly grammatically correct and all the words mean the correct things. I don't know, off hand, if there is a more idiomatic way to say it. I think it's fine, but I'm hardly an expert.

#11 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 02:57 PM:

Xopher - I read at Wonkette (and verified at the Washington Post) that the grave marker, with appropriate symbol, for the Wiccan soldier from Nevada has FINALLY been approved.

My last latin class was back in 1987, so I can't help with your motto. Do you have room for Agnostic Animists?

#12 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 02:59 PM:

Xopher @6: Natura ipsa sufficit is right, I think, although my worry is that it could be misread as "Nature suffices for itself" - and so you may need to do additional explaining. How about Natura solum sufficit - "Nature alone suffices"? I suppose then you will only find that people think you are saying "Nature is enough for the sun".

#13 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 03:09 PM:

#10: Thanks!

#11: Thanks for the update. And absolutely. Radical Pantheism is a choice to worship the universe in its physical substance as such; no belief is required, nor credo espoused, other than...well, natura ipsa sufficit.

#12: Thanks! Maybe I could just more concisely phrase it as Natura Sufficit? The idea is that Nature is so amazing, so wondrous, so infinitely complex in itself, that no one who is sufficiently aware of these facts needs to postulate any Divine force beyond Nature. I like the 'Ipsa' for that reason, partly because it also means "herself" (if I'm correct in believing that 'natura' is a feminine noun). This pleases my Wiccan bits!

#14 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 03:12 PM:

I very nearly ended up as a colleague of Victor Davis Hanson, you know.

VDH:

"With the trials of this administration having been carefully considered, not least their fortitude in the face of the decadence and corruption of the culture around them, it seems quite correct for me to remind you once again of the disastrous outcome of the Peloponnesian War. There too, a free, liberal, and open society was faced by an implacable enemy who cared little for the luxuries of life or for the false virtues of "freedom of speech"; and there too they were led astray by a populist crusade to fight overseas in distant Sicily, leaving their fields and homesteads undefended. For the relevance to the contemporary situation, read only Afghanistan for Sicily; and for Themistocles, George W. Bush. Oh no, hang on."

#15 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 03:12 PM:

Hmm...

#16 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 03:18 PM:

Xopher - Natura sufficit would get the job done, but if you like the ipsa, leave it in by all means. I think it sounds better with the three terms, anyway. (solum *would* also have the meaning you want, but you are probably better off sticking with the one you chose yourself.)

natura certainly is a feminine noun; I've been capitalising it as a kind of reflex so that it refers unambiguously to the goddess, but then I'm thinking in Roman terms. I reckon you should see ipsa as meaning "herself" first and foremost, whether talking about goddess or, well, phenomenon. "Nature herself suffices" seems fine to me in English.

That's probably enough Latin. (ed.)

#17 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 03:20 PM:

candle: But isn't "solum" the adverbial form? "Nature only suffices, it doesn't do anything else." I'd say "Natura sola sufficit." OTOH, "Natura sufficit" is simple and elegant.

#18 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 03:21 PM:

What Serge Said.

I don't think the moral is nearly as deep or profound of ineffable as the filmmaker thinks it was.

Assuming I'm not totally not getting it.

#19 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 03:22 PM:

TexAnne: Ouch, you're right. I really ought to be able to do this correctly, you know. Sorry, Xopher!

Candle, is that quote real? He actually said that?

#21 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 03:25 PM:

Oooo, sola! I like sola.

Rats, now I have to think. LOL

No, I was wrong; here's Scott Lemieux's entry for the VDH competition.

#23 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 03:28 PM:

Maybe neither of us is getting it, Stefan. It's like Aronofsky was trying to do a pastiche of a Sixties movie. I probably am very bourgeois in my tastes, I guess. Still, the image of that tree floating inside a bubble zipping thru space was rather neat. Too bad the storytelling wasn't up to the level of the imagery. Come to think of it, that is a complaint one can often come up where F/SF movies are concerned.

#24 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 03:29 PM:

I'm making a bet with myself that someone is soon going to post a poem of theirs in Latin.

#25 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 03:30 PM:

One of the signers-on to the Project for a New American Century was Donald Kagan, the leading modern historian of the Peloponnesian War. It's like he didn't even read his own books.

#26 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 03:33 PM:

TexAnne: Sorry, no. I'm making it up in response to Teresa's invitation @8. I could probably have been clearer about that.

And before anyone says anything, the argument it kind of proposes isn't supposed to make sense.

candle #14: Now that would have been interesting.

#28 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 03:36 PM:

candle, I think it was TNH, not TexAnne, who asked the question you answer in #26.

#29 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 03:39 PM:

#25: Donald Kagan was one of the professors that resigned from Cornell after the Willard Straight takeover in 1969 (others include Allan Bloom and Thomas Sowell) which makes him about as neocon as one can get.

Actually, Candle, one suspects VDH would say something like this:

Our leaders should take heart from the example of the Pelopponesian War for that conflict demonstrated that a state based on the virtues that would go on to make Western Civilisation great could triumph over a decadent, corrupt regime which sought to spread its anti-Hellenic, revolutionary ideology to all the states of the old Mediterranean world. George W. Bush should take heart from the example of Lysander the Spartan, that heroic exemplar of all that is good, and fear not the Iranian demagogues such as Ahmadinejad, that heir of the rabble-rouser Cleisthenes.

Your C-SPAN geek notes interesting programs coming up on BookTV (which is C-SPAN 2 if it's available on your cable or satellite channel) this weekend.

Jason Epstein, Print on Demand: A Revolution in the Making,: 3:15 PM Saturday, 45 minutes long.

Marvin Kalb, Allan Adler, Paul Aiken, Jonathan Band, Andrew Glass, David Robbins, Sidney Verba, The Google Print Project and the Future of the Written Word : 10:30 AM Sunday, 1 hour and 40 minutes long.

And for a change of pace:

After Words: Larry Kahaner, author of AK-47: The Weapon That Changed the Face of War, interviewed by Peter Singer: 9 PM Saturday, 6 PM and 9 PM Sunday, 55 minutes long.

Anybody here familiar with the Epstein book or the Kahaner book?

#32 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 03:50 PM:

Serge @ #7:

With the exception of Rom, all the titles I listed in #5 were reasonably current movies on DVD. I've got one of those all-you-care-to-watch for $20 / month deals, so I'm willing to experiment on obscure titles. The ones listed were all surprisingly good. I wade through the crap so you don't have to. #33 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 03:51 PM: Hmm, two mistakes in the matter of a few posts. I am evidently half-asleep. Sorry, Teresa, and TexAnne, for not reading the post properly. What I meant to say was: I decided to see if I could parody VDH in a comment rather than in an email to TBoggs. Probably I should explain this stuff rather than just doing it. I hope I haven't caused *too* much confusion. Fragano: you're right, the example of Lysander does seem appropriate right now. Then again, I've always liked the Spartans. OK. I think I shall limit myself in future to declarative statements. I am tired. #34 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 03:58 PM: Scott @ 32 says: I wade through the crap so you don't have to. It's a dirty job, but someone has got to do it. And this reminds me how much I miss Joe Bob Briggs. #35 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 04:04 PM: Before I forget... People here have probably seen that Visa commercial that shows a cafeteria running its customers and their credit cards thru with speed and efficiency until someone (gasp!) pays with cash. Is it just me who's disturbed by the ad's accidental message that no system can or should cope with people who Do Things Differently? That being said, what the heck is that music the ad is using? I've come across it in some old Warner Bros cartoons of the Forties, and it's been used in cartoons, usually when Wiley Coyote is observing the sequence of events of his latest Rube Goldberg contraption, before the anvil falls on his head. #36 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 04:05 PM: Yeah, what ever happened to Joe Bob? Last I saw of him was that hosting gig he used to do on TNT or whatever. #37 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 04:06 PM: I was hoping someone would know, Scott H. I miss Joe Bob's Drive-in Theater on TNT. #38 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 04:10 PM: Heck, I miss the TNT of the Nineties, when they'd have things like Summer Bummer, which would show old SF movies about the end of the world. (Come to think of it, it's been ages since I saw crack in the world.) #39 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 04:15 PM: There was a story on NPR's All Things Considered on Monday about how NCOs at Ft. Carson in Colorado have been hazing soldiers suffering from PTSD. Officials have been drumming those ill soldiers out of the army rather than giving them the mental health care they need (and the army is supposed to provide). What's even more appalling is that the NCOs doing the hazing didn't see anything wrong with doing it. The officials had no comment. Everything seems to be scrupulously documented though. I'm reminded of Jonathan Shay's _Achilles in Vietnam_. Among other things, it explains why PTSD was more common in veterans of Vietnam than of veterans of previous wars. I read it almost exactly a year ago. What struck me at the time were the parallels the Iraq War had to Vietnam in this context. #40 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 04:16 PM: Somewhere about here I inadvertently created a challenge to write a romance in the style of Dale Brown, bestselling technothriller author. Imagine my suprise when I looked at the Bs on my bookshelf and found that he had already written one!* Anyway, here's an excerpt from Sky Angels. I suggest that everyone who likes technothrillers or romances look away now. It was a starlit night at HAWC, the High-technology Aerospace Weapons Centre in Southern Nevada. As he walked into the hanger USAF Lt Col Patrick Maclanahan looked up into the sky. That was where the trim, sandyhaired officer wanted to be; flying in a cutting edge jet rather than managing research projects on the ground. Everyone else had left for the night, but Maclanahan was determined to sort out the bugs in the weapons system submenu. He climbed into the darkened B-2 Spirit stealth bomber and retrieved the troublesome electronic box, intending to tinker with the display. Just as he got the box hooked up to diagnostics, the phone rang. "Hello? Oh hello General. No, I'm the only one here... the security system is off? Several checkpoints appear to be unmanned? No one released the dogs this evening..." He paused, abruptly distracted by a shapely woman's leg propped up on the crew ladder of the aircraft in front of him. "Sorry General, can I get back to you?" Without waiting for an answer he hung up. "Patrick! There you are," said Wendy Tork. "What are you doing here? Is there anything wrong?" Maclanahan showed her the box. "I've been trying to get this to work all day. The weapons submenus consistently choose the wrong weapon parameters for the loadout." [For my own reasons I've chosen not to copy the page and a half explaining how the Multi Function Display is supposed to integrate the onboard radar and IR, as well as external satellite, radar and other information sources along with GPS and inertial guidance with the currently available weapons as well as the current threat and mission parameters to offer the optimum selection(s) of weapon choices.] "....but it doesn't recognise which weapon is in each position in the CSRL, so it might launch a SLAM as though it were a SDB or vice versa, with an obvious reduction in effectiveness." "Patrick, that's not important now though, is it? I mean, what are the odds that terrorists or foreign agents are going to break into this highly secure and isolated airbase, forcing us to escape in an experimental bomber, then discover that we're the only ones in a position to make an attack against an immediate threat to world peace?" "Pretty slim, I guess," said Maclanahan, "but you did ask what's wrong." "No Patrick," said Wendy, "I meant is there something wrong with you? You've seemed so distant. Is it... is there someone else?" Patrick looked at her. How could he be so blind? Ignoring the brief flutter of guilt, he took her in his arms and kissed her. "Wendy, I could never love another... woman..." As his voice stuttered his eyes flicked up involuntarily to the where the dark nose of his specially modified B-52 stared down at him reproachfully... (Somehow, I doubt Dale Brown will be paying me$.20 for this post; worse still, if I ever try to join the Romance Writers of America I will undoubtedly be blackballed. Worst of all, I've put an annotated version, which will explain some of the Dale Brown specific bits here.)

You can look again now. Next I'll have to see if any Dale Brown has been translated into latin - I've seen Harry Potter in latin, so who knows?

* He hasn't really. I made it up. Sorry.

#41 ::: cleek ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 04:18 PM:

, what the heck is that music the ad is using? I've come across it in some old Warner Bros cartoons of the Forties,

that would be Powerhouse.

#42 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 04:26 PM:

Thanks, cleek!

#43 ::: cleek ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 04:34 PM:

Serge, glad to be of trivial assistance :)

and if you like (or have fond memories of) Looney Tunes music, you'll probably like The Carl Stalling Project.

#44 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 04:35 PM:

Thanks again, cleek.

Candle (26), did you post it to TBoggs' site?

#46 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 05:07 PM:

Teresa: no, I didn't. I'm not entirely sure I want to, for reasons that in turn I'm not entirely sure about. But at least part of it is that my various webmail accounts are screwed up at the moment. Probably it is something to do with my browser.

Still, the deadline is 5pm PST, isn't it? That gives me a few hours to think about it still. I doubt the Ben Hur set is going to be sent across the Atlantic even in the best case scenario, though. (My brush with CSU Fresno is long - well, a year - in the past now.)

#47 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 05:29 PM:

On the subject of the greatest movie critic evar: he'll be displaying his chat-fu here on the 14th. Anne-Bob says check it out.

#48 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 05:36 PM:

JC @ #39:

That report raised quite a few eyebrows, including of the Senatorial variety.

Investigations are underway.

bill,

Anybody here familiar with the Epstein book or the Kahaner book?

epstein did a piece on the same subject in a recent new york review of books... oh, here it is: books @ google.

he waxes enthusiastic about the idea of book atms, you know, that you type in the title & the book is printed, bound, cut, & spit out while-u-wait.

coincidentally, i read that article not long after there was the big discussion here about how that dream is not really feasible with today's technology or bookstore realities.

#50 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 07:05 PM:

Re: The Fountain

I feel deeply ambivalent about the movie — on the one hand it was very interesting to look at, and very pleasant to listen to. On the other, its storytelling was utterly lacking in coherence.

It's something that might appeal strongly to those who can disengage themselves from causal logic, and who are idiosyncratically aesthetically oriented towards surrealism and slowly-moving strongly contrasting visual patterns and slow, moody music.

And isn't that a wonderfully roundabout way of saying "trippy"?

It's better than π (Pi), which had similar flaws in storytelling, but was far uglier to the eye and ear.

#51 ::: Andy ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 07:06 PM:

The New York Review of Books now has a blog, A Different Stripe: http://nyrb.typepad.com/ . It looks pretty damn good.

#52 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 07:10 PM:

Serge @24
Candle, maybe, but certainly not me.

Well, apart from a winter haiku. But that hardly counts.

Non sola aethra
Sole ardescit mane
Sed ego quoque.

#53 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 07:14 PM:

Serge @35: [..] That being said, what the heck is that music the ad is using? I've come across it in some old Warner Bros cartoons of the Forties, and it's been used in cartoons, usually when Wiley Coyote is observing the sequence of events of his latest Rube Goldberg contraption, before the anvil falls on his head.

I think it might be Powerhouse, by Raymond Scott. Here is a YouTube link to an animation by Antonio Linhares, in the style of Oskar Fischinger, to Scott's composition (I can tell you the name of the piece and the musician, because Antonio identified them in the info accompanying the animation).

It's a pretty cool piece. I had recently seen a tribute to Oskar Fischinger at the Dryden Theatre (at the George Eastman House), and when I saw this animation on YouTube, it stuck in my memory.

#54 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 07:29 PM:

And isn't that a wonderfully roundabout way of saying "trippy"?

'Trippy' is the very word that came to my mind, Owlmirror, as I was watching The Fountain.

It's frustrating to watch a movie that could have been great.

#55 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 07:30 PM:

A Latin haiku, abi? I guess that'll do for me to feel like I won my bet with myself.

#56 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 07:32 PM:

#57 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 07:37 PM:

Serge @55
On the one hand, I haven't done any Latin composition* since I finished university and decided that I wasn't a good enough Classicist to pursue it further.

On the other hand, I am weak, I've had some whisky, and it was you inciting me. Aren't you a bit beardy for a muse?

On the gripping hand, I do actually enjoy composing haiku in entirely unsuitable languages. I no longer have the C++ one I wrote years ago, but you get the idea.

------
* barring the inevitable slogan requests

#58 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 07:47 PM:

Neil @#40, "a shapely woman's leg" or "a woman's shapely leg?"

What's that called? Dangling participles? ;)

Oh, and wouldn't a B-52 look down "bombastically" rather than "reproachfully?"

#59 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 08:08 PM:

Aren't you a bit beardy for a muse?

Probably, abi, but I've never been called a muse before. You've made my day.

#60 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 08:10 PM:

(Picked up from the previous thread)

Good question, Susan, about feline chirality. I'll have to see what it is that the Bad Cat does.

That Linhares animation sounds like it was done to one of Stalling's adaptations of the central section of Powerhouse, for some Looney Tune or other. Just noting that there's more to it than that, and that the other main section is probably as familiar but not as well-known (it tends to show up in Roadrunner-type chase scenes; I can hum it for you if you're within shouting distance...)

#62 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 08:41 PM:

Tania and Xopher, it's not the grave marker that's been approved. It's a plaque in a state veterans cemetary. It's a great step forward, but it's not a grave marker and not a national cemetary.

#63 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 08:59 PM:

Holy Cow, Batman, Rumsfeld may be sued for torture!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061208/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/detainee_abuse

If ever I had considered bribing a judge, it would be right now, Lawful Good or not.

#64 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 09:19 PM:

Marilee -

Thanks for the clarification. I must admit to not really knowing enough about grave markers vs. plaques to have been aware that a difference exists (we usually cremate our dead). I learn the most interesting things here.

re: Latin compositions. I always hear the theme music from the Mighty Mouse cartoon when sharing favorite Latin palindrome - Sum summus mus!

#65 ::: Dawno ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 09:52 PM:

Neil (#40) Thank you so much. I needed a laugh tonight! My former senior director (ex Air Force) and I were talking about books and I told him I like military fiction and technothrillers. He enthusiastically recommended Dale Brown to me as I am an Air Force brat and I assume he felt that I shouldn't be limiting my self to all that Navy stuff of Clancy's.

So I ordered up a bunch of Brown (I read fast so I like to have a couple books in a series ready at hand)from Amazon. I didn't think I'd read the passage you quote - but damn if it wasn't perfect. (especially your mention of the page and a half you skipped - that's exactly how I read Brown and Clancy - skim for plot, skip the lovingly detailed specs of whatever super weapon de jure comes along). I have to admit that I have a number of unread Dale Brown books sitting on the shelf. I think I took a sanity break after the third or fourth one. My willing suspension of disbelief can only stand so much stress.

If you ever do write Sky Angels, I promise to read it.

#66 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 09:52 PM:

Re The Fountain: Forget the plot--does Hugh Jackman take his shirt off?

#67 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 10:21 PM:

Sorry to disappoint you, TexAnne, but at no point is Hugh Jackman shirtless in The Fountain.

#68 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 10:27 PM:

Serge: Pfui and Hrmph. I'll go see it anyway, I suppose, once I'm done with this silly grading. (The official seal I just generated has the motto "J'enseigne, donc je suis," and the central motif is a bootprint. Naturally, it's all surrounded by laurel leaves.)

In #65, Dawno writes:

I didn't think I'd read the passage you quote - but damn if it wasn't perfect. (especially your mention of the page and a half you skipped - that's exactly how I read Brown and Clancy - skim for plot, skip the lovingly detailed specs of whatever super weapon de jure comes along).

Funny, I'm the sort of reader who whizzes through the plot and slows down for the superweapons...

P.S. I gave up on Clancy at Rainbow Six, two or three novels after I should have, and am unlikely to start reading Dale Brown.

#71 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 08, 2006, 11:39 PM:

Chris Quinones @61 : I can hum it for you if you're within shouting distance...

That made me laugh; I was thinking we've traced the call, and he's in the house...

The first person to respond to Serge's question (cleek) gave a wikipedia link to a Powerhouse entry; there's a couple of sound links at the end of the article; one to a portion of the “assembly line” theme Serge was thinking of, and another to a portion of the “chase” theme you're describing. I hadn't noticed the first post before I had run off on my own, to track down my scrap of memory.

You're responding to my post (and thanks for checking out the animation). Both themes were familiar, but I never would have been able to attach a name to them, or recognized that they came from the same piece.

#72 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 12:22 AM:

Alex Cohen @ 25: IMO, one of the qualifications for a neocon is the ability to look at anything showing "that trick never works!" -- and say "but \we'll/ do it \right/" (if they don't ignore the demo completely). "right" is of course defined as whatever half-assed way they want to do it.

Serge @ 67: I thought I recalled him taking his shirt off to apply the sap. I suppose the angle means it doesn't count....

#73 ::: Bruce Baugh ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 01:57 AM:

Tamora Pierce, an art teacher, and a young student interact in various ways to the mutual gain of all. This has had me smiling for an hour now, after a heart-consuming rotten day.

#74 ::: Owlmirror ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 03:25 AM:

Re: #66, #67, #68 & #72

Actually, I think Hugh Jackman does take his shirt off. There's a scene where he's giving Rachel Weisz a warm bath, and there's a bit of splashing around in the water as bathing becomes making out.

I think the shirt comes off then, but I wouldn't swear to it.

Oh, and the shirt does definitely come off at the end, as mentioned, but at that point, he's been stabbed. The Jackman torso is shown with a bloody wound, which might affect its visual appeal and pulchritudousness.

#75 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 07:12 AM:

Bill Higgins said (#69):
Funny, I'm the sort of reader who whizzes through the plot and slows down for the superweapons...

The last time I tried to read a Clancy novel (The Bear and the Dragon), I found myself desperately hoping for the war to start, so that he'd stop the horrible, horrible attempts at politics, non-military conversations, and sex scenes. (OK, only one sex scene, but it was really bad writing). Not to mention the tediously silly atemtps to show off his research by constantly referring to certain characters by the Secret Service code names.

And, in fact, things did improve once the war started.

I don't remember the other two Clancy books I read (his first two) being nearly that bad.

#76 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 07:14 AM:

CHip and Owlmirror... I think you're right about both scenes, but I have this feeling they're not quite the shirt-removal situations that TexAnne was hoping for. Heheheh... Meanwhile, last night, I did see Hugh shirtless on TNT's broadcast of van Helsing. My only excuse is that I was desperate for something, anything, to watch until I was sleepy - a state greatly hastened by that movie. Remember the end when Kate Beckinsale's character is dead and Hugh puts her body on a heap of wood and sets the whole thing on fire? I turned to my wife and said: "Look! A baking sale!"

#77 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 08:37 AM:

Ew, Van Helsing. I'm its target audience incarnate, and I barely made it to the end. I felt so sorry for the people who made it...you can see the bones of a decent movie, but the suits killed it.

#78 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 08:47 AM:

You too, eh, TexAnne... I wonder how much the studio's suits were responsible for the van Helsing mess. Steven Sommers, its director, had made the Mummy movies, which were very successful, so I presume that gave him clout enough that the studio would have let him do what he wanted. It's like he forgot everything he had done right with the previous movies. Forget about pacing. Take what you did before and give people more of it. That might explain why it was such a mind-numbing rollercoaster ride. (My wife hated the movie as much as I did, but we have a disagreement over it. I maintain that The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was better.)

#79 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 10:21 AM:

"Look! A baking sale!"

Now, now. Be nice.
Or the Great Spirit of conditional giving
won't bring you any presents.

#80 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 10:39 AM:

the Great Spirit of conditional giving won't bring you any presents.

Waugh!!!

The role of the combat mimeographer was immortalized in Good Morning, Vietnam, with the fannish line, "I live to collate, sir."

From the annals of Security Theatre:

A DETECTIVE was arrested for allegedly filming up women's skirts with a hidden camera.

The married anti-terrorist officer told police he was working undercover to video al-Qaeda suspects. But back at the station they found his camera had close-ups of bottoms and knickers.

Props for Security Theater:

WASHINGTON, July 18 — Flat-bottomed rescue boats at double the retail price, $68,500 worth of unused dog booties, hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of computers that somehow disappeared and a$227 beer brewing kit.

These are just a few of the questionable purchases that Congressional auditors have found by digging through half a year of credit card records from the Homeland Security Department, including records for the months immediately after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita last year.

At least the US guys didn't buy any miniature cameras to film up girls' skirts.

Did they?

#83 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 11:34 AM:

Peter Erwin @ 75

The first two Clancy books are better than the rest; I have those, and got rid of the others. (I heard that the Washington reaction to Red Storm Rising was something like 'OMG! We forgot about Iceland!')

#84 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 11:35 AM:

Serge @78: I'd suggest the suck in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was concentrated in that stunningly awful Venice sequence, whereas van Helsing sucked more uniformly.

#85 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 12:04 PM:

Well said, Rob... I had a bit of a problem with the Nautilus being able to navigate the canals without getting stuck in mud, let alone being able to turn corners. And let's not talk about the destruction of a whole neighborhood by Nemo's missiles without a single human death. Overall, though, it had good stuff in it. In some ways, it was better than Alan Moore's graphic novel. In some other ways, it was not better. I wish they had kept the novel's Quartermain as a burnt-out man, and the Beauty/Beast relationship between Minna and Hyde.

#86 ::: Fade Manley ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 12:13 PM:

Haiku in Latin? This is making me wish my Latin-English dictionary weren't packed away with my Wheeler's. I'm just adept enough at Latin to realize how much I suck at it, but now I desperately want to go write poetry in a foreign language.

(I am not, however, about to start posting my conlang poetry here, despite temptation. I have enough self-awareness to realize that throwing around one's conlang is a step down from "Let me tell you about my character" as clueless geeky behavior goes.)

#87 ::: Paul ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 12:29 PM:

"Rep. McKinney Files Articles of Impeachment"

Has this been confirmed anywhere else?

Van Helsing is one of those movies on my fruitcake* list - i.e., Stuff I Like That Everyone Else Hates. I can't help myself. I'm a sucker for the New Pulp, absurd plotting, over-the-top fx, and all.

I've warmed a bit to LXG, though it remains one of the few films I indulge in griping about how much better the book was - in this case because there was so much cinematic potential with the stuff that was in the comic that got pushed aside. And really, it was a very small amount that it asked me to turn off my brain more than I was willing to, or I'd have really liked it; if nothing else, the production values are stunning. Van Helsing, by contrast, is unpretentious; silly as it is, it didn't get there from starting life as a smart and literate comic.

*Referring, of course, to the much-despised commercial fruitcake, as per the Other Thread.

The collision between the discussion of Dale Brown, Tom Clancey, and the possibility of Donald Rumsfeld being sued has crystallised a realization in my head:

I thought that what was wrong with the world was that responsibility for the Script had just been handed over to a team consisting of the ghosts of George Orwell and Phil Dick.

However, I now realize that we're not living in a scripted world at all. Instead, we're non-player characters in an adventure game setting created by Tom Clancy and Dale Brown, watching Team America (played by your neighbour's dumb kid who lives in their basement) get its collective ass handed to it by an irate celestial GM who was hoping to run an interesting character-driven session rather than munchkin hack'n'slay, and who is therefore taking it out on the kid.

Certainly if Clancy had ever handed in a novel where the Forces of Good™ were subjected to the kind of hard nosed rules-lawyering we've seen since July 2003, his editors would have felt the need to take him aside for a quiet word ...

Look! Over there! Is that clock melting, yet?

#90 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 01:51 PM:

Here's the link to the NPR story on PTSD that JC (#39) and Stephan Jones (#48) mention above. This was definitely a "driveway moment" for me. I must have sat silently in my parked car for a good five minutes just listening to it. I'm glad that there are at least a few news outlets in the world that actually believe in journalism still.

#91 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 02:01 PM:

The sargeants interviewed for that piece . . . on one hand, you get the feeling that they're the kind of chaps you'd want leading you in battle.

One the other: What total fucking self-brainwashed macho-bureaucratic pricks.

#92 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 02:08 PM:

Van Helsing, by contrast, is unpretentious; silly as it is, it didn't get there from starting life as a smart and literate comic.

Good point, Dan. But Sommers's Mummy movies were unpretentious too and they were fun, in a leave-your-brain-at-the-front-desk way. My own problem with van Helsing is that there was way too much stuff being thrown at us. Think of the action-packed scene at the beginning of Raiders of the Lost Ark and maintain the same pace to the movie's very end. Numbing. For me anyway.

Back to LXG, what did you think of the 2nd graphic novel, with its background of the War of the World? It left me unsatisfied. Not sure why.

#93 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 02:17 PM:

This manipulation of intelligence was done, the charge continues, “with the intent to misinform the people and their representatives in Congress in order to gain their support for invading Iraq, denying both the people and their representatives in Congress the right to make an informed choice.”

Yaw!

#94 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 02:21 PM:

#84 I'd suggest the suck in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was concentrated in that stunningly awful Venice sequence, whereas van Helsing sucked more uniformly.

They're playing "Constantine" (Keaneu Reeves) on TV now, and I've seen it at least three times. Everytime I watch it, I like it more. Apparently it bombed at the box office though, which I don't understand. I mean, Constantine seems better than some of the big money makers in the same genre. Though I might be missing something.

#95 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 02:41 PM:

Serge @85: [..] I had a bit of a problem with the Nautilus being able to navigate the canals without getting stuck in mud, let alone being able to turn corners.

My jaw dropped when it even fit in a canal. In the scene where we first see the Nautilis, it's about the size of the Titanic. Then there's that ridiculously large “auto-mobile” (just the sort of thing you would carry around in a submarine, on the off chance it might be useful), racing along wide, lengthy, and unpopulated streets; it would seem that Venice would have to be as large as Manhattan for the time it took for the car to reach its destination. I don't get why firing a missle in the center of the city was going to stop the rest of the submerged bombs from going off, or why they didn't just all go off at once (or at least, finish detonating in the time it took for the car to reach its destination).

But that sequence aside, I thought the rest of the movie hung together fairly well.

#96 ::: Zarquon ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 03:55 PM:

Happy Hogswatch! Sky One in the UK has produced a live action version of Terry Pratchett's "Hogfather". There's a promo site at http://www.skyone.co.uk/hogfather/ with links to video clips from the show and "making of" clips.
It looks really coooool.

#97 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 04:05 PM:

Paul #87: Google News gives several hits from the likes of the Boston Globe. I believe she did introduce such a bill. Unfortunately it will die a-borning as Pelosi will have nothing to do with it and McKinney has even less credibility than Bush himself.

#98 ::: Jeremy Osner ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 04:11 PM:

Could somebody please remind me of the name and address of the excellent fiction blog that has been linked to many times from this very site and the comments thereto? I followed links and always liked it, now I can't remember where it is and it's killing me...

Aha! "Hitherby Dragons" is what it's called. Nemmine, thanks!

#99 ::: Sharon M ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 04:17 PM:

The Joe Bob Briggs website is at http://www.joebobbriggs.com/

It's got a ton of his columns - the drive-in movie reviews (alphabetically), Vegas guy, the John Bloom work, and many other Joe Bob type things.

The last time I remember seeing Joe Bob televised was God Talk, on the Craig Kilbourn version of the Daily Show. Sadly, I have found no clips. God Talk was easily the funniest bit from that era of the Daily Show.

#100 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 05:01 PM:

Some people deserve the fans they've got.

http://blogs.news-journalonline.com/247/2006/12/why_we_love_the_fireflyserenit.html

#101 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 05:33 PM:

Anybody know anything about the EPA closing their files and selling the furniture?

Is this really about Bush blatantly serving his dark masters by destroying the EPA? Even he wouldn't be that obvious, would he?

#102 ::: Jack Ruttan ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 05:59 PM:

#95: I thought the Venice thing was the most fun in "League." Completely absurd, like something from a Georges Méliès fantasy film. The cream-coloured Rococo submarine, the out-of time auto, and all the buildings falling down like packs of cards.

I also watched the movie looking forward to the director and cast trashing Sean Connery on the DVD commentary, but didn't get so much of that.

#103 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 06:41 PM:

Tania, #64, the plaque is for a Memorial Wall. A grave marker is usually made of white or gray stone or concrete (I've seen brown in the Confederate cemetary close to my condo, though). The older ones can be very big and ornate, and in national veteran's cemetaries (like Arlington National) some folks still get fancier grave markers (my mother is buried in the Officer's Headstone section; my father will join her there) but most people just get plain markers with personal info and the religious symbol on it.

Paul, #87, indeed McKinney filed for impeachment, but it's not going anywhere. (scroll down to third item)

#104 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 10:29 PM:

JESR @100: I went to YouTube a while back and looked for "God Stuff" and found thirty segments. Alas, they're not there now (at least, not under that name), victims of the Comedy Central purge. As a consolation prize, here's The Farting Preacher, for sophomoric laffs.

By the way, I hope 2007 is the year I finally buy the CD with Spike Jones doing "The Powerhouse." I keep seeing it in the store, and not getting it.

#105 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 09, 2006, 10:30 PM:

Very sorry to hear about George William Swift Trow, who I knew only from National Lampoon, where he was indeed good.

#106 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 12:28 AM:

#101: Ignorance is Strength

#107 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 09:02 AM:

Sharon M @ 99... Thanhks for the link to Joe Bob Briggs's site.

#108 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 09:14 AM:

Greg London @ 94... They're playing "Constantine" (Keaneu Reeves) on TV now, and I've seen it at least three times. Everytime I watch it, I like it more.

I think I travelled the same road with 1980's Flash Gordon. From being thought of as a piece of bleep, it has become one of my Guilty Pleasures. Unfortunately, my wife went the other way, from liking it to threatening divorce if I put the DVD on if she's around. Okay, I made the divorce bit up. But I can't watch it when she's around. The situation is the same with another of my Guilty Pleasure, 1976's At The Earth's Core even though it has everything a person could ask for. It's got Doug McClure. And Caroline Munro. Peter Cushing as a scientist who makes a bow using his suspenders. Special effects that give cheese a bad name. Dinosaurs from the guy-in-a-rubbersuit school of thought. What is there not to like?

Serge, I like the second volume of League very much, though I also appreciate that it went a little dark and gritty for a lot of people's taste.

Constantine has grown on me too. Once I got over wanting it to be Hellblazer (and wishing for James Marsters), it's a perfectly decent occult yarn, and true in many ways to the spirit of the earlier comics. (I'd still like to visit the universe where they actually made a movie out of Dangerous Habits, though.)

#110 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 11:26 AM:

Dan... I probably should re-read the second LXG novel. When I first came across it, something felt different, not necessarily in the story itself. Maybe it was the lack of a lettercol where people got into the spirit of the whole thing and wrote letters in a quaint style. Or maybe... The first novel had a pastiche of pulp stories where Quartermain met John Carter and Randolph Carter and Wells's Time Traveller and even the Hounds of Tindalos. The second novel's extra feature was more like a catalogue of all kinds of literary references. Yeah, I guess I should have focused on the story itself.

#111 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 11:49 AM:

Christmas time is here
Happiness and cheer
Fun for all that children call
Their favorite time of the year

Snowflakes in the air
Carols everywhere
Olden times and ancient rhymes
Of love and dreams to share

Sleigh bells in the air
Beauty everywhere
Yuletide by the fireside
And joyful memories there

Christmas time is here
We'll be drawing near
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year
Oh, that we could always see
Such spirit through the year...

(from 1965's Charlie Brown Christmas Special)

#112 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 01:51 PM:

I note that Pinochet is dead.

I firmly believe that no one, and no crime, is unforgiveable, but that was a belief he sore tried in me. As Cordelia Naismith said, "I'll have to leave that to the Infinite. You exceed my capacity."

#113 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 02:07 PM:

Pinochet is dead, abi? Good riddance.

Abi #112: The sad thing is that he was not in prison when he died.

#115 ::: PixelFish ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 02:59 PM:

Abi @ 112: I know the feeling.

This is more for Teresa, but here's an interesting article about how LDS church leaders lent verbal support to Pinochet's regime. I remember being quite tweaked when I first discovered it myself, but hearing that your erstwhile church leaders considered his coup "an act that served the purposes of the Lord" is more than a little disturbing.

#116 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 03:46 PM:

The sad thing is that he was not in prison when he died.

Neither was Marechal Petain, after France's liberation.

#117 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 05:04 PM:

Any bets on whether Dubya goes to the funeral and makes noises about what a great patriot (and friend of Amurka) he was?

#118 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 05:33 PM:

Kip, 117: I thought it was traditional for the second banana to go to those thi--oh, wait.

#119 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 06:57 PM:

I keep reading that Particle as "a thousand or so oracular ducks." I like the image, but it does strange things to my brain.

--Mary Aileen

#120 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 08:04 PM:

Kip, I heard on the news that there won't be a state funeral, so the opportunity for Georgie to wax eloquent (snurk) will be limited.

Mary Eileen Buss #119:

Your comment led me to do this:

we go for learning to the newest source
the oracle of a thousand quacking fowl
the ducks who speak wiser than any owl
and congregate on every watercourse
the wisest monk hiding beneath his cowl
or savvy boy scout schooled by baden-powell
has no more sense that ordinary horse
the birds though overwhelm the sense
give no option to us but now to hearken
to their wise redes given in loudest voice
we crowd up to the strong barrier fence
the sky above is clearly bound to darken
but still we find we've lost all power of choice

#122 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 08:58 PM:

Fragano @121:

Hey, I'm a muse! Cool!

--Mary Aileen

#123 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 09:14 PM:

Somewhere around here, I have a videocassette of Daily Show God Squad episodes. I got it as an extra when I subscribed to The Door, one of America's truly great theological magazines. Joe Bob had a Bible study column in there for quite a few years, and it was worth the price of the subscription. Actually, going to the website to get the url, I see that he's listed as Vaguely Associate Editor, which is probably a good thing.

I'll see if I can dig the video up, and I'll send it out to anyone who wants it.

#124 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 09:31 PM:

You know what's the problem with you people ? You're making procrastination far too enjoyable. I'm supposed to be writing bad poetry to inflict on an incredulous world, damn it ! Not thinking about the notable absence of books in houses, and what it tells us of those inhabiting them, the use of respectability in class-warfare and how the advent of low cost computers and printers have generated a shame and fear of their own handwriting in loads of the lower-middle class people around me (what used to be only a fear of sounding right has expanded to fear of not actually looking right), the possible use of carrots in fruitcakes (and why in hell I haven't made a carrot cake in such a long time), stories about the Monthly Tsar and why the hell I'm reminded of Tristan Tzara every time I read the word "cédrat"...

Bless you.

Been kept wondering by the japanese translation, in a "Am I not reading enough in the english sentences, or am I reading too much in the japanese ones ?" way.

#125 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 09:43 PM:

Hey Teresa, There's a comprehensive post about Claude Degler on metafilter, in which you are (not surprisingly) name-checked and linked:

http://www.metafilter.com/mefi/56844

Regarding the Oracular Decks Particle, I just want to point out that I found out about the Hello Kitty tarot two years ago.

This is not so much to boast as to marvel that I uncovered anything weird on the Internets before TNH did.

#127 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 10:46 PM:

and this has me envisioning some sort of vast Potemkin village kind of setup.

#128 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 11:01 PM:

Actually, a Potemkin Suburb would be terribly useful for decoying in firms or institutions needing lots of educated middle-class workers. Imagine their terrible disappointment when the plasterboard comes down and they see a housing estate behind it...

#129 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 11:04 PM:

I travelled the same road with 1980's Flash Gordon

Is that the one with Queen doing the whole soundtrack?

I love you, Flash, but we only have (N) minutes to save the Earth.

Nag, nag, nag.

Yeah, that was pretty cool.

#130 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 11:15 PM:

George won't go to Pinochet's funeral. But it will be interesting to see whether Cheney goes, and if not Cheney, who. I think they won't want to risk Cheney but I suspect he's a Pinochet fan -- only in the political sense, of course.

(Look, it's Advent, getting on towards Christmas, Peace on earth to men and women of goodwill; I'm trying to be nice.)

#131 ::: Anne ::: (view all by) ::: December 10, 2006, 11:19 PM:

#67 At no point is Hugh Jackman shirtless in The Fountain

No, as noted later in the thread there is a long kissy bathtub scene whose entire purpose seems to have been to have a long loving look at wet shirtless Hugh.

The Fountain is A Big Serious Allegory; the only way it could be less subtle is if the main characters had names like Loving Man Blinded by Own Ambition and Woman Of Intuition. Stirring violins are unrelenting in telling us "here's a Poignant Important Moment; here's another". Also there is lots and lots of crying in close-up, which drives me bats because it makes me cry involuntarily even if I'm totally unmoved.

I agree that it could have been good with a few changes; as-is, it's tolerable only because Jackman and Weiss (and yay Ellen Burstyn!) are very watchable. If you love surreal images, it might be worth seeing on the big screen, but otherwise not.

#132 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 02:20 AM:

Teresa, note that there is an Earth Destruction Advisory page (with earth destruction status alert button.) I believe there might also be a Firefox extension for it, so that you can have your browser automatically inform you if the Earth has been destroyed.

#133 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 05:00 AM:

You can also sign up to a mailing list, which will send you an email as soon as the Earth's destruction has been confirmed.

Yes, the internet will still be working; just at a slightly higher overall latency rate.

#134 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 06:12 AM:

The Daily Show God Squad episodes, Juli? I might be tempted to take you up on the offer. I always got a big laugh out of the segment's opening montages, especially those that'd have Marvel Comics's Thor pop in, and also HellBoy. Speaking of the latter, a couple of years ago, I drove thru a small town in southern Arizona where one half of the theater's marquee advertised HellBoy, and the other half The Passion of the Christ. Really. One last thing... Did the comic-book ever explain why HellBoy has such a thing about cats that a lovecraftian horror beats the crap out of him in a New York subway station because he's got a box filled with kittens to protect?

#135 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 06:14 AM:

Yes, Greg, 1980's Flash Gordon is the one with Queen doing the whole soundtrack. ("Hi! I'm Flash Gordon, quarterback for the New York Jets!")

#136 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 06:22 AM:

Anne, about Ellen Burstyn's presence in The Fountain, yay indeed! I loved her in 1980's Resurrection, the ending of which had me with a big lump in my throat. And did you see her in last year's TV show The Book of Daniel? It was a great show about loving each other, which is a very Christian thing, but not enough for certain religious people who I understand managed to quickly get it cancelled. We can't have Aidan Quinn's character of a priest who loves his homosexual son, or have Jesus fake snoring when Quinn asks His opinion about his upcoming sermon.

Mary Aileen Buss #122: You're welcome.

#138 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 09:04 AM:

Serge, #134: HB's love of cats was invented for the movie.

#139 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 09:14 AM:

Thanks, TexAnne... I wonder if del Toro ever explained where that came from. Meanwhile, he is working on a sequel that I understand will come out in 2008. Until then, he has Pan's Labyrinth, out soon. That looks interesting, visually anyway. Hmmm... Those are the same words I used about The Fountain. My fingers are firmly crossed.

#140 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 09:21 AM:

Let's se... Mary Aileen Buss is Fragano's muse. And abi recently declared me her muse, albeit a bearded one. I think we should start a union.

#141 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 09:31 AM:

Then there's that ridiculously large ?auto-mobile? (just the sort of thing you would carry around in a submarine, on the off chance it might be useful), racing along wide, lengthy, and unpopulated streets; it would seem that Venice would have to be as large as Manhattan for the time it took for the car to reach its destination.

Venice has streets where it's possible to drive a car?!

#142 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 09:40 AM:

Well, fidelio, if Venice's canals can handle a big submarine, why caouldn't its streets deal with the Nemobile? We did tell people that was the really sucky part of LXG.

#143 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 09:43 AM:

fidelio #141: Venice has streets where it's possible to drive a car?!

Conversation that took place in my household when we rented the American version of "The Italian Job":

Movie: [exciting boat chase through Venice]
Caroline: You know, you don't see too many exciting boat chases through Venice in action movies.
Keith: You know what you see even less of? Exciting car chases through Venice.
Caroline: How do you have a car chase in Venice, exactly?
Keith: I really don't know. But it was in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen anyway.

Serge #140:

You should be careful what you wish for:

We've had some new developments of late,
Parnassus and Helicon are in a tizzy
almost as if the Pierian spring were fizzy
or someone had goosed Moira the Fate.
The Muses, now let me set you straight,
have never been either light or dizzy
but now their attitude's become quite quizzy
and bright Apollo has been shown the gate.
The ladies, in their mystical communion,
have made decisions that frighten even Zeus
who's not one normally to show alarm;
their decision to form their own trade union
has warned Olympus not to be obtuse
lest the more earthbound spirits come to harm.

#145 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 09:52 AM:

Muses Unite, Fragano!

134, 138, 139: I don't recall del Toro ever addressing it directly, but if it requires an explanation, I think it's worth pointing out that "Lovecraftian horror" and "love of cats" have a connection (or, er, connexion) going back to HPL himself.

Serge #145: Indeed! Solidarity forever.

#148 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 10:22 AM:

But which Muse am I?

#149 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 10:23 AM:

Lovecraftian horror" and "love of cats" have a connection

Well, Dan, cats are devilish creatures.

Serge #148: Hmm. I wish I knew the answer to that one. I'll have to consult the Pythoness.

#151 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 10:34 AM:

They're playing "Constantine" (Keaneu Reeves) on TV now, and I've seen it at least three times. Everytime I watch it, I like it more. Apparently it bombed at the box office though, which I don't understand.

Because it was based on a cult-beloved comic, and screwed with same. It was too fannish for your average action-movie-goer to really connect with, and the fen were peeved because it wasn't Hellblazer.

Me, I like Hellblazer, and I think a film of it (with James Marsters, doing his Spike accent, as Constantine) would be fabulous. I also rather liked Constantine, because it didn't try to get Keanu to do anything he couldn't handle and had a number of very cute nods to the source material. It was a fine...um. Was it DC or Marvel that had "Elseworlds"? Constantine was one of those.

#152 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 10:39 AM:

Carrie S says: I also rather liked Constantine, because it didn't try to get Keanu to do anything he couldn't handle

Excellent!

#153 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 11:08 AM:

Calliope (Chief of the muses and muse of epic song)
Euterpe (muse of lyric song)
Clio (muse of history)
Erato (muse of erotic poetry)
Melpomene (muse of tragedy)
Polyhymnia (muse of sacred song)
Terpsichore (muse of dance)
Thalia (muse of comedy and bucolic poetry)
Urania (muse of astronomy)

Carrie, that was well-put. (Incidentally, there's a bit in John Shirley's Hellblazer novel War Lord that explicitly addresses the idea of the movie as an alternate reality; Shirley, iirc, also did the novel adaptation of the film, so it's a couple of clever winks at once.)

The thing about Keanu isn't that he's uniformly bad; it's that he has a very limited range. As Neo (and as Siddhartha, shockingly enough), he's great. As Don John or Johnathan Harker... well, his mouth fills up with text that his tongue's not deft enough to process. (But I get the impression that he's quite a bit smarter than his limitations as a performer might suggest.)

As a fan, the thing I missed most in the Constantine film was John's sense of humor. I would have liked to see a bit more of the "laughing magician" - that's the thing that makes the comics such a delight, for me, and the kind of thing that an actor like Marsters* would be able to pull off a lot better than Reeves, accent or no.

*I've become convinced that Spike, to a large degree, is John Constantine in vampire drag anyway.

#155 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 11:19 AM:

Let's not forget Keanu as Don Jon in Branagh's Much Ado About Nothing, which also had Hero played by Kate Beckinsale, who went on to bigger and better things such as van Helsing.

Serge #153: The list needs updating. There's no Muse of programming, for example.

#157 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 11:27 AM:

On the other hand, Fragano, Thalia (muse of comedy and bucolic poetry) could be recycled into the Muse of Programming.

#158 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 12:03 PM:

Owlmirror @#50:

I haven't seen The Fountain yet, but I did just rewatch Pi last night. On rewatching, some of the plot seemed a little light -- for one thing, Max's descent into insanity was a little too fast for me. (I also didn't like how he couldn't get some of the details of the Golden Ratio right).

However, I have to disagree with your implication that Pi's "ugli[ness] to the eye and ear" was somehow wrong in context. I thought that it was precisely that ugliness which made the movie so powerful. The omnipresent whine in the sonic background and the harsh, flat and grainy lighting was all intended to simulate a migraine (or more, specifically, the moments just before the pain hits in a migraine [fortunately I only know this from second-hand accounts]). The occasionaly jerky cinematography was also intended for the same purpose -- to immerse us in the viewpoint of the main character. IMHO, it was very effective.

All that being said, I wouldn't suggest this movie to anyone who is either a migraine sufferer or who suffers from chronic (non-migraine) headaches. It may cause some discomfort even in those not prone to such ailments -- but on the whole it is a powerful and striking movie (and more than a little bizarre, which I find to be a selling point).

Serge #157: I say nuzzing, nuzzing...

#160 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 02:06 PM:

I like Keanu. He's got limitations like any actor. There are certainly other actors who are more restricted in range than he is.

I haven't read Hellblazer, so I have nothing to compare the movie to. I thought Keanu's version worked.

I am trying to imagine a "laughing magician" and can't even visualize it. The best I can do is insert the wise cracking Ron Perlman from hellboy, which seems like would make Constantine a completely different movie.

Oh well, at the rate I'm going, I'll probably buy Constantine on DVD at some point.

#161 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 02:07 PM:

"Kate Beckinsale, who went on to bigger and better things such as van Helsing."

And Pearl Harbor, which offended a whole lot of actual people who know the history and/or live within sight of the place.

#162 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 02:14 PM:

I heard about that, Linkmeister. I usually stay away from any movie produced by Jerry Bruckheimer.

#163 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 02:18 PM:

bigger and better things such as van Helsing.

I stared in fascinated horror at part of that movie. I can't believe Hugh Jackman let himself be associated with that excrescence.

The idea that it's better than something else makes me shudder at the thought of the something else.

#164 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 02:29 PM:

I stared in fascinated horror at part of that movie.

You could at least give it credit for the fully-automatic, rotary-magazine fed crossbow.

Couldn't you?

No?

Oh, alright. Never mind.

#165 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 02:46 PM:

I rather enjoyed Van Helsing, though I wasn't expecting it to be anything other than stupid. And I saw it a day or two after seeing Troy, which was just a ridiculous mess and which made Van Helsing look good in comparison.

Plus (as Kenneth Hite pointed out in his amusing review of the movie), Kate Beckinsale in a corset.

Jumping back a bit... Serge @ 85 said, re LXG:
In some ways, it was better than Alan Moore's graphic novel.

I'm really curious: in what ways? 'Cause I found it pretty uniformly inferior to the original graphic novel.

#166 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 03:04 PM:

Peter @ 165... Well, it has been a long time since I read the original LXG novel, but I have this memory of a plot that didn't seem very focused. Like I said, it was a long time ago and my memory may be playing tricks on me. One thing though... Can you imagine someone today making a movie where the villain was the Yellow Peril?

As for Beckinsale in a corset... I still wonder how she managed to get into that skin-tight outfit in Underworld.

#167 ::: Tania ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 04:59 PM:

Marilee - Thank you. That was a far more thorough explanation (with pictures!) than I deserve. Now I feel the need to find out more about funerals, death rituals, and monuments for the deceased.

Clifton - I like the "I must not fear" Firefox extension. When installed, one of the Tools menu lists "I must not fear", and when selected a window pops up with the "fear is the mind-killer" litany from Dune. Some days I need that kind of reminder.

#168 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 11:33 PM:

Erik, #127, there are several fake suburbs and cities and towns in the US, mostly used for military training.

#169 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 11, 2006, 11:37 PM:

Tania, during my second renal failure, Johns Hopkins Nephrology asked for my body after I die. My directions after that are to cremate the body and disperse the ashes in the nearest ocean. I think burying takes up too much land and inspires too much attachment to dead bodies.

#170 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 09:53 AM:

In regards to the Sidelight on Blindsight (hee!), I'm in the middle of it, and the book is fantastic.

Blindsight is a medical term -- certain forms of brain damage (including some strokes) can cause a person not to be consciously aware of things in part or all of their visual field (i.e. they are blind). However, their eyes and parts of the visual processing mechanisms are there, so they can do things like catch a ball. They see, the conscious mind just can't access what they're seeing. Very cool and bizarre neuropathology.
This does tie into the book (not going to explain how). The book as a whole -- think first contact via the Aliens movies, with less gut-bursting and a much (much!) more interesting crew.

And no, this isn't a spoiler, I haven't said anything you couldn't get out of the blurb.

#171 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 04:39 PM:

Watched Part One of The Lost Room. OK, enough to watch the rest, but that's it. During the commercial breaks, they advertised the new stuff that's coming up in the next few months. One title flew by, Flash Gordon. No idea what that is. That version probably won't begin with Ming the Merciless groaning that he's bored. That line of dialogue will probably be up to us.

#172 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 05:14 PM:

Malthus @170.

Seconded.

Blindsight had been on my list of books to find. I read it yesterday. Lovely, sharp, powerful.

I'd suggest you don't finish reading it late at night. Finish it where there's still time to go out and meet with people after. Distract yourself and keep his memes from burrowing too deep, because they have a kick.

If a good novel is like a fine-crafted bottle of beer or wine, then Blindsight is a partially vacuum distilled eau de vie from the fruit of the tree of knowledge.

#173 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 05:27 PM:

Kaja Foglio's site has a link that interest those who have always wanted a wooden laptop.

#174 ::: Mark DF ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 06:20 PM:

Careening off: I'm writing a scene at a forensic lab (how early 21c). Anyway, does anyone know if you can recognize an animal cell by simple observation under microscope of the cell interior? As a plot point, the cell in question will have a plant cell wall, but animal (humanish) dna.

Failing that, how long does it actually take to run a DNA test?

#175 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 06:29 PM:

Well, from my many-years-ago biology classes, plant cells should have chloroplasts in them, which look like stacks of green disks. Plant cells tend to be more regular in shape also - it's that much-more-rigid cell wall.

#176 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 06:34 PM:

Failing that, how long does it actually take to run a DNA test?

I seem to remember from jury duty that getting results back from a busy and backlogged lab could take months. The actual test, I don't know how long that takes. The backlog can be considerable, though.

For what its worth.

#177 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 07:00 PM:

As a plot point, the cell in question will have a plant cell wall, but animal (humanish) dna.

That doesn't make sense to me. At least part of the DNA will have to code for that rigid cell wall, which is a plant characteristic. It could be a combination of plant and animal DNA, I guess, but purely animal DNA with a rigid cell wall is a contradiction.

#178 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 12, 2006, 07:01 PM:

SFBC still has plenty of stock of Blindsight.

#179 ::: Mark DF ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 12:07 AM:

#175: PJ, what I am hoping for is an animal cell equivalent to chloroplasts, i.e., something in animal cells not in plant cells that would be visually identifiable as such.

#176: Greg London, the backlog was my understanding too, which is why I'm hoping for some kind of visual marker for animal cells.

I really appreciate everyone's input!

#177: Xopher: You're right--I was a little too vague in my original question. I'm not creating a strict plant wall with a total animal interior. Basically, I'm looking at a species that is like a tree nymph of classical mythology. I wanted to posit that their cells would reflect some kind of plant/human hybrid. Basically, I want my lab person to look at the cell in a microscope and say "It's a plant cell but what the hell is XXXXX doing in the cytoplasm." With the XXXX being the cell component unique to animal cells.

#180 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 12:24 AM:

I need advice on . . .

TRANSCONTINENTAL FUDGE TRANSPORT!

My parents and siblings decided that this is going to be a No Big Gifts Christmas (except maybe for the nieces).

I'm thinking of making batches of the Kahluha and Creme de Menthe (that's two different recipies) and giving a small box of each to various folks.

Any clever ideas on transporting, in airline luggage, about three pounds of inch-thick fudge which has a squishy paste layer covered by relatively fragile "chocolate bark?"

Freezing is a possibility, but we're talking a 12 hour trip when the train ride from Newark to Otisville is taken into account.

Metallic containers probably not a good idea, if only because I don't want homeland security guys sampling the stuff.

#181 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 01:15 AM:

I recommend reading the particle "Neddie Jingo Remembers Pinochet." Be sure to read Neddie's expression of his feelings about right-wing blogs in his comments section, too.

#182 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 02:49 AM:

1. Peter Pan

I seem never to have actually read the original novel, so I got a copy and fixed that. Wendy is even more annoying than I recalled from the other versions of the story. Must listen to Sooj songs to clean my brain now.

Graphic novel, or maybe novella - it's pretty short. Lions in Baghdad during the beginning of the war. Put this on the list of things not to read while depressed, but definitely read it. After I finish cleaning my brain, I can go slit my wrists.

Bleah.

#183 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 03:05 AM:

Observed at the bookstore:

Land of Mist and Snow is filed in the literature section. All others by Doyle & Macdonald are in the SF&F section.

I'm sure there's logic here that I'm missing.

#184 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 06:18 AM:

Even Sherlock Holmes, Susan?

Meanwhile, when I was looking for MacDonald Fraser's Pyrates at my favorite bookstore, they didn't have it in the F/SF or mystery sections, so I started looking under 'Literature'. Still, I couldn't find it there either so in desperation (*), I asked the people working there. It was in the Literature section, but not under letter 'M'. It was under 'F'.

(*) My wife is the one less likely to ask for directions when we're lost.

#185 ::: Malthus ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 08:58 AM:

Kathryn @172:
Unfortunately, I finished it at 10:30 PM last night. Whoo boy, you're not joking. That ending is a killer.

Stefan @180:
Thank you for that, I'll now be sitting here with a smile on my face for the rest of the morning picturing the Great Alaskan Fudge Pipeline. The fudge smugglers who tap into the pipeline for free fudge. The horrors of a fudge spill -- masses of caribou, covered in fudge, lying around moaning.

#186 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 09:41 AM:

My favorite scene from Part Two of the Skiffy Channel's The Lost Room... The main character instantly gets transported from Pittsburgh to elsewhere. Upon looking up, he sees graffiti on a wall, left there by the locals because of all the people who keep materializing on that spot.

The is not Hell, this is New Mexico

#187 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 11:43 AM:

The War on Fluids can finally end!

Right?

Right?

#188 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 01:00 PM:

Malthus @185

Think of the benefit to the truffle species which lives only in permafrost.

#189 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 01:11 PM:

If you freeze the fudge first, it should be pretty solid for a couple of hours. If it needs more help than that, maybe you can pack it in a bag (clear plastic freezer bag, I'd say) with lots of packing worms, well-wrapped in plastic wrap. (Maybe with copies of the recipe for the screeners to take?)

#190 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 01:14 PM:

Fudge with packing worms...

#191 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 01:45 PM:

Fudge with gummi worms as packing?

#192 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 01:50 PM:

Fudge with gummi worms as packing?

Not going there, not going there ...

#193 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 02:11 PM:

Or how about suspending the wrapped fudge in a tub of caramel popcorn? Hmmm . . .

#194 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 02:54 PM:

Totally OT

Conan in the Wall Street Journal

http://www.opinionjournal.com/la/?id=110009378

#195 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 03:00 PM:

I present for general astoundment and/or edification the following Icelandic lyric:

Við erum frá Síam sé þér sama
Sé þér ekki sama er okkur sama.
Komum nú og kynnum okkur hýbýlin
Kannski ef okkur líkar vel, við flytjum inn.

"Sérðu þetta þarna synda skálinni í?"
"Mjá, systir ættum við að reynað drekkja því?
Máltíð er vér báðum boðin girnileg"

Borðað getur hausinn þú, og styrlið ég!

"Þei, þei, hvað er þetta?"
"Ó, en grátur sár!"
"Þar sem eru börn má finna mjólkurtár! "

Förum nú og fellum barn úr vöggunni
Fáum okkur smá af mjólkurlögginni.

#196 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 03:36 PM:

Stefan @180,

Solid chocolate is fine for carryon*, although the "paste layer" makes the fudge iffy *if* you told them it was something other than "Solid Chocolate." If the fudge is freezing cold they might get suspicious** that it'd get gel or liquid-like at room temperature. The cold temperatures in the hold may be better for a long flight.

In checked luggage, chocolate, like cheese, wax, or stacks of books, will set off their "density is like c4" alarm. Plan that they'll open your suitcase. I like your idea- a few printed recipes is a subtle way to say you're watching. (Another less-subtle way I just thought of is to take a pic of the packed suitcase, then print a copy of the pic and put it in... ostensibly to show them how to repack your items.)

I'd pack the pans in separate plastic bags (ziplock makes larger than gallon sizes now- I find that useful for wine, etc) with bubble wrap. I wouldn't worry about metal, because
1. they'll be searching it anyways
2. metal is probably lighter than pyrex (airlines now charge crazily if you go over their limits)
3. they'll be seeing plenty of other travellers with foods.
I'd then put that into a cardboard shell to give the extra edge of protection - magazine holders would work well and pack down for reuse, for example, yet make it easy for security to look at the fudge. I'd then place the pans like eggs in the middle of the suitcase, clothing packed densely around the sides of the case.

* Based on personal solid-chocolate and/or cookies carryon recently, plus a quick search on Flyertalk security forum. Flyertalk is the best place to learn or ask flight related questions. Warning: do not read the security forum if stories of stupidity could affect your blood pressure.

** They get suspicious at anything, and you can assume no knowledge on their part about the natural history or nature of any substance. For example, if you have two identically sized bottles, one marked that it contains '30 ml' and the other blank, they have no internal understanding that the 2nd bottle is also '30 ml.'

#197 ::: Bjorn ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 03:44 PM:

Julie #195: Edification certainly, astoundment, why? Iss'juss'a language... Actual clip here, btw.

#198 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 03:46 PM:

I'm split on whether to check in or carry.

I found, by the dumpsters, an enormous roller-bag that I'm hoping to take at least one way. (Picture an oversized gym bag with hard plastic skids on the bottom and wheels on one end.) I could pack all clothes and gifts in it, but it is probably too big to check in.

OTOH, I have several smaller bags, but I hate the idea of checking in and carrying on.

* * *

Recipe? I invented this stuff myself. Maybe I should carry a sample to give to the TSA guys...

#199 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 04:04 PM:

Stefan,

It was PJ Evans who suggests printing the recipe. Heck, go to epicurious and find one to print.

My partner and I usually try to travel carry-on only, but not at Christmas (even before the latest rules). Given the crowdedness of holiday flights, checking nearly everything can feel good. Consider that:

1. carry-on inspections may raise your blood pressure. (you have the right to ask the TSA to change gloves if they're going to be fondling your food. They'll get pissy at that, though.)
2. on a sufficiently crowded flight, attendants might make you gate-check the bag anyways.
3. the non-zero possibility that the TSA is confused as to whether or not fudge is a solid, liquid, or gas.

You can use empty cardboard boxes to fill up space in the big bag.

#200 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 04:08 PM:

I would carry it on, Stefan, for several reasons.

1) It's food. If your luggage is "misdirected" for several hours or days, who knows what sorts of conditions it will be exposed to?

2) You're planning to freeze it. Frozen fudge plus all your clothes, plus lost luggage, equals chocolate coated gym socks.

3) It's not a liquid. Tell them the truth. It's fudge. There's no need to describe the slightly less completely solid layer.

4) There's no way in hell I'd let a hand-crafted gift item--knitted, baked, candied, or otherwise--out of my hands for anyone but the recipient.

If you *do* carry it on, pack it so they can see--more or less--what it is. Wrap the stuff in saran (or ziplocs, if you're feeling sarcastic), put it in a box that you'll be easily able to open if they ask to see what's inside. Don't wrap the boxes. Don't wrap the fudge in foil. Don't give them cause to think "hey, if that's fudge in there, why's he protecting it like it's heroin?"

IMHO,YMMV etc.

Alternatively--and this is probably what I'd do--you could look into express shipping. Three pounds shouldn't be horribly pricey...

#201 ::: Nancy C ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 04:10 PM:

Is it too late or too heavy to mail the fudge?

#202 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 04:28 PM:

#201:

If I had it on hand, ready to go, that would make perfect sense.

But I was planning on making it this weekend, and a week wouldn't be enough to guarantee Christmas delivery.

I'm going to check out Goodwill for some cheap plastic airtight food containers. Something I won't mind leaving at the other end.

#203 ::: Patrick Connors ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 05:38 PM:

H'mm.

Carry only the recipe and make the fudge as a family activity at your destination?

I'd probably FedEx[1] it myself (guaranteed next-day delivery, dropped off at FedEx as late as possible). But I'm used to shipping packages to New Zealand, so a next day FedEx package wouldn't seem too expensive to me.

[1] Or other overnight service.

#204 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 06:49 PM:

I bagged a personal-best Inadvertent Marquee Sentence yesterday:

THE HISTORY BOYS
SHUT UP AND SING

Which made me wonder how many titles I could string together deliberately. My maximum so far is nine:

NAKED
FRIENDS
SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT
ALWAYS
HELP
THELMA AND LOUISE
DO THE RIGHT THING
FOR THE BOYS
IN THE BEDROOM

But I'm confident that folks in this forum can do better.

#206 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 07:09 PM:

The marquee sentence reminds me of two things:

Back in 1993, at a multiplex:
MRS DOUBTFIRE
FALLING DOWN

And the titles of the songs on kd lang's "All You Can Eat," with the punctuation that comes naturally to my mind: "If I were you, maybe you're OK. Sexuality? Get some! Acquiesce this world of love, infinite and unforseen; I want it all."

So maybe the first half is a little awkward, but from "Acquiesce" on, I don't see how it could have been accidental.

#207 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 07:37 PM:

O' great repository of both exotic and practical cooking:

Can anyone give me some quick hints on shipping holiday cookies? I've been told to put marshmallows in the box as packing... as both cushioning and to "absorb" the staleness. Any validity in that? Any other good tips?

Once again, thanks in advance for any available wisdom.

#208 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 07:45 PM:

Has anyone ever reflected on the fact that "Oy!" means something totally different from "Oi!" Just sayin', that's all.

#209 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 07:49 PM:

Stefan,
I agree with Sarah @200.

Thinking about it, I'd probably want to carry it on, but would bring a folded cardboard box (+tape wrapped around a pen) on the 1% chance the TSA gets weird on you. Tell them it's solid fudge, though, don't mention the frosting.

If you're on a direct flight, or arriving more than 3 days ahead [3 days *and* you'll be in their delivery radius, that is], then stuff being in checked luggage is less risky.

#210 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 08:01 PM:
WASHINGTON, Dec 13 (Reuters) - U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota was hospitalized on Wednesday with a possible stroke, drawing the concern of fellow Democrats preparing to take control next month of a closely divided Senate.

"At this stage, he is undergoing a comprehensive evaluation by the stroke team," Johnson's office said in a statement while the 59-year-old senator was treated at George Washington University Hospital.

While further word was awaited on Johnson's condition, Democratic aides on Capitol Hill did not appear particularly alarmed and noted he promptly received medical attention after sustaining a possible stroke.

"He has great doctors looking after him," one aide said.

Let's hope so. My reaction to this is an acute awareness that the ground separating us from a return plunge into the pit of Hell is frighteningly thin.

#211 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 08:07 PM:

I found a nice plastic container at Goodwill that could be marketed as the Tupper FudgeTote. Rigid, easy to open and shut. Should fit two layers of candy, with plastics bags between the sheets for cushioning. Two more like it and I'll be all set.

Baggage situation is see-sawing drastically. I was leaning toward minimalist equipage, but my mom told me her funky desktop PC died. I'm tempted to cram one of my spares* in the aforementioned giant roller bag, which would still have room left over for fudge. OTOH, it would mean lugging a 50 lb. bag around. Ungh. Maybe I should find a machine at a Sullivan County Goodwill. Seee-sawww.

Heh: I wonder how sniffer dogs would react to (recalculation) 5.25 lbs. of fudge soaked with fragrant liquor?

* "Spare computer". That still produces a minor boggle.

#212 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 08:13 PM:

"Oh, fudge," Dudley Dooright says when he's really upset.

#213 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 08:17 PM:

#206: Those of us of a certain age may recall the Meco album Star Wars and Other Galactic Funk, which contained the tracks "Star Wars," "Other," "Galactic," and "Funk."

#214 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 08:37 PM:

Lenny at 210, don't get too alarmed. It could have been a TIA. Not so bad. And while there's always the possibility that Johnson may decide to resign in order to spend more time with his family (really!), there's a good chance he may decide to get medical advice, take Plavix (if he doesn't already), exercise more, find ways to reduce stress, and continue doing his job.

On the other hand, it would indeed be bad politically speaking if he decides to resign. Oy.

#215 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 11:11 PM:

Juan Cole writes,"Helene Cooper with Hassan Fattah of the NYT has the scoop that Saudi King Abdullah told US VP Dick Cheney two weeks ago that if the US withdrew precipitately from Iraq, the kingdom would have little choice but to support the Sunni Arab guerrillas."

We are so screwed.

#216 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 13, 2006, 11:28 PM:

Fluorosphere question:

What % of people that you know unexpectedly have zero presence on the web, that is, zero hits for their name?

I recently found an old address book, and out of curiosity (aka procrastination) did some searches for people I hadn't seen or contacted for 13+ years. Of the guys I looked up (with women a name-change is not unlikely) most had at least some minor traces online. But for others there was nothing.

Not that I expect people to be online, but nowadays it seems hard to not be referenced. My grandma's name shows up, and she's never used a computer (through an obituaries' list of surviving relatives). My young cousins show up, because they play sports.

So, what is your sense of how often references to a person show up online? Are you surprised when its zero?

#217 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 01:07 AM:

kathryn,

i am surprised when it's zero, being someone who sees her own web prsence as essential to her career, as well as her time-wasting enjoyment. but i shouldn't be, really.

the times i remember coming up zero have mostly been my israeli friends, though (& mostly in those cases i typed their names in english, not hebrew. i very occasionally type hebrew on my keyboard, but i haven't got letter stickers for the keys, so i have to go through all the keys anew every time i want to google something in hebrew).

i guess they're not quite as internetty there. i know many israelis in what i would consider my socioecomic group, who are still on dialup. that is very rare among my northamerican circle.

#218 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 01:32 AM:

Kathryn, I'm always surprised when I look for someone I knew in college who's off-web (or at least out of Google's range). Those folks are all mid-50s, and some of them should have achieved responsible positions in engineering schools or companies which I'd think would at least require their name be in company/faculty directories.

One guy was, though. Up until about three years ago he was CEO of Homestake Mining, one of the big gold extraction companies. When I realized the CEO was the same guy I'd hiked down the Grand Canyon with and then driven to Purgatory for skiing with, it made me feel inadequate.

I just got a notice from my fraternity about its new directory, so I went looking for guys who populated the same frat house I did. Very few of them even have e-mail addresses listed in the thing.

#219 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 05:10 AM:

Kathryn... Good question. A web search is how I renewed contact with a former co-worker, but that was easy because she lives in the Bay Area and was active with the Society of Creative Anachronism, all of which increases the likelihood of success.

I just tried one of the few people from my high-school days that I'd care to renew contact with. Not much luck. I did get a few hits for an Helene Beaudoin, born in Beauport, but I doubt that the one I had in mind was born in 1739.

#220 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 05:27 AM:

Serge @219

I had a similar desire to get in touch with people from way back, but I did it a little differently.

I put the names, high schools and dates into my blog (which, thanks to my better half's activities, is fairly well Googled). Then I sat back and waited for THEM to vanity Google and contact ME.

My top three targets (in terms of whom I really wanted to hear from) all either Googled themselves or were Googled by people who pointed them at me. I've enjoyed the resumed contact, though bits of it have been surreal.

#221 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 05:41 AM:

That IS an excellent idea, abi. How surreal have your renewed contacts been? I wonder if that's what a Class Reunion feels like. I'll never know because that very concept didn't exist in the Quebec school system, at least in the francophone side of it, when I passed thru it. (Metaphor is there on purpose, no accident.) I guess the internet is the only way I'll ever experience that, and, come to think of it, the situation would be a bit surreal, because I'm not the nerdy kid I used to be. (Hey, you , in the corner, don't think I didn't hear you sarcastically mutter "Used to be?")

#222 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 06:38 AM:

1. Best friend from high school is still uncannily similar to me (and I to her) after 15 years without contact. We freaked the Hub out, and had a great time at Worldcon last year.

2. Ex-boyfriend who put a lot of energy into being non-academic is now a professor of chemistry. I had to use my hand to close my mouth. He is also, more importantly, happy.

3. Strange ex-boyfriend is now a twice-divorced (with assorted crazy ex-wife stories, involving knives) TV director in Belfast. That meet-up the only time in recent memory that I was worried about coming across as being too ordinary and dull. I was right to worry.

They are the cream of the crop, and I didn't have to wade through the guys who defined themselves by their athleticism before they went to fat, the ones still trying to look 18, and the cultists to find them.

Mind you, I've never actually been to a high school reunion. My only real impression of them comes from Grosse Point Blank.

#223 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 06:50 AM:

assorted crazy ex-wife stories, involving knives

You certainly know interesting people, abi.

#224 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 06:58 AM:

And now, for something completely different...

I heard that Billie Piper is leaving Doctor Who. If so, I am supremely bummed.

Abi #222: You had some interesting boyfriends.

I had a different kind of experience not long ago. I was on the train, when a woman got on and sat in an adjacent seat. Because she had to squeeze by me and my bookbag we got to talking. Blow me down if we hadn't gone to the same high school -- she graduated one year before me.

Kathryn from Sunnyvale #216: A fairly surprising percentage do. On the other hand, I've made contact with old school friends to a surprising (to me) extent.

#227 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 09:37 AM:

#223 and #225

Oh, who hasn't got a few of those?

I could a tale unfold whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part
And each particular hair to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porpentine...

I'm going to take a wild guess and bet that, like me, abi was always the good kid with the bad kid friends...

#228 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 09:43 AM:

One more thing about *sending* food: If you're near sea level and the recipient lives in a mile-high city like Prescott AZ or Denver, your carefully-packed, home-made jams might explode from the difference in air pressure. Happened to us this year, with one out of the two jams my mother-in-law sent us (though luckily, most of the mess was confined to the packing newspapers, not mucking up the gift-wrapped presents).

#229 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 11:02 AM:

"...Peter Boyle who left the life of a monk to study acting and went on to become one of the most successful character actors of his time in films like “The Candidate,” “Young Frankenstein” and “Monster’s Ball,” then capped his career with a long stint as the meddlesome father on the hit sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” died Tuesday evening in Manhattan. He was 71. (...) His death, at New York Presbyterian Hospital, was announced by his publicist, Jennifer Plante. She said Mr. Boyle had suffered from multiple myeloma and heart disease..."

Sarah S #227: Interesting boyfriends? Can't say I've had any, what with being a straight male and all....

Interesting girlfriends? Not really....

Ex-wife from hell? Check.

#231 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 12:54 PM:

Sarah S writes I'm going to take a wild guess and bet that, like me, abi was always the good kid with the bad kid friends

What is that maniacal laughter I hear coming from the British Isles?

#232 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 01:15 PM:

Anybody know the origin of the quote that goes, "But that was a long time ago, in another country, and besides the wench is dead"?

#233 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 01:21 PM:

Carrie S... Googling took me to a Discworld site that said the following...

This is another Christopher Marlowe quote, from The Jew of Malta (act IV, scene i):

Barabas: "Fornication? But that was in another country; and besides, the wench is dead."

#234 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 01:31 PM:

Serge: Yeah, I found that too; I'm wondering why the stock phrase has prepended "It was a long time ago". It's a ritual phrase, to the extent that someone saying "It was a long time ago" prompts the addition of "in another country, and besides..."*

Did one of the hardboiled detective writers use it, maybe? Seems up their alley, so to speak.

*Or, these days, "in a galaxy far, far away", but that's a different thing.

#235 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 01:33 PM:

All my Xmas shopping is done. I wrapped Sue's presents all by myself. So proud of myself. She should like getting that UnderDog statue. She'd better. She, of course, isn't done with her own gift-wrapping, which is how I noticed that the back of the box containing my youngest nephew's Doctor Doom has an ad for an Aunt May action figure. She'd look perfect next to his Doctor Octopus.

Naturally, I've treated myself, with the pocket reprint of the original Agatha Heterodyne comics and a calendar featuring Agatha that'll brighten my cubicle. I also got myself a calendar featuring Agatha's nemesis, Pirate Queen Dupree, that would also brighten my work place but might not be considered appropriate. I'll console myself by keeping her in my home office, right next to my Norman Rockwell calendar.

#236 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 01:36 PM:

Did hardboiled-detective writers use that phrase, Carrie S? It wouldn't surprise me one bit if Raymond Chandler had, but I'll leave it to the experts to answer.

#237 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 01:46 PM:

For the record, the word most often used about me in adolescence was "weird". Sometimes, for variety, they might say "strange". I wasn't really on the good/bad continuum.

The gentleman mentioned in point 2 was the only ordinary one I dated. Swimmer, way out of my league for looks, we went to his prom and everything.

The gentleman in point 3 was the first (and third...it's complicated) guy I dated. I met him at Start Trek movies in Berkeley. We didn't go to his prom because there was a showing of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre at the same time. He once broke up with me based on a passage from Camus. We were 15 at the time. Then there was the time...never mind. You all read science fiction, I can't weird you out.

There is a fair argument that I was changed for life by the nature of the first guy I dated - that he set some sort of pattern for me. If that is the case, then I owe him a lot. If not, if I would have turned out how I am anyway, well, then I am still richer for the unusual experiences.

They still use words like "weird" and "strange" these days, but I seem to garner "odd" and "eccentric" as well. The difference between me now and then is mostly that I'm content with it.

#238 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 01:56 PM:

abi... I think the French equivalents of 'weird' and 'strange' were used to refer to me, along a few rude wprds, some of which questionned my sexual orientation. My co-workers, at least the ones who like me, probably think of me as eccentric. I can deal with that. I was rather amused last year when one of them said: "You're pretty intense, aren't you, Serge?" To which I agreed and added he should have seen me 10 years before.

#239 ::: Laurence ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 02:17 PM:

Serge: where did you get those Heterodyne calendars? I looked around the Girl Genius online store but didn't see them.

Abi #237 & Serge #238: These are the stigmata of the true nerd -- having had all of those adjectives applied to me. Apparently, these days I'm 'spiteful' as well -- this being the grievance of a young woman whose grades aren't all that she would wish (neither is her ability), who also labelled a colleague 'combative' and a third 'uncaring'.

#241 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 02:39 PM:

I still recall my first day at my present job, when afer a few hours my immediate supervisor shot me a suspicous glance and said, "You're an intellectual, aren't you?"

I laughed.

Then I locked the entire team in a room, but that's another story.

#242 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 02:50 PM:

Laurence... The shopping section of the Foglio site has a link to CafePress, which is where the calendars are available. Unless you're old enough, you might want to avert your gaze when coming across the Dupree calendar.

#243 ::: Laurence ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 02:54 PM:

Thanks, Serge! I am old enough, but I'm also technically at work.

#244 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 02:55 PM:

Spiteful, Fragano? That's nothing. Back in my college days, I once called the head of the programming-teaching dept a son of a b*tch in front of the whole classroom. That was not the smartest moment of my life, but it sure was quite an incentive to acquire better social skills.

#245 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 02:57 PM:

I laughed. Then I locked the entire team in a room...

You know, abi, I'm sure I saw a scene just like that in the movie version of Carrie.

#246 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 03:10 PM:

I'm still the weird guy.

A friend and I have decided that we need buttons that say "I'd've been a Goth Kid if there'd been Goths when I was a kid." As there weren't, we were just weird and morbid.

It seems I've told this tale here before, but I can't remember for sure.

Anyway, I was the one my English teacher picked to read "The Raven" aloud to the class...which I did in a black shirt with the collar up, and by the light of a blood-red skull-shaped candle I happened to have.

#247 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 03:15 PM:

I was the one arguing with the English teacher about the rhyme scheme in Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" (I was right, dammit), and the ending of A Tale of Two Cities, and volunteering to teach a day of class on "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."

What's that?

Why, yes, this is my tea mug. Why do you ask?

#248 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 03:20 PM:

Serge-

Have you checked if Classmates has your school? I see they have Quebec, and what I assume is a large collection of schools. You can use Bugmenot for an identity to search without registering as yourself.

This summer I went to my [large round number it can't possibly be that many years] reunion. I'd never mainlined pure nostalgia before.

Far more secrets came out than at the last reunions: I suppose people have settled into who they are. (And we'd finally all learned to hide our disapprovals well, not falling into rabbit hole discussions like politics.) I found out that I almost could have had a boyfriend then (the lack of which in high school was a stress and a social horror). If I'd found that out in or soon after high school, it would have annoyed me. Now I just wish happiness on that branch of my existance-in-the-many-worlds.

Sadly, some who I'd want to see the most weren't there. Of course, they're the sorts who disapprove of nostalia-fests like reunions as a matter of principle (i.e. back in high school they didn't like proms).

One guy (also a zero-trace on the net) was a friend who'd turned me onto bookstores as a place of exploration. Got me to go to a Douglas Adams signing, that sort of stuff. (Not that I hadn't loved bookstores before, but I hadn't seen them as a place to hang out with friends, as a place that amplifies friendships.)

Serge #244: Given that the student in question believes, inter alia, that the rest of the world is 'crazy' and has stated that she would never leave the United States, I'm not inclined to take it too seriously.

That instructor must have really driven you nuts.

#250 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 03:23 PM:

You just happened to have a blood-red skull-shaped candle, Xopher?

Xopher #246: You were clearly a goth avant la lettre.

#252 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 03:27 PM:

I don't think he had it just for me, Fragano, but he was a sadistic creep.

#253 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 03:29 PM:

Xopher, if you ever find yourself in Dallas on a Thursday or a Sunday night, I'm dragging you to The Church for what my friends and I have come to call "Giggling at Goths." I'll wear my "So if you're really a Goth, where were you when we sacked Rome" shirt, you get yourself that button. It'll be a blast.

I was very much not a Goth kid, but "weird" was quite probably my favorite self-descriptor at the time. These days I tend to self-identify as "zany." Thus far, my coworkers and bosses have seemed to agree.

#254 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 03:30 PM:

Sadly, some who I'd want to see the most weren't there. Of course, they're the sorts who disapprove of nostalia-fests like reunions as a matter of principle...

That's funny, Kathryn. When we were living in Toronto, a fellow fan was telling us about his own class reunion and how he had been looking forward to it until he got there and saw that the neat kids from high-school were the ones who hadn't shown up.

Thanks for the suggestion on how to track down old classmates.

#255 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 03:51 PM:

I have reached the maximum level of December freakage (not that I expect anyone here to wonder where I've gotten off to).

This December marks the 45th anniversary of my Grandma Sokolik's death, and the tenth of my mother's. In addition, after a year of too many funerals, already (starting with the first Sunday in January when I lost a cousin and an aunt within hours of each other, and working many variations on that pattern) I lost a cousin, again, on November 13th, an aunt on November 27th, and an uncle on December 9th.

Today my lovely and brilliant eighteen-year-old daughter is flying home from college for Christmas break; her plane's due in at SeaTac about the time the winds are supposed to start gusting to 65mph.

Please cherish your loved ones in this season of darkness and make good memories.

#256 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 04:30 PM:

JESR,

I'm sure your daughter will be fine. Think on this, this and this. Don't bother with this.

We're here if you need us.

#257 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 04:34 PM:

Third link should have been this.

#258 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 04:44 PM:

Serge @ #254:
"a fellow fan was telling us about his own class reunion and how he had been looking forward to it until he got there and saw that the neat kids from high-school were the ones who hadn't shown up."

There are only about five or six people, from a class of over seven hundred, from high school I'd care to see again. (A good day at high school was a day you just felt numb, rather than miserable.) The last time I got an invitation to a reunion, about fifteen years ago, every one of those half-dozen people were on the "We Can't Find Them" list.

Considering that one of them was someone I expected to eventually cure cancer, colonize Mars, and/or invade and conquer a mid-size South American country, I was surprised she had managed to vanish.

JESR #255: I hope you have a good family get-together for the holidays with no worries.

As I mark papers in comparative politics and political theory, I learn many interesting things. Here are are few:

After the economy is stable, Chinese aspects began to incorporate themselves in the form of Marxist ideologies which are common to the Chinese.

Society teaches us everyday that the strongest, richest, and most cleaver shall hold power.

There government has political parties but still has the Communism factor involved that governs all of the people.

Mexico is the owner of its own oil. This oil is known as PEMEX.

Augustine helped to merge Judeo-Christian principles and beliefs during his time.

Aquinas believed that hearsay is punishable by death.

John Calvin worked close with Martin Luther although they had some opposing views of Jesus Christ being human or not.

Nigeria is a rash and unpredictable country.

Plato and Aristotle are Western thinkers whom have unclear views as to what a stable social order is.

#261 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 05:13 PM:

those half-dozen people were on the "We Can't Find Them" list.

This has me wondering what people setting up those reunions actually DO when they go looking for someone, Bruce. There probably are limits as to which places they can look, and their budget may not allow for a Phillip Marlowe to track others down. By the way, that fellow student you expected to eventually cure cancer, colonize Mars, and/or invade and conquer a mid-size South American country sounds like an interesting character.

#262 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 05:25 PM:

JESR,

Deep (and resonating*) sympathy. Even after going through something similar I can't think of what to say, other than that writing about in places like this is good. Spending the holidays sharing memories with other family is good.

Freakage. One thing I understand now that I didn't 2 years ago is that the fight-or-flight reaction is just simply useless for (almost all) parts of modern life. Floods of adrenaline aren't necessary for grief. Modern anti-stress meds aren't nearly what they'll be in 10 years, but they're good enough to ratchet down stress feedback loops. That's what I found.

* Two years ago I lost 3 relatives in 3 months, and I thought that was just too concentrated.

#263 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 05:34 PM:

Kathryn, I grew up in the midst of the baby boom hitting a couple of farm families; Mom was the eighth of twelve, Dad the first of six (and I've heard all the Borg jokes there are). My two cousins who died this year- one of scleroderma and complications of Type 1 Diabetes, the other of primary bone cancer- were both born in 1949, two of five born that year.

I'm down to two uncles on Mom's side and two aunts and an uncle on Dad's, and the knowledge that my generation is now the elders is as much a shock as anything.

#264 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 05:37 PM:

I found my highschool reunion very healing and gratifying.

All the "popular kids" had become anything from boring to outright losers.

The people who made my life hell in high school had grown up into perfectly reasonable adults; in other words, highschool kids are horrible, and this fact does not necessarily predict horribleness (horribility?) as adults.

Also, the husband of one of my classmates hit on me in the men's room, which was just too weird.

#265 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 06:02 PM:

Serge,

There's a large number of information brokers. I'd guess that between $15 and$50 would get you just about anyone's name and address. Because marriage records (or other sources of name changes) are public, and because change-of-address forms get into their databases, it's very, very difficult to stay out of them.

(Note on that page their list of brokers you *can* opt out of. Sadly, they also have a long list of ones you can't opt out of.)

Intelius is the one you'll get linked to if a Yahoo people search gets zero results, for example. They link people to previous addresses- in looking at what cities they list for me or my college friends (seeing the city-name is free), they do have our college town and subsequent towns (I moved away 10 years ago) listed for all of us. Yikes.

#266 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 06:29 PM:

the husband of one of my classmates hit on me in the men's room, which was just too weird.

Is that why your class reunion was healing and gratifying, Xopher?

#267 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 06:34 PM:

I didn't realize that, Kathryn. In that case, it does make mysterious the disappearance of Bruce's fellow student he expected to eventually cure cancer, colonize Mars, and/or invade and conquer a mid-size South American country. And every time I read that description of her, I keep thinking of what it must hae been like to hang around high-school with Lex Luthor or Doctor Doom as fellow high-school students. ("Yes, Lex, your giant robot with the laser eyes is neat, but I'm still not going out with you.")

#268 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 06:35 PM:

Efficiently combining miseries:

My best friend from high school is now listed for a lung transplant. If she gets it, she lives. If not, she probably dies pretty soon. At work we refer to this situation as pre-mortem. She is probably less pre-mortem than my other pre-mortem friend.

(I was morbid before I started this job, but it certainly fits me well. Dead people EVERYWHERE.)

I try not to remember high school. I certainly don't go to my reunions. Fortunately, by high school I was already deeply involved in fandom, so I had a social escape.

Memorable line from today's office holiday party, making me glad that I wasn't drinking enough to say stuff like this:

"Compared to the V.A., working here is like bathhouse s*x."

(I wasn't drinking at all, since when I drink I do stupid things, and I need to keep this job for at least a few years. I did do a minuet step, but that was by request and was more graceful than stupid.)

#269 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 06:44 PM:

I try not to remember high school.

That bad, Susan? Sometimes, I get into a science-fiction mindset and ask what it'd be like if my current personality got thrown back in time into my body when I was still going thru high-school. A feeling of cold dread adequately describes things.

#270 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 06:52 PM:

Since I would fail the Civil War trivia quiz in the particles, I offer my own shorter quiz for everyone else to fail:

1. Is the redowa really the same as the Dodworth new waltz?
2. Chemise and drawers: to tuck or not to tuck?
3. Pastourelle and Trenise or just Pastourelle?
4. If not formed as for the Spanish Dance, snowball or simultaneous?
5. What is the name of the fifth most popular set of quadrilles?
6. Black stockings with a black gown: suitable for America?
7. Whatever happened to the orchesographic siblings of the Gothic Dance?
8. Mazurka at 130-140bpm or 160-170bpm?
9. Koska, Coska, or Roska?
10. In proceding to the congress in L'Alliance, matching or mirror? Diagonal or zigzag?

#271 ::: MD² ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 07:07 PM:

A big thank you to Susan (#182) for the "Pride of Bagdad" heads up. Beautiful thing. The abrupt end worked really well for me.

While I'm on suggestions, I'm just back from seeing Satoshi Kon's Paprika, and I highly recommand it. Maybe a bit too structured for it's own good, but I think it's part of the charm.

#272 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 07:10 PM:

Serge @ #269:

If I had had my current personality in high school, I would have done all the things I should have done but was too afraid to do then. And I would have started dancing while I still had the body for it.

#273 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 07:50 PM:

Lizzie, #114, if it was a TIA, it would have been over by the time we heard about it. The "T" stands for Temporary (I've had three). It turns out he had an AVM pop, but he's already being responsive. The AVM was in the language part of his brain so we don't know yet if he'll be able to talk or possibly understand. (His wife says he is eyeblinking to Yes/No, but relatives sometimes read too much into movement.)

When I first saw the doctor about the recent TIA, he wanted to prescribe Plavix and I told him I'm in the donut hole of Medicare Plan D and I can't afford it. He looked it up and agreed. I've calculated that Medicare Plan D's effect on the Kaiser Medicare HMO will make me spend 300 more this year on meds than I did without Plan D last year. That's assuming I don't have to have extra meds before the end of the year. #274 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 08:19 PM: Despair, Inc. has a Create-your-own-demotivator web page. Here's a friend's creation, suitable for Teresa, Patrick, and several other regulars: Editing I can't seem to get an URL to mine or I'd post it. #275 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 08:26 PM: If I had had my current personality in high school, I would have done all the things I should have done but was too afraid to do then. There is that aspect of the situation. Then I think of all the stuff I knew in high-school that I've forgotten and I'd have to really cram it all back in. Hmm... I think I'll stick with the me in the now. #276 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 08:34 PM: Ah, here we go. You've got to email it to yourself, then it gives you an URL good for a week. Meaning #277 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 08:41 PM: Carrie S. and Serge, #232 & #236: I don't know if Chandler or any of the hard-boiled detective writers used the quote, but Zelazny certainly did in the Amber books. I just went to the shelf and flipped through "The Guns of Avalon" where I *thought* it ought to be, but I didn't spot it. My Amber-fu isn't as strong as it used to be when I was regularly gaming in that universe and could pinpoint a quote to its relevant scene and usually within two pages. I'm pretty sure it comes out of Corwin's mouth (most of them do), but it might have been Ganelon saying it. That's probably where the "A long time ago" part got appended. #278 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 08:46 PM: #272 I would have done all the things I should have done but was too afraid to do then. I could say the same. If my current personality were transplanted into my high school self, I would: -dump my high school boyfriend much, much, much sooner -not quit the International Baccalaureate program -not dismiss out of hand the possibility of going out of state for college -actually seek help for depression It's a bit of a pickle, really, since the major changes in my personality came from making exactly those mistakes, experiencing the consequences, and learning from them. But it would be interesting to see an alternate universe where I didn't need to make those mistakes. I'm considering journaling this, but can't figure out if it would lead to new insights, or just make me depressed about my current universe. Both, probably. But that might be a good thing. #279 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 09:13 PM: BTW, has anybody here been following the weird physics news this year, claiming measurable gravitomagnetic effects in superconductors? Here's one of the papers: http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0603033 And here's the latest one from October: http://arxiv.org/abs/gr-qc/0610015 The claim is that you get substantial space-time frame-dragging effects - much bigger than any previous prediction - from rapid rotational accleration of a superconductor. (Remember, it took incredibly elaborate apparatus in specialized satellites to measure the minute degree of frame-dragging created by the entire Earth.) The October paper on arxiv seems to further claim that this somehow falls out of the range of values for the cosmological constant which are implied by dark energy. I don't really understand a word of this, I'm just regurgitating it, but if true in the scales they're reporting, it would seem to imply the possibility of artificial gravity generation. There's also mention of "massive photons", which sounds pretty heretical. I'd love to hear what a real physicist thinks of this. #280 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 09:21 PM: Susan @ #270: Well, at least I recognize most of the nouns... in fact I could actually understand questions #2, #5, and #6. #281 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 09:22 PM: Serge: No. It was discovering that all the people who tormented me in HS had grown up into perfectly acceptable adults. I've often said that if I had my youth to do over I would waste more of it. #282 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 10:05 PM: Marilee at 73: as I first heard the story, Johnson's symptoms occurred when he was talking on the phone, and then went immediately away. Sure sounded like a TIA. But that information turned out to be incorrect. I also take Plavix through Kaiser, and the last time I got it they charged me what they charge for generics, not what they had been charging me for a non-generic drug. I suggest you call the pharmacy; I know there's been a fight going on over Plavix's generic status, and the penny may have dropped. (Of course, it's possible they made a mistake, and 18 months from now I'll get a bill. This morning in the mail I got a bill from Kaiser for something that happened in April 2005. It's small, but still. Grrr.) #283 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 14, 2006, 10:06 PM: Sorry, that's Marilee at 273. See other side. Close cover before striking. Not responsible for lost items. Grrr. #284 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 04:46 AM: My persistent fantasy about going back in time to high school is not to relive it, not even with the confidence I have now. All I would want to do is take my sixteen year old self out to a cafe, show her some pictures (the Hub, the sprogs), and say one thing. It's going to be all right. I wouldn't have been the same person without the angst and the teenaged heartbreak. It just would have been good to know, or have the chance of believing, that it would all come out well in the end. (I am conscious that this is not actually the end, and that it may not be all right in sum, but we'll elide that point until my seventy year old self turns up with photos and an invite to a cafe.) #285 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 06:21 AM: I think about that too, Xopher, seeing little bastards have turned into decent people. Still, it'd be weird dealing with such persons knowing what they are/were capable of in a crummy setting where they have no control. abi... On the other hand, your younger self would not know what it is that she did to reach a life where things were all right. And we've all read F/SF stories of what happens then... (*) On the bright moments in an adolescent life... During the 2004 worldcon in Boston, my wife and I had supper with another married fannish couple and the subject of high-school days came up. The man told us of this guy who was bigger than him who enjoyed bullying him. Then, one day, our friend's BIG brother came to that school, grabbed the bully and slammed him against lockers, swung his fist and... slammed it against the locker, extremely close to the head of the bully who got so scared, he lost control of his bladder. (*) How about a sonnet on that subject for Asimov's? Hint, hint... After all, you did say I was your Muse. #286 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 08:14 AM: My high school was so enormous, I could slink about unnoticed by all except a few friends. But talk about living in the right place at the right time! My parents took me to shows at the Filmore, the Avalon and Winterland (the one boyfriend I had in those days was too young to drive), and I wrote it all down -- a "music diary" is a lot more entertaining than a gaggle of fading memories. On another subject entirely, today's Chron (SFGate) has an article by their Sex Specialist about "naughty knitting"! You can see it here. Serge #252: Instructors like that are a true horrot to deal with. #288 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 08:34 AM: Sadly, some who I'd want to see the most weren't there. Of course, they're the sorts who disapprove of nostalia-fests like reunions as a matter of principle... When I got my invitation to my 10th reunion, I found I couldn't return it. There were options for "I won't be attending" and "I'll be there alone" and "I'll be bringing a guest". There wasn't one for "Why the fsck would I pay good money to hang out for an evening with people I hated being around when it was free?" So I just didn't send it back. Zelazny certainly did in the Amber books...That's probably where the "A long time ago" part got appended. Thanks, Rikibeth, I'll see if I can track it down. Makes as much sense as anything I've been able to come up with (and Amber had a bit of noir sensibility going anyway, which could be why I was thinking of hardboiled detectives). #289 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 09:28 AM: Fragano @ 287... True, but at least that was 30 years ago and, in spite of the obstacles that 'man' threw into the path of my life, I came out on top. (And the top didn't turn out to be the summit of Kong Island. Or didn't you ever see Son of Kong, with the whole island sinking into the ocean and Kong Jr going glubglub?) Serte #289: Alas, I've never seen that film! Sorry, for 'Serte' please read 'Serge'. My mind is currently offline. #292 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 10:11 AM: Serge at #261: "that fellow student you expected to eventually cure cancer, colonize Mars, and/or invade and conquer a mid-size South American country sounds like an interesting character." Oh, she was. When she gave her valedictorian speech at graduation (since she was #1 academically), she used it to issue a passionate call for social revolution. The administration probably rethought their policy on choosing valedictorians after that. I Googled her name a few years ago, but the only match that came up was for a m-to-f transsexual in Canada. Dee was definitely female. (Not what most people would call pretty, but striking, in an Ayn Randish sort of way.) And for sheer brainpower... whoo, Jesus! She'd have made Teresa look like a dumb blonde. (And Teresa frightens me sometimes.) She could have gone to almost any college or university she wanted, with a full scholarship, but ended up going to a small private college that had a reputation for allowing its students to be largely self-guided in their studies. I suspect the reason she doesn't show up on Google is that she may have ended up living in a foreign country. The last time I saw her, she was teaching herself French. #293 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 10:19 AM: Teresa frightens me sometimes Our Hostess? #294 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 10:24 AM: Not seeing Son of Kong is no big loss to your knowledge of cinema, Fragano. It wasn't a bad movie, it just went a wee bit too much for cute. The best part was early on, with Denham and the captain from the original movie again sailing to Kong Island, but this time they are sent overboard by their crew. That's what happens when you hire communists. #295 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 10:31 AM: Carrie S. @ #234: the "long time ago" in front of "and besides, the wench is dead" may come from Pratchett. In _Lords and Ladies_, he mixed-and-misquoted famous sayings to get: But that was a long time ago, in the past [*] . And besides, the bitch is . . . . . . older. [*] Which is another country. The referenced character, btw, is certainly a bitch rather than a wench. #296 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 11:18 AM: Faren... My parents took me to shows at the Filmore, the Avalon and Winterland I am suitably envious. #297 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 11:34 AM: the "long time ago" in front of "and besides, the wench is dead" may come from Pratchett. In _Lords and Ladies_, he mixed-and-misquoted famous sayings... I doubt it; Lords and Ladies came out in 1992. I'm pretty sure the "long time ago" version is older than that. Anyway, from the structure of your quote, it looks like Pratchett was doing his usual play-with-references thing. If he'd just been trying to point to the Marlowe quote, it would have been: "But that was in the past* and besides the bitch is older," with the footnote as given. #298 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 12:01 PM: #292: I used to find Teresa's intellect frightening too, until I realized that it's always used for good, never for evil. #299 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 12:03 PM: I used to find Teresa's intellect frightening too, until I realized that it's always used for good, never for evil. Except maybe in Star Trek's Evil Universe, Xopher? #300 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 12:14 PM: LOL I can picture her in neck-to-toe leather, saying "But I don't want your fear...I want your love." All shall love her, and despair. #301 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 12:25 PM: All shall love her, and despair. All shall love her, and despair. All shall love her, and despair. Duly noted. #302 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 12:46 PM: #298 I used to find Teresa's intellect frightening too, until I realized that it's always used for good, never for evil. Except, when you are playing "Thing" or "Mafia" with Teresa, at which point... #303 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 01:17 PM: This is off topic completely, but does anyone else here ever write a complete comment to post, and then preview it and decide not to post it after all? I was just about to post something about Donald Rumsfeld, but then I realized that I didn't really have anything useful to say. I had written a whole comment, but I didn't see the point in posting it, since it didn't add to the conversation at all and it wasn't very well written. I just erased it. I find that I do that at least half the time that I come here to write something. Usually, I decide that my comment didn't have much of a point to it, or otherwise I find I have changed my mind about the subject in the few minutes it took me to write about it. Either way, I scrap much of what I set out to write here. I suppose that just writing out my ideas helps me to better consider my position on a topic, even if that means that my position will change while I'm writing about it. Still, it feels kind of like a wasted effort, since no one else will see it, but that may be for the best since I write some boneheaded things now and then. Am I just nuts about posting, or do any of you guys do this as well? #304 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 01:31 PM: Joe J (#303): Yep, I do it, too, sometimes. #305 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 01:37 PM: "Except maybe in Star Trek's Evil Universe, Xopher?" If you see a TNH with a little goatee, run away. * * * Interesting pattern to the power outages here in Portland's suburbs. I saw one flicker last night, but everything stayed on. All the servers were up and running at work. But the shopping center across from home was in the dark, and the place that supplies the goods for Free Donut Day was shut down. #306 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 01:38 PM: Joe J @ 303: Frequently! (Discretion is the better part, and all that.) #307 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 02:02 PM: Joe @ 303... It usually happens to me in the political discussions. #308 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 02:03 PM: Stefan # 305... In the Evil Universe, Teresa achieved her editorial position thru assassination. And she makes her writers wear an agonizer. #309 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 02:03 PM: Joe, J, at least two out of three comments I compose never get posted. I do the same thing elsewhere. And I still manage to post boneheaded, rambling, or poorly thought-out comments. Still, I find that the ability to "unsay" things is one of the advantages posting comments has over face-to-face communication. #310 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 02:14 PM: #302:Except, when you are playing "Thing" or "Mafia" with Teresa, at which point... ...you hope she's on your side and hang on for dear life. Actually, playing "Thing" and "Mafia" with her made me extremely relieved that she uses her powers for good. (Ok, I, typically, get fingered as Mafia about 2 rounds in despite being completely innocent. So it's more like watching Teresa play "Mafia" than playing "Mafia" with her.) #311 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 02:31 PM: #308: "Too obvious an authorial self-insertion, don't you think? Your agonizer!" #312 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 02:32 PM: Stefan - The windstorm didn't take out my power, but my workplace was not so lucky, and FWIW, trying to get there today would have been foolhardy anyway. Plus nobody called in to my scheduled meetings, so I guess it's a snow-free snow day. Plus there are sunbreaks now so I think I'll take a walk and check out the tree litter. All in all, I'd still rather have had a shot at seeing an aurora. #313 ::: candle ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 02:54 PM: Carrie S.: apologies if somebody has pointed this out already, but "The Wench is Dead" got used as the title for a Colin Dexter (Inspector Morse) novel - it isn't exactly noir or hard-boiled, but it does have the detective element. Probably the full form of the quote doesn't appear anywhere there, though, so I don't know that it answers your original question. #314 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 02:56 PM: JC @310, 302 Is "Mafia" the same game as "werewolf"? One or two baddies in a group of innocents taking out the innocents one by one, with 2 of the innocents able to find the baddies or heal the innocent (but only one by one, too)? And the innocents vote off one person each round, hoping that they've caught a baddie? The two special-innocents have to signal their goodness without becoming baddie targets? At a recent conference we came up with a hacker version: a group of hackers, two feds in their midst, a cryptographer that protects the hackers and an EFF lawyer who spots the feds. What would be a writers' version: A group of innocent writers, two POD publishing scammers, an editor who gives writers a contract, and a blogger who unmasks the scammers? [Note- the large number of question marks are not to denote verbal upticks at the end of sentences] #315 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 02:56 PM: OT, but Ginmar today posted one of the most beautiful descriptions of Heaven I've ever heard. I thought everyone here would appreciate it. A taste: In Heaven, libraries are open around the clock, and the angels themselves compete to work there, to hone their skills. #316 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 02:59 PM: Joe: Here, and on mailing lists. (My mail program has a very handy "postpone" capability for emails in composition, which I make liberal use of. Usually when I have postponed and consider it later, I decide I did not need to say it.) General comment - I was wondering why the Kingston pigeons cull particle was posted, until I started reading the comments. Many of them were hysterical. #317 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 03:47 PM: Thanks, everyone! I suspected that I wasn't alone in doing that, but it's good to hear confirmation that other people do the same thing. I feel a little less weird about all the erasing that I do. I guess it is one of the better aspects of Internet communication that you get to test out what you want to say before you say it. I'll keep on not posting regularly. #318 ::: JC ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 03:51 PM: #314:Is "Mafia" the same game as "werewolf"? Yes. I actually had read about it with the werewolf set dressing before ever playing it. The first time I played it was at Viable Paradise. (http://www.eblong.com/zarf/werewolf.html) #319 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 04:55 PM: Jim, you've mentioned what one needs to do if they're out hiking/camping to avoid hypothermia. Do you have any recommendations for people in a situation involving a power outage with extreme cold? I know some folks with gas ovens will turn those on full bore to try to heat at least one room, and I've been told not to do that, but not why you shouldn't. Why you shouldn't is carbon monoxide. I might consider doing it if I had a battery-operated CO detector, and temperatures were truly life-threatening, but not otherwise. What should you do if you're facing an extended power-outage in a cold climate? Same thing you'd do if you were in the woods in that same climate. Dress warmly, drink lots of fluids, and keep up your sugar-and-fat consumption. If the situation you're in becomes untenable, seek shelter (National Guard, Red Cross, other as approriate/available). Maintain battery-operated radios in good condition, with spare batteries. That's how the word will come to you of emergency relief. #321 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 05:23 PM: Lori, If you know people in that situation, there should be Red Cross or other help available. Do they have phone service? Nearby neighbors? Unfortunately, too many people try to heat enclosed spaces with gas. Google news shows thousands of CO poisonings (or deaths) just in recent reported news alone. #322 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 05:24 PM: Ok -- I *knew* gas furnaces could produce carbon monoxide, but had forgotten that gas stoves/ovens could do that as well. We always have 3 battery* operated radios available, 1 in the house, and one in each jump bag (my jump bag lives in the backpack I take to work). The closest we've come to the above situation was the ice storm that occurred December 23-24, 2004. We lost power at 5AM and had it back at 3PM -- the line that supplied our power fell onto one of the main roads here, so it was the first one repaired! I got to thinking about it today, and wondering what we would have done if the power hadn't been restored. That day, my answer was to bake bread. It put some extra heat into the house, and wasn't as risky as just running the oven. *And extra batteries too. Serge #294: Communists, eh? That sounds suitably Cold War-ish. On the quote issue: The quotation comes from an exchange in Marlowe's The Jew of Malta in which a friar is taxing the Jew Barabbas with treason. It runs thus: Friar: Thou hast committed Barabbas: Fornication. But that was in another country, and besides the wench is dead. The Jew of Malta is a piece that's worth reading (I despair of ever seeing it presented). Any play in which the Prologue is Machiavelli is going to be interesting. #325 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 05:38 PM: Actually, Fragano, the movie was filmed in the mid-Thirties, and the Bolshevik takeover of Russia was quite recent. Anyway, it's a so-so movie. I much prefer the one the same people made after the war, Mighty Joe Young, which dealt with the mistreatment of animals. Serge #325: I haven't seen that either, alas. On the other hand, I have seen Doctor Goldfoot and the Girl-Bombs.... #327 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 06:00 PM: Doctor Goldfoot and the Girl-Bombs.... Never seen it, Fragano. Wasn't that some Sixties cheesy Italian spoof of spy movies, with Vincent Price? Serge #327: Yes, that's exactly what it was. I saw it and its companion Doctor Goldfoot and the Bikini-Machine many years ago on a night I was suffering from insomnia. #329 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 06:16 PM: Did that cure your insomnia, Fragano, or so was it so cheesy that it fell into fascination and you found yourself compelled to watch th whole thing? #330 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 06:26 PM: Fragano: As you're a Marlowe fan, do you also love Marlowe's Doctor Faustus as much as I do? I would love to stage it sometime. It's been far too long since I did any amateur theater, performance art, or anything artistic. #331 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 06:41 PM: #310 ...you hope she's on your side and hang on for dear life. As a character with Lawful-Good alignment (yes, I can be quite square at times), I found the honorable action to take during "Thing" is to confess you've been thinged, then offer to the remaining scientists the option of letting you live one more turn so you can figure out who the other things are. turn them all in, and then be the last thing to be tested. In the end, Good wins. Mafia, I haven't figured out. As far as I can tell, Mafia is Chaotic-Evil, and there is simply no way for a Lawful-Good character to 'win' in any sense of the word, other than try as best as you can. But, I'm usually pretty good at detecting liars, so I usually get whacked by round 2. At least with Thing, if you're a scientist good at finding things, the idea of confessing is sort of an amulet of protection from being thinged in the night. Mutual assured destruction, as it were. Mafia, I'm dead in the first couple rounds. Sigh. #332 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 06:45 PM: > Is "Mafia" the same game as "werewolf"? >One or two baddies in a group of innocents >taking out the innocents one by one, with 2 of >he innocents able to find the baddies or heal >the innocent (but only one by one, too)? And the >innocents vote off one person each round, hoping >that they've caught a baddie? The two special- >innocents have to signal their goodness without >becoming baddie targets? no "curing" in Mafia, but otherwise, that sounds like the same game. >At a recent conference we came up with a hacker >version: a group of hackers, two feds in their >midst, a cryptographer that protects the hackers >and an EFF lawyer who spots the feds. ROFLMAO! Hadn't heard that version. #333 ::: Rick Burns ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 07:10 PM: Anyone know what 18th Century English linquistic characteristics are? What is an example of dialogue from the period. Thanks. Serge #329: They were so cheesy I stayed awake to watch them. Vincent Price at his campiest. Clifton Royston #330: Why, yes. Doctor Faustus was the first play of Marlowe's I read (for A-levels). Then I read the rest. Tamburlaine while I was still doing A-levels, and the rest while I was an undergraduate (for pleasure only, I didn't do Eng. Lit. as an undergrad). Rick Burns #333: Read any novel of the period, Gulliver's Travels, say. Or you could go to www.chrononhotonthologos.com for one of my favourite farces. #337 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 07:43 PM: Vincent Price at his campiest. The mind boggles. #338 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 08:04 PM: I recommend "Tristram Shandy", personally. Serge #337: It should! #340 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 09:10 PM: Lizzy, #282, I have the Kaiser *Medicare* HMO. I'm in the Plan D donut hole, so I will pay actual price for all drugs through the end of the year. If he had prescribed Plavix, I wouldn't have picked it up. I have a referral (not authorized yet) to a vascular surgeon, which will probably be in January, and although I would go back to paying brand price then, I still won't take it because it goes against the amount of money that would put me in the donut hole. If I used Plavix even for a month, I would have to pay four months more of actual price meds later next year. #341 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 09:31 PM: abi: 2. Ex-boyfriend who put a lot of energy into being non-academic is now a professor of chemistry. I had to use my hand to close my mouth. Seems like more and more people are digging in at a later age; I know someone who decided at age 30 to become a forensic accountant (official college major English, alleged major the opposite sex), and someone even older who took serious tech courses to have the background to be a modern midwife. Serge: Peter Boyle was reported the day after Martin Nodell. Who? (my rxn also.) The creator of the original Green Lantern -- don't know why but the modern version was my favorite before Spider-Man came along.... abi "You're an intellectual, aren't you?" Not as pointed, but when I once pooh-poohed the difficult of the Bach "Magnificat" (having that plus Boulanger, Ives, & Pinkham to study that weekend) a complainer about the piece answered (in tones of deepest loathing), "You're one of those sight-readers, aren't you?" I've made most of my day-school reunions -- it was small enough and bright enough that typical anti-nerd behavior wouldn't have been tolerated -- and a couple of others; I was lucky in high school because I had escape via SF (checked out from a granite-and-sandstone building that \ought/ to have had bats flying out of the upper story) \and/ theater, which was important enough that if you made things happen even the swim team (which mostly thrashed college freshmen) left you alone. (Being single-sex may also have helped.) I sometimes doubt that I would have survived a public high school -- I was \seriously/ unsocialized. (One of the advantages of being a crew chief in theater was it taught me how many other people's work I'd blow up if I lost my temper.) #342 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 10:30 PM: I missed the news about Green Lantern's creator, CHip. About Boyle, I once read that he was the Best Man at the wedding of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, and that Lennon was his Best Man... Puttin' on the Ritz... #343 ::: Jon H ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 10:39 PM: So, how about this idea, for how to deal with the fact that Bush is not going to listen to anyone but the former bottle demons who took up permanent residence in his head (presumably by carving out living space in the linguistic centers.) Assuming the ailing Senator pulls through and we still have the House and Senate, why don't the Democrats pass a bill that will raise the top tax bracket by 2% per month until we leave Iraq? I expect rather than being dynamically changed, it would have to be summed up once a year, and applied to the following round of filings. #344 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 15, 2006, 10:59 PM: Having AOL dial-up is sometimes a good thing; we've got lights back on, and the female offspring is safely home after a routine flight andd a scary drive home with her dad, but the cable, and thus the modem, is still down. Thanks for the hand-holding yesterday. I was fresh out of optimism. As it is, things went much more easily with us than the rest of Western Washington, except for a gate blowing open and allowing the cattle egress to my garden. The herb bed by the kitchen door looks as if it's been rototilled and the nice glazed frost-proof pots are, alas, not hoof-proof. #345 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 12:43 AM: Two cookie sheets worth of fudge, shmeared with liquor-based sugar goop: Naked Fudge Next comes a layer of white chocolate, then it gets packed for the trip to New York, where something involving knives and wrapping paper happen, but I haven't given it much thought. #346 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 02:07 AM: Fragano, Clifton: Having almost finished seeing all of Shakespeare (1.5 plays to go), I am trying to turn my attention to Marlowe, but so far I am cursed with a plague of Edward II and no others. I've seen two Edwards in the past year and another coming soon. (Red Bull Theater - after seeing what they did with The Revenger's Tragedy I'm quite eager to see their Edward.) #347 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 03:06 AM: Caroline@315: Jo Walton wrote some poems about Heaven that make me wish I could believe in Heaven. (I said so, and she said, "Me too.") As it happens she collected and posted them recently: Heaven poems. Susan #346: Eek! That's by no means Marlowe's best. There's a film version made in England in the 80s that should be avoided at all costs. I've seen quite a bit of Shakespeare over the past few years. Living near Georgia Shakespeare helps. #349 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 10:14 AM: #58 Linkmeister (sorry for the delay, been busy this week), the "distracted by a shapely woman's leg" comes from Hammerheads, thrown in as a real Dale Brown line. B52s are indeed bombastic (and magnificent) in flight, but on the ground they always look a bit sad to me. #350 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 11:10 AM: Rick #333: Old Bailey Online contains the original proceedings of London's central criminal court from 1674-1834. So, it's got transcriptions of actual speech from members of various social classes and regions in and around London. Of course, it's limited geographically, and English doubtless sounded very different elsewhere in Britain and the colonies. #351 ::: Lizzy L ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 11:52 AM: David at 347: thanks for the links to Jo's poems. Lovely. And Jo -- same. Thank you. #352 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 12:42 PM: Neil @ #349, I've seen my share of B-52s both in-flight and on the ground (Anderson AFB, Guam, 1970) and I'd never thought of them as sad-looking, but with the wings sagging at the tips as shown in that photo I can see where you'd get the adjective. Nicely done. #353 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 01:46 PM: Fragano: I got a few pages into Chrononhotonthologos and now my brain hurts. It compares rather well with Pyramus and Thisbe. Clifton Royston #353: It is pretty funny, though. The playwright may or may not have written 'God Save the King'. #355 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 06:32 PM: #253, Skwid, from two days ago: I'll wear my "So if you're really a Goth, where were you when we sacked Rome" shirt Did I see you in that at Noreascon? I enjoyed that shirt so much that I stopped you to take your picture. (If it wasn't you, well, then there are two of them on the planet. If it was you, then, Hi!)) #356 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 09:00 PM: Fragano @ #348: [Edward II] I know it isn't Marlowe's best, but it seems to be having a moment of popularity. I saw one utterly dreadful production and one superb one this past year. I'm looking forward to seeing Red Bull's take. I make a pilgrimage every year to see several Shakespeare plays and catch others here and there as I can. I'm still missing Two Gentlemen of Verona, believe it or not, and the probably nonShakespeare Edward III. There's a few I'd like to see another production of, since I haven't been satisfied with the one(s) I've seen. Right now I am contemplating the Bedford Lear vs. worldcon in Japan. That's a rough choice for me. Susan #356: I suspect that Edward II's popularity has a lot to do with the fact that it's by a gay playwright about a gay king. Hmm. I can understand the difficulty of the choice. #358 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: December 16, 2006, 09:53 PM: I'm reading and enjoying Park Honan's new biography, Christopher Marlowe: Poet and Spy. All sorts of interesting factoids about his life, about which my favorite is that his last name was spelled very inconsistently during his father's life; one spelling used was apparently "Merlin." Hmmm! Misery loves company. So I offer this . #360 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 12:29 AM: From the link Fragano provides: (paraphrasing) Aristotle had two schools, one of which is Peripatetic. Wait. I thought he was strictly an Athenian? #361 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 01:18 AM: apropos of nothing, it's about 50 degrees out right now Central Standard time and it's the 16th of December. I have a window open to freshen up the air in my room and may leave it open overnight for that purpose. Our SF club's Holiday Party was a moderate success, we had a good turnout even though we had it at a remote but cheap venue (Birmingham Town Hall, Birmingham, MO, we pay a deposit but we get it all back if we clean after the function). I'm a bit more content right now than I have in this weird holiday season (It's too warm, I haven't been able to get into the mood for a whole lot of reasons, work has been hell, ad nauseum). #362 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 02:08 AM: Two days after not losing power in the furious NW storm, my neighborhood was blacked out for two hours when a transformer down the street blew. Observation: Those crank-up LED lights are really, really handy. At first, I used one to get around the apartment and light tea candles in strategic spots. Then I realized "Duh, why am I rationing these things?" I put propped up one on one of those pole-mounted florescent braizer lamps, pointed straight up. That alone provided more indirect lighting than three tea candles. I put another LED lamp in a 2 quart plastic milk bottle with the top cut off. This diffused the light a bit and made it easier to move around; no finding something to prop it up against. I read a chapter of "To Say Nothing of the Dog" by it. What the world needs next: an emergency house light version of the crank light, with a diffuser and a wide base and a hook on top. #363 ::: oliviacw ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 04:18 AM: Stefan, I did get hit by the power outages of the windstorm - and the transformer blowing up today! Four hours for the first, and two for the second. Not too hard to handle, and I do love a chance to use all my backstock of candles - although I ended up with a lot of competing scents tonight. Paula, below freezing here tonight. The people who DON'T have power back in the area here will have a cold time of it. Linkmeister #360: Aristotle's school is called the Peripatetic. To distinguish between the Peripatetic and the Aristotelian is like distinguishing between me and me. While Aristotle taught in Athens, he was from Stagira. #365 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 01:32 PM: Ambrose Bierce is handy in remembering that: Peripatetic, adj. Walking about. Relating to the philosophy of Aristotle, who, while expounding it, moved from place ot place in order to avoid his pupils' objections. A needless precaution - they knew no more of the matter than he. #366 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 02:20 PM: Oh Tekeli-li, oh Tekeli-li, how squamous are your AIEEEEEE! Carol of the Old Ones: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ftld7Ohojg&eurl= #367 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 03:25 PM: They're making Star Trek XI???? And Matt Damon will play Kirk??? I. need. more. speed. Scotty. this will be weird to watch, to say the least.... #368 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 03:26 PM: Star Trek link http://movies.yahoo.com/movie/preview/1809752800 #369 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 03:51 PM: #362, Stefan Jones puts forward the proposal for a hangable crank-light, an item I too could have used; also a crankable or battery driven exhaust-fan so I could use the camping stove in the kitchen and vent it through the proper hole. As it was, we put it in the laundry room and cooked our eggs and bacon with the back door open, a chilly sort of solution. Our noisy neighbors, the ones with an unlicensed day-care and occassional amplified live rock bands, ran their generator 24/7 as long as their lights were out. I hope they have a patient on home dialysis. (I'm all electricity and broad-band empowered again, and know that is evidence of some kind providence). #370 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 04:00 PM: JESR @369, And let me guess that your neighbors are doing nothing to reduce their generator's noise? The Burningman festival is filled with generators. Not building baffles or using other sound-reducing methods is considered rude. If any of your neighbors there have some heart, perhaps you could ask them to baffle it up. #371 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 04:07 PM: So I throw a bunch of ingredients into the crockpot to stew for dinner, sit down at the computer to blog a bit, adjust my glasses, rub at the corner of my eye... ...and then remember that after tossing in the minced poblano chiles, I had NOT washed my hands with soap and water. Hoo. Boy. Feel free to chuckle at the dope's discomfort. (I should probably have searched out that old thread here on making habanero oil, but I'm lazy.) #372 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 04:30 PM: I am too lazy to snap a picture, upload and link it, but due to the recurrent power outages in our neighborhood, we bought several battery-powered table lamps. They're quite attractive in a cheap way, and last a I am too lazy to snap a picture, upload and link it, but due to the recurrent power outages in our neighborhood, we bought several battery-powered table lamps. They're quite attractive in a cheap way, and last a long time on 4 standard D batteries even though they use flashlight bulbs rather than LEDs. If one could find such a lamp which used white LEDs, it'd last a truly long time. #373 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 04:44 PM: Made it thru to the Bay Area from New Mexico, in spite of snow last night when we reached the mountain pass between the towns of Mojave and Nakersfield. The ride was uneventful aside from that, and I had plenty of time to cook up a sonnet that ties in with earlier posts in this thread. Roses are red, Violets are blue, The wench is dead, Long ago too. I did warn people I was no good at this. #374 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 05:09 PM: Wenches are dead, Boy am I blue; Dogg'rel is easy, And Serge is my muse. #375 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 05:35 PM: TexAnne, you'll have to talk to abi about whose Muse I am. Then again, there's nothing in my contract with her that says she has exclusive rights to my ruminations. #376 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 05:40 PM: This is just to say I have buried the wench that was in another country and whom you were probably saving for fornication Forgive me she was deceased so distant and so cold. #377 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 05:42 PM: Serge, I have a different muse for doggerel. Your contract is safe. In a far country once there lived a wench, buxom and keen, and apt for many sports, who would, at night on the broad tavern-bench be most kind and helpful to those out of sorts. Her name's forgotten, so too is her trade, for that was a long time ago, and memory's weak; and not just memory, but other things fade and we don't always get the things we seek. Fornication, priests tell us, is a great sin and we should at all costs avoid committing it; yet when we show that we can silver win some warm embrace we always find to fit. I cannot get these thoughts out of my head, but do remember now the wench is dead. #379 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 06:25 PM: abi (#376), That was unexpectedly creepy -- and very good. That wench you planted last year in your garden, Has she begun to sprout? Will she bloom this year? Or has the sudden frost disturbed her bed? #380 ::: Craig ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 06:35 PM: Clifton @279: I haven't been following those particular experiments, but they sound interesting and the results look somewhat more plausible than the various other superconductor/gravity experiments. Background: There are at least two or three separate theoretical motivations for believing that superconductors should have unusually large interactions with gravitomagnetic fields (not what we normally think of as gravity; electrical field : magnetic field ~:: gravity : gravitomagnetic field). There have also been a number of very crank-buzzer-inducing claims of gravitational effects associated to elaborate experimental setups involving superconductors (to give an example of elaborateness, I believe one setup required a rotating superconducting disk that was a) accelerating, b) having a capacitor discharge thru it, and c) going thru its transition temperature -- simultaneously). There have been a few decent experiments with YBCO superconductor -- all of which said "effect too small to show up with this setup", which was more or less expected. This one looks interesting, possibly plausible, but the theoretical background in the second paper looks iffy to me (but I am not up on my superconductor theory). #381 ::: Jon Meltzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 07:33 PM: superconductors should have unusually large interactions with gravitomagnetic fields Spindizzies? #382 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 09:20 PM: abi: I have a different muse for doggerel. Your contract is safe. Phew. #383 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 10:02 PM: Greg London, 3367: They're making Star Trek XI???? And Matt Damon will play Kirk??? I just had a parallel moment of cultural vertigo: The Library of America will be publishing an omnibus edition of Philip K. Dick. On the one hand, it's nice to see something sfnal take its place in the LoA (they've already done a volume of Lovecraft); on the other hand, PKD is supposed to be read out of a cheap paperback, not on a bible-paper HC. With a bound-in ribbon. That's just not right, somehow. #384 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 10:18 PM: Kathryn from Sunnyvale @370 about my noisy neighbors: They do not believe in sound baffling, nor, apparently, other forms of minimizing their footprint on the planet; they've got a proclivity for loud noises and poorly tuned gasoline engines. This would be easier for me to take- after all, they're more than a hundred feet off- were it not for an accident of topography and accousitics which placed their back door at the point where, after loading hay from the big grey hay barn that used to grace the land, my sister used to stand and converse with me across the space without raising our voices. #385 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 17, 2006, 10:30 PM: About the new Star Trek movie... I had heard it'd be a reboot of the whole series, kind of like what they just did for James Bond. I probably misunderstood, which is too bad because this might be the only way to truly revitalize a setting that I think has been pretty much mined out. That being said, no matter what it is they're planning to do, Matt Damon would be way at the bottom of my list, although higher up than, say, Adam Sandler. #386 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 12:35 AM: The article compared the roles going to new actors to James Bond, Dracula, etc... But...William Shatner, for example, has been Captain Kirk for forty years. That's a long time. I don't know. I made a lot of fun of the people who were complaining about Daniel Craig for James Bond, and Casino Royale was absolutely fantastic, but...sheesh, I don't know. I think Star Trek needs something to revitalize it, but I think this is the wrong something. Yikes. I just don't know. #387 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 01:29 AM: What is Star Trek? A melodrama with the trappings of science fiction, set in a fictional universe with a specified set of technologies and alien races? "Revitalization" in this case might mean a new ship, new actors, and another slight variation in setup. I would hope that the franchise would start all over. No vulcans, no klingons, no transporters, no holodecks . . . none of the comfortable old recipes. Ditch everything but the concept of a starship staffed with skilled people venturing beyond a barely settled frontier to explore strange new worlds, yadda yadda. #388 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 01:57 AM: I'm actually more concerned over the possibility that the Stargate franchise is developing another series ( http://www.gateworld.net/news/2006/12/exclusive_third_istargatei_serie.shtml ) because it's long been my contention that there is not enough plot development in the entire storyverse to sustain one season of quality TV. Love the characters and the actors who play them, have trouble telling the episodes apart, and am very tired of God popping so predictably out of the box five minutes before the last commercial. Best leave now before I start whining about Farscape and Firefly again... #389 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 02:23 AM: Fluorosphere question of a serious sort: If you had a coworker who was exhibiting increasingly paranoid behavior, what would you do? Where would you start to research on this, to find good practical information on what to do next? I'm thinking about this because of a friend of mine* who is dealing with / concerned with this (and I'm concerned for her). Her coworker (in a small Californian company) is increasingly behaving in ways which, while not provably 100% threatening, aren't "not threatening." That's bad- usually one doesn't have to think "is my coworker a safe person?" I realize I have no good ideas on how to start searches for this, or where to look. Perhaps you have seen articles, or have thoughts on these situations? For example, have you seen a website with a good legal workplace discussion forum? Any ideas appreciated (here or by email): I've got nothing. * Really, this isn't for "a friend." I work from home, and the major danger in my office is when a cat uses me as a ladder to get to the high shelves. #390 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 04:40 AM: I have no help for Kathryn (I wish I did) but I want to express my appreciation for being in a place where people can be relied upon to correctly spell "fluoro-". #391 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 05:46 AM: Stefan Jones: I would hope that the franchise would start all over. No vulcans, no klingons, no transporters, no holodecks . . . none of the comfortable old recipes. If this is the script that's been green-lighted off and on since the Harv Bennett days, it takes place in Starfleet Acadamy, long before the TV series. Remember that Kirk was supposed to have been the youngest captain ever put in charge of a Constitution-class Starship? If it's the same script we see why. #392 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 08:45 AM: Totally unrelated to anything in this thread, but apropos of the Dangerous Toys particle, I present herewith the lyrics to "Lawn Dart" by Ed's Redeeming Qualities: It was the third of July and the weather was fine Ed brought the hot dogs, the croquet set was mine But the red ball was missing and three mallets were bent Ed suggested lawn darts so to K-Mart we went We looked by the yard games, we looked by the grills But we couldn't find lawn darts come high water or hills We talked to the sales clerk and she started to cry She said "They're off the shelves now," and she told us both why: A kid was pegged in the head with a lawn dart Her dad didn't see 'er, that's the worst part; A kid was pegged in the head with a lawn dart So they're now off the shelves at the K-Mart Well we both felt so bad that we gave up the search Ed went to bed, and I went to church And now we never grill hot dogs, and we don't play yard games Since we heard that sad story things just aren't the same Pegged in the head with a lawn dart (lawn dart!) Her dad didn't see 'er, that's the worst part; Pegged in the head with a lawn dart So they're now off the shelves at the K-Mart. #393 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 09:03 AM: #389 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale wondered: If you had a coworker who was exhibiting increasingly paranoid behavior, what would you do? Where would you start to research on this, to find good practical information on what to do next? Well - some of it would depend on what "increasingly paranoid behaviour" means ... I'm thinking about this because of a friend of mine* who is dealing with / concerned with this (and I'm concerned for her). Her coworker (in a small Californian company) is increasingly behaving in ways which, while not provably 100% threatening, aren't "not threatening." That's bad- usually one doesn't have to think "is my coworker a safe person?" I'd suggest starting with searches on "workplace violence". If my memory serves me well, there should also be a variety of resources for mental health as well - and although it's not quite the same thing, many of the resources for abused women may have pointers. Sarah S, I'm glad I'm not the only one who gets earwormed with that whenever lawn darts come up. #395 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 09:10 AM: Kathryn, How does this "increasingly paranoid behavior" manifest? Is it covert (dark mutterings to themself, disturbing but civil conversations wth co-workers?), or overt (public arguments with co-workers or supervisors?). Has his/her behavior disrupted the workplace floor? Is this a serious change in personality in the worker? Over what time period has the change taken place? Does anyone know the worker on a personal basis? Have there been changes in their personal life that might be making him/her displace that personal stress to their workplace? Are drugs or alcohol somewhere in this equation? Is management aware of the situation? You said this is a small company, so management may not have the experience or resources to deal with this. Does the company have a health plan, with mental health benefits, that the employee could be counseled to use? I work for a big company, the Postal Service, that's had *ahem* a bit of experience with disruptive employees. Generally, there's a fair amount of tolerance for people "blowing off steam" and griping about the workplace. But when employees get actively disruptive, erratic, or out of control, the usual procedure is: Take employee off workroom floor. If apppropriate, call 911 for medical assistance. Employee is placed on suspension. While on suspension, send employee for medical (i.e., drugs) and psychiatric evaluation. Depending on those results, employee may or may not be allowed back to work. Disclosure: I have personal experience with those procedures. I tend to repress anger and frustration, sometimes for years, until it suddenly bursts out in VERY upset and VERY loud explosions (as P&T have witnessed, and even been the target of). So over my years with the Postal Service, I've gotten several of those free psychiatric evaluations. The good news: Getting VERY upset and VERY loud is about ALL I do, so the conclusion has always been "mostly harmless", and I've gone back to my job. Your friend's small company may not have those resources available. But management should probably be made aware of what's going on, if they're not already. #396 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 09:17 AM: DL-K #394 Ave frater!!!! I thought I was alone. (In fact, until Google told me true, I was beginning to think I'd dreamed the song's existence...) #397 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 10:23 AM: Thread, open, for the purposes of: British poet Simon Armitage has done a new translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and the Guardian has an interview with him here. There's a substantial chunk extracted, and I had to read it out loud. The two people sharing the kitchen with me weren't too unhappy with that, at least. --- Gawain,' said the green knight, 'By God, I'm glad the favour I've called for will fall from your fist. You've perfectly repeated the promise we've made and the terms of the contest are crystal clear. Except for one thing: you must solemnly swear that you'll seek me yourself; that you'll search me out to the ends of the earth to earn the same blow as you'll dole out today in this decorous hall.' #398 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 10:48 AM: it takes place in Starfleet Acadamy, long before the TV series I must confess I don't know my Star Trek backstories well enough. Was Spock the first Vulcan to go to Starfleet? And would he have gone to Starfleet the same time as Kirk? Or was Spock so damn smart he showed up senior year and aced all the tests and was immediately assigned as science officer of the Enterprise? I just have a hard time seeing Kirk at Starfleet without him bumping into a young version of Spock somewhere. And given Kirk's approach, he probably screws something up and has to have Spock save him. Hm, Spock will be the geek student that Kirk goes to when he needs some lab report written. That's how the two will meet. I can think of no actor that would be of the appropriately young age who has the stuff to play a Vulcan. It seems like the actors coming up these days are all aiming for leading man, leading lady roles. There aren't any characters like there used to be. Now if you'll excuse me, I must go chase some kids off my lawn.... #399 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 10:55 AM: Re. Paranoid coworkers: We had a new hire in my team a few years back who became convinced that we were holding secret meetings behind his back to talk about him. We're pretty tolerant of eccentrics (or I'd be out of a job), but his paranoia got to the point where he wasn't doing the work he was hired to do. The result: We held a secret meeting behind his back, and we all agreed that he had to go. #400 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 11:04 AM: Greg -- no, Spock will be the person who re-programmed the simulator so that Kirk could beat the Kobiyashi Maru situation... #401 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 11:13 AM: (From the private diary of Miss Columbia Abrams as revealed by Miss Debra Doyle and Mr. James D. Macdonald in Land of Mist and Snow) "...While I was a student at the Hadley Female Academy, I dreamed -- as did most of my classmates -- of playing a part in the great struggle of our time, to preserve the Union and to advance the cause of Abolition. I feared that my contribution would be limited by my gender to the singing of inspirational songs, since my knitting is so bad that only a truly desperate soldier would want socks or a muffler from my hand..." #402 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 01:24 PM: Ph34r my snark, for I have seen Eragon, the movie. #403 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 01:49 PM: This morning, Barnes and Noble sent me an online coupon whose usual boilerplate blahblah had an unusual exemption for two specific books. As it turns out, both of them are Taschen artbooks. One of them weighs 75 lbs and (in its extra-limited edition) comes with an inflatable Jeff Koons sculpture. The other one weighs a mere 66 lbs. but comes with its own table. I am struck dumb (well, dumber) with WTFness. #404 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 02:02 PM: Thinking of Star Trek, an up-and-coming pro photographer just posted a funny self-portrait with George Takei on flickr. The whole series is pretty amazing. #405 ::: Skwid ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 03:50 PM: Bob Oldendorf @ #355, The number of folks with that shirt passes two into many, I'm afraid. I was not the subject of your photo, some other customer of Steve Jackson Games most likely was. #406 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 04:25 PM: A shopping note*: If you are holiday shopping online,** Google*** is promoting their "checkout" service by giving20 off for purchases over $50 ($10 if between 30-50) at selected sites (listed in the link- bunch of the usual sites plus pbs.com). This is on top of any deals the stores themselves offer.

Especially if you were going to be buying the items online anyways, and if you get a set of items to add up to $50+ epsilon, this can be a nifty deal. (It's also useful if you don't need the items right away, so can use free shipping(5*), which will still get you the stuff in time for Julian calendar holidays.) * Which I wouldn't write normally, but if google is going to hand out real tens and twenties in virtual shops, and good things are there to be bought****, and today is the last day to get 2-day shipping(5*) in time for a 23rd arrival, and I'm feeling good about what I just bought, then I think it's worth noting. ** I recommend the 2001 Saturnalia, or for reds the 1995 Christmas. *** Disclaimer: I have no relationship with Google other than that they have the goods on my entire online life, half the people in silicon valley work for them, and they expect that in the 2020's their server farm will spontaneously generate an AI [a very helpful AI. Gai, the unemerged, be merciful to me, a searcher, now and in the hour of our 404.] **** The Complete Monty Python 14 disc set. Copies of Blindsight. Good gifts. 5* free shipping often kicks in around$50. Useful convergence. 2-day has been about $5, so with s,h&taxes the$20 = 20% off.

#407 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 04:54 PM:

Kathryn:

All of Bruce's comments sound good.

I had to consult with my wife in her professional capacity a few years back, after a recent hire suddenly quit with some pretty bizarre and inflammatory emails about "You know what you have done to me!" etc. According to her, the number one risk indicator is if this person seems to verbally obsess about violence a lot - talk about their guns, talk about violent games, talk about revenge fantasies, etc.* Bear in mind that most of the mentally ill do not become violent, just as most of the sane do not. When an obsession with violence gets coupled with a descent into (e.g.) paranoid schizophrenia, that is when things get very bad.

I remember I found some good HR-oriented websites which had some helpful advice, but no longer recall what they were.

* Of course, she then added: "But it's hard to distinguish, given the violent video games all of you tech geeks seem to play."

#408 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 06:27 PM:

Susan#356: fascinating demo of YMMV: I'm up to just 22 of the 37 (in the Papp edition, which doesn't include Edward III), but Two Gentlemen was one of the first I saw -- twice, once in a small college production and once in the Papp/McDermott musicalization (yes, it was awful).

#409 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 06:36 PM:

Speaking of the new Spock, when my sister-in-law gave me my nephew's school picture for the year, I had a hard time not saying he was a Vulcan. Part is that he's half Chinese, part is the haircut, but I swear, he looks Vulcan.

#410 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 06:39 PM:

"My friend is obviously Chinese. I see you've noticed the ears. When he was a child, he accidentally got his head caught in a mechanical...rice picker. Fortunately, there was an American missionary nearby at the time, who was a skilled plastic surgeon..."

#411 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 06:42 PM:

I was wondering if people here had a YA book recommendation for a Christmas gift?

For a 10-12 girl, who liked the Tamora Peirce books, Swallows & Amazons, and the Artemis Fowl books. I'm not looking for SF/F specifically, and any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Keir #411: I'd recommend the three 'Menolly' novels by Anne McCaffrey (Dragonsinger, Dragonsong, Dragondrums).

#413 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 07:49 PM:

For a 10-12 girl, who liked the Tamora Peirce books, Swallows & Amazons, and the Artemis Fowl books. I'm not looking for SF/F specifically, and any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

diana wynne jones! basically anything by diana wynne jones. my favourites happen to be witch week (superficially similar to the harry potter books, but written long before) fire & hemlock (a ya fantasy kinda-sorta based on "tam lin") & eight days of luke (where a boy from our world meets a norse god in trouble, & hijinks ensue).

but i've read everything i can find of hers, & most of it is ya, & all of it is excellent.

#414 ::: Mary Aileen Buss ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 08:17 PM:

I'll second Diana Wynne Jones. Also Robin McKinley, especially The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown.

--Mary Aileen

#415 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 08:23 PM:

Ah, yes, abi... The infamous mechanical rice-picker...

#416 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 08:27 PM:

Bruce and Clifton,

Thanks. It's all quite recent and work-related: no illnesses, personal problems, or drugs. The behaviors are all technically covert- he hasn't said or done anything obviously threatening, but it sounds like he's barely able to repress a storm of fury. There isn't an HR department (too small), and I didn't ask about insurance.

In this case, the guy has been used to being first-among-equals (the small company "SC" has under 15 people). He has "big plans"- and my friend says unrealistic plans- for where the company can go. My friend and others at SC told him his plans can't work. That's when he started going weird.

The single biggest issue for her now is that he was caught singlehandedly trying to land a major sales deal. This is a problem:
1. he doesn't have the authority to make sales alone or to sign such a deal- but he acted like that to the client. (But he never technically lied to the client: seems like he's very good at being manipulative.)
2. The others at SC strongly believe SC cannot take this client.
3. The guy is now refusing to say what he's up to. He may or may not be talking to SC's other clients. He's giving off seriously bad vibes and scaring people, but nothing provably overtly.

Everything my friend says makes me think the guy is a sociopath- acts nice as long as everyone appears to be obeying him.

#417 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 08:28 PM:

Those Robin Mckinley books are wonderful. Also consider Diane Duane's Wizard books, and Patricia Wrede's Enchanted Forest and Mairelon books. (Each of these I'm referring to is a series, which I think is reassuring to readers this age, to know they can find more "just like this!") My daughter loved all of these at around that age and I found them all well worth reading myself.

Also, pretty much anything in the Magic Carpet paperback imprint has proved to be excellent. (I believe that includes a number of books by our esteemed host Mr. Macdonald.)

#418 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 08:57 PM:

keir... Have you taken a look at the Agatha Heterodyne comics? The first 12 issues were recently reprinted in one nice paperback, by the way.

#419 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 08:57 PM:

Julie L. @403: The other [book] weighs a mere 66 lbs. but comes with its own table.

My first thought: It sounds like the book would have to come with its own sense of 'self-importance' too.

I'm sure its a great book (it would have to be).

[ I did click through on the links... ]

#420 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 08:59 PM:

Not planning to redeem the coupons, I imagine...

#422 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 09:05 PM:

Another heavy tome:

Finally, just in time for the holidays, here is a little something for the soccer fan who has everything, including an iron-reinforced coffee table and a personal trainer to hoist the gift out from under the Christmas tree.

Manchester United's "United Opus" is the ultimate in excess from soccer's most excessive team, a mammoth 850-page limited-edition history of the club that sells for about $5,870. The book, limited to 10,000 copies, weighs 77 pounds. #423 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 10:12 PM: Keir: E. Nesbit! Five Children and It, The Phoenix and the Carpet, The Story of the Amulet, The Enchanted Castle, The Magic City, and on and on and on. I still go back to them on a regular basis. #424 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 18, 2006, 10:18 PM: Kathryn: Is your friend simply "co-worker", or boss/owner/CEO? It's sounding to me like the decision-making chain might be a bit fuzzy. Maybe it's just insufficient information. In a healthy and egalitarian company, as long as everything is functioning well, it often works well for everyone to make decisions collectively and share the responsibility for decisions. At my company, I had hopes for a long time that everything could be run that way. I ultimately learned or concluded that even if you do your best to have the best people, collective decision-making doesn't work for all kinds of situations. This seems like one of those situations, when one staff member is metaphorically running amok; in that case having a seemingly indecisive CEO or manager will kill you. It might be that whoever is this guy's boss needs to sit this guy down and say "Look, you've been a tremendous asset to the company, but if you start doing things that jeopardize the company, we'll have no choice but to fire you. We don't want to do that." If the other staff feel that's the case, then they need to find out if the CEO - or VP sales, or whoever is responsible for this guy - already thinks that, and is already taking steps, or needs to be persuaded, or knows what must be done but is chickening out, or what. (Don't forget that it's possible that the CEO/boss/whoever has already sat this guy down and had The Talk. A good manager will do this discreetly and will not discuss the results with others except to say "something was done", to avoid nasty HR repercussions.) Last thought - while some good salespeople are borderline sociopathic, it also may be the case that this guy has sincere personal dreams about where the company could and should go, is seeing them thwarted, and is feeling a lot of anger while sorting his life plans out. During the period when I had to resign as president of a company, even though I had made the decision for myself that it was the best thing for everyone and for the company, I am sure I was sending out all kinds of intense angry and resentful vibes. Nonetheless I was able to contribute a lot to the company in the following years, from the different position I took within it. Was that an exceptional case? Maybe, I don't know. My$0.02, Clifton

#425 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2006, 12:14 AM:

Clifton,

The structure at SC is fuzzy- there's essentially two layers (founders and support staff). Any other fuzziness is the result of how I'm describing it.

Generally, SC's structure sounds normal to me, that it's a typical small company, similar to many others I've known people working at / worked at. They'd all be folks who understand the ups and downs, the bubbles and crashes, of technology businesses.

And my friend has been at everything from very large corporations with 10 layers of middle management to fast-moving startups. That she hadn't seen anything like this guy before worries me. That she's worried, worries me.

However, I now know that a lawyer has been called. I did sent some links to workplace violence pages, and mentioned to take seriously any violent+obsessive talk (per your earlier comment). (And, other than my layperson's use of the word 'paranoid,' all of this is orthogonal to mental illness. "Colleagues of person are feeling fear" isn't in DSM V*.)

For me, I guess I've been lucky, or unobservant- I don't think (remember) I've worked with a person like that. I've had angry managers and coworkers, but all of the sorts described in "Gentle Art of Verbal Self Defence" type books. That's part of why I asked about it here: in trying to think about it myself, I was all over the map.**

*Other than to diagnose a new case of Homo sapiens vampiris. But that's DSM XV.

** my very wide net searches did let me discover that one can rent bulletproof vests online. And that there's a local spy store. Why not?

#426 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2006, 12:35 AM:

David @390,

I imagine that if most people here on ML looked deep down inside themselves, they'll find a geas against making spelling errors here, no matter how they write in casual situations elsewhere. It isn't that an error makes the writer look bad, it's that an error would make all the other readers feel bad.

#427 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2006, 12:48 AM:

Kathryn from Sunnyvale @425: Other than to diagnose a new case of Homo sapiens vampiris.

Read that comment just after listening to The Evolution of Vampires (pointed to by a link on Pharyngula).

From the comments at Pharyngula, it appears to be a teaser for Blindsite.

#428 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2006, 12:53 AM:

Pardon, Blindsight (same link, correct spelling).

#429 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2006, 01:07 AM:

We had a long afternoon in Manhattan, KS, last weekend, between the graduation of my lovely goddaughter Heather from K-State (and the first time I'd ever set foot on that rival college's grounds in my life...) and the post-graduation party. (I graduated from the University of Kansas) We farbled around in aggieville among the couple of bookstores and I found:

The Puppeteer's Apprentice. I had the time to look it over, and the more I looked the only reason that kept me from buying it myself is that I'm only buying presents for others right now. It's called a historical fiction, but I felt it had some fantasy elements, but a lot of real life feelings and thoughts.

#430 ::: Jen Birren ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2006, 08:55 AM:

Here's the Karaoke For The Deaf being performed live at the Secret Policeman's Ball, with a Seekrit Surprise at about 2 minutes in.
(The Ball was a) a fundraiser for Amnesty International and b) amazing. If you can play Region 2 DVDs, you should buy one. Amazon also has a box set of the older Balls with many Pythons, Peter Cook, Rowan Atkinson etc. in them.)

#431 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2006, 09:46 AM:

Re: #411, You might also try Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching novels (Wee Free Men, etc).

#432 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2006, 11:18 AM:

#411

Susan Cooper's _The Dark is Rising_ series was a favorite of mine at that age.

#433 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2006, 12:07 PM:

Sarah, thanks for reminding me! It's the time of year when I need to dig up my copy of The Dark is Rising and reread it.

#434 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2006, 01:15 PM:

I found this NY Times magazine article on ethics and charity to be thought-provoking:
What Should a Billionaire Give – and What Should You?

From near the end of the article:

... it was not until, in preparing this article, I calculated how much America’s Top 10 percent of income earners actually make that I fully understood how easy it would be for the world’s rich to eliminate, or virtually eliminate, global poverty. (It has actually become much easier over the last 30 years, as the rich have grown significantly richer.) I found the result astonishing. I double-checked the figures and asked a research assistant to check them as well. But they were right. Measured against our capacity, the Millennium Development Goals are indecently, shockingly modest.

These are issues I've been thinking about incoherently for a long time - feeling vastly privileged and unsure what to do with the obligation. This feels like it at least gives me some kind of framework to start thinking about it.

#435 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 19, 2006, 07:32 PM:

Keir @ 411, Here's the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books 2006 Gift Guide. It's a free downloadable .pdf file, and it's broken up into 3 different age ranges.

#436 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 09:51 AM:

FBI releases last ten pages of government surveillance file on John Lennon. Turns out he wasn't a threat after all.

phew.

I'm sure no one's abusing the Patriot Act powers. Why do you ask?

#437 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 11:00 AM:

For those of you who like writing sonnets (*)... This week, the Farley comic-strip publishes the results of its contest whereby readers wrote sonnets that rhyme with 'San Francisco Values'.

------

(*) Yes, I do mean you over there in the corner.

#438 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 11:10 AM:

Reading Shakespeare (and other complex stuff) makes you smarter.

We've all always known it, but now we've got pretty brain pictures to back us up!

#439 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 11:13 AM:

This being the open thread: An inspirational story from the (still-ongoing) aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Cheer as short-sighted selfishness gets its comeuppance. Keep a stopwatch by you to see how many seconds it takes you to predict the storyteller's punchline...

#440 ::: Susan ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 11:25 AM:

Chip @ #408:
Susan#356: fascinating demo of YMMV: I'm up to just 22 of the 37 (in the Papp edition, which doesn't include Edward III), but Two Gentlemen was one of the first I saw -- twice, once in a small college production and once in the Papp/McDermott musicalization (yes, it was awful).

Well, I do have a requirement that I actually remember the production. It's possible I've seen it long-long-ago and simply spaced out. So that doesn't count. I'm also slowly oodging my standards up to "seen a GOOD production of", which will require me to repeat a number of them another time or three.

My morning has been made by a nice email from the director that the production of The Revenger's Tragedy I saw in January was in fact archived at Lincoln Center, so I merely have to manufacture a convincing excuse to go and view it once more. (Literally once more - you can only see archival stuff once in your lifetime, though I expect I could work out a way around that.) Since I'm already a regular researcher at the library there I don't think coming up with the excuse will be too strenous. I just have to figure out a way in for all my friends who didn't get to see it live.

(I have a review available if anyone wants it. Summarizing sentence: the director should switch to decaf before directing anything more delicate.)

#441 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 12:10 PM:

Didn't Stoppard once write a 15-minute version of Hamlet?

#442 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 12:28 PM:

Speaking of Hamlet, is that the Shakespeare play that has had the most lines making it into sort-of-everyday parlance? You know, "to thine own self be true", "murder most foul", "the play is the thing", "there is method to his madness"...

#443 ::: Joe J ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 12:36 PM:

Serge, don't forget "in a nutshell."

Although it is Hamlet's line, I can't help but think of Austin Powers when I hear that phrase now.

Vanessa Kensington: That's you in a nutshell.

Austin Powers: No, this is me in a nutshell: [mimes being trapped in a nutshell] "Help! I'm in a nutshell! How did I get into this bloody great big nutshell? What kind of shell has a nut like this?"

#444 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 12:40 PM:

Serge @437

So, sing to me, O Muse
Of comics and the news.
The consensus of views -
San Fransisco values
Are singing the blues
With a banjo and trews.

Rejected lines:
With their rawhide dog chews
In mixed pastes and glues
Off my blueish suede shoes
And angel allelu's.
We are eaten by Grues.

Stoppard's 15-minute Hamlet is part of Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth, though it stands up well on its own too.

#446 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 01:02 PM:

Serge @442: I think it was a joke in one of Asimov's collections that had a couple of ladies leaving a production of Hamlet, with one saying to the other: "Honestly, I don't understand what's so great about Shakespeare. All he's done is taken a whole bunch of common sayings, and strung them together."

#447 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 01:19 PM:

Of course, Joe, how could I forget the nutshell reference to a king of infinite space?

From Rob's comment, it'd seem that Hamlet indeed is Shakespeare's most quoted play.

So, Dan, that was Stoppard. I once caught its movie adaptation on the Independent Film Channel as done by Renaissance Fair actors. At the end of the movie, lights come on and Shakspeare is at the projector, waiting for the verdict of his nobleman sponsor, who criticizes the 15-minute version for being too long. Groaning, Bill gets back to work and we're 'treated' to the 5-minute Hamlet.

#448 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 01:21 PM:

abi @ 444... You should send this to Farley's author, even though the contest is over.

#449 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 01:27 PM:

Serge said (#442):
Speaking of Hamlet, is that the Shakespeare play that has had the most lines making it into sort-of-everyday parlance? You know, "to thine own self be true", "murder most foul", "the play is the thing", "there is method to his madness"...

I know I've read that Shakespeare is the writer who's had the most phrases or lines make it into everyday speech; I'd guess that Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet, or Macbeth would be the most productive plays. The number two writer, if I recall correctly, is Alexander Pope ("a little learning is a dangerous thing", "fools rush in where angels fear to tread").

#450 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 01:29 PM:

And the "tangled web" really is from Walter Scott, right, Peter?

#451 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 01:30 PM:

O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention,
A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!

#452 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 01:50 PM:

#447 There's also the Reduced Shakespeare Company's 5 minute version...which they also perform backwards. I can't find their Hamlet, but there are some other clips of theirs up on Youtube.

And you're right about Scott and the "tangled web"

#453 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 01:51 PM:

Serge -- yes, I think you're right. (Somewhere there's probably a list of famous quotations mistakenly attributed to Shakespeare...)

#454 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 01:58 PM:

Did anyone ever see the skit of Hugh Laurie as Shakespeare who's just turned in the manuscript of Hamlet and who's fighting with his producer, played by Rowan Atkinson, who keeps insisting on cutting things out?

#455 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 02:05 PM:

Serge #454

You mean this one?

#456 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 02:34 PM:

I think the Bible (Old and New Testaments) probably leads even Shakespeare in phrases that have made it into common usage. I remember being surprised a few times at how many I use, considering I've never read the thing all that much.

#457 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 02:44 PM:

YA books: MT Anderson's Feed and Thirsty are awesome.

Rob Thomas's Rats Saw God and Doing Time: Notes from the Undergrad are also awesome.

(I'd recommend everyone read these, by the way, and not just "young adults," whoever they are.)

#458 ::: Sarah S ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 02:47 PM:

#456

Yeah, but I gather there's some debate over whether the Bible is a single author work or not...

#459 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 02:59 PM:

Sarah @458

Yeah, but I gather there's some debate over whether the Bible is a single author work or not...

I understand there is one school of thought that attribute it to three authors.

#461 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 03:18 PM:

My immediate reaction to the moths and the birds is "Holy crap, nature is crazy."

#462 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 03:33 PM:

Linkmeister @ 456: I think the Bible (Old and New Testaments) probably leads even Shakespeare in phrases that have made it into common usage.

Sarah S @ 458: Yeah, but I gather there's some debate over whether the Bible is a single author work or not...

abi @ 459: I understand there is one school of thought that attribute it to three authors.

Which means that Sir Francis Bacon must have been one of the authors of the bible. The only question is, New or Old Testament.

#463 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 03:36 PM:

When I clicked through on the bird tears link, I expected to find poetry, not a nature article. Ewwww.

#464 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 03:44 PM:

This is just to say
I slurped up the tears
and which you were probably
using as lubricant.
Forgive me.
They were nutritious
double fold.

#465 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 03:48 PM:

Larry @462, Which instantly reminds me of Clifford Simak's The Goblin Reservation and Shakespeare's lecture "How it Came that I Did Not Write the Plays."

#466 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 03:53 PM:

A bit of anthropomorphizing never hurt anyone, right?

Moths drink the tears of sleeping birds
The birds awake, and had they words
They’d ask the moths to take their fill--

For nature red in tooth and claw
Occasionally shares its wealth,
And sharing pain and joy is law
Not only for the human health.

Thus hook’d probosces show the light
Of altruism in the night.

#467 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 03:56 PM:

abi,

I understand there is one school of thought that attribute it to three authors.

i assume you mean the old testament. is someone claiming that multiple new testament gospels were written by one person? (i know a little bit of ot scholarship/criticism, but nothing of nt.)

#468 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 03:59 PM:

miriam @467

No...I was making a mild joke about the Trinity.

#469 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 04:10 PM:

Larry @463,

This is just to say
I didn't warn
that news
was in that
URL

in which
I knew you would think
you'd see
poetry

Forgive me
for surprising you
it stood
on its own
______

more when I wrote
but it was

either
post it alone then,
or spend
all today

in writing
Octometer with
spondees
in each line

#470 ::: Tracie ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 04:35 PM:
#471 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 04:44 PM:

was there also no room at the zoo?

#472 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 04:44 PM:

moths drinking bird tears makes the baby Komodo cry.

#473 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 04:49 PM:

good Sidelight: "Your soldiers are not the bigots you imagine them to be"

But what can you expect when we get our military advice from neocon blowhards who were never in the military? Seems to be a systemic problem, really.

Mention of 'San Francisco values' reminds me that when NationsBank merged with Bank of America a few years back, the NationsBank executives asked B of A not to send executives with 'San Francisco accents' to North Carolina.

#475 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 05:41 PM:

abi,

aaahhhhh. i told you i was a new testament illiterate.

#476 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 05:41 PM:

Fragano #474:

And what, pray tell, is a "San Francisco accent"? Or are we actually talking non-verbal? (Former residents of the Bay Area Really Want To Know.)

#477 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 06:29 PM:

Saqrah S @ 455... Yes, that was the Laurie-Atkinson skit I had in mind. I like the final deal where, if Shakespeare consents to cutting that long bit of business down to "To be or not to be", the producer wil let him keep the scene with the cockney gravediggers.

joann #476: As far as I can make out it was a code phrase for 'gay'.

#479 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 08:03 PM:

Linkmeister @ 465... Which instantly reminds me of Clifford Simak's The Goblin Reservation and Shakespeare's lecture "How it Came that I Did Not Write the Plays."

Goodness. That takes me back over 30 years ago. I did remember Shakespeare being in the book, but I had forgotten the bit about his giving that lecture. I did remember his encounter with the ghost of you-know-who, and that one of the other characters was a caveman also snatched out of the timestream by that futuristic society, and who had decided to call himself Alley Oop.

#480 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 09:02 PM:

Serge, Oop ran afoul of a pet sabre-toothed tiger in the current timestream and had lots of fun riffing on its ancestral memory of him.

Simak doesn't seem to have as much notoriety/acclaim as many other science fiction writers for reasons I don't get. I've enjoyed most of his books quite a bit.

#481 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 09:14 PM:

Simak doesn't seem to have as much notoriety/acclaim as many other science fiction writers for reasons I don't get.

Yeah, Linkmeister.... I never could figure it out either. Maybe his stuff was too quiet. By the way, I once had the pleasure of meeting him, totally by accident, at Denver's 1981 worldcon. As I briskly went by a room occupied by the con's organization, I came to a screeching halt because there he was. I approached him, very cautiously, and yes, he was willing to autograph my French edition of City. I think I still have the photo he graciously allowed me to take before I went away.

#482 ::: Howard Peirce ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 09:24 PM:

Speaking of Shakespeare, I stumbled on The Scooby Doo Hamlet just moments ago. An excerpt:

VELMA:

The first clue came from Elsinore's high walls,
Where, so said Hamlet, Hamlet's ghost did walk.
Yet though the elder Hamlet met his death,
And perforce hath been buried in the ground,
'Tis yet true one would not expect a ghost
To carry mud upon his spectral boots.

(It seems like the kind of thing that must have been linked here ages ago, but it's new to me.)

#483 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 10:12 PM:

Following up on the targeting unpatriotic allergies thread from March, I continue to be unamused seeing collateral damage done by the war on drugs.

It took 30 minutes just now to get one box of decongestant*, including filling out the paperwork, signatures, picture check, and writing my ID down**.

That I asked for the dye-free type was about 1/6th of the delay- the clerk quizzed me on why I wanted it! (Red dye isn't a medicine- that isn't good enough?) At least they still make it. A good friend gets vicious migraines if she has red dye, so she's one bureaucrats' decision away from a nasty choice.

Now for me, this time, it's a fairly light cost of time. I had a half hour to spare, today. (Took it out of xmas shopping time, though, and if shopping is a patriotic duty...) But I know it's a luxury to have spare half hours: many people don't. That unpatriotic thread details more extensive costs from this new bureaucracy.

* I'm flying soon. I like my eardrums.

** They really wanted a drivers licence, even though a passport is equally government issued ID. They had no idea or ability to say where this info goes (HIPAA anyone?).

Half an hour to get a decongestant?! That's insane. That's just insane.

Announcement: I know, should have taken care of it a week ago, BUT the rest of the bumper sticker slogans from the comment thread have been added to the main post of From correspondence: current sentiments.

So far, I'm really liking My Kid Is an Honor Student and My President Is a Moron.

#485 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 11:21 PM:

Teresa... How about Stewart / Colbert in 2008?

#486 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 20, 2006, 11:40 PM:

A question for those who know a lot about old sailing ships... Which movie do you think has the best depiction of a naval battle? Sure, there are those Errol Flynn like Captain Blood, but the battles were usually ships going boom-boom at each other, with maybe a mast getting blown off to liven things up. On the other hand, the Fifties's Captain Hornblower had, besides squeaky-voiced (not!) Gregory Peck, ships lumbering past each other, turning slowly around then going at it again.

#487 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2006, 04:41 AM:

Can I say something unrelated to anything else that's kind of snippy? I can? Even though I'm new? Thanks.

I've been reading through Teresa's particle on Noka chocolate and finding it fascinating, even though I'd never heard of Noka before. The critic on Dallas Food is funny, smart, knowledgeable, etc, and the topic is interesting.

But here I get to page five and he really pisses me off.

"Go to Chocolate Secrets on Oak Lawn and you can get Cluizel bars from Madagascar, Venezuela, Santo Domingo, and São Tomé (though you'd be better off buying them online for about a third less)."

The website is called "Dallas Food," and the guy goes out of his way to bring up a local business and then discourage people from going there?!?!? Am I the only one left who still thinks local is important?

#488 ::: Dave Luckett ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2006, 04:42 AM:

#486, Serge, The second was more likely in a single-ship action, particularly if the ships were frigates. They were hardly agile under battle-canvas, but they were capable of manoeuvre (subject always to the wind), and the whole point was to get into a position where you had your side to the enemy's bow, or even better, his stern, to rake him. The ships therefore tended make a pass, then turn in the tightest circles they could, rather like fighter aircraft (but in one plane, and with exactly the opposite intention). During the pass, it was common to try to destroy the enemy's rigging and spars, thus to cripple him so that it would be possible to lay off his bows or quarter and batter him into submission. This was the denoument of the action between HMS Java and USS Constitution, for instance.

Ships of the line were clumsier, and as the name implies, meant to fight in line astern formations, which maximised their firepower. This had the effect that enemy ships could only penetrate the line by presenting their bows to it, which was usually fatal. Fleet actions therefore often resolved into a rigid side-to-side ship vs ship battering match, with victory going to the side with the most, heaviest and best-served guns. (Nelson's tactics at Trafalgar were unorthodox in that he realised that the composite Spanish-French fleet did not possess the liaison or the excellent seamanship necessary to maintain a rigid line, and he deliberately accepted the damage he would take in breaking into their line, because this would cut off its downwind elements, which were then defeated in detail.)

#489 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2006, 07:18 AM:

Dave Luckett... Thanks for the response. Why did I ask about naval battles? Because, I'm reading Land of Mist and Snow, which got me thinking back to those old movies and wondering if any of them had gotten any of 'it' right. And if one is wondering about this or that area of knowledge, whether it's about sailing ships or the B-52 or subatomic particles or knitting or sonnets, there will be someone who knows the answer.

#490 ::: Juli Thompson ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2006, 08:19 AM:

I have a procedural question.

Over on the "Brilliant Sendup" thread, someone accidently did something with tags that made the whole thing almost unreadable in Safari from that point on.

Another poster pointed this out in a later comment. No moderators responded to this, so I made a post with the title "I see bad tags," on analogy with the "X sees comment spam" post titles. No moderators responded to this either, and until the thread died its own death, it remained almost unreadable.

Question 1: Can the moderators fix this kind of problem?

Question 2: Assuming the answer to question 1 is yes, do they consider it worth the time and effort to do so?

Question 3: Assuming the answers to questions 1 and 2 are yes, how does one notify them that it needs to be done?

I'm asking just so I'll know in the future.

#491 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: December 21, 2006, 01:08 PM:

Juli Thompson @490: Although you would prefer to use Safari, do you have other options? I'm working on a Windows machine, and you'd have to put in extra effort not to have Internet Explorer installed. I prefer to use Firefox, but occasionally would come across a website that only seemed to work with IE. In that limited circumstance, I'd use it.

The "I see bad tags" sounds like a good idea, although it does become one more chore for the hosts. I looked at the "Brilliant Sendup" thread in 'View Page Source', and it looked like the problem had been a botched link. Some HTML codes are permitted in these comments; others are not. It looks like there are already some safeguards to prevent problems like 'lack of closing italic code' from screwing up the entire page; maybe it will be possible to have something that will make sure that links are properly formatted, and strip them from the comment if they are not.

#492 ::: Keir ::: (view all by) ::: December 22, 2006, 12:39 AM:

Thanks for the advice on YA books.

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